We just got back last night from the Barcelo Karmina Palace in Manzanillo and we're missing the sun and the resort already!!! Four of us (2 adults, 2 kids age 7 & 4) travelled with Air Transat from Nov 22-30 (yes, that is eight days because we got "stranded" due to mechanical issues with the plane in Vancouver on the 29th - whoo hooo for us!!!) This is our seventh time at an all-inclusive resort so we have high expectations and the Karmina definitely raised the bar!
A summary of our experience:
Air Transat - we love them! They have a "kids club" where kids receive a little gift pack aboard the airplane. The flight itself was long because it flies direct from Calgary to Vancouver then Manzanillo. And their planes are a bit dated (ashtrays?! No TV's on the back of head rests?!) But overall, we enjoyed our time flying with them. (We found out later that Air Transat is the only operator to Manzanillo from Canada.)
Transport to resort - Awesome! We were met by Margo (one of two Air Transat reps for the Karmina) and as soon as the bus was full, we went straight to the resort (approx 40min ride).
The resort - a DREAM! Beautiful & clean grounds, gorgeous inter-connecting pools everywhere. Wonderful little beach in a secluded cove. King size beds along the beach (perfect for napping)! Polite staff throughout, we have no complaints!! The resort wasn't busy at all during our week long stay, other than on the weekend when the locals (ie Mexicans) were there for their vacation. Even so, the service & public washrooms were fine!
Our room - a junior suite facing the parking lot/tennis courts on the 6th floor. The two double beds and bathroom area was separated by a locking door to the living room area with sofa/TV/tables/chairs. The bathroom was SPACIOUS - huge soaker tub, two sinks and a large stand up shower. We did find it odd that housekeeping only gave us one bar of soap even though there were two sinks. No face cloths, and a soap and shampoo dispenser in the shower stall.
The food - great! Buffet always had at least 20 hot food items (all neatly labelled) and numerous salads, fruits, pastries, etc. Lots of selection, what more can you ask for?!
A la carte restaurants - we received three vouchers and were able to book them in one visit to the concierge (officially, you can only book them at 10am for the same day). We went to the Mexican restaurant twice (this is the restaurant on the bottom right corner of all their pictures, by the rocks). The setting was beautiful and just magnificent (get the duck, simply succulent!) We also went to the Japanese restaurant and it was just average. They gave me hassles for wearing flip flops (even though I was dressed & made up and we were previously told by our Air Transat rep that their dress code only applied to male guests). Didn't get this same hassle at the Mexican restaurant on the two other nights for wearing flip flops.
Kids club - staffed by two wonderful young ladies!! We never left our kids at the kids club (only b/c our kids wanted to hang out with us more) but we did hang out with them whenever it was convenient. Only comment with kids club - they have a schedule of activities (from 9am-5pm) but they don't follow it, so it was hard to plan ahead. My kids wanted to do crafts but that never happened when the schedule said so that was a bit disappointing for them.
Animation team - well, it wasn't a team which we found strange. But more a one-man show. He was great at organizing the yoga, water polo, beach volleyball, etc but for the size of resort, they definitely could use a few more people to amuse us!!! Similar to comment with kids club, there is a schedule of activities but again, a lot of times they did not happen.... simply because this guy couldn't be in two places at once.
Night show - takes place at an outdoor theatre, there is a dedicated group of ~8 dancers who practice in the afternoon for that night's show. Very talented and entertaining!!!
Prior to night show, there is a "mini-disco" for kids on the stage of this outdoor theatre. This was lacking a bit - not very well organized. They should do games (ie musical chairs, etc) that is a bit more structured and fun for the kids. Rather than just blast the music and have the kids dance to Mexican songs!
Overall, our family had a GREAT time!!! No one got sick, just a few mosquito bites at dusk (bring bug spray!) They have on-site photographer and you can buy their photos for ~50MX pesos. We love getting our family pictures by them, beautiful scenery + tans = nice photos :)
If you are hesitating about going to the Karmina - don't be!!! You will have a wonderful and relaxing time! ENJOY!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Barcelo Karmina***** hotel has been recognised with the prestigious AAA 4-Diamonds award. It is a spectacular feat of architecture inspired by the Mayan temples. Its tropical gardens with palm trees, along with 6 interconnecting swimming pools with waterfalls, create a romantic and relaxing paradise in a place brimming with fun for all the family. This 5-star hotel offers 324 luxury suites fully fitted with everything you need for a comfortable stay. In addition, all suites have balconies and excellent views of either the tropical gardens or the sea. The Barcelo All Inclusive programme at Barcelo Karmina hotel has been designed to ensure your complete satisfaction, enabling you to enjoy our 4 restaurants and their varied cuisine from different countries: Japanese, Mexican, Italian and international. And to complete your holiday in this spectacular luxurious resort, relax in the U-Spa, enjoy the gym, the beauty centre and attend the nightly shows and lively nightclub. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Karmina Palace Deluxe Hotel Manzanillo
- Karmina Palace Manzanillo
- Barcelo Hotel Karmina Palace
- Barcelo Hotel Manzanillo