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, ˝ 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
The best experience I could have asked for
Thatâ€™s is probably the best way for me to descirbe our stay. When I booked Playacar Palace I had no idea it was connected to Moon Palace in Cancun.. Which we have had a very generic experence at.
Such a different property! Located on an amazing beach, and so much more personal.
Playacar is located right on 5th ave- so make sure you venture out into the streets at night!
The staff here are next level amazing. Everything was their pleasure and they actually cared about you, rather than a generic worker, above and beyond has never had more of a name.
I love this place and itâ€™s a first for me to say â€śwe will returnâ€ť- not one single complaint!!
First time here, will not be our last!
What a great time...beautiful rooms, hot showers, everything you would need...they have blow dryers and a flat iron in there as well. Great food with something for everyone! The drinks were all good and the wait staff was superb! No stomach issues for me (as I can get very ill). The Italian restaurant is where we at the most. Loved it. I would recommend the dinner at the beach as well. Very romantic, food and wait staff incredible! The only gripe (and it was hard to find one!) was the hot tub outside was not very warm at all. There was a few days during our stay that were cool and cloudy. The wait staff were just walking around b/c no one was hardly around the pool area. I would guarantee, if they would have cranked up the temp on that thing, it would have been full! We will definitely be back!
My wife and i went here on our honeymoon and we fell in love with this place. We had the honeymoon suit. From the friendly staff to all you can eat it was an experience we will never forget. Food is amazing and we cannot wait to go back.
Another great stay & we are going back in January.
We stayed for 3 nights in early December at the Playa Palace. They were undergoing renovations & only had the 4th & 5th floors done. There were construction people working very hard but they were all courteous & considerate of the guests. A time or two the elevator did not work but hey, it's an all inclusive, take the stairs to work off that great food. Since only the 4th & 5th floors were open for guests, the pool or beach was not crowded at all. The restaurants were all open, the nightly shows were great, everything was as if the hotel was at full occupancy. We love the staff at the Playa Palace, when they say welcome home, they mean it. We were greeted by Carlin & the other bellmen. Nataly & Carmen were also there to greet us as well as Elvira. They really make you feel like they are happy you have come back. Our stay was great.
The entertainment staff Fania & two new members Felix & Matija were engaging with all the guests. Matija even gave my husband a private stretch class that really helped his back! The pool staff were also super attentive, thanks to Pearla, Daniella, Pauline,Silvia,Eder & Gaby. The lobby bar remodel is very nice, we had great service from Carolina, Ivonne, Josepfina & Laura. The tempanyaki table is a must do, Victor puts on a great show & cooks a delicious meal. All the wait staff is very attentive.
At Breakfast & Lunch we are always happy to see familiar faces who greet us warmly, Isaiah, Pastor,Erik, Edgar, Yesina, Elvia, Donicio & Artemio. Oscar does an amazing job on the food, we especially love the Italian restaurant & always ask for Pedro to be our waiter. The gals at the Palace Planners desk are always super helpful with reservations & questions, Xmenia, Christina, Elvira, Jessica & Yuli. We are looking forward to going back to the Playa Palace at the end of January to see how lovely it is with all the renovations finished. Thanks David for managing a great staff who know how to make vacations truly memorable. See you soon.
WAIT 6 more months minimun!
2nd time going to Playacar, and will absolutely be my last. Went there last year with family and friends (Who have a time share) and wow it was amazing. This year between the storms, the unfinished renovating and poor management the place is a disaster. I always feel to nice while reviews, but as someone who heavily relies on reviews, you must know this place ISN'T READY.
Rooms are only half finished, and those that are aren't 100% complete. We changed rooms 3 times. They also got us on the $250 charge to have a "Better view and better beach chairs" It was a lie. They also charged us an extra $96 for shuttle to the airport that was "included" when booking. They built a hot tub with a massive 1 foot useless pool around it, that takes up a huge part of the beach. They ran out of towels by 10am. They limit you to how many spa credits you can use at a time. Even when going to see another hotel for a day they asked how they were doing because they were shocked it was open for business.
Not saying the hotel wont get back to being great, but I promise you it's not nearly ready and extremely overpriced.
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