Old Reviews – Barcelo Karmina Palace Deluxe

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Donna ~ Brampton, Ontario

May 2009

Arrival: April 17-24
Left Toronto April 17, 2009 for one week, after a long painful flight (lots of turbulence) we arrived in Manzanillo, Mexico. We were the only flight that landed at the time, going through security was slow only had 3 custom officers. Once through we boarded the vans, we were the last van to leave, so by the time we got to the hotel everyone else was checked in, so it didn’t take long to get to our rooms.

Rooms:
The rooms are beautiful and the cleanest I have ever seen (and I’ve travelled a lot). We were on the 6th floor, which we later found out it was the executive floor. Separate bedroom from the living room. Big bathrooms with a shower and large bathtub. We ended up upgrading to the Presidential Suite, which was beautiful, we had our own swimming pool.

Restaurants and Bars:
Lunch – can eat at the buffet, the grill or the snack bar – hamburgers and fries at the grill were great…..try the ice cream as well. Dinner – Only one buffet for dinner, which was okay…there was something for everyone, however I found I was eating the same thing after a few days. 2 a la carte restaurants – Italian and Mexico, the food there was good, order steaks which were good and the desserts were even better. Try the crepes at the Mexican restaurant. We made our reservations for the week all at the same time, they do book up fast. One of the nights was my friends childs birthday, we informed them when we booked the reservation to the Italian restaurant, we were thinking they would bring out a slice of cake, instead they made him a birthday cake, put a candle and sang to him….much more then we expected.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The grounds are clean. We found that is you wanted to sit by the pool you had to wake up early to find a spot. The kids loved the slide. There are a number of waterfalls (into the pool) and many levels to the pools, which we found kids jumping from one level to the other (don’t think they were supposed to). A little bit dangerous as there was really no railings to prevent that. The beach is nothing special, small cove.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn’t do any tours, however we did walk off the resort to Walmart and to the shopping centre.

Other Comments:
I don’t have anything bad to say about this resort. The staff were excellent and very accommodating. Many spoke very well English. We did tip at every meal, which they were all grateful for, however I don’t think we would have been treated differently if we didn’t. All in all a great relaxing vacation!

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Guylaine ~ Montreal

February 2009

Arrival:
Arrival went smoothly, bus ride was 35 minutes. Checking was a little bit slow as 2 buses arriving at the same time. The lobby of the hotel is spectacular.

Rooms:
We booked an ocean view. Rooms are wonderful, all suites, best I have seen, very luxurious. We were on the 6th floor, facing West (we enjoyed the sunset every night from our balcony). Restroom very clean, all marble, big bathtub, big shower. Marble floors. Two 27” TV’s in the room !

Restaurants and Bars:
1 buffet, very good. Nice view from the dining area, staff very nice. 1 a la carte restaurant, italian one night, mexican the other. Food was good but the service was too, too, slow! There is also a snack bar at the beach and another buffet at the pool for lunch which is open all afternoon for snacks (great nachos !)

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The 6 pools are very nice, lots of shade if you want it. Two pools are reserved for adults only. Always chairs available at any time of day. The beach is little and was a bit disappointing but we already new before arriving. There are beach beds on the beach which are very nice!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We took the city tour ($20 – 4 hours). They will bring you to a flea market, to a mercado and another shop, not exactly a city tour but a shopping tour! We also went to deep sea fishing which was nice. (about $50 per person for 5 hours). The nightly shows were nice, different show every night.

Other Comments: We loved our trip, we will definitely go back.

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo John ~ Hamilton, Ontario

April 2008

Hi my wife and I have just returned from a great trip to Mazanillo Karmina Palace April 5/08 ,even thou Air Transat changed our Toronto departure from 2:40 to 19:20, and served some of the worst in flight meals I have ever seen. This is one of many trips that my wife and I have taken to Mexico and the Caribbean. The rooms at this resort are large and very nice. The walls could use a little sound proofing, we could hear the people next door snoring. The pools are beautiful but the water never seemed to warm up. We spent most of our time in the adult pool because it was the warmest. The food was very good with a fair selection. In my opinion if you could not find something to eat that you liked you probably where not very hungry to begin with. The service was friendly and excellent. I went there hoping to practice my limited Spanish vocabulary only to be surprised at how many of the staff spoke English. We took the city tour which was nice and interesting. From our experiences of touring the area I think it would be hard to find a better resort in this area for the price. My only regret with this resort is I wish we would have booked two weeks. Maybe next time.

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Brian & Debbie ~ Canada

February 2007

Thanks for running this great site. It has been extremely helpful in assessing resorts when planning our trips. We have previously stayed at Bahia Principe’s in the Mayan Riviera and Punta Cana, Riu’s in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, and Iberostar Costa Dorada in Puerto Plata. For this trip, we selected the Barcelo Karmina Palace in Manzanillo from November 11-18, and had a great time! We booked a Transat Vacations package and flew on WestJet from Toronto to Manzanillo. The airport pickup of the tickets went smoothly, the flight was great and WestJet staff excellent, however the box lunch they served could have been better. Arrival at Manzanillo Airport was uneventful, processing through customs a breeze, and the bus was ready and waiting. It was refreshing to arrive in Mexico and not be hounded by timeshare salespeople at the airport, as is the norm in Cancun. You only get one chance to make a great first impression, and Karmina Palace capitalizes on this……the lobby is impressive! Check-in was fast and once we had our room cardkey, a bellboy took us (and more importantly our bags) to our room. Open the door to the room (we were in 5028, fifth floor) and once again another great first impression. The room is a Junior Suite and it is huge. The main area has two levels, one for living and one for sleeping. Open two louvered sliding doors and you are in the bathroom, which has two sinks/counters on opposite ends of the room, corner shower, tub along the back wall and the toilet in the other corner. There are lots of drawers and closet space. Another plus is that the room safe is included (no additional charge). The balcony was also spacious. We did not pay for oceanview, but the view from our balcony was of the 17th green, with the beach and ocean right beside it….wow!

Our room at Barcelo Karmina Palace was the most impressive that we have stayed in so far.

The rest of the resort property was fantastic as well. There are many pools to choose from, as well as areas with beach chairs around the pools and around the private cove. The private cove was a bit of a disappointment, as the beach has coarse sand and there are lots of rocks in the water. You need to go closer to where the boat is anchored, to find an area with a sandy bottom for swimming. We found the water in the cove too warm and ended up spending most of our time around the pool. No need to search for the bar, as they will serve you drinks at your beach chair.

For those who like to go for walks on the beach, there is a long beach for walking to the left of the property.

The staff were friendly and outgoing. We did not feel any pressure for tips, but when we did tip, it was appreciated! Thanks again to Jason on the front desk for all of his help. The food at the buffet was fine, but the buffet was small when compared to some of the other resorts we have been to, so by the end of the week we found it repetitive. The a la carte restaurant though was excellent! We booked 3 dinners there and thoroughly enjoyed them. For lunch we tried the main buffet, the grill and the snack bar.

For a light meal, we found the snack bar was best, as they made your burgers,etc fresh for you.

We took the 1/2 day tour of Manzanillo, to get a feel for the town and see some of the sights. It is low cost and gives you an understanding of the area, as Manzanillo is actually a major shipping port in Mexico. There is a small shopping centre a short walk from Karmina Palace, so you don’t have to go into town, if you don’t want to.

By the way, do not wait to pickup duty free alcohol at the airport. There is a better selection and it is much cheaper at the shopping centre near the resort.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the Barcelo Karmina Palace, and would not hesitate to stay there again.

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Doug ~ Canada

January 2007

We have just returned from a week long stay at Karmina’s Palace, the trip started late as Air Transat was over 1.5 hrs late leaving Toronto which put us into our resort very late,the air crew going down needs some training in customer care but the crew coming home was super, it also was late leaving Manzanillo (45 min.) the airport there needs some major upgrades to handle the sheer volume of passengers as the area is really getting to be a very popular destination, it was a quick transfer to the hotel almost an hour trip after dropping a couple off at another resort on the way,Now the resort it is beautiful the rooms are large and kept very clean and up to date, we had a room on the seventh floor facing into the bay and the views were spectacular, the check in was a quick as any other destination , there are 8 pools to choose from and each day the staff was out cleaning and preparing them for the days use and all thru the day they were there cleaning, the beach area was a real downer for me, there really isn’t much of a beach so if you love beaches this isn’t a resort to go to, also this resort is a family resort there were allot of kids around again this didn’t bother me but the pool area is a noisy one , keep in mind they set aside two of the pools as adult only, the one major complaint I have with the resort is the quality of the food , there was lots of it and it was ok but needs some imagination and variety to get it up to a 4 plus standard, its not that the food was awful it just needs some upgrading, we ate twice at the two specialty restaurants i would recommend the one out on the point it has a really great charcoal steak, and the ambiance is super, Would I go back to this resort probaly not, but thats only because i don’t like going to the same place twice, it is a beautiful resort and we had a great relaxing vacation there sun everyday and 30c plus,

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Cindy and Steve ~ Toronto

January 2007

We just returned December 29, 2006 after a 1 week stay.

Resort is clean and beautiful. Rooms are very large. Weather was clear and sunny every day. Staff-Helpful and friendly We travelled with our teenagers and they had a wonderful time as well. Many pools with a one great water slide This is a family resort.

Town-went to 2 restaurants in town that were okay. But there is nothing to do in the town itself.

Only 2 complaints-Although you could swim in the ocean (Bay or cove) it is filled with big rocks with such a strong undertow our kids cut up there feet on the rocks which put a damper on things. (Wear water shoes).

Food-2 restaurants and 1 buffet. I have been to many all inclusive resorts and more restaurants with variety/and better quality food would be wonderful.

Overall this resort was nice and we had a great time but I am doubtful I would return since I have been to nicer parts of Mexico such as the Mayan and Los Cabos.

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Canada

April 2006

Dear Debbie’s Reviews:

While I write a review every year and say mostly the usual, this one is especially hard to write, but I will give credit wherever due, and point out factual areas that the resort should try and perhaps improve on.

Flight: Very smooth, direct flight with Air Transat, direct, with no hassles at customs other then the usual push the button, and search stuff that is usual for Mexico. If you arrive in the evenings, bug repellant would be advised as you may have to wait outside the airport for your transfer, and the mosquitos are everywhere then.

Check-In: Everything is handled with the efficiency of a Swiss watch, and all is well organized for a quick check-in. The resort might want to provide a better map of the resort that details where room are located and state restaurant locations with opening/closing times a bit better, we all went on a long walk-about to try and find a late dinner after check-in.

Rooms: The motto of the resort is all-suites, so all rooms are large and well laid out. A family of four can easily share the room, but for the price of taking your tweenies or teens, you may well want to just pay a bit more and get them an adjoining room. For those sharing, you will assigned two double beds, although two queen beds could easily fit into the space and give a more restful night’s sleep. We had ocean view, and it is wonderful. Good news for all is that Manzanilla will be switching to natural gas soon, and it’s coal burning power plant will be removed, so the smog that hangs in the distance by the mountains will soon be lifted.

Pools: Now that the hotel is pushing more and more for conventions, and is at a greater capacity, getting chairs in many desired areas of the pools is more difficult, and the whole chair saving thing becomes a must. Be up before 7:00 to get your location, if you wish a bit of shade due to having kiddies, as shade is at a premium. Pools are clean, and we didn’t find them cold. More about pools later in the review.

Food: Generally the food is very good. The steaks are excellent which is rare in most resorts. Theme nights are mostly good, with the resort providing fries and nuggets for little ones on nights that are too spicy. A la carte restaurants are mostly good as well, with the Italian being the most tasty, in a survey with the group of 30 we went with, and the Carioca having the nicest view, and the Mexican being the least favourite, but offering superb flaming coffees if requested. Getting hot tea (Tee negro) is a bit of an issue, and be prepared to have finished all your meal, including dessert before tea arrives, so flag a waiter while still eating dinner for tea, should you like to have it with dessert. Breakfasts have great variety, and with pressure from our group, the toaster was brought out for general usage. Bacon is a behind the buffet request, and denied to children (!!?!!), so for bacon, make sure you have adult on hand, get your potatoes, and egg and sausages, then get the chef’s attention and ask for bacon, he’ll go into the oven and put some on your plate. Lunches are good too, with great stuff for kids, and more steaks for me…

Entertainment: Nothing over the top, but usually a very good effort put in by very dedicated talent. They did a version of Cirque du soliel, a dances of the world routine, and other one hour shows in this vein. A decision of management was to relocate all buffet dinner onto the sandy area where the theatre is, my guess it to have it now as a dinner and show thing, but they reserve many tables for groups, and it hard to get a nice seat to see shows. More on this problem later too.

Tours: We were not able to take any, but the private Colima volcano tour (the hotel one wasn’t too good, with them stopping 6 km’s away from the volcano and seeing nothing) got rave reviews, for those with skill and energy. Trips to the mall, and buses through Manzanilla were all liked by many.

Car Rental: Not a good idea in this area, as drop off times and pick up times are difficult due to airport counters having minimal staffing. Road are all under construction, and we encountered a nice herd of cows meandering the highway to bring our transfer to a complete and sudden halt. Should you need to, it’s $25 to privately take a cab to or from the airport.

Minor Problems: Morning coffee is only located by the only restaurant open for breakfast, so almost everyone must have a good walk to get coffee. We aren’t sure why there isn’t a coffee and muffin station near the lobby which occurs in most resorts. No fan or a/c in the elevators, and they get very hot. Should it ever malfunction, and one is stuck between floors, it will be a very bad situation. Doors on the elevators slam shut, DO NOT try to hold the elevator, or you risk it shutting and moving with some part of you in it.

Major Difficulties: Safety is an issue from all fronts at this resort. Your room balcony (there is no full wall barrier, just 3/4 to give the balcony more view) is easily accessible from all rooms left or right of you, and for those of us just a bit wary of our own security in the light of the tragedy near Cancun, knowing anyone can have access to our room easily made many of us on the trip uncomfortable. The balcony railing is also not at established safe height, but rather at 34", instead of 42+" for high rises, so keep little ones (or those who love their drink) away from the balcony, or get ground floor rooms.

Pool safety is a huge issue too. The pools are not deep (5 1/2" to 6 1/2" deep depth, with children and adult jumping it. Even more dangerous is the highly touted water slide which has many design flaws. It’s steps are steep stone (to look like a temple) but they haven’t been coated with a no-slip agent, so when wet, kids fall on them, giving skinned knees. The slide is 1 1/2 stories high(!) and 27+" long, and water propels the children even faster. They can not see the bottom of the slide from the top, so they have no way of knowing if their way is clear. This results in some children landing on others at the bottom, and the bottom child being driven the low pool depth by the heavier child on top of them. Many sore heads, bumps and bruises, with much greater potential for neck and spinal injury. The hotel did nothing in improve security in spite of previous parental warnings, until our daughter had her accident on the slide within 36 hours of being there. Children were climbing the slide from the bottom ( no posted rule to discourage that), she of course couldn’t see them until she came upon them, she put her foot out to stop herself, and thereby broke her leg. The resort treated us like we had leprosy from that moment on, but they did then post guards at the slide to better keep children safe. Our daughter’s leg was set, casted in a nearby clinic (the doctors there were very kind and very efficient, and charged minimal amounts) and she was wheelchair bound for the rest of the trip. One would think that the hotel would try it’s best to make her as comfortable as possible, but we tried in vane for three days to get a room change (they said they would get her a more comfortable room) which they never did. They denied her entry to the only wheel accessible dinner restaurant, as they say it’s only for one meal per weeks stay, so we had to take her down steep stone walkways in her chair to the sand pit buffet where they block the ramp with table with greeting drinks, forcing her to navigate on crutches mayan temple steps to get to a table. Only once did staff assist her to get seated, an older gardener, from a more gentile time, jumped over and nearly lifted her himself down the steps. The Tour agent did her best to try and get more assistance, even getting her bosses to call in our behalf, with little change. We were begrudging granted a two hour extension to our check out, but in spite of Transat tours specific requests to allow us to keep our hotel room, our daughter was forced to sit 7 hours in an unairconditioned lobby in her chair, with the lovely tour rep trying her best in Spanish to plea our daughter’s case to deaf ears, and she then got pillows and ice and whatever she could to make our daughter more comfortable.

In a nutshell, this resort is perfect if you want a one size fits all kind of resort, and this is truly perfect for very large conventions. Should you be disabled, and rely on a wheelchair, or receive some other kinds of more major injuring while on vacation, this resort is not set up to accommodate you, as they can not tailor anything to better assist you. If they won’t bend over with kindness for a 10 year old child, I don’t believe they will for anyone. Be vigilant at this resort as their signs say everywhere that you are doing everything at your own risk, and they mean that completely. Be aware that security is minimal and adjust your expections of who can and will assist you. Buy insurance, as you may need it given the above cautions.

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Todd and Lee ~ Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

December 2005

Just got back from Karmina Palace Dec 10-17. Was fantastic! We were originally booked to go to the Mayan Riveria, but after Hurricane Wilma, had to quickly rebook. I was a little nervous to begin with, but Karmina was highly recommended by my travel agent and friends.

We flew through West Jet, although cramped, was fine. Our Transat representative met us right away in the airport and advised where to go. Checking in went very well as well, I was surprised how effectively many spoke English. Our room was beautiful, and the ocean view was great, although you could only see the ocean if you went to the end of your balcony and looked to the left. Was still good though.

The weather was fantastic every day. We were so impressed by the resort, its cleanliness and the staff. They bent over backwards for your every need. We found the food to be good as well, although I’m sure we would be pressed had we gone for 2 weeks. Room service was awesome. Always there in 25 minutes and was always very good. We found eating breakfast much better this way. The grill is great for lunch and all restaurants were good for supper, except my husband and I are a little too picky for the Italian one.

My only complaints about the rooms would be that a maintenance man came at 11:30 pm to fix a TV that the previous guests had complained about! And the ‘exterminator’ coming in the middle of the afternoon wanting to spray, assuring us that there is ‘no smell’. I do understand this is Mexico and the need is there to exterminate, but I would think it would be done better between guests? We asked them to come back after we had checked out. It clearly said poison on the bottle!!

The pools and grounds were gorgeous, but the pool was rather cold. Although after baking in the hot sun, it often felt good! No problem getting chairs anywhere, and the bar service was always good.

If you’re looking for a place without kids, this is not it. There were a lot of kids all the time, especially on the weekends when a lot of locals come out. But there is an adult only pool.

We also found the best beach was behind the flea market. Awesome waves, and they come out from the restaurants and serve Carona!

One thing we did not know until arriving was how high the humidity was. Your clothes, papers, bedsheets, etc. were always damp.

All in all, we had a fantastic vacation, and would recommend Karmina Palace to anyhow. We hope to come back one day.

Thanks also to Debbie for this fantastic site. It was very helpful to us in our last minute booking!

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Diane ~ Canada

April 2005

We just returned from Manzanillo. We were most impressed by our immediate transportation by Air Transat (West Jet) to the hotel.

The Karmina Palace is most impressive. The junior suite rooms are wonderful. The bathroom is large and exquisite. We left our chamber maid $1.00 (US) each day. We watched her one day and the sheets were changed, the towels changed, and the floor mopped. What more can you ask for! Our room looked over the pool area and we could see the ocean. By 10:00 pm each night the surrounding area was quiet.

The beach isn’t the best but we knew that prior to going to the Karmina Palace. If you have ‘Thomas’ bring you your water and drinks while on the beach you have it made! We gave him a $1.00 (US) tip each day and he fully delivered. He had drinks to us before we even asked for them.

The morning buffet at Bugambilias is very nice. Eggs will be cooked for you in any style. The selection of fruit is incredible. If you want toast just ask you waiter. They even have brown toast. For lunch we went often went to the restaurant called Caricoa. It’s out on the point. The menu is limited but the guacamole and strawberry margaritas are to die for. The Grill has excellent pizza for lunch and a good selection of salad fixings.

After 4 days we became hard stretched to enjoy dinner. The "big" dinner event on the lawn each evening did not impress us because the atmosphere was not there. The Grill served dinner but there wasn’t enough variety. Please note that the Grill is not open on Friday evening so you must go to dinner on the lawn or to one of the specialty restaurants. We enjoyed the dinner selections at La Trattoria and Caricoa. The service is incredible at both places. The expectation of men wearing long pants and closed toed shoes does not happen. Many men entered wearing shorts and sandals and were allowed into both restaurants.

We were a bit surprised that there is only one evening lounge. It’s inside and we thought that perhaps it would be more impressive if tables were on the deck just outside of this lounge. Drinks are available at the beach bar until 6:00 pm and they do make drinks to go. The inside lounge has excellent popcorn! They will even put in into a bag to go!

We did not order room service but it sure was busy.

The front desk staff was always there to assist. At times when the computers were being occupied by young people on chat lines we were given access to another computer.

Overall, our vacation was incredible. Take the time to venture into Santiago and even take the bus to Barra. The weather was hot but not humid. Go on the boat cruise offered by the water sports people. Seeing the homes perched on the rock bluffs is incredible.

If you don’t enjoy yourself in Manzanillo then I don’t think you will enjoy yourself anywhere! I would not rank this hotel as a 5 star. It is a 4. The food component is it’s downfall.

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo John ~ Vancouver, Canada

March 2005

My wife and I are 76 years old but still hit the disco every night . We , for the last three years , have taken four [ yes four ] ,two week,visits to resorts and for the last 15years have travelled all over the world ,so I think we know what we are talking about .

We visited the KARMINA PALACE 5th to the 19th FEB 2005

WEATHER– sunny and hot . a slight rain over one night

Rooms – We asked for by E mail [ reservations@karminapalace.com ] for, and got ,room 7030 which was nice and quiet with a nice view [ rooms 7020 to 7030 are all very good ] the ”suites” are BIG and will sleep four people .Two in the king size bed ,and two on the hide – a- bed [ We had a junior suite ]. The suite is really two rooms [ no wall in between them ] with a tv in each . The bathroom has to be seen to be believed ,.as do the two clothes closets.[ throw in a couple of wire hangers in your suitcase altho there were 8 hangers in each closet ] there was lots of drawer space too . Beds are not too hard, not too soft ,but close to what we sleep on at home .A/c worked ok , safe worked ok .OH! no clothes line in the bathroom shower but we allways take 15ft of 1/4 inch rope and a dozen pegs so we made our own line out on the balcony .using the rail and a chair .

Service – It was as good as any other resort we have visited . Right here I would like to say something –I have ,as I allways read reviews on resorts we are going to visit , , read MANY reviews on THe KARMINA and think some of them are B –*—- S –*—.MY mother allways taught me ”Treat ALL people with respect whatever job they do, and you will receive their respect in return . I am one of the ”old school ” who thinks a person should be well paid by their employer for the tasks they do , and thus should not have to depend on tips to make a living . and have found that even though we don’t tip [ under normal situations ] by showing respect to all the staff we ALLWAYS receive VERY good service in any resort we have visited , or revisited. BUT we do NOT expect them to drop what they are doing to cater to our wants . Enough said about that subject . .

FOOD — Breakfast you want it -it’s there . [ except for toast which you have to ask the buss-boy to get from the kitchen ] Lunch -can be at the small grill on the beach / or at the Buddha Grill [ hot dogs /hamburgers / fish / duck / beef shis -ca- bobs /pizza ], / OR you can take a walk up to the ‘KAR-E-OKIE ‘ a-la -carte [ many people don’t know this ] no reservations required . SUPPER [Dinner]- (a) at either of the two a -la -cartes [ Italian or the kar-e-okie] must be reserved . (b) the Buddha grill , or (c) outside in the Buddha gardens [ the same food as the grill ] Except on FRID nights when there is only the Budda Gardens as it is ”’Mexican ”night . Now I have read that the service in the a-la-cartes is VERY SLOW [B–S-l ] What people in North America don’t understand is that ”most ”resorts are owned by , or cater to , Europeans . They don’t do as we do and ”attack ”their food and ”get out fast ”, rather they may spend an hour, or an hour and a half,over lunch or dinner . They SLOWLY eat one course ,then have a few sips of wine ,have a chat to each other, then have the next course etc. etc . The waiters are trained to serve in this leisurely fashion but unfortunately North Americians see this as ”slow service ”.

Pools and the Beach –Pools a little colder than expected the first week , but ok the second week . Kept VERY clean and only ”treated ” at night time, so no clorine smell .The beach –if you want lovely sand and blue water , go to Punta Cana. It is a man made bay. it is warmer than the pools , looking at it from the shore the left side is rocky but the right side is ok . Not too many fish but if you get snorkle gear from the dive shack [free ]and take a banana to feed the fish, you more than likely will see some .* Oh there is sand on the beach.

GETTING AROUND —- the ”Palace” is built on the side of a hill as there is not too much flat land around , so to get from point A to point B you either have to go up or down ,either by steps or on a sloping path . Now my wife is still recovering from knee replacment surgery ,but found that by ”taking it slow” there was no real problem . other people that used a cane had no problems either .

SHOWS –[ On the stage in the Buddha Gardens after dinner ] As good as any we have seen in some of the places in Las Vegas. and don’t miss the kids disco it’s a riot.

DISCO –As I said ”caters to europeans ” so is a mixture of music ,but a ball all the same .

LOUNGES — if you want to sit and listen to a man play a guitar, have a drink , and maybe do some ”slow ”dancing , go to the main lounge .between 7and 10 each night .

ELEVATORS — there are four ”double ”ones and you are never too far away from one .

SHOPPING —We are one of those people who have everything and have been to other resorts in the area so didn’t do any .

NOW A COUPLE OF OBSERVATIONS –The staff more than likely have a min. education so can only learn another language ”on the job ”and have you ever stopped to think how many languages they have to cope with ? ? Learn— Please/ Thank you,/ Good morning / Good afternoon / and Good night and with a little patience, and good old ”sign language ”you should get by .[That’s all the Spanish my wife and I speak ,we also can say those phrases in four or five other languages too ]

Dress —-At home you wouldn’t be allowed in ”big mac ” in a swim suit and bare feet would you ? so why ,when you get asked to leave when you try to go to lunch in those clothes ,do you get upset ????? Take a cover -up and a pair of sandles and your ok . The bigest insult to EVERYONE in there that you could do in a good restraurant is to wear your hat at the table. Normally you do [ or should ] take it off as you enter the building . So why do you wear hats at the table when you are in a resort ????.
Dress -up for dinner — Why not ??? Come on, putting on a pair of long pants and a nice shirt isn’t going to kill you is it ??? READ the small print in the travel broucher ” dress code in effect for a-la -carte restraurants etc. etc .” If you go on a cruise you are expected to wear a suit and tie , so don’t knock it .

Remember you are in a foreign country. If you respect their customs ,culture ,and the people themselves ,and NOT expect ”special ” treatment if you throw them a tip, but forget to say please or thank you ,you will have a good vacation wherever you go . Also remember you are a representative of your country and act accordingly.

Summery — The Karmina Palace is VERY good value , There are a lot of children there [ more so at the week -ends ] but if their”noise ” bothers you there is an adult only pool . The beach is not like Puna Cana [ but neither is the cost ] The rooms are as big and as good as any resort we have been to ,The food is good in the buffets [,if you try to load -up your plate with all the different courses at every meal you will soon run out of options and then it becomes repetitive , but that is your problem not the resorts fault is’t it ??? ] the A-la -cartes are very good, BUT expect to take a lot longer to eat at them than you would at home Sure there are some LITTLE things wrong with the Karmina , but so there are with the big hotels in Vegas . If you let these little things ”get to you ” they will spoil what can be a VERY GOOD visit to the Karmina . Relax ,and to be sure you will have a nice time there . If you have any questions you can E mail me and if we happen to be between trips I will, the day I receive them ,send you the answer if I know it .

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Ken & Karen ~ British Columbia

February 2005

We travelled with Air Transat, who subcontracted with WestJet (new planes) for the flight, which was fine, except that you could not pre-book seats. Also, WestJet and Air Transat systems do not talk to each other and have no flight #s posted for the trip.- find out your flight info on the airport departures web site. The airport in Manzanillo was much better organized this year.

We visited this resort in 2002 and liked it then – this time we definitely felt that the hotel and the overall quality of experience has improved. Maintenance is very good, on the grounds, pools and the rooms, which were clean and in good condition. The food was, for the most part, entirely satisfactory for an all inclusive – and the service and staff were excellent. They have opened an Italian restaurant since our last visit, which is located next to the theatre area. This is unfortunate, as from about 8pm on, the theatre ruins the dining ambiance.

We went on the Transat Colima tour, which was interesting. We noticed that this state (Colima) seems quite prosperous – you are not bothered with panhandlers, beggars or timeshare people here. Mexicans here are going about their daily lives and do not depend on tourists for their livelihood.

The weather seems to be perfect here Jan-March, and makes for a great winter break. This is probably not a resort for party people – although the resort was quite full, it never really seemed crowded. A lot of Mexican families seem to come here for a few days rest, and it is interesting to see how well behaved and polite their children are compared to some others.

You can walk the beautiful deserted four mile beach next to the hotel – we always felt very safe walking outside the hotel and people were always friendly and nice. The penninsula next to the hotel to the North is also nice to walk, as well.

This is a wonderful place to come for a week and relax, in winter. We will come again.

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Don & Carol ~ Alberta

January 2005

Spent a wonderful week at Karmina Palace, Manzanillo. Before we went we read numerous reviews regarding the resort which were most helpful and informative. I think the complainers will always complain about something, even if they stayed at Buckingham Palace. Karmina Palace is an absolutely beautiful resort. The entrance is spectacular, beautifully landscaped, cozy pools (adult & children) and lovely marbled suite rooms. The food was delicious, always very well presented. Breakfast at the Bugambillia was all you wanted and more, omelettes made to order. The Mayan Garden buffet in the evening and The Grill for lunch were very good. The Carioca and Trattoria, the ala carte restaurants were wonderful too. Bugambillia turned into Trattoria (Italian) in the evening. As well, you could lunch at The Carioca during the day. The ambience at both the ala carte restaurants in the evening was special. The entertainment was fun. The costumes and the performers were great. All of the staff, from the gardeners to the entertainers, were very courteous and friendly. We took the tours of Manzanillo and Colima which were most enjoyable. Jose and Marcos with Tlaloc Tours were extremely knowledgable which made the tours very worthwhile. You won’t be disappointed if you choose Karmina Palace

Top of Page

Karmina Palace – Manzanillo Doug

March 2004

Thanks Debbie for the best website there is to evaluate vacation destinations. I have used your site now for 3 years, and while some people seem to be overly picky (or comparing a 3rd world property to a cruise ship) it is very informative ounce you throw out the complainers. Now for my review, since Karmina and Monzanillo as a whole had very few reviews to date:

Just returned from a week at the all-inclusive resort Karmina Palace in Manzanillo, Mx. As a point of refference we are regular travellers to all-inclusive. In the past we have stayed at Iberostar’s in Dominican Rep, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel. We also have visited Bahia Principe in Akumal, Hodelpa Club in DR, and Playa Naco in Purta Plata DR.

We were extremely impressed with the facility. The rooms are huge, sunken living room, large bedroom area and a bathroom with twin sinks, tub bath for two, and separate shower. Iv ‘e never experienced a room of this size or quality in an all-inclusive resort. It was done in marble, and each room had a dining room type table, probably to take advantage of room service food if you choose. It was raved about by other travelers, but we choose to go to the buffet or specialty dining. Each room has a huge deck. For my money I would not consider the cost savings to take a Garden View room. The ocean views are great and you get a clear shot of the Las Hadas from our South location and beautiful ocean. Also the rooms caught a nice Ocean breeze, so we never used air conditioning at nite. Garden views look into small center court areas or out back over golf coarse.

Karmina Palace and Las Hadas are not beach people resorts. The beach for Karmina is a small tide pool, and yes the 18th green sits next to it. But they have people warning you not to cross the bridge or watch for stray ball when someone is teeing off from the over the water hole. Its kind of pretty when you look out your room, over the pools to this beautiful island green and hole. Las Hadas next door to the North west had a slightly larger beach, but not enough to talk about. What the Karmina Palace has is one of the most extensive, pool systems Iv ‘e ever seen. 9 interconnecting pools with waterfalls, channels, water slide and deep pools to keep everyone from kids to adults happy. Extremely well laid out, cascading down the hill to the ocean. beautiful plants, trees, isolated little coves and shade if you want it. No competition for chairs (thats unique) there was always ample room to find a spot what ever time of day. By the way the water slide is short, but wild and fast. They say its for under 15, but we couldn’t resist. I’m suprised it doesn’t scare off the little kids. Towels that are distributed pool side are great, huge and not thin. Always an ample supply (we have been to resorts were towels were fought over). Lounge chairs have pads available also, some people actually threw them in the shallow pools to lounge on. Not a good idea, as they get water logged they could plunge over the waterfall and kill someone. Tried to pick one up to remove it and it had to weigh 100lbs.

Those who desire beach walks can head down a stairs to the south, near the specialty restraunt and tee off box that heads down a hill, across the creek (don’t ask about what maybe flowing down stream) just jump across, wash your feet off in ocean and walk the huge Playa Salahua beach which runs into Playa Azul. It had to be at least 10 miles of continuous brown sand beach. No vendors bothered us, but I would not choose to swim here due to water quality and strong undertow. But its a beautiful walk, apparently the town of Manzanillo owns a sand groomer that is like a street sweeper that they use to clean up all their beaches, and it shows ! very little trash. If you want a beach to swim from, I suggest a short cab ride ($4 one way) to either Playa Audiencia (on the North side of Santiago penninsula) or Playa Santiago. The water quality in Santiago bay is far better than in Bahia de Manzanillo where unfortunately the better resorts have positioned themselves. So beach people be fore warned. This is Mexico’s largest port, and Bahia de Manzanillo is the passage way for the large ships, I’m sure allot leaks off and the water had scum lines you could visually see. That aside, if you take a diving trip or snorkel tour, they always go to Santiago Bay or the North side of Santiago Peninsula and the visibility is great. Much better than diving and snorkeling in Dominican Republics north coast or Ixtapa area. If you good diving or snorkeling I suggest you use Underworld scuba, the owner is American, has been in manzanillo for years and is very active in the community and in diving. Excellent choice and recommended by Frommer’s and every PADI instructor I talked with.

Now the food, yeah its an all-inclusive. Why do they always try to cater to American tastes ? But don’t get me wrong, its good. Always a large selection, some fish or seafood, beef, pork, chicken you name it. Very few variations through the week, but you always found something good. I was suprised the beef was actually not bad compared to other resorts I had been to. It seems that at least three of the nights they did the food service outside by their big outdoor theater to tie in a show or theme.

Breakfasts are great, Omelette bar, more fruit than you can handle and lots of additions like french toast and pancakes. Lunches are served at the central pool area palpa hut. Good lunch with covered hut options or open air seating on deck. Good salads, deserts and sandwich options.

Drinks are great and they pour top shelf, (except on beer) any resort that pours Appleton Rum can’t be all bad. The beer is SOL (drinkable but barely) I highly suggest a "dirty monkey" concoction that includes Tequila, rum and creme de cocoa with a banana. Very dangerous and a bit like a banana smoothy ! two of these and its off to the water slide.

We expected the entertainment to be bad, it usually is at these places. the first two nights were horrendous. Then all of a sudden they had an outside dinning festival and international show (I think they called it) unbelievable. Excellent dancing, fire being tossed around and costumes were great. We determined there were three nites of outdoor dinning/ themes, International, Mexican Nite, and Caribbean. they took they opportunity to hit the entertainment out of the park on those nites (don’t miss) As far as the poolside constant drone of entertainment and noise, I was pleasantly suprised they kept it at a minimum. usually a little more active between 3-5:30 pm. But I just get tired of some of these resorts and their cruise ship attitude toward games and involvement. I want to relax, read, swim and avoid stupid party games better suited to bridal showers.

We went off resort for a tour to Colima and the volcano, great towns, very clean, bad tour guide. Our tour company (Trilogy out of Minneaplois) needs to find a better tour vendor. We also went off site for dinner one night to a place called La Toscanna, I highly recommend this place. Great seafood, they also had New Zealand lamb and steaks and right on the water with beautiful surroundings. entertainment was kind of lame, but our group got a chuckle (the guy thinks he is Elvis)

To sum it up ! Great trip, clean city, nice people, low unemployment for Mexico so the locals are happy. Beach goers will be dissatisfied, but if you like great weather, cheap fishing, clean resorts and Pools,Pools, Pools this is your Eden !

Top of Page

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.