First thing is first - if you are reading through reviews and you have NEVER had the all-inclusive experience, stop worrying, you will love this resort. No need to read further... go enjoy your vacation -
However, read through my tips at the bottom of this review.
If you have been doing all-inclusive resorts since you were 12 (like myself) - keep on reading... this one is for you. I read through more than 100 reviews before we ventured out and most of them seemed to be staying on the Casitas side - this is your run of the mill, garden-view, I'm super cheap, review. Also, to preface this review, as just mentioned, I'm super cheap... we snagged this resort on Groupon. That does affect my opinion of the resort as you will later see. (Also, it's important to know that I already found my perfect resort and sadly it was recently sold to another company and went to crap. This was an effort to find my husband and I - and my family - a new favorite resort)
Reasons I would book with El Dorado Royale again:
- Beautiful landscaping (seriously gorgeous)
- Very clean resort
- Far above average food (as far as all-inclusive food goes)
- Personal Concierges for your area of the resort (Need to take a moment to explain this. As with any resort there is a concierge in the main lobby - who I usually never go see. However, when you book here, even in the cheapest room offered, you too are given a personal concierge. Ours was Erika (we were in building 12) and she was beyond fabulous. She was more than accommodating, and she ALWAYS delivered on her promises. The personal concierge truly gave me the feeling that we were staying at a luxury resort and that we were genuinely VIPs.
- Good size rooms (even the smallest ones
- Decently comfortable beds/pillows (it's hard to beat my tempurpedic mattress)
- Timely/respectful cleaning service
- THE BEDS BY THE POOL (more on these later - I will never book an all-inclusive again unless they have these!)
- Plenty of couples to make new friends with (be warned single people - all-inclusives tend to be VERY couples oriented, so if you are looking for a party hotel, you may be disappointed by all the wedding, marriage, and children conversations happening around you. May want to keep looking...)
- LOVED the A/C! We are from Texas, and know the importance of central air (and the ability to control it). Each room is equipped with a state of the art wall unit that is unlike anything I've seen. You can set it exactly how you want it. We both slept great and loved walking out of the heat into our nice cool room everyday!
Reasons that while this hotel was wonderful, this will likely be my only time to visit as I continue to search for my perfect resort (again):
(Please know - this is me being VERY picky - I still believe this resort is worth visiting so that you can experience it for yourself)
- The bars IMO were never staffed enough for the amount of people ordering - we were at the main pool (La Isla) every day from Wed-Sat. The issue with the bar is not that 1 bartender cannot serve all the people waiting at the swim up bar. It is that the swim up bar backs up into the restaurant. So there is ONE bartender for everyone in the pool AND everyone in the restaurant. This makes for very very slow service and it is not at all the bartenders fault. He was a machine and did the best he could. My thought is that this is managements way to keep cost down by not having to pay an extra body as well as not giving out twice as much liquor in one day. Expect to wait 5-10 mins to have your order taken, and another 5 mins to receive your drink.
- The pool (and honestly El Dorado, because I know you are reading this - this is the main reason we will not be returning, this is an easy fix, and should have been done long before now. Cough up the cash and get it done.) is bath water warm. Like, you feel as if you are getting into a hot tub that is still trying to warm up. Most pools in Texas and further south must come equipped with a chiller. EDR has one! Yay! Only issue is, it's on the FAR end of the pool where no one is, and has only ONE outlet. So there is a hole, the size of a golf ball, and if you stand next to it, it's pumping icy cold water. This great for that tiny area, but there is NO way it could EVER cool that entire pool. For me, that's a deal breaker. I spend my entire vacation in the pool.
- The beach/ocean is sub-par if you are an ocean person. My husband loves to snorkel and did not see any of the normally colorful fish you would find in this area - which I'm sure is due to the giant sand bags. (You can read more on these in other reviews) Long story short - if you are a beach person, this resort is not for you.
- The guys who get you involved with pool activities were awesome - so funny, so engaging! However, they were 4-trick ponies. EDR - you need to better utilize these guys. All they do EVERY day: water aerobics, water volleyball, water polo, beach volleyball. The end. At other resorts I've stayed at they do something different EVERY day of the week. Granted it is repeated every week but still, something fun and different. This makes for something entertaining to watch and participate in if so inclined.
- The candlelight dinner. IMO is a joke. GRANTED we did not participate, but I have done these at other resorts. The huts they have you in are indeed on the beach, however, you are seated right next to another table. This should be a time where you and your (likely) new spouse feel like you are alone on a beach with the waves being served food. You should not have to listen to other peoples conversations.
- I was in sales for several years, and I know a good pitch when I hear one. You will be propositioned to hear the sales presentation from your concierge. This is not always a bad thing. This is how you get free stuff. HOWEVER, the reward IMO was totally not worth the effort. I was expecting to hear that we would be given free massages (instead - just 2 for 1), or a free "candlelight dinner" (instead just $50 off bringing your total bill down to $90), or a free excursion off property. NOPE. Not worth it. Just say no unless any of that sounds like it's perfect for your wallet. Just know, once they get you in there, they are going to try to sell you... HARD.
- Restaurant service is wonderful, but slow. This isn't a horrible thing, just expect to be there like you would any normal restaurant in the states (hour to an hour and a half). Loved all our waiters - very friendly.
TIPS THAT YOU MUST READ:
- THE SECOND YOU GET THERE (if you get there before "check in" at 3 then alter that to the second the chime strikes 3:00 on the day you arrive) introduce yourself to your personal concierge and tell them you want a reservation at Santa Fe and Fuentes. We did exactly this on Tuesday at 3 when we arrived and the only available reservations were on Friday/Saturday - which is good considering we left Sunday! If you don't take care of this IMMEDIATELY you will miss out on the best food at the resort.
- Best restaurants (that we went to) at the resort ranked for dinner (IMO): Santa Fe, Fuentes, Rincon/Kampai tied, Di'italia Casitas
- Santa Fe - order anything - it's going to be awesome. Like, nice restaurant awesome
- Fuentes - ask your concierge to see the menu for the day you are being offered a reservation. It's different each day but set with no changes made. This was such a neat experience. It's like watching the Food Network while you eat. The walk you through how they make each dish and why. We LOVED it and the food was AWESOME. (Expect to be there for 1.5 - 2 hours)
- Rincon didn't get great reviews on here which shocked me. And I did not like my entree (the brisket was 70% fat) but I'm still telling you it was fantastic. We are from San Antonio and eat Tex-Mex all the time. Husband got the salmon and was drooling the entire time. All the appetizers are awesome (duck carnitas!! Mmmm) but you MUST get the Tres Leches for dessert. It was my second favorite of all the ones we ate. If you have never had tres leches, just trust me. If you have, this will compare with the one your abuelita makes! ;-)
- Kampai - we went there twice, my only recommendation is to not go there for lunch. We arrived at the resort late and Kampai was one of the few that was open and everything was sub par. HOWEVER dinner is an entirely different story. We ordered 4/5 of the sushi rolls on the menu, all were great. My duck was a little over cooked for my entree but all of that is nothing compared to the fried ice cream. Don't think. Just order it. Both of you. Get the same dessert. Screw sharing. It's that good. Like a big donut stuffed with ice cream. Like - holy crap good.
- Di'italia - everyone told us that the casitas one is better that the resort one so we were sure to head there. If you are coming from the UK or Europe, I feel like this is right up your alley. If you are from the states... beware. There is a lot of lamb/veil on the menu which can be off-putting. Every staff member I spoke to raved about the Lobster Lasagna, so naturally I ordered it. Now, I'm Italian, like, Make-my-own-sauce-from-scratch-and-everyone-raves-about-it Italian. In no way, was that a lasagna. It was like a lobster stew with lasagna noodles. I was expecting the lobster to be mixed in with the ricotta and them create a nice lobster cream sauce. Instead - I can't really tell you what I ate. It wasn't bad, just... different. I feel like this is one of those times where we just ordered the wrong items off the menu. Maybe ask around for other people who ate there and ask what they ordered before you go. For me, I would have switched that night for La Isla - which I heard was surprisingly good (which is how I would describe Rincon)
- My beloved pool bed. The glory of my entire vacation. People who passed by looked at me with a look of painful jealousy. And in the words of someone far less educated "They hate me because they ain't me." ;-) In order to snag one of these beds you will have to be OK with setting your alarm... early. Early in the week you can get away with 6:30-6:45, but as you get to Wed-Sat, people figure out the drill and you have to set your alarm for 6:00. You don't need to lay there, just mark it with towels/personal items and you are good - then head back to bed. For me, TOTALLY worth it. I've already told you that my fine culinary skills come from my Italian heritage, well my SUPER white freckled physique is thanks to the Irish side. If you are white girl white like myself and you DONT get a bed, good luck. There are no umbrellas. None. You will be baking your little heart out and taking refuge in the shade created by the swim up bar. As far as regular lounge chairs - you can probably snag them up until 10 or 11, then they are gone. Now all of this is for the main pool (I like to be where the action is) I can't speak for the other pools, but know that there are many and you can find a seat SOMEWHERE.
Like I said - I got this on groupon. We went to my "perfect hotel" that no longer exists (Aventura Spa Palace - now - Hard Rock Riviera Maya) this time last year for CHEAPER than my groupon and it included $750 worth of resort credit that we used to get massages and swim with the dolphins - FANTASTIC well rounded experience. That being said, I believe that this resort is good for the price I paid. There is no way you would be able to get me to do it for full price. But again, that is because I'm comparing it to Aventura (which I had been to 3 times and my parents 7). If you already booked it and you are worried you made the wrong decision - don't worry. You will have a great time. It may even be your favorite. For me, I've had more for less money so it's hard to compare. Hope this helped! Enjoy your vacation wherever you end up!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, TravelUp, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd, HotelQuickly and Cancelon so you can book your El Dorado Royale, by Karisma reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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