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We stayed at the Paradisus Varadero from October 20 to the 27 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, "disco club", 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 "night swim". The beach area is very deep, long and lush with many trees and has beautiful soft white sand. "Palapas" 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 ("romantico") 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 W!
illy 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 "disco club" 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.
Thanks to G. Marks for this trip report ...