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“gorgeous resort” 5 of 5 stars
Review of El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort by Karisma

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El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort by Karisma
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Km 45 Carretera municipio de solidaridad, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Thunder Bay, Canada
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“gorgeous resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

beautiful. well kept, grounds are gorgeous, full of flowering shrubs, beautiful pools, great choice of restaurants, different things to do if you want .. nightly entertainment .. would go back for sure

Room Tip: the only thing we found was because of the humidity, it was hard to get to sleep .. wear light cotto...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,502 reviews from our community

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  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Aston UK
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We stayed in royale 3 years ago and after visiting Secrets Maroma and Excellence Cancun decided to come back but try Casita's this time. Room was lovely with outside shower and in a quiet area so we never felt crowded and always got a bed on the beach or round our local pool. Grounds are wonderful and kept lovely and clean and we enjoy the fact it is so large and spread out and gives that sense of space and going out to a different area each night or just taking a long walk to breakfast. The advantage of making a restaurant reservation was appreciated as we noticed very long waits particularly at Italian Casita's. Food overall is really good and excellent in both Italian restaurants and Kampai. During our last visit 3 years ago we particularly loved the pink 'champagne' and were so pleased to see it still there alongside the white version that we had at both other resorts mentioned above. However this rapidly ran out and by the 2nd week was not to be found anywhere - minor disappointment for us. Another thing we noted was the outside bars kept running out of top brand spirits - we dont drink all day and only drink champagne or G+T mainly and wine in the restaurant. It therefore was very disappointing to get to a bar and ask for pink champagne - sorry no - Tanquaray and Tonic -sorry no only house Gin. Watching people consume gallons all day and then to not be able to get 2 or 3 drinks of our choice was very disappointing. We felt sorry for the barmen who were concerned by this and kept having to run off and collect boxes of spirits to top up the bar whilst guests waited -surely in a hotel of this standard a van could be called up when drinks are getting low and not make these very hard working barmen run around and collect too -very inefficient. I agree with other comments about internet / wifi access - criminal that such charges should be applied at a top resport like this -didn't sign up on principle -but heard others struggling with access! Finding out what was happening on a daily basis was poor, previuosly we got sent a list of daily activities with weather forecast each evening. This year apart from routine activities, we really didn't know what was going on! We came across a special eveing grill at the bar near la Isla at the end of the eveing and found out on the last day (!!) that there were spinning classes and Zumba too. Very disappointed in this. Our personal concierges were a mixed bag - the male was very personable and helpful but the 2 girls were pretty frosty and really only wanted to get their points for the Exotic Club; we didn't go (having been previously) which was met with cold stares afterwards! 3 years ago we liked Fuentes but it was only open twice hence we were really disappointed when it was closed for the whole period this time, we were not told why by the concierge. However we had a cause to complain about some poor service we received and were suddenly invited to a VIP event at Fuentes to test a new concept. We were pleased and thoroughly enjoyed the evening, but suprised that it was layed out for many more people than arrived and thought it was a shame for those who ran it. We enquired how one would normally get an invite to such a VIP event other than like us on the day through a complaint and was told that concierges were asked to invite guests as they so wished. Left us wondering why there were so many spare places...... Any way to the final and main feeling we come away with was about the service and the warmth and friendliness of the people -it was so patchy and cold at times and we had one waiter in Kampai who was extremely curt on New Years eve and just totally rude and ignorant 3 days later (the cause of our complaint) so much so I was angry and in tears as we left and had a sleepless night. There were however some extremely friendly people who made our holiday; all the Entertainment Team, the reception girls in Cocotal at breakfast (The Pumpkins!) Alejandro our beach butler, Sylvano in Italian Casita's and last but not least Edith from the Health Bar who actually remembered us from 3 years ago! All were great and genuinely friendly as were Juan and Jorge in the bars, but Edith was so warm and friendly and we were so disappointed she just disappeared -said see you tomorrow on the Wednesday and we never saw her again! Edith if you see this please let us know your are OK as we were worried about you and wrote you a long letter thanking you! Last year at Secrets Maroma we came away feeling we'd left family behind -that was the feeling created by everyone there, we wish we could feel the same here. However all in all we enjoyed the holiday and would recommend but the hotle needs to look at a few of the points people are noting on this website.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

The best food we have ever enjoyed on a holiday! Top of the list were the evening meals at the Cocotal. Yet it was hardly ever full; perhaps because people had enjoyed their really great buffet breakfast and went elsewhere for dinner. Big mistake. For an excellent lunch go to JoJos or have a really healthy lunch with the salad bar at La Isla (ignore the "health bar!"). The Mexican restaurants were disappointing - go to Play del Carmen instead. The Japanese restaurant was good but main dishes just variations of stir fries.
All the staff and waiters were really very friendly and helpful, including all the waiters and maids. The "Personal Concierges" were useful for booking the free shuttles (well in advance), but spent most of their time in vain trying to persuade us to go on a tour of the Premier facilities.
We booked a Sea View room but when we arrived were given a Swim-up room in section 300. It was absolutely fantastic! Very large, with an enormous whirlpool bath and very clean. The mini-bar was restocked regularly - all included in the price and branded drinks were available at any time in the bars.
Tipping was the norm, but never intrusive or asked for, and leaving 20 Pesos for the maid each day and 20-50 Pesos at mealtimes was really worth it for the service we received.
The free shuttle to Playa del Carmen only gave you 2 to 3 hours at night, so it is worth getting a taxi to explore the town during the day at least once. The trip to Tulum was not too demanding and we enjoyed it.
The Beach was good to laze on, with plenty of umbrellas. By contrast the beach at the Casitas end was rocky and inhospitable. However you could not swim in the sea, not because of the artificial reefs (large sandbags) there, but because the small rocks underneath were too sharp to walk out over. This was the ONLY negative in an otherwise extremely enjoyable and relaxing holiday. We would DEFINITELY go back there again.

Finally all transfers organised by First Choice staff were excellent - smooth and efficient. However beware the strict baggage weight limits by Thomson Airways, take your own earphones for their rather poor in flight entertainment and make sure to buy your own sandwiches and drinks once through Airport Security! Go right through to the Gate at Cancun airport for the best shops and bars to spend those unwanted Pesos!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

Where to start…. This is not a hotel or resort I would ever go back to nor give a second chance. In the attachments you will see the legal letter they presented to us at check out. You may ask why a legal letter; and it was their passive aggressive way of telling us we will compensate you a measly $140 for all your misery (which is the only thing we spent at the resort), but we want you to sign your rights away…

The Cliff notes for those who do not want to read a novel:

- They room type you reserved is only a suggestion to them. Not reality.
- Only one of the five restaurants could be considered gourmet - Kampai
- Resort is far from everything. It is 30-40 min without traffic to either Cancun or Playa
- Restaurant times are just a suggestion and not reality, reservations only for Casita’s
- Dietary concerns not respected. If you are allergic and tell them it will not be respected
- Two instances where beef was served to us Raw after asking for medium-well
- Spoiled Milk served to us a breakfast and told it was “just fine”
- Kampai bar did not have sanitary bar glass cleaner working and glasses only rinsed before reuse
- Glass on the beach! Bar serves glasses to beach patrons and we saw a glass broke on the beach
- No Pool Chair or Cabana maintenance. If you want a chair go at 8 am and put a towel on it
- GM – Francesco and Head Concierge – Hannah worthless for customer service, apologizers only

- Bell men were outstanding. When we could not wait to leave they were their instantly
- The grounds were very clean. They can landscape very well.
- Room Service was timely, but food was less than to be desired
- Our onsite tour concierge from Olympus was good at arranging tours

You are in the middle of the road between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. What this means to you is that if you sign up for a tour in Playa Del Carmen, you will be the first picked up and the last dropped off! For example a 20-25 min ride will take 1.5 hrs. We went to Rio Secreto and had to make 5 stops on the way at other people’s hotels going and coming. Luckily for XPlor we paid an extra $100 for private transportation. My suggestion, and based on everything else,¬ would be to stay closer to Playa Del Carmen.

We reserved an Ocean Front Jacuzzi Junior Suite. On check-in we were give a room in building 15 which is nowhere near the ocean. Then upon complaining we were offered $200…(we spent $2,400). After calling our travel agent, we were offered a room in building 17 which you still could not see the Ocean! What does Ocean Front mean to you? We are attaching a pic of building 17 in which they tried to call Ocean Front View. Finally after day 1 we were transferred to the room we reserved which was the ocean front in Buildings 1-5. Another couple at check-in had the same issue and we heard them arguing as well. We then met another couple at the bar that had the same issue. If you book a low end room you will be fine.

Gourmet, really? Think bad buffet. Not even for Mexico could it be gourmet. One restaurant could be considered gourmet and that was Kampai. The award winning D’Italia we had to send three dishes back and ended up ordering a steak to stop the train wreck vs. Italian. Order the risotto and tell us if you can identify it as such. Carpaccio was minced and you could eat it with a spoon. We did not try the Mexican restaurant because each time we went by, only a couple people were in there, so we took as a sign. If you are in a Casita then you can make a reservation, otherwise No. Don’t go to a restaurant at opening time because they will tell you it will be a “Mexican” 15 min. We were told this twice and one time it meant 30 min, the other time and hour.

If you step on glass on the beach, it is because they serve glass on the beach! Not all the time, but we saw it extensively and on New Year’s Eve we saw someone break a glass on the beach. Why they would have a bar setup on the beach without only plastic is beside us. What was worse was when the glass was broken we watched 3 employee’s stand around it and only one pick up the big pieces and the other wipe his shoe across it to cover it. Another patron jumped up and raised cane, but again it went back to we don’t understand or I’m sorry with no action. It is a theme at this resort. At the Kampai bar they ran out of glasses, to which they dipped dirty glasses in water and re-served with drinks. Only upon complaining did they hook up the washer and go retrieve more glasses. It was one of the most disgusting things we witnessed. If your beer tastes like Pina Colada you will know why.

Dietary Concerns; don’t go here. We spent half of our Candle Light Dinner explaining that upon check-in at the Candle Light Dinner were we filled out a card, in writing, that my girlfriend was highly allergic to mushrooms. So we spent 30 min of the hour with 4 different people explaining that truffle oil is a derivative of mushroom, only to be served truffle oil! All we heard was I’m sorry, I’m sorry but since you don’t tip, nothing ever changed. Even worse we were served spoiled Milk at breakfast which you could smell, and we sent it back, only to be told it was fine. Spoiled Milk has a distinct smell, I am sorry. Then to top everything off we were served a Raw burger at Jojo’s the last day that had been just charred on the outside. Luckily we cut into it before digging in, and then when we complained, they acted like they did not understand. We provided a show and tell to the cooks on that occasion.

Dietary concerns, spoiled milk, raw burgers, and glass on the beach that can hurt or even kill someone. It has to be taken seriously, but unfortunately this resort did not. We filed a formal complaint with our concierge, which did nothing. The concierge directed us to the GM – Francesco and the Head Concierge – Hannah. After waiting 30 min, from when were told they would meet with us, we were given the deer in the headlights look. Finally, Hannah spoke up and said we are definitely going to take care of your Candle Light Dinner(truffle oil). I responded it was not about the money that they were going to seriously hurt someone. So they both left, came back several minutes later and presented me with a letter, which at first I thought it was my check out statement, and started to sign only to realize it was a legal letter asking me to sign in order for them to compensate me $140 dollars! Really??? See it attached below if you do not believe. I laughed and promptly declined and paid the $140 out of principle. What 4-5 star resort does this? They did not even honor the $200 they offered us on check-in. All they kept saying was I can have a copy… Then to add insult to injury, Hannah told me I was trying to get something for Free when I would not give their letter back. I laughed, and said Yeh $140 on a $2400 bill was really asking for something for Free. This is the top management at the resort! They still don’t get it. I have since contacted Karisma the parent company, and the VP of Food and Beverage, since the GM and Head Concierge don’t get it.

You want 4 - 5 star gourmet, and are used to those standards, then this is not the place for you.

Room Tip: Ocean Front is building 1-5. They tried to tell us buildings near the ocean but could not see the o...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Coventry, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

We stayed over Xmas and New Year, and didnt really get off to a good start as the first room we were put in 5108 was musty and miles away from everything, so my partner asked for us to be moved. He had paid for a swim up suite but when we were moved to 4406 we opened the door to be greeted by a bridge! we ended up moving next door to where we had got some water!
They are definitely NOT swim up suites though. There's about 6 inches of water which your lounger sits in and then a channel which is just above waist height. We stayed at Excellence Resort last year and the swim up REALLY was! it went straight into the pool!

Our concierge were very good (Jesus and Antonio) and we did have alot of issues with the wifi as many people do!
The food is good. Breakfast buffet at Cocotal has all you could want. D'Italia and Kampei are also good. We enjoyed JoJos for lunchtime to sit and look at the sea. Yes the sea is rocky but pretty, and the weather is gorgeous.
The upgraded rooms are fine - although next door complained theirs was musty too. The TV went fuzzy a couple of times, but no big deal.
The staff are great and really made this resort for me.
The only down side I suppose, is that in the second week it felt a bit like Ibiza Uncovered and we were surrounded with "kids" - I really felt old and I'm not 50 yet :-) it's a short trip for Americans to pop over for a week........which is probably why the disco plays mainly house and garage stuff which meant we went to bed after the band finished! and I like dancing!
It is a large resort, but we enjoyed walking everywhere - don't take high heeled shoes if you plan to walk!
I would go back to this resort - overall though the Excellence Resort in Riviera Maya has the edge - and free wifi!

Room Tip: block 44 got the sun during December from 7.45am until about 3.30pm
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

Hindsight is 20/20. Gorgeous resort. Loved my stay there a year ago - we stayed at El Dorado Royale and then at the Casitas. Wouldn't hesitate going back. My advice, stay away from the sales pitch.

Attended the sales pitch (a full half day) and actually purchased weeks towards another stay and access to timeshare companies. (Clearly my head was in vacation mode)

Here I am a year later with NOTHING to show for that $10,000 purchase. I have tried to book timeshare exchanges through my included memberships - I have not been able to book ANYTHING. EVER. My weeks have no value. My bad.

Return visits to the Karisma resorts is actually cheaper if you buy through Redtag, or the like. I have spent HOURS trying to find out how my memebership reduces the cost and the bottom line is it doesn't. I can get my room AND FLIGHT for the same price as the room alone through my membership. I'm not sure the fruit basket and bottle of champaigne (in an all-inclusive) is worth 10K! If you think that their sales pitch is elusive...try dealing with the customer service reps after you purchase your membership. I recommend just purchasing a flight/resort package through your agent/on-line site. I do NOT recommend purchasing their exclusive membership. It simply isn't worth the money.

I expect that Karisma sales folks will respond to this...remember...they are sales people. I am the customer and..."the customer is always right!"
If anyone wants a 197-week membership...I'll give you a deal at $8000! :-)

Enjoy your stay!

Room Tip: Casitas area is gorgeous.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

My partner and I really enjoyed our stay at the El Dorado Royale during Christmas and New Year 2012. There are lots and lots of plus points, all mentioned by previous reviewers, and only a few minor niggly points which we considered not bad enough to officially complain about.

One of the minor points was our Concierge - he never stopped mithering us and we got to the stage where we would go out of our way to avoid him, by walking the long way round to the beach, pool and restaurants. We kept saying to him that if we needed him we would not hesitate to contact him, but he just didn't seem to get this!!

Another niggle was the reservation of sunbeds which was very frustratingparticularly when beds had been reserved all day with towels and books but nobody turning up to use them. There is a sign on the 4 poster beds at the pools saying that if possessions were left longer than 45 minutes they would be removed but this was never instigated.

As we weren't staying in the Casitas we couldn't book into our two favourite restaurants, Kampai and D'Italia, so we had to wait quite some time to eat at both of them, but the good news about this is that you can enjoy the ambience of either the Bellini Bar or the Martini Bar so the wait wasn't such a chore.

Another tiny issue was that the bathroom is completely on full view to the bedroom,so not much privacy. Don't get me wrong, my partner and I are very familiar and comfortable with each other but there is a time when you do need the bathroom to yourself. Fortunately there was a frosted door to the shower and the toilet!!! As far as I can see from the brochures and website there is no mention of this, but it could put some people off. However, by the end of our first week we did get used to it but it's not very romantic.

Even taking into consideration the small issues above, I can only say that this place is wonderful and we both enjoyed it to the full and would highly recommend it.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.

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Additional Information about El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort by Karisma

Address: Km 45 Carretera municipio de solidaridad, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort by Karisma 4.5*
Number of rooms: 639
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Conde Nast Traveler Readers’Top 100 Hotels in the world and a AAA Four Diamond Resort, El Dorado Royale is an adults-only destination that provides the ultimate in service in the ultimate setting.With more than a mile of sandy beach in Mexico's Riviera Maya, El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort, by Karisma offers an escape which no other destination can match. All the luxuries you can dream of, combined with an emphasis on personal attention to your every whim, make this an ideal location for a getaway. Travelers join us from around the world for romantic outdoor beach weddings or ceremonies in our intimate beachfront chapel, relaxing honeymoons, anniversary celebrations, or just much needed time off. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Dorado Royale Hotel Riviera Maya
El Dorado Royale Mexico
El Dorado Royale Cancun
El Dorado Royale Spa Resort
El Dorado Royale Resort
Eldorado Royale
El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort By Karisma Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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