Stayed at the Grand 15th - 29th May, booked through First Choice.
1 week prior to departure sent e-mail to request room preference upper floor overlooking Tranquility Pool and to reserve 2 a la Carte Restaurants. Received prompt reply from hotel, confirming Restaurant reservations and that they could not guarantee our room request but had noted our Room request.
Transfer from Cancun Airport was by Mini Bus with 1 stop at El Dorado Royale, transfer to the Grand took in total 35 minutes. On arrival Bellhop took care of our luggage as we were taken into Reception, Check-in took 5 minutes, our room was 7456 1st Floor overlooking the Tranquility Pool just as we had requested - excellent. Welcoming drinks and cool towels provided for us.
We were then taken along with our luggage to our room.
Met at our room by Charley our Butler, the room was lovely and cool and dark which was such a relief after our lengthy trip (total 15 hrs). Charley showed us around the room and explained various aspects of the hotel services. Asked if we required any specific bottles of alcohol in addition to the Mini-Bar. We requested Gin, Absolute Vodka and Brandy which were delivered within the hour. Charley did pick up on the fact that we were extremely weiry following our journey and immediately ordered us food and refreshments from room service.
Room - large suite with large bathroom, 2 sinks, toilet, shower and jucuzzi bath, plenty of towels and toiletries. Large comfortable bed, 2 wardrobes, tv unit, sitting area with table & 2 chairs and a S shaped lounger with overhead lamp. Balcony with sofa & wicker swing, table and there was a small drying screen. The room was spotlessly clean, cleaned daily, bed linen was changed each day and a constant supply of fresh towels. Turndown service each night, used towels were replaced and an Oil Burner lit each night to keep the mosquitoes away and it also left the room smelling fresh. Mini-bar was fully stocked, crisps & peanuts and coffee maker, also an iron and ironing board. Air Con kept the room nice and cool.
Hotel Decor - at first I was a bit perplexed and overwhelmed by the various styles - Grecian, Roman, Moorish, Spanish, Victorian/Georgian, Art Deco and Contemporary but after a couple of days it seemed to work as your eye/brain became accustomed to your surroundings. The only area I found strange was Reception - burgundy coloured carpet with a small circle of marble in the centre and the wall behind Reception Desk was bright Red with rows of what looked like Golden Roman Sheilds and deep coloured drapes this was not easy on my eye.
Staff - every member of staff we met gave very good service some gave excellent service, we never came accross any rudeness from anyone. There are a few that we feel should be mentioned. Manuel, our favourite waiter in Bellavista at breakfast and La Brisas for Lunch was exceptional with his service, always smiling and pleasant even though he worked long hours and had a very long journey each way to and from work. Fredy the maitre d' in Bellavista and La Brisas, was always welcoming and cheerful, served us a few times and ensured the wine kept flowing when together with our new friends from Chile would have wine tasting sessions at Lunch and Dinner, such a laugh especially with our very poor Spanish, well done Fredy. Reyes and Umberto the beach waiters who both worked tirelessly each day in such heat providing everyone with their drinks and making sure everyone had plenty of water to drink.
Bellavista - Buffet for Breakfast and Dinner, Barbeque on Terrace at Lunchtime
The range of food was amazing for both Breakfast and Dinner. Chefs preparing hot food not large trays of food keeping warm under lamps. At breakfast there was Activia Yoghurts and Drinks to keep your GI Tract healthy. There was also a Menu for you to choose your breakfast from. All types of Meats, Seafood, Shellfish, Pastas freshly made and an array of starters and desserts, lovely fresh fruit and cheeses. At Dinner you could actually select food that put the a la Cartes that we visited in the shade e.g. Smoked Duck slices accompanied with fresh Raspberries, Quails Eggs, Tempura Calimari & Prawns, Fillet Mingon etc, etc., There is also a wide range of wines for all inclusive guests some were very good. We did note however that at the weekends the staffing levels were lower than weekdays and the staff were under pressure.
Buffet and Menu for Lunch. We ate lunch here everyday, for me the lobster and prawns everyday for lunch, yes everyday, my husband really liked the steaks of the menu, bottles of wine, coffee and liquers and an amazing view, lunch could last anything up to 2 hours, enjoying the surroundings and chatting to other guests, what a way to spend your lunchtime.
Ate here once, lovely meal and very good service but nothing exceptional, also we found the decor slightly overwhelming.
To be honest the Buffet food for dinner was as good and at some mealtimes even better.
Toni's Surf and Turf
We did not enjoy the meal here. Sent Scallops back, Crab Terrine I found was unpallatable and the Steaks were just OK.
As we have tried other Japanese and Italian Restaurants before in Mexico we decided not to book any further a la cartes and ate at the Buffet each evening.
Used this service 3 times, on arrival, 1 breakfast and 1 lunch. All arrived timeously 20-30 minutes food was fresh and tasty and well presented. The breakfast was excellent.
The main pool is large with swim-up bar, water based activities took place here. We never used this pool so cannot give opinion.
Tranquility Pool - we used this at night at approx 6 pm following our day on the beach. The pool was lovely for a swim followed by Hot Tub before returning to our room. One tip - at this time of night the mosquitoes are starting to come out, was bitten twice.
Indoor Pool at Spa - used this once for a swim, but preferred the Tranquility Pool although it must be said the Spa Area was lovely.
We like to sit at the beach, the beach was lovely, lots of sunloungers and cabanas and a neverending supply of beach towels. Drinks service on the beach by Reyes and Umberto was excellent and you could even order snacks. Chef Olivia came round some days about 12 noon with Ice-creams and there was staff members with magazines and sun lotion for guests who wished. There was sellers on the beach but all you had to do was decline politely, no hard sell.
The sea has a very strong undercurrent in places so you had to be careful.
The Red Flag was displayed most days, but we managed to take out a Hobie 6 times, there was Windsurfing but unfortunately there was no Instructor for lessons. The only problem we encountered here was that people in the water strayed into the boating lane which proved hazardous when returning the Hobie to shore.
Included in our stay was 2 rounds of Golf per person per week. My husband is the golfer so he brought with him shoes, balls and tees but not his golf clubs. He had to cancel 1st round due to rain but rebooked for 3 days later. Early tee-off time 07.30 hrs when he arrived at the Club House the staff had teamed him up with another solo golfer which was good. Hired clubs 800 pesos, Golf Cart and Refreshments were included. He tells me it was an excellent course and enjoyed his game. On return to clubhouse cool towels and refreshments were provided and staff were interested to know their opinions and satisfaction of the service that was provided for them. He did not play another game as the days that followed were very hot. Next time when we return golf clubs are coming too.
Lots of activities held daily for those wishing to participate, also cooking demonstrations by Olivia and wine tasting. The only activity taken was the cycle tour of the Iberostar Resorts.
We did not attend any shows as we preferred to sit in the Lobby Bar.
We tended to eat after 8.30 pm so this was a good place to sit and have a drink and meet other guests before retiring to bed. Waitress service was very good, premium alcohol and coffees served.
Cleanliness and Grounds
The staff maintained a high level of cleanliness throughout the hotel, the grounds were lovely and the gardeners were always working in the grounds. There were guys painting the exterior of Bellavista Restaurant, Health and Safety in this country would have had a field day with their methods, it was interesting to watch them work!
We had an wonderful holiday, met some very nice people from various countries, we were looked after so well by all the staff, no bouts of illness, or any major complaint about the hotel, feeling refreshed and relaxed and cannot wait to return to the Grand. A very big Thank You to all the Staff at the Grand, you are this hotel's biggest asset.
- 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