We spent two incredibly wonderful weeks at Royal Hideaway during the last week in April until mid May. We had a spectacular vacation, and truly consider RH to be our second home. This was our 46th visit to Royal Hideaway with other trips already planned. Many TA readers may want to know, why we continue to frequent RH, rather than going elsewhere. The answer is very simple for us. We keep returning because the service is unparalleled, the cuisine is fantastic, the beach and pools are gorgeous, the grounds of the hotel are incredibly well manicured, we consider the staff to be our extended family, and we meet truly interesting people from all over the world. We have traveled extensively, throughout Europe, the United States, Asia, Indonesia, Scandinavia, the mid –East, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean and have been fortunate enough to have had the pleasure and luxury of staying at some of the very finest properties throughout the world. We truly do have very high expectations, and I can continue to say that RH continues to meet and to exceed our expectations.
As you enter Playacar (where RH is located) you will pass through a security checkpoint, as Playacar is a gated community, abundant with magnificent multimillion dollar homes. It is indeed a very safe, incredibly beautiful and well maintained community. Royal Hideaway is further protected by a gate with a security guard who will ask your driver who he/she is and will inquire as to who you are. You will by greeted by a bellman, perhaps, Alvaro, Jesus, Manuel, William or Marcos, who will take your luggage and escort you into the main lobby, where you will be served a crisp cool glass of champagne, receive a cool towel and then promptly on your way to enjoying your fabulous vacation at Royal Hideaway. One of the bellman will escort you down to the Deck/beach area, if your room is not yet ready, where you can relax at either the Deck, or at Spices, to enjoy lunch or that margarita etc. of your choice.
There are several new and exciting changes at RH. The entertainment or daily activities that take place around the pools/beach have increased. The day starts off with yoga or stretching on alternating days. Shortly after, Spanish lessons are offered to those wishing to increase their facility of the language. This is followed by some trivia in regard to Royal Hideaway. Do you want a wonderfully frangrant cool towel, or perhaps a fruit kabob? Both are offered via a rolling cart. Next water aerobics takes place in the infinity pool, providing some needed exercise and a refreshing dip, while simultaneously giving you the most majestic view of the gorgeous beach and sea. The water aerobic classes actually are an excellent workout. Afternoon activities include bocce, ping pong, miniature golf, dance lessons, the Love is in the Air Dance(we have been doing this dance for years, love it, and have been told by many guests, that they actually look forward to 3:45 when it takes place daily), and bingo. Some days include a delightful treat of fabulous saxophone music by a very talented saxophone player. Guests are invited to participate in as many or as few activities as they wish. Want to lounge all day at the pool or beach, with a book? That’s fine too. I like to spend my days floating around the pools. High tea, accompanied by pastries, champagne, special coffees, sandwiches, etc. is served in the outdoor lobby daily from 4:00- 6:00 p.m., and often that very talented and handsome sax player is there to delight as well. During our visit, there was indeed some type of night entertainment offered practically every evening. It primarily consisted of a duo or trio of musicians/vocalists performing outside of the Allegria bar. Do not miss Ariel (the sax player) and Matias, the guitarist and singer, who often play at Allegria on Friday evenings. They are extremely talented and I genuinely believe you will love them. We truly enjoy going to Allegria every evening after dinning, to have an after dinner drink, listen to some music, and meet new friends or chat with people with whom we have had the opportunity to speak, earlier in the day. Some evenings at Allegria,, also featured karaoke or casino night.
Two dinner shows took place at the Club Royale as well. This is a bit of a retro type nightclub atmosphere where you are seated in round booths or at traditional tables facing the stage. Those evenings also featured a trivia contest subsequent to the shows. One of the shows featured very talented gymnasts, performing fairly elaborate exercises, etc., and I thought that it was quite entertaining.
Dinner itself at Royal Hideaway is truly a wonderful all embracing, night activity. You are really leisurely dining at all of the restaurants at Royal Hideaway, and true dining, is exactly what you are doing. Do not expect to rush through dinner. You are dining at fine restaurants, and will be offered several delicious courses and libations, for your dining pleasure. If you are not familiar with any particular dish in any of the restaurants, feel free to ask questions of your waiter or of the Maitre, D’. He or she will do his/ her best to answer any of your questions. If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, Royal Hideaway will do the utmost to accommodate your needs. You simply need to inform your waiter, who will often ask if you do have any allergies. Feel free to ask for what you want.
Ventanas offers a piano bar nightly and Ernesto, the pianist, is truly quite talented, as he plays the spectacular black baby grand. He is very accomplished and is happy to take requests. Feel free to have a before or after dinner drink at Ventanas, regardless of your dining venue for the evening. Ernesto is there practically every evening during which Ventanas is open. The bartenders can prepare any cocktail/soft drink of your choosing, and the location is an ideal spot in which to meet friends you have met during the day, or at which, to perhaps meet new friends. The peach Bellini’s are my favorite, while my husband is a Grey Goose apple martini drinker. The bartenders also serve small plates of freshly prepared munchies with your drinks.
The Ventanas restaurant is the flagship restaurant and serves what might be considered noveau cuisine. The restaurant has a modern decor and ambience and serves a variety of entrees and appetizers that are truly very special. Featured items include, gnocchi, scallops, idzabel cheese rice, essence of tomato with lamb ravioli (my husband’s absolute favorite appetizer), pasta with shrimp and porcine mushrooms, calamari, salads, duck, etc. Delicious entrees include steak, Korabuta organic pork chop, salmon, scallops, sea bass; etc. Ventanas also offers a tasting menu that provides a sampling of several appetizers and entrees. You can of course, always make your own tasting menu. Save room for freshly and artfully prepared really tasty desserts, and perhaps an after diner drink.
The Grill Restaurant (chops, steak ,chicken fish/seafood etc.) is al fresco, offering a majestic view of the beach and sea, and features a nightly guitarist. The Grill offers an extremely comprehensive offering of delectable items on its menu, with many side dishes and savory sauces offered to accompany your choice of entrée. During the day, The Grill is the Deck restaurant; however, at night the transformation to a Mediterranean white and blue wonderland is truly spectacular.
Palazzo (Italian dining) is a very romantic dining venue. It affords a panoramic view of the entire RH property as well as of Cozumel (right across the water) and often features a violinist or a cellist to serenade as you dine. The menu at Palazzo is also very extensive, and deliciosa and I am very sure that you will find many options that you wish to try. You can always try a little bit of from every course option. The stuffed mushrooms and eggplant Parmigianino appetizers are some of my favorites. Try the cheese basket. The soups and salads are superb as well. There are several really interesting and wonderfully tasty pasta options to tempt you. The butternut squash ravioli and lasagna are really yummy. Main course options include osso bucco, chicken, fish, steak, vegetarian options, etc. You can adjust your portions, if you see an appetizer that you would like as a main course, or vice versa. It is, after all, your vacation. Don’t forget to save room for dessert or perhaps, you might be enticed by a great after dinner digestive or another glass of wine. You are on vacation and you are not driving. You can dine outside on the terrace for the most majestic view, as Palazzo sits at the pinnacle of Royal Hideaway; thus, affording a view of RH in all is splendor and glory as well as that view of Cozumel with all its lights twinkling against the sea. The interior of Palazzo is indeed a very romantic venue with a violinist or cellist serenading you while you dine.
Azia is the Asian restaurant and offers a bit of a show in the nature of the teppanaki table, where the chef prepares your meal, hibachi style. Azia also offers traditional table seating as well as seating in the private Tatami room.You will have to remove your shoes if you are seated in the Tatami room. You are seated on low chairs (with backs) around a table in a room all to yourselves. You can dine on anything in the restaurant, regardless of what type of seating you choose. The sushi is fabulous, very fresh and plentiful. Rolls are traditionally served with cream cheese here, so if you do not care for cream cheese with your rolls, just inform your waiter, and you will have the rolls just as you like. There are many Japanese, Thai, Asian offerings on the menu. If RH has the ingredients and the dish you wish is not on the menu, the chef will be happy to make it for you. You simply have to ask. This is of coure true in any of the restaurants at RH.
You can choose to have Caribbean/ Mexican fare (you are in Mexico, after all) at Spices. Ask for a table near the window in the cupola in the rear of the restaurant, and you will have the most serene and magical view of the beach, perhaps as the sun is setting, if you catch it right. At times there is a harpist to delight you as you dine.
The beach is beautifully manicured and there are many palm trees to shade those who desire less sun. Royal Hideaway also has portable tents in which your lounge chair is placed to offer shade on the beach. Full beach service is offered for all food and beverages. Simply hold up a green flag, to indicate that you wish service and a waiter will be there to take your order. Often waiters walk the beach area, just asking guests if they care for anything.
Full waiter service is of course available when you are seated around the pools or at the beach. If you don’t care to leave your lounge for lunch or a snack, at The Deck or at Spices, your waiter will bring you whatever you wish directly to your lounge chair.
Speaking of lunch, it is worthy to note that The Deck lunch menu is really comprehensive and many varieties of salads, sandwiches, soups(hot and cold) steaks, fish, fajitas, burritos, tacos, ribs, salmon ,burgers( and Portobello’s)chicken, veggies, pizza, pasta s with a variety of yummy toppings, full plates of the day, tuna tartar, etc. are available. The Deck provides a truly incredible view of the sea and sand, as this wonderful dining venue is directly overlooking the beach and sea. You will notice guests who are staying at other properties along the beach, stopping as they are walking by, and wishing that they too had chosen Royal Hideaway. If you are in the mood to “chill” (and enjoy the air conditioning) a bit, as well as to sample authentic Mexican fare, you may choose to head upstairs to Spices. Here you will enjoy a more formal lunch, a la Mexicana. This venue also affords a spectacular view of the sand and sea, particularly, if you are seated in the rear of the restaurant in the cupola. Look up at that spectacular fixture in the center of the cupola featuring all the tropical animals.
Many days a grill is also available poolside, offering freshly caught fish, as well as steaks, burgers, fries, salads, chicken, ribs, (yummy) paella, sangria, etc.
What about breakfast? Breakfast is offered at Spices, overlooking the perfect “playa” and features a very comprehensive buffet, with an assortment, of fruits, juices, cereal, salads, freshly smoked salmon, a variety of cheeses, cold cuts, yogurts, French toast, waffles, pancakes, freshly baked pastries and breads, Mexican dishes, eggs, bacon, sausage, an omelet station, as well as a full bar, serving freshly squeezed juices and a multitude of smoothies, cappuccino, coffee, tea, etc. When Royal Hideaway is at high occupancy breakfast is also served a la carte at Ventanas restaurant. Personally, we prefer to dine at Spices, where we love to sit on the terrace with the most perfect view of the gorgeous beach and the sea, as we begin each day with a morning toast of champagne and cranberry juice. That’s our special thing. Perhaps you will discover yours. RH is truly a romantic spot.
Do you want a drink as you float around the infinity pool or lounge on the beach? Waiters walk around providing you with whatever you wish .Perhaps, you want to try one of my favorites during the afternoon, coconut ice cream. Delicious! Can’t decide if you want a pina colada or a strawberry margarita? There is no problem. Simply order a Miami Vice. It’s a fabulous combination of the two. I prefer it VERY frozen! My husband loves the mud slides and dirty monkeys. You can sample several cocktails, to encounter your favorites.
If you are celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon or simply want a very romantic evening, you may choose to enjoy a private romantic dinner on the beach. This is truly a special event, during which your table is set with pristine white linens, and is surrounded with torches. The sand is swept, so your footprints are the only ones in the pathway to your table, and you have your own private waiter solely dedicated to your dining pleasure. You can arrange this with your concierge, who will take care of all the details. While this is not part of the all inclusive feature, it is truly a very special and very romantic evening.
The Chef’s Table is another dining option that is one of the most incredible gastronomic culinary experiences that we have ever enjoyed. You have the option if either a six or twelve course menu that is specially prepared for you, during which you are seated in a beautiful white room, enclosed in glass, and facing the pristine kitchen. Throughout this incredible culinary journey, Eugenio Villafana, The Executive Chef of Royal Hideaway, and his team, will be with you, explaining the nuances, and details of each and every dish, of each and every course and will offer suggestions, on the best ways in which to savor and to enjoy each. Wine pairings are available with each course. This experience, is far more than dining, as it is truly an experience in which all of your senses will be evoked. You will be provided with a list of food options, prior to the evening, and will be asked about preferences, as well as questions regarding any food allergies or restrictions, so that this journey can be specifically planned to provide you with the most magical and personal experience. Consult your villa concierge for details regarding The Chef’s Table. It is an evening’s experience that you will always remember with much fondness. We have had the pleasure of dining at Chef Villafana’s table on several occasions and can personally attest to the fact that each and every experience was unique and incredibly special. You may wish to look at the multitude of photographs that are on The Chef’s Table at Royal Hideaway Facebook page, to truly capture the magical essence of this experience.
Let’s talk a little about your villa. The rooms at Royal Hideaway are all in villas, with a private concierge who is there to take care of all of your needs. He or she is your “go to” person. She/he will make all of your dining reservations, arrange any excursions that you wish, answer any of your questions, make suggestions regarding things you may wish to do in the area, take care of any special or not so special requests, or just be there to chat with, if you wish. Please tell your concierge if you are celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, an engagement, a honeymoon, etc. You might be very pleasantly surprised. I arrived at Royal Hideaway on my birthday this time,and the room was beautifully decorated with gorgeous balloons, and a beautiful birthday cake made of towels. Consider your concierge to be your magic Genie who is there to make your wishes a reality. The rooms are situated in two or three story villas, and although this may sound silly, I’ve never counted the number of rooms in each villa; however, I believe that it is 12 or 16.The 192 luxury rooms, 6 junior suites and 2 presidential suites, are furnished in what might be considered Mexican colonial style. The bathrooms are large with double sinks, and feature a jetted tub. There is a door that separates the toilet area from the rest of the bathroom. Amenities, including, a hairdryer, shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, cotton swabs, body lotion, cotton puffs, and cotton balls. Each room has a mini fridge that is filled regularly. It usually has items such as soft drinks, water and beer. We request only water and soft drinks. Tell your concierge what you want in your refrigerator and he/ she will insure that your request is honored. Each luxury room has a balcony with a table and chairs. It’s a really nice spot on which to have a beverage early in the morning, or perhaps before dinner. It is also a great spot to view the stars in the evening. Room service is available twenty four hours a day, and the room service menu was recently changed, and now offers many interesting options. The junior suite is a duplex, has a small living dining area on the first floor, a bathroom, and the second floor hosts the bedroom. It features a balcony with a hammock on the first floor and a small balcony, with table and chairs, as well as a larger balcony on the second floor. The two Presidential suites have a living/ dining area, two bathrooms, as well as a bedroom and a balcony with a hammock, and a small table and chairs.
Housekeeping staff are fabulous and your room is cleaned and serviced twice daily. It is cleaned during the day and then you receive turn down service, clean towels, a spruce up, etc. in the evening. This is miraculously performed while you are dining, and then voila, you return to your room, with the bed turned down, and with a chocolate treat on your pillow. Wouldn’t this be nice at your home?
The grounds throughout the property are maintained incredibly well. You will often see gardeners / staff throughout the property consistently insuring that everything is perfect. Everyone is very friendly and you will often hear, “hola”.
The Playacar beach is beautiful and you will be amazed at how well maintained RH keeps it. There are several Thai beds along the Deck, overlooking the beach as well as on the grassy area overlooking the beach. They are available on a first come first serve basis. The lounges on the beach are plentiful and you can always find your special spot, in the shade or sun, depending on your preference.
There are several private pools located throughout the property which are truly conducive to a very romantic experience. RH also has hot tubs right below the infinity pool as well as right next to the infinity pool.
The spa and the gym have recently been completely renovated, and while the gym is not large, it does have equipment that allows my husband to complete a comprehensive workout. The spa is truly peaceful, stunning and serene. The masseuses and masseurs are all very professional. While a variety of different type of therapy treatments are available, they are more than pleased to personalize your requests. They often are out by the pool and beach, making it very easy for you to arrange an appointment at your convenience. You can also have your concierge arrange any treatments that you may wish.
While we were there this time we had the pleasure of seeing a wedding take place. You can imagine that over the course of 46 visits, we have seen many, many weddings take place. Each seems to have its own personal flair and touches requested by the bride and groom, but each is always so special and well done. We were actually invited to the wedding party that transpired this time; however, it was taking place on our last evening, and we had other dinner plans.
We have met many wonderful people from countries throughout the world, over the forty six times during the past fifteen years that we have been to Royal Hideaway. We stay in contact with many of them and look forward to seeing many of them when we are at our second home, as well as when we are back at our home in the states. Royal Hideaway has a very large cadre of guests who also have had the pleasure to vacation at RH on multiple occasions.
Perhaps, you will choose to visit RH for the first time, or to return once again, to enjoy the very magical qualities and experiences that we have had the unique pleasure to enjoy at RH, our very special second home. We look forward to meeting you very soon.
- 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