“Good evening, Ms. Poitevien,” I heard a voice say as I walked through the grand halls of Riviera Maya’s Iberostar Grand Paraiso. Despite the complexity of my name, I did a double take. Surely, this voice could not be addressing me personally. I knew no one in the resort, but as I turned to reciprocate the friendly greeting, I was met with the smiling face of Victor, who introduced himself as my personal butler.
I applauded him for learning my name before even meeting me, and he went on to explain how he would be available throughout my stay to help with anything that would make my visit more enjoyable. “My intention is to create magic,” he said, and he certainly meant it as I would learn one night upon returning to my room to find that he had unexpectedly drawn a hot bath for me complete with bubbles, rose petals and a bottle of champagne. Luckily, the magical moments didn’t stop there as I spent several days at the luxury resort during the celebration of Iberostar’s 20th anniversary of operations in Mexico.
Within moments of arriving, Iberostar Grand Paraiso shows that it’s a lively adults-only property. The entertainment team leads guests in beach volleyball, water balloon fights and more, while cheers erupt from the pool where daily bingo games get competitive. When bingo is over, you’ll still find guests at the swim-up bar, where, as one repeat visitor pointed out, the chairs are just the right height so you can stay in the water and enjoy your drink without floating away. After all, it’s the details that matter, and with a rate of 40 percent repeat clientele across its 10 properties in Mexico, this attention to detail is paying off.
Pillars of Success
The success of Iberostar in Mexico and beyond is said to have been built on what the company describes as its top pillars—location, people, service, and gastronomy—and Iberostar Grand Paraiso is no exception. The location is unbeatable with the sand and sea only a short walk away from the pool, plus the option for guests to enhance their stay with the Star Prestige program. As a Star Prestige guest, travelers have access to an exclusive lounge area on the beach with plush towels, daybeds, and attendants to serve food and drinks, as well as upgraded amenities and use of a special lounge in the resort’s atrium. Claudia Simon, Iberostar’s director of marketing for North America, says, the hotel group is “trying to switch the perception that all-inclusive can’t be luxury.”
The “people” and “service” pillars were perfectly embodied not only by the friendly and attentive staff, but also in the programming offered at the resort. Iberostar Grand Paraiso is one of five properties within the Iberostar Playa Paraiso resort complex. With Grand Paraiso representing the complex’s highest category resort, guests staying there have access to all the amenities and facilities of the other resorts—from the award-winning golf course to the spa and the newly launched Fit & Fun program with high-energy classes.
“Delivering that quality of service is what has made us successful,” says John Long, v.p. of sales and marketing, Iberostar. “The customers are very happy, and they keep coming back.”
The pillar of “gastronomy” is truly worth noting as well. Excellent dining options abound throughout the resort complex, but at the Grand Paraiso, dining venues lead guests into an elevated dining experience with two buffet restaurants and four a la carte venues serving a range of dishes from traditional Italian to Japanese favorites. For a sampling of the best that Iberostar has to offer, suggest your clients try the tasting menu at L’Atelier. This 5- or 8-course dinner, which is a part of the resort’s all-inclusive offerings, features the best dishes created by chefs from different hotels across the entire Iberostar portfolio.
For travel advisors, this consistency in high-quality offerings means they can book their clients at one of the hotel group’s properties with peace of mind.
“Iberostar has a great product and when changes are made, they are to improve things such as service, the grounds, etc.,” says travel advisor Lisa Russo, co-owner of Millennium Travel. “A lot of properties start out great, then slowly things start to go down…[but] I have been selling Iberostar for well over 10 years. They are a brand that I trust.”
Travel advisor Steve Simmons, owner of Honeymoons Inc., agrees. “I would tell all travel agents to book Iberostar resorts in Mexico without hesitation,” he says. “We simply don’t have customers come home with issues when they stay at Iberostar.”
Looking to the Future
After 20 years of success in Mexico, Iberostar plans to continue growing its brand in the country. Short-term expansion plans include the construction of a new 13-story, 156-suite tower in the Cancun Golf and Spa Resort, which is set to open in late 2018. Iberostar has also announced plans to open a new hotel in Los Cabos, which will be located on more than one mile of beachfront property, as well as the addition of a second hotel in Litibu.
“Mexico is really deep in our hearts, and we’ve been here for 20 years, so we’re going
to keep investing and keep building,” says Simon.
Iberostar Grand Paraiso: iberostar.com