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El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
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Reviews (11,175)
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5,893 - 5,898 of 11,175 reviews
Reviewed December 29, 2013

We stayed here in the last fortnight of September 2013 as a late honeymoon. Following the long flight and slight delay leaving the airport, the champagne and superb service the moment we arrived at the hotel was very welcome! Excellent service continued throughout our stay. All areas of the hotel were spotlessly clean, the food was delicious and the spa service totally luxurious. It was so lovely to stay in a very high class hotel with such a high level of service without feeling uncomfortable in a starchy atmosphere as we have experienced in the UK. We can't wait to return and would thoroughly recommend El Dorado Royale to anyone looking for a luxury holiday in a relaxed and fun hotel.

Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Kerry S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013

Like many other reviews here, I would very highly recommend El Dorado especially the Casitas end of the resort. There is very little to criticise in general but if the resort wishes to get that 5th Diamond (it currently has 5 Stars and 4 Diamonds) then I would only make this comment on how the hotel tried to comp us after a very bad meal experience.

Just to lay the groundwork, the hotel sells very much on its "Gourmet experience" and overall it's restaurants are varied and the food and service very good although I would not say they were gourmet (whatever that may mean to you, the food served here would not match a top UK restaurant). On one night of our one week stay, we went to one of the Italian restaurants called D'Italia (not the Casitas one) and 3 of us had a particularly bad meal - the food was just badly prepared, cooked and presented. Furthermore, for about the 3rd night in a row, they could not provide us with one of 3 choices of wine from their own extensive list. Frankly there is little point in having a fantastic wine list if half of it is never available! Anyway, we complained to the manager who was sympathetic but that's about all.

I spoke to the Thomson rep the next day and in due course the hotel management came to discuss the matter. I had an entirely agreeable conversation about the meal and wine and the manageress said that tonight we would be "taken care of". And of of course we were! We had the most amazing meal experience at the Casitas D'Italia restaurant and were personally looked after by the manager Giovanni for whom nothing was too much trouble. A personal thank you to him and his team for such a great evening. So where's the issue? Well, on returning to our room we discovered a free bottle of wine as another gesture of goodwill. This was most welcome untill we tried to drink it the next night at the Kampai restaurant. It was absolutely rubbish and the restaurant would not change it for a different bottle other than the average house Merlot.

This may all sound rather petty and to some degree it is, but the moral of the story is, if you are A) trying to be the best of the best and B) trying to comp someone who has made a genuine and heartfelt complaint, don't compound the issue by giving them a free bottle of rubbish wine. It just comes across as a going through the motions without much thought. A decent bottle of wine would cost the hotel nothing in real terms but would have made all the difference to us. It's all about the small details when the margins between good and great are at stake.

But please Don't Get Me Wrong: El Dorado is Gorgeous and I would recommend it in a heartbeat!

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
4  Thank Skinboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013

Me and my fiancé (he proposed while we were there) had a great time at the El Dorado Royale. The food is amazing, the cocktail menu is extensive and the room was lovely too. We went for 2 weeks, 1 wouldn't haven't been enough for me. Staff were lovely, especially Luiz in the entertainment team. The only downfall was the Exotic Traveller presentation we went to which unfortunately we bought in to. Luckily we are within the 5 day cancellation period so hopefully they will give us our money back without too much fuss. The resort itself is lovely I would recommend it to anyone. But don't get tricked into the 90 minute presentation that sounds like a good idea but in reflection was certainly not for us.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gem D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013

My wife and I have purchased an Exotic Traveler Ruby membership a couple of years ago.
While not inexpensive it has proven to be excellent value and is making an already great resort even more enjoyable.
The complimentary private pick-up at the airport,which shaves anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes of a shared shuttle trip, brings you directly to the Casitas concierge for check in, bypassing the lobby desk altogether.
We a always choose one of the 2nd floor rooms with its own outdoor infinity pool and daybed on the terrace.
This is not your typical "all you can stuff your face with" buffet style resort. (We'll there is the breakfast buffet at one of the restaurants)
For dinner choices there are two excellent Italian restaurants, one very popular Japanese, a new steak place with a real fun menu, an authentic Mexican place (not tex-mex) and Fuentes culinary theatre where some renowned chefs perform their art live, while you dine along.
Of course you have a couple of open air restaurants for your snacks and casual dining experience.
We always find the staff very friendly and helpful without exception.
Special mention has to be made of the restaurant staff for efficiency and friendliness.
Oh yeah, there is a great wine list if you want a change from the included house wines. The sommeliers really know their stuff too.
Being an Exotic Traveler member has some additional benefits such as the concierge and butler services which will pamper you if you so choose. The membership gives us preferred room rates our rooms (not important I guess if you don't mind looking your vacation at the last minute)
Things like an included Candlelight Dinner at the beach and a 20% discount on all of your tour and other purchases at the resort are part of the perks.

The grounds, including the beach area are impeccably maintained. While the beach is smallish is is not overcrowded.
After a hurricane a number of years ago which did a lot of damage to a number of beaches in the area the resort has been installing artificial reefs (in essence giant geotextile sandbags) to halt erosion and re establish marine life.

While there are many great resorts this particular one has caught our fancy.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rene W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2013

We arrived after an eleven hour flight to some rainy weather. Our transfer was quick with Thomson and we were the first stop. Check-in was slow to say the least as they were trying to upgrade everyone to the Casita’s area, we were offered a deal for 14 nights of $1400 but were pleased we didn’t opt for the upgrade as our Ocean Front room #426 was beautiful. It was spotlessly clean, had a massive bed which was so comfortable, a great view and of course all of the usual things offered in this class of hotel including a huge couple’s sized Jacuzzi. The cleaning service in our room was excellent and we tipped our maid daily as we were so impressed. The whole resort is spotless and kept so by an army of smiley staff!

Our first evening was quite fun, we headed off to find the Rincon Mexican restaurant in the dark and rain, and luckily found it! We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner there during the course of stay and all of the meals were excellent, the staff are happy to bring you jalapenos, habaneros and various chilli sauces if you are feeling brave, something we have found lacking at other resorts in the area.

We visited all of the restaurants during our stay and had no real issues, occasionally items were unavailable but there was so much choice that it really didn’t matter. Our favourite restaurant was El Fuentes, the culinary show, we were lucky enough to try all 3 menus and also had the special meal on Christmas Day, not festive but utterly superb and easily our favourite meal of the stay, Chef Julio Gomez is not only a great chef but also a great showman, and the Restaurant manager Manoli Gonzalez knows her wine and has a great rapport with him. We only had one troublesome meal during our stay and that was at Kampai, it was very busy and our food when it finally arrived was cold, it seemed that although the kitchen was well staffed, they were short staffed front of house. The food is without a doubt the best we have had in an All-Inclusive resort, it is not called Gourmet Inclusive for nothing. A special mention to Victor at JoJo’s restaurant, he is simply the most attentive waiter in the resort.

It is worth mentioning at this point that the resort has a massive greenhouse complex and they grow a lot of fruit, vegetables and herbs which are supplied to not only the restaurants here but also to other resorts in the Karisma chain, we went along for a tour one morning with Luiz, part of the entertainment team, he is so passionate about the greenhouse for someone so young, he is a real credit to the resort.

The resort is very eco friendly all round, they have installed special a/c units, they recycle water etc etc

The drinks here very good, they have all the usual premium brands, we knocked back a fair few Tanqueray’s during our stay, they do tend to use local alcohol in the cocktails during the day. We enjoyed the beach bar by Jo Jo’s (Thanks to Pedro!) and also really loved the Martini Bar next to reception.

We spent a couple of days on the beach, but the sea was quite wild and the wind very strong so we tended to head to the La Isla pool every day, it is a quiet pool but that didn’t stop some people bringing their own music along on occasions, why they couldn’t head Fuentes pool I do not know! In fact the only issue we had during our stay was caused initially by fellow guests.

There are concierge offices everywhere and you are assigned to one on arrival, ours initially were very helpful, letting us choose different pillow types, getting the minibar filled with your favourite drinks etc etc but it soon became clear that they were buttering you up to go along to the Exotic Traveller Loyalty programme tour, we went along as were keen to have a look around the top room types, but do not be fooled, this is not a loyalty programme, it is hard-sell TIMESHARE! And we managed to escape with our lives and credit cards intact after around two and a half hours!

We used the spa at the Casita’s whilst we were there, we got a good deal on an 80 minute massage and also took advantage of the Hydrotherapy when we were there, the whole thing was very professional and enjoyable.

As I previously mentioned our only really big issue during our stay was with fellow guests, we had new neighbours after our first week and they were very badly behaved, culminating in us being abruptly woken up at 1.30am by them banging around and arguing loudly on their balcony, I went out and politely asked them to keep it down, well that fell on deaf ears so I had no choice but to call reception, they came along and the guy left the room, but returned soon after and the noise continued for a further hour. This was followed by them hammering on our wall and being generally loud on their balcony from 6.50am!!! We complained and ended up having to move rooms, to the block next door, not a great move as the room we were moved was not so well kept, the water didn’t drain out of the shower and one of the basin’s was chipped, our new cleaner was nowhere near as good as the previous one. We complained to the concierge but nothing happened until two days later when we spoke to various members of staff, and were sent wine, cheese and champagne on what seemed like an almost daily basis but we didn’t receive a proper apology and were not compensated in an appropriate manner for the troubles we had encountered. Hilariously one of the chief concierges told me at had they known earlier (which they did) then they would have thrown the unruly residents of room 425 out of the hotel, total rubbish!!

One other thing that was very strange was the total lack of festive spirit on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Eve was a shambles as many people who went to the D’Italia restaurants at the villas and casitas were unable to get the Christmas menu that had been promised, the only other restaurant open was Cocotal and they served buffet which consisted of Salads, a carvery of turkey and beef and a mountain of desserts, we ate there, but there was no atmosphere, the service was slow, and the only things that kept us amused were a drunk guy pinching someone else’s table by mistake and a couple quaffing a full bottle of wine in 20 minutes and then running off without signing for it! A very quiet Christmas for us, and a bit of a let down, don’t get me wrong we weren’t expecting brussel’s sprouts and mince pies but we thought it would feel festive and it just didn’t.

The beach here is lovely, the sea was too rough for us to swim in during our stay, but it’s about a mile long and you could potentially snorkel straight from the beach. The grounds are immense, and you can easily lose yourself or find a quiet corner to relax in. There is wildlife everywhere and we loved watching the pelicans diving for fish every day.

The general staff are a real credit to this hotel and they work tirelessly to ensure everyone is having a great time, and smile constantly. However this doesn’t seem to extend to the management, and it is because of their lack of caring that we are unlikely to return to this resort, a real shame as the first 9/10 days were superb and despite the weather being gloomy at times, my husband and I had permanent smiles.

A quick mention to the Thomson Reps, who were not only good fun but also were helpful especially when we had our issues. They are a credit to Thomson. Happy New Year to all three of you, Emma, Katie and James!!!

PS We travelled on the new Dreamliner which was excellent! We got a cheap upgrade to premium on the way home, money very well spent.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Samiloupepperell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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