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Reviewed 17 May 2012

Sandos Playacar has more than enough activities for everyone to have a great time..beach, pool, night-time shows and events for adults and children. An all-inclusive hotel with great food and drinks. Cudos to Robert Billinger, Alfedo Tascano, Carlos (last name unknown), and our favorite bartenders Jorge Lopez, Angel and Gabriel. Thank you to the entire staff for making our vacation extra special. We like to see the local atmosphere on 5th Street for shopping and restaurants, the cenote caves, Akumal Bay snorkel turtle adventure, Puerto Morales snokeling, and the varios Mayan ruins. All tours were easy to set up from the Sandos lobby. These attractions make the Mayan Riviera a vacation that leave us wanting to return again and again, Just can't get enough of the Sandos experience. Hope to see you there. Paul and family.

Room Tip: Hacienda Suites for large family gatherings. Ocean front for the view and and sound of the Caribbean. Or adult section with adults-only pool.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2012

Stayed for 8 nights in the beach section of the resort first week in May. Check in was a breeze, was greeted with smiles and cold lemonade which was perfect after a long hot day of traveling! We had previously written multiple emails requesting a room as high off the ground floor as possible and with an ocean veiw. We get to our room: it's a ground floor with a veiw of nothing. This was disapointing since our request had been made 8 months in advance. One of the girls at the front desk said she could move us to a room on the third floor with a partial ocean and pool view the next day so we were excited to do that. We arrived in our new room the next morning to a 3rd floor room with a full pool view but not a spec of ocean in sight. Again, disapointed, but we didnt want to make a fuss over it so we let it go. This incident is probably the worst I can say about the resort during our stay.We also reserved the free honeymoon package months in advance which we never got. THE FOOD: we only ate at the buffets since we had already paid for food for the week, no need to pay extra for a la carte restaraunts. The food never got old or boring, there was quite a selection, just get creative and put different things together! Everything we ate was good. The chicken is absolutely to DIE for!!! My husband and I must have eaten the chicken 1 to 2 times per day!! Best chicken I've ever eaten. The fruit selection was wonderful, always fresh and SO juicy and ripe! The pineapple was also the best i have ever eaten!! We also really liked the Piemonte Italian buffet. SERVICE in the buffet restaraunts blew my mind. I've never received such great customer service at any restaraunt, ever! Everyone smiles and says 'Hola' and makes sure you are doing ok and that your glass is never empty. These workers work SO hard for their money. We only had the maids come in twice while we stayed, once just for fresh towels and water, and once to clean the room. I dont see any reason to waste water on daily sheet changes just because I am on vacation. They did a great job, i cant beleive they were actually able to get all the little grains of sand off the floor! We pretty much always locked our safe when we left the room just to be safe. The BEACH at Sandos is AMAZING. I cant put into words how beautiful the beach is. The finest white soft sand i've ever seen and the water just as clear and turqoise as i could ever imagine. All of my pictures I took look like postcards!! Absolutely breathtaking. We walked up the beach almost all the way to the ferry dock and i can say that I think the beach in front of Sandos was probably the nicest we saw. The palapas were usually taken pretty early in the morning but I wanted to tan and swim so we pulled our lounge chairs all the way down to the water and laid and listened to the waves. Im not sure why anyone would want to lay hundreds of feet away from such beautiful water anyway! We enjoyed the burger hut on the beach. It's behind the "select club" beds so it appears to be reserved for them but its not, anyone staying at sandos can eat there! We really enjoyed the free bicycle rentals. One day we rode our bikes to the Playacar Plaza, and another day to Fith Ave in PDC. A little word of advice, if you plan to buy any souveneirs, do not buy them at the plaza! Fifth Ave is only about 5 minutes farther on bike and everything costs about 75% less! Shirts at the plaza were running $15-$20 USD, and only about $5 on 5th. I bought a shotglass at the plaza for $6 USD and saw the same one on 5th for only $1!! We were a little bummed we had been ripped off on a few items before going to 5th! The bikeride to PDC only took about 15 minutes at a leisurely pace and was a beautiful, safe ride. You never leave the Playacar community until you get to PDC. Just make sure you get to the bike rental early enough to get a lock for your bike. They dont have enough locks for all the bikes. ENTERTAINMENT: we watched the decades show one night, it was just "eh" for me. I actually felt a little embarrassed for the entertainment team that was putting on the show at times. The girl who does Lady Gaga was good. We also watched the Michael Jackson show and WOW!! Best Michael impersonation i've ever seen!! It was really great and I would absolutely LOVE to watch that show again! Michael would have been proud! The entertainment team does good around the pool area, they work hard to get people involved and having fun! We saw two fire shows at the Plaza, which were incredible. I could sit and watch those forever! We were there for two Mexican Fiesta nights. It's great to have the vendors come and set up their booths at the hotel, but I was annoyed to be pestered by them so much every time i needed to walk anywhere. I knew to expect this when shopping in PDC but I dont think you should need to be hoarded like that at your resort. The way they insisted on you buying something, or finding out what's your favorite color, or what size, actually pushed us away. We actually started finding ways to walk around them, since we couldnt even walk by the booths without being bugged. If we could have looked at their items peacefully without being bothered, we probably would have bought many items. But we didnt because we couldnt even look without them breathing down our necks trying to make a deal with us. Plus they charge way more than anyone on fifth ave so if you're going to 5th, save your money, everything we saw at the resort, we also saw in town for half the price. I would strongly advise Sandos to encourage them to lighten up a bit. SLEEP QUALITY: we slept great! i was worried because i had read so many reveiws of the hard beds. The beds were a little bit hard but I was surprised at how well I slept on them! My husband and I both usually wake up at home with a sore back, or shoulder, or neck. Never woke up sore once. My husband said he slept the best he's slept in YEARS while we were there. The only reason i gave sleep quality 4 stars instead of 5 is because the pillows are way too hard. most nights i ended up stuffing my sweater under my head. There is a photographer that walks around daily taking pictures, sometimes he will have a tucan or a couple of macaws that he lets people pose with. He takes wonderful pictures but we didnt buy any because the prices (i felt) were outrageous. The smallest (cheapest) is a 5x7 for $12, or an 8x10 for $20. I would have liked our picture on the beach with the tucan but we are budget travellers and didnt want to support them ripping people off like that. Maybe if you took a group picture and split the price and made copies at home it would be worth it. We did walk up to the Riviera section a few times to use the pool up there. It was nice to get away from the games and music and crowds of the main pool. It was quiet and they also have a small buffet and bar for everyone so that was really nice. The walk was about 10 minutes and everytime we took it we would see the coatis or the large rodents that run around ( not sure what those were called?) The riviera section looked much nicer, but i dont think i would want to stay up there unless we were there with our kids (for the peace and quiet). Not sure i would want to make that walk every time we wanted to eat or see a show. All in all we loved the resort, had a great trip. If we ever went back to the area we would probably stay somewhere different, just because i dont like to repeat trips, i like to go different places and experience new things with each trip. But i would absolutely recomend Sandos to a friend, and you really cant beat it for the price. It was one of the best prices we found for an all inclusive 8 night stay in the Playacar area.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank rookiegrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2012 via mobile

Myself and my husband stayed for 2 weeks in April, upon arrival we were upgraded to adults only...which was fab, and if your a couple travelling without children(we had left ours at home) I would recommend it, you get a pool, separate part of beach, own breakfast buffet and no children in your block of rooms. Yes there is a 5-10 min walk to the beach but it helped walk all the food that we ate off. Plenty of choice with food...probably the best AI food we have had and definately alcohol in drinks. Whole resort beautifully kept, all staff very friendly. Never had problems getting sun loungers. No issues with security/theft and never heard of anything whilst we were there. Loved borrowing bikes and riding into playa del Carmen. I would recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed: April 2012
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3  Thank AJFrench
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2012

Stayed last September and liked it so much we bought weeks. This year stayed in a hacienda with a private pool and tube in a 1 bedroom. Food at the buffets in very good, the main buffet has cook stations that are put to good use at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurants serve very good food. Don't expect French food in the French restaurant. Beaches are beautiful and well maintained. There is bar service at the beach but kind of slow since Chimal was moved to another section of resort. For other guest we knew him as Gabriel!! He is missed at the beach!!!
Since it was my wife's birthday I had roses in the room and a cake at dinner Miriam at guest services is fantastic. As for reports of theft we had no problems, use the safe. If you go tip for your drinks and for the maid, the all inclusive does not cover tips. Go have fun and enjoy

  • Stayed: May 2012
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5  Thank Wickedmc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 May 2012

We recently went for a two week vacation from April 9-23, 2012 to the Sandos Playacar. Our group was made up of 9 family members ranging in age from early 20's to mid 50's looking for a resort that would offer something for everyone with a great beach and close proximity to Playa Del Carmen. The Sandos Playacar definitely fit the bill! Now my husband and I have been to many different resorts and each one has its pros and cons, as did this one, but I can say that there was nothing that was a deal breaker. I will briefly comment on our experience at this great resort.

Rooms:
Upon arrival the standard rooms we had booked (because they were closest to the beach) were sold out so they upgraded us to the Riviera Section (adults only). Although it is a bit of a walk to the beach it was well worth it! The rooms were beautiful, it was quiet and had its own pool with the only swim-up bar in the resort. Fabulous! Carlos was our favorite bartender at the swim-up. Have the Mudslide...its TO DIE FOR! They also serve ceviche and hamburgers at this bar in the afternoon. Another plus to this upgrade is an additional breakfast buffet in the lobby which saves you the walk down to the beach area to the main buffets. You also get to go to an additional bar in the lobby called the Premium Club which made AWESOME cappuccinos and iced frappicinos for all you coffee fans!

Grounds:
The grounds are beautifully landscaped with lush vegetation and kept immaculate. There are many resident critters to be found like monkeys, coatis, iguanas and cats. Note: the cats are very well taken care of by the resort. THEY ARE NOT STRAYS. There are vans and little golf carts that will ferry you back and forth from the Main Lobby to the Meeting Place (where all the restuarants and action are)

Beach:
The beach is stunning (nothing like that Caribbean water!), clean and there was always loungers to be found no matter what time you showed up at the beach. Another added bonus of being in the Riviera Section of the resort is the additional access to a reserved section on the beach, close to the beach bar. Really enjoyed this. Take a walk down the beach as there is no other resorts to the one side and its a great excursion with relative privacy. Great snorkelling down that way too!

Food:
There are several buffets and with a great selection of food to please all taste buds. There is always freshly grilled meat and specialty dishes made to order. We tried all the a la cartes and found the service great but the food a little inconsistent to be honest. We really liked the Asian and the Mediterranean. (Although I must say its the first time i've ever had 'Greek salad' with melon in it!!! Puzzling, but had a good laugh!) One thing I have to mention is that the prawns had a terrible chlorine taste to them which was very disappointing to us seafood lovers. Not sure what that was all about. Of special note is the crepes that are made to order in the main lobby in the afternoons. Super YUMMY! There are also at least 3 soft serve ice cream machines throughout the resort. This seemed to be high on the priorities for some in our group!

Entertainment:
There are shows in the outdoor plaza and the theater every night. Some were very entertaining (the break dancing and fire show), others not so much, but then again, each to their own right? Just get there early to secure a table/seat.

Activities:
As mentioned, one reason why we picked this resort was its proximity to Playa Del Carmen. We took taxis to 5th Ave several times for a cost of $14 return and also rented the free bikes from the resort and enjoyed a nice bike ride there. However, you need to park the bikes once on 5th Ave. You can't ride them. So make sure you ask for a bicycle lock when you rent the bikes. There are many activities in the resort (tennis courts, watersports, various aerobic classes, etc...) A few in our group got massages at the spa and RAVED about them. As mentioned, there is a great snorkelling spot down the beach to the right where there is a man-made reef of sorts. This is not associated with the resort, but the snorkelling is great.

To sum things up, we really enjoyed the resort and would definitely go back. The location is safe and convenient, the beach is awesome, the resort clean and easy to find your way around and has something for everyone. Thanks for an awesome family vacation Sandos!!!

Room Tip: The Riviera Section rooms are fabulous! They have jacuzzi tubs with shutters that open up to main bedroom area so you can even watch tv while you soak! Very quiet with their own pool/bar area.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank sunnygirl0524
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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