This was the second resort my husband and I stayed at for our wedding and honeymoon, and it was definitely a very different experience than the first place we stayed. There was good and bad, and I'm going to try to give an overview of both.
First, the good.
The beach on this property is just amazing. It's been sandbagged so the beach is a few feet deep with fish swimming, clean bottom, clear water. You can swim beyond the sandbags and it's deeper but still protected by a reef. The water is warm, warmer than the pools. There are plenty of seats and a few beach beds/cabanas which are really nice, but get there early if you want one. The kayaks were a lot of fun, and included.
It's steps away from Adventures Maroma which offers snorkeling, diving, speedboats, ATVs, parasailing, waverunners, horseback rides, camel rides, swimming with dolphins-- all of the things you usually have to take a bus or taxi to do. If you're up for booking a full week of activities, there's a place at the resort to do just that. None of this is included in your stay, but the prices are comparable to what you'd pay anywhere else and you don't have to worry about transportation. Most of these tours include a snack and drinks, which is nice.
The property itself is pretty, well-maintained, and walkable all day and night. They've put a lot into landscaping and maintaining the grounds.
The suites are beautiful, roomy, and clean. We stayed in an infinity pool suite on the 3rd floor, which had the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. The linens are soft and comfortable, and you can choose your pillow type if you want to. The bathrooms have an indoor and outdoor shower, dual sinks, a large jacuzzi tub, and a toilet with a door. We had a large living area with 2 sofas that we didn't use much, but it would be nice for people traveling in groups to visit in each others' rooms.
There are 2 pools for general use, both have bars, and both have plenty of seating. The main pool has some beach cabanas that you don't have to reserve.
The food was good, as were the drinks. Service at breakfast and lunch was good.
This is a very small resort, so expect to see a lot of the same people (guests and staff alike). We'd like to personally thank Gustavo for an excellent meal and Noemi, our personal concierge, for addressing all of our needs and concerns professionally and kindly. We had a lovely breakfast on our last day and a romantic bed and bath drawn for us on our last night to make our honeymoon memorable, all thanks to Noemi and the personal concierge staff.
Now, the not so good.
This was definitely not the right fit for my husband and me. We are relatively young, active, and like to spend a lot of time busy when we're traveling. This resort is really best for couples and groups who want to relax, sit at the pool, swim in the ocean, and sunbathe. The other alternative is to book excursions or tours the entire time you're there, but that can get pricey. Still, the only thing in the way of things to do at night is Rick's bar, which didn't seem all that exciting. As a couple, we really enjoyed being in the heart of Playa del Carmen the week before where we could shop, sightsee, and walk around any time of the day or night. In contrast, this resort is a mile or two from the road between Playa and Cancun.
There were some younger couples like us there, but most of the guests were in their 50s or older. This resort really seems to cater to middle class, middle aged, middle Americans. This isn't a bad thing for everyone, obviously, but it wasn't for us. We're by no means partiers or heavy drinkers, but El Dorado Maroma was a little too low key for us despite that.
Since the resort is so small, the food choices are limited, and though it was very good we still got a little tired of it after a few days. There are only 3 restaurants for dinner, and two for lunch. The breakfast menu didn't change all week, and the lunch buffet changed its entree special daily, but we really would have liked a little variety. The food is very good, however, so no complaints on quality. As well, food isn't available all the time-- they do operate on fixed hours. Room service is always available, but they didn't always answer the phone and it took over an hour for us to get two cheeseburgers.
All of the dinner restaurants have fixed menus, and there are only 4-6 entrees for each one. While the food is very good, I think the resort could really benefit from having another dinner restaurant, possibly a more casual buffet. For dinner, every restaurant requires men to wear collared shirts and women to wear nicer business casual type clothing.
While the beach cabana beds are nice, a few more would be great. We never got one because they seemed to get taken early in the morning and used all day. They also didn't get cleaned up after people left in the evening until after sunset.
We had service issues throughout our time at the resort. Some other couples didn't experience this at all, but we like to eat later, around 7:30pm or later. We waited 25-45 minutes every night just to get seated at a table. We had reservations for a dinner on the beach and waited 30 minutes past our reservation to get seated. Our salad course took another 20 minutes to get served despite being ordered days before. Service at dinner was slow. Portions are small, so we spent a lot of time sitting at dinner-- 2-3 hours a night including the wait for a table. This may not have been an issue for everyone, but when we're not with friends, we don't want to spent that long at a meal. Some people really enjoy lingering over a long, relaxing meal, but again, it wasn't for us.
Towels always seemed to be out at the pools and the beach. We went out to the pool and beach later, so I imagine they just didn't get restocked later in the day. There are towels in the main lobby, which we didn't realize until our last day there.
There are no elevators in this resort, which didn't bother us as much as I feared it would. The infinity pool suites would have a gorgeous ocean view if not for the palm trees planted directly in front. The second and third floors have no view of the ocean. I would imagine the fourth floor might be high enough, but we didn't see a fourth floor room.
Like most of the resorts in Mexico, Karisma has a loyalty/membership program. We attended the presentation which wasn't bad-- much more low key than Vegas timeshares-- and got a candlelight dinner in return. Not a bad trade, IMO. We also got to see some of the presidential suites on the property which are pretty amazing. Members do seem to get a lot of perks, and we definitely saw more of the difference with that at this resort than we did at the other one. That's good for members, maybe not for the rest of us.
Right now there is a lot of construction going on, and the 700- and 800- buildings are right next to it. There was a lot of noise and banging from early in the morning on all week. If you're a late sleeper, go for another building.
I think El Dorado Maroma is pricey for what it offers, however, you're always going to spend more at a smaller property.
Regardless, I'm still giving El Dorado Maroma five stars because I think, on the whole, the issues we had with the property came down to personal preference and some growing pains that the resort is happy to address when you tell them about it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on one of Travel Channels Top Ten Beaches in the World, El Dorado Maroma is an upscale, exclusive Caribbean resort for romantic couples and active vacationers alike. Intimate and beachfront. Rustic and luxurious at the same time. the hotel provides outstanding services and gourmet cuisine. Receive personalized butler and concierge service, arrive with style with a champagne check in. It is rustic, because it is not pretentious and was built using traditional materials and with the philosophy of embracing the bounty of the nature and the local environment. It lies directly on the beach of Maroma, considered to be one of the best beaches in the world by independent reviewers, including the Discovery Channel. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- El Dorado Maroma, a Beachfront Resort, By Karisma Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- El Dorado Maroma Hotel
- El Dorado Maroma Resort