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“Amazingly Beautiful & Relaxing-A Casita Point of View”

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El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
A TripAdvisor Member
“Amazingly Beautiful & Relaxing-A Casita Point of View”
Reviewed May 14, 2005

My husband and I returned yesterday from a three night stay in a swim-up casita. The room was amazing with a huge tub, outdoor shower, two person jacuzzi and porch that led right up to a lazy river/swimming pool. It was beautiful. We loved walking out of our room into the pool. It was great, but if you aren't going to spend a lot of time in your room, I wouldn't worry about spending the extra money. Casitas are great for relaxing. We didn't even make it to sunbathe on the beach.

The resort seems to have everything, but it is very spread out and the casitas environment seems very quiet and relaxing. The regular part of the resort is more lively. There is no separate resort section as of this week. Regular room guests are allowed to use the pools & bars of the casita section as their own. There is no way to know the difference in casita guests vs. non-casita guests.

We are not into gourmet food, so we thought the breakfast and lunch were good, but the dinner was a bit too fancy for us. This was no fault of the El Dorado, just personal taste.

Most everything you read about the smell, beached whales, dinner reservations, etc in reviews is true, but if you let that overpower the sheer beauty and spectacular service of this resort, then that is a real shame.

You will have a great time, casita or not. The place is amazing!

  • Stayed May 2005
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13 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2005

My husband and I (both in our early 30's) take six, week long tropical vacations per year and only stay at the very best hotels. The W, Sofitel, Peninsula are standard when we are in the states so I realize our expectations are high. I also realize ther are other people like us, that know and appreciate fine hotels, this review is for those people.

Based on the reviews and the beautiful brochure we recieved from our travel agent, I decided EDR would be suitable for our April excursion. Our room which was supposed to be oceanview, was a view of the service entrance and the laundy buiding. We immediately complained and were told they had no other rooms available. After deciding to transfer to another hotel, our oceanview room suddenly became available and they also had an ocean front room for and extra $250 if we wanted the upgrade. After looking at both rooms, we paid the $250.

The restaurants were the only good part of our 7 night stay. It was by far the best food we've ever had in Mexico and the service was top notch as well. We thought the wine list was strange, since this all-inclusive resort wanted $45 us for a bottle of Gallo Chard. The "candlelight dinner on the beach" was also disturbing, and extra $50 us for less than average lobster and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. I felt so bad for the just married couples, who probably spent there wedding nights scratching each other.

If you love the beach, DO NOT BOOK THIS HOTEL! Yes, the sand is nice, however, you cannot swim anywhere in this resort. At best, you can wade up to your thighs until you reach the giant slime/graffiti covered sandbags (aka, beached whales) that sit about 100 feet from the shore. We were shocked at how strategically they photographed this place, to make it appear as if they had a decent beach. They also boast a natural salt-water pool. This looks more like a 30' x '60 retention pond.

The only late night "disco" is an open air bar, nestled in between the rooms on the south end and the courtyard. The pounding base from the music rattled our room (and probably 100 others) every night until 2am. The service at this bar was horrible. The bartenders were rude and they knew it. They had top shelf, but would not pour it. We started out tipping and after a couple nights of getting nowhere with these guys, gave up. The bars at the casita pools and the one by the beach cafe were great, good drinks and fast friendly service and they were tipped well and often.

That's really all I can say about our experience, don't believe what you see in pictures, I'll post mine soon and you will see a huge difference.

Stayed April 2005
30 Thank sunningmybuns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed May 12, 2005

My wife and I and two of our closest friends just returned from 10 days at the EDR. It can be summed up in a phrase, "A1, top shelf, all the way". Being a retired chef I have to say that the food rivaled any 5 star resteraunt. The wait staff was excellent. their friendliness and expertise was flawless. The bar staff was well trained, there to serve your every wish. The grounds. swimming pools and beach area were spotless. Cocktail service at the pools and on the beach was friendly and prompt. Oh...did I mention "No kids"...no one under 18 at the EDR. It was truely heaven. Twenty-four hour room service was just part of the icing on the cake. A golf cart ride to any resort destination was only a phone call away...usually with only a 10 min. wait. Even the nightly entertainment was professional entertainers..not resort staff. In summation, I would highly recommend the EDR if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful, pampered vacation. Words cannot express the wonderful 10 days we had....already making plans to go back next year.

  • Stayed May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
30 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed May 11, 2005

I returned yesterday from a 4 night stay at El Dorado Royale. Weeks prior to the trip I had diligently read each review on TripAdvisor so I feel it is my obligation to contribute. Let me give a brief overview of my “travel experience” so there is some sort of reference point to my opinions. My favorite hotel I’ve ever stayed at is the Ritz Carlton, Kapalua in Maui. Nothing has yet to compare. My least favorite hotel experience has been Crown Paradise in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico—that had been my only experience with an all-inclusive resort until El Dorado. I’ve been on one cruise and have mostly stayed at semi-upscale hotels in various cities. My husband and I are in our late 20s/early 30s, no children, love good food, love the "good life" (who doesn't?). I chose to vacation at El Dorado Royale based on a coworker’s experience and all the reviews I had read here. We simply wanted a low-key vacation where we could RELAX and unwind. El Dorado is perfect for just that.

The Positives:
1. Visually the place is beautiful! It truly looks like a paradise. All the water, flowers and building architecture is so amazing.

2. The workers are so polite and friendly. We tipped because they deserved it, not because we wanted stronger drinks or better service. They work hard!

3. The food is great. I had no problem making reservations upon arrival. We tried all of the restaurants except for the Mexican one and they were all delicious and 5 star quality. I loved Jo Jo’s for lunch but La Isla was good too. Breakfast was decent at either Cocotal or La Isla. Snacks by the pool are pizza or burgers. Tried the pizza…not so hot. Based on a review I had read, I got the Club Sandwich twice for lunch at La Isla…so good! The waffle fries served there and Jo Jo’s are fantastic. You can't go wrong with the food here.

4. The entertainment is something I can’t really comment on. We managed to get too much sun most the days and had way to early dinner reservations (5:30 and 6:00) which wiped us out before 10:00. The last night we were able to catch a band and a Latin dance show which was good fun. The band sang Guns-n-Roses and Pink Floyd…hilarious! Wish we would have been around all the other nights.

5. The space!—the pools, the lounging areas, the bars, the beach…there is just so much room to breathe on this resort. You truly feel like you are on a private island.

The Negatives:
1. Oh, that smell! After reading this complaint over and over again I went to the resort with the expectation of this “smell”. It is true, unfortunately. I do think that it depends on where you are on the resort. We were in room 217 (remember that number, I’ll touch on that later). This area of the resort seemed to have the worst of the smell. I’m not just being over sensitive…it was horrible. It was a fine mix of sewer and sulfur. Every morning at around 4:00 am I’d wake up from this smell whiffing into my room. That was the only time of day I could smell it inside but it was a nuisance nonetheless. The smell exists behind the buildings--that’s where you enter your rooms. Every time we stepped out of our rooms we’d cringe from that awful smell.

2. The room. Okay…I’ll stress that I think we have really bad luck here. We HAD to have gotten the WORST room in the resort. Room 217 to be exact. Paid for what we thought was a Jr. Oceanfront suite--instead we got a palm tree in our face with NO view of anything but leaves. A huge disappointment for me but my hubby didn’t want to “raise a stink” so we stayed. We did have ants in our bathroom so each morning I sprayed deodorant or shaving cream on them and in their “entrance holes”. They came back every morning. The beds were not so great either…very hard, tough pillows.

3. The shaded areas on the beach and around the pool were (as others have said in reviews) tough to get. Very annoying, you’ll see.

***My advice/conclusion/tips****

Ultimately, the El Dorado served its purpose for us which was to relax. It is a paradise but it has some quirks in certain areas. Read all the reviews. I actually took notes down from the reviews and brought them with me. The good outweighed the bad but the bad was pretty bad for us. We will not go there again but I still gave the resort four "circles" because our experience may not be what you would experience -- I'd give it five circles if our room would have been better.

I would recommend booking a casita or one of the newer sections of the suite buildings (some note where these are in other reviews). Book later dinners if possible--7:00 or 8:00 would be perfect. Bring nicer attire for dinner. The restaurants are top notch and you should dress appropriately for that. You will feel out of place if you do not dress a little nicer for dinner.

There is internet access in the main lobby (for a fee) and that is cheaper to communicate with people at home than calling. I wish I would have known that before I went. Be prepared to use a little Spanish. Some servers had little to no English skills. Take advantage of the activities—biking, snorkeling, kayaking…they are all great! Avoid room 217 or those around it. That is the smelliest/worst section and probably the oldest in the resort. Oh, and one great place my hubby and I loved and would recommend is the Health Bar…they don’t serve alcohol but serve wonderful smoothies, fruit plates and other “healthy” items.

Hope this helps! Feel free to email me if you have any questions: brendah@dirxion.com.

  • Stayed May 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
52 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed May 10, 2005

We stayed at the EDR for 2 weeks from April 25 '05 and had a great time, the things I read before we went had me wondering if it would be worth the money and effort to get there but I shouldn't have worried as everything was fine. We arrived at approx 6pm and were checked in straight away, the girl on reception advised us to go over and get some reservations for dinner which we did, although we couldn't get the restaurants we wanted everyday they are all so good that it wasn't a great issue.

We had a second floor garden view room and it was well situated not far to go to get to any of the facilities. The beach was kept really clean with seaweed cleared every morning, the sandbags although not pretty did a great job and we were able to bathe even if it was rough further out.

The staff were so friendly and couldn't do enough to help, except one or two and you get that anywhere. Julio in Jo Jo's at lunch time was so attentive and Teresa in the martini bar was just the best, she had our drinks ready for us by the time we had sat down without us having to order them once she had seen us a few times and knew what we drank.

I read a review about the staff having spare keys to the safety deposit boxes and although I thought it very odd was a bit concerned, well folks let me reasure any of you who read that. My husband managed to lose the key, (he left it in his pocket and went swimming)! We had to get someone out to open the safe, they haven't got spare keys so had to drill the lock.

All in all there wasn't anything that I could complain about, our room was cleaned before lunch everyday, the food was great as were the staff. We arrived back to our room to find fruit on the table and a bucket of bubbly in ice by the jacuzzi without us requesting it, what more do you need for a relaxing break in the sun? Oh and yes we would go back but not straight away as there are too many places to go and not enough time to do it.

  • Stayed April 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
28 Thank starcyl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, TX
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed May 10, 2005

We just got back from the El Dorado Royale Hotel and Spa. It was absolutely gorgeous. We had never been to an all inclusive hotel before, but this was well worth the money.
We were greeted as we stepped off the airport shuttle by a bellman who picked up our bags and stored them until we registered. As we entered the fabulous lobby, we were instantly met by concierge's that offered us champagne. We had arrived at 11am and were not expecting our room until 3pm, but they had it ready. We decided to upgrade to an oceanfront room and waited until 1 to get a key. We walked around the incredibly beautiful grounds, strolled to JoJo's for lunch. It is an open air restaurant on the beach that has great grilled food and the waiters' bring you drinks from the open air bar from next door. It is one of 6 restaurants that you can choose from. My favorite was La Isla for grilled fresh seafood. Aninais, a waiter we met there made our trip so very memorable.The Martini bar was great and Theresa was wonderful.
We had an oceanfront room, just next to the casitas. We could look out the patio door from the 2 person jacuzzi and see the tops of palm trees and the ocean. It was an absolute treat to be waited on, even at the beach and you didn't have to tip. FUN FUN FUN

23 Thank zoezaustin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solihull, England
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed May 9, 2005

We stayed at the EDR from 18th April until 2nd May. Our flight from Manchester was delayed 24hrs so we unfortunately lost a day, but that was the fault of the airline. We were in a party of 14 people celebrating my 50th birthday and I can honestly say there was not a single one of us (all ages) who were not well pleased with our choice of hotel.

Most of us stayed in garden suites. We had a ground floor one near to the main hotel lobby overlooking the beautiful gardens and fountains. We had a large bathroom with a huge, wet room style shower, well stocked with toiletries. There were two double beds in the bedroom with a lovely large jacuzzi complete with candles, matches, bubble bath, bath robes and an abundance of towels. The room also had an iron & ironing board, TV with a good English/American movie channel & a coffee maker which it was possible to make tea with - you just need to bring tea bags and acquire some milk from one of the restaurants to keep in the fridge mini bar.

We tried room service a couple of times and it took between 20-45 mins to arrive and was hot and very good.

The beach was beautiful - turquoise sea and white sand. It is a little rocky in places, but the sea is so clear you can easily avoid the rocks. The beached whales are necessary as the surf is quite rough and they are by no means an eye sore. It was quite windy most of the time we were there but it was not unwlecome as it was extremely hot and humid and the wind was warm. If you are into beach volley ball watch out for the rocks - my husband fell and cut his knee quite badly! We spent most time at one of the casita pools, preferring the more tranquil, intimate atmosphere to that of the main pool. Not that there is anything wrong with the main pool - it is just busier! From this position you were also close to the sea, so could choose to bathe in whichever. Kayaks, pedaloes, snorkels, bicycles and pottery painting are available for your entertainment. All the pools have swim up bars. The mango daquiries are very good!

All the restaurants are excellent. The only one we didn't visit twice was Cocotal (though the breakfasts are excellent) because the air conditioning was too cold! Also it is not a la carte. D'Italia was one of the favourites. Jo Jo's and La Isla are very good. The Mexican and Oriental were very good if you choose the right dish. I can recommend the lobster quesadillas and the duck in the Mexican.

The best for lunch were La Isla and Jo Jo's, but if you want simple food, the pizzas, burgers & hot dogs at La Cabana were very tasty. The healthy bar was also good for soups, salads, sandwiches and healthy, smoothy drinks. The only drink I liked at the Martini bar were the chocolate martinis which are delicious and more potent than you realise!

The booking would not have been a problem if we had been fewer in number. The hotel does not allow a la carte dining for tables of more than 6, so we had to book 2 or 3 tables each evening. We mostly managed it though!

The highlight of the trip was a day out on Isla Merjuras swimming with dolphins - absolutely fantastic! We loved Playa del Carmen and found an excusion to Tulum very interesting. If you go horse riding/swimming, beware of saying you are an advanced rider - the horses are fast and spirited and I am an experienced rider!

The only blight was that 10 or 11 of our party of 14 were affected to some degree by stomach upsets. I don't think it was the hotels fault. The hygiene standards seemed very high. We have not been able to identify the cause. Just remember to take plenty of Imodium!

Altogether it was 2 weeks of complete indulgence - heaven! I have no qualms about recommending it to anyone.

  • Stayed April 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
33 Thank Solihull_EnglandKim
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

Property: 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 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Spa 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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