We visited the Grand from April 22-May 1. This was our second stay at this hotel and it was just as wonderful as the first time. We were wondering if it was really as Grand and we thought it was our first time and our return trip did not disappoint. It makes me wonder if the people who left the mediocre/poor reviews stayed at the same place we did.
CHECK-IN: We were greeted with drinks and cool towels, received a warm "welcome back", and were given a room exactly where we requested (building 72 near the tranquility pool). The room was not ready yet (we arrived about Noon) but once we returned after having lunch the room was ready and the bellboy immediately brought us and our luggage to our room. A few minutes later the Butler showed up to show us how the lights, safe, and AC worked, and asked if we needed anything else. We also had a welcome cheese and fruit plate along with a bottle of champagne.
ROOM: Very clean and spacious. Plenty of storage for hanging clothes and shelves. Only 2 drawers. Includes in-room safe and fridge stocked with whatever you want. Bathroom was large with 2 separate sinks, shower, tub, and w/c. The bed was very comfortable. I wish it could have been a little cooler, but overall it was fine.
BEACH: We go on vacation for the beach, not to sit by a pool. The beach was wide with plenty of palapas. I was on the beach by 7:30 every morning to make sure we could sit where we wanted to, but there were palapas available all throughout the day. Yes, some people "reserve" a palapa and never use it, but you just have to ignore it and worry about yourself. The only down side are the rocks in the water. It's not an issue when the water is calm and you can see where they are, but when the surf is rough it can be tough to know where it's safe to be without bumping into them.
POOL: The pool is large and very refreshing. You never felt crowded even when there were quite a few people in it. I noticed a few missing tiles, but definitely did NOT see the black slime another reviewer purportedly saw. We never sat by the pool, so I can't really comment on the availability of chairs around the pool.
SERVICE: This is what really sets Iberostar apart from other resorts. Everyone from the bellboys, the concierge, butler, hostesses, bartenders, waiters, and especially the Star Friends work extremely hard to make you feel truly welcome. You never had to tell them your name more than once and they remembered it the rest of your stay. Several staff members (Star Friends, bartenders, and waiters) came up to us immediately and said "I know you...you've been here before...welcome back". They had to have met several thousand people over the past 11 months, but yet they remembered we were repeat guests. They seemed genuinely happy that we chose to return. Some of the most memorable people were: Star Friends Eduardo, Abraham, and Christian...Claribel the hostess...Humberto at the lobby bar (makes the best margaritas)...Marcelino at the pool bar...Reyes with bottles of water on the beach (always showing up at just the right time)...Olivia and Natalia preparing some of the best food!...and numerous waiters with their prompt and attentive service at all the restaurants and buffet, especially Yaphet.
FOOD: The food was very good to excellent. The buffet changed daily while keeping some items the same. Everything is prepared fresh right in front of you. You have to remember where you are. As good as Toni's Surf & Turf is, it's not going to be the Capitol Grille, nor is the seafood going to be what you're used to in a seaport like Boston or Seattle. The Japanese restaurant was fun and a good way to meet other guests. Don't miss Mexican Night at the Buffet on Sundays...after all you're in Mexico so load up on the tacos, tostadas, taquitos, etc! But no matter where you eat, the staff are all very accommodating.
BOTTOM LINE: It is evident that every employee wants to make sure that your vacation is the best that it can be. We would certainly not hesitate to return to this resort a 3rd time.
- 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