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Reviewed 27 May 2012

This was my my fourth time staying at this beautiful resort. As always, it was quite a fantastic holiday. We love the scenery, the staff and POP crew (Awesome, fun people & great games!) , the lovely rooms,the shows, and of course the beautiful beaches & the pool. (Please see other reviews for these good bits- all true!).

That said, I have a few recommendations that would make this the best resort ever. Please keep in mind that this is only nitpicking as we really had a fantastic time. Obviously, we still plan to return. But there are a few things that really could be improved upon and then no hotel could compete with you!

1) The food. - The quality of the buffets was decent & some selections were very tasty. However all of the sit-down restaurants were extremely dissapointing. This was strange, because one would expect the very opposite, as the sit down restaurants surely serve less people in one day...(but I do not know how things work behind the scenes.)

All of the staff was EXCELLENT, and very kind and accommodating - you could see they were working so hard to please the guests. Unfortunately at times we found ourselves laughing out loud at the entrees. For example, there is a pork and pasta dish at the "Mediterranean" restaurant - it turned out to be a thin piece of fried mystery meat topped with unidentifiable lunchmeat and cheese. It reminded me of the free hot lunches served in high school cafeterias. And the marinara sauce in the sit-down restaurants everywhere tasted exactly like Campbell's tomato soup (not the pasta stations at the buffet- these sauces were great).

The baklava was a stale phyllo shell filled with peanuts (yes, peanuts). We really could not believe it. The side dishes in all the restaurants were pitiful- one lonely overcooked brocolli head and a chunk of a baked potato is not a side dish. (FYI, steamed broccoli should be firm and a pretty, bright green, not soggy and pale.)

Ironically, the Mexican restaurant was the worst of all! We were positively shocked that a Mexican restaurant---in Mexico--could possibly be so poor. The burritos and fajitas were just awful.

The El Dorado steak house was okay- again, a restaurant that might go out of business as a stand-alone. But in comparison to the others, the steaks were edible, and the salad bar was good.

My point is, the benchmark for good resort food should not be "edible." I would recommend hiring a supervising chef for each restaurant who can come up with authentic, delicious, economical recipes that can be quickly prepared to serve many people. I did not like living on fruit, salad, french fries and pasta for a week.

2) Transportation - this system has got to be improved. The other times we visited we were both very healthy, so walking in the heat was not a problem and we never noticed how sporadic the trams are. But this time I could not walk far due to a health issue. At one point, it took close to an hour to get from the Riviera (one end of the property) to the Colonial (other end). The tram wait is bad at night during dinnertime and after the shows - though the drivers are very sweet and accommodating. :)

I really think all vehicles - trains and small trams - should be operating at the busy times to keep people moving. For example, each night we would see a show at the Colonial, but then we'd miss the beginning of the show at the Riviera because the trams were so busy and we could not make it in time. During the day, the average wait was a good 15-20 minutes for each tram - why so long? It's not like we are going across a city.

3) Shows - The shows are awesome and we just loved all of the dancers. I have never seen people work so hard and have such pride in their craft. And we love the new shows that have been added - truly Broadway quality.

But the bad part...many guests complained that there was entirely too much lip synching / recorded music in many of the shows. The bad lip synching greatly detracts from the excellent performaces of the dancers.

Perhaps you could add few real singers to your performance ensemble. Then the shows would be just fantastic!! If not (I know that is an expense), perhaps the "concept" of the shows could be built around dancing & acting (like the great Pirates of the Caribbean show) instead of song?

Anyway, those are just my recommendations. Please extend our thanks to your fabulous staff for their excellent hospitality and kindness. Regardless, we will be back one day.

Room Tip: Colonial rooms are closest to the activities, pool and beach. Get a Mayan suite if you can - totally worth it! And be sure to tip everyone well - this is the hardest working and nicest people you will ever see.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank phillyrepairguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2012

Dear phillyrepairguy,

I will take note of your recomendations and I will share it with our team. All comments are very important for us because it's help for improve our work.

With best regards,

Banesa M° Burque
Resident Manager

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Reviewed 27 May 2012

After a wonderful stay at Grand Palladium Bavaro in Punta Cana a few years back, we were once again excited to stay in a Palladium Resort for our first trip to Mexico. We were not disappointed! I traveled to Grand Palladium from May 17-24 with my adult son and adult daughter. I emailed the resort ahead to request rooms in the Kantenah section, rooms next to each other, since my son had his own room, and an upper floor. When we arrived, we had been upgraded to Junior Suites in the Colonial section, which we ended up being thrilled with. Thank you Grand Palladium for the upgrade!! We were in Villa 9, rooms next to each other, on an upper floor, just as requested. Our villa was just a short walk to the beach. The location was perfect for us!
Brief observations:
-Beach is beautiful! Rocky parts as mentioned by others, but there are sections that aren't. We always found chairs and a palapa. Lots of shade from palm trees as well.
-Pools areas are enormous, We are beach people, but spent one afternoon at one of the pools, and enjoyed it very much. Seemed like tons of chairs there too. Although we didn't spend the day at the saltwater pool, we enjoyed walking up there a few times and just sitting for a bit. Very different experience from the regular beach, and just beautiful.
-Food was very good to just OK. Breakfast buffet is good, lunch buffet was OK, and only did the buffet once for dinner because we arrived back very late from an excursion. We did the ala cartes for all our other dinners. We eat on the early side, so we never had a wait to get in. As everyone's tastes are different, I won't list our favorites and not so favorites. Service in all of the ala cartes was good, a little hit or miss in the buffets. You will not go hungry at this resort.
-Grounds are just beautiful. Perfectly maintained. As in Punta Cana, there are workers everywhere tending to the grounds and resort. I am so impressed by how hard these people work. There is so much to see and do on the grounds if you want.
-Rooms were a little on the "older" side, but we still loved our room for the little time we were in it. We always came back to a clean room, with cute towel art.
-Spa is lovely and peaceful. We didn't spend too much time there, but I was very impressed with what I saw. My daughter hit the gym first thing each morning to work out, and said it was good, but would like to mention that it is very warm in there, and that the sun shines in right on those working out early, which made it difficult to see. Perhaps some shades to pull down in the early hours for those working out?
We loved our first trip to Mexico, and Grand Palladium did not disappoint us at all! The staff was wonderful, friendly and helpful. We booked with Apple Tours, and were not impressed with the Apple reps at the resort, but that is not the resorts fault. If we are ever able to travel to Mexico again, we would stay here again without hesitation. Thank you again Grand Palladium for our upgrade and great location of our villa. We appreciate it very much!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank Beachlover022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2012

Dear Beachlover022,

I appreciate you comments and I am glad to know that you have enjoyed your room and the hotel. Thank you for your confidence in Palladium.

Best regards,

Banesa M° Burque
Resident Manager

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Reviewed 27 May 2012

Our first trip to Mexico. Looks like we picked a good one.
The hotel very generously upgraded us to a Mayan Suite as it was our anniversary - complete with bottle of champagne - Wow!! and Thanks!.
The resort is just awsome; made up of 4 hotels surrounded and lnked by tropical gardens with walkways within the natural junglescape.
The weather was a bit of a shock, not just the temperature, but the humidity. This is a tropical jungle after all and we had to use the respite of the rooms aircon many a time as many of the public areas are open rather than enclosed and airconditioned - this is a feature of the hotel and if you can stand the humidity, it is beautiful.
The entertainment team is outstanding and the shows are first class.
Buffet dining can be a little noisy, but the choice of 8 or more restaurants for evening dining is great. Brazilian, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. The best one for us was the Mexican and special mention to Victor - the best waiter of the hotel and he deserves to be well rewarded.
Its always possible to find a few things that niggle, such as the aircon could have been better, the shower water could have been hotter, etc - but you have to look at al the things this resort does to keep guests happy; and it does this in spades.
Note: this hotel is on the Riviera Maya, away from the hotel zone of Cancun, but its all the better for it - Paradise.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank been-and-got-t-shirt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2012

Dear been-and-got-t-shirt,

Thank you for share with us your comments and It's a pleasure to know that you have enjoyed your anniversary in Palladium.

Sincerelly,

Banesa Burque
Resident Manager

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Reviewed 27 May 2012

Yes, second time in this hotel and it was even better than the first time. I'm already planning the third stay for late December this year. I've seen on Tripadvisor many well deserved reviews from returning guests. Thank you for taking care of my request to accommodate my family and my cousin's family on the same floor!
The resort is huge and very nice blended with nature. Lots of wildlife. I especially liked the shaded paths from my room to the reception and to the main pool. After a hearty meal, walking was the best thing to do. The resort is spread out on a huge area, so it's never crowded. I've been over the Christmas period but I'm a little late posting this review now.
Stayed in block 6, first floor and the room was very clean and large. No need to use the air condition during the night. There were no mosquitoes. The only downside was the uncomfortable pillow. I waked up every morning with the birds song, very nice way to start a day. Food was gorgeous, huge choices at the buffet to meet with all tastes. I enjoyed the Italian and the Mediterranean restaurants as well. We even have lobster at the Christmas eve dinner. Good point that you don't have to pay to eat in the a la carte restaurants. Usually in European all inclusive hotels you have to pay for a la carte. I never tried the Brazilian restaurant, next time I will hopefully do.
The pools are huge, great animation team especially for kids. My son enjoyed water polo and quiz contests. Too bad that the archery contest never took place because lack of participants, as well as the Spanish lessons.
Nice Spa with plenty free facilities, not as crowded as I expected. Just be prepared to give the room card as a guarantee for the towels and locker. They gave me the wrong card at departure, so I had to go at the reception for a replacement card.
Weather in December is perfect, very pleasant for outside sports like tennis. Nice live shows in the evening. Beach is nice, but not as nice as the beaches near Tulum. So I encourage you to hire a car to drive around, don't get stuck with the resort. The beaches in Tulum are gorgeous, stretching from the Tulum maya ruins to Boca Paila. There are many things to see around: wonderful fresh water cenote, adventure parks like Xplore, Xcaret and Xel-Ha theme parks, maya ruins, Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve. Near Akumal town there's a beach where you can swim with marine turtles. The ATV tours are an interesting way to see the jungle... Just watch out where you park in Puerto del Carmen, we ended up without the rear plate - as a guarantee for the fine.
The only downside of my stay was the weekly dinner on the beach which wasn't as I expected. Very poor choices compared with the buffet. And a lot of coatis disturbing us ... please don't feed them, they became too naughty!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank gabysb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2012

Dear gabysb,

I would like to give you thank you for your good comments.

Please, don't hesitate to contact with us if we can help you with anything or with your reservation for December.

Best regards,

Banesa Burque
Resident Manager

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Reviewed 27 May 2012

We stayed in The colonial between 5 and 19 of May.
The hotel is huge even after reading the reviews you do not realise how big this resort is. However once you got your bearing and found the short cuts you did get used to the size.
We stayed in block 21 which was central to most areas. We were upgraded to a junior suite which was great.Our cleaner Laura did an excellent job of ensuring our room was well presented and her towel art was amazing.

Food

The buffets were a little hit and miss.The breakfast was very good however you did sometimes have to wait ages for coffee to be served and not once did you have a teaspoon to stir your tea or coffee if you take sugar. Having said that the food was always hot.
The buffet at lunchtime was very good whether you eat by the pool or in the main restaurant.
The evening buffet was not that great the food was more often than not luke warm.
The A La Cartes we tried were the Asian ,Ribs & More The Brazilian and the Italian Portofino. Our favourite was the Italian. The food was always hot and the service was excellent. Our waiter Nelson was really good. The Ribs & more well the steak was very good however the rest of the meal which was Jacket potatoe sweetcorn and 1 onion ring was all cold.

The Pools
All the pools were very clean.They did have a pool for all types of people.The main pool could become very noisy however if this was not your cup of tea they had the adults pool which were quiet and comfortable. We used the adults pool at the White sands alot. The barman Santos was a credit to the hotel. He was always cheerful helpful and he used to come aroun the sunbeds at least 3 times to ask if you wanted a drink.We did try the other adult pool but by the middle of the day the pool always was full of flys and no waiter service.There was never a problem getting sunbeds there was always plenty to be had by the pools.

Wildlife

This was amazing. This was our 3rd visit to Mexico and where we saw the most wildlife and beautiful coloured birds.

Entertainment
We went to 2 shows at the riviera. The Forever Rock which was very good and The Pirate Show which I didnt enjoy at all.Transportation backi to the colonial was a nightmare once the shows had finished. We walked back however some people were waiting up to 50 mins as the train only took 20 people at a time and it was definately a free for all to get on.
Entertainment in the Colonial lobby could have been better. They all seemed to sing the same songs and I did feel at weekends it was very much catered for the Mexican weekend visitors.

Trips
We went to Coba which we booked through Thomson. The day was very good and the trip very professional. It was well worth $110 each.
We also went to Coco Bongo in Playa Del Carmen. This we booked by the pool at one of the Coco bongo sites.It was great we paid $65 each which included speedy entrance. We were looked after very well. This place is amazing you cant see a show like this anywhere else in this area.

Well we did have a really great holiday my only complaint was as the resort was so big you never had the same waiter at your meals or at the bars. I did miss the repore you have with the staff.

The hotel and grounds are immaculate.

Would I return I dont know I think I would prefer a smaller hotel and perhaps nearer Playa Del Carmen. I did feel a little isolated there was nothing to see outside the complex without catching a bus.

Room Tip: High Floor as the ice machines are on the ground floor and can be quite noisy
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 June 2012

Dear mogsy,

Thank you for share with us your comments. All comments, positive and negative is help for improve our work every day.

Please, don't hesitate to contact with us if we can help you with anything.

Sincerelly,

Banesa Burque
Resident Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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