We stayed at the resort from June 22-June 29th. We are a couple in our 40's with two kids 11 and 18. My parents also joined us at the resort. I know everyone's experiences are different, and no vacation is perfect, but there was absolutely nothing bad we could say about our experience with GP. We chose the resort based on its proximity to Akumal Beach; one of our favorite spots. Last year we stayed at a much smaller resort nearer to Playa and while we also enjoyed our time there, it could not hold a candle to this resort.
We stayed in Villa 1 at the Colonial right next to the lobby. Yes, the rooms are a bit dated, but seriously, how much time do you spend in your room? I can do that at home. The room was clean with a nice tiled walk-in shower, balcony, hairdryer, coffee pot, and stocked refrigerator. Yes, the beds and pillows are hard, but we've found this to be the case with most of the AI's we've stayed in throughout the Caribbean. To be honest, we were all so exhausted by evening, I could have slept on the marble floor! The TV was old, the remote didn't work, and most of the channels were in Spanish. However, this is not my home country, so I would expect them to be. We still managed to watch several movies in the evening in English, but since watching TV was never in our plans for vacation, we didn't care.
The grounds are just lovely. Our kids loved seeing large iguanas, coati, peccary, raccoons, etc living on the grounds. Of course, we often saw people feeding these animals right next to signs saying, "please do not feed the animals." There is a reason they do not want them fed, please be considerate of that. Everywhere the area was lush with flora. There is a great deal of walking involved in staying at this resort. This was something we loved since you could get lost easily and just enjoy seeing new things everyday. I really enjoyed strolling through the vast wooden walkway system. However, if you are of poor health, I recommend asking for a villa fairly centrally located. Since we were near the lobby, we were close to the tram system. We never waited more than 3-4 minutes tops for a tram. In many cases, a friendly employee would offer to take us where we needed to go if the tram was not there quickly. I do recommend taking everything you need to the beach or pool if you are close to the lobby, since it is a walk back to the room.
I cannot understand reviews stating the staff was unfriendly. We always had a smile and "hola" from every worker. They work very hard. I cannot imagine what it takes to keep this resort functioning, especially at full capacity. Yes, at times, service can be slow. However, I don't expect to be treated like a queen on vacation or at any time, and can certainly walk five feet to get myself a cup of coffee if the servers are busy. Slow service is something that could be said of restaurants in the US too, and they don't have hundreds of customers at one time. I do wish the workers had more time to spend with guests. We love getting to know them as people.
The food was very good. We didn't eat much in the buffet, except for breakfast. Most of our lunches were in the beach bar where you could eat at the small buffet or order anything you wanted off of the menu. The ala carte system is great. I understand that there can be a lengthy wait for seating if you go late. However, we just adjusted and would eat an earlier lunch and then hit the ala cartes before 7:00 pm. As a party of 6, we never waited for a table, not once. In fact, most nights we were the first ones in the restaurant. I like not having to be up earlier, standing in line to wait for a reservation for the week. I also like that there is no limit on how often you can eat at the ala cartes. Everyone had a different favorite, but the consensus was that the Brazilian, El Dorado, and Italian were among the best. We did like the others, with the exception of the Mediterranean. The food was not bad here either, just not as good as the others. The Chinese was also not one of our favorites, but the restaurant was beautifully decorated!
The beach and pools were fabulous. We were told the resort was at full capacity, and even so, we always managed to find chairs underneath a palapa for plenty of shade. Chairs at the beach were a bit harder to come by due to the popularity of being on the beach. However, the water was clearer than anywhere we have been in Mexico hands down. The beach in front of the Kantenah is mostly sand and this is where many guests swim. The rest of the beach is rocky, but great for snorkeling. The salt water pool is truly stunning located in front of the ocean; probably the prettiest place on the resort!
I would love to see a permanent pool volleyball net or other type games that would get guests more involved in mingling with each other around the pool. My kids loved the beach volleyball and spent most of their week playing.
We cannot speak of the shows, since we didn't see any of them. We did attend the White party at the salt water pool one evening. My kids really wanted to see the fire show, but it must not have started until much later even though the party started at 9pm. I think a lot of people went there thinking the fire show was at 9pm also. They should probably specify on the flyers what time it starts since the music and dancing were geared toward 20 somethings.
If you want to shop during your stay, it would be advisable to head to Playa. The prices of vendors in the lobby and the gift shops was much higher than what you would find in Playa.
If I had one bad thing to say about the resort, it would be the mosquitos. However, I cannot fault the resort for this. After all, sometimes you pay the price for beauty and the area is in the jungle. They were never a problem during the day, but did come out in droves at night. Just be sure to bring your own bug spray, since it is expensive to buy at the resort. I never did see a snake and would have liked to myself. Yes, there are bugs and again, this is part of being in the jungle and part of the experience. The resort is doing a great job at trying to be eco-friendly. You use your room key to turn on the lights in your room and when you leave, they shut off after a time. The toilets have a two button system which allows for less water to be used when it is not needed. They will happily replace your towels daily if you wish, but will also allow you to reuse them if you like as well.
We would happily come back to this resort.
- 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