I recently stayed at the Royal Playa Del Carmen AND the Royal Cancun, so i can give the plusses and minuses of both;
Food- They have the exact same restaurants and menus at both resorts. Some things were better at Playa and some at Cancun. Marie Marie is by far the best restaurant in both resorts. We loaded up on lamb chops, ceviche, and extra large shrimp. We also liked the Asian restaurant, although the sashimi was better in Cancun (tasted fresher). I wouldn't waste my time with the sushi in either place...boring, flavorless rolls with too much rice. Pelicanos is great durng the day, particulalry for lunch, although we occasionally had an early dinner there, then hit another restaurant later. The seafood broth is amazing...we always asked for habenero sauce on the side as we love a kick and this soup was fantastic. The ceviche at Pelicanos in Playa was much better then Cancun. The Italian restaurant was ok at Playa...didn't try at Cancun. We ate at the tapas place last yr and decided not to go this yr, although we heard good things. They have a Mexican (I believe) restaurant that we hated last yr (terrible service and food) so we passed this yr. The buffet was better at Playa...more choices and slightly better quality, but we typically only ate there for breakfast.
The resort itself in both places is beautiful. The place is kept extremely clean and the staff are unbelievably friendly and helpful. It is rare you will not get a Hola with a hand over their heart (their greeting). The rooms in Cancun have a better view as they are all direct ocean view rooms. Playa you have to pay extra for ocean view and direct ocean view.
The bars and bartenders are great in both offering well made and varied cocktails quickly.
The beach is wider in Cancun, but the sand is nicer on Playa. We play a lot of beach volleyball and you couldn't dive in the sand without cutting yourself up. The water in both places is gorgeous, but treacherous. In Playa there is lots of coral...look for areas to the left where most people are swimming to avoid getting cut up and/or hurt. The water in Cancun was crazy rough with a wicked undertoe. i spoke with the lifeguard and he warned of sinkholes to the right and really bad coral to the left. in the center, i felt the current immediately pulling me in 1 direction!!
The Nightlife in both places is ok, depending on what you're looking for. We are 2 single guys...THIS WAS NOT THE PLACE TO BE!! The resort in playa is filled with couples. The town has lots of bars and clubs, but it's a lot of very young kids (21-23 yr olds). The clubs, which we aren't fans of anyway, don't start jumping till 2am! We went out at 1230-1 and the clubs were relatively quite. We asked a bouncer and he said most people don't come out till 2-3am and then go all night. We've grown out of that so the nights for us weren't that great. We looked for the live music bars and there were several around, but again, many couples and families as well. Fusion in Playa is a very cool in/outside bar with live music that ranged from Mexican 1 night, to classic rock the next. They also do a fire show every night that was cool as well.
In Cancun, we took a taxi down to the bars/clubs. The taxis rip you off for 10 usd to drive maybe 3-4 minutes. you can walk it and it will take 15-20 min. When you arrive, you will be bombarded with guys trying to sell you wristbands to the clubs. We read different reviews and ended up going to Congo (could've been bongo...it was an open bar, lol) They said 20$/person and according to the reviews from others, you can talk them down to 15$, which we did. It was packed at first, but then a large group left and it was comfortably crowded. Again, not too many singles, but we ended up having a great time anyway. We left and my friend wanted to walk home...word to the wise, DO NOT get caught peeing in a bush, I foolishly did this in a thougtless drunken moment and turned around to police standing behind me (I think they wait and hide because they came out of knowhere). They threatened jail, so I had to pay them off...gave them what was in my pockets, so it cost me 50$ to take a leak! Ripped on my friend for being to cheap to take a cab, which I believe we even haggled down to 6 or 8$ (dont recall).
Water sports and lots more beach vball in Playa...also bars with live music
Overall we had a great time. I would recommend it more for couples...not the place for singles. The food, resort and service was fantastic. Beach was better at Playa. Nightlife was unique to each place and we made the best of it, but very different in both.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- New redesigned and redefined THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen is one of the most successful resorts on the Riviera Maya. Guests will discover an explosion of luxury around every corner, all provided in an atmosphere of casual elegance boasting a perfect beachfront location, mere steps from Playa del Carmen’s famed Fifth Avenue. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Royal Playa Del Carmen Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Royal Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Royal Porto Real
- Royal Playa De Carmen
- The Royal Playa Del Carmen Riviera Maya, Mexico