Sandos Playacar Playa Del Carmen

For our Spring Break 2009 we headed to the Riviera Maya to spend a week at the lovely Sandos Playacar.  Sandos is a hotel group with resorts in Mexico and Spain, with plans to locate in the Dominican soon.  Playacar is not far from the Cancun airport, the nearest city is Playa Del Camen. It has everything:  a quaint town with fun shopping, close proximity to parks like Xel-Ha and Xcaret, and you can even get to an inexpensive ferry to Cozumel.

Our kids loved the beach, the water was so beautiful, full of turquoise and blues.  I think it may be the hotel’s best feature.  The rooms by the pool / beach side (definitely where you want to room for fun!) are small — but after a day we hardly noticed b/c we were never there.  This is a very kid friendly resort, I think as a couple or singles you could have fun, but there are definitely a lot of families enjoying the resort.

Tips — the Mexican buffet is great in the morning b/c its less crowded than Festival, which is the larger International buffet. Festival is great for lunch — try to eat late and its much less crowded. Both Festival and the Italian Buffet have a fresh grill option. My kids loved the pizza and pasta at the Italian, and there is plenty of great ‘kid food’ at the Avenue Bar! We really enjoyed the Asian Fusion restaurant, one of several ala carte that require reservations.  All of the ala carte venues are nice, and the pace is less hectic than the buffet, excellent service.

The vino at the buffets and bars is a bit on the enh side (from a tap), but you can call room service any day and ask them to bring you bottled wine, and they bring it right up! And its decent.  If you are a real wine lover, there are premium bottles you can order in any restaurant or bar.

The evening entertainment was enjoyable — they have a little area set up outside the buffet that seems like a tiny little town. Every evening our kiddos enjoyed the live music and dancing. The big nightly shows in the theatre were fine — not great, but entertaining.  Since we were traveling with our girls, we didn’t stay up late enough to check out the disco, but I heard it was hoppin’!

The kids club staff was wonderful — fun activities, the only neg was that they are ‘closed’ from 7:30 – 8:30pm for resort activities. So if you’re hoping to have dinner without the kids, either do it early or plan to do it late.

Overall we loved the staff & enjoyed getting to know them. We even made a room change and late check out request, and the staff  worked to accommodate both. Everyone always had a smile and a ‘buenos dias’ throughout the resort.

Finally, beware of the bloodsuckers!  The girls and I all seemed to attract them when we forgot to use repellent — you might want to bring some along.  If you don’t have overly strong reactions to bites you’ll be fine.  Sadly for me, I have crazy strong reactions with swelling.

I saw several travelers using drink mugs from home.  Its a great idea.  For one thing, you can bring an insulated mug and keep your beverages chill.  For another, the glasses were constantly being washed and reused at the pool bars, and the soap left a very strong, sweet odor, so I usually rinsed mine out before using.  I wasn’t worried about imbibing anything soapy, but the odor didn’t compliment my margaritas rockas!

We would love to go back, and as far as All Inclusives’ go, I would rate this one a solid 4.

Wish I was there right now . . .

For more information about the Sandos resorts, or all inclusive travel, hit me up at

  • Ah yes the Sandos, good times…

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  • Hi Amy. Did you travel through their vacation club promo? They offer a 5 night stay for half price. I have been booking clients for their program for five years. I hope you’ll share this with your readers. I personally walk people through all the details. Thanks, Tom Bowman Ps. They offer this at all 4 Mexico locations year round including holidays!

    • Amy Ortiz

      Hi Thomas,
      I don’t book through their vacation club promo. I’m not a fan of spending vacation time at timeshare promotions. They do have online booking promotions that don’t require a timeshare presentation I do use when they are available. Cheers! Amy

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