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Trip Report - Royal Islander

Felton, California
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Trip Report - Royal Islander

I apologize for the delay in posting this trip report but I believe the information is still relevant however I am going off my memory so there may be some lack of detail.

We spent 2 nights in Playa del Carmen and 7 nights in Cancun. I posted the Playa del Carmen portion on the Playa del Carmen forum.

Dates of Travel:

May 11 – 20, 2006

Background:

I am 38 and my husband is 42 and this was my fifth trip to Cancun and my husband’s fourth trip. We have both traveled extensively all over.

Hotel:

Royal Islander-

We have previously stayed at the Omni, Royal Caribbean, Royal Mayan and I have also stayed at the Beach Palace. We will be returning to Cancun in September with our nine year old and we will be staying at the VCI. We love the Royal Resorts.

This was our first time at the Royal Islander. We exchanged through Interval International. It was also the first time that we have had just the lock off unit portion of a villa, which is basically a hotel room. Since it was just the two of us this time we thought it would be fine but we really missed the kitchen and the balcony and probably won't do that exchange again.

Pros

Too many pros to list them all but here are some highlights.

Wonderful location.

Fantastic service.

Friendly staff.

Free shuttle service between the Royal resorts.

Beautiful pool.

Easy walk to the Royal Mayan (which is our favorite) and the Royal Caribbean.

Great restaurants on site and at the other Royal resorts.

Convenient and well stocked grocery store on site.

Incredible view of the stunningly beautiful ocean from our room.

Fabulous beach.

Cons

No microwave in the room even though there was ample space to have one. I know this is not a usual convenience in most hotel rooms but since this is a timeshare I think it would be a nice addition.

No ironing board or iron. I called housekeeping to get one and I was told only the “A” side (that’s the side with the kitchen) has them and that we could have an iron but not an ironing board! They never delivered the iron and we had to have our personal concierge get one for us and we had to use the table as an ironing board.

No palapas on the beach. We really missed the palapas. Umbrellas are just not the same and it seems like most of the other hotels have rebuilt theirs so why hasn’t the Tri-Royals?

Uncomfortable lounge chairs at the Royal Sands beach. Hard plastic instead of the cloth type like at the other Royal Resorts.

Our room had a ridiculously small unusable balcony.

Restaurants:

At the Royal Resorts-

El Conquistador at the Royal Mayan

We love this restaurant. It’s a little small and cramped with somewhat outdated pink décor but the service and food is fantastic. Loved the live guitar music.

La Palapa at the Royal Mayan.

Lovely open-air restaurant overlooking the swimming pools. We ate lunch there almost everyday. Great food, great service, great atmosphere and the best golden margaritas!

Cayo Largo at the Royal Islander

This is an enclosed restaurant with terrible décor. I prefer open-air restaurants while on vacation in a tropical place however one morning it was raining so hard that being indoors was actually nice. This was the only breakfast we had in Cancun and it was pretty

good. I don’t usually like buffets but this one was well done. We also had take-out one night from here, which was quite good.

La Veranda at the Royal Sands

The only other restaurant we had lunch at. We ate outside on the patio. Service was fine and the food was ok. I guess I am spoiled by La Palapa at the Royal Mayan.

Hacienda Sisal at the Royal Sands

We went here for dinner and live music but ended up walking out. We were seated at a very small table next to the restrooms at the side of the stage. We were so close to the stage that it was way too loud and we couldn’t even see the band. They shouldn’t even have a table there. We could have asked for a different table but the band (in our opinion) was a mediocre wedding type band (I kept thinking of the movie called The Wedding Singer with Adam Sandler) and we decided we didn’t want to stay anyway. We will probably give it a try again and sit on the other (non-music) side of the restaurant.

Outside of the Royal Resorts-

Laguna Grill

This was our second time at this restaurant. I absolutely love the atmosphere plus the food and service is fantastic. This restaurant is on our must do list from now on. My only complaint and it’s a small one is that the patio was closed and most of the windows were closed Last year we sat outside and it was lovely. I was hoping to sit outside again this time or at least be near an open window. Everything else was wonderful.

La Dolce Vita

This was another restaurant that had it’s patio closed and I’m not sure why. It wasn’t cold, windy or raining. I’m also not too sure why people call this place romantic. It’s much too bright! I would have enjoyed it much more if they had turned down the lights. Do you see a theme here? I’m really into ambiance. The service was a little slow and the food was just ok. The only highlight was the minestrone soup. I don’t think we will return since there are just too many restaurants in Cancun that we still want to try.

Margaritaville

We originally had planned to go to Lorenzillos for dinner because I was in the mood for lobster. However, my husband doesn’t eat seafood and he couldn't find anything he wanted on the menu so we stopped in Margaritaville for a drink while we decided where we wanted to eat instead. Now I have to admit that I have always avoided this place because it just seemed too cheesy and too touristy for me but I guess we were in a cheesy and touristy mood because we ended up staying for dinner (mostly because by this time we were both too hungry to wait any longer). And what do you know we had a great time. The food was mediocre, the margaritas were lousy, the music was goofy and the antics of the staff were down right embarrassing but it was great people watching, our server was fantastic and we plan to go back in September. I guess sometimes you need to get off your high horse and just have a good time.

Puerto Madera

I really liked the classy ambiance of this restaurant. The service was fantastic until a large party was seated next to us. We went from having 3 servers at our beck and call to having none in an instant. I can understand having to cater to the large party but at least one of the servers could have checked in on us from time to time. I thought the food was good but nothing special. The presentation wasn’t very good and everything was too plain for my tastes. Even had to send back our desert because it was flavorless. We probably won’t go back. Laguna Grill is so much better IMHO.

Cenncello’s

Another beautifully done restaurant. Loved the décor. Had a booth facing the windows for a great view of the sunset. Food was good and service was good but neither was memorable. May or may not return.

Bars:

La Cabana at the Royal Caribbean

Listened to Karaoke one night. This bar was recently redone and looks great. Much more comfortable and inviting.

My Place

We don’t sing Karaoke so we were hoping for a live band but we went on the wrong night. However, the owners, Joe and Janet are the nicest people and we really enjoyed visiting with them. We look forward to going back in September. I have to say I do miss the ambiance (here I go again) of the Over 30 Club. I just loved the look of that place but in all fairness My Place is nice too and it’s Joe and Janet that are the real stars.

In closing I want to say that nowhere else in my travels have I ever experienced friendlier or better service then in Cancun and that is what keeps us returning year after year. Of course the beautiful beaches and ocean don’t hurt either!

BSQ
Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

Jules, this is a great summary of your trip! Lots of great information about your resort AND places to eat.

Couldn't agree with you more about the "balcony" on the B side of the Royal villas ... I've often wondered why it has a sliding door. ( =

For your Palapa question, word has it they are waiting until after hurricane season to reinstall the Palapas.

Napoleon, OH
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2. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

This might seem a strange question - but when you made your exchange with II did they assign a unit number when you made the exchange? Our last 3 exchanges we made for the Royal Islander there was a unit number on our confirmation but this time there isn't one. I was just curious if this was your experience as well?

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

This report is very well written and very informative, thank you for sharing it with us.

Since the Beach Palace is no longer standing, can you say which were your favorites in order? I realize that the resort types are different but just for the fun of it I thought I'd ask?

212eric V.P.

PEOPLE'S CHOICE GUIDE Cancun Travel Survey Guide Book

BSQ
Charlotte, North...
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4. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

cancununkee, this is a recent change. Neither II nor the Royals assign specific unit numbers.

BSQ
Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

j

missed the dang J

Cancun, Mexico
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6. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

HI Jules in Cal

I am happy to hear that you like Laguna Grill but am concerned about the Terrace being closed, did they give you a reason? There is now AC so they do close of the doors but you still should have been able to be seated outside.

Felton, California
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7. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

Cancunjunkee-

For the first time Interval International didn't give us the room number on our exchange certificate. However, before I made the exchange I called II and they reluctantly gave me the unit number with the disclaimer that the Royal Islander reserves the right to assign a different unit upon arrival. Luckily we ended up in the unit we were expecting. I'm hoping this happens again at the week we have reserved at the VCI in September since it is a beachfront unit.

1212 Eric-

I have liked all the resorts I have stayed at in Cancun but I would rate the Royal Mayan as my favorite, then the Royal Caribbean, then the Royal Islander and lastly the Omni.

Cunspin-

I didn't ask whether or not the terrace was open I just assumed it was closed. It was completely dark, the doors were closed and no one else was out there. Inside only the window tables were full and the rest of the restaurant and bar were empty.

-Julianna

Cancun, Mexico
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8. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

I'm wondering if it was the night we had a short actually it was not us it was the Marina and we lost half of the Restaurants power it was a real pain we lost all our computers and the power in the Bar and outside. Sorry, next time you come let me know I will be sure to get you a table outside.

Felton, California
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9. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

Cunspin we will definitely be returning in September. My sister is coming with us this time and I want to take her there because I know she would love it. Also, are children welcome? I think my 9 year old son would love the food and ambiance as well.

Cancun, Mexico
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10. Re: Trip Report - Royal Islander

Yes Children are welcome, My Daughter made the kids menu put all her favorite food on it she is 8 so I'm sure your nephew will find something he likes.