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“Terrific vacation spot” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Playacar Palace

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Playacar Palace
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Bahia del Espiritu Santo | Esq. Abraira de Arriva, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #11 of 201 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Terrific vacation spot”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2007

This place is great. The resort, inside and out, is clean. Yes, the beach is small, but very clean with no cigarette butts. The hotel is in a beautiful setting and is also very convenient for shopping. The best feature at this resort is the service provided in the restaurants, bars, and by the activities directors. Those employees are outstanding because they are customer service oriented. They are pleasant, helpful, and eager to please. I've not stayed anywhere in the US or Europe where the service quality of the empoyees was as high.

  • Liked — customer service oriented staff
  • Disliked — The food started tasting all the same.
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 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)
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2,926 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2007

My husband and I recently returned from the Playacar Palace. While the hotel was lovely, we truly felt it misrepresented itself on both the website of the Palace Resorts and the RCI website. The Palace Resort website has pictures stating “pool area with Beach” and it says beachfront resort. The RCI website states Beach on premises. In fact while at the resort, when asking how to get to the beach, employees pointed and we were confused as we saw no beacha cdess. We asked to speak to a manager on a Sunday and were told that there were no managers on duty. We had to wait. When asking the managers on Monday, we were told there was no beach since “the hurricane” which was over one year ago.

When choosing this resort ( we were not stuck ona particular date or restort, we researched places and looked at pictures on website. We wanted to go down from our room to a beach. Instead we had to go out of the hotel and walk to a beach and rent chairs from another vendor.

We feel that this was mis advertising and misleading. After one year of knowing there was not beach, it should be changed on the websites and advertising materials.

When people only get a certain number of vacations per year, they are entitled to get what they expect.

  • Liked — Clean
  • Disliked — no beach....
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2007

They should take the Vallarta Palace in Nueva Vallarta and put it over the Playacar Palace. That hotel and more pool activities and a better set up. Except for the Vallarta Palace has no swim up bar. The pool area is very very slippery at Playa and it was kind of hilarious to sit with your drink and watch people slip slide around. The set up at Playa is really not convenient. There is no bridge to walk over from the ocean side of the pool to the lobby, entrance, etc. Beach is totally gone if you like that. You need to go past the pier where the ferry's take you to Cozumel. The pier is literally right next to the hotel. So the kids have Sr. Frogs within a wedge of the hotel. Town is also right there so it was really nice to walk out of the hotel and be in town in 3 minutes. Lot's of shop's, bars, restaraunts, etc. Service from the staff was wonderful. They were always ready to get you another drink and happy to do it. The food was above average but nothing special. Italian, Oriental, and a buffett with a good variety. But getting back to the layout of the hotel I think they were drinking to much TEQUILA when they remodeled it. AND every hotel needs a shuffleboard and like all the Palaces they don't have one even though they have plenty of room for one and they are cheap to build. GET R DUN

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — not real active , no shuffleboard court
  • Stayed March 2007
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2007

My friend and I stayed at this resort the first week of March and had
a wonderful time. There were no crazy college kids and very few families with little children. Mostly adult groups of friends and family and honeymooners. After reading about all of the chaos with room choices, I was prepared to hold my ground at check-in. A previous review said any room ending in 48 and above had no view is correct EXCEPT if you are on the 4th or fifth floor. We were given room 552 and I was hesitant at first, but it turned out to be perfect. This room had double beds, jacuzzi, flat screen tv, nice shower and a cute little balcony with table and 2 chairs and a beautiful view of the ocean and the sunsets. I preferred this side of the hotel because you had no noise from the ferries that start at 5 am and run until 11pm, or noise from the pool area. The service is fantastic at this resort and we both really enjoyed the food
(and Mexican red wine) at all restraunts. Being 2 women traveling alone, we felt very safe and had a great time at Senor Frogs and the Blue Parrot. When we left at night and took a taxi anywhere, they would write down our wrist band numbers and the taxi number, so I applaud the security! We did take the ferry over to Cozumel ($20.00 round trip) and did the dolphin swim at the beautiful Chankanab park. Then we took a taxi to the Cozumel Palace and had lunch and drinks for free over there. (much more party atmosphere at this Palace resort). We didn't mind that there was no beach at our hotel for a couple of reasons. First, there are no topless women parading in front you( go to the other side of the ferry dock if you want a show) Second, the day we did have a low tide and calm surf, they brought a bunch of waverunners on the beach and the noise and smell of gasoline from the waverunners didn't make for a relaxing day at the pool, but that only happened one day and we were gone most of the day at Xcaret. The bartenders were great and the choice of liquor is endless. We are wine and martini drinkers so we were happy!
Anyway, I would definately return to this hotel, great location and service!

  • Liked — The location and the room was very clean and comfortable
  • Disliked — The daily calls to the room to book a tour (we ignored them)
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 211 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2007

We spent four nights at the Playacar Palace with our two children (ages 6 and 8) over the week of President's Day. We booked because we loved our trip to Xpu-Ha Palace five years ago... and were delighted to find that the Palace Resorts lived up their TripAdvisor reviews and our memories.

After a nightmarish transfer (our transfer company was unbelievably confused because we were splitting our stay between the Playacar Palace and the Cozumel Palace), we were glad to arrive around 5 p.m. and be greeted with cold champagne. Check-in was quick and simple; there were no lines and we were not asked to provide a credit card.

We were traveling with my in-laws and had requested (both by email and through our travel agent/printed itinerary) rooms close to each other, on the highest floor possible, and with full ocean views and balconies (preferably looking at the ferry dock, as suggested by other TripAdvisor members). The hotel was completely full and the only place that they could put us was on the first floor. At first I was upset that they had put us on the ground floor (I had read on TA that these had no balconies and looked at adjacent properties) and I tried to discuss it with the front desk staff. They could not do anything, were nice but firm, and offered to put us on the list for a room change (we were there four nights and they thought they could move us on night 3). I gave up at this point, went to the room--- and I was very, very pleasantly surprised. It was on the ground floor, yes, but it had a full ocean view (see the pics-- the ocean was literally fifteen feet from our balcony), was very private, and was very quiet. My in-laws had 144 and it too was very nice (they were 80% looking straight at the ocean and 20% at the adjacent property's beach and balcony area). Lesson learned: look at the room first and/or ask the front desk about specific amenities that you want it to have (such as the full balcony, ocean view, etc.) There are absolutely some first floor rooms that either look out onto the adjacent property or do not have full balconies; there are also some that are lovely.

ROOM 142
The room looked like the website pictures. It was on the first floor, had a full balcony, two double beds, and a small jacuzzi (not the double person jacuzzi my in-laws had in 144). The room was situated directly between two of the honeymoon suites (much to our amusement and probably to the honeymooners' chagrin, as we proceeded to decorate our porch with sand toys and swimsuits). It was literally about 15 feet from the ocean: the first two nights, when the surf was high and it was windy, the waves were breaking and the spray was landing feet from our balcony. We loved it: we could hear the crash of the waves even with the doors closed. The only other sounds were the horns of the ferries that blow when the ferries arrive and depart. There was no noise from the pool, the bars, the neighbors or the resort next door. One minor drawback was that one of the double-beds was inches from the jacuzzi and there was no splash guard on that side. We brushed our teeth with the water (it's supposed to be purified) and we were all fine.

We used the kids club for just a couple of hours total: it is geared towards the younger set (we have a 6 and 8 year-old and they were very happy). There are lots of brightly colored little chairs, pinatas, a giant connect-four set, etc. The club posted a schedule of daily events on the door and-- unlike some other kids' clubs-- stuck to them. The caregivers were lots of fun and will watch the kids from 7 to 9 pm as well (they were showing Barnyard the one night we went and fed the kids pizza), so you could go to dinner without your kids.

There are drink menus available at the bar (if you're like me and don't really know what you want until you've read a description). there was an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic drink of the day. They would come around poolside in the mornings with trays of the non-alcoholic drinks and water, which my kids loved.

The pool was nice, but a bit on the cold side. Chairs could be hard to come by, but you certainly didn't have to get up at 6 a.m. to "save" seats. The hotel was very generous with the towels-- no towel card required and you couldsign out as many as you want. If you returned them later in the day and the attendant wasn't there, he'd leave the book out for you to cross your name out in. Frankly, I don't think they checked. Housekeeping would take the dirty pool towels from our room and no one ever asked us to account for all of the towels that we borrowed.

The swim-up bar was almost deserted. There were lots and lots of kids (we were there during President's Day week with ours on school break). The playmakers were low key, as was the music. I was occasionally asked if I wanted to join in something, but all it took was a single "No." They also did a great job of getting the kids to play water basketball and the like. Pool side drink service was the best I've seen: generally, someone was asking me if I wanted a drink within 5-10 minutes of my sitting down (and without my making eye contact) and the drink arrived ten minutes after I requested it (we've had problems at some AIs with the orders getting taken promptly and then just sort of disappearing into the ether). The servers were also happy to bring you snacks or you could get a "to go" box from the buffet.

Overall, it was very good to excellent. The plating in the a la carte restuarants was spectacular. A very nice (included) wine list was available and they were happy to accommodate any and all requests. We never had to wait more than 2-3 minutes and we dined between 6:00 and 7:00 every night.

Some observations:

•They had an amazing buffet. The breakfast buffet had four different kinds of fresh doughnuts, lots of fresh cooking stations (average wait was 1-4 minutes) with pancakes, waffles, omelettes and the like. There were also lots of hot trays with other breakfast items and Mexican food.
•Plenty of non-sliced fruit was available at breakfast, although not always at lunch (bananas, apples, grapes, etc.). This is great when you are traveling with kids.
•The resort was happy to provide a to-go box and plastic silverware upon request (this was not a place that yelled at you for removing a banana from the restaurant). You could take the food out by the pool, to your room, or wherever you wanted. I've stayed at AIs where you were literally screamed at for removing food from the restaurants-- not here!
•We often had musical groups playing at breakfast, lunch or dinner buffets.
•There was always an excellent selection of Mexican antojitos.
•We ate at the Italian restuarant one night and loved it: a lovely selection of sea foods, lamb, and beef (no lobster, but lots of shrimp, mussels, calimari, and scallops).
•The a la carte restuarants had children's menus (the same one for all of the restaurants: quesadillas, burgers, pasta, etc. with an option for ice cream for dessert, although our kids ate the adult desserts).

Room service: we only ordered the breakfasts, using the door cards. It always came promptly. We have learned, over the years, to be very specific (coffee with cream and white sugar, for example, instead of just coffee) and preferrably in Spanish. We had the same room service waiter when we ordered and he always checked the order against the original card to make sure that everything was there. The card also invited you to write in anything else you wanted and that they "would try." We requested and received chocolate milk this way.

Wow. It was all good, across the board, but the best came four nights after we checked out. We were returning from the Cozumel Palace to the airport and our transfer company completely screwed up our transfers. I walked up to the Playacar Palace from the ferry dock, explained our issue getting from the Cozumel Palace to the airport, and the bellman promptly took me to the customer service lady who got the transfer company there in fifteen minutes. At this point, we had no wrist bands and they had only our word that we were coming from CP. The bellman had no problem with our using the restrooms, invited us to visit the bar for a drink, and loaded our luggage into the van when the transfer came. Needless to say, that (combined with the Cozumel Palace's own valiant efforts to straighten out the transfers on their end) left an excellent taste in our mouths and we will certainly be returning.

To respond to some of the other comments that we've read on TA:

•We never received a timeshare/vacation club pitch. I think they might have left a messge-- our phone was blinking-- but we ignored it ;)
•We did tip and hopefully did so generously. We did not see a great many other people doing so. I don't believe it made a huge difference in service (we did tend to get vigorously invited back by our servers, even after dealing with us all and seeing the mess we tended to leave behind).
•Did we miss the beach? It's hard to say. I would love for the Playacar Palace to have a mile-long stretch of empty white sand in front of it-- but, obviously, that's not going to happen. It is a 2-3 minute walk to the wide beach on the other side of the ferry dock and that is quite nice. There are lots of beach bars where you can rent loungers; we just sat on the sand (on a purloined Palace pool towel) and watched our kids jump in the waves. There is a lovely plaza there, with vendors selling local snacks and lots of souvenirs. It is a "busy" beach, though, so more of a beach for people-watching and swimming than long, quiet romantic walks (since we had our kids with us, no loss there). The "lack" of a beach wouldn't stop me from returning; perhaps at some point, they'll run shuttles down to the new Tulum Palace they're building.

Some of our favorite things:

•the giant chess set
•getting desserts to go and eating them on the balcony
• turn-down service: housekeeping would come by in the evening and replace your wet towels with clean ones.
•the minibar is stocked daily. the resort binder specifically invites you to call if you need a refill on anything. this was one of the most generous resorts we'd ever stayed at: I believe they meant this wholeheartedly.
•they played Texas Hold-Em once or twice a week for fun (around 3:30-4:00 near the pool bar)


•There are full-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner provided. These are Biosilk. they also included a bottle of anti-frizz serum and a full-sized bottle of lotion. Plenty of bubble bath was provided for the jacuzzi (hint: no more than a dime-sized portion of bubble bath is needed!)
•Bathroom floors near the pool are VERY slippery, especially inside the toilet stalls. even knowing that they would be, I almost slipped several times.
•Be careful walking into Playa del Carmen. If you go out the main entrance, it is a very pretty but very high and bumpy stone sidewalk. We met one woman whose friend had fallen, sliced her knee open and spent the night at the local hospital. The advantage is that there is a steep ravine to your right that is filled with all sorts of local wildlife: little warthogs, lizards, etc. The kids adored it-- it was like having a mini-zoo a la Xpu-Ha. Just watch your step!
•If you head to your right instead of straight when you are ready to leave the resort, you will end up at the bottom of Fifth Avenue in 2 minutes instead of 5 (and you avoid having to choose between walking through a very busy valet parking lot or taking your chances on the "sidewalk" that appears to double as a turning lane for buses and other large, impatient vehicles).
•Ice cream: there are men selling home-made ice cream from bicycle push carts near the ferry dock. $10 or $15 pesos-- and incredible!
•They do a sort of "high tea" in the lobby bar around 4 p.m.
•If restaurant service is a tad too slow, ask for your dessert to go.

Overall, we loved our stay and love the Palace Resorts (no, we don't belong to their vacation club and have no plans to either!). We're looking forward to the Tulum Palace and will enjoy agonizing between that and the Playacar Palace.

  • Liked — Location in Playa del Carmen and a room fifteen feet from the surf!
  • Disliked — Can't book free/included tours in advance
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hanover, Minnesota
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2007

My wife and I stayed at the Playacar Palace March 3rd-10th for our 25th wedding anv. It was a fantastic trip. You cannot stay at a resort that has a better location as far as walking in to Play Del Carmen. We would go every night to walk off dinner, shop and do some people watching. It is literally just a 2 minute walk from the entrance of the hotel. The people of Playa were very friendly and of course would try to sell you something but thats part of the fun. Our favorite guy would use this line. "C'mon, I just want to rip you off a little"

The resort itself is beautiful once you get past the entrance. Our room was 537 and we were put in that room right from the get go,
no playing the room run around for us. The bed was the best we've ever had out of all our trips to Mexico, not to hard and nice soft sheets and pillows. Mini bar was always well stocked and the room was cleaned to spotless condition every day. We loved the jacuzzi and used it 3 times. The view from our balcony was great, nice view of the pool and the ferry dock/ ocean in the distance. The rooms here didn't smell musty at all as some other places we have stayed did, which kind of suprised me what with the jacuzzi in the room.

We both thought the food was good. We liked the Japanese the best but the Italian was okay. I thought the portions were actually to large as we could never eat it all. The desserts at the japanese were the best- my favorite was the tempura banana.
The buffets were also good but after a week you would start to run out of options. The best part was that you could alway get fresh fish to order.

The pool was perfect- nice water temp and not to crowded. The wait staff around the pool was always on top of it, I never had to wait for a drink the whole week. There were usually at least 3 of them walking around taking orders. It appeared to me that they have done something around the pool area to make it less slippery-you could see visible sanded areas. I didn't think it
was slippery but I did see a few people kind of catch themselves from falling.

When we arrived you could not get down to the ocean/beach without getting wet but by the end of the week there was a nice sand beach. The sand was so soft and the ocean felt great. If you want the sand beach plan your trip around the phases of the moon. Full moon no beach new moon nice beach.

Okay are you ready for the only negative? My wife thought the towels were a little scratchy. Also we had to be out of our room 4 hours before our shuttle took us to the airport(not the hotels fault) but were able to use a hospitality room to shower and change- now that room I wouldn't have been happy with so there are some rooms that could be really bad if the place is full.

One last note. The people who work at the hotel are the BEST.
I'm talking about the little people- maids, hostess, waiters, cooks
towel girl. They all go out of their way so you have a great vacation and everything you want. You don't have to tip them but it's the right thing to do. You just spent 3 grand or more on a trip whats a hundred or so more. When you go-Enjoy.

  • Liked — comfortable room
  • Disliked — rough towels
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
39 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2007

We have just returned from a week at the Playacar Palace. The location of the hotel is fantastic--close to shops, restaurants, the ferry dock to Cozumel, etc. We were fortunate enough to have private transportation to the hotel which was a great treat vs. being on a shuttle with multiple stops--our driver even stopped for us to purchase cold Cerveza for our drive! Upon check-in the staff was extremely courteous, David was our bellman and has quite the personality!

The first night we had a standard room but were able to upgrade to an oceanview honeymoon suite for the remainder of our stay and it was definetely worth it! We not only had a beautiful view but the room was amazing--complete with a large patio.

As you'll read in other reviews, if you're a beach person, the beach has had alot of errosion at this hotel and the beach area is very limited, however, a short walk from the hotel brings you to alot of beach area. The pool is nice with alot of space, however, the pool deck can be very slippery so I recommend wearing sandals whenever you're walking. The staff does a good job of trying to keep the pool deck dry, however, it does get slippery at times.

What can I say about the service at the Playacar Palace other than it's absolutely fantastic! Jorge at the check-in desk, Daniel and Santos in the buffet area and all of the others that did such a good job to make our vacation a success! All of the staff is very friendly and accomodating, a definite plus!

The food, on the other hand, was somewhat of a disappointment. We ate at the Italian restaurant one night and I expected to have a larger selection of menu choices and the food itself was somewhat bland. The buffet has alot of choices but the food is bland and they seem to have the same dishes over and over again. I didn't have the opportunity to try the Thai appetizers at the Luna Lounge although I did hear great things about their food. The grill at the pool bar is great for burgers, sandwiches and tortilla chips & salsa. I basically lived off of the chips, pico and guac the entire vacation!

We didn't have an opportunity to see much of the onsite entertainment, however, we did see the Mexican Show and it was great! They also do alot of poolside activities throughout the day for people of all ages.

All in all, the Playacar Palace is a nice hotel and with the exception of their food, I would consider staying there again.

  • Liked — The service and location
  • Disliked — The food
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Playacar Palace

Address: Bahia del Espiritu Santo | Esq. Abraira de Arriva, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#10 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#10 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#14 Business Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#15 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Playacar Palace 4*
Number of rooms: 200
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 
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Also Known As:
Playacar Palace Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Playacar Palace Mexico
Playacar Palace Resort
Playacar Palace Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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