We had a destination wedding with about 20 guests at The Royal Playa Del Carmen in Mexico on Saturday, February 5th. We arrived at the resort the evening of Wednesday, February 2nd, and left The Royal on Monday, February 7th. The Royal Playa Del Carmen was the perfect spot for our wedding, and all of our guests LOVED it. What we loved most about the resort was its fun, social vibe; there was always a lot going on, and the staff always went out of their way to make sure that everyone was having a good time. One couple who attended our destination wedding even purchased a timeshare while visiting, and it was their very first time there! Many of our guests are already talking about another trip back next year.
Check in and Arrival
The Royal Playa Del Carmen offers an online check-in where you can check in on their website 48 hours before you are scheduled to arrive at the resort. This system offers more of an advantage to those who have booked a higher room category, as those guests are able to select their room location ahead of time. You are even able to see the view from the balcony or terrace from each individual room online. However, if you have booked a standard Jr. Suite, you can't select your room at this point, but you are able to check into your choice of beds, in a...We had a destination wedding with about 20 guests at The Royal Playa Del Carmen in Mexico on Saturday, February 5th. We arrived at the resort the evening of Wednesday, February 2nd, and left The Royal on Monday, February 7th. The Royal Playa Del Carmen was the perfect spot for our wedding, and all of our guests LOVED it. What we loved most about the resort was its fun, social vibe; there was always a lot going on, and the staff always went out of their way to make sure that everyone was having a good time. One couple who attended our destination wedding even purchased a timeshare while visiting, and it was their very first time there! Many of our guests are already talking about another trip back next year.
Check in and Arrival
The Royal Playa Del Carmen offers an online check-in where you can check in on their website 48 hours before you are scheduled to arrive at the resort. This system offers more of an advantage to those who have booked a higher room category, as those guests are able to select their room location ahead of time. You are even able to see the view from the balcony or terrace from each individual room online. However, if you have booked a standard Jr. Suite, you can't select your room at this point, but you are able to check into your choice of beds, in a smoking or nonsmoking room. By the time we were able to log in though, most of the rooms in our suite category, Jr. Suite Ocean View, were already reserved (we found out later that ours was the most popular room category). Many of our wedding guests who had booked a higher room category like ours had a similar problem. Ultimately, we were able to snag suite 347 with a partial ocean view, located on the top floor in a building close to the ocean, but also beside a parking/street area. We were happy with the room that we ended up with, but I think that when we go back to The Royal, we'll definitely book a standard Jr. Suite. Our guests who booked a standard room generally had much better locations on the resort.
A majority of our guests we arrived at The Royal Playa Del Carmen at the same time, and upon realizing that there was a larger group of us checking in at once for a wedding, two representatives from the reception desk took us into a large ballroom to check in separately. We were served some drinks, and then it definitely got a little chaotic and disorganized from there. I know that they were working hard and trying to make the check in process smoother for everyone, but it kind of backfired.
My husband and I weren't helped for a while, really, until our Concierge, Veronique, arrived about 10 minutes later to help out. Once Veronique arrived, she really took charge and made sure that we were taken care of. She graciously pulled us aside, checked us in and went over all of the details regarding the restaurants, dress codes and our room location. Veronique was a pleasure to work with, and always went out of her way to help us. We ended up going to see her a few times during our trip; she provided restaurant recommendations for our rehearsal dinner, then later made a reservation at the offsite restaurant we selected and gave us directions on how to get there. Any time we had questions that we needed answered, Veronique was there to help.
All of the rooms at The Royal were very nice, clean and well kept. There was a decent amount of space; we were even able to see and compare the size of the standard Jr. Suite and swim up rooms to our Ocean View suite, and the room size never really changes much amongst the three room categories.
Additionally, I think it's worth mentioning that the "Ocean View" rooms aren't a full ocean view unless you get an "Ocean Front." Some rooms only give you a tiny section of an ocean view at the horizon.
The Jacuzzi bathtub is located out in the middle of the hotel room on an elevated platform, in between the bed and the balcony/terrace. Your bathing privacy is obviously a bit limited, but the tub was large and pretty nice. Most of us found a gross film in our tubs after the water had drained, most likely from the jets, so we always felt like we had to shower off afterward.
Our balcony was an average size, with a couple of chairs and a small table. Some of the rooms on the first floors also had hammocks that you could hang up on the terrace.
The beds were nice and comfortable, with soft sheets and plenty of pillows. We actually had our choice of pillow types when we checked in, and both ended up selecting the tempur-pedic pillows, which we enjoyed.
The mini bar area had a ton of beverages (alcoholic and nonalcoholic), but we thought it was lacking food and snacks.
All of the food at The Royal Playa Del Carmen was absolutely delicious. Even the room service was good! We have actually been to one other all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas, and we did not like the food there. We were concerned that all of the all-inclusive resorts in Mexico would be similar, but we were very pleasantly surprised by all of the delicious offerings at The Royal! The "Asian Fusion" restaurant, Asiana was very popular among our guests, as well as the French-Spanish restaurant, Maria Marie. Pelicano's has a great patio that makes it a good lunch spot, and Spice has a delicious and expansive breakfast buffet.
We also had the opportunity to try the Chef's Plate, which is a smaller dinner restaurant only available to guests staying in the higher room categories. Our room technically didn't qualify; however, we were able to get a reservation because we were getting married there. The restaurant is small, there are a very limited amount of reservations available (since the dinner is 7-8 courses) and they don't allow more than four guests to sit together at one table, which keeps the ambiance mellow. The menu is different each night, as it is created special by the chef there, but it usually has some sort of theme attached to it so you have a general idea of what to expect. Personally, my husband and I were not at all impressed with the food there. It was the only restaurant at The Royal that we didn't enjoy.
Beach and Pools
The main pool area was expansive, located in the center of the resort. We had a little bit of trouble getting lounge chairs, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I have seen it at other resorts. The pools there are on the cooler side (I don't think it's heated), which none of us really minded since it was warm there most of the time. When we did get chilly, we went to the jacuzzi, which was conveniently connected to the main pool. The jacuzzi was unique because it was definitely large enough to fit many people without having to squeeze in, and the water wasn't too hot where you couldn't stay in it for an extended period of time.
I actually selected Playa Del Carmen because it was supposed to have some of the nicest beaches in Mexico. The beach was absolutely beautiful, and it definitely did not disappoint! The water there is a gorgeous turquoise color, the sand is white and powdery and the beach is very clean. The beach area was usually crowded, since it is still a public beach located in the center of Playa Del Carmen. There are also several resorts on the same strip of beach, but it wasn't crowded enough to prevent us from spending time there and enjoying ourselves. The lounge chairs designed for The Royal guests were pretty difficult to come by, and be warned, some women do like to sunbathe topless.
On Thursday, February 3rd, we invited our guests to meet us down at the Lobby Bar at The Royal for drinks so that everyone could meet and get to know one another. I selected this particular bar at the resort without having seen it first based on some reviews I had read online, and it turned out to be the perfect place! The lobby bar is a huge space with a lot of seating, featuring live entertainment in the evenings.
After cocktails, we were able to enjoy a dinner together at the resort's Asian restaurant, Asiana. We were a pretty loud group, so I would say that the staff was pretty patient with us, overall! The food, which was Asian cuisine, was absolutely delicious (it was definitely my favorite restaurant at the resort), and I would definitely recommend it.
Our wedding day was incredible. We were married on Saturday, February 5th at 3 p.m. at the gazebo on The Royal property, which was followed by a cocktail hour on the gazebo lawn at 5 p.m., and the reception right on the beach from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. We were married in a gazebo set right beside the beach, which turned out to be the perfect spot because it was more private and the beach provided a beautiful backdrop!
Since we did not have an official wedding rehearsal the night before, we didn't actually meet the minister who married us until the day of. For that reason, I provided our wedding coordinator, Michelle with a full script to pass along to our minister ahead of time, as well as a detailed timeline of the entire wedding day for her to refer to. The minister did a good job of following our script to the letter; she actually read directly from her papers the entire time, which wasn't ideal, but it's still better than her messing up!
We used an iPod for all of our music played during the ceremony and the cocktail hour. We didn't have any problems with the sound, music playing at the wrong times or anything, really. Michelle did a good job of making sure everything ran smoothly.
Immediately following the ceremony, we were greeted at the end of the aisle with glasses of champagne for a celebratory toast. About an hour later after taking pictures, everyone joined together again to enjoy the cocktail hour, while my husband and I took more pictures together on the beach. The beach was a great place for photos, with the exception of the people walking around and getting in the way occasionally.
The cocktail hour took place on the lawn beside the gazebo area at 5 p.m. The area was set up beautifully, with white lawn style chairs, short cocktail tables covered in white linens, a small banquet area in the center of the tables offering appetizers and a full bar set up on the side. We had selected 5 or 6 hot appetizers, all of which were delicious. Looking back, our guests actually enjoyed the food at the cocktail hour more than the dinner!
Immediately following the cocktail hour at 6 p.m., we all walked over to the beach for dinner and dancing. Fortunately, the sun had just gone down as we arrived on the beach, so there weren't many people left on the beach to stare and ogle at us by that point. Like everything else that day, the reception turned out looking better than I ever could have imagined. Everyone seemed to love having the reception right on the beach; I think many of our guests were even a bit surprised at how nice the entire setup was. Our wedding coordinator from The Royal, Michelle, did an amazing job translating all of my drawings and diagrams into the real thing.
Our three course dinner at the reception was just okay. I thought the food we ate at the restaurants every other night was much better, actually. I noticed that most people didn't finish all of their food, and I know I didn't either. The dessert course was probably the best of the evening. Delicious! A while later, we had a tres leches wedding cake, and we loved that dessert even more!
We had hired the DJ through the resort for our reception, which also came with a light up dance floor and some extra lighting. Everyone loved that dance floor, and it really added to the party atmosphere on the beach. The DJ did a good job, overall. My only regret is that if I could do it all over again, I probably would have given him a full playlist to work off of, or at least to keep in mind when he was choosing songs to play. I personally loved everything that he played, but I noticed that he didn't play as many older songs/classics for the parents/adults at the reception. To give him credit, whenever anyone did request a song, he played it almost right away, and if he didn't have the song saved on his laptop already, he went online and downloaded it right on-the-spot.
The Royal Staff and Service
In my opinion, the staff and service at The Royal is what sets it apart from the rest. Everyone in our party kept commenting on how nice and helpful everyone was; each and every employee we crossed paths with went out of their way to help us, and we never walked by one person who didn't say "hello" with a smile. The housekeeping and room service was awesome, and quick!
I wanted to make sure that I mentioned that the wait staff at the reception was all kinds of awesome. We had a very attentive team of servers taking care of us throughout the evening. I only wish I had written down their names so I could give them props right now! Always extremely professional, The Royal staff went out of their way to make sure that we were all having a great time.
Our onsite wedding coordinator, Michelle, was truly amazing! Both Michelle and Claudy, who was my coordinator in the many months leading up to the wedding, always responded to my questions via email within a day or two, and they followed through with everything that they promised. I can only hope that other destination brides have such amazing wedding specialists by their side!
We met Michelle in person for the first time on the Thursday before the wedding in order to go through all of the wedding details, and she made us feel completely comfortable right away. I walked out of that first meeting knowing that she knew exactly what she was doing, which helped alleviate a lot of my worries surrounding the wedding. Michelle went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that we were happy and did it all with a smile on her face. I never felt like I had to check up on her or micromanage her; she always had it together and remembered every single detail of our wedding as I wanted it.More
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