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“Paradise - but needs improvement”

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El Dorado Casitas Royale, by Karisma
Ranked #25 of 389 Hotels in Riviera Maya
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 22 February 2013

My wife & I just came back from a week at the El Dorado Casitas Royale (Feb 12 - 19, 2013). This has to be the nicest resort we have ever been to, however, we cannot say that it was 'perfect' ... Here's why:

The Good: we had a swim up suite in the Casitas section 28 - very nice indeed !The room was attractive, comfortable bed, the balcony lead right to the lazy river, the heated pool was kept sparkling clean, grounds were immaculate, the scenery was stunning, and all the servants were friendly for the most part. There was 24 hr room service available, and a variety of gourmet restaurants with quality dishes to choose from. The two best restaurants (by popularity) are Kampai & D'Italia Casitas, which would not disappoint any food critic.

The Not So Good: the service & communication needs improvement ! This is the first place we have stayed, where the concierge (whom you have to work with in setting up your on/off site reservations) is also a Karisma resort timeshare agent ! (Of course, they do not call them timeshares, but rather, memberships). We advised that we were not interested in attending the timeshare seminar (just to get an extra perk), but after mingling with some of the other guests in our section, we learned that many of them were 'members', so we changed our minds and decided to book an appointment to see what all the fuss was about. As it turned out, we never did get to a seminar, due to the poor communication between the concierge staff.

Upon check in, our concierge told us that most popular reservation times available in the restaurants had already been taken for the next 7 days. We had just arrived - how could that be ! After showing disappointment at this news, we were given reservations in several of the restaurants, and told just to show up @ 6pm at Kampai (the most popular), as we would likely be accepted with/without a reservation. When we showed up at 6pm, the line up was around to the back of the building ! I've never been to a 5 star resort, chose to stay in an upgraded section, and still had to wait in line for 20 mins to get a table - that is 'not' considered 'royale' service in my book.

I guess that my negativity comes from the fact that we were expecting something special - a cut above - 'royal' treatment in the casitas section, and what we got was the regular service. Don't get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with the regular service treatment, as long as you are not paying 'extra' for it as we were! So, all we got for the extra money we paid, was a little nicer room ....

Just a few little things to note, but certainly not vacation busters:

if you felt like an after dinner cocktail in the privacy of your room, you were out of luck. The pool bars closed @ 5pm & room service does not deliver drinks to the room, and all you had was beer & water/soft drinks in your fridge. Thus, you would have to wander out to one of the lounge bars to find a drink.

whenever we would flush the toilet, a gush of water (at least we like to think it was just water) would shoot up from the drain in the sink (so we just left a face cloth over the drain).

the night maid would show up after 10 pm to turn down the bed (if at all) - sorry but too late for us - so most nights we turned the bed down ourselves.

the shuttle service shuts down after 11 pm, so if you are over at the other end of the resort trying to take in a show and a nightcap - don't miss the shuttle or be prepared to walk back to your room ...

the beach is great, but the ocean was generally too rough for safe swimming in this area

This was our fifth time to Mexico and the first to the EDR. This resort is beautiful and we still love Mexico. The point that I'm really trying to make here, is that if you signed up for an average stay at an average resort and all for a great deal - then no problem - who cares if the service is 'off' a bit ! In this case, we chose the EDR and specifically the Casitas section, to experience all those extra 'perks' you expect when paying more money than the regular EDR section guests - which we never got ...Last year, we stayed at Paradisius Varadero in Cuba and upgraded to the 'royal service' - what a difference that made ! They treated us like rock stars - private transportation to/from the airport - no line ups - 24hr room service with fancy cocktails - full bottle of rum in the room - gourmet restaurant (reserved only for royal service guests - with excellent food) - no waiting for shuttles - free golfing - no timeshare seminar pressure .. Now 'that' was an experience to remember, and here's the best part - it cost us $900 per person less !

Room Tip: Don't spend the extra money to stay in the Casitas section - you'll get all of the same priv...
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Bades54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4,114 - 4,118 of 4,831 reviews

Reviewed 20 February 2013

This was the best vacation I have been on to date! Thank you to Amanda Carlow for her guidance in helping me book this incredible trip.

The property is gorgeous- everything is maintained emmaculatly. We stayed in a swim up Casita and it was definetly worth it. Every morning we would wake up, either order breakfast to the room or go out for a breakfast, and then come back and lounge by our pool every day. It was so convenient lounging right outside the room, being able to go inside for a break when needed. Our pool connected to the poolbar, but if you were feeling lazy the poolbar waitor would come over to our area and serve us- some of the best frozen drinks I have had (a personal favorite was the Dirty Monkey). The food was good everywhere we went, and we also loved ordering in, as they would set up the meal at our outdoor table, overlooking the pool area. Personal food favorite was the Mexican Rincon for lunch, and the Italian for dinner, but not a bad meal anywhere we went. The beach isnt perfect, but the pool and atmosphere make up for it, and the water is still the Carribbean blue and pretty to look at. If you are looking for a beautiful beach to swim in, might not be here, but you can certainly make up for it with the pools and other beautiful areas to lounge. The service is great, being waited on hand and foot is certainly missed upon return home.

I have been on many caribbean trips, and this was by far the best. I am 25 and came down with my boyfriend and we couldnt have asked for a better time. It was quiet enough that if you wanted R&R you can get it, but if you want action there are plenty of bars and more hoppin areas. We loved our neighbors in the Casita next to us, so we would lounge out with them a lot of the time.

I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for a beautiful resort, with upscale food and drinks for an all inclusive, and just an amazing break from reality. Thank you again to Amanda Carlow for leading us here and allowing us to enjoy el Dorado Casitas Royale!

Room Tip: We loved our Casita in the 2800 section!
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank AllysonBrooke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2013

My husband and I just returned from our second trip to El Dorado Spa Royale. We went previously for our honeymoon five years ago and loved it so much we knew we had to come back for our anniversary. Our first trip we stayed in the villas (and loved it!) and the Casitas were the new, hot thing so this time we had to stay there. We were not disappointed!! We stayed in the 29 block which was convenient to both Kampai and the Casitas Italian (more importantly to Bellinis!). Sorry, this is a long review, but I think there is a lot to say about this resort!
Check-in:
- Champagne and simplicity!
- We met with Joaquin to book our return trip to the airport and then were off to the Casitas Check-in
- Check-in was quick and we went to lunch at Kampai while we waited for our Casita to be ready and with-in 40 minutes were in our room with more champagne on ice!

Room:
- Thank you to our housekeeper, Brenda! She was the best!
- Air conditioning was easy to use and efficient.
- Outdoor shower was perfect (never used the indoor one!)
- Jacuzzi tub was awesome and we used it a few times (very relaxing)
- The curtains need to be laundered both inside and out, but that is our only negative
- Our mini fridge was refreshed everyday. We needed mostly just water, but the pretzels and chocolate were nice to have
- Coffee pot in the room was only used to heat water for tea and it was nice to have early in the morning before breakfast

Food:
- Our favorites for dinner were Villa Italian (Ossmanny, our waiter, and the beef carpaccio were fantastic) and Kampai (spring rolls were amazing!)
- Lunch was a toss up between La Isla (thank you to Micdel for being a great waiter!) and Las Olas (gourmet corner in Casitas 31 block), but the burger my husband got at Kampai was pretty delicious too!
- For Breakfast, room service was always easiest but I loved the coconut and macadamia pancakes at Kampai and the muesli at any of the restaurants
- We had a dinner on the beach and even though the wind was blowing, it was romantic and delicious! By far our favorite main courses of the week! Espresso poached pear!! Thank you to Felix, our waiter, for making it so special!
- We definitely had some meals that we ordered multiple choices, only because there is so much on the menu that sounds delicious we had to cover all of our bases!
- Yes, we had reservations for Casita Italian and Cocotal the first two nights but then we just winged it. We went to the Villa Italian early (around 6pm) and got right in. We went to Kampai around 7-7:30 and waited for an hour, but we had a room close by so we waited for awhile in our room before heading to the beach bar to wait the rest. We went to La Isla later around 9 and got right in too!

Drinks:
- Bellinis was the best mostly because of Elio! Best bartender ever! He can make anything! I wanted an espresso martini and he went down to the restaurant to get some fresh espresso for me! He was super nice to my husband and I all week, and since the bar is usually gets quiet around 9 or 10 we sere sometimes the only ones there!
- House wines were just ok but not as terrible as I was afraid of
- Martini bar was fantastic (get a lemon drop (vodka) martini!)
- Beach bars were okay. I had Mango Tangos all week (frozen strawberry and mango daiquiri combined)

Spa:
- We did the couples massage on the beach and it was worth it! My husband was so relaxed!
- Also, go about an hour early to do the water journey. It's definitely a unique experience, and worth it!

Resort:
- Cleanest resort anywhere and they are always working to keep it that way
- There are golf carts everywhere but unless you need to walk on the whole sidewalk they can go right by.
- Take the bike tour! It's a way to get your blood moving and see the parts of the resort you may not know exist and say hi to Oscar! He also did the archery with us and it was fun!
- The resort is huge but we liked being able to walk around considering how much we were eating and drinking. And we were asked every time if we wanted a ride in one of the shuttles
- Always found a place lay whether a hammock, bed, or lounger
- I brought water shoes so we could walk out on the rocks and it was cool to see all the little sea life out there
- We did not have any problems with Wifi anywhere on the resort even the beach

Tips:
- Yes, we tipped. We usually did a dollar for breakfast and lunch and 2-3 for dinner. For the service you are getting (most of the time), it's worth it. If you don't think the service was worth it that's up to you too. We tipped our maid and mini bar guy too. They work hard!

Lomas Travel:
- Transportation to and from the airport was quick and easy. We got the Lincoln Navigator for just the two of us and it was worth it! They even walked us right to our line at the airport.

This is one of the best resorts around and if you want to complain and be picky, you will be about anything. You are on vacation!! Slow down, relax, and enjoy your time off! Walk around the resort (you'll be eating enough to want to move a bit!)! Enjoy the flowers and the wildlife! If your dinner takes an hour or so, enjoy the time with your loved one!
We loved the resort just as much this time as the last! And we are already trying to figure out how to get back again! Thank you to El Dorado and everyone I mentioned for making our stay so wonderful and memorable!

Room Tip: Second floor rooms are definitely more private and the stairs were not as scary as some people have...
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank cbg616
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2013

My husband and I visited the El Dorado Royale in September 2012. We had a swim out suite, which I highly recommend. The suites were positioned in a way were you didn't have direct view of the people next to you which offered some privacy which was nice. The resort was all inclusive and the food was really good-particularly the Asian restaurant. I do recommend booking reservations for dinner to get the ideal time you wish to dine. There were several little lunch type cafes for food throughout the day and room service was included as well. The drinks were amazing and the location could not have been better-it was literally right on the beach and there were cabanas set up all along the beach to lounge in. My husband and I went snorkling as well and that was great. It is a big resort with plenty to do, I highly recommend it!

Room Tip: The swim out suites were well worth it, and allowed you to swim from your room to the main pool!! It...
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Alissa N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2013

Everything is Excellent, the food, the service, the staff, the cassitas blew us away. Great trip, Great weather. Would highly recommend. It is big, but we ate and drank so much the walks were welcomed! The staff that were around our cassita were all great and we met other guests that will be friends for life. Too much positive energy around the whole place to have anything bad to say.

Room Tip: Choose a cassita on the Cancun side vs. the Playa del Carmen side as you get more sun!
  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank LuvSun100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about El Dorado Casitas Royale, by Karisma

Address: Km 45, Carretera Cancun-Tulum, 77710, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#15 Spa Hotel in Riviera Maya
#17 Luxury Hotel in Riviera Maya
#22 On the Beach Hotel in Riviera Maya
#26 Green Hotel in Riviera Maya
Price Range: RM1,937 - RM4,352 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — El Dorado Casitas Royale, by Karisma 4.5*
Number of rooms: 171
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El dorado casitas royale, one of conde nast traveler readers’ top 100 hotels in the world and a AAA four diamond resort, is the pinnacle of romantic seaside luxury.Nestled along the beach in a separate, secluded area within El Dorado Royale on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, El Dorado Casitas Royale by Karisma is an adults only resort designed for romance. A superb array of amenities and services makes this an unrivaled destination for romantic getaways, weddings, honeymoons, and anniversaries. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Dorado Casitas Royale, By Karisma Hotel Riviera Maya
El Dorado Casitas Royale, By Karisma Mexico/Riviera Maya

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