Playa del Carmen and Shangri La Caribe

Jul 13th, 2004, 02:28 PM
  #1  
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Playa del Carmen and Shangri La Caribe

Hi folks,

We've never been to Mexico and think it is now time to check it out. The problem? We don't like overly developed areas and big resorts but don't want to be too isolated either. Having looked at a few different areas, the PDC area, although highly developed in parts, sounds interesting because of its proximity to areas that we would like to explore. I would love to hear from anyone who can give some perspective on staying in this area, and specifically the area around the Shangri La Caribe. Looking for nice, clean, charming accommodation with great surroundings - sounds like it fits the bill but need to know we won't be in an area that is chock-a-block with big resorts. Thanks for any input!
starfish1 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 02:49 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Check out playadelcarmeninfo.com. You will get some info on what may possibly be part of your view - a newly built pier coming out next to the Gran Porto Real. Have you thought about Tulum? Check out hotelstulum.com and locogringo.com. And don't forget to cross reference with tripadvisor.com. And there aerial shots on cancunmap.com.
pepper131 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 05:26 AM
  #3  
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Thanks pepper, great sites to get an idea of the area. Will also check out staying in Tulum. Do you happen to know how far the pier being built is from Shangri La Caribe? Looks like about 1/2 mile but I'm not sure if it is really within sight of the resort. Many thanks again!
starfish1 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 05:30 AM
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Starfish1
I had also never been to Mexico and just returned from Playa Del Carmen...and LOVED it! My husband had been to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta and said that PDC is by far his fave. I, too, didn't want to be in an overly-developed area and I thought that PDC was perfect. We stayed in Playacar - a gated community just south of PDC which is where most of the All-inclusive resorts are and don't think that's where you want to be. When we go again we will stay in a smaller hotel in-town. There is so much to do and see in this area, yet it's not over-whelmingly developed. I would recommend PDC to anyone. We took a day trip to Tulum and I think that may be too out-of-the-way for what you are looking for. The area is beautiful and definitely worth going to for the day, but as we were taking the bus to Tulum my husband even commented on how he was glad we didn't stay that far out.
You can't go wrong with Playa Del Carmen, and I would suggest a hotel in-town. I haven't seen the Shangi La Caribe, but everyone seems to have good things to say about the Playa Maya.
aquarius2678 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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I enjoy Playa del Carmen, but it certainly isn't undeveloped. Shangri La Caribe looks very nice from the beach, but the rates I was quoted included dinner, and I didn't want that. There are numerous small properties in town itself, many very, very nice. Some on the beach. South of town in the Playacar area there are the huge resorts.

We also spent a couple of nights south of the ruins in Tulum. Lots of very interesting small properties along that stretch. We stayed at Cabanas La Conchita. Somewhat rustic, only had electricity four hours per day, from 6-10pm. Beautiful beach. Great breakfast. There are numerous other options. Also a wide range of very good restaurants. I do think if I were to return to the area, that I would rent a car. You can't walk miles on the beach because of the topography, and walking on the road is dusty and boring.

The town of Tulum doesn't seem nearly as interesting as Playa del Carmen. If you like to hang out and watch people from a bar stool, you might be happier in Playa.

Jean
JeanH is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 05:42 AM
  #6  
 
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The Shangri-La Caribe is in the less crowded part of town and the beach was fairly empty when we were there. They have lovely palapas and there was never a problem getting one. The SLC's beach area is fairly long as the resort is stretched out along the beach so there is a good amount of area for a small amount of guests and most other folks don't seem to wander down that far. (it's about a 10 minute walk down the beach to the town). I stayed there and at Royal Hideaway in Playacar on the same trip and liked SLC's beach much better! Even if you don't eat the included dinner, the prices are still a good value.
eileen is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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My wife and I visited Playa del Carmen and stayed at the Shangri La Caribe this past May. We liked the feel of the hotel from the website and it also got a great review in Frommers. What we discovered when we arrived was that there is a huge disparity in the quality of the rooms. We were originally booked in the Caribe section (in the back of the hotel) in one of the huts with a thatched roof. As soon as we arrived we realized that the room was infested with ants and we switched to another room in the same section. That night, we were awoken by large biting bugs in bed with us. The next morning we complained to management and we moved to another section of the hotel (and we paid a higher price). This room was in the Aventura section of the hotel and was very nice and air conditioned. However, we learned that the room was only available for one night and we would have to move again to the Playa section.

Our room in the Playa Section, which was the same price as the Aventura section, was also thatched and unairconditioned. Although near the sea, the breeze was not strong enough to cool off the room. We tried to switch rooms again, but were told that the only rooms available were in the original section. We had also prepaid for our stay and were told that we could not get out of our contract. On the second to last night, my wife woke up with a huge cockroach on her face, to which mgmt seemed unconvinced and unconcerned. The next morning we got a refund for our last night and switched hotels.

The beach area of the hotel was very nice. However, the food was terrible and the management was rude, unhelpful and impossible to deal with. It also upset us that we had to pay extra to switch rooms and that until the final night with the cockroach, they would not let us leave the hotel without charging us the full amount of our stay. PDC as a whole was more developed than I had expected.

On a side note, last May 2003, my wife and spent a week on Isla Mujeres, which is nearby and off the coast from Cancun. We had a great time and stayed at the Hotel Playa Media Luna. The hotel was very nice, had a nice pool and was on a good stretch of the beach and was half the price of the Shangri La. It was also about a 2 minute walk from a beautiful stretch of white sand beach. It is next door to the Hotel Secreto (www.hotelsecreto.com), which was more expensive, but looked incredible (it was written up in Conde Nast). The area was very laid back and had some decent restaurants. I would definitely consider Isla Mujeres instead of PDC if you are looking for a laid back atmosphere.
Dan_NYC is offline  
Jul 14th, 2004, 02:16 PM
  #8  
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Wow, thank you all so very much! This is just the info. I was needing and now feel as though I have lots of other options to check out. Dan, after your experience I'm sure not in a hurry to book at the Shangri La. Although I realize bugs are a big part of life in the tropics, you don't necessarily want them in your face and the management could have been better to deal with about your complaint. Isla Mujeres does sound wonderful but for our first visit think that it might be too difficult to do tours of some of the ruins from there. Thanks again everyone for all the food for thought!
starfish1 is offline  
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