Old Reviews – Iberostar Paraiso Lindo

  Iberostar Paraiso Lindo   Wellington ~ Toronto

March 2009

Arrival: Feb 08 – 15
Via Air Canada/Conquest Vacations. Reception was smooth without any language (english) problems. Room was ready as requested(No smoking, Double beds and no building 55 (close to the theater) ) We then asked the double beds be placed together as we traveled with a toddler. This was ready by the time we got there.

Rooms
Our room was 5278 on the third floor which was great since the third floor connects almost all the buildings together except for the beach units. Room faced away from the pool and looks at the next adjacent Iberostar Del Mar and Beach properties. Hotel bus and service route however passes along the length of the property and tends to be a bit noisy. The rooms was comfortable and clean. A tip to house keeping is always appreciated

Restaurants and Bars
Breakfast (buffet) was offered at 2 sites, Air conditioned at the Reception end of the property (7am-10pm)and open air at the Beach end of the property (7am – 11.30am) Food was good with a variety of fruits, juices, pastry and the usual egg stations

Lunch: As breakfast, lunch was buffet and quite a large variety offered. The lunch hours were skewed, (1pm-3pm at the Reception end site and 12-4pm at the beach site. Lunch was also offered from 11.30am at the Iberostar Maya site which is on the other side of the pool at the Beach end.

Dinner: Buffet at Reception Site…boring and boring, most likely because of the other special restaurants. Reservations were easily made through conciege desks located throughout the buildings. Late reservations often clashed with theater shows (8pm-8:30pm for kids and adults after). Bookings were heavy for the the Steak House (service was slow and the tenderloin was a challenge) and the Sea-food (service also slow). Both of these restaurants are shared with the Maya complex. Tried the Cajun Restaurant (on the Lindo property and shared with the Maya guests) but also disappointed as the entree was heavily salted but service was better). Our favorite was the Mexican Restaurant on the Maya side(which in the day serves lunch). Service was much better and the waiter deserves tipping as well as the chef. Hidden in the menu is grilled Lobster with garlic butter which is well recommended and better than in the Sea Food restaurant. A tip to the chef can get you a "special" which are lobster tails instead of lobster steaks. Off course seconds are recommended. Did not try the Italian or International restaurants. Desserts were a challenge, they were the same pastries,fruits and ice creams everywhere. There is a child’s menu in all the restaurants but it is the same. Bar services were excellent. Room service is available 24 hrs but the menu offerings are bland.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The property at all the Iberostar complex (Maya/Lindo and Del Mar/Beach) are outstanding. Each was exciting offerings, the Maya…tall high ceilings, the Lindo…water and fountains. The property appears complex but is simple. A large pool complex stretches the length of the property (Lazy river, Wave pool, Deep pool and huge pool with swim up bar). On One side Maya and the other Lindo. Similarly Del Mar and Beach (No wave pool in this complex) Maya, Lindo, Del Mar and Beach have their own Reception Centers and use of facilities reciprocated except for Bar and Food. Maya and Lindo guests share all services Food(except for the Gourmet restaurants which both have the same menu) and Bar and this extends to include DelMar and Beach. The reverse however is not compatible. Numerous animal and bird life are on site. The beach and water in February unfortunately was windy and quite cool but eventually warmed up. Most times though Red warning flags were up and the surf was a bit rough.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
As usual Activities are abundant on site as was the theater shows.Did not do tours

Other Comments Well recommended resort with respect to property and service. Food could have been better.

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  Iberostar Paraiso Lindo   Cosmin ~ Toronto

February 2009

Rooms
The resort looks nice, but it is waaay below what you would expect from a 5 star hotel. I’d give it a 3.5 at best! There are some green patches where you can see some wild life and this is something we truly enjoyed. The rooms are small. If you go there with kids, you need an extra bed or/and a crib and this leaves you no space at all. The rooms are not very clean and you can always smell mould. The crib we got for our daughter was dirty, wobbly and unsafe. We felt this might have been a way our daughter could have picked up a bug, if the crib was used by a sick child before.

There is also a lot of noise from the shuttle trains and golf carts they use to maintain/operate the resort, even late during the night and we found that terribly annoying.

Restaurants and Bars

Food: The food there is a health hazard. Our 18 months old daughter got really sick and kept vomiting for 6 days in a row while being there. We’e been running around, in and out of various clinics/hospitals five days out of seven; our daughter ended up spending 2 days in the ER, hooked-up to an I.V. due to dehydration. We met other families with sick kids (having the same problem) and ran into a lady on the beach who said her husband and one other man in their group had both been flat in bed with stomach flu for several days.

We saw flies on the food at one of the buffets close to the beach. Although a lot of people were getting sick, there was absolutely no warning posted anywhere in the hotel or on their web site.

Because our daughter was sick most of the time, we were not able to go to any of the a-la-carte restaurants.

Water The bottled water provided by the resort is terrible, it doesn’t even taste like water and we were clearly advised by one of the doctors that examined our daughter NOT to use it because it was not safe.

Beach/Pools/Grounds

Beach: We were at the beach only on our first day. The beach was beautiful, however if you go there around lunch time, finding available seats might be a real challenge. There are big and sharp rocks in the water; you cannot walk even with sandshoes, you can only swim, but the waves can throw you in to the sharp rocks at any time.

Pool: There are many pools and they all look nice. There is concrete all over the place which makes it dangerous for small kids.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
ER/Hospital – thanks to their food.

Other Comments If you have kids, don’t take any risk and find a better and safer place. Even if you don’t go there with kids, don’t waste your vacation, time and money. Be wise and choose a decent resort to enjoy your time off.

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  Iberostar Paraiso Lindo   Chuck and Sharon ~ Saskatchewan, Canada

February 2009

Arrival
My wife and I stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya for 2 weeks the beginning of February. As such we used all of the Iberostar properties during our stay. For our review of the other properties see their listings.

Even though the properties have similar ratings the quality of the amenities, food (shrimp vs. lobster), drinks, etc. and rooms increase as you move up from the Del Mar, to the Beach, to the Lindo, to Maya, and then Grand. The Grand is adults only and others allow kids. We found an abundance of kids likely because of their Star Friends program (one of the best) and the wave pool / lazy river. Each resort has its own lobby and lobby bars so where you stay determines how many you can use. The common snack is Mexican caviar (popcorn) and sometimes peanuts. A shuttle runs between the resorts (also a short walk) and an Iberostar shopping Center and Spa. They also will take you around by golf cart if you ask. There’s a 24 hr medical clinic as well. Cost is $125 US at night and $105 US during the day. If you have insurance they look after all the paper work for you and there’s a pharmacy in the mall to fill prescriptions. We used their service and it was very good

All properties share the same beach the only difference is that you can only get food and drink from the ones you have privileges at. Every beach snack bar had the same food. The sea was very rough the whole time we were there. The snorkeling is fair (poor when the sea is rough) and there was only one spot where you could walk into the ocean without stepping on rocks. There’s a dive shop on site but the dock was destroyed by a storm so you have to wade out to the boat. Not fun in rough surf. The beach in front of the Grand like the resort is exclusive but very rocky under the water.

The 4 resorts are really 2 and can be grouped as the Del Mar – Beach, and the Lindo Maya. Each share buffets, pools, beach, and theatre. Because the sun sets to the south, the most popular side of the pool was the Del Mar and the Lindo sides. The Grand stands alone and is very exclusive.

Taxi’s will cost you 250 peso for up to four to take you to Playa del Carmen. Rates are posted. The exchange rate is much better now so don’t use the 10 peso = 1 US. In the resort they used the proper exchange rate but outside use pesos rather than US.

The Beach and Del Mar are older properties and the grounds like a botanical garden. Very well manicured with peacocks and outdoor buffet surrounded by a pond with fish and wild herons. There’s a wedding gazebo and ponds with flamingos and swans. The buffet is open air. The ala carts are all in doors and the food not as good as the Lindo, Maya, and Grand. At one restaurant many of the meat dishes served to us were raw. The theatre is smaller than the Lindo / Maya but the entertainment is the same.

The buffets and ala carts at the Lindo and Maya are all indoors. We found the buffet was very lacking in variety compared to other buffets at other all inclusives but that’s likely because of the abundance of ala cart you can choose every night of your stay. As seafood lovers we were disappointed with the Seafood ala cart. We only ate there once but it was all overcooked. There’s an abundance of seafood at all ala carts and the best cooked was at the Japanese.

The Lindo ala carts are very good but not as good as the Maya. The lobby theatre area at the Lindo is surrounded by fountains which are all lit up at night. The grounds are like a botanical garden. We found the dinner buffet was very lacking in variety compared to other buffets at other all inclusives we’ve stayed at but that’s likely because of the abundance of ala cart you can choose every night of your stay

Other Comments We would have enjoyed staying at any of the Iberostar properties but if you want a little higher end spend the extra money for the Lindo or Maya, you won’t be disappointed. If you want a special treat upgrade to the Grand for a special ending to your holiday.

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  Iberostar Paraiso Lindo   Karl

July 2008

For this year’s winter vacation we stayed at the IB Paraiso Lindo from March 22nd to April 5th, 2008.

The usual suspects were there, my girlfriend and I, Mandy and Karl, and a couple of our friends from England, Sarah and Phil, who arrived the same afternoon as us. We all stayed for 2 weeks. While there we met and hung out with another charming couple from England, Phil and Louise.

I am usually long winded on my reports, so please bear with me. I try not to leave anything out so it will give everyone who reads a good idea of what to expect from what we experienced.

THE HOTEL:
The Lindo is a really gorgeous, well appointed and extremely well taken care of Hotel. There are pools everywhere starting at the main lobby and they run all the way to the beach area. The buildings are very colorful and extremely clean and tidy. The staff works tirelessly cleaning and painting the place to make it look like it was just built that day. A note to those who may not be able walk that much, this may not be the hotel for you as this hotel is very big and add in the other hotels you are allowed to use, this makes for a great amount of walking to get from place to place. An idea of this is that from our room to the beach took almost 10 minutes of walking.

We visited all of the other hotels we were allowed to use, the shopping mall and convention centre. Everything was just as beautiful as the Lindo. This place is beyond words for its beauty and grandeur. I cannot imagine what the Paraiso Grand looked like as we never did get around to touring that particular hotel. You can book a tour thru your concierge and I would recommend everyone to go see it as I heard it is an amazing place.

THE ROOMS:
They were surprising. They are very spacious and have all the amenities you would ever need. Our room had a King size bed in it with a/c, a ceiling fan, TV with satellite/cable channels in Spanish and English, a stocked fridge with beer, water and pop, a coffee maker with coffee, sweetener & creamer, an iron with an ironing board, a safe, and a hairdryer.

The bathroom is big, and we never ran out of hot water and shower pressure was good. There was also a small balcony with 2 chairs, a small table and a clothesline type thing to dry your bathing suits and towels on. It was nice to sit out there with a beer and watch the sun go down.

THE GROUNDS:
They are very well taken care of and the grounds crew does and amazing job of keeping the whole place clean and tidy. Of all the people that worked at the hotel, the ground crews were the ones that got the least acknowledgment for the great jobs they did. They always said “hola!!” when they passed and they were always working hard when you saw them. I was particularly impressed with all of the flowers, plants and trees that were on the grounds of all of the hotels. The Rain Forest area between the Beach and the Del Mar hotels were amazing and taken care of with such care you would be amazed that it wasn’t a natural occurrence there.

There is an amazing amount of wildlife that lives in the Hotel complex. From the Coatis that live down by the beach, the Flamingos and Wild Turkeys that live at the Delmar, the Peacocks that seem to be everywhere and roost at the Beach Hotel. Don’t forget the blackbirds, seagulls and other scavengers that are flying around looking for a quick and easy meal. LOL.

THE STAFF/SERVICE:
The front desk staff is very willing to help and make your stay as great as possible. We met a couple who were on their Honeymoon and the front desk staff upgraded them to the Maya for no extra charge. That’s pretty good in my books.

The grounds crew, as I have already mentioned, work very hard to keep everything looking great and you can see that everywhere you look

Every building has a concierge and their job is to make sure you have everything you need and they also book the a la cartes for you too. They do every once in a while call you to make sure everything is going well with your room and too see if they can fix any problem you have. Our safe kinda went screwy a couple of times and it wouldn’t let me into it, so I asked the concierge to get someone to fix it and within minutes a security guy was there to reprogram it and it was okay again.

The maids did a great job cleaning the rooms I must admit, but I do have one complaint about the ones we had cleaning our room. We did leave tip money on most days and the days that we didn’t leave anything, mostly because I didn’t have any small bills, I would double up the next day and a couple of times a tip and a ball cap. It didn’t seem to mater to them as the room was always cleaned very nicely, but they didn’t go the extra to make towel creations for us or leave us coffee or stock our fridge with beer. The days I left the bigger tip and the hat we did receive a towel creation with flower petals, but still no beer and coffee. I had to, on more than one occasion go to the cleaning staff’s room and find one of the maids and ask for cervazas and coffee and I did receive them without any problems. It’s funny, I left a note politely asking, in Spanish for lots of beer, “Mucho Cervasa”, and I received 18 beers. I never had to ask for beer again. LOL!!! I guess it’s just the luck of the draw with the maid service, maybe ours were too busy to worry about the little things, and I’ll say that it didn’t spoil our vacation at all, I think it’s our only complaint at all.

The servers at the buffets and restaurants were not so attentive but also very cheerful. We only went to the main buffet for breakfast and a couple of times for lunch. At breakfast you would probably only get one cup of coffee if you were lucky, but your table would be cleaned very rapidly if you had a plate that you were finished with. At lunch it was basically the same, no drink service, but dirty plates and glasses were cleaned up quickly.

The service was pretty good everywhere we went. The servers do give better service if you tip them as there are so many ignorant, pushy people coming and going through the hotel bars and buffets that they treat everyone the same until you show them a little gratitude. That little bit of gratitude gets you faster, more attentive service and they sure do deserve the tips as most of them work their butts off.

THE FOOD:

BUFFETS:
The main breakfast and lunch buffet are situated by the Lindo’s lobby in the Italian/Chinese restaurants. There is an abundance of every type of food imaginable and there is always something new to try everyday. There was never a day where you couldn’t find something to eat. I have a hint to those who complain that it’s seems like they are eating the same thing everyday, don’t eat the same thing everyday, try something new, there is so much to try and it is very good. I hate cilantro, and Mexican cuisine has a lot of it, but I still found lots of things to eat that didn’t contain it.

AL A CARTES:
We tried all of the al a cartes we were able to go to and we went back to some of them more than once. The Gourmet and the Steak House were our favorites. We went to the Steak House 3 times!!! The service and food at most was always awesome and the food was excellent. The Japanese was our next favorite as the chef’s entertainment was great and the food was spectacular too. Now for the bad, the Mexican and the Italian had good service but we found the food not up to expectation and that was very disappointing. You would think that the Mexican would be the best as we are in Mexico. The food was not authentic Mexican, it was more something you would get at a fast food Mexican restaurant. I would recommend you try them all out and come up with your own favorites as everyone has there own tastes. Also, we never had a problem booking the restaurants and got the times we wanted.

BARS:
They are everywhere, the lobbies, by the pools, in the pools, at the beaches, and everywhere in between. They all had tasty drinks and excellent service. The beer is pretty good. I liked all three types that I tried, Sol, Dos Equis (XX) and Superior. If you like Ta-kill-ya(Tequila) make sure to try the Mexican Flags, and if you are really daring the Flaming Mexican Flags. Our group had tonnes of them, they are the best at the Maya bar. The bartenders will make you any drink you can think of as long as they have the liquor there. Don’t forget the popcorn, very good to snack on before dinner.

The bartenders and bar servers were attentive and cheerful. We hung out mostly at the Lindo Bar, the Maya bar, Pool Bar and the Bar at the Show. After a few visits they get to know your face and were really good to us, and gave us awesome service every time they saw us, which for some of them was everyday. LOL!!!

THE STAR FRIENDS:
The entertainment crews work tirelessly to provide something for people to do all day long and are part of the evening entertainment as well. There are pool/beach activities and games all day long so there is always something for everybody to do if you so desire. They are really nice people who work really hard and are fun to talk to and have a drink with, when they are allowed.

Of all the Iberostars we have been to, this Star Friends crew was definitely the best one. The crew was very nice, and took time to get to know you. The one we got to know the best was Ivan. He would stop and chat with us every time he saw us, he remembered our names and when Mandy got sick one night and wasn’t there with us he asked her if she was feeling better the next day when he saw her. The hotels were full, hundreds of people running around and he remembered and took the time to ask how she was, I found that amazing. At breakfast and lunch when the Star Friends were coming into eat, one of them would ask if they could join your table and they would have breakfast and chat with you. Pretty neat I would say.

We didn’t make it to too many shows, as our dinners usually ended pretty late, but the shows we did see where all very well done. The choreography and comedy in the shows were excellent. The band and singers they had were very first-rate. The Star Friends said that the “Boogey Nights” show was their best one and I would have to agree. They were also some nights that they brought in outside acts such as the Mexican Dancers and the Magician and they were great shows too.

THE BEACH:
Ah, the beach. The water was warm, the sand soft and the sun was great too. The beach is huge, spanning all 5 hotels. The sand was nice to walk on and the area in front of the Lindo/Maya had a great spot to enter the ocean with very few rocks. I went into the ocean on most days, some of those days it was pretty rough, and that’s when I had the most fun. For others, it was too rough to even enter the water as the waves were crashing on shore.

There were a lot of sun beds by the beach area. Even though there were a lot of beds, it was still hard find an empty one. Even though they aren’t allowed to do it, people reserved the beds with towels, book and shoes, and would never use the beds anyways. I wish security or someone on staff would monitor the problem a little better and put a stop to the abuse of this.

DAY TRIPS:

1) Xel-Ha Ecological Park. This was our second time here. This is a great place to spend the day snorkeling down the fresh water river, towards the ocean, looking at fish and other aquatic animals and plants. The park is all inclusive meaning all food, drink, snorkeling equipment, towels, showers and dressing rooms are included. Along with the water activities, there is plenty of stuff to see on land, with nice restaurants and bars, shops to visit, hiking thru the park is great and there is so much to see. You also have to try and walk across the floating bridge, it’s a blast in a wavy day. This is one trip I definitely recommend everyone try.

2) Jungle Crossing Tour from Alltournative tours. You start out in a picturesque bay near Akumal into which you kayak out and have a guided snorkeling tour at a nice reef. After the snorkeling you have a snack and drink on the beach and prepare for the next part of the tour. It is a drive into the country side on a crazy 4×4 army type vehicle, the ride is wicked bumpy, and you end the trip at an authentic Mayan village. At the village you go on a guided snorkel tour through an underground river system. You then go for a short walk, watch out for the acid trees and mosquitoes, and you end up at another Cenote for a cool swim there. After you return to the village, it’s lunch time and an authentic Mayan meal. Very tasty, make sure to try the hot sauces, they aren’t so hot, LOL!! After lunch you go back to the beach where you started for some rest and relaxation and a chance to purchase pictures they have taken of your day.

3) Catamaran trip to Tulum. Board the biggest catamaran in the Mayan for a 2 hour, all you can drink, trip to Tulum. It was a very windy and wavy day, which for most of the people made it quite interesting and fun. But for some people, they didn’t have so much fun and were quite seasick. Once arriving at Tulum, the catamaran weighs anchor for some snorkeling at a huge reef system and then its lunch time. Lunch is a buffet on board and it isn’t anything too special, but good none the less. Small boats then take everyone, 10 people at a time to a really sweet public beach. You get a little time to play at the beach then everyone is taken by van to Tulum for a guided tour of the ruins. Tulum is definitely something everyone has to see as it is the history of the Mayan People.

4) Playa Del Carmen, 5th Avenue. You must visit the city and tour the famous 5th Avenue. It is $20US to and from the Lindo. Playa Del Carmen is getting pretty commercialized and is turning into a small American city, with McDonalds, Burger King and Subway everywhere you look. There are some nice little shops selling cheap trinkets and souvenirs that are neat to visit and haggle for better prices. The beach in Playa is fantastic and the view of Cozumel is cool, as you can see the high rise buildings on the island. We spent a couple of hours walking around, spent a little bit of money, and had a good time.

We all thought that this was an awesome hotel. The service was excellent and the pools, beach, food and drinks were great too. I would also say that for us, the Mexican people made the stay one that was definitely worth while. If we ever go back to Mexico, which I think we will, I would definitely book at the Lindo again.

If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me, Karl, at vang@kmts.ca.

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  Iberostar Paraiso Lindo   Wm Titus/G.Cox

March 2008

we stayed at the iberostar paraiso lindo in the rivera maya in mexico…i have stayed at many, many, many resorts, including the marriott…this is the very best resort i have ever stayed at…i have traveled through many different places, hawaii,jamaicia, europe, and this is the first time i decided to write a review…please put this up on your review board…this is a top notch resort, the landscaping is beautiful, the pools beautiful and everything is well maintain on the grounds…the food is excellent, the wine is excellent, the rooms are large and clean, very clean…no problems…the staff are all friendly, helpful and understanding and are there to help you with anything you might ask of them when it comes to going out to the markets, tours, etc…we stayed a week in jan. 2008…we hated to leave…this place is the place to vacation…you never want to leave…the beach is just wonderful, the sand is so nice and everything is clean..oh, there is also room service 24 hours a day…there is a little train that takes you to the other resorts if you do not feel like walking, you can eat at any of the other sister resorts, go to their pool or their side of the ocean if you want…you get to use all of the sister-resorts that are located all together except for the grand resort that is for adults only…this is the the absoulte best resort in my years of traveling…we will be back as soon as we can…

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  Iberostar Paraiso Lindo   Doug ~ Toronto

March 2008

Family of 3 from Toronto area. We were guests Mar 2-9 2008

Just returned from 1 week at Iberostar Lindo. We are experienced travelers to 5 star resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican. Here is a brief summary.

a) Property is huge, contains 5 separate hotels with shared beach, gym, shopping area. Everything is well spaced and crowding is absolutely not an issue except on beach. Everything is spotless and perfectly maintained even though in entire week we never saw grounds staff at work; nice relief from some places where weed whackers start going at 8AM. Architecture and quality of the buildings was really very high and you could not make a legitimate complaint. Entire complex is very large but never feels that way.

b) Food was well above average. Unlike most resorts with huge buffet plus a few a la carte restaurants, this complex has many al a carte restaurants and just a small buffet spot. No limit to how many al a carte dinners you can go to, so we had 1 every night. Very good food at all, good service, no complaints whatever. No problem booking through concierge in your building. Read 1 review from a lady saying she left hungry from the Italian; simply impossible. Note to future travelers; there are 4 small specialty "food shops" in the central shopping/spa area. We just saw them by accident. Crepes, tacos, burgers, wine bar, finger foods etc. Not for sit down dinner but great for snacks. Also they have both regular and dark draft beer at the bars; have never seen that anywhere in the south. Not quite Rickards Red but pretty good.

c) Staff were very good, no issues at all.

d) Rooms were fine; not a single bug or odour all week. We requested 3rd floor building 51 with pool view in a fax before we left and that is exactly what we got. SO SO nice not to have to do the room change hassle. Safe in rooms no charge. Caution: they offer a week long internet package on your room TV for $20. It is brutal and do not expect to do anything other than e mail. Even then it was VERY bad; slow, hard to read on the TV, virtually impossible to navigate around. Pay the extra nd use real internet in the main lobby.

e) Beach was the only area of minor concern. Lots of nice palapas but they are a bit close together. Lots of Europeans who think nothing of trying to squeeze their beach chair under your shade. So you need to stake out your space a bit. The beach was very nice, great sand. Not a place to walk for miles but certainly you could walk for quite a bit. COMMENT: little to no silly beach noise/games and so you could really relax and just enjoy the sun and crashing waves. Also, there is a bar/burger shack right on the beach with washrooms. So no long hike to the can like in many places.

f) Overall this was the best resort we have been to yet. Just seems to have everything you normally expect plus so many little extras. Spotless, good food, no getting sick, lots to do, attentive staff. Overall rate it a 9 out of 10. Would certainly return.

NOTE The week we were there the property was very busy but no lineups and nice and relaxed.But on the day we left a group of 75 high school kids from Texas showed up. So we only had to listen to them for 1 night but boy were they loud and boorish. I cannot understand why a family oriented premium 5 star resort would want a bunch of March break kids who obviously only want to party. Not sure how you could ever avoid this happening but my positive comments above might certainly take on a different flavor if we had these kids around all week.

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  Iberostar Paraiso Lindo   S. Young

February 2008

We booked with Sunwing Vacations through Tripcentral.ca and that was a big mistake. Our arrival and departure schedule was changed drastically. Instead of leaving Ottawa at 8:40 Sunday we left at 15:35 on Sunday and instead of leaving at 13:00 on the following Sunday, our departure was at 9:00, so you know what time we had to get up for the bus to the airport! Aeromexico was our carrier for some reason so when you look at the lovely Sunwing book, forget all the hot towel, champagne stuff because it didn’t happen.

But forget about the Sunwing part, just go with another, more reliable tour operator but go to this place because it is wonderful. Lovely big rooms, lots of pools, restaurants and things to do. The weather was great, the ocean wasn’t as nice as Punta Cana but fun to play in just the same. I found the water in the pools a little cooler than I like but maybe it was the time of year. There were lots of chairs around the pool or down at the ocean with plenty of places in the shade.

It is a big complex but definitely managable for all ages. We saw lots of families there and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The bar fridge is replenished daily with beer, soda and water. I loved it.

I would go again tomorrow, if I could.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo Matt

April 2007

We have traveled all over the Caribbean and the world and stayed at all sorts of resorts, with and without our kids, and I would rate the Iberostar Paraiso resort as one of the best maintained and managed resorts we have ever stayed at. We have stayed at Marriotts, Sandals, Club Meds, Hyatts, and Westins and brought the Iberostar resort guide that is free in your room back home with us to see if we can find another Iberostar to travel to next year.

Who:
Our whole family went which includes my wife and I and our 3 boys ages 12, 10 and 4.

Why:
We had looked around at Atlantis and Beaches and quite frankly when you took the travel time, the weather, and the cost into consideration, the Iberostar Paraiso resort made the best sense. We also had a recommendation from some friends of ours who visited it last year with their kids and told us it was the best place they had ever been to. We were a bit skeptical but were we pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness, the friendliness of the staff, and the activities they had for all ages. We stayed at the Lindo which was the newest and nicest of the resorts.

Resort itself
I am not sure if and how much more the lindo was versus the other resorts within the complex. Our rooms were great. If there is a price difference, we were shocked by how close and integrated the resorts are on the property and access to all of the restaurants and activities seemed to be the same for all the hotels. Again, we didn’t see the other rooms, but ours was sizeable and clean. The other resorts maybe had to walk an extra couple of minutes to the main pools but it was very doable and wouldn’t feel like you were staying somewhere else. We also read that some people felt the property was too spread out. We didn’t. We liked the 5 minute walks to dinner or to a show. Again, we were in the Lindo so we were in the prime location.

What to make sure you do Make sure you ask for a 2nd or 3rd floor room. There were definitely bugs, but we had no problem on the 3rd floor. If staying at the lindo, and you have kids or go to bed early, make sure you don’t stay in Building 55. It is right next to the theatre. Make sure you get up early and get your towels on a chair if you want to sit at the main pool. They had a lot of chairs but they were a bit crammed in and if you were late, you ended up sitting 3 rows back from the pool. Make sure you book your dinners for the week day 1 the first thing you do. We didn’t, so we ended up with some 6pm dinner times which were too early for the kids to get out of the pool and ready and then we had to kill time between 6:45 and 8 when the little kids show started. If you don’t have little kids, then the adult show doesn’t start until 9:30 so after a long hot day in the sun, you really struggle to stay going. 8 pm dinners were too late if you wanted to do the little kids show at 8, but would be great if you were just going to the adult show at 9:30.

Get to the Commercial center at the main entrance of the complex. We didn’t until Wednesday and found the ice cream store and burger place that we were looking for, and they too are included which made it great. They also have live music there so sitting outside and enjoying the evening is great there.

If you like activities, make sure you find an activities director and specifically ask where the events are. We didn’t, and when we went to find them, because the property is so large and has many sites, it was difficult to find the activity. By the time you did, many times it had already started. If you are a breakfast person, not all breakfast sites have the same buffet. Make sure you go to the Italian restaurant for breakfast if you want a better selection and service.
Make sure you try all of the pools. Each one offers different experiences. Waterfalls, swim ups, quiet, music etc.

Summary: We thought it was one of the most beautiful and well maintained resorts we had ever seen, and we travel around the world to a lot of nice places. The service was unbelievably friendly and available for an all inclusive. During the shows, waitresses were everywhere to bring a drink to your table and the refrigerators in the room were constantly stocked. The food was OK. We didn’t expect a lot, it was an area that was a bit disappointing given the rave reviews we read. It was good, but not what we expected. I would say it was average for an all inclusive. I would and have highly recommended it to any family that is looking to get away, relax and have some fun in the sun.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo Andre & Linda, Jean & Madeleine, Bobby and Danielle ~ Kingston, Ontario, Canada

February 2007

After two cruises and one resort (Republic Dominican) in the last 5 yrs, we decided to visit Mexico and after several reviews, we selected the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.

We flew with Sunwing Airlines, and everything was standard. The aircraft was a Boeing 737 with approximately 200 seats. Needless to say, that we felt like "sardines", but the flight is approx 3.5 hrs and it was acceptable.

We went with two other couples and everybody had a marvelous week (10-17 Feb 2007) at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.

The Iberostar Lindo Resort is one of the four resorts in Playa Paraiso (other are Maya, Del Mar and Beach). Although some reviews stated that some building were far from one to another (due to the resort size), we never found this to be a problem. As a matter of fact, we loved to walk the 5 mins from our rooms to the restaurants/bars.

We asked for rooms on the second floor and close to each other. All of our rooms were in building 52. The rooms were excellent. The room is equipped with fridge, iron, ironing board, safe, ample room for storage (for two), TV, A/C, mini-cloth lines (balcony) and hair-dryer. However if you have long hair, you may want to bring your own hair-dryer.

The staff are the friendlier we have ever dealt with in any our vacations.
We just cannot say enough about the staff and their willingness to help and make sure you have a good time. Just few individuals to mentioned: Armando , Carol, Erika and Israel always made sure that we had plenty of "organized games", all day long. At the centre bar, ask Hilario and Irving (watch him juggling glass and bottles) for any drink, but be careful as their imagination can run wild. Our concierges (Sylvia and Luz) were always there to assist us.

I can be "picky" when it come to food but the food was excellent. We tried 6 restaurants: Steak, Mexican, Italian, Cajun, Gourmet, Seafood. Same goes with Bars. Lots of "internatioanl drinks. I was surprised, I even had "Grand Marnier" at the Italian restaurant.

The entertainment is on-going all day long. With various sports "competition", lessons (dance and spanish), aerobics, night shows etc.. there was never a dull moment from 09:00 till 23:00 hrs.

I know this review is a bit long, but we had an outstanding time in Iberostar Lindo.

From a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best) this resort is 11. Cheers

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Vitaly

August 2006

We stayed and got married at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo from April 30th until May 14th. We knew we wanted to get married somewhere in the Carribean and I scoured island after island and resort after resort. We finally settled on the Lindo because of great reviews and attentive wedding planner. We took care of all of our wedding details ahead of time over email so we came to the resort ready to get married. Here is a breakdown of this magnificent property by different points:

WEDDING
Liz is a great wedding coordinator. I think her only problem is that she is understaffed. Always running around and missed a couple of minor details for the wedding. However, she was very responsive over email ahead of time so we pretty much knew what to expect. The beach wedding was spectacular. I thought we would mind all the people on the beach, but the way they position the aisle, there is not that many people around. When we looked back at the pictures, our friends kept saying that we were on a deserted beach! According to other reviews the hotel photographer was not very good and he/she was unresponsive when we asked questions over email. We chose to go with Claudia Rodriguez and her team. We did not regret our choice. Both the videographer and photographer were professionals with many years of experience. We enjoyed our photo and video shoots a lot. The pictures and DVD were awesome. If you are getting married there and have more questions about any details, email me.

ROOMS
The property is standing perpendicular to the sea and consists of six buildings numbered 50-55. The lower the number, the closer you are to the sea. It takes about 8 minutes to walk from the lobby (where most restaurants are) to the beach. Since we like to be close to the beach, I emailed the hotel directly ahead of time and requested building 50 or 51. I also requested an upgrade to the honeymoon suite which is a little larger that a regular room and has a jacuzzi on the balcony. When we arrived, we received a large corner room for the first week in building 51 as requested and were promised that we would get transferred to the honeymoon suite in the same building for the second week. The rooms are spotless, very well taken care of. They get cleaned twice a day. We were transferred to the honeymoon suite as promised for the second week of our stay. There is a minibar in the room that is always restocked with beer, pop, and water. There is 24-hour room service included. Tap water in the rooms is filtered, but we didn’t take chances as there is plenty of bottled water in the room.

FOOD
There is a large number of restaurants that you can eat at. All except the buffet require reservations. There is a concierge by every building and you can book with them for the whole week ahead. It’s no problem to get into any restaurant if you book right when you get there. You can go to any restaurants on any of the properties including the Maya resort next door except for seafood and gourmet restaurants at the Maya. The quality of the food is definitely above average, but it’s not gourmet. Don’t go to an all-inclusive expecting 5 star dining. You will get great service, and plenty of good food. Our favorite restaurants were Gourmet, Italian, and Cajun. Chinese was the only one that I was disappointed with. Despite reading about some horror stories with the food, we were just fine all two weeks despite eating non-stop. Breakfast at the lobby is bigger and has more selection than by the pool, but it closes at 10AM, so if you oversleep, you go the one by the pool. Definitely check out the ice cream bar on top of the pool. There is a snackbar on the beach serving nachos, burgers, dogs, and pork.

BARS
There are bars everywhere on the property including the beach. The bartenders will mix you up anything you want, just ask. There is a swim up bar at the pool where some people spend whole days. The bars have local alcohol except for the lobby bars, where you can request Absolut vodka and other "premium" beverages. Definitely check out the lobby bar at the Maya. Try the Mexican shot which is three different colors (of the Mexican flag)in tiers and lit on fire. There is a night club at the shopping mall right next to the resort. They were not strict about age.

BEACH and POOL
I am a beach person so that’s where I spent most of my time. The beach is beautiful. There are plenty of palapas available even if you get there at noon. Watersports are on the right side with kayaks, catamarans, etc. Go in the morning because it gets choppy in the afternoon and you they won’t let you go. There are waves, but they are not bad at all. There are rocks going into the water, but not on the right side. If you go into the water close to the rope which borders the right side of the swimming area, the sea floor is completely sandy. The pool is huge with two jacuzzis in the middle, a wave pool (lame), and a lazy river.

STAFF So friendly and hard working! They go out of their way to make your experience just right. Everything in the resort is immaculate, from the rooms, to the grounds, to the restaurants. Bring lots of singles to leave for the maids, bartenders, waiters, and others. That is pretty much their salary. Tip: do not stay at the Maya. You will pay more money, but won’t get much more for it. Lindo and Maya share the same pool, same beach, and same restaurants (except for the two mentioned above). Their rooms are a little bigger and they have hammocks on the balconies. Also, there is construction going on next to it of the fifth adults-only Iberostar resort. Some Maya rooms face the construction site. I know the review is long, but I can’t say enough about this resort. We would definitely go there again!

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Rich/Gayle ~ Chicago, IL.

September 2005

We just returned from Mexico and had a wonderful time on behalf off apple vacations and the Iberostar staff.

As usual our flight out of Chicago via apple went as smooth as ever and our entry into Mexico was just as smooth. Customs was a breeze. The only problem was the food on USA 3000 airline was less than good, but these days you generally don’t get any food at all so it was at least something.

Arrived at the resort quickly. We had to wait about an hour for our room but no problem. The bars are open and we got there just when lunch was being served so had a nice meal while waiting.

Our room was fantastic. Last building by the pool, beach and breakfast/dinner buffet. We had a nice suite on the second floor with a private jaccuzi on the balcony. Although it was a very long walk back to the main lobby, it was very quiet there. If you don’t like to walk just hop the shuttle that runs back and forth all day. Our room was kept spotless day and night. It might have something to do with the daily tips but I don’t think so. This is just the way the Iberostar operates. The only complaint here was that late in the afternoon if you wanted to relax awhile in your room you couldn’t. They kept calling and asking if everything was ok. This was a minor inconvience.

We ate at the Mexican and gourmet restaurants. These were both very good. While the wine they serve there is also good we can sometimes be picky. we brought a couple bottles with and had no problem having them served to us at the restaurants. We did eat often at the buffets which were our only disappointment. Whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner it was exactly the same food day after day. A few years ago we went to the Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana. There, the buffet seemed to change daily. Oh well, the food was still very good though.

The staff was exceptional and the nightly shows were really good. Remember this isn’t Las Vegas. These people work their asses off day and night so any show at all is amazing.

The pools were incredible and the beach amazing. There was soft sand all the way out into the water which was refreshingly warm.

The trip home was just as smooth. Mexico customs was quick and uneventful.

All in all we had a nice trip. Comparing it to Punta Cana we probably won’t go back. Then again there are so many places in the Caribbean who has time to go back.

Generally though, you can’t go wrong with an Iberostar resort.

If anyone would like further info feel free to contact us.
RGJ8@AOL.COM

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Karen

April 2005

Found your website to be very valuable in planning my last 3 tropical holidays so I thought I would return the favour by posting a review of the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo resort, which we stayed at Apr 3-17/2005

We are a family of 4, with 2 boys aged 8 and 11. In a nutshell, the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo was fantastic and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to families or couples. Although elderly people or those physically challenged might find this resort a bit too large and difficult to get around, and "singles" looking for a party would be disappointed with the on-site night life. We watched several weddings take place on the beach during our stay and the resort staff seems to do a very nice job with the whole set-up and ceremony complete with live mariachi music.

I have been to many all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico and the Iberostar Paraiso is the first one I’ve come across where the meals (both buffet and in the many, a la carte restaurants) were really quite good. We ate several meals in the a la carte restaurants (Japanese, Mexican, Gourmet, Italian, Cajun, Steakhouse & Chinese) and only had one meal (the Chinese) that was disappointing. Our kids ordered room service dinner on 3 occasions while my husband and I ate dinner in the "adults only" gourmet restaurant (we did see other families with kids as young as 10 eating there – so they are not overly strict, depending on the age of the kids I think)

Each building in the Lindo complex has it’s own concierge and they are most helpful in taking care of restaurant reservations and anything extra you might need in your room etc. I managed to do 8 total dives while we were there and I was very impressed with the on-site dive shop (Dressel Divers). Our kids only did a few "Kids Club" activities as there seemed to be mainly younger kids (ages 4-7)but they enjoyed the things they did, including participating in the nightly "Mini Disco". The wave pool and lazy river ride at the resort were a huge hit.

The ocean was quite rough during our entire 2 week stay (mostly red flag days, a few yellow flags) so forget about doing any off-shore snorkelling, but the body surfing was terrific. Parents-be warned – keep an eye on your young children- the surf is very rough.

The beach and pool areas are equally nice with plenty of lounge chairs and lots of palapas for those that want shade.

As I stated before, this resort is huge…partially because it is four hotels in one complex and it looks like they are in the process of building a shopping mall and an "adults only" section – to be open sometime in the future. In two weeks we still did not manage to explore every single swimming pool or restaurant that we had access to within the resort – although we certainly tried! There are a couple of "Paraiso Express" shuttles that run from the he lobby areas down to near the beach but they should really think of using a shuttle to run from the Maya side of the resort all the way over to the Del Mar side (near the dive shop). It’s a very long walk in the heat when you are lugging dive gear!

The only real complaint I have is that on April 15th, they changed the pool bar located near the wave pool into a "health bar" – where you can only get fruit and veggie smoothies. This leaves just the swim up bar for serving alcoholic drinks in the pool area, meaning bar service went from super fast to extremely slow, literally overnight. Also, since the change if you can’t wait for a waitress to get you a drink, you have to jump in the pool and use the swim up bar (a bit of a pain after 5pm when it starts cooling off!)

If we decide to return to the Mayan Riviera again, we would probably return to the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – overall we were that impressed with the resort and its staff.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Susanna ~ Canada

January 2005

I want to go back! I just had the most wonderful vacation with my sister, daughter and three nieces! I am not a well travelled person, and spent many hours on the internet researching the many resorts in the Mayan area. I decided on the Lindo and did not regret it once!

My daughter and I had no complaints about the food, breakfast buffet was amazing and the drinks were constantly being replaced all day by the amazing staff.
The room #5344 overlooked the pool and was nicely done, and a good size, with 3 people staying in it. (We got a cot and 2 doubles) We were located approximately half way between the beach and the main lobby – so it was convenient. Because of roughness, we didn’t spend as much time at the beach as I expected – and did not take advantage of any of the non-motorized water activities that are included.

The staff, especially the young men and ladies who did the entertaining, mixing with the vacationers, and waiters were warm, friendly people. (it didn’t hurt that I travelled with 4 lovely young ladies!)

The beautiful grounds are impossible to describe and coming back to grey is a bit depressing – but makes us determined to return!

A bit of a negative, too many people get up at 5 or 6, leave their towels on the ‘prime’ chairs and then don’t return until 9 or 10 a.m. to claim their spots. To those of us who were at pool side by 7 or 7:30, it is frustrating to sit and watch empty chairs for 3 hrs – there are signs saying this is not allowed but it is done anyway!

We took the day tour into Playa del Carmen – very interesting, and I enjoyed the shops and area closer to the Cozumel ferry dock much more than those we saw when we first entered the town.

We also took the trip with 1/2 day spent at Xel-Ha and 1/2 at Tulum. Much, much too short on time for Xel-Ha, although we did get to enjoy the Sea Quest adventure, which is like walking on the floor of the sea with divers helmuts on – great for those of us who wear glasses and cannot enjoy scuba diving!

I rate this vacation a 10, however want to give this advice – if you do not participate in the events when asked (dancing, etc.) you are missing out on a lot of the fun!

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen USA

October 2004

The Lindo is located in the same resort complex as the Del Mar, Beach, and the soon to be opened Maya. You can easily walk from one to the other. There are four wings to the resort complex with two pool systems; one for the Del Mar/Beach and one for the Lindo/Maya. Guests at the Lindo can use all facilities while guests of the Del Mar and Beach are not supposed to use the Lindo facilities.

Overall Rating: On a 5 star scale, it rates a 4.5. I enjoyed my stay at the Paraiso complex including the Lindo and the Beach resorts and would like a return visit.

My Background: I am fairly well traveled having been on every continent except Antarctica (still working on that one). From a USA perspective, I have been in all 50 states and parts of Canada. My wife and I have visited Mexico resorts 4 times. We are about 50 years old and wanted this trip to be one of relaxation and get away from the office. Neither of us have an interest in the “just party” atmosphere for this type of vacation.

Facilities: The Lindo is pretty new and we stayed in a Junior Suite in building 51. Our reservation was for a standard room and we were upgraded. Building 51 is a good location as it is close to the pool complex and the beach. The room was nicely furnished with a king bed, sofa, marble bath, tub/shower combination. The maid service was very good and as stated in other reviews, we were greeted daily by a new towel sculpture with chocolates and flower petals. We also had evening towel service and turn down service. The pool area was very good and since the Maya wing is not yet open, there was not much of a problem getting a good space around the pool. Both sunny and shady spots were available. I believe this will change once the new Maya wing opens and with more people, the challenge in getting a good spot will be more difficult.

Landscaping: Grounds are very well taken care of by the staff. The Lindo side is more of a village look while the Del Mar/Beach side is landscaped with tropical vegetation and has a “jungle” like look in spots. My personal preference was the landscaping on the Del Mar/Beach side. It was very nice and lush.

Beach: A nice beach is available to the guests. There is one common beach for the full Del Mar/Beach/Lindo complex. Plenty of chairs and a choice of sun or shade locations. While one could not stroll for miles up and down the beach, it is large enough to support the number of guests. There are a few rocks at the shoreline when entering the water, otherwise the bottom was sandy with fairly clear water.

If you so desire, there is a good sunrise at the beach. We were also fortunate enough to have a full moon the week we were there. Enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant and take a stroll along the beach with that someone special.

Service: The entire staff was very friendly and courteous. Each building has a concierge to take care of your dinner reservations and other requests. Our room was prepared well every day and the grounds were immaculate. In the restaurants the wait staff was very good and took care of us. There were no issues with the staff at all during our stay.

Restaurants and food: If you are going to an all-inclusive with the idea there will be top notch food, you probably need to adjust your expectations. This is food for the masses, not a four star restaurant. Overall, I would say the food was OK. Specific restaurants visited were:

Mediterranean (On the Del Mar/Beach side) – Entrée was the lobster paella which was good. The dessert bar here that night was very good.
Cajun (Lindo) – We had the coconut shrimp which most reviewers on this site liked. It was good, not great. I had the jambalaya and was not impressed. Order some fish or shrimp dish instead.
Steak (Lindo) – They serve a nice bloomin onion for an appetizer. Also available at the appetizer bar are huge shrimp. Yes, they still have the head and require peeling, but they were huge. I also know that the quality of beef in places like Mexico is not at the same level as experienced in the US and Canada. I had the tenderloin and it was not of US steak house quality. It was edible and cooked to my order for medium well.
Gourmet (Lindo) – I am not a gourmet food aficionado. I thought the food here was pretty good (veal). Whether it was up to the expectations of a gourmet expert, I leave that to others to judge. I just know regardless of what the name was on the restaurant, the food was good.
Italian (Lindo) – Pretty basic menu of some pizza choices and some pasta selections. I had the gnocchi which was good. Just not a lot of variety in the menu.
Buffet – For Breakfast and Lunch there are two main places to eat. There is a buffet at the end of the pool area and a buffet up near the lobby. There is also a snack area on the beach. The buffet at the lobby area has a greater selection and better quality food. They discourage swim suit attire at this buffet. I just put a pair of shorts on over my swim suit and all was fine.

Entertainment – If you are looking for great professional entertainment, stay away from all inclusives and go to Vegas. Let’s see, listen to amateur entertainment or enjoy the romance of a full moon on the beach with my special wife? The beach wins every time. If you are looking for a “party” and great entertainment, this is not the place. I was looking for neither and therefore was not disappointed. This is not a place for the spring break crowd.

Again, the Iberostar Lindo is an excellent choice for facilities, service, and beach. The Beach wing hotel in the same complex is a little less expensive and is also a very nice resort without the same level of amenities as the Lindo (no concierge, limited restaurant seatings). Go and have a good time. I intend to return someday.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Jay, Renee, Ron & Ellen — Philadelphia, PA

October 2004

We were originally scheduled to travel to the Dominican Republic at the Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana. We had stayed at the Iberostar Punta Cana last year and had a wonderful time. However, Hurricane Jeanne changed our plans and our trip was cancelled four days before we were scheduled to leave. Our travel agents did a great job of finding us an alternative which turned out to be Mexico. We were given six choices of hotels and chose the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. We went through Apple Vacations.

Flight: We flew US Air from Philadelphia non-stop. It took 3 hours and ten minutes. The flight was good.

Arriving at the Cancun Airport we spent one hour and 20 minutes in Immigration. We were told this was abnormal. A lot of people we talked to had changed their vacation plans from the Eastern Caribbean due to Hurricane Jeanne. This could account for some of the extra people.

After getting through Immigration and Customs, we found our Apple Representative who got us to our transportation which was a nice air condition van. The trip was 35 minutes with one stop to our hotel.

Arriving at our resort we realized our good fortune at having our vacation plans changed. This place is absolutely gorgeous front to back, side to side, top to bottom. Our room the first night was in building 55 not our original choice but flights to Miami were cancelled due to another Hurricane and some guest could not check out. No big deal. The next morning we were moved to building 53 with a view of the pool and waterfall. The room was spacious and spotless. The room included an ironing board, iron, hairdryer and coffee maker with a mini frig stocked with beer and other drinks including a large bottle of water. A room safe was included at no extra charge. The water pressure was good, plenty of hot water. The air conditioner worked great and had digital controls. Maid service was excellent each day. The maid would create an animal out of towels and flowers each day and leave it on our bed. They were amazing. We did not tip her each day but did leave some gifts and a very generous tip the last day of our visit. She deserved it. Overall, the staff, including the maids, bartenders, waiters, front desk personnel, Star Friends and concierge, which each building has, went above and beyond. Most understood some English or spoke English. It was easy to communicate. A large percentage of the guests at this resort were American or Canadian.

Restaurants: Steakhouse – Good Cajun – Good Italian – Good Gourmet – Good Japanese – Okay

Buffet – Good

Make reservations for a la carte a day in advance if possible.

Pool:
Outstanding. Large swim-up bar with waterfall, ice cream parlor on top of swim-up bar. Music playing constantly. Did not go to wave pool, lazy river pool was okay. Plenty of activities in the pool. Plenty of palapas and lounge chairs any time of day. This could change when the other half of the resort, Iberostar Paraiso Maya opens in two months. Waitresses are available all day to bring you drinks. They will even come to the edge of the pool to take your order. There was food available by the pool all day.

The beach was damaged by Hurricane Ivan. We were told they lost 2 meters of sand from the beach. The beach sand and palapas were restored two weeks before we arrived. Going into the water was an adventure as huge boulders were exposed due to the lack of sand. Saw many people falling and scrapping their knees as you couldn’t see the boulders under the water as the water was not clear until you got 100 yards out. Water reminded me of the Jersey shore. Food and drink were available at the beach along with plenty of activities. Beach and pool are posted no-topless but there were topless at the beach.

Entertainment at night was entertaining, not Broadway, but entertaining.

Favorite Drinks: Dirty Monkey, Coco Loco, Riviera Maya, Sangria.

All a la carte restaurants, bars and lobby are air conditioned.

Apple Vacations offers some nice trips outside of the resort. Ron and Ellen went to Chichen Itza. It was a 2 l/2 hour bus ride each way and makes for a long day but both enjoyed it. Glad they went. We also took a short excursion to Playa Del Carmen beach on the complimentary Iberostar bus which ran every hour back and forth from 10:30 to 2:30 with the last bus running at 4:30. If you miss it, you can take a taxi back to the hotel at your own expense. We rented 3 chairs, one umbrella, had two coronas and a large bowl of chips and salsa for $15.00. Beach was soft white sand and water was crystal clear. This is where you also catch the ferry to Cozumel. Plenty of vendors to shop.

I could go on and on but the bottom line is that it was an outstanding vacation. Would go back in a heartbeat. Weather was 94 degrees during the day and in the 70’s at night. It rained three times for about 10 minutes and then the sun came back out.

Secrets Excellence Cancun is opening in October. This will probably be our next choice as we found out change can be good. Punta Cana was great. Mexico was better.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Jesse — Canada

October 2004

My wife and I stayed at the "all inclusive" Iberostar Paraiso Lindo from September 26-October 3, 2004. Simply put, it was the best vacation of our lives. Perhaps the only people who could not fully enjoy this resort are:

1. Elderly/disabled folks, because yes, it does require a lot of walking in heat and humidity to get around the massive property. Walking time between your room and the pool, gym, restaurants, and shops, was typically between 5-15 minutes.

2. The "singles scene" at the resort is non-existent. Basically, we’re talking all families and honeymooners. Being of the latter category, no problem for us whatsoever, but I remember thinking that if you were a single guy or girl looking for some "action," this would not be the place to find it.

But for all families and couples out there, wow, where do I begin? The Iberostar Paraiso Lindo fully deserves the five-star rating.

FACILITIES
The grounds are breath-taking, perfectly manicured, and the whole resort felt clean and safe. As we walked through beautiful jungle paths and saw parrots, peacocks, swans, and flamingos, you really felt like you were in a theme park. The lobbies and bars are palacial. The whole place has the grandeur of Vegas… but classier and friendlier.

The beach is gorgeous with white sand, and tons of hammocks and lounge chairs. The pools are awesome in scale and activity. Whatever vibe you seek, the option is there for you. (Total relaxation, waterfalls, an activity pool with entertainment, a sports pool with water basketball, a kid’s pool, pools with swim-up bars, etc.). Never had a problem getting a premium lounge chair, and never had a delay in getting a drink from an awesome wait staff.

We stayed in a junior suite that was quite comfortable with nice air conditioning, big king size bed, plenty of closet space and drawers, a safe for valuables, big deck overlooking the jungle, rack for drying clothes, and my wife was quite impressed that a hair dryer was included in the bathroom. The maid service was flawless: mini-bar restocked daily with soda, beer, and tons of bottled water. The TV channel situation is pretty limited, but between CNN and ESPN en Espanol, I always found something to briefly watch pre-or-post-siesta.

We were there for eight nights, and ate at a different on-site restaurant each and every night, each with a unique menu, decor, and atmosphere.

I was impressed with the number of on-site stores, offering a variety of merchandise at pretty reasonable prices.

The gym had free weights, stationary bikes, basically any equipment you need, (although air conditioning in the gym would have been nice as it was sweltering hot most of the time). I’ve never sweated so much in my life, but I ended up losing five pounds during the week, so I guess that’s a good thing!

ACTIVITIES
Upon arrival, we fully intended to embark on some off-site day trips. But to be honest, we had so much fun every day at the resort, we never got around to leaving the facility once the whole week!

We enjoyed yoga on the beach, fitness classes in the gym, bike rides, and massages. As cheesy as it sounds, water aerobics in the pool was a daily highlight. Ping pong, archery, air rifle shooting… I tried it all and had a blast. We took the dance lesson offered every day. The "lazy river" is a nice half hour of floating around and chilling out. The "fun games" by the pool are a blast, and a nice way to meet other couples.

The entertainment at night varied from "okay" to "good," depending on the show. But hey, we went to the big theatre each and every night and enjoyed ourselves, so that says a lot. The staff really puts their hearts into it.

We cannot say enough good things about the friendliness of the staff. Obviously, the people around you can make-or-break a vacation, and the staff at the Iberostar made our vacation an absolute blast.

FOOD & DRINK
After reading reviews of this page, my expectations for the dining experience were low, but my wife and I were pleasantly surprised. The buffet lunches were great: pasta, hamburgers, and probably the best tacos I have ever tasted in my life. The freshness of the avacados, pineapple, watermelon, everything was first-rate. Basically, there was something for everyone during the buffets.

The Mexican Party Dinner on Friday night is not to be missed. That was good advice I got from this page. The evening buffet was spectacular and the margaritas were out of this world. The Japanese restaurant also rocked. The Italian, Fondue, and of course Mexican were also fun. The only "so-so" food was at the gourmet restaurant, but the crepes with strawberries for desert made up for it, as did the post-dinner liqueur selection.

It is important to make all your dinner reservations with your concierge right when you arrive. I was on the "waiting list" for a couple of restaurants, but after a $5 tip, funny how space seemed to open up almost instantaneously.

MONEY
Great advice from this site to bring down lots of $1US bills. You don’t *have* to tip, but it’s just the classy thing to do after someone brings you drinks by the pool, or gives you great service at dinner. Besides, where in the States is a one dollar tip so appreciated nowadays? Also, important advice:

There is no ATM at the hotel! Make sure to bring as much cash as you need, unless you want to make a 45 minute trip into town. We brought enough cash, and spent our money on:

– Internet cafe, $1 per 5 minutes (had to check work email couple of times, yuck, but the Internet cafe was nicely appointed and air conditioned)

– You can buy professional pictures taken by the pool, posing with an iguana or parrots, for $7 a pop. We bought a couple.

– Massages were $35 for 1/2 hour

– Local merchants come to hotel at night to offer their wares: blankets, wood carvings, clothes, jewelry, art, and the like. They set up little stands all in a row, and don’t "bug" you unless you are interested. (Pushy vendors are a pet peeve of mine, mercifully absent from this resort). We had a fun time bargaining for various trinkets, and while I’m sure the stuff is cheaper off the resort, we got a lot of items for $40, so who can complain?

– As mentioned, it’s nice to tip your maid, waiters, bell boys, and concierge a few bucks here and there.

– The taxi drivers at the airport will try to trick you into taking a $62 cab ride to the resort. If you’ve bought an all-inclusive package, odds are that your bus transportation is free. Just walk past the taxi vendors and check out the bus situation outside before you commit to anything.

– The tequila and cigars are over-priced at the resort. Wait to shop for alcohol and tobacco at the duty-free store at the Cancun airport on your way out of town, for some awesome deals.

FINAL ADVICE
– Goes without saying: drink a ton of bottled water down there to avoid dehydration.

– Bring Pepto Bismol. We didn’t get sick at all, but it is a good preventative for upset tummies.

– Obviously, use sun screen when you’re in the sun, and aloe vera lotion for post-sun soothing. That is a powerful tanning sun down there!

– And guys, don’t forget that long pants are required at dinner. Pack accordingly!

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Lori & Chris — Green Bay WI

September 2004

My husband and I stayed at the Lindo from 9/18-9/23. I had read many reviews of the resort, good and bad, prior to deciding to go here. Common criticisms I read about were: bring mosquito spray since you’ll be eaten alive! or the beach is like astroturf, food is just "ok" , its too far to walk & bring comfortable shoes..to name a few. Preparing for the worst we brought our tennies, mosquito spray & didn’t have high expectations for the other common complaints. What I found surprising is that you can’t believe everything you read on these reviews. Its all subject to opinion, and the things we were expecting to be disappointed with we weren’t & vice versa.

It may have been the time of year went but there weren’t any mosquitoes!! So if you’re going this time of year don’t worry about that! The walking wasn’t bad at all!! Unless you have a hardship of course (but you can always take their shuttle). My husband & I really enjoyed walking to dinner together every night. We noticed it got dark around 6pm, just like at home, and the stars were out, the ground lights were lit, and it was very romantic walking hand in hand to the restaurants.

The beach was not astroturf at all! It had thick, white, and very fluffy sand! Although being there right after the hurricane we couldn’t swim in the water. It was red flagged, but who needed to swim there anyway with all those wonderful pools! The workers were always cleaning them too. My husband & I noticed the chlorine water didn’t taste like chlorine at all; but rather like salt water–but without stinging your eyes. We never had a problem with our hair & needing a detangler or special anti-chlorinated shampoo. Just bring a good conditioner if you plan to get your hair wet and you’ll be fine.

The swim-up bar had really strong drinks. All you need is 1 or 2 drinks and you’re set. A really good recommendation (that I wish we would’ve done) is to bring a lot of singles or pesos with us to the beach & for the bell boy. Tipping is not required, but they really appreciate it. It made us feel bad when we didn’t have any spare cash to tip them. Also, don’t cash in all your american $ because the resort isn’t able to exchange it back to american $. You’ll have to wait until you get in the States. Only take out what you can spend.

This was also a great time to be at the resort since it was not overcrowded in the least and the weather was not too unbearably hot. As I’m sure its stated in almost every review, this resort is GORGEOUS. They take pride in taking care of their grounds. My husband and I really enjoyed walking around the resort and viewing all the birds, flowers, and trees. The room service was also very prompt as well as the maid service. If you’re worried about not having enough water or towels stocked in your room, just write a simple note in Spanish for the maids with a tip every day and they’ll greatly appreciate it! They made cute designs out of our shower towels every day. We always looked forward to coming back to our room and seeing how they fixed it up. We were there on our 1 year anniversary, and while we were at dinner our concierge sent someone up to our room to decorate our bed with rose petals & 2 swans in a heart shape on the bed. They also saw our anniversary cards & put them on the bed as part of the design. They also pulled our drapes across in a very romantic style. We were very impressed & pleased! I think any of the buildings would be fine to stay in. We were on the 2nd flr of bldg 51 and really liked the location. The terrace was nice & big, and there was a rack to hang your clothes on to dry out. The concierge service was awesome, and they arranged our restaurant reservations for us and answered all our questions. You’ll be impressed with them! All in all, the service was great & the resort beautiful.

Now for the criticisms…
My husband & I both got food poisoning. I got it severely bad, but luckily not until the day before we left.It started with nausea and then fever, chills, and the worst diarrhea of my life!!! I can tell its going to take awhile to get over this too. They say the water is purified at the resort, and we did drink a little of it…you may want to only drink the bottled water to be safe, you just never know. Neither of us have sensitive stomachs and have never had food poisoning while traveling before. We don’t know exactly what it was we ate or drank, but it may have been the lobster soup? Or perhaps the juice bar next to the wave pool. I really wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from trying a drink at the juice bar because they were awesome! Very healthy & refreshing. But I have heard some fruits in foreign countries can make you sick, so I’d be careful there. We went to the juice bar VERY often too. Who knows. Also, we weren’t very impressed with the food; especially the lunch & breakfast buffets. Neither of us are picky eaters either, we’ll eat anything! The room service was worse though, so don’t even bother ordering that. I never read any reviews that mentioned the room service being good either, so believe me, don’t try it. There was only 1 breakfast item on the room service menu..huevos, and they didn’t ask how you wanted the eggs. They just brought them sunny side up. The potato served with our eggs was french fries, and of course the typical grilled tomato that you will get with every dinner you have there. The room service menu was a real disappointment to us since neither of us likes to get up in the morning & were really looking forward to ordering room service for breakfast. Also our room clock wasn’t set right, and we never noticed this until our 3rd night when we went to the Gourmet Restaurant and the hostess was very upset with us for being late! We apologized & told her about our clock in the room, and they squeezed us into the restaurant (mind you this was our anniversary night too) and the waiter rushed us through every course. It wasn’t very enjoyable & it was after we ate there that I came down with my severe diarrhea too. Although the inside of that restaurant was gorgeous!! It reminded us of a restaurant in Italy. Our favorite place was the Cajun Restaurant, Jambalaya. The Steakhouse was very very very disappointing!! The shrimp on the their buffet still had their eyeballs and looked like they were just dragged out of the sea, gross!! If you’re debating about which restaurant to skip, this is the one, hands down!! Although our waitress was very funny. She does a spoon trick with the back of her hand that will really surprise you.

The boardwalk to the ocean really reaked like stagnant water. Another thing that turned my stomach. If you’re planning on walking to the ocean, hold your breath! It is a nice walk though. Also my husband & I were looking forward to working out and were disappointed to find that the fitness area had no treadmills, free weights over 45 1bs, nor any air conditioning!!!! The jacuzzi was also cooler than the pools!!

Our coffee pot leaked & the coffee wasn’t very good. Another disappointment for breakfast since we love our coffee in the morning. Also the plumbing kind of smelled. Has anyone else noticed this? The toilets brought up sewer smells that made me nauseous all the time, and we didn’t like how the toilets flushed..a minor complaint. The walls in our room seemed paper thin too. We could hear a lot from our next door neighbors..going to the bathroom, etc.

Do NOT take the shuttle to Playa Del Carmen. We were very disappointed with that. The beach is blocked off and you feel as if you’re in a flea market when you go shopping there. Its very dirty & poor, and the street vendors are pushy and in your face, trying to get your attention to buy from them. Nothing seemed too appealing to buy. It was a lot of cheap drugstore type souvenirs if you know what I mean. And from the looks of the other tourists, they were not happy either. No one bought much or anything at all. Plus our bus was 45 min late! Nothing like standing in the heat, sweating, with no bathroom in sight anywhere!! Everyone looked miserable. But I did hear the other day trips were fun..Xcarat, Chichen Itza, Tulum..look into those instead. Don’t bother with Playa Del Carmen! Once the natives there see your wristband & realize you’re from the Apple Resorts, they’ll zero right in on you. Its not a fun situation. Spend your time elsewhere! There are also little stands right at the resort (across from the Italian restaurant) that sell a lot of souvenirs. These are more authentic and much better quality than the ones you’ll find in Playa. The hand painter deserves every penny for his finger tip paintings!! They also don’t hound you to look at their merchandise. The airport also had a lot of great stores. Make sure to check that out if you don’t get much time to shop!

Obviously there will be diverse opinions no matter where you stay. I do highly recommend this resort, but play it safe with what you eat. I wish we had brought something to soothe our stomachs. After all its not fun to fly home with the flu! 🙁

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Diane & Dave

September 2004

HOTEL & GROUNDS:
What a resort! It is absolutely beautiful! They spared no expense in building the hotel and designing the grounds. Our mouths dropped open the second we got off the bus from the airport. No pictures I found on the Internet did the hotel justice! The main area of the resort is laid out like the city of Venice. There are many large fountain pools all over with bridges and walkways running through and over the fountain pools. There are many plants and potted trees and beautiful flower arrangements all over. All walkways are covered with a high thatched roof and marble floors and columns and are very are wide to accommodate two way “traffic”. The walkways lead to the restaurants and places to just sit and enjoy the view or have a drink, they connect the air-conditioned main lobby area and reception area and lead to the theater, theatre bar and pool table area as well as the shops and the large “Lobby Bar” which is air-conditioned and has a large aquarium with exotic fish and coral. Because of the open concept in the main area there is no air-conditioning in the theatre, theatre bar or pool table area but it really wasn’t a problem because these areas are covered by such large, high roofs and are always in the shade. The main theatre is very large and is open-air and has a large stage for shows and plenty of table and chairs to enjoy the entertainment or have a drink. The theatre is covered with a very high thatched roof. The nightly shows are fun and they often include people from the audience. The “Star Friends” are awesome and do everything from performing to mingling and chatting with you to organizing activities in the theater and around the pools. They are a lot of fun and are always accessible.

The rooms are located in 5 three-storied buildings that run from the main area to the ocean. Each building has its own court yard and they all inter-connect and provide access to walk the entire length of the resort. There are no elevators in these buildings so if you have difficulty with stairs you should let them know that you need a room on the ground level. All upper rooms have large balconies. The rooms are spacious and have mini-bars that are free and replenished frequently with bottled water, beer and soda as well as a jug of purified water for the coffee maker. A couple of times we noticed that we needed something and the maid did not replenish automatically. If you do need something like water or tissues or towels; it is best to leave a note for the maid written in basic Spanish and you will definitely get what you want. We wrote a note in English and the maid didn’t seem to understand even though the rest of the staff spoke and understood English perfectly. The bathrooms are large and completely made of marble. All rooms are air-conditioned and have hairdryers and alarm clocks and TV’s with several English speaking channels and there’s even an ironing board and iron in every room! Each building has its own concierge and they bend over backward to get you what you need and to answer your questions so that you don’t have to always go to the main lobby area. The resort is large but to walk the entire length it just takes a couple of minutes.

The pools are located parallel to the room buildings and span from the main area to the ocean. There is a “Kiddy” pool along with a playground. There is a “Lazy River” pool which provides a float for you to use. We enjoyed it but its just goes in a small circle so we went around a couple of times. There is a “Sports” pool which you could play volley ball or shoot hoop at any time. There is a large “Juice” bar which serves healthy, non-alcoholic smoothies etc… but if you wanted an alcoholic drink the waitresses will get one for you from the other bar. There is a “Wave” pool which was fun but only is set to go off once per hour for about 15 minutes at a time. There is a “Giant Chess Game” which was fun as the pieces are about 2 feet high! If you don’t remember how each piece moves just ask the Star Friends for help! There is a sort of “Spa” pool which is very large and has jets on the side (not very powerful) and a series of massaging fountains you could swim under. This pool connects to the very large “Main” pool area. I recommend that you bring along a float to blow up and use down there but you can buy one in the shop if you want. You should get or bring a float as the main pool is very large and it’s great to be able to float all around the large main pool as well as the other pools. There is music at the main pool and a large swim up bar in the center as well as a large island with 2 Jacuzzi’s. The Star Friends occasionally run activities here too such as volley ball but they use a HUGE ball that takes like 5 people to hit over the net! It was a lot of fun playing or just watching the games. The swim up bar was awesome as it is very large and part of it runs under a big waterfall. There is a neat “Ice Cream” bar on top of the swim up bar. Next to the main pool is the large “Quiet” pool. It is less crowded and the music isn’t as loud. There are several small waterfalls. In the vast pool area there are 2 buildings with bathrooms, 2 places to get towels, and a couple of places to get poolside massages (but I don’t know if they’re free or if you pay). Scattered all around the pool area are plenty of “Palapas” or huts that provide shade and plenty of lounge chairs. There is also a restaurant to get food from 12:30 – 4:30 and snacks from 4:30 – 6:30.

The beach is beautiful. A boardwalk leads from the pool area through the jungle to the beach. Soft white sand and awesome “Palapas”, hammocks and a “Beach” bar as well as a small outdoor food station. We were not allowed to go in the water at all as the effects of hurricane Ivan caused the surf to swell so much that it created dangerous swimming conditions. There is also a massage hut here as well. The beach was beautiful and very wide but not very long. Don’t expect to go for a 2 mile walk along the beach in the morning! There is also a volleyball court on the beach as well as an outdoor shower to rinse off.

FOOD:
Not that great! We were very surprised since the resort itself was so grand and impeccable. Even though we were disappointed with the food, the beauty of the resort more than made up for it. The food was OK and we certainly didn’t starve! We always found something we liked and my husband managed to gain 10 pounds! The 1 restaurant that was downright horrible was the “Italian” restaurant. We also heard the “Oriental” restaurant was horrible though we didn’t eat there ourselves. The other restaurants at the Lindo that were good was the “Gourmet” and “Steakhouse” restaurants. We did not eat at the “Cajun” restaurant but heard it was good. The 2 “lunch buffet” restaurants were good. The “Breakfast Buffet” restaurant was OK. Everything from the eggs to the coffee to the bacon and orange juice was very bland and did not have much flavor or taste. But, again, we managed to be full and find lots of other things to eat. One other thing, the water in the resort is all purified. You don’t have to worry about the ice cubes or getting a drink of water at the bars or restaurants. My husband and I both have sensitive digestive systems and we drank tap water and ice cubes at the bars and restaurants and had absolutely no problems!

BARS:
Believe it or not, you can’t get Mexico’s leading beer (Corona) anywhere on the resort! Don’t expect to find Budweiser or any imported beer at the resort either! You have 3 choices and they are all unheard of local Mexican beers. In the room they do have “Dos Equis” beer in the mini bar which was pretty good. The Margarita’s were great throughout all the bars. They have wine and liquor but it’s not always the top line brands. The wait for a drink at the bars was never long and crowded due to the fact that they have many waitresses throughout so you don’t have to go directly to the bar for a drink. There is no nightclub with dancing but the bar in the theatre is very lively and there is always some form of musical entertainment happening.

SERVICE:
Unbelievable! There are many employees and they are all warm and smiley and eager to help you or get you what you need. There is literally an army of Iberostar employees. You never had to go far to find an employee to help you or point you in the right direction. The place is absolutely immaculate and well maintained and the employees all work hard and seem to genuinely want to make your stay a pleasant one. Everyone, with the exception of the room cleaners, spoke perfect English.

NEIGHBORING RESORTS:
Great! You have the opportunity to visit the Iberostar resorts next door but they can’t come to the Lindo for the pools, restaurants, bars etc…. There are 2 resorts (Beach and Del Mar) that are a very short 1 minute walk away. You can use their pools, bars, restaurants etc… and they are worth exploring. They too are beautiful resorts and well maintained. The 2 resorts are really just 1 as they share restaurants and pools but have 2 separate sections for the hotel rooms. The entire complex is massive! Spend a day at their pool and eat at the “Buffet Dinner” restaurant and the “Japanese” restaurant. We also heard that the “Brazilian” restaurant was good. They have 2 separate lobbies with bars and shops and are worth investigating and taking pictures. The grounds are very pretty with peacocks and flamingos wandering all around. Since these resorts are much bigger than the Lindo, there is a tram that runs the length of the resort via 3 main “roadways”. When you see it coming just flag them down. It rained only once while we were there and we happened to be caught in the rain while we were walking along the roadway at the Del Mar. 2 employees were driving by in a golf cart and stopped to offer us a ride back to the Lindo! We didn’t even dream of flagging them down, they just stopped and asked if we needed a lift! The Lindo offers a short shuttle bus service into the town of Playa Del Carmen (which is also where you get the shuttle to Cozumel if you decide to go on your own). The shuttle bus service lets you off in the center of the town and just a short walk from the bus stop is two more Iberostar resorts (Quetzel and Toucan) that you are entitled to visit. We didn’t go as there wasn’t enough time in the week to do everything we wanted!

OPTIONAL TRIPS:
We did 2 optional trips for an extra charge. You can book these trips at various places in Playa Del Carmen for less money, but we felt we would rather pay more money and book the trips through the various agents at the hotel. We were afraid of paying some guy we didn’t know in Playa Del Carmen and trusting them to make the arrangements to pick us up at the resort and getting us to the places safely etc… Book your trips through your travel company representatives at the hotel or through the hotel itself. A must do trip is to “Xcaret”. It was awesome! It’s a huge facility located on the Caribbean. It’s a short bus trip from the resort and you can leave in the morning and stay only until 1:30 PM or you can get a bus back at 5:00 PM or stay through until 9:30 PM!!!! The park has all kinds of attractions and exhibits, a Mayan Village replica, Mayan ruins to explore, an Aquarium, an underground river you can float down, a beautiful boat ride through the jungle, many wildlife exhibits and many swimming lagoons and beaches right off the ocean. There are places to eat and lockers to keep your stuff in and lots of outdoor showers to rinse off in and places to change etc… At night they put on a fabulous show with over 200 performers in a covered open air theatre. It was great fun and lots to see and do and many beautiful places. A MUST visit! The other trip we did was to the Mayan ruins of “Chichen Itza”. It’s a long bus ride but the bus is air conditioned and the seats were very comfortable. The ruins were unbelievable! You have to see them for yourself! One thing we do recommend is to buy the Chichen Itza guidebook in the hotel shop and do a little reading before you go and bring the book along with you. You only have around 2 ½ hours at Chichen Itza. They provide a wonderful guided tour but this really cuts in to the limited time you have to explore. We wished that we had a guidebook so we could have skipped the tour and had the whole 2 ½ hours to explore on our own as there was much that we did not get to see. The ruins are fantastic and are endless! It’s awesome to see them and imagine what life was like back then! We strongly recommend this trip but we strongly recommend getting a guidebook and reading about it ahead of time then going to see what you want to see on your own. Be sure to grab all the bottled water from your room before you go on either trip as its very hot in Mexico and you need to replenish your fluids constantly! In fact, we brought insulated water bottle holders to Mexico with us and it was definitely good to have them so you didn’t have to walk around looking for bottled water. We filled them with the bottled water in our room and we took a couple of extra bottles too! Get the kind that have straps so you can sling them over your shoulder or the kind that are attached to fanny pack belts so you don’t have to carry them in your hands.

The whole experience was a terrific one and I can honestly say you won’t be sorry if you stay at the Iberostar Lindo or visit the beautiful Mayan Riviera!

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen David

August 2004

Facilities: Beautiful resort. Well designed, walks not too long unless you have limited mobility. Landscaping gorgeous and well kept. Common areas clean and neat. Pools clean and attractive. Wave pool great for little ones and anyone who doesn’t want to hit the real surf. Lazy river way too lazy—hardly gets used. Game pool perfect for volleyball, basketball, polo. Nice playground. Good shops. Cigars rolled on premises. Internet café. Construction noise from the Mayan resort under construction next door was an occasional annoyance, but not a major problem. Common facilities look to be adequate to accommodate the additional guests when the Mayan is finished.

Room: Double was comfortable for four people. Well appointed and attractive. Good safe, alarm clock, A/C, mirrors, ceiling fan, storage, desk, hair dryer, lighting, TV w/limited cable and English programming, coffee pot, bottled water, ironing board and iron. Adequately stocked minibar refilled daily. Beds firm but comfortable. Three layers of window coverings from sheer to light blocking.

Service: Excellent in almost all cases. Employees work hard and are pleasant despite rarely seeing them get tipped. Concierge for each building was nice. StarFriends were great and did a good job of getting people involved in the activities. Shuttle into Playa was comfortable and convenient to 5th Ave and ferry to Cozumel.

Activities: archery, beach volleyball, dancing, ping pong, gym, pool, jungle walks, water volleyball, water basketball, water polo, tennis, basketball, sea kayaking, jet skis (fee), snorkeling (poor), banana boats (fee), parasailing (fee), scuba (fee), sailing and windsurfing (but never saw them used because it was “too windy” even if it wasn’t)

Beach: Sturdy boardwalk through jungle to nice, clean beach with moderate surf. Roped off swimming area to keep boats out. Long walks down the beach beyond the property line were fine near the water’s edge, but the high water line was heavily littered with trash. Plenty of palapas and loungers unless you arrive at peak time. Showers. Volleyball courts. Hammocks. Dive shop. Pier. Bar and small buffet (for Lindo guests only). If you’re concerned about what your kids might see, topless guests were not uncommon. While most were discreet there were the occasional less discreet guests taking walks along the water’s edge the length of the beach, frolicking in the surf, or even hanging out at the bar or buffet.

Entertainment: Varies night to night. Some shows very good and entertaining, some downright awful. Occasionally resorted to lame off-color stunts unacceptable for a family crowd. StarBand that performs a rock/pop set after most shows was a pleasant surprise. Disco at the DelMar was popular with teenagers. Note that it was very easy for underage teenagers to get alcohol there if they wanted it. Stays open until 3:00 am but serving stops at 1:30.

Food: The biggest disappointment, but acceptable on the whole. None of the a la carte restaurants could come close to competing with a similar regular restaurant, e.g. Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, etc. By restaurant:
Breakfast buffet: Good selection with something for everyone.
Lunch buffets: Again a good selection that made it possible to find something you liked. Appreciated the three locations from air conditioned restaurant near the lobby to open air buffet by the pools to the small come-as-you-are buffet at the beach.
International dinner buffet: Good in that there was a wide selection making it possible to find things you liked.
Mexican buffet: Very good which shouldn’t be surprising considering the destination. Suckling pork was excellent. Grilled shrimp tasty. Again, a wide selection made it possible to find dishes you liked.
Italian: Not good at all. On top of it we got food poisoning from the lobster.
Cajun: Acceptable, not great. Every entree we got was blackened (We discovered Cajun apparently = blackened at the Lindo) which is hard to screw up. Coconut shrimp appetizer was a favorite.
Gourmet: Fair, but not “gourmet”. Dishes were pretty basic, hardly resembled gourmet cooking, but they were ok. Sauces were nonexistant. Lobster bisque was ok, but it caused a bout of food poisoning, too. Thank God for Cipro.
Steakhouse: Bloomin’ onion was good. We all had tenderloins which had good flavor, but they ranged from very tough to one being fairly tender. Toughest steak I’ve ever had—ate two bites. Apple pie was good for dessert.
Fondue: Expectations were low due to other reviews, but it was our teenagers’ favorite. (The competition wasn’t that good.) Beef and chicken in the various sauces were good and the chocolate and strawberry dips with fruit were tasty desserts and a nice change from the repetitive dull desserts served by most of the other restaurants.
Ice cream bar above the main pool: A favorite afternoon snack, but you need to ask for a double unless you want the equivalent of a sample. Dip your own at the pool buffet.
Juice bar: A nice change of pace when you don’t want alcohol or soft drinks.
Pool bar: Convenient and busy, but never a long wait. Drinks usually not strong at all.

Package vacation: Funjet charter, transfers, and service at the hotel were great. Wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.

Day trip: Ferry to Cozumel, taxi to Chankanaab Marine Park for snorkeling which was very good for beginners and experienced snorkelers alike. Also did the Dolphin Discovery at the Park which was excellent and a memorable experience.

Best advice: Call your doctor before going and get their advice to avoid getting sick no matter where you stay in Mexico. Our doctor prescribed Cipro and an antidiarrheal which we needed after eating the contaminated lobster dishes. The meds made the difference between a tolerable illness and a nightmare. Also, the CDC recommends taking Pepto-bismol four times a day since studies indicate a 60% reduced chance of getting infected by doing so. See www.cdc.gov/travel/diarrhea.htm for the complete article.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Maureen — Richboro, PA

August 2004

Hi, we just got back last week. Were there July 25th to Aug. 1st. We traveled on USA3000 out of Phila. Everything went as scheduled. Arrived at this beautiful resort at about 11:30 and our room was ready. We had requested 2nd floor near my sister and her husband, and our request was granted. We were in building 50, right near the beach grill and the swim up bar. The grounds were beautiful and the rooms were spotless. Even at 10:30 at night, someone was cleaning something. The staff was so friendly, which you don’t often see in Mexico. If something went wrong, the problem was addressed immediately. Our shower massage head fell off and it was fixed within an hour while we were at dinner. The pools were huge and only the main pool was crowded. The swim up bar was great, and we played bingo there every day. My sister won a 30 minute massage and I won a 15 minute jet ski ride.

The rooms were spacious with a nice sized balcony with a rack to dry your clothes, an easy to operate room safe, iron and ironing board, an array of toiletries, etc. The maid did wonderful sculptures with towels on the bed and there were always flowers in the towels in the bathroom. There was a nice assortment of coffees and teas near the coffeemaker. The frig. was filled with water, soda and beer. There is a concierge for each building and we made our dinner reservations for dinner with her. We liked the Gourmet and Steak restaurants the best. The buffet at breakfast was wonderful. There was never a long line for an omelet. For lunch, you can go to the beach restaurant, but there is a limited selection there. The buffet is better, but you can’t be wet to go in there, so it was a pain changing your clothes, but the food was worth the time.

The resort is not laid out parallel to the ocean, but horizontally, which means you have to walk a long way to get from your room to the restaurants (3 times a day), but since we ate A LOT, maybe we walked off some of the pounds we gained.

The beach is great. No shells or seaweed in the water. The waves are huge, so there was a red or yellow flag out each day. There is a lifeguard there most of the time. You can always find a chair or a palapa at the beach or at the pool. Topless is not allowed, since it is a family resort. They are building the Paraiso Maya adjoining the Lindo, it should be opened in the winter. The pools and restaurants will be much more crowded when it does open.

The lazy river was fun. The wave pool is mostly for kids, but it is something different.

Each building is painted a different color and it looks like a little Mexican town.

I have only 2 complaints. It is very slippery everywhere you go. There is a lot of marble (your room and many of the walkways) which we knew would be slippery, but the cement around the pool is also slippery. We saw many with casts and slings from falling.

Also, the entertainment is really bad. We have been to many all inclusives, and entertainment-wise, this is one of the worst. Some nights were fun, but others, it was just lame. Disappointing for such a wonderful resort.

We took the ferry over to Cozumel to see the other Iberostar. What a dump. The beach is useless because of the rocks and birds were sitting on the food in the buffet. You get what you pay for. The shopping in Cozumel was nice, though.

We would go back to the Lindo in a minute. It was one of the nicest resorts we have been to, second only to Secrets Punta Cana.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Raymond

July 2004

My wife and I stayed a week at the Lindo, May 26th to June 2nd. We had a very enjoyable experience, considering we have stayed in the Cancun area at a dozen AI’s for ten years. The hotel, brand new last fall, is beautiful, large and water themed. The main pool is huge and has a beautiful swimup bar and small waterfalls surrounding the pool. An ice cream bar is above the swimup bar. An important note was that the pool area always seemed to have a nice breeze to keep us cool. There is a lazy river which is geared toward the kids, and a wave pool geared toward the big kids in us. The beach is very nice, along with a beach bar and life guards, though swimming was mostly red flagged due to choppy conditions. Be prepared to do some walking between the room, the pool and the restaurants as the property is so spread out. The restaurants we found slightly lacking in gourmet quality meals as we were expecting the very best from reading TripAdvisor. We went next door once to the sister hotel, Del Mar and had a good dinner at the buffet. Flamingos in abundance at the adjacent Iberostar properties, and peacocks at the Lindo lobby entrance. Nice touches! The hotel offers free AC’d bus service to Playa Del Carmen which we recommend to people who want to see the local culture, shop and/or take the ferry to Cozumel. Otherwise, taxi to Playa is $17 US plus tip each way. The ferry is $36 US round trip.

We tried to pre-book our building and room by email through hotel services and Israel at reception gave us just what we asked for. A plus was that we were never pestered by time share offers. Staff, waiters, maids and bartenders were always polite and respectful and some were funny. We often rewarded them with a dollar or two-they appreciate and deserve it–especially with the towel animals–my wife LOVED that! Bars were plentiful and drinks were good. If you need brand name liquor or a stronger drink, just ask. Best drinks were at the lobby bar, where there’s an awesome 10 foot tall aquarium! We noticed that Vicki at the kid’s club took wonderful care of the little ones, who put on their own show nightly. Nightly shows were entertaining, and the StarFriends work very hard. Overall, we recommend the Lindo highly, and may be back next year with our own grandkids.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen M & K — Canada

May 2004

My wife and I just spent a week at the fairly new Iberostar Paraiso Lindo in the Riviera Maya. The 5-star rating given by all tour operators – including the most discerning ones such as Air Canada Vacations and Signature Vacations – is, according to us, well deserved. It is a resort that we would highly recommend. Indeed, given the level of service and the overall quality and beauty of this resort, we would say that it is the best all-inclusive resort we’ve stayed at.

Arrival and check-in
After a direct flight from Halifax on Air Canada, we arrived at Cancun Airport one hour early at around 11:15 am. After clearing customs and stepping outside the airport, we quickly found the Air Canada Vacations representative, after which we were bussed to the resort (two stops were made to other hotels). We arrived at the Lindo around 1:00 pm. Check-in was fast and efficient, and our room was ready within 30 minutes of arrival. We were escorted to our rooms in a golf cart (which is necessary given the size of the resort) but no sooner left to visit this beautiful resort. We were on the beach by 2 p.m.!

The resort
First and foremost, the resort is not only beautiful but awe-inspiring! Although it is big (446 rooms), it is certainly not too big. During our stay there, the resort was full to capacity, but you never had the impression that it was crowded.

Divided into several 3-story buildings, the resort is laid out in one long row from the main reception area all the way to the beach. Within the reception area (which is breathtaking), you’ll find the nice, air-conditioned lobby bar (called “Acuario”), four restaurants (see below) as well as several shops and services. The pools (there are several) span the length of the resort and practically extend from the reception area to the beach. Closer to the beach, there is another building housing two restaurants (see below).

More specifically, the pool area consists of a lazy river, a kids’ play area, a sports pool, a wave pool, two main pools and two small whirlpools. Of course, there is a bar pool (not as rowdy as we thought, which was a pleasant surprise) and an ice-cream bar (on top of the pool bar). We never had any problem finding chairs or shade around the pool.

What sets this resort apart from the other ones we’ve either stayed at or visited is its striking architecture (a blend of Moroccan, Spanish and Mexican), its beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens, and its all-around cleanliness. The resort is aesthetically stunning in every respect. At night, the resort has the feel of a small, quaint, dimly lit village. Very romantic…

Also worth mentioning are the interior courts of each building (which are all connected). Architecturally, they are all quite different from one another: some have fountains and huge pieces of pottery while others have large rows of columns, gardens and cobblestone walkways. Beautiful.

Last but not least, it must be mentioned that guests at the Lindo can use all the facilities of the two neighbouring Iberostar properties: the Iberostar Paraiso Beach and the Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar. Both are very nice all around. The lobby of the IBP Beach is also stunning, and we particularly enjoyed its open-air bar where live music is played every night. It’s worth taking advantage of those privileges. The guests of those two hotels, however, do not have access to the Lindo. Finally, when the Lindo’s sister (or mirror) resort, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, opens in November 2004 (the resort is built but the inside is not yet finished), the two resorts will have even more facilities, including at least four new restaurants! All rooms at the Maya will be junior suites.

The rooms
The rooms are spacious and nicely appointed. Our room had comfortable chairs, a desk, two double beds, as well as a separate entrance area, which included a spacious closet, a mini-fridge, a safe (modern and electronic) and a bathroom with bath and shower. Our balcony was very large. As for the housekeeping service, we found it to be very efficient: our room was cleaned by 11:00 every morning and our bed decorated with all kinds of interesting towel art. All in all, the room includes all the basics: air conditioning, hair dryer, am/fm clock radio, coffee maker, telephone, ceiling fan, satellite TV, in-room safes, and amenity kits (shampoo, conditioner, etc.). And the mini-fridge is well-stocked (two types of beer, a variety of drinks, several bottles of water and a jug of purified water for the coffee maker). On our first day, the chambermaid even asked us what our preferences were in terms of beverages!

The restaurants and bars

Restaurants
One of the highlights of this resort is the food. First, there is the main buffet, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, there is a wide and varied selection of food: eggs, omelettes, breads, sausage, bacon, potatoes, cold meats, smoked salmon, fish, cheeses, yoghurt, pastries, fruit, fresh juices, coffee, etc. We had breakfast there on most days and never got tired of the food. We only had dinner at the buffet once (on our first night as we had no reservations at the specialty restaurants), but we were pleasantly surprised with the selection and, above all, the quality of the food (the main buffet at the IBP Beach is even better!). The desserts were also very good. All in all, it’s by far one of the best buffets we’ve seen at an all-inclusive resort in terms of quality and choice. And the service is impeccable. As for the smaller beach buffet (which is not on the beach per se, but close to the beach), it also has a nice variety of hot and cold selections. It’s perfect for lunch.

The Italian restaurant “La Laguna” was our least favourite, although the antipasto buffet (appetizer) is excellent, as is the service. The pizza and pasta were just average.

Located in the beach restaurant building, the Steakhouse serves very good steaks and the atmosphere is very relaxed. This is also were the Mexican Buffet is held on Friday nights. It has a very nice atmosphere with live music and a wide-variety of Mexican and non-Mexican fare. We enjoyed it very much.

Now for our favourite restaurants… The gourmet restaurant “El Museo” was without a doubt one our favourites. Small with a nice, romantic and more formal ambiance, the restaurant has a limited but well-designed menu and impeccable service. We only ate there once but would have returned had we stayed for two weeks. Highly recommended.

The Cajun restaurant “Jambalaya” was our favourite. Everything on the menu is amazing, and the appetizer buffet is excellent (try the famed coconut shrimp). A very pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. A definite must!

Finally, we ate at the Japanese restaurant “Hashiru” at the IBP Beach (next door). This restaurant was also one of our favourites. As is the case in most Japanese restaurants, guests (up to 20) are seated around the cooking area, where the chef prepares the food (rice, meats, seafood). A very nice (and social) dining experience. Reservations cannot be guaranteed, but try to get your concierge to book it for you.

Nota: All reservations should be made upon arrival; if not, you might not be able to eat where you want or when you want. We actually sent a reservations request (for both our room and the restaurants) a week before leaving. Within a day, the hotel had confirmed (via e-mail) our reservations at all restaurants except for the Japanese (as it is at the property next door). As soon as we met with our concierge (every building has one), he gave us our reservations vouchers for the whole week. That, to us, is good service!

And one small observation… Although we enjoyed the food, we found the dining experience to be rather… short! In most cases, you’re out of there within an hour! At the other all-inclusive resorts we’ve stayed, dining at the specialty restaurants was a 2-hour affair (at the very least), which we really enjoyed. However, we’re sure that there are some who enjoy the fast service.

Bars
You can get drinks pretty much anywhere on the resort. The lobby bar is (of course) located close to the lobby. It is enclosed and air-conditioned and has a nice aquarium with lots of multi-coloured fish. Often, live music is played (piano and trumpet). There is also a cigar bar close by. In the stage area, there is also a big bar, but during the shows there are always dozens of servers walking around ready to serve you. There is never any need to actually go to the bar unless you would like to sit there and have a drink. Of course, the pool has a bar as does the beach. Around the pool, there are always servers walking around. As well, there is a small bar in every restaurant. Finally, as for the selection of drinks, the choice is endless. As opposed to most other resorts, Iberostar offers all top and premium brands. All in all, the bar staff is superb.

The beach
The beach is without a doubt another one of the highlights of this resort. The sand is fine and white, the sea a turquoise blue and the waves quite powerful. The beach is lined with palm trees and dotted with numerous palapas, which means that you don’t have to wake up at 6:00 am to reserve a palapa as is the case in numerous resorts. However, contrary to the beaches of Varadero and Punta Cana, for example, the beach here is not endless. After a few hundred metres, the beach becomes quite rocky, littered with garbage and practically impassable. There are no resorts next to the hotel. One last remark: the waves were huge and powerful (probably because of the relatively high winds). If you love waves, you’ll love this beach. We spent a lot of time at the beach… and in the water!

Activities and entertainment
The hotel offers an array of water sports and land sports for those interested. A list of activities is handed out to guest upon checking in. Night-time activities include shows at the amphitheatre (which were “funny” to say the least, as is the case in all resorts), music at the lobby bar on some nights and the nightclub at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar (which we did not visit).

The weather
We had nice weather all week: we had two rather cloudy mornings (until about 11:00 am) and one mostly cloudy afternoon, during which we went to Playa del Carmen. The rest of the time it was mostly sunny with passing clouds, which were a welcome relief. In May, the sun is very hot! The air temperature in the daytime varied between 28 C and 33 C and it was quite humid. However, since there was always a nice breeze (especially at the beach), we never felt that it was unpleasant. On some days, it got very windy on the beach.

The staff
We were extremely impressed with the level of service at the resort. From the waiters and bartenders to the chambermaids and front desk staff, everyone seemed to go out their way to be of help to us. It was obvious that most of the staff had received very thorough service training. Most hotel staff members speak English (to varying degrees, of course), but we found that knowing Spanish was a great help to us.

Check-out and departure
Check-out was seamless. A bell-boy was sent to our room to pick up our luggage and take it to the lobby. After breakfast, we checked-out, and our bus picked us up on time. Our flight left Cancun on time and arrived in Halifax right on schedule at 7:15 pm. Kudos to Air Canada for excellent service and on-time performance (and much-appreciated leg-room)!

Overall impression All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. It exceeded our expectations in every respect. We would therefore not hesitate to return to this resort or to recommend it to others. All of the guests we talked to seemed to be extremely pleased with the resort, and some were even planning a return trip in the near future. Some guests who had stayed at other 5-star resorts in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and even the Mayan Riviera were of the opinion that the Lindo was a superior property overall (just to give you an idea, some guests even rated the Lindo above the Paradisus Riviera and the Moon Palace; others said it was on par with the Riu Palace). There were also a lot of “repeat guests” (Iberostar faithfulls!) who swore by this property and the neighbouring ones. In our opinion, the resort truly lives up to its 5 star reputation and is without a doubt one of the top properties in the Mayan Riviera. Iberostar really has mastered the recipe! “Dale Pa’lla, Dale Pa’ca” (you’ll know what we’re referring to when you get back…).

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Karen

May 2004

We just spent a week at the Iberostar Lindo. Let me give a bit of history. This was our fifth trip to Riviera Maya. We’ve also been to Puerto Vallarto twice and Huatulco in Mexico as well as Montego Bay in Jamaica and Puerto Plata and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

This was by and far the nicest resort we’ve been to. The grounds are outstanding. The beach and ocean were great. The pool was lovely. Food was great.

You can’t go wrong at this resort.

Have any questions, jtazjerry@att.net

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Mary Theresa — Baltimore, Maryland

May 2004

Got back from the Lindo on Sunday afternoon. LOVE IT! Thanks to everyone for their reviews, I came here often and read with much interest and feel it only fair now to post my review.

This was one of my best vacations ever! Iberostar really knows how to do it right. I had stayed at the Del Mar the sister property next door 3 years ago so I know it could only be great.

Check in was fast and easy I was in the lobby by 10:30 am, the room was almost ready so I had my first Coco Loco of many drinks to come! After all it is vacation and the drinks were all great! Bartenders there lobby, pool, beach everywhere were just great, friendly, fast and made great drinks.

Got to my room before noon, 5144 in bldg. 51. Great Room , it was a standard room but standard by no means, really nice. It had 2 beds and though I was traveling alone that 2nd bed came in handy to lay out my gear or next outfit to wear I had a lot of room to spread out. The balcony overlooked the grounds and had a table w. 2 chairs and the drying rack (whoever invented that – kudos to them) I could see some of the rooms at Parisio Beach they were right across the walk way and the tram ran up and down so I could catch it when I wanted to go to the other side for breakfast or dinner. I could also see the Lunch Buffet from the Parisio Beach and I was in walking distance to that, the pool at the Lindo (right there) the Lunch Buffet at the Lindo and the beach was easy to get to also. LOVED where I was!

The pool, great pool and GREAT POOL BAR! Whoever invented Pool Bars deserves a big thumbs up! What a great invention! Also at the pool they have service staff to bring you drinks so you don’t have to get wet if you don’t want to! There are 2 jacuzzis at the pool also, the water was warm just right not too hot or not too cold! I wish I was there now!

The Beach, is beautiful, the sand is white and not hot like at some beaches. the water was just right also a green blue clear color that takes your breath away. And the BEACH BAR, how great was that!!!! Pretty great and the drinks were wonderful!

Also on the beach they have Palapyas for massage one at the DelMar and 2 at the Lindo. The Lindo also has 2 by the pools also. I had massage on the Beach and 2 by the pool with Andy – who is phenomenal! Best massage I ever had. 30 minute back massage is $35 US and 50 minute full body is $65 US and worth every penn!

Food was great where ever I went, Buffets all had great selections. Went to the Del Mar for the Meditaranian and the Brazil they were both as wonderful as I remember from before! The restaurants at the Lindo were very good also. LOVED the CAJUN best!

Night Shows, I went to both the Lindo and the Del Mar, since the Lindo both are good some better than others. If you don’t like one, walk across or ride the tram and go to the other, lots of choices when you stay at the Lindo.

LOVE, LOVE, Love this place, am planning to go back in October, do not want to wait for a full year to return!!!

Go and enjoy

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen USA

April 2004

We just got back from the Lindo last Sat. and it was awesome!!! Our flight down and back was fine, except for the sparse leg room, but we were on time. (Apple Vacations)

The resort is beautiful and extremely clean. The landscaping is beautiful. The staff can be found cleaning all day, windows, doors, your room, the beach, etc.) The beach is raked daily around 5a.m to rid it of shells and seaweed. The sand is like powder, however that area of Mexico finds fairly rough seas at times. We had Red flags in areas, but they will cordon off an area of the beach for swimming. The waves were great and the water warm, but you will get a work out in the water. Hit the popular beach bar when its time to relax. Though there are signs posted against it, we did see topless sunbathers scattered along the beach.

The afternoons were spent at the pools, and the pool bar, make sure you ask for Hector and Cindy, they make great drinks and are a lot of fun.

Food: Was good to great. The buffets are good, especially breakfast. Staying at the Lindo, you can dine at the other resorts, make sure to go to the breakfast buffet at the Pariso Beach, all open air, nice atmosphere.

As far as the specialty restaurants, we ate at the Steak House, Italian, Gourmet and Cajun. We liked all of them, especially the Gourmet, but did not care for the Cajun. Make sure you eat at the Mexican Buffet if you are there on a Friday night. I don’t even like Mexican food, but there was more than enough to choose from, especially the pork. Wonderful! We heard from several people that the Fondue was not very good, as well as reading the same reviews, we heard they are going to phase it out soon.

As a tip: plan on bringing a lot of singles. Plan on tipping your room maid $2 a day, and the bar tender and waiters a dollar or so at meals and at the bars. We tipped more for those we spent more time with. These people work 12 hr days, 6 days a week, for $4.50 per day. All of the staff went out of there way to make you happy, and were very friendly. (Much more so than the people we have dealt with in the eastern Caribbean)

If you are looking for Premium Liquor, make sure you get to the quiet, out of the way, Cigar Bar. All of the bars have the liquor bottles in view, so feel free to ask for the brand you want. If you want it a bit stronger, ask for "Mas Fuentes".

Bring comfortable shoes if you want to walk from Resort to resort, a lot of walking, but make sure you explore. One resort is more beautiful than the next.

We made the trip to Playa del Carmen, and 5th Ave is a long street of shopping, but after about 3 blocks, the stores offer most of the same. A lot of silver jewelry stores and tourist stuff.

The only other trip we took was to Dolphin Discovery to swim with the Dolphins, A trip of a lifetime.

This was our first trip to Mexico, and we plan on returning. You can be very happy spending your entire vacation at the resort if you are a beach or pool person. Next time around we will take advantage of more of the tours.

Make it a point to talk to people while you are there, we met so many nice people from all over the world, some of which we will keep in contact with.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Jennifer — Massachusetts

April 2004

My husband and I recently traveled with my sister and her fiance and another couple to the Mayan Riviera. We had a wonderful experience with the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo and would highly recommend it! We chose the Iberostar because we stayed at an Iberostar in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic two years ago and really enjoyed it.

We traveled during school vacation because I am a teacher. Although the airport was very crowded, we had no problems at the airport in the US or Mexico. We booked our trip through Liberty Travel because we have used them in the past and have had much success. They did not let us down. We were met by the Olympus Tours representative in Cancun and taken promptly to the Lindo.

The staff at the Lindo (and all Iberostars I have seen thus far) is amazing! Every individual with whom we had contact was friendly and helpful. They were gracious and worked like crazy to make our stay a pleasant one.

My favorite thing about our trip was the pool. We had eight straight days of sunshine. We read reviews that suggested bringing rafts, so we picked some up at Walmart for less than $3.00 before we left. That was money well spent. They sell rafts at the Lindo gift shop for $20. It was ultra relaxing floating around on our rafts. The pool is gorgeous. Even though we were there at a busy time and traveling with a group, we had little to no trouble finding pool chairs (something with which we have had trouble in the past at other resorts). The pool waitstaff was very attentive. They brought us drinks by the pool throughout the day. The swim up bar was also well staffed and lots of fun.

The Starfriends really work hard. We had the pleasure of spending a good amount of time with some of them, and it was sad to say goodbye to them when we had to leave. We took dance lessons, did water aerobics, and played ping pong, beach volleyball and water polo. Everything was a blast. We really enjoyed dancing with Carla, and the guys didn’t mind losing to Christian at ping pong too much. 🙂

The wave pool was lots of fun. The kids we saw in it especially appeared to be having a great time. The lazy river was incredible. It was so nice to drift through it with a cool beverage in hand. They have double rafts which are great for couples. The ocean was a little rough, but the yellow flag was out for our last four days or so. We had a great time in the ocean. The water sports were not available due to the rough seas. If you were really counting on using water sports equipment, you would have been disappointed. We didn’t really notice. The pier was also closed most of the time we were there due to the strong seas.

We tried all of the restaurants at the Lindo. Unfortunately, even though we requested it right away, we were not able to get reservations at any of the restaurants at the Del Mar or the Paraiso Beach. We were a group of six, though, and we didn’t have any trouble getting reservations at our resort. Room service was good and completely included in the all inclusive package. The steak restaurant was pretty good…I thought the tenderloin was really good. The fondue restaurant was ok. We loved the chocolate fondue for dessert. We actually added bananas as something to dip in the chocolate even though it wasn’t on the tray they brought. The italian restaurant was somewhat disappointing. I love italian food, but I didn’t think the selection was that good. The cajun restaurant was very good. We loved the coconut shrimp appetizer, and our group highly recommended the scallops. I thought they were a little too spicy, but the guys in our group loved them. The crab soup was not very good. The gourmet restaurant was very impressive. We went there twice. The red snapper was delicious! The lamb was also very good. The veal and shrimp were not their best dishes. My sister loved the steak and thought it was one of the best she has ever had in a restaurant. We all got different desserts, so we could share. We ordered the crepes with the strawberries even though they are separate on the menu. YUM! Make sure someone orders the pastry tray because they bring a huge cart filled with desserts to choose from. There were cakes, chocolate covered strawberries, and much more. Our waiter, Daniel, was great. The restaurant has lots of paintings and is decorated like a museum.

The Mexican Buffet on Thursday was delicious. It was one of the best meals we had. The atmosphere was great there as well. The breakfast buffet closest to the lobby is awesome! There was a chef making donuts right in front of you. They also did omlets to order and had a huge selection of various items. The buffet near the pool was good but not as good. We went there a lot during the day because the restaurant near the lobby was more formal and you couldn’t be wet at all. That was a little difficult for us since we enjoyed the pool so much.

We didn’t find the resort was too spread out until our last day when we were in long pants and lugging our carry on baggage around as we went from the lobby to the pool buffet for lunch and back. We were in building 54. It was right next to the pool and a quick walk to the beach. Take some time to walk around the other resorts. They have nice nature paths where you can see parrots, turtles, peacocks, and more!

We used the gym a little. There isn’t much in the way of cardio, but many of our group members woke a little early to go for a run in the mornings. There were weights in the gym and some machines. It worked for the little time we wanted to spend there.

The spa was a little disappointing. It was the only area in which we did not receive good service. We were going to get manicures. When we walked in, there were workers standing all around, and no one greeted us. We looked through the book on the table in front of them for quite a while and, still, no one said a thing to us. We decided the manicures were a little pricey, and since we hadn’t had great service anyway, we chose to go the patio off our room and do our own manicures with wine from the bar and room service. It was much more fun!

We went to Playa Del Carmen on the shuttle for the day. It was just touristy shops with t-shirts, trinkets, etc. If you want souvenirs, they are a little cheaper here, but I wouldn’t go back again. We enjoyed our resort too much to stay long.

There are a few bars (like the cigar bar at the del Mar) that have top shelf alcohol…something my husband really appreciated. The "dirty monkey" is an amazingly delicious drink….if you like Kahlua and bananas, try one or more! We went to the disco almost every night. It was a great time. There is a big screen tv in there with sports as well. They tended to play the same songs each night, and eventually they ended up turning most of the songs into line dances. I like a few good line dances, but it got a little old after a while. The Starfriends showed up after their performance in the evenings and made sure everyone had a great time! They have endless amounts of energy. Speaking of performances, the movie show was very entertaining, and they did a Broadway show one night that was excellent. They really go all out with costumes and dance choreography. The other shows were ok, but we really enjoyed those two shows.

We didn’t do any excursions because we couldn’t pry ourselves away from our fabulous resort. Next time we would like to see the Mayan Ruins.

One word of caution, watch where you are walking around the resorts. They have beautiful pools all around the pathways, but they can sometimes sneak up on you. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking, and I stepped into one accidentally on the last day! Ooops!

Once again, I cannot say enough about the positive energy and hospitality of the staff. They will go out of their way to make your stay memorable. They really make a difference in the overall impression of the resort. We would love to return to the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo one day.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Bill — USA

April 2004

First, let me say, different strokes for different folks. Some of you may agree, some may disagree. Hey, life is short – enjoy the ride….

Just back from the Lindo… where to begin? My wife, 12 year old son, and 8 year old daughter and I got back VERY late last night (more on that later) . As I ramble on, let me apologize ahead of time – I may go back and forth from events and thoughts…. but, here it goes!

We left a chilly Chicago last Saturday via Apple vacations and Continental Air. Our flight was delayed out of Chicago, so our connection in Houston was literally, a “run for it”. Otherwise, the flight was uneventful.

We arrived in Cancun and did the usual red-light green-light. We passed, and went outside looking for our “flowered Apple rep”. We found him, and this time, instead of a full sized touring bus taking us to the resort, we ended up in a small van with one other couple. Thankfully, the IB* Lindo is just about the first possible stop, so we were out of the van and into a Playan Paradise quickly.

Having stayed at the IB* Del Mar two years ago, we knew sort of what to expect. The main entrance is still not quite done yet, so we entered on the side, next to the residences for the employees. A short drive past the first 2 resorts (Del Mar and Beach), then past the soon-to-be opened Convention center, and there we were! The Lindo!

The entrance palapa is huge! Our driver let us off and we were greeted by a friendly bellboy. He instructed us to check in and then come back with our room number, for the delivery of the bags.

Check in was a breeze! I had emailed a request about 3 weeks prior to arrival, asking for building 53 facing the pool, on the third floor. I got it! A GREAT view of the wave pool, the end of the main pool, and an extra large balcony. We got our bracelets and went across the walkway to the lobby bar. The aquarium is everything the pictures we’ve all seen and more! We got our drinks, and headed to our room.

We entered the third floor room (remember, no elevators) and wow! Well, except for one little friend in our room…yes, we had an albino-ish lizard on the ceiling. It was quite comical, as I climbed on the furniture (don’t try this at home) to catch him. I moved the beds, chased him all around and finally captured him in a glass – and proceeded to drop him outside.

My son and I then went downstairs to the building’s concierge to make dinner reservations for the week. Well, we were stuck with 8:30 or 9 for almost all of the nights…

The lowdown on the dining: The Oriental is partly buffet – you can still order off the menu, but they don’t automatically give you a menu. The Cajun is great. Probably the best service of all restraunts. The coconut shrimp at the appetizers were awesome! The Italian was delicious. I had the homemade tortellini, and highly recommend it for anyone! The Steakhouse was great – nice cuts of beef, and served nicely. The Fondue was just good … but then, we fondue regularly and can dine at local fondue restaurants all the time, so if you are new to fondue, it will be great! The Fondue and Steakhouse are both in the same building – but this may change once the Maya is open. Didn’t do the Gourmet – so I cannot speak to it.

Our last night the Steak/Fondue restaurant was transformed to a Mexican Buffet. Incredible dining! The tamales were delicioso!

A little note here – we ate the food, drank water, had ice in ALL of our drinks, and didn’t get ill – thanks to the IB*’s own purification system…

Breakfast and Lunch was buffet at the Oriental/Italian (larger, more extensive) or at the Steakhouse/Fondue poolside (smaller, less variety). We preferred the larger breakfast buffet, and then a little ‘nosh’ in the mid afternoon by the pool

Poolside bar service was unbeatable. Also, Roger in the Swim-up bar makes a great Dirty Monkey! Try one (or two, or three ….)

Before I forget …. THE BEACH BAR IS OPEN NOW!

Pools – well, the lazy river as many have said is VERY LAZY. I hope that as the Maya opens, they will give it a little “oomph” to move you along. It gets crowded after the waves end, and then calms down.

Speaking of waves, they run on the following schedule at the wave pool: 11a, 12p, 1p, 3p, 4p, 5p and run for approximately 15 minutes. They are loads of fun, and contrary to what was mentioned before, any of the IB* guests can use it.

· Important note – both the lazy river and wave pool have salt water – not quite as salty as the ocean, but enough that you’ll notice the difference.

Progress is moving along on the Maya. I rarely heard anything, and only once even noticed the workers. It was my last night (Friday) and across the resort the lights were on inside one of the buildings. Other than that, I know there was work going on because in the early mornings when I’d mosey out to the beach, I would hear muffled hammering, and only occasionally did I hear it during the day.

For those who go or have gone – take a look at the map of the Lindo. The curved driveway and the position of the main entrance make me think there will eventually be a 5th & 6th “wing” of the Iberostar in Playa Paraiso.

Much has been said about the grounds at the Lindo. I say, give them a chance! It’s only a few months old. That being said, there was plenty of flowering vegetation and lots of greenery everywhere you look. It certainly didn’t feel like a resort just working out the kinks.

At least, until show time! Yes, the shows still need a bit of work. But that is not why I went to Playa. The shows were still entertaining, and the star friends certainly try to get people involved. Once the Maya opens and there is twice the population of Star Guests there, I’m sure the crowd will get into it more.

The same goes for the daily activities. There seemed to be difficulty in getting people to play games, dance, etc.

One difference I noticed between the Lindo and the Beach/Del Mar was that the Lindo only played the song twice a day – it seems to me that I heard it much more often at the Beach/Del Mar. They also now play another song after Dale Palla – if you know it please email me… it’s a blast when folks in the pool get going.

Our return flight was horrible. Aside from the nightmare of leaving Cancun – they search every bag of every person, so it takes a while- we ended up delayed in Houston due to weather and finally got home last night after 11 pm. Considering the ride picked us up at 9:30, it was a loooooong day!

Nevertheless, it was an excellent vacation with lots of fun! We loved it and will return, probably next year!

Well, that’s about it for my rambling now. Let me know if you have questions – email me at Biledo@yahoo.com.

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Iberostar Paraiso Lindo – Playa Del Carmen Cathy — Nova Scotia, Canada

April 2004

My husband and I have just returned from the shortest week of vacation we have ever had. We spent the most glorious week at the Lindo. We can’t say enough about how much we enjoyed the resort. The grounds are beautiful, the staff treat you like royalty and the food was fantastic! We were a little disappointed with the beach as we had a red flag situation all seven days. The pool was so terrific though that we hardly minded. Watch out for slippery floors and walkways everywhere on the resort. There were a lot of fresh casts we noticed. There were a lot of young families with small children by the end of the week.-a little noisy at the pool ,but it’s vacation time. I would sum it up by saying that the Lindo is by far the most wonderful resort we have been to and we can’t wait to return again but next time it will be for two weeks. Definately 5 stars!!!!!

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