After several weeks of research, we decided to go with the Grand; I am glad we did. This review will be quite lenghty, but I hope I can eliminate some hours/days of research for someone out there reading this. Some of this review may seem very negative, but it is all relative to the amount you are paying to stay here.When you pay top dollar, you will find yourself looking at everything under a microscope.
I would recommend USA private transfers. They are much cheaper than the transfers "included" in your vacation package. After we walked the gauntlet of cabbies/timeshare folks, USA transfers was there with a sign waiting for us. After just a few minutes of very pleasant conversation, a brand new van was there and we were off to the resort.
We were greeted with a cold towel, champagne, and manderin sours (yum). Check in was longer than expected, but not a big deal. We upgraded $60 per night for a ocean front room and had to wait a couple hours for the room to be ready. Sarari was the person that checked us in and she was very polite and friendly; she made a great first impression.
The resort is immaculate. Very clean, well groomed, nothing out of place. Rooms are cleaned twice a day
Very nice. Bathrooms were large. Loved the view from the balcony sitting out on the swing and taking an afternoon nap. Some minor flaws like the wrong remote, old tv's, warmer room some nights, fridge seemed warm and then there is the puzzling light switches and auto lights.You have a gaziilion light switches and automatic lights that went off and on for no apparent reason....it was worth a good laugh when you were in the bathroom. All and all, very nice room and I am sure if I asked, someone would have been to the room and explained or fixed everything....no biggie.
Great pool. Just enough activity to be fun but not spring break like. If you wanted to relax you could; if you wanted to participate in daily activities you could do that as well. The STAR FRIENDS were very nice and didn't push anyone into anything, they were there to inform everybody about the days activities.
From what I saw, everything was top shelf and you didn't have to ask for it. The drinks were made perfect. Anything you wanted, they would make. Daniel at the pool bar was the best! Very nice guy and always had a smile on his face. If you didn't know what you wanted, just tell him what you liked and he would mix up something for you. We went next door to the ajoining property one day and had a drink and you could tell the difference...huge difference.
Just a nice place to hang out and people watch after dinner. Once again, everything was top shelf. If you like to drink, you will not be dissapointed.
The nightlife is a bit slow at the resort, but if you know that going in you won't be dissapointed. They put on a show every night that is pretty good. A little cheesy, but they do a great job. There is a "disco" that we didn't go to, but everybody that went there said it was mostly the employees that were there. I think people go to this resort to have a good time during the day and not stay out all night like in our college days. My wife and I layed out on the beach chairs a few nights...kind of spooky because there is no one else around, but we did see security walking around a few times very discreetly.
If there is one fault I have with the resort is the food and the service in serving the food. Don't get me wrong, the service all around at the resort is top notch, but the service at the a la cartes were pretty slow. Now, that may be the culture, but it is something I am not use to. We had to wait at least 10 minutes after being seated for a drink at most of the restaurants....and no, they were not busy. As other reviews have mentioned, the restaurants are 30% full if that, but they are always "booked". I asked about this and one of the butlers told me it was so you could have a personnal experience at dinner. Well, 10 minutes for a drink and 40 minutes for an appetizer is not my idea of a personal experience. The food is just okay. I don't know about the seafood because I am not a seafood eater, but the meat dishers were just okay. I have had better food at other places I have stayed. I guess when you spend this amount of money you expect a WOW at dinner, but I don't think you will get that. The buffets were good, not great. There are a lot of choices and they would make you anything you wanted...the Kobe beef burgers were the best! No one in our party got sick, nor did anyone that we met, so that is always a bonus. I met a meat buyer that was staying there and he explained that the meat we were eating at the Grand was the top notch you were going to get in Mexico, but it is nothing compared to what we eat here in the states. He was correct, we went to another restaurant that ajoined the property and ended back up at the buffet.The steak there was horrible and everything tasted like pork.
Our favorite was the steakhouse, followed by the Japenese. We have already discussed the next trip that we will make reservations at one or both of these places every night.
Don't let this me a deal breaker, you will find something there you like to eat. Just don't expect the best steak you have ever eaten to be here, becuse its won't be. I think that's why I was a little dissapointed, I was expecting much more.
Not enough I can say here. EVERYONE has a smile on their face and are very friendly. Like other reviewers have said, it's not a fake friendly, I really believe they love working here. Everybody will go out of their way to accomodate you and make you feel welcome. If you need somethng, just ask! The Star friends were great, especially Edurado...funny guy. Carlos the waiter was one of the nicest waiters I have ever met. Most eveyone remembered you by face and some remembered you by name....very impressive. I only ran across a couple servers that were not friendly, I have to think it could be a language barrier. I noticed the staff that could speak English fairly well were always the ones that were nicer. That leads me to this...I could not believe how well eveybody spoke English, it blew me away. Some even could follow conversations we were having in slang terms....very impressive, not to mention eye opening.
Smooth, fast and no hassles. USA transfers was there 5 minutes early...I highly recommend these guys.
Other than not supplying tissue at checkout for the tears because we had to leave, this place is top notch. (LOL)
I will be back. I will not look for any other resort to stay at in Mexico. From my experience and asking other people, this seems like the best place to stay. We had our choice down between Secrets, Excellence, and the Grand. Funny thing is, most of the folks we talked to had their choices down to these three as well. Some people we met had been to all three, but keep coming back to the Grand year after year.
BOOK IT, you won't regret it.
- 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