My husband and I had a fantastic vacation with our 13 year old son, and 9 and 7 year old daughters!! Definitely recommend.
First impression: lobby is beautiful and has a lovely lemon verbena scent the immediately transports you from airport hassle-mode to full vacation-mode. Check in was easy and personal and they brought our bags up to our room for us.
Rooms: the rooms (we had family suite with adjoining rooms) were exceptionally large and clean with nice bathrooms and patios. The hotel changed out all the mattresses mid-week so any complaints about uncomfortable beds-which we agreed with at first-- should be disregarded. The hotel stocks the mini fridges with water, beer, and soft drinks daily; a nice touch. The room safe is large and holds multiple tablets, etc.
Property: the property is lush and lovely! I've never seen a more beautifully landscaped and unbelievably large (understatement) pool in my life! So many different pool areas to choose from including lazy river (very lazy but enjoyable), wave pool that waves every hour during the day, zero entry areas, a spot with spa jets, swim up bar, fountains, etc. plenty of chairs -although need to get out there early to claim a spot under a grass umbrella if you want to laze around in a chair all day. We did not want to do that so we found a less desirable spot each day to plant our floats and flip flops. We heeded other travelers' comments and brought cheap inflatable floats with us. Not entirely necessary -- there are property floats you can use at lazy river -- but still nice to have our own. The walk from pool area to beach takes you through mangroves which are really pretty and you can spot birds, iguanas, coatis and other wildlife. The beach is also amazing!! The water is beautiful. Again the chair situation is not ideal, but it didn't bother us. (Note-the chair situation is definitely not unique to this resort; it's true at other places we've vacationed and even at our local YMCA!) The rest of the property is also well manicured with lots of trees, water features, rock formations etc. tons of bathrooms scattered throughout, lots of garbage and recycling areas, and even places to place your drink glasses as you stroll along and finish your latest drink.
Activities: there are activities for all types. Pool games, beach games, dance lessons, tennis, sailing, ping pong, billiards, to name a few. Some activities, such as sailing and tennis, you have to reserve a time but we didn't have trouble doing so. Some extras ($$) include hair braiding, henna tattoos, and pottery painting on the beach (all in sheltered areas). One note re pottery--we were so proud of the bowl we painted as a family. They say they will touch up the lines and glaze it so you can actually use it for food. When we got the final product it was beautiful but boy did they touch it up!! Too much for our liking as it really didn't look like the bowl we painted other than the colors we chose. Oh well.
Entertainment: corny in some respects but fun all the same. Some real talent among the staff and entertainers and the costumes are really great. After dinner you head to the main theater in center of resort and continue drinking (and eating popcorn) and watching the pre-show activities (consisting of silly singing and dancing contests (my husband and I actually won one of the silly contests!)) before the main show starts at 9:30 each night. Very fun! The show is over by around 10:30. I think there was karaoke afterwards, but that's when we turned in with our girls. Our teenage son took advantage of the teen club most of the nights and the resort felt safe enough for us to let him enjoy some freedom and come home on his own after us. There's also both a teen and an adult disco, but we never made it there. I'm sure it was fun.
Food: very very good. We are foodies and while I wouldn't say the food is the best I've ever eaten... it was perfect as part of the whole vacation experience. Plenty of variety, including for kids. Lots of Mexican choices, but other types of food too. The buffets are really well stocked with a variety of fresh fish, fruits, veggies, cheese, meats, breads and other starches, and desserts. The two breakfast buffets included an omelette station, many fresh juices (watermelon and cantaloupe were my favorites) smoked salmon, fruits, pancakes, waffles, and tons of other choices. Lunch and dinner buffets -- including a great buffet on the beach -- were also very good. Never too crowded and the service for drinks and plate removal was great. The specialty restaurants are included as far as price but you do need to make reservations. We ate at steakhouse twice, the Japanese, Mediterranean, and Mexican restaurants once each. All were fantastic! Loved that the first course and dessert was at the buffet with main course ordered from menu and served. (The Japanese was different with all three courses ordered and served. We did hibachi style and it was delicious!!). We had no problems making reservations when we arrived through the concierge at our building. But we were very flexible and not too picky with times. If you like to eat at a set time each day, you may want to try and reserve before you get there. There's also ice cream all day until 6pm with typical flavors and also interesting favors including coconut and mango. Yum!!!
Drinks: included. Need I say more? Okay I will. My only complaint is the only beer was Dos Equis. Not my favorite (actually dislike it). So I was "forced" to drink mojitos, margaritas, bloody Marys, cosmos, wine, etc all week. So sad. LOL!
Excursions: we did an all-day excursion that involved zip lining, snorkeling both in a cave and in the ocean (sea turtles, coral reef, etc), and repelling through a company called Adventuras Mayas. Would recommend it highly. Our particular package was called Snorkel Extreme. We left at 7:45, lunch was delicious and was included, and we were back to the resort by 4:30.
Overall, five stars. would come here again but also look forward to trying another Iberostar!
- 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