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Memories Paraiso Beach Resort
Ranked #12 of 16 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Reviewed May 24, 2012

Just returned from a lovely week at Memories Azul. As far as Cuban hotels go, I would rate the hotel a solid 4 star, with a few small things to perhaps bump it to 4.5.

Rooms:
I had a king room in block 52, and friends stayed in a double room in the same block. I had paid for Diamond Club with Balcony and Pool View. Friends booked standard terrace room. We were two doors down on the same floor with the same view, so unless it is high season, I wouldn't bother upgrading from terrace as you will probably end up with a balcony anyway.

Rooms were spacious and nicely decorated, large vanity area adjacent to the bathroom, however I did find the bathroom itself a little small. Maid service was excellent and room was cleaned thoroughly each day. I also had fresh towels daily, and was also offered a replacement clean set every evening, though I don't mind conserving and re-using, so declined this service. A few reviewers previously mentioned their towels were dirty and re-used over and over - we did not experience this at all.

A nice touch was beach towel in room at check in, which allows you to go straight to the pool or beach upon arrival.

Mini-bar in room was not switched on and empty when I arrived, unfortunately it took two days for it to be filled, however once it was, it was replenished with the standard two cans of beer (usually Bucanero, on occasion, one Cristal), two cans of pop and a bottle of water. I left a tip inside the fridge and this usually got me at least an extra bottle of water (helpful if you like to make coffee or tea for yourself in your room in the morning) and can of beer. My friends left a tip also, and didn't seem to ever receive anything extra, so perhaps I was just "lucky".

Pools:
Our block was by the kids pool and the so-named by guests "quiet pool". Pool bar with a few chairs for sitting and never a problem finding a lounger or shade here. Pool was lovely and warm, large and a great way to end each day. The other pool at Azul is larger and where they do their activities and has more of a swim up bar, however this was much louder. It is also right across from the 24 hour grill, which is handy!

Beach:
Beautiful. Soft, fine, white sand and you can walk for a while before being submerged. Clear turquoise water and plenty of seating. If you are diamond club there is a reserved seating area with more comfortable chairs and drinks service all day (if you don't have Diamond Club, they are really enforcing the rule now, so my friends and I couldn't sit together in this area as I was the only one with Diamond Club - no biggie for me). The "regular" seating area also had at lounger drink service, however this was somewhat intermittent, so I suspect they guys serving the Diamond Club would come over to this area when it wasn't busy in the Diamond Club Area. Hobie cats, kayaks etc. are available, however a few people who did not have their own snorkelling equipment were told there wasn't any and were disappointed.

Entertainment:
The theatre is the largest I've seen in Cuba and a great set up for the shows, which were good. (I only saw two in the week, so won't comment too much here). Drinks service from the bar or at your seat.

Food/Restaurants:
In my opinion, the Italian restaurant was the best of the a la carter, although we only tried Italian, Mediterranean and Asian. A couple of friends also enjoyed the steakhouse, but after all the reviews I had read, I decided to give this one a skip.

Grills at the beach were great - you have to have the chicken sandwich - marinated chicken breast, onions, mushrooms, cheese and peppers - a great lunch at the beach! We also ate at the 24 hour grill for lunch one day, and this was just as good - burgers, sandwiches, fries, etc.

Buffet - the buffet really is hit and miss, which is not unusual for Cuba. That said, the made while you wait Pizzas, Pastas, Grilled fish/meats, Omlettes, Cesar Salads, etc were excellent, no complaints from me here. Also, they had a great spread of cheese and antipastos some nights, which could do for me for a light dinner as well.

Bars:
Lobby bar was a great way to start or end your day - great coffees in the morning, great drinks in the evenings and service was excellent. Plenty of servers, so you didn't need to wait long. I found that this was not the case in the sports bar (Route 66) where there seemed to be plenty of staff, very few customers, and painfully slow service - I waited 15minutes when I was one of two people in the bar area and decided to go to the bar instead of wait any longer.

Overall, this hotel was a great resort, friendly and helpful staff, clean rooms and lots of amenities. This was my 12th trip to Cuba, and my first to the Cayos, so my only real disappointment (but I knew this going in) was that you could not just easily wander off the resort into a Cuban town, you had to either rent a car or book an organized tour/excursion.

A note on the Diamond Club:

If I were to book again, I don't think I would bother with the Diamond Club. I'm not one who drinks scotches, brandies, etc., so the additional "top shelf" liquor was not something I utilized. I was also just as comfortable sitting on the beach on the regular chairs, the robe was nice to have, and the turndown service was ok (however other than a note and a few candies on the bed, not really what I'd expect from a turndown service).

Room Tip: Stayed in room 5272 which was a king room with a pool view and large balcony. Block 52 is close to...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank YYZ_74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,160 - 4,166 of 6,558 reviews

Reviewed May 24, 2012

We went with a group of 19 people. Some of us hadn't travelled for 18 years. We had a great time. The beach was breathtaking. The rooms were okay. The food was okay. Could of used spice. The most irritating part of the whole trip was having to swat flies while you were eating at the buffet. Between 7 pm and 9 pm you were getting attacked by the masquitos. I was really disappointed in the fact that other then the show that they would have every night there was no music playing anywhere. The hangout at the hotel was the lobby area where they had a sitting area and bar but no music playing. Correction: they had dinner music playing. I didn't find the people at the resort very friendly. Some were, but others were not happy to be there. At the 24 hours buffet; near the washrooms; there was always a sewage smell that would just make your stomach turn.Overall the trip was great because of the group of people that we went with and the weather was amazing!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Sue R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2012

Just got back yesterday and I was very happy about the whole trip. The staff are so sweet and very friendly, nothing but smiles and winks all the way. Flies were there but only for a bit of the day, did not get bit, but some of the people did, so use bug stuff. Skin so soft seemed to be the best to use.
We were not sure why people were saying such bad things, yes there are a few issues but nothing that I would stay away because. The washrooms all had lids and could have been cleaned a bit more but nothing I have not seen in local places around town.
Food was good for the most part, pizza was wonderful. Lots and Lots of things to choose from, the sports bar was a bit of a disappointment, food was really bad there, that needs to be looked at. Stale bread, old french fries and so on.
The beach and the water what can I say amazing. Staff on the beach work like fools, always making sure we had drinks chairs etc. Had the diamond club and well worth it, never without a drink. They even brought my girlfriend a birthday cake right out to the beach!!!!!!!
Weather could have been a bit better, lots of cloudy days, and some rain, and our last day was chilly but we made the best of it and stayed by the pool. I would probably go before May next time.
We had such fun in the lobby bar, every night we would meet up with the new friends we met and laugh and laugh, dance and sing.
French people not so nice, made us look like fools and I am ashamed at how they act towards the staff, they even booed us one night when we decided to sing O Canada. Shocking is all I can say. Staff don't say much, but I had a few tell me that they have not treated them very well. WE all say please, Thank you, sorry etc, but NOT them, just left me with my mouth open. Rude Rude Rude people.

I will return to this resort for sure, and can't wait to be treated with kindness, and truly enjoyed it all.

People complain cause that is what we do, but if you want to have fun and a good time, don't read the bad stuff cause when I got there I thought were these people at the same resort?

Room Tip: Block 55 was perfect
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Wantsmore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2012

This resort is by no means a five star resort. We just came back from our fifth trip to Cuba and this was a great disappointment. I would give this resort not more than TWO to TWO and a half stars. Why ?
We booked two months ahead of time to get a place at the Memories Paraiso Resort. With no notification to us or our travel agent they took us to their adjacent Memories Azul Resort. To our protestations that this is not where we booked they told us we have to register here and walk over to the Paraiso, then they told us that the Paraiso is overbooked because they have a tourist fair for agents there and then that they are shutting down the Paraiso...
After several " Discussions " about the kind of the room we requested we decided to give it a go, but we found out that nothing could be described as a five star quality.
The best part of this resort was the beach with nice sand, but unfortunately not cleaned up properly from the disposed plastic cups, cigaret buts buts and other stuff.
The roomswere not cleaned properly. Like sand under the beds, mold in the closet, a plugged drain. the closet doors were hunging on ball bearings lubricated with black grease and were falling of the rail all the time. When we mooved in we found a package of tampons under the chairs !
In the restaurant a great number of the plates were chipped, always wet and frquently down right dirty. So were the utensils on the tables were the washable table cloths were also sticky as they were just wrapped with a wet cloth from setting to setting. The pizza dough was always uncooked insight. This is not a five star service !
Another attraction was the sowrms of mosquitos biting everybody. So a pickup truck with a heavy petroleum smelling smoke was fumigating the whole resort every day, with no information about the chemicals used or any warning to people with respiratory problems. The first time we saw it we thought that a building was on fire !
It also appeared that the personnel were not well trained.
When we booked we thought we were getting a good deal at a five star resort but what we got was not so !

Room Tip: Stay away from the theater and the pools if you don't like noice
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Ephi780
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EDMarron, General Manager at Memories Paraiso Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 30, 2012

Dear Sr:
We have read carefully all your comments and right now all our efforts are dedicated to solve every single problem concerning with your disappointment about our service in your particular case.
Unfortunately, all seems you received wrong information during your check in, because we had enough rooms availability during the international fair and all changes we did to Azul section were according to provide a better service to our clients, because during those days all Paraiso section was in order to guaranties the success of that event.
Just to point out all chemicals substances we are using in our mosquitoes control actions are completely safe to the human health, this policy is mandatory to provide a necessary comfort to all clients, remember we are in a virgin area. We do this three times per day.
Your comments were so helpful and we will keep working all our team to give you your best vacation if you decide to give us another chance.

Best regards,
Eduardo Marrón
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2012

Check-In: Memories Azul was fast for most people on our bus. There was no envelope for us at check-in so we were sent to the main desk. We booked in Oct 2011 when the resort was under Barcelo Tropical (traveled in Feb 2012) There must have been a problem with being overbooked because we were given a room on the Paraiso side. We were meeting extended family that arrived a day earlier, and since they were already issued rooms on the Azul side, staff immediately changed our room assignment and put us all in the same building (#59). The entire resort looks fantastic and we wouldn’t have had a problem being on the Paraiso side if we had not been vacationing with extended family.

No issues with our rooms; we loved the location of our building. We were on the first floor (facing the bushes). It was very quiet which was great because we were mainly in our room only to sleep. Room was clean, bed comfy, 2 pillows each (one hard/one soft), lots of hot water, not musty. Our daughters were on the same floor but faced the walkway and pool. They were pleased with their room.

We found the food quite good. We were given 4 a la cartes for a one-week
stay. We ate at the Asian, Caribbean, Italian and the Gourmet. The Gourmet restaurant provides a complete lobster dinner only (no extra cost). The buffet lineups were not bad during the times that we ate our meals. Rarely waited more than 10 minutes. They serve a full breakfast at the Grill on the Azul side from 9am to 11:30am. Something we didn’t realize until near the end of our stay. They also serve lunch. Also the grill had a sign for Diamond Members only which should be taken down because it is available to everyone.

Beach: Like others have said, beautiful. We stayed at the end near the snorkeling area. There is a small bar set up at the beach. It was hard to find chairs between 11am and 3 pm. Shade is difficult to find but attaching an umbrella to your chair works well (we brought our own chair umbrellas). Snorkeling was okay. A lot of fish but a limited variety. Some people were casting fishing lines where people were snorkeling. They were very considerate of the people snorkeling however, the last thing I want to see while snorkeling is a fish being hooked and dragged by someone’s fishing line. Those that like to fish appeared to enjoy their experience, and their catch of the day.

Pool: Very nice. Lots of chairs. Never had a problem getting a chair in the sun. Again, shady areas can be difficult to find. Saw one snake crossing between the pool landscape sections. Hoping the snake made it to a safer location.

Staff were wonderful. Tipping was appreciated but not required in order to get good service. We only encountered two incidents of being asked for a tip, which is consider poor taste in my opinion.

Tips:
- Don’t torment the Pelicans that feed near the snorkeling area. Please just enjoy their beauty and skill as they glide over you and into the water to feed.
- Put your drink cups and straws in the numerous garbage cans placed along the beach. Walking the beach in the late afternoon was like walking through a dump. People left water bottles, beer cans, napkins, etc., everywhere. A lot of the garbage was being washed out to sea.
- Bring bug spray. Sand fleas are a problem in the lobby and on the outdoor patio beside the lobby bar. Mosquitoes come out in the early evening.
- Leave the starfish in the water.

Complaint: The bus washroom was reported as broken on the ride to the airport. Sunwing needs to ensure that washrooms are functional during transfers.

Would definitely return.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank jng82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2012

Traveled May 9th to the 16th to Memories Azul in Cayo Santa Maria Cuba. First of all we flow out of Toronto to Cayo Santa Clara and on the way they ask you to fill out your traveling visa .. make sure you fill it out right the first time and make sure you do it correctly cause on my flight i had three different flight attendents tell me to do this and do that to fix the little mistake I made on mine and in the end i had to pay 20 bucks extra. The drive from cayo santa clara to memories resort is beautiful and lots to see. The resort is huge so if you want to go from one end of the resort to the other i think you need to pack a bag. My girl friend and i stayed in building 59 which was far from buffet and the shopping centre right by the resort but it was right close to the pool with the swim up bar and close to the beach. The beach is the most beautiful clean beaches i have ever seen. The food was good not the greatest but from experince cubas foods not the best but it will put you over to be full. The night time shows in the theatre are great, good dancers and the michael jackson dancer .. WOW must see he was so so good. The drinks at memories are amazing and well worth it .. They make very strong drinks so if you dont like alot of mix then you must tell them alittle. There are a few down falls with the resort like rooms I paid for a ocean veiw balcany and got a first level bush view which wasnt to plesant but how much of the day do you spend in the room .. the shopping centre right beside the resort is great and got everything you need to bring back for gifts ... Iv have done other places in cuba and I think memories is a great resort but I wouldnt go back cause I have dont it so its a check off my list of places to go. Overall memories azul was great and a must see and do.

Room Tip: I stayed in buliding 59 which was close to pool and beach but far from buffet and shows. We stayed o...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Jeremy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2012

Traveled to Memories from May 9th-16th. I was with my boyfriend and my best friend and we had a great time. Check in was really fast despite the large amount of people checking in. Our bags were brought to our room and arrived about 10 min after we found our room. Our room was large and clean. Beds are a little hard but not a big deal.
Food was good for Cuba. If your expecting gourmet food, don't go to Cuba. For those people complaining about going hungry....get a life! There was always something to eat. I am fairly picky and I had no problem with the food. I know there are a lot of flies but you are in the Caribbean in open air restaurants. If you were eating in your back yard in the summer you would have flies too.
House keeping staff was fantastic. We left a gift and small tip everyday and our room was spotless. Another person came around between 5 & 6 in the evening to stock our fridge. if your not in your room leave him a note of what you want and a tip and you will get it. By the end of the week he would go out of his way to check on us and see if we needed anything.
Wait staff was a little slow but very friendly..be nice to them and you will get good service. Please tip these people...you would not go to a restaurant here and not tip, why would you do it there and expect good service?
Bartenders work very hard. The staff at the lobby bar work 24 hour shifts!!! The blue diamond at the pool bar is fantastic.
As for diamond club...didn't seem to be worth the extra money. We didn't have it but seemed to get everything the same except dinner at the steakhouse. No big deal as the reviews for it weren't that good.
Finally the beach!! It was amazing!!! All white sand and warm crystal water. Great swimming but not much snorkeling. There was 1 small place to the right that had lots of fish and we saw some large barracuda's.
All in all a great place for the price.

Room Tip: We stayed in building 54. Good location close to pool and lobby.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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2  Thank m_lake5
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
Price Range: $105 - $280 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Memories Paraiso Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 666
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