El Dorado Royale, Riviera Maya – Our Review

El Dorado Royale is a beautiful, premium all inclusive resort on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. We chose this resort for our honeymoon because we wanted something that was adults only, huge, came with a beautiful beach, lots of pools with swim up bars, beautiful rooms and gourmet dining. Yes, I know we were asking for quite a lot. Add to that the fact we were certain that we wanted to go to the Riviera Maya and we thought we’d be lucky to find a resort that offered us everything.

But we got one 🙂

We did the usual reading around on TripAdvisor (where, believe it or not, one of the complaints I read was the lack of a Starbucks. Yes, really). We checked out the proximity to the airport, to Cancun and to Playa Del Carmen etc and then decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to an ocean view too (which came with a honeymoon package).

We were not disappointed with El Dorado Royale. Despite incredibly high hopes and expectations of our honeymoon, the resort met or exceeded them all. If you want the short version of this review, then all you need to know is this:

El Dorado Royale is a beautiful resort with excellent rooms, beautiful pools, incredible food and drink, a stunning beach and 5 star service!

If you want a bit more detail, then read on for our full review.

El Dorado Royale Location

El Dorado Royale is in Puerto Morelos, just 15 miles or so from Playa del Carmen and 25 or so from Cancun. Our transfer time from Cancun airport was only 45 minutes or so.

It cost us 250 Mexican Pesos (about £12) each way for a taxi from the hotel complex to Playa Del Carmen. We did this a couple of times and on another occasion, we took the free shuttle put on by the hotel (which only goes on select days of the week and strictly departs at 6pm and returns at 10pm).

The location is amazing, frankly. El Dorado Royale feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere – you do feel hidden away in some tropical paradise somewhere. But then when you want the hustle and bustle of bigger towns, vibrant nightlight, shops and restaurants etc, you’ve got that option cheaply and quickly.

The Room at El Dorado Royale

We loved our room. We upgraded to an ocean view. Bear in mind that we were on the top floor and even our view was partially obscured by trees – so although ocean view rooms at El Dorado Royale face the ocean and are the closest rooms to the ocean, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have a complete view of it. Not that it bothered us. We loved our view.

Our room was equipped with a beautiful huge jacuzzi bath. Amazing. It had a big shower, toilet, double sink area. There’s plenty of space.

There was a hairdryer provided, a mini bar stocked with around 8 beers and 6 fizzy soft drinks each day (as well as chilli chips). This was restocked daily. The soft drinks were branded (Sprite, Coke, Diet Coke) and the beers provided included Coors Light, Sol, Tecate and Heineken.

Of course, the mini bar at El Dorado Royale was completely inclusive.

The cleaner comes between 9am and 5pm. Some days we got back into our room after 4 and she still had not been. But our personal concierges did tell us we could request a time, which we did. We asked for before 2pm and our request was met each day.

Food and Drink

Where to start! Well, El Dorado Royale prides itself on what it calls “Gourmet Inclusive.” Forget everything you think you know about eating in all inclusive resorts.

The first difference between El Dorado Royale and many other all inclusive in resorts in Mexico and further afield is the lack of any buffets (with the exception of 1 restaurant at breakfast). It’s a dining experience – menus and table service. And this is brilliant.

We loved the on site pizzeria and the health bar (wraps, salads, shakes and smoothies) at lunch time. We loved the Italian restaurant in the Casitas side of the resort for dinner and the Santa Fe Grill too at dinner. We did visit the Fuentes Culinary Theatre too. This was an experience, for sure. Watching a chef cook the dish you’re about to each before eating it is great. The food was beautiful too. But we preferred the Italian and Santa Fe Grill to Fuentes, which is why we didn’t visit a second time.

Other options include Jojos (a Caribbean restaurant which has catch of the day, a number of other seafood dishes and an awesome boutique burger menu), which is open for lunch and dinner and La Isla which offers some lovely options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The restaurants were all incredible. With the exception of breakfast, which was often busy, the service was absolutely faultless.

In terms of drinks at El Dorado Royale, the premium theme runs throughout. There are a host of branded spirits on the all inclusive, including Johnny Walker Black Label, Grey Goose Vodka and other premium brands. These accompany mainstream brands like Smirnoff, Gordon’s, Bacardi and so on. The cocktail list is massive and very tasty.

Most pools have swim up bars. There are also bars open late including Guacamayas (which is where the entertainment is held) the beach bar, Bellini bar and the Martini Lounge in the lobby.

The Honeymoon Package at El Dorado Royale

I mentioned that we took an upgrade on our room which, when we presented our marriage certificate, made us eligible for the honeymoon package. I think it’s worth mentioning what that includes at El Dorado Royale.

The most practical thing this includes was free wifi for one device each. Believe it or not, the wifi isn’t free as standard at El Dorado Royale. That comes as something of a surprise to me considering this is a 5 star resort. It would have cost us in the region of $100 for 2 weeks’ worth of wifi, but it came free with our package luckily.

Probably the loveliest part of it was the candlelit dinner on the beach that was included (normally chargeable at an additional $140, I believe). This was lovely. A serene setting and a wonderful menu… and I had an absolutely brilliant steak dinner!

A lovely touch is the dessert with your little honeymoon message on it. Very sweet indeed.

Before our candlelit dinner, as we were getting ready for dinner, they brought us up a bottle of bubbly too – nice touch.

The morning after our candlelit dinner, we were brought breakfast in bed. Room service is all on the all inclusive, but they do something a little different for this particular breakfast. You can pick from a menu and we had eggs benedict and french toast… all delivered with fruit, a bucks fizz and other bits and pieces. It’s a genuinely lovely touch.

Pools and Beach

The beach is stunning. Before we went, I had read some reviews complaining about “unsightly” sandbags in the sea. Yes, there are sandbags in the sea. They act as an artificial sort of reef after the natural one was washed away as the result of a hurricane. They look absolutely fine and they attract a lot of marine life too, which makes snorkelling a little more interesting. So don’t pay much attention to complaints about the beach at El Dorado Royale. It has fine white sand, turquoise waters, plenty of loungers and sunbeds and a beach bar with service to your lounger and an epic cocktail menu. Seriously, what more can you want?!

There are loads of pools on site and most have swim up bars. The biggest is the pool at La Isla. There’s a lot of organised water activities here and it’s fairly rowdy… great for a laugh. If, on the other hand, you want to just relax, you might want to steer clear of the La Isla pool. We spent most of our days at the Tucanes pool – a smaller, quieter pool with a few sunbeds, plenty of shade and a great little swim up bar. We absolutely loved it there.

Have a walk around and take in the atmosphere at several pools. And then decide which is your thing.

The choice is brilliant, it really is!

The Grounds

El Dorado Royale employs a huge team of people to look after the grounds and gardens. There’s barely a leaf out of place on the resort. But the result is a stunning resort. It was beautiful to walk or cycle around. Genuinely wonderful.

El Dorado Royale in Short?

Superb. Definitely worth a visit and although at the pricier end of the market, you get amazing value for money. Not only will I be returning to the Riviera Maya, I intend specifically to return to this resort. Beautiful.