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All Inclusive Resorts – Playa Resorts

Written By: Geoff Millar, Ultimate All Inclusive Vacations



As we continue our tour of All Inclusive resorts and resort chains we are going to look at the Playa Resorts chain.  This is one of the newest resort chains to emerge and they have partnered with Hyatt.  They also purchased The Royal Resorts when the owner passed away. They are a true all-inclusive resort chain providing all meals, snacks, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), all resort activities and non-motorized water sports. 


The have resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico with plans for new resorts in the works. They have adult only all-inclusive resorts, family all -inclusive resorts, and family all-inclusive resorts with a separate adult only all-inclusive section. 



In Mexico Playa has resorts in just about all the tourist destinations. Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos. 



In Cancun, Playa Resorts has the Hyatt Ziva Cancun a beautiful Family all-inclusive resort that sits within walking distance of the shopping and nightlife in the Cancun Hotel Zone.  This resort also has a separate adult only section, the Hyatt turquoise so families and adults can enjoy the same resort with a different feel for both sides.  This is an excellent feature for destination weddings where there are going to be both families and adults attending the ceremony.  This resort used to be the Dreams Cancun before it was purchased by Playa Resorts. It sits on the point at the elbow of the Cancun hotel zone offering spectacular views of the ocean on one side and a very nice beach on the calmer side for swimming. As far as dining the Hyatt Ziva has 16 restaurants and bars providing an almost unlimited selection of food and drinks.  This resort has accommodations ranging from Garden view, Resort view, Ocean view up to 2 story Ocean view suites.  I would rate this resort 3.5 – 4 stars. 


The next resort in Cancun is the adult only Hyatt Zilara.  This resort used to be The Royal Cancun.  It is a beautiful resort and every room is an Ocean view Jr Suite. Each Jr suite has a 2 person jacuzzi tub in each suite. The higher the floor the better the view. This was one of the first resorts in the Cancun area to introduce the swim-up concept. It has a high-end Mexican feel and décor. It sits on the deepest stretches of beach in the hotel zone. As far as dining the resort has 5 specialty restaurants, 1 buffet, and 6 bars and lounges. It is close to the shopping and nightlife of Cancun.  I would rate this resort 4 stars. 


The last resort in Cancun is the family friendly Gran Caribe Cancun resort.  This is a very nice resort with its own small waterpark on a nice stretch of beach.  This is more of a budget property, 3.5 stars, although I personally felt the dining was great.  The only drawback I saw at the resort was that it does have a fairly small pool and pool area. This also is a large timeshare resort.  It sits right next to the Hyatt Zilara. Rooms at this resort range from standard garden view rooms, lagoon view rooms and ocean view rooms.  There are also a variety of Jr Suites with the same view options and a one bedroom suite option. Dining options include 10 restaurants, bars and lounges, with a variety of dining choices. 


Playa Resorts will be introducing a new brand of resort, Panama Jack Resorts in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. They will combine a mixture of relaxation and adventure.  Coming the Fall of 2017. 



There are 2 Playa Resorts located in Playa Del Carmen. One is an Adults only resort and one is a family resort.  Both are just a few steps from the famed 5th Ave. in Playa Del Carmen. 


The Royal Playa Del Carmen is a great 4 star adult only all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen. It sits on a beautiful, very swimmable beach. Each room is a Jr. Suite with a 2 person jacuzzi in each suite. This is a fairly large resort with 3 wings that are perpendicular to the beach. The rooms range from Garden view Jr Suite to Ocean view jr suites up to beachfront walkout suites, swim-up suites, and even Presidential suites. There is a lot to like about this resort and one of the things is that on the beach there are no loungers, but instead beach-beds with beach waiter service not only serving food and drinks but things like sunscreen, magazines and books. Dining at the resort consists of 7 restaurants and 5 bars and lounges.  Room service here includes the private box where you order room service and it is delivered to a private box by the door where the room service waiter can put your delivery in the box and you can unlock and access your room service delivery without having to open your door or even see the waiter. This resort is also located about ½ hour from the Mayan ruins of Tulum and the attractions Xel-ha, and Xcaret.  Playa del Carmen lies about 1 hour from the airport. 


The next Playa Resort in Playa del Carmen is the family friendly Gran Porto Resort. This resort sits right across the street from The Royal Playa Del Carmen.  It sits on a beautiful beach and you can walk along the beach for the entire length of the town of Playa Del Carmen. This resort is a very nice family friendly all-inclusive resort with a very Mexican feel. Rooms range from the standard rooms with a resort view to the one bedroom suites.  Moat of the rooms are Jr Suites with either a garden view or an ocean view. This is an older resort but has been completely remodeled. This resort is more of a moderate resort in the 3 – 3.5 star range. The only thing I did not care for at this resort is the hallways seemed a little dark to me. As far as dining, the resort has over 10 choices of restaurants, bars and lounges.  The Gran Porto Resort is also steps from the famed 5th Ave. and about a 15 – 20 minute walk to the ferries that take you to the island of Cozumel. 


There is also a new Playa Panama Jack Resort planned for Playa Del Carmen sometime in the Fall of 2017.  Again, this resort will be a mixture of relaxation and adventure. 



Moving to the west coast of Mexico we come to the beautiful town of Puerto Vallarta.  I always tell people that the difference between the East Coast of Mexico and the West Coast of Mexico is that on the West Coast you will experience more of a true Mexican feel while on the East coast you will have a Mexican, American, Caribbean feel since this area was developed primarily for tourism.  Puerto Vallarta was a smaller fishing village in the early days. It has the traditional village square with the church and the Malecon or walk along the ocean surrounded by cobblestone streets. 


There is one Playa Resort in Puerto Vallarta at this time, the Hyatt Ziva, located just South of the main town of Puerto Vallarta.  It has one of the few beaches in this area. This resort was the Dreams Puerto Vallarta before Playa took it over.  It is a beautiful remodeled resort that sits on its own cove. This is a family friendly all-inclusive resort with activities for the whole family. Rooms sit in two towers that are on each side of the public areas. Rooms include everything from garden view, partial ocean view, swim-up, and Ocean front rooms and suites.  One of the towers is newer than the other. As with all the Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara resorts there is a Club level or what I call, the concierge level, with upgraded amenities. The beach here is nice and private but a little smaller than some of the other beaches in the Puerto Vallarta area. This resort, as do the other Hyatt Ziva Resorts has a kid’s club for kids ages 4 – 12. Dining options include 13 restaurants, bars, and lounges with everything from a fantastic buffet to specialty restaurants serving everything from Mexican dishes, Italian, American, and Asian as well as a Delis and snack carts throughout the resort. To get into the town of Puerto Vallarta you can take the bus which stops in front of the resort. This gives you a great local feel, or, you can take a cab which takes about 10 – 15 minutes depending on traffic. I have done both and they are great but different experiences. 



The Playa Resort in this area is actually located in San Jose Del Cabo at the North end of the Corridor about 30 minutes from Cabo San Lucas.  These are 2 different areas with San Jose Del Cabo being the quieter area of the whole area known as Los Cabos. San Jose Del Cabo is a beautiful area but different than Cabo San Lucas.  If your clients want to be in the action, Cabo san Lucas is known for, then this may not be the resort for them. Golf and fishing are huge attractions in this area as well as the rest of Los Cabos.  This area does have some nightlife but it is made up of more upscale restaurants and shopping giving it more of a quaint Mexican village feel. The resort is the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. This used to be a Barcelo resort before the hurricane caused severe damage and it was taken over and completely rebuilt by Playa resorts and Hyatt. This resort does not sit on a swimmable beach.  This is common among many resorts in the area. This is because, in this area, the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet which causes rough water and a lot of undertows. It is a great walking beach and the best surfing beach is located in this area. The resort is a large resort with a few different areas.  Rooms range from standard resort and garden rooms to ocean view and oceanfront rooms and Suites. The resort sits close to shopping and dining.  A trip to the downtown area of San Jose Del Cabo is a must. As with all Hyatt Ziva Resorts there is a kid’s club that is included.  Dining at this resort consists of 10 restaurants and 6 bars and clubs.  This resort also includes an adults only pool with its own bar area. This is a great resort but remember it does sit about 30 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. I would rate this resort a solid 4 stars. 



Now we move to the island of Jamaica.  Jamaica has 2 Playa resorts, the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall and the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall. These two resorts sit right next to each other and this used to be the Ritz Carlton before being taken over by Playa Resorts. The resort complex sits right outside of Montego Bay on the way to Ocho Rios and next to the famous Halfmoon Resort in the Rose Hall area.  It is a beautiful location and only about 20 minutes from the airport. 


The Hyatt Ziva is a great family friendly all-inclusive resort.  It offers something for everyone in the family. It does have very swimmable beaches but I must warn you the beaches are very small halfmoon shaped beaches so if your clients are beach people this probably would not be the resort I would send them to. I also found the resort to be a little quiet for a family resort. It does still retain some of the Ritz Carlton charm.  Rooms here range from standard garden view rooms up to 1 bedroom butler suites. The dining options are varied including 13 restaurants, bars and lounges. I like the location of the resort but the negatives were the beaches and the lack of activity I saw for a family resort. Other than those two things I would give this resort a solid 4 star rating. 


The Hyatt Zilara is the adult only resort in the compound although the two resorts are connected and it seemed hard to see where one ended and the other one began.  They do have 2 separate check-in areas.  This would be a good resort or resorts to have a destination wedding where you have both families and adults attending. The Zilara is the newer section of both resorts and was newly built when it was taken over by Playa Resorts. It is a little more modern than the Ziva side. The rooms are very nice and include every category from Garden View, Ocean view, Ocean front, jr suites, swim-up rooms, and one bedroom suites. Again, the beaches here are also smaller halfmoon shaped beaches.  Guests at the Zilara have exchange privileges with the Ziva.  Both of the resorts sit close to some of the best golf courses in Jamaica.  As far as dining there are 5 dining options but guest also can use the dining options at the Hyatt Ziva next door. I would rate this resort a solid 4 stars.  These are nice resorts but are not for everyone. I would not send beach lovers to this resort.  Again, it is close to the airport and in one of the most upscale areas of Jamaica, Rose Hall. 


We have taken a look at the new Playa Resorts including the Hyatt Resorts.  Watch this company as it is starting to grow and is a real contender in the all-inclusive market. 


Next month we will look at another exciting all-inclusive resort chain. 


Until then good selling and happy travels.