Iberostar Paraíso del Mar Resort in the Mayan Riviera, Mexico
We stay at a number of hotels during our travels but rarely do we return to the same place twice. The Iberostar Paraiso del Mar in the Mayan Riviera, however, is the exception.
Five years ago we were married at the 5-star all-inclusive resort and absolutely loved our stay. It remains as one our our most memorable travel experiences. On this recent trip to Mexico, we decided it would be fun to return to the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar with Baby B and celebrate our 5-year anniversary. The timing could not have been better.
Before booking a hotel, we like to research the property online by reading guest reviews. There are certain things we look for when researching a hotel or all-inclusive resort, especially now that we have Baby B to consider.
1) The Location
Location is always important, but it becomes more so when traveling with a baby/toddler. Having to haul around a car seat is NOT ideal and neither is getting on and off a bus with a baby stroller (some cities are more stroller friendly than others).
We like the location of the Iberostar Del Mar. It’s located in Playa Paraíso, between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos, and is relatively close to the airport (30 minute taxi). It’s also part of a much bigger complex that includes 3 resorts, a shopping center and nightclub.
The facilities and restaurants are shared with its sister hotel named Iberostar Beach. The resort is located on directly on the beach.
2) The Bed
The king-size bed is quite comfortable and the mattress seems to be fairly new. We actually saw new mattresses being replaced in the rooms in our building, which is always a good sign. The pillows and linen are clean and good quality (and there are lots of pillows).
Baby B’s bed is a full-sized crib on wheels with a good mattress.
3) The Room
Our room has a coffee maker, well stocked mini fridge, large private balcony and a couch/sitting area. The floors are tiled and the room is very clean and fresh smelling. It is a good size, even with the baby crib taking up a lot of room.
4) The Bathroom
The bathroom is clean and well stocked with shampoo and soap. The shower is quite large and all tile from top to bottom, left to right. It does not have a tub, which is disappointing because it’s difficult to wash a baby in the shower, but we notice that other rooms have tubs available.
Since Baby B spends most of his time in the pool, a quick rinse is all he needs, so a tub isn’t as essential as it is normally.
Hair dryer is included.
5) The Amenities
Baby B loves the pool, and the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar does not disappoint. There are several pools and lazy rivers; some are quiet and some are loud with daily entertainment (lots of fun for the party crowd). The sister resort (Iberostar Maya) also has a fantastic wave pool for kids.
The beach and pools have plenty of chairs available, including cabanas and shaded sections. There are lots of onsite activities including beach volleyball, beach soccer, jet skis for rent, and scuba diving tours depart directly from the hotel.
The lobby is very nice and welcoming and there is a lounge bar. There are a number of restaurants, buffet-style and a-la-cart. We prefer the buffet; the food is great and there is a lot of choice. We don’t like having to make reservations for the a-la-cart with Baby B because his mood can change. All of the restaurants have high chairs available.
The grounds are beautiful and well-maintained. To get from the lobby to the beach you pass through a lush forest and colouful gardens. Pink flamingos, peacocks, parrots and cute little coati can be found in the resort grounds. We shot some footage of the coati, here’s the video.
6) Kitchen available?
Because this is an all-inclusive resort, we don’t really need a kitchen. There is a mini-fridge in the room, which is essential for keeping Baby B’s milk cold (and our beer!). There’s also a coffee maker, so we can heat up water when needed.
7) Did the hotel respond to prior requests?
Yes, and this is very important to us. We always request a crib prior to arrival but often times hotels and booking sites do not communicate properly. I was able to confirm the baby crib with both the reservations department in the US and the hotel directly in Mexico.
The hotel has been responsive and accommodating.
8) Was anything unexpectedly included or not included?
Wifi is not included, which, as travel bloggers, is very annoying. You can pay extra for wifi (we did) but you cannot get access in your room or by the pool (big fail). When we’re on vacation we like being able to read the news and blogs by the pool – we can’t do that here.
The only place to access wifi is in the main lobby, which really sucks. We can’t leave Baby B alone in the room when he sleeps (which is typically when we get our online work done), so we have to dedicate lobby time just to check our emails.
The Iberostar Paraiso del Mar is priced in the mid-range category. It’s not the cheapest option, but we feel that it offers good value. Prices fluctuate depending on the time of year, but you can expect to pay approximately $125 per person / per night for the all-inclusive vacation package.
10) Is there anything we did NOT like?
The dinner buffet does not open until 6:00PM. Without a baby, this is not a big deal. However, Baby B eats dinner around 5:00PM, so it’s frustrating to wait until 6:00PM with a hungry, cranky baby. We understand that we are in the minority, but it would be nice to have an alternative option.
We also dislike the wifi set-up, but we’ve already mentioned this.
Have you visited the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar?
If not, how about a different hotel in the Mayan Riviera?
Share your experience in the comments section below, it will be helpful for our readers!