Karisma Resorts has all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, Mexico and Punta Cana. Several new properties will be coming online at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, and they look to be amazing! This review is about the complex of three beautiful resorts in Mexico, just 20-30 minutes south from the Cancun airport.
I recently attended a conference and stayed four lovely, though rainy, nights in El Dorado Royale, an adults-only premium beachfront resort. Adjacent, sharing the main lobby, you will find El Dorado Casitas, adults only as well and it very much caters to romance. Just a bit further north you can find the newer resort in the complex, Generations. This high-rise, modern structure welcome families and multi-generational groups.
Let me start by sharing that I absolutely love the service with a smile provided by the Mexican staff in practically any hotel in the country. I have had numerous opportunities to both hear from my travelers and to experience for myself. Sigh…if only we in the US could do the same more consistently!
Let’s break it down for you into three categories: food, accommodations, and experiences.
Allow me to share that I try very hard to “eat clean”, as in I avoid chemical-laden, packaged foods when possible. I love wine and water! At home I juice vegetables (extractor device) every day, so my comments about the cuisine may not match your desires for reviews of meals. But if you are like me, perhaps this will be especially helpful to you.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn, as we made our way into the mangrove forests that are between the main road north and south from the airport and ultimately to the stunningly beautiful lobby, that the El Dorado Royale and Casitas property has its own greenhouse. It grows vegetables and herbs, providing a farm-to-table experience. They also offer a smoothie bar which i didn’t try, but my friends said they did have some spinach to add!
Every meal was fresh, beautifully presented, and delicious. There were a few dishes that required a bit of salt, and I bring my own little specialty salt when I travel. I also love both black and red pepper, but these were not found on most tables during the stay. I suppose that’s a bit odd, although I didn’t really make a big deal of it and went with the dish as they meant it to be most of the time.
The first evening we had an event with small bites, and one little dish was fantastic, even though it had two tiny crunchy crickets on it! I smiled when told they were there and enjoyed it very much. That was just the second time I have ever had a cricket; the first was chocolate covered.
In the Royale part of the resort we had two breakfast rooms, one underneath the two-story lobby, and one on the far south side of the property nearer to the beach. As the very convenient conference center was adjacent and our room was in the first building away, I didn’t find time to visit the second, but at least one travel professional I was with said it had some very nice selections and they thought it was even better than Cocotal. Had we not been changed to an earlier departure on our last day, I would have given it a try.
Dinners were pleasant. There are surprisingly no buffets at dinner time at this resort. And only the Cocotal in Royale at lunch, I understand. One we had time to enjoy were D’Italia, very near our room location and under the lobby. Solid choices here…it made it tough to choose! The best dish I had by far was the lasagna. I can’t say what was different about it, but it was YUM! I would say, though, that as we were a large group of 10, the service was a bit slow. I hate that I am a bad sit still lady!
Here is a link sharing all the dining experiences you might have at El Dorado Royale.
We enjoyed the Casitas restaurant very much, Kampai, as did everyone I spoke to. I would call it Asian fusion. The plates were a bit small, so had I known I might have ordered a couple more. Sushi was well prepared and served with the standard pickled ginger and wasabi. My favorite was the Curry Chicken. It was served in a bowl, so a bit more like a soup. My friend, Pam, and I got two different curries and shared. It was a pleasant room, and our server was charming. I think you will be happy dining here!
JoJo’s is an open-air dining venue in a place near the beach, so while we dined the first evening, we had a lovely breeze. The fare is eclectic, with an emphasis on seafood and beef. For a little bit more you can order a lobster with your meal, so that’s fun. While I would share that the ambiance is a bit ordinary, the bar next door is lively. If you like to people watch, this might be your jam. JoJo’s in open for lunch as well, since it’s right near the beach. They have a little patio buffer and some shrubs to temper any big wind, as well as some white sheets meant to be pulled should the wind be annoying. The only thing is, that takes your views away.
The last evening the conference crowd gathered at the Generations restaurant Habb, and the decor was modern and fun. Afterwards we dined at the Mexican restaurant in Royale called Cocina Mexicana. With a traditional décor, solid service, and delicious choices, it’s another one where you really can’t go wrong. After all, you are in Mexico! On Wednesday evening the Royale had a lovely Mexican Fiesta in an open air venue. Sadly, we missed both the dining and the show in the theatre since our Italian dinner with my Azamara Cruises Business Development Manager, Lionel. Not his fault…we arranged the dinner a few days before we left for the conference.
Lunches were mostly with my conference at Cocotal, but on the last day I enjoyed a well-prepared small pizza on the patio by the main pool. Again, though, I missed my red peeper flakes. This time I did ask, however it wasn’t an option. Can you tell I like spicy food?
The bar frequented most by our group was the Martini Lounge off the main lobby. There was always a smiling bar tender, and they had a very extensive list of foo-foo drinks and spirits. I enjoy sipping tequila as I don’t really care for all the sugar in a margarita, and I think the best one was served here.
The standard room at Royale is lovely, and I believe all are the same unless one king or two queen beds. The shower was strong and quick to heat, the amenities very nice. We did have a bit of an issue all week with not being offered hand towels, only washcloths and bath towels, but we dealt with that. That last evening a hand towel appeared! The housekeeping does a nice job, and the rooms are in decent repair. The AC works well!
I think we both were a little frustrated with the room lighting, as it was VERY dim, though there were plenty of lights. I suppose this is to enhance the romantic ambiance. The reading lights were bright enough, but it was tough even in the brightly lit bathroom to put on makeup.
The big jacuzzi tub might hold two…. never had time for a soak. And note: the light will shine into the bedroom if someone is in the bathroom. Oh, we had to ask them for a bottle opener. I loved the fact that they have eliminated plastic water bottles. Thank you! But these needed an opener so that first night we went to bed thirsty. (Should have cracked a beer in the stocked refrigerator. Ha)
The chairs on the balcony were cool, if a tad uncomfy without cushions. Every room comes with a hammock, so that would have been my preference, for sure. There was a couch in the corner, and a nice size table with chairs. TVs had a good selection of channels, and some music as well. All-in-all, I would give these rooms a B+. Most room categories are the same layout, but location may differ. Here are some photos for you. Below are casita ocean view and the lobby.
Use this link if you’d like to see more, as well as a list of inclusions.
El Dorado Royale offers lots of fun factors for those like me who don’t sit still. There are bikes to use as you wish. Ping Pong, pool games like water polo and volleyball, a beach volleyball net, entertainment in the evenings, and kayaks and more. Don’t expect wild pool parties here…it’s a relaxed and more sophisticated crowd.
The beach itself is rather narrow here, but the sand is soft, and you can find plenty of chairs and palapas there if you wish to stay out of the sun. I am an ocean swimmer, so note that if you are a tenderfoot, you may want to bring your water shoes. There was a bit of grass and some rock in the shallow water, so I had to float right from the beach and walk the bottom with my hands in order to get out where it was deep enough to do freestyle. Right here you can swim maybe 250 yards between a pier where they offer romantic dinners and the lifeguard stand, so enjoy!
There are some unsightly cement breakers thrown in random spots as they attempt to rebuild the reef and protect the eroding beach. I hope this won’t deter you from going, as one day these will sink in further and you might not see them. At least that is what we were told when we were led on the inspection. It didn’t both me much, and likely broke some of the waves that day while I was swimming. So, thank you!
One of the popular venues in the evening is the dinner show at Fuentes. It is a reservations only culinary experience, and the room has large screens in each corner to highlight the chef while he cooked. Additionally, a very talented musician plays acoustic guitar during the evening. Without the time to see it, I guess I can’t really give a critique, but when I asked one advisor, she said it was a little bit hokey. And then another said her husband loved the music. Everyone is different, right? Sounded fun to me.
I will say that the resort doesn’t really communicate well all the things to see and do, but perhaps this time it was that my concierge knew I was at a conference and unavailable for play. Oh, yes, I neglected to tell you…every few buildings have a concierge who is located in an air-conditioned hut. I understand it’s all about being Eco-friendly, which I certainly applaud. Perhaps they might design an APP that would give a daily schedule right on our phones. Click on this link to learn about the activities at Royale and Casitas.
Click HERE to learn more about the family resort Generations.
Click HERE to learn more about the El Dorado Royale Casitas.
Would I stay here again? Absolutely! Would I enjoy even more the more upscale Casitas? For sure! And if I have the chance to bring along my granddaughter, I would be very happy to stay at Generations by Karisma Resorts. I’ll bet the kid’s club there is amazing.
If you found this helpful, please reach out and let me know. I am happy to have the chance to share my experiences with you. Should you wish to read more about different travel topics, you can do a search on my website blog to find prior entries. Thanks for reading this one! Travel with gusto!