This was our first trip to not only Mexico, but to an all-inclusive resort. This means we don't have anything similar to compare our stay to. By now people will have a pretty good idea of the facilities available, so I won't re-iterate a lot of what's already been written by others, rather just some impressions and comments.
Our arrival was handled smoothly and courteuosly, we were in the standard Junior Suite which was clean and comfortable. In our time here we walked through the other resorts on the complex and although we would have been quite happy at either of the 4-star resorts, the rooms there were more of a standard nature. We would have been unhappy had we booked into either the Maya Beach or it's twin 3-star. The Palace has open-air walkways and there are statues and water everywhere to enhance the airiness of the environment.
Overall, service was excellent although there were a few people who obviously weren't enjoying their jobs. We met many helpful and gracious staff who did their best for us on a consistent basis. We were fairly consistent tippers, and if you choose to tip be aware that the person who turns down your bed at night is not the same person that cleans your room, or that refills your fridge contents on a daily basis. Tips for all 3 of these staff members resulted in some delightful perks.
Food - buffets were all enjoyable, for the a-la-carte restaurants we ate at the Brasierre twice as it was extraordinary. The other restaurants we tried were the Caribe (which we would recommend - good food and good service), the Thai restaurant down the path at one of the other resorts and the a-la-carte Japanese restaurant (The Coral) on the Palace grounds. Both of these we found substandard, although being from the west coast of Canada we are perhaps spoiled by the large number of very good Asian restaurants here. We found in the case of both the Thai and Coral experiences that although the food was flavourful it was prepared with a LOT of oil, which certainly reduced the enjoyment of the cuisine. The only time I felt ill the whole trip was after eating at the Thai restarant. We had heard that the Teppanyaki Japanese restaurant is very good, they share real estate with the Thai restaurant and although it's gets a little loud there, it was obvious that the diners were having a lot of fun.
Something about the buffets we noticed at the Palace - they were all at the beach-end of the resort, whereas with the other properties they were more centrally located. This made dining on the terraces possible so you could enjoy the warm breeze and the sight and sound of the ocean with your meal. We really enjoyed this factor.
Beachfront - the week we were there (March 8 - 15) there was never a problem getting a lounge on the beach. the week we left - the first week of the horror known as Spring Break - it would have likely been more crowded. The beach is well maintained and groomed daily. Pools were very nice, very clean with the exception of the Lap pool but that's likely because that's where all the water sports were played .
Activities - many and varied from organized things in the pools to a small basketball court, sea kayaking (which was a lot of fun), catamarans, nightly shows that repeat through the week at one or the other of the 3 theaters on the property, and many others.
Overall, this is beautiful resort, well maintained, well staffed and we would go back without question. We have travelled to other parts of the world and found this place very beautiful and very relaxing. Well worth the few extra $ for the 5-star resort in this complex.