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“Beautiful; service lacking”

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Ranked #2 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 21 March 2012

Have been to Banyan Tree Mayakoba twice. Went back the second time because the first was so terrible they invited us back. Punch line is: hotel is beautiful and beach spectacular but service sub-par.

Detail: we stayed on an oceanfront villa. The villa was beautiful with a pool. The bathroom was very nice with a great outdoor tub and shower. The bed was very comfortable and they had a pillow menu.

Transportation: since the resort is in two separate area, the reception and the beach, guests need to use the golf carts to get around. The problem is that you can easily wait 10-20 minutes, if not 30 minutes for a golf cart at night when guests are trying to get around. The boat option during the day is cool but not practical since the boat only runs on a set schedule.

Gym: nicely appointed with modern equipment.

Spa: I got a massage, it was ok, not incredible. The masseuse was Thai and she was very gracious but she had tiny hands with skinny fingers so she struggled to apply real pressure. Also had the water treatment, it was not my favorite.

Food: the pool restaurant was good although menu limited so after a week the food was a bit boring. The Thai restaurant was good but could be better. The breakfast was nice, the buffet was quite comprehensive. The restaurant in the main area by the lobby was underwhelming for fine dining.

The problem: the whole system falls apart when it rains... The rooms are poorly built so tons of water leaks in so they put towels down to soak up the water. After a few days of rain they are out of towels and things get sticky to the point where they used our bath towels and didn't replace the so we didn't have towels when getting out of the shower. Most of the restaurants are outdoors so they have very limited seating when it rains which meant we ended up having dinner in the yoga studio one night!! Once you have issues the staff has no idea what to do so it becomes a comedy of errors.

While it is a beautiful resort we won't return.

Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
1  Thank JSM111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2012

Dear SuperPicky111

I appreciate you informing us that you did not enjoy all the services we provided to you and your companion. Please accept my apologies for any shortcomings from our side. The areas you have mentioned are under review with the personnel in charge.

I sincerely wish to be given the opportunity to bring back your confidence into our Banyan Tree Hotels in your next stay.

With Best Regards,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

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Reviewed 19 March 2012

Since Arrival at the amazing Mexican location on the Riviera Maya we were welcome by a typical from the area dressed hostess, who offered a delicious refreshing Jamaica flower water, the grounds are amazing! We stay on a private villa with our own private pool. The food was fabulous they had an amazing breakfast buffet and at dinner by the beach was fantastic the Lobster was cooked perfect! And the lamb shanks as well; we wish they had mint jelly to complete that fantastic meal. We enjoyed as well the Rain forest treatment at the spa OMG! It was incredible experience it is a must!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Review collected in partnership with BanyanTree.com
1  Thank Lili P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2012

Dear BanyanTree.com traveler

We were delighted to read that you enjoyed your stay and wish to thank you very much for your gracious comments.

Do not hesitate is contacting when you decide to coma again to this Sanctuary of the senses for a bit more pampering.

Best wishes,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

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Reviewed 18 March 2012

I had visited the Yucatan Peninsula on a previous trip and explored Tulum, Chichen Itza, and the other noteworthy sites. This time around, it was all about rest and relaxation, and this hotel was so pampering that I couldn't bring myself to leave the entire 5 nights I was there.

The Banyan tree is situated on a prime strip of beach with beautiful turquoise water, and the Asian- inspired decor creates a tranquil oasis. The Courtyard Pool Villa we stayed in was incredibly spacious and luxurious, and featured outdoor shower & bath, huge private pool (that was beyond anything that we could have anticipated), bowl of fresh fruit, a set of tea forte teas, comfortable king sized bed with impressive floor to ceiling headboard, and a his and hers bathroom that was one of the most beautiful and well-designed I have seen in any hotel.

During our stay we dined at both Tamarind and Saffron, and in both restaurants the food was very good - though the candlelit Saffron was breathtaking, and therefore more enjoyable. We treated ourselves to Balinese and Thai massages which were both very good, but pricey (as is to be expected at a five star hotel spa).

The service was all-around efficient and at a high level, and we were greeted with smiles and by name.

While walking the streets of Varansi in India, I came across burning incense that smelled very similar to the Champaka scented ones they burned in the BT Mayakoba spa. It immediately brought back a fond memory of a truly pampering vacation, and compelled me to write this review.

I very much look forward to future Banyan Tree & Angsana stays around the world!

Room Tip: This property features very attractive rates during the hot summer months.
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank globetrotter1113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2012

Dear globtrotter1113

Thank you for your valuable feedback on Trip Advisor regarding your visit to Banyan Tree Mayakoba. I was very pleased to read that you enjoyed our hotel facilities, villa amenities and features.

Staff members appreciate to know that their efforts have been appreciated, thank you for highlighting the high service that you received during your stay.

Allow me to reiterate our gratitud for choosing Banyan Tree Mayakoba and for taking the time to share your comments with us.

I look forward to welcoming you back to Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2012

My wife and I spent our third wedding anniversary at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba. We were really hyped to stay here because our friends highly recommended this luxury resort. Our friends stayed here when the resort first opened; unfortunately, things seemed to have changed in the past couple of years.

The biggest issue we had with this resort was their customer service (skip to the end of this review for a list of specific examples). A couple of minor service issues occurred our first day. We didn't think too much about it until our second day rolled around. More service issues occurred and then we started to question the quality of the resort. As we met more staff at the resort, we realized that a lot of them were new hires and perhaps that explains some of the service issues we had. There were some employees that went above and beyond. And then there were others who couldn't fix an issue to save their job. It seems that most of them were from a large hotel that closed in Cancun. Some of the service issues we experienced are listed at the end of the review so a reader or Banyan Tree management will understand what I am talking about. A resort like Banyan Tree should ensure that their guests’ needs are always met (or at the least strive to meet them upon first request, as opposed to second, third, or fourth).

Ironically, we did not get to speak to our resort host, Cheri, until breakfast on the third day of our stay. She asked us how our visit was and I responded "we have had issues". She just giggled in response and I looked at my wife in shock. I’m not sure if she just was not accustomed to having a guest express that they had had problems with the resort or what. So we took fifteen minutes to elaborate on the problems we had experienced at the resort up to that point. We later found out that she did not even communicate to her management about the poor service that we received (lack of communication between and amongst employees appears to be a problem).

Later that day we ended up talking to Pedro (food & beverage manager) and spent another thirty minutes repeating the service issues we explained to Cheri. He was very considerate and apologized for the service issues we had. Also, he was the only person to ask us "what do you want? / What can we do?" to make up for the bad service (interestingly Pedro had worked for a number of years at various Ritz properties and I presume he acquired his can-do service attitude there). Our response was we wanted a romantic dinner without any problems. Before our trip my wife had planned a surprise dinner on the beach to celebrate our anniversary. That surprise was out of the bag when we spoke with Pedro. But Pedro immediately called Alejandro (restaurant manager) to make sure no problems occurred with our beach dinner. Five minutes after the call we met Alejandro at the Copa Bar. He introduced himself and guaranteed we would have a perfect dinner. (We did!) Our trip did a 180 after speaking with Pedro. And that was the trip we expected but only a bit too late (we were leaving the next day).

If you remove the service issues, Banyan Tree would be the ideal Honeymoon/ Anniversary/ Get-a-way/ Perfect vacation spot. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. The rooms are spread out enough to make you feel like you are the only guest at the resort. It gets better when you enter the room. We stayed in a Garden Pool Villa. The room is spacious with a bathroom to match. The only thing the room is missing is a dining / sitting area. If you order room service, there is no place to sit and eat except on the bed. Also, it would have been good if our private pool was heated (when it rains or is even overcast or cloudy, the private plunge pool is too cold to actually go in!).

I would like to thank the following staff members for doing an outstanding job. Christiano and Carlos did an excellent job at the beach and pool side assisting with towels, chairs, umbrellas and magazines. William provided hours of great conversation at Copa Bar (and made killer drinks). Cecilia also was great help at Copa. Arturo and Fernando made our beach dinner one of the best meals ever.

If the Banyan Tree can provide 5 Star service we will be back for another anniversary. Until then here are some of the issues we experienced:

1) No one employee can make a situation right. For example, if you need something at breakfast you must tell your waiter. Don't ask the runners because they have to go through the waiters to make your request happen. Also, don’t assume if you tell someone you have an issue that it will be reported up-line to a manager or more senior person so that it can be rectified.
2) Staff at reception not helpful and far from service oriented. For example, our Continental/United package included a spa treatment. However our resort reservation did not reflect that. My wife had printed out our reservation and brought it with us. The front desk was to call our agent to confirm the spa treatment and return our copy to our room. By the second day we did not have an answer to whether the spa was included nor did we have our copy back. We had to make 3 separate requests to follow up on the information. We did not have confirmation regarding the spa service until the night before we were set to check out which meant my wife had to cram in the spa service the morning we were leaving. While my wife thoroughly enjoyed the spa, it would have been nice if she could have done the spa service earlier in the trip as opposed to “fitting it in” right before our departure. We had other similar issues that chipped minutes away from our vacation.
3) Little or no communication between employees. We did not see that many visitors at the resort. Why not build a portfolio of each guest and properly address the guest’s issues or needs? For instance, my wife communicated with the hotel concierge for several weeks before our arrival to organize several things during our stay (champagne in our room, romantic beach dinner – all at a fairly significant cost) and noted in the various exchanges that we were celebrating our anniversary. However, when we arrived no one at reception had a clue it was our anniversary. There seemed to be a clear lack of communication between the reception staff and the concierge. This lack of communication is also noted in other places in this review.
4) Long waits for golf carts from the beach to the main resort. It would make sense to have carts waiting at the beach like they do at the lobby. Instead, often times the beach staff have to call the lobby to have to send a golf cart, which is about a 10 minute wait.
5) We had issues at check out. We had over $200 in inaccurate charges. It was a painstaking process to get them corrected and took quite a bit of time to check out. More time chipped away.
6) Food and beverage service issues at both breakfast and the pool. For example, a waiter forgot my order at breakfast. I placed an order of eggs for my wife and myself. My wife got her omelet. I didn't get mine until she was done with her plate, and that was only after asking a runner, another waiter, and then finally the manager to check on my food. Also, the wait for food and drinks was incredibly long at the pool (which was not at capacity). Cocktails took too long to order and receive (you would think they were all-inclusive). One afternoon we waited at least 40 minutes for an order of ceviche, which we finally received but then had to wait another 10 minutes to get chips/crackers to eat with it.
7) Minor but still inconvenient – the power went out at Tamarind restaurant while my wife and I were in the middle of having dinner. Strangely, the rest of the resort had power while we did not. The power was out for at least 20 minutes and no one could explain why the power was out, or why the rest of the resort had power.

All of our concerns above were communicated to one or more Banyan Tree employees. We wanted to give our feedback to make the next vistor's stay better.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank John V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2012

Dear johnv

I wish to thank you very much your feedback in regards to your experience with us. I have taken note of all the comments that of course are discussed with the involved department heads.

I sincerely apologize that you did not have a perfect stay at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, and that we felt short of your expectations.

Once again, I really appreciate your constructive comments which highlight specific areas that we need to rectify to improve our standards, and to reach for a perfect service.

In Banyan Tree Mayakoba we all work with that goal in mind and we will not stop until we have achieved it.

Best Regards,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2012

This was the perfect spot for a vacation with my husband and 16-month old son. We had a lovely time. The hotel was SUPER accommodating with our son -- they had his crib waiting in the villa at our arrival (normally we have to call for it at any other hotel we stay at). They had a full package of kid products for his bath, etc. The villas was amazing and just as pictured. What can I say about the service...it was UNBELIEVABLE!!

Most all of the hotel employees knew my son's name within the first few days of us staying there. We did have a small hiccup with my husband's golf plans, but they resolved it and he was able to play for 2 days at a discounted price. For anyone that is traveling with kids...this is a great spot. They have great pools and the beach is also amazing.

If you are going for a long period of time, such as 5+ days, you will run out of dining options - as there are only 3 restaurants on the property -- all of which serve simply amazing food, but you may be a bit bored of it by the 5th or 6th day. However, we did hear that there are some nice restaurants in town...Playa del Carmen which is a few minutes from the property. We would have to compare this property very closely to the hotel we stayed at in the Maldives, in terms of service, food and setting. We couldn't believe we were in Mexico, it almost felt as if we were in Bali or somewhere in the Far East.

The only slight drawback was there are not a ton of kid actives, if you have older children...they may be bored somewhat. We did hear about a few excursions, including swimming with dolphins...which is about a 20 minute ride from the hotel.

Room Tip: Staying in the 400's (we were in 412) -- right across from the main hotel lobby building...which...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Deepali V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2012

Dear Deepali

We are deeply pleased that you have come to Banyan Tree Mayakoba for your vacation and that you have encountered our service and installations amazing.

Thank you very much for your nice notes on your stay with us. We do look forward to welcome you and your family soon again.

Wishing you a lovely day,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

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Reviewed 6 March 2012

Stayed in a spa pool villa in early May 2011 for our honeymoon; perfect spot for that kind of thing.

Pros:

-Privacy (high fence around entire suite, private pool, jacuzzi, outdoor bath with tea candle wall, do-no-disturb switch beside the bed that warns staff outside the front door...). One minor warning--you may be visible from the upstairs outdoor shower during the day--use the downstairs indoor or outdoor showers.
-Suite size: yes, you really do get that entire space to yourself. And it's very nice to have the entirely separate sitting area--one person can nap in the bed while the other relaxes in the pavilion.
-Thai restaurant: Fantastic. I wish I remembered the name of the mini-appetizer the chef sent out the first day. One of the best things I've ever eaten. And we ordered the massaman curry two nights in a row--it was that good.
-Massage services: Had a couple's massage with my wife--her first massage. Both masseuses were excellent, both trained in multiple styles. Our massage room was in a stand-alone building on stilts over the water; much nicer than having someone in the next room. (DIdn't use the spa tables on the 2nd floor of our suite--really too hot in May for that, and I found the massage rooms much more comfortable anyway).
-Room & resort appearance/style: Asian simplicity with hints of Mexican flair. Comfortable beds, choice of pillow types, etc.
-Rain shower/steam shower: nice combo in your room.
-Wifi: worked well in the rooms. Nice when you're taking a break from the sun or looking at excursions. Don't count on Netflix or the like working--those are blocked off in this part of the world by those services.
-Service, cleanliness: both excellent.

Cons (or potential drawbacks depending on your tastes):

-Quiet resort: This isn't the place to party, although the bartenders at the beach/pool bars make great beach drinks. If you don't venture out to the ruins/towns, I'd keep the stay five nights or less. They'll be wonderful, relaxing days and nights...but that's about all the relaxation I can handle. No on-site night life, although you can go to the main complex and have a drink in the open-air bar up top.
-Not on the beach: The beach is nearby--you could walk (long walk), take a bike, take the boat from the lobby, or call a golf cart to take you. Didn't bother us a bit--we took the boat the first day and mostly called a cart for the rest of our stay.
-Limited number of restaurants: we loved the Thai restaurant and the breakfast buffet, thought the poolside restaurant was fine. Room service has a limited menu; tastes fine, but I prefer the restaurants. You can go eat in town or at one of the other resorts in the Mayakoba complex. To me, this is more of a "duration of stay" item.
-Wouldn't take kids: this just isn't the place for them--and by "kids" I mean anything from infants through early teens. I think they might have some kid-related programs during the high season, but given the resort setup and eating choices, I just wouldn't recommend it.
-Cleaning time: ok, this is nitpicking, and some people will love it. The suite is big, and you have your own pool, and they keep both very clean (and put away your shoes, etc.)...which takes a while (even though they send in a couple of people at a time for the room and another for the pool and grounds). And then when they come in for the turndown, I swear they do a quick second clean/straighten. Just be prepared to switch between the pavilion and the bedroom if you happen to be in the suite when they come (i'm sure you could get them to come back, but there's really no need--huge couch/day bed in the pavilion, plus table and chairs. You'll need breaks from the sun).

Final word--we loved the place from the moment we arrived. Really, couldn't pick a better quiet honeymoon spot.

Room Tip: Spa pool villa is excellent choice even if you don't plan to use the upstairs for a massage.
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank M2NC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2012

Dear M2NC

Thank you very much for choosing our hotel for your honeymoon stay. It was with a great pleasure to read your review and complimentary comments. I am sure that your suggestions and observations are also valuable for other readers.

We look forward to your return to Banyan tree Mayakoba and I wish you all the best.

Wishing you a lovely day,

Remaining at your disposal,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2012

We stayed here for 5 nights At the beginning of our honeymoon and although the place is amazing and I really really want to give this place an excellent review there is something just holding me back.

I'll start with the good.

The room we stayed in was a courtyard room and it was more than ideal. A huge room with everything you can ask for. An amazing comfortable bed, great aircon, peaceful and an great nights sleep. More than enough room for 2 and I can't really see the point of going for a better room ( except for the hot tub).

The resort was clean and perfect but you could have been anywhere really. Although its so nice that you don't really want to leave (well not to go to playa del carmen anyway).

The service was great at all times if a little bit formal and scripted but I suppose that's what is expected at this sort of place.

And the breakfast buffet was amazing. By far the best I have ever had.

But I felt that the overall value was pretty average especially on food and drink. The food options were quite limited and the quality was not as good as expected. Especially the Thai food which, being a Thai brand, I was expecting to be much better. I know that it was never going to be cheap but there is a difference in paying for an amazing room and just being ripped off on little things such as the price of water (up to $10 a bottle).

One other tip is that the private pool was freezing and unusable because of the time of year and it wasn't heated so consider this if you're going in winter.

I would stay here again without a doubt but maybe for a shorter period so the food doesn't get boring.

Oh and there are some mean mosquitoes around the mangroves but no problems in the villa.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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1  Thank skill123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BTMayakoba, Director General at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, responded to this reviewResponded 9 April 2012

Dear skill123

Thank you for choosing our resort, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba for a part of your honeymoon and that you liked your stay so much that you did not want to leave us.

Thank you for writing your valuable impressions on the food and drink prices which have been considered by our Food and Beverage Managers.

Do not hesitate in contacting us if you are planning to come again to this Sanctuary of the Senses.

With best wishes,

Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President
Area General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal - Pto. Juarez Km. 298, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#16 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: £495 - £1,461 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Mayakoba 5*
Number of rooms: 122
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a site of almost mythical beauty. It flawlessly blends elegance and nature, taking the Caribbean lifestyle to an unprecedented new height. A breathtaking getaway for relaxation, rejuvenation, romance and world-class dining, it is also the region's most sustainable five-star resort. With its revitalized culinary concepts, Thai-inspired therapies at the Banyan Tree Spa, 14 event-venues and the Greg Norman signature 18- hole El Camaleon golf course, home to the PGA Tour Mayakoba Classic, the resort raises the bar for premium leisure options and event planning. Perfect for private getaways, family trips and group events, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers 118 villas, ranging from romantic Bliss and Serenity Pool Villas to Family Residences and Ocean Front Villas. All include outdoor areas with private pools and terraces. Inspired by the interior courtyards of houses in the Far East, each villa is discreetly built to blend with the landscape, integrating the interiors and their idyllic surroundings. East meets West in every subtle detail, from the fragrance of flowers encircling your villa, to the softness of a kimono, fine linens and essential oils on your skin. Here, even world-weary guests discover the eloquence of tranquility. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen

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