Hugging the shores of the Riviera Maya’s pristine coastline, the Royal Playa del Carmen all-inclusive adults-only resort lives up to its regal name – right down to its palatial decor.
Located just steps from the Playa del Carmen’s renowned Quinta Avenida (Fifth Ave.) and all of its trendy boutiques, bars and restaurants, the Royal resembles a sprawling Mediterranean village and is a kingdom unto itself. Seemingly endless outdoor marble corridors lead the way to a host of restaurants, bars, spa, guest rooms and suites which are truly fit for a king.
Offering sweeping ocean or garden views, guestrooms are spacious and boast in-suite double Jacuzzis, luxurious marble bathrooms 32” LCD satellite TV with DVD/CD player, and loaded iPod. The mini-bar is stocked daily with water, beer, soft drinks and snacks and a liquor cabinet which pours international liquors via a soda-fountain type dispenser. Room service is available 24 hours with a “magic box,” where your order may be delivered, promising discreet service, should you not wish to be disturbed.
Pillow-top mattresses, high thread count linens, plush duvets and an ample pillow menu assure a good night’s sleep. By day, the resort offers the ultimate decadence poolside with butlers who not only provide cold towels, ice water, suntan lotion and newspapers, they will “spritz” you (on request, of course) with a spray of cool water with which you can refresh your “fevered brow.”
Beachside you’ll find cabanas and chaise lounges with a flag system with which you can alert the butlers when you wish to order a cold beverage. Boogey boards, snorkel and scuba equipment are also available.
Not only is dining a non-stop gastronomic event, the different venues showcase countries around the world.
One of the most appealing is Maria Marie, which claims to specialize in “upscale gourmet Mexican-French fusion cuisine.” The effect results in a Mexican hacienda-like atmosphere, with Mexican décor crafted by local artisans and typical cuisine – with a French twist. Open for dinner only, reservations are recommended.
Tapas & Pintxos dishes up trendy gourmet fare from northern Spain and the Basque region, while El Mediterráneo is the place for “nouvelle” Mediterranean specialties served buffet-style. For a unique dining experience, Asiana features contemporary gourmet Asian fusion cuisine in a romantic setting.
A more casual atmosphere can be found at Spice or beachside at Pelicanos, both open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
When the sun goes down (and often long before) the action begins at the Royal’s bars with live entertainment, cool drinks and tasty “botanas” (treats). Always a lively place, the Lobby Bar, overlooking the resort’s cascading waterfall and main “avenue” features live entertainment, while the Martini highlights its namesake in a variety of different flavors.
The very popular Tequileria and Cigar Club Bar showcases a wide selection of Mexican tequilas and after dinner drinks, as well as hand-rolled imported cigars sure to please the most discerning cigar aficionado. There is a surcharge for cigars and for some of the tequilas.
On the beach, Trade Winds pool has a swim-up bar and Pelicanos promises the perfect spot to meet for drinks before dinner. The VIP lounge is open 24 hours with premium drinks, beer, wine and snacks.
Spa and Sports
The perfect R &R can be found at SPAzul. Focusing on restoring physical and mental equilibrium and general well-being, signature spa treatments draw from the essence of ancient Maya rituals for healing and wellness. Services include a variety of massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. Additionally, they offer the temazcál treatment, a purifying steam bath intended to heal the body and cleanse the mind and soul.
Weddings can be staged in the seaside wedding cupola and romantic candlelight dinners can also be booked on the beach.
If there is one drawback to Royal Resort, it would be the distance from the lobby and main area where most of the restaurants are located – to the beach and many of the rooms. They are far-flung from the main building, guaranteeing extra long walks every time you want to get to the main building or leave the resort.
Another peril is that because hallways are located outside - and made of marble - they are treacherous when it rains.