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“Travelled 15 May-29 May & THROUGHLY enjoyed our stay!!!”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #61 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Worthing, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Travelled 15 May-29 May & THROUGHLY enjoyed our stay!!!”
Reviewed August 15, 2013

My fiancé & I travelled to Sandos Playacar mid May 2013. We went before the rainy season (June-Sept) according to our TC travel agent. We were really glad we did. We had SUN SUN SUN & only 1 (warm-tropical) rainstorm the day before we left. We arrived early afternoon and were transferred by our TC transport (45 mins) to the resort. We were one of the last ones to get off the coach but it was worth it! Sandos is one of the last resorts on the Playacar strip, literally the jungle is next door. Check in was quick, really no problem for us. Our luggage was transported to our room and we followed by shuttle to our block (1300). Our room had a side view to the pool/beach. It was PERFECT. We could see the glorious turquoise sea & white sandy beach as well as part of the pool. We overlooked the little Mayan ruin by the top end of the pool and gazebo. I had emailed the resort beforehand (Giovanni) and told them that we were celebrating our 11 year anniversary and when we opened our room door were greeted with a lovely fruit platter & bucket of champagne. WOW. We did a once over of our room and we were pleasantly surprised. Air conditioning worked well, shower was powerful, & bed was comfy (a little hard but comfy). The grounds are beautiful, well kept & maintained. The restaurants are lovely to eat in. We ate in 3, Mexican, Italian & French (MY Fav). They could have had a bit more air conditioning in them but it wasn't too bad. The grand buffet, bagel bar, beach bar & cupcake café were all ok. We visited the cupcake café nearly everyday for coffee, lattes & iced lattes. Not to mention the mini pecan pies, lemon meringue pies & carrot cakes were very tasty. There was free wifi in the cupcake café and around the meeting point. They truly have all kinds of foods to choose from, you can have your food grilled & cooked to your liking. We had made to order omelettes, pancakes, crepes etc. There was an abundance of fresh fruit & veg, salads, salsa & guacamole. Puddings & desserts are to die for. I had chips n salsa everyday with my lunch!! I really don't think you'd go hungry. Something for everyone. There was themed nights in the grand buffet and our favourite was the Mexican night. We truly loved all the choices. Dress code was very relaxed in the buffet (shirts required though & flip flops ok) Evening time meals we made more effort. Little flowy sun dresses with strappy shoes & long shorts & t-shirts/shirts. Restaurants require a bit more effort in your dress but that's to be expected really. We visited the Spa and we both had treatments. Couples massage & facials - ahhhh. The gym, spa & whole area was lovey. We walked around the resort a lot to familiarise ourselves with all it has to offer, which is A LOT. There's wildlife all over the place. We were greeted our 1st morning by the howler monkeys, right outside our door. The whole family was there, they had an infant howler - adorable. Look but don't touch. There weren't many kids there at the time we went (schools were still in) but they had an abundance of kids facilities. Entertainment was ok. Drinks were perfect. If you are not happy with your drink you simply ask for another one. We had no problem. They do have top shelf liquor, just ask for it. People are soooooo friendly here. We often said to ourselves, WOW these people are so friendly. I've never seen so many smiley faces. Really nice to see. I used my Spanish and they were very impressed that I was trying to speak their language. They also spoke English, bit broken but enough to get by.
The Beach was gorgeous. What else can we say, turquoise blue sea & white sand with NO seaweed. Fish were swimming all around us, even barracudas!! We brought our own snorkels and masks which was very convenient. We had no problem with loungers at all. Drinks were delivered but not regularly. I didn't mind walking around and getting my own. Probably could have had 1 more person on the beach taking drink orders. Poor Yasmin??? She worked really hard all day long.
We booked 5 trips/excursions whilst there with our TC rep. We went on a catamaran to Isle Mujeres, Paradise Island for the day & snorkelled on the reef. We went to Akumol & turtle beach snorkelling & Chikin-Ha cenotes. We also went to Chichen Itza & Ik Kil Cenote (WOW WOW) - this was a fully day excursion but well worth it. We went to Xcaret Park - the evening show is a MUST, truly fabulous. We were dolphin 'trainer for the day' at Delphinus Xel Ha (our highlight of our trip, truly magnificent!!). Next time not so many excursions as we want to laze around in the hammocks more and enjoy a more relaxed pace.
All in all, we had a wonderful time at Sandos Beach Resort & Spa. Friendly people, good food, lovely scenery, very welcoming. We've told all our family & friends about Sandos and hopefully they can visit too.
Your holiday is what you make it. We made ours FUN at Sandos. We will be back next May !!
daju66 in the UK

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
11 Thank daju66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandos_Playacar, General Manager at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this review, August 17, 2013
Dear daju66,


On behalf of the Sandos Playacar family, I thank you for commenting about the experiences lived while in our hotel.

It fills us with joy to know that you and your family had an excellent time while on vacation, and that the facilities, and variety of services exceed everyone of your expectations.

Thank you for highlighting the positive attributes you were able to enjoy, we hope to have the pleasure of serving you and your family again in the future.

Kindest Wishes,

Ivan Tapia
General Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
director.playacar@sandos.com
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Burlington
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

We returned to Sandos to celebrate our anniversary. We contacted Daniela Delgado prior to our trip to ask a few questions. She immediately responded to our email and sent us all of the menus from the specialty restaurants so that we could plan our meals. When we arrived, we were given an excellent room overlooking the beach. A bottle of champagne and a fruit plate were in our room as well as an assortment of alcohol. Daniela made our trip very special. We were excited to return and were surprised to find that four of our friends had decided to surprise us in the lobby. They were booked into the adult section so we were able to experience both of the sites. The adult only pool at their end was quieter and large with great service at the swim up bar. Their rooms were larger and had a bathtub with jets. Our beach section was more lively but the beach in front of our room was for adults only and quieter. We could quickly walk to the beach and the buffets.
We went to the Steak House one night and had excellent service from Gilmer. Another night we went to the Mediteranean Restaurant and had an excellent meal. It was hard to get your choice of reservations and we had to settle for the restaurants and times they had left when we called on our first day there.
Walking through the meeting point, you will be approached by people trying to sell you the Elite Service. It is hard to avoid them and this makes walking through unpleasant.
The food in the buffet restaurants was good. There were always many choices. The crepe place was hidden behind a bar but was an excellent addition to the resort.

Room Tip: It all depends on what you want. The adult section is the longest distance from the beach but the ro...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank DBJandJDJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandos_Playacar, General Manager at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this review, August 17, 2013
Dear DBJandJDJ,

While extending cordial regards from this “Su Casa” Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa, I would like to thank you for posting this kind review, and sharing the wonderful experience you had during your stay.

We are glad to know that our services exceeded your holiday expectations, thank you for recognizing our hard working staff. I am filled with pride knowing their hospitality and service made your stay the more pleasurable.

Rest assured that your review is valuable to us and the further development of our hotel, by the time you visit us again you will be able to admire many positive changes that have come from our guest comments, with the sole objective of heightening your experiences. We thank you for highlighting our attributes as well as your recommendations.

We hope to have the honor of serving you in the future.

Kindest Wishes,
Ivan Tapia
General Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
director.playacar@sandos.com
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Belize
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

I LOVE this resort! Was so excited to be back and it was even better than last year. The staff is just the best! Loved Maria & Marco from The Asiana Restaurant, Jose & Jose my bartenders at the sports bar. The French restaurant is superb and the staff also. I loved it so much I joined the Vacation Club and am already planning for next summer!!!!

Room Tip: Riviera Adult section was fabulous and probably my favorite if no children.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank BelizeLinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandos_Playacar, General Manager at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this review, August 17, 2013
Dear BelizeLinda,

While extending warm regards from this “Su casa”, Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa, I would like to thank you for the time invested in sharing with us and this online community your experiences lived during your recent visit.

We are very happy to know that we managed to exceed your overall expectations in such a way that you plan to visit us again. Thank you for recognizing the efforts of our wonderful staff, I will definitely extend your regards to all of them., we are proud to have them in our team.

Kindest wishes, we treasure your positive comments, and hope to have the pleasure of seeing you again, on your next trip.

Warm Regards,

Ivan Tapia
General Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
director.playacar@sandos.com
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brockton ma
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

Our second trip to Sandos Playacar was even better than our first. We made many new friends among the employees. Candido at the Select Bar - Meeting Point served great drinks and made suggestions on what new ones to try. We went back many times (ha ha) to try all of the suggestions. The El Gaucho Steak House was wonderful. The food was excellent, ando our waiter Gilmer May was very gracious, we made several requests to change the food options and he made sure all went well.
My only negative comment has to do with the transportation to and from the beach. Even though the walk was not too bad, sometimes the walk was very hot. A few more carts would have been nice.

Room Tip: The adults only section is great if you are not traveling with the kids. Book for the select option...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank lee328_4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandos_Playacar, General Manager at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this review, August 17, 2013
Dear lee328_4,

I would like to thank you for taking your time to share your experience with our readers.

Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa would like to thank you for your preference & loyalty. As you may notice we have new changes going for our Guest to enjoy in future visits and take home a wonderful experience. I will see that our Staff members receive great comments.

If there’s anything I can do for in your next visit, please let me know.


Warm regards.
Ivan Tapia
Director Hotel
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
director.playacar@sandos.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BritAbroad
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2013

Firstly, if you have read negative reviews you should look up the definition of Resort - "a place that is popular for recreation and holidays and provides accommodation and entertainment".

Thats exactly what Sandos Playacar Offers, along with all the other resorts on this stretch of Coast no doubt.
Our first time in Mexico and well pleased. Let's face it, not everything is perfect in a Resort because they have to cater for all ages and types of visitors.Young, old, families, quiet romantic getaway, adults only etc....
RECEPTION - Booking In and Out was easy, although when booking in you can get info overload as they are keen to try and explain all. Let the bell boys sort your cases, they will also tell you bits as you walk with them. Well organised.

WRISTBAND - You need to find out what your particular colour or wristband entitles you to. I think they were light blue, dark blue, black, purple, silver and gold.

LOCATION - Sandos sits at the end of a row of Resort Hotels and has nothing but beach, jungle and sea on one side - good. Each hotel has its own slot of beach but Sandos enjoys opens views to one side.
Our group consisted of 4 adults and 1 'almost adult' - which was slightly frustrating because the 'almost adult' could not access the adult only facilities - but our exectations were not diminished by this in any way, we just adapted. With this in mind, the Gym is do-able but you have to be accompanied by an adult and sign a responsibility form - fair enough.
The ladies used the Spa which they said was lovely.
Yes the site is large - surely this is a good thing - it gives you space and in our opinion it never felt too crowded. One or two more battery buggies would be useful. But the walking was good to be honest, 10 - 15mins to the beach.
Whatever floats your holiday boat you can probably find it here.
A point for SANDOS. Sandos do have a booklet in most Rooms with a site layout plan - this would serve well displayed on their website as it would make choosing accomodation easier and you could familiarise yourself with the layout prior to arrival, hence making your first day easier and save you some valuable holiday time.
THE MEETING POINT - the central thatched building - a good idea - most excursion pick ups and drop offs are from here, Guest Services very helpful, Holiday Rep info in here too.
HOWEVER, watch out for the Beige dressed people from the Royal Elite Club, they swoop on newby arrivals meandering through the meeting point and mention that you are a VIP and you will get a tour and a VIP breakfast. If you just want to enjoy your holiday and are not interested in joining The Elite Club you have to be politely firm and say NO thankyou. I was pre-warned about this and still got collared - I had to be firm and say "I'm going for my breakfast thankyou". They were charming but very persistent. Could have done without that.

FOOD - the Festival is the Main buffet - we are quite fussy and we couldn't fault it - get to know the Staff - they are brilliant - a little tip here and there. Carlos - great man.
You get the odd bird flying in looking for scraps but no problem. Breakfast, something to suit all tastes, fresh fruit, yoghurt, waffles, pancakes, omlettes, fry up...its all there. Adults Only can also have breakfast in the Snack Bar Buffet near the family pool but we didn't try it.
There are themed buffet nights in The Festival - i.e Chinese, USA, Mexican
See comment below under Entertainment.....(can get noisy in Festival at Evening Ent time)

Italian - this is a buffet so no need to book, again no complaints decent food.

The Al La Cartes are OK, not top notch but still good.
Book any of the following Al la Carte's when you arrive with the concierge in the lobby - we did and got our 3 choices. Casual dress.
French - Need to book, didnt try but its the only one the men need long trousers for.
Mexican - Need to book - good night - great waiters (again good to build some rapport with them)
Brazilian - Need to book didnt try.
Mediterranean - Need to book - food was good.
Steak House - Need to Book - good but one chewy T-bone out of 5 steaks. We were in a rush so let it go.
Asian - didn't try.
CUP CAKE CAFE - Great coffees and baguettes - not sure if the Cup Cakes tasted best from the chiller cabinet though, probably got abit dry.


BEACH AREA - Great. Sea and beach lovely. We had no problem getting loungers on the beach, we just had to look for some affording us some shade. Waitress up and down all day on the beach but its only 50 - 100m to fetch your own food / drink should you wish - no problem.
We hired Jet Ski's for 30mins - just read the disclaimer before you sign and check the machine for damage -no problems but could be expensive if you cause damage.
Snorkels free for 30mins? or was it an hour??. The Water Sports people are not Sandos people, I think they operate along the whole beach but they were fine - Pedro was very helpful.
Edwins cocktails in the Beach Bar at night were excellent - we found it a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the evening and get away from it all.

ENTERTAINMENT - Always something going on in various places within the Resort, pool ent, beach ent, some involve loud music, but generally you can escape it on the beach, apart from aerobics which is good to watch! Evening entertainment looked OK but not really our thing.
Some decent local Arty stalls were set up one evening.
Entertainment team seemed to be good at what they do.
CAUTION - the Evening Ents are very close to the Festival Buffet and it can get very loud as the sides are open with netting. Either eat early or ask for a table away from the Speakers.

MOZZIES - not too bad but latterly developed a taste for the English flesh, just use plenty of repellent outside at night.


Overall, the staff make this place what it is - they appeared to be mostly very happy and helpful. Great people.

EXCURSONS - We went to Chichen Itza with a bonus of a swim in the Cenote at Ik Kill. Long day but worth it. Good Tour with Es Skill - a great guide Beto (Alberto).
IMPORTANT - Suggest using one of the hired bouyancy aids at Ik Kill Cenote, as you can be a long time treading water, it's deep and if there are a few people in you can struggle to get to the ladders or the side. Im a decent swimmer, didn't use one but wish I had. Could have laid back and enjoyed it abit more.

Half Day with the Dolphins - only half an hour away from Sandos - worth doing, even for those who 'aren't really bothered' or are maybe apprehensive.....do it.

Room Tip: The brouchures can be confusing at UK Travel Agents. Room wise, again it depends what you are lookin...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
16 Thank Lou067
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Tx
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We recently returned from a 9 night stay at beautiful Sandos Playacar. I was there with my wife and 17 year old son from June 27th-July 6th, 2013.

I must begin this review by stating that we have been to Mexico, and specifically the Mayan Riviera, EVERY year for the last 20 years. My wife and I fell in love with Mexico and its culture at a young age, and we have never tired of it.

Prior to this trip, we have been to a vast array of all inclusives. We have been to Iberostar Resorts double digit times (virtually every Iberostar Property in MX), Barcelo Resorts (Including Barcelo Palace), RIU, Bahia Principe, El Cid, Catalonia and several others. Besides the multitude of Iberostar adventures, we were also repeaters at many of the other resorts as well. When we find a good product, we typically explore it with more than one visit, and when things are fantastic, we become very loyal repeaters. I mention all of this only to express one thing; that we have a pretty good basis and pre-experienced standard when it comes to the All Inclusive Concept. Although opinions vary vividly among vacationers, I think we have experienced a wide variety of resorts and we have experienced many different interpretations of the All Inclusive Vacation.

I also want to mention, before I begin, that I place great value on exemplary service. I believe that impeccable service at a resort is a resort culture that begins with Top Management and flows down to each and every member of the resort staff. It is not random or happenstance. It is an entire service oriented attitude and you know it when you see it in abundance.

I think I should also mention that some not so pleasant things transpired in our lives after our last year’s vacation; things that made this trip a monumental trip of remembrance, and a trip of celebration on a few levels. It was to be one our most important vacations ever.

So here we go: 

Prior to this vacation, like most of you, we spent a great deal of time looking on this site and reading reviews, and reviews, and more reviews! We wanted to try something new, and we wanted, above all else, a beach that would knock our socks off!

After an abundance of good reviews, we chose Sandos Playacar, and we were immediately thrilled with the choice! After booking, I had begun to read and ask questions on the Trip Advisor forums, and I was delighted to get great timely answers and great attentive service from the Sandos staff member that services the Trip Advisor forum. Daniela, if you are reading this, we say thanks again! Your information and assistance was top notch, and it was a great pleasure to meet you in person!

Folks, if you haven’t already, I highly advise you to check out the Sandos Playacar Facebook Page. It is a delightful source of great information, and the daily photos that are posted will readily show you the beauty of this resort and show you images of one of the most beautiful beachfronts in the World! The picturesque daily display will show you many of the happenings, events, and activities at the resort. It will also show you the many great offerings of places you will want to visit at the resort, and things that are upcoming at the resort. The Social Network Concierge that runs this most awesome Facebook page is a delightful lady named Kiani. She has impeccable energy for this endeavor, and she takes it very seriously. She works exceedingly hard to show the world all of the great happenings at Sandos Playacar, and I really think her work is cutting edge as far as Resort Facebook Pages go. The page is very intuitive, interactive and very informative. I believe that the Sandos Facebook Page is one of the very best out there, if not the very best! Kiani, is a very important part of what makes Sandos special, and I truly think she is helping the world notice the great Goodwill and World-class Service that Sandos Playacar offers. Social Networking is here to stay, and Kiani is providing real time information and visuals that is very useful for vacation planning. It is truly awesome to see the resort through a real time lens. Kiani helped us with too many things to mention or list, and Moreover, she is a super bright caring person, and my little family will cherish her friendship for a long long time. You are super special Kiani!

Given our many Mayan adventures over the years, we truly like to eventually meet the many great Leaders that these resorts offer. The Director of Sandos Playacar caught my eye immediately as he responds to many of the Trip Reports that are written here. That is always a very good sign, when top management acknowledges and speaks to these reports no matter how they are written. Mr. Tapia, is a very valuable leader, and he is inspiring great work amongst the staff. He is very visible throughout the resort making sure things are running at full speed, and that things are as they should be. Make no mistake, service attitude and service culture starts from the top and trickles down to the very last staff member. I am 100% sure that this is in play here. It’s very obvious as you watch the resort in action. Additionally, I had the distinct privilege to speak with him a few times, and he graciously stopped by our Anniversary Dinner to check in on us. We had previously alluded to the vast sentimental importance of this event, and he understood that, and took some time to spend with us. That is just enormously meaningful, and we thank you so much Mr. Tapia. You are one of the most gracious Directors or GM’s that we have encountered, and it is clear that your fine resort and service attitude is duplicated by all those that work for you. Great Great Work, my Friend.

Additionally, given the nature of our upcoming vacation, I really needed to speak to someone and specifically talk about some things of great importance to us. Through communication, I came in contact with Chief Concierge Giovanna, and she was magnificent, along with her PR Managers Jhon and Tomas. Before we departed, they communicated nicely with us, and put our minds at ease. They are a fabulous crew, and were very attentive to us while on vacation. They remembered our names, and said hello to us throughout our Holiday and always asked how things were going! Jhon and Tomas are very visible within the resort, constantly checking on things, checking on the guests, and always with a huge smile on their faces. In my opinion, they take guest relations to a whole new level and both of these guys have incredible caring sensibilities, and they have incredible futures ahead of them! They are Golden. Thank you my Friends!

Chief Concierge Giovanna is simply just a pure class act and wonderfully caring person. And although she is in top management, she is still so very attentive to guests needs. She is vastly busy, but, Giovanna, specifically, is the person that made our important vacation, a sentimental off-the-charts special one. Based on all her kindness and understanding, this vacation will stand as our favorite for years to come (well until next year when we come back). Giovanna, words can’t express our gratitude! Thank you for all the notes and we can’t thank you enough for your kindness.

OK, now for our resort experience:

We stayed in the Hacienda section, in a 2 room suite. These units are in a fantastic location within the resort proper and they provided ease of maneuvering to all areas of the resort. I must stop here immediately and say that the online resort map, or whatever source you use, TOTALLY over exaggerates the actual size of this resort as far as walking times and distance. We have stayed at Mega Resorts that look similar in size, but it is just nowhere NEAR the same. The Sandos property was a very easy walk for us. We would go back to the room from the beach numerous times a day, and we also made these trips with ease from as far away as the Adult Pool in the Riviera Section and back to the beach. From the farthest distance at the Riviera Section, it is max 10 minutes of a slow paced beautiful walk among pathways that direct you. You could make it much faster with a brisk walk. Those that think this is a long long walk must be staying previously at very small boutique resorts. Resorts in Mexico with significant amenities, are just simply going to have some 5-10 minute walks. We are in our mid 40’s, not exactly the workout types, and the walking at Sandos was a ZERO issue.

Anyway, our room was fantastic! It was made up each and every day so beautifully with towel art etc, and it was always impeccable pristine clean. Our mini fridge was stocked daily, but if you ever needed something more, all you have to do is make a simple phone call, and they are there within 30 minutes. Us Parents had the King bed in the main room, and our teenage son had the second room and it worked out fabulously. We even had wifi in the room and used it a Ton. If the signal got weak, we could step outside next to the private hacienda pool and get a strong signal there.

Overall, this was one incredible accommodation. All the marble was magnificent, and it just was a splendid upscale suite.

*Note: we did get to walk into a Jr. Suite in the Riviera Section. These Jr. Suites are much larger than the single room junior suites we have experienced at other resorts. These are very Nice Larger Rooms. Also, the Riviera Section is very new looking with new pristine pools (as it is the newest section at Sandos), and this section of Sandos compares very favorably to other structures and pools at more upscale and pricey resorts. Although we loved the Hacienda set-up for our family, we would not hesitate for a second to recommend the newer Riviera Section to others.


The Beach, The Beach, The Beach! Although we have stayed in Playa Del Carmen several times before, the Sandos wide beautiful beachfront is by far the best we have encountered. We have stayed at the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal next door to Sandos a couple of times in past years, and always noticed the Sandos beach. It is wide, clean, and with perfect ocean access (No rocks or coral here!) Sandos is the last resort in this line of resorts, and there is no resort on the other side of it. This beautiful beach goes on and on and allows for much exploring!

We spent 80% of our time at the beach parked on the beach beds. The view is Spectacular, and the drink delivery is astonishing. Our favorite waitress bringing drinks to us from the Bagel Beach Bar was Yazmin! What a doll and great person. She works Very Hard all day, trekking all over the beach delivering a big tray of drinks one after another; And Always with great spirit and a smile. When you go to the beach bar, please check out Carlos, he is one of the best around! He makes the best drinks and has a great attitude. A super fun guy. We miss Carlos and Yazmin a great deal. When you go, make sure and say Hello to them for us. 

Like I said, the vast majority of our time was spent on the beach, and our son played beach volleyball every day and we really enjoyed watching these matches. The beach Zumba classes were well attended every day, and it was also fun to watch. lol. I really should try for some exercise on one of these vacations. In all seriousness, the Sandos staff took these workouts serious and it was a real-deal workout.

When not at the beach, we spent time at the Main Activity pool at the end of each day. Mostly, this was to watch the amazing activity staff do their thing and for us to cool off! If you want more privacy and calm, make sure to go to the Riviera Section Pool. Like I have mentioned, it is very very nice and newer, with not a lot going on, but we went there to chill on several occasions. There is a great snack bar up there as well, in addition to the one down by the main pool in the Beach Section.

I am not going to touch base on food a great deal because it is so subjective. I will say this, we are picky eaters and our son is beyond picky, and we thought the food was some of the best in all of our All Inclusive adventures. We are very cognitive of the difficulty in trying to please the palate of many nationalities, and I always give a little leeway in this regard, and I have never starved at any all inclusive as a result. I will never concur with anyone that totally rates a resort based on food. That is asking a tremendous amount and expectations will never be met. The food we found at Sandos was good quality, very tasty, and in plenty abundance, with multiple choices. You have to be fair and try and consider the varied cultures and backgrounds that they are trying to feed.

During the day we ate at the snack bar and the buffet and were very pleased. Good variety, good lunchtime food. At night we enjoyed the buffet and the ala carte restaurants. Our son very much enjoyed the pasta station at the buffet and he thought the spaghetti was to die for.  Indeed, we thought the night time buffet was well stocked with many fresh choices. As far as buffets at an all inclusive, we think this one was near the very top of our list. Make sure and notice that on the opposite side of the buffet, there is another counterpart buffet, and it is air conditioned! While seated here, you can utilize both buffets. I believe they call this adjoining buffet the “Italian Restaurant” and it does not require reservations.

The Ala Cartes are Amazing and it would take too much of your time for me to describe each of them. We went to all of them except the Gourmet. We could not go to the Gourmet because our son was just 17, and the Gourmet is Adult Only. We thoroughly enjoyed The Gaucho (steak house), The Asiana, The Mediterraneo, The Fogodejanerio (Brazilian), and The Riviera Maya (Mexican). The steaks were excellent at the Gaucho, the fajitas great at Riviera Maya, the Shrimp are succulent at Mediterraneo, and all the meats at Fogodejanerio were yummy! (Nix the sweet breads, however,wink).

We NEVER had anything but quick attentive staff in all the eating areas. Never once did we feel like we waited the slightest amount of time for drinks, sodas, coffee, etc. Again, read “great service” here, as it was some of the best service we have ever encountered. As far as tipping goes, we do that of course. Sometimes I would have been riddled with guilt if I didn’t tip, because the service was Crazy GOOD! I will also say that I do not believe that tips drive the service attitude at Sandos. They are going to do what they are going to do…..regardless…..but they truly deserve all the thanks they get, monetarily or otherwise!

The Activity Staff at Sandos is top notch; some of the best we have come across. They are very energetic, very friendly, but also very conscientious about guest privacy. I totally believe that we interacted with and met each and every one of them, but it would be impossible to list all of their names. They are all splendid, nice, young people that thoroughly love working at Sandos. The energetic friendly spirit exudes from each of them. I really appreciate them for coming to see us and saying hello to us wherever they found us. Those in the activity staff at Sandos work really hard to make you feel at home.

We went to virtually all the shows, with the Michael Jackson show being the best! I highly recommend going to the Theater and seeing some of the shows because it is a superb theater, it is comfortable, relaxing, and the shows are remarkably well done. Another perk was that the drink service was stellar and our favorite server was a sweet lady named Diony! She is another special one that we will never forget. If you are ever feeling up for a late nighter, get to the Disco when it opens at 11, as Diony is also the main waitress there. As we are night owls, we spent several nights at the disco getting to know Diony and listening to good music. Diony is an angel and Sandos is blessed to have her. We miss you Diony!

The Entertainment Director at Sandos is a stellar guy named Victor! We had met him in a previous year at another resort, and we became quick friends. I could write pages and pages about our interactions with Victor, because he tried so hard each day to make sure we were having a good time, but I will just suggest to you… to just watch him. He does so many things in the entertainment venues at Sandos, and he does impeccable work. Make sure and go to the Beach Party on Sunday nights that Victor designed, and developed. When he is not behind a Microphone…..do say hello to him. He’s a Star and a Gentleman, he is great at what he does, and he has a rock solid personality to boot!

Do go see bartender Fabian in the select club lounge; another great guy and a very helpful person. Efrain and Arely in the Disco also really stood out to us. They all work so hard, they are all so courteous, and I just wish I wrote down more names 

La Bambola, the Bar with the swings is fantastic! We had many great times there and caught some baseball games on the TV’s. Again, the bartenders here worked very hard to please us.


In closing, I do want to apologize for the length of this ramble. We had such a spectacular Service Oriented Trip, that I was just compelled to mention all of these people and tell you about them. It became abundantly clear to us, upon arrival, and throughout our stay, that Sandos Playacar has developed a sincerely ingrained culture of World Class Service. The Management Staff and the entire Resort Staff were the best we have seen. Any resort can be dissected by amenities, but great service, to us, is not always universal. It is this Great Service that is interwoven throughout Sandos Playacar that sets it apart!

And it has the Best Beach Around!!! 

Room Tip: Riviera Section, Or Haciendas
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank KeeferTL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandos_Playacar, General Manager at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this review, August 17, 2013
Dear KeeferTL,

We would like to thank you for your review published on Trip Advisor.

It honors us to receive such a compliment and encourages us to continue exceeding our clients’ expectations.

We really appreciate you taking the time to let us know we are providing a good service.
We look forward to welcome you back for your 2nd visit .

Please do not hesitate to contact us prior to your arrival so we can assist with all pre arrival requests and be sure that your stay surpasses all expectations.
Warm Regards,
Ivan Tapia
General Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
director.playacar@sandos.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Teddington
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We travelled from the UK with Thomas Cook 24th July - 7th August.

Check in: a fairly slow process, only one other family checking in at the same time. Very pleasant reception staff. We had contacted the hotel with a room request beforehand; we wanted a king Size bed and a sofa bed but unfortunately they only had a room with two double beds. They told us they would be able to change the room the next morning. Although the first room was fine overlooking a pathway and trees, we preferred the room they gave us the following day which had the king size bed and overlooked the family pool. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to lavender bands and had champagne, fruit and bathrobes etc in the room. Plus two extra beach towels.

Room: Spacious with a king size bed and a sofa bed for our 14 year old son. He's 6'2" and found it comfortable and big enough. A big bathroom with separate shower, loo (both with doors) and a large Jacuzzi bath. Shower gel, soap, body lotion and shampoo provided. Efficient air conditioning and ceiling fan. Fridge with water, beer and fizzy drinks filled every day. Room was cleaned early on each day to a high standard with plenty of towels and lots of towel sculptures, so many thanks to our cleaner, Daniel.

Beach: with our lavender band upgrade we were able to use the lovely Royal Elite part of the beach. This has comfortable Bali type beds, doubles and singles, with comfy pillows, with or without shade. We never had a problem getting beds. Beach waitress service available, but you're never far from a bar anyway! The sand is lovely, pale and plentiful. The sea was very warm, often crystal clear, but we had a few days with biggish waves which churned it up a bit. We spent most mornings at the beach.

Pools: we didn't really use the main pool, (very busy, activities held here). In the afternoons we returned to the family section and used the pool there. It was very quiet usually, we always got beds and the lunch restaurant was great for our needs. Water was also warm, like a bath in the afternoons! With our upgrade we could have used the Adult pool but didn't feel the need. That's a lovely big pool with a bar and some Bali beds.

Buffets: the main buffet is madly busy at breakfast, we used the smaller one, nearer the beach. A much more pleasant experience, but maybe less choice. Room service breakfast was just ok. For lunch we nearly always used the riviera restaurant at the family pool. We only used the buffet for dinner on one occasion and it was fine. Plenty of choice, just a bit busy.

A la Cartes: we visited them all and liked the steak house (el gaucho) best, then the Mediterranean (itzapalapa) - great food but needs air conditioning! Adults only was lovely too. Mexican was ok (honestly prefer Mexican here in London!), the Brazilian was good, Asian not great for us. Bagel beach (evenings only - during the day it's a snack bar) was lovely, we went a few times and really enjoyed it. Not many people seemed to use it.

Bars: the pool bar at the family pool was great and never too busy. La Bambola sports bar (also crepes and ice cream) was good too. We used the Premium bar in reception every evening. It was nice and cool, had wifi, and there were cookies and snacks available. At the beach there's a smoothie bar which was lovely and usually quite busy, our barman at the family pool made smoothies too.

That Walk: yes, it's a walk from the family section the the beach and the buffets, but it's an easy walk on mainly level ground and there's lots to see. Honestly it wasn't a problem to us, ever. In fact I was grateful for the exercise. The Asian, Brazilian and steakhouse were all near the family section.

Staff: almost without exception they were lovely (just one grumpy guy at reception one day). Daniela at web relations was undoubtedly the best, though. She contacted me via tripadvisor many months ago when I asked a question on the forums. From then on she was so helpful: sorting out our a la carte reservations, our room requests and always checking we were ok. What a lovely, friendly girl. I can't praise her enough. (Hey Sandos - give her a bonus!!)

Niggles:
- I think the different levels of guests here are a bit "in your face" - there's Royal Elite (timeshare), who get all the perks including a VIP bar, and a special pool. Everyone else has to pass this pool to get to the beach - it's not amazing or anything, just a bit obvious that its only for the "elite" few. Then there's Gold and Lavender - gold is Select, so get to use adults only pool, Premium bars, adults only breakfast, and a separate beach area (which I think is no different to the standard beach area?). Lavender bands get the above and can use the RE beach area too. Children of RE, Gold and Lavender get silver bands. Blue bands are standard. If I hadn't been upgraded (thank you Sandos) I may have felt a bit second class, although probably I'd have got over it!

- Teen club. The club itself is fantastic and no charge for anything. BUT it's meant to be for 12-17 year olds and was almost always overrun with much younger children (with or without adults), which meant my 14 yr old son and 12 yr old nephew weren't that keen. This definitely needs looking at.

- The beds are hard, which is standard in non-British hotels, I find - but the pillows are awful, lumpy and hard. I actually went to Walmart in PDC with my sister and bought myself a comfy one!

- The towels could do with replacing, both bathroom and beach. Some of them are a bit worn and thin.

- Sun loungers are a bit basic, no mattress and don't lie flat (essential for lying on your tummy and tanning your back!)

Weather: was amazing the whole two weeks, with just a couple of very short (10 minutes) downpours on one day, once in the morning before we were out and once that night whilst we were indoors eating.

All in all a lovely resort with something for everyone. We would definitely return. Any questions fell free to message me.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
6 Thank lilaclabrador
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandos_Playacar, General Manager at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this review, August 17, 2013
Dear lilaclabrador,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with the Trip advisor community; it was a pleasure to read your review and we are sure this has helped many travelers confirm that Sandos Playacar is the perfect hotel for their vacation.

We are pleased that you loved it here; we will share your positive comments with our staff; it encourages them to continue working hard.

Please do not forget that we will be pleased to welcome you back at any time.

Kind regards,
Ivan Tapia
General Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
director.playacar@sandos.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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