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Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa
Ranked #7 of 22 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed August 30, 2005

Just returned from our second visit to the Palladium and third visit to the Roo in the past 3 years. Stayed at the Bahia in 2004 and Palladium in 2003.
As we were arriving August 21, we were concerned the effects of Emily may ruin our trip. For those of you concerned, don't be. Other than a few missing palapas, some banged up jungle and a fountain in the main lobby of the Colonial side not functioning, the resort is 100%. Based on what I had read and seen in photos posted here and on other sites, the repairs are quite an accomplishment.
A few general comments. First of all, we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. As repeat visitors and having stayed at other AIs in Mexico and the Caribbean we were aware of what to expect in regards to food, facilities and the like. We choose to return to the Palladium because we felt, overall it had the most to offer our family. (Husband, wife and two boys 9 and 11). While the resort still offers loads of activities for all ages and terrific food, we felt that, unlike our previous visit, the finer details were lacking. For example.

1.Although we e-mailed the resort prior to arrival, indicating we were repeat clients and would like a king size bed none was provided. Although we saw many first timers receive upgrades as we waited at check in.

2.Had to call several times as houskeeping left only 2 or 3 towels although there were 4 of us in the room.

3.Pool was very dirty. Requested several times to have scum removed at entry stairs however was never done.

4.In the past, the staff was very friendly. Very few employees acknowledged or spoke to us.

5.Service at the buffet restaurants was POOR to say the least. Would be seated, serve ourselves food and be half way done eating before anyone would even ask if we wanted water or some other beverage. And we tipped! We even tried tipping as we sat down, prior to receiving any service and that did not help. After 2 or 3 days of this we just stopped tipping altogether. Left the US with every intention of tipping the $160.00 in singles we took, returned with almost $100.00. In addition several times when we did finally receive our drinks the stemware was chipped or broken and had to be returned therefore adding additional wait time for a beverage. There was no problem with the food at the buffets and as we had experienced during our previous visit, the variety and quality were exceptional. I must add here however, service at the Ala-carte restaurants was OUTSTANDING. We visited the Japanese, Mexican and SteakHouse and all three were great. The food and service were as good as we have seen at many high end restaurants in the US and better than almost any resort we have visited.

As indicated in the begining of the review, we had a wonderful trip We are hopeful the dip in service is only temporary and perhaps a result of the staff being overwelmed by hurricane recovery,however, we will probably not return to the Palladium until we can be sure these type of service issue are worked out.

On a final note, they are adding a very large addition to the resort and these new rooms will share the facilities of the existing resort. From our perspective this is not a good thing as there are currently issues handling the existing client base. Hopfully, the Palladium will get its act back together and return to the first class resort it should be and not just another AI in the jungle of AIs.

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
28  Thank Mexicojoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
235
Reviewed August 29, 2005

Stayed at the G.P. for 7 days. Overall nice resort. Long ride from the airport, so be prepared.
Keep in mind that this resort is set in a jungle like environment. It rained for about 15-30 min each evening, which was not a problem, but the next day the smell of rotting vegetation in the blazing sun was not plesant when walking around. Be prepared to be bitten up by monster mosquitos, so forget about those romantic strolls on the beach at sunset...Forget about eating at the buffet area by the pool unless you are in the mood to shoo away flys the whole time.
Drinks were not strong, had multiple margaritas, pina coladas without getting buzzed...
Food: I thought there was a lot of variety, but quality was lacking at the buffets for lunch (pizza was a joke) and dinner (not a lot of healthy options tons of fried foods). Breakfast buffets were pretty good and varied. The coffee was terrible. I'm used to having espresso after dinner and it was like drinking tar. We ate at the Japanese, Mexican and the Steakhouse, all were ok...house wine was bad.
Spa was great, had a nice back/neck/shoulder massage...
Rooms were nice. We never used the balcony because of the bugs coming into the room.
Restrooms in the public areas (lobby, by the pools) were nasty and smelled horrible...
Beach area was plesant...no issues with towels/cards. Be very careful with the sun, I used SPF 30 the whole time and still got dark.
One last thing...just because it's all inclusive, don't forget to tip...these people make below our minimum wage, they can't afford to vacation like you and I... and it won't hurt you to dish out a dollar here and there...DON'T BE CHEAP!!!!

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
28  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2005

We arrived on August 20 to stay a week at the Kantenah. Traveling in our party were my husband and myself, as well as our children 16,13, and 7. My godmother who is 85 decided to join us as well. As you can see, we required a diverse amount of activity and interests. Even though we had been reading reviews since December, we were suprised to see that all of the good things were true.

Everyone was very friendly and anxious to help. Any help or information needed, all we had to do was ask. I told our room maid that my seven year old loved the towel animals, and we had a different one every day after. Sometimes she would hide it, and it was a great game to find it.

They are still wiring the lighting fixtures on some of the paths on the Kantenah side. We would recommend a flashlight. The creatures ( hermit crabs, frogs,and assorted lizards) come out at night and you really don't want to take a chance of stepping on one. Keep you eyes open at night though, we saw a monkey emptying a garbage can.

The stores at the hotel only accept mexican money or credit cards. This suprised me. You can of course exchange at the hotel, but we got a much better rate in Playa de Carmen. Make sure you get into town. We took the Collectivo for 15 pesos per person. Much cheaper than taxis and a lot more interesting. (More of a native view of the town). You can find anything on 5th street, ie hairbraiding, henna tatoos and all kinds of trinkets. Just off the main drag are some higher end stores. And about 2 blocks the other way you'll find a beautiful beach. Go early in the day and enjoy.

We ate at the japanese,meditaranian, and the steak house. We loved the japanese restaurant. I don't know if the food was that much better, but the entertainment made it a lot more fun. We ate the sushi, and the seafood. We also drank the water from the resturants as well as the tap, and none of us got sick at all. All in all, we enjoyed all of the restaurants. I don't know,maybe because I speak spanish, when I made my reservations, the girl let me know that the mexican food was made very bland. I would do better getting mexican food outside of the hotel. That was why we stayed away from the Mexican restaurants.

The beach was fabulous. My kids did the parasailing and loved it. We took bread and cereal into the ocean and were "attacked" by a variety of fish. It was so neat. Wear at least goggles so you can see where the corral is, and the fish. We took snorkling gear, but I didn't use mine very much. I liked just the goggles. We saw the other water activities, but didn't find time to use them.

We went on an excursion to XCARET. The river snorkling was a lot fun, as well as snorkling at the inlet on the beach. We saw a lot of different kinds of fish. The show at the end of the day was wonderful. The first act is kind of hard to follow if you don't understand spanish, but the dances and costumes in the second act were spectacular.

We also took ourselves to Tulum, which was very interesting. My husband is still talking about the cab drive there. I just closed my eyes and prayed. You'll notice that the natives will get on the collectivo or bus and go to sleep. I think that it's their way of avoiding the "excitement" of the drive. The people there seem to understand each other's ways. No way would I want to rent a car and get on the road with them.

We also did the Interactive aquarium, with the dolphin swim. It was good but I've heard that there are better. Will check on it before we go back.

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
39  Thank rdangell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2005

We just returned from a wonderful 6 night stay at the Palladium. We arrived on Aug 19 and stayed thru Aug 24. We did experience a "little" rain on Sat, but that only gave us more time to try out the resort's on-site amenities...bars, shops, restaurants, and shows. Our rooms were above average, even though we could have used a little more light and a colder fridge. The landscaping was beautiful....almost impossible to believe a hurricaine had passed thru here less than a month ago. But by far the most valuable asset this resort has are the people working here. We were greeted with smiles and "hola's" from every employee we encountered. From our waitress Vianeli at the Theater, Juan our bar-tender at the Colonial Lounge, Edgar at the main desk, and Naoimi our housekeeper...we were treated like friends or family rather than guests. I wish that kind of atmosphere was to be found at all A.I. Resorts.
And when you decide to venture off the property check out the shopping at Playa del Carmen....and take the local "bus" instead of a taxi. It's only around $6 round-trip for two vs $40 or more for the taxi. And if you feel real adventurous, try one of the ATV outings....it was a blast. All in all we couldn't have asked for a much better vacation. We would definately go back and plan on recommending to our friends. Please feel free to e-mail with any questions (pirateforty@earthlink.net) and have a great time at the Palladium.

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
28  Thank pirateforty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2005

Seven friends and I were at the Grand Palladium from July 30 to August 3, 2005. Overall, fairly nice hotel. Rooms were nice, A/C worked well, bed wasn't too hard, as they are in some other hotels. Huge hotel, be prepared to walk alot. Mosquitos are very bad at night. Beach bar was not open 24 hours like hotel's website says. Also, there is no room service, even though that is listed on website. The majority of the buffet food was awful (fried salami, wienies wrapped in bacon, instant mashed potatos, etc.). Definitely needs more variety. Most of our group got sick from the fresh pineapple on buffet. Japanese restaurant was good, as well as Italian restaurant. Soft tacos at the beach bar are good. Mostly Europeans at the hotel while we were there, and I have stayed at other hotels in Mexico where atmosphere was alot friendlier (amongst hotel workers as well as other guests). The main pool is deeper than 5'3", and it's a real pain to get around in, unless you want to just hang on to the side of pool or sit at the pool bar.

13  Thank Roanoke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2005

I just got back for the Palladium on 8/22/05 after spending a lovely week there with my husband and two teenage children. The facilities and grounds are absolutely gorgeous. The food is above average and you shouldn't go hungry especially if you like to try a large variety of foods. Though, I was dissapointed in the seafood, especially considering that fresh fish should have been abundant in this area. The rooms were large and comfortable (we had two junior suites) and our maid kept the room spotless. They have cable T.V. to give you a fair choice of English chanels.

We arranged for a private round trip transfer through Cancun Valet for $145 and found them to be very reliable. It took one hour to travel directly from the airport to the hotel.

The location of the Palladium is great because it is midway between Playa del Carmen (North) and the Tulum ruins (South) and it is very easy to catch the collective in either direction. Just tell the driver when you get on where you want to get off.

Sign up for your specialty dinners immedialty after checking in. The Japanese restaurant was the best of the three we tried (Steak House, Italian), tho I thought they were all enjoyable. The sushi was exceptional, but stay away from the seafood for the main course.

The snorkeling at the resort was great. The best spots were to the right of the motorized sport area towards the new White Sands part of the resort. Look for the submerged coral. But, even better was the Kantennah end of the roped in swimming area just inside of the rope are areas of coral and sea grass where there is an abundant number of fish. I saw at least 30 varieties of fish. The fish love bannanas and will swarm around you for it.

We took the Collectivs for 20 pesos per person up to Playa Del Carmen and to the Tolum ruins. You will get a better value with U.S. Dollars in the city than with pesos when bargaining for goods (they will use an exchange rate better than at the banks.) However, for use with the Collectivs and Taxis you will do better with pesos since they will only give you a 10 peso to one Dollar exchange.

We also did a half day ATV tour which allowed us to see some of the Mayan culture and swim in two beautiful cenotes. Our teenagers loved the ATVS and I highly recommend some opportunity to swim in the Cenotes. We also charterd a boat for a half day of deep sea fishing through "Captain Ricks" The catch was poor and I would recommend going up to the docks when the boats are coming back a day or two before to see what is actually being caught to see if it will be worth your while.

Definitely take bug spray (you are in the jungle and will get bitten), plently of sun screen, insulated cups (for drinks on the beach). I recommend taking your own snorkeling equiptment

All in all the Palladium is an excellent value.

30  Thank TheBabyDoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Ohio
3103
Reviewed August 13, 2005

Palladium Report – July 12 – 19, 2003
Thanks to all who have posted information and answered many questions. Just to give you some background about “us”. My husband and I went with our friends – both celebrating our 25th anniversary. The men are 50 & us gals are in our mid 40’s.
After lamenting about tropical storm Claudette & seeing “thunderstorms” forecasted for everyday of our trip, I am VERY please to saw we never saw 1 drop of rain!
Detroit to Cancun – arrived @ 11:15 am. We were on a TransMeridian flight with Apple Vacations. The food was almost fair and it was very cramped on board. The flight crew was very attentive and professional. Customs and immigration was like a cattle corral. Busy but easy to get through. We did notice 2 couples that were married having a problem getting the wives through. With their birth certificates & driver’s license having different names, they were hassled without a marriage license. One lady was denied at first and then let through. The moral of this story is get a passport if at all possible. It really deletes the hassles. Make sure you keep the little white card they give you, that's your visa to get out of the country! After immigration, you get your luggage. It seemed like we waited a long time for our luggage. As you walk out, you have to hit a “traffic signal” button. If it turns red – you get searched! We saw the Apple rep as we got outside. We were taken to a transport van with other Palladiumites. They seemed to try & group us to our resorts.

We arrived at the Palladium & were taken to the appropriate lobby. Check in was a breeze. I emailed the resort a week prior to our arrival and received my request of “king size bed, shower, Colonial side”. We asked for a complementary upgrade and were denied because they were at 100% occupancy. Being at full capacity, this was never noticed by an over abundance of people at any time. I would have though they were only half full. As far as the location of our villa. At first I was disappointed we weren’t closer to the pool/beach area. As the week progressed, we were thankful we had a location (Villa 2 – Colonial) close to the lobby/theater area. After being in the hot sun all day, eating a large dinner & watching the shows, we were glad we didn’t have far to walk back to our room at night.

STANDARD ROOM (Colonial)- (Villas 21, 20,8 & 9 are Junior suites. Villas 7-1 are Standard rooms.) The room was very cheery & quaint. Three of the walls were painted yellow and one was lime green sponge painted. There was a large closet with 8 hangers (pants or shirts) and 2 shelves. Another shelf held the programmable safe. There was also a long top shelf. There was a desk with 3 small drawers, 2 nightstands with a shelf & drawer and an armoire. The armoire held the TV, fridge, ice bucket and coffee pot. There was also a non-steam iron, ironing board, ceiling fan and smoke detector. There were only 2 pillows on the bed. Our friends had a 3rd in their closet but we didn’t. The balcony was good size & had a small table & 2 chairs. The bathroom had a blow dryer (hold the handle in & make sure the switch is on), basket with toiletries (shampoo, bubble bath, tissues, soap, sewing kit, & shower cap). There was also a clothes line in the shower. We had a bath tub with a shower (handicap style). There were only 2 large towels but received more with a “4 toallas por favor”. Don’t forget that you need to have a room key in the electrical slot by the door for the air & lights to work. We had left it in and it was out when we returned that evening. I wondered why my camera batteries were not charging and realized why. When I explained to the maid I would like to keep the electricity on and showed her the batteries, she always left it in. The room does cool off quickly. When you open the balcony door, the air goes off. The fan switch in next to one of the lights by the bed. You don’t have to jump on the bed to turn it off !!! Bring your own shower soap, they have very tiny bars. If you want clean towels, put the used ones on the floor. There was only 3 outlets in the room. If you wanted to charge batteries & iron, it was dark in the room. I would bring an extension cord next time. We had towel art a couple days: swans & bunnies. There was no alarm clock. We did call the front desk for a wake up call & we even got a “snooze” call.
REFRIGERATOR – This was stocked on Saturday, Monday, & Wednesday. It held 4 waters, 4 beers (2 Dos XX, 2 Superior), 6 sodas (Orange, Pepsi, & 7up). We had no problem trading what we didn’t want for what we wanted. We just left a note saying “mas orange, pro favor” with what we didn’t want next to the note.
PHONE CALLS – (this is in pesos) Local calls, $6/call; USA/CAN $35/min; International, $50/min; Collect $40/call; National, $10/min; Connection charge $40/connection (using hotel “O”)
INTERNET CAFÉ – located by the shopping on the Kantenah side. $6/30 min (need to pay in pesos). They give you a slip of paper with a user ID & password. The server is very slow. The computer will let you know when you have so-many minutes left.
BEACH – The non-motorized activities along with a beach bar/snack bar (open 24/7) were on the Colonial side. There is a volleyball net on both sides – the Colonial one had more activity. There was a lot of dead coral rocks as you walked in. Every day was a “yellow flag” day for us. We did notice the rocks moved with the waves so we did find areas where there we no rocks. Since we had a lot of wave action from Claudette, there was some seaweed. This was raked & cleaned daily. We also saw several areas of turtle nests marked but didn’t see the turtles.
ALA CARTE RESTURAUNTS – we ate at the Mediterranean, Japanese (no kids menu) & Mexican. Our preferences are in that order. We were very disappointed in the Mexican – very gourmet. All the ala carte restaurants were kind of gourmet style with a limited menu. At the Mediterranean we had: filet with portabella sauce (excellent) grilled tuna (excellent), 3 fish kabob (excellent) & chicken with proshutto (sp?) (good but wouldn’t order again). The Mexican restaurant was very entertaining. Their welcome drink & tequila slammers are the bomb!! Ask for the chef’s table at the Japanese restaurant where they cook in front of you. RESERVATIONS – make these ASAP. We made them the next morning and had limited times. Remember you aren’t just competing with those who just arrived but those who were already there for a couple days.
POOLS – Main: The depth of the main pool is out of control. It’s 5’3” so you have to be 6’ to carry a drink from the pool bar. We saw a few people become ingenious with their pool rafts. They had the ones with all the holes & would put their drinks in there & float to their spot! The built-in lounge chairs are great. You see people lying in every imaginable position on them. Did see 1 or 2 topless here. Adult: also has the “secret bar”. Wilbur is the bartender here & he is the greatest. More topless here (always at least 1). TOWELS: Each person received a towel card in exchange for a towel. At the end of each day we just got a fresh towel for the next day and then got our cards back the last night. PALAPS: There were plenty of these at the pool & beach. Since the resort was at 100% occupancy, there was a day or two the prime ones were gone (colonial side) by 10am. There were always plenty at the Kantenah side of the beach. FOOD: The beach bar had the largest choice of pre-mixed frozen drinks (all other bars used a blender). They would just add the liquor. Their menu consisted of burgers, hot dogs, cheese quesadillas, nachos, and guacamole. BREAKFAST: Starts at 6:30. The buffet is very elaborate – you name it, they got it! Egg & omelet buffet, meats, fruit, ice cream, pancakes, potatoes, Danish, breads, sandwich supplies, fruit smooties, & juices. There is also a continental breakfast in the lunch buffet area. LUNCH: You can eat lunch in the breakfast buffet area or by the main pool buffet. At the pool buffet they always had a pizza station, salads, chicken nuggets, fries, grill for fish, chicken & beef, ice cream, & desserts. On some days they had a themed beach BBQ. BEACH BBQ: This was on Friday evening in the beach volleyball area of the Colonial side. They put a sign up at the Colonial buffet on Tuesday. We had to make reservations at the guest relations desk on the Colonial side (limited to 150 people). We were very disappointed in the beach BBQ. There were different meats (lamb, beef, ribs, chicken, sausage, burgers, & hotdogs), baked potatoes, salad, corn & beans. The area was dark so it was hard to see what you were getting and most of the food was cold. The entertainment & ambiance was wonderful. DINNER/THEMES: These are posted outside the dinner buffet areas. Sunday was always Mexican and Friday was always Gala. The other dinner themes were: Marinera, Dominican, Marroqui, Spanish, French, Campesina, Mundial, International & Welcome. All dinners always had a pasta bar, pizza, salads, desserts, fries, & much more!!
SHOWS: There was always a kids show at 8:30 then either bingo or guest awards (archery, bocce, etc.) then the show. A couple shows were audience participation which was actually fun. They had Fantasy (aka: Fantasia), Americana, Latin & Caribbean shows. Just for those kids to get up their in the sweltering heat & move the way they do – I carumba!
There is also a band in the lunch buffet area – just above the swim-up bar every evening. It took us a couple of days to discover this. It was very enjoyable. They have waiters so you don’t have to go up to the bar.
VENDORS: On Sunday & Wednesday there were vendors outside of the theater (Colonial). They were expensive but were willing to bargain. I got an extra large beautiful soft blanket for $10. They do have limited selections. (FYI – if you don’t get a chance to shop, they do have nice shops at the airport).
ACTIVITIES: Scuba lessons at the main pool every day @ 11am & 3pm; tequila volleyball (miss a shot, do a shot!); meringue lessons, follow the leader, leader, leader; PARASAILING: on the Colonial side, $550 (pesos only) JET SKIING: on the Kantenah side ? price BANANA BOATS: Colonial side $110P / 50 minutes.
MISC: at night there are a bajillion hermit crabs walking around on the beach and around the beach bar; sun rise is beautiful, a lot of German, French & Italians; a lot of topless on the beach; only pesos at the hotel & water sports. Hotel exchDEPARTURE: We were able to check out at 7pm the night before. In the morning we dropped out room keys in the designated box and waited for the bus. They had a small continental breakfast at the lobby bar. Our flight left at 11:25 and we left the resort at 7:30. We were shuttled to our plane. The airport had a food court & many gift shops to spend those last few pesos.

I hope this helps you. I tried to take as many notes as I could remember at the end of the day. We would DEFINITELY return to the Palladium. The only things we didn’t like were: rough towels & sheets and the main pool was deep. The buffet food was excellent (and this isn’t our first AI), the alcohol was plentiful with a good selection, the staff is always willing to please. This is definitely a top notch resort.

  • Stayed: July 2003
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
66  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa

Address: Carretera Chetumal-Puerto Juarez Km, 256-100 | Municipio Solidaridad, Akumal 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Akumal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Akumal
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Akumal
#6 Romantic Hotel in Akumal
#7 Family Hotel in Akumal
#7 Luxury Hotel in Akumal
Price Range: $224 - $463 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 414
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

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