Located 20 min. north of Playa del Carmen is the Iberostar Playa Paraiso mega-resort complex. This mega-resort consists of roughly 2,000 guest rooms spread across five separate resorts (from north to south and generally priced from least to most expensive are the following): Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar, Iberostar Paraiso Beach, Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, Iberostar Paraiso Maya, and the “crown jewel” of the entire resort–the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso.
Since the Grand is the most expensive and exclusive resort in the complex, guests are free to enjoy all pools, bars, and restaurants at the other four resorts. In addition, they also have access to the shopping center which is located between the lobbies of the Maya and the Lindo. Here is a short list of amenities located at the shopping center:
- primary mega-resort spa
- restaurants (tacos, hamburgers, crepes, ice cream); all food and drink are included in the AI package
- souvenirs/clothing stores
- cigar lounge and cantina
- small merry-go-round
- small, brand new casino with slots, black jack, and roulette
Just a short distance from the shopping center is the Golf House and Driving Range. Those staying at the Grand have complimentary rounds of golf at the adjacent P.B. Dye’s Playa Paraiso Golf Club course depending on length of stay (three nights=one free round of golf excluding clubs, golf balls, and shoes). Snacks and drinks, including beer and tequila, are included for all-inclusive guests at the many food carts situated around the course.
This resort is part of the Iberostar “Grand” collection–five-star luxury resorts offering the highest level of quality and service. In fact, it was just awarded Trip Advisor’s top Travelers’ Choice Award for Mexico’s all-inclusive resorts. Built with Neoclassical architectural styling and details, guests will marvel at the many painted domed ceilings, the Roman columns, opulent lighting fixtures, and the lovely domed atrium just off the reception and lobby bar area. There is extensive use of marble with intricate inlaid mosaic-tiled patterns used throughout the property; the grounds are immaculate and meticulously maintained. Guests will appreciate the many covered walkways as they traverse certain resort areas–a huge benefit with inclement weather. Although the Grand appears to be a rather large property, it is only a ten minute walk from reception to beach. Those who don’t wish to walk can request golf cart service. Shuttle service is also available to other areas of this mega-resort.
There are three onsite pools–the infinity saltwater pool with swim-up bar and four heated Jacuzzis near the beach, the “quiet” or tranquility pool flanked by Jacuzzis on the south side of the resort, and the heated indoor pool with retractable roof in the onsite spa which any Grand guest may access. Wait service is available at the outdoor pools, while the main pool offers additional butler service (access to tanning lotions, misters, insect repellent, and reading selection–they can also help find a lounger or shade umbrella). There are plenty of loungers poolside and some cabanas which are first-come first-served (there is a much better chance of getting a cabana at the “quiet” pool since there are more of them).
The beach here gets mixed reviews since part of it offers a rocky shoreline. Better ocean entry can be found on either end of the Grand’s beach–either at the adjacent resort, the Paraiso Lindo/Maya, or further to the south just beyond the Grand’s beach area. Fixed palapas provide shade, loungers have comfy cushions, the sand is white and soft, the beach is wide and long, while the ocean has moderate wave action. Snorkeling off the beach is typically not the best, but the onsite dive and water sport center can help arrange snorkeling/diving excursions while water sports equipment can be obtained at the north end of the Grand (just past guest room building #70). Guests looking for some adventure and exercise can take a beach stroll 30 min. south to Playa Maroma, one of the ten best beaches in the world, according to the Travel Channel.
Guest room categories at the Grand offer multiple choices ranging from Standard Suites to Presidential Suites. Oceanfront Superior Suites have awesome balcony Jacuzzis with fantastic views, while Honeymoon Villas have homey living room areas, in-room hammocks, private plunge pools, and grass-covered backyards (they are also secluded from the rest of the resort on the south side of the property in guest room building #75). While personal butlers are supposed to aid in the initial explanation of room amenities for all guests, higher-end suites offer Grand Star service which includes duties such as packing, unpacking, overnight ironing service, and in-room check-in. NOTE: If booking the Grand on the web, make sure you are booking what you want in terms of room choice. There is a lot of discrepancy between travel websites when listing guest room categories, not all websites offer all room categories.
This resort is perfect for the discriminating traveler who enjoys luxury, comfort, and the “best of the best”. It is frequented by honeymooners, affluent middle age/older couples (40+), and golfers who enjoy luxury accommodations. Additional information on Iberostar resorts may be obtained by visiting www.ib-board.com, or http://iberostarrocks.com.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Stay at one play at five, heated indoor pool, complimentary rounds of golf for 3+ nights stay
Con: Butler service can be inconsistent, rocky shoreline, can be pricey
Best Suited For: Golfers who like staying at a 5-star resort, honeymooners, couples age 40+
No. of Rooms: 312
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, ceiling fan, living room/seating area, digital safe, mini-bar with small bottles of premium liquor/wine, flat screen TV, radio alarm clock with cell phone charger/iPod dock, CD/DVD player, coffee maker, two telephones, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, umbrella, pillow menu, aromatherapy, concierge and butler service, hair dryer, dbl sinks, dbl Jacuzzi tub, shower, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, complimentary access to “wet” spa areas (pool, hydrotherapy circuit, sauna, steam room), complimentary rounds of golf depending on length of stay, and complimentary WiFi. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Standard Suite: King or two dbl beds, sunken seating area with chaise lounge, table with two chairs, balcony with hanging dbl chair and loveseat. Garden or jungle view.
- Pool View Suite: King bed, sunken seating area with chaise lounge, table with two chairs, balcony with hanging dbl chair and loveseat. View of the “quiet” pool. Building #72, ground or first floor.
- Superior Suite: King or two dbl beds, chaise lounge, table with two chairs, balcony with hanging dbl chair and loveseat. Upper floors, some have pool views.
- Priority Location Suite:: King or two dbl beds, chaise lounge, table with two chairs, balcony with hanging dbl chair and loveseat. Top floor in buildings #72 or #74.
- Ocean View Suite: King or two dbl beds, chaise lounge, table with two chairs, balcony with hanging dbl chair and loveseat. Located on the corner of the top floor of building #74. There are only five of these.
- Oceanfront Suite: King or two dbl beds, chaise lounge, table with two chairs, balcony with hanging dbl chair and loveseat. Ground or first floor, ocean view.
- Superior Oceanfront Suite: King bed, chaise lounge, table with two chairs, balcony with Jacuzzi, hammock, table and several chairs, padded lounger. Ocean view.
- Priority Location Oceanfront Suite: King or two dbl beds, chaise lounge, table with two chairs, balcony with hanging dbl chair and loveseat. Top floor, ocean view.
- Superior Oceanfront Corner Suite: King bed, chaise lounge, table with two chairs, wrap-around balcony/terrace with Jacuzzi, loveseat, table and chairs, entryway with table and two chairs. Ocean view.
- Secluded Villa/Honeymoon Suite: Bungalow-style suite with canopied four poster king bed, table and two chairs, living room area with sofa, two armchairs, coffee table, in-room hammock, large bathroom shower, private outdoor garden with daybed, table and four chairs, plunge pool. Each suite’s yard is fully enclosed for privacy.
- Presidential Suite: Separate bedroom with king bed, chaise lounge, table and chair, flat screen TV, bureau, walk-in closet, living room with two sofas, coffee table, flat screen TV, armoire, writing desk, adjoining dining area with table and six chairs, kitchenette with sink, full refrigerator, two stovetop burners, microwave, toaster, utensils for four, full bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, separate shower, gel dispensers, half-bathroom, balcony with Jacuzzi, hammock, table and two chairs, small daybed, lounger. Guests have unlimited golf privileges at P.B. Dye’s Playa Paraiso Golf Club course.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Three pools (saltwater infinity with swim-up bar, tranquility, and indoor pools), six outdoor Jacuzzis, onsite spa with complimentary “wet” areas + hydrotherapy circuit, onsite fitness center (classes are held at the newly renovated fitness center adjacent to the tennis courts over by the Lindo resort), onsite dive shop, non-motorized water sports, golf with complimentary greens fees/food/beverage if staying three or more nights, onsite putting green by the main pool, bicycle tour, billiards room, cigar room, atrium, access to adjacent Iberostar resorts, access to the shopping center, theater (A/C), concierge, butler service, pool and beach wait service, cabanas, internet room, tour desk, gift shop, jewelry store, car rental.
Restaurants/Bars: Two buffets (poolside Bella Vista and beachfront La Brisa), Italian (Venezia), Japanese (Haiku–no teppanyaki show), surf and turf (Toni’s), and gourmet (Latelier). A la cartes require reservations; the first few nights may be reserved in advance via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Food and drink at the shopping center is included in the AI package price, and guests are free to dine at any of the adjacent Iberostar resort restaurants (their a la cartes also require reservations). There are six onsite bars including the swim-up/pool bar, lobby bar, Rhapsody music bar, cigar bar, theater bar, and juice bar. Bars at adjacent Iberostar resorts are also available for guests’ use.
Entertainment: An onsite theater with A/C provides evening entertainment, live music at the lobby bar, Casino night, billiards room, while the shopping center offers a disco. Guests may visit other adjacent Iberostar resorts to sample their evening entertainment.