from Berkeley, CA
Submitted on 12-07-2016
My husband and I stayed at the El Dorado Casitas for a week in June. We opted to have our wedding and additional cocktail parties at Generations Riviera Maya because kids would be joining (Generations is family-friendly and El Dorado is adults-only). Most of our guests stayed at El Dorado Royale and some stayed at Generations. If you‚??re a low-maintenance guest looking to simply vacation/relax without much planning/coordination and do not mind walking, I would recommend this resort. Overall, th...
My husband and I stayed at the El Dorado Casitas for a week in June. We opted to have our wedding and additional cocktail parties at Generations Riviera Maya because kids would be joining (Generations is family-friendly and El Dorado is adults-only). Most of our guests stayed at El Dorado Royale and some stayed at Generations. If you‚??re a low-maintenance guest looking to simply vacation/relax without much planning/coordination and do not mind walking, I would recommend this resort. Overall, the facilities are well-maintained and there are lots of food options. If you plan on having events at this resort or expect a higher level of hospitality, you may want to reconsider. This review is inevitably long because it‚??s difficult to review without providing context. I‚??ve split my opinions between ‚??hotel ‚?? and ‚??wedding‚?? so you can read what‚??s applicable to you:
- Lots of food options- most are pretty good
- My favorite food was at Fuentes; I did not get a chance to try Rincon but I heard that restaurant was also very good
- Polite staff
- Well-maintained grounds; facilities are clean
- Many of the pools have swim up bars
- The only food I absolutely did not enjoy was at D‚??Italia
- The swim-up bars close early (around 5pm I think)
- There are some rooms at El Dorado Royale that are SO HUMID inside that the floors are wet (the room service attendant was literally skating on the wet floors when delivering food), the bed sheets are damp, and mold formed in shoes. It almost seems as though the hotel is aware of which rooms have this humidity problem, stick guests in them when they need to, and cross their fingers hoping that they chose guests who wouldn‚??t complain
- The resort grounds are extremely wide-spread so it‚??s not very easy to walk from one location to another especially in humid weather. There is a shuttle that runs throughout the resorts but they‚??re pretty unpredictable and you often end up having to wait a long time for them. Most times, we opted to walk on the course where the shuttles run so that if we get lucky, we can jump onto a shuttle along the way
- I got food poisoning on my last night- probably from the mussels I ate at La Isla. To be fair, I don‚??t think this is common but it was a terrible way to end our stay
- Beautiful wedding locations give these resorts so much potential! We planned to have our wedding on the Sky Deck and reception on the Pier
- The planning goes through a 3rd party company called Lomas; with Lomas, you plan your wedding with an assigned ‚??wedding designer‚??. Unfortunately for us, we went through 3 different wedding designers during our 10 months of planning. The first, Marisol, suddenly stopped responding and we later found out she no longer worked for Lomas. The second, Carolina, took an average of an entire month to respond to EACH email so we requested someone else. The third, Sandra, was great at responding and addressing our needs but because there was no continuity amongst the wedding designers, we essentially started over and had to iron out the details within 1-2 months. Also, she emailed me 2 days before I left for Mexico informing me that she won‚??t be present during our meeting or at the wedding because of a bridal show.
- The hotel room block went through Tina from Paradise Weddings (introduced to us by Lomas). She books rooms through Classic Vacations and was very thorough and efficient. She‚??s constantly traveling and has an ‚??out of office‚?? auto-reply on email, but she makes sure to respond to you even during her travels when she‚??s back in the room. She‚??s not difficult to catch on the phone either. Everything in terms of booking the hotel rooms went smoothly, thanks to Tina
- Once at the resort, you correspond with the wedding coordinator who is on the hotel‚??s side and is in charge of all the day-of events. Most of the issues we had, had to do with the execution of the event, which the wedding coordinator was in charge of. Our wedding coordinator was Mayra.
- There are tropical storms in the area during the summer. Oftentimes, the storms last only a few minutes and then subside. On the day of the event, the wedding coordinator shows you a weather forecast and you choose whether you‚??d like to keep the original location, or move to the backup location. Because the chance of rain dropped to 15% by the ceremony start time, we opted to keep the original location- but only after confirming that the backup location would be available in case the rain does not stop. Unfortunately for us, the storm lasted longer so our ceremony had to be moved to the chapel and the reception remained at the pier
- The hotel had the backup location as the ‚??plan B‚??, but other than having the physical location, there was absolutely nothing prepared. They failed miserably at informing guests where to go so many of them figured it out on their own and shared the news amongst one another
- I confirmed with the wedding coordinator that guests would be given umbrellas and shuttles. Instead, only some guests were given towels and most ran in the rain from the original location to the new location. Umbrellas were made available later after most guests have already gotten to the new location. Considering that storms are not uncommon, umbrellas/shuttles should have been prepared and readily available
- Because of the location move, the ceremony looked nothing like what I had envisioned (or paid for). I realize there needs to be some flexibility on my part. If there was any continuity amongst the 3 wedding designers and 1 wedding coordinator, the staff would have known that I absolutely did not want a red carpet in our ceremony. That was established from the very beginning of the planning process. Ultimately, there was a giant, in-your-face, hollywood red carpet and because of the location change, we ended up not using the Sky Deck location ($400), the panels for the gazebo ($200), and the wooden chairs ($396) we had ordered (no refunds)
- There was supposed to be a table set up in front for guests to sign the guestbook, drop off their wedding cards, and pick up paper fans and thank you cards that my bridesmaids and I had spent many hours on, making by hand. My sister-in-law was in charge of greeting guests and collecting wedding cards. When my sister asked the wedding coordinator for the card box, she was told that it was being moved to the new location. Ultimately, the guest check-in table never made it to the new location. Instead, the box was placed on the side of the pier at the reception. This is a problem because many guests gave us wedding cards with a monetary gift inside; that was the reason we needed my sister to physically collect the cards. Because the staff members took it upon themselves to not move the box to the new location and instead have it sitting on the side unmonitored, we are missing at least a few cards with monetary wedding gifts in it. Also, none of our guests received the paper fans/thank you cards we worked so hard on and I never got those items back so I still have no clue what happened to those.
- Because my phone was not set to airplane mode prior to the ceremony, the phone rang, interrupting the processional. I was told during our meeting 2 days prior, to set the phone on airplane mode. Because there is so much running through the bride‚??s mind on the day of the wedding, and because the wedding coordinator is the professional who‚??s job it is to keep things in place, I think a competent, great wedding coordinator would have taken the initiative to confirm that the phone is in airplane mode.
- On the day before the wedding, as well as on the day of the wedding when reviewing the wedding forecast, Mayra confirmed that the wedding party would be picked up from my room at 4:20 to get to the ceremony location. I confirmed and re-confirmed with Mayra that there would be 11 of us needing to be transported. Unfortunately, the golf cart did not arrive until 4:50. I can understand the delay as there were changes happening due to the rain. What was disconcerting however was that the shuttle had room only for me- even after I had confirmed with Mayra multiple times that there were 11 of us. Luckily, a shuttle was nearby so the wedding party was able to jump on that. The groom however, ended up without a ride so he had to ride in the golf cart with me in an uncovered seat while holding an umbrella to get to the ceremony
- I had a veil, which was supposed to be worn for the ceremony. Unfortunately, due to the chaos caused by the uncoordinated shuttles, we forgot the veil. Part of being a wedding coordinator is to keep tabs on everything needed. The wedding coordinator is the professional who stays 2 steps ahead of everyone, is able to anticipate needs, and keeps things flowing on the day of the wedding, no? While we are the ones who forgot the veil, I think a great wedding coordinator would have remembered to ask about the veil. Additionally, the veil, which was left unused on the bed, later went missing. I don‚??t think it was taken intentionally, but it was likely taken on accident by housekeeping along with towels and bed sheets
- Typically, the minister stands at the alter, facing the bride/groom and the audience. The minister at our wedding ceremony (provided by Lomas or the hotel) however was walking around between the aisle and stage the entire time. This appeared very informal and was extremely distracting. Additionally, he failed to instruct the audience to take a seat so the parents of the bride/groom who were at the front row, remained standing during the entire ceremony. The microphone also had so much of an echo on it that it was difficult to understand what the minister was saying.
- Whoever was in charge of the music forgot to play the music during the sand ceremony. When the sand ceremony began, there was a good initial 30 seconds or so of awkward silence and signaling stares before the music came on.
- During the recessional, there were no staff members available to open the door so the bride and groom awkwardly opened our own doors at the end of the aisle.
- Mayra confirmed for me that after the ceremony, there would be a shuttle ready and waiting to take me to my room to change dresses, and then take me back to the reception site. There were no shuttles waiting and no staff members in sight to ask about the shuttles. I found it unbelievable that there was not a single staff member present! My bridesmaids ended up finding a shuttle for me. Because this shuttle was on its normal route around the resort, the driver initially refused to wait for me. We explained our situation and my bridesmaids essentially begged him to wait 5 minutes while I changed dresses and drive me back to the reception site.
- Following the ceremony, there were absolutely no staff members around to usher the guests to the cocktail party. Guests had no idea where the cocktail party was so I ended up ushering them to the pier myself. Once at the pier, none of the staff members pointed guests to the area with the cocktail tables so instead, guests began sitting at the reception tables. This was unfortunate because as a result, the photographer did not get a chance to photograph the tables and d√©cor while untouched. Because the cocktail party was so disorganized, we essentially skipped the cocktail party and moved right into the reception, which was disappointing.
- Immediately after I had confirmed the order of the entrance during the reception, it was done incorrectly. The MC announced the wedding party in the wrong order so we had to shift order last minute. Additionally, the MC proceeded to announce the next couple before the preceding couple had even completed their routine so the entrances were cut short for each couple. It was also difficult to understand the MC- so much so, that one of my bridesmaids ended up taking over during the evening and doing announcements herself
- I confirmed with Carolina and Sandra that I would receive the same chandelier as the one in the photo I referred to. The chandelier placed at the reception site was not the correct chandelier. It was much smaller and to be frank, looked like a toy. It looked cheap and out of place and was not at all what I had ordered. Additionally, the chandelier at the reception site remained unlit the entire night. Ultimately, we did not receive the product we paid for ($200) and it was essentially unused as it remained unlit and no one was even aware of its presence.
- Because there was no photobooth, we made our own photo station with Instax cameras. I gave Mayra a sign which was supposed to be on the table for the photo station. This sign had instructions which included that guests were to leave the instant cameras at the table. This sign was not put up and as a result, a camera went missing.
- All staff members were pleasant to my husband and I on the day of the wedding. I heard from multiple guests however that during the location move and setup of the pier, staff members were stressed, unpleasant, and snapped at a few guests and the photographer. Clearly, the staff is not prepared for the execution of a wedding; our small wedding of less than 50 guests was enough to put them all in a high-stress state
- I was scheduled to have a makeup trial the day before the wedding. There was a miscommunication and the appointment was at 1pm while I thought it was at 2pm. We had our rehearsal at noon that day and I was with Mayra until 12:50 at Generations. Considering the distance between Generations and the spa, it would have made sense for Mayra to remind/mention that the spa appointment was at 1pm. Instead, she left at almost 1pm with no mention of it, and instead I received a phone call at 1:20 that I had missed my appointment. By that point, the spa informed us that they could not provide the service any longer due to other appointments. This did not make sense because Mayra told me makeup sessions typically take 1-1.5 hours, meaning that I should potentially still have 40-70 minutes remaining. Furthermore, their solution was insulting and unacceptable. The proposed solution was for me to receive my makeup trial on the day of the wedding, then erase the makeup, and then have the makeup done over again. This makes absolutely no sense. Ultimately, we paid for a makeup trial and day-of makeup and we did not receive what we paid for.
- Following the wedding and farewell cocktail party, we sat down with Cynthia (in charge at the wedding office) to review all our concerns She informed us that she‚??d get back to us that evening as we were leaving the next day. Later that evening, we were given our wedding video along with a very generic letter requesting our feedback on TripAdvisor, but absolutely nothing regarding the concerns we spent over an hour addressing! We‚??ve since heard from Lomas regarding the issues we had with the MC but still have yet to hear back from the resort‚?¶
In summary, the resort has beautiful grounds and most of the food is pretty good. Vacationing here is nice as long as you don‚??t mind having to walk in the heat all the time. If you‚??re considering a wedding or other event, I‚??d urge you to read everything that happened and reconsider. I can understand a few mishaps and overlook them if things went smoothly overall. Surprisingly to us, the resort seemed inexperienced and incapable of executing even a small wedding of less than 50 guests. Marrying my husband is one of the happiest moments of my life. Unfortunately, the celebration was dampened by the poor implementation on the resort‚??s part. To add salt to the wounds, we‚??re nearing a month and have yet to hear back from the resort regarding our concerns. Once we do hear back, I‚??ll contact Trip Advisor to re-submit another review with updates (apparently, we can‚??t simply edit the reviews). If you‚??re having your wedding here, best of luck to you and I hope it goes more smoothly than ours!