This is a lengthy review, but I hope to cover the things that so often get missed in a review.
We travelled with Thomson and booked a private taxi from the airport. This was expertly handled being greeted on the concourse by a friendly porter who knew exactly what to do, taking us to a Thomson rep who then quickly organised us being taken to our waiting taxi. We were at the hotel in about 30 mins.
We were greeted at the hotel by friendly faces, a glass of cold fizz and cool face towels, a fantastic start. Checking in was fast with an immediate upgrade to a "Premium" Ocean Front Suite. We were then taken to our room which was in the 200 block, bordering the Casitas which turned out to be a very central and ideal location right beside the Health Bar.The porter took us on a tour of the resort in a golf cart on the way to get our bearings. The grounds and everywhere we looked were immaculate and EVERY single member of staff greeted us with an "Ola" on the way.
Our two personal concierges, Zully and Angelita immediately made us feel welcome and were very helpful throughout our stay.
The room was spotless and large enough for our needs but we rarely had need to spend much time in it. There was a large Jacuzzi in the bathroom and a well stocked mini bar with several different types of beers and soft drinks along with snacks.It was well serviced every day by our lovely maid Delta.
We regularly dine out in London and the food here was exceptional. I can understand visitors from NA being surprised at portion sizes, but the portion sizes in NA are huge by European standards and it is just a cultural thing? As mentioned many times, you can just order more if you wish so it is not a real problem. Anyway, Gourmet food never comes by the bucket load :-) Three or four courses proved ample at every meal. Our favourite restaurant was Kampai which we ended up visiting three times, The Asian fusion cuisine is oustanding and cannot be faulted. The Health Bar also serves very good healthy lunches and probably the largest portion sizes! The only drinks available here are smoothies and juices so if you like a glass of wine/beer with your lunch, take one along with you..Sante Fe was initially disappointing after all the hype as it seemed to resemble a large food hall, BUT, the food and service was fantastic and once you get settled in was a great experience. Fuentes was a completely different kettle of fish. We had a table right at the front, courtesy of our concierge Angelita. The wine pairing menu was explained to us and thankfully we opted for this at 40USD each. This is fantastic value for the 5 wines we received and our glasses were never empty. You also have the option to "repeat" any wine selection at the end of the meal. This really made the meal a total experience and complemented the fantastic food perfectly. The show itself was very entertaining and a definite must see. It was however extraordinary to see some people treating this as a "fast food" experience, rushing out as soon as the deserts were served. All the other restaurants provided the same exceptional quality and service throughout our two week stay. Best for breakfast is Cocotal with its large buffet. The D'Italia Villas at the lobby is towards the top in experience/food. Jo Jo's was great for lunch/dinner with the catch of the day always being incredible. The Pizzeria by La Islas was a welcome surprise serving some good Tex/Mex food as well as Pizzas and burgers (which we did not try). Try and get a table here with a view of the beach which will be in the breeze, otherwise it gets very hot as it is well protected from the wind. Rincon Mexicano (Mexican "inspired"), good, but small portions even by our standards, so just order double of everything. So to surmise, they are all excellent with very high levels of service and quality of food, a very special mention must be made for Leonardo in La Islas in the evenings, who else would make you wait 2 minutes while he decorated our table with flowers and petals before we were seated? Again exceptional food and another one of our favourites.
There is a dress code at the restaurants, and we regularly saw people being turned away at breakfast wearing "tank tops" or swim shorts. It is nice to see the staff stick to this policy and it is surely not too much to ask that you dress appropriately for meals? Breakfast and lunch is a collared polo shirt and shorts, you can easily get away with a T-shirt though. In general most people dress up for dinner, long pants, collared shirts and no flip flops/thongs for men, smart Bermuda shorts seemed to be acceptable. For women, anything smart will pass, with a minimum of dress sandals but heels and dresses/pants will look very in place.You cannot over dress in the evenings :-)
We took Mexican Pesos and I would recommend this over US$ now after the recent change in the amount you can use in a transaction (max $250 in a single transaction). You do not need to tip, but you will want to when faced with the levels of service that you receive here. A little goes a long way as they say. We took about £300 with us and it worked out just right for 14 days taking in the fact that you will require 760pesos each in cash to exit the country (800pesos if paying by card). We usually tipped 20/50pesos for a round of drinks, if we were staying for more then 50pesos at the start would be enough followed by more if they spoiled you, which they normally did. It always seemed to help at the Beach Bar when it was busy.Using this you can then gauge how you tip for that "personal" service you receive from most waiters etc.
Beach and Pools
There was never any problem getting a lounger by a pool or on the beach. There is no need to ever reserve a lounger early in the morning or even leave a towel while you have a spot of lunch. Whether by a pool or on the beach there will always be a regular waiter service to bring you drinks, you need never move!! Our preference was the beach as there was always a breeze, taking the sting out of the usual 45C heat. As regards the "whales" in the water, you get very used to them and don't really notice them after the first day, sure it is not the best beach we have been to, but it is a small issue when dealing with what nature throws at you.The first week of our stay saw clean spotless beaches, but the second week there were storms out in the Caribbean which resulted on seaweed being washed up on the beach each morning which the staff relentlessly cleared away each day, again, this is nature, no big deal:-)
Due to the constant calorie overload, we made good friends with the newly married couple who ran the gym and gym classes. The gym is well equipped with modern equipment and also free weights and should meet all your needs.
We took up the couples massage on the beach, not cheap, but worth every penny, just do it.
Martini's (lobby and best cocktails) and the Beach Bar are open till 2am every day. Turn up at Martini's in shorts and you will feel out of place, pretty much the same for Bellini's in the Casita's. All the others are pretty easy going and Gaviotas near Kampai being one of our favourites for pre dinner drinks.
If you do nothing else, book the tour to Coba via Lomas Travel in the lobby, these guys are GOOD. We spent the day with two other couples and a dedicated guide, Jean Paul, visiting Mayans and the temple at Coba. We learned a lot about Mexican culture and food, excellent.
There are none! Other reviewers have mentioned "loud" Americans! Every person we met from NA/Canada were the nicest, polite and engaging people, and we met many.Sure there were some "high jinx" around the La Islas pool, but this is a "younger" area and only seemed to get busy over the weekends when small wedding parties came in for a few days, no big deal, you have 4km of private beach and many other pools :-)
As life is too short, we have a rule never to visit anywhere twice no matter how good it is and we have been to some very nice places. This is the first hotel and location we definitely want to come back to! The staff are what fuels this hotel and they cannot be praised enough, the people of Mexico are the same. The resort itself is immaculate in every way, I did joke that I eventually found some dust inside a lamp in the lobby, but that was about it. Hasta la Vista El Dorado, we will be back.
- 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