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“Great Time 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 #102 of 199 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
South Yarmouth, Massachusetts
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great Time at the Reef”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

Stayed 10 days Oct 6-16th. This was our first time at the Reef, friends we traveled with and met there have been going for 15 years. My first impression was wow, what great staff and beautiful property. Check in was easy! We got a clean room on the 3rd floor of building #9 which was close to the pool and restaurants. I was amazed that there were no elevators, staff have to travel up and down stairs everyday to clean rooms. We tipped her $2.00 a day, she earned it. Although that is not why I tip maids, I am greatfull I don't have to clean rooms, or wait on the public. So the restaurant staff got tips as well, including bartenders. THEY WORK HARD to make your stay pleasant. The buffet and special restaurant food was great. But they need to read the directions on how to prepare the Lava Cake! It was not hot. Pool was great in the morning but in the afternoon it got ugly, nasty. To many kids in the adult pool! I don't know why parents let their kids swim up to the bar and order drinks they don't drink. Or take food from the buffett and don't eat. Bars are for adults. Also, they had to close the pool because a child did not have a diaper on, and one child did not make it to the bath room and left his business on the path. Amazing how parents allowed their kids so much freedom on the resort, do they forget that they are parents even on vacation? My favorite activity was painting pottery with Emanuel, he is a very talented artist. NO ONE tried to sell us time share. No waiting for drinks, wine was good too. Service in restaurants was excellent. Beach was amazing. Had no problem with towels, kept our eye on them. We will definately be back next year!

Room Tip: If you can't climb stairs get a room on first floor away from the pool.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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English first
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013 via mobile

We got married at the Reef Playacar. Arturo did an amazing job. Our wedding was perfect! We decided on the beach backdrop. Although the more tropical location on the property was very nice as well. They made the day run smoothly. What a beautiful place to say "I do!" Thank you Arturo!

  • Stayed October 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

We stayed here from 10/06/13 to 10/11/13. We would definitely come back again and we are planning our next trip. We got an awesome deal through Living Social for 6 days/5 nights and our whole group bought one. 18 people in all.

13 of us arrived at the airport at 8 in the morning. The check in process couldn't have been easier. Our rooms wouldn't be ready until 1 but we were able to change in the restroom, get our bands and go. First stop was the buffet. Great food with awesome staff there. Then on to the beautiful beach about 150 feet from the restaurant. It was great to eat breakfast and look out onto the ocean while enjoying your food.

Pros:
1. Great beach right in front of the hotel. Crystal blue waters. One of the best beaches I have seen in the Caribbean.
2. Great staff in the Chula Vista buffet. Paublino was always smiling and in such a good mood that you couldn't help but smile back. The rest of the staff there was great too. Loved being able to have Arroz con Leche for breakfast. (along with pan dulce) We never tried the specialty restaurants.
3. Pool area was great and always warm. Kids never wanted to leave. Swim up bar was nice.
4. Claudia with the kids activities was superb. She was a Godsend and so patient with the kids. They actually ditched us to go with her!!! That never happens. :)
5. Rooms and common areas were cleaned daily.
6. Staff around the hotel was friendly.
7. The grounds were beautiful and so relaxing.
8. Close to 5th Avenue - We walked along the beach once and walked through town the next time. (about 15 minutes away)

Cons:

1. Towel distribution was a joke. You are issued a card that you turn in for a towel every morning. If you lose the towel or the card you will be charged $35.00 (USD) One of our towels was stolen while we were on the beach. When we mentioned it to the towel booth their response was "it is your responsibility to watch the towel at all times". (Really? I could of purchase then 4 nicer towels from Costco and mailed them to them for less) We had other towels removed from our room by the maids without having a card left in its place.
2. Young man who worked at the towel booth was arrogant and rude. Several of us had negative experiences with him. Wish I would of been level headed enough to remember his name. The ladies that worked there were nice and easy to deal with. In the end the rectified the whole towel issue for us but not without us first experiencing the stress of constantly watching them like valuables.
3. Beds were a little hard for me but I am a side sleeper.
4. Supplies in the bar seemed a little low on Thursday. From what I understand they are restocked one time a week. Maybe it's just a low season thing.
5. Front desk staff seemed to be not as helpful during the daytime (every day but our check in day) but if you went to them in the early evening it was like dealing with new people.

I would definitely go back to the Reef. The service was spectacular which made up for the few things that were not. The beach was great. The food was good and it was nice to have everything ready for us. It was worth every penny we paid and then some!!

Room Tip: We had a second floor room in the 500 building. Great and roomy.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, MI
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2013

First of all, this was our fifth trip to the Reef Playacar over the past 6-7 years, so that says enough about what we think about the resort. For a new visitor, however, it depends what you're looking for in a resort. Reef Playacar has average, slightly outdated rooms (but very clean and comfortable) and they are in the process of remodeling everything at the moment. I've seen some of the new rooms and they look great.

Two main reasons we go to the Reef is its gorgeous beach and 15-minute walk to the main strip of Playa del Carmen, the Fifth Avenue. The staff is friendly and courteous and deserve to be tipped well. I know the all-inclusive packages say "tips included", but if you knew what these people make, you'd change your mind. By tipping a couple bucks here and there, you are greatly helping them and their families. This is not an exaggeration.

Now, for the wedding part. We had a small ceremony on the beach with about 35 of our best friends and family members. Arturo Ugalde, the "groups" manager, exceeded our expectations. When we were emailing him in months prior to our wedding, we didn't know what to expect. The fact that you are emailing a person who may or may not really care about what happens on your wedding is scary, but once we got there and met him, we were at ease. Arturo is very good at what he does and if you're planning a wedding (or any kind of event) at the Reef, he will do a great job. He has a ton of options, so review them carefully and let him do his job.

Like I mentioned before, the staff is very friendly and courteous, but there are some people who stand out even more: bartenders Herlindo, Orlando, Humberto and Gerardo, Nico's bar manager Zouhaila, bell boys Oliver and Willy, Chulavista waiters Paulino, Gladys and Mary, and more that I am probably forgetting.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Austin, Texas, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed at The Reef from 10/10 -10/14/2013. It was the most amazing time!! We got a Living Social Coupon for an excellent discount. Because of the cheap rate we were a little worried, but it was worth every penny and more! I couldnt have asked for a better trip! Not one person ever approached us about time shares. We were also just a 10 min ride to downtown. We met a very nice couple from Seattle the first night, and really enjoyed having another couple to pal around with:)
First Id like to mention the staff - Everyone was friendly, and attentive. A special thanks to Gilberto, Oliver, Willy, Paulina, and Alex for making us feel right at home. It seemed like everyone works non stop to keep the resort looking beautiful.
We upgraded to a superior room, which was unneccessary. We would have been fine in a standard room. But it did get us in the building right next to the pool (BLG 8), robes for the trip, a safe (which made us feel better)and free entry to the ala carte restaraunts,and we had a balcony view of the gardens from our room which was beautiful.
The Beach - The beach was hands down the most beautiful place we could imagine. We visited another resort during our stay for a wedding, and the water there was dark and very rocky. The sand at The Reef is white, and water is crystal clear! We got a covered cabana with no problem every day.
We also did an excursion one day that we planned through the hotel. It was also worth every cent! This excursion cost us extra, but we went kayaking, and boogie boarding for free at the Reef.
The Food - I will say that my only disappointment was the buffet food. It was pretty bland and lacked alot in variety. We ended up only eating fresh fruit and bacon at breakfast. And the buffets for each meal were the same everyday. At lunch and dinner, they didnt even have tortillas, which I thought was weird in Mexico??.. But, the Italian grill was excellent, and the ice cream parlor, and grill by the pool are really good too. We never got a chance to try Terraza Grill, but I heard it was super!
I would definitely recommend The Reef to anyone, and cant wait to come back again!!! We got lucky and had perfect weather. We will see if we can get that lucky when we return next year!

Room Tip: Room Tip - We were in room 824 - It was a perfect local! Beautiful view from patio, and the beach, g...
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  • Stayed October 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

Just returned from our second visit this year and 10th overall to this resort. As always the vacation was exceptional thanks in large part to Vita the hotel manager and Roberta the Guest services agent at the hotel. These two will go out of their way to make sure everything is to your satisfaction. You can't say enough about the beach, the cleanliness of the resort or the staff as a whole. We do expect to go again in the not too distant future as we miss it already and we have only been home less than 20 hours. If travelling to this area, this resort deserves a chance to serve you as well as they have served us. Hope the hotel reads this as they have earned this review and should take pride in the job they are doing. See you all again soon.

Room Tip: Pick a room facing the gardens rather than toward the perimeter of the property.
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  • Stayed October 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.
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

I first went to the Reef for my Honeymoon as we just bought our first house, paid for our wedding, and just needed an affordable get away. We loved it. It was Oct of 2012, so off season and several of the extra amenities were not available (2 of the restaurants were not open). But still had a great time, great location, fun atmosphere and just what we needed. I enjoyed the fact it was small and cozy and we were very comfortable. PLEASE NOTE: There was a hurricane while we were there, and stock up if that happens to you, as it is not legal to sell or serve beer if you are in a danger zone. (Nothing worse than being stuck in your room on vacation and not have a cold one).

In early September I decided to take my mother on her 1st International vacation and since it was just the 2 of us ladies, I like the idea that I knew the area a bit, and knew she would love the small and relaxed atmosphere of the Reef. This trip was perfect!

Not only did she love the décor and service of the place, but the full amenities (all restaurants & Bars were open) but she was comfortable going to the bar or beach with or without me. The ice cream parlor had fantastic ice cream and we enjoyed all restaurants and services. I even have a picture of my mom learning how to meringue with some of the staff!

The rooms are very comfortable, and as another trip advisor had advised, we took $2 bills to tip the staff and they enjoyed that!! (not necessary to tip extra, but being in the service industry you learn, the extras really count).

I look forward to going back to Reef again and Hope they keep the same Great Staff!!

Room Tip: I requested a low floor for my mother and was given without ask. Both times I have been on a low fl...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
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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 ( Wi-Fi ) 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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