Located on the beach and steps from Playa del Carmen’s famous 5th Avenue and the Cozumel ferry, THE Royal Playa del Carmen provides easy access to shopping and a vibrant nightlife scene for adults. In addition to its fantastic location, THE Royal Playa del Carmen offers its guests great amenities including seven restaurants, five bars, all-suite guest rooms with in-room double Jacuzzis, swim-up suites, an Olympic-size main pool, and pool bar with swing seats. This resort has been the recipient of many accolades including the AAA Four Diamond Award, Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award, and Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Award. THE Royal Playa del Carmen has a fierce, loyal following with many repeat guests who value its level of service and stellar amenities.
THE Royal Playa del Carmen’s architectural style is a mixture of Spanish Colonial and Mediterranean evidenced with its use of polished marble floors, Corinthian columns, numerous arches, wrought-iron chandeliers and balcony railings, grand dbl staircase, and stained glass to create opulent interior and exterior spaces. The open-air lobby with its numerous comfortable sofa groupings and high central ceiling is the perfect setting for casual conversations with new friends, having drinks from the charming lobby bar located nearby, and the evening show which highlights acrobatic performers. Looking out from the lobby area, guests’ eyes are drawn along a water channel to the well-tended grounds, main pool, and ocean beyond. While it can’t be readily seen from this viewpoint, the water in the channel eventually cascades from the lobby level into an awaiting shallow pond below–check out the statues located in the pond as well as scattered around the grounds.
The resort offers three pools which all guests can use along with a small dive training pool accessible only to those receiving Scuba certification. The beachfront pool offers daytime activities, a swim-up bar, an integrated Jacuzzi, and easy beach access, while the Olympic-size main pool offers easy access to several guest room sections and two integrated Jacuzzis (one is heated); it also has a 50-meter lap lane for serious swimmers. The third “quiet’ pool is on the north side of the property and provides guests with a more serene environment, but it is partially surrounded by guest room buildings with the Hyatt hotel beyond so it can feel a little claustrophobic. All sundecks have loungers, some with attached face shades, but there are no shade umbrellas. Several cabanas surround the main pool; however, they are extremely popular and get “reserved” quite early in the morning. There is also a pool butler who will deliver reading material, sunscreen, and will even clean sunglasses for guests in the main pool area. The only food allowed poolside is paella which is typically served on Thursdays, but Pelicanos restaurant is located beachfront and offers a tasty a la carte lunch menu.
The beach and ocean in front of THE Royal is typically quite busy since many Gran Porto Resort guests walk over to swim here along with the locals on the weekends. The sand is powdery white, the Caribbean Sea has that wonderful turquoise hue, waves are large enough at times to enjoy boogie boarding, but the beach is not wide enough considering the number of cabanas and loungers the resort has set up, nor is it long enough with the adjacent Cozumel ferry pier. As a result, chairs and cabanas are in close proximity to one another leaving guests little privacy or room to maneuver; also, don’t expect shade umbrellas because there is no room for them. While there are many beach cabanas at this resort, they are reserved for Master and Presidential Suite guests only. Ocean swimmers should bring water shoes, or enter the ocean from the north end since there are some ocean entry rocks directly in front of the resort.
THE Royal Playa del Carmen has a reputation for its fine food offerings in its seven restaurants. While dinner reservations are no longer required for most a la cartes, the Chef’s Plate restaurant is the exception. In this newly renovated space, guests and the general public will experience a different seven-course meal each night of the week. Guests in the following room categories have access to complimentary meals here, while others must pay USD $89 p/couple: Master and Presidential Suites, Oceanfront Suites, Beachfront Walk-Outs, and Swim-Up Beachfront Walk-Outs. THE Royal also has a separate lounge which serves food and drinks 24-hrs. a day.
All guest rooms at THE Royal Playa del Carmen are suites complete with in-room liquor bottles (moderate quality alcohol including Jose Cuervo tequila, Bacardi rum, and a more generic vodka and whiskey), a dbl Jacuzzi tub, spacious bathroom area (some with a steam shower), and a balcony or terrace, most with hammock. Due to the resort’s layout which is perpendicular to the beach, many rooms with an ocean view have only partial ocean views–those not lucky enough to get a room closer to the beach will have to crane their necks and look sideways from their balcony to see a sliver of ocean. Guests who enjoy decent views should avoid rooms overlooking the quiet pool–even some Presidential Suites in this section have partially lost their ocean views because of the newly built Hyatt hotel. Likewise, guests staying in Beachfront Walk-Outs may have their ocean views obstructed by cabanas if staying in the Uxmal section. Most swim-out suites are quiet and away from the poolside “action”, while ground floor rooms by the main pool often have staff coming by for drink orders. Suites in general offer more overall space than most other resorts–the most basic room category here starts out at 653 sq. feet and increases to 1,900+ sq. feet with the Presidential Suite.
Staying at THE Royal Playa del Carmen tends to appeal to all age groups and compositions–it is not unusual for newlyweds in their 20’s to be vacationing alongside parents who have brought along their adult children. While this is not a resort known for its partying, daytime activities by the main pool can be loud and boisterous. Guests who want a change of scenery can walk a short distance over to THE Royal’s sister resort, the Gran Porto Resort, to enjoy its amenities including pools, bars, and restaurants.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Proximity to downtown Playa del Carmen, access to Gran Porto Resort, pool for scuba certification, free WiFi, in-room liquor bottles, complimentary access to “wet” spa areas
Con: Busy and cramped public beach, lack of true ocean view rooms, beach cabanas only for upper level suites
Best Suited For: Affluent couples, honeymooners, couples celebrating special occasions, destination wedding location.
No. of Rooms: 513
Room Amenities: King, queen, or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace–most with hammock, in-suite dbl Jacuzzi, mini-bar, in-room liquor dispensers or full bar set-up, welcome bottle of red wine, digital safe, room service “Magic Box”, flat screen TV,alarm clock with iPod dock, desk and chair, table and two chairs, armchair, ceiling fan, coffee maker, telephone, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, pillow menu, aromatherapy turndown service, hair dryer, shower, toiletries, 24-hr. room service and complimentary WiFi. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Royal Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds. Some rooms in this category can experience street noise.
- Royal Jr. Suite Garden View: King or two dbl beds. Rooms in this category overlook the garden and swim-out suite section.
- Royal Jr. Suite Central Garden View: King or two dbl beds. These rooms are back by the lobby area and Tequileria Bar.
- Royal Jr. Suite Ocean View: King or two dbl beds. Partial ocean view.
- Royal Jr. Suite Swim-Up Ocean View: King or two dbl beds, direct access to a semi-private pool (no access to any main pools), Bose speaker system. These suites are located in the Uxmal building.
- Royal Jr. Suite Oceanfront: King bed, Butler Service, Bose speaker system, Nespresso coffee maker, access to Chef’s Plate restaurant.
- Royal Jr. Suite Beachfront Walk-Out: King bed, direct beach access, reserved beach cabana, Bose speaker system, Nespresso coffee maker, access to Chef’s Plate restaurant.
- Royal Jr. Suite Swim-Up Beachfront Walk-Out: King bed, direct access to a semi-private pool adjacent to the beach (Uxmal building), or direct access to the beachfront pool, beach access, reserved beach cabana, Bose speaker system, Nespresso coffee maker, access to Chef’s Plate restaurant.
- Royal Master Suite: Separate bedroom with king or queen bed, dbl Jacuzzi tub, and flat screen TV, living room with two small sofas, coffee table, Bose speaker system and flat screen TV, dining room table and six chairs, breakfast bar with full bar set-up (Don Julio tequila, Grey Goose vodka, Bacardi white rum, Johnny Walker whiskey, Beefeater Gin, brandy, and welcome bottle of sparkling wine), Nespresso and regular coffee makers, sink and full-size refrigerator, half bathroom, steam shower, dbl sinks, lengthy balcony, Wii gaming system, access to Chef’s Plate restaurant, reserved beach cabana, Butler Service. Located in the Chichen building with limited views.
- Royal Master One Bedroom Suite Oceanfront: This room category is the same as the Royal Master Suite with a few exceptions–this category also includes a telescope, Butler Service, a bidet, full loungers on the smaller balcony. Full ocean view.
- Royal Presidential Suite: Located on the penthouse floor, this suite has a separate bedroom with king bed, dbl Jacuzzi tub, entertainment center with flat screen TV, desk and chair, the living room has one sofa, two armchairs, flat screen TV, Bose speaker system, telescope, dining table and eight chairs, breakfast bar with full bar set-up (Don Julio tequila, Grey Goose vodka, Bacardi white rum, Johnny Walker whiskey, Beefeater Gin, brandy, and welcome bottle of sparkling wine), Nespresso and regular coffee makers, sink and full-size refrigerator, half bathroom, steam shower, dbl sinks, dressing room area, balcony off the living room, upstairs terrace with private pool, full bathroom, full loungers, and two separate seating areas with partial ocean view, Wii gaming system, access to Chef’s Plate restaurant, reserved beach cabana, Butler Service. Partial ocean view.
- NOTE: Many ocean view rooms have only partial ocean views unless one is close to the beach.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Three pools plus a small scuba certification pool (“quiet” pool, pool with built-in lap lane and two integrated Jacuzzis, and the beachfront activities pool with a swim-up bar and integrated Jacuzzi), spa with complimentary hydrotherapy/ sauna/steam room, Temazcal huts, beauty salon, fitness center, rooftop tennis courts, bicycle tours, games room, motorized and non-motorized water sports, beach and pool wait service, beach and pool butlers, beach and pool cabanas, romance concierge, concierge, wedding coordinator, tour desk, jewelry store, clothing store, gift shop, business center with complimentary computer use, car rental, medical services, and ATM. Guests have full access to Gran Porto Resort just across the street.
Restaurants/Bars: One buffet (Spice) and six a la carte restaurants including Asian (Asiana–teppanyaki show tables), Mexican (Rincon Mexicano), Mediterranean (El Mediterraneo), French Mexican fusion (Maria Marie), Caribbean fusion (Pelicanos), and the gourmet restaurant Chef’s Plate. A la cartes no longer require reservations with the exception of Chef’s Plate. Chef’s Plate is only included in the all-inclusive program for guests staying in Master Suites, Presidential Suites, Oceanfront Suites, and Beachfront Suites–other guests must pay an extra fee to dine here. There is also a 24-hr. VIP Lounge serving snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks, and a coffee house serving espresso, cappuccino, smoothies, pastries, desserts, and ice cream. There are five bars including the pool bar (with swings), swim-up bar, lobby bar, tequila and cigar club bar, 24-hr. VIP Lounge bar area, and the bar over by El Mediterraneo restaurant over by the quiet pool. Guests have unrestricted access to all restaurants and bars over at Gran Porto Resort next door.
Entertainment: Nightly shows are held in the lobby or outdoors since there is no theater, live music by the lobby bar and poolside.