I actually won this trip from a radio station and read the reviews about the Condo/resort and was excited about the place, but I always knew in the back of my mind before I went, this is not going to be like all other all-inclusive resorts.
I was correct, first the pluses weigh out the minuses by far, the condos and property is beautiful, gorgeous beach, just steps from a big warm pool. The Condos are all marble with all you need in a condo for a great week. Steps away from 5th avenue which has all one needs to shop eat or drink.
The staff was awesome, our waiter from day one for our drinks and most of our lunches was Sergio, and he was great, fast to keep your glass full and very happy in a great mood and always smiling. The rest of the staff was good, except for one day, our Friday. It was like a switch of staff and all the good ones are off that day. We sat in the area of the beach for members and we were served 1 drink in 4 hours the other time we got up to go to the bar. The same day the waiter at poolside left the people beside us dishes on the beach with fries and things on them for a good 90 mins. During that time we had ravens and seagulls dive bombing the dishes and stealing the food. The regular security guard who usually works the pool area was not on that day either. This security guard just stood and watched.
Now the all-inclusive thing which we won, the rooms are not at the front of the resort looking out over the ocean or the pool. The rooms are very nice do not get me wrong and very clean. The rooms with views are for the Condo members. We were invited to come and take the tour, to own, the place is very nice, but we had no intention to buying into anything, really we just wanted to go to Xel Ha for free, and taking the 90 min tour did that for us.
At the start of the showing, we told the salesman where are room was and were told, we will look into moving you to an owners suite / ocean view basically, as it was down time of the year. When we did not buy, we got our tickets but never were moved to ocean view, in fact the Manager told us well you guys won this trip and you are not buying, what you expect.
Shows you who they cater too, like I figured from the start, all inclusive just to fill in, as units do not sell well with this economy. Nothing wrong with that if you are not using all inclusive.
The all-inclusive units are dressed down a little, we were in Surf 403, it has a look out on a very small patio to the road, and if you look to your right at the end of the street you can see the ocean. The room had an older couch, the bed only had a sheet and blanket, no comforter, looked tacky, with all the marble in the room.
The satellite system sucks, it was up and down a few times, one time for the whole PM and to the next day. The Wi-Fi only works in Wickys restaurant or in the front lobby, so keep that in mind no surfing in your condo.
I am glad that it was only my wife and I; I think the kids would have been bored on the all-inclusive. The only food available is Wickys restaurant and another small hotel, up the road also 1 restaurant. Wicky's food is great, but the steak and some other menus are not available with the all-inclusive they are extra. The Kids would have never sat and waited for all their meals every day, especially dinner. Dinner is great; it is not formal dress but good dining. But again kids would not sit every night and wait for meals to be cooked. They do not have any activities for kids at the condo either, where as a true all inclusive would have games and dance lessons for the kids and so on. Nothing wrong with that but just consider if you are looking for all-inclusive, with kids.
It is a great location, close to 5th ave which is good in one way; however, the locals drive you crazy. You cannot walk 5 feet on to that strip without, senor, hey sir, need taxi, come in my shop senor. Want to do activities while here just come see this resort. From our hotel to the Senor Frogs at the strips end, 10 min walk, you are asked 25 to 30 times what you want. My wife and I made a habit of buying off shops that did not have someone outside bothering travellers. These are usually the bigger gift shops, their products do the talking for them.
The biggest complaint I had was with the pool, and it has been mentioned in other reviews about this resort. The pool is very beautiful and so are the grounds. The first few days, the pool sparkled, it was warm and clean. On Tue or Wed the filter crapped out and we saw guys in the AM working on it, however they left at around noon and the filter was not working, I knew this as the returns were not circulating water. During the 1st day of the filter being down, you started seeing some white flakes starting to form in the still areas of the pool. The next morning, we again noticed that they working on the filter, so we swam around, but the pool was getting cloudy in areas, and as you waved your foot or hand through that cloudy area it would move and spread over a larger area.
I said to my wife do not put your head under as we did not want to end up with an ear infection or something. Again at noon, the workers, looked like an outside company closed up and went away, I figured they will need a part or something. No return for that day, we went to the room for a while came back down, the pool was not in good shape, no filter running yet, now very cloudy and all these white flakes in the pool. It was People’s skin flakes, as the water was not being filtered and chlorine was not circulating. Friday AM we head down, and guys are working around the pool again, one guy is skimming all the stuff off the top, and the other guy is in the water, we figure good, we will give it some time and go for a swim when they are done. Well the guy in the pool was changing the ring around the lights in the pool, still no filter. We did not go in it was gross, very cloudy, in fact that is why we decided to sit on the beach instead of poolside. We left for home on Saturday AM, and still no Filter, needless to say we did not swim then either. Be careful as I said this is not the only complaint about the pool in trip advisor.
All in all good Vacation, would I return, if I was looking for the condo get away, where I will cook, clean and do the work. Sure great location, as an all-inclusive, no.
Hope this helps for the decision you are going to make. Any questions just ask and I will answer
- 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