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“Money and Jewelry taken from safe”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #60 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Reviewed June 11, 2011

My husband and I just returned from the Sandos yesterday. While there we had money and jewelry taken from the safe in our room. We didn't realize it until we got home and opened our jewelry bag and counted our money. It happened on our last night's stay so when we were ready to leave the next morning we just opened the safe and took our things out and packed them. Then when we arrived home we found gold and money had been taken. We don't know what the resort policy is, but will be anxious to find out.

Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
14  Thank floyd55184
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 10, 2011

We just returned from a 12 day holiday and although we usually don't return to places but prefer to try out new things every year we would love to be able to return to Playa del Carmen and would definitely book into the Sandos Playacar again. We had an amazing time and our two older children were really upset to leave, as were we.
We are a family of five with children aged 21 months, 4 and 6 years old and we were very impressed by how family orientated Mexican tourism was:

Arrival:
Flight with Thomson from the UK was ok, read some horrible reviews beforehand and expected the worst and it was not all that bad. Certainly not to the standard to Singapore Airlines & Co, but you get what you pay for and the service and in-flight food and entertainment were good enough. Disliked that we had to pay for drinks though.

On arrival in Cancun Airport on every queue we encountered we were ushered through the fast lane because we had young children with us, which does not seem to be standard practice in all airports and was very welcomed after a long and tiring flight. We had pre-booked transfer which went smoothly and we were not hassled at the airport, a polite "no thank you, gracias" was accepted by all who approached us.

On arrival at the hotel check in was prompt and dealt with within minutes. Yes, we were approached by the timeshare lady who was very polite. We sat down with her and she showed us the map of the resort, handed out maps of the local area and pointed out serving times for the different restaurants. When she started the talk about a 'presentation' and presents/discount vouchers we declined politely and that was it. So all in all I found her short talk helpful and we had no issues refusing the presentation. We were not approached again during our stay, but I am sure having three impatient and tired children helped.
Our room was ready and had a fruit bowl and a bottle of red wine waiting for us which was a nice touch. And to mu surprise the wine tasted alright too!

Our room:
We were in a junior suite with jacuzzi in the Hacienda section. The room was lovely and bright, very large with a nice big bathroom. It was cleaned daily, our maid was very friendly and seemed to appreciate the tip we were leaving every few days. A cot for the baby was ready and the maid made lovely animals out of towels for the kiddos.

Hotel grounds:
As other reviews mentioned, it was about a 5-10 minute walk with children from our room (near to the main lobby) to the restaurants, main pool and beach. We all enjoyed the walk and were not bothered at all by the distance, the hotel grounds were lovely and the kids enjoyed spotting Iguanas and Coatis and visiting the donkey on the way. On the few occasions they were too tired, mainly in the late evenings after the shows, we used the hotel shuttle which always arrived within minutes. Drivers were always friendly and helpful with our bags and pram and children. I regretted that I did not always have small notes handy for tipping those guys.
The grounds were spotless, plenty of bins available and we constantly saw workers tending the lawn and bushes, picking litter etc.

The pools:
We used both the main pool and the smaller pool near the main lobby. The pools were always clean, plenty of sunloungers. Yes, it was annoying that a lot of people reserved loungers in shaded areas for most of the day only to use them for a short while later in the day, but we were generally lucky and managed to find some space. We were told that the resort was only half full and I could imagine it getting trickier when reaching full occupancy, but every possible space was used for sun loungers so the hotel seems to do as much as they can.

At the main pool area is a small baby pool and the large pool has areas with very shallow water our baby was happy to sit and splash in, I thought that it worked really well to cater for children of all ages and swimming abilities.
At the smaller pool area near the main lobby is again a baby pool and a deeper pool, right next to an adults only pool.

The beach:
WOW! Stunning beach, exactly as I had hoped to find it. I just loved the sight of the white sand and the turquoise water. Too wavy to swim for our kids sometimes, but that's nature and we enjoyed splashing around and I was happy to swim by myself and have some time to myself for a change.
I found the cigarette butts very annoying that were lying in the sand despite the ashtrays provided next to the sun loungers, but that is not the hotel's fault and the beach appeared to be cleaned daily because there was no litter around in the mornings.

The entertainment and kids club:
Our kids LOVED the kids club! They only went a few times, we both work so wanted to spend as much time as possible with them, but the few times they went they had a good time and came back with drawings and paintings and bracelets they made. Our son also took part in the Disney Show which he enjoyed and we loved watching! The kids especially loved Erica, Nataly and Georgie - if any hotel representative reads this, please pass on our compliments on the fantastic work they were doing! They really seemed to enjoy their jobs and I felt safe to leave our children with them.
The entertainment was good too, we watched a couple of shows at the theatre which were done ok and we had a good time. My husband went out in the evening a few times to watch/join the later activities and entertainment and enjoyed his 'nights out'.

The food:
I saved the best for last! I had widely researched the hotel options before booking and the good reviews on the food quality and locations were the decisive factors when choosing Sandos Playacar. And we were not disappointed! We used the buffet restaurants regularly and enjoyed the choices available - my favourite was the Mexican themed night on Tuesdays and I think that considering the resort is in MEXICO there could have been more Mexican dishes every day. I enjoyed every dish I tried and was especially impressed by the drinks selections in the mornings, wide selection of juices and the children loved the chocolate milk that they also ordered with their evening meals. The buffets were exceptionally clean, someone was always topping up dishes and cleaning the displays.

We also went to the Rodizio and the Steak House and enjoyed our meals in both restaurants.
I had contacted the hotel in advance and asked to reserve a seat in the Steak House for my husbands birthday and asked to buy a chocolate birthday cake. Communication with the web relations guy Darren was very good and the cake came for free too which was nice.
During our stay it turned out that no reservations were needed for restaurants, but on the weekend of my husbands birthday the resort was filling up a bit more and it rained and for some reason everyone headed to the Steak House! It took us ages to get in because despite Darren's intervention (guest services were very polite and helpful here) the person seating guests refused to acknowlegde us and she was overall not friendly or helpful in the slightest, but she was the one exception during our stay. And the food and the cake certainly made up for it!
Taking up advice from earlier posts I ordered 'rare' to get 'medium rare' and it was cooked to perfection medium rare, very tasty!
The chocolate cake was amazing, I had not expected such a good quality cake at all and will post a picture later, the cake tasted and looked gorgeous.

The drinks were great, as I said I loved the juice selection for breakfast and also regularly ordered smoothies during the day. The children got addicted to 'Sandos Smoothies' and I also enjoyed the Frappuccinos as well as the Capuccinos. I'm from Germany and have become accustomed to the awful instant coffee culture in the UK but I was pleasantly surprised to be served real coffee at Sandos.
I loved the Caipirinhas and tried a number of the alcoholic cocktails which were all nice if not a bit strong, but I am a light weight and usually stuck to the smoothies.

Sandos Caracol:
We went to Sandos Caracol for one day, the taxi cost USD 15 each way. I had read on here before that you would have to pay the daily rate but at the hotel was advised that we could use Sandos Caracol for free (I do not know if that was due to being low season). We loved it! The resort has a real jungle atmosphere to it, overall I found it to be more atmospheric than Sandos Playacar which no doubt is pretty but in a rather generic way. It has a new waterpark with slides for children and the kids loved it. We had not planned to let the children use the kids club, but it is a huge fun looking building with a great indoor play area so we let them play for a couple of hours and they enjoyed themselves while we checked out the beach which was also pretty, more sheltered with shallower waters and less waves so probably more child friendly than Sandos Playacar. I would consider going to this hotel one day if it wasn't for the location - it is further away from Playa del Carmen and I would not like to be restricted to the one resort/hotel.

Trips:
We did a day trip with Edventure Tours, organised prior to departure online. I will write a seperate review but want to mention that they are a great organisation to go with young children, well prepared even for our youngest! We visited Tulum, snorkelled the Cenotes (they had a raft for the baby and a a dinghy thing for our son to hang on to, plus children wetsuits) and then snorkelled with turtles in Akumal. We had a fantastic day and can only recommend venturing out even with children in tow!

I booked prior to departure 'Dolphin Encounters' with Dolphinaris and got a really good deal. We enjoyed the experience and can only recommend it to the 'Flipper' generation - the mums generally seemed more excited than the children, those kids missed out on the 'Flipper' show!!!

I booked a trip to swim with whale sharks at the hotel and managed to haggle it down to the price sold online and when overhearing conversations on the boat I seemed to have gotten a good deal, can definitely recommend that experience, it was awesome!

We also went into Playa del Carmen a few times, due to the heat and distance we decided to use the taxi, only a few dollars/pesos each way, loved browsing the shops and playing at the beautiful beach. There's a nice little playground near the ferry pier.


So, for those who haven't fallen asleep over this rather long review, I can only recommend Sandos Playacar. With the one exception of that unfriendly lady in the Steak House and possibly the fact that with children it is not within walking distance of Playa del Carmen town centre / 5th Avenue we have not experienced any downsides and were all really really sad to leave the place. As said before, contrary to our usual 'no return' rule we would love to come back one day (or if we had the cash / time return tomorrow!!!). Thank you for a fantastic family holiday that we all equally enjoyed!!!

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
16  Thank MelHH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2011

We had an awesome time at this resort. Everything was included and was superb. We stayed for eleven days, ten nights and we can't wait to go back. It was my spouse and I along with our two younger children ages 7 and 6 months. We were not charged for the children and the cost for us adults was less than a night stay at a 3 star hotel that does not include meals. ALl meals were included, including the taxes and tips and no one even expected to recieve tips. THe service was awesome. No waiting. We had three special nights where we mad reservations at the specialty restaurants. It was great. THey also took care of our daughter at the kids club until 7pm so we had these dinners alone.. well with the baby but ya know. It all made for a special vacation. Our room had a huge king size bed and a full size couch which I idid not want my daughter sleeping on so they brought in a rollaway bed which was a full twin size bed on a regular twin mattres which we fit next to our bed. It was just great. The first night we ordered room service because we were so hungry coming in late from our flight and the restarunts were closed and the food was awesome as well. We had a routine for the day which included breakfast droping child at day care pool or beach, lunch, nap dinner then entertainment . THe Live daily entertainment was awesome. It was like getting tickets to NY or Las vegas shows every night. the level of dancing was wonderful and the michael Jackson show was Superb, a must see!!!. We met friends there that we will be friends with for a lifetime. It was just an awesome time not having to worry about money the whole time. ONe day we did go into town to do laundry as my husband did not pack for 10 days, lol but it was a great day out and we loved the local culture. THey have buses that take you to the local disco at 10 p,m and return you at 2 am. THey think of everything alll u need to do is relax. THey do have ;people selling this place as a timeshare but a polite no one time and no one ever asked again. THe only drawback if there was one was that we had to walk the whole property daily which is large. I got used to it and it became a great thing to do with the family as we watched others during our walk and came upon many animals that the hotel kept on property like monkeys and cats. No complaints an overall awesome time. Each building had its own pool and outdoor jacuzii along with a main one that most used in the front of the property. The jacuzzi water outside was cold though.

Room Tip: get the room with jacuzzi inside the room
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  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank Relaxing41G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2011

OMG what can I say this is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in we stayed in the newer Riviera Section what can I say the staff were wonderfull everybody smiles and say hola as the pass you the hardest working staff I have ever met. It was my husbands birthday when we were there they provided a lovely birthday cake, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries in our room. We managed to get reservations in all the speciality restraunts during our 2 week stay. Please tip the hard working staff they never expect it bur are alway gracious when receiving. Cannot wait again till next year.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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19  Thank che030
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2011

My husband and I returned to Mexico unexpectedly after finding a truly insane deal on Travelocity. Our plan was to spend a few nights in New York for our anniversary but what we ended up paying for 8 nights including air was less than one night stay in a 4 star hotel in NYC during May. Seriously incredible price. We were really skeptical and honestly didn't have high expectations because of the rate we were paying. Since we are total beach bums we had resigned ourselves to be happy as long as we could find 2 loungers on the beach. But in all honesty, this hotel was AMAZING no matter what the cost. The beach is definitely the highpoint!! The rooms (we got a free upgrade to a jacuzzi suite in the Riviera section) were beautiful, airy and immaculate. The entertainment was great--there is an amazing salsa band there every few nights and they were definitely top notch. The buffet food was pretty good for your typical AI resort. the a la carte restaurants were just ok but definitely not bad. We had no complaints at all. You can get free room service 24 hours a day and everyone is beyond helpful. The spa is dreamy. We got a couple's massage and we felt really great afterwards. I plan to return to this resort even though I am sure we will never get the same great deal we got.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank IluvNYCCt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2011

Our 1st trip to Sandos Playacar Beach few years ago was perfect! This trip was Ok overall, BUT left a little of a bitter taste… Definitely good value for your money but … some managers (i.e. Louis Gomez) still need to learn Customer Service concepts! I did provide feedback to manager as well as in end-of-stay survey.

To better explain my feedback I did a breakdown by category below:

CHECK-In: We arrived late @ 11:30 PM. They tried to stuff us into Riviera part, while we specifically booked and requested Beach. Too many people arrived – only one person at the front desk and they did not have enough staff to take us and hour luggage to our rooms. Took 2 hours to get to our room and another hour to get extra bed for a child! AC did not work, but we were too tired and just opened windows. Next day they moved us to another room one floor down. They moved our luggage, but did get us additional bed. Took few phone calls to front desk to get the bed… On multiple occasions during stay I escalated service issues about check-in, room condition, elevator and other service issues to manager Louis Gomez. He promised that he will make it up to me and my wife when I confirm that all issues are resolved. I did. I expected that he would at least send a fruit plate to our room (that costs nothing and I could order it for free from Room Service), but nothing… HORRIBLE experience and clear DEMONSTRATION of INCOMPETENCE!!!

CHECK-Out: If you have morning or early afternoon flight, you are Ok. We had an evening flight home and had to be picked up @ 3 pm. Our friends and I requested few days in advance late check-out @ 2 PM instead 11 AM. Front desk guy told us that they change about $20 per room to late check out. We agreed and he made some notes in the computer. A day before leaving I decided to verify it even though spring break was over and resort was already half-empty. Another guy at the front desk after a five minute investigation told us that they have our request, but it is not confirmed. We had no choice but to respond with a question: “So what do we need to do to confirm it?”. He went to get approval from manger, and came back offering us 1 room to share between 3 families, but free. I explained that I do not see 3 families totaling 12 people (6 adults and 6 children) currently in different buildings sharing one room to take showers, change and get ready for trip home practical. I also told him that we are willing to pay their fee. He started discourteous explanation that he can not give us 3 rooms as it takes 3 hours to clean each room for next guests, etc. I explained that resort is already > half-empty and I have seen these rooms getting cleaned in 30 min. He only gave in when I wrote down his name and promised to escalate all issues we experienced during our stay.

ROOM: We staid in Beach section. Buildings are older. If you are on top floor with kids, be aware – 2 out of 3 elevators did not work all week. Frustrating part is that they did not even bother to put sign on broken elevators. As new people were arriving their frustration was noticeable - they were figuring it out the hard way. First room we had on the 4th floor – they moved us to another room next day since AC barely worked. AC had to be adjusted manually by repair staff in new room as temperature was about 23-24C and thermostat did work. It would not be too bad if repairman would do it right away – we called them 3 times, but no-one showed up as was promised until I went to the reception desk and spoke to a manager. One of the night lights attached to the wall next to bed just fell off… Showerhead was damaged and was spitting water over the shower door all over bathroom creating a large puddle. Instead of replacing it, maintenance staff taped it up so leak was small and turned showerhead in such way that remaining water leak was going towards the wall. One day I could not open room safe - batteries died (no warning) and had to be replaced – this was only time when maintenance staff actually showed up and solved the issue fast. Please note that rooms in Hacienda and Riviera sections of the resort are newer and better, but be ready for a 10 min walk to the beach (make it at least 15 min if you are with kids).

ROOM CLEANLINESS: As always, we left few $ each day for cleaning lady and room was spotless when we would come back from the beach to change for dinner.

BEACH: Simply Great! Sand from beach in this area was washed off by a storm 4-5 years ago. It took a while to build it back up. It is all done now and it turned very nicely! We were there during 2011 Spring break. Beach section of the resort was full and there was a problem getting lounge chairs at both beach and pool – everything already was “reserved” by 7 am each day. However, Select Club section of the beach was not as crowded and had a good combination of shade and sun.

MAIN POOL: Too small for such big resort considering that many still come over from Hacienda and Riviera sections. Kids loved it, but it was too crowed.

SPORT ACTIVITIES: Few mornings I played tennis – their two courts are maintained in a good shape. Few years ago they had better tennis rockets – ones that cost $80 in store. This time all tennis rockets they had were chip and I was glad that we brought our own. Beach volleyball was good and entertainment staff team played against us once. Took 30 min bicycle rides every morning along resorts and condos – their bikes are too old ( I usually see bikes in such condition on side of the road waiting to be picked up by a garbage truck. Selection in terms of bike sizes is limited too – if you are over 5 feet tall, show up early or be ready to bend your knees to your chest level.

SPA: GREAT !!! Few sauna rooms, nice pool, gym, spinning classes every morning. My wife did get a massage there and was very satisfied. Please be aware that they do not let in kids under 18 to the SPA. It was a shock for my 16-year-old nephew that he could not go to the gym, since it is part of the SPA facilities. People vacationing without kinds will probably find it as a bonus since it is the only quiet place in the whole resort.

FOOD & RESTAURANT SERVICE: Very Good! One night we had dinner at Asian restaurant. Food was Ok, but do not set high expectations for Asian food in all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Considering we were with kids and their eating preferences, eating at the buffet remaining 7 nights was best solution for us. Staff was very friendly. Distinguished service was provided by waitress Marina and courteous restaurant manager David. Also, booking dinner at one of the decent restaurants (French, Asian or Stakehouse) is not as easy as it seems. Booking for a week starts 8 am on Sundays. Line started in Meeting Point lobby about 30 min earlier and by 8 am was about 30-40 people. Two people were taking reservations, but it took few hours for line to disappear.

BAR: Limited liqueur selection in normal bars – your best bet is Jose Cuervo and I would not advise drinking any thing else there straight. Coffee and Espresso was Select Club lounge offers much better liqueur selection including Baileys Irish Cream and Martell cognac. Bar staff is very good and provides EXCELLENT service – I found the same two bartenders I noticed were good during my previous stay and they remembered me as well.

ENTERTAINMENT: Since I am tough to impress in this area, I would say it is Ok. Entertainment staff is very friendly. They tried hard and did their best to engage guests in evening shows and activities. They could use better direction and more actual shows. One night they had a “casino” night when guests (adults and kids) played casino games for prizes, and after a musical band playing and singing, people danced. That was probably the best entertainment night.

I just wanted to provide details about our experience, so you can make your decision. Hope someone from Sandos chain reads it as well and should DISCIPLINE dreadful manager L.Gomez and should REWARD waitress Marina and restaurant manager David for their hard work a dedication!

Room Tip: Do not get room on top floor
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  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank GB12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2011

I stayed recently with a friend for 8 days in the newer section and had a junior jacuzzi suite. The room was beautiful, spacious and in a very quiet section. The beds were a bit on the firm side but I prefer that anyway (much too firm for my friends taste), pillows not the greatest. The resort was very very clean and the drink quality was great. It was a little confusing at first because the resort was so large we got turned around a few times trying to get back to our room.

The food was good, however the birds that hung around the buffets were really gross. Sometimes the birds were eating right out of the food trays. I suppose not much can be done about it, but they did have the large buffet enclosed in a net to keep the birds out. Partway through our stay we were able to eat at the a la carte restaurants without making a reservation which was nice.

The staff was amazing and super friendly. My only complaint was my hotel representative a.k.a. "time share shark" calling me at 7am on our third day to rather rudely scold me for not coming to see her. The premise was to arrange the hotel transfer when we check out, but she insisted on me doing it right away. That same morning our alarm clock also went off very early because it was "mysteriously" set. I was not impressed and never met up with her.

Overall it was a great stay and I would recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank ZEEBOZAK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandos Playacar Beach Resort

Address: Paseo Xaman-Ha | Manzana 1, Lote 1 Fracc.Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#25 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#32 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#41 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#43 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#44 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#53 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $215 - $565 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sandos Playacar Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 819
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa is an all-Inclusive hotel in Playa del Carmen with both family and adult sections. We are ideally located on a magnificent white sandy beach in the gated community of Playacar, within walking distance to downtown Playa and Fifth Avenue. Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa is located only forty-five minutes from the Cancun International Airport, and the pier serving ferries to Cozumel is a short distance from our property.Playacar is a private, master-planned community situated on the southern edge of downtown Playa del Carmen. Guests at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa enjoy this exclusive community’s impressive infrastructure, including an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Von Hagge, the Xaman-Ha Aviary, pristine biking paths, and Mayan ruins, accessible to the public for hiking.Riviera Maya is a protected region where many remaining artifacts from the fascinating Mayan civilization can be found. Surrounded by Mayan archeological zones, such as those at Tulum, Coba, and Chicen-Itza, this Playa del Carmen hotel successfully preserves a strong sense of Mayan culture onsite, adding an authentic feel and flavor to the vacation experience in Playacar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandos Playacar Beach Hotel
Hotel Sandos Playacar Beach
Beach Playacar Resort Sandos
Sandos Playacar Resort
Sandos Playa Del Carmen
Gala Resort Playacar
Sandos Gala Playacar
Sandos Playacar Mexico
Sandos Resort
Playacar Sandos

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