We’ve just returned from a six night stay at the Royal (Dec. 1 – Dec. 7) and just have to say that this is without a doubt the best vacation we’ve ever taken. The Royal is absolutely wonderful, very much worth the money, and provides guests with a vacation experience you won’t soon forget. That’s the condensed version of this review. Here are the details.
Check in. We won’t repeat what so many others have said in TripAdvisor reviews, other than to say that the descriptions are accurate. Very easy, very friendly, very impressive.
Check in advice – AVOID anything associated with “Guest Services,” unless you’re interested in hearing about club member (read: timeshare) options. At check-in, we inquired about making reservations for the various restaurants, and were told that “guest services” would help us. We wandered over to the guest services desk, thinking that this was like a concierge. Abby, the very nice man at guest services, did in fact help us make our reservations, but he also managed to get us to agree to the dreaded APPOINTMENT to hear more about the Real Gold Club. More about THAT later…
ADVICE: WAIT to make your restaurant reservations on your own, from your room. Just check in, grab a drink and enjoy this fantastic place.
Rooms. As described, if not better. We had room 636. Did the online check-in and it worked flawlessly. Again, read other reviews for descriptions, however, we can confirm that ALL the rooms on the 6th and 2nd floors have private balconies. The hottub was great – we only used it once, but I could imagine how others might use it more often.
Food. Hmm. This is kind of interesting. Maria Marie’s was definitely our favorite. Asiana was pretty good (we only ate there once and may not have ordered well)—we read lots of rave reviews about the “show cooking,” however this may be a difference between US (where we’re from) and UK guests, because we watched the show cooking from our table at the regular-service restaurant, and while it looked great, it was nothing we hadn’t seen before, even at our modest little hibachi restaurant in quiet little Culpeper, Virginia. We’re not putting it down, just saying that if you’ve been to a standard hibachi restaurant in the US, you’ve probably seen this before.
We were also impressed with Pelicanos, where we had two lunches and one breakfast. Though the service can be a bit slow (relax, you’re on vacation!), the food is good, and the setting, of course, is wonderful. Spice, the buffet, was also very good (we had two breakfasts and one lunch there), and was very much a cut above the average cruise ship-type buffet.
The 24 hour lounge is also really nice—well stocked bar, beer on tap (dos equis), and wine (the same temperanillo and some white I can’t remember). There were never very many people hanging out there, and it was a great place to grab something quick to take out to the beach (they provide to-go containers) if you don’t want to bother going into a restaurant. I know that other reviewers complained about the overall “freshness” of the buffet bar contents in the lounge, but we didn’t find this to be the case. One evening we spent nearly an hour in the lounge, and during that time saw the food bar refreshed at least four times. Obviously, things like chips and breads are going to suffer when left in the open air anywhere near an ocean, so yeah, sometimes the tortilla chips wouldn’t be at their most crisp, but come on people, you’re on a beach in Mexico. Drink more tequila and drown the chips in their excellent guacamole.
The two dining experiences that were less than satisfactory were Chef’s Plate and Tapas. We were really hoping that the lack of positive reviews for the Tapas place was due to a lack of appreciation for tapas in general. Ahh, but not so. The tapas we had were uniformly awful (toast with chopped up tomatoes and onions, topped by something way way overcooked, and often not corresponding to what you ordered). Our suggestion is to drop this restaurant (really a corner of Maria Marie’s) and turn it into a Mexican burrito/taco stand kind of place, where guests could grab made-to-order stuff and wash it down with a few beers, or just grab and head back to the beach. Sounds fun, right?
Chef’s Plate. Yuck. We found the food here to be no better, and in fact worse in some courses, than the food at the regular restaurants. The upside: you do get to dine with folks in a more intimate atmosphere, and we did make friends with another couple—so it’s a great way to meet people, even though the food is meh. I'm certainly glad we didn't pay an upcharge for it (access came with the level of room we selected, a junior oceanfront).
WINE. We wanted more information on this topic. Here’s the deal--MOST of the time, the “house” (no upcharge) wine is a decent Tempranillo (St. Michel, when we were there anyway) from Spain, and was just fine. We really didn’t understand the folks who say it’s “undrinkable” and we are big wine drinkers. For sure, if you don’t like Tempranillos and young, bolder reds, then you’ll have a problem, but for us, it was great. Didn’t try the whites. Oh yeah, avoid the “Merlot” they were serving at the lobby bar. THAT stuff was definitely subpar.
ADVICE: if you want to try something different, slip over to Pescatore at the Gran Caribe next door ( you ca n do this as part of your package). Decent Italian food, nice nice setting.
EXTRA ADVICE: do yourself a favor and take the walk to the SURFIN BURRITO up the road. GREAT burritos, great atmosphere, cheap. Then you can walk on the beach all the way back to the Royal, and have a cocktail to celebrate your adventure.
Room service food was pretty good (one breakfast, one kinda dinner, one late-night snack), but the “magic box” concept isn’t really used. Most staff member want to bring the food into your room. We were okay with that. The box is a great place to stow all the dirty dishes afterwards, though.
POOL and BEACH. Both fantastic. The beach is wonderful, the pool is warm, and can be as loud or as quiet as you prefer, depending on where you’d like to hang out. We never noticed any outrageous, obnoxious behavior, and everyone seemed very friendly.
THE SO-CALLED “TOWEL GAME”. This baffled us. Yes, we get up at about 6:30 every morning, and were usually on the beach between 8:30 and 9:00, but seriously, beach chairs were plentiful both on the beach and at the pool. Sure, some of the prime spots were taken, but so what? You could always find a decent place to hang out. I think some reviewers get too bent out of shape about this.
ABOUT THE BEACH CABANAS. There are these kind of beach bed things on the beach, but the deal is, they’re reserved for the people who have corner suites. How can you tell? Check the back “inside” beam of the cabana (over the head of the bed), and you’ll see a room number attached. That means that it’s reserved for that room. Pretty simple.
SERVICE. Really fabulous throughout. All staff were friendly and willing to help in any way they could. Special mention to EMANUEL at the swim-up bar (try his Sangrita with a shot of tequila). And a very special mention to MIRIAM, the pool and beach wait person who is amazing, and should be given some kind of promotion and raise! MIRIAM was constantly on the go, always remembered what everyone ordered, provided efficient service, and even took the time to provide special “surprise” drinks that she thougth we might enjoy. It is truly a pleasure to watch someone as good at her job as MIRIAM, and we wish her all the best. Can’t she be named Beach Server Manager or something?
We have lots, lots more to say about this fabulous resort, but it’s making me sad typing this because it makes me wish I was still there. Trust us, this place is awesome.
Oh yeah, one more thing: the “time share” stuff. We agreed to a meeting, but in the interim, heard from another couple who had been dragged through a 3 hour event (assured it would only take 90 minutes), as well as from a couple who had actually PURCHASED one of the memberships. Bottom line: AVOID THIS. Even the couple who purchased the membership regretted it. The upside: it isn’t hard to avoid—just DON’T GO TO GUEST SERVICES, or do what we did—just show up for your appointment and politely but consistently say no to even the FIRST part of any presentation. I was in and out of that appointment in 15 minutes, and though ABBY was understandably upset that I wouldn’t continue, by the time we left, he greeted us and wished us well. I’m not saying that the membership thing is itself a bad thing, but nobody needs to be wasting their time enduring a sales pitch.
Anyway, just go. This place is freaking awesome.
- Also Known As:
- The Royal In Cancun Hotel Cancun
- The Royal In Cancun Hotel
- Royal Cancun
- The Royal Hotel Cancun
- Royal Hotel Cancun
- Royal Cancun Resort
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Conveniently located next to the New Gran Caribe Real Cancun in the heart of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, THE ROYAL is an Adults Only, all-suite, all-inclusive resort, combining outstanding facilities with exceptional amenities, where guests will experience a truly extraordinary escape. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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