Destination: Riviera Maya
When: July 2009
Resort: El Dorado Casitas Royale
In July, I was invited to take part in a very special travel agent trip to Mexico. The magnificent Karisma Hotels chain hosted a training seminar for 5 days. While there, I stayed in a beautiful Casita Suite, participated in many hours of training and spent time at each of the Karisma properties: El Dorado Casitas Royale, El Dorado Royale, El Dorado Maroma, El Dorado Seaside Suites, Azul Sensatori, Azul Beach and the Villa Carola.
The Casitas Royale are actually part of the El Dorado Royale resort. I entered the resort through the main lobby, but was whisked off to a private check-in in the Casitas section. My Casita Suite was absolutely amazing. I had a king, four poster bed draped with linens and more pillows than I knew what to do with. There was an armoire with a TV and stocked refrigerator, a table with chairs for in room dining and a writing desk with computer station, coffee pot, etc. Tucked into a corner and surrounded by windows looking out over the pool and ocean was a huge Jacuzzi tub complete with chilled champagne and rose pedals when I arrived. Housekeeping would fill the Jacuzzi during evening turndown so it was ready when I returned from dinner. There was a balcony with another table and chairs and another bed. Upon request, housekeeping would make up the bed on the balcony and draw the screen curtains so you could sleep in the tropical breezes. In the bathroom was a double vanity, a toilet room and another tub with shower. Then, through a glass door leading outside, was another shower, the “Aguas de Amor.” Completely private, yet open to the skies above. Incredible!
I spent some quiet time by the Casitas pools. The beach butler came by with treats, sunscreen, water, reading materials, towels… anything I wanted. He even brought boxed lunches around at noon. They really think of everything! Every employee I encountered greeted me and asked if there was anything they could do to make my stay better. I couldn’t come up with anything that would have made it better (except having Ross with me!)
Here’s a summary of my take on the other Karisma hotels I visited:
El Dorado Royale – This is the main resort which houses the Casitas Royale section. It is large with over 630 rooms. The resort stretches along the beach and has many pools and alcoves to discover. I like that it is only 20 minutes from the airport. A classic, romantic, adults only resort.
El Dorado Maroma – I loved this intimate resort. There are only 72 rooms so it is very intimate and quiet. The beach here is amazing. Maroma is one of the best beaches in the world.
El Dorado Seaside Suites – Ok, so this is one of my favorite resorts. It is about an hour from the Cancun airport, but the drive is so worth it! It is a comfortable size with 282 rooms and plenty to do. I just loved the feel of this resort. If you plan to visit Tulum, this is the perfect location.
Azul Beach Hotel – Similar to the El Dorado Maroma in size, but family friendly. If you have young children (under 5 years old), this would be a great place to stay. There is a small kids’ club and the resort has everything from cribs, strollers, bottle warmers, baby food, formula, monitors, etc. The small size makes it easy to keep track of little ones.
Azul Sensatori – I’m taking my family here in October! This is also a family friendly resort, but I think is better suitable for families with older kids. I think my 8 and 10 year olds would be “bored” at the Azul Beach. Watch for my review on this property coming soon!
Villa Carola – Got a large family or group traveling to Mexico? This 10700 square foot private villa can sleep 12 adults and 8 kids and comes with a complete kitchen, private yard and pool, Jacuzzi and staff and sits next door to the Azul Beach where you can choose to use the dining facilities. Incredible!
Karisma Hotels are “gourmet inclusive” meaning absolutely everything is considered for you; personalized champagne check-in, attentive staff, concierge services, 24 hour room service, entertainment, gourmet cuisine at a la carte restaurants (no reservations needed), premium beverages, and fun activities like tequila and wine tasting, cooking classes and picnics. I will recommend them without hesitation!!!