This was our first visit to the GP Kantenah, and the Riviera Maya in general, and our first experience with an all-inclusive. We’ve been to several other islands in the Caribbean – USVI, BVI, St. Kitts and Nevis. Overall, we had a very good experience at this resort, especially given the value for the price. I did a lot of research here on TA before we picked GPK, and I got a lot of great advice from the forums (thanks again!) in advance of our trip. We went as a family of four with two kids, ages 9 and 6.
Grade A: Very friendly service throughout the resort. Everyone from the folks working in the restaurants, to the entertainment staff, to the landscapers were always friendly, polite, hardworking, and patient. It made a big impression on us. The resort looked beautiful and was well maintained. The room was also nice, and our room request was accommodated by the front desk. Minibar was restocked daily (could have been colder inside), and our daughter was delighted by the towel animals. We left a few bucks for the maid each day. I would also give top grades for the breakfast buffet (omelets made to order, French toast, pancakes, fresh fruit, fresh bread); the Segway tour with Memo; the spa; the pool areas, especially the delightful El Rinconcito pool; the beach bars; lunch at Punta Emilia beach bar; head bellhop and his staff.
Grade B: The beach is a mix of rocky and sandy entry. The sandy entry areas were a little smaller than I thought, and so in the water that area was fairly crowded. The beach itself is very wide with lots of shaded seating. No towel game to speak of (nor at the pool) which I gather is unusual and certainly was nice for a family of four. The beach is not of the quality of what you would find in some of the best Caribbean locations, but still very pleasant, and it was nice to have some snorkeling options right off the beach.
I would also give the buffet food at lunch and dinner a solid B. The food was fairly bland, but there were a lot of choices, and the kids could always get pasta or grilled chicken/fish at the grill station. I think they would do better to put out fewer choices with simpler preparations. Food was well labeled, and I also give top marks to the resort’s food allergy program. We met the dining manager at check-in, and she gave us allergy cards in Spanish to show the kitchen staff. We are not hyper vigilant about our kids’ food allergies, but for parents who really need to monitor this closely, I thought that the staff here took allergies very seriously. Kids club staff were nice, but the older kids’ facilities (both down by the beach and the teens club) need to be air conditioned in the summer.
Grade C: A la carte restaurants – sorry, but I don’t see what the fuss is all about. I know they have a lot of fans in the TA forums, but I found the food only marginally better than at the buffets, and it took forever to come out. We went to Ribs and More, and I saw the same ribs on the buffet the next night. The chef’s special at the Mexican a la carte was an overcooked strip of beef. The atmosphere and the staff were nice at both, but the food was pretty unimpressive. An hour to get the food at both restaurants, which seemed true for everyone.
Transportation around this huge resort was also pretty spotty. The boardwalks get you around the local area pretty fast (it was only a 4-minute walk from our villa to the Kantenah lobby), but to go to the other side of the resort you need to wait, sometimes up to 15 minutes in stifling heat, for the slow-moving, sometimes very crowded train. We gave up on the local trams, which were never around when you needed them. This makes a visit to the salt water pool, which is indeed a neat spot, a major expedition.
Grade D: television. Of course you don’t go on vacation to sit around and watch TV, but before bed it’s nice for the kids. The paper channel guide is out of date (no Disney channel) and choices are limited. I was astounded that the World Cup final was not broadcast on the TV – though it was fun to watch it in the Sports Bar. The room guide also says that movies are available and to check with the front desk – at which point you are told that there are no movies anymore.
In sum, we had a nice time and would definitely consider going back in the future. It's a very good resort -- not perfect, but a great value and a great home base for exploring the area.We took excursions to Tulum, Aktun-Chen, and Yal-Ku Lagoon, which we all really enjoyed and fairly close to the resort. A note on the heat in the summer: it’s brutal, and I grew up in Miami so I know about heat. The pools get very warm in the second half of the day and aren’t that refreshing any more. Drink lots of water and stay out of the sun from noon to 2PM if you can.
- 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