El Dorado Casitas Royale

  • 01 of 09

    El Dorado Royale in a Nutshell

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    Highway 307, running from the Cancun airport south to the Riviera Maya, cuts a straight path through scruffy landscape. It is hard to imagine the great contrast that waits at two all-inclusive Karisma resorts, El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Maroma, just 20 and 40 minutes away respectively.

    Less than a half-hour after checking through customs, we passed through El Dorado Royale’s gate and headed down a lush, two-lane jungle road.

    An AAA Four Diamond Award winner, El Dorado Royale is ideal for those who want luxury, quiet activities and privacy, all in a big resort setting.

    El Dorado Royale stretches along a mile of Punta Brava Beach and is so large (there are 639 rooms) that golf carts regularly traverse the property, from rooms to restaurants to the spa and beach. There are also bicycles for those who like to exercise getting around.

    Despite the size of El Dorado Royale (450 acres, 10 restaurants and cafes, 15 bars, and 13 swimming pools), the winding lanes, the landscaping, the distance between the various buildings and the no-children policy create a sense of being in a small, unhurried place.

    When we arrived from the airport, we were greeted at the reception lobby and taken by golf cart to the Casitas section, a super luxurious sub-unit nearly a half-mile from the main lobby of El Dorado Royale.


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  • 02 of 09

    Guest Rooms at El Dorado Casitas Royale

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    Our second-story room overlooked the“lazy river” below, the pool shared by just 15 rooms, and the Caribbean Sea beyond.

    We could see several cabanas just for two that dot the beach. Wrapped on three sides with sheer cloth, the fourth side faces the water so you can rest on the platform bed and enjoy the sea in semi-privacy. Clearly we were in for a romantic stay.

    The elegant four-poster bed in our guest room room is fine for sleeping but finer still was the balcony bed for napping. Within moments the roar of the surf and the strong breezes rustling the palm fronds put one of us to sleep while the other enjoyed reading in the shaded outdoors.

    That night, after dinner, we took a fully enclosed outdoor shower (we could see the moon above us) and the next night shared a Jacuzzi. If a traditional bath and shower is more to your taste, that is also here in the marble bathroom. Air-conditioned guest rooms feature TV and a DVD player.

    There is one concierge for every 15 rooms in El Dorado Casitas Royale, so couples get personalized service. We appreciated our concierge’s patient explanation of the activities available at the Royale, as she showed us the map of the property.

    Getting around El Dorado Royale can seem daunting. However, even if you are cartographically challenged, don’t fear, every service person at El Dorado Royale is unflaggingly helpful, cheerful and genuinely friendly. They don’t merely point you on your way; they are just as likely to walk with you to your destination. And if you lose track of all the possibilities offered, well, that’s what the concierge is for.

    El Dorado Royale is concerned with how things smell, so the concierge arranges for which scent you want in your room. We chose “romantic.”

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  • 03 of 09

    Dining at El Dorado Casitas Royale

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    The large number of spacious restaurants, cafes, and bars with more than adequate waitstaff means that a table is almost always available (or make a reservation, to be on the safe side).

    El Dorado Royale style is casual elegance. Shirts are required in each of the restaurants and bathing suits are allowed only in places with outside seating. At dinner men must wear slacks and closed shoes.

    Tables are covered in white cloth, the dishes are china, and there are candles and flowers everywhere.

    Where to dine at El Dorado Royale? El Cocotal is contemporary Mexican and has the feel of a handsome hotel restaurant, with water flowing over an alabaster wall and a violinist serenading the tables.

    Open-air La Isla, set beside a large swimming pool, serves international fare.

    La Fondue speaks for itself.

    Jo Jo’s Caribbean Seaside Grill is the most informal of all.

    Fuentes has three open preparation stations and on several large screens placed around the room one of the chefs explains what he is doing.

    Kampai presents Asian Rim cuisine. We had beautifully presented and deliciously prepared ceviche and avocado salad, and salmon with wasabi mashed potatoes and asparagus for lunch.

    The cuisine at D’Italia is so popular that another Italian restaurant is planned.

    You don’t need to wait until dinner times to enjoy the food at El Dorado Royale. Healthy Corner, set on the beach, serves fresh fruit and whole-wheat sandwiches. Couples can also create their own smoothie concoction.

    Our favorite snack place was Rincon Mexicano, which specializes in authentic Mexican dishes. Poolside pizza and ice cream are also available.

    If the romance of your hideaway suite appeals to you more than any of these venues, anything can be brought to your room.

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  • 04 of 09

    Destination Weddings, Honeymoons and Romance at El Dorado Casitas Royale

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    El Dorado Royale has beauty, quiet, superb and personal service, and rooms designed for romance.

    It’s ideal for honeymoons and anniversary vacations.

    It is also possible to have a wedding here. With the hotel’s Gold Wedding Package, El Dorado Royale handles the necessary documentation and arranges the requisite blood tests, provides either a justice of the peace or non-denominational minister, offers the services of a wedding coordinator, and has a professional wedding photographer who creates a hand-made wedding album with 36 color photos.

    There are many venues at El Dorado Royale for a wedding ceremony. There is a small chapel as well as a gazebo on the beach and one in the garden.

    Couples can top off their day with a private, candlelit dinner on the beach.

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  • 05 of 09

    Activities at El Dorado Casitas Royale

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    Few places offer as many opportunities for exercise as El Dorado Royale and we chose ours — walking back and forth to the restaurants.

    Of course, couples can be as active as they like at here. For early risers, there is yoga. Spa treatments, available at an extra charge, are available. Bicycles, snorkeling equipment and kayaks are there for the asking. There is a fitness center with saunas and a Turkish bath.

    Enjoy dancing and want to improve your skills? There are Latin dance lessons. El Dorado also offers aqua aerobics, pool and beach volleyball, water polo, ping pong and darts (tournaments for the competitive), soccer, air rifle shooting, bocce on the beach, croquet and horse shoes.

    El Dorado Royale also has lessons in how to make cocktails and towel figures and offers cooking classes. For those whose taste runs to bingo, that’s here, too.

    Every night telescopes are set up along the beach for sky viewing, and live bands perform and movies are shown.

    One night we heard a mariachi band, then participated in a tequila tasting and watched a show based on Mayan rituals.

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  • 06 of 09

    Nearby El Dorado Casitas Royale

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    For El Dorado guests who enjoy shopping and want to experience a bit of local culture, the hotel has regular shuttle service to Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

    Excursions to Mayan ruins, from an hour away to an all day outing, can easily be arranged, as can all manner of motorized water sports.

    If you like having guidance on what to do and are happy to have someone make all the arrangements, their concierges are available to meet your requests for restaurant reservations or off-sight touring.

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  • 07 of 09

    What Could be Improved at El Dorado Casitas Royale

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    It is irritating that in a resort as luxurious as this, guests must pay for Internet access on the hotel’s computers.

    Also, each guest room has a safe with a key lock. But it is awkward to carry around the key when you want to relax unencumbered. A combination safe would be preferable.

    We also would have liked freshly made yogurt and fresh squeezed juices in the restaurants.

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  • 08 of 09

    Is El Dorado Casitas Royale Right for You?

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    If you want a self-contained, all-inclusive, no-children, luxury resort that provides plenty of venues for fine food, entertainment, and a good Caribbean beach, El Dorado Royale is a good choice.

    And if you can afford to pay more, consider the sub-section known as the Casitas. These units offer a greater degree of privacy and attention that exceeds that of Royale.

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  • 09 of 09

    Where to Find More Information About El Dorado Casitas Royale

    © Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.

    El Dorado Casitas Royale
    Carretera Cancun-Tulum, KM 45
    Quintana Roo
    (52) 998-8728030
    El Dorado Casitas Royale Web site

    As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation and meals for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.