Maybe my expectations were too high based on the other reviews and the stories of the amazing time my parents had at this resort during their two visits, but I found the resort to be unworthy of a repeat visit. You should absolutely go once - but I can't think of why I'd want to come back...
Service: So we are supposed to be visited by a butter on our first day...he never showed during our 5 night stay. Yeah we probably could have called the front desk and complained and maybe - just maybe he'd show up. Either way - we should not have to do that. Also we switched rooms from one with 2 queens to a room with 1 king after our first night - easy right? Should take 10 minutes at most? Front desk told us to call after 3pm for a bellboy to come and move our one bag. So call we did...and waited and waited and waited. 40 minutes and 2 more phone calls later we got moved.
Our minibar was not refilled every day either. Not a big deal as there is no shortage of drinks at the hotel - but that kind of service is hardly what I had expected based on the positive reviews.
Outside of the room, service was outstanding. We'd get drinks frequently and promptly at the beach and at the pool.
Beach and Pools: Speaking of beach and pools. If you want to actually swim in the ocean, don't get your hopes up. Red flag means waves and no swimming - you CAN go in, nobody will stop you, but shallow waters with fairly strong waves result in a pretty strong rip current. So I'd not recommend it unless you know how to swim in the ocean. We had a yellow flag ONCE during our 5 night stay. Swimming on that day was great and according to the staff this is not unusual and the waters only really calm down in September.
If you want to grab a desirable spot at the pool - I hope you got your towel or spare flip-flops ready to claim your spot early in the morning because by 11am most of the "good" spots are claimed by a towel. Sometimes someone will actually come back and use the spot they claimed - but having spent a whole day by the pool once I can say with absolute certainty that at least 1/3rd of the spots are claimed the whole day without anyone ever using them. The hotel does says they will remove the towels and personal items after 2 hours - but I never once saw that actually being enforced.
The guacamole at the hotel was tasteless and bland. It certainly did not taste like it was freshly prepared. I've bought better guacamole from the local supermarket back in Philly. I've had far better guacamole as part of the lunch on an a Tulum trip. I could forgive the other food being passable at best, but bad guacamole? In Mexico? Really?
So anyway, food. Yes it's just passable. The Japanese restaurant - sushi is OK but the hibachi was worse than any I have ever had. French, it was OK as well but I've certainly had better. Surf & Turf - the ribeye was thin and slightly overcooked (not medium rare like requested) - oh and we had no steak knives - good luck cutting them with the serrated butter knives. Mexican - terrible, tasteless and bland. None of the Mexican food had any flavor to it. Yeah you could get some spicy peppers from the buffet section but none of them ever made it into the food it seems.
We never made it to the Italian as it seemed to always be booked - maybe that means it's actually good?
Oh and the buffet food in general is less than impressive. Pizza? Terrible. Burgers? Ok. Bagels? The bread will fall apart in your hands. Lobster etc? Boiled in fresh water it was rather bland. Deserts: Actually good.
In short, the food is about on the level with a mid-range buffet. You will find something good here and there but on the whole nothing will blow you away. Which is not so bad as you'll probably be too tipsy to care...
Drinks: You will never be thirsty here. It does not matter how remote of a spot you think you have found on the beach or by the pool - a waiter will pop out of nowhere and get you a drink. That part of the service is amazing. They will literally run to the bar to get you your drink. I'm not exaggerating. They ran. I don't know where they found the endurance to walk all day in that heat - but they ran...
The quality of the drinks was always good or excellent and they never skimped on alcohol. (Although maybe they should have as some guests were pretty plastered. Can't blame the hotel. Adult Only does not guarantee maturity.)
If I go back to the area, I don't see myself staying at this hotel. The per day cost is fairly high for the region and with better food being available off site it's hard to justify staying here unless your sole purpose of the trip is drinking at the pool/beach.(In that case, Iberostar is unbeatable)
Yes the rooms are large and comfortable and the buildings are massive and luxurious, but it gets old fast.
- 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