The Royal/Playa del Carmen Av. Constituyentes #2, (984) 877 29 00, US 800-760-0944. 507 luxury suites. 3 pools; 2 hot tubs (+ 4 in spa); full-service spa (with temazcal). 7 restaurants, no reservations needed, gluten-free and vegan menu avail. All-Inclusive; adult only (16+).
Guests at this beachfront luxury resort are greeted by staff members holding a hand over their heart. It is a beautiful, calming gesture that evokes a smile. Each guest room has its own terrace--90 percent with a hammock—and indoor turbo tub whirlpool with sports car-like seats for two. The resort is especially popular with young couples in their 20s and 30s who like to drink and party, and sometimes the communal hot tubs sometimes seem to hold more people than water. Tequila and more flows at the swim-up bar, at the swing bar, and also in each room’s included mini-bar. On-property activities include: scuba diving school (the introductory class is included); daily yoga, pilates, and spinning classes; an escorted morning and afternoon bicycle tour; a weekly cooking class, tequila tasting, and wine tasting. A different show is scheduled every evening, and special events and theme dinners are sprinkled in. When you want to explore, you can rent a Mini Cooper ($40/hr., $130/day) or sign up for a day trip to one of the spectacular Maya archaeological sites found in the area.
This hotel has been rated the highest in the region for food safety preparation. It has the very strictest standards for food hygiene (more hotels with stellar kitchen sanitation). This means you can eat lettuce and unpeeled vegetables without worry. Additionally, the fare is gourmet quality. Among the many restaurants are beach-side Pelicanos and buffet Spice, which has a special corner for vegans. Exclusive Chef’s Plate--where diners watch their seven-course gourmet dinner being prepared—is available only to guests staying in Royal Jr. Suite Ocean Front and higher categories. A romantic dinner on the beach with violins—perfect for popping the question or celebrating something special--is available at additional charge. A coffeehouse and evening tequila bar with 50-plus brands are also available.
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image c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers