If you’re looking for a luxurious and private vacation or extended stay El Taj Playa del Carmen, is the perfect condo-style property for you. It is located between the beach and Quinta Avenida, the trendiest pedestrian street in Mexico. Unlike the big all-inclusive resorts, El Taj offers a more intimate environment.
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To get from the Cancun International Airport to downtown Playa del Carmen, (Playa del Carmen has a small local airport) you have three options: take a taxi (stay away from Uber), arrange a private transfer, or buy a ticket for an ADO bus trip. It takes about 50 minutes to drive to the airport. In Playa del Carmen, walking is the best way to get around, but you can also take a mini-bus (colectivo). If you plan to go on day trips to places like Tulum or Chichen Itza, renting a car would be the best option.
Although the entrance to the building is surrounded by lush vegetation and Buddha sculptures, the lobby inside is underwhelming. It is more like a small, carpeted reception office, which may give the impression that El Taj is a condo building rather than a hotel. However, since it is indeed a condo building, there may not be a need for a traditional lobby.
El Taj offers a range of options including one, two, and three bedroom apartments as well as penthouses. All condos come with a full kitchen, dining and living room, and separate bedroom(s). The Oceanfront apartments feature balconies with views of the ocean, while the Beachside apartments have views of the pool or garden.
The Penthouse has a wonderful terrace that is private and includes a Jacuzzi, outdoor shower, loungers, palapa, minibar, and grill. The bathrooms at El Taj have marble floors and walls with a few river-stone accents in the shower area. The sinks are small yet chic, and there are no bathtubs except for those found in some condo’s private terraces.
At El Taj, there are two pools: one in the central courtyard of the Oceanfront building, which has white mosaics that provide a sophisticated touch. The second level of the pool has built-in seats and offers panoramic views, making it an amazing spot. The Beachside pool is small but beautiful and located in a well-maintained garden. It has waterfalls, a Jacuzzi, and loungers available.
Restaurants and Dining
Although all condos have a modern and fully-equipped kitchen, dining out can still be enjoyable. El Taj has two restaurants, Plank and Imprevist, that serve delicious gourmet dishes in a sophisticated manner. Additionally, you have the option to hire a private chef to prepare dinner in your own condo.
Please note that neither of the restaurants are located inside the property premises. However, both Frida Kahlo and Puerto Cocina Urbana can be easily reached by foot with a walk of 6 and 10 minutes respectively. Frida Kahlo is a remarkable restaurant having first-rate design and serving innovative Mexican cuisine. Puerto Cocina Urbana offers fusion seafood food items in a laid-back ambience.
If you’re looking for a classy place to enjoy a high-quality cocktail, head over to Indigo Beach Club in Playa. At night, both restaurants offer an extensive wine list with international options. La Perla Pixan, a 12-minute walk away, specializes in mezcal and pulque and is a great spot to try the traditional Aztec beverage. For excellent micheladas (beer mixed with spicy sauces and lime), check out Las Helodias which is only a 9-minute walk away.
Mayan Spa may be small, but it is elegant and has all the necessary amenities, including massage rooms, a manicure and pedicure section, and chiropractic services. You can select from a range of services that comprises of sunburn treatments, as well as unique features like an Orange Experience Facial or a Chocolate Body Wrap.
The Fitness Center
The gym is appropriately named as it is managed by a luxury New York City chain of gyms. It offers high-quality equipment, a variety of classes, a runners club, and a health bar. It is the type of fitness center that one would miss while on a tropical vacation. The Gym is a destination on its own and is not meant to be seen as arrogant for having such a name.
What we Loved:
- The reason why the condos have full kitchens is that they are equipped for guests to cook for themselves.
- Additionally, the swimming pools are impressive, and
- The location is convenient with the beach on one side and Fifth Avenue on the other.
What we didn’t Love:
- Service was not always great
- Food was ok
- Rooms need an update
Bottom Line: El Taj Playa del Carmen
El Taj in Playa del Carmen is the perfect destination for a vacation or long stay in a condo-style accommodation. The property is located between the beach and Quinta Avenida, the trendy pedestrian street in Mexico, providing easy access to both. Here, you can enjoy luxury while experiencing a private and intimate environment that is not possible at the large all-inclusive resorts.