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“Third time not a charm for us”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #62 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Connecticut
Level Contributor
61 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Third time not a charm for us”
Reviewed February 24, 2012

We have been to the RM 6 times. This last trip at Sandos was the worst. We have been to Sandos two other times (July 2011, Sept 2011) but the quality certainly went down on this trip. We booked as Select Members and really didn’t receive anything extra except for usage of the bar in the Lobby. The only good thing about the bar was being able to use the internet on one of the two computers. But there was always a line. On other trips you were able to use the bar at the meeting point as well. Not anymore. There was a tiny little sign that said black bracelets only. That was kind of annoying. BTW, we were supposed to have beach service as select members but it was non existent until another guest complained about it. Thanks Katherina!!

The food quality also went down. By no means am I a picky eater but compared to the first two trips it was worse. The entertainers were not “entertaining”. Again much better on the first two trips.

I need to just make a note about the check in/check out process. When you were a select member you had a private line for this. That too is gone. We had such a bad experience during our checkout that it needs mentioning. We waited about 45 minutes in line because we were told by a staff member to go in another line that was for checkout only. The line we were in moved quickly but we did not in the new line. Although the lady in front was checking and took like ½ hour, we were being told that this line was only checkout. Hey Said, please don’t lie to me about what line I’m in and then take other guests for other purposes. I can overlook things but when you lie and make me out to be a fool, I will get offended. You were rude and so was the “reception manager”. I come to relax on vacation, not to be lied to and become aggravated.

Darren, who was in guest services, made all three of our trips as best as they cold be. Now I hear that they let him go and I frankly don’t think that was a wise. He had a great following and that was a very bad decision on Sandos’ part. WAKE UP SANDOS!!!! YOU WILL CONTINUE TO LOSE GUESTS IF YOU DON’T HET YOUR ACT TOGETHER. We went to Sandos for the second and third trip because of Darren. Letting him go was a bad decision Reuben.

I do want to give a shout out to Darren, Valentina, Carolina, and the housekeeping staff. You guys were fantastic.

We had so much fun on the first two trips and expected the same quality and service. I’m not sure whether it is too save costs or poor management, but it was not a memorable experience. Because of all the negatives we will be trying the Riu Palace or Iberostar next door for our next RM trip. Any questions pm me.

Room Tip: Go to Iberostar
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank lovethebeach1115
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2012

We just got back from our trip. We booked a Ocean Front Superior Room. Room was on the bottom floor even after requesting a higher level and the aircondition was poor. So we requested a different room which they accomodated (Said and Anna, front desk terrific) Our second room was top floor (4th) and over looked the pool and you could see the ocean in the distance, nice room good air so we stayed put. But not ocean front! The food was decent for a buffet and the waiters (Inver) were terrific. Main dinning was really good, steak house and the French dinning was our choice and we enjoyed the both, excellent service. Bar service at the plaza or swing bar for us was terrific, Houdini the day bartender is wonderful. The entertainment is pretty bad, they should hire a really good entertainment director. They had a M. Jackson impersonator at there other resort last year that was good, but this year nothing. The beach is terrific- 5 Stars. Beach bar service pretty poor, more bartenders needed and more beach wait staff. The only complaint I have would be the time share or membership BS. It is a pain, we got sucked into it by accident before we realized what was going on. And when you say no they get rude. Just like any other time share sales people. Would I go back-- Yes.

Room Tip: Rooms by the beach are good but a little loud with the beach and pools, but if you want location tha...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
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Thank WinterBlitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2012

I just came back from Sandos Playacar, and unless it's really, really cheap I would not go back. I booked with Expedia, and I definitely wouldn't recommend them, I used  Redtag and Selloffvacations before and they were much more customer oriented. 
Yes, it is kids oriented but it's a really spread-out hotel. It has a great kids pool and tons of stuff to see for the little ones (monkeys, turtles, fish, raccoons, parrots, donkeys, etc...) We walked to Playa de Carmen and it was too much for our little one. It's an hour and a half walk. The hotel did have a nice beach, we did struggle to get seats each day.  Staff was nice and friendly but the service wasn't great. We are good tippers but due to the size of the hotel no one would remember you so even if you tip good you'll receive crappy service. Hotel staff struggled with English. This is our forth time in the Riviera Maya and so far this was the worst hotel we stayed at. As I mentioned service wasn't good and the food wasOKk. 

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
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3 Thank Jim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2012

First try at Playa del Carmen area (Feb 14-21, 2012) after 4 all-inclusives in cuba (Brias del Caribe - Varadaro, Playa Pisquera - Holgiun, Tryp - Cayo Coco, Las Dunas - Santa Clara). Price was the same but hotel was much smaller and had lots of kids. I think you get more for your money in Cuba. Food was just like Cuba. Food/Bar lines are not very bad at all, very little waiting. Beds were like rocks (box springs are concrete bases of floor). Southern most hotel in Playa del Carmen with jungle south of hotel and beach goes on for miles. South of hotel at beach, about 150 meters, is an artifical reef made out of concrete with lots of fish. Beach all sand, but lots of waves, no calm days out of 8 solid sunny days, floating seaweed. Staff was great! Grounds were great. Was told to watch out for "Time Share" people but never saw one. Have to book A-La-Carte restaurants at "Meeting Point" on Sunday only for Mon-Tue-Wes, and on Wed only fro Thur-Fri-Sat-Sun

Room Tip: Rooms in the Jr. Hacienda buildings are not as far as you think to walk to the restaurants and it is...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
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1 Thank BrettTorontoCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2012

We stayed in the adult building which gives you access to the huge pool with a swim-up bar, access to the premium bar in the hotel lobby. I have seen various comments about the walk to the beach from this building but we did not find it long. The walk is lavished with gardens and informational posts. At night the lights along the way are a must see. If you wish there is a shuttle that runs every 10 minutes back and forth to the Meeting Place which is close to the beach. Our room was great. We had the two king size beds, two person jacuzzi, balcony. The in-room fridge was always stocked with soda, beer and seltzer water. The rooms were kept clean, fresh towels, shampoo and body wash. My birthday occured during this week and when we came back to the room there was a beautiful chocolate birthday cake. The workers are always friendly and pleasant. Our favorite restaurants were the Asian and Brazilian. The main buffet always had a large selection of foods no matter which meal was being served.
There were no shortages of places to get a drink. Even on the beach you can order drinks. You must visit the jacuzzi pool in the spa area by the theater. One note: if someone is offering you free gifts for attending whatever, even if wearing a Sandos shirt, they want you to buy a vacation package. We had such a good time we are seriously considering going back again next year.

Room Tip: In the adult section we were on the 3rd floor and found it quiet.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank frank l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 20, 2012

I've been to various properties in Cancun and other places in Caribbean before, so I have a decent comparison.

1. Rooms - We've stayed in the Hacienda Jr. Suite. The room itself is in a small building that has ~8 rooms and a private pool. The private pool was nice. The room itself is probably below average. The bathroom was borderline disgusting, with some mold in the shower, barely any hot water and a malfunctioning toiled (was fixed quickly). Minibar nearly empty (some sodas and a couple of beers). Definitely below average on the quality.

2. Territory - the territory is very nice. Fairly large, very green and looks like there are a 100 people cleaning it all the time. Lots of iguanas and other small animals. So on that its definitely very good.

3. Food - The buffet is what it is. Solid but unspectacular. Although I don't know if buffets are that much better in other places. Good variety. As far as restaurants go, they are mediocre at best. Certainly you're not going to get Michelin star quality anywhere, but I've seen considerably better in other all-inclusives.

4. Beach - the beach is great. Not a whole of a lot to add there. They could do a slightly better job with cleaning up cigarette butts though.

5. Pool - pool is ok. Crowded, but there are multiple pools, so you'll find a place.

6. Kids - lots of different activities. Didn't send my kid to kid's club, but looked pretty good. There is also a big game room with ping-pong/foosball/air hockey/video games/etc. Looked fun for slightly older kids.

As far as the other stuff, here are a couple of things that ticked me off:

1. On the beach, if you want a chair, you better be up at 8:00 in the morning if not earlier to grab a spot. If you get there later, you're SOL. Even worse at the pool.
2. Restaurants require reservations (WTF?). I can sort of get that....since they need to project the amount of food, but these are apparently not that easy to get. I arrived on Thursday and couldn't get a reservation until Sunday. Also the reservations are limited, so you can't go every night. That's nickel and diming in my mind.
3. Most of the staff doesn't speak much english. Not a huge deal, but still.



All in all, this place really depends on your expectations and reference point. Definitely not a four star by any stretch of imagination, but an ok hotel. If you expect luxury, you'll be disappointed. If you're going with kids to spend some time at the beach, then it's ok. Overall, I'd grade it C+/B-.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Vasya P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, MB
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2012

We attended a wedding at Sandos on Feb 1st. There was a nice ceremony on the beach and then a private dinner reception in the thatched roof building on the property. The staff did a very nice job. There was a mariachi band and also a DJ who played great music. It was lots of fun !

This was our second year in a row at Sandos and we found it better this time than last year. The staff were friendlier and the service was better.

The food at the buffets were okay - the Italian buffet has a nicer atmosphere than the main buffet which can get quite noisy at dinner time. We tried 3 al a carts - the Mediterranean, the Gourmet and the Asian. We had very good meals at all 3. It's worth the effort to book the al a carts !

The grounds of this hotel are beautiful and the beach is great ! We really enjoyed the court yard. It was a nice place to sit and have a drink before dinner. There was also entertainment every evening in the courtyard that was pretty good.

We stayed in the older section where the rooms were very basic but clean. The only complaint we had is that the bed was very hard and the pillows were very small and uncomfortable. The older section is very close to the beach so that was a positive.

There were a lot of small children at this resort. So if you prefer more of an adult atmosphere this is not the resort for you.

The location of this resort is great. Playa del Carman is about a 40 minute scenic walk away. You can also walk all the way to Playa on the beach.

All in all a great vacation and I would recommend this resort.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 4105. It was in the older section but was very quiet and close to the beach.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank mrmca
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

Property: Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Address: Paseo Xaman-Ha | Manzana 1, Lote 1 Fracc.Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
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:
#34 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#35 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#42 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#43 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#46 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#53 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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