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Reviewed 25 August 2010

Would recommend this hotel to anyone thinking of going to Mexico,, its absolutely brilliant. There is so much to say but i will make it brief,, Food & Restaurants Excellent,, Pool areas Excellent always clean & fresh clean towels daily,, Rooms Excellent cleaned twice daily am & pm,, Beach Excellent,, Spa area Excellent,, Well equipped gym,, Shopping area Excellent,, Entertainment Absolutely Brilliant the star friends fantastic both day & night,, would especially like to thank Nollely, Claudia & Vivien from the kids club my 2 girls went most days for a few hours and loved it!!!!!!!!! Weather Brilliant very very hot & humid but cant complain there are plenty of pools to dip in,,, We loved it and will definately be going back next year.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank Ric9903
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2010

Overall we had had a very nice time. Nice property and room, good food, friendly staff and guests.

Room - Very nice, big and comfortable. We were in building 62. Plan to walk a lot no matter which building you are in. Bed was firm but no issue sleeping. Fridge stocked daily with beer, soda and water.

Pools - Lots of pools, all of them nice. Pick one that meets your activities - sports, relaxing, drinking, waves, lazy-river, etc. If you feel strongly about where you sit then plan to put towels on chairs first thing in the morning. Oh yeah, the towels... you get one for each person which you should trade in at the end of each day for new one's.

Beach - Better than expected based on other properties we've stayed at in this area. Clear water, nice sand, a few rocks. Not much snorkeling off the beach but for $40/person you can take one of 2 daily trips from the dive shop to a nearby reef (which we didn't do but heard was good). If you snorkel off the beach beware that snorkel equipment from the dive shop is limited to 1hr each day.

Food - Typical, or slightly better, all-inclusive food. Breakfast/Lunch buffets were good, plenty of choices. Best to worst dinners: Japanese, Cajun (at the Lindo), Seafood, Steak, buffet. Men need long pants for all dinner restaurants except the buffet. Long pants are available on loan if needed (ask the concierge).

Drinks - Sweet typical Caribbean rum punch stuff. Ask for the top shelf liquors for better drinks. Only beer available is XX.

Staff - Concierge (one for each building) were practically useless and not very friendly. Waiters were hit-or-miss, some good some just okay. Bartenders and Star Friends (entertainment) staff worked extremely hard and were very good.

Property - Huge. Very nicely decorated inside and out. Pretty clean but you will see trash and abandonded drinks left around, which I would blame on the guests more than the staff.

Gym - very nice; lots of treadmills, machines, plenty of free weights.

Activies - Beach party with Paella was fun. We're not really 'night people' or 'show people', but we did hit a couple of the shows. They were cute but by night time we were pretty much full, tired and ready for bed. One thing that would have been nice - and we've seen at other places - a daily morning report of that day's activities. Sometimes we felt a bit out of the loop on what was going on and when.

Shopping - there are shops off the main lobby and a small shopping area on the property. A bit pricey - $20 for sunscreen? - but not much you can do about it.

Excursions:

Fishing - My son and I did a half-day sport fishing trip out of Puerto Morelos. Booked via Olympus at the lobby. 20 minute bus ride. Three boats went out at the same time, each with about 4 guests, captain and 2 helpers. The helpers took care of everything except reeling in the fish. Our boat caught about 15 bonitos and 2 medium sized barracuda. One of the other boats caught about the same, plus a 50lb amberjack. The other boat didn't catch anything. My son had a great time so it was worth it, but if you're looking for big sport fishing then you may want to do more research.

Diving - I decided to dive with the resort shop - Dressel Divers. The maya reefs are nice but not sure I would recommend going with Dressel. Just not very professional at the shop or on the boat. For example: on our first dive (2 tank trip) our dive guide took off and left 3 of us to find our way down the reef, surface, flag down the boat (which was pretty far away picking up our dive guide). There's no dock at the resort so diving with another shop would mean taking a bus-trip, so you have to weigh the pros/cons.

XPLOR - Eh. The good - zip lines were a lot of fun, as were the quad-like buggies that you ride through trails and caves. The bad - you can only do each of those activities once. The activities do take a while (1.5 hours for the zip lines; 1 hour for the quad ride), but once those are done there is not much to do. After an okay buffet lunch we took a cab back to the resort instead of sitting around until 5:10pm for the bus ride back. The bus ride to XPLOR took longer than expected including stops at the other Iberostar hotels.

Playa Del Carmen - Up until 5pm you can take a resort shuttle to Playa for $4/person. Last shuttle back is 8pm. We missed the 5pm shuttle so we took a cab there/back, which worked out fine. $22/each way and had our own ride, air conditioning, and our own schedule.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank lpk5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2010

My wife, 10 month old boy, and our nanny just spent 5 days at the Maya. We had 2 rooms that were adjoining in building 66. Room 6612 and 6613 to be exact. I thought the resort had it's hits and misses. Ultimately, i thought the Maya was just average.
Just to give a quick background on me, i travel quite a bit for work. I manage to stay at high end hotels such as the Mandarin Oriental, Ritz-Carlton, and Four Seasons quite a bit albeit on the company dime. I am also from New York and enjoyed some of the best restaurants in the world. At the same time, i am happy to stay at a La Quinta Inn in Salt Lake and eat at Bucca de Beppe. None of this is to brag, but rather just demonstrate that i know quality.
So back to the Maya, the drive from the airport was pretty quick, maybe 25 minutes. Beware on the drive that there are no signs specifically marking the Playa Paraiso complex. Just make sure to look for it on the left after the Grand Mayan. Upon arrival at 12:30pm, there were no bellboys to be found. Usually we travel light and it wouldn't be an issue. With this being the first trip with the baby, we had a lot of luggage and needed help. Someone eventually showed up after a few minutes and tagged our luggage. Check in was fairly smooth. They served us a nice papaya smoothie while we registered. The rep, Julio, at the desk said that they had adjoining rooms in either building 66 or 61. 66 is close to the lobby and restaurants and 61 is close to the pool and beach. He also said that adjoining rooms usually command an extra charge but he'll just give it to us ...I have never heard of adjoining rooms costing extra before. After being assigned to the rooms, i was asked to tell the bellboy where to send the bags. It was no biggie since i had to park the car anyway.
The walk to the room from the lobby was roughly 4 minutes. Upon entering, my first impression was that the air conditioning felt great! The AC was a nice oasis from the brutal heat and humidity outside. The room itself was fairly large. One of the rooms had a king size bed, the other 2 doubles. Each room had a view of the private pool and a small balcony. There is a step down seating area with a sofa, coffee table and desk. The mini bar was stocked with soft drinks, water, and 4 beers. The rooms looked like they were very nice when the resort first opened. Now they look a bit tired and in need of a refresh. The couches and sheets were stained. The bed was firm and cheap feeling. Every time you moved, you heard a spring sounding like it came uncoiled. The 3 pillows offered minimal head support. The TV was an old Zenith tube TV. Picture was good, but they should probably update them. The bathroom was probably the one that was most in need of attention. The color was an old aqua green that was ugly to look at. The caulking around the shower looked like it was done with no care. Workmanship just looked sloppy. The sink stoppers were broken in both rooms. That's four sinks! The jacuzzi tub jets were surrounded by mineral deposits. The room was a good size to fit both a crib and pack n play. The crib they provided was adequate. It was a regular size crib, no drop side, with a foam core mattress. We ended up just using our pack n play for my son to sleep. The walls in the room were fairly thin. We could hear people walking the hall outside, going up and down the nearby staircase, and what sounded like a generator behind the wall. What was probably the worst was that we could hear the guests in the room above us. They had a massive argument at 1:15am on our last night that woke all of us up. They were slamming doors, yelling, and stomping about. We heard it all very clearly. We called security and they stopped within 10 minutes.
The grounds were beautifully landscaped. Our walk around the complex was very pleasant and picturesque. They work very hard to maintain the the grounds and keep everything healthy. Beware when it rains, the floor can get very slippery. The pools were very nice. Most of the time, we stayed at the pool closest to the beach as it was the quieter of the 2 large pools. The pool with the swim up bar was very crowded. We also like the wave pool because it had a shoreline. That worked for my boy to sit down and enjoy the waves. There were plenty of chairs throughout the complex, but many people set their towels out for the best seats. The seat cushions were a bit flat but manageable. The beach was flat out gorgeous. The waters were a brilliant turquoise, the sand was like coffee colored flour. They cleared out most of the rocks from the shoreline by the lindo/maya making entry into the water not so painful. The beach by the del mar/beach was more rocky. There were plenty of chairs once again by the beach, but those with shade were mostly taken by 10am. The water in the pools was like warm bathwater, not as refreshing as the beach but still okay. There is some drinks service around the pool, but it's much easier to pick up and get it.
I recommend taking a walk around the Lindo lobby and theater area at night. The pools and water fountains are lit up making it a great place to take pictures. The restaurants were not as bad as people made it out to be on this board. There is an uptick in quality from Lindo to Maya. The breakfast buffet at the Maya was very good. I recommend getting cappuccino rather than coffee. The lunch buffet at el tapatio and el fogon were average. You cand find something to eat but not a ton of variety. I ended up eating a lot of chips with guacamole. The dinners were better than expected. We tried L'etoile, el Tapatio, La Marina, El Rancho, and Museo. We thought the seafood and L'Etoile were the better of the 5 but not one bad meal. Reservations were made 3 days before we arrived and were not a problem. Each of the restaurants looked about 40% of capacity. Service was very good. Their wine selection was poor, even the pay wine list was subpar. The El Rancho had a nice mariachi band playing.
Drinks in general were pretty strong. I averaged about 2 margaritas a day and asked for Don Julio Tequila. It was never a problem. I always tipped about $1-2 per drink and always left money at mealtime. Unfortunately, i didn't see many others doing the same. I would recommend stopping at a bank before you go and bring down a lot of singles to tip.
We did not take part in too many activities because we were trying to keep our baby on a schedule. The air rifle and archery seemed pretty cool. There was quite a bit for you to do if you wanted. The star friends were also encouraging of group ativities. We did go jet skiing for half hour each. It was $65 per person at dressel divers. That was a lot of fun. Snorkeling is best off the beach at Del Mar. Lots of little fish to see in 3-4 foot waters. The beach by the Grand was pretty empty. It was nice that the complex was so large that you can stroll for 10-15 minutes up the beach. Overall, the beach is better than the barcelo maya palace.
In Conclusion, the Maya suited us just fine. I think if you come in with non 5 or 4 star expectations, you will enjoy it. They offer plenty to keep your vacation active. Overall, this trip cost me just under $4k for everything for 3.5 people for 5 days so i think the value is there. For that reason, i would return.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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3  Thank Montyaloofah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2010

A number of reviews recently posted say most of what we enjoyed - but I will mention some hilights and tips. We traveled with my wife and I (late 40s), mother in law, 3 kids - 20,18,15, August 9 - 16. Wish we had more time because it took 3-4 days to decide what we really liked and then did that.
Everyone liked the Japanese restaurant best, steak house second, wasnt impressed with mexican, did like the buffet and some nights went to buffet again if dinner was scheduled earlier than 8PM. Seemed that you could schedule good times for dinner if you booked with your concierge 2 or 3 days in advance. If you want to get to the main part of show at night it starts about 9:30PM. The older kids usually went to a bit of show after dinner but then headed to snake bar at 10pm or so to meet up with the other teens/20s.
Then to the disco at 11:30 or so, Disco open 11PM till 3am. there is burger joint next to disco and they headed there for a while then get cart rides back to their rooms. Older Adults usually went for a couple drinks at one of the bars after shows lots of Karaoke nights. Drinks at Maya are top shelf if you ask. Younger kids go to show, there is a teen disco open till 1am I think.
Scuba on the reef there with Dressel divers is Avg to good. Better off Kozumel and other places Ive been. Consider a 1/2 day snorkel or dive with Whale sharks .
We stayed in building 61 with ocean side rooms on third floor. Have to be on third floor to see any ocean from your balcony you have to look over building 60. I believe most of the rooms in building 60 and 61 are superior sweets. If you can get it try 3rd floor ocean view in 60. Rooms have King or 2 doubles, and a fold out double couch. Pretty large and most of the rooms have outdoor table and chairs and hammock on balcony. All rooms in all blocks of Maya either look out on jungle or gardens. so if you dont care about ocean view any is nice. If you stay in 60 or 61 you are closer to ocean, Higher numbers 64, 65 are by the lobby and restaurant and activity center, gym, bars, etc.
Golf is hot in August! We were on golf special where no greens fees if t-time after 2PM. Still 40 per person for cart . They did have refreshment cart that found us every 2 to 3 holes and unlimited drinks and some food. Really enjoyed the course but after playing it once decided to cancel our t-times for 3 more. Staff very friendly everywhere, its a huge complex so be ready for walking.
My two peeves were that 1. you never saw the tram running when we were walking, it doesnt seem to be running around the complex every 15 mins like they say. If you call for a ride they do show up with golf cart to take you. 2. The reserving beach chairs with your towels before 8 or 9 am is ridiculous. People actually get up before 7 to run towels down to the poolside chairs or to the beach and reserve the chairs that are under shade, they often dont come down to the beach until late morning or even afternoon.

All in all we had a great time here- the resorts are so large you can find something for everyone to do. The kids met a lot of others in their age group. Mom -in-law , wife and I had plenty of relaxation by beach and pool and always a good drink. Wish we had time and energy to go to Coco-Bongo which we heard was a real experience. They do charge for internet but get the 3 day special for $35 and they may forget to turn it off for the remainder of your days. It is free in the lobby with wireless internet.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank redo774
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2010

My family just returned from a vacation at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya. We've traveled several places around the world and have to say that the staff at this resort made this vacation one of our most memorable and fun! Miguel, the maitre'd at L'Etoile, made sure our dinner at this ala carte restaurant was more than just a delicious meal; it was an event! We enjoyed our first night's dinner so much, we went back two more times in our week's stay. The waiters, Luis and Arturo, were so accommodating and friendly, and Miguel was quite informative regarding our wine selections, after dinner drink selections, etc. We had first met Miguel at one of the lunch buffets shortly after our arrival. Our 75 year old mother had become confused and "lost" our table. Miguel escorted her back to us and made sure throughout the week, whenever he saw her, that she was OK. We couldn't thank Miguel enough for his attention and for helping our family have fun! Other notable employees were Gerardo, Paola and Bryant, three of the "Star Friends," who always greeted us, met us with smiles, conversed with us in Spanish so our son could practice, or shared card tricks. Karina, one of the cocktail waitresses at the "Snake Bar" in the Maya lobby, made sure we always had popcorn with our before dinner drinks and took the time to answer questions. Isaac, one of the resort's chefs, conversed with us nearly every day, always asking if we had any complaints (we didn't) or suggestions. We didn't get the names of the women who cleaned our rooms, but they kept our accommodations spotless. There were several other individuals who waited on us in the buffets, who were very quick to respond to our needs. If you're thinking about a stay at the Paraiso Maya, don't hesitate! Visit Miguel at L'Etoile and experience his warm smile and expertise!

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank senorita48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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