We stayed here the last week of February, 2012. I'm a little surprised about a bad review here I just read and am, frankly, skeptical of some things said. In any case, here is my experience.
We went with another couple and rented a "penthouse." A penthouse unit includes a rooftop area with your own freestanding hot tub and sitting areas. It is very private and we enjoyed having the extra amenities there. In fact, I watched the sun come up several times with a cup of coffee in the hot tub. The unit was quite nice with two bedrooms and two baths. The kitchen area has a full size fridge, microwave, stove, and everything you would need. A trip to the Mega grocery store and we had snacks and the makings for breakfasts. A dishwasher and washer/dryer for clothes are also in each unit. There is a great balcony and wall to ceiling windows facing the water. There is a road between the hotel and the beach but it is more like a service road. It is not busy at all and quite safe even for kids to cross. It is made of paving stone and not very wide. We didn't really view it being there as a negative.
This is not really a hotel. It is a condo property and all the units are privately owned and leased when the owners are not around. So, the furniture and decorating will vary from unit to unit, but I'm guessing they are all pretty nice. When we arrived late on a Friday night, we were given a welcome pack that includes a cellphone that you can use to call the concierge,Damien, at any time. Nice touch. We did call him with a couple questions and met with him the next day. He is very helpful and friendly and usually on property. I'm guessing that not all the condo-owners wish to rent their units so many units were not being used. There is no hustle and bustle that you would experience at a typical hotel and the overall experience is very personal as the help at the front desk quickly knows you and they are also very helpful. There is no in-house bar or restaurant, but there are so many options around you, including your own kitchen, that we did not find that to be a problem.
The pool area is beautiful and we found it and the grounds to be well kept. I swam in the pool and found the temperature to be pleasant and the pool clean. The beach is interesting. With the entire width of the hotel, you have a private beach area right in the middle with lounge chairs. It was never busy and there was no problem of people saving seats with towels and that sort of thing. To the left and right of the private area were public beach areas. The one on the left seems to be a staging area for fishing and diving boats. We enjoyed watching the activity over there, but I can see where some people might not. The beach itself is quite nice and the comment someone else made about smell is not accurate. When you walk the beach, as we often did, you occasionally get a whiff of something that smells sulfur-like. You get this everywhere, even in front of the most expensive resorts further down the beach, but it is just an occasional whiff and not something to be concerned about. Speaking of walking on the beach, a 10-15 minute walk takes you down to the busy mega-resorts around Constitution Avenue. It's fun to walk down there, but with the thousands of people on the beach, it makes me appreciate the uncrowded, quiet area that Elements offers.
A 5 minute walk down the beach takes you to Origenes Restaurant. This is slightly off the beach and is a great place. It is on Calle 38 and if you walk past the restaurant, it takes you closer to the 5th Avenue area. We found this to be a more desirable walk than directly from Elements. The first couple of blocks from Elements to 5th Avenue is probably safe, but looks a little sketchy and the girls weren't too comfortable with it. Speaking of that issue, cabs are always available from Elements and a quick ride for 50 pesos will have you in the heart of 5th Avenue. That's about $4.50 at current exchange. The rate seems to vary a bit from cab to cab, so it doesn't hurt to ask before you close the doors and take off. We found that if we caught a cab from 5th Avenue back to the hotel and offered 50 pesos, they were generally happy with that.
The wireless internet at the hotel did not work for our iPads. Damien recognizes that they have a wifi issue and said it is one of his main goals to get addressed in the coming months. We soon learned that the beach club a few hundred yards away had wifi and went and had a few beers and got the password information. So, I would walk over there once or twice a day to check my email.
Speaking of the beach club, it is right next to the public beach I spoke of earlier. It is three levels high with a restaurant and bar service. The food was quite good and you can order food while you sit on a lounge chair taking in the sun with a cocktail. Great place to people watch and the locals like it too.
So, we really enjoyed Elements and would go back. Next time I would like to stay longer! This is a great part of the world to vacation and Elements is a very relaxing place to do it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Elements, perfectly located at the beach, features Playa Del Carmen's only private beach and beach club! Our white sandy beaches and emerald green waters are just steps from your private patio. And after the sun goes down, Playa Del Carmen's famous 5th Avenue is mere blocks away! Each of our spacious 1, 2, & 3 bedroom units feature an awe-inspiring ocean view, natural stones, plush furnishings and contemporary decor. Additional amenities include high thread count linens, plasma satellite televisions, upscale appliances, a washer/dryer, premium organic toiletries and a fully-appointed kitchen. In addition to our unobstructed ocean views and private beach and beach club, The Elements features one of Playa's largest pools, a fitness center and spa services right on the beach! Stretch out and make yourself at home during your perfect beach vacation in our "home-like" accommodations! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Elements Oceanfront & Beachside Condo Hotel Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen