Background: I stayed at The Royal Playa Del Carmen from 11/3/12-11/11/12. I am no stranger to Mexico or the all-inclusive experience, but this was my first stay at The Royal in Playa Del Carmen. I celebrated both my 30th birthday and my 3 year wedding anniversary while there. My sister and her husband flew in the day after our arrival to meet up with us. I took advantage of nearly everything the resort had to offer (bike tour, complimentary hydrotherapy at the spa, massage, ate at every restaurant, explored the sister resort across the way, played rooftop tennis, shopped downtown on fifth avenue, stretching, Pilates Reformer and spinning classes, watched the nightly shows). I feel I have the credentials to post a well-rounded, accurate and fair review. I would also like to point out that I rarely ever take the time to write reviews unless something went either incredibly wrong or incredibly right…in this case, incredibly right.
Summary (for those who don’t want all the details): This was the best experience I have ever had on any vacation EVER! It can all be summed up with 3 words: exceptional customer service. Every employee at the resort gave 110% effort to ensure all 4 people in my party were completely satisfied with our experience at all times. This service level goes unmatched in any of my previous experiences at resorts. I would recommend the resort to friends, family and strangers alike.
Specifics (for those, like me, who want to know all the inside scoop): When I arrived (11:30AM) my room was not ready. I was told to leave my bags and go grab a bite to eat and relax on the beach. My room would be ready within a couple of hours. Mind you, I had specifically requested not to have a room near construction and to have a room next to my sister’s which slightly complicated things for a completely booked resort. Upon my return, I was given a room away from construction, but without a room next door for my sister (which they could not guarantee) and on the first floor facing the street (which I did not want). I complained and spent most of my time in the lobby trying to sort things out on day 1. I went to bed extremely frustrated. Let’s fast forward…by mid-day on day 2, everything was resolved and I had fallen in love with this resort. All the credit for my change of heart lies in the hands of two individuals who are exceptional at what they do Manuel & Giuliano. Manuel is the lobby/frontdesk manager in the mornings & Giuliano, one of his colleagues. Both employees were polite, attentive and bent over backwards to make sure my needs were met and my inconvenience rectified. Manuel followed up with me multiple times during my stay to make sure everything was going well. Thanks to these two individuals, I ended up in a beautiful room with my sister located just two doors down.
There are many details that made my experience here great, but the accommodations made by all levels of the restaurant staff (wait staff, restaurant managers, chefs, head chef, resort management) to accommodate my dietary restrictions is unbelievable. Service at restaurants in the states pales in comparison. You would expect it to be the other way around. When Manuel found out I was a vegan, he called his head chef, Victor, who requested to meet in person with me to coordinate my meals during my stay. This subject had come up by chance while he was helping me with other things. I had not complained about my current food options as they were satisfactory. My first day had been difficult, but I was making things work. I insisted it wasn’t necessary to go out of their way, but they (Victor and Manuel) pushed back, stating they wanted to make my stay as comfortable as possible.
Restaurants: Victor arranged for special preparation of all my evening meals at each restaurant. He even went so far as to prepare my dinner at Maria, Marie himself. He met with my sister and me ahead of time to discuss our dietary restrictions and even went so far as to stock soymilk and boiled beans at the buffets for our breakfasts and lunches. He coordinated with management at each restaurant to ensure they knew who we were when we arrived and took special note of our needs. I now know what it feels like to be a celebrity; because that is the sort of treatment we received every single day during our stay whenever we stepped foot into a restaurant. I cannot stress enough how above and beyond this level of service was and how much it affected my overall perception of this resort. Special thanks to Raquel (manager of Mediterranean), Emilio & Tony (bartenders at the Mediterranean bar), Sergio and Ramiro. Equally noteworthy service came from Spice, with Manager Jose accommodating our breakfast and lunch needs attentively, Chefs Fabian & Geraldine, Droscorides, Louis, Antonio, Andres, Alejandra, Collalo and Reynel. I have left off so many more excellent employees. The night manager at Asiana was so attentive and sweet. Maria, Marie staff was amazing and everyone working the coffee bar during my stay did a miraculous job! A vegan diet is not an easy one to accommodate, not in the states and especially not in another country with language & cultural barriers to overcome. I couldn’t have asked for more. They did a great job of accommodating my every need. They even brought in whole wheat pasta for my dinner at Mediterranean! Manuel comped a dinner at Chef’s plate and they arranged a 7 course vegan meal for me in addition to the night’s pre-arranged menu. I almost felt bad for the service level I was getting. This goes to show that if you give people the chance to accommodate you by vocalizing your needs, you will perhaps come away with a different experience. Those who post negative reviews without ever having given the resort an opportunity to fix the problem are only short changing themselves.
Rooms/Construction: I stayed in room 466 and my sister in room 468. We both loved our rooms. These were basic junior suites and we still had a side view of the ocean. Despite others complaints, construction was across the walkway from my room and it never really phased me. It could be distracting some days during stretching, though. I really didn’t notice the construction occurring. I was too busy having a great time. The beds were amazing, the turndown service consistent and always coming with chocolates. My only complaint here was that housekeeping didn’t come during the specified time. Typically not a big deal, but since the resort standard is to pre-arrange the time, it would be expected that they came during that time frame selected. I chose between 8am-10am because this would be the time I was out of my room working out and having breakfast. Without fail, they came later than this- Closer to 10:30 or 11 every day when I was trying to get cleaned up after breakfast. Not the end of the world, I am sure this is difficult to coordinate, but maybe eliminate the option of specifying a time if it is hard to follow through.
Gym/Classes: Pilates Reformer and Spinning were AMAZING! Pilates reformer is so expensive in the states, so to have access to this class for free was a huge treat for me. Both instructors did an amazing job of mixing things up and giving us a great workout! Tip: Sign up early. There are only 5 machines and the instructor uses one. Classes book up fast! “Stretching” is not yoga. They only have one certified yoga instructor and classes range from basic stretching done in elementary school gym to some yoga 101. This is an area where the resort could improve. Offering authentic Yoga would pair better with the overall image the resort is trying to establish. Tennis on the roof was a great time! The instructor (can’t remember his name) is good natured and always had a smile to greet you with after the long haul up the stairs. The bike tour with Danny was disappointing. It was a waste of an hour. He basically took us ½ mile down the street and showed us the same beach we were on at the resort. He pointed out Cozumel across the way. The roads were dangerous and the route took us off into sandy and unfavorable road conditions that I would not recommend for someone who doesn’t ride a bicycle often. I wouldn’t recommend the tour in general. Nothing to see.
Other things worth noting: The resort does a great job of watching over the beach. No litter, no seaweed, no individuals trying to sell you fake silver or sunglasses & hats. They have complimentary sunscreen, magazines and books available daily. The staff even cuts up fresh fruit and walks around offering slices to beach and pool-side guests. The 24 hour bar is a fun vibe and downtown 5th avenue is equally interesting. The massage I got at the resort spa was the best massage I’ve ever had in my life. The nightly shows were inconsistent. Some nights it was just music with no actual show. I would recommend eliminating these and having a show with acrobatics or performers of some sort every night. That may be asking a lot, but I am just being honest about what I enjoyed and could have done without. All the complaints about intermittent wifi are true. It was inconsistent. They do have a business center where you can utilize free internet services anytime. Several computers are available and I never had an issue getting straight onto a computer. Internet speed was fast in the center, however if you prefer to use your own phone or laptop you will likely end up disappointed from the spotty connectivity. I would keep writing, but my fingers are numb. HAHA!
The employees I have named could not have done a better job. We will without a doubt return to The Royal Playa Del Carmen, something we have never wanted to do at any other resort we’ve been to. Thank you and we will be in contact again soon! Victor, Racquel, Tony: We LOVE you guys!!
Sincerely Mr & Mrs Emily
PS. I am happy to answer any questions and share additional photos of anything you are curious to see that I may have taken a shot of.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.