The first phase of a $9.5 million renovation of the El Dorado
Royale on the Riviera Maya was completed last month with the
addition of a new main building housing the lobby, restaurants,
shops and meeting space.
The renovation aims to bring what was a four-star property up to
what would be described as a “six-star level,” said Lubo Krstajic,
executive vice president of Karisma Hotels & Resorts, which
took over operation of the Royale in 2002. Karisma, which operates
eight resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, also owns in the Riviera
Maya the El Dorado Resort, currently undergoing a $4 million
upgrade, and the adjacent Hidden Beach nudist resort.
With the addition of the new building, the El Dorado Royale has
added new restaurants with terraces overlooking the ocean and
indoor and outdoor seating. The new lobby also includes a lobby
bar, and space for a commercial center that will house shops and
The resort has also added four large rooms of meeting space,
with a separate kitchen for catered events.
In addition to the 44 ocean-front rooms, the El Dorado Royale
has added 22 higher-end casita suites with balconies overlooking
the ocean. By June, small rivers will be added to the property to
allow guests to “swim up” to their casitas.
Nearby at the El Dorado Resort, Karisma is refurbishing the 135
guest suites to create more of a “boutique” feel, said Krstajic,
who expects renovations to be finished by Nov. 1.
“The resort will be more intimate,” he said.
Both of the El Dorado properties are all-inclusive, but Krstajic
said service has been raised to a new level. Guests, for example,
will be able to make special requests perhaps for an extra fee such
as private dinners on the beach with their choice of live
All rooms at the El Dorado Resort are oceanfront suites with
private Jacuzzis. And because of the growing popularity of nudist
vacations, the El Dorado Resort will have a “Naked Week” May
Karisma is looking to expand the nudist concept to properties in
Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta, but Krstajic said the right property
a 40- to 60-room hotel on a beach hasn’t yet been found.
“This concept doesn’t work in big hotels,” he said.
Karisma is in the final stages of purchasing another property in
the Riviera Maya, but Krstajic said he wasn’t ready to announce the
exact location. It will not, however, be a nudist resort, he