Playacar Palace

Bahia del Espiritu Santo Esq. Abraira de Arriva | Playa del Carmen 77710  [SEE MAP]Playa del Carmen  [SEE ADDRESS]
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at the Playacar Palace

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Guest Reviews

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5

Aqua Bar at Playacar palace

Feb 16th, 2020

We were shocked the quality of service we received by the pool area and bar. Carmen (the barman) took excellent care to make our drinks exactly how we asked, and went above and beyond to meet our needs (ie ran inside to get us berries for our nutella pizza). The server Gaby made endless trips throughout the days to bring us food and beverages. A special thank you to Carmelino and Gerardo too. All of these individuals are the reason we would come back again and again!! Gracias! TRIPADVISOR.COM USER 

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5

The resort is the vehicle for the Palace staff to make make you part of their family.

Feb 16th, 2020

This is a very long review but hopefully you will find it informative and helpful. The short version is that we loved our stay at the Playcar Palace. The facilities and the amenities are first rate but what really made our stay so fantastic was the incredibly warm, friendly, professional and helpful staff that bent over backwards to make our stay so memorable. My wife and I and our two adult children and their significant others stayed at the Playacar Palace earlier this year. Originally, I wanted to book one week at the Sun Palace and one week at the Moon Palace Nezuic. When making our reservations, the Moon Palace was booked (more about that later) and the Sun Palace was closed for remodeling. Because of this, we decided to book one week at the Playacar Palace for everyone and a second week at the Cozumel Palace for just the two of us. After we made our reservations, I contacted Consuelo Villegas Vargas at the Sun Palace to get an update to see if the remodeling might be done in time for us to change our last week to the Sun Palace. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be ready yet. Consuelo was kind enough to give the names and emails of Isabel Sanchez and Carmen Abnal at the Playacar Palace. I can’t thank Consuelo enough for putting us in contact with Isabel and Carmen. I emailed both of them to make a room upgrade request and liquor cabinet upgrade, both of which are available to Palace Members at no additional cost. Both Isabel and Carmen responded quickly to my emails and graciously fulfilled my requests. During our stay, both Isabel, Carmen and Abigail went out of their way to check in on us when we were in the lobby area. Isabel and Natalia Sanchez surprised us with a small birthday cake and a bottle of Champaign delivered to our room with a birthday greeting for my 70th birthday. Since our son was only staying 4 nights, their transportation to and from the Playacar Palace to the Cancun Airport was not included. Luis Glicia, with Palace & Elite Transfers was able to painlessly transfer our son’s transportation fee to our reservation. Thanks to Luis, the transfer was quick and seamless. Since all of us were arriving at the Cancun Airport on the same day and within 45 minutes of each other, we were able to all ride in the same van to the Playacar Palace. The staff at the airport were very accommodating and the trip to the resort only took about 40 minutes with no stops along the way. The check-in process at the Playacar Palace was seamless and quick. The front desk staff and Carmen Abnal, the front desk manager were extremely pleasant and helpful. With Carmen’s help via previous emails, our three rooms ended up on the 3rd floor Concierge Level with two of them right next to each other and the other room just down the corridor. All three rooms were in the center of the resort with beautiful ocean views and a view of the Playa del Carmen ferry pier. Just as a side note, I waiting until about 7 days before our arrival to correspond by email to Carmen and Isabel. Once checked in, we were directed to Abigail with Guest Services. She provided a quick overview on the use of the Resort Credits and who to talk to about making reservations for the spa, golf and excursions. She also scheduled our Members Benefits Update which she said would take only one hour. Apparently, the Palace has taken members complaints to heart about the update taking much longer due to the hard sell to upgrade their membership. As it was, the update took about 70 minutes. There was a push for us to upgrade but it wasn’t objectionable to me. Hardly a hard sell like we had experienced in the past. The Concierge Level rooms that we stayed in aren’t any different than other rooms but there is an evening turn down service, chocolate partitures and other amenities that are part of the Concierge Level. Quite honestly, I don’t think I would pay extra for the Concierge Level but since it is a free upgrade to Palace Member, when available, I took advantage of it. Here are a few observations about the rooms. There is hardly any noise that is transferred from adjoining room so the rooms are very quiet other than an occasional door slamming in the corridor. The rooms are nicely appointed as would be expected for an upscale resort. They include a two person Jacuzzi. The balconies are large enough to accommodate a small table and two chairs which we used frequently in the morning and evening. The bed was very comfortable. Not too hard or soft. However, the pillows were a little more difficult but there is a pillow menu which we tried to use but most of the pillows we requested were not available. They need to work on this if they are going to offer it. On past stays at the Palace Resorts, we have taken advantage of the 24-hour room service, especially for breakfast. But on this trip, we never used it. With the Lobby Bar and the Del Mar Restaurant so close, we just walked to them for whatever we wanted. The bathroom is separate from the bedroom/sitting area which we liked. The shower was very nice but it seemed a little smaller than the ones at the Sun Palace. Unlike the Sun Palace and the Moon Palace, there was only one sink which really was not problematic for us. Unlike the Moon Palace, all of the rooms are very close to the beach/ocean with full or partial ocean views. This is also true of the Sun Palace. Both the Sun Palace and the Playacar Palace are much smaller than the Moon Palace. Consequently, it is much easier to develop friendships with the staff. The whole atmosphere at the Playacar Palace is much more intimate. One of the nice things about the Playacar Palace is its close proximity to the Playa del Carmen ferry dock, public beach and 5th Avenue. 5th Avenue is a tourist mecca or trap, depending on your point of view. It is a fun place to visit if you like touristy shops, restaurants and bars, some of which are pretty nice but some are not. And then there are the hawkers, trying to get you in to their shops, restaurant, bars, some of whom try to sell you tours and timeshares. I find them easy to ignore. Because of the resort’s close proximity to these things, it’s easy to go off site for a little variety of experiences. We felt safe when we did go off site. We never ventured too far away from the more touristy areas. There are three restaurants at the Playacar Palace. The Del-Mar which serves buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner with an omelet station for breakfast and a grilling station for lunch and dinner. The food selection, especially for lunch and dinner varied enough that we were frequently trying something different. Our favorite hostess who always greeted us with a smile was Yanelly. All of the servers at Del Mar were very good, especially Isreal and Carmen (the bar man). We found the desserts and the ice cream selections at Del-Mar to be very very good. We probably over indulged in some of the desserts and ice cream which would explain why I gained about 4 pounds in two weeks. The Mo Mo which Oriental Cuisine is only open for dinner. It has Tepanyaki Tables (Hitachi style) with seating and separate tables for al a carte entrees. You will need to make reservations to eat at the Tepanyaki tables. Victor was the very colorful and entertaining Hibachi Chef that prepared our food both times we ate there. He was more like a happy juggler with his utensils, cutting, mixing and tossing all of the ingredients, including a large bowl-shaped rice mound made up to look like a panda. Almost as a side note, the food he prepared was very delicious and the servers were very attentive. The desserts at Mo Mo were to die for. The last time we ate there, they brought out a small birthday cake with a candle and sang happy birthday. Awesome!!!! The Bocelli Italian Restaurant is open for dinner only and is first come, first serve. The restaurant serves a mixed Italian fare with some more continental items such as steaks and seafood. You can use your resort credits to add lobster and some other items to your meal. We at Brocelli three times. I had the filet all three times because the first one was excellent, tender, juicy and flavored just right. It took them three tries to get my steak done to medium rare the second time. The third filet I had was done perfectly. I did have the lobster with my steak the first and third time we ate there. It was about 4 oz and was delicious. It was sweet like a cold-water lobster but it was probably a warm water lobster. Don’t be afraid to ask for a small bowl of melted butter on the side if you get the lobster. The service at Bocelli was not quite as outstanding as Del Mar and Mo Mo’s but it was acceptable. I’d give it a B. It did take longer than expected to get our food, especially the second time we ate there. Both my wife and I spent a fair amount of time in the Lobby Bar, where we had the opportunity to meet and get to know some of the other guests. Benito, by far, was our favorite bartender. He knew right off the bat what a Bloody Maria was (tequila instead of vodka). He started to refer to me as Bloody Maria. I am a tequila drinker and there was a fair amount of very good tequilas hidden from view that he was kind enough to let me try. Benito is one of the most personable persons I’ve ever met with many humorous stories, some of them personal. He seemed like an old friend by the time we left. Leaving him, was a sad moment for me. Thank you, Benito, for being you. One of our favorite servers at the Lobby Bar was Carolina. Benito and Carolina have a great rapport and make a great team. They should get married. Just kidding. We did spend a fare amount of time by the pool. We aren’t really beach people other than having it there to look at and enjoy from the pool. If you want to choose your lounge chairs, umbrella and side table around the pool, you’ll need to go down by 7:30 – 8:00 AM before others have already draped towels, books and other things on their chosen lounge chair. That sucks, but that’s just the way it is. So instead of getting angry about it, just get over it and do it. Some chairs are reserved for Palace Diamond Member, some of whom never show up. While around the pool, we were attended to with friendly smiles and great service from Ruben and Silvia. Silvia is the elder statesperson of the pool servers and provided a great example for the younger pool server. There were other pool servers, but for some reason we really hit it off with Silvia. She is a beautiful person with a wonderful family that celebrated her birthday one evening at her home while we were at the Playacar. We love to engage in conversation with all of the staff which is why we end up getting to know many of them on a personal level. Hanging around the pool is where we met most of the Entertainment Staff. Between the music and the games, the pool staff were all very energetic, personable and easy to talk to. They managed to get me involved in the morning aquatic exercises, pool volleyball with my new found Canadian friends, bingo, and trivia games. Don’t ask me how, but I managed to win three of their “t” shirts. I think they cheated on my behalf. LOL For the most part, the music was great with a lot of variety. One thing I didn’t come to Mexico for was to listen to loud rock and roll and there wasn’t much of that. There was a good variety of Latin music, some country and some rock and roll. Personally, I really enjoyed the Latin music. Jesus, the newest member of the Entertainment Team asked me for some of the artists I like and he actually found some of the music I liked and played it, Jesus, Pepe, Francisco, Adela and Alex were all involved in the pool entertainment as well and MC’ing the night time shows. They all are great dancers, but especially Alex, the Entertainment Director and Adela, a transplant from the Manzanillo area on the Pacific side of Mexico. We especially enjoyed talking with Jesus and Adela. Adela especially has a bright future in entertainment. Alex has done an incredible job in his choice of who he has hired for the entertainment staff. What a great hard-working team. Alex also is in charge of booking the live music and the evening entertainment. We really enjoyed the fire show (we’ve seen many over the years but still enjoy them), the circus show, the break-dancing show, a traditional Mexican dance troupe and the three tenors who sang like Il Volo. All of these shows were excellent, done by true professionals and entertainers. I think the most surprising show were the break dancers. Their show consisted of much more than break dancing all the way to a circus ole style routine. I’d see any of them again. The spa at the Playacar Palace is somewhat small but adequate and nicely appointed. I can understand its small size due to the smaller size of the resort. The hydro-therapy area is coed. My wife had a facial and our daughter had a back massage at the Moon Palace Spa which is at the golf course clubhouse. It’s been recently remodeled and is beautiful. Their treatments were very good. Unfortunately, we did not write down the names of the persons that gave my wife and daughter their treatments. I used the men’s hydro-therapy at the Moon Palace after golf and really enjoyed the whirlpool, the cooler dunk pool, the jetted foot massage pool, the sauna and the cold rain shower. The separate men’s and women’s hydro-therapy areas at the Moon Palace are much larger with some added hydro-therapy amenities than what is available at the Playacar Palace. The Moon Palace has considerably more rooms than the Playacar Palace. At the Playacar Palace, I had a 30-minute holistic massage given to me by Alejandra Monzalvo and a 50-minute holistic massage given to me by Mercedes Lopez. My wife had a 50-minute holistic massage given to her by Alehandrina Vianey and a manicure/pedicure given to her by Dulce. All of our treatments were very relaxing and enjoyable. Kudos to all of the therapists as well at the attendants in the locker rooms and the hydro therapy area at the Playacar Palace and at the Moon Palace. We were supposed to spend our second week at the Cozumel Palace but after several days at the Playacar Palace and visiting the Cozumel Palace, we decided to see if we could cancel our Cozumel reservation and spend our 2nd week at the Playacar Palace. Abigail with Guest Services helped us with changing our reservation and with the help of Isabel, helped to make the change in reservation possible. The only down side was that there was an additional charge since the Playacar Palace is more expensive. We had to go through Paola Bautista with Public Relations for Members to make the payment. Unfortunately, the payment of several hundreds of dollars what put through four times which I became aware of when I checked by credit card account later the same day. I immediately told Paula about the multiple charges and sent her a pdf copy of the credit card transactions. She had to go through the Palace Accounting Dept. in Mexico City to get the charges reversed. Through Paola’s due diligence and persistence, the reversal charges, which normally takes 14 days were done in about 4 days so it ended up being done before we left for home. Thank you, Paola. For our off-site tours, golf and spa treatments, we found all of the Vacation Planners to be very helpful. Julio Antonio Alcaraz, the Sup. PVP at the Playacar Palace emailed me before we arrived to give me some insight on what the resort credits could be used for. Once we arrived, Francisco, one of the vacation planners did an excellent job of scheduling most of our booking requests for golf, excursions and spa treatments, making sure that we took advantage of using our resort credits whenever possible. He and other vacation planners were very clear that the 16% tax on the use of resort credits was billed separate from the resort credits. When the Palace first started offering resort credits several years back, there was no tax added separately so some people are surprised to find out that they now have to pay a 16% tax. To take advantage of using our resort credits for golf we had to go to the Moon Palace which is about a 35-minute ride from the Playacar Palace. The golf course at the Moon Palace is beautiful and very well maintained. The fairways are deceivingly wide. Sand traps are strategically placed along the fairways so that the fairways are actually narrower than they appear. There are also a lot of sand traps around the greens. I landed in many of the sand traps the first and second time I played. I did better the third time I played. If you are one-person golfing, you will most likely be paired with two or three other golfers. I have never been paired with golfers that were not enjoyable to play with. I usually bring my own clubs. But since I only planned on playing one time, I rented clubs this time. They were a decent Callaway set but they did not have a set with senior shafts available so it took me some time to get used to the regular shafts. For Palace Members, the rental rate is $42 per round. I believe it is higher for non-members. All of the staff at the golf course, from the reservations desk, the pro shop to the attendants were great to deal with, personable and professional. The attendants were a little chaotic only because they are very busy with trying to get golfers hooked up with other golfers, getting rental clubs and getting the golfers off in a timely fashion. Items in the pro shop are very expensive, even with the 10% members discount. Bring your own golf balls and plenty of them. We scheduled a sunset cruise on a catamaran one evening, using our resort credits. The cruise is out of Puerto Aventura which is about a 15-minute ride South of Playa del Carmen. The seas had been pretty rough in the past couple of weeks but we were fortunate that they were calm enough for us to go out. The staff on the catamaran were very accommodating, serving drinks, beer and appetizers. The cruise took us out on to the Caribbean where the water was still a little choppy. We never lost sight of land and we got to see the huge home “mansion” of the President of Corona Beer. Although it was pretty cloudy, we were still able to see a beautiful sunset. I would do the sunset cruise trip again. On one of our days, we took the ferry over to Cozumel to the Cozumel Palace which is the second smallest Palace Resort. The smallest is the Isla Mujeres Palace. The ferry ride took about 40 minutes and the ferries are decent. Although the Cozumel Palace is small, the staff and service are top notch and live up to the Palace standards of excellence. I believe there are only two restaurants there so the food choices are a little more limited than at the Playacar Palace. The Cozumel Palace is a very short cab ride to downtown Cozumel which caters to cruise ships. We did not go downtown. There is no beach at the Cozumel Palace which seems to make the pool area seem smaller. But you can go snorkeling and kayaking from a platform next to the pool. Our adult kids wanted to see the Chichen itza which is one of the excursions that is not covered by resort credits. Chichen-itza is awesome and I would highly recommend gong there if you have the chance. The trip included a stop at a cenote. The water was a frigid 60 degrees. Maybe cooler. The road from Chichen-itza to the cenote and from the cenote back to Playa del Carmen was long and less than pleasant. I believe there are other cenotes that are easier to get to so if we ever go to another one, it will be one that is more accessible. The day trip to Chichen-itza and cenote was $156 per person, including an areological guide and the transportation. I would have rather spent the whole day just at Chichen-itza with a more in-depth tour. Well, if you made it this far, congratulations. I sincerely hope that you found this review to be helpful. Good luck to you in your travels. If you stay at the Playacar Palace, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. We hope to go back. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER 

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5

Not sad any more

Feb 15th, 2020

Jesus is awesome, energy is off the charts. We didn’t get the room we wanted, but Jesus and his hifgh energy show made up for our disappointment We requested 2 queen beds and they only had a king. They said they can switch is tomorrow, but without a balcony. That sucks because I like to have coffee on my balcony, but Jesus’s movie game made me forget about my room troubles TRIPADVISOR.COM USER 

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4

Great resort but trouble accommodating all guests

Feb 14th, 2020

This is a great resort with excellent service. All of the employees do a wonderful job serving the guests. Food: Even though there are limited restaurants they are all very good. The Italian was a nice experience and Momo was entertaining. The food at both places was delicious. We could not get into the Mayan because it was booked for the week when we arrived. ?? The food at the pool side snack bar is tasty - especially the Palace burger and hot dog. We also did the romantic dinner which is a must. Rooms - We upgraded to the governors suite which was worth the money to have the extra space and the balcony. Pool - You have to play the towel game if you want a good chair. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be enough chairs. I wish this pool had a designated Diamond area. We had good chairs but they eventually were taken by Diamond members. I read reviews about the seagulls. If you are smarter than them and get rid of your food when you’re finished they leave you alone. Entertainment: Pepe took us in a wonderful morning bike ride. Adela was a lot of fun doing water aerobics. We enjoyed the daily “lazy game”. Staff: Ruben served us for the week and was great. He was very attentive and kept our drinks coming. Ulysses served us some good shots at the pool bar. Benito made a tasty Bloody Caesar each day in the lobby bar. Tours: all were booked for the week even though it was only Sunday. ?? Very disappointing. Overall we enjoyed our stay and would highly recommend it. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER 

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5

Playacar vacation Jan 2020

Feb 12th, 2020

Newly remodeled and beautiful. Food was excellent. Service was awesome! Loved being right by shopping and by the ferry to go Cozumel. Rooms were very clean and bed was comfortable. Staff gave us lots of information for things to do.we went to Tulum. Loved seeing the ruins. A guy named Moses was our tour guide and he told us lots of information. He was funny and made our day fun! TRIPADVISOR.COM USER 

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