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“Simply perfect”

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El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
Ranked #3 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
150 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Simply perfect”
Reviewed 21 August 2014

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.

Food.
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.

Dress Code
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 :-)

Tipping
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:-)

Gym
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.

Spa
We took up the couples massage on the beach, not cheap, but worth every penny, just do it.

Bars
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.

Trips
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.

Issues
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 :-)

Summary
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.

Room Tip: All rooms seem to be good, if you plan on spending a lot of time in/near your room then the Casitas...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
31 Thank PBK_Tours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rydal, PA
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2014

Our son was recently married at El Dorado Royale in Cancun, Mexico. My wife and I decided to make a vacation of the event and stayed at the Casitas portion of the property for 10 days. We were extremely pleased! The accommodations, the food, the staff, the service --- all were excellent!
We originally had some misgivings about an "all inclusive" resort --- all food, alcohol and the vast majority of activities were included in the up-front price --- but were pleasantly surprised. Our misgivings were totally dispelled.
Tom Starrett at Destination Weddings arranged everything for us as he did for our son and his now wife as well as for the more than 50 guests. Tom helped us make the correct decisions. The wedding went great; the ceremony on the beach was beautiful and the reception/dinner (also on the beach) was beyond expectations. A real winner!

Room Tip: Upgrade to Casitas; Presidential Casitas are best, followed by Individual Casitas, then Swim-up Casi...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank William C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2014 via mobile

Simply, I can not put down enough great things about this place. Been here twice now including our honeymoon. Amazing place! 5☆ service throughout. Excellent reception and the staff can't help enough. All the restaurants are unreal, pools and facilities are immaculate. There is a gym there which pleased me. Room service and the maids are a credit to themselves. Literally the best place we have ever stayed in. Thankyou!

Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Adam H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2014

My husband and I just returned from a week stay at El Dorado Royale. We loved everything about this place! You honestly can't go wrong. The food is delicious and the grounds are gorgeous. The service by all staff is fabulous and they are always looking to make your stay even better. To make the experience even better, I would highly recommend using Beach Bum Vacation to book the trip. We used Jayne and she made everything seamless for us. They have a lot of perks for those on a honeymoon as well. You can't go wrong with going to El Dorado Royale or using Beach Bum Vacation!
Lauren and Joe

  • Stayed August 2014
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26 Thank Lauren0809
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KarismaHotelsResorts, Gerente at El Dorado Royale, by Karisma, responded to this review, 21 August 2014
Dear Lauren and Joe,

On behalf of El Dorado Royale team, thank you for choosing us for this special holidays! I am glad to read in your review that you enjoyed our property.

I hope we have the pleasure to welcome you once again very soon

Best Regards

Beat Müller
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lewisville, Texas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2014

I'll keep it short: the experience was flawless. From the first look through the entry way, to the rooms, the restaurants, the beach, etc. it was perfect. I think I drank my body weight in Sauvignon Blanc. We had no trouble walking into a restaurant and immediately sitting down for a meal. The servers were beyond friendly and constantly used our names, so very curtious. The wake-up call was perfectly on time, and room service was excellent. We stayed in a Luzury junior suite and it was a great size for the two of us.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank winebaby1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KarismaHotelsResorts, Gerente at El Dorado Royale, by Karisma, responded to this review, 21 August 2014
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to write such a wonderful review from our property, I am really happy to see that you enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc.

Hopefully, we will have the pleasure of welcome you back very soon.

Remain at your service.

Enrique Olvera
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Allentown, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviewed 18 August 2014

This all-inclusive resort was recommended by VIP Vacations Inc. owned by Jennifer Doncsecz and we were not disappointed. Our travel agent, Lauren, suggested swim up rooms for our accommodations and it was truly the best, better than the casitas!!!! We had so much fun swimming the 'canals' to the pools and back to our swim-up patio to relax and savor the tropical atmosphere and peaceful surroundings. This resort is sooooo quiet and everyone working there went out of their way to keep us happy and having fun. The beach cabanas were so comfortable and within 2 days we had our favorite one that we used every day with such beautiful views of the turquoise blue waters and soft sandy beaches. We loved the fresh coconuts to drink from every morning found at the Kick Grill Bar at the south end of the beach and resort. You have to go early, by 10AM, to get dibs on a fresh coconut. Our meals at the Italian restaurant, Santa Fe, Culinary Institute and Kampai were fantastic. We took an organized bike tour of the resort and also a kayak tour out beyond the artificial reefs. Unfortunately we had to cancel our waver runners because of rough seas. Don't miss the painted pottery stands set up by 2 of the pools. My son's girlfriend and I spent 2 mornings painting pottery that was later glazed and fired and we brought home as gifts for family and to ourselves. Can't wait to do that again!! We loved that our rooms were cleaned twice a day and that the AC was working very well so that we had some respite from the very high temps for the week. My grown sons enjoyed the beach soccer and volleyball and pool water polo. VIP Vacations ....thank you for picking this place for our family vacation. We will be back.

Room Tip: Definitely go for a swim up room in the Sensi Mar section of the resort. Very quiet but close to be...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
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Thank mnolan2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Providence, Rhode Island
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2014

The place itself is gorgeous so no complaints on that. One of the reasons we chose this resort is because it said gourmet and you know how all inclusives can sometimes be so so with the food choices. We found the service at the restaurants to be mediocre. They don't give out straws unless you ask for it which seems petty but its annoying especially at the pool. The entrees are extremely small which I'm used to having gone to several all inclusives but when you ask for more food they seemed surprised and irritated. For instance the caprese salad at D'italia was minced tomatoes stacked up the size of a half stack of dimes. The best meal we had was at the Asian restaurant, lots of flavor and slightly exotic. We booked the food experience show at Fuentes and that seemed to be the only thing that was more "gourmet." The show itself was quite boring which several guests we spoke to agreed with and a few just walked out. The hosts talked alot about each of the 5 courses and there were large screen tvs so you could see them prepare but the cameras were so bad they pointed to everything but the food. It just semeed to drag on but the food was very good. One course was diced ahi tuna with apples served on a tostada with a sauce and another was seared Mahi Mahi with avocado. We didn't hit all the restaurants but the pizza place by the pool is good but if you want real sized portions the Health Bar is probably the best for lunch it has wraps and salads and protein shakes. Breakfast buffet was the best but every time we went we had to constantly ask for water and refills. The most annoying thing by far was the no tank top for men rule. You cant have a tank top at breakfast or by the pool for lunch and I had to take off my sunhat at breakfast. So many men wear tanks these days it just seems ridiculous especially when its 100 degrees out and your eating by the water.
The main pool was great and the older gentleman that served drinks was on point. He remembered our drinks everyday and always gave me a straw. The activities men were great and very funny. They work their butts off 6 days a week, morning to night so I have to hand it to them for keeping such positive attitudes despite all the drunks around. They played water polo and volleyball with all the guests and had us all laughing at their antics. There's a cool saltwater pool right on the ocean but I only saw one person swimming there. It doesn't really look like a place to swim an relax so I think most didn't know what it was. You cant have food anywhere besides at the restaurants. So no burgers by the pool or beach.
The beach was okay. There was seaweed on the sand every morning (they cleaned this up by hand btw) which isnt their fault but if that bothers you then the pool is the best option. They had canbanas on the beach that looked nice but weren't like the cabanas at the pool more like wood planks with chairs in the sand and half curtains on the sides. There working on something in the water like a reef of some sorts which is nice but not pretty sitting half way out of the ocean. Hardly any staff serving drinks there.
The hotel setup is very large so they offer golf carts to take you around if you want to go the the connecting resort Casitas which has several other restaurants around it. That area has the suites and swimup rooms but their beach area is horrible, rocks and coral everywhere. My room was just fine in terms of cleanliness but the minibar could use some help only tecate, water, coke and sprite no snacks.
We did the Exhel-ha tour which was amazing but the guy in the hotel we booked it through was kind of arrogant. When we left the next day we were confused about which bus we were on and he goes "well I don't know what to tell you" and walks away. He was in great spirits when collecting our cash though.
The shows at night were pretty decent although its almost the same as every resort but there was a great band with a woman that sang. She was very good and could sing a variety of tunes. She opened up for some shows around 9ish. They had the celeb impersonators perform which was funny but the carnival show was amazing some of them should be in Cirque so I highly recommend catching that show.
Overall the place was nice but not great. It was very honeymoon geared and not alot of action going on in the pool or beach which isnt the activities guys fault just a more mellow crowd. Also, we tried to get an upgrade which they say on their website but they told us there was no room unless we wanted to pay $900 US for the presidential suites. The place was not full because we never had to wait for anything and the beaches and pool were pretty empty. I've had better food and service at the Valentin up the street so we'll be returning there instead.

Room Tip: We were in building 9 facing palm trees and it was very quiet.
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jbeau426
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about El Dorado Royale, by Karisma

Property: El Dorado Royale, by Karisma
Address: Carretera Cancun - Tulum Km. 45, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly El Dorado Royale)
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — El Dorado Royale, by Karisma 4.5*
Number of rooms: 639
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

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