My wife, 10 year old daughter and I visited the Paraiso Maya for five nights over Presidents Weekend. We had a great time! Two years ago, we stayed at the Barceló Maya Palace, so we were comparing the two during our visit.
The Paraiso Maya is a beautiful complex. We had a superior suite in the "60" complex. The room was a great size and nicely appointed. The bathroom was nice, but not as nice as the Barceló. The whirlpool tub was too hard to fill, much to my daughter's dismay. The fridge was always filled with what we wanted, however, other than some peanuts, there weren't any other snacks in the room. The great thing about the "60" complex, is that is the closest to the beach, and convenient to two of the buffer restaurants. The downside, is that you are the farther from the lobby area, which houses the bar and the majority of the better restaurants.
The Paraiso Maya / Lindo complex is extremely large and it takes a while to walk from one end to the other. Although the Barceló was large, the lobby was more centrally located versus being at one end. We had to allow at least 10 extra minutes to walk to dinner or to get internet access, as the lobby is the only place you can get internet access.
The pool area is fantastic!!! It is the centerpiece of the Maya / Lindo resort. The main pool was never packed, even with the complex completely full. Our daughter had a great time in the wave pool and we all meandered down the lazy river a few times. We loved the bar in the pool (under a waterfall) and the ice cream bar on the bridge over the pool. One great feature of the Paraiso Maya was the entertainment around the pool area. There was always great music playing (not too loud) and fun pool activities. Even if you didn't partake, it was great fun to watch. This was something that the Barceló did not have. As previous reviewers have stated, you do have to get out early to get the best chairs by the pool. I tend to be an early riser on vacation, and people were reserving chairs as early as 7:00.
The beach was beautiful and the water, as beautiful as ever. There was never a problem finding beach chairs. We loved the fact that there was a beach bar and a snack bar, which served lunch and late afternoon snacks. Although you have to cross a little "bridge" to get to the beach, it was always fun to see the "Mexican Raccoons" who lived around and under it.
We enjoyed the food, but we all agreed that it was not as good as the Barceló! The breakfasts were good, with plenty of choices. We did miss the make your own Breakfast "Smoothies" from the Barceló. The lunch buffets were nice but nothing special. Dinners were a mixed bag. I made sure to make reservations at the restaurants before we left home, to ensure that we would be able to eat at the restaurants we wanted at the right times. When we arrived, the reservations were not in the system. However, our Concierge, straightened out everything and we were set. One night we ate at the Japanese Hibatchi restaurant, which was good, not great. We did not really enjoy El Fogon, the Italian Restaurant. We did have a great meal the Marina, where we ender up eating twice! The buffet appetizers were great, and our daughter basically ate the sushi for dinner. The Stone Crab claws were good and plentiful, but not as good as Joe's in Miami! The mixed seafood grill that my wife and I split was wonderful, and too much for even the two of us to finish. We did eat at the Pagoda Buffet one night for dinner, which good, especially the Mexican dishes. The Mariachi band was a fun plus!
As a whole, the staff was top notch! From the "Star" performers who made everyone feel welcome, to the wait staff and servers, to the housekeeping and maintenance staff, everyone had a smile on their face and an "Hola" No request was ever too much or too little!
We had a great vacation and always had smiles on our faces!