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“Fantastic getaway!”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #60 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Illinois
1 review
“Fantastic getaway!”
Reviewed March 6, 2009

We just returned from the Sandos on 02/26. We were there for 6 days. We were originally supposed to stay at the Caracoal but they were overbooked so we got moved to the Playacar and from what I hear from others we met while at the resort that the Playacar is much nicer than the Caracoal. My dad, brother, brother in law and fiance had planned a golf getaway and I decided to join and bring along one of my friends so I would have someone to relax at the beach with, shop, etc... It is a very large resort and alot of walking that's for sure. Our legs hurt everyday from walking so much but we loved every last ache and pain. You will be glad you have to walk cause it seems like you eat for the majority of your time there. We have stayed at the Moon Palace a couple of times in the past, which is 3 x's the size of the Sandos,so we are used to the walking. One time we stayed at the Barcelo which is alot smaller and it seemed weird not doing all the walking. There are also shuttle's available to ride and if we didn't feel like walking, we never waited more than a few minutes for a shuttle. ONce we arrived, we were upgraded to the rooms that have a jacuzzi in the bathroom which was really no big deal to me since me and my friend were rooming together. There were 2 regular size double beds, couch, table and 2 chairs. Very spacious rooms. We were asked to participate in a presentation to buy-in to the hotel in return for the upgrade and the guys got discounts on their golf for attending. It's not really a time share, but sort of along the same lines. It's quite pricey so we simply said no and that was it. They were not pushy at all. It was really nice though since you did get a tour of the resort and it kind of helped us get around. All of the staff was very nice, the bartenders were not shy with the liquor that's for sure. All of our drinks were wonderful (and we did alot of drinking). My friend that came with me it was her first time to an ocean her whole life and it was a wonderful experience. The beach was perfect!!! Some of the other places we've stayed in Cancun the beach is rocky and you could sometimes barely even walk without sandals on, but at the Sandos-it was perfect! The swimming pools were almost too cold to swim in, but the ocean water was warm. We never had a problem getting chairs to sit in or anything like that. We did see people go out and put their towels on chairs early in the mroning to save their spots, but it wasn't bad enough that you would get out there later in the day and not be able to get a seat. We went to the Spa one day and had massages and those were wonderful! We went to the disco one night and there weren't many people there besides our group and several others that we met while there joined us. We are the type of people though that can really hang out with anyone and have fun without anyone else around. If you want to go and relax then this is the perfect place. My only complaint was that we had to find our own transportation back to the airport on the day we left. They supplied the transportation to the Resort on your arrival at no charge (except for driver tip of course). There were 6 of us and we had to get a van since we had so much luggage with golf clubs and everything and it costs $100 (not including tip) and it's almost an hour drive to the airport. Also-if you plan on tipping your maids, bartenders, etc even though it's all inclusive, then you need to be sure to bring small bills because they do not have change anywhere there. They can change your US dollars to pesos, but you cannot get US change for US dollars. Jsut one more complaint - we didn't want to come home!!!!! If you are looking for nightlife and the "strip" setting then this is not the place for you since it is quite a drive to go anywhere else. They have everything you need right there.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank mj32798
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Louisiana
Level Contributor
79 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2009

We just spent a week at the Sandos, we arrived after midnight , checked in and went to our "junior suite Hacienda". What a disaster!! My husband and I, and our 3 kids supposedely were going to be very comfortable. The room was a average size guest room, with two VERY SMALL double beds, not big enough for 2 adults. They had set up an extra bed and pulled out the sofa bed. The sofa bed was an absolute joke, completely falling apart. We didnt even have room for our suitcases. The next day we were moved to a Room in the Riviera section. The rooms in that section are brand new, spacious, but you have quite a hike to the beach and central pool. Overall the food was excellent with a huge variety of options. Drinks were awful, watered done, poor quaily of wine. The evening shows were excellente. The beach is too narrow to accommodate all the guests, and there is also not lounge chairs at the pool. The employees are very friendly but zero efficiency, we waited 2.5 hours to get additional towels and hangars, the luggage rack never arrived Excellent gym and spa.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Lainba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2009

Well First of all, the hotel is located about 35 minutes from the Cancun Airport and we had other passengers riding with us going to other resorts, therefore it took quite a while to get to the resort but the ride wasn't bad. It gives you a chance to look at the scenery. When we arrived at Sandos, the lobby was beautiful and everyone was really nice.

Check in wasn't too bad. If you have read other reviews about people having to switch rooms a couple of times, it's true. They gave us a room that someone was already in. We had to go back to the desk to get this straight. Everyone was really nice about it and they solved the problem very quickly. We stayed in the Riviera section, which was a walk from the beach and the other side where the other restaurants were located but the resort is lovely. It's HUGE also!!!!!!! The room was very spacious and clean. We ate the buffets most of the time. The selection was ok. It wasn't bad at all. We also had reservations for the Brazilian and Chinese restaurants. They were both good. The Chinese was a bit slow though. I encourage you to go to Fifth Avenue. We really enjoyed going there and walking and looking at all the shops. There also a Senor Frogs there, where we had a great time. The resort had everything you needed and everyone was so helpful. We really enjoyed ourselves.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank kra0502
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tonawanda, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2009

A few days before we left for our vacation I emailed Sandos about getting transportation from the airport to the resort. I received my answer when we got back home. Needless to say we were forced to pay overpriced cab fare of $35 per person. We were a party of 11 so we had to take two vans.
Arriving for check in was a chore. Upon arrival I was told that I only had 1 room reserved in my name. Luckily I had an email from Sandos confirming 4 rooms. It only took them 45 minutes to correct this but it was no way to start a vacation. I had wanted ocean front and booked well in advance of the 120 days notice that I was told would guarantee me beach front when I bought my timeshare last year but I was told none were available. They finally admitted that they had overbooked.
Other than a roped off section of beach and some paltry discounts on para sailing and jet skis there seemed to be no advantage to being a time share owner other than I'm paying for a room every month.
I can't say their staff was rude but many of them were not as helpful and nice as I have seen at other resorts. The Royal Elite staff for time share holders were less than helpful and they seemed like they could have cared less about my misgivings. No one from customer service contacted me to address my grievances. There was plenty of hustle and bustle trying to rope other guests into buying time shares. I advise a few against it.
To their credit I will say the food was good as was the variety. My daughter had gone down in May of 2008 and she said it wasn't that good at the time. At least they improved on that aspect. They need to do alot more work like taking care of their guests and their current time share holders instead of trying to hustle sales of further time shares.
I might go back but I really like the Iberostar next door.

Steve M.
Buffalo, NY

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank mic5479
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina,Sask. Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2009

We just returned from staying one week at your wonderful resort. We have absolutely no complaints but do have several suggestions.. #1..an extra garbage can in the bathroom would have been nice #2.. more pasta dishes at the main buffets such as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meat sauce or just plain noodles, we travelled with a 3 yr old and I think alot of children this age consume pasta.. not much variety for small children at the main buffets. #3.. just a bit of a snack bar at the riviera pool would have been nice. Overall everything was wonderful and the staff were all so nice and friendly.. we would certainly return to this resort.

  • Liked — Very clean and updated
  • Disliked — Alittle far from main activities
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank Joanne075
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Connecticutt
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2009

In general it was a very nice place. But it may not be for everyone.

Food - The main buffet food was pretty good. Not great but (1) what you would expect for buffet food and (2) lots of stuff for the kids. But the speciality reservations places were a nice surprise. We ate at the French, Brazilian and Asian restaurants and all were very good. Our favorite was Asian. A tip to future visitors. They don't have in room coffee makers or even lids for the small take out cups from the restaurants. So if you are like me, a nice early morning coffee on the balcony, bring a travel cup with a lid. Also, they have top shelf liquor but won't normally give it to you unless you ask!

Rooms - Yes they pulled the bait and switch! Our travel agent specifically said she booked the beach rooms. But of course there was no record of it. We actually had three different rooms the first three night. They put us in the Hacienda section until they switched us to the beach section the next day. Unfortunately we were in one of those rooms with a door between the next room. Even more unfortunate, the couple next door (and their friends) were obnoxious, loud, foul mouthed drunks. We had our words and it could have gotten uglier than it actually did. The hotel did not give me a hard time switching to another room on Monday. That is not to say all the guests were like that. Only those folks were. Most were families or groups of families. Advice to travelers - get it in writing on your itinerary. The desk clerk kept saying " there is no special request on your reservation". I guess special request is the code word.

Kids - If you have kids under 8 or so, activities are great. If they are older, not so good. We had two 11 year old boys and a 15 year old girl. No one tried to organize anything. The Teen center was a joke. They even shut the lights off at 9:00 when it was supposed to be open to 10:00. Some lame excuse about protecting the pool tables. During the day sports were limited. If you were an older kid and not swimming in the ocean, not much was going on. The Volley ball court was actually on the beach outside of the hotel area. There was not even a basketball court. The kids had to sneak next door to the Iberostar and use theirs. In fariness, a lot of families went on excursions during the day and took the kids. But if people are looking for physical activity and a lively sports scence (ala Club Med) they might look elsewhere.

Adults - The spa, gym, private pools for adults etc. were top notch. Great rooms, equipment and everything. If you can get away from the kids, hang out for awhile at the adult pool in the spa.

Entertainment - This was a true gem. We were used to the "camp counselor" shows put on at Club Med. The entertainment here on the Plaza and in the theater was first rate.

So except for the turmoil the first few nights, it all worked out well. I do believe it is a wonderful place for (1) large family groups (2) families with younger kids. It is also a great home base for people who want to tour the sights of the Yucatan as Playacar is so centrally located.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank BobCT_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2009

We stayed at Sandos from Feb 16 -23, 2009. Three familes, all with two kids each. I found the resort to be well kept, clean, the staff was attentive (especially with a few extra $$) and the beach and pool areas were lovely. The kids had plenty to do around the pool area (games, pottery - although quite pricey, food, ice cream, etc). They really enjoyed the fun and freedom of being close to us but still able to go off and have fun. The only complaint that we had was that you had to have long pants and close toe shoes for the men for certain restaurants. We did not plan for this, so we ended up at the buffets every night. They are good, but can get old after several days of eating the same thing.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank pelleli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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