Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa
25 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
A Perfect Holiday
"We cannot say enough about the wonderful week of Feb 7 -14 that we spent at this all-inclusive resort. Four of us sailed, snorkelled, scuba-dove, rode mopeds, rode horses, swam, and walked on the beach. We felt valued, pampered, and secure wherever we went!
The food was excellent in all venues, with the Japanese restaurant and the ambience of the Mediterranean receiving special mention. We were amazed at the quality of the professional shows staged in the evenings; they rivaled any we have seen in our travels on cruise ships or other hotels. The dancers, especially, wowed us with their blending of classical and Latin dance and their fabulous costumes.
The Cubans are beautiful people who realize the importance of tourism to their economy and strive to give their best to all visitors and all requests.
Tipping was not required but we did, gladly, as it is quietly and genuinely appreciated. We left small gifts (soap, toothbrushes, hair clips, etc.) for the room maid each day and we heard of others who brought clothing (t-shirts, bras, children's things) which is in short supply for the locals.
The atmosphere at the resort is serene and relaxed; we could tell it was well supervised, but there was no overt show of authority. Each employee, from gardener to the guard of The Villas did his/her job with purpose and a smiling "Hola" for all who approached.
We, normally, do not return to places we have been, preferring to try something new, but the Paradisus in Holguin is an exception. We would return in a minute and for 2 weeks, next time!"
- Travel date: Mon 16th of February 2004
We Agree...Paradise in Cuba
"Just returned from one week at Paradisus Rio De Oro (Feb 5/04) and had a wonderful time. From the moment we arrived we were impressed by the attention paid to detail. The open air lobby was spotless and all of the gardens were beautiful. Our room was great...a king size bed and sitting area with large bathroom. The food was consistently excellent.
Our favorite restaurant was the Japanese a la carte and I would recommend that you book for it soon after your arrival. There are three other a la carte restaurants... all very good. The main buffet was great for breakfast...lots of fresh squeezed orange juice, made to order omlettes, fresh pastries and much, much more...lunch also very good and dinner great. You pick out your fresh seafood and meat and have it grilled to you liking while you wait...made to order pasta bar, and lots more. The pool side restaurant has a great buffet at lunch and the beach restaurant is also very good. We were really surprised at the pizza served both at lunch and dinner...some of the best thin crust I have ever had. The entertainment was good to excellent and we went every night. The activities centre offers lots of things...you book you water sports equipment, obtain your pool towels, snorkel equipment (get there early as this equipment is very popular). They also arrange walking tours, bus trips (more reasonable than the travel agent), yoga classes, step classes and lots more. My 18 year old daughter took dance lessons and Spanish lessons daily..had a blast. She also went horseback riding as often as she could. My son 16, played pool and beach volleyball as much as he could. He also took sailing lessons and loved it. We all had a massage, $25.00 for an hour and well worth every cents. Massages are done in a hut that is built on stilts over the ocean. There is a glass floor underneath so that you can watch the water during the massage. The 'hot/cold' tub that is built over the ocean is a wonderful place to spend a few hours in the afternoon. Sun beating down while you sit in cool water being served champagne in chilled flutes...is this paradise or what. If you come to Cuba, bring gifts to leave behind. These people have very little and are most appreciative of anything you give them...we brought pens, crayons, markers, bandaids, and niki socks...would bring more niki stuff next time...Strange to say... if you have a brand name pair of running shoes you about to replace, bring them to leave for someone down there...Tipping is included in most packages but we tipped anyway. Only $1 -$2 dollars at a time but you could tell that it too was most appreciated. Can't wait to go back next year..."
- Travel date: Tue 10th of February 2004
Green Tomatoes and all!
"I had to write a quick review on the Paradisus. My husband and I went two years ago and have just booked for this March. My comment is in respect to the green tomatoes, we too thought that they looked awful.
But I had been warned about this and was told that they were delicious.
Low and behold they were great! Far better than anything we were getting at home at this time and better than most of the year. Looks can be deceiving! The resort is wonderful, and is number one in Cuba for a reason."
- Travel date: Wed 14th of January 2004
Paradise at Paradisus
"December 26/03 - January 9/04 This was the first trip to Cuba for myself and my wife and won't certainly be the last. Having travelled extensively throughout Mexico and Caribeaan I can safely say that this was the most beautiful resort we've ever visited. Where to begin? The staff were absolutely wonderful and always seemed happy and cheerful.
The grounds and pool area are immaculate and beautiful.The beaches were pristine. The food was very consistent with a wide selection to suit any palatte. The a la carte restaurants were all superb. A word of caution though, make your reservations for these restaurants as soon as possible after arrival or you may not get in. This is most important for those who only stay for one week. Some of the sidetrips are very good as well. You may choose to take a daytrip on a large catamaran and be treated to a great Lobster Lunch. The Dolphin swim is also excellent. My wife and I twice attempted to take the daytrip to Havana but sadly it ended up being cancelled both times.
While tipping at the resort isn't required you will certainly find that the American $1 bill speaks volumes. Everyday we left our maid a tip and our room was always cleans within 30 minutes of when we left our room in the morning. Tip the bartenders a dollar while at the lobby bar and you will always get quickly noticed when ordering more drinks.
The on site store has many souvenirs available and is a safe way to purchase real Cuban cigars. If you are a smoker you can purchase cigarettes for $1.00 per pack. Sometimes $5.00 for a carton!
Perhaps the best money my wife and I spent was taking advantage of the VIP airport service when going home. Instead of standing in separate lines for baggage check-in, departure tax payment, and immigration,(all non air conditioned). This process would normally take at least 60 to 90 minutes. With the VIP service we were allowed to check our bags immediately at a special line and pay our departure tax at the same time. We were then quickly whisked to an empty immigration line for VIPS only to get the customs taken care of. This entire process took no more than 10 minutes! On top of that we were that taken up some stairs to a private AIR CONDITIONED LOUNGE with free food and beverages unitl our plane departed. Cost was $20.00 per person. VERY VERY WORTH IT!
I would advise against travelling to the resort between Christmas and New Year because the resort is very full and some patience is required during meals and finding a place by the pool or on the beach. The 2nd week we were there, there was at least 25% less people. No waiting at the buffet, always a pool lounger or beach chair available.
In closing, I can't see how anyone could be dissapointed by this place.
It is truly Paradise!"
- Travel date: Wed 14th of January 2004
Had a great time, but ......
"My wife and our two teenaged daughters have just returned from spending Christmas 2003 and new years at the Rio de Oro. We spent two weeks at the resort, and yes, we did have a good time. We found the resort staff friendly, and helpful, the rooms were great, and the grounds were really quite nice and well maintained. The beaches were awesome. But, we found the food just adequate at the buffet, and terrible at two of the three restaurants that we tried. We had New Years dinner at the Japanese Restaurant and it was very nice. .... but other meals (including the buffet) were certainly not deserving of 5 star status.
We certainly noticed a lack of fresh fruit at breakfast.... and the salad bars were awfull... what's with green tomatoes anyhow ???, and the cooking onions ???? Maybe we are being too picky, but we also overheard several other guest complaining as well !!!
The resorts also claims to have 2 lit tennis courts. If you are an avid tennis player and expect a decent court ... you definitely will be disappointed here. The tennis courts are surrounded by great scenery, and are located in a well maintained gardened area, but the surface is absolutely the worst I have ever played on. Quite frankly, the surface is unplayable (for games) as many portions of the lines are no longer visible as they have been covered in cement patchwork, and the surface is so irregular that there are several bad bounces.... kinda like playing on the Trans Canada highway north of Wawa. New nets though, and, the tennis Pro is great.... but other than that, don't come here to play tennis.
All in all, had a good time, but the food and the condition of the tennis courts were a notable disappointment."
- Travel date: Sun 4th of January 2004
Heaven on Earth
"We were a group of 8 travelling to the Paradisus for Christmas 2003.
Similar to the reviews that have been posted, this resort leaves nothing to be desired. There are daily tours included in the resort that explore the country, catamarans, snorkelling and opportunities to do as much, or as little as you would like. I have travelled extensively in the South, and was very pleased by the wonderful food quality, the variety of restaurants, as well as the outstanding selection of beverages. The staff has clearly been well trained and were some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered. If you are trying to decide on a resort...Pick this one! You will have a wonderful time, come home relaxed (or tired depending how active you are), and you will be able to experience a piece of the world where every gesture and dollar you provide for them is genuinely appreciated. Have Fun!"
- Travel date: Wed 31st of December 2003
Paradise in Cuba
"Where to start? From the moment we arrived we were treated like gold!
This resort certainly deserves the 5 stars it has. Our trip was over x-mas 2003. We stayed in the superior suites. Our two teenaged daughters had the room right next door. I would say to all of you that if you can do it, spend the extra to stay in these rooms. They are beautiful, private, and they also have a feature that all of us loved...an outdoor shower. That was worth the additional money by itself. The resort was full during our stay but you would never know it. We didn't encounter any line ups, nor did we ever have problems getting beach chairs, etc. The only thing we had trouble getting was the snorkle, mask, and flippers because they had limited supplies and everyone wanted to use what was there. We'll bring our own next time. I won't go into all the restaurants since everyone else has. All I'll say is that we enjoyed every one of the a la carte's and the buffet! We all liked the Japanese restaurant the most. Everyone mentions the staff but I want to re-iterate what has been said. The staff at this resort are incredible (Even my good friend Manual, who I think was trying to kill me with scotch!). They were outgoing, friendly and could not do enough for you. As for tipping, we did tip the first couple of days but then stopped. It was niether expected nor required. The level of our service did not drop. We tipped because we can afford to do so and it is a small way to share the wealth. Before we went, we could not understand why anyone would want to return to a particular resort when there are so many choices out there. Rio de Oro has changed our minds. We will go back."
- Travel date: Tue 30th of December 2003
"Prior to our trip we were a bit apprehensive. We read some very poor reviews about this resort. However, we were pleasantly surprised upon arrival. The grounds were stunning, the food excellent (lobster every day), the beach was beautiful too. As with most resorts, you have to get up early to get a spot by the pool, but truthfully it happens everywhere. We have done a lot of travelling in the carribean and this is one of the nicest resorts we have ever been to. Staff was very friendly, too. The weather was forecast to rain every day, but it only rained for an hour the entire week. We took some pencils, crayons, books etc, and our vacation rep was more than happy to deliver them to a local orphanage. In short, a great resort and we would highly reccommend it to anybody."
- Travel date: Mon 15th of December 2003
Christmas 2002-New Years 2003 at Paradisus de Oro
"A wonderful place to spend Christmas and New Years, especially when one distains cold weather and commercialism. Food fantastic, property, staff, and value all get our highest rating. However... wheres the value when you feel obligated to tip five to twelve individuals a day in American dollars. And why feel obligated! BECAUSE THE BONEHEADS WHO HAVE MONEY TO BURN SET THE PRESIDENCE THATS WHY. NOW...TIPPING AT THIS NO TIPPING RESORT IS EXPECTED AND THOSE WHO DONT TIP WILL NOT RECEIVE EQUAL SERVICE. Appease your liberal guilt some other way and stop Americanizing Cuba before the stars and strips are raised. This 2 week vacation package cost just shy of $8ooo.oo for the two of us. We work hard for our money and it takes a long long time to save that much disposable income. We cant afford excusions and we cant afford to tip!"
- Travel date: Thu 27th of November 2003
Excellent Resort! Better than expected.
"Excellent Resort. Drinks were good, food excellent for cuba, staff friendly, overall the best resort I've stayed at in Cuba. Would recommend to anyone. Going back very shortly. (Much better than Playa Pesquero). Costs a little higher but you get what you pay for. Not for those looking for cheap drinking holiday. This place is only for rest and relaxation."
- Travel date: Wed 26th of November 2003
Not adult only
"Our 6th visit to this resort. We have stayed in both the regular hotel and Royal Service in the past and have enjoyed both. The staff are the resorts greatest asset. The start and finish of our holidays always involve lots of hugs, kisses and handshakes. This includes staff and other returning guests!
This year our 3 week visit to the Royal Service section was adversely impacted by a number of issues.
The resort is designated and premium priced as adult only. We have encountered children on one previous visit but they were not as overt or in the same numbers as this year. Children were present in all parts of the resort and were accommodated in the Royal Service section. I give just a couple of instances of how this adversely impacted on us and our enjoyment. Breakfast in Royal Service was in the company of a screaming baby. Dinner was shared next to a child in a buggy. On one occasion we had a day at the SPA. We always enjoy the quiet beach and a bit of crab spotting. At lunch we popped up to the pool bar to say goodbye to some departing friends in the company of a few children! When we returned, after singing the coach off we were advised that we were not allowed back on the beach as the families and their children had decided to visit. They were watched over by hotel security and their own minders. I would stress that the individuals were well dressed, not offensive or rude and they seemed to be enjoying a holiday break with their families. I admit not a disaster but not what we paid for.
Our tour operator quickly identified the problem situation and offered cash compensation to those that felt they had been impacted. The lack of any detailed response from management as regards the presence of children at the hotel is at best disappointing. I was perplexed from a lack of any consistent and meaningful explanation. I was informed by management that the presence of children was outside their control. For future visitors someone needs to take ownership of the issue and provide reassurance as regards children being allowed to stay at the hotel. If they cannot provide assurances as regards remaining adult only this needs to be reflected at the time of booking. At the present time local management cannot guarantee the resort will be adult only. It all gets a bit secret squirrel and you get the impression that political pressures are involved.
I arranged our upgrade to Royal Service direct with the hotel approximately 12 months in advance. Due to some price changes and discounted rates currently available I paid considerably more than if I had just arranged the upgrade on arrival. Whilst I had the benefit of knowing my upgrade was secure the premium we paid I must confess left a nasty taste. I spoke with people who paid $96 per night whilst I paid $140 per night. In consequence I paid an additional $924 for our stay. I would recommend future travellers to upgrade on arrival if you are prepared to accept the risk of non-availability. The regular hotel is still good!
Water supply was an issue during our stay. On numerous occasions we were without any water and on others just without hot water. We are aware cold showers can be invigorating! We have sympathy for the infrastructure issues in Cuba but the situation was worse than we have experienced in previous years. The current drought may have had an impact.
As I previously stated great staff and an excellent location. The staff try their very very best with the limited resources at their disposal. Management are under performing and some strange staff changes have not been well received by many of the returners. I hope to be back but it will not be before some changes and assurances as regards being able to fulfil their adult only branding. There is a useful Facebook page in the name of the hotel for information. Please note that this is not independent and only details supportive comments rather than a balanced view of the facility.
- Travel date: Thu 23rd of March 2017
Our favour vacation place
"We stayed in this resort for 32 times. We used to come when was still family place but now for number of years is adults only. Each time we are finding that is fantastic ,clean friendly place to find out next time that they made some additional improvements. We feel like going back and visiting friends as many of them work for many years and they greeting us very warmly. We hope to go back very soon. Ewa and Ryszard Kmiotek "
- Travel date: Mon 17th of November 2014