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“Great week at the Reef”
Review of The Reef Playacar

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The Reef Playacar
Ranked #99 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great week at the Reef”
Reviewed March 24, 2013

Stayed at the "Reef" playcar in March
Wasn't sure what to expect from reading all the reviews before going, they were very mixed.
This was a very clean resort with very hard working, happy staff members. I stayed next door at the "Riu" in Dec 2012 which is rated 5* and found the service and the staff to be nowhere as friendly and accommodating as the staff at the "Reef"

The Reef is a smaller resort, very cozy, the room were average. We stayed in a renovated room close to the pool. Loved our room location as we were close to everything, only downfall was that this room had 2 double beds instead of king size, they seem to be very short on rooms with king size beds. Room had a nice glass shower, beds were a little hard, but had the best linens and pillows, we had a digital safe free with our upgraded premium wristbands. It was nice to have the upgraded wristbands as it allowed us to use "Nico's" this is where the heated hot tub was and the better drinks and such a nice place to relax, with comfy cushioned chairs and beds, we spent a lot of time there.

Food was not the greatest. Breakfast was the best by far, always had fresh fruit, yogurt, fresh cooked eggs at the egg station, juices were good
Lunch & Dinner
Not much variety, food always seemed like it had been cooked awhile before it was served, never hot, even when waiting for a fresh tray of food, came out luke warm.

Our last evening we went to the Italian ala cart. It was ok, nothing special,they do have a section in this menu that you have to pay extra for, also there is an extra charge for certain desserts. That I don't understand!

I'm happy that we were close enough to Playa del Carmen that we could walk 10-15min and we were on 5th Ave. The restaurants in town are wonderful. "Blue Lobster" has the freshest seafood.
Love the atmosphere in Playa, very safe, music, restaurants galore, shopping

The "Reef" overall was a nice place to stay, I would say that the 31/2- 4 star rating that it gets is about right, I would say more towards 4* as the staff go above and beyond the call of duty.

Playa beach in one word. "Spectacular"

The timeshare people are a pain, we were approched on several occasions, mostly when we were in the lobby, leaving the resort to go into town, or waiting to go on an excursion. They are very, very smooth talkers, and before you know it your conversation is leading towards the timeshares. Be aware of this, if you are a strong person you will say no thanks and walk away, the weak people get talked into something they don't want!!!

I would return to the Reef again. You can't beat the beach and the location

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank CNDchick
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 review, March 30, 2013
We would like to thank you for your fantastic review. We are very happy you enjoyed your vacation with us. We appreciate your comments regarding the hotel, the cleanliness, the amazing beach, the good location and wonderful 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Lapeer, Michigan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2013

We spent a week at our friend's time share and got the premium arm band. We were treated like royalty. Some employees to look for are the front door expert Wilberth. His smile and warm handshakes started our vacation on a high note and kept us coming back to the entrance for the real skinny on how things work in Mexico. Guillermo is a magician with the flaming Spanish coffees every afternoon. He also doubles as one of the resort's finest waiters in the Botecelli restaurant. He is so warm and personable with insights on the food, wine and deserts that he really enhanced our dining to the point we came back to try just about everything. Sometimes all we wanted was the casual buffet dining experience and made sure we sat in Mary Rodriguez's section. She was friendly, efficient, and quick with all our requests and she always took the time to make sure our morning was relaxed and off to a great start. Also at the buffet, the hostess, Roxanna always greeted us with huge smile. We also enjoyed the service and food in the Mexican restaurant and Leonardo's smile as he told us he was pouring tequilla in our water glasses!
The Reef is a beautiful resort, with the main walkway meandering through natural jungle vegetation. Our junior suite was on the first floor and worked perfectly for four people. The two rooms connected and each had a full bathroom. The rooms were kept very clean throughout our stay. The only time we heard people was when they talked as they entered or left their rooms. The beach is gorgeous. You can walk the beach to Playa del Carmen in about 15 minutes and can take such long walks in the other direction that your energy will run out before the beach does. Through the Dive Center at the resort, we enjoyed free boogie boarding, a two hour snorkeling trip (for a fee), free scuba lessons at the pool (Nicholas was a great teacher!), and our son tried the brand new Fly Board. We have a great video and pictures of that. It is amazing! We enjoyed cabanas on four of the seven days of our trip and found pool or beach chairs easily. We claimed the cabanas in the morning by placing some towels and books in one on the way to breakfast. The big question is: Would you go back? The answer: We would love to!

Room Tip: If you want to enjoy the beach, pool and bars book near the pool. If you prefer to explore the Yuca...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank LapeerWesties
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 review, March 30, 2013
We would like to thank you for your nice comments. We are very happy you enjoyed your stay at our Resort. We really appreciate your kind observations regarding the hotel, the jungle, the room and cleanliness, the beach and the staff.

We will share your special thanks with Wilberth, Guillermo, Mary, Roxana, Leonardo and Nicholas.

We look forward to welcoming you back once again
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2013

My husband, two kids aged 8 and 5 and I visited the reef for a week in March 2013. Overall we enjoyed this resort. We liked that it was small, and had a great location with the jungle grounds and a gorgeous beach. It is right on the edge of playacar hotels so it's a bit quieter than the huge resorts along the strip, always lots of beach chairs available. Bring your own old towels from home to reserve spots - if you lose your resort towels or towel cards its a $35 charge. The staff were amazing, always service with a smile. Special thanks to Claudia from the activities team who took our kids on crab hunts, crafting and played games. The food was pretty good, there was fresh salsa and guacamole at almost every meal, and the omelettes for breakfast were great. We tried both a la cartes they were good, and you don't need to make a reservation which I liked. My advice is to go to the hotels website so you know exactly what you are getting when you book - there are different levels of wristbands so if you purchase the basic one you will not have access to nicos/hot tub area and the a la cartes will cost extra. It's spelled out very clearly on the website. Also, kids are not welcome in nicos or the hot tub. This was a little disappointing for us. The only real complaint we had was the paper thin walls in the rooms - you can hear everything. We saw the time share people giving tours but were never approached. We did get a phone call from the concierge who wanted to book "a tour of the resort" which I figured was probably the time share spiel. Plus this resort is small enough that you can figure out where everything is quickly and easily on your own. I firmly said no thank you, and we were never contacted again. Overall this is a great place for a laid back beach holiday!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank CanadaCranberry
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 review, March 30, 2013
We would like to thank you for your fantastic review. We are very happy you and your family enjoyed your vacation with us. We appreciate your comments regarding the hotel, great locations, the food, the restaurants and wonderful staff. We will share your special thanks with Claudia
Thanks to reviews like yours we have been able to get the Certificate of Excellence 2012 from Tripadvisor
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 with the kids.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Loveland, Colorado
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2013

Overall, the stay was pleasant enough....

But DON'T fall for the vacation club sales pitch. I think I have lost $20,000 on their false promises. The deal is that they say that their marketing partner will buy back week of vacation that you don't want. This has turned out to be complete crap. After dozens and dozens of phone calls of "we'll get back to you, there is a small delay" excuses, NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE for the six months of excuses. DON'T DO IT!

The BBB will be contacted next!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Vernon S
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 review, March 30, 2013
Dear Guest,

We would like to understand what happened exactly, in order to be able to take care of this matter. We want all our guests take home nothing but pleasant memories, so please, contact us directly and let us know with which persons you have been in contact. We will be waiting for your email.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
136 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 225 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Had my second visit in two years at the Reef last November. Spent a week this time. LOVED it just as much. Some remodeling is being done with some of the rooms and we got one of these rooms this time. Basically cosmetic. Lovely showers and spacious bathroom. Comfortable beds and good working air. One thing that drew me back to the Reef is the grounds. They are GORGEOUS. I love nature and vegetation and the feel of a small resort and this fits it all. The coffee bar is warm and inviting with the water flowing. The meandering pathways with the green and flowers is lovely. The food in all of the restaurants is wonderful. The staff is marvelous. The beach is amazing with plenty of chairs and palapas. The bars are fun. The only downside of this trip was they were overbooked when we arrived and they asked if we would spend one night across the road at some condos. We did agree and with that being said, we were thanked repeatedly with extra kindness. Yes, it was an inconvenience to move, but the place we spent our first night was also unreal. It didn't hamper our vacation really at all, except moving our stuff. I love this resort and when needing a 'happy thought' often think of it. One thing that I don't recall from a prior stay was the rooftop bar and how there were so many comfy loungers and umbrellas there for during the day. It would be a nice quiet place for anyone to spend time away if you chose. One thing to consider if planning to stay here is the fact that it is not in Playa Del Carmen. You will need to take a taxi ($7 or $8 per car depending on who you get...each way) Depending on your budget and how often you intend to head to town, keep this in mind. On a fixed budget, this can add up pretty quickly. All-in-all, if you love a smaller-feel resort with some nature character, I'd recommend giving this place a try. I don't think you'd be disappointed.

Room Tip: Try to be on the inner side..where the main walkways are. The rooms all have a balcony but the insi...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank wisconsinlady
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 review, March 30, 2013
We would like to thank you for your fantastic review. We are very happy you enjoyed your second stay with us and your friends too. We appreciate your observations regarding the beautiful beach, the gardens, the food and amazing 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 third stay.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
42 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2013

Just returned from out 4th trip to "The Reef", This visit was 6 days of R&R, No trips, just lay on the beach, a few walks and runs on the beach and a trip to 5th Ave for shopping. Had a great time overall but noticed a few changes since last visit. Most of The Staff were excellent as has been the reason I return there annually! We stayed in one of the newly renovated buildings (14) and Loved that, Restaurant has many choices for each meal and the restaurant staff was energetic and happy. Must give Kudo's to Roxanna, Mary, Raul and Paulino for treating us like Family! The resort is very peaceful and slow paced, Visited with many Europeans that were staying there and had fun with them. The recreation staff was much more active this trip getting guests involved with many activities. The nightly shows were curious... will leave it at that, but since I live in Las Vegas I may be bias and expect too much.

The Bad, Being pestered and pressured in person and by phone calls to the room to do "The Tour" (Time share pitch) After saying No once should have been sufficient but they kept calling and asking us to do it. Leaving notes under the door reminding us to show for the appointment we never made or committed too.
Beach Chairs are worn and there was way too few chairs and umbrella's most afternoons.
Interent was free in lobby up until this year, Now STEEP charge of &15 for a day? Ridiculous fee just to check in with the family back home so it was cheaper to use my iPhone for a couple emails. Had written confirmation for late checkout (3pm) as a returning guest yet the desk called at 12 and insisted we did not and had to walk there to show them the proof. These were all minor annoyances...
Overall you can't beat the value, food and staff at this resort compared to the giant place next door. I will return again next year when it's time to unwind again.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in one of the renovated buildings.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LVFire
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 review, March 30, 2013
We would like to thank you for your review. We are very happy you enjoyed your 4th stay with us. We appreciate your observations regarding the excellent staff and the restaurants.
We will share your special thanks with Roxana, Mary, Raul and Paulino.
We would like to apologize for the inconvenience you experienced with late check-out and the time share. We would like to stress out that we do not promote the wireless internet as part of the All Inclusive.
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 fifth stay.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2013

My wife and I went to this resort because it was the best deal and a friend had gone many years ago.

Let me start with the good;
Staff is somewhat friendly
The location is great, beach is beautiful.
Ocean is amazing
Convenient to the shopping and main town area
The locations and surrounding resorts all seemed safe

The Rest
Their time share program is a SCAM, it is a SCAM, it is a SCAM (was that clear enough) and yes we fell for it. I worked with my credit card company and unbelievably we got ALL our money back. There are only a couple of the nice suites they say you get with the membership, but keep in mind if they are actually available for booking then what do they have to show potential suckers, like me? Also know that this area is so over developed that their pitch, we bring people here to sell other sites and we will buy your weeks.....BS.
They play a shell game with the resale companies all of them are being sued by the states they work in. All they do is change the name. I figured this out because they have the same physical address and if you actually try to find a location outside of the Reef to book they are either booked or on pare and sketchy like the Reef
The rooms are dated, AC broke, beds are nasty and the bathrooms typical of a third world but not of a resort
The food is pretty sparse in selection and taste, and my wife got sick one day. The bar upfront is a pay bar, and here I thought it was an all-inclusive resort - NOT.
Everything that is decent is an upgrade and even then the selection is minimal
The resort was not exactly the best maintained. The bathroom by the main pool smelled so bad I understand why most people just pee in the pool. Yes I said it. After the second day we noticed that many people at the swim up bar did not leave the pool....all day. I asked the bartender from the stool section and he said they shock the hell out of it each morning with large doses of chlorine.
They only allow you to keep the beach chairs stuck all together, we tried to pull it down away from all the other people and turn to face the sun and was rudely told to move it back....which I told them to go pound sand and move it yourself.
The people that bring you drinks on the beach could care less, and I spent more time getting them myself. I assume because they are free and even though I tipped the guy he never came back after the 1st round.
If you still choose to go here do not walk to the right down the beach as you will see what nice resorts really look like, it will ruin your trip from there on out. I am sure those resorts were only a few dollars more.
I will return to Playa Car but the Reef can suck it! I really want to respond to the sales group as they arrogantly responded when I first disputed the program and they said that they would not do anything as they have an iron clad contract........oh well I got lucky. If you don't believe me check out these links:

http://www.playa.info/playa-del-carmen-forum/38263-warning-reef-playacar.html
http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=169498
http://www.timesharescam.com/timeshare-complaints-resorts-black-list/30-the-reef-playacar-resort-timeshare-Complaints/sort:Comment.created/direction:asc/

Room Tip: Rooms at another resort have to be better!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank NTFrisbee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Reef Playacar

Property: The Reef Playacar
Address: Paseo Xaman-Ha, Ret. Sayil s/n | Fracc. Playacar, 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 Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#50 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#57 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#64 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#68 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#80 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Reef Playacar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 196
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This boutique style all-inclusive resort is located on a beautiful white sandy beach just steps away from the famous 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico. The hotel offers all food and domestic drinks, 1 buffet restaurant, 2 a la carte restaurants, Italian & Gourmet($), snack bar, ice cream parlor, various bars including a swim up bar, 2 pools, kids club, daily activities & nightly entertainment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Reef Playacar Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Reef Club Playacar
Reef Playacar Mexico
Reef Playacar Playa Del Carmen
The Reef Playacar Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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