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“Awesome family vacation - 2 weeks over Christmas and New Years! Great Resort!”

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Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa
Ranked #7 of 23 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
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28 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 267 helpful votes
“Awesome family vacation - 2 weeks over Christmas and New Years! Great Resort!”
Reviewed February 15, 2009

• 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

Restaurants

• 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.

Side Trips

• 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.

FLYING HOME

• 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!

  • Liked — All of the different pools, the food and drinks, the snorkeling at the beach, the staff, the spa
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
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13 Thank Kristin E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa, responded to this review, December 23, 2015
Thank you for your feedback and taking the time to post your comments. We are pleased to hear that everything was perfect during your stay.
We so much appreciate your kind tone; and feel happy that we were able to live up your expectations

We feel honored that you would return and can’t wait to see you on your next vacation! 

Best wishes
Santiago Escañuela
Asistente Dirección
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Eastern Ontario
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12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2009

Spent 1 week at this resort from Jan 24-31 2009. The resort is beautiful & very clean, the staff is very friendly and work hard to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. Had 1 & ½ days of rain which isn’t so bad.

RESORT: It’s huge!! We had access to all 4 resorts (Kantenah, Colonial, White Sands & Riviera). The only area we didn’t have access was the “Royal Adult only” section. You can benefit from lots of walking or can take the train trolley/golf carts that go from lobby to lobby & to the villas.
There’s a variety of daily activities available at the resort, you’ll get a schedule upon check-in.
Our check-in went very smoothly, had to wait a few hours for our room but we arrived around lunch time. There’s staff that guard your luggage in the lobby until you’re room’s ready. We booked a standard room in the Colonial section, but were upgraded to a Junior suite in the Kantenah section.
Beach was nice but there’s quite a bit of coral even in shallow waters. Water shoes are a good thing to wear in the ocean.
I recommend trying the spa facilities. It’s free except for the services (massages, etc). You can use the whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, infinity pool. Very nice!

FOOD: Was very good, lots of variety. You get to choose from many buffets and À la carte restaurants through out the 4 locations. Every night had a different theme at the buffets but each buffet offered the same menu. Downfall about the À la carte restaurants, we can’t make reservations (except if you stay in the “Royal” section). It’s first come first serve basis. People start lining up at 5-5:30pm, the restaurants open at 5:30pm. If you go later, you risk waiting for a long time (anywhere from 1-2 hrs).

Overall, we had a great vacation & I really recommend this resort! Lots of tours/excursions to choose from. Enjoy your vacation!!!

  • Liked — Beach, pool, clean facilities, friendly staff
  • Disliked — can't make reservations for À la carte restaurants
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa, responded to this review, December 23, 2015
Thank you for making us your choice hotel when visiting Riviera Maya and for your heartwarming review and your kind recommendation; we hope that you had a pleasant journey back home and look forward to welcoming you back

Kind regards,
Santiago Escañuela
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Brampton
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common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2009

Review - Grand Palladium Kantenah Resorts and Spa – Mayan Riviera

Summary A middle aged couple, we were there July 27 to August 10, 2008. The rooms were lovely and nicely appointed and the food quality and variety was excellent. The Spa was a stand out feature for its beauty and relaxation in the midst of natural surroundings. Seeing how large this property is, the effort to preserve the environment, the emphasis on conserving energy, the organization and efficiency of the staff, make it impressive. We have a few minor complaints and only a few suggestions for improvement. Of the all inclusive vacations in Mexico taken over the past four years this was by far the most memorable. We recommend this property and believe it represents excellent value.

Resort and Grounds

Four resorts in one location…Kantenah, Colonial, White Sands and Riviera with a strong ecological preservation theme as well as the Mayan theme. The resorts are built around large tracts of primeval jungle and when we opened the balcony door to our room we heard many unique bird calls coming from the jungle tree tops. On the way to breakfast it was not uncommon to encounter harmless “critters” like iguanas, which were out sunning themselves every morning. At night we saw a coati - a skinny, Mexican version of a raccoon with a flexible snout. At the entrance to the Colonial Lobby off to the right were Flamingos in a natural pond setting with a waterfall. A few steps from the back of the Kantenah Lobby was the Crocodile compound where you could see them lurking in the shadows underwater. And on the beach the water is full of life. Fish swam around us that were two to three feet long but they were harmless. There were half a dozen small taped off areas on the beach where turtles came ashore to lay their eggs. Paved walkways, elevated boardwalks through the jungle and covered walkways for use when it rains, as well as main roadways with Disney–like motorized trains take you to the four lobbies and most locations on the property. Throughout the grounds and around the restaurant perimeters were ponds filled with large gold fish (Koi) which we could look out upon as we enjoyed our meals. It took a day or two to figure out where each pathway or train would take us but once we did we got around pretty quickly. We got lots of good walking exercise to help wear off the sumptuous meals we ate.

Accommodation
After we arrived at the Colonial lobby on the first night we never had to lift a piece of luggage. The hour was late …around 11:00pm. The desk clerk was friendly and provided us with a thorough mini orientation to the resort along with a brochure of maps, schedules and services. We noted that he assigned us a room in Building #3 of the Colonial section when we had booked a deluxe room in the Kantenah section. He pointed out that they assign rooms based on availability and that our room was a deluxe room. He also said that a lot of people were checking out over the next 2 days and if we wished we could check with the desk and possibly move to another room. Our building and room turned out to be close to the center of things. We were less than a five minute walk to the Colonial Lobby through a paved and covered pathway and 8 minutes walking distance from La Hacienda – the main buffet restaurant.

Our room had a balcony that looked out over the jungle and the bathroom had all the amenities we needed. There was a table and one chair in the room but we would have liked two chairs. The room was spotless and soft drinks and beer in the fridge replenished every day.

Food and Restaurants

The buffet restaurants offered lots of delicious variety and theme nights. We are impressed by the organization and self discipline of the staff. They were courteous and personable. There were supervisors milling about constantly overseeing the buffet restaurants and working along with the staff, making sure food was promptly replenished, that everything was done to serve customers promptly and tables cleaned up and reset with quickness and efficiency. We observed a staff that was hard working, paying great attention to detail and striving to please.

No reservations were required at any of the a la carte restaurants when we were there so we could go to any of the eight a la carte restaurants as often as we wished. We believe however that in the busy season (Jan to April) one will have to reserve in advance through a reservations clerk like most other resorts. But at this time we simply showed up, asked for a table for two, gave our name and room number. The wait averaged about 15 to 30 minutes…..enough time for a Margarita.

The food quality at almost all the a la carte restaurants was excellent as was the service. And they give you feedback cards at the end of the meal to rate the quality, variety and presentation of the food as well as the service and the décor of the restaurants. This is clear evidence of a commitment to continuous improvement in our view.

Each restaurant offered a unique dining experience. You had a choice of Japanese, Mediterranean, Brazilian, Mexican, Chinese; a rib house and a steak house as well as four buffet restaurants. Our most unique dining experience was at Rodizio, the Brazilian restaurant. The waiter brings your dinner plate full of vegetables positioned on one side. Then he brings a two foot skewer with a piece of meat hot off the rotisserie. It looked unusual. What is it, we asked? “Bugs Bunny” he replied …rabbit and slices a piece of it for each of us. Then he brings a skewer of beef and does the same thing. And the process continues as, in turn, we get chicken, turkey, lamb, pork and sausages. It was all delicious and we were stuffed.

We are not hard to please but we do have a strong suggestion for the resort management. Improve the quality of the bottled house wine served throughout the resorts. It had what we can only describe as a musky, homemade taste. It was not easy to drink. It was labeled San Pedro or San Miguel, a Chardonnay from Spain. We are far from being snooty wine connoisseurs but we do like our wine. We enjoy a glass or three of white wine with the meal or to sip and enjoy in the warm breezes and ambience of the cocktail lounge later in the evening. The only other alternative was to buy a bottle of good wine which seemed to defeat the purpose of all inclusiveness.

That being said, the quality of the drinks made at any of the lobby bars was excellent. They were professionally mixed and presented – particularly the margaritas. You could sit back, listen to the music of a one man band, people watch or take part in the laughter and lively conversation around the bar stools long into the night. In the centre of the lobby area is an open courtyard where vendors set up their wares (jewelry and crafts) every night. The theatres were huge with presentations at the Colonial and White Sands every night. On most evenings the Animacion group put on a professional show and the costumes were spectacular.

You never felt you had to tip the staff because they did not have a “you’ll get better service if you tip” attitude we found at other resorts. We got the good service we expected from an all inclusive resort.

Beach and Pools

At the beginning of the day the newly risen Caribbean sun bathes everything in a soft, yellow light and the colors are warmer whether it’s the wooden beams of the beach bar, the blue, serene calm of the pools, the uniforms of staff cleaning the beach or the chef in his whites and chef’s hat standing idly at the beach bar sharing quiet conversation with the bartenders before the day gets under way.

The beach is white and pristine and staff are always on the move cleaning up the beach. The sand is coral sand so we found small pieces of loose coral there and in the water a few feet off the shoreline so you need to watch where you walk. The water itself is refreshing and crystal clear.

Further along is the main beach bar, water sports equipment and volleyball court. This is where people hang out. This is where the action was.

There were a lot of people during the hot part of the day but it was not crowded. You could always get a table to have a light lunch. The food and drinks were consistently good. There was a mini buffet or you placed your order with a Waitress or at the Bar. We seldom went to the mini buffet because it was usually empty of food. Management needs to ensure that food is replenished promptly at this Bar.

There was a variety of water sports equipment available as part of the all inclusive package….Wave Runners, Hobie Cats, Paddle Boats, Kayaks, Wind Surfers and snorkeling gear. There was an organized program around the pool every day, programs for kids and an environmental tour for kids, aquatic exercise programs in the sea, and all kinds of programs within the resorts every day, for example, Salsa lessons and Spanish lessons. And of course there a variety of side trips and excursions that can be booked through your on site travel representative. There was lots to do and enjoy and it will take far longer than the two weeks we were there to do it all.

Further along the beach is another beach bar at the White Sands end of the beach which was quieter and on a slight rise looking out over the Caribbean Sea was a white domed wedding pavilion. We were fortunate enough to see a wedding from a distance.

From the sunlit beach we watched the spectacle of thunderstorms forming and breaking up far out in the Caribbean. The wind did rise on occasion and the resort shut down water sports equipment use when it became too rough. The lifeguards at each end of the beach were vigilant and warned people if they saw them in an unsafe situation. Most days the weather was excellent. There was an incredibly blue sky, soft breezes and temperatures on the low 30’s. We had no difficulty finding recliners in a shady spot.

The pools were immense with lots of water features for kids and deeper sections for adults with recliners built into the side of the pool. There was an adult pool off by itself which was quiet and a salt water pool at the far end of the property built right into the coral reef with a coral reef bottom. There were inlets at either end of the pool to allow circulation of salt water through the pool. There were small fish in this pool – great for kids and snorkeling.

Most afternoons we opted for the beach finding the pool area didn’t have any breezes and became a little too warm. The pools were quite beautiful, however, dazzling with predominantly white and blue color themes and colonial style pillars.

The Spa

The Spa was one of the highlights of our all inclusive vacation. Most of the spa building was glassed in so one could enjoy the relaxation music and the surrounding jungle. The décor and art create a Minimalist/Zen atmosphere. We had full use of the facilities which included an infinity pool and a flowing river pool with whirlpool alcoves along its path. Hot tubs and other therapeutic water features are available for the use of guests as part of the all inclusive package as is a large, well equipped, gym/exercise room. The usual services, (massages, pedicure, manicure, et cetera) were extra and they are about the same price as you pay in Canada but it is delightful to watch the exotic animal life in the jungle on the other side of a glass panel while having a manicure or pedicure done. We highly recommend the Spa.

Cleanliness

This resort puts a premium on cleanliness. At no time did we see any garbage on the loose or overflowing containers. There were always staff emptying refuse containers on the beach and cleaning up. And this is a big area with lots of people. But they are right on top of things as far as we could see. It was spotless. There was always someone sweeping the lobby and the washrooms off the lobby were immaculate.

Shopping

Playa Del Carmen was the major tourist shopping centre. It was about a 30 minute ride from the resort in the local means of transportation…..a plain white van the locals call a Collectivo. It was cheap….four dollars or 40 pesos for the round trip.

The main drag was mucho tourist oriented but it was also a pretty tree lined street with lots of charming small restaurants and a Senor Frogs which is a popular tourist Bar and eatery. Proprietors of shops stood in their doorways and actively sought our business. Open air stalls will barter, closed in shops with air conditioning have prices that are about the same as back home and they will discount if you buy in quantity or you spend a lot. We found better prices for silver jewelry at the Ambar shops back at our resort.

Stayed August 2008
Helpful?
9 Thank BramptonBeachbums
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa, responded to this review, December 23, 2015
Thank you for your kind remarks regarding your stay at the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa,  we are delighted to note that you had a pleasant experience on our lovely resort.

 It's our pleasure to have you visit and we look forward to your return. 

Best wishes
Santiago Escañuela
Asistente Dirección
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga Ontario Canada
Level Contributor
46 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2009

Just got back from a one week stay at the Kantenah. Overall, we loved it! The grounds are quite massive as there are basically 4 resorts in 1, but we loved walking so it wasn't a problem. For those who don't, there is a shuttle service that runs quite frequently - we did use it a couple evenings when it was cold/raining.

I don't see how people can complain about the food - it was incredible - both at the buffets and the a la carte restaurants. There is such a large selection that there has to be something that you would like. Even the hamburgers are quite good, if you crave one of those. We did casually talk to some people here and there and found that the ones that had complaints about the food were very picky eaters - one lady we spoke to didn't like the filet mignon she had at the steakhouse because it wasn't the right shape (perfectly round) and not wrapped in bacon - this was true but the meat was very tender and melt-in-your-mouth - I loved it! Our favourite a la cartes were the Brazilian (Rodizio) and the steakhouse (El Dorado)...but the Italian (Portofino) and Sumptuori (Japanese) were also good. We preferred to eat our dinners at the a la cartes as we like to have waiter service, and find that if we go to the buffet we just end up eating too much! The resorts were quite full when we were there and with their new "no reservations" policy, you can eat out as often as you like at the a la cartes...but unless you show up early (5:30 - 6 pm), you may have quite a wait. They will give you a beeper thing that will light up when your table is ready, so you go have a drink at a bar or something...but we did have one very long wait for the steakhouse - 2.5 hours. There were a lot of people who didn't like this policy -- I think once you know how it works you can adjust your schedule around it. One problem is that they hold a certain number of tables for the Royal Suites guests, whose package includes guaranteed seating at any of the a la cartes, so you would see many empty tables - I think a slight change to this policy is in order - perhaps these Royal Suites guests would have to book their tables by 6 pm? so that these restaurants wouldn't have such long waits.

One word of caution - the wine lists at the a la cartes have prices listed in Mexican pesos - generally take the price and take off the last digit and you have the approximate price in Canadian dollars (10pesos = 1 Cdn dollar) -- the wines are on the expensive side...we didn't like the house wines though, but you can have beer and drinks instead at no extra charge. We made the mistake the first night of ordering a bottle of wine, thinking that 660 pesos was about $6.60 ...but later realized that that bottle of wine had cost us $66 - oops!

The beach area was nicest at the Kantenah/Colonial side - the White Sand/Riviera side was quite rocky and not swimmable. There is quite a bit of coral in the water here and there, and water shoes are a must. We did some snorkeling out near the reef, and saw quite a few different fish - even a large barracuda!

Not sure if this was just the case for the week we were there...but the beach area was quite windy every day ... either the red or yellow flags were up. So the water was a bit choppy -lots of waves -- fun too...but it would have been nice to have had some days where it was calmer.

As to the service, overall the staff were nice and courteous and helpful...but there were a couple of times that we had to wait a long time for bar service ...but in both these cases it was because the bar was understaffed, not that the bartender was being slow. The grounds are meticulously taken care of -- the public bathrooms are very clean and beautiful.

We went off property twice - the first time we took the collectivo (public transit) which you can catch on the road right in front of the hotel to Playa del Carmen where we did a little shopping for souvenirs -much better prices than the hotel stores. Second time we took an excursion to Chichen Itza -- well worth while - this place was amazing! The tour also took us to a cenote where we swam for a very short time (10 minutes) but it was fun, and also included a buffet lunch at a restaurant close by - the food was okay, had to pay extra for any beverages which of course were overpriced. The time at Chichen Itza was split between a guided tour (very informative but too long in my opinion) and time on our own to explore - we had a total of 3 hours at the ruins, over 2 hours with the guide and only 45 minutes to explore on our own.

The one negative thing in our experience was our room -nothing wrong with it per se...but our villa was one of the closest to the road and so if you opened the patio door you could hear the traffic from it...so we didn't sit out there at all. If we ever returned, I think I would prefer to stay at the Colonial side as their rooms are set back a bit back from the road. But the room itself was quite comfortable and the mini bar was always replenished with bottled water and pop. There is a safe provided in the room at no charge which we used to keep our passports and cash, etc;

There is a spa onsite - the treatment options were quite expensive,but you could use the jacuzzi, swimming pool, steam bath and sauna for free - we did this a couple of times - very nice. Other amenities included mini-golf, a very large athletic centre --but we just didn't have the time to use these.

The Mayan Riviera is truly a beautiful area - this hotel was very nice - I would not hesitate to recommend it to friend and family.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank TeresaOntarioCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa, responded to this review, December 23, 2015
Thank you for staying with us and for your kind review and recommendation.
We appreciate your kind words on our beautiful grounds and resort amenities. Our staff is always there to assist and make your experience even greater. It’s our hope to be able to exceed your expectations once more.

 thank you for your visit; we hope that you had a pleasant journey back home and look forward to welcoming you back in the near future to provide you with another enjoyable experience. 

Best wishes,
Santiago Escañuela
Asistente Dirección
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vaughan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2009

My husband and I, along with another couple, ventured to the Grand Palladium Kantenah for a long awaited, well deserved vacation and received just that. The resort itself is beautiful and peaceful. The property is very large (and built around mangroves). Once you understand the layout, it is quite easy to get around. The service at this resort to be quite honest was substandard and definitely not 5 star quality. The front desk staff was miserable and uncooperative when faced with problems encountered by guests. They were very good at "passing the buck" so to speak (can you come back later to speak to someone else because "I don't know"). We had problems from the moment we arrived with our room access as our door mechanism was malfunctioning. It took 3 days to resolve the problem and with no apologies from management. This was extremely disappointing and frustrating as we could never enter our room without assistance from hotel staff - which at times took over 15 minutes! Another problem we encountered was at the Hemingway Bar. International drinks were available from 6pm to 12pm however, if you request too much of one drink the bartender may tell you he cannot give you anymore because he only has one bottle that is supposed to last him all night. I think they forgot to advise us that drinks are rationed at these bars! The food at the buffets was ok - nothing spectacular - you should make sure that your meat is thoroughly cooked as there were some occassions where chicken was still pink in the middle. Overall, we did have a good time. The beach was beautiful - some areas were rocky but if you venture off to the Kantenah/Colonial side the beach was rock-free. The hotel was at full capacity and there was no problem finding lounge chairs and shade at all times of the day.

  • Liked — The beach
  • Disliked — The service
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Fabcat2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa, responded to this review, December 23, 2015
Thank you for taking the time to hare your standpoint about your experience at the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa.

It is of deepest regret to learn that your recent stay with us was anything less than exceptional. We appreciate that you took the time to provide this feedback as the points you have described are being reviewed by our Management Team as they share a common interest to ensure that these issues do not occur again. We apologize that we have missed the level our guests have come to expect from us. 

In short, thank you for your trust and hope that despite the issues you comment, you were able to create a nice memory of your vacation.

Regards
Santiago Escañuela
Asistente Dirección
Report response as inappropriate
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USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 26, 2009

Just got back from hotel. Great stay and good food. Just have to know the ins around the resort in order to get away from crowds. Lots of Europeans who crowd the buffet and push and cut in lines. Just stood around watching the people fight for a place in lines. Great people watching. The drinks were good but after a couple of days, everything was just too sweet including the beer - "sol". One bar next to two restaurants did serve Dos Equis which was a great change. The sit downs were good, but don't eat the salad!!!!!! One day just sitting close to the restroom.
The hotel was pretty clean. They kept it clean during busy times.

  • Liked — The happy staff members who kept being happy even when people were rude to them
  • Disliked — The Steelers fans who wore their steeler jerseys.
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jjr15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa, responded to this review, December 23, 2015
In short... thank you. For your words, for your trust, and for your time. It was lovely having you here and we are looking forward to see you back again anytime near soon
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cumbria
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2009

just come back this hotel is reall nice it is 1 of four hotels in the sam.e group all next to one another .you are able to use all the bars and restarants in all four so pleanty of choice the rooms are very nice lovley and clean it was very busy when we where there but you could always get a sun bed food was nice some of the al acarte where not very good the fish one was rubbish if you wont freshly cooked fish you are better going to the buffet restarant good choice there the spa is really good only down side is there are not many english there . lots of loud americans ,spanish canadians who tend to take over the bars and pool bars !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! on the whole it was a lovley holiday and I would recommend it

  • Liked — lovey & clean
  • Disliked — loud americans spanish & candians !!!!!
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank CumbriaSue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa, responded to this review, December 23, 2015
Thank you for taking the time to hare your standpoint about your experience at the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa.

All of our guests’ comments are appreciated, as we are always researching areas to improve upon in order to provide out guests with the quality vacation experience. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and we hope that you will visit us again soon. 

 It's our pleasure to have you visit and we look forward to your return. 

Kind regards,
Santiago Escañuela
Asistente Dirección
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa

Property: Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and 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 Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Akumal
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Akumal
#5 Romantic Hotel in Akumal
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Akumal
#7 Luxury Hotel in Akumal
#7 Spa Hotel in Akumal
#8 Family Hotel in Akumal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 422
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

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