My wife and I are in our 50’s and we travel extensively in the Caribbean, for comparison purposes we have travelled to Almond and Divi Barbados, Club St Lucia St Lucia, La Cabana Aruba, Breezes Curacao, Beaches Turks and Caicos and Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Royal Bahamian. The overall experience at the Royal Playa Del Carmen was simply fantastic and unbeatable. This resort is better than Sandals. The grounds are well maintained,the pools are quite good and the beach is very nice, you can walk for miles to the left of the resort and to the right a 40 minute walk down the beach takes you to the ferry to Cozumel. A 5 minute walk out the front entrance takes you to the shopping/dining of 5 the avenue. The loaction of this resort is truly remarkable. A sister resort the Gran Porto is across the street and although not as spectacular as the Royal is nice and you can access all the facilities there. Most of the guests were from either Canada or the US. Many people questioned us about going to Mexico based on the recent
attacks and although a consideration if you behave normally we believe you are safe here as any major Canadian or US city. They have good security at all the entrances to the hotel and even walking down 5th Ave at night we felt safe.
348 ocean view
Arrival: We arrived at the Cancun airport around 530 pm after a direct flight with Air Canada from Ottawa. Having a direct flight from Ottawa to anywhere is not a given and this was heaven. Mexican Customs and Immigration was efficient and we were through the lines in about 30 minutes. The Royal Playa Del Carmen is about an hour bus ride from Cancun and we were taken by Best Day. The van was clean and well maintained and the driver was professional. All excellent.
Check in at the hotel was efficient and well organized. The Royal has a "on line" check in service 48 hours before arrival so you can see the different rooms and get your room number before arriving.The on line service was not available 48 hours before so we just the resort with the 1 800 number and did our room selection over the phone. This was all done easily and handled very well. Check in was a breeze and they meet you with a friendly smile and welcome drink.
The rooms were quite simply the best we have ever stayed in, spectacular! Our room on the third floor was an ocean view overlooking the larger pool.The suites are entirely as advertised, nice furnishings, king size bed, in room jacuzzi, large bathroom, well stocked bar with snacks alcohol, beer,pop and water. The in room Bose system was great and you can sign out a loaded IPOD from the front desk. The balconies were larger in this section of the hotel and had a hammock as well. Originally we considered booking in the quiet section over by the El Mediterraneo Restaurant but now we have stayed there we are glad we didnt, although quieter it is a little bit out of the way and more importantly we didnt think the rooms were as nice and the pool was largely shaded. We might ask for a room on the north side next time as they get more sun later in the day. We would also consider an upgrade to an ocean front room as they were even more spectacular.
Restaurants and Bars: There 7 a la carte restaurants and 5 bars plus the Royal coffee house. The sister resort across the street had an Italian and Mexican restaurant.The food and service were exceptional, dining is important to us and really the Royal exceeded our expectations. Our personal favourite was Maria Marie, the Mexican French fusion restaurant. Our server Mateo was outstanding. We also loved Pelicanos, Caribbean fusion and Tapas Pintxos Spanish tapas. We had exceptionanl service from Pancho at Pelicanos. We also preferred having breakfast at Pelicanos because the food was great, it was quieter and it was oustide with a good view of the beach. We had a nice dinner at the Mexican restaurant across the street at the Gran Porto. Domingo provided excellent service and if you like spanish/irish coffees ask him for a Mayan coffee.It tastes great and he puts on quite a show while preparing it tableside. Our favourite bar was El Mediteraneo. We would go there in the late afternoon and my wife would have a coffee at the Royal coffee house and I would have a scotch or excellent martini depending on the time of day. Single malt scotch would have been a nice altenative to the blended scotch they had. Reyes who is there 6 days a week from 3 – 11 pm was the best bartender at the resort and he played wonderful music and you really need to ask for the " Reyes special drink" Its a wonderful shooter! We thought the Chefs plate was overrated and although fine was not as good as some of the other restaurants we tried. Jose managed the restaurants at Pelicanos and Maria Marie at different times and he was very attentive and professional. The tradewinds beach and swim up bar was great and the drink service offered by the girls who provided drinks while sunning was exceptional, particularly Elizabeth who was very friendly, prompt and courteous. As I mentioned before they served an excellent martini and also had Remy Martin and Courvosier. I tried a Mexican anis/honey liquer called Xtabentun that they heated and also was excellent.
Finally,the Tequileria and Cigar bar was quite nice in the evenings
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach was nice in front of the resort and you could walk down the beach in either direction for quite a long way. We did not detect the sulphur smell mentioned by others.The pools were quite nice, there was a quiet pool that was mostly shaded, a large activities pool and an Olympic size infiniti pool with 50 meter lap lane
The grounds were well maintained and very pretty
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Guest services and the tour desk offered many different tours and excursions. We did the full day Chichen Itza tour offered by Best Day for $99. This trip although long is spectacular and our tout guide Migule Canto was amazing! I actually thought he was a history professor! During this tour you get to swim in a cenote, an underground river which is quite the experience, have a tradtional Mexican lunch with entertainment, stop at a Mayan handicraft store which offers spectacular jewellery and silver workmanship at unbeatable prices, visit a colonial Mayan town called Valladolid and of course the highlight of the day the Mayan city of Chichen Itza. Really a day not to be missed!
The resort is a short 5 minute walk from 5the Avenue and the sights and shopping along this street is nnot to be missed and because of the laoction you can go back more than once.
Other Comments: Didier one of the front desk staff was extemely helpful, patient and professional and if you need anything, anything at all ask for him.
This resort is amazing and we would highly recommned it.