Let me start off by saying that EDSS has topped our list of vacation destinations thus far. If you are comparing Mexico to Cuba -- forget Cuba. This resort provided us with premium drinks and meals via a la carte. The country itself is more globalized, developed and not sheltered by the downfalls of communism. Therefore, you will not be disappointed by cheap liquor and mediocre food.
My fiance and I had arrived later in the night at the Cancun International Airport (8:30 pm) and did not experience the turmoil and struggle that most reviewers here had endured. You will however, be swamped with baggage handlers expecting a tip - feel free to refuse if you do not feel like paying. The ride from the airport to the resort lasted about 1.5 hours, we were immediately greeted with a glass of champagne. We were prompted to sign papers disclosing our information, photocopy passports, etc. This is where it got interesting -- we were also provided with a promotion to make a swap to the sister Karisma Resort, El Dorado Royale, includes ocean front room + $200 USD credit. We did not choose to take advantage of the offer because we simply did not do enough research on the hotel. However, we later learned that this hotel apparently tops EDSS in terms of the size, amenities, activities and beach quality. I would take advantage of the promo if I could have went back in time. Nevertheless EDSS was an excellent resort!
You have the option of choosing from several a la carte. There are no buffet options other than salad bars, breakfast @ Arrecifes and beach BBQ. You will not find lamb, seems to have been discontinued though it appears on their online menus. Best quality steak will be found @ Mia Casa, others will serve Flank. Mia Casa is definitely the best a la carte you will find on this resort in terms of quality and variety. We were disappointed with Klay Talay -- truly not authentic asian food, with exception of Sushi. I would recommend trying this one out on your first night and save the best for later.
Do not book this resort if you are all for the beach. Consists of crushed coral, damaged reef and can be very difficult to walk through once in waters. However, the shore spreads across beautiful palm trees and cabanas, beach beds which brings out the attractiveness. The beach from the shore looks great, but once stepped in, you have to be careful about where you place your feet. Snorkeling from what we hear isn't all that great considering the after affects of Hurricane Wilma.
I echo the comments of reviewers here -- service is Excellente!! You are greeted with an "Hola" from ever staff member that crosses your path. The only part that lacked was the wait times for room service, most probably because we were situated towards the end of the beach (block 32).
Make sure to check in with your personal concierge on your first day. They will provide you with discounted specials, offers on activities and spa treatment. Beware: we took on the tour of suites presented by our concierge of the premium suites and were misled in to thinking that we would be provided with reward benefits as return customers, however this is not the case. After the tour we were led to a timeshare rep on site who tried to haggle us to join the timeshare program. My advice: DO NOT SIGN UP! The yearly fees and transportation outweigh the benefits. We met a couple on resort who signed up with the time share and confirmed this with us. We could not believe that this type of service was instilled on the resort, what a turn F*@$J TURN OFF! Nevertheless, we were provided with a $50 credit :) but did not think it was worth a 1.5 hour tour on our last night!
We stayed at the oceanfront room. Our view was slightly blocked by palm trees. However, the location which we had stayed at (block 32) provided us extremely easy access to the beach + beach bar. Your room is cleaned after every day, presented with origami towel figures on bed, fridge re-stalked. Jacuzzi is standard in every room, double sink, stand up shower. Downside is my fiancee had to hear me take a dump since there was no closed off doors -- a running faucet had to solve the problem.
There aren't many varieties for pools. We mainly stayed at the Gaviota which is adjacent to the swim up rooms on the resort. Provides a relaxing atmosphere and swim up bar. Lorenzo makes a damn good drink and is very friendly!
Spa treatment is amazing. We took advantage of the 1 hour full body couples massage @ $185 USD. Check with your personal concierge as the offers are subjected to change every day. If you decide to take advantage of it, do it at their new facility NÁAY SPA. Extremely luxurious and was worthwhile considering the massage and aroma therapy was 1 of a kind.
Activities outside Resort:
We decided to make a visit to Xel-Ha, world's largest outdoor aquarium. This was a great experience which will last you the whole day. We had gone snorkelling (free) and were able to see different types of salt water fish. If you decide to go here, make sure you go the lunch buffet on time. We went a bit later and some of the food just sits there and gets spoiled.
We heard good things about 5th avenue in Playa del Carmen which is apparently great for shopping and relaxing on the beach. Also, the restaurant Carmencitas is a must from what we heard as well.
This is 1 long review - but all in all, we had an excellent time. We definitely recommend this resort to couples who want a nice quiet, and relaxing time with great food, drinks, and service. If you are going with a group of friends, you probably want to stay away from resorts on the Mayan Riviera and head to Cancun -- just my honest opinion. We will definitely visit a Karisma resort again!
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- Also Known As:
- El Dorado Seaside Hotel
- El Dorado Seaside Suites Mexico
- El Dorado Resort Spa
- Hotel El Dorado Seaside
- El Dorado Seaside Resort
- El Dorado Spa
- El Dorado Seaside Mexico
- Eldorado Seaside Suites
- Eldorado Resort
- Sensimar Seaside Suites & Spa Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico