Second trip to Palladium - first one about 7 years ago. Have been to Mexico about 8 times. Huge hotel, lots of walking, restaurants, bars, spa. Very nicely maintained. We booked a suite via Transat vacations - emailed the hotel to request an oceanview told them it was our 15th anniversary and we were repeat guests staying for 2 weeks. I'm pretty sure they rec'd my email as when we checked in they wished us a happy anniversary. Well - they didn't do anything really for us - you could see the ocean if you peaked around someone else's balcony. We ended up paying $15US per night for an upgrade to an ocean suite which was available the 2nd week of our stay in the riveria section which was gorgeous.
We enjoyed the a la cartes - we had 10 guaranteed reservations so we didn't have to wait for a table - some people were waiting 1-2 hours. We tried most places. Some were better than others - they could work on the lighting (dimmer lights are much more romantic). Lobby/beach bars were good & you could always find food at any time of day/night. Beach snack bars - average...for some reason they can't cook a good hamburger (undercooked so check before you eat). The buffet by the pool was great for lunch.
Suites - very nice spacious, we had 2 balconies and once we got the oceanview the views were amazing. Beds are hard & pillows are awful. Our biggest complaint was noise in the rooms. Rooms are in blocks with an open courtyard. Sounds carries pretty good and for some reason our neighbours (or maybe the maids) were constantly moving furniture around (or so it seemed) which made it hard to get a good night sleep even with earplugs. We noticed this in the White Sands & Riveria suites we had.
Beach - nice, but somewhat rocky in place. You can walk all the way to the El Dorado. Good for snorkelling & you'll see lots of fish, stingrays and the odd sea turtle. It rained one day for about 1/2 hour and the rest of the time was super hot which we loved.
Insect repellent - not too bad but best to bring some if the mosquitos like you. If u forgot anything, best to go to town to buy it - the hotel prices are pretty steep.
Getting around - collectivos are great, fast & cheap (12 person mini-van that goes Playa del Carmen to Tulum & everywhere in btwn for $3 US). We used them to go to Akumal - which has great snorkelling, lots of turtles. Also a vendor there who makes the best empanadas (meat filled pastries). We also went to Playa del Carmen 3 times for shopping/dinners returning around 10pm using the collectivos...very safe, no one bothered us & great food.
Best restaurant in town is Ajua - it's off 5th avenue. Their chicken enchilladas with mole sauce is out of this world. We always visit this place when we go to Mexico - this trip we went there twice for dinner/drinks www.ajua.biz Very romantic candles/linens), great service, music and very reasonable in price...
Booked a full day trip Coba Maya Encounter with Alltournative. Well worth the money... climbed an ancient temple 130+ feet up, ziplined over a pond with crocodiles, walked around the jungle, rapelled 50 ft down into a cenote, had a "mayan" lunch & learned a lot about the land, culture.
Overall a great trip - we spent a fair time off the resort which is typical for us. I have to say, I was disappointed Palladium didn't really do anything for us as repeat guests celebrating an anniversary AND charged us for the oceanview. Wasn't a huge fee, but still... not like it's high season.
We stayed at the Riu Yucatan for our 10th anniversary and they seemed to go out of the way for us (we booked a room and they upgraded us to a suite, special dinner, flowers,private shuttle at the airport) so I'd be inclined to return to the Riu. Maybe the Riu spoiled us...
Lastly - buy a few beers when you get off the plane for the busride to the hotel. It's a good way to start your trip.
- 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