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We recently booked a weekend at the Sandos Luxury Resort Cancun — an all inclusive resort boasting three infinity pools and five restaurants! The resort received many positive reviews online so my expectations for this hotel located right on the beach were pretty high. Here’s a review of my experience staying that the Sandos Luxury Resort in Cancun, Mexico.
The Sandos Luxury Resort Cancun is located right in the middle of the “hotel zone” in Cancun. It’s about a 20 minute taxi ride from Cancun International Airport (CUN) and that ride will cost you about $30 to $40 USD.
I normally survey the surrounding area for restaurants and other interesting places but this trip was a little different. Since the resort is all-inclusive, we took advantage of that fact and ate all of the meals we could at the hotel over our 3-day stay. Thus, we we didn’t venture out into the surrounding area and I can’t comment on nearby restaurants.
Like most resorts in this area of Cancun, the resort is located right on the beach so you just have to walk down a couple of tiers from the pool area and you’re in the ocean. It’s a pretty steep slope where the waves wash in so be ready for that.
Everyday we were there, the beaches were marked with red flags, (supposedly) signaling that you shouldn’t be swimming. However plenty of guests were swimming in the water at all times and while the waves did wash up on the steep sand embankment pretty strong, I still felt just fine in the water. If I had smaller children, however, I don’t know that I’d feel safe with them in the water on a red flag day, since the undertow can be quite strong.
Everything in the hotel is very accessible and easily found.
As soon as you walk into the lobby, your bags will be taken by a “bellboy,” and they’ll bring your bags up to your room for you as soon as you finish checking in.
The check-in desk is on your left when you enter. I often only saw one staff member working the desk, so things could potentially get a little slow there, especially if a large group comes in before you (we saw a group of about 20 arrive after us).
The concierge is on the opposite side of the lobby and unlike the reception desk, they were often staffed with several people.
The restaurants, bar, gift shop, pool area, etc. are all located just a couple of seconds from the main entrance in the lobby and there are signs on the walls pointing you to the right directions, so it’s extremely easy to navigate the hotel corridors.
There are two areas where the hotel really shines: the pool areas and the many different dining facilities. I’ll begin with the pool areas.
The pool areas at the resort make up a cascade of large infinity pools, with each over-flowing tier of water bringing you closer to the beach. The winding walkways and platforms surrounding the pools are lined with beautiful covered sun beds, but if you want one you should get an early start as guests snatch them up pretty quickly.
During the afternoon and evening many of the guests hung out in the pool area but since there are three pools and each one is quite large, it never looked like the guests were overcrowding the pools, so you should be able to find a spot to relax at just about any time.
One of the coolest features of the pool is definitely the over-sized chess board. A small walkway takes you on to the circular platform coated with some kind of waterproof astro-turf. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chessboard like that on a pool, so it was cool to stumble upon something a bit different.
There are actually five restaurants located on the premises. Note: some of the restaurants have dress codes so make sure you bring “smart casual” apparel.
The first is the restaurant that’s outside by the pools, “St. Trop.” It closes at 6pm and we were not able to try it but it looks like it serves standard snack bar type food and of course serves up drinks. If you want to eat there, you’ll be eating outdoors, so keep that in mind (shirt and shoes apparently still required).
Another restaurant was called “Seasons” but it required “elegant casual” dress code meaning no shorts. With this being such a short trip where we planned to be in the ocean more than not, we actually didn’t have any pants packed and so we weren’t even allowed in the Seasons restaurant! The third restaurant was called St. Trop like the snack bar but we didn’t make it to that restaurant either.
So where did we eat? Given our short time there (3 days) we were only able to try two of the restaurants on site. The first restaurant we made it to is called Zango.
Zango serves modern cuisine with flavors from around the world and different culinary styles every night. All three meals are served according to the hours below:
- Breakfast: 6:00 – 11:00 am
- Lunch: 12:00 – 16:00 pm
- Dinner: 18:00 – 23:00 pm
This restaurant also has a dress code as stated on their website:
- Bermuda shorts, nice sandals and sleeved shirts are allowed.
- Bathing suits, flip flops/plastic sandals and sleeveless shirts are not allowed
We ate at Zango the majority of the time and I believe it’s the only place to eat for breakfast. Every meal is a buffet-style meal and you will find no shortage of variety of tastes.
For dinner, they served a variety of sea food (salmon, shrimp, calamari, osyters, etc.), along with different types of meats like chicken and beaf fajita. There were tons of options for salads, sandwiches, and other random foods like mashed potatoes. In short, there was something for just about everyone and both of us enjoyed the food and thought that it was high quality.
There are like four tables full of ornately decorated desserts as well. They consisted of different types of tarts, pastries, cookies, little cake dishes topped with fruits, ice cream, etc. If you’re a dessert person, you’ll be overwhelmed and pleased with the options that’s for sure.
Breakfast was also a hit at Zango. They served up many of the staples of an American breakfast with eggs, hash browns, pancakes, french toast, etc.
There were tons of sliced fruit options for the breakfast buffet as well. One of my favorite things about the breakfast were the array of juices offered. They had your standard juices like orange juice and tons of others juices you don’t typically find like melon juice, papaya juice, and many others. If you’re a little adventurous, you can put your own combination together and experiment with flavors.
Gaijin is the Teppanyaki-style Japanese show cooking (hibachi grill) restaurant at the resort. Since it’s rather small, you have to make reservations for it, although you have to wait until the day-of to make reservations. The concierge at the front should be able to take care of the reservations for you.
The atmosphere created by the chef was up to par to other hibachi grills we’ve been to (we’ve been to several). Just in case you’ve never been to one before, it’s a type of restaurant where the chef creatively chops up and cooks everything right in front of you in entertaining fashion. Our chef was highly entertaining and full of energy the entire time.
The food was great at Gaijin, too. We went with the sushi appetizer and I really liked it (I’m not even much of a sushi eater). For the main course, we had the mixed meat with rice and vegetables and it was all very tasty. If you’re only going to be able to eat at a couple of the restaurants, I highly recommend that you choose this place!
This restaurant only serves dinner from 6 to 11pm and as stated, you must make reservations.
One way to tell a true luxury resort from a pretender is the level of service. In my opinion, a true luxury hotel has more than just big sparkly pools, stiff drinks, and a great location on the beach, it has a staff that’s willing to do whatever they need to do to make your visit as comfortable as possible.
The Sandos offered an extremely high level of quality service at every turn from the front desk, restaurants, room service, etc. The high level of professional service exceeded my expectations and reassured me that the Sandos Resort is a legitimate luxury resort.
We were upgraded from a Deluxe Room to the Sandos Suite, which came with plenty of room. The room was also on the “Penthouse” level so we had the added experience of hitting the “PH” elevator button each time we made our way back to the room.
A welcome letter lay on our bed when we arrived in addition to a bottle of red wine on a table along with a couple of wine glasses.
The beds were very comfortable and soft along with the sheets and blankets. The only slight complaint I had with the room is that it was a little bit warm for my liking despite lowering the AC as low as possible (there are separate AC units for the bedroom and the suite area).
The bathroom impressed us and was very spacious with a shower and a bathtub with a built-in enclave. I liked the the see-through shower door but I could do without the see-through door to the toilet, although I appreciated it for the sake of symmetry.
I liked having the view of both the lagoon (where the sun sets) and the ocean from the balcony. If you want to be out on the balcony, there are two chairs and a small stand you can use to relax and take in the view. There is a noisy night club next door that you will likely hear while outside. I didn’t exactly expect weekend nights at Cancun to be quiet but it’s something to be aware of. The good news is that the glass doors muffle out most of the noise from outside, so when you’re inside it shouldn’t be much of a problem.
We were able to catch some spectacular weather from our balcony as we got ready to check-out. A large rain sheet poured over the lagoon side of the island to the north of us. Then, as the system moved eastward, we noticed a thin funnel cloud develop into a long waterspout and eventually touch down on the ocean! All the guests down on the beach completely froze while we watched the brilliant display of nature from afar. As far as I know, the waterspout never made land fall.
The living area is spacious and is the perfect place to eat your room service.
The Sandos Suite also came with a kitchenette and mini-bar. The kitchenette had a sink area, microwave, coffee makers, and some snacks like peanuts and crackers.
The mini-fridge came stocked with Dos Equis, Heineken, Tecate, a variety of sodas, and some cold chocolate snacks. The staff comes by everyday to make sure that your fridge is stocked with what you like and so you can pick and choose what you want them to fill it with.
Overall, I had another overwhelmingly positive experience at a hotel. I don’t have a lot of experience with all-inclusive hotels so I don’t have much to compare my stay to, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone going to Cancun and looking for a great all-inclusive to stay at.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.