The Grand just continues to get better with each stay. After 14 visits, you would think we would tire of the same place again and again. Who would tire of living in a palace or being treated like royalty or the magnificent beauty, opulence. personalized service and attention to guest satisfaction that can be found at IGP? Apparently, not us. From the moment of our arrival, we were greeted warmly by Christian on the bell staff. Our amigo Ricardo was off on Wednesday, but he made a point to look us up to say hello when he returned. At the front desk, Denise quickly got us checked in and we appreciate you having all our info completed from prior visits, efficiency at its best. Check out was easy as well. We were immediately greeted with a very warm welcome by Rafael Carmona, the new very personable GM and Gabriel Rodriguez, the ever gracious and friendly Executive Asst. Manager. The welcome wagon continued with the very efficient Raul Perez, Public Relations Manager, formerly the Grand's Chief Butler, who replaced Shirley, (congratulations on your promotion, it is well deserved) along with Laura Faviel also from Public Relations who both very efficiently and generously assisted us with several special arrangements prior to arrival and during our stay.
There have been so many stellar reviews about this beautiful, luxurious, palatial, property with so many fine and exquisite details, spacious and comfortable rooms, abundant and high quality food choices, awesome amenities and fabulous beach, that we wanted to focus primarily on what sets the Grand apart and makes it so special and unique from other resorts. Very simply, it is the incredible staff who work so very hard to be sure our vacation is the best it can be. With so many staff members overseeing our needs, we want to be sure we express our thanks to a few special people for the numerous extra special services and efforts provided to us before and during our stay. Rafael, Gabriel, Olivia, Raul, Laura, Francisco Reuben, Ionna, Priscilla, and the truly amazing Victor, Chief Butler. We cannot express enough how much we appreciate the very hospitable welcome and the staff's continued efforts throughout the week to make our trip so memorable.
Upon arrival in to our beautiful, top floor, center beachfront room, the best room in the house, I might add, (a huge thank you to all who made this possible), we were treated to a delicious meat, cheese and cracker spread and a fine bottle of wine and a beautiful tropical floral arrangement. Each day a new surprise would arrive; a spa treatment of our choice which was extremely generous and a gift we very much enjoyed, a delicious fruit basket, a romantic dinner on the beach with a special wine and champagne with private chef, Ezekiel and our very own fantastic waiter, Francisco. Thanks, Chef Ezekiel, for introducing yourself, the meal was superb and the service excellent. After enjoying this delicious, gourmet meal on the beach under the stars and warm tropical breeze, we arrived back to our room, and much to my husband's sheer delight, there was a large platter of chocolate covered tuxedo strawberries surrounded by a flora of white and dark chocolate - every chocoholic's dream, and so very yummy, along with a bottle of champagne! He was beside himself with glee; thanks for remembering his favorite treat. Another day, another fruit platter was delivered with the most delicious juicy, sweet, blackberries, strawberries and other succulent fruit. We were also graciously provided a late check out to accommodate our early evening flight. Another night we were greeted by a bed of roses, and I was half expecting Bon Jovi to show up :) and why not, we have met Antonio Banderas here, as well as the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. The number three seeded tennis player in the world, David Ferrer, was here last year and will be coming again soon. I am a tennis fanatic and am sorry we will miss the chance of being here to watch this very talented player.
On our second night here while arriving at the Italian restaurant, we ran into Gabriel, the Executive Assistant Manager, who stopped to chat. It was really nice seeing the managers out and about daily on property mingling with guests; this is a nice addition since Gabriel's arrival last year and it expresses their concern and sincerity in making sure the guests are happy and determining if there is anything they can do to further enhance your stay. He was accompanied by Francesco Rubin, the F & B Manager who was so kind and a really genuinely nice guy, and we ended up seeing "Frankie" and Gabriel quite a bit the rest of the week. Of course, a very fine bottle of wine showed up on our table at the Italian restaurant-so thank you so very much for thinking of us as we thoroughly enjoyed it! Frankie took his job to the next level and actually played tennis with me one morning before he had to begin work, now that is superior guest service! We wish you the best of luck in your Cuban endeavors and it was a genuine pleasure to meet you! Incidentally, Spain breeds great tennis players, there must be something in the water over there . . .Rafa, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, and Feliciano Lopez - Frankie, you fit right in with these super stars! You were a good sport to play with me, and although I did not win, at least I did not get bageled and I enjoyed my prize of coconut ice cream! Thank you for making that happen :) I hope that you will get the opportunity to hit with Ferrer, as that would surely be on any tennis players' bucket list as well as a once in a lifetime dream.
The weather all 9 days was absolutely perfect, hot with total sunshine and it rained for only 10 minutes on the day we left and the sun was right back out. We love going in July because the water is quite warm and we have always experienced great weather on every July trip. The water seems to be a little calmer too, which I love. The water was so clear and the most beautiful shades of blue green.
The Grand offers the best of everything we could personally want on a vacation starting with a beautiful beach front room that must be experienced, as the open air building with breezeway provides a tropical ambience without that hotel hallway feel. Although the main building is spectacular too with extra wide corridors and frescoes on the ceilings and marble floors that are kept meticulously polished and are so shiny, you can see your reflection. The rooms are spacious, clean and always well maintained with no mustiness. The bed is extremely comfortable and when coupled with down pillows, or other pillows of your choice, you will sleep quite well. Our room was always cleaned when we returned from tennis and breakfast in the morning and we had turn down service every night regardless of how late we left for dinner. Our mini-fridge was stocked as requested every day. The property itself is majestic and elegant without the stuffy, formal feel of other high end resorts. We would prefer to stay at the Grand over a Ritz property any day, hands down! There are so many finer details everywhere and we continue to discover new things on each trip. The amount of work that went into the flooring and ceilings alone is pretty spectacular and the rest rooms are all unique. We enjoy all the restaurants including the expansive dinner buffets and were happy to see some great additions to both the Italian and Gourmet restaurant menus. I think they need to come up with a name other than buffet, though. In the US, the word buffet has a bit of a negative connotation, but the quality, variety and presentation is pretty impressive and FAR from negative.
The staff is incredible and cannot do enough for you. They are the most gracious and sincerest people and really appreciate that we continue to come back and refer our friends and family. At some other resorts the staff is trained to say "my pleasure" and to us it often comes across as robotic sounding, and it feels like they are saying it because they are trained to say it, but the Grand's staff is completely genuine and heartfelt in their desire to satisfy. Having worked in group sales in the hospitality industry, I have an understanding of operations and this property, especially given its expansive size and intricacies, is run extremely well and the staff understands the importance of prompt, efficient and friendly service.
The service has just gotten better starting with our very friendly and helpful butlers, Carlos, Julio and Fernando. There were other butlers, but sorry, did not get everyone's name, but all were great and always around to greet us and ask if we needed anything. Our glasses never went empty in any venue and plates were removed quickly and with smiling faces. The staff are all eager to chat and are very efficient. Irma in the buffet was super and one day went above and beyond to bring me a lobster tail when I inquired what they were grilling outside at the beachfront lunch buffet, La Brisa. Other notable staffers include Israel in the Japanese, Jorge in the buffet was attentive, Angelo and Merano as well as Victor in the Italian restaurant who also served us at breakfast provided superior service and were just so nice. There is a terrific tennis pro named Peter at the Maya and there are complimentary clinics six days per week which are a ton of fun and a great way to meet other players.
The Star Singers and Star Band are very talented, don’t miss The Rock Show. Our other favorites are Boogie Nights, the new Beatles show, Las Vegas and the pool party on Wednesday evening is also fun.
The Star Friends are out in full force making sure everyone is having a good time. Thanks to Eder, Eduardo, Jonathan, Andy, Abraham and Christine for taking the time to chat with us every day. I will always remember Abraham and Eduardo at karaoke singing Livin' on a Prayer”, and "I'm sexy and I Know It", lots of energy, laughs and very entertaining to watch. Eder, we love your nickname for us, "Charlie's Angels, thanks, so very clever and apropos! Thanks to Adriana, Laura and Ana, our building 70 concierge staff, for your assistance. Please know that you are all such a big help and very much appreciated. Kudos to the ever smiling Reyes who worked his tail off bringing water and drinks through the sand in very hot weather; maybe Reyes could be allowed to wear shorts like the guys hand raking the beach. Leaving was very hard, but of course, our main man, Victor was there for a sad goodbye as well as the GM, Rafael Carmona, which was sincerely appreciated.
Special regards sent to Olivia who left on maternity leave this week. Thanks for being such a wonderful person and friend. We miss you and your terrific cooking skills. Olivia ALWAYS remembers from visit to visit exactly what kind of eggs and omelet’s we like, that's quite a memory. God bless you and your family and your new little boy. An extra big thank you to our very special amigo, Victor, who was recently promoted to Chief Butler and no one, is more deserving or does it better. Victor is a shining star and one of the nicest, most caring and sincerest people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. He is always checking in with us and knows everything about our stay and makes sure all is always well in our world. He is such a caring and giving person. He is perfection personified and we are proud to call him friend and he is more like family to us. Victor has the best attitude and knows and does what it takes to keep the guests happy. The Grand is so lucky to have staff of this caliber as they are the heart and soul of the resort.
The staff continues to strive for excellence and they are always looking for ways to please. The entire staff appreciates our loyalty and they understand the importance of exceptional service. Again, this is a big part of what sets the Grand apart from other resorts and what keeps us coming back for more. When it comes to the Grand Paraiso, we just can't get enough. We have tried the other two Grand properties once each, but in our opinion they don't compare, and we can't stress enough that this is due to the awesome staff. We are Grand junkies and we are already busily planning our December anniversary trip, next May with our sons who love it as much as we do and back again in July.
Whatever marketing specialist came up with the name, The Grand, hit the nail on the head. We foresee a very well deserved "Five Diamond" award coming soon!
Oh, and lastly, a huge and very welcome addition, the Grand now has Wi-Fi, EVERYWHERE, yippee. I have been writing this from a very comfortable bed on the magnificent beach! Thanks again for an awesome trip! I would be happy to answer any questions.
- 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