Thursday, March 13, 2014

Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, Holguin, Cuba

We traveled to Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort & Spa, in October 2012. The package was with Air Canada Vacations. The flight was not convinient, as it was with a stop-over in Montreal. The total package price was around $1200 per person. 

Our experience at this resort was amazing. The resort definitely stands up to 5 Star standards, at least in comparison to the other resorts in Cuba. The quality varies greatly from the 3* and 4* resorts in Cuba.

Upon arrival, cocktails were served (although we arrived in the middle of the night) by a friendly staff member. As usual, the check-in at the counter was pretty slow. We arrived too late for dinner, but there were snacks (hot dogs, burgers, veggies and fruits) available at the main bar. Also, the resort offers a limited food menu for room service - so we ordered a few items to the room.

The lobby area of the resort is very nice and spacious. It has lots of lounge sitting area, as well as coffee tables and a snack station which has some light drinks and snacks 24/7. It also has some billiard tables which are in great condition. As there are several billiard tables, there usually isn't a long wait to use one.
Lobby area
The regular rooms/suites are very large, spacious, nicely designed and most importantly, clean. The only downside to our room is that it would definitely benefit from renovations. Also, we saw that some rooms on the ground floor have an outdoor shower. Ours did not. 
The resort is on a cliff, so to get down to the beach you have to go down a flight of stairs, which are not very maintained - this may be a problem for some as it did not seem like the beach is wheelchair accessible. The beach itself is wonderful with white sand, cleaned daily. There is a great opportunity for snorkeling right off the beach. It gets deep pretty close to sure, with plenty of corals and colorful fish. Facing the ocean, you could walk along the beach in the left direction, passing by another nearby resort.
Paradisus Rio de Oro from the beach
The resort has a very nice large pool - which is surrounded by beach chairs as well as outdoor beds with mattresses, for total relaxation (but don't forget to bring some towels to lay on).
Main pool area, with beach sitting and beds
There are outdoor whirlpools as well, one right by the pool, and another a bit further away from the pool, just by the edge of the cliff.
Secluded whirlpool by the cliff
One of the best aspects of this resort is the food. The options are endless, and the quality is amazing. With so many options, the food never got boring, even after having spent a week at the resort.

The main buffet restaurant was excellent, with a huge variety of foods to choose from. The meals were not repetitive at all. For lunch/dinner, there was a made-to-order cooking station for seafood and meat, which consisted of a variety of meats and fish/seafood to choose from (our favorite was the red snapper). Of course there was always pizza, a variety of mains, side dishes, salads, fruits, desserts, etc. I think it is impossible for anyone to not be satisfied at this buffet. In comparison to other resorts in Cuba, this one was absolutely amazing!
Colorful meal at the main Buffet restaurant
A-la-carte restaurants at the resort include the Oriental restaurant 'Tsuru', Cuban restaurant 'El Bohío', International restaurant 'Los Helechos' and Mediterranean restaurant 'Mediterráneo'. All 4 provide excellent dining experiences and unique atmospheres. The Oriental Japanese restaurant was very special - consisting of large tables (where you sit with strangers) with live Teppanyaki stir-fry cooking by a very enthusiastic and friendly chef.
Teppanyaki chef at 'Tsuru' Oriental a-la-carte restaurant
The Snacks restaurant 'La Laguna' by the pool was excellent as well. It had an assortment of options, ranging from pizzas, wraps, salads, burgers, and cakes and tropical fruit for dessert.
Delicious pizza at 'La Laguna' pool restaurant
The Snacks restaurant 'Santa Maria' by the beach was great as well, with a small but satisfying menu, consisting of various fish/meat, sandwiches, salads and soups choices. This restaurant is sometimes open for a special 'romantic' dinner which is part of some packages. However, we didn't think that dinner was anything overly special in comparison to the other a-la-carte options at the resort.
Beef dish at Snacks restaurant 'Santa Maria'
There are 4 bars at the resort; a pool bar, lobby bar, main bar and beach bar. At all of them, service and drinks were excellent. The barmen are very attentive and won't keep you waiting for long.
Fresh cappuccino and mojito at the beach bar
Activities at the resort include non-motorized water sports (pedal boats, windsurfing), outdoor yoga lessons, darts, bow and arrow, rum tasting, over-sized chess, etc. The entertainment team is very friendly and enthusiastic; they really seem to love their job and do it well.
Outdoor yoga area
There is also nightly entertainment at the lobby, which is actually very impressive. Performances included piano playing, followed by a dance/theatrical performance, every night after dinner. It seemed like the crew puts a lot of effort into these performances, as the results are excellent. All guests seemed to be entertained and enjoy the shows.

There are some organized trips outside of the resort, to Holguin and such. However, as we already visited this area of Cuba before, we did not go on any trips during this trip. We stayed at the resort, and took long walks on the beach and main roads to surrounding rural areas.

This resort is also famous for its private "royal service" area. This area is restricted. They have their own 'private' beach and spa centre. This beach is a bit of a walk from the main resort area, and can be used by the regular resort area guests as well. It's very secluded and romantic.

In summary, I would highly recommend this resort. I hope you choose this wonderful resort for your upcoming vacation!

Please leave any feedback and questions. Looking forward to hear about your experiences at the resort!


  1. We were in Cuba last year, what appeared on the buffet menu of our resort each day was simply what they got from the farmer or fisherman that day. And you could tell!

    1. Definitely! The food is always fresh at this top-notch resort!

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  3. Hi There
    This is great information and they type of info that can influence the hotel you pick. I have not been to Cuba before so have to rely heavily on the info proivided by visiting guests. You haven't mentioned the SPA and is there a GYM? I am intersted in being able to train while I am away. If you could provide some info and some pictures that would be fantastic. Keep up the good work.