I will start by saying this is the first all inclusive hotel I have ever stayed at but, the reviews of this property overrode any trepidation I had. It is expensive to stay here and I had high expectations.
Let me begin by giving you the overall impression. It's big, grounds are taken care of but the property could use some painting and freshening up. Lots of flaking paint, water stains, worn, faded rugs, furniture was an odd mixture of contemporary and traditional...many pieces showing their age. You get the idea. I will agree with one reviewer here...the mats for the lounge chairs are thin, hard and uncomfortable...not luxurious in any way...I doubled them up and it sort of worked. The beach and main pool area were very pretty...I didn't go to the Serenity pool because the walkway over there from the main pool had a strong rotten egg smell...an adequate deterrent. The hotel also had a lot of water leaks from rain getting in from the ceilings. It was also off putting that even after sunset...many of the chandeliers in the entryway to the main building were not on...kind of desolate looking. Perhaps they were conserving energy? The gym was small and hot but, adequate for my needs.
The rooms themselves were large, very comfortable with private balconies. This was a plus. When we checked in...I asked for an upgrade since we were celebrating an anniversary. I was told the hotel was at capacity (didn't see many people though) so they couldn't do an upgrade. It was okay...we were checking in early (2pm) so I was happy they had a room ready. My happiness was short lived once we arrived at the room...it was nice but smelled like a musty basement. We asked for another room and were told we would need to wait an hour. Ok...we had our suits and despite the gray skies...headed for the hot tub to wait for our room. We were told an hour later after we called to check in that the new room wouldn't be avail until 5:30pm. If check in is at 3, I found it hard to believe that at 3:30pm there was no other room ready. Even more annoying was the lack of manager involvement despite my request to speak to one. We did get an "ocean view" room by the Serenity pool in the main building...view wasn't great...barely any ocean to look at but, at this point we wanted to get settled. No butler came that day after our room was switched.
The staff...(with the exception of the check in staff)...they were wonderful and really aim to please...all in all a pleasant bunch. Our butler Fernando who was assigned to us the next day did his best to make up for our check in debacle...he was wonderful to deal with. Natalia, our concierge was a pleasure as well. We did get massages at the spa at the shopping center and it was awesome. One issue we did have was how long it took to get things brought up to us. Over an hour or more in many cases. I don't blame the staff, I just don't think management handles things in an efficient manner. We were also put off by the hotel's unwillingness to make change. At the rates they charge, having that amenity should be a no brainer. Especially since the staff depends on tips.
Now for the big one...food. The only restaurant worth eating at was Haiku...the Japanese restaurant. It was ok...sushi was sub par but hibachi items were acceptable. Nick & Toni's was a letdown. Didn't eat at the the other places based on what fellow travelers said. Had buffet for breakfast and it was fine. The lunch buffet wasn't great but, ask for fajitas...they will make them for you and they were decent. Dinner buffet was forgettable. As some pics on here show paella and steak grilling by the pool...I didn't see any of that taking place. Drinks were hit or miss...pool bar closed at 6. Kind of early.
I was not impressed by the Grand and will go as far to say definitely let down. I was not the only one as many of the other guests felt the same way. Overpaid and underwhelmed. I really wanted to love this place but, it didn't live up to the hype. The saving grace was that we didn't pay $3000.00 on a package like many others who stayed for 4 days because we used JetBlue points. We tipped the staff very well because they deserved it but, I don't think we will be returning. Sorry.
- 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