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Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa
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Reviewed 11 August 2006

Since we relied so much on the reviews of this resort before booking I wanted to add my thoughts for others to read. We stayed at the Colonial July 29th thru August 5th - my husband and I and two girls aged 11 and 14. After reading all the other reviews I was concerned about all the walking but aside from the first day when I got lost and walked for over an hour - the day to day walking was no big deal. We stayed in building 9 which was not far from the lobby, pool, or beach. A train came by every 10 minutes so getting around was pretty effortless.
The food was not as mediocre as I thought it would be based on a lot of the reviews here. We did the breakfast buffet every morning which was really, really good with lots to choose from. Lunch we either skipped, or went to the restaurant by the pool and got a hamburger or taco. The dinner buffets started out very good but by the end of the week it was getting hard to find something we wanted or liked even though there were always tons of choices. I think we were just getting tired of eating by then. The night they did Mexican food was the best night of all for the buffet - they should stick with that. I loved the chicken and green enchiladas.
We did three of the ala-carte restaurants. The Italian was great. The Brazilian restaurant was pretty good too. We did not like the Japanese restaurant at all. The sushi was very good but their Chicken Teriyaki bore no resemblance to any teriyaki I’d ever tasted before.
Aside from two trips we spent most of the week lounging around the pool and the beach. The pool is very comfortable although alarmingly deep. I had to stand on my tip-toes to keep my face above water – I found that rather strange. The beach is absolutely beautiful. We took bread into the water with us and fish came and ate out of our hands. Luckily they weren’t BIG fish.
We took a tour to Chichen Itza and another day went horseback riding. The horseback riding was super fun - we actually got to take the horses into the water (not just a wade through the surf!). Chichen Itza was disappointing. We'd been there 20 years ago and were really looking forward to seeing it again. We had a very long-winded guide and after almost an hour of standing around two sites and listening to him drone on about their calendars and mathematics we left the tour and went exploring on our own. We later found that most of the rest of the tour did the same thing after we did. Unfortunately by then we only had about an hour left so we rushed from one site to another to make sure we saw all we wanted. Definitely take a hat - it was extremely hot that day and not much shade. We then stopped for lunch which was very mediocre. After lunch we could swim in a Cenote (freshwater limestone sinkhole) if we wanted. That was one of the highlights of our trip. Super cool water so clean you could see all the fish. It was almost like swimming in a cave with a wide opening at the top - really, really beautiful.
All of the resort staff were extremely helpful and ready to help. We had no problems at all. We took an earlier reviewer's tip of bringing about $100 in ones for tips. The staff really works very hard and they deserve it. Our room was completely cleaned every day and we always had enough towels and wash cloths. The floors are marble and a bit slick when wet. We had no problems finding a lounge chair by the pool or by the beach and only didn’t get a towel one day when there was a sudden rainstorm.
Unfortunately the resort did not offer enough to keep my two daughters occupied. I think they might have wanted to do some of the craft-type activities but they were too old to join that group. They offered a lot of games and such but that didn't interest my kids at all. I really wish they would have had more to offer for the pre-teen, early teen ages - it would have saved me from listening to all that complaining! Also I wish they would have offered more TV stations in English which I expected as they had satellite TV. I didn’t much care but my kids didn’t like it.
All in all I had a wonderful time - enough so that I would have liked to stay a few more days. There are so many places other places we want to travel too so I don’t know if we’ll will go back but if you are thinking about choosing this resort – I would definitely recommend it. Hope you enjoy your vacation!

  • Stayed: August 2006, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
21  Thank Vassey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2006

My husband and I stayed at the Grand Palladium for two weeks from July 8 - 22 for our honeymoon. It was amazing.

ROOMS: We got a room upgrade when we checked in and there was a basket of fruit waiting for us in the room (though it was infested with tiny ants). The room is covered in marble tile it was very pretty. The room was always clean and we never had a problem with bugs or strange smells (like some reviews on here complain about). We did find that if we wanted our room made up everyday we had to put the makeup room card on the outside of our door handle everyday. We were in Villa 21, it was so close to everything, it took about 3 mins to walk to the main lobby and another 3 mins from our room to the pool/beach. There is also an adult pool right behind the villa we stayed in which was great.

BEACH: There is only one word to describe the beach...Beautiful! The sand was really soft and the water was crystal clear, blue and really warm. There were lots of beach chairs although there were a few times that we had trouble finding two chairs right beside each other. After a 2 or 3 minute search we would normally find something though. The only complaint that I would have about the beach is that they have a company that runs all of the beach activities (parasailing, banana boat, jet skis, etc) and a couple of times a day they would have employees walking around the beach talking to people trying to sell the different activities. I personally felt that if I wanted to do something like that I'd go on my own and get information about it. Normally if you don't make direct eye contact with them they won't come talk to you and if they do you just have to politely say that someone has already talked to you. Also, if you want to go parasailing (we did) wait until the weekend they had a special on where you go tandum (two people at one time) parasail for $80 US normally they were charging $107 for the same thing during the week.

POOLS: We can only give a review on the adult pool on the Colonial side as we spent our first week on the beach and our second week at the adult pool. One thing I can say about the main pool is that it is huge, loud, busy, and lots of kids. That is why we stayed away from there.
The adult pool was awesome, really quiet, no kids, relaxing, and there is a bar right there where the bartender (Carlos) will actually go around to all of the people there every 45 minutes or so and take drink orders so that you don't have to go up to the bar. The water was warm but to too warm and it felt good to go jump in a few times a day to cool off.

BARS: There was one rude bartender at the beach bar that would ignore me all of the time and only help the men at the bar. So I made my husband go get drinks from there for me as I didn't want to put up with that. Other then that the drinks were really good and the bartenders were great.

BUFFET & RESTAURANTS: The buffet wasn't to bad at all. They had theme nights and for the most part I'd say that about 50% of the food was different everynight. There is also a huge selection of food and tonnes and tonnes of dessert (you have to try the dessert crepes I was addicted to them).
We went to the Japanese, steakhouse, medditeranian, and italian a la cartes. They were all really good and the food presentation was awesome. The only negatives I could say is that the steak at the steakhouse was really fatty my husband ordered steak at the medditeranian restaurant and thought that it was better then at the steak house. The other negative was at the medditeranian a la carte, I ordered the chicken skewers which were so good but I went to eat the second skewer and the chicken was completely raw so make sure you check your meat before you eat it.

STAFF: They work there tails off. Yes, sometimes they are a little slow but they are trying to serve a tonne of people. They are very dedicated to what they do and work so hard so give them a bit of a break.

Would we go back? Definatly, the second day we were there my husband was already saying that he wanted to come back.

We walked throught the whitesands and rivera side of the resort and I am so glad we didn't pay the extra money to stay there. There are bridges all over the place that you have to climb steep stairs to cross over, the vegetation was all dead, it was bare looking, and there was no beach you had to walk all of the way down to the colonial side of the resort to get to the beach which is a good 10-15 minutes walk. I would have been very dissapointed with the resort if I had spent that much money and had to go on a hike everyday to get to the beach and climb stairs all of the time to get over bridges to other parts of the resort.

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
33  Thank angiew84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2006

My entire family stayed at the Colonial/Kantenah hotel 15-22 June. We were a large group (8 adults, 6 children ages 3-15) and here are some of the situations we encountered:

Upon arrival, check-in was fairly uncomplicated - we arrived on a Thursday afternoon, so it was not crowded at all. However, we had booked 4 rooms and our travel agent had specifically requested that we be placed in close proximity to each other. Three of the rooms were clustered on the Colonial side, two in the same building (but on opposite sides) and one room two buildings away. But the 4th room was all the way across on the Kantenah side - a 20-25 minute walk. Though we complained, the front desk was polite, but did not make any real efforts to help. I should mention that our family is Latino, so in general, all the hotel staff was very friendly and accommodating, as is usual when you share the same culture/background. As a group, my family is also very friendly and conversational with everyone, including service workers - this, plus the small tips ($1-$5) probably contributed to the entire resort staff always begin wonderfully helpful and gracious (except at check in).

We arrived ready to do a lot of walking, and we did. I didn't really mind the walk, but it is hot and humid all the time and it would take an additional 15-20 minutes to get where you were going - to me that is a big time-waster. Plus whatever you are carrying drags you down after the first 10 minutes of your walk - especially bothersome after you've been in the sun for any length of time.

Our room was the only one on the top floor (the buildings are only 3 levels high) and was acceptable, but nothing special. The other rooms in our group were not, and there were complaints about the smell (sewer and/or mildew), humidity, and leaking a/c - leaving puddles of water on the tile floors - very slippery and dangerous. We had been to Cancun before and have accepted that nothing really dries out completely indoors - if you want your bathing suits to be dry the next time you use them, you have to set them outside on the balcony to dry. We draped them over the backs of the outdoor chairs and table that were on the balcony.

The best thing about this hotel is the beach - one of the reasons we selected this location because we like to spend the day on the beach. There were plenty of chairs, but they could have used a little more shade - we overheard several people saying that they stopped at the beach at 7am and left their towels and beach gear under the thatched-roof palapas, thus reserving these spots for the entire day. There is a hotel policy specifically prohibiting this practice, but not very well enforced and we didn't push the issue - there was usually an open chair under a palm tree for the sun-sensitive in our group. The only other issue at the beach was the topless sunbathing - really inappropriate for a family resort. I think most of the exhibitionists were european, so I guess they didn't have a problem exposing themselves in front of strangers and their curious children. But the beach/snack bar was very convenient, the pool was nice and big (though the water was a little too warm) and the sand volleyball court was great.

The food was a big disappointment. This was our first all-inclusive experience, and we are used to dining well. The buffet restaurants were average - good fresh fruit and you could usually find something fairly appetizing, if bland. We only tried one of the a la carte restaurants, the mexican one, and promptly cancelled our other reservations. The food and drinks were terrible - most of us did not even finish our meals. We left and headed over to the buffet - at least there you could decide by the looks of the food whether to try it - and if you didn't like it, you could go back and try something else. I realize that these restaurants cater to an international clientele, but this was just plain awful. We live in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, so maybe we are just spoiled by the quality restaurants that are on nearly every corner. I do not understand the reviews that thought the food was anything other than mediocre.

We did not attend any of the shows - it looked like the resort employees running different skits every night, not terribly entertaining.

This was the first big family vacation we had taken with our children (ages 12, 13, 15), and we may return to Cancun, but definitely not to this hotel. I am willing to spend the extra money on better food and accommodations. Also, I would select a hotel closer to the main hotel zone - this location was too remote, you had to take a taxi or bus if you wanted to go anywhere, nothing was within walking distance. Though I enjoyed the exercise, I would pick a high-rise hotel next time, instead of the little villas scattered across the entire property - too much time was wasted just getting around.

  • Stayed: June 2006, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
19  Thank lilmonos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Vancouver, BC
112
Reviewed 17 July 2006

My husband and I went here for our honeymoon. We were treated well, room upgrade, special dinner and a fruit basket! Woo-hoo!

Our room was clean and simple. I enjoyed the bathroom myself. I took hot baths even on the hottest days...insane. I know! The mini bar was never cold enough. The TV was...well, you don't go on vacation to watch TV do ya! We had a nice sitting area and deck. They were painting during our stay...which was weird when I got out of the shower to an open sliding door. Oh well.

The Food- Uhm...I lost weight. The breakfast was tasty so I stocked up then. I found the lunch and dinner buffets bland and redundant. The special resteraunts were not that great either. We were super excited about our three "good" nights, but the only thing that stood out was the tempura ice cream at the Japanese place. That was well worth it!

Drinks- good, but it took a few to start feeling nice and, well, nice! The cream based drink (pina's, Miami Vice's etc...) were really thick and left me with a tummy ache after too many. I stuck to tini's and Margs after that. The more you tip, the more booze you get. Which can get pricey! Make sure to ask for a list so that you can see what they have to offer. We did not find this list till our trip was near over...

Pools- Fun! Lots of chairs and lots of water! Swim up bar was fun, but slow and since it was in the shadow of the resteraunt above, it got cold waiting for a drink. The adult pool is a must as kids were everywhere at the other areas!

Beach- Nice and big. Had a great snack area which I preferred to the resteraunt. Burgies were good. The beach bars were good too. But maybe take a mug along or you will end up with 10 plastic cups. No fun. The jet skis were $$$ but worth it! We had a really wavey day and caught some wicked air. It was a blast.

As for excursions that are offered, dont miss the cenote diving. Skip Tulum unless you are a fan of those things...it got really boring really fast. Cozumel is good as well. We did the jeep tour and got really bad weather, but that is no ones fault. The tour was still a blast. Playa del Carmen shopping day is good, and free! We had a nice relaxing day eating cheap authentic Mexican and getting some deals on clothes and what not.

Overall, it was a good time. We would go back if we wanted the AI expierance again. I have done a few AI's and for the price, this is one of the better ones.

Have FUN!

  • Stayed: February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2006

We stayed at the Grand Palladium Resort Colonial side from July 2nd -11th, two families with two teens age 15. We have stayed number of times in different all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and Dominican Republic. This resort has some very strong points. But not everything that shines is gold … so here's what we thought...

Arrival/ Departure We booked our trip through Apple Vacations. They have very organized pick up/ drop off service and have their representative 8 hrs a day.

Resort/Grounds: Beautiful. One of the biggest resorts we've stayed! The complex actually consists of 4 Grand Palladium resorts, the Kantenah, the Colonial, the Riviera and the White Sands. You have to walk A LOT. If you left something in a room…forget about. .Kantenah side is more compact and quiet than Colonial. Colonial side more spread but has all action spots: sport bar, theatre, tennis courts, new spa, water sport center. If you booked standard room in these two resorts, half mile walking to the beach guaranteed. You can’t be close to the beach unless you book junior suite or mayan suite. That’s the way it designed. Consider it before booking. But I’m not deducting any points for walking. Grounds are clean, well maintained. On your way to the restaurant or beach you walk through the jungle and see all kind of trees, flowers, iguanas, crabs and other habitants including flamingos and crocodiles. All walkways are covered, so you always stay in a shade. That was very important to us. Everything is well lit at night, so we enjoyed walking around the resorts looking at everything. Some people complained about smell that comes from sewer water used for sprinkling the grounds. Didn’t feel it at all except for few areas at White Sands.

Room: Very good. We had the standard room on a third floor. Very good room decorated in Mexican style, two double beds, big balcony, huge bathroom…. everything was in great working order, very comfortable. Some people complained that beds are too hard…Hmmm…Not too bad…no points deduction. There are iron, safe box,TV, ceiling fan and hair drying fan in every room. My only complaint is the AC was not strong enough but we found out the trick. Leave one of the room cards in the slot on all the time and you will encounter no problems. The maid service was wonderful and we left $2 US everyday and had a very well stocked mini-fridge. Lots of water, sodas, and beer.

Beach: Horrible. Rocks are everywhere. The beach is 1 mile long and the only less than 100 feet of sandy bottom available where you can enter the water. And still this spot has a lot of rocks. Now picture that: 3 out of 4 Grand Palladium resorts have their own beach (Riviera doesn’t have it). People staying on Kantenah or White Sands beach have to walk to Colonial side for cool off. In the morning and afternoon it is not too crowded, but between 11am and 2pm and during water aerobics people staying literally shoulder to shoulder. The swimming area has to be much wider, free from the rocks and be available on each side of the beach. Period. The only good thing is that it has a lot of shade spots. At 7:30 am you have no problems getting your palapa but if you come too late, you'll be in the sun. White sands beach has a little coral reef where you can snorkel to see sea urchins and various colorful fish. There are a lot of silver color fish everywhere. We fed them with bread every morning and found it very entertaining. Great little bars with a hot dog stands located along the entire beach.

Pool: Excellent. It is large, graduated and has many sections including a sitting area, volleyball area, swim up bar, shallow area for little kids and Jacuzzi. The pool is 5 feet deep, kind of deep for little kids, but if they have floats, surfing boards or life vests they will be fine. It is very well maintained, cleaned every morning and lit at night. There are plenty of palapas available, easy to get drinks and places to sit. There are also two small pools: El Rinconcito pool in Kantenah and Adult pool in Colonial side. They located in a very quiet, secluded areas, have a bar, Jacuzzi, palapas….very romantic and relaxing place. I never saw more than few couples there.

Food/Drinks: Fantastic. We felt that this was the best all-inclusive food we ever had. At any meal in a main restaurant we found all kinds of seafood, meats, pasta, cheese, fruit, breads, sides, drinks, etc. No matter your eating habits, you will go away satisfied. We also ate at Mexican and Japanese a la carte restaurants. Mexican was Ok for it’s decorations, Mexican musicians, fajitas and café mexicana. Japanese was just waste of time. Tasteless rolls, mediocre main course, long waiting time… Poor copy of Japanese Hibachi restaurants. If you stick to the main restaurant, you’ll be fine. I read some reviews about upset stomach…we were fine. Drinks are awesome, much better than other resorts offer. Don't be afraid to tell them how you like them, they'll make it any way you want! Don’t hesitate to tip bartenders.

Entertainment: Very Poor. Each night there is a show performed by entertainment team. We saw the same old cheesy jokes that we saw years ago in different resorts. Best couple, best man, best woman competitions, and karaoke …Only Mexicana show performed by local dance group was OK but not great. Other than that it is not worth watching. Rotation is only 1 week. Every resort we’ve been before has 2 week rotation. So if you stay more than 1 week you end up watching same shows over and over again. Fortunately every day at pool restaurant there is a bar with live music every day. That was the place when we hang out every night. Good music, dancing, playing cards, smoke cigar…very lovely place. Same entertainment crew was responsible for daily entertainment. They failed again. Only once a week they have water aerobic on the beach. All pool games and contests involve beer drinking or tequila pouring into your throat so teens were not allowed to participate. It is so easy to replace beer with soda or water. We had two teens age 15, they got bored on a second day. They were looking forward to go to the night disco but were shocked when found out that it is for 18 and older only. So, they can’t go to disco, can’t participate in pool games all they did was playing cards and billiard at sport club. I never saw disco that not allowed teens under 18. First, the disco for teens is from 9 to 10:30 pm and second, it is on Riviera side. You have to take a train to get there. The resort claiming itself as a family resort but everything is set for couples only. Consider it if you have teens traveling with you from 14 to 17.

Service: Very good. Bartenders, room maids, maintenance workers are very friendly. They work very hard long hours, don’t forget to say Hola to them.

Tips and suggestions: Bring your own float or surf board and snorkeling gear
Bring 50-100 singles for tips.
Bring water shoes
Do not buy tours to X-Caret and Xel-Ha, take a taxi and go at your own. Consider to spend all day there. In X-Caret underground rivers, horse riding show and night show must see, Xel-Ha is great for snorkeling.
Best place to buy souvenirs is supermarket in Playa de Carmen (forgot name). Souvenirs that they sell in lobby every day are way overpriced.

Conclusion: Good resort with beautiful grounds, pool, food and service. Some people coming back few times there. Would I go back? Nah…I would go to resort with same food and service quality, better beach and outstanding entertainment. So far Iberostar resorts far outweighed our experience at all inclusive resorts.
Have a nice vacation

  • Stayed: July 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
41  Thank mgur1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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