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“NOT a 5 star resort - don't waste your money!”

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Royal Hideaway Playacar
Ranked #32 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“NOT a 5 star resort - don't waste your money!”
Reviewed 17 July 2014

This is definitely NOT a 5 star hotel. I would not recommend this resort. Let me start by saying that my husband and I had very high hopes for this resort. My cousin stayed here for her honeymoon and had a great time, so when we saw it as an option we were excited. So – what exactly went wrong? Well, for the most part there was nothing too catastrophic but there were medium and small issues that it really affected our stay. In fact, it got to the point where I started making a list mid-way through our trip so I wouldn’t forget anything for this TripAdvisor review. Here’s the list:

The Room: We booked a Luxury room. Here were our issues with the room:
• Promised either a terrace or balcony. “Balcony” was about 2 feet deep and had palm trees hanging over it. Very close to the property next door – you could see the fence and buildings next door.
• Room description on the website also says we would get a “basket of fresh fruit upon arrival.” Basket of fresh fruit = a little metal plate with 3 apples.
• Wallpaper in our bathroom was lifting (see picture)
• Mildew/mold on the grout on the window in the shower (see picture)
• On our 2nd day there we came back to our room to find a HUGE puddle of water gathering next to my luggage (see picture) because our AC was leaking. Thankfully – it missed our luggage and shoes by a few inches. I’m really not sure how the housekeeper missed the water literally coming out of the ceiling but some how she did. So we called the concierge and they sent someone up. The person came in 10 minutes, fixed the AC and left. He forgot to mention that it would take another 15 minutes for the AC to kick on again. He just left and said “Es bueno amigo.” Thankfully we had enough patience to wait and see if it turned on again, but that patience was wearing thin in 90 degree heat. Our concierge Danielle made an effort to see if things had been resolved. We happened to open our door when she was standing outside knocking on another room’s door (the walls are thin at this resort) and asked if it was ok, but that was it – no apology, nothing. So much for customer service!
• Water in the shower would not stay consistently one temperature – kept going hot and cold.
• They came to check our phone twice during the 4 nights we were there. Our phone was working fine, but we heard another guest say theirs was going off all night and they got to the point where they had to unplug it.
• Issues getting extra shampoo and conditioner. We asked our concierge to tell housekeeping that every day we wanted 2 sets of shampoo and conditioner. Day 1 we got that. Day 2 we didn’t. Day 3 we got 2 sets of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc.
• Minibar was stocked incorrectly (we asked for extra water and Diet Coke, they forgot the Diet Coke) one of the days as well AND the door to the minibar was left open so everything was wrong.

Food/Restaurants/Room Service Issues:
• Not all of the restaurants were open when we were there. Spices was open 1 night/week.
• No variety for breakfast. Only Spices was open for breakfast and it was the same thing every day – an omelet station and some hot chafing dishes with almost the same thing in them every day. No fresh waffles, French toast, pancakes, etc. which is pretty standard at a 5 star resort.
• No variety for lunch – only 2 restaurants open for lunch and the menus don’t change at all.
• No creativity for non-alcoholic drinks. I couldn’t drink while there, so I would ask the waiters what they could do that was non-alcoholic. The only answers I got “pina colada, daiquiri, juice.” Wow – thanks for the creativity, definitely won’t get tired of that any time soon. I only learned that they made smoothies after I saw another patron order one.
• Room service order was wrong. We were missing part of our order (after I repeated it back to the person on the phone twice) and they were missing the condiments we requested. Similarly, there were also instances where we requested 1 order of something and got 2.
• Food at The Grill was not good. My steak had an absurd amount of fat on it (it wasn’t properly trimmed) and the food really left something to be desired. The ravioli tasted like the came from a package and the onion soup tasted like it came from a can.
• We had ants crawling on our table at The Grill and they didn’t do anything about it. They just moved our table and sat someone else there. (I guess it wasn’t an issue for the other couple.)
• It was difficult to change dishes – waiters had to ask the chef for even simple changes (i.e. chicken in the tacos instead of fish or swapping one sauce for another). Waiters also seemed confused and perplexed when you requested a change to a dish (and these were VERY simple changes).
• Insufficient air conditioning in Spices. At breakfast time it was cooler then outside but the AC wasn’t strong enough.
• Waiters had poor English comprehension. Now – I understand we are in Mexico at a Mexican resort – however, if you’re going to offer a menu in English then when I order in English there shouldn’t be any confusion.
• The reservation system is pointless. The restaurants were half-empty when we were there and due to the limited number of reservations (and the limited nights each restaurant is open) it was the reservation system that dictated where we ate each night instead of us choosing as guests.

General/Service Issues:
• While our concierge, Daniella, was very nice – she was NEVER at her desk to ask questions. Most of the time when we called the concierge we got sent to the main number.
• Internet service was shoddy and both me and my husband kept losing the internet connection when we’d move from one point to another
• There was almost NO waiter service on the beach and at the pool. One day we sat at the pool in one of the beach beds for almost 2 hours before someone came by. Now – it’s not that I can’t get my own drinks – but when it’s 90 degrees out and I paid for a 5 star resort, this is expected. We had the same experience at the beach. We were there for about 4 hours and a waiter came by only once.
• Nobody to help you move beach chairs/shades on the beach. My husband had to drag the chairs and the shade tied to the share up to the front of the beach. Again – not that he couldn’t do it, but it’s pretty standard for someone to be there to help you with this at a 5 star resort.
• No air conditioning in any of the public bathrooms attached to the restaurants. The AC in the restaurants in general was lacking. The only place it was really good was in the main lobby.
• This isn’t really an “adults only” resort. Children over 13 are allowed and we saw a few. However, it’s advertised as “adults only” which I thought was misleading. The children we did encounter were fine and didn’t cause any trouble though.

Things we liked:
• The food at Las Ventanas, Azia and Palazzo was very good.
• The beach was beautiful.
• The tacos at The Deck are really good.

Room Tip: Choose another hotel. Don't waste your money on this one.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
13 Thank Alicia522
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Royal H, Social Media at Royal Hideaway Playacar, responded to this review, 22 July 2014
Dear Mrs. Alicia522,

First of all thank you for choosing our Royal Hideaway as a holiday place. We regret to hear that we didn’t meet your complete satisfaction. We are always concerned about our guests’ wellbeing and strive to make their holiday at our property an unforgettable experience.

We do apologize for the inconveniences you might have encountered during your stay with us. We have shared your comments with the correspondent department in order to take proper actions on these matters.

We sincerely hope that you give us the opportunity and pleasure of being on service to you in the near future, as we assure you; it is our constant aim to serve our guests in a manner commensurate with their highest expectations. We will be happy to have you back.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2014

Picked this hotel for its distance to Playa del Carmen as well as for its beach. We were delighted to find out it was adults only - so no constant drone of music poolside. Lots of little oasis cooling pools if you didn't want to be at the main pool. We actually preferred the little pool in front of our room and retreated there every afternoon for a couple of hours to get out of the sun. Lovely little shade tents on the chaise on the beach, so that you had a bit of privacy and shade. Porters,Restaurant & bar staff were great - friendly, remembered our names, even if we hadn't seen them in a few days! Our concierge - a new experience for me for booking restaurants was ok, our stand in concierge was excellent, as she made our bookings, checking that the restaurants were open on those nights, and decorated our room with balloons when she found out we were honeymooners. Almost everyone we met was on their honeymoon. Italian and Asian restaurants were our favourites - for variety in menu, and dining experience. Breakfast buffet was expansive and tasty - something for everyone - our waiters were great! The Thursday night Mexican fiesta had top notch entertainment and food - just too warm a venue if you sat at a table for 2 and were draped in tablecloths. Tea in the front of the hotel was a lovely option late afternoon. Men have to wear collared shirts and trousers for dining - wish we would have had a heads up - as my husband's wardrobe was a little limited on that front. The spa facilities were beautiful - and like a lot of spas were pushing their product lines. Couples massage was perfect way to spend a raining morning. Manicure and pedicure were ok. Our room was roomy and supplies were replenished twice a day - a plus. Great bathroom/dressing area. Beautiful gardens! Great entertainment outside at bar Alegria. Lunch on the Deck was what holiday lunching should be - relaxed, yummy and with a view. Little plaza across the street was handy for retail therapy - but Playa del Carmen is an easy cab ride away. So my downside would be - our initial front desk staff wasn't the friendliest, our concierge was ok - honestly I would have preferred making our own bookings - 2 restaurants had very limited menus for dinner, particularly if you are a vegetarian - one serving very small portions (Las Ventanas). We also had to make a correction with our final bill. Having said that - I would highly recommend this hotel!!! It was a great honeymoon.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1 Thank KathiToronto_Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dronfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2014 via mobile

I think for 5star everything has to be perfect,

Staff mainly all were perfect, our concierge let us down, we booked restaurants before we left home for the first 3 nights and went perfect, then we left him a list of choices for the next few nights and all went wrong, wife had to complain and sort it but still wasn't perfect,
Restaurants are very good Azia the best, then the deck in the day,
Room very good, were in block 23, 3 floors 8 rooms per floor, and every door sticks so every door slams loudly when someone comes and goes, like a teenage Tantrum. They need some shaving off,
Beach perfect
Pools perfect
Bars, need work, all waiter service, yes its good, but we like to chill at a bar and this can't be done,
So as you can see not five star for me, I don't like being woken up in the night or morning by doors or voices.
If your spending this amount of money and travelling this far try
Aruba, go to the Divi, best hotel I have ever been too. That should be a five star.

Stayed July 2014
3 Thank Chris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
80 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 July 2014 via mobile

This is such a wonderful place! I have been several times over the years and each time is better than the last. The service is impeccable, the food is amazing and the pools are great! I love lounging around the pools and getting warm towels that smell lovely and listening to whoever is playing wonderful music at that time. It is the only all inclusive I will stay at because you don't feel like it is. Excellent! Cheers and see you soon!

Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
Thank sunnietexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 July 2014 via mobile

I have been to Mexico many many times as well as traveled around the world. My mom and I decided to take a last minute vacation to Playa and The Royal Hideaway had fabulous reviews. HOWEVER, we had been in the hotel less than 24 hours before we had several hundred dollars STOLEN from our room. Honestly, it was ridiculous. The staff said that we should have locked it up, and although that is always wise it is not okay for us to be victimized when someone on staff had definitely stolen from us.
They launched an investigation very promptly which we were thankful for, however, "no conclusive evidence could be found". Im sorry, but no amount of free drinks and beautiful beaches makes up for the feeling of being taken advantage of...especially in such a luxury facility. I warned all of the guests in our building and we will NEVER be staying here again.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
24 Thank Katy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 July 2014 via mobile

My husband and I visited the resort for the first time and we're blown away by the impeccable service. Every staff member takes pride in the service they offer . Every one is treated like a VIP . The resort really is a Hydeaway I felt like I was on a secluded island at times.

Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
1 Thank Kathryn W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2014

Our week at the Royal Hideaway in June 2014 was absolutely perfect. My husband and I stayed for one week in Building 25, second floor. The resort is small, so wherever your suite is, the walk will be short.
From the moment we entered the Hotel we were greeted by staff that was genuinely kind and attentive.
Our room was gorgeous. The beaches were clean and the pool was beautiful.

We ate at a new restaurant each night and loved all of them. We asked to sit on the patios of each restaurant to have privacy and a more quiet atmosphere. We made our reservations for the first two nights about a week before we left through email. Then when we arrived we made the reservations for the other nights. The food was absolutely amazing at each restaurant.
We ordered appetizers, main course and dessert with every meal. We tried new drinks every night and new food every night .

At night, it was nice to go to the lounge and listen to music. The hotel next door is owned by the Royal Hideaway and you can go to watch the shows or dance at their "tiny" nightclub. Or take a taxi to 5th street for more entertainment.
While you are there be sure to view the daily activities that are planned at the resort, like the Tequila tasting. It was so fun!
Also, for an hour each day you can take the kayaks and other water boats for free.
It was a relaxing, stress free vacation. We will definitely be back next year.

Room Tip: Building 25 was in the center of the resort. 2nd or 3rd floor rooms are highly recommended.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1 Thank Krisanch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Royal Hideaway Playacar

Property: Royal Hideaway Playacar
Address: Lote Hotelero No. 6 Fracc., Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Royal Hideaway Playacar & Occidental Resorts)
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#12 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#14 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#18 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#18 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#24 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#27 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#27 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Royal Hideaway Playacar 4.5*
Number of rooms: 201
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Award winning luxury all inclusive resort set along the beautiful beaches of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Ideal setting in a serene environment for complete rest and relaxation. Adults only. Member of The Leading Hotels of the World. 2008 winner of the coveted AAA 5 Diamond Award. 11 villas with private concierge are spread throughout the property's immaculate grounds. Six gourmet restaurants serve delicasies in menu-style dining. A full service spa offers the ultimate in papmering and body treatments. Personalzied service and attention to detail set this resort a world apart. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Hideaway Playacar And Occidental Resorts
Royal Hideaway Playacar & Occidental Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Royal Hideaway Playa Del Carmen
Royal Hideaway Mexico
Occidental Royal Hideaway
Royal Hideaway Playacar Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen

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