Old Reviews – The Royal Playa Del Carmen

  Royal Playa Del Carmen   Mariucci ~ Toronto, Canada

February 2009

Arrival: We booked through Air Canada Vacations, departing from Toronto. Flight was slightly delayed thanks to some late passengers, otherwise everything went well. We passed through customs fairly quickly and were met by some baggage carriers who took our luggage approximately 20 feet to our Air Canada Rep waiting out front. Not worth the 2 dollar tip, carry your own bags! From that point on, we realized that we were no longer on regular time and now on Mexican time which was considerly slower paced. The Air Canada Rep led the small group (almost walking in slow motion) towards the 8 passenger van and still somehow lost 1/2 of us. Luckily, we did manage to find him in the mass confusion in front of the airport. The ride to the hotel went well, it took approximately 1 hour in an air conditioned van and we arrived at the front lobby. We checked in without a problem, and Daniella passed us the champagne as we checked in. The hotel lobby was beautiful!!!! Definately a 5 star hotel!! The concierge was friendly and courteous, however, she seemed to be a new employee because when we inquired about the hotel amenities, she needed to ask other employess and misinformed us about the restaurants which were all inclusive. The bellhop promptly took our luggage to the room, even before we arrived!

Rooms: We opened the door to our Junior Suite and Oh my God, Unbelievable!. The room was absolutely immaculate. From the marble floors, to the ceramic tile shower, etc, the room was awesome. Although this jr suite is considered to be the standard room, it was equipped with a beautiful jacuzzi tub, and modernly furnished. It’s really not worth the extra upgrades for the price. The 1st thing we tried was the jacuzzi, we fired it up and although the water temperature was nice and it looked great, we found floatees inside!! So we got outta there fairly quickly. We shut it down within minutes, drained the water and that was it for the jacuzzi. Don’t get me wrong, everything else was immaculate and the staff were quite good when it came to addressing our needs. The magic box was truly magic, we called room service every morning and they delivered our coffee and OJ promptly. They will however, knock on the door even if you request it to be placed in the box, in hopes of getting their well deserved tip! The housekeeping staff were great, we had bon bons waiting for us every night on our mattress along with exotic birds made out of towels. We were on the main floor which led to a small deck consisting of 2 chairs and a hammock which overlooked the Royal Executive Suites. Every morning at 6am, we received a wake up call from the exotic birds outside our bedroom.

Restaurants and Bars: Spice Restaurant is the all inclusive buffet restaurant. We ate here quite a bit and the food is really good. I can honestly say that after 7 days of eating there, you will not be sick of the food, as is the case with most all inclusive buffet’s. The staff are extremely hard-working, and tend to your every need. Maria Marie Restaurant…Mexican/French fusion cuisine, we ate there once and would not recommend it. Chef’s Plate Restaurant..extra charge but highly recommended. Tapas… never tried it, Pelicano’s….on the beach (outdoors and great for breakfast and lunch). Finally, you can head over to the Sister hotel next door (Gran Porto Real) and eat at their restaurants with the all inclusive package.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach was probably the best in the area. There were private cabanas giving shade to those who needed it and plenty of chairs. Grab a towel and off you go. The fine white sand was cool on our feet and the water was clear. It was windy throughout the week, partially cloudy but plenty of sunshine. The pools were coldand empty most of the time. The grounds were immaculate.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: The entertainment on the resort was almost non-existent. Mind you, it’s a 5 star, geared more towrds the mature crowd who want peace and quiet. Tours…XCARET, walk around the ecological park all day, swim in the lazy river and watch the evening show at 6pm, well worth the money and only 7km’s away. Went to Tulum to see the ruins, another great way to spend the day. Do it in the morning when it’s cooler and before the busloads of tourists flood the entire area.

Other Comments: All in all, fantastic place and would defintely return. Very safe, close to 5th Avenue which is full of shopping/restaurants. This resort is worth the money.

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  Royal Playa Del Carmen   Sandy ~ Philadelphia

November 2008

Just returned from a short trip (11/5 – 11/9) to The Royal in Playa Del Carmen. We traveled with two other couples/friends and met two other couples/friend when we arrived who stayed for a full eight days. It was a first visit to this resort as each year we visit Playa Del Carmen, but always try different resorts (this was our 12th trip).

We attemped to check-in on-line as advertised with no luck. Not a big deal as our rooms were ready when we arrived (earlier than the scheduled check-in).

The food in all of the restaurants (even the buffet) was great. Most were able to accomidate our large party of ten and seat us all together.

The rooms, grounds, pool and beach were all beautiful and well kept. Our server at the pool (Elizabeth) was the best!

The only thing we wish was better was the tempature of the pool water. It was sunny and hot every day, but the water was so cold you could only stay in for a few minutes. This was a complaint we heard from other guests.

If your looking for night life or a party atmosphere this is not the resort for you, unless you go into town which is only blocks away.

We all had a great time and would recomment this resort.

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  Royal Playa Del Carmen   George ~ USA

June 2008

Front Desk – This was definitely the low-light of the trip! Two days before we left, we did on-line check-in for our room category which as a pool-side swim-up room. But, when we checked in we were told the room we had reserved would not be available until the next morning. Since it was only supposed to be one night, we agreed to stay in one of the non-swim-up suites for that ONE NIGHT. Unfortunately this situation continued for the next three days during which time we really could not fully unpack and did not have the room type that we had signed up for – no explanations, no negotiations, take it or leave it (the hotel).
Eventually on the fourth day we were able to move into the room we had reserved.

Rooms – Both rooms that we stayed in were very nice, but the suite we were forced to stay in for the first four days was almost too big – we kept misplacing stuff. Another "feature" of the suite room was a full view of the nightly weddings on the beach with lots of loud disco music for us to enjoy from our balcony. The swim-up room was smaller but had almost all of the same features plus the added bonus of being able to step out the sliding door and almost right into the pool! At least we got to enjoy it for the final three days of our vacation.

Restaurants and Food – Few complaints on the food front – we ate at almost all of the restaurants at the Royal as well as two of the ones across the street at the company’s sister property (the Real). For lunch we really liked eating outside at Pelicanos or inside at Asiana while we liked sitting outside at the Italian and Mexican restaurants at the Real for dinner. If you like mixed drinks then you’re in good shape, but if you appreciate good wine and beer you may be a little disappointed with their "house selections". If you want to trade up, their "premium" wine selections definitely carry ultra-premium prices!

Pools – Both pools at the resort were always very clean and uncrowded. The swim-up bar seemed to always make the best mixed drinks. Around 4pm, the pool area turned into one giant happy hour (really happy three hours) scene. It was generally a good time for everybody and there was only one day when things started to get out of hand.

Beach – Pretty good, but since all beaches in Mexico are essentially public beaches and the hotel was right in a town there were a lot of traffic up and down the beach. Also, if you wanted a beach bed setup, you had to get up pretty early in order to claim it – that’s just the way it was. Snorkeling just offshore was unexpectedly good – a fair amount of coral and fish near the pier and even a lone Barracuda! Just remember to use a diving buoy to help keep the boats at a safe distance.

Activities – Not much going on at the hotel, but there are a lot of excursions that can be booked through the hotel or independently. We went on a day-trip to "Tulum and Beyond" (Tulum, plus private beach and cenote diving) with Playa.info and it turned out to be a great experience. Also went on a "resort course" scuba dive with Tank Ha, which was absolutely fantastic – highly recommended.

Local – Since the hotel is right in the town of Playa Del Carmen, a lot of shopping is only a couple of blocks walk. We never got around to sampling the nightlife in town, but heard reports from other guests that there are a lot of happening places.

Conclusion: A potentially great hotel that we’ll probably never return to because the management treated us so poorly. It took a threat by our travel company to pull the reservation for a wedding party of 50 people before the hotel management would even respond to our complaints after the trip.

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  Royal Playa Del Carmen   Kim and Blair ~ Brandon, Manitoba

February 2008

Arrival – We were 1/2 hour late landing due to so many flights landing at Cancun. It was actually quick going through immigration and getting our luggage. we got on a big bus to go to the resort which took about 1-1/2 hours due to the fact we had to let people off at other resorts. I think next time we would maybe just take a cab as you can be to the resort in about 40 minutes. Check in was quick. We weren’t able to book the room on-line as we could not access it for some reason. We paid for a Royal Jr. Suite Oceanview but got a Jr. Suite facing the other hotel . We just visited the Air Canada rep and she got us the right room and we were moved the next day and they reimbursed us for the one night.

Rooms – The nicest rooms we have ever had. We have travelled to the Mayan many times in the past few years. The bed at this resort was so comfortable and everything was sparkly clean and well looked after. Houskeeping was great…but she did a little extra if you left a tip. The bar guy kept the fridge and bar well stocked!

Restaurants – We were very impressed with all the restaurants. Lots of variety, great tasting! You could eat shrimp every day if you wanted! We also ordered the lobster one night at Pelicanos and it was absolutely delicious! The only thing we had to complain about was that they didn’t use real butter anywhere in the resort. It was all margarine which we do not like. It would have been nice to have real butter with the lobster! The buffet restaurant always had so much variety it was easy to find something different all the time.

Bars – Great bars and lots of them! Lots of Bacardi Rum which we have found hard to find at different resorts. The wine was also very good!!

Beach and Pools – The beach was beautiful. THey cleaned the seaweed and garbage up every morning early. The pool was big and never overcrowded. The resort even had a huge heated part that wasn’t quite as warm as a hot tub but was very nice to relax in. The pools were very clean and well kept.

Grounds – The grounds were well kept. The grass was so nice and green! Lots of shrubs and bushes as well.

Activities – The activity crew kept everyone busy. We went on the bike tour to Playacar…it was very interesting. Lots of fun games and things to do. The only thing we would have liked more of is band in the lobby bar playing all night or a disc jockey so people could dance. People would just get up to dance and the band would be gone. We went to a couple of the night shows that were very good.

Conclusion – We are definitely going back to this resort and would highly recommend it to anyone. We also liked the fact it was adults only. We have been to some resorts were there are young kids and the parent allow them to drink and the scenes get pretty ugly. There was none of that at this resort. We also liked the fact you could walk out the resort doors and you were only a block from 5th ave. Lots of evenings we just walked and watched the people. The shopping was great and they even have a Walmart. It probably has the cheapest booze and trinkets and clothes. Senior Frogs is also just a few blocks away if you are looking for a wild time!

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  Royal Playa Del Carmen   Pauline ~ Toronto

February 2008

Just returned from Playa del Carmen and had a great time,, the bedroom was very nice, and clean, the first few days our room would not be clean until late at night so I had to go to the front desk and that was handle and not other problems. I was disappointed that all the picture I saw said we would get towel art but we never did. Otherwise the the resort is very lovely and clean. The people are so nice and friendly. The food was fine, nothing spectacular, we preferred the buffet, this way we got what we wanted. We did go Deep Sea Finish and it was booked through the Royal on 5th Avenue one of their Kios, we could of gotten it for $50 if we went along with the time sharing stuff but we refuse so we paid $200. the money was not my issue it was the boat, it was approximately 20 feet, no down riggers, should we of gotten a fish, no chair just a strap you velcro on, and the captain and mate could not communicate very well, the sea was quite rough on our returned, so for those of you that do not like rough seas, pay the extra money and rent the cabin cruisers. The ocean is simply breathtaking, the beaches are very clean. The resort itself is extremely beautiful, every night they had a local band playing in the main lobby and that was nice enough, if you wanted nightly entertainment you just when walking along 5th or even along the shore and there was a bar (forgot the name Blue something) but they had on Thursday Night at 11:30 (hard to stay up when in the sun all day) and had Fire Burning dancers, which was extremely talented.

I would go back without any problem, it’s such a wonderful and calming and I highly recommended this resort, next year we are hoping for a 10 day stay instead of just 7.

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  Royal Playa Del Carmen   Canada

February 2008

Hola!! My hubby and I just returned yesterday and we’re back in the snow and cold. Was it just a beautiful dream? What a wonderful relaxing week in the sun. We have been to a lot of places but it’ll be hard to top this one! We had the BEST time. Most aspects of the resort were fantastic with only a few little glitches here and there but hey, what vacation is perfect? This one comes pretty darn close. Someone here wisely said " A week in the Mayan Riviera does a body good." How true. We were royally spoiled, and returned home fully relaxed and refreshed. We both recommend this resort highly.

Food and restaurants were wonderful with great choices and we never had to wait. Nice seafood selections everywhere. Most dishes were very well prepared with great presentation. Sometimes we did not get what we ordered but that was OK. All food was good to very good with the least favourite being Asiana where the service was off that night due to being short staffed. Room service is a big plus too. We ordered breakfast a couple of mornings and pulled our little table out on to the terrace and enjoyed the view. Spice is good for breakfast too but I thought that it was kind of chaotic sometimes with waiters scrambling to get tables set in time for new patrons. The restaurant did not seem big enough to accommodate everyone for breakfast and it was noisy and overcrowded if you went after 8:30 am. The rest of the time for lunch and dinner, because a lot of people went to the other spots that were open, it seemed that the food was left out longer and then did not stay hot. But service was top notch here. And it was air-conditioned. Pelicanos was nice too and we liked to sit around past the other side of the bar on the street side in Tapas. Tapas has these tasty little sandwiches and finger food like roasted red peppers stuffed with tuna on a baguette and cheese or avocados stuffed with cheese and olives. And you can order a burger and fries if you want to even if it is not on the menu. Again top notch service. The only places that had a dress code were Maria Marie’s and Chef’s Plate. They are the on-site a la carte restaurants. Pelicanos, Asiana’s, and at the sister hotel, Il Pescatore and Maria’s are all open to the public so do not enforce a dress code. It is nice to go back to your room after a hard day at the beach, shower and get dressed and then decide where to go for dinner. Il Pescatore was one that my husband and I liked the best for Italian food and Caesar Salad. Chef’s Plate was incredible.

Service was second to none and the nicest part of our week was to meet these lovely people. I love the Mexican people for their genuine friendliness and attentiveness. From our concierge Fransico, the waiters Pedro, Artemio, hostess and waitresses Ceisa, Aranza. Azul, Vicky, Lisa.and Rebeca, houskeeper Cleo, and front foyer staff Hector and Felipe……excellent service. We did not hear the word "no" the entire week and we must of said "Hola" a thousand times!! One time we had ordered room service and it was almost 45 minutes and it still did not arrive and then a phone call to our room was made by a very apologetic gentleman who stated that our order was delayed he was so sorry that we were waiting and that our food would be right there. Within another five minutes it appeared.

And the rooms!! OMG what a comfortable bed!! It was hard not to lie down in the bed when in the room and hard to get up in the mornings. Pillows galore. It is handy to have all the switches at the bedside to operate the lights and ceiling fan. Speaking of switches there sure are a lot of them. I liked the little sink in the shower area. The bose stereo is a nice touch. We didn’t use the hot tub. Every day I’d mention that we would go into the hot tub and crack open our champagne but we never did. The bed was too comfortable to not get into right away. As mentioned here a couple of times there is not very much storage but we made do. The safe worked very well. Just to reiterate about the great service, we did not have hot water the first night so I called housekeeping and with in five minutes it was fixed!!! No one even came to the room. Hubby stated that a valve was probably shut off somewhere. The problem was promptly attended to and we were very impressed with the expeditious way our concern was addressed. Turn down service was received every night except one and the chamber maids would come at different times during the day. No problem though. We loved our room and we had a great view of the pool area and sea from #399. The next best room to oceanfront. If there was anything to complain about it would be regarding the pool and hot tub lingerers that by the time darkness came would be very loud and obnoxious, not realizing that their voices carried and bounced off the buildings. It was hard to have a quiet afternoon nap or peaceful pre-dinner time in our room in this part of the hotel with the TradeWinds Bar directly below. But hey, people are relaxing and having fun and we did choose to have our door open in the evenings for the breeze and the sound of the sea so we can’t complain too much. It really was no big problem except one night there were some very rude drunk people whooping and hollering in the middle of the night. But it was only one night and the awesome view of the sea was worth more than this little inconvenience.

The beach is probably and arguably the nicest beach in the Riviera Maya in the Playa Del Carmen area. We are beach people and love the sea. We would go early and even though the annoying towel game people were out early to pick all the prime spots we always found a spot that was suitable. Except there was one instance on our last day when we were approached by a rude man and his wife after sunning ourselves and enjoying the beach for over three hours and were told that we were in their spot. There had been no towels on the loungers when we got there, as they were a couple of the only few that were left that had not been saved by the towel gamers. Apparently some of the wooden enclosures (for lack of a better word and I prefer palapas anyway over these kind of ugly wooden things) have numbers on them that state they are assigned to certain suites. Well, I didn’t even notice them at all really during the whole week we spent on the beach. And some of them that I looked at later on were defaced and illegible or missing altogether. Any way this man very rudely asked us to move from his spot or he would get security and blah blah blah. He was rude and he came out of nowhere and did I say he was very rude. We did move after I told him he could have at least asked nicely and not be so rude. It did not seem to be a problem all week and we sat where we could. So, I was just wondering if this is enforced as we were not informed of this matter or told of assigned numbered spots and not to sit in them. So my point is it’s bad enough that there are the annoying towel game people taking the prime spots but then here there were numbers and assigned spots on the beach for others. Kind of weird and unnecessary. And I was upset by this rude person but not for long, as I don’t like to be ticked off while on vacation and waste my precious time.

We left the hotel twice during the week. Once to take the ferry across to Cozumel (highly recommended) We rented a jeep and drove the 38 kms around the island and over to the wild side where we visited Bob Marleys Beach Bar and then on to Coconuts. This was probably our best day of the week and it was so much fun. Awesome sea vistas and the Blue Margaritas at Coconuts were tasty. Also I want to mention that if you consider doing this trip and take the ferry, pick a nice calm day and take a half tab of Gravol. We took the ferry crossing 8 years ago and it was brutal. Crossing on a rough day is tough and I was very ill. But not this time. It takes about 35 to forty minutes and cost 120 pesos pp return. You can rent your jeep when you buy your tickets before you cross over or when you get there. We also took a bus to Cancun one day to the sister hotel the Royal. It is so cheap and convenient to travel by bus in Mexico. We felt very safe. It’s a 10- minute walk from the hotel to the bus station on 5th and the cost was 174 pesos for two return to Cancun. When you get off at the bus in downtown Cancun you then jump on a hotel zone bus from the nearest corner and for 6.5 pesos (the cost still has not gone up since we were there four years ago) the bus will take you and drop you off right in front. We spent a few hours there and ate in Pelicano’s, had a beer and a shot of Tequila. We talked about how glad we were to be staying in Playa as even though the water is absolutely awesome in Cancun the beaches unfortunately have suffered greatly from the recent storms with huge unsightly sand bags and rocks littering the shore line. The pool here was full b/c you can’t really swim there in the beach. I bet the towel game players are even worse there.

Finally, we are so fortunate to have had this wonderful time in the sun again in such a paradise as the Royal Playa Del Carmen with it’s great location, food, wonderful staff service and amenities. I could go on and on. Thanks for reading and thank you trip advisor. So folks if you want a great vacation go to the RPDC and you will not be disappointed. We have already started to save for our next year’s trip and even though we don’t go to the same place twice there is a good chance that we will return to this one. Happy travels amigos and amigas!!

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  Royal Playa Del Carmen   Faye ~ Nova Scotia

December 2007

Arrival – arrived mid afternoon met with a glass of champayne check in very fast and our room was ready.

Rooms – the rooms are beautiful with whirlpool tub and separate bathroom , nice patio two beds fully stocked mini bar and fridge

Restaurants – the buffet was great lots of variety, maria marie was really nice good food and nice wine.the pelican was great for lunch try the skirt steak.

Bars – all bars I thought offered excellent service and the pool service is great as well

Beach and Pools – the beach is okay but the pools are amazing we spent most of our time around the pool

Grounds – the grounds are incredible and very well kept the grass is so green it looks fake but of course it isn’t.

Activities – the activites are okay and fun to watch around the pool

Conclusion – this is a beautiful resort and we plan to go again this year the only complaint is about the timeshare people and I have heard this from many people the resort should really do someting about this ,people don’t want to be bugged when they are on vacation.

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Royal Playa Del Carmen Karen

September 2007

Aborted landing on arrival in CUN 9.15: Flew Jet Blue – the directtv does not work over water but we had a choice of two movies. We were about 100 feet from touchdown when the pilot suddenly pulled up and went around. Turns out there was a small Cessna that couldnt make up his mind where he was going. Jet Blue still lands at the "old" terminal (T2)

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Most excellent. Online checkin works just as promised. Why pay for ocean FRONT when I had such a great ocean VIEW. Limited # of elevators, but its totally doable. Very nice lobby. Comfortable to sit around. Have to be very careful when its wet. Everything gets very slippery. "water shoes" a good idea around the pool.

ROOM: Room 353 – top floor COBA (non-smoking) building. Exactly as it appeared on the on-line check in. Bed is the BEST I’ve had in any hotel out of the USA. Bose Stereo system, rental library for DVDs (didn’t use), mini bar (snack are even refreshed). A Liquor system for drinks in your room. (4 bottles). Maid service – request time period. Always done (at least in my room). Turndown service. They are ALWAYS late………since I go to bed early, I only got the service one night.

You CAN borrow an IPOD, with a deposit (which is returned). I think its the Ipod Shuffle, so you cant select which songs to listen to.

Minor NEGATIVES: No stairs into separate pool with swimup bar. Not enough shade around pool. Hotel gift shop WAY TOO EXPENSIVE (3 t-shirts 830 pesos – and that’s about $27 each). Unfortunately only Iberostars seem to have Harrison’s Jewelry (also expensive but worth it)

ACTIVITIES: Limited, not like some other hotels, but the staff was great, especially Maria and Rosario on the entertainment team.

FOOD: Excellent compared to some other all inclusives. Loved the 24-hour lounge in the lobby (snacks, drinks, TV, pool tables). NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. AND you can also use the buffet and two restos across the street at Grand porto Real.

Maria Marie -or something similar- very good. Wine even decent. 3x for dinner.

Asiana (L&D)– surprisingly good for Mexican Japanese food. wine was good here too

Spices (buffet BL & D) Breakfast buffet small but decent.

Pelicanos (BL and D) A la carte breakfast better than buffet. Lunch GREAT, dinner good enough that I ate there 3 times.

Tapas bar: didn’t try – heard VERY mixed reviews

Chefs Plate (inside Marie Marias). 6 tables, set menu, no choices. Didn’t try

Grand Porto Restos: not overly impressed, but Il Pescatore was decent. Want to try THEIR buffet next time.

DRINKS: Decent enough. Always ask for stronger (mas fuerte?) if wanted. Very food selection of premium liquors. The service around the pool is better than I expected….a $1 tip periodically gets GREAT service, though I think it would have been great anyway.

PEEPS: Very nice peeps (guests) for the most part. While they take peeps starting at 18, I saw NO peeps under the age of about 25. For most of the time I was there a very mixed age group.

INTERNET: with Royal rooms, free wi-fi in room. Otherwise business center is about $1US for 10 minutes

PDC: Only went into "town" one day. I don’t like the "hustle" to get you into the shops. However, it wasn’t crowded and I DID find the Starbucks. (I might buy a Mexican Starbucks card next time!)

Weather: partly overcast every afternoon – with rain for 10-15 minutes. I think it rained every NIGHT, and it rained ALL DAY SATURDAY and was still raining when I left Sunday morning.

BEACH: didn’t use, but not as bad as peeps say. A lot of the "beds" on the beach, some reserved for ocean front and higher rooms.

POOL: see early negative comment. The "Regular" pool isn’t large but very nice………..there’s even a "beach butler" who goes around with newspapers and magazines (and you SHOULD tip him periodically) and even has sun tan lotion, will clean your glasses.

I guess I MUST HAVE LIKED IT – I am going BACK to Royal Playa Del Carmen November 22-27, despite the fact that 5 nights in November is about the same price as 8 nights in September. I didnt really want American Airlines but that was what I could get, AND STILL GET AN AISLE SEAT, given the lateness of my arrangements.

Happy to answer questions. Email me at mskjme@aol.com. Please put in the subject that you are from Debbies board so I recognize the email.

Karen (mskjme@aol.com) I think on Debbies I am karenny!!!! (so many logins/passwords to think about!)

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Royal Playa Del Carmen J & P ~Montreal

October 2006

This is not a long detailed review but I will be glad to give you any additional information if you e-mail me at prrollt@hotmail.com.

We decided to go down South for the first time ever at this time of year after having to cancel our usual Summer vacation because of ongoing projects at work. It was a last-minute decision and we booked on the Wednesday for a departure on the following Sunday. We booked on selloffvacations.com and paid a bit over $1K per person. The package was an Air Transat one and we picked up our package envelope at the airport on Sunday morning. I was pleasantly surprised how smooth the process went even if booking at the last-minute.

We flew on an Airbus A310 (the smallest one of them) but the seats are jammed so close to each other it felt like we were aboard a 747. Because we use Aeroplan frequent flyer points we usually buy Air Canada vacation packages and I can assure you there is a huge difference in comfort in their airplane fleet. The Air Canada package was about $100 PP more expensive and considering the comfort issue and the fact you have to pay extra to get pre-assigned seats on Air Transat next time we will gladly pay more and stick with ACV.

The transfer from the airport to the resort went OK, it would have gone much faster if the bus driver had driven the first couple off to Secrets Excellence (right next to the airport) instead of Secrets Capri (20 minutes father) where we ended up. Instead of dropping the couple there and putting them in a taxi or another bus back they drove all of us all the way back to Secrets Excellence, hence almost back at the airport. Oh well, we were on vacation so who cares?

The resort was fantastic! We went to Secrets Capri last January and we thought that was the best of the best or Heaven on Earth as I tell some people but we both think that the Royal Playa Del Carmen comes pretty close to Secrets in many ways. We were pleasantly surprised and impressed by its cleanliness and the quality of service all around. I must admit the hotel was only about 40% full so this might have been a factor.

The beach is amazing. However the swimming area isn’t that great as there is only a small section without seaweeds and there a lot of rocks in that section. We started each day by going for a long Northbound walk on the beach and stopping every once in a while to cool off in the water. There were plenty of chairs and beds on the beach and the security staff does a very good job of making sure they’re used only by the resorts guests.

There was also a lot of activity around the two pools but we didn’t spend too much time there. We found their hip-hop or dance music too loud around the pool area and not very relaxing (are we getting old?).

Service at the bars was very good, the lobby war our favourite one. We tried all the restaurants except the Asian one as when we tried to go one night we were told we would have to wait quite a bit as they only have tables available for 4 people and not couples. We said "no thank you’, no big deal. Pelicano’s was by far our favourite restaurant. We had lunch there almost every noon hour and had supper there four times. Pelicano’s is right by the beach and you can dine listening to the waves and watching the moon go up, very nice and romantic. Maria Marie is the Mexican/French restaurant and we went there twice and really liked it. We tried Spices (buffet restaurant) once and it was OK but we really enjoyed it every morning for breakfast. Their choice of fresh juices is amazing! BTW there’s supposed to be a dress code for some of the restaurant but it was never enforced. I went in a Hawaiian shirt, bermudas and sandals for supper every night. They did however make sure that men had a top on and ladies cover their bikini top at Pelicano’s at lunch time.

We saw the timeshare people and we were asked to see them a few times but if you just say no politely they will leave you alone.

The maid service was slow the first few days nut was great afterward. They do a fantastic job of cleaning the entire room every day.

All in all this resort was fantastic! A friend of ours had recommended it to us and we would not hesitate a single second to recommend it to others. The resort is turning adults-only next month which makes it even more interesting for us. I am quite sure we will return one day.

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Royal Playa Del Carmen T & J ~ Edmonton, Alberta

April 2006

We are a mid 40’s couple who have travelled to many locations throughout North America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East. Normally, we will stay at 3-5 star resorts/hotels. We chose the Royal Playa Del Carmen because it met all the requirements of a quality resort that we were looking for and the price was right. It was our first trip to Mexico. We would not be disappointed. The resort and area was lovely. Our vacation dates were 29 March to 5 April 06. We booked through Air Canada Vacations.

We flew to Cancun from Edmonton via Toronto. The flights were on time and service good. The flight to Cancun was nearly empty (we had a mid week departure). We arrived at approx 5:30 p.m., quickly cleared customs and were met by the Air Canada rep. Watch out for the time share people who offer tourist info but will end up trying to weasel you into a time share deal. We grabbed a beer to share and were on our way by 6:30. The van was full but there was plenty of room. We were the first to get dropped off and were at the resort in about 45mins.

The resort is located on the beach in Playa Del Carmen next door to the Gran Porto Real resort. It is a mere 5 mins from the "touristy" 5th Ave, which offers plenty of shopping, restaurants and bars. Upon arrival at the resort we were immediately impressed with the entrance way, lobby and staff. It is all very majestic in appearance and simply beautiful. We were immediately offered a cold drink (beer, sparkling white wine, water) and our luggage taken care of. Check in was quick. The counter staff service was satisfactory and within about 20 mins we were on our way to our room.

It should be noted that there are aggressive time share staff working at this resort. From check in, to stopping you in the lobby, to notes under your door, you will be ask to check in at the resort information desk. You will be offered a tour, welcome gifts, etc in an effort to get your attention. We ignored all efforts and were let alone after a day or so. These aggressive sales people were a blemish on the resort in our opinion.

We were assigned to Rm 149, which was on a ground level floor right next to the main (lap) pool. We had requested that area through our travel agent and via email (which we received no response from), but would have preferred a second or third floor. This would have offered a beautiful view of the ocean, however we still had a partial view from our room. No problems though, we saw it as a good spot and made ourselves at home.

The room itself was large, well appointed with lovely furnishings, had a king size bed, marble floors and a two person jacuzzi tub near the patio doors. There was a mini bar stocked with mineral water, juices, pop, Dos Equis XX beer and four bottles of hard liquor (rum, vodka, tequila and scotch). The bathroom area had two sinks, with plenty of amenities and a large shower stall with a sitting area. There was plenty of hot water (even when filling the jacuzzi tub) and water pressure was good. The ceiling was high with a fan and the a/c worked well, though it was located next to the bed. We found it drafty when in bed and therefore shut it off in the evening. There was an ironing board, iron and safe (no charge). The patio had two chairs, a table and a hammock. It was a lovely place to sit and have a drink. Some negative points on the room were lack of space for to store clothing and the marble floors are very slippery when wet.

A safety point which became a very contentious issue with us throughout our stay was the grassy area around our patio. The ground was very uneven, with small holes and a sprinkler nozzle jutting out right next to where one would step off onto the grass. My wife sprained her ankle in the area on our first day. We noticed this in many of the grassy areas surrounding the pool. It’s obvious because the resort is new, that the sod and sprinkler system is settling causing depressions in the ground. We voiced our concern to the resort management and our Air Canada travel rep. We did notice repair of the area was initiated the day we left. Another general safety point to heed would be to be careful when walking in and around the resort. There is an abundance of steps and stairs throughout the resort, many being made of attractive but slippery marble. These are only meant to be words of caution and we are not trying to take away from the beauty of this lovely resort.

The grounds are well laid out but there is much room for improvement in this area. The lush green vegetation seen at most resorts is notably lacking at the RPR. This is likely due to the resort being new and still being worked on in some areas.

The pool area contains two pools. One being a lap pool (largest) and the other being an activity pool. They are not connected. The swim up bar is in the activity pool. The water is not heated but we found it very refreshing and had no complaints with water temperature. No towel card is required and you can get as many towels as you want. Most of the chairs surround the lap pool and are abundant. To be safe, we always reserved a couple under an umbrella early in the morning by throwing a towel on them. Those ones went quickly. The pool bar (Trade Winds) is located next to both pools. There is a small boat there too filled with bottled water. There is waiter service around the pools, which we found efficient most times. There is also a pool/beach butler who brings around sun screen, tanning lotions, books and cool face clothes. A nice touch of service and convenience.

The beach area is fairly large with an abundance of chairs and well looked after. They rake it early every morning. There are adequate shaded areas, some with beds. We always got up early to reserve a spot in the shade, but it would never be a problem getting a chair. The sand is powdery white, the water a lovely turquoise colour and the surf not too rough. There is plenty of people walking the beach (Mexican beaches are public) but the resort area is for guests only. There is waiter service in this area too and it is equally as efficient as in the pool area. There are life guards on duty and warning flags are flown accordingly. You can walk for miles on the beach going either way from the resort.

There are four bars on the resort. The Lobby Bar, the Tequila and Cigar Bar, the main pool bar (Trade Winds) and the swim up bar. There was top shelf liquor at all but was limited depending on which bar you used. Drink quality and liquor selection was best at the Lobby Bar. They pretty much had anything your heart desired and the best bartenders. The pools side bars served all the classic pool/beach drinks but some of the bartenders seemed confused with some requests and were not always in the best mood (ex: no idea what a Hurricane was). Service was always quick at all bars. There is no Corona at this resort. Only Sol and Dos Equis, but we had no problems with this and enjoyed the taste of these beers. Overall, no major complaints with the bar service or choice of liquors.

We enjoyed the food at the resort immensely. There are four restaurants. Spices – buffet/a la carte; Asiana – a la carte Asian style food (incl’s sushi); Maria Marie – Mexican/French a la carte and Pelicanos – grill style a la carte (breakfast buffet). We did not make reservations for any meal and ate at all restaurants. The food quality was of a high standard in all establishments. Asiana and Maria Marie tended to be more upscale and there was a dress code (long pants and shoes) though we did see people in both with shorts and sandals. Presentation of the dishes was tasteful and again, of a high standard. The buffets had plenty of choices but the variety from day to day was hit and miss. Breakfast buffets tended to be the same. To be fair though, we only ate breakfast at Pelicano’s. We loved this place because it was beach front and offered a perfect setting for we early risers and was close to the beach and pool. Maria Marie had a very romantic ambiance and was our favourite a la carte. We found Asiana was small and cramped, though the food was quite good. Service was excellent at all restaurants.

The entertainment was good for the most part, but far from extravagant. In the evenings there were shows every second night in the resort theatre and there was always a lounge type band playing in the Lobby Bar area. There were TV’s in the Lobby Bar area and pool tables. Some might complain with the quality of the entertainment in comparison to other resorts, however 5th Ave is minutes away and offers more excitement for those looking for it. The animation staff provided entertainment around the pool during the day. There was dance lessons, water aerobics, volleyball, trivia games, bingo, etc. They tried hard but most seemed more interested in the sun and relaxing.

The most positive note for us at this resort was the service of those who worked there. It was outstanding in most cases. The staff goes above and beyond to be pleasant and offer the best service possible; always with a smile. They work very hard and in almost every case deserve a tip for whatever they do. Take lots of one dollar (US) bills.

When checking out, we arrived about a half hour early before our shuttle was to depart. It was a quick and efficient process that took no more than about ten minutes. Concierge staff were very helpful with our luggage and we were soon on our way to the airport.

Our overall experience with the Royal Playa Del Carmen was very positive and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay, in spite of my wife’s ankle injury. We would highly recommend the RPR to those looking for a resort close to a town (Playa Del Carmen), with a beautiful beach, great food and drink and exquisite beauty. It meets all these requirements and more. We would give it a four out of five. We will not likely return to the RPR because we like to go to different places and the injury my wife sustained soured the overall experience. Give it a try though! Feel free to contact us at tdub24_@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

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Royal Playa Del Carmen Bryan & Angie ~ Gander, Newfoundland, Canada

October 2005

We traveled to the Royal Playa Del Carmen September 19-26 for our Honeymoon, we are early to mid 30’s and travel a couple of times a year to the Caribbean.

The Royal Playa Del Carmen is located approximately 50 mins by bus from Cancun airport. Upon arrival in Cancun we met with our Air Transat Rep and given our bus number, within minutes we were on our way to the resort.

On arrival at the hotel there was no line up for check-in. We were greeted with a welcome drink and given our room number within a few minutes. The check-in staff take the time to tell you about the resort and how to reach them if you have any problems. We arrived at 11am so our room was not ready. We hung out by the pool for a few hours had some lunch and came back at 3pm to find that our room was ready.

We were given room 298, second floor and it was perfect. The room overlooked the pool and while not beach front you can see the ocean. The room contained a king size bed, bathroom with shower only, flat screen tv with dvd player, 2 person jacuzzi, stocked mini bar with beer, soft drinks, water, rum, tequila, and vodka. The balcony overlooked the pool with 2 chairs and a table plus a hammock that stretched across the full length. There is also an electronic safe in the room which you can make up your own code or use your room card to swipe.

The beach was beautiful, no problem getting chairs or huts for shade. The water was very warm however it did get windy a few days and it became a little rough for swimming.

The pools are great. There are two pools that extend almost to the beach. One pool has the pool bar and sports area, the other was a place to relax. No need to worry about losing your towel card, you don’t get one here. Every morning each chair at the pool would have a fresh towel rolled and waiting for it’s occupant. The staff would come by during the day and collect the used towels, if you needed another you could go to the sports centre and get more.

We found the food to be wonderful. We ate at the buffet the majority of the time. The buffet was enclosed and air conditioned and we always found the good there great with lots of variety and the service was second to none. We found the best a la carte to be the Italian restaurant at the Gran Porto Real which is located across the street which you have full access to. We also tried both mexican restaurants at our resort and the Gran, however we did not fully enjoy the food at the mexican located at the Gran Porto. There is also 24 hr room service where you can get just about anything off the menu. We used the room service for breakfast one morning and a late night snack one night and both were great. It takes about 20-30 mins for room service to arrive.

We found the service at the Royal Playa Del Carmen to be wonderful. Laying by the pool or on the beach the waiters were fantastic. Your drink would not be empty before they would be back asking you if you wanted a refill. We did tip a few times during the day but on the day we couldn’t get any money changed we didn’t tip and the service was just as great. The maid service was great, mini bar was restocked daily and nightly turn down service, with two chocolates on the pillow.

The only complaint that we could make about the service is some of the staff’s only purpose is to get you to join their time share program. We received a note under our door on our second day telling us to come get our welcome package. Well the welcome package is a 90 min sales tour trying to get you to purchase a time share. Once we found out what it was we said we weren’t interested and went back to the pool. We did however see many people taking the tour.

We truly enjoyed our time at the Royal Playa Del Carmen and would defiantly return. The resort is located just steps from 5th Ave. With it’s many bars, cafes, stores and even McDonalds. We would head to 5th ave after dinner just to see the sights and sounds and do a little shopping. The resort has full internet access, you purchase your peso’s at the front desk to use in the computers it works great and the internet speed is fast.

If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind then this is the place for you. It’s not really a place to party, there is no disco at the resort. We feel the Royal Playa Del Carmen deserves it’s five star rating.

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