My wife and I stayed at the Royal Playa Carmen the first week of August and booked our holiday with escapes.ca and used Air Transat as the tour operator. I've been dealing with Nancy from escapes for over seven years and she recommended me this resort and I can't thank you enough for recommending this resort. As well like to thank Wally Trevisan sales manager at the real resorts for helping me with my inquiries regarding an upgrade for our anniversary as well as other inquiries. I actually e-mailed real resorts to ask them it was possible to get upgrade for anniversary by did not receive a response so I contacted Nancy at escapes and she got me in contact with Wally and he helped me via e-mail. Thank you both again for helping.
Be aware, when you leave customs at Cancun's airport continue straight until you are outside of the building where the tour buses and taxis are. This is because inside the airport after the customs all of people around you are generally time-share employees and might tell you that they are from your tour operator and will divert you away and you will most likely miss your pre-purchased transportation to your resort. When you exit the building you will generally see people holding up signs with your tour operators name on it directing you to the bus to take you to your resorts. I learned this the hard way many many years ago and got sucked in and lost the transportation to my resort and had to pay a lot of money to take a taxi to my resort so don't do the same mistake that I did. They will offer you free tours, etc. but is it worth your valuable time and money.
First I would like to say my wife and I have stayed at numerous five star resorts all over Mexico but this resort was far and above the best resort bar none that we have stayed at in Mexico.
Most of the time, when you see five star ratings in a resort in Mexico you usually have to take it down a few stars. The properties might be very nice-looking but usually something is lacking like the food is tasteless or something is not right, you have to get up early in the morning to make reservations at their à la cart restaurants, the alcohol they serve is a low standard, the bed is hard as a rock and it is noisy in your room because the halls echo with noise from other people slamming doors, etc.
In my previous life my family owned a restaurant and I went to chef school so suffice it to say, I can discern between what is good food and food that is lacking. Now some people might say that food might not be the most important thing in their holiday but my wife and I grew up in households where food was a very important part and we were both lucky to have everything made from scratch.
The food at this resort is excellent! Now I can get very picky and get into things that could have been a lot better but when you are in another country who standards aren't as high as yours in general and you have the quality of food that we had here with the price paid to come down here you have to be very happy. The foods taste, presentation and variety are excellent. The amount of restaurants they have are many and the only one that you need to make reservations for is the “Chefs Plate”. That is because you have to have the Royal level of service in order to access this restaurant. The other restaurants you just had to walk up of course with the proper attire on and wait to be seated just like a normal restaurant. I was quite surprised that a lot of people did not tip the serving staff as they work really hard to make your vacation as enjoyable as possible. We usually gave them two or three dollars American as a little thank you for their hard work and continuous smiles on their face. Love these all-inclusive resorts say that tipping is not required and you might not believe in tipping but when I went back to the same restaurant and asked for the same waiter the service which was excellent to begin with was even better. Even a few times when I sat outside at their outdoor restaurants or at their excellent buffet which we usually went in the mornings for breakfast the service was very good. Another point it like to bring up is a lot of resorts do not have air conditioning in their eating areas but this one does. The only place that it does not have air conditioning is of course the restaurants that are on the outside or open air restaurants but they have many ceiling fans. I've been to other five star resorts and their eating areas are not air-conditioned even their à la cart restaurants either have poor or no air conditioning and it is very difficult to eat during times of the year with the humidity and temperature are very high so it was such a blessing to have restaurants that you are able to comfortably enjoy your meal without sweating like a pig. Being from greater Vancouver we are spoiled in the quality of the Asian food available to us and we especially like Japanese. Asiana is there Asian restaurant that has Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine. We enjoyed this restaurant but I was not a fan of the sushi at this restaurant. Not to say that it was bad or inedible, it wasn't near the standards that I'm used to back home and that is quite understandable. When you're staying at the Royal you are allowed to use the facilities and restaurants at the sister resort to Gran Porto Real which right next door and we ate at the Italian restaurant “Il Pescatore” and I have to highly recommend the lasagna as it was fantastic. Overall like I said the food at this resort is excellent and as important the cleanliness is superb as they are continuously cleaning all parts of the resort. The other interesting thing about this holiday is that we did not gain any weight as because the quality of food was so good he did not have to resort to eat hamburgers and hot dogs and french fries or go out to eat in other restaurants because the resort food was crap. I think I had french fries once and shared it with my wife and the other times we were eating nicely portioned excellent quality food like lamb, fresh seafood, salads and all other meats and dishes. Because we stayed away from a lot of that fattening food and were quite active we are able to maintain our weight yet enjoy the food and drink. If you are disappointed with the food in the level of service at this resort I would be quite surprised. They do have a 24 hour snack bar/activity room which was always well stocked with snacks hot and cold as well as top shelf alcohol, coffee and pop machines.
For a one-week all-inclusive vacation at this resort we could've got two weeks at a five star resort in the Mayan Riviera for less than what we paid for one week at this five diamond resort. You get what you paid for.
As for the check-in, it went quite smoothly as we were upgraded to a Royal Oceanview junior suite for our anniversary. The one comment I will make is that the room was beautiful but a little dated for our tastes but nonetheless a fantastic room with a great bed and close to the beach but the view of the ocean was not really much of a view. All the rooms come with a safe to store all your valuable documents and money etc. this came as no extra charge to use and gave us great piece of mind knowing that our personal property was safe. A few times we left our digital camera out in the open in our room and it was still there when we got back into the room. Pretty much all the rooms look the same but are in different locations on the hotel and some have the better royal service which case you a couple of extras that you might not be interested in such as turn down service, etc. if you're not so hung up on if you have an Oceanview or oceanfront or garden view room, you should pick the room that gives you the best price as you don't spend too much time in your room other than sleeping. There are some rooms that have oceanfront views or are on the ground level next to the pools but you will be paying a premium for that. When you get to the resort ask their at the front desk what upgrades are available and the costs and usually if it is your wedding anniversary or honeymoon I would e-mail them ahead of time to see if they could do something for you as they upgraded us as well as sent us a bottle of champagne or sparkling white wine to be precise and his beautiful little cake which said happy anniversary and decorated our room and bed with rose petals which was a wonderful touch. I spoke to the maid and asked her work schedule and told her that I would tip her at the end before we leave. We did see her the day before we left as we were leaving very early in the morning on Sunday and we gave her a nice tip and she was very appreciative as they do work really hard and the room was always spotless and she made wonderful towel animals on our bed every day. We noticed that a lot of the rooms on the south side of this resort were getting renovated. I wasn't able to see inside these rooms but I couldn't tell that the outside doors were getting resurfaced and repainted and most likely the interiors being updated.
Do not drink the tap water or any water or ice that is not purified as you will get sick. At the resort, all the rooms are stocked with bottled water and if you ask for water at the restaurants or the bars they will give you either a bottle of water or purified water but do not drink from the tap you will be sorry. Even brushing your teeth use the bottled water.
One thing you should watch out for when you do check-in is that they do offer timeshare in this resort or as they like to call it vacation club whereas you buy a certain amount of weeks that you can use at all their own resorts and also redeem the weeks and use on the RCI network. Be forewarned, if you do not like high pressure sales situations and are not willing to give up at least three hours of your time is a usually say 90 minutes but it goes longer than that depending if you have questions or not this is not for you. They were not rude they were actually quite nice and very professional and when I was in this presentation with my wife I saw quite a bit of people purchasing weeks in this resort. I decided not to purchase because I like the flexibility of going where I want and when I want and most importantly what if the resort standards go down in the future. When we told them that we could not make a snap decision on the amount of money they were asking for they thanked us for a time and told us that in a few minutes they would be giving us our little 500 peso credit for the resort but it seems that they sent other people to trying to convince us to join as well as the price kept on dropping. But there is different levels of vacation plans available to purchase starting with the platinum, Gold and Silver. The difference between the plans are that the platinum plan has no blackout dates and the others have increasing numbers of blackout dates which makes them a lot cheaper to purchase. But even the ones that do not have blackout dates you have to request at the high season at least six months in advance to be guaranteed to have a room like a Christmas and New Year's. I was quite surprised to see how many people were purchasing these vacation clubs weeks with not asking very many questions. The people I was dealing with were saying to me nobody has ever asked them these types of questions and the level of detail I was looking for. I find these types of negotiations quite fun as other people would describe them as torturous but most people in North America do not barter when they make purchases so this is a different experience that they are used to as these people are used to bartering all their life and are quite good at it. Finally at the end of three hours I was asked to sit down for the resorts development team to ask about the experience with this presentation and also to offer me a 60 week gold package at $3000 which was considerably less than the final offer they gave me before I met with this representative. I was quite enticed to purchase it as I had to go see him directly for that but I did not. They also were negotiating with the type of blackout dates available such as the gold package Christmas and New Year's weren't available but after negotiating with them and they actually threw that in as my wife is a teacher and that would be a time that we would be looking at traveling. The other dates I couldn't care less as lot of them are falling on American holidays which are generally not the same as Canadian holidays. The moral the story is if you want to purchase a vacation club negotiate and then negotiate some more until you get to price and a package that is suitable as they will usually start you off with 200 week packages and go down from there. I did meet some people that actually come from the same area that I live that bought a vacation club a few years ago when the prices were a lot higher and loved this resort and didn't regret purchasing the vacation club. One note, one week at this resort at a regular junior suite will cost you one week of your time. The room that we were staying in which was the Royal junior suite partial Oceanview would cost you three weeks for one week as it is a better room. Don't forget as well this is only for commendations not for food and drink. If you want an all-inclusive portion you have to pay for it separately on top of what you already paid for your vacation club so factor that in as well plus the airfare to get down there and the Royal resorts are adults only (16 years old and above) except for their sister resorts which are family resorts.
The beach, I would say would be the only thorn in this otherwise wonderful resort. The beach has a lot of rocks in the water and you have to be very careful when walking past knee depth in the water as the first day I hurt my foot by stepping on one of these massive boulders that were hidden by the rough surf. I was still able to walk but was uncomfortable for a couple days. A sister resort next door had even a worse beach and a lot of the guests of that resorts were using our beach. My wife and I would just simply walked about five minutes north, resort and go swimming there in front of the Shangri-La which had a wonderful beach and there was no rocks in the water. It also gave us exercised and also to visit the other resorts or see them from the outside. The water was bath warm I say at least 80°F and I didn't want to get out. The sand was white and wonderful beneath our feet in the beach butler Alexis was amazing by bringing us ice cold towels to cool us down, put suntan lotion on us, brought as books and drinks and was a very nice person to speak to as well. The cabanas are such a nice touch of the resort and a freshwater showers at the entrance to the pools from the beach was an excellent touch to get off all the sand and salt water. The pools were excellent and many chairs were available but like you said this resort was 60% full so you could easily find a chair whether in the water or along the poolside. The staff was always coming around asking you if you'd like to drink and high quality drinks using top shelf liquor as well as bringing around frozen grapes to eat. As well, the pools were not heavily chlorinated and used another product to clean the water so you didn't have smelly chlorine pools as what happens in other resorts which was great as your eyes didn't burn and you never smell the chlorine.
The animation staff or sports and activities staff are excellent! Fernando, Alex, Adan, Oscar, Angelo and Regina were amazing in making your stay as fun as possible without being intrusive and pushy. We played beach volleyball, blackjack at poolside, kayaked in the sea, water aerobics and many many other fun and exciting activities. They always had a smile on their face and always want to please you and made sure that you had a good time at the resort. I can't say enough how good these people were to me and my wife and two other people that they interacted with. I hope the resort recognizes these people as they deserve some kind of recognition for their hard work as they are the ambassadors of this resort.
If you like to work out they have an excellent gym facility which is of course air-conditioned and has amazing equipment and also fitness classes like spin classes, Pilates, yoga etc.
The resort was large but not so large that you couldn't get around easily. I would say would be 2 to 3 minute walk from the front of the hotel to the beach. Like I said before it was immaculately taking care of and never saw garbage or mess anywhere.
We did not use the spa so I can't comment on the quality and experience.
One huge plus for this resort that it was one block away from Fifth Avenue which is their main strip which has all the shops, restaurants and many people going up and down so it is a great place to people watch as well. The one thing I love about 5th Ave. is that it still feels like you are in Mexico and it has modern restaurants as well as some North American and European restaurants and stores but still a great flavor of Mexico. For those who like to shop, you will not find any bargains here! My wife and I have been to the Pacific side of Mexico and you are able to negotiate or barter a lot more than you are in Playa del Carmen. A lot of the merchants would even bother to barter and you know that what they were selling was way overpriced. My theory to this is because a lot of Europeans visit here and the cost living in Europe is a lot higher than it is in North America so the merchants don't want to barter that much because they could sell it for more to the Europeans. We been in Mexico many times so it wasn't like we were going down there just to do shopping anyways but we did buy some vanilla that we took home with us as well as in T-shirts for nephews and little trinkets.
Be forewarned, if you're traveling with Air Transat they strictly enforce the weight restrictions for checked in and carry on luggage. I had to move the vanilla from the checked in baggage and put it in my carry-on baggage. When traveling from Mexico to Canada you don't have to worry about liquids in your carry-on baggage only when you're traveling from Canada to Mexico. It seems that as the years pass by me are getting more strict on the weight of your luggage as in past years I could get away with extra weight but not anymore so before you head down to Mexico from Canada be sure to check what you are allowed weight allowance is so you don't have headaches coming back into Canada.
We did take some pictures with the professional photographers at the resort and Marco did a great job and we recommend him and the fun photo shop which is located behind gift store in the main lobby of the resort.
The nightly entertainment that they have at this resort is like a lots of the shows that have seen in other resorts. I could take it or leave it as I know they tried their best to put a good show but it is not Vegas or Broadway quality and you will definitely find far superior shows on cruise ships but if you're staying the night in the resort and not wanting to venture out to a nightclub or walk along Fifth Avenue it will keep you occupied.
This is the first time I did not do any tours or excursions as I've been here before but the main reason is that we love the resort so much and there were so many activities to do at our resort as well as the easy one block walk to Fifth Avenue we didn't want to leave. Best day tours owner owns the real resorts and they have an tour office in the hotel to help you book any excursions or tours that you might want to do. There's many cool and fun excursions to go on but like anything depending on how much time you're down there and how much money you want to spend this will usually dictate what you will do. I would do a search on the Internet for best day tours and see what excursions will interest you before you get there.
If you want to call back home I would recommend purchasing a phone card from a local merchant and the phone card I would highly recommend is the Ladatel 100 peso which works on the Telmex payphones only. It works out to about $10 US for approximately 20 minutes to call Canada. I tried another phone card and it was a big ripoff. It says I'll give you 20 minutes but there's a lot of catches so you don't get anywhere close the minutes that it guarantees. Buy the one that I recommend to you and you will be happy. These pay phones are right outside of the resort so you don't have to go far to use them so what I did is called my family and gave them the hotels phone number and our room number so they can call us directly if they wanted to and I also told them that are rooms phones have voicemail on them as well. Keep in nine on the time when you're talking on the phone as once it goes to the next minutes even though it says 10 minutes 58 seconds you will lose one minute so if your conscience of time you'll card will last you much longer.
If you're watching the weather network or looking at Playa Carmen's weather on the Internet and you see thunderstorms everyday that thunderstorms if they happen usually happen at night and are quite quick in duration usually no more than half an hour. They come down quite hard and then stop. Our weather during the week we stayed pretty much every day the weather station reported thunderstorms. We did get a lot of sunshine and some clouds but still came back quite dark. It rarely rained during the day but the one time you did it was a very quick and the sun returned again. Between middle of August and November is their hurricane/rainy season so don't be surprised to see a few showers if you travel during these times.
One thing that we noticed at the resort is that there were few guests who were pretty loud and were bringing their own ghetto blasters and playing their music very loud which was interfering with the resorts own sound system. A lot of people at the resort were quite disturbed about this lack of consideration for others and many times the resort staff had to tell them to turn their music off. But then after a little while they were turned back on their music loud as ever as if nothing ever happened. There were a few confrontations with other guests of the resort as these grown adults disregarded everybody else's enjoyment and only thought about themselves. Luckily the resort staff resolved this situation and everybody got back to enjoying the resort. If you are one of these people who like to listen to loud music and think everybody else wants to hear it you are sadly mistaken. If you think that because you paid money and came to this resort or any resort and you have the right to play loud music you are again sadly mistaken as we have paid to stay at this wonderful place and don't want to hear your music. If you want to listen to music use earphones not speakers.
Overall, I would definitely come back to this resort in a heartbeat and would strongly recommend this resort to my family, friends and clients.
Best wishes to you and I hope you enjoy this resort as much as we did.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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