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“Meh..”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #61 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Kansas City
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Meh..”
Reviewed October 9, 2012

My family (husband, two kids, and mom) just returned from an 11 day stay with Sandos Playacar.

There were positives and negatives. Having stayed at other all-inclusives in Playa del Carmen, I have something to compare this stay to. When booking our trip, we read many reviews on here and decided to go with Sandos Playacar based on our criteria. We wanted somewhere with a great beach, nice food, easily accessible excursions, and decent kids activities.

I honestly don't know if I ate the same food as some of the other reviewers on here. Every restaurant we tried was below average. While the wait staff were great and helpful, the food was not good. The fish was either always overcooked or raw, and not fresh, and the steak was always chewy. Nothing tasted freshly prepared. A lot of the dishes are not made to order, so word of advice: don't order any salads or vegetable sides. Chances are, they've been sitting out all day. At a couple places, I saw my cooked dinner sitting in the window for 15 minutes while the rest of our table's order was being cooked. One evening, we tried to get into the Mexican restaurant. The host told us it was full for the rest of the night, but we looked over at the restaurant later, and he was taking several other people's reservations. I felt like he was put off by the fact that we had kids with us. We also tried to get into the Brazilian place, but never were able to get reservations, despite asking every day. As for the buffet, the food was decent, and things were a bit more fresh tasting. It got kind of boring after a while, but the al a carte stuff was usually okay. I would have been able to look past the poor food quality had the rest of our stay been better. I will say though, there are some lovely wine selections (some, for a price). The basic white/red (included) table wine was surprisingly decent, though!

Aside from the food, check in took over an hour. Also, the rooms were cleaned daily, but several days our mini-fridge wasn't re-stocked. We mostly just wanted water, but ended up having to call for more several of the days we were there. We also had some kind of large cockroach looking thing crawling around in there. The bedding wasn't changed very often and my pillow smelled awful. I read some of the reviews complaining about that same thing, and thought "Ah, no big deal." However, wait till your bed is full of sand and you're getting what I can only describe as old man sweat stench wafting off the pillow all night, and you'll see what I mean. For the first half of our stay, the air conditioner didn't work well either, so the humidity in the room made everything damp and smell worse than it otherwise would have.

One night, they lined up all the managers on stage for pictures and for a raffle. A woman from Russia had her room number called, so she went on stage. The guy handing out the prizes asked her if she spoke Spanish or English. She nodded that she didn't speak either, and he acted kind of condescending about that.. He kind of seemed annoyed and put out by the all of the guests really. Actually, it was borderline rude.

Now, my last (and biggest) complaint: Some of the staff are incredibly annoying. The time share people, who insist they are not time share people, harassed us a few times. Including, when we first arrived, and were exhausted from spending hours in airports and on planes with small children. A few of the entertainment people work hard, but are pesky and drink all day. One gal came around trying to get us to join something, and reeked of booze at 10 in the morning. Anyway, when I go on a vacation, my main goal is to relax. We spend a lot of time working, taking care of our families, etc. When we go on vacation, we want a fair bit of calm leisure time to choose what we wanna do, and when we wanna do it. The biggest attraction to tropical destinations are beaches. Our favorite activity is lounging on the beach, playing in the sand, swimming, reading, etc. One day, I counted (all before noon) six hotel staff coming up to us, while trying to relax. The photo guy, a couple people from the entertainment staff, the spa people, etc. It would be one thing if all it took was to say, "No, thanks, I'm not interested in this or that activity." But they push, and push, and push. I don't like to be bothered over and over and then have to defend myself for not wanting to do something, or pose for a pic, or get in the ocean for water aerobics, etc. I understand it's their job, but a simple no, without explanation should suffice. I mean come on... Asking me to join a bikini contest while my two young children watch.. Umm.. really? Secondly, trying to read on the beach was difficult. I moved all the way down, even, but the music blares from morning to afternoon. I enjoyed the live local musicians during the afternoon, but the horrible techno-trash they played all morning was horrendous. I thought I was going to be able to lounge, read, and listen to the gentle sound of the waves crashing on the shoreline.. But nope! It's Call Me Maybe re-mixed into boom-cha-boom-cha crap. The need to be trendy was a bit much.

The positives:

All of the staff work very, very hard. Entertainment staff (while often pushy) were always lovely and sweet to all of the kids. Never did I see any hotel employee standing around. The hotel grounds, while slightly outdated, were beautiful and clean. I liked the snack bar on the beach idea, even though I never actually made use of it. I also love that the Sandos chain works to be as eco-friendly as a resort can possibly be. The animals on the grounds were neat, and I appreciate the re-use of the cups. However, they often wouldn't be cleaned properly.. So, just simply ask for another one if it doesn't look clean. Also, the drinks were strong, and great! They were pretty heavy handed on the booze, which is appreciated in an all-inclusive resort. As for the construction, our room was very close to many of the renovations near the beach, and never did I find that off putting. The porto-bathroom was clean, and the construction areas were blocked off.. so never was it unsightly or loud. Lastly, the beach is truly the best that I've stayed at along the strip. The jungle next to it made for some wonderful photos, and there was always plenty of room to swim, lounge, or build sand castles. Really, really lovely view. The available kayaks and catamarans were loads of fun, too. Also, check out was very quick and easy.

Side note: We went to check out Sandos Caracol for a day, and thought that it was really, really cool. The grounds were really exotic, the ruins there were cool, the mangrove was awesome to walk through, and there were loads of animals. I can definitely see the attraction there, but understand the reviews about the rotten egg smell and rocky beaches deterring people. Cool spot nonetheless.

Random tip: Bring more sunscreen/after sun then you think you'll need. It's 15-20 USD in the gift shop for small bottles.

In summation, for the amount we spent, I would probably not come back. We always look for redeeming qualities, and while Sandos Playacar had some, we just simply didn't feel welcome.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
9 Thank LauraGG763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 review
Reviewed October 9, 2012

Loved it espically kids club also the one person miyuki was amazing thankyou the activites there where brill going to come back next year definatly sad when leaving since had a great bond with miyuki loved It thankyou miyuki for making our stay amazing

  • Stayed May 2012
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Helpful?
Thank blondeee332
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glen Burni
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2012

We are always happy to return to Sando's, the resort is beautiful, the scenery is breath taking. The best beach along the strip. Sando's is very family oriented and there is always something to do to keep yourself and your family entertained. The food is great, the people are friendly, the staff is for the most part accomodating. We experienced a couple of issues with housekeeping not leaving the things that we needed on a daily basis such as wash clothes, beach towels in the Haciendas and a few other necessary items, but besides that, Sando's is always trying to improve on their premises and services provided to vacationers. You have several restaurants to choose from, an Italian buffet, a steakhouse, an Asian restaurant, a Mediteranean restaurant, a Mexican restaurant of course, the Festival buffet, many choices to choose from. We will continue to return to Sando's resort and hopefully we will not have to call down to the front desk for the everyday items that we need on a daily basis and that part of the resort will be improved by our next stay there. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this resort a 9. You will want to return once you go there for your first time. Hope this review is helpful and hope you have a fantastic trip if you go tthere.

Room Tip: Ocean front rooms put you right there where you will enjoy not only being on the beach, but also ove...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Tagalong3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2012

This was our first Holiday in Mexico,14 nights Sept 2012,and chose “Sandos Playercar Beach Resort & Spa” because of the reviews.We had such a relaxing time. We flew with Thomson and transferred by coach 3/4hr.We arrived at Sandos and just immediately felt really welcome. Check in was easy and then taken to our room. We were in room 1102. Perfectly clean room with coffee-maker,clock radio,TV,with a view to the back with grass & trees.

Pool:
The pool was perfect with nice shallow areas for children and the rest was one depth all over,waist- chest deep,which was nice,no divers, just easy to slip into off the multitude of sunbeds.

Beach:
The beach was just great,even more sunbeds with loads of big umbrellas. The sea was clear the sand was clean. You could take a long walk either way and enjoy the views. The entertainers were brilliant with Zumba and stretching,football,volleyball,plus other stuff on the beach. There was even music on the beach. Food and drink also set up on the beach daily. The beach service was great,with waiters coming round asking you if you would like a drink and then delivered to you.

Food:
All the restaurants were very good. Our favorite was the Mexican,3 times. Just do not eat before you go to the Brazilian one,be warned,The buffets were just great anything and everything you can have and cooked how you like too. What’s not to like? Absolutely nothing. The selection was vast and good quality. As always there were people jumping queues. But that’s the world over.

Grounds:
The hotel grounds were beautiful and clean. The staff working really hard. There is some minor construction taking place around the middle of the complex. It had no impact on our trip.

Entertainment:
The nightly entertainment was really awesome. Each show was terrific even the practice sessions. They now have “deal or no deal” and that was fun to watch. The Mariachi band was brilliant and got people involved too. The whole Entertainment team worked their socks off all day long. We had a really great time watching them. Thanks.

Animals:
Seen on site,Ring-tailed Coatimundi,Iguana,Agouti(like guinea pig),Pheasants,Howler Monkeys.Burro-Donkey,Various Birds.
All very photogenic.

Staff:
A BIG THANKS to BRENDA,front of house! You were so accommodating. Thank you for helping to make an amazing trip. We really enjoyed everything and appreciated all you did for us. Can’t wait to come back for our next trip!.
THANK you SANDOS

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank divingparrot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
20 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2012

We stayed in the Hacienda section of this resort. We had 2 rooms that adjoined per our request. One room had a king bed & the other had 2 queen beds. The rooms were of average quality - in need of an update which I believe is happening now, but overall I was not disappointed in the room. Loved the Hacienda section. It is very centrally located. Not too far from the beach. In fact, it was nice to be slightly away from the pool noise & beach.

Haciendas have their own little pool for each building. Loved this part because it was super relaxing to sit there for quiet time or when some of the family felt like relaxing in the room while others still wanted sun, lounging, and water. I think it would be great for families with younger children for many reasons - pool is not very deep, small, and not crowded; plus, parents could sit out by the pool while kids are napping just a few steps away (lower level rooms can open their patio doors and be within earshot of the room).

Main area (beach section) is lively with great entertainment staff. Chair game occurs (like all resorts we have been to) but we were able to get chairs at the pool if we came down by 0900 & most any time of the day by the beach. The palapas get filled by "reserving" chairs pretty early though, but this is the case at every resort we have stayed at. Pool is large enough that you don't feel too crowded. There is a small, wading area for tiny tots.

We ate breakfast in the main buffet area every day - custom omelets were great. Some days we barely made it down to the buffet for breakfast (we like to sleep in) because they close the buffet after breakfast to turn it over for lunch. Ate lunch at the poolside restaurant every day. All the regular lunch items - pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, mexican options, salads, soups, etc. This area would get crowded at times & you had to wait for a table sometimes. You could always go eat at the buffet if you didn't want to wait - it is just on the other side of the pool. We tried most of the ala cartes (not Asian because family doesn't care for Asian food) & the Italian buffet. All fair to good - about what I expected and equal to the other resorts we have stayed. Italian buffet did not have air-conditioning when we were there, so it was very hot in there. Plus, the line for custom pasta would get a little long sometimes. Loved the crepe area in the Riviera section!

The entire facility was very clean. Staff were very pleasant. We did not see any shows in the theater because we preferred to sit outside in the open air section and wait for the late night show (band/music) to begin. This is the one area that I would say they need to improve on - there was not enough seating for the guests for the night show in the open area (it was Spring Break though). People were jammed into this area and several had to stand. That is why we generally parked ourselves out at a table right after dinner & sat and enjoyed the weather, conversation, and people watching until the show started. We had an AWESOME cocktail waitress (Dionie sp?). She had a great personality and we tried to sit in her section nightly.

The late shows were decent - primarily bands which was fun. The kids play area was open for most of this time & it was very convenient for our son to be within close proximity yet keep him occupied. Ping pong tables stayed busy & we generally had to wait for a table - I think they should add more - maybe in that outdoor bar/swing area because the back of that area was never full. Older people could play out there while the kiddos/parents could stay in the kid section.

Beach was beautiful. We didn't spend much time in Riviera section except to eat at night & for crepes, but it seemed quieter back there. We used the bikes 3 times - super convenient to get to town or the little shopping area on the way to town. The limited wifi areas & usage limit was the worst part of the trip. We have stayed other places that offer free unlimited wifi with more areas of coverage - so that was a big negative.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank upnorth_wi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rocky River, Ohio
Level Contributor
65 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2012

We ending up staying in the Playa Del Carmen area because we didn't want to be around the party atmosphere of Cancun. We ended up picking this specific hotel after reading reviews about the beach and amenities. This hotel had the best and biggest beach out of the ones down the strip. The people from other hotels were coming down to our section because the other hotels had a lot of beach erosion. The staff here was extremely pleasant and very accomodating to us even though our spanish was terrible. There are quite a few different food options and free alcoholic beverages. We signed up online to for the sandos4u rewards program and we got a slightly better room than what we booked. This would be a great place for couples or families and there's a lot to do in Playa Del Carmen or Cozumel is just a quick ferry ride out.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DanPedraza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eaton, Colorado
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2012

Where to start... This was our 4th time here at Sandos Playacar. Last time we were in in March 2012 we bought into the Royal Elite vacation club because we loved this place so much. We came here this time excited to use our Royal Elite "benefits". When we arrived we were put into an older room (same rooms that we stayed in when we weren't Royal Elite members) instead of the Royal Elite Haciendas like we were promised. We were given the "run around" (sent to 3 diffirent people) by management saying that all the hacienda's were full but they would see what they could to get us a better room. We stayed for 6 days, had a total of 4 people "seeing what they could do for us" for us, and never heard back from a single person.

The food at the buffet was really good, although we missed the guacamole that, in previous visits, was always out at every meal. The specialty restaurants were excellent, like usual! David in the Royal Elite lounge did an excellent job! He was very friendly, knew what we wanted and did amazing designs in my mom's lattes everyday. The wait staff at the restaurants were excellent as well. Very friendly with speedy service...The beach and resort grounds are beautiful and well kept. The entertainment staff and the nightly shows were very good as well.

We were not too impressed with housekeeping. We had to call for washclothes everyday because they never left us any. Also, most days our room was not cleaned until almost 4 pm (we'd leave the room at 7 am for the day) so we'd come back to get ready for dinner and our room was still not done. We also found some strange cockroach looking bugs in our room (don't know if they were in fact cockroaches or not).

We came here for 6 days after spending 5 days at Sandos Caracol (for the first time) beforehand. Sandos Caracol was top notch. We had beautiful Royal Elite rooms, excellent housekeeping (room was done by 10 am everyday), and great service.

Don't know when we will be back here again...it was a huge disappointment this time.....

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jen777Eaton_Colorado
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:
#33 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#35 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#41 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#42 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#45 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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