Check-in: We were greeted at the entrance of the lobby with cool towels and champagne to enjoy while making arrangements for our room. The staff was friendly and welcoming, and the lobby area quiet and peaceful. The lush ambiance warranted hushed, reverent tones and we just quietly took it all in while the staff clicked away on their keyboards preparing our reservation. Because it was so early in the day, our room wasn't quite ready; this proved to be advantageous, because otherwise I never would have experienced the wonder that is the "hospitality room" at the Grand. (Think: swankiest locker room in the western hemisphere.) The resort handled our bags while we prepared to situate ourselves by the main pool.
Property: Every aspect of the resort and its grounds exudes elegance and sophistication, but without any of the pretentiousness that you assume would accompany that feel. The design of the resort makes it easy to navigate with one main hallway leading to many of the rooms and restaurants and covered walkways to protect you from the elements while leading you elsewhere. The landscaping was pristine, but as you admire it, be on the lookout for a coati!
Room: We stayed in room 7218, a ground floor king overlooking the quiet and lovely (and aptly named) Tranquility Pool, whose views could be enjoyed on our perfect little patio with extremely comfortable seating options. The room, decorated in oranges, golds, and browns, was extremely large with a sunken sitting area, spacious sleeping quarters, and a bathroom suitable for royalty. It is fair to say that even though the décor wasn't necessarily our taste, we were utterly blown away.
Food: The Bella Vista breakfast buffet and the beachside lunch buffet both served delicious food that was also elegant in its presentation. The breakfast buffet highlight was probably the made-to-order juice station, but all of the traditional American and European breakfast staples were available. The lunch buffet featured combined buffet and menu service, and the options ranged from the more traditional (pizzas) to the exquisite (lobster tails).
Dinner options included Venezia Italian, Haiku Japanese, Latelier Gourmet, Toni's Surf and Turf, and Bella Vista buffet. We chose to dine one night at Toni's and one night at Haiku. While the reservation system was also in effect here, we did not experience any of the scheduling issues that we did at the Lindo. All of our appetizers, salads, and entrees were delicious - please click here to read my vegan dining review. (Coming soon!)
Entertainment: Activities around the pool area dominate during the day, while a variety of live music is offered at night. Guests can also visit the neighboring Iberostar properties for shows in the main theater. The band that played outdoors the second night of our stay was fantastic, and we also enjoyed having tea, coffee, or a drink in the lobby and enjoying the live music there.
Fitness: In a word, incredible. While I continued my vacation-induced laziness, my husband actually set his alarm for 6:45am to visit the gym. I can't say I blame him - the facility was nice and cool with great equipment, housed a gorgeous indoor pool and jacuzzi, and featured a juice bar.
Pools and Beaches: We divided our time equally between the beautiful pools and beautiful beach, which was always clean and free of seaweed. The chaise lounges were quite comfortable with heavy padding and beach drink service was prompt. We particularly enjoyed the cabanas tucked around the main pool because we could adjust the curtains for sun or shade; here we could also indulge in the popsicles and other frozen treats offered by staff members. The main pool was lively but not obnoxious; the entertainment staff presented guests with contests and activities throughout the day that we enjoyed participating in or just observing. The tranquility pool was very quiet (too quiet for us) so we did not spend our time there; however, it is a really beautiful area of the resort to relax.
Pros: luxurious, incredible food, fantastic pools and beaches, strong Wi-Fi, great service
Cons: only one - the lunch buffet was STIFLING, and I mean STIFLING hot. The servers were passing out cold washcloths to diners.
The Iberostar Grand Paraiso Beach is a luxurious resort that I would recommend over and over for its service, accommodations, food, and amenities. It would be the perfect option for honeymooners or couples celebrating a special event like an anniversary or birthday. My husband and I will most definitely return for longer stay.