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“Heaven on Earth!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso

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Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Carretera Chetumal - P. Juarez Km 309, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Heaven on Earth!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2007

Heaven on Earth!

It would be redundant to describe how posh this resort is. Pure opulence everywhere; from the marble football length size lobby, to the restrooms, every nook and cranny has been thoughtfully and methodically planned. I will attempt to make this review brief, but rest assured there is no worry in booking this wonderful resort for your special holiday. Be it your Honeymoon, anniversary, special occasion or just a romantic getaway, the Grand may well be the most perfect resort you will ever stay in.

I could go on and on about the restaurants, the pools, the food and the service, but I would be repeating most of all the other recent reviews. Instead, I will offer a short list of memories, ideas and suggestions to make your holiday at the Grand as wonderful as ours. Honeymoon perfection!!

Oh, just one clarification to put to bed all the misinformation about the beach. Please allow me to clarify once and for all. The beach is fantastic! Light, golden brown sand, magnificent! The actual beach sand is not the problem, it’s beautiful. The problem is with the water area. The area to enter the ocean is limited. The ocean floor area is mostly coral like rock. You can move from one area to another to enter, but really the water area is not conducive to swimming. You can enter, but this water area is not like other Caribbean area beaches. Most of the water area is covered with this coral rock. I just thought that if you are booking here, and I still highly recommend that you do, be aware of this one bone of contention with some travelers. Rest assured, the beach is still fantastic, but please keep in mind that the water area is not perfect, but everything else is.

Price/Upgrades: (Honeymooners pay particular attention.)

If you are a honeymooner you have a choice to make prior to booking. You have three different room choices, SJR, Super Junior Suites. (Fantastic room) The room upgrade is in the SJR OV, which is the exact same room but with an ocean view. This is also a fantastic room, but you can see the ocean from your balcony. (Sweet) This pricing is significantly higher than the SJR.

The next upgrade is the SJR OF, same room, but directly at the ocean with a stunning view! There are 4 other rooms at the beachfront that are corner Jacuzzi suites, but they are probably another upgrade or special request suites, try asking if you do the upgrade.

If you are a honeymooner and can prove it with your certificate, you will automatically get the free upgrade to the Ocean View. If you book the Ocean View from home and pay the extra, then you will get the Ocean Front. Just keep in mind; the price jump from the ‘regular’ rooms, (The SJR) to the ocean view (SJR OV) is around $400-500 more depending on the time, availability etc… You may choose as we did to book the SJR, obtain the free honeymoon upgrade to the Ocean view, and then pay extra for the Ocean Front. The Ocean Front is definitely worth the extra cash either way. The price that was offered originally for the Ocean Front was 100.00 per night, which quickly dropped to 50.00 per night. This was pretty much standard in their pricing as other couples also received this 50.00 per night upgrade. Just keep in mind the time of the season and the availability factor.

Here are some other tips/highlights:

Free Shoe Shine service
Free daily paper each morning at your door.
Free min-bar, with free stocking of anything you wish.
Lobster delivered to your room, with a bottle of champagne on ice.
For after the show, a hot bubble bath with rose petals was prepared for us in the Jacuzzi tub. (How sweet is that?)
24 room service.
Visit the Shopping Centre with free rides via the Golf Carts.
Awesome authentic tacos in the shopping area, of course, all inclusive!
Free bus ride into Playa Del Carmen.
Try booking the Mexican restaurant at one of the sister resorts instead of the Japanese at the Grand. The Japanese restaurant was somewhat disappointing.
Play pool in the games room, or poker.
Relax with a cold drink in the Sports Bar. Monday night football, wall mounted LCD screens, relaxing lounge chairs, what else could you want?
Outdoor jacuzzi tubs by the pool.
Relax with a soothing message by the beach – 60.00 per hour.
Awesome workout room and fantastic indoor pool area!
Nightly dark chocolate treats for you and your companion at your bedside when you return at night.
His and hers robes and slippers.
And the unbelievable king size beds, you won’t believe it. Sleeping has never been so peaceful!

Just book, there is no need to worry, just pray the weather is nice as the coastal region of Mexico has been unpredictable lately, August to October 2007.

Enjoy and savor the Grand. Heaven on Earth? Perhaps, but definetly an experience you will never forget! I know we won’t!

  • Liked — Service, food, everything!
  • Disliked — The water area at the beach.
  • Stayed September 2007, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
301 helpful votes 301 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2007

We stayed at Iberostar Grand from Oct 6 – 13. Usually we travel south in Jan and Feb and on occasion May/Jun. This trip was in celebration of our 25th anniversary.

Here is a little bit about my husband and I, so you can decide if our priorities for an AI are similar to yours. We are in our 40's. Since walking is basically our sole form of exercise while away, we prefer large resorts so we can do lots of walking within the confines of the resort. Night life (disco) is not important to us. We find after a “tough day” in the sun the resort’s show is usually late enough for us. We are easy going and so far all our trips south have been good, although some have been better than others.

This is our 16th all-inclusive. I always like to know where others have stayed so I know what they are comparing so here are some other resorts we have been to recently: Aventura Palace in Mexico, The Royal Cancun, Excellence Punta Cana, Sun Palace in Cancun, Palladium Palace in Punta Cana, Riu Taino in Punta Cana, Sandals Hicacos in Varadero, and El Dorado in Mexico.

Room: We were upgraded to an oceanfront view. Room 7114, on the ground level. This room is by far the nicest room we have had. We usually book standard rooms and we have never been upgraded before. All the rooms are the same the only difference is the view. I would think requesting a view of the infinity pool would give a fantastic view because you may be able to see the ocean beyond. The bath is nice with his and hers sinks. Tons of amenities. Housecoats, slippers, a well stocked mini bar, Pringles chips and nuts. The bed was very comfortable, we ordered a couple pillows from the pillow menu. Clock radio by the bed and DVD. A sitting area with a table for room service. Teak deck with a basket swing for two, couch and clothesline. The lighting was strange as others mentioned but a lot of task and mood lights, very cool. There was a fruit basket when we arrived. We had a fair amount of rain so this room was well used especially the deck. An umbrella supplied would be nice. We found 20 degrees C was not cool enough for sleeping and that was as low as the temperature would go. Also the ceiling fan was over the sitting area not the bed.

Weather: We had a fair amount of rain at the beginning of the week although there were breaks when we got out walking. Towards the end of the week, Thurs and Fri were almost full sun days.

Grounds: This was the highlight for us. The Grand alone offers a fair amount of wandering space but add the other four resorts and we were in walking heaven. The Grand’s pool is the smallest of the ones we saw. Beautiful with it’s infinity look flowing right into the ocean and certainly large enough for the amount of people during our stay. We spent a couple hours at the Lindo pool mostly to check out the wave pool, 5 min in the wave pool was good. Even though the pool at the Lindo was huge it was crowded. Chairs around the Grand were confusing with unlimited towels they are often left behind and it is hard to tell if the chair is taken (I am not complaining about unlimited towels). Possibly a staff member could go around regularly collecting towels from chairs where there are no personal items, this would take the onus off other guests for removing someone’s towel. There are a few floats and noodles provided. There is not a lot of shade around this pool but for us we went to the beach when we were ready for shade. The chairs sitting on grass is also a problem. Most of the grass has died and with the amount of rain we had some of the chairs were floating in mud. Would imagine the resort will at some point tile, rock or lay some other foundation for the chairs and probably add some more shade to the pool area. This pool and beach beyond are the focal points for the breakfast and lunch buffet plus a couple a la cartes. We were offered drinks regularly both on the beach and around the pool. The beach was beautiful to lie out on and always lots of shade. The water was rocky though and a short walk was required for clear entering. There is no shortage of public baths and they were always immaculate.

Staff and housekeeping: We never had problems with any services. Our room was very clean, fresh towels daily, mini bar and snacks replenished. All employees were very friendly. We were regularly offered drinks when laying out. All service for meals was good to excellent. We were brought champagne on our anniversary. On another occasion we had started walking back from the commercial center when it started raining and than pouring. A golf cart stopped to pick us up and on the way to bldg 71 stopped at the front area and grabbed towels for us, nice touch… The carts should have plastic for the sides when raining. The bars used only name brand liquor. Often the bottle was brought and poured tableside so you saw what you were getting.

Butler: We had the same experience as the rest. Our butler came the first day and we never saw him again. He did write his name and number down and in his defense we are very low maintenance and made our restaurant reservations through the concierge. We never had reason to call him.

Meals: For all meals we had good to excellent service. The tablecloths were replaced after each occupant nice not to have stains and crumbs from the previous diners. All buffets and a la cartes are air conditioned and smoke free. The lobby area with bar and theatre are also air conditioned.

Breakfast seemed small when compared to other resorts but I can’t think of anything that was missing. We did find the buffet food that should have been hot, not. We tried precooked waffles and pancakes one day and they were not hot. Another day we were offered freshly cooked pancakes, which were very good. Think all the “hot” foods should be cooked at time of ordering. The occupancy was low at this time and the food was sitting to long.

Lunch: I found the lunch choices we tried all delicious. Fahitas, juicy kobe burgers, shrimp, lobster, fries and a very good tornado steak. When we weren’t very hungry a slice of pizza from the buffet hit the spot. The service was good and the view was great.

Dinner: We tried all 4 al la cartes. The Surf and Turf was our favorite followed by the Japanese. We tried the buffet one night, the theme was Italian and it was OK. The dress for evening was officially long pants and sleeved shirts for men. We saw everything from jeans to cocktail type dresses.

I read all the reviews prior to our trip and printed them and re-read them while we were there. Our experience was so much like the majority of other reviewers I can’t add much new information but just echo some of the good and the very few spots that need improvement. I would definitely recommend this resort and may someday return myself. I haven’t yet returned to a resort because I like to experience new resorts and new areas. I don’t think the other Iberostars would interest me as this one being adults only certainly has an edge. This resort is probably one of the best resorts in the Mayan area when considering service, beach, and food. I have visited Palace resorts and Excellence and both of these chains are well run. I will be checking out these 2 chains for future trips.

  • Liked — Beautiful, well equipped, spacious rooms
  • Disliked — Air conditioning temperature could have gone cooler
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2007

This is the first review I have ever submitted to TripAdvisor, although I have used the site for years. I felt compelled to tell everyone what a great time my wife and I had at the Grand Paraiso.

The food, the service, the activities, the room, and the overall experience was top notch. Everyone went out of their way to be accommodating and friendly which makes all the difference. Having stayed at Four Seasons and Ritz Hotels before, I would put this property right up there. As someone who would not necessarily opt for
the all-inclusive, we were very pleased with the quality of the food.
Each day the meals were modified slightly enough to not feel like you
were eating the same thing every day. The head chef went out of his way to guide and make suggestions on the cuisine, especially the native dishes. The resort itself is beautiful – you are right on the water. Nothing better than being poolside with a beautiful view of the ocean. The pool itself is very modern and has a good vibe of activity, yet not a ridiculous scene.

As you plan to get away for any reason, definitely consider this resort. Our trip was so enjoyable that the best thank you we give the
people at the Grand is to share our experience with others.

  • Stayed September 2007, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, NC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2007

My husband and I just returned from The Grand and had the time of our life. From the moment you walk into the lobby, you are blown away by the decorating of this place. You are greeted with a welcome drink (champagne or a fruity drink). Check-in is done very quickly and then you're whisked away to your room by the bellboy. He shows you to your room, unloads your luggage in your room and lets you know that your butler will be by within 5 minutes to greet you and tell you about your room.

Our butler stopped by shortly after the bellboy dropped us off. We had enough time to check out our view and be in amazement as to how large the suite was (kind size bed, large TV, separate his and her sides of the bathroom, a safe, mini bar, two closets, a sitting area and desk, and a large balcony with a sofa and a wicker (cushioned) swing. Our room alone was amazing! Our butler (Rudolfo) was great. If we needed anything special, we just had to call on him and he would get it for us. If we wanted something special in our mini bar, we just needed to write it down on a piece of paper and leave it for him. When we would arrive back in our room, what we asked for.....we received. They bring ice to your room daily and there are two ice machines on each floor if you need more or yours has already melted. The pillow menu (offering 6 different pillows) was not offered to us as we checked in, but our butler told us our menu was in our room (in their book of information on the desk) and if we preferred something else to let him know and he would take care of getting it for us. We ended up loving the pillows that came in the room, so never asked for anything else. I will say that the bed is incredible. Usually when you vacation, you can't wait to get home to your own bed, but my husband and I are finding it hard to even sleep in our own bed anymore. We were spoiled by their bed. The mattress was SO comfortable and you couldn't even feel when the other person moved. The sheets were so soft and comfortable. If anyone ever finds out how to get them (they're an Iberostar brand), please let me know. :)

We had maid service twice a day. Once in the morning to make the bed, empty trash, fresh towels, etc... and once at night to turn down our bed, put chocolates on our pillows, empty trash again, and get fresh towels once again, etc.... We always felt well taken care of.

There is a Concierge in each building that is willing to do anything for you. They made all of our dinner reservations for us, mailed out some postcards, answered a ton of questions, etc....

There are three pools. The main pool is nice and deep all the way through and has a swim up bar. I'm 5'4" and the water was up to my neck. There is a serenity pool that is about 3.5 feet deep and an indoor, heated pool in the spa area that is also 3.5 foot deep. Each pool offers one or more jacuzzis and plenty of lounging (with real plush cushions....something nice you would buy for your own patio....which none of the other Iberostar hotels on the property have).

They offer a ton of activities throughout the day. They offer sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and diving lessons, tennis lessons, a reading room, internet room, pool tables, and game tables. You receive a daily newspaper, can have a wake-up call (ok, so you don't really need this unless you have an early flight on your last day and are afraid you won't wake up in time), and the bellboys outside the entrance will take you wherever you want in their golf cart on any of the 5 properties. Your room has plenty of toiletries (shower cap, sewing kit, bath salts, several kinds of bar soap, shower gel, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, a dryer, iron and ironing board, safe (a nice digital combination one), mini bar, hangers (12 nice wooden ones) to hang your clothes on, plenty of towels, slippers, robes, and the list goes on. :) They have a gym that has very upscale equipment with two flat screen TV's, a stereo, and water. There is a spa on the property, but it does cost extra.

They offer nightly shows where you can get something to drink and they offer popcorn to eat. We stayed 5 nights, so saw 5 shows and were entertained by each of them.

The food is amazing! For breakfast and lunch they offer a menu and a buffet. You can go to the buffet and also order from the menu or do just one or the other. Rodrigo is the head chef in The Grand and greeted every day for breakfast and lunch, explaining what the new items were on the buffet. He would also make whatever you wanted. If you had something one day, but they didn't offer it the next day, you just had to ask for it and you would receive. It was unbelievable! There are four restaurants on this property for dinner, which is served between 6:30pm and 9:00pm (Gourmet, Japanese, Surf and Turf, and Italian). The only requirement is that men where pants to dinner. You can eat at any of the restaurants on any of the other Iberostar properties, but be warned that none of them are as amazing as the ones you'll go to at The Grand. We had a chance to eat at the Steakhouse and at the Mexican (the authentic one.....not the Tex Mex one). Both were great!

Room service is offered 24 hours, but other items are offered throughout the day at certain times with only specific foods offered 24 hours. When your bed is turned down in the evening, you'll receive a card where you can order breakfast in your room (you just fill it out and stick it on your door and it will be served at the time you specify).

You'll see the Star Friends everywhere and they are all friendly! Our favorites are Jonathan, Alex, , Marcelo, and Edwardo. Our favorite waiter (whom we saw at breakfast and at the Surf and Turf restaurant) is Mayo. Everyone is so great at remembering your name. At times, you feel like you're the only one there (granted we went during a slow season, so it wasn't fully booked or anything). :)

There are bathrooms on each floor, not to mention outside and in the lobby and none of them are alike and all are just as incredible as the last. They have thought of everything and their attention to detail has blown us away (yes, with even the bathrooms). :)

I definitely wouldn't say you needed to get an Oceanfront room. We just had a "run of the mill" room as they call it and had a great view of the enclosed pool, but could also see the ocean from our balcony. The ocean wasn't too far from the rooms, so it wasn't like we had to walk far to get to it.

This resort is all inclusive so tips are not necessary. I will say that we didn't feel our service got better when we did tip, but the expression on their faces when you trip (pure gratitude) made it worth our while. I highly recommend taking a lot of $1's and maybe some $5's and making someone's day. We learned that our shuttle bus driver makes on $20 a day (for 8 hours). He used to make $12 a day (for 16 hours) before he got a job with Apple Vacations. For instance, we tipped our maid $5 a day. When you look at it, it was $25 for the time we were there and we couldn't even go to a decent restaurant where we live and both of us eat one dinner for that amount. They certainly don't expect a tip, but their expression when you tip says it all.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to answer any questions you have or share some photos.

  • Liked — THe service
  • Disliked — I can't think of a thing
  • Stayed September 2007, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
1 review
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2007

I just want to start off by saying that the hotel itself is beautiful and the attention to detail is truly amazing. As stated in many reviews the pools are incredible but there is not much of a beach right in front of the Grand. If you like to swim you need to walk to the Lindo to find suitable space to enjoy the ocean. I would recommend upgrading to ocean front rooms and service. Also, ask for Victor he's amazing. He helped make our honeymoon perfect minus one incident which I will get into later.

The food was good for an AI. The breakfast/lunch buffets were excellent plus they would make anything you asked for at the grills. As for the dinner restaurants we only enjoyed the surf and turf and Japanese. The Italian and gourmet are not worth eating at. We tried getting reservations at other restaurants on the Iberostar property but were denied. Not sure why though since we were told that we could eat anywhere if we stay at the grand.
Room service was a nice touch but the menu is very limited.

The rooms are amazing and spacious. The only negative about the rooms was the mold smell. We were told that the smell was due to the new wood in the rooms. We can still smell it on our luggage. Also, they claim to fill up the mini bar and snacks daily but we had to constantly ask for everything to be refilled and most of the time it was done but not always. They also let you rent DVDs to play in your room. On our first night we requested Shallow Hal but they never brought it to us. We asked several more times but to no avail. One nice feature was that if you ask and leave them out they will press your clothes for you. On our last night they brought up a big butterfly made of chocolate and a bottle of champagne.

As for the incident. We left our digital camera out to download some pictures from our wedding day. When we returned from the pool that day someone had stolen the camera, charger and cord that downloads the pictures to the computer. This was very upsetting since we had pictures from our wedding that will now be lost. When we explained this to Iberostar they basically blamed it on us for not locking the camera up in the safe. Not sure what kind of customer service this is but how much do they expect you to fit in that little safe. After we returned home I received an email from Iberostar stating that they have finished their investigation and found no-one to be guilty and that I should have used the safe in the room and there is noting else they could do at this time. I noticed that when the maids clean the rooms they leave all doors open. So when they are out on the balcony cleaning anyone could walk into your room and take what ever they wanted. I have pictures showing this if anyone is interested.

The hotel itself was beautiful, most of the staff was amazing (especially Victor) they have a few minor kinks to work especially security!!!!! Please email me if you would like further information on the lack of security and our stolen camera and Iberostars response.

  • Liked — Rooms
  • Disliked — Customer Service
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Washington DC
1 review
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2007

Our experience at The Grand leads me to determine that it's a PRIZE RESORT IN THE MAKING. Any shortfalls we experienced (and most complaints you'll read about on this site) can really be chalked up to growing pains. My actual rating on this property would be 4.5 as has been said many times before; I'd rather give them a little bump than cheat them out of a point though. That being said, if you can afford it, this is where you ought to be staying.

I'll try to sum up our experience without repeating others:


We went in expecting a culinary experience; the reviews we had read on the site talked up the buffets and the Surf & Turf etc... We were disappointed at first, but eventually figured out the work-arounds. The best specialty restaurant at the Ibero Paraiso complex is La Hacienda at the Beach. Staying at the Grand, of course, we were able to eat there - and did half the time. The bottom line is: The more familiar the chefs were with the ingredients and procedures, the better the food was. We eventually settled into a stride. The breakfast buffet is good - ask the grill to make you something that *they* like. The lunch buffet is wonderful, but only if you let the cooks make you something fresh that they're familiar with (they'll go off menu). One of the best meals we had during our stay was when we walked up to the grill at lunch and asked the chef to make us the best fajitas we ever had (not on the menu, of course). The server returned in 10 minutes with an amazing arrangement of shrimp and arrachera with grilled pineapple and cilantro onions. They were the best fajitas we ever had and eating lunch at the buffet on the beach was one of the unique Grand experiences for us. For dinner it's La Hacienda or seafood from the Surf & Turf. For us the Japanese, the Gourmet, and the non-seafood items at the Surf & Turf all came across
clumsy, awkward, and unfamiliar. I suspect eventually the resort will
modify the restaurants to serve different "perspectives" on local ingredients and culinary traditions. After all, who goes to Japan and
asks for a burrito?

When the sun is high (11am to 4pm) the water color is the beautifully
quintessential Caribbean blue. Other than that, the beach in the area
really has no advantage over any other US Atlantic beach. The sand is
all import, the water is too turbulent to allow visibility, and large
portions of the beach (including all of the area in front of The Grand) are not suitable for swimming due to rocks. That's not to say beach bums should shy away. Spatially, the poor beaches allow for a lot of privacy. You'll get a large cabana with your nearest neighbors
being 30 feet away while looking down toward the smelly sardine skin-fest of the other more crowded resorts. When we wanted to go swimming, we took the Iberobus down to Playa to visit the Iberostar Quetzal and Tucan (free) where the ocean swimming is fabulous (and they have monkeys too).

No fault of the Grand; people just aren't into the activities. Most folks were at the Grand for romance/honeymoon etc, so the place is VERY quiet. This is exactly what we wanted, but if you're looking for
a "good time," this ain't the place - it's very tranquil and elegant.


There are no rooms anywhere on the Riviera Maya that can compare - hands down, bar none. The spa bathrooms, the European hardware, the huge balconies with teak decking and swings, and the amazing bed made
for a VERY comfortable stay.

While the resort is still "settling" into itself, the overall construction is top-notch. Visitors may find a few details a bit off (such as missing rugs, empty frames, midway-through paint jobs, etc) but the foundation has been laid for a true trophy property. The lighting is thoughtful, the landscaping impressive, and the theme is well identified. The spa was incredible from the therapeutic pool to the intricate wood carved doors leading to the cardio area. All of the restaurants and dining rooms are set up to entertain discerning guests. And the way they've brought the beach "into" the resort is very unique and exciting.

The Grand is well aware that they don't have the best beach on the Peninsula. But have they ever made up for it with the pools! All pools and hot-tubs are mosaic tile. And they're all lined with expensive spa-quality furniture (chases, loungers, and sun beds). Other reviewers have fully documented the impressive main infinity pool, so I'll leave it be. All of the pools have easy edges (no high-walled pool sides), they're also all rimmed with teak decking. We had
a private yoga class next to the quiet pool (tranquility pool) and it
was an impressive setting. We wish we would have spent more time exploring the fascinating therapy stations in the spa pool, but couldn't drag ourselves away from the coladas at the swim-up bar.

Growing pains are most evident in the service. We NEVER experience poor service, but for a resort to bill itself as five-star, the service must compete at a five-star level. The staff at the Grand is already at the level of providing guests with almost anything they may need or request which is why this category is a strength. Eventually though, they will be at a level of providing guests anything they may want before it's requested. The cool towels and beverages on arrival, the private golf cart rides, and the concept of
the butler service (essentially personalized concierge) is all good five-star stuff. A little more consistency and some more attention to detail will place them among the best. As is, though, you'll thoroughly enjoy the level of service at the Grand.

Something that really didn't occur to us until we were "on the ground" in Playa was how much of an advantage it was to stay at an Iberostar property where we had access to 7 different resorts included in our stay. This opens up a lot of options for dining, exploring, and variety. We met with people staying at other individual resorts or conglomerates like Riu and they just weren't having the same broad-based experience that we were. We wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Bottom line, if you can afford it, stay at the Grand. If you can't, stay there in 5 years (it's great now, by then it'll be worth a home equity loan).

  • Liked — The Pools
  • Disliked — Awkward specialty restaurants
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
15 reviews 15 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2007

Slowly settling back into reality…

We came back on Sat 9/22 from a fabulous week at the Grand and are slowly settling back into reality. It’s hard to come home after being treated like royalty for an entire week.

We’ve been to the Lindo twice and the Maya once and decided to check out the Grand this year. I knew we would have a fantastic vacation either way, but I was a little nervous about the Grand just because I love the Lindo and Maya so much – I had some concerns that it would be hard to top them and maybe the Grand wouldn’t be worth the extra money, but they delivered and then some! I absolutely love the tropical décor of the Lindo and the Maya and knew the Grand was much more formal – I was a little afraid it would be too formal for my taste but I was wrong – everything was absolutely stunning! Pictures just cannot do this resort justice. And speaking of pictures I took over 100 while we were there, even had pics for everyone of the honeymoon cabanas and the presidential suite – but there were some technical difficulties when we got home and all of our pics were deleted and lost forever. I’m just sick about it, but trying my beast to look at it positively; we will just have to go back very soon to takes pics again! So sorry all, but no pics this time.

We arrived on Sat 9/15 and upgraded to an oceanfront room at check-in. As many have said before, in my opinion the oceanfront is a must! We were on the 3rd floor in building 71, which I think is the only oceanfront open at the moment. The view was spectacular – waking up in the morning and drinking coffee on the balcony while watching the ocean (and the sunrise if you are up early enough). Also coming back after dinner we would open the balcony door and just listen to the ocean. I love the fact that there was a screen door also, so no bug worries! We had 2 butlers, 1 during the day and 1 at night. Our day butler was phenomenal – Victor took care of anything we needed. He would come and find us to ask where we wanted to eat that night and then make the reservations. He would drive us anywhere we wanted to go – one night he drove us to the Del Mar because there was something we wanted to buy in one of the shops there. He came into the shop with us and was going to wait until we were finished shopping so he could bring us back! We told him not to worry about us, but how much more could you ask for! Victor was just so gracious and he really made our vacation special. Our night butler we only knew existed because Victor kept telling us about him – we never actually met him until the day before we left. So I think butler service is still spotty – but we really don’t require that much attention so it was not a big deal. However being pampered during the day by Victor was so nice – something I am definitely not used to!

We spent most of our time at the pools. The tranquility pool was fabulous for me in the morning as no one was ever there and I could swim laps. It is a heated pool, which was very nice in the morning – I suspect more people may use this pool in the winter months. Not like it gets cold there, but when it’s not as hot during the day a heated pool may be appreciated. As many have said before, the saltwater pool is fabulous! The infinity edge is great – For me being able to see the ocean from the pool was one of the biggest differences from the Lindo/Maya to the Grand. To me that alone would make me choose the Grand. In the past we spent most of our time on the beach, but in the case of the Grand the beach was right there so the pool was our hot spot. It was also nice not having to deal with the towel cards and being able to get as many towels as you needed. I think the only negative thing you will hear me say about the Grand though is regarding the seating around the saltwater pool. While this did not really affect us while we were there due to only 20% occupancy, I believe the seating will be a huge issue when the resort is busier. There are absolutely no places to sit in the shade anywhere around the pool except for the cabanas. And there are only about 25 cabanas, which even with 20% occupancy were taken by about 10 or 11am. I for one need shade at times with the sun being so intense in Mexico! Even the cabanas weren’t the best, because they do not close all the way if you need shade. We used a couple safety pins to hold it closed when we needed shade. It would really bother me to spend the money we did on the Grand and not be able to find a shady place to sit around the pool. But again, this was not an issue for us since the resort was not busy, just thought I should warn others. I hope that did not sound too negative, this resort really is gorgeous and by far the best I have ever been to – I do not think it would be possible for any other all-inclusive resort to top the Grand!

We loved the breakfast and lunch buffets. There was something different every day, which made it nice and something to look forward to. The lunch buffet was in the building on the beach, there is something so great about going in the heat of the day to an air-conditioned restaurant and eat while enjoying the gorgeous view of the ocean. We tended to linger and take pretty long lunches. I also tended to overeat - I probably gained 5 lbs last week, but I've been afraid to weigh myself to check. I actually joined a gym the day after we got back!

A la carte restaurants were just fabulous. We didn't eat at the gourmet, the menu just didn't seem like something we wanted. The Japanese was great, pretty much the same menu as the Maya with the addition of lobster. The surf & turf was a treat, quite a seafood selection. My filet mignon was cooked to perfection, & I am usually pretty picky how my steaks are cooked. The Italian was my favorite (this came as a surprise since it was by far my least favorite at the Lindo/Maya). I would highly recommend the mushroom ragout – to die for! YUM! Room service at the Grand is by far a step up from the Maya, a much more extensive selection and presentation. A tablecloth was brought into our room and placed on the table, appetizers and desserts were served on silver trays. Entrees were piping hot. The chocolate hazelnut dessert is a must! Sunday the 16th was my B-Day and our butler had a fruit basket and fresh flowers placed in our room during the day. When we got back from dinner that night there was a large serving platter full of carved chocolates. There was a large Iberostar made out of chocolate (about 7” high), and other chocolates carved in the shapes of shells, as well as truffles all around. It was really beautiful. I had a couple great pics of it but our pics were erased… I won’t go there. Anyway it was really beautiful and a VERY special B-Day.

I am trying to think of details that I haven’t seen mentioned in the past – one thing I thought was a really special touch: In every bathroom throughout the Grand there are no paper towels, real towels are used with a basket to place them in when you are finished. And they burn scented oil in the bathrooms that I thought smelled SO good. It’s the same oil the sell in El Spa. Our nightly turn-down service included this oil also, it was really nice to come back to your room at night to a room smelling just incredible. I bought 3 bottles of the oil at El Spa so I can burn it in my house and close my eyes and pretend I’m back there.

I really could just go on forever how fantastic this resort is – I can’t wait to return and an already trying to figure out when we can go back. I have to say that I was so spoiled I think I would be disappointed with anything else at this point – you just can’t go wrong with this place!

  • Liked — Ocean View
  • Stayed September 2007, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso

Address: Carretera Chetumal - P. Juarez Km 309, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Business Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso 4.5*
Number of rooms: 310
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Directly on the long, fine, sandy beach of Playa Paraiso in Mexico's Riviera Maya. Top 5-star luxury. Quiet and relaxing. Personal butler and concierge service. 24 hours all inclusive service. 4 a la carte restaurants. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Playa Paraiso
Playa Paraiso Iberostar
Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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