We travelled again with AirCanada Rouge out of Toronto, Ontario. On all accounts, other than the weather, all was once again wonderful. We are return guests and this our 7th time to PRDO. But have been visiting this wonderful Island for 16 years. Overall Review: Once again an excellent vacation and a worthy resort for another trip soon. With the weather being so-so and with the increasing number of contacts we have made over the years we ventured off property a lot this trip. The hotel is great offering us box lunches and water for off property trips. I offer a big ‘thank you’ to Luis Perez, our taxi driver for excellent service (52 61 41123). In Holguin we tried a new restaurant called El Aldbon – we would not recommend it. Food was acceptable, but the cost (73 CUC for 3 people – lunch) and the ambiance of the place was lacklustre at best. Last trip we very much enjoyed a memorable dining experience at 1910 & for a total bill of (CUC) 20.10 for 4 people we were impressed with the location, food and the overall quality of the experience.
Back to the resort ….. . This trip we did notice a few changes. There was lots of familiar staff, but the turn-over seemed higher than on previous trip – especially with chamber maids. While our room was clean and tidy…the little extras that we had become use to seeing were not there. For example the towel art was boring, just hearts & baskets, often no fresh flowers were not placed in the glasses or vase(s) and the turn-down service was really poor (not taking away used plates or exchanging dirty towels)! There use to be book marks, little notes, flowers or chocolates, and when supplies were low something was done that would make us smile when we returned to our room. These personal touches were not there this visit. Not a complaint as the daytime staff did keep the area clean, just not the ‘extra’s’ that we had been accustom to receiving.
December 6 to 14 2014.
The Rooms We were in The Royal Section….and cannot speak of the renovations at the main resort which is ongoing to modernize the rooms. Our room was large, clean, well maintained and other than the screen door on the balcony that kept falling out, no complaints worthy of mentioning specific to our room. I thank the staff and management for honouring our wishes NOT to use any perfumes or pesticides while we were there in our room. By the end of the week we (yea!) had a small gecko that visited us. (A real plus for me.)
Restaurants and Bars: The restaurants: We did not use many of the al a carte this trip. We quite enjoyed our Royal Service restaurant, Los Helechos. It has superb food & great servers and we used it for many of our meals. We also enjoy the variety and food quality at the PRDO buffet La Ceiba for breakfast and dinner. At lunch we also enjoyed the Santa Maria’s and La Laguna’s food and treats (yummy ice cream). IMHO the best place for an espresso was the Royal Service Bar. After all the trips we have taken we finally used the room service for a breakfast. It was very nice; the food was a good temperature, generous portion size and tasty. The Lobby(s): We really enjoy the openness and view from the Royal Service Lobby. I maintain the chairs are nice in photos but very uncomfortable to use if you are less than 6 feet tall as the seats are too deep and therefore offer no back support. The cushions while clean have very little cushioning. The bar is a nice area to sit but the oversized deep chairs are not comfortable, but are at this time the only choice. It would be nice if they supplemented the area with a few café style tables and chairs. I would also like to see a pool table in the area, maybe in the old cigar room or in the area close to the internet room.
The main PRDO lobby I am repeating myself from previous reviews needs help. They have resurfaced and cleaned up and were painting the ceilings sadly not natural, but white while we were there. A huge job, but the space is still the same. The walkway to the cigar shop is wonderful. Take that theme and modify the stage (maybe even move it to the end of that space and turn it to face the bar) and main lobby bar to represent a street scene. Bring in the vendors, now stuck down by the bank and incorporate them into a shop like area. For me the whole area is unworthy of the rest of the resort and is tired and uninviting. I like the water feature as you come in and the alley to the cigar shop but in between needs some rethinking. To a new visitor it probably would be okay…. and certainly would not leave a bad impression, but it is not representative the quality of the rest of the resort.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The property is maintained well and the groundskeepers have really accomplished a very high standard of care for the property. The nursery area has been spruced up & is a nice touch as it has been modified a bit so now there are more than just plants to see, a mock village area. The only complaint here is the iguana really needs a much larger space to enjoy and at times to hide if needed. I still think there should be a few more chairs/benches that people can sit en-route to the beach or along the pathways to be able to just pause and soak in all the property. (the seats along the water’s edge pathway to the Royal beach while nice, IMHO should be on the other side of path to be usable ….no one wants to place their feet into the brush (unkempt areas).) At Meila Cayo Guillermo they made a mock village area for the craft people to sell their wares. It had a unified look and even when no one there it is nice area to view. Maybe something like that could be reviewed for the craft area. The area has been cleaned up since our last trip, but in the future maybe an idea to copy. We really like the changes made around the main pool, much nicer to the eye to see the open spaces. I am still confused about the hammocks dangling below the Gazebo closest to the main beach. Low or high tide, no idea who, or how they could be used. I guess a mystery or two is good to have while on vacation. I really like the idea of a pier at the main beach, both for preservation of the coral, and also for ease of getting into the water low or high tide. I think the only way they will ultimately have success with a pier off the beach is if they build a very large crib of stones or vessel filled with concrete at the ultimate end point and build off of that back to shore. The way it appears to be going now I think will have limited, if any success.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Entertainment: The pre dinner entertainment was wonderful. Thank you and please continue with the one or 2 artists pre main show. It is enjoyable the variety and the quality of what we heard were excellent. One comment on the theme one evening of The ‘White Night” – I have no clue WHAT it was all about….. It was creepy at times, way too long and very confusing, for me not entertaining at all. But some people did like it….. Not to take away from the skill of the performers (they were remarkable) it was just odd.
Other Comments: In Closing We would like to say “Thank you” to all, including the new manager Jean Marc Rousseau for an excellent vacation. You treat us like good friends and as people like Dunieski, Sarah and others keep saying to us. “You are like family”. The staff at Paradisus Rio de Oro makes us feel very welcome and that they are there to ensure our up-most enjoyment in our vacation.