Firstly, this was my first visit to the Grand Palladium in RM, however we did holiday in 2011 at the Grand Bahia Principe just a few miles down the road. I have made a couple of comparisons at the end of the report, however in themain I have stuck to giving my opinon about the GBRM.
Ok, so getting through Cancun Airport was not to bad, about 45 mins all in and our private transfer was easily located through the arrivals hall. The transfer to the hotel was about 1 hour, which was good after a 10 hour flight from Scotland.
Check-in was very easy, no welcome drink or cool towels but that did not bother me in the least- I just wanted to get to the pool! Bell Boy took our luggage to our room, which was in Villa 7 on the Colonial side- my only room request (emailed 1 week prior) was was to be on the 3rd floor- this was acheived, thanks Eduardo!
Room was great, very clean, mini-bar was full, plenty of towels and a nice outlook from the balcony. Not a huge amount of storage space for three people, however it was adequate. We had no trouble with bugs over the two weeks, our room was kept spotless (thanks Veronico), however our coffee stock ran out twice (first time I did nothing, second time I phoned- replenished within the hour) and a couple of times we were left with no toilet paper. I sussed the cupboard on our landing where Veronico left her trolley though, so I took care of this myself. So no big deal with those couple of things. One final point- we had no towel art for the two weeks, and reading through previous reports this seems to be a big thing for some people. Whilst nice, it made no difference to us, and our room was CLEAN, which is what housekeeping is about. All in, happy with the room, perfectly adequate for our needs.
Grounds- Absolutely stunning, well presented, wildlife was awesome, coatis, snakes, iguanas, lizards and those little brown guys that run about the place. The walkways were superb taking you right through the mangroves, and some of the noises walking back to your room each night were epic! We had some really high winds for a couple of days whilst we were there (Punta Emelia lost four palapas and had to close) however it was all cleaned up within a couple of days. Really hard working groundskeepers, the whole resort was spotless.
Pools- Both pools were great, although we preferred the Colonial pool as it was a bit deeper, and therefore cooler. Some people are complaining that it's too deep- the White Sands pool is only 4 feet, so if you don't like it, go there! It's the same pool but shallower! Never understand people complaining when there is an easy solution. Both pools were also clean, and there was always guys going round cleaning the tiles, collecting all the empty cups etc etc. I would comment though that the guests could use a bit of common sense as to where they leave their used cups. Cleaners were having to go into the pool to get cups that had been left on the jacuzzis for example- very inconsiderate. Loved the pools, and there were always plenty of loungers. I was usually down at 6am to get a coffee, check the weather, watch the sun come up etc, so I usually got our sunbeds at that time and enjoyed my coffee and book, however you could come along a anytime and be almost guaranteed a bed. GP have solved the worldwide "bed reserving" problem by having enough beds! Simples! There were very few beds reserved before 9am because you quite simply didn't have to.
Buffets- Breakfast was good, usual assortment, the breads etc were excellent, as were the fresh juices. Bacon, sausage, eggs etc were all pretty standard, and after 2 weeks it does tend to get a bit boring. Quality was good though, certainly no complaints, although some of the guests hygiene standards were frankly disgusting. But you get that everywhere- best just to keep your eyes shut when you are getting your food! And I'm not talking about the children either!
Lunch- this was a big let down for me. It was pretty much the same fare every day, which is fine, because we don't tend to eat a huge lunch. The disappointing thing though was the "pica de gallo" and guacamole. The pico was basically just tomato and onion, with no chilli and no spice at all. The guacamole was also pretty thin, again with little taste. I discovered why during the second week of our holiday. They are both "bought" in from outside the hotel. I was really disappointed frankly- we really enjoy the different tastes and flavours on offer and to have "factory made" local sauces was very disappointing. I think the head chefs in the kitchens should frankly be ashamed that they are having to use this when they should be proudly making their own variation of the local sauces, which would be of a slightly different texture and taste every day. Anyhow, aside from that, lunch was ok, but the two points above, for me, go WAY above the lack of "towel art" or "no drink at check-in" type complaints. Can't hide my disappointment, and I will be emailing the hotel with my thoughts!
Dinner- Buffets had themed nights each night, and they were all good. Quality and consistency were good, with a good variety of dishes offered. Soups in particular were very good.
A La Cartes- We tried them all with the exception of the Fish, Japanese and Chinese. And they were all excellent. The meats were fantastic, service was good, but not more than good, and the locations and themes inside each one were excellent. Did feel a bit "rushed" on occasion though which was disappointing, but I guess they try to seat as many people as they can. We only had one real wait of about 40 minutes (we arrived at 7.40 so was to be expected) however every other occasion we got pretty much straight in, or had a 15 min wait at most. Again this did not bother us in the slightest, although some people did not take it too well. If we had to wait, we just had another drink!
Entertainment- We did not do any of the shows at night time, although the guys participating all looked pretty energetic. The daytime activities at the pool were good, very varied with good levels of participation from the guests.
Lobby- We usually had a drink before dinner, then a couple of drinks after. Service not the quickest, but we were in no hurry so again did not bother us too much. Drinks were nice, tried loads of cocktails and couldn't find one that I didn't enjoy!
Service- Check-in/out was fine, bell boys were good although there was a bit of confusion when they came to collect our back for the homeward journey. Buffets were pretty good in the main, although they did forget our coffee/water a couple of times- but they are serving hundreds of people so no issue for us. You can help yourself to coffee if you like! A La Cartes were mostly ok, however I did not really notice a huge difference vs the buffet staff. In the Bahia the buffets appeared to be a bit of a "training ground" and the really good staff were in the A la cartes, however that did not seem to be the case here. Service at the GP was ok, but I would not say it was much more than that.
Beach- beach, certainly at the colonial side was nice, and the sea was easy to get into. No need for pool shoes, despite what others say. Yes there are a couple of rocks, but just watch where you are putting your feet- it's the sea after all! Sea was warm, plenty fish, and the snorkelling was ok- not fantastic but decent enough. Night time was the best time to be on the beach though. If you come out of the Colonial side, and go past the caged turtle nests about 350 yards you get to some "dunes". This is where we found the adult sea turtles coming out of the water to lay their eggs at night. Absolutely awesome sight. We got there one night just as one had started to build her nest. We watched the whole thing, with a bit of commentary from the Turtle guy who was collecting the eggs and managing the release of the baby turtles and it was just awesome. Took about 1 hour and 45 minutes all in, but was worth it to watch her go back into the sea. She was huge!! On other night we all got to hold a newly hatched turtle, and "launch" them into the sea whilst giving them a name. It was brilliant, and the undoubted highlight of our holiday.
Trains- To walk round the Colonial/Kantenah section takes 16 minutes using the main road- there are various short cuts you can take which will cut this time considerably. So, if your room is on the beach side, and you are in the lobby at most you have an 8 minute walk, unless you use the shortcuts. You do not need the trains (unless you have mobility issues, or perhaps young kids with no strollers) so please, don't complain about having to wait 10 minutes on a train to take you to your room. Not wanting an 8 minute walk? Ridiculous. From the colonial side to White Sands, took us 4 minutes from Villa 7 (this was to get to the Lobby). I guess from Lobby to Lobby was perhaps 6 or 7 minutes, but I never walked it. Can't understand the laziness of some people.
Offsite- we went to Playa Del Carmen for a morning, just because we wanted some hassle from shopkeepers. Was an experience as usual, but be prepared to haggle! We also went to Xel-Ha which was brilliant. Our son loved it, great snorkelling and we also seen a sting ray which was brilliant. We also done the manatee encounter which was fantastic. It really is a great park, and well worth a trip. Lastly, we also went to Akumal Beach to swim with the turtles. This was also superb. Seen loads of sea turtles and also another sting ray. Was awesome. Ignore all the guys trying to sell you trips though- hire a life jacket thing at the hut on the beach, $5 for the whole day, and you can swim out yourself. It's only about 70 yards before you get to where the turtles are and it is well worth it. Think the "trip" from the guys on the beach is about $30 so much better just doing it yourself. Really enjoyable though. For all of our off sites we used the collectivos, which are much cheaper than using a taxi, and more fun too.
All in All- Really enjoyed it, and would go back. It ticked pretty much all of our boxes for what we need on holiday and it was pretty much all that we expected.
Vs Grand Bahia- I think both resorts have good things and not so good things. The Bahia has better lunch (and all of their sauces are home made!) and I think better service from the waiters, however the GP has easier rules for the A La Cartes (although I don't see why I have to wear trousers), and is right beside the main road which makes your excursions easier. The GP is much more compact, and you don't need to take a train, whilst the Bahia requires you to take a train to each lobby (unless you want to walk a long way!). The GP could do with "coffee urns" at the beach bars though. When I went down in the morning I had to wait on the guy making it with his "machine" that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. The Bahia had urns 24/7 at the snack bars, and this worked much better. I just want a coffee in the morning, not some fancy skinny mocha ginger latte! Just a coffee!
So there are a few small things from both, however none of them would stop me taking a vacation at either again. Really enjoyed it, and the guys on this site really helped. So if you are going, my advice is don't sweat the small stuff, enjoy yourself, and be prepared to explore- will save you waiting about on trains anyway!!
We have now booked for next year to the colonial again, on the 11th July- so there is a resounding reccomendation for you!! Eduardo- prepare for a room request! Cheers!!
- 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/Akumal, Mexico