Acanto Hotel and Condominiums Playa del Carmen
What We Love
- The location: just far enough from the hubbub of downtown, but only one block from the beach
- One-bedroom condos have full kitchens and private terraces with pool views
- Central air conditioning in every room
What To Know
- Not a beachfront property, but the beach club is one block away
- No on-site gym or restaurant, but guests receive a discount at a gym one block away, and locals love the Plank restaurant, across the street
- Well-priced massages and salon services at the hotel spa
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
On a side street off the quieter, more residential end of Quinta Avenida, Acanto Boutique Hotel is close enough to Playa del Carmen’s main drag but quiet (and air-conditioned) enough for you to relax and unwind before heading out for more. Done up with dark wood furniture and earthy tones of ochre and orange, the hacienda-style guestrooms have wide balconies that wrap around the central courtyard pool. In the one-bedroom suites the fully outfitted kitchens provide everything you need to cook en casa, from tableware and utensils to a microwave and a dishwasher. If you need to stay connected, WiFi and calls to the U.S. and Canada are free, and rooms also come equipped with plasma TVs and DVD players. Ask the hotel staff to direct you to the gym down the street (discounts are available), or to recommend one of the Acanto’s affiliated beach clubs for oceanside massages, drinks and food.
In the Area
Exploring Playa del Carmen’s Quinta Avenida is a highlight of any visit to the Riviera Maya, but most visitors head directly for the sprawling gated resorts along the highway between Playa and Cancún. Staying in the heart of Playa lets you to soak up the bustling atmosphere — which is unashamedly geared toward the throngs of daytrippers but still laced with local spirit — at your leisure. If you’re looking for some adventure, rent a bike and explore the ancient jungle ruins of Cobá or the oceanfront Mayan ruins in Tulum. When it comes to swimming, head to the subterranean river caves at Rio Secreto. Guided tours take you through the Yucatan’s ancient underground world of stalactites and stalagmites; wetsuits and helmets with lamps are provided. For snorkeling, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world is just off the coast of the Riviera Maya. Catamaran day tours can be arranged at the Acanto’s front desk.
How to Get There
First time to Playa and after looking at many places we decided on Acanto. From the beginning from check in to checking out the staff was amazing, the rooms were a perfect size for a family of 5. I loved the location, everything within walking distance and any restaurant we went too was delicious. We would definitely stay here again in the future.
The hotel had a nice boutique feel to it. Did not look like a cookie cutter hotel. Rooms were a great size. Having a kitchen area was a plus although we did not use it. Hotel was right across the street from a great restaurant that had breakfast and dinner. Also the hotel was on a strip with the mall and a never ending street of shops and restaurant, half of which were open pretty much all night.
What follows is the worst hotel experience we’ve ever had – and that’s after years and years of travel. The hotel bullied us, threatened us, and even went so far as to forge my signature – all in an attempt to prevent us from posting negative reviews of the hotel. When you finish reading this – ask yourself – even if this is the most beautiful hotel in the world (doubtful) - is this the type of owner you want to do business with?
For Christmas vacation in 2018, we wanted to go to Cancun Mexico. In June I made a 2-night reservation through the hotel website. After getting the confirmation I emailed the hotel and was told that they had a 4-night minimum and the hotel would not honor the reservation. The next day I found availability through Expedia and was able to place a non-cancelable non-refundable reservation for the 2-nights. It’s common for hotels to offer different blocks of rooms at different rates under different conditions so I figured that the 4-night minimum might not apply (and wasn’t enforced by Expedia’s website). So, I pre-paid the full two-night booking through Expedia. At this point, we believed that we had a fully executed contract. I emailed the hotel, and was again told that they would not honor the booking. We told the hotel that we considered this a violation of their contract with Expedia, but they still would not honor it.
At this point I went and booked an alternate hotel, and had long forgotten about Acanto altogether until they contacted us in late December demanding money. Acanto called to tell me that we would lose the reservation if immediate payment was not made. As I was running around busy at work, it didn’t immediately register that Acanto was not the hotel at which we had a reservation – so my bad – I gave them the credit card number which they then charged for our stay. We then received email confirmation from Acanto for our 2-night stay, along with additional emails offering to assist with transportation from the airport should we need it.
A few days before we were due to arrive at the hotel, Acanto contacted us to inform us that they would not be honoring the reservation. At this point, it still had not dawned on us that our reservation was at another hotel. So we panic. It’s Christmas time – high season in Mexico – and we now had visions of sleeping in either a bug-ridden hotel or the rental car. We checked – and indeed there were no decent hotels available in the area. Acanto had offered up another room at a different hotel – but research showed the hotel was horribly noisy due to construction at the hotel. We spent a sleepless night tossing and turning and fretting about what to do.
The next morning, before we could reply to Acanto’s emails to decide whether to accept their alternate hotel, they sent another email stating that they had canceled the reservation and refunded our money. Upon seeing the cancelation email, the light finally dawned on me – “this seems awfully familiar” – and upon recalling the whole fiasco in June – realized our reservation was at a different hotel. I emailed Acanto and told them that we would be recording negative reviews of the hotel because they had demanded money for a nonexistent reservation. At this point the Acanto hotel owner Matthew Schilowitz threatened us with legal action. I responded that honesty was always a defense to liable and slander lawsuits.
Later that day I posted a short trip advisor review to say “watch out your reservation might get canceled”. At that point someone (presumably at the hotel) clicked the “inappropriate content” button and had the review removed from the Trip Advisor website. We then received three emails in short sequence (none of which we replied to). The first again threatened legal action against us for libel. The second stated that their hotel “investigators” had found our business in Seattle – and threatened to disrupt our livelihood. The third was a screen shot from a system called “Who’s Your Guest” showing that they had entered our information into a hotel guest review system (think Trip Advisor in reverse where hotels exchange information on guests – intended for things like cases where guests trash hotel rooms and the like). Acanto told us that this would make it problematic for us to book hotels in the future.
Enraged by the bully tactics, I posted a more detailed Trip Advisor review detailing the hotel’s threats. The hotel again clicked the “inappropriate content” button and had the review removed. And at this point they sent a FAKE cease and desist letter from a FAKE attorney threatening us with legal action if we posted any further negative reviews of Acanto. The letter was obviously faked because the word “counsel” was misspelled in the attorney’s title, the attorney did not exist in the Florida Bar database, and the Florida address on the letterhead was non-existent. A few weeks later we received a second fake cease and desist letter from the same fake attorney via certified mail to our home address in Seattle. This second letter was sent from a post office a mile or so from the Acanto Hotel owner’s home in Florida – making it very clear that Mr. Schilowitz was personally behind the fake attorney letters.
At this point we filed a complaint with the Florida Bar – case #20191043(15B) – because impersonation of an attorney is a crime. Eventually this led to Mr. Schilowitz having to sign a REAL cease and desist affidavit promising never again to pretend to be an attorney. But not until after Mr. Schilowitz lied to the Florida Bar about his actions. Eventually he wised up and realized he was in serious danger of being prosecuted for his crimes and hired a criminal attorney to defend him. Hence, if you find yourself the victim of this tactic, be sure to contact the Florida Bar and reference the above case number as its likely to result in prosecution of Mr. Schilowitz. And remember – if you are telling the truth – no one can win a lawsuit against you for liable or slander - which is what the fake attorney letters threatened.
We also contacted the CEO of the “Who’s Your Guest” hotel review system. It’s not intended as a mechanism to threaten guests with disruption of future travel just because a hotel doesn’t like the content of a hotel review (which is what Mr. Schilowitz did to us). One of the things the “Who’s Your Guest” company does to ensure the integrity of their system is that they require that hotels show proof that a hotel guest consented to be reviewed on their platform. When the CEO demanded that proof from Acanto – Mr. Schilowitz sent back a hotel check-in form with a FORGED SIGNATURE and a FAKE ID. Despite the fact that we never stayed at the hotel, Mr. Schilowitz was brazen enough to provide “Who’s Your Guest” with forged documents to continue to try and bully and harass us. The “Who’s Your Guest” CEO was so enraged by Mr. Schilowitz’s actions that the hotel’s entire account was removed from their platform.
Here’s the bottom line… we tried to stay at Acanto, but were refused a reservation – after which the hotel demanded money for this non-existent reservation. When we posted an honest Trip Advisor review of our experience the hotel threatened our livelihood, threatened to sue, and threatened to disrupt our future travel. When that didn’t work because we refused to be intimidated, the hotel owner, Mr. Schilowitz, then increased the level of bullying to fake attorney letters to try to frighten us and forged documents. Based on our experience, I would recommend anyone avoid dealing with Mr. Schilowitz under all circumstances. And that means avoiding any hotels he owns – including Acanto.
Anyone with any doubt as to this being the full and honest recording of events is welcome to message me. I’m happy to send the entire Florida Bar case file to you which contains copies of all communications exchanged between all parties. Or you can request the details from the Florida Bar yourself as this is all now a matter of public record.
This is a very quaint and nice little hotel. Not a party place, Not a family fun adventure, just a nice boutique hotel. The owners and staff are very accommodating. Night manager/auditor was always on point and made sure the place was safe. The rooms are surprisingly modern, clean and well-maintained. The location is excellent, just a 1/2 block from 5th Ave. Parking is included. Beach is nearby. Rooftop is shared with many other condo-owned rooftop terraces. No pool/jacuzzi on roof even though it may look like it in pictures. The breakfast is just minimal, but it is acceptable. Our first day they had percolated coffee and a box of rolls from Sam's club set out. By the last day they had added fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs. I don't blame the management as the hotel was not full (only 1-3 rooms) and it was hard to gage how many persons would show up or not. Bed was a little hard. I would recommend it
Nice little hotel. Not much to offer beyond a good place to sleep and near 5th Ave. The advertised breakfast is just coffee, toast and sweet bread bought from Walmart. Yes, the sweet bread was still in the Walmart wrapping. The second day it was the same loaf of sweet bread that I had taken a piece of the day prior. Needless to say the first morning was the only morning I ate breakfast there. Rooftop deck was nice, although did not spend any time there. Too hot and not much shade up there. Water pressure in the shower was hit and miss. Occasionally it would get good pressure, but only for a few seconds at time. All the staff were friendly and spoke good English.