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“Fantastic resort but could improve in a few areas”

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The Royal Playa del Carmen
Ranked #13 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
GreenLeadersSilver level
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Fantastic resort but could improve in a few areas”
Reviewed 16 March 2014

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".

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jcnaught
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynn D, Gerente at The Royal Playa del Carmen, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
Dear Guest,
We would like to express our gratitude for staying at our hotel and provide us the privilege to serve you.
We appreciate you have taken the time to share your impressions with us and we want you to know that we take our guests´ comments very seriously this helps us to work harder in specific areas which we might not being paying the attention that it deserves. Please rest assured that issues you raised have been address and that appropriate corrective actions have been taken.
Thank you again for your value review and for visiting us and we hope to have the privilege to host you once again in a near future!
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English first
South Windsor, Connecticut
Level Contributor
42 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2014

What a place! Highlights include the food, the cleanliness, the location, and of course the staff. The only lowlight was the room size. It was tiny, had to remove a chair and ottoman just to be able to get around. Alberto (porter), thank you for your attempts to make us comfortable.

Club membership- Yes, the gals up in front do try to sell you a time share of sorts. It's actually a club membership, where you prepay future stays. The gals were very pleasant (Sarah and Wendy). We enjoyed talking to them about the resort and services available. We were not interested in the club membership and told them so. These ladies are just doing their job. Cut them a break. If you are not interested, just say so politely but firmly.

Best restaurant- Asiana, followed by Pelicanos, El Mediterano, Marie Marie (good food, poor service), Il Pescatore (great service, so so food). Really enjoyed Pelicanos and Tapas for lunch. Spice and Pelicanos best for breakfast.

Spa- Full 50 minutes, and then some. Truly a full body service, including legs, back, feet, hands, arms, head, neck, chest and face. Gilda/Ross, thank you.

Drinks- Kind of weak during pool service, but excellent at bars in the evening.

Pools- Really nice. Entertainment staff could have been more energetic. But, they weren't bad. For some peace, try the quite pool on the northwest side of the resort. It's peaceful and has a great bar right there... Thanks Mario.

Beach- Somewhat crowded right in front of the resort. Walk north for more space.

Location- Cannot be better. Steps away from the action on fifth ave. Very safe.

Entertainment- Fair to outstanding. Don't miss the Decades (Decadas) show. It was the best one.

Staff- Outstanding! These people get it. Their success depends on the resort's success, which depends on the customer's experience. Special thanks to Selma, the sweet hostess at Pelicanos. Iovonne, the pool butler who tried to rectify our small room issue. Eva, our excellent waitress at the pool. Fillipe, the true gentleman waiter at El Mediterano. Lorenzo, for his excellent service at Asiana.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms 900 and up during the construction period.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank EB0R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynn D, Gerente at The Royal Playa del Carmen, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
Dear Guest,
We´re so glad to read your nice review of THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen. Please be sure that our Staff will be always exceeding our mutual clients’ expectations.
Thanks a lot for your business and do not hesitate to contact us in the future, it will be a pleasure to assist you.
Have a wonderful week!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
48 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2014

This was a trip we won't forget! The staff was incredible. The property was amazing! The beach was glorious! The choice of restaurants were abundant, the "downtown" also had nice eateries! Close walking distance to shops, area very clean!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Rebecca I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynn D, Gerente at The Royal Playa del Carmen, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
Dear Guest,
We truly appreciate your review! Our top priority is to offer an exceptional service to each of our guest and it is very satisfying to read that this was your case.

Thank you again and we hope to see you again very soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, Alabama
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014

We will never vacation any place else. What more needs to be said? This place is simply amazing! Fantastic staff, food, room, weather. This is THE place to go. Big hugs to our housekeeper Terasita, she kept our room beautiful. And an extra big thanks to our awesome bartender, Montrel [at the cigar bar], he went out of his way to make our stay extra special. We highly recommend this place and will be returning in January.

Room Tip: We had a Jr. suite on the south side of resort, absolutely perfect.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank tezra2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynn D, Gerente at The Royal Playa del Carmen, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
Dear Guest,
Thank you so much for your fantastic review! We are very happy to hear that it was a great experience for you, and that you found our staff to be very helpful and attentive, this will motivate us to keep doing our best job!

Thank you for choosing us to spend your vacations. We´ll see you in January!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 March 2014

We have been to The Royal 3 times. Last year we renewed vows there. We always have upgraded to an oceanfront jr. suite and it is well worth it. The resort is very clean, the staff seems happy to be working there and very helpful and friendly, and the food is very good. Most staff has a decent ability to speak and understand English. We really like being able to walk out of the resort and be right on 5th ave. in Playa Del Carmen which is a pedestrian only stretch of shops, food, etc. The beach area is wonderful and nice for long walks. We did not want to leave and will try to do 10 days next time. The only con is the more aggressive selling of the Real Club memberships compared to our first visit, but if not interested, just say so.

Room Tip: We like oceanfront but more expensive. Otherwise choose an oceanview not along the main strip as th...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dmuns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynn D, Gerente at The Royal Playa del Carmen, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
Dear Guest,
We truly appreciate your review, it is really nice, and makes feel very proud of our entire staff!! Our top priority is to offer an exceptional service to each of our guest and it is very satisfying to read that this was your case.
Remember The Royal Playa is your home away from home!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Silver Lake, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014

The Royal Playa del Carmen is an outstanding experience from the time you arrive until the time you leave. In fact, you won't want to leave! From the moment we arrived, we were greeted by truly friendly staff that went out of their way to make us feel welcome and wanted. From the front desk to the housekeepers, these people were genuinely nice, much nicer they had to be. In fact, during our stay, we got to know several staff members as more than just staff. We were able to learn a bit about their culture and way of life.
The grounds are extremely clean and well cared-for.
The food is 5-star all the way across the board. (Hint: at Maria Marie, ask for the NEW menu).
The beach is beautiful and clean. The beach butlers are wonderful! Make sure to take a para-sail ride, you won't regret it!
Also, seek out the Coffee House, located by the 'Quiet Pool'. Go by and see Mario (the Best!) and ask him for a 'Mango Mario'...you'll love it! The Coffee House was my wife's favorite place!
The rooms are wonderful and extremely clean! My thanks to Teresita De Jesus, our housekeeper for the great job she did in our room!
Like Margaritas? You MUST go and see Perez at the Lobby Bar! Perez makes the best margarita in the world! (make sure to order it on-the-rocks) Ahhh...Perez, how we miss you!
My wife and I had a couples massage at the spa. As a first-timer, I must confess to being a bit apprehensive. However, the staff here were true professionals and made us feel very comfortable. Lucely and Lucy were awesome massage therapists, and I would highly recommend you ask for them.
Don't hesitate to leave the resort grounds in the evening and walk 5th Avenue in town. It's a wonderful experience and you will be very safe. We never once felt threatened.
Overall, our stay here was awesome! I cannot recommend this resort enough! 6-star quality and service from start to finish!

Room Tip: There is construction on the north side of the resort. I would avoid those rooms, as they will be n...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kurt_and_Rebecca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynn D, Gerente at The Royal Playa del Carmen, responded to this review, 17 March 2014
Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to review our Resort. Thank you for your kind words about the resort facilities, we are very happy that you enjoyed all these.
It will an honor to have the opportunity to host you again in the near future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2014 via mobile

A bit about us we are a mid age couple, stayed for two weeks at the beginning of March. All our holidays are all inclusive and we love trip advisor it's how we do our research on which hotel to go to, so we think its important to write our own comprehensive review, hope it's not too long. We loved the hotel but we never go back to the same resort or country, the world is to large to want to go to the same place twice.

Where do I start, it's a big beach hotel and it's everything you would expect, and more. The staff go out of their way to be helpful. Everyone of the staff and guests speak English and the staff are more than helpful if you want to practice your Spanish on them. The hotel is great for wheelchair users with ramps or lifts to all levels.

I rate this hotel a four star not a five star. Only two things knock it down, the fight for loungers in the morning and the dress code in the restaurants, more about this later in the review.

I am a European on holiday where most are American with a sprinkling of Canadians, This was good as they were great to chat to, it's fascinating to watch them. The Americans have a total different beach culture than Europeans, from fashion to the large barrel shaped drinks containers to smoking in the pool. The table manners of the Americans is something to behold! Look out for the one handed fork users, cutting and stabbing their food with just a fork.

The guests are mostly made up of older people and a scattering of young fit people with the wedding parties. Look out for the young guys carpet carrying (they walk like they have an invisible roll of carpet under each arm).

Got to get a note in about what is better than Europian hotels as most charge for the small things like safe, Internet and towels, at the Royal playa del carmen this is all complimentary and far superior to the same types of hotel in Europe.

ROOM.The rooms are fantastic, they have everything you need, I will add some photos. The toiltries are a good selection and get restocked daily as well as the room bar. Some nice touches are the fruit, scales to see how much weight you have put on!!! And the oil burner which is lit at night when you get the turn down service. We messed up the code on the safe and the staff were great and came out within minutes to sort it out. The safe is large enough to fit a laptop. The only thing I did not like about the room is no kettle, to make tea you have to get room service to bring boiling water.

POOLS. Something for everyone, loud music if you want it or a nice quiet pool at the other end of the resort. The pools are all about 4 ft deep but if you have limited mobility you will have to pick your spot as the pool is not as access friendly than European pools. We used three of the pools and alternated every few days. For me I preferred the quiet pool near the building site. When we were guests the noise from the building site was not bad and it did not bother us. The quiet pool is better for shade as you will not find much at other pools. All the pools are safe you will see a couple of lifeguard/first aid guys walking around.

LOUNGERS. The loungers are good quality with a padded mattress as with all the previous reviews you do have to be up early to get the good spots and by 10.00am there will be no beds at all free. We are early risers and put our towels out at 7.00am which was more than early enough to get good beds. We were sunbathing by 8.00am. We always left our loungers to go to lunch about 1.00pm, we don't sunbathe in the afternoon so removed our towels and watch the mad rush for them. It is a shame the hotel is so full because there was not enough beds, I believe it is because some guests reserve beds on the beach and the pool. Often we had empty loungers reserved and unused next to us, some people not using them till the afternoon. It's also good to put a t-shirt or something personal to show you have reserved them, all the towels are the same. I watched someone put old towels on the lounger, the staff came along to change them to nice new rolled up ones which was great, then another couple took the beds. The race for the loungers in the morning is not nice and I do not know how the hotel can change this, for me it changes it from a great hotel to a holiday camp.

BAR. The bars are well stocked and a good selection of drinks, champagne and cocktails.

RESTAURANTS. All are great as we had two weeks we tried then all at least twice for lunch and dinner. We had our favourites but it's best for you to try all of them yourself, it's part of the experience. They all open at 7.00am for breakfast.

CHEFS PLATE. This cost us $80 each (about £45) and for the extra money we were expecting the best service and food. The food was great, just as you would expect from a good restaurant. The decor was just standard, we expected it to be furnished to a higher level than the rest of the resort, it was just the same. The background music was upbeat with a poor sound system, it should of been high quality classical or light jazz to give the right ambience, or even a local guitarist strumming lightly. We did not get offered a steak knife for the meat course and we got a desert spoon for the soup course. To be fair none of the restaurants used soup spoons. The dress code was a joke, they did expect men to wear shirts,trousers and shoes. Most guests looked great but one guy walked in wearing jeans a T-shirt with a baseball hat and he wore the hat throughout the entire meal. The guy could of just walked in off the beach, whilst a good dressed guy had to return in shoes when he was asked to change before coming in. No point in complaining as the food was good. We thought this restaurant is a wast of money, food great, experience poor.

COFFEE HOUSE. Opens at 6.00am, great for me as I need little sleep. Used it every day.


DRESS CODE. In the restaurants this is a joke, when you reserve a table in the restaurants on the ticket it tells you the dress code, no shorts or flip flops. The hotel web site also states the dress code. The hotel does not enforce this and you will see guests in beach clothes at dinner. I was told this was a five star hotel, the dress code lets it down, why have a dress code and not enforce the standards? The hotel needs to make its mind up about standards.

As most of the guests are American the pool dress is not European all the guys are in long shorts I don't understand why they don't want to get their legs brown. But if you are like the Americans you want to wear the same type of shorts during the day and at dinner you can get away with it. We were the only guests in budgie smugglers so we got some looks, when they realise we are Europian they understand. No topless sunbathing for women although it's is ok on some parts of the beach.

SMOKING. Smoking is everywhere you will even see it in the lobby area, you will see young fit guys with the biggest cigar in their mouths. I was shocked to see people who look after their bodies so much abusing theire lungs. Of the 1000's of guests we only saw two electronic cigarette again another fashion difference from Europe.

INTERNET. Free Internet, I can't go away without my addiction to news, e mail and Facebook. I have been on holiday previousely and have had to pay £35 a week in Europe. We got a great signal in all parts of the resort.


ENTERTAINMENT. The animation team are great running day activities etc. Give the cycle tour a go as well as the water aerobics. The acoustics in the main lobby area is not good it makes every group sound the same and you will not hear the words clearly, but the shows are ok.

TIMESHARE SELLING. A few people have commented on reviews about this, we got pestered once, as soon as we spoke they realised we were English and had no chance getting money out of us. You can tell the ones who have endured the long talk as they will have the classy free beach bag. Remember the chat up talk is three hours out of your life you will never get back! I don't want to knock them too much, it's a hotel revenue stream popular all around the western world. For us going to the same hotel or chain of hotels with the same decor or facilities is too much like going to work, it has to be different every time.

LOCAL SHOPS. Everything is just a short walk away. When you go into the town you will be offered drugs, in thirty minutes we were offered three times. Don't be put off the local shops are great, but offer them halve the ticket price and don't pay more than 70% the ticket price. This only applies for tourist shops, supermarkets and chemists will not budge on the price.

MONEY. We had to pay 900 Passos (£45) exit tax each to get out of Mexico because we went with Thomas Cook. We did not know this before we came so don't let it catch you out. They will not take cards, only cash ( only Passos or Sterling, no paying in US$). For spending money you can take US$ or Mexican Passos all shops take both. The hotel has a cash machine in the lobby.


TIPS.

TIPPING. Again it's an American cultural thing to tip every time they get served, it is not necessary and we got served the same. We did tip at the end of our stay, again it's an English thing not to throw money on the bar.

TEABAGS, bring your own from home, I am typically English and need a big pot of tea to start the day. One little niggle is every breakfast I had to ask for milk every time I had a cup, they did not leave me with a jug.

TRY NEXT DOOR. The Royal Playa del Carman wrist bands allow you to use the facility's at the hotel next door, but they can't come to this hotel. It's worth a trip next door to try the beach bar or entertainment just for a change

BUBBLEBATH, bring some with you, the two person jacuzzi is great fun with some mr matey in it.

SUNRISE, it's well worth getting up for. I will attach a photo taken from the beach.

CHEFS PLATE, don't bother.

Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Chris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Royal Playa del Carmen

Property: The Royal Playa del Carmen
Address: Avenida Constituyentes 2 | Centro, Gonzalo Guerrero, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#8 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#10 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#11 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#25 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Royal Playa del Carmen 4.5*
Number of rooms: 513
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

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