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Playa del Carmen Restaurants: Where to celebrate Christmas Eve?

Playa del Carmen Restaurants: Where to celebrate Christmas Eve?

Old Nov 23rd, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Playa del Carmen Restaurants: Where to celebrate Christmas Eve?

Our extended family is going to the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal in Playa del Carmen for the week before Christmas (two couples, four teens). This will be our first visit to Playa and our first Christmas away from home. Traditionally, we go to Bookbinder's in Richmond, VA, for dinner on Christmas Eve and the kids are already asking what we're doing this year to replace that. Is there a special restaurant you can recommend to us in Playa? We've seen notes from other folks that the resort has had Christmas Eve celebrations in the past, but we're wondering if it might not be better/nicer to go into town? Since we're at an all-inclusive for the week, we don't mind splurging on this. Thanks for your help!
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 06:22 AM
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And will most restaurants even be open on Christmas Eve?
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 06:48 AM
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I just got back from the Iberostar Tucan 2 weeks ago...that was my 4th trip to Playa and my 3rd stay at that resort. You are going to love it!
Playa is one of my favorite towns. So many good restaurants. I'm not sure if they close down for Christmas since I've never been there over the holidays....
I would recommend you NOT eat at your resort. I've never had a really good dinner at an AI restaurant. There are so many good restaurants in town that are reasonably priced...I always eat a majority of the time in town anyway.
You should check out Yaxche (http://www.mayacuisine.com/). It's a really nice restaurant downtown Playa del Carmen that serves authentic Mayan cuisine. I've eaten there every trip...I've also seen it featured on the Travel Channel and the Food Network several times.
Another one of my favorite restaurants is La Parilla - that's more laid back than Yaxche and serves Mexican food.
Another interesting place to check out is Alux - it's a bar/restaurant in an actual cave. Absolutely amazing atmosphere. I usually pop in for a drink...have never eaten there. It can get a little humid in there but it is seriously a spot you will never forget!!! Make sure to bring your camera if you go there. Unreal! (http://www.aluxlounge.net/)
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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Thanks so much! They look amazing! Since you've stayed at the Tucan three times, can you please let me know if we should plan to tip and if so, how much/often? My sister has done an AI before where they didn't allow tipping, but I'm not seeing anything about it online.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 08:01 AM
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No need to tip at all in the resort. I've found you will get the same quality of service there regardless.

When you go into town it's a short cab ride. Make sure you negotiate the price with the cab before you leave...it should be $5, every time. I always confirm that ahead of time, i've had them try and rip me off before once I got to my destination. Going to Alux, the cab will be about $8 (and it's not like in Chicago...it's a flat rate regardless of how many people are in the cab)
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 08:19 AM
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Wow, thanks for that great advice. We'll toast you at Alux! And hope you and yours have a lovely Thanksgiving!
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 09:07 AM
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It is true you will get the same level of service with or without tipping in the AI's. All the same, please do.

Workers in those mega resorts make next to nothing and generally are supporting large extended families. They often are a long way from their families, have spend a great deal of effort to learn English and often Italian and German and work 6 days a week, 10-12 hours a day. Please be a little generous.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 09:21 AM
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Excellent idea. We are usually very generous with tipping, but just didn't know what the protocol was.
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Old Nov 24th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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We have a condo in the PDC area and always vist ALUX.The food is good and the setting is the best in Playa,sometimes they have a belly dancer or a guitar player.No reservations are needed.Maybe we will see you on Xmas eve.
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Old Nov 26th, 2010, 07:20 AM
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Just requested a reservation! Thanks so much for the advice--we can't wait!
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Old Nov 27th, 2010, 11:37 AM
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John Grays-excellent service-wonderful food.
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 11:12 AM
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marysmommy and Jimmy, we'll also be in PDC at Christmas. I, too, am looking for a special place for Christmas eve dinner. Alux sounded fabulous so I sent a reservation request. They responded that there is a special menu that night and I would have to send a deposit. Did you get the same response, marysmommy? I couldn't open the menu details so I don't know what the prices are. Any info you can give, Jimmy, would be appreciated.
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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We have stayed at the IB Del Mar which is a sister resort during Christmas. I have to say...the gala buffet on Christmas Eve was quite spectacular. Everything from lobster to beef Wellington, etc. If the IB Tucan does anything similar you may want to check it out.
Christmas day there was a great party on the beach with Santa arriving via jet ski.
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 01:08 PM
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We're staying at a condo complex in PDC but thanks, schmerl. Your posts on PDC have been very helpful.
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Old Dec 10th, 2010, 06:21 PM
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Sorry Birdie....I was responding to marysmommy ( who is staying at the IB Tucan) I should have been more specific.
ENjoy your trip.
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Old Dec 11th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Schmerl, thanks so much for that advice! We can't wait!!!
Birdie, we decided to stay at the resort for Christmas eve, but made reservations for Alux on Tues, Dec. 21. They didn't require a deposit for it, but I can understand how they might on Christmas Eve--many U.S. restaurants do the same for big nights like that.
Hope everyone has a fabulous holiday!
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Old Dec 11th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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Marysmom,
Staying at the IB Tucan for a week entitles you to three ala carte dinner reservations. MAKE THEM AS SOON AS YOU GET THERE! You can be put on a waiting list for more, but you are going at peak season.
For loads of info on the IB Tucan go to this site and scroll down to the section on the Tucan/Quetzal:

http://www.iberostar-board.com/boards/index.php
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Old Dec 26th, 2010, 07:05 AM
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Just a follow up to AmyKW--thank you SO much for the Alux recommendation! We loved it. The food was fabulous and we took the tour with the very charming Alex, who showed us many fascinating parts of the cave. It was one of the highlights of our trip and really impressed our very jaded teens!
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 11:38 AM
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Glad you liked it!! I am amazed at Alux every time I see it. Glad I could help
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