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Reviewed 2 April 2021

Unfortunately this supposed 4 star resort seems more like a  3 star motel.

Check In 1/5 -You arrive at the resort and instead of any type of greeting, a bell man rapidly takes your luggage at the door without warning. You walk into a dim uncomfortably hot non A/C lobby where you stand in line with multiple kids screaming and running around. When you finally get to the unfriendly receptionist to check in they slowly work their way through finding your reservation. By the time they give you your card key and wrist band they remind you that if you lose either there is a large fine. Even basic hotels don't charge a fine for getting another key card its laughable.
The reception directs you back outside where you stand outside without any direction but the bellman loads your luggage into the golf cart again no communication but you assume and you get on the cart with your luggage and you're carted to your room.

Service 1/5 -Was neither friendly or welcoming. Strong sense that staff are only working for tips and there is a large language barrier and they sound annoyed that you don't understand when they speak to you in Spanish.  It's an uncomfortable experience. A friend of even shared a story of their airport shuttle driver that kept repeating that they only made 6 dollars a day as a pitch for additional tip.

Room 2/5 -We stayed in what they called the Select Superior Room.
Don't expect your room to be your typical 4 star resort or even a basic hotel.  Set your expectations to a minimally maintained motel room. Our friends and we would say it's almost comparable  to a best western.

Food 2/5- We were told that there were multiple restaurants with different cuisines available (reservations required) to choose from but when you arrive you're told that there are no reservations at ANY of the restaurants (this screams bait and switch) so your only option is the buffet which doesn't require reservation. When you arrive they ask if you have any food restrictions and seat you and take your drink order. You go to check out food options. One of our friends are gluten free and the the "gluten free" section of the cafeteria is closed. Again I'm laughing because I didn't understand why they even asked because nothing is labeled as gluten free. They had a made to order pasta station where again the staff spoke zero english. You ask her for the items on the menu and you point to what you want which is fair but she was irritated you didnt understand when she spoke to you in Spanish. Food was similar to what you find at a typically buffet restaurant like old country buffet not bad not great but edible.

Pros: The beach but there are beaches at all the other resorts with much better service. The bartender at the premium club at the "meeting location" was fantastic.
The cart driver was somewhat friendly pointing out bike rentals as he drove us to our room.

Cons: Service, room, food

Overall: Set your expectations low and you'll be fine but if you're expecting even something close to what they market on their website you'll be sorely misled. They say it's due to COVID, but as a traveler that has traveled during COVID times I call out BS. If you're traveling this far, find yourself another resort we're bummed we didn't but we wont make that mistake again.

I  recommend most places but this is is not an accommodation I would ever come back to or recommend to any friend or foe. Take your hard earned dollars elsewhere unless you want a dismal experience. 

Date of stay: April 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank Kelly C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warren B, General Manager at Sandos Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 2 April 2021

Thank You Kelly for having taken the time to share with us your comments and opinions of your stay with us at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort. While your comments are not typical of the vast majority of our guests experiences, we assure you that we will be forwarding your review to our Resort Management for their perusal.

Always at your service!

Warren B
Web Relations Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2021

I will start this review saying we did not chose this resort. We went with a group for my son's senior trip. Upon reading reviews, we determined we needed to obtain a black band. To do this, we reserved a room through Royal Elite Rentals. Sylvie was very helpful in suggesting that a one bedroom hacienda would be best for our family. We booked the room through her and the all-inclusive package though Sandos,

Upon arrival it took two hours from the time we entered the lobby until we arrived at our room. At check-in we were informed we were "upgraded" to a Ocean Front one bedroom suite. Sounds great- not so much. Immediately upon seeing the room I called the front desk and requested we be moved to the one bedroom hacienda we had reserved. The room was in desperate need of updating, it was very small, and the ocean view was the top of the beach bar roof (see picture). The shower was just a closet that opened right Into the main room. With a teenage son, that didn't work for us. It took two days to get moved to the room we reserved. Once we moved, the room was wonderful. Spacious, modern, with a small pool and hot tub directly behind the building shared by 8-10 units. Unfortunately, there was a plumbing issue and we didn't have hot water for 2 days. We also had an issue with our electronic door. lock and had to wait over an hour for someone to come let us in the room and another 2 hours for it to be fixed. Not what you want to do in the middle of the day on a beach vacation.

Because we had reserved through Royal Elite, we had access to the Royal Elite Concierge - Maddy. She was amazing. I contacted her prior to arriving and she arranged our dinner reservations and golf for my son and husband. She also tried to assist with with our room and water situation as much as she was able.

The resort is very pretty and well maintained. Having access to the adult only pool section is essential. The family area was what you would expect and did not appear to be very relaxing.

The food at the ala carte breakfast and all the dinner restaurants was really good. However, access to food during the day was very limited. The main buffet and the family pool buffet were the only options and were average. I am used being able to get food to your pool chair and not having to get dressed to eat lunch or a snack. This limitation may have been due to COVID. There was also no pool service for drinks. This is the first resort I have been to where you had to go stand in line for drinks other than at a swim-up bar. If you did not have Royal Elite access, the alcohol selection was not good. We took our Yetis to the Avenue bar and filled up a couple times during the day. Room service was good, but took a long time. Also if you wanted to order a bottle of wine to the room, it took speaking to multiple people to get it done and confirming multiple times you understand there is a charge for it. There was a great discount on bottled wine if you were Royal Elite. Like most all-inclusive the included wine is not great, so this discount made ordering bottles at dinner a no-brainer.

The service at the spa was wonderful. Maria gave a great deep tissue massage and I would highly recommend it. My husband and son did the hydrotherapy almost every day (included with Royal Elite).

The COVID testing could not have been easier. It was quick and results came back in 2 hours.

Overall, if not for the room issue, it would have been worth what we paid. The staff were all very friendly and worked hard to accommodate any request, We are just used to more amenities/service than this resort provided and are willing to pay for it.

Room tip: Do not believe that the ocean front is an upgrade from a Hacienda.
Date of stay: March 2021
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Michelle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warren B, General Manager at Sandos Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 2 April 2021

Thanks Michelle for having taken the time to share your comments and opinions of your stay with us at Sandos Playacar Beach

We really appreciate hearing about our Guest's experiences and we will be forwarding them to our Management for their review.

Rest assured that we will let Maddy & Maria of the praises you sent their way!

We look forward to welcoming you back at your earliest convenience.

Always at your service!

Warren B
Web Relations Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2021

Summary - Expected better based on reviews. Very dissapointed. Do yourself a favor and stay at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya instead. We were there 2 weeks prior to this trip and were very satisfied there!

- Check in slow as heck! Expect at least 1 hour. People at the front desk seem to take 15 - 20 min per party. That's insane.

- After check-in we were taken straight into restaurant reservation and to hear some long winded speach from the assistant. I rejected this presentation after a long day of travel with 2 kids. I don't appreciate them trying to waste my time. They could easily have a printed hand out with this information.

- Because we skipped the speech above, I had to go back to the front desk after getting settled into room. I asked them for a hand out / map of where everything is. No information packed could be given, so I found myself taking notes from what they told me. What a joke!

- After we checked into our room, we discovered our room is at least 1/2 mile from beach. It's a long walk or you can take the tram. The tram rakes forever while you wait, and it's likely that the tram will be already full when it arrives.

- The grounds are poorly planned. It seems they built this resort over the last 10-20 years. Some buildings are old, some are new. They hodgepodged this resort together so nothing is really contiguous.

- As we walkted around we noticed we were constantly excluded from “Elite club” areas. We constantly feel left out from those areas. It's like we paid to stay at the resort but can't fully take advantage of the entire resort. What a sham.

- People walking around pool trying to sell us things was annoying.

- I heard rumors of people getting sucked into long time share presentations.

- Restaurants can only be visited if you have a reservation. They were nearly all booked, yet nearly empty when we did visit. How does that make sense?

- Buffet requires you to see hostess before eating. There was nearly 60 people in line to be seated one morning. Very inefficient and borderline moronic.

- Buffet food was decent.

- Beach was nice and blue however there was sea weed. The sea weed was not the hotel's fault, however it seems they had a poor process of cleaning the beach. Inefficient way of cleaning. Other surrounding hotels seemed to have a more competent and more efficient way of cleaning the beach seaweed.

- Some of the nightly shows were good, others were bad.

- Water slide park was fun for the kids.
Adults cannot ride water slide so we had to let our 2 year old go at it alone which is not ideal.

- One night it took 3 hours and multiple calls for new towels. We were put on hold forever. Incompetence!

- Check out process forever, held van to pay 9$ tax when they already had card on file

- We showed up 2 days before leaving to book covid testing and they told us they were full. Ridiculous! We had to fight to get a booking.

- No pool service for drinks. Again go to Riu Palace Riviera Maya.

- No beach service for drinks. Again go to Riu Palace Riviera Maya.

- Only one pool bar tender. Took forever to get drinks.

- Positive - they made a great unicorn cake for my 5 year old daughter's b-day.

I will not be back. I do not recommend anyone to this place.

PS - Look at the reviews. 10k spanish reviews, 9k English reviews. This is spot on. Half of the guests here are Mexicans on vacation. Expect the language barrier.

Date of stay: March 2021
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Kevin D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warren B, General Manager at Sandos Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 30 March 2021

Thank You Kevin for having taken the time to share with us your comments and opinions of your stay with us at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort. While your comments are not typical of the vast majority of our guests experiences, we assure you that we will be forwarding your review to our Resort Management for their perusal.

Always at your service!

Warren B
Web Relations Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2021 via mobile

Vacationing during Covid is different- keep that in mind! The resort is maintained beautifully- kept clean and fresh. (A renovation that was planned for the front rooms was delayed due to the pandemic however we found our room to be completely acceptable.) Yes the rooms at the back of the resort are newer and more modern, however the rooms in the front of the resort (select superior) are only 9 years old! If you want to complain about a poor caulking job on vacation, you may want to consider being less of pessimist! The house keeping staff was accommodating and friendly, asking us if everything was ok and if we needed anything. There is an in room safe and tiny fridge with sodas and a couple beers. We only experienced one water pressure issue and the water had an appropriate temperature range.

The pools are nice for relaxing. The select pool offers a few activists like water aerobics, pool side bingo and an afternoon game of volleyball. Other than that, just float and relax. Tips: bring floaties and an insulated travel mug! Due to covid, there is NO drink service... well, there is one person who does walk around but I don’t consider that drink service. It would’ve been nice to have drink service but it didn’t hurt me to walk 50 feet to get myself a drink! The bartender is speedy, so be speedy with your order! It’s not their fault they only have one or two tenders at the bar! That’s Mexico’s 5 feet spacing requirement. TIP!!!! They’re busting their butts for you- so tip! One thing that could be changed-add signs at the adult select pools that it is adult only. I didn’t see a sign anywhere but I also wasn’t looking. I Only saw signs for Royal Elite. Also- play more upbeat music!!!!

Animals- there are tons of animals at this resort! Bring cat treats!!!!!! They partnered with a TNR program so they have may cats on the resort that call it home. They are friendly but skittish! Most resorts do not welcome animals like Sandos does-other resorts quietly remove and euthanize unwanted pests like stray cats.... not Sandos! They sterilize, vaccinate and release! I’m a fan! Then there’s monkeys!!!!!! They are a lot of entertainment and so cute!

Food- the food is tasty and full of variety. It’s very rare you can’t find a restaurant open- maybe 1 hour each day while they switch over. The restaurant reservations are annoying... but what can you do? Cenobio was fantastic and was able to get us a reservation at an ala carte restaurant every night! We were only two people though. Larger parties may have a more difficult time. Damn covid. We saw Cenobio multiple times and he asked us if there was anything we needed. What a great guy! He went above and beyond! Again- covid is not the employees fault. Remember that. They hate it just as much!

I would say adding a couple large adult and teenage sized slides somewhere and this resort would be damn near perfect!

Date of stay: March 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank MomofFourTurds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warren B, General Manager at Sandos Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 31 March 2021

Hi MOFT,

Thanks for having taken the time to share your comments and opinions of your stay with us at Sandos Playacar Beach

We really appreciate hearing about our Guest's experiences and we will be forwarding them to our Management for their review.

Rest assured that we will let Cenobio of the praises you sent his way!

We look forward to welcoming you back at your earliest convenience.

Always at your service!

Warren B
Web Relations Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2021

We were on a family vacation at the resort, during one evening we went to the buffet restaurant and due to a wet floor and spilled food my wife slipped and injured her back not one staff member came to help other tourists did. First staff wanted a non medical male security guard to inspect my wife's injury and only after protests the manager provided a medical doctor who administered pain medication and back injections. Immediately the management tried to get us to sign a waiver absolving them of all blame, which we did not sign much to their annoyance. My wife was severely shaken by the fall and spent 1.5 days in bed until pain was manageable missing a tour we had arranged. Not once did the management come and check on her condition until we complained which was 2 days later when someone checked. The water and spilled food in the main area of the restaurant was having only 1 person cleaning the whole area so left for people to potentially slip, which unfortunately in our case my wife did and being in her senior years had serious potential for hip and leg injury.
I would also add that the pick up service in the resort is pitiful only one transport for all the people, you normally have a 15 minute wait to get transport and if the cart is full which it was most of the time you wait 30 minutes or have to walk the length of the resort in the heat. Phone in room does not work and wi-fi is hit and miss especially in building 2. For a Company that portrays itself as family friendly and caring our experience at this resort did not reflect those principles or values, far from it.

Room tip: Do not stay on the ground level in building 2
Date of stay: March 2021
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank kevintD5246JK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warren B, General Manager at Sandos Playacar, responded to this reviewResponded 27 March 2021


Thank You Kevin for having taken the time to share with us your comments and opinions of your stay with us at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort. While your comments are not typical of the vast majority of our guests experiences, we assure you that we will be forwarding your review to our Resort Management for their perusal.

We sincerely hope your wife is feeling better and making a quick recovery.

Always at your service!

Warren B
Web Relations Manager
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort

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