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“Nice beach property, use as a condo not all inclusive”
Review of Residences El Faro

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Residences El Faro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 24, 2012

Hello,

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

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank leaf4ever4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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237 - 243 of 416 reviews

Reviewed September 3, 2012 via mobile

Beautiful resort located smack in the middle of playa del carmen yet private enough, gorgeous 3 bedroom villas and caribbean ocean views, excellent service only mexico can offer, we stayed in a 3 bedroom villa on the first floor just a few steps from the pool and the beach, not cheap but worth every penny, we were invited to the residence club presentation and decided to join (no problem coming back over and over) good food in their restaurant, and plenty of food and shopping options at a walking distance on 5th street (main tourist strip in playa) had a couple days of rain but the lovely villa made it ok to just sit and enjoy the views, the only bad thing was that 1 week is never enough.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED give their residence club a chance, good value.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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3  Thank mauraf92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2012

We thought this place was great. We booked a two bedroom condo with our family of five (1, 3, and 5). The rooms were beautiful and very nicely designed with all the upgrades in the kitchen and bathrooms. There is laundry right in the unit, and the ocean views were stunning. The location is hard to beat, you are literally in the middle of it all and can walk just about anywhere. They have a kids pool as well as a regular pool, which is very nice to see at a place like this. We also loved the food at the restaurant located on the first floor. We hope to stay here again sometime soon!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Andre A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2012

We stayed at this property for 4 nights in July. We wanted to stay at a condo, rather than at a hotel, because we were going to be out a lot of time. It was just perfect for our family of 5 with kids. The property of El Faro has an excellent location, one block from 5th street, where you'll find lots of restaurants and shops, and it feels really safe, even late at night. The condo looks very new. Attention and service was perfect at all times. The beach is wonderful, beautiful sand, chairs and you can ask for an umbrella if you need one. We had a car and they offer free covered parking.
The condo we stayed at was absolutely wonderful and in a great location: Reef building, first floor, with direct access to the pool, and just a few steps from the beach. The decoration was lovely. It was very well furnished, rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, etc. It had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, plus a futton and a sofa bed, so it was perfect for a family of 5 or 6. We didn't cook a lot, as we were visiting the area, but it was great to have a kitchen for breakfast, snacks and drinks. We loved the big terrace, as some other condos don't have it. The washer/dryer unit was very handy, as we were going to Cancun for 5 more nights, so I was able to have a fresh start of clothes.
We would recommend El Faro to anyone and will definitely stay here again next time.

Room Tip: Reef building has bigger terraces and first floor even better with direct access to the pool.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank mxtravelingirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2012

Just got back to the states after a great week at El Faro. Rented this one through a third party, after a couple of emails and a confirmation we were set. Check-in was easy, the staff was always very helpful. We stayed in Surf 407, as expected the suite was exquisite marble throughout with granite countertops and a very modern decor. I am a person that does not eat in, but if I had to, the kitchen was well equipped. This unit had two LG units that kept the room very dry and cool, which is a great luxury in the humid July heat. The ocean view was amazing, the resort grounds were simple but nice, with an amazing pool that looked out to the ocean. This was a great central location to bustling 5th Ave, cab stops, money exchange and even a Wal Mart were within walking distance. The cooler water did not get me sick and the floor to ceiling window shades let me sleep in very late, so my stay was healthy as well. all of this for a per night fee of less than $200, you can't beat it!

There were only two small negatives I can comment on about Faro. The first is the club noise to the north. I am a South Beach Miami veteren, so sleeping with outside partying noise is no big deal, but at least let the party be epic and worth the lost sleep. I at first thought the bass-thud to be coming from neighboring Zenzi, but its actually a few doors down and is pointless- no one is even there at the hours the music is played. Faro and other neighboring places should put a stop to this endless music. The second is that Wickys and the resort need to work out a better deal in regards to beach chairs and price point. A one-time 10% coupon or a free drink just is not enough to seperate the loyal Faro guests and strangers walking off the beach.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank HotSpotJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2012

My husband and I just got back from Playa del Carmen, El Faro Resort. We went for our honeymoon. We are in our late 20's/early 30's. Overall, I must say that this trip was one of the best trips we've went on!!
I will break it down very easily. When I was researching this resort there were many reviews but certain things were not listed that i really wanted to know. So i will do my best to give a thorough yet straight forward review.

We did an all inclusive deal which included meals free and alcoholic beverages (only at Wicky's and Mr. Chile restaurants) Wicky's is located right in the resort/condo. The service there was great! Food was amazing! it is fine dining so that was a plus! Mr. Chile is about a block away, the food there is also good, not GREAT, but doable. Just fyi. tips are a big thing here (and other places for that matter) i think we spent about $120-130 U.S. just on tips for a 1 week stay.

Beach - amazing beach! amazing water! clear! See weed is removed very quickly on this beach, which was great since i cant stand see weed! Beach chairs ALWAYS available! Can order food/drinks on the beach which was great!
I was told that beaches in Mayan Riviera are very rocky and not the best.....BUT then i was told that beaches in Playa Del Carmen are a lot better and this was absolutely CORRECT! was not rocky at all. I brought my water shoes just in case, but did not even use them!

Hotel/condo - VERY spacious! Clean! full kitchen! 2 full bathrooms, living room. It was an open concept! Loved it!
This resort is also good for non-all inclusive trips since it comes with a fully equipped kitchen with utensils. We just didn't want to cook on our vacation so all inclusive was perfect for us!

5th Avenue - just steps away from the resort, always busy! ITS SAFE! so try not to get easily influenced by what other people may say. You will have the random people trying to sell you stuff, as long as you say no gracias, they will leave you alone!
Shopping - lots of stores! Starbucks! Was nice to have that! Clothing stores/souvenirs/diamond stores etc. Lots to look at on 5th avenue!

Nightlife - COCO BONGO! i must stress, if you go to Mexico you must see the coco bongo show! its about $50/pp U.S. this includes all you can drink + entrance. totally worth it! Show is amazing!
There are other clubs on 10th and 12th avenue, I just found them to be a little expensive on the weekends....if you want to save some money and don't mind partying on weeknights, i would suggest going out on weeknights..most of the times they let you in free and drinks are half price!

Excursions - Chichen Itza is where the pyramids are, 1 of the 7 wonders of the world! SO worth it! Such an experience! definitely a must! It was boiling hot that day, i believe it got up to 65 degrees CELSIUS! WATER IS A MUST!
When we booked this trip (there is a tour guide in the lobby for the excursion bookings, she gave us 2 free 30 min massages on the beach for free because we mentioned it was our honeymoon) FYI. when you book these excursions, most of them involves you to sit through an hr of time share where they try to sell you stuff...If you want a good deal on the excursions, just sit through the time share and say no at the end of the presentation. it'll save you about $100U.S on the excursions.

Cozumel is a small island, you need to take a ferry to get there, went snorkeling, felt like i was in the movie Finding Nemo! So many fish! Great experience! Shopped in Cozumel, had little shops on every corner. very cute! You can bargain here and souvenirs are cheaper in Cozumel.

Overall honest review: This resort i will def recommend, there were some families with kids, but they never seemed to bother us, we had privacy all the time, pool or on the beach! Its not that busy, which was great for us because it was very relaxing!
Only down side was, on the 2nd last day of our trip i got some sort of stomach virus or food poisoning, not sure what it was, so spent the whole day in the washroom sick! plane ride home was quite interesting. BUT this did not affect the trip in any way, i mean it happens, you deal with it and get over it! I still had the best time ever!

Room Tip: If you can get a room facing the beach, it is a nice plus! We had the room facing the street, which...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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7  Thank milly a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2012

The location is perfect for Playa del Carmen. Close to everything. Right on the beach. The staff is friendly and the place is clean and has up to three bedrooms inside for staying together. The pool was fine and but stay here is you are really looking for a place that is right on the beach and close to everything.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Nando
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 #13 of 242 Specialty Lodging in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $198 - $424 (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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