Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda is actually the family-friendly section of the Paradisus Playa del Carmen resort which is situated about five min. north of Playa del Carmen. The other half of the resort is called the Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla which is the adults-only section of the same resort. Both resorts share many restaurants, bars, spa space, theater, and fitness facility within the area located between the two resorts called the “El Zocalo”. Although both resorts have exchange privileges with one another, guests of La Esmeralda under the age of 18 are not supposed to go past El Zocalo onto the La Perla side, nor can they access the adults-only beach area.
The entire resort is carved out of a mangrove forest with part of the forest left intact between the beach and the resort–a reminder that one is in a beautiful tropical destination, but at the same time an impediment to enjoying full ocean views from pools and most guest rooms. Since the resort is so close to existing mangroves, ocean water can be a bit murky at times depending on the tide and weather conditions, but this is not always the case. Although the shoreline on the family-friendly side is less rocky, it is still advisable to use water shoes at this resort
Those who love chic, contemporary design with an Asian flair will most likely enjoy the overall look and ambiance of this resort. From the moment guests step onto the property they are met with a multitude of textures, sculptures, lighting, and other design elements which blend harmoniously together to provide a lush, visual feast. Most public spaces are stunning with subtle neon lighting, sleek-looking furniture, and vivid colored walls or accent pieces. Even the configuration of overhead lighting definitely deserves attention–be sure to check out the gorgeous chandeliers, particularly in the resort entrance.
A definite highlight for most Paradisus guests is their suite with in-room double soaker tub, large balcony or terrace (some with a Jacuzzi tub), dual rainforest showerheads and body wands in several suite categories, and separate living room area; vacationers who enjoy swim-up rooms will like the fact there are 68 swim-up suites at La Esmeralda–this is one of the few Riviera Maya resorts which allow children to stay in swim-up suites. Parents of young children should note, however, that swim-up suites do not come equipped with terrace security gates, so extra caution is advised when very young children are staying in this type of suite.
Families with younger children who wish to be pampered will want to upgrade to the Family Concierge experience which offers butler service, private check-in/out, preferential dining and spa reservations, along with access to a private pool with its own swim-up bar, a private beach section, and customized in-room mini-bar (children get their own kid-size robes and slippers as well). Family Concierge guest rooms have their own separate building which is closer to the ocean than other guest room buildings on this side of the resort.
Dining options are another definite plus with over 10 restaurants to choose from. The Passion gourmet restaurant is an additional dining choice; it is run by a six-star Michelin-trained chef, but it costs extra (USD $50 pp) and is also open to the general public which may make reservations hard to come by.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Large suites, gorgeous contemporary design, free WiFi, lots of dining choices.
Con: Limited ocean views from rooms and pools, rocky shoreline in places, narrow beach, pricey.
Best Suited For: Affluent families, families with children ages 5-12.
No. of Rooms: 510
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, marble flooring throughout, living room area with sofa and coffee table, table and two chairs, mini-bar, in-room safe, flat screen TV, telephone, CD/DVD player, radio alarm clock with iPod dock, coffee maker, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, hair dryer, deep soaker tub, walk-in shower, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, and complimentary WiFi. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Paradisus Jr. Suite/Luxury Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds. For those who enjoy total privacy when using the bathroom area, be aware that rooms in the Jr. Suite category have a very large, round opening between the bathroom and bedroom area. There are sliding frosted glass windows on the other side of the opening which can be open or closed, depending on one’s preference (a good feature to have when monitoring kids in the bathroom).
- Luxury Jr. Suite Ocean View: King or two dbl beds. Partial ocean view due to the mangroves.
- Luxury Jr. Suite Swim-Up: This is relatively new addition to the resort’s room categories. It includes a king or two dbl beds, in-pool lounger, and direct access to a communal pool. Some may not directly access the main pool.
- One Bedroom Suite: Two dbl beds in separate bedroom, living room with sofa bed, kitchenette with dining area for four, two flat screen TV’s, and balcony Jacuzzi.
- One Bedroom Suite Ocean View: Same amenities as the One Bedroom Suite; partial ocean view due to the mangroves.
- One Bedroom Suite Swim-Up: Two dbl beds in separate bedroom, living room with sofa bed, kitchenette with dining area for four, two flat screen TV’s, balcony Jacuzzi, in-pool lounger, direct access to a communal pool. Some may not directly access the main pool.
- One Bedroom Master Suite: King bed, separate living room with sofa, kitchenette with dining area for six, two flat screen TV’s, balcony Jacuzzi, dbl rainforest showerheads and body wand.
- One Bedroom Master Suite Ocean View: Same amenities as the One Bedroom Master Suite; partial ocean view due to the mangroves.
- One Bedroom Master Suite Swim-Up: King bed, separate living room with sofa bed, kitchenette with dining area for six, two flat screen TV’s, dbl rainforest showerheads and body wand, balcony Jacuzzi, in-pool lounger, direct access to a communal pool. Some may not directly access the main pool.
- Two Bedroom Master Suite: King bed in one bedroom and the other with two dbl beds with a connecting living room with sofa bed, writing desk and chair, kitchenette with dining area for six, two full bathrooms with dbl rainforest showerheads in each, three flat screen TV’s, two coffee makers, two in-room safes, two mini-bars, two private terraces each with its own Jacuzzi.
(Family Concierge Experience)
La Esmeralda also offers an upgraded room category and level of service known as the Family Concierge experience. Amenities for this class of service are as follows:
- private check-in/out
- guest rooms located in building closer to the ocean
- butler service
- personal tour of the resort given by your assigned butler
- complimentary cell phone or walkie-talkie use with direct access to your assigned butler
- preferential restaurant and spa reservations made by your butler
- preparation of in-room Jacuzzi upon request
- ironing service and shoeshine upon request
- in-room Nespresso coffee maker
- access to Aqua-HydroGrill poolside restaurant
- access to private lounge with continental breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, premium drinks, computer access, and international newspapers
- access to private pool with swim-up bar and wait service
- private beach area with wait service
- robes and slippers for children
- personalized mini-bar with children’s snacks
- turndown service with milk and cookies
- welcome beach kit for children
- pillow and aromatherapy menu
- electronic game system upon request (PS2, Xbox360, Wii)
Family Concierge amenities can only be obtained with the following guest room categories:
- Paradisus Jr. Suite/Luxury Jr. Suite
- Luxury Jr. Suite Ocean View
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Main pool (swim-up bar), Family Concierge pool (swim-up bar), children’s pool with slides, toddler pool, Jacuzzis, spa (wet spa areas are accessible to all resort guests over the age of 16), sauna, steam room, beauty salon, fitness center, tennis court, motorized and non-motorized water sports, pool and beach wait service, Bali/cabana beds, Gabi Club (location for some live music and shows), theater, Kid’s zone with euro-bungee/rock climbing wall/games room, concierge, tour desk, gift shop, business center, car rental, and ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: Three buffets (Naos, Gabi Beach Club, and Hadar–breakfast only), a poolside grill (Sunrise Grill at the main pool), and eight a la cartes including Pan Asian (Bana–teppanyaki tables for all guests but the sushi bar here is adults-only), Latin fusion (Fuego), Mediterranean (Vento), Mexican contemporary (Mole), Rodizio meat skewers and wood-fired pizza oven (The Market), Italian-Argentinean (The Grill), Italian trattoria (Aqua-Hydro Grill–for Family Concierge guests only), and Passion gourmet restaurant ($50 pp). A la cartes require reservations.
Adults-only restaurants include the following:
- Sushi bar at Bana even though the restaurant is not adults-only
- The Grill
- There are no children allowed at the Gabi Beach Club after 9 p.m.
Bars at La Esmeralda include two swim-ups, Gabi Club Bar, North Ave. Bar, Blue Agave, Toji, M Bar, Sunrise poolside bar, and Red Lounge. Adults-only bars include Red Lounge, M Bar, and the Toji Bar after 8 p.m. There is also a new coffee bar.
Entertainment: The theater and Gabi Beach Club hosts most of the major entertainment; bars such as North Ave. also host live music.
There is also a detailed resort map at the following: http://goo.gl/bGZChZ