More about Paradisus Varadero
Varadero is a particularly fabulous area of interest for Ecologists and photographers. At the edge of the beach by Paradisus Varadero there is an Ecological reserve. I spent several very happy days walking through this ocean side area of coral reef photographing fossils and other items of interest. We were particularly lucky in thay we arrived just after a huge storm and so there was a lot of interesting debris washed up by the sea. Rock pools were a haven for ocean life. You need to take care though and watch out for things like freak waves and blow holes in the reefs.
Guided tours are arranged by some of the hotels in the area and these are generally free of charge.
This month I booked online through cubapasion this Paradisus Varadero hotel of which I had heard so many good comments about. To tell you the truth, this is an impresive resort. Cuban people is the kindest one I have ever met since I ahve been traveling arround. The service was really great, especially the Turey restaurant. Excellent.
A Paradise hotel for couples... but not for single girls!!!
We stayed at the Paradisus Varadero February 7 to 14, 2004. We had initially booked the Sol Sirenas and we got switched to this resort as the Sirenas was overbooked. We have heard horror stories from other travelers who weren't as lucky as we were and stayed at the Sirenas. OF course, when you get to your destination and find out you won't be staying where you expected to be you get a little upset but we gave this resport a chance and were not disapointed at all. Here are some highlights: The grounds are absolutely beautiful. It is breathtaking to walk and look at the flowers and you really feel like you are in Paradise when you are there. The rooms are not bad, they are pretty big and fairly clean (although we did have a cockroach in our room but they came and sprayed it afterwards and did not have anymore encounters-we are in the tropics afterall!!!)As for the beach, it was really great. The sand is beautiful, there are plenty of chairs available and you are not squished like in other parts of Varadero. The pool is amazing, it is big and you can float on the chair mattresses withouth suffering too much from the sun. The staff was friendly, some more than others but in general they all smiled when you passed them on the pathways. The bartenders were really great (especially George and Adrian at the main bar, they make the best drinks!!!)Food wise, the buffet is a buffet, nothing great but nothing bad either. If I could give you advice it would be to book the Ã LA CARTE restaurants EARLY as they fill up very quickly but they are well worth it. The Romantico is by far the best. You can also have lunch at 3 of the 4 Ã LA CARTE restaurants if you get fed up of eating at the buffet but there is also a beach grill where you'll get fresh fish and seafood. If you are hungry, you can get excellent pizza all hours of the night at the Italian restaurant.The one thing that disapointed us a little was the lack of animation and the resort being filled with older people. We were two girls in our late twenties and there wasn't much going on after 11pm. We still had a great time and met lots of people but it was so dead at night that we got lots of rest!!! Overall this is a great resort and we loved our vacation but would return to this place in a couple, not with single girlfriends.Have a great stay! : )
Too bad the bus showed up to take us home
We just spent 2 weeks at the Paradisus Varadero, and absolutely loved it. We have a 12 year old son, and were really amazed at how he was treated by the staff during our stay. It did not matter if he was talking to the Chef at the beach grill, the bartender in the main lobby bar, or the lady who cleaned our room every day. They treated him with the utmost respect, curtesy and efficeincy. We have been to many places where children get ignored, unless the parent is with then every step of the way. Not this place. The kids get treated like prince and princess. The resort felt very comfortalble. We often found ourselves saying "Let's go home!" at the end of an excursion, because it felt like coming home. The staff made you so welcome, it was like being with your family while you were there. From talking to the staff, we found that most of them have worked there since the Hotel opened in 2001. It is obvoius that most of them enjoy and value their jobs with the resort. That really comes through in the way they make you feel. After a while some of them would hug us as we came accross each other, and all of them would wave or call hello, even if they were helping someone else at the time. They also went our of their way to make sure you always had what you needed. A few times the bartender from the pool bar even showed up at my chair or on the pool side to bring me some soda water or champagene, I had not even asked for...just because he noticed that it had been a while since I got myself something. Our son had his 12th birthday while we were there, and not only did they make sure we got to have dinner in the Pizza Restaurant that night, but they brought him a birthday cake and had a live band come to our table to play happy birthday to him. The room was awsome. They brought in another bed for our son, and after a little shuffling of furniture, we managed to have the extra bed in there and still keep the living are intact. It was great. There was this lounge chair that acted as a divider between the two room parts, as well as a coffee table and 2 arm chairs. We had the same maid every day other than one, and she was super. We did have a safe, and kept our extra cash and id etc. in it. Although we had no worries about leaving valuables laying around the room. We also did not worry about leaving cameras or such on our pool side lounge chairs. The staff and other visitors all respected everyone else's property. So much so....that if you left your stuff unattended, and one of the occasional showers sprung from the clouds, other people would cover your stuff up to keep it dry. Food????I really wonder about some of these people. The only time you had to eat at the buffet was for breakfast, as it was the only thing open between 7 am and 10:30 am...other than the 24 hour room service...which is free by the way.
For lunch there were 3 restaurants available besides the buffet, all of which you could just show up for. For dinner there were 4 other restaurants available, but you did need a reservation for dinner. We tried them all. All I can say to the people who can actually say they did not find anything they could eat - "Stay at home!" You are obviously forgetting that in Cuba you get Cuban food. No...they don't have Alberta beef...they don't even have the same feed to give to their cattle. Yes the meat tasted different and it is tough, if you try to eat dishes that you are used to from home. If however you are brave enough to venture into the cuban recipies...you will find that there are many very good things available. With probably 400 things available at the buffet at any one time...I find it impossible for anyone not to have been able to find something they liked. They are however not too big on spices, and if you like your foods real spicy...bring some mixed blend with you to add to you meals. This is a fantastic place to bring kid and teens. They are very welcome, and well looked after. You can feel safe about allowing them to roam and explore on their own, and best of all, because the property is so large, other guests, and those without children never seem to be bothered by their presence. The hardes part is hunting up your kids when you want them back. The property is so large, that it takes over an hour to walk all the paths.
We just made sure our son had a watch, and told him where to meet us when, and that worked best. If you don't like to be around kids...no worries...just move to a different area. You could not even see from one end of the pool to the other. So you can always find a quite area, and the beach was so large, it took 15 minutes to walk from one side to the other...and that was just the part that was sandy...Then there was nearly that much again that was reef frontage. We were very sad to have to go back home again, and certainly could have occupied ourselves for at least another 2 more weeks. We did not even get to do all the activities and free excursions the hotel has to offer.
Too Bad Paradisus is in Cuba!
I chose this resort based on the short duration packages available, we went for 3 nights, 4 days, also checked all the reviews first. I'd have to say, all the positive reviews are very accurate, I would have to agree with most statements. The entire resort, people and effort made to make you feel welcomed was excellent. The food however is a different thing. The buffet was awful! Rubbery tough calimari / fishy un trimmed shrimps, bitter vegetables, dry, stale deserts, rolls and odd tasting fried foods - the only thing I could eat were the "pringles" in the resort shop! I actually lost weight! We did manage to reserve 1 night for dinner at the seafood resturant, the service was great, but the meal again was poor. It is certainly not for the lack of effort on the part of the cubans, I really think they need a north american or european chef staff. The majority of the guests were Canadian, which was kinda neat, and reassuring as it is a bit daunting to go to a communist country. They take your passport when you check in, which I found somewhat disconcerting, but later that night, I picked ours up. We took the Catamaran tour, which includes a stop at the Dolphinaria (although it does not specify on the info sheet) it was funny as it was very poorly organized as to who is on what bus. Make sure you ask! The folks on the catarmaran tour were great, Jenny was especially fun. I highly recommend this trip. They take you to an island called Cayo Blanco, it is truely paradise! Again they serve lunch, which was really tough fishy lobster, boiled potatoes, rice and oranges for desert. Yuk! On our return they used the sails and then started dancing on the boat on the way into the harbour, it was a hoot!
The bus trip back to the hotel was better as they actually had someone direct you to the right bus. On the way back we booked the VIP lounge check in, I would not do it again, not worth the bother. The airport at Veradaro is nice enough and Customs were easy on me, although my partner was grilled. Our room was at the farthest end of the resort and very private, the room looked right onto the ocean, we loved it. Clean and spacious. The safe worked well and we used it, feeling very confident our belongings were safe. We had to ask for a coffee maker, as ours was missing. The coffee is amazing, but if you don't like expresso, make sure you ask for it with milk. Overall the cuban people are nice, the music great and the resort has its own colony of feral kitties! They were so cute, we fed them shrimp at dinner time, they loved us! All in all, I think I will do the cruise thing next and I doubt I will return to Cuba, but the folks and resort at Paradisus get an 8 out of 10!
Honeymoon heaven & no cockroaches!
We stayed at this hotel after staying in La havana first, and found the Paradisus excellent. The room was great, service excellent, as honeymooners we got treated really well. Grounds were lovely, great pool area, and even though the hotel was full there was always room to sunbathe. The beach was as you would expect in this area of the world, white sand and clear water. The restaurants were excellent, although the buffet was not as good. We would not hesitate to go back, definately one of the best 5* hotels we have stayed in.
Beautiful hotel & beach, usual challenges with Cuba
From what we could see, the Paradisus appears to be the most beautiful hotel in Varadero. Guest rooms are arrayed in a series of 16-room villas and the property is extensive so you never get the feeling you are in a "big" hotel. The pool is stunning and they have the best beachfront of any local hotel with palm trees and plenty of space so people are not crowded together on the beautiful beach.The rooms are very nice and spacious. The beds are hard (we also stayed at the Melia Havana and its beds were much more comfortable), but you get used to them quickly. We paid an extra $30 per night for an ocean view - worth the price if you can get it.Staff are friendly and accommodating (saw lots of people making off to their room with full bottles of rum and wine). Minibar service was sporadic at best - we tried four times to have our empty minbar filled upon arrival without success and they never once got our breakfast room service order completely right. The staff appreciated tips when they got them but you never felt remotely pressured to tip.Food at the buffet was "OK" - not as bad as some people seem to indicate (remember we're talking Cuba here). There is a wide selection available to you and if you're prepared to be a bit adventurous, you'll find plenty that is very enjoyable to eat including fresh grilling stations, pasta bar, fresh fish, etc. From what I can gather, our variety of food was much better than many other hotels. For the first few days the french fries tasted rancid but then I think they changed the oil and they were fine after that. They have three "restaurants" that you can book - do it early to avoid disappointment. They all offer "good" food in relatively small portions so don't be afraid to order two entrees if you are hungry.Ambience is very international with a mix of Canadians and Europeans. Mostly couples and some families. Nightlife at the hotel is somnolent so if you want to party the night away you need to take an (inexpensive) taxi ride to one of the nearby clubs.Bottom line: if you are a mature couple or family looking for a romantic get away in a beautiful setting you will enjoy yourself immensely. On the other hand, if you are are expecting a five star hotel in the sense of top Ameircan or European big city hotels with Michelin-star food quality and flawless service look somewhere other than Cuba (or most of the rest of the Carribean for that matter).
THE HORRIBLE HOLIDAY
I sat on the loo at 4am, doubled over with stomach cramps.
Blinking to rid my eyes of those dizzy black spots, I scratched my agonisingly itchy bottom. Those aren't spots! I stood and looked into the loo, where four or five mozzies flew randomly in delerium, full of blood sucked from my itchy derriere.
I was slap bang in the middle of the Holiday from Hell. Eight thousand Euro worth of The Big Swizz, from the so called Air France Premium Economy flights to the joke of a five star hotel.
Add in Cuba's "Big Freeze" and being booked into a couple's only hotel by mistake (we were Mother and Daughter) and you have some image of a nightmare trip.
You might be forgiven if you imagine that I met a handsome prince out here and sailed off into a (warm) golden sunset but, you know, those things only happen in dreams and fairy stories.
Aren't you sick and tired of being cramped into a space just large enough to accomodate an anorexic ten year old? Well, I am anyway - not to mention my sadly expanding waistline.
I'm also fed up complaining about it, so I decided to take action and upgrade our seats. Premium Economy was recommended and I figured I'd opt for that as an affordable stepping stone to Business Class.
Before booking I read all about it online - whatever I could find. Unfortunately, many of the bells and whistles associated with Premium Economy Class pertain solely to certain models of Air France aircraft which was not, as it happened, the aircraft we were on.
The shortcomings in the disappointing upgrade extended even to the most basic things - such as having no magazines in the English language and just one newspaper (and by that I mean one copy of one paper).
I was so wound up over what we were NOT getting for our upgrade that I arrived in Varadero feeling exhausted and frsustrated.
"The Hotel that Wasn't"
We arrived at our luxurious five star hotel at midnight and I couldn't wait to get to my sea front room with hand painted walls and dream about exploring the on site eco-park.
I stood in the busy queue at reception and lamented as some poor unlucky sod discovered they were at the wrong hotel. Ha ha ha, the laugh was on me - we were at the wrong hotel too! Hold on a sec, this is the Paradisus Varadero, isn't it? Yes indeed, but you're booked in our sister hotel. Oh no we're not. Oh yes you are. After doing the panto routine for five or tenminutes we were shunted back on the bus to the sister hotel and the next nightmare.
We are planning to visit Paradisus in Varedaro August 2006 has anybody been to this hotel and if so is it as good as all the brochures suggest also is the snorkling any good in varedaro i have seen mixed reports some people say no good at all as all the coral is dead we snorkled in Guardalavaca in 2004 it was fantastic the fish would eat banana from your handsso will it be as good in Varedaro