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help with accomodations for family of 4 in Playa del Carmen

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Hi Fellow Travelers,
After scouring the Fodor’s forum for hours, I’ve accepted the fact that I need some help. I am trying to plan a weeks vacation for our family of 4 (kids ages 20 and 21) to Playa del Carmen. We’re attracted to the area because we love to be within a short walking distance of both restaurants/nightlife and the beach. Years ago, we stayed at Capitain Lafitte, and although the beach was beautiful, it was too removed for us and we didn’t like the fact that dinners were included. So, now, we are looking to stay closer to town, beachfront would be nice but not necessary. A friend of mine recommended the Soho hotel. So I thought we would be set. But turns out they don’t have any really good accommodations for a family of 4 (no adjacent rooms or larger suites) so we would be paying for 2 separate rooms….which got me thinking we would probably be better off for the price with a condo type place where we could have some living space.
We are not at all interested in AI and would like to be within a few blocks from a beautiful beach as well as cute restaurants, coffee shops, etc. (maybe the Little Italy section??) We would also like the property to have a nice pool (although we are more beach people). Willing to pay up to $350 a night although I would prefer between $200-300. FYI, we are looking for the beginning of August and already checked El Taj and its booked. When I called they recommended the sister property Maya Villa, but wasn’t convinced about property and the pool in particular. Checked condos on airbnb and Loco Gringo, but found it hard to sort the good ones from the bad, even with the reviews they offer.
Also, I should note that since I haven’t heard such amazing reviews about the beaches in Playa, we would definitely consider staying ½ the time in Playa and the other ½ in either akumal or Tulum if we found a great hotel/condo recommendation and it was near a town (even if its small) with local atmosphere.
Well, a million thanks in advance for any help. It is really, really appreciated!!!

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