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“Awesome Hotel! Great Value and Perfect Location.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of El Tukan

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El Tukan
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   5a Avenida Norte, Entre 14 y 16, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #154 of 200 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Awesome Hotel! Great Value and Perfect Location.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2009

I spent 10 days in Playa at this hotel and it was great! I had planned on going Apr.17-27 with a buddy and we booked the Moongate Hotel (a sister hotel to the El Tukan) across the street. We booked with Expedia and booked 2 double beds. On arrival, we were told we had a king at the Moongate which was totally unacceptable. They said no problem, we will put you in El Tukan the first night and in the AM you can discuss this with the manager. We went to the room (406) and found it was poolside with a nice deck surrounded by palms. This room was perfect! Upon entering the room, the entrance is separate from the sleeping area with counter space, cupboards, and a sofa. This was perfect as the first day we went to Walmart for a few supplies. Picked up a styrofoam cooler ($4), 1 cup coffee maker ($9), beer, Don Julio tequlia, Controy and margarita mix. Also some plastic spoons and large plastic cups for making margaritas. Who needs AI! I'd do about a 30 block hike each morning taking photos and return to enjoy the PM with a margarita on the deck by the pool. The pool was never crowded and there were always chairs available. I think most people went to the beach.
Management allowed us to stay in this room the entire 10 days. I think the hotel uses the Moongate across the street as an overflow. The whole time I was there I never saw any guests entering or leaving the Moongate. The room was always clean with towel art every day but I made sure to leave 50 pesos on the pillow each morning for the maid. The room was always cleaned by 11 AM when I returned from my hike. All the staff I met were friendly and with a quick Hola whenever you saw them. Maitenance, security, front desk, housekeeping, it didn't matter, they all had a greeting and a smile for you.
The hotel itself is in a prime location. Right on 5th Ave. but far enough north so you are away from most of the pushy vendors. From Calle 14 south to the pier you seem to run the gauntlet of vendors but this hotel is a couple blocks north of that and the vendors don't seem so pushy. You are surrounded by great restaurants, bars, and small hotels in this neighborhood. Dubai, Coco Bongo, End Zone, Tequila Barrel are all within a block or 2 and there is a great pizza stand across the street for late night snacks.
This was my 4th trip to the Riviera Maya but my 1st time staying in Playa and not at an AI. After this trip, I will never stay at an AI again. My last 3 trips were at a 5 star resort, and if you're willing to give up a little pampering and amenities, this 3 star hotel has everything you need in a perfect location!
I am already planning a 3 week trip for July and will definitely try to book El Tukan again. By the way, when we subtracted our airfare from the total cost, our stay cost $52CDN/night split 2 ways without the AI option. You just can't beat value like that!!!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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716 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2009

This is hotel sucks! We just came back yesterday. The food is awful. The all-inclusive offer is a lie. You have many restrictions. They only offer one place to have a a buffe breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only one bar is included with very limited drinks. The beach club is 10 minutes away and only offers few drinks. They use sea water to shower in...
I do not recommend this hotel. The only good thing about this hotel is that it is located in the centre of the tourist area. However, the beach and the tourist areas are packed...

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2009

We've been to Mexico too many times to count and I am a bit on the fussy side so take my review with a grain of salt.

Rooms: old, in dire need of maintenance and updating although the beds were comfortable. Nice to have hammocks on the balcony. We stayed at poolside which to me was the absolute best spot - room 401. No hair dryers, no coffee makers, no coffee to be had anywhere at hotel before 7:00 am (if you are an early riser).

Cleanliness: Room cleaning hit and miss. Some days lovely towel art and sparkling floors. Other days a bit to be desired. Balcony area never once swept or cleaned so I eventually found a broom and did myself.

Staff: Overall pretty friendly maintenance and cleaning staff. Excellent, friendly and diligent security staff...really felt safe. However front desk staff not so accommodating (except wonderful man who checked us in...didn't catch his name...only friendly one) they seem annoyed when you ask for anything...ie: I desperately needed an extra garbage bag to tidy up our room and I was told to go ask housekeeping...housekeeping didn't have any!! Never got a bag and gave up. One example of many.

Grounds: Excellent very clean pool, well maintained. No pool bar or service.

Food: Good breakfast. Lunch and Supper with plenty of mystery meat and potatoes. Rarely salads or any variation on fruit offerings: papaya and melon. Many people seemed to enjoy the food. I had a hard time. A vegetarian wouldn't make it at all. Mostly meat/potatoes/breads. I have never eaten so many buns/butter. Why no Mexican food!!!???

Also on the restaurant: they are militant about carrying a coffee or beer to your room-want you to use Styrofoam yet never have any available. A bit of a hassle with having to cross the street and the environment of the eating hall is a bit like a hospital cafeteria....no ambiance what-so-ever. I worked it out that the food budget we would have had without the 'all inclusive' would have been about $200 per day for our family of three and we could have had some pretty good food for that - not the same crud day in and day out.

Location: Many people comment the 5th ave location is great, however I found it noisy. I will not choose to stay off of the beach again. It was a pain to get to the beach and then there were not enough chairs and as several people have mentioned-no food-not even nachos served at beach club.

The "all inclusive" does not include water sports equipment, etc that is usually part of an all inclusive.

General: Most guests are European it seems. Most guests very nice, quiet and reserved-in general a quite resort..no partiers in sight.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2009

My husband and I just returned from our first trip to Playa Del Carmen. We had a fantastic stay at El Tukan, and would highly recommend it! A few things to keep in mind: this is not a five star resort, so the food is okay, and the rooms are older. But if your looking to save a buck at a clean hotel, and still be in the centre of town, then its definitely worth looking into. If possible, try to book a 1bdrm premium all inclusive package. For the extra cost (approx. $200), it is well worth every penny. Here is what we thought:

What we liked:

- The room we were in (401) is clean... no bugs, mold etc...
- The service is by far five star quality - talk to Marco when booking tours. He will find the best deals.
- The location is right in the centre of all the action on 5th ave. Yet tucked away enough that the nights were still quiet and romantic.
- The grounds are beautiful with lush tropical plants, and large palm trees.
- With the premium package we had a choice between the buffet meals or a sit down meal at the little restaurant next to the hotel. And we could have free drinks at the bar on the hotel grounds. Well worth the extra cost!
- We took our three year old daughter with us, who has food allergies. Marco arranged for us to meet with the manager at the buffet restaurant who put together a special menu just for her. I cannot express how much we appreciated that - esp. given that this is not a 5 star hotel!
- Beach club is beautiful, with no rocks and lots of white sand. We had many people tell us that we had the nicest area of beach on the entire strip...and we believe it!
- No line ups...ever! With only 133 rooms, you never have to line up for reservations or fight for pool side chairs. The beachclub is another matter.....

- If you go with the standard package, you are limited to free food and drinks at the buffet only. There isn't really much of a bar, and the buffet food is a bit repetitive. But still very tasty, with a good variety. Again....go premium.
- The pool is only 3-4 ft deep, and is rather small. Not good for those that enjoy doing laps.
- Very little to do for kids. We didn't mind as our daughter is young enough to entertain herself with a bucket of sand. But I wouldn't recommend this hotel for anyone with older children that want to play at the pool, or at a kids club.
- space at the beach is limited, so if you want a chair in the shade - go early! We always arrived between 10am -1pm and were able to find space...but it wasn't always easy.
-the beds are hard hard hard....but apparently that is quite normal for Mexico. I would much rather a hard bed at a 3 star vs. cockroaches at a 5 star!!

- Go Premium!!! I really cannot stress that enough!!
- Apparently this is very rare, but we saw a scorpian in the garden on our second night and nearly stepped on it. I would recommend keeping balcony doors closed...just in case of little visitors. When we told the hotel staff...the were all shocked as none of them have ever witnessed scorpians at the hotel.
- The beach club is a bit of a walk away. But you can walk right along 5th ave. where there is tons to see on the way. If walking is not for you, there is a shuttle that runs regularily.

Overall - this is an awesome place to stay, and we will definitely be back....but maybe without the little one next time.

Happy Vacationing!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2009

First timers to the Caribbean side of Mexico and we weren't disappointed. We travelled with Signature Vacations on a last minute deal. There were aspects I loved about the trip and aspects I did not love...I hope this helps you make your decision.

-King sized bed in a large, corner room on the fourth floor (I emailed the hotel directly to ask for a room on the quiet side, away from those travelling with children.) I was pleased with this room.
-Hotel staff really try to make you as comfortable as possible. I was happy that most spoke english and that they said hi whenever they saw me and my partner. Marco, the concierge, was the most helpful and suggested tours and touristy things to do. I was surprised to hear him speaking fluent french to other guests-very impressive!! Eugento at the beach club is friendly as well as the other man who worked with him-I didn't catch his name though. They'll make you any sweet girly drink you can name.
-La Cieba buffet restaurant staff try really hard to keep your drink filled and your empty plates cleared. Breakfast was my favorite meal there, while my partner loved the lunches. Ok selection-something for everyone but its an average buffet - good enough for all-inclusive.
-The hotel gardens are beautiful and help keep the street noise to a minimum. Large palm trees and well tended gardens were beautiful, home to plenty of little lizards that may join you on the pool deck for some sunning. The pool is refreshingly cool to the hot sun.

Didn't love:
-We had a late flight and arrived at the hotel around 1:30am since Playa is aprox. 45minutes away. As a courtesy it would have been nice of the hotel to have something for us to eat/drink when we arrived. I know this isn't the hotels fault-for when the flights happen-but maybe if they prepared for late check ins the guests would feel a little better taken care of.
-The beach club is easily 10-15 minutes away, and you have to basically leave right after breakfast to get a lounge chair/umbrella for the day. Like another reviewer mentioned, they only serve drinks. The food at the Kool beach club right next door is pricey. This is definitely something they should reconsider-even if it's serving fruit or buns, even peanuts. I liked the exercise, but some people will not like that the beach club is far from the hotel.
-I am a messy person, and I find it embarrassing for someone I don't know to see my dirty underwear or my unmade bed. I don't need housekeeping every day, so I kept the do not disturb sign on the door. The day before departure the sign was up when we left and when we returned our room had been serviced. I found this very intrusive and annoying.
-Our departure flight was at 10:45am and our transfer van arrived and wanted to leave at 7:00am. The signature rep said that departure would be around 7:15am so I was disappointed that we had to leave without eating breakfast. The front desk agent, at the time, seemed eager to have us check out and cut our all-inclusive bracelets off. I found this very sneaky-and chintzy. We ended up eating at the airport. (gross!)

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2009

El Tukan is an excellent place to stay for couples and families. It has a great beach club only a short walk on the beach away, the food and drink are always flowing at the all -inclusive pavillion across the street (where you hang and meet people anyway) and the hotel rooms and grounds are clean and lush. The service is always quick, polite and with a smile - everyone is always eager. We loved our stay and hope to go back next year

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Bc Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2009

I still love this hotel. Excellent area right on 5th ave.

Of all the people on the plane, we were the ONLY couple that got dropped off at this hotel. I would of been freaking if it was our first trip there but we knew what we were getting in for. We asked for our same room we had last January and we got it......bonus!! It was perfect as wireless is in reception area so we just would go out onto the patio and log on. I think we were the only english (canadian) people there! Serious!

I would not say this is a family resort as there is no entertainment and the pool is very small (never used it). It is a walk to the beach but we dont mind. Beach is beautiful, little crowded at times but oh well. I do wish they would have some kind of snacks on beach. Serving alcohol and no food isnt good. Most all inclusives have something at beach. We ordered from Kool (associated resort right beside beach club area), expensive. Cheese quesidia was 80 pesos and order of fries was 55 pesos. Not much food at all. That i would really like them to improve on, food at beach. Burgers, hotdogs, fries, salsa with nachos etc...
At the common restraunt, it was not unusual to not have a fork! We ate some meals with spoons. Not a big deal, just an inconvenience. That was when it was real busy. I would like to see more salads at the buffet. I do not eat meat and the one and only salad they would put out, it would have ham or chicken in it. Green salads and veggies are good to have. Not everyone wants a hot lunch/dinner.

If you want to book an excursion, see MARCO in the reception area. We booked with him and he is great. Give him a try. Nice guy to talk too if you need info as well.

Overall if you want a quiet hotel (not resort) with nice courtyard and your not looking to be entertained......try it. Not a 5* so dont expect it. And last dont expect a soft bed. EVERYONE in Mexico has hard beds, that is just the way it is so stay home if you want a soft bed or dont complain. Take Mexico for what it has to offer you...especially the Mayan Riviera.

  • Liked — The hotel atmosphere, natural theme, lots of plants happy!
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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 Tukan

Address: 5a Avenida Norte, Entre 14 y 16, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#72 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — El Tukan 3*
Number of rooms: 133
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Also Known As:
El Tukan Hotel Playa Del Carmen
El Tukan Condotel Hotel
El Tukan Condotel Suites Beach Club
El Tukan Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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