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Reviewed 4 April 2018

We were at Sandos Playacar for a week over spring break. We had a wonderful holiday. Very impressed with the spacious room (we stayed in the junior suite with 5 people, 2 adults and 3 children, aged 8, 12, 14) in the family area of the hotel. Close by were the family pools which were hardly used and we felt we had the pool to our selves for most of the time. Near the pool was an amazing outside restaurant offering buffet style food which was absolutely delicious. The bar tender Cardido Dzib was great as well, very helpful, fast and friendly and he made all of us happy with all his special drinks. The beach was great, water beautiful. The hotel is located in beautiful natural surroundings and they have done a great job integrating all of that in the resort. The resort itself feels quiet and peaceful. Although it was spring break and very busy it didn't feel busy at all (with the exception of the main pool). The shows at nights were of high quality. The food in the restaurants including the buffet was delicious and you didn't need to make dinner reservations. Highly recommend the Italian restaurant. Also highly recommended is the cupcake cafe, delicious treats and frapucchino's etc. The shuttle service was convenient and would take you from one part of the property to the beach. Staff was super friendly. Would definitely come back to this resort and highly recommend it to other families.

  • Stayed: March 2018, traveled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Desiree K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Gerente at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 8 April 2018

Dear guest,

Thank you for choosing Sandos Playacar Beach Resort for your recent vacations and for sharing a review about your stay.

It is great to read that you had a great time and that you especially appreciated the attention provided by Candido, the beach, the food offerings at our different restaurants, the cupcake coffee shop and the friendliness of all the staff.

Thank you for recommending us and we will be delighted to welcome you back in the future.

Kind regards,

Lizeth Arratia
Web Relations Manager
WhatsApp: +52 1 984 179 4038

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 April 2018

We had a room in the Select Club area which is in the back. Our room was facing the pool and it was really clean. Our bed was good, but the other couple we traveled with had horrible sleep every night due to a very hard bed. I gave it a 4-star review due to that and spending over 20 minutes of our vacation at the front desk asking them to either switch out the mattress or bring a cushion cover. This was never fulfilled.

Tip for if your room is in the back of the resort, instead of waiting at the meeting points for a golf cart to take you up front, go to the lobby enterance, where you arrived, and one of the concierge will either get you a golf cart or van ride to the beach area.

Beach was beautiful as usual. We could always find a chair whether it be in the shade or in the sun. We sat on the adults only side every day and Lucia, our beach waitress was wonderful! Always a smile and a giggle.

The adult pool bar is always our favorite. We were at this resort two years ago and had a blast.We were very sad to see they took the music away in this area. It's very, very quiet. Usually, later in the day, we would bring our own small speaker which could be heard around the pool. The guests loved it and whenever we made our way back there, the guests were swarming us to go get the speaker and iPod. We LOVED David E. He was so much fun, all about customer service and made sure everyone was having a good time. I wish he could be at every resort we visit. He's one of a kind and Sandos is very lucky to have him.

On our last day to have drinks at the swim up bar, which we were really looking forward to, a guy threw up in the pool at 2:30 in the afternoon. They had to shut the pool down, shock it and wasn't able to open until the next day. You could see that every person around the pool looked like they were punched in the gut. It's an adults only pool bar, the only swim up bar, if you are an adult and can't handle your liquor, don't use the swim up bar and ruin it for 75 other people. Everyone left the area to find another pool. The next pool over had one bar and one bartender. He was so overwhelmed with people coming from the other pool and tending the others at that pool that we didn't even try to get a drink. I'm hoping if you choose this resort, this same thing doesn't happen to you.

All restaurants were very good, except the Asian. The remodeled buffet up front is gorgeous and has a spectacular variation of food. Something for everyone and you'll never go hungry. Our favorite lunch is at the Burrito place (think of Qdoba), fresh guac and chips are a must. We also loved the Cupcake Cafe and went there every morning for specialty coffee. The ladies there were so fun!

We were there for my 40th birthday. The staff went out of there way to make sure it was celebrated. My room was decorated with balloons, a towel cake with confetti and party hats all around the bed. I was shocked. We did the Mexican dinner that night. Antonio was our server and he is probably one of the best servers we've ever had. Made my birthday that much more wonderful. He brought over a cake and the other employees to sing me happy birthday, sombrero included :)

All around a great stay. We've been coming to Mexico every winter for over 14 years, sometimes twice and this is the 1st place my husband said he would go to again. So we did and had a great time.

We're still eager to find the right fit, but we'll be sure to come back to Sandos in the next few years.

We hope David E., Lucia and Antonio will be there when we do!

  • Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank sierrajo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Gerente at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 18 April 2018

Dear guest,

Thank you for choosing for the second time Sandos Playacar Beach Resort as your holiday destination and for taking the time to share your impressions regarding your experience with the readers of this social media outlet.

We really appreciate the time you took to post a detailed review of your stay, highlighting the food and service provided by our staff members.

It is always rewarding for all of us to know that our guests, leave our hotel with such delightful memories. David E., Lucia and Antonio are true ambassadors of our service and you can rest assured that your comments will be shared with them.

Moreover, we appreciate your feedback regarding some areas of opportunity. You can rest assured that we will the proper follow-up to your observations in order to improve and keep providing memorable stays to all our guests.

It will be truly a pleasure to welcome you in the future.

Kind regards,

Lizeth Arratia
Web Relations Manager
WhatsApp: +52 1 984 179 4038

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 April 2018

It was a really good experience. The breakfast is good, there are optios for different tastes, we went on spring break and the hotel was full but we always had were to sit. The Mexican restaurant was great if I could eat more I would. Also the taco reastaurant Great, tacos so good and the crepes there are great too. The cupcake cafe is really nice to relax, my parents love it. The shows were good and entreteining. The room was clean and big. Great beach, I do recomend going in the morning is less crowded. Nice.

  • Stayed: March 2018, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Teffy V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Gerente at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2018

Dear guest,

I would like to thank you for choosing Sandos Playacar Beach Resort as your holiday destination and for taking the time to write a review regarding your experience.

It is a pleasure to read that you enjoyed the a la carte restaurants, Chayita restaurant, the cupcake coffee shop, the nightly shows and our beautiful beach.

Moreover, we appreciate you recommending us and it will be great to have the opportunity to host you in the future.

Kind regards,

Lizeth Arratia
Web Relations Manager
WhatsApp: +52 1 984 179 4038

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 April 2018

We had a wonderful stay from March 17-20, 2018. The resort is very clean and the food is great. The beach is amazing and the resort staff is superb! One employee, Abraham, really stood out. He was extremely personable & professional, always greeting us with a big smile. And he was very patient with our feeble attempts at speaking Spanish. We can't wait to return to this resort!!

Room Tip: The Hacienda Suites are very nice & private.
  • Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank MissouriMermaid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Gerente at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2018

Dear guest,

On behalf of the entire family of Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your comments with the readers of this social media outlet.

We are glad to read that you had a wonderful vacation with us enjoying the cleanliness of our grounds, the food, beach and the service of our staff; it will be truly a pleasure to share with Abraham your comments.

We will be delighted to welcome you back soon to your second home in the Riviera Maya.

Kind regards,

Lizeth Arratia
Web Relations Manager
WhatsApp: +52 1 984 179 4038

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 April 2018

Sandos Playacar

We always have a good time on vacation – no matter what. We are easygoing, and expect to have a good time, so we do. So, we had a great vacation. It was warm, sunny, and relaxing. However, the items listed below guarantee that we will NEVER stay at Sandos Playacar again, and we cannot, in any way, shape, or form, recommend this hotel to anyone. Let’s start with the PROs, as that list is shorter!

PROS:
The grounds are beautiful, and there is an abundance of wildlife. The staff was mostly kind and friendly (guest services was a little rude, but maybe the person just had a bad day). Also, this is the only hotel we have stayed in that has a pull-out drying rack on the deck. Having a place to hang wet bathing suits was nice, as most hotels do not do this. Finally, your room key is on your wristband (key is about ¾” by ½”), so you never have to worry about leaving without it (takes awhile to get use to not making sure you have your key with you!). It’s a nice feature, although it costs $100 if you lose it (a crazy charge because it’s a programmed key that could be deactivated electronically and does not show your room number). However, it was nice not having to worry about where I had put my key down)

Main restaurants: We enjoyed the Mexican, Italian, Asian, and Brazilian restaurants. We did not get a chance to do the French and had no interest in the Steakhouse. The Brazilian was the best in terms of taste and served the best chicken I have ever eaten. The other places were enjoyable, and the service was very good. Be aware that one of the main restaurants is closed each day of the week, so plan accordingly so you don’t miss out.

Walking: We enjoyed walking around the resort. The longest walk is about 15 minutes. They do have shuttles, but as we did not take one, we cannot comment on this. Note also that we had a second-floor room, and there were no elevators. We didn’t mind this, but be aware of this if stairs are an issue for you.

CONS:

It’s hard to figure out the best order to list these, but here it goes!

Our room: We stayed in a hacienda junior suite, which means we had our own pool and hot tub. We had a king bed and a pull-out sofa bed for my 14-year-old son. The mattress on the bed was about 1.5 inches thick and all of the springs could be felt. There is NO way anyone could ever sleep in that bed. After 4 phone calls and 4 hours, they finally brought us a rollaway bed (although during the last phone call, we were told that the beds were first come, first served, and we might not get one). In addition, no sheets were provided for the sofa bed, so when the roll-away bed was finally delivered, they needed to go and get bedding as well. If a hotel is going to provide a pull-out couch, it needs to be usable. No excuses for this one. Don’t know if other pull-outs have the same issue, but be aware of this!


Pool Towels: When you check in, you are given 1 card per person to get pool towels (one per person). Yes, one towel per person. When we go to the pool, we like to have a towel to place on our chairs, one to place under our heads, and one to dry off with. Not an option. You are also told that if you lose the towel cards, they cost $50 a piece. Are you kidding? But wait, it gets worse. Because we had a hacienda with its own pool, we wanted to bring a clean towel back to use at our pool. This isn’t a problem because you can exchange a used towel for a fresh one. However, in order for the lights to work in your room, you need to insert one of the towel cards. So one of us had to decide between a towel or lights. Now, there was a work-around for this, and anyone who wants more than a towel can use this idea (unless the hotel gets wise to it). We spent most of our time at the family pool, and the towels were not as tightly controlled as at the main pool. So, ultimately we were able to get the towels we wanted (and my husband took great pleasure in collecting as many towel cards as he could…total of 18 at the end..if you stay in room 6108, he hid them around the room for others to use). And we found that a driver’s license worked to keep the lights on. But this whole concept is ridiculous and completely off-putting.

Pool Service: Doesn't exist at family pool. We didn’t go to main pool (my son told us about the more tightly controlled towels there) or sit on beach, so I can’t say if anyone ever comes around to offer drinks at those places. There is a small, decent lunch buffet at family pool, so we could go get our own drinks.

Housekeeping: The first day, our son was in the room when housekeeping came, so they said they would come back. They did not. The second day, we made sure to stay out most of the day, so they would have time to clean (10-4). Our room was not clean when we got back. We called at 4:30. They were “shocked” and said they would send someone right away. After another phone call and 2 trips to guest services, our room was finally cleaned at 8:30 pm. The hotel seems to staff up better after this day, again, this is just not acceptable for this supposedly high-level resort.

Room service: We were very excited to have the option for 24-hour room service, as my husband wakes up early and works out. He’s back by 7 and wants something to eat before my son and I wake up. Although the only food available in the morning is a continental breakfast, that was fine. Room service is delivered in 30-min time frames. Day 1: He asked for 7 to 7:30, as he knew he would be back in the room by 7 so that my son and I would not be awakened. The food came at 6:40 (and he was not back yet). Although when on vacation, we don’t like to be tied down to exact times, we also don’t like to be woken up because the hotel cannot deliver the food when promised. Day 2: We were going on an excursion and needed to leave our room by 8. We asked for a delivery between 7 and 7:30 to give us time to eat. Food did not come until 7:45 (and required a phone call to get it). In addition, the order was wrong. Again, because we were on a schedule, this one was important. Day 3: The food came on time (yay), but they were not able to leave the tray. So my husband had to take each item off the tray (my son and I were still sleeping, so we did not want anyone coming into the room), and then hand the tray back. About 1 hour later, there is a knock on the door. They needed the plate and cup back. The other days were fine, but these kinds of issues are just not acceptable.

The Buffet: I have never met a breakfast buffet that I didn’t like – until now! The food was rarely refilled and very small containers were used in the first place (I could not get scrambled eggs on 2 occasions). We went at several different times in the morning to see if this would change, but it didn’t. At no time did anyone come to our table to take a drink order. My husband got up and got his own coffee. My son got me a soda one day. The next day, I went to get one, but there were no glasses, so I found a coffee cup. None of the soda or juice machines was working. The food was tasteless, and it was hard to find anything we liked. It’s a buffet…there should have been something. We ended up not going back for the last 3 days as we found the whole experience so frustrating. However, the only other place you can get breakfast (other than room service) is the cupcake café…not the healthiest breakfast and no fruit available. We upgraded to business class on the way home and, although I slept through it, my husband and son had the best breakfast they had eaten all week – on an airplane!

Checking out: We got a letter the night before that we could take advantage of Express Check-out if we came to the desk the night before. Because we had to leave at 3 am for a 7 am flight, we decided it would be a good idea. Express checkout consists of the front desk giving you a checkout “pass” that you have to hand to the bellboy the next morning, along with your towel cards and room keys. Not sure of the point of this – we still had to check out in the morning. In addition, my husband asked if the front desk could arrange to have sometime pick up our luggage (and us) in the morning, as it was a long walk if you’re dragging luggage and it’s 3 am. The front desk, who was not busy at all, told us we had to call transportation ourselves. Okay, fine. But when you get to your room, there is no “transportation” on your phone. Guest services sends you to the operator who sends you where you need to go.

Teen Club: The fact that this resort had a teen club was one of the reasons we chose it, as our son likes to go out in the evening and be with people his age. This was NOT a teen club. Despite being described as having earlier activities for those aged 8-13 and later activities for those aged 14-17, there was no breakdown by age or time. Nor was there ANY supervision in the club at all. According to my son, kids were dumping drinks over the counters, throwing pool balls, doing their best to break the arcade games (often successfully), and just completely out of control. There was supposedly a theme for each night. A hotel representative came into the club and quietly said “first call for [fill in theme]”. She repeated it twice, nobody came over, and she left. There was no DJ, as promised. My son ended up being the DJ for 2 nights, which he loved. However, he was yelled at by an employee who came in and saw him playing music from his phone. He did it a second night anyway, because nobody else was there, and in his words “there are 11-year-old kids choosing the music!” (Probably one of the funniest lines of our whole vacation!). We have been to many resorts with teen clubs. This does not qualify.

Chayita restaurant: Cafeteria-style restaurant where you get made-to-order burritos, tacos, and more. We went there for dinner one night. They are open from 11 am to midnight, but by 6 pm, they were out of many things. So…there was no chicken, the pork was stringy and chewy from sitting out on a warmer all day, and they did not have any guacamole or salsa. At a Mexican restaurant. In Mexico. Apparently they do not restock supplies that are used up during the day. This is just cheap and unprofessional.

Other:
Funny room issues (not deal breakers, but….): An alarm clock on the bedside table, but no plug anywhere near the bed. It took batteries, but the battery compartment was empty. An ice bucket, but no ice machine. A request to re-use towels to save water – which we always like to do – but only 2 hooks to hang towels. Makes it hard not to leave them on the floor. A water cooler so you don’t have to drink sink water, but for the first 2 days, we were only given 2 glasses. A make-up/eyebrow mirror that could only be used if you held it in an upright position – otherwise it was flat (it could not be tightened so that you could use it without holding it). Excessive use of caulk, applied in giant globs, around the bottom of the sink, and globs of it in the shower, where the grout was missing. Also, a block of wood had to added in front of shower door so that it could only swing one way. Not a bad idea, as the shower is at the same level as the floor, but the wood was gross (dirty and more giant globs of caulk). No drawers for clothes. Two shelves in closet and 1 in very low cabinet next to fridge.

Stores (not a deal breaker, but…): Items in stores cannot be charged to room (they never took a credit card at check-in, which I guess would have made it hard to charge us for lost towel cards!). However, when my son got his henna tattoo, they said it had to be charged to the room. When we went to check out, they said we had to pay cash because they didn’t have our credit card. They just don’t seem to know what they are doing.

We used Book-It.com to book our air and hotel, and were very pleased with their service. Overall, Mexico is a beautiful country and I can recommend that you visit it. Just don’t stay at Sandos Playacar. It falls well below expectations.

Room Tip: Ask for room away from Entertainment...you'll hear it if you like to sit on your balcony, and it's not all that good!
  • Stayed: March 2018, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
7  Thank FamilyTravelers005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Web_Sandos, Director General at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 16 April 2018

Dear guest,

I would like to thank you for taking part of your time to sharing your views and comments regarding your recent stay at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort with readers of this internet site.

We are deeply sorry to see that our hotel was not up to your personal expectations and therefore you left with such a poor impression, particularly considering that some of the things you mention could have been easily resolved had we been aware of the inconvenience they meant to you.

For instance you stress that a mattress for one bed was too thin. We would have been happy to add a pillow top to that specific bed had we known of your annoyance.

Receiving one towel card per person in hotels is basic standard. Someone might not agree with that; however that is not reflective of any disservice for that is our policy. I personally do not know of any hotel where several towels cards are given for each individual. It is unfortunate that for not specific reason someone will collect 18 towel cards for that just creates logistic problems to us. Imagine several people doing something similar.

We read each one of the observations you highlight with the intention to put in place corrective actions where needed and appropriated.

We are not perfect, in fact we are far from perfect, but we are certainly not the hotel and people you described. We love what we do and we are people who strive to be better and improve by every passing day. Rest assured that we will keep working to improve and make our hotel a better one.

Kindest wishes,

Luis Ramirez
General Manager
Director.playacar@sandos.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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