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“Great location; but it is definitely not set up to be an all-inclusive” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Royal Haciendas

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The Royal Haciendas
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Cancun-Chetumal Highway km 289+10, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #40 of 197 hotels in Playa del Carmen
Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Great location; but it is definitely not set up to be an all-inclusive”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We own multiple weeks at the Hacienda's and have been coming down with friends every year since it opened; we were even there before they completely finished the second side or before the Grand Coral golf club was anything other than jungle. So we've seen the area go through many changes. The Hacienda's are well kept although the beds / couches are starting to show the wear and tear. The property just recently decided to go all-inclusive - mandatory for renters and optional for owners and their guests. I've been to other all-inclusive properties in Playa and this property is NOT set up to be an all-inclusive. It has one main restaurant which serves a buffet at breakfast (no changes each day) and a buffet at lunch and dinner (minimal changes although they have different themes). Pool restaurants serve usual sandwiches . tacos / salads. For the all-inclusive, you have limited options unless you want to incur a "surcharge" for premium food items. Their is one very small upscale restaurant but most items incur the surcharge. The bar items also incur a surcharge for all-inclusive for any liquor other than generic label or draft beer. Can / bottle beer are a surcharge. Room keys must be used for each order also and you then have to sign a check (with an option to tip). Service is very, very slow. Not because the staff isn't working but because they're are so few of them and they are running all over the place - pool bar, pool restaurant, around the pool, onto the beach....you'll see staff carrying 12-14 drinks at one time scurrying around but it takes forever. Then the one bartender has to make all those drinks, pour the draft beers, run the card, get signatures......the place just is not set up to be an all-inclusive. Then when you try to throw in 2x1 happy-hour (at an all-inclusive?)......the poor staff works very hard but can't seem to get to everyone. Before the all inclusive, you could be in the pool and swim up to the bar, order drinks and get back to you friends in less than three minutes. Now, it's 20-30 minutes. On the plus side, the beach are seems to have more chairs and umbrellas and is very clean. Walking on the beach in either direction is very safe and you can actually walk into Playa (about 45 minutes). Shuttles run into / back from Playa every day and can booked the day before. Taxi ride is about 140 pesos for 4 or less; 280 pesos for 5-8. It's a great place to stay if you don't wanto, or have to do all-inclusive and like to go into town to shop, eat, people watch.....but if you have to do all-inclusive, you may want to look into places that have more restaurants and a much better set up.

Room Tip: All rooms have a ocean view. Ocean front is okay but you'll have constant wind which makes sitti...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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English first
Rochester, New York
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

Yes, the food is great, location convenient, facilities impeccably maintained and managed. As importantant as those things are, each year, we meet the most friendly, interesting and nicest people. When you arrive, they say "welcome home." They mean it and we feel it...

Room Tip: Last year, on our third visit to this resort, we finally took the plunge and bought a ground floor v...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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.
Fairfield, Connecticut
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

We just returned from six nights at the Royal Haciendas and overall had a wonderful time. Weather was a bit cool and windy, but not too bad. I'm comparing this hotel to all-inclusives we have stayed at in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Antigua and a non-inclusive in Cozumel.

The hotel is gorgeous and very well kept. Pools are large, and there are even two lap pools to get in a workout. However, be forewarned that despite their rules saying you can't save seats at the pool or beach by putting your towels or other belongings on chairs, they don't enforce the rule. We spent a morning at the beach (plenty of seats with plenty of shade) and then tried to go to the pool at noon, and there were only a couple of scattered seats untaken, even though there were very few people around. However, that's not much different that other resorts, so guess I can't really complain.

Gym is decent. Fair amount of cardio equipment, couple of weight machines, dumbbells up to 60 pounds, kettlebells, and other equipment. One morning no towels were available, and its pretty stuffy in the gym, so I was a sweaty mess. Like everywhere else, there was also a tip jar in the gym. Overall, decent enough so I didn't gain too much weight despite eating and drinking way too much.

Food choices are pretty limited. There is the main restaurant that serves buffets and you can order from the menu (we never did) and a very nice restaurant (Las Murales) that is very hard to get into if you are on the Refine (AI) plan. The mix of AI and non-AI, and the poorer service that AIs get, is my biggest complaint about the resort. More on this later. There are also pool-side restaurants that actually serve very good food. Fish and grouper tacos were my favorites. Don't get a burger, as they seem to use a different type of beef that is very mushy and unpleasant. Other beef (e.g., fajitas) was fine, and seafood is always a good bet.

The resort was a good size. Compared to some of the other resorts I've been to, its not overly huge. You don't need shuttle service to get around the resort. If you're reasonably healthy, you'll have no trouble getting around, and there are plenty of elevators if climbing a couple of flights of stairs is a problem. Free wi-fi in our room was fine, although week in some of the common areas. If you want to stream video you'll have to pay extra for high-speed wi-fi, but the standard speed was plenty for web surfing and getting some work in.

We had a first floor unit with a separate bedroom and two Murphy beds in the living room. There was also a kitchen with a fridge in which the kept beer (4 Tecates) sodas and a couple of bottles of water. There was also a coffee machine with pre-packaged coffee, which was probably the worst coffee I ever had. Coffee in the restaurants was very good, but you couldn't just walk up and get coffee like you at other AI resorts (again, more on this later). We had a first floor beach front unit, and it was fantastic. Only problem is that air conditioning units are very loud, but after an exhausting day of sun, sea, food and drink, not too much of a problem

The kids club seems pretty good, although my daughters were a bit old for it. Can't speak to the water sports, because it was too windy to take out a kayak or snorkle. Prices for items in the market, whether food, souvenirs, or Cuban cigars, was very reasonable for a resort.

Now, for my only significant complaint, and it wasn't horrible, but caused my to knock this resort down from a 5 to a 4. As far as I can tell, if you are not a timeshare holder/member, you have to book their "Refine" all-inclusive package. That's fine, as we enjoy the effortlessness of most all-inclusive packages. However, this one was far from effortless. As others have commented, you cannot get even a bottle of water without giving up your room key and then waiting to get a check and your room key back. I had at least 50 receipts by the time I was done. Plus, there is a line for a tip on the receipt even if your bill is zero (you incurred no upcharges). Now, you don't have to tip, and I guess theoretically the refine package covers tips, but you definitely get a different level of service if you tip. Now, the level of service was generally better than at other AI resorts I've been to. Not sure if that's because they get tips from most patrons or just that Mexican servers are just more diligent than those in, say Jamaica. I think a little of both. However, if you're going to be having more than a couple of drinks by the pool and want attentive service, tips are wise, and cash is better because I believe the tips added to bills are included in a pool shared by all wait staff.

By the way, if you get Fausto as the waiter for your section, don't move! He's a phenomenal waiter, and was phenomenal even before I tipped him. Probably the hardest working waiter I've ever had. Look for him.

Another problem with the AI service is that its harder to get into the nice restaurant. Members get first shot at reservations, so we only got into the nice restaurant once, although we could have gotten in another time if we wanted to eat at 5pm. That doesn't really work, especially when snacks aren't easily available late at night like at many other resorts. However, one surprising feature of the refine plan is that you can order room service. We had to leave one morning at 7am for an all-day private tour with Mayan Explorers (who, by the way, are fantastic), and the restaurant that serves breakfast doesn't open until 7am, so we order room service the night before for 6:15 am delivery. The waiter knocked on our door at EXACTLY 6:15 am, and the food was very good. I don't think a no additional charge room service option is available for most AI resorts, so kudos to the Royal group for this feature.

Be forewarned, they will also try to sell you a membership. We managed to be too busy and avoided the sales session. They promised it would only take 20 minutes, but who wants to spend 20 minutes listening to a sales pitch when you're on a hard earned, and not inexpensive, vacation?

Anyway, to sum up we had a great time (my girls didn't want to leave). Will we go there again? I would say if they went all-inclusive for everyone, or made it optional for everyone, definitely yes, and in the latter case I think I would skip the all-inclusive and have a couple meals at Playa del Carmen and get food from the market for breakfast. As things stand now, we might still book again, but I will evaluate other resorts. We will definitely be back in the Yucatan. The combination of tours to see remnants of an extraordinary Mayan civilization, beautiful beaches, and hard working staff make it my favorite Caribbean destination so far.

Room Tip: Beach front unit are fantastic, and very close to pool and main restaurant
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

This place is phenomenal for beauty and pristine upkeep. Everything is taken care of with immaculate cleanliness. It is very family friendly, with people ranging in age from babies to seniors. It has just recently become all-inclusive (which is what we did) so in time, hopefully the service will improve as far as timeliness. It would take up to 20 minutes sometimes to get a server by the pool, then an additional 5-15 minutes to receive our order. Granted, if you are in the pool and order from there it may take less time, but outside the water, you have to order from a waiter, and perhaps since I was traveling alone with my daughter, I wasn't seen as a prime tipping target.

Our room was a two bed suite. It was lovely. It had a balcony, and I believe every single room there has a great view. Perhaps the lower floors (we were in G356B) had more obstructed views, but they would be great if traveling with kids who just want to jump in the pools. There are several pools, and they are seriously the largest pools I've ever seen that surround the pool bars. There are several kiddy pools and plenty of chairs to be had. You just might have to drag one over from a distance after 9am.

We traveled in March and it is very windy at this time of year. It rained an entire day on our short, 4 day vacation, but it was warm and I thought kinda fun to walk through the shopping area bartering for umbrellas and ponchos. My daughter didn't think so, but oh well. It beats being so dying hot you can't stand it! The other days it was mostly cloudy with a few hours of nice blue skies, and in the 70's (farenheit). We got sun burned since the first day it was a little on the chilly side and fooled me into thinking we didn't need to reapply our sunblock. My tip for kids especially, remember your zinc for the face that is waterproof. They don't sell any that I could find even in the shopping strip on 5th Ave.

The food, oh the food. It was absolutely delicious. And the upkeep is of the utmost perfection. The buffet is all we ate at, but there is a seafood restaurant that requires reservations I believe. We arrived on Saturday and I highly recommend going straight to the restaurant and getting a reservation for 6 or 7 or you will stand in line for 30+ minutes waiting to be seated. After we arrived, I made a reservation at breakfast for that same night at 6pm, and I requested a window seat.

You can ask for a wine/drink menu and everything is included as far as I know. They had a very nice Spanish champagne (Blanco something or other). I have a picture of the buffet bar with the alcohol they had available there to give you an idea. Lots of different types of tequila which I did not try since this was just a mama/daughter trip. ;)

The grounds are humongous. You get your walking in if you want to explore. There is an area you can pay $10-$30 US dollars on average to paint ceramics of your choice right near the pool. There is a kids' club which took me two days to find. They have interesting activities for the kids like tee shirt making, necklace making, balloon twisting into shapes, beach soccer, mini olympics, etc. There is a board with all the weekly activities listed and also a sheet they give you. There was also an outdoor movie by the beach played nightly. We discovered it on our last night there.

It would've been nice to have received a tour on arrival so I actually knew where the kids' club was and what activities were when, and just to know where things are. It would've also been nice to have a welcome drink upon arrival since we had to wait in line for about 20 minutes before getting checked in. The Rotunda bar is right near the lobby, so as soon as you get checked in, if you're AI, you can go there to get yourself a beverage if the pool bar is closed, which is what happened to us. We arrived around 5pm and went out maybe around 6pm, I forget for sure what time, but the person behind the bar refused to serve me saying it was closed. There are no nightly shows, except for the outdoor movie, so if you're with kids, I would suggest having them have a buddy to hang out with or be okay with swimming or something if weather permits.

We took a cab from the hotel to 5th Ave., which is the shopping strip in Playa del Carmen. There is a free shuttle, but you have to book a day in advance and it was full when I called the night before around 9pm. I was told so many different prices for the cab, I'm sure I got taken advantage of, but I ended up being asked for $15 each way by my driver, I gave him an extra $5 since I was more comfortable with having my same driver pick us up, and he was on time and waiting for us at the end of the strip, along with having showed us where he would pick us up on the way there. It was very disconcerting to me, as it always is, to see the military with their large machine guns driving around in their military vehicle and the individual men who stand guard along the strip with their machine gun. I just can't get used to that! But, that's what makes it safe is knowing they're there to protect us. Still gives me butterflies just thinking about it!

Hmm, other than that, I can't think of much else. This is a beautiful place to stay and it was so nice not seeing any drunk spring breakers or any nudity. Not even thong bikinis. Sorry I can't comment on night life there since I was in bed by 9 or 10 with my daughter this trip. I was worried about safety being the first time I've traveled alone with my 11 year old, but was reassured over and over again by many of my friends who travel there regularly and now that I've been there, I can reassure the reader that it is indeed safe.

Oh, one other thing is you have to have your room card everywhere you go to get food or drink. I hope they get this ironed out with time for the all-inclusive, since other AI's I've stayed at just see your bracelet and you get served. This also takes a long time. Perhaps if you find a good waiter you like right away and give a good tip if you want quicker service, they will quickly serve you throughout your stay.

Overall, this place is exquisite. It was recommended to me by some friends who stayed with their daughter and I highly recommend it. Just know you're in Mexico and on vacation and things take a little longer than what you may be used to in the U.S. If you're a drinker, buy a bottle from the hotel store or from downtown and keep it in your room and take your first drink with you to the beach or pool while you wait for a server. All is good!

Thanks for letting me share!

Room Tip: higher rooms have better views, we stayed nearer the lobby, I would recommend a room near the pool s...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Vermont
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

We have been staying at the Royal Resort Villas in Cancun for years This year we decided to venture to Playa and stay at the Haciendas. Stayed in a beachfront villa and Loved it. We are very satisfied spending our day exercising, reading, walking the beach, and taking in Happy Hour! Everyone that works at the Royal Haciendas is soooo friendly and attentive to your needs. Food is delicious, pools are great for swimming and exercising, hot tubs are a treat, beach is beautiful with lots of loungers available. The market has everything you need in terms of snacks, drinks, meal preparation, pharmacy, etc.
We love our time in Mexico mainly because of the dedication of the staff at the Royals. There are so many employees that could be mentioned individually....if you do go, make sure you tip!,,
The all inclusive is new this year to the Haciendas. When we were there we observed many guests not leaving anything "extra " for their wait person. Even a small tip to your individual server is so appreciated and, believe me ...you will be remembered!!!!
W love this place.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Colorado
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

Just 45 minutes south of the Cancun airport, this place is a time-share resort of two-bedroom villas that non-owners can rent. It has true Mexican charm with its bright colors and outstanding ambience with lush trees and bushes and lovely fountains. Then there's the wide beach. Ahhhh....the sand is fine and white and SOFT. After the really bad hurricane several years ago, the beaches in Cancun were refurbished and the sand isn't so fine anymore (though who's complaining?!?!), in front of the Royal Haciendas it is the same as it's been for years. The beach is wide and the waves are small enough that you can play in the water without fear of being toppled! This is a fine place for couples and ideal for families--the kids are in a safe environment with both the beach and the pools. The pool bars make THE BEST shrimp tacos anywhere. And Los Murales, the fine dining seafood restaurant on the premises, is outstanding in every way. The atmosphere, the service, the food and it's presentation are all excellent. We go every year!

Room Tip: All the rooms are fine and except for the lower level ones farthest from the beach, I think they all...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
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Fairmont, Minnesota
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

This was our first stay at the Royal Haciendas and I did a lot of research on Tripadvisor because looking at photos from the guests always seems more REAL!!! However....the professional resort photos are RIGHT ON!!

This place is just awesome!! The check in for us was extremely smooth, and even though it was very late in the evening the gal at the front desk was very very nice, and said "welcome home" before anything else!!

We had a Villa on the 3rd floor (D330 to be exact) .....BEAUTIFUL!! The room was immaculate, really large (we traveled with 2 teens and my parents, so 4 adults and 2 teens) and had English speaking sports channels which was over the top for our 15 year old son! Even though we didn't use the full kitchen it was nice to have!! The beds were fine, but the showers were awesome....everything is tiled...and always had lots of hot water!!! There was a jacuzzi on our balcony which was great too!!! The view from our room was amazing!!!

The pools....AWESOME! The beach.....AWESOME!!! Lots of chairs to go around at both the pool and the beach!! The wait staff is so friendly .....Galdino was our favorite!!! But all the others were great too!!!!

The food was good....they have the best chicken fajitas at the grill for lunch!!! Really great shrimp, mussels, and fish!! Breakfast is always good....we never went hungry or thirsty by any means! ....the room service was good too!

My family went for R&R so this place was perfect....the only thing that we would've liked was a few more activities for the teens....there is volleyball and they did that, but basketball and water polo would be something to consider doing for the teens/adults!! They like being outside so the movies, and indoor ping pong did not interest them. The resort becomes pretty quiet after dinner so if you want a rowdy place to go this would not be for you....

Thanks much Royal Haciendas.....if I have it my way I will again escape the MN cold and visit!!

I would absolutely return and highly recommend this place!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 4
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Additional Information about The Royal Haciendas

Address: Cancun-Chetumal Highway km 289+10, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#25 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#26 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#32 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#33 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Royal Haciendas 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Royal Haciendas(R) is proof that dreams come true. Imagine, the best in beachfront living quietly nestled within Riviera Maya's most prestigious oceanfront golf community. Experience the elegance of Old Mexico and the sophistication of a resort with personalized service, swimming pools for kids and adults, restaurants, a spa and so much more. Play a Nick Price championship golf course nearby. Take a five-minute taxi ride to Playa del Carmen, the Caribbean's most cosmopolitan city. You can have it all - so close to your spacious, deluxe two-bedroom Master suite with all the services of a fine hotel. Just 10 minutes from Playa del Carmen, this enchanting beachfront resort has architecture and gardens inspired by the grand old haciendas of the Yucatan. Enjoy fine dining, activities and many other creature comforts with the REFINE All-Inclusive package. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Royal Haciendas Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Royal Haciendas Hotel
Royal Haciendas Playa Del Carmen
The Royal Haciendas Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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