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“Iberostar GP vs Secrets Maroma Beach - comprehensive review” 4 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
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Iberostar GP vs Secrets Maroma Beach - comprehensive review”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Secrets Maroma Beach in Feb of 2011 and tried desperately to book another trip there recently, but due to the cost and unavailability we had to "settle" for the Grand Paraiso. We stayed at Iberostar Grand Paraiso in May of 2013 and I intentionally waited a couple of months before writing a review as to get a more unbiased opinion of both. The following is a list of some of our observations for those who wish to compare. I recommend copying and pasting this review into a Word doc so you can see it in its entirety as it's very long.

First, I think it's important to disclose the type of people my wife and I are so you can have a frame of reference for our review. I am a military man who does not live lavishly but enjoys a pampering every now and then. We are both in our early 30's and live a modest lifestyle, working extremely hard for our income and understand the value of a solid work ethic. I bring this up because we met several people at the Grand who were, what I would consider, quite wealthy and probably have different expectations of an all-inclusive resort than the "average" couple. The reviews of both resorts should be read with that in mind. I've broken the review up into several sections, with the "winner" in each category. +- means it was pretty close, but a slight edge to the winner. + and ++ means the clear winner in that category.

The Grounds: Iberostar Grand Paraiso(IGP) ++

The first observation was the overall grounds of Iberostar Grand Paraiso(IGP). What wasn't readily obvious to my wife and I when we booked that the IGP is one of four resorts in the Iberostar complex. There are also the Lindo, Del Mar, and the Maya, any of which you have access to if you stay at the Grand(which is why they slap a bracelet on your wrist when you check in, allowing you access to all). When we first walked in, the first word that came to mind was "grand." Everything about the IGP is grand, opulent, royal. The structures on the property are so beautifully designed and maintained. There were gardeners and maintenance personnel working around the clock to make sure the Grand Paraiso lived up to its name. From that perspective, it's an amazing sight to behold. The one draw back to the enormity of the complex is we both felt a little lost at the resort. It was so huge, we didn't know where to hang out throughout the day. My wife and I like to know that there is one central location on the resort where everyone is at; the “cool” place to be. At the IGP, we found that the there were multiple places to hang out at and we had to find them on our own. To some, that may be a plus, to my wife and I, it was both good and bad. Secrets Maroma Beach(SMB) is very unassuming, meaning, if you walked by it on the beach, you'd probably consider it just an average all inclusive resort. It doesn't have the grander and "curb appeal" that the IGP has. But after staying there, it’s anything but average. It’s much much smaller than the IGP but to folks who want to know that the pool is the place to be, all day, every day, then SMB is your place. The pool and pool bar is the epicenter of all activities at SMB. All of the social events and fun activities begin and end at the pool. From that perspective, there isn’t much decision making when you get up each day. You eat breakfast, and go get a pool chair and chillax all day long. At IGP, there are some decisions that need to be made. To wrap it up think, Buckingham Palace(IGP) vs. the summer hunting lodge in Scotland (SMB).

The Food: IGP +-

I am not a foody, but my wife is so this is combo of both of our observations. The IGP has 2 buffets and four main restaurants, a French Gourmet, Surf and Turf, Hibachi, and Italian and you must make reservations that make it tricky to be spontaneous. The food at all the restaurants is what you would expect: very good. For a romantic dinner, it’s a great way to be by yourselves and enjoy a nice meal. Word of warning, the sommelier will come to your table and introduce you to all the fine wines of the resort(most of which are not included in the “all inclusive”). Be forewarned when you have an 80$ bill at the end of the trip. Hands down, the best food experience at IGP is the buffet; breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s located at the forefront of the resort right in front of the pool. The variety is unmatched, and food is magnificently displayed, and the service is great. On most nights, they have a theme for the dinner buffet (Mexican, Brazilian, Latin) so keep that in mind when you make reservations at one of the restaurants. SMB has much of the same, but 7 restaurants and no reservations required which is nice. I don’t recall the buffet at SMB being as good as IGP but it’s been two years. Overall, I’d say the overall dining experience, including service, presentation, and quality of the food, the IGP takes it...but again, only slightly.

The Service: SMB +

The people and staff at both resorts work extremely hard to ensure your comfort during your stay. The only reason I give SMB the blue ribbon for service is the Butler. We met him once during our entire stay at IGP, basically just to welcome us, then never saw him again. At SMB, our Butler was a part of our day, every day. He would greet us daily and ensure our stay was going well and made sure we wanted for nothing during our stay. At IGP, we met SEVERAL staff members who were more than willing to accommodate us and our needs, but we had to search out those people out. (props to Nelvi at the pool, Christina the cook, and Janine at the front desk). Again, both had amazing service, but if I had to pick one, SMB wins…slightly, but IGP had moments of greatness.

Rooms: SMB +

We first walked into our room at IGP and there was a distinct mildew smell that made it hard to focus anything else. My wife didn’t notice(or wanted to focus on other things as to not detract from our stay) but I certainly did. When we talked to the front desk, they said that most rooms are like that because “it’s Mexico” and quite moist. I asked if we could move to another room and they were quick to accommodate. The new room was MUCH better and didn’t have any hint of a mildew smell. The room layout themselves were comparable in style and elegance. The thermostat set at IGP had the lowest temperature at 21 degrees Celsius(70 F) which for a powerful AC isn’t bad, but we found it to be too hot for a restful nights sleep. No problem though, we inquired at the front desk to get a fan in the room, but they said they could remotely turn the lowest setting to 18 C on the thermostat which made the room much more comfortable. Just ask. But even the lower temp setting still didn’t’ make the room brisk(which I prefer) so I didn’t feel rested in the morning unfortunately. It was May, so it was getting in the 80-90’s during the days. At SMB, everything was perfect front the outset, but of course, we could have easily been given a less then desirable room at SMB and had a similar experience as IGP. A couple months after the stay at IGP, I can say that SMB takes it, slightly.

Room Service: IGP +

Always on time or early at IGP, brought to us just as we ordered it. At SMB, had a couple of times when it came significantly later than they promised. Granted, all we ordered at IGP was coffee at 7:30am, but it was still always on time. I heard of some of the other guests grumbling about pizza showing up late at 1am, but they admitted they were probably drunk and lost track of the true time.

Spa Experience: IGP ++

Again, the IGP has SOOO many options to choose from and one of them was the free spa. (multiple free spas) On the IGP grounds there was a massive indoor pool/spa area with a large gym, Jacuzzi, lounge chairs, anything you could possibly want at a luxury all inclusive. Walking in to the spa room, I thought I was walking into a modern Roman bath house. It was so lavish and unbelievably maintained. For those of you who have a contracting(home construction) background, the entire pool was tiled with 1”x1” tiles just to give you a hint of the level of detail(probably in 1’x1’ mats, but still). The attached pictures should give you a feel for what I’m talking about. Also, down towards the entrance to the Iberostar grounds were the resort spa(accessed by anyone staying at the IGP, Maya, or Lindo) which has multiple showers with varying temperatures and spray patterns, multiple hot-tubs with different temps as well, massage parlors(extra cost) and juice bars(free). SMB didn’t have anything like that, but still had multiple hot tubs, private pools(depending on what level of room you have) a massage parlor(extra cost), and a nice gym. IGP takes it though on the spa arena.

Entertainment: SMB +-

Both have an excellent entertainment staff that run the various pool sport games like pool volleyball, beach volleyball, soccer, etc. They are all very very friendly and most speak English fluently(with a few exceptions). Both hotels are very comparable, but our experience at SMB was slightly more enjoyable, but for full disclosure, here’s why it was better. The weather in February of 2011 was cool(meaning, in the lower 80’s, which made the beach experience so much more enjoyable. Plus, we played beach volleyball every day at SMB and made a lot of great friends doing so(some we still keep in touch with). The event staff at SMB were much more, how do you say, less awkward?? Some of the staff at IGP weren’t quite fully fluent in English so you could tell they were a little uncomfortable socializing with you and trying to get to know you(bad on me for not speaking Spanish). By and large, this was only a few of the entertainment staff and shouldn’t be a deciding factor when choosing either resort. But in hindsight, the entertainment staff at SMB were much funnier, more comfortable in their roles, which in turn made you more comfortable in participating. The nightly entertainment events were equal in quality. Bottom line: SMB was a more enjoyable experience…slightly.

The Pool scene: SMB++

First, my wife and I are fans of freshwater pools for obvious reasons. The pool at SMB was freshwater and you always felt clean and refreshed after getting out and didn’t have that sticky feeling afterwards. The pool at IGP was saltwater and you felt like you needed to shower off after getting in. I’m sure it’s much cheaper to maintain and more clean to have a saltwater pool, but still. There was a grill at the SMB pool which one could get food at quickly, then return to your lounge chair. They also had waiting staff walking around with trays of sushi, cocktails, and other delicious treats which made it nice not have to get up. Nothing like that at IGP. The bars at both pools were awesome with top shelf everything and extremely hard working staff. We did, however, have a slightly embarrassing episode at IGP when a drunk guy from one of the other resorts at the Iberostar complex(in the IGP grounds illegally) was getting a little too friendly with my wife and some of the other ladies at the bar. That significantly detracted from the experience, knowing that I had to be on my guard and immediately put me in combat mode versus chillax mode. I suppose that could happen anywhere at any resort, but it happened at IGP so it’s worth mentioning. I believe he was a guest of a wedding party(probably the drunk cousin they were obligated to invite) but regardless, he still snuck in and was asking folks at the pool bar to get him some top shelf liquor, and eventually graduated into disrespecting me and my wife(which I promptly put an end to). I did notice security folks at the IGP, but perhaps they should position one permanently at the pool bar at around 3pm and on. No such incidents at SMB. Overall, SMB hands down on the pool scene.

Overall experience: SMB takes it.

There were so many different areas where IGP took the blue ribbon, but the overall experience at SMB was second to none. Now, the question is was SMB worth the extra $1,000 for a 6 night stay. Honestly, if you’re going to shell out some green for an awesome all inclusive resort experience for you and your wife to have memories to last a lifetime, save up what you need and don’t let money be the deciding factor. Please don’t take this as we had a bad time at IGP. On the contrary, it was awesome, but SMB was better. It’s like comparing the difference between the first and second place winner of the 100 yard dash in the Olympics; they’re both excellent, but someone had to be first, even if it’s only a 10th of the second difference. The one scenario that I would recommend IGP over SMB is a wedding. IGP was so huge that you could choose to hang out with your wedding party if you wanted, but could easily escape and have some alone time without having to be too reclusive. We did see wedding parties at both, but from the armchair quarterback perspective, I’d recommend IGP for a wedding.


1. On the first day of your visit at either place, take the free bike ride tour of the grounds, especially if you’re staying at IGP. It will give you a glimpse of all the options that you may want to revisit. It will help ease your anxieties so you can be sure not to miss anything.

2. If you plan on relaxing by the pool all day, make sure to grab a chair early in the morning at either location. The rules say you can’t just keep a book or a towel at your chair to reserve it, and you actually have to be there, although everyone still does. My recommendation is if you see a chair that has a personal item on it, keep an eye on it for about 20 minutes. If no one is there, go tell one of the pool staff personnel that no one has been there and ask if they can remove the items. Don’t remove them yourself. I can imagine that there has been some altercations because of this. If the person comes back and wants their chair back, tell them that the pool staff removed their items and can be retrieved with them and it was empty when they sat down. That’s an easy way to defuse the situation.

3. At IGP, go to the lazy river at the Maya. It was our favorite thing to do by far during our stay. My wife and I would get some top shelf drinks at the IGP, then walk over to the lazy river to lounge for the afternoon(you can get food and drinks at ANY of the resorts as a guest of the IGP, but we wanted top shelf drinks). The other resorts have kiddos running around and some may be in the lazy river being, well, kids. But they quickly loose interest and move on.

4. At the SMB: lounge at the pool all day long. That’s the epicenter of all activities at SMB and where you meet all the other guests.

5. This is possibly the most important recommendation for both: meet other guests! Unless you don’t want to be bothered by anyone else, be friendly and get to know the other folks staying there. They will be the best way to find out the highlights of the resorts. Some of our greatest memories of both locations were made with the folks we were brave enough to say hi to. (offer to buy them a drink at the pool bar. That always gets a laugh since it’s free anyways)

6. This should go without saying, but bring plenty of dollar bills for tips. Yes, it's all inclusive, but you'd be suprised how far a five spot will go with the staff. They WILL take care of you if you do the same for them. Ever wonder why we don't have all inclusives in the US? Because no US company can compete with the bang for the buck in other countries south of the boarder. It's sad that the staff get paid what they do, so be sure to acknowledge their hard work with good tips.

My intent was to make this review as comprehensive as possible, but I’m sure I left out an area that may be of interest to people. Feel free to email me and ask more specific questions if you’d like!

Respectfully, Clive and Juliana

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Quality manager I, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, September 20, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your kind review shared on this website. On behalf of our Management and staff we would like to say it was a great honour to have served you. We appreciate your kind words pertaining our rooms, food, beverages, service, and grounds.

We appreciate the time that you have taken to make constructive comments as well. We are committed to listen to our guests and be constantly trying to improve our services, so your tips are very useful to get better and better.

We hope you give us the honour of serving you again at Iberostar Grand Paraiso.

Best regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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1 review
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

Apologies for the delay in sending this review. We spent 2 weeks at this resort at the end of May this year, and having enjoyed some good holidays in numerous all inclusive hotels in Mexico over the last 15 years, we were really looking forward to celebrating our ruby wedding anniversary in one the top rated hotels in this region.
To put some perspective on this review, I am comparing this hotel to the Moon Palace, Riu Palace Mexico, Riu Palace Riviera Maya, as well as the Iberostar Lindo amongst many others in Mexico and elsewhere.
There were many positives aspects to this hotel :-
The rooms were the best we have stayed in, we especially enjoyed the large balcony during the numerous wet days we experienced.
The service around the pools, and in the lobby bars was excellent.
The staff were pleasant and helpful without exception.
The quiet pool where we spent most of days was very relaxing, and enjoyable.
The evening shows and lobby entertainment were excellent and better than anywhere else we have stayed.
The negatives were few and far between, but unfortunately the standard of food lets this hotel down,and I have detailed my concerns below:
The concept of the cabanas is very good but the execution was poor, in that the mattresses were generally worn, left uncovered in the rain, thus unusable for hours until they have dried out.
The design of the single woven sunbeds is very poor and make an uncomfortable rest around the pool. I cannot remember any other hotel which leaves the sunbed mattresses out overnight to get wet, and accumulate dirt, so why do they do it in a five star hotel?

The food is very disappointing.
Neither myself nor my wife are fussy eaters and we both enjoy good quality food. So this is an important part of our holiday and we were especially looking forward to some the "gourmet prepared" food at this hotel.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed on many occasions at this hotel:
Breakfast was quite poor, other hotels are better. The fruit juices were watered down. The fresh doughnuts were hard, dry, or overcooked we gave up on these.
Lunch was very hit or miss. On some occasions the buffet restaurant provided some nicely prepared BBQ steaks, lobster, or shrimps, but on two occasions we were served uncooked lobster and shrimps, which we didn't eat.
Dinner at the buffet was on most occasions disgracefully poor. Every time I asked the counter Chef for a beef steak, or salmon steak, he proceeded to remove what appeared to be a cooked item from the heated display shelf, and started to reheat it or recook it on the griddle. I prefer my food cooked once, rather than twice, so on each occasion I refused the food. Hardly gourmet standard.
The vegetables were lukewarm at best.
The chilled seafood on the self service counter was not stored on ice, but merely at ambient temperature. This is a totally unacceptable practice and risks food safety.
The Japanese Restaurant was nothing special.
The Gourmet Restaurant was nothing special.
The Surf and Turf was very good, nice steaks, but please do not try to con me into buying an overpriced bottle of wine.
The Italian restaurant was just about OK. I ordered calamari, and was served one of the worst starters I have experienced, very chewy, and tasteless.
I could go on, and on, and on, ( some will say I have done,lol) but in summary we both felt that the food at this hotel looks amazing (style), but doesn't deliver in taste (substance).
When I read some of the reviews about how amazing the food is here, the fact that they serve lobster every day for lunch and dinner, seems to influence the review. I enjoyed the lobster, but it was not excellent and often lacked flavour, and it cannot disguise the the poor standard which we experienced.
I did take concerns to the customer services desk, and they stated that they would take the matter up with the Executive Chef. Hmmm, I will not risk a return.
They should send their Executive Chef to the Riu Palace to see how good food is prepared and served.
I could see how someone who was here for a short stay could see a five star hotel, but when your are here for two weeks, the flaws become apparent.
We shall not be returning.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quality manager I, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
Dear guest,

First of all we would like to thank you for taking the time to share your comments in regards to your recent stay at our hotel.

We are glad to hear that you were able to enjoy our facilities and the service provided throughout your stay, we recognize that our staff plays a valuable role in the vacation experience of our guests.

We really appreciate your valuable feedback, which we previously received via email with very useful constructive criticism and suggestions, which our management replied and was thankful for. We are sorry to hear that your experience with us did not live up to our usual level concerning the food at the buffets and beverage quality. Our Executive Chef receives our guests’ feedback and he is constantly working on improving the different options presented to our guests.

In reference to the sun chairs, we already started to renovate all of them, at the pool and beach areas.

Once again, we really appreciate your feedback and would like to apologize for not being able to exceed all your expectations; we look forward to having another chance to welcome you back, under more favorable circumstances.

Best regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013 via mobile

My husband don and I have been together over 30 year's but weve only been married for 1 &1/2 yrs. We celebrated our many years together. And our honeymoon the staff was great they decorated our room honeymoon style with rose peddals, champagne & hot drawn bubble bath. We stayed for one week at the grand ( not long enough) but the hotel was great the resturants and food outstaning. great entertainment and superb staff we will definitely go back and have decided to makethe iberostar grand our preferred hotel of choice no matter where we travel. Don & Vanessa. WILSON Chester PA

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quality manager I, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
Dear guest,

On behalf of all the hotel staff, we would like to thank you for choosing our hotel and for taking the time to share with others your experience. We are delighted to hear that you have had a wonderful honeymoon and that you took the time to specify the highlights of your honeymoon: the decoration of the room, the champagne, the special bath and specially our staff, whom with we shall share that they have been part of your happiness.

We hope to be able to offer you our hospitality at IBEROSTAR Grand Paraiso for your anniversary.

Best regards,
Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Grand Paraiso for 5 days in August and we had a good time. It was about a 30 minute ride from the Cancun Airport so not too bad. The first two days we were there it poured and the staff told us this was their rain season:( However the last 3 days were gorgeous!

Every single person that worked at the hotel from the front desk to the landscapers were so incredably nice! Everyone spoke to you and made you feel so welcomed! The room bar was re stocked everyday and the maid cleaned the room twice a day in the morning and at night! The 24 hour room service was so great to have at 2 am! We only went to one show which was "Boogie Nights" and it was great entertainment! We went to the club 3 different nights and the music choice was not our first selection but it was still a good time!

I enjoyed all three pools (indoor, outdoor main and outdoor quiet pool). The beach was a bit rocky and the sand flies were a pain but overall the property was kept up very nicely. There were plenty of chairs and beds to lay on which was great! The Iberostar property is huge boasting 5 different hotels!! So we were not able to check them all out but we did go next door to the Maya and that hotel was so big and decorated so beautifully in Mayan decor. There was even a wave pool at the Maya which was a very nice feature. Due to the size of the Iberostar property you had to take a golf cart to get to each hotel, to the club, basketball courts and shopping center.

I only have two negative things, I was not that impressed with the food selection. I stayed at the Iberostar in Jamaica and the food there was AMAZING so I guess I was hoping for the same experience but was sadly disappointed! We ate at two of the themed restaurants the Meditteranian and the Steak House and the food at both places were presented very pretty on the plates but the actual taste was not so great. My husband likes his steak medium rare but his steak was still alive and sadly he was not able to enjoy it. The second negative is the hotel can definetly use a new paint job. You can tell this was the first Grand they built as it has seen better days paint wise and with all of the rain there were a lot of leaks in the main hall ceiling. The staff had towels and buckets laid out on the floor in the main hall to absorb the water.

Overall our stay was great and I would reccomend this hotel to any couple looking for a quiet relaxing vacation. However, I have to say that I think the Iberostar in Jamaica was much better and I will be back there again!

Room Tip: As soon as you arrive and check in go to the Concierge desk and make your dinner reservations for th...
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  • Stayed August 2013, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quality manager I, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your delightful review. We are thrilled to have heard about the good vacation you recently enjoyed with us here at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso.

We highly appreciate that you took your precious time to write a detailed review. Both your positive and negative comments have been forwarded to the responsible managers. Kindly allow us to apologize for the inconveniences you have experienced during your stay.

It would be a pleasure for us to welcome you back and provide you with a great stay showing that we have improved our service for you.

Best regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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Leeds, United Kingdom
16 reviews 16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

Just returned from 2 weeks at this place which turned out to be a hideous disappointment and waste of time and money. My complaints are so vast that it would take too long to detail them all.

If you are looking for a luxurious five star holiday where you can relax in piece with a sophisticated clientele this is not the place for you. The main swimming pool is surrounded by loud speakers. WHEREVER you sit you are subject to the musical choices of the hotel which are played so loudly you can hear them over your own ipod. A request to have the music turned down was met with a rude and firm no. This meant I had to spend the rest of my holiday on the beach. The beach is infested with flies and the ocean bed covered in rock with so much seaweed they employ people to take it away. If you are looking for a clear crystal ocean you will be disappointed. The main pool is also used for various other activities such as boat races, water fights with people in fancy dress (?) and aerobics, all accompanied by even louder music and a compare with a microphone making yet more noise.

The other alternative to the main pool is a quiet pool to one side of the hotel that is so infested by mosquitoes due to the lack of breeze that few people use it. Mosquitoes are a massive problem throughout the hotel. No one uses the outdoor seating areas because they are so prevalent. My partner had around 20 bites by the second night. You will get bitten day and night regardless of spray. Forget having a drink on your balcony. They are in bedrooms and all interiors of the hotel. Said bites led to a visit to the on site doctor who can only be described as the most vile, belligerent “professional” I have ever encountered. She refused my partner any treatment whatsoever and is danger to anyone seeking medical help at this resort.

Other issues

• Toilet became blocked twice. Apparently this is a common occurrence and most guests will encounter this at some stage.
• Bath- jacuzzi part didn't work.
• Location- hotel is 45 mins from Cancun and 35 mins to the Cozemel. There is nothing close by and taxis take advantage of this. There is a hotel shuttle but is infrequent.
• Restaurants. Japanese was very good. Gourmet was laughable. They brought me boil in the bag sea bass, snipped off the top of the bag in front of me and left the bag on the plate!!
• Tips. A persistent and transparent attempt by all staff to get tips for everything from bringing me one coffee to offering me a towel. Once its established you are not a consistent tipper service plummets.
• We paid tips to ensure golf clubs were ready at reception on our departure. They were not ready and my partner had to run to the club house to get his clubs before we left.
• We asked a few times if the ATM charged. We were told no. In fact when we used it we had to pay $16 or else pay the hotel a similar amount to get some money changed. We could have changed our money in town for free but relied on the inaccurate information from the hotel staff who INSISTED on us paying their charge.
• Nightclub. The only night we attended seemed to be Mexican night with star friends taking centre stage with conga like antics. If you are looking for cool house/r&b type club stay away.
• Wifi stop working half way through our stay. We were then given a password to log on but from that point onwards I couldn't get a signal. Inexplicable after my phone worked for ten nights.
• Piano bar- again bombarded with super loud music from either a loud piano or worse the synthesizer duo playing holiday “classics” so loudly you had to shout a conversation.
• Staff forgot to fill the mini bar up on more than one occasion.
• Key card worked on some occasions and not others.
• There is a karaoke bar which sums up the atmosphere and clientele of this hotel.
• On the days in rained (and beware where were MANY) we asked for DVD’s which played so quietly we had to use subtitles to understand what was being said.

On awful awful place to stay. If it were not for a free upgrade I would have changed hotels. The response from management will give you some idea of what we had to deal with. If you have stayed at a genuine five star I would avoid this hotel at all costs.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

We were disappointed every day as this resort failed to meet our expectations. This all inclusive resort only had two resturants opened each evening and they were over booked becaused they were understaffed. Everytime I tried to make a reservation I was told that the resturants were full. When we were able to get seated, the food was below average and my chair was either stained or had food left on it. Who wants to pay for an all inclusive vacation and be told that there was no room in the resturant? I would never return to any of these resturants if they were in my home town. The resturants were themed, Italian,Japanese, Gourmet, and Surf and Turf. Where was the Mexican resturant? We have traveled to 30 countries and have stayed at other resorts in this area and other areas of Mexico so I believe that we can make fair comparisons. At check in they gave us a wrist band to wear that was made by a company that makes wrist bands for hospital patients.They should have used a locally made decorative wrist bracelet that you would want to keep. I am still wearing the one from a different resort that we visited in May in the same area. Imagine that a hotel from Las Vegas without the casino, merged with a low level cruise ship and crashed ashore. This is what it felt like. They failed to change the sheets during our 6 day stay and the towels were cheap and thin. The pool/beach towels were slighty thicker but were old and some had holes in them. This is not 5 star level. When it rained, the roof leaked. One morning I counted 50 places where they set up large floor sponges to soak up the leaks. They were prepared for the leaks with sponges but not prepared to fix the leaks. Now you have water that is trapped inside so mold and mildew were so strong that it could make you ill. There were power brown outs every day. Where were the back up generators? No air conditioning, no internet etc. Thus is not what I expected from a resort that was so highly rated. The artists that preformed on the shows each evening worked very hard and were very athletic and talented. We could not go to each show because the theater air was so stale and musty that breathing was difficult. We did report this to one of the activity directors and he said that the air was clean. Not even close.The Apple representatives were polite and professional, but they don't run the resort. We booked several off site excursions through the Apple representative and they were all very good and "as advertised

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quality manager I, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to share your feedback through Trip Advisor. It is our aim that all our valued guests enjoy every aspect of their stay here at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso. However, we regret that we have failed you on this occasion.

We value your comments and have certainly discussed all your observations with the main Management and Department heads in order to ensure that an immediate solution concerning areas of concern will be dealt with. As far as the roof goes, the affected areas can only be repaired when the weather is dry, to ensure the repair is effective. We assure you we are on top of it, and once again send you our apologies.

Please rest assured we are taking all the necessary steps in order to remedy the situations mentioned so that in the future, none of our valued guests like you will encounter similar issues.

Thank you once again for your feedback and we look forward to the opportunity of having you once again here at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso in order for us to have the chance to demonstrate the real meaning of service that you expect from us.

Best Regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

Just back from this wonderful hotel. It is off season so it was only half full and it was lovely and peaceful. We had excellent service with a beaming smiles all the way. Maybe speaking Spanish helps get along with the staff easier, however everyone was charming caring and helpful. My wife was ill during the second half of the holiday and everyone saw me on my own asked after her and asked if there was any special meals or drinks that she wanted sent to her room. Special thanks to Hugo, Maria, Alejandro, Yarinka and Ezequiel for making the mealtimes such a wonderful experience and that was just the buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We went to the gourmet restaurant, not great food and very dull atmosphere, the Japanese was tasty, however the steakhouse really ticked all the boxes. We arrived 1.5 hours late for a reservation, after a late return from a tour and they let us straight in no questions asked, just "we were worried and have been waiting for you!" Will really miss all the great people thanks to Jenny and Andres from the Star Friends animation team and do try and go to the shows, all live where the dancers give there all and must change costumes at least 6 times a show. We are travellers that think the world is too large to return anywhere, however this is the sort of place that makes you wonder whether you should.

  • Stayed September 2013, 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quality manager I, Quality Manager at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for your nice review regarding your stay at Iberostar Grand Paraiso. It is a great pleasure to read how you enjoyed your great experience.

Thank you for mentioning the daily attentions we gave you, our team always tries to pamper our guests and do their best to take care of any detail to make your stay as unique as possible. We hope that both of you are very well.

Regarding our gourmet restaurant, thank you for your constructive review, comments like your help us to improve, and we can assure you that your opinion is being taken in consideration.

We really hope to have the opportunity to welcome you again at our hotel.

Best regards,

Quality Manager
Iberostar Mexico
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
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 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Top resorts 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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