Paradisus Varadero Resort & Spa
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Cuba Trip ReportParadisus VaraderoWe just returned from a one-week holiday at Paradisus Varadero. Heres some background information on our perspective, weve traveled extensively in the Caribbean to locations such as;ï‚· Mexico Acapulco ï‚· Dominican Republic Bavaro ï‚· Jamaica Ochos Rios ï‚· Aruba ï‚· Turks & Caicos ï‚· Cuba Holguin ï‚· And now Cuba VaraderoSo from our perspective in terms of importance in a holiday ..1. Beach 2. Resort grounds (Pool etc.) & accommodations 3. Food / Restaurants 4. ServiceSo onto the review;Beach (3/5)The beach in this far end of Varadero is okay, the sand is fine the beach depth is good with many palapas (for prime real estate youll need to venture out before 9am). However, the shoreline and first 10 feet of water is littered with shells and broken coral (Please take water socks!). You can wade out a fair ways before you reach 5 feet, which is great for a dip, but a pain for snorkelers.Resort Grounds & Accommodations (4/5)The resort is well managed with plenty of workers trying to keep it so. The pool is fairly large and varied in depths of 6.5ft to 0.0ft, so it would appeal to everyone. The pool bar was situated in about 5ft of water which was a pain for some who tried to reach it. The giant Jacuzzi in the middle of the pool was broken and it didnt seem to look functional for some time and some of the pools tile flooring is starting to tire and patches of broken tiles can be seen. As with the beach, if you want to get some prime real estate around the pool 9am seems to be the magic hour.Our room was on the first floor and large. It was five piece (toilet, tub, shower, bidet, and sink). Again with the pool, the room was starting to look a little tired (paint, vents, furniture etc.), the resort is relatively new so Im not sure as to whether its due to the craftsmanship or the climate or both. Another little surprise was ants, there was a steady stream of these little ants in the room, which wasnt much of a nuisance, but with anything just the knowledge of them and managements lack of response was enough. I would recommend a second floor room if possible, we couldnt change because we were toting our 1.5yr old with us. It would be such a pain to pack and unpack again.Food / Restaurants (5/5)First in general, yes the food is over-cooked bland and oily, but that would be for the passive client. We on the other hand were more aggressive in giving the grill cook instructions (broken spanish/french/english) and spices to add. This made the experience great at the buffet.Buffet regular fare for breakfast, eggs as you like, fresh squeezed juices, meats, sweets, and crepes and lest I forget champagne. The only weird note is the bacon wasnt in strips it was more like pieces. Lunch was just as bountiful with roasted meats, baked fish, pasta bar, meat/fish grill and my favorite smoked salmon. As with the first note, you needed to be proactive in your seasonings and instructions. Dinners were equally good with roasts, lobster, shrimps, grilled fare and special themes. SUSHI! Wines were also available at any of the buffet sittings.Spanish (a la carte) We occasioned this restaurant once and to be honest, we didnt like the offering too much. As with most a la cartes in all-inclusive resorts the menu was fairly limited. The dinner was very neuveau cuisine, two small beef medallions with a couple sprigs of vegetables or a stuffed chicken breast that looked like it came from KFC. Our son did enjoy the rice pudding ball for dessert.Italian (a la carte) We enjoyed this restaurant for both dinner and lunch, while the menu had limited selections we werent shy to ask for special items or spices. The pizza and pasta dishes were great. Desserts were good as well.Romantico (a la carte) This restaurant was only open for dinner, and we had one sitting for the week. The food was good and tasty, however as with the Spanish restaurant the servings were rather small. The answer to this problem was, dont be shy, and order more than one entrÃ©e! We both had the lobster and I had ordered the lamb rack as well.Service (5/5)We found service to be excellent in all areas. Let me qualify this a bit, we usually tipped $1 at the buffet and $2-$5 dollars at the a la carte restaurants. We didnt tip because we felt bad due to their wages, but rather for service rendered. If they made an effort or did something special then we usually tipped. One area that we used $US to get something special was at the beach grill, my wife loves lobster and it wasnt at the beach grill, $5 took care of that situation for the week! Another area of note was maid service and mini fridge, we had brought some gifts down and left something each day for the maid and usually $1 for the person filling the fridge. This brought us the usual towel swans, extra towels, pillows and stocked fridge.Last but not least is the Baby Club staff, our son 18mths had a great time when we placed him in their care. We used the club for 1 morning (after breakfast) and two afternoons (after lunch) and one full day. The staff was really friendly and accommodating. We had no misgivings about leaving our son in their care. We had brought down some stuff (pens, pencils, stickers, paper and bubbles) which we decided to leave at the Baby Club so other kids can enjoy them.All in all, I have to admit this was a good choice for our vacation. With a little regular maintenance Paradisus will maintain what I believe as the #1 resort standing in Varadero.Cheers!
A wonderful relaxing vacation
We just returned from a week at Paradisus and loved it. So much so, that we tried to think of ways to avoid going home!
The resort is absolutely beautiful and I think from what we saw the nicest in Varadero. The lobby alone would be enough to convince you.
The staff were wonderful - always friendly, helpful, and even though we did tip, there was no reason that they were doing this for anything other than to please us.
Our room was great, overlooking the gardens and we were grateful for the airconditioning in the October heat. I like a comfortable bed but didn't find mine too hard as seemed to be the case in most of the reviews.
Every morning the maid would leave fresh flowers or an arrangement with the towels.
Only negative was that the hanging space in the closet was awkward - you can't hang a dress up. This could be altered quite easily.
We found the restaurants excellent and took advantage of being able to book in the 3 "special" restaurants.
We were lucky in that the resort was only about half full. I would definitely come back here but wouldn't want to come in the busy winter season as we were spoiled with it being quiet. This is not a hotel for the party crowd, more suited to quiet vacations - most people were either honeymooners or young adults during our stay.
Plenty of water sports equipment available and the beach was beautiful.
Every morning someone came down to set up a beach chair for us. We spent several days just swimming and lazing around under the palm trees.
The gardeners were a special treat. Greeting you every time you saw them (and there are so many always working to keep the gardens beautiful). They will cut you down a coconut to drink, even providing a straw!
One suggestion. Take Immodium. We both came down with a touch of stomach bug, as did some others. A trip to the doctor will cost $50 so its well worth taking a package of tablets with you.
We loved Cuba and the Cuban people must be the friendliest in the world that we have seen on our many travels. We did read up and took small gifts for the maids and the gardeners and our travel guides who seem to appreciate the gesture. Even though the hotel is "all inclusive" we tipped often (usually a dollar or two), including the entertainers in the restaurants and bar area. Considering what you tip for dinner, what you end up spending in small tips is miniscule and goes a long way to help a struggling economy.
We can't wait to go back and would recommend this hotel to anyone.
First class hotel
My partner and I travelled to Cuba, Hotel Sol Melia Paradisus Varadero from 10th November through 3rd December 2002 an all inclusive holiday.Hotel and Room: First impressions were overwhelming, over wooden catwalks (to the left and right fishponds and in the middle of each a small island with tropical plants) you enter a massive reception area, columns supporting the open ceilings Caribbean style - and all of it in soft pastel colours. Marble flooring tone in tone. This is the main hotel house and almost everything takes place here. Seen from the entrance to the left you have conference rooms, the reception and main buffet-restaurant. To the right, baggage claim and storage room, travel+tour reception and the 24-hour bar. Around the corner from the 24-hour bar another area with the stage, the disco, souvenir shop and ***** toilets. If you visit them, even these will amaze you. The check-in was a breeze, the room key a magnetic card, granting access to electricity, and to the room safe. We and our baggage were driven to our room in an extended golf-buggy. Second impressions, wow !! The room just one of eight, in the villa-like house. The bathroom, marble tiles, two wash basins, a bidet, bath+shower, wardrobe and the rest of the trimmings. The main room divided into upper and lower parts separated by a chaise-longue; the upper part with a massive double-bed yes the mattresses were hard but suitable for most europeans, the lower part a living area with two rattan chairs a rattan table and a writing table. Not forgetting the TV or the balcony opening on to the garden.Food and Beverage: Our first breakfast took our breath away. The main buffet-restaurant met all tastes, fresh fruit, salads, fresh juices, cereals, bread and rolls, cold-meats, sausages, bacon, eggs fried and scrambled, omelettes prepared on the spot, prawns and a myriad of other dishes. Lunch buffet the same thing but I add different combinations, loads of fresh fish and crustaceans galore including shrimps, prawns, king prawns, crawfish and on the odd occasion lobster, not to forget a large choice of desserts, cream cakes and other sweets. The dinner buffet needs no more comments. Leaving me to say, the food was at all times so varied that the chance of anyone having to eat the same thing day in day out, was near impossible. As an alternative during the day, the beach grill depending on supply and demand serving fresh seafood. We also ate at the pool restaurant snacks and fast food (during the evening the Al Hambra a la Carte). We managed to get a la Carte once a week (booking in advance is recommended) and one out of three the Al Hambra, was the best.The main bar opened 24/7 and but for a six day episode with a group of storming drunken Canadians with travel jugs gallon size, the bar remained well stocked throughout the three weeks. I must add all other Canadians behaved in a very civilised manner. To escape this sometimes loud atmosphere, we opted for the beach bar, which was just as good but not as well stocked.Service and Personnel: The service was first class, all the personnel were friendly and jovial without over doing it. Most of the personnel felt privileged to work at the hotel. This being Cuba, we knew their wages were fairly minimum and that with a little bit of good will and the occasional dollar tip, we were not only doing them a favour but that the service given was kept to a high standard.Sport and Entertainment: Loads of things to do and see. This is the only spot where I was personally disappointed but this is Cuba. Snorkelling was a disappointment because unless you are prepared to swim 100 to 200 yards from the beach you will see little of the marine fauna. A bicycle ride ended ten minutes after it started. The bikes themselves not living up to a fans standards, badly maintained. The entertainment hosts and hostesses were friendly but not pushy, if you decided not to take part in things like aqua-gymnastics or pool ball, volleyball etc. If you like Cuban music and love Salsa (which I do) and adore dance shows (which I do not) then you will be absolutely enthused by the evenings dance shows and daily changing themes.Summary: First class hotel with beautiful gardens, first class food, fantastic beach, absolutely great personnel.Tips: Do take a couple of tours. Havanna (you will probably see the other side of the coin). An absolute must is Pinar del Rio.
Not Worth the Money
We stayed at the Paradisus for one week at the end of January 2003. We have travelled extensively and this hotel simply doesn't justify the 5 star rating.The hotel grounds are very nice and the pool is absolutely gorgeous. With the exception of the main buffet restauarant, the service in the bars and restaurants was very good and the staff were very friendly. However, that is where the good new ends.In our week there we were only able to get bookings at the a la carte restaruants twice as they were always booked. We tried to make the boookings the very first day we arrived. The food in the buffet was mediocre at best and, contrary to what was advertised, lobster was only available once.
On more than one occasion, the food was not properly cooked, including omlettes that were raw in the middle. The quality of the food was very inferior to what I have experienced in other 5 star resorts.They advertise that the mini bar is provided with beer and bottled water and is re-stocked every day. Not once during our stay did we get bottled water or beer without phoning the front desk, even after tipping the person who actually comes around with the cart delivering the water.We had heard that the beds in Cuba tended to be very firm but nothing could have prepared us for the beds at the Paradisus. I have never tired to sleep on anything so hard and uncomfortable in my life. Try a concrete block with a cotton sheet!For our first day and a half we had no hot water and even after that, the best we could get in the shower was luke warm water.Most of the equipment in the fitness facility was not working and the tiles were peeling up on the floor. The gym area is where the 2 small jacuzzis are located but it is locked up at 7 PM so you can't use them in the evening. The hotel is very new but is already showing sings of wear and tear.The hotel looks like a 5 star but the service, food, and amenities are sadly lacking. If you just want to drink lots and don't mind "trough food" save lots of money and stay in a 3 star. We would not stay at the Paradisus again under any circumstances.
Just came back from my vacation at the Paradisus Varadero and it was amazing. This hotel is the best kept secret in vacation travel. Service, food, beach. pool and people are awsome. see some pictures at paradisusvaradero.
The Best Holiday Ever!!
I have just returned home today (June 01) from my 2nd stay at the Paradisus Hotel in Varadero.. My first time unfortunately I did not take in my surroundings as much as I should have. I am happy to say that I have seen more and done more at this Fabulous Hotel on my 2nd time around. I chose to return because of the very friendly staff! I can not say enough of how wonderful everyone has been. One week before coming to the Pardisus, my husband and I had spent our time at another resort, Unfortunalety I am unable to say the same about the staff there. It to was a very beautiful resort but the staff had spoiled the beauty of this place... Absolutely everyone was friendly and always greeted you with a smile. Rooms were beautiful and clean. The beach was more individualized than the other ones that I had seen. Just a more comfortable surrounding altogether!! The evening shows were terrific. Obviously alot of work put into the costumes, the planning , the rehersals, and the final show.. Pools were very clean. Restaraunts were beautiful!!! I was very suprised when some of the staff remembered that I had been there before. Goes to show that you are not considered just another number in the human race.. The people there really do care.... I will spread the word to everyone possible about this wonderful place...... And would like to be able to return to.
Great beach, but
Arrived late at nite about 3 am, a mass of confusion at check in, finally got my room, view was ocean front, mini bar was not stocked, and just when i was ready to hit the sack , thank god i sat on the bed before just jumping in , for sure i would have broken something, this is the hardest bed i have ever slept on in my life .It is a shame because with the food being good, the property being wonderful , it indeed will stop me from returning to this property. After one week of rest I need 4 weeks of chiro ,
The all-in in this hotel really means ALL-IN. You can eat lobster as much as you can. Even diving and a boattrip with a catemaran is included. The rooms are beautiful and clean and the food and service is excellent.You must try the "a la carte restaurants".If you aren't satisfied in this hotel I'm afraid you'll never be.
To start, the Paradisus was an incredible hotel. I took my parents their for Xmas and was kind of skeptical about what I would do.We got to the resort and it is very private, 5star plus some :)The staff were all friendly, the resort was immaculate, the food was always good and the entertainment never stopped. My parents had the time of their life, travelled into Havana. I hit the clubs outside of the resort and also took advantage of the free catamaran ride. They take you to a private beach where you can swin in the ocean or a lagoon. It was breathtaking.The resort did not have many kids at all. The age range was late 20's and up and 90% couples. It was peacful and relaxing. For a $1.00US tip, the gardners would bring you breakfast to your room. They would pick fruit off the trees and cut it up for you on the spot.There was never a line up for food and you rarely had to wait as the restaurants were quite large.We are going back this November!
Varadero Paradisus Resort: A True Paradise.
I went to Varadero, Cuba in August 2002. I love the Caribbean, and this has to be one of the most beautiful destinations that I have ever been to. Varadero is clean, tropical, and safe. It is a true paradise.
I stayed at an idyllic resort called the Paradisus. The resort is designed in a low-level bungalow style. For people who are not fans of large, flashy, and high-rise resorts, this is the place to go. The resort is large and airy, especially the main lobby. The main lobby has marble floors, arches and pillars, and tropical colours - absolutely stunning!
The grounds were immaculately kept and the rooms were likewise. I stayed in room 3125, a quiet ocean front room on the first floor. If you go to the main website for the Paradisus, you will see a picture of a "blue" room. My room looked exactly like this picture. If you want an ocean front room, I suggest that you ask for one on the first floor, not the ground floor, because the palm trees on the beach will block your view of the ocean.
The room was spacious and nicely furnished. It had that comfortable Caribbean air to it. The maid service was also very good. At reception, you are given a card that you insert into a receptacle on the wall at the entrance to your room that turns the electricity on in your room. Do not remove this card during your stay or nothing in your room will work such as the lights, air conditioner, etc. I should warn you that the beds are very hard.
The most outstanding feature at the resort was the level of service. The Cubans are friendly by nature, but the staff at the Paradisus exceeded all standards. The service was impeccable. It was the best that I have ever experienced! The staff was top notch. They were friendly, warm, and accommodating. They were sincerely there to make your holiday absolutely perfect. They were more than willing to tend to your every need - just take the time to talk to them and they will be more than happy to ensure that your stay is wonderful.
The swimming pool was one of the most beautiful and largest swimming pools that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I did not spend much time at the swimming pool because there were a lot of children in this area. Since I wanted an atmosphere that was quiet and relaxing, I spent most of the time at the beach.
The resort offered excellent entertainment. I only watched several shows because I was usually in bed by the time that the shows started (10:00 - 10:30 pm). There was a different show every night, and I wish that I watched them all.
The food at the resort was average. It was definitely not gourmet food. I spoke to several other tourists from the resort and several other tourists from other resorts and they also felt the same way about the food. I guess that it's just Cuban food! The restaurant called Turey or Romantico served the best dishes. This restaurant was also the only restaurant that had air conditioning. Despite the simplicity of food, there was an abundance of lobster. On specific days of the week such as Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the buffet served all-you-can-eat lobster. On these days, I didn't make a reservation at the a la carte restaurants because I wanted the lobster from the buffet. Also, the tropical drinks such as pina coladas, daiquiris, and margaritas were excellent. They were made from real fruit, not syrup.
The beach at the resort was spectacular. It was one of the most beautiful beaches that I have ever seen! You could walk on the beach for miles without seeing anyone (this is if you walked off the Paradisus property). The beach had powdery white sand and calm clear water with no rocks. The beach and water were incredibly clean. There were a lot of sun loungers and umbrella huts on the beach.
Even though the resort is all-inclusive (tips as well), you would be surprised how far a little tipping goes. The staff, especially the restaurant servers and maids, really appreciates when you leave them a tip. I suggest that you bring a lot of US $1 bills.
The Paradisus is definitely a 5 star resort when compared to other resorts in Varadero. However, if you are looking for the Ritz-Carlton, you won't find it in Varadero. The Paradisus is a top of the line resort in Varadero, but this is according to Cuban standards. If you are expecting the Paradisus to be a luxurious resort like the Ritz-Carlton, you'll be in for a surprise. Also, if you are single, this is not the place for you to go because the majority of tourists at the resort are couples and families.
Overall, I had a fantastic time in Varadero, Cuba. The Paradisus exceeded my expectations. I can't say enough good things about this resort. Even though the Paradisus is more expensive than the other resorts in Varadero, it is definitely worth every penny! I can't wait to return to this true paradise.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding this resort.
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