My wife and I faced a great deal of options when looking for a honeymoon destination. We knew we wanted a tropical resort that was private, adults-only, all-inclusive, and romantic. Unfortunately (or fortunately), those restrictions leave a load of destinations to sort through. On top of that, the decision is all the more stressful because we all want our honeymoons to be perfect.
In the end we decided on El Dorado Seaside Suites in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. The price on the place was excellent, and my father had been there before and recommended it highly. Read on for my in-depth review.
We currently live in a small suburb of Dallas called Little Elm, Texas. We both grew up in an even smaller town called Winnsboro, Texas. Winnsboro is where we had our wedding. The two hour drive back to Dallas after the reception was pretty brutal; we were both tired from the celebration. The next morning we took a shuttle from our hotel in Addison to DFW International Airport to catch a (non-stop) flight to the airport in Cancun, Mexico.
After we booked our stay at El Dorado Seaside Suites, the resort took care of booking us a shuttle from the airport. Finding the shuttle was hectic due to a large crowd, but there were lots of travel agency workers that quickly shuffled us to our shuttle loading area. Once upon the shuttle, we were already being handed Coronas! That was a nice way to start the week, and definitely put us in the vacationing mood.
Unfortunately, the shuttle ride is quite long. It took about two hours to get from the Airport to El Dorado Seaside Suites, although this included dropping people off at two other resorts before we reached ours.
When our shuttle arrived, we were greeted by people who took our bags and showed us to the reception area. A hotel agent provided us with champaign (complementary of course) to sip on while we were going through the check-in process. After we got checked in, we were taken to our room in a golf cart.
I can't say enough about how nice our room was. The bed was surrounded with sheer curtains, similar to a canopy bed. Just to the side of the bed, down a step, was a large jacuzzi tub. The tub had a canopy curtain above it that gave it a very intimate vibe. The room was finished out with good-quality wooden furniture, a flat-panel HD TV, beautiful tile floors, and a complimentary selection of drinks (including beer) in a mini-fridge.
Opposite the front entry door of the room was a sliding glass door that led to the back porch. The back porch was furnished with two wooden adirondack chairs and a side table between them. Just off the back porch was a small area of grass with palm trees and other native fauna. To the left about 20 yards away there was a bar and restaurant that opened daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Looking out from the back porch, we were literally less than 30 yards from the beach! We could hear the wind blowing, palm trees swaying, and waves coming in. I was totally blown away by both the location and the quality of our room. The best part: this room was standard booking. We didn't pay a cent extra to get such a nice place.
Some rooms in the resort were similar to ours and others had swimming pools directly off the back porch. I think either would be wonderful; however, I would definitely want to stick with a downstairs room if I were to go back, so be sure to ask for one.
There are several bars at the resort, all of which serve great drinks, all of which are included (no tip needed) in the all-inclusive package. A waitress occasionally walks along the beach and takes orders so you don't even have to leave your seat. Two of the pools in the resort (there are several) have swim-up bars.
Each night held a different activity. Two of my favorites were the fire show, where dancers twirled around flaming objects like in the movies, and the reggae beach party, where a cover band set up stage on the beach and played some great cover reggae.
Everything at El Dorado Seaside Suites is laid-back and peaceful. The staff is absolutely excellent, and wait on you hand and foot. Beware though, they will initially be pretty pushy with offering spa treatments, massages, dinners on the beach, an other items. You may wish to indulge them, but be aware that they do cost extra.
There are five restaurants open nightly at El Dorado Seaside Suites. All are upscale, and require long pants and a collared shirt for males; however, I did see some people violating that. The food was pretty good at the restaurants. Some things we liked, some things we didn't like so much. You should try all of the restaurants, as they serve a wide variety of food. Note that the portions are quite small, so don't be shy about ordering more items than you would at an American restaurant. Appetizers, for example, are a few bites of food. A couple dining at the resort who wants appetizers should order two items.
Another restaurant by the main bar is open for breakfast and lunch. The lunch there was really good. They have a wide selection of specialty burgers, fried fish, sandwiches, and pizza.
We were a bit disappointed with the breakfast at all but one of the restaurants. The restaurant called Arrecifes was by far the best place to eat breakfast at the resort. We unfortunately did not discover this until just before we left the resort.
As I mentioned above, there are activities going on throughout the day on the resort. Of course you can swim in one of the many pools and in the ocean. They also offer complimentary snorkel tours and kayaking in the shallow waters off the beach.
We made plenty of use of the ping-pong table, and laid around in the hammocks scattered throughout the resort. The beach is a nice white sand with few rocks, and there are plenty of huts, layout chairs, and beach beds to make use of. You may also want to check with the travel agency at the front desk for interesting excursion options.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at El Dorado Seaside Suites. Their staff was excellent, the rooms were wonderful, and the beach was great. The food was somewhere between okay and good. The mix of vacationers was about 85% British, 10% American, and 5% other, so you may be a bit out of your element if you are American. You will have the chance to meet some interesting people though. So relax, drink up, keep cool, and enjoy your trip to Mexico!