We have just returned from yet another wonderful vacation at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso. We were there from March 11- 18. It is still just as wonderful as always and the staff, if anything, is better than ever. The service is truly exceptional. One of the benefits of being "frequent" guests at the Grand is that you get to know the staff. It is great to be greeted by Ricardo, by name, as we alight from the van. The wonderful front desk reception staff headed by the gracious Io'ana make checking in a pleasure. ( A glass of champagne or a nice tropical cocktail helps too! ) To discover that Victor was once again our butler made our day! Victor goes above and beyond to make sure that everything is right for you.
The food was delicious, beautifully prepared and artfully presented. We were interested to discover that the menus are undergoing some changes. The Italian restaurant, "Venecia," has an expanded menu over years past and we understand that changes are coming at the other restaurants as well. This is a welcome change for those of us who continue to return to the Grand, year after year (this was our 7th trip to this wonderful resort). The wait staff are well trained and eager to please. Since I am cursed with an allergy to chocolate and I am also trying to stick to the South Beach diet, my requests for modifications to menu offerings were always graciously received and to my complete satisfaction. For all of the fans of "Tony's Surf and Turf" who might be worried about menu changes, you can relax, that menu continues to have the "classic surf and turf" and also the "double cut filet mignon." The specialty nights at the Bella Vista buffet continue to delight and surprise you with their offerings. Don't miss Sunday's Mexican Night buffet at Bella Vista complete with a Mariachi band that appears around 8pm. Also a Brazilian Night, on Mondays if I am not mistaken, offered lots of delicious selections to choose from. Olivia, one of the great chefs at the Grand, offered lessons on how to prepare various dishes and also cooked excellent omelets every morning.
While the weather was a little on the cool side, it was perfect for our "long" walks through the entire Paraiso complex, stopping on the return leg, at the lobby bar in the Lindo for a 10 am "wake me up" Bloody Mary. (Yes, I know that's not allowed on the South Beach diet...but at least I didn't have an order of fries with it!) Only by visiting the other resorts can you see all the birds, plants and animals. However, while the coatimundis are now everywhere and a delight to watch, the largest group still seems to hang out on the walkway to the beach by the Lindo buffet.
There were lots of swimmers in the sea, but the cool temperatures frequently sent us to the indoor pool where we swam laps and enjoyed the hot tub. One of the special things about the Grand is that even with less than perfect weather, there are still plenty of options of things to do....which leads me to discuss shopping! In the past, it was our impression that the prices at the Paraiso Commercial Center and the shops in the five resorts were higher than the prices in Playa del Carmen. That is certainly not the case now! The prices are very competitive and in some cases considerably cheaper. I think the merchants in Playa have decided that they should be charging "resort" prices. However, if you decide to go into Playa del Carmen, a bus leaves from the Lindo lobby several times each day. The fare is still $5.00 US or $50 mx each way. The drop off point in Playa is on the northern end of 5th Avenue. Also, the "folk art" vendors are back at the Lindo, on the walkway by the theatre, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.
Massages are available on the beach, in the indoor pool and at the main spa in the Commercial Center. My wife suggests asking for Eli at the Commercial Center Spa for an excellent massage.
For the "liquid lunch," afternoon cocktail, aperatif, dinner wine, after dinner digestif and any other time you need an infusion of alcohol, you are well cared for by an excellent bar staff at fourteen different locations on the Grand premises. That's the number given to me by Martin, the new head of the bars. Martin has just recently been promoted to that position and he is doing a great job. There is nothing quite so satisfying after an excellent meal at the Grand than to go to the Cigar Bar, light up a stogie and enjoy a glass of Xtabentún.
Evening entertainment continues to be excellent and the Star Friends are delightful.
We can't wait to get back to the Grand for visit number 8!
- 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