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“Small and charming” 4 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 #100 of 199 hotels in Playa del Carmen
Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Small and charming”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

My husband, two kids aged 8 and 5 and I visited the reef for a week in March 2013. Overall we enjoyed this resort. We liked that it was small, and had a great location with the jungle grounds and a gorgeous beach. It is right on the edge of playacar hotels so it's a bit quieter than the huge resorts along the strip, always lots of beach chairs available. Bring your own old towels from home to reserve spots - if you lose your resort towels or towel cards its a $35 charge. The staff were amazing, always service with a smile. Special thanks to Claudia from the activities team who took our kids on crab hunts, crafting and played games. The food was pretty good, there was fresh salsa and guacamole at almost every meal, and the omelettes for breakfast were great. We tried both a la cartes they were good, and you don't need to make a reservation which I liked. My advice is to go to the hotels website so you know exactly what you are getting when you book - there are different levels of wristbands so if you purchase the basic one you will not have access to nicos/hot tub area and the a la cartes will cost extra. It's spelled out very clearly on the website. Also, kids are not welcome in nicos or the hot tub. This was a little disappointing for us. The only real complaint we had was the paper thin walls in the rooms - you can hear everything. We saw the time share people giving tours but were never approached. We did get a phone call from the concierge who wanted to book "a tour of the resort" which I figured was probably the time share spiel. Plus this resort is small enough that you can figure out where everything is quickly and easily on your own. I firmly said no thank you, and we were never contacted again. Overall this is a great place for a laid back beach holiday!

  • 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
    • 5 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.
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 and your family enjoyed your vacation with us. We appreciate your comments regarding the hotel, great locations, the food, the restaurants and wonderful staff. We will share your special thanks with Claudia
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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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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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

Overall, the stay was pleasant enough....

But DON'T fall for the vacation club sales pitch. I think I have lost $20,000 on their false promises. The deal is that they say that their marketing partner will buy back week of vacation that you don't want. This has turned out to be complete crap. After dozens and dozens of phone calls of "we'll get back to you, there is a small delay" excuses, NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE for the six months of excuses. DON'T DO IT!

The BBB will be contacted next!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
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
Dear Guest,

We would like to understand what happened exactly, in order to be able to take care of this matter. We want all our guests take home nothing but pleasant memories, so please, contact us directly and let us know with which persons you have been in contact. We will be waiting for your email.
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Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
170 helpful votes 170 helpful votes
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.
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.
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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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