Golfers will love the all-inclusive Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in Riviera Maya near Cancun, Mexico
RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico – Okay, consider me blown away.
It’s not often that a golf resort or destination sneaks up on me and whisks me away with a smorgasbord of good golf, great food and an even better accommodations.
But that’s what the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso has done over the last 36 hours. During that short span, I’ve played a fun P.B. Dye golf course (Playa Paraiso), ate lobster at every meal and enjoyed the services of a personal butler. Now that’s a five-star vacation.
I never expected such a luxury experience from an all-inclusive resort, but that’s what The Grand – the highest level of the Iberostar Hotels & Resorts chain – consistently delivers to guests.
Iberostar, founded in 1986, owns more than 100 hotels in 14 countries, including five in the complex where I’m staying and another property up the road called Cancun Iberostar (the former Hilton).
These Iberostar resorts are sprawling “cruise-ship-on-land” palaces that cater to every budget, whim and taste. I didn’t get up in time for the breakfast buffet yesterday, but I was told it was unreal. I can vouch that the lunch buffet was a treat (grilled lobster, a Caesar salad with my own choice of vegetables made right before my eyes, flat-bread pizzas, shrimp, etc.). The past two dinners at the Grand’s Japanese and American steak houses have been all-world.
Even though it hosts a PGA Tour event, Cancun has never been high on my radar for golf. The service and all-inclusive experience at Playa Paraiso has changed my outlook. Want five beers on the course? Go ahead and order six, free of charge. Want tequila or snacks or rental clubs? All included as well.
P.B. Dye – known for his wild shapes and eclectic designs – is the perfect architect for golf in Mexico and the Caribbean. His mounding and bunkering and creative greens give life to the mostly flat terrain at Playa Paraiso. The green at the par-5 seventh is a perfect example. I’ll defer any description to the yardage guide. I quote “Three, four and five putts are not uncommon. This may be the toughest green you’ll play all year.” Yep, that’s P.B. for you. A massive three-tiered green might be gimmicky elsewhere, but it works here.
Another round of golf comes today at another Iberostar-owned course, the Iberostar Cancun Golf Club. It’s supposed to be flatter and a little more traditional and the perfect complement to Playa Paraiso. Even if I play like a dog – a possibility consider the tequila flowing around here – I can always look forward to the pampering I’ll receive at The Grand.
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