Just got back from a wonderful stay at Coral 401. Getting there was easy - I recommend just having TeAmoPlaya team set up the airport transfers for you. The guy was waiting for us each way in a comfortable minibus, very reliable.
On arrival, I don`t think the pictures really do it justice - the apartment is beautiful! Spotlessly clean and wonderfully decorated. There were a few tiny things that made it not quite perfect - but they were so small and inconsequential they didn`t really matter. For example, the wall holders for the air conditioning remotes were partially broken so we had to be careful that they didn`t drop when we hung them up. As long as you hang them carefully they are fine. The light and fan in the second bedroom was broken - so no big deal, we just used the bed side lights and the air conditioning. The shower in the second bathroom didn`t drain well because the drain was set slightly high in the floor - so we just kicked the water into the drain when we were done, or mostly used the other bathroom which was like a spa with a big shower and soaking tub! None of these things are a big deal. Not when you have a beautiful kitchen, barbecue, coffee terrace, private rooftop and fabulous private jacuzzi to enjoy! Beds were REALLY comfy! Wifi was very useful and fast, and TV was a godsend - it babysat the children with a movie every night so we could enjoy the view! Safe worked well and was VERY useful. With 5 of us there we appreciated the dishwasher and the maids that came every couple of days too!
When we had any problems - for example after a few days the jacuzzi on the roof needed to be cleaned and refilled - Goe was on the ball immediately and got it sorted for us. She was easily contactable at any time and that was great, knowing we have someone we can go to with any questions or problems. Her English was flawless, thank God, because my Spanish is limited to counting to ten and saying thank you! All in all, considering the above, I would give the apartment itself 9 1/2 out of 10! Not quite perfect, but what it had going for it by far outweighed anything else.
As for the building - we were super impressed by the security and the friendliness of the staff there. They were unobtrusive, but around if you needed them. Needed new water (there is a water tank in the apartment)? No problem - they delivered and set it up for us for about $3. We GREATLY appreciated the night we arrived, exhausted after a long journey with young children, opening the fridge to find there were some ice cold Mexican beers and a little welcome note! 11 out of 10 for that! :) The pool was absolutely lovely! Yes, there were a few tiles missing but again - the view, the depth, the water temperature, the cleanliness and the seating - everything else was perfect! I`m not going to let a few missing tiles distract me from having a good time!
The beach had a surprising amount of seaweed on it - not what we were expecting after looking at pictures of PDC in general. Again, no big deal for us, we just picked through it and it was fine, but if you are expecting crystal clear waters they are not here. Maybe it was just the time of year we went? Other than the seaweed it was lovely though.
The location of the building is great - you are just a 2 minute walk to Quinta Avenida without it being right in your face, so to speak. And right on the beach, the view is outstanding. There was a noisy-ish nightclub nearby that we could hear from the rooftop and a little bit from inside the second bedroom. If you are super sensitive to noise you might want to take some earplugs, but it really isn`t that bad. During the day there is construction going on on the lot next door which kind of ruins the ambience somewhat when you are trying to enjoy the scenery and relax, but again it didn`t come close to ruining things for us.
Overall, we had a wonderful time, the apartment was lovely, and the only reason I even mention the broken things is in the spirit of absolute honesty. Anyone reading this can probably tell I`m scraping around to find anything wrong at all! We will definitely be back, and wouldn`t hesitate to recommend this place, we will almost certainly be staying here again.
Finally a big shout out to Goe - she was really helpful, friendly and sweet. We were even talking about coming down here for a month or so at some point for a long break, and if we did, we would stay here again. Thank you Goe and TeAmoPlaya - we had a wonderful time! We will see you again!
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Clean the seaweed off the beach. Wasn't a problem for other resorts yet yall did little to nothing for the 7 days we were there. And replace the missing tile on your pool. Yall got enough workers. Disappointed. Security guards around pool are rude expect for Nicoli.
Room was fine.
Best thing about El Faro is the location.
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We had a good stay at El Faro in Playa Del Carmen. We were there to see Mayan ruins, swim in the cave rivers, see the sea turtles, and enjoy the beach and Quinta Avenida. El Faro was generally what was represented on Trip Advisor. It seemed like one of the nicest places to stay in the downtown area of PDC. There is very little in the way of service since it's a condo residence, but the units are nice and the pool and beach area are comfortable and appealing. We hardly interacted with anyone from El Faro, but they were helpful and friendly. The condo we stayed in is owned by an investor group, and their people were helpful (thanks, Juan and Corazon!). I did have to call a few times to request more paper towels or to replace the filtered water supply or remind them that we were supposed to get clean towels every other day. Upon request, they followed-up promptly.
My biggest issue is that we were paying U.S. resort prices for less than U.S. quality resort services. The same goes for just about everything in PDC. Maybe it was because it's the high season, so we were paying top dollar for everything while the service levels aren't quite up to par because the system is stressed by the number of people being served. I love visiting Mexico and Latin America generally (lived in South America for a couple of years when I was younger) and really enjoy the Latin culture, but it seems that getting a local experience at a local price requires going to more remote areas than the major resort towns. In any event, it was a good trip. But I am not dying to go back and would rather venture to elsewhere next time.
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