Located approximately 20 min. north of Playa del Carmen is the Iberostar Playa Paraiso mega-resort complex. This mega-resort consists of 2,000 guest rooms spread across five resorts (from north to south and generally priced from least to most expensive are the following): Paraiso Del Mar, Paraiso Beach, Paraiso Lindo, Paraiso Maya, and the “crown jewel” of the entire resort–the adults-only Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso which happens to be off-limits to those not staying there. Overall, guests at this mega-resort complex have access to all resorts to the north of the resort at which they are booked which means the Paraiso Beach also has access to the Paraiso Del Mar. In addition, Paraiso Beach guests also have access to the shopping/commercial center which is located west of the Paraiso Maya and Lindo lobbies, and the P.B. Dye 18-hole golf course, Golf Club House, and driving range which sits west of the Paraiso Maya.
Since the complex is extremely large, there is a shuttle service which stops at various locations around all resorts as well as the shopping center, the spa and fitness center, and the golf course facilities. Most shuttles originate from the resort lobby entrance areas, but can also be summoned by calling the front desk. Those who want to go offsite can take advantage of the shuttle service available to Playa del Carmen with its shops, restaurants, and nightclubs. This service is not complimentary, however, and has a limited number of daily departures.
Guests entering the Paraiso Beach’s open-air lobby will find a lovely display of Colonial architecture with its large wrought iron chandelier, numerous arches, carved columns, and extensive use of stenciled wood carvings incorporated into and behind the reception desk. There are ponds and natural cenotes (limestone sinkholes filled with fresh water) just off the lobby and on the grounds which are home to various turtles, black and white swans, as well as flamingos. Peacocks also have the run of the property–it is not unusual to encounter one soon after arriving, while guests staying on the ground floor have been known to have frequent “visitors” sitting on their balcony ledge. Coatis are also numerous and tend to congregate wherever there is food–there are numerous posted signs requesting guests to avoid feeding any wildlife at the resort.
The major highlight of the Paraiso Beach is the enormous meandering pool situated between the Beach and Del Mar resorts. There are two major pool sections separated by Las Olas swim-up bar and the ice cream shop; an adults-only section, two additional swim-up bars, two in-pool Jacuzzis (non-heated), an activity section, as well as built-in tiled loungers at the end of the pool closest to the beach make this pool special. The most outstanding water feature (and one of the most photographed spots at the resort) is the grotto-inspired double waterfall at the westernmost pool section nearest to the lobby. The double waterfall hides a Jacuzzi (non-heated) in its center giving guests a secluded and shaded respite from the sun and heat. Surrounding the main pool are loungers, shade palapas, natural shade, and several swinging and non-swinging Bali beds (first come first served). There are many pool entrances/exits at various places along its periphery including a gradual entry and multiple sets of lengthy pool stairs.
The beach is very good for the northern stretch of the Riviera Maya–the sand is white, the beach is long and wide, and there are lots of loungers with shade palapas. Those who enjoy lazy hours in a hammock can also find a large hammock section on this stretch of the resort’s beach. There are some rocky outcroppings here, however, which necessitates the wearing of water shoes. A beach bar, snack shack, air rifle and archery range are located on the Paraiso Beach side, while the massage tables and dive shop are located on the Paraiso Del Mar side. Ocean swimming is possible, but snorkeling from the beach can be questionable.
Guest rooms, done in crème, yellow, and blue, are basic yet provide the necessities–mini-bars, digital safes, balconies, and showers are standard features. Unlike some of the other Paraiso resorts in this complex, the Paraiso Beach does offer guest rooms with ocean views, notably some of the Jr. Suites and the Presidential Jr. Suites. Also, there are no elevators at this resort which may be important for families with young children or individuals with mobility issues. Since the Paraiso Beach is one of the original Iberostar resorts in this area, guests may experience problems with their A/C unit–rooms may not be cold enough, or the unit may shut off periodically. This problem can often be resolved by calling the front desk to request a change in room temperature, so don’t waste time attempting to adjust the in-room thermostat.
Don’t forget to visit the shopping/commercial center located close to the Paraiso Maya and Lindo lobbies. Here is a short list of amenities located at the shopping center:
- primary mega-resort spa
- disco (teens and adults)
- restaurants (tacos, hamburgers, crepes, ice cream); all food and drink here are included in the AI package
- souvenirs/clothing stores
- cigar lounge
- small merry-go-round
- Casino (this amenity is in question given its history of limited availability)
Want to visit other Iberostar resorts? Guests are free to visit the Iberostar Cozumel or the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal for the day–transportation is an extra cost, however. Those who wish to learn more details about the resort can do so at www.ib-board.com.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Stay at one play at two, large pool with three swim-up bars, free WiFi
Con: Rooms need updating, no A/C in many restaurants, a la cartes are limited, slow WiFi speed
Best Suited For: Families with children age 4-10, golfers who don’t mind vacationing around lots of children
No. of Rooms: 424
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, sitting room area with small sofa and armchair, workplace station, ceiling fan, digital safe, mini-bar, flat screen TV, coffee maker, telephone, alarm clock, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, shower, toiletries, room service from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and complimentary WiFi for one device. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Standard: King or two dbl beds. Rooms with a king bed have a shower-only, while those with two dbl beds have a tub/shower combo. Garden or jungle view.
- Superior: King or two dbl beds. Rooms with a king bed have a shower-only, while those with two dbl beds have a tub/shower combo. These rooms have a “preferred” location–closer to the pool or the beach. Garden or jungle view.
- Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, robe and slippers, access to spa “wet” areas. Rooms with a king bed have a shower-only, while those with two dbl beds have a tub/shower combo. Garden or jungle view.
- Ocean View Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, robe and slippers, mini-bar snacks, access to spa “wet” areas, turndown service. Rooms with a king bed have a shower-only, while those with two dbl beds have a tub/shower combo. Ocean view.
- Ocean View Superior Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, robe and slippers, mini-bar snacks, access to spa “wet” areas, turndown service, in-room beach towels. Rooms with a king bed have a shower-only, while those with two dbl beds have a tub/shower combo. Partial ocean view and direct beach access.
- Presidential Oceanfront Jr. Suite: Two dbl beds, tub and separate shower, dbl sinks, bidet, CD/DVD player, robe and slippers, mini-bar snacks, access to spa “wet” areas, turndown service, aromatherapy, in-room beach towels, Nespresso coffee maker, unlimited a la carte reservations, welcome gift. These rooms are on the 2nd floor and have an ocean view.
- NOTE: There are no elevators. Building #30 is closest to the beach, #33 is closest to the Kid’s Club, #35 and #36 are closest to the dbl waterfall, and #40 and #41 are closest to the theater (noisy at night until 11:30 p.m.)
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Large freeform pool (with three swim-up bars, an adult’s-only area, built-in tiled loungers, and two in-pool Jacuzzis–non-heated), grotto dbl waterfall with center Jacuzzi (non-heated), small children’s pool, spa and beauty salon at the commercial center, fitness center south of the lobby on Paraiso Lindo grounds, tennis and basketball courts at the Lindo, bicycles (located next to the tennis courts and where the Segway tours begin), motorized and non-motorized water sports, archery and air rifle range, mechanical bull riding on the beach (seasonal), Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), playground, theater, games room, pool and beach wait service, beach hammock section, resort shuttle service, shuttle service to Playa del Carmen ($), golf with complimentary food and beverage north of Paraiso Maya, complimentary lobby WiFi for one device, gift shop, concierge, tour desk, ATM. Guests have full access to all amenities at the Paraiso Del Mar as well as the amenities at the shopping/commercial center.
Restaurants/Bars: This resort offers one full-time buffet restaurant (La Plaza), a breakfast and lunch buffet restaurant (El Puerto), and four onsite a la cartes including Japanese (Hashiru–teppanyaki show tables), steakhouse (El Puerto), gourmet/Italian (El Colonial), and Mexican (La Hacienda). A la cartes require advance reservations and are limited according to a guest’s stay–one a la carte reservation for every three nights stay. Food may also be obtained at the beach snack shack, while ice cream is also available. There are three swim-up bars, pool bar, beach bar, a lobby bar, and theater bar. Paraiso Beach guests have access to all bars and restaurants at the Paraiso Del Mar and at the shopping/commercial center.
Entertainment: There is an onsite theater with twice nightly shows–the first show is tailored around the performances of the children/teens who are guests, while the 2nd show is composed of variety acts for all ages. There are pool tables at the games room and two discos at the commercial center (one for teens and one for adults).