Ryan's Girl's LONG Iberostar Lindo Review with pics!
Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:35 PM
I can’t say enough about this resort. Trying to choose a resort for our wedding was honestly the most stressful part of planning our DW. We had a few friends who had been to the Iberostar before and they had only great things to say and after reading some reviews, Ryan and I decided to book our wedding at the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo on April 1, 2009 (I know, April Fools Day...people thought we were crazy). If I were to do it all over again, I would without a doubt go back to the Iberostar Lindo. If you picked the Iberostar Lindo as your wedding location, you will not be disappointed!
We arrived on Saturday March 28, 2009 around noon. We didn’t check in with the rest of our group as we rushed to meet with our wedding coordinator (Toni) to do our blood work. The check-in line was really long and slow. When we got back from our blood work to check in, some of our guests were still in line waiting to be checked in! While waiting in line, a server comes around with a tray of strawberry champagne. Once we reached the desk, the staff were really friendly. They reviewed the restaurants, the map, and some of the activities (this is what slowed down the check in process). They kept all of our guests in the same building (building 51) which was really nice to be altogether. They were also really accommodating with room changes as a few of our guests wanted different floors than what they were originally given.
The Iberostar resort complex is immaculate! Their attention to detail is incredible. The staff work so hard to keep every aspect of this resort beautiful. The buildings are painted a myriad of colours and the gardens are full of colourful flowers. As you walk around the complex, you will see peacocks, coatis, flamingos, swans, cats and many beautiful birds. There are a lot of options for activities, including a golf course on the resort property. The entire resort complex is quite large and I read many reviews about “bring your walking shoes”. I guess it all depends on how much walking you decide to do. If you choose, you can stay within the same area the entire week and have access to everything that you need. On the other hand, if you want to explore, there is tons to see and do on the resort property, some of which we still hadn’t discovered in our week there. There is a trolley that runs through the different buildings and to the shopping centre which a nice way to see the different areas of the resort.
We stayed in building 51 which I think it the best located building. It is right beside the main pool with the swim-up bar, seconds away from the boardwalk leading to the beach and nice and close to a breakfast/lunch buffet and snack bar. It is a bit further from the lobby, theatre and some of the restaurants but not too far. I personally would rather be closer to the pool and beach. The resort offers 24 hour room service, which we took advantage of a few times. Our food was always delivered extremely quick and was fresh and hot.
Ryan and I booked a Honeymoon suite, which I personally don’t think was worth the extra money. It is pretty much a junior suite, with a Jacuzzi tub on the balcony. Upon arrival to our room, there was a nice basket of fruit and a bottle of red wine. There were flower petals all over the bed with towel art made into a beautiful combination of hearts with rose petals.
The rooms were kept very clean throughout our entire week. Honestly, some days they would come into our room 3 times to check on things and tidy up (no exaggeration, 3 times!). We could always tell when they had been there because they would close the door into the suite and towels would be re-folded, waters put out on our beside tables, etc. Our floors and balcony were mopped, fresh towels given, and bar fridge was restocked daily. My parents had minor problems upon checking into their room, as the previous guests had forgotten to leave the safe unlocked and their air conditioner wasn’t working properly. Someone came right away to fix both problems and about an hour later, there was a bottle of champagne delivered with a note apologizing for the inconvenience. All of our 61 guests had great things to say about their rooms/housekeeping. The staff at the resort really take pride in keeping things very clean and it shows, not just in the rooms but in the entire resort!
We actually ended up spending most of our time by the pool because that’s where the majority of our guests were. The one complaint that I have about the pools is that if you don’t get there early you likely won’t get a chair. Someone in our group, typically me, would get up and go down to the pool to gather a group of chairs. I honestly don’t like doing this, but if we didn’t then we wouldn’t have ended up getting a spot. I’d usually go down around 6 am and take a bunch of things with me to throw on a few chairs (magazine, sandals, towels). We could usually be found at the main pool right by the swim up bar. Although all of the chairs were taken, the pool itself was never overly busy. There was also the wave pool, an activity pool and the lazy river. Many of the children in our group enjoyed both the wave pool and activity pool as they were nice alternatives to swimming in the regular pool. The beach has lots of nice soft, white sand. There were always plenty of chairs available throughout the day and even palapas if you wanted to get out of the sun. It was really windy while we were there, which made for nice sized waves to play in. There were a few rocky areas, however, these areas were very visible as the water is so clear. Stick to the far right of the beach, closer to the Iberostar Grand as there were no rocks in that area.
Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:37 PM
Food overall at the Lindo was very good. There are many options to choose from and a lot of our guests appreciated not being limited in the number of a-la-cartes that you can visit. We mostly ate at the buffets as we do not like being on a schedule. There is a variety of food available at the buffet and it was always really good. Our only complaint was that the buffet menu mainly stayed the same each night, which was tiresome after a few visits. My DH sums it up as â€œgood food, but repetitiveâ€. The service at all of the buffets was consistently fantastic. During dinner, a magician and a clown came around to the tables a few nights to entertain the kids. The one tricky thing with the buffets is the hours of operation...each buffet is open for different hours so it can be tricky figuring out what is open. Not a big deal, but some of our guests found themselves confused. There are several a-la-cartes within the Lindo/Maya complex to dine at. We really enjoyed both the Italian and the Japanese specialty restaurants. The Cajun and French also seemed to be popular with our guests. The International a-la-carte got terrible reviews from our guests. The Seafood a-la-carte restaurant had mixed reviews from our guests. Many said that the food was pretty good, but the portion sizes were on the small side. Each individual building has their own concierge and this is where you go to make your reservations. They do have menus for each specialty restaurant at the concierge desk.
Entertainment/Things to do: 9/10
There was always lotâ€™s of activities going on and things to do. The Starfriends work very hard, all day and night, to try to get people involved. They have daily activities by the pool for people to join in, like salsa lessons, ping pong tournaments, archery tournaments, water aerobics, Spanish lessons, etc.
The Star Friends also do the nightly entertainment in the theatre. They began each night with entertainment for the kids, and would always get them involved and up on stage. Then theyâ€™d have a different theme each night for the show (Hollywood night, Disco night, Mexican night, Magic night). I will admit that I was really disappointed with the nightly entertainment. I guess that I compared it to entertainment at other resorts that I have been to and I wasnâ€™t very impressed. Although I personally didnâ€™t enjoy the nightly entertainment, most of our guests could be found at the theatre each night and they seemed to be enjoying them! The Magic show was really good.
The great thing about the Iberostar resort is that it seemed like there was always something to do. Aside from the pool/beach activities and the nightly entertainment there were other things to keep you busy. Every 2nd night, vendors from outside of the resort would come and set up tables along the walkway. They had jewellery, sunglasses, a variety of paintings, masks, shirts, little souvenirsâ€¦pretty much anything that you would find if you were to go into Playa del Carmen. Of course the prices were more than what you would pay in Playa but if you werenâ€™t planning on making the trip in then it was perfect (and if you calculated what youâ€™d spend on a taxi to and from Playa it likely worked out). You could barter with them. There is also the Shopping Plaza in the Iberostar complex, with lotâ€™s of different little souvenir shops throughout. Also located in the Shopping Plaza was a place where you could get crepes with ice cream in them, Star Burger, a little taco snack bar, the Underground Disco (teen disco) and the Galaxy Disco. There is a golf course on the resort property. DHâ€™s dad golfed several times and really enjoyed the course.
Wedding Coordinator: 10/10
Initially we were working with Araceli to plan our wedding, but she moved to a different position so we started working with Toni. I honestly canâ€™t say enough about Toni. Prior to our wedding, we corresponded with her both through email and by phone. Toni was really good at getting back to our emails quickly, usually within 48 hours at the most. As we got closer to our wedding date, the responses came quicker. We did find that if we asked more than 2 questions in an email, that we wouldnâ€™t get all of our questions answered. Once we figured that out, we limited our questions to 1-2 per email. Toni is incredibly sweet and was always willing to do whatever she could to make our wedding what we envisioned. Although they are very busy planning weddings, we truly felt that she always took the time to answer our questions and went above and beyond.
As soon as we arrived at the resort, we jumped off our bus and ran to meet Toni as we had our blood work appointment scheduled and we were late (due to problems with the buses at the airport). We literally went straight to the Medical Clinic on the resort property. The medical clinic is really nice and clean and the process of giving blood is quick and painless! After our blood work, we went back to Toniâ€™s office for a very quick meeting where she photocopied our birth certificates and she went over a few options for us to think about before we met again. We scheduled to meet Toni the next morning to go over the details. The next morning we went to meet Toni with our 4 witnesses. She reviewed our wedding details form with us and discussed different options, costs, etc. We still hadnâ€™t decided on our reception location (shopping centre or convention centre) so Toni got a golf cart and took us to both locations and let us explore a little bit. We brought all of our stuff that we wanted set up (centerpieces, placecards, guestbook, etc.) along with pictures and Toni assured us that it would all be done exactly the way we wanted it! We finalized all of our decisions during this meeting, but Toni made sure that we knew if we changed our mind to let her know and sheâ€™d try her best to accommodate us.
DH and I made an appointment to get a massage together at the beach the morning of our wedding. We scheduled our appointment for 10 a.m. I am so glad that we decided to do this, it was so relaxing and it was a really calm way to start the day. I made my hair appointment at the Spa for 11:30, as Iâ€™ve heard that they can be really slow (and I was worried as I have a ton of hair). They took me in right away and offered me something to drink/eat. I brought a picture of what I wanted my hair to look like. She spent a lot of time looking at the picture before she got working on my hair. I will admit I was really nervous about how my hair was going to turn out without having a trial run but they do a great job there. She really took her time and she made sure to look at the picture every few minutes. She would take a piece and put it up to see how it looked before pinning it in. My hair flower was delivered to the spa as I was getting my hair done so she pinned it in for me once she was done. It took just over an hour to finish my hair, which was much quicker than what Iâ€™ve heard from other brides whoâ€™ve used the spa.
I emailed Toni an inspiration picture for the bouquet that I wanted along with a description of the colors. I absolutely loved my bouquet, it was exactly what I was looking for (although a little smaller than what I expected). I ordered a mini-version of my bouquet for my MOH. I also ordered a hair flower for myself. My MOH decided last minute that she wanted a flower for her hair (like 30 minutes before the ceremony!) and when I called Toni to see if we could get one, she had her assistant Lily deliver one right away! Toni went over all of the flower options available for the wedding along with some pictures when we had our initial meeting. We paid extra to have flowers on the arch and on the bamboo posts along the aisle as well as flower petals for the aisle and for our centerpieces. I think it worked out to something like $150US for the extra flowers. They bring the arrangements that they set up on the bamboo posts to the dinner and put them on the tables. They told us that they are unable to bring the flower arrangement from the arch as it is too hard to take down (however, my sister managed to get it down and brought it to put on our head table).
Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:39 PM
As soon as we decided that we were having a DW in the Mayan Riviera I started thinking about who we were going to book for a photographer. The resort does offer a photography package with their photoshop but the style/quality was not was I was looking for. Photography was by far one of the most important things to me and I started to research different photographers in the area right away. When I came upon Elizabeth Medina I knew that she was the one. It didnâ€™t take much to convince DH and it wasnâ€™t long before we contacted her and booked her for our wedding. We exchanged a few emails prior to the wedding and Elizabeth was always quick to reply with helpful answers. We arranged for her to arrive at my room at 2:00. She came in and started taking pictures right away as I was frantically trying to get ready! She was very calm, taking pictures of different things as I was finishing getting ready. DH and I decided to do a â€œfirst lookâ€ so Elizabeth and I headed down to a courtyard where we planned to meet up. Her calmness made us relax and enjoy the moment. You can see her passion for photography as she looks around to find the perfect spots for photos. She was so excited about all the different colours throughout the resort. We originally booked Elizabeth for 6 hours but asked her if we could upgrade our package to 8 hours. Without hesitation she agreed and stuck around until 10pm. We woke up at 7am to do our TTD session the next morning and Elizabeth was waiting and smiling. We got our pictures this past weekend and they are absolutely amazing. Elizabeth is so talented and I feel so blessed to have had her photograph our wedding.
The Iberostar resort does charge a penalty fee for not using their photographer. When we met with Toni and told her that we were bringing in an external photographer she asked how many guest passes were needed. When we explained to her that we had actually booked a room for Elizabeth and her husband (assistant) for the night, Toni came to us the next day to inform us that they were going to wave the penalty fee.
Our ceremony was set for 4:00 p.m on the beach. DH and our guests were asked to be at the beach no later than 3:30. In our initial meeting, we had a long talk with Toni about keeping spectators at a distance during our ceremony. I expressed concern from pictures that I have seen from other weddings where you can see â€œspectatorsâ€ lining the side. I realized that we werenâ€™t going to be able to get rid of them completely but I wanted to make sure that they were far enough away. Toni arranged to have some extra staff members blocking down by the beach so that people couldnâ€™t walk/swim behind us during the ceremony. She also arranged to have chairs stacked along the sides to act as a barrier so that people couldnâ€™t get too close. We did have onlookers, but I honestly didnâ€™t notice them at all during the actual ceremony. Toni picked myself, MOH, and my flowergirl up at my room just before 4:00. We hid behind the beach bar so that nobody could see us. When the music started, Toni motioned for my MOH to start walking and then again when it was time for my flowergirl to start and then myself. The ceremony itself was perfect. Our judge was so great. She had a wonderful sense of humor and had everyone laughing. The actual ceremony itself was quick, only like 15 minutes. They have champagne ready for everyone once the ceremony is done. We did a few group/family shots on the beach and then most of our guests made their way to the Snake bar in the Maya lobby while they waited for dinner and we went to take some more pictures.
Our dinner was scheduled for 6:00 p.m in the Steakhouse. I will admit, after seeing pictures of the Steakhouse, I was extremely hesitant to have my dinner there. I canâ€™t say that I was a fan of the hanging horns from the ceiling or the big cow murals on the wall! The Iberostar Lindo doesnâ€™t actually offer a private location for dinner and we were told that the Steakhouse was our best option for privacy. We decided that privacy was more important than the decor and booked the Steakhouse for our dinner. We did have our own private â€œroomâ€/area and it felt like we were the only ones in the restaurant. We ordered the filet mignon, which came with corn on the cob, potatoes, and some veggies. The food itself got mixed reviews from our guests, some really enjoyed it and others not so much. I think that itâ€™s hard with steak because they are not cooking it to everyoneâ€™s preferences. I had the chicken which was absolutely delicious and would recommend it over the steak. The service at the Steakhouse was phenomenal (although I wouldnâ€™t have expected anything less with the Iberostar resort). To get us to kiss, our guests had to take a shot of tequila...the servers were really enjoying this.
When we arrived at the resort, we still hadnâ€™t decided on our reception location (between the shopping centre and the convention centre). Being such a large group, we were limited to the shopping centre, the convention centre and the disco for our reception. We quickly ruled out the disco but were having a difficult time choosing between the other two. Toni had sent us some pictures of the convention centre but it was difficult to interpret the set-up. We ended up choosing the convention centre for our reception. Within the convention centre, you have the option of having the reception in a closed off room with no windows or in an open area off the main hallway with floor to ceiling windows. We opted for the latter and I was very happy with how everything turned out.
Right after dinner the trolley was ready to take our guests over to the convention centre for our reception. We snuck out to do a few more pictures on the carousel in the shopping centre. When Ryan and I arrived at the convention centre we saw that our reception was not set up where we had originally chosen with Toni. This was a surprise to us as Toni hadnâ€™t mentioned anything. It really wasnâ€™t a big deal and at that point there was nothing that we could do about it, but we were just surprised that nothing was said to us. When DH asked Toni, she told him that the air conditioner had broken in the other area. We made a last minute decision to book the lounge furniture that the resort offers for the reception and Iâ€™m SO glad that we did. Although expensive, it was really cute, white covered chairs and little tables. I would say that it is a must to book the lounge furniture to anyone having their reception in the convention centre. Without the lounge furniture, there are NO chairs or tables at the reception.
We brought our own music for the ceremony on a CD. We hired DJ Bob for our reception at the convention centre. We actually found out about DJ Bob from BDW. He was really easy to communicate with prior to the wedding and responded very quickly to emails and phone calls. He even contacted Toni at the resort to find out about getting into the resort and setting up in the convention centre. He was very good at judging the crowd and what music to play to get people up dancing. Knowing that we were all from Canada, he started off the night with our second national anthem, â€œThe Hockey Songâ€. The bartenders must have thought that we were crazy as everyone jumped up and started singing along with the song. I am so glad that we decided to hire DJ Bob to do our music and would highly recommend him.
Our wedding was perfect and was exactly what we had wanted. Toni was amazing to work with and they really do go out of their way to make sure that everything goes as planned. I can honestly say that I wouldnâ€™t change one thing about our wedding, which I think is pretty incredible. Again, if you are planning a wedding at the Iberostar Lindo you will not be disappointed. If you have any questions about the resort or wedding, please donâ€™t hesitate to ask. I donâ€™t know what I wouldâ€™ve done without this site and the many people whoâ€™ve answered my questions so I feel like itâ€™s my turn to give back!
and now for some pics...
Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:51 PM
And if you would like to watch Elizabeth Medina's slideshow or our wedding, you can go to Kristin and Ryan (I posted this link in an earlier thread, but figured I'd post it here as well!)
Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:54 PM
Posted 19 May 2009 - 06:44 AM
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