Just came back from the Grand Palladium Kantenah. Many of the other reviews already explain the breakdown...there are 4 or 5 big resorts all together in one very large complex. The Kantenah and Colonial are one grouping, and the Riviera and White Sands are in another. I believe there is another section called Royal Suites as well, but didn't go over there.
This was our 8th trip to the Carribean, and we've been to Mexico(5), Punta Cana(DR)(2) and Cuba(1). We were travelling in 5, my wife and I, and our kids 9, 7, and 3.
Overall, we both agree that this was our best vacation yet and yes we would return to the GPK. The reason I have this a 4 star instead of 5 was the terrible situation with the restaurants. Hopefully they can improve this. Otherwise, 5 stars for sure. Here are my thoughts overall on the resort:
We flew with Air Transat from Toronto. The flight was good and a meal was provided. There was a bus waiting for us. It's about 90 mins or more from the Airport to the resort, so pack a book or tablet or something to keep you (or your kids) occupied. The transfers to and from the resort were un-eventful.
IMHO, research is key before you go. Google the resort map and see what amenities you want to be near. We requested building 50 or 51, which is near the kids club and ended up in building 50 which was really great. The room was very nice and reasonably large with a small balcony. The bathroom was also really nicely finished. Everything worked properly. Housekeeping was good....mini fridge had a few pops, beers and water and was refreshed daily. Don't drink the water from the tap (if you don't already know that). We chose to use the bottled water to brush our teeth, just to be sure. No-one from our party was sick while we were there.
The resort is big, yes, but we enjoyed walking around due to all the big meals. Also, if you choose to stay in your resort "grouping" area, which we did most of the time, then it's really not so bad at all. We've been to much bigger places. There are trains and carts that can get you here and there if you ask but we didn't use them most of the time. Wasn't a big deal for us at all, and keep in mind we had a small kid with us.
The kids area attached to the main pool is great, as it has a graduated floor, slowly getting deeper so that the little ones can play in the shallow area while the older ones can go out a little further and we can keep an eye on all of them from the comfort of our chairs! The main pool area is about 5 and a half feet deep, which was OK for me, but neither my wife nor my kids could touch the bottom. Pool temperature was absolutely perfect...just cool enough to be refreshing. Also, it was a saltwater pool, which was just fabulous. (to be clear, this is not ocean water salty, just pool salty).
There is an amazing water park as well....5 water slides, a big dump bucket and 4 small kiddie slides as well which my littlest guy absolutely loved. The water in that area is about 18 to 24 inches deep and is perfect for the little ones. But even my older kids liked some of the bigger slides!
We did some walking on the beach....it was nice. Water was not overly rough. Some seaweed.
The grounds are very well kept. There are people cleaning, sweeping, washing everything, everywhere. I must have seen about half a dozen people cleaning the pool over the week...everything was immaculate and well kept.
The drinks were very good I thought. As usual, some of them are way too sweet, but the choice of drink is up to you. I've always found that you need to do some quick research when you get to a resort to find out which brands of alcohol they carry are the good ones...then just request those as the week goes on. Try the Flor De Cana Anejo Rum, and the Viuda de Romero or Casadores Tequila !!!! Good stuff!
The Bartenders were all pretty great and never had an issue adding more alcohol to the drink if you requested it. IMHO, these guys have it RIGHT! I don't want 50 watered down drinks, just a few really good ones...and the GPK delivered. Well done. One small complaint...all the bars seemed to run out of Irish Cream...it happened many times at different bars....come on now...get with the program and keep it in stock! Also, I'm a bit of a wine snob, and I have to say that the house White wine wasn't awful (as it has been at some other resorts), and the Red was OK, but not great. Drinkable, but not memorable. No poolside drink service, but there are bars everywhere, so it's just a short walk if you want something.
As for food, it was pretty good, but not great, but what can you expect really when feeding thousands of people? If you've read other reviews, you've read the stories about the a la carte restaurants...they are true. You need to line up by 5:15pm to get a table at a decent hour, otherwise be prepared to wait 45 mins to 1.5 hours, and rarely were the restaurants full....I think they only staff the restaurants at a certain level, and can therefore only handle a small number of tables at one time. Brutal. We did this twice and then gave up. The "asian" restaurant (Bamboo) was not good, and they were horribly slow. The Brazilian place (called "Rodizio" was pretty decent actually).
Out of the 8 restaurants, only 2 require reservations...the Japanese Teppanyaki and another one we didn't go to. To make a reservation, you have to line up at 7:30 in the morning, and the concierge arrives at 8am to make the reservations for the NEXT day. However, there are 5 concierge desks around the resort, all starting at 8am. I was 6th in line, which equated to being 30th in line! Not surprisingly, I didn't get a reservation that time. Next day was better and we got into the Teppanyaki place. Sadly, it was a huge let down. The show is nice, but the food was horrible. Terribly salty, veggies were burned, and overall it just tasted awful. The dessert was the best part of that meal. What a let down after all that hassle.
The rest of the time we went to the buffets. The Kantenah bufffet is called the Tikal, and the Colonial buffet is called La Hacienda. They are side by side and share the same kitchen, so they are effectively the same buffet. They had "themes" each night....chinese, mexican, etc. Service was hit and miss. Helio at the Tikal was very attentive and friendly and overall I was extremely impressed by him. David, an older gentleman was excellent as well. In terms of food...there was a TON of selection....if you can't find something good to eat here, you must be unbelievably picky.
For Breakfast, they had the typical egg/omelet station...fresh and made to order. Excellent. They also had like 10 types of bread and buns, freshly made doughnuts, 2 or 3 types of eggs, bacon, sausages and tons of coldcuts, cheese, fresh fruit and yogurt. They even had freshly made specialty juices like Orange/Mango, or Red Beet/apple etc. I could have stayed there all day.
For lunch (or a later breakfast) the open-air buffet called The Grand Azul opens up (near the main pool). This was a great place for lunch IMHO. Not as much choice as the big buffet, but they had a fresh grill, pasta station, salads, veggies, fruit, dessert etc. You can always find something good to eat. I enjoyed having the grill guy cook me up some fresh chicken on a bun. Almost every single buffet / beach restaurant had a soft serve ice cream machine...much to the delight of my kids, and they were all in good working order. Great guacamole and fresh chips as well!
One downside are the little wooden bridges that connect buildings 49, 50 and 51 to the main area.....these are a bit of a hazard. Loose boards, missing railing pieces etc. Very tough to get a stroller across there...bump, bump, bump....hold on to your kids!
There is a TON of wildlife....we must have seen a dozen large iguanas, birds, anteaters, raccoons etc. DON'T FEED THEM! They keep coming back if you do! One actually jumped on our table at the Grand Azul and stole a bun right off my plate! there are also a few wildlife areas where there are some crocodiles (not sure why this is here...just a huge fenced off area) and a nice flamingo area as well. We noticed one tiny lizard on the wall in our room. We called housekeeping and they came quickly and removed it (without killing it!).
The activities team were an energetic bunch...and there was always something to do. We didn't participate in too many activities as we were with the kids most of the time. Mr. Bow Wow was a lot of fun though, and the trivia games were great!
Mini Club (4-12) / Baby Club (<4) - The girls at the Mini/baby Club were fantastic: Ana, Luisa, Rochelle, and all the other girls whose names I can't recall (especially the tall girl...she was great with my little guy...her name just escapes me at the moment). There is a playground, a trampoline etc. There were lots of activities (crafts, pool time, shell hunting etc) and for a few hours here and there, the kids really enjoyed it. The Baby club area is fully indoors and has lots of safe play choices and a TV for kids movies. They also do kids shows and activities in the Colonial theatre at 8pm which my kids really enjoyed.
Dario at the Dive Shop was also worth mentioning. He introduced my older kids (9 and 7) to scuba in the pool and he was absolutely EXCELLENT!! He knew his stuff, he was great with the kids, and had all the equipment ready as promised. What a great experience for my boys! It was a pleasure dealing with him....a really nice guy.
The staff are always working really hard....always hustling here and there, cleaning, clearing, etc. I was very impressed with the work ethic of the whole resort. The staff were also extremely polite and friendly. No one ever expected a tip that I could tell, but I was happy to give it out. Service was spotty here and there, but everyone seemed to be working very hard.
I also want to mention that if you walk down on the beach, near the Punta Emilia beach bar, you will find a small grouping of carts selling bracelets, pottery, Hena tattoos etc. They are run by a young woman named Martha who is truly an artist. She painted a piece of pottery for me and did an absolutely FABULOUS job. My kids also did some painting with her, which she touched up prior to glazing which also came out great. She was very nice to deal with, and was fair in terms of negotiating her pricing.
So, overall, we were extremely happy with this resort compared to others we've been to. We would definitely give this place strong consideration when planning our next vacation!
- 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
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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