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All reviews tranquility pool surf and turf ocean front lobster la brisa indoor pool star friends butler service lobby bar other resorts pillow menu oceanfront room international buffet pool concierge welcome home lunch buffet top shelf
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Reviewed 16 February 2008

Revisited the Grand Jan. 29 for 4 nights (stayed a week in Dec.). Had an oceanfront both trips and loved the convenience as we spend our days at the beach rather than the pool. We returned because the Grand is an excellent value and had such a good time our first trip. They did not disappoint .this trip either. Service was great. Excellent drink service on the beach. The waiter even brought them when we didn't order. Butler service was extremely accomodating (just ask). Victor is great! Food was very good for an AI. (have stayed at RH several times and prefer the food at the Grand). Best food at the beach lunch buffet is not on the menu. Grilled shrimp, lobster, jumbo shrimp cocktail. Also made to order fajitas (beef, chicken, shrimp). Be sure to try their homemade ice cream. It is outstanding (and I'm not an ice cream eater). It's similiar to Italian gelato, only better. You can believe all the rave reviews. It is a terrific resort for a casual, laidback getaway.

Stayed: February 2008
4  Thank jazzyb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2008

We were very impressed by the Iberostar Grand hotel and it was among the best all-inclusives we have stayed at. The hotel, grounds and beaches were all beautiful. We stayed in an ocean front room on the top floor of building 70 and would recommend this area if this is a special vacation and you want to splurge. All of the rooms are the same but the view from our room was wonderful and we enjoyed sitting on our balcony in the late afternoon, listening to the ocean sounds, and sipping the provided bottles of wine or champagne. Many people are hung up on the butler service so I will let you know that they were very efficient and friendly and the small number of services we asked for were provided promptly. There is absolutely nothing to complain about in the rooms. They are well maintained, the beds are comfortable, the linens and towels are changed frequently and the staff are all friendly.
We love the beach and the Iberostar has quite a nice one. The chairs in front of building 70 have pads and are very comfortable as are the ones at the pool. Chair saving did not occur until near the end of our vacation when a number of new people checked in. We were amused that once some started this practice many followed. I refuse to participate and just found a new seat when we returned to enjoy the sun. Chairs are plentiful here. Entry to the water has improved in the last year and it seems that there are fewer large rocks on the Iberostar beach. The waves can be large and the water was never calm. This is a nice long beach for walking but if you are going further than the cleaned up property I would recommend you bring shoes. There is a lot of garbage and glass. We highly recommend walking about 20 to 30 minutes to the south to see the wonderful beach. We went for a swim at this beach a number of time because there are no rocks at all and the colour of the ocean here is beautiful.
Drink service here is exceptional. The bartenders are extremely friendly and anxious to please (whether you tip or not) and all of the best drinks are readily available. While we did not sit around the pool, I did notice that bar service seemed frequent. Service at the beach was sparse but we did not mind at all. The swim up bar is a fun place to meet new people of all ages in the late afternoon. Service at the lobby bar was exceptional. The one problem we had with the bar service was that it is actually too good. I think that the Grand needs to establish some guideline for handling very drunk customers. One patron was the talk of the resort when he became extremely intoxicated at the pool. He continued to be served and became extremely loud, rude and vulgar and harassed a number of other people. While security did watch him they did nothing to stop the behaviour despite numerous complaints. He was also endangering himself by doing flips and dives in to the pool.
The food at this resort is very typical of a five star all-inclusive resort and therefor somewhat difficult to comment on because tastes very considerably. Many seemed to love the food and many other thought it was okay. We felt that breakfast and lunch were very well done. Sometimes the serving plates at the lunch buffet were not filled up as promptly as they could be. Many on here rave about the availability of lobster however we did not eat this often because it was too well done and tough. We soon discovered that it is possible to order delicious fajitis etc at lunch which are not listed on the menu. The dinners for us were just okay. We did not enjoy the japanese restaurant because we eat sushi often and the Grands version is not great. We had mixed reviews of the surf and turf restaurant. One night our steaks were overcooked and overly salted but on another evening the food was very good. The food at the gourmet restaurant tasted good, was nicely presented and terribly small (we are not large eaters) . We did not enjoy the Italian restaurant at all and cancelled our second reservation there in favour of the buffet which we were surprised to find was very good. The service at these restaurants varied considerably from excellent to quite bad and is the number one thing the Grand needs to improve upon.
Night life here can be pretty quiet. We visited the disco at the commercial centre a number of times and the excitement level really varied depending on the night. There are a wide range of ages at the disco so do not hesitate to go and have fun. We went to two shows. The star friend who perform are very hard working and extremely friendly but the musical dance shows are much like what you find on a cruise.
We enjoyed meeting people at the lobby bar in the evening. The customers at this resort cover a large range with the majority being in the 40-60 year old range. We had the opportunity to meet a number of people from all over the world.
Please be careful in your selection of footwear. The tile and marble at this resort is extremely slippery and we would recommend rubber-soled shoes. When the floors are wet they are treacherous.
We have now stayed at three all-inclusive adult only resort in this area including the Royal Hideaway and Excellence Riveria Caucun. They all have advantages and disadvantages but I don't think you can go wrong with any of these if you go in knowing what to expect.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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27  Thank Ontario_Sun_lovers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2008

This review is a little late since we stayed in July of 2007...

We first booked at Secrets Capri after much research and debating. We experienced a horrible AI resort in the Dominican Republic the year before, so we were being very careful....I happened to come across some of the first reviews for the Grand and we decided to change our stay and I am so glad we did!!

We were treated like royalty the moment we stepped foot onto the Grand's property. Never once did we have a problem with the service of anything else for that matter....

The resort is beautiful, they didn't leave any details out. Everything is elegant and classy and just beautiful. The grounds are extremely well kept and well manicured.

We stayed in the standard room, facing the spa, which was fine. The room was the best we have stayed in, including the DR and Aruba. The bed was fantastic, with a pillow menu, and we slept the best we have in years while we were there. The bathroom was huge with marble floors, shower, and countertops. Again, very classy as was the rest of the room. The room was very clean and housekeeping did a great job. Turn down service was great as well as the mini-bar, which was restocked daily. When we first arrived, the butler explained the room and then asked if there was anything else in the fridge we wanted. He returned with an entire full, unopened, large bottle of Absolute and the same with a bottle of tequila. NO CHARGE. We could have asked everyday. The room service was wonderful, we ordered late at night and it was quick and great food.

The dining choices were wonderful and we ate at all of them except the gourmet. The Asian was our favorite, followed by the Italian, then the surf and turf. For an AI, the food was unbelievable. We ate at the buffet/lunch rest everyday and never got bored. My husband ordered a Koby beef burger twice, grilled lobster another time. I ate something different everyday, never disappointed. Breakfast is breakfast, there isn't really anything you can do to mess that up...

The pools were great. I loved the large salt water pool, it was huge and well kept. There were plenty of chairs around the pool everyday, but if you did want a cabana, you had to get there early. Those were nice since it provided some shade. The swim up bar was great as was the service. Very prompt and great service. Top shelf liquor as well, great drinks...

We stayed on the resort almost the whole time, but did take advantage of the free golf that was provided at that time. My husband said the course was difficult and I found it very nice. I'm not a golfer, so I rode along. We did take the free shuttle into Playa Del Carmen, which was interesting.

I cannot understand why anyone would complain about this resort. You would have to be a pretty picky person to complain about anything and we are not easy to please. I am a very picky eater and this was the best food I've had in a while. My husband is very picky about rooms and he was in love with the Grand.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
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24  Thank cmb1022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2008

Just returned from a week at the Grand. I had previously stayed at the neighboring Maya, Riu Palace, Iberostar Quetzal, and many others in the Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel, and Cancun areas. Weather for the week was fantastic--low to mid 80's everyday--no rain. I hardly even noticed clouds the whole week!

This is a beautiful, quiet, peaceful hotel. The artwork, sculptures, chandeliers, and elegant decor is stunning--except for the lobby which seems a bit out-of-place and garish. Just next to the lobby, though, is a beautiful flower garden with benches and waterfalls to enjoy.

It's a fantastic hotel for couples--most of the people were in their 50's and 60's. Lots of Europeans and Canadians as well as Americans to meet; people were very friendly. Even though I was the only solo traveler in sight, I received excellent service and support throughout my visit.

Here are some specific points:

1) Service: Bar service is great with all top-shelf choices and wonderful, friendly bartenders--especially Rigo and Jonathan in the lobby bar. I also went back to the Maya to see their magnificent "snake" lobby bar again and visit their most excellent bartenders: Jose, Jorge, and Samuel. The service in the buffets was much better for some reason than the specialty restaurants. I used my butler, Renee, several times when I needed things. He was great. Bar service at the pools and beach was very good--especially friendly Arturro at the beach. Front desk service was good about handling my requests. It was really helpful to have the bell service guys provide door-to-door service in the golf carts when you wanted to visit the other resorts or the mall. I tipped for every drink and service. The workers really appreciated the tips, although I didn't notice many people tipping like they should. That drove me crazy especially with how hard these people work to make you comfortable!

2) Pools: The activity pool down by the water was busy but not too loud. Not much shade there, however. Shade was also hard to find by the tranquility pool--which was my favorite part of the resort--very relaxing.

3) Restaurants: I tried the Surf & Turf (best), the Japanese, and the Italian. The traditional surf & turf steak and lobster was mouth-watering good. The Japanese food was also delicious--sat at the roundtable cooking area with 3 other couples one time and at my own table another time. Had lobster, shrimp, and very tasty fried rice there--good enough to visit twice. Wasn't so crazy about the Italian..didn't try the Gourmet but I didn't like the menu. It was easy to get the times and places you wanted through the butler or concierge. I also went to the Mexican restaurant at the Maya--excellent chicken enchiladas there; Guadalupe provided great service. I only visited the buffet by the beach once--thought the selection wasn't that good and the service poor. It's a great location though just a few steps from the water. The buffet near the tranquility pool has much better selections, you don't need to wait to order anything, and great service. Breakfast was delicious--especially the fresh raspberries. The lunch buffet was very good too--don't miss the famous Iberostar ice cream. The made-to-order pasta was a nice change. I also visited the Lindo breakfast buffet on my morning walks--good selection but a bit more chaotic with all the kids.

4) Rooms: very similar to the suites at the Maya. Artwork was much fancier and you could order your own type of pillows. I LOVED the furniture on the balcony...very comfortable for afternoon naps. Beds were very comfy--not hard like so many Mexican resorts. When I arrived and my butler showed me the room, I commented on how I wouldn't be drinking the beer--only the diet coke and water. Within a few hours, they had cleared the beer and replaced them with diet coke and water for the rest of my stay.

5) Activities: There was always plenty going on from ping pong to water sports to beach volleyball to yoga. Star friends were a fun group of people. They worked hard to get people to join in but weren't intrusive at all. Eduardo and Nicole were especially friendly and fun.

6) Shows/Music: These were much better than any other resort I've visited. They actually bring in professional singers and dancers as well as a most-excellent Cuban band with a dynamite horn section. I especially enjoyed the magic show and "boogie nights". After the shows, the band kept playing for people to dance. Unfortunately, most of the guests were a bit elderly to stay up past 11:00, but I enjoyed it! The music in the lobby bar was incredibly good--especially Michel the saxophone player. He's a pheonomenal jazz talent.

7) Shopping Center/Disco. I visited the shopping center once but didn't find anything to buy. Instead, I went to the other hotels in the complex and found some souvenirs. The tacos in the center are excellent as are the crepes in the ice cream shop. It's great to have these restaurants included in your all-inclusive plan. The disco was fun--went there most nights. Jaime is a friendly, talented bartender. The music started out good but would then turn techno later in the night (open until 3:00 am) and got a bit tiresome. Fun to meet people from all the other resorts though, but I missed the Blue Goose Vodka that the Grand had!

All in all, this is a great hotel. Loved the high service levels, even though they could use a bit of work in the specialty restaurants. I highly recommend this hotel for couples seeking a relaxing, spa-like vacation.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled solo
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40  Thank PamK91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2008

I visited the Grand in December for 5 days - This was my best vacation ever! Ocean front view was absolutely amazing. The only con would be the spa (the massage was horrible in my opinion). Our butler Vic made the stay wonderful - anything you want he would get it. We were suprised our first night after dinner with rose petals and champagne. This is a great place to RELAX.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank TexasHoneymooner2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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