• 14 of us flew WestJet as part of a Transat Vacations package from Regina, SK for two weeks over Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Made it through the airport managing to avoid timeshare people and we were off – made one stop at Princess and then off to Palladium – greeted with a great welcome drink in lobby!
Overall thoughts from the 2 weeks (Dec.21, 2008 to Jan.4, 2009)
o We were SO lucky to have such fabulous weather – we only had about 10 minutes of rain one evening and the weather was about 30° on average everyday
o This was a great resort complex – great pools, great food, great spa, many great staff members!
o The attention to detail around the resort was very impressive
o The Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve Gala Dinners were so incredibly impressive with beautiful ice sculptures and carved fruit
o There is so much to do at the resort if you want to: on our 2nd to last day, we went to two pools that we hadn’t previously spent any time at – we hardly had an opportunity to get tired of any areas as the resort is so large that you can go to different areas every day if you want to
o The beach was very large and long – I must say it wasn’t as nice as many of the beaches at other resorts/places we’ve been to but that may have been partly due to the wind as it was a yellow or red flag every day. You definitely need water shoes when entering the water in most sections of the beach. With that being said, the snorkeling was much better than at other resorts we've been to.
o If/when we go again, I would want to stay in the White Sand area of the resort – I think it had a better, more central location, definitely compared to the Kantenah and I liked the pool better because it was not as deep as the Colonial pool, which was very deep (not deep enough to dive but most people would have to walk on their tippytoes)
o Taking bubba mugs was definitely awesome! They came in so handy and were great to have around the pool and beach, keeping drinks cold and keeping sand, bugs, etc. out.
o Another handy thing to have is a beach bag called “The Itsa” – I first some them in a display at the Calgary Stampede – I didn’t buy them at the time but thought about them several times afterwards so I eventually placed an order for several of them that we gave out as gifts. They are so cool and so handy to have on tropical trips. They are chair covers with pockets so you have a place to put all of your things and then you roll them up into a bag. They’re made of towel material so you can use them as towels as well – all in all, they are so awesome to have.
o The spa area was fabulous! We took advantage of the free areas and we also got massages which were fabulous!
o I strongly recommend to those with long hair that you get your hair braided. It’s so nice being able to jump in and out of the water and not have to worry about your hair. Also, it allows you to spend more time enjoying the resort and less time in your room getting ready.
o Painting at Florencio’s was such an awesome way to pass some time. Next time, I think I would paint for an hour or so most mornings, leaving my pieces with him each day until I finish. He does such an awesome job fixing them up, making them look very professional and so impressive! He’s also such a nice, happy man.
o The lemonade which we discovered on our last day was very good and a nice, little break from alcohol!
o Towel animals were very much hit and miss – some people in our group got several…others only got one on 2 of the 14 nights. Tipping amounts did not seem to make a difference.
o With that being said, we made sure to always have tip money on us and as a group, spent a lot of money of tips over the course of our vacation – I don’t think it had an effect on service but I know it was appreciated and certainly made me feel better as I know there wages from the resort are limited.
o I’m sure it varies from week to week depending on the guests that are at the resort but there was a lot more topless sunbathing at the beach then we’ve ever seen before at other resorts
o Overall, our group of 14 decided our favorite restaurants were: El Dorado Steak house, Portofino Italian restaurant, Sumptori Japanese restaurant and El Rodizio Brazillian restaurant.
o I would definitely go back to Akumal and Yal-ku lagoon for the turtles and snorkeling
Would I go back and would I recommend this resort to friends: Absolutely! A good time was definitely had by all!
Hanging out around the resort
• 14 of us – 7 rooms in total – 6 standard rooms in building 46 and one standard room in 47. Overall, standard rooms are pretty good – one king bed or two doubles, desk with Ipod alarm clock, armoire with television, mini bar and a coffee pot. Bathrooms pretty nice – large tub with shower wand. Toiletries included shampoo with conditioner, shower cap, soap, sewing kit, comb, shower gel. Hairdryer handing on wall.
• Went to White Sands buffet for supper on first night and the Buffet was Spanish theme – very good! Everyone could find something to eat – overwhelmed by variety. Fresh pasta bar and flambé stand great! Everyone really enjoyed the red wine.
• After supper, headed outside to catch the complimentary pontoon boat ride – awesome! Nice with all the lights and very relaxing! Palm trees lit up with white rope lights wrapped around were beautiful.
• On Christmas day, we spent time at the swim up bar, played in the fun team pool volleyball game, water aerobics and then got a family game of water volleyball going for at least an hour – great fun! We watched the staff vs. guests Beer drinking contest – unreal how fast some of those guys can down a beer! Spent evening hanging out and drinking in Kantenah lobby – really enjoying bartender Valentine and waitress Betty (so cute!) A few people went over to the Colonial theatre to get pictures with Santa and to watch the show which was pretty good.
• Enjoyed spending time at the White Sands pool – I personally like it much more than Colonial – not as deep, an even surface on both sides for water volleyball and much quicker to get to the swim up bar because you can walk instead of swimming!
• Spent a few hours here before walking over to White Sands lobby to catch pontoon boat and went for a little cruise around to check it out during the day – again, very enjoyable and a chance to see parts of the resort from a different perspective
• One day, we went over to Punta Emilia beach area. Right out in front of the water condition flag pole, there’s a big patch of dark water. If you walk out, which is quite challenging due to the reef bottom and water shoes are necessary, you will see a large circular reef area surrounded by 100’s of fish. It’s still very shallow there and a great little place to snorkel. Pretty good snorkeling.
• The Spa – WOW! It’s fabulous! Much nicer than any other spa area we’ve seen in Caribbean resorts. Great day! Woke up and headed straight to the spa – incredible! So quiet and relaxing. Started in the spa infinity pool and then headed through the curvy river into the area with the warm Jacuzzi’s, saunas, steam rooms filled with menthol and the warm pool with what my father in law calls pressure washers! 7 of us went in for a massage. Wow! 3 of us were in little huts outside and it was so amazing. All of us absolutely loved our combination massages (80 minutes).
• A few days ago I ordered the rose petal room decoration through guest services to be done in the anniversary couples room. They were so thrilled with their swans and rose petals. Guest Services does a really nice job of this. I think it was around $30 or so.
• Went to check out crocodile feeding at 1:00 – man are they lazy! They sure weren’t willing to move very far to get their food!
• New Year’s Eve – after supper, we went to White Sand lobby for a short time and then over to Riviera lobby as that is where the party was supposed to be. The ice breaker game at the theatre consisted of famous people and landmarks coming up on a screen and people running up to a chair on stage to identify them for a token. A couple people made it their mission to try to get up on stage every single time. The show following that was okay – singing and dancing but we had to leave as it was way too loud. Others in our group that were sitting in different locations in the theatre thought the same thing. We saw numerous people plugging their ears. At 11:55, a clock on a screen in the lobby started counting down. People started gathering their champagne and grapes (a Mexican tradition) – at 10 seconds people started chanting down – cheering and kissing ensued and then most were off to bed! My husband and I walked over to the disco to check it out for a while. Pretty good party going on over there – music, dancing, drinking and balloon popping! Back in our room at about 12:45 – Happy New Year!
• Florencio’s art stand – picked out a wall plaque to paint and was joined by a few members in our group. I’m not usually an artsy person but painting there right by the ocean was amazing. We all really enjoyed ourselves. Once you’re done, he takes them home to do detailing and glazing of them. Make sure you have a good chunk of time to allocate as it took all of us much longer than we expected. However, if you want to, you can work on it a bit each day and he’ll just hold on to it for you until you’re done. We woke up the next day all excited to pick up our art pieces – so impressed with the results that after spending a bit of time on the beach we decided to do a couple more pieces, joined by other members of the group today.
• Decided to tour the adult pools one day – started out at the one right across the bridge from White Sands pool – very nice, a couple double concrete loungers in the pool under palapas – nice touch.
• Then went to Secret pool – of course, we had to sample the bars several times at each of the pools!
• Some of the men expected the sports bar to be more focused on watching sports than on playing pool, foosball, etc. Comparing it to other ones we’ve been to, it’s the way most are set up but was actually nicer and larger
• Christmas Eve gala dinner buffet - Buffet – stunningly beautiful and exciting! 10 or more people so we got to make a reservation which was really nice because lines did start to form around 7:00. We walked in and received a very festive glass of wine filled with a few fruits and all the women received a red rose. They had Feliz Navidad as an ice sculpture and many other ice sculptures, fruit sculptures and decorations. Food was incredibly varied and tasty – our group particularly enjoyed the grilled lobster over and over again. The chocolate fountain was great! After supper, hung out in Kantenah lobby before making our way into an empty Hemmingway’s to play a family game of Balderdash that we brought with us.
• We went for supper at Sumptori restaurant. 10 of us sat at show table and 4 at a regular table – amazing supper! Brought out tempura shrimp and spring rolls shortly after we were seated, then a selection of sushi rolls, then soup, then rice, then meats and veggies cooked in front of us.
• Beach BBQ was great! You have to make reservations at the Guest Services desk the day before. Beautiful setting – it’s amazing how they transform areas in short amounts of time. Tables on the sand, chairs with elegant white covers, very pretty. They had beef, pork, chicken, burgers, sausages, salad, buns, potatoes and great corn on the cob!
• El Dorado restaurant was great – waiters in Wrangler style jeans and western shirts – 2 cute! I loved the cream of Broccoli soup, the guys loved the ribeye steaks, everyone was happy with what they ordered. The desserts looked and tasted awesome! Their attention to detail, presentation and design is very impressive.
• Portofino for supper –we were seated outside overlooking the lagoon – an amazing location and the ambience is hard to beat We all really enjoyed Portofino – the strawberry ice cream and chocolate cake were 2 desserts to die for. The chocolate cake was unlike anything we’d ever had before but oh so good! Amazing chocolate cake that definitely wasn’t a normal cake consistency but oh so good!
• Ribs n More was a bit of a gong show– we went at 6:30 and a group of 8 of us were seated within 45 minutes – the other group of 6 ended up having to wait about an hour and a half and then once we got in, service was incredibly slow. The first group didn’t get out until 9:00 and the second group didn’t get out until 10:15. The food was okay – things people enjoyed were the lamb chops, and appetizer stuff (chicken fingers and onion loaf). I’m sure another night would be better but first group left before dessert because service was so slow.
• I was able to make a reservation for all 14 of us for the Brazilian restaurant for tonight. For groups of 10 or more, you can make reservations but you all have to agree to eat the same thing. Fortunately, everyone does eat the same thing at the Brazilian restaurant just because of the way it’s set up, so they were able to do it for us. From the moment we arrived there, everything was absolutely perfect. The waiters come around with large skewers with different kinds of meet on them. The meats included lamb, chicken wings, beef brisket, beef tenderloin, rabbit, turkey, and sausage. At the beginning of the meal they give you two cards, a green one and a red one. If the green card is showing, they keep bringing out meats. When you’re group is done, you can flip the card to the red side and they will stop bringing the meats out. The service was amazing, everybody said the meat was fantastic and my favourite guest services lady did a fabulous job making it so incredibly special for the anniversary. I had ordered a cake to be delivered to the table after supper and when they brought it out, the mariachi band played for us and about 8 staff members surrounded our table to get in on the celebrations – it was such a special moment.
• Had reservations at the New Year’s buffet for 7:00 – again, very nice – champagne and rose as you entered, and 2009 ice sculpture at front door. Another amazing buffet complete with lobster, turkey, etc. People came around to hand out hats, noisemakers, Leigh’s for New Year’s – nice touch.
• Went to Bamboo restaurant for supper tonight – Chinese – Overall pretty good. We were seated at a table that is cut out into the ground and it was very interesting to get in and out of. Very cool to look at – not so fabulous to sit at. We had a bit of a communication barrier – tried to order one of each of the main menu items so we could all share but that message didn’t get across. Ended up getting some meals eventually – the sweet and sour prawns were very good.
• We went to Akumal for the day, starting at Yal-Ku Lagoon which was awesome! Really great snorkeling – saw 2 huge parrotfish, and a whole bunch of other fish all over the place – very calm and beautiful – an excellent place for beginners to practice breathing if not freaked out by the fish – my husband and I have snorkeled a lot in many different places and we were impressed with the snorkeling here. A little banana or bread and the fish swarmed. Most of us had our own snorkeling gear – a couple rented lifejackets and gear from Yal-ku admission stand. Went back to Akumal Bay and found a nice place on the beach in front of Lol Ha restarant. Put on the snorkeling gear, followed the buoys in front of Lol-Ha and eventually came upon turtles!!!! Amazing, big and beautiful. Really neat to see them swim along, feeding as they go and then really cool when they pop up for air!
• People from our group went to Puerto Aventuras marina. Walked around dolphin pens for quite a while (we have seen several dolphin swim locations over the years but was impressed with professionalism at Dolphin Discovery here in Puerto Aventuras. Loved watching the sea lion demonstration – incredibly cute and intelligent animals! Baby dolphin in one of the tanks so cute! 8 people in the group went deep sea fishing – they got picked up at 8:15 from the resort and taken to Puerto Aventuras. It was $500 for up to 10 fishers with round trip transportation. It wasn’t a great experience. The water was very rough and 1 got sick with 3 others coming very close. On top of that, they only caught 1 small barracuda the whole time they were out.
• Went and got cleaned up and ready to meet in the lobby at 1:00 for our group outing to Tulum. We arranged for a van that held all 14 of us at the concierge in the lobby. I think it was $140 US for all 14 of us roundtrip and our driver just waited for us while we took in the sights. It’s about a 30 minute drive from the resort. Where they drop you off, you can either take a train for $2 return directly to the ruins or walk about 10 minutes. We opted to walk. Got to the ruins (48 pesos to get in) and hired a guide for our group. Another group of 5 from Vancouver joined us. It was $60 US to rent a guide for 19 people. I would strongly recommend getting a guide as they can share so much information about the ruins and the area that you just wouldn’t get otherwise. The ruins are very nice and on a cliff overlooking the beautiful water. Lots of great photo ops in this area. The beach right below which has what I think are new stairs going down to it was jam packed full of people so we decided to turn left after exiting and headed about 1 km down the road (10-15 minutes walk) to a beautiful beach with really soft sand and a nice sandy bottom. No coral and no need for water shoes. The waves were quite large today still so a bit of body surfing or floating and getting pushed around by the waves was entertaining
• Daytrip to Xel-Ha. 7 from our group had reservations to swim with dolphins so we started there and they loved it! Then headed to the entrance of the river and floated down on the tubes – certainly not a raging river – definitely some work to get from start to finish but most of us enjoyed it. Out of the water to pick up our snorkeling gear and my small group spent the rest of the afternoon snorkeling. The best places were around the large rock islands in the middle. The largest fish were underneath the bridge on the far end but they were all the same kind and a little ugly! Still a cool thing to see. Others in our group enjoyed the cliff jumping, and walking around checking things out.
• Several from our group took in an ATV ziplining trip. They all really enjoyed it; they organized it through one of the lobby representatives and they got more out of experiencing “Real” Mexico than any of the activities. They went to a Mexican farm and met a Mexican family, swam in a cenote, etc.
• One thing I found very interesting was for travelers flying from Cancun to Canada, there was no limit to liquid going through security – the lady in front of us plopped a 4 liter jug of orange juice on the conveyer belt and had not issues so if you want to take vanilla, booze, etc. in your carry on and you’re flying into Canada, I don’t think you’ll have any troubles. The other option is to purchase that stuff in the duty free stores.
• I was fairly impressed with the shopping options at the airport – we bought some duty free alcohol, and I found some great silver jewelry.
• One of the other cool things about the airport was that they have a spa. If you’re waiting for a couple hours, getting a manicure, pedicure or massage seems like a nice way to spend the time.
• As it turned out, we went from +32 to -32 in a span of a few hours. Ouch. Flight was pretty good I but wish we could have stayed even longer. The Grand Palladium was fabulous!
- 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