Casino Dr, 6307, New Providence Island
"There is also a beautiful yet seemingly secret Jacuzzi and Sauna"
Posted by: BenCrystalToronto
on Aug 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
92 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...
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Doughnuts with chocolate sauce. Yum!!"
EACanada on Jun 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jun, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
83 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!
"Our time in Paradise was fantastic"
CindiCanada on Mar 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
84 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!