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“Excited to return” 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   |  
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Ranked #104 of 201 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Hinckley, Minnesota
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Excited to return”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2014

We actually stayed at the Reef in February of 2012 but we can't wait to go back in a few short weeks. The grounds are beautiful in an exotic, jungle sort of way. The staff is hardworking and friendly - always a smile and an "hola". We felt very safe the whole time we were there and the proximity to Playa del Carmen is a huge bonus - we walked there on the road and back on the beach after dark and it's a great walk.. The beach is absolutely beautiful. I loved starting each day with a mimosa or bloody mary at the buffet overlooking the pool and beach. The rooms are pretty basic and the variety of restaurants is limited but that's because of the intimate size of the resort itself. We met so many wonderful, down to earth people while we were there. It has a small town/friendly atmosphere.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,305 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (324)
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Toronto, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

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.

The upside:
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.

The downside:
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.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auburn, Illinois
2 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2014

very friendly staff ,food was great,pool was awesome,lots of activities day and night. for the price you will not find a better resort to stay at.above and beyond a great place and will be going back next trip !

Room Tip: our room was great as far as location on the east side of main walkway
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
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, January 20, 2014
Thank you for taking the time of writing a review of our resort. We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay and we appreciate your great comments about the pools, food and friendly staff.

We offer special rates to our returning guests, so if you plan to come back, please let us know directly! We would love to see you here again anytime soon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Canada
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2014

To start off, a vacation is only as good as you make it and if your going in looking for things that are wrong with the resort you are in the wrong mind set for a vacation my friend lol. Anyways, best vacation ever! The staff was very welcoming and we were greeted with drinks right as we entered the resort! Always big smiles from all the staff and always greeted walking anywhere around the resort! Beautiful rooms and trustworthy maids!!! Left my phone and camera out on tables along with money and all was there when we returned everyday! Beach was beautiful but if you want a spot better get out there early!! The 'dive' shop was also right beside the resort so it made it easy to go sea-dooing and parasailing!! Also so fun! Beach was well kept and so was the resort. Always seen the maintenance working hard!! NOW the first night you stay, you must eat at the main buffet and order some tequila!! We did and we made an impression on all the staff which made for a better stay i believe! Buffet food is AWESOME and the staff is AMAZING!! a waiter named Sergio and Julio worked hard to make our stay pleasant! They were a main reason why we enjoyed it so much! The a la carte restaurants are very good as well! Pools are well maintained and the pool a bar is as well lol. Bartenders are very good and friendly! Must try the Miami vice!! Night life entertainment is very good! Great dancers! Smaller resort but a plus bc u know a lot of the people and its almost like a mini family! I will be returning for sure!! Go in with an open mind have fun and drink lots of tequila!!! You will not regret it trust me! And make friends with the staff it will make for a more pleasurable stay!!!

Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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, January 20, 2014
Thank you for taking the time for writing this stunning review of you vacation here at the resort for us.

It is a pleasure for us that you enjoyed your stay completely here in the hotel. We would love to host you here any time soon.
We also want to thank you for your awesome comments about helpful staff the delicious food and the beautiful beach.

We will forward you special thanks to Sergio and Julio.

Please tell us directly when you decide to visit us again, so we can welcome you with all specials for returning guests.
Best wishes,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glenmont, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014

First, let me state that the group that I have traveled with for the past ten years in April are all in their fifty's and we have cruised up until April 2013. We have been to various islands in the Caribbean and to both sides of Mexico. Last April we chose to try an all inclusive. My wife and I had been to an AI in the Dominican Republic in 2000. This is the first review that I have written due to my belief that you should have been there and done that a few times before you have the experience to judge.
The Reef Playacar is not a five star resort but I did not expect it to be. The cost of this trip was less than I would have paid for a cruise on some of the medium priced cruise lines. The resort grounds are beautiful and clean. The beach is one of the nicest beaches that I have been to, and I've been to quite a few. The rooms were a little dated and we did have a problem with the first room we were given, there was a musty odor in the bathroom, we calmly stated this and were moved the next day. The food in the buffet restaurant was good not great but breakfast and lunch are not my favorite meals anyway. For breakfast I would have eggs ( the freshest that I have had abroad} cooked to order by a little lady with a great smile and done just the way I like them each day a different way. A highlight of breakfast was Mexican Coffee, made with Cinnamin Fabulous. Lunch would be fruit or something light, there was always a good selection and the service there was prompt and friendly We ate dinner in the Mexican restaurant once and the Italian restaurant the rest of the week. As I said the food was good not great but I did not expect great. We had paid for the upgrade so that we did not get charged extra. One of the unique offerings was coffee in the cenote' each afternoon at four o'clock. This was special, I do not remember the names of the two gentlemen who made the Mayan Coffee for me each day but they were friendly and fun. I also chose to upgrade to Nico's, the top shelf bar on the beach, this was well worth it. Although they did not have my favorite brand of Irish Whiskey, the bartender Israel was helpful in broadening my tastes. I hope he is still there. We did visit Chichen Itza on a tour that we had booked before travelling, this is a must see for anyone going to this area, we also went to a lagoon and snorkeled.
I enjoyed this resort mainly due to the relaxed atmosphere and the lovely grounds and beach.
When it came time to plan the 2014 trip, the group agreed to return to the Reef Playacar and we are returning in April. I cannot wait. To all my friends at the Reef see you in ninety days.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
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, January 16, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write a review about your stay in our resort for us.
We are very happy to hear you nice words about the beautiful beach, the clean grounds the helpful staff and the small highlights you experienced during breakfast.
It is nice to hear that you had a very relaxing holiday and that it was a memorable experience for you.
We will forward you special thanks to Israel at the Nico’s bar.
It is a pleasure for us to welcome you here in the resort back in April.
As you already may know, we have some specials for returning guests, so please contact us directly before arrival.

See you back soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014

We were down here for a wedding. It was my first trip so of course I loved everything!! The hotel is very small. Great place if you have children as everything is in one area. The wedding was nice and tropical. We went on trips to 5th street which is a must do. This is the closest hotel without being in Playacar.
I cant adjust the date on this website, we traveled in 2009.
All in all it was a great first time experience. I loved the food and the service was good as well.
Rooms were small but good enough as you don't need a big room.

  • 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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, January 15, 2014
Thank you very much for writing this review for us. It is a pleasure for us that you enjoyed your stay in our resort and had a great wedding experience.

Thank you for your nice comments about our delicious food and the good service. We are really happy to hear that it was a memorable and fantastic first time experience in Playa del Carmen and that you shared it with us.

If you would like to come back, please contact us directly, due to our specials for returning guests!

Best wishes,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stuttgart, Germany
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

The hotel us terrible.
Reasons:
1) too expensive for actually non-all-inclusive hotel ( too many extra-charges )
2) old rooms
3) safe was broken and still not free, telephone was broken, air-conditioner had no console
4) cleaning not every day or too late
5) food - not much choice
6) internet!! Goes off each 1-2 mins!!! And it's again not free!!
7) stealing in rooms, you can read abt it also in previous reviews. My husband was inside, one came in without knocking "to check how the card works".
We have no 5-star-taste and we don't tend to complain all the time. But you can get a really good all-inclusive hotel in the area for a better price.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
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:
#43 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#50 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#62 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#63 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#84 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Reef Playacar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 200
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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