A member of the Leading Hotels of the World and a recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award, Royal Hideaway Playacar has firmly established itself over the past 20 years as a premiere destination for the discerning traveler who enjoys the very best in resort dining, service, and amenities. The resort is set amidst 13 acres of beautifully manicured, lush grounds and offers 200 guest rooms in two and three-story “villa” accommodations. Guests wishing to be pampered and well-fed in a classy, quiet environment while still close to Playa del Carmen’s shopping and nightlife will love this resort.
Returning guests will also want to check out the new renovations which Barceló Hotels and Resorts Group has made (there was a change in ownership in 2016)–many areas of Royal Hideaway Playacar were renovated in 2016 including the following:
- guest rooms including balcony/terrace areas
- Allegria Bar
- The Deck/Grill restaurants
- pool bar
- creation of a sports bar with foosball, pool tables, and flat screen TV’s
- upgraded WiFi network
The Royal Hideaway Playacar creates a subtly refined atmosphere through the use of its décor and attention to detail–fresh flower arrangements on beautifully carved antique tables, potted palms, wall alcove art pieces, and wrought iron chandeliers let guests know they are in for a special stay. Guests are greeted with moistened towels and sparkling wine, while the ensuing check-in is a pleasure at small, individual tables. Ponds, a Zen garden, and three small “relaxation pools” help erase guests’ tensions and cares; there are many areas around the resort where couples can find private “we” time and feel that the resort is theirs alone. The spa also melts tensions away with its specialized treatments including, but not limited to, the sea shell massage, couples’ candle massage, and the Royal Experience which uses pulverized precious stones.
Although some guests may not choose to seek out the smaller, more private relaxation pools, the beachfront infinity pool or its adjacent sister pool may do quite well instead. From the vantage point of the infinity pool, guests can gaze out at the white sand and turquoise Caribbean Sea through a grove of palms, or lounge by the Jacuzzis located on the bi-level oceanfront deck. Umbrellas provide shade by the pools while Bali beds can be found throughout the grounds and beach. Repeat guests will note that there is now late afternoon poolside entertainment (typically live music and bingo), while the resort continues to have periodic visits from an aquatic group who performs in the pools.
Stepping down onto the wide white sand beach, a small palm grove provides natural shade on the north side of the resort, while sun seekers can get their tanning done in the more exposed beach area on the south side. Ocean swimmers will note that there are no major drop-offs, rocky outcroppings, rocks, or coarse sandy bottom to deter water fun, only the occasional day of rough waves to keep guests close to shore or in the pools. The beach is walkable in either direction–Playa del Carmen’s famous 5th Ave. is a 25-min. walk north, while snorkelers will find a place to have fun just past Sandos Playacar which is the last resort on the strip.
Shade covered paths connect the pools, buildings, and guest room villas at the Royal Hideaway Playacar. Each villa has an inner courtyard (look for the villa-assigned concierge to be located at his/her desk in this area), while room interiors have been newly decorated with grey walls and white linens to brighten the normally dark interior space. Walk-in closets and large marble bathrooms with a small separate shower and jetted tub are standard features. While only Presidential Suites have full ocean views, there are some guest rooms which have partial ocean views.
Royal Hideaway Playacar offers several unique dining experiences including the Chef’s Table Experience (this meal is an extra charge and not included in the AI meal plan) at the resort’s signature restaurant, Las Ventanas. The Chef’s Table Experience allows a handful of guests the opportunity to interact with the executive chef via live feed while dining in a separate climate-controlled, glassed-in room within the restaurant. The 12-course meal is specially chosen and overseen by the executive chef with a sommelier suggesting appropriate wine pairings. Another unique dining experience is the dinner theater offered once per week, as well as an excellent “High Tea” served from 4-6 p.m.
Royal Hideaway Playacar used to allow guests as young as age 13; now it is strictly an adults-only resort (age 18+). It attracts an affluent international crowd, primarily those in their 40’s and 50’s, as well as honeymooners, and is a popular destination wedding resort.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Beach, dinner theater, free WiFi, walking distance to Playa del Carmen, recent renovations
Con: Building concierge service can be spotty, no swim-up bar, can be too quiet for younger guests
Best Suited For: Affluent couples in their 40’s and 50’s, honeymooners, destination weddings.
No. of Rooms: 200
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, ceiling fan, desk and chair, armchair, walk-in closet, mini-bar, digital safe, flat screen TV, two telephones, radio alarm clock with iPod dock, coffee maker, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, umbrella, hair dryer, dbl sinks, jetted tub, separate shower with rainforest showerhead and body wand, toiletries, 24-hr. room service and complimentary WiFi. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Luxury: King or two dbl beds. These rooms do not have much of a view–expect views of adjacent resorts or other balconies.
- Luxury Royal View: King or two dbl beds. Garden/resort grounds view.
- Luxury Sunrise: King or two dbl beds. Partial ocean view.
- Luxury Relax Pool Room: King or two dbl beds. These rooms are close to the main pools with easy access to them.
- Honeymoon Suite: The separate bedroom upstairs contains a king bed, desk and chair, armchair, entertainment center with flat screen TV, coffee maker, digital safe, full bathroom, and balcony with two full loungers and table and chairs. Downstairs is the living room which has a sofa, coffee table, table and two chairs, entertainment center with flat screen TV, coffee maker, half bathroom, and additional balcony with table and two chairs. Pool and partial ocean view.
- Suite Ocean View: Separate upstairs bedroom with a king bed, desk and chair, armchair, entertainment center with flat screen TV, coffee maker, digital safe, full bathroom, and balcony with full loungers and a hammock. Downstairs is the living room with a sofa, coffee table, table and two chairs, entertainment center with flat screen TV, coffee maker, bathroom, and additional balcony. Ocean view.
- Royal Casita Room: This suite is located in the upper part of the main building on two floors. The room category includes additional personalized services including private transfer service, private check-in, luxury welcome gifts, assignment of a personal concierge, and the ability to design a personalized resort experience including meals and spa treatments (certain treatments can be done within one’s room). King bed, Nespresso coffee machine, hair straightener, daily newspaper, kitchen area, and above amenities.
- Presidential Suite: King or two dbl beds in separate bedroom, living room with sofa, two armchairs, coffee table, entertainment center with flat screen TV, wet bar with full bottles of liquor, dining table with six chairs, full kitchen, balcony with Jacuzzi, loungers, hammock, and above amenities. Pool and ocean view.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Six pools (two main pools with no swim-up bar, a spa pool, and three relaxation pools), six Jacuzzis (three are beachfront), spa, beauty salon, fitness center, non-motorized water sports, bicycles, bicycle tour to Playa del Carmen, tennis courts (lit at night), tennis lessons, multi-sports court, dinner theater, sports bar, High Tea, pool and beach wait service (with the exception of the smaller relaxation pools), Bali beds, business center, falconer (keeps the birds away from diners), villa concierges, tour desk, gift shop, car rental, medical services, and ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: This resort has six a la cartes (no buffet restaurants) offering such items as grilled fare (The Grill), Asian (Azia–teppanyaki show tables and sushi bar), Italian (Palazzo), Mexican and Caribbean (Spices), gourmet fare (Las Ventanas), and the Chef’s Table Experience ($) which is not included in the all-inclusive meal plan. There is also a weekly dinner theater (Club Royale); reservations are needed for Club Royale and the a la cartes. While guests used to be able to make advance reservations several weeks prior to arrival, most guests will now have to settle for making reservations once checked-in. The Deck also serves lunch on the patio, while “High Tea” is served from 4-6 p.m. in the lobby. Bars include the poolside bar, Las Ventanas Lounge Bar (the piano bar), and Bar Allegria. Champagne is also available at High Tea, while drinks are served at the dinner theater. There is no lobby bar or swim-up bar. NOTE: Check to see whether guests can still order a “box lunch to go” the day prior to an excursion.
Entertainment: Dinner theater, live music in restaurants and bars, synchronized swim show, karaoke.