The Royal Playa del Carmen

It’s hard to believe that such an all-inclusive resort exists so very close to Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue, or indeed right inside Playa del Carmen, given that most properties of this size in the Riviera Maya are usually surrounded by mangroves and little else. But here’s The Royal Playa del Carmen, with quick access to all the entertainment, shopping and dining venues that make Playa hot—and quicker access still to the beach.

Location is hands down one of the best selling points for this beachfront resort, but by no means the only one. This is one stress-free stay: an all-suite locale where everything clients need is just a few feet away, whether it’s sushi, an impromptu twirl along the dance floor or a cool drink by the pool.

the sweetness in-suite You can tell that this resort, one of four of Mexican brand Real Resorts, is all about the guest. All suites are delectably spacious, with a double jacuzzi and those divine little “magic boxes” where staff can drop off room service (also included) without you having to open the door, essentially allowing you to be wearing as little as you want when your meal arrives. Huge beds are decked out in Royal Bed linens and tons of pillows, and slippers and bathrobes are at the ready. TVs are flat-screened and in-room snacks and beverages make for a nice tequila-and-chips nosh post-siesta. Another favorite of ours: each balcony or terrace has its own hammock that is ideal for that abovementioned nap or just snuggling in with a good book after beach time.

Another place in which to do little or nothing—the beach. Or the pools, although it’s not for lack of activities, be it volleyball or splashing around. Hopefully clients will spend some time by the shore, letting Beach Butlers tend to them with their choice of complimentary suntan lotions, magazines and fresh fruit.

There are several suite categories here, including the very popular swim-ups. Some higher categories get a complimentary use, for an hour, of the resort’s zippy Mini-Coopers, as well as other perks including an in-suite Nespresso coffee system and Royal Beach Cabana for seaside lounging. Upper suite categories, which make up more than 80 percent of suites available here, offer Royal Service, which ups their amenities to include Bose sound systems, upgraded premium beverages, a pillow menu and Bvlgari amenities. Clients can even choose when they want housekeeping to stop by.

The Royal Playa del Carmen recently added 44 suites in the upper and deluxe categories (for a total of 508 suites) as well as a junior-Olympic pool, coffee bar and additional restaurant, El Mediterraneo. There are plenty of dining options in the resort that range from a tapas place to Mexican-French fusion, and clients can also cross the street for even more all-inclusive restaurants and entertainment alternatives at the adjacent Gran Porto Real, also part of the Real Resorts family (another plus for kid-free clients: no screaming and running at The Royal, at least from children—the minimum age here is 16, while The Gran Porto Real Playa del Carmen welcomes little ones).

Yet another of Real Resorts’ great amenities available for all four resorts is online check-in—to date, a first in the industry. Guests can register up to two days prior to their arrival, take a virtual tour of suites within their particular category and choose the one they prefer. Maybe they prefer one particular building over another, on the ground floor rather than a higher one or pick the view they want—the choice is theirs. By filling out their registration forms online, they expedite the check-in process.

royal indulgences Both this and The Royal property in Cancun offer a Mayan-inspired program of Well-Being Services at SPAzul that incorporate healing and relaxation techniques, including meditation sessions, yoga classes and sensory beach walks designed to expand all senses. This is in addition to its wealth of treatments, most of which are picked for guests based on which natural element is most represented in their lives. The spa in Playa also has a traditional temazcal for the ultimate in Mayan wellness.

This same property has an onsite Civil Registry Office to simplify the marriage process there and next door at the Gran Porto Real. Couples staying here can choose from a traditional ceremony, indoors or outside by the sea, as well as a Mayan ceremony where a shaman asks for the Mayan gods’ blessings for the newlyweds; they can even add Mayan dancers to the shindig. Weddings take place year-round here, sometimes more than one a day; there’s plenty of space in which to have tandem celebrations without one interrupting the other, including a pretty gazebo that looks out to sea. Those who book at least five nights in a Master Suite or Royal Presidential Suite get a complimentary wedding. Honeymooners or clients who want to add a little romance to their vacation can arrange for a beachside dinner with nothing but tiki torches and a couple of candles around, with a waiter keeping an eye on things from a few feet away.