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“Second amazing stay at The Reef :-)” 5 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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #101 of 199 hotels in Playa del Carmen
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
170 helpful votes 170 helpful votes
“Second amazing stay at The Reef :-)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Had my second visit in two years at the Reef last November. Spent a week this time. LOVED it just as much. Some remodeling is being done with some of the rooms and we got one of these rooms this time. Basically cosmetic. Lovely showers and spacious bathroom. Comfortable beds and good working air. One thing that drew me back to the Reef is the grounds. They are GORGEOUS. I love nature and vegetation and the feel of a small resort and this fits it all. The coffee bar is warm and inviting with the water flowing. The meandering pathways with the green and flowers is lovely. The food in all of the restaurants is wonderful. The staff is marvelous. The beach is amazing with plenty of chairs and palapas. The bars are fun. The only downside of this trip was they were overbooked when we arrived and they asked if we would spend one night across the road at some condos. We did agree and with that being said, we were thanked repeatedly with extra kindness. Yes, it was an inconvenience to move, but the place we spent our first night was also unreal. It didn't hamper our vacation really at all, except moving our stuff. I love this resort and when needing a 'happy thought' often think of it. One thing that I don't recall from a prior stay was the rooftop bar and how there were so many comfy loungers and umbrellas there for during the day. It would be a nice quiet place for anyone to spend time away if you chose. One thing to consider if planning to stay here is the fact that it is not in Playa Del Carmen. You will need to take a taxi ($7 or $8 per car depending on who you get...each way) Depending on your budget and how often you intend to head to town, keep this in mind. On a fixed budget, this can add up pretty quickly. All-in-all, if you love a smaller-feel resort with some nature character, I'd recommend giving this place a try. I don't think you'd be disappointed.

Room Tip: Try to be on the inner side..where the main walkways are. The rooms all have a balcony but the insi...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
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 30, 2013
We would like to thank you for your fantastic review. We are very happy you enjoyed your second stay with us and your friends too. We appreciate your observations regarding the beautiful beach, the gardens, the food and amazing service.
Thanks to reviews like yours we have been able to get the Certificate of Excellence 2012 from Tripadvisor.
We look forward to welcoming you for your third stay.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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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Las Vegas, Nevada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

Just returned from out 4th trip to "The Reef", This visit was 6 days of R&R, No trips, just lay on the beach, a few walks and runs on the beach and a trip to 5th Ave for shopping. Had a great time overall but noticed a few changes since last visit. Most of The Staff were excellent as has been the reason I return there annually! We stayed in one of the newly renovated buildings (14) and Loved that, Restaurant has many choices for each meal and the restaurant staff was energetic and happy. Must give Kudo's to Roxanna, Mary, Raul and Paulino for treating us like Family! The resort is very peaceful and slow paced, Visited with many Europeans that were staying there and had fun with them. The recreation staff was much more active this trip getting guests involved with many activities. The nightly shows were curious... will leave it at that, but since I live in Las Vegas I may be bias and expect too much.

The Bad, Being pestered and pressured in person and by phone calls to the room to do "The Tour" (Time share pitch) After saying No once should have been sufficient but they kept calling and asking us to do it. Leaving notes under the door reminding us to show for the appointment we never made or committed too.
Beach Chairs are worn and there was way too few chairs and umbrella's most afternoons.
Interent was free in lobby up until this year, Now STEEP charge of &15 for a day? Ridiculous fee just to check in with the family back home so it was cheaper to use my iPhone for a couple emails. Had written confirmation for late checkout (3pm) as a returning guest yet the desk called at 12 and insisted we did not and had to walk there to show them the proof. These were all minor annoyances...
Overall you can't beat the value, food and staff at this resort compared to the giant place next door. I will return again next year when it's time to unwind again.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in one of the renovated buildings.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
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 30, 2013
We would like to thank you for your review. We are very happy you enjoyed your 4th stay with us. We appreciate your observations regarding the excellent staff and the restaurants.
We will share your special thanks with Roxana, Mary, Raul and Paulino.
We would like to apologize for the inconvenience you experienced with late check-out and the time share. We would like to stress out that we do not promote the wireless internet as part of the All Inclusive.
Thanks to reviews like yours we have been able to get the Certificate of Excellence 2012 from Tripadvisor.
We look forward to welcoming you for your fifth stay.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

My wife and I went to this resort because it was the best deal and a friend had gone many years ago.

Let me start with the good;
Staff is somewhat friendly
The location is great, beach is beautiful.
Ocean is amazing
Convenient to the shopping and main town area
The locations and surrounding resorts all seemed safe

The Rest
Their time share program is a SCAM, it is a SCAM, it is a SCAM (was that clear enough) and yes we fell for it. I worked with my credit card company and unbelievably we got ALL our money back. There are only a couple of the nice suites they say you get with the membership, but keep in mind if they are actually available for booking then what do they have to show potential suckers, like me? Also know that this area is so over developed that their pitch, we bring people here to sell other sites and we will buy your weeks.....BS.
They play a shell game with the resale companies all of them are being sued by the states they work in. All they do is change the name. I figured this out because they have the same physical address and if you actually try to find a location outside of the Reef to book they are either booked or on pare and sketchy like the Reef
The rooms are dated, AC broke, beds are nasty and the bathrooms typical of a third world but not of a resort
The food is pretty sparse in selection and taste, and my wife got sick one day. The bar upfront is a pay bar, and here I thought it was an all-inclusive resort - NOT.
Everything that is decent is an upgrade and even then the selection is minimal
The resort was not exactly the best maintained. The bathroom by the main pool smelled so bad I understand why most people just pee in the pool. Yes I said it. After the second day we noticed that many people at the swim up bar did not leave the pool....all day. I asked the bartender from the stool section and he said they shock the hell out of it each morning with large doses of chlorine.
They only allow you to keep the beach chairs stuck all together, we tried to pull it down away from all the other people and turn to face the sun and was rudely told to move it back....which I told them to go pound sand and move it yourself.
The people that bring you drinks on the beach could care less, and I spent more time getting them myself. I assume because they are free and even though I tipped the guy he never came back after the 1st round.
If you still choose to go here do not walk to the right down the beach as you will see what nice resorts really look like, it will ruin your trip from there on out. I am sure those resorts were only a few dollars more.
I will return to Playa Car but the Reef can suck it! I really want to respond to the sales group as they arrogantly responded when I first disputed the program and they said that they would not do anything as they have an iron clad contract........oh well I got lucky. If you don't believe me check out these links:

http://www.playa.info/playa-del-carmen-forum/38263-warning-reef-playacar.html
http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=169498
http://www.timesharescam.com/timeshare-complaints-resorts-black-list/30-the-reef-playacar-resort-timeshare-Complaints/sort:Comment.created/direction:asc/

Room Tip: Rooms at another resort have to be better!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guilderland, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

The concierge was very helpful but with an underlying agenda - trying to get us into a timeshare! Facilities were attractive but we were unhappy with having a room with 2 double beds rather than queen or king. Since we were celebrating our anniversary, this was less than romantic. After the time share presentation, I think it had to do with the fact that the time share owners could sell off one of their bedrooms and would hang onto the ones with the king beds. Had to pay for a lock for the safe; WiFi only in the lobby and pool area and with a charge of $15 per day! On the positive side, we found the buffets to have healthy choices - gorged on delicious fruit and veggies and tons of fish. The beach is beautiful! I don't know that we'd do an "all inclusive" again. We like to get out and eat in the local restaurants.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
minnesota
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Just returned from our seventh visit to the Reef. We've been to other larger AI's in the area but prefer what the Reef has to offer. It's a smaller, safe, affordable resort within walking distance to Playa Del Carmen either by beach or sidewalk. The beach is wide and beautiful with plenty of chairs.
There are meandering pathways through its jungle setting complete with howler monkey in the trees. The ice cream parlor overlooks a beautiful cenote. Afternoon coffee/desserts are served in an outdoor garden room. Hard working, friendly staff. Could always find something to eat as we're not picky eaters
New since we were here last is the option to purchase an upgraded wrist band that gives you access to exclusive Niko's Beach Bar and top shelf liquor at all bars. For us, it was worth it to get top shelf and to be able to enjoy the lounge area on the beach at Niko's at night.
Also, did not care for the "No reservation" policy at the restaurants. When we'd come before you'd make a reservation in the morning so you knew approximately the time you'd be seated. Now it's hit or miss on how long you'll wait to be seated, and the service seemed to suffer when there were a lot of guests waiting. That's about the only negative I can say about the Reef.
They have a nice return guest program also. Be sure to look into it if you are a returning guest.
Once again, had a great time at the Reef and will be back again.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at Reef Playacar, responded to this review, March 30, 2013
We would like to thank you for your fantastic review. We are very happy you enjoyed your seventh stay with us. We appreciate your observations regarding the beautiful beach, the ice cream parlor and the cenote, the Nico’s lounge and the good service.
Thanks to reviews like yours we have been able to get the Certificate of Excellence 2012 from Tripadvisor.
We look forward to welcoming you for your 8th stay.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fredericton
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Four of us stayed a week at The Reef Playacar from Feb 28 to March 7th and completely enjoyed our stay. There was something for everyone of us to do (ages 10 to 83) from water polo to bingo. Really like how the resort was layed out. One could sit at the pool and see the ocean hence enjoying both worlds where as most resorts your either at the pool or at the beach. The grounds were kept extremely clean from plants being trimmed to the glass around the hot tub and pool being washed over and over. Unlike other guest we found the food at the buffet was fantastic..always hot with many choices. Liked that (at some meals) we were greeted with cocktails before entering the buffet. The a la cart Steak dinner was to die for (went back twice just for this meal) The house wine there is free but if you want a wine of the wine list then you have to pay. When we booked our trip we upgraded to the premium pkg and so very happy we did. We enjoyed the extra's such as relaxing at Nicko's (either on the lounger beds or in the hot tub) and having snacks delivered to us while there. Now for the staff.....what hard working, polite and friendly bunch. Every last one of them treated us like gold and made our stay memorable. We have one more trip booked this travel season to Cuba but next travel season we will certainly be going back to The Reef Playacar.

  • Stayed March 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 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 30, 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 beach, the cleanliness, the upgrade to the superior premium room, the food and the great staff.

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.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
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
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 Reef Playacar

Address: Paseo Xaman-Ha, Ret. Sayil s/n | Fracc. Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#44 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#46 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#62 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#64 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#85 Romantic 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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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

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