I spend a lot of time traveling, but I seldom take a vacation—the sort of weekend spent indolently beachside by day and reveling on the karaoke mic by night, never devoid of an adult beverage. My forever vice: The Dirty Shirley. Irrefutably adult.
That’s why I was keen to board my flight to Riviera Maya, Mexico when the five-star IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso invited me out with Made Man for a weekend, not long after GRUPO IBEROSTAR celebrated its 60th anniversary. The conglomerate boasts hotels in 17 countries, and Mexico is a coveted destination.
Mexico welcomed a record-breaking 35 million international visitors last year, experiencing a growth of nine percent compared to 2015—that’s more than twice the global industry average, according to the World Tourism Organization. The Mexico Tourism Board’s internal consumer tracking studies show that more than 94 percent of visitors reported experiences that “exceeded their expectations,” and 86 percent said they’d “like to come back again” in the next six months.
As would I.
Staying at a resort is an aberration to my norm, as I’m usually hopping hostels and CouchSurfing, and IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso is not for the faint-hearted. It takes an abiding appetite to circumnavigate the hotel’s buffet and the will of a damn inquisitive explorer to roll oneself off those beach beds and around the near 30 acres of amenities—the entire complex of five hotels occupies more than 368 acres.
IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso, which is adult’s only, neighbors four of IBEROSTAR’s other Riviera Maya properties, all of which cater to diverse clienteles—IBEROSTAR Paraíso Beach, IBEROSTAR Paraíso Lindo, IBEROSTAR Paraíso Del Mar and IBEROSTAR Paraíso Maya. We had access to the other hotels, as well, but we had top-of-the-notch facilities, comforts and amenities like a saltwater pool and a swim-up bar.
Starting rates at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso average at about $246 per person per night (based on double occupancy in a standard room). This rate is also available for travel in September if guests take advantage of IBEROSTAR’s current early booking bonus rate—the regular rate for that time is $328 per person per night.
I took shelter from the freckling sun in an oceanfront suite. Inside was a customizable mini bar stocked daily, of which I took advantage. I was treated with 24-hour gourmet room service, a butler who brought me flowers and fruit baskets and a maid who left me notes with sweet nothings before bed.
I also had a private balcony on which I relaxed, donning one of the two robes that hung in my enormous bathroom. It’s where I spent my mornings ordering breakfast through room service, working from my Macbook and reading magazines, the complimentary daily newspaper or… the pillow menu.
When I wasn’t ordering meals to my suite, I was spoiled for choice with six restaurants at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso alone. We ate at four of them—the Venezia, the Bella Vista Buffet, Toni’s Surf & Turf and La Brisa—where I indulged in my fair share of steak, red wine and chocolate desserts.
And when I wasn’t eating—which was a rarity—I was relaxing at the Paradise Beach Resort Spa, which has a gamut of Jacuzzis, Turkish and Roman baths, thalassotherapy pools, a solarium, sauna and an extensive menu of massages and treatments. I ordered the holistic massage coupled with some reflexology treatment and a facial. It relaxed me enough, shortly thereafter I took a four-hour nap in the sand—my exfoliated skin blushed with color.
IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso was the vacation I knew I’d needed and finally took. And I feel rejuvenated.