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Hotel Riu Playacar
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Reviews (5,414)
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Reviewed August 30, 2010

Excellent hotel to stay. Location right on the white sandy beach, with lots of space and plenty of sun beds on the beach, waves can be a bit strong at times, maybe not suited for small children. Two large pools with lots going on every day, for the more energetic holiday maker. Buffet restaurant was excellent offering a wide selection of foods every morning and night, and most evenings there was a themed buffet, offering a different option of food. We used this most evenings as it was so good, we did try the Asian and Steak house on site, which you have got to book that day at breakfast time, but we found most of what was on offer here was available some nights at the buffet, so don't be disappointed if you don't get to these restaurants, as you will sample all these delights at the main buffet restaurant. The staff in here as throughout the hotel were excellent and always helpful at all times, and never looked to be tipped at every occasion, they just worked hard at all times to ensure you were happy with the service they provided. I would also mention the Manager (Joseph), who was always about the hotel and very welcoming, and very approachable. Keep up the good work !!!
The rooms were very clean, and the beds were very comfortable, without the topper, again the maids were great.
Great hotel and staff to match.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank jman26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2010

Overall, this was a great all-inclusive resort! The heat was the same as here in Texas in August, but the humidity made it a bit brutal.

I would recommend this resort, and would go again. The Playacar area and Playa del Carmen are wonderful to visit and less touristy than Cancun and Cozumel - which we preferred. But as you are planning your trip, here are a couple of things about the property you might want to know:
1) The service throughout this hotel was fantastic and the people extremely helpful and polite.
2) I was very surprised, but the food is above par of an all-inclusive resort. The presentation was quite impressive.
3) Alcohol was just fine - usage of lower well liquor. It's just that the glasses used were so small that you had to go back a couple of times to get a decent sized drink, or order double.
4) The activities crew were very hard working and strived to make your stay fun. They were not pushy at all, and really tried hard to get to know you and make your stay pleasurable.
5) The grounds, buildings, and rooms were so well kept and clean. This is the oldest property, but it really doesn't show.
6) There are three restaurants, plus main the buffet restaurant. The Jade (Chinese) is inside next door to the main buffet restaurant in the lobby area. So, this mean AC - which for me is imperative at night when I am dressed up and have been in the sun all day! The other two, the Mexican and Steakhouse, are outside across from the pool in the large area where you can eat lunch at the buffet and the stage is located. In regards to the dress code: people did try and dress up some at night in nice shorts and sundresses. Nothing really fancy, but a few did. If a man dressed up, the most I saw were Dockers.
7) Ask for bed toppers upon check-in. Beds are hard as rocks and the toppers really made a difference! Same goes for any roll-a way's; though they really don't roll. They are wood frame beds with very thin mattresses. So the topper there is critical.
8) We never had a problem with our room smelling musty or like mildew. Of course, we utilized the hanging rack on the balcony for driving swimsuits, cover-ups, and towels from snorkeling. That tends to make a difference!
9) The bathroom area does not have a door, but instead a curtain, and the airflow is a bit on the restricted side. I am hot-natured so this got a bit difficult with privacy. You just need to compensate if you have a child in the room. My biggest complaint was the lack of hot water. In fact, I think I only had one hot shower during our stay. The rest were all lukewarm.
10) No elevators, so use the bellhops if you don't want to lug your own luggage. Make sure you get two keys! One for the door to your room, and one for the door to the adjoining suite door that leads to the courtyard areas. Also, these are not key cards, but actual keys which tends to make it difficult to hide in your belongings when you go to the pool or on excursions because the name of the hotel and room number are on the super long plastic tabs. We got into the habit on our excursions of just leaving our key at the front desk.
11) If you are like me and don't like the plastic bracelets they put on you, you can ask that it is set big enough that you can take it off at night and when you shower. Just don't forget it! You cannot even enter the property from the street without it!
12) Don't get a room near the pool. There are very clean bathrooms in the buffet/restaurant area across from the pool if needed. The pool does close early around 6 pm when it gets dark. But, at 9:00 to 9:30 at night the shows start up at the restaurants across from the pool where the outdoor stage is. It is extremely loud until 11 pm to midnight at night. So, if you have to get up early the next morning for a tour, then you are a bit on the tired side. By the way, I appreciated the number of water spray stations they had around the pool to rinse off sand and chlorine.
13) The Riu properties do not offer beach umbrellas for their beaches. They have planted tall thin palm trees which really do not offer any shade. So, if you are like me and prefer to lay out on the beach and read and relax all day with some shade, you are a bit out of luck. Also, they did not appear to have drink service or waiters coming down to the beach. Clean-up service for glasses did exist though.
14) Structured activities around the pool for all, and for the teenagers is great. If there are teenagers! The day before we left is when teenagers from England seem to be arriving for their breaks. So, our daughter was forced to hang out with us more than she cared.
15) Lomax Travel did a great job, and their property on-site rep was really good.
16) I would definitely get a private transfer. The only thing is be prepared to go slower than the rest of the traffic! This may be just a safety measure built in by Lomax, but their vans are permanently set not go above the speed limit. They do know a short cut around the main highway where traffic starts to build, the cops are at, and the speed bumps are built. Since we did not know that, we thought the guy was taking us a long way around, or going in the wrong direction because the signs said he was going to Tulum.
17) Would recommend Coba over Chitzen Itza. I have seen both now. Coba is a bit closer, older, smaller, more in the jungle which means more shade. And, you can climb it. If we go again, then I might check into getting a small plane to Chitzen Itza to take our daughter.
18) Don't laugh - but we wanted to ride the camels. It was a lot of fun and I would highly recommend the Camel Safari. These guys were quite wonderful. What was funny, is that all of the camels, with the exception of one, are from Waco, Texas!
19) We did a snorkeling trip to Maroma Paradise booked through Lomax. Nothing special. It was all right. Would have preferred to go to Akumel instead. We did see quite a bit of small white jellyfish. I wish someone would have said something prior to getting into the water, because I really wrenched my back trying to get away. But, it appears that this type of jellyfish don't have stinkers. Not really sure about that - but my husband said several touched me, so I guess it is true.......?
20) If anyone wants a spa, you will have to go to Riu Yucatan. I never went just because who wants to walk that far in the humidity (and it's too close for a taxi) after spending a lot on a spa.
21) We did go to Riu Tequila one night for their sports bar where we could play pool and other games. You had to pay, and it was a bit expensive, but apparently guests there had to pay as well. Their shows were a bit more upscale and better than Riu Playacar's though....
22) The beach was the only draw-back for me. Cigarret butts and a bit of trash. I don't believe there was a service that cleaned the beaches in the morning. The water up to the beach is not clear and I could not see even my knees. For example, if you have been to Destin, Florida you know how clear the water is. This is more like going to Padre.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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4  Thank timetoescape
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2010

Riu Playacar is a fantastic hotel and we will be returning! The staff, rooms, pool, beach and entertainment staff are all brilliant! I can say i was a little worried about staying at the playacar after reading reveiws on this hotel with people moaning about STUPID things, we had a fantastic time and did not want to leave. The food is good and there is a large variety, people were moaning about the variety but what do people expect from and all inclusive Fillet Steak and chips everynight if they do then maybe they should check in to a hotel which is not all inclusive! We found the pool great and there was a little dirt in the pool but what can you expect when there are trees by the pool, the pool attendant was cleaning the pool at least twice a day. The beach was beautiful...we did not struggle once to get a sun bed on the beach or by the pool, you don't need to tip anyone to get a good bed despite what people say on here don't waste your money you will find a space. There were a few shops opposite the hotel where you could get anything you want from snacks to gifts. I cannot rate this hotel any higher we loved it and i'm sure you will too! Fantastic hotel and beautiful place!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank CarolBarry119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2010

We were disappointed with our stay at this Riu. We have stayed at other Riu Hotels (Cancun and Ocho Rios, Jamaica) and we are usually pleased with this hotel chain. However, at this one the pool was dirty, the food selection was not that good and the evening entertainment wasn't that great either. When we returned home, 2 of the 5 people in our group had clothing missing....I will not be going to this hotel again.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank Monica1072
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2010

I will start my review with the location. The beach was nice, the water really isn't that pretty blue I was expecting. The ride from the airport is an hour, so If you are going for a short trip I would stay closer to Cancun. The hotel is nice I would say a 3 1/2 star. They do serve really strong drinks-not stingy with the alcohol at all. We had to tell them to cutt way back. The grounds are always kept really clean. The staff works hard to keep you happy. They also try to keep you entertained. They are pretty funny. The pool gets dirty by the end of the day but that is to be expected with that many people. The buffets are really good and lots of variety. Always was presented very nicely. We ate the steakhouse and it was really good too. Remember the steak there is not like the US, its thin and a little tough. We did not like the Asian resturant at all, as a matter of fact we got up and left and went to buffet. The rooms need a little updating. The beds are very hard but if you get a pad its not too bad. The rooms don't get very cold which is really important to me since its so hot and humid there. They are pretty roomy. Would like to see cable and T.V's updated but not that big of a deal since your not in your room much. Right across the street is a little shoping area that is very convinent. Be sure to bargain with them, they will go down on the price. Since it rains there everyday be careful not to fall because the floors get very slick- I nearly wiped out and saw other people fall. We went on the Chetzchen tour. It was fun ziplining through the jungle the caves are pretty but the cenotes was not very good. The lunch they served was very good. Overall the trip was alot of fun and the vacation is always what you make of it. I probably won't go back to Mexico because the water is just not that pretty to me. But for a quick vacation we had a really good time. The animals left by the maids on the bed are soo cute-they do a really good job.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bangstx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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