I'll start off by saying that this was my first vacation south, as well as my boyfriend who traveled with me, so we did not have any comparison of other countries or resorts.
That said.. we loved this hotel. It is located on a huge, beautifully kept complex with other hotels you can share amenities with (pools, lobbies, restaurants, buffets). Lots of walking, or if you prefer it there are trains and golf carts to take you too and from your villa/from lobby to lobby. We booked with transat and had the 'imperial club' which offered us a few benefits such as a welcome fruit basket and small bottle of tequila.
The room: Our room was a junior suite, and for two of us - I can't imagine needing anything more than that! It was a lovely large room on the third floor of building 56, close to both the main pool and the ocean. Very clean and well kept. No elevator, but in the long run I think those stairs helped me burn off all the food we ate. We did have a problem with our shower not draining properly (took about 20-30 mins after a shower to drain the water), we called on our second day there and they send they were sending someone "now" but it never got fixed. The decor is a little dated, and our couch had some stains on it as well, but we aren't the kind of people to focus on little things like that.
The food: My recommendation is to check out the different buffets. We ate lunch at the buffet by our pool because it was convenient, meanwhile right around the corner there was a much bigger and better buffet being served at the riviera! Buffet food was good enough, decent selection. I found that unless the food was being cooked in front of you it was generally not hot, but not cold either. Desserts were nothing special, at the buffets or the a la carte restaurants. We ate at the Mexican, Japanese, Chinese and the beach BBQ. All were good food, and a nice change from the buffet which you get a little sick of after eating there for breakfast and lunch. The Mexican restaurant took about 50mins to bring us our food, which was nothing complicated to make, it was hot and it was good but a long wait. I recommend checking out the beach bar closest to the salt water pool, you can also order lunch there with table service and the bar is 24hrs so if you get up to enjoy the sunrise you can enjoy a cappuccino and a pastry too!
I found the pools to be clean and never had a problem swimming in them, not sure what other reviews that refer to this mean! I had no reservations swimming in either the adult pool or the main pool. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere you can also use the spa pool which is silent, and quite lovely. We had a couples massage, and I had pretty low expectations being someone who has had quite a few massages, but I quite enjoyed it! We also received a 15% discount with the imperial club wristbands. The White Sands seemed to be the quieter of the hotels, we spent a lot of time in the lobby relaxing on the couches and listening to the (cheesy) music. There was a couple of different weddings when we were there, but we never felt as though it affected our stay at all. I agree, things happen at a leisurely pace there - we liked to call it "mexican time". With regards to others mentioning having trouble booking with the a la cartes. We booked for our whole stay on the second day, in the afternoon, no line up no problem done and done. We even walked into the Chinese restaurant without a reservation and were seated straight away. Perhaps this is because there was only 2 of us!? Or maybe luck. We also missed our reservation for the japanese and they still managed to get us seated at the show table.
All in all I would recommend this hotel and would definitely consider going back. Many of the reviews I read were helpful, but it seems everyone has a very different view of what a good resort is.
- 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