Iberostar Grand Paraiso is blessed with a spectacular location on which to cultivate its well manicured and lush grounds. Rooms are very nice, large and very clean. The beach front corner suites have exceptional views and the benefit of a hot-tub on the balcony in addition to the jetted tub in the bathroom. Marble, travertine, granite an limestone tile and mosaic abound. As most writers note, the "star friends" staff are exceptional, as are the concierge staff. The pool wait staff and most of the dining staff are very accomodating and helpful. Even when occupancy exceeds 95%, there are no areas that appear crowded.
However the food in general leaves a lot to be desired. I found the "gourmet restaurant" (aka the french restaurant) to be sub-par in food quality and the service to be poor overall. The steak-house (aka Toni's) boasts "american style steaks" but the steaks served were not "trimmed" before grilling and were no better than the steaks available every day on the lunch buffet. The wine steward was a bit pushy in recommending extra-cost wines and when we relented and selected one of his lower priced offerings, it was billed out at a different price than the one quoted. (and showed up on the final bill at a 3rd price, all in USD by the way).
We found the Japanese restaurant (Haiku) to be exceptionally nice, very high food quality and superb service. We also found the international buffet to be very good. The italian restaurant was average, but the service was terrific. Much better than the french or steak house.
The property needs work. There is evidence of water getting under the stucco throughout the resort, and resulting in complaints about musty/moldy smells. While the extensive covered walkways are beautiful in their use of stone and arrangements of tile. None of the walkways are "pitched" properly causing puddles and necessitating continuous mopping and squeegy workers. There are yellow traffic cones all over the place all the time. The tops of columns are cracking and peeling along with fascia, cornice and evidence of roof damage. November is the end of the "off-season" and the place should be spotless by now. There were a few workers on ladders and one on the top of a dome on Friday, showing at least a minimal effort to make cosmetic improvements.
Grand Paraiso has tremendous potential to be a really special resort, but there is a lack of attention to detail in the maintenance area as well as the food service department.
A leading travel magazine Nov '13 issue (pg 165) ranks Iberostar Grand Paraiso #18 out of 30 in it's reader's poll for Cancun and Yucatan peninsula resorts. I find this to be far more accurate than most of the reviews I had read on line prior to 1st week of Nov. trip.
A major consideration in the selection of any resort or hotel is value. With the deep discounting for off season travel, this property is a great place to stay for a relaxing vacation and beach front fun. The pool areas (1 large salt water infinity pool, one quiet pool and one indoor pool at the gym/spa) are very well attended and very clean.
Weak areas - Food is inconsistent at the specialty restaurants, and somewhat boring at the buffets. It's great for 3 or 4 days, and then most travelers will tire of the same buffet at breakfast and few variations at lunchtime. The selection is vast, but it's basically the same every day. (dinner buffets change every night) The liquor selection is high-end, although the mixed blender drinks are mostly from mixes with very little fresh fruit (banana's but no real strawberry or other fruits in mixed drinks) Great tequila selection and the tequila wagon for shots on mexican buffet night is a nice touch with fantastic staff people.
Another example of maintenance problems: Our beach front suite building had broken ice makers on every floor. Not one floor out of three had a working ice maker all week. Concierge staff had informed management after many guest complaints, but at the end of the week, there was still no working ice maker in the building. Daily re-stocking of minibars is great, but with no ice to be found (sure you could have a butler deliver ice every time you wanted to mix a drink) the general failure of management to attend to the details, leaves far too many exposed flaws to seriously consider this resort 5 stars, despite the extremely hard working and courteous staff.
My recommendation is to limit your stay to 4 days, shop for deals, book off-season, or consider superior accommodations at Maroma resort. Kudos to the "star friends", but a management change is in order for both food service and maintenance.
- 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