El Dorado Royale Resort and Spa
Saturday May 10, 2008
Resort / Wedding Overview (A):
The resort is awesome! Despite the boycott and other negative comments from Tripadvisor, the place is freakinâ€™ fantastic. The grounds are awesome, the food, the drinks and everything was just great. No one had problems getting spots at the pool (and supposedly the place was entirely booked â€“ even my gfs got upgraded for one night from a gardenview to the honeymoon casita suite!). Weâ€™re sort of food and wine snobs, and for an all-inclusive you canâ€™t really get any better. Even some of the house wines were pretty good and we all agreed the champagne they serve is pretty tasty. If you are realistic in your expectations, you shouldnâ€™t be disappointed. Its not that you are eating at 5 star restaurants every night, but for weâ€™ve eaten far worse on other islands where weâ€™ve paid an arm and a leg. We received nothing but compliments about the resort and everyone was really happy.
The main pool was nice, there are even some lounge chairs in the super shallow part. The cabanas by the Fuentes pool are really nice and gardeny too. My gfs loved the water aerobics class. We found that since there are a lot of weddings going on thereâ€™s a fair amount of single people there, my friends found other singles on the property so if you have guests in your party going that are single it doesnâ€™t feel too coupley of a resort.
We never got asked about the time shares. And the internet usage was $6 for 20 minutes or $3.50 for 10 minutes, the more time you get the less cost per minute.
Wedding Planning Meeting and Wedding Coordinators (A):
Gloria was our wedding coordinator too and she was so sweet and nice, all of the ladies there were extremely friendly. They had a copy of the same spreadsheet that I was working on with Valeria. I handed over all my set up stuff and ceremony CD. The only bummer was that they said they couldnâ€™t use my floating candles because they were too small and would get stuck in the filter drain. They agreed to put them on their floating green foam things at no charge though.
The Spa (A):
The spa services were good, the steam bath came in handy too since I got sick on the trip. I got the full body relax massage for 50 minutes and my bridal hair. I brought pics of the up-do and she did it awesome. I regret not bringing in a pic of the front of the hair because I wanted my bangs more side swept across my face then almost tucked behind my ear. I was very happy with the hair lady. My friends got massages outside and said they were fantastic, I was worried about being sticky and sweaty but they didnâ€™t have any problems being outside.
Welcome Reception â€“ Sky Palapa (A+):
We did the 6 appetizers at the Mexican cocktail party. The Sky Palapa is a good location for the cocktail hour, but I wouldnâ€™t really recommend it for a sit-down dinner. They set the bar up by the sidewalk and had four guys working, taking drink orders, passing out appetizers, constantly filling my glass with champagne. They even had a bottle of champagne on ice. We had 20 people at the reception and the 6 appetizers were more than enough food.
(Side story â€“ my poor motherâ€™s heel got stuck in the sand on the way from the sidewalk before the wooden walkway starts, she fell down including having her face go in the sandâ€¦.um not the best way to meet all my friends and future in-laws. I felt so bad because I know she was sooo embarrassed by it. However, DHs friends made more of scene later on with one passing out face first in the sand, then the other falling off a palapa, having the bartenders/waiters help him on to it, falling off again. Then getting up and yelling and cursing.)
Wedding Ceremony â€“ Gazebo 55 (A+):
I loved this site. Its at the end of the resort so, one of the more private beach locations, there are no whales in the background either. There was a significant amount of sand you had to walk through before the wooden walkway (which I rented). I had to pause when I hit the walkway to try to get some of the sand out of my stiletto sandals so I could make it the rest of the way down the aisle. It was pretty windy and my veil was everywhere, but it was kinda funny and helped me from crying too much!
The minister was very nice and read through our vows with a caring tone in her voice, good accents and heartfelt tones. Gloria helped us on when to walk in and had the music queued perfectly. We pulled a little bit up from the site on the sidewalk so I donâ€™t think you could really see me if you were a guest.
The only thing negative â€“ which wasnâ€™t about the site, was the sand ceremony. We decided to pay for their sand since it was one less thing I had to carry down. Well there was no funnel and Jackâ€™s â€œredâ€ sand looked like it was dyed and was not the same quality of my sand. He couldnâ€™t get it in the bottle and had to use his hand as a funnel. Well it stained his hand so he didnâ€™t want to touch me or my dress and get dye on it. The sand now looks orange as they didnâ€™t blend well together.
Wedding Dinner â€“ Tucanes BBQ Deluxe (A+):
The dinner was awesome, DH and I agree it was the best food we had there the entire week. I donâ€™t eat meat, so I also ordered a separate veggie dish which was super yummy. The mashed potatoes were awesome and so was the spinach. DH loved the shrimp skewers, our friend loved the ribs, and my Dad loved the salmon. We liked the location because its kinda private so we didnâ€™t have people walking past us or anything.
Everything was set up perfectly on the tables. I thought I was getting 20 beach bag candles around the pool, but they only had them lined up on the walkway up to the pool. My floating candles kept blowing out cause it was pretty windy.
The waiters were a ton of fun and so nice and accommodating, we tipped them $20 each. They did mention to not tip the manager because he doesnâ€™t do anything. They did the shots with the napkin bows and the congo line. We had the ipods hooked up and played music, no problems there.
We only ordered the 6 person round small cake because it was more for the cutting of the cake than to really eat, since dessert came with the bbq. However it fed our entire party â€“ 22 people and it was delicious.
We had some people jump or get pushed into the pool too.
I brought my friend down with me who is a photographer and she shot the pics, I havenâ€™t seen too many of them yet, but she was great to have there. They did the cocktail party, the reception, and a TTD shoot. I will post pics and a review once I get them.
Our Casita (B+):
I liked our casita, we were in #2702, an individual casita. It was a pretty good location, not too far into the casitas which was good when getting to the main areas. We mostly got it because of the â€œfreeâ€ wedding package, otherwise since we were with our guests by the main pool so much we didnâ€™t benefit from the full amenities during the day. It was nice to have a separate one since we could walk out the back to the pool from our back deckâ€¦but we warned they automatically locked. When we first got there we went right out the back and didnâ€™t take our keys and locked ourselves out! Security came pretty quickly to get us back in. I would consider a lazy river individual casita if I were to do it all over again, cause then you are almost guaranteed a newer casita and the individual rooms were closer to the water and you get your own wading pool area.
We had no issues with anything being stolen at the resort from us or our guests.
â€¢We had some ants/bugs on my nightstand, but called concierge of this, they did spray and it was fine after that.
â€¢Our in-room shower temperature fluctuated too but I heard that about a lot of the rooms.
â€¢We got our bottle of champagne in our room when we got there, which was pretty tasty.
â€¢The turndown staff gave us aromatherapy most of the nights
â€¢We didnâ€™t always have enough water, but if you call theyâ€™ll come and bring you as much as you want
â€¢It was really nice for the wedding night, they ran a tub with bubbles and rose petals, had rose petals on the bed and aromatherapy.
â€¢Make dinner reservations early if you plan on eating at certain restaurants, it took us a couple of days to get into the Italian place, although we could of went anytime and waited.
Guest Rooms â€“
Our guests really enjoyed their rooms, hereâ€™s a breakdown of the buildings they were in based on what they booked:
â€¢Gardenview â€“ block 11, 8, 7
â€¢Oceanview â€“ block 54 by the lazy river
â€¢Oceanfront â€“ block 2 and 3 (very close to the healthy bar, so if people have receptions there it pretty much out your back window)
Food and Restaurants:
Service is extremely slow, so expect each meal to take a few hours. Hereâ€™s our opinion:
â€¢El Cocotal â€“ for breakfast, the buffet with omelet station is pretty good. We liked it because you didnâ€™t have to wait forever to eat, especially if you want to get a quick start to your day.
â€¢Jo Joâ€™s â€“ great for lunch, the nachos are great and you can get full entrees for lunch, right on the beach and always got a nice breeze
â€¢Cabanaâ€™s â€“ good for lunch but near the pool, so not much of a breeze, we roasted while eating outside
â€¢La Isla â€“ good for dinner, sat our large party immediately, variety of good options and yummy onion soup. DH loved the beef asian dish, heard the other steak not so good
â€¢Dâ€™Italia â€“ yummy! Lots of good food, everyone loved the beef tenderloin carpaccio appetizer. The â€œfilet mignonâ€ is really not filet, just some beef so I wouldnâ€™t recommend it. Dessert very good.
â€¢Fuentes â€“ took forever, my vegetarian food was pretty bland but everyone else seemed to enjoy the food. Heard the ceviche was good. Its dinner theater, so the chef was on the screens for a while and then some weird music videos.
â€¢Kampai â€“ pretty decent, I was so sick with the flu by the time we ate there so I couldnâ€™t taste much. Other guests loved the place. The crispy eggrolls are not crispy though. Great breakfast though â€“ banana pancakes are super delicious.
â€¢La Fondue â€“ sucked. Its not traditional fondue like the Melting Pot, just sort of dipping cooked food in cheese or sauce. The dessert wasnâ€™t bad but it tasted just like Hershey syrup.
â€¢Healthy bar â€“ so-so for lunch. The V8 juice is disgusting and service was super slow when we went. The guac was good but the rest of the stuff wasnâ€™t worth the wait.
â€¢Candlelight dinner â€“ nice ambiance but food was so-so.
â€¢Breakfast in bed â€“ nice and romantic. I asked for no salmon in our omelets since I donâ€™t eat meat, but they put ham in it then. Um, no salmon does not equal pig.
â€¢Rincon â€“ behind Fuentes for lunch, was ok. More traditional Mexican than youâ€™ll find other places.
â€¢Guacayamas â€“ super fun swing bar, they have entertainment earlier in the night, usually live music and then a DJ
Arrival at Cancun Airport (A):
I got red lighted at customs, but she skimmed through my bag of clothes (DH was holding the wedding stuff) and let me through. We found Amex travel right away had someone walk us to the area and wait with us until our shuttle arrived. You have to go see the Amex guy to set up your return trip supposedly the next day. I went but there was a huge line so we went another time and there was no wait.
Feel free to ask me questions and if I remember anything else I'll post it. I'll post non-pro pics soon too.