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Royal Hideaway Playacar
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2,649 - 2,654 of 4,923 reviews
Reviewed 25 July 2013

this was my first travel to Mexico, im soimpressed by all the details we had during our stay, the food is amazing, special Palazzo, just Delicious!!! the drinks are amazing, and theres always smiling to you and asking if you need something special. we had a wonderful concierge Roger, on the first day we stop by and he arranged all dinner on good timing (no problems with dine around 7:30) a waiter by the pool (cant remember his name :(, any way everybody where amazing. Thank you royal hideway till next july 2014.

Room Tip: Ask for Villa 31, looking to garden on top floor.
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank samie m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RoyalHideaway1, Reputation Management at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 7 August 2013

Dear Samie M.

It’s great to know that you had beautiful memories from your first trip to Mexico and even more that we were part of this. Thank you so much for your kind words regarding the staff and our resort.

We will be waiting for you next July 2014!

Cordially,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2013

My wife and I recently visited the Playa area for the first time and stayed at the Royal Hideaway. While Mexico is much americanized we enjoyed it and the Royal Hideaway provided us with what we were looking for in an anniversary celebration but with a couple issues.

We had requested a second floor room but were given first floor. We explained this at check in and they said to check back in morning and they would move us because at the time none were available. We entered our room and found it quit warm but figured the air was probably set higher so we lowered it and went to dinner. We ate at the Palazzo and discovered that they were having problems with their A/C as well. After returning to our room and realized it was no cooler, we went to the front desk and asked to be moved due to A/C issue. We were told they should have it repaired within an hour. Finally at 11pm, they moved us into another room, with adequate air and ironically on the second floor. Second issue for us was they want you to us your concierge for all request. However, for the most part our concierge was hard to find and didn’t follow through. We requested water and it seemed we always had to chase someone down to get it. Upon departure we call for a Bellman and was told one would be there at 10am. By 10:15am, we walked to the Bellman station and they had no record of our request but immediately retrieved our luggage.

I only mention these issues to give an honest review and question the designation of a Leading Hotel (which I am sure is just an organization a hotel of this level can join).

Would we return? Most definitely but may try another resort before because we had to be very persistent to get moved into a room with proper A/C which one shouldn’t have to do when vacationing, especially during low season when the resort is not at 100%.

Overall, we had a great stay. The beach and pool area are beautiful and the layout of the resort is second to none. Food: excellent, with exception to steaks which we found only average (may be a Mexico thing). Service: very good. Room Service: excellent. Concierge: needs improvement. Facilities: very good. Villa: could use updating especially exterior where wrought iron is rusting away. Would give 4.5 stars.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Greg B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guadalupe S, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2017

Dear Mr. Greg B.

Thank you very much for the time you spent to share your personal impressions of your stay at our Royal Hideaway. We always welcome feedback, as it allows us to continually improve the experience we create for our guests.
Thank you once again for making us your choice hotel and for your constructive critics, we certaily look forward to serving you again and to have the opportunity to exceed you expectations in a not too distant future.

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Reviewed 23 July 2013

I visited RHP at the end of Jan 2012. I have been to 5* resorts in the Mayan Riviera many times, first time at RHP. I found RHP a great place overall, and will likely go back, but there are some weaknesses of significant note. Make sure your priorities are a match to the resort; otherwise a mismatch will result in disappointment. The key is to know what to expect. The following is my feedback.

I picked this resort for its reputation, location, beach, smaller size, quieter crowd, adults-only, and a la carte dining. The resort did not disappoint here, and it is top notch in these regards.

I've included pictures of the beach, facilities, restaurants, food, and menus.


LOCATION:

RHP is primarily a Playa Del Carmen resort. This is a huge factor for me, meaning it is walkable to 5th Avenue shops and restaurants in what is a decent sized city (150,000). It is about a 20-30 minute walk to the west edge of 5th avenue from the RHP along the beach. I tend to visit 5th Avenue a fair amount as there is lots to see and do. The walk isn’t as convenient or short as The Royal Playa Del Carmen (RPDC) resort, but it is still really good compared to most other resorts that you have to shuttle or cab in from. The proximity to 5th avenue was a significant determinant in choosing RHP for me.

While the resort may be quiet and not a lot going on in the evenings, the short walk or taxi to 5th avenue will take you to a very lively atmosphere. And the evening entertainment options are vast, including a large nightclub show atmosphere at Coco Bongo.

There is also the Playacar Plaza a few feet away from RHP in playacar and it is a great place to shop and see things, without going all the way to 5th avenue. Furthermore there is an aviary within a 15 minute walk of RHP in Playacar (google for it), and they have some great birds to see, after paying an entrance fee. Bring a nice camera.


ATMOSPHERE:

This resort is quiet, romantic, and reserved, with 5 star exotic dining. Do not go if you want a happening atmosphere. I met one couple who thought it was too quiet. Upon arrival we were treated to champagne and check-in at the foyer.

The resort is not very large, so you don’t have a lot of room to explore, but it is lush with plants and some wildlife (capybaras and iguanas). The grounds were kept immaculate with many staff working there. Lots of flowering plants, gardens, waterways, but not much grass, so most walking was confined to the paths. There are not a lot of private areas, like what can be the case on a large resort, but on the other hand RHP is easy to walk about and navigate.

The infrastructure is very nice, but not as eye-popping as other resorts. Not much polished stone compared to other places. The low rise and low # of units villa design lends a quiet and calming overall feel to the resort.

The age demographics were on the older side, with very very few people under 20. Mostly couples, with a lot of people from the UK, Europe, and Canada.


AMENITIES:

If you want a great beach, you should be impressed here. The beach restoration in 2010 included RHP and there is 80 metres of width of nice white sand. This beach blows away any other Mayan Riviera and Caribbean beach I’ve been to (see my other reviews by clicking on my name and then contributions). I have not seen a wider beach anywhere in the Caribbean, nor Mayan Riviera. Being a small resort there is a lot of room on the beach for the low number of guests. Beach chairs are nice and staff can set up shelters for two chairs to sit under in the midday sun (see pictures). Very nice service here. Servers are on the beach, but alcohol service is very slow and spotty. I have had notably better beach alcohol service at other resorts. I found it far better to get up and go get a drink at the bar at RHP. There is also nice swimming right in front of the resort. I should mention beaches throughought Playa Del Carmen have been eroding from the 2010 restoration (read my RPDC reviews by clicking on my name and then on contributions to read about the massive changes there), and RHP is no exception (though much slower). The beach is unbelievable great now at RHP, but will get smaller year to year. Go there soon if you want the best it has to offer.

There was never a problem getting a chair on the beach, but the towel game took many of the best pool chairs early in the morning.

The room was nice, but not to the level of other resorts I have been to. Not much marble, older tub, and a more dated look. The RPDC has much nicer rooms and finishings. This isn't a brand new resort so don't expect the 'new' feel.

We got a room for two double beds and it turns out there are only a couple of double bed rooms on the resort, none of which are anywhere near the beach either. That was disappointing. Further, as mentioned in other reviews, the villas on the edge of the resort can be subject to off-resort noise. The centre villas are the best in my opinion.

The two main pools were nice, but some fixing was needed (broken tiles, etc.) and RHP can do better here. There is a cold hot-tub and a warmer hot tube by the beach as well which is a nice tough. The tubs and pools further inside the resort were not used much by anyone. As noted earlier this is a smaller resort, so pool options are limited compared to larger resorts. This may bother some people, not others.

Liquor selection is a highlight. Better than RPDC in my opinion. Tap beer is Corona and many high end liquor bottles available but you have to request them (which is usually the case at all resorts), such as grey goose, bacardi anejo, Don Julio blanco and repasado, Bombay, and single malt scotch. I recommend trying the Don Julio Reposado tequila (straight, margarita's, etc). This is premium tequila and a very enjoyable option. There were a number of bars at the resort, but again they weren’t all open all the time. Ask for the drink menu because there are a lot of things to try.

There is a lot to do on the resort for free, with a daily activities board. Tequila tastings, wine tastings, yoga, spanish lessons, fresh fruit, aqua-aerobics, boccie ball, ping pong, etc.

Other resort touches I appreciated included high tea, early afternoon saxophone player at the main pool, free internet wifi (room)and computers (lobby) that worked well and weren't overly busy like other resorts, and local artisans setting up jewellery and pottery in one spot on resort.


RESTAURANTS

The restaurants were amazing for food and service, but there were some restaurant weaknesses too. The food was a resort highlight. Be wary if you are a meat and potatoes person or want all day buffets. You may find the a la carte restaurants and the resort restaurant options limiting and the food too exotic at many of the restaurants. Be prepared to dress up for dining. There were some very nicely dressed people at dinners and it can be quite formal; shorts/ t-shirts won't get you in to many restaurants. Bring more than one set of nice clothes.

The breakfast buffet had a dedicated omlette/egg chef. English muffins, bread, bagels, toaster, 8+ sandwich meats, 8+ cheeses, french toast, pancakes, sausages, bacon, hashbrowns, fresh fruits (papaya, mango, apples, pears, japanese pears, oranges, pineapple, kiwi, honeydew, cantaloupe, etc), fresh juices including pineapple and papaya, nuts, smoked salmon, deserts, , etc, etc, etc. Tasty.

The menu’s had amazing food with as much attention to presentation as the taste. Great stuff. Dedicated dessert menus as well. Make sure to ask for the specials of the day. I found the specials to be some of the best meals. Restaurants tended to have 4 course option meals, with 4-5 options per course. Want 3 appetizers and to skip a course? No problem. Comments about small portions are strange.... just order more. There were no restrictions on amount or selections. It takes 1-2 hours to eat at some of the restaurants over the 4 course meal. It is a relaxing experience, but I heard some people complaining about that, so if you are not into the dining experience, this may not be for you. I dined on roasted duck breast, angus beef rib eye, much excellent ceviche, sushi, octopus, squid, shrimp, lobster, rack of lamb, salads, penne, linguini, freshly baked buns (including cornbread, olive bread, white and whole wheat), exotic sauces / additions / desserts.

The Deck and Spices (beside each other at the beach) were lunch restaurants. The Deck was more busy and casual in food options, while Spices had finer a la carte options and more Mexican dishes. I preferred Spices (watch it as they aren’t open as long), and they had amazing ceviche. I really enjoyed all restaurants for supper options but these ones stood out: the theater restaurant had amazing shows and we went twice (they had more than one show); Las Ventanas was the fanciest and we would do that multiple times again; Palazzo (Italian) had amazing food and atmosphere and we did it multiple times.

Many of the restaurants had live music as well, which was a very nice thought. The by the beach had a guitar player, the Italian restaurant had a violin player, Las Ventanas had the Piano Bar player (but only at a few times).

Now for the restaurant weaknesses. The restaurants weren't always open; it was staggered between days so one had to make sure a restaurant was open to book it. And also, while at first glance it may appear there are a lot of restaurant choices at RHP, it is not so because restaurants aren't open every night. Other resorts such as RPDC do better with having all restaurants open every night.

At RHP, Spices and the Deck were the only lunch restaurant options, and Spices had shorter lunch hours (closed at 2:30 pm). If you wanted lunch or a bite to eat at 2:30 pm or later there was only one place until supper (could still get room service though). The Deck turned into Meditaranno in the evening for supper (not always open though). Ventanas, Palazzo, and Ventanas were open 2-3 days per week generally, from what I remember. Further, the show restaurant (Club Royale) was only sparingly open one to two days per week, so be careful or you will miss seeing it. With such a system people can miss out on trying a restaurant, which would be a pity. I recommend booking the restaurants you want early in your trip. The best times at the best restaurants go quickly. Wait longer to book at your own peril. You can re-book your restaurants at any time with your concierge as well.

Also, in a 10 day stay, only once were there two breakfast restaurants open. Almost all the time there, only one breakfast restaurant was open, and the result was usually a line-up and waiting time to get in. Other resorts I have been to in the Mayan Riviera do not have this issue, such as RPDC. RHP breakfast did have a very nice full food buffet.


SERVICE

Service had some great aspects, but unfortunately some not so great aspects. We tipped as well. Staff was friendly and some were super friendly. I made some friends there. The 24 hour room menu has good selection and service. We were very happy with the bartender and restaurants service. Bar tenders would make any drink I asked for, and even track down all required ingredients, such as ice cream. Ricardo was a great bartender through our stay there and I thank him personally for his service and the experience.

Each villa has its own concierge, but they can disappear for long periods of time. And I did find the service to be lacking with my villa concierges. These services are important since they are all your room-based needs. There was much more of a can’t-do attitude than can-do. A few examples here… I was told that beer bottles (they didn’t have corona cans) weren’t allowed to be ordered to the room bar fridge because they were glass … yet champagne glasses and bottles were allowed (with complaining about these inconsistencies, they did change their mind, but it took time and was disappointing). They refused to stock the room fridge with coca cola products as well (again, with some persuasion, they changed their mind). Also, they initially refused to put boxes of orange juice into the bar fridge, but later were able to do that. No ended up being yes for all of these requests eventually, but with far too much work, time, and persuasion by myself. Too bad. I’ve never struggled as near as much in other resorts to get these same room concierge services and villa concierge service has been better at many other resorts. RPDC has RHP beat by a mile here.


OTHER

As for overall trip info there are many things to do off resort at RHP, but bring money. The hotel foyer can direct you to tour and activity bookings. I recommend you doing something off resort because there is so much available. Just book early in your vacation the things you want to do, especially when having good weather. Weather is a factor for ocean activities. High wind and your deep sea fishing will be cancelled. Catch a cold and you can’t do scuba. Cancelling/rebooking activities is not a problem. For larger tours to ruins and such, discuss transportation options because shuttle options can range from vans to large luxury tour buses. And a long ride in a van the way they drive can be a negative experience for some people. On top of booking early I recommend booking day on, day off, for activities. This works out to a nice balance, and at times you'll need the rest.

If you are going to do some things I recommend being at the resort for longer than 7 days. Time goes by fast and there is so much to take in.

Mexico has its act together for activities and options. They are very well organized and have tons of activities/options. Within 15-20 minutes of the resort is a PGA golf course, scuba at the world's 2nd largest reef, ceynotes, snorkelling there too, horse back riding, ATV tours, jet skiing, deep sea fishing, catamaran tours and playa del carmen 20 min away. Further away is swim with dolphins, more ceynotes, zip lines, jungle tours, visit the world largest natural marine aquarium, pirate ship dining, shuttles to cancun (party tours), etc. Three major ruins are also within travelling distance. The closest is Tulum, then Coba, then Ek Balam, and Chichen itza. I recommend Chichen Itza combined with Ek Balam (fully climbable and the temple is very detailed and high) and pay the extra $$ for a guide. It is so so worth it.

More specifically, I recommend the Barcelo Maya cenotes for visiting and snorkelling, Yal ku and Akumal Beach for more snorkelling. Google for info. I would not tour, but rather taxi or collective to them. Be on your own schedule.

On 5th Avenue in the plaza (near plaza la fiesta in paseo del Carmen) on the west edge is viva margaritas. These are the best margaritas and drinks I’ve had in the area. Amazing pina colada.

Air Canada reps were very poorly organized this trip. They need to do better.



OVERALL

Here are the quick highlights.

POSITIVES
- Location location location (PDC is great to walk and for shopping, food, drink, dancing, etc.)
- Best beach by far yet in Caribbean
- Great food and restaurants
- Quiet and adults only
- Great bar service and selection

NEGATIVES
- Poor service from room concierges
- Dated rooms and finishings
- Limited restaurant options each day because they aren’t always open (especially breakfast)
- Limited pool options (because a small resort)

Summary - RHP has some of the best aspects of a vacation I've experienced but frustratingly they missed the mark on a few service levels. They also have a few shortcomings (see list above) that may detract enjoyment for some people. The resort is so close in some ways to bliss. Decide what is most important for you. Overall I was very happy and will likely return if the vacation cost does not further increase over the cost of other resorts.

The Mayan Riviera itself continues to be my favourite Caribbean destination.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
22  Thank KW-Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guadalupe S, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2017

We would like to express our gratitude for the comments you made about your visit. They help us to understand how our guests experience their stay with us. It is always our goal to achieve maximum customer satisfaction and we are delighted to hear that your holiday at Royal Hideaway was an enjoyable one. We continuously strive to deliver high standards and to ensure that all our guests leave with beautiful vacation memories.
Again we thank you for this wonderful review, it has been a pleasure for us to read and we look forward to serving you again son.

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Reviewed 22 July 2013

my husband is an artist he always brings art materials to paint the lovely scenery. The staff is the main reason we come back to this hotel each year. Mexico is full of the most wonderful people and they all seem to work here. music is great very low and mellow tea time is our favorite.New bicycles good addition.More mexican buffets at night would be great. More of a mexican nightclub show would improve the entertainment. We will see you soon every year.

Room Tip: we always request our room number royal hideaway is very helpful
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank Jacquelyn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guadalupe S, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2017

Dear Ms. Jacquelyn M.

We always find it nice to read that our guests went home with great holiday memories and we are very grateful for the time and effort you spent to share your personal experience at our Royal Hideaway hotel with us and Tripadvisor readers.
We are thrilled you enjoyed your recent stay with us. Thank you for making us your choice hotel when visiting the area. We look forward to welcoming you back again very soon.

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Reviewed 22 July 2013

It was the nearly perfect get away. The food was the best I have tasted!!! The atmosphere was just beautiful! The service floored me.....couldn't believe how hard they worked to accommodate and comfort us! The rooms were very nice as were the comfortable mattress.....no problem sleeping!! We just love everything at The Royal Hideaway except it was too quiet at night. There were only a few things to go during our stay. Oh, another thing we didn't care for was we had to make reservations for dinners at night. When I'm on vacation I just like to eat whenever. I still give the resort a 5!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank ngg7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guadalupe S, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2017

Firstly we would like to thank you for the lovely review you shared following your visit to our Royal Hideaway hotel and are delighted to read that we were able to match your holiday expectations.
Once more we thank you for choosing our hotel for your holiday and very much look forward to having the opportunity to serve you again in the future.

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