I just returned from a 2 week stay at the Reef Playacar.
First - I knew what I was getting into. It's not a five star, and there are a lot of bad food reviews.
I opted for 2 weeks at a less expensive resort, rather than 1 at some of the more expensive places I have stayed.
Great location in Playacar, a lovely 15 minute walk into town. Travelling solo, I always felt safe.
One of the best stretches of beach in PDC.
Excellent, very friendly staff. Gilberto (lobby bar), Wilberth (front desk) Gladys, Mario all stupendous. The Bar Nicco staff are also superb. (Spread a few Pesos around folks. People who don't tip at "all inclusives" are ignorant cheapskates! The average wage of hotel workers is $7 a day. Yes, really.)
The grounds are very well kept and quite pretty, and the property is small, something I was looking for this trip. A tropical jungle sort of feel.
Rooms are decent, nothing grand, commensurate with the budget price. I wasn't expecting a palace. Clean and serviceable.
As others here have alluded to, the food is atrocious. Now, I am pickier than most (in the catering business), but this was a common theme in cocktail hour chats, not just my opinion. I never ate dinner at the buffet. I alternated between the a la carte restaurants and going into town. I also ate lunch in town several times.For lunch at the buffet I stuck to the "Mexican" fare where there was a bit of variety and a load of condiments to spice things up. The a la carte restaurants are mediocre at best, but both have pleasant atmospheres and great service. And a wine list:)
So, I was prepared for kind of lousy food, so budgeted accordingly and ate off-site quite a few times. PDC is chock full of good restaurants and you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to have a great meal. Just stay off Fifth Ave.! Explore, live a little.
Obviously, given the business I am in, food is a biggie for me. I knew what I was getting into staying at the Reef, so I am actually torn about the "average" rating I am giving them. If it weren't for the food, I'd give them an "excellent". The value, location and staff really are excellent.
A couple of suggestions to the Reef, if I may.
Do not nickel and dime up-graded guests with room safe and WiFi charges. Charge $100 more per week and include them. The additional charges, when a guest has already paid for the premium service seems petty. It's a perception thing. I have not stayed in a hotel for many years that charges for a room safe (in Mexico, ha ha!!!), let alone WiFi. Also, the WiFi kind of sucks. Not horrible, but cuts in and out a bit.
Fix the food. I'm not talking about Michelin Star food. Even a modest improvement to the quality and variety would be good. I understand margins and minimizing wastage. In 2 weeks, I never saw a strip of bacon at breakfast!!! Weird miniature cocktail weenies masquerading as sausage. There is great sausage to be had in Mexico and it's inexpensive. Prefab tortillas?? Come on! There was only one day at lunch where the tortillas were made fresh at the station by a chef. Too much recycling of food without creativity and imagination. There was a $20USD surcharge option for steak in one of the restaurants. No way I was forking out for something I thought would be not very good. I would happily have paid if I thought there was a chance it would be delicious.
Reef -I make these comments in earnest, because overall I really did enjoy my stay.
So. Overall, I had a great stay and if it weren't for the food, I would give the hotel an "excellent", relative to the cost.
There you go. I had a wonderful vacation in PDC. Will I be back to the Reef? Depends on how much money I can budge t next time:) One week at the Royal is the same price as 2 at the Reef.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This boutique style all-inclusive resort is located on a beautiful white sandy beach just steps away from the famous 5th avenue in Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico. The hotel offers all food, domestic drinks and a variety of international drinks included, 1 buffet restaurant, 2 a la carte restaurants, Italian & Gourmet($), 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