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“Honestly - A bit of a let down!”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #60 of 210 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Honestly - A bit of a let down!”
Reviewed February 25, 2014

I thought I would share our family experience at the Sandos Playacar last summer at 'standard level' all inclusive accommodation. I submitted an 'honest' review last year via Travelrepublic, the company I used to book the hotel,, but it never got published for what reason I don't know.
I hope TR embrace honest reviews even where in parts they may be perceived as negative. Anyway:

Just to set the scene we stayed at the Sandos Caracol the previous year which we thought, as a family of 4 (2 adults two young children) was excellent! Very busy even in early September but we loved it, excellent variety and quality of food, entertainment and service all round.
We were sold the idea by one of the staff and indeed some of the great reviews we read, that the Playacar was a more classy and refined version of its sister hotel the Caracol and so of course we booked up.

We stayed in one of the Hacienda Suites with small shared pool which was a nice little luxury in theory but the first thing we realised that there was a lot of competition between families for use of the pool which is sort of inevitable but something to bear in mind If you are picturing that tranquil pool villa holiday scene...forget that. The room itself was nice though and kept very clean. ..Although, and I have to reiterate this as in other reviews, the Hacienda beds are airing on the side of a little too firm by anybody's standards.

The Main pool close to the beach is far too small for the amount of guests and hotel capacity as is the amount of sunbeds available. We witnessed an awful drunk German chap assault a defenceless young lady in front of everybody including her family in an argument over a bed that he decided was going to be his. Security did very little to help and we were aware of numerous 'raised tempers' due to lack of sunbeds and space both on the beach and at the pool.
Furthermore the Main Buffet is too small and overcrowded as is the central entertainment area and bar adjacent to it where much of the nightlife takes place.

Food ...Well the main buffet is limited in terms of variety and although fairly bland the quality was good. there is another buffet next door although that is even more limited. The speciality restaurants were a really very nice dining experience. It's just a shame you are only entitled to the three bookings per week to be fair though this seems to be the norm with other all inclusive hotels in most locations these days.
One of the real disappointments here is the lack of snack bars / in between snacks which was something that the Caracol has in abundance. As a standard all inclusive guest you have a limited scope for snacks with just one outlet by the main pool and apparently small selection way up my the reception area although we never used this.

Entertainment is good all round especially at the large theatre area where nightly shows took place we really enjoyed this part.
The Beach is beautiful, despite the aforementioned lack of beds and space in the shaded area. there are no nasty rocks to snag your feet on as is the case with a lot of the other nearby beaches. This is a really nice stretch indeed.

Conclusively: I will give the playacar an 'average' rating although I think it is definitely over priced considering what you get in return as an all inclusive hotel package..

Pros:
--clean resort, good service, Good entertainment, beautiful beach. Excellent Gym

Cons:
--Far too many guests for any of the facilities to support including beach / pool space, sunbeds, towels etc. You could literally find yourself 'fighting for space' which as a family is not attractive.
--Service: good but actually getting served can be a real issue, again the staff / guest ratio is too low.
--Main buffet food available is limited and in between snacks even more so.

If you want a lively, fun, exciting time with plenty of things to keep the whole family happy throughout the day and evening as we anticipated from our previous all inclusive experience at the Caracol...then you may well find the Playacar a bit dull and feeling a bit 'short-changed'....as we did

Would I return to the Sandos Playacar? Yes but only if the price was halved.

Room Tip: Can only speak for the Haciendas which were ok but don't be sold by the private pool aspect whic...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mr A D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Spokane
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2014 via mobile

Very nice resort!!! Very big and layed out!! Easy access to everything. The service was very good. Server Kristell Zenteno is excellent!!! Never had to ask for a drink she was always ahead of us. We spend the days on the beach this is where she worked. Spend a lot of time in the VIP Bar in the evenings where Donaciano Gomez was the bartender and Elvia Vazguez was the sever these two did an excellent job. By Day Three Donaciano new what I liked and always started my martini before I asked for one!! This place is Heaven on earth!!! The Beach and the Ocean are spectacular and the entertainment crew always have something going on. The food is good and you never have to go hungry because they have something to eat 24 hours a day!!! I will be back!!!! Keep up the excellent work everyone!!! Thank you to everyone that made our vacation something to remember. David Bambino and Marnee Beck

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank COUGAR3505
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Prague, Minnesota
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2014

Love this place. Staff was great. I went with my husband and left our kids behind. We could have brought them and they would have had a blast. Best thing was we never had to worry about finding a chair to lay out. Even when we went down late in the afternoon. Stayed in adult only area but spent time at all pools. The Beach was Out of this World!!!!!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Jessica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane Valley, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2014

My boyfriend and I just returned from Sandos Playacar. We had a wonderful time. The resort is beautiful and everything is laid out that you can get to any place at the resort within a 10 minute walk or less. The service was excellent. We spent most days on the beach and our server on the beach, Kristell Zenteno, was excellent. We were never without a drink. They had a lot of entertainment on the beach which was fun. One of our favorite places at night was the Royal Elite VIP bar. The bartender, Donaciano Gomez, and the server, Elvia Vazquez, were excellent. When my boyfriend walked in they knew what he wanted to drink and they started his martini. The beach and water was beautiful. The breakfast buffet was really good. We tried most of the specialty restaurants and we really liked the Italian restaurant. We stayed in a room with a partial ocean view on the 3rd floor. If you want an unobstructed view you need to request the top floor because it is above the palm trees that are planted on the beach in front of the building.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Marnee B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2014

We have a family of 5, and this is our second time staying at this resort. We selected it again, as it has a fantastic beach, and is a good value. We all had a great time once again. The weather was perfect for the whole week. The beach here is always a treat!

Some things we found improved -
We had hot water every day for our showers! Last year we did not.
Loved the mini golf and the monkeys in the area by the playground.
Cupcake cafe improved their cupcakes - they were much tastier. Last year we found them inedible. The cappuccino there is amazing!


Some things were were disappointed by -
We got 2 early morning sales calls about our "free gift". Told them we were not interested. This year it seems that they are pitching more feverishly than before, as last year we had no calls to the room.
The biggest disappointment of all is that the Mexican restaurant now requires reservations, and you are now only allowed 3 reservations for a 7 night stay!!! Last year we were allowed 4 reservations, and the Mexican did not count as one of them. Sandos is really forcing you to eat buffets all day long! We really much prefer a sit down dinner. Buffets are great for breakfast & lunch...but for dinner, also, it is just too much! We really wish they would reconsider this policy. The food is pretty good, except on the beach. That food is gross! Hamburgers & hot dogs & french fries - no variety...ugh. We wish they offered better casual dining for lunch on the beach, also.
The beds were hard as rocks, and none of us felt that we slept soundly this trip.

All in all, it is a very nice resort. The room was always clean, and the grounds are quite pretty. We may stay here again - but the dining reservation policy is a big turn-off.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Haciendas. Quiet room on the second floor. Good location, as we were able to hop...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank deakoripp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2014

We had the best time here. We've been going to Mexico for over 15 years. We enjoyed the room, the food, the beach was EXCELLENT!!.
Pedro and his team was awesome!!! they did the activities with lots of fun and excitement. We stayed in the adults only section and our pool bar staff was great!
If you want a hotel that has everything for the entire family, this is it!!!

Room Tip: if you want no kids, choose the adults only, otherwise, an ocean view is great.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Kathy L
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, February 24, 2014
Dear Kathy L,

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 Pedro, we are proud to have him 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,

Juan Oliveira
Assistant Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
webrelations.playacar@sandos.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lewiston, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 22, 2014

We are Royal Elite members and have been going to this resort since 2009. Upon arriving we are always greeted by friendly staff who "welcome us home.' The service throughout the resort is par excellence. The grounds are magnificent, lots of green space with beautiful tropical plants and flowers that are meticulously maintained. This is an "Eco Friendly" resort and evidence is everywhere promoting and preserving our environment. The resort is very clean. Everyday one sees staff cleaning and and repairing throughout the property. We just spent 2 weeks here and we could have stayed longer. Next year we will go for 3 weeks. I must comment on the staff because they are the reason our vacation is always memorable and leaves us wanting for more. At the Le Gourmet restaurant our waiter Luciano is the best in the industry. He looks for us every year, knowing the time of year we stay at Sandos. His service is above excellent. If he lived in the USA he could serve in our most exclusive Also, the breakfast service at Le Gourmet is very good. Luis Renan, mgr, and Josefina Jimenez Perez, server, always greeted us with a smile and had our table ready every day. They remembered what we would order after 2 visits and would automatically bring café con leche and mimosa without asking. They both brightened our mornings and we looked forward to seeing them each morning. The beach service provided by Kristell Zentoro was friendly and delightful. When she saw us take our place on the beach she would bring us our drink of choice without our requesting. She always had a big smile for us.
In the Royal Elite VIP bar Daniel and Francisco were always professional and friendly. We looked forward to seeing them each day. All the staff is excellent, friendly, warm and welcoming. They make us feel very special. I promote this resort to my friend and family regularly. Those who have travelled with us have always said it was the best vacation ever. My grandchildren look forward to going every year.

Room Tip: We love the beachfront suites.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Steve C
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, February 24, 2014
Dear Steve C,

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.

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

Kindest Wishes,
Juan Oliveira
Assistant Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa
webrelations.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:
#32 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#35 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#43 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#43 Luxury 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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