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Reviewed August 23, 2006

My wife and I just recently returned from a week's stay at the Iberostar Maya and we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. We travel 1-2 times per year to Mexico and we would rate this resort as one of the best we have been to.

The highlights of the resort are great service, upscale rooms/suites, the grounds in and around the resort are immaculate, and the wave pool and lazy river are a great addition that no other resort we've been to has.

We felt that some of the nicer restaurants could have been a little better with the food; for instance, the tuna was overcooked at the French restaurant, etc. This was not a big deal, but just something we noted. The nightly shows were above average compared to other resorts we've stayed at too.

Comparing this to other resorts, we would say that this resort and the Secrets properties have been our favorites.

This is our 3rd trip we've booked through Tropical Sands Vacations on the internet and as always they were very knowledgeable on both the destination and the Iberostar Maya.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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20  Thank CongoBongo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2006

Overall I thought this was a good vacation spot. Now that I have been to all the restaurants, here are the good ones... Sorry, none are 5 star. If these were in NYC, they would be 1 star at best.. Food is edible but when you consider the filet mignon at outback is so much better, why buy this. In reality, I preferred going to the buffet. As far as the drinks are concerned, only the main lobby bars served good drinks. The staff is great, the grounds and hotel are beutiful. The kids had fun which is all important. I would go again, knowing in advance what to expect. Above average on most areas except the food.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
14  Thank nem57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2006

Firstly- hats off to Sunburst Vacations for executing a flawless vacation!!

We went to the Iberostar Paraiso Maya for our friends wedding and were unfortunately only able to stay for a long weekend (Friday, August 11-Monday, August 14th). I had spoken with a Sunburst agent prior to my trip to confirm everything, and they gratefully told me how the arrival/departure transportation to and from the resort would work. In other words- do not talk to ANYONE other than your IMC rep. You'll get bombarded in all directions from people trying to sell you timeshares and pretending like they will help you get to where you need to go. Following the advice of our agent, we went directly through to the outdoor pickup area and a gentleman was outside with a sign and my name on it. We were the only ones in the van and enjoyed a nice, air condtioned, quiet ride to the Maya. IMC immediately set up our return trip to the airport so we didn't have to worry about making any phone calls to ensure transportation as they took care of it all up front.

We were fortunate to get a room in building 60 as it has a perfect, quiet, private pool and is the closest building to the beach. The room was quite stunning, clean, and had wonderful service from the maids and concierge. Right outside our room was a private pool which we spent quite a bit of time at. We didn't have enough time to sample many restaurants as we were with a wedding party, but we did get a chance to eat at Le'toile and the food was incredible. The Lindo breakfast was the best- so many choices and all very tasty. The wedding was exquisite- they did a really wonderful job making it beautiful. Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the level of service and the cleanliness of the resort.

On the negative side, this place is just way too big for our taste. I was plagued with a number of blisters on my feet, just from walking to dinner. I also didn't like that there were no real views of the ocean from the resort unless you took the long path to the beach. The italian restaurant was okay- the noodles and filet mignon was overcooked. The drinks, as other reviews have said, were very, very weak. We felt a little annoyed that in order to get a good drink or a ride with our luggage to our room that tipping would get us better service. We paid a FORTUNE to stay at this place and were under the assumption that all-inclusive meant tips included. In Jamaica- they handed our tips right back and told us to go use it in the spa or on an adventure trip. Keep in mind also that this is a family friendly resort, so if you're looking for the peace and serenity of a couple's only- this is not it.

Overall, a very lovely resort. Not quite sure it is worth the large pricetag however. Stay at the Lindo next door for a couple hundred less and still get the same experience.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
11  Thank joko5176
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2006

We just returned from a six-night stay at the Paraiso Maya. There were a lot of positive things about our stay, as well as some negative things.

POSITIVE

-The pool areas are great. There are several types of pools (all over 4 feet deep), ranging from an activity pool to a "quiet" pool. There was plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the pools. Also, there were plenty of lounge chairs for everyone, including many in shaded areas. We felt safe leaving our belongings on the chairs when we wanted to go into the pool.

-The beach is pretty nice. Unfortunately (not the hotel's fault, of course), there were days when the water was rough and full of seaweed. Also, you have to be careful of rocks in the water. Depending on their location and size, it is usually easy to avoid them. You may feel more comfortable wearing water shoes in order to avoid scraping your feet or slipping on the rocks.

-Several of the restaurants were very good in terms of food and appearance. These were: El Museo (Gourmet), El Rancho (Steakhouse), and L'Etoile (French). Also, El Fogon was by far the best buffet on the property. This is located on the site the Italian and Chinese restaurants (on the Maya side). The variety and quality of the food, as well as the service is MUCH better than the buffets near the pools. It is air conditioned, and there are no flies at the buffet. It is definitely worth the walk to go there for breakfast and lunch every day.

-Our room was very nice, and the maid service was excellent. It was nice to see the animal towels when we returned to our room each day. One day, we returned to find our jacuzzi tub filled with bubbles and flower petals. We also received a courtesy phone call asking if we needed anything in our room. Our refrigerator was always well-stocked, so we never had to worry about lacking water, soda, or beer. Though the choices are limited, there is 24-hour room service included.

-The grounds are beautiful in most areas, and the property is very well-maintained.

-There are people who walk around the property with various animals, and take pictures of guests with the animals. Depending on the day of the week, there is a squirrel monkey, an iguana, and a toucan. We had our picture taken with the squirrel monkey. In addition to the cute animals, what is nice is that the photographer doesn't try to pressure anyone into doing this. Guests approach them. After your picture is taken, they give you a ticket, and then you can go to the Lindo photo shop to pick up your picture if you want it. It's $7.50 per picture.

NEGATIVE

-The drinks were watered-down, and there was no top-shelf liquor. We've stayed at Sandals in St. Lucia, and the liquor was top-shelf.

-The food at the pool buffets was okay, but there were often flies in the food area. We saw the cooks/chefs use their bare hands when touching food. Also, in the pool buffet, there was only one omelette station, which led to long lines. The omelette cook seemed annoyed towards everyone.

-The food at the beach area was not great.

-Many reviews mentioned the ice cream parlor located above one of the pools, so we tried it. In order to get your ice cream, you have to encounter a very annoyed server. Don't bother, unless you really want ice cream. By the way, they have ice cream at the buffets, so you can get it there instead.

-The wave pool runs once an hour, if it is even that often.

-The lazy river is SO lazy that people would get off their inner tubes and walk to the end.

-There are NO ocean view rooms as far as we could tell.

-At night, there are many poorly lit areas. You practically need a flashlight to get around. These areas are so dark that I would not want to walk on these paths by myself at night.

-Our room was NOT cool at all. The max low temperature seems to be about 75 degrees, so your have to put the ceiling fan on. You can only turn it on or off with a switch, so you can't turn down the super high speed.

-The employees in the front of the restaurants make a big deal if you want to go inside even a few minutes before the time of your reservation. Eventually, they let you enter and then you see that less than half of the restaurant is filled.

-For a hotel that has so many rooms, there is a real lack of pool tables and ping pong tables for guests to enjoy.

-Employees were almost never able to answer questions we asked. The property is very large, and there were times when we were trying to get to a retaurant, for example, when we would have to ask for directions. We rarely got the correct information. Other questions we would not get answers to were: where are the activities on the beach, and what time does a particular restaurant close?

-All of the areas near the pool are SLIPPERY. We witnessed at least five people slip and fall, and I slipped and fell. Either wear water shoes in these areas, or walk VERY slowly.

FINAL NOTES

-DO NOT let anyone at the Lindo lobby talk you into upgrading your room to the Maya for free. We did this, and should have been known there was a reason they made us sign a form saying we voluntarily chose to do this. Once the staff member took us to our room, we saw that our view was nothing but CONSTRUCTION of the new hotel. If we looked all the way to the left of the terrace, our view was of dirt. We had to argue and speak with the manager to get switched to another room.

-If you are going on the bus to Playa del Carmen, do it during the day. It seemed unsafe at night. The only positive thing about our trip to Playa del Carmen was that I got my hair braided (top only) there for $20, instead of spending the $80 or $90 or so that it costs at the hotel.

Stayed: August 2006
19  Thank trip74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2006

My husband and I just came back from the Iberostar Paraiso Maya and we thought it was great...except the food which was okay. We went with Apple Vacations and were very happy with them.

USA 3000
We had no line at the airport when boarding the plane. Everyone was very nice and efficient. They showed us a movie on the way down to Mexico and back. That is unusual on a 3 hour flight. The seats themsevles were comfortable, but there was no leg room, which is typical, and the food was pretty good for airline food. They fed us both times too. Also, they gave us our headphones on the way down rather than charging us, which was a nice touch.

IBEROSTAR PARAISO MAYA
The hotel itself
The hotel was beautiful!! Mexican type of architecture, so you have to like that..which I would hope you do if you are going to Mexico. It is very big, which was fine with me. The pools were GREAT and some buildings have their own private pools. The Paraiso Maya was right next to the Lindo and we shared the pool. So it was nice to have that resort so close. The sculptures, fountains, and gardens all over really make for a nice atmosphere. Sometimes we just walked around just to enjoy the scenery! We loved the room...very clean. Yes, we were over by the construction, but we really couldn't hear it once the balcony door was shut. If it had bothered me that much I would have asked to change the room.

Service
The service was almost perfect! The only downfall was that sometimes a cocktail waitress would ask you what you wanted at the pool and never come back with a drink, but most times they did. Everyone was SO FRIENDLY! I mean really friendly. I couldn't believe they were so nice. They also had lots of activities for children and adults. I even took advantage of the dancing lessons! They had shows at night which were very entertaining and then a band played so you could dance for a little while after the show. They also have a disco if you want to go dancing there. People on this site have said that it is not so much of a "couples" resort, but I disagree. I think if you don't mind kids running around (and they were really rather charming) it is fine for couples. The concierge service was GREAT! It's not the same person all the time, but they are all helpful. One person even came up and fixed my dvd player right away..the cables were plugged in wrong. The maid service was great. I loved my towel art so much I kept it all! I had a collection all over our room by the end of the trip! I won't tell you all of the little extras they do so it will be a surprise, but you will love it! Yes, we tipped everyone, but not over the top.

Food and Drinks
The drinks were okay with me. They seemed very weak and most of the alcohol gave me an upset stomach. My husband liked the gin and tonics and I settled with White Russians. I wasn't looking to get drunk anyway. We were a little disappointed with the food considering this was a 5 apple resort. All lunch and breakfast was buffet and the times for dinner reservations were a little restrictive, but we still enjoyed it. The Lindo restaurant is the best for breakfast. I liked all of the restaurants, but probably liked the French and the Mexican the best. We never got to the Italian. Other people I met there really liked the food, though. So, it is a matter of taste.

Xcaret
We went here and did everything but the snorkeling and the river swim. WE LOVED IT! We saw everything there. They had a small area of ruins, various animals, jungle hikes, an old village, a fire dance show, an aquarium, and the show at the end of the night is definitely worth staying for. We loved it so much we bought the DVD. They also have a swimming with the dolphins program, which sounds like the best one there, but we went to Dophin Discovery, which we liked very much. I would suggest to definitely swim with the dolphins....that was the best part of the trip!

Tulum
Was nice. Lots of walking around and looking at the ruins. Nice that it is on the Carribean Sea side. Beautiful picture opportunities. The tour guide tells you some history...liked it.

Xel-Ha
Here is where our vacation took a turn for the worse. Bottom line is that our backpack was stolen out of our locker with a bunch of stuff including my husband's eye glasses, our credit card, and our digital camera with all 300 photos from our vacation. I was crushed. I know theft happens, but the way the security people handled it at Xel-Ha was THE WORST.

My backpack was stolen out of the lockers in section 3 (watch out for this section). I had discovered it only MINUTES after it happened since I was only away from my locker for 5 minutes. UNFORTUNATELY, the "security" staff did NOTHING to locate the thief at the ONLY exit although he/she was probably leaving with it at that very moment. My backpack would have been easy to spot since it had a red, white, and blue thick string attached to the top handle. Their attitude was "oh well, this happens all the time. There are too many people here." Then they proceeded to show us how the lockers were faulty and often people think they are locked, but they aren't. I KNOW I CHECKED THE LOCKER, but even if it was unlocked, it is a poor locker design. In addition, who would know to run up to my locker seconds after I walked away? Obviously, someone was waiting for me to leave. Then they had the audacity to say "You said you left it out." I never said that. They basically did nothing.

What was worse is when I told them I wanted to call Visa to cancel my credit card, they looked at me like I was crazy. Then they started arguing with me asking me how I was going to cancel it if I didn't know the number, etc. It took them 15-20 mintues to get Visa on the phone. The staff informed us that this stuff happens "many many times." If there is such a problem, then why are the lockers still used; why are there no security guards watching the area; and why are there no cameras at the locker stations? There are only three stations to watch.

Also, that same day we just happened to run into a couple from Canada who had their bag stolen when they placed it down for a minute. No staff member offered to call Visa for them. Our things were in our locker. I understand theft happens all over the world which is why I am very careful, but the actions of the staff at Xel-Ha made the situation even worse. We might have caught the person if they had acted quicker.

So if you ever go snorkeling at Xel-Ha MAKE SURE YOU DON'T BRING ANYTHING OR THAT YOUR LOCKER IS TRUELY LOCKED! Even if you pull the key out...it may not be locked. So sorry, we have no photos to post.

22  Thank BellaCera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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