Continental Plaza Resort – Playacar, Mexico Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Travel & Resort Reviews

Links, reviews, photos to help you with your Caribbean vacation planning    Resort Maps
Caribbean Resort & Travel Links  Temperature & Weather   print popular Spanish Phrases
Caribbean Weddings  Traveling with Kids Reviews  Caribbean Spas  Villas & Apartments
Caribbean Tours & Activities   Scuba Diving    Resort Photos
For USA and Canada destinations go to Debbie’s Hotel Reviews for the USA & Canada
Welcome to Debbie’s Caribbean Travel & Resort Reviews. Help others make informed choices by

sending a review of your Caribbean vacation to:

Please read our review guidelines and disclaimer. Mexico Home Mexico Resort Reviews Index Mexico Links Mexico Tour Reviews
Mexico Villas Mexico Wedding Information Mexico Scuba Diving

Continental Plaza Resort – Playacar  ~  Reviews Posted – 6
Continental Plaza Resort – Playacar Mark — Canada

January 2004

Life is a constant stream of pains and pleasures that flow over you, whether you are ready for them or not. Whereas the weather in January in Ottawa, Canada can only be considered a serious pain, the experience of visiting the Mayan Riviera was a true pleasure.

My girlfriend and I visited the Continental Plaza Playacar from January 9th-16th, 2004. This was my second trip down south, but it was her first. I am 31 and she is 28. To calibrate my feelings on this location, one must know that the other resort I visited was the Breezes Costa Verde, outside of Holguin, Cuba two years ago. As this was my only other experience in the Caribbean, I thought it would be important to mention.

We booked our trip through Go Travel Direct three months in advance and paid a very good price. Our flight, on Zoom Airlines departed from Ottawa on schedule and we arrived in Cancun at 3:30 local time. A very friendly representative from the company (Garreth) gave us the lowdown on the 45 minute bus-ride to the resort, telling us about the amenities of the area, the fact that the water served to us would be safe, etc… A very welcome surprise was presented to us when we were told on the bus that we had already been checked in and did not have to visit the front desk, but could go immediately to our rooms. The reps attached our all-inclusive bracelets during the trip and handed out our room keys. Very good idea there.

The Room
We pulled up to the resort a little after 5:00 and made our way to our room. We had a room with one king-sized bed that overlooked the ocean (we didn’t ask for or pay extra for this). The room was quite spacious, but I’m afraid that I’ll have to confirm the previous reports of a musty smell. As the week went on, I discovered the cause of this mustiness. This part of the world is remarkably humid. Even with the air conditioner on, the humidity permeates your room, making everything feel quite damp. The A/C machine is very strong (most mornings we would wake up chilly), but still couldn’t dry the room out. Other than that, the room was quite fine. You’ll likely find the bed a bit hard, and the tile floors a bit cold, but generally, everything was up to our standards. One surprise was the lack of a bathtub. It appeared that tubs were recently removed in place of a two-person (four-person even…) shower. We did not have any problems with water temperature, contrary to other reports. You might find that your towels don’t dry out as quickly as you’re used to due to the humidity. We simply placed our towels on the chairs on the patio over-night which did the trick.

The Pool/Beach
One thing this resort offers is a magnificent location; both in relation to town and to the beach. The beach is right there, steps from your room. While we were there, the beach had suffered a bit of narrowing due to some weather from the week before, but there was plenty of room to stretch out on you chairs and soak up the sun. As you are on the east coast of Mexico, most of your sun will be in the morning and early afternoon as the sun rises into the sky. Later in the day, it begins to hide behind the trees and buildings so get out early. We were up every day at dawn, and on the beach by 8:00am. We weren’t about to miss a minute of sun. The sand is very white and fine and the water is the usual tropical hue. The water was a bit chilly at first, which was different from my trip to Cuba where the water was bathtub-warm. It’s fine by the time you get in though. I figure the water was around 76 degrees or so. Unlike Cuba, the coral was far out so you didn’t have to wear sandals in the water with you, which was nice.

The pool I can’t speak on, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could. I saw maybe 5 people enter the pool the whole week we were there. I was told the water was cool and with the beach right there, why use the pool?

The Food
Straight up, I have to say that I was disappointed in the food at this resort. Breakfast was generally fine, with a nice selection of fruit, pancakes, waffles, omelettes, toast, cereal and the odd piece of meat (chopped hot dogs seemed to appear at breakfast often), and lunch was passable (hamburgers, hot dogs, consistently cold pizza, salad and various rice/meat/fish dishes). Dinner was the real problem. Each evening, the buffet had exactly 6 choices. You would have rice, chicken, pork or beef, fish and two local dishes that frankly always looked a bit dodgy. The rice would always be white, each day with a different veggie sprinkled in it. The chicken would always be broiled legs/breasts that would be in a different colour sauce each day, and seemed undercooked the two times I tried it. The pork and beef would always be cubed/strips and would be drowning in some grayish goop. I don’t care for fish, but it was always the choice that appeared the most appetizing. There were various cooked vegetables too, of course. This is not my idea of a good meal after day three of eating the same thing. To top things off, food was almost immediately cold when you arrive back at your table with it. Their bread was very good, cooked fresh and kept in a warming dish, and when they were available, the deserts were very tasty also. If you’re looking to fuel up with as much food as possible before a night on the town, you may be in luck, but if you are looking to enjoy a quality dinner, you’re much better off strolling into town. More on that later.

The Service
I’ve never experienced service so inconsistent in any hotel/restaurant. Sometimes, your server would be as attentive as he coupled possibly be, but other times, it was like pulling teeth to snatch one away from the table of single women that they hovered around like flies. Easily the most annoying thing about this resort was the fact that you had to sign for every meal/drink, even though it was all-inclusive. Getting your "bill" to sign at the end of the meal was often a tediously long process, as the bills had to be printed up upstairs, inside the hotel at the lobby bar. Why they made us wear bracelets was beyond me, since they had to confirm our room number with each meal or drink requested. It added wasted time to a week where one wants to enjoy every last valuable second. Even at the bars (of which only one was open at a time), the bartender would pass your order to another employee who would print up your bill and ask you to sign. The drinks themselves were very good, though don’t expect to get a Caesar or a mojito, as neither are served there. And then there’s the real kicker… On our last day, the bus to take us to the airport was scheduled to depart at 1:00pm, so we checked out at noon (another remarkably painless process), and made our way to the lunch area to eat before we left. To our surprise, the "bill" that arrived at the end was a real bill, despite the fact we were still wearing our bracelets. Two buffets and one drink equals $30.00-odd US. Simply, I was pissed. Luckily, there were others who had done the same as us and when we told the hotel manager, he said to just leave the bills unpaid. To the hotel’s credit, this just seemed to be a bit of confusion and was cleared up immediately. Still, watch out for this on your last day.

The Area
People have asked me why did I enjoy my trip so much when the hotel wasn’t great? Well, let me tell you… The town and area around it more than made up for any of the things lacking from the hotel itself. I was all set to come here and tell everyone all about the town, but I think it would be much better if you explored it for yourself. You can expect to find a lively street called 5th Avenue just outside the hotel (hint: walk along the beach and through Senor Frogs, instead of going out the front door of the hotel – it’s faster) and is packed with silver stores and a billion souvenir shops. Once you get past the TGI Friday’s though everything changes. I’ll leave it to you to discover for yourself the charms of Playa Del Carmen.

We took a few excursions that I should mention quickly here. First, we went on Captain Rick’s Deep Sea Fishing trip, which sets out from Puerto Aventuras about 15 minutes south of the resort by taxi. It was a fun trip and while we didn’t haul in any big game, we pulled in lots of interesting tropical fish. One tip, if you are going on a 4 hour trip, ask to bottom fish after the first hour is done, as trawling can get quite dull and they won’t bottom fish unless you ask them. We also visited the ruins of Tulum and the Ecological park Xel-Ha. Tulum is nice, but for someone who has seen many grand European ruins over the years, these were quite plain. Xel-Ha was lots of fun though, as you can snorkel with lots of neat fish in a lagoon and the many eateries there are wonderful. Look for Peemo the monkey if you see him and tell him I said hi, if you would. Finally, we took the ferry over to Cozumel on our next-to-last day, just for a few hours to get a look. It’s pretty much the same deal as Playa, but with lots more tourists as the cruise ships dock here. We didn’t get out of San Miguel, so I can’t speak on the rest of the island.

I hope you are able to use this info on the resort to help plan your trip. We used this site extensively and I still give it a read now and then when I consider next year’s trip. SHould anyone have any questions about our trip or the resort, feel free to email me at Good luck and may the sun shine on you everyday on your holiday!

Top of Page

Continental Plaza Resort – Playacar Canada

December 2003

My husband and I stayed at the Continental Plaza in February 2003. We had an all inclusive package from Go Travel Direct. The hotel was rated as a 4 star but it was definitely not a 4 star hotel. The rooms were large but musty and grungy. The rooms, sheets and towels did not seem clean and we had major problems getting hot water. The food was terrible. We deliberately ate out on many days. The drinks were good but you had to wait a long time. There were no beach activities or equipment for water sports. I would give this hotel a 2 star rating. With some major renovations and major improvements to the food it could be a 4 star hotel.

The location of the hotel was perfect. It was right in the town but you did not hear traffic or feel like you were in town. It was close to the ferry and to the tourist bus station where you could get a first class bus to anywhere. We really enjoyed the town and all the activities in the surrounding area but we hated the hotel.

We rated the Mayan Rivera area a 10 plus but the hotel was a definite 2. A tent would have been cleaner and better than this hotel.

Top of Page

Continental Plaza Resort – Playacar Ken – Ottawa, Canada

March 2003

We just returned from a one week stay at the Continental Plaza Playacar. A 3.5 star rating would be accurate for this hotel. We had an All inclusive package that was fine for food and drink. The beds were somewhat uncomfortable as well as the pillows. We had a junior suite with King bed and balcony and a little fridge sink area. There was a coffee maker in the room, so we brought our tim horton’s along with our filters. The pool is really nice, and there are plenty of lounge chairs and palapa’s around, although like anywhere we had to get up early to save our preferred spot. The hotel is close to everything,. We took the ferry to Cozumel and it was fast getting there. Not much to see in cozumel and quite expensive. The food at the hotel: Breakfast is buffet and you can have an omelette cooked with you choice of ingredients. There are quite a few choices, however, there was a lot less than what I have had at other resorts. Lunch is served a la carte at the pool bar and there are things like chicken fingers, hamburgers and a club sandwich which were good. We also had strawberry ice cream that was really good. By the 7th day though, you are a little tired of these things. The dinners varied, but you could always have pasta, salad and they had good buns. There is always a lot of fruit, and the deserts were really quite good. Our package was with Go Travel Direct which offered a very good deal at this hotel, 1199, all inclusive. We ran into some US travellers who had paid 2000.00 US just for the hotel and airfare, so obvioulsy this was a good price. Zoom Airlines who flies for Go Travel was really the best Charter that I have taken in quite some time.

All in all, this a good hotel for mexico. We walked down to the Porto Real, and although hotel looked nicer, the beach and pool area were not as nice as the Continental Plaza. All the staff at the Plaza were great as well.

Top of Page

Continental Plaza Resort – Playacar Bill

March 2003

we stayed ten nights, Jan. 27 to Feb7th, 2003. Good location. Food was below average at dinner. Good breakfast. Great beach. Friendly staff. I would call it a three star hotel. Ask for a mattress topper if you don’t like hard beds. Try to get above the ground floor. It is good bargain for the price if your looking for less expensive vacation.

Top of Page

Continental Plaza Resort – Playacar RD Ottawa
January 2003

Just returned from Continental Plaza

Certainly not a four star resort – Food was terrible – Buffet breakfast was average – Lunch is a la carte pool side, menu never changes.

The staff are slow and lunch always took over an hour even for nachos. Half the staff don’t speak English and orders are mixed up – Dinner is terrible, buffet style every evening with one feature item. 10 items are the same every night The feature item is poor, service is poor at best Cats running around the dining and pool area all the time

Pool was too cold and dirty and no one used it

Rooms were musty and they DO NOT change the sheets unless you ask. When we checked in we turned the sheets down to find hair in all three beds. Even after this they only sweep off the sheets daily and will not change them unless you complain. Fridge was disgusting.

Location of the hotel is perfect, minutes from downtown and right on the beach

The town is safe and clean (for Mexico)
Compare prices as we found up to a 600% difference within blocks You can always travel off the beaten path as this town is safe

Overall Town is a 9 Hotel is a 2

out of ten


Continental Plaza Resort – Playacar Cynthia Canada
January 2003

We stayed at Continental Plaza Playacar on the Mayan Riviera in Dec/2002 (not to be confused with the Continental Plaza in Cancun). We got a cheap last minute deal with GoTravelDirect from Ottawa (Canada).

Upon our arrival, the check in was very slow. Although the staff was friendly, they made both of us sign for everything (cards for beach towels, safe, room key, etc). Thankfully we were only a dozen or so to check in at the same time so it wasn’t so bad. Of course they won’t tell you where your room is upon check-in (much like most places) so you’re forced to let a very eager bellboy take your luggage up to your room. Once in your room he provides you with the hotel description (restaurants, etc). I assume this is to be worthy of a tip. The check out however was done VERY quickly. No signature necessary, we just handed in the key. They didn’t even ask for the towel cards back or anything. Strange considering it had been such a production to check in. Our hotel room (#418) had a beautiful ocean front view. It was equipped with a TV which had at least 4 English channels, 2 French channels and quite a few Spanish channels. The signal reception was off a few times but was quickly re-established. The safety deposit box was one of these digital keypad boxes that was difficult to operate and had poor English instructions. Ours did not work at all because the battery was low and the technician couldn’t come and fix it for a few days. So they let us use a safe behind the lobby counter which operated with a simple key. We could use it anytime of day and we were quite grateful for that option. The room was clean and did not have a musty smell as reported in other reviews. The bed sheets were very clean and we were always given clean fresh towels every day. This is a simple resort but a clean one. We had a feeling that they turn off the hot water during the night because we couldn’t take a hot shower when returning to the room after midnight. Daytime showers were fine. The water pressure was perfect. There are two restaurants at the resort. Breakfast and dinner are served buffet style at "la Pergola" and lunch is served "à la carte" at "La Sirena". The breakfast was average (fruit, toast, cereal, pancakes, rolls, eggs, delicious orange juice… they only served sausage once during the week and never had bacon). The lunch menu is fabulous (our favorites were the delicious beef fajitas and club sandwiches). The dinners were good but lacked in variety. We were promised a "pizza night", a "taco night", an "international night", etc… but were practically given the same meal every night: cubes of beef in sauce, cubes of chicken in sauce and cubes of pork in sauce with various side orders of bread, vegetables and rice/potatoes. The salad bar was great however, considering it is sometimes difficult to get good lettuce in Caribbean countries. Both restaurants seemed understaffed… although in their defence, we were there at the busiest time of year (Christmas vacation) so the service was slow at times when we asked for drinks with our meal. And although we wore "all inclusive" bracelets, we had to sign for all of our drinks throughout the week. This became VERY tiresome and time-consuming. Another problem was that although the brochure says that they have a variety of bars (swim up bar, pool bar, lobby bar) there is only one bar is open at a time. And this same barman also makes the drinks for the restaurant… so getting a drink was often a long process. The pool area is nice. They have many huts for shade. Like most resorts, people reserve their reclining lounge chair early by leaving a towel on it. Since we are late risers, we often had to sit in less comfortable lounge chairs by the ocean wall of the resort. These chairs are set in a permanent reclined position so you cannot sit up and read in them. They have a room in the back with thick pads that you can put on chairs that make them very comfortable.

There are a few stray cats (4 of them) that roam the resort at night. Apparently, people in rooms on the first floor were disturbed by them. We were not.

There are no pool or beach activities at this resort and no nightly entertainment. This is not a problem though since 5th avenue in Playa Del Carmen is right outside the hotel to the right hand side and is full of activity… restaurants with live entertainment, boutiques, bars, etc. Although expensive, this is a lovely and busy street. After our dinner, we spent every night walking up and down the avenue, having a beer on various patios and "people watching". It is as safe as walking in downtown Ottawa. A few vendors will try and get you into their shops but they are not aggressive in the least. If you like to take walks during the day, you can walk out of the hotel to the left hand side and see absolutely beautiful ocean front rental houses, with astonishing architecture and stunning gardens in an area called Playa Car.

The resort is about 40 feet from a ferry that brings people to and from Cozumel. It is a very busy dock but we were not disturbed by this at all. Nobody from the peer ever wandered into the resort area. There are many day trips to take for about $100 US each. We went on a day trip that included a morning tour of the Mayan ruins at Tullum and an afternoon at a snorkelling aqua-park called Xel Ha. We enjoyed this day trip immensely. This trip was only about 40 mins from the hotel, it included a guide as well as great meals and drinks so it was well worth the money. In conclusion, this resort is worth it for its location. There is plenty to see and do as opposed to being in better 5 star resort secluded by itself on the Riviera. You will love this resort for its location if you like to walk around and explore. But you get what you paid for when it comes to service and food variety.


Last updated: January 22, 2004

home  |  contact us  |  advertise  |  add url

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *