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“Fabulous holiday resort” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Iberostar Paraiso del Mar

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Iberostar Paraiso del Mar
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Carrt. Chetumal-Pto. Juarez km. 309, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710 , Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 10 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Manchester, England
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Fabulous holiday resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2009

My husband and I stayed at the del mar from 7-21 January and had an excellent holiday. It was without doubt the most relaxing holiday we've ever had. We were told that the hotel was running at approximately 40% occupancy so it felt very quiet but I can imagine at fuller occupancies it would feel like a less idyllic holiday experience.

HOTEL

The hotel is very nice and the grounds are immaculately kept. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful and work very hard to ensure you have a good holiday. It definitely helps if you can speak a few words of Spanish because sometimes there is a distinct communication barrier with the staff if you can't.

Lots of reviews comment on the size of the property and the amount of walking you have to do. For us the size of the property and the walking was a plus rather than a negative. We enjoyed the walk through beautifully landscaped grounds to the beach and the lobby - it's one way of keeping your weight in check on an all inclusive holiday and besides if the property was smaller you'd be living in much closer quarters to other guests. I would recommend that you bring an umbrella because we had 4 days of rain and you will get wet walking from your room to the lobby wherever your room is on the resort.

The shopping centre is okay we didn't really use it for very much other than the ATM, the shop with the internet terminals, and to get yummy ice creams and crepes from the ice cream outlet which is part of your package.

The evening entertainment was a bit hit and miss. The animations team star friends work very hard but some of the nightly shows were much better than others. If you are a big nightlife lover this probably isn't the resort for you as it was dead by 11ish each night. There is a very cheesy star wars themed nightclub on site and a sports bar which appeared to be permanently dead. I'm not sure how great a resort this would be for kids either - there weren't a vast amount of children when we stayed and didn't seem to be an awful lot of facilities for them either.

We had a go at some of the activities on offer - try dive in the pool which was fun and the bike ride. The bikes need some maintainence, one person's pedal fell off mid ride and all the bikes needed the tyres pumping up, but it was a fun way to meet people. The gym was large and well equipped but the air conditioning was inadequate.

I thought the beach was picture perfect. There are a couple of large black rocks but they are visible and easily avoided. The sea slopes quite gently and you can swim out about 15m and still stand. The sand is powdery and there are lots of sun loungers and palapas. The towel game is played with some flair unfortunately so you need to be at the beach by around 9-10 to get a decent spot with shade. Weddings are a regular occurence on the beach. They look nice but a little industrial to me with very little space cleared for the ceremony. I felt a bit sorry for some of the wedding couples I saw because they were literally surrounded by sunbathers chugging down pina coladas gawping at them from a few metres.

Although very large, I found the pools were too cold to spend much time in. There were plenty of sunloungers round the pool but the chances of getting a cabana were rarer than hen's teeth because of the towel game.

ROOM

The room was fine for our needs - clean and reasonably spacious with a nice balcony overlooking landscaped grounds. The mini bar was well stocked and replenished daily with water, fizzy drinks and beer. The room had a number of features which I appreciated namely a full size ironing board and iron, decent air con and a quiet ceiling fan you could leave running all night, blackout curtains, a seating area in the the room, a drying rail on the balcony, and a safe that was big enough to stow everything valuable we had. We had no problems with our safe during our stay. The only slight negative point about the room were the bathroom floor was very slippy when wet because of the marble floors - take non slip water shoes or flip flops to avoid failing over and the hairdryer was rubbish. I would also recommend that you take a couple of clothes pegs to pin swimming suits etc. on the balcony. We used room service a couple of times - it was fine and also the laundry service is reasonably priced and very efficient. There are no lifts so if you have any type of mobility problems you'll need a ground floor room.

FOOD AND DRINK

Generally I thought the food at the buffet was excellent and varied. It was possible to eat as healthily or unhealthily as you liked. Both buffets are open air so you do get birds and there are plenty of feral cats around. The cats do come and miaow at your feet for food at times because guests feed them. We also saw people feeding the Koatis (racoon type animals) near the beach buffets and heard plenty of stories about people being scratched and bitten. We never ate on the beach because the Koatis are a nuisance there but we did use the two smaller buffet restaurants immediately off the beach and both were very good.

The service in most of the buffets was excellent. They did close the buffet at the del mar for most of our holiday for lunch and dinner so there were days when it was busy and therefore harder to get drinks and you had to queue for tables and to get food. I think that was my biggest grip about the holiday - if you book a resort you book all it's facilities and they should be freely available despite whatever occupancy the hotel happens to have that particular week.

Following on from that point the tropical and gourmet restaurants were also shut for the duration of the stay. I was disappointed by this because I had been looking forward to the gourmet. We did however have reservations at the Japanese, Steakhouse, Meditterean and Brazilian. All were very good except the Brazilian - service was very slow and most meats were overdone and tough.

OTHER

I did begin to feel like i was trapped in a very large posh butlins at time particularly when it rained. The resort isn't really geared up for bad weather. We also forgot our driving licences which didn't help.

If you want to escape there is a taxi service which runs from the shopping centre to playa del carmen for $4 or 40 pesos. That makes for a good day out - you do get a bit of the 'come in my shop' hassle but it's nothing compared to other countries i've visited such as Turkey and India.

We also caught the local bus service from the bus stand just to the right of the main hotel entrance to downtown cancun. that cost us $5 in comparison to the $40 for a taxi for the same trip. Be warned that you will have to run across both carriages of the highway (think motorway) on your return to get back to the hotel. That alone is an interesting experience - imagine doing that in the UK?

Bring something to entertain yourself if it rains - playing cards, books. You can't buy a novel in the hotel for love nor money - there are vastly overpriced magazines in the hotel shops. If it rains go to reception and get the pool cues and balls and go play pool in the games rooms.

We didn't use the spa - it was very pricey at £100 a massage. We met people who golfed who said the course was excellent but expensive at $350 a round plus shoe and club hire and ball purchase. Apparently if you commit to one of those awful timeshare presentations you can get a round of golf for free.

We didn't do any of the tours with our travel agent first choice because they were very expensive - more or less every tour is $100 per person. The rep is nice but completely focused on selling you tours and little else. The hotel's tours are cheaper and we did a tour with edventure tours for $210 for 2 people which was outstanding see http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g150813-d1015204-Reviews-Edventure_Tours-Tulum_Yucatan_Peninsula.html

We also did the morning glory snorkelling tour through the hotel and were both disappointed. It was poorly organised and bad value for money - little more than a hour in the water for $124. Beautiful water, nice coral and fish but you are made to swim in a big group with a guide who told us nothing but did manage to kick the coral, lift up an obviously planted conch shell, and pick up a stingray. They seemed to have very little respect for the environment they were trying to show us or give their customers an interesting and enjoyable experience. I got kicked in the head several times because we were so tightly bunched together.

Ultimately Would I go back to the del mar again? Yes in a heartbeat. The small things that I found disappointing and annoying are all massively outweighed by the overall experience which was genuinely excellent.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Poconos, PA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2009

We were at Del Mar for our second time Jan.15 thru Jan.22. After reading some of the reviews we were a little worried that things had gone down hill since our last trip 2 years ago. Not so. We were only dissappointed with one thing really. Upon check-in we were temporarily placed in a room for the night with thepromise of an "upgrade" to a Jr. Suite the next day. We were moved, but the room wasn't much more than a longer room much like the others. The real problem was being on the ground floor with absolutely no view other than jungle, swamp and some garbage and ladder in our "yard" off the balcony. We went up to the main desk, told them of our displeasure and were promptly moved to rooms on the Paraiso Beach side of the resort. The rooms were perfect and the rest of our stay was great. The grounds are beautiful, the service was great. The buffet does get a little mundane, but we never went hungry. And still, the lobby and beach are the best! Would definately stay again and refer it to others. Thanks Iberostar!

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed January 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washington, dc
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2009

The hotel was amazing. It was also suprisingly clean given the amount of birds. I booked the Del Mar for my destination wedding and it was the best decision I've ever made. Everyone had a great time. If you drink regularly you may need them to add an extra shot to your mixed drinks and you may want to request washclothes in your room but overall this was a beautiful hotel with excellent food and service. .

  • Liked — The room was beautiful. We had an ocean front view. Many of our guests had courtyard view. No matter what room you were in you had a great view.
  • Disliked — Room service only provided washclothes every other day and many times during my stay my room was not cleaned to my expectations (i.e. towels left on the floor, shower and mirrors not cleaned)
  • Stayed January 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2009

Amazing resort! The food was a 10 out of 10, Anyone who complains about the food here is simply crazy! My gf is very picky and she was impressed. The grounds are amazing, the beach is great but just a bit busy. Pools were beautifull and quiet. The service was beyond great! Lots of stuff to do. I wouldnt recomend this place for anyone looking to party all night long. becomes very quiet by midnight, however there is a few bars that keep the party goin as late as you want. No spring breakers allowed here, wich is nice :) The Food, Service, Scenery, Drinks, Price, Room, everything was over the top! highly recomend this place to anyone who luvs good food and white beaches with warm ocean water. The Japanese restaurant is a MUST!!!

  • Liked — Clean and beautifull, Food!
  • Disliked — Leaving
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2009

We stayed at Iberostar for 2 reasons: 1-My friend chose this resort as her wedding destination and 2-kids are allowed. My first impression of Iberostar was very pleasant. The lobby, grounds, pool areas, beach and other buildings are beautiful. Lots of lush greenery and great architectural elements. The hotel rooms are average, perhaps a bit small. Please use this advice when checking in: Unless you plan to stay up past midnight every night, DO NOT GET A ROOM IN BUILDING 20. The theatre is directly across from there and is obscenely loud! We have a 2 yr old and although we had late dinners with her til 9 or 10, the noise level til 12 am was crazy. The front desk accomodated our request to switch rooms so we were moved to building 19, but facing the opposite side. It was a dramatic improvement and we were quite happy with the change.
If you are looking for a gourmet dining experience, then this resort is not for you. 4 out of the 5 adults in my family were immediately disappointed with the margaritas. Bad flavor, very artificial tasting. The only dining available is buffet-style and it never changes. There are "a la carte" restaurants but one must make reservations very early in the morning in order to get in and even then, they still work a buffet into it. (Appetizers on buffet and desserts on buffet). Don't get me wrong, the food was not terrible, just incredibly mundane.
Like some other reviews said, everything is a bit spread out. If you have any small children, be sure to bring strollers. Thank God my daughter's grandma grabbed ours at the last minute! We didn't mind the walking because the scenery is beautiful and you burn some of the calories you drink all day! :)
Oh yeah, and my friend's wedding was awesome! The resort did a really cute job with it. They originally wanted to exchange vows on the beach. However, they saw another wedding take place there and didn't like how all of the other resort guests who were lounging on the beach nearby, got up and stood around watching and taking photos/videos. There's not a lot of privacy for the beach wedding. So, they instead were married in the wedding gazebo which was very gorgeous!
Lastly, would I go again? -Probably not.

  • Liked — The gardens
  • Disliked — Food/buffets
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2009

We went to the Iberostar as a "three generation family trip" and the entire week was TERRIFIC ! The hotel staff could not have done more to ensure we all had a memorable experience. The rooms were clean, the food choices were excellent, the facilities and grounds in fine shape and the activities wide ranging. Our group included grand parents, married children and grand children - ages 3/4 to 4 years old for a total of nine.

  • Liked — The positive staff attitude and hign level of service
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Hampshire
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2009

Let me break it down for you:
FOOD: For breakfast, you can only eat at the buffet, which has a HUGE selection. You'll find something, trust me. For lunch, it's either the buffet or the snack bar on the beach. For more substantive food, go for the former. However, if you get sick of the smell/look of a buffet (and you will), head to the beach for chips, salsa, hotdogs, chicken wings, etc. Vegetarians beware: the beach bar sucks if you don't eat the animals. For dinner, you have a certain amount of nights to eat at the specialty restaurants. Unfortunately, they're a lot like the buffet, at least the steakhouse and the Mediterranean are. The Japanese restaurant is AWESOME- go there! Overall, the food is really good, but too much of anything is gross, and after 8 days, i couldn't look at the buffet.

SERVICE: The employees are the warmest, friendliest, most helpful people ever. I've been to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and several other places in the Caribbean, and I've NEVER had better service in my life. It's amazing how quickly your glass is refilled, how willing they are to help, etc. They're not pushy or rude or short... It's like they're there just for you. Check-in is quick and easy, check out is the same, the people are trustworthy, helpful and attentive. Example: We got lost (it's a big resort) and were going to miss our reservation at a restaurant. We explained this to a passing employee, who asked us to follow him, grabbed the "fastest golf cart here!" and whizzed us straight to the door.

BEACH: Beautiful! I'm sure during the busy months it gets packed, but there was always a spot for us with shade. The water is gorgeous and clear, but ROUGH. The flag was red every day but one, and my fiance rescued not one, but TWO old women who got sucked out in a rip current! Beware, the lifeguard is aware and will help you, but he's very slow to respond! Don't go over your head, because the rip current is very strong. Just stay neck high or whatever and keep your eye out. Don't go higher than waist-deep if you're not a strong swimmer, though, and REMEMBER: IF YOU GET CAUGHT IN A RIP CURRENT, SWIM PARALLEL TO SHORE; RIP CURRENTS ARE ONLY ABOUT 30 FEET WIDE. However, that's a lot of swimming if you're old, weak, feeble, disabled, easily exhausted, etc. The two women we pulled out were def. over 70. Just a heads-up.

POOL: Suh-weet! Like a mile long, excellent bars, not heated, hello, you're in Mexico.

BOOZE: They'll skimp on it if you let them. Tell them extra booze every. single. time. A dollar or two goes a long way. Oh! They don't have Corona here (boooo!) only Dos Equis. I'd suggest drinking wine or beer if you want to avoid the hassle of watered down tropical bevs.

ROOMS: Beautiful, clean, comfy, well-taken care of. Love the maids.

OVERALL: I've never been to a country twice, but we're already talking about heading back to Mex, and will def. stay at the Mar.

  • Liked — Beach, wonderful staff.
  • Disliked — I didn't dislike the walking, but a heads-up: It's a lot. And no handicapped access. Prob. not good if you're older, disabled, or still pushing a stroller.
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Iberostar Paraiso del Mar

Address: Carrt. Chetumal-Pto. Juarez km. 309, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710 , Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#7 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#7 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Iberostar Paraiso del Mar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 388
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Directly on the beach of "Playa Paraíso" (Mexico). High standard of comfort. Wide gastronomic variety. 18-hole golf course. PAD/SSI – diving school, massage at the beach and the pool. Spa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar Hotel Playa Paraiso
Iberostar Playa Paraiso
Iberostar Hotel Playa Paraiso
Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar Mexico
Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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