This is a very belated review since our family of five (children aged 8, 9, and 10) stayed at El Taj Oceanfront last Feb. This was our first trip to Mexico, and we LOVED it. The weather was picture perfect, the food fabulous (since we ate all up and down 5th Ave), and our 2 BR condo at El Taj was spotless, spacious, and even luxurious. The photos on this site are very accurate when it comes to the condo. The pools were very nice, both the oceanfront one and the beachside one (which is just across a narrow little street, really an alley). Our kids loved both.
I know this is a review of the hotel, but what probably stands out the most from our trip, at least in my mind, were our snorkeling excursions to Tulum, Akumal, and Yal Kul lagoon (use Edventure Tours--awesome--and definitely pay for their photo services), and swimming with the dolphins at the Dolphinarium. But it was always wonderful to return "home" to El Taj.
*It was so much fun to just walk to Fifth Avenue, just around the corner -- so many awesome restaurants, cute gift shops, and great mariachi bands wondering about, ready to play for your pleasure. No cars on the Avenue, just pedestrians.
*The cute little beachfront restaurant (our stay included breakfast there) was very good. They have beach service, so I had a steady supply of margaritas any time I wanted. We ordered lunch on the beach on some days, and everyone enjoyed the food.
*The units, as mentioned above, are clean and comfortable and very nicely appointed. Get one with a jacuzzi if you can.
*The oceanfront condos are built in the shape of a U. Our unit was towards the back of the building, near the beachside units, near Fifth Avenue. And since Fifth Avenue is literally around the corner, the music from the nightclubs blasted all night long, right into our sleep. We had to wear ear plugs every night. With ear plugs, we were fine and got plenty of rest, but being awakened at 12am the first night was not fun. If you want to stay here, I think it's worth paying the extra to get an oceanfront unit, right in front of the beach, far from the music.
*The beds are very hard. Apparently this is true of most beds in Mexican hotels. I'm determined to find a hotel in Tulum for our next trip that has more comfortable beds!
*This is probably my second biggest gripe -- I like to sleep in on my vacations and did NOT want to have to wake early to stake out beachfront umbrella and chairs. I SPECIFICALLY emailed El Taj to make sure this was NOT allowed here, since it is accepted practice at almost all Caribbean resorts, and I was assured that this was not permissible at El Taj. Unfortunately, money talks louder than such policies. Not only did I see with my own eyes beach employees put "reserved" signs on the best beachfront chairs for guests who had slipped them money, but one guest complained loudly to me that an employee had actually tried to kick her out of a prime chair, which she nabbed early in the morning, claiming that it was 'reserved.' I also saw another guest, right in front of others, call over an employee by name, slip him money, and tell him that he expected him to have better seats saved for him the next morning. This is all fine if it doesn't bother you, and I really don't care about it on a principled basis. I just want a relaxing vacation and good beach chairs up front where I can watch my kids, and I don't want to have to bribe people or get up at 6am to get them. I'd rather they just sell those seats so that they can be officially reserved, instead of underhandedly reserved.
*My biggest gripe is actually not about the hotel but the beach itself. I loved Playa del Carmen -- the water is blue, and the sand is soft. But as others have noted, the water right in front of El Taj is crowded with boats. Which also means more algae and debris. If you are just a sunbather, then you will be fine. But my kids and I love to swim in the ocean. I had no desire to go swimming between fishing boats, and it made me nervous to watch my kids do so. Also, there is a big drop off right where the sand meets the water, so that you can't really see your kids if they are playing near the water.
Overall, I think this is a great, fun place for hip people who don't want to be stuck at a big resort. It really is hip, and it was fun people-watching (not fellow Americans--boring--but the more flamboyant and stylish South Americans). I think it would be great for families too if the beach were better. The accommodations (minus the hard beds) were so ideal for a family--plenty of space, a full kitchen, perfect cleanliness, etc. But I won't be returning because of the beach and the beach chairs. In the end, I want a beach vacation to have an awesome beach.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Taj Condo Hotel consists of 57 spacious condos situated on 2 separate properties in front of the beach. El Taj oceanfront is directly on the beach and El Taj Beachside is across the street. Guests get to use all the on site amenities including our exclusive beach club. We offer 2 incredible heated pools. The relaxing heated pool on Beachside property is an exotic black mosaic infinity pool with an extra large Jacuzzi while the oceanfront heated pool sits right on the beach in front of our exclusive beach club. We're located in the most liveliest area of Playa that offers the convenience of having the best restaurants, nightlife and shopping within one block from your vacation home.Each Condominium offers expansive floor plans and superb finishes. The Beachside condos have private terraces that are surrounded by exotic plants, Lilly ponds and all face the pool and cascading waterfalls. All the penthouse units in El Taj Beachside feature ocean views from the private roof decks. All the oceanfront units have views of the ocean.Each condo comes with fully equipped kitchens and the finest details including flat screen TVs in all the rooms. We provide the same services usually associated with some of the finest hotels. Our designers traveled the globe to Indonesia trying to recreate an environment reminiscent to Bali. . ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotwire, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Jetsetter, getaroom.com and HotelQuickly so you can book your El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condos Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- El Taj Oceanfront And Beachside Condo Hotel
- El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condos Hotel Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico