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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
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Reviews (13,981)
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3,828 - 3,833 of 13,981 reviews
Reviewed September 2, 2013

Had a great family vacation, wish we'd stayed longer! Few problems early on in vacation but really helpful staff sorted them out!

Great food, loved Hacienda suite felt more home from home!

Kids club refurbished whilst we were there! Not ideal! Most of the kids there were a lot older so my 2 & 4 were very overwhelmed! So we took them out and just loved the pool & gorgeous beach! Loved the photographer based there and got some great holiday photo's capturing the great time!

Room Tip: Originally booked 2 adjoining rooms, but they gave us 2 separate in the same block which did not work as we have 2 very young children they upgraded to Hacienda Suite, which was gorgeous and if you have young children you don't need the second room as the dinning room shuts off and has 2 beds in it and has 2 balconies! We will defiantly book this room again!
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Kate W
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 reviewResponded September 3, 2013

Dear Kate W,

Thank you for letting us know how your stay was, we will be more than happy to have the opportunity to host you again very soon and give you once again the good service you have already experienced.

Please feel free to contact us.
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.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

The best resort that I have every been too. This was the first time to Sandos Playacar and was very happy. Very good entertainment every night, Very Nice clean resort, beautiful weather, nice adult section seperate from the family section, staff very friendly. Very accomidationg. For sure will be going back.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank FunNSun0
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 reviewResponded September 3, 2013

Dear FunNSun0,

Thank you very much for your gracious comments. We are glad that you liked our grounds, beach, entertainment activities and the amiability of our staff.

We are also very happy to hear that you were looking forward to returning to the hotel.

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
Director Hotel
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.
Reviewed September 1, 2013

I'm a parent who travels regularly with two kids. This was not one of our best vacations.

Sandos Playacar is in a 5-star setting with 4-star service, 3-star rooms and 1-star food. I hope this review can help you prepare based on your own priorities.

Knowing we'd arrive late, I emailed ahead about my room preference so we wouldn't be stuck with the last room available. That didn't work. I had requested a beach view but got a "pool view" which looked into the back of a restaurant. Changing rooms left us stranded with NO room from 10am to 4pm our first day. It was a wasted, frustrating day. Front desk staff was not sympathetic or helpful.

Rooms:
We stayed in a standard beach room, wanting to be near everything. Facing the pool was a bit noisy at all hours. The pool view from the 1000 building is generally better than the 2000 bldg. Our room was outdated and basic but clean. Spacious enough for the three of us. Housekeeping was efficient, and room fridge was stocked daily. Beds are rock-hard. If you prefer a firm mattress, you might like it. But if you're a delicate flower like me, request extra padding right away. It took me a few days before I could communicate that to housekeeping and I finally slept through the night.

Food:
Huge disappointment. I got very very ill two days, and my son one day. So that does influence my whole perception of the dining. Two of us are vegetarians, and that was quite difficult. Even the "salad" section had meat in almost everything. The main buffet was always crowded, and food was just OK. The Italian buffet next door is open for dinner and does not require reservations. We found less quantity but better quality there, and service more attentive. 24-hour room service was great.
Restaurants: We were able to arrange our reservations before we arrived, so that made things easier. We tried Asiana, Mexican and Mediterranean. The restaurants have nice atmosphere. The setting and wonderful service make for a much more relaxing meal than the buffet. But good luck with the food. Asiana offered a vegetable curry, and we were warned it was spicy. But it was so spicy it was inedible. At the Mexican restaurant, the vegetable burrito was soggy fajita peppers, onions and mushrooms wrapped in a tortilla. The "berry tart" was a dry dense muffin. Mediterranean looked most promising. The menu said "ask server about vegetarian options." I did, only to be told there weren't any. Tried the tuna, which was dry and overcooked. At least one of us was terribly ill each day following a restaurant meal. That can really ruin a vacation.
Other food options: We were excited about Bagel Beach, but it was closed every evening we tried to go there. During the day, they have hamburger patties and hotdogs under warmers. All the smoothies we tried were too sweet for us, with my sons saying they tasted like "marshmallows." The one place I know used fresh fruit was the "Health Bar" on the beach, but it's only open in the morning. The Cupcake Cafe is a wonderful place to relax, and the kids liked their short daily WiFi fix there. But the cupcakes are heavy and not very flavorful. They should consider hiring a Starbucks barrista to teach some basic drink-making. A latte was made with cold milk, not steamed, and instead of a shot of espresso, they used a packet of instant nescafe. Best food we found were the crepes and ice-cream at Bambola Bar. Grown-up drinks everywhere were weak and always too sweet, but best bartender I found was Edwin on the beach. You might want to stick to beer.

Activities:
Kids were looking forward to meeting new friends, but there didn't seem to be much opportunity. The Kids Club might be great for the younger ones, but my 10-year-old son is not into facepainting and fashion shows. The teen club is a dark, loud video arcade, not really a place to hang out or have any conversation. Plus, on the rainy day, it was open to all ages and filled with adults. I didn't feel entirely comfortable leaving my kids alone, so I missed out on the spa day I'd hoped for. The activities schedule was hit-and-miss. It said beach soccer at 3:00, so my boys showed up. There was a soccer ball, but no announcement or effort to gather a group. Best place to hang out was Bambola Bar, where we could all play ping-pong, foosball or billiards. And, next to Bambola, we had a lot of fun playing mini-golf! There was also volleyball on the beach, with games going all day. Evening shows were quite good. We especially enjoyed the game show nights: Minute to Win it, and Sandos Deal.

Staff:
Service was generally top-notch, especially in the restaurants. It's true that maintenance and housekeeping don't speak much English - but, hello, you're in Mexico! It's a good reminder that we were in another country. Entertainment staff was friendly and enthusiastic. The guy who hosts the evening shows, Joaquin(?) is amazing. I swear he must be cloned, because he seems to be everywhere- aerobics in the pool, Kinect boxing in the teen club - always with a smile. Front desk was not great. When I left a swimsuit on a tour bus, the company delivered it back to the hotel. When I went to pick it up, staff insisted nothing had been left for me. Basically suggesting that I -- or the tour group -- was lying. Went back and forth, until someone else finally reached below the counter to find a bag with my name and room number on it.

Setting:
The resort is beautiful, with its jungle and beach setting. It is very spread out, but I don't understand all the criticism about the walking distance. Unless you're really unfit or dealing with the very young or old, it's not a problem. We made the trek several times - to meet tour groups at main lobby, to dine at Asiana, dropped off by a cab in front. We actually enjoyed the walk, even in the rain. The landscaping is beautiful, with informative signs about the plants and animals. We loved seeing iguanas, coatis and howler monkeys on the property. The main pool is always full of people.
Beach:
I picked this resort mostly based on reviews of the beach and it did not disappoint. It's awesome! Soft white sand and crystal blue water. Since it's the last hotel on the beach, there's room to wander too. The water was very calm most days, but there were waves on others. Unfortunately too rough to kayak on the day we wanted to, so the boys used the free boogie boards instead. We never had a problem finding chairs anytime of day. And hammocks were available too.

All in all, Sandos has potential for perfection. The location can't be beat, and most staff is friendly and efficient. But the food and kids programs could be so much better.

PS: My original review was censored for "hearsay." I've removed a brief mention of another family's experience so my review can be posted. I had originally attached several beautiful photos, but won't go to the trouble again. I wonder how many less-than-stellar reviews are challenged and removed.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank Dee818
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 reviewResponded September 2, 2013

Dear Dee818,

Thank you for your comments. Your feed back is very important to us. It`s thanks to our guests comments that we can improve our services in order to provide a unique experience and guest satisfaction. We regret that your expectations regarding our food was not what you expected; everyone of us is committed to ensure to our guests the most enjoyable.

We hope you would like to honor us once more with your visit, thus giving us the chance to demonstrate that our commitment towards your satisfaction goes beyond mere words. We'll do our maximum effort not only to accomplish, but exceed your expectations.

I kindly remain at your total disposal for any further comments.

Best Regards

Ivan Tapia
Director Hotel
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.
Reviewed August 31, 2013

what i'm realizing about tripadvisor is that reviews are all based upon the expectations people have coming in. I came here with my gf, and we travel quite often-- been to playa del carmen a few times. If you're traveling with young kids, on a family vacation, on a budget- ignore this review- place is probably perfect for you.

for starters, the place is massive. the lobby is as big as most hotel pools. Getting around is normally a 10 to 15 min walk, which isn't terrible, but be prepared to walk. Overall, I wasn't sure what to expect-- i heard 4 stars, so I assumed some things, then had to quickly lower my expectations. First off-- there's a great adult only pool. But it's a $25 a person surcharge per day. And this pool is a good 17 min walk to the beach. It's on the opposite side of the property. Meaning if you think you're going to do some beach, and than some adult pool- you'll be hard pressed to make that happen.

And after a day there, an adult pool sounds amazing. Why? Because there are kids everywhere in that resort. The main pool by the beach is unimpressive, and jammed with tons of children. Also, and not to be snobby, but guests are on the lower end of the spectrum regarding taste, style, and class. The beach area was disappointing-- hundreds of lounge chairs with only one bar at the far end. Loud music thumping on the beach and main pool by Sandos til 4 p.m. every day. Forget about a quite afternoon or morning on the water.

Most mexican resort food is pretty mediocre- and this is no exception. but there is plenty of decent food to eat, so you'd never go hungry. Getting reservations at dinner proved difficult, and those restaurants were fine for what they are. Don't expect anything anywhere close to high end food.

The Bad:

-- huge massive place, takes a while to get anywhere
-- with the low price tag, place definitely attracts riff-raff guests
-- $25 fee per person, per day for use of the adult pool.
-- adult pool is a 17 min walk from the ocean
-- grounds are mediocre.
-- no drink service on the beach
-- almost no top shelf liquor. bacardi and sometimes cuervo tequila was it. the rest was speed rack bottom shelf liquors.
-- place is filled with children, day and night. even the main bar open at night, has 6 yr old kids running around it as a rec room and ping pong table's are adjacent to it.
-- complicated system of different, permission only areas of the resort which you can pay to be included in. more than once, you'll be told that you can't sit in a certain area, or go to a certain restaurant because you're not part of the "select premium" club.
-- night entertainment is geared towards kids. depressing but somewhat amusing to see 30 yr old european couples sitting down watching these 'shows' at night.
-- employees all around have terrible attitudes. there's a sign in the lobby bathroom that tells you how to be a polite guest. sort of says it all.
-- Room service food is ok if you were drinking all night-- but it's pretty terrible.
-- A lower end resort property

The Good:

-- 10 min, $7.00 cab ride to playa del carmen -- you can drink up on Bacardi at night, and head off into town.
-- discotech on the premises is terrible but open til 2 a.m., and does have Bacardi bottles. beer and bacardi means that if you're there to do heavy drinking- you can get it done, albeit in a limited fashion.
-- adult pool is very nice
-- it's cheap-- we paid $150 a night.
-- rooms are nice-- tons of a/c, clean, etc.
-- pool tables, ping pong- tons of other activities-- just be prepared to be around kids til 10 p.m.

bottom line-- if you're looking to impressive your girlfriend with a nice romantic getaway-- steer far away from this place!! Thank me later. for $70 more a night you can stay at a place like the Azul Fives (which we stayed at the last night on a whim-- blows this place out of the water). as does the Riu next door which is often fully booked.

If you're a group of friends on a budget, that can keep each other entertained, that just want a nice room and be close to playa del carmen-- this place is doable. And if you don't mind reggaeton playing on the beach- you'll be fine. You can eat / drink all day, all night- and get your money's worth for sure. Rent a car from the airport-- and go to akumal when you want a more exclusive beach away from the people in this resort.

Room Tip: if you're an adult-- stay in the 9000 building by the adult pool. it's far from everything, but if you like pools- it's worth it.
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Thank yovoy10
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 reviewResponded September 2, 2013

Dear yovoy10,

On a behalf of the Staff and Management here at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort and Spa we would like to thank you for your review. However, we feel sorry that our Hotel didn’t meet your expectation.
We assure you that improvement, in all our services are an ongoing process and our priority is guests’ satisfaction. We do hope to have another opportunity in the near future, to make your holiday unforgettable. If you decide to give us another chance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best Regards,

Ivan Tapia
Director General
Hotel Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & SPA
E-Mail: director.playacar@sandos.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2013

We went last year and I can honestly say it was one of the best hotels I have ever been to. The entertainment team were amazing and so was the food. I hear it has changed though, but we are still planning on going back (hopefully).

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Marie S
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 reviewResponded September 2, 2013

Dear Marie S,

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

We are also very happy to hear that you were looking forward to returning to the hotel.

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
Director Hotel
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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