Paradisus La Perla is a resort with a lot of potential but the staff needs better training to stay competitive. We traveled to La Perla as a family of four with a room each for us and our adult children. I am basing my review in comparison to previous trips to Excellence Playa Mujeres and Riviera Cancun, Iberostar Grand and Royal Hideaway.
A week before our departure I emailed La Perla to let them know that we were return customers having been to Paradisus resorts in Cuba and Punta Cana. Some resorts will leave small return customer gifts or give a slightly upgraded room. We received an email indicating that our email was received but never heard back from the resort. It was important that we had two beds in the room for our kids as they are brother and sister. We also requested a top floor room for a quieter stay. When we arrived it was obvious that this request was not passed on as we were placed in first floor rooms and had to again ask for another bed in the second room.
One of our rooms was ready at check in but the second room was not. We were given the number but not the keys to the second room. There seems to have been a lot of confusion among the staff as to what room we were in and I do believe that our room was in fact ready the entire time. We went to the pool and finally got our key at about 4:30pm. The front desk service was always a bit shaky throughout our entire stay. They definitely need better training. For example we requested a blanket for the second bed on three different occasions and we never received one.
The rooms are very nice and very modern. The beds are extremely comfortable but the pillows could be a bit larger. It is important to note that there is not a clock in the room. Young people don't tend to wear watches anymore and without their cell phones they did not know the time. We requested clocks in the room and they were promptly brought but the master switch turns off all the electricity in the room so they always needed to be reset. The double shower was nice and we enjoyed the rain shower feature. The water pressure is low. We were happy that the bathroom provided privacy as some resorts have gone to the open concept bathroom. The La Perla room is flexible with doors to the bath that can be open or shut. The balcony was very basic with only two chairs and a small table. We missed the loungers found at the Grand and Excellence resorts. Our view was not great. We overlooked scrub land and could not sit out without the sound of barking dogs from the neighbourhood. I did ask to be moved to a pool view room but was told that there were none available. We laughed about this because the resort was very very quiet. We only had turn down service two of the six nights.
The pool at La Perla is very nice with lots of chairs. We never had a problem getting four seats together close to the pool after breakfast. There was some chair saving but the resort was quiet so it wasn't an issue. Service around the pool was good and the bartenders were good most of the time. A tip really helped to make sure you got a well mixed drink with the liquor of your choice. Music around the pool is loud but it did not bother us at all. Some of the cheesy remakes played in the morning were annoying. By lunch they play modern music that our kids found enjoyable. I was a bit surprised at the song choices and some were very inappropriate.
The beach is not great. The first problem is that the ocean is not visible from the resort unless you are in a high room. It is a fairly long walk to the beach and the boardwalk is HOT. You definitely need shoes. The chairs at the beach are comfortable and the beach service was decent. The water is much better in front of the sister resort so we spent our beach time there with the families. No one sat on the La Perla side as there are rocks and seaweed in the water. The ocean is clear and calm and a beautiful colour in front of the resort. We snorkeled but saw very few colourful fish. There are no washrooms or showers on the beach so it is a long walk when you need them.
Breakfast was a smallish buffet. The food was fine and what you would expect. It was not always easy to get a cup of coffee. Some days we did not get one until the end of our meal and twice we had to get up and ask for some. The need a better system. The other resorts we've been to were much better for breakfast.
We ate lunch half the time at The Grill and half at the Sunset Bar by the pool. The Grill has a salad bar and you can order from the menu with items such as pizza, pasta, fish, beef etc. We found it to be quite good but the menu is always the same. We would probably eat fish every day if we could but it was the same fish prepared the same way each day. Service was shaky here. The Sunset Bar had very good service but the menu is the typical hamburger, hot dog etc. A few days in to our vacation we discovered that burritos are also available but not on the menu. They also serve guacamole and chips and those are not on the menu either. The first day I made the mistake of ordering veggies and dip. They were very old and not edible. I was shocked that they served them.
Dinner is the best meal of the day at La Perla. Service at all but Bana is very very good. The food is well prepared and tastes fresh. The meals were the best of any all inclusive resort we have been to. The reservation system is not good. We had difficulty booking the restaurants we wanted at 7 or 8pm. You can make reservations three days in advance with the concierge. I believe that the level of room you have dictates the ability you will have to get a reservation easily. We got "not available" a lot. By the end of the week we just went to the restaurant of our choice. We got in easily and there was lots of space available. I cannot imagine what a hassle this process would be if the resort were even half full.
The bars do a good job for the most part and top shelf liquor is available. We enjoyed the Martini bar for a pre-dinner drink. Two members of our family also enjoyed tasting tequila at the Tequila bar with a very helpful manager assisting them. We were very impressed by the time he took to explain the differences. He would not accept an offered tip.
There are a number of entertainment options available at La Perla but we did not enjoy them very much. We went to a number of shows at nigh including the Rock Band and the Fire show but did not find them to be as good as other resorts. The activity staff was very good. They were friendly and outgoing but not intrusive. Many seemed to be enjoying volleyball and dance lessons. They have a pool party on Friday afternoon that my kids enjoyed.
We booked a hospitality room for the last afternoon shower as our pick up was not until 9pm. When we showed up at our 5pm booked time it was not available. I am not sure why not because we did watch them write it down. They sent us to a room to get cleaned up. Late checkout was not available as our rooms were booked. That is what we were told but once again the resort was very quiet. It felt like the front desk was trained to say no.
Overall La Perla is a good resort with great potential. If they can fix the reservation system and improve staff training I would consider a return visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla is a hotel catering to the discerning all-inclusive traveler. With 58 swim-up suites, opulent furnishings, and international cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs, this adults-only hotel is a crowd pleaser. Rooms feature special touches like deep soaker tubs and rainfall showers. Marble floors, flat-screen TVs, Minibar, in-room safe, free Wi-Fi, coffee maker, bathrobes and slippers, cable TV service and a DVD/CD player compliment the trendy interior design. Stay active with water sports like aqua aerobics, yoga, zumba and volleyball, or visit the spacious fitness facility. The Spa offers a wet and dry sauna($). Try a different menu every night with 14 restaurants. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Perla Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Perla Riviera Maya, Mexico