|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
|Fiona & Phil |
|Executive summary: Lives up to its 5* rating. Wonderful music and dancing; best food we’ve had in Cuba; beautiful grounds, especially if you need shade but lots of sunny spots also. Lobby bar/lounge area is excellent.
This is truly a 5-star resort. Guests were all ages from toddlers to seniors. The resort has a children’s program/daycare which we did not need but heard very good reports from other guests.
Check-in/out – very efficient. Arrived late at night. We were in our room within 20 minutes.
Rooms – attractive and comfortable without being very fancy; the resort is 10 years old and there are some slight signs of aging but nothing to worry about. Fully equipped bathroom, very clean. A little short on drawer space but lots of closet space. Beds were quite hard, though. But good pillows!
Pool – Huge and the organic lay out allows for lots of poolside space and privacy. Tons of shade while still allowing lots of space for the sunbathers. Completely shaded palapas available. Swin-up pool bar. Separate pool for swimming lengths.
Grounds – lovely, very lush, very well maintained. The resort has numerous ponds and streams, many of which are stocked with fish.
Beach – great beach with soft sand and lots of interesting shells. You can walk out into the water without needing water shoes. Lots of palapas and a beach bar right on the beach, as well as a beach grill (see restaurants).
Gym/Spa/Fitness – Aging! The gym is very poorly equipped but a brand new state-of-the-art facility will open in 2009, I’m told.
Restaurants – best food I’ve ever had in Cuba (7th trip) and in many other Caribbean resorts as well.
Romantic – excellent; I had the best Chateaubriand that I have ever had, including at home in Canada. Good Spanish or Chilean wine.
Italian – excellent; the turkey stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese was delicious. Good Spanish or Chilean wine.
Beach grill – excellent; real Cuban parrillada (grill) with chicken, fish and wonderful pork ribs, Cuban-style. Hotdogs and burgers, small buffet with salad materials, rolls, desserts, etc. Open air, right beside the beach. Two different bands provide great live music every day at lunch. Closed for dinner. Ask China for a cappuccino, if she’s back from mat leave!
Japanese – great fun, food was good if not entirely up to true Japanese specs.
Pool restaurant – 24 hours – creative and tasty menu with sandwiches and other choices all day. Selections late night very limited (pizza, hot dogs, burgers, fries). Two bands provide great live music at lunch.
Buffet: Lunch and breakfast. It was somewhat limited because it was low season, but the food was good. Service was super. The specialty grill restaurant served as a buffet for dinner and not as a specialty restaurant (the resort was only 30% full).
Bars – The lobby bar is special. In fact, the whole lobby area is special. They have built it with gaps in the roof to accommodate islands with trees and pools with fish. Very lovely. The 24-hour bar is horseshoe-shaped and the staff is great. There are groups of lounge couches and chairs scattered around for the lazy and the over-sunned. Little palapa stations offer champagne and croissants or pastries all day. At night, light jazz before dinner. After dinner, Cuban dance music.
Animation: The most engaging animation staff we have encountered. When they figured out that they had several couples interested in more advanced dance lessons, they stepped up to the plate and taught us Casino – way beyond the usual 1-2-3 Salsa classes. But they also offered the beginner Salsa classes twice a day and many other activities (of which we did not partake, being of the lazy persuasion!).
When I turned up for Spanish lessons and was the only student, I received a private lesson at my level and learned more in 3 hours than I’ve learned in 2 years of classes.
We happened to be there for Hallow’een and the staff went all out for the event, with great costumes and an all-out dance party that went on into the wee hours of the night.
As huge fans of Cuban music and dance, this resort had a lot to offer to us. The three bands that played all week were excellent and played in the restaurants for both lunch and dinner, in the lounge before and after dinner, and after the show. Loved it!
Nightly shows were enthusiastic and lots of fun. We would have liked to see some more authentic Cuban and Afro-Cuban shows.
Staff: The entire staff – maids, bar, wait, front desk, animation, restaurants – was completely helpful, friendly and willing to address whatever requests we had.
The Garden Villa: If you happen to have money to burn, the Garden Villa is fabulous (we wangled a tour). Set on a point (Punta Frances), it has sea and beach on 3 sides. Private grounds and pool, lovely little villa with all the amenities, including a Major Domo (butler) at your beck and call. If I were planning a honeymoon, this would be the spot for sure.
I would not hesitate to recommend the Paradisus Varadero to a discerning traveler.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
|>Spent a week at this amazing resort during the first week of March/08. Everything about this resort was great.
I'd say the best part about this resort is the great staff. Everyone is very helpful and are always able to answer any questions you may have. The daily activities staff (in particular Yeleyn and Mayle) are always there throughout the day with activities from dance lessons to spanish lessons to playing great music beachside. In the evening there are great shows every night at 10pm, with some extremely talented dancers and singers. Its great that they get the crowd to participate in the show, that really made it a lot of fun. The bar and restaurant staff are also very friendly and efficient and go out of their way to make sure you are always happy. Finally the lobby staff at the check-in desk are always there to provide directions, get a taxi for you, or tell you about activities at the hotel.
The landscaping and layout are beautiful and truly make it feel like you are in paradise. From the open ponds in the lobby with fish, the marble floors, the open air set-up that allows the warm breezes to blow in, and the well kept grounds. Of course the beach is simply breath-taking with soft white sand and beautiful blue water. There is also a nice little nightclub and pool tables to keep you entertained in the evenings.
Before going to Cuba I was told not to expect the food to be very good, but this certainly didn't apply at this resort. The food was great, be it at the buffet, or any of the great restaurants. There is lots of seafood as well as other things like pasta, meats, vegetables, and great desserts. There are also great burgers daily down by the beach.
Finally the rooms are very nice as well. They feature sunken a livingroom area, tv, a nice washroom, and a balcony or terrace. They are kept very clean everyday by the great cleaning staff.
So all in all, I had an awesome time at this resort and am hoping to go back as soon as possible.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
|Gord and Laurica |
|We were at this resort for 2 weeks -Jan 1 to 15, 2008
Please note that we loved the resort, the room was fantastic and the beach was beautiful. We also received excellent treatment at the beach, pool and in our room.
We did find that the food in the buffet was often cold, and the food was poorly prepared - usually undercooked. The menu rarely varied. The service at the front desk was rather slow - language barrier, perhaps? When we checked in, we were told that the room was not ready (the air conditioning was down), and if we wanted to sit and have a drink, they would come get us when the room was ready. After about 2 and a half hours, we went to the desk and they told us it was ready - we might have waited all night! At times we felt the staff was more interested in visiting with each other as opposed to ensuring the clients had coffee, etc. at the tables. The service in the al-a-cartes was better, but the staff were still fairly aloof, especially in the Romantic Restaurant - more kids than adults, it seemed - not very Romantic! This resort tended to give preferential treatment to the certain groups of people, ie - table service in the buffet, while making other guests wait.
We expected the same level of service that we received at the Paradisus Rio De Oro in Holguin Cuba - definitely a TEN STAR!!!, as we paid significantly more for the Varadero, and were somewhat disappointed. We are sorry that we won't be able to recommend this resort to others. This is the very first resort (of 9 that we have been to) that we felt we were not welcome guests.
I would rate this resort as a low 4 star.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
St. John’s, NL
| My husband and I vacationed at Paradisus Varadero May 14-21, 2006. This was my 6th trip to Cuba – staying once at Brisas del Caribe, twice at TRYP peninsula, twice at Sandals Princesa del Mar. When researching the resort reviews, we read reference to some less than ideal reviews of Paradisus but then read other reviews which were more positive. I wanted to check out this place to see if we might return with our children next Easter.
In short, very disappointing, given that the rating for this resort is 5 stars. Having stayed at Sandals Princesa del Mar (concierge) on 2 previous occasions, which is also rated 5 stars, Paradisus Varadero does not compare.
The rooms are definitely showing their age. Our make-up mirror was smashed, the desk that fits into the closet and doubles as the bureau, had sticky, musty drawers. Our bathtub had no plug, patio door draperies were hanging off, we were missing one of the numbers on our front door and draperies, overall, were dirty and musty. We had a bedspread for the first night but never saw it after. However, the air-conditioning was functioning perfectly (thus, we needed the bedspread). Also, the safe opens with any card with a magnetic strip, just to let you know.
The pool is free form, clean and beautiful. The beach (3rd week of May) was awful. Covered in seaweed, cigarette butts and thousands of big, flying ant-type insects washed up on the beach. There’s NO way you could go to the beach with children to build a sand castle etc. Also saw these insects on the streets in Havana and Matansas (but never in any previous trip to Cuba so….maybe this is the season ???).
Only ate at the buffet so can’t comment on the a la carte restaurants. Every time I went to book reservations, all restaurants were booked for 2 days but then, walking past the restaurants in the evenings, saw that they were ¼ full, at most. The buffet, by Cuban standards was very good. Lots of variety in most food groups but, I too, felt that the chicken was undercooked on several occasions. Service was very good and our server remembered our names and a little about us. Nothing was very hot or cold, but this is typical for Cuba – room temperature food seems to be the norm, in my experience.
The grounds are beautiful and the grounds staff pleasant, and more than happy to provide a fresh coconut for you to drink the milk. The last 2 days of our vacation, I saw several cock roaches dead, belly-up, on the steps, in the early morning. As we were departing Paradisus, I had to side step a few big guys as I left the room. Also, just starting to see those teeny, teeny bugs in the room on the floors. (Maybe time to spray again, soon?).
Bottom line, you can stay at a newer, cleaner resort in the same area, I bet, for the same price.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| I would like to start by saying how useful some of the reviews were prior to my wife and I travelling to Paradisus Veradero, but also, after returning, I must say that some of the comments were either nitpicking as we say.
What follows is my feelings about this Hotel. The Paradisus was everything we expected: nice room, nice gardens, beautiful beach, friendly staff, an abundance of good food (prawns, lobster, crab claws), wine, cocktails etc: BUT! and here are the ‘buts’:
When I went to the buffet restaurant on the first evening, I asked for a leg to be cut from a roasted chicken. When it was cut from the bird, I noticed the meat was rather pink. When I cut into the leg it was raw and totally uneatable.
I put the meal to the side of our table and went and selected another meal. When the waitress came to the table I told her about the chicken and to her credit she took it to a man (I now know to be the catering manager) who was passing. He immediately went to the hot food section of the buffet; inspected the remainder of the chickens and ordered them all off the service. (I followed him there to observe this).
Commendable? I should say it was, but why did the chef in his nice clean whites feel happy to serve the raw chicken, even though the carcass my leg was cut from was by then oozing blood?
The following night, there was a large chunk of roast pork sitting there that had been cut down to the inner meat, and yes, I am sorry to say this was also oozing blood from the centre! The chef was again happy to stand there preparing to slice off another piece! I opted for something else needless to say. I noticed a little later, the pork being returned to the kitchen and a new one being brought out. I do feel sorry for the catering manager if this is the standard he has to put up with in his chefs. Time to pick a few new ones perhaps?
The second BUT is that on our second day, a party of 200 arrived from an Italian Bank and everything went down hill from then. Two thirds of the buffet restaurant was then reserved for them to eat, leaving the rest of us to scramble for the remaining tables. Not only that, but our third contained the no-smoking section, which surprise surprise, some of the Italians sat at. When this group was on ‘whole day’ excursions, their tables remained reserved and we still had to scramble for tables; sometimes waiting for them to be re-laid so we could sit, while the ‘reserved’ remained vacant.
As other reviews tell you, you need to book the Romantica, the Italian and the Spanish for evening meals. Unfortunately they had block bookings on them for the Italian Bank. So it was either 6pm or 6.30pm or 10pm, if there was space at all.
One evening during their visit, I noticed that the beach bar was open and ‘disco’ lights set up. When going to the 24-hour bar in reception and seeing it 3 deep in guests, including the Italian mob, my wife and I went to the beach bar assuming it was the entertainment for that evening. Not so!
When we were ignored by the SIX bar staff at the EMPTY bar, I asked for a drink. ‘Sorry, this is a private party for the Italians’ came the reply! Could that be the same Italians standing 3 deep at the only other bar available to the rest of the guests? (This was before we discovered the virtually empty little ‘pub’ hidden behind closed doors by the snooker tables.)
Needless to say, on the next visit of our holiday rep, we bent his ear. He said we were not the only ones complaining, and he had heard from other reps that they too had got it in the ear from their guests regarding the way the remainder of the hotel guests had been pushed aside for the Italian Bank block booking.
Could matters get worse? Yes they could. We were called by the management in our room one afternoon to be told that we could not use the buffet restaurant one evening because besides the Italian mob, another block booking was arriving and we were relegated to either the Spanish or Italian restaurants at a time allocated by the management! Not only that but for breakfast and lunch, ‘our’ one third of the buffet restaurant was now reduced to a quarter (including the no-smoking section).
Apart from this, as I said in the beginning; the service provided by the hotel staff; from the cleaner of our room, to the bar staff at the 24-hour bar and the waitresses in the restaurants was excellent.
The management on the other hand were disgraceful. The questionnaire you are asked to complete at the end of the holiday was filled with that comment, but I doubt they will care. Rest assured of one thing: because of the way they were treated, it is certain the Italian Bank will return. I just hope you are not there when
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| We traveled to Paradisus Varadero Jan. 26- Feb. 2, 2006 as a group of ten: four adults and six children (ranging from 9 months to 6 years).
The rooms were split-level and very spacious. A very large king bed, plus a cot for a child. Some rooms had two doubles pushed together. The fridge was restocked daily. Our room had an automatic electrical current converter, so we never used the transformer we’d packed. Lush foliage was well groomed and tended around the entire resort.
I wasn’t sure exactly what would be available for children at this resort. It took a day or so to discover that the Baby Club (up to 4 ½ years) and the Mini Club (older than 4 ½) were run by the same three ladies: Ina, Arien and Myalen. They cater to the two groups depending on demand. The Baby Club runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. The Mini Club runs 10 – 1, 3 – 5. Think of the Baby Club as a daycare: the hotel suite where it is located (behind the Grill Cairi) has toys, craft supplies, a T.V. and VCR, play pens, strollers and a washroom. The Mini Club moves around from the hotel suite base: a hut by the pool where the kids went to play games and colour, and the hotel stage. All three staff were delightful, caring, understanding of little ones’ needs and misbehaviours. We hired them as sitters for two hours each evening (5USD/ hour). Two came each time (one per family). Once we dropped them at the suite, twice we met them at the stage where the kids had a mini-disco and played with hoola hoops, and lastly we had them come to our rooms. Myalen braids hair upon request, and her rate is much more reasonable than the ladies on the beach or at the salon. She also dressed up as a clown each night, makeup, costume and all, and the kids loved it. If you’re thinking of giveaways to take with you: Myalen has a 12 or 14 year old boy, Arien has a 3 year old girl and Ina has a 1 ½ year old boy.
The quality and variety of food at the Paradisus buffet were top notch: fresh bread, a stellar spread of main course items catering to all nationalities’ tastes for breakfast and lunch, tasty desserts, fresh fruit, excellent cappucino. The staff was helpful, and we tipped them after each meal. One frustration, though, was the shortage of high chairs. We frequently had lunch at the Cairi, by the pool. Service varied, but the food (burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, ice cream, cake) pleased our crowd. Yaima, a very helpful waitress, is expecting a girl in June. A number of times we ordered delicious thin crust take-out pizza from the Italian Restaurant.
We managed to get out to the à la carte restaurants for dinner four times. At all the service was excellent, the food beautifully presented and flavourful, and the entertainment superb. Paradisus is a resort of music, to be sure. At the Romantico there was a string ensemble which played classical melodies as well as popular romantic tunes. The Cairi (Spanish) had a delightful quartet which played Cuban/Latin American/pop songs. Harmony was well honed, and while all vocals were strong, the tall and slender singer’s voice was exceptional. At lunch time a different Cuban/Latin American group with a female lead entertained there. At Stella di Mare we ate at a table outside, so there may have been music inside which we couldn’t hear. At the buffet restaurant, a quartet went table to table in the evenings as well.
The beach on the Varadero peninsula is spectacular. We had easy access to paddle boats and kayaks, and we went out for a catamaran ride with Yovanni one afternoon. The pool consists of about five bays, some with a gradually sloping bottom. Perfect for young waders and swimmers. My husband and I had massages by the pool with Boris and Vladimir.
A terrific vacation, and we hope to return to Paradisus next year.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| his hotel is absolutely beautiful! My husband and I went to the Paradisus for our first wedding anniversary (from Jan 13th to the 20th) and could not have chosen a better place. We were married in Punta Cana and this resort definitely compares to five star resorts in that area. The pool, beach, grounds, lobby area and restaurants were all very beautiful. If you are looking for somewhere with a great atmosphere, this is definitely it!
We emailed the hotel in advance to make restaurant reservations and to request a room and received exactly what we had requested. I mentioned in the email that it was our anniversary and so they arranged for a wonderful lobster dinner for us. They also provided champagne and a beautiful anniversary cake. Service was amazing at this resort. We tipped the bartenders, waitresses and maids, but never felt as though we had too. We were always greeted with a smile and found the staff to be very helpful.
When requesting extra blankets, or an iron, the items were always sent to our room within 10 minutes. This is truly a five star resort!
We were in room 2318 which overlooked the pool and was very close to the lobby, restaurants and beach. We couldnt have asked for a better location.
Our King size bed was very comfortable and the room was very nicely decorated. All rooms have nice sized balconies, which overlook the beautiful lush grounds or ocean.
We were a little afraid about trying the food as we had heard that food wasnt all that great in Cuba, but we were always able to find something that we liked at the buffet and restaurants... plus I'm not a very picky eater.
For breakfast, the croissants, eggs/omeletes, and fruit were always a good safe choice. The lobster at the a la carte restaurants (especially the
Romantico) was wonderful. The beach grill always served up some good food at lunch. The a la carte restaurants were also opened at lunch which was great for people who preferred a more formal lunch.
The lobby was a very atmospheric place to be at night. There are many comfortable couches and tables to sit at and sip cocktails. The table service was great. There was a very talented pianist and trumpet player who would play in the lobby during the dinner hours (about 8-10), and the night time show would begin at 10:00. The shows were mostly good. There is also a small disco/fun pub for those who feel like dancing it up (although it was usually pretty empty)!
The beach was beautiful, as was the ocean. We walked for hours in each direction and visited many of the other resorts. The beach at the Paradisus is DEFINITELY the best. It is very wide with beautiful white sand. I believe they may have recently widened the beach. The beach in front of the Iberostar Varadero and Sandals Hicacos (next door to the Paradisus)did not compare. There were always tons of chairs available. In terms of grounds, the Paradisus was definitely the most beautiful. Although, the Iberostar seems to get great reviews on this board, the grounds do not even begin to compare to the Paradisus'. The Paradisus is in a totally different league.
Although the Sandals resort looked nice (but definitely not as lush and tropical as the Paradisus), the beach in front of Sandals was horrible! It was very narrow and had TONS of seaweed the day we checked it out.
We took a taxi to Havana and spent the day there (beautiful city!). Go early so that you have as much time as possible there. It cost 150 CUC for the two of us. If you go, go up to the pool bar on the top floor of the Hotel Park National for a wonderful view. Also walk down "Obispo" street, when walking from the Centro Habano to the Old town. Touring around this area by foot was very easy and nice. We also golfed at the Varadero Golf course (near the Melia hotels), and had a wonderful time... great way to spend time on an overcast/cloudy and cool day.
Overall, if you are looking for the best resort in Varadero (and possibly cuba), this is definetely it! We had a wonderful time and would return in a heartbeat. I think we will try the Paradisus in Holguin next year.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| Just returned from the Paradisus Varadero (Dec. 29 - Jan. 5, 2006).
Fabulous resort, beautifully manicured gardens, lovely beach and fantastic rooms.
Restaurants as described in other reviews.
Word of warning: Men and teenaged boys are denied admission to any of the restaurants (even the buffet) for dinner unless they are wearing collared shirts and long pants.
There is a beautiful basketball court but they do not have a ball so if you want to play, you'd better bring along your own and a pin.
You definitely need an adaptor if you want to use any of your electric appliances.
One unexpected bonus. They have a doctor and nurse on staff from 9 to 5.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| hi there we just returned from our wedding in cuba at the paradisus, booked through virgin and the flights with iberia we awful, but the minute we walked in to the hotel it was wow. it is all open plan and 24hr bar. check in was easy and then we were taken to our rooms. they look exactly like the pictures do in the brochure, simply stunning. huge bathroon , tv, balcony, coffee etc. as an extra we had been left a flower arangement, champagne, fruit all laid out on the table beautifully.
yes the beds are firm but that didnt bother us. the room was cleaned daily and contarly to other reviews the towls and sheets were always clean. we always had the same maid and she greatly apreciated the gifts we left and we had towls made it to swans and boats etc.
the pool is huge warm and fantastic, plenty of sunbeds and sunbed matresses that double up as a floating bed for the pool. the pool bar was good and staff friendly espesally amouray, such a cool guy and he could manage to take a whol bars order at the same time and remember all the drinks and who they were for.
the beach is lovely and picturesque again plenty of sunbeds , a beach bar pale golden sand and clear sea that is shallow for a long way out.
there is a good team of animations staff and there were plenty of activities during the day and a show every night b4 they joined you ti get the dancing going in the disco.
the bars there is a beach bar open during the day, a pool bar, fun pub and disco and the 24 hour cusabi, service varied here and tipping goes a long way eleovil was brilliant, and he always went out of his way to look after us even finding us some drinks and brands that other barmen said had finished. they make fantastic daqueris and my sis and her pal loved his strawbery daqueris with extra strawbey!!!! and during the day after the hurricane when the bar was heaving he still looked after us.
champagne is free flow every where here and a tip to the barman gets you a full bottle.
there are 5 restaurants the buffet ara this was generally good for bref and lunch and dinner although there are birds trying to get at it the staff do shew them away the best they can. service was ok here. the only days this was terible was the fri sat of the hurricane, the staff had limeted choices which was not a porblem they did their best but it was like feeding time at the zoo, germans and spanish pusshing in the que then greedy sods taking massive plate of prawns etc. it was frustrating as aslot of these peoiple were evacuees from the southern hotels and i found out some were origionaly only on a half board plan!!! gannents. we had little choice but ti eat there though as it was the only food avalible.
the beach grill bbq was excelent and very fresh and always good service here lots of fresh fish, chicken pork and crab claws burgers and sausages on offer.
the poolside grill snack bar was ok but service could be slow, this opened 10-6 and you get get snax again here from 11 til 5 am.
in the evenings this restaurant became the spanish alacarte. it was ok but we only ate here once.
the italian stalla de mar was good food ok and good service.
the best of all the restaurants was the tury aka the romantica . this was excelent and we also had our wedding meal here. the chateau brigon was yummy and cooked infront of you at the table and the crepes were good too also cooked at your table. service was top notch and roxana and tony are an asset.
our wedding was a dream we met with laura our coordinater on our first day, and chose location (the beach),flowers, music , meal and she checke our origional documents although the paperwork had already been sent out and prepared it was so easy. the day went perfect the hairdresser is very good here i showed her the pic of how i wanted it and it was done. my flowers we beautiful too. the ceromony was peformed in spanish and translated by laura it is traditional cuba family law after signing the papers we exchanged rings for anyone doing the cuban wedding thing it might be nice if you wanted to prepare a little vow here as nothing formal is said . then we had champagne in beautiful glasses, and cut our cake and it was exactly like we had chosen and then it is cut and served, was a light sponge with lemon filling and white icing that sorta tasted like mirangue mix.
then we had our first dance the cuban band they sang for us was excelent and we even had tradition wedding march at the begining. it was all so relaxed. we then enjoyed som drinks and canapees with our guests (our weddings teal had told us it was extra cost to have these so we didnt order them but they were given anyway). then off for the photos it was so hot though i staryed to get sun stroke after an hour and a half. advice take water with you . the photos were lovely tho so it was worth it all. we had our wedding meal in the tury and they had put floweres on the table and the menus were made in to scrols, laura had put out the favours i brough from home also. the orchestra played special music for us there too.
it was truly a wonderful day.
on return to our room there was a pathway of rose petals to our bed which had been turned down and there were chocs and rosed there alson with satin sheets and just married cuba tshirts and anothr flower arangement on the table. and also rose petals in the bath.
on our last night we returned to our room and there was a cd a good luck letter and a plate of cakes saying byon vaage with heats in red icing. a real =treat.
as for day trips we did the suncruise a catamaran trip where you go to cayo blanco and swim with dolphins, this was good but sea very rough at dolphin pen. lunch wasnt that good there also.
also went yo jonnsne park which is real pretty but avoid the restaurant as you go in its awful we were the only people in and it too over and hour to do 4 chicken salads and 2 chicken and chips!!!
christn did deep sea fishing and said it was fantastic.
we were ment to do the dolphin trip but this was canceled due to the hurricane on the friday.
the staff handled the hurricane very well and we all had to stay in our rooms sfter 3pm and they gave us a box with sandwiches and drinks in. it had passed by the next day but it did rain all day. so loby bar and buffet very busy.
the one proble was the mosquitos everyone had loads of bites take plenty of repelent and bit cream with you, anti histamines and antibiotics as a precaution as they easily get infected.
if you are staying in varadero and fly home from havana then insist with your rep that you leave for the airport a good 7 hours before, we were told 5 was enough but eh ques for check in and immigration was horendous we only just made our flight in fact it took off 1 hour late as some many off us were still to get hrough.
all in all was a fab holliday and we will be going back to the paradisus next year although not with virgin holidays.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
| We just retiurned on May 14/05 from a one week stay at the Paradisus Varadero. The locals and tour guides all told us that the Paradisus is the best in Varadero and we were pleased with our stay. The grounds are absolutely magnificent! The beach is super, beautiful sand and warm water.The pool is spectacular and the activation team are fun and friendly. Night-time entertainment was a bit amateur...we didn't pay $1,600 to see lip-synching! The rooms are clean and spacious but the beds are horribly hard. Our travel company guide asked us why we didn't request different mattresses from the hotel as they would have been able to accomadate our request. I'm embarrased to admit I never even thought to do that...used the cushions from the lounge in the room to make it bearable. Our maid did an excellent job and left flowers and towel sculptures in thanks for the little treats and pesos that we left for her.The food was only fair in the buffet and comments about the birds are very accurate. I chased one away from eating my breakfast when I retuned from getting juice. I also noticed bird "poop" on some of the bread on the buffet. The service was horrible in the buffet as well...20 minute wait for a cup of coffee in the morning is not acceptable. That said, the 3 speciality restaurants were delightful. The staff was attentive, the music and decor were charming, and the food was good. We managed to eat in these restaurants 5 of the 7 nights by checking for vacancies first thing each morning. We also had take-out thin crust pizza from the Italian restaurant as we weren't prepared to eat in the buffet. The bartenders made super drinks..especially Mojihotos...they responded well to tips and remembered what you liked and served you quickly if you left the occasional peso. All in all, a lovely resort with people who do the best they can considering this is a third world country!
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
|We (all 6 of us) left from Toronto via Air Transat, for a typical flight to Cuba. Flight time was approx 3hrs.
Upon arrival, customs was fairly swift, although a number of people had notes slipped into their passports, requesting $5 Canadian in cash. All that we know of did "tip" customs.
Next we were swiftly escorted to the resort, via a nice a/c bus. As we passed many other resorts we started getting a sinking feeling that if the Paradisus looked like some of these resorts, the vacation would not be that great. Luckly, upon arrival the resort was simply beautiful.
The lobby was open, and filled with fish ponds, and flowers, and very pretty. Check in took no more then 5 minutes, and was a pleasure. No welcome drink was offered, but no big deal, as the lobby bar was 50' away.
We left for our room, and were surprized at its size... quite large, but was decorated in a cute but minimal decor. Beds were hard, and the the sheets were NOT fitted, so often you ended up at night rolling around, and then laying on the plastic mat. cover. (ugh)
The room had a bar, that contained 2 beers, 1 bottle soda water, 1 large bottle water, 1 cola, 1 orange pop, and 1 lime pop. This was refilled every day, and for $1 cuc, you could get all the beer you wanted.
Room service WAS included, but in the morning often took over 1 hr to get. BE WARNED you get EXACTALLY what you ask for.. so make sure you ask for SALT, Ketchup, Mustard, Salad Dressing, Sugar, Cream (ok.. milk they dont have cream) for the coffee.. etc.
We were on the first floor which was fine, with the exception that all the workers would come over saying "Hey.. Mine Friend.." and try to sell you fake cigars. Opt for a 2nd floor room to avoid this.
Food.. ahhhhh.. the food.. My girlfriend wanted lobster.. and boy did she get it. Every day for dinner there was 1/2 lobsters on the buffet, and often at lunch. The Beach grill had the usual, plus HUGE crab claws... the A'la carte Romantica had fantastic food, (plus lobster), and as well we at at the Italian Rest. which was VERY good. (no lobster)
We missed the Spanish restaurant, as not many in our group wanted to go, and when I finally talked them into it.. little effort was made, and it was full.. so they booked back into the Italian Restaurant.
Mind you for $5 our party of 6 didnt need any reservations... Tip.. and you get "Right this way"
In short the food was GREAT! Better then our trip to Costa Rica, and at least as good as our 5* trip to Mexico (plus much more lobster). Others from other resorts we talked to had terrible food such as lots of rice and hot dogs... and got sick. They were dumb founded when they heard of our food, and how much our trip cost ($1625 cnd from Toronto tax and everything per person)
The beach was very nice, and all sand.. forget snorkeling there.. nothing to see.. nothing at all. This made for great swimming, but a rather boring beach. True it was beautiful.. but more for lounging in and floating on.
We did bring lots of $1 nick knacks to had out.. and boy did the word get around.. Everyone showed up with coconuts and crazy stuff to had us.. then announced how many kids they had (as we were primarly giving out kid toys.. colored pencils etc). This is where a 2nd floor balcony would have been nice.
In short.. the rooms were nice.. but a bit bland.. the food was shockingly GOOD.. the beach was calm and beautiful, and the pool was huge (ok not as big as some super resorts in Mexico.. but still huge). It was a great warm, relaxing, fun, food filled vacation, and I would Recommend the Paradisus Varadero 100%.
Ohhh.. boy did they make strong (and good) drinks..
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| We just returned from a fabulous week at Paradisus Varadero (Apr 4, 2005- Apr 11,2005)! On arriving we stopped at many of the hotels on the way to Paradisus and later when we took at trip to Havana and judging from appearances Paradisus is one of the most impressive and secluded resorts in Varadero.
ARRIVAL: We were very impressed when we arrived at Paradisus, the lobby is beautiful and upon arriving we were able to switch to a top floor room and were promptly escorted along with the other guests who had arrived in our transfer to our rooms. The resort is quite large and at first we thought we were far away from everything but once we became orientated it is quite manageable to navigate the resort.
ROOM: The room was just like the pictures we had seen on the hotel’s website and brochures. Although it appeared slightly rundown as there were chips in the tile and the painting looked a little sloppy. One of the lamps was also missing a lampshade, perhaps because we were given a different room than we were originally intended to have and thus this room wasn’t totally ready, who knows! The beds were typical hard all-inclusive Caribbean beds, with 1 pillow and 1 blanket. The next day I requested extra pillows and blankets and received them that day. The room also came with a coffeemaker and complimentary coffee that was not advertised (as we had been trying to determine prior to the trip).
SERVICE: The maid service was excellent as we received everything we asked for, such as extra water and the room was nicely cleaned each day. We left the maid various items and money throughout the week by leaving it on the table. One day I think I left a bra on the bed and later I couldn’t find it. I am not sure if the maid intentionally took it or if she just thought I had left it for her as nothing else was stolen including odd money we had lying about. I never made anything of it as she probably needed it more than me but I was slightly irritated as it was expensive. So be careful when you leave stuff lying around the room, I would suggest keeping your clothes all together to avoid any confusion. Service in the restaurant and bars was for the most part good and tips do go a long way. We got to know one of the servers in the buffet by sitting in her section and gave her stuff at the end of the week too. Throughout the week there was only a few bad experiences but we chalked them up to the attitude of that particular server or not enough staff on.
BEACH: The beach is beautiful, it is nice and wide and has plenty of huts and loungers with floating mats if you get there early enough. We walked down to the neighboring new Iberostar Varadero and their stretch of beach was much narrower and the huts were very close together and it looked cramped. At Paradisus, the beach doesn’t seem crowded at all and I noticed lots of tourists with wristbands walking along our stretch of beach! We had green and yellow flag days at the beach all week, which was nice to enjoy both calm and wavy water. You can take out kayaks, waterbikes, snorkel equipment and catamarans for 30 mins when the water is calm. While there are lots of shells on the beach the actual water is pretty sandy and you don’t need water shoes. They rake the beach each day and clear up the seaweed, one day a huge load of seaweed washed in and was left for a few days as it was so large but it was only at one end so it didn’t bother anyone. This beach is much nicer than any of the Mexican beaches I’ve been too! As the resort has many European tourists, there were lots of topless women on the beach.
POOL: The pool is a decent size and has lots of chairs, and some umbrellas and cabanas. You have to get there early to get a cabana and its hard to find a floating mat if you get there too late but we always went to the pool in the afternoon and managed to find chairs and at least one floating mat.
RESTAURANTS: The buffet was decent and we always managed to find something to eat. The beach grille was good for lunch but quite busy, the restaurant by the pool was good for lunch as well. We had reservations at all 3 restaurants but skipped the Spanish restaurant because it was mainly seafood and we weren’t feeling like it that particular night. We did eat at the Italian restaurant Stella di Mare which was good. But the best restaurant was Romantico where you could get lobster and many flambé dishes. We tried room service one night but got no answer multiple times, yet we did see room service being delivered from the restaurants so we weren’t too sure what the deal was.
BARS: The beach bar was handy and we brought insulated cups and we’re glad we did! Many guests asked where we got them and I would recommend bring them as the cups are quite small. Gave mine away at the airport where the man at check in thought it was the greatest thing and took it despite the fact it was full of coffee. The service at the beach bar was excellent. The pool bar wasn’t too busy and you always got good service, and the swim up bar was hardly ever occupied. The lobby bar was busy, especially in the evenings but you were always able to get a drink with minimal wait. We thought the drinks were good and plenty strong enough, we noticed that they had lots of brand name alcohol available too.
ENTERTAINMENT: Although we didn’t take part in anything there were many activities to do at the beach and pool in the morning and afternoon. We managed to catch a few of the nightly shows, which were ok, low budget Broadway type shows at best. The dancing and singing was good it was just all a bit cheesy but typical of any resort.
DAYTRIPS: We went to Havana, a must see if you’ve never been to Cuba before.
WEATHER: Very hot! It rained a few nights, meaning tropical monsoon type rain but each room has an umbrella so it was okay.
OVERALL: We had a great trip, and we would recommend this resort to family, couples and anyone looking to have a memorable vacation in cuba.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
| Two families traveled together both with children (5) ranging in ages from 7 to16.
Check In – Quick and efficient. We were the only group checking in so we were finished in a matter of minutes. We were handed envelopes with information and our card key. As an MAS rewards member I had e-mailed asking for reservations to the restaurants to be made for our group. This was not done contrary to the positive e-mail I had received. The person that I had e-mailed was not available. I was able to secure reservations the next morning. They start at 9:00. If you have no wish to stand in line arrive 5 mins. early and sit in one of the chairs at the reservation desk. I had to change a reservation the next day and did the same thing. I never waited in line either time.
General Impression- This is a very nice resort with a huge pool, swim up bar, beautiful grounds and a wonderful layout.
Our Rooms– We had requested that the family rooms be next to each other and that if possible that the two families be close together. They gave us the top floor of bungalow 23, all four rooms. This bungalow was overlooking the pool, close to the Spanish restaurant and just a short walk to the lobby. The buffet, lobby bar, animation area and disco were all located in the main lobby building. We thought this location was excellent. One room had mold on the lower wall by the door in the bathroom but as we liked the rooms together we did not say anything. Some disrepair was apparent. A facelift may be in order in the near future.
The Buffet- Good. We could always find something that we liked. As it was Easter week, it was very busy and we had trouble finding a place to sit. Line ups for the breakfast grill, pizza etc. were quite long. The kids liked the fact that they had so much choice. Lobster was not available every night as stated in other reviews. We went to the buffet only two nights as we were went to go to the restaurants for three nights and left the resort for dinner with Cuban friends the other two. We ate breakfast in the buffet each morning. If you went early you had great choice of food and seating. Also be aware that breakfast ends at 10:30 so if you sleep in you are out of luck.
The Beach - Wonderful! . The sand was white and very fine and my kids collected seashells both on the beach and in the water while snorkeling. Some trouble with available chairs (busy week). The kids were able to use the paddle boats and snorkeling gear.
The Beach Bar – Friendly staff. Good service. Some nice young Cuban men around to flirt with the 16 and 40 year old women!
The Beach Restaurant – We ate here once. It was fine. At the grill we asked for chicken but ended up with pork. It was tasty anyway. Lots of extras to go with your grilled meat.
Romantico Restaurant – Very Nice! They were able to give us a table for the whole group, 9 of us. The food and atmosphere were unbelievable. We had a variety of dishes, all enjoyable. The staff were very professional. A very good wine list of other inclusive wines, be sure to ask. A great evening.
Stella di Mare Restaurant – We had lunch here one day. Many people don’t realize that you can get great Italian food for lunch, no reservation required. Our dinner was also very good. We had some trouble getting in although we had a reservation and our room number was on the table diagram (someone else was sitting at it). The maitre de at the front entrance was quite willing to accept a peso bill in return for a table for those without reservations. (We saw this happen and was told by someone we met that this was how they got into the restaurants more than once a week) Unfortunately this left those of us with reservations with a problem. We were insistent (in a friendly but firm manner) that we would be eating here tonight and a table was found.
Alhumbra Restaurant - The Spanish restaurant. The food here was also good. The staff was very friendly. We really enjoyed the entertainment. This restaurant also served lunch and snacks during the day. The hamburgers, saki sandwiches and pork baguette were excellent.
The Staff - Quite friendly, very friendly if you had a peso in hand. Our first maid, Sorlange was wonderful. We really never got to know the maid who looked after our rooms for the final few days as we were out of the resort on excursions. The bar staff was fun and we enjoyed visiting with them. The gardeners were quick with a smile and a hola!
The Weather – We had very nice weather 30-34 every day and warm in the evenings. This did mean that the mosquitoes and other biting insects were bad. We had a bit of a front blow in on our last night but it ended up being quite nice on our last day anyway.
This was an excellent vacation. It is an expensive resort and although rated a five star it falls slightly short. We stayed at Sandals Royal Hicacos 2 years ago and for the same money we had a slightly better experience and concierge service. When we travel back to Cuba we will choose Paradisus if we are with the children and Sandals if we are alone.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
|February 18 - 25, 2005. The best 7 days ever! We arrived home only 2 days ago and we are already planning our return trip back next year...what a fantastic resort!
Check In - No problems checking in and all went quickly. We were served drinks while we waited in line (which wasn't very long) which was a nice touch upon arrival. It was about 9pm when we arrived so we had time to go to our room and head to the buffet as we were quite hungry.
Our Room - We were travelling with my 18 year old daughter and had booked a room with triple occupancy. We ended up with 2 double beds and a single. After quickly rearranging the furniture, we still had tons of room. The bathroom was quite nice...2 separate rooms - one with the tub/shower, toilet and bidet, the other with the sink area and tons of mirrors. We had one day when the power went out (I was in the shower of course...very dark!) but this only lasted for about one hour. The next day, there was no water for a couple of hours (thankfully not in the shower this time!), but even these 2 events couldn't dampen our mood.
The Buffet - Amazing! I kept hearing stories that Cuban food was bland. Not at the Paradisus. There were 2 grills - one with meats and fish the other with pastas, where you selected your own ingredients. There was a fresh fruit/vegetable station, another which featured turkey, roast or some other specialty, along with lobster, crab (every night!) and numerous other dishes...I'd say about 20 every night. The dessert bar was also huge with bananas flambé, ice cream, and many other sweets and pastries. Breakfast and Lunch were also unbelievable with made to order eggs and omelets in the morning, and the fantastic grills for lunch. The homemade yogurt was to die for.
The Beach - Second to none! The resort personnel did a great job of grooming the beach early each morning. The sand was like white fine sugar and we collected many seashells. We never had a hard time getting beach chairs or pads, and Joel was always moving them to exactly where you wanted...as soon as you got on the beach. The first 2 days we were there were quite windy, so they were yellow flag days, but after that all was calm and green flags were posted. The water was very warm and no sea weed could be found...or seen. Paddleboats, kayaks and catamarans were there for our use.
The Beach Bar - Leo did a fantastic job of making sure everyone had a full glass all of the time. The last few days of our vacation, they even had servers walking the beach and taking drink and food orders.
The Beach Restaurant - It was nice to only have to walk 20 steps from our Palapas during the day to have a great meal. There was plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and also a grill where you could get Italian sausage, chicken, pork, crab, salmon, hake and red snapper. The food was excellent here also.
Romantico Restaurant - Unbelievable! The atmosphere was very romantic (just as the name suggests). There was a string trio playing wonderful music amidst the candle light. The food (we had lobster and veal) was out of this world. Definitely worth the return trip in itself.
Stella di Mare Restaurant - We unfortunately didn't get a chance to dine here, although we heard it ranked right up there with the Romantico. After 11pm, it was the all night snack bar which my daughter said was great. She especially liked the pizza (very thin crust) and the home made milkshakes. It was open until 6am.
Alhumbra Restaurant - This was the Spanish restaurant. The food here was also good, but not quite as good as Romantico. This restaurant also served as the pool snack bar during the day and the Sakai Sandwiches were excellent...we ate many of them!
The Grounds - Immaculate! And the gardeners were some of the friendliest people I met. Always offering me flowers from the hibiscus trees as I walked by and wanting to practice their English.
The Animation Team - We met several members of the team on our first day at the beach and they came to visit us there every day. They made my daughter feel right at home and danced with her in the disco every night. They had yoga on the beach every morning, dance lessons by the pool and on the beach, played games with the kids, and answered any questions we had about the resort and their lives in Cuba. I don't usually go to the evening shows at resorts, but here it was very professional and well done. Each night was a different show and the costumes were quite impressive.
The Staff - Very friendly and they always remembered our names. The bar staff always remembered our favorite drinks too. We got to know many of them and left gifts for them to show our appreciation. We also tipped throughout our stay as the service they provided was top notch.
The Weather - Although I never actually saw a thermometer, I would guess every day was in the high 20 to low 30's. It got progressively warmer as our week went on. The first few days were quite windy, but after that all was calm. It always winds calmed down in the evening which made the cooler evenings pleasant. I'd say the temps were around 21-22 too in the evening, but they also got warmer as the week went on. It was sunny everyday except for our last day, which was a bit overcast in the morning and a few showers in the afternoon...not enough to keep anyone off the beach though.
All in all this was a 10 out of 10 vacation. A few tears were shed when we had to leave! We had a fantastic time and as I have mentioned, are already planning on going back at the same time next year. Congratulations Paradisus - you made our vacation spectacular!!!!
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| My family just returned from a wonderful vacation at the Paradisus Varadero over Christmas vacation. Our group of six included two teenagers, two 40 something's and two 60 plus very active individuals. We choose the Paradisus after extensive research on the internet using sites such as this so I was anxious to return the favour and tell about our experience.
We booked with Sunwing and flew out of Toronto on Kelowna Airlines. We had many problems with the tour operator prior to the trip including changes to our scheduled flight time, cancellation of our flight, and difficulties contacting an understaffed office. I was very nervous about actually getting to our resort but once we got to the airport everything went fairly smoothly. There was the usual delayed flight and of course the seats on the plane were small but the staff were pleasant and efficient. Cuba's airport is a bit rustic. Do use the washroom on the plane because the one at the airport has no seat and you will be expected to tip. I also recommend changing your currency at the airport because we often had difficulties changing it at the resort because they ran out so frequently. The trip to the resort is far longer than advertised due to the frequent stops to drop off vacationers at the various resorts. Paradisus is almost the last resort in Varadero.
We were welcomed at the resort, seated in the bar area and offered a drink immediately while our rooms were arranged and then taken to our rooms. The rooms were decent and comfortable. Ours had not yet been repainted but our kids and parents rooms were very nice with canopy beds and a nice sitting area. Our only real complaint about the entire resort was that the bed was absolutely terrible. It is so hard that sleep can be difficult. We ended up using cushions from the chairs on the bed in order to get more comfortable. Extra pillows were readily available. While the mini fridge was not stocked properly when we arrived it was easy to rectify the situation with a call to the front desk.
The beach is incredible at the Paradisus. A storm brought in some sea weed the first day but it was gone by the next day. The grounds people do a wonderful job cleaning up all the mess left by those too lazy to pick up after themselves. I do recommend getting a chair earlier in the day by about 10 am if you want a pad. A tip to the hard working men on the beach will ensure quick service, a clean chair and a search of the beach for any available pads. We did see some people who were quite rude to these men when they were too busy to give immediate service. I took the advice of others and brought a thermal mug. Great advice. It certainly saved frequent trips back to the beach bar. We did not use the pool. It was extremely beautiful and we did sit near it a few times but the water is too cold and we prefer the ocean.
The grounds of the resort are beautiful. The groundskeepers do a terrific job keeping it looking its best. After a heavy wind on Boxing Day there were many men out working hard raking the beach and picking up fallen branches. There are beautiful palm trees and flowering bushes throughout the resort.
The food was quite good. We ate at all of the restaurants and had Christmas Eve dinner in the conference centre with a Cuban band playing. There is live music in all of the restaurants and in the bar. The Italian restaurant was not great but the atmosphere was nice and the service was terrific. The Spanish restaurant had better food especially if you are adventurous. The nicest restaurant was the Romantico. The food and service were very good but extremely slow. We took our teenagers but I would leave them to the buffet and go as couple next time. The buffet was huge. Those who go hungry must be extremely fussy. We love seafood and there was plenty available. My teenaged son ate platefuls of lobster, shrimp, squid and smoked salmon along with other fish at every meal. You can have omelets and eggs anyway you want them for breakfast. And yes there was champagne available at breakfast and wine at lunch and dinner. I didn't like the coffee but order a cappuccino because they are good. The service at the bars is really good but remember there is sometimes a problem with the language so you do not always get exactly what you are expecting. Most of the employees have pretty good English and if they don't they will go out of their way to accommodate you and find someone who can communicate with you. A tip now and then will ensure good service at the bar.
Traveling with teenagers can be a challenge. While we loved the resort my 16 and 18 year olds were not thrilled with the trip. Many of the other teens were from Europe and they did not make as many friends as they usually do on these types of vacations. Your teens will be served as much alcohol as they want and drunk teenagers were common at the beginning of the week. We asked ours to be reasonable and they did a good job. We did find that they required some supervision to ensure no problems occurred. There was not much to do in the evening anyway. Paradisus offers a nightly dance show. The dancers are fairly talented but the music is lip-synced and becomes repetitive very quickly.
I would definitely recommend the Paradisus Varadero to anyone looking for a family resort. After staying at this resort rated 5 star I would not choose one under 4 star in Cuba. I hope this will help someone with their travel planning.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
|Dwayne and Sherry |
| We were at the Paradisus Varadero for our honeymoon/renewal of vows from July 26th to August 2nd of 2004. This was, without a doubt, the BEST resort we've ever stayed at! It was absolutely beautiful. We are kind of picky, but there is nothing to complain about with this place. We were upgraded to a beautiful oceanview room. These rooms overlook a very private area - not the main part of the beach, so it's quiet, except for the waves. We were greeted with champagne, flowers and a fruit tray upon arrival to our room. The buffet restuarant was always great - I'm a picky eater, but I tried most of the food there and liked it. You would have a difficult time not finding something you could eat. The a la carte restaurants were fantastic too. We renewed our vows while we were there (wanted to have a beach wedding), and Lizabeth was our wedding coordinator - she was GREAT! She looked after our every need, an! d we felt truly pampered while we were there. There were lots of little suprises that came with the wedding/renewal of vows - the night of our "wedding" they came to our room while we were at dinner and put flower petals every where, satin sheets on the bed, slippers - they made it very romantic. The next morning we had breakfast in our room. For our special dinner that night, we had a table in the Romantico restaurant, with flower petals and a nice centerpiece on it. The night before we left, they brought a delicious desert to our room while we were out. We were treated like royalty! The beach is beautiful - very big. We never had a problem finding a chair down there. The pool is huge, but we did find it difficult to find a chair out there - you have to get up pretty early in the morning to run out to reserve chairs with your towels. Overall, this resort is definitely worth the 5 star rating - we will be going back there next year!
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| We loved our trip to Veradero, Cuba and our stay at Paradisus. We traveled in January, 2004 with our 9 year old daughter.
The grounds are absolutely beautiful. The gardeners around the property will make you grasshoppers, hats or baskets weaved from the palm leaves. They will even cut down a fresh coconut and cut it open and provide you with a straw to drink the juice (not a great taste but cool to do just the same).
We enjoyed all of the food but the reservation system left us very upset. You have to book in advance for the a la carte restaurants BUT they only book 3 days in advance and these bookings are all taken by 9:00 a.m. on that day. We were told that tipping will get you a reservation but a talk with the customer relation person will also help you with this situation.
The buffet provides for a variety of food (great when you are with children) but it gets to be the same after a few days. The buffet offers the same selection for all meals - breakfast offers some breakfast food like something that looked like French toast, eggs etc. Dinner offered pasta and gilled meats. We enjoyed the grilled meats at the buffet (keep in mind that when you tip your server, the guy behind the grill receives none of that – we tipped these people separately). They have the best ice cream I have ever tasted !! I was disappointed with the selection of fruit and vegetables.
The beach grill is the best for lunch. They grill up chicken, beef, pork and fish. If you tip the guys behind the grill they will get to know you and then you do not have to wait in line for your food, they will grill it and bring it to your table. Also, tipping can get you food not regularly served (like lobster). Isomel who works at the grill is a character with his “Hello, my lady” greetings.
There is mediterian food at the restaurant by the pool (we only ended up having lunch here one day) but it is a good place to have ice cream while at the pool.
There is an Italian restaurant which is very good. TIP. You can order take out pizza at almost any time of the day. Great for an afternoon snack by the pool or a late night snack in your room. This is not advertised and we learned it near the end of our trip.
There is one fine dining restaurant. The food is good but the portions are small so go ahead and order two entrees. You will not be full if you do not. It can get cool in there too so bring a sweater. You must dress up at this restaurant – although we dressed for dinner at all of the restaurants – it is expected.
In the afternoon there are refreshments served in a few places (huts) around the resort. The have coffee, tea, champage and treats. The champage is free and flowing but it is aweful.
There is a gym (not great) and a spa (massages etc) on the resort – but we were there for R & R and did not use this at all. The salon will do cornrow braids $2.00 a braid. My daughter had this done – a month later at home and she still has the braids in.
A must for your trip is the catamaran / dolphin excursion (make sure you have the right trip because one is to swim with the dolphins and one is to watch a dolphin show). $75 for the whole day ($57 for kids) – The bus takes you to the Marina where you get on your boat (sit on the front of the boat), then they take you to “Dolphin Island” were you swim with the (trained) dolphins, back on the boat and after a while they will stop the boat so you can go snorkeling over the coral reefs (bring a disposable water camera), back on the boat to an island where you are served lunch (chicken or lobster) with time after lunch to enjoy the beach on your private island then back on the boat for a ride back. The bar is open and included with your ticket. Well worth the money for an all day outing.
Kid’s Club -
They have a Kid’s Club (look for the Baby Club) Our daughter had a great time here. The supervisors there spoke English very well and took our daughter on several adventures in and out of the resort. For the week, she was the only child there so she got real person activities. In fact, on Friday night she was asked to be in the nightly Tropicana style show. They have a Disney show every Friday night. What a treat for all of us. You can use the Kid’s Club during the day – they have different times for different ages. If you have small children they have play pens for nap time. They also offer babysitting services (hotel staff) for the day and evening if you want some time alone. We did not use this service but noticed others had.
Shopping - Take a taxi or the double decker bus to Veradero and do some shopping at the market. Not lots of deals here and not much bartering but you will find some interesting items. Lots of items are made from wood and you can ask them to “engrave” into your item such things as your name, date of your trip etc. The guy on the beach that sells stuff is very expensive as is the gift store in the hotel. Be careful buying cigars and for this the hotel is your best option.
The beds were the hardest thing that I have ever slept on. We needed extra pillows and they were sent to our room without a problem. There are no screens on the windows either so if you sleep with the warm Cuban air coming into your room (as we did one night) be prepared to have your arms and anything else exposed bitten by bugs, plus there are little lizards around the resort – none made it into our room. We loved coming back to our room to see what the creation made from towels would be.
The resort has tennis courts and you can borrow rackets from them rather than bringing your own.
The fridge in your room is stocked with water, pop and beer daily. If they miss you one day just ask for more. Great to have the water with you during they day while at the beach / pool. You will find that they have “natural” water and water with “gas”.
As you can tell, we spent our days by the pool rather than the beach but this was a matter of choice – both are fantastic. The beach is much busier. The sand is so soft and white and the water is so clear and blue as far as the eye can see. You can walk on the beach forever passing other hotels on your way. The pool is very big and an irregular shape which provided for smaller quieter areas to relax. There are even covered cabanas for when you have had enough sun.
The one thing that we found hard to get use to was smoking everywhere. There are no restrictions to smoking. Good if you are a smoker but not good if you are a non smoker.
We did not find the hotel staff – the people at the front counter – all that friendly. Quite disappointing. The people who served the food and drinks were the nicest (but we found the staff at the lobby bar not to be friendly at all).
- Take with you a large plastic mug to use at the bar as they only give you a small plastic cup with you, the bartenders get to know you and it saves trips to refill. Ask for lots of ice to keep your drinks cool.
- The lobby bar has the best selection of drinks and liqueurs. We spent our evenings here after dinner. You will see people playing cards, dominos etc. I think you need to bring your own. There are games to borrow at the pool.
- Bring adaptors for your electric items. They run on 220. There is a hair dryer there but your curling iron will not work.
- Bring a clock as there is not one in the room.
- Bring a sweater for the evenings
- Bring an English to Spanish book – we found it hard to converse sometimes with the servers and chambermaids
- Tip the guy by the pool and he will ensure that you have lounges with mats saved for you each day in your favourite spot.
- The hotel provides straw bags and hats to use while you are there. If they are not in your room then ask for them.
- They have computers in the lobby to use. 10 minutes for $1.00. Get a hotmail account before you go because post cards take 4 – 6 weeks to arrive. It is not high speed so you will need at least 20 – 30 minutes.
- Money is all in US dollars everywhere you go. They have Cuban Pesos but we did not see much of this.
- Upon departing they have a VIP service to speed you through the check in process. It is $20 / per person but in the end you still have to wait for your plane so not worth the money. You can do more shopping at the air port too. Just in case you forgot something. The prices were the same here.
- Bring items such as cosmetics, pantyhose, toys, clothing to leave for the chambermaid staff. We even gave our servers some toys after we lot to know her.
- When you go to the buffet try to sit in the same area and to the same server, they will get to know you and get your juice and coffee without even asking. We traveled as a group of 3 and in the beginning found it difficult to find a table (since most are for 2) but when she saw us she was quickly clearing a table and moving a chair for us.
Enjoy your trip to Veradero, Cuba and to Paradisus Resort. You will be home dreaming about being back there.
If you have any other questions drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
| I was at the Paradisus in Varadero the last week of January 2004. And despite the fact that the resort is certainly above average, we were somewhat disappointed. We have been to Varadero before and stayed at the Tryp Peninsula and we have been in the Dominicans where we stayed at the Riu Mambo and Iberostar Costa Dorada (Puerto Plata). We decided to indulge this year, as this resort is quite expensive in comparison to the other resorts in Varadero and it is rated 5+ so we had some pretty high expectations.
Grounds and beach: Fantastic! This deserves the full 5+ stars. REALLY beautiful. Lots of lush vegetation, very nice and super large pool (lots of curves). It was very clean and relaxing. The beach was one of the nicest beach I've seen down south so far. It was wide, lots of soft white sand and amazing blue/green ocean. When it's not windy, it's just amazing but it was okay when it was windy too. You can also go for very long walks along the beach.
Weather: It was fairly nice most of the week. Not scorching hot but okay. We had very strong winds a couple of days and it rained one night. I've had better weeks as far as weather is concerned but hey, weather is one of those things nobody can control.
Restaurants: Here we were disappointed. We know to not expect too much when it comes to food in Cuba but this was disappointing. The first night, we could barely find anything we would even want to eat... I have to admit that we are a bit picky when it comes to food but still... It was the same thing day after day. We pretty much ended up eating tortellini with white sauce all week. The only night I was happy was on Saturday night when they had lobster tails at the buffet. THAT was good!!! All that said, we were hoping for better food and much more variety, considering this is a 5+ resort. Maybe this is expecting too much but I honestly thought there would be lobster every night... We've had much better food and variety in resorts that were 4 and 4+ stars. Breakfast was by far the most disappointing. Breakfast is usually my favorite meal whenever I go down south but this time, I barely wanted to eat the food. For example, the eggs were sloppy and kind of gross looking...they had bacon bits instead of bacon strips (and they were not very good). So anyway, you get the picture. But you can have food/snacks and drinks all day all night, so that was a plus.
Service and staff: This was where we were the most disappointed. We're used to have excellent service and staff that are super friendly, smiling and saying 'hola!' everytime we cross path...at the Paradisus, not so. About 20% of the staff was excellent but about 80% need work. Most of them looked like they would rather be anywhere but there (long faces, no smiles). It took ages to get a drink at dinner time (sometimes we were done eating by the time they got around to bring us drinks). Out of the 7 mornings, only once was I offered coffee (nevermind being offered Champagne)!! And it is not because we do not tip...we are actually pretty good at tipping because we know how harsh life can be for Cubans. Same thing at the sit down snack restaurants. It took forever for them to even acknowledge we were there... I would even say that I didn't feel really welcomed there............which is something I've never felt before in any resort down south.
Rooms: Average. Again, I guess I expected more because of the high rating of the resort. The rooms could just not compare to the Tryp Peninsula rooms (which were AWESOME). Sure, they were large but nothing out of the ordinary and they were starting to get a bit on the "old" side. Washrooms are on the small side and unimpressive. The fridge were never filled up as promised; we had to call a few times to get drinks or even water. On the good side, they had a real king size bed (not the kind where they just push two beds together). We were on the second floor and we had a couple bugs (nothing very scary) but again, in all the other resorts I've been at, there were never ANY bugs...... Maid service was good though. We left tips plus goodies like makeup, soaps and toys for kids. Room was always clean and tidy when we came back at the end of the day, with very creative towel displays.
In conclusion: It sounds like we're complaining a lot but the resort was still great and surely above average. And we still had a great time. I guess the problem is with the cost and rating. If we had paid less and were told it was a 4 or 4+ stars resort, we would have been satisfied, but considering the cost and rating, we expected much more.... I will NOT go back there again and if I can offer advice, pay less and go to a 4 or 4+ resort where you'll get the same (or better) for a LOT less pennies!
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
|Adrian, Elena & Fabian |
|On fifth night we moved to the Paradisus Resort Varadero (our trip was planned this way). This are the top facilities in the Sol Melia Group and Cuba, I think. Last year we spend 8 nights at the Paradisus Resort Rio de Oro in Playa Esmeralda (Holguin, Cuba). This is a world class resort in all senses. All personal are friendly and serviceable.
There were a little confusion at the moment of registration because my son was registrated as he was 13 years old nor 3, so they were asking me a complement in the payment we had made in advance. The mistake was suddenly resolved when the girl saw my son. We were lodged in front line of beach; as in the Tryp Peninsula, the resort is build in the Caribbean style with lush green gardens and a lot of flowers. The rooms are very spaciously, nicely decorated and spotless. The bath had shower, tub, bidet and wc, all of this are separated from the tocador, this is very comfortable. There were all kind of amenities. The climate was good. TV the same as in the others hotels. Minibar worked good and the maid kept it very well stocked with Dutch beer, fanta, coke and Cuban beer. Beach towels were changed in our room every day. At your choice, you have the kind of pillow you prefer.
All Paradisus Resorts We have visited (Rio de Oro, Punta Cana, Can Cun) have wonderful pool, this is no exception. The pool is surrounded by gardens and casitas with poltroons; there are a lot of poltroons, so you are not going to suffer of this, but if you want a casita, you are going to awake early in the morning. Pool bar and snack bar are very good,but cocktails were simple. The beach was terrific, the water was warm and there were a lot of wildlife. They have all kind of non motorized sports, including snorkel and catamaran.
Te main restaurant offers you a huge buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All meals were very good. The personal in the restaurant is serviceable, they'll do anything to meet your needs; on some hours you'll have to wait few minutes for a table. Seafood, meat, poultry, pasta, salads, desserts, fruits, etc., were always available. You can have wine, local or Spanish, by glass or bottle. There are 3 a La carte restaurants, we had dinner one time at the Italian one, the dinner was good, but we preferred the buffet because you have almost the same food there, and the quality was the same.
The room service was very quick (30 minutes, no more), all principal menu at the buffet were available in room service, so if you was to tired to go to restaurant, you only pick up the phone and order dinner, a splendid one (includes wine bottle and champagne) As in Tryp Peninsula, the restaurant is surrender by a garden pond, so you'll need mosquito repellent.
Overall, this a great resort where you are going to spend wonderful time, so we did. Undoubtly we will back there. The relation price/value is very good. We paid 218.00US the night, all inclusive plan, the child was for free.
|Paradisus Resort - Varadero|
|Susanne and Paul |
| Newlyweds, Paul and I just returned from our weddingmoon at the Paradisus. We had the time of our lives!!!!!!!! We took with us nine of our family and friends for, unfortunately, just a week - our parents and closest friends, all in our early thirties came to celebrate and witness our wedding on the beach!
The first thing we noticed at the airport was the most friendly, accomodating people! No sooner had we gone through customs ( a really quick line ), did we encounter our Signature rep who had a luxury bus waiting just for our party! Our ride which probably took us about half an hour, seemed quick because we were so entranced with the ocean views on either side, Varadero and all the other resorts to look at along the way. The Paradisus is awesomely located - only 8 minutes back to Varadero and shopping and it is surrounded by an ecological reserve so you are not close to any other resort. Dasmari, one of our wedding coordinators was there to greet us along with other staff members. We were told to leave our luggage in the lobby while we were escorted to really comfortable lounge chairs in the most beautiful, huge lobby where there we were treated to a personal greeting while we sipped on delicious rum drinks!!!
Our special room was just that, perfect. The rooms at the Paradisus are gorgeous, clean and full of every amenity. Paul and I were treated to a double ensuite with double the balcony ocean view action!! We were also welcomed to a huge ( very hard ) kingsize, huge beach bag with beach towels, champagne, huge bouquet of exotic fragrant flowers, platter of munchies, a stocked fridge - the list is too numerous!!!!!!! Any ladies at there requiring a hair dryer ( my best friend ) you need to bring an adaptor since they're only 110V. Paul and I and the rest of our group brought many gifts with us to leave on the beds in the morning and give out as we wanted. Some of the things we brought were shampoos, cosmetics, cheap pantyhose, school supplies, gum ( lots of gum ), baseball stuff, Body Shop stuff, name brand clothing ( any old clothing they love ), anything for children, that's all that I remember. Paul and I would leave a few things on the bed every day and we received extra supplies of towels, little munchie goodies and just basically all around excellent service plus it made us feel good because we were told that although the staff members are treated well the average wage is a sickeningly $4.00 / month!!!!!!!
There were plenty of tours to experience, our rep informed us still the first day back in the lobby, but because we only had one week in paradise, we chose to not take advantage but just setting our sights on enjoying each day as it came. There was sooooooo much to do at the resort that if we had another week, we would no doubt have loved to have gone on the catamaran ride and the jet ski tour....next time.
Paul and I met our main wedding coordinator the next morning. ( If anyone is planning a wedding down in the Caribbean we highly suggest, no severely suggest going and doing it here at the Paradisus!!!! I experienced absolutely no stress, almost no thought or planning on our parts for the most perfect beach wedding ever! Lizabeth, the wedding coordinator began to correspond with us on email as soon as we planned our trip with the agent. She informed us of every minute detail that we asked of her and then some. She left nothing to chance and was professional the entire time. We can't speak highly enough of Lizabeth and her team, including Dasmari.) Anyway, Lizabeth took us around the property for us to decide where we would like to perform the ceremony. Of course we chose the beach over the gazebo only because we wanted our bare feet in the sand as we exchanged our vows. We decided in about an hour all the little details like bouquet flowers, food, etc. The ceremony itself was 5 days into our holiday on Friday July 4th giving the hotel staff plenty of time to immaculately clean and prep the area of our wedding. I won't go into lots of details but let's just say that everything was again - PERFECT!
The food.....well don't expect Canadian food. The other reviews are pretty accurate concerning the food comments. We loved the Romantico and the Italiano a la cartes the best. Paul loved the lasagna in the Italiano, try the lobster and the crepes in the Romantico. The Romantico was great because it is air conditioned and it has a very plantation moroccan harem tent feel to it complete with string quartet - very romantic!! Try the beach grill. The paella and red snapper were delicious!!! Don't forget to frequent the lobby bar and the beach bar. Adrian is fantastic at the lobby bar. Ask him to make anything with rum. Same goes for Leo and Grillo at the beach bar. Leo even made me a palm frond hat! The staff - awesome.
Oh yeah! Don't forget to try out the catamarans. Our best friend is an experienced sailor so that helped. Just awesome! ....Remember that the lifeguard is not really the lifeguard but rather the seller of cigars. The shopping is not really great. We rented scooters and got lost on purpose. We ended up shopping in a marketplace in Varadero. Don't bother going to Plaza Americanas it's the same thing but the marketplace is more local less touristy. We saw nothing worth buying so much....Remember to bring BUG SPRAY!!! Also, remember to order the pizza in the middle of the night when you're craving after coming back to your room from the lobby bar....Oh yeah, grab the spot on the beach under the trees. It's a cool little spot plus close to the beach bar!!
Okay, okay, I won't take up anymore of your time. Read on. But remember, the Paradisus is the best hotel ever!!!