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Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

Irvine, California
9 posts
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Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

Can anyone out there offer some insight that could help me pick the best resort for my family. I am planning a week long vacation in mid August 2014, for a total of 9 adults and 2 boys. Here's the break down of who's all going:

-me & my husband and our two boys, (ages 5 and 9)

-mom and dad (in their early 60's, active and plays tennis)

-my brother & his wife (early 30's, newly married)

-my sister & her husband (late 20's newly married)

-my brother (early 30's single)

We're a physically active family who all enjoy good food, (we're adventurous eaters), and to like to try new activities together. Non of us are big drinkers, but we do enjoy a good cocktail and glass of wine with dinner or beer with dinner. My dad requires tennis courts, and my mom would like a hotel room that feels fresh, clean and new. My boys are both very active and love to play on the beach, jumping waves and go swimming in the pool. I would like for the children's play areas to be suitable for boys their age, and not just designed for preschoolers. I would also like for the children's areas to be close to the adult areas so that if my parents and siblings are in the adult areas, I can still watch the boys while hanging out with the other adults.

This is a very special trip for my family, because it's a rare opportunity for all of us to get to vacation together like this... So there's a lot of pressure on me to find the perfect resort to meet everyone's needs, and fulfill everyone's wishes, without completely breaking the bank. And because it's A LOT of money we'll be spending for just one week, I don't want anyone to walk away disappointed. So I'm feeling a lot of pressure to find the perfect resort.

The only other all-inclusive resort we've stayed at before was the Iberostar Maya in Playa del Carmen. All-in-all we had a good time there but want to try something different. My family seemed to really like the massive size of the Iberostar Maya. My parents liked to go on long walks throughout the resort, and explore all the different areas of the resort. We all enjoyed getting dressed up and being able to go out to the al le carte restaurants every night. The rooms were large and fairly clean, but felt like they could have used a little freshening. The beds and pillows were on the stiff side. The bedspreads were a bit rough on the skin.

So with this next resort I'm looking for a similar sized resort with lots of activities to keep everyone active and happy, good food and drinks, bedrooms that feel fresh and clean, and with comfortable beds and bedding.

The resorts I've narrowed it down to are:

1. Paradisus la Esmeralda

2. Barcelo Palace Duluxe All-Suite

3. Barcelo Colonial (less expensive than the 1 & 2 but shares the same beautiful beach and snorkeling areas as the Barcelo Palace)

Has anyone been to all of these? If so, which do you think would be better for our family? Also, are there any other resorts that I should be considering? If you happen to have any other helpful information, please send them my way. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and respond. I greatly appreciate your help.

Akron, Ohio
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2,182 posts
98 reviews
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1. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

What about the gran palladium royal sands (adults only for the couples) and grand palladium kantenah for people with kids? There are so many things do to and explore there, and tons of wildlife!! Bars everywhere for adults and no reservations needed at restaurans. A pontoon boat for free takes you in the lagoon an you can see flamingoes, alligators, etc. A water trampoline for kids and even a saltwater pool! A train takes you around the resort when you get tired.

I LOVED the Barcelo when I went there about 9 years ago, but it has expanded so much in that time. I think any choice out of that list is great, but thought I would add another option.

Texas
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula
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4,528 posts
43 reviews
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2. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

I would drop Colonial. I stayed at the Tropical a few years back and they share basically all of the same facilities. Its not even close to the level of the Palace or Paradisus. We were pretty disappointed in the food there as well. If you absolutely have to have on site snorkeling then go with Barceló Palace, but if not I wouldn't hesitate for a family trip to La Esmeralda. Its newer and nice and the kids areas look great. As does the food.

Edmonton
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8,300 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

The Barceló Palace has a much nicer beach and a great kids area. Their kids club is also one of the best we've used. My kids were 6 and 8 I think the last time we were there. One of my favorite family resorts.

Savage, Minnesota
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3,295 posts
21 reviews
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4. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

La Esmeralda shares it's restaurants with La Perla, which my wife and I absolutely loved. The service, food and drink were top notch. We did walk over to the La Esmeralda side in during a stint of rain. There is a swim up bar on that side too, as well as a pirate ship for the kids.

The beach is certainly nice on the La Esmeralda side, but it's not one of the nicest I've seen. I think your kids would enjoy it very much as well as the family pool. There are children's activities and programs there too.

The resort opened in the fall of 2011, so it's still relatively new. The rooms were very nice. I would not hesitate to book La Perla for the adults if you want to, and La Esmeralda for you if you want to go that way. It's about a 5 minute walk from one side to the other, going the short way.

Irvine, California
9 posts
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5. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

Thank you so much Jenny8117 for your resort suggestion! I'm gonna look into those two resorts you suggested right now. It sounds like an amazing place that would really fit the bill for our family... Now to see if it will fit our budget.

Irvine, California
9 posts
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6. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

Thank you Truchker13, your insight on La Esmeralda is so helpful, especially your thoughts on the beach. I was worried that it didn't have much of a beach, since the pictures show such a narrow strip of sand, and I've read some negative reviews on the beach.

Irvine, California
9 posts
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7. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

maried11: What was your experience with the quality of the beds and bed linens and pillows at the Palace? While we won't spend a ton of time in the rooms during the day, we will be spending several hours in the evening trying to get a good night sleep for the next days fun and adventure.

Irvine, California
9 posts
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8. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

Thank you Texas 123_7 for your great insight. I'm crossing the Colonial/Tropical off my list right now. I was wondering if you have any insight on the quality of the beds and bedding and pillows at the Palace. It's important that we're all able to get a good nights sleep and wake up refreshed for the next days fun and adventures.

Texas
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula
Level Contributor
4,528 posts
43 reviews
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9. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

You know, I am not sure. Typically I find the beds in Mexico resorts pretty hard and uncomfortable for myself. Hopefully someone has first hand experience with the BP beds.

I do agree with Maried11 that the beach and pool set ups are really great at Barceló.

Irvine, California
9 posts
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10. Re: Barcelo Palace/Colonial VS. Paradisus La Esmeralda: HELP!

Is there a difference between the Grand Palladium Kentenah and Grand Palladium Colonial???