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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #59 of 215 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Reviewed 12 June 2007

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!!

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Tikiloo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 June 2007

Hotel: Sandos Playacar
We just came back from this resort (June 2007 for 12 days) and I offer the following comments.

The rating for this resort is listed as a 4 star and I hold that as very true. We really enjoyed the resort. I have previously stayed at The Reef Club (I would rate it a 3.5) and Rui Playacar (I would rate it a 4.5)

Hotel in General:
Very clean, very beautiful, best beach that I have stayed at in Playacar. Right next to the jungle and expect to ‘hear’ howler monkeys, see crabs and iguanas galore. There are also authentic Mayan ruins right on the hotel property – awesome!

Amazing! They have a full day scheduled with great events that cater to both adults and children. Water aerobics, salsa dancing, Spanish speaking lessons, water Olympic teams – the list goes on and on. I have never seen so many ages having so much fun all together – great for kids of all ages. The nightly shows are the best that I have seen from other resorts (most are usually ‘cheesy’). Sandos shows are funny, entertaining, glitzy -- and a couple even cater to the younger children. My favorites were the Tropical with the Mayan dance scenes – very Vegas-like – and the Cirque de Solie (sp) type of show – FAB!
Town is a short cab ride away - $5. Playa Del Carmen has gotten very expensive in the last 10 years – we went to the Blue Parrott– for 4 cocktails and 2 appetizers, the bill was $48 USD, not including the tip. I also found that vendors are not as willing to price negotiate as much as they used to. *sigh*

The BEST! Very accommodating and friendly. They go out of their way to insure you have the best and will try to remember your name. The Staff that I would like to highlight: Bartender Jesus, Waitress Adela, Waiter Alejandro and the Activity Coordinators, Fernie, Pablo, Paco, and Fareed (sp). And, I did tip for drinks ($1 each serve) and if good dinner wait service, I tipped as well ($5)

Very clean, very neat and we had no problems in having our fridge stocked with beer and water, as another reviewer stated – I did however, tip appropriately to room workers ($2 per day left on bed).
One thing I was not too keen on, is that when we checked in, the front office staff (Luis) offered an upgraded room ‘deal’. We had signed up for the Run of the House room. He offered us an upgrade room that had a beach view from balcony and room service -- we had to ‘slip’ him cash for the upgrade. I probably would have been happy with the deal until the rest of our family arrived and they got a better balcony view with room service and did not pay anything extra to get it – so lesson learned for me.
I also heard several people talking about how they were offered the Junior Suite upgrade until they found out that they would be way out by the front entrance from street and would have quite a walk to get to the beach. However, the Jr Suites are very adorable and each grouping has their own little pool area with hammocks.
Another very small complaint is the beds – uncomfortable. I like a hard mattress, but this is just like the floor hard. So I took a sleep aid every night and got through it.

EXCELLENT! I don’t know what others who may have complained are talking about. I had a salmon Wellington one night that was superb and a ribeye steak at the Mediterranean restaurant that was very tender and tasty. If you do not like cultural eating experiences, you may not like the food. The buffet has a special every night – Mexican night, pasta night, meat night (actually had turkey and lamb), and fish night. We ate at the Mediterranean restaurant 4 times – it was our favorite and had beautiful views and a breeze (adult oriented dining). We also tried the Mexican restaurant – was okay and did not try the Italian as did not hear good reviews. We had no problem getting reservations for the specialty restaurants but we also like to eat late – around 8 to 8:30pm.

The BEST! The largest of any of the other resorts that I have stayed at – hint! You must get down early to save a chair / table by the beach or by the pool – I learned this a couple of trips ago. I pack a couple of old towels with bright colors and put on the lounge chairs before I go to breakfast. That way we can find easily from the standard hotel towels and I don’t care if they get stolen, which they never have. The chairs in the shade go fast and by 10am, there is not much left except out in full sun right by the water’s edge. Once you pick up your towels from the information center, you can throw those around. I saw many others that just ‘kept’ their hotel towels and did not turn back in daily, to use to save chairs.
Another beach hint – I pack one of those flimsy ice coolers so I can take down drinks from the fridge rather than wait for service and/or bar to open.

Would I go back to Sandos again? YOU BET! Would I deal for a room upgrade – NO WAY – we were hardly in our room. I would negotiate to get as close to the beach as possible, however.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
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9  Thank JacTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2007

Our family stayed for 10 days at the end of May 07. The hotel was a 3 star at best. The beach was a 5 star compared to the non-existant beaches up to Cancun. This was our first trip to Mexico and the first time staying at an all-inclusive. I would recommend the hotel for families, the kids loved the pool and were more interested in that than the beach which was okay with me because I was surprised at the number of topless at the beach and the pool considering this was rated as a "family" resort. We were upgraded to a Hacienda at no extra cost upon checkin (it is further from the restaurant and the pool, short walk) but the rooms are bigger and newer with a small pool outside ( I had a look at some of the main hotel rooms). We never used that pool because it didn't ever look clean. The food was good at all the restaurants (we tried them all) and the staff excellent. The hotel was at full capacity when we were there but it never felt crowded at the beach, pool or restaurant. There were lots of chairs available on the beach and pool at any time. Beware: as soon as you step foot into the main hotel lobby you WILL BE HARRASSED to participate in a so-called "breakfast" that will save you $ on a trip to Cozumel etc. This is just a scheme to get you to buy a time-share for the new resort being built next door. They even woke us at 8:00 in the morning in our room to get us to go. We were HARRASSED the entire time we were there which I didn't appreciate since we were on holidays. The resort is a $5 cab ride into Playa so convenient if you want to shop in town. I didn't realize that in this part of Mexico that most of your time would be spent at the resort as really there is nowhere to go unless you rent a car or go into Playa for endless junkstore shopping. Even if you rent a car (which we did) the communities seemed to be all resorts and gated. I would return to the resort only to spend time on the beach as this is the resort's biggest asset. If you are looking for a "glamourous" Mexican resort, spend the extra money and go elsewhere since you do spend the bulk of your vacation at the resort. Again, I would recommend the hotel for familes not looking for anything fancy with a great beach.

Stayed: May 2007
3  Thank holidayfunEdmonton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2007

From May 18th to the 25th, we visited Sandos Playacar for the second year in a row. We; includes my wife, almost 3-year-old daughter, mother and step-dad and mother-in-law. We came back for the second time because this is a good ‘bang-for-the-buck’ resort that delivers more than what you pay for and is what I consider a very ‘value added’ place. We have stayed at better hotels, but this one is by far the best value.
First: The food is quite good with some decent amount of variety during the dinner buffets. The ala carte restaurants are good as well, but maybe not what you are used to depending on where you live.
Second: The rooms are decent and if you have a problem, and if you nicely ask and be patient, the issue will be resolved. Last year, air conditioning was an issue but was fixed upon request…this year, nothing to complain about. The rooms are always cleaned nicely and everything worked fine. In fact, the water in the shower was super hot and the fridge worked perfectly. I could always use the AC colder, but no problems there either.
Third: Without going into detail, we had to utilize the on-call doctor for our daughter.
This was a good experience as he had a very nice bedside manner and after speaking with our regular pediatrician came away even more pleased. The issue wasn’t major, but a room call was 120USD, so be prepared for that. Also, your personal insurance or vacation insurance may pick up what you paid anyway.
Fourth: Everything you read about the beach is true. It’s the best in the area. Also, there is no crowded feel.
There is some construction within this hotel that I believe is time-share stuff, but it doesn’t seem that this will affect the main areas. I have read reviews about the time-share people being aggressive. Nobody even approached anyone in our group and we were even curious about it. In Mexico, they know what “no gracias” with a smile means, and they respect you are on vacation and will let it go. I do believe there is some change going on at the hotel in the latter part of 2007 so we are probably going to go back and find out in 2008. In a nutshell, this is a good value and a nice safe place for a vacation.
So here is my pet peeve about Playa…why is the golf so expensive when the courses are so empty? I played twice this time and have played also in the past. The courses are great…expensive…and void of golfers. Anyway, find [--] and go play a round. I recommend the El Cameleon at Mayakoba Golf Club at the Fairmont. This course is close to the ocean and had a nice breeze and a few nice ocean views.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank Fairway39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2007

My wife and I (no children) just returned from a 7-night stay at Sandos May 27-June 3. We loved it and would definitely consider returning to this property.

Outside of the excellent beach everyone raves about which is undeniable, here are the important details to remember based on some of the concerns about those that did not enjoy their trip to Sandos:

1. Rooms are not luxorious but not too bad either. We did however asked to moved from our first room because it was on the 4th floor and the air coniditioner was just not strong enough to cool the room down. They moved us to a first floor room and we were fine. You might want to save time by simply asking for a first floor room as these will generally be cooler.

2. Don't worry about ruining your romantic vacation due to children. Most were well-behaved and my wife and I either spent our time on the beach or the adult pool. In other words, having kids around in no way distracted from our vacation and in fact we hardly noticed them.

3. Get up by 9:30 and go reserve your palapa on the beach before going to breakfast by leaving your towel. This ensures you will have a spot at the beach all day. Getting a tan is nice but trust me having some shade is also a big plus.

4. Don't buy any of your side trips or tours at any of the hotel vendors. Take a taxi to 5th avenue in Playa Del Carmen and you will find legit travel agents selling the exact same tours for a lot less. We bought the exact same Chitzenita tour tickets for $49 instead of $86 & Xcaret for $79 instead of $119. BTW, if you go to Xcaret get the all-inclusive package and check out the buffet by the cat island. You won't regret it.

5. Another way to save money is to try the snorkling trip that the hotel offers. It's only $29 per person and you do about the same amount of snorkeling than on the other side trips but you save a lot of time and money.

6. The food was good but not great but it was about the same as I have experienced at all other all-inclusive Mexican resorts. But don't worry they have quite a bit of selection so you always find something good to eat. Also, as far as the specialty restaurants my wife and I both found that the Mexican one was far and away the best of the three (Mexican, Italian, Mediterrean).

7. The service was also good but not great but there will always be a few bad apples no where you go but all in all not too bad and it was nice that they actually had servers on the beach. Another reason to reserve your palapa in the morning.

8. Check out the nightly shows. They have one for children at about 8 and then one for adults that starts at 9:30. I was expecting cheesy and was pleasantly surprised.

9. After dinner try spening some time in the hammocks on the beach under the moon and stars. Very relaxing and romantic.

10. Rent the bicycles and take them into town instead of a taxi. It's only about 15 minutes and they will even supply you with locks so you don't have to worry about anyone stealing them.

Anyway, for the price, it was great and we will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
7  Thank SDCOUG0505
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
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
#42 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#42 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#44 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#53 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: €194 - €397 (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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