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“GREAT Vacation - although not for honeymooners”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #61 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Reviewed 16 March 2011

I usually don't write reviews, but seeing as how I read them like crazy before booking our trip, I wanted to share our experience with this hotel to help anyone thinking about staying at this resort. My husband and I were at Sandos from Feb 27, 2011 - March 3, 2011. First of all, the thing to remember about all of these reviews, is that EVERYONE is diferent. Some are hard to please, some are not - and everyone has a definition of what "good" is. However, our experience was great. We were VERY pleased with how smootly we checked in, and even though we were about 2 hours early from our check in time, they kept our bags up front, and allowed us to go eat and drink until our room was ready. Our room was very nice, and was always cleaned and restocked daily. We had a room in the 9000 block, back by the pool with the swim up bar. I've read some complaints about rooms being "far" from the beach, but for my husband and I, it was a nice walk. We are in our mid 20's and in good shape, so it wasn't bad for us, however, if you have small children or are elderly, I could see how this is a problem. Otherwise, we had no problems being in the back, where it was quiet when we wanted to sleep, and had the only swim up bar on the resort.

Rafael - who was the bartender at the swim up bar was AWESOME!! Always so sweet and helpful and made great drinks.. ask him for the Cabana! ;)

The food and drinks were good - especially the French restaurant - AMAZING! This resort was fantastic, clean, fun and we would definitely go back... BUT not for a romantic getaway. It's very family oriented, and not that we mind (since we have a little one of our own), however, we wanted more adult oriented themes and parties. It is definitely a place I would love to take our daughter one day, as it was VERY kid friendly. There was plenty to do at night - they had people making crafts and pictures, and had nightly shows. We tried out the discoteca, and it wasn't for us. We love to go out and dance, however, that was the one "disappointment" we had, only because it was such a small space, and actually kind of smelled weird. We are not hard to please at all though, so we hung out for a bit and then called it a night.

Lastly, the last thing we heard complaints about was the timeshare hassles. We were not asked ONCE to participate in the timeshare presentation, and I have a feeling that if we did and said no, they would've accepted it and moved on. The staff was very friendly and everyone always said hola! when you passed by.

Again - everyone has different preferences, experiences, opinions, but we had a GREAT time and will definitely come back with our daughter. Hope this helps!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank kjdondan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4,820 - 4,826 of 13,176 reviews

Reviewed 15 March 2011

The room reeked of mold, we had to leave the doors open to remove smell, at night the smell woke us up. The staff were rude and had no consideration for sleeping times, they woke us up unnecessarily 3 times during our 5 day stay. My definition of rude includes fat jokes and other jokes in spanish about my sister who is in a wheelchair and myself.
The food was not good. The drinks were watered down.
I would never stay there again.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank BrendaAuburn_MI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2011

Loved the area of course. The resort was a monster, but the food was better than average, the drinks were tasty, the beach was sandy and we had the chance to walk off the guacamole and chips before eating more. It just took a small rearrangement of strategies to make it all work. We simply got dressed for the beach before we ever left the room, threw on a swimsuit cover up, packed the beach bag and we were ready to enjoy the day. Most things were down by the beach and main pool so once you got there you were set for the day. There was a large, mostly unused pool at our section of the resort with a swimup bar and a snack restaurant at the nearby adult pool, but most activities took place at the main area, which was the original Gala Resort.
And the staff could not have been nicer, even Isolde the timeshare rep at the front desk. Bruno and George from Lomas were the most accommodating reps we have ever dealt with.
We ate at the French specialty restaurant. Very good food.
The place was beautiful and for four days anything can work, but this turned out to be great. On the down side were the bed and pillows, which were as hard as rocks.
As far as our plane trip, well you can book me on an Aero Mexico charter any time you want. We were delayed 2-3 hours coming home so they gave us vouchers to use at any food vendor at the airport, AND then fed us on the plane! The only worry I had was when we showed up at St. Louis on Monday to catch the plane, most everyone else's ticket said the plane left at 7 A.M., ours said 8:15 A.M. The monitors overhead said the plane was delayed an hour and due to take off at 8:15. Good thing it didn't miraculously get back on schedule. We'd have been sunk. But it did save us an extra hour of waiting at the airport.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank abenttree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2011

My husband and I have traveled many times in Mexico and the Playa del Carmen area is our favorite. We like clean, fun, nice places with perfect beaches and Sandos fit the bill. We had a junior suite which seemed new and was far from the ocean and surrounding a quiter pool. There was a shuttle every five minutes to get to the buffet areas, ocean, nightlife and more active pool. It takes about a minute in the shuttle or a few minute walk. We liked being in that area because it was easy to sleep and quiet when that is what we were desiring.
I would say the food was average for an all inclusive. You should be able to find something to eat that you like. We are mostly beer drinkers, but I noticed top shelf booze and we did enjoy a fun drink menu. Lots of variety there. The staff was good. There were lines to get a drink near the activity pool and ocean but we were on vacation, no big deal. We will definetly return to Sandos but will avoid March because of spring breakers. I'm all for a good time, but these Kansas kids seemed to be in high school, accompanied by parents who not only encouraged drinking but gave them their adult braclets so they could drink. Lots of kids about 18 and under were drunk. Hard for staff to tell when they were wearing adult braclets though. They only allowed these heavy drinking kids one drink at a time and sometimes wouldn't allow shots. When they were around, the staff seemed to watch closely. It affects other's fun when food and drinks are getting dumped around and the constant yelling of drunks. Like I said, I'm all about fun but there should be an element of repect as well. We loved Sandos, though, and we will be back! We can't wait!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank funninsunnin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2011

We spent 6 night at this resort. The highlights of our experience are as listed below:

1) Food - great variety, fresh, in abundance
2) Grounds - well maintanined, meticulously clean
3) Safety - A++ - all construction areas fenced around and demarcated, wet floor warnings instantly displayed whe napplicable
4) Beach, facilities - well maintained, great
5) Service, staff - great service, enthusisatic staff
6) Rooms - we stayed in a junior suite - well equipped with jacuzzi tub, safe, flat screen TV (not that it matters :)

The following shall be noted as practical advice:

1) The hotel is on long and narrow grounds, so there some walking req'd from the rooms to the beach. From the 9000 block it's a 10m walk to the beach, 8000 block 8m walk, 6000 (Haciendas) around 4-5m. There is a shuttle from the reception area running continuously.

2) Our room had quite a musty odour dur to the humidity in the air and the airconditioner.

3) The WiFi is very poor bandwidth. I recommend visiting the nearby St@rb&cks - for thore requiring to stay in touch.

I'd definitely go back to this resort.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Francesco_L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2011

My husband and I recently returned from a 6 night stay at the Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We are from Virginia so we really needed to get away from the frigid winter weather, but we also wanted to travel on a budget. So, we took a chance and booked the trip with IMS Vacations through a promotional deal online. We were extremely skeptical about the legitimacy of this deep discount but we decided that it was worth the risk. The promotion stipulates that one of us must be 30 years old, have a combined income of at least $60000, be married and living together, and that both of us must attend a 90 minute timeshare presentation. Just in case, we brought proof of all of these stipulations because there was no way they could verify this information online. The only documentation they required at the resort was an ID (passport of both you and your spouse) and a major credit card.

Despite our worst fears, our vacation turned out great! We had absolutely no issues during the entire stay. The presentation lasted about 3 hours but this was more a result of us chatting than anything else. There was no pressure to purchase and we were left to ourselves for the rest of our vacation.

We found the resort itself to be immaculate and enormous! We were placed near the beach so our rooms were older. We appreciated the close proximity to the beach so we were willing to sacrifice a newer room. I cannot say that the room was great but it was fine for our purpose. There was a strong acidic smell in the bathroom which they promptly fixed. The only thing we had to be careful about was our front door. If we did not shut it a certain way, the door remained unlocked. Our maid had no idea so sometimes our door would be unlocked when we returned at the end of the day. Fortunately, the safe seemed secure so we were never too concerned.

The beach is absolutely beautiful, expansive, and immaculate! The staff was constantly picking up after us as well as cleaning any seaweed that came ashore. The resort has a ton of bars and great drinks. Anyone who says they are watered down/lacked enough alcohol must have been drunk already! They made every drink to order, had great beers on tap and worked very hard. We never had to wait more than a minute to be served. [As a sidenote: I would not recommend their house red wine but their white house wine (sauvignon blanc) was not too bad.] We tried to tip at least a dollar every time they served us at the bar, a couple bucks at the buffets, and at least five bucks at the restaurants. They truly deserved every penny.

For such a large resort, they did a great job with the food too. I am not the biggest fan of buffets but they always had plenty of variety. The breakfast was always my favorite. Their burgers were delicious…for someone who rarely eats red meat, I couldn’t help but have one at lunch each day! We thought the Italian buffet was sub-par but it is actually connected to the main buffet so you can always go back and forth. We went to the Asian, French, and Mexican a la carte restaurants. They were all great but the Asian and Mexican were particularly good. Remember that unless you are a member of the resort, you may only go to 2-3 a la carte restaurants during your stay.

If you consider Sandos Playacar, please realize that it is an extremely family-oriented resort. There are tons of families, children of all ages, and large groups. My husband and I did not mind but if this is not your idea of a vacation, definitely go elsewhere. We do have to say that the entertainment was excellent…probably some of the best we have ever seen at a resort. The gym was state of the art and there were activities going on all day long. We never went to the spa but I am sure it would not disappoint. The game room is also great although for the number of clientele, it did not have enough equipment. When the main bars closed at night, there is even a disco where you can continue the party.

We flew using Spirit Air for the first time. It is definitely a low-budget airline. If you would like more info regarding our experiences on this airline or at this resort, please do not hesitate to contact me: sheetal.vashi@gmail.com.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank snv4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2011

We just came back from this resort and I have to say they have great stuff from the check inn drivers cleaners restaurant kids club all of them just want you will be happy and have fun all time! The only problem that they have to much outdoor actives and if you come to relax you need to know that all the time something happens music ,water gym ,bingo ,games in the pool and on the beach sometimes it's to busy but at the end you have the feeling the stuff is only for you and your family! Be notice that the room next to the pool are very basic but clean!

  • Stayed: March 2011
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Thank zik_10
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

Address: Paseo Xaman-Ha | Manzana 1, Lote 1 Fracc.Playacar, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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:
#32 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: £164 - £403 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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