Royal Hideaway, Riviera Maya
We stayed at the Royal Hideaway for a week in December 2006. I was looking for a stress-free vacation, a place to get away for a week and not do much of anything. On other trips I had seeked out adventure, nature and sightseeing. But this time I really just wanted to sit on the beach with a good book and spend some time with my sweetie. We had been to the Riviera Maya before - it's a easy flight into Cancun. We definitely wanted an all-inclusive, and I had narrowed down the choices to Royal Hideaway and Secrets Capri. While I was deliberating, my sister went off to Secrets Capri and had a wonderful time. I'm sure that would have worked out well also, but everything I read about Royal Hideaway sounded just right. And it was!
Royal Hideaway is known for service, and it certainly lived up to the hype. What made it so special? I think the employees genuinely enjoy their jobs. My husband called it an energy. The atmosphere was not stuffy or elitist, just relaxed. The property is smaller than many in this area, so it had a boutique hotel feeling. The property is arranged around streams with little bridges and garden areas. There are a couple of quiet pools, in addition to the infinity pool and an older pool near the beach.
There are six restaurants, and you do have to make reservations for dinner. But this was not a problem, and we did change things around after a few days in order to go back to our favorite places again. The restaurants are intimate, and the food for the most part was excellent. The one exception was the night they have a dinner theater with a Mexican show. If you've been to Mexico, you've probably seen a similar show. That was OK, but the buffet dinner was not up to par. I don't understand the reason for this, since all other food was so good.
There has been a lot of talk about the beach in this area, since there is erosion from hurricanes and other storms. While we were there, we witnessed a few feet of beach being swallowed up during a storm. The employees (successfully) struggled to save a palm tree from being swept away. A couple of days later, the beach that had been under water was back. So the size of the beach varies, but it did not seem to be a big problem for this hotel. The Allegro hotel next door has a big problem though, with no beach at all, at least at the time were there.
The town of Playa del Carmen is a 5-minute taxi ride away. We had been there before and opted not to visit this time. There is also a shopping center within a few minutes walk of the hotel, serving the resorts in the area. I liked this shopping area better, since they had mainly the same wares, but they left you alone to browse. I found the vendors in Playa del Carmen to be rather aggressive, and this was uncomfortable for me. If you like to bargain, you may enjoy it.
There are numerous day-trips that can be done from this area, such as visiting ruins at Tulum, snorkeling, or taking the ferry to Cozumel among others. The hotel also has a small gym, which we did use a couple of times, and a few computers with free internet access. There were a number of "activities" such as yoga and dance classes. I dont think they were well-attended, but available.
Due to the restrictions on bringing liquids on board a plane, it's best to save purchases of liquor for the Cancun airport on your way home. You can make your purchase, and they hold it for you until you pass the final security check before boarding. If you have any bottles in your hand luggage, they will take them away. This goes for water also. We purchased some bottles of water in the Cancun airport, only to see that they search your bag right before boarding, So, don't buy anything that you can't drink right then.
All in all, it was a relaxing week, just the stress-free getaway that we were seeking. I would recommend the Royal Hideaway for this type of trip.
Message Edited by LL_Editor on 02-09-2007 09:11 AM