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Paradisus Varadero GefM Muskoka

Paradisus Varadero

We stayed at the Paradisus from October 20 to the 27, 2002 and had perfect weather with temperatures of 27 in the morning and 38 during the day. This was my wife's and my first time to Cuba but it will not be our last. We haven't traveled to a tropical resort in almost 13 years so we wanted to find a beautiful place where we could relax. Originally we booked the Tryp Peninsula but were bumped here due to the Tryp closing for the month of October. We thoroughly enjoyed this resort, and it met everything we wanted in a resort. Although it is more expensive than some we would go back to the Paradisus in a minute.

Our ages fall between what seemed to be the average, 30 to 45. We did notice some families with young children, young singles and couples as well as retirees. I personally think that this resort has something for every age group. I don't think this would be the place for those who like to party loud, long and hard. I would have no problem recommending the Paradisus as a good honeymoon resort. The resort seems to draw mainly Europeans and a small percentage of Canadians.

Check-in was a breeze. After they keyed in our information the desk handed us an envelope containing our room key, a map of the resort and a thank you letter. We were then taken to our room via an extended golf cart where the person showed us how to turn on the lights (using the door key card), operate the air conditioning and the safe. The next morning we met with our tour rep. in the lobby, which I do recommend. She gave us a map showing the other resorts and area as well as a run down on the tours available.

The room was immaculate and had beautiful murals on the main living area wall as well as the bath door. The bedroom and sitting room were combined as one large room with high ceilings but had the floor of the sitting area sunken from the bed area. Off the sitting area was a roomy balcony (terrace on the ground floor) with 2 large rattan chairs and table. We had a corner room which had the balcony wrap around the side of the building slightly. The sink area was roomy with a large sink and an unusual wall mounted hair dryer and a closet opposite the sink. A door separated the sink area from a spacious room with the toilet and bathtub/shower. The room contained a king size canopy bed, 2 night tables with reading lamps, a lounge, TV and mini fridge with a couple of beer and bottled water. The sitting area had 2 large rattan chairs and table as well. There was also an iron and board, 4-cup coffee maker and an umbrella. The sink area had the standard bath and hand towels as well as small hand soap, shampoo, small sewing kit and more. The lights worked only when the card key was in its place and would shut off about 2 minutes after the key was removed. The air was ALWAYS on and was easy to control to your comfort level. I found I didn't need a converter or adapter in the sink area for my electric razor but my wife needed one for her curling iron/dryer. The maid would clean once a day and replace the towels if you wanted. Often we would return to a swan or fish she had designed with the towels and would even have fresh cut hibiscus on them. Beach towels could be replaced every day at the clubhouse where you also make reservations for dinners.

The grounds are amazing. At the central bus drop off and pick up area is a beautiful garden. The centre of the resort is a tall canopy covered area, open and airy supported by large columns and surrounded by granite floors and ponds with fish. This canopy area contains, the check in desk, car rental desk, gift and cigar shops, lobby bar, ˇ°disco clubˇ±, seating and floor for the theatre and small table games. It also connects to the main entrance of the buffet restaurant and is not far off the Spanish restaurant. Throughout this area as well as around the resort you will see beautiful impressive murals. The exteriors of each villa have tall columns that resemble the style of a southern plantation house. Pathways surrounded by lush bushes and palms wind their way throughout the resort. I even saw a small banana tree. A rectangular pool that is used for scuba lessons, dancing, aerobics and other activities as well as swimming is just off the larger pool's bar. The large pool is extremely impressive with many curves that resemble small bays of a lake. Many trees and a few cabanas are located around the pool. The pool lounges are plentiful each with a floating foam mattress pad. At night the pool is dimly lit and is a very romantic setting for lounging or even that ˇ°night swimˇ±. The beach area is very deep, long and lush with many trees and has beautiful soft white sand. ˇ°Palapasˇ± also provide much shade along with the trees. There are many lounge chairs here as well and there shouldn't be any shortage of them. I do suggest getting to the beach early to reserve one of the many prime spots. During our stay the resort was at about 42% capacity and you could actually have a chair in the shade as well as another in the sun and still see chairs unused. The beach area has to be one of, if not the best of all the ones we saw along the long stretch of the beach. The resort is connected to the ecological reserve that is free for Paradisus guests.

The restaurants are centrally located and the bars are well laid out around the resort. You are asked to reserve only twice at each restaurant except for the buffet. Reservation should be made at least one day before. Dinner attire is collared shirt and long pants. The ladies were fine wearing long pants, sarongs with a nice top or sundresses. The buffet is very large and open with a huge selection and is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Stations are set up throughout and have choices of fresh juice and fruit, fish, seafood, beef and pork, done in different ways or grilled to order. Eggs, bacon, breads, cereals, wonderful pastries and so much more can also be enjoyed here. The La Alhambra (Spanish) is large and open but still romantic. The food here was very good and includes soups, fish, grilled shrimp, chicken, beef and more as well as a good selection of wines. The Stella di mare (Italian) is a smaller and romantic setting with seating also outside in a large cabana surrounded by a pond. The food selection has salads, beef, chicken, seafood as well as a good selection of spaghetti and pizzas and wines. The Turey (ˇ°romanticoˇ±) is the fine dinning experience here. The setting is beautiful, open with tall ceilings. The ceiling has a treatment of pleated fabric and at the top of the walls is hand painted decoration that resembles applied moldings. Dishes of lobster, chateaubriand, salmon and much more are prepared to perfection. The staff is very attentive at each restaurant and quick to fill your wine glass or light your cigar. You will be serenaded by a mariachi band at the La Alhambra or at Stella di mare and by a classical band at the Turey. During the day, food and drinks can be had at the pool bar (Cairi) or the beach buffet (Chiringuito) where from 12pm to 4pm fresh fruits and veggies as well as fresh grilled beef kabobs, whole fish, chicken, pork, hamburgers and paella are served. Leo and Osbaldo at the beach bar (Carabo, my favourite) serve a great Mojito. And Ubaldo and Willy at the lobby bar (Cuisabi) will be great for conversation into the wee hours of the night. Cognacs, scotches, whiskies, (even C.C.), liquors, as well as the standard mixed drinks and espresso or cappuccino are available from most if not all the bars and restaurants. There is a small ˇ°disco clubˇ± beside the gift shop but unfortunately we didn't spend much time there. The nightly entertainment is very well performed and has elaborate costumes and great singing that reached close to Vegas style precision.

Activities that were included were plentiful. Sailing, kayaking, scuba lessons (4 times/week), scuba each day (very good and had decent equipment), snorkelling, windsurfing and so much more too much to mention. A kids club ran daily but I didn't get to see what it involved. Not included are many excursions from the front desk, internet service, finer selection of wines, moped rentals and my favorite was an amphibious ultralight ride from a proper pilot, who you'll find at the beach from time to time. We also did the Cayo Blanco catamaran tour which we do recommend.

Observations: Every band has a CD to purchase, everyone has cigars for you to buy, a dollar here and there does get you better service (which is great anyway), if you wander off the beach into the brush you'll step onto prickly seeds. Everything was as the brochure(s) described and better. I had no idea it would be as beautiful as it is. Cigars and liquor prices are not much different than in town or at the duty free. We never encountered any mosquitos. The mattresses are not soft but rather stiff which seems to be the norm for Cuba. I personally had no problem with the stiffness and I'm use to a much softer mattress.

Recommendations: Bring: potato chips (Pringles sell for $3.69usd), a large plastic mug with a lid perfect for your drinks and the bartenders love them (we were famous with ours), seafood sauce and an alarm clock.



Paradisus Varadero nickiscorpio Sussex UK

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 Laurie

March 27-April 3, 2005

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, 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, 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. 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. 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 only 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. 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 made a small issue of this and a table was found. I wonder whose table we took.

Alhumbra Restaurant - The Spanish restaurant. The food here was also good. The staff was very friendly. 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 a 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 are with us and Sandals if we are alone.