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“Great location. We had a 2 year old with us and they made it easy”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #58 of 217 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Reviewed 11 August 2011

It was a super clean, nice resort. I stayed in the new buildings in the farthest point from the beach and it was a quick, scenic walk to the beach. I would request that same room location again. we had a virtually private pool and pool bar right out of our 1st floor room. We were 2 rooms from the corner to walk right to the pool area. Couldn't have made it easier on us. The room was huge and well appointed. We would go to the beach and main pool for action, that was fun, but sometimes it was nice to have the quieter pool, still had a little blocked in area that was shallow for our daughter. It was blocked in with these pillons so we could hang in the deep side and she could hang in the shallow side and we could play with her and she couldn't get to the deep water. don't do a timeshare tour, do the entertainment every night, it's awesome. buffets are buffets, they are good but not special. I wasn't disappointed with anything. We booked on expedia during some special someone made known on a forum and got a 7 day (saturday-saturday) with airfare (direct flights too) and all taxes and fees for 2 adults and a 22 month old for $1,009. I spend more than that on a weekend getaway, so I was loving it even more.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank 99p38a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4,761 - 4,767 of 13,638 reviews

Reviewed 10 August 2011

The Resort was a zoo!! The service was the worst I have ever experienced. The front desk was horrible, they would hang up on you, they ask you call 45 minutes ahead of time to pick up your luggage, I called one hour and they never showed up, they shrug their shoulders at you, they could care less. The list goes on and on, I am glad to be back in the USA! I have stayed at the Royal Sunset in Cancun and the service was exceptional. Never again Sandos, you get a big fat ZERO!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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7  Thank DLH34535
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2011

This was one of the best choices I've made for a vacation thus far. My girlfriend and I stayed here for the first week in August and aboslutely loved it! This being our first time in Mexico, we were a little over whelmed with the hotel choices. I definitely knew I wanted to stay in the Playa Del Carmen area. After looking at the best options and being reccomended a few other hotels by friends, it was narrowed down to Sandos Riviera Resort & Spa. I read the reviews on this site and had no doubts about my selection. And I was right!
First off, the entire resort is amazingly beautiful! The grounds are well kept. You see the staff every morning cleaning every little area to make sure is up to guest expectations. From the lobby to the rooms, even down to the beach, it is all around stunning! It's very close to the town of Playa del Carmen where you can do all your shopping and enjoy the nightlife of Mexico. A $7 five minute cab ride or a 25 minute walk. Very conviently located
We stayed on the Riviera side with a gorgeous view of the pool. The only plus I find with staying on the other side, is that it is closer to the beach. Despite what some of the reviews may say, there is a reliable shuttle that comes every couple of minutes that takes you to the other side. But I will agree that there are some people who act as though they never saw you standing there waiting for the shuttle and jump right in front of you, but that's not the resorts fault, just a huge difference in culture. Anyway, even if you dont want to wait for the shuttle, it's literally a 5-8 minute walk (depending on how fast you walk) to the other side.
I loved the Riviera side because the pool was a lot more chill and had a swim-up bar, while the other pool closer to the beach didn't. That pool bar had one of these best bartenders I know, Rafael! And being from NYC, I know a good bartender. He was awesome! His drinks were great and he made them they way you wanted them! And after seeing me and my girlfriend for a few days, he automatically knew when we wanted out shots of tequila. Talk about great customer service, which is definitely what they are all about here. They try to cater to everyone and do a good job at it. The restaurants, a la carte and buffet, are great! I highly reccomend El Guacho, Asiana, The Mediterranean, and Le Gourmet.
They also have awesome wildlife around to give you that real "we're not in kansas anymore" feel. We caught the Coati every morning after breakfast trying to get food from the guest, which i suggest you sneak food from the buffet to feed them. We even saw a tzereque hopping around the grounds. There's just so much to write about this amazing place. The beach, the rooms, the food, oh and the people! We've met alot of wonderful people here, including the staff. This was a wonderful vacation. I am definitely coming back here whenever I get a chance. And that's a promise!
Don't forget to tip, bartenders, waiters, y su camarista (your maid). A few extra dollars go a long way.
The only negative thing i have to say is, I had made an arrangement with Darren from web relations and it never fell through. So I was a little disappointed the first night of my vacation but all the great memories made here definitely compensated for it.
Overall This place is AMAZING!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank ADashPhotoNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2011

.The staff was incredibly accommodating, especially, Rubin Sanchez, Tomas Nieli and Luis Gomez, who were all fantastic! We stayed in the newer, Rivera section and even though it was a little far from the beach, it was close to the lobby and the shuttle, which ran at regular intervals. It was also probably a little quieter than the beach side too. We had a couple of minor issues with the air conditioning, but they were handled promptly.
We ate breakfast at the steak restaurant near the lobby and didn’t have any real issues with the food, except when trying to order room service. It never came. Not all the food was great, but overall, it was pretty good and there were plenty of options. Nobody went hungry, that’s for sure! The presentations at the ala carte restaurants were fabulous. If you don’t like the food, I’d suggest paying the extra money for one of the higher end resorts next time, because for the price, this resort can’t be beat! We would definitely visit again and probably will. We really enjoyed the crepes in the main lobby bar. The steak restaurants were smoky at night, but also one of my husband’s favorites. Regarding service, the only time we had a problem was at breakfast. I’d suggest finding a great server, tipping them a few dollars and asking for them by name each time that you visit that particular restaurant. No one acted like they expected a tip, but they really appreciated it. I mean really, we’re talking about an extra $5-10 dollars a day and most of these servers can really use the extra money. The same for housekeeping, we left a few dollars each day and we never had a problem. The only person we really had an issue with in the entire resort was the manager of the Mexican restaurant. He was rude and his rules for dining changed from night to night. One night he made us wait in line and told us that everybody had to be present, in line, in order to be seated- no exceptions. The next night, no one was in line, but he told us the restaurant was closed because there were too many names on the waiting list! He refused to seat us! That was really aggravating!
Some of the restaurants are a little hot during the day, but we brought 9 inch, battery operated fans that were really helpful. I’d recommend one for each person.
Once our kids met some of the other teenagers at the resort, we barely saw them. They had a blast and can’t wait to go back! They remain in contact with some of the kids they met (from various countries). If your kids are shy, ask the guys/girls working around the pool to introduce them to some of the other kids their age. They are happy to accommodate.
We didn’t make it to many of the shows, but we enjoyed the fire show on the beach and some of the after show’s (bands) in the main area near the welcome center. We really enjoyed the Koati’s and cats that hang around the Rivera area. I never saw the monkeys and I suspect that Iberostar Tucan (next door) is feeding them and that they have moved over to that resort. I was told that there used to be quite a few on property at Sandos.
We did several off resort activities including Hel-ha, X-caret and X-plore. We bought the 3 park package deal and paid for our own transportation. It was our first time at X-plor and we really enjoyed it, as well as the other resorts. I would recommend this package. We purchased ours on line.
My husband and daughter both got colds and were seen by the doctor on property, who was awesome. Really nice guy, but not super cheap. (Around $115-$175 per person, including medicine). It was definitely convenient and an added bonus to have a doctor on site.
The only negative thing that I could say about this resort is that every surface is slippery. That’s a problem for most of the resorts in this area due to the polished marble surfaces. They try really hard to keep it dry, but be sure to avoid wet areas and wear shoes with none skid soles. I can’t tell you how many people I saw fall down. The pool surface and the beach sand are also VERY hot!
We had fabulous photos made at the photo shop, but wished they offered a better deal for photos on CD, instead of having to buy the actual prints. Prints are pain to deal with when traveling. They were pricier than other resort photo shops that we’ve used, but they were really good and don’t charge anything for the actual photo session. Our photos turned out great and we’re so glad that we had them made!
In closing we had a great time at Sandos, got a great deal and would definitely return. Feel free to ask any questions.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank sightseeker29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2011

Traveled with my husband and 2 daughters (10 and 14). Had booked 2 rooms at a ridiculously low rate via Travelocity. We arrived on Saturday evening and were told that they had received my request to be upgraded to a Riviera Suite (I did this via Facebook page) but that they didn't have the rooms right now but they would move us in the morning, that night we would be in the older section near the beach. Let me tell you, I had been questioning my decision to stay in the newer section far from the beach but after that night I knew I had made the right choice. The rooms by the beach are NASTY. Old, moldy, gross, ants. Like a run down 1 star motel! The AC in my daughters' room didn't work, their fridge didn't work and there were ants!

The move was easy. We left our stuff packed and while we were at the pool they moved us to rooms 9166 and 9165 right by the pool with the swim up bar. The service at check in, check out and all week long was very good. We ordered snacks from room service a couple of times and they were pretty quick. Also, a few days our mini bars weren't refilled but when we called they came right over with water, beer and soda.

Food -- honestly the food here isn't great. It is cruise ship quality at best and I hate having to eat buffet for most of my meals. I do think it is relative though. When I was 22 and thought Applebee's was a nice dinner out I probably would have loved it. Now my tastes are a little more refined. My kids liked the food okay but even they didn't love it. My husband got food poisoning at the El Gaucho steak house. He ordered a t-bone and the left sign looked fine but then he said the right said was a funny color and funny texture and tasted bad. So why did he taste it?? I have no idea but he ate 2 or 3 bites and two hours later he was sick. It lasted about 12 hours and then he was for the most part better. The best meal we had was our last night at the Asian restaurant.

The public areas are beautiful. All the pools and the beaches are wonderful. We did find that people were rather insensitive and held chairs all day with towels but the resort really isn't at fault. I do think the towel "rental" thing does make the issue worse. At other resorts I have been to if there are just towels on chairs and no personal belongings I move them aside and use them. However since everyone is responsible for keeping track of their towels you can't really do that here.

My only other AI experience is Excellence resort in Puerto Morelos which is amazing but keeping in mind that I spent almost 1/2 the price to bring 4 people to Sandos than I did to take 2 people to Excellence I think Sandos is a great value. A few things really irritated me:

1. I don't like the towel policy. The threat of a $50 per towel charge if you don't have all your towel cards to turn in when you check out is ridiculous! I found it very annoying.

2. I don't really like having to wear a wristband. I didn't see anyone NOT wearing one so I wonder what the purpose is. Just annoying.

3. I don't like having to make reservations for ala carte meals or having to be limited to only 3 for a week.

4. I didn't love how huge the property is. It took us 12 minutes to walk from our room to the beach. Not horrible but still I'm on a beach vacation and would like to at least hear the waves. However, I've done some research and I think most of the family properties in that area are equally huge.

The beds were very firm but I still slept great. I find that outside of USA it is hard to find a soft bed anywhere.

There is no waiter service on the beach. My husband said he saw some waiters around the pools but I never did. No food waiter service on the beach or pool either -- which we did have at Excellence. But again, you get what you pay for and this trip was a bargain!

Would I go back? Maybe if I got the same deal but not at full price of $1000 per person (including airfare.)

Room Tip: Go on Facebook and friend them and make your request there. Darren is quick to respond.
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank Laurel113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2011

Absolutely the worst vacation experience I have ever had. I would love to go back to Mexico but I will not be using hot-wire for the fear that I would end up in a sandos resort. From check in to check out, I had nothing but problems. I was relived to get home, my job is less work than that vacation was.

  • Stayed: August 2011
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6  Thank Sandravg3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2011

Beautiful complex at the 1 hour of cancun.
We made two excursions by kioni Magnificent, very well organized. Chichen Itza : do it. A day in a natural reserve (bio sphere). Very nice.
What I liked
Spacious rooms, no noise. Space out green maintained well. Beach the best of the long beach. Varied and very good foods. Services without criticism. Well equipped gaming room. Beautiful swimming pool. Easy to find a deckchair on the beach. The quality and the kindness of the waiters
What I did not like
Too much air conditioning in restaurants. Access to the French restaurant that for the adults. Nobody speaks French. Too present animation. The evenings entertainment are too noisy. Nothing to visit in town. Reception is not honest (problem of exchange)

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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Thank fab78
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:
#25 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#32 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#41 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#41 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#43 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#53 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: £168 - £342 (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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