A Grand Addition

Iberostar’s newest category of resorts brings luxury all-inclusive to new heights

By: By Janeen Christoff

The hotel’s pool leads straight to the beach. // (c) Iberostar Hotels & Resorts
The hotel’s pool leads straight to the beach.

Nestled in a complex of five Iberostar properties, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in the Riviera Maya is starkly different from its counterparts. The luxury property, built like a small palace and decorated in a singular style that can only be described as European elegance meets Vegas luxe, glimmers like a beacon on the righthand side of the Iberostar complex. Marble entryways, pillars and a friendly outgoing and always helpful staff add to the feeling of hospitality, making the resort — and its high-end amenities — feel accessible from the moment clients arrive.

On the property, guests will find an array of facilities appealing to an adults-only clientele. While other resorts in the complex are more geared toward families and multigenerational travelers, the Grand’s flair for romance is ideally suited to couples. The all-suite rooms are spacious and offer king-size beds, modern amenities like electronically controlled air-conditioning and lighting, a lounge area and, on the balcony or terrace, there is a porch swing, perfect for relaxing and even falling asleep. Every room has an iHome iPod docking station and the bathrooms are all equipped with Jacuzzi tubs built for two. There is also a fully stocked minibar, DVD player, iron, ironing board, tea and coffee maker, hairdryer, bathrobes, Internet access for a fee and a pillow menu.

Other added features unique to the Grand include 24-hour butler and concierge service, providing clients with personalized assistance including dining reservations, in-room food and cocktail preferences and more.

If booking clients at Iberostar’s Grand Hotel Paraiso, I would recommend requesting an oceanview. There are 120 suites in this category and, while the entire property is beautiful, the oceanfront grand suites will draw clients into the destination which is, after all, on the beach. Although some clients might not be disappointed to have a view of the pool, it’s always my preference when heading to a seaside destination, to actually see the sea. And, during my stay, I found the extra amenities that came with this suite category added to the luxurious nature of my surroundings. My butler, Victor, offered to help me unpack my bags, personalized my minibar to include extra snacks like chocolate and more water, offered to make dining reservations and showed me the various options from the pillow menu. Victor also took the time to orient me with the many electronic features in the room, showing me how to turn off all the lights from the electric panel next to my bed, explaining how to work the Jacuzzi tub and also how to adjust the iHome to fit my iPod. While all suites include personalized services from a butler and concierge, my oceanfront grand suite also afforded me the luxury of transportation services on the property and around the entire complex, which was a tremendous benefit seeing as the weather was sometimes rainy and the property is huge.

A wide variety of dining options exist on the property with the goal of appealing to everyone’s tastebuds. I can personally recommend Toni’s Surf & Turf, where clients can enjoy all this style of food has to offer in the way of steaks and lobster. My favorite spot to sit down and enjoy a meal at the resort, however, was Las Brisas. The seaside restaurant offers cooked-to-order specialties like fajitas and tacos that are exquisite. And, although it’s on a smaller scale than its larger counterparts, the buffet features a wide variety of options from pizza and pasta to local soups and traditional desserts.

While the complex offers one main spa, El Spa, the Grand also has its own spa, which caters to couples. Both offer a wide variety of treatments, including relaxing massages, chocolate scrubs and a temezcal. During my stay, we visited El Spa, and my companions raved about their temezcal experience and the chocolate scrub, while my relaxing massage put me to sleep on the table — a good sign.

In the coming months, Iberostar will be adding to their Grand Collection with properties in Rose Hall, Jamaica, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Set to open first on Nov. 15, is Rose Hall. Located in the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach & Spa Resort complex, the $86 million property will feature 293 oversized suites and two presidential suites, a lake pool with swim-up bar, an activity pool, a PADI dive center and a spa specializing in couples treatments.

The $82 million Iberostar Gran Hotel Bavaro, which is set to open on Dec. 22, is located in the southeastern part of the Dominican Republic. The hotel will feature 260 suites, 13 oceanfront grand suites and a presidential suite. Among the unique aspects the resort will offer are a two-story oceanfront spa, Jacuzzi tubs and a P.B. Dye-designed golf course.