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“Loved 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
Reviewed May 31, 2007

We had a short stay at the EDR the weekend of April 27th. I review every resort thoroughly before deciding to book, and thanks to many of your opinions on this board decided to book EDR.

We were in a casita suite, it was amazing. Loved the concept of the outdoor shower.

When we arived we were driven by golf cart to the concierge where the champagne was waiting. The room was not yet ready so we went off to explore the grounds.

The grounds were beautiful. We were amazed by the number of pools and bars. Great quiet spots to just relax as there were not many people if any at these pools.

The staff were very friendly, we ate at JoJo's and La Isla, the rest of the time we ordered room service. We also booked the beach dinner however cancelled, had to pay half, no big deal will do it next time.
We travel many times a year in Mexico and the Caribbean and cannot say enough about this resort, absolutely loved it. We are now looking into buying a timeshare.

You cannot go wrong with this resort-must stay in the Casita section!

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank karencm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9,179 - 9,185 of 10,638 reviews

Reviewed May 31, 2007

Oh. WOW. For my first trip ever down south, I can say I was absolutely SPOILED! Turquoise water, amazing accommodations...The service was above anything else I've ever experienced. Every person felt like they worked for me, they ALL said "Ola!" anytime they passed you. The golf-cart shuttles were awesome, the food was good in most places. Stay away from Fuentes and La Isla. Below-par food. Kampai food was good, but takes a LONG time to get served. We were there for lunch when it was only 1/4 full, and it took 3 hours!! we almost left to eat somewhere else. Italian place was top notch. Spa services were good. Grounds were immaculate! Beds were well below par, something you could have found at a Holiday Inn. For a 5-star hotel I expected more. Aside from that, I loved it, and would go back in a heartbeat! Always lots going on, and the fact it was a 21+ resort helped with the noise level. HUGE resort, but you never felt crowded. I would suggest doing a bus tour for chichen-itza (they pick you up in the lobby). We drove, and it cost us about the same. Our ocean-front room was on the ground floor, with just a hair of ocean to see. But most other rooms I'm sure had a better view. Get up EARLY to reserve a Pallapas (covered bed). Your beach towel and a magazine were all that was needed, and we didn't find that anyone "stole" your reserved area.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank keeptravlin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2007

Pennsylvania, May 2007. Loved the Resort.
This was an Anniversary for us & our 1st trip to Mexico. Upon this introduction to the country, we cannot wait to return! We booked through Luis @ Travelly, he was wonderful from beginning to end. We used Lomus travel, they were professional & courteous,we didn't speak spanish very well but they knew English. Very enjoyable short ride to Resort, Beautiful Accomadations & GREAT Food. Lovely Beach, Martini Bar is great, so are the Margarita's on the beach. Hotel is spotless. I can't say a bad word about it. Just go! We had an amazing candlelight dinner on the beach with a Saxaphone playing, the most romantic dinner & anniversary ever. Even the guest were great. Loved every minute. If you are looking for an elegant vacation, this is the one.
Did I mention the beach? it's white sand & calm water. Whether you want something to do or nothing to do, You can have it all.
Hope to return soon,
Jimette, PA

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank jimette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2007

We stayed here for our honeymoon May 21-28, and I am very, very sad that we are back home now. This a perfect destination for couples and Honeymooners; I would not stay here if I was single and looking to hook up, however.

Advice:

***When ordering alcoholic drinks, you must ask for top shelf liquor, or else they will give you the cheap crap. For example, when ordering a screw driver, you must say "Absolut and OJ, por favor". Trust me on this one, you don't want a Pepe Lopez headache.***

-Any Tequila that is "Reposado" is great Tequila. The best Tequila at EDR is Don Julio Reposado, and Don Julio Blanco.

-The water they serve is purified and perfectly ok to drink. This is the first time I haven't came back from Mexico with Montezuma's Revenge.

-Do not let anyone help you with your bags at the airport, no matter how official they look. They will carry your bags ten feet and then demand money. You want to avoid this.

-There is no ATM at the resort, yet plenty of optional activities that only accept cash. Bring at least $300.

-In order to reserve a palpalpa, put a towel on one around 6:30am, then go back to bed. You'll be thankful the next day.

-If you want to swim with the dolphins, or go on the trip to Xel-Ha or Tulum, RENT A CAR. The buses that they use to transport you are very hot and miserable if you get stuck in the back. Plus, you have to stop at every other resort that people on your bus are staying at. You can rent a car at the resort for $75, and there is only one major road to drive on.

-When the concierge puts a big book in front of you, say "No thank you, I don't want to hear about this." You paid a lot of money for this trip, and you shouldn't have to listen to a sales pitch.

-If you can't get the restaurant reservation you want, call the front desk. They are more helpful than the concierge.

-Tip, tip tip. $2 means THE WORLD to these people. They make $8 per day. You'll get better service, and you'll get a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

-Xel-Ha is touristy and overrated. The snorkeling stinks, along with the food. If you want to snorkle, use the free gear at EDR or book the snorkeling trip for $53.

-Order the nachos from room service. Just do it.

-Bring back a bottle of Vanilla extract and give it to your sweet ole momma for cooking.

The Food:

Every meal was excellent. They are small portions, so just make sure and order 2-3 appetizers, a salad, entree and dessert and you'll be more than full. And no, I am not fat. I just really liked the food here.

Best Food at El Dorado Royale:

Las Fuentes: The Arracharra Wellington is unbelievable. It's a skirt steak with foie gras mushrooms and asparagus. Definitely order this one, best thing at the resort.

Kampai: The Salmon Niguiri is seriously the best raw anything that I have ever put in my mouth. Get that first and then get the lamb with noodles. It's topped with a sweet and spicy orange sauce. I had two orders of this stuff! Oh yeah, get the spring rolls too. The fortune cookie dessert is still on my mind to this day.

JoJos: This was our favorite lunch joint. The beef sandwiches with waffle fries are excellent, also try the sword fish, which is the last thing on the menu. Very fresh and very good.

La Cabana: This burger was surprisingly good. The fries are homemade.

Rincoln: This is a hidden lunch-only restaurant behind Fuentes, which serves local Mexican fare. Eat here. One word: NACHOS. The fresh salsa and guacamole here are the real deal. We ate Nachos every day on this trip! The soup here is also spectacular. It has fresh shrimp, squid, and grouper with a local broth. If you get a Dos Equis, try the seafood tacos which are fried. They pair perfectly with a beer.

D'Italia: This restaurant was the most talked about, but we were only moderately impressed. The duck is excellent, however the steak dish is very bland. Very rich and extravagant food at this one.

El Cocotal: For lunch, make sure and get the chicken with rice and plaintain chip. This is a very authentic Mexican dish, and quite good. I had it on two different occasions.

Candle Light Dinner on the Beach: If you are not Honeymooning, this is worth the $150 just to have dinner on the sand 20 feet from the beach. You are also personally serenaded by a sax player. Most romantic dinner you can have. The Fondue (shrimp, beef, chicken, mushrooms, bread) is pre-cooked, so if you like to cook the food yourself you may not like this.

Most importantly:

Don't take yourself so seriously. This resort is top notch, and if you can't relax or enjoy yourself here, you have serious problems. Chances are you actually have responsibilities to return to.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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28  Thank las311
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2007

We stayed at the EDR from May 13-19 to celebrate our tenth anniversary, and had the best time. I’m so depressed at being home! But like everyone else, I read the message boards constantly before we left, and I’m now hoping to give back. We stayed in individual casita 2925.

First, the only real negative was the construction behind casita section 29 (8:00 am-5:00 pm). It’s true that they mostly use hand-held tools, but they are still noisy! If sleeping in late or napping is important, between now and the end of June 2007, request another section.

Grounds: gorgeous and very well-maintained. The amount of employees they have just to keep the place so manicured is staggering, and they work incredibly hard. I saw men on their hands and knees crawling under some of the bushes to get dead leaves and branches out. They rake the beaches every morning, and everything is spotless.

On the rooms: The casitas are larger and have the balcony bed, plus that outdoor shower is just too awesome! I don’t believe that we received any preferential treatment for reservations, but the check-in process was definitely much nicer. For us, the casitas were the best choice because we were there for a romantic, relaxing, quiet vacation, and the casita sections are very private and very quiet. We never had a problem finding a palapa in the casita section, but I never saw one available elsewhere after about 8:00 am. Another benefit to the casitas for us was the fact that I love to swim in the ocean and my husband prefers pools. Finally, we preferred the regular casita to the swim-up, because we loved the view from our balcony. I didn’t hear any complaints about the other section from anyone while we were there, but it was definitely a different crowd, and one that seemed more interested in partying.

Walking: We’re very active in our early thirties and did not find this to be a problem at all. A leisurely stroll along the beach towards a gourmet meal is no hardship, but there were times that it was inconvenient to have to run back to the room for something, so bring a big beach bag to carry stuff around. Plus, you can get a ride on a golf cart whenever you want.

Activities: The resort has some fun stuff, but we did do three off-site. First, we did the snorkeling trip to Punta Maroma, which was great. We also took a private cab into Playa del Carmen, and from there took the ferry to Cozumel. Both places were incredibly hot, tacky, crowded with loud tourists and pushy salesmen, and expensive. I was sorry that we wasted a day. In retrospect, I wish we had done the snorkeling trip to Cozumel instead of both excursions. Our third trip was to Coba and booked through Alltournative, and like the previous poster, I can not say enough about this trip!! I agree with her description 100%.

I only wish I had researched the trips more before we went, so I wouldn’t have made the Cozumel mistake. Plus, while there are reps at EDR to arrange the trip, they are through other companies, so they may not be correct on all the details. For example, our rep told us we would be home from the Coba tour by 4:00, and we were home by 7:00. Not a big deal except for our dinner reservations that night.

One interesting aspect of taking the off-site tours was that we got to see quite a few of the other resorts and talk to people staying at them. I consistently didn’t hear good things about Iberostar. In short, after talking to other people, we were so happy we chose EDR! Plus, some of the resorts make you wear colored plastic bracelets, and I don’t think anyone was happy about it.

Finally, I have to mention the five most talked about things. 1) Food was good to excellent, except that we consistently did like the beef. It tasted canned. I’d compare the food to some of the better American chain restaurants. We loved Fuentes for breakfast (they had everything you could imagine!), and JoJo’s for lunch. 2) The reservations were a bit of a pain but we got in everywhere we wanted and we were never hungry. 3) The whales are ugly, but they do make for nice swimming areas, and I used the free snorkeling equipment almost daily (bring your own if you don’t want to worry about your hour time limit). The salt water pool is awesome! I swam in the ocean every day, and found great shells every morning. Definitely bring some shoes so you can walk out onto the rocks and see the tide pools! 4) Yes, there is a little smell in some of the garden rooms section and along the back walkway behind the casitas. It’s no big deal.

5) We tipped everywhere and generously. This is a very poor area, and the hospitality industry is the only source of income. Many workers live on site away from their families, and 6 day work weeks or even 2 months of working every day without a break is not uncommon. Everyone worked so hard and was so friendly. I saw more than one person cross themselves when they received the money, and I know it was really appreciated. I couldn’t have enjoyed this luxurious vacation without knowing that I gave something back to the local community.

We would go back to EDR every year if we could! Sorry this is so long, but I hope it helps!

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank wisteria614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2007

Here is the real deal on El Dorado Royale...
1. Stay in the Casitas! Stay in the Casitas! Stay in the Casitas!
Why? Everything is one step above the rest on that end of the resort.
2. The beach is unsightly, unless you don't mind the sand bags!
If this doesn't bother you, great. Just be aware. Not my idea of paradise, by a long shot.
3. The food/service are superb, but take a very, very long time.
In other words, don't go to dinner starving! Our worst night took almost 3 hours for dinner to be served, begining to end. Yeah, we're on vacation, but spending that much time waiting for food every night gets old, fast!
4. I thought everything else was great. Friendly staff, great food, fun bars, clean and well maintained grounds.
5. I might consider going back to EDR, if they cleaned up the beach and would only consider staying in the Casita portion of the resort, soon to be it's own separate resort.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Margie44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2007

We stayed in a Casita Suite at El Dorado Royale for our honeymoon in July of 2004. We enjoyed it so much, we recommended to my brother-in-law and his wife, who also went for their honeymoon in May of 2005. We plan to go again with them and a few other family members for a vacation sometime soon. I highly recommend it!!!

  • Stayed: July 2004, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank mrssoleynni
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 Spa Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Top resorts 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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