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Reviewed December 4, 2011

We visited Paradisus La Perla in Play del Carmen the week of November 28th, 2011. This was just shortly after it had opened and as such it was not 100% open. The family side of the resort, La Esmeralda, was net yet open and several of the restaurants were not yet open. Despite this, we were amazed at how great this resort was and can’t wait to return when it is fully opened. This was our fourth time visiting Cancun/Mexican Riveria and our first time at a Paradisus resort. We have previously stayed at resorts by Excellence and Secrets.

Negative Reviews:
First I want to respond to some of the other negative reviews and give you my point of view. While no resort is perfect (I highlight the negatives I felt throughout my review below) I feel that some people expert perfection and over exaggerate problems they see.

Construction: Yes, there is construction going on. This resort had only be opened two weeks and the other side of the resort was still under construction and had not yet been opened. I am not sure what people expected going to a resort under these circumstances. We knew this going in and expected this. While occasionally we saw construction going on, the vast majority of it was in areas that were outside of where we were. This never bothered of affected us while at the pool, beach, dining, etc. (We never experienced any sort of power loss) The noise was not bothersome and I never noticed the dust that others complained about. I suspect that within a few months this will be a non-issue, but I would still visit even now considering the great discounts they are offering.

Mosquitoes:
I see this complaint with every beachfront ocean resort I have ever seen. This amazes me, as these people must live in an area that has no mosquitoes. We have been to many beachfront resorts throughout the world and I have yet to be to one that did not have any mosquitoes. Yes, we did see mosquitoes but they never bothered us while at the pool, beach, dining, relaxing in the evening outside or in our bedroom. They were never numerous enough to have to resort to using repellant.

Location:
The resort is right in the heart of Playa del Carmen. We took a private transfer via Lomas and it took about 45 minutes from the airport. They are still doing construction on the entrance streets and you have to wind through downtown Playa del Carmen to get to the resort. Obviously you will see some of the poorer sections of this small fishing village/tourist town, but we always felt safe on the resort. The location is also great if you want to go downtown during your visit for shopping or to the large selection of nightclubs, as these are only minutes away by taxi. The resort is made up of two resorts: La Perla which is adults only and La Esmeralda which is for families. They both are separate resorts that share the same restaurant, spa and lounge area in the middle. La Esmeralda was not yet open when we were there, but they were just finishing it up and it looked awesome for families. It offesr a large kids pool area with pirate ship and water play features. It was also nice to see that some restaurants were adults only and most of the others only allowed adults after 9pm… so if you stay at La Perla you will likely feel you are in an adults only area with its separate pools, etc.

The Beach:
The resort sits on one of the nicest beaches in Playa del Carmen. The sand is soft, clean white sand and the water is warm and clear. It is not a huge beach, but is still nice and I liked the fact that it was very private and not crowded as compared to the beaches on the main strip in Cancun. The resort sits back about 100 yards from the actual beach and you have to take a boardwalk type path to the beach through the mangroves. Since it was newly opened there was only one path from the resort to the beach, but they were working on two more so it should have several very easily accessible paths to the beach in a few weeks. At the beach they had life guards and several staff to help you get setup, bring you drinks and food, etc. They had nice loungers, umbrellas, small tables and plenty of towels available. They did not yet have any of the small thatched palapas/wooden umbrellas structures yet, but again it was just opened and these should be there in the future. This resort is not the ideal resort if the beach is the most important feature you are looking for. There are much nicer beaches at other resorts (Secrets Maroma Beach for example). The beach is small, separated from the resort by mangrove trees and did not offer any water sports when we were there. If you just want to be able to go to the beach for a little while to enjoy the ocean, but plan to spend the majority of your time around the pool then you will still like it as we did.

The Pools:
There are basically two large pools (a main pool and a private Royal Service pool) and then a long series of swim-up room pools in front of all of the ground floor rooms. Every ground floor room was a swim-up room that had a series of steps in to the pool and a tiled 2-person lounger built in the water (these were very cool and great for laying out in the sun). The pools have a lot of lounge chairs as well as thatched covered palapas with day beds. If you like hanging around the pool in a daybed, then this is the best resort as they have a ton of them here, more than we have ever seen at any other resort. The pools also have a small but nice swim-up bar and there are always plenty of staff walking around offering you food or drink. We found the pool areas at this resort had a focus on providing you with lots of areas to relax and feel some privacy while still enjoying the pool as compared to other resorts that have larger central pools with lots of people crowded around one spot. If you want the “party” type pool with a large swim-up bar and area to hang out with lots of people, then this is probably not the best for that. The pools here focus on lots of smaller private areas around the pool than just one big public area. One drawback is you can’t see the ocean from the pool areas like you can at other resorts. We really enjoyed the Royal Service pool. It was smaller, more private and had lots of tiled two-person lounge chairs built in the pool (I have never seen these at other resorts and they are awesome!). It also had its own pool bar. The Royal Service pool would be ideal if you were at the resort during a peak crowd time. We also really enjoyed the modern lounge style music playing throughout the pool area. This is the kind of music you would here at a Vegas style ultralounge. It was very upbeat yet relaxing.

Rooms:
We stayed in a Luxury Junior Suite Ocean View. First, all of the suites that are on the upper floors are “ocean view” and all of the ground floor suites are swim-out. Because of the resorts location you can’t see the ocean from the ground floor swim-out suites. So if you want a view of the ocean you will need to get an upper floor room. Most of the rooms sit pretty far back from the ocean so your “ocean view” is not great, especially if you are on the second floor. You really need a room on the 3rd or 4th floor if you want any sort of view. The only rooms that have a decent view are the ones in the two buildings that face the ocean and are closest to the ocean.

The rooms are exactly as pictured on the website. The have a very modern, chic upscale Vegas style feel. (Actually this is nicer than any room we have ever stayed at in Vegas) The bed is very comfortable, but the mattress is rather firm (hopefully this is the type you like). It has a nice flat screen TV with several US channels. It also has a cool button in the bathroom so you can hear the TV in the bathroom area. It has a great iPod/iPhone docking station with speakers that sounds great and is ideal for bringing you own music to listen to in the room. Our room had a coffee maker and a really cool espresso type maker that uses the individual pods. (like a Tassimo or Keurig type coffee maker). This was awesome and made great coffee every morning. There was a mini bar with some chips and M&Ms, as well as stocked with lots of bottled water, sodas and beer. There are two closets and plenty of drawers offerings lots of rooms for you clothes. I also liked the fact that the toilet was in its own separate area with a door at the very opposite end of the room (at the entrance)…giving you lots of privacy if this is important to you. The bathroom area has a huge, blue neon lit, 2 person tub, two sinks and lots of shelves to store your stuff. The only complaint here is that there is very little sink space to put your stuff on when getting ready. The shower is an awesome large two-person shower with each end having its own rain shower. The bathroom also has a great design where it has sliding walls which allow you to either close it off for complete privacy or open it up so you can enjoy the room/view from your tub. Our room had a large balcony with two chairs and a second outdoor 2 person Jacuzzi tub.

We had booked a “regular” Luxury Junior Suite Ocean View, which is there basic suite, but when we arrived we were offered to upgrade our room to a Royal Service room for a few hundred dollars more so we decided to upgrade to the Royal Service room. Online it was considerably more expensive to book the Royal Service rooms and thus we decided not to book it then, but likely since the resort was just opened and well below capacity, I think they gave us a very good deal to upgrade. There were a few of things that we really liked about the Royal Service. First, the Royal Service has the best views so if you want an ocean front view you should book this. The mini bar included a 375ml bottle of Tequila, Jack Daniels and Absolut Vodka. You have your own private check-in/out area which would be great if you were checking in during peak season. There is a really nice private lounge area were they offer drinks and awesome hors d'oeuvres through out the day. The Royal Service had its own pool area that was the nicest one. It was closest to the beach, had an infinity pool and a ton of those 2 person loungers built in the pool that we loved. The Royal Service also had it own open air restaurant called La Palapa. We really loved this place for breakfast and lunch. While all of the restaurants were awesome, I think this place would especially be a great treat if the resort was crowded as it would offer a nice place to eat and get away form the large crowds. The Royal Service also includes your own personal “butler”. Our butlers name was Edwin and he was awesome. He would check-in with you throughout the day and take care of any request: making reservations for dinner (again important if you were staying during peak bus season), getting you a newspaper, taking care of any problems, etc. The service here was just incredible. They were constantly looking to take care of any need you might have. I think the concept of “butler service” here is a little exaggerated and unnecessary, but the level of service is definitely the best we have every experienced. For example: One day there was no music playing around the Royal Service pool and they ended up bringing down and setting up one of the iPod/iPhone speaker docks so we could listen to our own music. In the end I don’t think we would pay substantially more for a Royal Service room, but if offered for a few hundred dollars more we would definitely do it again.

Wi-Fi
There is free internet access via Wi-Fi throughout the resort, but the coverage isn’t very good. We were not able to get it in our room nor could we get it around the Royal Service pool area (this should be fixed!). But we could get it in the Royal Service lounge area, around the main pool and around the hotel lobby and restaurants. The Royal Service lounge also offered computers with internet access.

Dining
This resort offer the best dining by far compared to all of the other all-inclusive resorts we have stayed at. The food is fantastic. We met Tomas, the Food and Beverage Director over all of the resorts, while there and you could really see that they are focused on offering high quality gourmet food at all of their restaurants. All of the restaurants have modest menus with a variety of unique vegetarian, meat and seafood items. Everything comes out fresh having just been made specifically for you… never do you feel like you are eating some sort of large scale institutional type of meal like at a typical hotel or cruise. Now this can be a draw back for some as they tend to appeal to “foody” type of people who like varied, different and gourmet style food. If you prefer just standard American cuisine on the lines of Applebees, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc then you will likely be disappointed. They do have great steaks, burgers with french fries, club sandwiches, pizza, chicken wings etc… but most of their offerings tend to be more gourmet than standard cuisine. Only half of the restaurants were open when we were there, but the rest were opening the week after we left. Here is where we ate:

La Palapa: This is the open air restaurant just for Royal Service guests. We ate here for breakfast and lunch several times. They had the most incredible croissants we have ever had. They also make a great burger.

Passions: A romantic restaurant with very unique, gourmet style food. We had wild boar, white bean and scallop soup, and a lobster ravioli to name a few. We also had a phenomenal bottle of Mexican Cab/Merlot wine called Unico. Iran, their wine sommelier, was great. If you like wine, ask for him as he can help give you background on a lot of unique wines and help you find a something new like he did for us.

Bana: We ate here two nights. They offer a variety of Asian food. One night we had their Tapenyaki style dinner where you sit around a central grill and the chef makes you meal in front of you (think Benihanas). The food and appetizers were great. The second time we ate at their sushi bar. You are probably thinking “sushi in Mexico?” but it was some of the best we have ever had anywhere. Their sushi chef lived in Japan for many years and is married to a Japanese woman. They raise their children only speaking Japanese when in their home… so this guy is the real deal. They only offered a modest selection of sushi rolls, but when we asked if he could make something different using octopus he said “no problem” and created one of the best sushi rolls we have ever had. They also have a fantastic spicy tuna roll that has jalapeño peppers… I couldn’t get enough of this and still am craving them as I type this.

The Grill: This is an open air restaurant offering steaks, pizza and seafood. The steaks were very good. I had their rib eye, that while thin, was large, tender and very flavorful. While not the best steak I have ever had, it was far better than any one I have had at any other all inclusive resorts… typically all-inclusive resorts tend to go cheap on the steaks. They also offered larger abd better cuts of steaks (cowboy bone-in ribeye, Porthouse, etc) that you could purchase for just a few dollars extra. Some people may complain feeling everything at an all-inclusive should be included… but if it was then you would not even have an option for these more expensive steaks. I would have paid the extra $ if I really wanted a larger and better steak and probably would of if we stayed longer, but I found their ribeye was great. The sides (we had mashed potatoes and corn) were “ok”, but they tasted as though they had been made much early and were not very hot when served. They also had a nice salad bar, but the selection was somewhat limited when compared to a typical salad bar in the US. Their pizzas were very good but expect more of a gourmet flat bread style and not a New York style pizza. We sat at an outside table, next to a fountain with the stars overhead… very romantic.

Hadar: We ate here for breakfast one day. They have a large breakfast buffet with all kinds of food. From Mexican, European and American style breakfast food. They have a custom omelet/egg station where they will make your eggs to order… I had probably the most perfectly cooked sunny side up eggs here I have ever had… they looked liked something from a cookbook. They also have a custom pancake/French toast station. I loved their link sausage as it had a slight Mexican style taste to it… almost like a chorizo style sausage. Again… they have the best croissants here I have ever had.

Nightlife
Being that the resort had just been opened a few weeks and didn’t have a lot of people staying there yet, the night life was somewhat limited… but promising. They had several shows while we were there that were very good. One night they had fire dancers that were way better than I expected… very cool show. They have several bars/lounges that are really nice… on the lines of a Vegas style ultralounge. The Gabi Club is a outdoor lounge with variety tables, chairs and daybeds set outdoors in the sand with very cool lighting. A great place to chill. The South Avenue Bar was open air and kind of in the middle of the resort. They had a DJ playing dance club style music at night and one night had professional dancers dancing. It has lots of tables and couches throughout. While they did have a DJ playing great music, they did not really have any designated place to dance… this would have been a great spot to dance if it was setup for it. The coolest bar was the Red Lounge. This really felt like a Vegas type nightclub. It had a very modern, chic décor with lots of little areas to hangout and a large red bar. They had a lot of very good unique drinks. The also had a great dance floor… the one problem was they didn’t have any dancing or DJ. It was setup with a DJ booth and you could see that this place was designed to be their nightclub for dancing and I suspect that once the resort is fully opened and starts to get crowded that this will be the place for dancing. At this point if you really want to go out clubbing/dancing your best bet would be to check out PlayaCrawl.com where you can get an escorted night out at all of the local nightclubs in Playa del Carmen. Hopefully in the near future you won’t need to leave the resort to dance.

Yhi Spa
The Yhi spa is a very nice modern spa. While a very nice spa, it is not as nice as ones we have found at other resorts. If one of the main focus’ of your vacation is the spa then I think I would stay at another resort that has a nicer spa (Excellence Playa Mujeres for example) It is offers a great full service salon for hair, makeup, manicure, pedicure, etc type services… great if you are planning to get married here. They also have really nice massage rooms… both for couples and individual massages. The massage rooms also have these really cool open air outside showers in each room. The men’s and women’s locker rooms are nice offering lockers, changing rooms, showers and steam and sauna rooms. The steam and sauna rooms are separate for men and women… nice if you want privacy, but not so nice if you want to enjoy them with your spouse, etc. We had a couples massage which was great… the best my wife said she had ever had. They also had a water circuit area, but it was very small, not a lot of features and was pretty cold when we were their… this was disappointing when compared to other spas we have been to that offered similar treatments. The biggest negative here was their prices. They were very expensive when compared to most others we had been to. For example, their standard deep tissue massage was almost $200 for 50 minutes. In our opinion their prices should have been about half for what they offered.

Overall Impression:
On a scale of 1-5, we would give this resort a 4.5, hoping that by the next time we come everything will be fully open and worthy of a 5. The negatives: ok beach, modest beach views, expensive spa, limited wi-fi, small bathroom sink areas, and no dancing yet in the Red Lounge. The positives: awesome rooms, fantastic food, great service, lots of great lounges, nice pool areas with lots of places to relax, and good entertainment. So far, this is our favorite resort in the Cancun/Riveria Maya area and we look forward to coming here again in the near future.

Room Tip: Get a room on either the 3rd or 4th floor for a decent ocean view. Best views are the Royal Service rooms.
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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48  Thank Maxp0wer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2011

A lot of construction, hotel was not ready, elevater was not working, enterances to the hotel was not finished,coupons for credits not possible to use ,spa very expensive ,you have to pay to enter the sauna very disappointment .A lot of mosqutoes in the room.In restaurants service -excellent but every day the same food .construction dust on stairs. I do not advise to go .

Room Tip: do not take swimout room/the mosquitos are everywhere
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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19  Thank taladentala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quality Manager B, Gerente at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2011

Dear Guest, thank you for your comments

Please accept our sincere apologies for the experience during your visit, know that your feedback is very important for us.
Although we are currently at finishing stage, we understand this minor additions might seem uncomfortable.
Please understand that it is our commitment to make everyday a unique experience.
Rest of assure that we are acting upon your feedback.

We hope to see you back again soon.

Alan Becerril
Quality Manager
alan.becerril@melia.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2011

We checked in on 30 November to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Having been to other Paradisius properties in the past we arrived with high expectations. Our experience so far has been been mixed.

Before I share the sources of disappointment I want to start with positives: 1) the architecture and design throughout this property is first rate; 2) the service given by staff in restaurants, bars, etc. is consistently very good to excellent.

Now for some of the bummers:
1. There is still a lot of construction happening here. Electricians, carpenters, landscapers, etc. are everywhere.

2. The entances to the property are far from finished. You'll basically enter via some dicey back streets of Playa del Carmen and then a construction entrance.

3. No wi-fi in the guest rooms. Crazy!

4. The $350 resort credit is actually a bunch of discount coupons like $40 off a $200 massage, $10 off a $100 bottle of wine, etc. I really felt we had been given a bait and switch on this deal. Super disappointment.

5. The restaurants and bars have wonderful atmosphere and really interesting theme menus but the food -- and many of the bar drinks -- are just bland. These places are meant to deliver a really memorable experience but they are struggling with execution. The service and presentation is excellent but the final products disappoint.

6. Upon arrival in our room we found the tables and floors to be heavy with construction dust. A shower drain was clogged. Later in the evening our electricity went out. For 30 minutes we had people walking in an out trying to restore power -- this was during a romantic evening with my wife. I called the front desk and asked for a new room but was told none were available - even though the hotel has very few guests. As I pushed for satisfaction - I insisted we be moved and upgraded to the Royal Service section. I was told that they were running a "business" and this would not be possible but perhaps tomorrow I coould be given an opportunity to upgrade at 50% discount. Despite my best effort we still have same room even though the occupany is very low.

We have 2 more nights here so I will submit an update at end of our trip.

Room Tip: Our ocean view rooms provides a view that is about 80% vacant land and Playa del Carmen neighborhoods and 20% ocean. At night you can hear dogs barking, guns being fired, etc. You might actually prefer an interior facing/ pool view room.
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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24  Thank AmarillioSlim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quality Manager B, Gerente at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2011

Dear guest,

Thank you for your feedback, and the details mentioned above.
Please know that we are currently working around the clock to refine the last details in our hotel.
Please accept our apologize for the inconvenience these might have caused you.
In addition we would like to clarify in regards to your comment that the sounds you heard were not gun shots, due to the festivities in town what you might have heard were fireworks.
Like many cultures around the world, there are religious celebrations and festivals that include firework shows, always in a controlled environment. The city of Playa del Carmen cherish these celebrations; although, this situation could be confusing to a traveler, it should be mentioned that these celebrations are outside the hotel and completely harmless to our guests and staff.
Please know that Playa del Carmen is one of the safest tourist destinations throughout Mexico, with beautiful people always welcoming of visitors.
Looking forward to welcome you back soon.


Alan Becerril
Quality Manager
alan.becerril@melia.com

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Reviewed December 1, 2011

My wife and I just spent Thanksgiving at this new resort and were very pleased we choose Paradisus La Perla. From the moment we arrived we were treated with A+ service. Our accommodations were beautiful (we selected a Jr. Swimup Suite). The room was very modern and mirrored the pictures posted on their website unlike many properties I've previously visited. The best inroom feature not posted on the website was the dual couples shower, it's always nice to not have to wait on the shower.

All the restaurants offered great decor and even better food. My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary and we received special surprises at every meal. The staff was top notch and were eager to cater to any and every request, but the pool staff was especially pleasant as this is where we spent the bulk of our time. They keep the drinks coming and offered a lot of insight about things to do while in Playa Del Carmen. Each day they offered classes from water aerobics to bartending; all of which my wife took full advantage of.

The only complaint I had was the sun played peek a boo the entire week and the brisk breeze made swimming more like participating in a polar bear club than taking a refreshing dip. When that's all you can complain about you can't put that on the hotel. I would definitely reccommend La Perla to anyone planning a trip to Playa. I will definitely be back; just in the summer months next time!!

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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10  Thank Wil P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2011

Paradisus La Perla is a brand new modern and sophisticated resort. My wife and I went on vacation there and we had a great time. Besides all the excellent infrastructure the hotel provides, the hospitality from the employees was something that stood out. It seemed like they would do everything they could to make us feel welcome. The beach there is absolutely amazing with its turquoise waters. There is a natural mangrove reserve in front of the beach so it feels like there is nature everywhere. Whenever we felt like we wanted to do something, there was beach volleyball, dancing lessons, tennis and other interesting attractions that happened every hour. The room is fashionably decorated and has a huge tub. Must say that was a pleasant plus. If I would have to point out something negative, I would have to say that I might have gained a couple of pounds, because the food was so good, that eating also became an event! Overall I strongly recommend it.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank crazytravellers123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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