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The Reef Playacar
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Reviews (5,222)
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Show reviews that mention
All reviewschula vistanico's barterraza grillitalian restaurantthe ice cream parlorswim up barpremium packagesmall resortjungle settinggated communitygreat beachnachosother resortsall inclusive resortplenty of chairsbuffet foodentertainment staff
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Reviewed March 14, 2013

Just returned from our seventh visit to the Reef. We've been to other larger AI's in the area but prefer what the Reef has to offer. It's a smaller, safe, affordable resort within walking distance to Playa Del Carmen either by beach or sidewalk. The beach is wide and beautiful with plenty of chairs.
There are meandering pathways through its jungle setting complete with howler monkey in the trees. The ice cream parlor overlooks a beautiful cenote. Afternoon coffee/desserts are served in an outdoor garden room. Hard working, friendly staff. Could always find something to eat as we're not picky eaters
New since we were here last is the option to purchase an upgraded wrist band that gives you access to exclusive Niko's Beach Bar and top shelf liquor at all bars. For us, it was worth it to get top shelf and to be able to enjoy the lounge area on the beach at Niko's at night.
Also, did not care for the "No reservation" policy at the restaurants. When we'd come before you'd make a reservation in the morning so you knew approximately the time you'd be seated. Now it's hit or miss on how long you'll wait to be seated, and the service seemed to suffer when there were a lot of guests waiting. That's about the only negative I can say about the Reef.
They have a nice return guest program also. Be sure to look into it if you are a returning guest.
Once again, had a great time at the Reef and will be back again.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank millsvill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2013

We would like to thank you for your fantastic review. We are very happy you enjoyed your seventh stay with us. We appreciate your observations regarding the beautiful beach, the ice cream parlor and the cenote, the Nico’s lounge and the good service.
Thanks to reviews like yours we have been able to get the Certificate of Excellence 2012 from Tripadvisor.
We look forward to welcoming you for your 8th stay.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

Four of us stayed a week at The Reef Playacar from Feb 28 to March 7th and completely enjoyed our stay. There was something for everyone of us to do (ages 10 to 83) from water polo to bingo. Really like how the resort was layed out. One could sit at the pool and see the ocean hence enjoying both worlds where as most resorts your either at the pool or at the beach. The grounds were kept extremely clean from plants being trimmed to the glass around the hot tub and pool being washed over and over. Unlike other guest we found the food at the buffet was fantastic..always hot with many choices. Liked that (at some meals) we were greeted with cocktails before entering the buffet. The a la cart Steak dinner was to die for (went back twice just for this meal) The house wine there is free but if you want a wine of the wine list then you have to pay. When we booked our trip we upgraded to the premium pkg and so very happy we did. We enjoyed the extra's such as relaxing at Nicko's (either on the lounger beds or in the hot tub) and having snacks delivered to us while there. Now for the staff.....what hard working, polite and friendly bunch. Every last one of them treated us like gold and made our stay memorable. We have one more trip booked this travel season to Cuba but next travel season we will certainly be going back to The Reef Playacar.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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3  Thank Kenztrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay at our Resort. We are very happy to know that you had a great vacation at our resort!

We appreciate your comments regarding the beach, the cleanliness, the upgrade to the superior premium room, the food and the great staff.

We offer special rates to our returning guests, so if you plan to come back, let us know directly! We are looking forward to welcoming you once more

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2013

We arrived early and they very nicely stowed our bags and gave us our wristbands. Then as we had a couple hours to kill they handed us off to a concierge for an orientation that quickly turned into sales pitches for different stores. All of which came with discount coupons upon which our host printed his name and hotel (to get his kickbacks I presume) This then slid into a time share. oh wait not a time share, a "private residence" pitch. One we were able to get clear of that we walked through the very lovely grounds down to the beach and had a drink while we waited. A cold beer and some Don Julio Anejo. When the time was right we went back and finished the check in and were told that they had given us the wrong bracelets and that if we used them at the a la carte restaurants we would be charged additional fees. Well I had paid for a premium room that gave us access to all a la carte meals with no fees so we allowed them to change our bracelet to the proper one. We went to our room and stowed the gear, changed into some swim gear and went back to the bar where we were now told that we could not have the good tequila because our bracelets were now the wrong color. Back to the front desk we went where a different fellow explained that our package did not include the top shelf drinks. The price upgrade was minor and meant the difference between cuervo and don Julio so I clarified that the upgrade would cover all the drinks and get us into all areas and then I purchased it. He dug out the exact same bracelets that we had first been given and when I protested that we didn't want to pay any extra fees for the a la carte he said that we would not. I explained what had happened previously and he said the other gentleman had given us the wrong bracelets and then rather than admit his mistake and explain them had lied about them to get us to give them up voluntarily ( I guess we could have refused and kept them at the get go and saved a $200).
So with the new/old bracelets back on we went back to the bar and watched the bar tender pouring the top shelf Julio for 3 guys wearing the exact same arm bands as we had been wearing and had just paid to upgrade from. Same bar tender that wouldn't pour for us was pouring full shot glasses of the Anejo for these other guys. He seemed to know them or maybe he was just working for tips but needless to say it left a bad bad taste in my mouth.
Oh and despite the front desk assuring us that everything was covered with the new armbands. The a la cartes wine lists cost extra (15 - 25 us for a so so bottle of red) and the chef recommendations at the bottom of the menu cost $20 dollars per plate, not covered under the bracelet or any bracelet as far as I could see. Lobster was one of the things not covered so on our last night in Playa del Carmen rather than fork out money to eat a special meal at a "not so all inclusive" we went down town and had a wonderful dinner at the Blue Lobster Restaurant.

The snack bar by the pool had really bad food, hot dogs and tostado chips with fake melted cheese puked over them (think 7-11)

The buffet was nice and food was varied and the a la cartes' meals were very good and the service was excellent.

The buildings and the grounds were beautiful and the beach was simply heaven

If it hadn't been for that first day and the garbage reception and sales pitch I would have given them a much higher score. instead I went away feeling cheated and stolen from

I won't be back and will certainly make everyone aware of my unpleasant experience there.

Room Tip: We stayed in the deluxe king and it was very nice. Rooms were dim and some bulbs that were burnt out were never replaced while we stayed there. The ad says the mini fridge is restocked daily, restocked sure but only with 2 beer, never any more. waste of money to upgrade for the daily restock, cheaper to buy beer in town and load it yourself.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Bill T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Returned yesterday after a week in The Reef Playacar. This is the third resort we have stayed at in Playacar. It was alright, a bed, shower and a beach. We thought that there were some high points, a lot of averages, and a few lows.

The lows included lack of late food. We went to Xcaret and returned to the resort at 9:30pm. The resturants were closed. They had a special Mexican themed dinner in another area of the resort, but we had to ask at the desk to find it (after 5 days at the hotel already). We had minimal choices at that point and the service staff seemed more annoyed than helpful. The bars were hit and miss, with no two bartenders making drinks the same way. Often we were told that the bar had run out of a liquor or a mixer, with no plan to restock that day. The room was older, some mildew in the shower area,and a definite musty smell (which was worse than we are used to in other resorts).

The average included the buffet resturant. The food was adequate, but not always hot. There were a fair number of choices so one could always find something to eat. The grounds were nice, but not spectacular. The other two resorts in which we have stayed were much more focused on keeping the area extremely neat and clean.

The highs: Beach- large and beautiful with plenty of chairs. The Reef Marina- Staff terrific (see seperate review). All staff- specifically Roslie and Paulino in the Chulavista Resturant and Orlando at the beach bar. The beds were the most comfortable we had slept in in the area.

In general we would not likley stay again, unless there was not another option. We would move further south in Playacar. The week went well, but its not where you stay but the attitude and company you keep while on the trip.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank Michael R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous heading into this trip based on previous comments on TripAdvisor. I am glad to report that I was pleasantly surprised that we did not experience any of the issues expressed by other travelers. The staff could not be more engaging and friendly, from the bellman that greeted us with a beverage of our choice upon check-in, to Hector at the front desk who did everything in his power to accommodate us at check-in and throughout our stay, the cleaning staff, our favorite wait staff - Gladis and Guillermo and everyone from the grounds crews, bartenders and activity staff.

We had an issue with a smell of cigar smoke in our room when we checked in and there wasn't a comparable room available to move us to so we decided to stick it out and air out the room, Hector offered to have the linens and curtains changed if necessary to air out the room and sent up a cleaning staff member with air freshener (and fresh linens) which they allowed us to keep and continue to spray as needed. It definitely got better after we kept the doors and windows opened off and on throughout the week. This was definitely no fault of the staff or the resort and I really think they went out of their way to make us happy.

The food at the buffet was excellent for breakfast and lunch. Not as good for dinner (though there were many options), but Botticelli and Terraza were nice options and we had excellent service and food (went to Botticelli twice and Terraza once). We ended up eating out twice - with the close proximity to 5th Avenue we couldn't pass up an early evening walk into town.

We were with our 2 teenage daughters and at no time did I feel uncomfortable leaving them in their room alone if they wanted to sleep late or allowing them to walk up to their room or sit on the beach without us.

If I had to find something negative to say, my husband would want me to point out that since The Reef Marina is technically a separate entity and their credit card machine was broken all week, it was a bit of a nuisance to keep going to the ATM to withdraw Pesos if we wanted to use the wave runners, para sailing, and/or snorkeling trips (which are all highly recommended). Not sure why it couldn't be charged through the hotel or simply get the machine fixed??

Overall it was a trip to remember - I hope we find the time to go back some day.

Thank you to everyone at The Reef Playacar for making our first trip to Mexico a memorable one.

Room Tip: We had two rooms in block 800 on the third floor - one facing the walkway between the lobby and pool and the other facing a parking lot (outside of the resort). I would definitely recommend the walkway side if you want to use your deck as it is much more relaxing than the parking lot side with all of the construction going on next door.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Wendy I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded March 7, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of your recent stay at our Resort. We are very happy to know that you had a great vacation at our resort!

We appreciate your comments regarding The buffet and a la carte restaurant, the good location and the great staff. We will share your special thanks with Guillermo, Gladis and Hector.


We would like to apologize on behalf of the hotel for the inconveniences you experienced with our Reef Marina and we discuss this matter with the involved departments.

We offer special rates to our returning guests, so if you plan to come back, let us know directly! We are looking forward to welcoming you once more

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