This was our first visit to the Riviera Maya - and we loved it. We chose the Maroma because we were celebrating our 10 year anniversary, and we really needed some R&R. And we SO got it.
The hotel is small and intimate - the wait staff knows your name, and you get to know other travelers because there are not many people there, even when it is full. The hotel was 98% full at one point during our stay, and you couldn't even tell. The beach has maybe 5-7 people on it, there is usually 1-2 people in the pool, there is never a wait for beach butler service or at the swim up bar, sometimes you wonder, "Where are all the people?" With so many wonderful nooks and crannies, the resort just absorbs people and oozes relaxation and quiet. Ahhhh.....
We never had to wait for a table at breakfast or lunch and always ate outside under the palapas. We only waited one night for a seat in a restaurant, and that was because they were having a big birthday party there. Otherwise, we always just walked up (no reservation) and were seated immediately. It was AWESOME.
There is no competition for beach beds or loungers. They are always available - there are one or two palapa beach beds in front of mi hotelito that are generally taken (you have to get up early for those because they are so sweet), but otherwise, the beds and loungers are available all day, as well as towels.
The resort also has snorkels and kayaks available - it is a bit more difficult to get the snorkels - I had trouble a couple of days in getting one, but I voiced my complaint to the concierge, and they went and got one from the Marina, especially for me. No matter - the snorkeling off the beach is so-so, it is good for practice, but if you really want to snorkel - go with Memo or go to Akumal Bay (see my things to do reviews).
I agree with the other reviewers, the marina next door is a bit irritating and loud (depends on the direction of the wind). The worst offenders are the jet skis and the mini speed boats, out all day with their noise pollution and scaring the wildlife away (before the marina, apparently, there used to be a lot more stingrays to see, now they are scared by the sound of the motor boats). Also - the excursions out of the marina are very overpriced - check it out for yourself - and snorkeling from the marina off the Tahuna catamaran is a cattle drive (i.e. going with 50 people to snorkel vs. 5 people on Memo's boat). Its not enough to discourage me from going back to the resort.
The hotel is immaculate and beautiful, and small - only 72 rooms. I was impressed with how clean everything was and the beautiful landscaping. The pools are sparkling clean, the beach white sands and swept clean every morning, the beach beds and loungers clean and often topped with towel art. Our room was huge, very soft and comfortable bed, a HUGE jetted tub, sitting area with comfy couches, and a wonderful outdoor shower we used every day (there is also an indoor rain shower). We had an infinity suite on the second floor - we thought the pool was refreshing and clean, and the patio was great for lounging and having breakfast. We had a great view of the pools, tops of the palm trees and the ocean. A+++++ on the facilities.
The service is a mixed bag, and I will tell you why. The people that work there work extremely hard and are so friendly, and nice and accomodating. We have no complaints on the concierge (Ruth and Patricia are wonderful!), the waiters (Emidgio, Herberth, and Leonardo - you guys rock), the chefs (Hugo is AMAZING), the bell service (give Edwin a raise!), the beach butlers (Eve), the bartenders (Christian and Francisco are excellent) or the housekeepers - our room was cleaned twice daily, and the turn down service was a delight. And again - everyone there is working sooooo hard and hustling like mad.
The concierges were very accomodating and helpful - they arranged a rental car for us to be delivered to the resort. They even offered to pick up Corona's for us in Cancun.
My complaint is about the room service, some food service and the entertainment service. For the room service, the complaint is not against those delivering (they were great) but that the food was usually cold, and mixed up with other rooms. We left early for excursions one day, and ordered room service, and it was a fiasco! Occassionally our orders at the restaurants would also be mixed up. Generally, I had no complaint about the length of the meals or how long it took to get food (it goes with the relaxed atomosphere - each meal is an event), but if you did need to get food in a timely manner - good luck.
Then we had a really irritating experience with Ivan. We had booked a sailing/snorkeling excursion directly with Memo (a dude with a sailboat who ties up about a 15 minute walk south on the beach). Somehow, some of the staff at the hotel found out, and started encouraging us to take an excursion with some of Ivan's friends, that Memo was more expensive that we were quoted (he was not). We ignored that and went with the recommendations of people here on tripadvisor. Then, the morning of our excursion, we were having breakfast, enjoying ourselves and getting ready to go, when Ivan (activities director for the resort) came up and said, "Memo has booked another two couples this morning, and there is too many people booked for this morning's sail, so do you mind going this afternoon?" We were a little pissed, since we had booked the excursion 4 days earlier, that Memo would overbook the sailing. We told Ivan no thank you, that we would walk down the beach and see for ourselves what was going on. Well - we went - and it turns out there was no one else booked, and we were the only two couples going sailing that morning. So Ivan was either lying or misinformed, and it stressed us out needlessly that morning. I felt like complaining to the management, but then I decided to just include it in this review. Bottom line? Don't trust Ivan, go with your instincts and the reviews and information of other travelers on this site.
But again - the service is generally amazing, and everyone there works extremely hard to make our vacation the best. I think with some organization and a better system they would solve the couple of mishaps we experienced with the food service.
The food: A+++++++. Loved it! Our favorite was the Asian restaurant - the spicy tuna rolls, the chicken satay, the soup, the tempanyaki - all delicious. And it is fun to sit at the center table and talk with everyone. And they will make you things off the menu (i.e. we ordered grilled salmon and they would make it to order - absolutely delicious) or bring you things from the other restaurants (i.e. we went to the Italian restaurant and still ordered spicy tuna rolls). Again - you will not be disappointed with the food - just make sure to order appetizers and soup, entree and dessert (ginger cookies are good) and you will be full - they are gourmet portions.
Lunch - the fish market on Thursday is incredible. They catch it (red snapper and grouper) and then fry it for you, and you eat on the beach. The BBQ on Friday is also delectable, and served on the beach. The fajitas off the regular lunch menu are so good, my mouth is watering.
Also - the coffee was hit or miss - it was either amazing or tasted like a diner in southern Wyoming (i.e. yuck). We solved that problem by ordering cappucinoor double espresso instead of coffee - and those are GREAT.
Beach attire is fine for breakfast and lunch, for dinner people look nice - sun dresses, khakis and button down shirts are the norm. Its very elegant.
The drinks are great - if you think they are too weak, just as for a topper or a double. The bartender will make anything you ask for, my favorites were the Chi-chis, the chocolate martini (only order from Ricks bar or the Italian/Asian restaurants, otherwise it is not right), dos equis beer with lime, mango colada, and, of course, tequila tradicional. The house wines are ok, better after a shot of tequila. :)
The entertainment: chill and relaxed. Don't come here for a nightlife, because it is NOT happening. However, you get to know people and that is fun in itself. It is not uncommon for everybody in the restaurant (especially the Asian) to be talking together as old friends. During the day - boci ball is fun, pottery painting is available on occasion, and ofcourse - water sports. We had a blast at the tequila tasting and the mixed drink making - lots of laughter. And walks on the beach or laying on your beach bed all day, snoozing and reading and staring at the water. Nightlife is Ricks bar, I agree, it would be fun to have an outdoor bar. There was some nice acoustic guitar music a couple of nights, and a very loud band another night, also pool, chess and darts are available. We did not try the spa or next door marina.
Personal misc. side notes - go down to the beach at night - its alive. We saw tons of stingrays and skates in the shallows, and ofcourse crabs. Also, we went and sang in the chapel - the acoustics are amazing and it is always unlocked. I felt very safe at the resort - the security is tight. Bring bug spray - if the wind is out of the jungle, there are LOTS of mosquitos and biting bugs, and they come out early!
By the end of our stay, we would order lunch, then go take a dip in the pool, and come back in time for it to be served.
I laughed when I read the review about the restaurant music. Ok - so the acoustic music for breakfast and lunch is nice, but there is only about 6 tracks that last about 35 minutes and then it repeats, and they play it all day, everyday, until the six tracks are drummed into your brain and you dream about them (I am still thinking about them). I LIKE the music - they just need a little more variety, a longer CD, or something. I agree - the cheesy 80s and 90s music in the restaurants has got to go (I never want to hear Richard Marx AGAIN - lol). I suggest classical symphonic music for the Italian and Mexican, traditional Japanese music for the Asian.
Having said all that - I would most DEFINITELY come to this resort again. It seems like they are working out all the kinks (it is a new resort) and are getting better all the time. I felt like royalty and was completely pampered and relaxed my whole visit, and I LOVED it. If you are booked here - you will enjoy.
- 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