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“Unforgettable Wedding At the El Dorado”

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El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Calgary
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Unforgettable Wedding At the El Dorado”
Reviewed October 1, 2006

I spent hours on trip advisor prior to booking out trip and felt it very important to submit my opinion.
We had 34 guests staying at the El Dorado for our wedding from Sept 23-30. Our Guests consisted of Couples, young singles in thier 20's, and even grandparents and we had not one complaint. Everyone had an amazing time.
We booked a casita and it was marvelous. We had 2 other couples in casitas and the remainder of our guests were spread out throughout the resort. Our guests never felt like they were treated differantly than those staying in Casitas. Besides having a different towel color and a seperate reception our guests all felt they had exceptional service.
The resort is Huge and there is a lot of walking but they do provide golf carts to get you around. The grounds are breathtaking.
The Beach:
The beach was beautiful. We didn't have any issues with the sandbags in the ocean. It's because of these that we're able to float in the ocean for hours at a time. The beach had rocky spots but nothing terrible.
The Food:
The food was amazing. It's true there'e no where to grab a quick bite but it's worth it. They spare no expense when preparing the food or drinks. Our favorites were the pool side BBQ restraunt for lunch, the Dorado Hot Dog was so good! We really like D'italia for dinner. We had the dinner on the beach and upgraded to lobster and this is the best meal we've eaten in months!
Service:
I don't know how anyone can complian about the service here. Every server we had was more then accomidating and never expected tips although we tipped for every meal. The bartenders are all great and never cheap out on the alcohol. Try the seven blocks, a drink that is 7 shots of liqour, good times! Julio at the casita pool bar was awesome. We commented how good his ceasers were and the only thing that would make them better would be olives, 10 minutes later we had olives. That's service! Our wedding coordinators were really great and organized everything. We spent our wedding day sitting by the pool. I never stressed once. It was fantastic.
We had guests who frequented the Sandals chain and said the El Dorado surpassed Sandals hands down.
If you want a relaxing, beautiful vacation that serves the best of everything this is the place for you!

  • Liked — Beautiful Scenery and the staff
  • Disliked — The nightly entertainment was a bit corny
  • Tips/Secrets — Appreciate the staff and remember you're on vacation!
  • Stayed September 2006
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
24 Thank Steph0919
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Bristol, England
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2006

Me and my husband stayed at the EDR from 12-26 September 2006 for our honeymoon, we had a wonderful time.

Rooms:
We stayed in an ocean front room which was lovely, we had a massive four poster bed, a jucuzzi and a hammock on the balcony. We were going to upgrade when we arrived, but we were really happy with our room and didnt feel the need to upgrade.

Food:
The resaurants are lovely, we didnt think much of the mexican as the food was a bit bland, all the other resturants were lovely, our favourite was La Fondue, its great. Lots of places to eat for lunch and dinner, although you do need to book all your resturants for dinner in advance, i would suggest doing this on your first day. But remember all these restuarants are gourmet!!! As part of our honeymoon package we had a candlelit dinner on the beach which was perfect, chilled champagne, lovely food and a saxaphone player in the background. There are lots of bars and the service in all of them is great, every cocktail you can think of, we never went to the bar.

The food a was a little too grich for us to have everynight (bit of a dodgy tummy), so we went into cancun one evening and had a lovely steak. There is a great steak house near coco bongo which i would recommend for all you steak lovers and really reasonably priced. Cancun takes about 40 mins in a taxi and costs about 45usd.

Entertainment:
They did have entertainment on every night but it was a little cheezy.. There was a casino night which was fun.

There were activities going on during the day, water polo, areobics etc. My husband had a free scuba diving lesson in the pool, an hour later he was scuba diving 50ft down in the ocean!! he said this experience was amazing.

Trips:
We went on the bar crawl which was great fun, we went to 3 pubs then onto Coco Bongo, this place was amazing, if you like a few drinks and a good night out i would deffinately reccommend doing the bar crawl (the entertainment in the hotel in very quiet). We also went on the Captain Hook night out, which is a pirate ship with lots of entertainment (dancing, drinking games etc) but do have a few drinks before hand!!
We also went out on a catamaran, it was nice but the snorkelling was a little dissapointing.

Overall we had a fab honeymoon, i would reccommend this hotel it is lovely, but personally we would stay a bit nearer to Cancun next time.

If you have any questions i will be more than happy to answer them for you ella.fotheringham@environment-agency.gov.uk

  • Liked — friendly, efficient service and beautiful grounds
  • Disliked — bit far away from cancun
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Fods
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado Springs, CO
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed September 29, 2006

El Dorado is all you can ask for and more!

We've stayed at the Aventura Spa Palace and Iberostar Pariaso Lindo. We enjoyed our stays at both and were reluctant to go somewhere else but decided to try a change, and what a nice surprise El Dorado was!!!!

ROOM: We stayed for one week, booked a Jacuzzi Ocean view room #4214. The room was perfecto for the price. You don't need a casita or oceanfront to enjoy the resort or the view. If you are more of a pool person than a beach view person, I would get a swim up. The rooms were clean. The 42 bldg was a great central location. All rooms have Jacuzzi and hammock which is a HUGE plus! There is nothing like sitting in your Jacuzzi and looking at the ocean, or passing out on the hammock in your underwear.

FOOD: NO BUFFETS!! Hallelujah!! The food is amazing with all caps!! It is like eating in a 5 star for 3 meals/day. They don't cut any corners when it comes to food; even the jalapeno poppers were homemade. It is not like the generic buffet you see at most all-inclusives. It is truly gourmet. If you like seafood-it is the best I’ve ever had. Even if you don't like seafood, the meats were perfect too and I am a very picky steak snob! It was great! We ate at all restaurants except the Mexican (can you believe we forgot about it!) We ate at Cocatal and Fuentes for breakfast and lunch but never for dinner (heard dinner was average there). Breakfast and lunch was fabulous there though. D'Italia (great dessert), Kampai (great sushi), Jojos (great everything!!). Fondue: not utterly horrible, but they do have some kinks to work out. If you go, go on a cool night, this restaurant needs to have A/c. The flaming food in front of you makes it very hot. The food tasted fine, but service is a little slow. But if you have ever eaten in a fondue restaurant before, you know it takes 3 hours to eat. The Fondue was not quite what I am use to either. But it was still good. We did go back our last night for dessert. Room service menu was a very limited compared to the other restaurants, but good (pasta, hamburgers, sandwiches, salad), it was quick 30 mins Mexican time. They say you should make your reservations for the restaurants for all nights the day you get there. Which I would stick to during the season, we did that, but we couldn't stick to it! So we just walked in where we wanted when we wanted!! We just asked if they had any cancellations or no shows. No Problemo!! Yes, portion size is small, but that means you order more! We had at least 3 courses for breakfast and lunch and 5+ for dinner. You get to try more food this way! And if you don't like something, order something else! You already paid for it!!

WINE:
I did not care for the house wine which is included. If you are a wino like me, you may want to stop at the duty free at the airport on the way in and pick up a case or two, Ha! They have a fabulous wine list, but for a price ( $35-$350 a bottle). Also if you order wine and you are any other place than the Italian restaurant, pre order or order it first. We had to wait for the Mexican mafia to deliver it from the cellar on the little golf cart and it was a good 15 min. wait.

OTHER DRINKS
Great!! No rip off on liquor here! They have JW, Jack D, Absolute, beer, champagne, best frozen cocktails I have ever had. no captain morgans though. Bring a 32 oz thermy, you will thank me for it. You can plop it up on the bar and they will fill it with what ever you want.

SERVICE:
Mostly surprisingly attentive, most of the time they knew what you wanted before you ask for it! My favorite one day, the guy that combs the beach called himself the valet for the beach! It was after breakfast when usually all the shade is taken and he carried two chairs on his back and put them under the little tiki on the beach! shade is quite valuable when you have a slight sunburn. My second favorite was when we snuck a bottle of wine into the oriental restaurant and no questions asked, he brought glasses and opened it for us! ha! We infrequently got a new server who seemed a little frazzled. Tips are not expected like someone said in the last review. They are very grateful.

POOL:
great! swim up bars everywhere. There are several small pools and one larger pool. They are nothing like the elaborate pools and lazy rivers that you see at most resorts but they get the job done. They are clean. Cool sort of eclectic jazz/techno fusion music at the pools. Around 1500, you may get a few of the "loud Americans"- I think alcohol makes everyone loud no matter what nationality you are. We just retreated to the beach.

DECOR:
Classy, Takes a less is more approach. Not big and palacey like Iberostar and Aventura.

Beach:
I was very worried about the beach b/c I am a total beach snob, but it was fine. It is not the long unobstructed beach that you see in the panhandle of Florida or Cancun or the Iberostar that we stayed the year before. It has many reefs and is rocky. BUT there is one section of beach that is not rocky, we frequented there quite a bit. The reefs were cool for snorkeling, lots of cool fish. Bring you own snorkel gear. But if you are finicky, bring beach shoes and a raft like I did.
LOVED the tiki huts with beds on the beach! Gotta get there at 0700 to reserve one though. While at the gym, I watched what I call the male tiki hut reserve club emerge around 0700 with towels to claim their territory. I can't lie, I sent my hubby out one morning too!! Yes, there are sand bags on the beach and no, they are not pretty but tolerable. They had a lot of damage from the hurricane and they are trying to rebuild. They don't really get in your way, you can still get great pictures, they are easily manuevaerable.

GYM
Not bad. Has 2 treadmills, weights, bikes, elliptical. Opens at 0730, but get there at 0650 to ensure treadmill. Did not care for the yoga class, usually there is at least one downward facing dog in a yoga class! But not this one, just a lot of breathing and arm moving.

SALES TOUR;
We did not do it, I heard horror stories on this Website, but our friends said it took 20 mins and they got a free snorkel trip which we paid $104. We were not harassed for not doing it. Every other day we got a note under our door reminding us of the opportunity and the compensation. That’s all.

Tours:
We did the snorkel tour. I was great! They are very accommodating. I heard that all the other tours were great too. I recommend getting off the resort for a day or two, but no more.

RESORT IS NOT FOR:
Catching a sports game, picky eaters (the PB&J, grilled cheese, chicken finger person), and nightclub goers will be bored at night, singles

RESORT IS FOR
Couples who want alone time and want to relax, want great food, sun, sand and ocean-- you may get away with a little sex on the beach, not the drink

All in all, we would stay here again over the Iberostar and Aventura.

  • Liked — Food, Ocean, professionalism of staff
  • Disliked — more included wines
  • Tips/Secrets — bring raft, snorkel gear, 32 oz thermy, let them do all the work, ask for the moon
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
40 Thank AirforceOD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
O'Fallon, Missouri
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2006

My husband and I came here for my 40th birthday. We wanted to select a place where there would be no drama. The plan was to select a facility that was nice, clean, and a place we could have a lot of fun. After all, you only turn 40 once. We arrive on September 20, which was the actual day of my birthday. One thing I can say, is people who wrote previous reviews abouts the airport were absolutely right. Be very careful. There were these men in light blue shirts trying to pretend that they were there to pick you up. If you book with a travel agent, make sure you know where to go and the uniforms of your transportation company. They will try to grab your luggage and take you to your destination, just give them a firm no and keep walking. Upon arrival at the resort, we were greeted with a glass of bubbly as we were welcomed by our Funjet representitive. Afterwards, we went to the check in counter and our room was actually ready. However, the location of the room was completely unacceptable. We booked a Junior Jacuzzi suite w/garden view, but we were not expecting to be stuck in the last building on the other side of the resort. The lady at the front desk was not as helpful as she could have been. She did change the room, but said it would not be ready until 3pm. Seeing that is was 12 noon, I did not think that was acceptable either. We spoke with the conceirge and she noticed that I was not particularly happy and wanted to know why. I told her, we actually were going to stay at a different resort but chose to come here because it was highly recommended. I informed her of the room situation and stated how unhappy I was. Afterall, you only turn 40 once and this was definitely a damper in my day. The resort is huge and our room was not near any of the activities or restaurants. She said she would see what she could do and she had our room moved to a beautiful area with a view of the pool and you could see part of the ocean. 5317 was our room number. She also made our dinner reservations for the whole week. We had no problem with dinner reservations. Not an issue at all. We even had a bottle of bubbly waiting in our room when we returned from dinner. Thanks Azzy!

We changed and went to the beach bar and hung out there for a while. That was my favorite bar. Martin, Miguel and Pedro were the best. All of the bartenders were great at the beach bar. The made it worth while. Carlos who works in the Spa gave me a complimentary massage when we told him we were there for my birthday. I booked an appointment with him for that Friday and had a great massage on the beach. Muchos gracias my amigo Carlos! Although the Spa double booked Carlos for a 10am appointment, which I think was a ploy from the "outside conceirge" who was trying to get me to change my appointment to do the "TOUR", of the resort. Carols was so upset and the other lady was leaving that day. I waited and let her go first, since she was leaving and he gave me an 1hour and 20 min. massage. "Awsome" Make sure you ask for Carlos he is the best. We did go into Playa De Carmen, "what a joke". Everything is overpriced in my opinion and it is a tourist trap. Better shopping in the airport.

ROOM: Clean

Beach: Nice, but rocky and a little of an eye sore because of the sand bags.

FOOD: Excellent! Favorite places were JO JO's, D'Itlaia, and Cocatal.

BARS: Beach Bar next to JO JO's was the best. Swing bar had all of the activities and that was fun at night.

Overall, I had a great time. It was a beautiful resort and I had great time.

  • Liked — Food and resort activities
  • Disliked — Front desk service, not conceirge
  • Tips/Secrets — Make sure you get the rook you want without paying an ugrade fee.
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank valmcelroy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taunton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
81 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2006

My wife & I stayed at the El Dorado Royale for 14 nights from the 8th September –23rd September 2006. Overall we had a good holiday even though there were a few issues…

On entering the lobby area I was expecting something special mainly because of the comments I’d read on various websites about how grandeur it looked-didn’t knock me over, seen lots of better ones on our travels.
At least ten other couples got off our bus who were staying at the resort so there was quite a queue, reception didn’t seem overly interested, they only had two check–ins open –hey what the hell- we got a glass of sparkling wine (champagne comes from one area of France & this bottle had no made in France anywhere) drank it then checked in.
Went to the waiting bellboy area to catch our golf buggies to our room & there was even confusion over that, no organisation whatsoever, perhaps we hit them at a busy period!!

Room

Eventually a bellboy drove us to the room pointing out different restaurants, bars pools etc en-route. We had landed at room 5225 in the new part of the resort the bellboy showed us the room & left with a tip I might add! The room was on the third floor it had a pool, garden & sea view all in one- not bad when we only booked a garden view room (there’s a story in that- tell ya later). Got to admit the room was gorgeous & big- better than I expected (I was sent a phone video of the room from a friend who had stayed at the resort previously & it didn’t look that nice). Only negatives about the room was the air conditioner being noisy also the fan made a hissing sound –the bed was a bit hard & the water temp in the shower was hard to set, it fluctuated somewhat. Major plusses…. great sea view, large balcony with nice seats, out of this world Jacuzzi, double sinks, large flat LCD TV. Remote air con control, coffee maker. Towel elephants, snails, turtles, dolls etc with flower petals skilfully created by our maid, they didn’t come cheap mind 2$ a day - Best of all a brand new room untouched by the unappreciated.

Grounds & Beach

Most reviews seem to say the grounds were beautiful I thought they were okay nothing special compared to some resorts I’ve stayed at. I agree with most, the beach is a let down –if a beach is important to you don’t go to the EDR. One thing that did amaze me is the pathways from the Fuentes pool to the new blocks- the paths go over the lazy river to the buildings but there’s only access to one room per path which means everyone has to walk the long way round to get to their rooms or climb over some bushes for the short cut, obviously there’s been a botch on the design when only one room in a block of 15 rooms as the only direct access, um!!
One other thing the golf carts come whizzing along the pathways at speed, be warned at night they bomb along without any lights on & the grounds aren’t well lit.

Restaurants & Bars

All evening meals have to be pre- booked by your concierge when you arrive at the resort, with the exception of the first two nights meals which can be booked prior to you’re arrival at the resort via E-mail to the hotel –I booked the Mexican for our first night & the Italian for our second, when we checked in at reception they issued us with reservation coupons for the restaurants that I’d booked. We had no problem reserving other nights restaurants at times we wanted, can’t believe people had problems booking restaurants, if you’re a little flexible you’ll be fine.

Mexican was my favourite restaurant whilst Jo Joes was my wife’s favourite.

Italian restaurant on our first visit was very poor the waiter forgot to bring a course- when I told him he just shrugged his shoulders & laughed & he wasn’t forthcoming with the wine either. When we got up from the table to leave his hand was out for a tip, it was the only time I didn’t tip- can you guess why? Because we had 14 nights at the resort we decided to give the Italian another chance & this time it was much better but we still only received one glass of wine, I didn’t push it because the wine was awful. I’m sure the cheap plonk is a ploy- rubbish house wine supplied hoping guests will pay super inflated prices for the better wines on wine lists provided.

Oriental was okay the starters & the sushi were very good the main meals were not so good.

Fuentes restaurant is different they are trying a new concept -its definitely not working, it’s too pretentious, food wise- if the restaurant was at the other side of the resort near the pretentious guests (casita – my joke sorry) it might work - my bet is- this will be turned into a steak house eventually.

Cocotal had some decent food but the service was inconsistent- one night it was great, on another occasions it was non-existent.

Because of the limited restaurant choice we frequented the Mexican on three occasions. The first & second time the food & services (Oscar, fantastic waiter) was superb –the third time all the staff knew us (we tipped well) & the experience was a bit creepy especially from one of the young girl hostesses on the door, she followed us outside after the meal asking us if we’d like to come back tomorrow –we politely said we’d booked elsewhere (didn’t really want to go a fourth time) but she was insistent & said she’d book us a table for tomorrow, we declined, got the feeling she was just after more tips- cynical I know.

Breakfast was taken at the Cocotal main restaurant everyday except for one morning we tried the Fuentes, which was a mistake- I’m sure with a little more insight Fuentes could be a great success for the resort but it isn’t happening yet. Breakfast in the Cocotal is good, not great, been to better buffets for breakfast, the service again is very inconsistent.

Lunch was mainly taken at Jo Jo’s which had the best lunch type food & the service was very good –we tried Fuentes a couple of times- the food was good but very small portions-one lunch time we walked out because of lack of service, sitting in a near empty restaurant for 10 minutes without a drink is not my idea of service so we walked & went to Jo Jo’s. There’s a new small snack bar at the side of Fuentes -the food & service is very good, they do take-away pizzas as well.

Had room service three times, it was okay nothing fantastic- luke warm soft chips, soggy salad, get the picture, service was on time & very good.

All Bars had very good service & very good standard of drinks (no bottle beer which I missed.) There was quite a few top shelf spirits they did not stock.

Activities & Entertainment

This is where the resort is a let down in my opinion. Organized activities are non-existent unless you’re into pool games or dancing. All travel brochure & web sites list activities like French Bowls, Horseshoe and rifle-shooting etc.etc.- there was no such thing.
Evening entertainment in the swing bar (the only entertainment on the resort) is unbelievably poor. 6-8 dancers dancing on a stage for an hour doing the same routine every night, granted in a different costume each night-Mexican night- Caribbean night….its virtually the same every night, no wonder everyone was in their room early. A fellow guest had a theory as to why the night entertainment was so poor- He said it saved the hotel money, why make the entertainment fantastic? All that will do is cost the hotel more in staffing & drinks. After the 1hour Broadway entertainment there’s a live band –well I think they were live!!! Oh I forget one night it was casino night- that’s the only night I enjoyed plus I won a t-shirt & sarong. There was some dirty dealings concerning the staff- after the casino games had finished everyone was asked to give all there pretend monies to the croupier at the table & he’d give you a pretend cheque for the total amount- the cheque would then be used for bidding in the auction at the end. I got my cheque something like 70,000$ the guy next to me only had 50,000$ the croupier said to him if he gave him 5$ & he’ll write 100,000$ in the pretend cheque. –I know it’s not the crime of the century but it shows what mentally some of the staff had at the resort.

Staff

Most of the staff are very friendly & helpful a few $ does help. The staff all seem to work hard with a smile on their faces with a few exceptions. Servicing of the rooms is very good can’t think of one complaint. The drink service around the pools & on the beach is very good mostly; one waiter though just walked around with a tray & didn’t ask anyone if they’d like a drink- what a fool! every drink we got whilst on the beach we tipped -his loss!! We stayed mostly on the beach near the Fuentes pool area, in that area there was nowhere to get a drink- only from the walking waiters who serviced the pool bar –that same pool bar shut at 17.00 which is far too early, no one could get a drink after that time in that area.

Other Guests

Where do I begin! This is the first resort I’ve stayed in where the guests are mainly North American & British. Usually on our travels the resorts have had numerous nationalities staying there, which makes for a more cosmopolitan feel, which I missed this time. First night we were wakened at 04.30am by screaming American voices that had no regard for fellow guests, luckily these Americans left after a few days. One day we were sat on the beach watching a group of Americans continually shouting for a waiter to keep filling their glasses up with alcohol, they were constantly screaming at one another & the poor Mexican waiter. After a couple of hours these Americans were plastered (It was middle of the afternoon) they were staggering all over the beach –one woman in her 50’s was out cold & it took four of her drunken friends to carry her off the beach. Every American seemed to be shouting and, was intoxicated. One night I was sat on the balcony, 500yards away an American couple were having a conversation with an English couple I heard every word the American couple said sadly those English need to speak up!! I’m sure there are some decent Americans but unfortunately for us they weren’t staying at the El Dorado Royale at the same time as us!

Checking out

Our bus wasn’t picking us up until 17.15 so we decided to keep the room on for an extra 3hours @ 25$ an hour, it was well spent –on check out there was a 50$ bottle of wine itemised on the bill which we hadn’t had- it took some convincing it wasn’t ours, The checkout guy eventually got the signed receipt for the bottle of wine, luckily the signature was nothing like mine then I notice the room number on the receipt- it was 5252 ours was 5225 always- double check your bills.

Overall

I nice break, a beautiful room, great weather. Will we be back? No. It’s back to the Greek Islands for us next, where in the past we’ve meet some really nice Americans.

  • Liked — Quality of the room
  • Disliked — Lack of European travellers
  • Tips/Secrets — Flexible regarding restaurant reservations-go with the flow
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank milesfromewood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edwardsville, Illinois
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2006

Arriving at the hotel was just as expected, chilled champagne in the beautiful lobby. Check in was easy. We had an oceanview room in the villa section, room 4326. The room was really nice, just like the pictures. The jacuzzi fit two people comfortably, and my husband is 6'5". I really liked the hammock on the balcony.

The food was good, and we did not have any trouble making reservations, but the times were restricted. I don't think we could have ever eaten at 8 pm. They told us only times earlier or later than the 8 o'clock hour. Book later than you expect, because you will spend the whole day in the sun, and you need time to shower and get ready for dinner. My husband and I are not into "gourmet" food much, we are more simple people. We really enjoyed all the seafood selections. Breakfast at Cocotal was really good. The french toast was so yummy!! We got room service a few times, and the food was good and it didn't take very long.

The only downfall as everyone says, is the beach. It is really rocky in most places, and the "beached whales" are REALLY an eye sore. They are quite distracting to the natural beauty of the ocean.

We did massages on the beach, took a trip to Xel-Ha, and parasailing while we were there. Xel-Ha was really beautiful, but a whole day there can get a bit boring. I would only do a half-day there.

The staff for the most part was friendly, but they definately do cater more to the Casita guests, which we were not. We listened to the 1 1/2 "time share" thing, but we chose not to purchase. The casitas are pretty and nice, but so are the villas, so I don't see them being worth SO MUCH extra money.

The place is beautiful, and we had a lovely honeymoon. However, we would not return, simply because we prefer to see new places when we travel.

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
15 Thank Jennifer B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Ontario
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2006

We stayed at the El Dorado Royale from Sept.1 - Sept. 15th for our 10th Anniversary and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We have done extensive traveling in the Caribbean and this place really ranks up there. The lobby is lovely and the air conditioning was very welcome. The weather was perfect, if very hot. The grounds are beautiful and well maintained- everywhere and not just in the Casita section.

If you have questions, you can email at pkferreira@allstream.net. Other reviewers were kind enough to answer my several questions before we left.

Room
We stayed in a GV suite (5322, near Fuentes). We loved our room and were lucky enough to have a partial ocean view although we did not pay for it. The marble everywhere is lovely. The bathroom is a good size with the toilet in its own area which we thought was great. The hot tub worked nicely and we enjoyed it a few times. Sometimes the maid service was excellent and sometimes it was minimal, i.e. it was not always swept and sometimes soap and towels were not quickly replenished. Also, the shampoo and conditioner supplied did not smell very nice and I wished I'd brought my own shampoo (very expensive in the gift shops for the brand offered). Unfortunately, the water is really salty and smelled at times as it was heavily chlorinated. Despite the amazing hot water (my husband thought it was too hot sometimes) and usually (not always) good pressure, we didn’t always feel clean after showering. We did have many lovely towel arrangements that were nice to see at the end of the day. The air conditioning worked very well (and was not too loud) and we always looked forward to it! While our mini bar was not super cold, it was adequate and we enjoyed many drinks from there.

Service- General
This resort is very large and has many employees. Many were outstanding. We have already let the hotel know which ones were particularly wonderful to us. We tipped some of the time but not all of the time. While tips seemed very appreciated, most of the time they did not seem expected. Often the service was so good and friendly that we really wanted to be tipping. Please see individual sections for further info on service.

Food- General
We found the meals to be good to excellent- mainly excellent. We did not have any serious stomach issues and definitely put on weight while there. The only problem is we hardly ever had an appetite from eating so much! We still find it difficult to understand the people who were looking for snacks???? Either they skipped meals or they have awesome appetites! Also, it is hard to understand the people who complain about no buffet (apart from breakfast). Anyone who has looked into this resort at all would know this and presumably this would be a reason to choose this resort (it was for us as we don’t care for buffet, breakfast excepted). It is true that a lot of seafood is offered on the menus, but we found this to be a plus not a negative! Although La Isla and La Cabana were not open, we did not miss them. There were always lots of places to choose from, including the Mexican Corner for lunch which offered many yummy items (pizza and fries for simpler choices). We did not have any problems making reservations and tried all of the restaurants. We were flexible with our reservation times and we often ate around 8. Again, I’m not sure why people think this is so late? It was hard to work up an appetite even for that time slot! Wait staff are almost all excellent and we rarely waited for any food or drink and we usually ordered from every course. Soups, in general, are amazing. We did not particularly care for the house wines but there was plenty to drink without it. We did get the occasional odd look if we both ordered an appetizer and then we ordered a different appetizer to split- we just ignored it and they did bring what we ordered. We also thought the dress code was really lax- fine if there was no dress code, but since there is one it’s amazing the number of women that were completely dressed up and the men in flip flops? Also, we saw a guy wearing a ball cap in D’Italia- wow.

Kampai-We enjoyed Kampai for breakfast and lunch many times. The burger at lunch is excellent and they have a really amazing French toast for breakfast. We had dinner only once there and while we enjoyed it, we were not inspired to return.
La Caretta-We enjoyed our one meal here but did not make it back here.
JoJos- We enjoyed JoJos for lunch and dinner, although we enjoyed lunches more than dinner. Sometimes the meat was a little overcooked at dinner. The seafood chowder is amazing there, as is the coconut ice cream.
D'Italia- was very good and had several dinners there. The lobster lasagna is very good and the shrimp dinner has excellent big shrimps.
Fondue- had one dinner there. It was fine but not as good as we'd hoped. Also it was a very warm evening and a little uncomfortable.
Cocotal- loved it for breakfast (both a la carte and buffet) and dinner (had really good steak there).
Fuentes- very good for breakfast and lunch (try the Karisma hamburger- it's excellent). Dinner was fine as well but we chose not to eat there more than once.
Room service- we only had it once but we thought it was VERY good. I had the club sandwich and fries and my husband had the blue cheese burger and fries. We also had the nachos and the brownie and cheesecake. The hot meals were hot and we were impressed with the quality of the food overall. In fact, I would have enjoyed having it again but we never had an opportunity (really it seems like you are eating all the time!)

Resort Size
Yes, there is a lot of walking at this resort, but given all of the eating, we were stunned at the number of people that would wait for carts to pick them up to get around. These were young people! We found the walking to be a very good thing and necessary even if you wanted an appetite for further eating! Sometimes the heat made the walking more difficult but we found it well manageable.

Also, we were not bothered by the construction (La Isla repairs etc.) True, our room was not close by but we would often walk by that area and it did not seem really obtrusive.

Animals
We really enjoyed Frida and Goo Goo, the two spider monkeys. Also, we were told by a staff member that there were 3 peahens and 3 peacocks, but we believe, after 2 weeks, that there are 1 of each. We loved these animals and enjoyed feeding them a little. The iguanas are interesting and they love to be fed the big red flowers that grow on the property (heard this from a staff member and fed countless iguanas after that!). Also, they do have some stray cats, which we fed a little (they appear to be only out at night and they do not bother anyone at the restaurants).

Beach/pool etc.
We often were able to secure a palapa while we were there and enjoyed lounging about very much. Yes we did get up early to reserve it but we tried to be there for most of the day when we did so. It’s true that lots of people leave them empty for hours after “reserving” them. We found the beach to be quite nice, although it is rocky in many places. We enjoyed the salt water pool and had lots of privacy there as it's not very popular. Even with La Isla closed, the pool areas did not feel particularly crowded, however during our last week the pool was definitely busier than the first. We did not try the pool closest to the lobby. We sometimes did get drinks from the bars in the Casita section as one was close to the end of the regular section which had some shaded area. Staff often came by on the beach to bring us drinks and that was particularly nice and relaxing.

Excursions
We went into Playa twice and once to Cancun. Both were good but I think I enjoyed Cancun more- it was worth seeing anyway. But then we always like to go off the resort for a least some of the time. It is unfortunate that you can’t really walk off this resort- we did walk to the entrance but did not venture further as there is nothing close by to walk to and no real room to walk anyway. We enjoyed going to Senor Frog's for beer and nachos in Cancun- it was a fun memory. I didn't believe it when I read it here before, but now I have to agree that if you wait to shop at the airport as you are leaving, you will not be disappointed. The airport offers LOTS of shopping at similar prices as elsewhere. We also did the Coba/ Mayan Village excursion. In retrospect, I would have enjoyed a full day at the ruins but it was a good trip.

Gift Shops
We bought lots from the several gift shops and generally they were quite reasonable (also used our timeshare $ here too- see below). I read in other reviews about someone being charged twice on their Visa at the gift shop so I was more than a little wary when they asked me to sign my receipts at every gift shop. I was given several different explanations as to why they needed my room # and signature. It appears it is for their internal purposes. In any event, no problem with my Visa.

Timeshare
We were able to get $150 US for doing the timeshare and it was right around 90 minutes. Like others have said before, they offer you no paperwork to review and drop the prices quite substantially if you show any potential interest. We did not buy anything although we were tempted when they offered to upgrade us to a Casita for our last week and have us return next year for a free holiday. I couldn't get past the lack of any REAL information apart from some scrawlings on a paper as they go through their spiel. Also, it was a spiel and he paid little or no attention to us as a couple and what we were interested in and what might have got us more interested. Also, it seems strange to me that they do not promote the El Dorado Royale more- the "deals" are when you stay elsewhere. Why this would be so when people have already chosen to stay there and when they are enjoying themselves (like us) is beyond me. In any event, we got some lovely clothes from the gift shop (they have some great logo clothes) for our time so we think it was worth going. It was a nice look around at the Casitas and the Presidential Suites.

Calling Home
We bought one $10 US phone card while there and it was a joke as it lasted for what I swear was less than 10 minutes. We think this resort would do well to offer free internet use given how unreasonable it is (cost wise) to make any calls home.

All in all, we had an amazing time.

  • Liked — the food and service
  • Disliked — lack of anything off the resort within walking distance
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
35 Thank 2vacationers
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
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 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 On the Beach 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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