We booked 7 nights in a Mayan Suite at the Royal. My husband wanted a Mayan Suite because he saw that it was on a lagoon and comes with a canoe.
ARRIVAL. We booked a VIP transport using cancan-airport.net . We used the same company last year and were very happy with the service. For us, it is worth the money to have a direct transport, rather than stopping at many other places.
CHECK-IN. I had seen on Facebook that the lobby for the Royal was being renovated and had been temporarily re-located. However, what we got was not what we expected. The lobby itself is gone--it is being completely renovated and when we were there, nothing but a building frame was there. The lobby is located in a very small suite--actually 2 casitas down from our room. It is cramped and hot. The ladies at check-in were nice and explained many things. However, we later discovered that there were many things they did not explain--like how to obtain towels, how to contact our 'personal butler', how to order any of the suite amenities, etc. We aren't picky but if we pay for something then we expect it. On many occasions we asked reception about our room, the canoe, etc. and had to ask them twice because our original request was never taken care of. We found that frustrating. We asked about booking excursions and were told we had to go to one of the other resorts to book. They just didn't seem to want to help--they were not rude but just not helpful.
THE ROOM #7218 We loved the room. It was very large with plenty of space. It came with a fridge that was stocked daily with beer and soda and 4 bottles of liquor are included--rum, tequila, vodka, and scotch. Your’ allowed to request a particular beer and my husband asked reception if they could stock with just Heineken. They said of course! Did they follow-through? No, they did not. We had to ask a second time and still NOTHING. Finally, we just asked housekeeping directly when they were in the room. The bathroom is beautiful and I loved the outdoor shower BUT people on the top floor of the building across from us could see right into our shower, so we had to use an umbrella to block their view. The patio is very nice and shaded and comes with 2 lounge chairs and a hammock. The canoe was delivered but only after we made 2 requests. The nearest ice machine is across the bridge in the building across the lagoon—not really convenient.
FOOD Honestly, we will eat anything and aren't picky. But the food was hit or miss for us. The steak and Japanese places were great but I can't say we really liked anything else. I mean, for lunch I just wanted a freakin' sandwich! Lunch at the resort is available only via the large buffets. Breakfast was interesting...I don't know who eats enchiladas or beef stroganoff or chicken breasts for breakfast, but they were all part of the breakfast buffet daily. Apparently, each of the restaurants rotate nightly as an 'adults only' night. Alas, no one in reception ever told us that. Room service was awful and cold—perhaps because the Royal is so far away. Do not order room service.
PEOPLE We were in the Royal section, which was adults only. Lots of honeymooners. We saw at least 2 weddings every day. We were surprised with the number of folks from Europe--lots of folks from France and Russia. There were plenty of families with kids at the other resorts.
THE RESORT Palladium is really 5 sections within one big complex. The Royal section is adults only and folks in the Royal can use any of the facilities within the complex and also have access to golf carts that drop you off and pick you up anywhere. Royal guests have to wear a silver wristband to identify themselves. The only true adults only places are the Royal restaurant "El Jardin" and 2 or 3 adults only pools. The spa is also 18 or over only. Royal guests also have a Royal beach --more on that later. Otherwise, everywhere else you go you will find families.
THE BEACH The beach is very nice and the water is blue and beautiful. However, the Royal suites are on one end of the resort and the Royal Beach on the extreme opposite end. We did have a golf cart drive us out over there and usually that wait was about 5 minutes but to get a golf cart to pick us up from the beach and take us back to the reception area was a hassle. We often waited 20 minutes and a few times no one ever showed up so we just walked to the nearest lobby (Kantenah Resort). The Royal beach is just a section of the beach that is roped off. It has bar service and several Balinese beds. It was very nice but because it is sectioned off, there is no view of the ocean. In fact, the beach between the Royal section and the water is open to all guests in the complex. I liked the beds in the Royal area but my husband wanted to be able to see the water and be closer to it.
SPA We didn't do any spa services, but the Spa complex itself is awesome. Beautiful eternity pool with a lazy river...the kind of stuff you see on TV. It was really nice and we spent a lot of time at that pool.
THE RESORT The complex itself, with all 5 resorts, is very pretty. It is well maintained and clean. The lobbies for the other resorts are all open air and I just loved the concept. It is in a great location and just really very pretty.
SERVICE The service from wait staff was very good. Everyone was real polite and the golf cart drivers were really nice too. I cannot say the same about the staff in the reception. Rooms are supposed to be cleaned daily and the rooms are supposed to get turn down service with chocolates on the pillow. However, we only got turn down service 2 nights out of the 7 nights! And that’s even after we mentioned it to reception. My husband went a third time to personally ask for it and still nothing! The worst thing is that they really didn’t seem to care. Towels were only replaced 3 times even though we had towels on the floor. Most days we had to make do with just one bath towel. When we did check out, it took less than 5 minutes. They seemed irritated that we had no balance—we hadn’t spent money on spa services, excursions, etc. But really that’s only because we couldn’t get their help with that so we just gave up trying. When we checked out, reception staff really didn’t seem to give a hoot. Did we like our room? Did we enjoy our stay? Was everything ok? They don’t know because they didn’t ask. I thought that was rude. You’d think they’d want our business again.
OVERALL We enjoyed our trip and had a nice time (anything is better than going to work) but we do not plan on returning. Keep these things in mind if visiting this summer--the Royal Suites has no lobby and thus there is no bar at this time exclusively for Royal guests. Why Palladium just didn't think to relocate the check-in to the Riviera lobby next door is lost on me. That would have been so much better. Also, the noise from the construction is VERY loud and right next to the Royal pool. Several guests commented that the Royal pool was not very relaxing because of the constant noise. While our room patio was nice, the noise from the construction made it not so relaxing. The Royal beach is much too far from the Royal suites and overall, the entire complex is too big for my taste. Some people will like that it is so big, but I simply prefer something a little smaller--like the El Dorado Seaside Suites which is next door. Finally, there is nothing really 'adults only' about the Royal other than the 1 restaurant. The adult pools, the Royal beach did not seem exclusive in any way...no one stops kids or families from entering them.
Again, nice place. But if you are looking for something truly adults only and want the perks of 5 star resort, this is not the place. If you want to take the whole family and are fine with a Disneyland-like set up, then this could be the place for you.