The quiet pool at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso

Oh, how inviting that lazy river looked. But I was just lazy enough to never make it over to IBEROSTAR Paraiso Lindo, a sister property of IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso in  Riviera Maya, Mexico, where I was a guest.

Located in a complex with four other resorts, Grand Hotel extends privileges at the other resorts to all its guests. But those who enjoy the stellar service, 24-hour room service, quiet pool, adults-only atmosphere and fine dining at Grand Hotel may not find a need to venture farther.

Flowers in one of the common areas.

Should they desire to dine in any of the 17 additional restaurants, take a seat at one of the 16 bars or visit the variety of pools in the the Paraíso Complex they are welcome. While I enjoyed taking a tour of the other properties, I preferred to park myself in a large comfy lounge chair on the beach and revel in my own form of laziness. Here are several other things to enjoy about this luxurious resort.

Getting There: Located about 30 minutes from the Cancun Airport, IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso is an easy long weekend getaway for East Coasters.

I slept so well in this room, as it’s pitch black with the curtains closed.

Accommodations: My oceanside room was spacious, decorated in shades of orange and beige, with a large balcony and just steps from the beach. The property has 120 oceanfront suites, 180 suites overlooking the gardens or ocean, 10 secluded villas and two presidential suites.

The large marble bathroom had two large sinks and a large Jacuzzi tub, big enough for two. The only part I didn’t like was the see-through door for the toilet – never a fan of those.

There was always a lounge chair with a fresh yellow towel waiting for me.

The Beach and Ocean: The resort is on a long beach with fine, white sand. There was a lot of seaweed in the ocean and a few rocks, so the water was more suitable for viewing than swimming.

Décor: The décor in the hotel is stunning, and I kept stopping in my tracks to stare at the beautifully painted ceilings. Beyond the first lobby is a large round tropical space with lush greenery and sitting area in the middle. Fresh flowers are found in all the lobby areas. A particular favorite of mine was the martini-glass tiled floor in the lobby bar

Pools and Spa: The main pool closer to the ocean is the place to hang if you’re looking for pool games and the swim-up bar. For a quieter atmosphere, try the next pool up – still large with plenty of cabanas, but no music or games to disturb the quiet.

The main pool by the beach.

Guests at the Grand Hotel have access to two spas – a smaller one near close to the main pool and the Paradise Beach Resort Spa where I enjoyed a relaxing massage.

Entertainment and Recreation: Those looking to burn off a few of those all-inclusive calories have plenty of options when it comes to exercise classes: TRX and kettlebell, boot camp, pilates, kick boxing, spinning and Zumba are all taught in the fitness center. Or jump in the pool for one of the daily Aqua Fit classes.

Golfers can enjoy the links at  IBEROSTAR Playa Paraíso Golf Club, while other activities include outdoor shooting facilities, archery, tennis, basketball, beach volleyball, darts and billiards. For water sports, try a kayak, catamaran, snorkeling or water polo.

The mini bar area with complimentary items. And a coffee maker I could actually work.

The theater features a show every night at 10. We enjoyed the Beatles tribute, with more costume changes than a Lady Gaga concert. The Circus Show really astounded me as I figured, how much can they perform on a small stage? A lot – performers swirled in silks, balanced and flew through the air during an hour of gravity-defying acts.

Our last night was karaoke night, and being sufficiently liquored up, I agreed to go onstage, but would never be drunk enough to actually sing into a microphone. But I can shake, rattle and roll with the best of them and the combination of a Cher song and a conga line turned out to be a crowd-pleaser.

Shouldn’t every restaurant offer you a shot of tequila as you enter?

Food: We dined at three of the four restaurants. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style, with a huge selection of items. The sushi served at lunch one day was particularly delicious. The omelet I ordered from room service for breakfast one morning was delivered promptly and was light and fluffy. There’s a steakhouse, Italian restaurant and the Haiku Japanese restaurant rounds out the selection.  

3 Tips for Visiting All-Inclusives 

  1. If you venture into town to shops or go to a market, cover your wristband. One glance at your wrist, and the shop owners may increase the prices as they mark you as someone who can afford to spend more.
  1. Be sure to know what is included. Some all-inclusives have restaurants where some meals have an upcharge. Exercise classes, wifi and premium drinks often incur an additional charge.
  1. Eat, drink, repeat! Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. It’s easy to keep ordering those drinks, but remember, you want to enjoy all of your vacation – not just the first night. Practice a little moderation and you’ll be happier in the long run.

 

Author

Jan Schroder is an award-winning writer based in Atlanta. She works as the managing editor and web editor of Travelgirl magazine and writes a weekly travel column for The Atlanta 100. Jan is appearing on the radio on “Belinda Skelton’s Atlanta Living” on WSB as a travel correspondent and also contributes to Belinda’s website. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers.

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