by Candyce H. Stapen
The Allegro Playacar might be a budget-oriented, all-inclusive resort, but its beach — a wide, swath of soft sand fronted by a mostly tranquil sea — is first-class. Those for whom the beach makes or breaks a vacation should note that the adults-only, Royal Hideaway (the first all-inclusive property to receive a AAA Five Diamond rating) is right next door. Both resorts offer the same quality sand and surf.
The Allegro Playacar is part of the gated community of Playacar — a large development that contains about a dozen, all-inclusive properties as well as smaller hotels, townhomes, timeshares and condominiums. Along with a good beach, the Allegro Playacar is either a short cab ride or a 25-minute walk to Playa del Carmen’s lively, open-air, pedestrian shopping and cafe area, a place where kids and teens can hone their bargaining skills for souvenirs.
Renovated in 2006, the Allegro Playacar offers 286 rooms in a series of two-story, thatched roof buildings, most of which contain eight units. The low-rise profile and green lawns dotted with palm trees, bougainvillea and other tropical blooms combine to create a friendly feel. In general, the Allegro resorts feature small rooms and often forgettable food. However, beach loving and budget conscious families can have a good time at this resort.
Our Editor Loves
- Soft, sandy beach
- Green lawns and landscaping
- Good value all-inclusive
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The guest rooms are located in two-story, thatched roof buildings containing eight units. Most rooms, including standard and superior premium rooms, are a compact 262 square feet. The pricier units are those closer to the beach. All rooms come with air conditioning, ceiling fans, coffee makers, televisions and mini-refrigerators. All of the rooms are undergoing painting, changing the wall colors from orange to white. By June 2011, all rooms should have white interiors -- a change that is geared to making the rooms look a bit bigger.
As a result of the 2006 renovation, bathrooms feature a shower and toilet area separate from the sink. A stone sink sits atop the bathroom counter like a bowl and off to the side is the room's walk-in closet. Buildings 53 and 51 face the Kids Club. Decide whether staying in these buildings would be extremely convenient or exceptionally noisy.
All balconies or patios have chairs and a hammock. Most kids really enjoy swaying in the hammocks. Cribs are available as are cots; however, adding one to the room would make it extremely crowded. Maximum occupancy for one unit is two adults and one child. The resort does offer connecting rooms -- a good solution for families with two children.
I was worried about coming here because some sites had the location as adults only but I found that to not be the case. Great for kids and great for friends! They may ask you to sit in a time share presentation, which I didn’t do, but the staff remains friendly. Everyone was so sweet and the staff made my kids feel treated like... well the VIP at the house because everyone was so nice. Start to finish, the entertainment is too notch and they work hard in heat that at time can be unbearable over a cooking grill in already hot weather.
This was our second time staying. Staff is friendly. The beach was kept clean. Entertainment at night was good. Enjoyed the mariachi singer, she has a great voice. We were a group of 24 family members.
Beach and Pools
Two pools entice beach lovers away from the shore. It's nice that we don't have to go far from the sand for pool aerobics and other events, as the activities pool is situated at the edge of the beach. The quiet pool in the middle of the property is a good place to read, snooze, and cool off with a swim. Thatched palapas at each pool provide shade. On the beach, lounge chairs have "cabanas," or yellow "hoods" that when attached create some shade.
At the Kids Club ages 4 to 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., do crafts, play beach games and splash in the 10-inch deep kiddie pool. The gated Kids Club area encloses a sandy play area with slides and swings, the kiddie pool and the main building -- a roofed, but open-to-the-air structure decorated with murals and Maya inspired designs. The facility has colorful tables for crafts and games and bean bag chairs for watching movies.
If appropriate, kids and teens can participate in the adult oriented activities put on by the recreation staff. Learn Spanish, play Frisbee golf, try a Zumba dance lesson and join in beach volleyball. In the evening, before the main show, kids dance and play musical games at the kids' disco. Afterward, the adult-oriented shows feature music, dance and other types of entertainment that often involve audience participation. Guests seem to enjoy the shows.
Complimentary activities include tennis, shuffleboard, basketball, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. In addition, older kids may want to join morning stretching, yoga and other activities. For an extra fee you can go scuba diving and fishing as well as play golf off-property.
Playa del Carmen
For families the Riviera Maya offers a wealth of off-property outings and adventures. In nearby Playa del Carmen's shopping area, browse along the pedestrian-only area, Avenida 5 (Fifth Avenue) for souvenirs. Scores of shops sell silver jewelry and T-shirts pottery as well as Mexican tablecloths, wall hangings and blankets. Break up the shopping with a snack at a local cafe or sample a churro, a fried pastry sold by local street vendors.
Eco Theme Parks
If you haven't visited Xcaret, then definitely go, but try to avoid days when the cruise ships are in port, as Xcaret is a top shore tour. At Xcaret -- an eco-adventure park -- you can swim with dolphins, splash in a natural pool, view flamingos, walk through a bat cave or meet jaguars, turtles and tapirs. In the evening the park hosts a demonstration of Pok-Ta-Pok, the ancient Mesoamerican ball game, with players adorned in traditional body paints and regalia. Following this, there's an entertaining folkloric show.
At Xplor, another eco-theme park, one admission gains you access to several adventures, including gliding down zip lines, riding in an amphibious vehicle through mud and creeks, and rafting through an underground river. Lunch is included.
Take older teens looking for adventure to Rio Secreto -- a cenote or underground river that you enter by walking. As you go further through the cave, dappled with stalagmites and stalactites, the water rises. At one point, you must swim to enter another chamber. Although the tour company allows children over age 5 to swim to visit; however, we suggest this outing for adventurous kids above age 8.
Tulum, an important Maya site on 60 acres and one of the Riviera Maya's treasures, is a wonderful outing if you are traveling with older grade schoolers and teens. Guides explain the importance of this once busy seaport and explain the history of the various excavated structures.
Although food is not the forte of this property, you won't go hungry. There are four restaurants and four bars at the resort. It's good to keep in mind that you didn't pick Allegro Playacar for its cuisine.
The main dining room, serves breakfast and dinner buffets. From noon to 6 p.m., pizzas and sandwiches are available at the pool. From noon to 4 p.m., the snack bar grills hamburgers and hot dogs. The themed evening buffets typically offer chicken, fish pork, pasta and other items.
For specialty dinners, a Mexican restaurant serves kid-friendly meals. Reservations are required for this venue. A la carte dinners offer three separate seating times at 6, 7:30 and 9 p.m.
An Italian restaurant is also onsite. The restaurant offers children's menus that feature pasta, grilled chicken and chicken nuggets. Kids are also welcome to select a regular entree. Reservations are required.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Babysitting is available in your room for an extra fee.
Internet service is available in the lobby and at the buffets for an extra fee.
The Art of Smart Timing
High season starts around mid-December and through mid-April. The low season runs from September to mid December. Shoulder season is from mid-April through August.
Fly into the Cancun International Airport. Among the carriers serving the airport are: Air Canada, Air Tran, American, Delta, Jet Blue, Spirit, United, US Airways and others. If you do not plan to rent a car, then make sure you have booked your transportation from the airport to your resort ahead of time. That way you can avoid the gauntlet of vendors trying to get you to book transportation and outings.
For Mom and Dad
The main pool has a swim-up bar, the Ambar specializes in margaritas and the property has an adults-only disco. Also, the resort offers a romantic lobster dinner on the beach for an extra fee.