How Good is Royal Hideaway Playacar? A Complete Review

January 12, 2021

Last Updated on September 24, 2021 by Candy Wafford

Looking for a great adults-only all-inclusive resort near Cancun? Look no further than the Barcelo Royal Hideaway Playacar in Playa del Carmen. This is the third all-inclusive resort in the Riveria Maya I’ve stayed at in the last three years. Read my Royal Hideaway Playacar Playa del Carmen review below to see why this resort is my favorite!

Overall Impression of Royal Hideaway Playacar

We loved our stay here! Relaxation was our primary goal and the size of the property was perfect for us on this. The resort is more luxurious than the ones we normally book, but I wouldn’t call this a high-end luxury resort. I loved it and would go back in a minute, but everyone’s definition of luxury is different. I would compare the amenities and level of service to that of a Marriott or Westin hotel.

One of the many water features at the Royal Hideaway Playacar.

Being an adults-only resort was a huge draw for me. I love kids, but again was looking for peace and quiet, and we found that here. This is the perfect place for adults to relax, recharge, and reconnect. The grounds are beautiful with water features throughout, lush vegetation, and colorful foliage. Everything was immaculate.

A Royal Hideaway Playacar review has to include details about the service. Service here was top-notch as well. From the staff at the lobby to the servers in the restaurants, and our personal concierge, our every need was attended to with the utmost professionalism. Everyone was friendly and helpful.

The elegant lobby at the Royal Hideaway Playacar resort.

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Location

Royal Hideaway Playacar is located 37 miles from the Cancun Airport in the Playacar neighborhood in Playa del Carmen. After staying at a larger, family resort in Playacar last year, I decided this is the best location in the area. It’s quiet, but not too remote.

Playa del Carmen

The Playacar area is a security controlled neighborhood that has a mix of resorts and residential homes. You can bike or walk to the popular 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen from here making this the perfect location for vacationers looking for a mix of beach and city.

There is a small shopping center in the middle of Playacar with the Royal Hideaway Playacar sitting across the street. I loved being able to walk over to the shopping area and grab a soft drink or snack. There are several gift shops featuring local products as well as a spa, a small bar (that serves $1 tacos) and a Starbucks for those of you that need your daily coffee fix.

You can walk to the center of Playa del Carmen in about 30 minutes where you will find a ton of restaurants, nightlife, and shopping. I loved being able to do some activities off of the resort without having to pay for a taxi.

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Royal Hideaway Playacar Review – Rooms

The Playa del Carmen Royal Hideaway Playacar’s 206 rooms are spacious and have some very nice amenities. Rooms are in individual buildings, or villas, each assigned a concierge to make restaurant reservations, stock the mini-bar, and attend to any other needs of guests.

Rooms at the Royal Hideaway Playacar include spacious terraces with two comfortable chairs surrounded by lush foliage.

We were upgraded to a luxury royal view which provided a spacious terrace with two comfortable chairs and views of the lushly landscaped grounds and the water feature that runs through the property. Our terrace was one of my favorite places to hang out and I often found myself there doing yoga or reading a book. The babbling of the water below and the birdsong from birds flying about provided the perfect setting for relaxation.

Royal Hideaway Playacar Review – Room Details

Rooms are elegantly decorated and include comfortable king-size beds with nice quality bedding and pillows. A large TV includes lots of channels, although only a few in English. Our mini-bar was stocked with beers, soft drinks, and water. A coffee-maker, tea, and potato chips and nuts were also available and kept stocked during our stay. The living area was large and also included a table where two or three people can sit comfortably, a lounge chair, and a large desk and chair. We found there were plenty of electric outlets at both the desk and the nightstands.

The bathroom is massive! Located through bi-fold doors, there is a separate walk-in closet with a shelving unit, a large rod for hanging clothes (with hangers), and a settee. You’ll also find a safe along with robes and slippers for use during your stay. There is a large jacuzzi tub and a separate walk-in shower. We didn’t use the bathtub but enjoyed the ample hot water and strong water pressure in the shower. Dual sinks are part of a large vanity that includes a blow dryer, a seat, and a large mirror. L’Occitane toiletries are a lovely touch and I may have stashed a few of the soaps in my luggage.

We were very impressed with the size, quality, and amenities available in our room. In addition, wi-fi is available throughout the property and the speed and service were very good in our room.

Additional room types are available including those with a personal relaxing pool, ocean view rooms, a honeymoon suite, and a presidential suite. But you can’t go wrong with any room at Royal Hideaway Playacar!

Food at Royal Hideaway Playacar

I’ve loved many things about the other resorts that I’ve stayed at in the Riveria Maya, but the food has not been one of them. Royal Hideaway Playacar restaurants served a wide range of food that was delicious! The quality of the food here far surpassed my expectations and was one of the highlights of our trip.

The resort has six restaurants; Ventanas, Spices, Palazzo, Azai Avant, The Grill, and The Deck. We visited during COVID-19 and some restaurants had limited availability but we did eat at Ventanas, Spices, Palazzo, and The Grill. My daughter and her boyfriend also ate at the Asian restaurant, Azai, and loved it.

Breakfast and lunch were available at The Grill located next to the pool and featuring indoor/outdoor dining and gorgeous ocean views. It looked like there was a buffet table but it wasn’t open during our stay. Both the breakfast and lunch menus had a large variety of dishes, all cooked fresh. I especially enjoyed the chilaquiles for breakfast and the fish tacos at lunch. A menu of sandwiches and small bites could also be ordered and delivered poolside.

Fish tacos were the perfect poolside lunch at the Barcelo Royal Hideway Playacar.

Royal Hideaway Playacar Review – Food

Restaurants here require reservations. It’s my understanding that if you book direct, you can make reservations before your visit, which is what I would recommend. Once at the property, you will need to make reservations through your concierge. I find that restaurant times and weird rules about booking them to be consistently and unnecessarily complex at all of the all-inclusive resorts I have stayed at. We eat dinner early and weren’t able to get a reservation at one restaurant before 9:00 PM which is too late for us. But we enjoyed all of our meals and this was a minor inconvenience.

Royal Hideaway Playacar Restaurants

Our favorite restaurant was Ventanas, and we ate there twice. With its elegant ambiance and Mediterranean cuisine, each meal there was a delicious experience. The seafood dishes and desserts were big hits, and I definitely recommend trying the Iberico cold cuts platter (with honeycomb) and the pistachio dessert that includes a to-die-for chocolate pink peppercorn ice cream.

Food at Royal Hideaway Playacar is outstanding. His is a warm scallop salad topped with crispy prosciutto.

Palazzo is an Italian restaurant and seems to be a favorite of many of the guests at the Royal Hideaway Playacar. There is a nice selection of pasta, seafood, and meat dishes and I enjoyed a lovely lamb ragu.

Spices is a Mexican-inspired restaurant and provided one of my favorite meals during our vacation. My husband inhaled the sope de rib eye and I loved the freshness of the green enchiladas with chicken. The chocolate mousse with its Mexican flavors was an interesting take on one of my favorite desserts.

Azia is an Asian restaurant with a variety of dishes, including sushi. My daughter and her boyfriend loved the meal they had here. I’m hoping to try it when I return to this lovely Playa del Carmen hotel.

One of the six restaurants at the Royal Hideaway in Playa del Carman.

Restaurant Dress Code

Be aware that restaurants do have dress codes and pack accordingly. We found that as long as you weren’t wearing shorts, tank tops or flip flops you weren’t going to be turned away.

We arrived late on our first night and ordered room service which was pretty good. Our early departing flight meant we had to leave before room service was available, but our concierge arranged box lunches for us to take which was a lovely touch.

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Amenities

As a small resort, you won’t find as many amenities and activities as you would at a larger resort. But this is one of the things I enjoyed about Playacar Royal Hideaway all-inclusive adults-only resort. It was nice being able to walk from one of the property to the other without working up a sweat or having to ride a golf cart.

There are some nice amenities here including several pools, a spa, gym, tennis/basketball courts, a bar, and meeting spaces. Of the six pools on the property, the infinity pool offering stunning view of the beach is the most popular. There is a another large pool just about it and this is where many of the guests spent their days. Comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas are available around both pools and servers regularly pass by bringing you your favorite cocktail.

A private pool at the Royal Hideaway Playacar Playa del Carman.

The other pools are interspersed throughout the property, each tucked away offering you spots to hide away beneath lush palm trees. My husband and I spent a blissful hour at one of these hidden oasis lounging on the well-padded chairs with only the birds to keep us company. There are several hot tubs on the property; however, we only found the largest one near the main pool to be heated.

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Royal Hideaway Playacar Beach

The beach here is stunning! Wide, white sand beach and perfect waves along the turquoise waters. The resort has comfortable lounge chairs set up, each with a shell-like pod that can be pulled up for shade. You can place drink orders with servers and they will deliver them to you on the beach so you don’t to interrupt your time in the sand.

The white sand beach at the Royal Hideaway Playacar all-inclusive adults-only resort.

Looking for some adventure on the waves? You can rent jet-skis or book fishing tours and parasailing rides steps away from the resort.

There are also several bed style loungers on the beach, each with curtains that can be pulled for additional privacy. Romance on the beach? Does it get any better?

Activities at Royal Hideaway Playacar

The activities staff at Royal Hideaway Playacar resort is amazing! They spend their afternoons around the pool providing guests with a variety of activities including water aerobics, beach volleyball, liquor tastings, dance classes, and more. Each member of the team that we encountered was friendly and super helpful.

One of my favorite activities was doing the daily bike tour organized by the activities team. They led a group of us on bikes through the Playacar neighborhood to the Xaman Ha ruins where our guide Mercedes explained the importance and history of the ruins. These ruins are not as impressive as what you will see at Tulum or Chichen Itza, but they were a delightful surprise. We then rode our bikes into downtown Playa del Carmen and did a quick loop through the shopping area.

Ruins at Playa del Carman. Xaman Ha

There is a large space with a stage and tables that I think is used for nighttime entertainment. But we didn’t get to experience this because of COVID-19 protocols. The bar did have nightly shows like an Elvis tribute and other types of music. There is a lovely outside area with tables and chairs, and twinkle lights strung overhead. Inside there is a bar and lounge space, including a pool table.

A stunning grounds at the Royal Hideaway Playacar in Playa del Carman.

I didn’t use the spa, but they had a full menu of treatments available. The gym was comprised of two rooms, one with several treadmills, and another with a bike, some weight machines, and a large offering of free weights and other equipment. I inquired if a steam room or sauna was available for guests using the gym and was told they are, but were closed due to COVID-19.

There are a couple of shops behind the lobby area, including a gift shop where you can pickup snacks, souvenirs, sunscreen, etc. Looking to book an excursion? You’ll find an office where you can discuss available tours in the area, and book them as well. You can also charge them to your room, which is a nice perk. My daughter booked an excursion to Tulum here and couldn’t say enough about the services.

Traveling to Mexico During COVID-19

We traveled to Mexico during COVID-19, in December 2020. Since we were traveling after the holidays and Mexico was one of the few countries open to US citizens, it was fairly busy. However, the region was only allowing fifty-percent capacity at hotels, so the number of people here was less than normal. The Cancun airport is fairly easy to navigate and we didn’t have any issues arriving or departing.

Temperature checks were everywhere. Thermographic cameras are in use at the Cancun airport and our temperature was checked before we entered vans, restaurants, shopping malls, etc. Employees at the airport and the resort all wore masks, regardless of their job or if they were working outside or inside. My husband was anxious about traveling during the pandemic but said he felt comfortable most of the time.

Should I Stay at Royal Hideaway Playacar?

Absolutely! We had a wonderful time at this beautiful resort and can’t wait to go back! I hope you’ve found this Royal Playacar Hideaway Review helpful!

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More about Candy Wafford

Candy Wafford is a US-based travel blogger and while she travels frequently for her job, she is happiest when traveling for pleasure. Preferably strolling along a cobblestoned street with an ice cream cone in her hand.

5 Comments
    1. Hi Candy! Just read your article on Royal Hideaway. We are going next week, how did you make dinner reservations? And did your daughter have to book the excursion to tulum in advance or did she book it when you were there? Lastly, how did you book a shuttle from the airport? It’s been really tough to get in touch with the hotel to get these answers.

      1. Hi Lauryn! I’m going back later this month!

        We booked our transfer through the same company that we booked the package deal. If that is not an option, I would do a search to find something you can book in advance. There are tons of people offering transportation just before you leave the Cancun airport but I’ve always told them I had a booking and kept walking.

        My daughter booked her excursion through the office that is onsite at the hotel. She said the guy working there was great and everything went very well. You can also book through booking companies like Viator and GetYourGuide. I was looking at the options on GYG yesterday and there are quite a few that go to Tulum. The ruins at Tulum are wonderful!

        It’s my understanding that if you book through the hotel directly you can make dinner reservations online before your trip, but I’m not sure. We booked ours the first morning we were through using the concierge assigned to our villa. This is one of the areas about an all-inclusive that I think is overly complicated (true at 3 I’ve stayed at). I suggest booking as soon as you can in order to get the restaurants and times that you want. I hope you have a wonderful time!

      1. Hi Lauryn! I’m going back later this month!

        We booked our transfer through the same company that we booked the package deal. If that is not an option, I would do a search to find something you can book in advance. There are tons of people offering transportation just before you leave the Cancun airport but I’ve always told them I had a booking and kept walking.

        My daughter booked her excursion through the office that is onsite at the hotel. She said the guy working there was great and everything went very well. You can also book through booking companies like Viator and GetYourGuide. I was looking at the options on GYG yesterday and there are quite a few that go to Tulum.

        It’s my understanding that if you book through the hotel directly you can make dinner reservations online before your trip, but I’m not sure. We booked ours the first morning we were through using the concierge assigned to our villa. This is one of the areas about an all-inclusive that I think is overly complicated. I suggest booking as soon as you can in order to get the restaurants and times that you want. I hope you have a wonderful time!

    1. Can you tell me about the drinks and alcohol available included with all inclusive. Do they have top shelf options or is it all pretty basic stuff?

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