We visited OMR Dec. 19-26, 2013. This was our 24th Caribbean trip, to provide a bit of background and demonstrate how our opinions are based. Although we are offering a lengthy review below with details, in summary we found OMR to be lacking. There seemed to be a very “hands off” policy by resort management. We normally observe and meet many supervisors and managers during our visits. The only supervisor we met was of Guest Services, Sabrina, who was a pleasure even though the purpose of our meeting was to advise of problems we had. The only day that we observed management at this resort was on Christmas Eve when they were preparing for a celebratory function. Perhaps this lack of interest, combined with an insufficient amount of staff, is what has led to the unsatisfactory performance by many wait staff which was our primary issue with this resort. Also, perhaps if management participated in the day-to-day activities more, they would recognize problems without a guest having to advise them.
We found OMR to be a beautiful resort. It is extremely clean and well maintained. We loved the many areas for sitting and having conversation, but found the furnishings in the areas to be too deep and/or too low for most guests to sit comfortably. Also, it was awkward to converse with the tour operator while sitting on a low sofa. A table or desk provided for the tour operators and chairs for the guests would be more efficient.
Our check-in was conducted by Antonio. Although his name tag indicated he was in training, it was evident he has worked in customer service in the past. We took the opportunity to speak with him several times during our visit because he was such a nice and pleasant young man.
Upon arrival, immediately after check-in we were required to listen to an invitation to visit a “project.” We were polite and stayed seated, but this intrusion on our vacation was not appreciated. We have received written invitations for various visits or reviews at other resorts, but have not had to use our time to listen to a sales pitch. This process should be omitted.
The room was one of the top three we have had and the room was very well maintained and very, very clean. We were especially happy with the shower and AC in our room. The reading lights were also much appreciated. Those are sometimes a problem. The resort and our room were very quiet, with the exception of our last night. There was apparently a band playing and the music was so loud that our room door was vibrating. This went from 10 PM to midnight. Our room was always cleaned perfectly. Our housekeeper was Claudia and when we saw her, she was always friendly. Our only suggestions for improvement of the room are: 1) a bench or handle in the shower; 2) more lighting in the vanity area; and 3) a full-length mirror in the room.
I did have a massage at OMR, which I normally do not do. The price was reasonable and the massage (by Aida) was one of the best I have ever had. I also had a manicure (package deal) by Gris which was very nice.
We also attended three shows. There is a very small entertainment staff and they work very hard and put a lot of effort in their performances. It’s not Vegas, and we don’t expect that, so we were very happy with the shows.
The beach was fine for us; however, anyone considering OMR should be aware that due to erosion there are sand bags and a “boardwalk” along most of the beach front, with two small areas for access to the ocean, one at each end of the property. The water is not generally the Caribbean turquoise, but less clear. The resort has done what it can to make the beach attractive, but if getting in the ocean means a lot to you, you probably do not want this beach. Although one day we did have crocodiles in the ocean, that is not normal (I believe it is the only occurrence) and the resort has no control over Mother Nature or her children.
The other oddity we found was that there is no wait service on the beach unless you are in the Privilege section. The beach bars are close by, but this is the first resort we have visited that did not offer that service. When I mentioned it to resort staff, I was advised that they did not offer that service, only for Privilege services, but a few days later we did have a waitress – for a day. We normally obtained drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) from the El Charro juice bar. Although the drinks were of good quality, the bartender was not very friendly. He did his job but the friendly conversation and anticipation of what you wanted to drink (some of us always have the same thing) was missing. At least his drinks were good. The drinks and service we had from the lobby bar were of a lesser quality. In fact the drinks we had the first day or so were so bad, I left mine. We did much better in the lobby if we were lucky enough to have Yovenetti wait on us. She was a pleasure to meet and was the epitome of the personality we are accustomed to meeting on other visits.
Our problem with this resort was service for dining. It appeared to us that the dining areas were severely understaffed. There is only one option for breakfast (unless you have Privilege services) and sometimes there were only two wait staff at breakfast. There were seldom sufficient wait staff given the number of guests. Food items were not replenished and hot items were sometimes cold. At other resorts, we normally observe supervising chefs testing temperature of food items during dining. We did not observe that at this resort – for the first three days or so and sporadically after that.
I advised Guest Services of the poor dining service and beverage quality and submitted a written complaint on our second day. I also advised our tour company who in turn emailed the resort management. The response to me from the resort staff was to advise that they had plenty of staff, just the staff sometimes needed to be elsewhere (which indicates not enough staff) and to offer us Privilege services, which we declined. We advised that we did not want anything special, just the normal service for which we were paying. The response from the resort to our tour company was that there was no understaffing, no service problem – see Trip Advisor reviews, and that we had been offered Privilege services and declined.
Although the quality of the drinks improved for the most part, the dining service was still hit or miss, being good only about a third of the time. Once we were seated and approached by a wait staff and requested water (always requested, only coffee was ever offered, all the other resorts we have visited automatically served you water upon sitting), sometimes we would receive it shortly, but many times the wait staff would bus other tables before serving us our beverage. Most of the time, our dirty plates sat on the table where we would stack them before being cleared off. We were almost never offered a beverage refill and had to beckon the wait staff to request more. Only three times were we asked if we wished to have a hot beverage with our dessert – two of which were in the Italian specialty restaurant. Although we maintain that we do not believe the dining areas, especially the buffet, were appropriately staffed despite resort management’s assertion to the contrary, we did observe some wait staff who simply did not seem to want to serve guests attentively.
At one lunch at the beach buffet, the waitress brought one of our party a beverage, but we had to ask for a refill at the same time – twice. Also, she walked by and did not clear our table although we had at least three dirty dishes at that time. The hostess also walked by (she was assisting with bussing tables) and ignored our plates. They appeared to be clearing dirty plates only when the guests left and they were getting them ready for the next round of guests.
At one breakfast, I finally started putting dirty dishes on an adjacent table to make room. The waiter had walked by repeatedly and would sometimes carry one plate, but only one, to the bus cart. On at least two occasions, I picked up my empty glass and carried it through the dining room, past a waiter and past the maître de, to refill it with water. The staff looked at me, saw me, and did not offer any refill or assistance. The only good experiences we had with the dining buffet service were when we had Virginia as a waitress in the morning and Lorena as a waitress at dinner. Unfortunately we only had them each for two occasions. They provided prompt, friendly, and professional service which is what we expect from a resort. They were truly a delight.
We found the food to be at best average. The one food item we all agreed was wonderful was the rice that was offered at the breakfast buffet. Many times the food was presented beautifully, but was lacking in taste. My husband is vegetarian and he had very little choice during our visit. There were plenty of warm meat dishes, but not so much warm vegetable dishes. Even a lot of the cold dishes had meat or seafood in them. There were not always identifying cards, so we had to really examine before partaking. At other resorts, we have asked chefs if there is meat or meat product in dishes, but there were not chefs in the area to ask. The only chefs were the ones preparing individual food items and they were constantly busy. The lunch buffet at El Charro offered very little variety for any of us, and almost nothing for my husband, not even to make a salad. The pizza served at lunch was awful – and my husband likes almost all pizza. He would not even eat it after the first time. The Mexican restaurant offered only fajitas as a vegetarian selection. We were shocked as we frequently dine at Mexican restaurants with a large vegetarian selection. We did not attempt the other specialty restaurants. Luckily, the Italian restaurant offered a variety of pastas and the service was wonderful normally. Our first dining service experience there was not good. It once again appeared the wait staff was overwhelmed. They were doing their best, but needed more wait staff. Our second and third visits were wonderful and we were served by Primotivo, Denis, and Jose.
Most resorts have a couple of vegetarian selections at each restaurant, and some have a vegetarian menu for each restaurant. Even if there are not vegetarian selections, most resorts will accommodate by “converting” some of the menu items by omitting the meat and replacing it with beans, vegetables, and/or cheese, as appropriate. This was not offered at all. Also, room service was only included for Privilege services and was very limited. All the resorts we have visited have included room service for all guests and had a much more extensive room service selection.
My review is lengthy for a couple of reasons. Since the resort management appears to be of the opinion that if it is not mentioned on Trip Advisor, it is not a fact, I wanted to make sure that I mentioned the things which we considered issues, most of which I verbally and in writing advised during our visit. I am not sure what percentage of OMR guests have experienced Caribbean resorts. My thought is perhaps a low percentage and they therefore were not aware of the “normal” Caribbean service and how OMR service was lacking. We consider our resort priorities 1) beach, 2) service, 3) food, 4) beverage, 5) room and 6) resort grounds. The only categories which we rate OMR with a high score are the latter two. Our vacation time is too valuable to spend at a resort which in our opinion does not earn a good rating in at least a few of the first four categories. The beach is sufficient for us – we don’t need to get in the ocean and the resort has done everything they can to make it attractive and comfortable (other than have wait service on the beach). However the service was so poor, combined with at best average food and beverage, that it was not the vacation we are accustomed to nor had expected.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- All-inclusive luxury in an intimate Caribbean setting, in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Ocean Maya Royale is a luxury all-inclusive beachfront resort in Riviera Maya, in the heart of the Mexican Caribbean. Offering intimate settings and lush tropical landscapes, this Caribbean gem is very close to Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel and Cancun. Relax and enjoy our Despacio Spa, two swimming pools, exclusive south beach section featuring Balinese sun beds, Dive It! Watersports center and our a la carte restaurants, where you can taste the best International cuisine, including our new beachfront La Dolce Vita restaurant. Ocean Maya Royale is exclusively an Adults Only resort, a perfect retreat for couples, honeymooners and any one over the age of 18 looking for a more relaxing and sofisticated Caribbean experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ocean Maya Royale Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Ocean Maya Hotel
- Ocean Maya Playa Del Carmen
- Hacienda Maya
- Ocean Maya Royale Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico