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Playa del Carmen
Great but with some flaws.
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This is a review of:

The Royal in Playa del Carmen All Inclusive Spa & Resort

Detailed Ratings
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By nickishay, · 532 Views · 0 Comments

Pros: Comprehensiveness; Great food; Many options
Cons: Assembly line; Don't feel special; They don't upgrade

We stayed at the RPC from April 18th to the 28th.  My review is written from the perspective of a bride who spent a whole lotta money to have a wedding at the resort.  We had 16 guests attend our wedding.

  1. We ran into problems when we booked rooms at the resort.  We booked in November, assuming that would be plenty early for the middle of April.  It was not.  We booked a Royal Junior Suite for Wednesday to Friday, but had to book a Royal Junior Walkout for the Saturday night, as they said that all Royal Junior Suites were sold out for that night, which cost an additional $250-300 for that night.  Then for the rest of our stay we booked a Royal Junior Suite. When we arrived, the resort tried to get us to upgrade.  We did not upgrade, as they stated it would be an additional $100 per night, even though the wedding package states that we should get a free upgrade when it’s available.  In fact, we ended up downgrading for one night (the Saturday night) so that we would not have to move rooms.  The resort did not do anything nice for us (as I thought they might) when we downgraded, which meant we wasted $250-300 just so we wouldn’t have to move rooms.
  2. The grounds are well maintained and beautiful.  The lawn service is generally not disruptive.
  3. The rooms are generally quite clean and the maid service is good.  Only a few times did I notice some bugs in our room.  Once was a dead bee and the second was some miniscule bugs scurrying over the vanity.  Not sure what they were, but they were literally the size of a pinhead and the same color as the countertop.  As for the service, the maids were not disruptive, which is likely due to the fact that when you check in you select the time you would like your room cleaned.  Think about how you vacation when you select the time; my friend was disrupted everyday because he thought that he would get up early and instead chose to sleep in everyday.  The maid woke him up everyday.  Turn down service was spotty.  Again, you select a time for turn down.  Nonetheless, there were nights when it was not done.  Moreover, we were supposed to have “romantic” rose petal turn down service included as part of our wedding package, which was never done.  Interestingly, our friends who didn’t pay for this service had it done while we were there.
  4. The food throughout the resort is generally quite good.  It was, by far, the best food I have ever had at an all-inclusive resort.  The resort is, however, not good about accommodating large groups (anything over 8 people).  On a few occasions, we were told that if we even wanted tables in the same section, the service would be very slow.  We decided to sit in the same section, and they were not joking!  It almost felt as if they were going extra slow to spite us.  We broke up into one table of 8 and 2 tables of 2.  The first table of 2 was done an hour before the table of 8 and the second table of 2 arrived 45 minutes late and finished before the table of 8!  So keep in mind that if you are planning to eat dinners in large groups, it will not be easy.  As for the restaurants:  Spice is the main buffet, serving all three meals.  There is a very wide selection of foods and everyone should definitely be able to find something to eat here!  Be aware though, that as the day elapses, the restaurant gets quite warm.  By dinner, it’s downright hot in the restaurant.  El Mediterraneano is the other buffet.  It is much smaller with less selection, but it has air conditioning!  Pelicanos is one of the beachside restaurants, serving all three meals.  We ate breakfast here one morning, which was quite good, and had lunch here a number of days.  The seafood at Pelicanos is delicious!  Pintxos is a tapas restaurant that is also beachside.  Be aware that these tapas are not American-sized (or Spanish-sized for that matter) tapas.  I ordered 3 tapas and definitely did not feel that I had eaten very much, although I felt that the food was good.  Maria Marie’s is a French-Mexican fusion restaurant which you do need reservations for, unless you don’t mind waiting a while.  This restaurant is slow service and is supposed to be.  Assume you will spend 1½ to 2 hours eating here.  We went twice and enjoyed the food.  We also went to Asiana (which was where we had the seating fiasco).  The food is really good, although the chicken there has a weird texture (fluffy or gelatinous were the descriptors used by my friends).  Try the sushi.  It’s different than you get in the U.S.  Yay for the Coffee Shop!  The drinks are delicious and the best part is the chocolate tuxedo strawberries.  Get there earlier in the day to get them because they are definitely gone by 5 pm.  We also found the Coffee Shop a nice place to go play card games.  Now onto wedding food.  The food that we selected for our wedding (Chicken with seafood and Fillet Mignon) was good, although the guests all were in love with the salad that we chose (peas, corn, other veggies, goat cheese).  The wedding cake (chocolate with raspberry) was NOT good and the waiters did not even cut it or serve it to our guests.  The cake went back to the room with us and was never eaten.  All of the guests loved the cheesecake that we chose for dessert, although my husband and I never got to eat it, as the waiters took it away while we were dancing.  Regarding the “Romantic Dinner” on the beach for two, the food is definitely no different than what you would get in the restaurant, although the setting is nice.  If it wasn’t included in our wedding package, I definitely would not have done it, as I know it is quite pricey. 
  5. The pool and beach areas are nice.  As with pretty much every other resort I’ve been to there are people who get up at the crack of dawn to “reserve” chairs.  Although people are not supposed to do this, no one at the resort enforces the rule.  If you don’t mind sitting in spots that are not immediately poolside or under shade on the beach, then you shouldn’t have a problem getting a spot at anytime of the day.  We were able to get 8 chaise lounges next to each other, even at 9:30 am.  People have noted in their reviews that the loungers on the beach are not as good as the ones by the pool and I definitely have to agree.  I preferred sitting by the pool just because of the better chairs!  The waitresses around the pool were fantastic and friendly!  I never felt that I had to wait a long time to get a drink. 
  6. The wedding and planning it.  My husband and I visited the RPC last year when deciding where we wanted to have our wedding.  We ended up choosing RPC for a number of reasons.  We liked that it was adults-only but that there was also a family resort located right next door in case our friends or family wanted to bring along their children (although nobody did).  Second, we got to taste the food and liked it.  Third, we did a cost analysis and found that it was cheaper than a lot of other resorts we were looking at.  Fourth, we liked the “feel” and look of the resort.  We ended up booking the “Luxury Wedding” about one month after we returned home.  The process of getting everything into place via the resort’s “BaseCamp” (basically a board where you post messages to your wedding planner) was somewhat annoying, especially as we got closer to the wedding date.  Many times, the wedding planner would not respond to my posts for many, many days.  A number of times I had to make phone calls to the 800 number to get the planner to respond.  After things were finally all in place, the planner sent us the final bill (be prepared, it will be more than you think!), which was wrong.  When I noticed the bill was wrong, I called and was told that the planner was gone and that nobody else would be able to help us.  Since the bill was due that day and we received a number of warnings that they could cancel the wedding if we did not pay on time, we just paid the bill, which was significantly higher than it should have been.  When the planner finally got back to me and realized that she had billed us incorrectly, she tried to get me to purchase more flowers with the money that we had overpaid.  I insisted that she put the extra money back onto our credit card.  We were charged a $7 penalty, even though she made the mistake.  Not a lot of money in the grand scheme, but still annoying.  As for the actual wedding.  We met with a different on-site wedding planner the second day we were at the resort.  She confirmed all of our information (flowers, times, etc.) and gave us a brief run-down of how the wedding would proceed.  She also took all of my items to set out at the wedding (programs, cake topper, decorations, etc).  On the day of the wedding, everything went smoothly.  Hair appointments and make-up were prompt and efficient at SpAzul.  The women were friendly and were able to replicate hair styles from photos.  My make-up looked great and photographed very well.  Our photographers (from Photos in Cancun), who were not associated with the hotel, were fantastic as well.  We had our ceremony in the beach gazebo with the guests chairs placed inside the gazebo so that they did not have to sit in the sun. The ceremony started right on-time (5 pm).  We never met with the pastor prior to the wedding, so had no idea what the ceremony was going to include.  It seems like he has a pretty set ceremony, which was fine.  I was a little thrown off by his dirty hands and definitely had a hard time understanding his English, even though I am fairly fluent in Spanish.  I thought that the cost of his services was obscene ($600!).  The cocktail hour, which we had in the garden behind the gazebo, was very nice.  Our guests enjoyed the snacks and the mariachi band, as we were whisked off by our photographers for pictures.  One of my friends commented that having the mariachi bands was one of her favorite parts of the day.  The reception was great!  We had our reception on the beach, which was beautiful, especially as the sky turned many colors of pastel.  The food service was slow, but everyone enjoyed just relaxing and taking their shoes off.  Plus, the waiters were fantastic and kept the drinks coming all night.  For people who don’t hire a DJ, like us, we had a dinner playlist of piano music, which was already playing when we got down to the beach.  Because there was no DJ, we made all the decisions for when we wanted to cut the cake and when we wanted to start the dancing.  The set up for music was great.  The sound quality was fantastic even though it was just my iPod playing the music!  When the reception was over, everyone kept complementing how great the whole day was.  I must agree that it turned out fantastic!  Some follow-ups about the items supposedly included in the Luxury Wedding package:  breakfast in bed was ok, although I personally enjoyed eating in the restaurants more; we did not receive the robes that were supposed to be given to us; the spa was great and the services were nice with the exception of the manicure/pedicure.  The girl who did my manicure and pedicure painfully ripped all of my cuticles off, even though I repeatedly said, “Oww!”  Moreover, the topcoat that they have does not stand up to sunscreen.  By the day of the wedding I had to have them add an extra layer of topcoat as the paint was starting to chip and get mushy, although I had my nails done only 14 hours beforehand!


Overall, although there are always things we can find to complain about, I thought that the resort was great.  My husband said that had we not had our wedding there and spent so much money, we definitely would not have noticed many flaws nor had many complaints.  I would definitely go back to the resort jus to relax and enjoy!


Please note: The cost above is only the wedding and does not include the cost of the room at the resort, which was another $3200.


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