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“Nice smaller AI hotel with excellent food and staff” 4 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 #106 of 200 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Boston MA
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Nice smaller AI hotel with excellent food and staff”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2014

We stayed here two days while in Playa del Carmen; the rest of the week we were on 5th Ave. I have stayed at many AI's in Mexico and the Reef, while the least expensive, had the BEST food (and I am picky). The buffets were good and the Italian restaurant had great spaghetti bolognese.

Victoria and Choco (Animacion team) were fun and welcoming. The entire staff was nice.

The room was large and had a balcony overlooking the jungle area. I enjoyed watching the agoutis that live there (they are like large guinea pigs).

The pool area, while small, was nice and clean and bartenders made good drinks. Beach is beautiful and has ample umbrellas for shade and seats.

The only issue I had was there was only ONE OUTLET in the room. Not a big deal but when you need to charge phone or computer, you would then have no light.

I would not hesitate to return to the Reef Playacar.

  • Stayed June 2014, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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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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STL
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2014

My fiance' and I had a great time at this resort. It is located really close to Playa Del Carmen, which is about a 40 minute (estimation) ride from the airport. Upon arrival we met with a concierge and she went over the layout of the hotel, which is fairly simple since the lobby is at the front and everything else is on the other side of the resort near the beach. Her intention while meeting is to set you up with a breakfast the next morning, but anyone who has already been to any other resort knows this is a breakfast to try to get you to buy into their timeshare and in return they usually will give you an excursion at a discounted price. I won't say don't attend since some people may be interested in either the timeshare or excursion discount. The grounds surrounding the hotel are pretty awesome. As mentioned in other reviews, it has a jungle setting and has lush vegetation which has a different feel from other places. The beach is gorgeous. There are 3 restaurants on the grounds which include a buffet, Italian and Mexican. The buffet is okay and has mediocre food at best, but there is usually something for everyone. The Italian restaurant was a notch better, but did not amaze me. As you see there is a trend here. The Mexican restaurant costs $6 a person to eat at and is charged to your room. The first night we tried to eat here they were "busy" and it took them about 45 minutes (I am not exaggerating) to get a soda to the table, we ended up going back later during our stay and service was much better and the food was pretty good as well.The rooms are fairly small compared to others I have been to and the walls are thin as well. Two nights in a row the couple next us argued and yelled as loud as they could while throwing things around 3 am. The drinks tasted cheap but did the trick. The snack shack has various snacks to get during different times of the day/night. Pizza, burger, nachos, wings are among the few options you have here. It is a $7 taxi ride into Playa Del Carmen to 5th Avenue which is a great place to buy a few souvenirs. If you decide to go into Playa Del Carmen, be prepared to be hassled to visit a shop. Be polite and just say no if you're not interested. This is a little overwhelming though. There are Mayan ruins near by. The street that the Reef lies on, there is about a 10 minute walk down to the ruins (you will see the signs, there are two spots. One is three structures visible from the street, the other is down a little path), we ended up walking back up the beach back to the resort. Some people may think the beds are a little hard, if you are one of those people ask for a mattress topper. Overall I had a good time at The Reef Playacar. The staff could have been a little more appreciative of a tip.

Room Tip: Rooms in building 9-12 are great since you can't hear the pool and are near everything. Ask for...
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this review, June 28, 2014
Dear Guests,
thank you for taking the time and writing a review about the hotel and your experience here. We and other future guests appreciate the effort.
We noticed points to improve that you mentioned and we will definitely take them into account.
We are going to check your comments regarding the Mexican Restaurant and the Snack Bar.
Moreover we are really happy to hear that you liked our beach and had a good time here.
If you would like to come back, please contact us directly, since we offer special offers to our returning guests!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2014

Stayed here for 7 nights with two girl friends. the hotel is clean and the service is great. nice to be able to sit at the beach with your drink and relax. the walk into town was only 10-15 minutes, we were also able to hire bikes free of charge to ride into town for the day which was handy. only thing that was a bit disappointing, and this is not a criticism of the hotel itself, but there were a lot more families and older couples as opposed to people our age (mid 20's) something to keep in mind. overall though great hotel

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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 The Reef Playacar, responded to this review, June 16, 2014
Dear guests,
Thank you for giving your opinion about your experience in Trip Advisor.
We appreciate your good comment about the Hotel, and your point of view of it. We would like to inform you that our sister property The Reef Coco beach caters more to guests within your age range.
We hope that you would choose us once again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2014

We loved the resort grounds, location, pool and beach. The resort has a more rustic jungle feel, just a more natural setting overall. The beach is wide and beautiful and it is just a short walk to Playa del Carmen restaurants and bars and music. The resort is also located on the southside of Playa, which we preferred. It meant a shorter cab ride to most of the Cenotes, Ruins and marinas that our wish list of activities included.

Cons are:
- They do nickel and dime you for items that should just be included. If you force visitors to pay an all inclusive fee (this is not optional) then make everything in the hotel, ALL INCLUSIVE. Instead, there are extra charges for use of two of the three restaurants, extra daily fees for wi fi (which they should just give you for free since it only works 25% of the time anyway – the infrastructure must be too weak to handle all the users), and you weren’t even allowed at the beach bar Nico’s unless you paid a more expensive all inclusive fee (there is another beach bar available to use and it met our needs just fine.)
- The walls are really thin. You will hear any foot traffic outside of your room. We were in Building 7 which was a GREAT middle resort location, far enough away from the night bar at the back of the resort which has thumping music at night and far enough away from the pool/beach bar which can get loud during the day. We were woken every morning around 630 am to the sound of flip flops going down the 3 flights of stairs. Noises that were hard to control so we don’t blame the guests, it was just that the walls were so very thin. Not a huge issue for us, but just felt it fair to share so if that is a problem for you, you know.

Pros
- We do not care for All Inclusives b/c we prefer to eat at local restaurants without the guilt that you have a paid for meal back at the hotel. And usually, the food at an all inclusive is subpar. But the food at Reef Playacar was above average. Especially the Italian and Mexican restaurants on site. The omelet station was a treat and the customary Mexican dishes offered were appreciated. Loved that the Reef goes to the trouble of making their corn tortillas/pastry from scratch and fries it fresh daily for you.
- Beautiful grounds. Natural waterfall on site and the birds in the jungle, their song, is just beautiful to wake up to in the mornings.
- Good southern location for day trips to Tulum, Puerto Adventuras and sites south of Playa. Perfect location if you want to be able to walk into Playa for lunch/dinner/entertainment.
- Beautiful Beach
- Friendly staff. Victor and Victor at the pool bar, Cesar at the restaurants and Jose. Beautiful smiles and at your service attitude!
- The room was always clean, the view from our balcony peaceful and the aircondition worked like a charm!

Room Tip: the middle buildings are best if you prefer quiet at night. Jungle views are better than overlookin...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2014

I dont write reviews but I had to with this place.
We bought a living social deal. And it was by far the best value.
The staff was exceptional!!
The food amazing!!
The hotel vibe was beyond. Really feels like a vacation. Tucked away in the jungle with birds chirping
The beach was clean and so many fun activites to do.
Best part is its in a resort community so it's away from all the crappy beaches ( if you walk to town 20 min) you will see
Only downfall is the rooms arnt as updated but it's not bad bec I am prissy at some rate. But I prefer everything else to be exceptional as your in your room barely. If you plan to be in your room 24/7 this place isn't for you.
2 pools and amazing adventure tours.
I'm not going to keep saying how amazing place is bec then it will ruin your experience but I saw give it a try. And there are only a handful of resorts that are in this area with nice water and not crowded its called playa car!

  • Stayed May 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this review, June 16, 2014
Dear guest,
Thank you for writing such a nice review of the hotel. It is really appreciated by us and future guests.
Thank you for emphasizing on the best value, exceptional staff, amazing food and the vibe we have at our resort.
We hope to see you back here for your next vacation. Please let us know beforehand your comments so we can make sure the repetitive guests benefits are offered to you.

Best regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockford, Michigan
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2014

This is a nice resort. Our group of 4 girls purchased the standard package, which suited us fine. We were going to pay the extra $6.00 to eat at the Mexican restaurant one night, but it was so cold in there that we ended up leaving. We frequented Botticelli's often for dinner. The waiter, Daniels, is great. Very accommodating, cheerful, full of energy. However, they were always out of at least 2 or 3 of the main courses; and we weren't able to get the chocolate volcano until our last night.
The buffet had good food as well, and a good assortment. The staff was nice.
The snack bar was good, but we always felt like we were bothering the cook(s). Same with most of the bartenders. It took a long time to get a drink, and they come in small cups, so it didn't take long to finish and find yourself waiting again. Also had a situation in which the bartender was there by himself and as I was approaching, he literally left the bar and was gone for a few minutes. We felt like they'd give their fellow Mexican vacationers priority, even if they came to the bar after others were already waiting.
The grounds are beautiful. Loved the coffee bar.
The rooms are nice - adequate, but there's a lot of noise outside. The phones in the room don't work for dialing room to room, despite following the instructions. Someone was supposed to check on it, but it never did get resolved. The beach and pools were great, and it's a nice walk to Fifth Avenue. Overall I felt we got our money's worth. It was an economical trip, but served our needs.

Room Tip: Upper floors would probably be the quietest.
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this review, June 15, 2014
Dear guests,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us about your vacation at the Reef.

We are focussed on fulfilling our guests needs and expectations so we appreciate your constructive feedback and will keep on working hard on it.

We are pleased to know that you like our beach, gardens and the Coffee Bar.

The telephone lines are out of order for the moment because of a problem at the phone switchboard.

We hope you come again, there are some special programs to repetitive guests.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesapeake, Virginia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2014

The resort is very beautiful and well taken care of. The staff is outstanding at this resort. Felix and David at the bars are top notch! Front Desk attendent Willy is superior! Buffet hostess Lucy truly listens to the guest in regards to concerns about food choices. Servers Paulena and Gladys are spot on with the best customer service I have ever had at any resort. Victoria at the omelet table will cook any kind of omelet or prepare eggs anyway you like,all done with a beautiful smile. Conicerge service by Orilio was excellent! The Entertainment crew Irena,Yasming(aka Choco),Nayeli and Gabriel were truly enjoyable and such a pleasure to talk with and they are so energetic, all with such geniune enthusiasm. Rooms were great,even down to very nice linens on the beds. A wonderful vacation and we were truly sad to leave!

Room Tip: we had a standard room in building 6 and it was excellent
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  • Stayed May 2014, 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.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this review, June 8, 2014
Dear guests,
Thank you for your review on Tripadvisor, it is really great that you shared your experience with us and future guests.
We are thankful to read that you remember so many staff members by name and we will make sure they receive your congratulations.
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 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
Amenities:
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:
#39 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#47 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#64 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#84 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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