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“Royal Hideaway……we came away spoiled!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Hideaway Playacar

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Royal Hideaway Playacar
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Lote Hotelero No. 6 Fracc., Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Royal Hideaway Playacar & Occidental Resorts)   |  
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Ranked #15 of 201 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Texas
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
261 helpful votes 261 helpful votes
“Royal Hideaway……we came away spoiled!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2010

We stayed at the RH from 12 Aug – 31 Aug 2010, our eleventh summer in a row. Each year we stay for about three weeks, so I consider myself something of an RH expert. Every year I say how can it get any better, but it does. I am just blown away! There is not much more I can add to the previous posts. They are all mostly correct, but I will attempt to clarify and explain the changes this year, as well as the impact of the present economic crisis on RH.

I want to stress that the state of the hotel is season dependent. More guests mean more and different services. We were in low season, so take this review with that in mind.

Just found out (30 Nov 2010) that all rooms have been approved by corporate for TV upgrades to 37” LCD flat screens! There are other electronic upgrades going in, as well, and am eager to see this happen.

OCCUPANCY

There are 11 villas on the property (200 rooms) capable of housing an average of 400 guests. During our stay this year, the number of registered guests averaged 60-80 and were located in the front four villas closest to the ocean. Another “smart thing” that RH is famous for. Why keep all villas opened with a concierge in each with maid service, if only 80 people occupy the property?

I love the small resort concept. Been to the mega resorts and they are just too impersonal and crowded. At Royal Hideaway, it’s personal. They make it a point to remember your name and strive to make your experience a memorable one. Need or want something? Just ask…

RESTAURANTS

All restaurants are enclosed and air conditioned except for “The Grill” (it’s the pool snack bar…”The Deck” during the day. They spiff it up at night).

Due to the low occupancy, RH did another “smart thing”. They had only two of their restaurants opened per night. While we were there, Las Ventana’s, their signature restaurant, was almost always opened, and they rotated the second restaurant every night through their remaining five. Most guests stay at RH at least a week, so you would be able to eat in all of the restaurants before you left.

For breakfast, only Spices (the Mexican restaurant) was opened. It is the only restaurant that is buffet style with omelets made to order. When occupancy is up, Las Ventana’s is also opened for breakfast (order off a menu). We preferred Spices for breakfast with more choices and a beautiful beach/ocean view.

For lunch, we had a choice of two restaurants; “The Deck” (the pool snack bar) located on the wooden deck by the infinity pool and right by the beach. If you prefer, they also have inside seating. “Spices” Mexican restaurant, upstairs from “The Deck”, was our other option. We normally alternated days between “Spices” and “The Deck” for lunch. Spices was air conditioned and was a nice break from the hot summer sun, and the menu was extensive and creative. They had the best soups and salads on the property at lunch. But make sure you are dry and covered up when you dine.

Our awards this year for the best restaurants? Here they are;

Most romantic; Palazzo’s Italian
Most interesting menu; Las Ventana’s
Most fun; Azia’s (Teppanyaki table). Note; the Teppanyaki chef, Romi Rodriguez, was the best I have ever seen here in 11 years!

No overall winner again this year, as the food was always excellent and each had its particular charm and strong points.

Here’s a little secret. If you know they have ingredients for something you crave, but is not on a menu, ask them if they can prepare it. I like BLTs. I asked, and it appeared. Something more complicated that may take more time to prepare? Get a manager at the restaurant and explain what you want. And if you don’t like the sizes of the portions you get, ask them to double it, or reduce it. They want to make you happy and will do everything in their power to see it happens. Just be nice, patient and respectful and make sure your request is properly understood. Sometimes they appear to understand, but it loses in the translation. YOU are a guest in THEIR country. Play nice…’nough said.

Now the really good part! If you are a foodie, you will do this. Las Ventanas has something called “The Chef’s Table”.

http://www.royalhideaway.com/chefstable/main.html

This will cost extra; $150 per person, or $200 with wine pairings. The menu is custom prepared and changes each time it is done. Have requests, or don’t really care for something? Communicate. They will do whatever you want and will work with you. Let them know ahead of time.

BEACH

WOW! Just WOW! The beach has been reclaimed! I’ve been coming here for 11 years, and I have never seen the beach so deep as this! Just gorgeous! No giant sand bags, no interference with the view. You can get help with a cabana for two to protect you from the sun and a couple of lounge chairs right on the water’s edge. Oh…worried about food and drink issues so far from the pool snack bar? Not to worry! Pick up a black flag (ask your pool waiter) on the way out to your “spot”. Waiters regularly service this area. Want something? Put the black flag up. They’ll be there!

TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP?

We have been asked about tipping at RH numerous times. I understand the property is at the upper end of the price scale and tipping may be the last thing on your mind. What we do, is tip the maid, concierges, the pool and dinner waiters, and the entertainment. The amount isn’t important. The tip is important, because it shows your appreciation for what they do. Do what you can afford, but do. The maids are working behind the scenes but their tasks are the most time consuming, so we are more generous with them. That is our take on the tipping, and it is appreciated. What you do is up to you, and you will get the same service if you tip or not. In 11 years, I’ve seen tipping guests and non-tipping guests, all are given the RH treatment. Follow your heart in this matter.

Here’s a few links I think you’ll like;

Live cam, Royal Hideaway. Not a very good picture, but you get an idea…

http://www.royal.collatio.tv/

Here’s Royal Hideaway’s Facebook page. “Like it” and scroll down until you come to my video and picture posts; a day by day photo essay for 20 days…

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Royal-Hideaway-Playacar/349175161432

SECRETS OF RH

I posted this last year (the secrets of RH), but I think it is well worth repeating, because you may have missed that post.

1) Make your own happy hour in the early evening outside on the lower deck at the end of Spices Mexican restaurant facing the ocean on the padded wicker chairs. Very quiet and romantic. Watch the sunset. Get beverages from the pool bar area and take up with you. Waiter service not usually available there. Champagne is a nice touch…We go when Spices or The Grill is open, then you can get beverages. Nice breeze, nice view, always quiet and secluded. You newly marrieds would love it. DO THIS.

2) Did you know they have “tea time” here? It’s from 4-6 pm every afternoon at the front of the property, just before you walk out the front. I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, right…tea time”. Do it. They have several flaming Mexican coffees that they prepare before your eyes, a sax player plays, the champagne flows, the finger sandwiches are eaten…whatever you want. Not just tea…nice break from lying around by the pool or beach. Just sit down at a table. The waiter will bring everything to you. No need to serve yourself.

3) Two desserts you must try. Are they in any of the restaurants? No. Only in room service. Order these; Opera cake and Tres Leches (three milk cake). We liked the Opera cake the best. Another good thing from room service? Their chicken soup. Wings are good, too. Want those for lunch? Ask for them at The Deck or call room service and have them delivered there, they’ll magically appear! You can order room service at The Deck at lunch if you want something from them, which is not on The Deck menu. Ask your waiter or manager.

4) Bring mosquito repellent for the porches, tea time, the Grill and Allegria bar. You will be happy you did.

5) Get an insulated mug for your cold beer or beverage. I suggest a Starbucks stainless steel insulated mug or similar. They are all over, but get a stainless steel insulated one. You won’t regret it. It’s hot, and drinks get hot very quickly. A MUST! I’m serious! DO IT... You won’t regret it! (They just built a Starbucks across the street to the left in the strip mall at the very end. Yummmm…).

6) Spices has the coldest beer on the property.

7) Have a special request for your in-room refrigerator? Tell them how you want it set up. Like all water, no sodas, just particular kind of sodas, beers (what kind do you want? I liked Leon)…ask them for the selections. They have many American beers, as well as Mexican and ?

8) All rooms have free wireless internet. They have a business center with 4 computers, but they sometimes get crowded. Bring your laptop. Then you can download pixs and vids to it and share on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

9) Want to call back home but are stressed because of the cost? Like $1 plus per minute for cell phone calls? Install Skype on your laptop. If someone else has Skype, you can talk for free. If you have a webcam, you can talk and see for free with a Skype user. If the party you want to call doesn’t have Skype, signup for Skype Unlimited Country for $5.95 a month. You can cancel when you get back home. It will only cost you $5.95 for your entire vacation, unlimited calling. Can’t beat that! I do that every year. Here’s the link;

http://www.skype.com/allfeatures/subscriptions/#mexicanSubscriptionTab

10) Can’t get that pool umbrella up by the pool? Ask the pool concierge or any other staff and they will do it for you. Note; Cynthia is the BEST pool concierge EVER!

11) Night life at the RH is seriously lacking, I know. Want it? Take a $6 cab ride to town (Playa del Carmen), including tip, and hit 5th Avenue. You’ll find what you want…

12) What are those large guinea pigs called running around the property at dusk and dawn? These are called sereque. They are protected by the Mexican government, but, I hear, are quite tasty….

http://www.mayansanctuary.com/sereque.jpg

We already made return reservations while we were down there. Many of the first time guests said that they were returning as well, because of the service, the attention to detail and the ambience. Hope to see you August 2011. I’ll bring the chicken, La Guardia Vida “Pepita” to save anyone in the Infinity Pool, if need be. She is always on duty 10 am until Tea Time at 3 pm. God bless and hurry down. This is very relaxing, awesome experience. Enjoy!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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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  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
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Toronto
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2010

Our third visit to this resort was just as wonderful as our first and second! The food/drinks are great. You must visit Spices for lunch and have the Mahi Mahi. The service throughout is amazing. The resort is starting to lose a little lustre though as some areas need a little repair and painting. The little extras are not there (on our second visit we received RH shirts as a thank you). We booked with Air Transat for a really good price which included several RH perks. The spa was nice and the fitness centre is adequate. Tennis instructions must be booked now at a price of $65, only white soled shoes on the courts. This property really has a repeat client base because it is better than the majority of others. It is smaller and more intimate. Not a place for teens or those looking for a party but it is great for couples and to meet other wonderful couples...like we did!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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stillwater oklahoma
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2010

My wife and I spent our 5th anniversary at the Royal Hideaway. This property is excellent in all aspects. The food was awesome, service is spectacular, rooms were very clean and spacious. This is truly an excellent hideaway from reality. I would definitely recommend this resort.

The thing you must know is to really experience the relaxation of the resort, you need to plan your evening meals on the day of arrival. This will let you get to your relaxation. The whole resort is built around relaxing. This resort is definitely at the top of the my list.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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ruston, la
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2010

My husband and I just returned from RH last night. We were treated like royalty from our first step on the property being welcomed as Mr and Mrs ______. Everyone that we met treated us like we were their most important guest. Always went beyond what was expected. Great service and quality of services were superb. Our only disappoint was the coffee - instant. Hope they will improve on this. Will return next year for another relaxing vacation at the best resort in Playa.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2010

My husband and I stayed here in the months of May/June and it was our first time going to an all adults inclusive resort. Oh, it was nice! What a relaxing and romantic getaway.
The buildings and grounds are lovely, the sea is beautiful. There were several restaurants to choose from and the food was exquisite, we are accustomed to a variety of excellent restaurants at home, and we were really impressed. The service was outstanding, we were treated very well. Be sure to make reservations, though, the restaurants can get booked up during the most desirable times.
Unfortunately, there were very strong winds during our stay, so strong that the beach was closed (we were not allowed in the water at all), so that was a bummer we couldn't enjoy water activities. The wind blew away any books or drinks or even chair cushions we left out at the pool. It was awfully cold for the pool, but it was nice sitting in the hot tub and looking at the view. The view from the restaurant that was by the pool was beautiful, we ate there a few times at a window seat.
We went to the nightclub and really enjoyed the mojitos! Delicious. I do suggest they play more contemporary music, more variety. Actually, we would have loved to hear salsa, meringue, and rock music in Spanish, not all old songs in English. They cater to gringos, but this gringa loves Mexican/Spanish music and wants to hear it in Mexico! I was also surprised the dance space was so small, almost non-existent, they should expand the dance floor and the nightclub and have Salsa/Meringue night. They should also keep it open later, there was not much going on at night, though we did enjoy each other's company in our room.
We'd love to go back during better weather!

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Vancouver, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2010

An amazing resort, everyone we encountered was willing to help. By about the second day it felt as if all the staff were friends. It got to the point where the staff was anticipating what we were going to order. I would go back there in a heart beat and would recommend this resort to anyone looking for a nice relaxing get away.

The only two things I can criticize on is the the Mexican food, it didn't taste authentic in anyway. However as long as you don't order the Mexican food (which seems very ironic) all of the other food was amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the restaurants, and the staff was very accommodating. If you do plan on staying here by sure to setup your reservations well in advance of your vacation because they do fill up quick!

Secondly, the neighboring properties do party all night, we did at some points feel as if we were missing out on something. It was noisy but we had no troubles falling asleep.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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New York
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2010

This property is gorgeous, the service is impeccable. Our room was spacious and cleaned on time everyday. I had a manicure and massage at the spa and highly recommend that guests take advantage of the spa services. We ate at every restaurant and the food was excellent at all of them. The breakfast buffet is also very good. There isn't anything you won't find there. Drink service at the pool and on the beach was there every time we needed it. Tipping is not necessary here but we did anyway. They were eager to take care of us and every person I encountered working here was working hard and always greeted us. This place is service at its best and let me just say, it's not just going through the motions either. The people that work here are very friendly, make great conversation, and truly care about how comfortable you are. Our concierge, Fernanda was adorable. She took care of us and we enjoyed getting to know her. I only have one word of advice - south of the property is a resort that is known for being party central. If you really want peace and quiet late at night, try to get a room in one of the buildings away from here. We were lucky, our room was in a building on the other side, closer to the beach and pool as well. And who cannot appreciate a light massage and fresh fruit while sitting by the pool? We also had a small pool and hot tub right outside our building. In addition to the main pools by the ocean, there are smaller ones throughout this beautiful property. We loved it here and would certainly go back again. We did take a ride down to Tulum to see the ruins. They're a beautiful site and I'm glad I went but honestly, I don't think I'd ever leave the property next time... it's just too relaxing. We walked into town and also across the road, there are little shops to pick up merchandise, etc. And at night, it's fun and safe to go into.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royal Hideaway Playacar

Address: Lote Hotelero No. 6 Fracc., Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Royal Hideaway Playacar & Occidental Resorts)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#11 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#12 Business Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#13 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#18 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Royal Hideaway Playacar 5*
Number of rooms: 200
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Award winning luxury all inlcusive resort set along the beautiful beaches of Playa del Carmen Mexico. Ideal setting in a serene environment for complete rest and relaxation. Adults only. Member of The Leading Hotels of the World. 2008 winner of the coveted AAA 5 Diamond Award. 11 villas with private concierge are spread throughout the property's immaculate grounds. Six gourmet restaurants serve delicasies in menu-style dining. A full service spa offers the ultimate in papmering and body treatments. Personalzied service and attention to detail set this resort a world apart. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Hideaway Playacar And Occidental Resorts
Royal Hideaway Playacar & Occidental Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Royal Hideaway Playa Del Carmen
Royal Hideaway Mexico
Occidental Royal Hideaway
Royal Hideaway Playacar Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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