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“Fabulous 4 - 4.5 star Resort:”

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Memories Paraiso Beach Resort
Ranked #12 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Reviewed February 11, 2012

granted it's not a 5 star, even for Cuban standards but it is a solid 4 - 4.5 star and worth every penny we paid. We were there for 2 weeks and loved every moment, even the incredidle tropical rain storm we experienced.
THE PROPERTY - well laid out. Basically the biggest difference between the Paraiso and Azul is where you sleep. As a guest of either you have full run of both properties. We were on the Paraiso side and very lucky to be in bungalow 33 - room 3365 - 3rd floor Ocean Front and incredible view. Close to the Ocean, far enough away from the Theatre we didn't get the music (which was done by 10:30) and close to all amenities. Note: Ocean front means that you are the closest bungalow to the ocean and there are no other bungalows in front of you. In that Cayo Santa Maria is an island, there are no structures actually allowed on the ocean front. This goes for both Azul and Paraiso. Each building is 3 stories high and contains a number of suites. We actually for the very first time in Cuba, got a King size bed. We always ask but it's been the luck of the draw. The room was spacious and clean. The view was spectacular. There were 3 different services to our room. The morning gals, they came anywhere between 10am - 3pm. The mini bar guy - he was there between 4:30 - 7pm, then the evening ladies who did a room refresh, turn down service and made the towel art, they usually came between 8 - 10pm, so if you were in your room you didn't get this service.
The PARAISO side is flatter and easier for those with physical challenges to move around, AZUL has a lot of ups and downs.
The Property itself is fairly large and a mirror image. Each property has a large main pool with a pool grill/bar that is open 24hrs. There is a shared Childrens area with activities for the kids. The Theatre is also shared. The Theatre has two bars one at each end. We found ourselves here alot because they made the special drinks that the poor souls in the lobby bar did not have time to make. The Theatre Bars seldom had line ups. They were usually open around 4 - 5pm and shut down around 11pm. We did go to both the Lobby Bars. Yes there were line ups, but man, did they work their butts off. Very little time for them to be social or friendly. They were on full speed ahead most days, they also worked 16 hours a day. I would challenge any one of you Canadians out there to pull the shifts these people pull and put on a happy face!!!.
THE FOOD- it's CUBA. For those of you who are not creative enough to put a plate of food together from the buffet for yourselves, get off your high horses. The food was fresh, good, yes plain because they were feeding over 800 people a sitting....but we found fresh salmon, capers, cream cheese and the best bread you can imagine. We also had fresh grilled fish, with salad and rice, freshly made pasta primavera with fresh greens that tasted like they came from the garden. The fruit was plentiful and hell they even had french fries for you die hards. If you were expecting gourmet meals you had to go off the resort to get them or perhaps make special arrangements with the chefs in the a' la cartes and pay a little. Breakfast was equally good, if you knew how to put food together. Yes if you wanted an omelet and you were there at the peak time, you waited in a 4 - 5 min line up. But if you waited until aroun 9am no line up and everything had been refreshed. They don't eat like we do. That is the bottom line. One comment I do have to make for you bacon pigs. I have never seen a fight break out over bacon before!! One lady loaded a huge plate full of bacon, basically cleaned it out for any one else. Really? was that necessary? The guy behind her who was patiently waiting was none too happy. However had he waited another minute or two the bacon had been refreshed.
A LA CARTES - we didn't really care if we went to these or not, we hit two, the Steak House and the Tex Mex. Again this is Cuba, their main staples are Fish, Pork and Chicken. For you Keg Steak lovers DON'T ORDER BEEF. They simply don't know how to cook it and their beef is not grain fed like good ol' alberta beef. The Fish, Chicken or Pork is outstanding and you can't go wrong.
THE BEACH - WOW WOW AND WOW. Yes the towel game is alive and well at both the beach and the pool. This is really ridiculous, but hey, There is nothing that does the soul more good than walking the Ocean at 6;30 - 7AM, watching the sun come up. Watching the family of dolphins feed on the sardines as they are going by. Watching the seagulls and pelicans fish. and watching those energetic people do their morning jogs on the sand. The Ocean and beach is so peaceful at that time of day, it is worth getting up just to experience it. The Ocean is calm, it's torquoise blue water softly kissing the sand....need I say more. Get up just to experience it. Those crazies that get up at 4am to put their towels by the pool...well what can I say, that's just stupid and a little wierd.
CATS - we are cat lovers and I'm sure there are a few of you out there. Please feed the cats. There is one in particular that we grew to love. She hung out by the theatre. She was unique because of her deformed face. She is loving and very cool. If you go there please look out for her, give her fresh water and bring her treats. She loves fish of course and bacon, but you have to cut it up as she can't tear at it like a normal cat. She's also expecting kittens. If anyone can update us please do.
OTHER - tipping - is alive and well. They appreciate what you can give. Practical items that we take for granted are in short supply for most cubans - ladies if you bring tampons - leave them, that is a treat for the cuban gals. Jeans, good shoes, jackets, anything Nike is big. Cosmetics too. I'm sure everyone is familiar with the Cuban economic situation. They have the basics, but the fun stuff is hard to come by when you are on a very limited income.
We didn't do any of the tours - this is our 5th time in Cuba (1st time at Cayo Santa Maria) and we really didn't want to tour, but we did hire a taxi - THOMPSON - was his name - excellent english, you can arrange this through the Sunwing person - he charged 130CUC - we had a private tour all day, did what we wanted, where we wanted, had a great tour of Santa Clara and back - it was well worth every penny. He drives a little crazy but has an excellent reputation.
MY BEST ADVISE TO ALL IS TO GO WITH NO EXPECTATIONS AND ENJOY IT FOR WHAT IT IS. We met people who loved it as much as we did, and others that found lots of things to be nit picky about. Personally I think that those that need to complain, would, no matter where they are.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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73  Thank BerShe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 10, 2012

My husband and I returned home today from Memories Azul (1 week). We were a little nervous about the bad reviews posted here but realize everyone can form their own opinions. Yes, the beach is beautiful...soft sand, turquoise water..we had a windy first day, then was fabulous from there on in. There are activities around the resort if you wish..basketball, giant chess game, bocce ball, board games, pool-side games/dance lessons, as well as water sports(Hobie cats/kayaks/pedal-boats-weather permitting). We went to "recharge" the batteries, so our biggest decision was which SPF sunblock to apply! There is, unfortunately, the lounge chair towel game poolside which will hopefully be addressed as they work through "growing pains". We found the staff very friendly, lovely people with, yes, a couple of sour ones thrown in! Our room was always cleaned well and the bar stocked. We didn't go hungry or thirsty either! There was always a varied choice of food...recommend the Italian a la carte also. A few tips..1. Pack a beach bag (huge resort, so you want to bring ALL you'll need to beach or pool and avoid traipsing back to your room) 2. We brought Heinz ketchup packets as well as individual peanut butters and jams (which may be an idea for the kids if they're picky eaters).3. Bring facecloths if you need them 4. Large refillable mugs are a must! (leave them with the bar staff when leaving if you aren't attached to them(apparently very expensive to buy in Cuba) 4. Adaptors only needed at bathroom vanity, all others don't require them.5. We brought earrings/patterned nylons and gardening gloves (Ardene's/dollar store) and gave them to staff that aren't in the positions to receive the tips given out..they are so appreciative.6.We found we could exchange money at the Paraiso side front desk when the Azul side had a huge line-up! 7. Book the VIP package for leaving Cuba ..20 CUC/person gives you a separate lounge with cushy seating and included bar/food service, VIP check-in and priority boarding(but don't tell everyone at the resort..sshhh! lol) and 7. ENJOY!!

Room Tip: We were at the back of building 58 and it was sooo quiet and peaceful, we loved to be able to have t...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Funsire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2012

We just got back from 2 weeks at the Azul, and thoroughly enjoyed the weather and beautiful beach, but not the persons who had a key and entered our room in the night. It was not their fault as the room had been double booked. This also happened to the other couple we were traveling with. Knowledgeable English speaking and English understanding at the front desk were practically non existent, and our problem was handled by shoulder shrugs and "sorry". the rooms were OK but we did get towels that were not real clean, and rust stained. Meals were quite acceptable, and entertainment in the lobby bar was very enjoyable. Took a good tour to Trinidad and enjoyed it. The price was great, but the hotel staff needs some training if they want to keep a 5 star rating.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank seniorcitizenOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2012

We have travelled all over and decided to go to Azul based on the 5 star rating. It recently changed names and was bought out by Sunwing Vacations. Where do I start, the room was standard, the food was horrible, could not get into the restaurants since the line up everyday was about 1 hour long. One night they ran out of food. The service was good and the people really try, however to stte that this is a five star in Cuba (which I understand is not comparable to a five star in North America), is quite false. This is maybe a 2 star. The only nice thing I have to say is the beach is really quite nice.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Nina1212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2012

is a very good hotel for famaly or other my 1 years old son be sick and the manager of the hotel bring me right aways to the hospital again gracias seignor Ernesto take the diamond club more resto very relaxing .

Room Tip: diamond club more resto
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank pat97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2012

Stayed Feb 1-8. Flights sucked. Left yvr at 8:30pm arrived Santa Clara 10:30am ish. (had a delay). Left resort at 2:00am, flight at 6:40am. 2 hr bus ride was long. Had bathroom on the bus going from airport to resort, but not on the way back.

Check in was quick. Big mess up with our room, but it's my agents fault, not the hotel. There are NO elevators on either side, so don't pay for ocean view if you can't climb stairs!

Resort very wheelchair accessible. They have ground level handicap rooms. (view of bush).

Service was excellent. No waiter service at the pool was my only problem in that regard. Line ups not terrible - 5 mins at most.

Food was great. Big buffet good, lots of variety. Pasta line is the longest - 15 mins at most, but it was yummy. We had Boconoa, Asian and Italiano a la cartes. All were yummy. Beef is tough.

Bathrooms all had toilet seats and paper. Were very clean mostly.

Maid was good, but one day she decoratively re-folded our dirty towels and left no clean ones. Gross. Room always done around noon.

Our room was ground floor and we had lots of ants.

Pool was great-reserve chairs early to get a spot. As ignorant as that is. That's how it is there.

Gorgeous beach...complete with sand fleas to eats you alive

We had a great time. Wouldn't ho back only because of the 7 hour flight, the inconsistent weather and the fact that you can't see the ocean from the resort.

Message me for more info.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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10  Thank RedRam99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2012

Travel dates Jan 24 to Feb 3 2012


I would like to know who assigns star ratings for resorts, this was my 4th trip to Cuba and this resort is not a 5 star-more a 3 !/2 or low 4 star.
My main complaints with this resort:
1) very large, shares buffet with sister resort Azul-line ups for food were ridiculous
2) no food variety same thing everyday/same deserts/no labels at food stations-food cold
3) not enough staff to serve guests in buffet-gave large tips $5.00 - no service-stopped tipping
4) ignored by bartenders at bars; even when tipping;female bartender at pool not happy person
5) not enough pool and beach chairs;needed to be up at 5:30 am to save chair, and hope that your belongings were still there along with chair when you finally arrived at pool or beach
6)beach catermans-you got whatever life vest they had on boat whether they fit or not
7)front desk staff very poor command of english language; all guests Canadians
8)booked and payed for ocean view room-last building in resort # 41-ocean view from side
of balcony and view of construction
9) nothing to do at night after entertainment show over; disco did not belong to resort and cost 2 pesoes plus drinks/same with bowling alley-6 lanes only 3 working
10)closet doors to heavy and would not stay on tracks/balcony doors not very secure

good points:
1) room large and clean; bar fridge stocked daily
2)staff were very friendly-But Very Over Worked
3)beach lovely
4)pools clean and large
5)beach grill served best food-service was excellent


We did complain to the Manager about the service and were offered future upgrade to oceanview diamond club.

I will not be returning to this resort or recommending to family or friends due to the very poor service/ this resort is very large and they are expanding/ they cannot handle the number of guests they have now 2600 at all times; how do they plan to handle an increased guest load in the future

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank missymuggins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Memories Paraiso Beach Resort

Address: 52610, Cuba
Location: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Hotel Class:5 star — Memories Paraiso Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 666

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