I stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico that’s perfect for couples and families alike — here’s what it was like

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Iberostar Grand Paraiso

Iberostar is a hospitality brand best known for its 4- and 5-star all-inclusive resorts in Latin America, Europe, and Africa.
While I’ve never been a big fan of all-inclusive resorts or “fly-and-flop” vacations, I recently visited the brand’s properties in Riviera Maya, Mexico, and was impressed.
From food, to service, to amenities, the resort was fantastic.
You can save a lot of money on your stay by booking the resort as part of a vacation package.
Plus, right now, if you book through Southwest Vacations, you can save an extra $200 by entering “SUNTAN200” in the promo code field.
Here’s what Iberostar was like, and what I thought — including photos I took of the resort and its amenities.

At its most distilled form, there are two kinds of vacations. There are active ones, where you explore a new place, whether it’s walking around a new city or doing something active like hiking or backpacking, and there are “fly-and-flops.” 

That second type is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the kind of thing where you just need some time to relax, or do fun things, but don’t want to deal with the logistics of planning activities and meals, or figuring out how to get to the beach, how to access the pool, or what bars, pubs, and restaurants to visit. You just want to fly in, flop down on a beach towel or pool chair, and start relaxing.

Although I’ve loved the couple of fly-and-flops I’ve taken, I always have a nagging voice in the back of my head bothering me about the price of everything. On-resort restaurants, bars, and poolside snacks and drinks can cost a fortune, and I’ve always felt a little bit guilty about overspending just for the sake of relaxation, which in turn makes it harder to relax.

All-inclusive resorts solve this issue. As you would expect, just about everything is included, so you don’t have to worry about how much you’re spending once you get to the hotel — you’ve already paid for all of it in your room rate. There may be up-charges for certain things, like top-top-top-shelf liquor, or premium dishes, but overall, everything is included.

I’ve never stayed at an all-inclusive before, because I had a generally negative opinion of them. It was completely baseless, but I still had vague images of sub-par food buffets, watered-down drinks, and crowded hoards of people crowding the beach.

However, I recently had the opportunity to learn how wrong I was.

Iberostar is a hotel and resort brand based in Mallorca, Spain, with properties throughout Europe, North and Central America, and Africa. The brand specializes in 4- and 5-star resorts, and has a major presence in a few regions and countries, including Mexico.

The brand has had a presence in Mexico since 1997, when it developed a large property in the Riviera Maya region near Cancun.

To mark the 20th year of the brand’s presence in Mexico, Iberostar offered reporters the opportunity to check out its flagship property in Mexico, the Iberostar Grand Paraiso, and explore the company’s offerings. Along with about two dozen other writers from the US, Mexico, and Canada, I took them up on it.

If you’re looking to book a trip with Iberostar, you can book directly through the company’s website. However, it’s generally possible to save money by booking a vacation package. In a handful of test searches, Southwest Vacations was able to beat the price of booking the hotel and flight separately. 

Right now, Southwest Vacations is offering a sale on all vacation packages in Mexico and the Caribbean. 

When booking, enter promo code “SUNTAN200” to save $200 on your package.

All-inclusive rates, booked directly through Iberostar, generally range from $95-225 per night, per adult, depending on which hotel you stay at, how long you stay, and when you’re visiting. Rates may be lower for children than adults.

Here’s what Iberostar was like, and what I thought.

Click here to learn more about Iberostar.
Click here to learn more about the Iberostar Paraiso resort complex.
Click here to book a stay through Southwest Vacations — enter promo code “SUNTAN200” to save an additional $200.The Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf and Spa Resort project is about a half-hour drive away from the Cancun airport.
David Slotnick/Business Insider

The entire property is, in essence, a complex, with five different hotels: the Iberostar Paraiso Beach, the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar, the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, and the Iberostar Grand Paraiso.

Each property is all-inclusive and is gorgeous, with pools, beach access, and more. Although they’re all considered “Five Star,” they’re distinguished by amenities. For example, the Iberostar Paraiso Beach and Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar are more “family budget” oriented. While the food is still high-quality (at least, what I had the opportunity to see was), it’s more affordable, doesn’t offer 24-hour room service (only between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.) and there are kid-friendly amenities like entertainment and day camp activities for kids 4–12. Huge pools and beach access — with attendants and bars nearby — offer plenty for families.

The Iberostar Paraiso Maya and Iberostar Paraiso Lindo offer more of a “family luxury” experience, with more activities, a massive lazy river and wave pool, fewer guests, specialty restaurants, activities geared toward teenagers as well as younger kids, and 24-hour room service.

The Iberostar Grand Paraiso is similar to the Maya and Lindo, except that it’s adults only, and has a few more amenities including dedicated, on-demand butler and concierge service in each hall, as well as virtually no up-sells — everything, including top-shelf liquor, is included.

Rooms at the Grand are all identical, featuring a ton of space, massive bathrooms, and a fully stocked minibar.
David Slotnick/Business Insider
Rooms at the Grand also feature balconies with hanging chairs and a couch.
David Slotnick/Business Insider
See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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