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“The Whole Truth about the Grand” 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
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“The Whole Truth about the Grand”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2009

Here's the real scoop on the Grand, good and average, but I hope none of it will deter you from staying there. I'm writing this as Trip Advisor was the basis for our own stay, and I wanted to be fair and balanced....you should also note that I am EXTREMELY picky and want high-end all the way;

a) Beach - lovely beach, yes it is a natural one so there are a few rocks. Expect a fair amount of red flag days, as that's just how the sea is on that side - the tides can be deadly. The Grand is part of a multi-complex of Iberostars, so if the beach is VERY important to you, just walk a few steps and the beach is much nicer. I hope you will not let a few criticisms of the beach deter you, it's still very beautiful. We also had food and drink service on the beach, so how can you possibly complain about that?! It was amazing!

b) Food - As vegetarians, my friend and I had no problem whatsoever finding meals that suit us. That includes the buffet. I don't understand some of the food criticisms posted, as there was SO much to choose from, as well as chefs to make almost anything you wanted on the spot. The Italian restaurant was our fav, the caprese salad and porcini mushroom risotto was excellent. The Japanese food was also very very good. It's obvious the Iberostar has invested in chefs to come and train their staff. The ONLY very small comment I will make, is that we lacked authentic mexican food, but to their credit, I believe they are trying to appeal to foreigners by giving us "western" foods. No problem - we took a day trip to Playa and ate authentic mexican that was delicious. I want to point out how immensely difficult it must be to maintain a 5-star standard while offering a buffet - I give them the benefit of the dout. Yes, some selections weren't as hot as I would have liked, so then I either asked for the chef to make me one, or waited until they put out a fresh platter. (usually within mins) If you've travelled a fair bit, as I have, you will not be disappointed with the food - I promise you! Oh and the liquor is top notch, all the way! All the super premium brands you want, but didn't expect to find.

c) Service - ok, I don't disagree with some of the comments, especially those directed to a certain someone who I will not name, although some have named him....however, if I can put some perspective on the situation; There are over 2 thousand employees at the Grand. Not every single one of them will show up every day in the best mood ever. (do you, at your job?) Yes, I had issues with 1 or 2 of the staff, but overall, they were incredibly kind, gracious and more than eager to help us out. If something was forgotten, a quick call to remind remedied the situation. Again, as someone who has travelled, I have experienced lousy service - but I dare say you will have alot more positives at the Grand than you ever will have with negatives. Not perfect, but very very close. As far as tipping goes - NOT ONCE did anyone expect a tip....ever.....but we did tip, often, knowing how much of a difference it can make for some of them. Also please don't forget that some people just like to complain and some are perhaps, not so kind to others. These people waited on me hand and foot for 7 days - with only 1 or 2 small blips, I say that is stellar. Compare that to any hotel in Mexico or all of the Caribbean and this one is STILL tops.

d) Pools - As someone who detests cold pools, I personally, did not find the pool that cold. In fact, we laid out on the loungers in the main salt-water infinity pool all week, with 1 day exception for the beach. The pool really shouldn't be any warmer, since you need to cool off from the hot sun. Within that main pool, are 4 hottubs, that you could warm up in as the sun set, which we adored! There is, however, a warmer tranquility pool, if that is what you're after, which is just as nice. Lastly, there is a super heated massage pool in the spa building which is absolutely stunning. We stumbled on the spa building by accident and stayed for hours! One note of interest; everyday, between 4-5, a beautiful cart was wheeled out for coffee and cake to residents by the pool/hottub. A very nice touch!

e) Rooms - Stunningly beautiful. That is not an understatement at all. Marble everywhere, I thought the venetian plaster in the bathroom was a faux finish, but it is not! It's real and gorgeous!
Enormous bathroom, with 2 sinks, large jacuzzi tub, good sized sitting room with lounger. The patios/balconies were over the top! Not satisfied with mere cedar decking, they are cut into mitre corners to mimic the old parisan parquet style. The hanging swings were awesome, the couch was an overstuffed, plush futon and the tables out there were also marble topped. Just a beautiful room! And the beds!!! Super duper comfy.

Wanted to comment on our FABULOUS butler (Rodolpho)and concierge (Angelica) whom we embarrassingly forgot to tip as we ended up drinking way too much by the pool, prior to leaving....we are going to return and will absolutely make it up to you! I know you read these Rodolpho, so I wanted to note that to you....promise!

Lastly, with all things considered, do not discount this hotel. I have stayed in a true 5-star before and it's very difficult to find that standard anywhere, let alone in Mexico. But this will not disappoint. It's not by accident that this is in TA's top 5 hotels in all of Mexico. I've stayed in a stunning Iberostar before, so I knew I would have issues anywhere else. Don't be nervous about selecting this one....it's as good as it gets in Mexico. Your biggest problem will be where to stay NEXT, as this one raises the bar.


A final note to fellow cat/dog lovers;
Someone posted a scathing review to avoid this place if you love animals. I cannot dispute what she said - the strays are everywhere and it's absolutely heartbreaking. (every resort on every island has them) However, it was very nice to see the cats being fed by the guests. I, too, participated, and it felt good to be able to help. I suspect the management also doesn't mind, as cats help to keep the inevitable rats at bay. (would you rather see cats or rats?!) The stray dogs at the beach were tough to take. I also fed them and hope you will consider the same.
I will say this - do not let any staff try to tell you not to feed them. The only incident I had, was with the aforementioned-nameless person, and I blasted him good. (incidentally, he was lovely about it on one day, then did a 180, turning into Mr. Hyde the next) I paid an awful lot of money for this week, and since I don't eat meat, I felt entitled to do what I wanted with my weekly allocation. If any Iberostar insists on a 'no feeding' rule, then I would like you to consider all my comments null and void and urge you to stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed February 2009, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2009

I wanted to write this review, since everybody’s reviews were so helpful to me in picking this hotel. We just got home a few days ago and this was our first trip out of the country, so we were very excited!
We just loved the Grand.
When we got to the hotel we got a refreshing cold towel and champagne.
They sat at the bar and we had an apple martini while we waited for just a short time while they got our room set up for us. We hadn’t even finished our drink and they were ready to whisk us away via golf cart over to our room.

And our room was the breathtaking! We were in building 70 on the third floor. Beautiful view and the best bed we’ve ever slept on in a hotel. And Victor our butler was fantastic. If we didn’t have something stocked in our bar that we wanted or wanted a larger bottle of what we had, he made sure we got it right away. We didn’t use the Butler service very much, but when we did they were all quick to help and very professional. Everybody at the Grand is very personable and friendly, always quick to say Hola and make you feel like part of the family.

The food was very good. And, as has been stated, the liquor was top shelf. We have never been at an All Inclusive so I cannot make a comparison. While some of the food was great. Some of it was just good. That may be more to do with preference more than anything else. We never had a problem with cold food. On one of our final nights there they had a Mexican Buffet theme and had a Mariachi Band play. It was the perfect touch.

We visited the outdoor pools only. It was too beautiful to be indoors! And the temperatures in those pools were just right! The staff was always quick to get you a drink and Fernando made the best Mai Tai’s!

The ocean is beautiful and the beach was wonderful. They clean and comb it out every night. But swimming in the ocean is a challenge at this time of year it seems. We walked right out of the hotel into the ocean without noticing the red flags warning us
to swim at your own risk! OOPS! I was only in an ocean once before this and it was calm. This was not! The water was warm, but the waves and the rocks did me in. I think you could watch your step if the waves aren’t too rough. But be careful. It is an ocean and oceans have sharp rocks in the water, something I hadn’t really thought about. So either wear good swimming footwear or just know that you might get tossed about a bit if you choose to go swimming (especially if the red flags are waving in the wind).

And just a note on how perfect the grounds are kept. Everything is so very clean and well maintained. The staff does an amazing job.

We had a bit of a mix-up at checkout, but in hindsight we thought we had talked to one of the butlers and I think it was instead of member of the staff (again we normally didn’t need the Butler service). But even with the mix-up they handled everything very smoothly.

We were so sad to leave. And the weather was so beautiful compared to the 17 degree weather we came back to in Wisconsin! I’m still trying to recover going from 86 degree weather to 17 degrees! Burrr!

We are already talking about returning someday soon. Our only problem now is how do you top the Grand? They spoiled us for other hotels!

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — Having to go home!
  • Stayed January 2009, 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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1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2009

My husband and I stayed at this resort for a week in december. I can say that this resort is so beautiful and incredibly clean, it seem like everywhere you turn someone was cleaning. The only thing i would have to complain about is the service!

Check In: it was quick and very organized. We were upgraded to an ocean front room which i was extremely happy about. Greeted with warm towels and champagne. After our luggage was taken by one of the bellboys, we were shown to our room (they drove us in a golf cart)

ROOM: amazing!!!! the view is just incredible...i cant express how great it was to be able to sit outside on the swing and just enjoy the sunshine and have an awesome view of the beautiful beach!!!

SERVICE:Our concierge Charlene was very helpful in helping us book reservations for dinner and offering suggestions. The only thing that i notice was that other couples were getting much better service than my husband and I, although we did tip. I really felt it was because we were a younger couple in our early 20's! I didnt feel i was getting the service i expected from reading all the great reviews at how the butlers were extremely helpful. We didnt even know the name of our butler. The other staff around the resort were great though, they were always friendly and willing to give directions if you got lost.

RESTAURANTS: The buffets were great, lots of selection and everything was very fresh! Our favorites rest. was the Japanese, Italian and Surf n Turf. One of the chefs, Olivia always came out of her way to speak to us, and ask how the food was etc....it was very nice of her!

ATMOSPHERE: Pretty good at most parts..very romantic and beautiful resort!! People are sort of stuck up! But, like i mentioned it was probably because we were a very young couple.

This vacation would of been perfect, if only the service was better!!!!!

  • Liked — OCEAN FRONT ROOM (the view), FOOOD, beach
  • Disliked — the service sometimes!!!
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Grand for our Honeymoon. We were there for a week in August. Yes... a very late review! But the memories are still very vivid in our hearts and minds.
Upon arrival we were greeted with a cool towel to freshen up, and a glass of champagne. We were then upgraded to an ocean front room. (we paid for a garden view) Needless to say we were ecstatic
We were whisked away via golf cart to our room. It was perfect. We were on the first floor and had an amazing view of the aqua view ocean.
The butler gave us the run down of the resort and then customized our mini bar to our likings and brought us our liter size bottles of booze!
We ate at all of the restaurants except the gourmet. We liked them all. Did the dinner buffet once, the specialty restaurants were so much better in our opinion.
We ordered breakfast room service as well as some midnight snacks. Room service was average. The pizza was our favorite.
We loved the breakfast buffet and the lunch buffet at Las Brias. The service there was great at all of the restaurants and buffets. My husband loved the steak fajitas.
Drinks were great, especially while floating around the pool.
My husband won a massage from one of the pool games, which was great. Wish it would have been longer!!
We were usually at the pool bar meeting the other honeymooners. We did use the indoor pool once, it was nice, we were the only ones in there! Didn't use the tranquility pool.
We walked to Maroma beach one afternoon, it was georgeous. That was the only thing we didn't like about the Grand, the beach. It would not defer us some visiting again since everything else was perfect.
Service was top notch, sometimes a few glitches due to the language but not a big deal, we were on vacation!
The bartenders were great, fun to talk to and get to know, the lobby bar tenders were the best.
We didn't see any shows so we can't comment on those. We wanted to golf, but it was so hot when we were there that we passed. Maybe on our next trip to the Grand!
We feel so lucky that we got to spend our first week of married life at such a special resort. We are dreaming of going back and it has only been 6 months.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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Ottawa Valley
1 review
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2009

January 24 - 31, 2009

Simply the Best... EVER!!!

It is difficult to know where to start but let's say I spent months researching the perfect resort for my husband's birthday. I wanted his first visit to Mexico to be amazing and ok, I'm a bit picky too. I've been to Cancun 4 or 5 times, stayed in different hotels. I've been to Jamaica (Sandals Dunns River) and Punta Cana as well (Bahai Principe).

This resort is above and beyond opulence.

BOOKING: I booked online with Transat. Flew from Ottawa to Cancun on WestJet (the least delightful part of our trip!) Our representative at the Gran was Isabelle who was courteous, brief and completely informative. We felt totally taken care by her. We booked parasailing one day and the wind and waves were too strong so she called us, told us it was cancelled, rebooked for another day for us and we didn't have to worry or lift a finger! We really felt like she was completely available for us at all times and that she would take care of anything that went array (and it didn't).

Luxuries were important this time around. I picked the Gran because of the photos and reviews here, thank you for taking the time to write them! The property is beyond words, it is truly paradise!!

As they say, you get what you pay for (perhaps). This time around, we spent top dollar and instead of booking last minute, I booked in September of last year to ensure we got exactly what we wanted.

CHECK IN: Check in was super quick with a cold towel and champagne (Mexican bubbly which actually wasn't too bad) and we were in our room less than 30 minutes after we arrived and we were hours early. Butler arrived immediately to check us in, answer any questions, give us a small tour via map and get us anything we needed, along with someone to fill the refrigerator. Minutes later a basket of fruit arrived with a welcome letter.

We stayed in building 71 (we had the choice of 70 or 71), 2nd floor corner room with a 180 degree view. We chose to be in that building because it was quieter, away from the activities and children playing. Sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening, all from our outside whirlpool on the balcony. (we had a second jacuzzi tub in the bathroom and the bathroom was huge).

This is the top of the line room at the Gran so what do I have to complain about? Nothing. Ok well, there was a lightbulb burned out for a day... did that ruin our trip, hardly! The room (which we nicknamed 'The House" was about 800 square feet. It was so large that we joked about "I'm going to the West Wing for a minute dear, can't hear you". It was so clean you could have eaten off the floor at any time of the day. Fresh towels always, turn down service, rose petals and swans, bathrobes and slippers, top line toiletries etc.etc.etc. Fully stocked mini bar from the minute we arrived and replenished each morning. What we asked for, we got, including full bottles of our favorite premium liquor. No musty smell ever and in the evening when we walked into our room there was the incredible smell of aromatherapy burning in an oil burner... ahhhhh.... (you can buy it in the spa shop).

Did we tip? Yes, we did because we believe that every single person from the bartenders to the housekeeping staff went above and beyond what we expected. We were always greeted with a smile. Did we try to speak a little Spanish? Yes, we did and we were told it was very much appreciated. Were we polite, courteous and patient? Absolutely. I really think that has a LOT to do with how you are treated. We smiled and we got even more smiles back. Primitive but effective but it seems some forget. Guess we were just happy and it showed.

I can honestly say we waited no longer than 3 minutes for a request from a drive, to anything we needed in our room, to a drink at any one of the bars.

Many times we felt like we were the only people in the hotel!!!! After a day on a practically deserted beach (which we loved) we found ourselves seeking some socialization so we headed to the bar pool. Tons of available chairs everywhere and it was never crowded. We had an absolute riot with people we met there (hi Larry & Debbie, Pete & Don)!!!!!!

Never had a problem getting fresh towels and never had to return them to our room.

Nothing in life is perfect and it disturbs me to see the small complaints that seemed to have ruined people's vacations... too much gourmet food??????? Did I read that correctly?

FOOD: If you are wanting to find a buffet like ... oh I dunno.... Denny's or the usual North American chinese assortment or something similar, don't expect it here. It's gourmet and delicious but you might not be used to that kind of food. Don't expect East Side Marios Italian or Taco Bell. At the buffet by the beach you could order off the menu and the food was definitely hot. One day for lunch Rob had lobster and a burger and fries. I had some amazing fajitas and some samplers from the buffett. It was soooo excellent we had to skip dinner that night!! That was the only day we did buffet as the other restaurants were fabulous. We ate more lobster than you can imagine. We easily got reservations every one of our 7 nights at the Gran. Sometimes the choices were limited (6:30 or 9:00 p.m.) so we worked our schedule (or lack thereof) around it.

JAPANESE: 10 out of 10 in my opinion. Try the deep fried bananas and ice cream with chocolate... oh my!!! White glove service and a very good wine list.

ITALIAN: We ate 5 courses and it was amazing. There were a few blips in service as it was the server's first night. She didn't know the menu and apologized for this so we couldn't ask her any questions, however, if it would have been THAT important we could have easily asked another server. 9 out of 10. White glove service and a very good wine list.

GOURMET: The lobster thermador was the best I've ever tasted, so good we had it twice that week. Everything we ate in this restaurant was superb. Once again we had a tiny problem with service in that we ordered wine, the waiter poured a test sip and left with the bottle and didn't return. He also didn't return to ask us how the food was. In my opinion, no biggie. In Rob's opinion LARGE mistake. He spoke to the manager who graciously accepted Rob's remarks and thanked him for telling him. He profusely apologized and was completely professional throughout the exchange. White glove service and a very good wine list. Food: 10 Service: 9

ENTERTAINMENT: Neither of us have really been into catching shows because we usually like to stroll around or eat dinner later in the evening. We caught one show and were addicted. We made a point to see at least every part of every show and we were very impressed. Our favs were the Big Band Show, Broadway, 70s disco (missed part of this because of late dinner but it rocked!).

Every time we ran into another person or couple, every single one of them said "oh my god, can you believe this place???". I heard not one single complaint and we did 'poll' people we met just to see how we differed in opinion and we did not.

One of the butlers told me that the resort relies heavily on comments posted here! That pleasantly surprised me for some reason. When I thanked everyone before leaving and told them what a wonderfful time we had, they asked a few times "please write it down", so here I am.

As far as the esthetics of the architecture, the grounds, the pools and miles of polished marble, the photos speak for themselves but do not do this heaven on earth proper justice... you simply have to see it to believe it.

EXCURSIONS: Snorkling at Puertos Morelos (as suggested by Transat). Very good but we felt a bit rushed. We snorkelled for a couple of hours (with a couple minutes break in between) and about 1/4 of the boat didn't go back in for the second session. I think we'll try another company next time, probably Maroma where we went parasailing.

SHOPPING: Playa del Carmen was only 15 minutes or so away so we took the shuttle. We loved it. Hit Senor Frogs when it rained and had a blast. Buy your souveniers, Tshirts, Tequila and gifts here at the Playa Mart (cross between Wal Mart and the dollar store).

To the management: the 3 letters we received thanking us for choosing the Gran, the birthday congrats to Rob and the thank you letter the day before departure was a VERY nice touch.

To everyone who served us and gave us the best holiday ever, thank you, we really did appreciate it! To our butlers..... I just wish I could have packed you.... THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!! MUCHOS GRACIAS AMIGOS!!!!!!!

ML & Rob from the Ottawa Valley
(who cannot wait to return!)

  • Liked — the view, service
  • Disliked — beach was rocky in front of building 71 but no biggie, just moved down
  • Stayed January 2009, 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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Pittsburgh, PA
1 review
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2009

We stayed at the resort from January 18th through January 24th.

The weather was fantastic, but the pools were too cold to swim in, except for the indoor pool at the spa which was great when the temperature started to fall outside.
I'll try to break this down in categories to make some sense of it.

The food was good, not great. We were not impressed with the gourmet restaurant, food was not warm, lobster thermidor was kind of congealed like it was sitting for awhile. This was a big disappointment after all the build up we read in reviews. Japanese and Surf and turf were OK, the best meal for us was the night we went to the Italian restaurant. The buffets were OK, but like any food, you start to get tired of it toward the end of your stay. Room service was great as well and was usually delivered within a 30 minute time frame.
We didn't try any restaurants at the other resorts we had privileges at as we were content at the Grand.
We did walk around all the resorts which made you glad you chose the Grand! Overall I think the food was good, but not a 5 star experience.


The resort is immaculate and they are always cleaning. The thing we found strange was that we felt we were vacationing in a ghost town! Most times you could leave your building (we were in oceanfront building 70) and walk to dinner and not pass anyone on the was. The buffets and restaurants were always empty and a good spot on the beach was easily had! Probably a sign of the economy, but if the resort was at 25% I'd be surprised. We did talk with some of the locals and a lot of the places have been laying off staff a month at a time. They call it a "vacation".
The suites are immaculate. The beds are the best I have ever had in a hotel. The oceanfront room on the ground floor are unbelievable! A back patio overlooking the beach with a swing and a couch! Very relaxing.
The beach is great and they are good at keeping folks that don't belong there off the Grand's beach. Everyday folks wandered up from on of the other Iberostar resorts and they were promptly sent back off the grounds.
There is a disco in the shopping plaza for all the resorts, but we went there during off hours to look at it and the smell of stale cigarettes was so strong we could not even walk in the door. If you are a non-smoker, the disco is probably not for you. The Grand's theater is nice, but we never made it to any of the nightly shows there.

Out first encounter was with a front desk staff person named Lorenzo who made us think like he upgraded us to an oceanfront and implied that we should be tipping him. Trouble is I had called the week prior and asked specifically for building 70 if it was available, when we came in they immediately put the 70 building number on our bags before Lorenzo even entered the picture. I guess you can't blame him as they are not paid much and if you can scam a few foreigners for some undeserved tips, it is a good day. Not a big deal, but it stuck with us a a low point for the resort.
Our butler Victor was great. I am sure with so few guests these guys have to cover a lot more territory than when the resort if full so he did a good job. We came back from shopping in Playa del Carmen one night and Victor was waiting in the hallway and told us to check the bathroom where he had a hot bubble bath waiting. He did a nice job and we wish him well! They also kept the mini bar stocked. We never even got to empty a bottle of Malibu and a new one was in our room waiting.
Another young lady Marianna was so nice. She was the hostess at almost every restaurant we went to at one time or another. I swear she must work 20 hours a day. She is an asset to the resort as she makes the guests feel special and is one of the few that speaks both English and Spanish fluently.
We did notice the Star Friends were working VERY HARD trying to engage the few people that were there in activities that they were sponsoring. We didn't join in, not for being antisocial, but more from just wanting to vegetate and relax on the beach.
The wait staff on the beach was great at well. There was one young man that did not have a name tag, but he was actually running to get everyone their order back quickly.
As I have read others say, I also watched and noticed quite a few ignorant people ordering the staff around and then not even offering a tip. Granted you bought an all inclusive vacation, but keep in mind if these folks are lucky they make $10 a day. Even a dollar tip goes a long way to help them make ends meet. I won't get on a soap box here, but these folks are not your personal servants, they are there to do a job. Any tip is always appreciated and not expected.

The trip to Playa del Carmen taught us to listen to the resort staff! The merchandise at the resort is cheaper than in Playa del Carmen buy as much as 40%! That plus the continued hawking and them calling you over, the best bet is to not make eye contact and if interested in something, be prepared to walk away if they don't meet your price.

We did the 2 hour quad trip with the scuba company on the resort. It was interesting, but the 'jungle" they take you to is actually the lot behind the resort golf course, but there were Mayan tunnels and an old altar along the route. If you do the quad rental, be sure not to touch any of the vegetation as some of the stuff can give you a nasty rash!

Overall, the Grand was a great resort and I recommend it for anyone that wants a kid free vacation. The guests were an eclectic mix of some business groups to quite a few retirees. If you want to whoop it up and have a lost week of partying, the Grand is not for you. If you want to relax in a laid back environment. Head to the Grand as quick as possible.

  • Liked — Staff
  • Disliked — Pool water temps
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Ottawa Valley
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2009

We have returned from a one-week all- inclusive trip to the Maya Riviera and stayed at the Iberostar Grand Paraisio January 17 – 24. It certainly is a beautiful complex and was a pleasure to be guests there. We booked through Sun Wing.

Unfortunately upon our arrival at 2:30 a.m. the morning of January 18 we approached the Front Desk, handed the desk clerk our Hotel Vouchers, only to be told we were not registered in the computer. We were the only two guests arriving by bus. There was a consultation with the second desk clerk and he was as puzzled as the first one was. After 45 minutes of scrambling a decision was finally made. We were assigned Room 7342. No effort was made by the front desk to upgrade the room to compensate for the embarrassment, inconvenience and delay to get a room. A bellhop was contacted and we were taken to our room. This situation certainly was not expected at a Five Star Resort!

On Sunday afternoon we met with our Sun Wing representative Nancy and she approached the Front Desk again on our behalf and the best she came back with was that there would be a formal apology from Management. That did not happen at all over the entire week.

While enroute the Sun Wing representative conducted a briefing in French that was a 10-minute talk; while we received an edited version in broken English that lasted all of 2 minutes. A bilingual passenger was kind enough to translate what he had stated in French; good thing for us!

We looked forward to taking advantage of room service during our holiday a relaxing breakfast in our room. Each morning the requested menu was not followed consequently, we were forced to head down to the morning buffet each day. One morning a box of cereal - no bowl to eat it from???? At a Five Star Resort we expected elite service not as described above which would be more indicative of a Three/Four Star complex.

As stated in Trip Advisor the food at the buffets was just as described by the majority of posts, which are too cold to eat and should have been hot. We took exception to the very pink turkey breast, running pink fluid, being served obviously undercooked! We didn’t eat many dishes, as we were concerned about the temperature and food poisoning. This was mentioned to the Chef and we were surprised that she agreed! We were told to ask the cooks to reheat foods under the heat lamps or wait for just made fresh. Quite surprising! We must say this was certainly not anticipated at a Five Star Resort!

This is an exceptionally exquisite resort and could definitely be a top rated establishment as past patrons suggest. It could well live up to a Five Star resort if the Iberostar Franchise would pay attention to Trip Advisor and make changes as suggested/recommended. It’s unfortunate, for the traveller, there is no recourse to take when a resort fails to meet your expectations or fails to “live up” to its description in the Sun Wing Travel Brochure.

We were impressed with the service provide by the Butler/Concierge desk. We had the whirlpool repaired, working bathroom scales and a hair dryer replaced/repaired immediately. The Chef, Olivia, was very personable and all the restaurant staff and bar/pool / staff did a wonderful job in the areas they were responsible for. These were definite reflections of a Five Star Resort!

Some might consider the above issues minor but when we are each paying approximately $2500cdn/week, we expected nothing but the best! The above stressors were not necessary at a Five Star Resort and could easily be remedied by management if they took the time and effort for address the issues. We did our due diligence and choose this property amongst many hoping to totally relax for a week and obviously this did not happen!

We hope you will make the changes as listed above and as repeated in the majority of Trip Advisor postings. By implementing the changes you may truly achieve a Five Star Resort rating.

The Paraiso, Sunwing & our travel agent have been notified regarding the above concerns.

  • Liked — The accomodations and grounds.
  • Disliked — Buffet foods need improvement.
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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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 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Business Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Luxury 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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