This article is from the June 2002 The Mexico File newsletter.
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A Royal Hideaway

by Dan Millington

Dan Millington is a freelance writer and photographer. He has been covering Mexico (and loving it) for the past seven years. Publications he has worked for include: AAA Mexico TravelBook, Fodor’s Yucatán Gold Guide, Moon’s Baja Handbook, Departures Magazine, Orange County Magazine – and he is currently on the masthead as Travel Consultant for South Coast Magazine. Dan is currently residing in San Clemente, California. He wrote an article on the Riviera Maya for the December 2001 / January 2002 issue of Mexico File.   

Ten minutes south of Playa del Carmen along the Mexican Caribbean coastline, there exists a treasure not too many people know about. It is called Playacar. Away from the hustle and bustle of Playa del Carmen, this is an ideal spot for peace, quiet and romance.

There is only a handful of resorts here, one of which is the new Royal Hideaway Resort & Spa. Rated, four diamonds by AAA, the Royal has it all.

The hotel features 192 rooms, six Junior Suites and two Presidential suites in a two-story villa-style layout with views of the Caribbean Sea or the beautifully landscaped gardens. Each room is entered through a courtyard with garden and fountain and each of the eleven villas has its own concierge to ensure that the guest’s every need is met. With a ratio of two employees for every guest, the service here is impeccable. All rooms include a separate shower and tub with hydromassage jets, terry bathrobes, satellite TV with remote, coffee maker, a safe and mini-fridge, to name but a few.

Four gourmet restaurants offer an eclectic array of delicious cuisine. Spices serving Mexican-Caribbean (try the fresh fish fillet in poblano chile sauce with roasted corn relish), Palazzo serving Italian (try the salmon ravioli with fennel sauce) Ventanas serving Intercontinental (didn’t get a chance to eat there) and Azia serving Pan-Asian (try the deep fried whole fish with sweet chili sauce). All restaurants require dinner reservations as sittings fill up quickly.  

Another plus is 24-hour room service. High tea is served everyday on the hotel’s patio near the lobby beginning at 4:00 PM. The piece de résistance has got to be the hotel’s spa. Boasting of the Western Hemisphere’s first Thalasso/Marine Care center designed by Thalassotherpy expert Thalgo, the spa offers a variety of massages, facials, lymphatic drainage, body wraps and reflexology. Two rooms are designed for couples who would like a massage and hot tub together. The fitness center also provides treadmills, lifecycles, weights, Cybex equipment, steam and sauna rooms and your own personal trainer.

Activities at the resort are endless. With water being the constant theme, the Royal offers six swimming pools. Water sports include snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, Hobie Cat sailing and water polo. For those interested in diving and have never done it, there is a Try-Dive class every morning at the infinity pool next to the beach. Golf enthusiasts should bring their clubs. There is the 18-hole Playacar Golf Course directly across the street. Should guests want the nearby action in Playa del Carmen, bicycles are available for the 20-minute ride into town along tree-lined cobblestone streets. The guest’s personal concierge will arrange tours to nearby Mayan archaeological sites such as Tulum and Cobá, scuba diving at the world-renowned Palancar reef and trips to nearby Cozumel Island. The natural aquatic theme park, Xcaret, just 15-minutes away, offers a snorkeler’s paradise. Subterranean underground rivers merge with the Caribbean where one can explore 1590 feet long crystalline waterways. Xcaret is well worth a half or full day visit.

 Getting to the Royal Hideaway is a fairly easy thing to do. There are several ways to do it. From the Cancún airport the hotel’s private car will pick guests up for a fee of $70US one way for the one-hour trip south. Cab fares run about $50 US. Or, one can arrange a collectivo (Chevy Suburban) at the Cancún airport that is going to the Playa del Carmen area for around $19US per person. The Royal Hideaway is an all-inclusive resort for adults only. The above mentioned is included with the room rate with the exception of golf, the spa and surrounding area tours. 

Rates based on double occupancy are:  January 1 – April 15, 2002 Luxury Room rates range from $360-$430. Duplex Suite rates are $550. Presidential Suite rates are $830.  April 16 – December 21, 2002 Luxury Room rates range from $322-$391. Duplex Suite rates are $518. Presidential Suite rates are $794.  December 22 – December 31, 2002 Luxury Room rates range from $495-$552. Duplex Suite rates are $713. Presidential Suite rates are $794.  Toll free reservations and information: 1-800-999-9182. Website –