Royal Hideaway Playa del Carmen

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Royal Hideaway Playa del Carmen - An Honest Review

Table of Contents

This is our review of the Royal Hideaway Playa del Carmen Playacar is currently crowded due to its popularity. Despite the limited space, new construction projects are underway.

Although Playa del Carmen can be busy, there are still peaceful areas to discover. Playacar is a gated community located in the southern part of the city. It has a suburban feel with plenty of greenery and open spaces. In addition to houses, there are hotels situated along a less crowded beach compared to those found on the central strip. The Royal Hideaway Playacar is the top resort in the area and is exclusively for adults. It is owned and operated by the Spanish hotel group Barceló and is also a member of Leading Hotels of the World.


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The Location

The hotel is in a gated community called Playa del Carmen, and you can walk to Fifth Avenue from there. It takes about 60 minutes to drive to Cancun International Airport, and you can get to most parks, mayan ruins, and other attractions in the area by car in under 50 minutes.

The Ambience of Royal Hideaway Playacar

The Royal Hideaway Playacar has an impressive appearance beyond the security entrance. The building resembles a modern version of an old country house and includes a large fountain in the driveway. We received a warm welcome and were asked to fill out paperwork in a spacious white lobby while piano music played in the background. Bag and car handling were taken care of after the friendly check-in process. The building was constructed in 1998.

We were served a glass of unique blue-green champagne, which added to the tranquil experience and marked the beginning of our relaxation.

The bellboy showed us around the property which has 200 rooms divided into clusters. The buildings are painted in a creamy yellow with blue touches. The grounds have various water features including man-made streams and a lake which is near the main house with restaurants. The lawns are lush green while tall palm trees create a peaceful atmosphere. You might spot iguanas, capybaras, or woodpeckers during your stay here.

The Rooms

The rooms are well-lit, cozy, and updated with smooth marble flooring throughout the bedroom, bathroom, and small lounge beside the windows which showcase views of the lawns and palm trees. The windows bring in a lot of sunlight. Additionally, each room has a balcony with two comfortable chairs. The beds are exceptionally comfortable and equipped with an iPhone dock located next to them. Across from the bed, there’s a sizable TV mounted on the wall. Above the bed, there’s a fan that looks like a large, orange flower with five petals when turned off.

Although the AC in the room is available, it can be too noisy to have on at night. The rooms are pleasant and elegantly furnished with a quiet environment. As an all-inclusive property, the fridge is stocked with free soft drinks and a few beers that are restocked daily. In addition, 24-hour room service is available. The bathroom has L’Occitane products, ample cupboard space, and a safe. It also features a bathtub and a rain shower.

The central forecourt is the focal point for each accommodation block. You can find a small office there managed by a concierge who can assist you in organizing excursions, transportation, and any issues you may have.

The Pools

There are a total of six swimming pools. The ones located near the beachfront are the most popular and crowded. The main infinity pool, which is spacious enough to swim in, offers a beautiful view of the ocean. There are two large pools next to each other, both equipped with sun loungers and four-poster beds for shade. Waiters will take your drink and beer orders, but you can also visit the bar yourself. Additionally, there are a couple of Jacuzzis nearby, although they are not heated.

There are additional swimming pools located on the grounds that may not be easily noticeable on a casual walk. However, with the help of the map provided on the key card, it is simple to locate them. Although these pools may not offer a view of the beach, they do have beautiful palm trees surrounding them and are not as crowded as the main pools, which means that sometimes you may have the pool all to yourself.

The Beach

The beach is very appealing and has many double-seater loungers, each of which has a collapsible cover that provides shade. This is a useful feature if you intend to spend a day reading or enjoying cocktails in the sun. Guests do not have to pay any extra fees for these loungers, which is a pleasant surprise, as several other luxury hotels in the Riviera Maya charge additional costs.

If you look to the left from the beach, you can see the ferry terminal in central Playa del Carmen that takes people to Cozumel Island. The beaches next to the terminal can be very crowded. In Playacar, there is a beautiful, less crowded area to enjoy the blue ocean and sand. Occasionally, you will see kite surfers, jet-skis, or boats passing by, and there are volleyball matches by the hotel. This is a place where people come to relax.

Restaurants and Dining

There are a total of six restaurants available, including Palazzo serving Italian cuisine and Spices serving Mexican cuisine. The Deck, located next to the main pool, is the primary restaurant where you’ll most likely have breakfast and lunch. You’ll enjoy a magnificent beach and ocean view while dining. The breakfast buffet offers a wide array of options, from cold meats and pastries to generous portions of scrambled eggs, bacon, and even refried beans, served in large metal pots.

Although there are various food options available, I have noticed that some other hotels in Riviera Maya offer a wider range of food that is more appealing. Furthermore, the quality of the food at those hotels is better as it is freshly prepared and replaced more frequently, unlike the food here which often stays out for a long time. This buffet-style feels ordinary and not what I would expect from a luxury hotel that advertised “a la carte only” meals. Although Spices restaurant provides a lovely view from its upper deck, the open space can be windy at times.

The breakfast menu offers freshly cooked options and is a la carte. The lunch is served in a casual dress setting on The Deck, and the menu mainly consists of comfort foods like pizzas and tacos. Although breakfast is filling and enjoyable, the lunch is not as refined or well-presented as anticipated. Some dishes lack flavor, and the fish tacos are not as good as the ones offered by local taco stands in town. Furthermore, the tacos are served soggy with coleslaw and without spicy salsa, which is unacceptable in Riviera Maya Mexico.

While the staff is friendly, the service at breakfast and lunch on The Deck can be inconsistent. Sometimes it can be frustratingly slow and forgetful.

Azia restaurant is a pan-Asian restaurant that specializes in Japanese and Thai food. It is upscale and has a formal dress code that prohibits sandals, shorts, or collarless shirts. The restaurant features a Japanese-style bar with an extensive sake collection and two big chef’s tables where patrons can observe their food being prepared. Additionally, it has private and quieter seating options, and a tatami room for private groups. The staff members are friendly, attentive, and frequently check on patrons to ensure they are comfortable.

The tuna sashimi and tempura shrimp sushi were good Japanese dishes. However, the Thai dishes did not taste authentic and lacked the expected spices and flavors. The Pad Thai tasted more like plain noodles, and the Tom Yum Goong soup was not as spicy and did not have lemongrass.

We had dinner at Las Ventanas, the hotel’s main restaurant, which is run by Chef Sergi Arola and serves mainly European and international cuisine. The setting is futuristic, with mostly white decor, white leather chairs, and a notable wine list with glass cabinets filled with bottles. In one corner of the restaurant, a pianist played a mellow soundtrack on a grand piano. The menu includes dishes like Portobello mushroom ravioli with shrimp, Rib Eye steak, and salmon. We dined there on the following evening.The staff can also assist you in enjoying your evening by keeping your wine glasses full and presenting a large cheeseboard with brie, Grana Padana, and other selections for a truly indulgent experience.

The Bars

In Playa del Carmen, there are many bars and discos to choose from. But if you don’t want to sacrifice any sunlight, head to Wah Wah Beach Bar which is only a 30-minute walk away. Once there, kick off your shoes and relax on a lounger while enjoying cocktails, pizza, and the ocean.

For a more typical entertainment experience, check out Coco Bongo, which is a 35-minute walk away and known for its impressive shows, which some argue are even better than the ones in Las Vegas.

The Spa

The hotel has a small spa that is not as luxurious or comprehensive as other high-end hotels. The steam room and sauna are located at the back of the changing rooms and the corridors are dimly lit with large candles. The spa menu includes a variety of treatments such as facials, body scrubs, sports massages, and hot stone therapies. I received a professional 60-minute shoulder and back massage that was very pleasant and thorough.

The Fitness Center

The resort has a fitness center with both cardio machines and strength-training equipment available. Guests can also enjoy all-inclusive access to water sports equipment, including kayaks and sailboats. On-site there are also tennis courts available.

Things to Do

The main house has a big theater where they have nightly entertainment like a Michael Jackson tribute. It’s not award-winning, but it’s entertaining to watch after having some drinks. On the bottom floor of the main house, there’s a popular bar area at the back. Local singers perform inside, while guests socialize outdoors by the man-made lake and fountains. One side of the house has a fitness center and two tennis courts tucked away at the front.

What we Loved:

  • The Royal Hideaway Playacar hotel is a great example of a place that values quality and service over sheer size.
  • Its style and elegance are top-notch, and we particularly enjoy its delicious food and prime location.
  • All meals and drinks, as well as tennis and nonmotorized water sports, are included in the room rates.

What we didn’t like:

Bottom Line: Royal Hideaway Playacar Playa del Carmen

The restaurants at Royal Hideaway Playacar need improvement in both the food and service to match their “Luxury” tag in a competitive region. However, the resort offers a peaceful and spacious environment to swim, read, and enjoy cocktails amidst vibrant greenery, whether on the beach or poolside.

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