RIU Paradise Island Reviews

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RIU Paradise Island  

Casino Dr, 6307, New Providence Island

"IF YOU NEED 2 BEDS or 1 KING ... DO NOT STAY HERE.. Management lied to us.. Horrible experience.. Staff was nice but the management is horrible"
Posted by: Mark on Apr 6, 2015
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RIU Paradise Island Reviews
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RIU Paradise Island Bahamas Bahamas

of 7 Hotels in Bahamas

User rating 3.4

Based on 24 reviews

RIU Paradise Island Information

Situated on a 3-mile-long, white sandy beach, Riu Paradise Island has a prime location next to the Atlantis Casino.

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RIU Paradise Island Reviews

RIU Paradise Island Review: 3.4 of 5 24 reviews
Very good
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"Our time in Paradise was fantastic"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  CindiCanada  on Mar 1, 2005  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
244 people found this review helpful

We travelled to the Riu Paradise Island on March 17 to the 21st. Having read some not so good reviews on another site, we decided that we would take whatever comes and have a great time anyway...boy were we surprised! The prices were great because the property was still newly opened and was in shakedown mode. Having been to several Riu properties during shakedown, we have come to expect a high level of service even through adverse situations. They have excellent management!

Our time in Paradise was fantastic:
We travelled to the Riu Paradise Island on March 17 to the 21st. Having read some not so good reviews on another site, we decided that we would take whatever comes and have a great time anyway...boy were we surprised! The prices were great because the property was still newly opened and was in shakedown mode. Having been to several Riu properties during shakedown, we have come to expect a high level of service even through adverse situations. They have excellent management! Our time in Paradise was fantastic, great food - breakfasts were amazing...tons of variety and fresh juice concoctions.....omelettes made to order, smoked salmon WOW. The buffet for dinner was fantastic - food was definitely not bland and many island delicacies. Try the steakhouse - the steaks are made to order and done to perfection. The deserts were not fabulous but we don't eat them anyway...the ice cream was a big hit! I understand the Gourmet Restaurant was popular but we were only there 3 nights and we got in too late for dinner on the first day and left too early on the last day. Lunches poolside were fine - bbq'd fare and the salad bar was EXCELLENT. The staff was well trained but overall I do not find the Bahamians as friendly as the other islands. Perhaps it is because there are many Americans who visit...a very high proportion. Although I had lived for many years in the States and found them endearing folks for many reasons...THEY TRAVEL HORRIBLY! There were a ton of high school Spring Breakers who were inordinately badly behaved and unfortunately their parents were worse....all were out of control and it was a zoo. Throw in a "Reggae Rap Star" (who I'd never heard of) and his entourage acting like they owned the place and some college kids who seemed to be auditioning for "Girls Behaving Badly!" and we had one hell of a SHOW! Several people were thrown out that week.

The rooms are fairly clean:
Also - They had overbooked the hotel and 30 or so rooms were bumped each day.... The Riu was very generous in making up for the inconvenience though. The reservations for the 3 alternative restaurants had to be made by 7:30 am - and people were lined up by 6:30! Some groups sent one person and booked up all the tables so a friend of mine who was 9th in line was out of luck. A better system needed to be devised for those kinds of bookings. The entertainment co-ordinator - TJ is great - he tries very hard and really likes to get involved with everyone...The check in is hellish but we were the first ones off the bus so it was a breeze. The beach is great - a little rough this time of the year and no lifeguard so be careful. No free non motorized sports equipment yet. Pool is nice....lots of chairs great tanning. Atlantis next door....if you are into walking....head out the front door and turn left towards the One & Only Beach Club and turn right at the first block - there is a beautiful bird reserve with a quiet little place to watch them....just at the bridge.

The rooms are fairly clean, not immaculate, but could use some sprucing up. Had a regular room and it was just fine....on the second floor because the elevators are really slow so we used the stairs. We overlooked a roof top of the dining room but it was clean and we had an unobstructed view of the ocean.

All in all it was excellent value for the money and it will only get better with age!

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"Doughnuts with chocolate sauce. Yum!!"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  EACanada  on Jun 1, 2005  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
258 people found this review helpful

We just returned from 5 days at The Riu Paradise Island June 19-23rd We are two adults in our thirties and have never been to The Bahamas before.
Check in with Canjet was smooth. We prebooked our seats and so only had to be there two hours before departure. Canjet planes are smaller – ours only seated 170 passengers. Was pleasantly surprised at the friendly staff and service plus we got there in less than 3 hours!
Nassau Airport is a major disappointment doesn’t look like any money has been spent on it since the Seventies. Lines for Customs and Immigration are similar to Canada. Once outside it’s easy to find your bus. Sunquest transfers are run by “Majestic tours”
Usual Riu routine of filling out your forms on the bus to save time at check in. You are given an envelope with hotel info, your towel cards and vouchers for your return transfer – so don’t lose it!

Riu Paradise Island greets you with a welcome drink and check in was quick and painless. Take the time to attend your Welcome meeting the next morning- it’s only half and hour and you get lots of worthwhile info.

The room was basic but clean. I had researched the building layout and emailed ahead with a request. We got room 705 which had a view of the pool and ocean from our balcony. The minibar has Vodka, Rum, Brandy, and Gin, as well as pop, water and beer in the fridge. It gets refilled every two days but if you run out you can ask the maid and they will call for what you need. Ice machines are on “even” floors. We enjoyed the local beer “Kalik” and were sad to hear that the hotel was switching to only Miller Lite in the near future. The closet had plenty of room and hangers. There was an ironing board and iron. The bathroom has a hairdryer. We liked their style of in room safe as you chose a 4 digit combination instead of having to carry around extra keys. If you like to sleep in make sure you use the “Do not disturb” signs provided as the maid service starts at 8am.

The pool was big enough for the amount of guests during our stay. It has a small cold water Jacuzzi and a swim up bar. It was cleaned every day but sometimes there was the unavoidable spilt drink in the water. You do have to be there before 9am to reserve a quiet spot and get an umbrella from the towel shack if you want one.

It is beautiful fine white sand with a very blue ocean. Pay attention to the flags as some days the waves were big and the red flag was out. There is a lifeguard on duty at the times posted by the hotel. It is a public beach so you will be approached by vendors but if you say “No” they do leave you alone. You can turn left and walk up to the Atlantis or right for a nice long walk past some other hotels and houses. Be very careful of the sun! We have both travelled extensively but have never experienced sun quite this strong! We burnt badly wearing factor 50 lotion!!

We were very impressed with the food. Breakfast was great and is in the Atlantic Restaurant from 7am – 10.30am. We were happy to see Riu’s trademark delicious fresh fruit smoothies! You can get eggs any way you like, crepes, pancakes, bacon, sausage, French toast, and doughnuts with chocolate sauce. Yum!! There is cereal, fruit, cold cuts, pastries and muffins. Our regular waitress Jacquelyn greeted us with a big warm smile each morning. They also have a continental breakfast at The Bahamas Restaurant between 10.30am-12pm but we didn’t try it. Lunch is from 12.30pm – 5.30pm in the Bahamas Restaurant and we enjoyed salads, pasta, fish, fries and pizza. One day a Chef was preparing Conch Fritters on the patio - Delicious! If you sit outside do watch out for Seagulls!

Dinner is from 6.30pm-10.00pm in the Atlantic Restaurant. They had theme nights which was fun. Every morning from 9am you also have the option to make reservations for evening meals in The Steakhouse, Tengoku Japanese, or the Sir Alexander Gourmet Restaurants. All three restaurants have two sittings so we were lucky enough to get what we wanted each time we booked. We didn’t try the Steakhouse but tried the other two. The Japanese was probably our favourite – the décor is amazing and it overlooks the beach. Michael the Chef even sings to you with his wonderful voice during your dessert! If you try the Sit Alexander order the Seafood pasta - it’s filled with shrimp, Lobster and crab so you won’t be disappointed! A “Midnight Buffet” then runs from 10.30pm – 12am in the Bahamas restaurant. There is no way you can go hungry at this resort!!!

The hotel has three bars: The Colony Bar (Lobby) open 10am – 11pm, The Calypso Lounge bar open 6pm-12am, and the Soca Pool bar open 10am – 6pm. unfortunately due to a leak the Soca bar was closed on our second day. They opened the Calypso bar so you could still get drinks at the pool. We liked Donald at the Colony bar as he made the best drinks and answered all our questions about Paradise Island!!

The Animacion staff (Especially T-J) tries really hard but I am not sure the guests at this hotel are the “Audience participation” kind. Most people seem to head over to the Atlantis after dinner. It is a short walk away and has a Casino, Aquarium, Comedy Club and Movie theatre. The Colony bar was always a lively place in the evenings.

The Hotel has one gift shop which sells a few souvenirs and essentials. It's a bit expensive. It is a short 10 minute walk to the Hurricane Hole Plaza where there is a small Straw Market and plenty of shops for Souvenirs and Liquor. Don’t wait for the airport as the whole Island is duty free here.

We paid $10 U.S for an hour internet service. They give you a code and you can sign on and off as many times with it as you like until you use up your minutes.

Going Back to Canada:
We really liked that our departure was 11.30am so we actually enjoyed our breakfast and a last look around before we had to check out. During our breakfast there was a big storm so we had hopes of being stranded on Paradise Island. Unfortunately an hour later it was sunny again… The drive back to Nassau airport is an interesting one with plenty to look at. As we mentioned before the airport really is dismal so make sure you already have some snacks and water/pop with you before you get there. Every suitcase is hand searched at check in so pack your underwear at the bottom of your luggage to save embarrassment!!! If you book from Canada with Sunquest your departure tax is included.

We loved Riu Paradise Island! It was a vacation of pure relaxation. We found the service and standard exceptional and admit we have started to become a little addicted to Riu hotels!! The Bahamas is a very clean and friendly place and we long to return! Our only 2 small complaints were not enough umbrellas or shade at the Poolside and there was no Kids club at the hotel. A kids Club would make it perfect for families. Riu only took over the hotel from Sheraton Grande last year so I am sure it is still a work in progress. Thanks to you Debbie for this web site and to everyone who has contributes to it. There’s not much on Riu Paradise Island yet but any information I did find was very helpful in planning our trip!

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"There is also a beautiful yet seemingly secret Jacuzzi and Sauna"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 3.00 of 5

Posted by:  BenCrystalToronto  on Aug 1, 2005  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
259 people found this review helpful

Having just returned from the RIU Paradise Island and extensively used Debbie's Caribbean Reviews in the last couple of years we thought it was time to contribute.
Let me start by saying straight off that we had a fabulous time, it is so nice just to jet down to the islands for a quick break away from the city. My wife and I love travelling and always make sure no matter what (within reason) that we make the most of our trips. And having read the good reviews of the RIU we were excited to check it out.

To start with:
I think it is best to start off with the good first and then touch upon the less good points after. RIU is listed as a five star and while we are not convinced that it is worthy, they try very hard to keep up to their rating. The front-desk, restaurant servers, and maids are unbelievably polite. To the point where we were a little uncomfortable “You don’t have to call us Sir and Ma’am!” but it is their way. Also the animacion staff try very hard to get everyone going (especially T.J.) but the only thing that floated our boat was the live band on Bahaman night.

The food at the RIU is very good. There is a great selection for people. From (bizarrely) Pizza, hot-dogs, burgers, and fries right through to lovely grilled grouper and seafood pasta. We were shocked at how many people go down here and then pile up on awful junk food!
As well as the lovely buffet food, we also tried the “Gourmet” and Steakhouse. The steaks were very nice, and the Gourmet served the most delicious Snapper I have ever tasted. My wife had the seafood pasta there too, and it contained delicious Caribbean lobster (which is different to our Canadian lobster BTW) Crab, Shrimp. All delicious and cooked to perfection.
If food is important to you on holiday then you won’t be disappointed with the RIU.

The beach at the RIU is wonderful. The sand is bright white, and always so clean. The ocean is wonderful: very warm, clean, and with just the right amount of waves. There is usually enough sun loungers, and the RIU smartly employs a “no reservation” rule (i.e. No towels on the loungers before sunrise) which is mostly observed and respected. We didn’t use the pool as the ocean is so perfect. Also the pool is more noisy (they do have the nasty loud music blaring, if you like Mariah’s greatest hits then this is for you) and they yell “SHOTS!” all afternoon. So if this is your scene then you will have fun. It is not for us, but there are lots of alternatives so it’s all good. There is something for everyone I think.

There is also a beautiful yet seemingly secret Jacuzzi and Sauna, Crystal and I spent a good hour everyday with it to ourselves, only to have to share it once for about 15 minutes. For all Debbie’s readers now you know, head to the spa it is free when everything else there costs...

Scuba Diving:
We also did the Bahama divers excursion, and snorkelled at an Angel fish reef. We had a blast and the staff put on an amazing acrobatics show off the back of the boat when we were going full speed. A job well done to those fellas. I would recommend this trip to everyone.

Now onto the not so good points...:
First off let me say from now on we are going to stick to Spanish speaking Islands. We visited Punta Cana (The Gran Flemenco) last year and it seemed absolutely magical. Compared to Paradise Island, Punta Cana was romantic, luxurious, and less Americanised. While we had a lovely time, it seemed almost like we were in an American state in the Caribbean. There are McDonalds, KFC’s, they serve Miller lite at the bar and the Island is mostly made up of American tourists. The reason we like Punta Cana was that there was a mix of tourists: American, Canadian, Mexican, European, etc. Here it didn’t feel removed enough from our regular lives. We find Spanish speaking people much warmer and friendlier than the Bahamans for the most part. My wife and I love trying to speak to the locals in Spanish too. It adds an element of play that we enjoyed.

As a previous review says, the American tourists in our resort didn’t really travel that well. Living in Toronto I come into contact with Americans all the time and they are great people, but maybe in the Bahamas they let their hair down a bit too much. Plus living in Toronto we are spoiled by no smoking anywhere and their overly smelly cigarettes really bothered me. So much so that I couldn’t really enjoy sitting at the bar for long.

As for other negatives, I didn’t much care for the bar. The bar-staff for the most part were very “cool” (even after being tipped) and the drinks list was short and uninspired. The majority of the cocktails were simply Bacardi gold rum poured into the bottom with frozen mix poured on top. They didn’t stir them or anything. In fact most times they don’t even give you a straw. Also the drinks were inconsistent, made completely differently (with different ingredients!) by different bartenders. Also the wine is “box-wine”, served from a jug in the fridge at the bar and in self-serve dispensers in the buffet restaurants. VERY disappointing to a couple of wine drinkers. We only made our reservation in the Steakhouse so we could have a couple of glasses of wine from a bottle. In Punta Cana we were served very tasty Spanish wine by the bottle in all bars and restaurants. So this was a big disappointment. It was so romantic in Punta Cana to sit on the beach under the stars with a bottle of wine, here you are given a plastic cup of weak slushy drink whilst mildly drunk teenagers splash around in the surf; not quite the same.

I realise there are reasons for all this, but if you enjoy the simple life like us, it may be well noted.

The rooms were also kind of ugly. I don’t want a swanky downtown feel when I go to the Caribbean, but they are very dated in décor. Though very clean, with a King size bed, and everything was in perfect working order. Ask for a pool/ocean view room (Odd numbers I believe, we had 818) as our balcony overlooked the heating and duct system (and the ocean) which was so hot and noisy we couldn’t sit out on it.

The Bahaman government simply must do something about Nassau airport, it is a disgrace. I am British and have visited most of central and western Europe, as well as North America and the Caribbean. And this airport was far and away the worst airport I have been in. First and lasting impressions count. The airport is small, with no facilities or even decent shops. It must modernise soon.

But other than that it was a great holiday. We probably won’t return to the Bahamas, but would return to a RIU in Mexico or the Dominican Republic without so much as a second thought. If you like the convenience of a 3 hour flight, English language, where you can get a big-mac then Bahamas for you. If you like something a little more unique and fun try Punta Cana, especially the Gran Flemenco by Occidental. It comes highly recommended!

Any questions please feel free to email me: bhagon@contextcreative.com

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"We did one day trip, the Dolphin Encounter"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  PeterHamiltonOntario  on Dec 1, 2005  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
230 people found this review helpful

Stayed 4 nights at the Riu Paradise, had a great time even though the weather was less than the best. Although this was a nice resort and good value for the money, we much prefer the Riu’s in Puerto Plata D.R. (particularly the Riu Bachata) as the property there is much larger, many more palm trees, and you really get the feel you’re on an island vacation. The Riu Paradise is a high-rise hotel (much like those in Cancun) and has a comparatively small ‘footprint’ on the beach compared to those in the Dominican and elsewhere.

Stayed 4 nights at the Riu Paradise, had a great time even though the weather was less than the best. Although this was a nice resort and good value for the money, we much prefer the Riu’s in Puerto Plata D.R. (particularly the Riu Bachata) as the property there is much larger, many more palm trees, and you really get the feel you’re on an island vacation. The Riu Paradise is a high-rise hotel (much like those in Cancun) and has a comparatively small ‘footprint’ on the beach compared to those in the Dominican and elsewhere.
Three-hour direct flight from Toronto through Sunquest Tours and CanJet airlines. We did note the Canjet seating is a little roomier than Skyservice even though the plane was smaller. Check-in at the hotel was well coordinated – all Sunquest passengers were directed into the lounge where you room had already been assigned to you and you got your wristband, room and towel cards immediately. We were in our room within 10 minutes of arrival at the hotel, much faster than with other resorts.

The food was excellent – lots of choices, including local flavours, and even vegetarians will find plenty to choose from. Our room was clean and well-appointed, though we much prefer the tile floors and more ‘Caribbean feel’ of the rooms in the D.R. – this room had worn carpeting and the bathroom was smaller by comparison. Most importantly though, it was clean and maid service was prompt if you hung your green tag on the door when leaving for the beach in the morning. The balcony overlooking the ocean was large enough for two chairs and a table, and the towel-drying rack. It is particularly nice that all rooms have an ocean view, either facing west over the pool (great sunsets) or east over the top of the restaurant roof. The more you pay, the higher up your room is - we paid the standard rate and were on the 6th floor, plenty high enough to get a great view of the beach, ocean, and back across to the mainland. TV reception was okay – that became critical the day we were stuck inside due to the storm front – but channels you got one day disappeared the next, and a couple of them had pictures but no sound. Two channels showed uninterrupted movies, and were a great way to unwind before bed or when the weather was crappy.

Service overall was excellent, and after many holidays in Cuba and the Dominican, it was odd at first to hear english as the spoken language of the staff. However, I agree with an earlier reviewer who remarked that they preferred the Spanish-speaking resorts as it really seemed you are on holidays somewhere rather than the more ‘Americanized’ atmosphere of the Bahamas. Our resort was mostly Americans and some Canadians, but few if any from other countries, which is part of what made the other vacations a little more interesting.

You can always get a sun lounger at the pool and on the beach and few people did the old towel-toss to reserve a chair they didn’t appear to use until later in the day, a rule that seemed to be respected by most everyone. The beach itself is beautiful and the ocean here is much nicer than the Dominican – crystal clear turquoise water, no coral or rocks. Beach vendors wander around selling braids, coconut drinks or other trinkets, but are not pushy and leave you alone for the most part. Hotel security guards are always on the beach and no doubt this keeps the vendors in line (on a couple of occasions we saw the police stop vendors and search their bags). You can rent a jet-ski (price negotiable) and this seemed to be the one thing you got asked about every ten minutes, but the vendors are quite friendly and take no for an answer (though they’ll ask you again every time you walk past). Some of them will even pull beach chairs down for you, then tell you their name and ask that you remember them if you want to rent a jet-ski later. Other beach vendors further down towards the Atlantis were similarly friendly, and far less ‘pushy’ than the ones you find in the Dominican (plus no language barrier!)

We did one day trip, the Dolphin Encounter, and it is highly recommended - $85 each for close interaction in the water including hugging and ‘dancing’ with them, to $160 each to actually swim alongside them. This includes the ferry ride out to the island (15 minutes away) and you can easily walk to the marina from the hotel. Well worth every cent.

Although we personally prefer the other Riu’s to this one, the Riu Paradise is a very nice resort and good value. If we come back to the Bahamas we would stay here again.

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"My way will be to never go to a Riu hotel again"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 1.00 of 5

Posted by:  Lavonne06  on Jan 1, 2006  >  1 contribution(s) 
Visited on: Jan, 2006 | Leisure | With Group
246 people found this review helpful

We arrived Jan. 10,2006 for a 5 night all inclusive stay at the Riu Hotel .
I was traveling with my daughter, and son-in-law and 2 grand children Their ages 1 1/2 and 3 1/2. They were anxious to go swimming in the pool. There is only one pool and it is not heated. For the 5 days at this hotel we saw only 4 people use the pool. It was ice cold.
We had to go next door to Atlantis and pay a $200.00 day room rate to use their heated pools. The buffet food is good for an all inclusive and their specialty nights offer a variety of choices. However it is a bit repetitive. The rooms were clean and housekeeping does a fine job of daily room maintenance. There is no organized activity program for adults or children.
This does nothing to create an atmosphere of friendliness and fun IT APPEARS TO ME THAT WITH ATLANTIS NEXT DOOR , THEY DON'T CARE WHETHER YOU ARE SATISFIED OR NOT.
I wrote to the main office of Riu and complained about the pool situation. They claim they contacted the manager and he stated that the heaters were on They thanked me for the correspondence and sent me on my way. My way will be to never go to a Riu hotel again.

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"It was ugly beyond belief"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 2.00 of 5

Posted by:  CoriDarrickLondonOntario  on Feb 1, 2006  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2006 | Leisure | With Group
249 people found this review helpful

I find myself in the unfortunate position of having to give a less than favourable review for the first time. For those of you who are already booked to stay at the RIU Paradise Island, I hope my review is helpful in providing tips to avoid the problems we encountered. This resort certainly doesn’t deserve the 5 star rating it has been given by Sunquest but on the other hand it has enough redeeming qualities that you can still have a great vacation with a little luck and if necessary some specific requests at the resort.
We stayed at the RIU for 3 nights with a large group in early February 2006.

Our flights were with Canjet. The flight there was about 3 hours from Toronto and a little less on the way home. The plane was pretty small and of course as with all charter flights the seats weren’t exactly roomy but that is to be expected. Luggage pick up and the customs drill was quick and efficient. We were transported to the resort by bus. The bus ride was about 30 minutes and it was an interesting drive mostly along the coast. It was really unnerving at first to be driving on the "wrong" side of the road though.

Our room (216) was probably one of the worst I have ever had the misfortune of staying in. The only reason we did not demand a room change was because the trip was organized and paid for by someone else and we did not want to appear unappreciative or be overly demanding in those circumstances. If we had paid for the trip ourselves we would immediately have insisted on a room change, failing which I would have switched resorts. Where to start? The worst aspect of our room was the "view". Our balcony (very small) was right on top of a huge duct work and air conditioning system. It was ugly beyond belief and to add insult to injury, the huge air conditioning units were so loud even with the sliding glass doors shut you could hear the noise. The room itself reminded me of an older Holiday Inn type room with carpeting on the floor (as opposed to ceramic tile which is the usual flooring at tropical resorts in my experience). The room was reasonably clean with the exception of the tub which had mold (mildew??) in it. The bathroom was so small that two people couldn’t be in there at the same time and it was a challenge to open the door if the bathmat was beside the tub. We were provided with wash cloths only the first day we were there which was a pain. We only got one little bar of soap during our entire stay and only once got shampoo which was a tiny little bottle we received on the second day. That was very inconvenient because I had forgotten to pack shampoo and was forced to buy a bottle in the gift shop for $7 (and the same bottle would have cost $2.99 in Canada). There is no coffee maker in the room which was a disappointment. There was a hair dryer provided with the room (not attached to the wall like most) and it only worked the first time I used it. After that it was dead.

The room access cards were simply a joke. They were obviously old and should have been replaced a long time ago. It took us an average of 5 to 10 minutes to get our room door to open each time. I finally went down to the front desk and when I explained the problem instead of just replacing the cards they sent up the "engineer" to give us a lesson on finessing the cards in the slot to get it open faster. That little exercise was absolutely useless. One couple in our group finally demanded new cards which solved the problem for them. I regret not having insisted upon new cards ourselves us because it was ridiculous how long it took us to get in our room each and every time.

If upon arrival you find you have been booked into either room 216 or 214 I would strongly recommend you request another room or you will regret it. Also, if you run into any of the other problems I have mentioned don’t take no for an answer in getting the issue resolved. The rooms at the back of the hotel are closest to the beach and will afford the best view. I understand from speaking to other guests that the rooms facing the pool were quite loud (music and loud voices from the pool area) but that would have preferable to what we ended up with.

The beach was the best part of the resort in my view. The beach and the water were both very clean and beautiful. The waves were simply huge most of the time and we had a great time body surfing. I would have been concerned if we had our kids with us though because the waves were so big and the undertow was incredibly strong. If you don’t like big waves that will knock you on your butt you might not like the beach but we just loved it.

The sand on the beach is very dense and sticky. The beach is very long and wonderful for a walk but it is quite a work out because the sand texture made it more difficult than usual to walk in. There is no bar on the beach so you have to walk up a large set of stairs to get a drink at the pool bar. There are lots of beach vendors wandering around but I didn’t find them to be too pushy. There are jet skis for rent on the bench but they are not connected with the resort. My husband rented a jet ski and the engine blew up out in the ocean and they had to go out to "rescue" him.

The weather was a mixed bag. There were often clouds but we got enough sun and warmth to satisfy us most of the time until the last day. The third night we were there it started pouring rain in the early evening and the rain lasted for a long time. There was a leak in the lobby area with water pouring in and a bucket in place to catch the water. The last day we were there we were planning on spending the morning on the beach but to our surprise the lobby doors to the beach and pool area were locked and there was caution tape stretched across the doors. I have never been to a resort before where they lock the guests in! We eventually went out the front of the resort and accessed the beach by the public beach path. It was incredibly windy to the point where it was difficult to walk and the sand was blowing around so strongly it was like you were being sandblasted. The sand really hurt when it hit the skin and it was absolutely freezing. Basically the beach and pool area were off limits for most of the day.

We ate at two of the a la carte restaurants and I would have to say the food was definitely above average for an all inclusive resort. The beer tenderloin was very good. We did the buffet for breakfast and lunch but never tried it for dinner. It was comparable to other AI resort buffets although I ended up with cold pancakes and french toast each time I tried them in the morning. I found the mixed drinks to be quite strong but that wasn’t a problem for me. I was rather disappointed that they only had one kind of beer (Miller Genuine Draft) which I didn’t particularly like. It would have been nice if they had the local beer to try (Kalik). I eventually went out to the liquor store to buy some.

There is only one pool. Compared to the other pools we’ve seen at other resorts, I would describe the RIU pool as being on the small side but it is reasonably attractive all things considered. When the weather co-operated we spent most of our time on the beach but there were lots of people by the pool. The lounge chairs are very close together around the pool and the pool area is pretty small. The pool deck was very very slippery most of the time.

Atlantis is a short walk from the RIU either by beach or by road. We walked down the beach to the casino one night and wandered through the resort a bit. It is a very beautiful resort. At night they don’t have security checking bracelets so we weren’t stopped as we explored. If you go during the day though you are restricted as to where you can go.

We took the ferry over to Nassau one morning which was an interesting excursion. The ferry ride itself was fun. They guide on the ferry was a fountain of interesting information. The straw market and the shops are just a short stroll from where the ferry drops you off. The straw market had lots of touristy souvenirs and if you are a good bargainer you can get some good deals. There were a wide variety of "knock off" designer purses in addition to the usual souvenir stuff. I found that the prices though were much higher than you would find in New York City for the same faux purses. There are lots of little shops to check out and I have never seen so many jewellery stores in one place. If you want to shop for jewellery Nassau is the place to be!

We also did a boat cruise which was a blast. The whole area is definitely a boater’s paradise.

I had a massage at the RIU spa which was just wonderful. It was done on a little hut beside the beach and it was so relaxing to hear the waves pounding in the background. The spa offers a wide variety of services so there’s something for everyone.

The staff at the RIU were reasonably friendly most of the time and the service was not bad. Some of the staff were better than others. We’ve stayed at a number of 4 and 5 star all inclusive resorts in other countries and the RIU Paradise Island just didn’t even come close to comparing (with the exception of the beach). I think it would be generous to give the RIU a 3 star rating frankly. The resort is pretty small and tired but the beach really does compensate for some of that and I can’t say that we had a horrible time because we accepted the problems early on and focused on the positive. I will admit we would likely have been a lot happier if we had been given a better room. (In all honesty, I just can’t believe that they would put ANYONE in rooms 216 and 214.) I have written glowing reviews for each of the other resorts we have stayed at but unfortunately I cannot in good conscience do the same for this resort.

Overall we loved the country and there are some beautiful beaches to enjoy. The Bahamian people were very friendly and welcoming wherever we went which we really appreciated. We would likely return to the Bahamas but would definitely stay at another resort.

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"I actually had gained weight"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  RickGailOntarioCanada  on Feb 1, 2006  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2006 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
225 people found this review helpful

We recently returned from our 1 week holiday to the Rui Paradise on Paradise Island, Bahamas went with 2 other couples and just wanted to write and say that we had a lovely time!

Rooms were spotless, the hotel staff were friendly and helpful and oh the drinks...absolutely fabulous. My husband and I have travelled for more than 20 years that this had been one of our favorite holidays. The hotel is not as large as other rui's but the staff and atmosphere were as wonderful as all other rui's.

The bars (3) in all had great service and wonderful bar tenders who always had a smile on their face. The only problem we found was that not all were open long enough. The lobby bar opened from 10 in the morning to1 at night, the pool bar from 10-4(sometimes 5), but the third bar in the entertainment room was only open for the shows and a little while after they ended. The problem with this, is that later in the evening everyone migrated to the lobby bar which was always very busy and sometimes you had to be patient to get served. This was no fault of the bartenders as they always did their upmost best and were always friendly but at times we thought they even felt overwhelmed.

The food was fantastic. I am a picky eater and usually on holidays, I try to find something to eat but overall I have not really been impressed with the food on most of our holidays. The buffet was always presented in a lovely way, food was always delicious and hot. There were things that I did not particularly like but that is more my taste rather than the quality of food. Each a la carte restaurant was absolutly impeccable and the service was out of this world. We had been fortunate enough that some of the a la carte restaurants we dined in twice in a 1 week period. This vacation I had come home and found that I actually had gained weight from having too much of a great time.

There is only one pool, which was always a little cool to swim in, but it was always kept very clean. Each day you would see the staff washing the cement and tile around the pool and on a few occasions we had seen them do it twice in a day. The ocean was beautiful and the beach was fantastic. Each day around 4-5 o'clock you would see the hotel staff cleaning around the pool and cleaning up on the beach. They would be out there for hours and each morning the beach area was raked.

Things To Do:
Not really a lot to do as far as excursions but we always managed to find something to entertain ourselves. This hotel is located right next door to the Atlantis, which does have a casino and some shopping, you can also take a tour of the aqaurium and walk some of the grounds of there hotel. This was an excellent day and the cost was minimal so we thouroughly enjoyed our visit of the Atlantis. We had also taken a tour to the Fort and to the Queens staircase which was also wonderful to see, but as I mentioned they do not have alot of excursions except for those who love to snorkel and dive, which is not something that any one in our group was interested in doing.

Overall our experience was fantastic and yes we would re-visit this hotel if we decided to return to the Bahamas, although we do try to visit a different place each year. Again, a fabulous job done by all the staff at the Riu Paradise Island and we do applaud you!!

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"The service at the restaraunts for dinner was great"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 4.00 of 5

Posted by:  LizMike  on Mar 1, 2006  >  1 contribution(s) 
Visited on: Mar, 2006 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
262 people found this review helpful

My boyfriend and I recently got back from a stay at the RIU, paradise island resort in the bahamas. The reviews on this page helped us out a lot on our vacation, so I wanted to give some input.
Beautiful...it was sunny every day with a light breeze. However, it did not get hot enough for me. It was 75-80 degrees each day we were there, but the pool was cold so I did not go in even once! The ocean was warm enough for me though! I bet it will really warm up in a couple weeks

We got booked into a room with double beds for the first night...and since there were no extra rooms we had to stay there until they could move us into a room with a king size bed. We had to spend two nights in the double beds...but then we were moved up to the penthouse level where we had one huge bed so it was alright.The lobby at the RIU is very impressive...the rooms are alright, I wouldn't say five star quality, but they were clean. Who goes to the bahamas to hang out in the hotel room anyways? The views from both of our rooms were fantastic...we hung out on the balcony alot. I was 100 % satisfied with the service at the RIU. Everyone was super friendly...drinks did sometimes take a little while to get, but its not a big deal to wait 5 minutes sometimes. The service at the restaraunts for dinner was great.

To me, food is a huge deal. I was so impressed at the RIU. They have everything. There are buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, for dinner you can make reservations at 1 of 3 restaraunts. If you wish to make a reservation, you may do so by waiting in line (from 9-10 am) in the lobby. There was a huge line from 9-9:15, so I just went at like 9:30 each morning and it was a breeze. The gourmet restaraunt was the only one that you have to wait in line for if you want to go to it (its a very small place and fills up fast). I really liked the gourmet and the japanese, I wasn't hot on the steakhouse...it was kind of smokey. The buffets for breakfat and lunch are impressive...the fruit is great! Off the resort food is very expensive, like $15 appetizers and $50 entrees.

Things we did:
We did the snorkel at Stuarts Cove. Cost was $52 a person and included the bus ride there. The bus ride was very long, RIU is always the first to get picked up and the last to get dropped off because of its locattion.
Snorkeling was AWESOME! We had a great tour guide. This tour was snorkeling with sharks, which was optional (Mike did it and I didn't). Buy a waterproof camera either before you get on the plane down there, or before you go on the snorkeling trip. They were $22 at Stuarts cove and only $17 at the hotel...the pics came out great too! Also, BUY FISH FOOD!
Dolphin Encounters: This was a lot of fun too. The whole trip was about 3 hours. The encounter was $85 a person and the swim with the dolphins was $160 a person. We did the encounter, but I would honestly recommend the swim if you are going to do it. They charge an arm and a leg for the pictures, but we brought a camera down with us and traded taking pictures with another couple and their camera.
Atlantis: There are so many awesome things to do at atlantis. "the dig" is a huge aquarium and its amazing. During the day there is a charge, but if you go after 8 pm you can walk through for free. The casino is good...I think, but Mike tells me that there aren't enough tables and the minimum is too high! We went to the comedy show (the one at 9:30 is the dirty one) It was something fun to do. $20 a person for admission, but the drinks are like $200 each, so I would recommend getting liquored up for free at the hotel bar first.

Some other things:
~You cant drink the water from the tap...but the hotel provides you with gallons in your room, so I would recommend bringing a small travel sized bottle to fill up and take with you daily.
~The bar gives you drinks in small plastic cups if you are going to go outside with them, but if you bring large ones from home, you can take these out on the beach with you.
~People have said that they were stingy with the towels...I didn't think so. Heres the deal: They give you a card to trade in for a towel. Whenever you want a new towel, you have to trade in the old one. THen you have to give the towel back before you check out.
~If you go into downtown Nassau, you can take a cab there for $10 and get car sick, or a ferry for $3 each way. The ferry is nice because you get a boat ride, but you do have a 10 minute walk back to the hotel. If you are downtown, the ferry is located by the cruise ships.
~there is a hot tub in the resort that almost no one knows about (not even some of the staff). It was really nice, mike and I had it to ourselves most of the time. The first thing you should do when you get there is find it!

I though this hotel was great overall. If you are really into going out clubbing and stuff it may not be the right place for you though. There is not much nightlife at RIU, but plenty of options closeby, so you just have to venture off the resort. Hope this helped! ENJOY!!

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"We booked a couples massage in the spa"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  JaniceJonathanTorontoOntario  on May 1, 2006  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2006 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
228 people found this review helpful

My husband and I just returned from a vacation at the RIU Paradise Island (end of May) and travelled to the resort by Canjet.
Weather: Beautiful...with a daily high of 85-90 degrees. The pool and the ocean were both comfortably warm.

Very impressive lobby. Nice pool bar. The pool is a little small (and it's only 4 ft deep), but there is ample seating around the pool deck and on the beach. Large umbrellas are available for rent for $25 per day. Good size rooms with a nice view of the ocean, but not very luxurious. We got stuck with a room above the noisy air conditioning vents (room 618), so we didn't spend as much time on the balcony as we would have liked. We did get the king-size bed as requested. The TV in the rooms and the lobby bar have Fox Sportsworld (good news for you soccer fans) and HBO, so if you've had too much sun you can usually find something good to watch for an hour or two. The A/C worked fine. The fridge wasn't very cold and we called for service but they said it was working fine. The toilet ran pretty much all night - didn't bother calling for service again. Convenient room safe with programmable code (no deposit required!). The nice surprise was that the fridge was restocked with cans of beer and soft drinks on a daily basis (a six-pack of each) and there was a cabinet on the wall with 4 bottles of liquor for a self-serve bar. The dining rooms also had serve yourself draft beer (Miller and Stella Artois), which my husband enjoyed. The cans of beer at the pool bar are MGD.

The bar staff were very pleasant and attentive - we didn't wait long for any drinks. They have slushy machines for Pina Coladas, Margaritas and Mudslides and they make a wide range of fancy drinks (blue ocean, hummingbird, etc.). The maids were courteous and did a good job of tidying the room each day. Most of the dining room staff are cheerful and are prompt at offering coffee, filling up your water, clearing your table etc.

The buffet was had a wide range of dishes for every meal - it was very good. I enjoyed the Bahamian food as well as the changing theme dinners (oriental, mediterrean, cajun, etc). We made reservations for the steakhouse one night - it was good, but we had a peek at the buffet in the other room later and wished we had gone there. The seafood skewer in the steakhouse was over-cooked. Another bonus was the freshly squeezed juice bar for breakfast - I tried a different juice every day. I've heard people rave about the donuts, but I didn't like them. I had a small piece of dark chocolate cake that was excellent.

We booked a couples massage in the spa - the attendants were very nice and the massage really helped to loosen our muscles. There is also a large jacuzzi pool in the spa, which is very relaxing.

We paid $29 each for the tour of the Atlantis "dig" - it was interesting to see the different species of marine life in the big aquarium and the various lagoons, but the experience doesn't live up to the hype. The timeshare salespeople in the lobby of Atlantis (dressed in orange) are very polite, but persistent in asking you to attend a presentation of the new additions to the property. We were greeted by at least six of these sales people each time we walked through the lobby.
We spent most of our time near the pool or on the beach. The sand at the beach is very powdery - it really gives your calves a workout. We didn't even bother to bring down our snorkel gear as we could easily see that there were very few fish around the shore line. Jet skis are available for rent ($50 per half hour) on the beach. We didn't bother going on any tours as we've done that kind of thing so many times before, but we were interested in the sailing trip to Exuma. Unfortunately the cost was $190 per person for the day-long excursion.
We poked around the shops near the resort but didn't find anything special to bring home, except for a sweet Bahamian angel pin from the Diamond Centre and a couple of cigars from a liquor store.
Overall impression: 5/5. We would go back to this resort again as long as we got a good "last minute" package.

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"Their indoor aquarium was amazing!"

RIU Paradise Island
User Rating:  RIU Paradise Island Review: 5.00 of 5

Posted by:  BethNewJersey  on Jun 1, 2006  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jun, 2006 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
259 people found this review helpful

My boyfriend & I stayed at the Riu on Paradise Island in June 2006 from the 2nd-8th. Our goal was to relax on the beach and maybe take an excursion or 2. It was our first vacation together after almost 5 yrs and we had an amazing time. We loved the RIU hotel chain and are basing our next trip on where RIU hotels are located!

The hotel was very clean and the staff was very helpful with all of our needs. The beach was gorgeous! We spent almost every day on the beach. We did go during their rainy season so there were 2 days we didn’t get any sun, but the rest of the time was very sunny & hot. We went on a jet ski right off the beach for an hr & it was so much fun! The guy said we could go all the way out to the island we could see from the hotel & past all of these gorgeous homes on the water. My boyfriend talked him down a little bit so we only spent 90$ instead of 120$ for the both of us. The little island was great & there were lots of little shells & a little beaky place to dock your jet ski. The food was great in all of the restaurants. Our favorite was the Japanese one; Tengoku. We went there twice and on my boyfriend’s birthday, the chef came out & sang happy birthday to him. He had a great voice. We loved and took advantage of the location of the hotel right next to Atlantis. It was like nothing we’ve ever seen. Because the RIU was all inclusive, many nights we would eat dinner & have some drinks, then walk over to the Atlantis and walk around their grounds. Their indoor aquarium was amazing! They charge 30$ during the day to walk through it but at night its free, and personally I think its better at night. Essentially, we were able to experience the Atlantis without paying Atlantis prices. Our room was very clean and they brought us fruit a few days before we left. The room was big with a decent size balcony as well. We were not allowed to bring food up to our room from the buffet because of bugs (according to hotel staff), so we brought some snacks with us from home to munch on. I liked that our room had a hairdryer in it- & it was a decent one too. I packed my own just in case but when I go to another RIU resort, I wont. The hotel wasn’t huge like some of the others but very nice. The shows at night were fun-they had a Mr. RIU pageant, BINGO, karaoke, Miss. RIU pageant and music afterwards for dancing. The drinks were very good-also strong! We loved the idea of having soda & alcohol in our room so we could have drinks on our balcony & relax. The balcony was great as well, an amenity that is a must in the Bahamas! I loved how natives of the island came to the hotel lobby to sell jewelry. A few different women came all with different items to offer. Also sarongs, bathing suits & towels were sold by an outside vendor in the lobby. No one badgered you to buy, but the convenience was nice-I took advantage!

We only had a few problems one of which was when one of our liquor bottles was empty in our room we called to have someone come & replace it-which took about a day to be accomplished. We happened to call the front desk again numerous times for a replacement bottle later in the evening-11 or so- and we didn’t get any answer. This was a little scary if you really needed something & no one answered. Also, on the day we were leaving one of the 3 elevators broke & bc we had to get out early & others were up for breakfast, the elevators were packed & we couldn’t get in with our luggage. When I was ready to take the stairs down 8 flights with my suitcase, my boyfriend suggested we go up in order to go down, so with 2 elevators working it probably took us an additional 20 minutes to get down to the lobby-something we clearly didn’t budget into our time that morning. The elevator situation may have been something no one could control so we don’t blame the hotel, it was just an inconvenience that’s all. The beach towels were constantly running out, so my suggestion is that even though they tell you to turn your towels in at the end of each day, bring them up to your room & bring them back down the next day that way you will already have a towel if they are in the process of washing them. We booked our trip through liberty travel so all of our transportation was scheduled to and from the airport. The driver of our bus took us a completely different way then other drivers we later found out from others, because we drove through the ghetto. The area was so bad-the roads were wide enough for only one car & there were bars on business windows. Not only was it a bad side of town, but we were driving through a bad residential area for a long time- about 25 minutes. It was like he was taking short cuts through neighborhoods. We started to wonder where that guy was taking us. Our ride back to the airport was much better. The natives were allowed to go on the beach to try to solicit services for hair braiding, jet ski rides, banana boat rides, cocktails in coconuts, jewelry, etc. But if you ignored them they didn’t bother you or if you said “no thank you,” that was the end of it. Keep in mind many of these were minor annoyances but we learned to get around them the longer we stayed. I would definitely go back, the trip was worth our money.

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