Just returned from a beautiful vacation at the Grand Palladium Colonial resort. Relied on others' reviews so thought I would add my $0.02.
The Grand Palladium Colonial far exceeded my expectations.
Before leaving, I was a little apprehensive about going to Mexico, I did quite a bit of research (US Department of state website is very informative!) and made sure I got all required shots and boosters before going. I was concerned about the water, getting sunburnt/sick, not knowing enough Spanish etc. etc.
I have never been on vacation when upon my arrival I felt completely and totally relaxed and at ease.
I didn’t want to leave!
ATMOSPHERE/ FIRST IMPRESSION/ DECORATION:
Lobby is beautifully decorated. The hotel has successfully created the feeling of space while achieving an intimate atmosphere as well. Seats were clean and comfortable. Gardens were well maintained. Marble floors gleamed - every morning they were thoroughly cleaned by staff. I was excited and impressed.
Some hurricane damage is still evident, but a considerable amount of effort has been made to restore much of the natural vegetation and gardens.
There is walking – this was welcomed with all the food we consumed. It is true the reviewer that said “eat all you want, you won’t gain an ounce” – I actually lost weight. I never felt over-burdened by the walks, the grounds are nice to see and there are lots of covered walkways to conduct you around the resort. You can pretty much get anywhere with 5-10 minutes of walking.
Our room was immaculate (we stayed in a standard room), our maid was wonderful. Everyday we got a little towel animal that was so cute! Our bar was stocked more than the three times a week - we always had plenty of beer, water and soda. It was nice to sit on the terrace at night for a drink. Beds were quite firm, but comfortable - if too firm, you can ask for an extra coverlet to go on underneath. Shower was nice and hot. Room was always cold when we entered it - did not have to fuss with cards or worry about a/c turning off when we left. Plenty of room - room safe was excellent to have - we kept our passports, wallets and cameras in there the entire time - not one problem there.
You can get your mini bar bottles filled at the bar. I was worried at first, but the reverse-osmosis system the hotel uses is TOTALLY safe. I was drinking about 4-5L of water a day (which I highly recommend - I felt great the whole trip!). I had ice in all my drinks. Likewise, the water from the jugs at dinner is safe, I thought it tasted just like the water from the tap in any big North American city. I don't know what else I can say - you do not need to worry about water when you are at this hotel.
Here's the only place I would say needs improvement. The food was pretty uneven.
Breakfast was good, lots of variety - fruit, yogurt, eggs, bacon, toast, pastries, juice. Mimosas and fried cheese were fun favourites. Try the breakfast tacos.
Lunch we ate in the open air restaurant by the pool often (El-Gran Azul). It was very good. Huge salad bar, burgers and hot dogs, prime rib and other hot meats, guacamole (the BEST), stuffed jalapenos, ice cream machine and other goodies.
Dinner buffet offered variety and was changed up quite a bit the week we were there. Mexican dishes were delicious. Some things were excellent; some things were ok (uneven). Most food was of average quality, but I did not go to Mexico to eat!
I never had a problem finding enough good things to eat.
The à la carte restaurants were very good. Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean) was my favourite, Sumptuori (Japanese) and The Mexican one was very good. Wait staff in the à la cartes were even better, and all three offered an incredibly enjoyable and satisfying experience.
Never have I seen a staff work so hard. Every morning when we arrived in the lobby there was a flurry of activity as several staff cleaned, prepared the gardens, scrubbed the walkways, skimmed the pool etc. Yeah, some of them (mainly maids and gardeners) do not speak English the greatest. However they make a huge effort to understand you. Do not be ignorant. A friendly “Hola” “Gracias” and “Por Favor” goes a long way. Learn them. Use them. All the staff were very friendly and their hard work was demonstrated in a beautifully clean and well kept resort. Bring a good stock of US $1 bills for tips.
Bartenders were fabulous – knew every drink we asked for. Were not stingy with the alcohol. We did not have to wait for drinks except at the Beach (Kantenah) and Swim-up bar. Margaritas were made from scratch and are the best I’ve ever had. Mojitos are made with real mint and crushed limes – excellent! Try the Banana Mama. Beer was of decent quality – not watery - refreshing and delicious.
Tons of stuff to do. Go snorkelling on the reef (it’s free). Mini golf was fun and challenging. Always sports going on at the sports centre, spa looked beautiful (will take advantage next time!), activity coordinators were lively and full of brilliant ideas.
Every second day, we noticed the beach was a little quieter than normal. We later found that many people who went crazy (too much booze, not enough sunscreen and water) one day, and got super sick the next. By all means, take advantage of the free (and delicious) drinks, but don’t forget the water and the sunscreen, you will enjoy your vacation all the more for it. Lots of lobster people walking around – sunscreen is about 2.5 times as expensive as home, buy lots before you go (we went through a whole tube).
Everyone we met was super friendly (especially the southern Americans!). Lots of Canadians, Americans and Spanish.
Remember, you can make your vacation great. We saw maybe two or three groups that complained about EVERYTHING – I think some people are just born to complain. I don’t know how they could not have found anything nice to say about this beautiful and wonderful place. Listening to their constant gripes when we encountered them were a source of amusement. Everyone else seemed to be having a fab time.
Beautiful, sandy, lots of activities. Bring water shoes if you plan to explore the reef. Tons of lounges and shady places, never had a problem finding a place to sit. There is a tow, but if you are a good swimmer, you’ll have no trouble. Watch for red flag days – the waves and the tow will be quite strong.
Go to Playa del Carmen – great shopping, fun fun place. Easy to take the collectivo there.
Go to Chichen-Itza – bring lots of water – it is an incredible thing to see, and a great way to see the real Mexican landscape. Learning a bit of history never hurt anyone either.
Xcaret! Has a Mexican spectacular show in the evening that is definitely worth seeing and a beautiful underground river to snorkel in.
Xel-Ha and Tulum looked interesting, as well as any tour with a stop at a “cenote” very worth seeing!!
I highly recommend the Grand Palladium Colonial & Kantenah resorts - would go back in a heartbeat!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa is located on a spectacular, private Caribbean beach-front complex that boasts of 800 meters of white, fine sand and turquoise blue waters. Guests of the Grand Palladium Colonial are invited to use the facilities provided by the adjoining Grand Palladium White Sand Resort & Spa, the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, and the Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa, with the exception of the Royal Suite facilities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Palladium Colonial Hotel
- Hotel Grand Palladium Colonial
- Grand Palladium Mexico
- Palladium Colonial Resort
- Grand Palladium Spa
- Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa Riviera Maya, Mexico - Akumal