We just returned from a week at the GP Kantenah resort. I'll try to hit some of the highlights and give a general overview of the resort as we saw it.
Arrival at 8 am in Cancun: This was our 7th trip into the Cancun airport and we experienced the most amazing thing ever! We were the first plane of the day and so the immigrations and customs hall was completely empty. We were one of the first off of the plane and we literally walk right up to the immigration officer. Our bags came out into customs about the same time that we got through immigrations. Green light and we were heading outside to meet up with AGI. Even the timeshare guys were not set up yet.
Check In: Getting checked in was pretty painless and quick. My daughter and her friend were upgraded to a Jr. Suite and we were put in building 35 of the Mayan Suites. We were given the returning guest “red” wristband, but our daughter who was there for her 2nd stay did not. Not a big deal as we have not noticed any difference in service level given to individuals with the “red” wristband. As a returning guest, we did receive a fruit basket in our room. We later received a bottle of sparkling wine when guest services realized that we had been to their resorts multiple times. We were also told at check-in that we could make 3 reservations for the a la carte (more on this later).
Room: This was our sixth time to a GP resort and our 5th time to this one. We have always stayed in a Mayan suite and we really like the Kantenah side over the other sections. On previous trips we stayed at White Sands and Colonial, but the last three times have been in a Kantenah Mayan suite. The updated rooms are nice, especially the new couch. The bed was better given that they had placed a “memory foam” topper on the mattress. The air-conditioning worked great and the mini-fridge kept the beverages cold. They have replaced the standard shower head in the outdoor shower with a large diameter shower head which is a nice upgrade. Water temp in the evenings was good, but in the mornings it was warm but not hot. Part of this may be the time that we were taking our morning shower. We have a tendency to hit the beach by about 8 am.
Building 35 is the next to last building at the north end of the property and it is located directly behind the Royal Suites designated beach area. The beach and the beach bar are also just steps away making this a very good location for beach lovers. We were given a 2nd floor room on the ocean side. There was a small opening in the trees that allowed for a very restricted view of the ocean, but given the growth of the trees over the years, I do not think that there is a true ocean view room on the Kantenah side. This section of the resort is very quiet and a bit secluded from the main lobby and pool. It is only a short 5+ min. walk to the lobby area if you take the elevated wooden walkway through the mangrove. Again we love this side of the resort because we are beach people and spend most of the day on the beach.
Restaurant Reservation System: As previously stated by others, all of the a la carte restaurants are basically first come-first serve. On two occasions we were told that the wait would approximately a half of an hour, but we were not given a pager. We were given a slip of paper indicating the wait time and we were asked to return within that time frame. We stayed in the reception area and were seated within 15min.
The Seafood restaurant Punta Emilia and the Teppanyaki table at Sumptuori Japanese restaurant required a 24 hour advance reservation to be made at Guest Services. The reservation desk opens at 8 am and there was always a line of people trying to book these two restaurants. Since we were told that as a multiple returning guest that we could make up to 3 advance reservations, I decided to stop by at around 9 am one morning to make reservations for later in the week. The guest Service individual at first told me all the reservations were full. When I tried to explain that it was my understanding that I could make advance reservations, I was asked to provide the letter stating such. We were given a “Welcome Returning Guest” letter that came with our fruit basket but it did not mention our advance reservation options. I politely told her that I would retrieve the letter and would return shortly. Upon my return, she apologized for the misunderstanding and said that she had contacted reception and they told her we were able to make 6 advance reservations and we should have also received a bottle of sparkling wine with our fruit basket. All was rectified and we made reservations for Punta Emilia, Sumptuori and Rib & More.
Restaurants: During our stay we ate at La Adelita (Mexican) twice, and once each at the buffet, Punta Emilia (seafood), Sumptuori (Japanese), Ribs & More (Steak &ribs), and Portofino (Italian). Typically, A.I. restaurant food is served just warm and I do not expect to get a nice hot meal until I return home. I was happily surprised this time that all of our meals were served nice and hot. Also, I consider myself a bit of a “foodie” but I also fully understand that I am not sitting down to a meal at the French Laundry or Alinea’s in Chicago. If you recognize it for what it is, and not expect fine dining you should be able to find something you like.
For lunch we hit the beach bar at the colonial or its buffet up by the pool. The beach bar food was an assortment of fast food Mexican and it was served barely warm. On Sunday they serve Paella for something different. For the most part, we opted for the buffet as you could get items that were fairly fresh and hot and the salad bar is nice an cold.
Bars: The beach bars serve the Mexican beer Sol. In the past they also had a tap for Dos Equis amber but I do not recall seeing anyone ask for one on this trip. The rest of the liquor is pretty standard non-top shelf stuff. The bartenders do a great job keeping up with the flow of patrons and for the most part they are very friendly. In the Kantenah lobby is a bar called Hemmingway’s which has a better selection of top shelf liquors and it is a nice quiet place to have a drink before or after dinner.
Beach: As previously stated, we are beach people and as such will spend all of our time on the beach so I cannot offer an objective review of the pools. The beach at the resort has nice soft sand but it has limited sandy ocean access points as the majority of the water line has rocks and coral. The best swimmable portion of the beach is at the Kantenah end of the resort and the section is somewhat small in size compared to the actual beach area. This causes most people to congregate in this smaller sandy section of the ocean and it can get a bit crowded. The use of a good pair of water shoes however will give you the ability to spread out and take more advantage of the swimming area.
General Stuff: From our experience, the Grand Palladium generally does a great job of maintaining the property. However, over the last couple of trips we have noticed a fair amount of disrepair along the wooden walkways that run through the property. While I am sure there is significant maintenance performed on the walkways over the course of a year, it was seems that there was too much “yellow caution” tape being used and not enough repairs being performed.
I usually dive while on vacation, but this time I decided to forgo the diving and spend the time relaxing on the beach. From my experience, the dive shop does a very good job with both “resort” divers as well as the more experienced ones.
We have thought about trying the Royal Suites section of the resort, but the close proximity to the beach that the Kantenah Mayan suites offer, seems to be a better choice for us.
In closing, The Grand Palladium is a very good value for the money.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Palladium Kantenah 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 Kantenah are invited to use the facilities provided by the adjoining Grand Palladium White Sand Resort & Spa, the Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, and the Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa, with the exception of the Royal Suite facilities. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Kantenah Palladium Grand
- Grand Palladium Kantenah Hotel
- Palladium Mexico
- Palladium Grand Resort
- Hotel Grand Palladium Kantenah
- Palladium Kantenah
- Grand Maya Palladium Riviera
- Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort Spa
- g Palladium Kantenah
- Grand Palladium Mayan