We stayed June 3-13, 2012, as a family of four with two kids aged 6 and 9. It was my first time in Mexico and my first time at an all-inclusive. The trip from the airport to the hotel was very easy on the private transfer we booked through USA. The hotel is not glitzy but has a comfortable elegance. The room was immaculate with daily maid service and turn down service. We had plenty of towels. They provided shampoo (big bottle), conditioner (smaller bottle), soap, Q-tips, sewing kit, shoe-polish kit, and shower cap. Everything was replenished as we used it. The mini-frige was stocked with water, sodas, juice, beer, and liquor. Anything we requested was sent up immediately, with the manager calling us on the phone within minutes to ensure our request had been fulfilled. We stayed on a normal floor (not the concierge level) and didn't feel we missed out on anything. We had assumed all rooms had a balcony but ours did not. We had floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that opened to a waist-high protective glass wall and railing. After a couple of days we asked the desk whether we might move to a room with a balcony. They were very accommodating and showed us a few options. Ultimately, we decided to stay where we were because we really didn't need a balcony. It was too hot to hang out outside without a pool or ocean, and the view from our third floor room was unobstructed and spectacular.
The pool was inviting and clean. It's about 4 feet deep. There are also a few shallow areas about 1 foot deep. Unlike some reviewers, I didn't consider it wasted space. It was perfect for babies and toddlers, and a lot of adults used those areas to relax, too. The drinks at the pool bar were just right - not too strong, not too weak. Even on the days that the resort was at or near capacity, there was never a line for drinks. I didn't see any Bubba Kegs and you won't need one here. They played a good selection of music at the pool bar. People seeking quiet relaxation could sit on the side of the pool situated away from the bar where the music was quieter, or sit on the beach loungers where the music was inaudible. Based on the pictures on line, I was concerned that it might be too small for my kids, especially compared to the sprawling winding rivers offered by some other resorts. However, there was plenty of room for everyone. No problem finding any chairs or umbrellas by the pool or by the beach. There are plenty of towels sitting out by the pool. I liked this, because I had read that other resorts make you wait in line or only give you one towel a day, which would be very inconvenient with kids. I also loved the small size of this resort, because it was very easy to return to the room for anything we forgot. Since kids are always needing something (band-aids, goggles), it would have been a real pain for us to have to repeatedly find and ride a golf cart to our room like at some other resorts. I had heard that cigarette smoke can be excessive at some resort pools in the area. We only saw smokers once or twice, and there were enough enough pool chairs that we could move our kids away from it. There is food and beverage service by the pool and the beach so you never have to lift a finger. The pool menu has burgers, chicken fingers, club sandwich, chips and salsa. You can also help yourself to pizza and hot dogs by the pool bar. For healthier options you can toss on a cover-up, walk 100 feet to the buffet, and ask the hostess for a to-go box that you can use to pack your own lunch to take to your pool chair. While you're there you can grab a home-made popsicle (pineapple, mango, conconut). Around 4pm they usually set up a smaller outdoor buffet by the pool with the food (anything from steaks to fish) being cooked on a grill.
The food was great. Since this was my first time at an all-inclusive, I have nothing to compare it to. The Asian was okay, the Italian was better, but we liked the buffet the best. We had coffee and pastries via room service every morning; then head down to the buffet for a proper breakfast. Lots of options and something for everyone. There was fresh fruit every day. Dessert was delicious and beautifully presented.
The activities and entertainment were great. There was beach volleyball, bocce ball, water polo, cooking/bartending lessons, and "name that tune" type of trivia games. You could participate as much or as little as you wanted. They were never too loud or intrusive, and always fun to watch. These events always occurred at the louder end of the pool near the bar.
My husband and I took a short shuttle ride to the off-site spa and had a couples massage. The massage was fantastic. Bring a bathing suit to the spa and arrive a bit early for your treatment because they have a hydrotherapy area where the staff moves you through a dry sauna, shower, steam room, cold plunge, and jacuzzi. The spa was small-ish but pretty. The spa is in the same building as the golf course club house. Food and drink at the club house are included in this all-inclusive plan. We had a nice lunch and cocktails there.
The beach is pristine. The water was warm, clean, and beautiful. The water is not completely flat. Sometimes the waves are tiny, but on a couple of windy days the water was too choppy for our kids to go in very far. No big deal - they preferred the pool anyway. There is a place to rent wave-runners next door. It's not a popular activity on this particular beach, so don't worry about the noice, etc. I only saw them a couple of times. My husband took the kids out on it once. It was very easy to rent. I've read about people selling things on the beaches in the area, but we didn't see that.
Senor Frogs is next door. We were on that side of the resort but we didn't hear any noise from the bar at night. During the day they have a big trampoline on the beach. The kids were always running over there to use it.
On the weekends, there are quite a few weddings at this resort! Some are very small and unobtrusive, others are larger with a big reception. If this might bother you, you could try booking your stay during weekdays rather than the weekend. I thought they were beautiful to watch. One night there was a wedding reception on the beach under our window with a band and a light-up disco dance floor that went until 3 am. If we were only staying one or two nights, this would have been annoying. Since we stayed 10 days, it was just interesting to watch everyone dancing. The kids watched until they eventually fell asleep. No one slept very well that night, but we had nothing to do the next day but sit by the pool.
The kids loved the kids club. The first time we walked by it, our 9 year old said "it looks boring in there, like it's for babies." She changed her mind after an hour in there. They have wii, xbox, and activities like balloon making and face painting. You can select an option where the kids can sign themselves out, so they can come see us at the pool, and then run back to the kids club themselves. It is a good place for the kids to meet other kids staying at the resort.
We got a babysitter one night so that we could go bar hopping in Playa del Carmen. The front desk made the arrangements for us with a babysitting service. The sitter was was in her early 20s and super professional. I would not have left the kids if I felt remotely uncomfortable. We had a great time exploring the town.
We used all of our resort credits. We had a couples massage at the spa, the romantic dinner on the beach (great - but bring a little can of bug spray in case), a family photo shoot (incredible photos worth every penny), and a tequila gift set.
We took day trips to Akumal and Cozumel. We visited Chankanaab and also the Cozumel Palace, where we swam in their pool, had snacks, and got a courtesy room for one hour to shower. This was a very nice perk. The snorkeling in Cozumel is incredible. It's worth the trip, but take dramamine for that ferry! Some of them have open areas for fresh air, others do not.
The best thing about this resort is the staff, who treated us like family. Thank you Dinisay and Demaris in the kids club. Gabriel in activities. In the buffet: Angel, Eliut, Sylvia, Idelfonso, Dilice, Marcia, Sotero, and Israel. At the pool: Blanca, Ana, Leonardo, and Martha. At the pool bar Jorge and Carlos. The bellmen Jesus, Gaspar, and Leonardo. Josefina at the bar. Luis in the Luna lounge. DJ Claudio. Chefs Eliuterio and Neftali. And Arturo at our beach dinner. Thanks to each and every one of you so very much.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
6 September 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write so extens review.
Report response as inappropriate
Al the Playacar Family is really happy you enjoyed your stay with us and could appreciate our resort in full and enjoy the peacefulness. Dinisay ,Demaris. Gabriel,Sylvia, Idelfonso, Dilice, Marcia, Sotero, ,Jesus, Gaspar, Leonardo, and all of us appreciate your words
We are really glad you enjoyed our food and service, and thank you also for the recommendation!
Dont forget to write me for your next visit!!
Playacar Palace G.M.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC