Recently returned from this hotel with our extended family of five. As we were supposed to stay at a different resort I had booked months ago, we were switched three days prior to our arrival to the Grand Park Royal. Needless to say, I was quite apprehensive, having only the reviews from Tripadvisor to rely on. Turns out, this is a nice place to stay.
We had two rooms in the Royal Tower, which I have to say, were very impressive. We have traveled to Mexico a few times, and this was definitely the nicest room we have stayed in. I am very particular about cleanliness, and this room did not disappoint. The finishes were modern, mini bar stocked daily, and we had no shortage of towels/washcloths. The room also has a Conair blow dryer, which is very difficult to find in any resort. The shower had a rain shower head, as well as 3 other cool jets. My husband described it as a "car wash." The water pressure was more than adequate as well, a problem I have found with other hotels. The bed was just right, not too firm, but not soft either. The jacuzzi in the room was nice, although we didn't use it. The room itself was quite large, with plenty of drawer and closet space for the two of us. The really impressive part of the room was the view. The Royal Tower has 4 floors, and we were on the 3rd. The view directly onto the beach was phenomenal, and so nice to wake up to every morning. Although I didn't get a good look at rooms in the main hotel, if you can swing the Royal Tower, it is worth it.
The area in which I see potential here is the food. The first day we arrived we were starving and thought the pizza place sounded perfect. What I pictured as pizza, and what was actually there were quite different. The pizza's were placed in small circular food warmers outside, and consisted of tiny slices that did not taste fresh. I felt like I was eating elementary school cafeteria food. Unfortunately, I found the buffet food to be similar in quality. I realize that food is a matter of personal preference, so this varies depending on what people are used to. I have never considered myself a foodie, and usually eat just about anything I'm given, so I was surprised at how much I disliked this food. Also, all drinks are served in styrofoam cups. This is cheap, wasteful, and inconvenient at the same time. Due to the fact that it can get quite windy, having styrofoam, that can blow over with a light breeze, was quite annoying. There are also no drink servers around the pool or beach. If you want a drink, you have to go get it yourself. This is fine, but just something to keep in mind when comparing hotels. Room service varied from gross (the desserts) to delicious (breakfast). It usually took about 45 min. on average to be delivered. Cafe Sol was nice, but could be nicer. They had only hot coffees, no iced drinks. This might be nice, especially when the temps. most days were in the high 80's-90's. The gelato was delicious, and they can make milkshakes out of any gelato flavor they have. These were great, but again, served in small styrofoam cups. Also, if staying in the Royal Tower, there is the Royal Tower lounge, which serves breakfast foods, appetizers, and drinks throughout the day. It is nicely air conditioned, has a great view, and is usually empty, making it a nice spot to relax. We went to the Oriental restaurant once, and all had mediocre meals. The service was also very slow.
Although I really did not like the pizza, buffet, or the way the drinks were served, there were two restaurants we did really enjoy: the Italian and the Seafood (lunch only) restaurants. It was such a Jekyll and Hyde food experience here, that when we ate at the Italian restaurant, I thought we were eating in another resort. The food was delicious. Also, I rarely mention specific staff members, but Pedro in the Italian restaurant was wonderful. He was so kind, lighthearted, and really seemed to enjoy people. He was also very thorough and efficient. Additionally, the Seafood restaurant for lunch (La Concha) was also very good, offering fresh ceviche, shrimp, and fish dishes. The only complaint I had was the air conditioning was very weak in that restaurant for some reason, which made eating there at lunch time a little warm for comfort.
Admittedly, we spent the majority of our time at the quiet pool, since that's what we were looking for. We walked by the activities pool a few times, and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were Bali beds by the quiet pool only, which could be reserved by anyone, but you had to get up very early to do so. There were plenty of lounge chairs, some in full sun, some under palapas, and some in the water. Both pools were very nice and clean, with spectacular views. There was always someone cleaning and scrubbing every inch of this hotel. I really could not find fault with cleanliness here. The walk down to the beach was very easy from the hotel. The first few days there were a lot of red flags up, but towards the end of the week the winds died down, and the waves were calm and very nice for swimming. The beach in front of this hotel is one of the best on this side of the "seven."
The staff here, for the most part, were quite accommodating. The front desk staff were friendly and helpful. The bartenders at the swim-up bars were friendly, especially Jesus. I never encountered anyone who seemed to expect a tip, even though we tipped anyways. The people who delivered our room service meals were very nice and friendly, showing us each dish we ordered, which I thought was a nice touch. We took a different approach to the timeshare people, and totally ignored them. We ignored them in the lobby, we ignored phone calls and requests to come to the main desk to give us "information." This seemed to work well, because after two days, no one bothered us any more.
A couple of other things to know as an FYI...the gym is $8 pp/day. We went twice, and while it is a very nice gym with high end equipment, that is a high price to pay. I never saw more than 4 people in there at once, including ourselves. Internet is not free, and although I can't remember the cost, we opted not to buy it, since I had heard it wasn't good anyways. The rooftop lounge/bar area on top of the Italian restaurant is cool and a nice after dinner hang out place. A 10 min. walk out the front doors and to the right will bring you to Senior Frogs, a 24 hr. Pharmacy, and the Surfin' Burrito, a tiny, but yummy 24 hr. burrito place with much better guacamole than what the hotel offers. A 10-15 min. walk to the left will bring you to La Isla Mall. Or, you can pay less than $1/pp one way and take the public bus to the mall.
Overall, we were pleased with our stay. If they improved upon the things I mention, I would definitely return. Otherwise, there are too many other places to check out for me to come back.
Stay in the Royal Tower, you will not regret it.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.