Don’t let the name fool you, El Dorado Seaside Suites tentatively opened its brand new doors late 2015 despite being in existence for 12 years. Thanks to Karisma and its overseas travel business associate, Tui, the old El Dorado Seaside Suites is now called Sensimar Seaside Suites and caters primarily to European clientele while the new EDSS caters primarily to Americans and Canadians. Although this change has created confusion and has not been welcomed by all (particularly by those who have enjoyed Sensimar Seaside Suites in the past and now have no choice but to stay at the new EDSS), the two resorts have full exchange privileges with one another which helps to soften the blow for returning guests or for those just curious about such a famed resort with its Forbes Magazine “most romantic hotel” accolades.
While the new EDSS has big shoes to fill, it is off and running with a new separate lobby, four new restaurants, three new bars, and two guest room buildings complete with infinity or swim-out pools for all guests. As of Dec. 23, 2016, the resort will hopefully be opening their two new guest room categories for occupancy, Premium Jacuzzi Jr. Suites as well as Beachfront Jacuzzi Jr. Suites. While the exterior design of the guest room buildings looks familiar to that of Karisma’s Generations Riviera Maya resort, it is built on a smaller scale with smaller rooms to match. The current room categories at the new EDSS include ground floor swim-up suites with access to the main pool and swim-up bar, and infinity pool suites with ocean views for the remaining five floors. Guest room furnishings and décor are chic with a contemporary flair exemplified by such items as circular sofas with swivel capacity, etched glass partial walls, pastel accent colors, and large balcony day beds, while A/C remote controls have humidity control buttons. Infinity Suite guests will find that all vacationers staying on the same floor have access to the entire infinity pool which means others may be swimming by one’s balcony area–balcony doors have special exterior finishes, however, which does not allow others to see into the room.
All rooms offer views of the pool which is situated along the length of both guest room buildings. The swim-up bar seats ten and is easily accessed via swim-up rooms; others must use the many sets of stairs or shallow sun shelving to enter or exit. While not a wild party setting, the swim-up bar does tend to get noisy and boisterous during the day with guests wanting to have a good time; those wanting more privacy and quiet may want to request a room on the sides of either guest room building. Just behind the swim-up bar and up another short flight of stairs is a tanning area with padded loungers and round day beds with built-in shade; the resort has also installed several Jacuzzis which are built off the ground and have partial ocean views through the palm trees. Located beachfront underneath the tanning area is Driftwood Gourmet restaurant which is open for lunch offering a variety of sandwiches, salads, daily paella, and grilled favorites like burgers.
Beach lovers will find a work in progress since there are many shoreline and ocean entry rocks being removed for easier ocean access–bring water shoes for now. While there is sufficient natural shade, loungers, and Bali beds, the beach is rather narrow. Those wanting a better beach experience will want to visit Sensimar Seaside Suites with its soft sand, easier ocean entry, and swimmable section with snorkeling opportunities. At the moment, however, guests cannot use the beach to walk over to Sensimar Seaside Suites since Hidden Beach, a nudist resort, sits squarely between the two; Karisma has protected its guests’ privacy by putting up barriers and blocking this access for now (if you want to visit Hidden Beach you must purchase a day pass for each adult). Instead, EDSS guests may access Sensimar by either walking or taking a short shuttle ride around Hidden Beach. NOTE: Rumor has it that Karisma intends to move Hidden Beach to the north of EDSS and replace it with higher-end suites for EDSS–this would obviously solve the accessibility problem but it is still a rumor, regardless.
Karisma has added four new restaurants, three of which are located in the EDSS lobby area, including Seaside Market (Karisma refers to their buffets as “food displays”), Klay Talay with its Asian cuisine and varieties of Japanese beers and Sake, Mia Casa with its Italian menu, and the previously mentioned Driftwood Gourmet beachfront grill which is only open for lunch. Guests are also free to use all six restaurants over at Sensimar. While it’s a bit of a walk from the guest room buildings to the EDSS lobby area (approximately 10-15 min.), there are shuttles available to take guests to dinner and bring them back as well.
At the present time there is not a lot of scheduled entertainment at EDSS; guests are encouraged to see the shows at Sensimar’s theater if they are interested.
NOTE: While there are not many officially sanctioned, real-time photos of this resort out yet, check out TripAdvisor for the most recent photos.
Type of Resort: Adults-only, this resort caters to the American and Canadian travel markets
Pro: Stay at one play at two, ocean view from most rooms, all rooms have access to a pool, free WiFi
Con: Infinity pools are not heated and can get quite chilly in the wintertime, rocky beach and ocean entry, access to amenities involves some walking or a shuttle ride.
Best Suited For: This is an affluent couples’ resort, lots of honeymooners or couples celebrating special occasions come here.
No. or Rooms: 192
Room Amenities: King bed, A/C with remote control, balcony/terrace with day bed and chairs, round sofa with swivel capability, table and two chairs, large closets, mini-bar, digital safe, flat screen TV, telephone, coffee maker, iron/ironing board, robes and slippers, hair dryer, dbl vessel sinks, Jacuzzi tub, separate shower with rainforest showerhead and hand-held wand, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, free WiFi and international calls. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Oceanfront Infinity Pool Jacuzzi Suite: These suites are located on floors two through six with all above amenities. Building six tends to get more sun because of its placement.
- Oceanfront Swim-Up Jacuzzi Suite: These suites are located on the ground floor with easy access to the pool and swim-up bar. Includes all above amenities.
- NOTE: Infinity pools (not heated) on floors two through five are shaded throughout most of the day due to the balconies above them. At the present time, Karisma has decided to only allow Exotic Club Members/timeshare members access to the top two floors.
Physically Challenged Rooms: This property is not recommended for the physically challenged.
Resort Amenities: Pool (swim-up bar), multiple Jacuzzis, pool and beach wait service, Bali beds, shuttle cart service, fitness center in the lobby area, Starbucks in the lobby ($), sommelier, concierge, gift shop, clothing store, tour desk, ATM. EDSS guests are free to use the amenities at Sensimar Suites including the spa, beachfront massage, beauty salon, fitness center, tennis courts, non-motorized water sports, hammocks, two additional pools, theater, all restaurants and bars.
Restaurants/Bars: The new EDSS has one buffet (Seaside Market) open for breakfast only, the Driftwood Gourmet beachfront grill open for lunch only, and two a la cartes open for dinner including Asian (Klay Talay), and Italian (Mia Casa). Dining options available at Sensimar include one buffet (Arrecifes, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), three a la cartes including Mexican (La Carreta), international (Gourmet Pub), and Latin fusion (Culinarium, open for lunch and dinner). The reservations policy has been changing as of late, so ask at check-in if any restaurants need advance reservations. Sensimar Seaside Suites also offers two more informal dining options including Sandwicherie and the beach BBQ–both open for breakfast and lunch. EDSS bars include the swim-up/pool bar, a bar on the 4th floor, and the lobby bar. Sensimar Seaside Suites bars include a tequila bar, pool bar with swing seats, beachfront bar with swing seats, margarita bar, and four swim-up bars (one of which is for Sensimar Premium Jr. Suite guests).
Entertainment: Live music at Sensimar’s beachfront bar, nightly shows at Sensimar’s theater, and occasional movie night on Sensimar’s beach. This schedule may change in the near future to include more offerings onsite at EDSS.