Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
The small and upscale section of a mega all-inclusive property
Travelers looking for a small, luxurious resort with all of the amenities of a larger property, will find what they are looking for at El Dorado Casitas Royale. Garden grounds are well maintained and include vivid lawns, white hammocks strung between palm trees, and beach views. Indoors, the lobby has floor-to-ceiling windows and tropical-inspired furniture topped with white cushions. Pink orchids and a thatch roof add to the ambience. The scene at Casitas is calmer and quieter than next door at El Dorado Royale, but guests can still dine at their restaurants, use their pools and beach, and take part in their daily activities. Guests at Casitas tend to be a bit older, and perhaps more well heeled, than those at El Dorado Royale, but like those at El Dorado Royale, most are couples. Many guests choose to celebrate weddings, honeymoons, and anniversaries here as well. Throughout the day, the scene is relaxed, and tranquil; but anyone looking for something more lively can easily head over to El Dorado Royale for some fun. Just about the only interruption to the chill vibe are time-share pitches from staff.
Midway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, on the beach
About halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, El Dorado Royale is actually closer to the tiny town of Puerto Morelos than either of the two tourist hubs. There isn’t much to do or see in the immediate area surrounding the hotel, and most guests come to enjoy the property rather than the local culture. The hotel is about a 25 minute drive from both the Cancun International Airport and tourist strip of Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen. Parking at the hotel is free and easy.
Large and luxurious with incredible outdoor showers and some infinity-edge plunge pools
Besides the fact that casitas is a bit of a misnomer, they're really just king rooms with nice amenities, not little houses, rooms at El Dorado Casitas Royale are beautifully appointed. Dark wood beam ceilings add a dramatic flair to the otherwise white room, as does the orange half wall that separates the bedroom and bathroom. A king-size bed sits in the center of the room; it’s leather tufted headboard compliments the room’s dark furniture and brings a bit of masculinity to an otherwise light and airy space. There’s a small tables and chairs, a fully stocked mini-fridge (beer, soda, snacks), and a flat-screen TV that hangs above a small armoire. In a small alcove next to the bedroom is a two person hot tub -- surrounded by slate tile and a gorgeous stone fountain that fills the tub with water.
Though bathrooms are semi-open to the bedroom, they still maintain a sense of privacy thanks to a dividing wall that separates the two spaces. Bathrooms feature stone and granite finishes, have double sinks, and both indoor and outdoor showers. Both showers are large enough to accommodate two people, and are finished in beautiful white stone and dark wood tiles.
Each casita has a balcony or terrace. Some are private swim-ups, while others have infinity-edge plunge pools. Each balcony or terrace also features a small daybed and table with two chairs. Gauzy curtains can be pulled around the balconies for extra privacy.
A dizzying array of on-site activities, restaurants, pools, and an incredible spa
While the Casitas section of the property is quieter than the rest of El Dorado, there always seems to be something going on somewhere on the massive property. The Casitas’ pools are less rowdy than those next door, but the beach is smaller, rockier, and even less suitable for swimming than El Dorado Royale’s. Guests who want to take part in a beach volleyball game, or go kayaking or snorkeling, will have to head over to El Dorado Royale’s beach. There are seven different restaurants and snack shops scattered about the property, and almost too many bars to count, including multiple swim-up bars. Restaurants range from the classic buffet to a la carte options serving Italian, Mexican, Asian, and Caribbean cuisines. The a la carte restaurants require reservations, and have varying dress codes. The food tends to air on the side of mediocrity, and quality and freshness varies between restaurants. Naay Spa offers a wide array of treatments including beachfront massages and reflexology and detoxification sessions. The spa has a designated bridal floor, with massage rooms, pedicure chairs, and a full hair and makeup salon specifically designed for brides getting married at the hotel. There is also an outdoor Mayan treatment center where guests can take part in traditional Mayan healing rituals. Of course, there are a few small glitches in the resort’s otherwise fabulous amenities. Wi-Fi is not part of the all-inclusive plan, and the daily rate is scarily expensive.
El Dorado Casitas Royale, the intimate, more upscale section of El Dorado Royale is an adults-only, all-inclusive property about midway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. While amenities are the same on both sides of the resort, El Dorado Casitas Royale is quieter and feels more secluded than the rest of the property. Rooms are large and luxurious, with wood-beamed ceilings, huge bathrooms with outdoor showers, and two-person hot tubs. Some rooms have private swim-up terraces, or balconies with infinity-edge plunge pools. Most guests choose to spend their days at one of the hotel’s several pools (some have a swim-up bar) because the beach is small and rocky, and not so suitable for swimming. The on-site restaurants serve an array of cuisine types, but the food is mediocre at best. The Royal Hideaway Playacar has a better beach and food, but rates are higher.