I am a little late in writing this review. My husband and I stayed for 5 nights in mid-October for our honeymoon. We wanted something that would be a short trip from TX, and since we tend to be pretty quiet people , we settled on Sandos Cancun after reading hundreds of Trip Advisor reviews of hotels/resorts in the area.
We booked transportation from/to the airport through Sandos, and it was an easy process. The round-trip cost of the transportation was added to our final hotel bill.
Check-in went smoothly, but we were not offered a free honeymooners' upgrade as promised, even after we showed our marriage license. I'm not sure what happened there but we didn't really mind.
Upon check-in we were given a brief introduction to the time share presentation, which they encouraged us to attend the next morning. We had to give a stern 'not interested' a few times before the concierge let us go on to our room, but after that nobody bothered us about the time share the rest of the trip.
The rooms were clean and well appointed, but FREEZING COLD, even when we turned the AC up as high as it would go. We could never get it to turn off completely, so often left our balcony door open to get some warmth in the room. Each day the room's mini bar was restocked with M&Ms, beer and soda.
The pools were beautiful and looked out over the beach. The weather in mid-October was PERFECT. I know that is typically considered low season, but we had 5 cloudless days with nothing but sun and 85-90 degree F weather. The other reviewers were right about Secrets the Vine casting an afternoon shadow over the pool, but we didn't mind that since by then it was usually time for us to take a beach walk or head up to our room for a cat nap. The hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. had great sun, and that was enough for us.
I can't say enough good things about the food...! The breakfast buffet at Zangos was huge and had a large selection of hot and cold foods, cereals, fresh fruits, juices, oatmeal, yogurt, breads and pastries (inc.my personal favorite item, smoked salmon!!!).
We ate most of our lunches at the pool restaurant. We ordered the ceviche daily, which had shrimp, crab, scallops, and squid and octopus. It was some of the freshest I have ever had. The pizzas were good too. We loved the shrimp soup and ate it several times during the trip, despite it being so warm outside. The rest of the pool menu included salads, burgers, chicken fingers, fries, etc. I can't speak for the mixed drinks outside, as I mainly stuck to white wine and beer. The bloody marys were better than average, though.
Gaijin was okay, just your typical hibachi restaurant. The chef did all the usual tricks. I am glad we went once, but since the menu doesn't change it didn't seem worth it to go another night.
Season's was good - very inventive. We went two nights in a row, which happened to be the only two nights it was open during our whole 5-night stay. Try the duck! It was cooked perfectly. Seasons was the only time during our stay where we purchased a bottle of wine. It was very reasonably priced at $40USD. There were several bottles less expensive, and many more expensive. It was good, but in retrospect we should have just stuck with the merlot/cab blend house wine and saved the money.
Zango's had a changing menu each night, and we never had anything we didn't like.
The lounge was a nice place to sit and have a drink before dinner, but they had limited cocktail options. I hope by now they have stocked the bar with olives! I ordered martinis every night, and they never had any dang olives...
We took a peek around the spa but found the prices to be a bit high for us, which is to be expected at a resort. It was a truly beautiful spa, though. We would have opted for the "wet areas" package if they had allowed men and women to go in together.
I am starting to get lengthy here, so I will wrap it up. In sum, the hotel is beautiful, but like others have said there is not much to do. They have some afternoon activities like sand volleyball or water aerobics, but we saw little participation. In the evenings they would have a small activity set up, but again, little participation. This was generally fine for us as we like to go to bed early, but I could see this being a problem for others. Service was great, food was great. LOVED the quietness, which was great for couples and singles, but I would NOT consider this a family place. Finally, the whole trip was reasonably priced, a great value, and WE WILL BE BACK in summer 2014 :)