The El-Dorado Royale could quite possibly be the best hotel we have ever stayed in! Having spent the past two weeks at the resort, we can’t wait to return with freinds. Everything about this hotel is fantastic. The food is out of this world, staff are superb, the facilities exceptional; indeed the only let down is the behaviour of other guests and the smelly rooms! We enjoyed the hotel so much that I make no appology for the length of this review as I think it deserves it.
After a long flight from London we were welcomed with a glass of champagne in the large marble lobby area. Check in was quick and the receptionist took time to explain the layout of the hotel before arranging for the bell boy to collect our luggage and whisk us to our suite.
We paid for a garden view jaccuzi suite and quite frankly, I think these are better than any of the sea view or swim up suites. There really aren’t any decent sea views and I never once saw anyone use the swim up channels. Indeed, the gardens are stunning and offer a much better view than any of the other rooms. Nevertheless as some people have pointed out, the room was damp and smelt very musky. To rid the room of the smell one has to keep the air conditioning on permanently despite this the smell does get into your clothes! The rooms are average in size but have enourmous super kingsize beds which are very comfortable indeed. The rooms also have a large jaccuzi with both the bed and jaccuzi being surrounded in white drapes. This provides the room with a very romantic feel. Within a wardrobe is located the TV and mini bar. The TV has about thirty or so channels with several movie channels as well as CNN, BBC World news etc. There are also a number of foreign speaking channels. I think the TV could do with a lot more channels though. The mini bar is small and stocked with water, coke, sprite and beers. This is refilled daily and a request to the concierge will ensure it is stocked with what you want. The contents are also part of the all-inclusive package. The rooms also have a large four doored wardrobe to provide ample storage. There is also a dressing table with mirror, table and two chairs and plenty of American plug sockets. The bathrooms were large, some rooms offer twin sinks and all have large walk in showers and seperate WC’s. Not many toiletries on offer though, just shampoo, conditioner, body cream and some soap. This could do with improving. The hairdrier privided is fairly powerful and I would suggest if your are British, that you use this as opposed to bringing your own due to the voltage difference. The rooms were cleaned daily with the occaisional turn down service. Also, towels are changed daily and all the bed sheets are clean.
There are several good quality restaurants on offer. During our stay Fuentes and the Mexican snack bar were closed. The Italian was good, very dissaponted with the lobster lasagne though that everyone else raves about. I thought it was stodgey and bland. The Chocolate Surprise was out of this world as well as the stuffed chicken. Kampai (Chinese) was probably the best. Ask for a variety of Sushi to start, you will be impressed I promise. Cocotals offer by far the best breakfast and for the evening the restaurant is probably the most romantic although the food here was a bit bland. Jo Jo’s is great for lunch, ask for the Flank Steak with a side of shrimps, this was lovely. They also offer fresh (live) lobster for an additional fee, this pleased the Americans but we thought it a bit cruel. La Isla offers a good alternative for breakfast and an excellent selection for lunch. This does not open in the evenings though. We never tried La Fondue as we found the staff here to be a bit pompous and Fondu went out in the seventies! We also never tried the Casitas Italian but were told that this was the best. The snack bar by La Isla pool was a bit poor in what they offered but the salads seemed okay. We were very impressed with the room service which also forms part of the all inclusive package. We tried this on one day that it rained and they did an excellent burger. There are no buffets other than breakfast at Cocotals and La Isla. All the food is Al la Carte and of five star quality. I thought it a shame that there was no designated Mexican restaurant. This would have been a nice and popular choice.
The hotel has several bars dotted about, I would recommend the Martini bar and the bar by Jo Jo’s the staff here are very good indeed. All the drinks are of premium quality and they are very generous in their servings. I found the Fuentes bar to be too busy and too noisy for my liking, although this is where the evening entertainment is located. We watched one show and it seemed okay but it was spoilt by some American guests who felt the need to shout all the way through it.
In terms of pools and beach, we only went to La Isla pool as this was supposed to be the quiet one. This so called quiet was routinely spoilt by loud and obnoxius Americans who spent hours blocking the swim up bar getting drunk, whooping and ‘ye-haring’ all day long. The pools however have plenty of sunbeds including plenty of large sheltered double beds. There are indeed more than enough, which is why I failed to see the need for ‘certain guests’ to get up at the crack of dawn to reserve them with towels. I don’t wish to dwell on the subject, but the Americans really annoyed us. Not only would they reserve sunbeds and shout and scream by the bar, but they also played Country and Western music at full volume all day to the general annoyance of everyone. They were incredibly rude to staff, even making a point of tipping them with soggy wet notes that they dipped in the pool. Some solace was found on the beach however. Again there were plenty of sunbeds and sheltered double beds available. The sand is a little coarse in places but not as bad as some reviews state. The sea is lovely and warm with little fish that swim up between your legs. Great for snorkelling. The sand bags didn’t bother us at all. Indeed you can walk out on them to see the fish and they break up the waves to ensure calmer shallows. Staff regularly come round to offer you drinks both at the pools and by the beach. Any quiet on the beach is broken daily at 1pm when the yanks come out to play beach volley ball. Still it did provide us with some entertainment!
The resort isn’t as big as some people say. You can easily walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes or so. There are little golf buggys on offer should you want to be lazy however the grounds are stunning and it’s far better to walk about and take in the views. We often came accross large iguanas that would sit and watch as you walk by. The best part of this hotel is the staff. They really cannot do enough for you. They are constantly on hand and are always freindly. All speak good English and contrary to popular opinion, none expect to be tipped, however the service is so good, you feel compelled to.
Downsides are the smelly rooms and loud Americans. I would recommend not staying anywhere near the Fuentes pool as this is particularly noisy. We had to move rooms a couple of days in due to the constant beat of dance music coming from the pool all day long. You are far better off staying towards the Casitas end as it is a lot quieter. We tried the Spa which was excellent although extremely expensive. Also, the shops in the hotel are good but again extremely expensive. We got exactly the same souveniers on a trip to Chichen Itza for a fraction of the price. We weren’t bothered by a single Timeshare rep; they seemed to concentrate solely on the American guests. More gullable than us savvy brits I guess. For those that are interested there is free WiFi available, snorkelling and non powered watersports are all free indeed almost everything is included.
On the whole, we loved this hotel. I just think that the management should enforce a few rules. No reserving sunbeds, quiet behaviour around the quiet pool and definatlely no shorts and flip flops in the restaurants during the evenings would be a start.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.