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Royal Hideaway Playacar
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Reviews (4,926)
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2,192 - 2,197 of 4,926 reviews
Reviewed July 19, 2014 via mobile

If you are looking to relax and reconnect with loved ones this is the place. If you want a raucous party atmosphere go next door to the Riu.

Our teenagers were a little envious of those at the Riu but got over it quickly when they had their first meal at the Deck.

The staff here is amazing and attentive, loved that they made my kids practice the Spanish they've been learning at school.

The food at all the restaurants is delicious and beautifully served.

Stayed: July 2014
3  Thank EveM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Royal H, Social Media at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded July 24, 2014

Dear EveM

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your experience with us.

We are thrilled that you and your family enjoyed our resort and all the food. And most happy to know that your sons reinforced their spanish with our staff. Our top priority is our guest’s satisfaction we feel very happy that this was your case!

Thank you again! We hope to have you back very soon with us to spend another amazing time!

Sincerely,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2014

My wife and I stayed at this hotel for a few days. We picked it based on recommendations from family and all the great reviews it had on Tripadvisor. Had we known what we were getting ourselves into, we would have picked a different hotel. You may have already read her review, but I wanted to give my own perspective.

First off, note that this resort is about an hour from the Cancun airport. It’s located in a fairly nice gated community. Check in was smooth. We arrived around 2:30 pm and was told that our room would be ready at 3 pm. A bell boy walked us to the deck to get some lunch and said to head over to our concierge at 3 and she would check us in and give us our keys.

Our concierge was Daniella. She was nice, but immediately upon giving us her introduction I could tell something wasn’t right with this hotel. We had read in previous reviews that reservations were basically a necessity at this hotel. What we did NOT realize was that only certain restaurants were open certain days and therefore the concierge would essentially have to plan every single dinner for us on the spot unless we wanted to eat at 10:30 pm every night. Even more bizarre, the Mexican restaurant would only be open one night that week (Friday) and we were only staying Saturday-Wednesday. How can an all inclusive in Mexico not have a Mexican restaurant open for dinner every day? In retrospect, it’s easy to see that this was a cost saving measure for the hotel, at the expense of their customers.

After spending a solid 20 minutes with Daniella trying to figure out how to get us into the restaurants for dinner at semi-reasonable times, she escorted us to our room. As my wife pointed out, the balcony was a joke and the “fruit basket” was 3 apples on a tray that never got replenished. The mini-bar had some small bottles of water, a few cans of soda and two cans of Tecate. The concierge asked us if there was anything in particular we wanted in the mini bar so I asked for more Diet Coke- this was delivered inconsistently. I’d also like to note that on our last trip to Mexico we stayed at a 4 star resort that provided us with full bottles of liquor in our room and was less expensive than this “5 star resort.” The room itself wasn’t really that big, but we were on vacation and happy so we tried to overlook the room and everything else that had bothered us up to that point. However, the little things did keep adding up to the point that they became extremely frustrating. Here are some of my observations:

1) Food - You’ll read many reviews raving about the food here. For the most part, the dinners are good, but the breakfast and lunch leave a lot to be desired.

Breakfast is served every day in Spices (the Mexican restaurant that is also open for lunch, but apparently only open for dinner once a week!). It consists of a buffet. The hot foods on the buffet sit in warming trays for quite some time. They even put slices of white bread at the bottom of the trays to soak up the fat that is dripping from the food. I noticed other guests generally avoided eating food from those trays. The only fresh food that is hot at breakfast is the omlette station, which consists of one chef with 4 frying pans. The eggs were perfectly fine, but after 3 days of eating eggs you will long for something else. The buffet also had a few cold items, but I noticed people seemed to avoid them, except for the fruit. The fruit was good, but the selection seemed small and they used the smallest serving bowls possible for the more expensive fruit like pineapple and mango (which they did not serve every day). They also took their sweet time in replacing items that ran out on the buffet line. Bottom line- the eggs are the only fresh entree for breakfast; everything else looked unappetizing.

Lunch- You have two options for lunch. Spices or The Deck. Personally I liked the lunch at Spices, but it was the same menu every day and the menu isn’t that big. The menu at The Deck was more varied but again, the menu does not change. While I’m not the pickiest eater in the world, I found myself mainly choosing the same two or three items for lunch every day at the deck because the menu wasn’t that exciting (this is totally subjective and your experience will vary). This also became old very fast and made me look forward to dinner every day.

Dinner- This is supposedly the strength of this resort’s food, but it presented its own issues. As I previously mentioned, you will not have much of a say in where you eat dinner. Your concierge will look at a grid to determine what restaurants are open on a given day and which ones have open reservations. The reservation system is silly because every restaurant that was open was always half empty, even when they were supposedly totally booked. As mentioned in other reviews, there is a dress code. I was aware of this and planned accordingly. I did watch them turn people away, so they are pretty consistent in enforcing it. The dress code is very loose for women (no jeans or shorts) but basically requires men to wear business casual clothing and shoes every night; as someone who has to dress this way for work, I was not thrilled with having to wear this every night on vacation in the Caribbean where it is exceptionally humid. With the exception of Las Ventanas, the cuisine and atmosphere didn’t really match up to the dress code that was dictated. Also note the air conditioning in the restaurants is adequate but not great so wearing business casual becomes very uncomfortable.

Palazzo- We ate here the first night. We had good (not great) Italian food but overall enjoyed the experience.

Las Ventanas- Initially my wife and I were a little weary of eating here based on the sample menu we saw online. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw the menu that day and this experience was probably the highlight of our trip. The food and service there were great. Be aware though that it is a slow meal.

Azia - we ate at the hibachi tables. I thought the food was good, but not great. The experience was comparable to any other hibachi restaurant.

The Grill- The Grill was only open one night during our stay. It is basically the interior portion of The Deck, serving steakhouse cuisine. This was our last dinner of our stay and by far the worst one. As my wife mentioned, our first table had ants crawling all over it and the wall next to it. We were promptly reseated after complaining. Once settled in, we found that our waiter barely understood our order. At one point he brought out a small palette cleansing drink. Instead of allowing me to sip it slowly, he hovered over me and asked me if I was done with it until I handed it back to him.

As for the food at The Grill, the beef used is extremely poor quality and is not properly butchered or trimmed. When we placed our order (I ordered the NY strip and my wife ordered the T bone), he asked if receiving our steaks well done would be ok. Anyone who has been to a 5 star steakhouse knows that you never offer to serve a steak well done. I asked for it to be cooked medium and what I received was a steak that did not resemble NY strip in any way shape or form and was basically raw, save for the parts closest to the edges. I took two bites and decided that the steak had no seasoning whatsoever and the quality was just bad. My wife’s T bone was not a T bone at all. It was just an untrimmed random cut of meat with tons of fat chunks surrounding it. It too was improperly cooked and tasteless. Her mashed potatoes were basically cold and so were my french fries. The french fries I ate at the Johnny Rockets at the airport the next day tasted fresher.

Desserts at this hotel are extremely subpar outside of Las Ventanas. The room service flan was fairly good, and my wife generally ordered that after dinner.

Room service was generally good, but our order almost never came the way we asked for it.

2) Service- In general, it is lacking in this hotel. Our concierge was nice, but never at her desk. At the pool and on the beach, the service was almost non-existent. I pulled our chairs to the spot we wanted on the beach. Only after I found the location I wanted and dragged the chairs myself did someone ask me if I wanted help. Drink service was spotty at best, and my wife and I generally wound up walking to the bar ourselves to get what we wanted. They hand out the smallest bottles of water which are totally inadequate in the extreme humidity. You could succumb to heatstroke waiting for a waiter to fill your drink order. We also noticed on several occasions when a waiter did take our order, they would forget what we ordered and we would have to remind them when they finally returned to us.

People play the towel game here and despite signs warning you that they will remove your belongings after 30 minutes if they were left unattended, this never actually happened.

3) Room- We were assigned to a luxury room, which was really just average. The rooms have paper thin walls and you will hear everything going on outside your room. I didn't hear music from neighboring hotels like others complained about, but I heard every footstep and cart being pushed outside near my room.

The air conditioning systems in this hotel are very inadequate in both the guest room and public areas, with the public bathrooms totally lacking air conditioning. In the guest room, the thermostat was a very rudimentary mechanical dial thermostat. Despite setting it to the coldest setting possible, it never got really cold. On our second day, the air conditioning unit leaked sometime after we went to the pool in the morning. We got back after our room was cleaned and noticed a giant puddle. We called our concierge who sent a repairman. He spent 10 minutes blowing into a plastic tube to unclog the drain line. At that point it became obvious to me that this hotel does the bare minimum when it comes to maintenance and would rather just fix things when they break. Again, the air conditioning system in just about every part of this hotel is subpar and needs to be upgraded. In addition there was mold and mildew in our shower and the wallpaper was peeling in the toilet area of the bathroom - things you do not expect to see at a 5 star resort.

The grounds- they look great when you first arrive, but after walking around for a few days you can see that nature and time are taking its toll on this resort. With proper maintenance, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue and at a 5 star resort you expect everything to be perfectly maintained, but that isn’t being done here, probably to save money.

This may have been a 5 star resort in the past, but current conditions no longer warrant it. By our last night we couldn’t wait to leave, which isn’t how anyone wants to feel when their vacation is over. I wish we could get our money back.

Room Tip: Go somewhere else.
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
8  Thank David1120
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Royal H, Social Media at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded July 24, 2014

Dear Mr. David1120,

Thank you very much for sharing your experience at Royal Hideaway with future travelers; we regret we were not able to fully meet your expectations. We do apologize for the inconveniences you encountered during your stay with us.

We appreciate your comments both positive and constructive about your experience as it helps us to improve our resort for future and returning guests.

We hope you will give us another opportunity to host you again and offer you a better serve.

Sincerly,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2014

We spent a week at the RHP and as a regular working stiff I really look forward to my time away and I/we had a great time at this resort. Was it perfect; probably not but I didn't really care because in my opinion the resort was miles ahead of some of the other places we've been in Mexico and Cuba. The beach was beautiful, the pools were nice and clean and the food was pretty darn good. The truth is that I've never been to a truly 5 star hotel or resort in the global sense of the word so I don't really have another 5 star property to compare it to but I think that I know quality when I see and I saw quality here; besides, I think that the star rating system in the resort world is really more of a guide than anything else. That said, I can't even imagine what running a resort would be like 24/7 365 days of the year full of (demanding/picky) guests and or the wear and tear on the facility. I fully applaud this property and all of the staff for being as friendly and hard working as they were all things considered.

Room Tip: All of the rooms are nice but I might choose a Villa closer to the water.
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank GordonM1957
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guadalupe S, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded October 19, 2017

Thank you for making our Royal Hideaway your choice hotel on this occasion and for your very kind recommendation to the travel community , this positive feedback keeps us motivated to encounter the compliance of our demanding quality standards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2014

This is definitely NOT a 5 star hotel. I would not recommend this resort. Let me start by saying that my husband and I had very high hopes for this resort. My cousin stayed here for her honeymoon and had a great time, so when we saw it as an option we were excited. So – what exactly went wrong? Well, for the most part there was nothing too catastrophic but there were medium and small issues that it really affected our stay. In fact, it got to the point where I started making a list mid-way through our trip so I wouldn’t forget anything for this TripAdvisor review. Here’s the list:

The Room: We booked a Luxury room. Here were our issues with the room:
• Promised either a terrace or balcony. “Balcony” was about 2 feet deep and had palm trees hanging over it. Very close to the property next door – you could see the fence and buildings next door.
• Room description on the website also says we would get a “basket of fresh fruit upon arrival.” Basket of fresh fruit = a little metal plate with 3 apples.
• Wallpaper in our bathroom was lifting (see picture)
• Mildew/mold on the grout on the window in the shower (see picture)
• On our 2nd day there we came back to our room to find a HUGE puddle of water gathering next to my luggage (see picture) because our AC was leaking. Thankfully – it missed our luggage and shoes by a few inches. I’m really not sure how the housekeeper missed the water literally coming out of the ceiling but some how she did. So we called the concierge and they sent someone up. The person came in 10 minutes, fixed the AC and left. He forgot to mention that it would take another 15 minutes for the AC to kick on again. He just left and said “Es bueno amigo.” Thankfully we had enough patience to wait and see if it turned on again, but that patience was wearing thin in 90 degree heat. Our concierge Danielle made an effort to see if things had been resolved. We happened to open our door when she was standing outside knocking on another room’s door (the walls are thin at this resort) and asked if it was ok, but that was it – no apology, nothing. So much for customer service!
• Water in the shower would not stay consistently one temperature – kept going hot and cold.
• They came to check our phone twice during the 4 nights we were there. Our phone was working fine, but we heard another guest say theirs was going off all night and they got to the point where they had to unplug it.
• Issues getting extra shampoo and conditioner. We asked our concierge to tell housekeeping that every day we wanted 2 sets of shampoo and conditioner. Day 1 we got that. Day 2 we didn’t. Day 3 we got 2 sets of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc.
• Minibar was stocked incorrectly (we asked for extra water and Diet Coke, they forgot the Diet Coke) one of the days as well AND the door to the minibar was left open so everything was wrong.

Food/Restaurants/Room Service Issues:
• Not all of the restaurants were open when we were there. Spices was open 1 night/week.
• No variety for breakfast. Only Spices was open for breakfast and it was the same thing every day – an omelet station and some hot chafing dishes with almost the same thing in them every day. No fresh waffles, French toast, pancakes, etc. which is pretty standard at a 5 star resort.
• No variety for lunch – only 2 restaurants open for lunch and the menus don’t change at all.
• No creativity for non-alcoholic drinks. I couldn’t drink while there, so I would ask the waiters what they could do that was non-alcoholic. The only answers I got “pina colada, daiquiri, juice.” Wow – thanks for the creativity, definitely won’t get tired of that any time soon. I only learned that they made smoothies after I saw another patron order one.
• Room service order was wrong. We were missing part of our order (after I repeated it back to the person on the phone twice) and they were missing the condiments we requested. Similarly, there were also instances where we requested 1 order of something and got 2.
• Food at The Grill was not good. My steak had an absurd amount of fat on it (it wasn’t properly trimmed) and the food really left something to be desired. The ravioli tasted like the came from a package and the onion soup tasted like it came from a can.
• We had ants crawling on our table at The Grill and they didn’t do anything about it. They just moved our table and sat someone else there. (I guess it wasn’t an issue for the other couple.)
• It was difficult to change dishes – waiters had to ask the chef for even simple changes (i.e. chicken in the tacos instead of fish or swapping one sauce for another). Waiters also seemed confused and perplexed when you requested a change to a dish (and these were VERY simple changes).
• Insufficient air conditioning in Spices. At breakfast time it was cooler then outside but the AC wasn’t strong enough.
• Waiters had poor English comprehension. Now – I understand we are in Mexico at a Mexican resort – however, if you’re going to offer a menu in English then when I order in English there shouldn’t be any confusion.
• The reservation system is pointless. The restaurants were half-empty when we were there and due to the limited number of reservations (and the limited nights each restaurant is open) it was the reservation system that dictated where we ate each night instead of us choosing as guests.

General/Service Issues:
• While our concierge, Daniella, was very nice – she was NEVER at her desk to ask questions. Most of the time when we called the concierge we got sent to the main number.
• Internet service was shoddy and both me and my husband kept losing the internet connection when we’d move from one point to another
• There was almost NO waiter service on the beach and at the pool. One day we sat at the pool in one of the beach beds for almost 2 hours before someone came by. Now – it’s not that I can’t get my own drinks – but when it’s 90 degrees out and I paid for a 5 star resort, this is expected. We had the same experience at the beach. We were there for about 4 hours and a waiter came by only once.
• Nobody to help you move beach chairs/shades on the beach. My husband had to drag the chairs and the shade tied to the share up to the front of the beach. Again – not that he couldn’t do it, but it’s pretty standard for someone to be there to help you with this at a 5 star resort.
• No air conditioning in any of the public bathrooms attached to the restaurants. The AC in the restaurants in general was lacking. The only place it was really good was in the main lobby.
• This isn’t really an “adults only” resort. Children over 13 are allowed and we saw a few. However, it’s advertised as “adults only” which I thought was misleading. The children we did encounter were fine and didn’t cause any trouble though.

Things we liked:
• The food at Las Ventanas, Azia and Palazzo was very good.
• The beach was beautiful.
• The tacos at The Deck are really good.

Room Tip: Choose another hotel. Don't waste your money on this one.
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
13  Thank Alicia522
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Royal H, Social Media at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded July 22, 2014

Dear Mrs. Alicia522,

First of all thank you for choosing our Royal Hideaway as a holiday place. We regret to hear that we didn’t meet your complete satisfaction. We are always concerned about our guests’ wellbeing and strive to make their holiday at our property an unforgettable experience.

We do apologize for the inconveniences you might have encountered during your stay with us. We have shared your comments with the correspondent department in order to take proper actions on these matters.

We sincerely hope that you give us the opportunity and pleasure of being on service to you in the near future, as we assure you; it is our constant aim to serve our guests in a manner commensurate with their highest expectations. We will be happy to have you back.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2014

Picked this hotel for its distance to Playa del Carmen as well as for its beach. We were delighted to find out it was adults only - so no constant drone of music poolside. Lots of little oasis cooling pools if you didn't want to be at the main pool. We actually preferred the little pool in front of our room and retreated there every afternoon for a couple of hours to get out of the sun. Lovely little shade tents on the chaise on the beach, so that you had a bit of privacy and shade. Porters,Restaurant & bar staff were great - friendly, remembered our names, even if we hadn't seen them in a few days! Our concierge - a new experience for me for booking restaurants was ok, our stand in concierge was excellent, as she made our bookings, checking that the restaurants were open on those nights, and decorated our room with balloons when she found out we were honeymooners. Almost everyone we met was on their honeymoon. Italian and Asian restaurants were our favourites - for variety in menu, and dining experience. Breakfast buffet was expansive and tasty - something for everyone - our waiters were great! The Thursday night Mexican fiesta had top notch entertainment and food - just too warm a venue if you sat at a table for 2 and were draped in tablecloths. Tea in the front of the hotel was a lovely option late afternoon. Men have to wear collared shirts and trousers for dining - wish we would have had a heads up - as my husband's wardrobe was a little limited on that front. The spa facilities were beautiful - and like a lot of spas were pushing their product lines. Couples massage was perfect way to spend a raining morning. Manicure and pedicure were ok. Our room was roomy and supplies were replenished twice a day - a plus. Great bathroom/dressing area. Beautiful gardens! Great entertainment outside at bar Alegria. Lunch on the Deck was what holiday lunching should be - relaxed, yummy and with a view. Little plaza across the street was handy for retail therapy - but Playa del Carmen is an easy cab ride away. So my downside would be - our initial front desk staff wasn't the friendliest, our concierge was ok - honestly I would have preferred making our own bookings - 2 restaurants had very limited menus for dinner, particularly if you are a vegetarian - one serving very small portions (Las Ventanas). We also had to make a correction with our final bill. Having said that - I would highly recommend this hotel!!! It was a great honeymoon.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank KathiToronto_Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guadalupe S, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded October 19, 2017

Thank you for making our Royal Hideaway your choice hotel on this occasion and for your very kind recommendation to the travel community , this positive feedback keeps us motivated to encounter the compliance of our demanding quality standards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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