Not sure what all the fuss is about. My family and I stayed at the Paraiso Maya in August 2014. There were 8 of us all together to celebrate my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. I don’t usually stay in large all –inclusive resorts, but the choice made sense for our group. In advance of our arrival, we attempted to make dinner reservations for our group and the various concierges that answered our emails were a bit difficult to deal with and would only confirm 3 reservations in advance. In addition, they told us that they would seat our group in the same section of the restaurant, but not at the same table. I would understand this if we were a group of 15 or 20 people, but it is not unreasonable to expect to be seated as a group of 8 for dinner. It turns out that this was not an issue at all once we were at the various restaurants, but it certainly caused unnecessary stress in anticipation of our travels. A couple of times in one of the buffet restaurants at lunch, we were told that they couldn’t seat us together, but a few dollars to the busboy made it magically happen.
Unfortunately, although sitting together at the restaurants was not an issue, the food quality certainly was. Honestly, the food was mostly terrible. At El Tapiato Mexican restaurant, the steak was like “Steak Ums”—thin pieces of overdone meat that were completely inedible. We had to reorder different entrees and wait another 20 minutes. It was not much better at La Marina seafood restaurant. The cajun restaurant was passable, as was the El Rancho steakhouse. We did not try the Gourmet Museum or Etoile Restaurant as we had an 11 year old with us and she would not have been permitted. The buffets were all pretty similar and nothing interesting. The El Fogon buffet on the Lindo side had the most options and had different themes each night. The Asian theme was horrible but the Italian night was okay. There is always a pasta station there where you choose the ingredients and it’s made in front of you, which was decent. La Geisha Japanese restaurant was fun and smaller with interesting décor, but the only seasoning they used was soy sauce, so everything was very salty. In addition, of our group of 8, 6 of us were sick with stomach issues at various times during the week, which I can only assume was caused by the food since none of us are heavy drinkers.
The pool was huge with a lot of different areas to it. It was too warm, but I don’t imagine there is much they can do to make it colder when it’s so hot and humid outside. The wave pool was boring and the lazy river was super slow. As others have mentioned, there were absolutely no rafts for the river, but we managed to scavenge some that were left behind by other guests throughout the week. We went to Aqua Gym class twice daily with Claudia who is awesome. The classes were only a half hour, but fun and easy to follow and I felt like I got a bit of a workout. The day she was off (Saturday), they had someone fill in for her and he was awful. He admitted that he had no idea what he was doing and it showed. It was a waste of time. They should just not hold the class when Claudia is not there unless they have someone who can actually lead the class.
We stayed in building 61 which was the ideal location. It is located close to the pool, beach and buffet restaurants for breakfast and lunch (one becomes the Mexican restaurant for dinner and the other on the Lindo side alternates between Italian and a Steakhouse, but we did not try it for dinner). It is a longer walk to the nicer sit down restaurants, lobby and Lindo buffet, but it’s better to take that trek once a day rather than back and forth all day long. Plus, since we had to put some belongings on beach chairs to snag our shade early in the morning, it was convenient to be close to the beach.
We went to the bar in the lobby every evening, so this also made the hike to the lobby worth it. It is pretty with a huge snake in the middle. This bar seemed to have one of the better liquor selections at the resort and we were able to get higher end liquors and nicely made cocktails. The bartender was very sweet to my nieces and invented drinks that they enjoyed. One night, the magician came by our table and it was fun entertainment, especially when he “disappeared” my 16 year old niece’s cell phone!
The rooms were nice and big with a sleeping and sitting area, deck, hallway with closets and large bathroom. They were kept clean by the maids and there were beverages in the mini-bar. They seemed to restock every 2-3 days. There was plenty of water, some sodas and beers and a coffee maker in the room. When I asked for extra soda water, the concierge said no problem, but it never arrived. But, when I needed to get my shower drain snaked, maintenance showed up within minutes and cleared it, which was impressive service. I was in room 6133 and there was a crazy noise that woke me up every morning at 5:00am. Not sure if I was near the garbage pick up or something else creating a lifting/beeping sound but it killed my snooze every morning. (I was not near the broken ice machine or elevator, so that wasn't it).
One positive is that the Wi-Fi is now available everywhere and free, so it seems that the hotel has listened to some complaints and has made an effort to remedy the situation. Overall, the options available for a diverse group made this hotel workable for our family, but I certainly wouldn’t stay there again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located directly on the beautiful beach of Playa Paraiso (Mexico). All junior suites with Jacuzzi, DVD player, upgraded amenities. Exclusive dining plus dine around privileges at over 16 restaurants, 17 full service bars. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Paraiso Maya Hotel Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Playa Paraiso
- Iberostar Riviera Maya
- Iberostar Hotel Paraiso Maya
- Iberostar Maya
- Iberostar Grand Paraiso