I just returned from 5 days at the Iberostar Paraiso Beach / Del Mar, from Oct. 8 to Oct. 12. I went for a mother / daughters getaway. My mother is 65, my sister and I are in our early 30s.
As a point of reference, I consider myself pretty well traveled and have previously been to the Riviera Maya on 3 other occasions, staying at the Riu Playcar, Aventura Spa Palace and the Riu Cancun. This was my first Iberostar experience. We booked through Beachdestinations.com without any problems, and got a very good deal.
Before leaving, I had heard (on Trip Advisor) that the Beach / Del Mar resort was closed and that perhaps we would be upgraded to the Lindo. Not the case. Our van driver (Best Day Travel) said that they had just reopened the Beach / Del Mar. It showed. We were placed in a room on the Beach side of the resort when we checked in.
Check in: There was only one man working the desk. He was very friendly and helpful, but was checking in 3 different groups at the same time. He seemed a bit overworked, between the phone ringing, people asking questions, etc. He didn't give us a map or any paperwork, just our wristbands. While this didn't bother us, it does show that the place is running under capacity and with reduced staff.
The Grounds: 5 stars here. The resort is beautiful. It is large and spread out (a lot of walking) but we liked that. Very tropical, with lots of birds (flamingos) and fish in the ponds surrounding the lobby area. Everything was very clean. Be prepared to walk.
The Room: Nice, not luxury (but we didn't pay for luxury, so I think it was great for the price.) AC worked fine; housekeeping did a good job. The fridge always had bottles of water, soda and beer in it.
Buffets: In one word, "Bleh." This accounts for the lackluster overall score that I gave this place. The Buffet on the Beach side near the lobby was closed, so we had to walk to the Del Mar Buffet for breakfast and dinner (when we weren't at a specialty restaurant.) I thought the buffets were very disappointing, even by all inclusive standards (I would say the RIU buffets were much larger and nicer.) I don't know if this was because of reduced staff or low occupancy, but there wasn't much selection and some of the food looked sketchy. But I am not a picky eater and I thought the food was tasteless (and so did my family). The Buffet down near the pool and beach was slightly better (and again, the Beach side of the resort was closed, so you had to walk to the Del Mar side.) The buffets were never full or crowded (I believe the hotel is running at a very low occupancy rate when I was there.)
Restaurants: Much better. The specialty restaurants were solid. We went to the Japanese, Steakhouse and Mexican restaurants. The Japanese restaurant is a hibachi type place, where you sit around a grill and the chef comes and cooks it all in front of you. They had chicken, steak, shrimp, and veggies, along with fried rice. The chef puts on quite a show tossing food and utensils around in the air, etc. Honestly, I thought this was very good - my favorite because it was fresh and had flavor. The Steakhouse and Mexican were both fine (nothing to write home about, but fine.) The waiters and staff in all of the restaurants were excellent - great service all around.
Beach / Pool areas: The beach is beautiful. The best. Great sand, clear water (a few rocks, but not that bad.) I didn't use water shoes and it was fine - the waves were high and strong through, if you have small children I would be careful. Water temp was perfect - very refreshing. Never had a problem getting chairs with shade. As for the pool: It was huge! Swim up bar had the usual drunk people (fine if that's your thing - we stuck to the beach.) There seemed to be a place for everyone at the pool (quiet areas as well as busy, loud areas.) Everyone looked like they were having a great time (we stuck to the beach were it was quiet and peaceful.)
Spa: We treated ourselves to some spa services. You can get massages at the beach or at the Spa Building (which is shared with the other Iberostar properties.) We went to the Spa because we wanted something tranquil and not on the beach with everyone there. We each bought a package of two services, and you could pick and choose which one you wanted (for about $120, US Dollars.) I got a 50 minute full body massage and the body scrub. The spa was excellent - modern, very clean, and the services were good. The woman doing the massage was careful not to hit my shoulder where I was a bit sunburned. As good (and even better) than some of the spas I have been to in the US. I definitely recommend it if you are looking to treat yourself.
Other thoughts - Not sure if I would recommend this place, based upon the breakfast and lunch buffets being so disappointing, even by all inclusive standards. However, if you got a deal or a good price, it's a great bargain for the money, based upon the beach alone (gorgeous!)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Directly on the beach of "Playa Paraiso." Imaginatively designed lake – pool. Convention centre. The holiday complex is perfectly integrated into the tropical landscape. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Paraiso Beach Hotel Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Hotel Paraiso Beach
- Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar