Old Reviews – Grand Palladium Riviera Resort

  Grand Palladium Royal Sutes Yucatan   Phil ~ Kingston, Ontario

March 2009

Arrival: March 9 – 16 Nice airport in Cancun. Flew Signature Vacations/Skyservice on a 757; very cold flight for some reason. Were told blankets were $5.00. Food on plane was horrible microwaved disaster. Oh well, we paid only $1600 ea CDN. But our hopes were high….

Transfer in Cancun was painless. No timeshare vultures or delays. Out to the bus in only 20 mins. Bus ride was just 2.0 hours; nice bus guide/comedian; cold beer on bus was welcome morning eye opener.

Rooms
Arrival at Royal Suites was seamless. Check-in took 15 mins; room was ready before noon. Out to the pool bar located mere 150′ from room by 12:30. Room was clean, large, cool, comfy. Plasma TV with DVD/CD; jacuzzi on terrace overlooking lagoon; sitting area; mini bar stocked with premium liquor and beer. No complaints at all about the room. There was a "pillow menu"; butler service; free 24 hr. room service; turn down service; laundry; everything you could want. Nothing we ever requested was not done as soon as possible. Staff were top notch, friendly, smiling, attentive, gregarious, intelligent, and respectful of guests’ privacy.

Restaurants and Bars
13 bars and as many restaurants. A la carte restaurants included really good Brasilian, steak, Italian, Mediterranean, and Japanese. We were very pleased with meals and service that would fairly cost $100 for 2 in Kingston. We were glad that premium wines were offered at a fair additional price in these good restaurants. For example, Berringer Estates Cab. Sauv. was about $23 CDN, about the same as at the LCBO. A good alternative to the rather thin house red. The food was good to excellent. The BBQ meats were especially tasty. Service was earnest, quick, and with a smile. Waiters were eager to please if not completely fluent: Is the soup made with cream? It is fish. Does it have cream in it? Yes, it is shrimp. Is it creamy? It is soup, yes.

That kind of service was a welcome change from some surly and arrogant Canadian "Im too good to be a waiter and this is not my genuine career choice" kind of disdainful attitude I’m too used too in some restaurants up here in Canada.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Grounds were beautiful jungle mangrove with lots of wildlife. Lots of trails and walkways; you can walk for miles around the large complex. Pools were A1; cool, not crowded, lots of loungers, plenty of shade. Beach was large but swimming area was my only complaint. Too many rocks, and beaches such as Cayo Guillermo in Cuba make it pale in comparison. Plenty of sailing, jet skis, snorkelling available.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel Tulum ruins were spectacular. Taxis were great, clean and cheap (if only taxis in Canada were this good; really, they could run a taxi clinic). Resort was soooooooooo good, we were loath to leave it.

Other Comments Royal Suites at Grand Palladium was a great experience. Worth the discounted price we paid and then some. The Spa was incredible. Tennis and sports facilities were A+++++. This vacation was so much better than the Sol Club in Cubs which was a bargain at $1000 5 years ago. I really have no complaints other than the airplane ride (cramped, cold/hot, food sucked). You can literally drink the reverse osmosis tap water at this resort. My stomach never had the least twinge, despite raw sushi, carpacchio, lettuce, ice, water, fruit etc. eaten for 7 days. My wife and I are so pleased AND WOULD GO BACK FOR 2 WEEKS NEXT YEAR!!!!!

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  Grand Palladium Royal Yucatan Suites   Canada

May 2008

~Our Little Mexican Vacation~

Grand Palladium Royal Yucatan – April 18-25, 2008

Us:
3 couples – all 40-something getting away from the long, cold Canadian winter for some adult R&R. We are all parents of teenagers and really enjoy the break from parenting to enjoy some quality couple time. We have previously traveled to Puerto Plata and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic as well as Varadero, Cuba. We have always stayed at 4.5 or 5 star all-inclusive resorts. This was the first time in Mexico for all of us. We stayed in the Royal section, while the other two couples were in the Riviera section. I will only comment on our experience in the Royal.

Arrival:
We flew Sunwing from Canada and were on the plane a total of 6.5 hours, which was a long day. However, when we felt the warm breezes at Cancun, we soon forgot about the long flight. We arrived in Cancun approximately 1pm Cancun time. Customs and luggage pick up went very smoothly. We decided to take the bus to the resort and left for Grand Palladium by 2pm. It was a long 2 hour drive, as we had 5 stops to make before arriving at Grand Palladium. What was surprising, was the fact we actually passed the GP on our way to other resorts and then back-tracked. The highways are divided and they must have their reasons for doing this, but it was a little frustrating. So after being awake for 12 hours, we finally arrived at the Riviera lobby at 4pm. We told the bellboy that we were in the Royal section and he was very quick to call for a golf cart. We were in our room within a few minutes.

The Grand Palladium complex is very large and expansive. The Kantenah section is on the far left, followed by the Colonial, White Sand, Riviera and Royal. We knew this was a large facility, so when we were walking up and down the many stairs; we were not at all surprised. It is SO important to research the resort you book. Thanks to this website for answering our questions prior to booking. This resort suited us because we are very active and love to jog. The many brick pathways were perfect for our early morning runs. If you do not like to walk, this resort may create challenges for you. On the Riviera / White Sand / Royal side, there is a pontoon boat which tours people around the facility. Because of this boat, there are many raised bridges with lots of steps. They light them very well at night, but you must be very careful when walking. We were lucky enough not to have any rain, so I can’t comment on if they would be slippery when wet.

Getting around the Resort:
Depending on which section you are in and where you want to go, it could be a very long walk. They have two trains that travel around the resort every 20 – 30 minutes. This is the best way to get from one place to another. They have different routes – one stops at only lobbies while the other has different stops. Don’t ask me anymore….I rely on my husband to get me from point A to point B.  You are given a map of the resort when you check-in, and there are “You are Here” maps posted at various places throughout the resort. For Royal guests, it is a short walk to the El Jardin Restaurant, Royal Lobby, and Royal Pool. There are special golf carts to transport Royal guests throughout the complex. We traveled on both the trains and carts and were very pleased with the service.

Check-In at Royal Suites – Adults Only (18+): Although Royal Suites is considered part of the Riviera, it has its own lobby. The lobby is smaller than the others and enclosed and air-conditioned. There are two computers for Internet usage, a library of books and a library of DVD’s. There is a bar with more drink choices than other bars throughout the resort. This is the only place I could find my Bailey’s!!!

Check in is at 3 p.m., checkout is 12 noon. We were given silver wristbands, a map of the resort and information sheet, a Royal Yucatan 2008 calendar, and our room keys (electronic key cards). Unlike other resorts we stayed at in Dominican and Cuba, the key does not operate the power in the room. Our room was located in building #71, on the third floor, in a Jr suite, room 7135. We emailed the resort 1 week prior to our arrival and requested 3rd floor, king bed and pool view. We were very pleased with our room, even though we couldn’t really see the pool without stretching our neck a bit.:) We were pleased to see towel-art and flower petals on the bed, as well as white robes and slippers.

Note there are no elevators anywhere in the Palladium complex. We also noticed the lack of hand rails in the villa staircases. I can see this could be a challenge for guests having difficulty walking.

Room :
The Jr Suite was beautiful. It was on the third floor, and we had a view of the Mayan suites to our left and the Royal Lobby to the right. It was very large, open-concept bathroom with double sinks, shower stall and toilet stall, as well as a living area with sofa, coffee table, and chairs. There was no tub in the room. Instead, it was located out on the huge balcony – a large double Jacuzzi tub. We were lucky to have privacy enough to enjoy this on an occasion or two…

The room had a telephone, coffee-maker, ice-bucket, TV with a lot of English stations. There was a basket in the bathroom containing bottles of shampoo and bath gel, shower cap, combs, makeup removal pads, razors, toothbrushes. Bars of soap were very small, I was glad I had brought my own. There is no clock in the rooms. You can leave a wakeup call if you need to, but I prefer to bring my own travel alarm clock.

There is a mini fridge stocked with 2 large bottles of water, 1 bottle of Orange, Sprite, Coke, and 2 beers. The mini fridge is restocked daily at Royal Suites. Bottled water is readily available at any of the bars, and in the Royal Suites you just have to go to the lobby and grab it out of the cooler there, which also contains pop, and beer, as well as sandwiches and pastries if you’re looking for a late night snack.

There was also an ironing board and iron. There are no umbrellas in the rooms. There is a combination in-room safe, at no extra charge Maid service was excellent, we tipped $2-5 a day and we had some wonderful towel art every day. Air-conditioning worked great. There is an extra blanket and pillow provided in the closet. The pillows are very flat so this came in handy. There is turn-down service provided in the evening. We also noticed they left towels for us every evening. We were very pleased to always have clean towels for showering the morning after our jogs, and in the evening before dinner.

Currency:
Take U.S. currency, cash is best. You can pay for virtually everything in U.S. dollars. If you pay for something in US money, they will give you pesos in change. We find it best to bring small bills for this reason.

Grounds, Beach and Pool
The grounds of this complex are beautiful. They are very conscious of the environment and this really adds to beauty. The mangroves and many Palladium critters are really a tribute to the nature surrounding this gorgeous complex. The grounds are perfectly manicured and everything is kept very clean. The beach area in front of Riviera and White Sand is mainly coral. There really is no swimming area in this beach area. If you want to swim, you need to walk to the Kantenah/Colonial area or walk over to the Salt Water Pool. This is a short walk on the beach but a much longer walk if you go through the resort. We found the swimming area in the Kantenah section lovely but much more crowded. You still have to watch where you step as there is the odd piece of coral. One day a huge fish swam by us….which we were later told was a Tuna!!!! We were somewhat disappointed in the swimming area. We always had our “spot” under a nice palapa on the Riviera side near the Punta Emilia beach bar. It would have been nice to be able to jump in the water and cool off. We chose to cool off in the pool in the White Sand area. It was never crowded and chairs were always available. The shaded spots would be filled, but we could always find a chair. On the other hand, the beach in front of Riviera is excellent for snorkeling. We went a few times and always saw lots of beautiful fish – as well as a stingray one day. This is an excellent area for the beginner snorkeler, as it is quite shallow and directly off the beach.

The Royal pool is in the front of the Royal Suites section. Beach towels are laid out on the chairs surrounding the pool. Royal guests do not need towel cards. They can simply exchange towels at any towel hut or at the Royal Pool. This was a very nice feature. There are towel return depots around the royal pool. We swam in the royal pool once after our morning run. It was very clean and quiet in the morning. We noticed it would have many guests around it later in the day. We had friends staying in the Riviera section, so chose to spend our time with them.

The Royal Suites area is very quiet. If you want to join in activities you have to go to the other pools. There are listings of the activities available, with times and locations in the Riviera lobby.

Bars and Drinks:
There are numerous bars throughout the complex. We visited each and every one.:)

The bartenders seemed to be unsure what a CocoLoco was and we never did find anyone who could make them the way they do in Punta Cana. They would all try to make one but they just didn’t have any taste. The best Pina Coladas were at the beach bar on the Kantenah side. They made them with fresh fruit and not the frozen mix. Banana Mamas are good when they make them with real bananas. It was hit and miss with each bartender. I think it depended on how busy they were at the time. We did enjoy Bailey’s with our coffee in the morning. The only place we could get this was at the Royal Lobby bar. We did also find it at the ala carte restaurants. This was nice with our desserts.

Water:
We learned from researching the resort that the water was fine to drink from the tap. However, our Sunwing representative advised us not to drink the tap water. Acting on the side of caution, we drank only bottled or purified water. A couple of us had stomach issues, but we were both uncertain as to the cause. I have to say the “issues” lasted 2 weeks.

Restaurants:
There are a number of dining options available. Overall, I would consider the food quality and choices available to be excellent, both in the buffet restaurants and the a la carte restaurants. I would rate the food the best of any resorts we have stayed at in Dominican and Cuba.

Royal El Jardin Restaurant:
Royal Suites guests have exclusive use of the El Jardin Restaurant, which has outdoor seating and indoor, air-conditioned seating. It is newly opened and the staff is being trained. We noticed the supervisory staff wandering through at all times. I felt nervous for the waiters. They were obviously trying their best not to screw anything up! We all know how hard that can be with supervisors watching every move. We ate a couple of breakfasts there and were very pleased. The omelet station is never crowded and they are very eager to please you. The variety is limited, as this restaurant is quite small and quaint. If you’re looking for lots of variety, you can go to the other buffets.

The El Jardin is also open for dinner. No reservations are required. Note that there is no smoking in any of the enclosed restaurants on the property. This is a nice feature. For dinner options, you view the choices they have on display, and the chef will prepare your choice in the open kitchen. You can watch him grill your steak, chicken or salmon. They had 6-8 choices for the main course. My husband had porterhouse steak and I had the BBQ chicken breast. They were excellent!!! There is a chocolate fondue with strawberries at the El Jardin that is to die for. I could have stood there all day dipping strawberries.

Ala Cartes:

I will only comment on the 3 ala cartes we dined at. The quality of food and the service was excellent at all three. Men are required to wear long pants and collared shirts, but can wear sandals. Women can get away with just about anything other than beachwear.

La Aldelia (Mexican cuisine): We really enjoyed the atmosphere at this restaurant. Our party of 6 all agreed it was the most “fun” restaurant. We had our picture taken with sombreros and other props. The staff also introduced us to the Mexican Boom Boom. I’m not going to tell you the tradition we experienced because not knowing what they are up to was half the fun. It was a very enjoyable evening. We tipped the staff very well.

Rodizio (Brazilian cuisine): Again, our party of 6 really enjoyed this restaurant. The staff was very entertaining and had us in stitches~! They really know how to entertain. I believe there were 6 different meats to sample. By the end of the evening, I could barely walk out of there I was so full!

Ribs ‘n More (Steakhouse): Another enjoyable evening. We really enjoyed the different cuts of steaks. This is where we found our Cheesecake! I was craving it all week. It was excellent. We did find the steak could appear cooked differently at any restaurant. My husband ordered Medium Well but on 1 occasion it came out Medium Rare. Not sure if there was a language miscommunication or not. Another occasion it was fine.

Buffets/ Beach Bar:
We ate most lunches at the White Sand buffet. It was excellent! We were all very pleased with the wide variety of salads, hot dishes and always had nachos! The Punta Emilia beach bar provided snacks between our many meals!! There is a soft ice cream machine at both the beach bar and White Sand Buffet.

Room Service:
Royal Suites guests have room service, which is available 24 hours. There is no charge. We did have breakfast ordered in –just because we could!!! It was promptly served within 30 minutes. While the toast was soggy, everything else was excellent. They make great banana shakes.

Internet:
We used the free internet service available to Royal guests at the Royal lobby on a daily basis. This is our main source of communication with family back home. It is important for us to have access to e-mail on a daily basis. The two computers worked great for the most part. There was 1 computer down for a couple of days. We never had to wait for more than 10 minutes at any time. It is available 24 hours/day, which we found very convenient.

DVD’s:
While we were there in April, we noticed they were in the process of installing DVD players in the royal rooms. The royal lobby will have a DVD library available. This should be up and running now.

Nightly Entertainment:
There are two theatres, one at Riviera Lobby and one at the Colonial Lobby. The times and entertainment schedules are posted in the Riviera lobby. We watched the Ideal Couple show one evening. It was quite entertaining. We watched another show in which the dancers danced a variety of different dances dating from 1920 to present. We were quite impressed with this and well entertained. We didn’t stay for any of the other shows. Smoking is permitted in the open-air theatres and it seemed where ever we sat, we had a cigar blowing in our faces. It was not very pleasant. Being from Canada, where virtually every where is smoke-free, it is hard to accept the smoking laws in other countries. We ended up leaving a couple of times because of this.

Disco:
The Disco is located across from the Riviera theatre and is open from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. – We did go one night but only stayed approximately 30 minutes. It was very loud and smoking was permitted inside.

Hotel Stores/Shopping:
There are shops in the White Sand lobby that carry many souvenirs. We found the prices to be reasonable. I bought t-shirts for my two teenage boys at home. One I bought at the gift shop for $25 US and the other I bought from a vendor set up outside the Riviera lobby for $15. The vendors will give you better prices the more items you purchase. I felt they were reasonable. I hate to dicker so opted to pay them whatever they wanted. We saw vendors selling their items every night and seemed to rotate. So if you see an item one night, it may not be there the next, but most likely will be there again the 3rd night.

Spa :
We spent a morning at the Spa after watching the sunrise on the beach (with coffee and baileys).  We were very impressed with the entire facility. We compared it to our second favorite Spa at Secrets/Excellence in Punta Cana. What impressed us most was the wide range of services. The Steam room was incredible. They had a vapor mist that cleared your nasal passages almost instantly. I don’t know what they used, but when we breathed deeply a few times it was an incredible cleansing feeling. We enjoyed the Sauna, and all the free services. The changing facility was beautiful and SO clean. I really enjoy going to a facility that is spotless. This was definitely one of them. The Gym facility seemed to be busy most mornings. The treadmills were always occupied when we were there. It is air conditioned, but still gets very warm. We didn’t use the equipment; instead we went for early morning jogs and stopped at the Spa on our half-way mark for a cold drink of water. They have coolers in the gym. After our jog, we enjoyed a dip in one of the pools and then on to shower and breakfast. It was heaven for us. If you enjoy jogging, this is an excellent resort. We jogged the parameter of the entire complex on the beautiful brick pathways. The beach is good to jog on the Riviera side, but it is too slanted on the Kantenah side.

Sports :
There is a tennis court, mini golf, volleyball facility and activity fields within the complex. We were amazed at the number of people who were playing tennis in the 30 degree heat. It was enough for me just to watch. There was never anyone using the mini golf when we walked by. I heard from other sources that the holes are all on hills, which makes it too difficult to enjoy.

Tours :
While we only have one week of vacation, we do not usually take any excursions but this year decided to do the half day Tulum Express. We left the resort at 9am and were back by 1pm. This was just enough time to be away from paradise. Our air-conditioned bus picked us up second to last (which was a treat). We stopped at Dreams Tulum on the way and were at the Ruins within 30 minutes. The Tulum Ruins are only 20 minutes from the Grand Palladium. This is why we chose this tour. We really enjoyed the tour of the ruins and the view of the beach area was nothing short of spectacular. We were so happy to see that beautiful crystal clear water after walking the 45-minute guided tour in the 90+ degree heat. We cooled off with a refreshing swim. We enjoyed the history lesson and our tour guide spoke excellent English. We were all very impressed. A word of advice….use the washroom before you arrive. The facilities at the market area are not at all like Palladium washrooms!!!! Yuck! There is shopping available at the market on site. We chose to spend our free time swimming instead of shopping. One interesting thing happened as we were arriving. When our bus doors opened, there were gentlemen holding straw hats with Tulum on them. They would hand you one and then say $20 please. We said No thank you. Another lady from our bus walked a little further and another gentleman handed her a hat and said $10 please. She thought she was getting a great deal so bought it. She walked a little further and in the market they were selling them for $5. We all had a great laugh – but unfortunately at someone else’s expense!! I don’t appreciate being ripped off, so thought this was a little nasty.

Weather and Bugs
We were there during April and it was perfect sunshine all 7 days. We couldn’t have ordered better weather! I had been watching the webcam for weeks in advance and only saw 1 rainy day in the 4 weeks prior to our vacation. I wonder if it rains in Mexico?? As far as bugs, there weren’t any to speak of, and saw no mosquitoes at all.

Spring breakers:
What spring breakers? We saw none.

Advice:
Take lots of different footwear. With so much walking, feet tend to blister even with the most comfortable sandals. We rotated different sandals so we wouldn’t have this problem. Take lots of sunscreen. It is very hot and I saw lots of people who were burned very badly….not a nice way to enjoy a vacation. Take insulated mugs. They come in handy for cold drinks as well as coffee on the beach in the early morning. So if you have lots of sandals, lots of sunscreen and an insulated mug….you have it made!

Summary: As an adults-only section, Royal Suites is an excellent option for those who just want to veg out and relax. At the same time, a full range of activities are also available to you. Grand Palladium Resort is a great spot for families, singles, and couples.

The food everywhere at the resort is excellent, with many dining options, and service was excellent. If asked to compare our vacation this year to other vacations, I would have to say I prefer the beaches in Punta Cana and Varadero for swimming but everything else was superior at the Grand Palladium. We make it a habit not to return to resorts we previously visit, just so we can enjoy other places. I would not hesitate to recommend this resort to anyone, but it’s very important to research it before you book.

Slideshow: Here is a photoshow of our 2008 Vacation. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!!!

http://www.photoshow.com/watch/kp3eY6fh

Cheers!!

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  Grand Palladium Royal Yucatan Suites   Canada

May 2008

My girlfriend and I went the week of April 12 to 19/08. We were at Bahai Principae Coba last year and thought that was heaven. It was nice but does not compare to the Palladium! Clean, friendly – wonderful

This is the way to go! The Royal Suites is exactly as the name sounds. You are treated royally. Most resorts give you 3 or 4 a la cart meals. When you are with the Royal Suites you have one each and every night! When you want to go somewhere within the resort (there are 5 resorts on the property that are Grand Palladium) you phone the Royal Suites Lobby and they come and pick you up and take you where you want to go by passing everyone else!

Kobah is the best buffet. The sea salt water pool located by the ocean is fabulous with its own bar and patio area. The spa is absolutely fabulous but don’t get your hair done there – the only thing they seem to be good at is the braids! You can get a temporary henna tatoo at the pools. Pictures with iguanas, the Mexican Warrior (muy guapo -good looking) or parrots and monkeys. Lots of fun!

The Royal Suites has it’s own lobby with an outdoor patio overlooking the canal which surrounds the resorts. A pontoon boat will take you for a ride around the resorts – great for picture taking. Drinks are premium – not watered down either! The house wines are not bad. The a la carts are fabulous!
Safe, clean, friendly is what this resort is all about. The jewellery stores at the White Sands and Kantenah are very reasonably priced. You can’t barter there but you don’t need to after going to Playa del Carmen to shop we realized this. By the way you can purchase premium wines at the lobby of the Royal Suites so no need to try and bring your own from home. One gentleman was purchasing wine from Chili but there are others available.

Warning: Make sure you aren’t over weight with your luggage. They nail you at the Cancun airport – we were both times. Last year over $100. cdn and this year $80. Funny how they can drop the price if you give them cash but he only dropped by $20 this year. In their defence we knew we were overweight by a tad going on our vacation, but not that much. So if you absolutely know you are not overweight question them – ask to see the scale but I don’t know if it is rigged.

The collectivos at the outside of the resort come every few minutes to pick you up. To go anywhere it is $2.00 US there and $2.00 return. Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue is a must to see. Xecaret also. We went to Lapis which was just down the road – it is a world renowned jewellery factory. What a sight to see! You can see them working on the jewellery in the lobby and then they will take you into the show room – they REALLY barter and it is sooooo much fun to do that there!

At Playa del Carmen – go to Senior Frogs Restaurant located by the ferry docks – what a fun place to eat!

Oh, forogt to mention – the rooms in the Royal Suites have a four person jacuzzi on the balcony outside! How great is that!

There was nothing negative about this resort (White Sands Royal Suites) and I would not hesitate to go back over and over again.

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  Grand Palladium Royal Yucatan Suites   Janne

February 2008

I am female, late 50’s and a medical professional. My daughter is mid 20’s at University. We both thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

My daughter and I have just returned from 1 week at the Riviera Royal Suites..we chose to go during her University spring break. Our arrangements were via Conquest Travel booked through BCAA. I had very little information on the venue before departure so had no preconceived idea of what to expect.

We were able to pre book our seats which diminished the early morning rush to the airport. We flew Skytravel which proved to be an economy airline but service was adequate and pleasant. We brought books, earphones and ipods which helped pass the time. There were 2 movies and a basic sandwich. You could request non alcoholic beverages anytime during the flight. On the return journey the a?c bus took us to within a few feet of the check ins reserved for Conquest. Thus no waits or stress. A Conquest representative was in the Riviera lobby mornings to arrange excursions and help in any way she could.

Upon arrival clearance through customs was easy and not at all confusing. Porters were readily available to take your baggage to the waiting Conquest representative. The transport van was waiting and within a few minutes we were on our way. We had travellers to other resorts on board so made 2 stops before the Palladium. The trip from airport to the Riviera was about 1 hour in an air-conditioned van with seatbelts. The road that runs along the water from airport to Tulum is well kept, flat and straight.

Arriving at the resort we were taken directly to the Royal Suite Reception. Check in took only moments; refreshment was offered while this was being done. Our bags had been loaded onto a golf cart and our Bell Boy took us to our suite. Our luggage was placed in the room and our vacation commenced. The room was large and airy with ceiling fan and controllable A/C. There was a large balcony with chairs , table and a 5×5 hot tub/whirlpool. The view was out over the lush hotel grounds and out to the ocean. There was a T/V with English news and channels, a well and continually stocked mini bar and cable connection internet. There was a large shower room with adequate but not great water pressure; there was always adequate hot water. There were ample closet and drawer space and a closet safe of adequate proportions. There were 2 sinks and a small toilet room. There was no radio or clock in the room. There was a coffee machine.

The pools areas were plentiful and varied; private for the suites, general for families and activities, salt water and adult. There was a full activity schedule. The beach was long and gorgeous. We had high winds so most days had restricted access to water activity equipment. I advise bringing your own mask and flippers as there is great snorkelling within a few meters of the shoreline but hotel equipment is only available 1 hour per day and not at all on “red flag” days. Additional to all inclusive beach/water activities were pay for use Seadoos, paragliding and off shore snorkelling trips directly from the beach.

Bars were everywhere and you rarely had to wait for anything. Food at buffet areas was available at all times..but not in all places at all times, the Royal Suites had 24/7 room service included and there were many a la carte restaurants each with a different menu theme. You needed to pre book times for these. Royal Suites guests had no a la carte restrictions. Bookings needed to be done by 1:30 PM of the reservation day. We arrived after that time but they still managed to accommodate us at the Ribs and More venue. The following day we booked evening a la carte venues for the remainder of the week but were pleased when it proved simple to change reservations as our gastronomic whims changed as the week progressed. A basic food menu was also available at the beach so one could stay there all day if they so desired. All common use areas were well appointed and clean. Service was immediate, of a great standard and friendly.

The Spa was fantastic with options to use the Spa facility or special spa cabanas on the beach or at the pool. My daughter made good use of the Spa menu and enjoyed the infinity pool at the Spa. Spa prices were low compared to those at home (3 massages of 1 hour each plus mani/pedi for about $260). Those who like to do other sports had access to soccer pitches (lit at night), tennis, mini golf, tennis, archery, shooting, volley ball etc. There was an adequate gym at the spa plus sauna, steam room etc.

They had “trains” that were people movers that ran on about a 15 minute schedule. Those who stayed at the Royal Suites had 24/7 Bell Boy service where you were picked and transported where ever you wanted to go at any time. The resort is huge as it includes use of the 4 major hotels plus the Royal Suite complex. Paths were well managed but sometimes one just doesn’t feel like walking. The sand on the beach is white, fine and never seems to get hot. I presume that is because there was always a wind off the water. Running the beach bare foot tended to result in blisters so good running shoes proved to be a valuable asset to pack for running on the paths, connecting roadways or beach.

The resort was not noisy. There was an area by the main pool that played music until around 11:30PM but it was not overwhelming or offensive. They did have entertainment theatres and discos but the noise from these did not reach the rooms, restaurants or laonges.

There are many pay for use excursions to choose from. I would check on the driving time as compared to the activity time. I also learned to insist on transportation that had working A/C and seat belts. The Tulum Extreme..fresh water cave snorkel, 600” free fall repel, jungle zip lines, barbeque lunch in the jungle and guided tour of Tulum was great. A coral reef snorkling trip was also good but the guides really knew nothing of what you were looking at beyond “coral” or “fish” and on the return journey I nearly hired a taxi as the initial van did not have functioning seat belts! When I refused to travel in it they found one with seat belts in good order. Others got goods deep sea fishing and catamaran trips as well. There is a good shop not far from the resort called Lapis. They sell decent jewellery..some very nice and great oriental rugs..some very nice silk on silk. They pick you up and deliver you back to the hotel.

Not so nice things: mainly food related. The Mexican coffee is very different from North American coffee and to my taste undrinkable. I would definitely take some home grind with me next time. I also took my own green tea for which I was grateful. Be cautious when ordering from the a la carte menu ..what is described as a crème Brulee may look like one but with your eyes closed you would be hard to put a name to it. The teriyaki sauce was a bland beef stock etc. Once you learned what to avoid and what was great you could order wonderful meals. The Japanese Restaurant had excellent tempura, rolls, sushi and sashimi. The house wine was not great. I, as many others did, would purchase at the duty free, if required chill in the room fridge and take to the restaurant to drink there. I was surprised that the servers did not seem to care. If you shop at the hotel complex do so in the shops. Their prices are way better than the freelance stands that get put in the open square outside the entertainment area at night. Do not purchase until you compare with the prices in the hotel shops.

I packed way more than I needed. The Skyservice limit was 20kg total and I was charged xs baggage fees of $10/kg. You need bathing suites and cover up plus shorts and a top for excursions. Something decent but not fancy for the a la cartes..men need long pants and a shirt/T shirt. Hats were hard to keep on as it was windy so take something that stays on securely. Sandals and running shoes (you need decent shoes for some of the excursions). Sunglasses, sunblock and skin lotion area must. I would have missed my ipod had I left it at home. Don’t forget your camera. Don’t forget books..I saw none for sale nor did I see a library room.IF you do forget something it will available somewhere on site! Also take USD $1 bills as this tip is preferred by the staff, drivers, guides etc. The hotel will exchange at the same rate as the bank and will change bill size if required.

All in all a great and painless vacation. Be certain to let your credit card carrier that you will be out of the country. They tend to block use if you have not given security release before travel.

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Grand Palladium – White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Resort & Spa

  Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa   Lynne ~Ancaster,Ontario

July 2009

Arrival: July 1-15,2009
The 10th Trip to Mexico, first at this resort,not bad.struggling 3*

Rooms:
The Junior Suite we had was very nice, spacious and clean. However there were a few bugs, cockroach, spiders to deal with.(first time this occurred in our travels there) The resort is located in a conservation area and kept natural.Hot water was an issue at times.

Restaurants and Bars:
At first the food was very disappointing,it was not very well prepared,salad bars were empty and slow to replenish ,there were bad reviews posted at the specialty restaurants.The main buffet was better. They improved within the two weeks we were there, the hotel was maybe at 40% capacity, which could have had something to do with the food. One swim up bar , they really need two for such a huge pool and they didn’t serve some international drinks but the service was good.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The grounds were very beautiful, wildlife was all around.It is a very big resort and if you have trouble getting around at all, I would not recommend this resort. The pool was the biggest one we had experienced in our travels and was kept fairly clean. The beach was disappointing, there was too much coral to get into the ocean and very murky so you couldn’t watch your step,not great for snorkeling. I would give it a 2.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There were activities all day long to get involved in. Planning a tour was not a problem. SunWing agent was disappointing though, first time with them, service was poor. Getting a taxi from the resort was an ordeal,needs improvement for transportation in and out of the resort. Luggage pickup was slow, so give yourself extra time.

Other Comments:
There was NO room service, which we did not know about before we booked there,so you had to go out for all your meals and it takes a couple of hours for meals including travel time to get there, just plan. The in room fridge was not replenished everyday, which was part of the services offered. The trams that you take to get around, were slow,not at all, or too fast for disabled persons to manage.They need to address this situation. We still enjoy Mexico and will go back, just not sure if this resort will be on our list again. I think swine flu has impacted this area still so there maybe a few inconveniences, so have another drink and ENJOY.

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   Grand Palladium Kantenah   Ross ~Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada

July 2009

Arrival: April 2003 and April 2008
Both times to the Palladium, we have flown out of Toronto and arrived with no problems. Great staff on the bus from the airport to the resort.

Rooms:
The rooms were very nice, very clean and well kept.

Restaurants and Bars:
The daily buffet is great. The staff do a great job with mixing the food up from day to day. I loved the steak house, and especially the Mexican restaurant, they were both awsome. On my second trip to this resort, I was with a larger group and for a few extra $$, I believe it was around $20 U.S., the staff will get you seated, even if they say they are full.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pool is always clean, very large and the staff is always cleaning it. I am not a big beach person myself, but the beach is nice as we went for a few long walks on it.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Xelha (sp?) nature park… both visits we attended this park, and went snorkeling, tube ride through the jungle, jumping off of the cliff into the water… this is a must… absolutely loved it…

Other Comments:
As you can tell from my remarks, I have been to this resort twice now, the first time with my wife and some friends, the second time with the kids. I love this resort. Tons of stuff to do, great food and restaurants, close to Playa del Carmen. The best time we had was taking the hi speed fairy to Cozumel and renting scooters and driving around the coastal road of the island, stopping every so often at beach bars for a drink to play some volley ball, or simply relax… The only negative I can say is that when I went the first time it was the Palladium Kantenah and Colonial… the second time there were 2 more resorts attached, the White Sands and another. Just seemed a little bit busy the second time, but I still love it there and would return again in a heart beat.

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   Grand Palladium Kantenah   Wanda ~Charlottetown, Canada

May 2009

Well we are back home from our awsome trip to Palladium Kantenah,(Mar29-Apr12)I’m not very good at writing trip reports so I hope I don’t put everyone to sleep. We(sister, bill,my husband and myself) left Halifax at 6:30 PM flying club class with Air Transat and have to say we didn’t get club class treatment,the stewards were very rude. It took 5 1/2 hrs to get to Cancun a long trip and we arrived at the resort around 11:00 PM.

We were quickly checked in and taken to our rooms,we booked a standard room and I e-mailed the resort a week before our arrival and because of staying at Palladiums 3 times before we were upgraded to a Jr suite. We had champagne,fruit basket, slippers, and robe in our room and a letter giving us 3 A la cartes which we could book in advance great start to two great weeks.After a long day traveling my sister and her husband decided to call it a night so Allan and I decided we would go in search of the beach bar to grab something to eat, well the resort doesn’t look the same as it does in the day, we walked in circles for what seemed like hours we finally found it.I had the Jalepeno(sp) peppers and Allan had beef tacos they were both good.We saw some teenagers hand feeding two racoons that was cool.We decided to go back to our room and get a good nights sleep so across the Chuk Tu bridge to our room, 5131(my sister was in 5133).

Everyday Angeles did a great job cleaning our room and left the most amazing towel art.We didn’t do a lot of traveling as we just wanted to relax but we did go to Playa Del Carmen and Akumal a few times.We tried the steak house Ribs and more and the Brazilian A la cartes and enjoyed them all.The steaks were great and it easily could have cost 100.00 at a restaurant in Charlottetown.We went back to the Steak house and Ribs and more a few more times and never had a problem getting in, if you go between 5:30 or 6:00 you might have to wait 5 min.We went to the White Sands and took a lovely boat ride the resort is very beautiful.

The whole resort is gorgeous everyone works very hard to keep the grounds very clean there is only one problem and its the visitors throwing their plastic cups and straws all over the place every day I picked 6 or 7 cups up blowing around, and threw them in the trash. Come on people, pick your own trash up. My sister and her husband left on the 5th and little did we know that our daughter and her husband arrived on the plane that my sister and husband left on, the next morning we got a call from our lobby to come on down they were in the lobby what a great surprise.We went to Akumal on the 9th for the full moon party at LoHa and met some great people GBG,Shane, Laundre, Yankee it was great to meet you all,also met Maggie from the library what a wonderful lady I had a great chat with her.

All in all a great two weeks at the Palladium and can’t say enough good about it.It is a large beautiful resort and easy to get around once you get your bearings.Lots of golf carts and 2 trains to take you around.The food was definitely some of the best I’ve had at any resort,if you can’t find something to your liking your better off staying home.Our favourite bartender was Omar in Hemmingway bar he was very good making all kinds of drinks also Wilbert was very good .Our fav waitress was Maria in the lobby bar when she saw us coming she would have it all ready.We were also invited to the Managers cocktail party and met the manager we told him our ice machine was broke it took 11 days and we finally got a new one, but we found another ice machine so no big deal. My daughter wanted to see the dolphins so we went to Puerto Aventuras(Marina) for the day and we enjoyed that although we didn’t swim with them .

The two weeks we were there it was really windy the red flag was up and no one was taking out the boats sea doos etc except for a few days the second week.We spent a lot of time at the salt water pool it was a beautiful spot .All in all we had a great vacation and hope to go back next year

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   Grand Palladium Kantenah   Kathy ~ Moncton, N.B. Canada

April 2009

Arrival: March 21 – 28 We left Moncton at 6:30 pm.Arrived at cancun airport and was surprised how fast we made it through customs.The tour bus was waiting for us.The drive took approx. 1 hour 30 min. We stopped because we ran out of beer.For those participating in the happy hour,there is a washroom on board.We arrived at our lobby and were very quickly given our rooms and were greated with amigos giving fruit punch.

Rooms
The rooms are clean.Beautiful marble floors and walls in washroom.The tub is extra long.Beds were double size but comfortable.There is a bar fridge that is free and stocked every day with water,pop,and of course beer.

Restaurants and Bars
We arrived late evening.We were hungry.We had to be at the airport at 3:30 then were given half a sandwich on the plane.We went to the beach bar.I ordered the tacos,they were eadible.My boyfriend ordered the steak sandwich,best i have ever tasted!!!!The quesidias were also very good.We visited 3 a la cartes.The first one was the steakehouse,it was amazing!!!!!We went when the a la cartes first open and got in no problem.A half hour later,the wait was up to two hours.They do give you a pager though.We also went to the italian ,it was o.k.The third was the chinese.We had the sweet and sour pork.It was also fantastic!!!!The buffets were very good.They had a theme night every night.We were not able to make it to the bbq on the beach because it was cancelled due to high winds.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
We are beach people so we spent the week at the beach.Bring your insulated mugs,one for water as well.Also a good idea to bring water socks due to the coral.There is a web cam on the beach which was great to wave to the kids at home the address is grand palladium addict The view was beautiful.There was also a small area selling a few souvenirs,cowboy hats,beaded jewellery and a few pottery items.

We spent the last day at the pool .The pool was also very nice.We brought loungers and were glad we did.Had fun floating around on them.Also had fun with them playing in the waves at the beach.Friends had brought disposable underwater cameras and brought them swimming.The grounds are beautiful.Walkways are covered.There was a flamingo area and also a crocodile cage

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
we went on a half day all terrain vehicle excursion.They allowed us to double up .Great trip!!!!We drove 30 km,went to a senote and swam in the water.They also brought us to a small farm and fed monkeys watermelon.There were also birds and a crocodile

Other Comments We left very early in the morning.They did tell us they were going to have a continental breakfast.It consisted of 2 trays of sweet breads and some juice.May want to bring some fruit and yogourt from breakfast the previous day and put it in the bar fridge.I highly recommend this resort

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March 2009

Arrival: Feb 24 – March 12 We flew Skyservice, Star Class from Winnipeg direct to Cancun. Flight was Ok, however, the Star Class isn’t worth the extra money as the seats are not much bigger than regular class and you don’t get any special meal. Same meal as economy class.

Upon arrival at the resort, we were greeted with a welcome cocktail and off to the checkin desk. There was no line, we arrived at noon. Check in was easy, thye provided a map of the resort, and keys. We sat in the lobby for about half and hour and had a drink, after the long flight. They bell hop was ready when we were to take us and our bags to our room. We had requested a top floor room, in the same building as our friends, however they were unable to give us a top floor room and advised that the next day they would try to accomodate us. The dront desk staff were great and the next day they provided us with a top floor room with an ocean view. We were in building 62.

Rooms
We had a very nice room with a king bed, sitting area, nice balcony, nice bathroom that had a jacuzzi tub in it and a mini bar stocked everyday. The room was fantastic, and the bed was actually comfortable! The only thing lacking was the cleaning of the room. The maid "Jaime" was not the best and forgot things everyday. However, clean sheets and towels were done everyday. No complaints at all regarding the rooms. They even have an IPOD docking station which was nice to listen to your own music. Several TV stations as well.

Restaurants and Bars
There are several bars and restaurants at this resort. The one bar that we found that served the best drinks was the beach bar. However, if you didn’t like a drink, just order another one. The ala carte restaurants were all very good. We ate at all of them and the ones that we found the best were the Asian Bamboo and the Brazillian. The buffets were pretty good, but repeatative so we choose to eat at the ala cartes. Be aware that the wait for the ala cartes can be over an hour as they don’t make reservations and you can eat at them as many times as you want. They give you a flashing disk when your table is ready, so you can go into the lobby for a drink or two or go into the gift stores until your table is ready. Just give yourself enough time.

Beach/Pools/Grounds Now this is the only complaint I would have. The beach at this resort is not very good. There are lots of rocks, coral etc and there is a very small swimming area where you have to walk to get to. So, if your a beach person like we are, it was quite dissapointing. The waves were high, the water was cold and the wind was high at the beach. And not to mention the walk was long to get to the nice portion where you could swim. We saw a lot of people snorkeling, and we brought our gear, however due to the waves and cold water we didn’t snorkel. The grounds were beautiful. They have a pontoon boat that takes you from A to B if you like, and there is also a train to take you to lobbies and rooms.

Due to the beach being less that suitable for us, we spent most of our time at the pool. It is a very nice pool, water is cool but enjoyable. We never had to look for a longer. FYI…we have been to several places and if your looking for a nice beach, Punta Cana was fabulous. (We stayed at the Grand Palladium there and found it to be the best so far)

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There was some pool activities but were quite boring. The anamation staff weren’t the best and didn’t really put on anything that we were interested in. The beach volleyball was probably the best. There is a lot to do on this resort so just walk around and enjoy.

We went on a few excursions. The first was the Cancun pub crawl. It is $70 US each but well worth it. They pick you up on a coach bus at about 6pm and then take you to Cancun. There was 4 of us in our 30’s and we had a blast. All drinks were included and you get taken to 4 bars. Then they take you back to your resort and you arrive at about 3 am. We had fun.

We also went to the Tulum ruins, but took a taxi there and back. $40US return. $6US to get into the ruins. We found this to be the way to go as opposed to doing a tour as you get to walk at your leisure and shop. No scheduled tour guide telling you where and when to meet. We had a lunch in the town there which was very cheap. Be aware, the shops are quite hectic as they are pulling you into their stores and ripping you off! We bought our souvenirs from the resort as the prices were good.

Then we went to Playa Del Carmen for the day/eve. We took a taxi and it is about $40US both ways. Playa is where you can do lots of shopping and it is very Americanized, so if your craving a Starbucks coffee, they have them everywhere! But again, the silver jewellery is very pricey, and I did not buy any as I can pay the same for it in Canada. We went to a beach bar in Playa called "bad boys" and on Thurs and Sat from 4-10 they have a live band and dancing. It was excellent.

We also went to Cozumel for the day/eve. We took the ferry from Playa and spent the eve there. Went out for a fabulous Chinese dinner at "CHI" on the main street. Cozumel is beatiful and very quaint. All in all, this costed about $80US for a couple.

Other Comments I feel that I must mention the SPA at this resort. It is so beautiful and relaxing. My friend and I had a 80 minute massage, and it was fantastic. Although quite pricey $150. But we are on holidays, so why not. Make a day at the spa as there is a pool and many things to do there to relax.

All in all, this was a great vacation. BUT…if you don’t like walking do not choose this resort. It is HUGE and just going for lunch, dinner etc takes about a 10 min walk. It is a nice place to go, however, we would not return to this resort as the beach just isn’t the best. Have a great time if you go.
canash@mts.net

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   Grand Palladium Riviera   Sue ~ Canada

March 2009

Arrival:February 2009
We flew on WestJet and arrived at the resort around midnight. Check-in was the easiest I’ve experience at a resort. A lovely lady made it even smoother with a round of drinks delivered while we waited in line. The only glitch that occurred was, we had booked the Kantenah side, however, our room was on the Colonial. When we questioned this, we were told they were both identical – which it turned out was true. In reality, after staying at this resort, the Colonial side worked in our favour as it was closer to all the spots on the resort we frequented.

Rooms
We had a standard room on the third floor which was beautiful. Spacious and clean. Fresh sheets everyday, comfortable pillows, and the mini-bar was well stocked with water, pop, and beer. The bathroom was clean and the tub/shower area was large. Nice deck with chairs and a small table.

Restaurants and Bars
One word – FABULOUS! Our favourite a la cartes were the Mexican and the El Dorado steakhouse. One thing to remember, they don’t take reservations, therefore, if you want to get in at a reasonable time, go when they open at 5:30. It seems early, but if you wait, you may wind up waiting quite a while for a table. The buffets for all three meals, breakfast/lunch/supper were outstanding as well. The only place that served food that was not great was the little beach bar buffet. Hmmm…pretty sad looking stuff. Otherwise, no complaints with the food.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was lovely. Loads of shade trees and beach chairs. There were some rocks when you walked into the water in some areas, but venture to the left or right and they would disappear. We snorkled and saw some interesting varieties of fish. The pools were nice, lots of chairs available. The main swim-up bar was exactly that – I couldn’t touch the bottom so I literally had to swim over to it. Could be a little less deep for us shorties. We spent a fair bit of time at the smaller pool on the Colonial side. It was a short distance to our bungalow, so was very convenient. Loads of iguanas sunning themselves poolside. The resort grounds were lush and well manicured. As the resort is huge, there are lots of walkways with clear directions indicated. We would catch the train from the lobby for our morning trip to the spa.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There were always activities around the main pool in the morning and afternoon. We fell in love with the spa – very relaxing way to start the day. No charge to use the facilities which include a "lazy river" type pool, whirlpools, sauna, vapour steam room, cascading water massage, foot "rock" massage, etc. If you want a manicure, pedicure, massage, etc. these will cost you. We spent our after dinner time in the Hemingway bar (non-smoking) or the lobby. The Hemingway was stocked with better brands of liquor. Local merchants set up booths on various evenings in the Kantenah lobby.

Other Comments We really enjoyed our stay at the Grand Palladium and would definitely recommend it to anyone. It is a large resort, actually, it is four resorts in one, but you can use the facilities at any of them. The weather throughout our stay was hot and sunny, a bonus as we left with a snowstorm nipping at our heels. We did use the Collectivo’s to go to Xcaret and Playa del Carmen. They were easily accessed at the side of the road and were much cheaper than a cab, although we took cab back to the resort after the show at Xcaret. No complaints at all – we will return to this resort.

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   Grand Palladium Riviera   Linda ~ Ontaro Canada

March 2009

Arrival: Feb. 20 – 27
We flew SkyService from Toronto and arrived in Cancun around 8:00 pm local time. We arranged for AGI Tours to pick us up and take us to the resort. Cost was $160 return trip plus tip. Well worth it. Was at our resort in one hour. Check in was fast and friendly. Return trip to Toronto was worst. Took two hours to get our luggage after landing.

Rooms
We had two rooms, both with double beds. We had our three children and a friend with us. Rooms were very clean and bar fridge stocked daily. Maids did an excellant job of cleaning and leaving towel art behind.

Restaurants and Bars
Buffet restuarant were great. Some of the same items daily, but always a selection of different items as well. Staff was super friendly and accomodated any requests. BBQ on the beach was terrific. tried the Mexican and Steak House alacarte. Mexican was good, but we prefered the steak house the best. We did not have a chance to try the others. No reservations needed unless you stayed in the White Sands section.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Main pool is huge. Very clean. No problem for beach chairs at either the beach or pool areas. Had a beach bar that also served food that was really good. My daughter and I had a swedish body massage at the spa and it was very professional and relaxing. As good as we would get at home.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel  We went to Tulum, very nice but was really hot out that day. Wished we had gome to Coba instead as you could still climb the ruin. Went to Xcaret – it was fantastic did nbot get to see it all. Stayed for the night show very good and ate at oneof the buffets there that was terrifc.

Other Comments For the price we paid it definitly was a 5 star and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. It is large, but never seem to feel crowded because of it. We would go back again.

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   Grand Palladium Riviera   Ron ~ Alberta, Canada

February 2009

Arrival: March 2005
The check in was ok. We asked for a different room as the one we got was not what we wanted. In a day, they moved us. The staff were friendly. We came in at around 7pm. We stayed on the Kantenah side.

Rooms
The room was very nice and clean; also a safe to use. The room had a fridge and TV. We were back away from the beach and was kind of long walk. We were in no rush so it was a nice walk. It is a large resort so the first day or so you get lost every now and then. Try to get a resort map as this would really help.

Restaurants and Bars
We always tipped at all meals. The service increase 10 fold in the days ahead. At night the bar at the pool was nice. A breeze from the ocean was cooling. The beach party was worth going to so make sure you book early in fact book all the al a cards early. The resort has really expanded so I hear and am looking forward to going back. Next time I would try the White Sands part.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
I have never seen such a large and well layed out pool. The small adult pools at the resort give you some time out. The grounds are well kept. Try to get up early to see the sunrise and a walk on the beach at this time. The spa and hot tube are worth going to. Its really rewarding.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Went to Chicken Itza ruins, Coba, Tulum, and Playa de Carmen. I enjoyed them all and found the beach at Tulum very nice. Such a beautiful place for photos. I have been to the Cancun area before and took in Xcaret, Xelha .

Other Comments
I have been to quite a few resorts and found this one to be one of the best. The place was overpowering as to the size. There was always lots to do and the meals were really good. Drop into my web site to see my photos, I get lots of hits and you can see my whole trip with about 180 photos. http://www.pbase.com/poundstone/rivieramaya

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  Grand Palladium Kantenah   Fran (aka auburnskye)

February 2009

We have been to the Dominican Grand Palladium (Punta Cana section) the past 2 winters before trying its Mayan counterpart for something different. We travelled with my parents, both seniors, and met our Haligonian friends there the same day! This review will be a bit of a comparison between Dominican and Mexican properties.

We flew out of Toronto on Air Transat on a 6:15 am flight. Uneventful flight, fairly easy time getting through the Cancun airport, and we all got green lights (whew!). We had NOBODY approach us about timeshares, or to carry our luggage…NOBODY. Only one lady asked us from her booth if we wanted a cab and I politely said no and we continued on. We had a bit of a hike to get to our bus which seemed to be the 2nd last one lined up in the massive parking lot. I had suggested AGI to my parents, but they said we should try using Transat’s transportation and see how awful it really was. Bottom line–it wasn’t. We waited about 30 minutes or so before going(we were one of the first on the bus), but the entire busload was going to the Palladium resort, so there were no stops anywhere…Cool!

Upon arrival, we were told our rooms wouldn’t be ready until 3 pm, as I had suspected, but were given armbands in order to start enjoying the facilities. Because we were repeat guests and because I’d emailed ahead with room requests due to my Dad’s mobility issue, they upgraded us to VIP and put us into a junior suite in building 50!. I was thrilled!. I wasn’t so thrilled when at 3:30 and 3:45 our rooms STILL weren’t ready. We had by this point been waiting around for close to 4 hours to call someplace "home". Had the weather been warmer we could have gone swimming, but it was cool and windy and we opted to have some lunch and relax in the lobby until we finally got our room keys.

Resort- I can confirm what people have said before…the resort is MASSIVE, and using the map is key the first few days (I had studied it thoroughly beforehand, but still made a few really wrong turns*lol*). The vegetation is much different than the D.R. resort, which is more luch and palm-tree’ish in nature, but we really enjoyed the various flora and fauna we encountered on our early morning walks around the resort. We thought the Dominican Palladium was big–this one dwarfs it! While I don’t mind walking and did daily walks around the resort, I think overall the group preferred the size of the Dominican Palladium better. With bad knees, it’s nicer to have all amenities a bit closer together, I suppose.

Food- Food was plentiful and varied. No complaints here. We were not thrilled with the way the buffets were set up though. In the Dominican, the made-to-order grill area was set apart from everything else, and against one wall, so if you wanted something you headed to a very contained section of the restaurant. In Mexico, it seems there were lines to get anything, whether it was grilled, or the french fries and guacamole that seemed to be in the same general area. It made for a lot of "excuse me, I just need some fries", or you’d line up when it wasn’t really necessary to. I think possibly they could re-think the layout so people just wanting to grab a quick bite could do so without queuing up.

Beach- The beach itself is nice and wide, particularly in the Kantenah section. This I preferred over the Dominican beach, which seems very thin and overcrowded at the best of times. We parked ourselves at the beach on those days when the sandblasting wasn’t too severe. No trouble finding 6 chairs together at any point, early or late in the day! The water itself was warm, and the bottom rough in many sections. We all bashed ourselves on the bottom, and agreed that the Dominican water was nicer (yes, we know there’s coral there, but there was a very small section that wasn’t, so you really had to be careful at times). We noticed that there was a lot of plastic washed up on any given day and saw that a lot of people were just plain sloppy with their cups and garbage. Buy BUBBAS, people!!…

Entertainment- We didn’t take in a show while there, choosing to visit with friends/family in the lobby over Spanish Coffees (it was cold at night!). We wandered by a few times, but the set up of the theatres wasn’t to our liking–row seating really doesn’t lend itself to visiting with friends while watching the show. Also I wonder how easy it was for the wait staff to be constantly making their way across everyone to deliver drinks. In the Dominican, it was more of a "dinner theatre" set up where the seating was tiered, chairs around small tables for groups to be together, and then row seating higher behind that for drop-in visitors. We DID see a band a couple of nights in the Colonial beach buffet–don’t remember their name, but that was a good way to spend a couple of hours and we would do more of this on any future trips.

Excursions- We did 4 excursions while at the resort. One afternoon, we arranged with the bell boys to get a van to take 8 of us into Playa for a few hours. The price was $90 for 8 people roundtrip, which we all felt was fairly reasonable. The van was new and clean and the driver courteous and he picked us up right where he said he would, on time. Nice seamless adventure for some shopping and sightseeing. Everyone really enjoyed this trip.

We also did Tulum the same way–renting a van for 6 of us (this time it cost $100 round trip). Once we got there, our driver made a quick phone call to someone and suddenly a gentleman approached us offering to be our guide. The price-$79 for 6 of us–admissions, tour, shuttle ride to ruins. We went for it and really enjoyed learning a bit about the Mayan culture and Tulum. We ended our time there by swimming in the ocean…What a great place to frolic for awhile. The day was sunny, and while not hot, it was one of the highlights of our trip. We hopped in the waves, got about a pound of sand in our bathing suits and had a few laughs along the way. Once done there, we headed back to the shuttle, shopped a bit at the stands near the entrance gates and had a Corona each…ahhhh…paradise!

My husband and I decided to head into Akumal one morning early to see what that place is all about. We agreed that we would need to re-visit it, because it’s just a beautiful and serene little pocket of Mexico that needs to be further experienced. No snorkelling though–we hummed and hahhed, and decided that a snack at Lo-Ha while watching the ocean was a better idea that morning. (again, it was overcast and fairly cold).

One of the hotel bellboys told us about a jewelry factory that does free tours, so we arranged with him to go there to see what it was all about. The place is called LAPIS and they make the pendants with your name done in Mayan. Again, a van came and picked us up, no charge, took us 7 minutes down the road and we were shocked at what we walked into it. It was like Tiffany’s in there. I got ONE photograph before I got yelled at by security, "no photographs…our designs are exclusive!"…oops!…We spent the next hour or so oogling the rubies and emeralds and diamonds…If you get a chance to go, see for yourself. It was a nice way to spend less than 2 hours and we all bought something..

As far as "off the resort" excursions and activities, I’d say Mexico wins over the Dominican. It was VERY easy for hubby and I to use the collectivo to get to Akumal and back, and we felt very safe leaving the resort to venture out on our own. Outside the resort walls in the D.R., there really isn’t any town to speak of, and no transportation to get you anywhere that isn’t a taxi. We found there’s so much to do in the Mayan Riviera that we need to go back to experience more!

Spa- This was something I had read about on this forum, and told the others, ‘we have to at least SEE this place". We LOVED IT there…so serene….and took full advantage of the free amenities they offer. I LOVED the steam room and the sauna and the giant tub with faucets dumping water on your head/neck/shoulders…On the colder afternoons, we headed for the spa for some warming up time. The only downfall is that they don’t have any sort of drink service there. While I understand that serenity and alcohol don’t really "mix" at times, having the choice to grab a juice or soft drink would have been nice. I only saw one water dispenser in the area.

Other Tidbits:

1. We got invited to the Manager’s Cocktail party as VIP guests where we met the heads of various departments/divisions within the resort. We got the chance to speak to Eduardo, the Reservations Manager and talk about suggestions and comments for the resort. It was a nice little event they put on and made us feel pretty special to be invited!

2. I LOVE THE POTTERY PAINTING AT FLORENCIO’S!!!…What a tranquil activity–breeze in your hair, the ocean right there, and an activity that gives you a unique souvenir of your time in Mexico…I would do this again in a heartbeat! The women in our group chose to do this (after my strong suggestion that we do it!), while the men sat at the Punta Emelia bar having a few drinks and eating Jalapeno poppers and quesedillas…a Win/win situation for sure!

I feel disappointed that the weather wasn’t hotter for us, but it was always sunny and we were always able to be outdoors doing something–it just wasn’t as much of a "beach vacation" as I was hoping for…again, another reason to try it again sometime soon!

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  Grand Palladium White Sands   Jack ~ Waterloo

February 2009

Arrival – January 2008
Very efficient. everything went well. The resort was initially intimidating in size and layout, plus we arrived at night, but we were directed to our room with no problem.

Rooms
We had a junior suite in the White Sands. The room was very luxurious! Two queen beds, sofa, two chairs, jacuzzi bath. WOW! The only downside (and I admit to being picky) is that there was not much privacy in the bathroom. It was an ‘open concept’ room with the sitting area at the far end near the balcony, then the beds, then the jacuzzi tub, and then the sink area – all in one room. There were two "cubicles" off the sink area – one for the toilet, and one for the shower – both with frosted glass doors that didn’t extend floor to ceiling. So, without being crude, shall I say that the toilet cubicle was not soundproof? Also, there was a small issue when I got up in the morning and my partner was sleeping, I wanted to wash and brush my teeth, it was a little hard to do that without disturbing since the sink was effectively in the bedroom. But this is all being very picky, the room was gorgeous, and I would not let this keep me away from this fabulous resort!

Restaurants and Bars
Buffets were excellent. I particularly enjoyed the "Lite" section of the buffet, which was full of low-fat cheeses, fruits, yogurt etc. I’d been at other all-inclusives, and had never found anything like this before so I was very pleased that I didn’t have to load up on carbs and sugar for breakfast.

Beach/Pools/Grounds Hotel is awesome. As you’ll have read, this is 4 hotels wrapped into one. You can go anywhere (except the "Golden" section). The grounds are huge, and great for walking. Potentially confusing, which is a bit of a downside, but hey, you’re on vacation, right? There are flamingos, alligator pens (two of them) and all kinds of wildlife – birds and other small animals. Tons of iguanas! There are so many covered walkways, it’s unbelievable! Some of them cross over the mangroves (which have been preserved) The resort is so large, it never felt crowded. I took pictures down pathways and walkways, and never seemed to have another person intruding on my picture. The only thing I wish I had done was bought a set of walkie-talkies to connect with our fellow travellers – the resort is so big, you will never find anyone "by chance". Many people complain about the walking – I can’t imagine that! Now, if you cannot walk well due to a physical impairment, then this is not the resort for you. But otherwise, this place is wonderful. What a better way to walk off your meal than to walk through a beautiful resort? We were at the White Sands, in a building near the front which means we were about as far away from the beach at the resort as you can be. Still, it took only a few minutes to walk there. And it was no distance to several of the gorgeous pools, so I guess I don’t understand what people want. If you want a hotel with a beachfront room, again, this probably isn’t the resort for you. The saltwater pool was interesting – really just a cordoned off area where water (and fish) flowed in and out from the ocean. I liked it a lot, I only wish they had dug it about 2 feet deeper, I kept hitting bottom! (picky, picky). There were something like 8 pools at the hotel, all beautiful. One of the pools at the white sands is inside a lagoon, so it is very neat! They even have a boat that runs through the lagoon to take you from one side of the resort to the other! And there are 2 trains (red and green) that run all the time to take you around if you really decide you can’t walk. Our room at the White Sands was perfect for that, as we were at the intersection of the red train and green train, so we could take either.

The Spa is gorgeous – I think some people must think that the Spa is extra! But the pool in the spa, the sauna, and the whirlpools are no charge. I can’t believe there were hardly any people in there!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel Crocodile feedings on a regular basis. Fun to watch, but not as exciting as you might think. Crocs fed on a regular basis don’t really seem to "attack" their food, they just sort of munch on it. On several nights, there were vendors who came in, and that was very interesting. Shows were ‘so so’, typical of all inclusive resorts.

Mini golf was fine, it was nice to have that to do.

Other Comments This is an amazing resort! The best feature by far is the grounds and the setting of this hotel. It is close to the road (easy to hop on the collectivo), right on the beach, and the grounds are stunning. I have stayed at 5-6 other all inclusives in Cuba, DR, and Mexico, and this is the most beautiful I have seen. The location is good too – very close to Xcaret, Xelha and Tulum. You can easily take a collectivo or even a taxi to all of these places and go MUCH CHEAPER than booking through your tour company.

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  Grand Palladium Riviera   Kathie ~ Saskatchewan

February 2009

Arrival:
We arrived just after noon on the 17th. We were given a different room the first night in another part of the resort. It was not a big deal, the room was great, the service was great and we were in Mexico! How could anyone be mad? We were told to check in at our orginal lobby the next afternoon, we did and they upgraded us and we were thrilled.

Rooms: Our rooms were both wonderful. Lots of space and everything we needed. I loved the size of the showers and the tubs.

Our bed was comfy and I wanted to bring my pillow home with me!

Restaurants and Bars: Everywhere we went in the resort was filled with life, laughter and great staff. The Riviera Lobby staff were wonderful and we especially loved the bartenders and waitresses.

A pretty little Mayan lady named Guadaloupe will never let you down!

Beach/Pools/Grounds: We enjoyed the size of the resort, we love to walk and we did a lot of that.

The first night there we got a bit lost on the road into the resort, we took a wrong turn and laughed at our adventure! The pools were roomy and full of fun things to do! I never saw one blade of grass out of place and everything was always clean!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We did tour Xel Ha as usual, one of our favourite places to go.

We also took the kids to Playa our last day. The collectivo will get you anywhere you want to go for a cheap price of $2.50. Fun to be a apart of the local scene and see a bit of the country side.

Other Comments:
I have been reading reviews since before we went to this resort and did what I usually do….find out for myself! Truly I was disappointed in many of the other tourists, I think they had their minds made up before they even went. They are grumpy, spoiled and just downright rude. I know you are tired from a long flight but you are arriving in paradise, get over it!

The resort was everything we expected and more, if you did NOT have a good time maybe it was your fault! The negative attitudes were the thing that bothered me the most. Stuff happens all the time, just make the best of it! How can you not enjoy a beautiful place like this.

The Mayan staff did everything they could to make us happy and we appreciated every one of them.

Thanks for making my families vacation the best ever!

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  Grand Palladium Kantenah   Ira

January 2009

Our family stayed at the Grand Palladium Colonial Hotel – it was a mixed experience:

The hotel is one of four, loosely linked together. I say "loosely" advisedly; the distances are quite far apart and without the jitneys that connect each hotel it is quite easy to get lost and wander – definitely not navigable by foot at night. That means if you are handicapped, this sprawling hotel complex is not for you.

There is an issue with food. In all the other "all-inclusives" we stayed at, in Mexico or the Dominican Republic, there was liberal access to food around the pool during the morning or afternoon hours when the regular restaurants were not open – not so here. There is a minimal cantina open at the beach only and it is not really worthwhile. The restaurant staff insists on directing to you to a table that invariably is as far from the entrance as is possible; this really gets annoying, after a while when you have a family and and just want to sit down and get your food without delay. My daughter and her young child happened to be sick during our stay and they were obliged to remain in their room most of the time; the restaurant staff gave us a hard time each evening when we attempted to bring a plate of food back to them.

The ice machine in our building did not work during our entire stay (5 days). We told the houscleaning staff about it and they graciously got us a bucket from another building but it was inconvenient – Oh, and the ice machines require your room card to work; they don’t simply dispense ice ad lib.

The plus side: the beach has wonderful fine white sand and the Spa is upscale and a "plus." Children under 18 are not allowed to use the spa. I would rate this hotel a "3" out of "5"; I definitely would not stay there again.

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  Grand Palladium Kantenah    Connie ~ Michigan

December 2008

Arrival: Grand Palladium White Sands Resort

We booked with Apple Vacations, absolutely no problems coming or going. They are always great, used them for years. We’ve been to Iberostar Tucan, closer to Playa Del Carmen, and twice to Dominican Republic (Secrets & Melia Caribe). Flew nonstop from Detroit. Avoid talking to anyone in the airport, after customs get your luggage and go straight outside to the waiting Apple representative. We were put on a van, made only one other stop before our resort. Spend the entire first day wondering the resort, rode the trains (go from lobby to lobby) and the trolleys (one for each half of the resort).

Rooms:
We had requested a kingsize bed, on upper floor. Had to request it again at check-in, they had us in a double. Ended up with a suite, kingsize, 1st floor (what we call the second floor) it was fabulous. Two balconies, two TV’s, huge bathroom, jacuzzi and shower for two! Fridge was refilled daily. Didn’t get daily towel animals like we were used to, even with tipping but survived..room cleaned very well. Loved having my morning coffee and early evening beer on the balcony.

Restaurants and Bars:
No reservations were required at specialty restaurants, tried the Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Steak and buffets (different theme nightly). Great food, good service. Eat before 7, or be prepared for a wait (they give you beepers). Bars great, used brands we’re used to. Wait service in the lobbies, but not on the beach except for far end.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Along with the main pools, several private adult pools, but you have to follow the map to find them. Well worth it.. Main pools have non-stop activities, fun staff, force yourself to join in early in your stay. Learn to dance salsa, meringue, darts, ping-pong, trivia contests. Again, no wait staff coming around taking drink orders like we’ve always had at other resorts. Had to walk or swim ourselves to one of the 14 bars (can you imagine!) The salt water pool was our absolute favorite spot, right on the ocean with crashing waves. Nice bar there, quiet spot, a stone trail going along the ocean. Lots of people snorkeling, huge reef along the shoreline.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The Friday night barbecue on the beach was so worth it, make a reservation on Thursday with concierge. The resort has nonstop live music everywhere you turn, all styles. Hobie cats, kayaks, paddle boats free. Charge for jet skis. Go to the SPA whatever you do!!! Its included (gym & water activities). It has a lazy river, hottubs, sauna, overhead water falls, and more. The put-put course was hard, archery & rifle are only at a certain time, but there’s tennis, soccor, basketball all the time. There are miles of trails and walkways throughout, just incredible. But you can just as easily get around on there transports. Got invited to a Managers Cocktail party, drinks and canapes. On our last visit we toured Playacar, Playa Del Carmen (shopping), took the ferry to Cozumel, went to Tulum, sailed on a giant catamaran and went snorkeling. Loved all of them.

Other Comments: We liked the size of the resort, never had a reason to leave. Lots to do or not do. The staff was friendly, they are tourist savvy so engage them in conversation. The nightly shows were some of the best we’ve ever seen at a resort. Glad we went, but also like the smaller Dreams Excellence and Iberostar Tucan we stayed in before.

cwarren1761@comcast.net

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  Grand Palladium Kantenah   Therese

November 2008

Kantenah Had a great time weather could have been warmer but we had sun every day and the days were mostly warm. Evenings were so cold everyone seemed to bundle up a lot. We stayed in a Myan Suite but never used the outdoor shower because it was too cold. Perhaps next time. We would have liked a curtain for more privacy. On several occasions when we were in our room either the gardeners came up on our deck to water the plants or the fridge person came to do his fill up. When we meet with a rep. she said they were working on it. We forgot to mention to her that a screen on either the door or the window would have been nice to allow the fresh ocean air in without allowing the bugs in as well. We only went to one a la carte Mare Nostrum and the buffet in the evening. It was really nice not having to make any reservations. We enjoyed Mare Nostrum so much we went twice. Most of our evenings were spent in the lobby of the Kantenah because we enjoyed the music. Although there was no dance floor we still got up and danced to the music. Our bartender Valentin went out of his way to find me a local drink called Xtabentun the D’aristi brand even though they had Vallisoletano at the bar. This was our second time at the Palladium and it will not be our last. A big thank you to all the waiters and waitresses too numerous to mention.

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  Grand Palladium Colonial   Laura ~ Toronto

October 2008

Arrival and Flight – Arrived on Friday Oct. 17 for a 1 week stay with Transit tours flying skyservice. Flight was on time (early actually) and no issues. Airport check-in and customs were quick and the transfer bus was ready to go. Watch out for time share people at the airport – they will tell you that you need to see them to receive your transfer information but unless they have a tour company logo (i.e. Sunquest or Transit), do not go with them! They have the first area after you get your bags and go outside. The drive to the resort is a long one, especially if there are other resorts that they have to drop other travellers off at first. Expect a 2 hour ride.

Check in at the hotel was problem free and quick! The rooms were ready early (noon) for us, which was a bonus, but it is low season and the resort was not fully booked.

Rooms – We stayed in block 49 on the 2nd floor in a junior suite. Very spacious and clean. The maid was great. The location of the room was perfect as it was equal distance to the pool, main lobby, and beach. We had a lot of rain the week we were there and had brought umbrella’s just in case. They came in handy as none are provided and while there are several walkways that are covered, there are a number that are not. The mini fridge was re-stocked daily and there were many channels to choose from on the TV – if that’s your thing. There is a coffee maker, iron and board, and lots of towels including face cloths. There were robes and slippers in the room to use while we were there as well.

Restaurants – Great! Food was good, if not excellent in some cases. The buffets had many choices and food was kept at the correct temperature on the buffet. Coffee service could be slow in the morning, but a wave and smile to one of the many servers usually worked. The multiple a la cartes were all really good. Service was great and the choices on the menus appealed to all of our various palates in the group of 6 we travelled with. The highlights being the Japanese (sitting while the chef prepares the food) and the Mexican. Lobster was available at all of the a la cartes for an additional charge. I never saw anyone order this, so I am not sure if it was good.

Bars – There are so many bars at this resort it is almost ridiculous – but very convenient! Service at all of them was terrific. Espresso and cappuccino are available at almost all of them and the cocktails were always tasty. Beer on tap is sol and sol dark. They offered premium liquor at most of the bars. Wine was drinkable, but nothing fantastic. They did offer a wine list at the a la carte restaurants and had some good choices, but they were at an additional cost. The Disco was loud, entertaining, and fun.

Beach and Pools – As mentioned, we had rain everyday this time away, so when the sun did make it’s brief appearances, we took full advantage. The beach is lovely. There is some loose coral that can be painful to walk on, but for the most part it was sandy and clear (even with the rain!). There were lots of fish swimming around as well – although nothing too exciting. There is a reef to the south of the Kantenah beach and there was a bit more to see there when we snorkelled. That is the rocky area where water shoes or flippers would be useful. We did visit the salt water pool and saw tons of crab and fish that were trapped in the tidal pools in the morning. The pools were good – there is the swim up bar at both of the larger pools and towel service was friendly and easy at anyone of the many huts. Tons of chairs were available and plenty of shade offered for those who need/want it. The bathrooms around the beach and pools were constantly maintained and very clean!

Grounds – well tended and beautiful. There are several species of wildlife that live in the mangroves and forest areas. There are caged crocodiles and a flamingo area as well. The paths are well lit at night and although it takes a bit to get your barings, it is easy to find your way with multiple maps of the resort posted frequently. There is a train that comes around if walking is an issue. It seemed to run more often at night.

Activities and Entertainment – The entertainment crew always seemed to have something on the go around the pool and at the beach. We only saw one show at the Riviera theatre – on the Casino night, and it was pretty good. We also caught the kids show one night at the Colonial Theatre with several staff dressed in wonderful costumes such as Shrek, Sebastian, Ariel, Donkey, Elmo, and many more. The kids club looked very well attended and the children looked happy. They had a teen clubhouse as well that always had great music playing, with a computer centre and pool table. I never saw a kid that was bored – even with all the rain. My friend and I did go to the gym, located at the spa, a couple of times and the equipment was up to date and kept in good shape. The spa looked very nice – but the prices were not cheap. The sauna, jacuzzi, and foot massage are included in the all inclusive plan.

Tours – Having been to this area of Mexico a few times, we opted to rent a vehicle and do our own day trip at our own pace. This proved to be a good decisions and MUCH cheaper than the organized tours that are booked at the resort. We went to Coba, which was amazing – you can still climb the ruins at this location and the main ruin was quite high and offered spectacular views from the top. We also visited Akumal and snorkelled with the sea turtles and sting rays. This spot is located behind the dive shop in between 2 areas where boats anchor. We also took the local "bus", which is really a large van, into Playa del Carmen for some shopping. It was 25 pesos each way and very easy to pick up on the side of the road. They have a location in Playa where you wait to be picked up to go back to the resort – just tell the driver which resort you are staying at. We also visited Puerto Adventuras for a couple of hours. It is a small quaint village where they entire harbour has been rented out to the swimming with the dolphins excursion. It was fun to watch the stray dolphins mimic those that were in use. This is also where my husband and another travelling companion got their padi certification by going to Aquanauts for their open water dives. They could not say enough good things about this dive shop and Natalie, who took them on their dives.

Departure and Check Out – We had an early flight to go home and were picked up at 5:30 am by the bus. The hotel had out pastries and coffee for our departure as no restaurants were open (except for the beach bar, which was too far away from the lobby) at that time. Flight home was good and on time. We had an issue with our baggage being over weight and this is expensive ($28/kg), so make sure to be under! The airline also gave away our pre-booked seats, but then corrected their mistake before we boarded the plane.

Conclusion – Overall, this resort is large, but with that they offer many choices for food, room location, places to lounge, activities, gorgeous grounds, and they take care of their guests in every way possible. I would highly recommend it and would stay there again. My only thing would be that there is a little more sunshine next time – but you take your chances when travelling south at this time of year! We still had a relaxing vacation and a great time despite the rain! Enjoy it!

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  Grand Palladium Colonial   Chris

June 2008

We are a fairly well travelled couple in our early 50’s (Hawaii, Bonaire, Roatan, Turks ‘n Caicos, Mexico – Cozumel and west coast) and just came back from a week at the Grand Palladium Colonial. We thoroughly enjoyed our vacation – despite the fact that we caught the tail end of Tropical Storm Arthur.

We stayed in a very nice Junior Suite in the Colonial that had a large sitting area with pull-out couch and reading chairs. The grounds are large and very well kept – we enjoyed walking all over the property. As we prefer to sit and read by the pool we spent most of our time at the adult pool – very quiet and relaxing with its own bar. The beach is extensive and good for walking, however, the ocean was a bit rough when we were there as the storm had just passed through.

As we have done a fair bit of diving we were disappointed in the lack of aquatic life we saw on our one boat dive and snorkelling from the beach. It is probably fine for casual snorkellers or first time divers but I wouldn’t recommend it for more serious divers.

We found the food and service to be excellent. There was a great deal of variety in the buffets, no problem finding something you liked. We went to the Japanese a la carte and sat at the show table – fun experience – and went twice to Rodizio (Brazilian a la carte) as we enjoyed it so much the first time.

Internet is available in the Kantenah (5 terminals) and in the Riviera I believe (3 terminals). The computers seemed quite up to date and the price was 2 pesos a minute (approx. 20 cents). We didn’t have a problem finding an available terminal when we wanted one.

The one downside is the travel time from the airport, especially if your bus has to make multiple stops along the way. However, based on the food, service and grounds we would come back and would definitely recommend this hotel.

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  Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera   Elio & Chris

May 2008

I was extremely disappointed, this is not a 5 star resort. it started the very day we arrived. we were given a room in 58 bottom floor .. no view at all only shubs.. curtains were just hanging from the rods and dirty. there was a futon as a sofa very very dirty. the garbage bin in the bathroom was all rusted. when i called the front desk to ask to be moved. she advised me there were no other available rooms and they did NOT sell me a view… we had to walk and walk and walk more to get anywhere . the food was not in any restaurant or buffet to the 5 star standards. We were told we had 3 meals a la carte when we went to reserve they were not avail. but the restaurants were always empty at the times we passed by. on thursday we had an excusion we had to be at the neighboring resort at 7:30 am. we left our room at 6:45 for breakfast at 7 to be on time.. but i forgot something in my room. we therefore went back. to our suprise neither of the passes worked on the door we couldnt get in. we than ran to the front desk. the desk clerk was no help at all.. she argued that the passes were fine. she then called maintaince to go check the door. but all the while mocked us. laughed at us. we asked for someone to bring us to the room oh we have no one.. we had to run back. by this time it was now 7:20am went back to the room we still had no service from them at all.. we called the other resort to ask that they hold the bus for us we were late. this is extremely poor customer service. i would never recommend this resort to anyone. EVER!!! the beauty will never take away the treatment we got from the staff.

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  Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera   Connie & Miles ~ Cobourg, Ontario Canada

February 2008

Hi Debbie
We were at the Grand Palladium Kantenah (GPK) the week of February 15-22. The weather was 90% sunny with a few clouds. The resort is beautiful. The rooms have a full bathroom with two double beds, marble floors, and terrace but lightly decorated. They are into the environment and have their own water purification system. The GPK is located about 1-1/4 hours from Cancun Airport but this gives you a chance to see the country side. The GPK is one of four resorts including Colonial, Riviera and White Sands. The buffet food is very good with different items each night (Asian, Fisherman’s Night, Gala Night, Brazilian) and the service at the a la carte restaurants was excellent as was the food. We tried the Steak House, Italian and Mederittian but different people told us the Japanese was the best. The beach at the Kantenah and Colonial is nice (need water shoes due to a few rocks)and we had no problem finding a chair on the beach or pool area. The Riviera has no swimming beach but a sea pool instead. We read reviews before we left and used our large traveling cups every day. We used the bus service outside our resort which was $2 US each and went to Playa de Carmen as well as Tulim. There is nightly entertainment at the Colonial and Riviera. We could walk on the interlocking brick or take the trolley car which ran between lobbies every 5 to 10 minutes.

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  Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera   Connie

February 2008

Colonial
This is a gorgeous hotel –the entire complex is large but wonderful. The pools are kept clean and there are many throughout.

The rooms are comfortable and also kept very clean. We had a king size bed in the room (Villa 3) which was comfortable and large. Air conditioner was working well and kept the room at a comfortable temperature.

Beach–plenty of chairs available. Lovely water but a bit rocky from the coral –but with a view like that –who cares?

The only warning–if you have trouble walking -be prepared because it is a huge resort. There are plenty of carts though to take you from place to place.

Food–buffets were fine ,especially breakfast- other meals—you won’t starve. Other restaurants were also good. It was nice to sit down and be served. For these you need to make advance reservations.

Would I recommend this resort? —-DEFINITELY!!!!!!

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  Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera   Mandy ~ St. Thomas, ON, Canada

January 2008

Grand Palladium Riviera Section

Arrival – Our Sunwing flight was late again, this is the third time I’ve travelled with Sunwing and they’ve been late each time with no explanations. They were only a couple of hours late this time though. Arrival at the Cancun airport went well and I knew enough about the timeshare people to just brush past them to find our real tour rep.

Rooms – We had a junior suite, it’s a very spacious room but the bathroom situation isn’t any good for friends. There is no seperate bathroom, the tub is in the room beside the bed and there is a glass stall with a toilet in it and a glass stall with a shower in it so there was no privacy. As I was staying in a room with two of my male friends, this made it difficult for me to find any privacy in the room and I did my majority of getting dressed out on the balcony.

Restaurants – There are ample restaurants to choose from because there are four resorts in one. We found the a la cartes good, we tried the Italian and the steakhouse. The buffets were kind of bland and we’d hoped for something a little spicier. Also, if one buffet had a Spanish theme, then all the other buffets at each of the resorts had the same theme so there was really no point in trying the other section’s buffets. The two beach restaurants were open 24 hours and were pretty good.

Bars – Nothing but good things to say about all of the bars, every lobby bar was good and all the pool bars we tried were good. Most of my group drank mojitos all week long and I kept trying different things off the menu, I especially liked the Tropical Mango.

Beach and Pools – The beach was beautiful. The water was calm for us and I wish I’d brought my snorkelling gear because there was good fish and coral to see right off the beach. The beach is also long for the Mayan, do watch your step in the water though because some of the coral is sharp. There was always ample chairs.

Grounds – The grounds were well tended but for the most part it’s like a big jungle. If you take the little train around the massive resort you won’t see much scenery except jungle.

Activities – We never tried any of the activities because we were either out on excursions or too lazy to play. I did see them playing bingo and darts around the pool.

Tours – We did three tours and I’d recommend them all. We did the Party Hopper to Cancun. They pick you up in a van and drive you to Congo, Senor Frog and Coco Bongo. The three bars were great and all drinks were included. Coco Bongo is sure something to see, the bar holds 3000 people and they put on a pretty good show with impersonators, balloons, bubbles, overhead trapeze artists, just awesome. We also did the Aquatic Adventure where they took us snorkelling in a bay with turtles, then to an open air cenote and then snorkelling in an underground cenote. Lunch and drinks were included and the cenotes were beautiful. The last excurion we did was the Tulum Extreme, it started with each of us doing three zip lines over the jungle ceiling, then swimming in an underground cenote, repelling down a cliff, then lunch, then they take you to the ruins of Tulum and give you a tour. I’ve been to Tulum before so skipped the history lessen and went right for the Tulum beach, gorgeous. Just something amazing about frolicking in the rough ocean waves and staring up at the grandeur of the Mayan temple. Breathtaking. We also took a cab into Playa del Carmen to do some bartering with the locals on some trinkets and we ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant.

Conclusion – I love the Mayan Riviera and the Mexican people. I enjoyed my vacation totally but if I went back to the Mayan area I’d probably stay at the Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret resort because it wasn’t quite as massive and it had better food in my opinion. And my first love is still Cuba, Holguin rocks. Happy Travelling.

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  Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera   Cathie

January 2008

Air Transat using CanJet Airplane from Ottawa, great flight, CanJet is great.

Colonial is beautiful. But there are so many walking wooden bridges it is very difficult for women to wear heels!

Restaurants: Mexican great, Japanese not great, Steak great with great service, best was the Mediterranean, lobster bisque wonderful, the lamb was amazing and best mint sauce I have ever had…………asked for sauce again next night at buffet and they went and got me some! Buffets were great for breakfast and snack type lunches. But for suppers go to the a la cartes.

Rooms: we emailed requesting an upgrade and got it. Biggest complaint for entire week. The walls are SO thin that you can hear everything from other rooms and hallways. And hallway noises echo, and echo very loudly.

Gym: new machines, but not very many of them. I went at opening time to get one.

Spa: lovely.

Beach: best I have seen in 5 trips to Mayan area.

Pools: clean and maintained.

Bars: great martini’s! Salt water pool made best mojitos.

Took the collectivo into Tulum and Playa Del Carmen, great $2 service.

Overall: we loved it.

Downfall: other tourists!!!! Too noisy, and since the rooms echoed like crazy it was very annoying almost every day. And why oh why would vacationers throw their garbage and especially cigarette butts into the beautiful white sand of the beach area (or on walkways where there are tons of butt stops) ?????? Use a cup, or the staff are more than willing to find you an ashtray even at the beach.

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  Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera    Karen ~ Canada

January 2008

Arrival – Arrived on U.S airways scheduled flight on time. Connection through Pheonix. We arranged a private transfer to avoid lenghthy delays of buses. Used AGI tours. Friendly and on time. Check in took less than 5 minutes.

Rooms – Room was way to small for 2 adult and 2 teenage girls. No upgrade was available. Although I don’t know why they would not have prepared for this. We had only two double beds. Always had to ask for more towels, which we never got. They would only leave 2 in bathroom.
And we tipped the maid well.

Restaurants – Food at buffets was okay. A la carte restaurants had terrible service.( With the exception of Portofino which was excelent as well as the food). Mare Nostrum had terrible service, and the food made everyone in our party sick.

Bars – All bars and service excellent. Churchhills in the Kantenah lobby is a great place on your way to bed. All premium brands. If you don’t see it ask for it. All bartenders fun and friendly. Very very generous when mixing drinks. Beach bar at Kantenah beach excellent. Pool bar (swim up bar) at main snack bar excellent.

Beach and Pools – Beach absolutley the best. Went on forever. You could get a lounge chair anytime of day.( we were told resort was 100% full). So the beach was packed everyday. Lots of acces to water sports right from Kantenah Beach. Parasail, snorkel tour ( $35 takes you on boat down by Bahia. Turtles ,stingrays ect).Sailing seadoo.
Pools nice and clean and big. The quiet pool by the Kantenah villas is a best kept secret. If you are not feeling well or just need peace from screaming kids. Bar right there.

Grounds – Very clean. Always people working, sweeping ect. Huge property! Use the train to get around.

Activities – Lots to do. Your choice. They were always people playing volleyball on beach. Water aerobics looked fun. Some water games in ocean as well as in pool.

Tours – I would reccomend Coba Mayan experience. Long day but worth it. Xel-Ha is best bang for snorkel.
Xecaret not so much snorkeling, go after 3 pm and it is cheaper. The show is worth the money! Best place for Dolphin swim. Peninsula buffet excellent and beauty spot right on ocean.

Conclusion – My review is mostly based on comparison to my last stay at Barcelo Collonial Mayan riviera. Both places have there good and bad. But both excellent. Palladium has better bar service and is more fun at night. Also just to mention the jewlery stores at Palladium resort have excellent prices. There is not bartering, but no need really.

Don’t leave valuables in your bag by the pool. My friends camera was stolen right out of bag, as well as sunglasses. One other person claimed the same. I do not believe it was anyone working there. You really never see employees hanging around the pool. Pretty sure it was a guest. Bummer!

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  Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera   

January 2008

Grand Palladium White Sands

Arrival – Smooth as silk. Hot as hell to. Once we received our luggage we were escorted outside, found the Transat sign and were once again escorted to our bus. Smooth and easy, which first timers love. Once on the road our bus guide welcomed us and had a few jokes and a few Cervasa’s which was great. We also heard a rumor they may build an International Airport in Tulum,, that would be great as long as they respect the Ruins.

We will do it again in the near future. Cheers and thanks for your help.

The Hotel was nice, clean, and comfortable. If I had the chance I would have requested a room on the second or third floor, for the view, but we enjoyed the balcony anyway. The rest of the resort was very nice, a little difficult at first to find your way around, I suggested color coded routes, so you could look at the map and follow a color route when you were walking. But once you got your bearings it was ok to get around. Buffet was good, plenty of food, service was very good.

Pool areas were great, to many kids, so we used the Adult pool to relax. The beach was nice, crowded, but nice, if you wanted to swim there was plenty of room, for most people did not venture very far from their chairs. Evening shows were very good. Resturants were very good, shops were also very good. We felt very comfortable in the whole resort, even on the beach after dark. Would go again.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Linda ~ WI

November 2007

We stayed at the Grand Paladium last Feb. The resturants were some of the best that we have eaten at in all of our trips to Mexico.

We loved the beach area with all the Palm Trees and the ocean was beautiful.

Our rooms though modest were quite comfortable and we felt the accessiblity to everything around us was great, the board walks at night are lit up and they make for romantic strolls.

We had a very relaxing and enjoyable vacation and have booked for February2008.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Dennis ~ Windsor, Ontario, Canada

June 2007

We stayed at the Colonial from June 9- 16th. We were a group of twelve and we went there for my son and his fiance’s wedding. Upon arriving the resort looks very nice as everything is marble and the lobby is huge. Check in was fast and we got a ride to our room which was in building # 8 on the third floor. The room was a junior suite as we had booked and it was very nice,it was a good size with a nice bolcony and a jacuzzy tub.Since we arrived after 10:30pm the only place open for food was the beach snackbar. Here the food was your typical snack foods,they only served beer, and the mosquitoes were out in full force. The next morning we found out how big this place really is. It was at least a two or three city block walk to the buffet for breakfast and almost as far to the beach. The beach was very long so you can go for long walks but do it in the first couple of days because after being there for a few days you won’t want to walk anywhere because getting anywhere is a long walk. The walk to the buffet was along a covered path through an area they said was a rain forrest so it was more of a jog or a very fast walk to avoid as many mosquitoes as you could. I found the buffet to be very average for a 5 star resort, in fact it was down right boring. They have three buffets, the main one is open for breakfast,lunch,and supper,the pool buffet is only open for lunch, and the other one is open for breakfat and supper, but it did not matter which one you went to because they all served the same thing. The first night it was Spanish night , the second night was Mexican night, and the third night it was Brazilian night and it was all the same,the fourth night we ate at the japanese alacarte and it was pretty good as we ate at the show table, the fifth night we ate at the italian restaurant because that was the day of the wedding(i’ll get to that in a minute) and guess what it was italian night at the buffet, on friday we made the mistake of booking our meal at the beach party, what a joke this is, they served the same food that was on the buffet for lunch except now they wanted you to stand in line to get it. We got there at 7:00 and they throw you out at 8:30 because they have a second seating at that time. I can honestly say I did not have a good meal at any of the buffets. The meal at the japanese was entertaining, the sushi was good, the fried rice was good but mushy, main course was ok but they use too much tequilla and saki for the flame effects with your food so it has a strong alcohol taste. The meal at the italian was the best and maybe that was because it was for the wedding. We all had to use one of our reservations for the wedding meal or my son had to pay $60.00 U.S. per person for the same meal. I found the service at the buffets to be VERY slow. They could not or would not put tables together so all 12 of us could eat together. This resort is very strict with there rules, one of our guests had a spot of water on him from splashing water on himself to get the fire ants off of him and they would not let him into the buffet, my son wore a muscle shirt one night and they refused him entry and when he said he needed to tell us he couldn"t get in a large man esorted him to the table and then out of the buffet.On the wedding day my sons fiance’s father went to the buffet to get her some food to bring back to her room and they wouldn’t let him leave with it. He got a hold of the manager and wedding co-ordinator and they told him to go ahead and the person who was stopping him in the first place continued to try and stop him even with the manager there saying it was ok. We saw about 10 minutes of one of the shows and it was so bad I had to leave and we never saw any more, although others in our group saw more shows they said they were also bad. We spent the rest of our evenings at one of the airconditioned bars where the bartender Felipe was great. This was probably the best times we had at this resort. They allow venders on the property every night and while we did get some nice things you get tired of walking past them every night to get to the buffet and enduring the name calling from some of them as they were quite rude sometimes if you did not stop and look or buy from them. This was our first trip to Mexico and I would call it a dissapointment,I would have to say our trips to Casa del Mar in the Dominican Republic ( 4 star ) were much more enjoyable. This resort is just too big and too strict with there rules and the buffets are too plain for me to enjoy it.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Jennifer

May 2007

WOW!!!! That just about sums it all up. It was a truly magical day.

Here’s the breakdown of the whole trip.

Booked through Air Transat and we upgraded to Club Class on the way down. HIGHLY ADVICE this. It was fantastic, we were seated first, served Champagne while others were still boarding – lots of fun to wiggle your glass at your friends and family as they pass by 🙂 We had a choice of breakfast, more leg room, deeper recline and a freaking big screen tv to watch the movie on!!! I was given no troubles with my dress, I simply laid it in the overhead compartment and then closed the lid and that was that. The flight was smooth, and we landed in Mexico to slightly overcast weather.

The Resort
The Grand Palladium (GP) is MASSIVE. Yep, you hear its huge and you really don’t understand how huge till you get there, its MASSIVE. We stayed in the White Sands Bldg 54 – we had a partial ocean view if I hung over the side of the balconey. The rooms were spotless. Our whole party (36 people) was in the same building. The rooms were all junior suites. No elevators so getting all our luggage to the top floor (3rd floor) was a bit of a struggle – no railings… but we managed. The maid service was prompt and fast, we left a few bucks everyday and we usually got some form of towel art – elephant etc.

The pool was beautiful – really refreshing/clean. Swim up bar was great, the bartender there (can’t remember his name) would make us all these strange shooters to try everytime we ordered a round of drinks. The staff is very friendly and prompt. Amazing service.

The grounds are immaculate and the beach is wonderful – long and sandy. The groundskeepers do an amazing job of cleaning up after all the lazy tourists leaving garbage behind.

On the Monday I met with Rocio – she is lovely. We went over all the paperwork and then she brought out a folder of flower photos. I was disappointed with this, because from reading other posts I was under the impression that there was going to be a really large selection of bouquets to choose from – well there wasn’t. I didn’t bring a single photo with me of what I would like to have so I just selected from the book. I was still happy with the flowers – they were really fresh and lasted until I left the following week.

We had our blood taken and it was virtually painless. This Dr. needs to come to Canada and teach the blood takers how to do it.

The wedding was on thurs so we had lots of time to explore and enjoy Mexico. A group of us went to the Coba Adventure Tour – zip line, rappel, hike, see the ruins and it was really good, a lot of hard work but tons of fun.

I took the girls swimming with the dolphins at Delphinius for a thank you to them and it was the experience of a lifetime, the Dolphins are amazing, so soft and they love to play.

We also did a snorkeling trip on the friday after the wedding.

The Wednesday night before the wedding the bridal party all booked into Portofinos for dinner – it was ok – disappointing really, the italian night at the buffet was heaps better. and then my hubby went back to our room and I bunked with my girlfriends.

After breakfast I headed up to my room to begin preparations for the day. My maid of honour curled my hair and then her and my BM pinned and styled it for me. It turned out amazing and lasted pretty good all day. (the resort stylist was too pricy for us $80US) We all got dressed and then at 3 the Photographer Alberto (www.claudiaphoto.com) showed up. He took a variety of photos and then left at 330 to go to the gazebo.

The little cart was supposed to show at 4 but by 410 we still didn’t have a cart so my dad walked to the lobby and got a guy to come get us, so we got to the wedding site around 420.

We arrived at the site and it took my breath away, it was beautiful, as I hopped off the cart all sorts of people started to applaud, it was really sweet. The trio started to play and the girls headed up the flower strewn isle. I got a little choked up and my dad made me laugh and unchoke by explaining all about the birds and the bees as we walked the isle. I was laughing like crazy.

The JP was great, he spoke English and he was wonderful, the ceremony was sweet and to the point, we exchanged rings and the JP allowed us to say our vows. My DH had his memorized, and I had to pull out a piece of paper to say mine. After our vows my brother said a few words and then the JP finished the ceremony off and we were introduced as Mr and Mrs.

We had lots of photos after that and then dinner at the buffet. The dinner was fantastic. They had reserved two long tables for us and when we walked in all the buffet staff were standing at the entrance and applauded us as we entered. The staff were attentive and kept our glasses full and our plates clean. I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. It was relaxed and everyone had lots to eat. We said a few speeches during dessert and then they brought out the wedding cake. hmmmm, not to sure what I can say about it except, it tasted amazing. All I did with regards to the cake was hand in my cake topper and figured it would be a plain white cake – perfect. Well I guess the chef decided it needed to be jazzed up so he went to town on it and had all these edible maple sticks sticking out of it in all directions including a small stick in between the cake toppers grooms legs – it was the funniest thing we had ever seen.

After dinner we went to the lobby bar where we had our first dance. Then we went to the La Laguna and danced the evening away to Quarzo. Quarzo is a coverband and they are really good, heaps better then some of the coverbands that play in local pubs. Everyone was dancing, the place was packed. After Quarzo left we went to the disco and the finally back to our room. Our room wasn’t decorated for the wedding as it was supposed to be but it really didn’t matter cause my girlfriends went up and made it look pretty for us.

It was a fantastic day and it exceeded all my expectations. We had a amazing time and I would go back to the resort in a heart beat. You will NOT be disappointed if you choose this resort or if you choose to be married here.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Alex

March 2007

My fiance and I flew from toronto to cancun in early march of 2007, staying at the white sands resort. Please note that I myself have a severe right sciatic nerve pinch making it very painfull to walk for more then a few min’s at a time.

Airport- Lester Pearson, worst airport in the world. Very chaotic and lines are incredibly long. One lady (older lady) passed out in line. Leave it to us kind Canadians to kindly step over her to get to the check in. The flight was with Transat, one of the worst air lines possible, much like conquest. But the actuall flight was fine, left on time and arrived early. The meal, both on the way there and back was a sandwhich who everyone seemed to dislike. And lets not forget the $2 you must pay for a small bag of chips or choco. bar. Word of warning to any smokers out there, dont buy a carton of smokes at the duty free shop, you will get the same products for half price on the plane or in mexico itself.

Resort- HUGE, simply gigantic. There are parts of the hotel under diffrent names. But you should put that aside. You get access to all parts except the Royal suites, but the only thing your missing out on there is a small lounge and pool. Beyond that you get everything else at your finger tips. The pools are plentiful, several adult pools, a few main pools and lots of jacuzi style jets in the pools with built in pool chairs in the water. The swim up bar was good as well. The only draw back is everything is spread out, so walking is plentiful, and as stated earlier, it is very painfull for me to walk at present. But the best part is the fact that there is a bus style golf cart with a train look to it to get you around with stops through out the resort. So you didnt need to wlak 20-30 mins to get to a lobby, I could simply get to the front of my villa and wait up to 10 mins for a train to pick me up and take me anywhere. And in the case of early starts ikn the day when the train doesnt run, no problem, call the desk and 5 mins later a golf cart is there to take you anywhere you want. How is that for service!

The rooms are very clean and large, our room had a large tub to soak in, marbel this and that, great AC and mini bar had several pops/water and beers that was restocked every second day.

The Spa is great, huge hot tubs and sauna and vapor rooms. Plus this great turkish bath. where the water temp is perfect with a large tap overhead to drench you with water. Plus the mini golf (far from PGA, but still fun), tennis/soccer courts. Ultimatly this place had everything. Flamingoes on site, two crocodile pits (in case a tourist stiffs the hotel!) and tonnes of wild life on grounds such as huge honking lizards/possums/monkey and what ever else. And dont worry, they stay outside and not in your room.

Beach- The beach is huge, really nice, only draw back is the rough waves and some rocky patches here and there. But to counter this they had a salt water pool along the coast with water comming in from the sea, absolutly perfect. And secluded, plus the bonus for me was that it was two min walk from our villa.
Last point to make on the resort would have to be that it is very private and quiet. Loved it, the place was booked, but its so huge that no where seems full, but rather empty. Cant say enough good things about this place.

Food- Buffet style ok, lunch was ok, dinner decent, breakfast was freaking great. It was similar every night but with variations. The a la carts are also ok, just order stuff you know already, simple steaks and so on are great. I made the mistake of ordering a mexican dish I didnt know, and well, it sucked. But beyond that it was fine. Breakfast was the best meal of the day. They make a great kahula cafe by the way.

Over all I have commented on it all, its a great place with great staff, every one is friendly and thats how it should be. Make sure to book a tour somewhere, its worth it, I suggest (if you are looking at booking a tour to some mayan ruins) to skip Coba, it sounds impressive with it bieng the tallest pyramid, but take the long bus ride to chichen itza (chicken pizza) as its much better perserved. The draw back bieng you cant climb it anymore. But the site itself is nicer and better kept. (I was lucky enough to climb it before it was no allowed to do so a while back). I would have loved to go to Tulum, but I was there for only a week, and we decided on coba/xkaret/playa del carmenx2. And do make sure you shop in the town and not with the hotel vendors at night, the town is very nice to visist and worth seeing with much better prices.

So my final verdict is 100% satisfaction, yhou go there at a great price for a great time. Those of you who are picky about food and wanting 5 star cuisine, book a $7000 week at a sandals, but for $1500 a person you get more then whatg you paid for by far at this resort. I would love to come back anytime. Infact, I think my only Mexican destination would be here in the future.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Chris

February 2007

My husband, I and 12 friends just returned from a week at the White Sands. The resort itself was very picturesque but the overall review of the resort would be a 3 star hotel not a 5.

I have been traveling the last 8 years and have stayed at Iberostar’s, Rui’s and Grand Bahai’s and there is absolutely no comparison. It’s a good thing that we all enjoy each others company which made our trip this year.

Airport…. We flew out of Hamilton Ontario Feb 10th on West jet airlines and would fly again with them for sure.

Resort…. Very nicely landscaped but needed tending. We only saw the grass being cut one day where at other resorts it is always going on so it looked overgrown in many areas. The palms had dead leaves all over them both at the resort and on the beach. Beautiful flowers all around the canal which were wonderful to look at.

Food…… There is only one buffet restaurant for the entire resort which opens at seven. In order to get a coffee any earlier you have to walk all the way to the beach bar to get one and hope that they have cups because for two days we did the trek and couldn’t get coffee at all. The breakfast buffet was the best meal of the day, always excellent choices and three cook sites as well as prepared.

Lunch was served at the pool area and at the beach which had a limited menu. The buffet at the pool ran out of pop one day, rum another and vodka as well. We can’t imagine an all inclusive resort running out of anything but at this one it became a daily feature.

Dinner was interesting every night because they could not handle feeding 14 people at two tables put together so we had to eat apart every night !!!!! The best dinner we had was at the steakhouse. The beef and shrimp were excellent as was the salmon. The buffet dinners all tasted the same every night and if they did have a theme night you would not have noticed.

Beach …. The beach was lovely and we enjoyed the ocean everyday. The White Sands is at one end of the beach and we found that it was better to walk about 10 minutes to the far end of the resort for our chairs. There was no one down there and we had our own bar and washroom right there. In front of the Sands you are lined up in rows upon rows of chairs and people so take a few minutes and do the walk for it was worth it. Make sure to take bread to feed the fish and you will also see many different types that come to feed.

Entertainment … There was none…… You had to go to the other resorts to get a show at all. They did have one man in the lobby playing every night by himself and he was very talented. The main lobby bar had one bartender on duty at all times so the wait for drinks was always long.

On closing, don’t waste the extra money on this resort. Go to the Colonial or the Kantenah and you will be much happier with your choice. Both seem to have much more to offer you than the White Sands.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Dale ~ Canada

February 2007

Who are we?……Two couples in there middle 40’s to very early 50’s from Ontario Canada. We were celebrating our 25th and 30th wedding anniversaries that will happen this year.

ARRIVAL
We left Toronto Jan. 20th , flight was on time with no problems at the Toronto airport. We had booked AGI to take us to the hotel but thought it would only be courteous to make sure we told the bus that we would not be on it….That was a challenge, what a mess at the entrance of the airport….5 planes had come in at the same time so everyone was looking for their transportation at the same time…(can’t believe how rude some people can be!!!) by the time we got to the bus Conquest Vacations had for us they would not believe we weren’t taking the bus and kept insisting that we had too….when we finally gave up and tried to get back to find AGI we were going against the traffic and they were just pushing and shoving us…..finally, in bright pink there was my name!!!…I about 2 minutes we were in our own air conditioned new van to take us to paradise!….The driver stopped at a 7-11 so we could pick up cold cervasa…mmmmm and off we went…..the airport was very busy so our ride took about 1 hour 15 minutes to the Riviera Lobby……(the bus arrived about 2 hours later!!!)…..our check in was just us and to our amazement we got the rooms we requested (3rd floor, king size beds, ocean view, building 61, jr suites)…Rooms were the nicest we have had at other resorts (Dominican, Cuba, pt. Vallarta, Mayan) Off to our rooms and our bell boy insisted on taking all the luggage up himself….We each had a bottle of champagne waiting for us in our rooms…..off with the travel clothes, on with the shorts and off to the pool bar to sip on margaritas…..Great band playing and lots of dancing….not sure what time we got back to our rooms so we must have had fun!

FOOD
We found the food at all the buffets great, lots of selection, great lunch buffet at La Laguna each day…..we tried two a-la-cartes. Ribs n More where the food was delish but the service was really slow, we had a 6:00 reservation and we got out of there after 8:30 but they did serve Baileys so we enjoyed the evening….I had ribs and the others had steak and they were all very good….We went to the Brazilian (Rodizio?) restaurant and the meat was very, very good…..you would have to like your meat to enjoy this restaurant…they start you out with a salad bar then they bring you a plate with corn on the cob, veggies and potatoes then they start with the MEAT….long swords of different selections (veal, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, bugs bunny)…you flip over a card when you are done and they then bring on the dessert……Again we enjoy Baileys with and after our meal…..the service was outstanding at this restaurant.

BEACH
We loved the different areas of the beach, lots of different fish in the more rocky areas, just wear water shoes!..we didn’t and it was pretty hard on the feet…..take a banana or bun with you and they will pretty well swarm you…..it was fun!….the sandy areas are great for swimming with no rocks or coral at all….and I have never been to a resort where it didn’t matter what time of day we could get 4 chairs together anywhere on the beach. The beach bars were great and serve food 24 hours a day…

POOLS We did a pool crawl one day and tried to hit every pool, I think we missed one as we had to also try out the pool bar at each one too! What a selection depending on your likes….very very quiet adult pools (not for us, they gave us dirty looks when we cannon-balled into the pool…..oh well, the bar tender begged us not to leave as he was bored to death! The swim up bars were great although the one at the Col/Kan is very deep as my friend is under 5 feet she had to swim with drink in hand……it was still a lot of fun, meet lots of fun people at that bar! Again, lots of chairs to be had, didn’t matter what time of day. Played volleyball one afternoon in the pool.

We loved the size of resort (only took the train once)…..a new adventure everyday and a great way to wear off some of the pounds I put on eating way too much!

BARS
In the evenings we spent most of our time at the La Laguna pool bar, great bands, lots of dancing, great drinks…..I enjoyed my favorite Bacardi rum all week! I also tried some drinks off the menu that were great (Miami Vice, Cosmo, Green Apple martini, dirty monkey). The bar tenders were always laughing and gave the quickest service they could.

Watch for the night monkeys (not sure of the real name)….they are cute and come out pretty well every night and hang over the La Laguna bar…..but, keep an eye on them they do like to lean over the ledge and poop…..

OTHER STUFF We took the collectivo to Akumal for a day and planned on just going out on our own but met up with a gentleman named Luis who took the 4 of us out in his boat for $15 each including equipment, he took us out for 2 hours and did he know where the fish were!!! We saw so many different varieties, parrotfish, urchins, huge schools of fish that you could swim with. We also had the privilege of seeing two HUGE barracuda about 2 feet away from us!……4 sting-rays and the best of the best was 5 sea-turtles, they were magnificent! We had a couple of beer at the Lol-ha and did a little shopping….One of my favorite days! We also took the collective to Playa del Carmen for the day, shopped and had lunch at Senior Frogs (very fun place). Every think I bought I paid less than ½ the asking price….

We spent one morning at the SPA, what a beautiful place, relaxing. We did not try the items you pay for such as pedicures, massages. We just enjoyed the steam rooms, hot tubs, pool, etc.

All in all we had a great time and hope to go back to Palladium. We did not meet one bad employee, they were always smiling and offering a “hola” where ever you were. The only bad service we received was from our Conquest rep in the lobby who gave us a really hard time when we requested transfer tickets to take the bus back to the airport. He seemed quite upset that we booked AGI to get there…Met lots of great new friends that like to have a great time….. We have always gone to a different place each year but this place will be hard to beat.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Kat ~ Canada

January 2007

Just got back last week from Mexico where we stayed at the White Sand in the Grand Palladium. Maybe from doing so much research before hand made the place seem very plain. I didn`t have the wow factor! This was our first time to Mexico and we found the people to be very friendly, and helpful. Our room was not as clean as I would have thought for a building 1 year old. The bathroom was not clean at all. We had a male maid this time which was different. The food was the best I have had at an all inclusive. The grounds are ok with lots of swampy areas around and lots of walking. Its good if your into eco friendly surroundings. The beach is not as nice as in The Dominican, or Cuba. The drinks where awesome with lots of choices, and the bartenders were the best. I would go back to Mexico again cause there is lots to do off the resort, I think I would try another resort to stay at. I definitely would not pay more to stay in the White Sand Section…. the Colonial was much nicer. It was always cloudy, and it rained alot the week we where there, just our luck I guess!! Someone didn`t pay the weather bill!! Anyways it was warmer there then where we came from(Canada)

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Karen ~ Canada

January 2007

My fiance and I arrived on January 9 (a few days ahead of our 32 wedding guests) for our wedding on Jan. 17. Sorry for the long report!

Flight:
We flew from Edmonton, AB direct to Cancun with Air Transat. We weren’t looking forward to flying Air Transat until our Travel Agent had us upgraded to Club Class! For those of you who haven’t flown first class before, it is SOOO worth it! Un-limited drinks including alcohol, fruit platters, snacks, appetizers and a real meal! The best service we’ve ever had!

Airport:
The Cancun airport is always a bit of a gong show, at least it was when we arrived. Our flight was early and they weren’t ready for us yet. It was pouring rain when we got there. The bus ride was pretty good, had some coronas. By the time we got from the airport to our resort, 3 hours had passed.

Check-in:
We checked in promptly and were very happy to find out that our request for a wedding room upgrade was granted. We were given an upgrade to a Mayan Suite for the full two weeks we were there! We later found out that Lulu had also accommodated our other room requests for our guests. She is fantastic!

Our Room:
It was BEAUTIFUL! Spotlessly clean. There was a welcome fruit basket when we arrived with a letter from our wedding co-ordinator to meet with her. The Mayan Shower is amazing! A little strange at first but worth it!

The resort: The resort is huge! It took us a couple days to fully check everything out. A lot of walking but not too bad if you’re in fairly good shape. We didn’t take the train until about a week after we had been there. The resort really is stunning. Beautiful lush green foliage and flowers, waterfalls, flamingoes. It really is breathtaking! And most importantly, very clean.

The bars:
There are plenty of bars at this resort, we checked out many, if not all of them! Be sure to go to Hemingways and see Ricardo, ask him to make you a White Lady, otherwise known as a Dama Blanca. They are soooo good there! Pretty good service everything, a little on the slow side, but this is Mexico we’re talking about! Just order two at a time! And make sure to order a Rainbow shooter, they are excellent!

The snack bar:
Only one piece of advice here, don’t eat the food out of the bins. Why eat cold buffet food when you can order fresh from the cook off the menu?? Best cheeseburgers and Jalapeno Poppers here!! We spent many evenings here!

The buffets:
Nicely decorated, you are seated by a hostess, it’s a little nicer than some resort buffets. The food is average buffet food. Not fantastic but pretty good. If you eat the fresh grilled fish, chicken, pasta etc. It’s excellent! Be sure to try a crepe, I only discovered these on the last evening!

Ala Cartes: – Bamboo (Chinese) salad bar was excellent, main course was not very good. Just a little bland. Service however was excellent. – Rodizio (Brazillian) Excellent! Service was pretty good, would go back there for sure. – Portofino (Italian) Our wedding dinner was here, we ordered for the whole group. Stuffed chicked breast with mixed vegetables, minestrone soup and caesar salad. All were excellent!! Terrace was beautiful! – Japanese (can’t remember the name) By far our best meal here! Book the show table, it’s worth it! If you are a Sashimi fan though they don’t serve this on the menu at the show table. I would have booked this restaurant twice! Highly recommended!

– Mare Norstrom (Mediterranean) – Excellent! We sat outside, it was beautiful for our last meal there. Service was quite good, food was great!

The Spa:
Well worth going to! Absolutely beautiful! Make sure you try all the free services! We had a massage (very good), pedicure (make sure you specify which one you want) I didn’t know they had two choices and booked the basic. It was O.K. I had my hair and make-up done here for the wedding. It turned out beautiful!! My mom and sister-in-law had their hair done too which turned out very nice also. The girls their don’t speak excellent english, but they do speak pretty good. If you have a picture of what you want, they are excellent!

Tours:
We went on a the Party Hopper Tour out of Cancun. Highly recommended if you like to party! Make sure you get the one that goes to Coco Bongo. By far the best club I have ever been to! Think of Cirque de’ Solei – sp? Thousands of people, excellent music, fantastic show, dancing all night! Ask for Reuben as your tour guide, he was excellent. We never had an empty drink glass!

Xel-ha/Tulum: Both were excellent! The snorkeling was amazing there! If anyone finds a men’s white gold wedding band would you please send it back to me! My husband lost it 48 hrs after our wedding! I would have spent the whole day at Xel-ha though and maybe went to Tulum on another day when we had more time. The beach at Tulum is stunning.

The wedding:
Let me start by saying, for anyone thinking of getting married here, you have no worries at all! We wouldn’t change a thing! Rocio is amazing!

Rocio left us with a letter to meet her the morning after we arrived. We had our bloodwork, which was fine and didn’t hurt. Met with Rocio and picked all our flowers and wedding location etc. And then we went and relaxed.

On the wedding day, I had my spa appointment in the afternoon. My fiance spent the day with his buddies at the swim up bar! lol

Our flowers were delivered as promised by noon, our wedding was at 4pm. The golf cart picked me up with my Maid of Honour about 4:05, I was a little worried at first, but it came! We chose the gazebo on the White Sands side right on the ocean, it was amazing. Rocio was there to direct us and everything worked out perfectly. We were under the impression that the ceremony would be in Spanish and Rocio would translate, but we were lucky and got a different judge. He spoke very good english and did a traditional ceremony!

Photographer:
We had Claudia as our photographer. She was excellent! She was there for about 1.5hrs. We haven’t gotten the pics yet, she was going to drop them off for my in-laws to bring back. (They were there a little longer than us) But I’m sure the pics will be fantastic!

Things to keep in mind:
For the brides out there, RELAX. Rocio will handle everything. She is fantastic! Our room on our wedding night was beautiful! And, don’t panic if the golf cart is late picking you up! Rocio calls the driver when she is ready for you to be picked up.

If you like spicy food, bring your own hot sauce. This is our only complaint, we like spicy food and we couldn’t find any here. Also, quite a few of us in our group got Mexican flu! (You all know what that means!) understandable for Mexico. Ask your doctor what you can get that is prescription to help with this. I took something my husbands aunt gave me that she got from her doctor, it worked very well.

Watch out for Philly the little monkey that likes to hang around on the rafters. He’s very cute but if you get too close he likes to pee/poop on you! He pooped when my husband was trying to feed it, missed him luckily but it was very funny!

Hope this was helpful for some people! I will try to post some wedding pics when I get them. If any brides have any questions at all please feel free to email me.

Will we return to the Palladium – Absolutely!!! It’s only a matter of time and money……

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Catherine ~ Canada

January 2007

I spent 5 days at the Riviera Resort with our company, HLC Home Loans Canada. The place was awful. We were told it would be a 5 star resort. I have stayed at many other resorts and this one was definitely not a 5 star. May be a 2 – 3 star. The food was awful. We were told that we had 2 reservations in anything but the Buffet, but no reservations could be made expect for very late at night. We ate in 1 a la carte. We got their early, there was no one in the restaurant, it was empty. We walked around the other restaurants, they were all empty. It seemed that the hotel just told you this so you would be forced to go to the buffet, which was very crowded and always had the same food.

Service was very slow at all of the bars and they stopped serving at midnite. The place is huge, and to get any where you have to walk, takes about 15 minutes to get anywhere. I felt very sorry for people who had difficulty walking.

No room service, maid service was adequate. Mini bars had a couple of bottles of water and four beers, which were supposed to be restocked, but never were. Only one kind of wine (their house wine) was served. One kind of beer, and sometimes they were out. No tacos or quesadias at the beach rest, they were always out of them.

They had an internet cafe, but it was an extra cost, and only three computers for four hotels, pretty pathetic. The resort shut off the hot water one day, said it was a maintence problem, but I think they were trying to save money. The resort stunk literally, like a lagoon.

No one at the resort that I spoke to said they liked it, most said they were disappointed. So was I. I would never recommend this place to anyone, not if you are expecting a 5 star place!!

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera RSM ~ Ontario, Canada

January 2007

My husband, 6 year old, myself & 6 others just returned from spending Christmas at the Grand Palladium with rooms in the Riviera part. Our overall impression: wonderful.

This was our 3rd time to the Mayan Riviera and have travelled to numerous resorts in throughout the Carribbean and this was by far the best. The staff were friendly and always working hard…none of the ‘attitude’ that ruined stays at other resorts.

We found a lot of the complaints posted to be unfounded, at least during our stay… read all reviews with a grain of salt and remember that everyone likes/expects something different when they travel.

Airport:
although they gave a warning before we landed … important heads up … after you clear immigration, ignore anyone in a ‘official looking’ uniform saying names of tour companies etc. until you are outside the Airport door. These are time share people. They will take you to your resort and then bill you for the trip etc. They are not the tour operators transportation providers – these are immediately outside the airport doors with tour company signs and will have you name/details on their clipboard. Lots got taken in by this so beware.

Grounds/Rooms/Accessibility
Grounds are beautiful and the lagoon area quite pictureseque. Jr. Suite rooms in Riviera are spacious and have a jacuzzi tub & shower. We requested and got ground floor–I should point out we were travelling with someone with a prosthetic leg and also had a wheelchair to use when needed. Yes, there is walking but they are nice paths, no steps– nothing more than 10-15 mins maximum. Trust me, you’re eating and lazing around so its nice to have to get some exercise! Except for the bridges over the lagoon, which give a short cut to the pool/main area, we had no issues with the wheelchair. It got everywhere (including beach) with no steps. On the days our friend chose to walk up and over the bridge, we had numerous offers to carry the wheelchair over for us.

Activities
The Riviera/WhiteSands main pool is much quieter than the Colonial/Kantenah one but that was OK with us – pool is HUGE with lots of areas to hang out in, chairs in the water etc. Most entry areas were wade-in or steps – great depth for kids as well. Although resort was supposedly full, no issue in getting seats.

Be sure to check out the saltwater pool – very picturesque with the waves crashing all around it. Beautiful area – you can walk out onto old reef just past it as well.

There is a sports field area with mini golf, archery, soccer etc. Never made it there but hear it was good. Great spa as well…any guest can use the pool/sauna/hot tub at the spa free of charge I believe which some weren’t aware of.

Night time shows were typical of resorts although we felt they were a little more “higher budget” than other resorts we’ve stayed at, particularly with the costumes. Disney show was exceptional and some of the others quite humourous. There is a show on the Colonial side at 9:30 and then at the Riviera at 10:30 so you can do both shows if you like. Which ones are on are posted by the buffet entrance.

Food
Buffet was clean, with lots of variety…more than I’m used to at a resort. I’m not a buffet fan for all 3 meals a day but could easily have done that here. Yes, there was a power outtage Christmas Eve and water on the floors which made it very slippery but the staff worked 120% to rectify the problem asap… truly nothing they could have planned for.

We went to the Mediterranean (Kantenah), Steakhouse (Colonial) and Ribs (Rivera) restaurants and were suitably impressed and wished we could have tried more. The Mediterranean and Steakhouse were the best of the 3 we tried in my opinion. Sometimes the service was a little “new” but it didn’t ruin the great food!

Train/Excursions
We ended up calling it the “Crazy Train”–although the red & green routes are posted on the maps at each train stop, don’t assume these are the routes followed! One day we used it 3 times and had 3 different routes – we took it all in stride and had fun with it though.

Lots of shopping on the resort with not bad prices (no bartering). Note though, if you pay in US dollars at the hotel shops, you get your change in Mexican pesos. If you go to Playa del Carmen to shop, barter away and if you pay in US dollars, change in US dollars.

Vendors are usually at one of the 4 hotels every night.

Overall had a great time and would recommend. The few minor points we would suggest to the hotel for improvement would be: maid service is adequate but lacking the little extras experienced at other resorts (towel creations etc.); for the disabled, consider some type of lift bridge/ramp by the bridge to access the pool area from the Riviera rooms; a few more organized activities at the Riviera pool would be nice.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Bev ~ Canada

January 2007

We just returned from staying at the Colonial Palladium a week before Christmas and were not disappointed. This is the first time we have done a one week trip and it was too short, we will stick to our original 2 weeks in the future. Overall the hotel was excellent. There are 4 hotels and you have access to all four of them. The Colonial is the most central. We stayed in room 3022 which was central to the beach, pool and hotel and we had the top floor which gives you a great view of everything. The beaches were extremely clean. Maintenance was out early every morning raking the beach and we never had a problem getting a palapa. Pool was huge and very clean. Again no problems getting lounge chairs in the sun or shade.

Food: I had faxed the hotel the week before we arrived to let them know that we were going for my husbands birthday and would they supply a nice fruit basket, wine and make a pre-reservation for us at the Japanese restaurant (show bar), which was excellent. This was all done for us along with a nice letter welcoming us. This was the only al la carte restaurant we tried. We stuck to the dining room for the rest of the week and there was always something on the menu for everyone. Entertainment was okay, but we have seen better. As we were there for only a week, we mainly just relaxed after dinner with a couple of drinks then went back to our room.

Souvenirs: They have merchants who come into the hotel every night from 5 – 11:00 to sell souvenirs. They are very expensive and I wouldn’t recommend them. We went into Playa Del Carmen a couple of times and got much better prices and variety. Take the local bus into town. It is a 15 passenger van and is only 20 pesos ($2) where a cab is $18.00 each way.

Money: We took American money with us, but they do accept Canadian money everywhere and with the exchange between Canadian to American, there is not a lot of difference exchanging to their peso.

Walking: We were a bit concerned reading the reviews about the walking at this resort. Overall, we didn’t find it bad at all. There are bridges and covered walks everywhere, and by the 2nd day you learn all the short cuts. There is a train that will take you around the resort, but we never used it.

The Spa: What can I say, this is the nicest spa I have been to and I’ve been to plenty. I went for the 1 hour and 40 minute massage and it was the best massage I have ever had. Ask for Ruby, she is a dream. It’s a bit pricy but trust me, it is worth every penny.

Diving: My husband loves to dive and is an advanced diver and managed to get in 7 dives while we were there. The dives were all great and he saw a lot of marine life as well as did some great cave diving.

Overall Impression: I would highly recommend this place to anyone. It has something whether you are single, married, going as a family, etc. I am called a Princess and have to have my 5 star hotels when I travel. This place didn’t disappoint. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Great holiday.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Wayne

January 2007

My wife, 7 year old son and I just returned from a week at the Grand Palladuim in Riviera Maya and wanted to share our experience.

_*The Grounds*_
Although all the resorts have beautiful grounds, the spaciousness of the Grand Palladium, the forests, wildlife, and the layout have the others beat by far. This is a very large and pretty place, but be prepared to walk to the pool and food and depending on your location in the resort, the walks can be far, meaning maybe 10-15 minutes. The train runs regularly, every 15 minutes, but if you miss it, you might as well walk, unless you are really far away. There is a miniature golf course (fun, but most holes are very difficult), a crocodile pond and large gold fish at the ponds surrounding the colonial part of the resort. There is tennis, soccer fields and a spa with a gym.

*_The Room_*
We had a junior suite which was bigger than the rooms at the other resorts, and it included a jacuzzi in the bathroom. Hope you get to use it. We had a ocean view room after we transferred the first day. They really don’t want to give you another room, so you have to be a pest to get one. We fortunately saw some people checking out from one in the same building, so we were able to then move. We have read tge complaints about bugs, but saw very few in the room, but expect more on the balcony. They were just attracted to the light, not the infestation kind, but you are in the jungle, so there will be some bugs. They don’t bite, so get used to it. There were also some little ant type bugs at the pool in some spots, but not others. I didn’t think it was a big problem. The room got cleaned every day, but nothing special. The shower had good pressure, and adequate hot water, but was a little musty

*_The Food_*
We ate at the buffet and thought the food was good. My wife really like the variety of fresh salads and fruit, available at every meal. Breakfasts had omelette’s, smoked salmon and the usual sausages. There was always a nice variety of fish and meats at the buffet and fresh pasta for the kids. My son loved the pasta..pizza too at every meal. We were at the Brazilian restaurant and thought the food was fair, as was the service. The Brazilian places in Chicago are FAR better. Overall, we thought that the food was adequate, nicely presented and maintained. There was soft serve ice cream available at all meals. There are lots of fried things and some grilled also. It is very easy to overeat, and most of the people here do.

*_Kid’s Club_*
Our 7 year old boy really didn’t like the club. It seemed geared more towards younger kids. We were a little disappointed with this. The kids entertainment at night was always cute.

_*Pool and Beach*_
The beach is long and has some rocks/coral and a bit of algae. It is not your typical Caribbean beach but has room for sandcastles and plenty of chairs. There are no vendors on the beach. The water was warm enough to go in and stay in. The pools are also very large and well maintained. There are lot of chairs, and you can always find somewhere to sit, even in the shade, if thats what you want. Both pools have a swim up bar. The pools are mostly 5 ft 3 inches with some shallow areas also. Bring a raft or tube if you are short or can’t swim.

*_Excursion_*
We took the ATV excursion and thought it was very fun. It lasts about half a day with transportation, cost about $75.00us and was worth it.

_*Overall Impressions*_

We did have some issues while we were there, which was over Christmas, 2006. First, Christmas eve, about 4PM the entire resort lost power. It came back after about half an hour, but the room water was still off for another 15-20 minutes, frustrating when you are getting cleaned up for dinner. Later, at dinner, the power went out again for about 15 minutes in the buffet. It was a special Christmas Eve dinner. Then, one of the refrigerated tables flooded the floor of the buffet badly. There was plenty of staff to try and push the water away, and everyone was working very hard. Try to find a plumber on Christmas Eve…they did and he came right away. Overall, the service was fair, but no one had an attitude and the staff seemed to try very had. Honestly, I think the buffet’s were a bit understaffed. There were times when it was hard to get your water glass, coffee or wine refilled, and other times when it was fine.

Most of the complaints I have read about here were unjustified, and some people just like to complain. I don’t and thought the resort was well run and very professional. We drank at many of the bars and the service was adequate, though slow at peak times.

In conclusion, I would recommend this resort for families or couples without kids. There is plenty of room for everyone, with lots to do.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Daniel

December 2006

"Disappointing treatment"

My girlfriend and I stayed at the Grand Palladium Riviera Resort and Spa for 10 days in July 2006. It is a beautiful hotel spread out over a huge property with many walking paths, stairs and bridges. The pool is enormous and the beach was very beautiful with lots to do for those who want to move. The restaurants “a la carte” were also excellent as was the main buffet dining rooms. Our room, a junior suite, was extremely comfortable and very clean. Everything about this hotel and our vacation was perfect except for one serious incident which will prevent us from ever going back there again. A few days before the end of our vacation, we were enjoying a nice morning at the beach and at the pool. At the pool, there are several smaller round enclosed areas with tall Greek-like columns encircling each of them. In one of these areas, water sometimes shoots from jets at the top of these columns into the centre of the circle. Many children and adults enjoyed getting sprayed by these jets as the effect was very refreshing. This particular morning, we were both enjoying the water spray from these jets when I suddenly experienced a burning sensation in my month, around my face and in my eyes. I was not sure at the time why it was happening but quickly moved away from the spray.

Unfortunately, my girlfriend had stayed longer than I did under these jets, but also complained that her face and eyes were burning. She suffered burns around her eyes; the scars are only now beginning to go away.

When this happened, we went immediately to the resident doctor at the hotel who agreed that these burns were caused by a chemical such as chlorine and gave her a prescription for an ointment cream and eye drops. When we mention to the hotel manager that these jets were shooting doses of chlorine he denied our story, saying that the pool is chlorinated only in the evening and that her wounds must have been caused by sand at the beach. The resident doctor, after a quick meeting with the manager, then changed his story stating that it was not certain the cause of her wounds. All we wished for was too alert the hotel of this potential danger as many children were playing in this area. Instead of our complaint being treated seriously, we were being accused of making the story up. I suggested that it might be possible that some chlorine could have been stuck in the jets’ hoses. Our hotel manager said that it was impossible, again suggesting that we were lying and had no intention of alerting the pool maintenance workers. We don’t know if any other hotel management would have behaved any differently, as they’ve most likely been directed to quickly squash matters such as these to save them any liability. In any case, we were greatly disappointed by the incident putting a “sour taste” on the whole vacation.

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Grand Palladium White Sands – Kantenah – Colonial – Riviera Pam ~ Canada

November 2006

Colonial The great, the good and the ugly and a bit of comparison with Barcelo Maya. Air Transat Excellent,on time and more leg room then expected. Palladium most beautiful resort I have ever seen. Service was second to none. Drinks were of very good quality. Pools, main pool way too deep, not sure what they were thinking when they built that one, I am 5"4 and its way over my head. Nice looking pool all the same. Barcelos pools are nicer and much bigger but thats not a big deal. Beach very nice Rooms nice,clean and beds not as hard as most in Mexico. Grounds are to die for, jungle everywere But very long walks, and not everything is covered if it rains. We did enjoy our jungle walks and did get use to where everything was after a couple of days. If you have walking issues this resort is not for you. Ok the food, Barcelo wins out here big time. Buffet was decent,but mostly chopped veil and lamb served as main meats, if served as a roast was all dried out. The buffet has decent selection but most stuff recycled. I know all resorts do it but that was the most I have seen it done. They apparently have some award for food handling, well I had food poinioning, so did 3 others and who knows how many more. Half of our group had bad toilet issues as well, one girl was running all week and immodium did not seem to work. I have been on the Palladium Website and most issues of this has been deleted, posts were coming in about others that had been very ill at the resort and its being censored on that site. Seems like if you go there and do not get sick you will know of some that do, something is not right there, I hope they get it fixed before it becomes out of controle. If that website was not trying to cover up this issue I would not have been so concerned, but apparently there BiG is a problem, they tried to tell me or anyone who gets sick at the Palladium that its not fault of the resort its just overindulgence or sunstroke. You can ony express positive feed back on Palladium Addicts website, shame one you guys I am discusted. Ok back to the specialty restaurants the Italian sucked, bland boring, kraft dinner kinda stuff. The Japanese was good, nothing to write home about. Apparently the steak house was decent but I did not go. We did find lots of food on the buffet that we did like its just pretty basic, but again nothing to write home about. Barcelo in 5 visits I have never had food poinioning, I know to watch my self in the sun, and careful with the drinks too so…. Barcelo has more professional chefs in the specialty restaurants, and has more quality foods put out on the buffets. Food is a personal issue and some may disagree either way. Palladium has a lot going for it, I just hope they find out what is causing all the major and minor tummy issues( there is just too many getting sick there from what I read and saw) it should not be like that. TIP the staff, they do not make much and depend on it but do not expect it. The staff at this resort was fantastic. Entertainment was ok, Barcelo’s a little more professional but thats not a big deal. I did like how the Palladium had more entertainment in the lobbies and by the pool bar, it was nice. Vendors are at the resort most of the week to.

I did not write this review to scare anyone that is going, chances are you will be fine, but just be careful.

http://travel.webshots.com/album/555487085rkrsky There are my pictures enjoy

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