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“a bit of a downer” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Royal Sands

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The Royal Sands
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Blvd. Kukulcan km 13.5, No. 32, Seccion A, Segunda Etapa | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #27 of 172 hotels in Cancun
Florida
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“a bit of a downer”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

First let me emphasize that I own a timeshare at the Royal Resorts(Royal Caribbean) and this was an exchange to see what the newer resort was like. Let me say in the future it is back to the Royal Caribbean. While the service for the most part was excellent, we found the villa dirty and it took a complaint on the third day to get the maid to really clean it up. We had an infant with us and there was bird excrement on the terrace floor that required a complaint to management to clean up. Also we found that security that in the Royal Caribbean did not allow chairs and umbrellas to be reserved without people there, we saw groups going out at 7am to take 8 chairs and 3 umbrellas. The remainder of the resort was the usual excellent and kind service that we have come to love on our stays at Royal Resorts.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (458)
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Auckland, NZ
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

This is a beautiful resort with very nice apartments called "villas" (suite side sleeps four and full villa includes two bedrooms, a living area, kitchen and a balcony which sleeps 6 but can with an additional fee sleep 7). Staff are extremely friendly and helpful and the views of the sea are wonderful. Despite all of this, staying there can be quite stressful. Finding a beach area at Xmas or New Year's can be quite hard work, and you will have terrible wifi service.

Firstly, the beach. Although the Royal Sands is a large resort with quite a wide beachfront area with palapas, if you go at Xmas or New Year's time you have to fight for your palapa at the beach. The reason is that when the resort is operating at full capacity (6 or 7 people per apartment), people get up at the crack of dawn to stake out their beach space. And even though the Royal Sands has a policy against staking out, they rarely apply the policy. You can see under palapas many lounge chairs with towels on them that go unused for hours whilst you are stuck with no shade. Every morning I would see people staking out palapas on the beach from 6am onwards (even before the night lights in the resort were switched off!), and forget finding a palapa at the reasonable hour of 10am. We want to relax on our holiday not work for it!

Secondly, there is no wifi in your apartment, only in the balcony area. And there it is slooooooow... especially in the evenings when everyone is trying to see their email. Forget about talking to someone on Skype -- it won't happen.

Thirdly, the food. Our experience in previous years (we have been here a few times) was that La Veranda was a reasonable restaurant. This time it was unacceptable. I ordered a club sandwich on the 27th of December, and it came with overcooked turkey from their dinner buffet on the 25th! Just from the look of it I sent it back and refused to eat it. My husband had ordered meat which came tasteless. We imagine that going Alll-Inclusive has them scrambling to save money, but this is unacceptable. We complained and the waiter took it off our bill (as members of the Royal Resorts we are not required to use the All-Inclusive package). Even he and the manager recognised it was inedible.

Fourthly, if you stay in Phase I and arrive late on Saturday evening forget about sleeping in on Sunday. They started at 10am on Sunday on the loudspeaker and didn't stop until after their welcome party after 2pm. They didn't use to start on the loudspeaker until 12.30. I can only guess that it is their change to an All-Inclusive that drives the early morning start.

Would we stay there again? Well, here is the thing. We own an apartment on Xmas week in Phase I, so in theory we would stay there again. But it is becoming such hard work to find a spot on the beach, to ask for the loudspeaker to be quieter, to request each year that they improve their wifi, and the downturn of the food, that we are thinking of exchanging it and staying elsewhere in Cancún.

Room Tip: If you want to be in the quieter area with no loudspeakers going, ask for a beachfront room away fro...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed for 2 weeks..our second time staying at a Royal ( first was Royal Carribean)Boy were we disappointed. Too commercialized and very unfriendly place to go. Royal Sands is a very nice resort but the mandatory $210 a day( for 2 ppl) for 14 days..all inclusive wasn't worth it. We rented a car for the whole 2 weeks and thank god we had a way to get out!! Between the drunken brawl at the pool area and again later at the beach cabana area..the over priced EVERYTHING and the overall unappreciative and snobby attitudes of the employees and most of the locals..we will be going ANYWHERE but Cancun and ANYWHERE but the Royal Sands.There was one or two awesome table servers and bar servers that we wish we had gotten their names but..we tipped them well and thanked them for their good service.
I will say though..we met the nicest people staying there and have made friends that we're hoping will last a lifetime. Our advise..go to the Royal Haciendas..we drove down there and had the best day of our whole trip!! Definitely will be the place we'll be staying next time!!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Just got back from a week at the Sands, staying as an All-inclusive guest. Thoroughly enjoyed the trip and was very happy to have chosen the Sands.

Pros: Went with my family and it was a great family environment. Beach was wonderful, not too crowded and plenty of lounge chairs. All service personnel were very helpful and very nice, starting on arrival with taking my bags at the door, to serving us food and drinks while laying out on the beach. We had a beach front room which i would highly recommend for the amazing views. We loved sitting out on our balcony watching the sun rise. There were 4 of us so we also really loved having the suite option, as many resorts we would have had to just get two rooms. We did utilize the kitchen and liked having a large fridge. Overall we loved the room. We booked all of our tours and travel arrangements through the resort, and all turned out very well. I flew in solo at 10pm and it was great to have the shuttle driver greet me by name right at the door of the airport. We actually liked the food options with the all inclusive. Although like many have said, only a few on site options, there are multiple other options that are included that are off site, which we enjoyed. It was nice to get off of the property to enjoy a nice dinner, at a restaurant rather than a buffet also. We also utilized room service a lot, which we thought was perfect for what we were looking for.

Cons: We did notice a few things that we didn't like as well, but overall are quite picky. We thought it odd to use a room key as well as an arm band. No matter if we were getting something that didn't have extra fee, we still had to have our room key to process the order, although we were also wearing an arm band. At the swim up bar it would have been nice to just show the arm band and not worry about carrying the room key in the pool. We also found that we wanted more a la carte options that were a little quicker. There wasn't a great grab and go option for food or drinks. A full order always had to be made, even for just a soda or chips and guac. We also found that we had to call the desk a few days so that our room fridge was restocked with water and soda, which was a little disappointing. Lastly we ended up a little unlucky with using the activities provided. Bikes are unavailable saturdays we found, kayaks were closed Christmas, and a simple boogie board still costs $12 a day for use. Silly things but we were disappointed each time we found these things out. Also, it did get a little chilly a few days we were there, and there are no hot tubs for use, which we were a little disappointed in.

Overall we really enjoyed the Royal Sands. We had a fantastic Christmas dinner with Mariachi at our table which we loved. We loved our room and loved the friendly service!

Room Tip: Ocean front is the way to go!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bronston, Kentucky
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Beautiful five star resort but leave your computers at home because their wifi is worse than dial up
I would find it hard to believe that the Ritz Carlton and the JW Marriott, which are right next door, have Wifi Internet this poor! Otherwise a great resort.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

By far and away, the reasons to stay at this resort are the delicious food and the pristine (uncrowded) beach. Wonderful for families, but I'd advise couples to look elsewhere. A quick summary:

Pros:
- Food (top of the line and delicious)
- Beach chairs are spaced out, plenty of palapas and beach service
- Villas are great for families (not great for couples, see below)
- Service - everyone was incredibly friendly
- Activities - large number of included activities - only resort that I saw with small sailbots (HobieCat/SunFish) offered on the calm marina side for free. The resort's sailing instructor, Carlos, is super patient and friendly - they offer lessons for only $5. Well worth it since Carlos is a great teacher.

Cons:
- No jacuzzis
- "Standard rooms" (not the 1-bedroom suite) are only twin beds and not king beds. This was hidden in the fine print.
- If you do not stay Saturday-Saturday, you have to change rooms. They say they will help you with this, but they do not and it is a MAJOR hassle that took up several hours on Saturday.
- No nightlife - this place absolutely shuts down at 5pm. Its difficult to find a drink or anything to do. (The sports bar is a bit seedy and they had terrible karaoke a couple nights, not romantic in the least!)
- No lobby bar and pool bars do not open until 10am (can't get water or juice, etc.)
- No snorkeling nearby (since its on the Cancun hotel strip), although they rent snorkel gear.

This is clearly a family establishment that is caught in between a time share and an all inclusive. We paid a discounted rate since we booked through Orbitz and received the all inclusive amenities. The food at Hacienda Sisal, Captain's Cove and the Char Hut (beach/poo restaurant) was sensational and well worth getting the all-inclusive band. The drinks were very weak, so you really need to have the all-inclusive since there's exactly one shot in each drink. Since it was a family establishment, there wasn't a pool scene or beach scene, but it was super relaxing with the poolside and beachside service.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2012

This is a good timeshare, but not a good all-inclusive. There are only three restaurants on site, one of which is just a lunch place by the pool, another which requires reservations and where the food is average. The third one is ok, but just ok. Breakfasts are laid at the third one as a buffet, but it is average. (If you want a better one go to the nearby hotel Aqua. It is in another league altogether.) Arrivals are on Saturdays and you are assigned whatever villas are available if you do not own a timeshare. This may mean that if you arrive on a Friday you will be moved on the Saturday -- not very convenient.

On Sundays it is incredibly loud. If you just want to ease into your vacation, this is certainly not the place to do it. People start on the loudspeaker at 10 and do not finish until after 2pm. All they say is either incomprehensible nonsense or they are trying to sell you stuff -- which is stupid at an All Inclusive. Eventually, we moved to a different hotel because the hotel was just too noisy and the public area outside our villa was dirty for three days without their cleaning it, despite our complaints.

The Royal Haciendas just sits uneasily between an all inclusive and a time share. They should make up their minds what they are. We will not stay there again.

Room Tip: You can't choose a room because you are only assigned one on arrival, and it is whatever owner...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Royal Sands

Address: Blvd. Kukulcan km 13.5, No. 32, Seccion A, Segunda Etapa | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cancun
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#15 Family Hotel in Cancun
#21 Romantic Hotel in Cancun
#23 Luxury Hotel in Cancun
#24 Top resorts Hotel in Cancun
#26 On the Beach Hotel in Cancun
#27 Business Hotel in Cancun
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Royal Sands 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With a breathtaking beach location, a world-class Spa, tempting dining choices and activities for all ages, The Royal Sands has everything you need for a week of Royal relaxation.The Royal Sands® sits at the center of Cancun’s spectacular Caribbean shoreline with breathtaking views of white sand and turquoise waters. Enjoy fine dining, activities and many other creature comforts with the REFINE All-Inclusive package. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Royal Sands Hotel Cancun
Royal Sands Cancun
Cancun Royal Sands Resort
Royal Sands Resort Cancun

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