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“Great Time - Loved the place but Watch out for Fractional Ownership.”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #61 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Alberta
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
“Great Time - Loved the place but Watch out for Fractional Ownership.”
Reviewed March 24, 2010

Loved the hotel, great service, beautiful people and the variety of fine food restaurants included in the all-inclusive package. Beautiful resort setting and white sand beach. We would definitely go again, but the Spring Break seemed to start the second week of March at all the resorts in the area. We had a room with the balcony over-looking the jungle so it was quiet even with the college kids. The evenings were always quiet as the pool bar shut down in the evening. The entertainment had something for everyone. We felt a little deceived by the time-share sales pitch. They told us we were going for a presentation on the resort and that it was not time-share. For the record it is called "Fractional Ownership" which is still time-share. Tell them you are not interested in buying anything and that you have already had the talk on fractional and time share. Not interested and leave me alone. We made the sales guy really mad by leaving just 5 minutes into the dance. If you leave, you don't get the trinkets they promise, so leave early.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank frozenuphereAlberta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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US
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2010

At first glance this is a nice resort; however it is a fecal mess. We had 50 people in our party and over 1/2 got sick - yes 25 people were treated for serious bacteria poisoning.

The hotel was very busy and it did not look like they were actually cleaning the plastic glasses used by guests on a regular basis; I observed staff simply rinsing them and putting them back out for use.

Buffet had food sitting out under heat lamps for too long, some beef was well undercooked. Mixing machines (for drinks, eg., coffee, tea, frozen) were never cleaned.

I would never go back to this resort, it almost killed my family and friends. I highly recommend you stay away as well.

Thanks for the memories.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank freeadvice20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Missouri
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2010

Just returned from Sandos Playacar with my 7 and 10 year old children. The spring breakers, mostly high school seniors, ruled the hotel, especially the beach and pool areas. They were very loud at night; they were usually getting drunk; and, they were using inappropriate language. At one point, we had to take a detour to our room so that my children would not see the drunk, passed out teenager on the path ahead of us. And this was in the middle of the afternoon! My 10 year old (and I) got very little sleep as we heard party screams and howls at midnight and into the early morning hours. This is definitley a spring break hotel. I would not go there with young children.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ViajeroGringo11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
calgary
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 23, 2010

We just returned home from our 1 week vacation and overall it was great...we'd go back in a heart beat but NEVER during the US spring break times! So because I'm a 'glass is half full' person lets start with the great bits you need to know and that I was looking for when I scoured the reviews to choose a location for our much anticipated vacation.

The location is amazing. We were in Cozumel a few years ago after the hurricane and saw the wrath left behind, the beaches were in rough shape for sure. Now after millions spent by the Mexican government the beach in the Playa del Carmen area is absolutely gorgeous. No need for water shoes in the water, zillions of shells for your little ones to hunt for and no end of beautiful beach walks to take and fun in the surf. There are lots of chairs and palapas but you better get down to the beach before 8am if you want one and a few chairs. Most people put their hotel towel and some personal items on them and then go for breakfast.....I think it's rude but if you don't do it you won't have a spot, period. Same goes for the chairs around the pool by the beach. We did just yesterday have a family throw our stuff in the sand and take our chairs but it only happened once, sadly on our last day.
The hotel staff are so incredible. We had an average experience from a couple servers in the plaza and a lady at the front desk who's service was far below her counterparts but the VAST majority from the maids to the lobby staff were superior and left me really wanting to give tips whenever possible and I've not really felt that way before while at an all inclusive to be honest.
Our room was in the Riveria section, we had 2 Queen beds and a pull out for my daughter, a huge jacuzzi tub, fridge and was very modern and always incredibly clean when we got back from breakfast. Yes, as you will read, it is a walk down to the main section. With a toddler pushing her own stroller (a definitely must have) it took 12 minutes, not long in my opinion. It became a walk we looked forward to as we looked for iguanas and other wildlife that frequent the lawns. It was welcome...even in the rain one day, to help keep those extra calories you will consume at bay. There are lots of golf cart shuttles, usually full. If you have any issues with walking any distance, request a room near the beach and you'll never have to worry about it.
Take lots of beach toys for your little ones, the toddler pool is awesome and your little one will make lots of friends (as will you) as he/she plays in the shallow water. The pools are quite cold but they are only in up to their waists so as long as the sun was shining my daughter had a ball in there. She also had her afternoon nap on a shady beach chair every day after a 5 minute swing in a hammock put her to sleep. Part of choosing this club was the "Baby Club" for ages 2-3, unfortunately it doesn't exist so the staff shouldn't advertise that and agents should be aware when selling this club to their clients. There seems to be a great kids progam but I was excited for my daughter to have time/crafts with just little ones her age. There is an adult only pool with a snack shack right beside the Riviera section (8000 block) if you need a break but there is no non-smoking section for families or anyone else who doesn't enjoy someone elses choice to smoke, Unfortunately there were always people who smoked around the toddler/shallow pool as well. I really don't understand why there can't be a smoking section at the beach & pool to at least attempt to protect the rest of us who choose not to smoke and our children from the dangers of second hand smoke.

Thanks to the great reviews I read before we left we had absolutely no problems with the timeshare pitch. I said 'no thank you' when we were approached at our first meal by a guy with a clipboard and the next morning when we got a call in our room about a 'special promotion at the hotel and please attend the meeting at such and such' we didn't go. That was it.

My one and only MAJOR criticism is the underage drinking. The kids from Kansas were out of control, treated the staff poorly, swore around everyone including my toddler, drank, drank and drank....puked, yelled, ripped around the resort with no thought of anyone but themselves. I don't understand why the resort doesn't require proof of age at check in and give underage children a specific color wrist band so they are not served alcohol. This way if their parents want to provide them with alcohol the resort will have some kind of recourse. I would never return to this resort if I had shared a week with the group from Kansas, thankfully it was only 3 days. The Management needs to do a better job in this area but ultimately, parent's have to parent.....even when they are on holiday. While these parents only concern seemed to be with how 'cool' their teens thought they were, the rest of the guests suffered. I can't even imagine if we'd had a room close to them - courtesy and respect were nowhere to be seen from this group and their behavior both day and night was frankly embarrassing.

Now WHAT I WISH I'D HAVE KNOWN BEFORE WE LEFT TIDBITS:
-take warm clothes for the evening, it really does cool off at night and I wished I'd had a couple hoodies or longsleeves for my daughter and I
-you don't have to wait in line at the restaurant if you want to get a plastic plate and eat at the beach/poolside
-NEVER charge a call to your credit card, I was having major problems with my cell phone and had to do a little business while away, the provider the hotel uses for this service charges you $45 for the first 5 minutes and another $45 for the next. I just about died when I called Visa this morning. DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I DID.
-buy a phone card for 24 minutes for $9ish in Playa del Carmen, the same card costs $20 at the hotel (you have to have 100 or 200 peso bills to buy from the machine)

Overall, it's a huge resort with something for everyone, great for families (if it's not the US spring break) but not a great choice if you don't want to be surrounded by a lot of people most of the time. We met some awesome families from all over the globe and really enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank beachmomwithtoddler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 22, 2010

Sandos is advertised as a family vacation resort but this is simply not the case. We travelled March 13 - 19, 2010. This resort was over run with "spring breakers". They were rude, obnoxious and drunk for the first 5 days of our vacation at the hotel, both day and night. The resort did nothing to stop or control the partying. Repeated complaints to management about the noise and drunkeness were treated with total disregard. Angel the day manager told us to call him if there were any more problems. At 5pm. day 4, the music started again. Try to rest before dinner, but not even at that time was there any peace, extremely tired after 4 days of little sleep due to disruptions. Angel still would not move or evict the "spring breakers". I guess drunk and disorderly is what they want at this resort. It took over 1 hour for the supposed "security" to stop the extremely loud music that blared under our room (9000 building) to be stopped at 2:00 in the morning. We had to call security 4 times that night. They even held a beer drinking contest on the Sunday 14th on the beach. The kids were vomitting and passed out on the walkways and beach after this event. Here we though we were going to a nice family resort. Just thought I might add we travelled with our 19, 18 and 15 year old, so it's not like we aren't used to children of that age. Many of these kids were apparently travelling with their parents, hard to imagine anyone allowing their children to behave like this at any time. What happened to morals and standards?
It really is too bad for this resort that people will stop going there. The rooms were nice, the beach was nice, and the food was good.
It was kind of ironical that my 15 year old daughter could not sit in the hot tub at the spa because you had to be 21 to use the spa facilities, however you could pass out and be drunk and rude on the beach, walkways and in the restaurants. Do yourself a favour and don't book this place unless you are a spring breaker. I have stayed in many other resorts in this area and never encountered this problem. Management needs to learn some skills to deal with improper behaviour as well as customer service.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Judy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newmarket, Canada
1 review
Reviewed March 22, 2010

First off, let me say if you are looking for a great resort that offers great food, excellent service, a great beach, spacious, clean rooms, I'd recommend going to the Sandos, but not during March Break and 4 weeks surrounding this week (covering various breaks)

We arrived on March 13th for a week. We arrived to the hotel around 10:00 PM, quickly ran to the buffet and grabbed a bit before it closed at 10:30. As we were leaving the buffet we noticed there to be quite a few teenagers excessively drunk and screaming at the bar near by. We didn't think much of it at the time as we were tired and headed back to our room.

The next morning we connected up with our Sister-in-Law, husband and another couple we coordinated our trip with. They arrived earlier that day on a different flight.

We had booked the Hacienda Section, and when we arrived we were placed in the Riviera section which is the newest section of the hotel (section 9000). We were very impressed with the room (which included a jacuzzi tub). It is the furthest area from the beach but the walk is less than 10 mins, which wasn't a concern considering we wanted to walk off all the food we ate. My sister-in-law was put in the hotel section and was up most of the first night due to the teens partying, being loud.

We seemed fortunate as that night seemed quiet for us. The next day my sister-in-law received notice they were being moved to our section (without asking), so the hotel must of been attempting to keep the partying to one section of the hotel.

That changed the second night. For the following 3 nights we were awoken around 2:30 due to the noise in the halls. After being fed up of not being able to get a good night's sleep I complained. The front desk told us that they had received a number of complaints from our section and were increasing security. That night, the noise only lasted 10 mins or so. I suspect that was due to security taking control.

During the days of Sunday-Wednesday, there were groups from 5 different highschools that were at the resort. They all had "adult" wrist bands on even though I know a number of them were not 18 years old. I'm not sure how this happened as the front desk asked to see our boys passports when we checked in (ages 17 and 14). They appropriately were given child bands.

From the time we walked to breakfast in the morning until going to bed, these teens were drinking excessively and being loud and obnoxious. I have no problem with people having a good time, but when it was always in your face no matter how you tried to avoid it, it became annoying. On the way to the beach one morning a lady told us about how they had heard someone screaming in pain around midnight. He got up to investigate and determined a teenager in the room above him was excreting and vomitting blood. Others were standing around laughing at him. The man told the teens to get an adult right away. He was supposidly rushed to the hospital. The following day our son heard a boy had fallen off the 3rd floor and ended up in a coma with fluid on the brain. Unfortunately seeing the state of the teenagers all week, it would not be surprising.

According to sources these teens were chaperoned on a 1 to 1 basis by an adult, yet not once did I see adults managing the amount of drinking or the behaviour. I saw on one occasion a bartender refuse to serve a boy who was drunk, yet all he did was have his friends get drinks for him.

We went out to three of the A-La-Carte restaurants. On two of the nights we had the pleasure of watching one vomit outside the restaurant beside where we were eating and on the other night have a boy drop his pants and show his genitals to a couple in front of us.

Our two boys did not enjoythe beginning of the holidays as they were not interested in participating in the activities with these teens. Once they left the teens that were still at the resort were well mannered and although drinking and having fun were well chaperoned and did not act obnoxiously. My eldest son played volleybal with them for the rest of the vacation and enjoyed himself.

On Wednesday evening the hotel manager was walkimg around looking for feedback. I shared all this with him and told him that I had spent a great deal of time researching this resort on Trip Advisor and saw nothing but positive reviews, I told him that this was not the family vacation I was looking forward too. In fact as we were talking a few kids walked by that were clearly under age and I pointed to them and said "tell me these kids are adults". He agreed they were not, but said he did not know how they could have got adult bands.

There were NO teens from these schools that had red (children) bands. Not that it would of mattered as others would have got their drinks for them.

Unfortunately the reviews I looked at did not go back as far as March 2009, as I heard this has been a trend for the past 5 years. I will definitely not go back during March Break and seeing as my wife is a teacher that excludes us from going there again!!

If you are looking for "wild and noisy party" resort, you would likely enjoy this resort because as I started off all the amenities were excellent.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank vacationlover0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Ontario
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2010

We travel every year to Mexico and have stayed at other resorts such as the Sirenis and the Xcaret on the Mayan Riviera. We wanted a hotel closer to Playa del Carmen and chose the Sandos because of the generally excellent reviews. We never thought that such a classy hotel would accept hundreds of Spring Break teens from Kansas and as we were to learn, the hotel has accepted these teens for the last 5 or 6 years.

The first indication of trouble occurred shortly after we were escorted to our rooms (at noon on Saturday) which were in the Meeting Place section. There were teens running down the hall with drinks in hand, yelling, and throwing ice cubes at each other. From then on, it only went downhill. They had obviously started drinking early in the day. That first night, we heard one young man retching and moaning in the courtyard while his friends were laughing and yelling. Finally, around 2 a.m., a security guard came and told them to tone it down.

When we woke up the next day, we noticed a letter advising us that the hotel would move us to another section. The staff at the reception desk were absolutely marvelous, especially Raul who helped us get moved to the Riviera section near the front of the hotel which was much quieter. We appreciated this gesture very much as we were in Mexico for a quiet holiday. In addition to our group, my sister and her family which included two teenage boys met us at the Sandos so that we could all spend March Break together. All told, there were 6 adults and two teens in our group.

We all had the same impression of this hotel. STAY AWAY DURING SPRING BREAK. My sister and her family witnessed a young man throwing up in front of the window while they were having their meal at one of the a-la-carte restaurants and then later told us they saw another young man pull down his pants and show his genitals while they were eating at another restaurant. The ambulance visited the place twice in the first few days of our holidays and there were rumours of alcohol poisoning and that one teen had fallen off a balcony. Don't know if these were true but judging by the way the teens were behaving around the bars, I would not be surprised if these events actually happened. The teens were supposed to be supervised by parents but as one parent admitted, the parents were outnumbered. On the other hand,we saw some parents getting drinks for the teens so I am not sure what kind of supervision they were actually providing.

On our flight back to Canada, we were talking to a couple who had stayed next door at the Iberostar and they said that they could hear all the noise coming from the Sandos Playacar. They indicated that the teens who were at the Iberostar were not in large groups like at the Sandos so we might consider a holiday at the Iberostar next year unless the Sandos changes its policies with regards to allowing hundreds of high school teens from Kansas or elsewhere to invade the property during Spring Break.

Once the teens left (and thankfully, they left on Tuesday) things quieted down considerably and this, even on St.Patrick's Day. We noticed that there were still lots of teens at the hotel but contrary to the first group, the parents were around the bar and the teens were on the outside as though the parents were guarding them from the bar. The hotel became more of what we would consider as a family-oriented place. Some teens were drinking in the evenings but they were very respectful and well-mannered and in control of themselves. There was no binge drinking. The atmosphere changed considerably. The teens were obviously well-chaperoned by the adults and we didn't see any more excessive drinking or bad behaviour. The rest of our holiday was very pleasant. We were able to get drinks at the bar without being pushed and shoved by rude teens. The evenings were quiet.

As we told the hotel staff, the owners/managers must choose whether or not they want families and couples or whether they want to be known as the teen destination at Spring Break. I am a teacher in Canada and I know other teachers who vacation each year with their families in Mexico and I will be certain to mention our experience and recommend other hotels such as the Sirenis or the Xcaret which are far quieter and do not accept big groups of high school students. At the very least, I will tell them to check the March 2010 reviews before booking next year's vacation. This is unfortunate because in all other respects, the Sandos Playacar is perfect - it is clean, the staff is friendly, the rooms are spacious, the food is delicious, the beach is beautiful, and the location is perfect.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ChicainCanada
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:
#34 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
#46 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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