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Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Boston, MA
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23 posts
9 reviews
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Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

(posted this on Yucatan forum but cross-posting here for the PDC experts)

Looking for decent food, fun pool for kids (ages 6 and 9), beach with clear water and sandy entry. Clean room, nothing fancy. About 4K budget from Boston, so could stay an extra night or do more excursions if we go with Tequila. Probably could only afford lower tier iberostar like Del Mar but not Lindo or Maya. Hear good things about Grand Palladium, which seems like the middle option of our choices. Your advice for us is greatly appreciated. We are first time to region and to all inclusives.

Bryans Road
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4,349 posts
42 reviews
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1. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

I'd almost always go with more time spent at a vacation destination. The RIUs are quite dependable.

Toronto, Canada
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962 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

I have only been to the Grand Palladium and the Riu Tequila on your list of resorts. While we had a very good time at the Riu Tequila and the service, food and drinks were good, we find that the Grand Palladium offers far much more value for the dollar. The beach at the GP is wonderful and long, with lots of palm trees and palapa huts for shade and lots of lounge chairs, so no towel games are played. There is snorkelling off their beach, whereas at the Riu Tequila, although the beach is nice, there is not a lot of shade and no palapa huts. We found it difficult to find shade (towel game) and there is virtually nothing to see, if you want to snorkel from the beach. At the GP, it doesn't matter which resort you stay at, you can use all the facilities, including a la cartes, bars, pools, buffets of any of their other resorts, with the exception of their exclusive all adult Royal resort. Their is a salt water pool at the GP and a couple of all adult pools along with a number of fresh water pools. Unlimited and no reservation (pager system) policy for their 9 a la cartes, except for their seafood on the beach a la carte, their show table Japanese a la carte and their beach BBQ. The GP has two 24 hour beach snack bars, where you can get a light lunch on the beach, instead of going up to one of the buffets, if you want. The beach snack bars are nice if you want and enjoy a freshly made cappuccino or champagne in the morning, while watching the sunrise. At the Riu resorts, you must eat dinner at your own resort and you must get up early to make reservations for the same night. I believe there are only 3 a la cartes to choose from at the Riu Tequila and the Japanese one is basically another buffet. The steakhouse was nice and we didn't try the Mexican one. We got a great deal on the Riu Tequila, so it made it worthwhile for us, but it doesn't come close to what the Grand Palladium offers, if the prices are close. We have always had good service at the Grand Palladium and good food and drinks too. If you want more info on the GP resort, you may want to check out the Palladium Addict or the Unofficial Palladium websites. Sorry, I can't help you with the Iberostar. Whatever, resort you choose, I hope you have a wonderful vacation. Hope I have been of some help.

Must add, they are going to add a kids water play area at the GP, but not sure when you are going and when it will be ready. They have a great kids club now. Check out the websites I suggested for more help on kids information. The kids would love the salt water pool, where the fish can come and go as they please. Great place to introduce your kids to snorkeling. They also have a kids pool and kids play area.

Edited: 2:07 pm, January 19, 2014
Toronto, Canada
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962 posts
3 reviews
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3. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

I should add the Riu Tequila is not on the beach, but is only a short 10 - 15 minute walk away. They have a tram, but we never saw it when we were there. The Riu Tequila is closer (40 - 45 minute walk) into Playa del Carmen. The GP is further south (about a 20 minute taxi or collectivo ride away), but is closer to beautiful Akumal beach where you can snorkel with the sea turtles. If you want to swim with the sea turtles (free by the way), I suggest you get there early, before the other tourist arrive and stir up the water. At the GP your kids might enjoy the flamingos and the crocodile pen.

Toronto, Canada
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2,066 posts
85 reviews
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4. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

We have also been to both Palladium & RIU Tequila. Certainly nothing wrong with either, both were good. RIU has a more European vibe. We would do either again. But I would choose Palladium hands down if everything else were equal. Everything but location was better at Palladium. (Ok the beach gets a tie, with both having fantastic beaches). Palladium had better rooms, a la cartes, bars and entertainment. We had a mosquito problem in out RIU room, and safe problems (dead batteries) 3 out of 7 days. They kept bringing other dead or near dead batteries to fix the problem. We were both stuck in a room afraid to leave a safe that would not lock, then the next day we were unable to get our safe open when we needed to. Both times we had to wait 2-3 hours for maintenance...

Richmond, BC
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5,376 posts
16 reviews
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5. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

I too stayed at two resorts on your list - Tequila and GP and would recommend GP with the kids - ages 6 and 9. Riu Tequila is better suited for the young adults IMHO who want to go to PDC every now and then clubbing etc. I would not go to PDC with the small kids, no point. The walk to the beach would be a little to much for the kids, and there are more activities for the kids at the GP, they also have a brand new aqua park pool with the slides. Also the resort is closer to the main Riviera Maya attractions - Tulum ruins etc.

Boston, MA
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23 posts
9 reviews
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6. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

Thanks for the advice! I'll look into deals on the palladium.

Toronto, Canada
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962 posts
3 reviews
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7. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

The two times we stayed at the Grand Palladium, it was during the slow travel season (October) and there were hardly any people or kids around, because most kids were in school. The one time we were at the Riu Tequila, it was during the busy winter travel season (January) and although there were many people there, there were hardly any kids. Probably because most kids were in school and it was mostly couples. I still think there is probably more for the kids to do at the Grand Palladium.

Danville, California
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1,467 posts
9 reviews
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8. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

If you are looking at the riu tequila check out sandos playacar beautiful beach and a great family friendly resort

Burlington, Canada
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2,647 posts
27 reviews
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9. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

I've been to all the resorts you listed. The Iberostar and Palladium are very comparable and family orientated. Although I prefer the service at the Iberostar the Palladium is better situated for touring the area's sites. I would NOT recommend the Riu Tequila whatsoever...definitely a low rent district resort...a lot of drunks and smokers, smokers, smokers everywhere. You pay for what you get and the Riu Tequila is a classic example of that...it is a 3.5 star at best IMO.

Boston, MA
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23 posts
9 reviews
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10. Re: Riu Tequila, Iberostar Del Mar, or Grand Palladium

Just wanted to circle back on this and report that we booked 5 nights in Grand Palladium Kantenah junior suite and 2 nights at the Riu Playacar (we're interested in seeing what the Riu scene there is like and the Playacar beach area in general). Got a great deal on Expedia. Thanks for everyone's feedback, and I'll write a review when I get back in mid-July. Can't wait!