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“Iberostar Beach - Honest review! Good/Bad - what you wanted to know...” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Iberostar Paraiso Beach

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Iberostar Paraiso Beach
Ranked #6 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Iberostar Beach - Honest review! Good/Bad - what you wanted to know...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2009

My wife and I just returned from our trip to the Iberostar Beach from Jan 16-Jan23 . I'll preface a few things to start for other first timers planning to go to this particular resort or Cancun / Riviera Maya area in general – namely starting at the Cancun airport upon arrival. BTW: I’m 32 and my wife is 29. We’re both relatively experienced travelers. We’re completely mobile; not picky eaters (she’s a vegetarian …I’m not); no children. This is our first all-inclusive trip. Overall, I would summarize us by saying that swank is good at times and never ever a priority but preferably being off the beaten path and at times even on it is usually better and more fun. Its all relative but we are overall not picky people. I will try to give as clear of a review as I can.

Others have written about this experience but nonetheless I think it is of value in repeating…If you’re arriving into the Cancun airport and onwards to your resort via a packaged tour operator you should typically have a bus transfer included (I’m from Toronto and booked via a web agent with Air Transat). Once you get through Mexican customs, pick up your bags and proceed towards the exit where the double doors open (there’s only one main exit as far as I saw) you will be encountered if not swarmed with literally a dozen or more folks in blue shirts who will ask you which resort you are with. They are deceptive in making you think they are legitimately there to help you along your way. They will then tell you to go to a counter number at which point they will start getting into a pitch of some sort. Luckily, having read other posts on Trip Advisor relating to this I knew better to proceed walking and just say ‘no thanks’ (I almost got trapped because once you exit these people are literally right in your face. I had to ask the lady 3 times who she works for before she said the ‘airport’ and I said ‘Yea, no thanks!” and she responded with ”You don’t need to be rude – go back to Canada!). These people are sharks! They pretend to help you but in fact are trying to sell you something (I believe I read it was timeshares or something). It doesn’t matter – the point is – IGNORE these people at all costs and proceed accordingly until you get outside (there’s only one main direction so you won’t get lost)…Once you get out you will be greeted by the actual employees or agents of the tour operators who are holding signs. They will ask you which resort you are going to and inform you of the proper bus number to hop on. Problem solved. On our way... The total length of the ride was about an hour from the airport to the Iberostar which included 3 other stops at other resorts to drop off other guests. No biggy - the ride goes by quickly with the anticipation of arrival!

Now on to the review of the Iberostar Paraiso Beach/Del Mar.

We arrived in late evening around 10:30pm or so…the lobby of the beach is beautiful. Upon check-in we were given a 3rd floor room in villa 33 with two double beds and when I requested for a king I was told there was no availability at the time and to check back in the morning. Having read the reviews I knew building 33 was in a decent location so I didn’t make any deal of it. The villa is essentially beside the pool area and about a 3 minute walk to the beach. However – by the next day we quickly found out that the resort was at 20% capacity so, if anyone out there can answer as to why the hotel won’t just give a room with a king please let me know. Bascially, the rates are the same so I’m not sure what the big deal is – I’m sure if I had asked in the morning we would have received a room with a king. Again, this is not a big deal but just a point/question worth making/posing. We kept the room we were originally given for the duration of our entire stay.

ROOMS: Space is not an issue for two people. As noted in other reviews, there’s a small TV along with a stocked mini-fridge. Ours contained about 6 bottles of water plus a 1 liter jug along with various sodas (Coke, Coke-light, Fresca, Cristal carbonated mineral water) and 5 beers – mostly Dos Equis. Pretty standard room equipment… one night table between both beds; a phone; a clock radio, a coffee maker with 2 mugs; an ice bucket; a small coffee table; a big chair; a bench, foot stool; a closet with plenty of shelving; an electronic self-programmable safe; about 10-12 hangers; ironing board; iron. No storage drawers; No true desk table. BATHROOM: a hairdryer – which I understand from other reviews where people have recommended bringing your own. If you have short-med length hair the dryer works fine it just takes a while because it isn’t super strong. A big shower/tub. Our shower was not very strong. Floors in both the room and bathroom are completed with marbled tiles. BALCONY: A nice spacious balcony opens up via floor to ceiling glass doors from the room. Our balcony overlooked the path were the trolley ran and we faced the Lindo villas. The balcony has a small table along with two plastic patio chairs. Being a corner unit we also had a little bit more of a view then the interior units. TOWEL ART: Everyone writes about this…What’s the big deal? - its’ not.

The only comment I have about the rooms overall is that the room looked tired. In my own experience/opinion, tired rooms always give off a feeling of not being completely clean. I’m not saying that our room wasn’t clean it was just an impression I felt given everything looked worn out just a tad. Case in point; our clock radio was pretty beat up; the beds are old spring beds that just aren’t the same as a “Hilton Suite Dreams” mattress per se – I didn’t need such a mattress but if the Iberostar is truly a 4.5 star resort then such things should be addressed. The décor looks in need of a complete refresh (think early 90’s vs. what you see now on all those home décor shows now – e.g. modern styling). The walls are in need of a fresh coat of paint, the mini-fridge looked like it was going to stop working; etc., etc. Some people may not care too much but you have to consider that you are staying here typically 5, 7 nights or longer and you are paying to be at a resort and not so much at just another hotel.

The villa we were in is about 7-10 minute leisure paced walk to the main lobby area. 3 minute walk to the beach area. Pretty much a leisure walk from the lobby of the resort to the beach is approx 15 minutes.

Overall: 2.5/ 5

HOUSEKEEPING: No issues. If you need anything e.g. more drinks, just leave them a note. I always left 20 Pesos each day for tip regardless….OH…and towel art – lovely ; )

Overall: 5.0 / 5

GROUNDS: I won’t get too lengthy into this because many other reviews have commented pretty accurately… The grounds of the Beach/Del Mar (And ‘Yes’ they are in essence mirror images of each other and everything from the restaurants, pool, beach, grounds are all communal areas. The only diff are two separate lobbies. Once you past the lobby area everything is shared. The grounds are immaculate. Various wildlife from flamingoes, parrots, peacocks, to other birds. It’s evident that the resort takes pride in the visual appearance of the external property.

Overall: 5.0 / 5

OTHER RESORT STAFF: No issues. Everyone greets you regardless of where you are on the resort or what their specific jobs are e.g. from gardeners, cleaners, general maintenance, etc., etc to those you would expect greetings from. Everyone is congenial and pleasant.

Star Friends: The resort has a group of employees called the “Star Friends” who coordinate all the daily activities around the resort from sports/fitness to other social programs such as dancing, karaoke, etc. They also put on the various evening entertainment at the dinner theatre.

Restaurant Staff: Great. Staff hustle even when its not busy.

The overall impression I got from the various staff at the resort is that they are all very hardworking folks. You will notice some staff such as restaurant staff working 12 hr shifts…you see them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner…you’ll notice others work late evenings only to see them first thing the next morning. Same goes with the Star Friends. These guys/gals give a dose of energy to all events each and everyday from morning to late night. I give them all thumbs up for this.

Bar Staff: Great. Makes anything and everything you ask.

Overall: 5.0 / 5

BEACH: More rocky at the Del Mar side than the Beach side. lots of space. I can see the beach could get overcrowded when the resort hits capacity. Again, we had the privilege of a 20% capacity crowd at the resort and the longest we ever waited for drinks at the beach bar was about a lineup of 5 people in front same with the snack station beside the beach bar. Fine when its not busy but could be a challenge with waiting when it is. The beach is nice and sandy and clean. Its not overly huge and not terribly small. There’s a beach volleyball court; a few beach message huts (have to pay $$); a few hammocks closer to the Del Mar side; there’s also a jet ski rental place which is part of the resort along with scuba diving.

Overall: 4.0 / 5


FOOD/DRINKS: What can be said about the food that hasn’t been said? “Yes”. The food is so-so.

I will start with the buffet

LA PLAZA: BREAKFAST– decent. I’m not sure who wants to eat steak at breakfast but there isn’t steak to be had. Breakfast is breakfast. Fresh squeezed/blended juices (do note: some taste from concentrate or commercial). You can get your cereal, oatmeal, eggs, regular breakfast stuff, fresh fruit etc., etc. They also have a small variety of other hot foods as well. For the most part, everything is pretty repetitive. The breakfast is fine. They make the pancakes, French toast, waffles - all fresh. Same goes with customized egg dishes. LUNCH – decent. Some standard items daily but they try to introduce some different items as well. DINNER – so-so. See lunch. Nothing fancy but in my opinion – breakfast and lunch are better. I would agree with others that the food is for the most part bland. Not overly appealing but there are eatable items to be had. Case in point - 4.5 star resorts should consider not serving sliced up wieners mixed with onions as a hot dish. You may notice that what is left over at lunch makes its way into the dinner menu in a different form and the same applies for dinner onto next morning’s breakfast selection. To put into perspective I would have expected that being in Mexico that salsa and guacamole would taste good but in actuality it was hit or miss. Salsa at times was simply tomato and onions and nothing else. Guacamole tasted like regular avocado. Tortilla chips were stale. How do you screw up salsa and guacamole? Overall consistency and quality definitely was lacking. Some good…some bad…some really bad. There was enough selection for vegetarians. Surprisingly, the desserts were good. Neither my wife nor I have a sweet tooth and we did not have desserts every day but we did sample them. The desserts are definitely better in taste and in quality then the actual main buffet food itself.

La Plaza Buffet Overall: 2.0 / 5

EL PUERTO – SNACK ONLY: This outdoor restaurant serves as the dinner steakhouse venue. During the day it is a buffet snack/lunch venue. Food is the exact same as what you would find at La Plaza Buffet with a smaller selection.

El Puerto snack buffet Overall: 1.0 / 5

A La Cartes: We dined at the Japanese (El Hashiru); Mexican (La Hacienda); and the Mediterranean (La Dorada)

EL HASHIRU (Japanese): I don’t agree with what others have written about the food being good at the Japanese restaurant. The seating arrangements in the restaurant is a communal table where about 20 people sit around the teppanyaki grill where a chef then prepares your food in front of you. To being, you are given a small plate of sushi to be shared between each couple along with your respective choice of a soup or another appetizer followed by your main entrée. Entrees are either cooked in front of you on the teppanyaki grill or made in the kitchen if you ordered a noodle dish. The sushi is not very good and in fact seems more likely that they are mass manufactured rather than made onsite by hand. Not tasty. Teppanyaki is a selection of beef, chicken, octopus, shrimp individually served with fried or steamed rice or all 4 items with fried or steamed rice plus stir fried veggies consisting of eggplant, mushrooms, and zucchini. You can also order a salmon fillet on its own with the other items again with fried or steamed rice. I had the 4 items with fried rice and my wife had a veggie stir-fry noodle from the kitchen. Certainly the teppanyaki food is fresh however it is nothing special. The meat is simply stir-fried on the flat top grill in front of you mixed with a bit of salt, pepper and soy-sauce (or teriyaki sauce). The chef puts on a little show all the while he is prepping your food. Don’t mistake showmanship for food quality. Again, it’s nothing special…you can essentially do the same in your own kitchen. It’s a meal with a show. My food was just as expected and eatable. Cooked meat with fried rice (stir fried plain white rice mixed with scrambled egg and some soy sauce). I tried a bit of the stir fried veggie noodles and that was not very good either. It was a thicker noodle similar to Japanese udon noodle. The noodle was overcooked and a bit mushy mixed with some carrots and broccoli. The sauce tasted like a plum sauce or something similar which was very very sweet again, making the overall dish not so good. Dessert was a buffet selection similar to what you would find in the regular buffet. We didn’t endulge in any of the desserts here. As soon as you finish your entrée you can leave.

El Hashiru Japanese restaurant Overall: 1.0 / 5


If you’ve read so far in my review you may be scared off by my assessment of the overall food. Again, this is my personal opinion and I’m sure others before and after will disagree with my comments. I prefaced my review by stating that both my wife and I are not picky people – and we are not. However, I want to be as brutally honest as possible regarding the food. We as with you who are reading this have or will be paying a decent amount of money to go and have a great time at a resort. You want to know everything you possibly can before making a final decision. I’m hoping my review will help you.

LA HACIENDA (Mexican): We didn’t have much expectation with the Mexican after eating the Japanese but I still figured that we’re in Mexico so they can’t really mess up Mexican dishes can they?! …Fortunately, no. The food I thought was actually pretty good here. You start with an appetizer buffet followed by choice of soup. Appetizer selection was fine…various items tasted good too. Same goes with the tortilla soup I had. Good. I’m happy. Entrée is a selection of various taco choices along with a veggie selection as well. Again, entrée as with the appetizers and the soup was quite good. Overall, good. No issues. Desserts – didn’t try. One point to mention, La Hacienda has probably the largest selection of tequila at the Beach. All brands - you name it you can drink it.

La Hacienda Overall: 4.0 / 5 (more like 3.5 but 4.0 is good)

LA DORADA (Mediterranean): Similar to the Mexican restaurant - you start with an appetizer buffet bar. Food here was ‘ok’. They had fried calamari which was tasty - however they don’t remove the ink pouch when they deep fry – which is not so good. Following your appetizers you’re also given a selection of a soup both of which are non-vegetarian selections so my wife didn’t up having this. I selected lobster bisque. The bisque was fine. My entrée selection was grilled sea bass with veggies on the side. My wife had a entrée of veggies – nothing out of the ordinary. The sea bass was not so good. Had a fishy taste and was most likely frozen fish more so than fresh. Desserts – similar to La Plaza – good.

La Dorada Overall: 3.0 / 5 (I would probably rate higher if my fish was actually good).

That about does it for the restaurants that we tried. We also did try out the creperie over at the shops. Crepe was good. Fresh made in front of you with choice of ice cream and /or fruit jam-like sauces.

I guess the key to the food (and this is common sense as well) …Fresh is best. If you stick with fresh fruits, or food they cook in front of you or the nice hot stuff you see that just came out on fresh platters then you will be fine. Stay away from the food that looks like it has been sitting for hours or yesterday’s leftovers.

DRINKS: I never asked for premium liquor. I know they have some. Mainly in the lobby bars. Everywhere else e.g. pool bar, beach bar, buffet bar, the liquor is not the premium kind. If you’re having mixed drinks its not that big of a deal and I never got sick and I did have my fair share. Also, “yes” it seems that daytime cocktails are not as strong as nighttime cocktails. Mainly drinks made by the pool area and beach area bars are not really that strong. The most potent drinks are those made in the lobby bar followed by the restaurants.

Overall drinks: 4.0 / 5

TIPPING: I know many are thinking that there's no need to tip at an all-inclusive. The employees certainly don't ever give the impression that they expect a tip but I tipped based on how I felt. I tipped 20 pesos daily for housekeeping. I tipped between 10-20 pesos at every meal and the 10 pesos for drinks (not all the time). I think I spent about $60 in tips over the course of entire 8 days 7 nights I was there.

RIDES INTO PLAYA DEL CARMEN: Everyone has written about taking the “Collectivos”. These are small little shuttles that run outside of the resort on the main highway. They do not drive into the resort to pick up/drop off. As noted by others the rate is 2 pesos. Another option to get into Playa Del Carmen is to get a ride on the Playa Express – which is also another type of mini-shuttle operating outside of the resort. The Playa Express stops exclusively in front of the Iberostar to pick-up/drop-off along with a 4 or 5 other resorts and only these resorts. The Playa Express is almost like a bus/taxi that runs from Playa Del Carmen (at its terminal) to Cancun picking up and dropping off locals along the way (with no real stop locations along the way. Basically, they will pickup/drop off wherever the passenger wants along the driver’s route). Again, as I said, they do only stop in front (outside along the highway) at 4-5 resorts with the Iberostar being one of them. You will see employees of the Iberostar taking the Playa Express. The cost from the Iberostar to Playa Del Carmen is 15 pesos per person and the ride is about 20-25 minutes. Get off at the terminal once in Playa Del Carmen (which is more like an empty lot big enough for 3 school buses) and walk 2 blocks and you’re on the main shopping strip (5th avenue). You won’t get lost…Just follow the hoards of other tourists walking around. The Playa Express terminal is diagonally across the Collectivo terminal. You can take either/or to get into the town vs. a taxi. Taxis are allowed onto the resort premises so you can always get a ride but again as others have said it costs about $20 USD vs. about $1 and change taking the Collectivo or Playa Express. The caveat for taking the Collectivo or the Playa Express to Playa Del Carmen is that you have to walk out of the actual resort premise and cross the highway. The highway is 3 or 4 lanes each way with a large grassy median between. Your life is in your hands here because you are literally crossing a highway with traffic speeds at 100km/hr (60 mph). I don’t recall people mentioning this in detail in other posts. Once you cross the highway just stand and wait at the side of the highway. There are no signs and you just pretty much wait. Either a Collectivo or a Playa Express shuttle will stop only if they have room in the vehicle otherwise they will just drive by. Both shuttles are identified as they are on the outside. You get on/off at the same place in Playa Del Carmen. Just let the driver know you want to be dropped off back at Iberostar and you’ll be fine.


RESORT OVERALL:

Overall, I believe the resort is more like a 3.5 star vs. the 4 star or 4.5 star the resort claims to be. The resort is beautifully manicured and aesthetically pleasing. The staff are great. The beach is nice. As I’ve pointed out, there are improvements that should be made. A refresh and refinement of the rooms and everything in them along with a drastic overhaul of the food would truly improve the resort overall. You will see the resort grounds with all of its amenities, flora and fauna and then quickly see that the internal accommodations and the cuisine are sub-par to the rest. If asked if I were to go back my answer is ‘perhaps’ but I would like to see what the Lindo/Maya or even the Grand have to offer. I would even like to see what other resorts at the same class level have to offer before a resounding ‘yes’ as a response. I would only say ‘yes’ if the items that I’ve pointed out can be improved. My review may sound negative but I want to point out that I thoroughly had a great time at the Iberostar and that I would recommend the resort to others but again highlighting the things as I’ve tried to best address. At the end of the day “To each their own”. I hope this review is helpful to you. Enjoy your trip!

  • Liked — Resort grounds are immaculate; staff are exemplary
  • Disliked — Food is not good; rooms are dated
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
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    • 4 of 5 bubbles
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    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
14 Thank Hogtown_Boy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 171 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2009

My husband and I stayed at Iberostar Paraiso Beach in early December. We have stayed at Iberostar Costa Dorado in Puerto Plata, D.R. and really liked this resort chain.
We weren't disappointed. We requested a room close to the beach and were given a free upgrade to an ocean view room in the building closest to the beach. The rooms aren't suites like some of the newer properties but are very clean and there were never any musty smells.
The beach is really pretty with soft sand but there are a few rocks and coral when you go out into the swimming area; so be careful not to hurt your feet or be safe and wear water shoes in the water.
There is a place that serves hot dogs, burgers, fries, nachos etc right on the beach if you don't want to go back to one of the restaurants for lunch. The drinks are fabulous at all the bars. There are 2 swim up bars; one on the Paraiso Beach Side and one on the Del Mar side. My fave drink of choice was the Mojito! The bartenders almost always had fresh mint stocked at the beach and swim up bars so I did not go thirsty! My hubby loved the CocoLoco drink; a bit like a pina colada but with chocolate.
Every day at 11:30 I did water aerobics in the pool; the instructor was FABULOUS. They played great upbeat dance tunes and really got you moving!
Our favorite ala carte restaurant by far was the Asian Tepanyaki grill; I highly recommend it. We also tried the Steakhouse which is also an outdoor lunch restaurant and bar during the day just a few steps off the beach. It was good but not as good as the Japanese. We also went to the Tropical restaurant on the Del Mar side; it was OK but no better than the buffets in my opinion. You are allowed 3 ala cartes for a week's stay; you can try to get reservations for more depending on availabilty but they were all too busy when we asked.
One of the real pearls of this resort is the nice shopping center just outside the main entrance of the lobby to your left heading towards the Lindo resort; you can get wonderful crepes and ice cream at the Creperie included in your AI package. Very tasty!! There is also a burger place and a taco place here you can try. We tried the burger place and had milkshakes to go with; they were so good!! I wanted to try the taco place but didn't get back before our week was up.
There are trains that will take you to and from the lobby, restaurant and beach but they don't run on a set schedule so are hit or miss. Often times it was faster just to walk; not bad if you are healthy but as my husband has had several back surgeries this was a bit painful for him.
The animation team (Star Friends) do a wonderful job organizing daily activities if you so choose to participate. My husband enjoyed archery and shooting guns each day; and we played and bocce ball, horseshoes and darts. There is a board by the towel huts that tell you what games are going on which days and times. At night at the theater they present the winners with a prize (an Iberostar Star Friends ball cap).
The nightly shows were fun to watch too; the dancers and singers were really good and it was a great way to relax and end the day.
The pools were pristine and beautiful but the water is very cool during the winter months so if the sun isn't out and the wind is blowing you might not want to jump in.
The best thing about this resort is really the way they preserve the natural beauty of the surroundings. There is lush foliage to see at every turn as well as wildlife such as parrots, flamingos and other wild birds, and those strange raccoon/anteater type creatures known as coatis.
The only excursion we did was right from the hotel; a 2 hour snorkel trip ($38 pp) to Playa Maroma. It was a bit of a disappointment because the water was quite choppy and it was cloudy and cool. We were told not to bring towels or any extra clothing so the ride back to the resort was really chilly for us.
There was some nice fish and coral to see but I've seen way better in Akumal MX and Cozumel without paying a 3rd party.
If you are willing to spend the money I think you'd be better off doing Xel Ha. Better yet; wait and go to Akumal Beach and snorkel with the sea turtles if you ever happen to go to that area for a vacation.
All in all, we were very pleased with this resort for the money we spent and highly recommend it to future travellers.

  • Liked — The natural beauty, birds and other wildlife
  • Disliked — a lot of walking and no set schedule for the trains
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
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    • 4 of 5 bubbles
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    • 3 of 5 bubbles
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12 Thank Starz331
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
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common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2009

My husband and I just got back from this resort and after reading some of the negative reviews I'm wondering what kind of palace these people live in to have such high standards of a well priced all inclusive resort. I obsessed over the reviews before I went and to be honest I was a little worried about what to expect but that quickly changed once i arrived.

Upon arrival when checking in, we were told we had been upgraded to a junior suite by the beach seeing how we were honeymooners...this was much appreciated as all we really expected was a fruit basket and bottle of wine, which we also had in our room waiting for us.

The room by the beach was beautiful....but had 2 double beds which we didn't really want considering it was our honeymoon. We called to the front desk and asked for a room with a king bed and they had one available but it was in building 41 closest to the lobby, I was apprehensive about being further from the beach but we took it anyway. The beds are firm but we slept great on them, however I would bring your own pillow as theirs are not the greatest.

Let me tell you being in the buildings closest to the lobby is not a bad thing...I actually preferred it. And whoever said it's a 20 minute walk to the beach must walk at the pace of a snail! At the most it's about a 6 minute walk (i timed it) and if you take the pathways that wind around the pool, it's shorter and you'll have beautiful scenery the entire way! We never once thought to take the trolley even the nights I wore heels, so that should tell you that the walking is not an issue unless your lazy or have a mobility issue.
Plus after eating so much at mealtimes, we welcomed the few minutes of exercise.

There were a few downfalls at the resort but nothing major. The 2nd room we moved to had a sewage smell that came from the toilet when it was flushed, it would only last a few minutes but was not pleasant. We never complained about it to the staff but i'm sure if we had we would have been moved to another room. It just didn't seem worth complaining over.

The food was typical all inclusive food. I'm the pickiest eater I know and was still able to find things to fill me up. My husband ate like a king and went back for seconds most nights. There were a few items they would put out that looked really gross but people were eating it so I guess it was just me being picky.

The ala cartes were ok as well, we ate at the mexican, japanese and steakhouse. The least favourite being the Mexican. It really bothered me to see people trying to get in without reservations and then getting mad at the hostess for not letting them in, if they were rude to you, you probably deserved it!

Drinks were so so. You had to ask for top shelf liquor or else they gave you the cheap kind and their frozen drinks tasted really artificial. I'm not a huge drinker but if i was I may have been very disappointed with their selection. However the mojito's were delicious!

Pool was gorgeous, cooler than the ocean but noone complained about it.
Beach was amazing....some said it was really rocky and i have no idea where that came from cause i only saw one patch of rocks that was visible through the water and you knew to stay away from it, other than that the bottom was sandy and clean. We had a red flag every day but to us it was fun to play in the waves....we spent almost 2 hrs in them one day! A boogie board would have made them even better.

Entertainment was average, some nights better than others and we found a few of their skits hilarious. Keep in mind some of the entertainers are there at 9am and don't leave til after the show around 11pm. Cut them some slack and realize that they probably aren't getting paid very well to do what they do.

The animals at the resort were fun to watch and gave the place a very serene atmosphere but I'm an animal lover so some people may not be so intrigued. There are cats that come into the buffets but they mind their own business and scour the floor looking for scraps that may fall, some people would feed them but the cats didn't beg or jump up.


We had terrible weather when we were there but despite that we were never bored, theres so much to do and see that even with bad weather we still had the most amazing time.

All I can say is go with an open mind, don't concern yourself with the negative reviews and you'll have a great vacation. The staff are friendly, always greeting you with a smile and a Hola!

Hope this review was helpful! =)

  • Liked — The immaculate grounds, the wildlife, pool, overall atmosphere and look of the resort, the friendliness
  • Disliked — the hard pillows, the cheap liquor
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank Lifes_a_beach03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South March
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2009

My wife and I have been going to the Iberostar Paraiso beach side of this resort for three years now, and are booked for a fourth with eight of our friends in 2009/feb. This resort has everything from great food,service,landscaping, activities, to the friendly Star friends. The rooms are clean and spacious, and the resort is huge. Pools are wonderful and clean. We have brought our two teenage children with us twice and they love it. They are really mad that this year we are going without them. Beach is long and there are very few rocks , not enough to worry about. The buffet is great and there is always an assortment of snacks.
A la Carte restaurants you should book right away as to get the best nights available. There are nightly shows at the theater, star friends doing musicals and plays, very light and entertaining.
All in all it is a great resort, and we recommend it to everyone

  • Liked — It was super clean and the service was excellent
  • Disliked — I liked everything
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Mattscape
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2009

My wife and are a mid-forties couple. This was our 5th time to the Riviera Maya at an Iberostar property and our 3rd time to Playa Paraiso in the last 7 years. We've always been partial to Iberostar and have stayed at the Beach/Del Mar, the Tucan/Quetzal and the Lindo hotels. Although the Lindo is our favourite - it's right next door to the Beach and Del Mar, it is more expensive. The Beach and Del Mar hotels offer excellent value for the price. This time, our experience at the Beach and Del Mar was not as good as our first time here was several years ago but in hindsight I think that is only because we have been spoiled with a stay at the Lindo. The Beach and Del Mar property is spotlessly clean with beautifully landscaped gardens. The buildings are colorful and the rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable. Buffet dining is above average, the food selection is varied with lots to choose from although the selections do not always change - they are somewhat repetitive as with any all-inclusive, particularly at breakfast and at the lunch buffets in the poolside palapas. A la carte dining is very good - on this trip we tried the Mexican, Japanese and Steakhouse restaurants and had delicious meals and excellent service at all three. The beach is lovely - very broad and deep. You can walk for miles, barefoot on the sand. At the resort beach there are plenty of lounge chairs - never a problem finding a vacant one and there are restrooms, a bar with self-service for water and soft drinks so you don't have to wait in line for the bartender, and a snack bar grill serving burgers, hot dogs, chicken, chicken wings, corn, sausage and a few other things daily until about 5PM. We spent no time at the pool but there appeared to be plenty of space there as well. The pool is fabulous and huge with a swim up bar and jacuzzis. The nightly entertainment ranges from silly to so-so to fabulous. We enjoyed the Magic Show - amazing!. The "Star Friends" activity staff work hard all day long to provide a wide range of pool and beach activities - volleyball, aerobics, yoga, and other games included. Each evening there is an awards ceremony for the daily tournament winners. Lobby bars are great and there are very good shops in both the Beach and Del Mar hotel lobbies - especially on the Del Mar side. The Playa Paraiso shopping centre is worth a visit - there are numerous shops offering a good mix of merchandise such as beach wear and T-shirts, mens and ladies fashions, shoes and boots, jewelry, cigars, tequila, and souvenirs, of course. There are a couple of places to eat there as well - a taco stand and a burger joint., both included in the all-inclusive package. Store prices are the same as in Playa del Carmen although in Playa there are more shops and more selection, of course. PDC is about a 20 minute taxi ride for 200 pesos or $20US. One taxi will take up to four passengers and you can get one right at the hotel entrance. I know you're waiting for the bad stuff - here it is, just because you won't believe that the place is so perfect... on a couple of days, the maid did not restock our mini-fridge with bottled water and we had to ask the front desk to have someone bring more. Pretty awful, huh? Sorry but that's the worst I can come up with. Truly, the place is that good. Service is terrific, food is great - just remember it's Mexico and don't go with expectations that everything is going to be like a 5-star hotel at home and you won't regret choosing this hotel. We won't hesitate to return but if we can afford it next time, we might splurge for the Lindo - it's just a bit more upscale. The Beach and Del Mar are outstanding for families - we don't have kids but we've heard that the kids club and activities program are terrific and we observed a lot of kids who looked like they were having a blast with the staff who run those programs. A final word - this resort is pretty big. Anyone with mobility challenges may find it difficult to get around, although there is an on-property shuttle to help with that and the shuttle service is excellent so there never seems to be a long wait. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any specific questions about this hotel that I can answer for you. I will also post a review on the Mayan Treasures cultural excursion to Coba.

  • Liked — Beautiful resort
  • Disliked — No comment - everything was great
  • Stayed January 2009
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Wutzit2U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 15, 2009

Let me preface my short review of the Beach by giving you a little background on my trip. I started with 5 nights at the Iberostar Paraiso Beach which included my sister's wedding. After the wedding we spent 2 days at the Grand Hotel Paraiso, then after my family left, my friend flew down for 5 nights including 2 hotels in Playa del Carmen: Hotel Playa del Karma and Hotel Cielo.

Pools and Beach: The pool was large and beautiful. It didn't look like finding a sun chair would have been a problem, probably because the water in the pool was ice cold during my stay. The beach itself was rather nice, somewhat crowded, but clean and large enough to accommodate the resort while at 50% capacity. It might be frightening to see this place at full capacity.

Food: Here is where my biggest complaints are. We were staying at this resort for 5 nights, so we were given only 2 nights reservations. This is a horrible policy, especially since our wedding with 55 guests brought in over $100,000 to this place. So we made our reservations for 2 nights, which seemed like a massive inconvenience for guest services. One night when we tried to walk in to a restaurant without a reservation we were turned away due to the restaurant being full. Let me tell you, the place was never more than half full, with plenty of unused tables. "No you cannot eat here, we are full" with a very rude tone and a dismissive attitude. The buffets were below average at best, even on New Years Eve for the Gala Buffet. Overall, the buffet food was frightening and screamed health hazard. The temperature inside the buffet would probably near 90 degrees F even when it was 70F outside in the evening. Horrible horrible buffet food for all meals. They wondered why we were begging to get into an ala carte restaurant. I can't put into words how disappointing the food was at this resort. We were paying $200 a night and consuming mostly stale chips and runny guacamole. If you are looking for good food, go on a cruise for half the price, or stay at the Grand Hotel for 50% more.

Service: Average to below average at best. For instance, we had a wedding on January 3rd at 4 pm. We had to pay for day passes for our guests that were not staying at the Iberostar. Those guests arrived to the Beach lobby at 2:30pm on the day of the wedding and had to fight with the staff to let them in utilizing the daypasses we had pre-arranged for them. "No you cannot come in to this resort." Our family that had to deal with this process were only minutes early to the wedding, having also to deal with a broken down golf cart--since the lobby is a 20 minute walk to the beach wedding site. The whole restaurant reservation service was also horrible. When we did manage to walk in to a restaurant with a reservation, we were treated very poorly and sat in a dark corner table. Only after I bribed our sour waiter did he begin to take notice of us. Absolutely horrible. Once again, go to the Grand Hotel or on any cruise for good service.

Rooms: Our room itself was fine had a nice view of gardens, and it was kept very clean and stocked with soda, beer, and water. There was hot water with plenty of pressure. The style was certainly outdated. The mattresses were atrocious. Get used to sleeping on lumpy rocks before you stay at the Beach. Also, our air conditioning refused to get to a comfortable sleeping temperature. So getting drunk before sleeping here is necessary. We were in building 41, which, being close to the lobby was convenient for the feeding frenzy at the buffet, but was a 20 minute walk from the beach, and a 10 minute walk from the pool. There was a trolley, but it wasn't worth the wait.

Overall, I would not recommend this hotel to anyone that has stayed at any true 4 star accommodation, or even 3 stars for that matter. The food and service were truly a huge weakness for this hotel. If you are seeking either of these, or a strong connection to the ocean, go on any cruise (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess) or stay at the Grand Hotel in the same complex, see review.

  • Liked — The lush grounds
  • Disliked — Service, Food, Mattress, Lack of Temperature control everywhere
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank constant_traveler87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bismarck, ND
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2009

My husband and I spent our honeymoon at the Iberostar resort from Dec. 31-Jan 5th. I would like to give you a complete review of the Iberostar Beach, but I am unable to do that because we were not allowed to stay there. Upon arrival at our hotel, we were "downgraded" to the del Mar because of overbooking at the Beach. There isn't a lot of difference between the two resorts (in fact everything is shared--beach, pool, restaurants, bars), but the rooms and hotels on the beach side are just a little bit nicer, and it was frustrating that we didn't get what we paid for. There wasn't anything we could do though.
That being said, our room at the del Mar was very clean, and it was kept clean throughout the week. We tipped the maid 2 dollars each day, and she restocked us with whatever we wanted in our fridge. Contrary to some other reviews, we had a great experience with the workers. They were very friendly and worked very hard to accomodate people. No one was rude to us at all. Hard to believe we stayed at the same place and at the same time as some of the other reviewers.
The others were correct on the food, however. It was average if not a little below. The chicken and nachos at the beach bar were pretty good, but the food at the buffets was just not very tasty. We still ate a lot because we paid for it, but I never felt very satisfied after eating there. We ate at 3 of the specialty restaurants. We slipped the hostess 5 bucks to get us in to the Mediterranean restaurant when we didn't have reservations, and we got in without any trouble. However, the food there was not good at all, and I would suggest not wasting your time there. We also ate at the Mexican--Ok, but not great, and the Japanese--by far the best meal on the resort--a must if you are staying there.
The beach area was crowded, but we never had trouble finding a chair--even if we went out there at noon. You may have to walk down the beach a little to find a spot, but we were there in high time and had no trouble. The beach was not very big--chairs took up a lot of the space, but the water was wonderful. There were a few rocks, but they were easy to avoid. Pool is a little cold, but we really didn't spend much time there...we enjoyed the beach better.
The drinks were not strong at all, so I stuck with Dos Equis (the beer on tap).
There were A LOT of families there, and we did not run into any other couple that was on their honeymoon. It is very family oriented, so if that is what you are looking for, this would be a great place for you. If this is your honeymoon, and you have already booked, don't worry, you will have a nice time, but if you haven't booked yet, I would suggest an adults only resort. If we had it to do again, that's what we would do.
If you do go to the Iberostar Beach, make sure you visit the Lomas travel people (take a left around the corner of the front desk) Ask for Diego (the best) Victor or Cesar. They took wonderful care of us, and booked a great excursion (Tulum Extreme-Tulum ruins, rappeling, zip-lining, and swimming in the cenote--underground cave--very cool) This excursion cost about $98, but it included a lot, and the chicken lunch at the end was exceptional. We only left the resort 2 other times, once for a few hours to Playa Del Carmen, and other for the Captain Hook trip in Cancun (if you get a chance, do this. It is a fun experience, and the Steak/Lobster dinner is delicious. A much needed break from the resort food.
My husband and I are middle class people (I'm a teacher and he works for the State of ND) but I have traveled a lot. This resort is OK and was very cost effective for us. If you want an inexpensive (for a Caribbean trip any way) vacation for your family, I think you would be happy here. If you want a romantic honeymoon, I would try somewhere else. I hope this helps.

  • Liked — Beach
  • Disliked — Food and lack of romantic atmosphere
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Frozenndgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Iberostar Paraiso Beach

Property: Iberostar Paraiso Beach
Address: Carrt. Chetumal - Pto. Juarez km. 309, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#6 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#7 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Iberostar Paraiso Beach 3.5*
Number of rooms: 424
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Directly on the beach of "Playa Paraiso." Imaginatively designed lake – pool. Convention centre. The holiday complex is perfectly integrated into the tropical landscape. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Paraiso Beach Hotel Playa Paraiso
Iberostar Playa Paraiso
Iberostar Hotel Paraiso Beach
Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar
Iberostar Paraiso Beach Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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