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“3rd and probably LAST trip to Sandos Playacar”

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Sandos Playacar Beach Resort
Ranked #62 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Metuchen, New Jersey
Level Contributor
60 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“3rd and probably LAST trip to Sandos Playacar”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2012

This was our 3rd family trip to Sandos Playacar. Location of the resort is great – beautiful beach, secure location for walks or bike rides, but… Clear case of VERY BAD MANAGEMENT. We took evening flight and got to resort late. We got our room key and went together with luggage to the room. However, room turned out to have only one king size bed. When I went back to reception and asked for roll-away bad for my kids, it turned out that resort was full due to Easter & Spring break and resort did not have any other rooms nor roll-away beds. Family of four ended up sleeping in one bed. As you already guessed, I did not get much sleep that night. I called my travel agent first thing in the morning and by 10 am General Manager of the resort was expecting to see me. As I saw long line of people checking out, I was not surprised that GM found me two roll-away beds in the next few hours. But, have you ever heard a hotel giving a room with one bed for family of four? I know a lot about Customer Service, which is a core of hospitality business. I took me few minutes to realize that evening shift supervisor of the hotel was not kidding about us spending first night of our vacation like that…

We did not make dinner reservations in any of the restaurants as we find it to be difficult to eat there with kids. Same as during previous visits, we eat dinner at the buffet. Food was Ok, but selection barely changed from day-today and was noticeably less than during our previous visit. Selection for lunch and breakfast was very good. Poor food selection was well compensated by noticeably great service level by waiters and their manager David. Thanks!

Resort has free bicycles to ride outside of the resort, which I was doing every morning. One key advise though – bikes are poorly maintained. 9 out of every 10 bikes have bright orange and completely rusted chains. I found one decent bike, remembered the number and used it whole week – it was not a problem as I usually was first customer. They also have about a dozen of kids bikes – all with rusted chains and not a single one had air in tires.

This resort was cheaper this time than others. I will not be going back to Sandos Playacar! Since I like the area, I will be considering Iberostar and Rui resorts, which are next to Sandos. Sandos is a good chain and I hope they work out their management issues and figure out how to run this resort.

Room Tip: Arrive early! Evening arrival will guarantee you a bad room. Also, AC might not work all that well o...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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1 Thank GB12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Davis, Illinois
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2012

This was our second time at the Playacar location. We usually stay at Caracol and have been very happy there as well. Our daughter loves the kids club and the staff there are just lovely and take wonderful care of her. The food was very good except at the Mexican restaurant, oddly enough. The French, Brazilian, Asian and Gaucho restaurants were so good and the service is amazing. The entire staff goes out of their way to greet you and take care of all your needs. We just got back and are already looking forward to our next visit.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Marlene412
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2012

We just returned from the Sandos Playacar april 16 and loved every minute of being there. We were travelling with our three kids and found that the resort had many activities to keep the kids busy. The thing we liked the most was having a little pool right outside our villa. The food was great and there was always something there to make everyone happy. The beach at this resort was by far the best beach we have been to in Mexico. This was our 5th visit to Mexico and my husband and I both agreed that the beach was stunning. There was no rocks, just beautiful white sand and warm water. There was great entertainment everynight and a neat games room that the kids liked to spend a fair bit of time in playing ping pong, checkers, air hockey etc. The Sandos is definitely a place for kids. If you are looking for something a little quiter a different resort may be better for you! The location was also fabulous. It was only a 5 minute $7 ride into the town of Playa del Carmen. The shopping there is great. I would definitely recommend this resort.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank power54321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Terrace, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2012

Me, my wife, my daughter and another familiy of 6 just got back from Sandos Playacar this past Thursday April 19th, 2012.

First off all this was me and my wifes 3rd trip to Mexico and our 2nd to the Sandos chain. Right off the top I would say that this probably our 2nd favorite resort to stay at so far. If you are bringing kids under the age of 13 then this is a great resort to choose. It has alot of entertainment for kids. If you are a young couple and looking to party hard don't go to this resort. It won't be for you.

Now as for what the resort has to offer. It has every accomody you'll ever require. Also a major hospital is about 2 minutes away from the resort. Not something you should ever need, but comforting never the less. The room are clean. Now I've read other travellers posts about how hard the beds are. Myself I didn't find them any harder than any other of the resorts I've stayed at. Mind you I'm not picky. We camp outside here in Canada in tents so I suppose my opinion of a soft bed could be a little simple.

The entertainment staff is very good. They are around the main pool area from 10:00am until 5:00pm every day. Making up games, running sports events, doing exercise class and so on. Top notch team at this resort. They also provide the majority of the Night Time shows too.

As for where on the resort to stay. Stay as close as you can to the ocean. This is the heart beat of the resort as far as I'm concerned. They have brand new buildings further out in the resort but they really aren't even close to the ocean. Also most of them are Adults only areas. Besides who goes to Mexico to just hang around private pools. You can travel anywhere for that. The beach is the reason you go the east side of mexico.

Overall I'd say that this is a very good resort. If you're travelling with kids then this resort will suit you fine. Without kids I wouldn't recommend it. Theres alot of adult only resorts out there that are much better suited to your needs.

Room Tip: Get as close as you can to the ocean suits.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank travis l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston
Level Contributor
54 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2012

We just returned from our week long stay at the Sandos Playacar resort. We were 2 adults and 2 children (ages 9 and 5). There are very few things that I can complain about, but I will share my experiences for others to learn from.

We rented a car through Enterprise at the Cancun Airport. We requested a 4-door car on the web – which is comparably different in Mexico than what you might expect in the US. We had a Chevy Spark, which seats 4 people, but only holds 1 suitcase in the trunk. My two children were pretty squished in the backseat with 3 other suitcases on the side of them. After the suitcases were removed, the spacing was fine for travel on our excursions. Lesson learned – rental cars in Mexico are much smaller. http://www.albumauto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2013-Chevrolet-Spark-Side-500x375.jpg

When we finally arrived at Sandos.. (we had a hard time finding our way around the gated community because we couldn’t read the signs, but we found our way eventually), we were greeted upon arrival and offered drinks (which was very much appreciated). Rico provided us with information about where to find certain places off the resort – where to go and what we should avoid. Very helpful information! The check-in process was very prompt! We were asked if we wanted to participate in a tour, but declined and were never asked again.

Our room was available upon arrival and we were quite pleased with the location and the accommodations. We were in a Junior Suites – 8100 section, which was close to one of the family pool areas. The room was very clean and through our stay the housekeeping did a great job refilling our beverage requests, and providing towel animals for the kids – which they LOVED! The safe provided ample room for us to fit all of our personal belongings for safe keeping. The pool near us was relatively quieter than the main pool. The buffet area was great for lunch and snacks when we didn’t feel like venturing over to the main area.

People mention the “long” walk to the beach – Yes, it wasn’t a spits throw away, but it was a nice leisurely walk, taking in all the sights – Poncho, the iguana, The monkeys in the trees, the Burro and just general people watching. I will agree with other posters about the pool chairs at the main pool being a pain – people do get up at the crack of dawn to get their chairs! The times we did go to the pool, we were always able to find at least 2 chairs, and if needed, we would move chairs to be next to each other, without any issues. The beach itself was very pretty, clean and we never had any difficulty finding a chair. One day we had to move chairs to be closer to the water, but I just suck it up to exercise before a nice relaxing stay on the beach. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to use any of the water activities offered as part of the all-inclusive stay.

The Activity Team was absolutely great with getting people motivated to participate in activities at the pools or the beach. My kids tried the Kid’s Club for ½ day and just weren’t a fan of it. Nothing bad to report, just not what my kids preferred. We enjoyed the night time activities – Disney night, Fire dancers, Music night and the Mayan event on the last evening. My daughter won Bingo one day at the pool, and was absolutely ecstatic to get on stage to get her prize. The prizes could improve, but it was great to see how they really make it a big deal for the kids to win!

Overall the food was good, but we didn’t find that the restaurants that required reservations to be anything stellar. The Buffets for all meals were pretty much the same, but overall it had a good selection. Our favorite restaurant was the Mexican (no reservations required), which provided some great sauces with the nacho chips while you waited for your meals. The waitstaff was always friendly and accommodated our requests. Since this is an all inclusive, if there’s something that you don’t like, you can request something different and they bring it to you without any question.

Now to the reservation restaurants... We made reservations at the Asian restaurant and because we arrived on a Wednesday, we had to wait until Sunday to make reservations for the Steakhouse. First, the service at the Asian restaurant is slow and I can’t say that the waitress won us over with her personality. When we asked for extra food because we didn’t realize the appetizer portions were small for our party of 4, she asked “DO YOU WANT ANYTHING ELSE?” in quite the snippy tone. Thankfully, when I found a bug in my drink (which seems common), she didn’t come across with the same attitude. Overall the food at the Asian restaurant was good, but I wish I knew to order more food initially because of the smaller portion sizes, and the service could definitely improve. The Steakhouse was equally, if not slower than the Asian restaurant and the place was only ½ full. I’m not sure why reservations were required as they never seemed to be full. The food was okay – definitely not like the beef & potato products you get in the US.

Drinks – some people have complained that the drinks are watered down and I agree, they are. It wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’d certainly hate to see people drunk at the pool and the number of accidents that may occur in that case. I will say that some of the bartenders are not quite as good as others in making a cocktail. Some drinks just didn’t seem to taste right – or have the right ingredients in them.

MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT was the wrist bands, and this is specific to when you go to Fifth Avenue to shop. We were approached by a gentleman who said that he worked at Sandos and served us one night, since many of them look alike (no offense..), I thought he did. After deciding not to purchase from this man, we walked further down and was approached by another person that said “Ah, Sandos, I saw you there…” At that point, I realized that the wristbands are a dead giveaway for these folks to prey on you to purchase from them.

Overall, the staff was very friendly and accommodating – we were always greeted with “hola” by the staff as we passed them. We even had the great opportunity to use the doctor on site, who was helpful for our situation.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SydKaty
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:
#34 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
#47 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#53 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price range (per night): $272 - $590
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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