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“Great location, very average resort”
Review of Playacar Palace

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Playacar Palace
Ranked #24 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 21, 2013

First I will say that the location is unbeatable and the staff does an excellent job with what they are given. However, there are some HUGE holes in the overall experience. If it wasn't for the location and the efforts of the staff this would be a one-star review. First, we missed a connecting flight (through no fault of our own) I called the resort to tell them we wouldn't be able to make it until the following day but that I would like to extend my stay by a day. They INSISTED on charging me for the first night, even though it was beyond our control. I asked to speak to a manager about this, they told me that was their policy, deal with it. There isn't a hotel/resort worth a damn that would EVER charge a guest for something like this, especially since we were extending our stay, they were still getting the same amount of revenue from us. Secondly, the rooms, they aren't comforting or inviting, make sure you know your travel partner VERY well because there is ZERO privacy in the bathroom area. The rooms are more Comfort Inn than they are JW Marriott, keep your expectations low, anyone who gives this place a 5 star review has never stayed at a 5 star resort, that's for sure. Third, the food, aside from the Asian themed restaurant the food here is on-par with a microwave dinner, the best thing I found on the buffet in 5 days was a pizza that I'm pretty sure was a Tony's Frozen Pie.

I arrived with a bad taste in my mouth on account of their unwillingness to work with my travel issue, they never redeemed themselves. All they would've had to do is waive the cancellation fee from the night we were unable to stay and we would've been a lot happier than we are now. I would recommend staying somewhere else, they clearly aren't interested in your return trip, they sure aren't interested in mine.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Thomas D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 21, 2013

Stayed at the Playacar August 12, 2013 throught August 20, 2013. First with the bad.

A. Our room had a water leak. It rained moderately on the three days. The water was coming into our room through the air conditioning vent and into the middle of the room. We had to put a towel on the floor to soak up the water and to keep from slipping on it.

B. The weather stipping aroung the slidding glass door that overlooked the beach was very worn out. Everytime the wind kicked up, which it does often, our room sounded like a wind tunnel. We could not sleep on two of the nights because it was so loud in our room.

C. House keeping only gave us two towels at each cleaning when there were three of us in the room, we travelled with our 5 year old. Told them this from day one and we still got two towels each time.

D. Asked for two beds and only got one. We asked twice for a roll away bed and never got one.

D. Water leaks inside the whole resort. Besides our room, on the days that it rained we saw bad water leaks in: The main dining room, the gym, the main lounge, ect..We even saw water leaking through a reccessed light in the hallway just outside the gym. The water leaks on the cealing were so bad that caused the plaster to come loose and just hang on the cealing waiting to drop to the floor.

E. If this hotel was a house for sale, you could call it a major fixer upper. Missing or broken tiles in the hallways, rooms, pool, restaurants. Cardboard used to cover damaged doors in the hallways. Bad air condioning. We literally prespired everytime we ate at the main restaurant during the daytime and used the public bathrooms. I saw roaches in the hallway outside of our room.

Good things:

A. Excellent location. The hotel has a beautiful beach and is walking distance from the center of town.

B. The staff, except for house keeping, provided excellent service and were friendly.

C. The food okay, except they had a tendency to use way too much salt on certain dishes.

We chose this resort on the positive reviews and that did not work out. I am not a picky person but I did not like the resort. I dought that I ever stay at the Playacar again unless they remodel it. What a shame to let a beautiful beach like that go to wastes with a run down resort. Do yourself, family, friends, or loves ones a favor and go stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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8  Thank Juan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013

This hotel is in a perfect location, right on the beach and walk to town. The food is very good and you have the option of dining/visiting the other Palace Resorts in the area. The rooms differ in views/size, so you may want to check out the room before settling in to it. Also, avoid the time share pitches.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank MitchellW102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2013

We booked this hotel because of the location and almost perfect reviews. Now having stayed there for five nights we can give our personal opinion, tips and concerns.

Location: Prime if you want to be next to 5th Ave. We walked the beach and if you go more South the beach gets even prettier. If you go more North the beach becomes busier. The Pier, Ferry and Senor Frogs were not an issue when it came to noise. The walk on 5th Ave did become quite annoying because you couldn't take a step without someone bothering you but thats not the resorts fault. There's a nice park slightly across the street from the resort that was great for pictures and scenery.

Food/Restaurants: The food at the resort was average, nothing to rave about. I read reviews about people getting sick but that never happened to us. The drinks were good and if you want a double all you have to do is ask. The food kind of reminded me of cruise food. We did the Romantic dinner one night and that food was probably the best food at our resort the entire stay. We did go to the restaurant right outside and in front of the hotel called Xulam and it was delicious! We also ate at a cave restaurant called Alux which was just average but the ambiance was amazing.

Staff: I read reviews about being greeted with a flower and a drink but that did not happen to us. The gentleman that checked us in was very nice. The pool bar staff were extremely friendly and work really hard and go out of their way to please you. The breakfast, lunch and dinner staff were all very nice and genuinely seemed eager to help us. The spa staff were all top notch. As far as management goes, we did not meet one manager. As far as our "Vacation Planner", she spoke to us one time (two hours after we arrived), understood we weren't interested in their vacation package and didn't look, speak or acknowledge us the entire rest of our stay. Apparently to be noticed here from management you must be a part of their vacation package, not the fact that you spent $3,000 there.

Rooms/Hotel: The rooms were clean. A little out dated but not to where it bothered us. The elevators, lobby and walk ways are not air conditioned but that's pretty much with all resorts. The staff are always cleaning the grounds and pool. We had to call for maid service two times and no we did not have our "Do Not Disturb" on the door. We also had to call for clean towels two times. As far a beach/pool towels that was never an issue for us, they were always available. The mini bar is always stocked and if you want extra of anything they have no problem stocking your fridge of whatever you desire. The beds are extremely comfortable. The furniture could use a bit of an update &/or cleaning. I noticed quite a few stains on the couch and chairs. The pool was great, especially the lounge chairs in the pool. The beach is beautiful. The spa is beautiful and a must! However, you can only use the sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and warming chairs the day of your massage, not any other day and only if you have a spa service...unless you are a member of their vacation club and therefore you can use these amenities at anytime.

Transportation: We used the transportation company through the hotel and they were great.

Resort Credits: The resort credits were not an issue for us because we were prepared from reading the past reviews. Just know you pay tax on anything you use the resort credits on. For example; we did the couples massage and romantic dinner. We paid $50+ in taxes.

If in Playa Del Carmen again we would not be opposed to staying at Playacar Palace but might consider looking elsewhere just to experience other resorts. I cannot commend the bar staff, wait staff and spa staff enough. These employees work very hard and deserve to be recognized. I wish I could remember all of their names but just know you will not be disappointed by them. Employees like them make the difference and your vacation special. It just would have been nice for management to say hello, welcome, thank you, asked how our stay was going or even acknowledged us when we are spending the money we spent.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank 2Hicks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2013

I rarely right any reviews, but in this particular case, I would like to let the folks know my experience. Yes, the place is good, and the majority of the writers here are correct – the views are gorgeous: white sand, turquoise water, etc. However, I am going to highlight some issues that we experienced.
First, this hotel is far away from being a five-star hotel. Room service is spotty. We had a dead bug on the floor right next to the room entrance. It finally disappeared on the 4th day (!) of our 5 nights stay. How is that for a five start hotel? Also, all ads state that turn-down service is included. Well, somehow they don’t tell you that it’s included whenever the maid feels like it.

Now, to the food. Nothing to write home about, but at least we did not get sick like some of the others. However, be aware of the following. They tell you that no reservations are needed for the Italian restaurant. I show up with my family of four at around 7 pm and the first question I hear: “Do you have a reservation? If not, we can only sit you in 2 hours.” Not a problem, there are other restaurants, right? We wait for 10 minutes to be seated, finally at the table, and order our meals. The kids get chicken nuggets and pizza (go figure!). We are sitting at the table for 30 minutes for our meals. I would understand if they need to go and catch our fish, but what about chicken nuggets or pizza??? It takes 30 minutes??? Keep in mind that by that time we had been trying to get our dinner at the resort for over 40 minutes. The kids got cranky and we had to leave for the buffet dinner. To continue this “wonderful” experience, the restaurant manager calls my room around 11:30pm (!) waking up my entire family to apologize for what happened. And the funniest thing is that the next day, when I was trying to make a reservation for the Italian restaurant, I was told again: “You don’t need reservations”. Just read this and decide if this is a five star hotel. To the resort credit I must say that after I complained to the public relations, they did an excellent job the next night in the Italian restaurant. I did not like the food, but the service and a Birthday cake for my son were very nice.

And last but not least – those “vacation planners”. Please stay away from the lady called Liliana (spelling?). Not only was she not competent when she tried to cancel our spa reservation, but also her attitude was very bad. I did not pay all this money to experience rude people on my vacation, so save yourself a trouble and go to someone else to book your tours. As many others say, they get pushy with their presentation. If you refuse, they will not it in the computer and next time you try to book something using your credits, they will start again by saying: “we noticed you declined our presentation offer…” Be aware and save this time to do something more fun than listening to a pushy salesman.
With all that, overall it was a pleasant experience. Will I go back? Unlikely. But you may like it so give it try…

Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
2  Thank TA T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2013

As my wife and I planed our second trip to Playa del Carmen August 5-9 we did our research and decided on the Playacar Palace. The kids are 12 & 9 and we felt the size and location was best suited for our families needs and interests. We hit the bulls eye with the choice.
The rooms are more than fine for what you need them for, sleep and shower basically. Clean, plenty of space, comfortable beds, and so on.
The pool and beach are why we went to Playa, an end of summer vacation to relax and take in the sun! We were comfortable letting kids use the pool, beach, and sea as the wanted. The resort is small enough they were always in eye sight which was nice. No need to have kids asking every time they wanted to go somewhere else. A bonus is that the beach appears to be the best one we could see along the coastline. We walked about a mile down from the Playacar Palace and the beach got more narrow, the beach got rocky at the waters edge, and the water had places of seaweed.
The other main factor in picking the Playacar Palace was the fact that it is located such that shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and the ferry to Cozumel are all within SAFE walking distance, like less than 3 minutes walking distance. We wanted the kids to "see" Mexico and its culture, not be stuck at a Resort for 5 days. The evening trips to town were well worth it.
As others have noted staff goes above and beyond on all levels. My wife and I renewed our Wedding vows on the beach and it was absolutely wonderful. A simple ceremony with us and kids on the beach that took planning and coordination went off flawless.
Concluding I guess if you are on the fence and can't decide just do it, you won't be disappointed. Our family of 4 got exactly what we were in hopes of, a wonderful trip to relax and have fun. We would return tomorrow and will do so in the future,

Room Tip: Oceanfront rooms with a balcony are well worth the small additional charge.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Theron1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2013

A very relaxing stay. We had intended to upgrade the room but there was no need, it was very good. The maid and room service staff were all brilliant. The location is good as well, in easy reach of 5th Avenue but not so close as to be noisy. Being close to the ferry port was useful as well.

The sea was too rough for much swimming when we were there (that's hardly the hotel's fault), but the pool was fine for a chill-out (pool staff was great). For more serious stuff, the snorkelling and scuba off Cozumel are very good. If you dive, get a trip to a Cenote - you'll never forget that! I used Dive Mike: http://www.divemike.com/dm/.

But the hotel does not get 5 stars. Why not? The resort credits: they are OK if you are new to the area. The trips, depending on the guide, are just a way of getting you to buy tatty souvenirs. Apparently some guides do not push that, but ours did. Also the hotel staff sorting the credits, "vacation planners", are very pushy with their time-share plans, free breakfast presentation and all that. Do they think we were born yesterday?

I should say that the majority of the staff are not like that, they are polite, good humoured, and efficient - it is just the vacation planners that left me annoyed.

I will go back though, nothing is perfect. We'll probably use the resort credits for a couple of trips we didn't get time to go on.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Clive D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PlayacarPalaceGM, General Manager at Playacar Palace, responded to this reviewResponded August 16, 2013

Dear CliveD

On behalf of Playacar Palace Resorts, I would like to thank you for gave us the opportunity to host you on your last visit to Mexico and Riviera Maya. Furthermore, I want to thank you for taking the time to share yours comments with us about your experience here. I would like to say that you are now part of the Palace Resorts family.


We are looking forward to welcome you back at Playacar Palace

Hasta Pronto

D. Rubio
Playacar Palace G.M.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Playacar Palace

Address: Bahia del Espiritu Santo | Esq. Abraira de Arriva, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#15 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#17 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#20 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#20 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $424 - $832 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Playacar Palace 4*
Number of rooms: 201
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playacar Palace, a trendy beachfront resort located steps away from Playa del Carmen's famous 5th Avenue and the Cozumel Ferry Dock. Our all-inclusive, luxury resort features 201 appointed rooms, 3 restaurants and 4 bars. This resort is considered the perfect spot to relax during the day and enjoy the nightlife and charms of "Playa" at night. Playacar Palace is perfect for families, couples, and group getaways. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Playacar Palace Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Playacar Palace Mexico
Playacar Palace Resort
Playacar Palace Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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