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Reviewed June 27, 2010

My husband picked the Royal for our honeymoon based on all the wonderful reviews written on trip advisor, and there is truly nothing that has not already been mentioned that I can add, except that we are another couple that was WOWED by our experience, and will be going back to visit! We had a junior suite (not oceanfront or poolfront) and honestly I didn't feel like we needed to upgrade. The room was huge, had the awesome jacuzzi tub, and we got excellent service from our housekeeper, Anabelle. The beach butler, Alexis, was so kind to us, as were all of the staff. Basically you get treated like a king and queen from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave. One note on tipping - although it is not required, it annoyed me to see people enjoy a fancy, a la carte meal, wine, dessert, essentially a meal that in the U.S. would call for a $15 tip at least...and leave nothing. Yes, it is all inclusive. But the wait staff that gives awesome service deserves tips!! Point being, bring cash with you. Lots of ones for the bartenders, beach waitresses, etc. We spent about $1000 in cash, but we did a chartered fishing trip ($200), Xcaret Plus ($240 **book through hotel - it's easier), and spent at least $100 on odd junk on 5th avenue. Another plus is that they have live shows every night in the open air lobby!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank mrsroth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2010

We arrived in Cancun on June 7th @ 2pm. Normally, who cares right? However, we arrived at the same time two charters came in from Europe. So, the lines in the airport for customs and immigration were HUGE!! Watch your arrival time, this will speed up the process. Now after we went through all that we found our Lomis rep and immediately got into our suv and were taken to this wonderful resort. I have been down to the riveria maya 8 times and I don't think I ever want to use the "included transfer" again. Roundtrip per person was $40. Private transfer is a steal. First you don't have to wait for 4-5 other couples and second you go directly to your hotel. If you get anything out of this review....that is it. Now, upon arrival at the Royal, we were greeted with the usual champagne and hand towels. And were directed to the check-in facility. And yes, one of the "evil ones" (i.e. timeshare people) in a dark blue shirt did come up to my brother-in-law and he was brushed off promptly. I don't care what "discounts" timeshare folks can get you....it is not worth it. Unless, you want a timeshare. Back to the story, anyhoo, we checked in. Normal, but, we did have to remind her that we spent the extra for the "Royal" service. Now, I don't think this is an opportunity anymore unless you upgrade your room. So, we did remind her about the scented pillows, candles and the "Chef's plate" dinner. After the check-in, we were shown to our rooms.
But, let's go back. I did the online check-in. Now, the online check-in is by calender day. So, our reservation was on Monday and theoretically online check-in can be as early as Friday night at midnight:01, central time. If you try to get the jump if you are pacific or mountain time, I think the computer reads the date and not just the time. I had a problem, but, write me and I will explain. Now, I did want the new part of the hotel. It looked like it was a higher building with somewhat of a private pool. But, the online check-in feature did not have this area. (Basically it is a 3-D image of the hotel and you just choose your room). Good thing. The new part of the hotel is in the back, furthest away from the beach and main pool. And yes, I would dare say they are all oceanview, but unless your above the 2nd floor, not too much of a view. Since were talking about pools, lets get on with the "meat and potatoes".
The main pool. Very nice. Nice design and I think technically a chlorinated, however, you would never notice. Swim with your eyes open. No biggie. Music is too soft!!! Yep, I said it. I know that there were complaints that it was too loud and obviously the Royal was listening (or I should say reading). They turned it down too much. Like my brother suggested, get more speakers around and the music will not be too loud for the people right next to them. Towel game? You d--- skippy. Get up and have them out. Now, is it that aweful and necessary, well no. But, if there a couple seats that you want to claim as your own. Get up and grab them. Keep in mind though, the game only depends on the occupancy of the hotel. So, in the summer, spring break and Christmas, the game will be played. One good thing, I have never seen......NO TOWEL CARDS!!! Hallelujah. That's right kids, take what you want with towels. No fear of not having a towel to return or card to return to be jammed for $50 USD. Around the pool and the beach there were a couple waitress. Also, there were beachtellers. Now, these guys have books and sunscreen (what a novel idea (no pun intended)). So, on to the beach. Pristine. On the south side of the property, there is the dock for the ferry so it's a little rocky, the north side is smooth though. And yes, for the first time, on the second day, I was in the water to my shoulders, no waves, and I could see my feet. For shade on the beach, there are make shift canopies. If you see a canopy with a bed underneath it, chances are it belongs to someone with a "oceanside" room. You know that because of the room number on the side. But, there are plenty canopies with the usual beach chairs underneath. Now, going back to the poolside, beachside waiters. From what I gather they only keep a handful on. So, if you order a drink, it will eventually get there. The Royal, does though need to hire some more. And yes, please tip. More later on that. Now, the bar facilities. One swim-up bar that is in dire need of shade prior to 4pm. Tradewinds is actually two bars. One is that swimup and the other is on the other side of the pool. And yes, when you walk up to that bar (outside of the pool) you will see name brand liquors on shelves. For the most part, these are for display only. The choices are hit and miss. So, one day you go to the bar and ask for Crown, "nope don't have it, how about some 7." The next day you go to the same Tradewinds bar and ask for some 7 "Well, we have Crown if you want". The same with the swim-up bar. Lobby bar, different story. All premium, all the time. Now the 24 hour lounge is absolutely wonderful. So, you play the towel game at 8 am and you get a drink order from your friends and you have to go here. Why? nothing else open. Typical though. The first day, I walk in and sure enough Johnnie Walker Black on the shelf for my taking. You turn and find meats, cheeses, fried this and that. Perfect for the "hair-of-the-dog". Food: Freakin' awesome!!! We ate at just about every restaurant. I can't say enough. The only thing that I would do. Royal, are you listening? Put a grill or something next to the pool or beach for continuous snacking. Is it a little trashy? Yep, but you do see them in the 3 stars just not in the 4 or 5 stars. Back to the food. Gentlemen, bring pants and closed toe shoes!!!! You will need them for dinners. I would venture that all breakfasts, and lunches you don't need them. Most dinners you do. Unless you want Spice buffet every night, and well, you might need there too. So, Marie Marie, awesome steaks. The chef actually came out and made sure everything was ok and also when I asked about the wines, a sommelier came out as well. Speaking of wine, unless you get the house, you will be charged. FYI, but, they pour like their pouring water. This is getting long, time to wrap up. I would suggest this place to any, but a couple closing words.
TIP!! I know that anyplace you get your package from it states, "tips, taxes included". And you are in the right not too. However, management has gotten wind of the ways of the west and these people are paid poorly because they can get tipped. I spoke to many of these people and there were a lot of "I have been here 5, 6, 7 months". And I ask "how do you like it?", many were "ah, so - so". Management: take note. Now to management's appreciation, they do get to take English. I just think that these people need to know how much they're appreciated. Final closing, this is a fantastic resort, on a beautiful beach, right next to shops and late night partying in downtown playa!!

P.S. I know a way of getting around the bothersome street vendors. Drop me a line. Dave

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank riveria-dave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2010

We just returned from a week long trip to the Royal; we went for a friend's wedding (which was at the hotel and beautiful), and it was our first time to Mexico in June. We loved the Royal Playa del Carmen!

We stayed in an ocean front master suite, so we had a separate sitting area with two couches and a large dining room table. We also had two balconies and two TV's. The room and location were fabulous! Regular hotel rooms usually feel claustrophobic and this room was very spacious with a great view. The in room alcohol was handy - I've never stayed at an all inclusive with vodka and rum in the room! Housekeeping was excellent. Our room came with a designated beach cabana - it had a few pillows and an actual all weather "mattress" on a platform with curtains that could be drawn for shade. Chef's Plate and Asiana were absolutely fabulous. Marie Marie's was very good as well; Pelicano's was convenient and very good with a great view, although the service was slow. We weren't impressed with the tapas place. The buffets were mostly what I expected - fast and tasty. The 24 hour lounge was well air conditioned and convenient with drinks (including a serve yourself bar with a ton of alcoholic beverages to choose from) and snacks. Room service was slow but good, so be sure to plan for a thirty to fifty minute delivery time. The pools were very nice and the beach was lovely; it was as bit rocky right in front of the resort but to the left much less rocky. Also, the chairs right under the palm trees near the beach entrance get a fair amount of afternoon shade which is great.

We did online check in and suite selection. The website didn't work on our first try but did few hours later. It did speed up checkin - our rooms (we travelled with my husband's parents) were the ones we pre-selected and our keys were ready. I highly recommend using online checkin.

All the staff are wonderful and willing to assist. Alexis and Jaime, the "beachtlers" were great, and Leti and Willie from the concierge are so helpful. Brenda, Angel, and the sommeliers at Chef's Plate are absolutely top notch.

I've noticed several reviews mentioning how aggressive the time share people are at the resort. They have on navy blue shirts and never bothered us or attempted to corral us into a timeshare pitch. We just walked past without making eye contact.

Like most all inclusive resort, one must play the "towel game." With my designated beach cabana, this was less of a worry to me. There is ample beach seating but there is some competition for pool seats. We usually had our towels out by seven am for our favorite seats, had breakfast, and were on the chairs by eight am. A lot of chairs are reserved with no occupants for hours but I don't know what the hotel can do.

As an FYI, although the hotel has free wireless, it is slow and spotty, so don't expect fast Internet.

The only negative we had involved the hotel operators. Our room came with free international calling and the concierge told us to have the operators place the calls for us. They balked and often refused, telling to dial ourselves, which was fine but contrary to the concierge's instructions.

Unrelated to the hotel are the weather reports. Leading into our trip I obsessively checked the weather reports. Per several websites, it was supposed to rain the whole time we were there. One day had a quick rain shower, one day was cloudy with intermittent rain, and the other days were great. I would suggest ignoring the weather reports!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank SarahinOR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2010

We just returned from 7 days @ the Royal...all in all, it was a wonderful resort.
The many restaurants were wonderful, the staff were amazing, our room was lovely and upgrading to a beachfront walkout room was worth the extra money, in my opinion. The Chef's Plate was part of the upgrade and I highly recommend it.
If I am forced to complain, I will say the only thing we found annoying were the obnoxious, drunk people at the main pool...it's an adults-only resort but based on how they were behaving, you could have fooled me!!! The simple fix for this is we went to the smaller pool at the opposite end of the resort, where it was peaceful and relaxing.
Our experience overall was wonderful!!!
Special thanks to Vi, Maggy, Alex, Machin, Brenda and Angel!!!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank RBTravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2010

We tried to book the Royal Playa del Carmen two years ago when we last visited Mexico, but when we went to book our room, everything had sold out. Upon searching for the perfect honeymoon destination, we decided to book a Presidential Suite at the Royal Playa del Carmen. At the time I booked, there were only a handful of negative reviews here. By the time we left for our honeymoon (about 6 months later) I had seen more negative reviews than before. Like anyone searching for the perfect honeymoon spot, I was a little nervous. The weather forecast didn’t help either. June is one of the rainiest months in Mexico and there is basically a chance for some rain every day. However, it does not rain every day. The days leading up to our trip, I kept previewing the forecast which showed rain every single day that we were supposed to be there. It only rained one day out of our week long trip and it maybe rained for about 30 minutes. There was also one evening where it rained for a short while around midnight.

The resort is about 45 minutes from the airport. We booked roundtrip transportation with Olympus Tours when we booked our trip on Travelocity. I recommend doing something similar. It was $40.00 each way for both of us. A cab ride would be a little more expensive. Upon arriving to the resort, I instantly smiled. We were greeted with fresh towels and a personal check-in with a concierge. We had tried to choose our room ahead of time (yes, you can do that on the Royal’s website) but we had already been assigned a room. You can view pictures and a 360 tour of your specific room. However, our room, Suite 994 is in the new section of the hotel and we were not able to see our room. The hotel ground are beautiful and immaculate. The resort has about 500 rooms so it is a good size, without being too large. The resort is adults only which was huge for us since we didn’t want to be surrounded by children on our honeymoon! But please keep in mind, the average age of travelers here was 20-40. There were very few over 40 that we saw and it was mostly couples, and lots of honeymooners. If you are looking for a quiet getaway, you will not get that here. The pools, beaches, and bars are constantly packed with people partying. We are in our late 20’s so the scene was perfect for us! If you are looking for something a little more low-key there is a new pool by the new part of the resort which does not have activities going on all day so it is quieter.

Pool: Yes, if you expect to get a chair by the pool you need to get it before 8 am. Even by then it is difficult. Everyone here plays the towel game. People go down by the pool early, put towels on chairs, and then go to breakfast and whatever else. There are lots of activities going on during the day at the pool area and it is constantly packed with young people partying. We spent most of our time at the beach. It is much easier to get a chair at the beach and you may even be able to snag a cabana. A reserved beach cabana came with our room (and most upgraded suites) so we never had an issue finding a spot to relax. The beach area is beautiful but keep in mind, all beaches in Playa del Carmen are public so anyone can walk down the Royal’s beach. Topless sunbathing is also allowed in all of Playa so we did see a few people without tops on. The beach directly in front of the resort is a little rocky but if you literally walk 100 feet to the left, it is perfect. If you continue walking for a few more minutes, you will arrive at Mamita’s beach club which is a daytime beach club that people hang out at.

Presidential Suite: Suite 994 was amazing! We were the only presidential suite with two separate entrances and we had the largest outdoor area since we were in the direct middle of the new building. The presidential suites in the new building are a little different than the others, because they actually have a terrace on the fifth floor with a pool up there (there are 4 floors to the hotel). There were two washrooms in our suite, a huge Jacuzzi in the middle of our room, a telescope for looking at Cozumel (which you can clearly see without a telescope), a dining area for 8, living room, and kitchen area with a huge bar. There is a balcony on the main floor that looks right out at the ocean and at Cozumel. There was outdoor furniture and a hammock out there. There is a spiral staircase that leads you up to the terrace. On the terrace is a private pool and since we had the largest presedenital suite, there were two separate seating areas out there. Again, the pool and the entire fifth floor deck overlook the ocean. It was an amazing view. If you look down, there is actually the second “quiet” pool.

Room Service: the hotel DOES have 24-hour room service but I do not recommend ordering late at night. The two times that we ordered room service (both after midnight) our order was incorrect. The food that we ordered was correct but our sandwich had mayo instead of mustard (and I HATE mayo) and my hotdog was supposed to be served with onions and bacon, came completely plain. The first time we ordered, it took about 45 mins and the second time took about 1.5 hours.

Maid: Our maid was awesome. The room was spotless every day and each day, a new towel art design was waiting for us. This hotel really pays attention to detail and our bed was constantly covered in beautiful rose petals, arranged perfectly. I suggest leaving a tip for the maid at the end of the week because they really do work hard. The hotel also offers turn down service but we were usually in our room getting ready during that time, so we never used it. Plus, I didn’t really need someone turning my blanket down for me, but that’s just us. Some people like the turndown service.

Tipping: yes, the resort is all-inclusive but if you see how hard these people work, you can see that they truly deserve a little something extra. We didn’t tip every single time for every single thing, but we would leave a few dollars at each of the restaurants and for drinks. The waiters are super friendly and everyone at the hotel is very accommodating. I already miss the sound of “Hola” every time you see the

Drinks: There are premium liquors but you need to ask for them or they will pour you whatever they have. If you like frozen drinks, I recommend the Mango Tango, Pina Colada with Bacardi dark, and the Riviera Maya. Our room came stocked with 5 full size bottles of alcohol all name brand (Bacardi, Absolute, etc). There are a few wines included, but most are an additional surcharge.

Activities: As mentioned, there are a ton of activities at the hotel. We did a wine tasting, there were sports, blackjack games, cooking lessons, pilates, yoga, and even towel art classes. There are paid water sports available on the beach including waverunner rentals and parasailing. We did the parasailing which was one of the best experiences ever! I highly recommend it!

The water pressure at the hotel is not that great. There is a steam shower in the room and upstairs on the terrace which was a nice touch.

Restaurants: The restaurants are good, I wouldn’t say all were great, but good. Tapas – This has a small menu and it is the same for both lunch and dinner. There are a selection of cold and warm tapas. Pelicanos is the Carribean restaurant which we only ate lunch at. It is right by the beach and next to the Tapas place. Asiana is one of the more formal restaurants and we had dinner there which was good. Maria Marie’s is the French-Mexican fusion which was good, but took a while. There are two breakfast places which also serve lunch and dinner (Spice and El Medditeraneo). Both were decent buffets but the menu did not change at all. There are ommelette stations and even a crepe station. The best meal we ate was at the Chef’s Plate. WOW! The place is amazing. This is the only restaurant where reservations are required and only upgraded rooms have access. It is haute cuisine and the menu changes daily so make sure you check it out before booking. We did a Middle Eastern one and everything was beyond outstanding. I have never had anything like it. None of the other restaurants require reservations and there was never a wait for any of them. There is a good Mexican restaurant right down the street called Aca Los Tacos which had really good tacos al pastor.

Playa del Carmen: The town is amazing and I wish I could have spent at least another week there. The thing I love about this resort is that you literally can walk off your resort, down the block and you are at Fifth Avenue which is the main street in Playa. It is over 2 miles long and filled with shopping, bars, and restaurants. The resort is super safe and we were able to walk home from the bars and always felt 100% safe. Never before have I stayed at a resort where you could just walk off the property and walk to everything. 12th is where bars/lounges align both sides of the street. This area gets going around 11 pm and people are out partying until the early morning. Some places to check out are the Blue Parrot Beach Club which has nightly fire dancing shows at around 11 pm and 12:30. The show is awesome. I recommend getting there a little early to get a seat near the beach which is where this takes place. Hotel Deseo is a new boutique hotel with a Miami Beach vibe. The rooftop deck has a pool and beds as lounge chairs and plays black and white movies against the side of the building next to it. It was a really cool place. Alux is off the strip and you need a cab to take you there. It is a natural cave discovered in 1994 and was turned into a restaurant and lounge. We did not have dinner there but went for a cocktail and to check it out. I highly recommend checking this out!

Dinner on the Beach: We were given the dinner on the beach as one of our bridal shower gifts. I would have been disappointed if we would have paid for it ourselves. There are two seatings, one at 7 pm and one at 9 pm. We did the 9 pm and I would not recommend the 7 pm as there are still people on the beach around you and it is not dark yet. They set up a little cabana and have a candle lit path leading the way. There is a violinist which is a nice touch. It is $250.00 for the lobster dinner ($199 for non-lobster but not sure what that includes). It is not worth the price! You have no choice in menu and it is 3 courses. The first thing they bring you is 2 cold shrimp with some cold meat (and not carpaccio). The second is the lobster (which was not fantastic) and then a dessert to share. We left still hungry.

Shopping: Fifth Avenue is lined with shopping, and there are lots of boutiques and expensive shopping. You are in Mexico so yes, every place you pass by has people trying to get you to come in see their stuff. Just say “no thank you” and continue walking.

Cozumel: The ferry to Cozumel is about a mile from the hotel and I recommend taking a day trip there if you have the chance. It is $12 per person each way. Ferry schedules change every month so be sure to check it out before you go (sometimes there are two hours between departures). The trip is about 30 minutes and expect to get asked about tours over and over again. There are lots of scooter rentals which I have heard good things about. We did not rent them though.

Tours: We did Horseback Riding which begins in the jungle, goes through mangroves, and then ends at the beach. It is about an hour of riding. We also did Ziplining at Selvatica which has 12 lines you go on. I recommend both trips.

Massage places are abundant in Playa. We paid $49.00 for a couples massage (for both of us) for an entire hour. I think one massage at the resort goes for over $100.00.

The beach butlers are awesome. They come around for drink orders. There was even a buttler who comes around with frozen grapes soaked in sugar (so yummy!).

The worst part of the trip was having to leave. I usually am ready to go home after a week vacation, but not this time. Playa is an awesome place and the resort is amazing. You will not be disappointed!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Carla S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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