Situated on renowned Maroma Beach (previously voted by Travel Channel as one of the top ten beaches in the world), El Dorado Maroma is a small, upscale resort which caters to couples who want individualized service in a more intimate resort setting. It is a quiet, romantic all-inclusive which has billed itself as a “gourmet inclusive experience that fosters togetherness”. Although this resort only has 157 suites, it offers three pools, seven restaurants, multiple Bali beds located throughout the grounds and beach, a new overwater bungalow suite category, and a marina next door which rents out motorized water sports equipment and provides boat-related tours and excursions. El Dorado Maroma acquired 25 additional suites, a pool with swim-up bar, and several restaurants and bars in 2015 with the closing of its neighboring sister resort, Generations Maroma.
Guests arriving at El Dorado Maroma may wonder at first if the van or taxi driver has made a mistake or gotten lost–there is a 10 minute bumpy stretch of road off the main highway which ends with an unpretentious small building with a thatched roof. The lobby itself has several small desks and chairs, several sofas, armchairs, small tables, and several computers for guest use; hardly a grand entrance, but then again El Dorado Maroma has many understated surprises.
Venturing out of the lobby, guests begin to see the magic of the resort with its lush yet manicured landscaping. Grassy expanses and hedges line meandering walkways, while coconut trees are everywhere, even springing up out of tiled walkway cut-outs. Although the lush flora provides a wonderful tropical environment, it may present a dilemma when it comes to obtaining a good ocean view room (4th floor or above is best for views). The resort does an excellent job in trying to blend in with its tropical surroundings–there are many palapa-roofed buildings, use of wood in structures, and many guest rooms and public areas are hidden among the landscaping. Its intimate ambiance is certainly one of the resort’s charms and a quality which inspires many return guests.
Suites generally have large private balconies, some of which include infinity plunge pools and daybeds, while other suites include outdoor showers or access to a “lazy river” which connects to the main pool. Some suites, such as the older Mi Hotelito guest rooms, also include balcony privacy curtains which allow guests to enjoy their daybeds in comfort and relative seclusion. There are twelve different types of suites, including the new palafitos-overwater bungalows, so guests are sure to find the type of room that best fits their needs. Once a choice of suite is made, a choice of floor would be advisable as well since most guest room buildings have no elevators–the only building which does have an elevator is Villa 12 which used to be Generations Maroma. While floor requests are never guaranteed, a standard policy at Mexico all-inclusive resorts, the resort does make an attempt to meet guests’ needs.
When not enjoying their amenity-filled suites, vacationers will find that a pool is never far away. There are three including the main pool with swim-up bar and fountain on the south side of the resort, while the second pool, also with swim-up bar, is adjacent to Mi Hotelito suites (along with Bar 24); the third pool is on the north end of the property adjacent to Villa 12 and also has its own swim-up bar. Padded loungers and a few shade umbrellas surround all pools along with several Bali beds.
It is just a short walk away from any of the pools to the talcum-soft, white sand beach with its many Bali beds and loungers. This stretch of Maroma Beach is quiet with very little wave action due to the man-made offshore “island” and sand whales (the large black sandbags). Water depth here is relatively shallow (approximately three feet)–guests have to venture quite a bit offshore to actually swim in deeper water. There is a separate beach area designated for palafitos guests on the southern end of the property which includes some very nice Bali beds. Water sports enthusiasts, boaters, fishermen, and those who don’t want to travel far to board a boat will appreciate the adjacent marina, while the nearby Dolphin Discovery provides another alternative excursion. Guests desiring long walks on the beach can achieve their dream only with northerly treks; the groomed beach ends shortly after property boundaries on the south side. Although this is part of infamous Maroma Beach, water color at this location can vary from day to day depending on wind and weather conditions, so do not expect that lovely turquoise hue on a consistent basis.
Karisma has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent renovations and additions to this property–the spa and fitness center were renovated, most guest rooms have undergone some degree of updates, while the new palafitos-overwater bungalows comprise a “resort within a resort”. Each overwater bungalow has its own plunge pool, outdoor shower, ocean access via ladder, plexi-glass floor panels, and Jacuzzi tub, while the entire section has its own restaurant (open to resort guests at dinner for an extra cost), and small spa.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Small resort with romantic atmosphere, lush grounds, no wristbands or dinner reservations needed, free WiFi, new overwater bungalows
Con: Artificially made sand bar, ocean views from suites may be blocked by mature foliage
Best Suited For: Couples celebrating a special occasion–honeymooners, anniversaries, etc., or those looking to rekindle romance in their relationship.
No. of Rooms: 157
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, ceiling fan, mini-bar, digital safe (with the exception of some Mi Hotelito suites), flat screen TV, telephone, radio alarm clock, coffee maker, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, dbl sinks, shower, and toiletries; 24-hr. room service and WiFi are complimentary. Here is a brief rundown of suite categories:
- Jacuzzi Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds and Jacuzzi tub. The bathroom area is open to the rest of the room which may pose a privacy issue for some.
- Mi Hotelito Beachfront Suite: King bed; these are the only suites without a Jacuzzi tub. They are typically clustered close to Bar 24 or the main pool.
- Honeymoon Suite: King bed, separate living room with two loveseats, coffee table, and a table with two chairs, Jacuzzi tub, iPod dock, outdoor shower, and large balcony with daybed, table and two chairs.
- Infinity Pool Jacuzzi Suite: King bed, separate living room with two loveseats, coffee table, and a table with two chairs, Jacuzzi tub, iPod dock, outdoor shower, balcony daybed, table with two chairs, and balcony infinity pool.
- Swim-Up Jacuzzi Suite: King bed, separate living room with two loveseats, coffee table, and a table with two chairs, Jacuzzi tub, iPod dock, outdoor shower, shallow water section which connects to the main pool via the “lazy river”.
- Royal Suite: King bed, sitting room area with sofa, coffee table, desk and chair, in-room liquor, Jacuzzi tub, balcony daybed, pillow menu, aromatherapy menu, robe and slippers, iPod dock. The bathroom area is open to the rest of the room and may pose a privacy issue for some. Can be found in Villa 12.
- Royal Swim-Up Suite: King bed, sitting room area with two loveseats, coffee table, and a table with two chairs, Jacuzzi tub, outdoor shower, in-room liquor, iPod dock, robe and slippers, terrace with daybed and table with two chairs, direct access to a swim-up pool. Can be found in Villa 12.
- Presidential Studio: Separate bedroom with king bed and flat screen TV, living room with L-shaped sofa, two ottomans and a flat screen TV, adjoining dining area with table and six chairs, fully-equipped kitchen with stovetop burners, sink, full-sized refrigerator, microwave, breakfast bar with two stools, half-bathroom, two balconies. Can be found in Villa 12.
- Presidential (Connoisseur) Villa: Two-story villa with living room, dining area, fully-equipped kitchen, in-room liquor, half-bathroom, outdoor shower, and terrace with private pool and daybed, while the second story includes a bedroom with king bed, full bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, and balcony with daybed. Butler service included.
- One Bedroom Presidential (Connoisseur) Beachfront Villa: Two-story villa with living room, dining area, fully-equipped kitchen, in-room liquor, half-bathroom, outdoor shower, and terrace with private pool and daybed, while the second story includes a bedroom with king bed, full bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, and a balcony with daybed. Butler service included. Ocean view.
- Palafitos-Overwater Bungalow: King bed, glass bottom floor panels, table and two chairs, small sofa and ottoman, desk and chair, Jacuzzi tub, shower with glass bottom floor panel, outdoor shower, private plunge pool with ocean view, direct ladder access to the ocean, table and two chairs, round daybed. Guests also have complimentary access to the palafitos restaurant, reserved beach area with Bali beds, and access to the new smaller spa located at the end of the pier.
- Palafitos Elite Overwater Bungalow: Exactly the same amenities as the regular overwater bungalows with the exception of location and added butler service. These bungalows are at the end of the pier with premiere ocean views.
- NOTE: The only elevators at this resort are in Villa 12, so getting up to third or fourth floor rooms can be daunting for some. Ocean view rooms can turn out to be partial ocean view (or even no ocean view) due to mature landscaping.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Not available
Resort Amenities: Three pools (all with swim-up bars), two spas (one for palafitos guests), sauna and steam room, Sky Massage hut, beauty salon, updated fitness center, motorized and non-motorized water sports, adjacent marina, pool and beach butlers, concierge carts with sunscreen and insect spray, hammocks, giant chess, shuffleboard, complimentary shuttle to Playa del Carmen twice per week, Starbucks, concierge, tour desk, gift shop, jewelry shop, business center, medical service, laundry, and car rental.
Restaurants/Bars: Papitos Gourmet Beach Club is open as a buffet restaurant for breakfast and themed lunches, while a la carte options include Asian (Kiyoko–no teppanyaki show tables), Italian (Mio Cuccina Italiana), and Mexican Caribbean cuisine (Sabores); the closure of Generations Maroma added several additional restaurants including Lima Limon (Peruvian cuisine), Caribbean Grill Restaurant Terrace (Mexican Caribbean fusion), and Chakay which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. None of these restaurants needs a reservation. The new Overwater Grill and Wine Bar, part of the new palafitos-overwater bungalow section, is available for all palafitos guests for all meals, while non-palafitos guests may dine there in the evening for an extra fee. There is also a beach BBQ once a week, and for fishermen there is the opportunity to have your catch professionally prepared for dinner. There are a total of three swim-up bars, the poolside Bar 24 which also serves sweets from 5-6 p.m., and Rick’s bar which is located above the Asian restaurant. Generations Maroma contributed the third swim-up bar, and Joe’s Lounge and Bar (self-service).
Entertainment: Live music, karaoke, beach party on the weekend, and nightly shows including a fire show are scheduled for guests’ enjoyment.