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“all inclusive stay at the Royal”

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The Royal Playa del Carmen
Ranked #11 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed March 14, 2010

The Royal is beautiful and the best all inclusive that I could see at Playa and as far as all inclusive goes it was nice. But all inclusive's in my opinion are overrated. The drinks are watered down, the food is good at some areas but not at other resutrants. and the beds and bedding a B not an A. (only an A if you are in the most superior suite). I would expect at the least down pillows in all the rooms. The service is also generic... nothing special... again good at times and bad at times. You are one of many so no special treatment. Most everyone at the Royal was friendly but for the large price tag I expect first class service and again down pillows. Don't get me wrong the Royal is nice but again as far as inclusive goes... during our stay we changed to a small quaint spa hotel very near by and loved, loved, loved it there. It was a lot less expensive and we ate out but we ate better (just not all we wanted all the time but better on the waist line!) and again with the room cost and food a lot less. I would recommend the Royal for an all inclusive at Playa Del Carmen but it would not be my first choice over a 5 star non inclusive. A side note do not book their excursions... read trip advisor and book the suggestions on your own. TRUST ME! Booking at the large hotels are a rip off and they are not anywhere as good as doing it yourself. (just like booking an excursion on a cruise ship vs suggestions on cruise critic; bad idea).

  • Stayed: March 2010
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Thank joann39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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12,199 - 12,205 of 16,649 reviews

Reviewed March 13, 2010

My husband and I just returned from our third visit to The Royal, March 4 - 12, 2010; we went with another couple who were having their second visit. As has been the case on our last two visits, The Royal is spotless, beautiful, meticulously maintained and evolving in both small and large ways. For example, since we were there just a year ago, an entire new building with a beautiful pool, outdoor bar and two restaurants have been built, all of the rooms have been completely refurnished and all of the doors have either been replaced or refinished.

The new, upscale Mediterraneo restaurant is worth a special mention for its welcoming staff and nicely varied menu, as is the new coffee bar. (The lobster tail, at a modest extra cost, is to-die-for.) The Chef's Table, which offers a single chef's-choice menu each evening, is now available only to ocean-front and presidential guests, a fact that raised the ire of a number of people we met who had invested many thousands of dollars to join the vacation club on the premise that all of the facilities would be available to them. (It didn't bother us because there are so many excellent restaurant choices on the property and, frankly, the Chef's Plate didn't ring our chimes when we ate there on our last visit.) Marie Maries is always wonderful for dinner (long pants and collared shirt for men are required) and don’t miss Asiana. Spice is the buffet restaurant, with several stations at which food is made to order and there are lots of selections at every meal. We’re just not buffet people because, for us, the whole point of dining out is service!
The most remarkable aspect of the resort is the people who work there, all of whom (seriously) are genuinely gracious, welcoming and friendly. We spend most of our time by the pool and have become fast friends with the wonderful people on the entertainment staff, most of whom have been there for at least several years. (I will admit that, when I said goodbye to my friends on the entertainment staff on the morning we left, I returned to our room in full-tilt tears to pack.)

If you are considering visiting the Royal, be sure to make notes of the names of the people who go above and beyond the call of duty in serving you. When you mention them by name using the out-of-the-way computer at the front desk (you can “vote” once daily) or your end-of-stay evaluation form, they get a single "point," which is very important to them and their teams to get raises, promotions and additional days off. If you mention a name in a TripAdvisor review such as this one, they earn two points. So at the end of this, I'll list the names of the people who deserve our special praise.
Since we've been there three times, we do have some suggestions that we hope management will note and fix for our certain-to-be next visit. I hate to put these in a review because I don’t want these issues to dissuade anyone from enjoying the Royal. But I know they read these reviews and they really need to hear these points:

1. Organized exercise options are limited to a four-person reformer Pilates facility with two or three daily classes, a completely inadequate chain-hotel-like gym, a small spin-cycle room and a beginners’ Yoga class each morning. Daily water aerobics is a game, not an exercise opportunity. We would enjoy and benefit from more and more strenuous, organized activities such as step classes, mat Pilates, more advanced Yoga classes and so forth.

2. The evening entertainment shows are cruise-ship lame with one exception, the new "Elements" show that is performed in the hotel's small theater and includes some excellent acrobatics. The other shows are themed (Decades, Mayan theme, etc.), with excellent, elaborate costumes but absolutely no other production values such as stage lighting or sets. They are generally conducted on a makeshift stage in the cavernous lobby rotunda, the hard surfaces of which bounce the amplified click-track music and on-stage emcees' patter into an incomprehensible roar. The stage lighting, such that it is, is limited to three spotlights sitting on the floor in front of the stage and a couple of spots at the back of the lobby. There is no back-stage area, so that the actors milling about waiting to go onstage are very distracting. The dancers, especially the women, pretty much just walk through their steps and, why not; no one pays much attention to their performances. Many of the dancers in the shows at the Royal also perform at the incredible CocoBongo Club a few blocks away where they are part of the phenomenal show there. (Do not miss it!) The management of The Royal really could and should get serious about these performances by investing in some decent staging and turning the lobby into a space that is suitable for performances by reducing the hard surfaces (how about some large and colorful banners and hangings?), losing the cheesy plastic plants, lighting the space itself to make it more appealing, installing permanent and professional stage lighting, etc.

3. The poolside activities, as well and enthusiastically s they are led, are getting old and repetitive; they haven’t changed in years. We’re good sports and we generally play along to help out the staff, who have a heck of a time getting people to participate. Perhaps that’s because many of the guests, like us, have “been there, done that.” With all of the incredible talent and enthusiasm on the entertainment team, it wouldn’t be difficult to come up with many, many more interesting, engaging activities that don’t repeat in months.

4. Pelicanos, the beach-side restaurant is our favorite restaurant for breakfast and lunch chiefly because it is right on the beach and the wait-staff are like old friends. But the menu, though filled with good stuff, is very limited and quickly becomes boring. (Witness the large number of Americans who order burgers and fries, which are not even on the menu!) C’mon, Aaron, rattle some cages and pump up the selection.

5. The house wines are barely drinkable and differ in every venue. At such an upscale resort where top- shelf liquors are available at every bar and in every room, this seems an odd lapse when there are excellent American, Australian and Chilean whites and reds that are highly rated and very inexpensive. Related: only one bar, in the courtyard of the new building, stocks cognac of any sort.

So those are the nits. Here’s out hit parade of great staff members:

Denys, Mireya and Vi, poolside servers;
Aaron, Jovanii and P.P. at Pelicanos;
Consuela and Mari T., our maids;
Adan, Alex, Manuel, Rosario, Regina, Oscar, David and Angelo on the entertainment team;
Yves, Nancy, Martha, Liticia and Alana, receptionists;
Frances, cocktail waitress in the lobby;
Reyes, bartender at the outdoor bar of the Mediterraneo and Victor, the host.

We love the Royal and will certainly return many more times.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank theprguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2010

We had the best holiday of our life. We stayed at the Royal for two weeks this time, usually we have only stayed on vacation for one week. We had a junior suite, oceanview on the second floor. The hotel is beautiful, clean and the staff were very attentive. The different restaurants in the hotel make the stay even better as there are many choices. I cant say enough how wonderful our waiter Carlos Chan was at the Tapas restaurant. He is friendly and is quick to get whatever you need. He also helped with our Spanish lessons.
The beach is absolutely beautiful and is great for long walks. The hotel is also situated right next door to Fifth Avenue for those who like to shop.
We would definitely recommend this hotel.

Christine Gameson and Brian Gardiner

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank ChristineandBrian49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2010

Good location in the center of the tourist area of Playa del Carmen. The food was above average consistently, which is better than all of the all inclusives Ive been to. Buffet food was consistenly above average which beats most places. In addition to the restaurants at the hotel, you can use the two accross the street at their sister hotel. You are also free to use facilities at the Cancun Royal which is nice if you plan a trip to Cancun(45-50 minute drive).

I thought the customer service was good. The only thing to be wary of is the guest services desk which is their time share desk. If youre not interested in spending 90 minutes at a sales talk, just say no thanks. The rooms tended to be a little noisy. We were moved after the first night but the second room had its noise issues as well. I think a good tip is to carry ear plugs and you should be fine. Beach is short like most of the hotels in the area. Pool was fine. Activities were hit and miss, but if youre not too uptight, usually pleasant. Drinks are god awful like all the Mexican resorts. Can someone please send these guys to bartending school! The booze was consistently name brand but limited beer selection.

Had a nice experience with Olympus Travel, which does airport shuttle and tours. Lost my passport at the airport and Olympus staff, especially Goyo, were great and persistent and located my passport at the airport after the hotel staff had given up. Thank You to them.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JONOVO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2010

You may know that the hotel has a motto 'Expect the exceptional'. We paid more than we usually do for this hotel. Based on the good reviews on here and the price we paid we were expecting everything about this hotel to be exceptional. Unfortunately we found a lot of things were disappointing. If we had paid less money for the hotel these would just be annoying niggles but at the price we paid they became much more than annoying niggles.

Firstly - there were some outstanding staff members and some examples of excellent customer services - the staff at the Italian restaurant especially Hilario were welcoming, friendly and we had 2 great meals there- (at the Gran Porto Real across the road). Maggy at the pool by the Mediterranean bar during the day was fantastic... always happy and cheerful and very helpful, Ishmael in the Mediterranean restaurant was friendly and helpful. Luis at the trade winds bar was hardworking and cheerful. Millan the security guard was always happy and helpful. Roberto at the Asiana Cancun was my favourite waiter of the week! And the whole entertainment team were hard working and cheerful and we enjoyed the bike tour with Alex and the kayak tour with Oskar.

We loved Mexico (it was our first time). We loved the Mexican people. And we loved Playa del Carmen. It was a nice size and felt really safe. We went to Cancun for the day and were glad we picked Playa (Cancun was massive and very much like the USA in Mexico).

Don't book the reps trips. for Thomson's customers - their trip to Xal-ha is something like $120 but if you walk to the bus station and get the bus from there you save $40 - their Xel-Ha trip is $79 with transport.

and the trips to Tulum and Coba - what the reps won't tell you is that the admission is only 51 pesos. cheap as anything. and you can either hire a car or catch a bus... all 3 (Xel-ha, tulum and coba) well worth going to but especially Tulum. Its so beautiful. (Xel-ha also very very beautiful but expensive even when you don't go with organised trip).


Now some of the negatives about the hotel -
1. We sent an email before we arrived which we didn't get any response to - this was just the start of the poor customer service.

2. The first room we were given was on a bottom corridor with very noisy trolleys going past at regular intervals at night and very early in the morning and disturbing our sleep. They said they were fully booked and couldn't offer us another room from Thursday until Saturday (unless we wanted a very expensive upgrade). When Saturday came the room they had promised us was no longer available. We had spent the first 3 days of our holidays not unpacking our bags and waiting to move rooms and we were extremely disappointed when the room we had been promised was not available. Worse though was the attitude of the reception staff - (it was hard to actually speak to anyone.. the reception was always so busy) when we did manage to speak to someone none of them seemed to care... especially Diego (one of the concierges) who was so rude it was unbelieveable. Eventually we did get moved to a much nicer and quieter room but did not feel that anyone in reception or management cared about our experience. it seemed the higher up through the staff you went the less friendly they were and the less they cared about your experience.

3. Generally front desk was chaotic and disorganised. check in was a joke - asking about what sort of pillows do you want and what time do you want room service and turn down service (and then they didn't stick to the times anyway. But on the whole the cleaners did a very good job and were always smiling and friendly.)

4. Room was on the whole very nice but the hairdryer was terrible and there wasn't much wardrobe space. No milk in room for coffee. When I'd figured out how to use complicated coffee perculator thing the powdered milk ruined the coffee... yuk! For a 5 star hotel I would expect better on all these points.

5. The pools were freezing cold when you first got in. Not too bad once you got in and swam but always empty! We went to the other hotel at Cancun and the pools there were heated and it made a real difference - it was lovely and the pools were full.

6. The Mediterranean restaurant was not advertised in the welcome pack or on the cards that came with the room keys. It was impossible to find out the opening hours - they were not displayed at the entrance either. (Actually our first room didn't even have a welcome pack).

7. Service in restaurants varied from amazing and brilliant to really bad. One waiter mixed 2 kinds of wines in my husbands wine glass and then when we challenged him he didn't say 'sorry' but denied it. (this was in the mediterranean restaurant). Sometimes drinks were forgotten and sometimes our food order was totally forgotten (in the Tapas restaurant)

8. Food - mostly good but sometimes cold.

9. Personally I think the hotel was badly designed - if it had been built in more of a 'V-shape' then more rooms could have had a sea view. As it was the views weren't very good at all considering the great sea front position of hotel. Speaking to some other people many people had issues with their rooms - things broken, view over-looking road, loud noise from generator. The only guests the hotel seemed to care about were those paying lots of money for the upgraded rooms. (if you like to sit on your balcony and look at the sea this is not the hotel for you unless you can afford the upgrade). And half the rooms get no sunshine on their balcony at all - they are dark and in shade the whole day.

10. The 'tours' by the time share people 'Real club' became a huge joke between me and my husband. We could spot the people on tours from a mile off. But actually it was quite intrusive and annoying as we tried to relax by the Mediterranean bar/restaurant pool with all these groups of people from different hotels coming past having a nosey round our hotel - about 8 to 10 couples and groups every morning. The 'Real club' people did approach us a few times but we just said 'no thanks'.

11. If you want peace and quiet and relaxation this is not the hotel for you. The main pool is all party party party with people dancing in their bikinis by 4pm and the big party happening in the heated jacuzzi all afternoon.

Overall love Playa del Carmen, love Mexico. Did not think this hotel was worth the money and would not recommend it to family or friends.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Louise-and-Antony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2010

AMAZING. BEAUTIFUL. SERVICE FIRST CLASS. FOOD OUTSTANDING. SPOTLESS. BEST LOCATION IN PLAYA. PERFECT.
The quick version:
6 guys, ages 24 to 44. No occasion. Just needed to get away.
8 nights.
Booked Porto Real and upgraded. Worth every peso!
The staff were amazing. Coming from NJ, it took a little while to get used to such friendliness. We are used to everyone having a motive or angle. A few days later we finally realized..... they are damn happy to have you at their hotel. Plain and simple.
The hotel is beautiful. The greeting was second to none! Jonathan met us when we arrived on the tranfer van (Best Day, thumbs up) Jonathan was a true pro and made us feel welcome immediately. The rooms are beautiful. We used the heck out of the hot-tub beside the bed! Eli served us drinks on the beach and the by the pool all week. What a great girl. The buffett's were excellent. The restaurants were top notch. Please try Asiana, we couldnt believe it was included. I almost felt guilty!!!
The beach is beautiful, the hotels location is in the middle of everything. It is the perfect stay in the perfect town. Please please please heed my advise. Nightlife or relaxing, you will find plenty of both.
You WILL thank me!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Jersee1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2010

I went to Mexico for a friends wedding at the Royal in Playa Del Carmen after I went to Cancun for Spring Break at the Oasis (see my review of the sleezepit) it was a vast difference). l am a 29-30-ish male. Now yes, I wanted to have some fun and sun, maybe meet some women, etc because Cancun was such a dissapointing experience (read the review). I was there for the wedding, but also wanted to meet some people and visit with friends. The hotel was beautiful, the food fantastic and the staff was fabulous and hard working, and the wedding was special and nice for my pal.

As other posters mentioned, the entertainment crew, names who deserve a nod are Entertainment Team-Angelo,David,Oscar,Alex,Adam,Rosario,Regina. The shows at the pool were fun and interactive. I loved the buffets and breakfast at Pelicano's. The room was beautiful too. Bartenders Toto? and Mario were always happy to serve.

I recommend this hotel for a group of mature adults and for couples. My only complaint is that I didn't have a date or girlfriend with me, but that is a personal issue, nothing wrong with the hotel. I did make some friends at the hotel which was fun. It is not a pick-up joint at all, very classy. Went out a few nights, but mostly met noisy college kids or European women looking to hook-up (stay safe please).

Ladies at the Royal had more class and were fun to chat to, but were all with dates. :-( Definintely didn't want to walk the streets and pick up plastic bimbos out at the bars. I will mention that there was one woman from Dallas (oh those Texas ladies) at the Royal, one of the most gorgeous ladies I have seen in person. I cannot explain how everyone's heads turned when she walked by. She carried herself in a special way. I finally had the courage to talk to her on the beach and found out she was not only vacationing with her mother (not a guy), she was one of the smartest, funniest, interesting women I have ever met. And just my luck it was her last day at the resort and probably wouldn't have gone out with me anyway.

So not a great place for a single guy to meet women, but the resort is perfect. I hope to return with a girlfriend soon.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank JimSnick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Royal Playa del Carmen

Address: Avenida Constituyentes 2 | Centro, Gonzalo Guerrero, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
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 ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#10 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#25 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $326 - $718 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Royal Playa del Carmen 4.5*
Number of rooms: 513
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Along the powdery white sands of the Caribbean, The Royal welcomes guests to a world of all-inclusive luxuries exclusively for adults. Situated on the Riviera Maya just steps from Playa del Carmen's famous Fifth Avenue, the AAA Four-Diamond resort boasts all-suite accommodations with private balconies and spectacular views, plus special options such as swim-up suites and beachfront walkouts. From beach butlers to romance concierges, the attentive staff provides genuine hospitality at every turn as guests enjoy the luxurious spa, exquisite cuisine, natural beauty, and many other delights of The Royal. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Royal Playa Del Carmen Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Royal Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Royal Porto Real
Royal Playa De Carmen
The Royal Playa Del Carmen Riviera Maya, Mexico

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