I told myself I would be brutally honest in writing my review so I will not leave out the bad parts, however, I must say up front that this hotel is the best and I can't wait to go back! Every time we climbed on a tour bus we listened to people from different hotels bemoan the fact that they didn't stay at Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. The place is magnificent!
I'll start with my complaints. Whatever you do, purchase your sunscreen at home or at the airport. My husband and I decided to carry on our bags and travel light since we had read the hotel had shops with sunscreen and other personal items for sale. So we were quite shocked and felt cheated and scammed when we waltzed into the hotel gift shop as soon as we arrived and were forced to pay $28 for a small bottle of sunscreen. This blew my mind.
We of course protested and were given every excuse as to why the hotel was forced to inflate the price so criminally. The guy behind the counter even argued the sunscreen had to be imported from Austrailia unitl my husband pointed out the label: Made in the USA. We grudgingly bought the bottle since our only other option was to pay $20 for a round trip for 2 to Playa Del Carmen in the hopes that someone might charge less than $8 for sunscreen. This experience was awful and really ruined my first day at the hotel. I still can't understand why a hotel who goes to such lengths to roll out the red carpet for its guests would risk its reputation over sunscreen, but the ordeal would soon fade away (along with my temper) as I got to know Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.
The grounds are enormous--lush, pristine, colorful and exotic. Everywhere you look there is something to feast your eyes on. Bubbling pools of aqua blue water swirl beneath your feet as you walk along wooden bridges. Fountains cascade and palms wave and bright flowers peak out from the landscape. There are two enormous pool areas that are so huge you feel alone as you swim along. You can swim through waterfalls to sit on stools at the bar, lay on tiled loungers sunk into the water, post up below bridges in the quiet shade, sit on tanning ledges to soak up the sunshine, or play one of the many sport games with the hotel employees who dance, jump, and inspire you to party-along.
And oh the beach! I had read others post on this site about the beach being rocky and less-than other beaches in the area. It wasn't until the last day when my husband and I took a long hour to stroll the length of the beach that we found a sliver of water with rocks on the bottom. I am in love with that beach. The sand was cool and velvet-soft and so clean and white. The water was clear and pristine without seaweed and jelly fish and it was wonderful to walk along or gaze upon from under the shade of palapa tops. We enjoyed dipping in the ocean to cool off and then sprawling across wicker beds to watch the sheer white curtains float in the breeze while listening to the rushing sounds of the sea.
The things that really made this resort stand out were the giant wave pool, the lazy river, the shopping mall, and the enormous selections of restaurants.
I'm not sure why I enjoyed the wave pool so much--bobbing up and down--but I felt like a child as I squealed with delight with every crest and fall of the wave. The lazy river was the ultimate relaxation experience. Many times my husband and I were all alone on the river dozing off and on as we held hands on the tubes. The river was surrounded in marvelous landscaping so it was spotted with sunlight and shaded by mangroves, palm trees, and oleanders. We floated past rock water falls and they splashed us awake when we were about to fall asleep.
The shopping mall was a delightful surprise. It was very large and the grounds were fabulous. A velvet and painted horse carousel spun at the entrance. The center of the mall was a beautiful iron gazebo surrounded by tables and chairs--the perfect spot for a mariachi band and dancing. We followed the shaded route around the central courtyard, walking over pools of water with bubbling fountains. We stopped for ice cream and if we were hungry there was a hamburger cafe. We stopped in several souvenir stores, a children's toy and candy store, a leather shop, many clothing stores, a sunglasses hut, a shoe shop, and sauntered past the spa and the Galaxy night club set up with giant star wars and space themed sculptures. We happened to talk to others who went to playa del carmen and despite our sunscreen fiasco we found out that the prices were on the mark with the prices downtown.
The food was fantastic. The selection was never ending. My favorite part of the hotel was the enormous dessert buffets. I was determined to try every single dessert and found it impossible even though every lunch and dinner was ended with a huge plate covered in six or eight little desserts which I nibbled on to taste. I loved the seared tuna and the cold soups--pineapple and avocado were my favorites. Above the pool was an ice cream bar and it served iced cappuccinos. The beach features several buffets with grilled foods and drink bars. I don't drink alcohol but even I enjoyed the free pina coladas (virgin, of course).
We ate at a different restaurant every night. My favorite by far was the Japanese restaurant. I really enjoyed the lobster at the Mexican and Seafood restaurants. The room service was limited by the option to order whatever you want, anytime, was nice.
Every night the hotel put on a big show under their outdoor theater. We only made it to one of them and it so happened to be the night they put on a show for the kids. We watched it anyway and I really had a blast. Every popular cartoon was represented: Lion King, the Little Mermaid, Incredibles, Scooby Doo, Jungle Book, Alladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Rio, Tarzan, Finding Nemo, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and more. They would play a bit of the movie while they did a quick scene change and then a cast of costumed characters would come out to put on a show and dance to the famous songs. Even as an adult I enjoyed it. Staff came around to serve drinks. It was nice.
I suppose my biggest complaint was that the hotel advertised jacuzzis. They certainly had many vigorously bubbling jacuzzis--they were just cold. One looked so inviting surrounded by a giant rock waterfall. But it too was cold. We called the lobby to see if they had any heated jacuzzis on the property and found out they only offered heated jacuzzis through the spa or in upgraded rooms that feature a corner bathtub on the balcony. We puzzled over this. Why advertise jacuzzis as part of the all-inclusive package if they are cold? It seems the cost to heat them would be minimal in comparison to the costs incurred everywhere else throughout the hotel. Certainly their goal is to bring people back. So why the cold jacuzzis? This is the only reason my husband insists we diligently shop around before booking our next stay at Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. If we can find an equally magnificent hotel with heated jacuzzis we just might make the switch. Might.
Anyway, the place was perfect. My only suggestions for the hotel would be not to risk your reputation on ripping people off who forgot to bring sunscreen, heat your jacuzzis or stop advertising them as part of the all-inclusive package, and a nook of hammocks in the shade of the beach would be divine (although the beds are a good option in their place).
Overall, this was a wonderful hotel. I didn't want to leave. I nearly cried when we had to climb on the bus to the airport. I'm already plotting my way back to Iberostar.
A note on tour recommendations: Skip Rio Secreto and spend the extra $25 a person to go to Xplor (your won't be sorry!), if you want to check out the ruins go to Coba since they still allow you to climb the pyramid (Chichen Itza no longer allows this) and if you are on vacation with younger children who won't enjoy zip lining in your lap go to Xcaret. Whatever you do, you will have a blast!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located directly on the beautiful beach of "Playa Paraiso" (Mexico). With the only wave pool on the Riviera Maya. 16 restaurants, 11 of them a-la-carte. 18-hole golf course and convention center. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Paraiso Lindo Hotel Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Hotel Paraiso Lindo
- Iberostar Paraiso Lindo Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico