Is there more to Mexico than mega-resorts? We’ve partnered with Caribbean expert and lifestyle writer Angie Orth from the blog AngieAway.com to learn about the surprising Royal Hideaway near Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

The Cancun and Riviera Maya I know are filled with epic, multi-thousand room mega resorts with every imaginable form of entertainment, endless buffets and more pools than you can count. Sometimes, that’s a perfect fit. But then there are those times that you want all the bells and whistles but with a sophisticated, elegant vibe. I wasn’t sure if you could even find such a thing in the bustling Playa del Carmen area, but I was pleasantly surprised on a recent stay at the adults-only Royal Hideaway Playacar to find all that and more.

With a 4 Diamond rating from AAA and membership in The Leading Hotels of the World, I knew I’d be getting the best of the best. What I didn’t expect was the feeling of being right in the center of the action while still feeling like I was able to get away from it all.

The Royal Hideaway Playacar is a beachfront haven, tucked into the exclusive, gated, secure Playacar neighborhood, just south of Playa del Carmen. It’s about a 20-minute walk along the beach from the hotel to Playa del Carmen and the ferry to Cozumel, but don’t be surprised if the desire to leave the property magically evaporates upon arrival. With great food, impeccable service and a picture perfect stretch of Riviera Maya beach, there’s little need to do much else.Royal-Hideaway-Playacar

Great Service at Royal Hideaway Playacar

The staff at the Royal Hideaway welcomes you warmly with a cold towel, refreshing beverage and an easy check-in process. No long lines or wristbands here! You instantly feel quiet and removed from the hustle of the busy Riviera Maya as you wander the manicured gardens and cross small bridges from villa to villa. William, my private concierge for the week, was a helpful, friendly face who personalized every service and made recommendations on where to eat and what to do during our visit.

PRO TIP: If you can, make dinner reservations when you book your stay. It’ll guarantee you eat what you want, when you want!

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Rooms & Amenities at Royal Hideaway Playacar

The Royal Hideaway has just 200 rooms, separated into individual villas with onsite private concierges in each villa complex. Surrounded by gardens, palm trees and even some curious wildlife, the property instantly feels like a tropical home away from home.

My room featured a comfy king-sized bed, jetted soaking tub, glass shower, walk-in closet, a porch overlooking the gardens and L’Occitane bath goodies. Plus William was always nearby ready to answer questions or make reservations.

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Food & Drinks at Royal Hideaway Playacar

The hotel is known for delicious cuisine, and they have every right to be proud – we ate well! Royal Hideaway has six exclusive restaurants onsite, so you never have to venture out if you’d rather stay put. Highlights included surf and turf at the oceanfront Grille, an outstanding Teppenyaki table at Azia, the Japanese-inspired restaurant, and lunch served at Spices, another lovely venue overlooking the sea. There’s also a 175-seat dinner theater onsite with shows several times a week.

For an authentic taste of Mexico, try a tequila tasting! We learned the difference between white, reposado and añejo tequilas and explored various tequila-based liqueurs, too. You know the saying, “When in the Riviera Maya…”

If tequila sipping isn’t your style, Royal Hideaway also offers an elegant tea service with chocolate covered strawberries, scones, a variety of teas and Champagne. It was surprising to have tea with a view of the Caribbean!

PRO TIP: For an extra special evening, book the Chef’s Table at Las Ventanas, located in a private room overlooking the kitchen. Interacting with the chef as he prepares your customized dinner is a fun experience.

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Pools & Activities at Royal Hideaway Playacar

The Royal Hideaway offers plenty to do if you ever tire of gazing at the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Six pools, fitness center and non-motorized water sports are all available to get you into vacation mode quickly. The hardest decision you have to make every day is pool or beach. I chose to do both, catching sunrise on the immaculate white sand in the early morning, and staying cool by the infinity pool in the afternoon. And we loved when the ice cream cart rolled up to cool us all off in the heat of the day!

PRO TIP: There’s a small, relaxing spa with its own tucked away pool. So, for even more privacy, go there. Also, have your concierge book treatments early so you can loosen up and enjoy the health benefits for the duration of your stay.

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The Royal Hideaway lives up to its name. It’s a tucked away spot for a vacation where you can unwind — without the sound of kids in the background. Every amenity is available should you want to stay on the grounds the entire time. It’s nice to know that the location is perfect for the days where you might like to shop or swim in a cenote or explore Tulum — but also great to know you can sit by the pool with a drink and a book and not a care in the world.

Angie Orth is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit travelocitygnomads.com.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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