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“"Top notch and fun - AGAIN!"” 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
Bonita Springs, Florida
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
318 helpful votes 318 helpful votes
“"Top notch and fun - AGAIN!"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2012

We previously stayed at The Grand in 2007. We have visited about 20 resorts in the Riviera Maya, and have travelled to lots of places around the world. We're a retired, older couple, but young-at-heart! We like lively, sociable places with clean, pleasant surroundings. We've stayed at all budget levels in the RM - family resorts, adults only...ranging from 3 star to 5 star...and also non all-inclusive on the beach in Playa del Carmen.

The Grand certainly meets our criteria for providing the kind of holiday we like.

Lovely architecture, landscaping and accommodations. Mostly good food with plenty of choices. High-end liquor and nice wine. Entertainment day and night. We attended six of the evening shows, plus two of the casino nights and I also took part in the salsa lessons, games around the pool and played bingo! Of course, the lobby bar and later, the karaoke bar, were places where we thoroughly enjoyed socialising with all the nice, friendly folks we met....you know who you are:):)

The beach has lovely white, soft sand and plenty of palapas and loungers. The sea was mostly rough with sea grass and seaweed in the water and along the edges - the hotel has workers out every day trying to clear it, but it's basically a thankless task!.......The hotel can't control mother nature! We spent our days on the beach; were never in the pools - there are three....the infinity pool, the tranquility pool and the spa pool.

Service was mostly great; kudos to David at breakfast and lunch, the infamous Daniel at the pool bar! our butler, Victor and Perfecto and Humberto at the lobby bar; there were a few hiccups (safe wouldn't open, room key wouldn't work a couple of times....resolved quickly). Every staff member we encountered was friendly and helpful....We liked the location of our room - top floor, building 74, with a distant sea view overlooking the tranquility pool. We like to sit on the balcony and have a cocktail at the end of the afternoon.......:)

Our TV was turned on for basically 5 mins the first night, so can't comment on English channels:) We did have AC in the restaurants and the the resort did lose electricity on several occasions, but only for brief spells.

It did seem to be more difficult to get a shaded area around the main pool - we walked by it before 8.30am every morning and all shaded areas seemed to be "reserved".......hotel was about 60/70% full. No problem on the beach.

I e-mailed and made 4 a la carte reservations before arrival and another 2 after we decided which ones we liked the best (no problem with our time preferences) and we ate at the dinner buffet twice (8 nights there). Lunch every day was spent sitting outside La Brisa looking at the ocean and eating lobster:):)...aaaaah

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will return. I'll be glad to answer any questions if I can. Happy travels! Mags

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IberostarMexico, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, May 28, 2012
Dear Guest:

Thank you very much for your feedback regarding your stay with us. We are very glad that your second stay at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso was as enjoyable as your previous visit. It is also very gratifying to learn that we are one of your top choices.

Furthermore, it is a delight that you enjoyed our gastronomy and in particular liked the different theme nights at the buffet restaurant “Bellavista”. We thank you also for the praise given to our staff. This is our best motivation.

We are sorry for the inconvenient with the electricity, it was an event that it wasn't in our hands to avoid, please accept our apologies for that. We are relieved that this incident did not affect your overall experience and that you would even return to our Resort.

Once again, we thank you for your kind words and your loyalty.

We look forward to welcoming you again.

Kind regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
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  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
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Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

I am not a hotel snub....just a mom who wanted to take a get away. After extensive research we decided on the Iberostar. The reviews seemed decent so why not...

It is not what you expect. The hotel is older, worn down, holes in the lobby from leaks, no AC in the restaurants in the evening (Men have to wear pants), electricity went out 3x while we were there in 1 day, cocnroaches on the floor, hot tubs not heated, and pool is cold.

They say all inclusive but the staff expects tips and they make it awquard until you give them one. They are rude, and it is not top notch service.

The food is ok at best. Very small menues and it is repetitive just served a different style depending on restaurant (French, Italian, Steak, Japanese)

The rooms are ok, TV is old and EVERYTHING is in Spanish! It is almost overwhelming the amount of things that are not in English (Menus, TV Channels, etc.)

Compared to a Sandals or Beaches, and for a hotel that prides themselves on service this was a bad choice. We actually ended up leaving early (stayed 3 out of the 7 days booked).

Room Tip: The rooms are hot, AC turns off constantly. Do not pay for upgrade not worth it. They try to bargain...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012

My wife and I made a 4 night trip to the Iberostar Grand in May 2012. We've been to a couple of other all inclusives but this one definitely tops the list. Pretty much everything about it is top notch and we would definitely go back again. A good sign of how good it is is that we met many people while vacationing there and it seemed like most of them were on their 3rd or 4th trip to the same resort.

Instead of going in depth, here's our quick pros/cons list:

Pros
-----
Treated great by all staff - it's almost like you're a "celebrity" on vacation. Even more so if you walk to the other adjoining Iberostar resorts which you have full access too. When they find out you're from the "Grand", you're instantly God.
Rooms are great - Room is perfect (except for the thin/scratchy bath towels and some TV related isseus). Great balcony too with couch and swing. Paying extra for ocean front (building 70 or 71) is well worth it.
Not too crowded - Even at full capacity the resort doesn't feel crowded, still plenty of pool chairs (though you have to reserve a cabana early) and the chairs are plenty spaced out. Restaurants are never full.
Snorkeling excursion is cool - $40 from the resort's excursion center and you get a 1.5 hour trip to a reef 10 minutes away where you'll see a ton of stuff
Whole Grand resort is immaculate - amazing how much money must have went into it
Drinks are good - You can order pretty much any premium drink at any of the bars. If you ask for liquor in your room, they'll bring you a new bottle (pretty much any premium brand), etc.
Golf course - I didn't realize we got a free round but I played and the course was surprisingly nice. Equivalent to a $80 - $100 course in Atlanta where we live. I played while my wife rode and I played 18 in under 2 hours. Course is plush, decent length, interesting holes, etc. Downside is once I rented clubs, bought balls, bought a glove, and got range balls, it was close to $80, so not really free if you don't bring your clubs.
Concierge - each building has it's own concierge/butlers that are sitting by the elevators 24/7. So, you can easily go request anything you want from them or get questions answered.

Cons
-----
Scratchy bath towels - Not a huge deal, but kind of surprising considering how nice everything else is (they must be locked into some contract?)
Restaurants - 4 on site (Japanese hibachi, French Gourmet, Italian, and Steakhouse). They were nice and food was decent but not as great as we were lead to believe (i.e. not equivalent to 5 star US restaurants). We ended up almost preferring the buffets for dinner, good food there.
Cabanas at pool - People tend to go down before 6:30am and put stuff on these to reserve them and go back to bed, so you have to do it early. Sometimes this gets done and the thing doesn't even get used all day. The resort could probably do something about this.
Old school TV in room - Not a big deal, but it seems like these rooms should have a nice, flat panel TV instead of an older, tube TV.
Weak movie selections on demand and dvd rental - You're able to get on demand movies or rent DVDs from the concierge but the selection is either old stuff or stuff you've never heard of. It would be nice to have a more current selection.

Room Tip: Ocean front rooms (Buildings 70 and 71) are MUCH better than others and worth the cost
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IberostarMexico, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, May 21, 2012
Dear Guest:

We appreciate your nice comments and are leased to hear that you had a good stay with us. We are especially pleased to hear that our staff were able to contribute to a successful stay and the location and services was suitable for your needs.

We take all comments, both positive and negative, very seriously as we constantly strive to achieve the up most level of guest satisfaction.

On behalf of all the staff, may we thank you for letting us know your observations regarding the food, the towels, the movies selections and the television and we sincerely regret that we did not meet your expectations in these points, this is the best way for us to be able to improve our services.

Thank you for your feedback and we look forward to welcoming you back at Iberostar Grand Paraiso Hotel.

Kindest Regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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Vancouver BC
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2012

Hotel experiences are usually subjective and can come down to good luck or bad luck during a stay but I will try to keep to the subjective matters. For reference sake I am 39 and my wife is 28. We still like to party on the odd occasion but like to relax and truly enjoy watching a movie at home on Friday night more and more. We originally stayed at the Paraiso resort location as I wanted to get my wife diving certified and I liked the look of the on site dive shop.

Originally we had also booked the Paraiso Playa but did not get a good room when we checked in. As well the bed was very hard and the hot water did not work. We ate one meal there (and veiwed many more during our two week stay) and the food was more to the fast food side with lots of butter. We moved to the Grand the first night.

checking into the Grand was night and day compared to the Playa. The building and staff are truly 5 star and they will do anything to make sure you are happy. The rooms are western 5 star status and the food in the buffett is of a very wide variety and can be quite healthy (we both maintain very good eating habits). As I wear a suit five to six days a week my goal for the trip was no shaving, no pants, no blackberry and no computer. I made the mistake of only bringing dress shorts and not bringing pants and had to buy some on site so we did not eat at the restaurants very often. We actually found the buffett food better than the restaurants.

It was a busy season while there and it still seemed quite quiet. For us it was almost too quiet as we like a little more action. The neighboring Paraiso resorts are way to busy and getting beach chairs is next to impossible if you are not out marking them before sunrise. We always got one at the Grand. Even though the Grand is a little too quiet for us we much prefered it over what we saw at the other. If you are looking for something intimate with interaction with other guests you might not find it here.

overall the resort is a true five star with stunning architecture, great gym, wonderfull staff, lots of chairs on the beach, excellent healthy food in the buffet with so so restaurants and the rooms and especially the beds are fantastic.

One of the highlights was we accidentally left our safe open one day and when we returned there was a note that the security had been called and locked the safe. When they came to open it our large stack of cash, rings phones, watches and everything else was untouched. The smile on the chambermaids face when we gave her a hundred US made us realise we both did the right thing.

I would highly recommend this hotel for people that like high quality all inclusive resorts.

Room Tip: We upgraded to an ocean front corner room with the jacuzzi. It was great as we could hop over and ta...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IberostarMexico, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, May 21, 2012
Dear Guest:

We are delighted to read your comments and on behalf of the team, we would like to sincerely thank you for acknowledging so many positive elements experienced during your visit in Iberostar Grand Paraiso Hotel, your feedback is always very important as it helps us to continue evaluate and improve our services and product.

Once again, thank you for your kind words and for recommending our hotel. We certainly look forward to welcoming you back, hopefully in the very near future.

Best regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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Toronto
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2012

Ever since we first heard about the Iberostar Grand, it was on our list of resorts to try and for our 4th visit to Mexico, we finally had the opportunity to. In previous years, we stayed at Le Blanc & Excellence Playa Mujeres, which were both excellent and also recommended. In the review below, we will provide our thoughts on the Grand and at the end offer a comparison to the other 2 resorts, in case anyone is considering them as well.


Check In
The check in at the Grand was efficient and quick. The drive from the airport was about 25 minutes with Cancun Transfers, who were waiting outside the airport for us when we arrived. The Iberostar Complex is huge and like a little town in itself. Once you drive through the complex gates, the Grand is the last stop. We were greeted at the entrance with a cold towel and a welcome drink of Sparkling Wine while we were checking in. The lady checking us in was very friendly and provided a great overview of the resort, maps, information on restaurants and time table of activities. We did experience a problem with the incorrect room being provided and another lady stepped in, Priscilla, who tried to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, she was not nearly as warm or friendly and made it appear as if we were inconveniencing her; however, after providing some confirmation e-mails, it was sorted out and we were on our way to the room we booked.

A golf cart took us and our luggage to Building 71, one of two oceanfront buildings, which are located furthest from the lobby. The drive from the Lobby to the oceanfront building was around 2 minutes, or closer to 10 minutes if walking. During our drive over, the driver pointed out the different pools and other points of interest along the way. Once we arrived at building 71, we were brought up and shown our room on the second floor. The butler arrived shortly after and informed us about different services he provides. We read ahead of time that the room temperature couldn’t be lowered below 21 C, but if you ask the butler he can have it adjusted to 19 C, which we requested. The butler asked for our mini bar requests, which were fulfilled shortly after, and that was the last we saw of him for the rest of the week. The building concierge assisted us throughout the week with most of our other requests.


Room
As you walk in to the room, you are greeted with a foyer leading to the main room, separated by a second door. The foyer contains two closets, an electronic safe, the mini bar and the bathroom. The two closets were well stocked with hangers and provided plenty of room to hang up all our clothes. The safe was large enough for an Ipad and left lots of room to spare. All our requested drinks were stocked in the mini bar and replenished daily - Water, mini Absolut Vodkas, mini Wines and multiple large 1L bottles of water with Sabrita chips sitting on the counter above the mini bar. The bathroom was relatively large (much bigger than the pictures lead you to believe) and spacious. The bathroom contains two sinks on opposite sides of the bathroom with an enclosed shower, a whirlpool tub, and a glass enclosed toilet in between. The shower, while not big, was not that small either. It featured a rainhead shower and provided average water pressure. Shampoo and Liquid Soap were provided through dispensers hanging on the shower wall. While we didn’t use the whirlpool tub, it looked like it would comfortably fit two people. A tray in the bathroom provided additional amenities such as Soap, Bug Repellant, Lotions, Sewing Kit etc. The only complaint we have about the bathroom would be the towels - they were not plush and in fact even a little rough.

The room itself was decorated with a mix of traditional and contemporary décor and was functional. The bed was comfortable and a pillow menu was available, which we took advantage of ordering two Foam pillows. The TV was an old tube TV, relatively large, and contained a majority of Spanish channels with a few English ones. The large balcony was just as it appeared in the pictures with a swing, which we used daily, a table, and a couch. We were on the second floor (or floor #3 according to the Mexican elevators) and had a great view of the ocean and beach. Some rooms, including ours, had palm trees directly in front of the balcony; however, they didn’t spoil our view.

We received housekeeping and turndown service daily. If our DND sign was up and they came around, a note was left on the door indicating they attempted to clean the room and to call when we are ready to have them return. Housekeeping did an excellent job cleaning the room and arranging loose items neatly throughout the room. Turndown service was provided while we were at dinner and included new towels, chocolates, switching pillow cases, and a lighted candle.


Room Service
We used room service daily to order a bottle of Sparkling wine and Sabritas chips prior to leaving for dinner. Some nights we ordered additional liquor (vodka, tequila) and they were brought in full bottles. When you place an order, they advise you of the delivery time (approx. 40 minutes), and in most cases it would took longer (1.5 hours in 1 case), which seemed a little excessive considering the items we were ordering were packaged and didn’t require preparation. Room Service breakfast was handled through a card that was filled out the night before and left on the door. The breakfast always arrived at the time we specified.


Pool & Beach
The beach directly in front of our building 71 provided ample loungers with palapas and excellent drink service. While we didn’t go into the ocean, it did seem rocky, but if you walked down to the Iberostar next door, the entrance into the ocean was a lot smoother. The ocean was calm for the first days we were there in late April and became rougher as the week progressed. Overall, the ocean was calmer than we have seen it on the Cancun strip. The Grand offers 3 pools (Serenity, Main & Indoor), of which we frequented the latter 2. The Main pool has tons of loungers, except most of them are in the actual pool and not around the pool itself. Around the pool, the loungers, especially ones in the shade, were reserved with people’s belongings very early in the morning and hence the “towel game” was in full effect. Some reserved chairs remained vacant the entire day. The loungers themselves were just okay and the cushions could definitely use replacing. During the week, the main pool was pretty cold, with the exception of the last day where it felt like they started heating the pool. Throughout the day, the Star Friends offered different activities and were friendly, and not intrusive or annoying when asking for your participation. Water aerobics were offered twice a day, which was pretty popular, an interactive contest which changed daily always provided good entertainment and different activities around the pool (tic tac toe, bingo) were fun. Drink service was good overall, and excellent when you sat on the side of the pool where the bar is. We used the indoor pool almost daily around 5PM and it was almost always empty. The indoor pool, located in the spa, was heated and offered different hydrotherapy features and Jacuzzis.

We ventured off the Grand once to the Maya next door to check out their pools. A golf cart took us to the Maya resort, but on the way back we realized through shortcuts how close it actually was to the Grand and walked back. The wave pool at the Maya was very popular with kids, but the waves are too small for adults. The lazy river was fun and we enjoyed it twice. Double and single tubes were available in the lazy river as you enter, and we were lucky enough to snag one of only two doubles we saw.


Restaurants & Bars
The Iberostar complex is full of restaurants and Grand guests have the opportunity to enjoy all of them. The Grand itself has 4 A La Carte restaurants and 2 buffets. Reservations are mandatory for the A LA Cartes and 1 week prior to our arrival, we e-mailed the resort and received 1 reservation at each of the 4. Once we arrived, it was very easy to reserve the remaining ones and even switch them around, as we did multiple times with our building concierge. The wine lists were standard across all the restaurants and after some trial and error we did find a good red (tobia selection) and white to drink. The lists have changed relative to some we found on the internet and some bottles were not available at the time we requested them.

Breakfast was available in the main buffet or through room service. While we read about, and were even told, breakfast was available in the smaller buffet as an a la carte – it wasn’t. The main buffet had regular buffet fare, with made to order eggs, and an a la carte menu, which was only sometimes offered but always available. The a la carte menu offered the highly recommended (per Tripadvisor forums) lobster blinis, which were delicious; however, they took a while to prepare, so we opted for the buffet for the remaining days.

Lunch was offered in the main buffet, small buffet and through room service. The main buffet, offered made to order pasta and some small salads, but also had a grill setup outside every day. The grill menu changed daily and ranged from Lobsters, Hamburgers, Shrimps, Fish Tacos, different sides and a made to order salad bar. We enjoyed the grill daily but checked out the small buffet one day. It offered some okay buffet lunch choices with an a la carte menu, and a beautiful view, if you choose to sit outside.

For dinners, we dined twice at the Italian, Japanese & surf and only once at the Gourmet. We were able to find all the menus prior to our arrival through Google, although they were a little dated but fairly accurate overall. The Italian restaurant offered typical Italian dishes ranging from Pastas to Risottos, meat and fish. Both of the risottos were both delicious with the edge going to the Mushroom one. We ordered the Risotto to share as an appetizer in addition to an individual appetizer which they were happy to accommodate. On our first visit to the Japanese, we tried the A La Carte menu and second time, the Hibachi. We specified our preference at the time we booked the reservations. Service was great both times. The A La Carte menu was tasty with the red curry lobster Wok dish coming to mind. The hibachi was a fun experience, and while the chef didn’t do any tricks, we enjoyed the delicious food. We didn’t find the meat chewy at all, as some people have previously commented. Of note, the Hibachi tables at Grand are setup with each couple being divided compared to the traditional (and from the photos - The Japanese at the Maya) where everyone around the table is sitting directly next each to other. The Surf & Turf was excellent and we enjoyed the Seafood Appetizer and Regular Surf & turf, both of which were highly recommended on Tripadvisor. We found the Seafood appetizer overrated, as it was just typical cold seafood that we have always been used to; however it was delicious. The Surf and Turf dish was excellent! The steak was cooked perfectly and all the sides that we tired (almost all of them!) were great as well. And finally, on to the last, and in this case not the best, the Gourmet which was our least favorite. While it’s hard to pin point one specific wrong with this restaurant, overall we just weren’t impressed. The food was average and definitely didn’t seem “gourmet” as the restaurant name set our expectations.


Shows
The shows at the Grand were impressive. They were professional in all aspects - talent, sound, lighting and costumes. Prior to our arrival, it was hard to get an idea of what the theatre actually looked like, as most of the pictures are of the performances themselves and not of the theatre. The theatre is located next to the main lobby and was the best that we have experienced at an all-inclusive resort. It was air conditioned with elevated seating and full professional lighting and sound systems. Seats were comfortable and always available, even when we showed up 15 minutes into a show. Drink service was excellent with servers coming around frequently, drink menus on each table and a full bar available at the back. We checked out the shows every night, and would recommend the Boogie Nights show, Rock Show and Las Vegas show. While the two Mexican shows were professional with interesting costumes, they didn’t really appeal to us. The boogie nights show was the busiest and it was fun to watch people relive their youth, with some people getting really into it! After the show, the performers would come out and mingle with the crowd. A lot of people would head over to the Disco after, with Golf Carts being available at the lobby to take them there. While we didn’t go to the Disco, we did make full use of the Golf carts, asking them to take us back to Building 71, which they were always happy to do.


Service
The employees we encountered were nice and service was pretty good overall; although we did find there was a little language barrier at times, more so then we found at other resorts on the Cancun strip. With the exception of the lady at check in, who also happened to check us out, employees were friendly and in some cases even addressing us by name.


Additional Amenities
We visited the shopping center and found it rather deserted and underwhelming. The Spa there looked okay; however, it didn’t offer any incentives for us to use over the Grand’s spa. The gym at the Grand was located inside the spa and was pretty empty most of the time. The Spa has a retractable glass roof, which made it pretty humid most of the time, but the Gym was enclosed in a separate air conditioned room. There were some exercise bikes in the spa itself and we did use them for a spinning class (which was very hard!) and made additionally harder by the humidity. We opted for a couples massage at the Grand spa which was relaxing and cost of 240USD for 60 min.


Comparison to Le Blanc & Excellence Playa Mujeres
There has been a lot of discussion regarding Le Blanc versus Iberostar Grand. Ultimately, after experiencing both, we can say they are two very different resorts, both excellent, with the choice fundamentally coming down to what you are looking for in a vacation. Le Blanc, located on the Strip, provides a very different experience and atmosphere than the Grand. Le Blanc offers more of a Hotel experience, similar to what you would get in say Miami, rather than a full Resort experience as provided by the Grand. Le blanc itself feels very serene, calm and spa-like, where the best word to describe the Grand would be just that - Grand. Food and Service were slightly better at Le Blanc, with the Spa being exceptionally better; however the Room, Shows, common areas, and the grounds were better at Iberostar Grand. The pools were great at both, although loungers were better at Le Blanc. Overall, I would give an edge to Iberostar Grand for the full resort experience.

In regards to Excellence Playa Mujeres, the best way to describe the Grand experience, relative to EPM, would be more “refined”. Excellence was good in all aspects, but it felt like the Grand was the next level up. The one place where Excellence does shine is with their rooms – they were huge, Jacuzzi that opened to the balcony and overall more luxurious than at the Grand. The Grand is more expensive, so you will have to decide if that premium is worth it.


Overall
The Iberostar Grand is an excellent resort and overall lives up to its “Grand” name. Common areas and hallways are beautiful and Grand with outdoor areas beautifully landscaped. The shows, restaurants, pools and grounds were all great and we would happily recommend the Grand to anyone looking for a nice relaxing vacation.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IberostarMexico, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, May 21, 2012
Dear Guest

We would like to thank you for your complimentary review on TripAdvisor, following your recent stay with us at Iberostar Grand Paraiso. This will certainly motivate our team to continue to deliver the best service to all our guests. It is always very rewarding to receive such compliments we do our best to ensure that every guest leaves with great satisfaction.

Once again, thank you very much for recommending our Resort, we certainly look forward to the opportunity to welcome you back to Iberostar Grand Paraiso in the near future.

Sincerely

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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Illinois
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2012

First let me start by Saying we have stayed at all types of resorts in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. We have stayed at all inclusive and regular hotels in the old part of Downtown Cancun as well.

In a nutshell the premium price you pay to stay here is not worth it at all. There are several resorts that we have stayed at where the services were better and much cheaper than this Property. I wanted to try this property out and it was for a special occasion as well, so I thought I would go all out and pay the premium price for what is promised.

We stayed for a short weekend type trip May 11th - May 14th. I arranged my dinner reservations through their email along with my room request. We did get our room request, Ocean Front as well as the reservations we requested on Friday and Saturday nights. However when I requested a reservation for Sunday the lady I spoke with told me that they did not give reservations for Sundays because of the Mexican themed Buffet on that evening. On Sunday I called the front desk as I thought that was odd and they told me that you could make a reservation on Sunday, but it was to late to do so now. But they suggested I go by and see if they could work us in. They did allow us to com into the Italian restaurant, but said they only had room on the terrace, and it was pretty warm out there, while they had plenty of room inside.

Here is my chief complaints of the resort. The service was pretty inconsistent at the buffet and wait service at the pools. My other complaint was the food at two of the three specialty restaurants was not good and the buffets were not that great either.

The Surf and Turf was Ok, but the lobster here and everywhere else on the property was always overcooked and chewy. You can get Lobster at every meal and that is something that makes this resort different than the others, but if its not cooked right and is not good, what is the point? The steak was cooked well, but the meat quality is lacking for sure. The restaurant chain "Red Lobster" would run circles around this place as far as food quality.

The Gourmet restaurant was just OK too. We had the Lobster thermidor, it was bland and seemed to lack the right mix of Lemon and Mustard to give it the zing it needed.

However, The shining spot was the Italian Restaurant!! It was Excellent!! Without a doubt the best specialty restaurant I have ever been to at any of the other resorts we've stayed at. My wife had the Grilled Shrimp and vegetables for an Appetizer and I had both the risottos split on a plate. The wild mushroom, and the Shrimp and Lobster saffron. Both were Amazing!! My wife's vegetables were grilled to perfection and were smokey and sweet. But my risottos were to die for, yes they were that good!! Our main course was Lobster Lasagna for my wife and the crusted Red Snapper for me both were excellent, My fish was prepared perfect and was a generous thick fillet and the lobster lasagna was creamy and delicious. The lobster was perfect in this dish and not over cooked as we had had it everywhere else. Needless to say this is how I expected the food to be everywhere on this resort and it just wasn't, and that was very disappointing. I would suggest whomever is in charge of the Italian restaurant...Make him the head chef of the resort and let him try and make things better overall.

The breakfast buffets were good and the lunch was OK, but both were not what I expected at this price point and there is much room for quality. The Highlights were the Prime rib at lunch one day, it was very good. My wife did enjoy the sushi too, but I noticed it never seemed very fresh. But so much of the buffet foods were just very bland and lacked any taste and a lot of the meats were overcooked.

The service at the pool was lacking by the wait staff for drinks. Perhaps there were not enough working, as I only saw two "pool girls" taking drink orders, they would disappear for a while and not return for some time. Sometimes they would ask the couple next to us if they were OK and not ask us anything...Strange...And we always tipped $1 or $2 each time.

The breakfast and lunch buffet service was spotty as well. Sometimes it was great and others we had to wait a while before we were attended to.

Another strange instance was the towel hut. They offer free Sunscreen usage which is great because that is one thing less you have to pack or but at the resort. But the first day I went and asked for it and I asked the girl if I could take the bottle over to my wife and I would bring it right back. She said of course as they a whole cabinet of the different SPF's there in the hut. But the next day, that girl was being helped by another girl in the hut and I asked the New girl if I could have the sunscreen and I would bring it right back. But she wouldn't let me, I explained to her that I did it yesterday and I would bring it right back after we put it on. But she still said we couldn't take it to our chairs so I had to go and get my wife and we applied it there. Granted that may be a minor thing, but it was ridiculous to have to stand there next to the towel hut for 10 minutes applying sunscreen when we could have done it in a more private way at our chairs.

Another advertised feature that is a complete waste is the Butler. He does show you your room and the features, asks what type of liquor and beer you want in your fridge(which struggles to keep anything actually cold with know adjustments on it at all I may ad). But other than that what use is he?? Can you have him iron all your clothes and read you your paper while you are in your tub...doubtful. But he should offer to iron for you, if you ask me. So the butler did nothing that we haven't experienced somewhere else and we actually received more special touches at other resorts without Butlers.

Did we enjoy ourselves? Yes of course! The rooms were great, the bed was awesome, the bathroom was awesome, and the balcony was awesome. But the grounds although groomed well we noticed that no one would pick-up glasses and trays very often so the common areas looked cluttered often, picky? maybe, but I have never seen this at a resort before, even ones that are the least expensive.

What else is nice about this resort that is not found at many others is the wine, liquor and beer selections. If you really like to drink and drink a lot and premium brands. This may be the place for you. They have a lot of Higher end Vodkas, Rums, Scotches, and Whiskeys. Sure I would drink Grey Goose over Absolut, but its not worth the extra money that this resort charges overall.

I would rather go back to either of the RIU Palace properties in Cancun or the Riviera Maya. They offer better food, more restaurants, and their service is much better in my opinion. They may not have the upper end premium brands of Liquor, but I am fine with that. But their rooms and amenities are just as nice. Another plus is you can walk to Playa del Carmen from the RIU palace Riviera Maya.

I am glad I tried the Iberostar Grand and as I said we enjoyed ourselves for the most part, but it could have been just as nice or even better for about $600-$800 less. Will we go back, doubtful, unless they have a tremendous sale.

One more thing the power went out about 5-6 times while we were there. 3 times at night when we were getting ready, or getting ready for bed. the longest it was off was about 30-35minutes. I understand these things can happen, but I would expect it at a Motel 6 in a tiny town in the US. Not in a place where the infrastructure is built to support this type of resort all up and down the Coast. There was no mention of it at our check out or even an apology, you would have thought they would have at least said something.

Cheers!!

Room Tip: Ocean Front would be the only way to go here, if you care about seeing the water. The Ocean view roo...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IberostarMexico, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, May 21, 2012
Dear Guest,

We appreciate that you have allowed us the honor of serving you. Your evaluation is of special importance to us, clients like you make us stronger and help us to improve our service.

We appreciate that you took the time to specify the highlights of your trip. We hope that you will continue to give us the pleasure of hosting you when next you are planning your vacation as we look forward to welcoming you again.

Warm Regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frederick, Maryland
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19 reviews 19 reviews
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5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2012

Quite honestly, Mexico with its travel advisories and significant crime rate, was at the BOTTOM of our honeymoon list. Glad it made it up to the top!

We had a great time, and overall an excellent experience - with one snafu.

Upon arrival we were greeted by Ricardo (who is wonderful!), taken inside, given our cool towels and drinks and then proceeded to check in. However, the reservations department had booked us into the wrong room - one overlooking the tranquility pool. Which is beautiful, but way too quiet and not what we'd reserved. There was a minor issue getting us into the oceanfront building - they were sold out.

After virtually no sleep (8 hours spanning 4 days), a wedding, and a flight with a 6'7" husband cramped on a plane, we were more than happy to just hang out in the lobby until they could fix it - other than the fact that we were starving and exhausted. After waiting for awhile another person at the front desk mentioned they could put us in the oceanfront building with two queen beds - again, not what we'd reserved, we were on our honeymoon, and he doesn't fit in a queen bed. Anyway, without all the sordid details, several hours later we did get an oceanfront king room in building 71 - on the first floor. It was worth the wait.

In the interim, we made all of our dinner reservations, one night at one of the other resorts in the compound, had lunch at Las Brisas, and wandered around. All I wanted to do was settle in and get some sun or beach or a nap and although Ricardo had taken our main bags, we each had our small bags that we had to carry all around with us.

Once our room was ready, we were taken to our building, greeted by our concierge and our butler and shown to our room. Our butler seemed to be new, or very shy. He showed us where everything was, how everything worked, and what not, but didn't seem to have much 'command' of the situation. We didn't have any problem with anyone unpacking our bags without being asked, entering our room, etc. Everything felt totally safe and secure - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be cautious as always when travelling.

Everyone's reviews pretty much say the same because the place is excellent - here are the tops of our list.

Karen - building 71 Concierge - we both wanted to bring her home because she's amazing.

Ricardo - I guess he would be a porter? But he's so much more than that! Driver, doctor (yes I had a tamale with too much spice and got sick) and translator/helper!

The lady in the gift shop (I am so sorry I can't remember her name!) She helped us find whatever we needed (t-shirts for him, tequila for me - and has samples!)

Star Friends, MariaCruz and Veronica (girl power - she helped me win the football toss!)

And unfortunately I can't remember the other names - I am truly sorry, but quite honestly, everyone is a hard and diligent worker - they all deserve praise!

Favorites as far as the facilities go - Mandarin Sours at the Lobby Bar, Toni's Restaurant Double Cut Filet and Lobster, Grilled anything outside at the center lunch buffet (not Las Brisas), the view at Las Brisas, the Stone Crab Claws!!!! You must try the Mayan Coffee (and have a camera) at the Italian restaurant but avoid the orange something dessert at the Japanese restaurant and make sure you get to the Boogie Nights and Big Band shows.

Everything was quite good, top shelf liquor, if your drink is too light, ask them for more, they will give it to you. We had mimosas and room service for breakfast just about every day - make sure you get your order in, and the avocado prawn appetizer on the Room Service menu is excellent as are the Kobe Beef Burgers. We had a full bottle of Absolute in our room as well as a full bottle of tequila, and the day that I was sick my butlers/concierge were kind enough to get me sprite, bring it in the room and stock the fridge - while I was in the bed and he was getting me meds - and bring me one.

The only thing I wish I'd known prior was to eat my yogurt daily - they have a large selection of Activia, Activia Smoothies, and another brand I can't think of... the food is different, it can mess you up, eat your yogurt :)

Anyone coming in to your room announces themself, WAITS for you to allow them in, and closes everything up on their way out, I never felt threatened, insecure, or even concerned for my health, well-being, or safety while we were there. Neither of us was self-conscious, it is the most relaxing place I have ever been, and I can't wait to get back there as soon as possible!

Room Tip: Splurge and do the Ocean Front room
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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
Amenities:
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 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Business Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Luxury 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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