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“Wonderful, friendly and very relaxing. Well done, Alfredo Santamaria.”

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El Dorado Maroma, by Karisma
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Playa Maroma
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Chester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Wonderful, friendly and very relaxing. Well done, Alfredo Santamaria.”
Reviewed March 1, 2009

I stayed at EDM for an amazing three weeks from the last week of January until 14 February, 2009. I had the most wonderful relaxing time in this beautiful hotel and experienced all inclusive gourmet food for the first time.
Have to say, well done to the excellent General Manager, Alfredo Santamaria, who is very personable and knows how to deliver a top class service. The staff are so friendly and work very hard to please guests. All of the staff appeared to really enjoy working at EDM and that is a good indication and reflection of the excellent managerial skills of the top man, Alfredo Santamaria.
Having been fortunate to stay for three weeks at the hotel, I can honestly say that the quality of food, housekeeping, restaurant service and friendliness of the staff remained a high standard throughout my whole stay. Being a solo traveller, I was made to feel most welcome and treated with the utmost courtesy.
My Room.
I stayed in the new section, Room 302 which is a swim-up jacuzzi room. It is truly amazing and one of the best rooms I have ever stayed in and I have travelled widely across the world. So clean and spacious with a fantastic comfy bed. Slept like a baby! The room is very close to the beach and has clear views of the ocean beyond the landscaped areas. Isabelle kindly helped to secure me this room which was my personal preference.
The bathroom has inside and outside showers, numerous thick soft white bath towels, and decorated to a high specification. Plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. Lovely large veranda with a double bed, chairs and sunloungers.
The room is very clean, spacious and neutral colours to add to the relaxing ambience.
Restaurants
EDM has a choice of three restaurants, Japanese, Italian (Milo) and Mexican/world (Sabores). Breakfast was always delightful in Sabores restaurant. Maurice and Flor always greeted me with their friendly faces. The menu offers a good selection of choices and after a few days the waiters and waitresses got to know what my usual choices were. Everyone was so pleasant.
Maurice who is in charge of Sabores is very professional and competent. He speaks very good English and told me about Holbox island where there are nice sea shells. On my last day he kindly gave me some of the shells he had collected on his last visit to the island with his family. What a lovely kind person!
I loved to eat in the Italian restaurant, Milo, at night because Italian food is my favourite but I also tried the Japanese and Sabores at night too. The lady concierge was very polite and helpful (her name escapes me).
My special evenings were the Italian night on a Thursday when a lady opera singer entertained the guests in Sabores. She had the sweetest voice and so powerful. Excellent! I was lucky enough to hear her sing 3 times!
My only disappointment was on my last evening when a small group of rude drunken guests (who had just arrived at the hotel) spoilt the Italian evening by swearing and talking too loud during the operas singer's performance. It was most annoying and regrettable that adults in their late 30's/early 40's had no respect for other guests in the restaurant who were trying to enjoy the performance.
I also experienced the Moonlit Sky meal. A 5 course lobster meal with champagne, candles, the stars and the sound of the sea lapping beneath. A truly memorable night!
Beach BBQ's
Great for lunch and sarongs allowed. My favourite was the Mexican BBQ. Freshly prepared food on the beach, strong drinks and Mexican music playing. The food was excellent as always. The Guacomole scruptious.
Beach
The beach is amazing but there are no sea shells! I missed collecting sea shells as a momento. Lots of places to relax and enjoy watching the pelicans diving for fish. Unfortunately, a number of guests reserved beds with towels early in the morning but then never used them. Slightly irritating especially if guests have no intention of using the beds during the day. Why earmark them? I enjoyed long walks on the beach for miles with the sea breeze in my face.
Jackeline, Catarina, Patricia and Monica
These young 'Girls' are always busy and working hard to make sure the guests are happy. Jackeline and Catarina are the happiest of people. I was so pleased when Nachos returned home and Catarina could stop crying after thinking he was lost forever.
Excursions
The hotel is so peaceful and relaxing that it can be extremely difficult to prise yourself away for sightseeing. I went to Tulum (very interesting) and Xcaret (wonderful experience). Also took the shuttle bus to Playa Del Carmen a couple of times to do some shopping. Found an amazing 'real Mexican amber' shop that also had other precious Mexican stones for sale. The amber was truly fascinating and the owner very knowledgable about amber.
Final note
Do your research before choosing the EDM. It is a top class, peaceful, relaxing and extremely well run hotel for discerning travellers who like to eat gourmet food. If you like 'fast food', oversized portions, noisy music, getting drunk and having no respect for fellow guests, I suggest you find another hotel on this planet.
EDM is for people who appreciate the finer things in life and enjoy top quality. If you want to recharge your batteries in a superb hotel with exceptional friendly staff that will make your stay memorable then EDM is the place to stay.
I will definitely be returning in the New Year and hope Alfredo Santamaria is still there managing this excellent small hotel which is a hidden gem on the Riviera Maya.
Tia

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled solo
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Helpful?
8 Thank MissTia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2009

My wife and I celebrated our 15th anniversary by staying 9 wonderful days at EDM.
We arrived at the resort by arranging the private transfer with Lomas. Highly recommend this to all. We had high expectations about this place and were not let down.
The staff is very accomodating but not smothering you. We were upgraded to an Infinity Suite Room and was very pleased with the view that we were given. The rooms are huge! Best part was the balcony - just sitting out there in the mornings and evenings were very peaceful. The other "best" was the outdoor shower! I could have stayed out there for hours. My wife did not agree - and as the week went on and talking with others it seemed to be a "man" thing - most of the husbands really enjoy the outdoor shower.
The grounds are beautiful and always being worked on.
The reason we chose EDM was for the reason that it was quiet and secluded but also was located in an area that would allow us to do other things off site if we wanted without too much driving time. We ended up only doing a few things off site because we found the beach and resort so relaxing and that is what we did - I usually get buggy and have to be always moving but boy did this place but me in a differnt state of mind. Totaly away from the rest of the world. It took me 4 days to read 1 magazine. Between doozing off and watching the pellicans dive in the ocean to catch fish - the days were spent just relaxing.
Most people were couples, some 2 generation family groups, most between 35 and 60. Not a party place at all. Very relaxed!
If you enjoy walking hand in hand with the one you love on the beach this is the place. You can walk for miles along the beach to the north. How romantic does that get?
The food was very good. We tried all of the restaurants but enjoyed the Japanese one the most. Towards the end of the week my wife just wanted some (as she put it) "normal" food. So we stayed in and ordered bacon cheese burgers and fries from room service. That is what is great about the food at this resort. They have wonderful restaurants but also a great room service - 24hours - and as we learned you don't have to follow the menu. Anything that we wanted they would prepare it for us.
We are not huge party people but found the bar staff very nice. We enjoyed going to the "Old" pool side for a drink before dinner. Antonio was super!!! The feel between the old and new sides are so different. Both very good but just very different.
As the end of our stay approched I was not looking forward to leaving, I could have truly stayed longer. In fact since I have returned home I have been diagnosed with PVD Post Vacation Depression!!!
El Dorado Maroma and it's staff are truly wonderful.
A place that will always be special to my wife and I and a place that if God willing we will return to many a times.
We were very pleased with our choice of resorts.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
7 Thank KACLK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2009

After extensive research and such high recommendations, my fiancee and I booked this resort 5 months in advance. We planned to stay from Feb 22 through Feb 27, 2009 for our honeymoon. One week before we were supposed to depart for our magical trip to relax and have fun, our travel agent notified us that the resort booked a wedding party which was allowed to bring 10 kids on the "adults only" resort for two of the 5 days we were to be there. We decided to tough it out and keep what we dreamed of in spite of the inconvenience and not receiving what we paid for and were promised.

Three days before our wedding and departure for the resort, our travel agent contacted us again and said that there would now be over 25 kids on this small "adults only" resort for three of our five days. We decided that there was no way we could allow this to happen to us. The resort refused to provide any concessions for our inconvenience stating that the resort was completely booked. Apparently, the people allowed to book the wedding and have kids on the "adults only" resort took precedent over all other previous reservations.

Luckily, we had booked everything through a travel agency and they went above and beyond to arrange a last minute change in resorts with very significant upgrades. Thanks to those hard working agents, we had a wonderful honeymoon at the Excellence Riviera Cancun. I would highly recommend anyone going to the Excellence Riviera Cancun any day and avoid the El Dorado Maroma at all costs. EDM is nothing but trouble and will do anything to inconvenience anyone as long as they get paid by some well-to-do people who want to buy the resort out.

One final note, we really did not want to give the EDM a one-star rating here. We actually wanted to give them a zero-star rating for their failure to live up to their promises and attitude given to guests who were inconvenienced.

Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
11 Thank clemsoncajun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2009

Just returned after 6 glorious nights at the El Dorado Maroma. After a tedious 1.5 hours in Cancun Customs and Immigration, we were promptly met and taken to the hotel. Relaxation set in immediately. We had requested a room in Mi Hotelito, but because it was not available, we were "upgraded" to "the honeymoon suite". Turns out all of the rooms in the new section are honeymoon suites, but that didn't matter to us. Patricia and Monica made us feel like we were lucky, and Ether gave us the grand tour congratulating us on getting a beautiful room. The suite had indoor and outdoor showers, a jacuzzi that needed a repair (but was done promptly), a romantic canopied kingsized bed, large living area with flat screen TV and minibar that was stocked with soda, water and beer. The large balcony with table, chairs and bed had a glorious view of the pool , beach and sea (as do all the suites). Everything was beautiful and clean.

We had a great Mexican dinner that evening in Sabores and danced that night at Rick's to a duo of a male keyboardist and female singer. They were pretting good. The drinks were high end (Johnny Walker Black, Cuervo Gold, Absolut, etc.) with a number of tequillas that were new to me, and all the bartenders and waitresses were very accomodating as they were all trip. Subsequent evenings we had dinner at the Italian and Asian restaurants and I would say these were very good as well. Try the vegetable lasagna.

The next day we got our choice palapa set up without having to reserve one early. Only a couple of people threw their towels down at 7AM (I saw them as I got my coffee which was set up at near the 24 bar). It is not necessary to reserve palapas or chaises, and most guests don't bother, but there are always a few nuts who have to do this to be happy.

My first disappointment was when I ventured into the water at the beach. It was only 2-3 feet deep and it was difficult to find a place to submerge and swim, especially at low tide. I found this a bit depressing until I walked to the other side of the marina where as others have pointed out, is a beautiful, clean swimming beach, that is usually deserted and among the best I've seen. A twenty-five minute walk further brings you to the developed part of Maroma Beach (Secrets, Maroma Resort etc.), and because there's practically nothing built along that span you can take a dip where ever and be totally alone. The developed crescent of a beach is breathtaking, but it is busy and noisy with activity.

I finally met the famous Katarina the next day and she is ebullient, funny and welcoming. All of the staff (except one waiter) were accomodating, pleasant, and enhanced our stay immensely. You feel like you are in a luxury 5-star resort, but without the pretenses and airs. Breakfasts and lunches have a fair amount of variety, and I thought all options that I tried were tasty and well prepared. The taco and barbecue lunches cooked under the big Palapa were great, and although I didn't get to try the Paella, it looked good. We had a room service breakfast that was great, but otherwise spent time in the restaurants and bars. Guests were very nice (a bimodal distribution of young honeymooners and seasoned couples like ourselves) and not pretentious.

The other nights at Ricks were also enjoyable: a duet of Sophia and Josephine on guitar were almost as good as another that had a different lead singer with Josephine. The rock band got us dancing.

We took a trip to Tulum and a cenote park which was a great change in the routine but otherwise spent our time at El Dorado swimming, exercising in the gym (which was perfectly fine when the air conditionning was turned on), and relaxing. I was disappointed that there were no Hobie Cats to sail, because it appeared from the website that they had them, but got over this quickly. You can rent them at the developed part of Maroma beach if you want. Although we asked for the steam room to be fired up one day, when we got to the spa it wasn't working and settled for the sauna. No biggie.

I really don't understand some of the negative reviews. We've been to the Riviera Maya 4 times, and have also travelled to Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, Manzanillo, and Belize. There may not be a better resort for the price in all of the Yucatan. Although we usually don't go back to resorts we've already been, we may make an exception for this one.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank SailorBeacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2009

After many hours of research we finally found the hotel we wanted. Small, good beach, good food, adults only (leaving three kids at home).

Four days before our scheduled arrival the hotel notified us that they were cancelling our reservation (we still haven't had the $2,500 credited back to our card) because a 'large organization' had booked the entire hotel. And we thought we had booked a room as we had already paid for it.

To their credit the travel agency listed on the hotel's website was very helpful during the booking process and also very professional and responsive during the cancellation process. I would give them a higher rating - but this review is for the hotel.

Also in fairness the hotel did offer us a room which was a slight upgrade (meaning it was slightly more expensive than what we had booked - not that is was actually better for what we wanted) at another property and a package which was a very, very slight upgrade over what we had paid for already (they basically threw in a massage and 'towel art'), but the 'upgrade' resort was nothing at all like what we had booked. Many times larger, no usable beach, and our friends had just been to that exact hotel and would not go back.

On top of it they also thought this was our honeymoon and they were still cancelling it! It wasn't our honeymoon, but I didn't correct them on that point in the hope that they would try harder to do the right thing. They didn't.

So if you want to book flights and a hotel then have the hotel cancel four days prior to your arrival this is the place for you.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank LerxstMN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falmouth, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2009

This is Karisma's smaller hotel on the Riviera Maya. The entrance to the property, by the standards of the region, is very low key and that just about sums up the whole hotel. Good roomy bedrooms, beautiful beds with ample balconies - this is designed as a hideaway for those looking for a quieter holiday and it carries it off. Great restaurants , Paella on the beach, attentive personal staff. The beach itself is good for swimming but do bear in mind that this is great watersport centre so there is a deal that sort of activity going on. Night life is very restricted - Rick's Bar is a cavernous and I am afraid a fairly dull music "spot" and that's about it - but horses for courses as they say and all in all this hotel works and works well.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank housered
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax, Virginia
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2009

We just returned from a week at El Dorado Maroma, and can’t wait to go back! I have done other all-inclusives (Sandals, Secrets Excellence, Superclubs, Club Med), and this was by far the best. The resort was full the week that we were there, but we NEVER had to wait in line for anything, NEVER had to get up at the crack of dawn to get a decent chair or bed at the beach, and did not have to decide 3 days in advance at which restaurant or at what time we wanted to have dinner. Although the resort was fully occupied, it never felt crowded.

The transfer from the airport was easy. We booked a private car through Lomas, and they picked us up in a stretch limo. It was 90 minutes from the time we stepped off of the plane until we were sipping champagne in the lobby. We stayed in Mi Hotelito, were lucky to get room 215 which had a fabulous view of the beach. They are still finishing up changing room 216 to a wellness suite, but we
only heard a bit of hammering for a few minutes one day. The room was very nice, clean and comfortable. We had a choice of 5 different kinds of pillows and aromatherapies. There was fresh fruit and soft drinks and beer in the mini-bar. Fantastic view of the sunrise from the beach bed on the balcony.

The beach is beautiful, with white sands and aqua blue water like you see on all of the postcards for paradise. We never had any problem getting a chair or a beach bed at any time of day. The water is shallow at the resort, but you can walk north for deeper water and some waves. The staff came around frequently to bring drinks. They even brought around snacks on trays during the day (quesadillas, ice cream). On one day when it was chilly and we were all wrapped up in beach towels, they came around with cappuccinos! The marina next door has a great beach. I occasionally heard a jet ski or a party boat, but rarely was even aware of any activity there.

They are almost finished building the first presidential suite. There was no noise at all, as the exterior is done. We got Caterina to bring us through the suite for a look, and it is going to be beautiful. It is a 2-story “house”, with private pool, 2 balconies, Jacuzzi. Will have a butler and a chef. They are planning to build a few more of the presidential suites. We also asked to tour a room in the new section, and one of the new wellness rooms (will be done in a couple of weeks). They are really nice. Next year, they are planning to build some casitas over the water.

The food at the restaurants was consistently very good. We liked all 3 restaurants, and enjoyed the specialty lunches served out on the beach on some days. Staff was always very friendly, attentive, both in the restaurants and all over the resort. We did a room service breakfast on our balcony one day, which was very nice.

We did the yoga class each morning out on the outdoor deck over the water where they do massages. We’d never done yoga before, but the teacher was great, and the surroundings were so beautiful. We went to the gym the first 2 days. It was very small, but equipment was in good conditions (2 treadmills, 1 elliptical, 1 bike, 2 upper body machines, some free weights). Hardly anyone used the gym, and after 2 days, we gave in to vacation mode and did not return! They have some kayaks and snorkels/masks that guests can use. The staff can help you arrange for tours/activities outside of the resort.

The spa was small and a bit pricey. We decided one day to try a facial and massage, and were able to schedule it with only 30 minutes advance notice. It was very nice. They have a steam room and sauna that you can use at no extra charge, but you have to let them know 30 minutes in advance so they can warm it up.

We enjoyed the evenings at Ricks. They had a Super Bowl party there. There was a very good duet (singer and guitar player) 3 nights, and a small band 2 nights. There was a limited selection of music before the live music -- will bring my Ipod next time. It was never crowded, and we got up and danced every night. We even got the bartender, Cesar, out on the dance floor. Ricks was never crowded -- most folks seem to turn in early.

Have read about mosquitos on other postings. We never saw any. I had 2 small bug bites during the week, never used any insect repellent. It was rather cool and windy the week we were there, which may have kept the bugs away. We also did not have a problem with seaweed, which has been mentioned on previous posts.

Overall, we had a wonderful vacation, could have easily spent another week there. We will be going back!

  • Liked — fantastic beach, excellent service, nice accommodations, no kids or crowds
  • Disliked — can
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank VAdancer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Dorado Maroma, by Karisma

Property: El Dorado Maroma, by Karisma
Address: Carretera Federal Cancun-Tulum Km 55.3, Playa Maroma, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly El Dorado Spa Resorts, by Karisma)
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Maroma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Maroma
#3 Romantic Hotel in Playa Maroma
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Maroma
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Maroma
#3 Green Hotel in Playa Maroma
#3 Spa Hotel in Playa Maroma
#3 Luxury Hotel in Playa Maroma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — El Dorado Maroma, by Karisma 4.5*
Number of rooms: 99
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on one of Travel Channels Top Ten Beaches in the World, El Dorado Maroma is an upscale, exclusive Caribbean resort for romantic couples and active vacationers alike. Intimate and beachfront. Rustic and luxurious at the same time. the hotel provides outstanding services and gourmet cuisine. Receive personalized butler and concierge service, arrive with style with a champagne check in. It is rustic, because it is not pretentious and was built using traditional materials and with the philosophy of embracing the bounty of the nature and the local environment. It lies directly on the beach of Maroma, considered to be one of the best beaches in the world by independent reviewers, including the Discovery Channel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Dorado Maroma, a Beachfront Resort, By Karisma Hotel Playa Del Carmen
El Dorado Maroma Hotel
El Dorado Maroma Resort

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