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“Wonderful vacation, inspite of the problems” 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
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
“Wonderful vacation, inspite of the problems”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2006

My husband and I had a lovely vacation together staying here from November 8-15. We had a good flight in from St. Louis and no trouble getting through customs or the airport. I even got a green light this time! The time share people have gotten numerous inside the airport but we just passed them by. You do need to be prepared to go all the way outside and look for your tour company's color of shirts. it is easy to get waylaid by one of the timeshare guys.
We opted for the mass transportaion this trip instead of the private due to EDR being so close to the airport. We only waited about 20 minutes to get loaded up and out and the EDR was the first stop.
We decided due to suggestions posted here at Trip Advisor to reserve a regular room and try for an upgrade to a casita. We found the resort to be full and no upgrades available for any type rooms. We had however, reserved an ocean view room and were told there were no rooms available in our reservation type and that they had an upgrade for us at no charge. A swim-up room! I immediately declined it and pointed out that to me this is a demotion in room type, that I wanted to see the ocean, not the swim up. The check-in girl was adament that there was no other room available and we had to take the swim-up. She tried to point out we would be getting a savings and then made me write on the check in form that I was getting an upgrade to a swim-up from an ocean-view before she would go on with the check-in! She said we could most likely upgrade to a Casita on Friday, so we signed the form and were escorted to our room. We opened the door to a room that was nice, but smaller than the standard rooms at the Eldorado Seaside Suites, and looked out the patio door to...........red and yellow contruction plastic!!!! A ten foot wall of red/yellow plastic in every direction. Now I was terribly upset. Not only did I not get the room type i reserved, but I had construction to view.
We decided to live with it and hope for Friday's upgrade. We went to find our conceige and make dinner reservations, only one restaurant was available, even at 11:30 a.m. but she said we could go at 8:00 p.m. We tried to make more reservations but were told we would have to wait until the afternoon.
We came back hours later and were given a confirmation card that said 6:00 p.m. My husband was very firm and reminded her she offered us 8:00. Larry, the conceirge, said too bad, everyone has issues. My husband said no, that's not acceptable since we were offered 8, for you to change it, and then refuse to make any more reservations for the week. Eventually we got dinner reservations for the next three nights, but Larry would not give us the cards to confirm, he made us come back every day to get that night;s card, mostly so he could try to get us to do the timeshare presentation.
The grounds are nice, but the beautiful flowers are few and far between. The place was full, but we always found a pool chair or beach lounger.
We tried to scuba demonstration in the pool, enjoyed it and then did an op en water ocean dive with the instructor. That was amazingly cool. and scary, considering we really didn't know what we were doing. Upon arrival back at the resort on Thursday evening, my husband stopped and asked if we could get an upgrade confirmation for Friday and the man working said, "i can upgrade you right now!" We were very excited, paid him the money and went to our room to pack. He said to give him 30 minutes and call for the bell boy. We hurried, repacked all our luggage, called and the bellboy was sent. Then the phone rang, and they were very sorry, but the casita they said we could have had an electrical problem, and we could not move. Please tell the bellboy. We were so deflated!!!! We also saw most everyone assigned to building 44__,leave for different rooms. Who wants to look at construction and plastic?
Long story short, we did get to upgrade on Saturday and there IS a big difference in the two sides.
We didn't get treated any different in the restaurants or by any of the general staff, just the conceirges,
Our new conceirge, Buzzo, was very fluent in english and loved his job. He was very helpful and took very good care of us.
The casitas are very roomy and comfortable, but why not have a couch to sit on? The standard rooms at EDSS have couches, plus a small table and chairs. It is lovely to sit out on your lanai and see the ocean and read or eat.
We enjoyed all the food, but Fuentes is mainly banquet style food with a presentation on a large screen. La Carretta is laarger and better at EDSS, JoJo's was nice, Kampai was my husband's favorite, and lunch and breakfast there are awesome. D'Italia was just ok, and not worth the two plus hours it takes to eat there, when most of that time is just waiting. Our candlelight dinner on the beach was FABULOUS, I highly reccomment this. We upgraded to the lobster, and it is worth every penny. The setting, the service, the saxophone player, the presentation, all excellant.
We have decided that unless we book into the casita section we would not return to EDR. The Eldorado Seaside Suites is nicer and not as crowded if it's just a villa type vacation.
I think I have to agree with others, this is not a 5 star resort, I've stayed at the Four Seasons before, they are 5 star, this is 3 1/2 0r 4 stars. We had a great vacation together, and enjoy going to Mexico. This is a good place for couples, and a good place to just relax. We enjoyed seeing so many beach side weddings, and the weather was really good. Only rained one night/ afternoon. An excellant choice to vacation.

Stayed November 2006
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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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English first
Woodstock, Ontario
1 review
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2006

We are just getting back into reality after returning home from the time of our lives! First, I must say....there are a TON of whiners out there!!!! My husband and I are very picky people, who love top of the line treatment, and amazing fine dining food, and this place gave us all we needed! We were there for our wedding with 19 guests, and each and everyone of them raved about this place! No matter what room you were in either. They were all beautiful. The Casita guests did seem to get preferential treatment, but shouldnt they for the price difference they pay for a week??? Come on now people...you get what you pay for!

Everything for our wedding was very smooth. It started 10 months before the big day with online email correspondance with their online wedding co-ordinator Faith, who did and excellent job. I sent a picture of the flower bouquet that I wanted, and they recreated it better then I could have ever imagined. With 2 months to go before the wedding, I had absoloutly nothing left to do, the wedding was planned. How nice was that to just sit back, and relax and wait to get married?!?!? It was awesome! We had an onsite meeting the day after arrival to go over all the details and make sure everything was in order. These people were very accomidating, and eager to please. Everything was great. The photographer was awesome! So friendly, and funny, and had some really great ideas too. The photos turned out beautifully. The wedding was changed to the indoor chapel due to the weather. It was so cute, and special in there....just beautiful! It ended up not raining, so we still got to do all the photos outside. Beautiful! After the ceremony and pictures, we had a private cocktail party on the beach which was very imtimate and romantic...just perfect!!! The next morning our honeymoon breakfast was delivered to our door, and the food was just out of this world!!! We would not have changed a thing about our magical day...it was totally perfect....and I am a planner too, I like things right, the way I wanted them.....and they totally succeeded.

The food....WOW is all I can say. The food was just increadible. Our favourite was the Italian and Kampai, their oriental restaurant. They were both so so good. The room service was increadible too....fast, hot and very good! The lunch places, like the pizza and burger bar, were very, very yummy. The hotdogs were oh, so good! Presentation of everything from room service, to dessert to dinner was immacualte...right out of a food magazine! I highly recommend the candlelight dinner on the beach too. If you are getting married there, it is included ;) Nice touch!

The rooms were amazing as well. Beautiful, big, bright, and very clean. We were in a Casita, but saw our friends and families regular rooms, and they were beautiful too. The Casita did have the cool outdoor shower though.....very fun! There were a few little plumbing issues, but the resort sorted them out right away. We had absoloutly no troubles making dinner reservations, and the resort was totally full. Maybe people have to remember the way they treat people, may reflect the way they are treated back. These people are working their butts off to give you the time of your life, and it is nice to show them some appreciation.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this resort for any type of honeymoon, marriage, anniversary type of thing....it is just amazing! Oh ya, the Palapa beds are out of this world!!!!

If you are complaining about this place, it must take a miracle to please you.....and oh ya, the smell you smell, is the Mangroves. They are a very important part of the ecosystem. Get over the smell, it is their for our environment.

If you have any further, specific questionsm I would be pleased to answer them.... daynamason@sympatico.ca

Go to the El Dorado Royale and have the time (or marriage) of your life!!!

  • Liked — Our amazing wedding! The food, the Casitas...EVERYTHING!!!
  • Disliked — The plumbing needs a bit of work
  • Stayed November 2006
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Ontario
1 review
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2006

We give the resort an 8 out of 10 losing 1 solid point for the beach. Our review is broken down by likes, dislikes, and our recommendations.

Specs: Stay time Nov 18th – Nov 25th (Saturday – Saturday)
Room: 4114, Ocean Front w/ Jacuzzi, 2nd story

Likes
24 hr room service option
Beautiful gardens and fountains
Food was very good in most places – Kampai (Asian) and La Carreta (Mexican) were the best (food and service) + the ribs at La Isla were awesome (lunch menu)
There were so many small things that make it a 5 Star resort:
- Imprints in the ash tray sand (see the picture)
- Immaculately clean buildings and grounds
- Smells of peppermint in the lobby, spa and restaurant washrooms
- Face clothes used to dry your hands in restaurants
- Sushi at Kampai was incredible – make sure to have the Kampai and Tempura rolls
- Spa services are amazing – we had the couples back massage with body scrub and it was incredible – I not recommend the beach front option though you will find it much more relaxing in the private room
- Wait staff was excellent

Dislikes
Beach needs work – big time – it seems that the large waves are eroding the beach and so they have large wales to help break the waves but it’s almost too late, it is very rocky and covered in coral leaving only a small area suitable for swimming, however they did have one Mexican pulling rocks so it should improve over time
We went during 95% capacity so it was very difficult to get preferred restaurants and times
If you are not a “Casita” guest you almost feel like you are intruding on “their” resort – everything from their towels, palapas, bars, pools, bathrooms, garbage cans, etc was differentiated from the rest of the resort
Inexperienced concierge, however she was new and was likely not adequately trained
Lobby was way understaffed (waited in line 20 minutes to check out), however it could just have been timing
They need a good steak option – the steak they served (Las Isla) was definitely no “grilled steak” – more like fried

If you’re going we recommend you:
- book your dinner reservations and spot on the free bus ride to Playa del Carma as soon as you get to the resort – the bus to Playa runs nightly 6-10PM but books up fast
- If you plan to buy any type of booze (tequila, etc…) buy it in Playa del Carma and research they type and $ you want to buy before you go (we asked the bar tenders and the gift shop guy) – there is a huge range in $ but it’s the cheapest in Playa
- Bring a deck of cards – they’re $6US on the resort!
- Bring a source of music, they music near the pools is very repetitious and not the best
- For lunch try the little hidden Mexican (name was “something” Mexicano) restaurant behind Las Fuentes
- Go to Kampai for breakfast and lunch – hardly anybody knows they are open so you get great service and food (but keep it a secret eh!)
- Check the weather before you go – it was a lot cooler than we expected, especially at night

  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
columbia, SC
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2006

This resort is beautiful and everything was just awesome. The people at the resort treat you like kings and queens and they are very friendly. I could not imagine soending my honeymoon in another place. We had a great time and we only left the resort once. It is so relaxing there and the scenary is gorgeous.

Stayed October 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas
1 review
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2006

We stayed at the EDR based on a friend's recommendation and we loved it. We were there 6 days/5 nights which was just the right amount of time.
They did ask up if we wanted to upgrade to a casita when we arrived but we decided not to upgrade. Our room was great - ocean view, king size bed, Jacuzzi tub and a huge bathroom. Make sure you see your concierge when you arrive to make dinner reservations. Overall the food is outstanding.
We has breakfast at La Isla and it was ok - nothing spectacular. Then we found out that Kampai is open for breakfast but this isn't advertised on the restaurant guide they give you when you check in. The breakfast at Kampai is OUTSTANDING - I think I had the almond cream cheese stuffed french toast twice - so delicious. The service at Kampai is the best - kudos to our waiter Armando. JoJos was our favorite for lunch. Great variety on the menu. Food is fabulous. Service is a little slow but we didn't mind.
Dinner at Cocotal was ok but probably my least favorite. D'Italia is a great Italian restaurant - you definitely want to eat here. We loved dinner at Jo Jos. They had a great menu and this is an open air restaurant on the beach. Excellent service. Fuentes is supposed to be a "culinary theater". I was expecting a cooking show but it really wasn't and the chef that "mc'd" the evening was a little annoying.
Also there's a little health bar next to one of the pools right before you get to the Casitas and they have some great smoothies.
We've been to Cancun and Cozumel and we've done the ruins and snorkeling excursions before so this was strictly a relaxing vacation. We spent most of our time on the beach with a good book, fabulous drinks and some sunblock.

I would definitely go back to this resort.

  • Liked — ocean view, friendly staff, great service, outstanding food
  • Disliked — matress was too firm, horrible tv reception
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2006

We stayed at the EDR 4thOct-18thOct and had a fantastic time. We would recommend staying in a Casita due to the extra benefits you recieve. The weather was gorgeous and could not fault the resort itself. All restaurants were great although maybe there is too much food... after our first 2 meals we just had mains and desserts to avoid offending the chef by leaving the food!

We always got the restaurant and time we wanted without any problem. Days were spent relaxing by our casita pool which was quieter than the main pool and enjoying cocktails by the fantastic barman Fransico. Room was lovely and cleaned daily, the turn down service was a nice extra touch! The Jacuzzi was lovely with fresh champagne every day waiting us.

The only thing I would warn you is if you are not on Honeymoon be prepared to be asked at least 10 times a day wherever you go!
Night entertainment was good although perhaps geared up towards slightly older people 30+ (no offense). Having travelled to many places in the world we would say this is one of our best holidays for relaxing. Swimming with Dolphins was amazing and the excursions guide in the main lobby was much better than our rep from my travel - I recommend booking through them as you are also helping thier local economy instead of the big tour operators!

Cancun was fun especially Coco Bongo's but again be prepared if you are just a couple enjoying yourselves to be called Honeymooners by all the street markets.

All in all, a great holiday the service makes this a 5* resort and we made some good friends there.

  • Liked — Sea views, Large room and Jacuzzi
  • Disliked — very large
  • Tips/Secrets — Block 24 is the closest to all restaurants and bars
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chatham, England
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2006

Hello everyone!

We (a youngish couple from England) travelled to this resort on 10 October for a two week holiday. We had a fantastic time and I hope to provide you with a fairly detailed summary of the pros and cons (only a few) of this resort and a few hints and tips for your stay. Hope you find this useful and it is not too long and boring!

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and below are some of the things that we liked about it:

•The luxury – the resort is amazing and the grounds are huge. From one side to the other is probably over a mile and a good 20 minutes walk. This didn't bother us as we like walking! There are lovely plants and palm trees everywhere as well as peacocks and iguanas (not sure if the iguanas are pets or natives?)

•Casita section – We were fortunate enough to stay in the Casita section. This cost about £800 to upgrade for two weeks and, we thought, it was well worth it. The swim-up Casita section was about double this price, for us, it wasn't worth it, but if you've got an extra 8 – 900 quid spare, I would advise you do it, as they looked great. You have a shaded terrace that backs onto your room and a lazy river directly in front from which you can swim into your Casita pool to cool off or get a drink from the bar! Overall, the Casita area was absolutely lovely and some of the features include the following:

- Palapas - There were luxurious palapas (basically four poster, shaded double beds with sun beds in front for those sun-seekers) on the beach. They were situated on the beach so the sea was about 20 yards in front of you and pool, with swim-up bar, was 20 yards behind you. These were for Casita guests only (those with brown towels). The areas were quiet and you could always get one of these at any time of day without having to put your towel down. Also, there were gentlemen that came around all day to your palapa offering you ice cream, fruit, sandwiches, newspapers, and most importantly drink (even though there was a bar in the Casita section and about 4 pools with swim-up bars, so you were never more than 100 yards from a bar anyway!) The guys were friendly and never sought tips, though they were appreciated. Actually, if you offered the drinks waiter a tip or two a day, he did tend to bring you another beer, coke or cocktail just as you were finish the last one!

- Pools, bars and swim-up bars – Again, amazing. There were four pools with swim-up bars in the Casita section, two of which with lazy rivers. These were nearly always empty or quiet, so you could relax with a beer or cocktail in peace – if not, you could go to the next one! The Casita bar was open from early in the morning until 11pm or midnight, and the barman was very friendly and always eager to help.

- Rooms – Obviously, we stayed in the Casita section so can only comment for those rooms, but they were amazing! These were very spacious and all with a spacey balcony (in our case) or terrace. These had a table and chairs, lazy chairs and a hammock. There always seemed to be sun or shade somewhere on our balcony (I like the sun; my fiancée prefers the shade!) Also, try out the outside showers (don't worry they are enclosed, so no one can see you). They are more powerful, spacious and refreshing the inside ones). Also, make the most of the Jacuzzi with a Dos Equis or Telecate from your min-bar/fridge!

•Breakfast – (Moving on from the Casita-specific comments to the resort in general). Overall, the variety was good and the service was pretty much faultless and staff friendly – always enquiring how the food was and topping you up with coffee and offering pastries. There were three (I think) different places for breakfast. Kampai, which served Asian style breakfasts, which were interesting and good – Sri Lankan curry omelettes and Indonesian egg curry were novelties but enjoyable. La Isla served a more Mexican style breakfast, which also catered for continental and American style tastes, but alas, like all the restaurants here, no British fry ups! However, the pancakes and waffles were great, as were the omelettes; it is also worth going Mexican and having an enchiladas or nachos for breakfast! Cocotal served up similar fair to La Isla, but in a buffet style (presumably catering for our American friends!) We preferred La Isla as found the variety of breakfasts better and we preferred to sit down and sociably order our food rather than having a "pile your plate up" free for all US style!

• Lunch – There was a good variety for lunch and the quality of the food was good (in fact we preferred the lunches to the dinners – see below). The lunch food seemed to be more basic and less fancy then the dinners. You could get lunch at Kampai – Asian style, decent enough noodles and curries. This was OK, but when you are used to getting curries and Chinese food in the UK, courtesy of our ethnic friends, Kampai was not really any great shakes. Jojos served up a wider ranging variety of food that varied from fish and pasta to nachos and burgers – all very enjoyable in my opinion. La Cabana was the pool side joint that served up burgers, nachos and pizzas, all again, of a high quality.

•Dinner – This, for us, was the biggest disappointment of the holiday. We found the food to be too fancy – it seemed there was more effort put into presentation than quality. Also, whilst there were a number of different restaurants, there was a commonality between all of the styles of food i.e. I noticed little difference between Caribbean, Mexican and Italian dishes at the corresponding restaurants. For example, every restaurant served up, what looked and tasted like, Smash and a scented rice as a side dish. And the fish of the day in all restaurants – including the Italian and International – was Mahi Mahi, whilst nice, I'm not sure this is authentic to the individual restaurants. However, we had no problem at all booking up any restaurant we wanted, with a day or two's notice, and when we got there the service was generally very good and friendly.

- More specifically, ***Kampai*** – as per lunch, pleasant enough Asian food, but not of great quality.

- ***Jojos***, was a Caribbean restaurant, but for us the food seemed to be a bit stodgy and not authentic. The "Caribbean" seemed to be a local slant on the word – there was no jerk chicken, goat or other Jamaican curry, rather, for example, Mahi Mahi, Smash and rice! I once had the Jamaican seafood pot, or something of the sort, which was bland and cold.

- ***Fuentes*** restaurant was a new concept, whereby your food is cooked and you can see it being prepared by the kitchen team in an open restaurant and on big video screens – there was a head chef who commentated as he cooked. The setting was fantastic and open, but the food was awful – very slow service and, again, of poor quality. However, this was made up for by the commentary, which was hilariously bad! The head chef was awful – he gave a terribly presented commentary, in pretty average English – myself and my fiancée wouldn't have been surprised if he took his hat off at the end and presented himself as Dom Jolly from Trigger Happy TV! Despite, being a joke and barely eating a thing, we have never laughed as much for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed the evening for all the wrong reasons!

- ***Cocotal*** was the international restaurant that served up various different cuisines such as Mexican, Mayan, Gourmet. Again, I found little variety between all of them and they all seemed to be cooked in a local style. This was one of the better restaurants, but really could have been better than it was.

- ***D'Italia*** was the best restaurant by a long way, and I would advise holiday-makers to book in here as many times as they can. I remember having steak and lamb, as well as some decent pastas and soups, some of which were fairly authentic, though once again, we did see the Smash and Mahi Mahi come out!

- ***La Carreta*** The Mexican was very disappointing, considering we were in Mexico (especially, when compared to the food we had in Cancun and especially Playa del Carmen, not to mention Mexican restaurants in London). The food was cold, the spicy dishes lacked kick and the host was ridiculously rude – On our first visit there, we had to wait about 15 minutes before being seated with very little communication from the spaced out female host – we were not the only ones, as there must have been about 3-4 couples in the same predicament!

- We didn't fancy the Fondue restaurant not really our cup of tea, but some may like that sort of thing?!?! However, the room service was good and very prompt, if you fancied a burger and chips or an omelette. We generally went out, but used this once when my fiancée was ill and once when there was a Champs League football match on TV (Chelsea v Barca), and no complaints.

•Bars/evening entertainment – The bars and variety of drinks were excellent. I have mentioned the daytime bars, but there were also some excellent bars for the evening:

- ***Guacamayas*** was a lively open, covered bar that had some shows and live music, not the greatest quality, but excellent fun - a good laugh.

- ***Martini lounge*** was a suave, indoor, air-conditioned bar next to the main lobby area. This was really chill out zone that produced some excellent Martinis and cocktails, and some very attentive and pleasant waitresses. Our favourite cocktails were the lime daiquiris (though the melon and strawberry daiquiris, G&T with Bombay sapphire were good too) which were served in all bars and very good, but were excellent in the Martini Lounge. One let down in the Martini Bar was that, every night, they showed some baseball or something from the US. This meant that the place was full of hill-billy Americans whooping, yee-harring, hot-dawgging and doing-high fives - this kind of spoilt the chilled out, suave and refined ambiance somewhat!

- The Casita bar and Beach Bar were also open until late and were both good fun, but we usually frequented the two above.

- The beer served in all bars was Mexican Dos Equis, which was good with or without lime. The house wine served in the restaurants was pretty drinkable – both red and white. I think it was Spanish – I was expecting the house wine to be rank Australian or Californian dirge, but it wasn't bad at all!

•Trips – We went on trips to both Cancun and Playa del Cancun. I would honestly say don't bother with Cancun, but go on the Playa trip early in your stay, as you may want to go again (we went late and didn't have time!) Cancun is a dump, it's reminiscent of filthy large European resorts like Magaluf and Ayia Napa. The hotels are nice and the beach is good, but the town is filthy and over-priced and you are continually pestered by people trying to sell stuff. Playa was excellent – it was laid back, more authentic Mexican, and there were some cracking shops, bars and restaurants. The free coach from the hotel goes at 6pm – 10pm (Cancun is 12pm – 5pm), but I would recommend getting a taxi and going late afternoon (to see it in the daylight) and coming back late. It was only about 20 minutes drive and I understand taxis are cheap, as was food and drink in the town (e.g. a beer about £1 max., and we got a 2-course Mexican meals and about 4 beers each for about £25). Check out La Parilla restaurant – it was recommended to us and was excellent. Great Mexican food with Mariachis – the place was rammed, so must be good!

Well, I think I have gone into some detail already, but here are some more comments, tips and observations:

•Water – Beware, the water is very salty, both the tap water and water in the pool – even the mineral water tastes salty! My fiancée got the squits about half-way through the holiday. She swallowed some water the day before, so it may have been that (though I swallowed plenty of water and was OK) –maybe it was the food?

•Americans – There are lots of Americans at the resort. Most are decent people, but some are irritating (I've already mentioned the hill-billy baseball fans!). Part of the reason for this is that it is cheaper and quicker for them to get there; from the UK it is expensive, so you tend to get a more refined clientele. This meant some late-afternoons/evenings there were a number of drunk and noisy groups of Americans in the swim-up bars shouting, swearing and yea-harring (of course) – saying that, it seems Mexico is the Americans version of the what Spain or Greece is to the UK, and the behaviour of these Americans pales into significance when compared to the antics of the animals from the UK that go out to the Med!

•Currency – Beware, many reports say to take US Dollars to this resort and Mexico in general, there is absolutely no point in doing this as the locals (obviously) use their own currency. Using dollars means you get an unfavourable exchange rate, so there is no point exchanging your Pounds to Dollars in the UK, then paying for things in Dollars when you can get a better rate in Mexican Pesos – Just change your money straight to Pesos in the first place when in Blighty! I imagine the same goes for other Europeans and Canadians?

•Tips – These are NOT expected and sought by the staff . Service is friendly regardless. However, tips are appreciated, and it is noticeable that you may get an even better service, if you tip (but, on nights that we didn't, we still got an attentive and friendly service). Also, again, don't bother changing your money to $1 notes for tips – change your money to Pesos in the UK. When you get to the resort, the front desk is more than happy to change high denominations to 20 Peso notes (£1) for tips. I changed 25 at a time and it was no problem, this kept me tipping for 5 days or so!

•Weather – We were expecting quite a bit of rain in mid-October, but it only rained twice during evenings and night, and once during the day (the day we went home, which cheered us up!) It was warm – approx 33/34 degrees every day, but with the occasional cloud and nice sea breeze more than pleasant. It was pleasantly warm in the evenings, but not too hot that you could not be comfortable sitting out in trousers/jeans and a T-Shirt.

•Air conditioning – The aircon in the rooms is amazing, cools you down nicely. One tip for you – the aircon can be loud at night, but you need it on due to the heat. My advice is that you turn the fan speed down to low, turn the temperature to the minimum (17 degrees) and the setting to cool. This ensures that the temp is cool, but you are not kept awake by a pumping fan!

•The beach – As many have noted the sandbags on the beach, though essential, are an eyesore. Also, the beach, though nice and white, is a bit coarse and stoney and there is a lot of coral in the sea. We were expecting this, so weren't disappointed, but if we weren't pre-warned, we may have been (though I'm more of a pool and bar person myself anyway!)

•Dresscode – There is a smart-casual dresscode in all evening restaurants. This was no problem as I am more than happy wearing Jeans and trousers with a shirt or T-Shirt in the evening. It was warm, but never too hot for smart attire. From previous comments on here and from what I overheard at the resort, this seemed to be a problem for our American friends, who, for some reason, wanted to wear shorts, Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops in the a la carte restaurants (and some did!) I can't see why this was necessary, as it was never hot enough to feel uncomfortable in smart attire, and surely it is nice to dress fairly smartly if you are in a posh a la carte restaurant like D'Italia? I felt this lowered the tone a bit!

• Walk from Casita Section – Some comments on here suggested that it was a problem walking from the Casita section to the main restaurants/bars and golf buggies were too infrequent. For me, this was never a problem, we stayed in the furthest Casita section from the main area, but it was never more than 10-15 mins walk, which is surely no problem and doesn't warrant a buggy ride unless you are chronically lazy, surely?!?!

•Television/newspapers – The TV in the room had various channels, but no UK ones and the newspapers available were Cancun versions of US ones. Whilst it was good to get some news in English, and the newspapers weren't too bad, it would have been nice to have had some UK/European news – i.e. BBC, Sky etc. The US Channel CNN was chronically bad and very insularly US focused. This is just being picky though!

Overall, I have to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. The food in the evening was a bit of a let down, but everything else more than made up. If you go - enjoy!

  • Liked — The facilities and exclusiveness
  • Disliked — The evening meals could have been better
  • Tips/Secrets — See review (but, main one for UK travellers - change your pounds to Mexican pesos not US dollars!!!)
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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:
#1 Business Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#1 Spa 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
#2 Family 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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