Lori Foster, franchise owner and vacation specialist with Dream Vacations – Luxury Travel Associates in San Clemente, CA, traveled to The Reserve at Paradisus Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in March and shares her first impressions.
I was married at the Paradisus Punta Cana in 2001, and since it was before I became a travel advisor, I did not know they were part of the massive Meliá family of brands with almost 400 hotels worldwide, or even much about their properties. In fact, I didn’t know too much about them until I spent some time at Paradisus Playa del Carmen this March.
This is my favorite Paradisus property because it is an oasis in the middle of a bustling city. It is so close to the famous 5th Avenue with all the shopping and dining, but you feel like you are a world away when staying at the resort. The resort is a nice size—large enough to keep you occupied with so many things to do, but not too big that it takes forever to walk from one side to the other. Playa del Carmen is known for beautiful beaches, and the Paradisus Playa del Carmen has a gorgeous stretch of soft white sand and blue water. What is also unique about the resort is that there are mangroves throughout, and it makes you feel like you are deep in the jungle—but, really, you are only steps away from the beautiful beach.
Paradisus Playa del Carmen is a wonderful option for both families and adults with no kids as the property has an adult-only side and a family side. I had the pleasure of staying on both sides of the property during my recent vacation, experiencing the adult-only side for a few days and then the family side with my children for another few days. The layout is great because those staying in the adult-only section would never know that there was a family side to the property. Adults are able to dine at all of the restaurants on-site and visit both sides of the property, regardless of where they are staying, while children are only permitted to stay on the family side.
What impressed me most about the Paradisus Playa del Carmen was The Reserve, the brand’s upgraded, concierge-level experience. There is a Reserve on both sides of the property, and each has a separate VIP check-in, which is a wonderful and relaxing way to start a vacation. All of the rooms in The Reserve are located in central areas of the resort, close to everything. The Reserve guests also have their own restaurant where you can enjoy breakfast and lunch, each in a serene atmosphere with exceptional service. Right outside of the restaurant is The Reserve pool; it is the only heated pool and has a swim-up bar. From the moment you arrive, pool valets are there to set up your Bali bed with towels, adjust the umbrella and offer you a cocktail. When it is time for lunch, you are just steps away from your private restaurant where the waitstaff knows your name. On the gorgeous beach, the same service is available in a separate area for Reserve guests only (on both the family and adult-only side). Again, valets are attentive, set up your Bali bed or lounges and umbrella, and they always bring an ice bucket of bottled water and cocktails.
The accommodations are another reason to stay at the Paradisus Playa del Carmen. On the adult-only side I stayed in a one-bedroom swim-up suite that I fell in love with. It had all the comforts of home and was very spacious. There is a dining area that seats up to six people at the table, and it has a Nespresso coffee maker, refrigerator and sink. The living area has two couches, a coffee table and television. A spacious terrace has sliding glass doors to the living room and bedroom with king-size bed. I love the terrace with a small couch and coffee table, a round table and four comfortable chairs and a round jetted tub. Pretty nice: There are stairs from the terrace that lead directly to the pool with two tiled lounges submerged in about a foot of water. As a Reserve guest, you also have attentive butler service to tend to your every need. They can make your restaurant reservations, set up spa appointments, let you know about daily activities and now, with COVID protocols, set up your testing appointment before you leave and fill out all of the paperwork for you to bring to the airport. There is no reason to ever leave your room!
When I moved to the family side with my own family, we stayed in a two-bedroom suite. It was similar to the same room as I had before, but it had a connecting door to a smaller, but still spacious, one-bedroom suite with two queen beds, a living and dining area, plus a terrace with a jetted tub and access to the pool. This is the perfect setup for a family: You have privacy and space but are still together. Finding accommodations like this for families isn't always easy or available at all resorts.
So, whether you’re traveling with or without kids, Paradisus Playa del Carmen offers plenty of space, great service and a beautiful resort for all.