We just returned from 5 days at The Riu Paradise Island June 19-23rd We are two adults in our thirties and have never been to The Bahamas before. Check in with Canjet was smooth. We prebooked our seats and so only had to be there two hours before departure. Canjet planes are smaller – ours only seated 170 passengers. Was pleasantly surprised at the friendly staff and service plus we got there in less than 3 hours! Nassau Airport is a major disappointment doesn’t look like any money has been spent on it since the Seventies. Lines for Customs and Immigration are similar to Canada. Once outside it’s easy to find your bus. Sunquest transfers are run by “Majestic tours”
Usual Riu routine of filling out your forms on the bus to save time at check in. You are given an envelope with hotel info, your towel cards and vouchers for your return transfer – so don’t lose it!
Riu Paradise Island greets you with a welcome drink and check in was quick and painless. Take the time to attend your Welcome meeting the next morning- it’s only half and hour and you get lots of worthwhile info.
The room was basic but clean. I had researched the building layout and emailed ahead with a request. We got room 705 which had a view of the pool and ocean from our balcony. The minibar has Vodka, Rum, Brandy, and Gin, as well as pop, water and beer in the fridge. It gets refilled every two days but if you run out you can ask the maid and they will call for what you need. Ice machines are on “even” floors. We enjoyed the local beer “Kalik” and were sad to hear that the hotel was switching to only Miller Lite in the near future. The closet had plenty of room and hangers. There was an ironing board and iron. The bathroom has a hairdryer. We liked their style of in room safe as you chose a 4 digit combination instead of having to carry around extra keys. If you like to sleep in make sure you use the “Do not disturb” signs provided as the maid service starts at 8am.
The pool was big enough for the amount of guests during our stay. It has a small cold water Jacuzzi and a swim up bar. It was cleaned every day but sometimes there was the unavoidable spilt drink in the water. You do have to be there before 9am to reserve a quiet spot and get an umbrella from the towel shack if you want one.
It is beautiful fine white sand with a very blue ocean. Pay attention to the flags as some days the waves were big and the red flag was out. There is a lifeguard on duty at the times posted by the hotel. It is a public beach so you will be approached by vendors but if you say “No” they do leave you alone. You can turn left and walk up to the Atlantis or right for a nice long walk past some other hotels and houses. Be very careful of the sun! We have both travelled extensively but have never experienced sun quite this strong! We burnt badly wearing factor 50 lotion!!
Food: We were very impressed with the food. Breakfast was great and is in the Atlantic Restaurant from 7am – 10.30am. We were happy to see Riu’s trademark delicious fresh fruit smoothies! You can get eggs any way you like, crepes, pancakes, bacon, sausage, French toast, and doughnuts with chocolate sauce. Yum!! There is cereal, fruit, cold cuts, pastries and muffins. Our regular waitress Jacquelyn greeted us with a big warm smile each morning. They also have a continental breakfast at The Bahamas Restaurant between 10.30am-12pm but we didn’t try it. Lunch is from 12.30pm – 5.30pm in the Bahamas Restaurant and we enjoyed salads, pasta, fish, fries and pizza. One day a Chef was preparing Conch Fritters on the patio – Delicious! If you sit outside do watch out for Seagulls!
Dinner is from 6.30pm-10.00pm in the Atlantic Restaurant. They had theme nights which was fun. Every morning from 9am you also have the option to make reservations for evening meals in The Steakhouse, Tengoku Japanese, or the Sir Alexander Gourmet Restaurants. All three restaurants have two sittings so we were lucky enough to get what we wanted each time we booked. We didn’t try the Steakhouse but tried the other two. The Japanese was probably our favourite – the décor is amazing and it overlooks the beach. Michael the Chef even sings to you with his wonderful voice during your dessert! If you try the Sit Alexander order the Seafood pasta – it’s filled with shrimp, Lobster and crab so you won’t be disappointed! A “Midnight Buffet” then runs from 10.30pm – 12am in the Bahamas restaurant. There is no way you can go hungry at this resort!!!
The hotel has three bars: The Colony Bar (Lobby) open 10am – 11pm, The Calypso Lounge bar open 6pm-12am, and the Soca Pool bar open 10am – 6pm. unfortunately due to a leak the Soca bar was closed on our second day. They opened the Calypso bar so you could still get drinks at the pool. We liked Donald at the Colony bar as he made the best drinks and answered all our questions about Paradise Island!!
The Animacion staff (Especially T-J) tries really hard but I am not sure the guests at this hotel are the “Audience participation” kind. Most people seem to head over to the Atlantis after dinner. It is a short walk away and has a Casino, Aquarium, Comedy Club and Movie theatre. The Colony bar was always a lively place in the evenings.
The Hotel has one gift shop which sells a few souvenirs and essentials. It’s a bit expensive. It is a short 10 minute walk to the Hurricane Hole Plaza where there is a small Straw Market and plenty of shops for Souvenirs and Liquor. Don’t wait for the airport as the whole Island is duty free here.
We paid $10 U.S for an hour internet service. They give you a code and you can sign on and off as many times with it as you like until you use up your minutes.
Going Back to Canada:
We really liked that our departure was 11.30am so we actually enjoyed our breakfast and a last look around before we had to check out. During our breakfast there was a big storm so we had hopes of being stranded on Paradise Island. Unfortunately an hour later it was sunny again… The drive back to Nassau airport is an interesting one with plenty to look at. As we mentioned before the airport really is dismal so make sure you already have some snacks and water/pop with you before you get there. Every suitcase is hand searched at check in so pack your underwear at the bottom of your luggage to save embarrassment!!! If you book from Canada with Sunquest your departure tax is included.
We loved Riu Paradise Island! It was a vacation of pure relaxation. We found the service and standard exceptional and admit we have started to become a little addicted to Riu hotels!! The Bahamas is a very clean and friendly place and we long to return! Our only 2 small complaints were not enough umbrellas or shade at the Poolside and there was no Kids club at the hotel. A kids Club would make it perfect for families. Riu only took over the hotel from Sheraton Grande last year so I am sure it is still a work in progress. Thanks to you Debbie for this web site and to everyone who has contributes to it. There’s not much on Riu Paradise Island yet but any information I did find was very helpful in planning our trip!