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“Will return again” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sandos Playacar Beach Resort

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #59 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Will return again”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2009

We stayed at the resort from 8/24/09 to 8/28/09. Overall, the stay was excellent and I will recommend the resort to other travelers. I have read several of negative reviews for this resort, but these are not consistent with my observations. First, I have never booked an all inclusive vacation before. I was apprehensive of even staying at a resort. I usually buy only airfare and find accommodation when I arrive at the destination. The total cost for the travel package was $1498 for two adults and one child. Of the total, approximately $1000 was for the airfare only. $500 went for the resort. We stayed 4 nights and 5 days. So, it works out to $125 per night. I obtained the package at Travelocity and it was clearly a special offer (presumably because of the bad economy, huricane season, and swine flu). To compare, we walked around Playa del Carmen and entered a few of the smaller hotels by the ocean. These hotels had a per night cost of close to $100. They did not include food. Also, the beaches near the city are not as clean as those at the resort.

The room at Sandos (2438) was clean. The air conditioner cooled sufficiently. The mimi bar was well stocked. Staff would stop by every day and ask what drinks were required (all drinks we included in the package). The bathroon was clean. Remember, Playa del Carmen is coastal jungle; there will be bugs.

The food was good. There was variety at the buffets. There are cooks to prepare some dished to taste. I enjoyed the Mexican-style food. The fruit juices were freshly prepared. As part of our package we had the option to eat two times in the onsite restaraunts. We chose Asiana. The food was good, but the wait time was a little long. I had no problem eating at the buffets.

Entertainment was good. The resort employs several people who job is presmably to entertain you and keep you happy. They did there job very well. I will say that the best thing the resort has is it's staff. We went to Disney show and the Dance show. Both were entertaining. We also listened to a live Latin music band that was excellent. One night we went to the onsite club. The music was good. We met some friends during our stay and as a group of 5 we spent three hours dancing.

The beach is impressive. As you enter the beach area there is a section for the VIPs on the left. To be frank, the best part of the beach is to the right. There are less people in this area and for the Europeans that like to go topless, this is your spot. It appeared that much less than 1% of the beach-goers were topless. You can keep on walking and within a few meters find beach with noone on it. As part of the all inclussive, we had access to snorkeling gear, a sail board, and the kayaks. We used them. We also went on a snorkeling tour that was offered by the resort for $40. I had previously priced a package in Playa del Carmen. It was less in the city, but if you add the cost of the taxi ride to and from the hotel it was better to just use the resort tour.

Pools are nice, but we did not use them.

I will definately return to Sandos next year assuming I find a great deal on the internet.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank traveler00XXoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Rooms
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  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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London.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2009

Where do I start! We are a family of 5, 2 adults and 3 kids, 8, 10 14 and have just returned from two fantastic weeks at Sandos. The hotel was great, stayed in the riveria section, rooms were spotlessly clean, very spacious with flat screen tvs and jucuzzi baths as well as showers etc. One tip if using the jacuzzi make sure the jets are facing downwards before you turn it on or you soak the whole room!

Kids ordered room service most days and food was good and came within specified time. All restuarants good especially the Festival buffet on the beach side, we did book the Janeiro (brasilian) and the Asiana (chinese) but much preferred the buffets as more choice, having been all inclusive many times before we found the food consistantly fresh, plentiful and delicious - very good variety - kids ( and husband) particularly enjoyed the ice cream station! Also loads of staff around to help you, service very quick and all of the staff we met were very happy and eager to ensure you were having a great time with everything you needed.

Swimming pools much larger than look in the pictures and the ones in the riveria section newer and cleaner than in the main beach section. Plenty of sun loungers (not necessary to get up at the crack of dawn to reserve) on the beach and by pools. Most of the entertainment is around the main beach pool and riveria pools quieter - so really depends on what your looking for,

The entertainment team good, work very hard to amuse both kids and adults and the shows were really good especially the Disney show which had brilliant costumes and graphics. We used the gym most days which was well equipped and cool!

Trips - would recommend swimming with dolphins at Dolphinius, 1 hour session which included lots of interaction and the amazing "push up"! We all enjoyed it so much, quite expensive £320 for 5 people plus additional £130 for photos and dvd but well worth it. Also went on a catamaran cruise to Isla Mujires for the day which was great fun. Also went to see ruins at Tulum, got a taxi from the hotel and made our own way there very easy and cheaper than booking via the hotel. Ruins very interesting and beautiful, make sure you make time to visit the beach at the site as its a small cove and not overlooked - area was stunning.

One tip cheaper to book trips at the nearby plaza shopping area outside the hotel complex - not far to walk but great for a rummage around and bits and pieces.

Go to 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen for shopping, 5USD in taxi - you can buy anything and haggle hard as you can get some good deals.

We all really enjoyed our stay at Sandos and would recommend to others - would definately return.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank London_JoannaE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
guate1sttime
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2009

Hotel was OK for the money. I booked directly with their website. 7Days/6Night with air from Oklahoma $1250.00.
POSITIVE NOTE (negative note at the bottom): The beach was the best thing here. Only a few "sand whales" are present and they do not obstuct the view. Very clean and clear. Sand was well maintained. Trash was picked up regularly and beach staff tried to keep things upbeat all week. Beach is the last resort and it is unspoiled to the south. Very nice and quiet to walk down.
Location/Room:
We stayed in the "Beach" with oceanview section of the resort room 1427 for a week. My mom was in 1243 on the main floor her view was blocked by the plam trees but very nice. Howler monkeys were right outside of our room. On the railing and at your door. Dont leave any food outside for pickup. The noise is startling but not a big issue. Mostly in the AM and evening hours. Beds are firm. They are on cement slabs. We slept ok but were initially concerned.
Housekeeping:
My mom's housekeeper did an excellent job all week (first rate). Ours did great until blood stained sheets were placed on our bed. Stains were right next to the pillows and very obvious. We reported and they offered to correct it immediately. It was late and we had two beds so we jdeclined and just slept in the other bed. My mom had towels animals each day, then a "flower basket" on the last day. We had 2 towel creations all week. My mom left $1 US every day and we left 20 Pesos (more than $1US) daily for a tip. Plus we are super clean people. Maybe we just had a different housekeeper on the last few days.
Buffets/Bars: Average. Each day was themed and some variety was there. Snack bar has the best chilicheese fires! The Festival and Italian Buffets had the best ice cream, be sure to try it! We didnt do the reservation rest. because of our day trips we were doing so I cant review them. Bars served water downed drinks.We tipped each time we got a drink. I will say that when you flash the money first they will make it a little stronger. We arent big drinkers so it wasnt a big issue. One problem that concerned me was the way they "rinse/wash" the cups in a solution then turn right around before they have dried and serve another drink in that some glass. Once I saw that I slowed down on the bar drinks and started using my own cup.
Atmosphere: This hotel is huge and tropical. Lots of wildlife. They have a lot of guests (like most of the resorts are). The beach and pools were packed solid. Mopst of the guests were rude and unfriendly. Most of the guest were nationals. Sandos hotels was hit hard financially (from what we over heard) and sent out discount vouchers to the locals. They were the ones in the buffets each night. The unfriendlines could be attributed to the language barrier (just an observation). I travel alot and have never had trouble making friends at a resort. The line for the golf carts was always long and the waits were bad. Remember it is 98% humidity and 95 F, you sweat the whole time you are waiting. We avoided the Riviera Side of the resort because of this. It wasn't worth it. If you had kids, you would be miserable if you went to the beach daily. The resort is not relaxing or romantic. This is definitely a family vacation kind of place. Beware topless sunbathing was at the beach but prohibited at the pool.
NEGATIVE Note: Had some issues with the transfers, that are suppose to be free for Sandos4U members. I had called prior to booking the rooms to make sure. I did everything I was told. To make a long story short they didn't have us on the "bus" list. I called from the airport and was told by Sandos staff to take the Taxi $80 and save the receipt for reimburement when they had time to check into it. When we got their Carlos stated he would get the situation taken care of and arrange for at least a bus transfer at departure and would do his best to reimburse the money from airport. Two days before departure I called Carlos and he reports working on it and will have everything ready for departure morning. The hotels staff bounced me around to 4 different people . They kept having me call staff from their sister resort. We were in their lobby for 2 hrs working on our transfer to the airport. I had all documents and emails showing I was right it. They made copies again for their records. No one seemed to have any authority to fix this situation. They eventually paid for taxi when I bacame very aggitated at the time. We should have left at 9am and it was 1010 am before they got us our taxi. We arrived in their lobby at 8 am to get the situation settled. I wish I had used a travel agent or the Apple Vacation people to have a "representative" there on the property to fix the issue. So do NOT book through website directly. They did not handle this professionally. Maybe I was too calm about things, if you start having an issues start screaming right away or else you could miss you flight and be there for 2 hours. I am still waiting to hear from the reservations department about my "refund" of $80. I will repost when I see how they handle it. I have basically kissed it off though.

I am happy to answer questions, if you have them.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank guate1sttime
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NJ
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2009

We stayed at Sandoes for a week. It was ok for the money. I would say that the thing that totally ruined it for us was the rudeness of people with their children out of control. Rules are rules, and if they are not followed, consequences should occur. I know everyone is there for vacation, and to have fun, but getting hurt isn't fun. If parents aren't going to take responsibility for their children, then the hotel staff should step in and handle it. The main pool was not staffed by a lifeguard, or anyone in authority that I could see.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Joiseyan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2009

We stayed at Sandos from July 25th to Aug. 12th. It was our 4th time back to Sandos. I have been going to Playa del carmen since 1996 (before to roads were paved). I have stayed a many sandard hotels and also all inclusives in the area. Once we discovered Sandos in 2006, we always go back because it is the best hotel for all around fun, and value. The food is incredible!!! We usually stay for 3 weeks and never get tired of the food because there is such a great selection. Sometimes we will go into town and eat dinner, but try to rush back to the hotel because even the food in town isn't as good as the hotel. My daughters especially love the watermelon juice in the morning. This trip we had some bad luck (no fault of the hotel) and the workers were always inquiring about how we were doing. I got bitten by a spider (I believe on 5th avenue) and my foot swelled so much that it just about doubled in size. Being the only parent to 2 girls, 5 and 7, I was kind of scared to lose some mobility in my foot. However, the doctor on site gave me some shots and I was instantly better the next day. Later, 1 of my daughters got sick and had a high tempurature. She was insistant on not staying in the room and sleeping on the beach. Again, the on site Dr. took care of her and she recovered fast. The security guards, life guards (both of them) and other workers in entertainment, and restaurants went out of their way to inquire about her and me. All of the other trips we have taken to Sandos, nothing like this has happened. The people that work there really do care about their guests. Like in every culture in the world (including the United States), people will usually treat you how you treat them. If you are rude and act like a snob, then people will most likely try to keep their distance and figure you are not someone who can be happy no matter what. Be careful reading reviews, because some people won't be happy no matter what. Also remember this is Mexico, not Miami. I have met people at Sandos that complain about the fresh seafood, and that people speak spanish. Well where do you think you are? I read 1 review that said they did not have fun because there are too many locals. A rule of thumb for deals wherever you go, is to go where the locals go. If you want Miami, I would not suggest leaving the United States. Just go to Miami. I enjoyed all of the different cultures of people we met, and the unbelievable frest seafood. Also, if you don't speak much spanish (which I don't but wish I did), don't speak english so fast that it is impossible for people to understand. Most people are fluent in English but it can be hard to translate when it is spoken very fast.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Freedom333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, PA
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2009

We are a group of four adults, two recently married couples traveling to Mexico and an all-inclusive for the first time. We chose Sandos Riviera after a great amount of research done on TA (thanks!!). We booked a private shuttle for the four of us through our travel agency, Bookit.com, and they worked with Best Day Travel in Mexico. Private shuttles are the best choice because you don't waste time.

We arrived at Sandos around 3pm (check-in time) and were greeted by friendly staff at the reservation desk and check- in was smooth and quick. After that we sat with a "concierge" and she gave us some information about the hotel as well as invited us for breakfast for the "Royal Select/Elite." We declined the offer because we read that this was the time-share program the resort had. Her approach about the program was very polite and she had no problems with us declining and we didnt get bothered about it again.

Accommodations- We requested the 9000 building, 3rd floor facing the pool through the Sandos Web-Relation employee- Cinthia, directly through Trip Advisor. She made sure our requests and reservations were confirmed and helped us be at ease because it's easy for things to get messed up. Thanks Cinthia!! The rooms and bathroom were large and very clean. We loved the pool view and the patio was a plus- nice place to hang clothes to get dry too! We choose the Riviera section specifically for the new rooms. The room AC was great- it was always so cold in there and felt great coming in. The room was cleaned daily (in the morning) and the fridge was stocked daily. If you catch the fridge guy when he's stocking up, he'll give you as much as you need (don't forget to tip). For the maid we tipped under the pillow and the fridge guy in the fridge.

Grounds- Very well kept and people were always outside working to make sure everything was neat and perfect.

Pool and Beach- We had the large swim-up bar pool and it was amazing. I saw the pool boys clean the pools every night for at least two hours and they were out there early every morning cleaning it again for another two hours. The staff worked hard to make sure we had a clean environment. The beach, "WOW!!!" This is by far one of the greatest beaches in the area. The water was so beautiful and the beach itself was well kept. Again, we saw employees cleaning the beach, setting up the chairs sometimes at 10pm. The water and sand here was amazing. Since there is no hotels to the right side of the resort, Sandos guests had the luxury of having a lot more beach space. We took that opportunity and moved away from the crowds and beach whales and had a great time! We decided to do parasailing and wave-runners. This was great- esp. the parasailing. The water sports staff was friendly and made you feel very comfortable.

Food- We stayed 5 nights, so we had two Ala Carte restaurants. We decided to go with El Gaucho (Steak House) and Asiana (Oriental). Steakhouse- We like our meat well done so this was prefect and the steak was HUGE! Asiana- great food and great decor. We had a great waiter in Asiana, Alberto, and he worked very hard to make sure we were happy. Only thing, we felt that he was very over-worked and there needed to be more staff there. Thanks Alberto you did an awesome job!! The buffets were pretty good, but since this was our first all-inclusive we have nothing to compare it back to. We had breakfast 3 out 5 days at the Riviera Buffet and enjoyed it every time. We enjoyed the Fiesta and Italian buffets for lunch and dinner. We ate at the buffet closest to the beach (forgot the name) on the days that we were coming right out of the water. At almost every restaurant, we had the same waiter, Mariano, and he was great. He always had a huge smile on his face and seemed so happy to see us. Keep up the good work! All the staff throughout the resort was wonderful, especially the waiters. They go out of their way to make you comfortable. You don't have to tip, but we made sure to tip every time we ate at all the restaurants.

Room Service- We always received our food within 30 minutes but the room service food was not good. The only thing that we actually cared for was the club sandwich. The chicken wings were always cold and the rest of the food tasted bland.

Walk to Beach- Since we stayed at the part farthest away from the beach, we had about a 5-7 minute walk. A lot of people complain about this, but we knew about this going in and it really wasn't a problem. For the most part, if you wait 3 minutes there's a golf cart available to take you to the meeting point. The only time you have to really wait is around 8ish- when people are going down for dinner and the shows. At this point, just walk- the weather is great and it's good to burn of those calories.

Excursions- We booked our excursions before we got there through Cancun-discounts.com and Selvatica.com. Both of these tour companies were great to work with and we had great times. We went to Chichen-Itza through Cancun-discounts and it was a very very very long and hot day. We left at 6:30am and got home after 8:30pm but it was a good experience and now I can say I saw one of the 7 Wonders of the World. With Selvatica we did the Extreme Canopy Zip-Line adventure. There were 12 zip lines and in the end was a zip line into the Cenote. This was a fun trip but half way into you can get a bit bored. It was also on the pricey side- $90/person. The staff that worked both tours was great and worth taking the time out for. We also took a cab into Playa-Del Carmen- $5 one way for the taxi and $1 tip if you wanted. This is a neat place for souvenirs.

Tip: Take 100 $1 bills. The employees don't get paid much so it's nice to tip them. Next time I'll have to tip the pool boys and lawn crew who never see the tip money because everyone who works there makes an effort for you to enjoy your trip.

Overall we had a great time at Sandos and missing it greatly! I wish I had a few extra days there to enjoy the pool and beach some more! Will def recommend this resort to couples as well as families!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank AV5848
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Illinois
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2009

Myself and 2 friends from work booked this vacation as a little get away. I was really stunned at the beauty of the resorts/beach! I did not like the fact at the check in...you were basically getting a timeshare sold to you and promised a VIP breakfast w/ a bottle of tequila or mexican blanket....only if you had a credit card. When we told her we didn't have a credit card----you no longer got the breakfast!! Unbelievable...lied right to our faces about it not being a timeshare. The people from Olympus Tours were awesome and help us pick the right excursions. Our rooms were neat and clean! We had monkeys out on our deck of our room and it was a nice ocean view! Food was very good, especially the Italian buffet! Room service was poor....took an hour and a half to get 3 ham sandwiches.....coffee was not brought in the morning when we left our sign outside......drinks were watered down, did not feel a buzz once.......did 5 shots of tequila and did not feel it! I get intoxicated way to easily and didn't feel a thing! No swim up pool bar like the brochure said, no hottubs, and there were way too many kids there! Everyone was pleasant and the entertainment/sports staff were wonderful!!! Shows were great! Somethining for everyone! Our beach was better than any of them along the coast....not rockie or dirty like some of the others! Crystal clear blue water! I think like most other North Americans that were there, we were kinda shocked about the nudity on the beach.....I felt bad for the people with children there....I guess us North Americans are just a bit more conservative! On the day of check out it was raining and the day before and the morning of check out we had made sure a bellboy would be there to take us up the hill to check out and he never showed up. So us three girls hiked up all the way to the main place of check out in the rain with all our luggage.....we were quite upset!! All in all, I would go back tho!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank xnavcb7896
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
#42 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#43 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#44 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 
Reservation Options:
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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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