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“Not luxury....”
Review of Residences El Faro

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Residences El Faro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 3, 2012

We stayed in a 2 bedroom condo from 12/25-1/1. The rooms and furnishings were ok, but there weren't pillows in the 2nd bedroom (and multiple requests didn't get us any) and the linens were old, stained and rough. Also, there wasn't a phone in the room, so if we needed something from the front desk we had to go down to ask. We asked them to call and confirm our transportation back to the airport and were told they didn't have a phone (but they were nice enough to go to Wicky's and use their phone to confirm for us).

We counted about 90 chairs available - 60 on the beach and 30 at the pool. There were another 60 on the beach, but they were available to Wicky's customers (minimal food/drink purchases are required to use them). There are 66 units at El Faro and another 3 resorts that can use the pool and beach...so there weren't anywhere near enough chairs. And there were maybe 10-15 umbrellas available (again, more at Wicky's). If you hadn't claimed your space by 6:30 or 6:45 a.m. you weren't getting a good location or an umbrella.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank JDVP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 2, 2012

We stayed here from Dec 11-30/11 so we were there for a slow week and then 2 very busy weeks over Christmas. We stayed in Reef 202, a 2 bdrm 2 bath condo, which we booked directly from the owner through VRBO.com. He was great to deal with. The hotel has internet available only in the lobby, so if you’d like to be able to use it in your room or by the pool, then request it as a condition of your rental. Part of our rental agreement was to have internet access in the condo and a phone. The internet was weak and often did not work. The phone box did not get connected until 10 days into our stay and we were never provided with a handset, so not much point in that. I don’t blame the condo owner as this is Mexico and service is not the same as we expect in Canada. On the other hand, the service when we requested water bottles was excellent and Sylvia and Elias at the front desk were both very helpful.

We had 2 power outages during our stay. The first one we were notified via a letter under our door the night before and it was out from 8am to noon. The water also did not work during this time. The second one about a week later we were not notified and it was out from about 9 to noon. The rumour according to an employee at Wicky’s (the onsite restaurant) was that the bill was not paid. We’ve never had any power outages during other stays in PDC and everyone else had power around us so not sure what to make of this.

Although the condo is only a couple of years old, there is some deterioration (i.e., shower head sprays out the top and onto the floor and glass surround has cracks in the caulking so after a shower there is water on the floor running to the toilet area). The dishwasher doesn’t clean dishes on the top drawer at all and minimally on the bottom so be prepared to wash dishes as this is not supposed to be provided by the maid service. There is daily maid service provided to change linens but we don’t like to have staff in our room everyday so we requested it twice per week. As we left tips in the envelope provided, the maid started coming in every other day after the first week, which was fine, and she did our breakfast dishes. However, we came into our unit a couple of times and found random staff in there. Once, it was a maintenance guy who said he just fixed a door latch. The other time it was a maid that we found in our bedroom with no cleaning supplies and then she said she was looking for an iron, which she promptly walked to the laundry closet near the front door and took the iron and left. We thought this was strange and since we had signed an inventory list confirming that we had an iron, we let the front desk manager know (Cesaer) and he said thanks and he’d look into it. We never heard anything else about it. So, use the safe and be prepared for random people to be in your room whenever. There is a deadbolt on the front door but the key card from the outside opens the deadbolt as well so you can’t be sure that someone won’t walk in on you. We had a maid enter one morning at 9am without knocking with the deadbolt latched. The linens (sheets and towels) are supplied by the resort and are low quality and random what the maid will leave you for towels. The cleanliness of the unit was within Mexican standards (we’ve stayed in some condos in Mexico that were cleaner and some that were dirtier), but nowhere near Canadian standards. The unit is minimally equipped for cooking with low quality dishes and cookware, but there is a great bbq on the patio. There is lots of storage space in the bedrooms with hangers. There are awesome blackout blinds on all the windows but if you’re a light sleeper, you can hear the noise from the nightclubs on both sides of the building even with the doors closed and the a/c unit on. It often goes on to early morning hours especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Also, if you have someone above you, you can hear it when they move dining and patio chairs. This could easily and cheaply be corrected by the resort by putting felt pads on the bottom of the chairs.

The pool area is beautiful and well maintained but they only have about 40 pool chairs and it is also shared with the Corto Maltes resort next door. The pool area is not fenced off from the public beach, and no one was ever stopped from using the showers right beside the pool. However, they have a security guard 24 hrs and if we let him know we were going for a walk, he’d keep an eye on our stuff. The beach area has chairs as well but the beach area is shared with Wicky’s beach club, and the 3 other Encanto resorts in PDC can also come and use the beach chair area. In addition, all condo owners can use the pool and beach chairs even if they’re renting their unit out and are staying somewhere else. We even met people who use the pool and beach and they just know a condo owner. None of this was a problem during our first week... we could usually get a pool chair at 8:30am and a beach chair whenever during the day, but during the busy holiday weeks, there were no pool or beach chairs available by 9am. As my husband is an early riser, he could usually get us pool chairs when he got up at 6:30am, but there were already towels out on pool and beach chairs and Wicky’s orange flags reserving rows of beach chairs. If you like quiet by the pool or beach, you should also be aware that Wicky’s plays music all day long beginning at 10am, and after 3 weeks, we were very tired of their limited music selection. We loved the staff there though, especially Miguel, and having the ability to be served drinks or snacks by the pool more than made up for the music selection.

Overall, we enjoyed our time there especially the first week, but we found that during the xmas weeks there was too much demand on the limited resources.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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8  Thank vifamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2011

On our 12th stay in the Riviera Maya, we stayed in Reef #304 for 8 days.
Check in was easy, the inventory sheet was no trouble, they are mostly making sure the t.v.'s are intact and the bose ipod docking stations.
Location was great, around the corner from the Dirty Martini, best bar in Playa, great restaurants within blocks of hotel.
Fusion restaurant, bar great at night, Playa Maya great for lunch.
Water replenished as needed, room kept very clean, great views.
We will be hard pressed not to stay in Playa, all inclusives are a by gone for us now.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Jenn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2011

We went at El Faro for my birthday, and it was amazing ! The condos are so beautiful
you feel like your at home. Chiling on your balcony or terrasse. It is right in the middle of
everything ..5th avenue ..the clubs ..the beach is there. I have to say that the service was really good specially Jose Luis on the beach, he's there for the client and the guy is really nice. Also Cesar at the reception that was really sweet. The food is also really good ! I would come back here anytime ..wish really soon ! Thanks for making my birthday so special :o)

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank sweet12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2011

Loved the location and decor of El faro.

We only used our breakfast coupons one day. We are in Mexico, why do I want an American breakfast?

Location was perfect. On beach, one block from club scene, one street from 5ta avenida. Walking distance to ADO, Conzumel ferry and anywhere else you want to see in Playacar.

I hope to come back to Playacar soon and stay here again! Hopefully next time it won't rain and be able to use pool more. Only down side no jacuzzi and for some reason our room was not cleaned for two days. But when we brought it to their attention they immediately sent someone. We weren't there half the time all we needed was clean towels and shampoo and soap.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank GSilva6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2011

Lets start by saying that the views are amazing. The beach is beautiful and clean. The rooms are furnished well and meticulously cleaned everyday.

The unit we had surf 405 is a three bedroom three bathroom unit with a pull out couch. The first two rooms are great with views of the ocean and connected by a great balcony that we ate breakfast every morning. The third bedroom however is a bit of a dungeon, that faces the inner hallway with a glass block window to let in light during the day. This would be ok for a kids room but if traveling with 3 couples as we did it was an unfortunate surprise.

You will get a 3 page paper at check in that will require you to do an inventory of everything in the unit and check if anything is broken. A bit annoying but understandable. In doing this I noticed a few things that where broken, a lamp and one of the air conditioner units in the kitchen did not work. (by the way they only have one remote for all of the AC so if in the middle of the night you want to change the temp you would usually wake someone up trying to find the remote)

There are a few areas that could use some improvement. The sound system at the resturant affiliated with the hotel called Wickis could use a better sound system not to be louder but to not hear high pitched beeping every minute or so. Kinda interrupts the surf.

The kitchen layout was annoying how the fridge would roll out whenevery you would try to open it which would prevent the dishwasher from being opened. You could see the dents on the fridge where this was an issue before.

It would be great if there was better water pressure and more hot water too. For a three bedroom unit I would have expected a larger hot water heater.

There was a wedding the last night of our stay that was extremely loud. It would be nice if you could supply ear plugs for these occasions so other guests are able to sleep, everyone loves a wedding but I love my sleep more. It only went to 11 though but I am an early riser and wanted to go to bed early.

These are just a few things that we noticed during our stay that were inconvenient but didn't in any way ruin our trip. We had a great time and would return to the Encanto El Faro in the future

  • Stayed: November 2011
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1  Thank Marstrom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2011

Beautiful property and amazing location! We stayed in Reef #302 and booked through the owner,Terry on VRBO. The condo is even lovelier in person and everything we could possibly want was supplied - even a couple of coolers and plastic drinkware to tote our cocktails to the beach and save some pesos! Just steps away the oceanfront is free of any rocks, debris, or boats, and we spent many hours bobbing in the waves.

The jacuzzi tub was a soothing way to wrap up a day at Wicky's Beach Club (which is free to El Faro guests), and the comfy king bed kept us well rested and re-energized for nights out on Avenida Quinta. With the bedroom doors open at night we could hear the techno music from the nightclubs a block away, but not a sound once the door is closed.

Terry was a great host and very communicative- be sure to check out the wealth of information about the area and dining she has at the condo (we LOVED the pastor nachos at Carboncitas and the ceviche mixto at Fusion).

A wonderful vacation, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend this property to friends!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SunnySanMateo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Residences El Faro

Address: 10th Street, between 1st Avenue and the Beach | On The Beach, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Encanto El Faro)
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 229 Specialty Lodging in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $177 - $477 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Residences El Faro 3.5*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our beautiful exclusive condominium property is nestled in the heart of downtown Playa del Carmen, and perfectly situated right on the beach. Our 65 suites have a fully equipped kitchen, dining and living room area. The complex is comprised of three buildings, Reef, Coral and Surf, with one, two and three bedroom suites. These individually owned condominiums are spacious and each offers its own distinct style. Owners and guests enjoy our expansive pool, or basking in the sun on our beach front lounge chairs. Enjoy the view from your balcony; the impressive colours of the Caribbean Sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Encanto El Faro Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Residences El Faro Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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