TripAdvisor Web Reviews
What to expect
Apple Vacations Traveller Reviews
We really enjoyed ourselves at the Playacar Palace. The staff was top notch. Everyone greeted us with smiling faces and were eager to assist us. Francisco, the bartender, was always a pleasure to see in the morning and afternoon. He takes pride in what he does and it shows through on the service he provided us. Erik in customer service was very helpful and answered any questions we had. He went above and beyond to help us any chance he got. This vacation will be hard to beat and we look forward to coming back. Thank you for everything!!
A Non-Members View
Positives included the swimming pool and beach; the close proximity to Playa del Carmen's shops and restaurants; and, the closeness to the pier that provided transportation to Playa del Carmen. The smallness of the hotel also provided for a very relaxed environment without the need to get up early just to get a chair either at the beach or pool area. The hotel could use another restaurant for those who stay 7 days or more. Another food venue would have been greatly appreciated. The biggest disappointment was we ended up with a room with a beautiful view, but no balcony. We've never been to a highly rated resort in a room with no balcony. The bad part was that no where on the resort website (and while making reservations) does it state that there are rooms with no balcony's. Upon arrival, and getting our room, I immediately requested a move, but was told that the rooms with a balcony would be given to members, but we could upgrade to a suite for an additional $1000 for the week to have a balcony. We even asked to be contacted when guests moved out, but were never contacted by anyone from the hotel in 7 days. In fact, of the 6 or 7 calls I made to the front desk, my calls were never answered. Very disappointed. In addition, once we indicated that we were not interested in becoming a "Palace" member, help from the hotel staff became very limited.
Playacar Palace is exactly what I want in a beach resort, so I’m reviewing the resort in the order of what my priorities are; with the beach first.
Beach: It is the best beach in the Riviera Maya for swimming. I’ve stayed at several resorts in Mexico and in Punta Cana and none compare to this. The sand is still soft, white, and plentiful. You can wade well past any breaking waves (when they have them) and still stand up. The water is clear and beautiful. The water was unusually rough when we were there and it was still very swimmable. There were always beach chairs available and although there is only one beach side bar, the staff is always walking by and taking drink orders.
Location: Again, a perfect location. One block from the pedestrian Fifth Ave. in Playa del Carmen, next to the pier for the ferry to Cozumel, and yet it never looked or felt overcrowded. Senor Frog’s is next door but was never too loud (but it wasn’t spring break either).
The Hotel: Unusual but met all my needs. It is actually the old Continental Hotel that was bought, gutted and rebuilt by “Palace”. It is white; stark white. There is no Mayan or Mexican influence in the decor so if you want large palapa reception areas, and trails through jungle gardens with iguanas, coatimundis and monkeys, you won’t find them here. Instead the resort takes on a bit of a chameleon presence with a little Brazilian bossa nova music, good jazz, hip hop by the pool during the day and even a country song or two. It is small (200 rooms) and it looks like they all have ocean views. Everything is very close together, which I like. Reception area has one bar. There is a huge second story outdoor veranda overlooking the ocean, one buffet dining area next to the pool. The one outdoor bar serves the beach, the poolside and the swim up bar. One gift shop, one sports bar, an outstanding Italian restaurant and a Japanese restaurant. Everything looks towards the ocean. The entire resort appears to be handicapped accessible in a very subtle way that just incorporates into the design. The pool is nice but not one of the huge, ½ mile long rivers with fountains, bridges and waterfalls; those exist but not here. The pool is right on the beach, small to average in size and usually had available chairs. Water activities, kid’s area, swim up bar, even a ping pong table in the water are all there, but I prefer the ocean.
The food: I’ve been to enough all inclusives to not expect great food; however this was the best (still not great). They’ve added a wood fired grill to the outdoor bar so you can get good pizzas day and night. The Italian restaurant is close to great and unlike the usual so-so theme restaurants in other resorts. It has a modern and changing menu with things like pumpkin risotto and a parmesan soup. Husband said the beef was excellent. I think the buffet worked well with this size resort. Food just appeared fresher and there were no mobs of people.
Staff: Being a smaller resort, you get to know them staff and their shifts. Everyone from the girls that walk untold miles every day taking drink orders on the beach, to the waiters who always remember your name and how you like your coffee. Antonio usually met us as we walked in the door with a smile and a handshake. Angel at the reception bar is a gem; professional and knowledgeable. But everyone was eager to help and here’s the best part; they all appeared to enjoy working there and they all seemed to work as a team. The front reception area was a little more chaotic when we were there and the physical reception area is not terribly impressive to look at, but they did their best. We had paid for a small upgrade for our room and ended up with a substantial upgrade to a suite (Other than getting there late on a crowded night, we’re still not sure how that happened). There are many people doing many things in that area and it was confusing when you had a question. Best bet is the “public relations” desk to the left of check in.
Specials: There is a 1500 dollar resort credit that can be used for many things. Don’t know if this is a permanent offer. Anyway, previous reviewers were correct when they say it can be tricky. You pay fees and taxes and the quoted base price is usually inflated. Still, we had a nice wine upgrade at the Italian restaurant and brought back a couple of tequila sampler boxes for very little money. We were not asked to take a time share tour but I think others were. The gift shop will let you use 40 credit dollars but only if you spend 100 dollars. You’ll get better deals in town if you like to bargain. Or if you hate to spend time haggling over prices, the gift shops at the Cancun airport have decent prices.
Entertainment: I seldom go to the shows at resorts but these were amazing. I loved the water ballet in the pool, try not to miss it. I think their overall entertainment is much better than any place I’ve stayed in the past. The weddings (of which they have many) look beautiful and I don’t think they cost much (if anything) extra to set up. I watched their photographers on the beach and was so impressed with their creative poses, set ups etc.
The Riviera Maya has great places to stay and explore but I doubt that I will find a place better than this one.
Had a rocky start
The day the Apple rep drove us to the hotel he tried to let us off at a hotel that was not ours. He did not speak hardly any English I insisted this was not ours and I was not getting off because I would never get to ours without it costing an arm and a leg, so he drove on, I showed him my paper work next he tried to drop us at the Riu palace, once again I said I was not getting out. He was pretty frustrated as well as I was. Finally he asked at another hotel that just has palace in the name. On the way home we had a delayed flight because something with the crew in St.Louis. After sitting 5 1/2 hours at the airport we finally got out of Cancun. They gave us a 5.00 voucher for lunch but our lunch was 60.00 at the airport. Also I liked that we bought an upgrade at the airport each way 20 dollars a piece to board first a couple drinks and a snack. I wouldn't have bothered paying the 40 dollar on the way home cause we sat soo long at airport I was starting to be fit to be tied. As far as resort it was great but getting there with the Apple rep was very frustrating!
My wife and I arrived @ 12- not able to access our room until 3pm. We were given a double and not able to be moved to a king-so slept in separate beds all 4 nights... The wait staff/service people were very kind and helpful all throughout our stay. The beaches were nice-no rocks or strong currents but littered with a lot of trash and a ton of seaweed. We met a couple that said they found a vile of blood on the beach the 1st day and wouldn't go back- it wouldn't surprise me.
One week before our trip we were told by Apple vacations that our return flight thru Air Tran was cancelled and we needed to book something else ourselves that ended up costing us $667 more! Ironically we were put in a van from another hotel getting on our cancelled Air Tran flight to Atlanta...needless to say were were furious. It was a very expensive 4 days of subpar paradise. I will never book thru Apple Vacations again.
Room service left a lot to be desired.on 3 occasions they either got the order wrong or forgot to bring items.looked like they just threw it together.food was descent.in one rest. Our waiter was tasked with other duties hence food was delayed and presented in the wrong order,but good when we got it
TripAdvisor Traveller Reviews
Beautiful oceanside resort!
Playacar Palace, an all-inclusive resort, was like a dream come true for my daughter and me! The resort is relatively small -- between 200 - 300 rooms, but every room has an ocean view, which is simply gorgeous, and my daughter and I loved the fact that it was smaller and more intimate than many others in Cancun and the Playa del Carmen area. The entire staff, including maids, waiters, concierge, etc., was superb and could not be friendlier or more accommodating. Abigail and Edmund were two of our favorites and helped answer all of our questions.
Our room was fabulous and was kept immaculately clean. The fridge was kept filled with juice, sodas, beer and water. There was also a cabinet filled with several varieties of liquor that was self-serve. Beds were extremely comfortable, and the in-room spa was quite nice. We also had 24-hour room service, so we took advantage of beautifully prepared desserts in the late evening and delicious breakfasts a couple of mornings when we were feeling lazy.
The on-site restaurants we ate in, including Japanese, Italian, the all-day buffet and an outdoor restaurant, were just superb as well! There is also a wonderful poolside bar and "snack bar". There is fun entertainment every evening in the resort lobby, which also includes a full bar that is open all day.
One of my favorite activities was getting a facial at the resort's GORGEOUS spa! I was so relaxed and comfortable that I fell asleep -- what luxury!!!
The resort is SO conveniently located to the ferries that go to Cozumel, which we could also see from our room. We walked only about a block to the ferry landing. There was also a new, modern open-air shopping mall about two blocks from the resort and then several streets of more traditional shops.
I highly recommend this beautiful resort to families, couples or friends!
Fabulous hotel - we'll be back!
This will be long - apologies in advance.
We stayed for 14 nights through Virgin Holidays. The transfer from the airport was good and checking in was easy.
They upgraded our sand suite to a governor suite - this was very nice of them and we really appreciated it.
Good choices at the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner (although I must admit to feeling as though the choices were reduced as they headed towards the closure for the refurbishments).
The the other restaurants were great, we visited the Italian and Japanese at least 3 times each. The Brazilian was OK, but the wait for each food item to come seemed long and as it was outside it was too hot for us.
We had the romantic dinner on the beach - the flight to Mexico is worth it just for that meal - we ate as the moon's reflections bounced off the waves and it felt like we were the only people on the beach that evening.
Our governor suite was great. There was a separate part for us and our kids (aged 9 and 15) with a TV and fridge each. The alcohol in the room is an odd thing to get used to (as is the jacuzzi), but I think it's a cultural gap on our part.
The early morning is a great time to walk along the shoreline and to sit and read quietly by the pool side (or chat to others who get up early too). I became (for the first time) one of the annoying people who placed towels early to guarantee a spot by the pool. This needs to be down in order to get a place as there is limited seating by the pool.
The afternoons can get noisy by the pool as the entertainment staff put the music on very loudly and the games are carried out loudly too. I did find it annoying, but they do a great job trying to cater for all audiences, so it's worth bearing that in mind.
The staff are amazing and work so hard to keep the children entertained. They really helped make my son's holiday memorable for him. The ladies there smiled and played all day long and even spent time with the children in the bars in the evening when off duty - truly professional and they clearly love the children they have been looking after.
We had a great experience there and the fabulous staff did all they could to make our holiday.
Staff in particular I'd like to mention are as follows:
Nataly Lisea - she seemed to always be in reception waiting to hello people and I don't know if she's a high level employee (she was able to arrange things for us), but she is typical of the hard working staff who smile and go out of their way to ensure guests are happy and well looked after.
Olivia - the hostess at the buffet/Italian/where've she needs to be - she too was professional and not only remembered we had a table preference, but always had a smile and indulged us practising our Spanish.
Braulio and Rodolfo and the lady with the short hair by the pool made the days and evening enjoyable with their passion for entertainment.
There was one bar man, Alejandro who remembered my drink order and was great too.
We are aiming to return in two years (hopefully), but definitely in four years time as it will be our 25th wedding anniversary and I can't think of a better place to stay.
Wonderful Vacation at Playacar Palace!
We had a fantastic time! The activities, the restaurants, the proximity to 5th Avenue and the Pier, the beach and pool, the incredible staff -- all around great time! Highly recommend! The Asian restaurant was a real favorite - it was incredible and they were so great about bringing you items to try that you hadn't even ordered. The Brazilian was great, too, and the waiter was just wonderful about assisting our daughter with her Spanish, which she thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated! The entertainment staff were great -- kept us busy and entertained all day and through the evening, too. Our girls enjoyed the paddle boarding, tennis court was a short walk off the resort, but great. All of the staff was very attentive. The food at the pool bar was awesome, too, and should not be missed!
Overall very good, was a bit expensive compared to other Palace and Hard Rock resorts we've been too. The pool was small and given there are so many children, an adults only area/pool would be nice. There was no way to escape the screaming, crying, splashing children.
The perfect beach, the perfect location, wonderful resort
Wow what a wonderful trip. Everything was perfect! First of all I must thank the staff! Tania our DC was awesome. Abbalardo. Josefina, Edwardo and Jonathon made us feel so special. Yiar at Italian was the best waitor we have ever had!, Liurdes best massage ever, and Paola at the pool. I did not get the activity director at the pools name but he was awesome. I must recommend the show Alkamia where Francisco and Rahul made us feel so special. The porter Manuel made us feel welcome from arrival and again at departure. Finally I cannot say enough about Antonio the waiter at our private dinner and the sommelier Leonel was fantastic!!!
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