Vacationers looking for a smaller budget-friendly, adults-only resort in the northern part of the Riviera Maya will like Ocean Maya Royale. The Royale underwent renovations in 2010 which resulted in updated guest rooms and additional guest room categories, refurbished lobby and front desk area, poolside additions, buffet renovations, a new Italian restaurant and coffee shop. In addition to these changes, the resort became adults-only in 2011 with rumors of it becoming couples-only sometime in the future. Ocean Maya Royale is only a 15-minute drive north of Playa del Carmen for those who wish to leave the property for some local shopping or late night “clubbing’; however, it’s location approximately a half-mile off the main road makes it more challenging to catch the local colectivos to see the sights around the Riviera Maya.
Guests will be delighted at the welcoming portico and open-air lobby with its stylish, contemporary design. There are plenty of chair groupings for socializing, a lobby bar with new white leather covered seats, and beautiful light fixtures which emit an amber glow when lit in the evenings. Stepping outside of the lobby, guests can continue to relax in armchairs and padded seats next to a very long rectangular fountain which is bordered on the end by a stage area where some live performances occur. Also, between the lobby and guest room buildings is the waterfall rock garden which provides a tranquil place for guests to visit and walk through.
The resort has added several new types of accommodations–the Honeymoon Deluxe and Romance Suites, both of which have Jacuzzi tubs either in the room or on the balcony, and the Privilege Ocean View guest room. Rooms are done with crème walls and drapery with white and blue accent colors, white or dark furniture, while bathrooms offer vessel sinks and shower. Ground floor rooms do not have a terrace wall or railing, so guests staying in these rooms can expect possible visits from wildlife which inhabit the grounds here–coatis, raccoons, and iguanas to name a few. NOTE: Although it’s not the only resort to ask its guests to do so, the Ocean Maya Royale requests that used toilet tissue be disposed of in a separate trash container. Given the nature of older Mexican resorts’ plumbing, this is not an unheard of request, but guests should be aware of this policy in order to decide whether Ocean Maya Royale is the right resort for them.
Even though this is a smaller property there are two beachfront pools to enjoy–the larger “quiet pool” with shelving and sundeck loungers and shade umbrellas, while the activities pool includes a swim-up bar, built-in pool loungers with hydromassage jets, and a very large built-in Jacuzzi (non-heated). The sundeck includes loungers and sun umbrellas with some natural shade. Both pools are in sight of one another and sound does carry, so the “quiet pool” may not be as quiet as one would wish.
As is common for many resorts along this stretch of coastline, a certain amount of beach erosion due to repeated hurricanes has necessitated the use of sand bags and additional measures to keep as much sand in place as possible. Here at the Ocean Maya Royale the beachfront is divided into the elevated boardwalk section surrounded on one side by the pier and the southern beach section on the other. Ocean entry is possible on either side of the boardwalk. Water clarity varies–some days the ocean is clear and some days it is rather cloudy and dark in color. A short 15-minute walk north of the resort (just past Blue Bay Esmeralda and adjacent to Hacienda Tres Rios resort) offers visitors a pristine turquoise lagoon; it’s definitely worth a visit. Loungers, shade palapas, and Bali beds are available to all guests on the beach, while upgraded Privilege guests have a roped-off private stretch of sand with padded loungers and Bali beds. Natural shade is prevalent along the entire stretch of beach.
Ocean Maya Royale has been working hard to listen to guests’ requests and provide updated and innovative amenities including the following:
- juice bar by the pool area
- daily pool BBQ
- Saturday pool foam party
- no dinner reservations needed
- a la carte lunch added at La Dolce Vita
- all meals available for upgraded guests at the Privilege lounge
- ocean view rooms now available for Privilege guests
- Privilege A La Carte–upgraded guests can complete an online form specifying requests for dinner reservations, mini-bar stocking, pillow choice, spa appointments, etc.
- Casino with slots only
- roundtrip Playa del Carmen shuttle, three hour stay for $14 p/p
- complimentary airport/resort shuttle with direct resort booking
Given the number and quality of its amenities, Ocean Maya Royale offers a tremendous value for one’s vacation dollar. It tends to attract adult females looking for a “girl’s weekend” destination as well as couples in their mid-forties/fifties, although all adult age groups are represented.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Free lobby WiFi, no dinner reservations needed, budget-friendly
Con: Ocean water can be murky-looking, limited A/C in public spaces, toilet tissue disposal
Best Suited For: Couples age 35-60, girls’ weekend
No. of Rooms: 320
Room Amenities: King or two queen beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, mini-bar, in-room safe, flat screen TV, coffee maker, telephone, alarm clock with iPod dock, robe and slippers, iron/ironing board, umbrella, hair dryer, shower, toiletries, and room service from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. with a limited menu. Lobby WiFi is complimentary. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Maya Deluxe: King or two queen beds, sofa bed available in king bed room. Garden view.
- Maya Deluxe Ocean View: King or two queen beds, sofa bed available in king bed room. Ocean view.
- private check-in/out
- private concierge
- access to private Privilege Lounge with bar serving premium alcohol, breakfast, lunch, and dinner available as well as snacks, flat screen TV, complimentary use of computers, newspapers, book and DVD library
- complimentary in-room WiFi
- a la carte reservations available
- access to premium alcohol at all resort bars
- one breakfast in bed
- private beach area with Bali beds and wait service
- in-room amenities such as upgraded toiletries and mini-bar (small bottles of alcohol included), pillow menu, DVD player, daily newspaper, welcome gift such as a bottle of wine
- spa and dive center discounts
- Privilege Jr. Suite: King bed, sitting room area with sofa, armchair, small table, Privilege amenities. Garden view.
- Romance Suite: One bedroom suite with king bed, desk and chair, living room with sofa, ottoman, small tables, two flat screen TV’s, Jacuzzi tub, dbl vessel sinks, Privilege amenities.
- Honeymoon Maya Deluxe: King bed, desk and chair, separate sitting room area with sofa, ottoman, several small tables, balcony Jacuzzi and table with two chairs, Privilege amenities. Garden view.
- Privilege Ocean View: King bed, desk and chair, sitting room area with sofa, small table, Privilege amenities. Ocean view.
- NOTE: Many Privilege guest rooms are located closer to the lobby with the exception of ocean view rooms. Also, there are no elevators in guest room buildings.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Two beachfront pools (one with swim-up bar), spa, beauty salon, fitness center, tennis courts, pool tables, motorized and non-motorized water sports, on-site dive shop, pool/beach wait service, beach hammocks, Bali beds, theater, open-air stage outside of the lobby, Casino, complimentary lobby WiFi, complimentary roundtrip airport/resort shuttle with direct booking through the resort, resort shuttle service to Playa del Carmen (shopping trip), concierge, mini-mart, photography service, tour desk, gift shop, car rental, laundry, and ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: One buffet restaurant (La Hacienda) and four a la cartes including Italian (La Dolce Vita–no A/C), Japanese (Yookoso–teppanyaki show tables, A/C), Mexican (El Charro–no A/C), and international/fusion (Blue Moon, A/C). El Charro serves snacks and lunch from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., La Dolce Vita offers an a la carte lunch, and there is a daily poolside BBQ. Nightly snacks are served in the lobby bar area, while Mike’s Coffee Shop serves sandwiches and pastries along with coffee and tea choices. There are four bars including a juice/smoothie bar, a swim-up bar, poolside bar, and lobby bar.
Entertainment: Live entertainment in the theater and open-air stage, pool foam party, live bands.