Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa
25 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
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
A perfect holiday
"The holiday was perfect, we stayed at the hotel for 14 nights during the last two weeks of June 2011. We were really lucky with the weather.
The hotel was everything discribed in the brochure, although if you are a vegitarian you will find a varied diet a challenge. The maid kept the room really nice and made nice shapes with the towels with some flowers.
We had most meals in the buffet restaraunt which was really good. We did try the other restarants, The Cuba was brilliant, The Med had great service and the food was great but the atmosphear was a little cold. We did not go into the others as they had no vegitarian options.
We swam with Dolphins as part of a sun cruise.This was a great day. The only thing that happened that did spoil the day a bit was the aggresive/pushey way a tip was being asked for by the so called professional photographer assistant which was not a nice experience.
The excursion to Santiago de Cuba was a great day, and the guide was very informative (ex teacher) Santiago was very safe but take plenty of small change for the poor people. They were very friendly and not once did we feel unsafe or intimidated but there is a lot of poverty so a few coins would be a nice gesture.
The beach at the hotel was really nice but be warned that dirty smokers kept leaving their fag buts on the beach which did spoil the look of the place, esp around the sun loungers (dirty habbit). Both of the above are minor problems. The hotel and staff were really nice and you saw the general manager on a regular basis walking around checking that all was okay.
The Staff were indeed brilliant. (it is worth going again just because of the staff)They gave the impression of knowing you which was a great experience.
When you go take more than what you need of sun cream etc so that you can leave this behind for the staff. From what I could find out tips go into a central pot but gifts go to the person you hand it to. We gave our extra suncream etc to the staff that looked after us in the restaruant.
To sum up the hotel was brilliant, the people even better, but please if you go make sure you go on trips to see the real Cuba. When you pack,take more cream etc than you need to leave behind."
- Travel date: Sun 3rd of July 2011
I wanna go back!
"That sums up this holiday. I do want to go back. Flights with First Choice were comfortable and enjoyable (not something I usually say abotu a ten hour flight) - when we landed I felt like I had simply flown within Europe.
A hurricane had swept through this part of the island less than six months before our visit so many local buildings were still being repaired and the hotel grounds had suffered with many trees being uprooted and now replanted and the gardens having had a bad time. The ground-staff were doing a marvellous job and it did NOT detract from the ambiance at the hotel.
At Holguin airport everything went smoothly wiht all officials very polite and welcoming - even with my stammering embarrassing attempts at Spanish.
Then the hotel..... I cannot understand the review which complains about "half painted walls and crumpled curtains" The decor is 'rustic' and the gaps in decoration are part of the decor - duh! The curtains are thick and thermal designed to keep out the heat of the sun. As for air con not working properly - it works when the room key card is put into a slot so it doesnt get left on all day wasting electricity (remember you are visiting a country which is poor in natural fuel resources so its very sensible).
The staff could not have been more helpful - at NO TIME did any of them ask for tips, or hover or pay more attention because someone tipped well - if only that was the case in They are grateful for the tourists who bring them employment and are rateful for tips or gifts of toiletries etc but not ingratiating or obsequious (swallowed a dictionary now!).
The pool was a lovely calm area with a swim up bar and attentive staff providing pool side service as well. At the beach the staff pay as much attention as anywhere else - and the pig roasts on Wednesdays were VERY popular for a lunchtime snack. Coconuts opened and filled with white run and handed over with a straw combined with the sun are a wonderful way to pass an afternoon. Take a pair of goggles and snorkel with you - there is a plethera of sealife a few feet from the shore - fascinating to watch and wonderfully relaxing too.
Guadalavaca village is close by - take the horse-drawn buggy its cheap and if you speak to the driver he will chat to you - but dont expect perfect english! The village has a few hotels and very large flat sandy beach but apart from the local craft market on a Saturday there isn't a lot to do. Prices at the market are VERY reasonable even though there is a lot of tat.
As for staff at the hotel - try your Spanish - even a few words and they will help you - I was ashamed I had not had time to do some swotting up and will try before my next visit - my partner is a fluent Spanish speaker so I tend to be lazy! The staff will most grateful for small toiletries - disposable razors, soap, toothbrushes etc as these are so expensive locally - if they can get them - think of it as an extra 'tip'.
Food - wow! The main buffet restraurant is amazing with fresh food cooked to order for you at every meal. The Jananese restaurant is great fun - and you can even try your hand at cooking on the wok. We were not impressed by El Patio which seemed just too stuffy for us - but the Mediterranean and Cuban restaurants were both most enjoyable.
We didn't go on any excursions as we thought they were too expensive - and people who had visited before comment on this as well and the rep did agree that prices had risen sharply.
We are looking for a return visit - maybe even in the next few weeks. I can't wait."
- Travel date: Sat 3rd of October 2009
"Not sure why your description of hotel says "Holquin" - yes, that's the airport you fly into, but Paradisus Rio De Oro Hotel we went to was about 1 hour away in Guardalvaca Bay region on the north coast. All I can say is that it earns its' ***** status as its one of the best hotels we've been to in Cuba. Brilliant rooms, pools, beach "to die for" and fantastic live shows with a Big Band + Dancers who work their socks off! We particulary loved the outside lunch time restaurant with waiter service-great fun and excellent meals. My only draw back was the long distances between the main buildings and the pool area as I have walking difficulties, but people buggies were available which helped, otherwise we intend going back sometime soon."
- Travel date: Mon 31st of August 2009
"Well be prepared for an alternative view from lots of the others on here... We had a bit of a nightmare situation where we had to change our booking at the last minute with First Choice due to the swine flu crisis that blew up just weeks before. We had originally booked a five star accommodation in Mexico so were told this resort was excellent and on a level with the one we couldnt go to. Ok the good points first the upgrade is worth paying for with flights and we certainly couldnt fault our flights in and out of Holguin the in flight meals were great and we really felt relaxed. The food in the resort was fantastic and we were spoilt for choice with the different a la carte restaurants and buffet. The pool area was nice and clean and there was ample room with enough beds for all. The beach was small but lovely with bar staff ready to help with drinks etc... Now for the bad points which have really let the resort and in fact Cuba down as a whole.. We had paid a lot of money extra for a junior suite which was a mini apartment attached to another one. When we opened the door it was obvious that the air con wasnt working properly as even on full it was warm in the room. The sea view room we had booked was looking over a grass hill and not as we had expected. After baring with it for an hour we asked to change rooms and were given a sea view room which in my opinion was more like a three star apartment than a five star. The walls were painted with bits missed out and covered over roughshod, the unit with the tv on was broken, we had two chairs out on our patio that had never been cleaned and one disgusting sunbed that was filthy beyond belief full of stains. We asked for that to be changed and it was then it disappeared altogether. The curtains were crumpled and creased up and the blinds were torn and hanging down in the side windows. This aside,we had read a review about the cashier on the resort who shortchanged money when being converted, and true enough she did this to us and when we explained she hadnt given us the correct amount back she threw the money at us. The Japanese restarant has a little wooden bridge which was extremely unsafe to walk on as we found out when my partners leg went through into the water below. All this was reported to the travel rep who was happy to listen but not prepared to come back to us with any updates on resolving this.In a nutshell for us the rooms were extremely 'tired' and in desperate need of a refurb as this lets the resort down greatly. The final straw for us was in the airport on our way out when we were informed there were lots of shops for duty free goods etc and we could change money in the airport if we needed more Cuban pesos... dont bother changing the money the shops have nothing worth buying apart from trashy goods or cigars. The very same thing happened to us with the money exchange there only this time the guy was braver and tried to keep over Â£10.00 which he said was for commission??????? when we asked him for a receipt it was clear as day he had lied so we asked him for the proper amount and he threw back the pesos to us and said we had to keep the money(which is usless outside of Cuba)On doing this I said he needed to get me a manager and the Cuban authorities so I could report him stealing and he immediately converted the money to the correct amount so beware this happened to two other tourists after us...all in all a very disappointing side to a country which is trying to generate more tourism at a very tough time. We would never consider going back to Cuba. "
- Travel date: Fri 14th of August 2009
"We have just returned from our honeymoon at the Paradisus Rio de Oro, we had a fantastic time, the staff are very helpful and friendly, always smiling, the Spa is out of this world and we would recommend a massage, this is the first time we had been all inclusive and we were not dissapointed, the food was fresh, cooked to order (how you like it), and the variety was amazing.
We found the Cuban people really nice, shame about the thunderstorms which occurred nearly every other night, !! would like to go back - this place was pure paradise."
- Travel date: Sat 4th of July 2009
Went to the paradisus Rio De oro for our...
"Went to the paradisus Rio De oro for our honeymoon. It is a beautiful place food was fantastic service we could not fault. We had a special honeymoon dinner right by thebeach which we will not forget. dont forget to take your own snorkles, otherwise you have to use the resorts equiment.
Only comments I would make was that we booked a day at the Spa and were charged for it ; whereas another honeymoon couple were told they could have it for free?
Unfortunatly, I think if i were to return to this resort it would not be with First Choice. Our flight out was excellent and we recieved really good service.
On the way back our flight was delayed for 48 hours due to problems wth the auxillary engine??. On the second day they boarded everyone on the plane that had no air conditioning, shut all the doors whilst the captain tried to get the engines started.Not a very nice situation in cuban heat, or people who are anxious about flying.
luckily we were sent back to Paradisus Rio De Oro for the extra 2 nights, for somewhere to sleep and get some food, the first choice manager at rio de oro, was very supportive.
We kept being sent up to Holguin airport to wait all day. We were offered drinks at the airport by the afternoon, but obviously peoples tempers were flaring up at each other trying to grab drinks at the bar(poor management of situation). Toilets at holguin airport did not flush (not nice when you are stuck there all day). Eventually a "rescue plane" had to come from Gatwick to get us.
Would have been a dream holiday, but ruined by first choice, havent even had a letter of apology. "
- Travel date: Sat 9th of August 2008
Excellent flight with First Choice from...
"Excellent flight with First Choice from Manchester. It is worth upgrading - you get free drinks, orders taken at your seat, and a staged good quality meal (i.e. the starter arrives before the main course). The flight went direct to Holguin without stopping, some of the other airlines have a stop on the way.
Arrival formalities in Holguin were very well managed and very efficient. Transfer to the hotel was fine.
What can I say about the hotel? Well, it was the best hotel and all inclusive I have ever stayed in. The food was excellent with a choice of wines in the speciality restuarants. All the wine was decent, either Spanish or Cuban. The quality and quantity of the food was superb. The sea food was beyond belief. I have never eaten so much Lobster and squid!
The beach was also very good and the snorkeling from the beach was brilliant. You can easily swim out to the reef where the catamerans stop on their trips.
The hotel room service was first class, everything was delivered very quickly, even bottles of sparkling wine were on the room service menu.
The only problem was the perennial issue of reserving sun beds with towels. I don't know why they don't follow the Riu Mexico example - if you leave your towel unattended on a sun bed you loose it and have to pay a fine to get it back.
The other guests were mainly Canadian and European - no Americans for obvious reasons.
It was such a good experience that we are returning next year!"
- Travel date: Fri 30th of May 2008
Went to paradisus for our honeymoon and...
"Went to paradisus for our honeymoon and was absoulutely fantastic in every way. Food was superb (must try the lobster) , our hotel room and the grounds are well looked after, very clean and luxurious. The staff are wonderful, v helpful and have great sense of humour and the locals are very friendly too.
We went to Havana on an overnight excursion and went to tropicana while there which is a definate must do, but found the island paradise excursion disapointing and abit boring. Best trip was swimming with dolphins, had alot of good quality time with them and alot of interaction, it was great value for money.Spent sometime at there spa and had a few treatments (choc wrap and couples massage) very relaxing and the private pool and beach at the spa is very romantic.
The only disapointing part of our trip was the flights, especially outbound, check in staff were un-helpful and miserable, we upgraded to premier, which is definately not worth the money and the seats were uncomfortable, i was not even seated next to my husband, even though we were one of the first to check in. "
- Travel date: Sun 23rd of March 2008
We spent two weeks at the Paradisus in J...
"We spent two weeks at the Paradisus in June and had a really good time. However we don't think that we will be going back in future.
The rooms were nice, but could have been better. Our room was between two others and felt very dark as it only had the patio doors on to the balcony. Due to the lack of ventilation there was also a constant smell of damp. The bathroom was quite basic and at times there was little hot water, which for a 5 star hotel was a big disappointment.
The bar area and the restaurants were really well presented. There are 4 a la carte restaurants, however the Mediterranean was closed the whole time we were there so we never got a chance to visit it. The others were lovely and the buffet was also really nice with good variety.
The main thing about this hotel was the amazing beach. It was fantastic with light sand and bright blue sea - just like in the photos. We were extremely lucky and had brilliant weather which meant we spent a lot of time on the beach and in the sea which basically made the holiday for us.
The staff were helpful, however they only went out of there way for people who were big tippers.
If you are a couple I don't think that it's the best place to go, as there seemed to be more groups of friends there than couples on there own which was quite overpowering at times.
We did have a really great time, which I think was mainly to do with the weather and a great beach, but I do think this is more a 4 star than a 5 star hotel."
- Travel date: Thu 19th of July 2007
This was the holiday of a lifetime. Wen...
"This was the holiday of a lifetime. Went for son's wedding and everything was organised beautifully at the perfect venue.
Evening entertainment shows were of really high caliber. Variety of activities available, though for myself it was the dance and music which I enjoyed to the full. All decor was tasteful showing an artistic flair with nothing tacky. Facilities and food were wonderful, plenty of choice even for a gluten free vegetarian!
What made it really special however were the Cuban people. Have traveled widely in Europe and been to Asia and never met a people so full of joi de vie, rhythm and friendliness. Somehow or other I will be going back."
- Travel date: Sat 29th of July 2006