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The Reef Playacar
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Reviews (5,217)
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Show reviews that mention
All reviewschula vistanico's barterraza grillitalian restaurantthe ice cream parlorswim up barpremium packagesmall resortjungle settinggated communitygreat beachnachosother resortsall inclusive resortplenty of chairsbuffet foodentertainment staff
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Reviewed 12 March 2014

- food and selection good
- grounds and beaches impeccable
- rooms average(dated)
- service excellent, check-in flawless
- location, outstanding, easy walk to Playa del Carmen
- small,quiet,intimate environment

The Reef was a perfect get away for us. If you want to party, think else where. We enjoyed a quiet, low key get away. Food was very good, not gourmet. It was always hot and plentiful. The evening shows were entertaining. The rooms were dated, but we spent our days in the sun and only returned to sleep.The best was the location. A beautiful, safe walk through a up scale area of resorts and private condos to Playa del Carmen. We were able to walk to Playa nightly in complete safety. The beach and grounds were spotless. Always loungers available. Service was outstanding. Our room was kept spotless and always stocked.
We usually book 41/2-5 star but last minute booked The Reef, and were very pleasantly surprised. Very good value for our dollar. We would highly recommend the The Reef for a quiet relaxed no pressure get away. The Reef is on our list again for next year.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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6  Thank johncade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 22 March 2014

Dear Guests, thank you for taking the time and writing such a detailed review about the hotel and your experience here. We and other future guest appreciate the effort.

Furthermore we were really happy to hear that you were happy about the food and the service. Moreover the compliments about the location and the grounds are really appreciated.

We really hope that you are planning to come back and visit us again. If so please let us know beforehand so we can arrange the special repetitive guests benefits for you for your next stay.

Thank you so much again.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014

the staff and venue were very nice. The rooms were clean and well maintained. The food at the buffet was good and the wait staff were very attentive. The beach was as advertised, no coral no rocks and very enjoyable.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
3  Thank priorlakebetty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 13 March 2014

Dear guest,
Thank you for your nice review and we are happy that you enjoyed your vacation with us.

We are pleased to hear that you were satisfied about the food, the staff and the location.

If you are planning on coming back please let us know and we will arrange the repetitive guest benefits for you.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2014

Been going to all-inclusive hotels with our friends for 10 years now. Stayed at Reef Playacar 10 years ago, but not expecting it to be the same after all these years; however, it has gone downhill compared to other places, and they need to work on getting it back up to par. This is what we didn't like: reservations not under correct names (don't know whose fault that was), so stressful trying to check in, but didn't matter because they were overbooked and they sent us to their sister hotel, the Coco Reef, for one night. Promised us that when we came back, we would have upgraded rooms, and would get the "gold" wristbands, which entitled us to premium liquor, dinner at two fancy restaurants, entrance to Nico's beach bar, and free safe. Didn't like that our friends were given a bottle of wine, and we didn't get one. Daniel at front desk promised one would be delivered, but never came. No minibar in "upgraded" room. I put a smudge of lipstick on makeup mirror and it was never cleaned off for six days, coffee bags were not replaced for two days, so we talked to housekeeper and she told us to go get coffee in the restaurant. We left a $5 tip everyday, plus candy or fruit for maid, so she could've done better job. When we went to bars to order a drink (rum, vodka, tequila, whatever), we would actually see them hide a bottle under the cabinet, so when we asked for another drink they would say it was all gone, and we were like "No, we just saw you hide it" and they'd say, "Come back tomorrow". Our travel partners speak Mexican, so they would talk to the bartenders and workers, and they even said how the place was going downhill, or that they were only able to serve 2 or 3 bottles a day of something, and then it was "gone". They would even run out of bottled water. I'm not a big food person; I can always find something to eat, but the Chulavista buffet was one of the smallest I've seen. They never had bacon, until we were told to ask for it, but even then they were out, until the cook "magically" found some under her station. Food not horrible, but really small selection compared to other hotels we've been to. The two "fancy" restaurants were good. Glad you didn't have to make a reservation, but not quite sure why they were labelled Mexican and Italian, because they were limited to "those" menus. Food was delicious at both, but service in the Italian was horrendously slow!, so we hit the Mexican one three times. Food at Snack Shack was actually very good; ribs, 1/2 chicken, tuna sandwich, and club sandwich were really, really good, as was ice cream, but skip the pizza (not what you are use to), and fries were always cold (but birds will eat them). The seats at the swim-up bar need to be replaced.. thought I was going to rip the bottom of my suit on rough chairs. Also, the "timeshare" man (by the towel place) kept recommending that we go downtown to eat, drink, or have fun. After 9pm there was not much going on, even after the "nightclub/theatre" emptied out (and boy, does that place stink, we called it the "fart room") What we did like: the grounds. What a beautiful forest-like atmosphere, with the running water, and yes, I loved those blackbirds making their strange noises everyday! Beach is wonderful, water was great, the walk to town (by beach or sidewalk) is great, some shop owners are annoying, but don't look them in the eye or pay attention to them. The workers at the hotel were tipped very nicely by us, and they all deserve it! These people work 6 days a week, doing many jobs. You see someone sweeping sand off the steps in the morning, washing windows later, then cleaning bathrooms at night. I think the service from the workers is great! I think management better look at other hotels, and get their act together. We've been staying at RIU hotels; they are much larger; but, they have more food varieties, staff works just as hard, grounds are immaculate, price is comparable.

Room Tip: Don't ask for "ocean view" and be disappointed because your room will look into the forest area, or next door to other hotel. You want ocean view.. walk down to the beach.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank kyle3travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 13 March 2014

Dear Guests, thank you for taking the time and writing a review about the hotel and your experience here. We and other future guest appreciate the effort.

We made a note of the improvement points that you mentioned and we will definitely take them into consideration. We are very sorry to hear you were not as satisfied as you expected and we hope you will give us another chance. We will contact you personally.

Thank you for mentioning the location, the grounds and the food.

Thank you so much again and we wish you happy future travels.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2014

We have only stayed at 4 all-inclusives, 3 in Mexico and 1 in Cuba. This one we would rank at number 2 of our all-inclusive experiences.

Checking In:
The landscaping/design is natural and that with it's smaller size provides an intimate tropical feel. We found that our top floor room felt quite private with foliage from trees. The check-in process went smoothly and we were provided champagne and our request for a king bed was accommodated, then the bell boy Oliver delivered our bags to our third floor room, keeping in mind there are no elevators.

Rooms:
The noise in the stairwell, from doors closing and people talking was loud, so we kept it in mind when coming or going early or late in the day, to be considerate of others. Never heard noise between rooms though. Did not find the alarm clocks provided necessary, as the birds consistently provided us with a wake up call. The window in the bathroom did not close or latch. The room was well appointed with enough space and storage. I do not recall ever having to pay to to use an in-room safe before, even at less expensive properties. Had no issues with running out of hot water. Housekeeping was pretty good, however one time they did forget to replace towels that they removed. When an ironing board was requested, since only an iron was in the closet, housekeeping brought it quickly, even though I said that the next day would be fine. We found that this resort had a lot of smokers compared to other resorts we have stayed at, sadly smoke wafted into our room from smokers on balconies close by, and I had to evacuate the room. There is a small sign in the room indicating that there is a $200 USD charge for smoking in the rooms, so ashtrays are found on the balcony. Smokers were also an issue at the bars, pools, and beach, as well, so non-smokers be prepared to relocate if need be.

Bars:
Most bars, provided friendly service with tasty beverages. However, the service could have been more timely, if there was more staff available to serve the volume of guests. Also, if there was pool and beach service, that would be a huge asset, as this is a service provided at other all-inclusive resorts we have stayed at. In addition, my husband found that the house red wine was undrinkable. There were bottles of other wines available for purchase, if one really wanted to enjoy some wine at Terraza Grill and Botticelli, not sure if bottles were available for purchase elsewhere. Certainly, with the variety of other beverages provided, there are no concerns with going dry, I found the sangria and mojitos to be my favorites.

Restaurants:
Chula Vista the buffet restaurant.
The continental breakfast from 6:30am-7:00am is limited to coffee/tea and pastries. At 7:00am the options abound with staff who are there to provide coffee/tea/juice/bar beverages with a smile. Loved the watermelon juice. Eggs are cooked to order, I always put items in a bowl and passed it to them requesting how many eggs I would like, and that I would like them scrambled. Their English is limited, so keep that in mind. Also, bacon is only available upon request. A second toaster would be great for breakfast, I didn't want to adjust the toaster, so put my bread through 3 times to get it toasted to my liking. I found that in a week I never got tired of breakfast options, plenty to choose from. The service was the best at this restuarant and it was nice to look around and see staff with smiles, they are free and go a long way to the enjoyment factor of a place.

Terraza Grill and Botticelli
They do not advertise on their website that the Terraza Grill and the Botticelli, have a dress code, which is aimed primarily at men. Men were required to wear shirts with sleeves, and closed toe shoes. The shirts with sleeves wasn't an issue in our case, but some men may not necessarily have closed toe shoes with them on a tropical vacation. This should be advertised specifically on their website so their guests can pack accordingly, otherwise they have no option, but to eat at Chula Vista the whole time. In addition the fee per person is $6.00 USD not the $5.00 as stated on their website.

We found the service better at the Terraza Grill, as wait time for meals seemed lengthier at Botticelli the two times we dined there. They did have a self-serve salad bar though to help tide one over until the meal arrived. The food however was good, just go early if you had an early lunch. Did find a couple of the fish entrees I had, were on the salty side at both restaurants. Omitting salt during cooking and allowing guests to season to taste would be highly recommended.

Deli Snack Bar
Found ourselves prefer this for lunch, over Chula Vista, mainly because we didn't have to worry about shirts, shoes etc. and could just have a casual lunch by the pool. Loved the ribs and fries, could have had that everyday, but they switched to chicken, so I switched to quesadillas. Guacamole, pico de gallo and chips were also available, among a few other lunch items. Unfortunately the guacamole is not fresh, so if this is the first place you have guacamole, hold judgement, until you have freshly made guacamole. Also, do NOT leave your food unattended, as the birds will clear your plate. A bit of a line up usually, but it moved at a pretty good pace. Self serve ice cream cones were also available, tasty but the chocolate and coconut ice cream served at the Ice Cream Parlour were worth a visit, or two.

Beach/Pool:
Clean beach with sand bottom swim area roped off to avoid dive boat, kayaks, etc. Needless to say that with a sandy bottom in the swim area, there is nothing really to see if snorkelling. Really liked the turtle ashtrays on the beach and pool-side, they were cleaned regularly, great idea, as there is nothing nastier than being barefoot and stepping on cigarette butts everywhere.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank dewintondiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 6 March 2014

Dear Guests, thank you for taking the time and writing such a detailed review about the hotel and your experience here. We and other future guest appreciate the effort.

We really appreciate that you even put subtitles for every comment so. We noticed that some improvement points were mentioned and we will definitely take them into account.

Moreover we were really happy to hear that you were happy about the food, the staff and the grounds, furthermore we will make sure that the persons you especially mentioned will get informed about your compliment.

We really hope that you are planning to come back and visit us again. If so please let us know beforehand so we can arrange the special repetitive guests benefits for you for your next stay.

Thank you so much again.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2014

By reading reviews, I was not sure about the site but I was pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness of the property, the magnificient sea, a real paradise, very nice room and king size bed, good food. The service was excellent with always smiling people. Thanks to Daniel, Carlos and others at the buffet. The landscaping is really amazing. You would think yourself in a jungle. It is very special. This hotel should be ranked at least a 4 stars, not 3 and a half.
The resort is small, cozy, a real paradise. We never go back to the same hotel as we like to try different places, but we might do an exception for this resort. Thanks again to ALL the staff.
Madeleine and Francois from Montreal.

Room Tip: The king size bed makes all the difference.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank MadoFrancois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ReefPlayacarResort, Director of Sales at The Reef Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 6 March 2014

Dear Madeleine and Francois, thank you for taking the time and writing such this review about the hotel and your experience here. We and other future guest appreciate the effort.

Moreover we were really happy to hear that you were happy about the food, the staff and the resort grounds, furthermore we will make sure that the persons you especially mentioned will get informed about your compliment.

We really hope that you are planning to come back and visit us again. If so please let us know beforehand so we can arrange the special repetitive guests benefits for you for your next stay.

Thank you so much again.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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