The Royal Sands

If you are a timeshare owner (or guest of a timeshare owner) with Royal Resorts, the all-inclusive package at The Royal Sands is optional; for all others, it is mandatory upon booking.  With that being said, this fairly large property located near Kukulcán Plaza is ideal for those who enjoy the flexibility of having an all-inclusive package with a bit of DIY since all villas and suites include a fully outfitted kitchen including large refrigerators (only standard rooms or “lock offs” don’t have kitchen facilities).

The Royal Sands aerial view

Aerial view, courtesy Royal Resorts










Rooms and facilities here are classified as either belonging to Phase I or Phase II–Phase I is on the south side of the property and is considered to be the more “lively” part of the resort with its poolside music and activities.  Both Phases consist of multiple guest room buildings built around multiple pools in a half-circle formation.  A definite “pro” of this resort is that most guest rooms have an ocean view from their balcony given this half-circle formation.  Guests may choose from one of three room options:

  • Villa–two bedroom condo unit with two living room Murphy beds, two bathrooms, and a huge balcony (sleeps six)
  • Suite–one bedroom condo unit with two living room Murphy beds, one bathroom, and a large balcony (sleeps four)
  • Standard or “lockoff”–two double beds, no kitchen facilities, and a small balcony which can fit two chairs
The Royal Sands living room

Living room of the villa/suite, courtesy Royal Resorts










The Royal Sands first decided to offer an all-inclusive package in 2012 called the REFINE package and it includes the following amenities:

  • accommodations
  • meals and snacks
  • non-alcoholic and non-premium alcoholic beverages
  • room service and daily maid service
  • mini-bar with soda, water, fruit juice, and domestic beer
  • complimentary WiFi
  • access to the onsite Kid’s Club, tennis courts, and fitness center (those not staying with the REFINE package must pay an extra charge to use the gym)
  • taxes and gratuities
  • access to the facilities at The Royal Cancun and The Royal Haciendas
  • complimentary shuttle transportation to select Cancun Royal Resorts and associated facilities during scheduled hours
  • valet and general parking

The REFINE package does not include the following:

  • premium alcohol
  • premium menu items such as lobster or prime cuts of meat
  • flambéed desserts and specialty coffees
  • items at the following onsite facilities–Royal Roast Coffee Co., Royal Express Food-To-Go counter, Royal Market convenience store.  Guests who wish to purchase convenience store items can do so in advance and have them delivered to their suite prior to arrival.
  • Bartolos Pizza
  • spa and beauty salon services
  • bottles of alcohol/wine/champagne ordered at bars or from room service delivery
  • babysitting
  • arts and crafts stations
  • guest laundry
  • onsite stores
  • onsite medical services

All-inclusive guests have the option of customizing their stay with the inclusion of a REFINE Special Package–these allow guests to receive multiple opportunities to engage in their favorite vacation activities including spa, golf, or excursion packages.

The beach is one of the hallmarks of this property–it is a wide swathe of soft white sand next to turquoise ocean waters with well over 100 shade palapas.  Loungers dot the sandy landscape, and, as is typical of the east-facing Hotel Zone area, there is no natural shade.  Ocean swimming here can be rough at times and the undertow can be strong, but it is a quintessential Cancun beach and worth checking out.  Families bringing young children to swim in Cancun’s waters and wanting to stay with the Royal Resort brand may want to consider booking The Royal Cancun All Suites Resort on the upper part of the “7”.

The Royal Sands beach

Beach area











Pool lovers will be very pleased with The Royal Sand’s offerings since each Phase offers multiple pool areas.  Phase I has a three-in-one pool including a large section with two swim-up bars, a sectioned-off shallow area for children, and the built-in central lap pool with rounded infinity edge.  Phase II has two smaller freeform pools–one with a swim-up bar and another shallow children’s pool.  Both sundeck areas have loungers and manmade shade structures, but few shade umbrellas and only several scattered palms providing natural shade.

The Royal Sands Phase I pool

Phase I pool, courtesy

The Royal Sands Phase II pool

Phase II pool, courtesy








Although guest rooms are generally very spacious (especially the villas and suites), vacationers may be disappointed with the dated rattan furniture.  If guests can overlook the décor they will discover more than ample indoor/outdoor living space for large families in the suites; guests staying in the standard room category or “lock out” , however, do not have full kitchens but do have space enough on their balcony to fit two chairs.  Guests lucky enough to stay on the 3rd floor, center building in Phase I, will find a “community terrace”–not much privacy but definitely plenty of space to spread out.  Guests staying in rooms on the community terraces need to be aware that balcony doors automatically lock when shut.  NOTE:  The Royal Sands started out and continues to be a resort with a very strong timeshare emphasis.  As a result, members generally arrive on a Saturday which may result in non-members having to switch rooms in the midst of their vacation.

While The Royal Sands only offers the onsite buffet and nearby Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurants available for evening meals, guests willing to go offsite can also enjoy dining at nearby Royal sister resorts in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or other designated restaurants in Cancun–complimentary shuttle transportation to other Cancun Royal Resorts is included in the REFINE all-inclusive package (there is no shuttle service to Cancun locations on Saturday, however).  Since public transportation is so readily available and inexpensive in the Cancun area, guests should have no difficulty catching a bus or cab back to the Royal Sands if the shuttle is no longer available.

For those young adults thinking of booking this resort, the minimum check-in age is 25–quite a change from most other resorts in the Cancun area where the general minimum check-in age ranges from 18-21.  The Royal Sands is a quiet, family-friendly resort and intends to keep it that way by discouraging groups of young adults from booking here.

Type of Resort:  Family-friendly, condo-style with most units offering fully-equipped kitchens.

Pro:  Pools, beach, free WiFi, lots of guest room space in villas and suites, ocean view from most guest rooms, stay at one play at several Royal Resorts.

Con:  Saturday room-switching, few onsite dining options, no non-motorized water sports offered.

Best Suited For:  Families with children who like to have the flexibility of an all-inclusive option and the facilities for making snacks/meals themselves.

No. of Rooms:  340

Room Amenities:  King or two dbl beds (villas and suites also have two Murphy beds in the living room), A/C, balcony/terrace, digital safe, full or mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, TV, DVD player, ceiling fan, telephone, iron/ironing board, robes, hair dryer, tub/shower combo, toiletries, daily maid service, 24-hr. room service, and complimentary WiFi.  Here is a brief listing of guest room categories:

  • Standard Room (“lock out”):  Two dbl beds and mini-fridge.  Small balcony.
  • One Bedroom Suite:  King bed in separate bedroom, fully equipped kitchen with stove/oven, full refrigerator, dining area with seating for four, sofa, two TV’s, living room with two Murphy beds, large balcony with table and four chairs.
  • Two Bedroom Master Suite (Villa):  This consists of a one bedroom suite and a standard “lock out” room (see above descriptions).

Physically Challenged Rooms:  Available

Resort Amenities:  Three pools, some with built-ins (Phase I–main pool with two swim-up bars, built-in lap pool and children’s pool); Phase II–two freeform pools, one with a swim-up bar while the other is the children’s pool), spa (fish spa option), beauty salon, fitness center, tennis courts, sports bar, pottery painting, Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), pool wait service, beach wait service with the use of a flag system, small grocery store onsite, complimentary shuttle to local Royal Resorts, concierge, tour desk, gift shop, jewelry store, car rental, and ATM.

Restaurants/Bars:  One onsite buffet (La Veranda) and one nearby a la carte (Hacienda Sisal) for lunch and evening dining–reservations required for dinner.  There is the poolside Char Hut for daytime burgers and snacks and the Sidelines Sports Bar for additional snacks.  The Royal Express Food-To-Go counter offers roast chicken, BBQ ribs, salads, and desserts at an extra cost; pizza from Bartolo’s is also not included in the REFINE package.  There are four onsite bars including three swim-up/pool bars and the sports bar, while offsite bars include Pancho Willy’s as well as those located at other specified Royal Resorts.  The following are additional offsite evening dining, drinking, and entertainment options:

  • Captain’s Cove:  Across the street from The Royal Caribbean in Cancun (seafood)
  • Pancho and Willy’s Bar:  Located next door to Captain’s Cove for after dinner entertainment like karaoke and live music
  • El Conquistador:  Gourmet seafood, located at The Royal Haciendas in Playa del Carmen (evening transportation not included)
  • NOTE:  Reservations are required for all offsite a la carte restaurants for dinner.

Entertainment:  There is live entertainment at the Hacienda Sisal restaurant and karaoke at Pancho and Willy’s Bar.  The sports bar provides the airing of live TV sports; however, there is not much in the way of entertainment at the resort itself.