We have just this afternoon returned from a 7 day stay at the Gala, so I thought I'd share our experiences. We have two children, boy 8, girl 6, who thoroughly enjoyed their stay and did NOT want to leave! The Kids Club was good - they post their daily activities on a board out front and the children preferred to pick and choose what activities they wanted to join in. We just went down and registered them at 10 am each day and had the freedom to drop them/pick them up whenever it suited (they do "close" the front door between 1 and 3pm when they settle the kids for lunch and a move/nap/quiet time). Some of the activites for the older kids (8 - 12yrs) were wicked - archery, windsurfing, beach baseball etc. I cannot speak more highly of the Land Sports/Entertainment crew. These are the hardest working, talented people I've ever encountered at these types of resorts. They are out there participating in the heat, sand and humidity from 8am and ALWAYS had a smile and a mile of patience for everyone they came across (even the most tenacious of youngsters!!) Add to that the hours of rehearsal every day for their evening shows which didn't finish til around 10:30 pm....... My kids adored the nightly shows, especially watching their "fave" Land Sports person costume up and strut their stuff! The beach was clean and beautiful, and being the first resort into the Playacar area has its advantages - you are not "boxed in" at all on the beach as there is nothing but free space to one side of you. The beach is spacious and the lounges plentiful, but you do need to get in early to "reserve" your spot for the day, especially if you want to be under one of the little huts! There always seemed to be lounges available by the pool whenever I needed one, so had no dramas there. There is also a pool reserved strictly for adults - and everyone obeyed this doctrine! It provided a nice, child free (and splash free!) zone for those wanting less disturbance! Being a fitness nut, I was out running every morning at 6:30 am before hitting the gym. The round trip into PDC would be roughly 6 k's on flat and paved footpaths - pretty easy going. The gym was small, but had all the bits and pieces I needed to get in a good workout. There were two treadmills (which looked almost new) for those who prefer running inside, and about 10 Reebok "spinning" cycles. Aqua aerobics at midday in the main pool is more for fun than fitness, but I had a blast mingling with others and having a good laugh with the staff. They "enjoyed" the fact that, being an Australian, I had absolutely NO IDEA what they were saying in any of their four spoken languages, LOL!!! Step/low impact classes are also available daily, as are Spinning classes. There is a constant hum of activity on the beach volleyball courts and the beach soccer field - all good fun if you want it! The Water Sports area seemed a little disorganised at times with bits of equipment coming and going and no reservation system in place which meant lots of time wasted waiting around. Guests did not respect the time allotments for equipment and the staff didn't do much to follow things up! The highlight of our water borne experience was when our catamaran flipped then sunk quite a ways offshore! Frightened the heck out of our two kids to be honest, but we can all laugh about it now. Turns out that fitting the "plugs" to the hulls had been overlooked that morning ....... lol! Got a free ride on the jetski as part of the "rescue mission"!
Restaurants/Buffets and bars were all pretty good and quite clean. The service was reliable. Plenty of healthy stuff if you want it - nice fresh fruits, smoothies, yoghurts etc. for breakfast, as well as all the usual breakfast fare. Had to eat at lunchtimes in the Festival buffet - no so much healthy stuff in the Oo La La by the pool BUT there is great stuff for those that want it - hamburgers, pizzas, paellas, hot dogs, fries etc.etc. You are only allowed to make one reservation per day for any of the three a la carte restaurants and we didn't have too many problems with this system. There is truth in comments from other reviewers about reservations being difficult to come by then the restaurant being half empty! Must be a reason for it ..... The dinners in the Festival Buffet were of fairly good quality and followed a theme every night. There were always reasonably reliable "staples" for the kids wherever you ate. Most importantly, nobody became unwell due to food borne issues, a pleasant change from our past trips to Bali!!! The wines were OK, the bar service was fine. We didn't bother with tipping waiters/bar staff etc. being as that we were always more than happy to lift off the lounge for a two minute walk to the nearest bar every now and again - just to stretch! Plus, with two youngsters constantly in the water, one can't really hit the alcoholic stuff too early in the day! Some people took their own insulated cups - brilliant idea and I would recommend people do that. Not only do they hold more than the plastic cups offered, but most importantly, they are lidded and would provide some respite from the pesky, persistent and ever present BEES!!!! Can't tell you how many drinks my kids dropped because they were getting swarmed walking back to the chairs!!! Hubby even managed a sting to the finger!
We stayed in the Hacienda section and, yes, it is a little bit of a walk but nothing like the "15 minutes" to the beach that some people have mentioned - these people either crawled down there or stopped off for a few quiet ones in the bar and lost track of all time, lol!! Anyhow, after all that eating, why not walk some??? If you really couldn't manage the walk for whatever reason, they would happily give you a ride in a golf cart. The room was always clean and everything was in good working order. The suites have their own plunge pool and sunlounges etc., and for those who like peace and quiet, it would be perfect. We left the room by 8 am each day and returned around 6 - - the room mattered little to us. We enjoyed good weather and after a day in the sun, followed by a big dinner, drinks and sitting sweating through the evening show, we were happy to hit the hay - can't offer any comment at all about sports bars or nightclubs post 10:30pm!
In summary, if you're after the true 5-star experience with all the la-de-da trimmings, head to a Four Seasons or like property. If you're like us, where happy and settled kids equal a reasonable parental 'rest', then the Gala should work just fine!
- 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