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El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed April 27, 2004

300 rooms 10 pools 7 swim up bars 24 hour room service. THE PALACE HOTELS 1200-1500 rooms 1 or 2 pools THINK ABOUT IT !!

the food has a EUROPEAN FLAIR, not a steak & potato place GREAT BREAKFAST BUFFET


anyone who complains is either talking about the Eldorado resort not (THE ROYALE) OR THEY CAN'T BE HAPPY ANYWHERE

2  Thank Art G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9,912 - 9,918 of 10,351 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Cincinnati, OH
Reviewed April 27, 2004

We just returned from El Dorado Royale after an eight-day stay, and felt the need to write a brief report based on the wonderful time we had and the mixed nature of some of the past reviews. Even before we left, we got the impression that the resort had been steadily improving since Karisma took over in 2002. However, our experiences were even better than we expected, and any doubts we may have had after initially making our reservations were quickly dispelled.

We arrived at about 11:00am for our eight-day stay in a casita suite (with the free anniversary package; don’t forget to bring a copy of your marriage certificate!). Despite the early hour, they had a room ready for us within 10 minutes. For those who have visited before, the new lobby replaces the old lobby, which was near the spa. The new lobby contains a reincarnation of the Italian restaurant (was La Fontana, is now D'Italia). It also contains a new restaurant (El Cocotal), a martini bar, gift shop, jewelry store, and small art gallery. Both the new restaurants are beautiful. We felt D'Italia was a best place for dinner in the resort, and El Cocotal was the best place for breakfast (well, except for maybe room service on your own patio).

We were then whisked off to our casita by golf cart, with a brief tour of the resort sprinkled in. While my wife promptly got changed into her suit for some beach time, I went to the casita concierge to make dinner reservations....

The casitas have a separate casita concierge that handles all their dinner reservations. From a quick peek at her reservation book, it seems that there are about six slots for every half hour for the casitas at every single restaurant. We were able to get reservations for within 30 minutes of our ideal time for every single night we were at the resort. Keep in mind that El Cocotal does not take reservations, and Jo Jo's only recommends them. Plus, there’s always the 24-hour room service. We took advantage of that for several breakfasts, and a late dinner after our day trip to Xel-Ha and Tulum. It was always good, and always arrived within 30 minutes of us ordering. We received a beach side dinner with our free anniversary package. It was very romantic, despite the decent breeze off the water and 80's ballads they had playing in the background. Overall, the food quality was very good, and much better than we expected. I am a vegetarian, although my wife eats seafood, and I was never without a good selection of menu items to choose from. All the dishes used very fresh and sometimes unusual ingredients (mmmmmm, cactus), not what I expected from a resort trying to feed several hundred people every night. Yes, the portion sizes are smaller than what you will get in your typical american casual dining chain restaurant. But you can always get appetizers, salads, and soups, and even multiple entrees if you wish. The only buffets we ever saw were at breakfast, and even then you could order items a la carte. The only time I was hungry was when we first arrived. After that, I just kept eating because the food was that good. For the beer snobs among you, the in-room fridge is stocked with Tecate, Dos Equis is on tap at all the bars, and some bars and restaurants also have Dos Equis Amber. They also had a house white and red wine at all the bars and restaurants. I never got a good look at the labels, but I assume they were mexican. The white tasted similar to a pinot grigio, and the red similar to a merlot. They also have a selection of “fine wines” that you can purchase to have with your meal at any of the restaurants, although we never took advantage of it. Finally, as another note for repeat visitors, they no longer shut down most of the restaurants on Fiesta Night (Wednesdays), although they do still have the vendor market and show that night.

Spacious and nicely decorated. The limestone tile floors are a nice touch, as is the mosquito netting over the bed. The bed was a bit firm (the way we like it) and very comfortable. Ours did have an egg crate on it, maybe due to past feedback. Each casita has its own patio with hammock, two hammock-like recliner chairs, and a small table with two chairs. Our bathroom had a very large shower tub and two sinks. In addition, we had an outdoor shower and jacuzzi. There was a 21" TV with about 30 channels by satellite, including CNN, DW, and BBC America for all you news junkies. We also had a DVD player, and there are lots of movies available to borrow at the casita concierge.

The new casita section is now indeed open. Personally, I would prefer to not be in the new section, but only because all the landscaping is very new and not quite lush just yet. They do not seem to be doing any construction anywhere on the resort at the moment, although my wife heard that they are planning to build a similar resort targeted to families just to the north of the existing El Dorado Royale.

Both of us took advantage of the spa. My wife got a manicure, pedicure, and facial, while I got a full-body massage on the first day (what a great way to slip into vacation mode!).

Given that there always seemed to be dozens of people bustling around tidying up the beach and grounds, I wasn’t surprised that they were immaculate. Yes, there were red flags out for the duration on our trip, but I went out into the water several times without any problems. Just be sure to stay behind the protective sand bags. And there's plenty of lounge chairs to soak up the sun and shaded beach beds for when you're burned to a crisp. Maybe it's because we were there during off season, but we never had any problems getting chairs or a bed, regardless of the time. Just keep an eye out for the roaming quesadilla cart at lunch time - much better than a boring old hamburger or hot dog from the grill near the main pool. But if you must, they also have a nice wood-burning pizza oven with the grill at the main pool now.

What activities? You're here to relax! Seriously though, we did do one day trip to Xel-Ha and Tulum, but other than that were very content to merely sit on the beach. There is a free shuttle to both Play Del Carmen (evening) and Cancun (daylight hours), as well as evening trips to various clubs in Cancun (at extra cost), but I'd advise against coming here if you’re looking for a wild nightlife. Most nights, we were very happy to simply hang out in the quieter casita sections, whether it be at one of the various pools, on the beach, or on our patio.

In short, we found the El Dorado Royale to be a wonderful place to spend our vacation. It is, by far, the most pampered we’ve ever felt on a vacation, and certainly was one of the most beautiful locations we’ve ever visited. I don't think we've ever stayed somewhere where upgrading to a nicer "room" also entitled you to such a higher level of service. Of course, we did tip waiters, bartenders, etc. that we felt provided good service. While this isn't by any means necessary, we do feel that they we received better service after doing so, they are paid so very little in the first place, and are only there to make our vacation better. I think it is the smaller size and higher level of service that distinguish El Dorado Royale from similar resorts in the vicinity. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want additional information.

6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2004

We are the people who wrote on 4/1 -- sorry, I didn't leave my e-mail - that was an accident. I can't believe the next reviewer slammed me, and pretty much all people from Minnesota! Thanks to you other guys for telling me the review was helpful. I thought I did give the hotel high marks - maybe we (my husband & I, not everyone in MN!) are in the minority of people who are a little more casual. To me, the extra money spent for the fancy dinners, spa facilities, etc. just were kind of wasted on us -- maybe we are "Roseanne" kind of people who should just stay home and go bowling! Ha ha, see, I can laugh at myself. Truth is, I don't disagree with anyone who did love this place - the food was good (so I liked the hamburgers too, sue me! My Canadian "friend" probably won't be surprised that we ate at McDonalds while we were in Cozumel too! We also ate at a fun little taco place later - we just thought it would be fun to see what the McDonalds in MX was like. No worries, it was exactly the same. Big Mac's were great, and it was fun sitting on the outside balcony, overlooking the ocean front) it was a beautiful hotel, we stayed in the casitas, and those were awesome. Now I'm going to be honest, and tell everyone why I probably wasn't so impressed with this hotel - and that is because my only other time in Mexico, we stayed at the Blue Bay Getaway, another all-adults, all inclusive, in Cancun. Overall, Cancun appeals less to me than south of Cancun, especially Playa del Carmen, but my husband and I totally loved Blue Bay, and hope to go back again someday. (And it has nothing to do with tableclothes, which I don't recall mentioning anyway. I did mention cloth napkins, although I don't think I had a problem with the fact that they were cloth, merely the fact that the host/hostess insisted on placing the napkin on my lap for me - each and every time, in every single restaurant) The next few vacations, however, will be taken with our 10 year old son, so we'll be looking more into the family hotels in Playa -- so far, I'm leaning toward the Iberostar Tucan. If anyone has stayed there, I'd love to hear about it! Thanks, and Enjoy! Vacations are all good. They are like sex - all good, some are just better than others!!!

1  Thank hamlakemn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2004

I will keep this brief because I agree with the past few reviews. This place is an excellent escape for those who need relaxation. We spent the week of 4/10-4/17 doing no more than laying out in the sun and drinking pina colata's (too relaxed to know how to spell it) anyways, we too experienced a few days of no reservations for restaurants only to be disappointed to have them required again. When I am on vacation I can't plan when to eat. Other than that we loved the beautiful grounds. All the wait staff were so friendly and gave you whatever you asked for. Room service was excellent. The only other complaint I have is having to get up at 7am to reserve a beach/pool chair with a towel everyday. Not a huge issue, just irritated with people who "saved" the beach beds or other beach areas and you never saw anyone on them....overall, I would definitely recommend this resort. After five days me & my husband were so relaxed we couldn't hardly find any more energy to relax!!!! How often does that happen? This is a quiet place, and a great place to get married or spend an anniversary. Do not hesitate to stay at this resort....I spent two months reading reviews before we left only to have one of the best vacations ever!!!

2  Thank lotsasun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Medina, OH
Reviewed April 25, 2004

Just got back from 5 nights at the Eldorado Royale. Upon arrival at 11:00am we were very nicely greeted and we were assigned a room. The room are very nice and spacious with a 2 person jacquizzi. Warning...after we used the jacquizzi with the jets, when draining the water, there was a huge amount of brown stuff. Never used the jacquizzi again. The resort is very nicely maintained. If you want to go and party this is not the place. Very, very quiet and laid back. Too quiet for us in our mid 40's. The pool is very nice with a swim up pool bar. The water was a bit cool, although once on it was OK. The drinks were very good and no problem with quality or getting an extra shot on the top. I do have to say that the bartenders at the swim up pool bar were not overly friendly, and we even tipped daily! Our biggest dissapointed was the food. We are highly critical of food within resorts, but the food here was nothing special. The Italian restaurant was the best as we both had the filet. The Japenees was terrible and the Oriental not that much better. Breakfast at the buffet was the best. The brunch on Saturday was also good. The service at these restaurants were very SLOW!!! Extremely! At the Italian restaurant we waited 15 minutes before someone even greeted us at our table. Finally, I waived down the host. From then on it was better. The service at the Japaneese restaurant was very slow. We were there for 2 hours! Mind you there are only about 30 tables, and there were only 3 waiters. All of the restaurants did keep the wine flowing very nicely.This trip was just ok as it was about our 15th visit to the area. We have been to better, as we usually take the kids. Going to the Palladium Grand in June. Have been there before and it is much better. Any questions please feel free to e-mail me.

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2004

We just spent the greatest week the the El Dorado Royale and were married there during our stay. I agree completely with the last couple reviews, what a wonderful resort this is. I too wondered after some of the reviews if we had chosen the right place and we definatley did and will return again and again. We stayed in the casita's, 2601 a couple steps from the beach, very nice rooms, friends stayed in the garden view rooms and these were very nice also. Food was great,absolutely no problems with reservations, over the phone and never a problem, beach is great, plenty of loungers and did not have to get up at the crack of dawn to claim one,service was great,much quicker here than we have experianced at other Mexican resorts, drinks were awsome with a real good selection. We dont have one single complaint, everything and everyone at this resort was just fantastik. Any questions we would be happy to help, if you are considering this resort don't hesitate, you wont be dissappointed.

3  Thank lma55806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Indpls., IN
Reviewed April 24, 2004

Nothing but good things here. We went for our 10th anniversary. Stayed in a casita-#2815, one of the new ones. I highly recommend them,definately worth the extra cash. I f they weren't, you would not see so many people with regular rooms trying to muscle in on our turf as evident by their towels!!

Food was great, drinks as strong as you request them to be, and top shelf used whenever you ask. Only down side- choice of beer. You get Tecate reg. and light in your room,DosXX on tap everywhere else

Staff was great. All special requests granted.

Fully booked while we were there, yet never had to wait for any table or drinks

Great secluded,laid back place

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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 Spa Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Top resorts 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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