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“Great Stay!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of El Acuario Hotel

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El Acuario Hotel
Ranked #91 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great Stay!”
Reviewed December 4, 2013

I was at this hotel for a month recently and had a great stay. The hotel is small with a pool and has lots of plants and trees which offer some privacy. All the rooms face the pool which is a definite bonus. The staff keep the rooms spotless and the landscaping is kept tidy.
The location is great. You are not more than a few blocks from Walmart, 5th Ave, and the beach. There are dozens of restaurants to choose from. Also you can buy fresh squeezed orange juice just around the corner. i miss this.
I found that the pool was a good meeting place and met some interesting people especially Mike who lives there.
You can get the ADO bus straight from the Cancun airport into town and it is a short walk from the bus station to the hotel.
I hope to return next year and may stay longer.

Room Tip: All rooms are good
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank carolbarn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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252 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 29, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I stayed at El Acuario for 5 nights. Great budget accommodation. Rooms neat & clean. Everything you need - safe, microwave, fridge, TV (2 english speaking channels), wifi, free coffee. Enjoyed relaxing in the hammock or by the pool. There are only 12 rooms so it is quiet and relaxing. Staff take great pride in the hotel and were always cleaning or working in the garden. Try El Fongo for dinner - fantastic and cheap mexican food a block away. Also Walmart is only a 5-10 minute walk. Would definately stay again. Thankyou

Helpful?
1 Thank Kristy A
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Level Contributor
123 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2013

I was in Playa in March for a week and just returned from a 13 day stay at the El Acuario. It was like returning home. Diane, yet again, set things up perfectly; an amazing woman and a fantastic manager. If you are looking for an economical alternative to the beach expense of staying in PDC then look no further. Clean, safe, affordable and friendly; and only 5 blocks from the beach.

For anyone that believes the staff is disorganized then I would suggest that when visiting a foreign country that you spend some time on youtube learning the basic language or maybe purchase a used language dictionary at a book store for a dollar or two. Part of the experience of touring the world is learning and exploring. The staff at El Acuario are about making each and every guest feel welcome. They are some of the hardest working staff that I have ever seen; bar none. Try leaving change on your vanity at a 5 star resort and see how much is there when you return; right?! Even when I visited Germany I felt compelled to learn the basic language and took my dollar used book just in case I ran across people who did not speak English. Perhaps the disorganization was not the honest, hard-working, go out of their way staff but the guest?

For anyone looking for the more traditional flavor of Mexico then you might want to check out El Acuario. Excellent staff, superb management, safe and secure environment, close enough to 5th Avenue in a four minute walk and very close to some of the best cart food in Quintana Roo. Try either cart at 20th Avenue and 4th, right around the corner for breakfast or lunch; do not miss the carts at ADO alternate terminal on 20th Avenue.

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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JEF G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed November 3, 2013

The big plus of the hotel is the nice yard, with pool, hammocks, seating area... The reasonable price and the location close to the fifth avenue makes it a good choice for a short stay. The rooms are reasonably clean and very basic. The staff is slightly disorganised and doesn't speak much english.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Alexandra J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
british columbia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2013

We just returned from a one week stay at the El Acuario Hotel, and although I can’t honestly find any fault with this property, we probably would not stay here again.

We chose it for the fact that we were on a tight budget for this trip and at $50USD per night we certainly can’t complain, as the Acuario delivered everything that it promised.

Location was only a couple blocks away from Walmart, so picking up groceries was easy and did not require a cab ride back. And it was only about a 7 min. walk, to 5th Avenue and the beach. It was also very close to the main Collectivo and Playa Express station on 2nd and 20th. We enjoyed being away from the busy fray of 5th avenue and although there was some traffic noise on 25th, it was not too bad.

Our check-in was easy. The staff was always friendly and helpful, however one must have at least a basic knowledge of Spanish, because none of the workers speak a lot of English. We only encountered the owner, Diane, who speaks English, twice in the entire one week we were there. Possibly she does not come around very often in the off season, which is understandable. We know enough Spanish to get by, so we were able to communicate fine with the staff. But if you don’t know any Spanish, it could be difficult.

We had a small kitchenette area, with a two burner hot plate kind of thing that I would not have used in a million years. There was also a microwave, but again, I was hesitant to plug it in based on the way the electrical for the microwave was split from another plug. I’m sure it would have been fine, but it just looked a bit too scary for my liking. We made good use of the semi-full sized fridge, with things like yogurt, milk, salsa and peanut butter. Our basics for the week. Fortunately, I always travel with a little kettle.

Air conditioner worked great, however when we arrived neither the A/C nor the fridge had been switched on in anticipation of our arrival. I know this is to save energy, but it would have been nice to arrive to a cool room and a cold fridge to put our groceries in. But they all cooled off fast enough.

The room was equipped with a safe in the closet and a basic t.v. with two English speaking channels.

Our biggest complaint and really our only complaint about this hotel was the funky smell. We never did figure out where it was coming from. We suspected the drain in the bathroom. Or maybe the A/C. Once you were in the room for awhile, you didn’t notice it anymore.

The other thing that bothered me was the lighting. They were those harsh, eco-friendly white lights. I am particularly light sensitive, so I must say, I really hated those lights! To me, they really did nothing for the ambience of the room, making it truly feel like a “cheap” $50 a night hotel.

The rooms were cleaned daily and fresh towels were provided for both the room and the playa. The bed was typically firm, as are all beds in Mexico, but the linens were always fresh and clean. The pillows on the other hand could really stand to be thrown out! They were lumpy and rock hard and when I removed one of the slips, I found that one of them had been stapled (yes, stapled with a stapler) back together to keep the stuffing from coming out. Just one of those things that you have to laugh off. It’s not the first “budget” hotel I’ve stayed at in Mexico, and it won’t be the last. I do enjoy stepping away from the all inclusive resorts and roughing it a bit, so although updated pillows would have been nice, I still slept fine. On the other hand, other’s who may be considering this hotel might like to know this in advance.

All of that being said, the garden was very beautiful, with a cute little pool, a small pond of turtles and many resident cats and geckos. All of the rooms face the garden area and I was very happy that our request for an upper room was fulfilled because I thoroughly enjoyed the little deck each morning with my cup of tea. The birdsong and many butterflies were a total delight. We spent each morning just taking our time and relaxing out there. Which was exactly what we needed on this trip.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at El Acuario. And like I said, it definitely delivered on every promise that it made by covering all of the important basics: it was safe, clean, in a great location and extremely affordable. But next time, I think we will buck out a few more dollars for that ocean view that we love so much and maybe some better pillows! LOL! :-)

Room Tip: Request an upper floor. More privacy and nice view of the garden.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank monyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2013

I have just returned after spending 12 nights in this hotel. We ended up upgrading to the suite as our original room we found too small. Though the suite was wonderful and was really spacious with a full kitchen, ensuite bathroom, separate bathroom with a dining table and it felt really good to move into compared to the standard bedrooms. It wasn’t 5 star luxury but it was so much better than the standard rooms which were quite small. The housekeepers done an excellent job, and there is a lovely cat called Coco who is really sweet and friendly. The staff and manager are all excellent. We were also allowed to keep our room for an extra 3 hours as we awaited our airport transfer for our Miami flight which was very sweet of the manager.

The Wifi was a bit troublesome at times but when it worked it was acceptable.
There is also another “long term” resident who can be a bit intrusive in wanting to know the whereabouts and the backgrounds of the other guests. Though don’t get me wrong he was a really nice guy just a bit intrusive. The hotel seemed to attract guests who where booked in for a long time. There was also a couple of other residents who had a kind of “rule the roost” attitude and where quite loud at times. This kind of spoiled the ambience of the hotel. I also agree with the other reviewer on here who said that they cannot understand all the good reviews.


Location wise the property is a very pleasant 10 minute walk to the lovely beach and about 5 to the Walmart which proved very handy. If you like luxury, privacy, peace and quiet I would not recommend this hotel. Though if you are on a low budget and happy to sit on your terrace all day and not venture out far this place would be perfect.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mark h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2013

Small cozy hotel in Playa del Carmen! The location is perfect on av.25, just 10 minutes walk from the beach and the famous fifth avenue (don't waste time there!). There is a large Walmart about 6 minutes walk from the hotel where you can find everything from food/drinks to electronics and clothes at reasonable prices. The staff is wonderful and the permanent resident Mike (retiree from Atlanta) is a nice guy and great fun:) The pool is not big but well maintained and great to cool off in on hot days! There are plenty of sun loungers around the pool. In the corner of the pool area you also have a barbecue area where you can grill some meat. The rooms are pretty basic but we liked it as we just sleep and shower in there. There is a fridge, microwave and hot plate if you wanna cook something simple in the room. In the lobby you can get free coffee all day long:) The wifi is also free and works really great for browsing and skyping! All in all a great little place with a nice relaxed atmosphere. They have many returning guests which says alot! I will definitely come back here:)

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Peter M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Acuario Hotel

Property: El Acuario Hotel
Address: Av. 25 Norte entre 2 y 4 Norte Col. Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Best Value Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#50 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#52 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — El Acuario Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Acuario Hotel is a charming Caribbean hotel with only 12 rooms and one Suite. Located downtown Playa del Carmen, just a few minutes walk from the beach and the pedestrian shopping avenue. Beautiful, calm, relaxing, we offer an ideal environment for your family vacation or business trip! All our rooms are equipped with air conditioning, ceiling fan, cable TV, kitchenette (sink, fridge, electric grill, microwave oven, kitchenware and dishes), table and chairs, private bathroom with shower, and a spacious terrace with hammock and view to the tropical garden and swimming-pool. The Suite is available for mid- to long-term rentals (minimum one month), and has one bedroom, 1.5 Bathrooms, living room with sofa bed, dining room, fully equipped kitchen and large terrace with view to the pool. Common areas: large tropical garden, swimming-pool, barbecue and palapa area. Services: free coffee, wireless Internet, 24-hours front desk, laundry, concierge, massages, bicycle and car rentals. We look forward to receiving you!!! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Acuario Hotel Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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