The great thing about Playa del Carmen, located in the Riviera Maya, is that it feels like Mexico. Perhaps that’s a silly statement, but on this stretch of beach travelers can enjoy a tourist destination while they get a real feel for the country at the same time. Here, they’ll find Mexican men and women walking down the streets, speaking in Spanish, paying in pesos. Don’t get the wrong idea—using the English language and American dollars is just as widely acceptable, it’s just nice to actually get away from the norm when you go on vacation.
And the reason for our jaunt over to Playa del Carmen, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, was to check out the new Paradisus Playa del Carmen, offering amazing experience—yes, we have thrown objectivity out the window.
While many resorts cater through their marketing efforts specifically to either families or adults, the Paradisus Playa del Carmen has found a way to do both. The property is essentially two resorts—La Esmeralda for everyone, and the adults-only La Perla—joined in the middle by El Zocalo, which in Spanish denotes the area as a social square for all. There your clients will find restaurants, bars, lounges, the YHI Spa, the Palapa activities center, theater and ballroom.
“El Zocalo is a big part of the energy and life of the property,” says Bernard Wyss, area v.p. of the Paradisus brand, “with music, lounges, entertainment and nightlife for each of the two resorts.”
guestrooms + super service
But everyone knows it’s the service at a resort that makes it truly feel like home, and they do it right at Paradisus Playa del Carmen.
Welcoming all—especially the little ones—La Esmeralda features 512 suites, 122 of which are Family Concierge Suites. Amenities in these rooms go above and beyond, offering private family check-in/check-out; the services of a private butler with a cell phone to reach them directly 24/7; access to exclusive family activities and excursions, and tear-free in-room bath products, making bath time a breeze. And what better way to coax the children to bed than with a complimentary milk and cookie turndown service?
La Perla, meanwhile, provides 394 suites, 120 of them offering exquisite service through its Royal Service Suites. Guests choosing Royal Service receive similar private check-in/check-out and butler amenities as Family Concierge at La Esmeralda, but they also enjoy preferential and guaranteed reservations for specialty restaurants, spa and activities, access to a private beach area with beach concierge, a private Royal Service massage cabin in the lounge and in-room aromatherapy and pillow menus.
All guestrooms at the Paradisus Playa del Carmen are oversized and outfitted with marble floors, 40-inch flat-screen TVs, and ultra-cozy linens, while bathrooms feature LED-lit tubs so big you might need swimming lessons—and at La Perla, double rain showers, too. Add to that the eco-friendly bath products and bath salts, and the option of having either a jacuzzi tub on the balcony, or a swim-up suite providing instant access to the pool, and your clients will most certainly agree, accommodations here are nothing to sneeze at.
As amazing as the accommodations are—and really, they are—the gastronomy at Paradisus Playa del Carmen is what shines the brightest. “When you hear all-inclusive, you think buffet,” Wyss says. “We took this into consideration, and we thought, ‘If we want to be different from our competitors, we have to make gastronomy a focus.’ And we did.”
Featuring 14 restaurants and eight bars—each with its own signature drink that must be tried—nearly any craving can be satiated. There’s Latin fusion at Fuego, contemporary Asian at Bana, Mexican at Mole, Italian-Argentinean at The Grill and Mediterranean at Vento. Snacks can be found at Sunrise or Sunset Grills, while Hadar and Naos are the only two buffet restaurants on property serving up international lunch and dinner all day long. And those just named? That’s just an example. There are still more restaurants begging to serve.
However, it’s Passion by Martin Berasategui, a reservations-only experience—and we don’t use that word lightly—that is the highlight of them all. The only non-inclusive restaurant at Paradisus, Passion is the baby of famed three Michelin star Spanish chef, Martin Berasategui, and this editor tasted it all first hand, from the deliciously flavorful oysters with watercress, arugula and lemon-grass to the baked sea bass with tomato confit, peppers and lime vinaigrette, which more or less melted in her mouth.