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“What a NICE Place...”

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El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed September 10, 2004

Ok after being a computer junkie before we left I promised on my return I would write a post. First of all we have been to Mexico 6 times now 4 of those being to the Playa Del Carmen area. We happen to like the El Dorado Royale very much did how ever think they could use some renovations to the main pools & some of the rooms but that was not a major problem. We arrived on Sept 5 around 1:00 p.m. was greated with our glass of champaign & was seated with our adventour tour rep whom took care of all the reservations. We had booked through the internet our dinner reservations which worked great by the way by going to Karisma hotels we were handed our room keys & lock box key & were off to our room by 1:30. We were in room 1824 with is a top floor ocean view room. Being it was our anniversary we had the annivesary package arriving to a beautiful room with a bone colored bed cover & rose petals everywhere very awesome touch. We unpacked & headed to Jo jos great food by the way. We went to the main pool were we made a lot of great friends whom we hung out with a lot.. Cheers to those of you in Ohio & Texas. Even met some from Canada & Britian great people & great time with all. Our first night we had made resevations for the D'Italia for 730 however the friends we met asked us to join them at 6 so we tried. They were glad to let us switch to eat with them. Wonderful meal by the way. After dinner my Husband was tired from the day so he went to bed early. I devided to watch the night show & take a walk around the resort just a fyi not sure this was so safe did have a mexican worker want to take me home how ever I just quickly turned a & ran sure he was harmeless but it was a bit scary. The next day we woke early headed to the main pool where we hung out most of the day meeting new ppl & haveing a few Miami Vices. However we wore 30 spf & I do not think it was enough for the water kept us very cool & after a the sun went down we were as red as rock lobster. So your call cause we are dark complected. That evening we were to have our candlelight dinner which looked awesome by the way. But with to much sun My husband was ill & couldnt make dinner. However I rushed to find some of our friends to give our dinner to wothout luck I went to the front lobby found a newlywed couple at the reservations asking for a candlelight dinner I asked them if they wanted our & was very greatful later I saw them. They Thanked me & told me it was the best ever. our friends had the moonlight massages & they spoke highly of them. The next day we hung out by the ocean under palm trees it was great & relaxing. dinner was at cocatal once again the food was great.. The next day we woke & headed to town for some shopping by the way Playa Del Caremen has changed a lot with water fountains new brick pavers & lots more shops & resturants you must go to see it..WOW. We returned back to the resort for a swim & some chess to find a storm was moving in was a nice toudh for us we ran in the rain to our room started a nice warm back in our juccuzi tub overlooking the ocean with the rain coming down then slipped on our robes they furnished & sat on the balcony in a few hours the rain was gone & it was time for Meican Feista.. the food was ok but still enjoyed we had a night cap at the Martini bar which you must visit Artoro he was awesome... The next day was time to fly out but all in all I would say this is a great place, Great food, awesome wait staff.. We did have to wait some on our drinks but they were doing their best. A few more things I met a couple whom got married had some jewlery taken from their room but it was not in the lock box. So use the lock box they give you. Also we were told anything goes at this resort we had topless at the beach at the pool bars & even had some nude it didnt bother us but if you are one it might bother this might not be the place for you. Even were told there were some swingers at the casita swim up bar just a fyi for anyone whom might be offended... good luck & hope you have a great relaxing trip as we did.

  • Stayed: September 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank lmm3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Boston, MA
18
Reviewed September 10, 2004

Hola-
My husband & I booked an anniversary trip to EDR back in March. Needless to say, I was a total review junkie leading up to our trip so I thought it only fitting that I at least share my thoughts/ experiences with all of you getting ready to go.

The grounds are gorgeous and we instantly felt we were in paradise upon arrival. Our airport/ customs experience was less pleasing as we arrived on a Friday afternoon and had to wait in long long lines. Also unsettling is the commotion that goes on outside the airport with people yelling and pulling for you trying to get you to take their transportation. This was our first trip to Mexico and after hearing of some horror stories, we were on guard and not trusting anyone (including our travel company). We booked through FunJet Vacations yet when we located what we thought was FunJet, they had Lomas Travel shirts on. I was confused, but they do appear to be one in the same.

We stayed in a Casita suite 2701. It was a beautiful room and location, the view was right out of a picture. A few things to note if you stay in the Casitas:

The "moon showers" are poorly sealed around the main bathroom. During heavy rains, we got quite a bit of water in the bathroom at a result. The other unsettling part of having these and the way they are sealed is that virtually any small reptile can make it's way in to your living quarters. Most probably wouldn't be bother by this and truth be told it didn't cause me any real problems. Our first night there was a bit uneasy as we had a Geico in our room (turns out each night we did as did others we spoke too.) I guess it's good because they eat the insects and they really don't want anything to do with people... they stay away but you will hear them.

Along with staying in the "jungle" you also have to be a bit more careful than in your typical Marriott in the States. My husband made the mistake of bringing Krispy Cream donuts in to our room and we had horrible ants all over the dining table. Once we realized we got rid of the food and never again brought any food in the room (including room service, we at it outside). But the ants are still there, so be careful what you leave around if they will bother you including open cans of soda.

The restaurants were good. We particularly enjoyed D'Italia and the Mexican restaurant. I had never been to an all inclusive before so while I have nothing to compare it too, I suspect it's better than most but not gourmet in my opinion. Some things were better than others and although portions were small, I knew this going in so I just ordered more and never left hungry.

Service- I found the service to be inconsistent. People were either very friendly and provided great service or it was quite the opposite. I would have expected the service level to more consistent for a 5 star resort, but again, overall it was very good and we certainly didn't let any bad service spoil our time (we were afterall in paradise).

I don't recall if anyone else mentioned safety. It is very important that you keep everything and any of value locked up at all times! Our 2nd day there my hat was taken from our room after room service came in. As soon as we realized we tried contacting house keeping, consierge, and the front desk. We never got the hat back, and barely received a call back. The hat wasn't expensive, but the point of it all really bothered me. When we were waiting for our return transfer yesterday in the lobby, we spoke with a young man who had just gotten married on the property the night before. All told, he said he spent about $10K at the resort and his wife's wedding jewelry was stolen from their room the day of the wedding. Of course the jewelry should have been locked up, but with all the hustle and bustle of the wedding, his wife forgot. When they realized he stormed the lobby looking to speak to the hotel manager. The hotel manager wouldn't even see him (just his associate). Finally after he started to make a scene in the lobby with guests checking in, the manager came out and they offered to loan her jewelry from their store for the wedding. I'm not sharing this to scare you away from going... I suspect that this risk would be at any resort. Just remember that you are in a different country and often time belongings we take for granted are worth a lot to the locals. If you leave it for them, it could be taken. We were very good about locking everything up so this wasn't a problem for us.

The swim up bars and beds on the beach are wonderful. We had talked about doing some day trips but when we got to the property, we didn't want to leave. We stayed pool & beachside the entire 7 days and couldn't be happier that we did! It is a place to go to relax.

My husband did have a little problem with the "sickness" our last day there. It could have been anything, although I suspect it was the Mexican Fiesta night they do on Wed. where he consumed large amounts of food. He enjoyed it, but he paid for it the next day :)

All in all if you are looking for a great place to relax and take in the scenary, this is the place. There was a lot of walking particularly from the casitas, but I didn't mind it all (rather enjoyed the exercise after all the eating we did).

We also made some great friends while there... Steph and Dino from Vancouver, happy travels back... it was great meeting you!

If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them. -Julez

8  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Murrieta, California
17
Reviewed September 8, 2004

Like most, I avidly read the reviews to find the perfect place to vacation and was impressed by the number of great reviews the EDR received. We were not disappointed the place is paradise and we will definitely return next year. I can't believe the bad reviews they must have been staying somewhere else!

We visited the EDR the first week in September and had the best vacation ever. My husband and I are originally from the UK and it was great to find us in a largely European resort. If you like a fairly small resort, adults only, with a friendly atmosphere and want to relax and be pampered this is the place for you.

Rooms - We had an oceanfront suite and the room and bathroom were a good size and very clean. The jacuzzi tub is wonderful after a day at the beach and the bubble bath they supply smells great. A few things in the room were in need of a little maintenance (light fitting in the bathroom was loose and a small damp patch on the wall probably from next doors Jacuzzi), but nothing that affected our stay and we were not in the room a lot to notice. The maid service was good and our room was cleaned, towels resupplied, sheets changed and bed made every day. They come at various times during the day so if you want your room done early just leave the sign on the door. There is a slight smell to the back of the property sometimes, but I think itwas just swap and jungle smells. It never offended us to the extent some reviews are saying and if I had not read about it I probably wouldn't have noticed it.

Service - All the staff at the EDR are friendly, helpful and the majority speak English (our Spanish is minimal, but when in Mexico you should try - they found our attempts amusing, which added to the fun). Our special thanks for making our stay memorable and fun go to Raul at Jo Jo's and Pedro at the beach bar. The service and attention to detail was great, yes sometimes service was a little slow, but you are on vacation and when sat looking at the wonderful view do you really want to be rushed? I much prefer to take an hour or two over a 3 course a la carte dinner and know it has been prepared and cooked to order just for me. Gratuity is included in the all-inclusive package, but we took about $50 US in dollar bills and tipped the best waiters, barpersons and maids. These guys all worked so hard to serve they deserved a little extra.

Food - The food was excellent and the portions were just right. Living in the USA means you get use to large portions, but the portion size meant we could enjoy all three courses including the yummy desserts. We tried all the restaurants except the Italian which we get too much of at home so wanted a change. Our favorites for dinner and lunch were Jo Jo's and the Oriental, and breakfast at La Isla is best - try the eggs benedict. As always it depends upon your taste, but even the pizza's (which we had for lunch a couple of times) from the woodfire stove were excellent. From the reviews I have read it sounds like the people who complained about the food had very specific requirements and wanted food exactly like they have at home!

Beach - We had an oceanfront suite and the view of the beach and sound of the waves from our balcony were so enjoyable (Warning - careful not to lock yourself out on your balcony, if you shut the patio door your on your own until you can flag a passing golf cart! I hadn't even over indulged on the cocktails). Most mornings we would take a couple of slices of bread from breakfast to the beach and feed the fish, wade in to your waist by the pier and you will be surrounded they will take it right out of your fingers. The sandbags look slightly like beached whales, but make excellent seats when you are out snorkeling around and an abundance of sealife lives under and around them. A staff member tells me the sandbags are there to keep and add to the sand on the beach and that in a few years any remaining rocks and coral will be covered. We went to the beach every day and always found a place in the shade to relax and read there are plenty available and you only have to get up early to reserve one of the curtained cabanas.

Bars - the service and the drinks are excellent. We frequented the beach bar at night and the health bar (non-alcoholic) during the day. At the health bar the tropical smoothie was our favorite and the strawberry daiquiris were to die for. (By the way all the water and ice is filtered so spin the wheel and have as many cocktails as you like). My husband is a beer drinker and said the beer at the bars was good, but the tecate in the mini bar was not.

Xel-Ha is wonderful and if you like snorkeling this is the place to go. We did not do the Tulum tour but spent the full day at Xel-Ha. It took about an hour to get there but the place is teaming with sealife. It is like finding Nemo we even saw a few stingrays. The caves were really interesting, but be prepared for the cold water inside. Tip - you need deposits for your snorkel gear, towel and locker so bring about $50 US or equivalent with you. Also you will need some nature friendly sun tan lotion which you can purchase there. Finally you should definitely take an underwater camera, as your friends will not believe you.

We will definitely be back next year for another wonderfully relaxing week at our new found heaven. Thank you to everyone who made our stay so great.

7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Atlanta, Georgia
29
Reviewed September 8, 2004

Absolutely wonderful resort! I have to admit that for the past few months I have been a trip advisor junkie and some of the reviews concerned me although I finally came to the conclusion that some people are just never happy!

We were at this resort from August 29th until September 8th and the weather was perfect!

First of all, I want to address the "smell" and the food portions as neither caused even a slight problem for me or my husband. When you are walking along the back of the property you can smell sulfur and it smells like you are at the beach in Savannah, Hilton Head, or anywhere in the Low Country. From time to time it was stronger but it was not a sewage smell at all and to me it just smelled like being at the beach. Please, please do not let this deter you at all from staying here. When you get into your room there is also a sheet of paper explaining about the Mangrove ecosystem that is behind the property and that the Mangroves give off the sulfur smell. As for the alleged small portions of food I did not witness any such thing. Yes, the portions are smaller than in America but I personally think restaurants serve us too much food in the first place. The menus are set up so that each meal, including lunch, are to be 3 or 4 course meals. Just order an appetizer, salad, soup, entree, and a dessert and you will be fully satisfied. The food is excellent at all the restaurants but the Italian restaurant was my favorite! As for the caesar salad that the travel agent spoke of it was wonderful and once you cut up the lettuce you have a normal size salad. This place is all about presentation and I personally loved the way that particular salad was served.

Now, we stayed in a Casita suite which my husband and I loved. It felt like we were in our own luxury hut. We had a bottom floor casita right by a pool and then about 30 more steps to the ocean. You can see the ocean from all of the casitas and there is also plenty of sandy beach for everyone. There is only one small area that has rocks in front of it. We actually sat near the rocks one day and it was a beautiful view and you only had to walk about 20 steps to get to the water with no rocks at all.

I can only hope that anyone planning to visit this resort ignores any of the poor reviews about this resort. Just keep an open attitude about things and realize that things are just a little slower in Mexico and enjoy your vacation! I thought the service was excellent and we were always served in a timely fashion. Sometimes it took longer than others but my goodness, I didn't even wear a watch the whole time I was there so who cares if one day it took 5 minutes to get my salad and another time it may have taken 10! Some people need to learn how to relax and take a vacation. I wish all the best to those poor souls who can't have a good time anywhere. For those of you who can, this is the place for you. I couldn't have asked for a better honeymoon! Who can beat driving up to beautiful grounds, being greeted with champagne, being wisked off to your room in a golf cart to your own Casita with more champagne chilled and a welcome card with fresh flowers and towels in the shape of a heart on our bed! Please, everyone enjoy your trip to this paradise!

6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2004

My wife and I stayed at the El Dorado Royale for our honeymoon (20th -30th July 2004) and we had an amazing time.

I read a number of reviews from this website before we went and to be honest I was a little worried. Well, I needn't have worried because we loved every minute of it.

Unfortunately it is impossible to please everybody all of the time!! It is your holiday and therefore you shouldn't let small things ruin it by dwelling on them, just put it behind you and get on with enjoying yourself. Yes there are little things that could annoy you if you let them, but you're in Mexico, so chill out!!

Airport:
Even after a 10 hour flight, the wait at the airport is not that bad, infact, we were glad to see people getting checked properly in airports!!

The EDR:
We arrived fairly late in the evening and were greeted with a glass of champagne, then we were taken off to our Garden-view room. As it was dark and we didn't know our way around, Pedro even came back to drive us to the restaurant for dinner.

The resort is fantastic, it is kept immaculately and always looks good. The staff are brilliant, always smiling and saying hello as they walk past. Some reviews said that you needed to tip in order to get good service!! We did not find this at all, we did tip but only because we wanted to. A simple 'thank you' does go a long way. There was the odd time when we came across a grumpy member of staff, but I recon that everyone is entitled to the odd 'off day'.

The room:
We stayed in a Garden-view room. The bathroom was nice with a huge walk in shower, the room was spacious, (we had a different towel arrangement left each day, a really nice touch) the hot-tub and the hammock were cool and added a bit more comfort / fun. The ocean-view rooms and the casita's were very nice, but our room was perfect for us and we'll stay in a garden-view room again when we return.

Food:
The restaurants were excellent, there was plenty of choice and the portions were more than enough!! They are all 5 course meals, although we only ever managed 3!! I recommend Cocotals for breakfast, a great way to start the day. The other restaurants were very nice, we had a candlelight dinner on the beach on our last night, it was very romantic and a great way to end a perfect stay.

Restaurant reservations:
You do need to book several days in advance to get the restaurant that you want, if you do this you won't have a problem. Not ideal booking 2 days in advance but that's the way it is, no point not doing it then complaining about it!!

The beach:
The beach was lovely, the wave breakers are necessary and make the sea so much calmer. We were walking on the beach several mornings by 5:30, watching the sun rise whilst next to the ocean was great!!

Trips:
We went on a day trip to Tulum and Xel-Ha. Was good to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum, two hours there was about right though. We spent the whole afternoon at Xel-Ha, the snorkling there is amazing.

We visited Cancun one afternoon and were very glad that we were staying at the EDR. Cancun is very nice, but it is very busy and there is a lot of building work going on.

We also went swimming with Dolphins (Dolphin Discovery), it was an amazing experience, one which we can't wait to do again.

Summary:
We loved our honeymoon in Mexico and the EDR, we have already decided that we will be going back there soon. If you are looking for a relaxing, chilled out holiday the EDR is the place to go.

(If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me)

  • Stayed: July 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank stevebird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Forest Hills, NY
13
Reviewed September 7, 2004

I have to start out by saying that I truly do not understand what people complain about. My fiance and I returned from El Dorado Royale last night. If you have complaints here, you just have no idea on how to enjoy yourself. The food and restaurants at the resort are amazing. The woman in a previous review who is complaining about the ceaser salad being two slices of lettuce and a ring of tomato obviously has no idea what gormet food is about. Being from NYC, we have eaten at some of the best restaurants and trust me, this place is comparable and in some cases better!! This fancy style of food calls for small portions(which actually aren't really that small), otherwise you would not be able to make it through a 6 course meal. The Oriental restaurant is the best!! And lunch at Jo Jo's is a must! The service was great, and for Mexico(I have been to different parts many times) very fast! Our room was beautiful and clean. We had an ocean view. It was in a great location and the walk to the lobby was not far. People that complain about walking too far should think again; a little excersice can't hurt! The bars were great and the Drinks were good. Martini bar is excellent! Jacob at the Guacamayas bar was our man!!! We also got excellent service at the martini bar from Edgar and Teresa! Overall, do not go there thinking you are going to party like other places in Mexico. This place is low key at night....it is all couples. Very Romantic! Very Relaxing! Great service and beautiful pools and beaches! No complaints here and we are even considering returning for our honeymoon!

3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Ottawa, ON
16
Reviewed September 7, 2004

Perhaps it's the time of year, a change in management or some other factor, but I'm completely baffled by the number of positive reviews when every single couple we spoke to during our stay in August 2004 was utterly disgusted with this resort. From check-in woes, to the horrible beach, to the unbelievable sub-standard food, every aspect of this resort was a huge disappointment.

Having booked our trip as honeymooners, as clearly indicated on both the Karisma and tour operator's web site, we qualified for the "honeymoon package" which includes, among other things, a complimentary upgrade to an oceanview/ocean front room and a candlelit dinner on the beach. This was verfied with the travel agent and I ensured it was included with our reservations. However, upon check in, we were very rudely informed that apparently that package expired a few years ago. How their own web site and other travel agencies still promote this is beyond me. The bigger issue here is, there was absolutely no regret in telling us this, and were only told after being thrown from one employee to another until one finally gave us a straight answer.

So whatever... no honeymoon package for us. We figured we'd still be fine in a standard room. Of course not. Throughout the week, we were treated to daily power and water outages, fleets of insects in our room, including some very attractive ants that managed to find their way into every article of clothing we had packed, an absolutely horrible stench of sewage that greeted us each morning and evening... hell, the list goes on forever.

Dining - my god. We have visited a number of supposedly 5-star resorts throughout the caribbean over the past few years, and the El Dorado Royale was positively at the bottom of the list. It seems the kitchen produces one or two sauces and then uses them in all restaurants, conveniently calling them something different each time to give the illusion of variety and creativity - of which there are clearly NONE of. Perhaps the only exception to this is the Italian restaurant, but good luck getting a reservation there. We managed to go there one night our of the seven, despite the fact that we went to make reservations one hour after arriving.

Bars - neither my wife or I are big drinkers, but we were thoroughly disgusted by the abundance of drunk, rowdy and obnoxious guests. Like clockwork, at around 6:00 pm each night, you could be sure to see at least five or six couples staggering back to their rooms, barking out obscenities and all. This isn't exactly a fault of the resort, but I wonder how they manage to attract such a high concentration of the 'cream of the crop'.

Beach - While I had read some reviews in advance about the ugly sandbags used to break the waves, I was not prepared for exactly how attrocious they really were. First off, they are placed WAY too close to the shore... effectively giving you about 30 feet of hot, dirty ocean water that receives next to no circulation thanks to these beauties. What makes matters even worse is that the depth never exceeds maybe three feet. So if you're interested in the ocean, have fun wading in it like a baby. Despite the clear skies and calm winds throughout our stay, the resort thankfull placed red flags along the beach every day, warning everyone of the treacherous, stagnant bath water we would experience if we dared to wander into the ocean.

Pools - they have seven pools I believe, scattered throughout the property. Of these, we only tried four and each was consistently filthy, overcrowded and actually hotter than the air outside. A pleasant layer of scum can be seen on the surface of every pool, and in certain corners it adopts a foamy, yellowish colour. I tell you, nothing could be finer.

About the only positive thing I can say about this resort is the ease at which optional tours can be booked. Whiile it's fairly obvious they would make it as easy as possible to suck more money from you, the guides and representatives for tours were very friendly, informative and helpful.

I urge you to consider a different resort if the El Dorado Royale is in the running for your future vacation plans. I only wish I could have found an accurate review when I had booked, and sincerely hope this will help some of you avoid a very disappionting vacation.

6  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)
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
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 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range: $301 - $949 (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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