This place was absolute paradise. I have been all over Mexico, several times, and this was one of my finest resort experiences. There is no question this resort is deserving of its 4.5 star rating. The rooms were fabulous. Large rooms, large balconies and large bathrooms. The resort is very lush with beautifully manicured grounds with palm trees, grassy areas and flowers everywhere.
The food was great. After reading some of the reviews on here about the terrible food, I was a bit concerned. Either the Karmina Palace made some massive improvements based on the bad reviews, or the people who gave bad reviews had unrealistic expectations. For an all inclusive resort, I was more than satisfied with the food. The Italian restaurant was outstanding all three times I ate there. No complaints whatsoever in this regard.
The spa is fabulous… great service, and a really good value. I also read reviews that few staff members spoke English. I did not find communication a problem at all. I highly recommend upgrading to the premium class ($25/pp per day). Since I was there alone, this was worth every cent. I had access to a beautiful private beach area, which I had to myself the entire week. It also includes premium drinks, ocean view room, and a 20% discount at the spa (which I took full advantage of!).
Overall, it was a great experience from start to finish. The only (and just slight) concern I had was with other guests at the resort. As Manzanillo is not a busy tourist area for North Americans (like Puerto Vallarta or Cancun), as a Canadian, I was definitely a minority. This was not a problem for me at all, but other guests (from various parts of Mexico) were less than friendly towards me. It made me wish I knew Spanish so I could understand what they were saying about me. Unwelcome stares were common every day; however, I mostly stayed to myself and enjoyed some much needed time away alone, so it was easy to ignore it.
A couple of tips…. I took a taxi into downtown Manzanillo, which was not at all what I was expecting. There is literally nothing there. I learned, that there are several places to go around the resort (bars, restaurants, shopping), but downtown is not the place to go. It was suggested by the concierge (the only staff member at the resort who was very unfriendly towards me). After a 30 minute cab ride, I spent two hours walking around downtown feeling very unsafe (during the day), as there was literally no other tourists there. Not to mention, a single restaurant, shop or even a shack to have a beer. It was very bizarre.
The other suggestion I would make is to take pesos instead of American money. They will over quote for the price of things, for example, they told me my upgrade was 2000 pesos, or $200 American. I ended up putting in on my credit card, to which I was only charged $165 Canadian. The same will apply for taxis (I was told $30 American or 300 pesos – not the same amount!)
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed every second of my vacation at the Karmina Palace, I’m not sure I would return to Manzanillo again. I definitely felt safe there (being a woman alone), however, I didn’t always feel comfortable or welcome by other guests.
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Karmina Palace Deluxe Hotel Manzanillo
- Karmina Palace Manzanillo
- Barcelo Hotel Karmina Palace
- Barcelo Hotel Manzanillo