We stayed at Sandos from 4/28-5/5/07. I'm an avid reader of TA and I'm happy to report it's all good and yes, their beach is the best! I've never heard of Sandos before, so if I were to book a trip on hotel reliability alone, I would have booked the Iberostar or the Riu and been sadly disappointed with their beach. You'll see them if you walk to the left of Sandos' beach. To the right of Sandos is a beautiful vacant beach – great for walks. The resort was fabulous - very clean – not huge, but big enough. Who wants to walk around a large resort in 90 degree weather? I came for the beach and a nice place to stay – got all that and more. Check-in was super quick, accompanied by champagne. I initially booked a hacienda room – a travel agent told me (over the phone) it was an oceanview upgrade, so I panicked and booked the last one available. I then went back to TA, searched for reviews on haciendas, panicked some more and emailed the hotel, begging them to put us in an ROH room with an oceanview – thank you Ivan and TA for helping us make the ultimate choice – you rock!!! Upon arrival, the first thing we saw while driving into the resort were the haciendas – they are behind the resort - no chance of oceanview. The ROH rooms are better than average with marble floors, a huge shower with shower head and sit down bench, colorful walls, a balcony and plenty of closet space. There's no venting system in the bathroom except for a mesh screen above the shower, so yes, leave the bathroom door closed to keep your room cool and for privacy reasons. I didn't hear anyone next to us or below, so the rooms are soundproof otherwise. The room was very clean and the maid service was wonderful – please remember to tip them, as well as the staff. The minibar was restocked daily – I just left a note with our list. The ROH rooms are close to everything and to be honest, most of them look like they would have a pool and oceanview. The pools were nice – not huge, but plenty of room for everyone, plus they were clean. There were tons of chairs by the pools and the beach, hammocks too and lots of tiki huts. You were never left without a chair, in fact each person could probably have 4 if they wanted - this was during a "sold out" stay. The beach is simply gorgeous – safe too. I always left my camera and belongings on the beach while swimming.
The buffets were by far, the best I've ever had – there's two of them and they're different every night – lots of choices – something for everyone, plus they stay open til 10:30 p.m. I was there at 10:15 and the choices were the same as when it first opened – they keep everything clean and refreshed. Dinner reservations were easy to make at the front desk, as was anything - I don't ever remember waiting in line for a thing. The Italian and Mexican restaurants were fabulous – lots of selection and nice quantities – no small servings. The staff was wonderful and plentiful – just be nice to them and they will reciprocate. Remember, they have to deal with a lot of foreigners, some of whom are pretty darn rude. I didn't have any problems with the language barrier – I only speak a tiny bit of basic Spanish.
I don't have any children, but the animation team was wonderful with the ones I saw. I was a little worried there would be kids running amuck everywhere – this was not the case at all – we didn't even notice them. The team did a great job entertaining the adults as well with beach volleyball twice a day, water aerobics, games on the beach, etc. These kids have a great attitude and try to keep everyone happy. They work from the wee hours of the morning til the disco closes, which I believe is around 2 a.m. - applause, applause, applause!! The nightly shows were ok, some better than others – it's not Broadway, but that's not what I came for – it's entertainment. The drinks are usually weak at all-inclusive resorts so don't be shy, ask for an extra shots and you'll get it. Don't forget to tip - not that they expect it, but it brings a big smile to their face, plus they'll remember you. The beer was always cold and to me, this was a huge plus. I stayed at a 5 star resort last year and I could not get a cold beer to save my life. Even the mini fridges were kept at room temperature – it was crazy! For shots, try the boom-booms – nice tequila shot – they're served at the bar next to the theatre. I also found an abundance of bottled water on the resort. Again, I've stayed at all-inclusive resorts, but when I wanted water, I'd get either a small bottle or a small amount in a cup with a long wait. Here, they give you huge bottles of cold water all over the resort, including the beach.
Usually the smaller resorts don't offer much for entertainment or activities, but I found there to be plenty of different things to keep everyone busy. You can make reservations to go parasailing, jetskiing, scuba diving and do other tours right on the beach and leave from the same beach. You'll be asked daily if you want a massage – you can get a mini one for free, but if you don't want to be bothered, just tell them no – there's no obligation or hassels. As others mentioned, the different animals they brought in were very cute and friendly.
We did Xcaret as our excursion – highly recommend. The place is enormous, so be sure to get there when it opens. I emailed the park ahead of time to get a map of the place – they sent me an interactive link to the park - extremely helpful. We swam with the dolphins (too sweet) and saw so many things I can't begin to explain. Check out the underground rivers first – they're amazing, but I hear they get crowded later on. Don't leave before the nightly show – it's extraordinary.
As for getting around outside of the resort, we took a cab to Xcaret– about $12 and a cab into town is about $5. American money is taken everywhere, but if you want to exchange money, you can do so at the front desk. A peso is 10x the American dollar, so 10 pesos is $1. If you take the time to fill out a sheet at the front desk, you'll get a little more back. Sorry this review is so long, but I wanted to give as much info as I could, seeing how these reviews helped me choose Sandos. I wish every resort ran so smooth. We'll be back. What are you waiting for – book it!!
- 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