This is my 9th time to Mayan Riveria so I’ve think I have a good handle on what to expect going to these all inclusives. Been to the Bahia Principe (good a la carte), Iberostar (good a la cartes & service), Ocean Turquesa (nice rooms & loungy), Princess (grand place), Barcelo Tropical (amazing beaches), Gran Sirenis (nice rooms & shows), X Caret (ok and attached to park), and Kentaneh (9 yrs ago), Every resort will have it’s advantages. The thing that really stands out here at the Palladium is the great variety of beach fronts (like Barcelo). Also unlimited al la cartes and no reservation policy. The other thing is it’s great bang for the buck too.. Clientele appears to be mainly Spanish young couples on Riviera/White Sand side with some Brits thrown in. Whereas Colonial/Kent was more partier people or families from US. So you choose whether you want quiet or fun Overall Summary: Good place, good value, and a solid 4.5 star place… no place will be perfect even if you pay 1 ½ to 2 times the price….
Arrival: Tips: • If on the Riveria side – do whatever you can do to get building 60 (3 min to pool, 4 min to White Sand end of the beach, 6-8 min to main lobby) • Eat at busier buffets – hotter food and more frequent refills – ie. Colonial/Kentanah • At buffets order – cooked to order fish/meat then come back when ready • Exchange rate is 12 Peso for $1US or 10 for Cdn$ at hotel – going rate is about 14 peso. Cheaper to pay things by Pesos (eg collectivo or at stores or taxis) • If you want relaxation on the beach stay at the ends (White Sand or Kentanah) side – so peaceful, easy to find chairs and empty bars – no more than a 5-10min walk from centre of beach • Even better, if you don’t want beach is go to salt water pool – private bar as usually only 10 people lounging around. There are Bali beds there too and tiered lounge seating. • Adult pools are nice too as no people, kids and a bar to your self…..almost • Snorkel early in morning for better visibility – you can bring bread or mimic feeding action with your hand. • Take collectivo to Akumal Beach (20peso each). If you can bargain taxis for 100 peso go for that but they will ask for $20 US or 200 Pesos. • Wear mosquito repellant at seafood a la carte on the beach • Eat before 7pm and no waiting at all. Eat at 8pm then 1-1 1/2 hr wait (but usually 1/2 the stated time). • It is walkable to get to Colonial lobby from WS or Riveria within 10 min walk thru shortcuts. Even better is take any tram coming by and say I want to get as close as possible to the colonial lobby and you may only have to walk 3 min. Do not take the trains as you have to go to lobby and you have to wait around for them. • There is dark beer avail at major bars. Cognac avail at Hemingways and Gran Marnier avail at restaurant bars. They use mainly prem liquor (eg gin/rum) and don’t skim either. • There are novelty ice cream bars and scoop ice cream avail at Pool bars near buffets. • Wi fi avail in lobby but if you sit at the dinning room closest to lobby at buffet you can get the signal too on the Riveria Side. • BYO snorkel gear if you are an avid snorkeler. There are a few good mini and larger reefs right off beach. (around/beyond buoys at Kenenah) and between WS & Colonial near flag pole. Just look for were people snorkel. • Kids love tidal pools at low tide near salt water pool – starfish, scampi, tiny butterfly, damsel, sargent major, box fish etc…… • Riveria/WS pool is 4ft vs 5ft on Colonial/Ken side. So better for kids. Also it’s so quiet there. • Go to Akumal beach on your own to snorkel with turtles. Cheap $2 collectivo ride there. Can rent equip at Akumal Dive Centre if you don’t have own. Guaranteed citing. No need to pay $40 for a tour. Beach is amazing too and souvenirs are reasonable. • BYO clothes line – no rack or line on balcony
Rooms: FOOD: This is a biggy thing for me. We hit a la cartes every night given that we were eating buffet breakfast and lunch and many of the lunch stuff is at dinner. In general food quality is good esp when freshly made. You need to use your buffet 101 class. If it doesn’t look good, don’t take it. If, it’s almost empty wait for a fresh batch. Al La Cartes: Ribs and More (ate 2 times) -(9 out of 10) Salad bar a bit boring compared to others (just cold mussels, some shrimp salad, potato salads). For appetizers, Onion blossom (gross & greasy – awful batter), Buff wings (ok), chicken fingers gross looking, Beef broth (ok), Rib Eye is the best, NY Steak good too as well as Pork Ribs. Best dessert was chocolate soufflé, Apple strudle good, cheese cake hit or miss. Finish it off with a Gran Marnier. Steakhouse (9 out of 10) Appetizer bar slim but had some mayonaised smoke salmon. Onion soup good, tomato based soups so so, T Bone good, as is Rib Eye. Stay away from the filet. Not sure what kind of meat it was. Looked like it was hacked off a cow. For dessert apple pie was ok as was the brownie. Seafood (8.5 out of 10) Starter was plate of cheese on toast, and shredded crab meat on toast and strange quiche like pieces shared by all. Fish soup was very good – hearty and homemade like. For Appetizer the octopus ceviche was good, as was seafood ceviche, garlic shrimp were ok but mini portion and sized shrimp. For main, coconut shrimp was best. Mixed seafood was same as buffet (mahi-mahi, grouper, salmon) and a tiny clam shell and a mussel – so so, Octopus was ok for entree too. Didn’t eat dessert there as being bitten alive by mosquitos. Don’t feed the raccoons. Mediterranean (7 out of 10) Salad bar was ok with smoke salmon, beef carpaccio, couscous, humus. Appetizer soup was ok – bisque, or heavy potato cream soup. Entree, Veal Ratatouille was more like a thick piece of the filet from the steakhouse on a pile of potatoes. Not really like a stew like Ratatouille. It was edible but just ok. Cream Ravioli was ok. Avoid kid’s meal. Dessert, crème Brule was so so and a bit too big and not enough sugar crusting. Baklava ok despite not like a real baklava. Choc mouse so so.
Restaurants and Bars: Italian (5.5 out of 10) Good salad bar but was never refilled the entire time. Scrounged up some smoke salmon, tiny prawns, prosciutto, carpaccio. For appetizer, pizza was ok, salmon soup was pretty good tasted like shrimp bisque. Entrees bit of a disaster. Risotto starchy and blaaaa, stuff chicken breast was dry as cardboard, pasta a bit gluey. Awful tiramisu (buffet version was better), and choc mouse tasted like a chocolate covered marshmallow. Japanese Teppanyaki (5.5 out of 10) No sake – we are out, yeah right. Sushi rolls are shared – pretty gross and mushed up rice with some cream cheese or avocado or deep fried. No fish involved (negiri). Tempura was a regular battered tiny shrimp on a stick and a spring roll. Definitely not tempura. Miso soup was disgusting soya sauce based with some weird tasting deep fried wonton in it. Where’s the MISO? Fried rice – can’t go wrong. Veggies were 3 tiny bits each of whatever you got. Surf & turf nothing to write home to (some shrimp some beef, chicken, tiniest scallops dumped in soya sauce). Desert was pretty gross – deep fried batter ice cream or banana or a tasteless jello cake. Flan you could not go wrong. This place is over hyped and is only good if you want to watch the 7 min show by the chef and have never seen it. He was skillful but I’ve seen better show and audience participation at other resorts. The food ain’t quality – no where near Bennihana nor Bahia Principe’s Japanese food/show. This is not Japanese food but strange concoctions made with lots of soya sauce and butter and olive oil. Bennihana is not true Japanese either (an American invention) but it taste better. Yes I am a Japanese food snob. Actually went to buffet afterwards for the Italian Theme…. Buffets- Breakfast – good breads & pastries, churros doughnuts always there. Lots of fruits are provided in whole. Grab mangos if available, make your own Panini is good. Always pineapple, papaya, etc…. Lunch – Pool bar has higher turnover esp colonial side. Very similar to Dinner buffets. Always have your 3 fish (grouper is best), 3 meats (beef, chicken, pork) – made to order. Pastas not bad, pizza could be deep dish or thin crust. Paellas often there. Desserts more of the European lighter mousse type or light cake rather than heavy American style. So more refine. Soft ice cream is good as it’s very icy and not that sweet.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The Good: •Good snorkeling right off beach. Saw sea turtle and rays on Kentanah side by buoys directly out were turtles nest. Walk out as far via sandy area then snorkel out. Lots of sea fans schools of fish beyond buoys. Between the Colonial & WS beach there are few coral formations teaming with yellowtail, grunts, triggerfish, snappers, damsel, butterfly fish, wrasses, conchs, giant box fish, cowfish, ocean sunfish, giant angelfish (2 ft), giant promfet fish (3 ft), sergeant majors. Everyday you will spot different things. It ain’t Cozumel or Puerto Morelas but it’s at the footsteps of the resort. •2 great areas to ride the waves in the sandy patches. Less people and bit wavier on the Kentanah side than the crowded Colonial side. •Giant prawns at lunch buffet and seafood buffet night. Yes the head are on it and that’s the best part when you can suck out the sweat brains. •Paellas is very good. Usually paellas is dry and meat and seafood dried out. Had it 2 times and it was perfectly cooked (chicken/shrimp and rice). Unlike any other resorts. •Best show was Pirate of the Caribbean show. Like Broadway – good props, stage, costume and dancers in sync. But the show also had pole dancing like act in addition to circus/acrobatic acts. Don’t miss it…. Disney show was so so – but good costumes. Pop show was so so – just lip-sync and some dancing. Rock show is suppose to be very good too. Saw at the pre-show – the band in lobby and they were excellent. Shows at Riveria side are a bit late for kids at 10:15. Colonial is 9pm. Pinata time is on Mexico night (Sat) •Air conditioner actually worked very well in room and didn’t go off all day. Unlike some places where it would become a humid vent in the middle of the night or shut off if no key or no motion. •Fridge filled daily and was actually cold – a rarity. Guess it’s the luck of the draw.
•Lots of wildlife – iguanas, lizard, coatis, raccoon, capybaras but also some mosquitoes or sand fleas near seaweed
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: The Bad: •Japanese cooking table – awful food (weird sushi mush, soya sauce miso soup, skimpy veggies, tempura is not real tempura, surf and turf edible but forgettable). They also claimed to have ran out of sake. Definitely not worth lining up at 8am to reserve. The show was too quick and rushed – ok if you’ve never experienced but not worth it if you’ve been to others –pass on it. Same food on menu if you don’t get cooking table and don’t care about show. •Housekeeping inconsistent with towels situation everyday get 2 towels or 3 but never 4 for 4 people. No face cloth or hand towels some day. Only last night did we get towel art despite tipping. This is minor as you just call up and they will bring. • Bathroom looks a little worn – mirrors all discolored, tiling chipping, but still very clean. •Pillows stunk a bit. All pillows we had were different. Some provided were hi/low/soft etc.. •Bed felt damp given this plastic under pad. Very uncomfortable to sleep as your body gives off heat so feels damp. ½ way thru I decided to put towel under sheets to help. •Most restaurant and buffets A/C are turned off/low or are used sparingly to save $$$. Only place with nice A/C is Hemingway Bar and your room. I was sweating like crazy in a la cartes except Ribs & More. This is a common tactic used by all resorts (even in rooms) •Juice bar guy (Riveria Buffet) very unfriendly and would say we don’t have any left every morning (eg soya milk). I asked waitress and amazingly it was served. •Coffee and cappuccinos tasteless even with a double shot of espresso. Usually sits at bar and comes to you lukewarm also •Food sometimes cold at buffet. They leave freshly made items out then put out when cool. Not always refilled promptly – often seeing many empty trays. •Avoid kids meals as it looked nasty – eg spaghetti & meat worm (small, dried out meat balls & pasta). Order the adult meal if you have kids. •Wine at times was not drinkable. Odd time passable. Sparkling wine a bit too sweet. •Bridges are a bit of a pain to walk up and down everyday…. But good exercise on the thighs.
Other Comments: any questions, please let know