We were checked into the resort upon boarding the shuttle at the airport. Room cards, towel cards, lock for safe etc. A very pleasant surprise. Upon arrival we could start enjoying the resort or head straight to the room.
Our room was 'ocean view' and I knew that could mean a variety of different things. The room itself was clean and had ubiquitous towel creatures. King size bed was one solid bed, firm but comfortable. Ceiling fan was pleasant and air conditioning was very good. No strong odors like some have mentioned. The air conditioner is supposed to turn off when the balcony door is open but ours continued working. Older tv, but that was a non-issue. Decor and furniture was clean but could use updating. Bathroom was well equipped and we had no issues with water temperature or pressure. The mini bar had Jose Cuervo, bacardi white, some brandy and one other that I can't recall. The fridge was initially stocked with Pepsi, Pepsi light, orange, lemon-lime, Tecate beer and dos equis beer. There was no water, but a phone call promptly fixed that and our fridge remained fully stocked for the rest of our stay. There is also a coffee maker but we did not use.
The safe was not digital. It requires a key. I was disappointed at first but it never caused us any issues.
Maid Service was solid, and our door signs were respected. No complaints. Maybe could have used more turn down chocolates!! We did tip throughout our stay.
Our ocean view room actually had an ocean view! We were on level 3 and looked out over the neighboring Santa Fe pool, beach towards marina and Los Arcos. Gorgeous. Sitting on the balcony in the quiet morning was pleasant as was watching the sunsets. The Santa. Fe pool was noisy during the day but for us, it was never an issue. In fact, we enjoyed the music with our open balcony one afternoon while we took a reprieve from the sun.
The resort is quite large and can involve plenty of walking. We actually preferred that with all the 'consumption'. Also, depending what floor you are on, there are plenty of stairs. Elevators do exist but we did not use them. From the beach up to the lobby was three good sized flights of stairs.
The lobby was very nice and had a relaxed, upscale feel. Note - we had no issues making change for tipping at the front desk. (FYI - during our entire stay, while we did not need it, the on site ATM was out-of-service.)
The lobby bar was fantastic. We sat in every section possible during our stay including at the bar and it was all great. The design (arches) in combination with the view is totally addictive. We enjoyed all different times of day there including morning coffee and it was one of my highlights. The bartenders were good and the drinks seemed strong and consistent. They had brand name at their disposal if you asked. Also of note, a pianist played for an hour every early evening.
The buffet was good. Selection was large and they had theme nights but much of it was repetitious. With such a wide variety some things were better than others but I had no complaints. Breakfast was great. We sat in most sections including outside and service was good but we found exceptional service in Iveth's section. She made our buffet experience better and was both attentive and fun. Top notch.
Mexican restaurant had decent food with fantastic views. Half a la carte, half buffet. Steakhouse food and service was great but I wished it wasn't converted from the lunch buffet. Japanese restaurant had good atmosphere and was a nice change but the food was only average. IMO the buffet had better sushi. We didn't try Krystal unfortunately although we had the opportunity. Yes, you need to reserve Mexican, steakhouse and Krystal. We did NOT line up early like everyone says and were able to get them no problem. Lucky? Maybe. We just checked while walking past the desk.
The lunch buffet never seemed too busy. We always sat closest to the beach. It was relaxing and the food was good with decent selection. Guacamole, pico de Gallo, ceviche and chips!!!
The theater had cheesy shows but the ones we saw were entertaining enough. Bar service was good.
We enjoyed both pools. The 'fun' pool was full of activity and it was harder to find chairs. Although you aren't supposed to reserve chairs, people always will. This however didn't really pose a problem for us. We had a wide variety of spots during our stay including close to bar overlooking the ocean. No complaints. One thing we noted, during our last couple of days they were changing out all the chairs. Old ones had removable pads and were decent but I preferred the new ones. They were comfortable and much more attractive. Umbrellas did the job when you needed and there seemed to be no issue moving chairs around to accommodate your needs. Drink service at both pools was good but the drinks were only average compared to the lobby bar. Perhaps not strong enough for some but you can always ask for stronger. Also, with the pool staff always close by, you didn't have to wait long for another.
The beach was beautiful. The sand close to the resort was coarse, but it got softer closer to the surf. It was easy walking. We never felt bothered by the beach vendors. The ocean is not for swimming immediately in front of the Palace but a 15 - 20 min walk can remedy that. Medano beach had decent swimming.
The waves. While we were there we enjoyed soft lulling waves that caressed the shoreline to pounding, relentless ones that pushed water right up to the resort pool walls. It was fantastic to watch, and held a magical quality for us. We also enjoyed watching the many guests who tempted fate with their running speed from the incoming waves. Good fun if you used your head. We saw many people get drenched, but they all had smiles on their faces. I miss the waves! (one night we left the balcony door open so we could fall asleep to the sound. It was fantastic until about 3 am when revelers on the beach interrupted the serenity with drunken shouting - no worries, just closed the door.)
Took us about 40 minutes to walk to the marina/downtown on the beach at a very casual pace, barefoot. No issues. Had a great time at Happy Ending cantina getting out of the sun!!!
$12 taxi back to the resort. We went to town via taxi on another occasion and the lobby staff arranged for us to share with another couple to save money if we desired. No problem.
We had no complaints and I can't recall any real inconveniences. Our stay was good to great the whole way through.It is true that someone is always cleaning, sweeping, cutting, painting and so on. All of the other guests that we spoke with were pleasant. Also, brush up on your basic Spanish. You WILL get a chance to use it. While most staff speaks some English, struggling through with our barely passable Spanish phrases brought more conversation, impromptu lessons and some laughs.
It was an awesome time, and both of us said we could see us returning. Highlights were views, waves,sense of relaxation and some exceptional staff. And by the end of our week, the long walks from our room and the many flights of stairs were much much easier!
We had gorgeous views from our room, and despite daytime noise from the Santa Fe, I would recommend...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.