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“8 times to Cuba, will not be a 9th!”

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Memories Paraiso Beach Resort
Ranked #12 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
halifax
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“8 times to Cuba, will not be a 9th!”
Reviewed 25 April 2012

My family went to this resort April 13th to 20th 2012.
We are avid travellers & have been to Cuba 8 times now in the last 12 years.
This was the last time for us.
We have noticed over the last few years, Cuban resorts have been lacking. But this was the straw that broke the camels back!
Our resort & the diamond club were a joke! DO NOT PAY THE EXTRA FOR DIAMOND CLUB!

Upon check in at the hotel we had to wait until 6:00pm for our rooms. (You can understand this posed a problem with a toddler who had been excellent in the airport since 4am & almost a 2 hour bus trip from the airport to the resort.) We were frustrated where the diamond club package stated early check in. Our diamond club package did not get us any extras from anyone else staying at the resort. We asked around!
The “diamond members only” lounge (Route 66)- Served every person there without the distinctive bracelet. The only thing that was somewhat appeasing there was the burgers, not MacDonald's but definitiely filled the void in your belly.
We did not get the turn down service, but other family members did.
The exclusive beach area was so small & crowded you couldn’t fit on it! And it was mainly non diamond club members. Also, we did not have a butler on the beach and we were served ONCE by the pool.

A couple we got to know had been attacked by something in the water on their 2nd day of a 2 week trip, she got 30 stitches. The doctor seemed to think it was because of her ankle bracelet.

The weather was AMAZING! But the lack of shade was unbearable. You had to get up at 6am & "mark" your chairs or you didn't get one. And people still fought over them.
The wind was breezy in the afternoon, but well needed.

The room was clean (other than the mold on the shower curtain), fresh towels & refreshments everyday. The beds are hard as a rock. But beware, if you nap before dinner- The staff will walk in to refill your fridge without even knocking. Very loud men.

The front desk staff:
Were rude & unhelpful at one lobby, the other....was much more helpful.

Food:
The majority of restaurant staff were also the same way.
Andy (the pizza guy) was AWESOME & his pizza did the trick for 7 days!
The flies in the restaurants & buffet were revolting. We got up & left one a la carte as we couldn’t eat without flies flying in our drinks, food & faces. But the steak @ the steakhouse was good!
The actual food (anyone going to Cuba should be prepared the food is not so great) The food was never more than "warm", flies all through the place, fish- uncooked. Chicken- greasy & hard.
We left every meal the whole week, still hungry. But we anticipated it.

Sunwing flights:
I flew CanJet last year and was utterly disgusted with the service, but the Sunwing staff-- it was remarkable how horrible they could be.

This resort is listed as a five star, but had the food & service of a three!
It was huge, but not always the best scenario for a vacation. Thank goodness the resort workers had Carts.

Room Tip: Dont pay for diamond club. Bring male "gifts" as they have multiple male maids.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank nicole h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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ontario
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 24 April 2012

We just came back from Azul Memories Beach Resort from April 14th - 22nd 2012 and we had a very good time there. Mainly the resort was very good except for a couple of things. Firstly, the FOOD was disappointing. As this was our third time in Cuba, this was the worst food we ever had (even compared to a three star hotel). There were long line ups for food, and there was the same food everyday. The beach doesn't have snack bar. Even the drink bars on the beach are pretty far. Everything else is excellent. Especially, the staff and the service they provided. They were very kind and reasonable and treated you very well. FIVE STAR HOTEL??? The food doesn't deserve even three stars but everything else is definitely five stars (for Cuba). I expected a Fitness Centre or Spa as it was advertised on the website but it turns out it wasn't part of the resort we were at, it was at the resort beside the one we were at (Memories Paraiso Beach Resort). All in all, it was a nice hotel with small hiccups. I would recommend it to anyone.

Room Tip: Buildings 51, 52 and 53 were very close to the main buffet, the show and one pool area. But, buildin...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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1 Thank mdafota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
victoria
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2012

I'm not sure where all the other travelers who rated 4-5 stars for this resort went but it looks like we had different destinations. It doesn't seem clear for reviewers what they are rating- their personal feelings and emotions related to the vacation or the property and then, again, it is not clear what 'rating the property' means. Here's my perspective as succinctly and objectively as I can be:

- Sunwing flight- I didn't understand why the pilot kept urging us to enjoy a 'fabulous flight'; there's nothing fabulous about sitting for 6-7 hours crammed in the small space of your seat during a night trip. I also wonder if the seat designer thought about the wire from the seat pocket that hurts your knees or of the need to raise your legs a little, from time to time, the same way they have it in buses [the step that can be lowered to rest your feet on].
The food was ordinary at best- the flight out chicken was okay but the breakfast omelet during return resembled eggs only by color, not by taste.
- the resort: this is tricky as I am not sure whether the beach belongs to the resort or not. Anyway, the beach is one of the best in the world- a 6 star at least. The hotel infrastructure is indeed a 5* [I understand that the construction is about 1 year old only; however, most of the chairs in restaurants are rather filthy already and nothing's being done about it].

Now the crap: crappy food and crappy service, in a nutshell. To explain further: cooks need learn cooking and some upgrade in their professional ethics, i.e. don't put on the table stuff that you won't enjoy eating yourself. The fact that the scrambled eggs in the bain marine trays was mostly untouched and people preferred to stay in line for fresh eggs, 10-15' would make me thinking. But nobody cares... chicharones [fried bacon] with hair on the rind, grilled beef uncooked and sometimes with a rotten hint [chicken legs in the trays were sometime raw next to the bone- dangerous stuff...], cold scrambled eggs floating in some sort of a liquid. I took the chicharones to the chef and asked him if that was traditional Cuban food; he said that some people like them so. Ismail, the assistant manager was more concerned; I packed a couple of chicharones and asked him to take them to his boss [I also mentioned about the quality of the eggs and the rotten meat]. Poor management of the seats- no one to welcome guests and take/direct them to tables that were ready, so, quite often I pretty much did the table cleanup and looked for utensils myself. Some staff were kind and responsive, some not. A young fellow at the pizza table was rude because I asked for an edge instead of what he offered; however, he apologized after his boss talked with him, blaming the fatigue. The last pizza I had there was with sand [I think they dropped the dough but decided to use it all the same...]
The fridge in the room is supposed to be supplied daily with water and drinks but if you don't tip, supply is random and at the whim of the boy who does it [I had two bottles of water but no beer of pop in the fridge- the man decided I needed another bottle of water and nothing else...]. If you need anything, you should be there when they come, ask and you'll be served, otherwise don't expect logic or initiative. A couple of days they even did not show up at all.

I wanted to do some kayaking but the flag was yellow all the time [other hotels had it red or green; I'm not sure how they make their decisions...] and no vessel was allowed on the water, according to the posted coastguard rules; however, their catamarans seemed to have a different status [tips involved]. when I mentioned this to the boss he tells me 'the posting is wrong'...

I speak Spanish and made friends with a few staff. They are all fed up with communism although they don't always dare say it aloud... One thing amazed me was that there is a non-official tip policy, i.e. all tips are distributed in various proportions to staff. For example, folks from the animacion get $5 tip a piece on top of their $20-25 monthly wage. Bar tenders get much more. Bringing the tip to the common jar is based on trust, so perhaps only 10% of tips are landing there.

I am not sure why people tip when service received does not justify it. The wast majority of Canadians tip indiscriminately, such encouraging bad business and bad behavior. Also, giving a $3 tip is way out of proportion with their monthly income [even $1 is about 1/20 of their wages]. Would you tip $ 300 at a Canadian restaurant, to keep the proportion?!

Eduardo and Ernesto- nice of you to show up at the welcome meeting; however, if your door is indeed open as you say and you are willing to change things for better, you could tell visitors where and how they can find you. I tried to talk with Ernesto but they kept sending me from Paraiso to Memories receptions so I gave up...

I met folks who stayed at Ensenachos and Melia las Dunas and who said that, by comparison, those were indeed 5* resorts. I wonder what is the measure stick and how these stars are awarded- isn't there a standard in Cuba?! This is not my first trip in Cuba- about 10 years ago I went to a 3* in Varadero but the food and service was better than here...

Would I go back? Not here but definitely I'd like to try other true 5* in the area!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank daphne m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Middleton, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2012

I think this resort is a 5 star in Cuba standards. how ever the room was the same as any of the 4 star we have stay in both in Cuba and the Dominican. The beach was the best yet, the food was great . And the staff were Awesome ! The one hour and half bus ride was a little long this is the only draw back. I would recommend this resort to my friends

Room Tip: room # 3279 has a great oceanview from the balcony.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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4 Thank shigung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Squamish
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2012

We had a great time. The people were amazing, there was lots of choice at the buffet and the food was very good. No complaints at all, great value for money. Go on the overnight hiking trip to Trinidad, it was well worth it. ( We were there for 2 weeks and enjoyed every minute)

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank Lynn T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2012 via mobile

Just returned from memories and was pleasantly surprised how great this resort was! Especially after reading all the negative reviews!

Food was amazing! I probably gained 10 pounds in one week! The Italian is a must try, just fantastic!!! I've been to Cuba twice before and the food wasn't even close to being as good as memories!

The rooms were spacious and clean!

Beach was beautiful and breathtaking! The beach grills were also fantastic as well as the drinks! Miami vice is a must try!

Overall had an amazing time and would definitely return and recommend this resort!

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank J-tj13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2012

I would recommend this resort for families and enjoyed our recent stay there. The beach was the best we have ever been to including Big Sur, Can Cun, Hawaii etc. as the water was soo warm and the snorkeling on the east end of the beach was actually not bad either as we saw lots of Baracudas, a few small Tiger Sharks, lots of Needle Nose and various other types of fish. One day they cleared the beach as there were some larger Tiger Sharks which we thought looked like Dolphins at the time but you can tell the resort is very cautious on these matters. I think in general this is a well run resort but some of the disappointing things were the behavior of some of the people there as they expect instant this instant that and if you are wanting a great breakfast prepared for you you are going to have to wait as these things do take time no matter where you are.....also some of the smoking by the guests gets to be a bit disgusting and people could use some common courtesy when around kids etc. The Catamaran tour shouldn't be missed and had the best snorkeling that we found in this area along with a great Dolphin show. The Spa is a great place to go and relax and escape some of the noise of the ocean/music/tourists etc. The beach is great for barefoot running and I got out a couple times for a 12km and 10km run as you can basically run one way on the beach to the extreme west and pass all the other resorts and through the nude beach and on to the west end where some of the nicest shells would wash up. For Beach quality the best area was in front of the Azul as the water is calmest and sand softest and the best snorkeling is there also. I also ventured from the Azul east and you can go for about 3km that way also and it is the most private beach you could ever ask for. Soon there will be more resorts there but for now it is just raw beach. The pools were also huge and great to play around with the kids and the only concern would be that they close too early but then again you put in full days there so by the time the pools close you are pretty tired anyways. The buffets can be ok if you start out the first day or two with small portions to test things and then stick to the things you like. By the end of the trip the thin crust pizza was my go to item and I will never eat a Cuban hamburger again as they are disgusting. The Lobster meal was a real highlight and the Tex Mex was also very good. I don't think food was an issue once you know what to look for and the eggs made for you each morning was something to look forward to. Buffets do seem to bring out the worst in some people though as they will walk around chewing on french fries while they are hovering over other food items or cut in and out of line ups with no regard for anyone else.....I would think that Cubans would be surprised by the lack of manners of many people and it is kinda embarrassing really.....The workers at the resort are extremely patient if you think about what they have to put up with. I hope that everyone that goes to this resort takes a minute to observe how hard these workers are working to try to keep up to things and tip them well. Most of us couldn't handle doing what they do! For a beach vacation this place can't be beat! Azul Room 5865 Ocean view!

Loved the Beach - Food was fine - Cuban people are great - 5/5

Room Tip: Room 5865 right by Sports Bar, Grill, pool, play area.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
9 Thank Tradeandhold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Memories Paraiso Beach Resort

Property: Memories Paraiso Beach Resort
Address: 52610, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Villa Clara Province > Cayo Santa Maria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 15 Hotels in Cayo Santa Maria
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Memories Paraiso Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 666
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