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“Honeymoon Villa! OMG!” 5 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
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Honeymoon Villa! OMG!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2008

We just got back from a stay at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso in Riviera Maya. Oh My! Fabulous is not strong enough of a word!
This was our 3rd trip to the Iberstar resorts, but the first to the Grand. We were upgraded (for free) to a Honeymoon Villa. Luxurious! Big 4 poster king, private garden, private pool, enormous bathroom, a hammock, sitting area, jacuzzi tub. I think the villa was larger than my first house!
I recently had heart surgery and eat a low sodium diet. No problem! The concierge wrote me a letter, my needs were spelled out and noted on each dinner reservation. Breakfast and Lunch at the buffet were easily accomplished by managing my food choices, or asking the cooks to grill something up for me. Because they use less salt in cooking than here in the states, I found I could eat most buffet items without making a special request.
The restaurant managers and wait staff bent over backwards, and cheerfully, to accommodate my needs.
The only restaurant we didn't care for was the Italian. The gourmet and surf and turf were extraordinary.
The grounds were exquisite, and decorated for the holiday, though Santa's sleigh and reindeer looked more like Cinderella's coach and moose! That was funny. The decor in the lobby is a bit over the top-Romanesque to the point of bordello, even. But charming nonetheless. Everything was fabulously clean, and the staff very friendly. We can't wait to go back!

  • Liked — The service
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 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.
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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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4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2008

My wife and I stayed at the Grand 4 nights for our honeymoon over the Thanksgiving weekend and words couldn't really describe how great it was! I'm not sure what the last reviewer was talking about because my experience was completely different. Some of might have to do with taking ocean front rooms instead of the regular rooms but I heard that aside from the view its all the same. Maybe they upkeep those rooms more because people pay a higher rate...

Beach/pool - we were at the pool or beach every day around 10am and had no problem finding open beds, especdially on the beach. The beds were extremely comfortable and everything was very clean and new.

Rooms - beds, shower, balcony were all unreal! Amazing design and comfort. Bath towels could have been a bit better but it wasn't a big deal really. View of the ocean and the swing on the balcony great too. And nothing beats taking a nap and listening to the sound of the ocean.

Food - The buffets were really great and had plenty of selection. However, note that the breakfast and lunch the selection at the beach front buffet is much smaller. The a la carte restaurants were all satisfactory, not amazing, and above average for all-inclusive resorts. I won't get into details but the best one in my opinion was the surf & turf (if you know what to order...).

Anyway, the overall experience was great. Place looks terrific and gives off a feeling of wealth and grandeur. Staff was friendly and accomodating. Highly recommended!!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wawa, Canada
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2008

Stayed at the resort from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, was originally booked for 7 days but decided to switch accommodations mid stay to Excellence Riviera Cancun. The reason for the switch? A couple of them.

I am not sure why people rave about this hotel in the reviews, there were a few good things about it, however from the check in I encountered quite a few of problems. Arrived at the hotel at 1:30 pm, went to check in, was told that my room is ready, and to sit down in reception and my key will be ready in a minute, waited in the lobby until 2pm and still no key, so I went to get a bite to eat at one of the buffet restaurants. I ordered a drink, Malibu rum with orange juice (my usual drink), and what I was given was Malibu rum with TANG! Absolutely awful. I later found out that real orange juice is only available at breakfast, I was able to get my butler to have room service deliver real OJ to my room so that I can make my own drink in the room, they supplied a bottle of Malibu rum too.

Going back to the check-in, got back to the lobby at 3pm and no room yet, it turns out that my room was given to someone else who was angry that they didn't have a room yet even though they arrived in the morning. Well ok, so I asked when my new room will be ready, told in a minute or two, ok, so I went to use the internet for a few minutes just to let everyone at home let know that I arrived safely at the resort, back to reception at 3:40pm, no room yet, told to sit down in reception because it will be another minute, okay, so I sat and waited and observed a few other angry guests not getting their room at 3pm check in. Finally at 3:55pm I get my room, by this time I lost what could have been a great day at the beach, or pool, got to the room, changed and decided to take a nap.

Food - okay here is what bothered me, everything at the buffet restaurants was barely warm or cold, they also must be low on spices and salt, because everything was tasteless. Not kidding you. Other issue, they use too much oil to cook things to order, like the seafood table at Bella vista restaurant, I had to stop the "cook" from pouring oil all over my fish. For lunch choices were limited, the so called Kobe burger is made from frozen patties, come on, this is definitely not Kobe meat, how I know, because I've had real Kobe beef and it tastes much better than the dried out, shriveled beef patty.

Breakfast – one thing to mention, which I think is quite important is that they do not use regular milk, they use powdered milk with water, they actually serve that as milk to use in your cold cereals.

So to sum it up: no butter for lobster, powdered milk for breakfast and tang as orange juice for drinks. Not what I paid a lot of money for.

The only decent meal I had in the 4 days was at the gourmet restaurant, where for the appetizer I had the pheasant with the mushroom stuffed pastry, it was really delicious. So really that was that for great food experience. At Surf and Turf I had the lobster and salmon (mixed items from 2 different dishes), salmon, would have been good if it was cooked property, it was raw, all the way through, the lobster was overcooked and tasted like charcoal. Everything tasteless. And no real butter at the resort, hmmm lobster and no butter. They brought package of margarine to dip the lobster in. Interesting.

Beach - beautiful beach, swimmable, huge wonderful waves. The only disturbing part of the beach experience is that you have to get up at 5 or 6 am and reserve your chair on the beach because by 8am, you will not find a spot. Same goes for the pool areas. Now the pool that's another story, I preferred the quiet, small pool, but refused to go in as they pools were not cleaned on regular basis, leaves, twigs, dead flowers in the pool each day, more with each day too. Not what I expected. They should really tend to the pools more regularly.

Room - the room itself was beautiful. The bed comfortable, the lines clean, and soft. The TV's well, I think it's time they upgraded them to new ones. My TV could not be on for more than 20 minutes at the time as it make a screeching noise after that and over the sound you could not hear the program, had to turn the TV off for at least 10-15 minutes to cool down and turn it on again. Also there's a lack of channels, there may have been 10-15 max, so on cloudy/rainy days, cold days, which I had quite a few staying in the room and watching TV was not an option.

Spa- very nice, a little expensive, but that's the norm in México.

Buildings - nice buildings, architecture a little over the top, decorations...that's another story.

Being there at Christmas time I was hoping for nice decorations in the lobby and throughout the resort, well, that's not the case. The decorations didn't remind me of Christmas, they had some sea shells, lights, not one Christmas tree in sight. Again, this is my take, and my preference for traditional decor at Christmas.

Front Desk/Reception - so I decided to go to Excellence (I stayed there in January 2008), so my travel agent was faxing me the paperwork for the switch, I called concierge and was told that they can bring the fax to my room but it would be quicker if I was at the front desk when the fax came. Not a problem, as I had to sign the paperwork and fax it back to my agent so she could book the other resort. Got to the front desk in about 5 min. after that, went to them and told them that I am waiting for a fax, and that I will wait in the lobby so that they can let me know as soon as it arrives. "Okay senora, sit down and we will let you know". Sat in reception for about 15 minutes, went to check with them, no, not yet, no fax. Okay, waited 2 more minutes and a girl came from the back and placed 3 pages of paper on the front desk with 2 people at the front desk. I suspected that is my fax, so I waited and observed. The two individuals at the front desk were deep in conversation, not one glancing at the papers yet, okay, 15 minutes go by, and the lady picked up the papers, looked through them and put it back on the front desk, okay, now I am getting angry with them, because in that whole time no one even attempted to call my room or find me in the lobby, and I'm sitting right there looking right at them, so after another 10 minutes I decide to approach them. I of course had to interrupt their conversation and said that I am waiting for a fax from my travel agent, give them my name and room number, and I clearly see that the fax is sitting right there in front of them. They shake their heads and say, no fax yet, wait and we will call you, so I pointed to the papers on the front desk and said that is the fax I am waiting for. She looked at me and said well, I don't know if all pages are for you, I said yes they are, can I please have my fax so that I can read and sign as I have to fax it back to my travel agent. So reluctantly they give me the fax, I go through it and sign the two pages that are attached to the cover page addressed to me, with my room number on it, and give it back to them to fax it back to the number provided on the cover page. Another 15 minutes goes by and they fax it, and bring me the confirmation.

This is when my true vacation started, I was truly happy to be moving next morning. I e-mailed Excellence and told them that I will be arriving in the morning and if they can have my room ready. Gave them my telephone number and room number at the Grand. Next day, by 8:30am I have not heard from the other resort, but knowing that resort, and having stayed there before I took the chance and checked out from Iberostar at 9am and made my way to Excellence Riviera Cancun.

My review for ERC will be posted as well, so you can read the end to my story.

So all in all, was my trip was successful, and relaxing. Would I stay at this or other Iberostar resort? Not in a million years.

  • Liked — beach, location
  • Disliked — everything else
  • Stayed December 2008
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston Ma
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2008

"Trust me"....this resort is amazing! We had the ocean front room, building #70, top floor. Words can hardly express our satisfaction. The view, the amenities, the service, the cleanliness were exceptional, but it is true, the staff make the place truly what it is....amazing. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. No one even expected a tip but seemed to accept them with such grace. We just could not marvel enough about the extreme cleanliness of the entire place including the beach. You'd almost expect to see staff out there cleaning the rocks for pete's sake as they don't seem to miss an inch of marble floor or floor to ceiling glass windows!
We never left the resort! We walked around the other properties and we too couldn't wait to get back to ours...the best one by far.
I loved the fact that the food was served indoors! Those cats freak me out. Our butler told us that the food is all the same throughout the resorts, the difference is the service, which was excellent. I don't have one complaint. I agree completely with taking your own private cab to the resort. Those shuttle vans that are " included" really pack you in, and the other drop offs make you feel impatient and hassled. We took a cab to the airport for around $45 and it was worth it. The shopping center wasn't much, but the shopping in the resort lobby was worse. I never made it to the 10:00pm evening entertainment. It sounds funny, but 10:00 seemed late to us! We were up at 6:00am everyday so as not to miss a minute of precious sunshine. The gym is great, and the warm salt water indoor pool was a real surprise.
Overall, I gave the food, a "B"....cruise type food I call it.
I hope to return next year. Well worth the money.

  • Liked — The ocean front room
  • Disliked — The shuttle ride to the resort from the airport
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2008

Nine months earlier I made my first trip to this magnificent resort and wrote a review entitled "A truly 5 star experience" (posted 4/18/08). I said my family and I would always return to this beautiful place for many years to come.
In 2008 my son has been back 3 times and is returning in March 2009. I have been back 2 times in 2008 and am planning my 2009 return.
The gracious General Manager and his friendly, efficient staff cater to your every need with a smile, quality service, food and beverages. I'm back home in New York after an 11 day stay and I can't wait to go back.
From Ana who makes perfect omelets for breakfast, to Carlos who runs on the white sandy beach with frozen drinks to die for, to Daniel serving you lobsters for lunch at ocean side, or Fernando giving you your favorite drinks at the pool bar, after a volleyball game with Nicole, one of the sports activity directors.
Maybe after a gourmet dinner you will enjoy a drink before and after the fabulous nightly shows in the theater with Mayo, the friendly entertaining bartender. And don't forget you have a butler for each room, just incase there is something special you need.
Wish I could afford Henri at home.
I think you get the idea, live like Donald Trump for a fraction of the cost. The very best top shelf of the all-inclusives!

  • Liked — Absolutely everything!
  • Disliked — Having to leave!
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Charles, MO
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2008

My fiancé and I were looking for a getaway to break up the frosty doldrums of the winter. Like most of you on this site, we did our due diligence and sought out properties in the area that had high ratings, etc. All I can say is that the ratings are just about right on the money in every aspect. Here was our experience:

We went through Apple Vacations, which I can testify as being a very positive experience as well. We managed to book a non-stop flight out of St. Louis, and were at the hotel by 11:30am. A word to the wise, unless you like being shuttled to several properties on your way to the resort, book a private transfer. It's more of course, but it equates to the equivalent of a nice, unmarked taxi, with just those in your party as passengers.

Upon arrival at the property, we were greeted by the bellman, who produced two cold washcloths and a friendly 'Hola'! We were invited to visit the bar just inside (twist our arms, why don't ya!) while our room was being readied. We booked the ocean front (more on that later) room, so in-room check-in was made available to us. We did not actually check into the property in our room however, due to a locking problem on our door (remedied soon after). No problem...drinks in hand.

The first thought as you are driven to your room is 'holy cow...look at this place'. It's like paradise on earth...really. They keep the grounds looking impeccable, all without the staff looking obtusely conspicuous.

We arrived on a Saturday, and it was 85 degrees...perfecto! St. Louis was receiving an arctic blast that week, so we just made it.

There are butlers in the lobbies of each of the buildings. These staff members truly made the whole experience for us awesome, as they fulfilled every request set before them. Our building was 70, one of two ocean front suite buildings. Gaspar was our key butler and was tops. Gaspar was assisted by Hugo and Oscar. Every time you passed by them, they made eye contact, placed a big smile on their faces, folded their hands in front of them and kindly asked if the room is to our liking, and if there was anything they could do for us. It was like living in royalty!

We would HIGHLY recommend the ocean front suite instead of the standard ones, despite what you may have read regarding them all being nice. True, they are all nice, BUT the view...my goodness, the view. They simply cannot be compared. When they say 'ocean front' they mean it. You are ON the beach, with not more than about 50-70 yds to the ocean. We were on the third floor, which is the highest level.

Now the food. It was really good for the most part. The italian restaurant got a 'not so much' rating from my fiancé and I though. We didn't really enjoy anything there too much except the vino! The buffet by the sea is just fine for lunch, but we suggest the internal buffet for breakfast, as there are more options. Try the chicken fajitas in La Brisa ( by the ocean) for lunch. We ate that dish three days in a row! The kobe burger is bogus, and is like those patties that come in a bag only slightly more tender. The papas frites (french fries) were good though.

The best restaurants were the Japonese (Haiku) and the surf and turf (Toni's). I'm a sushi fan, but the sushi here is about what you would expect from an AI.

This resort has premium liquor selections included, so we of course took advantage of this. Bloody mary's taste a little better with Grey Goose in them, don't you think? We used room service all the time, and they usually came within the specified 30-40 minute window.

Practice some basic spanish (bathrooms, more beer please, please, thank you, etc) before you come here, as most of the staff speaks only limited English. Room service and housekeeping speak none, from our experience.

Tipping is included in the prices, but consider bringing a stack of singles (we brought $150 in singles and we had maybe $7 left over) to tip $1 per drink and $2 for butler favors, etc. The point is...these folks work their fingers to the bone and do a fantastic job. I would assume their share of the included tip money, paid in pesos by the property, is significantly less than a standard gratuity here in the states. Anyway, they remember you and will go the extra mile either way, I suppose it just made us feel better tipping even a little bit along the way.

One thing we would recommend is to have your currency converted prior to arriving at the property. Their exchange rate is a little less favorable here. And whatever you do, don't pay for things in Mexico with US dollars. The establishment will usually give you only 11pesos per dollar (vs 12 or 13 at a bank), making your money shrink before your eyes.

We visited the neighboring properties (Lindo, etc.) while we were there. The grounds were nice, but there was definitely a different vibe there...more hustle-bustle and kids everywhere. People were walking over on the beach to the Grand, sometimes with kids, although they weren't supposed to. They didn't interfere with anyone however. We were always glad to come back home after visiting those places.

We will give this place 5 stars for sure. Hopefully we will go back again sometime soon. This place is worth the extra jack, we guarantee it...and if at all possible, spring for the ocean front; you'll never regret it.


  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — We had to say goodbye : /
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids Michigan
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2008

This hotel is great! They go above and beyond to make sure that every detail is addressed, and that you are happy.
The beach is amazing, and the food wonderful. But as in most cases the people make the place.
The concierge's for each floor even think of things that you as a guest may not. And I don't think I heard one employee ever say the word 'no'.
You can find the perfect place within this hotel for activity, or peace and quiet. A great place to relax is the 'quiet' pool, that is huge with two big jacuzzis and just the right amount of people. And even though this pool was a little further from the main pool and bars the service for drinks was great!
Since this is an adults only resort it was great not to have children under foot.
This resort is part of a full, huge complex of resorts all operated by the Iberostar group, and if you can't find one of these resorts to fit your budget, or personality, you just haven't talked to the right travel agent.
There is even a shopping complex on the grounds of the resorts, but I would say you could probably find better deals off the resort, but at least there is some place to shop.
They have a great spa too!!

  • Liked — Service
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Family 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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