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Iberostar Paraiso Maya
Ranked #5 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 7 February 2009

We just returned from 6 days at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya. We are a couple with a 3.5 year old girl. This was our first visit to an all-inclusive resort. We are usually adventurous independent travelers, but this seemed like the perfect place for our daughter, and we were right.

The first couple of days after we checked in, the resort seemed pretty empty, but it did get a bit more crowded as the week progressed. We did notice the Beach/Del Mar property was packed in comparison to the Lindo/Maya. Having the place relatively empty was nice for us.

Resort:
The resort itself is beautifully kept. As others have noted, there is a large staff that is constantly working on the grounds: retiling, repairing, painting, etc. I was very impressed by how well maintained the property is. Our room was on the top floor of building 61, overlooking the pools. Thankfully, the pools close early so it was very quiet in our room at night. We had a superior suite, and our daughter slept on the pull-out couch in the living room. The room was very nice and comfortable.

As others have noted, the resort is large, and required some walking, but not the great distances that others have mentioned. The walk from the beach to the front lobby only takes about 10 minutes, and is a very pleasant walk, with several route options. We enjoyed strolling around the property very much. Yes, there are some cats on the property, but they seem to be very healthy and happy. The Coatis near the beach are very cute and fearless... our daughter loved them. You'll also see some cute little lizards scurrying around, and the occasional peacock. The Del Mar/Beach has Flamingoes, Swans, and Parrots to visit, and there is a small apiary with Parrots and Lizards near the Maya lobby.

The pools are beautiful, and our daughter particularly liked the wave pool. It's a zero-entry pool, and the gentle waves are turned on for about 20 minutes each hour. The beach is clean, with fine white sand, and plenty of loungers and palapas to enjoy. On wednesdays, there is a beach party, which is a definite "Must Do". The hotel prepares a huge pan of Paella in a fire pit on the beach, and a live band performs Latin favorites. Waitresses circulate serving Sangria. It's really lots of fun.

Food:
Considering the sheer numbers of people to be fed, the food is surprisingly good, and of high quality. We are definitely "foodies", and my wife has a culinary background, so we were not expecting anything great. With a little looking, you can find some authentic Mexican chow buried among the resort food. The Tacos Al Pastor were generally good, and sometimes great (if the person preparing them took the time to do them in small or individual batches). I even found Rice with Huitlacoche (aka "Mexican Truffles") at lunch one day. The highlight ala carte restaurant for us was the Cajun one, mainly because of it's well-prepared ribeye steak. The low point was the Seafood Restaurant at the Maya, where most of the food was precooked, then warmed and sauced before serving.

My wife and I discussed why some reviews say the food is so bad... If you are the type that lives on hamburgers, hot dogs, Applebees, Fridays, Chilis, Outback, Houlahans, and fast food, you will most likely not like the food here. This is a european-owned resort in Mexico, and the food reflects this. There are some halfhearted attempts to satisfy the Applebee's -loving crowd, most apparently at breakfast, along with the presence of burgers, hot dogs, and movie-theater style nachos around the resort. But all-in-all, the food is really quite good, and occasionally excellent. Even at our least favorite restaurant (the previously mentioned Maya Seafood Restaurant), there was a cold seafood buffet that included stone crab claws, marinated octopus, beautiful chilled shrimp, and other items that were all delicious and well-prepared. My daughter even loved the octopus! In general, while the quality of food isn't what you'd find at a high end New York City restaurant, it is very good, and certainly plentiful.

As for food safety, we ate and drank pretty much everything, and had no problems whatsoever. Food safety seems to be a big priority here, as it should. I noticed hand sanitization stations being used everywhere food was being prepared and served. At the bar near the wave pool, which features fresh fruit smoothies (highly recommended, by the way), I saw a load of apples and other no-peel fruits being rinsed in a bleach solution.

Other Observations:
You will not be bored here. There are always fun activities going on, and the staff is terrific. If you want to get off the resort, Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morales are a short cab ride away. National heritage sites such as Tulum and Coba are reasonably close by as well. This resort is an extremely well-run place in a great location.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with family
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4  Thank Cranrob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 February 2009

We just came back from spending one week at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya with our 2 and 3 1/2 year old children. It was an excellent vacation, with many positives and just a few negatives.

On the positive, we found the staff to be friendly and helpful. A smile and a "hola" or "buenos dias" will get you back a smile and help if needed. We had trouble with our stroller (the wheel broke) and maintenance came to our room with glue and tape to fix it.

The food at the buffet was good, fresh, yes it is mass-produced but the turnover was fast and there was always something new to try. We managed to try the Tex-Mex, Italian, Steakhouse, Japanese and Seafood à-la-carte restaurants and found in most of them excellent food and service (reservation were all at 6 because of our kids who did not want to miss the kids' show at 8 for anything in the world).

For those with young children, it is little advertised but there is a free carousel from 8:30 to 9:30 in the evening located in the middle of the shopping center, accross the street from the lobbied of the Lindo/Maya. We found out about it only on the fifth day, much to the chagrin of our daughter who absolutely loved it! And the free ice cream parlor just next door.

The room was always very clean, mind you we did bring dollars and small gifts (dollarstore) to leave as gratuities for the maid, porter and waiters.

The entertainment was okay, but kudos to the Star Friends staff who were very friendly, present but not pushy, and especially beloved by the little ones.

The cons would be the pool temperature which was often colder than the ocean, and the quality of the beach. Also during lunch time and early afternoon the music around the main pool is very loud, it is not the best place if you just want to relax and get a nap under the sun.

The beach is very nice, unfortunately for half of it, after a few feet into the water you will come upon smooth coral, you will not get cuts but can slip on it.

If you are looking for a quiet, romantic getaway, I'm not sure the Maya (or the other resorts on the site apart from the Grand Hotel which is in a different class) is the place for you. However if you are traveling with children or teenager, want them to have fun and a big smile on their face, then we would definitely recommend the Maya!

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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6  Thank Guyster71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2009

Though the surroundings are beautiful, the food quality is absolutely abysmal. I would compare all the restaurants there to a Shoney's or a Denny's --- at best. The customer serivice is also horrendous. When asking for simple things -- like a carton of milk to take back to the room for my child --- I was ALWAYS given attitude. One waiter actually told me he had so sign a form with his supervisor to give me milk. Ummmm...... I don't think so. The last straw was when I went to a restaurant at 12:50 (their time) and asked them if I could get some bread for my children because we were leaving the hotel and needed a small snack for the road. They told me that I had to wait until the restaurant opened at exactly 1:00 before getting a piece of bread (it was a buffet not a sit down restaurant). After begging them because our van was leaving the hotel at 1:00, they finally brought me 3 (hard as rock ) bread rolls. I don't think I've ever experience such a rigid, unfriendly, inconvenient environment at a resort. This resort has a lot of room for improvement in the areas of food and customer service or they won't stay competitive with other family-friendly resorts (such as Beaches).

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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Thank atlantafromatlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Maya from 26th Nov - 10th Dec. The grounds of the hotel were lovely although the whole resort is huge and having a terrible sense of direction anyway, I found it quite difficult to navigate around the resort (much to the amusement of my husband).

The rooms were very big and spacious and probably the nicest I've ever stayed in. I didn't see a room of the Lindo so cannot make any comparisons.

The Maya buffet restaurant was lovely for breakfast and never busy, unlike the other restaurants which always seemed to be packed out. For lunch we tried a few of the different buffet restaurants and found the food to be similar in all. We liked the poolside resturant (which is the Mexican at night time) as again this didn't seem too busy. The food itself for breakfast and lunch was lovely. There was huge variety on offer and it was all very tasty. We only ate at the Lindo buffet restaurant once in the evening and although the food was of a good standard, it wasn't exceptional. For the rest of the stay, we ate at the a la carte restaurants. I won't tell you which of them I liked and didn't like as this is purely down to personal tastes and I would recommend that you try them all. If you don't like it, fine you just don't book that one again. The major downside to the restaurants is that they do not all cater for vegetarians. I am fully vegetarian (no meat and no fish) but I got the impression that the hotel (or maybe Mexico in general) believe vegetarians to still eat fish - there was a vegetarian section in the buffet restaurant but the rice had fish in it!. The Japanese, Italian and International restaurants do have one vegetarian option but the rest of them do not which I thought was a real shame.

The beach was nice but got very crowded - people actually reserve sun loungers very early in the morning but don't actually make an appearance until some hours later. The loungers would be reserved with books or sandals and no doubt those people would keep their towels so that they could spend the morning around the pool and then the afternoon on the beach. I found this quite amusing to begin with but by the end of the stay I did find it annoying and selfish. The sea was very choppy but actually really good fun. There are areas that are rocky but you can spot where these are and avoid them.

The staff in the hotel were lovely, always trying to please.

I had a lovely stay at the hotel and would recommend it to others. As stated the only real negatives were the lack of vegetarian food in the a la carte restaurants, the beach being overcrowded and the sun loungers being reserved (which I can see isn't the hotel's fault). Anyway, hope this has helped

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank KellyKay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2009

Our family of four stayed at the Maya for a short family vacation. Overall, we enjoyed our stay but we got a very good deal on airfare and hotel. If you are paying a high price for this hotel...you are going to be disappointed. First the positives - the grounds are large and very well taken care of. The employees are pleasant and with a simple "hola" you will usually find a warm smile in return. The beaches are nice (no shells) there are plenty of chairs available. The space in the rooms is good and we had no problems with cleanliness. We followed another reviewer and gave our maid a gratuity when we got there so she seemed to take extra care in making sure our room was clean and well stocked with towels and drinks. The shower was fine. We had a little patio with a hammock that my kids enjoyed. As for the negatives... the beds and bedding are horrible! I chose to sleep on a rollaway after the first night because the mattress on the rollaway was better then the one in the bed! The food is mass produced at the buffets so you are not getting high quality. We enjoyed the fresh squeezed juices every morning and I loved the tacos at the taco place in the shopping plaza. We ate at the Japanese restaurant, El Rancho and the fish place. They were all fine. The buffet just before the walkway to the beach by the Maya pool is gross. Just avoid it. The Linda buffet is the best bet for breakfast and lunch. There are beautiful pools at the resort but they are not heated at all. The water in the pool is FREEZING! The ocean is warmer. Overall we had fun but we were there only a few days. I dont think I would have been happy if I had to stay any longer.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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Thank ILuvLexie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2009

The resort was beautiful, rooms are comfy, clean and well decorated. Food was better then expected, too much junk at the poolside restaurant though. Steak house and both French restaurants were excellent. Mediterranean and Japanese were ok.
The water in the pool was freezing, we didn't even go in., we swam in the ocean. Ok kid's club, the kids had fun though. Amazing magic show with Mago Sebastian, please see it!

Service is good but they expect tips for everything! Sometimes it was annoying when they would stand and wait for the tip, some weren't even that greatful, like we were suppose to do that.

Last thing!!!! DO NOT GO TO XEL-HA PARK UNLESS YOU LIKE TO SNORKEL. basically you pay $95 per person + transport for snorkeling. It is absolutely nothing else to do. Dolphins $ 150, Sea trek $ 95. Ridiculous, waisted money and time, go snorkel at the resort for free.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Margo222425
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2009

If your visiting this hotel your in for a fantastic time.The very large rooms were elegantly decorated with a large balcony.The lobby area's were built to replicate a Mayan temple with the furniture and decor following through with the theme.The pool area is great with plenty of beds and shade.The only problem was that the water was REALLY cold.Only the brave ventured in,and then only for breif periods of time.Because of this,the lazy river and the wave pool were almost empty.
The food throughout the hotel was of a very high standard.The buffet lunch at the Lindo was by far the better option,a huge variety was on offer.Even the most fussy diner would find something to their liking.The buffet breakfast at the Mariner was also very good.Throughout the break,my husband and myself tried nearly all of the speciality restaurants.L'toile,the French gourmet was our favourite.The food and service was exceptional.The waiters were very attentive,and the surroundings were beautifully decorated.The El Rancho steak house and the Japanese restaurants were also very good.
The drinks were of a high standard,using name brand spirits and soft drinks throughout the resort
The beach was beautiful,again with plenty of beds and shade.Just be sure to take some water shoes as there are a few rocks in the sea.
This is a huge resort,so theres plenty to see and do.Maya guests can use the facilities of the other Iberostar hotels,so if you get a little restless you can just go for a wander.
All in all,we had a fantastic time.Everything about the whole resort was excellent.We would love to return.

Stayed: January 2009
1  Thank djdTorfaenWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Iberostar Paraiso Maya

Address: Carretera Chetumal - P. Juarez Km 309, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#4 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#4 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#4 Spa Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#5 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range: £184 - £377 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Iberostar Paraiso Maya 4*
Number of rooms: 434
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

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