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The Royal Playa del Carmen
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Reviews (17,584)
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Reviewed 6 January 2014

We staid at The Royal in July and feel bad for not getting around to giving this hotel the glowing report it deserves! This is by far the best hotel we have staid in and we are very well travelled worldwide!

Location
The location is fantastic with 5th avenue literally across the street. There are hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants to visit. You can expect to see anything from souvenir shops to designer boutiques. Co Co Bongo's is a 2 minute walk away and certainly lived up to it's reputation! Best night out ever!! If you don't know about you have to youtube it! There are no words to describe!

Rooms
We staid in a standard room overlooking the gardens which are very well kept. The rooms are extremely spacious with a huge comfortable bed and Jacuzzi bath in the bedroom! For those that prefer a shower you also have a massive walk in shower that could easily fit 3 people in!! The mini bar is true Caribbean style with full sized optics of premium brand drinks such as Bacardi, Gin, Whisky, vodka e.t.c The cokes/ sprites and waters are replenished daily. If you want extra water or any other items restocked just ask! Nothing is too much for the friendly accommodating staff!! Coffee and tea making facilities in the room. There was a decent sized flat screen TV that had plenty of English channels including several film channels which was nice to watch whilst soaking in the Jacuzzi! The rooms were expertly cleaned every day and you can choose which time you would prefer them to do so via your concierge! The very much appreciated air con was fantastic with adjustable remote. All rooms had a hammock big enough for tea for a cheeky siesta!

Grounds
The hotel itself is stunning with pristine gardens and a real luxury feel with plenty to look at. The lay out is easy to find your way around.

Beach & pools
The beach is beautiful, one of the best we have visited. turquoise sea and bright white sand, really is stunning. There are plenty of sun loungers around the pool and beach areas. We never struggled to get one in the 10 days we were there even after a lay in. The pool was just the right temperature to dunk in when sitting in 30c and above heat! It was very hot when we visited with the occasional shower that we welcomed to let off some of the humidity!

Food& Drink
The food here is truly what made our stay so incredible! So much to choose from and to a very high standard! We loved ALL of the 5 a la carte's and even the buffet was of a very high standard. All food served was piping hot and generous portions. The T-bone steaks (still included in AI) were exceptional! The pasta dishes at the Italian in the sister hotel opposite (which you can use on AI) were amazing also. The deserts were beautiful, especially the pistachio ice cream!
The cocktail choice was unbelievable! You can literally order anything and they will make it fresh with top premium alcohol! No watering down here! The mojito's were my fave! I cannot tell you enough how good the food and drink at this hotel is!

Diving
My husband is a certified Padi diver and wanted to explore so the onsite dive school was perfect and convenient. All the dive guys were really friendly and professional. He did a cave dive and several dives near where we were staying and was really impressed with the equipment and service provided. There is plenty to see from Turtles to manta rays and an abundance of beautiful fish and coral.

Cozumel
The island of Cozumel is very easily accessed from the ferry down the road from the hotel. Only a 40 minute ride if my memory serves me .Defiantly worth a visit! We went on a snorkelling trip which was just heavenly! It's no surprise that Cozumel has been voted one of the top dive resorts in the world. The visibility is perfect and there is virtually no current which makes snorkelling or scuba diving an amazing experience. I wish I had taken some money with us on the trip as there are many shops selling extremely cheap beauty products and souvenirs. The duty free must be a lot cheaper than mainland so a bit of a bummer that we only took a small amount with us for drinks and snacks.

The staff at this hotel are just lovely! Anything my husband or I requested was met and with a smile! Everyone we saw was like "Hola"...... "Como estas". So warm and friendly.

We would return to this hotel in a heartbeat! In fact we may just return next year once we have saved some pennies! I truly cannot understand any of the ridiculous bad reviews on here?! honestly what do you expect from your hols? This place was perfection! Great location - friendly staff - beautiful scenery - excellent food! What more could you ask for??!! For those of you that are thinking of booking, just go for it! You won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank laura_glenister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2014

Our second trip to The Royal was as great as the first although the construction area was noisy at times. Food still excellent and the staff take great care of the guests. Weather was rainy which made some of the floor surfaces very slippery so watch out.
Ivonne was a great beach butler - she was enthusiastic and helpful.
All the staff in the Mediterraneo restaurant were great, in particular Felipe, Ruben, Efren and also in the European Coffee house.
Spa was magnificent. I chose a sports massage but Lucy persuaded me to upgrade to the Mayan massage, which was well worth the upcharge. She has magic hands, as did Edith who did the purification massage. Both were excellent.
A fantastic Christmas break!

Room Tip: Stay away from the construction zone.
Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank Deb L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

My wife and I stayed 12/14 thru 12/21. Besides a little rain, the trip was perfect.

Over the corse of seven stays, we've gotten to know some of the staff at The Royal. Gerry and Hector, two of the bell hops, are always glad to see us and welcome us to the hotel. Nancy, the Real Club concierge, is fantastic. She always makes us feel welcome and ensures we have everything we need during our stay.

We like to stay in the ocean front rooms. The water is so close, I could probably toss in a rock from the balcony. Third floor rooms 835 thru 838 have a great view North up the beach. The room is always clean and the maid service is great. Another nice thing is that there is a room service box in the wall next to the door which can be accessed both inside and outside the room. If you don't want to answer the door, you can tell them to leave the food in the box when calling in the order.

We love the restaurants. Spice has a good breakfast buffet with plenty of choices including staple items like bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles and made to order eggs. There is also a lot of healthy fresh healthy foods for my wife. Camara, one of the wait staff, does a great job. If you are carrying a bag, Selma, the hostess will take it out of your hand and carry it to the table for you.

Asiana is our favorite place for lunch. The asian food served there is consistantly good and the staff is great. You feel like you are the only one there. We have gotten pretty good with the chopsticks over the years. Some of the great waiters are Camilo, Gaby Manny, Sergio, Lucio, Rebeca and Perla.

Marie Maria is best for fine dining. Everything is good. The service is excellent. Diego, the manager, came to our table to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. I told him we had a certain desert years before that was no longer on the menu. He told us if we would let him know which evening we were coming back he would have his staff prepare the dessert for us in advace. Our waiters Geroldo and Antonio were excellent.

Most of the staff have been there for years. So, if you come there year after year they will get to know you. It makes the stay that much better.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank MattBossierCity_LA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

The Royal at Playa del Carmen is truly a 5-star resort! It is NOT perfect but I cannot take down any stars since pros by far outweigh cons. We experienced absolutely the best service that we could ever wished for or imagined. They treat you like royalty or maybe even better to say like family. Everyone is very polite and try their best to make your stay the most enjoyable and memorable.

Yes, there is construction next door. But we got lucky: our room was on opposite side of property. If you get to be not so lucky ask to be moved, they usually grant your wishes next day. Our friends stayed in the room 612 right in front of construction and said they were bothered a little in the mornings since they liked to sleep in. We, on the other hand, preferred waking up before 7am to get the most out of our vacation since sun goes down by 5pm in December.

Yes there is sulfur smell on the beach but it did not bothered us. If you have been to any hot springs you will know what I am talking about. There are some natural springs in the ocean near beach, you can feel them. Its fun and unique experience.
There are also a lot of big rocks in the ocean even in the area separated for swimming. For better beach go past construction. Much less rocks. Overall beach in front of The Royal is nice: powdery white sand, lots of lounge chairs and the only place to find shade! There is no shade around the pools. There are 3 palm trees near the beach but they don't have much shade during the day. There are a lot of cabanas on the beach that are reserved to expansive suites but no one during all 8 days used a single one of them. You can talk to Mr.Lopez and he can get you one for free. If you don't care much for the mattress you will find the same cabanas with wooden roof and plastic lounge chairs available pretty much all day.

Our favorite restaurants were Asiana and El Mediterraneo. You can pretty much forget that there are other restaurants on the property. Just stick to these two and you will be completely satisfied with your trip. Asiana is open for lunch and dinner and El Mediterraneo has breakfast, lunch and dinner. At Asiana menu is the same for lunch and dinner but it is very very delicious and service is impeccable. Sushi was good but tepanyaki was the best. Don't forget spring rolls with spicy strawberry sauce. Heavenly!!! Our favorite waiter at Asiana was Eduardo: Man of great patience and wisdom. We must have tried most of the dishes and drinks this wonderful restaurant has to offer. Try plum wine available only at this restaurant for no extra charge! They have a nice bar in the back. One night we had to wait 15 min or so while they prepared a table for 6 and barmen was so kind to let us do some asian drinks tasting. It was awesome!!! Staff of El Mediterraneo will make any problems with your trip go away. Suhey is the best hostess. She setup a very special dinner for us on our anniversary. Chefs prepared for us truly Mexican delicacy with amazing deserts. Andres and Eefrin were our waiters and did fantastic job. Thank a lot, you guys, for making our trip THE BEST!!!

Skip Maria Marie restaurant since it caters French fusion menu. Unless you like eating raw ground beef, raw chicken and raw some-kind-of fish. The only good thing on the menu was Lime Soup. That was it. We ordered well-done steaks and got rare with blood pool instead. Totally uneatable. Since there was 6 of us we ordered most of the dishes from the menu and were totally dissatisfied.

Room service was great. Usually under 30min and food was hot. Lots of choices. Try their steak. It was very good. If you are craving something that is not on the menu they will try to make you happy even by going the extra distance.

Stay away from all seafood dishes(the only exception is salmon) at all restaurants! It is disgusting. We tried: shrimp, grouper, red snapper and mahi-mahi. They all taste and smell like medicine (iodine) most likely due to oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But salmon was imported from USA(from Alaska I was told) and is absolutely delicious. At Asiana must have salmon tepanyaki. At El Mediteriano salmon was also absolute delicacy and we ordered two or three plates of salmon (it was that good).

Now one seafood dish that I wish I would have tried was Lobster(surf-n-turf). It cost $31 (377 pesos) extra and due to all the rest of seafood being bad we decided not to take a chance. We saw people order them at a table nearby in El Mediterraneo our last dinner and it looked awesome: HUGE lobster tail and a small steak.

We had a massage on our last day and it was absolutely wonderful. Thanks to Denise and Bexe. They did an amazing job. Spa facility does not have rooms with two massage tables for couples' massage but they had a special (thank you Isabel) Romantic Moonlight massage for two in our suite. 2 hours (YES TWO FULL HOURS) for $250. It was the best! I had deep tissue and my wife enjoyed relaxation massage. They brought all the stuff needed into our room set it all up. Very romantic!

I know it is possible to get a massage much cheaper on the 5th Ave. We saw prices as low as $40/hour for couples massage but we could not find enough boldness to get a massage in the small hole-in-the-wall type of facility. Maybe it is for someone more adventurous but we could not do it. Especially after seeing cats that are running around 5th ave full of flees and who-knows-what. It was disgusting. All the shops on 5th ave felt dirty and prices were pretty much like in malls in USA and higher. Merchandise was bad quality and fake labels. What a waste of time. The street is very long and if you really want a good bargain(we were told later by bellboy) you need to go to the very end of 5th ave. There they have some kind of flea market for locals. Because not a lot of tourists make it that far they are willing to bargain.

One more interesting fact is that most employees speak very little english. It was kind of a shock to us at the spa facility when we needed to find out more information about romantic massage for two and not a single spa employee could explain anything about it even in basic english. Wow! Usually hotels don't hire personnel that can't communicate with the tourists. With help of my very poor spanish and some pdfs on the iPad we were able to get some sense of what to expect. This was our 13th trip to Mexico and for the first time I wished I knew Spanish better. I got to practice a lot of Spanish and learned a lot of new words and phrases.

At all cost avoid going to a timeshare/vacation club presentation. It is time you will never get back. We were approached by reps many many times asking if we got our gold card. I always said: yes we got it, so leave me alone. They don't check if you really got it. Just a quick buzz off. Who needs their 10%off if you got all-inclusive. LOL.

BestDay transportation to and from resort was great: professional driver, safe driving skills witch is rare for Mexico. He had everyone put on seat-belts, even though he was late 15min picking us up from hotel. We had a lot of time before our flight so we didn't care and enjoyed one more drink before sad sad moment of being forced to leave the paradise and return to frozen Seattle. Hope to be able to return to this wonderful resort very soon and hope my review might be helpful in your decision to give this place a try.

Room Tip: Best rooms are facing the main pool since ocean view category is a joke.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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2  Thank Vitaliy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2014

I am sorry that this review took so long as it is the first time I have done a review. I visited The Royal Paya del Carmen from Oct 29 - Nov 5/2013. It was the most wonderful time I have ever had and would not hesitate to go again. From the moment we touched down in Cancun to the second we stepped into the lobby of The Royal I knew I was "home" The champagne upon arrival to the bell boy delivering our luggage to the room were just added bonuses I never expected. From the wonderful staff (who always said hola in passing) to the wonderful wait staff in the restaurants I can't complain about a thing. Having 5th Avenue so close for wonderful strolls window shopping and kidding with the locals at the front of their shops. I felt safe and comfortable wherever I went. Bar none, the top of the pile (and there is a large pile of resorts) for service, cleanliness, beauty and relaxation. I have to mention some of the staff who stood out ahead of the rest.......Lobby, Jose G...what a smile, friendly is just the beginning. Entertainment....Oskar, Victor, Carlos and Katie, they are fabulous to talk to, and last but not least the dancers and entertainers in the nightly shows...top notch...especially Gabriel.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Chickyboo36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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