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“Far exceeds a 5 star!”

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Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed December 11, 2007

So we are picked up from the airport with the airline bus and are driven to the hotel. The entire trip there we have a group of businessmen bragging about how great their hotel was going to be. We drop them off and proceed to our hotel next. As we pull into the resort, everyone else on the bus are shocked and begin to exclaim, how those guys were way off and questioning why they had never heard of this resort. Having flown out at night and not being able to see the full landscape of the resort and still being impressed was a great first impression.

We walked off the bus to be greeted by a Mariachi Band and beautiful women dressed in Mexican costumes. Upon entering the front door, we are served our first Margaritas and move along inside the hotel. At this point my partner and I are perma-smiles and this is only the entrance. We keep walking further into the hotel when we run into our butler. He asks where we are going and we explain that we need to check into our room, at which point he tells us that we have completely by-passed the front desk and will need to return but, he will bring us to our room to leave our bags.

We head to the front desk and check in, the entire time with perma-smile. The rooms…OMG and the staff is so very attentive to your needs. They are super accommodating and are constantly cleaning the hotel. The windows and glass surfaces are impeccable, but they would still clean them. I was surprised that we didn’t find a bunch of birds on the ground the next morning from crashing into them.
This hotel is a diamond resort for sure. If there was a star rating higher than 5 I would have to say it was there. The food was unbelievable and the chefs were always willing to make something from scratch if we didn’t find anything to our liking which was near impossible. The buffets were great, which is normally not the case. We found that it was better than some of the A-La-Carte restaurants.

We are planning to head back to this resort soon, and would highly recommend it to anyone. You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank TO_travelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 10, 2007

Look no further. If you want an adult only all inclusive top shelf resort, then you will not be disappointed. It is a spectacular property on a beautiful beach with very friendly service. From talking to other more experienced guests and people in the travel business that we met on our stay, it doesn't get any better than this. If the weather holds out, you are guaranteed a great time. Only down side is occasionally sporadic service though always with a smile. Golf course is challenging and in great shape and included with a 4 night stay. Plan on going on a diet when you get home. Enjoy

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank djoseph1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2007

Not a ton of new info to add here other to say that we agree with most all of the awesome comments posted below. We spent three days there just this past week (Dec 5-8, 2007) and had a wonderful time. The hotel property and grounds themselves are awesome. Although the decor and design are more of an italian baroque kind of thing than mayan or mexican, which is a bit odd, it is a beautiful property to walk explore. Great beach. Above average food. I would not say awesome restaurants, but very good. Only aspect not top notch was service. We are splitting hairs here now, but we noted small things that were a bit below world class level. We have stayed at Secrets Capri as well as Le Blanc in Cancun and the service at both of those properties was slightly higher than the Grand. But the property, rooms and grounds at the Grand were tops. When you get to this level of luxury, hard to compare these types of properties...oh yeah, great golf course as well (especially since they throw in a free round!)

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank cmd333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2007

We loved the Grand. Do not doubt booking this hotel. Everything is wonderful. The basics:

Our room: We were in 7257. It had a fantastic view of the Tranquility Pool. We loved the location right in the middle of the hotel. I was worried it might get loud but we never heard a noise. My husband and I discussed whether we would book ocean front rooms upon return and both of us said we really liked our location and would book this very room again. We rarely spend time in our room while on vacation so the upgrade is not worth it for us.

The bed was comfy. The entire room was clean as can be. We left a note requesting what we wanted in the frig and returned to find what we preferred. We got great late day sun that dried our swimsuits in no time. The room temp was cold when we adjusted it. Couldn't ask for more.

The food: Food was great. Presentation was beautiful and servings were just what we needed. For those used to larger servings, just order two of what you want - they will not at all hesitate to fill your order.

At lunch, the restaurant on the beach (Las Brisas) was way too busy and it took a long time to receive our order. We learned that Bella Vista serves the exact same lunch menu and we ate the rest of our lunches at Bella Vista which was fantastic. We also had breakfast at Bella Vista everyday which were always hot and plentiful.

We ate at all the dinner restaurants and enjoyed them all. I don't even usually like Japanese and I found Haiku to be one of my favorite meals the entire trip.

On our 3rd night, we met a couple who told us they booked all their reservations on their first night. We went to our concierge and booked the rest of ours which was nice to have out of the way.

The bars: Rigo at the lobby bar was very fun and made a mean drink. We really enjoyed getting to know him. If you are looking for a quiet drink, just sit at one of the tables but if you are looking to make friends and get your drink on, sit at the bar and you will do both. We met some really fun people at the bar and proceeded to karaoke and the Galaxy disco with them. Good times were had by all.

The grounds: Beautiful. Flawless. Always well manicured although you rarely saw anyone working on them.

The pools: Again fantastic. The tranquility pool is where we spent most of our time. Never seemed to be more than 15 people there and there was easily seating for 50 or more. Almost every 20 minutes someone came by to see if we needed a drink. Delightful. We did hang out at the activity pool a little but the noise of the people at the bar was more than we wanted.

The beach: Yes there were rocks right in front of the Grand but the walk to an area without rocks is literally 2 minutes away. Water was warm and the sunrise we set an alarm to watch one morning was amazing.

Jet skis: We rented two jet skis one morning and took them out. My husband drove one and I drove the other. We had a wonderful time on them. We laughed like kids and drove them like teenagers. Super fun. I was fearless which caught up with me for a few days as both my legs and back were sore but I wouldn't change it.

Bus to Playa del Carmen: No complaints. Smooth ride in and Playa was fun to see for a few hours. We took a cab back instead of waiting for the bus and it was $20.

Other random thoughts:

After clearing customs at the airport, walk right out to your hotel shuttle. Don't let yourself get roped into the guys who say they want you to verify your hotel info. They are only trying to sell timeshares. Just walk right by...

The taco bar and crepe/ice cream shops at the Shopping Center are yummy.

Top shelf liquor is everywhere so ask for it and drink up.

The staff will take you all over on golf carts. Ask the guys at the front door and they will set you up in a matter in minutes.

The public bathrooms at the Grand are all different and fun to see. Stop into each one you pass even if you don't need to use it.

Tip! We tipped because the service was great and the team working down there deserves it. Tip lots and tip often. The staff works extremely long days to ensure that we all have wonderful trips at the Grand.

If you haven't booked this resort yet, do it now. You are guaranteed to have a wonderful time!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
15  Thank FebBride
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2007

We stayed at the Grand for my brothers wedding and this place was way more than what we expected. It was a very clean hotel and it was nice because there were no kids and it was very quiet. You didn't see very many people but when you went to the other resorts you started seeing more kids and people.

The wedding was great. My brother and his wife got married right below the grand stair case. So the wedding party walked down the beautiful steps. It was very beautiful and the resort did a very good job with the requests my brother and wife had.

The food:
The food was wonderful. I have never had so many gourmet choices. The Surf and Turf was excellent. The dessert with chocolate cake and orange sherbert was to die for. The lobster, crab and shrimp appitizer was very good too. The steak and lobster were excellent. The steak was so tender you could almost cut it with a fork.

The breakfasts were good too. The donuts are very good.

Make sure to make reservations too!

The Beach:
The beach was very pretty. A little rocky in places. We didn't swim in the ocean there because of the rocks but we did see some people. The wait staff did not forget about you being on the beach either which is really nice compared to some resorts we have stayed at.

The Pools:
The pools were very nice. The salt water pool was different because I have never been in one but we spent a whole day hanging out there. We also spent a whole day at the tranquility pool too which was very nice too. I did like the more activities in the salt water pool compared to the tranquility pool. The tranquility pool was to relax around or in.

The rooms:
The rooms were very nice. The beds are very comfortable. The bathrooms are very spacious too. The mini bar was always stocked to our liking. You just have to let them know what you like. They also would bring you full unopened bottles of alcohol if you want it. We got a bottle of Don Julio and Club Canadian. Another person in our party got a bottle of Crown Royal. We also requested Corona one night and they brough us 12 with a bunch of limes too.

The only downfall with this resort is the language barrier. The maids did not speak any english but were very friendly. A few of the waiters didn't speak very good english but were able to understand what we were trying to order. One night we didn't get our room cleaned until 7:00 but that was o.k. with us because we weren't in it that much any way that day.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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7  Thank rshipley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2007

Wow!

I really don't have much to add that hasn't been covered already by other reviews. I would like to say that they exceeded our expectations and we were quite pleased. I would like to point out a few things that you should consider during your stay. First, take some time to view the facilities at the other Iberostar properties adjacent to the Grand. They're also very nice, but it will really make you appreciate where you're staying. Also, try to review a few of the activities available and take advantage of some of them. These include spanish lessons, dance lessons, air-gun shooting range, archery etc. Third, be sure to go to the spa at the shopping center and take advantage of the free access to the "wet area". This includes sauna, jacuzzi, steam room... Absolutely fabulous but only the shared facility at the shopping area has all of this stuff. The spa located at the Grand is very nice but it has a gym instead of the sauna etc. Finally, unlike the other properties the Grand has "top shelf" liquor. If you like margueritas, be sure to ask for Sauza "Tres Generaciones" or Don Julio. The guys at the pool bar actually make the best margueritas on the property.

I feel compelled to put at least a few things that could be improved but I'm really stretching to find some. I would have to say the coffee could be better and the dinner buffet is a little weak. One or two more internet access computers would be nice. People seem to "reserve" poolside lounges with towels in the AM and leave them all day. This is a fine property and we would certainly consider ourselves lucky to be able to go back.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
12  Thank gman976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2007

I would like to start out by saying this: No matter how many trip reports you read, and no matter how many pictures you see; I don't know that they could ever do justice to this property.

After my husband and I saw the hotel and the accommodations, we said to each other, "Where do we go from here?" And that will certainly remain to be seen. The magnificence and grandeur of this hotel never ceased to amaze me every single day that we were there.

I have more detailed reports (day-by-day, blow-by-blow, with pictures inserted) on other forums. If you’d like to see them, feel free to send me a PM. (I just went back and saw the length of this – and it’s a LOT longer than I expected it to be!)

We arrived at the hotel on Saturday afternoon, 11/24. Once our car dropped us off in the lobby, we were taken away in a golf cart to our ocean-front room. We were in Building 71 – Room 7129 to be specific.

As far as accommodations go, I sincerely couldn’t have asked for anything more. The room was immaculately cleaned, marble floors were shining – spotless. The rooms were very large as well. You’ll walk in to a hallway with closets and mini-bar on one side, bathroom on the other side, and then a doorway to take you to the ‘bedroom’ area. King-sized bed, television, drawers, IPOD docking station, etc. Then you’ll step down in to another area with a lounge chair and a desk and chair. Then out on to the balcony. The balcony is so comfortable with a couch and a swing-chair. There was a turn down service each night as well. The room was tidied up, clean towels were provided, they lit a scented oil-burner, and chocolates were left on the pillow.

The bathroom is very large. His and her sink areas (loved it) robes and slippers for two people, plenty of towels, large shower, big jet tub – perfect.

The king-size bed was SO comfortable. The hotel also offers a pillow menu. If you’re not happy with the pillows they give you, feel free to try a few others. We slept very well every night. We couldn’t hear a sound from anywhere outside of our room. If you’re a light-sleeper, this is the place for you.

The view from our room was sincerely breath-taking. I could have stayed on the balcony for five days and been comfortable and happy. You don’t necessarily need to pay for an upgrade to ocean-front, as you can view the ocean from so many places in the hotel. (Breakfast and lunch restaurants, main pool, most of the dinner restaurants, etc.) However, if we had it to do over again – we would pay for the ocean-front accommodation.

Also, keep in mind that - unless you opt for the honeymoon villas - your suite will be the same no matter which type of accommodations you choose (ocean-front/ocean-view, etc.) The honeymoon villas are gorgeous, spacious, with their own lap pools and a lot of privacy. However, the location is a bit remote with no view to speak of.

Shortly after we arrived at the room, so did our butler and our luggage. We were shown around and given a map of the property and instructions on how to use the lighting and air conditioning, etc. We were shown the mini bar and asked if there was anything additionally we’d like to have. We wanted to try the Havana Rum and we also wanted some Corona. (Also, feel free to bring your laptop. They’ll bring you a cable, give you a password, and there’s no charge to you for this during your stay.)

We decided to stay in the room, order room service, and unpack.

We started unpacking and...
A knock at the door and we received two glasses of champagne.
Another knock at the door and we received a full bottle of Havana Rum and 6 icy cold Corona in a bucket.
Another knock at the door and room service had arrived. Joe's prawn shrimp somehow translated in to a pizza. We called down and that was quickly rectified. He loved his fish, the shrimp were delicious, and my burger was very (Kobe beef burger.)

We made our dinner reservation for that evening for the Japanese restaurant. During our stay, we also ate at Tonis’ Surf & Turf and the Italian restaurant. All were very good. The restaurant we didn’t eat at was the Gourmet Restaurant. They also offer a buffet for dinner every evening.

The pool areas were beautiful. We enjoyed the tranquility pool just as much, if not more, as the main pool. We always found a bed with shade, no matter what time we went. You’ll get as many towels as you need. And Star Friends are there to include you in any activities or games that happen to be going on that day. They weren’t pushy or intrusive at all. I’d also like to note that drink service at both pools was fantastic. There was always someone there to ask if we needed anything. We did see people serving drinks on the beach, but maybe not quite as often as by the pool. We didn’t spend any time on the beach during this vacation – the surf was a bit rough for our liking. However, many people were in the ocean.

I should also say that our stay was during a time when the hotel shot up to 100% occupancy due to an Iberostar Executives Convention. We never felt like this hotel was full. It’s so massive, that we never felt crowded anywhere at any time.

As for breakfast and lunch…It seems that the popularity of the breakfast buffet is up for debate. We really enjoyed it. There are a few items that are labeled - the rest are not. It could be frustrating - but we liked to think of it as a challenge. Take a little, try a little, if you don't like it - move on and try something else. It worked out okay for us. The staff at breakfast was wonderful. Always smiling and friendly and willing to do whatever they could to make sure you were happy.
The omelet station (they'll make you any type of eggs) was great. A few glitches (I asked for an omelet with tomato and cheese and received an omelet with bacon and cheese...no problemo!) The waffles and pancakes, while REALLY tasty, were always cold. The heating lamps just didn't seem to heat. However, a waffle through the toaster does the trick. Or, they'll make you some fresh pancakes.
I absolutely loved those crazy juice concoctions that they made. They were so fresh and delicious. They labeled these by putting a small sampling of what the juice was made of on a small plate in front of the pitcher of juice. Loved it.
The buffet really did have everything - eggs, potatoes, waffles, breads, pastries, breakfast meats, cheeses, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, and the list goes on.

I really did enjoy the buffet for breakfast. However, two buffets in one day is one buffet too many for me.
The selection at the lunch buffet was okay, but I preferred ordering off the menu. Except, I didn't order off the menu - I asked for whatever I was in the mood for, and they made it for me, which was great! Mostly - I was a big fan of the steak & chicken fajitas or tacos or quesidillas or whatever they brought out for me on any given day. Many people have raved about the shrimp fajitas (or shrimp and lobster). I did sample some soup one day - it was incredible. Grilled lobster and grilled shrimp are definitely two of the lunch-time favorites. The Kobe beef burger is another.

Overall, the food at this hotel was very very good. We’ve never been to an AI before, so we don’t have that to compare it to. However, bottom line is: Good quality, fresh ingredients, excellent presentation, attentive service with a smile. AI or non-AI – it was very good.

Once inside the main part of the hotel, there’s a beautiful lobby, a gorgeous atrium, and long fabulous hallways with windows and marble and chandeliers – the beauty is endless. (I have six pictures of random bathrooms I stopped in while at the resort – they’re that beautiful!!) There’s a small gift shop, a main bar, a sports bar, the Italian restaurant, etc. The lobby bar was a lot of fun and a great place to stop before/after dinner. The bartenders and wait staff here were fun and the service was very good.

We spent one morning walking around the resort and the beach. We visited the indoor pool/spa area – saw the salon and workout rooms – everything was really beautiful.

We also took advantage of the free shuttle Iberostar offers in to Playa del Carmen one morning. A golf cart took us to the other property and we were on the 9:00 a.m. bus in to Playa. I was informed, however, that they were due to eliminate this service in December 2007.

This hotel isn’t too far from anything. 30 minutes in to Playa – you could catch the ferry to Cozumel there. Cancun isn’t far. And there are so many excursions offered that the hotel can arrange for you. As this was a quick vacation for us, Playa was as far as we went. Between Star Friends and everything excursion they can arrange for you at the hotel – you could stay busy all day and night during your vacation if you’d like.

There are not a lot of negative points to bring up regarding this vacation. I do feel that sometimes there can be a communication barrier (my Spanish is pretty limited) and that a few service issues need to be tweaked. I realize that the staff was a bit frazzled during most of our stay (due to the convention) but things such as – not receiving a wake-up call that we had placed – just shouldn’t happen at a resort that’s been running for eight months. We encountered a few of these glitches along the way. Some requests needed to be made 2-3 times. However, it was nothing that would discourage us from not recommending this resort to others.

Mexico, adults-only AI, etc. was all new to us.
In the end, it was a fantastic vacation.

If you’re reading this because you’re trying to decide whether or not you should vacation here or whether or not you should pay the extra $$$ over the other resorts – You really should.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
25  Thank shamrock0421
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso

Address: Carretera Chetumal - P. Juarez Km 309, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range: $392 - $1,014 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso 5*
Number of rooms: 310
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Directly on the long, fine, sandy beach of Playa Paraiso in Mexico's Riviera Maya. Top 5-star luxury. Quiet and relaxing. Personal butler and concierge service. 24 hour all inclusive service. 4 a la carte restaurants. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Playa Paraiso
Playa Paraiso Iberostar
Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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