I knew I had to investigate the "new" El Dorado Seaside Suites in Riviera Maya, Mexico as soon as it opened its doors. This brand new build resort contradicts its original namesake (still operating next door) in every comparison. The former resort now goes by Sensimar Seaside Suites and is marketed mostly to the European trade. The original was a favorite of mine and many of our clients due to its unique low-rise layout (nothing higher than 2-story) hugging a long beach near Tulum. It delivered a high quality experience via a low key daytime ambiance and late night revelry for those who could last that long. Rooms ranged from garden view to ocean front.
Picture the new El Dorado Seaside Suites rising six-stories above the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Gone is the quaintness of rooms tucked in gardens or ocean front balconies shaded by palm trees. Instead every room now has a sunny water experience. First level rooms offer direct access to the resort-long swimming pool from each patio. All floors above offer an Infinity Pool that connects to each balcony; and the higher the floor - the more spectacular the view of the ocean.
As if these polar opposite descriptions did not raise enough concern for how our past Seaside clients would accept the new one, consider this. The lobby for the new El Dorado Seaside Suites is detached from the main building and is accessible only via a cart. AND ... several of the new restaurants and a cool bar are located in the new (detached) lobby. Whey!
1. THE ENTRY - BEAUTIFUL NEW LOBBY AND BAR
Going in I dreaded the idea of check-in, 3 restaurants and a bar located some distance from the main building. In fact, the main buffet, Asian, and very romantic Italian restaurants are all three located in the lobby. So is Mezcalito bar which specializes in Mezcal and Tequilas. What if it rained when you check-in, check-out, or at dinner time? These were my dreads.
The restaurants are outstanding - all three. The bar is fantastic and centrally located for before or after dinner drinks. And the carts pick up and drop off in covered areas for your convenience and operate so often we never waited more than a minute to three - ever.
2. FIRST STAY AT SEASIDE SUITES - INCREDIBLE SERVICE
After check-in you are delivered by cart to meet your Concierge. This person will handle dinner reservations for you (which I highly recommend) and arrange for a bell boy to show you to your room. All rooms are identical - 580 sq feet, attractively decorated and well furnished with double sinks, rainfall shower head and Jacuzzi in the bathroom; and sitting area with love seat and table, plus the patio or balcony complete with a day bed, 2 chairs and a table.
Infinity Pool Ocean Front Balcony
The only restaurant physically in this building is Driftwood & BBQ Corner, open for lunch and dinner, located directly below the pool and one step from the beach. Excellent menu featuring a variety of skewers, sea bass, ribs, hamburgers, soups, salads and more. 3 bars are located here - one in Driftwood, a swim-up pool bar, and a lounge open until 2am.
The pool is a treat, elevated well above the beach with tiered levels of lounge chairs, and servers to keep your glass filled. Beach butler are on hand at the beach to assist you and make sure you never go thirsty. I appreciate the plentiful double-size beach beds.
3. NEW RESORT, SAME ULTIMATE RIVIERA MAYA EXPERIENCE
One of the redeeming features of the new resort is that guests still have full access to the beach, pools, restaurants and bars at what is now Sensimar. That is a blessing and a relief. There are several excellent restaurants here including La Carreta for an authentic Mexican dinner and the brand new Gourmet Pub which came highly recommended and is now likely our new favorite of all. It really delivers the best of "pub food" - Fish & Chips, Wings, Beef Meatballs and some of the tastiest Pork Belly you will ever taste. Love the ambiance and contemporary background music.
The beach is much longer on the Sensimar side. For lunch Beach Barbecue features a different Paella daily and daily rotating specials. La Sandwicherie is an open air, shaded by palm trees option with an extensive menu of wood-fired brick oven pizza, diverse hamburger selections, burritos and much more - all right next to palapa-topped Guacamayas Bar -and this is the place to be at night, complete with swings, TV screens and nearby beach.
My concerns of losing the old Seaside Suites ambiance was unfounded. Instead of losing it, we gained a glamorous new resort to stay at with cool new rooms, a delightful bright lobby area full of restaurants, and with cart transportation you actually feel like you are going out for the night instead of just down an elevator and straight in to your destination. And actually we walked to and from Sensimar - it's that close.
So in reality you have three complex's to enjoy with more restaurants and bars than ever. Frankly we have stayed at larger, more spread out and confusing resorts. Loved the new rooms, loved the new pool area, and definitely the new restaurants and bars. Even the Fitness Center was decent. And of course both sides cater exclusively to adults-only! Salute - to the "New" El Dorado Seaside Suites.
To see more of El Dorado Seaside Suites view our Photo Gallery of 65 personal photos I took. For our complete review and resort description! As always we welcome your comments.