Let me first say that overall, we absolutely love the Iberostar Resorts as a whole. I have yet to have a bad experience with their employees and their grounds are absolutely beautiful.
I rely on Trip Advisor reviews for all of my travel so I wanted to make sure I extended the favor to others.
I surprised my husband with a ten day trip down to Mexico and picked this hotel because I had stayed there back in 2004 (right around the time it first opened). Two of our friends joined us on the trip which really made it a blast. We traveled during the second week in September, one of the resort's most quiet weeks of the year and therefore got a superb rate. For what we paid, we could not have asked for more.
Location: Paraiso del Mar is about thirty minutes from the airport which means it is far enough away from the general craziness of Cancun without feeling like it takes forever to get there. It is also a very easy drive from Playa del Carmen for the shopping and other touristy adventures.
Staff: I do not have any complaints about the staff at Iberostar although I will say that the front desk is the least friendly. The presence of the managers and maintenance personnel is abundant. I promise that you cannot go more than five minutes sitting by the pool or on your patio without seeing an employee walk by. They are constantly cleaning, entertaining, or answering questions. Whether you are lounging by the pool, standing at the bar, or enjoying your dinner - if there is an empty glass or plate you better believe it will be taken care of within seconds! This is one reason we always tipped the waitstaff and bartenders. George is the best bartender there (he works at the swim-up bar). He is funny and always seems to be smiling - in fact I specifically remembered him from my first trip back in 2004 when he worked at the main lobby airport. We tipped him at the end of the trip because we were at that bar frequently! The star friends are GREAT! It is their job to get everyone involved and keep them entertained which they certainly do. Through there poolside games our beach activities we were able to meet many other people which made the vacation that much better. These guys are super hard workers and are literally always smiling or cracking jokes even though they work ten plus hours a day. We made friends with a few of them and they were able to tell us the ins and outs of what to do and how to shop in Playa del Carmen.
Rooms: When I stayed here back in 2004 everything was brand new and while it certainly is not brand new anymore it is still maintained very well. The beds are firm but still comfortable enough. There is ample closet/drawer space and there is an in room safe. The TV is old - but seriously who goes to Mexico to watch telemundo?! We had a room with a walk in double shower, water was always hot with great water pressure. Every room has a patio and this is a nice place to hang out while you are getting ready to go to dinner because you will see some beautiful animals. One word of caution: the tile floor in the rooms and hallways get VERY slippery. Be careful when you are coming back from the beach/pool or getting out of the shower.
Pool: This is where I saw most of the aging on the property. Their pool is huge, one side (by the waterfall/jacuzzi) stayed pretty much empty the entire time we were there. I would venture to guess that a pool this big is great during school vacation so that it doesn't get overcrowded but as I said, we were there at an off season. While the pool was always clean it is starting to show its age and wear around the jacuzzi areas and built in loungers. The pool bar was great fun - and right next to it is where most of the daily games are held. I'm sure I noticed the wear and tear a bit more than others because Iw was comparing it to the year they opened. The cabanas could use more comfortable cushions but were plentiful and easy to acquire.
Beach: We honestly did not spend a ton of time at the beach as it was pretty windy most of the time we were there and I am pretty sure there was a Red flag for seven of the ten days. But the beach area is very nice with its hammocks, lounge chairs, volleyball areas, etc. You will also meet people staying at the other Iberostar resorts in the complex (except the Grand who has a private beach). They also have daily activities at the beach - but be wary of the wandering salesmen who will come up with cigars, rugs, jewelry or anything else they can get you to buy!
Food: This is the area of the resort that needs the most improvement, in my opinion. The buffets were actually better than most of the "specialty" restaurants that you would have to make a reservation at. The Brazilian place was virtually inedible for me. We did enjoy Mediterranean and our favorite by far was Japanese. The Mexican restaurant basically mimicked the buffet (gee, wonder why) with the exception that your waiter will bring a cart of tequila to your table and get you to take a few shots. So, while the food is generally good we would chose to stick with the buffet.
Entertainment: Okay, so the shows were corny just like at every other resort but also slightly hysterical on most nights and the star friends do a good job of keeping you involved.
One last thing regarding the layout of the hotel. We had absolutely NO problem walking to get to dinner, shops, etc. On vacation we eat a lot and enjoyed the extra bit of exercise and honestly it is not that much walking! If you are concerned about this - ask for a room closer to the lobby. I find it interesting that people complain about a leisurely stroll on a nice warm evening - but understand that for some people it is more difficult. I will also say that if you are staying there in July you would not want to spend too much time walking just because of the humidity alone! They do have a trolley which runs more frequently in the summer months. Also, you can call down to the lobby and tell them you need to have a trolley at the stop and they will always accomodate you.
I hope this lengthy review helps make your decision. If you are looking for a five star resort across the board look at one of their more expensive hotels. With Iberostar Resorts you will get what you pay for which is why they have different price points. If you can't already tell - I will always look for an Iberostar Resort when we take our yearly vacation. I honestly feel like you can't go wrong with them. The Paraiso del Mar is going to get you the best bang for your buck out of the complex.
- 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