Having read a lot of somewhat 'whiny' reviews for this resort, I felt it was important to break down what Playacar Palace REALLY excels at, and who they are best suited to.
STAFF - As you've probably already read in most reviews, the staff are exceptional. Friendly, attentive without swarming you, and always happy to serve. They appreciate guests' friendliness, respect and are very grateful for any gratuities you see fit to reward them with.
My husband and I traveled to Playacar with our 14 month old, and anyone who has ever traveled with an infant knows that often, the vacation starts with some level of anxiety about how the resort will cater to your child's needs. Don't worry. This resort is fantastic for younger travelers. It pays to email ahead to confirm a crib (actually a 'Pack n' Play' playpen that worked just fine). Staff are very accommodating of toddlers and my daughter subsequently had the trip of her life.
FOOD - Always tricky, since every person has his/her own criteria as to what makes food outstanding. I've lived on 3 continents and traveled to countless countries and I've got to say - this food (particularly in light of the all-inclusive aspect) is amazing. Both N. American and local dishes were fresh, tasty and beautifully presented, regardless of the restaurant. It also goes without saying that the more authentic you go, the better tasting the dishes are. Skip the french fries and chicken fingers and try all the Mexican food!
Stand-outs: Seafood grilled to order (calamari and fish tacos were sublime), seafood appetizers and grouper at the Italian restaurant, grilled rib eye at the Restaurant del Mar and Italian restaurant, crunch maki, playcar maki at Momo Japanese restaurant, banana cake and any cake or custard with chocolate.
LOCATION: As close to Playa del Carmen as you can get while still enjoying an immaculate beach. Playcar Palace is located adjacent to the Cozumel pier and ferry and steps away from Fifth Avenue, the main restaurant and retail stretch. It's a lovely spot.
BEACH: The beach and lounge chairs there more than make up for the smaller size of pool and limited chairs around it. I realize sand can be annoying, especially when it's so fine and perhaps that's why other reviewers preferred the pool setting, but this beach is AH.MAZ.ING and should not be missed. Service is prompt and Berenice was a gem. Use the beach as your staging ground and hop over to the pool when you feel like a less sandy and salty swim.
SPA - Unbelievable. Truly a game changer. I'm a spa junkie and this spa just makes all others look like they're run by kids. There is a reason why you are only allowed to use up to $300 of your HUGE resort credit for the spa. Otherwise, I would have never left. Massages and facials are specialties - skip manis/pedis in favour of the longer, more elaborate services. A MUST is the hydrotherapy 'circuit' that is complimentary with every booking. Go as many times as you can. I almost don't want to spoil this by writing too much about it. Just go.
RESORT CREDIT - A tricky thing, and often more of a headache than it should be. There are MANY terms and conditions that you have to be careful you fully understand before committing. First and foremost, you will be paying a 16% fee on everything purchased with credit.
PROS: Coba (ruins) was spectacular, guide was great and lunch was tasty. Well worth it.
Wine upgrades are generally very high quality and well worth the 16% fee - try the Chianti or Argentinian Cab Sauvignon.
THINK ABOUT SKIPPING: Chichen Itza is a looong drive (2.5 hours from Playacar Palace) and if the day is particularly hot, this excursion can seem extremely gruelling. I'm inclined to say the guide really makes the tour - see if you can find out who your guide will be. Ours (Alejandro) wasn't great but wasn't terrible. His English was decent but the quantity of information was so staggering that in the end, many of us felt overwhelmed and confused by it all. The temple at at Kulkulcan IS amazing, and the other ruins are majestic. Unfortunately, the site seems to be run by the hundreds of merchants who now line every path, taking up most of the available shade, hawking their (mostly) cheap, 'made in China' souvenirs. A real shame.
OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
- Standard rooms sleep 2, so families should think twice before they book a single room
- Book spa appointments before you arrive to ensure you get the days/times you want
- Those travelling with infants can request puree Gerber baby food and whole milk ('leche entera')
- Day passes for non-resort guests are steep at USD$97 but would be worth it if guests are staying the entire day (passes are good until 11pm)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Playacar Palace, a trendy beachfront Resort located steps away from Playa del Carmen’s famous 5th Avenue and the Cozumel Ferry Dock. Our amazing Resort features 200 appointed rooms, 3 restaurants and 4 bars. This Resort is considered the perfect spot to relax during the day and enjoy the nightlife and charms of “Playa” at night. Playacar Palace it’s all inclusive, all incredible and all yours… ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Despegar.com, Cheap Tickets, Odigeo, Jetsetter and Tingo so you can book your Playacar Palace reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Playacar Palace Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Playacar Palace Mexico
- Playacar Palace Resort
- Playacar Palace Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico