You enter the Iberostar Paraiso complex though a monitored, gated entry, right off Highway 307. The grounds are lush and colorful. You will pass by the Convention center on the left, the Lindo on the left, the Shopping center on the right, the medical clinic on the left, the golf course on the right and then you will come to a road on the left that leads you to the Grand. When you pull up you know you are in for something special.
If you are looking for information about the Beach or Del Mar, what I know is very limited as we have never stayed at these hotels. I don’t even pay attention to where there entrance is. It is on the left, and I am fairly certain it is before the Lindo.
Our van pulled up and we all got out. There is a lovely water fountain opposite the doors.
You can see there are stairs in front of the fountain and I have no idea where these lead to.
When you exit your vehicle you are greeted with a Welcome and a cool towel. The boys tried to go inside but I called them back as I wanted them to get the full experience. You walk in to the lobby, with the lobby bar on the left and check-in on the right.
This picture is taken from the bar looking towards check-in.
When you check-in they ask for your passport information and you fill that out along with the standard information on their form. They always ask if you are celebrating anything. We went through our list. We were told we were being upgraded since we were repeat visitors.
UPGRADES: The topic of upgrades generates a lot of chatter of the different forums on the internet. Upgrades are given all the time and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t. It doesn’t seem to matter much if you are a repeat, really repeat or first time visitor. The first time we stayed at the Grand, which was also our first time at an Iberostar I inquired as to whether any kind of upgrade was available and we were offered an ocean view. We have been offered an ocean view every time we have stayed there. That first time we decided to pay for an ocean front. The other times we have gratefully taken the ocean view and gotten fairly good views of the ocean. The amount you have to pay for an upgrade has varied as well.
This time she told us we were being upgraded to an ocean front. We all cheered, and then she said, “I mean ocean view.” Seriously? Any kind of an upgrade is nice, but I have to be honest and say this felt like a let-down. The chica checking us in had “in-training” on her name tag. I’d have to give her an F for that one.
We were banded and then one of the lobby bar waitresses arrived with a tray of champagne and fruity drinks. We have always been offered drinks during check-in, but some people have reported that they were not during their check-in. In my opinion (IMO) the Grand needs to make sure this happens for everyone. If you’ve done any research at all, you will know it’s supposed to happen and will be disappointed if it doesn’t.
A word about the wristbands: Grand guests get clear bands. Each of the five hotels has a different color and kids have white ones. The Lindo has silver bands, the Maya has gold and the Beach and Del Mar are bright yellow or bright blue. I have stayed at the Royal Hideaway where they do not have wristbands. I prefer no bands (duh!), but I really rarely notice the band and it doesn’t seem to affect my tan, which is what is most important.
After we were done with check-in I changed some money. I had exchanged my dollars for pesos in the US this time, but usually I just do it at the lobby desk. For the most part I use pesos since it is the national currency. This is another topic of great debate. Pesos or dollars. All the employees will happily take dollars (another duh!), but I have always felt it shows respect to use the currency of the country. This trip I had a lot of larger bills and needed $20 and $50 pesos (10 pesos=1 US dollar roughly, depending on the exchange rate, right now it is more like 11 or 12 pesos).
The bellboy took us to our room, which was on the second floor and our two rooms were right next to each other. With few exceptions the rooms are all the same inside and on the balcony. The primary difference is the view.
Categories of rooms: Junior suites (standard, ocean view, ocean front and corner ocean front), presidential suites (I think there are two) and honeymoon villas, which don’t have ocean front views. The corner ocean front has a jacuzzi on the balcony. There are six of these and they are on the corner of each of the three floors on the two ocean front buildings. Got that? There are also a couple rooms in the ocean front buildings on the first floor that have a gate that opens directly onto the beach and has a couple chaise loungers on the balcony. I personally would not want a first floor ocean front room (at least I wouldn’t pay for it) because the view is blocked by the palapas. It’s not totally blocked of course, but the upper floors definitely have better views.
Here is the view from our ocean front room from that first trip.
Room Description: You enter and the bathroom is on one side and the closets and the minibar is on the other. There are two closets, one of which has shelves and the digital safe. There is also an ironing board and iron.
The bathroom has two sinks on opposite sides of it. There are plenty of towels, although they are not very thick or soft. There is a decent (better than average) hairdryer. There is a shower, which some complain is small and it doesn’t have a shelf which makes shaving of legs tricky. It is a rainfall shower head and there seems to be plenty of how water. There is a large jacuzzi tub. The toilet room has it’s own door, but it is surrounded by glass, so really, what’s the point of putting a door on it? There are two bathrobes. This last trip one mysteriously disappeared one day after the room had been made up. We just called and they brought another one. There are the standard soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and even bug repellant wipes. No cotton ball or q-tips though. Sometimes there are slippers, but this has been inconsistent for us.
There is a double door for the bathroom and then there is another door into the main room. There is either a king bed or two double beds. There is a thingy to put your suitcase on and an armoire with a couple drawers and the TV. The TV has a few English speaking channels. It is not a flat screen and this seems to be a big deal for some people. I don’t go here to watch TV, so it hasn’t ever mattered to me. There is a little table that has a piece of pottery that is filled with scented oil and a candle at turndown. There are two night tables. There is a step down and a half wall separating the area that has a chaise lounge and table with two chairs for in room dining. The sliding doors lead out to the balcony and must be closed for the air conditioning to work. Some people have complained the air conditioning isn’t cold enough, but it was more than cold enough for us. The balcony has a wicker swing and a cushiony (is that a word?) love seat and a table. There is also a fan and light. I LOVE the balcony. It’s so nice to sit out there.
Our room had a very cute towel sculpture, two t-shirts and small bottle of tequila.
The kids has the tequila, t-shirts and some flower petals. There were only 4 t-shirts for the five of us, but I wasn’t going to make an issue out of a t-shirt that I wasn’t going to wear, so I just gave mine to the kids.
Mini-bar: (I really need to make a list of all the pictures I should take next trip). They will personalize the mini-bar, but we don’t use it much so we didn’t ask for anything special. This list may not be complete, but there is water (the main thing we use from the mini-bar) coke (next most common thing we use for rum and cokes), some kind of lemon-lime soda I think, juice (maybe apple and orange), beer, white wine and maybe club soda. There are also little bottles of liquor, rum, tequila, vodka, bailey’s. Okay, I failed at that one. I’ll take notes when I go back next month. There is an assortment of glasses. On top there is a coffee maker with coffees and teas, red wine, bags of pringle like chips and peanuts.
There is a book that has all the information you need about the hotel, etc. That is where the pillow menu is. I’ll talk more about pillows and the pillow menu in my next post. My fingers are tired from typing. Your eyes are probably tired from reading.