Checking Out the Iberostar Grand Paraiso

After four nights at the Valentin Imperial Maya, my boyfriend and I spent a few nights just down the road at Iberostar Grand Paraiso. This is one of the fanciest and most expensive resorts that I sell to clients, so when I won three nights at a convention last year, I intended to take full advantage. Needless to say, my expectations were HIGH.

Since I won the stay, I didn’t get my choice of room category and therefore was just expecting a standard room. However, when we got there we got an oceanfront upgrade! Sweet.


We had an amazing balcony right on the ocean… too bad it was too hot to enjoy!


Yes, please.

We were ready for three nights of bliss, but I have to say there were some little things that just didn’t quite work for me there. First of all, I was mostly disappointed in the breakfast. Coming from the Valentin where there was freshly squeezed juice each morning, the juice at the Iberostar was downright awful. Tasteless and from a can, Kool-Aid would have been better. Other than that the food was fantastic, but that made a big impact on me.

Otherwise the resort was just a bit too… hoity-toity for us. A week here normally costs about $5k or more, so you can understand that they set pretty high standards. The clientele, of course, are the type that are typically older and retired, so we really didn’t talk to other guests at all.


Decorations are cute but I hate those ugly bedspreads.


Getting ready for dinner.

The food at the Iberostar, however, was downright fantastic in comparison to the Valentin (not that the Valentin had any bad food). Our first night’s room service dinner was great, and our second night at the gourmet restaurant so SO GOOD. I had some scallops (my favorite food) and lamb shank, and I’m not sure which I liked more. Once again we ordered every dessert and we weren’t sorry.





Even though I wasn’t completely in love with the Iberostar like I was with the Valentin, our three nights there were way too short. It was our first time having a week long vacation together and every day was better than the last.


Last day enjoying the beach 🙁


No more daily crab for a looong time 🙁


Our highlight of our stay at the Iberostar – found this guy crawling around my clothes in the bathroom!

Would I go back to the Iberostar Grand Paraiso? Probably not. Even though it was adult-only, it’s part of a larger campus of resorts that are all family-friendly, so you can bet the beach was still crawling with kids (I like my pool bar child-free). I also hated that we had to make advanced dinner reservations, and when working on that it can be very annoying as most of the time the restaurants you want are never open when you want them. The Valentin was reservation-free.

I just liked the vibe at the Valentin better, too, as we found more people to talk to and the staff more approachable.

Thanks for the overall lovely visit, though, Iberostar! You have a great product but it just isn’t quite for me. 🙂

4 Nights of Bliss at Valentin Imperial Maya

Well, I’ve found my new favorite resort. My (lucky) boyfriend and I spent half a week at the amazing Valentin Imperial Maya in August. I’m a travel agent and we sell this resort quite frequently, so I had enough points to score four nights in a Diamond Suite. To get an idea of what this place looks like, here’s a Youtube video I found of the room. Read more

Moon Palace Jamaica Grande

On my recent trip to Jamaica I stopped by the brand new Moon Palace Jamaica Grande. If you’re looking for a luxurious hotel in Jamaica, this is a great option. The only downfall is that the beach isn’t too great, but the small bay it sits on is calm and perfect for water sports. Here are a few pictures around the resort!  Read more

Couples San Souci Review

On my recent short trip to Jamaica I got the opportunity to check out Couples San Souci! It’s a lovely resort, but I can’t imagine to whom I would recommend it. It has a traditional Caribbean open-air feel, which is lovely, but the place is so hilly and tired-looking that I can’t imagine ever staying there myself. The entire resort is pretty much set up on a low cliff that you have tons of stairs to walk (not very much in the humid Jamaican weather) and is big enough to get lost. So if you’re hard of walking or in a wheelchair, you can pretty much rule this place out.  Read more

Jewel Dunn’s River and Jewel Runaway Bay Resorts

While in Jamaica recently, enjoying a stay at the Secrets St James, I visited a few other resorts including the Jewel Dunn’s River and Jewel Runaway Bay. I was so impressed with both! Jewel Dunn’s is an adult only resort (with its own private and separate nude beach, if you’re into that) and Jewel Runaway is a fabulous family property. Read more

Secrets St James & Secrets Wild Orchid

Recently I had the chance the stay at the wonderful Secrets St. James for a few nights! I’ve seen quite a few all-inclusive resorts and this was definitely one of the nicer ones, especially being adult only (sorry but I just don’t like kids around when I’m on vacation or splashing water in my drinks at the pool bar)!

We had a Jr Suite Oceanview Preferred Club room. The Preferred Club, costing extra of course, has added amenities like private check in, priority in restaurants, and a little lounge with snacks/dessert bites all day. To be honest I thought it was a waste – while nice, none of it made a difference with me and we were actually further away from the restaurants since it’s considered a quieter section. Read more

Hipmunk Hotels: Lesser-Known Cities to Check Out in Arizona

Photo by Vincent Ramundo on

Yuma, AZ

Perfect for tourists who enjoy military history, Yuma, AZ, has several attractions to offer including the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park (just looking at picture on Google will convince you to make a stop there) and the Marine Corp Air Station. For those looking to stay on a budget over a quick weekend, appropriate hotels include La Fuente Inn & Suites, Yuma Cabana Motel, and Comfort Inn and Suites. Any of these choices range between $60-$70 per night and will be plenty comfortable. Read more

Hostel Review: Wrigley Hostel

A couple weeks ago my boyfriend and I visited Chicago for the Foo Fighters’ first concert at Wrigley Field. Needless to say, it was the best concert I’ve ever seen and a dream come true since they’re my favorite band! Thanks to Max for my wonderful Christmas present and scouring to get me tickets to the sold-out show 🙂

Anyway, we’re not huge party people and I knew we’d just want to crash after instead of bar hopping around Chicago in search of Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins. I searched hotels all over the city and there was no way I was going to pay $300 and up for a single night so I resorted to hostels and found Wrigley Hostel. It was perfect! At $60 per person per night – I knew I wouldn’t find anything cheaper during such a big event – it was just what we needed and was less than a block from Wrigley Field and the Addison L train stop that would take us back downtown. What more could we ask for?


We stayed in a 4-bed mixed-gender dorm room. It was a little small but both bunk beds fit just fine. Wrigley Hostel is a converted apartment building of four floors, including a basement, with two bathrooms on each floor as well as a full kitchen. I recommend staying on the highest floor, the 3rd, so you’ll have less of a chance of loud people at night. Despite the building being a little old, everything felt very clean to me and the bed was comfortable. Bathrooms are within the hallways but not shared – it’s privately yours when you’re inside, which I loved.

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Free towels, free WiFi, free pancake breakfast (with more), an outdoor deck, a computer area and a common room with a pool table, large couch and big-screen television. They also have some organized events such a pub crawls and trivia!

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It’s literally half a block from Wrigley Field – perfect location for events in Wrigleyville and close to the Addison station on the red line. From Wrigley Field, go south on the right-hand side of Shepherd Ave and you’ll run into it – it’s a little hard to see but look at the apartment doors and you’ll see its little sign. It’s probably easier to find on foot than by driving.



Every staff member that I ran into was super sweet and helpful! They’re all locals who know the area and are excited to meet you.

Any Cons?

It’s a bit hard to spot from the outside unless you know where it is, and I would recommend having more outlets in the rooms. I noticed that those on the top bunk wouldn’t be able to keep their phone near them while charging, therefore leading to missed alarms and disturbed neighbors.

The kitchen downstairs can become a little cramped – I would suggest serving breakfast in the common room instead. Perhaps a self-serve waffle station instead of the receptionist making the pancakes on the stove, would make life a little easier in the kitchen/eating area.

They also ran out of towels while we were there so you might want to grab one early and give it right back to them so they can wash it for the next person.


It was Max’s first hostel experience and while I knew what to expect (potential drunk/loud/puking people flying in our room at 4am) I was nervous that he wouldn’t enjoy his first time (that’s what she said). After we left on Sunday I asked him if he’d stay at a hostel again and he said he definitely would – woo hoo! He’s a keeper. 🙂

Bottom line, I would definitely recommend Wrigley Hostel and stay here again myself! It’s in the perfect spot, easy to get to, and the friendly staff and cleanliness will have you coming back. Thank you for the great experience, Wrigley Hostel!

Resort Review: Grand Velas and Velas Vallarta

On my recent Fam trip to Puerto Vallarta with Funjet Vacations we toured the Grand Velas and Velas Vallarta. What a treat! While the Grand Velas is certainly amazing, both were just lovely and I would be happy to stay at either. Both are absolutely beautiful and worth considering for a vacation. You’ll feel like you’re in luxury at either. Read more

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