We stayed at the Royal in Jan 2005. It was our 1st trip. We just booked to go back Jan 2006.
We are very much happy go lucky people with the attitude that we will have fun wherever we are at and that we are not staying (nor paying) for the Ritz, so we don't expect it! This has helped us have some of the best vacations ever!!
We stayed in Building 5 last year. It is the newest building and as such, is the farthest from the beach. The rooms were very large and always clean. At first, we were a little bummed that we were so far away, but by the 2nd or 3rd day, we always found ourselves by the "old folks home" (as we lovingly referred to B5 and the pool!) for the afternoon. It was the quietest place to relax, take a snooz by the pool, be in the pool and not the direct sun. My dh often snuck up to the room for an afternoon siesta. We will again be requesting B5 on our return. Yes, the bar and food are closed at like 10:00pm, but really, the short walk in the moonlight back to your building was just part of the fun after drinking at the other lounges and grabbing a burger at 1:00am.
Our friends stayed in B1. They liked it quite well. It is the oldest building, they had much stronger mildewy smell (nothing that a can of oust and a candle didn't fix.) than B5, had an ocean view, left the sliding door open at night to hear the waves. They are hoping to get back into the building as well.
Our other friends were in B4. They thought that was more centrally located and they liked being on the ground level and close to the beach if they forgot something, had to go to the bathroom, etc.
So - all in all it really depends on what you want
The beach was great. I don't like the ocean - so I can't much comment on that - but lots of people were enjoying it! Vendors were around if you want to shop from your beach chair. A simple No Gracias and they walked away. We bought mosr of our stuff from the beach vendors towards the end of the day and got the best prices. We went into Bucerias for a meal and some shopping. Real mexico culture too. Prices for stuff was pretty much the same as the beach vendors (after bargaining), but much better selection. So, definately check it out.
We took the bus into PV one day. A much do! It is $1 each way and trully a worthwhile excursion! Did some shopping there as well. They are not as eager to bargain, especially on cruise ship days. Stroll the maelcon at night and people watch. Fantastic!! Check out the cathedral too. Ate a meal at a great restaurant on a side street - would have to check my notes at home for the name. But, wonderful food is abound at every turn.
Definately bring a thermal mug for the resort. And a few $1 bills go a long way! I know it is all inclusive, but always tip a few dollars for good service, wether in Mexico or at home. They bartenders make like $4 for a 12 hour shift. And a couple dollars a day and to speak to them by name (they wear badges) will guarantee they speak to you with your first name, they know what you drink
and refill it first, clean our your mug, tell you wonderful stories about thier lives, thier village, etc. We are creatures of habit and always at breakfast at the same restaurant each morning and would always try to sit in the same section. Christian was our server and a couple $1's, asking what his name was and introducing ourselves - he would bring our juice/milk/coffee choices to us before we had sat down.
As far as restauruants, we would eat at the one in the middle by B3/B4 for all breakfasts - sat in the little side section every morning. Breakfast is a huge event with fresh yogurt (a must try! it is awesome!) tons of fruit, many hot breakfast dishes and sausage (pretty much what we call hot dogs). The also had pasteries, fresh made pancakes or french toast and crispy bacon (by the egg station.) And eggs/omlettes to order.
We usually didn't eat dinner, as we usually didn't have breakfast till 10:00 or so. So, I can't be of much help there. But, I know that during dinner, the little side section we ate breakfast in, served ice cream, burgers, fries and chips/cheese/salsa.
The snack bar is over by the #1 building/lobby and served the above fare from like 11:00 till 5:00. So we would grab a snack about 4:00 or so.
To make a reservation for supper at the specialty places, Steakhouse, Japan, Mexican or Italian, you have to get in line like at 7:00am or something. As we were still sound asleep at that time, we didn't
We did eat at the Steakhouse one night and it was pretty good. Not American Beef like we are used to, but fine. My dh had bbq chicken and was pretty good too. Our friends ate at the Jap (and couldn't eat it, so went to the buffet - which is the nice thing about an AI) the Italian was ok they said. They didn't make it to the Mexican.
I guess, I never went hungry once. We walked thru the buffets (2) each night and decided which one to eat at based on what was served. The pasta station is at the one by B3/B4 - it was fantastic! Again, the snack bar opens at like 11:00pm till 2:00 with burgers and etc. for late night snacking.
I hope I have helped you some. Your trip ultimately comes down to what you make of it. I wish you the best time! If you have any additional questions - please don't hesitate to ask!!