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“Lovely holiday, but lacking in some areas.”

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El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed March 12, 2008

We had a week in a Casita at the start of March, just my wife and I.

We had a lovely holiday in a very nice room, just a hop from a pool and swim up bar.

Food was generally of a good standard at all restaurants, with the notable exception of dinner at La Isla; which conversely is the best place for breakfast.

If you're European you may find the cocktails a disappointment; the juices used in them are not fresh and give them an artificial taste. I travel to the US and Canada regularly and I have always noticed that fresh ingredients only ever seem to be used in high end cocktail bars at great expense. This is not always so in the UK or Europe, so we found many of the cocktails you would have during the day poor. Evening mojito's martinis and straight forward rum and coke style drinks were fine. The house (inclusive) wine was a perfectly drinkable chilean Chardonnay and the house "champagne" (mexican cava) is pleasant too. The beer is decent and very refreshing; they keep it cool and go through it quickly so it was rarely flat or dull.

There are a few things (other than cheap cocktails) that show this resort lacks the real class which it would need to truly be 5 star, whilst putting on a decent facade that fools most guests.

While enjoying your holiday you will be dealt a continuous sales pitch, but it is all done in a rather vulgar way not befitting 5 star service and style. A message from your "Casita personal concierge" for example promising a free gift; turning out to be a perfume sample, a T shirt and an undignified attempt to send you to a time share presentation in exchange for 50, no wait $100 off your final bill. Then there are the constant reminders for non Casita guests that they are not Casita guests with long restaurant waiting times and lack of sun loungers, people trying to sell beach massages not understanding what "No" means, a woman with a monkey for photo sales, and the most vulgar thing of all; a camera being shoved in your wifes face as you try to enjoy a nice civilised dinner together and another sales push.

I understand people need to work and make money but there are more subtle ways of selling these services and most importantly no guest should ever have to say NO more than once.

I may sound harsh but I only go into so much detail because the hotel seems to have a very high opinion of itself, and promotes a super high class image which in reality is fairly thin.

In reality it is a beautiful 4 star resort with excellent standards of service, plenty of dining options, and superb facilities to both lounge and get busy. The only real complaint I could have that isn't nit picking would be the "shuttle" service for Casita guests. It is woefully inadequate because it will only drop you at the main lobby, which isn't much good for the main entertainment bars and 3 of the restaurants.

The staff are some of the best we've come across on our holidays, the only place we could think of that was better is the Iberostar Varadero in Cuba. Gardeners work constantly to keep the grounds a spotless lush tropical landscape. Maid service is efficient and thorough with some intricate towel sculptures thrown in if you leave a dollar for the maid each day. Despite being busy, bar service is quick and friendly with plenty of staff on hand to make sure you aren't hanging around for ages; if you've been on All Inclusives to certain parts of Antigua and Barbados you'll really appreciate this. All but a couple of our waiters at the restaurants were friendly and efficient and deserving of their tips. The reception staff and concierges (when they stop selling their time shares!) are excellent and work as quickly as the guests who accost them will allow!

Wrt Casitas; we felt it was worth the upgrade purely because the extra lounging and beach bed facilities make for a more intimate holiday without the hassle and bustle of fighting around the main pools and beach areas for space. Non-casita guests can use the pools and bars in the Casita blocks, but not the beach beds or loungers. Most don't bother because of the walk, but I would recommend using them if you just want a break from the busy main areas. After about 1pm you will be able to sit at the pool bars there without being directly in the sun.

All in all, a lovely holiday and a very nice resort. We may consider a return, but it's not so spectacular that we would dismiss the idea of trying somewhere else first.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank MrShell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 12, 2008

My wife and I have just returned from a 2-week stay at El Dorado Royale. We absolutely loved the place, however there were a few small issues.
After a long 10hr+ flight with First Choice (v.good), it was wonderful to be met with a cool towel and even cooler glass of champagne at the Lobby. Immediately, we knew we chose the right place. We were assigned a 3rd floor Garden view suite (as requested). The room was lovely, very big with a super big bed and jacuzzi, nice hammock and huge bathroom. Whilst unpacking, we had a knock on the door and someone brought us a plate of strawberries dipped in chocolate...think we might like it here!!!
I enquired about an upgrade to a casita the day after and was pleased with the deal we got so off we went. The Casita room was just beautiful, even bigger with an outdoor shower, double bed on the balcony and of course your own select pool.
If you can't afford a casita, I would'nt worry too much, the other rooms really are very nice.
The main gripe we had was regarding the pools. Before we moved to the casita, it was almost impossible to get a sun lounger or palapa/bed around the main pools. This certainly has to be addressed. It really is annoying to find that people reserve these beds and loungers then do not appear until about 3.00 pm. Quite how this can be policed, I'm not sure but every single person who stays at EDR has paid good money and should at least be able to enjoy the sun! We even saw towels out on the loungers coming back from the bar 1 night about 12.30 am!!
Anyway, back to the good points! The main thing for us was the service, it was absolutely wonderful. Nothing was too much trouble, everywhere we went, we always got a smile and a 'Hola'. The people worked so hard and seemed really genuinely interested in you and where you're from.
We certainly did'nt see a difference in the service whether we were in a casita or not, it was always top-notch.
We found the food pretty much excellent at all times. We did'nt try the Fondue restaurant out of choice, but the rest were all good. As has been mentioned before on TA, the portions are a bit smaller than normal, but 3/4 courses is easily enough to fill you up, if you need more than that you've got problems...or a tapeworm! The breakfast's were really good, literally you could have what you wanted, washed down with a bloody mary!
Entertainment was pretty good, some nights better than others, but again, the 'K' team work so hard to try and make your holiday as good as possible and seem really nice, genuine people.
We had a couples massage by the beach which was amazing...so relaxing!
The beach was actually better than I thought, some parts were better than others, but it was'nt too bad at all.
Sorry its so long, I did'nt want to miss anything out!

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Topbanana74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2008

We were lucky enough to be transferred from the El Dorado Seaside Suites to the El Dorado Royale Casitas on March 8 for a two day stay... I only wish it had been longer.

One of the nicest places we have ever stayed! Heaven on Earth!

We had room 3102 right next to the presidential casita and of course had all the amenities that the Casitas offers... swim up suite, in-room jacuzzi, spectacular sky view shower ... the list goes on and on.

Dinner at the Italian restaurant was the best ! Staff service at this resort is superb. A far cry from the El Dorado Seaside. The Casitas puts the EDSS to shame. The martini bar is a great place to hang out and mingle.

If you're on the fence bewteen these two restorts...choose the Royale. The service here is much better and food is a higher standard. It's closer to the airport too! The only downside of this resort it it's size. It is quite a large property even though the little "shuttles" are always available at the "bus stops".

We will definately book this resort again... the Casitas that is, not a standard room since we have now been spoiled..LOL

Loved every short minute we had at the Casitas!!!

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank silverfoxsgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2008

Wonderful relaxing place to stay,met some wonderful people from Detroit.Food was good and everyone was very friendly.The rooms were always clean.Service at the pool bars were a little slow but maybe that was ok...One suggestion would be to put larger shower matts down because those wet floors can send you to see the Dr......Overall I loved the place......R&R from Minnesota

Stayed: March 2008
3  Thank viking0808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2008

after a long flight we arrived at the hotel tired, but the reception and help we got from the staff made our transfer into our room very easy and stress free.

my wife and i had booked a room which overlooked the main pool. a lovely room with a great view.

on the first morning i was up early at 530am and witnessed people reserving sunbeds around the main pool, so i joined in and reserved a lovely location. the day was great and staff brilliant. however we did see beds that had been reserved but not used throughout the day. the following day i was up a little later (630am) and saw a man with an armful of towels whereupon he selected sunbeds in a long row on the sunnier side. when i finally got to the pool i found a bed for us which was slightly away from the pool. again as the day went on i saw that a few of the beds this person had reserved had again not been used. it turned out he was part of a wedding party and had been instructed to save so many beds so all the guest/family could be in one area (a big wedding party)
this prompted us on the following day to try the beach. again this was brilliant. the 'whales' in the sea are unsightly however they provided a lovely shallow lagoon whereupon snorkelling revealed a variety of fish..brilliant!!.

my wife and i then had a look at the casitas..well what can i say..they looked impressive, espicially the newer ones which had their own small pools (3100 onwards), so we upgraded. the best decision we made. the apartment we had was on the ground floor, it had 2 showers (inside and outside) a huge bathroom area (his & her sinks), a juccuzi, a huge bed and telly.. and another bed outside on the veranda that then led to our pool.
no more having to reserve a sunbed.

the restaurants are very good and being in the casitas you can reserve a table via your own concierge..which was very helpful as it saved having to wait. the best breakfast was in the one underneath the main reception..all you can eat buffet style with champagne.

the gym is good enough to get rid of the night before beer and sets you up for the day, and on our way back from the gym we would stop off at the health bar..what smoothies!!!!

we went on 2 trips which we fully recommend..the first was to swim with the dolphins...a gold tour which also allowed you to swim with manatons...the second tour was to ride a speedboat through the mangroves and then stop off at a coral reef and snorkal.

we could go on so all we will finish with is that if you are looking for a little something better then this is the place to go...a place for romance.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank sooty3350
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2008

Just returned from EDR after a five night visit w/ my wife. (Ten Year Anniversary)

We stayed in a garden view Jacuzzi Suite with every intention of upgrading to a Casita. However, we were so pleased w/ our room, especially its central location; we decided to stay. The room was very clean w/ a huge walk in shower and a separate Jacuzzi. It had marble floors, a king bed w/ surround sheeting, and all the other essentials. We liked the Casitas, but they are soooo far from everything. If your going back and forth on your room I'd suggest booking a cheap one, then making your decision after a night or two; you never know, you may decide the cheaper room is everything you desire/need. Just for the record, I met a couple who upgraded to a Casita from a Garden View for an extra 145 dollars a night. They negotiated that from the starting point of 250 extra dollars per night. We liked the Garden View and enjoyed watching the Iguanas, Resort Cats, and Peacocks. We were 20 paces to the La Isla pool & restraunt, within 30 paces to the: spa, swing bar, beach and gift shop. (Room #1618)
The food was great, we enjoyed all the restaraunts. The portions are pretty small, but every meal is a four or five course, plus desert, so your always full by the end.
The only drawback is the wait times at dinner. If you get to dinner @ 6 you won't have a wait. However, if you eat later (like us) be prepared for at least an hour wait. *I would go to the restraunt, and put our name on the list while my wife was still getting ready so we wouldn't have such a wait; it worked well.
Favorite restraunt = Kampai
Favorite Food = Ceviche
*We heard room service was great but we personally never did it.
We hung out at the La Isla pool every day in a Cabana Bed; it was our favorite part of the vacation. We'd drink, swim, read, and sleep in our cabana, only leaving to eat or swim in the ocean.
If you want to get a Cabana around the pool, be prepared to get up very early (5:30 - 6:00 a.m.)and reserve your spot. I hated doing this, but it was the only way to get a Cabana. Usually the blue/grey hairs would be up at the crack of dawn reserving all the Cabana beds around the pool. However, they were no match for me because I'm an insomniac; I'm lying awake in bed anyway, might as well get up and reserve my spot.
Beach: I'm sure you've heard. I actually had a pretty good time snorkeling around the sand whales, I saw many beautiful fish. Some days were too rough to snorkel but I had at least 3 calm clear days of snorkeling. (equipment is provided free by the resort)
P.S. I wouldn't reccomend snorkeling at this beach unless your a good swimmer; current could get pretty swift at times.
And if your gonna swim or walk the beach, get a good pair of aqua socks; it's pretty rocky.

Clubs/Entertainment: *We though the clubs and nightly entertainment was fun, but we never lasted past 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. Our favorite bar was the Martini Bar right near the lobby.
Every night there was something going on somewhere.

*I think this resort could be compared to a Sandals resort; I actually think the rooms and food are better than the Sandals in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. However, the average age is much much older, and there is far less entertainment; no music around the pools etc. and much less partying.

*Overall, we loved it and found it very relaxing and fulfilling

*I would not recommend this club unless your a couple looking for a little fun and alot of R&R.


  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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12  Thank KD070770
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2008

We have just returned from two weeks at the EDR and it was fabulous. If you want a holiday that is totally relaxing do not hesitate to go. It's not the place if you want to go out and about during the evening for all those shopaholics this is not the place for you. The resort is very self contained but should you require it there is plenty to keep you occupied from all the watersports ( kayaking, jetskis, paragliding, diving and snorkelling) and daytime activities such as spanish, salsa lessons, cookery, volleyball etc. We found we did less and less as the days passed by!

The restaurants were very good, we enjoyed every meal but went out fairly early on days we were hungry and later when we weren't as we knew you had to wait an hour+ for the call to your table - but enjoyed sitting at the bar watching the bartenders making a variety of different drinks. But don't think you can get a meal quickly you cannot unless you go out at 5.30 to 6p.m! We enjoyed Kampai, the italian and Jo Jos. Breakfast was best at Cocotal couldn't believe the champagne and chocolate fountain at breakfast!

We did not want to leave at the end of the two weeks but will not miss getting up at 6a.m. to get a sunbed - we have never had to do this before and the hotel MUST address this crazy problem. Who wants to get up at 5.30 to 6a.m. while on holiday even if you return to bed!!! If you do not get up this early there is NO chance you will be able to get a bed either by the pool or on the beach for the rest of the day - MADNESS!!!!!!

I would say 80% of the guests are either American or Canadian as Mexico is so much nearer than the ten and a half hour flight we brits have to endure (make sure you upgrade on the flight this DOES make a difference).

It was lovely to visit Playa Del Carmen and see the families out eating and drinking, the first time we travelled on the free bus but the second time found it to be booked up four days in advance, so with another couple we met at EDR we called a taxi from reception and for 30 USD a stretch limo took us in - fabulous!!!

I would definately recommend this hotel to couples who want to spend quality time with each other, chill out completely (except for the sunbeds) and not worry about tummy upsets (visited Goa for the last 2 years!!!). We may return in the future but have just booked Thailand for next February as we feel if you spend this amount on a holiday it ins nice to see somewhere different. Don't worry about negative reviews as I did just go and ENJOY...........

Stayed: February 2008
10  Thank PontypriddCheryl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Dorado Royale, by Karisma

Address: Carretera Cancun - Tulum Km. 45, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly El Dorado Royale)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range: $324 - $1,105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — El Dorado Royale, by Karisma 4.5*
Number of rooms: 639
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Conde Nast Traveler Readers’Top 100 Hotels in the world and a AAA Four Diamond Resort, El Dorado Royale is an adults-only destination that provides the ultimate in service in the ultimate setting.With more than a mile of sandy beach in Mexico's Riviera Maya, El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort, by Karisma offers an escape which no other destination can match. All the luxuries you can dream of, combined with an emphasis on personal attention to your every whim, make this an ideal location for a getaway. Travelers join us from around the world for romantic outdoor beach weddings or ceremonies in our intimate beachfront chapel, relaxing honeymoons, anniversary celebrations, or just much needed time off. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Dorado Royale Hotel Riviera Maya
El Dorado Royale Mexico
El Dorado Royale Cancun
El Dorado Royale Spa Resort
El Dorado Royale Resort
Eldorado Royale
El Dorado Royale, By Karisma Playa Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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