Forty two times and counting, at our wonderful second home, Royal Hideaway, and it just keeps getting better and better! We just returned from spending the month of August at Royal Hideaway, during which time, we celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary (we were married when we were six months old and one year old respectively….ha ha ha) and we had a fabulous time filled with daily laughter , big smiles, and new friends. We simply love all that RH is, and we especially love the staff members whom, we sincerely consider to be part of our extended family. It may sound bizarre to others reading this, that we are so enamored with our Mexican home, even after having been there 42 times and counting onward with several other wonderful visits planned and booked; however, it continues to present us with a very special magical feeling, as RH always continues to surprise and delight us. The majesty of the crystal clear blue water, with the sun sparking down on the white sand, embraced by the cascading infinity pool, is a vista of which we will never tire, as it is one that excites the soul and fuels the body.
I am going to tell you about Royal Hideaway, in order that you gain insight into the resort, to make an informed decision if RH is a good fit for you.
Royal Hideaway is only about forty minutes from the Cancun airport, and the ride actually seems even quicker since the development of the overpass, completed in May, 2011, which eliminates a significant amount of local street driving. As you enter Playacar, you are arriving at a gated community; therefore, all vehicles need to provide the guards at the gate with identification that insures that they are delivering passengers to hotels. You are completely safe and you should have no worries at all in this regard. The area is completely safe.
As you enter the pristine driveway of the hotel, once again, the security guard at the booth will inquire as to whom the driver is, as well as to whom the passengers are. Entry is not permitted to unauthorized persons. As you step out of your vehicle, the bellman will welcome you to RH, (or if you are a returning guest as we are, he will welcome you home) take your luggage (which will quickly reappear in your room), and escort you into the lobby reception area, where you will be given a refreshing cool towel, and a chilled glass of champagne. You will be seated in front of an elegant Queen Anne desk, where you will complete your registration, and you will be provided with a small map of the hotel. At this point, the bellman will escort you down to the pool/ beach/ area, where you can have a bite(you’re probably starving after your flight), at either the Deck restaurant or if you prefer an air conditioned environment , as you are still dressed from your trip, you might have lunch in Spices (12;30-2:30).If your room is ready, the bellman will escort you to your Villa , where you will meet your concierge, and the bellman, as well as your concierge ,will explain everything about your room. Your concierge is your” go to” person and he/she will happily arrange for whatever you wish, or require. Feel free to explain any special needs or requests to your concierge, as he/she wants to do whatever it takes to insure that you have a fabulous vacation. The concierge will arrange all of your dinner reservations, arrange any excursions you may wish, and take care of any special requests. Be sure to inform your concierge if you are celebrating a special occasion, and you may be very pleasantly surprised. We choose to celebrate our birthdays and anniversaries at RH, as well as to visit at other times. We have learned that every day is a special day at RH.Do you like a particular beverage in your mini bar refrigerator? Just let the concierge know and he/she will do his/her utmost to meet your needs.
Let’s look into the restaurants a bit!
I guess that a good place to start is with breakfast, which is served at Spices, overlooking the majesty of the sea and the beautiful beach. In high season, when there is considerable occupancy, breakfast may also be served in Ventanas. There is a full buffet at Spices for breakfast (the only buffet at RH), and it offers, a multitude of tropical fruits, as well as the traditional fresh fruit selection. The mango is out of this world. Every time I buy mango here in New York, it is just never the same, and I actually have to cut up my own fruit! No wonder we return to RH so often! Varieties of cold and hot cereal are available, as well as skim (leche light) and regular milk, as well as an assortment of yoghurts. A variety of toppings are available including delicious almonds, coconut, raisins, etc. A full omelet station is available; serving omelet’s with a variety of fillings of your choice. The buffet includes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, and on a rotating basis, Monte Cristo sandwiches, quiche, fajitas, empanadas, chilquiles, etc. etc. etc. (yes for breakfast)!
There is a huge assortment of cheese (mozzarella, havarti, Swiss, American, brie, cream, pepper, queso blanco, and panela, etc.)Also included on the cold bar is a huge assortment of meats, as well as house smoked salmon (lox) that is simply incredibly delicious. There s also a daily assortment of salads, and or grilled vegetables, as well, as capers, egg whites, egg yolks, olives, onions, etc.There is a very nice table of breads, featuring, freshly baked, bagels, English muffins, breads, etc. In addition there is a sweet pastry table with a variety of cakes, muffins, pastries, cookies, biscuits, croissants, as well as hot waffles, pancakes, French toast, and syrups. I tried nutella for the first time and it was delicious. You can enjoy a variety of beverages as there is a full bar with a bartender .Smoothies, made with fresh ingredients, cappuccino, coffees, tea, fresh squeezed juices of several varieties, soft drinks, wine, a cocktail, or perhaps tequila ,are all available. After all, it is five o’clock somewhere! We start each morning celebrating the day and each other with a good morning toast of champagne and cranberry juice.
The Deck restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is situated as its namesake states, on the deck overlooking the majesty of the white sand “playa” and the blue crystal clear sea. The menu options at the Deck are plentiful as well as quite varied, and include but are certainly not limited to:, Cesar salad, Mediterranean salad, shrimp cocktail, seafood cocktail, a variety of ceviches, ribs, onion rings, sweet potato fries, calamari, fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, chicken sandwiches, beef sandwiches, burgers, franks, bagel and lox, seared salmon with spinach salad, grouper, mahi, mahi, as well as fabulous and tasty full main course specials every day, and my very favorite, tuna tartar and seaweed salad with cashews. At times, a grill is prepared on the pool deck with a variety of fresh fish and meats. Delicious! In addition, there are days on which huge paella is prepared accompanied by very tasty fresh red sangria. Leave room for very yummy, sorbet, brownies, fruit and helado (ice cream.) Coconut is great! Want to wait a bit for a tasty sweet treat? On many days the ice cream cart comes around the pool offering a variety of delicious ice cream flavors in waffle cones. It is vacation, and the vacation rule is that calories don’t count!
Do you crave and love sushi, sashimi, hibachi grill, Thai cuisine, Japanese cuisine, or Asian cuisine in general? Do you enjoy hot or cold sake? Azia will truly satisfy your cravings. Azia is a really unique restaurant that features a teppanaki table at which, the chef prepares dinner, featuring, steak, chicken shrimp, salmon, with veggies and fabulous rice, all prepared at the table, a private tatami room, in which you are seated in traditional Asian seating (albeit, the chairs have a real back, so you are very comfy), and traditional table seating. Many menu items feature, tuna, pork, steak, chicken, shrimp, etc. Ask for chop sticks, if you wish and enjoy the full Azia experience. You should feel free to order whatever you wish, regardless of the type of seating that you choose.
Palazzo is probably the most romantic of the restaurant venues and features Italian cuisine. It is situated at the zenith of Royal Hideaway and overlooks the splendor of the property as well as the beauty of the sea and Cozumel, which is fully illuminated at night. Palazzo often features a very talented cellist or flautist to add romance and elegance to your dining experience. There is a full wrap around balcony, providing a spectacular vista for dinners who wish to enjoy dining alfresco. A variety of menu options are available at Palazzo. Some of our favorites are the fabulous and unique Cesar salad, served with mascarpone ice cream, as well as the very delicious vognole (clam) soup, corn soup or pumpkin soup. The beef medallions are to die for, and the ravioli, risotto and the pasta with truffle sauce are out of this world. Several of our friends love the Osso Bucco and the tuna Provencal. My husband loves the tiramisu for dessert, and I am an ice cream girl, topped with just a touch of chocolate candy and chopped nuts from the tiramisu…delish!
Ventanas is the flagship restaurant and contains the piano bar. Feel free to enjoy a before or after dinner drink at the gorgeous Ventanas bar, regardless of the venue in which you are dining on any particular evening. Jose or Ricardo, make the best cucumber, chocolate or apple martinis (or for that matter any martini) and yummy Bellini’s made with peach nectar. Of course you can enjoy any beverage or cocktail of choice at Ventanas piano bar, and yes the liquor is all top shelf, and Grey Goose is prominently featured. Ernesto is the very talented pianist who tickles the ivories, on a gorgeous black baby grand, as you are enjoying a drink or a delicious dinner.
So what’s for dinner?
The ambiance of Ventanas is that of a super modern urban upscale restaurant with cuisine and service that are superb! Do you love, fish (sea bass, salmon, grouper etc), steak, lamb chops, Korobuta pork chops, shrimp, scallops, mussels, tuna? These are just some of the menu items. Our favorites include several of the fish items, as well as the steak, and my husband loves the lamb chops as well as the humongous Korobuta pork chop. A starter of tomato essence with lamb ravioli are highly recommended, as well as the mussels, and the shrimp with Portobello mushrooms and pesto. Fabulous! If you love being wined and dined in a five star restaurant, then, you will absolutely, positively love Ventanas. A tasting menu is available, and this provides you with a wonderful sampling of a variety of menu options. Don’t quite see this as exactly what you crave? Feel free to design your own tasting menu. You call the shots. You’re on vacation. Desserts are truly unique and include fabulously yummy sweet creations that are art forms to the eye as well as tasty morsels to be savored by the palate. Still want something else? Indulge in cappuccino or espresso, followed by an after dinner cordial of choice. It is all inclusive and magnificent! Ventanas hosts a full wine cellar with a multitude of options from around the globe.
The grill is a venue that makes a magical transformation from the Deck restaurant during the day, to a fabulous steak/seafood restaurant, with tables that are adorned in fine white linen tablecloths complimented by charming blue stemware. The menu at the Grill is extremely extensive and your options are varied as well as very delicious. It is an alfresco venue facing the majesty, romance and splendor of the night sky bordered by the beach and sea lapping upon the playa. Gastronomic delights of tuna tartar, shrimp with artichoke sauce, Caribbean chowder, delicious French onion soup with meted gruyere cheese, three chili ravioli, as well as yummy salads, are just a few of the starters. Entrees feature a variety of fabulously prepared steak and fresh fish options, as well as chops, shrimp, chicken, etc, as well as vegetarian options. A variety of side sauces are offered to compliment each dish. Your server will be very helpful in suggesting which sauce will enhance each dish the best. Sides include many, many, many potato, rice and veggie options, which are all incredibly delicious. Service and preparation of each dish is superb! Once again, desserts are out of this world both from the perspective of eye appeal as well as a gustatory perspective.
Royal Hideaway offers several dinner theater options, and depending on occupancy, the frequency of the shows varies from one to two times per week. The shows change regularly; however, during our month long visit, the shows offered included a great international show as well as a Mexican show. They are very enjoyable and the venue is that of a nightclub, with circular, booths and/ or tables. Waiters begin a three course dinner service prior to the commencement of the show, and are there to consistently fill your wine or beverage of choice glass throughout the show. Try it. You’ll like it!
The Chef’s Table
The Chef’s Table is a magical, extraordinary culinary journey customized to the individual palates of the diners, via a personalized questionnaire prepared by Executive Chef, Eugenio Villafana. Chef Villafana is with you, the diner, throughout the Chef’s Table experience, as you enjoy multi course mouth watering, eye pleasing temptations in an all white glass enclosed room that is actually situated in the kitchen. In addition, each chef who is responsible for a particular course will enter the dining suite, and will explain the dish and the best manner in which you will enjoy it. You will view your dinner courses being prepared with surgical precision, both on the granite counter on the other side of the glass walls, as well as via a flat plasma screen in the beautifully appointed glass room. The Chef’s Table is far more than dining. It is truly a culinary journey that touches all of your senses and one that you long remember with great pleasure. Wine pairings for this experience can also be provided. While The Chef’s Table is not part of the all inclusive option, it is an experience that is worth every cent, and one that your concierge will be most happy to arrange for your dining pleasure. We truly enjoyed the Chef’s Table, as we celebrated our anniversary, during the evening on which we dined there.
Romantic Dinner on the Beach
Would you and your partner like to enjoy a specially prepared dinner, served by your private waiter, embraced by tiki torches, while seated on white chairs at a white table situated on virgin sand that only your footsteps have walked upon, while watching the sea kiss the shore? If this dining option sounds like something you might enjoy, then a romantic dinner on the beach is an option that you might wish to consider. Just ask your concierge who can arrange this magically romantic experience for you. This is not part of the all inclusive option; however, is a moment that you will treasure, particularly if you are celebrating a special occasion with your partner. Perhaps, there, may even be some rose petals involved.
Are you in the mood for some live late afternoon saxophone music, while enjoying high tea, coffee, latte, your favorite cocktail, champagne or beverage of choice, accompanied by yummy snacks, served by tuxedoed waiters? If this is an option that pleases you, then you may wish to enjoy daily high tea that is served in the exterior seating area to Ventanas restaurant and piano bar, adjacent to the main lobby.
The day starts with yoga, which takes place on the grass surrounding the pool. While this was not an activity in which I participated, as it was always just a bit too early for me, everyone who participated always seemed to enjoy the class. Do you speak Spanish? Do you want to learn to speak the language, or perhaps just learn a few useful phrases? Spanish lessons are offered on the deck every morning. Want a refreshing towel, or perhaps a fruit kabob. Just look for one of the wonderful pool concierge, walking around the pool and partake of a beautifully cool scented towel and cool refreshing fruit kabob. Noon time brings aqua aerobics, which transpire in the gorgeous infinity pool, overlooking the sand and sea. Everyone is invited to participate in this and other activities, and you can simply join in or not. It is your vacation, your precious time, and certainly your choice. We love aqua aerobics and always participate. It actually is a great little workout, during which participants have the opportunity to meet other guests, as everyone introduces himself/ herself, and tells where he/she is from, at the end of the class ;facilitating ease of conversation with new friends. Most days, Jessie was the aerobics instructor. She has a dynamic, effervescent level of energy and truly energizes everyone.
Early to mid afternoon, pool deck guests are often treated to the delights of a very talented saxophone player for their listening pleasure. Often we enjoyed, these great melodies, as we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Deck. If you like trivia/and or a golf putting contest, you often have the opportunity to partake in either during the afternoon. Perhaps you’d like a salsa, meringue or belly dance lesson. Once again, it is your time and your choice. You can participate or just relax, perhaps enjoying that great book you’ve always wanted to read, with a cold, frosty beverage in your hand. Often, the pool concierge would bring out the ice cream cart, offering all too delicious waffle cones. Remember, that there are no calories on vacation at Royal Hideaway.
Much to our delight, Royal Hideaway has brought back an old favorite activity of dancing to “Love is in the air”. Every day at 3:45 the concierge villa team, as well as the pool concierge, and other great staff, gather to dance together. For years, my husband had participated in this great tradition, with the concierge family, and now I dance as well, making it a bit of a great family affair. Everyone looks forward to this short but really fun dance and Royal Hideaway tradition!
Still looking for a relaxing activity? At the culmination of a day in the sand, sun beach and pool, the pool concierge team, organizes a cooking lesson (perhaps, guacamole, salsa, chocolate covered strawberries) or, a martini /tequila lesson etc .Once again, your vacation, your choice. Participate or choose not to. It’s all your call and totally your choice.
As noted in my sections on each restaurant, dinner is a wonderfully leisure evening activity at Royal Hideaway that we enjoy immensely. We follow that experience with going to Allegria bar, which is located just down the gorgeous main stairway, under Ventanas, the main lobby, and Palazzo. It is on the same ground level as Azia. Don’t walk past. Many evenings you will find a great duo performing. Perhaps a vocalist and a guitarist, a keyboard player or a saxophone player will be entertaining. Don’t miss the international duo, consisting of a fabulous saxophonist, Ariel, and Mattias, who plays the guitar as well as sings. If you are very lucky, you may even have the distinct pleasure of hearing the general Manager of Royal Hideaway play the saxophone. Yes, he is a man with multiple talents! Karaoke is also a fun activity in which everyone can participate, and is truly a lot of fun. Often, small groups of guests get together and sing as a group. That’s really a great time. Some nights a trivia contest takes place. You may even win a wonderful complimentary massage.
What really is special about Allegria is that it offers a wonderfully relaxing venue in which to unwind with your beverages of choice, and talk about your day and plans for tomorrow with new friends, who just might become truly close good friends.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Award winning luxury all inclusive resort set along the beautiful beaches of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Ideal setting in a serene environment for complete rest and relaxation. Adults only. Member of The Leading Hotels of the World. 2008 winner of the coveted AAA 5 Diamond Award. 11 villas with private concierge are spread throughout the property's immaculate grounds. Six gourmet restaurants serve delicasies in menu-style dining. A full service spa offers the ultimate in papmering and body treatments. Personalzied service and attention to detail set this resort a world apart. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Hideaway Playacar And Occidental Resorts
- Royal Hideaway Playacar & Occidental Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Royal Hideaway Playa Del Carmen
- Royal Hideaway Mexico
- Occidental Royal Hideaway
- Royal Hideaway Playacar Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico