Royal Hideaway Playacar’s Chef’s Table Experience

Royal Hideaway Playacar’s Chef’s Table is a culinary event fit for a king By: Dawna L. Robertson
Fine food is a highlight at Royal Hideaway Playacar. // © 2010 Royal Hideaway Playacar
Fine food is a highlight at Royal Hideaway Playacar. // © 2010 Royal Hideaway Playacar

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The Details

Royal Hideaway Playacar
800-999-9182
www.royalhideaway.com

Rates start at $300 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. Included are all meals and snacks at six a la carte restaurants, 24-hour room service, unlimited premium alcoholic beverages, a selection of house wines, daily resort activities, evening entertainment and all taxes and gratuities.
Within my first few hours at the all-inclusive Royal Hideaway Playacar in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, I found it no surprise to learn that the 200-room resort boasts an enviable 36 percent return rate. What’s not to like? Set along a powdery Caribbean beach a mile away from colorful Playa del Carmen, this 13-acre oceanfront oasis combines impeccable service and style in grand fashion.

Landscaped walkways meander around pools, streams, waterfalls and fountains, leading to private Spanish colonial-style villas that come with a personal concierge. With white-on-white bedspreads and dark wood accents, the elegantly appointed accommodations feature a refrigerator that is restocked daily, a hydromassage bath and shower, a satellite television with a DVD player and a furnished terrace or balcony.

Amenities around the property are also impressive, with an oversize cascading infinity pool, relaxation plunge pools, a fitness center, tennis courts and a full-service spa with indigenous treatments.

Resort management has recently raised the bar even higher by rewarding loyal repeat clientele with complimentary access to its new Chef’s Table dining event at its signature restaurant, Las Ventanas. First-time guests and visitors from other Riviera Maya resorts can also take part in this culinary experience for $150 and $200 per person, respectively.

“We’re always looking for new ways to entice our guests,” said managing director Jean Agarrista. “The Chef’s Table makes them feel special and pampered, and gives us an opportunity to thank them for choosing Royal Hideaway Playacar.”

Held biweekly in an exclusive section of Las Ventanas’ newly remodeled kitchen, the Chef’s Table event gives epicureans insight into preparing a gourmet tasting menu with a wine pairing for each dish.

After greeting our group of eight hungry travelers, Las Ventanas executive sous chef Florian Durre donned a headset and got down to business. With Webcam viewing of close-up details, we drooled as his staff created each dish in a skillful way we knew we would likely never master. There we sat, watching our royal feast come together via live video feed and through a floor-to-ceiling glass window as chef Durre explained each technique and ingredient.

The meal was all about interacting and indulging. On that particular evening, the executive sous chef prepared a range of appetizers including grilled sea scallop with truffle potato cream, mango and shrimp ceviche and glazed baby chicken with smoked bell pepper. And, that was just the beginning.

Our main course incorporated the land and sea with sea bass tacos and lamb chop with potato ragout, roasted eggplant cream and vegetables. The ever-changing menu is reserved exclusively for the Chef’s Table and is not available in any of the resort’s six a la carte eateries.

The highlight, for me, was dessert. This masterpiece of petit fours and an assortment of homemade chocolates and jellies was as photogenic as delectable.

“The true joy lies in the understanding and appreciation of our craft and the culinary creations that sometimes take months to invent,” said Durre. “I know that when a valued guest leaves our Chef’s Table, he or she does so as a new friend.”

After grazing through this fun presentation and enjoying ample face time with chef Durre, it was clear that Royal Hideaway Playacar knows how to give guests the royal treatment. 
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