Located 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 separate 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–Paraiso Lindo guests have access to the Paraiso Beach and Del Mar. Even though the Lindo and Maya resorts share some of the same amenities (re. the large pool areas), Lindo guests won’t be served at the Paraiso Maya lobby bar or its a la carte restaurants (some Maya a la cartes you can pay extra for). On the other hand, Lindo guests are free to choose from 12 other restaurants at which to dine.
When vacationers step into the Paraiso Lindo they know they have found a unique setting. The lobby and reception area resembles an ancient monastery with multiple, intricately carved chairs one would see in an old Catholic church; behind the reception desk is an altar-like piece covered in gold leaf, and a stained glass window panel and wrought iron chandeliers adorn the ceiling. Water and water features are a central part of this resort, and the trend begins here with a rectangular lobby fountain graced with Tiffany-style glass pieces along with a floor-to-ceiling aquarium in the somewhat small adjacent lobby bar. Fountains and ponds surround the lobby, reception, and restaurant areas making this an enjoyable part of the resort to stop and linger; lighting makes these areas particularly breathtaking during the evening. Palapa covered walkways over the water features not only provide shade during a sunny day but also keep commuting guests dry on rainy ones as well.
The pools at Paraiso Lindo offer a variety of choices for adults and children. A more recent addition to the resort is the children’s small water park, while just a short distance away from the Kid’s Club is the lazy river where guests can grab a flotation tube provided by the resort, buy one from the nearby stand, or use one brought from home (the towel hut can inflate one for you). Adjacent to the lazy river is the rectangular sports pool, while on the other side of the pool bar is the wave pool. The wave pool is the first of its kind in the Riviera Maya and is easily identified by a small Mayan temple replica with waterfalls on both sides–one side generates the waves while the other waterfall leads to the large main pool. A loud, ten second horn blast signals the waves which last for 20 minutes at a time on the hour until 4 p.m.
The main pool is on the east side of the wave pool and continues to the end of the guest room buildings. it has a lengthy swim-up bar, half of which is covered by a waterfall, while two Jacuzzis (non-heated) are located in the pools’ center. Loungers are located at various points along the main pool with the most popular ones by the swim-up bar or with shade being reserved early in the day (typically gone by 7 a.m.).
Those who like to easily walk from pool to beach will have to tolerate walking across a bridge through a mangrove forest in order to get back and forth between these two areas. The beach shared by the Paraiso Lindo and Maya is quite nice with white sand, clear water, and a few offshore ocean bottom rocks, while many shade palapas and numerous loungers are available for guests on the beach. Motorized and non-motorized water sports are available beachfront along with a small air rifle and archery range. There is a beach bar and buffet/snack shack–be sure to try the paella prepared and served on the beach either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the weather.
Guest room buildings at the Lindo are colorfully done in periwinkle, orange, yellow, and fuschia–this may help in identifying one’s room location since this is a very large resort. All guest room buildings have a concierge who will help solve room issues and make dinner reservations. There are no regular ocean view/oceanfront rooms here due to the mangrove forest at the edge of the beach, but the Presidential Jr. Suites do have a partial ocean view–building #50 is closest to the beach.
All Pariaiso guests have access to the shopping/commercial center which is located just west of the Paraiso Maya and Lindo lobbies. Here is a short list of amenities located at the shopping center:
- primary mega-resort spa (Paraiso Lindo guests have complimentary access to “wet” spa areas)
- 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)
Since this is a very large complex, there is a shuttle service which stops at various locations around the resorts, the shopping center, and the nearby 18-hole golf course for those guests who have mobility problems or for those who don’t wish to walk. Most shuttles originate from resort lobby entrances and can also be summoned by the guest building concierge. Also, guests are free to visit sister Iberostar resorts (Iberostar Cozumel and Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal) for the day–transportation is an extra cost. Those who wish to learn more details about the resort can do so at www.ib-board.com.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Wave pool, lazy river, stay at one play at three, good for golfers
Con: Rooms need updating, slow lazy river, complimentary WiFi for only one device, have to pay extra for the “baby kitchen” with baby amenities (re. bottle sterilizer, microwave, etc.)
Best Suited For: Families with children ages 0-17, golfers who don’t mind vacationing around lots of kids
No. of Rooms: 446
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, ceiling fan, digital safe, mini-bar, flat screen TV, coffee maker, telephone, alarm clock, iron/ironing board, robes, hair dryer, tub/shower combo, toiletries, building concierge service, 24-hr. room service, and complimentary WiFi for one device. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Standard: King or two dbl beds, table and two chairs. Garden view.
- Superior: King or two dbl beds, table and two chairs, small sofa. These rooms have preferred locations (nearer to the pool or beach).
- Pool View Standard: King or two dbl beds, table and two chairs. Pool view.
- Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, desk and chair, small sofa, coffee table, turndown service, aromatherapy, beach towels provided in the room. Close to pools or beach. Garden view.
- Honeymoon Jr. Suite: King bed, desk and chair, small sofa, coffee table, balcony Jacuzzi, tub and separate shower, dbl sinks, turndown service, aromatherapy, fresh flower arrangement, upgraded mini-bar with snacks. Garden view.
- Presidential Jr. Suite: Two dbl beds, sitting room area with two large plush chairs, coffee table, large desk and chair, Nespresso coffee maker, customizable mini-bar, robe and slippers, Jacuzzi tub and separate shower, upgraded toiletries, turndown service, fresh flower arrangement, aromatherapy, beach towels provided in the room. Partial ocean view.
- NOTE: There are no elevators with guest room buildings being three floors. Building #55 is closest to the theater and the children’s facilities (potentially noisy), while building #50 is closest to the beach.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Access to five onsite pools (main pool with swim-up bar, wave pool, lazy river, activities pool, and small children’s pool), two Jacuzzis (non-heated) in the main pool, children’s water park (ages 4-12), spa and beauty salon at the commercial center (with complimentary access to “wet” spa areas), motorized and non-motorized water sports, mechanical bull riding on the beach (seasonal), fitness center (Segway tours leave from here), baby kitchen with baby amenities ($), Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), playground, teen club (ages 13-17), games room, pottery painting ($), giant chess, theater, shuttle service to Playa del Carmen ($), resort shuttle service, golf with complimentary food and beverage just north of the resort, complimentary lobby WiFi for one device, gift shop, clothing store, jewelry store, car rental, ATM. Guests have full access to all amenities at the Paraiso Beach and Del Mar resorts as well as the amenities at the shopping/commercial center.
Restaurants/Bars: This resort offers one full-time buffet restaurant (La Pagoda), a breakfast and lunch buffet restaurant by the main pool (El Fogon), a snack shack on the beach (Coco Buffet), and three a la cartes including French (El Museo), seafood (Fogon Mediterraneo), Cajon (Jambalaya), and steakhouse (El Fogon). A la carte dining requires advance reservations with no limits on the number of a la carte dinners. Guests may reserve two a la carte dinner reservations in advance and book the rest upon arrival. This resort also prepares and serves paella on the beach once per week, ice cream treats above the swim-up bar, as well as foods at the commercial center and Golf Club House. The lobby bar area also offers pastries and small sandwiches. There is a lobby bar, swim-up bar, pool bar/juice bar, beach bar, and theater bar. Paraiso Lindo guests have access to all bars and restaurants at the Paraiso Beach and Del Mar in addition to the bars at the shopping/commercial center.
Entertainment: There is an onsite theater at the Lindo with three nightly shows–the first show is tailored to the children, the 2nd show typically highlights adult guest volunteers, while the third show offers variety acts for all ages. There are pool tables at the games room and two discos at the commercial center (one for adults and one for teens).