We just came back (Apr 17 - 25) from a great vacation at the Paraiso Maya. My wife and I were there with our twin girls, age 6. We stayed in Bldg 60, near the beach. Weather was great all week long, with just the occasional sprinkle and a bit of wind on the beach. A few points about the property:
- Yes, it is big. It was a nice leisurely 10 minute walk from our building to the lobby bar. However, the facilities are nicely distributed, so, for example, you can have breakfast and lunch at one of the restaurants near the beach. We would typically hang out at the beach in the morning, eat lunch, then head to one of the pool areas for the afternoon, then make our way back down to the swim up bar or ice cream parlor to end the day. In the evenings, we'd stroll up to the lobby, have a drink, then go to dinner at one of the specialty restaurants.
- The concierge in the building is great. She did all our dinner reservations, arranged babysitting, helped get a light fixed in our room, and countless other little things. I see this as one of the key perks for staying at the Paraiso and not next door, so take advantage.
- Another key perk is the specialty restaurants. You can go to one every night if you like. The buffets are very good, but after doing buffets for breakfast and lunch, I don't want to be running around at dinner. My advice is to ask your concierge to schedule each of them for one night when you arrive. You can always change them later if you prefer one or the other. They didn't seem very crowded, though you may have to be flexible with times.
- If you're traveling with kids, I think you're really going to like this place. It's not a "family" hotel; most activities are not kid-focused. However, they have a great kids club (Lucy's club). It has a pre-set, published schedule, complete with swimming, crafts, fishing, sports, etc. Twice a week, they do a little show on-stage at 8 with the kids. My girls loved it. We dropped them off three times around noon so that we could go scuba diving. The club took them swimming, then lunch, then some quiet time watching a movie, then more activities. In the evening, the club can take your kids to dinner and activities from 6 to 8, so if you want to schedule a quiet (early) dinner, you can.
- If you want a later dinner, babysitting was only $10 / hour for our two kids. Arrange it with the concierge. I think there's a two or three hour minimum.
- Service was overall very, very good. Rooms were cleaned promptly, towel animals were left on the beds for the kids, waiters brought drinks and coffee at the buffets quickly. No complaints at all.
- I know that this is an all inclusive, and no tipping is required or expected. However, please keep in mind that these folks probably make less in one month that it cost you to stay for one day at the hotel. About a month before we go, I start putting away fives and ones into a drawer at the end of each day. By the time of our trip, I have about $100 or $150 in small bills, which I use throughout our stay to thank the people that help us throughout our vacation. On the scale of things, it's not a large amount of money, and it is really appreciated.
Overall, I would return to this hotel in a heartbeat. Yes, the beds were a bit hard, and the food, while very good, was not "gourmet". But it is well above any other similar properties we have been to, and when you couple in the great Kids Club, it just makes for a perfect vacation.