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“Iberostar~B+ Families with drunken teens~D-”

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IBEROSTAR Paraiso Del Mar
Ranked #8 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Wolcott, CT
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Iberostar~B+ Families with drunken teens~D-”
Reviewed April 14, 2010

Stayed at Del Mar 4/3-4/10 with hubby, daughter 16 and son 12. Here's my breakdown.
Stayed at Iberostar Punta Cana last spring break and loved it so decided to try another one this year. Love Mexico -so here we are.
-Resort~grounds well maintained, large resort and the walking around was a great way to get some exercise especially after a meal. It really wasn't that bad. Rooms were clean although somedays took a while for the maid to come by. Shows are night were actually good (better than Punta Cana)-these folks are not Broadway stars but really try and did well)
-Service~no problems we encountered. Everyone always had a pleaseant "hola" when passing by. Restaurant staff were right there to fill your glasses. Front desk no problem and bartenders always pleasant and really hustle (even when a group of drunken obnoxious teens were shouting for service-but I'll get to that)
-Food~not 5 star but good. Reviewers with neg feedback really had to be fussy to not find anything they liked. Buffet mostly same with a few changes daily. Tried the Italian (fair but my grandmother was from Italy so I have very high standards), Steak house (good, I had a great filet mignon, no complaints from family), and Japanese (good as well and entertaining)
-Beach/Pool~very nice. ocean water was rough all week (can't help that) but beach is beautiful. Pool was huge -main area was crazy crowded but pool was large enough to find a quiet spot if you didn't want to be around that. 3 swim up bars-the 2 in the main area we had a hard time getting to because the drunken teens were 5 deep yelling how they love alcohol. You had to play the towel game everyday before 6:30 in both areas to get a seat~ridiculous! And reviews are correct when they say people leave towels then come back midday or not at all with chairs going unused. So inconsiderate!
-Now for the drunken teens~Several large groups were there with high school (not college) teens and their parents. Since 18 is the drinking age many of them were legal but clearly some were not and still got served. We also saw some coloring their white wrist bands with markers. So first time drinking legally at an all-inclusive where they can get as much as they want anytime. Guess how that went?? Within 1st 2 hours of check in I heard a mother screaming for security because her daughter was so drunk and when we got to our room (building #17) a party was going on below us with breaking bottles and enough f-bombs to make a sailor blush. Have parents really lost that much control?? One morning on the beach a group of parents were laughing about the "drama" from the disco the night before when several of their kids were so drunk an emergency room visit was necessary and they were now "beyond" hungover. The good thing was this was a great example to my kids on how not to act when they get older. I'm not a party pooper by any means but the behavior was just rude and disrespectful. Parents should be ashamed for losing control of the situation. Heard many comment from other guests about this too.
-Overall a good vacation but if we return it may be a different time of year than spring break.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
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Thank cthockeymom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Detroit
1 review
Reviewed April 11, 2010

Everything was beautiful and well kept, except what mattered. Legions of workers were sculpting the grounds, scraping the sidewalks, and even the parking lots yet every morning when I went to play tennis, there were leaves over half of the court. (and the guy running the clinic was always 10 minutes late)
Public spaces are gorgeous, especially the bathrooms--just don't expect toilet paper. At the shopping center you can get food at a little taco place or a crepe place. These are nice breaks from the buffet. Just remember that their idea of a tortilla shell is about the size of a CD.
The restaurants are lovely, great attention to the physical space, but the food is barely edible. Breads are stale and hard at every meal and the coffee was not good in the morning. There is an espresso maker and you can beg the waiters to get you that, or a cappuccino--but they will not be happy about it. There was often nothing that I wanted to even try at the buffets. Many in our group kept trying to find SOMETHING to eat and would end up with a table full of partially consumed food. Often the fish was rare. Even the "specialty" restaurants were not good. We went to the Mediterranean restaurant with our group and had to order in advance. We chose the sea bass and nobody could take more than two bites--it was the worst food I have ever had in my life! We couldn't understand why they didn't just cut down the variety and do a few things well. At least I lost two pounds last week between the starvation and the walking! A couple of days there was a paella cookout on the beach--find out when that is and you will have a decent meal.
The resort is very spread out, you will do a lot of walking. If you have teenagers, it is difficult to keep up with them or find them. Our cell phones did not work there, although a few with international plans worked. We took walkie talkies to keep track of the kids.
Some of the parents on our trip had kids that were not quite 18 and they could not get a bracelet that allowed them to drink alcohol. There are ways of obtaining these bracelets but it may cost you $40-$100, depending on who you ask. The resort was really cracking down on this--there are serial numbers in each bracelet that they can match to a room. It seemed as though they were not pleased to have the spring break crowd and were trying to turn it into more of a family place so the security was constantly following the kids around looking for small infractions. That made it a little stressful. Also the towel situation--you have to use a towel card to obtain one and then return the towel to get the card back. Toward the end of the week people were stealing other people's towels so they would avoid the towel fee and get their towel card back. You then have to steal someone else's towel. It felt like Law of the Jungle--I would have preferred them to raise the cost of the room by $10 and not deal with the towel police. Also another tip: don't turn in your blue towel at the end of the day--keep it and go to the pool by 6:30 with it in hand to reserve yourself a seat at the pool. Later you can turn it in for a fresh one, but beware that all the poolside chairs were reserved by 7am.
Also beware the tipping--you will need to bring a lot of ones/fives. Bellmen tips are not included. The bartenders give you better service (and alcohol) if you tip them. The espresso man would even act like it wasn't killing him to help you. Generally the waiters and hostesses are pleasant and not may people tipped them. I only tipped if I felt someone was a lot better than expected. The housekeepers expect about 50 pesos a day.
If you take any excursions, they will tell you to be in the lobby early--mind you that the time they give you is usually when the tour people START picking people up at all the hotels. Our hotel was last on the list and often we waited around for a half hour. See if you can find out a clearer time frame, especially if you are waking small kids up early to go.
They offer massages on the beach which is nice. It was obvious that these ladies were not trained in the art of massage--it was as if they were just rubbing lotion on your body, which was pleasant anyway.
I thought the trip all in all was fun, except for the food. The place was clean and well maintained (buildings and grounds and beach) but I would only go back to one of their higher end hotels, where I hear the food is not horrid.

  • Stayed April 2010
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Helpful?
Thank DetroitPersnickity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2010

This was our first visit to the Mayan Riviera and although we were pleased with the Paraiso del Mar, we would probably try an alternative next time. My husband and I travelled with our 17 month old son - the flight with Sunwing was as expected and the transfer was with Signature and was just a 30 minute drive. As has been mentioned in other reviews, you are regularly reminded to tip! The hotel grounds are absolutely beautiful and whilst checking in you are given a warm towel and refreshing drink which was much needed. The humidity when we arrived was extremely high. The lobby is gorgeous surrounded by water with flamingoes, swans etc. We were taken by golf cart to our room 1709 which was located on the ground floor midway between the lobby and the pool. Note that if you have a room with a king size bed, then you only get a shower. Rooms with a bath have two queen beds. The room was cleaned daily and fun towel arrangements left, but there was one day when we came back to the room at 4.30 and it hadn't been cleaned. The maid did knock on the door around 5.15pm to see if she could do it then which we declined.

The dining experience in our opinion wasn't great. Being from Europe we are used to a better standard, so don't come with high expectations! However, we didn't starve and you can usually find something thats not too bad. Our three 'a la carte' meals were the Brazilian (don't bother - it was a joke), the Mediterranean which was ok and the Japanese which again was ok. If I'd eaten in any of these places back home I'd probably be writing a scathing review, but they were better than eating at the general buffet at the hotel.

The pool was lovely and we stayed at the quieter end by the waterfall. At the beginning of the week we had no trouble getting a seat by the pool or on the beach, but towards the end of the stay it was so packed that all seats were reserved by 7am!! One day we went to the beach at 8.30am and there wasn't a single seat available. As we have a young child, we needed seats with shade so we removed some towels from two of the loungers - as the signs say, the seats cannot be reserved. Interestingly it was 11am when the 'original occupants' turned up to claim their seats. Needless to say, we stayed where we were! The staff members patrolling the beach do nothing about this situation apart from walking you up and down as if a seat will magically appear! Its very frustrating and really does ruin what should be a relaxing time. With the hotel at full capacity there is definitely not enough seating to go round.

One other point I'd like to mention about the pool. Although in most areas it is only waist deep, near to the swim up bar at the waterfall end, it does get a lot deeper. I got some drinks at the bar , got off the seat and turned around to get to the steps in order to get out and carry the drinks, but the drop off is very sudden and I found myself underwater! I dropped the drinks and ruined the camera in the process. We did make a complaint to Ivan in the PR department, suggesting they put a sign up, but I'm sure as you've read before he's not overly helpful.

Someone else has mentioned the noise level which we would agree with. The theatre is extremely loud with the bass turned up far too much, and the pool area is very noisy with lots of activities going on - music, microphones etc which is why we stayed in the quieter end of the pool.

The service is pretty good overall.. One evening however, when we went to the buffet, they were carrying out a survey and we were given comment cards to fill in. A representative from the Star Friends was visiting each table to encourage us to attend the shows in the evening, take part in the activities etc and although I said we weren't interested due to have a young baby, she still suggested that I write positive comments on the card. Then as I was completing the card, two of the waiters were looking over my shoulder and questioning why I hadn't give them an 'excellent' score for service. It really was quite unbelievable!

My husband took the ATV tour one morning which he really enjoyed especially as there was only him and the two tour guides! I had a massage on the beach which I enjoyed although it was pretty expensive at $78 for 30 mins. The only time we left the resort was to go to Playa del Carmen and we wish we hadn't bothered. The line up for the shuttle was extremely long and I believe some people were turned away. It was a very hot day and it was very busy - if you want to shop then its the place for you, but its much like any other tourist trap with a lot of overpriced rubbish for sale.

We didn't take our son to the Kids Club as he's too young, but I did notice at lunchtimes that only one girl was looking after around 8-10 children on her own. She was asking each of them their age and the ones who were aged 8 and above were allowed to go and get their own meals while she went in a different direction with the younger ones. Now I may be an over protective parent, but I'd want someone to be looking after my child ALL the time.

All in all though, a very pleasant holiday which we really enjoyed and for the price, I would recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Littleloobster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
2 reviews
Reviewed April 3, 2010

It is a really good place. There are a lot of pools, and really good food. I had a really good time there. My friend also loved it. It also has a nice beach and if you walk a while down the beach, there are tide pools you can explore. The resort also has a show, like nightly entertainment. I LOVE Iberostar!

  • Stayed August 2009
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Helpful?
Thank Lostface
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PA
1 review
Reviewed April 1, 2010

We stayed at the del Mar/Beach. The hotel is advertised as a 4 dimond/star but the rooms and food bring this resort down to a 3 dimond/star. No way is it a 4 dimond/star. Rooms are dated and feel dirty. They serve the same buffet all the time with a couple exceptions and the lunch and dinner are the same. You can only eat at the specialty restraurants 2-3 depending on your legnth of stay, if you can get reservations!!! They only book the specialty restrurants 50-75% to save money. And have an excuss as to why their half full and can't seat you! If you want to eat at a specialty restruarant in the Lindo, Maya, or Grand they charge $20-$30 per person extra if staying at del mar/Beach. Also, we were told it was all-inclusive and could eat at any Iberostar resorts. Not true, we tried eating at Lindo and were chased away and told that the del mar/beach was the economy resorts. Lindo, Maya, and Grand can eat anywhere, but not del mar/beach. I blame CheapCaribean for that since they told use all the Iberostars were the same except Grand which didn't allow kids. Also, ran into problems getting chairs at the pool and beach since people put towels, books, shoes, etc on them to reserve at 6AM and don't show up until the afternoon in some cases. The resort seems to allow it or at least doesn't discourage it. Good points: well kept grounds and landscaping, safe for kids, games for younger kids, staff is GREAT!! (very friendly and attentive), and water/beach is beautiful and replentished with sand. I will not stay at and Iberostar again. Don't think they are up to American standards.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank AvalonJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queens, NYC
Level 6 Contributor
65 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2010

Traveled March 25-29 2010. (NYC, USA)

I just got back from Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar, and my fiance and I (ages 25 & 27) had a GREAT TIME. Our goal was to find a nice resort to enjoy the pool and beach, and that is exactly what we found.

BEACH:
The beach is pretty big, and connects with the Iberostar Beach resort. We often went to the beach in the afternoon, appx 3pm, and always found a chair. We did have to look hard some days, and even drag them across the sand for few hundred feet, but bottom line is we got chairs.

POOL:
A huge pool that stretches across the whole complex. There is a quiet side and a side that has the activities. Both were good, although the quite side had an older crowd (both had bars in the pool). Same thing with the chairs. As it got crowded, we always ended up finding some chairs.

DRINKS:
Top Shelf available, just ask for it by name. We tipped appx $1 per drink.

FOOD:
All of the food was pretty decent. We dined at the Japanese Restaurant one night (Hibatchi Style), which felt like an actual restaurant, not an extension of the resort. Being from NYC, we have high standards for restaurants, so, a decent rating for New Yorkers will probably be a very good rating for most.

EXCURSIONS:
We did not want to waste a whole day away from the beach/pool/sun, so we booked a trip to TULUM Mayan Ruins (appx 1 hr away). It was $65 via Apple Vacations (located in lobby). Mini Bus with good A/C picked us up at 7:45am and returned us at 2pm. Tour guide was great, and we also got to use the beach at Tulum, which was VERY NICE. HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you don't want to waste a whole day. The other Mayan Ruins is a 3 hr drive.

ROOMS:
The rooms were big, clean, roomy. We had SAT tv, soft king size bed, couch, table, patio and a nice big bathroom. No mildew smell that most resorts have.

WE WOULD DEFINITELY COME BACK AGAIN>

ps. the resort is pretty big, so you have to be able to walk.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank prezzgreg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland OR
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2010

We started going to the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar a long time ago when my daughter was quite young, and we loved it immensely for its wonderful Kids' Club, absolutely gorgeous grounds, courteous staff, relatively good food (for an all-inclusive buffet), and the fabulous swimming pool(s). We haven't been able to go for the past three years because of finances, but we just returned from a week's stay.

I noticed a few subtle changes, such as removing the eye candy floral arrangements that used to be prominently displayed in the lobby and the restaurant entrances and charging for the shuttle van into Playa del Carmen (presumably cost-cutting measures that management believes new guests would not notice). Bigger changes include that since we first started going there, the resort has nearly quadrupled in size, including a small shopping center, which has dramatically changed the ambience. The expansion is beautifully done, i.e., well-landscaped, etc., but being so much bigger changes things in a major way. For example, the beach is much more crowded with 4 times as many people stretched hundreds of yards to the south to accommodated the new resorts. It is more like a town now than just a resort. A pretty town, but still, a town.

We visited the new Iberostar resorts and have no interest in staying in any of them. It's as though Iberostar tried to out-do itself with each successive construction project. But we are quite happy with the looks and the facilities at Paraiso del Mar.

However, I must comment on the noise level. That is, the music. It's everywhere now, and it's really, really loud and really, really obnoxious.

The pool activities area has always been lively, but they didn't used to blast throbbing, thumping, pounding bass rhythm non-stop, which they do now. Actually, early mornings are relatively quiet, but for most of the day, the piped-in music is nerve-wracking. It would be fine if they confined it to the couple of hours of the fun, rowdy pool games, etc., But they don't.

And there is piped in music of some kind in nearly every nook and cranny, including the dining rooms, the lobby, the gift shops and now, worst of all, even at the beach. Every time I went into the gift shop, it was blasting a local radio station that sent me scurrying out, unable to browse through the gifts and books. The breakfast/dinner buffet room is adjacent to the auditorium, and the pounding bass rhythm in the auditorium begins long before the show. We started going to dinner as early as possible just to avoid it. The beach bars have piped-in noise, and the only way to get away from it is to sit close to the waves. Luckily, we had big waves while we were there this time, and they at least could drown out the artificial noise.

There is a lovely "quiet area" that normally is actually quiet. However, it now is invaded by two sound sources: (1) the activities pool at the new Lindo when the activities staff is screaming into the microphone, and (2) the auditorium when the performers are rehearsing for the evening entertainment, at full blast. Very disappointing.

And the entertainment itself is presented at atomic blast volume, both the music and the spoken commentary. It is incomprehensible to me why anything has to be this loud.

I talked to one staff person who said they get complaints every day from many guests about the noise, but management just ignores the complaints. They apparently have a "music consultant" who has told them to play loud music everyplace all the time. This staff person said the music consultant advises hotels throughout Latin America (well, maybe at least the Mayan Riviera---I don't know) and wants to have a "uniform" sound for tourists. Aaarrrgh! All I can say is, this is really, really bad advice, and the resorts should fire this person and listen to their guests.

I know noise pollution is everyplace, and Americans are among the worse (shopping malls, stores, restaurants, dentist offices!). But one thing about a vacation is to GET AWAY from annoyances at home. Much as we love Iberostar for many reasons, I really wish I could have gotten away from the noise and been able to enjoy the more natural sounds of paradise---water, birds, regular conversation between guests, or some very low, soft music if people really can't stand quiet.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank MsMacPortlandOR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about IBEROSTAR Paraiso Del Mar

Property: IBEROSTAR Paraiso Del Mar
Address: Carretera Chetumal - P. Juarez, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#6 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#7 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#8 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — IBEROSTAR Paraiso Del Mar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 388
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Directly on the beach of "Playa Paraíso" (Mexico). High standard of comfort. Wide gastronomic variety. 18-hole golf course. PAD/SSI – diving school, massage at the beach and the pool. Spa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar Hotel Playa Paraiso
Iberostar Playa Paraiso
Iberostar Hotel Playa Paraiso
Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar Mexico
IBEROSTAR Paraiso Del Mar Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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