A Slice Of Paradise: Visiting Mexico With Food In Mind

It's an understatement to say that my culinary-focused trip to Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso was a delicious treat, because the food was wonderful and the very talented chefs could not have been more gracious when describing the meals they created.

Director of operations for Iberostar Mexico, Jordi Sole, gave our group insight into Iberostar's philosophy for running a hotel chain that spans the globe, one that   prides itself on delivering vacations filled with quality, superior service, and delicious cuisine. 

The superior service was clear from the moment I arrived. Check-in was a breeze, and my butler, Luis, was most helpful getting me situated in my room. Of course, the delivery to my room of executive pastry chef David Gimenez's artistic chocolate grand piano filled with perfectly crafted truffles along with a bottle of red and white wine and champagne had me beaming from ear to ear.

Yet it was the magnificent view of the Gulf of Mexico that insured a very tranquil stay. I had the opportunity to spend time walking along, as well as relaxing on a chaise lounge, on the beach and the peacefulness of the area was delightful.

The hotel, in conjunction with the Riviera Maya Tourism Board, arranged a visit to Cobá, Mexico, where I climbed a Mayan temple (going up seemed pretty easy, but looking down was terrifying!) and learned about the Mayan people.

After seeing the ruins, we were driven to Casa Itzamná, a center for the study of traditional Mayan medicine. The shaman, who serves as the ultimate healer and voice of men to the gods, shared with us how he promotes holistic healing. The center has its own apiary, and the honey produced by the bees was golden and delectable. 

After experiencing either a massage or bathing ritual, we enjoyed lunch at a Mayan family home. The pride taken in the workmanship of each delicious dish prepared was apparent. It was, truly, an experience I highly recommend.

That prideful attitude is crystal clear in everyone at the resort. There are many activities available both on and off the property, but the staff is happy to assist guests with excursions. A perfect example is guest relationship chef Danyelle Valmont, who works with guests who have special dietary issues, seeing to it that each individual need is met — it's an incredible feat.

It's in the world of gastronomy that the Iberostar chefs are most comfortable. Many Iberostar chefs come from the Basque region of Spain, and several of them have worked previously in Michelin-starred restaurants. 

Iberostar recently published its first cookbook, La Cocina Iberostar, featuring the delicious dishes of 14 Iberostar executive chefs. With recipes drawing inspiration from Morocco to Mexico, the book reflects the high quality of culinary offerings available at Iberostar hotels worldwide. 

I felt fortunate to taste the workmanship of four of the 14 executive chefs, as well as the impressive knowledge of sommelier Yamir Roadriguez. I also saw firsthand the care and attention to detail that Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso executive chef Joseba Goikoetxea puts into the hotel's international buffet. Dishes are constantly being replenished and guests may select individually made-to-order meals in addition to a vast selection of prepared foods.

Whether guests choose to dine at the international buffet or enjoy a meal in one of the other on-site restaurants, they are assured a delicious meal with impeccable service. All of this, with the added bonus of staying at a beautiful property and watching the waves roll in from the Gulf of Mexico — it's truly a slice of paradise!