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“Fancy and beautiful but needs a tune up”

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Royal Hideaway Playacar
Ranked #33 of 210 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Edmonton
Level 5 Contributor
45 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Fancy and beautiful but needs a tune up”
Reviewed May 12, 2013

I have stayed at over a dozen other resorts and was very excited to finally have the opportunity to stay at a 5 Diamond Resort. This is our first visit to the Royal Hideaway Playacar, and generally it was great. The entrance as you drive up is very impressive, and the friendly bell boy who graciously escorts you personally over to the lion claw high top check out area is more than impressive. The lobby is stunning and exquisite simply said. You felt very welcomed and the ambience made you feel very privileged.
The rooms were okay and comparable to other 5 star resorts, however they are in need of some obvious maintenance. The bathroom light was falling off and had wires showing, the wallpaper in the toilet room was peeling and bubbled, there was rust showing throughout in multiple areas on the balcony. We liked the individual halogen lights above the head of each bed for reading and all of the lights in the room had dimmers. Turndown service was always done neatly and professionally and on time. Housekeeping was average, the never did anything to show appreciation for your tip. I don't tip for this reason, however it was just odd to not even see one fresh picked flower or a towel animal. The mattresses and linens were excellent. We ordered room service twice and one time it took 35 minutes and they other I had to call and check on it and it took over 45 minutes.
The grounds are beautiful and a joy to walk around and view. At night it is a gift to be in such a place with the beautiful night lighting and water fountains to enjoy.
This resort has the best beach I have seen. It is so large that you can find your very own space and oasis and not be cramped at all. They have butler service on the beach and we appreciated the flag system when you wanted something. It was a great way to show the butlers who needed service.
Since this resort is smaller the main pool area we found every cramped and busy and loud. This is the activity pool as well. It was very hard to find 2 seats past 10 am and usually you were out of luck. So we went back into the center of the resort and sat by one of the quiet small pools. There are 2 quiet pools with 6 and 8 seats. This was wonderful however you have to give up any kind of butler service. There are no drinks served at these pools, which for a 5 Diamond Resort you would think they would have this covered. So you must choose peace and quiet and no pool service or loudness and service. In my opinion a guest should not have to choose at this level of hotel.
The food and assortment of food is fantastic. Every meal we had was outstanding. Every meal was a joy to sit down and enjoy. However the signature restaurant is small meals displayed as artwork. Do not book this restaurant on a night that you are hungry, otherwise it is a treat to experience. The selection of wine at the Hideaway is what I was hoping for and more, their list will have something for every connoisseur!
Our room was on the main floor, however I recommend booking an upper level if you don't like bugs, beetles and even rodents as they sometimes can enter your room. If your room is on the main floor do not leave your door open even for a moment without watching.
We loved 'tea time' as tuxedo dressed butlers serve you crustless little sandwiches and miniature desserts complimented by an amazing live saxophone musician and other entertainment. The building area is spectacular with tall ceilings, incredibly tall glass windows, and dashes of foliage in all the right places as the breeze whispers through around you.
The resort has a dinner theatre 2 times a week that you must like all other restaurants make an advanced reservation for. The show has a buffet meal. The show had impressive talent however the music would just stop in between acts leaving awkward unprofessional silence. One thing that was a very nice personal touch was at each meal they would put a tent card on the table with your names.
I found many guests did not know how to act appropriately, they were young newlyweds that more than likely got this a gift for their honeymoon that typically do not travel at such high end resorts. They were loud, crude and ignorant to others around them and staff. Overall we found the guests unfriendly and stuck up. I prefer a resort where you can pay for an upgrade to platinum or royal club service areas within the resort. I find the people much more appreciative of their environment. Also the staff always gave exceptional service however they always seemed so shocked when we tipped or chatted with them. They are used to doing their job excellent yet no interaction, with emotionless faces. We had to work to interact with the staff, compared to other resorts where I like to stay like the Royal Club at the Occidental Xcaret; the staff are personable, friendly and interactive, however quiet and reserved if you like it that way.
For the price paid I am unsure of returning again.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Orchidmandy
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 review, May 29, 2013
Dear Orchidmandy,
Thank you for taking the time to review our Resort. Thank you for your kind words about the resort facilities, beach, pools and our cuisine, we are very happy that you enjoyed all these. Thank you for your feedback about the maintenance areas, we are taking actions on this matter and next year the company has decided in doing light renovations in our beautiful resort. In regards to your concern on pricing, we appreciate you bringing this to our attention; this has been shared to the correct department. Our fantastic staff will be doing always their best job and normally are very friendly and helpful with our entire guest, so sorry you had a different experience. Thank you so much again for your helpful review. It will an honor to have the opportunity to host you again in the near future.
Cordially,
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Latham, New York
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

This was a great resort. The only complaint I could make would be the room condition being outdated and humid most of the time. The food was excellent and the service was excellent. It was walking distance to fifth avenue.

Room Tip: We stayed in villa 17
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Barbara D
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 review, May 29, 2013
Dear BarbaraD,
We really appreciate this review; this is very helpful for us! Thank you so much for your feedback about the room’s condition, this has been shared to the correct staffs and actions will be taken. Thank you again and we hope that you come back and enjoy once again of all our services!
Best regards,
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Santa Barbara
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

Just returned from a fabulous vacation. Food Excellent. Recommend that you call one week before you get there to make your dinner reservations. Or else plan on eating around 10 p.m.. Beach is amazing. Crystal clear water - tourquise blue and white sandy beach. If you are planning spa time I would pass. They are over priced about $175.00 for 50 minutes, you can get similar service in town for $40.00 per hour. We had Liliana as our concierge and she was wonderful as were all of the staff we encountered. The hotel staff is very hospitable. (Lots of beach chairs) . We are planning another trip back soon.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RandL744
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 review, May 25, 2013
Dear RandL744 - Thank you for sharing your review! We love to hear when guest have such an amazing holiday! We’re delighted to hear that you enjoyed the beauty of this paradise, our service and the food. Thank you from your feedback about our spa services, our Spa is totally renovated and one of the most beautiful in all Riviera Maya, it is important to know all opinions, we have shared with the GM. Thank you again and we hope to welcome you back very soon!
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2013

We stayed at the RH last month for five nights which was not long enough! We have travelled to Mexico many times always staying at the top rated resorts. The food here was definitely the best! Every meal was delicious. The beach is amazing and almost as beautiful as Maroma beach which is our favorite in Mexico. Our room was very comfortable and we had no problems. We were there to celebrate my birthday and the RH made the day very special. All employees are very professional and really strive to make your vacation a wonderful one. Special thanks to Francisco at the front desk who took such good care of us and Nancy who was absolutely amazing!!! We usually don't go back to the same resort twice but we will go back to the RH.

Room Tip: We were in building 23 by the pool and ocean. It was perfect.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank AmyDavid82
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 review, May 25, 2013
Dear Amy & David – First of all, thank you for choosing us to celebrate this special date! We definitely feel very pleased to read this review, thank you so much for all your kind words to our staff, this is the best way to know that they are doing an excellent job. It is amazing to read your opinion about our food; the best! We can’t wait to host you again in this beautiful resort, it will an honor!
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Sycamore, Illinois
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed May 11, 2013

My wife and I visited the Royal Hideaway Playacar from April 20 - 27, 2013. This is our third all-inclusive visit in the Playa del Carmen area. Last year we stayed at the Riu Palace, which was about 1/4 from the Royal Hideaway. The Royal Hideaway was a higher class hotel compared to the Riu Palace.

The Royay Hideway is a smaller resort with approximately 200 rooms. The hotel was at capacity for most of the time that we were there, but it never felt crowded until the end of our stay when two wedding groups arrived. Even then the only crowds were the wedding parties that congregated around the infinity pool and beach bar.

The best thing about this hotel was the food. The ingredients, preparation, and service at every meal were top notch. The quality was largely a result of the reservation system, which has its opponents, but results in consistent quality since there is never a busy time or a rush.

You must be prepared for the reservation system. Several days before you leave, you must email the resort to schedule your dinner reservations, or at least reservations for the first couple nights. The schedule runs Monday - Sunday and is open for reservations beginning on Saturday. I emailed the Royal Hideaway on Wednesday, and we were pre-reserved for dinner on Saturday and Sunday since these were the only evenings that could be booked at the time I emailed. On Sunday following our arrival, we met with the concierge to make reservations for the rest of the week and most of the best times had been filled since the schedule had been opened on Saturday and other guests had already grabbed the best times. We were flexible, and as a result we ate at all five dinner restaurants during our stay between 7 and 8 p.m., except Las Ventanas, which could only accomodate us at 9 p.m. on our last night. If you prefer dinner at 6 p.m. or 10 p.m., then the reservation system won't be a problem since these dinner times are available at all of the restaurants every night.

Our favorite restaurant was The Grill because it was located right at beach with great views, a sea breeze and a variety of meat and seafood options. We also had an excellent meal at the Italian restaurant.

The only meal that didn't impress us was our dinner at Spices. The food was above average, but the service was very slow. Be prepared for long meals at all of the restaurants averaging 1.5 - 2 hours. However, Spices was the one restaurant where you could actually get traditional Mexican food for dinner. I really like Mexican food so we chose to attend the Mexican dinner show and eat at the Mexican buffet on Thursday night. The Mexican buffet offered the Mexican fare that is very common at other resorts, but somewhat difficult to find at Royal Hideaway. Favorites dishes included tacos al pastor, two different tamales, charro beans, and jicama salad.

A couple special food items and service really made the week wonderful. We ate lunch at the Deck everyday and our regular server was Fray who could always find some Salsa Verde con Aguacate, which is a green salsa with avocado blended in. It went great with the carnitas tacos, which we ate several times. Also, the ceviche at lunch was excellent. For dessert, they have several types of sorbet available. I had a craving for some mango and lime sorbet and the head waiter at The Grill (Freddy?) was able to get a bowl for me even though we weren't eating there that night.

The other highlight of this hotel is the beach. In my travels, my favorite beach so far is Eagle beach in Aruba, but the playacar is very nice. It is a 1.5 mile walk along the beach to 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen and most of the walk passes in front of low density single family homes. To the South, it is a continuous stretch of resorts. All of the resorts are set back from the beach sufficiently far that you can walk the beach without huge crowds even during busy season.

There is a little competition at the Royal Hideaway for the best pool and beach chairs. The infinity pool is reserved by 8 a.m., but seats open up throughout the day and there are many other pools and pool chairs available at any time. We opted for the beach everyday. There are no permanent palapas. Instead, the resort has two person sun shades available. These are usually claimed by 9 a.m. However, as people leave the beach, usually starting around 11 a.m., these sun shades become available. The drink service on the beach was reliable.

Finally, we owe a big debt of gratitude to our concierge Liliana and the housekeeping staff. When we left the hotel, my wife left her clutch in a dresser drawer with her cell phone, driver's license and credit cards. While our airport shuttle was picking up guests at the neighboring resort, the driver got a call from the Royal Hideway regarding the lost purse. Before we even knew that it was missing, the van had returned to the Royal Hideaway and Liliana was standing in the lobby with the purse. This was just a final example of the excellent service that we received throughout the week.

We will return to the Royal Hideaway because of the food, beach and great service.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Clifford80
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 review, May 25, 2013
Dear Clifford80 - Thank you for taking time out to share your experience, this is a fantastic review and very helpful for our future guests! We are thrilled you had such a wonderful stay with us. We really appreciate your point of view in each thing you mentioned. We feel very proud in having staff like Liliana, each of our team members are hard worker people and our purpose is to make feel this way to each guest we have. We are excited that you really enjoyed our service, food, resort areas, the beach and our hard working staff. We certainly hope to welcome you back again very soon!
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Massachusetts
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 11, 2013

The staff everywhere were great we had a wonderful concierge Roger who made every effort to insure we had a pleasant stay.We will certainly go back.The resort grounds are kept beautiful they were always cleaning and updating . The food and presentation was top notch we enjoyed all the restaurants at the resort. The staff were friendly and made you feel very comfortable.Our room was spotless the maid did a fine job!

Room Tip: Rooms facing the ccourtyard have beautiful views
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lizzy051
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 review, May 25, 2013
Dear Lizzy051 – Hello and thank you for sharing your experience! We are excited you enjoyed your stay and that you especially like our concierge service villa, we are very happy to read that Roger is doing a great job as well our entire staff. Thank you again and we hope to welcome you back very soon!
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Brentwood, Tennessee
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2013

This was our 8th trip to the Mayan Riviera. Our first visit was to Royal Hideaway, followed by Aventura Spa Palace, Excellence Riviera, Secrets Capri, Secrets Silversands, Secrets Maroma (x2), then finally our return trip to RH last week. Because we started at RH, we found ourselves comparing all other resorts to the RH standard so we were very excited to return. The beach and the food lived up to our memories and expectations. In our opinion, none of the other resorts come close in these two categories. It also has the smaller, more quaint feeling that we wanted. However, the service was significantly lower than we remembered and I think the other resorts may have passed them in this category. The staff frequently seemed short and overwhelmed. The Grill option for lunch also services the pool and beach patrons. Getting service was slow and sometimes difficult. However, the food was excellent when it arrived. Our biggest disappointment with RH was the deteriorated condition of the facilities. This resort is REALLY showing its age. The common areas and restaurants are fine, as are the perfectly-manicured grounds. The biggest shortfall is the villas themselves. The rooms are much smaller than the other resorts listed above. We like ordering room service on occasion and there is no sitting area or table on which to eat. We did not find the outdoor space useable. The shower and tub are old and small. There was constant fluctuation in the electricity causing the lights to dim. The hot water in the shower fluctuated from scalding to cold all week. The metal railing structure on all villas has completely rusted through. The same is true at the main building (look up). Wire holds many rails together. All around our room, you could find ugly details (pictures below) that do not correspond to the premium price paid. The beach is still the best and we spend much more time in the water due to the clarity and consistent sandy bottom. Being within walking distance to Playa del Carmen was also a big benefit over the other resorts we stayed. As mentioned the quality of the food and drink were excellent (still best we've experienced). Besides the service and the facilities, the other thing that was concerning was the fact that they didn't seem to be interested in improving. At checkout, we were not asked for any feedback (formally or otherwise) about our stay. I believe RH has been at the top for awhile, but the other resorts are catching them (passing in many areas) in our opinion. We will continue our annual trips to the area and look forward to our third visit to RH once they renovate the facilities.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Derek M
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 review, May 30, 2013
Dear Derek M
This channel is very important for us; we are very grateful that you take some minutes from your time and make this review from us, this helps us to work harder in specific areas which we might not being paying the attention that it deserves. We are deeply sorry about your perception from our resort and the issues you had in your recently stay. Thank you for your feedback about the resort areas and Villas, for 2014 the company has decided to make light renovations in these specific areas and we believe it is going to be a great improvement. For us, the guest satisfaction it is our top priority, going beyond guest satisfactions and offering high standards. We cordially invite you to visit us in the near future and give us the opportunity to change your perception from our resort. Thank you again for your value review and for visiting us.
Best regards,
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Additional Information about Royal Hideaway Playacar

Property: 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
#18 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#19 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#25 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#27 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#27 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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