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“Loved, loved, loved this resort!!!!”

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The Royal Playa del Carmen
Ranked #11 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed May 30, 2007

My husband and I stayed at The Royal from April 28-May 5. We were both a bit nervous about going after reading the negative reviews about this resort. But from the time we arrived till the time we left, it was nothing but heaven! We had a fantastic time!!

CHECK IN:
Was a breeze (this was my main worry) We had no problems whatsoever. And we didn't hear of anyone else there who had trouble with it either.

ROOM:
Our room was AMAZING! We had room 466 and it overlooked the pool/courtyard. It was gorgous! We had a partial ocean view, it wasn't much but we were not going to complain about it. Seriously, if you want oceanview, book an oceanfront room. It's the only way you will get the full ocean view.

HOUSEKEEPING:
They were fantastic! We had towel art 4 out of the 7 nights we stayed
there. It was very cool! The room was always spotless after they came. We usually tipped them $5 each time. It was well worth it.

FOOD:
~Spice is definately the place to go for breakfast. The buffet is awesome and had pretty much everything you could think of. They will make your omlettes right in front of you and you pick what you want in them. They were so good! We didnt care for their dinner meals though.
~Pelicanos was incredible! If you love seafood I definately recommend the Seafood Marinara. OMG it was too die for!
~Asiana was really good too. I personally love sushi but my husband doesn't so unfortunately we only ate there twice during our stay. I thought the food was incredible and wish we could have ate there more.

At this resort you also have access to all the restaurants at The Gran Porto next door. We went over there once and it was alright, just not as good as at The Royal.

Neither of us got sick once from the food. We did pack Immodium just in case, but we came home with the package still unopened. We were also warned not to drink the water down there either but that was hard since most of our drinks had crushed ice in them. We were also told that this resort's water was filtered so we drank it anways. We didnt get sick from it.

MONEY:
We are Canadian and was told we didn't need to bring American money, that the resort would exchange it for us no problem. Well, yes the resort would exchange it but only in Mexican pecos. And their exchange rate sucked! We had to go down 5th Ave to one of the money exchange vendors to get American money. Not a big deal but it was kind of a pain. For the Canadians- I suggest you bring American money.
We did bring about $100 in American $1 bills for tipping and it ended up being enough and we tipped for everything! You definately get better service down there when you tip them. And really, whats a couple bucks here and there? They really do appreciate it.

SERVICE:
The service in the restaurants was great. Its not like home where when you eat out you have one waiter/waitress to serve you. Down there, you had a few different people. If one saw your glass was empty they would ask you if you needed another, if one saw your plate was empty they would grab it on their way by. They really outdid themselves. We were very impressed.

The service down by the pool or on the beach was a little slower but there were sooo many people down there it was no wonder. We started ordering a couple drinks for each of us at a time, cause usually by the time we were almost done the last one, the waitress would be back to take our order again.

POOLS:
They were nice and cold and it was so refreshing after being in the heat. We loved the pools and when we went, they were never crowded. My husband and I preferred to lay on the beds over the lounges. It was nice to lay in the shade and read. So relaxing!

BEACH-
The beaches were a little more crowded but we never had a hard time finding a lounge or bed. We LOVED to walk along the beach at sunset.
It was beautiful. You can also get dinner on the beach if you want. We saw the setups for it and it was gorgous!! One couple even had someone play the violin for them!

ACTIVITIES:
The resort activities were kinda lame, but we didnt plan to participate in any of them anyways so we didnt care. We did go to one of the vendors on the beach and rented a seadoo. It was $60 US for half an hour. That might seem a little pricey but we had so much fun. Going seadooing on lakes and whatnot is nothing compared to going on the ocean! The waves were awesome. I highly recommend it!!
We also went parasailing. That cost $105 US for both of us. We were able to go up at the same time. Again, a little pricey but well worth
the money. The view was phenominal! We didnt do any of the tours because we werent interested in the whole day ones and thats what most of them were. If there were half day tours, we would have went. They did sound like alot of fun though. And if you are interested, DO NOT book one through the resort!! Go down 5th Avenue to one of the vendors, they are WAY cheaper!!

5TH AVENUE:
If you are going to this resort, you MUST go down 5th Ave. There are so many little shops and stores. We bought all of our souveniers,
clothes, and trinkets down there. And never pay the asking price when you are in the privately owned shops. You can barter with them and if they are being stubborn, dont be afraid to walk away. We had a couple of the people wait till the last minute before they hollered, "OK" to us. LOL We got some pretty sweet deals!
My husband fell in love with the huge wooden Mayan masks. They were very nice and the guy wanted $99 US for it and my husband got it for $45...after walking away first. LOL So barter, barter, barter!
We were warned not to go down 5th Ave at night but we went many times, and there were so many other people (tourists) down there at night that we felt 100% safe. There are lots of restaurants and sports pubs down there too. Also, it was beautiful at night!
The shopping was awesome. We wished we had bought more. Also, for those looking for a little night excitement, we recommend going to The Blue Parrot. Its about 3 or so blocks from the resort down 5th Ave. We went one night and they had a really cool fire show! It was awesome. There is also a dance floor if you want to boogy. They always had signs being pulled behind planes flying past the beach so watch for them.

SPA:
The spa at this resort was awesome!! So beautiful. We didnt get any treatments there though because they were pretty pricey. We did hear from alot of people though that Spa Itza (down 5th Ave) was THE place
to go if you wanted anything done. They were cheaper and were also supposedly the best in town. We did walk though it was it was SO NEAT! You will have to check it out for yourself.

Ok, one last thing-- A tip for ladies, who like me, are not used to humidity. Bring de-frizz cream! My usually very managable and straight hair was not cooperative down there. Can you say POOF? LMAO!

Well, I think my novel is long enough. For those who are thinking about going to this place but aren't sure--- GO!! We LOVED it so much. We have not one complaint about The Royal. We are planning to go back only next time, we will book an oceanfront room. We can't wait to go back!

If anyone wants to contact me with questions about this resort, feel free to email me as I would be glad to answer any other questions you may have. kdboss81@msn.com

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank kdboss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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13,510 - 13,516 of 16,352 reviews

Reviewed May 30, 2007

The timeshare people are absolutely the black cloud over this resort. After checking-in we turned around from the desk and right there was a timeshare person. Not even 1 foot from us. He tried to get us to sit down and talk with him. We were extremely polite and told him we just arrived and were going to walk around and get something to eat. He didn’t want to hear it. Then we told him we had been to the resort before (we read in some reviews here that the timeshare people will leave you alone if you say this) and he didn’t believe it for a second. He said he watched us arrive in a travel company van and he knew we had never been there before. We kept saying “No thank you” and he wouldn’t leave us alone. He was very rude. He told us he was personally insulted that we wouldn’t sit down with him. He told us he wasn’t selling anything (yeah right). We walked away finally and a few minutes later walked by the lobby again and there he was, waiting to harass us again. It was ridiculous. I recommend you completely ignore the timeshare people. Don’t even look at them…just keep walking and pretend like they do not exist.

The resort itself is very beautiful and clean. The rooms are big and the beds are fairly comfortable. The shower is large and the water pressure and temperature were perfect. We booked a king bed, non smoking room and were put in a 2 double bed smoking room. I hate the smell of smoke but it didn’t smell like smoke at all. We decided not to ask to switch rooms. We aren’t picky. As another reviewer said, it was difficult to get hand towels for some reason.

Outside of the door to our room looked out to the construction that is going on next door to the Royal. This was not an issue at all. Maybe 5 times we noticed the construction noise while on the beach but it wasn’t extremely loud or long.

The beach is perfect. Gorgeous! There are some rocks in the water but you can usually see where they are so you rarely step on them. Some areas were less rocky. You don’t need water shoes. My husband snorkeled a little bit and said there wasn’t good visibility and not very much to see. There are plenty of chairs and cabanas.

The pool is very nice and refreshing. Many chairs but they fill up pretty quickly, especially the ones under the umbrellas and the ones that are sitting in the ledge of the pool.

The food was so-so…but you will always find something to eat. The only restaurant we did not like at all was Tapas. The Asian restaurant and the Italian and Mexican restaurants at the sister resort were our favorites. They have french fries at Spice (the buffet) and Pelicano’s, you just have to ask for them. Same thing with hamburgers and club sandwiches. Just ask if you want something you don’t see on the menu. The desserts could have been much better. (There are some malnourished cats who hang around the restaurants and on the streets…it’s sad. Bring some cat food if you can.)

Service at the restaurants was good, except for Spice. At Spice sometimes we never even got drinks, other times we got drinks but no refills, and other times we had ok service.

Another reviewer said that kids from the sister resort were at the Royal. We never saw kids at the Royal. In fact, guests from the sister resort are not permitted to use facilities at the Royal (but guests at the Royal are permitted to use facilities at the sister resort).

The security at the Royal is very tight. They are visible on the beach, around the pool, etc. I saw them a few times approach people who did not have on the Royal bracelet and ask them to leave.

The location is perfect…a very short walk to 5th Ave.

It is true what another reviewer said about this not being “luxury” like the Ritz. It’s not, so don’t expect that type of luxury. If this was luxury like the Ritz, it would be double or triple the price.

I definitely recommend this resort to other people.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank wocketinmypocket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2007

I have been to many 4 and 5 star hotels throughout the Caribbean and Europe, including Sandals properties, but this hotel just exceeded everything that i could ever have expected. From the moment we arrived we were made to feel like VIPs. Every aspect of this hotel deserves its 5 star status.Normally after around 7-10 days of an all inclusive holiday i am ready to head home, but i felt tears in my eyes as i left after 14 days, i could have stayed for another 14 days and enjoyed every moment just as much. The rooms were huge, and the beds so comfy! The food was out of this world, my favourite was Maria Maries, but even the buffet was exceptional,you could tell that everything was cooked fresh. Even by the pool you are made to feel like royalty. Look out for the pool butler, he will hand you the morning papers to your sunbed and even clean your sunglasses or provide you with suntan lotion! Drinks are delivered to your sunbed frequently. I could sit and write all evening about this hotel as there are so many outstanding things to say! If you are considering booking this hotel, then just do it, you won't better it!!

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
8  Thank KellyNuneaton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2007

When trying to plan on where to go for our honeymoon, I was all over the map. St. Lucia was studied, Jamaica, Hawaii, and a cruise to the Mediterranean. Eventually I decided on Playa Del Carmen. And after studying many, many of the resorts and getting information from friends and my travel agent, I decided on the Royal Playa Del Carmen. Here are my thoughts:

The location could NOT be better. It is awesome. It is literally steps away from 5th ave and 5th ave is really cool (especially at night). We are from Chicago so being stuck at a resort for 9 nights was not really for us. 5th is all cobblestone and at night it's lit up with white lights everywhere. All the restaurants and bars are open air. There aren't doors are windows. Nice. We utilized the location of the Royal a lot. We watched a Bulls game on 5th ave., had a romantic dinner on 5th, hit clubs with new friends and also bar hopped. It was great. Food and drinks off the resort were totally fine. Not one bit of sickness. Totally safe, too. We had no problems and talked to some great people.

The Royal resort is REALLY pretty. REALLY clean, too. There were lots of Europeans at this resort and I loved that, too. Made us feel like we were somewhere special, rather then just some all inclusive in Mexico. The beach at this resort is wonderful. White sand, blue/tuquoise water. We got to the beach at different times of the day throughout the week, and we never had a problem getting two loungers AND a table. It's no fun being at the beach w/out a table. Too much sand in our drinks. The beach butler service is very, very slow. You can, however, just walk up and get your own drinks from the bar on the beach or wait for the butler. We did find that even if we tipped a dollar for every drink from the butler, it didn't make the drinks come any faster or the times we were asked if we wanted something any more frequent. Not a problem, just a fact. We went to the pool the first day and again, no problem getting chairs and a table. However, I thought the pool was a little obnoxious and they had totally cheesy games and really loud music. Not for us. After we would leave the beach we would sometimes hit the swing bar for happy hour which was fun. Also hit the swim-up bar once on the way back from the beach. Both places are good places to meet new friends.

Food at the Royal is okay. Not great. Not even really good. It's okay. The basics are what are the best. Omelet bar at Spice, great. Cheeseburger at Pelicanos, great. Room service quesadilla and club sandwich, great. The rest was mediocre at best. The sushi was ridiculous. It didn't even resemble sushi. The tempura was like breaded chinese food. Weird. The ambience, however, at the dinner/happy hour was AWESOME. The outside cigar bar with the chairs and tables at night is beautiful. I loved chilling out there and just having cocktails.

You cannot get a better location then the Royal. We took a van on a snorkeling trip. On our way to our snorkeling destination, we picked up people from other resorts. The other resorts were in the middle of no where, off of a highway, and were not NEARLY as nice or new as the Royal. Every resort we say we whispered "ours is way nicer then this".

We had an awesome, awesome time. The food is not awesome, the service is average, but the resort, the grounds, the beach and the view are absolutely gorgeous. You can go get awesome service and food on 5th. It's literally right out your door.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank Bissa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2007

Overall, this property is EXCELLENT. For those skeptics out there wondering if things they've read online (specifically at the hotel's own website) are too good to be true, our experience should give you comfort- if I can say one thing, it's that the Royal PDC did an amazing job living up to it's hype. The claims made by the marketing department were absolutely rooted in reality. The pictures we saw online, while certainly professionally air-brushed, were not a gross overestimation of anything- the pool, the grounds, the beach, the in-suite hottub, the bed, even the online checkin was almost exactly as promised. We had a wonderful time, and we certainly very impressed with virtually EVERY staff member we engaged with while visiting.

That being said, here's our few critiques (again, take with a grain of salt- NYers are notoriously hard to please, at least we admit it ;)

1) the food - the restaurants definitely provided a good variety, and boredom wasn't an issue. We quickly found a rhythm of Spice (buffet) for breakfast, chips & guac, with another light snack at Pelicanos (beachside) during the afternoon, and dinner at Asiana (teppenyaki was excellent, and Gonzalo the chef is one of the staff members definitely not to be missed!! Others include the georgeous Daniella poolside, and Lopez at the Tradewinds bar) or Maria Marie. That worked well for us, but I should note, we did try other things also- the sushi at Asianna may be fine for people with less than our standards for freshness in their sushi (or access to top fish as we do), but they would go out of business immediately in Manhattan. Also, the pasta at Spice for lunch should be avoided, if you've ever had a plate in Little Italy. Then again, why anyone would expect top italian food in Mexico is beyond me... but it's worth mentioning.

2) the drinks - again certain things don't translate well south of the border. A word to the wise- no martinis. We tried dirtys and cosmos, and both were among the worst incarnations we've ever seen. I'd recommend sticking to mexican domestic beer (Dos XX draft, or Modelo, Superior in bottle) or frozen drinks- mudslides, purple rain, mango tango, electric lemonades. Far from our typical drinks of choice, but certainly good enough to kick back and relax during a 90 degree Mexican afternoon! The Margaritas were great, and Don Julio bottles are everywhere- so just ask. Bartenders will not go out of their way to "upsell" you topshelf liquor, b/c it's all "free" so remember to qualify your drink order, or you'll end up with Early Times Whiskey and Military Special Rum. Also, one more thing to note- if you're a regular vodka drinker, plan to drink something else while in Playa. Stoli and Absolut are the best you'll find behind the bar. Other liquors are fine though, with Saphire Gin, Don Julio, an assortement of whiskey's Jim, Jack, Johnny, Crown (no good single malts, but again, it's Mexico and I'm sure the demand isn't really there) as well as all the major cordials (grand marn, kahlua, bailey's, etc). Last point on alcohol- if you're wine drinkers the house wines may leave you lacking, but we didn't expect to drink great wine in town, so we worked around it.

Other than that, my advice would be to leave the city behind, and just relax- there's a starbucks on 5th ave if you absolutely need your fix, but otherwise- a week on the Mexican Riviera does a body good, and the Royal PDC will do their part to help out fabulously as well ;) A great value and luxury property.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
12  Thank hkap44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2007

I was at the Royal from May 22-27. I had an ocean front room (837)- did the on-line check-in and this was the only room available. It was fantastic! Great view, king bed, jacuzzi, soft bed, IPod/DVD at my disposal. Turn down service reliable, as well as daily maid service (at the time I picked).
Beach- wonderful- waiters on beach, canoe filled with cold water- soft white sand- no towel games- and if you have an ocean front, there is a cabana reserved for you
Food- great! just ask, and they will fix you anything you desire- in the restaurants and for room service- had one of the best filet's I have ever had at Marie's
Room- wonderful- softest bed yet in Mexico- and I have been there 5 times- clean, huge- nice bathroom, great balcony
Location- you cant beat it- 5th Ave just steps away

I would highly recommend this resort- this was my 5th trip down and , by far, the best! It did cost a bit more than other resorts, but worth it!

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
9  Thank nanenoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2007

This was our first trip to Playa but it won't be our last. The Royal Playa del Carmen was fabulous. We were treated like royalty from the moment we arrived. The staff does a tremendous job at making you feel like you are the only guests they have. The food was excellent - the buffet had lots of choices. Other restaurants were also excellent and we only waited for a table at the Maria Marie's mexican restaurant on Saturday night! Room service was good, food was fresh and hot. Alcohol was always full and pool and beach service was great. Beds were comfortable and linens were always fresh. The staff works tremendously hard from early in the morning to late to keep everything spotless. The bellman were very helpful with the luggage and also in making sure we didn't get stiffed by the cab drivers!! The online check-in is the best, seeing your room and the view before you get there is fantastic. Our room was right above the pool I would highly recommend the rooms on the higher floors as they have better views of the ocean. It's a short walk to 5th Ave so shopping and partying are just minutes away. We had a great time and will be booking our next trip soon!

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
9  Thank playanewbie
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 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#9 Top resorts 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: $307 - $751 (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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