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“Lovely hotel and great value for money.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of El Acuario Hotel

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El Acuario Hotel
Av. 25 Norte entre 2 y 4 Norte Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #59 of 199 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Lovely hotel and great value for money.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2012

We stayed here for 1 night and really glad we did. Got a very nice welcome and free fresh coffee in reception. Had fridge in the room and a/c so everything we needed. It was all clean and the pool was lovely too. It's only a 5 min walk from the main street and beach so nicely out of the way. There is on street parking straight outside hotel which was also handy. Overall great value for money and would recommend staying here.

  • Stayed May 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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153 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    88
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Brisbane
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
169 helpful votes 169 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2012

After staying at a somewhat cold 'business' hotel in Cancun, it was a relief to step into the funky lobby of El Acuario! We had a twin room (2 double beds) on the ground floor near the gazebo. Every room has a little area outside with their own hammock. The pool area is really what makes this place - it is so pretty and lovely to look at.

The room was basic but clean. We were glad to have a fridge in the room (not sure if this was standard). The bathroom was small and the hot water wasn't great, but it's hot outside so you don't care in Mexico! The airconditioner in the room was a bit noisy, however we never heard any noise in the hotel itself as all the rooms are built around the courtyard/pool area and don't face the street. The wifi worked well.

This place was about 3-4 blocks from the beach and main shopping strip in Playa. A great location. Playa is fun to walk around in and explore and it was fine not staying right on the beach or over the main street (that would be too noisy and expensive in my opinion).

I would definitely return to El Acuario if travelling to Playa again :)

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
atlanta
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012

thanks to diane and staff had a wonderful 10 days--hope to return soon, because everyone made me feel like family--this is the REAL mexico, not some overpriced resort--love the breakfast in the "yellow shack" around the corner, please give my best to marshall there--i could go on and on but just need to say i miss it and love the mexican people...MIKE

Room Tip: probably any room would be excellent
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver Island, Canada
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2012 via mobile

We had the kitchenette on the 2nd level #202. Squeaky clean and the whitest freshest sheets ever! Air con, TV, free coffee, WIFI.

Mexican flare, clean, simple, safe and basic. Includes the friendliest cat named Coco who does her daily rounds of inspection and visiting.

Our room (as all rooms) overlook the pool and lovely well-kept garden area.

A few blocks to town but close to some of the tastiest (cheapest) local food around. Thanks Diane for your assistance.

  • Stayed February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Tampere, Finland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2012

I want to thank Diane with all her help to make our holiday perfect.
We stayed only 1 night, but we wanted to come back for our last days, unfortunately they were fully booked. Diane make all her best to help and find us the other hotel with the swimming pool.

Nice quiet place with nice colours.

KIITOS!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Seattle
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2012

I stayed here for 2.5 weeks this month, telecommuting but also having some fun in Playa with relatives. Manager Diane & her team run a spotless, tidy and pleasant 12-unit oasis in the middle of a working-class neighborhood. Rooms are plain but cute, and there is always somebody cleaning, retouching the brightly colored paint, making more coffee, or helping guests. And while there is nothing particularly scenic about the location, as has been mentioned it's within easy walking distance of many resources. You can get a beach towel from housekeeping and walk 5 short blocks to the ocean, or read in the hammock on your patio, sit and doze under the big circular palapa or by the pristine pool, talk to other guests (a mix of Canada, Europe and US), and play with Coco the cat (who will appear on your patio when you come home if you give her some leftover chicken). Some rooms have a small kitchenette and some have a fridge only. (The one apartment has a lot more than that.) A fan, air conditioning, and a cable TV round things out. Oh, and wireless, without which I would not have been able to do my work. One caveat about that - the more guests on their laptops, the less bandwith there is, and this gave me occasional trouble with my connection. Diane was looking into getting a better modem when I left.

There's the best chicken joint in Playa (in a sort of 'cage' on 2nd and 20th that closes at 6 pm), the stores and banks within 2-3 blocks, Walmart, Megamart, etc. A nice casual breakfast place seemingly in somebody's 'back yard' - attached to the little grocery store across the street. Keep in mind that the streets in Playa jump by 2's from north to south, and from east to west jump in 5's. So 30th is NOT 5 blocks from 25th, but just one block. Playa is pretty walkable overall. Taxis are generally 25 to 30 pesos to most places in town.

A rental car tip: go online to Avis and book a car for the "downtown Playa" location, which is actually at Constituyentes and the highway. The rate will be much cheaper than anything you can get walking in. (For instance, a subcompact for a day with tax was $23 USD the 3 times we rented. This did not include the collision insurance but our credit card issuer covers that.) Book a day ahead so there's time to transmit your reservation to that location.

Although staying in this part of Playa is much quieter than anywhere else closer to 5th avenue, it's still a bit 'urban' feeling, so if you are looking for total beach-side relaxation and beauty, this is not it. But the rates are extremely fair for what you get, and their many repeat and long-term guests attest to the value of El Acuario. Diane has been the best manager they've had in years, from what I hear, so expect this place to be popular for many reasons among 'value-seeking' travelers. (Oh, yes, the beds are very firm, but better than too soft in my opinion!)

And the coffee - it's Koba brand that Diane gets at Sam's Club. I bought a bag to take back to the U.S. I don't even drink coffee but this stuff was GOOD! From the mountains of Chiapas.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2012

My husband and I spent our December holidays here and I'm so glad that I chose this place! The staff are so friendly (even though Diane is the only one who speaks English) and are always willing to please. They also have a pot of delicious Coba coffee brewing at all times in the reception area. The hotel grounds are well-kept and they even have a swimming pool, barbecue grills, a hammock, and a little cozy area by the pool that's perfect if you want to just chill and relax. After all, you are on vacation. :)

Our room is more than adequate enough for 2 adults and has a small kitchenette; it really helped us save some money by cooking our own meal at times. A clothesline is also provided (with clothespin) by your private patio area. The only complaint I have is that El Acuario, unlike most other hotels, DO NOT provide shampoo...they only provide a small bar of soap. Additionally, you won't find hair dryer in your room either, you have to borrow it from the reception (you're lucky if Diane is there because Fabiola did not understand what I wanted).

The hotel is strategically located to important places like the beach (5 short blocks), 5th Avenue (4 short blocks), WalMart (4 short blocks) and colectivos (around the corner). There's also plenty of hole-in-the-wall type restaurants and mini markets nearby.

Overall, this hotel served its purpose and I will definitely go back next time we're in Playa del Carmen again.

Room Tip: Our room is to the immediate right, from the reception, upper level. There's a little bit of to...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Acuario Hotel

Address: Av. 25 Norte entre 2 y 4 Norte Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#52 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#53 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Acuario Hotel is a charming Caribbean hotel with only 12 rooms and one Suite. Located downtown Playa del Carmen, just a few minutes walk from the beach and the pedestrian shopping avenue. Beautiful, calm, relaxing, we offer an ideal environment for your family vacation or business trip! All our rooms are equipped with air conditioning, ceiling fan, cable TV, fridge (or kitchenette), table and chairs, private bathroom with shower, and a spacious terrace with hammock and view to the tropical garden and swimming-pool. The Suite is available for mid- to long-term rentals (minimum one month), and has one bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms, living room with sofa bed, dining room, fully equipped kitchen and large terrace with view to the pool. Common areas: large tropical garden, swimming-pool, barbecue and palapa area. Services: free coffee, wireless Internet, 24-hours front desk, laundry, concierge, massages. We look forward to receiving you!!! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Acuario Hotel Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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