My boyfriend and I just returned from our Mexican vacation and I can safely say that the Iberostar Grand Paraiso was the most amazing hotel I have ever stayed in! Granted, I haven’t stayed in a lot of resorts and I am typically more of a “hostel” girl but this resort went a long way to making this a fabulous trip. When we arrived we were met with hot towels and champagne, and were upgraded to an ocean front suite for free! Now I read in another review that a person felt they’d been swindled because when they got to the room they’d been upgraded to, they found a pre-printed personalized letter there, indicating the room had been theirs all along. Maybe so, but who cares? Certainly not us, when we got to our room and saw that amazing view of the ocean and beach!!! As soon as we put our luggage down, we heard a knock on our door and it was our butler there to introduce himself and ask what we needed. We requested Kahlua, wine, and Coors Lite, and when we got back to our room after a quick tour of the property we found everything waiting. Our mini-fridge was always well stocked with water and everything else we requested – no problems there.
The service at this resort is top-notch. As I mentioned I do not stay in a lot of high-end resorts so maybe it just doesn’t take much to impress me, but I loved the turn-down service and chocolates on our pillows every night. And the selection of pillows to choose from was great! Our butler was always around to make sure we were enjoying our stay, and the concierge was great with answering questions. We also liked that we were able to borrow DVD’s from our concierge. We had couple of early mornings so we had a few movie nights instead of staying out at the bar or going to a show. Everyone we encountered at this resort was so great and went way out of our way to make our visit amazing – even to the point of anticipating our needs before we’d even thought of them! One night we came back from the nightly show to find that our butler had prepared us a bubble bath, complete with rose petals from the door to bathroom, and then to the bed where there were petals everywhere and two swans made from towels forming the shape of a heart. It was so sweet and romantic! Unfortunately the bath must have been prepared a while before we got there, because the water was ice cold. Even still, it was a nice surprise. We’re still wondering if this is something they do for everyone…
The good about this resort:
- The grounds: lush plants and flowers, rain forests, beautiful pools and beaches – everything was so scenic and gorgeous!
- The rooms: I loved the size of the bathrooms with his and hers sinks, the rain shower, two closets, and the chaise lounge by the balcony for reading
- The balconies: HUGE! And with a couch, table, and swing chair, there were lots of places to relax outdoors and enjoy the view. We ordered room service for breakfast on our last day, and ate on our balcony enjoying the view of the ocean
- The main pool: It was nice that we could get free sunscreen, and we almost never had issues finding a chair (though the ones in the shade were hard to come by). The water was a perfect temperature, and the only thing I would change is the depth of the water between where you get in and where the swim-up bar is located. I’m short (just under 5 ft) and the water was chin level, which made walking over there difficult. I guess I could have swam but that would have been difficult with a drink in my hand!
- The activities: We only participated in beach yoga because we really wanted to just lay around relaxing, but I could tell from the daily activity schedules that there were all sorts of fun things guests could participate in. And the Star Friends were always around trying to get everyone to join in, in that friendly way of theirs
- Italian and Surf & Turf Restaurants – we had great food and great service at both. Yumm!! I especially liked that we were not rushed to finish our meals. We spent well over 2 hours at the Surf & Turf restaurant and our waiter was so friendly and was always there with more wine the second our glasses got low
- No kids! SO amazing. We went to the Paraiso Lindo next door and it was overrun with screaming kids running around and splashing in the pool. It was a relief to return to the tranquility of the Grand afterwards
- Nightly entertainment: we went to 3 shows, 2 which we really enjoyed. The Mexican Folk show and the Musicals show were both great! The Pre-Mexican show was just boring and cheesy however. We wish we’d been there for Rock Night as everyone we talked to said that was the best show
- Lunch Buffet Building – amazing location right on the beach, with the best view! It’s too bad they don’t use this building for all the buffet meals as it is a much more scenic setting than the main buffet
The not so good:
- Some of the décor looks quite dated and gaudy – particularly in the main foyer (front desks and front bar), the breakfast/dinner buffet, and in the main hall running between the entrance and the restaurants. I was a bit surprised to find out that this hotel is only a few years old as it looks like it came out of the 80’s or 90’s in places. The rooms are beautiful though, so only a minor quibble!
- Buffet food was hit or miss. You could always count on delicious cheeses at every meal and lots of fresh veggies, bread and desert, but some of the food was not great. For instance, the fruit spread at breakfast – why no berries, pineapple, watermelon, etc.? I don’t eat red meat so can’t tell you anything about the pork or beef dishes, but some of it didn’t look that appetizing. The lunch selection was particularly poor, with lots of fried foods. We’re in our bathing suits – that’s not what we want to be eating!!
- Gourmet Restaurant: Really the only bad dining experience we had. I found the menu incredibly limited and I really disliked the food I ordered (the sole). It was virtually tasteless. Desert was okay, but the only part of the meal I enjoyed was the French onion soup at the start. The décor is also pretty bad
- The rooms were really hot at night. You'd think the fan would be located over the bed instead of by the balcony (and I say this as someone who NEVER gets hot at night and hates AC or fans while I'm sleeping)
All in all, I would come back to this resort in a heartbeat! There is so much more we’d like to do there (spa, gym, pool-side activities, free non-motorized water sports, other nightly shows, the Japanese restaurant). I completely recommend this place!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Directly on the long, fine, sandy beach of Playa Paraiso in Mexico's Riviera Maya. Top 5-star luxury. Quiet and relaxing. Personal butler and concierge service. 24 hour all inclusive service. 4 a la carte restaurants. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Playa Paraiso
- Playa Paraiso Iberostar
- Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya