We spent 2 weeks here from March 28-April 11. It was our second visit to this resort, the first being in 2007. We booked with Selloff Vacations and flew Star Class with Signature. I would fly Star Class again, if only for the leg room, extra weight allowance and skipping line-ups. To us, it was well worth it for these reasons. The service on the way down was fine, lots of drinks offered. On the way back it was pretty well non-existant. Still good value however, for reasons listed above.
We arrived early, around 11:00 am and had a bite to eat and hit the beach while waiting for our room, which would be ready at 3pm. This is standard of all resorts. The resort is beautifully laid out, lengthwise along the beach instead of back, as most resorts go, ensuring you are never far from the beach, no matter what room you have. Beautifully landscaped, with small paths to lead you everywhere, low lighting, very romantic! We were in the back on the third floor, above the swim up suites and looked out onto one of the pool bars. This pool bar closed early, around 7 or so and was never a problem, noise wise. Our room was beautiful, large and roomy and very romantic with it's wonderfully draped king size bed and jacuzzi tub for two! The bathroom was also roomy, two sinks, a closed door toilet and a great shower easily big enough for two, all tiled and Mexican styled. We had no issues with the room, air con, no water problems at all and it was thoroughly cleaned everyday, with towel art and other lovely touches. The tips of our toilet paper rolls were folded into a point everyday, for God's sake!
We were very lucky to get to enjoy this resort for a second time and as returning guests we had his and hers golf shirts delivered to the room with a thank you note for returning, as well as little petite fours brought nightly for a bite of heavenly chocolate. The room also had a bottle of wine chilling when we checked in, but we do not drink wine so I can't tell you anything more about this, other than it was a nice thought! The soft robes were hanging in our room and we used these many times throughout our stay.
There were no mossies to be seen, thankfully, because we had had a bad time with these little buggers from another resort last year. Only sweet little salamanders (?) and cool iguanas hanging out sunning themselves. Pelicans fly overhead, graceful in the air and we had a ball watching them dive into the water and come up with fish.
Speaking of fish.....there are lots of cool fish that will happily come to you in three feet of water just off the beach, begging for pieces of banana or bread crumbs. Bring a slice or a banana from breakfast and they will nibble it right out of your hand. We never got tired of doing this! You can throw it and they will chase it like little pirahna!
The beach itself is something that is of a personal taste perhaps on whether you will love it or not. We adored it. It is much smaller in width than say, Bavaro in Punta Cana. The "sand" is a finely ground up mix of coral and shells, coarser than the powdery sand that others may have. In saying this I must point out here that we are avid snorkelers, and this is the type of beach we prefer. It is this way because there are lots of coral outcroppings in the water, therefore providing homes to the many different species of fish that we love to see while snorkeling! The water is shallow, perfect for beginners, maybe not so hot for swimmers. The sandbags that have been placed in the water, while not really attractive, make for excellent tidal pools, great for exploring and shell gathering. We found so many great shells, beautiful pieces of brain corals, lots of crabs...we were truly in our element. Another thing EDSS beach has going for it....PEACE. Other than the spa people and their offers of their "free" 5 minute massages, we were not bugged once! A simple no thank you and the spa kids left you alone. Walks down the l o n g beach were peaceful and wonderfully quiet. No timeshare people, no braid people, no souvenier people...it was awesome. No every 1/2 hour helicopters flying overhead, no light planes, no balloons nor flying boats and no party boats. No noise, no pollution....heaven. Let me point out here that I actually did see all of these things a few times...but at a good distance away, except for a small plane that buzzed over twice. Peace is what we wanted and peace is what we got.
Beach chairs and the beautiful beach swing beds were always readily available and we spent hours and hours doing nothing but relaxing and sleeping on them.
Hard working waitresses took our drink orders on the beach and brought us cold drinks on a steady basis. Friendly and prompt, as always.
As for the food, we ate most breakfasts at Arricefes and most lunches at the outdoor grill. We found we were able to get simpler food here, like bacon and eggs, english muffins, peanut butter, fresh fruit, etc. Lunches were chicken burgers, cheeseburgers, crispy burritos all accompanied by great waffle fries or plain french fries. Always served first were the mounds of picco de gallo (sp?) guac and chips. Delish! Dinners were at any of the 5 restaurants and I won't go into it, there has been plenty written on the subject, but they were all very good and it was always an experience! The sushi was yummy! Room service being included is truly the bomb, we used it a lot and it was always prompt, hot and fresh. The burgers were great.
We never went to see the personal concierge because we didn't have to but he called and left a couple of messages inviting us to visit him and say hi. We never did as I had heard it was a thinly disguised attempt at time share and after a truly horrific experince with these sharks a few year's back, we didn't want ANYTHING to do with that, even a hint of it would be too much. Are you starting to realize I like my privacy and value my time and peace? LOL. I didn't care if they offer free puppies, I tuck my tail and SCAT!
The drinks were delicious, top shelf liquor was available and I tried many different mixed, frozen type drinks, with the signature El Dorado being my fave pick. As I stated earlier, we are not big drinkers and wouldn't know top shelf liquor if it bit us, but I certainly enjoyed picking drinks off the menu and trying them.
The staff was, to say the least, incredible. We were not passed once in 2 weeks where a staff member didn't say "hola!" Friendly, personable and proud of their culture, always willing to try and share a story with you, even with a language barrier on our part. We tried our best to speak our pathetically broken spanish and were always met with a smile and laugh, and a try at the correct pronounciation. It is here I must mention Ignacio at Arricefe, who met us with a smile every morning and looked after our every need or want. He went above and beyond in service, and while we meet many wonderful people on vacation, he truly stood out and made us feel so welcome, and so glad to be back. Also, a note to Andy, at the V-Aquatics booth on the beach, we treasured our daily talks with you and hope our friendship continues into the future. Andy can book anything for you, from rides to and from the airport, all tours and also accompany you to see the "real" Mayan, on day long or days long trips. He is a contact that proved invaluable to us and his knowledge of local culture, history and services is unbeatable. Leaving these two people behind felt like leaving family behind. Very strange for me. My better half cannot say enough about the staff.
Regarding tipping...yes, it is included in your package and not mandatory, but please people, they work so hard for so little. It amazed us to see so few people leaving money behind to waiters and bartenders. If you can afford to go, you can afford $10 or $20 a day to spread around. Think about it and try and keep your money local if you have a choice.
I wish I could tell you about the evening entertainment but I am somewhat embarrased to tell you we didn't see ONE show! Our habit was awake at 5:30am, all day in the sun, a big dinner around 6:30 and back to the room, where we would spend an hour or two reading and/or enjoying each other's company, wow...who has time for that at home...imagine! and then we would be out like lights by 9:30/10pm. Probably considered boring by some, but pure heaven to us with our nightmare schedules at home. To spend time in each other's company every evening for 2 weeks....wonderfully reconnecting.
We did a few day trips this time, all on our own, with Andy's excellent advice. I think I will mention the colectivo here, which in my humble opinion, is one of the best mass transit systems I have ever used! White passenger vans cruise the main highways, from Cancun to Tulum and these provide safe, fast, efficient and cheap transportation to almost anywhere you might want to venture to. For 25 pesos, or $2.50 you just walk out the end of the driveway, a good 10 minute hike and wait 60 seconds and one will flash it's lights and pull over for you. So easy, go right to X-Caret-Playa Del Carmen-Cancun or cross the highway and go left for Xel-ha-Akumal-Tulum. Just tell the driver where you wish to go. Connect in PDC for Cancun. We bought Xel-Ha tickets from Andy and took the colectivo, saved $30.00 and it took all of 15 minutes to get there. You just have to be able to walk the driveways into each place, 10-15 minutes. Xel-Ha was great, good snorkeling, good food and drinks. Also they take good pics of you at strategic moments that you can of course, purchase on the way out.
We spent a day at the ruins in Tulum and walked to the incredible public beach, Paraiso, which was also very quiet and breathtaking. We took a taxi from a point down the beach to the town of Tulum, which is laid back with lots of stores for shopping. Very local, same stuff in each store, but some cool market stands to explore. Caught the colectivo from here right back to the resort.
We spent 2 days in Playa Del Carmen, which we love, eating, shopping and sitting on the beautiful beach. Do not miss an evening here to enjoy the many sidewalk cafe's and excellent shopping opportunities with everything from local stores to high end, pricey stores. MacDonald's, Subway , et al are available here for those of you with less adventurous tastes. The colectivo runs until about 9:30pm.
Not once did we ever feel threatened or worried or anything but safe and happy. The local people we ran into on our travels are helpful, warm and friendly.
I can honestly say that this was the best vacation we have ever had. I didn't think that we could recreate the first wonderful visit to EDSS, but we did. This time it was twice as better, because we got to stay twice as long. We highly recommend this resort and this area. We met many wonderful people, Paul and Doug, from across the Pond, you guys were awesome...please reconsider that camping trip to Africa next year! Join us! DebSouthampton, it was great to meet you...John and Hilary, from our own Halifax, it was a pleasure and we hope to hear from you soon. So many others....
We received a note from Ignacio and staff from Arricefe on our last day that we will treasure and keep in our album. We cannot wait to see you again. This small adults only resort, the Mayan and it's People is our new home away from home.
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- Also Known As:
- El Dorado Seaside Hotel
- El Dorado Seaside Suites Mexico
- El Dorado Resort Spa
- Hotel El Dorado Seaside
- El Dorado Seaside Resort
- El Dorado Spa
- El Dorado Seaside Mexico
- Eldorado Seaside Suites
- Eldorado Resort
- El Dorado Seaside Suites, By Karisma Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico