El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort by Karisma shares beachfront property with its sister resorts, El Dorado Casitas Royale (another adults-only property), and Generations Riviera Maya (a family-friendly property which opened Feb. 2014), all in the Punta Brava area of the Riviera Maya which is approximately 25 min. south of the Cancun airport. While all three luxury resorts have been the recipients of AAA’s Four Diamond award, both El Dorado properties tend to attract many honeymooners and couples celebrating special occasions. Within the last several years, El Dorado Royale has upgraded parts of the property by renovating many guest rooms, adding guest room buildings including swim-up suites, and re-tiling the main pool.
El Dorado Royale is probably most renowned for the following:
- lush and meticulously maintained landscaping with waterfalls, bridges, and Bali beds throughout
- most swim-up suites are connected to the Fuentes pool with a swim-up bar
- several bars open until 2 a.m.
- Fuentes Culinary Theater which allows diners to be privy to food preparation via large viewing screens prior to their dining experience with wine pairings
- guests have access to two spas, one onsite and the newer spa at El Dorado Casitas Royale which also has a Temazcal hut and ceremony
- horse stables with two hr. rides followed by a cenote swim
- greenhouse tour–Karisma grows enough vegetables, fruits, and herbs at this site to provide enough renewable food resources for these three sister resorts as well as provide enough for several other resort’s restaurants
- numerous gourmet a la carte restaurants, gourmet “bite” corners, and bars located throughout the property
- complimentary shuttle service to both Playa del Carmen and Cancun
- host of a weekly 5K run
- host to numerous other events, such as the Jackson Family Culinary Series and prior location host to Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine and Food Festival
- a wicked chocolate martini in the lobby bar!
Pool lovers look no further, there are many to discover–five standard pools and one natural salt water rock “pool” which is located beachfront where the El Dorado Royale and the El Dorado Casitas Royale property lines meet. Fuentes is the largest pool, while La Isla is where most “partying” occurs (while El Dorado Royale is definitely not known to be a party resort, there can be more noise and boisterousness at this pool area). While the small pool close to the lobby is primarily for those who like to read or nap undisturbed, the Spot pool over by the Sensimar section of El Dorado Royale is another quiet area that also has an adjacent luncheon restaurant. The small pool by the Health Bar (smoothies and shakes) is located near the Premium room section and is also fairly quiet. While all pool areas include loungers, Bali beds can be found on sundecks with the exception of the small pool located by the lobby. Guests are not allowed, however, to use the pools at El Dorado Casitas Royale, nor the pool at Generations Riviera Maya resorts.
Beach lovers, however, will most likely be disappointed due to the rocky ocean entry and newly completed Kan-Kanán artificial reef with its concrete pillars. Although the artificial reef may seem unsightly, Kan-Kanán became necessary in order to stop beach erosion, encourage reef growth, and attract sea life. Kan-Kanán does limit ocean swimming, but in the long run will save the beach as well as provide good opportunities for snorkeling in the future. The beach itself provides loungers and many Bali beds with fabric panels designed to create partial privacy; some are complimentary while others are for a fee. While loungers and Bali beds line most of the entire shoreline, El Dorado Royale guests are discouraged from using the Bali beds at Casitas Royale.
Foodies need not fret, the El Dorado complex offers a myriad of dining opportunities including Fuentes Culinary Theater; gourmet “bite” corners are located throughout the grounds including a relatively new pizza place. Guests are also free to visit the restaurants and bars at the adjoining El Dorado Casitas Royale and Generations Riviera Maya–just see your concierge for details.
This resort is a large property with 450 acres; it offers a shuttle service for guests with specified stops/pick-up locations and a timetable. This service is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., however, some wait times between shuttles can be excessive. Due to this factor, many guests choose to get around by using the very scenic beachfront walkway which goes from this resort all the way to Generations Riviera Maya. Since this resort also offers bicycle use, guests have an additional way to move about. This resort is not recommended for those with physical limitations or mobility problems of any sort.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Stay at one play at three, plenty of pools and Bali beds, free WiFi, free shuttle service to Playa del Carmen and Cancun
Con: Limited ocean swimming due to the artificial reef, lots of extra costs, shuttle wait times, getting extra bottles of water
Best Suited For: Honeymooners, couples celebrating special occasions, those who don’t mind navigating a large resort or taking shuttles to get around
No. of Rooms: 478
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, desk, ceiling fan, bureau, mini-bar, non-digital safe, flat screen TV, telephone, radio alarm clock, coffee maker, robe and slippers, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, dbl sinks, shower, indoor Jacuzzi tub, and toiletries. Hammocks are provided upon request (check the closet first to see if one is there before making a request). Room service is available 24-hrs. a day and WiFi is now free; international calls are also complimentary. Here is a basic rundown of guest room categories:
- Luxury Jacuzzi Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds. Garden, pool, and/or partial ocean view.
- Swim-Up Jacuzzi Jr. Suite: King bed with direct access to the “lazy river” which leads to Fuentes pool.
- Premium Jacuzzi Jr. Suite: King bed, Premium services include private check-in, sparkling wine and welcome fruit basket, pillow menu, aromatherapy, and private concierge. These suites are located in the Premium section close to El Dorado Casitas Royale and near the beach.
- Premium Swim-Up Jacuzzi Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, direct access to the swim-up pool. Premium services include private check-in, sparkling wine and welcome fruit basket, pillow menu, aromatherapy, private concierge, and pool butler service. These suites are located in the Premium section close to El Dorado Casitas Royale and near the beach.
- Royal Suite: King bed, upgraded mini-bar, in-room liquor, DVD player, welcome fruit basket and bottle of house and sparkling wine, concierge and butler service, pillow and aromatherapy menus, and one beach dinner p/stay.
- Royal Swim-Up Suite: King bed, direct access off the terrace to the “lazy river” which leads to Fuentes pool, upgraded mini-bar, in-room liquor, DVD player, welcome fruit basket and bottle of house and sparkling wines, concierge and butler service, pillow and aromatherapy menus, and one beach dinner p/stay.
- Two Bedroom Presidential Suite: Master bedroom with king bed, table and two chairs, flat screen TV, second bedroom with two dbl beds, table and two chairs, flat screen TV, living room with sofa, loveseat, armchair, coffee table, flat screen TV and surround sound, dining area with table and four chairs, bar area with liquor and glassware, fully equipped kitchen with full-sized refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, blender, flatware, dishware, two full bathrooms, outdoor private pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, two full loungers, hammock, and private in-suite dinner/wine tasting.
- NOTE: Due to the new renovations, many bathroom areas are open to the bedroom due to a clear plexiglass panel and open area above.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Not available.
Resort Amenities: Five pools (three swim-up bars), natural salt water pool, outdoor Jacuzzis, spa, sauna and steam room, beauty salon, fitness center, motorized and non-motorized water sports, tennis courts, giant chess set, horse stables with scheduled rides, bicycles, air rifle shooting, archery, bocce ball, greenhouse tour, pool and beach wait service, hammocks, Bali beds, beach massages, internet café, DVD library, onsite shuttle service and complimentary shuttles to Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Starbucks, concierge, gift shop, tour desk, car rental, medical services, laundry, and ATM. Guests are free to use the spa at El Dorado Casitas Royale. Runners will also want to participate in the resort’s 5K run held weekly.
Restaurants/Bars: There are buffet opportunities for breakfast but not for lunch or dinner. This resort offers several restaurants including international fare (Cocotal), surf and turf (Jo Jo’s Seaside Grill–no A/C), Mediterranean (La Isla), Mexican (El Rincon), Italian (D’Italia Villas), a new luncheon restaurant (Spot–no A/C), and Fuentes Culinary Theater which offers guests an interactive cooking/dining experience along with wine pairings. Fuentes Culinary Theater requires advance reservations. Several Gourmet Corner locations offer afternoon gourmet bites, healthy smoothies–there is even a pizzeria, while the beach has occasional BBQ’s. Restaurants at the El Dorado Casitas Royale include another Italian, southwestern cuisine, and Pacific Rim cuisine, while Generations Riviera Maya offers an additional five restaurants (guests should see their concierge if they want to visit the restaurants at Generations Riviera Maya). El Dorado Royale bars include three swim-up bars, lobby Martini Bar, Las Guacamayas with its swing seats, and an additional beach bar–both the lobby bar and the beach bar stay open until 2 a.m. Casitas Royale bars include a beach bar (open until 11 a.m.), and the Bellini bar. Guests may also visit the bars over at Generations Riviera Maya.
Entertainment: There is a variety of entertainment options including movies, nightly shows, live music, DJ music, and karaoke night.