We were at Paraiso Maya in early December, I have to say it was an extremely nice resort, the grounds are absolutely stunning and well maintained, its luxuriously decorated and the mexican flair makes it all that much more beautiful. We unfortunately did have an unfortunate incident which I will bring up regarding the hotel's management, but for the most part, this hotel surpassed our expectations.
LOCATION/SITE: It took about 25 minutes from airport to resort, this was ideal after a long flight. Its a $24 cab ride to Playa Del Carmen which is always great to go shopping as hotel/airport items are always more expensive. The hotel grounds are simply amazing, and kept very clean by the hard working staff. Its a total of 5 resorts together, and if you stay at the Maya, you have access to all the facilities of the other resorts (Lindo, Beach, Del Mar, not Palace as its an 18+ exclusive). Even if they say that these other resorts aren't quite as high-end as the Maya, I disagree. Perhaps the rooms are slightly smaller, but the pools/grounds are really nice, they even had water loungers, beds and comfy sunbeds that the Maya/Lindo pools didn't have. Same beach and same quality service.
This makes for a very large site, its easy to get confused at first, but after 2 days you'll know your way around. I don't see why people complain over how big a resort is, its great to be able to walk around and explore, just pick a smaller resort if you're too lazy to walk, but seriously, from the beach to the hotel lobby (2 extreme ends) you can walk it easily within 10 minutes. We appreciated the little shopping centre right across from the hotel. The carrousel doesn't work though, too bad for the kids.
Pools were great, we always managed to find chairs but did notice a real problem with people leaving their towels to reserve the best spots and yet not attending to them. We loved the wave pool for the kids as its a gradual swim, it goes off almost every hour for 20 minutes. The beach is nice, very crowded as its opened to all five resorts, the waves and current are very strong though, so no good for small kids.
FOOD: The buffets were really average, it didn't matter which restaurant you ate at, pretty much all the same, lunch and diners seemed the same with some small daily variations. It always felt like we were eating left overs from the previous night. I did appreciate the sea food bar at La Marina, but it didn't taste as good as it looked! That being said, the A la Carte restaurant meals were delicious, it was quite a nice change from the buffet. We went to the Japanese (Gaisha), LaMarina and Steakhouse El Ranche and all 3 meals were very good!
SERVICE: In general, staff was very friendly, check-in was great (thank you to Luz for always smiling and being very accommodating), but they should have had more than 2 staff to greet a bus load, I was lucky to be one of the first ones off the bus but did see some people waiting a very long time before getting their room. The resort wasn't full, so even if we arrived at 10am, the rooms were ready which is vey nice when you've been travelling with kids for so long. A nice touch for us was that we were celebrating our daughter's birthday and they decorated the room with balloons and flowers for her, she was quite happy.
The concierge service is good but the one in our building was there only 2 days out of the 7 we were there. We had asked for a baby crib in our room, it wasn't there. We asked 3 staff for one on 3 different occasions, and it never arrived. Finally, our concierge was the one to make it happen and it was nicely set-up for us. Towel service was great, always got clean ones when needed.
ROOMS: Very large and kept clean all week. Room was done in a timely matter. We asked only once for extra water bottles (to wash our baby bottles) and every day we were stocked with more than enough. Beds aren't very comfortable though. All the buildings have unique features and pretty courtyards. We were in building 66 which is the closest to lobby/buffet and it was nice and quiet.
... Not everything can be perfect....
We were travelling with an infant, so needed purée food. The restaurants did not provide any nor seem to know anything about how to prepare some (although they claim to be a family resort), this is unfortunate as its quite a drag to travel with your own food when you pay so much money for an all-inclusive. I am not a fan of preserved jarred food, but am glad I had brought some in case cause when I asked if it was possible to mash some veggies, the staff seemed at a loss. The veggies they serve is full of salt and oil and still too crispy to bring the a puree using a fork. So lets just say our baby probably got really sick of eating bananas!
They have a "baby kitchen" in which it is mentioned that parents can make purées using blenders and sterilize bottles, I was quite impressed about this, nothing more annoying that to wash your bottles with cold bottled water in the bathroom sink!!! But once we arrived I went to use it and was not provided access, as there is an extra fee to use it. Its hard enough to travel with an infant, I find it rather wrong to promote this "family-friendly" service, all the while providing all the "all you can drink" alcohol, and yet charging parents for the use of a blender and microwave!
We were very very unfortunate as our children got very sick during the trip. From day one, our 3-year-old started a high fever and was up all night, which of course kept our infant from sleeping. We consulted the doctor who confirmed it was a bad virus, so aside from tylenol, not much more we can do! By all means, this is in no way the hotel's fault, however after spending 2 nights wide awake and being completely exhausted, we decided to seek help in finding a solution with the reception/concierge staff to try and avoid our baby from getting sick and attempt to get some shut eye. We just couldn't bare spending a full week like this, and were willing to pay extra for an adjacent room. The staff showed absolutely no empathy, they were borderline treating us like we were idiots for travelling with kids (family-friendly hotel, right?), one of them even said to us "don't worry, your child will eventually get over-tired and sleep". You simply don't say this to parents who are living this out-of-country nightmare! Our child was very SICK with high fever, was coughing to the point of vomiting everywhere, not eating, in a strange country.... and this is the best you can say and do for us? When we asked for a second room, they said it would cost $400US/night!! INSANE! That would end up costing more than what our entire trip cost for 4 people. The hotel was not even half booked, I am sure they could have made a better deal, but they showed no desire to assist us, tried to brush us off by saying "i'll speak to our manager and see what we can do", but never getting back to us, or, referred us to our vacation agency that was closed on the weekend, and our rep. never got back to us, so no luck there either. Ultimately, we felt very unwelcomed when we'd go to the lobby for questions, felt like because of the situation, they had triggered our room number as "problem clients" and yet, we are very quiet people who never usually complain, but this situation was extremely hard on us, and unfortunately, our baby ended up getting very very sick and continued to deteriorate when we got home = lots of hospital time at Christmas! This could have been avoided had we been able to sleep the two kids in separate bedrooms. One of the managers did attempt to cheer us up and sent flowers to our room, it was a very nice gesture but the situation at that point was simply past being bearable and we left Iberostar with a bitter taste.
Note: Lots of girls enjoy getting those lovely brades in their hair, and there is one place on the beach where you can do that, however BEWARE!! It is VERY expensive there. They are associated with the hotel and charge the room, so they don't negotiate, and charge about $25 a brade which is excessive and you can get much cheaper elsewhere outside the resort, but be careful, some may be way too cheap and do a poor job. We went to this little SPA in Playa del carmen and had it done for $30 total! Takes 1 hour but the brades were still beautiful 2.5 weeks later.
Overall, this was a great choice for a resort and had we not been unlucky with sick children, our vacation would have been close to perfect!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located directly on the beautiful beach of Playa Paraiso (Mexico). All junior suites with Jacuzzi, DVD player, upgraded amenities. Exclusive dining plus dine around privileges at over 16 restaurants, 17 full service bars. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Paraiso Maya Hotel Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Riviera Maya
- Iberostar Hotel Paraiso Maya
- Iberostar Maya
- Iberostar Grand Paraiso
- Iberostar Paraiso Maya Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico