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“Excellent beachside aesthetic”

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El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condos Hotel
Ranked #47 of 217 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 5, 2012

Great rooms and beach club. Wonderful pool and very relaxing. Food is good at indigo (restaurant) and probably one of the better places in town actually. The concierge William was very helpful in booking us tours and was not pushy. Nice Balinese feel to the hotel. A bit loud at night from the clubs and beach club, but suppose that is what to expect in that area

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Meg D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 4, 2012

Check in: very friendly, well explained and speedy. So far so good!

Initial thoughts upon arrival: beautiful grounds, lush well kept grounds, aesthetically pleasing pool design but only 5 lounges around pool and no room for others. Beautiful view of ocean but why are all the fishing boats parked here? Indigo Beach Club, small but nice. The white sand on beach is awesome - so soft (except in the water it's-rocky).

Elevator - fast and easy - no waiting - not many people around. Arrived on top floor to our penthouse. staff thoroughly explained everything and gave us the how to's. Decks are beautiful as are the views. Plenty of places to sit, lounge, BBQ and eat. Condo is very nice with great layout. Wifi didn't work - had to contact office a couple times. I reset the router and then it worked fine all week.

This is a beautiful condo/hotel but one with a few issues that had we known about would have led us elsewhere. Four of us, 2 couples, stayed for 7 nights in a 3 bedroom penthouse # 340 at around $600/nt with the special seasonal rates (regularly $945/nt). All in all, the condo is very nice. The furnishings were quite nice for a rental. It would have been nice to have potholders for the oven, a couple dishtowels and some salt and pepper without going to the store - but not an issue. We found everything else we needed along with a well stocked fridge ( pay for what you use - prices reasonable). Beer was stocked - nice touch!

Bedding/sleep: we've slept on softer rocks. I like a firm bed but this was ridiculous! You could easily bounce a tennis ball off these beds! The noise from the jacuzzi pump upstairs (cycles itself) and the a/c units next door make having the master bdrm door open at night unpleasant. On the up side, the sheets and bedrooms/baths are otherwise very comfy! FYI: Their is little space to hang clothes in the closets. There are ample drawers/shelves in all bedrooms. FYI: The 3rd bedroom has a view of the ugly unkept rooftops next door!

The wrap around decks and rooftop palapa area is absolutely beautiful as are the views from both decks. Unfortunately our jacuzzi didnt work for the first 3 days. The jacuzzi is described as "large"! With 4 normal size people in it the water is overflowing on to your dry towel on steps and you are shoulder to shoulder! After a couple calls maintenance did finally get it fixed. Still couldnt control the temp - felt like it was 110 degrees when they got it fixed! The noise from 12+ a/c units continually running right next to it (behind a wall) detract from the otherwise awesome experience.

For the most part the staff was very nice and eager to please. We were always met with smiles. Our main issue and complaint was with El Taj's misrepresentation of "facility use" and the night noise from the Indigo beach club. The El Taj condo hotel website fails to mention this club is located on the 1st floor right under penthouse. Their website describes the Indigo Beach Club:

* Complimentary seating
(comfy lounge chairs & beach beds)

* Full use of facilities
(palapa's, umbrellas and shaded areas)

* Happy hour with live D.J. on weekends

Funny, "full use of facilities" excludes use of any of the the Indigo beach club facilities during any private parties. They fail to mention you aren't allowed in for the happy hour and DJ on the weekend if they have a private party. Private parties were on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during our stay! During a private party you cannot sit, eat or drink anywhere beyond the entrance gate at the club! You can't even sit on the beach front lounges! There are 5, yes FIVE lounge chairs in the pool area. These are the only seats available for use during a "private party" and that's probably because they belong to El Taj, not Indigo Beach Club!

The staff were all very nice and worked hard to make you comfortable. The chaise lounges and beach beds are along a small stretch of beach. Unless you're in the front row (Which people reserve very early) you can pretty much only see the row of chairs in front of you. The beach club is it if you are staying here. The nice resorts nearby are all inclusive and you cant buy a day pass. If you want tranquility their is a small pool/jacuzzi in a fenced garden like setting (no views) across the street! Because this narrow stretch of beachfront has numerous hotels/motels and a couple nightclubs as you walk towards the port, a walk on the beach requires you navigate lots of vendors peddling massages, jewelry and water sports every few feet! You also have to step over or walk around most of the fishing boat ropes for several hundred feet as you pass a very stinky (smells like sewage) section of beach just past The Blue Parrot night club.

On the plus side, the food at the Indigo was pretty good, the staff was good and eager to please and we never had any "problems" after eating there, unlike a couple of the places we ate in town! Read up before eating out in town - especially the vegetables! All 4 of us got sick from eating at well known hot spots in town - 3 different places!

If we had a do over we would have chosen a resort with a larger pool area and a good beach for swimming. We could not find a good place to swim in the ocean anywhere close to El Taj. The entire beachfront in front of El Taj is lined with fishing boats and the sand in the water is rocky and shelly - wear water shoes. The pier picture shown by management is actually about 50' short of reaching the sand regardless of time of day/tide. It must be a backdrop for photos?! We watched a wedding party wade out to it and laughed while they attempted to climb up without so much as a ladder! You're not even allowed to board a boat from this pier! The locals don't know what it's for - something to do with the el presidente ribbon cutting??!!
We ended up spending most of our free days down the beach a ways at an older property with a fun beachfront atmosphere, good music, great staff and great swimming beach. I think it was named El Pelicano. Not a 4 star by any stretch but they have Ice cold beer, good mixed drinks and decent food!

The grounds: The condos are beautifully designed, very well kept and surrounded by lots of flowers and greenery everywhere. Lots of beautiful fountains and Koi ponds. The gym was in a separate facility about 2.5 blocks away, as was the concierge office and the spa – not ideal!

No windows could possibly block the noise from the Indigo beach club which was intense some nights and extended well into the wee hours. I'm not talking about a little music in the background. We’re talking so loud your condo vibrates! It felt like someone set up a nightclub club in our living room in the middle of the night.

Location. It was great to be a short walk to shops, clubs and restaurants on 5th but the trade-off was a lousy beach for swimming and an extremely annoying loud club just below our penthouse. Thursday night was a private Mexican wedding complete with mariachi's, horns, etc. Friday eve was a private party that went on into the wee hours. Saturday night the Indigo hosted a large party for travel agents. This one included LOUD Congo drums and not so great singers but great music choices. We figured we might as well join them since the music was so loud you couldn't hear each other talk from our roof top deck! No can do! Private party - we were told we weren't even allowed in the club or on the beach lounges at all! Keep in mind this restaurant is located directly below our room in the same bldg! We had spent the entire day playing at XPLOR and had planned to have drinks and Grill a nice dinner up on the rooftop deck and enjoy the evening overlooking the water! We couldn't even hear each other to talk over the music! We ended up giving away all the fresh seafood we purchased to grill to a family and going out to eat since we departed the next morning. At around 11 p.m. The congo drums were so loud inside our penthouse, I'm surprised it didn't cause the wall hangings to fall!

We used the concierge to plan a couple tours but after the first one we decided to cancel the others and rent a jeep from Avis and drive ourselves. We had reserved Cata Maya with our concierge - We paid one price for transportation, and an all inclusive 4 hours to "sail" on a 65' catamaran with a choice of lunch items and free drinks. What a joke! 1st you have to walk several blocks to another resort for the transportation. There is ( 1) 4' bench for dozens of waiting people! The van was an hour late and the alleged 15 minute trip to the boat was quite a bit longer - 30+ minutes drive time with 12 other passengers in the van. The tour probably should have been cancelled due to poor weather. We asked the concierge that morning but he said they still planned to sail. We NEVER sailed - not once. Instead we got to listen to 3 hours of loud twin engines running. The steaks we chose in advance for lunch appeared to be cooked to perfection on the grill but were like shoe leather! The lobster looked pretty good. The boat was very nice. The crew was fun - so kudos to them! This was touted to be the 2nd largest barrier reef in Latin America (per the brochure)- REALLY?!! Our friends are divers – not impressed nor were the others who snorkeled and didn’t see much of anything! The water was clear and nice just not much to see even with them feeding the fish!

Maya Spa: we inquired about (3) 80 minute massages at the spa desk earlier that day and then booked them via phone a short while later. When we arrived we were taken to our rooms. The friends with me were told they only booked 60 minute massages once in their couples massage room. My 80 minute massage was 25 minutes of waiting for the massage therapist and a 55 minute massage. My first 30 minutes of massage was great but the next 25 minutes was annoying with a couple getting pedi's loudly talking/laughing –(sounded drunk) 5' from the glass wall of my massage room! They were never asked to be quiet so the last 25 minutes of my massage was a joke! Since it was dark out my friends waited quite awhile for me to get done since they got started on massages ahead of me - it's a dark 2.5 block walk back to our condo.

WOULD WE DO IT AGAIN? We would definitely stay at El Taj condo #340 again if they would provide some less firm mattresses! We would need assurances that there were not going to be any blaring loud private parties planned! since El Taj staff told us they have "no control" over the Indigo beach club, that is unlikely! Beware - We were told after the fact that El Taj does not own the Indigo Beach club or have any control over the events they plan!

Msg to El Taj Mgt: The cleaning staff should be directed to clean rooftop decks when guests are not present. They also shouldn't be walking on the upper decks at 6 a.m. as guests sleep as you can hear every move they make from your bed! When you put the "do not disturb" sign on the door, the maids should not enter your condo, but they do!. Nothing we left out was touched- not insinuating otherwise.

Room Tip: #340 Nice 3bdrm/3bath penthouse with amazing views from decks - but really hard beds!
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank ArizonaNancy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2012

This hotel is beautiful.
Here are the positives:
- Beautiful rooms
- Great location
- Excellent restaurant with great beach service
- Lots of lounge chairs
- Friendly, helpful and hard-working staff
- Excellent service

Here are the negatives:
- WiFi is slow and unreliable. I expect better for the price I was paying
- A little expensive
- Can be loud at night. Soundproofing would go a long way

Room Tip: All rooms have an ocean view, but if you want ocean front make sure that you specify this (and are w...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank George G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2012

Amazing how everything is well thought out and better executed. Starting with the Hotel were everything is clean and in tip top shape, location is unsurpassed (less than 3 minute walk to the heart of Playa's 5th Ave), the restaurant with awesome food at very good prices and the service in everything is amazing.

As if that wasn't enough they have the best gym and beach club in Playa.

The place to stay and return to they made us feel more than welcomed, not easy when traveling with 3 kids.

Looking forward to my next trip to Playa

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank rubengzz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2012

This is an excellent place to stay! My family and I were there for five days, during the Thanksgiving break. Miguel Hernandez at the front desk and Erick Porez were very helpful and friendly. The rooms are large and spacious, and the property was clean and beautiful. The room has a fully equipped kitchen and the refrigerator was stocked with beer, soft drinks, juices, and milk. We had a great time and were sorry to leave.
Any suggestions for improvement? Just a small one comes to mind. It would be nice to have a sample of coffee, tea, and popcorn free for the first night only. Most hotels in the US have free coffee in the rooms every day.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank SGG712
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2012

Before I launch in, this is a lovely spot, but one with issues that had I known about would have led me to look elsewhere. Here’s why:

We stayed for three nights over Thanksgiving weekend. This is obviously a big travel weekend for Americans, but Americans did not make up anywhere near the majority of visitors when we were there, so perhaps the crowds and density we experienced is the norm rather than the exception.

Generally, the staff was lovely and eager to please. Our maid service was spotty (our terrace was never once cleaned during our stay) but we were always met with smiles and warm greetings.

Our main issue was with the Indigo pool and beach club which is crammed onto a square of beach that, in our opinion, is far too small for the number of people it attracts. The beach assistants were delightful and worked hard to make some order of the chaos, but I don't exaggerate when I call it chaos.

The chaise chairs and beach beds are literally crammed together, chockablock along a small stretch of beach, so you may be rubbing shoulders with the person in the next chair you don't really want to get to know. Getting to and from your chair required walking a maze and dipping under umbrellas along the way. Unless you're on the front row you can pretty much see only the row of chairs in front of you and there is so much activity that peace and relaxation take work or lots of alcohol. Only a narrow strip remain by the water on which beach walkers can pass. Some may enjoy the constant parade of people walking only a foot or two in front of your chairs. We didn’t.

Part of the issue is that there are four hotels in the El Taj holding company and guests at each have privileges at the Indigo so, at the outset ,there already is a high demand for beach space. In addition, any other vacationer can buy a day pass and many of those staying in hotels a block or two away in town do.

Keep in mind that the beach club is it if you are staying here The hotel doesn't even own it -- just has a business relationship with the company that does -- so if you want a towel or a chair, this is pretty much your only option. Because this little stretch of the PDC beachfront has numerous hotels and clubs, a simple walk on the beach requires that you constantly navigate massage tables and incessant hawkers peddling massages, drinks, jewelry and water sports. This isn't occasional as with some resorts. It's every few feet. Not pleasant.

Our $600+/night room got us each one towel for the beach and pool. One. And it wasn’t even big enough to cover the chaise. If it gets wet, you can wend your way back to cabana and exchange it, but don't ask for another because they won’t give you one. It’s an unfortunate and nickel-pinching policy they should re-think for hotel guests, particularly in that they already require a $250 deposit on the room and an additional $250 deposit to charge drinks and food at the Indigo to your room.

On the plus side, the food at the Indigo was reliably decent, although the drinks were weak and not cheap. The fringed umbrellas are plentiful and lovely, and the staff comes by to adjust them as the sun moves across the sky. You can eat at your chair or at dining tables in the shade, never requiring a cover up or shoes if that is your desire.

You’ll enjoy the beach if you enjoy this kind of scene (pretty much anywhere with beach beds applies, but it is exaggerated by the density here) If not, consider other resorts with wider, more spacious and more private beaches.

Onto the accommodations: The condos are beautifully designed and surrounded by a riot of flowers and greenery cascading off the balconies. Numerous fountains and Koi ponds dot the grounds. The gym was in a separate facility about 2.5 blocks away, as was the concierge – not ideal, but not a deal-breaker.

We stayed in a 2-BR penthouse on the beachside. I'll repeat the cautions of many. No triple-hung windows could possibly block the noise from the surrounding nightclubs which is intense and extends well into the wee hours. I'm not talking about a little music in the background. We’re talking a loud, throbbing din. If I didn't know better, I'd have assumed someone set up a club in my bathroom in the middle of the night. Light sleepers, beware.

The bones of each condo are lovely. Great appliances and fully-equipped kitchens, beautiful marble and stone bathrooms and quality bath products, a flatscreen in every room, filtered water and a washer/dryer, nice balconies and - our favorite part - the penthouses that have private terraces with great views, outdoor kitchens and Jacuzzis.

Sadly, our unit (312) was half-heartedly furnished. Like others it had a built-in wraparound couch in the living room, but no comfortable chairs or a coffee table on which to place a book or a drink. We were similarly disappointed with the furnishings on our terrace which had only a small dining table with two chairs and a couple of chaises – no pillows, no cushions, no side tables, no place to gather and enjoy a drink and the views. I think this was just our bad luck . . . the other terraces we peeked at (as well as other suites) were beautifully furnished with several seating areas and special touches. Ours was for sale, so perhaps the owner stopped caring.

Worthy of mention in case management reads this: We greatly missed having bathrobes, which would have been lovely to slip into after the hot tub, and were annoyed by paying for wi-fi which is now included at most resorts of this rank.

Finally, location. It was great to be an easy walk to all the fun shops, clubs and restaurants on 5th Street, but the trade-off was a beach that had too little sand for way too many people and a musical cacophony nightly, even for those not clubbing.

If I had a do-over, I’d have brought plenty of small bills for tipping. I’d have asked about the breakfast coupons everyone but us seemed to have received with our room rate. I’d have walked over to 5th to pick up some drinks and snacks for the room rather than pay the high price on those pre-stocked in our unit. I’d have left behind the bug spray but brought earplugs and a robe.

Anyone who fits comfortably into a young, jet-setting, Euro or South Beach crowd may love the vibe at the Indigo and the proximity to PDC’s ambitious nightlife. If you have small children and hope to spread out on the beach, or if you enjoy peaceful walks on the beach and an option for seclusion and relaxation, this isn’t your resort.

Room Tip: The beachside condos have more privacy but suffer from their proximity to the nightclubs. Go for oc...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank 43reds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2012

went with 7 group of friends...
there is nothing to complain... everything at its best..... there was one worker name DANIEL helped us in any thing we need....he made us feel like home away from home.
i will return to this condo in future..

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Thank mike p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condos Hotel

Address: 1 Norte Esquina Calle 14 Norte | Corner 16th Street, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#14 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#33 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#36 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $198 - $496 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condos Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 57
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 
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Also Known As:
El Taj Oceanfront And Beachside Condo Hotel
El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condos Hotel Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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