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“Worth a Return Visit”

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Royal Hideaway Playacar
Ranked #35 of 215 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed May 7, 2013

We recently returned from a 10 day stay at the Royal Hideaway and are already planning our next visit. If you are looking for long, relaxing days by the pool or on the beach, elegant, leisurely dinners with multiple courses, romantic little nooks and crannies, and outstanding service all around, this is the place. If you want loud music, frenzied beach games, and nightly partying, stop reading now and look elsewhere. You won't find that here!
Like many others, we have visited Royal Hideaway several times and have seen changes throughout the years, some for the good, some for the not-so-good. I'll try to break things down:
The Beach and Pools
The beach is beautiful. After a hurricane caused major erosion several years ago that took most of the beach, the Mexican government funded a beach reclamation project that resulted in one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen - miles of pure white sand fringed by palm trees on one side and the turquoise Caribbean on the other. There are comfortable lounges available either in the sun or under the palms, and RH provides sun tents if desired.
The resort has two main pools, a stunning infinity pool that sits right on the beach (you can sit by the pool and still enjoy the view over the beach and the sea all the way to Cozumel) and another right behind it. Scattered throughout the property are smaller relaxation pools, private and secluded, a perfect place to end an afternoon with a glass of wine before getting ready for dinner.
The bad? The towel game can be fierce when the resort is near capacity. If you want a lounge at the pool, you have to be out there by 7 saving your seats by covering them with towels, book, magazines, etc. It's especially frustrating to see seats "saved" and empty until after noon, or worse, all day.
The Grounds
The grounds are beautiful and beautifully kept. When we were there, we noticed that there was major replanting going on throughout the property. Early each morning, workers were out raking, removing fallen palm fronds, and sweeping the paths. There are flowers and foliage everywhere along the paths that weave their way throughout the grounds.
The Villas and Rooms
The villas are octagonal with an open courtyard in the middle with the rooms, on either two or three stories, surrounding them. Each villa has a concierge who takes care of booking your dinner reservations, travel arrangements, or excursions. Additionally, he or she will fulfill any requests you might have for your room, such as what you like stocked in the fridge, or extra towels, toiletries, etc.
The rooms are attractive and good sized, but not overly opulent. The beds are quite comfortable, although the management should invest in better linens and pillows. The bathroom has a separate shower with a rain shower head and a jacuzzi bathtub. Water pressure is good, although one morning we lost the water briefly. The rooms and the villas themselves are beginning to show their age and are in need of cosmetic touch ups such as new paint, wallpaper, etc. The paint on the balconies is peeling and the balconies are getting rusty in places. While we were there, we did observe a lot of painting, etc., going on, so the management seems to be aware of the problems.
The Food and Drink
This is where the RH gains major points. The food is outstanding, not only for an AI resort, but for any hotel anywhere. You have a choice of 5 restaurants, plus a bi-weekly dinner show. Other than the dinner show, which I do not recommend (but that's just me), the dining experience here is wonderful. Each restaurant is beautiful, the food is wonderful, and the service is attentive. I have read other reviews in which people have complained of the length of the meal, but I have never felt this was a problem. When you are having 5 or 6 courses, you expect to have it stretch out for a couple of hours. When at Azia, don't hesitate to order the sushi - it's great. At Las Ventanas, the lamb is wonderful. Palazzo does a great proscuitto/fig salad. The Grill has good steaks, and the sea bass at Spices is beautifully prepared. If you really love food, by all means try the Chef's Table. Either 6 or 12 courses, paired with different wines, prepared right in front of you and presented by the chef, who will discuss each course. Extra money, by well worth it. It was by far the most outstanding meal I have ever eaten anywhere.
Breakfast is either a buffet at Spices or an a la carte meal at Ventanas. Both are very good. The buffet has a variety of hot and cold items, all fresh and attractively presented, and an omelet station. At peak times, you may have to wait, but we never waited more than 5 minutes for a table.
Lunch choices are either a daily cookout buffet with a different type of food each day paella day is great) , casual lunch at the Deck, ordering from a menu that includes salads, sandwiches, appetizers, pizza, and Mexican items, or a more formal sit down lunch upstairs at Spices. You can even have your lunch delivered to you around the pool or on the beach.
The drinks are good, top shelf (if you request it). They will make anything you want if you can tell them the ingredients. Some people have written the the drinks seem weak. I have never found that, but if you think so, order a double. They're more than happy to accommodate you.
The Staff
The staff is the main thing that keeps us coming back year after year. They are truly second to none. From the groundskeepers through housekeeping to the concierge, the pool staff, and the waitstaff, everyone makes your comfort a priority. I'd like to thank our concierge, Victor, for arranging a bottle of champagne to help us celebrate our 40th anniversary. Special thanks to Laura and Christian, who, despite long busy days, are always ready with a smile and a friendly comment, to Luis in Spices, who still remembers my husband's fondness for sake, and Isis, Frey, Mariano, and Luis around the pool and beach, who seem to know just when you need a refill. We do tip, because we feel that hard work deserves a reward, but it seems we are in a minority. And we notice that everyone gets the same treatment, regardless of whether or not a tip is involved. My only complaint about the staff, if you could call it a complaint, is the front lobby. They seem only minimally interested in the guests and more concerned with corporate policy. Also, the employees here seem to change frequently. We have often wondered if this serves as a training ground for Occidental and they rotate people in and out. As we have had little contact with them other than checking in or out, this is a minor problem, although I know people who have had major complaints about the front desk.
Tips
Contact the resort via email the week before you go to make reservations for your first two nights' dinners at least. If you don't, you run the risk of either getting a very early or very late reservation, or worse still, none at all and have to resort to room service. (Yes, the reservation system is a bit of a pain, but it can be worked around). As soon as possible, sit down with your concierge and make all of your reservations for your stay.
Request a room facing the resort rather than the resorts to the north and south (especially the south - that resort has loud music that continues until 11 each night). Also, rooms on the first floor tend to be musty (something you'll find anywhere in the tropics), so if that bothers you, ask for a room on a higher floor. Again, do this before you arrive. They will tell you they will honor your requests if possible, but our requests have always been accommodated.
Despite its few failings,Royal Hideaway is truly the best resort I have even been to. We have tried other places, some of which cost more, but we have never found anything that tops this.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank kathy61950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RoyalHideaway1, Reputation Management at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded May 29, 2013

Dear kathy61950,
First of all, thank you so much for your return to this beautiful resort to spend this special date for you, your 40th anniversary! We could not be happier! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your amazing experience with us, this will be very helpful for future guests. We feel really proud in reading this right now! We are blessed to have wonderful staffs that are so willing in going beyond our guest expectations! Thank you for your positive feedback. We can’t wait to host you again; it is our honor to have you at home away from home!
Cordially,

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2,467 - 2,473 of 4,604 reviews

Reviewed May 7, 2013

MY Wife and I are well seasoned travelers. This is by far the best over all resort we have ever been to. From the beach, the staff, the room , we are in villa 24 and would recommend, the food & over all grounds. I would recommend emailing in advance restaurant reservations and villa choice. Again we are in Villa 24 right next to the beach and pools. We highly recommend this resort. One last bit of info, if you want loud and late night activities this would not be for you.

Room Tip: Email villa choice, we are in 24 and restaurant reservation times. They will get back to you
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank elmton1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RoyalHideaway1, Reputation Management at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded May 24, 2013

Dear Elmton1,
It is very pleasant for us to read this review.
The most important for us, is to make the best holiday experience for each of our guest, this why we put a special emphasis in each service that we provide to you.
Thank you for taking your time in sharing this amazing experience and we wait for you come back very soon!
Our best regards,

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Reviewed May 5, 2013

What a beautiful resort and first impression of Mexico. The resort is set on a beautiful and clean landscaped property that impresses you from the main lobby all the way to its beautiful beach that fades into the caribbean sea. The staff is excellent and caring. These people are hard working and dedicated to making you fell comfortable and welcomed. There words upon arrival were "welcome home" and thats the way they made you feel. The resort was a palace of beauty and its appearance is what I would have imagined Mexican architecture to be, being our first time to Mexico.
This is a resort to unwind and relax in as the views are breathtaking and the sunrises on the turquoise water was beyond any I have ever seen. "Simply BEAUTIFUL". Across the water you are looking at Cozumel and can watch cruise ships come and go daily. You can take a ferry over for the day and spend time there. The rooms are clean everything glistened spotless.The food was good. The menu was a bit less to pick from, but offered elegant dining at dinner. Plenty of drinks all day long and the main lobby lounges had a peaceful and tranquil way to end your evenings. During the day you had a casual dining experience which was okay with us because we spent the days sunbathing and swimming anyway. They had an outdoor BBQ daily or you could choose to eat on the outside decks of decks restaurant or spices restaurant, or you could eat inside if preferred in air conditioned comfort.
Very safe to go outside the resort and walk to the marketplace to do some gift buying and browsing. If your a Starbucks coffee fan like me you are in luck because there is one just 2 minutes down the street.
I highly recommend this resort to anyone looking for a peaceful relaxing vacation. We left with great memories and can't wait to return. Our experience with the Royal Hideaway was nothing short of FANTASTIC. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico was beautiful. and so were the people we came in contact with.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank iceblue1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RoyalHideaway1, Reputation Management at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded May 25, 2013

Dear Iceblue1- Thank you for the kind and detailed review! It’s always great to hear that guest really enjoyed their stay with us and see the details we put into making your stay magical. We are thrilled that you enjoyed our resort, restaurants and all detail; this motivates us to keep putting all our effort in making a pleasant holiday for all our guests. We are grateful that you liked our country and our people. We will be waiting for your next stay with us. Thank you again!

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Reviewed May 4, 2013

This was a return visit to the RH, and the second time even outweighed the first. NOTHING is spared to make the guest feel welcome, and happy. The food- amazing, the room, perfect, the staff, THE BEST!!!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank davem-trip-book
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RoyalHideaway1, Reputation Management at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded May 24, 2013

Dear Davem,
Our main priority is to make a dreamed vacation for our entire guest. We felt really happy that this is your case.
Thank you so much for your second visit and it will an honor to have you back very soon!
My sincerely regards,

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Reviewed May 3, 2013

Wow! We just returned from our sixth visit to the Royal Hideaway. The restaurants shine, the service staff don't miss a beat, and management staff are masters of rapid response. The size of the property and the personalized options, like smaller pools and sitting areas give opportunity to vary the experience daily. The view towards Cozumel is beautiful at night, and the entertainment is just the right intensity for a relaxing vacation. Five, six stars aren't enough.

Room Tip: We have never had a bad room. And we've never stayed in the same room twice.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Murrshul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RoyalHideaway1, Reputation Management at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded May 24, 2013

Dear Murrshul,
This is a very beautiful review, thank you so much on behalf of our staff!
We feel really happy in hosting you every time you visit us, guest like you make us love our job and motivate us to keep putting all our effort in making the best vacations as each of our guests deserves.
Thank you again and we can’t wait to see you again!
Sincerely,

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Reviewed May 3, 2013

This was our first trip to Mexico and we could not of been more impressed with this resort, we went for my husband's birthday and it was the best birthday for him. The resort is defintely a 5 star resort in every way shape and form, we were there from 4-11-13 thru 4-15-13 and we were contemplating extendidng our stay, the staff were so attentive, friendly, and hard working it makes me want to go back on my next vacation. Every thing exceeded our expectations! food was the absolute best.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank roxanne j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RoyalHideaway1, Reputation Management at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded May 24, 2013

Dear Roxanne
First of all, thank you for choosing our resort for this special day!
We are extremely happy in reading this review. One of our main priorities is to reach our guest expectations and it is very flattering to read that it was your case.
It will be our pleasure to host you once again on your second visit to this beautiful country.
Sincerely,

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Reviewed May 1, 2013

We could not have enjoyed our experience more. We visited 4-18 thru 4-21 and it was way too short. The resort was top notch and the staff super friendly and attentive. The pool and of course the beach is beautiful. My boyfriend, who is a big foodie, loved Las Ventanas and Palazzo and the top shelf liquor. We also had fantastic lunches at Spices. We followed the advice from the other trip advisor comments and made dinner reservations the week prior to our trip and had dinner every night at 8:00 which was perfect. Monica Munoz was a saint and so helpful and patient with all of my emails. It is a small resort and so quiet and relaxing - I believe only kids over 13 are allowed but I don't think I saw any kids. April seems to be a great time to travel to Mexico. The weather is great and it is after spring break. We also had a really nice massage on the beach. We also didn't have a real problem getting chairs on the beach. The covered beach chairs are great! One of the advantages of a small resort is that you run into some of the same couples over the course of your stay which was fun. We loved our room and enjoyed having turn down service at night. We will definitely be back and will stay longer next time. Thank you also to Laxmi Gaxiola who helped coordinate shipping some items back to us in Wash DC that we left behind by mistake in the room!

Room Tip: We loved room 2421. Partial view of pool and beach and balcony but room and balcony faced more of th...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank HaroldAlexandriaVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RoyalHideaway1, Reputation Management at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded May 25, 2013

Dear Harold Alexandria – thank you for taking time to share your experience. We are thrilled you enjoyed your stay and particularly enjoyed the massage on the beach; agree the beach is amazing. We are also very excited to hear that your boyfriend loved our restaurants, good idea to make the dinner reservations in advance, Monica is always happy to assist to each of our guest. Thanks again and we hope to welcome you back one day!

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Additional Information about Royal Hideaway Playacar

Address: Lote Hotelero No. 6 Fracc., Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Royal Hideaway Playacar & Occidental Resorts)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#12 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#14 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#19 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#27 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $331 - $527 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Royal Hideaway Playacar 4.5*
Number of rooms: 201
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 
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Also Known As:
Royal Hideaway Playacar & Occidental Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Royal Hideaway Playacar And Occidental Resorts
Royal Hideaway Playa Del Carmen
Royal Hideaway Mexico
Occidental Royal Hideaway
Royal Hideaway Playacar Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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