Perhaps we were spoiled by our first few days in a much nicer hotel, but this place did nothing for us and we will never return to it or any of the chain's other resorts. We stayed in the White Sand section of the resort in a Mayan Suite on the lake and took the train to see the other three lobbies. The only thing I can say in favor of White Sand compared to the others is that it is a bit quieter, if that's your thing. However, our first night at the hotel there was a wedding reception with blaring music, bad karaoke and loud drunk people at the restaurant across from us on the lake that went on until 1:30 am or later. We were awakened by angrily honking geese at 6:30 am. Luckily the geese wake-up call was a one-time event during our stay.
The staff here very obviously work hard (and we believe in tipping well for all services, regardless of whether gratuity is supposedly included in the price), but the service was just plain bad. Our room was rarely serviced by cleaning staff, even when we left a card in the key slot from the time we left in the morning to when we returned to wash up before dinner. On our second to last day I had trouble dialing out of out hotel room so I called the front desk to ask them about it. They literally hung up on me no less than five (5!) times. I was flabbergasted and was ready to storm the gates when my husband reminded me that since there are four or five different hotels in the resort I had no way of knowing which front desk I had actually dialed when I hit "front desk" on our room phone. Ugh.
As previously mentioned, we stayed in an individual Mayan Suite on the lake which was nice in that it was located very close to the lobby so if we needed anything we never had far to walk (except to the beach - that always felt far away). The room was dark and dingy. The curtains had moth holes in them so large that they let in pin holes of light in the morning, one of which shone directly at my face. There were cobwebs in the rafters with things dangling in them. All of the fabric in the room was faded. In essence, the room was badly in need of a renovation. The bathroom, however, was very nice and very clean. The outdoor shower was kind of gross. I love an outdoor shower. The first hotel we stayed in before this one had an outdoor shower and we never once showered indoors. But this one was just... icky.
When we first arrived, both the indoor and outdoor showers were clogged and wouldn't drain and the hot water wasn't working on the outdoor shower. We called the front desk for maintenance who arrived the next afternoon and even though it took them a while to respond to the call, they did a fabulous job and were super friendly. I wish I could remember their names because it was the best encounter we had with a Grand Palladium employee the entire visit.
The pools were gross. We tried the pool near us at White Sand as well as the attached adults-only pool and the main pool closer to the beach. After the first day my husband flat-out refused to swim in them because they were so dirty and we stayed at the beach for the rest of our stay.
There is really only one part of the beach where you can swim. The rest is a reef zone. When you reach the beach you will be able to tell immediately where that one part is because no one is in any other part of the water. There are entertainment staff (People of Palladium, or POP) who travel to different parts of the resort every day to, well, entertain people. Sometimes they are at different pools, different parts of the beach, etc. One day while we were enjoying a beautiful day at the beach, we were interrupted by this entertainment staff who basically threw a party right where we were relaxing. It looked like fun, but I did not want to take a meringue lesson - I wanted to listen to the waves! We figured we would wait it out, but it went on all morning and afternoon. I left the beautiful, relaxing beach with a headache and an urge to hit something.
There is a lot of wildlife on this resort, which I really liked. We saw a ton of iguanas, more than we saw at any other part of Mexico we visited, raccoon, coati, agouti (looks like a giant rat, or a cross between a rat and a giant rabbit - this thing really freaked me out the first time we saw it!). The ponds between White Sand and Riviera are full of fish on one side and koi fish on the other. Some parts of the ponds desperately need to be cleaned, or maybe just cordoned off and destroyed. There are parts right next to the sidewalks where people frequently travel that are just not ponds anymore. They are slime and grit and nastiness and they SMELL horrible. The fish can't and don't swim there at all. I don't know how employees and management walk this way every day without thinking, "Hmm, we should probably do something about that..."
There is a crocodile pit underneath a bridge between White Sand and Riviera. We never crossed it completely so I don't know where it led, probably to the Royal Suites or something. But the pit was SO SMALL I have no idea how they find it ethically acceptable to keep a fully grown crocodile in there - but so you have it. I think they should be ashamed of themselves. I really felt very bad for that poor crocodile.
Our lobby at White Sand had a ton of cats all over the place. Kittens, really, and just a few cats, which tells me they take no responsibility for the animals that live on or near their supposedly environmentally friendly resort and do nothing to catch, spay/neuter and release these creatures or provide food or shelter for them. As far as I could tell they slept under the lobby couches (which were also old, faded, and torn, just like the furnishings in our room).
There are gentlemen driving golf carts around the resort with signs on top indicating to which rooms or lobbies they are able to taxi guests. Never once while we were walking around this huge resort were we offered a ride, even when we tried to flag down an empty cart. They never stopped for us. I do not understand the purpose of a transportation system that refuses to transport guests.
The final straw had nothing to do with the hotel. It was Olympus Tours. We booked this trip through AAA who handled our transportation to and from the airport through Olympus who are supposed to keep regular hours in the lobby as posted. Arturo was there for the first few days and he was very helpful, but he could not tell us when or how we were supposed to get back to the airport. He said to check in on Wednesday or Thursday before we left and he would let us know when we were being picked up. No one was there Wednesday. On Thursday, someone was supposed to be in the lobby from 8:30-10:00 am. We waited in that lobby from 8:00-9:30. We paced back and forth between the White Sand and Riviera lobbies from 9:30 to 10:30. We got royally p*ssed off and tried to use a hotel phone to call Olympus' local office in the Riviera Maya (because the phone in our room wasn't working). No one answered on their customer line. Then suddenly, there was a rep at the hotel. We finally were allowed the privilege of speaking with her at 12:30 pm. Are you kidding we? We literally wasted half of our very last sunny day in Mexico - the last day of our honeymoon - so someone would tell us, "OK, just be in the lobby at 7:00 am tomorrow and the van will be here to take you to the airport. Do you need anything else? No? Goodbye." Forget you guys. I'll make my own transportation plans the next time we travel down here. That was RIDICULOUS.
Don't waste your money on the Grand Palladium. Seriously. I wish we hadn't.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Palladium White Sand 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 White Sand are invited to use the facilities provided by the adjoining Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa, the Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, and the Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa (excluding the Royal Suite facilities). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Palladium White Sand Resort And Spa
- Grand Palladium White Sand Hotel Akumal
- Palladium White Sands
- Grand Palladium White Sands Resort
- Grand Palladium White Sand Resort & Spa Riviera Maya/Akumal, Mexico