El Dorado Royale
April 1-8, 2008
My husband and I stayed at the El Dorado Royale for 7 nights, April 1-8, 2008. This was my second visit. I had stayed there when the resort first opened years ago when it was still being built. I ended up there when FunJet, represented by Lomas Travel, rescued me from the Reef Club, a resort filled with screaming children, most of them occupying seats at the swim up bar. I had always wanted to return to the EDR with my husband. I read many Trip Advisor reviews before our trip, so had a good idea what to expect.
Beach: The beach is not fabulous, but it has the beautiful white sand and turquoise water I love about the Mexican Caribbean. Both of our ocean front rooms had gorgeous ocean views. We were not bothered by the sandbags, which I already knew about—to me they look like rocks. There were lots of fish swimming around. I wish the beach was better for a long beach walk, but the setting is beautiful nevertheless. We really enjoyed sitting out by the ocean in front of building 4—there were lots of palapas and chaises. Despite what many people say about a hurricane washing away the beach, it is very much the way it was when I visited 7-8 years ago.
Pools: The pools are nice. I would like the big main pool a great deal better if they would get rid of the stupid cabana/beds around it. They take up far too much room, accommodate only a couple, and are always reserved early in the day. The pool was much nicer before they added them.
Rooms: We stayed in a top floor ocean front suite. Our first room, in building 40 (4026), was so close to the Guacamayas Bar that we could feel and hear the disco every night—it goes on until 2 a.m. I hated to leave the view, but the location destroyed any option for peaceful listening to the ocean or quiet conversation at night. The front desk offered us a room in building 55, which was a smoking building—no thanks! We had to wait another night to get a room in building 4 (424), which was great—another beautiful room, with one of the best locations on the property. The bed was comfortable, and housekeeping (Elvira) did a great job. Our room was always stocked with as much water as we asked for, which was a lot. We did not witness preferential treatment for casitas guests, and I would be happy with an oceanfront suite again. We took the time share tour (2 ½ hours), and I agree that the casitas are beautiful, but I can’t imagine paying so much extra for a room. I would rather spend money on something else, or on more travel!
Restaurants: We really appreciate fine cuisine. We have lived in Mexico and traveled there extensively, as well as in Europe and other places. That said, I would give EDR 3.5- 4 stars for their food. Most of our meals were excellent to exceptional. They are not of French or Argentinean standards, but are good, with nice presentation. We waited a few times, but never for more than 30”, and the Martini Bar is a great place to wait! We enjoyed the several course meals, and did not find most portions to be small, except at La Isla, where the delicious food also tends to arrive tepid. JoJo’s had excellent food, with several seafood choices and the advantage of being by the sea. Don’t miss the grouper! I think they should get rid of Fuentes and replace it with an authentic Mexican restaurant of the sort they had when I was there years ago. Mexico has so many creative distinctive dishes—it’s a shame EDR does not highlight them. We had a tasty meal at Cocotal’s Mexican night, and enjoyed Rincon Mexicano, a Mexican snack/lunch place outside Fuentes. The Bar de la Salud was very close to our second room, and wonderful. A smoothie made a great afternoon pick-me-up or lunch. We enjoyed D’Italia as well, but skip the salmon in pea sauce! The Chilean house wine at the resort is drinkable but just barely. Though the dining experience was pleasant, one buffet restaurant for lunch and dinner would be a nice addition.
Entertainment: After this trip, I’ve decided I would rather have a corny show than no show at all. Several years ago we stayed at the Bahia Principe Tulum, and the shows were corny but fun. We have also stayed at the Allegro/Occidental Papagayo in Liberia, Costa Rica. The evening shows are something fun to do in the evening, something different from home. We spent most evenings listening to the bands and dancing at the Guacamayas Bar—love those swings! But the bands were mediocre to bad, playing the same kind of music every night.
Incident tipico de Mexico with an ugly American twist: The Entertainment team, what there is of it, strongly encouraged us to attend a special event at Fuentes one evening—tequila and wine tasting, with good food also. We planned our day accordingly, looking forward to a fiesta, maybe some good Mexican food, and possibly some good wine. At 6:30 we queued up with everyone else, where they were taking pictures at the door. But when we got inside, there were not nearly enough tables and chairs for everyone—and of course the tequila and “special” wine were at an extra charge. There were seats at a reserved table, probably for Casitas guests. We were fortunate to place my bag on a table to reserve it, but by the time we got some food, someone had taken our table. I went up to a man who looked like he was in charge, to say there were not enough tables and chairs, and he drew a blank face and completely ignored me. We walked around with our plates, looking for a place to at least set them down to eat. We saw a waiter setting up some bar tables, and I set my plate down, only to have some US woman come up to me and say, “Excuse me, this is a group!” I said, “you can have my food, then!” and left. Apparently she ranted at my husband after I left. After dinner at D’Italia we came back to see the mediocre acrobats, and that same woman had the nerve to come up to me and say something nasty, criticizing my manners. It was very upsetting, actually—not something I want to deal with on my vacation. I hope she does not have an early heart attack.
General Impression: The resort is very nice for a relaxing, trouble free getaway. For the most part the staff are warm, welcoming and professional. What has happened to the Maya Riviera, however, is heartbreaking if you love Mexico, as I do. It has become like an extension of the US. The Mexicans are the best hosts in the world, and they have learned to accommodate the preferences of their guests, predominantly US citizens, to the point that much of the Mexican experience has been eliminated. At the EDR no Spanish at all is required, and it’s not really possible to get a real margarita or cochinita pibil—in the Yucatan! Little Mexican music is played at the resort. I found it shocking that at JoJo’s they serve “nachos” with that horrible yellow sauce you see at US sports stadiums instead of cheese. I saw a woman from the US smacking her lips in appreciation as she ate “nachos” made with that yellow glue—apparently just what she was expecting. I applaud Fonatur for their great success in promoting tourism in that area, and I know it benefits the lives of many Mexicans, but I miss Mexico! And forget about bargains—the prices of artwork and handicrafts in Playa del Carmen are the same as in the U.S. And that’s after bargaining!
Memorable moment: Soaking in the Jacuzzi while looking out at the beautiful Caribbean and the clear blue sky.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A Conde Nast Traveler Readers’Top 100 Hotels in the world and a AAA Four Diamond Resort, El Dorado Royale is an adults-only destination that provides the ultimate in service in the ultimate setting.With more than a mile of sandy beach in Mexico's Riviera Maya, El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort, by Karisma offers an escape which no other destination can match. All the luxuries you can dream of, combined with an emphasis on personal attention to your every whim, make this an ideal location for a getaway. Travelers join us from around the world for romantic outdoor beach weddings or ceremonies in our intimate beachfront chapel, relaxing honeymoons, anniversary celebrations, or just much needed time off. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- El Dorado Royale Hotel Riviera Maya
- El Dorado Royale Mexico
- El Dorado Royale Cancun
- El Dorado Royale Spa Resort
- El Dorado Royale Resort
- Eldorado Royale