This is our fifth vacation at the Palladium however, it was filled with new experiences this year and as always it felt like going home to paradise once again.
We arrived via Transat vacations from Vancouver to Cancun on Sept 29, 2013. I have very little good things to say about our flights and the quality of service on them along with the level of deception about the services we paid for with Transat vacations but this was not going to spoil our vacation and is something we will deal with now that we are home.
It was a busy Sunday afternoon at customs as we arrived, however the officials there were attentive to the lines, bringing on more people to handle the load and in fact we moved quite quickly through this first phase and on to get our luggage and line up for the next check point. Green light and we were off to find our ride. As always you get that first hit of paradise as you walk out of the airport doors to locate your bus or private car…the heat was beautiful. This year we decided to give USA transfers a try….we have enjoyed our transfers with AGI in the past but on our last trip we had a very long wait for the car on arrival of almost an hour and we just thought we would try out another company to see how that was. We were met immediately by their contact and he called the driver to come. Within about 15 minutes of our arrival we were on our way. One small glitch at the gates as we waited for the company to clear the parking fees to exit the airport and off we went. The vehicle and driver were great, very friendly and helpful and we arrived at the White Sands lobby in about 80 minutes. It is always wonderful to see the gates and turn down the driveways of the Palladium…..we were met at the lobby with a welcome home as always which puts a big smile on your face.
I had made some requests prior to arrival through and was assured that even with the construction (more on that later) we would have no issues in receiving the requests we had made. At check in we were offered a cool cloth and drink and asked to take a seat in the lobby while they got our paperwork and had us relax there and fill it all out for them. We were upgraded to a junior suite with an ocean view…I had not realized these were an upgrade actually but apparently they are in high demand. We were granted all our requests with a third floor king bed junior suite in villa 58 – 5826, there is a view from this room, however as I had been told before going the jungle is starting to grow up between the beach and the rooms so the views are almost gone…you can still hear the ocean so well from these locations though and enjoy the amazing breezes. The room was decorated also when we arrived with flowers and it was just lovely. For those who are new, the rooms are just as described in the pictures; you get exactly what you see at the Palladium. We had only one comment which is small overall…we had requested a non-smoking room which we were given, but it was right next to a smoking room so when we were on the deck we were always met with smoke and if we did leave our door open smoke and the smell of smoke which I loathe would come into our space. Not sure there is much you can do about this but it can be a bother to those of us who don’t want to deal with this. We found everything we needed in the room, lots of towels, products, even a toothbrush and made use of the dryers on the decks for our wet stuff during the week….these are fantastic additions…don’t think we had them the last time we stayed in this section.
We enjoyed our first dinner (a tradition for us I think) at El Dorado. We always find that just a very plain dinner is a good start to the week after travel and the food is just always so good you are never disappointed. First bowl of soup for the week too…another winner…never had one I haven’t loved in all my trips. We enjoyed the al la carte restaurants for dinner…always nice to sit down to a meal served to you and take the time to dress up a bit. I must say we commented all week at the outfits people feel are appropriate for evening meals, very poor. It really does not take much effort to put on a nice dress Ladies, or a skirt but the women in particular dressed as if they were heading to the mall for shopping not having a nice dinner out. I hope this improves but really a change for the worse (no fault of the resort!) We had great service at all the restaurants, the staff always impresses us. We enjoyed our meal at Bamboo in particular. It was a quiet night there so we were able to enjoy some talk with the staff….they are wonderful and friendly! We had a fantastic meal which the advice and help of our server. We also enjoyed the entertainment of the small ensemble of men you often see at the Palladium. They are absolutely amazing and such a treat to hear. Food overall was as we have come to expect….plentiful and delicious. Love all the options you can enjoy at the Palladium.
Pools and beach….we tried to spend extended time at some of our favorite pools, the salt water pool is always a relaxing day for us and we enjoyed it there so much. This year I think due to the quietness at the resort the bartenders were able to come around and serve you. So nice and again the bartenders at the resort, fantastic…friendly and eager to chat! Each pool has a vibe and we spent time this year at a few of them. If you are new to the resort …..Try them out, don’t go back to the same place but visit as many as you can. We did a couple of afternoons at the spa also as the services are still free til November for the water features and I also made use of the gym a few times. It is a very nice space, lots of equipment and weights and someone to help you if you don’t know how to work a machine. It is air- conditioned also so you can get in your usual workout. The beach is always a special place for us and while we have tried to give the Kantenah end a try because everyone always raves about it being the best part of the beach, we always end up back at the white sands end. We just love this area of the beach and as it is close to our villa it works for us. We enjoyed using the internet down at Punta Emilie also…nice addition for those who need to stay connected and the connections are quite good there also. Free Wi-Fi there and also in the lobbies.
On the evening of our third day at the resort we found a note under our door as we were heading out for the evening. It was an offer to upgrade to the Royal suites , the price was too good to pass up. It was not a big decision and we called and asked if we could get on the list for that. The move the next day took place at three and we found ourselves entering a new experience at the Palladium. First impressions…wow! We were welcomed into the newly renovated and spectacular lobby of the Royal suites and signed in. You fill out a form here with a few more questions than in the other sections. You are allowed to give a time for when you would like your room cleaned and when you want turn down service each day. You choose the alcohol you would like stocked in the bar also and if you want to have a different pillow from the pillow menu. We did all this and then were taken to villa 71 and junior suite 7129. OH MY….what a treat! The location of this suite was perfect for us, third floor and we had a distant view of the ocean and the resort…amazing. The villa is located close to the pool area and the walkway to get to the lobby so a very nice location. The room is open concept with the frosted glass doors giving privacy to the large shower and toilet areas. The large two people Jacuzzi on the deck which has a shower attachment was wonderful along with two loungers so you could really have a great private place to sit in the sun right off your room. The décor in this area is lovely, the colours of white and purple are great and it was all very fresh and welcoming. We knew going in we would have the two bed room as this was all that was available, but it ended up being very nice and as the beds are doubles we did end up sleeping in our own beds. The beds are extremely comfortable, the bedding is higher end and there are comforters on the beds …plus you can choose the type of pillow you want. If you don’t like it ask for another, we did this and the pillows were delivered quickly and switched. The other think you find in the frig here is peanuts but everything else is the same. You have the option to purchase wine which you will find in a small wine frig in the room but we did not do this. There is a huge TV in the room which we didn’t really use and a DVD player also. The internet is included here for all your devises, while in the other section you must pay extra for this in your room per devise. The internet is very fast incomparision to the other areas so if internet is important to you this section would probably be the best place for you. You can get the internet in your room the lobby and by the pool with no real issue. Room service….so also included here is room service. We were heading out on an excursion early in the morning so we ordered breakfast at the lobby on our way back from dinner and it arrived right on time in the morning. It was hot and delicious and set out for us to enjoy in our room. We also used room service on our last day while we were packing, as we wanted to enjoy the resort as long as possible and having our lunch brought to the room meant we could pack and eat at the same time. The menu has enough variety to satisfy your cravings for sure. We found our second meal also hot and delicious and enjoyed having this option available to us.
El Jardin….we have read in many reviews how people enjoy their meals and service at El Jardin, the restaurant exclusive to the Royal Suites and so we were eager to try it. What is different with this restaurant is the menu. The restaurant like everything in the Royal section is very convenient and easy to get to. Just a short walk from the lobby area and you are there. A lovely space and the service were excellent. The menu showcases whatever the theme of the night is in the buffets so you can enjoy something from this buffet or order from the menu they have with pretty much any meat option you would like, including Lobster which my husband had and enjoyed very much. There are soup choices and desert choices as you find in the al la cartes and you have the salad buffet. My husband was thrilled to find blue cheese at the salad buffet, after searching every place for it as this is a special favorite of his he was thrilled to have it again. The food and service was very good for both the dinner and breakfast meals we had there. On a comparison I would say I enjoy the buffets for breakfast more in the main buffet areas but very close as you really can get most of the same things. My omelettes were just better in the main buffets and they had spinach which I love to add to my omelette and they did not have this in El Jardin. For dinner…the food was good but after two dinners we wanted to go back to the al la cartes. You have the ability to reserve your time for dinner in any al la carte as a Royal guest and so you really have more flexibility for meals overall. Of course a reservation is not needed but if you do like to eat a certain time and don’t want to wait using the reservations system is there, all you do is talk to your butler or go to the lobby and set it up. The one thing I could suggest that might make El Jardin even better would be to allow more menu items from the various al la cartes to be available to guests in El Jardin. That would mean you could have the pumpkin crème Brule you get in Adeleta’s every night you if you wanted it…or the garlic shrimp from Punta Emilie…if it were possible to have these items prepared and walked over to El Jardin that would make it an extra special treat no doubt. I wondered about the deserts in particular…we are not huge desert people so this is a treat we enjoy on vacation and we have loved the deserts in the al la cartes…not so much at El Jardin, we felt they were better at the al la cartes and this seemed strange to us as we know the deserts could be something available in any restaurant as they are made in advance. I only suggest this idea as I know people love the extra service they get in the Royal Suites; they pay for it in fact. So to be able to access some of their favorites from the different restaurants, especially for deserts which would be a pretty easy thing would be wonderful. To be able to have your favorite desert from one restaurant, your favorite main course from another and favorite soup for yet another would be awesome. Or even to showcase a different al la carte each night and allow you to order items you would find in that restaurant would be a treat. I find some nights when I feel like Italian my husband feels like fish so this would be the ultimate treat to be able to have the meals we want at one restaurant.
The pool area is lovely and towels are set out for guests…another perk and as a guest of the Royal section you never need a towel card anywhere in the resort you just ask for a towel, turn it in and get another if you need one at the next location. It is nice not to have to carry your towel around with you. We enjoyed the pool and service and the quiet of the location also. There are the higher end options at the bar both here and in the lobby and great service. The pool and bar are open late so you can swim here I believe til midnight which is also a nice perk. You can start at the lobby in the evening for an appetizer also as they have then set out and you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink here in a lovely setting. There was entertainment after dinner also on one evening we noticed. There are computers, newspapers etc. here for guests use and a library area. The bathrooms have shower rooms for men and women with lots of towels and products if needed. We also spent a morning at the private beach area which is roped off at the Kantenah end of the beach, it is close to the bar there which also has the salads, fruit and sandwiches that all Royal guests can request. Towels are available also. The private section is set back a bit with lots of shade and sunny areas but you don’t have that full view of the water if you are craving that. They have the sun beds here with curtains you can pull down for privacy and each area also have some loungers and a sit up chair also….really you can sit, stand or relax here and eat and drink and still be steps to the water for a swim or walk down the beach. It is very nice and nicely maintained also.
Our final night in the Royal suites started with a phone call from the lobby asking if they could bring up a gift for us…..we received a tray of chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne. These touches and so many more always make you feel so special at the Palladium.
So finally being able to personally compare our time in White Sands and at the Royal Suites we had to ask the question…would we book this section of the resort again? Our response is YES, absolutely! We really enjoyed the extras so much….think we might still have to consider our budget but the Royal suites certainly was very nice and we totally enjoyed being there.
After so many reviews and comments on the resort it is hard to know what to write but with each visit to the resort we see more clearly why we love it there. The resort is not perfect…. I don’t want to give that impression, nothing is….we met people who were not as happy and satisfied as we were but in each situation we also heard how the concern was being handled and how solutions were always offered. We cannot fault the quality of service we have found at the resort, the people are the jewels of the resort, they make such a difference and we are often overwhelmed with concern to see that they do not get the best treatment from the guests that they work so hard to please, it is sad really to see many giving so little thanks. It really is so important to say thanks and to do that often. We see everywhere the little touches in place to make life easier and better for guests, the well-used menu boards at all the al la cartes now the containers to collect cups and glasses all around the resort to constant repairs happening everywhere, the pruning and grooming of the jungle and the care for the environment in all areas. These things often go unnoticed and even unappreciated until pointed out. Things may not always be perfect but what counts in my books is that when something isn’t right there are people who are trying to make it right, they care. We noticed a number of bridges in need of repair and we also know this is a huge property and so while some might say these things should be fixed, we could also see teams of people starting that process. This trip we really tried again to enjoy the environment to take long walks to visit as much of the resort as we could, to venture outside the resort a bit more and take in the culture which we did. What a beautiful and wonderful place! We spent more time talking to workers this trip and just enjoying hearing about who they are, their goals and dreams, telling them about who we are and having some fun. As always my report is much too long and it would be easy for me to continue on. One last example of care for the guests I can share is the issue of the construction. It had been a hot topic before we left and I can’t say I didn’t have some concern myself. We can honestly say the construction was a non-issue during our week stay. The area is screened off and they have tried to make it look less of an eye sore and the best illustration I can share is that while walking by the site of what will be the new travel club area by the beach we could hear and see people working and directly in front of the green screened off area where people sitting in lounge chairs, some were sleeping even. The beach was not full, these were not the only chairs to use but people were quite comfortable there and even asleep, I think that says it all. Have we had enough of this special place? Is it time for something new, I don’t think we can ever say we would not return, we have already talked about our next visit. It is too special and too wonderful to not return too. Magical really. Thank you Grand Palladium White Sands and Royal Suites for an amazing vacation…..we look forward to hearing the words Welcome Home once again in the future!
If stairs are not an issue to you the third floor rooms do give you a better view of the property an...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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There is no doubt: You are a Palladium family memeber. After the years returning, you still find things to do and amazing tips that we really appreciate becuase other future guest can share and read, thank you for that.
Its great you had the chance to experiment White Sand and Royal Suites, as you deserve definetly feel like a king and queen. Thank you for your comments about the staff, we will post your review in our boards.
We know you will be back, but please, send us kindly an email before you arrive to prepair everything for you.
Celia Benito Andrés
Directora Adjunta / Assistant Manager
Grand Palladium White Sand Resort & Spa
Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa
The Royal Suites Yucatán
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.