We recently spent a week at The Royal. Overall, the resort is beautiful and we had a great stay. However, there a few items that disappointed us - primarily the little "extras" this resort says it offers through its "Royal Services". That is the reason for a "4" rating instead of a "5".
First, they advertise an online check-in service two days in advance of arrival. We weren't able to do this online so I called the hotel. I was told the hotel was going to be full during our stay, so then the online check-in system doesn't work.
Next, we made prior arrangements to use the hotel's transport service ($230 roundtrip), which was to meet us directly outside of the airport upon arrival. The driver was late, so for 30 minutes we wandered around not knowing if they would show up or if we should arrange for different transport. When the driver showed up, he was very helpful and it was nice having direct service to the resort.
We made reservations several months in advance and were guaranteed a non-smoking room. We requested to be as far away from the construction (north side of hotel) as possible. I also called the hotel several times before our arrival to ensure our request to be away from the construction would be honored. Upon arrival, we were put in a smoking room right next to the construction. We were told there was nothing in their records that showed we had requested something different. I showed them an email I had received from the resort confirming the non-smoking room but was told the hotel was full and this is the only room available. They said they would try to move us in a few days when a non-smoking room became available. Luckily our room, although it was a smoking room, did not have a smokey odor.
At check-in, they asked us several questions as to our preferences which was to enable them to provide the "royal service" (i.e. what type of pillows you would like, what time of day you want your room cleaned, what time you want your turn-down service, etc.). Well, we never received the pillows requested, and the cleaning and turndown service was never done during the time periods requested. In reality, the pillows we ended up with were just fine and it didn't matter to us what time they cleaned our room and did the turn down service (and I should mention the rooms were always spotless! ). I just thought it was odd for them to take the time to go through all of these questions to personalize the service, but then not follow through.
Another frustration was the difficulty of getting chairs by the pool. The resort does not have a policy for reserving poolside chairs so early every morning, guests put belongings on the chairs they want to "reserve". Often these guests don't show up to use those chairs until mid afternoon - so for half the day the chairs go unused while other guests can't find a place to sit. After the first day, we realized we would need to do this if we wanted a chair, so for the rest of the week we'd get a wake up call at 5:30AM so we could reserve a chair. Crazy! Other resorts we have stayed at have had policies such as if a chair goes unused for 2 hours or more, the pool staff has the right to give that chair to another guest. It would be nice if the hotel would implement a policy like that.
Now, the rest of the review: The resort is beautiful and well maintained. All of the staff is fantastic and go out of their way to ensure you are enjoying your vacation. Vi and Prudy (pool and beach wait staff) were great. They'd consistently make sure you had whatever you wanted and always do it with a smile. We ate at each of the restaurants within the resort as well as two at the Gran Porto Real (sister property across the street). The food at each restaurant was delicious and the food presentation was outstanding. Our favorites were Maria Marie and Asiana, but even the buffets were great. The hotel also has 24 room service at no extra charge. On the morning of our check out, we had to leave before the restaurants opened so we ordered room service. We had a wonderful breakfast of omelets, sausage, fresh fruit and coffee. They also have a 24-hour VIP lobby open for all guests where you can make your own drinks (liquor, wine, beer, juices, coffee, etc.) or get a snack (chips and cheese, chicken fingers, desserts, etc.).
The hotel has entertainment each night which was also a nice feature. The beach was great and the water was beautiful - it was actually a lot warmer than the pool water. Some have mentioned the "hard sell" tactics for the Real memberships. We had no problem there. We were asked if we were interested, but when we declined the staff graciously backed off and we weren't asked again.
All in all, except for the items at the front end of our visit (late pick-up at airport, not getting the room we had reserved, and being asked our preferences for personalized services without the follow through), the rest of our stay was fantastic. If the hotel can improve upon the check-in experience and its follow through with its "Royal Service" promise, I would definitely rate it a "5".
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Along the powdery white sands of the Caribbean, The Royal welcomes guests to a world of all-inclusive luxuries exclusively for adults. Situated on the Riviera Maya just steps from Playa del Carmen's famous Fifth Avenue, the AAA Four-Diamond resort boasts all-suite accommodations with private balconies and spectacular views, plus special options such as swim-up suites and beachfront walkouts. From beach butlers to romance concierges, the attentive staff provides genuine hospitality at every turn as guests enjoy the luxurious spa, exquisite cuisine, natural beauty, and many other delights of The Royal. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Royal Playa Del Carmen Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Royal Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Royal Porto Real
- Royal Playa De Carmen
- The Royal Playa Del Carmen Mexico/Riviera Maya