We stayed at El Dorado Seaside Suites from 22nd Aug-5th September 2012.
My husbands first impression on arrival was of slight disappointment. This does not have the grand lobby entrance that we have experienced at other hotels. We were immediately greeted with a smile and ushered from the coach to a waiting area with champagne cocktail and fresh face towels where we were checked in. My husband found this slightly uncomfortable due to the silence! I on the other hand appreciated not having to queue to check in at a reception.
We stayed in a garden view room which actually had a better view of the ocean than the ocean view rooms did!! Our room was huge with a separate sitting area and table for dining. The bed was massive and equally comfortable. Digital air con was a treat with ceiling fan when air con became too noisy through the night. The fan was more than adequate to keep the room comfortable. The room was not spotless with a few dead bugs behind the bed head drapes but not a spoiler. The mini bar was stocked daily with personalised requests. We found the mini bar was not cold enough and used an ice bucket to chill drinks. There is even a pillow menu if you are unhappy with pillows supplied but we found these more than comfortable.
The day after arrival we met our personal concierge Charlee who dealt with any problems or requests we had throughout our stay. She would often call just to make sure everything was fine. We did have problems with hot running water from the jacuzzi, ie none - which was a result of building work going on apparently on the next block. A quick call to Charlee had this problems sorted out. However this happened on two more occasions and became a bit of a standing joke with us and Charlee. The shower on the other hand took approx 15 minutes to heat up then had no cold running water, just hot coming from cold tap. Hubby had to shave in the shower as no hot water from sink. Again a bit of a pain but not a spoiler.
We already knew from previous reviews that the beach was not the best, however we were really disappointed with how bad the beach actually is. It is quite painful under foot and rocky in the water. My husband found the snorkelling disappointing even told on two occasions that he could not use the equipment because they had to keep it for the daily snorkelling quided tour.
The pools again were a bit of a disappointment,. Neither of the pools had the WOW factor that we had at other hotels. We never used the activity pool as there never seemed to be enough loungers or beds.
We used the lap pool (quiet pool) every day. This had its own bar and waitress - all of who were fab. Elmer and Ubalto the barmen and Anayeli and Alicia the waitresses were just the best. Kept the cocktails flowing, with plenty chatter. Even came with sandwiches on a lunchtime.
The food was lovely, always immaculately presented with excellent service from all the staff in all the restaurants. Our favourite restaurants were the Italian and International. Although the rest were fine also. We had excellent service one night at the Italians, treated like royalty, not sure why but they went they extra mile. There is a dress code which was adhered to every night - we did see men turned away because of not wearing a collar.
There were plenty of options for eating on a lunchtime including a burger/pizza restaurant and a beach grill. Burgers were fantastic, grill had something different every day. However the service was always a bit slow on an afternoon.
Room service was 24 hours - fantastic. Order always arrived within 30 minutes and more often than not hot. Drinks also available, wine beer etc but drinks could only be ordered with food not on own. Ice also had to come from room service. The quality of the food was of the same quality as the restaurants.
All drinks were good, using branded names such as Jack Daniels etc. We found the drinks at the quiet bar were excellent, and more to our preference, however at the main entertainment bar no two drinks were ever the same.
We did not bother much with the entertainment on a night time preferring the quiet bar for a chat with others. What entertainment we did experience was nothing less than we expected. There appeared to be plenty of entertainment throughout the day if interested but no one hassled you to join in.
This hotel is great for getting out and about on your own, not needing to pay for excursions. We used the local collectivo to go to Playa Del Carmen which my husband loved. The bus collected and dropped off right at hotel entrance. Playa Del Carmen has a gorgeous beach. My husband loved playing along with all the vendors and their sales techniques and with timeshare people etc, but all done in good fun.
We also visited Tulum ruins and the local beach. Again very easy to get to. Beach was fantastic. Even found a pub shack selling Corona etc very very cheaply!
Coco Bongos was fantastic as promised. Thought it was a bit expensive for VIP ticket - approx £80 each. Managed to stay pretty sober as waiter practically ignored us, even demanded money from the couple we travelled with. He also refused my husband when he asked for tequila. It put a dampened on the night as a whole but show itself was fantastic (lesson learnt - must learn to tip more and more often!!!).
A word of warning - do not buy from the jewellery gift shop on site. We bought several items from here as gifts and all have perished within the first week. I have emailed the hotel direct about this also. Also the shop attached to the lobby has no prices on anything. Think my husband paid approx £12 for mouthwash (fool for not asking!)
We met some lovely people here. My husband felt he was losing his friends on departure days. Even met up with my TA pal Pat, it was nice to put a face to the messages! Thanks to all those we spent time with - you made our holiday that much more special.
There is plenty of wildlife around the hotel including raccoons, snakes, iguanas. All more than happy to mix with the holidaymakers!
Overall we had a brilliant time. The staff are superb, grounds immaculate, food good, drinks good. It is a place to relax and do as little or as much as you want with no hassle from anyone.
We would not go back to this hotel again, as lovely as it is we feel that are more than enough places to visit to keep going back to the same place. We would however recommend it to anyone and would use Karisma hotels again.
We would like to give a special mention to the First Choice Reps - Matt and Savannah - who were brilliant. It was thanks to these guys our 20th Anniversary holiday did not turn into a complete train wreck. I have even wrote to First Choice direct to tell them how good they were! So thank you very very much.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC