We just returned from a long weekend at the Grand. After many hours of reviewing hotels, we settled on the Grand primarily based on traveler reviews on Trip Advisor. Overall, as echoed by most of the reviews on this site, we had a great experience. For those of you who aren't familiar with the complex, Iberostar has 5 resort hotels at the location. The Grand is the upscale, adults only hotel and has full access to the other facilities. However, guests from the other properties do not have access to the Grand. In mid-June, occupancy appeared to be only about 20%. At times it felt like we had our own private 5-star resort!
We booked an oceanfront room and got a third floor room in building 71 - awesome view. The hotel itself is incredible, barely 1 year old we were told. Unbelievable attention to detail everywhere you turn from the impeccably manicured grounds to the buildings that sparkled inside and out. We liked the Mediterranean architectural theme and how they blended it with the local culture. Staff were everywhere cleaning and maintaining the facilities. The room itself was good size, with a separate inside seating area and an outdoor balcony. Size would be somewhere between a traditional hotel suite and typical large hotel room. Bathroom was marvelous. Pools were very nice with plenty of lounge chair seating and shaded cabana beds everywhere. We had the tranquility pool to ourselves on both occasions that we swam there.
We very much enjoyed the beach. The straw umbrella huts were perfect. Compared to many resorts on the Yucatan where hurricanes have severely eroded their beaches, the beach at the Grand is quite large - from hotel to water at least 100 feet wide. At the airport we spoke to a couple whose hotel in Cancun did not allow them to use their beach during high tide in the morning because of this situation so if the beach is important, you need to check this out. It is true - directly in front of the Grand swimming is precarious at best because of the large, submerged rocks, but clear water with no rocks is a very short walk in both directions. The service was also marvelous – Carlos made sure our bucket of iced-down Coronas was always stocked.
This was our first experience at an all-inclusive resort. Our expectation was something slightly above "cruise ship" food, but we were pleasantly surprised how much better than that it was at all the restaurants. Toni’s was our favorite. The breakfast was also very good for a buffet with a great selection.
We had a little different take on the service at the hotel than what I have read in many reviews. The staff could not have been more accommodating on every request we made, but we did not really get any unsolicited attention from butlers or concierge. We actually preferred this. Wait staff at all the restaurants were terrific. The concierge for our building was on duty from 7 AM to 11 PM and there was literally no question or request that they did not fulfill. We tipped everybody and they genuinely seemed to appreciate that – I don’t think they get paid much even at a top-end resort like this.
We read lots of reviews that mentioned the Star Friends – for us, they were somewhat out of place at a top-end resort like this. We sensed most couples were there to spend time together and, to the extent they wanted to, mingle with other guests at the pool. The Star Friends, as nice and friendly as all of them were, just really did not seem to fit here in our opinion so we shied away from those activities. We did attend one show (Broadway review) and it was entertaining.
All in all we highly recommend this hotel for couples who are looking for a great getaway to spend time together. Not a party atmosphere – I would look at another resort for that.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Directly on the long, fine, sandy beach of Playa Paraiso in Mexico's Riviera Maya. Top 5-star luxury. Quiet and relaxing. Personal butler and concierge service. 24 hour all inclusive service. 4 a la carte restaurants. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Playa Paraiso
- Playa Paraiso Iberostar