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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mexico: A Week in Review

Our trip to Mexico was exactly what we needed with not much more than some well-deserved R&R with my husband. So on that note I give it a 10 out of 10 :-)


You can see all of our photos on my flickr feed, but here are some highlights. (A full review is below.)

Our visit to Tulum, the Mayan Ruins:

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The resort:

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Our Suite:

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Since I always rely on trip reviews, especially through tripadvisor, to plan the perfect getaway I will let you in on my more extensive review of our all-adult, all-inclusive resort: The Royal Playa del Carmen. If you use trip advisor, you can find my review here.

Otherwise here is is below for your reading pleasure: The Royal Playa del Carmen, "Beautiful grounds & suite, hit or miss food & drinks."

We just returned on June 5th from our 5-night/6 day stay at The Royal Playa del Carmen and were impressed overall. The staff is friendly, always smiling, and although service was often slow it was acceptable for a low-key, relaxing atmosphere.

Check-in however was disappointing and we had to wait two hours for our room, one hour after the first hour they said we would have to wait. Hanging out in a hot lobby and a hot restaurant after a long flight was not ideal.

Once we got into our suite we were happy. The suites are spacious, comfortable and very clean. The bed linens were soft and high thread count. I enjoyed reading in our balcony hammock and we really had no complaints about the room at all. The in room Jacuzzi tub was a nice touch, too.

The location, just steps from 5th Avenue was ideal if you ever plan to go off the resort, and it was just a 15-minute walk to the ferry to Cozumel which is convenient if you plan to visit the island. The pools were large, never overcrowded and the beach is equally gorgeous. You have to rise early to get your ideal pool or beach loungers and cabanas, but even later in the day we never had trouble finding a chair somewhere.

I think the drinks and food is where The Royal fell a bit short of my expectations. If this was a middle-of-the-road resort, I would have been impressed, but for place the touts their food as "gourmet” and ranked #3 in luxury, I think they are over-promising and under-delivering. So I'm going to be a little harsh, largely due to my high expectations.

DRINKS: It took me two days to really find a suitable drink at the pool. And I'm really not that picky. Often I settled for beer. Daiquiris are not fresh at all and are very syrupy. And although top shelf liquor is offered, the same types are not offered at each bar, each time. One day you might get what you ask for and the next day (or even hour) they might say they don't have it there. I asked for a coconut rum & pineapple juice at one bar and he told me that the coconut rum bottle was just full of water and not real rum, and that he didn't have any available. Ok. Vodka tonic it is then. Also, their wines by the glasses were not good at all. And they only offered one white and one red table wine; otherwise you had to upgrade to buy a bottle. For an all inclusive, they should include at least one or two acceptable red and white wines by the glass.

FOOD: Spice and Mediterraneo were just ok, but what do you expect from a buffet style service? Ceviche at Spice for lunch was nice.

Asiana & Maria Marie's (French Mexican fusion) were the shining stars of the resort. Both had great food, with a terrific presentation to match. At Asiana I recommend the Shrimp with Coconut Milk & Vinegar, but skip the sushi rolls. Sashimi was ok, but don't order anything with crab, it was dried out and looked to be imitation. At Maria Marie's the Caesar Salad is TO DIE FOR (and I'm not easily wowed by a salad), along with the crème brulee for dessert.

I also had a wonderful grouper at Pelicano's, where my husband also had a very good flank steak. Tapas & Pintxos had a small selection but was nice for lunch. The fish tacos were stellar and the sangria there was the best drink I had all trip (finally!).

The new Coffee Bar over near the newer, smaller pool was also very nice and a good place to get an iced latte in the morning. You also can dine at the sister resort across the street where we enjoyed Maria's (Mexican) and both ordered enchiladas mole, but did not like Il Pescatore (Italian) at all. Skip it. My other complaint is that every indoor restaurant, with the exception of Asiana, was still very hot inside. Even at night I was sweating at almost every meal, which certainly takes away from a fine dining experience.

Lastly, room service was good...when they got it right. Their coffee and cream was terrific, but we ordered room service breakfast 5 out of 6 mornings and it was only correct twice. They didn't mess it up enough for us to complain or wait 30 minutes for a fix, but a tiny bit annoying none-the-less.

Overall, if you aren't much of a food snob, and want a beautiful place to relax and unwind, I highly recommend this resort. It's clean, comfortable and overall classy. If you are a foodie, just mentally prepare yourself for good (but not great) food and ok drinks and you'll be just fine.

And about Playa del Carmen in general, I will still stand by my word that this area of Mexico has some of the most beautiful water and beaches in the entire Caribbean :-)

2 comments:

Jennelle June 13, 2010 at 10:13 AM  

Isn't Tulum gorgeous?!?! I'm sorry the food/drinks were only so so, but the resort is beautiful! I can't wait to go on vacation. :)

Maria June 14, 2010 at 12:08 PM  

Beautiful pictures!!! Tulum is gorgeous. The water is so blue!!!

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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