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“Mexico vs. Cuba?”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #63 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Toronto Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Mexico vs. Cuba?”
Reviewed 22 February 2012

First try at Playa del Carmen area (Feb 14-21, 2012) after 4 all-inclusives in cuba (Brias del Caribe - Varadaro, Playa Pisquera - Holgiun, Tryp - Cayo Coco, Las Dunas - Santa Clara). Price was the same but hotel was much smaller and had lots of kids. I think you get more for your money in Cuba. Food was just like Cuba. Food/Bar lines are not very bad at all, very little waiting. Beds were like rocks (box springs are concrete bases of floor). Southern most hotel in Playa del Carmen with jungle south of hotel and beach goes on for miles. South of hotel at beach, about 150 meters, is an artifical reef made out of concrete with lots of fish. Beach all sand, but lots of waves, no calm days out of 8 solid sunny days, floating seaweed. Staff was great! Grounds were great. Was told to watch out for "Time Share" people but never saw one. Have to book A-La-Carte restaurants at "Meeting Point" on Sunday only for Mon-Tue-Wes, and on Wed only fro Thur-Fri-Sat-Sun

Room Tip: Rooms in the Jr. Hacienda buildings are not as far as you think to walk to the restaurants and it is...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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1 Thank BrettTorontoCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2012

We stayed in the adult building which gives you access to the huge pool with a swim-up bar, access to the premium bar in the hotel lobby. I have seen various comments about the walk to the beach from this building but we did not find it long. The walk is lavished with gardens and informational posts. At night the lights along the way are a must see. If you wish there is a shuttle that runs every 10 minutes back and forth to the Meeting Place which is close to the beach. Our room was great. We had the two king size beds, two person jacuzzi, balcony. The in-room fridge was always stocked with soda, beer and seltzer water. The rooms were kept clean, fresh towels, shampoo and body wash. My birthday occured during this week and when we came back to the room there was a beautiful chocolate birthday cake. The workers are always friendly and pleasant. Our favorite restaurants were the Asian and Brazilian. The main buffet always had a large selection of foods no matter which meal was being served.
There were no shortages of places to get a drink. Even on the beach you can order drinks. You must visit the jacuzzi pool in the spa area by the theater. One note: if someone is offering you free gifts for attending whatever, even if wearing a Sandos shirt, they want you to buy a vacation package. We had such a good time we are seriously considering going back again next year.

Room Tip: In the adult section we were on the 3rd floor and found it quiet.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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5 Thank frank l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
los angeles
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 20 February 2012

I've been to various properties in Cancun and other places in Caribbean before, so I have a decent comparison.

1. Rooms - We've stayed in the Hacienda Jr. Suite. The room itself is in a small building that has ~8 rooms and a private pool. The private pool was nice. The room itself is probably below average. The bathroom was borderline disgusting, with some mold in the shower, barely any hot water and a malfunctioning toiled (was fixed quickly). Minibar nearly empty (some sodas and a couple of beers). Definitely below average on the quality.

2. Territory - the territory is very nice. Fairly large, very green and looks like there are a 100 people cleaning it all the time. Lots of iguanas and other small animals. So on that its definitely very good.

3. Food - The buffet is what it is. Solid but unspectacular. Although I don't know if buffets are that much better in other places. Good variety. As far as restaurants go, they are mediocre at best. Certainly you're not going to get Michelin star quality anywhere, but I've seen considerably better in other all-inclusives.

4. Beach - the beach is great. Not a whole of a lot to add there. They could do a slightly better job with cleaning up cigarette butts though.

5. Pool - pool is ok. Crowded, but there are multiple pools, so you'll find a place.

6. Kids - lots of different activities. Didn't send my kid to kid's club, but looked pretty good. There is also a big game room with ping-pong/foosball/air hockey/video games/etc. Looked fun for slightly older kids.

As far as the other stuff, here are a couple of things that ticked me off:

1. On the beach, if you want a chair, you better be up at 8:00 in the morning if not earlier to grab a spot. If you get there later, you're SOL. Even worse at the pool.
2. Restaurants require reservations (WTF?). I can sort of get that....since they need to project the amount of food, but these are apparently not that easy to get. I arrived on Thursday and couldn't get a reservation until Sunday. Also the reservations are limited, so you can't go every night. That's nickel and diming in my mind.
3. Most of the staff doesn't speak much english. Not a huge deal, but still.



All in all, this place really depends on your expectations and reference point. Definitely not a four star by any stretch of imagination, but an ok hotel. If you expect luxury, you'll be disappointed. If you're going with kids to spend some time at the beach, then it's ok. Overall, I'd grade it C+/B-.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Vasya P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Winnipeg, MB
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2012

We attended a wedding at Sandos on Feb 1st. There was a nice ceremony on the beach and then a private dinner reception in the thatched roof building on the property. The staff did a very nice job. There was a mariachi band and also a DJ who played great music. It was lots of fun !

This was our second year in a row at Sandos and we found it better this time than last year. The staff were friendlier and the service was better.

The food at the buffets were okay - the Italian buffet has a nicer atmosphere than the main buffet which can get quite noisy at dinner time. We tried 3 al a carts - the Mediterranean, the Gourmet and the Asian. We had very good meals at all 3. It's worth the effort to book the al a carts !

The grounds of this hotel are beautiful and the beach is great ! We really enjoyed the court yard. It was a nice place to sit and have a drink before dinner. There was also entertainment every evening in the courtyard that was pretty good.

We stayed in the older section where the rooms were very basic but clean. The only complaint we had is that the bed was very hard and the pillows were very small and uncomfortable. The older section is very close to the beach so that was a positive.

There were a lot of small children at this resort. So if you prefer more of an adult atmosphere this is not the resort for you.

The location of this resort is great. Playa del Carman is about a 40 minute scenic walk away. You can also walk all the way to Playa on the beach.

All in all a great vacation and I would recommend this resort.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 4105. It was in the older section but was very quiet and close to the beach.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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4 Thank mrmca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Winnipeg
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2012

We booked a vacation to Sandos Playacar where we were attending a wedding. We looked at all sorts of pictures and read a million reviews. Finally we were off..upon arriving in Cancun it was crazy, lines ups of people, it was hot, there was 4 planes arriving the same time we did, we just had to be patient, finally we got out of there and the hunt for our bus to take us to the resort was on. We had to stop and get a beer. So i bought 1 beer, 1 margarita (out of a slush machine) and a bottle water $18.00USD . . . Yikes. Upon finding our bus, there was locals selling ice cold beer for 3.00 each, should of waited. So off we go, to our resort. Upon arrival we get off the bus and these men dressed as captains of a ship take our luggage, tag it and give us a tag so we can check in without dragging out luggage through the hotel lobby. Wow, the hotel lobby was absolutely beautiful. We were greeting with a fresh glass of tropical juice, it was a nice touch. We were all checked in and off we go again. We gathered out luggage and a golf cart took us to our room, located by the pool and the beach :) Its a huge resort, so walking wasn't a good option at night, we would of got lost. Our room was really nice, 2 double beds and a day bed. Balcony overlooking the ocean. It was perfect but it was only 7pm and we were starving. We went to the Festival Buffet, now i have experienced many buffets but this buffet was amazing. the food was fantastic, fresh and hot and lots of variety !The serving staff are so at tentative to your every need. Now we were full so next stop the bar located right out the door of the buffet. The La Bambola, drinks were good and so was the tequila. We went down to the beach where they were holding a Big Beach Party, with Loud Music, Fire Dancers, Big Giant Screens, it was a lot of fun. I couldn't wait to go to bed and see this resort in the daylight. From what i saw in the dark i was amazed. The only complaint i would have is that it is poorly lit at night but after a few days you get use to it. The Sun was HOT and resort was even more beautiful in the daylight. The pool nice, lots of chairs, they have fresh fajitas at lunchtime outside. there is also another big restaurant by the pool. My daughters also got to pick a piece and paint it. I should explain there is this lady by the pool who has all sorts of plates, bowls, little boxes, parrots which you can paint and she takes them home, fires them and brings you the end product the next day, they are beautiful. So off to the BEACH, WOW the sand, the Sun the Beach entertainment was everything i saw in the pictures and more. Breath taking the white sand, the blue water, the water was so warm. Always a chair to be had or if you wanted a big giant blow up couch, which i thought was cool. Lots of gesturing bathing suits and topless girls so be aware if you have small children. All day long you will experience those lovely girls walking around from the photoshop taking pictures , they will have parrots and iguanas for you to pose with then after 5pm you can go into the photoshop and view your pictures.We were in there everyday so they made us a folder. But the pix are expensive, we picked a few we liked at the end and bought some. the best part about this resort is they have 24 hours ROOM SERVICE, yes food . . . Wings, nachos its all good. It only took them about 30 mins upon ordering but make sure you tip the serving staff work long hours so a few dollars sure helps i am sure. The resort also has an italian buffet, which was amazingly good also a Mexican Restaurant, French restaurant, Japaneese and the Brazilain BBque. Wedding Day . . . the report sure knows how to make your special day Special. The plapa where the wedding was held was done up with flowers and ribbon it was beautiful. The only thing i didn't like is that its not really private its on the public beach. But i guess the more spectators the better.I will post pictures. The dinner was in the brazilian restaurant and we were starving so they said go to the salad bar, they had everything from salads to sushi to french fries so we loaded up our plates, not experiencing this type of restaurant before, then the meat comes, The serving staff walk around endlessly with skewers of meat about 14 rounds, everything from sausage, tenderloin, pork, even cow gizzards we were full by round 5. The air conditioning wasn't working that night so it was so hot inside. Waking up every morning to loud thunder like roars we couldn't figure out what it was, then finally we see them Monkeys, we would watch them for hours in the mornings once we discovered them. They only came out in the morning very rare to see them any other time. Lots of iguana;s and geckos on the resort. Saw 2 cats the resort has a donkey, tennis courts and also a kids play land complete with library. Everyday at 5pm they show a movie in the court yard by the bar and buffet for the kids. Its loud and we try to avoid that area between 5 - 7. every night the resort had a theme night, from Carribean nights to Sandos Idol they went all out complete with outdoor vendors, outdoor food and also nightly there is a guy who rolls cigars outside the Festival buffet. Sandos goes all out when entertaining. We took my daughter swimming with the dolphins, HUGE SCAM, i was told never buy vouchers on the resort go into Playa del Carman or just across the street from the resort there is a starbucks you can buy tour vouchers there and you will save yourself about 50 - 60 dollars. The dolphin swim was very cool again they take pictures and video and want you to buy them for a ton of money but we had our camera in the aquariums and tool out own pix which turned out great. Didn't do zip lining or swimming in the caves that was a whole day excursions and we only had a week. We went shopping in Playa Del Carman a few times, beware of the prices, Best bet just bring US cash don't try to convert pesos, they all rip you off. I found several BIG DISCOUNT stores on 5th ave which were the cheapest. so check those out. Also a MUST is Senior Frogs, OMG the staff in this place are complexity nuts , very entertaining and the food is amazing and cheap! Its ocean side so you can watch the ferry from cozamel come in. We didn't go to cozamel, expensive over there. The cab ride to and from the hotel is abut 7.00 make sure you negotiate the price first. You can walk, it would take you about 20-25 mins. All in All i have to say that SANDOS PLAYACAR is one of the best resorts i have ever been to. The hotel staff is friendly and they work 10 - 12 hours a day but always smile and they are willing to make you happy. I would definably go back and recommend this to everyone. I give this place 10 stars !! I probably missed a ton of things but look at the pictures, its exactly like that BEAUTIFUL !!!!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
13 Thank MyssMichelle
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
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:
#35 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#35 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#43 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#44 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#48 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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