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“poor 1st day almost ruined the stay” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Reef Playacar

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Reef Playacar
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Paseo Xaman-Ha, Ret. Sayil s/n | Fracc. Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
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Free WIFI
Ranked #97 of 198 hotels in Playa del Carmen
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“poor 1st day almost ruined the stay”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We arrived early and they very nicely stowed our bags and gave us our wristbands. Then as we had a couple hours to kill they handed us off to a concierge for an orientation that quickly turned into sales pitches for different stores. All of which came with discount coupons upon which our host printed his name and hotel (to get his kickbacks I presume) This then slid into a time share. oh wait not a time share, a "private residence" pitch. One we were able to get clear of that we walked through the very lovely grounds down to the beach and had a drink while we waited. A cold beer and some Don Julio Anejo. When the time was right we went back and finished the check in and were told that they had given us the wrong bracelets and that if we used them at the a la carte restaurants we would be charged additional fees. Well I had paid for a premium room that gave us access to all a la carte meals with no fees so we allowed them to change our bracelet to the proper one. We went to our room and stowed the gear, changed into some swim gear and went back to the bar where we were now told that we could not have the good tequila because our bracelets were now the wrong color. Back to the front desk we went where a different fellow explained that our package did not include the top shelf drinks. The price upgrade was minor and meant the difference between cuervo and don Julio so I clarified that the upgrade would cover all the drinks and get us into all areas and then I purchased it. He dug out the exact same bracelets that we had first been given and when I protested that we didn't want to pay any extra fees for the a la carte he said that we would not. I explained what had happened previously and he said the other gentleman had given us the wrong bracelets and then rather than admit his mistake and explain them had lied about them to get us to give them up voluntarily ( I guess we could have refused and kept them at the get go and saved a $200).
So with the new/old bracelets back on we went back to the bar and watched the bar tender pouring the top shelf Julio for 3 guys wearing the exact same arm bands as we had been wearing and had just paid to upgrade from. Same bar tender that wouldn't pour for us was pouring full shot glasses of the Anejo for these other guys. He seemed to know them or maybe he was just working for tips but needless to say it left a bad bad taste in my mouth.
Oh and despite the front desk assuring us that everything was covered with the new armbands. The a la cartes wine lists cost extra (15 - 25 us for a so so bottle of red) and the chef recommendations at the bottom of the menu cost $20 dollars per plate, not covered under the bracelet or any bracelet as far as I could see. Lobster was one of the things not covered so on our last night in Playa del Carmen rather than fork out money to eat a special meal at a "not so all inclusive" we went down town and had a wonderful dinner at the Blue Lobster Restaurant.

The snack bar by the pool had really bad food, hot dogs and tostado chips with fake melted cheese puked over them (think 7-11)

The buffet was nice and food was varied and the a la cartes' meals were very good and the service was excellent.

The buildings and the grounds were beautiful and the beach was simply heaven

If it hadn't been for that first day and the garbage reception and sales pitch I would have given them a much higher score. instead I went away feeling cheated and stolen from

I won't be back and will certainly make everyone aware of my unpleasant experience there.

Room Tip: We stayed in the deluxe king and it was very nice. Rooms were dim and some bulbs that were burnt out...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Ithaca, New York
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

Returned yesterday after a week in The Reef Playacar. This is the third resort we have stayed at in Playacar. It was alright, a bed, shower and a beach. We thought that there were some high points, a lot of averages, and a few lows.

The lows included lack of late food. We went to Xcaret and returned to the resort at 9:30pm. The resturants were closed. They had a special Mexican themed dinner in another area of the resort, but we had to ask at the desk to find it (after 5 days at the hotel already). We had minimal choices at that point and the service staff seemed more annoyed than helpful. The bars were hit and miss, with no two bartenders making drinks the same way. Often we were told that the bar had run out of a liquor or a mixer, with no plan to restock that day. The room was older, some mildew in the shower area,and a definite musty smell (which was worse than we are used to in other resorts).

The average included the buffet resturant. The food was adequate, but not always hot. There were a fair number of choices so one could always find something to eat. The grounds were nice, but not spectacular. The other two resorts in which we have stayed were much more focused on keeping the area extremely neat and clean.

The highs: Beach- large and beautiful with plenty of chairs. The Reef Marina- Staff terrific (see seperate review). All staff- specifically Roslie and Paulino in the Chulavista Resturant and Orlando at the beach bar. The beds were the most comfortable we had slept in in the area.

In general we would not likley stay again, unless there was not another option. We would move further south in Playacar. The week went well, but its not where you stay but the attitude and company you keep while on the trip.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Boston, Massachusetts
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous heading into this trip based on previous comments on TripAdvisor. I am glad to report that I was pleasantly surprised that we did not experience any of the issues expressed by other travelers. The staff could not be more engaging and friendly, from the bellman that greeted us with a beverage of our choice upon check-in, to Hector at the front desk who did everything in his power to accommodate us at check-in and throughout our stay, the cleaning staff, our favorite wait staff - Gladis and Guillermo and everyone from the grounds crews, bartenders and activity staff.

We had an issue with a smell of cigar smoke in our room when we checked in and there wasn't a comparable room available to move us to so we decided to stick it out and air out the room, Hector offered to have the linens and curtains changed if necessary to air out the room and sent up a cleaning staff member with air freshener (and fresh linens) which they allowed us to keep and continue to spray as needed. It definitely got better after we kept the doors and windows opened off and on throughout the week. This was definitely no fault of the staff or the resort and I really think they went out of their way to make us happy.

The food at the buffet was excellent for breakfast and lunch. Not as good for dinner (though there were many options), but Botticelli and Terraza were nice options and we had excellent service and food (went to Botticelli twice and Terraza once). We ended up eating out twice - with the close proximity to 5th Avenue we couldn't pass up an early evening walk into town.

We were with our 2 teenage daughters and at no time did I feel uncomfortable leaving them in their room alone if they wanted to sleep late or allowing them to walk up to their room or sit on the beach without us.

If I had to find something negative to say, my husband would want me to point out that since The Reef Marina is technically a separate entity and their credit card machine was broken all week, it was a bit of a nuisance to keep going to the ATM to withdraw Pesos if we wanted to use the wave runners, para sailing, and/or snorkeling trips (which are all highly recommended). Not sure why it couldn't be charged through the hotel or simply get the machine fixed??

Overall it was a trip to remember - I hope we find the time to go back some day.

Thank you to everyone at The Reef Playacar for making our first trip to Mexico a memorable one.

Room Tip: We had two rooms in block 800 on the third floor - one facing the walkway between the lobby and pool...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at Reef Playacar, responded to this review, March 7, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay at our Resort. We are very happy to know that you had a great vacation at our resort!

We appreciate your comments regarding The buffet and a la carte restaurant, the good location and the great staff. We will share your special thanks with Guillermo, Gladis and Hector.


We would like to apologize on behalf of the hotel for the inconveniences you experienced with our Reef Marina and we discuss this matter with the involved departments.

We offer special rates to our returning guests, so if you plan to come back, let us know directly! We are looking forward to welcoming you once more
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Custer, South Dakota, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

My husband and I just returned from the Reef after a week stay. I was referred by a friend who had previously stayed at the resort. She was correct that this is a great place to stay in Mexico. Plus, after reading so many negative reviews I was a bit scared of what to expect but I respected her opinion and was blown away with the place. First, it's a wonderful small resort that isn't overwhelming to the point that you can navigate the whole place with no problems. We stayed in a room with 2 beds on the third floor of building 7 with a lovely view of the garden area. We enjoyed seeing the little critters running around and the views of the foliage. The location was close to the pools, beach and buffet area. The beds were comfortable as well as the pillows. Clean and spacious enough for the two of us.
The pools, the dining area and beach was fabulous. I didn't have a bad meal or a bad drink for that matter. I am not sure why I have read that there is not enough variety. I always found some good eats, and I loved the variety and the foods that I would like to eat everyday, such as fruits and a salad.
The location of the resort was great. Close to shopping on 5th avenue by foot or bike.
The staff were the greatest! I have to mention Irma, our housekeeper, always asked if we needed anything since we really don't need daily housekeeping. Great gal. Humberto, Gerard, Jose, Willy and so many other folks that really made our stay so wonderful. I forgot Ana and Nadyli too. Fun crowd. I would highly recommend the Reef if you want the experience of a large resort on a small scale. I am ready to go back next year. I can't say enough good things about this wonderful little place of paradise! Thanks to all for a wonderful 1st time visit to Mexico!!

Room Tip: 2nd or 3rd floor and further away from the pool. The yellow colored building. We stayed in buildin...
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at Reef Playacar, responded to this review, March 5, 2013
We would like to thank you for your fantastic review. We are very happy you and your husband enjoyed your vacation with us. We appreciate your comments regarding the hotel, good locations, the foods, rooms and wonderful staff. We will share your special thanks with Irma, Humberto, Gerard, Jose and Willy.
Thanks to reviews like yours we have been able to get the Certificate of Excellence 2012 from Tripadvisor
We offer special rates to our returning guests, so if you plan to come back, let us know directly! We are looking forward to welcoming you once more with the kids.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

We were there from jan -19 to feb2 2013...The resort was just beautiful..We were looking for something smaller and we found just that..Food was very good and so were the drinks..We upgraded to a supereme room and had top shelf drinks..The beach is one of the best in Playacar..15 min.. to town was just wonderful..You can walk on thebeach or on the road and its very safe..We met lot of nice people from USA and Europe..Stff are very friendly..Herrardo and Luis at Nicos Bar were asome..Thank you to Gladys at the buffet restaurant.The nice gentleman at the lobby bar i think his name is Armando but we called him Almo was very friendly...Over all it was amazing trip and cant wait to go there again..

Room Tip: Our room as on third floor around the waterfall.
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at Reef Playacar, responded to this review, March 5, 2013
We would like to thank you for your excellent review. We are very happy you enjoyed your vacation with us. We appreciate your comments regarding the hotel, foods and drinks, the wonderful beach and good location.
We will share your special thanks with Gerardo, Luis, Gladis and Armando.
We offer special rates to our returning guests, so if you plan to come back, let us know directly! We are looking forward to welcoming you once more with the kids.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Farmer City, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

My wife and I have just returned from a 14 day stay (Feb 14 thru 28) at the REEF PLAYACAR. We keep returning to the same resort because we think it is a good value compared to other resorts and we really like the area. This resort is smaller than most, so it may not have as much to offer as the mega resorts, but I'm here for the beach and the sun anyway. The food is adequate for my wife an I.The employees are hard working and courteous. The Reef is situated inside a gated community, so it is very safe to go out on the streets at night if you wish or walk 20 minutes into the town of Playa Del Carmen. I see dozens of joggers and bicyclers on the sidewalks each day. The Playacar shopping mall is close by with no high pressure salesmen to bother you. The beach has to be one of the best in the Riviera Maya area with lots of sugary white sand and no rocks. The hotel is beautifully landscaped in a jungle like atmosphere and kept very clean and maintained. If you go here you have to adjust to a certain schedule as restaurants and bars open and close all day. Don't miss out on the coffee bar and the ice cream shop. They are easily missed because of location and are only open for a short time each day, but are delicious.

If you like Michael Jackson, and the Michael Jackson show is at the theater, it is a must see. I never really cared for Michael Jackson, but these guys did a fantastic job and I can't wait to see it again next year.

I don't want to steer people away from the Reef, but I do want to note a few things that annoy me, but not enough to make me go somewhere else. Four years ago WiFi was free in the lobby. Now it costs $80 a week! I refuse to pay that much, so I walk 5 minutes to Starbucks at the Playacar shopping mall and use their free WiFi. You can get free WiFi at many restaurants and bars in the city of Playa Del Carmen. You just might have to buy a cup of coffee or something.

The Reef doesn't communicate its special events very well at all. I wish they would post events in the lobby, but sometimes you have to figure things out by accident or by talking to other guests and employees. Last year they posted the weather forecast in the lobby, this year...nothing. The pool entertainment staff announces some events, but if you're not at the pool you won't hear it.

I bet some guests don't know where the Botticelli restaurant is. It is hidden above the buffet and there is hardly anyone in there. Maybe I shouldn't tell anyone and keep it a secret so there won't be any waiting for a table, but the food is terrific, so I'm guessing some folks just don't know it's up there. Guillermo is my favorite waiter at Botticelli's and really tries to make you happy. Terraza Grill, the other restaurant above the buffet, started charging for some food unless you pay for the $20 a day upgrade, so we don't go there anymore. If I want to try some different food, I like to go into town and try their multitude of restaurants.

Another complaint is the $2 a day charge for a room safe. I pay for that, but I don't like it.

No one tried to sell me a timeshare, but I saw other folks being talked to. I talked to 2 couples that bought into timeshares and they aren't very happy, so I recommend you just say NO. They get your money up front and then you have to fight with them to get what you were promised.

I totally recommend the Reef Playacar to those folks that are looking for a small, quiet, beautiful and affordable resort, but not if you are expecting a 5 star resort.

Room Tip: We always ask for a room closest to the beach, but you have to take what is available. If you don...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

My boyfriend and I read many reviews on tripadvisor before deciding to stay at the Reef for our Mayan Riviera vacation. We couldn`t have made a better choice!! The beach was absolutely amazing, no rocks or seaweed whatsoever, beautiful canope beds in the sand, perfect turqoise waters, paraside!! The staff were extremly friendly, always greeting us with a `hola!` and a smile. The waiters and restaurant staff would often recognize us day after day and converse with us, specially Lucy, they really made us feel welcome. We are french, and the staff would usually go out of their way to speak whatever french they knew with us. The staff all deserve a thumbs up for the rapidity and excellence of the service on site. The enternainment staff were also very enthousiastic, though not too pushy which was good. The food at the resort was absolutely amazing, lot of selection in the buffet and a food theme every night keep things interesting. They also custom cook stuff for you (morning and night), we ate like kings! The nightly shows are not big budget, but the dancers are very good and the shows are fun. One of the main reason we choose this hotel is because we wanted a smaller, more quiet and intimate resort, rather than those party resorts in Cancun. Thats what we got, the rooms are all like tiny villas spaced through a beautifull garden with waterfalls, it was the perfect relaxing getaway from the city. Thats not to say we didnt make friends and stay up a few nights, but people dont go to this hotel to get wasted and party hard, so we got exactly what we wanted. There was a mexican night while we were there with typicial mexican cooking, piniata and musiciens, that was a lot of fun. The resort also offers for 89$ per person a romantic diner on the beach. You basically get the entire beach to yourself under a moonlight sky with candles, champagne,special lighting, your own waiter, a special menu, ect , We booked it and it was like a fairytale dinner! They also modified the entire meal for me to accomodate my food allergies. Our waiter Leonardo was very nice. The pool bartender Umberto was the most amazing bartender weve ever seen, i think everyone wanted to bring him back home! The only downside of the trip was that when we checked into our room, we found out we had 2 double beds instead of 1 kingsize, though the room was exactly where we had requested it near the garden and waterfall. When we asked about the bed situation, we were told there were no kingsize beds available, so we had to sleep separately on our romantic trip. the following days we found out we were far from the only ones with this issue at the resort, though if you got up early enough they could see if they could change you to another room. This was the only issue we had the entire time, everything else was great. The room was very clean and housekeeping would always make us fancy displays with the room towels :) Cant recommend this resort enough to anyone. We walked through the other resorts at Playacar for fun and didnt see a single one we liked as much as ours. We definately plan on going back someday! Thank you for a great vacation!!!

Room Tip: For quiet room in a beautiful location, ask for a room near the garden and waterfall. Its a 2 min wa...
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  • Stayed February 2013, 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at Reef Playacar, responded to this review, March 5, 2013
We would like to thank you for your fantastic review. We are very happy you and your boyfriend enjoyed your vacations with us. We appreciate your observations regarding the cleanliness, the food, the beautiful beach and rooms. We will share your special thanks with Leonardo and Humberto
Thanks to reviews like yours we have been able to get the Certificate of Excellence 2012 from Tripadvisor.
We would like to explain that the hotel has more rooms with two double beds than 1 king size bed. We always check the special requests regarding bedding, but unfortunately we cannot confirm till the day of arrival since all rooms are run of the house. We always do our utmost to meet all requests, but unfortunately we are not always able to. We can offer room changes when a room get available with a king size bed, but it depends on the client if they feel like changing after being installed in the previous room.
We offer special rates to our returning guests, so if you plan to come back, let us know directly! We are looking forward to welcoming you once more
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Reef Playacar

Also Known As:
Reef Playacar Hotel Playa Del Carmen
The Reef Playacar
Reef Club Playacar
Reef Playacar Mexico
Reef Playacar Playa Del Carmen
Reef Playacar Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Address: Paseo Xaman-Ha, Ret. Sayil s/n | Fracc. Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#43 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#53 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#57 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#63 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Reef Playacar 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This boutique style all-inclusive resort is located on a beautiful white sandy beach just steps away from the famous 5th avenue in Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico. The hotel offers all food, domestic drinks and a variety of international drinks included, 1 buffet restaurant, 2 a la carte restaurants, Italian & Gourmet($), snack bar, ice cream parlor, various bars including a swim up bar, 2 pools, kids club, daily activities & nightly entertainment. ... more   less 
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