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An extremely long but extremely detailed review for The Royal Playa Del Carmen from Jozee84

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So let me start off by saying everything wound up working out and we wouldnâ€t have changed a thing.  It was amazing but it wasnâ€t all peaches and cream.   We did have some problems along the way.  We flew with US air and almost missed our connecting flight, we home alone ran through charlotte airport, but we made it.  Our bags didnâ€t, but we did.  We had some problems with the front desk as well, with my FIL.  He was originally staying at the Gran Porto and changed to the Royal but they only had 2 nights, then he had to go back to the Gran.  So he checked in and then was moved 3 times!! 3 times for 2 nights.  There were problems with the rooms he was in, no hot water, no air etc.  On the day of the wedding he took our wedding envelopes and put them by the T.V.  To make a long story short, his lock wound up breaking and he couldnâ€t get into his room, someone had to crawl through the magic box gather all his things and shove them through the box for him.  The door wouldnâ€t even open from the inside.   Wedding cards magically disappeared!  The resort said they would look into it but nothing came of it.  So someone there got a really nice tip.  The front desk was always nice to us but not so helpful with my FIL.  We also had an issue with them not letting my photographer up to my room before the wedding.  They called about 20 min before our ceremony started to let me know.  But Iâ€ll get to that later.  So…


Hotel:  Upon arriving we were greeted with cold towels and brought to the side for romance check in with the concierge.  We were asked if we wanted a drink and it was brought right to the desk.  It is very hot in the lobby!  We did the 48 hour online check in and picked our room before we got there.  We chose 924 because it was very close to the gazebo and the water.  The room was already set and we went right up.  The view from that whole side is amazing!  Most pictures only show you the view from the balcony, but the view from the door to enter the room was WAY better!  The room was just as the pictures show.  VERY, VERY, VERY clean!  The only thing that was annoying was we were far from everything else.  All the restaurants, bars and the lobby.  The resort is small but after a while it feels like that hall way is really long!


People in Blue: When you check in they give you this card, as soon as your about to walk into the hotel someone in blue will grab you and seat you down to talk about where all the restaurants are the bar spa etc.   Then they will give you a gold card worth 10% off for any spa service or at the gift shop (In the gift shop it is only god for gifts, not medicine or bug spray or anything like that).  They want you to make an apt basically for a timeshare tour that last about 2 hours.  They offer the women a free real beach bag a sarong and $50 towards the resort (spa or gift shop) the men get a T-shirt.  In my opinion not worth 2 hours of my vacation.  We didnâ€t make the apt. 


Room & upgrade:  We had a lot of guests with us and some stayed in ocean view rooms some in regular suite rooms.   Personally I think if youâ€re not looking for the extra space, I wouldnâ€t upgrade to a bigger suite.   The views from my parents and my sisterâ€s room were great also (803 & 805).  The Blvgari soaps didnâ€t smell so hot in my opinion.   We didnâ€t use the free hour with the mini cooper.   See the restaurant section for the review on the Chefâ€s Plate.  The turn down service was really nice touch; every night they came turned down your bed, gave you some chocolates, lit the candles by the hot tub and lit some aroma therapy.  The free international calling helped everyone out too.  We totally forgot we could use the hydrotherapy spa area with our room category but I heard some things are separated by gender anyway.  We were in room 924.


























Restaurants:   We were there for a while so we checked out every restaurant.   Most days for breakfast we ate at El Mediterraneo, buffet style, with an egg station.  You can ask her to make you pancakes and French toast too or you can order from a menu.  Beware they make things different down there.  Eggs Benedict is made with salmon and some kind of cheese sauce.  (EWE it was gross)  I wasnâ€t too crazy about Spice.  (Attention Asian Brides, their “Oriental†night sucked!)  Maria Marieâ€s was good; my family went nuts over the lamb chops.  But we really liked Pelicanos and Asiana.  We had our rehearsal dinner at Asiana and didnâ€t make a reservation, but we were only 15 people.  You would have thought we were 50 people. It took them about 2 hours to get tables together.   We waited in the bar area and when they seated us next to each other not together, they brought appetizers our right away (Thanks Herrera!).   They are very strict on their dress code for men.  They almost didnâ€t let my FIL in.  Even though I told and warned everyone to wear pants and closed toe shoes, he wore flip flops.  He and my Husband had to run all the way back to our room to see if the Hubbie sneakers would fit him. Thank god they did!  I think the dress code is really annoying, I know they want the men to dress nice, but you can have them go in PJ pants and water shoes and that is acceptable.   Attention, if men forget their pants the gift shop sells linen pants for $60, go to 5th and get a pair much cheaper there.  Tapas was really good too.  All the restaurants were never really crowded.  Asiana was the only one we had to wait at.  We also tried the restaurants next door at the Gran Porto.  They were ok.  Albatros was ehh.   Pescatores was good.   My whole family went crazy over the lamb chops at Asiana and Maria Marieâ€s, but our favorite was Pelicanos!  Sitting outside at night was nice with the wind and hearing the water.  You might get a visit from Felix the cat, a few cats walk around and hang out there.  Heads up if you donâ€t like to dress up but want to try all the restaurants, there is no dress code for lunch.  Room service was never more than 25 min.  The morning of the wedding I ordered SO much food I had ever girl in my room for brunch about 10 of us.  If you have a big order, give them some time.  I told everyone to be at my room by 11, I ordered 45 min in advance and it got there right after everyone arrived.  24 hour lounge always had snacks.  They changed their selection like 4 times a day.  We are coffee addicts so the coffee house was awesome!  Any type of coffee, cappuccino, latte you want.  They also have desserts and pastries.  The Chefâ€s plate was an interesting experience; it was very good but not my type of meal.  If I had to pay for it I would have been disappointed.  We went on New York night (Sunday) it is a tasting menu so you leave kinda satisfied still a little hungry.    There were 7 plates but 1 plate could be a spoon full of soup.  If you have the room category to go, try it.  If not Iâ€d skip it. 








Housekeeping:  They were awesome!  Cleaned your room to the T every day.  Never skimped on anything.  In the beginning of our stay we didnâ€t get any towel art but towards the end it they made something different every day.  Swans, bears, rabbits etc.  It was very cute!  Not that this is house keepings fault but their towels suck! They are really hard and scratchy; I would bring my own next time.  Or use a pool towel, their much softer. 


Beach & Pool:  The beach is really nice!  There are rocks near the pier but just walk to the left and its fine.  They rake all the seaweed every morning.  I highly recommend getting up for the sunrise at least once.  The pools are really nice.  We didnâ€t spend much time near the activity pool.  It just isnâ€t our cup of tea.  Really loud and people get wasted down there!  If you like to sit near the bar and participate in all the activities, then thatâ€s your spot!  Then there is what I like to call the medium pool.  When we used the pool, this was usually where we were.   Waitresses come around and take your drink order and their pretty fast with it. We all sat by the quiet pool one day and I think we were annoying some people cause we werenâ€t quite enough.   Heads up there is no food by the pool unless you go to the Tradewinds in the pool.  When you want lunch you have to go somewhere.  


Night Shows:  We only saw 2 and didnâ€t stay the whole time.  They were ok.  A little cheesy at times, lip singing and stuff.  I wanted to see the acrobatic show but we missed it.  The lobby packs out!  So if you want a good seat for the show make sure you get there early. 


Wedding coordinator:  We had Elsa as our online coordinator.  Everything went pretty good with her.  Towards the end she wasnâ€t responding to emails and I was getting annoyed.  I thought final payment was 45 days in advance.  Well 30 days, 25 days I still didnâ€t hear from her.  So I wound up calling her directly.  Spending about an hour and a half on the phone finalizing everything and making the final payment over the phone.  I think that was the easiest way for me.   Our onsite coordinator was Lili.  We had a meeting with her the day after we arrived.  We had a legal ceremony and Ladies the blood test was NOTHING!   A doctor came in showed the needle was new and never opened, did it right there in the office and that was it took all of 2 min.  I thought our meeting with Lili went great.  She had all the paper work ready and right in front of her.  I had printed out some back up paperwork just in case there was a problem.  I didnâ€t need it.  She went over everything again and wound up giving us hot appetizers for cocktail hour even though we only paid for cold.  Our meeting lasted about an hour and a half.  We gave her everything we had brought with us for the wedding.  She made sure everything was set up how we wanted and they did a great job with all of it!  The not so peaches and cream part was when she called my room the day of the wedding.  20 min before I was about to walk down, she called up and said my photographers couldnâ€t come up to my room to take pictures.  I had discussed over and over again with Elsa on the base camp about outside photographers.   She said if I booked a room for them at one of the REAL resorts and they were on my guest list with a meal then I wouldnâ€t have to pay the vendor fee.   Lili said they are allowed in the Gazebo area only and that they couldnâ€t come up to the room.  I told her that I had all the paperwork from Elsa and she never mentioned anything about that and before I really worked myself up I told her to call the Groom.  Next thing I knew my photographer was knocking at my door.  Letâ€s just say he wasnâ€t too pleased to hear the news either.  My BIL was on his way to pay the fee (so stupid for 10 min of her being in the room) when he saw a girl with the camera walking through the resort.  She said she had to sneak past security.  He never made it to make the payment.  She snuck up took the pictures and ran back down to the gazebo.  No vendor fee.  They say youâ€re allowed 3 non REAL guests up to the room 3 hours before the wedding to get ready.  A lot of people have had problems with this. So beware.  Get it all in writing and have your guests go through the wedding center not the lobby.  The security there doesnâ€t care who you are and the front desk doesnâ€t communicate with the wedding center.    


Photographers:  We hired Blue Lens to do our pictures and they came out awesome!! So happy we went with them!  A little pricy for not getting actual photos but she had everything for us a few days after the wedding.  If you want more detailed info on them PM me and Iâ€ll tell you about our package.  Our TTD session was at KanTunChi, it was awesome in there!! The water is crystal clear!  You can go on a tour there also.   














Flowers:  We went with Marvin as most people do and again we couldnâ€t have been happier.  They came out even better than the pictures and you canâ€t beat the price.  The boys met him down in the lobby and no vendor fee.  I think my aunt just put the flowers on the table for me during cocktail hour.   


Wedding wait staff:  They were great!  They made sure everyone always had a drink in their hand.  They were feeding us shot after shot after shot and they were all really good!   The food we chose was really good, except for the beef being over cooked, but what can you expect when it was probably cooked and then sat for a while before being brought out.  We had the red snapper fantasy (Highly recommend!) and the Beef.  We chose the crab stuffed avocado with dill vinaigrette for salad.  Cannoli trio for dessert, OMG I want one right now!  And the tres leches for our wedding cake.  It was amazing!


Salon:  I am a hairdresser and VERY picky about my hair.  My Husband loves my hair down and wanted it down for the wedding.  I said he was nuts cause it is SO hot.  I choose to do half down and as I thought the curls didnâ€t last.  They did a good job, if I went with anyone else the curls wouldnâ€t have lasted anyway.  If you can, put your hair all up!  Connie did my hair for the trial and the day of the wedding.  For the trial she did 3 different styles and she used a flat iron to curl my hair.  I asked her if she could use a curling iron the day of and she did.  The curling with the flat iron HURTS!  Lots and lots of pulling, so if you have a sensitive scalp prepare yourself.  I had chipped my French pedi while at the beach pool and snorkeling and they fixed it right up while I had my trial.  (Thanks Jemy!) Also if you have regular polish on, the pool will eat away at it.  I had tips put on and the clear polish got like gummy and every fuzz or whatever stuck right to it.  So make sure you get your nails repainted the day before the wedding. 


Excursions:  They have people that walk around the pool and beach area and ask if you want to do snorkeling and parasailing.  We never looked into booking something outside the resort and probably could have saved some money that way.  But it was really easy and fast just going with the resort people.  We were literally sitting by the pool asked if we wanted to go nothing on us no money nothing just our bathing suits went right to the left side of the beach got our equipment filled out the paperwork to be charged to the room and got on a boat for snorkeling.  It was $30 per person.  They brought you to a boat on a jet ski.  The boat ride was like 10-15 min to the reef.  Iâ€ve never gone before and it was awesome.  The guy dove down and got us starfish and sea urchins to hold and saw really cool fish.  We also did the parasailing.  I thought the price was expensive but it was worth it!  $60 per person.   Near the lobby area they have the transfer companies and you can book tours with them.  We wound up booking Xplor.  Originally he said the price was about $120 per person, but I told him I found better prices and deals on 5th.  He called his boss and we got it for $107 per person transfers, lunch and non alcoholic drinks included.  It was amazing!   If you like adventurous things this is your place.  Heads up they go rain or shine!  I asked about the zip lines in the rain and he said they still go, only if it is lightening they stop.  It rained almost the whole day we were there but it was good cause it wasnâ€t hot at all.  The amphibious drives were my favorite.  Driving through caves taking tight turns and I guess the rain helped cause the car slipped more in the mud and made it more fun!  Swimming through cenotes and rafting through them and of course zip lining.  They are still building the place so it does get confusing where everything is.  But when walking from activity to another you talk through underground caves with stalactites and stalagmites.  The lunch was buffet style with a lot of things to choose from, it exceeded my expectations! Highly recommend!


Ladies bring bug spray! Not everyone was bit up like me but I was eaten alive down there!  On the night my FIL arrived I had just come from the gym to meet him to say a quick hi before showering up.  I was only in the lobby for about 15 min and was bit 10 times!  Every night I got bites.  I bought bug spray and after bite in the gift shop for about $24. 

So I hope this helps, I wanted to give a lot of pictures.  If you have any questions about anything please feel free to PM me.     I'm going to have to add another page for more pics of the flowers. 

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Ok it wouldn't let me load all the pics in one thing.  So there they are.  You can see my hair isn't really curly and I curled it a second time right before I went down to the gazebo.  I have wavy hair and the curls didn't stay. 

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Congratulations on your wedding... it looks like you had lots of fun! The Royal Playa del Carmen is one of my favorite places to shoot. So beautiful! Location is also fantastic for guests who can step out of the resort and onto 5th ave. Everything is within walking distance there. 

I have never been to KanTunChi so Im going to have to check that out!

Thanks for sharing your experience. 

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