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Sandos Caracol Playa del Carmen / Horrible Experience

1 Mexico Review updated:

I'm not sure where to even start...We stayed at Sandos Caracol Playa del Carmen

Royal Elite sends out faxes to companies offering great rates and then after sending non-refundable reservation money, they bait & switch you into having to attend a time share, charging extra for "seasonal" and paying extra fees (taxes) upon arrival. Our trip went from $369 per person to $600 per person immediately. Unfortunately they were awful and never did seem to get anything right with our trip coordinator as planned, messed up our reservations and all around were horrible. We asked for adjoining rooms or at least close by - didn't happen. She asked about taxi to Playa del Carmen and the man she spoke with at Royal Elite said, "Why would you need a cab, your IN Playa" - he obviously didn't even know what hotel we were at, I'm surprised we even HAD reservations upon arrival.

Royal Elite in some way represents Sandos, they were our first "taste" of what was to come and it just got even more bitter as the week work on. Even up to the last day when Ruby organized our return trip to the airport, they were confused, unorganized and rude.

Jorge at the Spa...FABULOUS - Cherish him as a valuable Employee
Maritcza in Housekeeping ...WONDERFUL kept our VERY CLEAN, mini bar stocked & comfortable
Bartenders, Waiters/Waitresses ... obviously work very hard and were ALWAYS pleasant!
Pool and facility Activities...EXCELLENT Variety of things to do!

Checkin @ Sandos
For months prior to the trip, Royal Elite was told that there were four of us traveling and we would like either adjoining rooms or at least close to each other and we needed two (2) rooms for the four of us. Upon arrival, staff could only find room information for one of our rooms and not the other.

Once they did we ended up nowhere near each other and obviously not adjoining. Why this was such a problem, we don't know. They upgraded us "per VIP" not to oceanside rooms as advertised to VIP's but to King Size beds w/jacuzzi rooms. This would have been perfect for honeymooners, not for women traveling together who aren't lesbians. While the room was nice, we would have preferred double beds and when we asked for that, we were told, "But this is the upgrade"...fine - but we didn't want that, we wanted separate beds. Upon finding a sofa sleeper in the room, we were a bit more relieved...HOWEVER, despite at least 3 requests we never did receive extra blankets or pillows so that we could have even used it.

Had hot water for 1 day out of 5 - when we asked if we could change to another room, we were told Sandos was booked full.
Never got extra blankets/pillows so we could use sofa bed, despite repeated requests
Jacuzzi tub while nice, was cold water and I could pee faster and it would have taken hours to fill
Why are rooms so different with what is in them? One of us had champagne, robes & liquor - the other nothing

Restaurant Reservations
Your info states you can make reservations from 7am - 3pm most days for a few restaurants that need them. Why then did the woman taking reservations refuse to take them for more than 2 people at a time. We had four in our group, she said not available. So, we had to book 2+2 ? What sense did that make? When we went for our 8:45 reservation at Steakhouse, the place had 80% vacancy and why could you only book 1 reservation per restaurant? I wanted to eat steak everyday!

Time Share Presentation
Oh my god, how horrible and pushy were these people. Seth is a great liar and dragged us around the resort, wasted 2-1/2 hours of our time and then got very upset and mean when we said NO THANK YOU for the 40th time. They represent what goes on at your hotel, you are somewhat responsible for their actions and "Auntie Leslie" was the worst. She actually said to us, "Too bad to be poor" when we declined for the 50th time. They even dangled room upgrades in front of us only to immediately get RUDE when we threatened to get up and walk out. Also told us we had to speak with yet another person to make sure we weren't charged FULL price for our rooms?

Return trip to Airport
This is another joke - need to get organized.
Bell boy: $355 (USD) for four to airport
Elena @ Royal Elite: $38 (USD) cab for two ... we had 4 people, would have needed 2 cabs
Rubi @ Royal Elite: $50 (USD) van for four.

*No ATM/Cash Machine on property...YOUR KIDDING!
*No screen on patio door, actual room door looked like it had been kicked in once or twice
*Lightbulbs missing in room

Management, Concierge
None of Management/Concierge staff was outstanding in anyway. No personal service and the Front Desk didn't seem to care if you were happy or not, made no attempt to make situation better. Travelers are not asking for excellence however, a friendly HELLO, "How are things going?"; "I'm sorry, let me take care of that right away"...Those are all things your staff needs to learn. Frank at the front desk? Disorganized, and almost foolish that he didn't know how to perform his job - maybe a waiter position would be better!

In Closing:
Have I advised my travel agent of our bad experience @ Sandos...YES
Am I also sending this to the Mexico Chamber of Commerce/Tourism...YES
Overall, would I recommend Sandos Caracol to anyone...NO.
Maybe it's the Time Share vultures that gave it a bad taste on our 2nd day, but it became hard to enjoy.

So, you asked, I told. I sincerely hope you also RECOGNIZE the COMPLIMENTS of the people who do the hardest work there (Housekeeping, Spa Staff, Maintenance & Wait Staff) as well. They are your best ASSET!

I'm sure you'll advise the rest of your staff of my complaints. Will things change? Probably not because they believe they are doing a great job funneling thousands of people thru your resort. But you know what? It could all come to an end if word of poor service starts to spread. With the economy the way it is I want to get every benefit my hard earned dollar can give me. Where I spend my dollar will treat me with respect and consideration, neither of which I felt I got at your hotel.

Guest of Sandos Caracol 1/15/09 - 1/20/09

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  • Ac
      18th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hi ScoopWis!

    Have you complained to Sandos Hotels via their comment feedback page?
    Not sure if Profeco's mandate covers your bait and switch fiasco, but they are supposed to handle consumer complaints, so they may be worth a try?
    [Just for giggles!]
    Given that they target married heterosexual couples and single females, the next you are at a timeshare presentation in Mexico, at the ninety minute mark, stand up and give your girlfriend a quick peck on the cheek [have your friend giggle] and say, we have to leave now, can we have our free gifts! Have a little fun at their expense! You could even have a camera that one of you takes a bunch of pictures with as you tour the resort, include the timeshare people in the pictures, goof around, even take pictures of their scratch notes ... see how they react!
    However, unless you are going to mess with the timeshare sales people, a timeshare presentation is just not worth wasting your valuable vacation time on. Just say NO!
    Sorry you had such a crappy experience! The next one will be better! Probably even fantastic!
    "Light up the darkness!" - Robert "Bob" Nesta Marley
    Regards, Acheron

  • Ri
      25th of Mar, 2013
    0 Votes

    We purchased a Royal Elite timeshare with Sandos Caracol for a studio unit. One year later when we attempted to book the unit we were sold, we were told that unit does not actually exist at that resort. We can go to the "Superior" room, or pay extra weeks to be upgraded, IF they can accomodate us at the time. They are deceitful. Beware!!! We are not the only ones, this is a forum with more angry Royal Elite Timeshare owners:

  • Km
      6th of Apr, 2013
    0 Votes

    EVERYONE! Write the President, your U.S. Congresspeople, and the Attorney General’s Office! LIFETIME CONTRACTS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED!!!

    Sign the petition at

    and post this to as many boards as you can!

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