We just returned from our third trip to the beautiful Grand Paraiso resort. Back when I took my second trip in ’08, you weren’t allowed to write second reviews of the same resort. We stayed at the resort back in ’07 when it was brand new and fell in love with it. We went back in ’08 and had horrible weather the entire time, and even the hotel as great as it is, couldn’t compete with the weather, and I came home miserable. It took us three years to get it together to come back, thanks to work, moving, a honeymoon for my daughter, and just life in general.
We stayed in a corner suite of building 70. This is our second stay in this building. Our stay in ’08 was a third floor room. Our first stay was in building 71, where we had a first floor room. The higher the room, the better the oceanfront views, although I have to say, this last room, being on the second floor, blew the other two away.
The room was clean and presentable inside, however the balcony balustrades were literally falling apart. A rather larger piece of concrete fell off of one and the others had huge vertical cracks. I noticed the concrete work of several areas in the resort in dire need of repair. I don’t think any of it is reinforced – just plaster. This is something I definitely do not remember from ’08. Outdoor lighting was missing in areas as well, however this looks deliberate. I’m assuming that they’re replacing them in sections. The Grand buildings are about as oceanfront as they get, so they understandably take a lot of wear and tear from Mother Nature. The resort is still beautiful though, but it’s starting to need attention.
As usual, the employees here are top-notch. Iberostar could give courses to other corporations, on how to treat guests. They are such a friendly bunch of people, and will go out of their way to make you happy. I know they make so little, which is a shame considering how hard they work. You want to tip these people. It’s a pleasure to do so. The grounds are kept spotless, as are the common areas of the building. Housekeeping was great as well.
A lot is said of the beach in the Playa Paraiso complex, and I have no clue why some of it is negative. The beach is clean, and gorgeous. You will find very little seaweed here, and what little does wash ashore in the morning, is very quickly raked up. It never seems to reappear. Water can be playfully rough; however we had one very calm day. The beach has been cleaned up of rocks, from Paraiso to Maroma, and it makes for a very nice walk. There are some low, flat boulders, which are dead coral, but they’re few and far between, and they create a natural barrier to erosion.
The resort was at 100% occupancy when we arrived, and beach palapas were gone every day by 10:00am. Pools aren’t my thing, so I’m not sure what the situation was there. I saw lots of people saving them early in the morning, however they were used. People usually started vacating them around 2:00pm and never returned. I got up one morning at around 5:00am, walked down at 6:00am, and I wasn’t the only one wandering around placing items on the chairs. In my case, I planted my rear end in mine, and only got up to eat breakfast, attend the cooking class, and eat lunch. I stayed there until dusk.
We ate at all of the restaurants with the exception of the gourmet. We had the best meals yet, at both Toni’s (double cut filet for me, rib eye for my husband) and Haiku (shrimp and lobster for us both). The Italian restaurant was just okay this time, however they did create a special meal for me. I love their grilled shrimp and asparagus, and they made a dish that included this, as well as other grilled veggies.
The buffets are just okay in our opinion. The omelet station is great though. One of my major complaints though, is one that was there during our first trip, had been corrected for the second, but was back again this time: missing labels on the buffet dishes. I would like to know what I’m eating. My only other complaint is in regards to the breakfast buffet. Getting coffee (which isn’t as good as I remember), is like pulling teeth. Very frustrating. We’d sit there at times for over ten minutes before receiving attention.
Drinks were as good as always. My husband got turned on to Sangrita chasers and I drank pretty much whatever I felt like. I had a couple of bottles of Chilean Chardonnay delivered to my room that was pretty good.
The shows that we went to were great. We saw the magic show (I got hauled up on stage again) and Boogie Nights. Stars Under the Stars was probably awesome, but when it started to rain pre-show, we went underneath a pool canopy and I fell asleep. Ooops.
The golf course was great as usual. It kicked my husband’s rear and he used to play on a team. He’s good, but it’s a tough course. Beautiful to look at! He brought his own shoes and balls, and paid $40 for clubs.
We took one excursion to Xplor (see my separate review), but other than that, we stayed inside of the complex. There’s just so much to do, it’s hard to leave!
I’ll end with mentioning some of our favorite employees at the resort. Victor – the most awesome butler, Rene – the most awesome waiter (Toni’s), Leticia – the most awesome waitress (Haiku) and Olivia – the chef that seems to be everywhere, every day. You all made our trip more than we expected it could ever be and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
- 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