Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa Reviews

Resort And Spa

The Sandos Playacar Resort & Spa is an all-inclusive, oceanfront resort located in the Playacar strip of hotels just south of Playa del Carmen's downtown and pedestrian-friendly 5th Avenue.

This property, originally built in 1996, was formerly known as the Gala Playacar, and is still labeled as such on some dated hotel maps. It is the most southern property on the Playacar strip, next to the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal resort; this means there is a nice section of beach to the south of the resort that is not fronting any hotels or cluttered with lounge chairs.

... more The Sandos Playacar Resort & Spa is comprised of three sections laid out vertically in a long, skinny rectangle perpendicular to the beach: Sandos Beach, two four-story buildings closest to the Caribbean Sea and adjacent to the activity pool; Sandos Haciendas, 16 two-story buildings each with its own pool and each housing 10 guest rooms; and Sandos Riviera, which is the biggest and newest section, debuting in April 2008 and farthest from the beach, but with the largest rooms with the most modern amenities.

On the Sandos Hotels & Resorts website the Sandos Playacar Riviera is listed as a totally separate hotel from the Sandos Playacar Beach (together comprising the Sandos Playacar Resort & Spa). But guests of the Sandos Playacar Riviera and the Sandos Playacar Beach share all of the same facilities, including check-in lobby, pools, kids' club, spa and restaurants.

In fact, when my group of 14 (three generations of family!) stayed at the resort in December 2008, we booked rooms in the least-expensive, convenient-to-the-ocean Beach section. When we arrived, we were "upgraded" to the Riviera section - without having been asked. We did not view this as an upgrade because the Riviera section is a good 10-minute walk to the beach. We spent one night in our Riviera rooms, and then were able to stay in Beach rooms - which we loved even if they were older, smaller and not as nicely decorated - for the duration of our week's stay.

My advice: Make it very clear when you are booking your reservations which style of accommodations you want at this 860-room property. (See Digs for Kids below.) Also note that there is a totally different Sandos property north of Playa del Carmen called the Sandos Caracol Beach.

Our Editor Loves

  • All-inclusive rates
  • Preserved Mayan ruins on the property
  • Waterfront location and white sandy beach

Family Interests

  • All Inclusive
  • Beach
  • Bicycling
  • Museum/Cultural
  • Water Sports

Family Amenities

  • Babysitting
  • Children's Program
  • Connecting Rooms
  • Cribs
  • Game Room
  • Kids' Pool
  • Kids'/Theme Meals
  • Laundry Service
  • Onsite Dining
  • Refrigerator
  • Pool


We had a wonderful time and experience at the Sandos Playacar in Mexico. There were three families in our group(six adults and 7 children). The resort was beautiful and clean. There were many restaurants with wonderful food and...

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Room configurations in the three different sections of the resort are varied. But the most ideal rooms for families feature two double beds and a pull-out sofa, which allows for two adults and up to three children in one room. These "junior suites" can be found in the new Riviera section.

Again, the newest Riviera section is furthest from the activity pool and the beach with balconies overlooking the "quiet" pool or the jungle. The junior suites here are spacious, with huge bathrooms with double sinks, separate shower and commode areas, and two-person Jacuzzi tub, plus a flat-screen television. The decor is modern and sophisticated with dark wood and warm beige accents.

Junior suites in the middle Hacienda section can also accommodate five guests (two adults and three children) with two double beds and a pull-out sofa bed. While some of the junior suites here have been updated to reflect the new modern decor and amenities of the Riviera section, most resemble the decor in the older Beach section (see below). One nifty thing about the quiet Hacienda section is that each of the 16 free-standing buildings has its own small, private, four-foot-deep pool and deck area with table and chairs. The Hacienda section features a lot of greenery, from the many shrubs and bushes to the rolling green lawn.

The standard Beach rooms are smaller than the Riviera rooms. Although some of the room configurations here have two double beds and one day bed/couch that together could technically accommodate two adults and three children, the official word is that they are limited to two adults and two children. The decor in our royal-blue and yellow room could be described as "Caribbean floral." The bathroom with shower only was not near as spacious as the bathrooms in the new Riviera rooms.

All resort rooms have a stocked mini-fridge, air-conditioning, balcony or terrace, in-room safe and hair dryer. Irons and ironing boards are only included in the Riviera section; you can ask for one to be delivered to your room. Complimentary cribs are available on request; there are no bedrails.

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