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“Better than Expected!”

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El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed April 18, 2005

Stayed at El Dorado Royale over Easter, 3/23/05-3/28/05, in a Casita. We are 38, from Pennsylvania, celebrating our 15th anniversary.

My wife and I like small resorts, 20-30 rooms, and we searched to find an all-inclusive one in Mexico. Finally found Mi Hotelito with 24 rooms which is owned by the same company as El Dorado Royale. Found out a month before the trip that Mi Hotelito would not be open until late May and that we were re-booked into El Dorado Royale. Needless to say, I was not very happy about being moved from a tiny resort into what I perceived as a large resort. El Dorado surpassed my expectations in nearly every way (especially after reading some of the negative reviews on this board).

If you've never traveled in Mexico, the airport can be confusing and intimidating. My wife speaks Spanish, so we were able to figure out where we were going fairly quickly. Arrived at the resort to a great welcome. We were booked into an ocean view room in building 22, but was able to $convince$ front desk staff to move us to a Casita. May be the best money I ever spent, Casita was wonderful, especially with the bar and pool right outside your porch and the beach steps away.

We had made our dinner reservations in advance via e-mail so that was not an issue for us.

The staff and the caretakers make this a 5-star instead of a 4-star. Resort is beautiful, always someone trimming the grass or cleaning. Not a scrap of litter anywhere. Room was cleaned by 10am every day. Waiters were wonderful at every meal. Bartender at Casita bar was fantastic. They really know how to take care of guests.

Went to the spa one day, massages and treatments were comparable to a US spa.

My wife and I thought the food was great. I would describe the portion size as exactly in line with what a recommended portion size should be (4-6oz of meat or seafood, small portion of rice, etc). All of the presentations were gourmet quality. By the time we were done with 3 or 4 courses we very rarely had room for desert. The only restaurant we did not eat in was the Italian.

The smell from the mangrove trees was very strong the first day, especially on the walking path in back of the Casitas. No smell in the front or on the beach. We got used to the smell fairly quickly.

We enjoyed the beach and had no problem with the surf breaks. Without them, ocean would have been far too rough.

If you want to party and have fun you can do that at the main pool. If you want to relax in solitude you can do that on the beach or at any of the other pools. Plenty of activities or not, whatever you like!

In summary, El Dorado Royale definitely exceeded my expectations.

  • Stayed: March 2005
    • Value
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29  Thank qwertycw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9,920 - 9,926 of 10,638 reviews

Reviewed April 18, 2005

My boyfriend and I, together with another couple (all in our late 30s, early 40s) stayed at the EDR April 3rd to 10th. It was my boyfriend's first trip out of Canada and it was a memorable one. Our friends stayed in a swim up casita (2nd floor) and we stayed in an oceanfront building #3. We all agreed however, that there is not a bad building in the place. They did initally want to put us in building 19, but it was too far a walk from our friends' casita (2nd last from the end) so they put us in #3, ground floor. There was a swimming pool 15 steps from our patio, and the beach about 40 steps - perfect! The room was always made up early and we thoroughly enjoyed the jacuzzi tub, bubbles and candles. What a relaxing way to end the day! Our friends' casita was spectacular and I know they really enjoyed their outdoor shower. There are small pools (4 I think) in front of each casita section, so we split our time between the beach and the casita pool at the end. Julio, the bartender there, was by far our favourite employee of the whole place. The beach at the casita end and in the middle is nicer and you don't need shoes at all - the water is so clear and made so calm by the sandbags that you can see where you're stepping and there's plenty of nice areas to swim. The sandbags are necessary to keep the water calm and we were told that eventually, they would form a natural coral reef. We didn't find them ugly at all, just necessary. We never found a problem getting chairs either on the beach or by the casita pool (we never did spend any time by the main pool). Even if we went out at 11 in the morning, we could still find chairs and some shade too.
We ate dinner at all of the restaurants and were lucky that the casita conceirge made the reservations for us. We did mistake a gentleman for a casita concierge when, in fact, he was a time share rep. Anyway, we could usually only get 9 at night for dinner (for our choices), but it was perfect for us, because we were still drinking by the pool at 6 and it extended our day. We would go back to the room, even catch a quick nap on the hammock, and then get ready for dinner. It worked for us, however, we didn't get to see much of the entertainment. Believe me, after spending all day having drinks in the sun, you're tired by 11 at night! By far, our favourite restaurant was the Mexican and we couldn't understand why people warned us away from it. The atmosphere was fabulous and the food even better. I would say the smallest portions would have been at the Italian restaurant, but still, we were certainly never hungry. You could order from every course, and sometimes we ordered 2 appetizers - we never had room for dessert! Lunch at La Isla was very good and the pizza and hamburgers were great at the outdoor grill. Our only disappointment was that we never ate at Jo Jo's for lunch and our friends that we met from Virginia said it was great. You don't have to dress up at all for lunch - just go in your beach wear and you'll be fine. Every supper my boyfriend wore shorts and a golf shirt. We ate breakfast mostly at Cocotal - great breakfast buffet. We did wish, some nights though, that there was a buffet to grab a quick meal - I think it would take the strain off of the reservation system and sometimes you just wanted to eat and get on with things.
We did tip the maid every day and the waiters at supper, as well as the bartenders, but you shouldn't feel like you have to. They never hovered around after bring you a drink, and sometimes we had to chase them with a tip!
We went into Playa del Carmen our last day and wished we would have went sooner, even spent a few evenings there. It was a great place, tons of shopping (not much bartering, but remember they start really high, especially for the jewellery). There were many outdoor restaurants and bars and it was a great atmosphere. We took a cab from the resort ($20 each way) and it was no trouble. The worst part of our vacation was the trip to Tulum and Xel-Ha. Tulum was fantastic - we had a guided tour - very hot though! Xel-Ha was a disappointment for us - the food was bad, it was incredibly confusing to get around and too many kids! We decided to do the lazy river and believe me, its not lazy (you laugh now). It was really difficult, there was no supervision and after we finally reached shore, we just wanted to go back to the resort. It was more like a kids' water park to us and we wished we had've just booked a catamaran cruise instead.
Anyway, I can't say enough about the people and the service at the resort. We talked to many people and they all said that it was their favourite place that they've ever stayed at. The cleanliness, the service, the staff, the food, the rooms, the beautiful grounds and flowers, were all 5 star. You could look up and down the beach and only see a few people. Its truly a great place for relaxing and unwinding and you never felt crowded. You are so lucky if you're reading these reviews because you have an upcoming trip! Enjoy every minute!

  • Stayed: April 2005
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19  Thank anniepoo888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2005

Just returned from 5 nights at EDR with three other couples, and I'd have to say that our experience mirrors most of the reviews I've read here. Here's my list of positive and negative experiences:


* The airport is a challenge once you clear immigration and customs. If you don't know exactly where to meet your ground transportation it can be very intimidating for the first-time visitor to Cancun. You must run the gauntlet of people who want to carry your bags, give you a ride, sell you a voucher for??? It's true that the FunJet reps are in white pants and teal shirts, but so are other people. Once we found the right people it was an easy transfer to the resort.

The experience on our departure day was even worse. The line of passengers waiting for various airlines stretches FOREVER, and nobody seems capable of telling you where you need to be. If an American Airlines employee hadn't rescued us from the end of a very long line we never would have made our connecting flight to Dallas.

* Making the dinner reservations is indeed a hassle, but a fairly minor one. We were told at the front desk during check-in that we could only reserve for one night into the future. We went straight to the reservations desk and secured reservation for all five nights, but it took nearly 30 minutes to secure reservations for a group of eight for each of the nights.

* Yes, the best beach/pool chairs are taken by 7:00 a.m. every day. If you want some shade, or want to be poolside at the main pool, you have to get up early and claim it.

* I love beer, but got very tired of Dos Equis on draft only. On the other hand, the liquor IS top-shelf and free-pouring. Never felt shorted on the booze. Take the advice of those who've recommended bringing an insulated mug of some type. It doesn't take long for the Mexican sun to turn even the coldest blender drink into something lukewarm and undrinkable. (Of course, you can always toss it and order another!)

* The entertainment: OMG is it bad. A mediocre band + English as a second language + Beatles tunes = time to go for a walk along the beach.


* It is absolutely beautiful. I though the buildings, the layout of the grounds, and the landscaping complemented the natural beauty of the location. The resort is not so big that you can't easily navigate from end to end with minimal effort.

* The service was excellent. Nearly all the staff were very friendly and eager to help. Even those who clearly spoke little English never failed to say Hola. We actually encounterd only a few instances where the language barrier posed much of a problem.

* The room (oceanfront suite) was gorgeous. We were in building 19, third floor, with a spectacular view and non-stop breeze. The room was well-maintained, and faithfully serviced in a timely fashion every day. Getting extra anything was not a problem. Some have commented on the noise level in buildings 18 & 19. Although we could hear the music, it was not distracting, nor did it keep us awake. Interestingly enough, in the middle of our stay, the resort renumbered the buildings on our end. The 1900 building is now the 4100 building.

* The food was excellent. We all had our favorites, but I think the Asian restaurant was the best...until the breeze died down and the mosquitoes came out to dine...on us. That was the ONLY bug episode we encountered the entire time, although one couple did have ants during their stay. We took advantage of room service and it was flawless and tasty every time. We never encountered a wait that was any worse than in most hotels.

* Like others, we heard that the casita area will be made "exlusive" to casita guests. That will be a shame. Moving from the beach in the morning to the swim-up bars in the casita pools in the afternoon became our routine. I'm not sure I would go back if this area of the resort became off-limits to some guests.

* The beach is very much like the ones in Southern California. I didn't find the need for water shoes, but there are rocks here and there; both on the beach and in the shallow water. The quality of the sand was good, and the staff are out there every morning grooming it for seaweed and trash.

In summary, we were very impressed with almost every aspect of the resort. I can't hold the resort responsible for the Cancun airport, but that portion of the trip definitely weighs on our decision to return or not. If EDR could find a way to streamline the restaurant reservations process, and upgrade the evening talent, the entire experience would be nearly perfect. The setting certainly is.

I don't have any pix to share, but drop a note if you have questions!

  • Stayed: April 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
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37  Thank MIZ-ZOU77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2005

We've just returned from a 7 night stay at El Dorado Royale, and hope to return next spring. Stayed in the "Hotel Zone" last year, for our first Mexican vacation and thought it couldn't be beat! This year we chose to stay at the El Dorado Royale and booked in November. Read reviews faithfully and sometimes I was worried about the choice I had made. My husbands brother and his girlfirend were joining us, so I wanted to make everyone happy and had some concerns when reading reviews. Let me assure ANYONE who has plans that they have made the BEST choice! We were treated so kindly, and all the staff were there to make sure that each and every visitor had the time of their lives. Any problem that is brought to the attention of the staff is taken care of immediately, and then followed up with a call or a visit to make sure that the guest has been taken care of. I will try not to repeat what may have already been written...no big details, but all that you've read is true, regarding the excellence of this resort! Any of the negatives written, are slight inconveniences and those who complained are folks that can't be made happy. I say this only because I saw how hard these folks work at keeping everyone comfortable and happy and feeling more than welcome. Everything from the rooms, to the food to the morning wake up call from the male peacock, made our stay memorable. I would have prefered a wake up call a bit later in the morning, but I don't think that peacocks can tell time!!! We saw many weddings and met some wonderful folks, both visitors and staff members that we hope to see again in the near future. The weather couldn't have been better, and even when you would think a storm was coming, the ocean breezes just blew it away! We send our best to Todd and Judi, a sweet couple who married this past week, and to Jose our favorite bartender at the Pecino's bar. Sandina is quite a guy, he'll send your husbands scuba diving if you'd let him!! HA HA!!! Our Elizabeth kept our room spotless and made us beautiful towel figures with fresh flowers each day. I could go on and on about the wonderful time we had, but I think you can probably feel it from the words I've written. If you have any questions, or would like to see photos, please feel free to email me at areno30003@aol.com.

  • Stayed: April 2005
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39  Thank AandRinVT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2005

My husband and I, along with another couple, visited the El Dorado Royale from April 1st through April 6th. We loved the resort-the rooms were kept very clean and 99% of the staff were friendly and helpful. The only really bad thing we experienced was the sulphur smell as you walked along the property. It was all the time and it wasn't everywhere but it was noticable. Thankfully it never smelt by the pool. We would recommend this resort to others with the following tips:
1) Get up early and reserve your pool chairs if you want to get one. We marked ours by 7 am.
2) Do not tip the maid the first night. We tipped $2 a day after the first and had a clean room right after breakfast. I had read reviews about late maid service and we never experienced this in the Ocean Front Jacuzzi Suites along with us tipping-dont know if that made the difference or not.
3) Do not take a room in building 18 and 19-there is construction right next door and the sulphur smell is worse over there. When we checked in at 11 pm on our first night they had us 2 couples split way apart-bldg. 3 and bldg. 18. I talked Jesus at the front desk into putting us closer and away from #18. After reading previous reviews and walking the property I am really grateful for switching.
4) When they say you will return from an excursion around 12:30 this means more like 2:30. So plan on any excursion taking most if not all of the day. Although we did book our own Parasailing excursion (through our Funjet rep.) into Cancun and it literally took us only 3 hours and was well worth it.
5) Go to the Travel Club presentation-the free gifts are worth it and you really can be done in 90 minutes.
6) If you love Kahlua (as we do) buy it in Playa del Carmen-2 huge bottles for $16!!!!
7) Don't expect alot of bargaining in Playa or Cancun when shopping-we and others at the resort were VERY disappointed.
8) We were fore warned to not eat the lettuce and after I stopped eating the cut fruit I stopped having stomach cramps-no diarrhea just cramps. We talked to others on our plane ride home and those that were sick ate alot from both groups. Talking to others we did hear this resort had good food over all. The club sandwich was awesome!
9) Above all else HAVE FUN!! Enjoy your vacation because it is over before you know it!

21  Thank COJOWisconsin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2005

The El Dorado Royale was absolutely wonderful! We were completely relaxed the whole time. The service was fast and fabulous! I would recommend anyone to stay here. We will defiantely be back!

  • Stayed: August 2004
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10  Thank bliss0803
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
o'fallon, missouri
Reviewed April 11, 2005

We were at EDR from 4/6-4/9. We were overwhelmed with the resorts beauty. The staff was friendly and quick to please your every request. The food was magnificent, the presentation of the food was picture worthy. We snorkeled everyday in the calm water. The "beached whales" were not an eyesore, they were greatly appreciated. The rooms were large and the shower was open and fun. The hammocks on the patio provided a nice relaxing atmosphere for late afternoon naps. We were in building 17 which is close to the night bar with entertainment. We loved this building, we were close to everything, ie; beach, pools, bars, entertainment. We did not hear the nightly music as we read about in previous reviews. We would stay in this building again. We pool hopped everyday between the main pool and the Casita pools. No problems going into the Casita section. We received the same quick service wether we tipped or not, so we stopped tipping and still had fast courteous service. Each restaurant was better than the night before. We were not able to eat at the raved about D'Italia but were not disappointed because the other restaurants we ate at were delicious. If you are worried about portion size, order more than one. We did. Order as much as you want, it's all included and they don't mind. We don't have anything negative to say about this resort, only that we wish we stayed longer. This resort was a perfect way for us to spend our 10th Anniversary. We have been to other adult only all-inclusives and this one will get a return trip. I can't imagine anywhere being better than EDR.

  • Stayed: April 2005
    • Value
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22  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
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 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Spa 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: $315 - $995 (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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