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Reviewed January 8, 2009

This year we treated our 2 adult children and our son in law to a weeks stay at the Royal. Even though they've all been to resorts before they were in awe from the time we signed in. The food and service was beyond compare and we found ourselves spending most of our time in the resort even though it is right in town. Our favourite spot was on the beach where our every need was attended to by ALEXIS OSCOY FOX (The beach butler). This man could not do enough for us and made our stay truly wonderful.

Also worthy of mention is Pepe one of t he hotel supervisors who treated us with great personal attention in the front end of the hotel.

Cannot wait until we return again this year.

Thanks for the wonderful time.

Colin and Janey Villiers
Alder Flats, Alberta Canada

Stayed: December 2008
Thank MrCleanAlberta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2009

2008 Wedding at the Royal Playa Del Carmen

10 day trip, wedding on 11-10-08
82 guests (84 including us)

Overall wedding / resort rating = A+ !!!!

We checked into the hotel online before leaving Chicago and picked our room (ocean view). To be honest, I don’t think the Ocean View is worth the extra money unless you really want internet convenience. I don’t remember the exact difference, but it was substantial.

Pre-Wedding Meeting….
- We met with Micaela (wedding coordinator) the first full day to discuss the wedding ceremony details and get blood tests (we were married legally at the resort). Email communication was slow at times but overall I received the information I needed.
- We paid for the wedding after this pre-wedding meeting and used traveler’s checks to avoid paying credit card overseas fees (our cards charged 3%).
- We picked out flowers for the centerpieces, bouquets and boutonnieres.
- We also needed our four witnesses present to sign some paperwork. If you don’t have any the hotel will provide them. We would have liked to provide some heads up notice to our friends but they were around the pool and more than happy to come over and sign (passports and tourist cards were needed).

The Rehearsal Cocktail Hour (2 hours with food and drink)
- We held a rehearsal the day before the wedding at the gazebo at 4pm. There was no one from the hotel to assist with this so my husband wrote out some key ‘to do’s to help direct the wedding party and parents on where to go and timing
- We served cocktails and appetizers after that…and had dinner with our respective family’s that night (the Royal charged $15 a head)
- We were really tempted to go to a restaurant on 5th ave. for the rehearsal but struggled to spend a $1,000 for 20 people when all of our guests were staying at the resort already!

The Wedding Day
- Pre-Ceremony – groom got a shave in the morning and I got my hair and make-up done at the spa on-site. The prices are high but it’s obviously convenient. I had the photographer arrive at 1pm (we chose Claudia Rodriguez) and she stayed until 9pm. First my side of the family had pictures with her and then we retreated to my room and the groom had photos with his family (yes, we were trying to avoid each other that day to help build up the fun of him first seeing me in the dress walking down the aisle).
- Ceremony – We chose the Classic wedding package for $1,280 (I’m not even sure if this is still an option since they changed a bunch of their wedding packages). The ceremony went well but did have a few surprises. First, we didn’t know which judge was going to arrive until he got there (the English speaking one or the Spanish speaking one). The Spanish speaking one came and Micaela did the translation). He arrived a few minutes after 4pm so that didn’t create too much stress. Micaela and Zulma brought the reception decorations about 10 to 4pm so the groom was sweating a little hoping it would get there on time (this includes the centerpiece, sand ceremony stuff, etc.) The weather was amazing but I’m really glad I had my hair up and hairsprayed well because it was windy right there near the beach. We didn’t realize that our 4 witnesses would be called up after the paperwork was signed so that was interesting….we also didn’t realize that we had to do a thumb print in the paper work! The judge provided some tissue to wipe our hands but I immediately thought, this is great, what about my nice white dress! We were disappointed we couldn’t have our readings and sand ceremony before the ceremony with the judge but Micaela said they are very strict. It would have been nice if someone told us this before two weeks before the wedding.

- Cocktail Reception (2 hours) – we chose to have the cocktail two hour reception in the grassy area outside the main lobby for a change of scenery. There were tables for people to sit and cocktail tables for those with fresh legs. There was a CD player and we brought two CDs to entertain the guests while the groom and I took pictures on the beach. I only managed to sneak in a few appetizers and a drink since the photos took at least an hour.

- Reception - The reception flew by. We had our entrances for the parents and bridal party and then continued with the speeches right away. After that we had our first dances and salad/soup was served shortly after. The food was good but to be honest, I didn’t have much time to eat! I was having too much fun visiting with friends and family and dancing on the lit up dance floor! This was an awesome surprise. For months I had searched for pictures of what the Royal offered. From the photos it looked like this rickety white dance floor that would give splinters if your shoes weren’t on. We thought we’d have to pay the DJ $700 for a nice lit up dance floor. When we arrived to the resort we asked to see it and they had it out the next night in the convention room for another party. Turns out the resort had invested in the light up dance floor and it was included in our price already!
o DJ – we requested Carlos (who is a referral through the Royal)

Overall our stay there was amazing and we couldn't have chosen a better, more beautiful resort. Micaela and Walter (manages the reception) did a great job. The only drawback of the wedding evening was there was another reception going on at the beach when I was promised my wedding would be the only one since we had 82 guests. The other DJ was at times distracting but we didn't let that ruin our night!

Not only did we have a fantastic time but our guests continue to rave about how great the resort was and what a good time they had at the wedding.

The Royal Restaurants
- We ate at all 6 Royal Restaurants + 2 sister restaurants
o Pelicanos – limited menu but enjoyed the food and the outside ambiance; husband loved the ribeye at dinner
o Spice (buffet) – convenient for quick meals; very tasty French toast and omelets for breakfast
o Asiana – sushi is average, but chicken teriyaki was good
o Maria Marie’s – tasty lamb (steak was average); chocolate dessert that takes 15 minutes to prepare was outstanding
o Marias (sister resort) – traditional Mexican menu; thoroughly enjoyed the chicken enchiladas and fajitas
o Tapas & Pintxos – average tapas; flank steak is delicious
o Chef Table (only available if you book Ocean view room and above) – we went during the steak night; enjoyed the private-type dining experience and 5 course meal
o IL Pescatore (sister resort) – Italian menu; lasagna was very good

  • Stayed: November 2008
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
7  Thank Jentwo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2009

I would first like to applaud three specific staff members who need mention; two were from your resort " Fernando", from maintenance and "Lupita" waitress around the pool. From Transat vacation the representative on sight "Jesse". I feel they should be recognized given their attempts to make our vacation enjoyable.

First I would like to discuss the booking fiasco – it appears that there was some confusion with respect ocean view, partial ocean view and garden view.

. In spite of this, we arrived at your hotel to a room with garden view.
Room 182 -- exhausted from travel, disappointed that we spent 3 hours discussing back and forth with the booking agent and your front desk staff and still had only a garden view. We filled the hot tub and after entering the tub we turned on the jets. Huge particles some as big as 1 inch in diameter, as seen in pictures, emerged from the hot tub - full of bacteria from previous use, realize we were now sitting in this filth. It took 2 days explaining the problem, until finally I asked the house keeping manager (her name eludes me),the cleaning staff and maintenance staff to join me in the room to watch as I showed them the problem and explained that some type of bleach or strong disinfectant was required. This was a problem with servicing and maintenance and not the staff, the tub exterior was washed each time and our room was impeccable cleaned each day.

The second room 248 – again hot tub issues similar but not as bad, not that we will ever entertain a hot tub in a hotel room again, regardless of the star rating. In this room the shower drain was not working – when showering the water filled the floor to our ankles. Again, this was bacterial laden water that we were standing in. The same individual, Fernando who was extremely accommodating and apologetic, came to the room and removed the trap and then proceeded to remove an 8 cm ball of gunk (human hair, skin, soap scum and other bacteria laden material). We both travel extensively for our careers and vacation but in my life I have never experienced anything like this especially in a so called 5 star resort.

On what has become a lesser note in light of the previous issues, but still requires mention. Great consideration seemed to be given to the presentation of the food in the resort restaurants, however, so little emphasis was placed on quality including taste and nutrition; we were thoroughly disappointed. Of all the restaurants at the resort the buffet Spice was by far was the only place where emphasis was placed on quality - a switch from typical expectations.

I can assure you that if asked by friends or colleagues I will tell them of my experience and can assure you my comments will not be positive in anyway.

PS -- In closing let me share a trick the staff showed me -- for anyone debating getting into a hottub at a resort - do as I did - fill the tub with warm water - start the tub jets and then plug two of the jets with your finger to create added pressure - rotate to as many jets as you can reach - look to see if anything comes out.

Enjoy!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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3  Thank Lou A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2009

We were at the RPDC from Dec. 25 to Jan. 1. What a way to celebrate the holidays! Hubby thinks they should rename the hotel Rancho Relaxo.

We arrived before the posted 3 p.m. check-in so totally understood when our room was not ready. We did the on-line check-in so checking in at the hotel was an absolute breeze. We got our bracelets, left our bags with the bellman and had some lunch. We didn't mind the wait (after all, we were early) but staff seemed concerned to make sure we got into our room as soon as possible.

We had selected Room 337 online but were assigned Room 237 because 337 was being renovated. We were told our room was renovated and we were the first people to stay in it. I think they said we had a new bed and the flat panel TV was new. There may have been work going on above us but we didn't hear anything but a little furniture being moved around a couple of times at a time when most would not be napping or otherwise disturbed by it.

We were totally pleased with the location of our room. It had an absolutely wonderful view. From our balcony, we could look straight ahead across the pool and clearly see the ocean. We were about halfway between the lobby and the beach toward the end of the pool. The pool area wasn't overly noisy (music or crowds) and we heard nothing of it in our room and were not disturbed by it when on our balcony.

We had no problem whatsoever with the timeshare people. One gave us our welcome drink and wanted us to see her after we checked in so she could go over the hotel's offerings. We crossed paths a little while later and she asked to meet with us again. We hesitated and she said it would take only 5 minutes. We agreed to give her 5 minutes and she did, in fact, review the hotel layout and other common request (bank, store, WalMart). It was 5 minutes and we were on our way. She did offer the timeshare tour with the hotel credits and gifts but we didn't schedule it and no one bothered us about it. No message on our phone. No notes under our door. No one hasseling us in the lobby.

On the morning of our first full day there, we took advantage of the bike tour of PDC. There was one hill that got the best of me so I just walked my bike up. I was really worried as the ride progressed since we went down a lot of hills and I figured surely there were a corresponding number of hills to be climbed later. I don't know how we did it but we got back without any major climbs.

We ate quite a few meals at Spice (the buffet) because of the convenience and selection. We had good service there without fail. We enjoyed stopping by in the afternoon or evening for a little dessert. (Don't get between me and the coconut ice cream!) We ate once at the Chef's Plate. We went on a Friday and had sirloin as the main course. It was a very pleasant dining experience. Another night, we went to Marie Marie's. I had the pork fillet (pork loin) and hubby had fish (halibut?). Both were good. Only went to Pelicano's once (for lunch) and weren't concerned about going back since we didn't think there was anything special on the menu. Didn't make it to Asiana. The 24-hour room was handy. Many times, hubby would have a big breakfast so not want lunch until much later. I could go to the 24-hour room and make a plate of nachos (which I took out to the pool) to tide me over.

The hotel had a great New Year's Eve party in the ballroom. There was a red carpet down the hall leading to the ballroom with people on both sides serving "Black and Whites" (vodka, kahlua and milk so I would consider it a Whte Russian) and people ready to escort you to your table. Entertainment (some singing, some dancing, some acrobatics) before dinner, between courses, during and after dinner.

We enjoyed the beach. Yes, there are some rocks so I was glad I'd brought our beach shoes. They made it much easier to deal with them. There is plenty of beach for lounging. We walked almost every day. I would recommend walking to the north as it's definitely a nicer walk than to the south.

Would we go back? Definitely! This is our first time to PDC and RPDC and we are sold on both.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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8  Thank PammieJeanTX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2009

A travel agent reccommended this for our honeymoon. We hadn't been to anywhere like this before. This was an amazing experience. The Ambiance, Service, Accommodations, Food... it was out of control. Each day was better than the one before. I don't normally like buffets, but we found ourselves eating at the buffet atleast once a day... it was so good... The Service, at check in, the trips, the housekeepers, room service, the pool attendents, bartenders... it all was 5 star! THANK YOU! We have reccommended it to many.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Shetensky07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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