Submitted on 30-07-2016
My husband and I booked this resort to celebrate our 20th anniversary, in a Select Club Jacuzzi Room. July 10-16th. We booked through Vacation Express web site. Private transfer via Canada Transfers, see my review under their airport transfers on TA. Prior to arriving at the resort I emailed Sandos and was in contact with Ruben P. Ruben was prompt in returning emails and getting details needed for a wonderful stay. He even resent things, that I could not find in my email box. Very considerate. T...
My husband and I booked this resort to celebrate our 20th anniversary, in a Select Club Jacuzzi Room. July 10-16th. We booked through Vacation Express web site. Private transfer via Canada Transfers, see my review under their airport transfers on TA. Prior to arriving at the resort I emailed Sandos and was in contact with Ruben P. Ruben was prompt in returning emails and getting details needed for a wonderful stay. He even resent things, that I could not find in my email box. Very considerate. This was a great help as I knew what do upon arrival, along with reading reviews here on Trip Advisor.
Upon arrival at Sandos Caracol, we walked directly to the Select Club check in, to the left of the lobby, follow signs. We arrived a little before noon and were greeted with a cold drink and a friendly check in. We were given our gold wrist bands. Our room was not ready, they suggested we get lunch at the Select Club, Fogo de Brazil, being new, it looked like it was closed, our fault, we did not ask. We walked to the El Nido for a light lunch and a cerveza. They had a delicious cabbage and ham, that we enjoyed, we make something similar at home. It was hot and we were tired, so we were happy to have a simple lunch. We decided to go to the Select Club pool to wait for our room. Again, it was very hot, the water was very warm, not really refreshing, but hey, we are in Mexico. We have a cold drink in our hands, we are looking at palm trees and blue skies. Plus, you have a waitress bring you drinks. Who really notices the warmer water now? Not me! About 2:45pm, I walked to the main lobby to see if our room was available. A short wait and yes, it's ready! First I walked to room 5901, to see of it would work for us, at first I was bummed that we did not get a 2nd floor room. As the day and week went on, we were super happy with the 1st floor room. Not having to walk up and down steps every time we went to the room. I went back to the lobby, the bellman loaded our bags and we headed to the room, stopping by the pool to getting our backpacks, he was very helpful. He asked if the room was ok, yes. Perfect!
Our room 5901, had a "Happy Anniversary" banner on the door. A plate of fruit, chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of sparkling wine and a fridge full of soda, beer and snacks, like you see in pictures here on TA. There were also candles, candle holder, incense, bath bomb and 2 swan towels on the bed. Very pretty to walk into. The rooms are simple, yet clean. There was also the water dispenser that you could make tea or instant coffee with. We left a note and a couple of dollars, asking for more Pepsi Light and to only have one type of Cerveza( one brand gives me bad headaches). The request was filled and taken care of each day of our visit. To avoid the warmer water issue, I kept the water bottle i got during the airport to resort transfer, filled this bottle each night and placed it in the fridge. So each morning, I had cold water to drink. This worked very well. We also brushed our teeth using the bottled water, just to be safe. During our stay, we did not have any stomach or intestinal issues.
That night we ate at La Riviera. Mediterranean Restaurant. It was AMAZING! I had the Surf and Turf(grilled shrimp and Filet) my husband had a seafood stew, that he loved. They also had delicious desserts, Creme Brulee and Lemon Gelato. The gelato was just as good as in Italy!! During our 6 night stay, we ate at this restaurant 4 times. The food was always spot on and the service was excellent.
We ate one time at Los Liros, the Steak and Fish Club, we were seated next to the window, with an amazing view of the ocean. Our service was excellent, our food was good, but we truly felt that La Riviera was better. Los Liros has good a/c, in comparison with the Italian Restaurant, La Toscana. We ate at La Toscana, one night, the service again is excellent. It was VERY hot for us, just sitting. The workers had to be miserable, if they were, they did not show it. The food as just ok. The lasagna was cooked well, the sauce tasted like it was Ragu, nothing great. The Margherita pizza, was missing the basil, the dough tasted like Bisquick. Sorry not impressed. It was truly too hot in here to enjoy a meal. Please add better a/c or fans to keep things a little cooler. I know we are in the tropics, but, it can be better.
We had most of our breakfast and lunches in the Select Club restaurant. The service was fantastic by Isodoro and Jazmin. We would try to get their tables each time. Alfonso in the bar took excellent care of us. Make sure to see them while you are here! The ceviche is a must try, I had this just about everyday for lunch and or dinner. Loved this!! Great job Sandos Caracol!!
The Mexican Buffet Las Mascaras was very good. We enjoyed the food. We did ask for flour tortilla instead of corn tortillas and the obliged. The Mariachi band was fun and they played a song for us.
The Cenote and river tours were great and refreshing. It was a perfect way to cool off in the afternoon. We learned a lot on both tours and our skin felt amazing afterwards. The Romantic Boat Ride was very nice, I would recommend booking in the morning, when it is a slight bit cooler. I was hoping for Jesus, but he is now working in another aspect on the property.
The evening shows were fantastic! Very talented people, we were impressed!
Jesus in The Select Club Beach House is an awesome bartender! He would remember which type of drinks you had ordered the day before. The food in the SC Beach house was very good. It varied from day to day, little sandwiches, fruit, salads, chocolates and other desserts. I really like the mini BLT's, chocolate covered strawberries and home made chocolates, filled with preserves. YUMMY! The waitress/waiters on the SC beach was really nice too. Great place to sit back and chill out.
We borrowed the bikes for a quick bike ride, truly, it was just too hot to ride for long, in the afternoon. Grab a bike in the morning and go check out the resort.
This resort is large, it will take time to get around. Make the most of it. Grab a drink, and wonder around, look for paths and explore. The grab another drink and explore more. You are in paradise, enjoy it all. Soak it up. There are plenty of shady spots to stop in and cool off or rest. This is truly a very tropical, jungle like setting. If you are not looking for this then go to the PlayaCar resort. Playacar feels like the Gulf Coast of Florida in our opinion. So yes, think is jungle like, yes there are some mosquitoes. If you are prone to getting bit, like me, use repellent. By the end of the week, I probably had a dozen bites. All in all, not too many. My husband barely got any. Go figure :-) The suspension bridge is fun and interesting to walk across.
Water Park, we actually did not make it there. Only walked past.
The beach is beautiful and yes, rocky. There are plenty of areas to enter with stepping on rocks. But, as listed in other reviews, bring swim shoes if you feel you might want them. I bought ours at 5 Below for $5, they work fine and we used them during the river and cenote tours,as well. Please don't complain about the rocks and the beach. It is well published that it is rocky, if yo don't want rocks, then again, go to the Playacar resort. The rocks make for great snorkeling. Being upfront and frank here.
Room Service, was spot on. We ordered pancakes with bacon, coffee and Orange Juice. It arrived as promised, on time. We enjoyed our sparkling wine and OJ as Mimosa this morning, in the comfort and coolness of our room.
Jacuzzi tub, We had no issues, yes it takes awhile to fill, but we were not clocking into work, so it did not matter. The water was hot, too hot actually. We added ice from our bucket of ice to cool it down and cold water. Hot water not an issue in building 59. There is a bit of a funky smell with the water from the shower, not horrible, just different. I still felt and smelled clean after showering.
It was very quiet back in our area. There were cats that would sleep on our patio and out in front of the patio. The patios is small, but how long are you really going to sit on the patio? It is fine, if you want to hang out for a bit, like to drink a cup of coffee or a beer. Not a place I would sit for hours. If you look, you could see the SC pool through the trees. This building was very close to the waterfall cenote, very beautiful.
Elite Club- we were approached about the Elite Club. We spent a few minutes with the gal, she offered us free this and that, etc. We had to go to our Romantic Boat ride, she asked that we come back and see her. Out of respect, when we were done with the boat ride, we sought her out. We told her that we had no interest in buying into the program, that we were not at all interested. She asked nicely one more time, we said "no thank you." After kind words, she left us alone. No one else bothered us. This was on our 3rd day. Our phone in the room rang everyday prior to this. We knew it was about the Elite Club, so we did not answer the phone.
Room was taken well care of each day, no new towel animals showed up. Only one time did we need to call for more towels, as we only had one. Wash clothes showed up on day 3. Floors felt clean. along with bathroom facilities.
Romantic, YES!! My husband and I were there celebrating out 20th Wedding Anniversary. We felt like it was a romantic trip. The adult only pool in the Select Club was great with relaxing music or sometimes no music, just the birds and the breeze. We both agreed that it is about what you make it, if you are not a romantic, you are not handed a romantic card, you have to make your own romance. Believe me, we saw many people that obliviously felt it was romantic too. Even with kids around in the other restaurants, it is a great place to be. We have stayed at at least 5 other all inclusive resorts in Bahamas, Jamaica and Mexico. This is right up there with Sandals Resorts, where we honeymooned, in Jamaica. When it comes to romance, remember, its what you make it or don't make it.
We did have one afternoon, where some 20 somethings from Chicago were super drunk, talking loud, cussing and being obnoxious. It was annoying. Luckily they weren't; around a ton when we were there after this.
We did see the Bird Sanctuary, the deer encounter, the donkey area and many types of animals.
Beds and pillows were comfortable, in fact I miss my pillow I used there.
Wear comfortable shoes for walking.
Notes for resort improvement and other Miscellaneous thoughts.
1. Need fans and better circulation in the Elephant Bar in the main lobby, next to the bar area specifically. The poor bartenders and patrons were dripping sweat and melting from the lack of air movement. This is also an issue in the Italian Restaurant, as mentioned earlier in this review.
2. The pools need more attention when it comes to keeping debris out. I would like to see more time spent, seeing pool employees cleaning the water, getting rid of the floating matter. We did see a worker replacing tiles, these is a long and tedious task and a never ending task. Nice work here, in my opinion. The pool deck at the Select Club needs to be cleaned and swept daily. There are trees that drop some sort of fruit, that never go swept up in the 7 days, 6 night we were there. I would use my flip flops to clear a path, so that I would not step on these. I saw workers blowing debris off the walking paths everyday, never saw anyone clean the pool deck area or evidence that it was cleared off. This was disappointing to us. As the rest of the resort seemed to not look like this.
3. There was only one employee that we felt didn't fit the resort, there was different times this person was friendly and took great care of you, 10 minutes later this employee would totally ignore you for the next 30 minutes. There was almost always a bit of an edge or unhappiness, once in a while you would see a smile. We were very good tippers for all the staff. We tried to speak a little Spanish, when greeting. We made it a point to learn a new phrase everyday. So, we are not sure why this was. Other people we met noticed too.
4. I was totally fine until stomach and gut wise right up until ab hour before we left.We ate at the International buffet La Laguna, lunch the day before we left and lunch on the day we left. My guts started hurting about an hour before we left. Very bad cramping. Luckily, I was able to make it home with tolerable issues. We arrived home about midnight, and I felt chilled and feverish. For the next 3-4 days I had stomach and intestinal cramping, etc. I have seen where other people had simialr issues. I find it interesting that no issues until I ate a LaLaguna. My husband ate different food and did not have issues. I will not let this cloud my judgement or my desire to return.
There is so much more I would love to share about this resort. But I am already at almost 13,000 words.
This is a fantastic resort! With Great employees like Alfonso, Isodoro and Jazmin in the Select Club Restaurant/ Bar. Jesus in the SC Beach House bar. Sandos Caracol, please share this with them.
My husband and I would return as a couple for another "romantic getaway."
My husband and i plan to bring out teenage kids. If we had younger kids, we would also consider bringing them. It looks like there are a ton of things for the young kids to do. They looked very happy running around.
Sandos Caracol, we will return.