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“Great Honeymoon” 4 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
michigan
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great Honeymoon”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

I stayed at the Royale in a standard suite in for my honeymoon. Here is a summary of my experience for those who are looking for some advice (coming from a late-20s couple). Overall, we had a great time. The pool was fun and the food was excellent!!! However, there are some kinks. Here is what we experienced:

Room: We originally booked a casita suite then downgraded to a standard swim up suite after getting a timeshare rental from one of the royale club owners. We saved a few thousand by doing so and probably would do the same if we could go back in time (because 3,000 is a lot of money to save) but the difference in quality is highly visible. The swim up was nice but we were a little turned off by the tiny little ants that infested the bathroom area the first couple days. We had to have maintenance come by a couple times to spray and although they eventually went away, it wasnt what we wanted to see on our honeymoon. Everything else in the room was ok but once we got a tour of the casitas (to see what we originally had) we were kicking ourselves as the casita was very clean and luxurious. Overall, I would rather have $3,000 more cash but was kind of bummed about the difference in quality. Also, we didnt end up using the swim up patio that much. We pretty much layed out by the pool or beach most of the day so didnt even need that room.

Food: The most memorable part of our trip was the food. It was great! the soups in all of the restaurants were amazing and we loved the asian restaurant! we never really had a bad meal. The only exception was the "romantic dinner on the beach." Although it was a nice setting, the food wasnt as good as the restaurants. We ended up leaving and going to one of the other restaurants. But that being the only bad thing, we couldnt have asked for more!

Activities: My wife likes to just lay by the pool all day but I can only do that for about a half hour or so before I have to get up and move around. The royale was perfect for me as they had activities every hour. I had a blast playing pool and/or beach volleyball and the resort even had games of water polo every day. I had never played this before but couldnt get enough and found myself waiting each day for the game to begin. They also had ATV trails on site which was nice since you didnt have to leave the resort to have some adventure in some jungle, beach and desert scenary.

Beach: Nothing like the sights and sounds of any ocean. While we enjoyed our times on the beach, it is important to note that most beach snobs would probbaly complain about this one. The beach bags in the water are an eye sore and the beach was a little rocky/dirty. Again, I still felt like I was in paradise but could understand where others could complain.

Pools: All of the pools were great. The water was a little cold but everything else was good including the swim up bars. Note though that they do play the towel game here. We were up early every day and still had a hard time getting beach beds/chairs. That was kind of annoying but again, we are the type that don't let things like that ruin our trip.

Location: Its kind of far from all the other popular mexican destinations but if you arent planning on leaving the resort much then shouldnt be a problem.

Entertainment: Not much of a night life here. The main bar pretty much plays the same music everynight and its kind of dull but we didnt stay up late much anyways after being in the sun all day.

Room Tip: The Swim up suite is not really worth it as we didnt use the lounge chairs that often and found ours...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • 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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Worcester, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

We have just returned from 14 days at the El Dorado Royale. We were very lucky with the weather as we learned that people at the resort a week earlier experienced two days of rain which spoilt their time there. Unfortunately you can't control the weather and although we had a few overcast days the second week was superb. The complex is large with beautiful laid out gardens which are immaculate. The Casitas section was particularly attractive and they enjoyed a few enhancements and a little more luxury. Having said that, we ate in the same restaurants , the two Italians and the Oriental I would class as fine dining. The other restaurants were ok but I was a bit disappointed with the Mexican as it had a canteen feel about it and the food I found a bit bland. ...but it might just have been a bad night!. Our room was a good size and very clean but as the balcony was facing north it was always very dark because of the depth of the room and the soft lighting. We did have a slight problem with the water as one morning we had no hot water and another day no cold and the temperature did vary but likely due to solar heating. We didn't use the pools as we love the beach and there we had the benefit of a lovely breeze. There are plenty of beds and towels and a few girls walked the beach and took drink orders. The resort prides itself on their eco friendly pursuits. They have made a reef from large sandbags which lie scattered a little way out to sea which have enabled lagoons to form which are full of fish eagerly waiting for the tourists to feed them. Many find the manmade reef ugly but it has weathered and we are told it is working. The staff are wonderful, very helpful and always smiling. There aren't many minus's but the one thing that irritated me was we had to pay for wi.fi which was free in the Casitas and it wasn't cheap at 11USD a day. The bars were sometimes undermanned so service can be slow. Anyway, I'm being picky and for the most I would say it was a great relaxing holiday.

  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Glasgow
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

My wife and i stayed at the el dorado royale from22/1/13 to 6/2/13 and we can honestly say it was the best hotel we have ever stayd in.we stayd in a junior jacuzzi suite which was recently refurbished.it was amazing they cleand it twice a day,stocked the mini bar with whatever you wanted.the 24hr room service was fast and the food was amazing so was the choice.All the staff are very friendly and we felt they bent over backwards to make you feel welcome.on our anniversary they booked us a table at th Italian gave us some special plate celebrating our anniversary they delivered free champagne to our room that night.the location of the hotel the quality of the service and food are just impeccable.We cannot recommend this hotel enough

Room Tip: The very expensive swim up suites and casitas don't warrant the extra cash the standard junior j...
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Exeter, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

Food - Amazing. (Try the romantic candlelit beach dinner)
Accom - Amazing.
Service - Amazing.
Location - Amazing.
Entertainment - Amazing.
Everything - Amazing.

My partner and I are going back later this year.......

Room Tip: Seaview Junior Suites really do struggle to overlook the sea....unless you squint on a clear day. Ho...
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  • Stayed March 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wind Lake, WI
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

This review is for the JUNIOR JACUZZI SUITES or the regular hotel portion. Most of the glowing reviews are for the CASITAS part of the resort. You don’t spend much time in the room, but if you really must stay at this resort, do yourself a favor and upgrade!! If you do not, you will:
- need to pay $52 per week for Wifi internet service,
- not be able to make dinner reservations,
- not have a dresser (only a few hangers and some ‘cubby hole’ shelving),
- have a limited beverage selection in a barely operable refrigerator,
- have a tube tv,
- have limited room service amenities and
- have a safe with a large key to carry around or hide instead of a code

The lowest end of this resort tops the price of the mid-grade level for most other comparable resorts. An upgrade would decrease the competitiveness even more. For what the resort offered overall, I am not sure this resort has the ‘most bang for your buck’. We stayed in the 1600 building near the entertainment and restaurants. We had a garden view but a palm blocked most any view.
POSTIVES - The grounds are absolutely beautiful and well maintained. They grow most of their own vegetables in an impressive greenhouse area. The freshness can definitely be tasted in their delicious food. The drinks were very tasty and they did not skimp on the alcohol. There was always a lounge or bed available by the beach or pools even with many occupied by towels. The sandbags brought in schools of friendly fish which were quite fun to interact with! The entertainment provided for a great show with impressive costumes. The spa and the lobby have a wonderfully invigorating scent from the use of aromatherapy. I did not find anyone waiting for tips but we tipped: $5 each day for housekeeping, $1 for each drink service and $2 for meals. We took the Exotic Travelers tour to get a free candlelight dinner. See your concierge for information. The lobster they served was HUGE! This was the best meal with the best service.
CHECK-IN / DAY 1 – The lobby was average but smelt wonderful. We arrived early and chose to grab a drink and a bite to eat while we waited for our room. The first bar… out of ice at almost 1PM and on the tiled ground was a puddle of blood. What a first impression?! We ate lunch right next door and our first food order was wrong. Lunch was over but still… no ice… and the blood remained on the ground providing us our very first trip advisor photo an hour into our arrival. Then another bar… no ice. Thank goodness our room was ready!!
ROOM/GROUNDS - I must have forgotten the blood walking barefoot from the beach because I was treated to a ½ inch piece of glass in the heel of my foot. Take my advice and look where you walk – you will find glass. The room was very basic and the lack of a place to unpack seemed rather unwelcoming to me. They did a fine job otherwise of maintaining and beautifying the grounds and cleaning the rooms.
SERVICE –A quick reach in the room fridge produced four, only slightly chilled cervesas. Our concierge confirmed the fridge was working fine and assured us the cervesas are delivered cold. We were advised the refrigerator is stocked once per day and what is in there is the limit on the number of drinks we could have. We could (and did) opt to switch out soda for the extra cervesas although that never happened. The concierge said he would take care of it but still, we never saw it. Your concierges are only open until 5PM so be sure to only need something during business hours because if you return to your room after a pool day to find you have not received washcloths, the front desk cannot assist you. Also, we learned to order a bucket of ice from room service while getting ready to chill the drinks. There are no vending or ice machines. Room service is your only option.
BEACH – The sandbags were not pretty but didn’t bother me at all. It was an effort to try to maintain the beach without pumping sand which is a disturbance to aquatic life. Without these sandbags, you would not have the schools of fish to interact with. The beach was clean but had many rocky parts. We enjoy beach walking, but this resort only stretched a short distance either way so we found ourselves pacing the beach they had. No shortage of lounges though.
POOLS – There is one heated pool near the casitas. The rest are chilly and never too busy. Unless you swam, some of the pool bars were difficult to get to.
DINING – The food was delicious though there was really nowhere to just grab a quick bite to eat. Dinner was always a long process requiring around three hours from checking in to walking out. If you wanted to make the entertainment on time, you should not begin this process any later than 6PM. If you wanted to get seating for the entertainment, you should start earlier than that. We were advised this was not their peak season. Your actual main course takes awhile to come out, but if they bring out the wrong order – your food comes in minutes. The portions are small in most restaurants but are large in Rincon Mexico. Our favorite restaurant was Kompai and the lamb is highly recommended there!!! In Rincon Mexico (also referred to as Mexican Corner), I highly recommend the flavorful Sea Bass which melts in your mouth.
ENTERTAINMENT – The entertainment was nice although it was tough to get seating unless you arrived early. This was the one central gathering point but was rather laid back and reserved. After dinner there are only three bars open, this one, one by the beach down from the lobby and one on the casitas side outside Kompai. Those were more reserved yet.
BARS – The drinks were good but the waits were often a bit long. The staff was friendly enough but just didn’t seem to smile or interact much. The staff rotates every two weeks.
Overall, I tend to think the resort is almost too big. There are always golf carts running the main sidewalk down the beach. I think they have the right of way, so pay attention as they can be fast. I question the 4-Diamond / 5-Star resort. To upgrade, you really don’t get any more or any better than another resort would offer for the money. I’ve ate nearly as good of food, walked better beaches and slept in better rooms and have spent less for better, friendlier service. I began excited but was highly disappointed and frustrated with this vacation. It’s only saving grace was the 85 degree Mexican sun and cool, salty water which will always beat the best day of work!!

Room Tip: Stay in the Casitas!!!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seaford
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

I feel it somewhat pointless repeating all the wonderful things other reviewers have mentioned about this resort. At first I was very disappointed that we had been allocated one of the older junior suites. We had gone to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. I had advised First Choice about this and they had assured me that they would e-mail the resort. My 1st error, I should have done it myself!! The check-in clerk said he could upgrade us to a casitas, with a special 50% discount and then quoted us an additional $2500, we could not pay that, and all I really expected was one of the refurbished rooms, and made to feel a bit special. My 2nd error is that I should have pushed this a bit further but after an 11 hour flight I did not have the energy. After meeting the general manager as we were leaving he was most upset that he had not known about this earlier as he could have sorted everything out. He very generously compensated us by clearing our check-out bill. My advice to all is if you have a problem, ask and it will be sorted. I asked for a plug for the sink (they dont seem to have them) The next thing a plumber arrived, removed the existing unit and replaced it with a bath plug unit. It is truly a beautiful place, the best thing is the staff from the little girl cleaning the public toilets, to the waiters the bus boys the maids and the gardeners all such lovely people who cant do enough for you, with a smile!! We did tip as we went along, just our personal choice.
Ladies, the hairdryer is great, (I take my own as they are usually hopeless)
We had two lovely weeks just the chillax we required. Just to mention the houseband and the wonderful singer, I never did catch his name his repitoire was amazing. I hope they pay them well as they are a great asset, and the guest acts were very enjoyable.
Only one moan, the internet access was very expensive at $52 a week, I can't understand how it would cost this much??
Yes I would go back if the opportunity arose but we are not in the habit of returning anywhere as there is a big world out there.

Room Tip: Try and get a refurbished one.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Norwich, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

You will see from the other recent reviews that this hotel is very highly rated, and its current ranking on here (#33 of 70) I am sure does not do it justice as I find it impossible to believe there are 32 better hotels in the area (or all of Mexico).

We stayed in the regular villas in one of the renovated rooms (314) and have to say it was excellent and exactly what you'd expect from a 5* resort. For those who complained about the light from the air-conditioning unit, there is a button on the remote control to turn it off! We found the location of our room perfect - close enough to the beach and main pool to be convenient, but not too far from the restaurants or too close to the entertainment to be noisy at night.

I would echo other comments about the Casitas - yes they look lovely but it is a *long* walk from them to the main reception, although of course you can use the golf buggy shuttles to get around if you like (we preferred to walk everywhere, good exercise to get an appetite for the food).

As for the restaurants, in our opinion the Kampai (asian) stands head-and-shoulders above the rest in terms of food quality, although the other restaurants are very nice too. Out of two weeks we only had two bad meals - one very overcooked steak in the Cocotal and one meal in the D'Italia Casitas that was ruined by the ridiculously slow service (1.5 hours to get 1 appetizer and 2 main courses). However the food in general is way, way superior to any other all-inclusive we've ever visited.

Some reviews have criticised the waiting times, and this is valid but we tended to eat breakfast quite early (7:30 - 8am) and never had to wait to be seated. For lunch the same is true, most restaurants start service at 12:30 and don't really get busy until 1:30 so it's just about planning ahead. Dinner is the same, if you turn up between 7 - 8pm with no reservation (which you can only do if staying at the Casitas anyway) then do expect a wait of between 30 - 60 minutes at the more popular places (Kampai and D'Italia).

Our only criticism of the restaurants was the enforcement of the dress code at lunch, particularly at Jojos and La Isla which are both by the pool - they don't allow men in with vest tops but do allow women in with transparent wraps over a bikini, go figure! Also one time at Kampai a group were allowed in wearing beachwear but many other times we saw people refused in similar attire - if you have a policy, at least be consistent, but we'd like to see it relaxed around the pool restaurants at lunch, I don't think anyone really cares that much do they?

Our other concern prior to staying were the reviews which complained of timeshare hard selling, but this isn't something we ever experienced, just two fliers under the door on the first two days inviting us to attend their talk, but these went straight in the bin and nothing more was ever said about it.

I was disappointed by the cost of the Wi-Fi, which at $50+ per week (or $11 a day) is crazy when you've spent so much on the hotel already and just smacks of profiteering on their part, but maybe they're catering to the more wealthy clientèle who don't object to such charges.

The place does get busy at weekends, especially with weddings and also conferences, so expect more people at restaurants and around the pool. As much as we love Americans, it's true that most of the noisy groups seemed to be from the USA, and a couple of times we were disturbed at 2am by loud groups of them returning to their rooms, no doubt after emptying the bars!!

Whilst there we did several trips: a speedboat tour in Cancun where you drive your own boat. This was great fun but unfortunately a bit spoiled by a massive downpour for most of the time. A visit to Tulum to see the Mayan ruins - this was good, no doubt not as special as Chichen Itza but we didn't want the 3 hour (each way) bus journey, and Tulum is just 1 hour away. Lastly we did a dolphin swim at Delpinus just past Playa del Carmen which was amazing (60 minutes in the water with them), but beware the photos/DVD are very expensive. We got the DVD but regret it now as it cost $80 for 10 minutes of pretty amateur footage (mostly of the dophins just swimming around us in a circle) overlaid with rather loud dance music!

I'd have to agree with those who criticise the sandbags in the ocean - whilst the beach is lovely to sunbathe, and generally much quieter than around the pool - it would've been nice to swim in the ocean but that's really not possible here as the first sandbags are only about 10 metres out and the water is barely waist deep here.

Overall though this is a fantastic resort and don't be put off by some of the older negative reviews - I was worried but those people are either very unlucky or just the sort of people who will complain about anything. We'd definitely go back!

Room Tip: The lower numbered villas are closer to the beach (rooms starting 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5) but slightly furt...
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
    • 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
Amenities:
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 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 On the Beach 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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