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“Best Pool in Playa!”
Review of Residences El Faro

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Residences El Faro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 7, 2012

We travel to Cancun/Playa very often and were familiar with this condo complex. This was a full family trip with grandparents, siblings, kiddos, etc. So we rented two 3 bedroom condos. We emailed to get the rooms next to each other or at least close. Well when we arrived we found out they booked one of the condos across the street. Not cool. So we fought to get a condo closer and got one, but it had 2 bedrooms with twin beds. So one married couple could not sleep together. Again not cool. I don't find too much to complain about in my reviews, but this was not a good start. The rooms were nice and clean with good A/Cs, the location is stellar and the pool is nice and spacious...something not found in this crowded strip of beach. As far as any noise, we heard none. The service was a bit weak. We asked daily to have the internet connection reset and it never was. I don't think we would go back as I think we would prefer the full service of a resort. I still gave it a high rating though because it is nice, cheap, and in the perfect spot to roam Playa/5th Ave. I understand the problems of traveling with a full family of 13, and I think most couples or families would love it.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Brad B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 29, 2012

If you have read any of my reviews, you will know that my wife and I travel Mexico often and like the finer things in life. It is our hobby. In the past we have stayed at Mayakoba (both Banyon Tree and Rosewood) and found that we spent allot of time going into town to shop, play and eat. Therefore, this last December we started looking around in the town of Playa for a high end, safe place we might want to try on our next trip. We came upon Encanto El Faro and walked in and asked about the place and Caesar was kind enough to show us a couple of the units. We were basically blown away by what we were offered, particularly for the price quoted. We booked a stay for May and just got back from that trip. We used Tim at info@elfarocondos.net. It could not have been handled more professionally. In addition, we cannot say enough about the front desk staff. They were very courteous and accommodating at all times....except for the "concierge" who we found to be oblivious to what the resort had to offer and made every effort to convince us to look at time shares...not sure how she fits into such a well run operation. We always felt very safe and the condo was outstanding. You will see references to "loud music" in some of the reviews and/or forums and I think I figured out why some people hear it and some don't. This resort is basically on the corner of First and 10th. At the corner of 1st and 12th, which is probably about 200 to 300 yards away, you will find several open air clubs that appear to compete to for business by seeing how loud they can get their music. Interestingly, they actually crank the music up at about midnight and apparently close at around 4:00 a.m. That was when I could hear it the most...basically sounded like a kids car with big bass speakers sitting out in front of your house or perhaps a couple of doors down. There is no way you can drown that sound out....I tried with a small travel fan...does not work. SO...bottom line....if your bedroom is on the side of the resort facing that (which is basically East), you WILL hear it if you are a light sleeper. Interestingly, if you are in the same condo and your bedroom is overlooking the pool on the West side of the building (Surf) you will not hear it. Likewise if you are in any of the other buildings you will also not likely hear it....so the puzzle is solved. I will say, the resort is so nice and so well located, if they did not have anything available other than the east side, I would stay there in a minute!

Room Tip: Stay in the Reef units if available.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank TylerREBroker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2012

Great location, beautiful and clean rooms, great view, and wonderful staff. Stayed with 4 girlfriends for 7 nights in room 503. Two things we needed that weren't there (hair dryer and corkscrew) they got for us immediately.
Favorite things:
1. Balcony - spent mornings enjoying coffee and evenings enjoying wine with a beautiful view.
2. Water dispenser - used for coffee maker, ice trays, refilling bottles for outings and cold water on demand
3. Individual A/C units - one room was kept well chilled, and the other not. Everyone was happy.
4. Walmart was 6 blocks down on the same street- wine, beer, food - a fantastic bakery.
5. 5th street - with restaurants and shopping just a block away.
6. Pool and beach - both beautiful

Tips:
1. The bus station is very close. We paid about $10 USD round trip to Tulum. Buses were nice and clean. There's also an airport shuttle that is much cheaper than the taxis or shuttles.
2. The ferry to Cozumel is very close also - right next to Señor Frogs.
3. There is a money changing place 1/2 block up on across the street that had some of the best rates going (13.05 pesos for $1 USD on 5/26)
4. It's usually better to pay for things in pesos rather than US dollars.
5. If you do want to take a taxi to the airport, ask the concierge to arrange it - one of our group got 450 pesos rather than the standard 500 (about $40) to the airport. (coming from the airport it is $90 USD by taxi or $30 by shuttle)

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Carol Ann M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2012

We stayed in a suite with 3 bedrooms, a kitchenette, dining area, sitting area and balcony that overlooked the pool and ocean. Two problems, our room had little bugs (cockroaches?) that would scurry around when the lights were turned on at night. Also the 2 front bedrooms, right next to the common hallway of the hotel had big windows that let in every noise of other patrons walking through the hotel. Luckily the place was not too busy when we were there.

The hotel is located far enough away from the club district that loud music at night was not a problem. The pool area was nice, umbrellas were available, but there was a charge to use an umbrella on the beach, a few steps away.

Room Tip: We stayed in the back section on the 2nd floor; had a perfect view of the pool and beach.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Cleveland_Holly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2012

INTRO: My wife and I, and another couple, stayed at the Encanto El Faro (Playa Del Carmen) for two weeks in March, 2012. Before I get into the details, let me say that we had a fantastic time and would return in a heartbeat. We are frequent visitors to the Playa Del Carman area, to Punta Cana, to Los Cabos, to Bermuda, and to Cuba, and the El Faro is now one of our favourite destinations, if not our most favourite.

NEGATIVES: Let me dispense with the negatives since we give them relatively little weight on the grand scale of things (except maybe the last point). There was no full-length mirror anywhere; getting face-clothes was problematic at times; there was no electric plug in the small bathroom; there was no wall-mount soap/shampoo holder in either shower; the smell of sewer-gas too often wafted from the washroom drains. (A glass of water slowly poured down the drains generally fixed the problem until the next time (faulty P-traps?)).


THE EL FARO/THE FOOD: As best I understand it the El Faro is a Condo building with a block of Condo units being used as All-Inclusives. This meant only one in-house restaurant (Wicky's), instead of the usual four or five we are used to. That was our only concern prior to arriving. We needn't have been concerned. The menus (breakfast, lunch, supper) were varied, the staff was fantastic, and the food was excellent. If you nevertheless find the choices a bit restricting you will also have free access to a Mexican restaurant a short distance away. We ended up eating there only once and the meal was wonderful. (My only complaint about Wicky's is that it had a grand piano in one corner which was not played once the entire time we were there. Piano entertainment during the meal and in the evening would have been much appreciated. (The staff would lift the piano top on occasion and use it for storage, which was oddly humorous.)

Our unit was on the street-side (side-street) but from the balcony we nevertheless had a great view of the ocean. Be forewarned, some might find this location a bit too noisy, from the metallic clang of the Scuba tanks being unloaded in the morning to the sound of live music from next door well into the evenings. We did not. In fact, being music-lovers we found this last point to actually be a bonus. Sipping wine on the balcony as the sun was setting, listening to top-notch rock, reggae, salsa, and jazz bands (two per evening) - yes!

Leaving the El Faro from one door put you virtually directly on the beach. On windy days there would be a fair amount of seaweed floating in (hey, it's the ocean) but I did not find that in any way bothersome; the other door put you a few steps away from the famous Fifth Avenue - a pedestrian mall that goes on forever with shops, boutiques, restaurants, bars, etc.! One block over were the clubs. The night-life was superb.

The unit itself was clean, spacious, and very comfortable. As with any All-Inclusive, when we got back in the afternoon it had been carefully cleaned and restored by attentive staff. I smiled every time I walked past the kitchen, knowing we never had to use it! (Apparently the units also sometimes get rented out not as All-Inclusives, hence the necessity of keeping the kitchen intact.)

THE STAFF: We have to start by mentioning our favourite front desk person, Sylvia, who was pleasant, attentive, and endlessly patient. She was our go-to person and always found a solution to whatever challenges/requests we had.

The Wicky's staff were equally pleasant, attentive, and patient, from the efficient Victor, to the gregarious José, to the determined newbie, Ana. But we cannot help but get effusive when it comes to Pascual. We were fortunate to have Pascual serve us most of the time. He is an efficient, engaging, charming individual with a great sense of humour. We enjoyed our chats with him as much as we enjoyed the food.


OFF-SITE: The ferry to the island of Cozumel is just a short walking distance away. The ferry ride is about 45 minutes and the island is roughly 28 miles long and 9 miles wide. We rented a jeep and explored for the day. Well, well worth it! (Hint: Don't rent your vehicle from the mainland, as we did. Wait till you get over to Cozumel and are able to inspect it first. Ours had way too much duct tape on it and the tires were virtually bald!).

We also took a day to go to Xel-Há, a lagoon snorkling experience we would repeat at the drop of a hat. World-class; we highly recommend it.

On a previous visit we took in Tulum, an ancient Mayan village. Again, world-class and highly recommended.

Room Tip: (see review)
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Mr-Wheeskers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2012

We stayed 3 nights here -Room 203 "Surf". The resort looked good but our experience was a disaster!!-our room overlooked the street and was noisy from the bars at night and noisy in the mornings when the dive shops loaded their tanks. The TV did not work the whole stay, despite reception staff promising it would and coming to our room and telling us to "let it warm up for 30 minutes". Despite repeated requests this was not fixed.There was NO hanging space in the apartment - the hanging rod was missing, the bathroom window was covered in black plastic which made the room very dark, no dishwasher, washing machine or dryer. The windows were filthy. Wifi only in the lobby which was amazingly hot.AND the toilet blocked.

Room Tip: Make sure you don't get room 203 Surf and ask for a view
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JanineON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2012

This was my 2nd time to Playa Del Carmen and I was travelling with a group for a wedding. We booked a 3 bedroom condo for 4 girls. The condo we were originally booked in had a master bedroom, a room with two twin beds, and another with bunk beds and no closet. Not what we had expected. We asked the front desk if there was another option... luckily they were able to contact the owners and they also owned the penthouse directly above where we were and agreed to upgrade us for a small fee. We were elated! Coral 302 was absolutely gorgeous! Two master suites - each with their own bathroom, and another room with twin beds and another bathroom. The condo was two stories with breathtaking views. Hands down the best place I've ever stayed at in Mexico. Thanks to the staff and owners for a wonderful time in Playa.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Sarah H
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 #15 of 221 Specialty Lodging in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $152 - $437 (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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