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“8th Visit and counting” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Reef Playacar

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The 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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Ranked #109 of 199 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Windsor, Canada
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“8th Visit and counting”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

My wife and I just returned from our 8th visit to the Reef and it just gets better each time. The staff is simply amazing right to the top. The new manager since our last visit is Vita, this guy will do anything to make your holiday perfect with the help of the guest services coordinator Roberta. The resort is updating and upgrading the rooms and are doing a great job at it. The only negative is the decision to paint all the buildings white instead of the traditional colours it used to be that gave the resort it's character. To anyone at the resort that reads this, we will be back in October to see you all once again. I would and do recommend this resort to anyone asking and looking to go there.

Best regards and a big thank you to everyone at the resort.
Doug St.PIerre

  • Stayed May 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
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2,481 reviews from our community

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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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1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I have just returned today from 2 weeks at the Reef Playacar. Have to mention willy, what a lovely boy and so charming throughout our whole stay. He is part of concierge service.. The hotel is small compared to many and very nicely laid out with a cenote and small jungle in middle of room blocks. We had a standard room which was very nice. The 2 pool areas are set on tiers with sand terraces between which gives a very relaxed feel. The afternoon coffee bar and ice cream parlour are in the jungle area which can be a nice change from the seering sun. Our main criticisms of this hotel were the food and drinks. The food was so monotonous we frequently ate elsewhere. What food they had was often undercooked and we had to pay extra on our all inclusive deal to ever use an a la carte restaurant. (There were only 2). The food there was not too bad but one night they had run out of half the sweet menu and these places were never full! The drinks in these all inclusive hotels are always well under strength, don't they realise that if they were the "full monty" people would drink much less. Anyway, all staff lovely Mexican people overall lovely ,coco bongo was fantastic night out, beach great, have travelled the globe. Would rate overall 3 star. Jeff & Kathy England

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, Canada
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

We just returned from a fantastic week at the Reef! We booked an upgraded premium room...which was on the third floor facing out.

Room: basic, clean, fridge restocked daily, quiet but no view (i would choose quiet over view anyway!)

Staff: Willy was the first staff we encountered....priceless! Front desk was friendly and efficient, Time share people are there but a firm polite 'no' was all that was needed. Entertainment staff were full of positive energy! Nico's bar....awesome.

Food: Fantastic! We enjoyed everything at the buffet, snack bar, ice cream parlor, coffee hour!

Pools/Beach/Grounds: Simply Beautiful! (lack of shade is an issue at the beach)

**My only suggestions to the resort would be to throw up some more beach umbrellas AND include wifi in the all inclusive package.**

Would I return and/or recommend this resort to friends and family...YES!

Room Tip: Upgraded rooms, upper floors for less noise.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

Returned recently from the Reef & absolutely loved it!! The beach is gorgeous, as everyone else said. The pools were super clean & warm, too. And the employees there are so friendly!!! Loved that they took us right to our room, carrying our luggage for us. We had requested a 2nd floor room near the pool/beach, and that's exactly what we got. Actually were in the 1st building by the pool - view of the pool from our balcony in a renovated room - awesome room!!!

Showers are amazing - shower head on the ceiling, rainfall shower. Rooms and the rest of the property were very, very clean.

Definitely worth upgrading to premium, to get access to Nico's bar - that is amazing!!! And the bartenders there make great drinks. Wish i could remember all of their names! I think one was Geraldo - he was so awesome!

The afternoon tea/flambeed coffee is something you must do!! they also have champagne if tea/coffee isn't your thing. So cool, though - just surrounded by trees in a jungle by a little cenote with waterfalls, drinking your coffee or champagne! You can just go there in your bathing suit from the beach/pool. Don't miss it!! It's either from 4:00pm to 6:00 pm or 5:00 pm to 7:00pm. Sorry i don't remember the exact time!

The buffet was extra good! I preferred the mexican restaurant over the italian one for the sit-down restaurants.

Only reason I didn't give this a 5 rating was the lack of chairs in the shade. I'm not an early riser, didn't start looking for chairs until after 10:00 am & all the ones in the shade were gone. Just wish they would put more umbrellas up at the beach. Plenty of chairs at the beach with no umbrellas. But the wonderful staff there took care of us - we found a shady spot by the pool with no chairs & asked them if they could bring loungers to that spot for us, which they did with no problem!!

There's a rooftop bar there that is fantastic for night time drinks!!

And Nico's is also great for night time drinks!! Or for daytime drinks!!

Loved the walkways there - especially at night when they are lit up. just beautiful.

The bartender at the beach bar makes great drinks!! His name may be Felix -not 100% sure but i think that's his name! But he was awesome. It's the bar that you walk up to when you are at the beach, not the pool bar.

Pizza is very good at the snack bar, which is right at the beach/pool area. Was so happy to get my pizza fix! They had plenty of other offerings if you didn't want pizza, too!

Lots of steps at this resort, though. I mean, no problemo if you have no trouble getting up & down steps. I was perfectly fine, but it was a little tough for my Mom at times with the steps there.

Very very clean here - i didn't see any bugs at all, other than some mosquitoes. Crazy - i didn't even see any bees or wasps, etc. nothing.

Beds were super comfy - very quiet at night where we were. And there were lots of pillows - i love pillows!

Claudia at the towel hut is so super sweet, so have to mention her here!

We were in a renovated room, so be sure to request one if you don't get one at first. I haven't seen the other rooms, but I know our room was extra nice.

Hope this info helps!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 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.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

We stayed at the Reef from May 8-14th. The resort is on a smaller scale which was nice for us as that was what we were looking for. There are a lot of stairs to deal with and if you have trouble climbing stairs, it can be a little difficult to handle. We loved the resort, the setting is beautiful, lush and tropical. The lighted pathways thru out was really pretty at night. The rooms were nice, tile thru out, air condition, ceiling fans, we had a superior room which gave us a refrigerator with stocked sodas and beer everyday, bathrobs and free safe, plus no surcharge to use the restaurants. Worth the price. We did request a few things with the room since we were traveling as couples, would of liked the rooms to be near eachother, Of course that didn't happen. We were in 1531 and my sister was in 812, I wanted a room on the bottom floor as I had a knee replacement 6 months ago but ended up with the third floor, so my sister switched rooms as they had the 1st floor. I still had to walk up 10 stairs and down 10 to get to the first floor room! Tried to change at least one of the rooms the next morning but that didn't work out. So we just lived with what we had. We had heard that requests for certain rooms were never considered from what we read on the reviews. It was true! They also have a limited amount of king beds, lots more doubles. No matter where your room is at this resort it is in close walking distance to the pools and beach, no one is that far away from anything. Some prefer the top floors at the tree tops especially if you sit out on your balcony. The service was great to excellant! Always attentive help around and friendly service. Roberto at the pool bar needs some extra help in serving drinks though. He is always working and has no time to be social to the customers! The liquor did seem pretty weak! I think they have "special" liquor made just for these resorts! The long island ice teas were pretty good though! As in almost all resorts they try and pitch their "timeshare" talk...they say it isn't a time share though. Just decline or say you work for an airline! The food was very good, buffet had plenty to choose from and something for everyone. Omlets were excellant but don't forget to ask for the bacon, they keep it out of sight and it took me three days before I knew they even had it! You could eat mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you wanted to. Theres a snack bar by the pool also that serves a variety of foods between lunch and dinner. We really enjoyed the Terraza Grill, food was excellent and so was the service. Boticelli was also good but we found we liked the Grill better, quiet and smaller. The beach is beautiful, water perfect and the sand is some of the nicest we have felt! They have a lot umbrellas on the beach so you are able to get a break from the sun. People do tend to hog the cabanas though, they try and place their towels, books, bag whatever on one for the day and then never hardly use it all day. I find that to be annoying. I think if you are going to save it you better be on it using it! I had seen where no one ever came back to one all afternoon. Not fair to the other people there at the resort. Short walk along the beach to 5th Ave. Playa Del Carmen. You can get a taxi back to the resort for $7. a car. They even have a Wal-Mart, better place to buy your liquor! Overall we had a most enjoyable vacation time at this resort.Water sports and snorkeling, scuba too. We seriously look at returning in the future and for the price and atmoshere it is worth the bucks! Thanks to all who made this vacation memorable! I will be back!

Room Tip: limited clinbing bottom floor, resort is quiet so any of the room locations are good. 8-13 is close...
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  • Stayed May 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Louisville, Kentucky
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

This was my first time staying at the Reef & it was recommended by family friends who are also travel agents. The price was very fair & it was a great vacation for the money paid.

The Grounds: The hotel's grounds were AMAZING! It's set up as if the hotel was plopped in the middle of a small jungle. I LOVED seeing all the cute little Sereques & iguanas running around. The layout of the buildings was perfect, and you never had to walk far to be at any of the areas (pool, ice cream parlor, front desk, etc) The groundskeepers/landscapers did a fantastic job & work hard to keep it maintained.

The Pools: The pools were nice and always warm. The only complaint that I have is that the pool w/ the bar was very dirty. Apparently the filter didn't work so there was always hair, debris, and murk floating in the water. The floating wads of hair grossed me out a little!

The Rooms: When we got our room our key wouldn't work. So we went back up to get another, but that one still didn't work either. After three tries of getting new keys we were getting pretty frustrated, a staff member used his master key to get open the door but when we entered we were not given the room we had requested (we asked for a King sized bed) The awesome staff apologized and gave us a free room upgrade in turn for our patience & understanding! The upgraded room was great, the shower was amazing (the rainfall kind) and we had bay windows w/ a great view of the jungle grounds. The maids cleaned fabulously and the room was always spotless. I'm a huge clean freak, and they lived up to my expectations.

The Food: The buffet food was just ok, snack bar food was pretty good, & Botticelli was delish! We got to eat outside every night & had a wonderful table overlooking the ocean. The filet mignon was tasty & the chocolate volcano dessert was heavenly!

The Staff: The staff was great! Willy was just adorable & very friendly/personable. Paulino, in the buffet, always had the biggest smile on his face! Abraham & Marco, at Botticelli, were both very attentive.

The Beach: The beach was beautiful! We walked the beach to see other resorts and their beach areas were not nearly as nice as the Reef's. There were no rocks, seaweed, or tied up boats in our area and it seemed like other areas had problems w/ these.

Suggestions: There were only a few things that were worth commenting on, but by no means altered our trip...

- Botticelli: It seemed like every night when we ate there the head host (who was very nice otherwise) kept pushing us to buy bottles of wine. Neither of us are wine drinkers so we politely declined. But this was an every night occurrence, we had to listen to all the wines that were offered & how good they were. The only thing that really annoyed me was that on our last night we had just gotten our food and the host comes up to our table right as we were cutting into our food & taking our first bites and starts trying to sell us wine again! We kept saying no thank you over and over while trying to eat but he just stood there and started pestering us about the wine! We both don't speak much Spanish, and he knew that since we had been there 6x already, but he starts rattling off in a hard to understand Spanish/English mix then eventually walks away. Honestly, even though it was annoying at the time, we still got a good laugh about it!

-Buffet: The infamous "Bacon Nazi!" We honestly thought this was a joke but heard everyone talking about it in the pool. We met some people who said that the Bacon Nazi tried to charge them 3 pesos for the bacon that she kept hidden away earlier that morning! The told management and I guess the issue was resolved! Haha! Gladys (sp?) and Paulino seemed to be the only servers/cleaners that tried hard to get your drinks and condiment needs in a timely manner.

-Entertainment: There was one guy on the entertainment staff who had a whistle & literally blew it day in and day out. This wasn't just a blow here or there to get attention/ref a game, no, this was nonstop day after day. It was really annoying when we were trying to relax and nap by the pool or beach (yes it was so loud you could hear it at the beach!) He really abused his power with that thing! Other guests commented on how annoying it was too.

All in all this was a great trip & a nice hotel!

Room Tip: If you have someone w/ a handicap or an elderly person request a room on the bottom floor. None of...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

I have to say after reading the muliple reviews on Trip Advisor I was concerned about my trop to the Reef.

I stayed at the Reef for 2 nights.

I thought for the price it was worth it to stay a few nights.

I am glad I was not there for more than that though I must say.

The staff at Nico's were nice - and the drinks were good there.

The pool bar drinks tasting like water. I drank for 10 hours and was still feeling straight.

The pools were nice and clean.

There were too many steps in this hotel making it difficult to get around for my mother.

The restaurants were all up 100 steps.

The restaurants were okay - the food was somewhat okay.

It was not great - but we didn't starve either.

I didn't get sick.

The afternoon coffee in the courtyard I enjoyed very much. That was an experience not too miss.

Our room was facing the pool on the second floor. It was very clean - and the shower was nice.

I would definately get a room by the pool or you would be walking about 10 minutes to get there.

The grounds were clean.

Overall, I think it is an okay place with families on a limited budget.

Everytime I went to the lobby, they asked about me going on a time share - that was annoying I must add.

The beach was nice - but there was no shade at all - none.

The water of course was beautiful.

They didn't have any sort of entertainment or bands at the pool.

It was nice like I said - but I wouldn't go back to that resort again.

Right next door is the Riu which we went to next.

That was worth paying extra for.

I didn't see any bugs - and I didn't have any mosquito problems.

The wine was not drinkable - so if you are a wine drinker - please pack it and bring it.

IF you go - go for a few nights - and then try something different for a few nights.

That is what we did - and we are glad it all worked out.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The 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
Bar / Lounge 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 Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#38 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#49 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#65 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#83 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Reef Playacar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 196
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 and domestic drinks, 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
Reef Club Playacar
Reef Playacar Mexico
Reef Playacar Playa Del Carmen
The Reef Playacar Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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