I am an adventurous traveler who prefers to explore cities and to get to know places—no guided tours or hit-the-major-landmarks for this gal. That said, I won’t pass up the opportunity to visit an all-inclusive resort for a couple of reasons. Firstly, these days, I am so stressed with work, I like the opportunity to escape, relax, and let other people take care of the details—one of the primary reasons people visit all-inclusive resorts. The second is that I really like activities, which I believe is another reason all-inclusive resorts are so popular.
I love Mexico—how can you not? The tacos, the warm weather, the friendly faces. So, when I was invited to visit Paradisus Playa del Carmen, an all-inclusive resort, my answer was a resounding “Si!” I invited my dear friend, Jennifer, the blogger behind the New Naples, as she loves warm weather & bright colors just as much as I do.
Paradisus is a high-end group of all-inclusives with locations in Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Cabo, and Dominican Republic. The prices are affordable (about $200/night) and the experience is quite nice. While these are not five-star resorts, the quality of the rooms, amenities, service, and experience is great.
Paradisus Playa del Carmen is a short jaunt from the Cancun airport—the hotel helped us arrange a shuttle, which transferred us quickly and smoothly from the airport to the front of the resort. This is the perfect getaway this winter—take a four-hour flight from the East Coast, hop in a shuttle (which often offers beer), and arrive at the resort. It’s a seamless, stress-free experience, which is exactly what I needed.
Within a few moments, we were checked in to our suite, which had champagne and fruit at the ready—part of Royal Service. The room had a large balcony overlooking the pool with its own private hot tub, a massive bathroom, and enormous beds with far too many pillows. There’s even a pillow menu, which excited Jennifer just a bit too much.
Paradisus is popular with honeymooners, and the group offers an incredible Royal Service, wherein you have a butler to attend to your every need. At first, I found this to be silly, particularly when our butler, Armando, offered to unpack our luggage, to which I politely declined. But, within a few hours, I was sold. Armando was immensely helpful in setting up dinner reservations, arranging airport transfer, spa services, activities, and helping us find restaurants that are open at the odd hours at which I eat. He ensured the paper was delivered each morning and the champagne arrived each afternoon. He went above and beyond— even snapping our picture atop the pink flamingo floats, which accent the main party pool.
In addition to your own personal Armando, Royal Service includes access to certain restaurants, La Palapa, and pool areas—a private pool—that other guests do not have. Jennifer and I don’t really enjoy children—so it was an added bonus that Royal Service is available only in the adults-only section of the resort, where we stayed. There is a family-friendly side La Esmeralda, but we didn’t venture there.
Paradisus Playa del Carmen is a large but manageable resort with several pools, complete with swim up bars, pool beds, shaded cabanas, and plenty of bars around the property. The hotel is beautiful—with gorgeous wooden bridges passing over the Mayan Riviera jungle to the beach, and ponds with koi and turtles woven between the hotel walkways.
There’s a gorgeous spa, with a sauna, steam room, and its own private outdoor pool and hot tubs for a luxurious, relaxing experience that we embraced fully and enjoyed immensely.
As far as activities go, I took to creating an itinerary with the zeal of a Type-A 8-year-old, signing up for flower arranging, mixology, and salsa lessons—along with a private tennis lesson at an extra charge. (Golf, tennis, spa, and excursions are available at an additional fee.) Meanwhile, Jennifer took a more civilized approach, reading peacefully under the shade of a cabana.
Everyone who worked at Paradisus—from Armando to the Hernando, the energetic & fabulously flamboyant salsa instructor, to the incredible violinist who performed at night, seemed genuinely happy to be there and to enjoy their jobs. We absolutely loved that they enjoyed their jobs—which made us feel even more welcomed.
We spent our days by the Royal Service pool, and we must say we approve of the Piña Coladas and the poolside ceviche. There are several restaurants—Caribbean, Mexican, Asian fusion, and others—that vary in quality of cuisine. We recommend sticking to the local fare: margaritas, tacos and ceviche—and you can’t go wrong. The best restaurant on property is without a doubt the Hibachi restaurant, which is delicious and allows you to relive your childhood birthday parties at Benihana. We love a little nostalgia and a show with our shrimp.
Paradisus hotels are a great option for a high-end yet affordable, all-inclusive weekend. Like most all-inclusives, the experience is structured—this is not for the adventurous travelers. But for those looking to sun, spa, sleep, relax and enjoy the Mayan Riviera, it is an excellent option.
Book your trip online on their website.