My husband and I just came back from 8 nights celebrating our 20th Wedding anniversary at the Royal Hideaway. We have been to Mexico a few times before, but this was our first time in Playa del Carmen. I read many reviews and did tons of research before picking the RH. It was our first trip to Mexico without our kids and to an adults only resort.
There is so much to love. They do all the big things well, like so many other reviews say:
- great beach, with a great ocean
- great distance from Playa so that I could get up every morning and exercise all the way there and back. And I always felt perfectly safe on my walks.
- good food with good service. The servers work very hard as these are not buffet dinners - they are serving 3-5 courses with palate cleansers in between so they are always going. So not a ton of time to get to know them, but the service is good in the restaurants.
- we loved our room in Building 31 - so close to the pool. Beds were really comfortable. Love how the door opened into the bathroom and then you had another door to the toilet and another door to the closet and another door to the shower. We couldn't hear anything from our neighboring rooms.
- we loved the quiet and chose the hotel based on that.
- we loved the pool loungers with padding and nice plentiful towels.
- My husband had a massage in the SPA and said it was really good.
- Room service breakfast food was excellent on the day we had to order for 6:30 AM because we had an excursion.
- Room service will also deliver you drinks at night if you desire them.
- One of the days in the afternoon by the pool, a Brazilian band play and I loved that!
Some small things can bother you if you choose to let them:
- yes, the outside of the buildings need some work, but I didn't really care
- the hot/cold knobs in the shower are really fiddlely and hard to find the right temperature and I heard other guests saying they had the same issues.
- the pool service was hit and miss. Seemed like they didn't have enough staff serving the pool/beach guests. It would often be hard to place an order, then could take ages for it to arrive and sometimes the ice was half melted by the time it arrived. And I was a good tipper! So it had to be for another reason. Some days the service was better than others and so that is why I think they just didn't have enough people.
- we could hear the music from the hotel next door, but it ended at 11 PM promptly each night so it didn't bother us.
- my concierge was a nice guy and I tipped him right on the first day hoping to get good service. The issue wasn't that he didn't want to help (cause he did), it was that he often didn't have the right information to help me - seemed like he wasn't trained well enough.
- And yes, reception is not that smiley, but they do help you resolve problems.
So here are some things I had to discover for myself, that I am going to write here as "tips":
- if your concierge has to make phone calls frequently to resolve your issues, just go straight up to reception. It will save time in the long run.
- you may not be able to book your dinners before you arrive. I flew WestJet vacations, and I tried to book my dinner reservations in advance, by email with the RH GM and they would only book the first night in advance. My concierge when I arrived didn't know why that would be and I ended up with a lot of 9 PM dinners. But reception helped me when I really wanted to move something.
- Pool loungers: at about 6:30 AM, the staff put towels on every seat so when you first arrive you may think the chairs are all taken. They are not. Only those with a personal item on them AS WELL as a towel are taken. I got up every day about 7:15 and I aways found two chairs. If you are not an early riser there are always chairs on the beach and it is lovely down there too.
- Thursday night show with Mexican talent was OK. Saturday night called "Hollywood" is totally missable.
- on weekends, breakfast is also served in Ventanas as a la carte and was GREAT!
- there is entertainment up at the main building in the evening so you can search it out if you want to - a great Reggae band played one night. Other guests said they enjoyed the night time bar in Ventanas, though we never went because it was inside.
- if you are given a SPA credit like we did from our airline company, make sure you know how it works first!!! I asked my concierge about it and he printed out the list of credits that added up to $300.00. We had $40 for the spa and my husband used it and it was fine. There was also one for $30 for wine. My husband doesn't drink wine so I asked the concierge if I could use it for single glasses. He thought so, but said to check at the restaurant. So I did. At the restaurant, they said they would check and then said I could use it, so I ordered a glass of wine. I did a pre-check out with reception the day before we left, and the wine was charged without the credit. After many phone calls and discussion, the reception finally said it was ok and credited it. I didn't really care about the money, it was the system that was annoying. So here is the TIP = make sure you know how the credit actually works and even if you think you have done due diligence, do a pre-check out the day before to avoid hassle at check out.
I would return to the RH, and I would recommend it to people who were looking for quiet and good food.
The one big thing I would love to see developed differently, would be the evening entertainment: it would really have changed the nights to have an area by the pool/beach where you could sit (without eating dinner) and sip a drink and listen to a guitar player, or something fitting the place, but allowed for a social gathering place that wasn't a restaurant or wasn't up at the lobby building.
- 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 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