The Gala is our third all-inclusive resort. We've been to the Almond Beach Village in Barbados and Barcelo Bavaro Palace in Punta Cana, D.R.
We chose the Gala because my sister-in-law, who was there in April with her family, recommended it. We were a little nervous about going there in August (August 10th-17th), but figured the humidity can be countered by the ocean breeze. We were also worried that our kids 4 and 2 might get sick from the water, but we were assured they had a water purification system. Anyway, my kids didn't get sick, but my husband and I did. I also learned from other people that certain members of their families got a taste of Montezuma's revenge as well. But I think that somehow just goes with the territory.
We had a run-of-the house room with a pool and garden view. It was great sitting in the balcony and enjoying the sights. The beds, however, are hard as a rock. It's a mattress on a concrete slab. The pillows (some hard, some soft) and blankets (very pilly) were not that great either.
I liked the fact that all the amenities are within close proximity. We didn't have to walk far to get to the restaurants, pool, ocean, kids' club, gym, etc. The pools are nice, not gigantic, and at certain times can get too crowded. The towel cards are a little annoying, but we just made sure we returned the towels every night. The beach is breathtaking. It's true the Gala has the best beach area among the resorts there. Ordering drinks from your lounge chair at the pool or beach was great, I prefer that to a swim-up bar (the Gala doesn't have one). There are plenty of lounge chairs at the pool, but the choice ones were mostly taken before 8:00 a.m. We rarely went to the beach before 10:00 a.m., because we had to register our kids at the kids club first, and by then all the lounge chairs and palapas are taken. But the hammocks were not, and it's a nice place to relax.
The food at the buffet was good - not fantastic, but all-inclusive resorts rarely shine in their cuisine. They did have very good desserts. We ate at the Italian restaurant 3 times and that was worth it. They had a very good antipasto station and some noteworthy dishes. We had to cancel our reservation at the Mexican restaurant because it was the night I got sick. We didn't even try the Mediterranean one because we were forewarned that the only good thing was the chicken kebobs.
They had a theme every night, but clearly the best one is Mexican night. They have vendors come in selling souvenirs. They had a cotton candy and churro stand, which my kids enjoyed. They also had Mexican Carnival games. Some very aggressive photographers try to get your picture taken with a donkey and dress you in Mexican garb. They charge $10. My husband only had $7 on him, but they took our picture anyway and we got it the next day. So never accept the first price they quote you.
The nightly entertainment is nowhere close to what you'd find on a cruise ship. But the Galavants (entertainment crew) were very enthusiastic and worked really hard. The kids' club attendants were very nice and accomodating. My 4 yr old loved being there, not everyday though and at most 3 hours. My two yr old went once, but preferred being with us at the pool.
Overall, the Gala is great when you have kids with you. If it were just my husband and I, I'd probably choose a cruise or a more couple-oriented resort.
- 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