Review: Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House–Good Hotel, Odd Staff
In this review: Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House—which is a Hyatt-owned property—we’ll look at the hotel facilities, location, staff & services/amenities offered. As a Hyatt property, we’ll also look at the booking process and current bonuses/promotions available that made this a great deal for us. Also, I’ll state upfront that this is an adults-only property, which was great for us but might not work for you. Here we go.
We originally wanted to book the Thompson Beach House in Playa del Carmen. It sits right on the beach and is a smaller property. Unfortunately, they’re doing construction and closed until a project re-opening of December 15, 2020. I’ll tell you right now: that ain’t happening. We walked by the property, and the amount of unfinished remodeling they have just isn’t going to happen by then. There’s not even a door on the building right now, and things are boarded up from the outside. Thus, we were moved to the Thompson Main House a few blocks away.
With current Hyatt offers available, we paid cash instead of using 12,000 points. Why? We got 10% back from using our World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase, due to a Chase offer in our accounts. It’s low season, so prices are lower. They had a special for $100 per night, and 10% back makes that $90. A standard room award is 12,000 points per night. That’s a value of 0.75 cents per point, which is lower than our average valuation of Hyatt points (1.42 cents on average). Paying cash at this price makes sense.
Additionally, as a Discoverist (lowest tier, automatic with the World of Hyatt Card), we earned 9 points per dollar when paying with our Hyatt credit cards (5 points per dollar at the hotel, 4 points per dollar from the credit card rewards). For us, this made sense.
Lastly, I mentioned previously that my wife and I make back-to-back bookings at Hyatt properties. This was our first visit to a Thompson property, which is one of the 18 different Hyatt brands. Booking the first night in my name and remaining nights in her name gave us both credit for Hyatt Brand Explorer, where you get a free night after every 5 brands you visit.
Review: Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House
Our experience at the Thompson Main House in Playa del Carmen, Mexico is a tale of 2 totally different experiences. The check-in/check-out experience was one thing, and the time between those events was something totally different. As I go through this review, you’ll see what I mean.
As I mentioned above, it’s also an adults-only property. If you’re looking to relax around the pool without children yelling and splashing, this sounds ideal for a romantic getaway. I didn’t even realize this was a feature of the property until after booking it, we were just looking for a Hyatt brand that we hadn’t visited before.
The Thompson Main House sits in the main tourist area in Playa del Carmen. It’s right near the corner of Quinta Avenida (“Fifth Avenue”) and above a small shopping center. It’s within easy walking distance of the main shopping and dining areas. You can walk to the beach in just a few blocks. From the rooftop pool / bar / restaurant, you can see the ocean. This is an ocean-view property, but it’s not right on the ocean. If that makes a difference, the Thompson Beach House is right on the water and costs 25,000 points per night, instead of 12k for the Main House.
Check-In and Check-Out
We booked a private transfer from the Cancun airport via Cancun Shuttle. I had emailed and asked the hotel about airport pick-up, and their cheapest option was $125 one-way. Instead, we paid $40 to book a private van for the 2 of us from the airport.
As with a lot of places in Playa del Carmen right now, there’s construction going on. The road leading from the main road to the entrance to the Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House is closed to vehicle traffic. The shuttle van we took from the Cancun airport dropped us off at the corner. Thompson staff had a bellhop waiting at the corner for arriving guests and helped transport luggage from there to the entrance.
At the entrance, temperature checks and health forms were required. This also happened every time we returned to the hotel from going out.
At check-in, we received an upgrade to a “1 King Balcony” room for being Discoverist members. Check-in staff were super friendly and efficient. They greeted us warmly, did all the necessities efficiently, and we were on our way to our room. Great experience.
The same can be said for check-out. Everything went quickly at the desk. Staff were friendly and good at their jobs. We had no bill to pay, since we hadn’t charged anything to the room, and it was done before we knew it. We left our stuff with a bellhop while walking around the city and eating lunch. They helped us get a taxi, took our stuff up to the corner, loaded it into the taxi, and gave us a warm goodbye.
Check-in and check-out experiences at the Thompson Main House in Playa del Carmen were exactly what you’d expect. Staff were good at their jobs and friendly.
Despite not being a “resort” or “all-inclusive property”, I was impressed by what’s included at the Hyatt / Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House. There’s rooftop yoga every morning. They have tequila tastings in the evenings, also on the rooftop. You can take a free 20-minute “intro to stand-up paddleboarding” class, but 20 minutes is barely enough to try anything. We didn’t do it, since it seems so short.
They also offer free bicycles, which we used to ride around town for a while and check out areas further away from the hotel. Note that the bicycles have seen better days, though. There is some rust, and the baskets all seem to have holes. My wife bought something while we were out, and after it fell through the hole in the basket she needed to carry the bag in her hand while riding the rest of the way. That being said, they are free, after all, and they work. We enjoyed using them. Just ask at the front desk when you want one.
Review: Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House Facilities
The hotel only has 4 floors, one of which is the rooftop. There are 2 floors of guest rooms. Below those are the mezzanine (gym, laundry, etc.) and the lobby. From the moment we arrived, we were impressed by the facilities. Everything at the hotel is done with class.
The hotel is built in a curved shape, wrapping around the shopping center below. The fixtures and designs within the hotel are amazing. We found everything really beautiful. We were excited just walking down the hallway to our room. While it looks great, some of the items seem like they aren’t very functional. This sitting area in the hallway is beautiful, but does anyone really use this?
Does anyone use these sitting areas at the elevator? Pretty, but not super functional.
The rooftop is where the hotel really shines, though. There is a restaurant at one end and a bar with snack/bar food offerings at the other. This is currently closed, however.
The pool is…impressive. Not only is the layout of the pool (infinity style) attractive, the pool also has great functional features.
The tables built into the pool for lunch on a hot day were one of the best elements.
Additionally, the round seating area with a table in the middle allows for a big group to have seating space while also a place to put drinks. We thought this was a hot tub area at first, but it is normal pool temperature with jets.
The pool area also has a ton of different seating options. There are single and double lounge chairs/sofas/beds to choose from. There are some with cushions and others without. Molded lounge chairs sitting in the water and wicker rocking chairs on the pool deck. The amount of options was fantastic.
Alessia Day Club
The hotel also offers a day club option. People can pay to access the pool, bar & restaurant on the rooftop via a day pass. Anyone arriving on the rooftop answers questions about COVID-19 symptoms, receives hand sanitizer and wipes, and has their temperature checked. This is for guests and day visitors alike.
To control access to guest rooms, the lobby and the rooftop buttons are the only ones you can push in the elevator if you don’t have a guest room key. There are internal elevators and staircases that provide additional paths to the rooftop but aren’t accessible to those visiting on a day pass.
Review: Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House Guest Room
There are obviously rooms that face the sea (a majority of the rooms) and a handful that don’t. With an upgrade to a king balcony room, we faced the ocean. Our room was on the 2nd floor, giving us a better view with fewer buildings in the way.
We had room 226. It was near the far end of the building and away from the elevators, which is good for avoiding noise from people coming & going. The room had a private balcony area with table & 2 chairs plus a loveseat.
The bedroom area had a large couch, several cabinets, and a king-sized bed. The bed was decently comfortable but not anything to write home about.
The pillows were the type that look firm and large but sink into nothing the moment you put your head on them. I’d switch these for literally anything else if they let me make the decisions.
The bathroom area was really roomy. Lots of counter space. Huge mirror.
There were big closets with lots of storage space, as well.
The shower is in one corner behind a glass door.
The toilet is in the other corner, also behind a glass door. There’s a glass wall between the shower & toilet, but the glass is frosted, so you can’t see into the other area.
The sink area had lots of space, and the amenities smelled amazing.
The sliding doors into the bathroom area can close, limiting noise & light from the bathroom area into the bedroom, in case one person is still sleeping, etc.
One thing to improve
If there’s one thing that I would improve from the room, it’s that all of the seating is low. The couch is low. The loveseat is low. The coffee table is low. Given that I work online, options for a typical “desk” type of setup and a good height for working at your computer were lacking. I wound up rearranging the room to use the nightstand in front of the couch, due to lack of better options.
Review: Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House Staff
The Thompson Main House staff were unbelievably inconsistent. The bellhops were super fantastic, always friendly and helpful. They were the best among the hotel staff.
The poolside staff were friendly, and they weren’t overbearing or pushy. They asked if you wanted anything on arrival and then mostly left you alone. If they saw you looking around, they came over to see if you were trying to order something / looking for one of them. They didn’t “hard sell”, which was really nice.
The front desk staff were great at check-in and great at check-out. Literally every other interaction with them would best be described as confusing. They were clueless, to be brutally honest. A few examples will show you why we avoided them and just tried to talk to the bellhops when needed.
New employee left alone at the front desk
One day, we were going out to explore and planned to go to the rooftop pool on our return. My wife wanted a coffee from Starbucks while we were out, so she asked the young woman at the front desk if bringing the coffee to the pool area is permitted. She had no idea. We saw her a few other times and figured out this is a new employee. She was at the front desk alone and went into the back to ask someone for the answer to our question. However, what she asked wasn’t the question we asked, so of course “Can they bring their own drinks to the pool?” makes you think we’re buying a 12-pack of beer at Walmart, so of course the answer was “no”. We should’ve just not asked and brought the coffee anyway.
No knowledge on late checkout policy
Given that we were moving from the Thompson Main House in Playa del Carmen to the Andaz Mayakobo property (15min away) on check-out, we asked about late check-out. We didn’t know if Andaz would let us check in early (website says 3pm check-in time)a, and we wanted to eat lunch in the city before leaving anyway. We asked the front desk about late check-out. As a Discoverist, I should get 2pm late check-out. The woman didn’t even look at our room/info, which would’ve told her about this. She simply informed us that their late check-out policy is a fee of $60. We knew they weren’t at 100% capacity and probably weren’t giving our room to anyone right away. They should’ve let us stay until 2pm, but they didn’t know it. Rather than argue, we checked out at noon and left our stuff with the bellhops.
No idea what the new wifi password was
They informed us at check-in that the wifi password changes weekly and would change during our stay. Of course, it changed while I was in the middle of an online class that I teach. Yes, the teacher got kicked off the internet during the class. I called the front desk asking for the password. They gave me the wrong info. While I used my phone as a hotspot to continue working, my wife called again. They gave her the correct info but wrong capitalization. We later figured it out on our own through trial & error. We called to tell them the correct password and let them know we were ok (so they wouldn’t call us & interrupt my work). They actually told us we were wrong and that their password was correct. No, but ok.
A special delivery that didn’t exist
The most annoying interaction was a phone call we got from the front desk. We were literally about to walk out the door when the phone rang. “Are you in your room? We saw the ‘do not disturb sign’, but we have a special delivery for you. Can we bring it up?”
We weren’t expecting anything, but maybe it was a Christmas present or a loyalty thank-you item. We’d received fruits and a bottle of wine on arrival, so maybe they were sending another similar thing. Who knows? We took the ‘do not disturb’ sign down and waited. And waited. After 20 minutes, we called the front desk to ask if this “special delivery” was coming.
They had NO IDEA what we were talking about. They actually thought we were making it up or confused or had called the wrong number. “No,” I said, “you called us and said there’s a special delivery coming. Is there something you are sending us?”
“No, we have nothing for you. Who did you talk to?” Of course we didn’t write down the name of the person who called, and they had no clue, thinking we made the whole thing up. It was baffling. We never even tried to talk to them about this later, because we’d decided to ignore the front desk staff, since they always seemed lost.
Putting it all together, here are the final thoughts on my review: Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House is a great hotel. The facilities are amazing. The location is fantastic. What you get is worth more than the price, that’s for sure. This is a great hotel with spacious, luxurious furnishings that you could happily spend your vacation. If I went again, I’d like to try the Beach House location, but that doesn’t mean the Main House isn’t a good place to stay. The building and the bellhops and the amenities on offer are all really fantastic.
However, the front desk staff were maddening. Between the time of check-in and check-out, there was not a single thing they did well. It seems they only know how to perform those 2 functions. They seemed like the type of people who would tell the sky is green and then argue with you that you need glasses if you say it’s blue. They were friendly, don’t get me wrong, but they were clueless after check-in until check-out time. I’m easy to please and don’t need much to have a good stay at a hotel. We strive to always treat hotel employees like real human beings, not servants. However, we avoided the front desk staff to not deal with their constant cluelessness, and “avoid the front desk staff” is a pretty bad description of a hotel stay.
Would I stay here again? Yes. Would I recommend others stay here? Yes. All I can do is be honest about the good and the bad, the highs and the lows.