Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Mexico & Central America
Reload this Page >

Playa del Carmen - Gran Porto Real or Playacar Palace?

Playa del Carmen - Gran Porto Real or Playacar Palace?

Old Jan 9th, 2012, 08:56 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 258
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Playa del Carmen - Gran Porto Real or Playacar Palace?

I'm planning a vacation for myself and husband, our 9 month old, and my husbands' parents (70s, but still active) for one week in late April. We are looking at the Playa Del Carmen area because of the cheap flights, nice beaches, and warm water.

The choice of resorts is overwhelming so I'm hoping for your help! Using Trip Advisor and this forum, I was considering Gran Porto Real or the Playacar Palace. Well, I was going to propose these to my in-laws so that they had two different price ranges to choose from.

Any thoughts on these? I would like a nice pool area and to be on/near a nice beach. Obviously needs to allow kids, but since we only have an infant, I don't care about kids' activities and would prefer a quieter resort with fewer loud kids (!) and fewer partiers. I would appreciate the food being better than average (for an all-incluvise...I know I can't make my expectations too high in our price range). If we happen to be walking distance to the main town restaurants/shopping, even better. It doesn't have to be an all-inclusive, but we are definitely looking for more of a resort feel, versus a villa/hideaway type place. If you have better suggestions, that would also be welcome.

Thanks!
caze17 is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2012, 11:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
bookit.com/mexico/playadelcarmen/hotels/playacar-palace-all...
Best for me better reviews kiddie programs...
hotellaspalapas.com good no AI there.
Xel-ha.com and ecotulum.com to the south a do not miss.

Happy Planning!
qwovadis is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2012, 03:12 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,590
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
We enjoyed a family get together a couple of years ago in June at Playa del Carmen. Our stay was at Villa Mimac in a kind of a gated community...see www.playabeachrentals.com This house owned by someone in Houston was roomy enough for our 10 people not too far from a beach. Many geckos and chirping birds and tropic growth. A small pool in a patio. Also a large neighborhood pool.

We had a relaxed schedule with various people cooking meals and exploring sites such as a day trip to Chichen Itza ruins. Some did zip lining and others walked in a nearby bird sanctuary. Also we walked to a nearby Reef Clubhouse with a sandy ocean beach and swimming pools (had day passes).
Another activity was a catamaran trip at Dolphin Experience.
Also in the evening Riviera Maya including our wedding anniversary. This is a short drive into town.

Bill in Boston
Ozarksbill is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2012, 04:07 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,055
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I wouldn't say the Gran is then your best choice. The beach is ok but the water in front is rocky and there are boats moored to the right with the pier on the left.
Playacar Palace is very pretty from the outside (I've not been in) but it is right next to the ferry pier on the left. The beach in front and to the right is gorgeous.
colokid is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2012, 05:44 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 258
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the tips! Looks like the trip has been pushed back to May, but hopefully, we can come together to make a decision soon...
caze17 is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2012, 07:58 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just got back from Playa. Playa itself is tame and found that vendors along La Quinta (5th St) were respectful and far from pushy as in many parts of mexico. The one thing about teh resorts, you do not get harrased by the beach vendors on the resort portion of the beach. Water in Cancun and Playa can be a bit rough (and rocky) for youngsters and some older people.

We stayed 4 days as the Real Playa and 7 days at the Grand Porto. The Real Playa is good for budget seekers, food is nothing fancy but bearable. However not much selection. Suites are ageing but acceptable. Minbar for 5 people was stocked with 2 beers, 2 water and 1 diet and 1 reg Pespi. we asked for more water, but the staff was not permitted to do so. We walked to the Mega and bought our own.
Grand Porto, pool is nice, staff is very friendly. Family suite was comfortable and clean. They are good at stocking mini bar fridge with enough soda and water for 4 or 5 people. Food selection is better, but quality over all is far from worth the per diem cost. Try and find a vinagrette for a simple salad, it is rosemary infused oil and white vinegar infused with what looked like sushi ginger, made for a very odd combination. We had to request plain oil and vinegar which they had to retrieve from the kitchen.
They have 2 seperate restaurants. Maria's, mexican, is presumptous in their presentation and falls flat on flavour. They present salads (about 2 Tbs worth) in a deconstructed form on large plates with drops and/or lines of congealed dressing (desserts were the same). We love authetic mexican but this was horrid. Sorry, 3 round Tostito chips topped with tuna and corn and mayo salad (no flavour) and then stacked on a large plate with some sort of congealed "dressing" does not make a Santa Clara Salad. The main courses lacked seasoning and tasted as if it had been premade and reheated to serve. Portions were minute by any standards.The Cajeta (caramel)Crepe was tasteless.
The Pescatore (by far the most popular) was the best option, same kind of presentation but the flavours were better. However, found that over 3 visits, sauces, pizzas, garnishes varied tremendously.
As for the steakhouse, the filet was the best cut, despite what the waiter suggested. They had some black stuff painted on some of the plates, purely for artistic purposes. They serve all steaks, beef, in all restaurants with the same brown sauce (they refer to it as peppercorn sauce.
Service at the steakhouse and Maria's was painfully slow.
Our Suite was directly infront of the pool, which was actually quieter during the day than after hours (11pm-3am). They did not feel the need to interfere with the teenagers and young adults, talking loudly, yelling and laughing, until we would either come down and complain or yell at the kids ourselves. For 3 days we were woken up by the noise and. They just assured us it would not happen again, yet the security would not approach the group until we took the first action. At that, these kids were rude and verbally abusive to us and security. Management did absolutely nothing but take not of our room number.
We are members of Real Club and after our experience we will never stay at Real Club again, or recommend it to anyone. Having taken some 15 cruises in europe and carribean over the past 6 years, we can truly say that cruising is a far better value for your money.
mudpudelz is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2012, 08:14 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Another point about Gran Porto, there is quite a mark up on excursions and activities booked through them. Step outside, 30 ft down the beach and snorkel, fishing, scuba is a better deal. Walk up to La Quinta and other excursion groups will be happy to offer the same excursions at a better price.
Hotel shuttle to airport is about double what we paid. We had excellent service from Cancun Shuttle, they were punctal (amazing for mexico, lol), clean, well maintained vehicles. Polite drivers that had enough english to understand and be understood. On arrival the representative was right at the exit and quickly steered clients to their vehicles.
mudpudelz is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mollytmcd
Mexico & Central America
4
Aug 5th, 2012 03:59 AM
Bmeyer
Mexico & Central America
14
Apr 11th, 2009 03:29 AM
pielady
Mexico & Central America
6
Oct 6th, 2006 02:15 PM
jd_denver
Mexico & Central America
11
May 23rd, 2006 07:33 AM
leapoffaith
Mexico & Central America
11
Apr 28th, 2004 07:47 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO