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The Royal Sands Resort & Spa All Inclusive
Ranked #21 of 177 Hotels in Cancun
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed December 17, 2012

It ache's my heart to say this. As a Royal Resorts member for many years now I have always been impressed by Club International De Cancun where our Timeshare is (It's now called The Royal Cancun), however my experience at The Royal Sands was not in the same ballpark. First off, this place is not bad by any means. It's super nice, the staff are friendly, the rooms are awesome, and the beaches are nice. However, having visited many other resorts I am forced to compare them to this one.

First of all since I am not a member I did not have to do the All Inclusive, which is a very good thing. I calculated the costs for my guests and I and we would have spent over $1500 more and not received any benefit from it. Not to mention the food was OK, but it wasn't anything to rave about.

My biggest grips about this place was the size of the resort and the staff ratio based on the size. If I ordered a drink on the beach it would take up to 40 minutes to get it. If you wanted to close out it could easily take that much time as well. It made it difficult if you planned activities.

Some of the really good things about it are the pool bars, wavy beach, friendly staff, and awesome rooms.

Room Tip: I prefer oceanfront rooms :)
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Casey M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,134 - 3,140 of 4,491 reviews

Reviewed December 17, 2012

This was my second time at Royal Sands and third time at a Royal Resort, always with adult friends or adult family. In the past I would have given RSands 5 stars. But, the All Inclusive has changed the food quality and consistency.
I had booked early enough that we did not have to do AI. But even then, the beach food and drink were inconsistent. Unlike earlier years, the fries were cold, the fish tacos went from 3 per order to 2 per order for the same price (though at Royal Haciendas we did get 3 tacos for the same price). The first two days of the week all drinks were half off during happy hour; then one day, only 3 drinks were half off for happy hour. We never denied ourselves any food or drink, and for two of us our total cost, including junk food bought at the market that is not a part of the AI, we spent less than $100 a day---a lot less than over $200 a day for the two of us if we had to do the AI. Breakfast buffet was good.

The resort itself is beautiful, staff were always kind and service oriented, When we expressed displeasure, staff tried to do their best, but I think the AI is not working. Rooms were clean, we had a room right on the beach which was perfect. Took the day trip to Royal Haciendas and the marketing speil. Resort is nice, but many rooms there do not have a real view; at Royal Sands almost every room has a great view. Beach is very quiet, and though you can swim easily there, it did not have the fresh breeze and fresh ocean smell of the Royal Sands beach. Food and service were good there. Both Royal Sands and Royal Hacienda are accessible, but Royal Sands is easier I think.

Loved the food at Captains Cove; went there more than once and was always great food, wine and service. Hated the food at Sisal--was cold, lacking in taste, and the enchiladas had a sour verde sauce on them. Service and atmosphere were great, but food was poor, despite a promisiing menu.

The marketing people said they are trying to have only owners come to their resorts, and trying to have repeat quests actually buy-in to avoid the AI. Sorry to say, we just went ahead and used our timeshare to buy a week next year at the Westin in Cancun instead of a Royal Resort. We will likely not return to a Royal Resort because of the AI. Royal Resorts is building a new residence resort in Puerto Morales (just south of Cancun) which will offer fractional ownership only (such as 3-5 weeks at a time). He said Royal Resorts does not plan to renew any of the trusts for the older Royal Resorts, and will move more to multiple week ownerships. I have loved Royal Resorts, but will be curious to see how their new approach works out for them. The marketing guy we spoke with said Royal Resorts thought they were one of the last resorts to go AI. I disagree and will choose instead to go the the many nice resorts that do not charge the high AI fee (omni, westin,etc).

If someone does want to buy a week or two, there are so many available through the secondary maket for great prices (redweek.com, e-bay, etc) I am not sure their plan will work, and things will suffer besides. Even if I wanted to buy at the Royal Resorts, the AI would stop me because I could not offer the weeks to friends or family without them incurring the huge AI costs.

Despite wonderful staff and location and rooms, we will likely not return.

Room Tip: We were in building A room 5201. Building A is on far south side of resort, along oceanfront beach...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank brendaKC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2012

The Royal Sands just implemented a compulsory meal plan in October 2012 for non members/owners (who trade their other time shares) which makes it quite expensive (approx.$105. USD per person per day.
THERE IS AN EASY WAY TO GET AROUND THIS.
Simply book into one of the other sister Royal Resorts (who don't have a compulsory meal plan) e.g. The Royal Caribbean, The Royal Mayan. You just have to sleep there and you can use any and all the Royal Resorts and can bill to your room all purchases, meals, etc. at any\all of these resorts simply by using your room key. In other words, you can still spend all your time at the Royal Sands if you want, but sleep at the Royal Caribbean. There is a free bus shuttle every hour between all the Royal Resorts-- or you can take a city bus for only 8 1/2 pesos ($0.65 US) which also goes to the malls and downtown. I have stayed at the RS and RC and they are great but I found the Royal Cancun was small, old, and has a poor beach area.

Room Tip: All rooms have an ocean view, but the rooms facing East get direct sun all morning which can be ide...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank 1969Hemi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2012

We have been going to the Royal Sands for the past 8 years and have spent plenty of money there. We have traded our Hawaii timshare for the time in Cancun. This year there has been a mandatory all inclusive fee levied for non owners. The only reason a corporation does this is to make more money. Period. The charges per day are totally unreasonable and this resort does not warrent it. Unless this is repealed we will find another place to spend our money. I would have given this a 5 star but because of this new ruling I will give it a two star.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank hinona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2012

Great place to stay. Rated #8 out of 173 hotels in Cancun. Clean, quiet, safe, great location in Hotel Zone-next to 2 great malls. Discount golf at 4 golf courses. All inclusive is optional for owners, BUT was recently made compulsory if traded-approx. $105 per day per person. Best to rent directly from an owner so all inclusive is optional for 4 day minimum. There are also 4 other sister resorts which are very good, except VCI. (Royal Caribbean, Royal Mayan, Royal Islander are fine). Check the website--603 rated excellent, 166 very good. The all-inclusive just came into effect at the Royal Sands on October, 2012---makes it expensive for non-owners. Option-become an owner?

Room Tip: Rent a suite with a full kitchen and large deck
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank 1969Hemi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2012

For reasons that make little sense unless the Royal Sands is actively trying to reduce the number of guests who aren’t owners, the RS recently imposed an all-inclusive requirement for all non-owners. The RS only has two real restaurants on site and a couple of bar-type places. Additionally the food is only average and surcharges are even invoked for “daily specials” and some higher-priced options like steak. For this they are charging a whopping $105 per day per person. As I said, from a competitive standpoint their all-inclusive requirement makes no sense unless the RS is deliberately trying to reduce the number of guests who are not owners (owners are exempt from the all-inclusive requirement).

Anyway, apart from the food price and quality, the RS is a nice enough resort with large grounds, two pristine swimming pools, and large suites (although the suites could use some refurbishment). The beach area is spacious and clean with several palapas available on a first-come basis. Some people got to the beach very early but we were able to get a palapa most of the time. The staff at the resort is friendly and competent, and the travel agency located on-site is a little over-priced but very convenient to use.

In summation, why a non-owner would stay at this resort given the absurd all-inclusive cost is a mystery to me. If I didn’t have to pay for all-inclusive I would probably return for a subsequent visit. But such as it is, I will not be returning to the RS and cannot recommend the resort.

Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
11  Thank roger w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2012

I have stayed at the Royal Sands for 10 years, and we love it. We have breakfast on our huge balcony overlooking the pools and ocean most mornings, lunch at the resort, and normally go out of the resort for dinner to one of the many excellent restaurants in the hotel zone or downtown. By renting directly from a Royal Sands member (at a better price that through the resort), the All Inclusive Plan is optional. So the fact that the resort is making AI mandatory for those guests who are booking directly with the resort, or doing an exchange, does not affect our choice to keep going to the Royal Sands at all. Anyone who loves the resort does not have to deny themselves a wonderful vacation there because of the AI.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank JAZZCanada
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 Resort & Spa All Inclusive

Address: Blvd. Kukulcan km 13.5, No. 32, Seccion A, Segunda Etapa | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77504, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cancun
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access 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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#14 Family Hotel in Cancun
#20 Top resorts Hotel in Cancun
#21 On the Beach Hotel in Cancun
#21 Luxury Hotel in Cancun
#21 Romantic Hotel in Cancun
Price Range: $218 - $498 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Royal Sands Resort & Spa All Inclusive 4*
Number of rooms: 340
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Royal Sands Resort & Spa All Inclusive, one of the best All-Inclusive resorts in the area, sits at the center of Cancun's spectacular Caribbean shoreline with breathtaking views of white sand and turquoise waters. With a privileged location, five-star luxury, a world-class Spa, tempting dining choices and activities for all ages, The Royal Sands has everything you need for your next Caribbean vacation. Enjoy fine dining, activities and amenities offered by 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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