Playa Del Carmen Resorts
…keep the resort, ditch the all-inclusive part…
A few of my buddies came to Playa Del Carmen and wanted my advice on a local resort here.
I went around checking them out and offered them a few recommendations.
They ended up picking the one with the most facilities (surprise, surprise).
This place had countless swimming pools, five restaurants, a massive spa, and direct access to the beach.
I hardly saw my buddies during their entire vacation.
These Playa Del Carmen resorts are like mini-communities.
I was like, “Come see Mexico.”
They were like, “Come see the chandelier in the restaurant.”
And one of them spent half the day in the gym, trying to bulk up and look good for some Brazilian hotties who were staying there.
Who uses the gym when they’re on vacation?
If you don’t put on 5 lbs from over-eating and over-drinking, then it’s not an authentic vacation.
Why Choose A Playa Del Carmen Resort
Okay, so I understand that people want a ridiculous list of amenities.
It certainly looks appealing when you’re making a booking.
Multiple restaurants, massage therapists, steam rooms, cocktail bars, swimming pool, extra swimming pool, five more swimming pools, special sunbathing area for Germans so nobody else gets pissed off when they reserve the sunloungers at 7am…etc…
Playa Del Carmen resorts have everything.
Although I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually uses it all.
The service is always extremely good, especially because they’ve got a reputation to maintain.
Plus, there is a reassurance in knowing that everything is within walking distance.
I say walking distance, but some of these resorts are so big that if feels like you are crossing a time zone to reach the other side.
Different Types Of Playa Del Carmen Resorts
It’s hard to group all the Playa Del Carmen resorts together.
Each caters to a specific audience.
There are Playa Del Carmen resorts with golf courses on site.
You would have to offer women in bikinis as caddies to get me on the golf course instead of the beach.
“Adults only” resorts here aren’t full of swingers – unfortunately.
This just means that there are no screaming children and lots of similarly-aged drunk people.
Speaking of screaming children, the family resorts here do a good job of keeping them entertained and ensuring every guest can enjoy a vacation.
Some resorts are centered on privacy so people can enjoy private pools and executive suites where the paparazzi can’t reach them.
That’s right, lots and lots of celebrities visit Playa each year.
What Are Playa Del Carmen Resorts Like?
In one word – amazing.
I’ll explain why.
Firstly, Playa Del Carmen is a relatively new destination.
It’s not like Acapulco where all the resorts were built in the 50s and are now feel tired and unused.
The Playa Del Carmen resorts feel new and have the facilities that people demand in the 21st century.
They’re seriously luxurious and the baffling assortment of amenities are of an excellent standard.
You’re going to get a very comfortable room, great service, and everything required for a relaxing vacation.
However, Playa Del Carmen resorts are not particularly cheap.
If you just want a base to explore the Riviera Maya then I wouldn’t recommend a resort; you might want to try a cheaper hotel or hostel.
Questions To Consider Before Booking A Resort Here
Before you book a resort think about what kind of vacation you want to have.
If you want to spend 23.5 hours a day in the resort, then look for the big ones with the most amenities.
But seriously, who needs a gym when you can run on the beach and admire loads of chicks in bikinis?
Do you really need all those amenities?
Do you really need a golf course when you should be spending time on the other activities here?
Or did you watch Happy Gilmore and think that golf is cool.
Sometimes it’s better to save money on the resort so you can spend more on enjoying Playa Del Carmen or going on some of the amazing tours.
Sorry, I’ll rephrase for the benefit of some readers – sometimes it’s better to save money on accommodation so you’ve got more money for partying.
Playa Del Carmen is a beautiful city with hundreds of fantastic restaurants and bars.
So does it really matter that there are fifteen different restaurants and bars at your resort.
Think about the location.
If you plan to spend most of your time at the Playa Del Carmen resort, then take one in Playacar or out of town where the beaches are a little quieter.
If you want to enjoy Playa Del Carmen and its vibrant atmosphere, then it’s better to stay within easy walking distance of 5th Avenue.
A List Of The Top Resorts
I’ve come up with a list of the best local resorts based on general popularity.
So the biggest and most popular resorts are at the top.
That doesn’t mean that they’re the best.
I’ve lived in Playa Del Carmen for three years, so I’ve had plenty of chance to check them all out, not least when I try and organize things for my buddies.
When booking a Playa Del Carmen resort, shop around for the best deals, particularly if you’re traveling in low season.
It’s always good to get discounts on the list price, and then blow all your savings on tequila.
Playa Del Carmen Resort 1: Rosewood Mayakoba
Woah…this 5 star resort is seriously nice.
If you could describe pure indulgence, it would be a visit to this resort.
Who knows how many pools they have?
The lagoon and ocean views are incredible, and you can enjoy them from many different private decks.
The suites are huge!
Some of them even come with a personal butler.
It’s luxurious, opulent, beautiful, and just about all the other superlatives that come up in a descriptive dictionary.
Kids are welcome, but it’s not a family oriented resort.
So it’s better if you have older children who can entertain themselves.
The Rosewood Mayakoba is going to cost you.
The cheap studios are around $475 USD – $810 USD dependent on the season.
The private presidential suites range from $6000 USD – $8500 USD/night.
But they are fit for a president.
Not like some resorts where they’re just 10 or so square feet bigger than the other rooms.
On the whole, if you can afford it, this place is seriously recommended.
Playa Del Carmen Resort 2: Banyan Tree Mayakoba
One of the best things about this resort is the choice of rooms.
They have 3-bedroom villas by the golf course or romantic suites overlooking the ocean and beach.
I would recommend checking out the location of the room before you book.
Some aren’t on the beach and are a bit of a mission away from the on-site amenities.
This place has great restaurants, plus beautiful décor and facilities – even if I’m not sure a Thai-inspired theme is the best choice when in Mexico.
Expect to pay around $539 USD – $3200 USD dependent on the type of room you choose.
While this is a luxurious and beautiful property, I don’t think it’s fantastic value for money.
You’re paying a lot and you get a lot.
But at these prices, you want to be completely blown away.
Playa Del Carmen Resort 3: Viceroy Riviera Maya
This is perhaps the best resort for couples wanting romance and privacy.
Everyone gets their own space and a very personalized service.
It’s built in the jungle.
So you get privacy and a tropical vibe as you’re surrounded by trees.
It’s beautiful, serene, and right on the beach.
Plus they don’t allow kids under 16, which helps maintains the romance factor.
(Nothing worse than a stroll on the beach being ruined by two children fighting over sandcastles.)
Most suites have private plunge pools and hammocks that are set in the jungle, yet they’re still next to the sand.
Prices start from $394 USD/night, going up to $2500 USD/night for a two-level villa with ocean views.
If you’re a couple, then this place is perfect.
If you’re single, then you might be lonely.
Plus, don’t book this resort if you don’t like the jungle!
Playa Del Carmen Resort 4: Fairmont Mayakoba
If you can picture the typical 5 star resort, then it would be this one.
They also offer an all-inclusive option for those who don’t plan to leave the resort much.
Excellent service, a variety of amenities, and great rooms.
In a way there’s really nothing too much to complain about.
However, for the price tag, I sometimes feel like you should be expecting just a little bit more.
When you’re paying $500+ USD for a room then you want the absolute best.
So for me, Fairmont Mayakoba isn’t a very inspiring choice.
Playa Del Carmen Resort 5: Azul Fives Hotel By Karisma
This is one of the few Playa Del Carmen resorts that can combine something for everyone.
I’ve met families who rave about it.
But then I’ve also gone there and found groups of young people getting wasted and looking seriously hot in their bikinis.
Being a 5 star resort, you can expect great rooms and a beautiful beachfront location.
Although you don’t get the same private touches as other local resorts, this place is huge, and everyone can find their own favorite spot.
My only complaint is that everyone seems a bit snobbish here.
Staff and guests seemed to look down on me and my buddies when they stayed here.
Next time I’ll try to fit in by wearing white chinos and hanging a jumper around my neck. No thanks!!!
Expect to pay for the privilege of staying here.
Like $802 USD- $1070 USD/night during high season.
Is it worth it?
Yes, if you like to show off your wealth.
No, if you want something with more of a personal touch.
A Last Word On Playa Del Carmen Resorts
The above are just my own opinions, so don’t let it sway your own opinion of your resort options too much.
Whichever resort you choose, it’s going to be amazing.
If you’ve got the money, then do it.
And if you book a massive suite and throw a party, then send me an invite!
Lots of love,
It’s your turn. Do you have any tips, advice, or suggestions about resorts here? Please leave them in the comments section below!