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Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Nashville, Tennessee
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Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Iberostar Grand

My wife and I are repeat guests to the IBG. We first went in 2008, before building 72(other ocean front) was finished. We tried Secrets Maroma Beach last year. These are the only Mexico properties we have experience with. 

I would like to start by saying we had a great trip, had good weather, got nicely tan, and met several nice people. However, I feel the IBG needs a review. 

The Grand no longer deserves the title "Grand". 

Check In: We arrived to the Grand via Cancun Valet. Smooth pickup, easy transfer. We were greeted with a cool towel at the door and then straight to the check in desk. I informed the attendant we were repeat guests, but this made no difference. No upgrade for us. Not even a mention. We were then walked to our room on the ground level, our balcony looked out on the tranquility pool.

Room: The room was the exact same as our previous ocean front room. The rooms still have the old style, cathode ray tube TV's. Very few channels. No PPV available. We found that a bit disappointing. The bed is comfortable.  NOTE: if you return to your room and the key gives a green "unlocked" signal but the door handle won't work, try lifting up. Our door would only open if we lifted up. Weird. 


DINNER:             !!!!False Advertising!!!!

This was a big change from previous visit. the quality of food is is now much decreased. We had emailed ahead for our reservations and had 1 at each place. Part of what we thought we were paying for was a level of food and drink not available at other all inclusives. This is not the case. Without going in to specific menu choices and items, the restaurant food was only slightly better than a Ryans. Several nights restaurants were closed. Friday only the Surf and Turf was available but they had an Italian buffett. The only other choice we were given was to go to another property's restaurants. If i wanted to eat at the Mayan, i would have stayed at the Mayan. Why would we pay for the Grand if we had to eat at other resorts? We suffered the buffett and if the main restaurants were poor, this was much worse. Of note, we were also told via email when we made our reservations buffets would be available nightly. This is not true so don't count on it. MAKE RESERVATIONS EARLY!

LUNCH: fewer choices than when we last visited and again, lower quality options

BREAKFAST: very little change from previous visit.this is a very good breakfast buffet. 

Grounds: the grounds are well groomed and maintained. Still looks beautiful. The IBG is showing a little wear but nothing very noticeable. The inside spaces are clean. Bathrooms are clean. 

Pool: Main pool continues to be amazing. It's is a large oval infinity edged dream of a pool. I love being in this pool yet still able to the the ocean and sand. The capacity of the resort was maybe 50% so over crowding was not an issue. We only had one person playing the towel game. We saw his stuff(magazine from room and newspaper) on one of the canopies the first morning. After and 2 hours I asked for the pool manager, was told to talk to the towel person who the said "I guess it's ok to move it". She never came over to look or investigate. After lunch they came back and couldn't believe their stuff was moved.  Day 2 they put a small beach bag and a pair of flip-flops. They did not show all day. Day 3 my wife was out when he came by and called him on it. He said he was sorry and was only going to get breakfast and would be back(8am now). At 10 he wasn't back so stuff got moved. This place really needs a pool manager to address this issue.

Plenty of fresh towels. Comfortable loungers. 

The service at the pool was poor. They only had one or two ladies circling the pool and beach for drinks. Too much space for them to cover so getting a drink regularly was tough. 

The pool swim up bar was nice. It got a little crowded some days but was a great place to meet fellow guests. The bartenders here are very quiet and didn't interact much. I was hoping for a "Cocktails" style show occasionally to get the party going. I would have enjoyed some personality. Alas, they seemed to be just doing their job and waiting to go home.  They kept the drinks coming and remembered what you liked. 

Internet: !!! Big disappointment!!!  The wireless Internet is located only in the main lobby bar area. The rooms only have Ethernet. In a property this nice, advertised as "The Grand", how can they not have wifi everywhere? In addition to the poor coverage, it didn't always work. It was on and off during the days, able to connect but no Internet and off almost every night. The computer lab/library has 3 stations, but they only occasionally worked and rarely at the same time. This place is way behind the times. I asked concierge and front desk about this and they had no idea what the problem was nor how to fix it. Just told us "maybe tomorrow"

Summary: Enjoyed our return trip. Repeat guest made no difference. Food is average at best and not all restaurants are open. Pool service is poor/slow because they don't have enough employees, bartenders have limited personality/flair. TV options are poor with few channels and no PPV. NEEDS WIFI and consistent Internet!

We would not return to the Grand until we are sure the issues are resolved. 

COST is much greater than the quality of the product.

North Canton, Ohio
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1. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Wow , sorry to hear that your trip wasn't what you expected.It seems strange that they would close so many restaurant's at a 50% capacity. We really enjoyed the food ( except the Mexican Buffet ) and only had problems getting drinks until they raised the staff level do to large groups. Did you take your concerns to the management ?

Edited: 17 July 2011, 23:28
Richmond, BC
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2. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

...and now I only have 5 min to get my popcorn before the show started...

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3. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Extra butter on mine, please... :-)

We were first time guests and had a great experience-- we thought it surpassed our previous very good experiences at a Secrets and a Dreams property.

Like you, we emailed ahead of time and received a list of the nightly buffet themes-- knowing that Wednesday and Sundays were buffet-only nights, we knew we had no other choice (besides offsite) those nights. We were looking forward to the Mexican buffet night, as I love authentic Mexican dishes, and it didn't disappoint. We pre-booked a la cartes for the first 4 non-buffet nights, and enjoyed all of them as well.

We had an oceanfront room, and it had a cable box with PPV movies. As mentioned elsewhere, our ancient TV was on maybe 2 hours over the course of our 9-night stay. Of course, we spent a lot of time on our balcony, enjoying the view. During the couple mornings of rains, we kept busy in the main building.

We had an identical experience with our door lock-- almost all the time, it worked fine by pushing down. The one time it didn't, the butler suggested lifting up, and lo and behold, it worked! Must have been the humidity affecting the alignment of the lock, but I imagine this wouldn't affect the main building rooms, with the interior, climate controlled hallways. (I did notice one morning seemed like the A/C wasn't on in the Bldg 72 hallway-- do they shut it down at night?)

I commend you two for your persistence with the towel game players. With only one player, though, I doubt I would have done anything-- there were also plenty of chairs/cabanas to go around. Did they still have cabanas without tops?

I understand your frustration with the lack of wifi, but it's a well-known fact that the rooms have wired connections. I brought my own wireless and it worked great in the room, on my balcony, and even under a palapa on the beach. I had planned ahead with longer cables to try to get coverage at the pool (by moving my access point close to the entrance door), but never bothered with it.

Sounds like you had some expectations which weren't met-- did previous bartenders put on a show? Did other repeat guests get upgrades?

North Canton, Ohio
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4. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

I seem to remember PPV channels too , although we didn't use the TV that much. Don't remember any trouble with the door lock. We have been there 3 times and never did see entertaining bartenders although they were all very friendly and served great drinks. We did enjoy the Mexican buffet in 2010 alot more than this year, there was a bigger selection that year, but I think that there was still at least one restaurant open other than the buffet in May, maybe more. I don't know about the upgrade thing, we booked the Of ahead of time because thats what we wanted.

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5. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Sorry your return wasn't up to your expectations. Our first trip was in Dec '09 during the swine flu scare and the second in Dec '10 we noticed a slight drop off in a few areas, mostly beach drink service, that picked up once they added more staff. We also had buffet only nights twice in 14 nights, did the buffet once and the Cajun once but I agree that they should never close all the a la cartes. Didn't have any issues with breakfast or lunch or notice any real channges.

Never watched that much Tv but I think my friend's wife did do PPV or borrow DVDs once or twice. Never had the door problem either but my friend did in their oceanfront room and I heard others say they had the same issue seems like an odd problem to have.

Never saw any of the bartenders put on a show, a few bartenders at the different bars would flip bottles, toss ice cubes in the air etc. but nothing I would call show bartending. The guys at the pool bar in December were friendly and like to talk and would make unordered rounds of shots and try to get people to have good time.

Lots of the resorts lack wifi because of the reinforced concrete construction, last two years took a laptop and cable this year, if I go back, might take my own wifi like geek just so I can take my tablet instead. Never had issues with the signal in the lobby and even got one of the balcony (building 73) and bella vista as well as the snake bar.

Upgrades, even for returning guests, is always a crap shoot with the Iberostars another one of their oddities.


Erie, Colorado
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for Playa Paraiso
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6. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Is there a resort in Mexico that you have been to that had Wifi? I agree, that would be nice. But, for me personally, not worth considering.

The drink service thing is a big one for me. I have experienced that a couple times at the Grand. Last year it was on the beach, so I moved the next day to a different area and found the most awesome Humberto, who never left me wanting for anything.

Upgrades are a crap shoot at the Grand. Our first time we were offered an ocean view as an upgrade. And every time after that, except for my 6th visit when we were not given an upgrade. I really believe people should consider an upgrade a bonus and really need to quit expecting it.

It's lousy when a resort doesn't meet your expectations. I recently experienced that. Let us know where you will try next.

Richmond, BC
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7. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Much cheaper resort Catalonia Playa Maroma provides free wifi in all its rooms...

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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for Cancun, Riviera Maya, Negril
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8. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

"Is there a resort in Mexico that you have been to that had Wifi?"

LeBlanc has free and fast WiFi in the rooms.

Grand Velas does as well.

Sorry to hear the repeat visit at The Grand was not up to the previous experience. This has been reported several times recently. I agree that for that price, I don't want to be sent to the Mayan, etc. for dinner when paying for and expecting to enjoy the Grand.

Midland, Canada
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9. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Many resports in Mexico have Wi-Fi, most of the upper end resorts provide it for free.

Stowe, Vermont
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10. Re: Hotel Review - Iberostar Grand July 2011 - Dissapointing

Royal Hideaway had very good wifi.

I have not been to the Grand since around the time of the H1N1 scare but it seems since then that people report that that the food service has fallen off.

I wish, oh how I wish they would do away with the reservation system and revamp the menus, especially the gourmet restaurant.