It was mid-morning and I was floating on my back, staring up at the palm fronds gently arching over the perfectly turquoise water. Save for a few birds enjoying a morning bath, I had the entire pool to myself. I could have easily walked down the beach and dipped my toes in the Carribean Ocean, but I was happy to linger in the little slice of paradise I’d found at the Royal Hideaway Playacar — a resort that more than lives up to its name.
Tucked away amidst lush foliage bordering the white sands of an idyllic beach on the Riviera Maya, Royal Hideaway Playacar is a luxurious, adults only, all-inclusive resort where you can leave your troubles behind. With 201 luxury guest rooms, a spa, six restaurants and six pools, this midsize property manages to maintain the intimacy of a boutique hotel without sacrificing the conveniences of an all-inclusive resort.
Choosing the right venue for your destination can be overwhelming. Since 2017, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit close to a dozen all inclusive resorts in Mexico — and trust me, they can start to blur together. With that in mind, the Royal Hideaway Playacar stands out for several very distinct and unique reasons.
Michelin Star Chef
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that resorts have been upping their game when it comes to their gastronomical offerings — and the Royal Hideaway Playacar is no exception. With years of culinary experience and a resume that boasts a coveted Michelin Star, Gastronomical Director, Chef Alejandro Sanchez has created foodie-friendly menus designed to delight. From the traditional Mexican fare at Spices to the modern Asian fusion cuisine at Azia (where you’ll likely have some of the best Thai food of your life), you’re never far away from your next favorite meal.
It’s also worth noting that the hotel offers an exclusive “Chef’s Table” experience, where guests have the chance to interact with the chef in an intimate setting and enjoy an exclusive 6-12 course gourmet tasting menu. During my time with the Chef, Sanchez prepared a stunning spread which featured a mix of local ingredients and dishes from his native Andalusia.
High Tea daily.
Tea time in the tropics? Why not! Everyday at 4pm, guests descend upon the main veranda to enjoy a delicious cup of English tea or glass of sparkling wine paired with cakes, tea sandwiches, French macarons and more, while overlooking the lush grounds of the resort. This charming daily ritual provides the perfect afternoon break between pool time and a pre-dinner siesta. Come for the macarons, stay for the incredible view of the gardens.
While the resort’s gorgeous beach-facing infinity pool is easily the most popular to hang out during the day, scattered across the property are a handful of smaller “relaxation pools.” Surrounded by lush tropical foliage and soaring palms, these tucked away corners really do feel like your own personal hidden jungle oasis — ideal for spending some serene relaxation time with your partner or capturing the perfect Instagram-worthy photo.
(Note: if you’re craving a some urban adventure, the hotel also hosts leisurely daily bike tours into nearby Playa Del Carmen!)
Flexible wedding options.
Whether you’re craving a laid back ceremony on the beach, an intimate romantic dinner under the stars, a verdant tropical garden reception or a little of all of the above, The Royal Hideaway Playacar has a host of elegant wedding options for every kind of couple.
From chic decor, table settings and fresh floral arrangements made onsite to gourmet food options, live music and luxurious pre-ceremony spa treatments; you just need to let the lovely and talented staff know exactly what you’re looking for and they’ll work to execute your vision with panache.
Lastly, don’t forget the photos! The Royal Hideaway Playacar is a photographer’s dream. With an onsite photographer and plenty of awe inspiring scenery — inside and out, unforgettable photos are just a click away.
Simone Paget is a food, travel and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast of Canada. She’s a nationally syndicated sex and relationship columnist for the Toronto Sun and the author of the blog SkinnyDip.ca. Her work has appeared in/on publications such as the Washington Post, Elle Canada, and The Toronto Star.