My review is admittedly biased - I have been visiting Petit Lafitte and its predecessor Posada del Capitan Lafitte for about 25 years (since I was three years old) so some of my fondest memories growing up were at the old Lafitte. However, Petit Lafitte continually exceeds the high expectations I had formed from my years as a guest at Capitan Lafitte. After reading some of the negative reviews on this site, although there are very few, I feel like it is my duty to defend my friends at Petit Lafitte.
First and foremost, what sets PL apart from any other hotel is the people. Every single member of the staff is very friendly, incredibly kind and completely trustworthy. I read one review that said money was stolen. I simply don't believe it. I would welcome each of them into my own home with open arms. David, the concierge, is world class and has been around the place forever. He takes time to meet and greet guests, learn their names and make any accommodations they desire (or that he can think of). Ivan is an excellent manager with a lot of passion for the place and the people, and a perfect understanding of how to run a hotel and solve problems. His cousin, whose name I can't remember at the moment but who is in training to run operations, is extremely friendly and outgoing and has the same passion as Ivan. Jesus and Victor have been there as long as I can remember and are great bartenders, not to mention quick-witted and easy to talk to. The wait staff - Baldemar, Martin, Frijol, Javier and others - are good at their jobs and quick with a joke and a smile. Everyone pitches in where needed, and I like knowing that so many of the staff have worked at PL since the days they were at Capitan!
Next is the place. The Playa del Carmen of 20 years ago was a small town with a ferry port to Cozumel and a lush jungle with pristine beaches. There were not massive all-inclusive hotels lining the beaches and restaurants and shops lining every street. Capitan Lafitte (plus tent city and Kaiilum) had nothing for a mile on either side but beach and jungle. Petit Lafitte is family owned and operated, and they have tremendous respect for the land on which the resort is located and the history of the area. The zoo and jungle are a reminder of what used to be, and the grounds are meticulously cared for. The rooms are absolutely perfect. They are always clean, comfortable and well maintained. I can't imagine anything more charming than the beach bungalows, but we have visited the rooms and they're very nice as well.
Next is the food. We are foodies - we cook all the time, travel around the country just to visit the hottest new restaurants, and really enjoy every type of cuisine. We LOVE the food at PL. It may be simple, but it is always fresh and delicious. Breakfast is a treat (huevos motulenos, try them), but lunch for me is the standout. The tacos are incredible, the chicken soup is to die for, and I think if I could choose my last meal would be chips, guacamole, pico de gallo and garlic sauce. About dinner: every morning at breakfast I like to look at the dinner menu so I can think about what I'm going to have that evening. I am allergic to shellfish and not once have I had to order something special for dinner, because there is always an option like beef, chicken or pork. In the past I have looked at the menu and thought to myself "hmm, neither of those options sounds very good" but I have always been pleasantly surprised. Now that I'm thinking about it, add pork pibil to my last meal. Gaspar is a great chef and I believe the food has improved greatly over the past five or so years.
I guess the best story I can tell to illustrate what a great place it is happened on our honeymoon. We were taking a long honeymoon and my husband thought it would be fun to split up our vacation between two resorts, the first week at the Tides Riviera Maya and then 10 days at PL. We were unimpressed with the room, service and food at Tides and decided after only one night to look for another hotel. We went to La Reve to inquire about a room and they were very kind but informed us that since there was a hurricane coming they were closing and could not check in any other guests at that time as they were evacuating everyone into town. HUH?! A hurricane?! The Tides hadn't even told us a hurricane was coming. We marched right down the beach to PL and asked if they would mind checking us in a week early, and they told us that it was no problem of course, to enjoy the resort that day and be ready for evacuation into town after dinner that evening. There were only 7 guests at the hotel, and that night we had a lovely dinner with Ivan, the manager, who stayed to see us off despite the fact that it was his birthday! David accompanied our group into town after dinner, got us settled into the hotel and retreived us the next morning when the hurricane had passed. THAT is great service.
The bottom line is, if you don't enjoy this place, you either came with the wrong expectations or YOU are the problem. It would be impossible not to enjoy the unique charm of this place and its wonderful people.
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- Also Known As:
- Petit Lafitte Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Petit Lafitte Playa Del Carmen
- Petit Lafitte Riviera Maya, Mexico - Playa Del Carmen