Sandos Playacar - A Review
Just returned from a fantastic 2 weeks at the Sandos Playacar in Mexico and thought this review might be helpful.
The reason I selected this hotel is that as this was a family holiday with 2 young children I needed a resort that allowed kiteboarding directly off the beach in front of the hotel, allowing my wife and children to enjoy the beach whilst I went kiteboarding.
: Whilst I was there the wind blew 13-17 knots pretty much every day, cross on from the left (and on 2 occasions onshore). The water is warm all year round, so no need for a wetsuit. The beach is wide, the wind is smooth and the only hazard is a small reef about 200m downwind of the main kiting zone, making this an ideal spot. The only real rules are quite simple – stay out of the swimming area (upwind of the launch) and other water users have priority.
There is a kiteboarding school at the hotel run by really good guy called Mickey and from what I saw his students were progressing very quickly from complete novices to heading up wind in a few days, mainly due to his approach to teaching. When the wind is offshore at Playacar, Mickey can organise an excursion to a lagoon near Cancun.
: The Hotel is a large all inclusive resort with 2 buffet restaurants and 6 a la carte restaurants. The room was clean and comfortable and easily had enough space for a family of 4 (2 children aged 1 and 3). Everyday the rooms are thoroughly cleaned and the minibar is restocked. Due to the size of the hotel it is important to request ‘Standard’ accommodation if you want to be close to the beach. Larger rooms are available in the ‘Riviera’ section but this is almost 10 minutes walk from the beach. When I first arrived I was allocated a room in the ‘Riviera’ section even though I had explicitly asked for accommodation near the beach, luckily this was resolved a day after arriving.
: The buffet food is very good quality, providing a wide range of dishes for all three meals. The selection of dishes available in the evening is changed every night so there was always something different to try. There are also 6 a la carte restaurants (Mexican, Brazilian, Mediterranean, French, Asian and a Steak House) which have to be pre-booked. A 2 week stay entitled me to 6 meals in the a la carte restaurants. I tried all of them apart from the French restaurant, because it does not allow children. In my opinion the best restaurant is the Brazillian, providing you like meat the food is fantastic. The most disappointing restaurant was the Mexican, I actually found that the Mexican food on the buffet on ‘Mexican night’ was far better.
: The hotel provides a kids club for children over 2 years of age. My daughter liked it when she went but for most of the holiday she simply wanted to come to the beach.
Spa: The hotel also has a spa with Thalassotherapy (posh Jacuzzi) and a gym.
: Apart from kitesurfing the following other activities are available:
Dive excursions, PADI diving courses
: There is some sort of timeshare club thing going on at the Sandos Playacar (apparently most Mexican hotels have it). This was the only downside. The timeshare guys loiter around reception and try to convince people checking in to go to a presentation. They offer some sort of special upgrade but I simply was not interested. They are persistent but will eventually get the message.
Overall I would recommend this hotel / resort for anyone that wants a quality hotel that allows kitesurfing. It is an ideal resort for families and I had a very enjoyable relaxed holiday. Excellent food, comfortable accommodating and fantastic kiting.
For more information and photos see: