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Lady Di's Royal Playa Del Carmen Review 05.29.2010 (Lots of pics)

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#1 Lady_Di

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    Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:23 AM

    Hi ladies,

    It took me forever to do this review because I am practically detail oriented person so i had to write a thorough review!

    Wedding – A+++

    Where do I start?? We started planning the wedding back July. We were so undecided which resort to pick. Thank god for this forum! We picked the Royal Playa del Carmen because it was gorgeous and it has a sister resort that is more family friendly and economical. We picked Royal Playa del Carmen over Cancun because we wanted more leisurely resort in a small town instead of a big city. I was nervous at first because we were going through this process blind (we didn’t have time or money to make a site visit) and I relied heavily on the Royal thread so a big thank you to past/future Royal brides for all of your site visit reviews and wedding reviews. You don’t know how much it helped us in the process so I am returning the favor by writing this long but detailed review for you future Royal brides. You can’t go wrong with The Royal. We had an amazing and beautiful wedding that we won’t ever forget. Our guests absolutely loved it. My mom still talks about my wedding this day and said that it was most beautiful wedding she has been to. Maybe it’s because I’m her daughter. Ha! At first, she was really apprehensive about me having a wedding in Mexico because we hadn’t been to the royal and she kept thinking we would get ripped off. I’m glad that that wasn’t the case.  I will try to remember everything!

    Travel Agent - A

    We had TA Jennifer from BDW. She was great to work with and our guests had no problems traveling to Mexico and with their rooms. We or any of our guests who booked through her did not get bumped. We got some important travel tips and she also included luggage tags. She would provide me the guest spreadsheet a few times. Early this year, there were a lot of issues with the Royal U.S. wedding dept so she was prepared to contact them if I hadn't heard from them after my original WC quit. She has authorization to work with the Royal wedding dept so that was a definitely a peace of mind. I would definitely recommend getting a TA from BDW, especially Jennifer.

    Airline – A

    We traveled with about 13 people on the flight to Mexico. We flew with Continental . On the flight to Mexico, I had to put my dress in the overhead bin but it was empty so I was fine with it. On the flight back to Houston, the flight attendant took the dress to store in the closet so it was nice of her to do that.

    Arrival in Cancun

    There were long lines but it only took maybe a hour to get through immigration and customs. We did not have any problems with the customs. We were in the line with the machine that was broken so I guess we got lucky!

    Transfer company – A
    Our transfers were done by American Express provided by the TA. Nothing to complain about. It was about a 30 minutes ride.

    Hotel – A +++

    The Royal is amazing! We absolutely loved everything about the resort. It was our first time staying at all inclusive resort. It was cleanly kept and the staff was so friendly. Once we walked in, we were greeted with cold towels and champagne. Check in was hassle free. We had ocean view jr suite and we were upgraded to ocean front suite for last 3 nights because they were booked full. The royal’s architecture was simply beautiful and elegant.

    Ceiling in the front lobby
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    Front lobby entrance
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    Facing the central garden
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    Central garden
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    Gazebo and gazebo garden
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    #2 Lady_Di

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      Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:29 AM

      Room - A

      The ocean view jr suite was really roomy and nice! The bed was not hard, thank god! Lol. We got a fruit basket and a letter from the romance concierge. Also, there were cute towels animals and rose petals on the bed so that was pretty cool. I loved the view because it was right front of the pool and the ocean behind it. Awesome view.
      After the wedding, we moved to oceanfront suite which was great! It was a little bit bigger. We could see the whole ocean front of us. Shame on us not getting up early and watch the sunrise. Next year, we definitely will do that. I especially loved the concrete pillars in the room.

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      Ocean view from the suite
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      Ocean front view
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      Restaurants - A

      I am hungry just thinking of the food!! This trip, we really didn’t get to really enjoy the food because we were so busy doing things. We will be returning next year so will be enjoying food!!

      ROYAL COFFEE HOUSE: We did not try this. 
      24 HR. ALL INCLUSIVE VIP LOUNGE: the food wasn’t that much…food consisted of guacamole, chicken nuggets and etc.
      NEW! EL MEDITERRNEO: We went here for breakfast and lunch. The food was very good. I can’t really remember which food stood out at this restaurant.
      TAPAS & PINTXOS: We went here for lunch. The food was ok, not that crazy about it.
      SPICE: Surprisingly, this was our favorite place to eat. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet. I so loved the refried beans and French toast for breakfast. We went crazy over tacos for dinner. Everything else was pretty good!
      ASIANA: I loved this place..we only came here once. The food was delicious!!!
      PELICANOS: We tried this place once for breakfast so pretty good food especially Spanish omelet.
      Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
      MARIA MARIE: Did not try this.
      CHEF’S PLATE: Did not try this.

      Room service – A
      On the day of the wedding, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run down to get something to eat so I ordered club sandwich for two people and it ended up feeding 4 or 5 of us. The food was plentiful! They were so good. It was also quick.

      Entertainment – no grading

      We didn’t see any entertainment. One night, we did see something set up in the lobby bar but we didn’t really care for it and went to our room.

      Pool - A
      The pool was awesome! Beware, there are no shade depending on the time of the day. If its in the mornings, then you can get a shade by sitting on other side where the sun wasn’t over one of the Royal buildings. We didn’t get a chance to go in the pool that had the swim up bar. I know, I know. we just didn’t have enough time to do everything we wanted so that is why we are going back next year. I loved it that we could order drinks just sitting on the pool deck chair.

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      Pool at the end (with the swim up bar) (taken from the ocean front room)
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      This is where Tradewinds bar is located
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      #3 Lady_Di

      • Sr. Member
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        Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:32 AM

        Beach - B

        It was beautiful but it was a little bit rocky near the pier so watch out. It is also great for snorkeling in that area.

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        Facing Gran Porto
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        Pier (this is where Pelicanos beach is located)
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        On beach facing the Royal
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        La Cueva del Chango - B
        I hate to give them a B because the director, Andres, of the restaurant was very helpful and attentive in emails prior to the wedding. We had a rehearsal dinner for our bridal party and immediate families. We picked out food from a menu so everyone except kids could have same food (less money this way). Once we arrived to the restaurant which is an outdoor restaurant. I found a cat in one of the seats at our table. I kind of blanched. We would never see this back in U.S. We had no idea if it was a stray cat or a house cat so we shooed it away. It didn’t go away, it just lounged by us. We had guacamole and chips for appetizer which were delicious! Next, we had fine lettuces and citrus fruits salad with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette which was good. The main course was shrimp medallions with a creamy tequila sauce along with a beef filet with a sliced potato. It was ok, nothing too special. It turned out that not many people liked the beef. The dessert was ice cream so that was good. Halfway the dinner, a dog appeared by the table. I went “oh great” in my mind because I knew how picky my mom is with restaurants. She was upset that there was a dog in the restaurant so she stopped eating food after that. I am a dog lover and have a dog but this did not sit well with us because we didn’t know if it was a stray dog or a house dog. The waitress didn’t do anything so we assumed maybe it belonged to one of the staff. Maybe the way of life is different over there and dogs/cats are acceptable in a dining establishment. So for this, I have to give the restaurant a B. The feel of the restaurant is great though. Oh bring lots of mosquito repellent! They were a killer that night. Andres did not charge us a several plates for beef because he said they turned out not so stellar that night so that was nice of him.

        Wedding Coordinator – A+++

        I got assigned to Kimberly, the US wedding coordinator, and she was fantastic then one day in January, she quit without any notice to us who had her. I had to email the manager at their office and ask what was going on and who would be my US WC. Shortly, I got assigned to Julie who was fabulous and sweet! We talked like we were friends and she responded to my emails on the same day or within a day. So I really appreciated that because from what I read, a good number of Royal brides had a hard time getting in touch with their US wedding coordinators. Lilia was our resort coordinator and I had no problems with the email response. She replied to every email before the wedding. I learned to not bug her because I knew the resort coordinators are very busy so that is why I used Julie a LOT so everything would be in order when I got assigned to Lilia who is sweet with a such pretty smile. Our only regret is that we should have arrived three days before the wedding, not two days before. We ended up spending THREE hours with Lilia trying to figure out our guest count because the numbers were off. In the end, Julie forgot to add two more people for the reception. It was ok, I should have looked thoroughly at the invoice before I approved it. Spending three hours sucked because we were tired and hungry (we hadn’t ate all day). I gave her the stuff that was needed for the ceremony and reception with instructions how I wanted them to be set up. A few days before the wedding, I sent her pictures that I used for my planning thread to show her how I wanted the ceremony and reception area to be set up. She did a fabulous job!! Everything was perfect so we are grateful to her. She also made sure that my bridesmaids were allowed to my room three hours before the wedding. I was worried about that because I read that the resort would not let the wedding party in the premises even though it was stated they can come three hours before. It was convenient that the wedding center was directly below our room so they could go through that instead of the front lobby. Lilia stayed until the wedding was over. She took care of everything after the wedding by sending the decorations back to our room so we wouldn’t have to go down and get them from her office. She also found DH’s sunglasses and sent it up to the room, thank goodness. We thought he lost it. In overall, we were very pleased with her and she helped us to have a memorable wedding so thank you Lilia.

        Resort Photographer – B

        We decided to use the resort photographer for the ceremony because it was included in the package. If we didn’t use them, then they would not credit us. We told Lilia that we were having our own photographer and for the resort photographer to be mindful of him like not get in the way. Well, our photographer told us that she got in his way by nudging him out of the way. He was like “are you freaking kidding me?!” Crazy! We were supposed to get the album with the pictures before we left but they ended up fedexing it so we got them last Friday. The pictures are pretty decent. Here are a few faves.

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        #4 Lady_Di

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          Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:37 AM

          Resort Videographer – B

          He did a good job and it wasn’t choppy or anything. It did the job!

          Royal Florist

          I was very pleased with the resort florist. My bouquet and DH’s bout were included in the package. I picked all roses and bout in brilliant pink.

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          Makeup – B

          I hired Norma from MAC in Cancun and she did a fabulous job with my makeup! She brought someone else because I had 7 girls so there was no way she could finish them by herself. The only complaint is that they were supposed to arrive at noon but they were 45 minutes late which resulted in everything being rushed. I was so rushed and we didn’t have enough time to take pictures with my bridesmaids. My photographer wanted at least an hour for my girls and I but unfortunately that didn’t happen. We only took a few pictures. It also didn’t help that the resort only allowed the wedding party to be there three hours before the ceremony. So I would make sure to allow as much time especially if you are having a large bridal party. I am not blaming Norma for lack of pictures…it just happened that we ended up being rushed at the end and I still would recommend her for her work. My makeup was beautiful and lasted all night. Just would have to let her know to arrive like a hour before you really want them to be there. I should have told her to be there at 11 since I know they run on island time! :)

          Close up of the makeup
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          Ceremony at beach by Pelicanos – A+++

          Our ceremony was at the beach by Pelicanos at 4pm. I was worried that it would be too hot for our guests and that’s why I had fans for them. It turned out that they weren’t really necessary. It was so windy. It was clear that day, thank god. Lilia set up the ceremony area as what I wanted and it was beautiful! During the ceremony, I was only focused on DH and I didn’t notice anything going on around us such as people walking behind us. If there were people walking then it was at a long distance, not right behind us so that was a good thing. There are no barriers or anything. it is a public beach so people can do whatever they want but fortunately, there was common sense being applied by the people! There are some pictures with people watching in the background though and that is ok with me. As long they weren’t naked. Lol. The ceremony went beautifully. Nobody fell on their face so that is good. When we were taking pictures that is when I noticed the beach reception next to the ceremony area. It was awfully close to the last chair on the rows on the left side. I am glad there weren’t any people during the ceremony or I would be annoyed. I am sure that they don’t schedule events to be right each other. I did not see any receptions next to our reception. We were only ones in the central garden. The guests did start showing up and being seated while we were taking pictures. I did see another group of wedding party who were taking pictures and standing close to us. The photographer asked them to move because there was whole more beach that they could have moved to instead being in our way of taking pictures. I guess that beach reception was for that wedding party. Other than that, it went off perfectly. For brides who want privacy, this location is not for you. If I had to do it all over again, I would still have a beach wedding but have it at later time like 5pm instead of 4. Less heat and maybe less people.

          Huppa set up (The flowers on the huppa were provided by Maya Diseno Floral. The flowers on the table were included in the package.)
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          Seating area setup
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          You can see the beach reception already set up next to the ceremony location.
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          On the other side of the huppa…you can see people laying out in the sun. I didn’t even notice them or anyone at the time.
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          A picture without people in the background
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          A shot with people in the background
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          As husband and wife (see the ferry…it doesn’t really bother me. at least it’s colorful!)
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          #5 Lady_Di

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            Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:42 AM

            Cocktail hour – no grade

            It immediately followed the reception. We didn’t get a chance to taste the appetizers because we were too busy taking pictures.

            Reception – A+++

            I absolutely loved this location for our reception!! We were located in the central garden and we are so glad that we picked this instead of gazebo garden because of amazing photography opportunities with the central garden as you will see below. It was huge and certainly fit all of our guests. We had 55 guests. We had a light up dance floor and tables around it. The reception was beautifully decorated! The tables were decorated with a table runner that I bought, chair sashes, rented centerpieces from the florist, lumanairies and menu frame. It was beautiful. Our sweetheart table had a floral centerpiece and the parasol I bought was front of our table. Lilia set up the cake stand and favors/guestbook table as instructed. I loved the cake stand because the flowers from the huppa were placed on the cake stand. Perfect!! Don’t get me wrong, the gazebo garden is beautiful and intimate but it is right in between two corridors of rooms. See below. The picture of us on the dance floor with the Royal main center building and fountain in the backround is simply beautiful. If we are facing the beach in this location, you are looking at the pool and a beautiful lighted building. You don’t get this if you are in the gazebo garden. It will be facing a scuba diving pool and white wall but if you’re facing the beach, then it will be facing the gazebo. I guess it is your personal preference.

            Facing the main center building and foundation. Makes a great backdrop!
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            A far away shot of the location in the central garden
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            Facing the beach side
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            Reception dinner

            Here is what we had for our dinner.

            Salad: Prosciutto with cantaloupe & Dijon mustard vinaigrette
            It was good, nothing special
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            Soup: Princess cream soup with green asparagus au mint flavor
            It was yummy!

            Main course: Beef fillet tournedo with three peppers sauce with mashed potatoes
            It was so good.

            Dessert: Cheesecake with chocolate
            Absolutely loved it!!!
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            Favors/Guestbook table
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            Sweetheart table setup
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            This was included in our package which feeds 35 people. We chose tres leche which was so delicious!! No issues with melting. This cake was definitely for more than 35 people! We still had good amount of cake left after the wedding. My only gripe is that people were too busy dancing and they didn’t get a chance to taste this cake so I would suggest having someone to be in charge of cake making sure that EVERYONE got cake regardless they aren’t sitting at the table. That is probably why we had so much left over. I had the huppa flowers to be put on the cake table. Looked great!

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            #6 Lady_Di

            • Sr. Member
            • 5,078 posts

              Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:44 AM

              DJ - A

              We hired Doremixx to DJ our wedding. I am so glad we went with him. DH met with him when we were done with Lilia on the day we arrived. We got the light up dance floor which was worth it! Everyone had so much fun. The party favors were provided which were way cool.

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              Cold fireworks at the end of our first dance
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              Party favors (ballons and paper masks – not the luche libre masks. We got them on our own)
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              Florist – A

              We went with Maya Diseno Floral located in Cancun. We are so glad we went with fresh flowers instead of real touch flowers. It added ambiance to the whole wedding. He provided REASONABLE prices and the flowers were worth it even though with the $100 vendor fee (in the contract when signed) and the resort florist would have been double. I am happy with everything! We had huppa flowers, bridesmaid bouquets, groomsmen’s bouts, bridesmaid hair flower pieces and centerpieces. Rose petals were free.

              Huppa pictures and rose petals pictures already posted above.

              Bridesmaid bouquet and hair piece
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              This was the closest picture I could find of the centerpiece. I don’t have a single picture of the table details, boo!! Hopefully, I will have some when I get my pro pictures.
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              Photographers – A+++
              We had Chris Schmitt to do rehearsal dinner, TTD and wedding. We also had Matt and Sol from del Sol Photography for underwater TTD. They are amazing!! I will be doing a separate review once I get the pictures. Chris already posted up some teasers on his blog.
              The Royal Resort in Playa del Carmen Destination Wedding with Rocky and Diana | Chris Schmitt Photography Blog

              #7 Lady_Di

              • Sr. Member
              • 5,078 posts

                Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:50 AM

                Package – A

                We got the luxury package and here is what it included.

                Professional services of an onsite Wedding Specialist – We got Lilia who did a fabulous job!

                Option for couple to arrive two business days prior to Wedding date – It was helpful that we could arrive two days before but I would recommend three days before because we spent a long time with Lilia at our meeting and were so tired!

                Complimentary upgrade of room or suite (to the next level of suite category, subject to availability upon arrival)
                – we were upgraded to oceanfront suite for $80 per night for three last nights. They did not have the next level suite available so that is why it wasn’t free for us.

                Tropical floral arrangement, one bottle of champagne and a fruit basket in your suite upon arrival
                – the flowers were so pretty. We really didn’t eat the fruit basket so I can’t say how good they were. I don’t remember if we got a bottle of champagne

                Private romantic moonlit dinner on the beach for the couple
                – We are so glad we did this. We had so much fun and it was a first time for us having dinner on the beach. At first it seemed like we wouldn’t be able to have dinner because it was pouring right at our scheduled dinner time but luckily it cleared up 15 minutes later.

                Here is the menu.
                Salad: Caribbean salad with hot curry sauce
                Soup: Clam chowder with garlic cro»tons
                Main course: Valentino beef fillet with pink pepper sauce
                Dessert: Apple cake
                Everything was good!!

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                Rose petal turndown service and romantic scented bath for two in your in-suite double Jacuzzi
                – it was so nice coming to the room and seeing the petals on the bed!
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                50-minute in-suite couple massage (by appointment)
                – We really enjoyed having this massage. They were very professional.

                Hairstyling and make-up for the bride (by appointment at SPAzul)
                – I decided not to use this.

                Regular manicure and pedicure for the bride (in-suite) (by appointment at SPAzul)
                – I decided not to use this.

                “Men’s Face Saver” treatment for the groom (by appointment at SPAzul)
                - I have heard complaints about this and I warned DH about possible nicks. He decided to still get it and he loved it. He said it was only time that he felt relaxed (it was on the day we arrived) and the salon accommodated him at 8pm at night because we had a TTD next day so that was appreciated.

                Pressing of the bride’s wedding dress and groom’s suit
                – they did a great job of pressing and were delivered to the room the day before the wedding.

                Special decoration of the couple’s suite with rose petals
                – When we first arrived, there were rose petals on the bed.

                Bride’s bouquet consisting of a dozen fresh roses (Bride’s choice of colors; other flowers are available upon request) – Loved the bouquet!

                Groom’s boutonni¨re – great job on this.

                Decorated oceanfront wedding gazebo or beach location with a natural floral centerpiece on the altar
                – See the pictures above. It was moved to our sweetheart table for the reception.

                Sound system for the ceremony (bring your favorite CD’s, iPod or MP3)

                Solo musician (your choice of harpist, flutist, violinist, saxophonist or guitarist) during the wedding ceremony
                – we had a guitarist but I didn’t see him at the ceremony. He was standing behind the chairs.

                Witnesses (if required)
                – We did not need them because we brought our own witnesses.

                Professional photographer during the ceremony includes 24 color photos in a CD, video services during the ceremony including a DVD
                – See above

                Hors d’oeuvres with champagne served post ceremony (1 hour)
                – See above
                Real Resort’s Signature Royal wedding cake – See above

                Private wedding reception, 3 hours, up to 35 guests – selected locations
                (reservation required, ask your Wedding Specialist for details) – See above. We added one more hour to the reception. Good thing we did because it flew by so fast .

                Live Mexican trio (during the reception, 1 hour set) – Good.
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                Petit fours and champagne turndown service the evening of the wedding – we didn’t even know that we had them. they were sitting in the room service box. I don’t remember if we ended up drinking champagne that night or night after.

                “Honeymoon” (full) breakfast in bed the morning after the ceremony – The breakfast was so good and plentiful!!

                Complimentary THE ROYAL signature bathrobes for the couple – We only got one robe. We should have asked if we were supposed to get one robe.

                Special wedding gift for the couple – They gave us a photo album that were made with leaves and natural paper.

                Late check-out for the bride and groom until 6 P.M. (subject availability) – we did not use this because our transfer van picked up at 11am.

                Playa del Carmen – A
                What an awesome and small town! 5th avenue was pretty neat. It was always packed with people at night. We went to Blue Parrot after the wedding. It was fun. We were treated to a fire show. We definitely will go back next year.

                That is all, sorry so long but wanted to give thorough review for future/potential Royal brides. Feel free to ask me anything! Seriously, made the best decision ever to have a destination wedding and have it at the Royal!!

                #8 *Meagan*

                • Sr. Member
                • 5,521 posts

                  Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:58 AM

                  DI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy bananas!!!! Love your review!!!! Past, present and future Royal brides will love this!!!!

                  #9 mlabbe

                  • Member
                  • 784 posts

                    Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:16 AM

                    Wow, so detailed and so many photos, this is awesome!!!

                    #10 FutureMrsYak

                    • Jr. Member
                    • 372 posts

                      Posted 12 June 2010 - 07:59 AM

                      Great review!! LOVE reading good reviews with nothing bad to say!! I wish my wedding was tomorrow! LOL

                      One question- on the cake they provided I see your cake topper. But the shells...did you provide them or was that on there already?

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