Hotel Review: Royal Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The entranceway to The Royal Playa del Carmen

The entranceway to The Royal Playa del Carmen

The Royal is an all-inclusive adults only beachfront resort consisting of 513 jacuzzi suites, located in the heart of Playa Del Carmen. As part of the Real Resorts group, guests also receive full access to the family friendly Grand Porto Real next door. For more information about Playa and the Grand Porto, check out my review here.

Pool area and rooms at dusk

One of 3 pools and swim-up rooms at dusk

First and foremost, the food at the Royal is the best I have eaten at a resort!  We ate at most of the the seven a la carte restaurants which include:  Maria Marie (French & Mexican gourmet), Asiana (including sake!), il Pescatore (Italian), Pelicanos (beachfront seafood), Tapas & Pintxos (Spanish tapas), Spice (international & buffet), Mediterraneo (Mediterranean & buffet), and Chef’s Plate (gourmet, included in higher end room categories only). Our meals were consistently fresh, well presented and with quality ingredients such as foie gras, lamb, scallops, duck, etc.  Additionally, a 24 hour self serve snack bar with pool tables, ping-pong table, games, patio and open bar is located near the lobby. If you are craving coffee, tea, treats or ice cream, you can head to the Starbucks-style coffee shop near the quiet pool. For better or worse, the dress code of long pants and no sandals at dinner for men was not enforced at any of the restaurants.

Breakfast at Pelicano's including mimosa, tea, fresh baked goods and waffles

Breakfast at Pelicano’s including mimosa, tea, fresh baked goods and waffles

The charming coffee house

The charming coffee house

Grand Marnier soufflé at Maria Marie

Grand Marnier soufflé at Maria Marie

Service at this resort was second to none and staff are really lovely. The drinks are great but be sure to ask for the top shelf items like Grey Goose, Don Julio, Chivas Regal, Johnny Walker Black, and Bailey’s because they are generally tucked away in the fridge or under the counter. Check out the cocktail lists at the lobby bar and the swim up bar – some interesting mixes and you can ask for “skinny” versions as well.

Rooms with private pools

Rooms with private pools

One point is the nightly entertainment – it definitely has a wow factor the first few times but can get a bit repetitive after awhile. Shows are located in the main lobby so finding a seat can be difficult. Try venturing off the resort in the evening to visit 5th Avenue for lots of entertainment options.

Acrobat perched high above the lobby

Acrobat perched high above the lobby

Fire performance in the lobby

Fire performance in the lobby

There are some great amenities at the Royal, including free sunscreen and magazines in the main pool area; a fully equipped gym with Pilates equipment; a separate quiet pool area; beach and pool waiters; soft sandy bottom beach for swimming; lit rooftop tennis courts; and an amazing spa hydrotherapy area with sauna, steam, 2 jacuzzis, lounging areas and an outdoor shower. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well the free WiFi works throughout the entire resort and also at the Gran Porto – separate password, ask the front desk.

Poolside "Beachtler" caddy with free sunscreen, books, etc

Poolside “Beachtler” caddy with free sunscreen, books, etc

Quiet pool area

Quiet pool area

Two comfy loungers in front of an opulent looking jacuzzi in a dim room

Hydrotherapy area

Towel area with flavored water and snacks like nuts and dried fruit in hydrotherapy zone

Towel area with flavored water and snacks like nuts and dried fruit in hydrotherapy zone

Keep in mind that because the resort is located in town, which makes it very convenient for shopping and nightlife, it also means that it’s not very secluded or quiet… But that’s not why one comes to Playa del Carmen!  Development is also huge in town and a new condo is being built next door to this hotel.  The construction seems to be almost over so I can’t imagine there will be too many ongoing noise issues.

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