I visited the Paraiso Maya for 9 days in April with my wife and two kids, age 10. This was our third time at this resort, the last time being about 3 years ago. Overall, the resort has held up quite well: grounds, food, and services are at the higher end for a beach resort. While it may not be “five stars” when compared to say, a hotel in a large metropolitan area, I don’t believe you will be disappointed.
The hotel is about 30 minutes south of Cancun airport. It is part of a large Iberostar complex consisting of five hotels. From north to south they are: the Del Mar, the Beach, the Lindo, the Maya, and the Grand. Roughly speaking, the Del Mar/Beach are one hotel, sharing all facilities, while the Lindo/Maya are another, sharing most, but not all facilities. The Lindo/Maya offer better facilities, room, services, than the Del Mar/Beach, while the Grand is in a class by itself, with really high-end luxury, but only for adults. I have never stayed at the Lindo, but my impression is that the rooms are a bit smaller, and that they do not necessarily have access to all the restaurants and bars on the Maya side, or their access is limited.
The main architectural feature of the Maya is a reproduction of the pyramid at Chichen Itza, which hosts the main bar and several restaurants. Leading from the pyramid are a series of buildings, 3 stories, roughly perpendicular to the beach and aligned along the south end of the pool complex. There are gardens everywhere, and the grounds are impeccably maintained.
The Lindo/Maya complex is centered around the main pool area, with the Lindo to the north, the Maya to the south. Restaurants are located near the pyramid, as well as near the beach. Between the rooms and the beach, there is a small stretch of jungle, which you cross on one of two boardwalks.
The resort is HUGE. It easily takes you 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other. They have shuttle buses, but the frequency is not that great. I would definitely not suggest this place to anyone with any mobility problems.
Free WiFi is available in the lobby. I think they have wired internet in the rooms, but I never used it. TV’s get the usual assortment of Spanish/English channels.
The rooms are in the junior suite category. They have something called “family suites”, which I think may be a bit bigger, but I do not believe they have any two room suites. You get one king size or two full size beds, a sitting area, a balcony (some with hammocks), a large bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, plus the usual other hotel amenities. Rooms are clean, with air conditioning, and a fridge with drinks and beer that is restocked every day, or whenever you ask. I don’t think there is a “best” room. Rooms in the 60 block are closest to the beach, but because of the little jungle area, they are not quite “on” the beach. Rooms in higher number blocks are closer to the pyramid, restaurants, etc. So no matter where you go, you will be close to some things, and far from others.
The center pool complex consists of several pools: a lazy river, where you can float and go slowly around a little “island”. A sports pool. A wave pool, with artificial waves every hour, and a large main pool with waterfalls, fountains, and a swim up bar. Pool is huge, and when we were there, quite warm. Lots of chairs with umbrellas. Good spots are usually taken early, but we never had any problem finding something with an umbrella when we showed up in the early afternoon.
Beach has fine sand, with lots of chairs with umbrellas available. Again, never a problem finding some, but the first row ones are “reserved” early in the morning (more on that later). The surf is rough, with a good breeze blowing on most days. Lots of fun, but this is windward facing so you’ll rarely get a very flat ocean. There are some rocks in the water, though the area right in front of the main lifeguard tower is rock-free pretty much as far out as you’d care to go. FYI, there will be a few to many topless women sunbathing, though not too many walking around. So if this matters to you, stay at the pool.
I’ve read a lot of reviews on this site, and I can’t understand how some folks post that the food was inedible. The food may not be Michelin Five Star, but it is very, very, good, and sometimes quite excellent. Here’s what you do: when you get to the hotel, go down and see your concierge. There is one right at the base of the stairs for each building. Ask him/her to make you reservations at the a la carte restaurants during your stay. There are many to choose from, both in the Lindo/Maya as well as in the Del Mar/Beach complex. Be flexible on which ones and time, and you can get reservations for each day of your stay. They’re all good. Our favorite was the seafood and the Mexican. We also enjoyed the French one, but that one is just for adults.
For breakfast, go up to the pyramid to the La Marina restaurant, which in the evening is seafood, but in the morning serves breakfast, both a la carte and buffet. It’s much better than going to the larger buffet restaurant that is on the Lindo side. Much quieter, and much better service. Buffet choices are extensive, ranging from omelet stations, to fresh fruit, to cereal, to traditional Mexican. The waiters will bring you coffee, juice, cappuccino, or pretty much anything you ask for.
Lunch is the weakest of the meals. They have a buffet available at the beach restaurants as well as up near the pyramid, but unless they were serving some Mexican specialties, the rest was pretty standard stuff. Not bad, but nothing earth shattering. We usually ended up having lunch at the beach buffet, which offered a small selection of somewhat lighter food, and you could stay in your wet bathing suit. BTW, during the day, you should plan on a beach cover up for the restaurants in the resort. In the evening, the a la carte restaurants require long pants for men.
Two more things: you have room service (limited menu, but pretty tasty), and you have an ice cream parlor right at the end of the pool area, above the swim up bar.
They have the “Star Friends” folks who are up and about throughout the day doing all sorts of activities, from sports, to dancing lessons, to crafts. They are very nice, and there’s never any pressure to participate. Dressel Divers runs the watersports. They can arrange for SCUBA, parasailing, etc. In the evenings, they have shows in the main theater, which range from very good (the Mexican folklore show), to your standard resort stuff, with silly contest and some audience participation. There is a great kids club, open from 10 to 4. My kids are getting a bit old for it, but in past trips, they have greatly enjoyed all the activities. The staff there is great, and they keep the kids entertained with sports, movies, and crafts. Tipping is not expected, but I think you’ll find that these folks work very hard, and any gesture will be greatly appreciated.
1) Either get rid of the signs asking people not to reserve beach and pool chairs, or start enforcing it. While we never had problems getting a chair, it is frustrating to see the best chairs go empty for hours at a time, while they’re nominally occupied by a magazine or flip flop left on them early in the morning. Recently, we stayed at a resort in Miami where the staff would walk around a couple of times a day, leaving a note on the chair which said, in effect, if this note is still on the chair in a couple of hours, we’ll store your stuff for you. I thought that was a good way to do it.
2) They need to control the animal population a bit more. In the jungle area near the beach, there are lots, and I mean LOTS, of coatis ( a raccoon type animal), as well as capybaras. Even though they shouldn’t, folks feed them, and it seems to me that their numbers have really grown since the last time, and they seem more aggressive. I think it’s going to soon get out of control.
3) The towel/card system is silly. When you check in, each guest gets a card, which you trade in for a towel at the pool. From the on, you can trade in your towels for fresh ones, as often as you like. The problem is that you always have to keep track of your towels, and if you loose one, there is a charge. And we’re not talking plush 1000 thread towels here. These are threadbare, overwashed, overused, beach towels which probably cost a couple of dollars wholesale. I don’t understand it. It’s not like anyone would want to steal them, and even if they do, given the price of the rooms, and the cheapness of the towels, you’d think they could just live with it. I’d happily pay an extra $20 a week just to not have to worry about where my towels are.
If you want a great, stress free resort for your family, don’t hesitate, book now. You will not be disappointed. Be flexible with regards to your dinner reservations (all the restaurants are good), bring some small bills to tip the staff, and go enjoy.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.