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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Last year we stayed and I gave a 5* review, maybe we were expecting too much this time, but they were repeated lapses on customer service (that should have been pretty basic stuff really). Staff are always very polite and friendly, however the concierge team made my birthday very stressful and messed up repeatedly on simple things, such as booking a meal and delivering something at the specified time.

We booked the romantic dinner under the stars for our last night (10th September) for my birthday (11th September), but when we went to enjoy this the hotel had lost our booking / not actually booked it for us in the first place! So we ended up having to go to a restaurant just as any other night.

My husband arranged for some chocolate covered strawberries to be sent to our room at 9.30am on the morning of my birthday with another member of staff from the concierge team. These did not arrive. We chased a couple of times and after many stressful conversations these arrived 10 minutes before we were due to check out, so we could not enjoy the sparkling wine or 3 chocolate strawberries (the cake never made an appearance). We were told the delivery had been booked for 2.30pm, but my husband was told 9.30am when he arranged this with the concierge desk. To send petty! but the hotel spoiled my birthday celebrations and made our last morning really stressful. As this was our last night / day of leaving it's left a really bad impression so 2 stars review now and we won't be returning.

Thirdly, it took around 7-8 attempts to get our loyalty bottles of tequila and red wine (from our stay last year). After repeated visits to reception to even get the loyalty points looked into (some issue with vouchers not appearing on their system, although I was told these would be waiting for us at check-in). Delivery of these to our room was then apparently attempted 2/3 times? But I very much doubt this as the room was left accessible every day. Before we eventually requested to collect from reception, this took a further 2 attempts.

Also, some lesser mistakes such as telling us the teppanyaki resaurant was booked for one night (monday) but when I checked the receipt we had actually been booked in for another night (sunday), so we had to go back to change this. And a few other mistakes made, all by different staff, over small things that appeared to be a straight forward and easy request to us.

Great facilities and most things run smoothly, but very poor service from all members of concierge team. Also reception staff need more training as they enabled our keys on check in to the wrong room?! And then the keycards died after 1st week when they knew we were there for 2 weeks! Whenever you need anything you have to ask multiple times (eg water replacing in room when run out), basic stuff really that always turns into such a chore. And their usual excuse?! Oh the do not disturb sign was on the door. Don't lie to me, you didn't even bother to attempt to deliver!! If anything goes wrong or you request anything from the Concierge Team they seem unable to cope with the most basic requests. I emailed Sandos and complained over 2 weeks ago now, but no reply. This is typical Sandos customer service, as I did not receive replies to my emails prior to the holiday either.

Anyways, enough moaning! A bit more information from our stay:

Check in from 3pm and check out by 12pm. There is an eco tax of 20MXN per room per night to be paid on check-in. Early check out is available 7-10pm the day before you leave in order to miss queues.

There is an on-site waterpark with 29 waterslides and water games for all ages. The small children's playarea looks awesome! And there were 5 fun slides for bigger kids/adults to use (1 wasn't working), which we really enjoyed. Open from 10am to 5pm daily. There is an ice-cream machine here and a choice of hot snacks; burgers and chips etc. There are many lovely pathways to explore through the jungle, including a suspension bridge and waterfall, plus 3 beautiful cenotes (1 to swim and snorkel in). Animals are everywhere; from raccoons, coati, deer, parrots, peacocks, lizards, turtles and monkeys that eat bananas from your hands. Many of the animals can often be seen from your balcony! There are also Mayan ruins on site to explore.

Complimentary leisure activities include yoga, zumba, dancing, tennis, darts, water aerobics, beach volleyball, canoe and body board hire, snorkeling equipment (upto one hour per day), swimming in a natural cenote, kayaking on the ocean and there is also a bike trail with free bike hire. My bike had a dodgy pedal but we enjoyed cycling out to Sun Plaza. Bike route quite flat, little bit up and down, fun twisty routes, maybe 10 minutes there and 10 minutes back.

The gym area also includes a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. All are adults only and can be accessed free of charge. Open from 6am to 8pm. We weren’t expecting the spa to be outside but it is really loved and we enjoyed the saunas and large hydrotherapy pool. The gym equipment is state of the art and the large room is well air conditioned.

Xcalacoco Experience is a programme of activities for guests to discover the mayan culture and a wide range of eco experiences. We were disappointed in the eco activities this time round and can only really recommend the Jade River Adventure (which we loved!), the cenote swim, planting a tree, the Sensory Experience and also the romantic boat ride (adults only). Photo Safari was basically bird watching, a bit disappointing really as birds were all so far away and we saw better from our room balcony! Only good thing was seeing the iguanas in Sun Plaza, but these can be seen at any time. Also got absolutely eaten alive by mosquitoes (over 30 bad ones), even at 9-10am in the morning! So would avoid this activity. Mayan mudras was sold to us as like Thai chi, but no real physical exercises, all very mind/spirit, we didn't enjoy. The cookery class was just seeing the fire pit and the ingredients, nothing more involved than that. Sandos Survival was okay but eaten alive by mosquitoes and a lot of the equipment he should of had in his kit hadn't been replaced, so most things/activities didn't work.

There is a theater with shows every evening featuring talented dancers and amazing costumes. All of the shows we saw were excellent - highly recommend making the effort to get to as many as you can! For the Mayan shows get there upto an hour earlier to get the best seats. The show in Sun Plaza also has food stalls and a bar out in the jungle, very atmospheric. Traditional music beforehand for at least half an hour. Sunday night fair was always such fun! With all the cool games and stalls. Definitely don't miss this! From 6pm near the buffet restaurants.

We thought the beach to be lovely, yes there is seaweed but this does not detract too much from the beauty. However this year we found the water to be incredibly dirty and only ventured into the sea once during our 2 week holiday. Last year the water was so clear and we saw hundreds of fish even just from the shore, nibbling around your toes, and had great fun snorkeling out to sea... Not this year, such a disappointment :-(

There are 4 buffet restaurants and 4 a la carte restaurants, plus a snack bar (El Nido, supposed to be 24 hour?! but definitely not!) We only ever saw soft serve icecream with cones and slushies at El Nido, no other snacks. Love all the flavoured ice-creams though, my favourite was mint! Seemed to be open every day, during the day, but was definitely not 24 hours. Maybe 9 to 6pm? A good range of nibbles and snacks were available in the adults only Beach Club House however.

Sandos website doesn't have the most up-to-date information. Mexican restaurant only open on a night from 6pm for buffet dinner. Lirios and Brazilian open from 5.30pm, not sure about others.

* La Laguna - International - main buffet - buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner
* La Toscana - Italian - buffet breakfast and lunch - a la carte dinner
* Las Maracas - Mexican - buffet dinner
* El Templo - Asian Teppanyaki restaurant - buffet dinner - interactive dining experience with show - advance reservation required

* Salvia - gourmet vegetarian cuisine served beachside - a la carte dinner
* Los Lirios - seafood and steaks - a la carte dinner
* Fogo De Brazil - skewers of all kinds of meats brought to your table, plus all-you-can-eat side dishes from the buffet - dinner
* La Riviera - Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in open air beachside dining - a la carte dinner
* La Jungla - pool-side restaurant - only available to guests staying in Select Club Adults Only section - breakfast and lunch

The breakfast buffets open from 7am. We thought there was always an excellent selection of foods available at all of the buffets, always something different to try. We could always walk in without queuing and walk out stuffed! Getting water at buffets can be really difficult though as service often very slow/unavailable. Sometimes we would have finished our meal before getting a drink! Would be much better if guests could help themselves, as they can to the soft drinks machine. The main buffer had really good scoop strawberry ice-cream on an evening :-) Sparkling wine is disgusting but mixed with the orange juice makes a pretty good breakfast bellini :-)

The a la carte restaurants rotate when they are closed, so it is recommended to ask straight away for the restaurant schedule as the in-room booklet does not have complete information. There is also a rotating schedule for adults only nights at all of the restaurants. Our favorite restaurant again was Los Lirios as had the largest menu and served the most delicious food.

On arrival we requested an 'allergy card' from the Concierge team, as is Sandos policy. Be aware that peanuts is a separate word to nuts, so request both to be written on your card if you are allergic to all nuts as I am. For all a la carte restaurants you show your allergy card at the door when checking in, however we strongly recommend to also show this to your server as the message is not always passed across. Basically show it to everyone just to be sure! As policies seem to differ from restaurant to restaurant.

There are 10 bars including swim-up, sports, beach and café. The bars are in good locations around the resort. There is a HUGE cocktail menu available at all bars (maybe 50!?!), but they will pretty much make up any drinks you can think of. All of the alcohol is branded and there are bottles available to help yourself to at every buffet meal - even breakfast! The sports bar has ping-pong tables, snooker tables and foosball tables.

I'm sure the maids do their best (and we tipped every other day) but the floors are never clean and need a really good mop. Plus the pillows and bedding are always stained and dirty. The pillows are large and lumpy and the most uncomfortable pillows ever! Always woke up with a bad neck and shoulders.

Our room was huge and clean with plenty of wardrobe hanging space but a distinct lack of any drawer space whatsoever! Really needs some shelves or drawers or something. Bedside tables would have been useful, plus some hanging space to dry clothes. We noticed the newer buildings near waterpark and beach have huge balconies with rack to dry clothes, while ours was teeny tiny and could barely hold 2 chairs, too tight to sit out really and nowhere to hang clothes except across the chairs. The air con was excellent in our room and very much appreciated, as I don’t believe air con can be found anywhere else in the resort and it was very warm during our stay. Our only real issue with the room was that the shower always flooded the cubicle, which meant we had to use copious amounts of towels during our stay to mop up the flood, which is not very eco friendly! We mentioned this issue to the hotel last year, but it still has not been fixed. Various issues such as this highlight that the hotel really isn't very 'eco friendly' at all.

Wifi was great in our room but quite difficult to pick up elsewhere in the resort. Never available in reception which we thought very strange! But good at the theatre and often inside the Japanese and Italian restaurants. The adults only Beach Club House only has Wifi when actually inside the building/very close by, so unable to sit on the beach, and wifi by the adults only pool was very hit and miss.

We were very pleased we had upgraded to the adults only section as loved all the little extras such as the day beds on the beach, the private Beach Club House, quiet adults only pool, adults only restaurant for breakfast and lunch, 24 hour room service etc. Highly recommend this if you are traveling without children. The adults only pool was also a LOT cleaner than the main pool on the beach. We went early afternoon to the main pool and it was just full of rubbish, pretty gross really. Not very pleasant, plus all the drunk rowdy people! lol We loved night swimming in adults only pool - not sure if this is allowed or not?! So we were discreet.

Massages are very expensive so I tried out one of the many places on the beach (one nearest adults select club beach house) for $25USD (500MXN) for 1 hour, which was really nice, spoke excellent English and to desired pressure.

We loved feeding the birds and monkeys every morning from our room balcony, 7am daily wake up alarm from the hungry birds! lol And we were lucky enough to feed the monkeys too a few times, bucket list experience giving food from my hands to their tiny little paws!!!! - definitely a highlight of each day - in fact the holiday!!

Cancún International Airport is a 40-minute drive away. Cancun is approx 1 hours drive from our hotel, a taxi to go to the Underwater Museum here was $85USD return. The touristy town of Playa del Carmen is 15 minutes drive and 200-300MXN each way in a taxi, which we thought very expensive. Once you've been once you've seen all there is to see - unless you want to go shopping or spend money eating/drink off-site.

Negative points summarised:
- 8.30am phone call from someone at end of holiday saying we hadn't picked up our welcome package from reception. Annoyed at early phone call AND at lies when just trying to sell us stuff.
- 8.30am woken up by knock on door on our last morning by cleaning lady who had our room as empty - check out is mid-day!
- bathroom shower still leaks all over the room every time you take a shower (reported to the team a year ago), have to use several towels to mop floor after every use
- took 4/5 attempts to get our loyalty bottles of tequila, after repeated visits to reception to even get the loyalty points looked into, a phonecall to head office finally sorted it. Then 3/4 attempts to finally get the bottles delivered.
- Nothing complementary offered for wedding anniversary or birthday, which were both celebrated in resort, despite hotel being informed in advance of our stay. Welcome bottle of bubbly (disgusting!) as per booking information but no welcome fruit.
- Concierge team booked our romantic meal on the beach for my birthday (our last night) and then when we went for this had no record of our booking!!! I knew we should have confirmed this again, but really you don't expect such repeated poor service. Things always go wrong, the team just don't seem able to cope with more than basic tasks. Nothing offered for my birthday meal being ruined and still waiting on refund for this.
- my husband went to Concierge privately and arranged for some chocolate covered strawberries to be delivered to our room with some champagne and cake on the morning of my birthday. Not surprisingly, this never turned up and we had to chase several times before they finally arrived 10 minutes before we were due to check out! so could not enjoy. Very disappointed with the service from all members of the Concierge Team.
- Cut my foot on glass on beach right in front of chairs on adults only section, quite badly.
- Eaten alive on activities in jungle! Despite lots of bug spray and bug bands.

This is the longest review ever! and not sure anyone will have ready this far! lol But I tried to include a lot of information which we would have found useful to know before our holiday. Summary: this the first time we have returned to a hotel after enjoying our first visit so much. After our second experience here we are unlikely to do so again! and will not be returning to this hotel after their repeated failings at providing basic customer service (and ruining my birthday!) However great facilities and excellent service from all other staff at the hotel. Most things run smoothly, but it's when they don't that you'll have a BIG problem.

Date of stay: August 2019
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
11  Thank Laura T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Dear guest,

We apologize for the fact that some of our services did not meet your expectations.
We set a high standard for ourselves and regret to hear that this was not in the interaction with our business. "
Please know that your situation was an exception. As you can see on other reviews, we are known for taking ownership and caring deeply about our customers. We can’t fix that previous situation but you have our personal commitment to improve the way our staff serves every customer. Until then, please accept my sincerest apologies on behalf of everyone on the team

Best regards,

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The resort is amazing. The animals are well looked after. All restaurants are fantastic except for the international. I dont think they cater for the english at all it is all mexican food. Who eats salsa for breakfast? We would have loved some baked beans and English sausages now for the amount they cook is it really to much to ask for is it?Entertainment staff absolutely amazing! Cynthia,Ricardo,Palomo,Abraham, Anibal and Emilio are all amazing not just with the kids but the adults too. They work long hours but it doesn't stop them working and entertaining to the best of their ability. Nestor who does the romantic boat ride is also amazing. Now the kids club in the first week was amazing but during our second week it was mexican Independence Day so they were alot of mexican children. My children where fine in the kids club the first week but during the second lost of issues happened involving the mexican children and them being unable to share but because of the language barrier my children where penalised by staff for no fault of there own! An English speaking manager was asked to speak to my children (in my opinion all staff should be able to speak English in the kids club) when he got their he told my children off to which my 8 year old little girl asked him if she could explain what had happened to which she got told by the manager Rafayal you listern to me your in my country now not yours and you need to show me respect which I was disgusted with as that was while me and my husband wasnt present. Also during the second week while it was Mexican independent day they were lots of Mexican in the hotel which wasnt a problem most was lovely but some was rude and acted astho they where intitled to everything they wanted they wouldn't que for anything they would just que jump which was very annoying as no one said anything. The food in the international was cooked alot better during the second week too which we wasnt happy about. All there interested in is extra money we paid £5000 for this holiday and all they are interested in is you spending more mo ey for example theres allways an upgrade or something better or more expensive for you to buy if your interested in something which is really annoying since the amount you pay to go there. Lovely holiday but definitely wouldnt go back.

Date of stay: September 2019
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank leanne m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for choosing Sandos Caracol as your holiday destination, and for your kind and detailed review about the resort. We apologise if you had some issues while staying here we understand that some people because of the bareer language as well as because of the lack of cultural facts some people do not know how to interact with people from other countries. This fact could happen in anywhere you travel not just in Mexico. People when they travel some of them remember to travel with their modals. However, other travellers forget to bring their modals. Regarding our food , all the food is produced in the hotel, are prepared with the best and freshest elements available; Our Hotel has just been audited and we have obtained the "Distinctive H" certification by the Tourism Secretariat, which guarantees our guests the highest quality and hygiene of our processes, products and services.

Kind regards,

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa Management.

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

2 girlfriends and I just visited Sandos Caracol, and we all had a great time! I have been a RE member for a few years, and always look forward to coming back to this resort! We enjoyed the RE pool and Los Lirios restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A few of our highlights were our waiter Said, and also Omar and Luis Puc. We especially enjoyed the lamb chops for dinner and the Farm Roulade for luch.... delicious! Everyone is so kind at this resort, and they truly show great hospitality for their guests.

We stayed in the adults only section in room 6222, and I just would like to give a shout out to our housekeeper. I am upset, because I forgot to jot her name down, I believe it was something like Hermain Hernandez, but she went above and beyond each day to make sure we had what we needed, and also to keep our room exceptionally clean, she should be recognized!

One of our highlights was going to La Riviera restaurant and having incredible and kind service, and also delicious food! Our waiters Luis and Pedro truly made our stay unforgettable, and also kept us laughing all week! They were not only our servers, but became our friends. The last night of our trip. We came to the restaurant to discover that Luis had set a special table for us, just to be kind, and it made us feel like honored guests. We look forward to returning in the future!

Andrea at the spa should be recognized as the massage I received was one of the best ever! She was very professional.

My only negative, was that the only truly clean pool was the RE pool. The adults only pool and main pool left us feeling like we did not want to get back in the water, but most of all, the scummy water at the spa had a greenish-yellow sheen collecting in the center, and I pretty much just stayed away.

Date of stay: September 2019
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Thank Amysferra7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Dear guest Amy,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us. We are very happy to know that our staff made your stay enjoyable. We always do our best to give our guests the best. You are our reason for being. You can follow us on our Facebook and Twitter pages. At Sandos Caracol we take the service to the guest with passion.Regarding cleanliness of the pools we kindly remind you that every day pools are cleaned with the aim of providing the best experience to our guests.


We hope to return to serve you as you deserve.

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa Management

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

From the moment we were dropped off by the front desk in front of the hotel the staff has been extremely nice, friendly and always had a smile. We would always get greeted by everyone we pass by from the bell boys to the housekeepers etc. We had exceptional service at Los Lirios from breakfast to lunch by the pool to dinner from Luis Puc, Omar, and Said. Ms. Hernandez ( forgot her entire name) our housekeeper was amazing at keeping our room at 6222 clean and neat. Our service at La Riviera was amazing on our last night. Luis, Pedro and Sandra went above and beyond for our last dinner on our girls trip. They set up a special table for us which made us all special and like Luis says “Princesses”. All the staff has been exceptional. I would recommend anyone to come to this resort. Might have to go again sooner than expected

Date of stay: September 2019
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Thank shubiewu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Dear guest.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us. We are very happy to know that our staff made your stay enjoyable. We always do our best to give our guests the best. You are our reason for being. You can follow us on our Facebook and Twitter pages. At Sandos Caracol we take the service to the guest with passion.


We hope to return to serve you as you deserve.

Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We loved our stay at Hotel sandos caracol! the Sports and entertainment Team was incredible and made our vacation unforgettable!
The whole team and especially Cynthia, Ricardo, Abraham and Paolo were great!
They were really kind, funny and happy all the time. Thank you so much guys and I hope to see you again eventually

Date of stay: September 2019
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Thank Linda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago
Google Translation

Sehr Geehrter Gast Linda,

Wir bedanken ihnen für die Rückmeldung zu unserem Service. Ihre freundlichen Anmerkungen unterstützen uns bei der täglichen Arbeit, um unsere Gäste noch mehr zufrieden zu stellen.
Sie sind immer herzlich willkommen im Sandos Caracol und wir freuen uns auf Ihren nächsten Besuch im Mexiko.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Sandos Caracol Eco resort & Spa Management.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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