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“Great time again”

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Memories Paraiso Beach Resort
Ranked #12 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
vancouver
Level 5 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Great time again”
Reviewed May 13, 2013

Just got back on Friday and had a wonderful Hot and sunny week. A few storms came and went but did not bother us at all. This resort was not as great as it was last year, but they seem to be trying the best they can. The beach, the staff were so great, especially Lester, but they had to lay him off as things were winding down. He is the best sever ever, and we are hopeful that they will find him work at another resort for the rest of the summer. Ceasar was also very helpful, doing his practicum so no pay, but wow what a great kid and whom ever gets him will be very lucky.
My friend did come down with food poisioning and a few others. I still love this area, and will go back next year, but will try the Royalton next tiem.

Room Tip: Building 55 is the best at least I think it is.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Wantsmore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New Glasgow, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 13, 2013

It was just my husband and I travelling this year, and we had the best time! First, upon arrival our room was ready, but it was so far away from everything, in building #59. Now, it is a lot of walking, and my husband, having a heart condition found it to be a little difficult in the heat. We decided on the second day to ask if they could move us, and by 4pm that day we were in a new room, closer to everything. They were very accommodating!

We met some wonderful folks from Halifax and Newfoundland and they were so much fun! We hung out with them a lot, and made life long friends!

As for the hotel, our room was always clean, lots of towels. (Thanks Yamilia!) The only negative was slow service at the bar. This was not because the staff weren't working, but there wasn't enough staff on during key times of the day and evening. The wait staff were trying very hard, but were definitely understaffed. The a la cartes we attended were good. The buffet was always great, and Lester was there every day with a smile!

We paid the money for the Diamond Club, and it was worth it. Firstly, the butler service on the beach was worth it's weight in gold when you just wanted to relax and not run back and forth to the bar. Richard at the Diamond Club grill on the beach will make you the best burger or grilled chicken sandwich ever! It was also worth it to go into the diamond club lounge and mix our own drinks!

A little tipping does go a long way, but so does taking things with you to give away. My mother-in-law goes to yard sales and flea markets all year, and gathers up clothes in good condition and we take them with us. We also took some t-shirts in good condition that my kids had out-grown, and traded them at the market for crafts and jewellery. Toothpaste, soap and deodorant are very appreciated. As are fun things, like playing cards, crayons and coloring books and hair clips. My favourite thing to do is make gift packs in Ziploc bags and leave them out for the housekeeper, and take them to the bar, and beach for the staff. And don't forget the gardeners! The place is like paradise because they work hard to make it that way for us! They also love ball caps!

All in all, it was an awesome vacation. This was our third trip to Cuba, and we plan to go back next year with the whole family!!! Thank you Memories Azul! We will see you next year!

Room Tip: If you can request a room, ask for one in building 51, 52, 53 or 54. They are close to everything!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank travelvirgin1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grimsby, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

First off the hotel made our arrival so easy. After we got our luggage and went outside to find our bus, we were directed to a table set up for our hotel. I gave them my last name and the man handed me an envelope which contained our room keys, so we were able to go straight to our room once we got to the hotel and our luggage was dropped off at our room before we even got there.
The food was very good, I am vegetarian and there were plenty of options for me. I liked the buffet more than the al la cartes, much more options and the food tasted better. The lobby bar makes fantastic cappuccinos, one of my favourite things while I was there.
The staff is fantastic, so nice, always smiling, the friendliest people ever. My favourite was Lester, he works at the family pool, where you can exchange your towels. He is the best employee there...so sweet, likes to get to know the people, and he taught me how to do some Cuban dancing, just amazing.
The facilities were extremely clean, everywhere. I was very impressed.
The beach is so beautiful and there aren't any people selling anything on the beach, so it's nice and very safe.
There were lots of activities to do at the resort, always some sort of entertainment. They have a fake town there, since nobody lives in Cayo Santa Maria. There are stores, restaurants, and vendors set up. There was a carnival in the fake town while we were there. They had a live salsa band, congo line, food, drinks, and fire works, it was so much fun. We went on the Catamaran day trip, I highly recommend it.
I took a bunch of things to give our maid every day, be aware they do have male maids. I felt so bad, as I brought all girlie things, but they still thanked me and said they'd take it for their wives.
I have no complaints, just a warning to bring bug spray...the mosquitos are horrible at night...no different than here.
It was just an amazing vacation and I'm sad I had to leave. I highly recommend it and I will definitely go back.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank AggQC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burnaby, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 12, 2013

If you're only interested in the beach, then this is an excellent resort! Most of the condos are near the beaches, which is really just a few minutes walk.

Everything else is some what disappointing.

Before I go on, the island hosts many resort brands, all are linked and you can walk through them or take a bus (that goes b/w resorts).

The buffets pretty much served the same foods, and every night is similar to the other one (line up for 'steaks'). The food overall was okay - as in any Cuban food, they're pretty bland. They barely had any fruits out (like papaya). They had other a-la-cartes restaurants. but you had to book them (line up against other tourists in the morning, everyday - some restaurants don't have space for 3-4 days). I didn't get sick from the foods so that was okay though every foods seem to taste 'off' - not quite what they should taste like.

The wait staff, I noticed, while attentive, they clean with the same dirty rag from table to table - sometimes on other surfaces. They don't seem to use any cleaning sprays at all.

Some bars run of out of certain rum and can't mix the drinks you want. Most bars don't have their slushy machine running so they can't make the pina-colada. If it's running, I don't think they run it a full power as it's runny/watery. Want a cold cola or water - forget it. Ice seems to be a premium everywhere you go. Ice cream at the buffet (if there were any) on low cold setting so it's half melted in the fridge. At night, if you were hungry, there was only one all night grill (you have to walk 15min to another resort) and there's really no choice - 'burger', hotdog, and bread (their hotdog just tasted GROSS). At their a-la-carte Italian dinner, their air conditioning didn't work so it was super humid hot inside. Where they sat us, there were cockroaches on the wall and behind a light panel. I just wanted to exit that place ASAP.

Entertainment was a crabshot with the nightly theatrics (too many kids shows). The mariachi band was cool and beach party wasn't too bad. They charge you $20/person to go to a 'fantasy parade'. What a disappointment - it was really just some guy breathing fire, some girls dancing, and a lame firework. Then the production becomes a stage for a band and dance floor.

The resorts share a 'town', which is fake. It's 'open' from 8am to 5pm or so. This is really just a bunch of locals trying to sell their stuff to tourists. Some were okay, most were just tourist trinkets. The 'shops' opened were staffed by the resort and the stuff they sold had their prices jacked up.

In our room, I don't think the maid ever changed the sheets. I think she barely cleaned up and was probably expecting big gifts (which I gave it to her anyways cuz we felt sorry for her). Those fancy towel origamis, happened on the first day. Our magnetic door would sometime lock on its own but most of the time didn't; we complain to the front desk but nothing was ever done. There was a BIG cockroach on the floor in the condo's hallway which wasn't cleaned up for a few days - I just kicked it into the floor garden. No ice in each of the condo's though you can make your own in a cube tray in your hotel. If your fridge was empty, the water guy would come the next afternoon to refill with (exactly) 1 big bottle of water, 2 beers, and 2 colas. Nothing more - he won't give you extras and you have to go to the bar.

Our rooms was supposed to be booked (told by our agent in Canada) but when we got there, they didn't even know we were guests at first. After 30min, things finally sorted got sorted. Initially, we were supposed to get a room closest to the beach but didn't. We were also supposed to be second floor but got a room on the first floor in front of the noisy pool. Whatever, we were too tired to complain by then.

We were told that the resort was a 5-star, felt more like a 3-star hotel.

By the way, the resort is about 1.5hr bus ride from the airport. Make sure you pee before boarding as there's no stop and they lock up the bus toilet.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Burnaby D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

3 of us (age range 22-26) stayed here from April 21-25, 2013. This was all of our first times to Cuba.

We were in Bugalow 37 which was close to the pool and not too far from the lobby/buffet. We got our room keys on the bus which was great as it saved us from having to stand in a long line waiting to check in which is what I have experienced before at other resorts.

The bus ride is long about an hour and 40 minutes but they sell beer at the airport as well as on the bus. I recommend buying it before getting on the bus as its cheaper (I got 6 beers and a coke for $7). I think beers on the bus are $2 each.

The room was nice and clean and they brought in an extra bed for us without us even asking so we all had our own bed which was nice. The beds are comfortable but I had a hard time sleeping - the air conditioning was noisy...and the rooms would either be too cold (from the AC) or too hot (with it off).

The resort is gigantic but nice. They do have golf carts to drive you around which saves you from having to walk all the time...if you can find one.

The pool bar was great - we spent most of our time there. The beach is also beautiful, and while you can always find a lounger at both the pool and the beach, the loungers that are available on the beach are always far from the bar. We spent most of our time at the pool for this reason just because the bar was in much closer proximity.

Bring your own cup! The resort uses tiny plastic disposable cups that are basically like shot glasses. Why they don't use larger acrylic/plastic re-usable glasses like other resorts I don't know....you think it would save them some money. Also the frozen drinks like pina coladas are not usually frozen unless you get them from the lobby bar.

Service was lacking for the most part....lobby bar was always excellent, pool bar was good most days. The bar by the grill on the paraiso side was the worst service by far.

The food was not bad at the buffets but poorly labelled. Sometimes I wasn't sure what I was eating but it tasted okay. You don't go to Cuba for the food! Go to al cartes if you can. We ate at the mediteranean and the carribean and both were good. They don't have condiments so if thats going to be an issue bring your own. My one complaint about the buffets is the hours! Breakfast finished at around 10:30 I believe and then the buffet was closed until 1 or 1:30 - too long in my opinion! We missed out on breakfast/lunch a lot because of the hours. We ate at the grill quite often which isn't bad but by the end we were tired of hot dogs and chicken sandwiches. I would recommend bringing snacks as well.

Entertainment was lacking....never noticed much going on by the pool, never really noticed the entertainment staff. We never went to any of the shows. There is a disco in the marketplace which was decent...we went one night. You do have to pay cover though (15 CUC I believe, but you get 3 drinks included with that). Carnival is also fun (Monday nights in the marketplace).

We did have one experience on our first night where a security guard was returning my friends belongings that she left by the pool at night....obviously he had been watching us from afar as he managed to find out where our room was. Unfortunately he got extremely pushy and would not leave our room and was forcing his way in - took 2 of us to push him out of our room. Then as we were locking the doors and the sliding patio door we found him trying to peer thru the back sliding glass door! This was a bit unnerving as this happened at 2am it was just the 3 of us girls travelling together. After that incident we decided that no one was allowed to walk around the resort alone or stay in the room alone. The resort is not well lit at night either...it's a bit disappointing as at night we never felt like we were completely safe. We also heard stories of another person getting robbed. My advice - lock valuables (money, passports, cell phones) in the safe and don't carry valuables on you.

We paid $20 for VIP on the way home - well worth it in my opinion as it's all you can eat (sandwiches) and all you can drink.

Overall - it wasn't bad. Would I go back? Possibly - depending on the price.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Melissa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 11, 2013

last summer we stayed at this hotel. we had been to varadero a few times already and wanted to see another side to cuba so we chose santa maria. the hotel was beautiful but the pool smelled really bad and we could tell it was very dirty. there was a larger selection of food than varadero but be careful !!! i made the mistake of eating the runny scrambled eggs instead of the freshly made omlets and i ended up with a severe case of salmonella. i could not leave my hotel room for the last 2 1/2 days of my trip. sante public contacted me at work 14 days later to tell me i was still contageous and was not allowed to work ( i work in the health care field ) not to mention that i was really sick for a least 1 month and my stomach has never been the same since. mind you i was the only one who got sick i dont think i will be going back out of fear from falling sick again. the rest of the people i went with loved it though, but then again they were not hospitalized. sunwing was contacted by our government to find out how somone so healthy can end up so sick, but i was never issued an apology of any sort. im very disapointed with them because its
not the first time we have had trouble when booking our vacations with them.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank tanyahorvathtrip8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ottawa
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 11, 2013

the price was good could have been better considering the time of year the staff were awsome for everything always smilling at you. the beach the best my wife and i have ever seen we have been to cuba before cayo cocco, and this area knocks cayo cocco off the map .
the food was not bad the buffet always had lots to choose from it could have used a pasta bar everynight for supper but its a huge resort what can you do . the al catre were alright however cockroaches climbing up the walls and from baby highchairs medateranian and the seafood really bad roach problem. entertainment staf awsome the kids club the best, kids show at night really kept the kids entertained we would go back again if they got their roach problem under control in the a la cartes. the snack burger cook manual located next to the kids club is awsome if anyone goes there give him gifts for his baby hes always happy and puts up with alot of ignorant french women lots of pools to choose from the rooms are huge and very nice also a note to everyone who flys with sunwing no matter where ur travelling from their flight attendants are really nice and are there to help you not be your slave just because your on vacation. so please respect them as they put up with alot of unnecassary bs from ppl its their job to help you but not to become your personal slave

Room Tip: building 51 is very good if you want to be next to the main pool with the bar it quiets down when th...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank kevin t
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

Property: 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 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Memories Paraiso Beach Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 666
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