My wife and I just returned after staying at the Paradisus Playa del Carmen from February 11-16, 2013 and let me start by saying what an incredible place this is. My wife has been to Cancun, Playa and Panama before and I have also been to Cancun and Cuba and we both agreed this is the best all-inclusive resort we've experienced thus far.
Arrival and Check-in: Our transportation from the airport was pretty smooth and upon arrival, we were welcomed with a delicious welcome cocktail (so good that I had to have a second) and a cold towel. The room unfortunately was not ready as we arrived in the late morning but we had full access to all the facilities on arrival and obtaining a wristband. A very special shout-out to our personal concierge, Luis, who, like many of his colleagues in guest services, were exceptionally helpful throughout the trip.
Room: We stayed in a Luxury Jr. Suite and it had a balcony facing the street with two loungers, a small table and 2 chairs. The room itself was absolutely beautiful. We had a spacious living room area with a large desk and an extremely comfortable king-size bed with down pillows. The minor annoyance was that our key-entry system was on the fritz and they needed 45 mins-1 hour to fix it since the battery was dead meaning that kept us in the room during the maintenance. On the bright side, they came extremely quickly and sorted this out so we could go and enjoy the resort. The bathroom had a large shower with two handset showers and two overhead rain showers. The strange thing was there was this massive beautiful tub but the single faucet filling it meant you'd have to wait at least 20-25 minutes to fill the tub and there were no jacuzzi jets in it. Suffice to say, we stuck with the shower! There was ample closet/drawer space and a modern safe that we would expect from such a resort. A nice touch on top of this were the provision of bathrobes as well as a sun umbrella that we used later in the week.
Property: The Paradisus is actually two properties, La Esmerelda (family-friendly) and La Perla (Adults only). We stayed on the La Perla side but it would be remiss not to review the whole property as there are shared aspects to it. The resort itself is brand new (~ 1 year old) and despite the fact that it can get busy, it feels very spread out with ample lounges, bars and restaurants. The design is beautiful with modern touches in addition to local influences such as the straw-hut roof seen pool-side as well as over the bars. A great deal of care has been exercised to preserve the mangroves around the property and this certainly adds to the charm.
Food: There is an incredible selection of restaurants at this resort and this surpassed our expectations. Open seating is there for breakfast and lunch (as well as the buffet) but reservations have to be made for dinner at the a la carte restaurants. We found that doing this with Guest Services was the best way to go and if you happen to go on a busy week, make sure to do this early! Breakfast at Hadar had a terrific mix of fresh fruit, omelette bar, fresh breads and Mexican breakfast dishes. Lunch was a mix of the Rodizzio grill on the La Esmeralda property which had a great selection of a la carte dishes as well as "The Grill" on the La Perla property. Both places had a delicious salad bar (with an outstanding balsamic vinaigrette I might add) and the latter had a menu that changed from the two times we visited.
I should mention at this point that my wife is a vegetarian (not vegan as she can eat eggs and dairy) and this had us a bit nervous before we arrived but let me say that this is where this resort excelled. We ate dinner at The Grill, Mole (Mexican), Vento (Mediterranean) and Bana (Asian) x 2 nights. All of the restaurants had a great menu with vegetarian selection. We ate at Bana twice because of their great vegetarian selection and their ability to be flexible in things such as adding tofu to their pad thai as opposed to the shrimp. There are other food options such as the buffet, Fuego, La Palapa and Passion (extra charge because of Michelin-starred chef) that we did not get to try due to the length of our trip. One recommendation we had for the buffet in particular would be to add a symbol or letter next to the dishes which are vegetarian as it isn't always clear (for the a-la-carte this was very clear with a leaf symbol donating a dish that was vegetarian friendly). This was compounded by the fact that if you do not speak Spanish, while everyone is extremely friendly, they would not always be able to tell you whether the food was vegetarian.
Pool/Beach: The pool is beautiful with a nice swim-up bar and surrounded by beach beds with straw-hut covers that block the sunshine on the hotter days as well as lots of loungers for when you wish to tan. The pool at La Perla is obviously adults only and has a Sunset Grill next to it where we enjoyed nachos with guacamole, quesadillas and burgers all alongside wonderful pool-side service.
The beach was very nice although previous reviewers have commented on it being narrow and we can certainly attest to this. That being said, there is ample room and usually plenty of loungers available. The shoreline is a little rocky and thus it is a bit of a challenge walking across this to get to water over sand but this is only about 30-40 feet into the water. We overcame this by walking towards Playa del Carmen on the beach itself. It was about a 30-35 minute walk where we took our sun umbrella but the beach on this segment was excellent with no rocks and clear water. If you wish to forego the walk, you can take a US$10 cab ride into town and get to the beach that way. I should also mention that if you're looking for Mexican food (i.e. habanero sauce, mole sauce etc. like we were), there is no cheaper place to get it than the Walmart or the Mexican supermarket in town. Don't make the mistake of buying hot sauce or Mexican vanilla at the airport! (e.g. vanilla at Walmart is ~$3.00 while the same brand at the airport was $21.95!)
Alcohol: We enjoyed premium alcohol all week with terrific cocktails (my wife loved the mango tango, that's definitely a winner) and Dos Equis/Sol on tap. Great mix of beverages and among the bars, there is a great martini bar called M bar as well as a Sake bar named Toji. Service was excellent with people refilling your drink pretty much as soon as you finished it!
Spa: We booked 50 minute Mayan massages at a significant discount since we sat through a 90 minute promotion of the Club Melia program and our masseuses Sonia and Angelica were wonderful. The spa also has hydrotherapy although the sauna on the male side was not working unfortunately!
We got these massages for US$50 each because we sat through the Club Melia promotion which is a plug for their mix of vacation club rentals and hotels. Financially, it is a significant investment up front and admittedly had I known this, we would not have sat through it. It is an impressive collection of vacation rentals and we got to tour some of them on the property but the caveat is that all-inclusive service would be extra on top of what you had paid for these so that is something to keep in mind. If you are willing to consider a time share (we like variety in our travel), then the discounted massage is nice but remember it is at least 90 minutes of your precious vacation time.
Checkout: We had to check out by noon but the resort has access to a hospitality suite complete with bathroom, shower and two sinks. Since our transportation was later in the afternoon, we reserved the suite from 2-3pm so we could lounge on the beach and then shower before catching our flight. A really nice touch as a compromise for checking out early when you have a later flight. We had no problems booking this suite but the concierge does recommend reserving the suite early to ensure access at the time you wish.
Final Thoughts: This resort was amazing, we unfortunately could only stay 5 nights because of work commitments but it was relaxing, rejuvenating and delicious. I particularly want to highlight their vegetarian-friendly menu as this is something that I am always cognizant of when booking vacations with my wife. Thank you for a wonderful week!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in a spectacular tiny bay, the Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla is a hotel for adults only, and one of the most luxurious hotels in Riviera Maya. Combining a prestigious Caribbean setting with world-class facilities, including Royal Service, the ultimate in spa treatments, a relaxed ambience, and flexible meeting spaces with state-of-the-art equipment. This elegant resort has a Mayan ecological feeling, and an oceanfront location surrounded by a lush tropical mangrove preserve and with views of Cozumel Island. Take your senses on a culinary tour through eleven remarkable restaurants serving delicious cuisine from all around the world and ten bars serving unlimited international Premium brand drinks. Enjoy life-enriching experiences such as tango dance classes, sushi-making, and sensorial experiences.This luxury All-Inclusive Adults Only Resort is located 45 minutes from Cancun International Airport very near the magnificent beaches and attractions such as the Playa del Carmen 5th Avenue, Xcaret, Akumal and Xel-Ha. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Perla Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Perla Riviera Maya, Mexico