My family has traveled to the Riviera Maya many times and are owners at Sandos. We wanted to stay in Cancun this holiday season because we never have and the Royals had many properties to accommodate the group. We purchased a week at the Royal Cancun because of the many positives reviews on tripadvisor and because we were not able to trade. So we paid a pretty penny. For us, life is a comparison game at times and from our perspective, the Riviera Maya/Sandos beats Cancun/Royals hands down on many counts. Here's our opinion:
The Good: Clean units, conveniently located, small, manageable, on the bus route and close access to ferry to Isla Mujeres.
The Bad: Slow service, surely wait staff, mediocre housekeeping, very few room amenities, poor beach, long and unfriendly check in, long waits in restaurant and mediocre food.
The Ugly: Street noise from units with balcony facing the street (this was our unit and since we paid the owner so much - we expected more); lack of follow through from the concierge and lack of truthfulness from the concierge (ok we went on the timeshare presentation at their property on the Riveria Maya which was our bad to believe that it would be any different than any other. But, we were told that the presentation would take less time than it did (duh - we are gullible) and that we could use the property afterwards. The presentation was very long and we ended up only having two hours on the property. The beach at their Riviera Maya location was very nice and we finally had a little time at a good beach.
Our most upsetting memories: My 87 year old mother in-law sitting out on the loud unpleasant balcony for her first and most likely last Cancun experience.
My 68 year old, newly widowed Aunt feeling verbally attacked at her first and most likely last timeshare presentation.