My parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary this December. After an initial thought of doing a DC tour, my parents used their travel agent and landed on the Grand Palladium. No one from our family had ever been to an all-inclusive in Mexico. We were a group of 7 with 3 rooms.
The Weather is something that just is; we had ok weather the first day, rain all afternoon the second and it seemed like the rest of week it was gorgeous in the morning then would cloud up by lunch.
The Grand Palladium is a good 90 mins from the airport especially as we made two stops on the way. We arrived and we able to get three rooms in the same building. My parents room was on the second floor, so my wife and I switched with them. We were all in building 58 which was a great location, right by the beach and basically equal distance from the lobbies. Very glad we did switch as my parents would have struggled with the stairs. They did send them a bottle of champagne.
My parents room experienced several issues during the week and it took some time to get them straightened out; the service was attentive but maybe not so effective. The biggest issue we had with my room was the musty smell. When we got home all of our clothes, worn or not, were quite musty - think the musty cabin in the woods. The rooms were quite spacious and seemed fine - the biggest issue being the TVs are just old. The beds were just ok.
The Grand Palladium is a big resort - I am a runner and it was about 1.5 miles around the resort one way - and for my parents in their 70s this was an issue. For the most part, they were able to get rides to/from their room. They did have some issues so this was not perfect. The bell man did a great job delivering our bags when we arrived and when we left. My only compliant as a runner it sometimes was like playing dodge ball with the carts, trains, etc, But never ever felt threatened
BTW -we used Lomas as our transfer company - they were AWESOME.
My oldest daughter is a year round swimmer and I am active triathlete and in training for a half marathon soon. So we needed to exercise. My daughter used the pool at the spa each day for a swim - it was not perfect but worked and she got some good workouts in. I ran each day - and it was tough. Between the humidity which was a kicker and running on the pavers, running was not so great. The gym at the spa was again good enough - not perfect but acceptable. I would give it a solid thumbs up.
We spent our time in two places - the Colonial pool and the Rocks pool. The Colonial pool as it was close to our rooms and seemed like more families where there. The pool over at White Sands was more adultish. My 9 year old son enjoyed the pool there and did some of the activities but not many. We tried to get him into more of the kids activities like the plays but he was just not into it. Hard to know whether its was them or him given his age - he said he had a good time so lets leave it at that. Only compliant about the Colonial pool is it is loud.
My wife and I spent a good bit of time at the Rocks pool - although the first part of the week every time we went the weather turned south. It rained hard Tuesday afternoon and turned very cloudy Wednesday. We spent all day Thursday there with my oldest two daughters and again some time on Friday. We left Saturday at lunch time and my daughters and I spent that morning at the Rock pool in one of the most gorgeous mornings I have ever experiences on the beach in my life (I grew on the ocean and go to the beach 2 weeks a year or more and this morning from 8 to 10 am was nothing short of spectacular). The Rocks pool was very fun for my son - he went snorkeling in it - its like swimming in an aquarium. It alone is worth coming back for..
My wife and I did spend one afternoon on the beach - we would typically spend the morning at the Colonial pool, let my soon head back to the room in the afternoon after lunch and we would then hit some place else. We liked the beach.
The Grand Palladium has this towel system - and it works ok if you figure it out. You have towels in your room plus towel cards. You get cars for turning in towels. We never had a problem with it, just took a day or so to figure out.
Its all-inclusive much like a cruise. The alcohol flowed freely. we sampled bars all over - and the Rocks pool was my personal favorite. We enjoyed sitting in the lobbies after dinner and getting drinks as well. My oldest is 18 and it was able to drink as well.
We tried 5 different dinners - we ate Ribs and More twice, El Dorado, Portofino, The Brazilian restaurant and the Japanese restaurant. Plus my sone and I tried out the sport bar at the Colonial.
Quick reviews - Ribs and More was ok - I had the steak the first night and the pork ribs the second - the pork ribs were very good just wish there more. My steak was not very good and undercooked. This place had the best salad bar but the desserts were just ok.
El Dorado was to me a disappointment. Out steaks were not very good at all.
Portofino was not bad - my wife had a chicken dish which was likely the single best dish of the entire trip. It was worthy of a second trip and had a very good salad bar and dessert menu.
Japanese restaurant - tough to get into because we were not VIPS. We did get into a 5:30 seating on Thanksgiving night. It was a good show but the food was just ok. Kind of wish we had done the menu setting instead. Sushi was ok. Dessert was ok. I would certainly never hold my entire vacation around this experience.
Brazilian restaurant - it was our last night - you either like this experience or you dont. My family liked it but my dad hated it with a passion. Its just the way he is. But it was not a bad Brazilian experience. The meats were all hot, seasoned well and tasty. The beef was really the best beef I had all week. By far.
Breakfast - the breakfast buffet, regardless of which buffet restaurant, was amazing. The pastries and breads were outstanding. Breakfast was the best meal of the day. I ate way too many donuts and shortbread cookies. Seriously was just crazy good.
Lunch - made the very big mistake on the first day of eating at the BBQ by the Colonial pool out by the beach - terrible meal. Worst of the week. But the buffets by the pool bars at the Colonial and White Sands were very good. My parents who have been on over thirty cruises raved about this lunch buffet along with breakfast. My biggest compliant is that I was often just not hungry for lunch.
Sports Bar - the night of the Japanese dinner my son ate basically nothing - he was a trooper but it was hard. So I took him to the sports bar where they have basically bar food - frozen food hell. But hey it had chicken nuggets and fries, we played pool and watched some of the football game. Decent bar it not loud.
No one got sick off the food
We were able to use the wet area of the spa for free (no longer true come Dec. 1). My wife and I went over there one day to use the facilities. It was crowded. We were there for maybe 30 minutes and came away unimpressed. The Hot tubs were not hot enough, neither was the steam room. The showers did not have enough pressure to use. I was so glad I did not pay to use this - maybe if there was a charge it would have been less crowded but still.
With one exception, the service was quite good. The workers were friendly, the housekeeping was fine. Wait staff was pretty much on point - we did have a couple of longish waits for entrees but nothing obnoxious. Bartenders were very good.
The grounds were clean- the pools were clean - everything was in general fine shape. It was quite nice - some of the cushions on the beds out by the rocks pool could have been cleaner.
I was able to snorkel well right off the beach and enjoy myself. I have certainly done much worse.
Here was an interesting experience; not sure if this is always true but as American for a good part of the week we were clearly a minority. Lots of Canadians there for weddings - lots of Europeans, South Americans, etc. It was not what we had expected (not sure why) - but it was ok. English was not a problem ever. Not once. But it did mean we saw more topless than I was expecting and different bathing suit styles. Again, taking the cultural back drop we were in, it was not something that was ever flaunted. But if that offends you, then be aware. It was just part of the package and we came to accept it.
Why a 4
My family has been to Disney World multiple times and stayed on property in multiple places so I feel like we understand a quality experience. There was nothing glaringly wrong here at all - but things like beach waiters, etc. that you might find at higher end properties are not here. The service at restaurants was good but not exceptional. The activities were ok but not out of this world.
We came back tan, relaxed, a couple pounds heavier than we left - a very successful, fun vacation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Palladium White Sand 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 White Sand are invited to use the facilities provided by the adjoining Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, and the Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa (excluding the Royal Suite facilities). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Palladium White Sand Resort And Spa
- Grand Palladium White Sand Hotel Akumal
- Palladium White Sands
- Grand Palladium White Sands Resort
- Grand Palladium White Sand Resort & Spa Riviera Maya, Mexico - Akumal