My wife and I originally reserved our vacation at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya but were offered an upgrade to the Grand Hotel Paraiso upon arrival to the hotel from the airport. At $25 per person per night (a limited time offer), we thought it was a steal of a deal. Staying at the premium hotel allowed us no limits and we could enjoy the amenities at any of the five resorts on site. We quickly realized that everything was so much better at the Grand Paraiso so that’s where we were at for most of our stay.
Without a doubt, the Iberostar Grand Paraiso Hotel is a true 5-star hotel, but not without its criticisms and room for improvement. Our first impression of the hotel was that the décor is a bit dirty and antiquated. The main lobby has a lot of fake looking gold-painted “boobs” on the wall, and dusty blown glass hanging from the ceiling. There’s a lot of worn carpeting in various areas too. It’s time for some needed renovations. Apart from that the grounds were spectacular – well-kept gardens and paths, lovely ceilings and beautiful cool marble floors.
The décor in the room is as antiquated as some areas of the lobby - heavy drapes and bedspreads. Dingy colors – a lot of reds, oranges, and yellows - filthy pillows that you quickly throw in a corner of the room for the week. Even the hot/cold water faucet knobs look like something you’d find in a bathtub from the 70’s with the fancy C and F for hot and cold. It would be so much better if a lot of that were modernized. Then again it might be what some people look for.
The buildings are wonderful in their design, very stunning to look at as you walk through the grounds, or on the beach. One criticism: it’s time to change the color from the drab yellow-white to something a little more lively. How about light-blue & white! That would be so much more pleasant to look at.
Apart from these minor criticisms, the hotel is really almost perfect. The wristbands, which are almost transparent for guests of the Grand Paraiso, save you from having a tan line on your wrist. There is free wifi throughout the hotel. You can stay online the whole time you’re on holiday to keep up with friends, family, and work while you’re away.
There are beautiful Michelangelo style frescos on the ceilings and comfortable couches to sit on in areas right outside of the rooms. The areas connecting the rooms are air conditioned, so you’re walking indoors for the most part. Everything is within close walking distance. It took us only a few seconds to walk from our room to the buffet, and only a few minutes to the lobby. There are shuttles that take you around to the other hotel lobbies whenever you want to go. You never have to wait for anything. There’s a shopping center, a bar at the Paraiso Maya that is a full-size replica of a Mayan temple, and beautiful warmly lit paths with emerald green colored water fountains at the Paraiso Lindo.
The food at the buffet was amazing. There was freshly squeezed fruit juice of every kind, at all times. Freshly baked croissants, pain au chocolat, fresh fruit including mangos, fresh figs (!!), everything you could ever want. There was smoked salmon, and pickled herring. They had these amazing poached-eggs on French-toast creations which were perfect for breakfast. I had two cappuccinos at every meal, the best ever. Everything was well done. Again my only criticism about the buffet, the décor – time for an upgrade – hanging drapes and drab curtains in various areas but there was so much to make up for it.
Hotel staff were incredibly friendly and involved – always smiling, always cheerful, happy to serve. We had Olivia greet us on our first day there and every day we had someone come and introduce themselves to us to let us know of events and activities that were happening at the resort. We got to know Bachir, Jenny, and Andre from “Star Friends”, who made us feel welcome every time they saw us… calling our names out with a big smile.
The beach was beautiful – and the nicest that I’ve ever been to in the Riviera Maya. Soft rolling waves and crystal clear water. Clean white sand. We had a butler on the beach that regularly came around offering everything from drinks, to cold wet towels. Having a bottomless bucket of ice for your drinks at the beach is something I’ve never experienced before and it really makes a difference. It was WONDERFUL.
We walked north to the other Iberostar hotel beaches right next door to us, the Paraiso Maya, Lindo, Beach, and Del-Mar. Unbelievably crowded, and with kids everywhere. We didn’t stay there long – we returned to our quiet beach at the Grand Hotel Paraiso. There was never a problem finding a spot – at one point we had two umbrellas at the same time. Some had big soft beach beds, some covered, some uncovered. Other umbrellas had big comfortable beach chairs. There was variety to choose from.
No towel cards (!) which was a first for me. You simply went to the counter, at the beach house, or even at your concierge, and asked for a towel. You could even leave it at the beach or at the pool. No harm done. It was one less thing to carry around and worry about, and no fear of penalty for a lost towel card. There weren’t any! I wonder if it was the same at the other four hotels.
The rooms had everything you needed. The safe had a six digit programmable code, and no key. Key cards to access the doors. The mini-fridge was constantly stocked with cold pop, beer, and bottled water. The maids were amazingly quick and timely to service the room. We had turn-down service provided almost every night with chocolates on our pillows and rose petals. We never had to ask for anything – everything was perfect.
One constructive criticism for hotel staff: We were on the second floor and there was one room above us. Several mornings while we were there we were awakened at 6am by loud footsteps and the sounds of moving furniture above us. My advice to the maids: if it says “do not disturb” on the door directly below the door that says “maid service needed”, do that room last please and give us the chance to sleep in. We’re on vacation after all! Thank you! As you can tell we got over it.
The grounds were stunning throughout the resort, including the other hotels - Colorful buildings, beautifully lit paths, and well-kept lawns. There were coati, peacocks, and white swans roaming freely throughout the grounds.
A criticism: Mosquitos!!! There was a LOT of mosquitos. Bring a can of bug-spray! There were some areas where you would get eaten alive. Mosquito bites and sunburns don’t mix! It may be time to spray the grounds with insecticide.
Overall I can comfortably say that I would return to the Iberostar Grand Paraiso Hotel in the future. Apart from some minor criticisms, the place is nicer than many of the other all-inclusive resorts that I have travelled to over the past few years. Highly recommended! Five out of five stars.
- 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 hours 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