My husband and I stayed at the Grand from 25th Aug - 1st Sept. We've travelled all over the world and stayed in many all-inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya over the last five years (12 in all) and this place tops the lot! Just to give you an idea of comparisons, we've stayed at Secrets Capri, Iberostar Maya and Royal Playa del Carmen amongst others. Arrived in hotel at 9.30am (early), to be greeted with the expected cold towel and either champagne or fruit drink - what the heck, champagne it is!)). They gave us a complimentary upgrade from standard room to oceanview room (we are 3rd time IB* clients and it was our wedding anniversary trip). Room 7434 was great with a nice distant view of the ocean and overlooking the quiet pool. I enquired about paying for ocean-front, but the building had been closed due to the expected hurricane and guests were only being moved back in on Sat. evening. I did go and see one that night (Sat) but had already unpacked and decided our allocated room was fine. They were allowing people to walk on the beach but not to sit - bulldozers, tractors, workers - all in the clean-up mode from the rain and sea-surge from the outer bands of Hurricane Dean. Seemingly, the pool had been full of sand, and closed for 3 days, but was open on Saturday. No structural damage that I could see, but foliage was destroyed - they replanted many things and cut down some palms trees (wind, sea-water and sand damage). They worked very hard at shifting and flattening the sand and clearing the seaweed (lots of it every day!); plus, the ocean was full of little bits of debris. By Wednesday it was much better and by Thursday we were able to sit on the beach and enter the ocean. The good news is, that there is now a sandy area right in front of the Grand between the two front buildings where you are able to enter the water - to the right of the rock outcrop - seems that natural sources due to the sea surge brought in sand and covered the rocks on the seabed. Drink service on the beach was frequent.
We are "beach" people, but have to say that because of the salt-water infinity pool, it was ok to sit by the pool the first 5 days - we had a cabana and loungers nearest the beach, still with the view of the ocean and were able to take walks along the beach - tho, it was roped off in front of the most northern hotel in the complex (much more sand and seaweed, but they were working on it). We found pool service more than adequate, but usually went ourselves to pick up drinks - met more people that way! Entertainment was a wee bit sporadic; they announced what would be taking place sometimes; other times....nada. I didn't find them pushy for you to take part; encouraging, yes....pushy, no. There was a printed list of all activities that are offered, with times and locations.
As other reviews have mentioned all dining choices, I just have to add that there was NO buffet during our stay (low occupancy) and also only three a la cartes - Italian and Surf & Turf every night, with the Gourmet and Japanese open on alternate nights. This was no hardship......The Las Brisas buffet for lunch was wonderful - what's not to like having grilled lobster overlooking the ocean in an air-conditioned building!))...plus the chefs will make anything you want if they have the ingredients - try the coconut shrimp and lobster fajitas (not on the menu). The all-inclusive wine list is quite extensive (ask for it.....sometimes they don't offer it, just ask red or white). There is a buffet for breakfast and also a menu (again they don't often offer it, ask...it has lobster bilinis!)) We found the food to be excellent for the most part.
All staff are friendly and can't do enough for you - some are more experienced than others!...so a couple of little glitches, but nothing major. We saw our "butler" after check-in; he explained about the hotel and asked for our "in room" drink choices, but we never used him after that - they seem to switch buildings and whichever one(s) are working are pleasant and always ask when passing if everything is ok etc. We made our own dinner reservations at the concierge desk in our building (two concierge desks) and had no problem getting the time and restaurant we wanted each evening (and usually didn't make up our minds till 6pm!).
The entertainment staff are friendly and do their best - however, guest participation in activities is quite low....... We attended 6 shows out of 7 nights there, and enjoyed them all. The theatre is very comfortable, with frequent wait service, plus popcorn and nuts are served along with the drinks. We frequented the lobby bar each evening and they have a piano player early and a saxophone player later (both excellent). Plus, after the show in the Music bar, they have Karaoke some nights. We also went to the Galaxy disco in the Commercial Centre a couple of nights - golf cart takes you and brings you back (one of the "Grand" perks!)).
The rooms are sumptous - the bed is the most comfortable I've ever slept on! Bathroom has two sinks, jacuzzi tub, shower and toilet and is spacious, with robes and slippers plus toiletries provided. There is a well-stocked mini bar and you can get most any other alcohol for it when you arrive via your butler. Rooms were made up most days by 1pm and then there was turn-down service every night - however, just be careful......the evening turn-down maids don't seem to pay any attention to the "do not disurb" sign on the door! We heard various complaints about them entering the room and we witnessed it ourselves......they still knock, despite the sign, and, if no reply...go in!! Could lead to some embarrasing moments (or a source of amusement!)))).
The hotel and grounds are spectacular and everything is super clean.....check out other guests photos.
We met some really fun, friendly people from honeymoon couples, to people our own age (50s) (you know who you are!))) and had a wonderful, fun week in the lap of luxury! Hopefully the prices don't sky-rocket when the occupancy rises and it'll be within our budget in the future!
I'm sure I've missed out some details; if you need any other info., please PM me as I've rambled on enough!))......Suffice to say, we LOVED it, hope to return and would recommend it to anyone.
- 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