Kantenah, Grand Palladium Colonial & Kantenah Resorts & Spa Reviews

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“An awesome honeymoon!”


written by Bostinaustin on 20/08/2012

What a truly awesome place!!! We stayed from 2nd August - 16th August 2012 going with first choice in the Colonial side of the resort. Villa 21. We booked this holiday 14 months before going and were not disappointed. The taxi transfer we paid for was worth every penny arriving way before the main coach transfer £38 via holiday taxis (one way only) through Thomson travel agent we booked with. We were on honeymoon so got an upgraded room to a junior suite, which was fabulous and a fruit basket and half bottle of tequilla...very happy! What a change to get your aircon and safe included in the price, not what you get in Europe. The room was more than ample for us (and including our son) two double beds and a double bed settee, 2 chairs and table also, ironing board and iron, hairdryer even a spa bath. The drinks fridge was refilled daily with everything you would need along with coffee for the machine, which was used every morning. The location of our room in Villa 21 was 1 minute walk from the pool, 2 minutes walk from the beach and 3 minutes walk from the buffets/restaurants. With that much drink on hand for you all the time in the resort the coffee was the only thing used just for first thing in the mornings. The added extras of a ceiling fan, mosquito door if you wanted the door onto the patio open, TV, desk and stool. Rooms were excellent especially considering there was no way you'd want to be indoors on a resort like this. (plus we understand rooms are being updated.....updated they are great as they are but this resort is still pushing forward every year with updates and doesn't stand still). The location of the resort was fantastic with many places to visit very near. (Approx 1 hr 20 mins from Cancun airport). Do not underestimate the size of this resort it is huge, you can try your best to see and do everything in two weeks but really is impossible and we will return to explore the rest! The amount of animals we saw was like being in the middle of a zoo, coatis, racoons, degus, beautiful coloured birds, lizards, iguanas it was truly amazing all wild but close enough to get fabulous pictures. The resort is only 30 mins from Playa Del Carmen which you can get to on a Collectivo (local bus outside the resort) and very cheap 35 pesos or around 14 dollars by taxi. Xel-Ha is also only 20 minutes away. Akumal Beach around 15 minutes away. We ate in a number of al la carte restaurants in the evening such as the steak house, chinese, mediteranian, brazillian, ribs and more which was lovely to get waited on. In the Tikal, La Hacienda both buffett restaurants also of an evening. The La Hacienda, El Gran Azul and Beach Bars both Colonial and Whitesands sides in the day. All the food was fantastic, great quality, plenty of it and hot. You will really be spoiled for choice. We ate at a number of different times of an evening from 6.00pm up to 7.30pm and didn't have a problem once for a table no waiting at all. We always found eating at these times was lovely and quiet and relaxing and the food quality and service was just lovely. The Sports Bar was great for updates on the olympics during our stay, you could access the internet also their at a small charge and again food was available in their too including popcorn. We drank too in the Churchill Bar which did branded drinks and it was lovely and quiet in their too if you wanted some quiet time (plus it was a smoking bar inside too). We got advice off trip advisor to take bubba mugs so we purchased 2 to take over and boy they were worth it, the barmen happily fill these up with whatever you want them too soft drinks, beer, cocktails and they kept our drinks ice cold!!!! My son totally loved the ice cream on tap (out the machine) helping himself to vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or a mix in either a tub or cone, but be aware the heat makes them melt quickly so enjoy as soon as! The ice-cream in the El Gran Azul was scooped for you into tubs or cones and was delicious which was ideal dessert after lunch! David was lovely in the Tikal buffet for he helped us learn some Spanish.,....thank you! No need at all to get up at dawn to lay towels on beds for the pool or beach, we always found spare beds by the pool up till lunchtime and all day on the beach (including hammocks on the beach too), the beach was so vast there was never a worry. The main pool by the beach was truly huge and never appeared crowded in the pool or around the outside, including several jacuzzi areas and swim up bar. Every day the pool photographers came round to take pictures which would include such variety, loads of animals were brought down to have photos pool side parrots, iguanas, monkeys, tucans. Photos taken with friends, family, individually all available in the Kantenah photo shop. These are reasonably priced and can be purchased in either sets, individually, on disc, on canvas all sorts and these are also displayed in books going back a number of days just in case you forget to pop in at the end of the day. You can pay by card so don't worry if you don't have the cash. Pool entertainment was really fun, we took part in paper plan competitions, darts competitions, crazy games but there's so much more you can take part in. There's zumba classes or salsa classes too if you're feeling energetic, Spanish lessons if fancy learning the language. If you go to the beach on the Kantenah side you will see a protected fenced off area for the turtle eggs that nest on their which is really interesting. You can snorkel out off the beach too and not that far either (I'm 5 ft 6" and was only up to my chest) and saw huge amounts of fish. You can do all sorts of watersports, pedalos, catemarans, kayaks, scuba diving, reef fishing and more......what a huge choice! Must do trips for us was the Dolphin swim at X-Caret through First Choice, there was the 3 of us with a dolphin all to ourselves for a whole hr, and by the time we finished we realised we were the last out of the part of the lagoon area it was truly a "must do before you die" experience. The trip was Dolphin Silver at $159 dollars per person (same price for children) expensive yes but worth it. But unfortunately the cost of photos was ridiculous $233 dollars for the DVD and photos on USB or $29 dollars per 10 x 8 photo. We also did the Underwater World trip through First Choice too $74 dollars per adult and $45 per child, 1/2 day with a swim in an underground cenoti which was breathtakingly beautiful and courage building followed by a trip to Akumal Beach to swim with the Turtles. Wet suites, snorkel, lifejackets and flippers were all included in the cost along with a bottle of water and snack returning to the hotel at 1.30pm. It was another memorable trip which was well worth it, purchasing photos on this one was so much cheaper at 350 mexican pesos for all your family group photos only on disc (we got 45 of the 3 of us) plus the photos of the animals we saw and onother 100 photos of other fish/animals seen in the sea. We did a full trip also Coba Mayan Traditions which was $110 dollars per adult and $55 dollars per child, which was expensive and unfortunately the trip did not live up to our expectations, mainly I think because the first visit to a traditional mayan village was brief, the onto Coba which was an 1hrs walk to climb it, plus an 1hr back seeing the rest of the ruins on the way. Coba is extremely high and the view was well worth it. Then onto an outside Cenoti which we didn't go into because the rain and we'd also done the underground cenoti the previous day. So for us the cost was high for what we got out of it. Plus it was a whole day out 8.15am pick up and back at around 6.00pm ish. We took Mexican pesos (on advice from the uk friends/family) and only but realised much of the currency used was american dollars. If we would have known this before we would have taken majority of the money in dollars and a small amount of pesos. Take lots of 1 dollar bills for tipping as the staff really do work so very very very hard and are worth being tipped for the service they provide. We English are not accoustomed to tipping but please please do. The staff are so hard working, friendly and well deserve it as there are over 3,500 staff their working hard to ensure so much is done for their guests in front and behind the scenes. The entertainment of an evening we always found fun, my son age 10 particularly enjoyed this. It went on in the Colonial part from 9-10pm and then moved over to the Riviera part afterwards. Plus after the show at the Colonial part had finished a live band played also. There were these golf buggy trains that took you everywhere!!!! Ones that took you to all 4 lobbys in the resort. Ones that took you to all the villas in the resort. Ones that took you to your room on arrival and collected your cases on your return home. Plus the one just like a train to take you everywhere! We were really concerned that the resort would be too big for us and we envisaged catching a golf buggy train everywhere but once you find your bearings you really only use them when really needed or maybe not if you enjoy the rides so much. The weather over in Mexico was hot and humid. We expected rain every day during our stay but didn't get much at all a few sharp showers but that was about it. Only on the one day on our Mayan tour did it start to rain and carry on for the day purely because we caught the tropical storm left over from hurrican Ernesto but that didn't ruin anything, in fact it was rather exciting but again when it did rain the resort was well prepared the trains had zip down plastic covers to protect you whilst riding and lobbys hand rolled down plastic sheets to protect you whilst sitting and having a drink......the resort knows exactly what they are doing. I had some fantastic chats with Neil our First Choice Rep who was very down to earth, practical, giving fantastic advice. We got on with him extremely well and spent 2 evenings happily chatting away to him....thanks Neil :-) Our favourite barmen were Valentin and Santiago at the Colonial and they always placed another drink down as soon as our glasses were empty, but not only had fun with us but our son too. Thank you both. Mosquito bites are always something I suffer from terribly but having purchased a mosi band from Neil for $20 dollars each for me and my son as well as using high bug spray I didn't get half as many as normal so that was great for us! There is a lovely market held in the areas by the resort lobbies which is nice to amble round as well as on the beach by the snack/beach bars as we didn't hit the shops on our visit so was great to buy momentos for us and family at home. We purchased a phone card to phone home to the uk from the machine by the pay phones in the lobbies which was a brilliant idea and cheap too. It enabled me to phone home 3 times!!! $20 dollars for 18 minutes.....what more could you ask for. Free wii fi was available in all the lobbies enabling facebook to be accessed easily. For the cost of the holiday was amazing for what we got, you REALLY didn't have any hidden extras to pay for as you can often find when going on holilday. What you pay is what you get and what you get is truly amazing. I put on my first facebook status.......I'm in paradise with my husband!!! Europe is well and truly knocked on the head by this resort. I've never been to Mexico before and therefore this is only resort hotel I have stayed in and well I wouldn't want to stay anywhere else. I have even emailed the hotel to tell them how wonderful it was and having heard on the plane return home from other couples their hotels were not a patch on ours and now I'm going to rave about this with everyone. We are planning on returning in 2 years time and have mentioned it to our friends who are also going to come with us, let's hope it isn't full as I know its so popular with return guests, we met a family from Maryland who were such fun and it was their 3rd return and have now become travel club members too! We didn't use the spa facilities, eventhough heard good reports.....just didn't have time, however, my husband did have a massage at one of the massage areas by the pool. Don't think you're having this done in full sight of everyone either because they are hidden away from view. Don't also think this resort is full of a particular nation also as we met american's, canadians, english, french, spanish so a lovely well rounded resort of nationalities. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Grand Palladium Colonial, Kantenah, Riviera, White Sands Resorts Spa and to all its staff, we had an awesome time staying with you and are looking forward to our return to your resort to check out all the rest we didn't have time for a re-do all the things we enjoyed so much.

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“Second time visiting the Colonial Palladium, loved...”


written by on 19/03/2008

Second time visiting the Colonial Palladium, loved everything about the resort. Excellent service, fantastic food and beautiful beach. nothing bad!!!

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“Colonial Palladium: Management are indifferent to...”


written by andrewlands on 25/04/2005

Colonial Palladium: Management are indifferent to complaints. We arrived at the resort and was taken to Kantenah side of resort. The construction noise deafening. It Starts up again religiously at 7 am. Bring ear plugs. I asked to be moved to other side and Was told by the manager that we could move to junior suite on colonial side, I was going to pay additional $40 a day for the upgrade. I Was even given building number etc. and told I would get a letter under the door outlining transit procedures the next day. I Come back from the beach - no letter, I went to the front desk and was told there never was a suite available. I moved to the standard room on the Colonial side Saturday. Much nicer side in my eyes. You cannot get money on a cash advance from the hotel. The atm (way off the beaten path) does not usually accept American or Canadian atm cards. I was told I could go to Playa del Carmen to get cash if I needed it (a $40 cab ride) I was told by the desk manager that I did not need money, when I said I would like to give the staff a tip here and there, he said they don't need it, they get %5 of the tab at the end of the month - did not go down to well with staff when I told them. Don't run to the "speciality" restaurants - same food as buffet only with servers who are not any different from those who would normally work at a fast food restaurant. Japanese restaurant food only really different option. Stay away from sushi and sashimi, looks like it was fresh a week ago or more. Minors get wrist bands that designate them as not eligible for alcohol. This is not enforced by bar staff in the least. We saw a group of 14-15 year olds doing shots at one bar several nights in a row. I was able to get a significant case of traveller's stomach distress within 2 days of being there. It has lasted 9 days so far. My wife has had the same condition for the past 5 days. Fortunately, my 13 yr daughter only had a slight case.
When making your dinner reservations at the "select" restaurants - there are no menus to review. When asked, we were told - "that everyone would want to read them!" Do not book trips through the on site travel agents. They are a complete rip off. For example, their trip to Xel-Ha is something like $130 a person - instead, a family of three can take a cab there and back, pay the entrance fee and get it all done $220.

In a nutshell - nice place - pleasant surroundings, nice beach, clean pools, decent staff for the most part, management that doesn't know it's @@@ from it's elbow - wild inconsistencies abound. If I had a choice, probably would try somewhere else next time.

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My family and I returned to the Palladium in April...


written by capecodann on 16/05/2004

My family and I returned to the Palladium in April 2004 for our second trip there. First time we stayed on the Kantenah side which was in a beautiful jungle setting. This time we stayed in a Jr. suite on the Colonial side, closer to the beach and pool. Both sides have much to offer.

Normally we enjoy trying new resorts. Our first trip in June 2003 was so perfect, however, that we decided to return. This is the first time that we brought a friend for our daughter who is now 13. The girls had been friends for years and have a lot in common. Having a friend along really enhanced our experience. The girls were very happy "hanging out" together and the adults enjoyed some free adult time.

As I have an extensive, detailed report elsewhere, I'll make this a summation.

Palladium from 2003-2004: The Palladium has earned the distinction of five stars from Apple within the last year. In my view, they deserve this rating. Upon leaving the resort, the guests receive surveys from the management. It is apparent that these are analyzed. The management is receptive to guest suggestions and improvements have been made in small but significant ways. As an example, my one area of disappointment on our 2003 trip was the choice and volume of music. I found it to be too loud and too harsh for my enjoyment. I had read other trip reports that mentioned the music. The management has greatly improved the music so that it is soft and subtle and really adds to the ambience. The water-robics music is appropriate without being intrusive.

Another area in which the resort has attempted to improve is that of activities and amenities. They have added hammocks, floats for the pool and sea, boogie boards, have extended disco hours for teens in a non-alcoholic environment and attempted to add other activities for pre-teens and teens such as basketball and soccer as well as "rainy-day" activities. There is always something planned for adults from beach volleyball, to music and dancing in the various lounges in the evenings and an evening show.

Food: The food is consistently five-star with a lot of variety. There is something for everyone in the buffets, i.e. custom pasta station, various meats, poultry, seafood, soups, salads and a very popular desert crepe station. The food in the al a cartes was excellent. The breakfast buffet is a breakfast lover's paradise. The food was served fresh, at correct temperatures and presented beautifully. Another nice addition is the help-yourself food bar at the beach bar starting at around noon. This was popular with the kids for french fries, chicken nuggets, etc. and popular with the adults for the excellent guacamole. This is replenished with fresh food often. There is a Friday night beach barbeque and a Sunday afternoon beach paella party. Paella is prepared using a recipe from Ibiza, Spain.

Beverages: This is another area in which the resort has improved. There is top shelf liquor served in Hemingways Bar. As I am a wine drinker I noticed the improvement in that the resort upgraded the house wine from Mexican to Spanish wine. They also serve a sparkling wine called Dubois. There is a wine list should anyone wish to purchase something more sophisticated. Beer in the fridge was Superior or Dos Ex. Dos Ex was served on tap. Coffee and cappuccinos are excellent. The water at this resort is safe as they have their own water purification system.

Cleanliness: Outstanding. The entire resort was immaculate. Everything shines! Maid service was excellent. The public restrooms were cleaned every half hour.

Beach and pool: Maintenance was outstanding. The staff here work extremely hard to keep up with the guests. (Please don't litter your cups and/or cigs.) There were always numerous workers on the beach and at the pool at the crack of dawn. There are several pools of various depths. The main pool is lake-like and is 5'3" deep. There are more shallow pools for activities such as water sports and a kiddy pool. There are two separate pools in the jungle which are 4'11" deep; the Adult pool and the Spa pool. Both of these have wait service.

The beach was different this year in that it varies almost daily. As we had a nice tropical breeze, there was a surf that brought in a beltway of coral and rocks along the shore on the Colonial side for part of the week. Once past the beltway, the beach was soft and white. The resort has added mobile signs indicating where the rocks and coral are, as they move. By the end of the week this beltway had disappeared. The Kantenah side of the beach is soft and white. There are plenty of shady spots all during the day if one wanders away from the beach bar.

Service: The service in the bars and a la cartes was excellent. Once again, the staff try very hard to please. The service in the buffets varied depending on how busy it was. We tended to go to breakfast and dinner early so we experienced excellent service and never waited in lines. We noticed that it got a little busier during peak hours. This is indicative of a resort that has become very popular and is experiencing 100% occupancy. If you go with realistic expectations and appreciate the staff for how hard they work you will enjoy your trip more. A one-dollar tip was met with a smile and a surprise every time we tipped.

Landscaping: Wonderful. I noticed that if plants were less than perfect they were replaced. The entire resort is a beautiful experience for the senses. We did not experience any bugs.

Rooms: Very comfortable. The beds have box springs and mattresses so they are not the typical Mexican hard-as-rocks bed. Rooms are very comfortable with safes, ample closet space, coffee makers, hair dryer, TV with many channels. The Jr. Suites and Mayan suites provide fluffy white robes for use during your stay. Our girls slept on a pull-out couch. Once they got a mattress pad from the maid they were very comfortable.

Wrap-up: Like fine wine, the Palladium keeps getting better with age. The resort is large and offers something for everyone. Even at peak occupancy, we never felt crowded as it is spread out on nearly 200 acres. Would we return: In a heartbeat!

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“Kantenah, Colonial Palladium - My husband and I went...”


written by Altamae on 03/05/2004

Kantenah, Colonial Palladium - My husband and I went to this resort with a group of 20 people for our wedding which was to take place on the beach.... Every girl dreams of the perfect wedding and I am so happy to say my dream came true... The Colonial Palladium was just so phenomenal... they catered for every single requirement that you could ever have....

When we arrived we were all stunned and in shock as to how beautiful it was.... It took us less then five minutes to check in and we were happily suprised to learn that we were upgraded from a Standard room to a Master suite (villa 32 - Next to the beach and the main pool)... that was the best start to our holiday... the suite was so romantic and so well-placed... we could see the main pool and hear the waves of the beach... what more could you ask for... perhaps an outdoor shower... Yep the shower was outside and perfect fit for the atmosphere....
All the al a carte restaurants were superb... this was fine dining with all the trimmings.. and it is so hard to believe that it was all included in the all inclusive.. I have been to a lot of fancy restaurants all around the world and I have to admit that the Mediteranean, Japanese and the Steakhouse restaurants definitely top the list for me...

Every morning was like waking up in paradise.. we would get out of bed - step out onto the balcony and just breathe in the warm tropical feel of the area... we could hear the music from the main pool area which put you in the most extraordinary feeling unexplainable... we would immediately head to the buffet breakfast and eat like kings... the fruit was amazing... and a wide variety...
After breakfast we were faced with the decision to either sit by the pool or down by the beach... both as equally fulfilling as the other... the pool had a great swim up bar which always was fun to have a pina colada at 10am...
There was always something to do... and it became hard to try and fit everything in... but I was more then happy to sun bake by the pool all day long... when it got a little too hot I would just walk into the pool to cool off and back to the sun bathing (if you find the pool area too hot - head to the beach, the wind is just so refreshing that it was never as hot there as it was by the pool)....
Lunch was always a treat - the Gran Azul area by the pool offered a large variety of buffet meals... from a selection of ribs, roast chicken, pork, burgers, hotdogs, pizza, pasta, fish, fries, salad, fruit, and desert... what more could you ask for... and it was all so tasty!!! I tell you they are there to please and they sure do...
Our group varied in age from 15 to 70 years old... This resort certainly catered for everyone...

Our wedding was so romantic and perfect in every way possible... Rocio is the wedding Co-ordinator there and she really is there for you and at your beck and call and there to answer any questions at any time of the day... we met with her for half an hour to pick flowers, music and finalise a few details... that was it... she took care of everything else... The flowers were delivered a few hours before the wedding - the floral arrangement was so professional and exactly the way I described it... Then when the time came - my bridesmaids and myself were picked up from our room with their golf cart and taken to the beach where the ceremony took place... There was a red carpet for us to walk down with roze petals lavishly spread out.... It was like a dream come true - the decor was so beautiful and made you feel as though you were walking down a paradise made just for you.... The chairs for our family and friends were beautifully arranged and covered for a more personal feel.... The gazebo was just so beautiful... I was just trying to let it all sink in... and tell myself it wasn't a dream.... The JP spoke Spanish throughout the whole ceremony and Rocio translated it into English - it gave you the whole spanish feel.... the words that were said was so beautiful... They suprised us by telling us to say something from the heart to each other... it took my husband by suprise and he was unable to think of anything except "I love you" which actually was very funny and we still tease him about it... but that gave me time to think of something from my heart... with all the surroundings and the feeling of pure bliss it was easy to tell him how I felt about him...

We chose the photographer that they recommended for $370.00 US it was totally worth it... He was so professional and the pictures turned out AMAZING what a wonderful job he did, he certainly has given us memories that will last forever...
After the ceremony and photos we headed to the main lobby and had a few drinks with our family and friends then headed to the Steakhouse... they made one big table for all of us.. we started out with a buffet then our main meal.... It was the best meal any of us has ever had.. the steaks were cooked exactly how we asked for it... then they came out with our cake... it was also very tasty and well-decorated....

I hope that if you are planning a wedding and want an experience of a lifetime that you will consider the Colonial Palladium.... I wanted to be able to share my most wonderful experience with you....

My husband and I as well as everyone that joined us are planning our holiday next March 2005.... One week wasn't enough....

If you need anymore details about the wedding etc just drop me a line and I will be more then happy to help you answer any questions...
[email protected]

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“We arrived at the Palladium & were taken to the...”


written by OliveOilTan on 15/03/2004

We arrived at the Palladium & were taken to the appropriate lobby. Check in was a breeze. I emailed ([email protected]) the resort a week prior to our arrival and received my request of "king size bed, shower, Colonial side". We asked for a complementary upgrade and were denied because they were at 100% occupancy. Being at full capacity, this was never noticed by an over abundance of people at any time. I would have though they were only half full. As far as the location of our villa. At first I was disappointed we weren't closer to the pool/beach area. As the week progressed, we were thankful we had a location (Villa 2 - Colonial) close to the lobby/theater area. After being in the hot sun all day, eating a large dinner & watching the shows, we were glad we didn't have far to walk back to our room at night.

STANDARD ROOM (Colonial)- (Villas 21, 20,8 & 9 are Junior suites. Villas 7-1 are Standard rooms.) The room was very cheery & quaint. Three of the walls were painted yellow and one was lime green sponge painted. There was a large closet with 8 hangers (pants or shirts) and 2 shelves. Another shelf held the programmable safe. There was also a long top shelf. There was a desk with 3 small drawers, 2 nightstands with a shelf & drawer and an armoire. The armoire held the TV, fridge, ice bucket and coffee pot. There was also a non-steam iron, ironing board, ceiling fan and smoke detector. There were only 2 pillows on the bed. Our friends had a 3rd in their closet but we didn't. The balcony was good size & had a small table & 2 chairs. The bathroom had a blow dryer (hold the handle in & make sure the switch is on), basket with toiletries (shampoo, bubble bath, tissues, soap, sewing kit, & shower cap). There was also a clothes line in the shower. We had a bath tub with a shower (handicap style). There were only 2 large towels but received more with a "4 toallas por favor". Don't forget that you need to have a room key in the electrical slot by the door for the air & lights to work. We had left it in and it was out when we returned that evening. I wondered why my camera batteries were not charging and realized why. When I explained to the maid I would like to keep the electricity on and showed her the batteries, she always left it in. The room does cool off quickly. When you open the balcony door, the air goes off. The fan switch in next to one of the lights by the bed. You don't have to jump on the bed to turn it off !!! Bring your own shower soap, they have very tiny bars. If you want clean towels, put the used ones on the floor. There was only 3 outlets in the room. If you wanted to charge batteries & iron, it was dark in the room. I would bring an extension cord next time. We had towel art a couple days: swans & bunnies. There was no alarm clock. We did call the front desk for a wake up call & we even got a "snooze" call.
REFRIGERATOR - This was stocked on Saturday, Monday, & Wednesday. It held 4 waters, 4 beers (2 Dos XX, 2 Superior), 6 sodas (Orange, Pepsi, & 7up). We had no problem trading what we didn't want for what we wanted. We just left a note saying "mas orange, pro favor" with what we didn't want next to the note.
PHONE CALLS - (this is in pesos) Local calls, $6/call; USA/CAN $35/min; International, $50/min; Collect $40/call; National, $10/min; Connection charge $40/connection (using hotel "O")
INTERNET CAF - located by the shopping on the Kantenah side. $6/30 min (need to pay in pesos). They give you a slip of paper with a user ID & password. The server is very slow. The computer will let you know when you have so-many minutes left.
BEACH - The non-motorized activities along with a beach bar/snack bar (open 24/7) were on the Colonial side. There is a volleyball net on both sides - the Colonial one had more activity. There was a lot of dead coral rocks as you walked in. Every day was a "yellow flag" day for us. We did notice the rocks moved with the waves so we did find areas where there we no rocks. Since we had a lot of wave action from Claudette, there was some seaweed. This was raked & cleaned daily. We also saw several areas of turtle nests marked but didn't see the turtles.
ALA CARTE RESTURAUNTS - we ate at the Mediterranean, Japanese (no kids menu) & Mexican. Our preferences are in that order. We were very disappointed in the Mexican - very gourmet. All the ala carte restaurants were kind of gourmet style with a limited menu. At the Mediterranean we had: filet with portabella sauce (excellent) grilled tuna (excellent), 3 fish kabob (excellent) & chicken with proshutto (sp?) (good but wouldn't order again). The Mexican restaurant was very entertaining. Their welcome drink & tequila slammers are the bomb!! Ask for the chef's table at the Japanese restaurant where they cook in front of you. RESERVATIONS - make these ASAP. We made them the next morning and had limited times. Remember you aren't just competing with those who just arrived but those who were already there for a couple days.
POOLS - Main: The depth of the main pool is out of control. It's 5'3" so you have to be 6' to carry a drink from the pool bar. We saw a few people become ingenious with their pool rafts. They had the ones with all the holes & would put their drinks in there & float to their spot! The built-in lounge chairs are great. You see people lying in every imaginable position on them. Did see 1 or 2 topless here. Adult: also has the "secret bar". Wilbur is the bartender here & he is the greatest. (Tell him his favorite American friends said hello!) More topless here (always at least 1). TOWELS: Each person received a towel card in exchange for a towel. At the end of each day we just got a fresh towel for the next day and then got our cards back the last night. PALAPS: There were plenty of these at the pool & beach. Since the resort was at 100% occupancy, there was a day or two the prime ones were gone (colonial side) by 10am. There were always plenty at the Kantenah side of the beach. FOOD: The beach bar had the largest choice of pre-mixed frozen drinks (all other bars used a blender). They would just add the liquor. Their menu consisted of burgers, hot dogs, cheese quesadillas, nachos, and guacamole. BREAKFAST: Starts at 6:30. The buffet is very elaborate - you name it, they got it! Egg & omelet buffet, meats, fruit, ice cream, pancakes, potatoes, Danish, breads, sandwich supplies, fruit smooties, & juices. There is also a continental breakfast in the lunch buffet area. LUNCH: You can eat lunch in the breakfast buffet area or by the main pool buffet. At the pool buffet they always had a pizza station, salads, chicken nuggets, fries, grill for fish, chicken & beef, ice cream, & desserts. On some days they had a themed beach BBQ. BEACH BBQ: This was on Friday evening in the beach volleyball area of the Colonial side. They put a sign up at the Colonial buffet on Tuesday. We had to make reservations at the guest relations desk on the Colonial side (limited to 150 people). We were very disappointed in the beach BBQ. There were different meats (lamb, beef, ribs, chicken, sausage, burgers, & hotdogs), baked potatoes, salad, corn & beans. The area was dark so it was hard to see what you were getting and most of the food was cold. The entertainment & ambiance was wonderful. DINNER/THEMES: These are posted outside the dinner buffet areas. Sunday was always Mexican and Friday was always Gala. The other dinner themes were: Marinera, Dominican, Marroqui, Spanish, French, Campesina, Mundial, International & Welcome. All dinners always had a pasta bar, pizza, salads, desserts, fries, & much more!!
SHOWS: There was always a kids show at 8:30 then either bingo or guest awards (archery, bocce, etc.) then the show. A couple shows were audience participation which was actually fun. They had Fantasy (aka: Fantasia), Americana, Latin & Caribbean shows. Just for those kids to get up their in the sweltering heat & move the way they do - I carumba!
There is also a band in the lunch buffet area - just above the swim-up bar every evening. It took us a couple of days to discover this. It was very enjoyable. They have waiters so you don't have to go up to the bar.
VENDORS: On Sunday & Wednesday there were vendors outside of the theater (Colonial). They were expensive but were willing to bargain. I got an extra large beautiful soft blanket for $10. They do have limited selections. (FYI - if you don't get a chance to shop, they do have nice shops at the airport).
ACTIVITIES: Scuba lessons at the main pool every day @ 11am & 3pm; tequila volleyball (miss a shot, do a shot!); meringue lessons, follow the leader, leader, leader; PARASAILING: on the Colonial side, $550 (pesos only) JET SKIING: on the Kantenah side ? price BANANA BOATS: Colonial side $110P / 50 min
MISC: at night there are a bajillion hermit crabs walking around on the beach and around the beach bar; sun rise is beautiful, a lot of German, French & Italians; a lot of topless on the beach; only pesos at the hotel & water sports. Hotel exchange was $1USD/$9.50P/$6.25CAN/$11.25EUR;
ABOUT US & TRAVEL THERE: Just to give you some background about "us". My husband and I went with our friends - both celebrating our 25th anniversary. The men are 50 & us gals are in our mid 40's.
After lamenting about tropical storm Claudette & seeing "thunderstorms" forecasted for everyday of our trip, I am VERY please to saw we never saw 1 drop of rain!
Detroit to Cancun - arrived @ 11:15 am. We were on a TransMeridian flight with Apple Vacations. The food was almost fair and it was very cramped on board. The flight crew was very attentive and professional. Customs and immigration was like a cattle corral. Busy but easy to get through. We did notice 2 couples that were married having a problem getting the wives through. With their birth certificates & driver's license having different names, they were hassled without a marriage license. One lady was denied at first, then let through. The moral of this story is get a passport if at all possible. It really deletes the hassles. Make sure you keep the little white card they give you, that's your visa to get out of the country! After immigration, you get your luggage. It seemed like we waited a long time for our luggage. As you walk out, you have to hit a "traffic signal" button. If it turns red - you get searched! We saw the Apple rep as we got outside. We were taken to a transport van with other Palladiumites. They seemed to try & group us to our resorts.

I guess the bottom line is we DEFINATELY would return to this resort.

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“I too saw the spraying of chemicals! WORSE, I WAS...”


written by yukondiver on 30/01/2004

I too saw the spraying of chemicals! WORSE, I WAS INJURED by a falling palm frond while laying beside the pool. I received a HEAD INJURY which caused a BRAIN INJURY now necessitating medical attention here in the USA. The management showed complete disregard and concern for me. I also have a rather large scar on my forehead. Many dead palms remained around the pool even days after I reported the accident. They even had the nerve of admiting liability but told me I had a superficial injury not warranting any compensation. Tell that to the MRI I just had. Needless to say, my problem WILL become the Palladium's and their insurance company through legal recourse. It is a beautiful place in some ways, but very danergous because of chemical spraying (which I photographed) and of falling palms (photographed). Please beware.

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Huntermc's Response to yukondiver's Review

Written on: 12/02/2004


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Otruv3's Response to yukondiver's Review

Written on: 02/06/2005

stayed there for two weeks with my wife and it was excellent!!!Going again for two more weeks this Aug.No place is perfect but this place was for us!!!

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Nick65's Response to yukondiver's Review

Written on: 05/01/2005

I have to agree, people that work at these places write such lovely reviews. The give away is their improper English/American. Avoid this hotel like the Plague, if you bought a 5 star resort package this ain't it, you paid too much get your money back while you can. If you bought and are expecting a 3 star resort then this my friend is it. The hotel is also right on the road less than 10 feet back from the noise of the road, get a room on the back side and you will hear the trucks running all night.
<br>I felt ripped off when I stayed there and I will make it my job work to tell as many people as I can to never stay here and never book with World of Vacations of Transat Vacations.

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Altamae's Response to yukondiver's Review

Written on: 03/05/2004

I have just come back from staying at the Colonial Palladium and had the most fantastic time of my life... Thanks to the Colonial Palladium they made my dreams come true...

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G55's Response to yukondiver's Review

Written on: 16/02/2004

I was at the Paladium the same time as you, and couldn't fault

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Yukondiver's Response to yukondiver's Review

Written on: 13/02/2004

Sounds like this 2nd commenter works for the hotel

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“My husband and I and our 8 year old grandaughter...”


written by EileenS on 17/01/2004

My husband and I and our 8 year old grandaughter stayed at the Kantenah Colonial Palladium on the Colonial side when it was only 2 weeks old In July of 2002. We returned with another couple in November, who also thought it was the best all-inslusive resort they had ever been to. When we returned this past July, it was even better than the first 2 times. Even though it was full, you never felt like it was crowded. We never had to wait on long lines and the food and service was exceptional! I have been reading many other reviews and about 98% of them are favorable. We will definitely be returning this July staying for 2 weeks. We are hooked!!

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“Palladium- May 25, 2003-June 1, 2003 ”


written by capecodann on 15/01/2004

Palladium- May 25, 2003-June 1, 2003

We are a family of three: middle age Mom, "older" Dad, and twelve-year-old "Abby".

First impressions were very favorable. Overwhelmingly beautiful. The hotel is sprawling and grounds are lush.l. Check-in was swift. We were given maps, relative resort info, and three coupons for ala cartes. We were then whisked away in a golf cart for transfer to Villa 7 on the Kantenah side.

The first floor room was immaculate. Two double beds, box spring & mattresses, not hard. A/C was cold. We were told we had to use one of the two room cards given to us for A/C to work but this was not the case. It never shut off unless we opened the slider to the balcony. Ceiling fan, coffee maker, nice closet with roomy, programmable safe, marble shower and tub, iron, ironing board, hair dryer. Balcony faced the jungle, providing lots of privacy.. Although we were on the first floor we had the sense of being on a hill and thus "raised" up.

As I have posted a long detailed report elsewhere, I shall try to keep this more concise.

Environment: The hotel has a jungle atmosphere.. There are many paths through the jungle, allowing one to experience a peaceful serenity while viewing colorful birds, hermit crabs, iguanas, flamingoes, crocodiles (caged), a wild caomundi. There are wild orchid sanctuaries along the way and benches where one can sit and rest or simply inhale the lovely smells of nature. The resort is sprawling, offering everything from beachside bungalows to three story villas. There is lots of sparkling marble. Everything is immaculate and meticulously maintained. There are two "sides" to this resort - the Kantenah side and the Colonial side. Each side has its own lobby but common areas such as the beach, the pools, the theater, restaurants are shared by both sides.

Beach: Long and varied, offering something for everyone. I walked barefoot for about a half mile to the north towards EDRS. There is a turtle sanctuary there although I saw no turtles. The beach went from soft white sand and aqua water to some spots of coral. There were many areas where one could sit on a lounger in seclusion to the north. The beach to the south is more untouched and does have areas of coral where you would want to wear water shoes. When we were there, there was a yellow flag every day, giving us the perfect amount of gentle wave activity. Many fish can be seen in both the swimming area and the snorkeling areas.

Food: Outstanding in the buffets and the ala cartes. The food was always fresh, delectably prepared and beautifully presented. There are two identical buffets, one on each "side" for all three meals. The main buffets and the ala cartes are A/C. Breakfast is a breakfast-lover's paradise. There were themes at dinner in the main buffet each night, i.e. Gala had every kind of meat one could dream of. The seafood night was my paradise but there were also many meat offerings for my husband. There was always a custom pasta station which my daughter depended on and always fresh seafood regardless of the theme. The same can be said for the Il Gran Azul buffet in the building behind the main pool. The food area there is air-conditioned and great attention is given to hygiene. We always ate lunch there and found the same high quality and presentation, everything from grilled lamb chops, chicken breasts, tender barbecued ribs falling off the bone, steaks, hamburgers, grilled fish , i.e. mahi mahi, sea bass, many salads and a soft serve ice cream station with the most beautiful strawberry ice cream I have ever seen. You are given three coupons for ala cartes per week. I suggest reserving these early. (Guest services in the Colonial lobby.) We tried the Mediterranean Il Vaticano, which was excellent and the Japanese Sump Tuoki, which was fun. We sat at the chef's table and his presentation alone made it worth the visit. The beach bar, which is opened 24 hours per day, offers standard snack food or kids lunch food, i.e. hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, very good french fries, etc. The beach bar is opened 24 hours per day. There was a Friday night barbecue when we were there which we did not try as my daughter didn't want to miss the show.

Service: Outstanding. There is a sense that the staff cannot do enough to please. They work extremely hard and are always very pleasant. We carried some ones ($) for tipping and left the maid $3 per day. Tips were given discretely and always very much appreciated.

Drinks: The water at this resort is safe to drink as they have their own water purification system via reverse osmosis. They provide bottled water as well. The room fridge had the standard bottled water, soda and beer. I believe it was stocked every third day. We requested that the Pepsi be replaced with Pepsi Light and this was happily done for us on the 2nd day. I drink mainly wine and can say that the bottled Mexican wine was very above average by AI standards. I have never been to an AI where the wine was "acceptable". This was quite good. The Tequila shots flowed freely. Hubby said that Hemingway's bar serves top shelf liquor. Coffee and cappuccinos were excellent. My daughter didn't care for the self- serve fruity drinks, i.e. strawberry daiquiri. I have read, however, that if you bring the bartenders fresh fruit from the buffet they will prepare a fresh fruit drink for you.

Pools: Gorgeous lake-like main pool. 5'3" deep. It does have a shelf along the sides with ceramic loungers installed - very nice for lounging with a drink and or a book. Suggest bringing a blow up float for the pool. The swim up bar is near the Il Gran Azul restaurant. There is a kiddy pool nearby, 1'4" deep and another shallow pool for water polo, etc. There is also a pool behind the Spa and a "Secret" adult pool. These are 4'11" deep and each has bar service.

Towels: You are given towel cards upon check in. The towel hut is near the pool on the Colonial side. We exchanged our cards for towels each morning so we would not have to carry them back and forth to the room.

Spa & Gym: The gym is opened 7:30 am to 9 pm for adults only. The Spa is opened at 9am. Services are offered for pesos only - a hotel policy.

Kids Club: It is a well-equipped, fenced in area with a gate. There was plenty of shade. There were, I think, a total of three staff. I had read in the hotel handout that kids must be signed in. Most of the kids were little, 4-6. One naughty little boy tried to "escape" to his mom and a patient kids club lady was right there with him escorting him to his mom. There were two kids club ladies in the kids' pool, 1'4" deep, with floats and about 4 kids. Not too much was organized for older kids. One day there was a water polo game announced. Most of the kids were probably under 8. Another day there was a kid's bingo announced but I didn't notice anyone showing up. The kids all gravitated to the evening shows which I'll cover later. My Abby, aged 12, was content. The size and variety of amenities offered at this resort are a plus in keeping older kids happy.

Activities: A daily schedule is given out at check in. The animation staff organize water-robics, beach volleyball, dancing lessons, Spanish lessons, Bocce and many other activities. There is also a state-of the art basketball court, tennis courts, mini-golf, table tennis. On the beach there is sailing, daily snorkeling and "motorized" activities for a cost, i.e. banana boat, jet skis para sailing. There is also a place where one can paint pottery for a small fee. They glaze it and it serves as a nice souvenir. Good, shady activity.

Topless: The maximum topless I saw at the main pool was one on one day. The maximum I saw at the main beach was two. One day there was one swimming in the most popular beach area. If one walks down toward EDR there are more topless as there is much more privacy. Without leaving the beach I counted five and saw one thong. Now, I can say I did my homework.

Walmart Mugs: I was amused to see many Walmart mugs. (We forgot to use the one we had brought as we always sat near the beach bar.) I found it hilarious that the first day we were there,
there was a couple with Walmart mugs engraved with their names and a date. Must have been newlyweds!

Dress: The buffets are casual, i.e. men are not required to wear long slacks. Slacks are required in the ala cartes. The only time I noticed anyone not allowed in the restaurant all week was when a family approached the main buffet from the beach in wet bathing suits, with towels wrapped around themselves. The management diplomatically sent them to the beach bar. We had lunch in Il Gran Azul in dried-off bathing suits (chairs have upholstered cushions) with cover-ups and footwear.

Weather: Occasional sprinkles. One twenty minute downpour. It rained one night which was refreshing. The rain didn't keep us from doing what we wanted to do. Suggest bringing a poncho if you're going during "rainy season".

Collectivos: There is a stop in front of the hotel. We took one to town. Within minutes we were whisked away by a collectivo full of locals going to or from work. There were also two women holding beautiful young children on their laps. It took about 20 minutes to get to PDC. We were dropped off at Calle 2 and 15th. It cost about $5 for three of us (I tipped the driver).

Taxis: There is a price-list of taxi charges in the Colonial lobby. This made it very easy when I had to hire a taxi to take some things to the Bibliotek in Akumal for me.

PDC: PDC had certainly changed since the last time we visited. Much more developed. As my daughter still did not have her hair braided we were bombarded with "offers". One man quoted $65 for a full head. As I suspected, my daughter studied many of the samples shown her and decided to go back to the hotel. I can't blame her. Many of the vendors are their own worst enemy. As we had hubby escorting us they weren't quite as aggressive as we had experienced in the past but some yelled out comments like, "beautiful daughter". Finding a mirror I sort of liked, I inquired about price. Clad with a calculator the vendor deducted 30% off something and came up with an outrageous price. I guffawed and he started yelling at me, "what, you want it for $5?", etc. Needless to say this sales approach failed. He was still yelling at me when I left the store. Prices were literally all over the place. My daughter bought a hat for 90 pesos that was priced at 170 pesos across the street. She also bought a necklace for 100 pesos. (We got the guy down from 120 but still paid too much.) It was 300 pesos down the street. All the vendors in town we dealt with took US dollars.

Hair Braiding: This is offered at the hotel as are henna tattoos. The sign reads: The sign read: short hair 700 pesos, medium length hair 1000 pesos and long hair 1200 pesos. I had heard through the grapevine that this sign was new as a way to discourage people from negotiating. Well, this didn't stop me! I was able to negotiate. Note: Hotel policy requires services be paid for in pesos. The rate at the front desk is $1 - 9.50 pesos. We did better in town at an ATM.

Internet: Off the lobby. Minimum 60 pesos per half hour.

Bars: There are many to choose from. There is a bar off the theater, a disco bar (opened at 11 pm for over-18), a bar off each lobby where you can relax and listen to live music, an enclosed Hemingway's bar (book exchange here and top shelf liquor), an enclosed Churchill cigar bar, a bar in Il Gran Azul with music and the beach bar as well as bars at the Spa pool and the Adult pool.

Theater: There was a well-attended very funkids show each evening at 8:30 followed by bingo and an evening adult show. I say adult as some of the "moves" were risqu but this was always well-attended by families. We all enjoyed these shows. My daughter was fascinated with the level of skill of the dancers. Shows ended a little before 11 by which time we were usually exhausted.
After the show many kids and adults went to dance on stage

Palladium - Overview - Monologue

On my last day I awoke early. It was partly sunny, very warm with a light breeze. I gathered Abby's float and opened the door to greet the day. I could hear the flamingoes from their home near the lobby. They were always busy chatting. I headed down the jungle path towards the beach. Many iguanas of various sizes scurried about. A distant frog croaking reminded me of the little guy who awaited us at our front door last night. I thought, "Maybe he's the one who ate all the mosquitoes!" As I walked on, many blue crabs scampered into their fist-size holes. I saw
the morning birds of various hues; blues, greens and a yellow canary. Occasionally a butterfly appeared in a stream of light and disappeared into the trees. I had wanted to see the caomundi that we had spotted the first night at the beach bar but he never appeared again. As I passed the orchid sanctuary the peace of this miraculous morning enveloped me. At the same time I could hear the enticing sound of the ocean.

There was soft music playing at the pool. Arriving at the beach, I found work crews dismantling the stage from the barbecue night and cleaning the beach. The beach was fairly quiet this early in the morning. Often there were chairs reserved near the beach bar but there were no chairs reserved that morning. I plopped the float across three loungers and went to the beach bar to enjoy an excellent cappuccino while the sun came up. My family and I agreed that this had been the best family vacation we had ever shared. As we had been traveling with our daughter for her twelve years that's quite an assessment.

When we drove to the airport the next morning it began to drizzle. The Apple rep said, "the sky is weeping for you". I knew that I would have to return to the Paradise I found at the Palladium.

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Moe741's Response to capecodann's Review

Written on: 23/01/2004

This lady took the time to write a lengthy review. How wonderful! She carefully chose her words to eloquently described her true feelings about this resort. I have no reservations whatsoever about my planned trip next month. Trips are like most everything else in this world; you get out what you put in. It's quite apparent this young lady did her homework and, as a result had an amazing stay. Kudos to her and her delightful review.//Moe

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Rachyroars's Response to capecodann's Review

Written on: 27/01/2004

That was an amazing review and i'm am so grateful to have read it! We booked our vacation to Kantenah Colonial Palladium after reading this review. Thankyou for your time and effort in preparing this detailed report. It was like reading a short story!!!!

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Lizzyb's Response to capecodann's Review

Written on: 25/01/2004

We will be spending 7 days at this resort end of May 2004 and so this review was really helpful. We have never done this kind of vacation before and so the info will be helpful. Hopefully we will have the same experience! I have read mostly good reviews of this resort but this one is (so far) the most helpful and the best. Liz

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written by nICK65 on 28/12/2003


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Sissi's Response to nICK65's Review

Written on: 21/01/2004

My family and I would have to agree with you that this is a 3 Star not a 5 Star. The main reason we went there was that it was not too big, only 400 rooms, however, they fail to tell you in the brochure that the adjacent hotel has all shared facilities. Could not get in to the Japanese restaurant, 3 other a la Cartes were for 5:30 seatings, and they wouldn't give bottled water at the bars! The biggest drawback for us was our 6 yr old daughter has juvenile diabetes and needs access to snacks, the "24 hour snack bar" didn't open till 10:30 am. Good thing I packed lots of granola bars and raisins. We wouldn't go back and have written a letter outlining our concerns to our travel agent.

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232640_Donti's Response to nICK65's Review

Written on: 05/03/2006

Well. Do you think you could be any more negative? I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad time, but maybe its because your a high maintenance person? Just guessing, because most of the other reviews i've read about this place are wonderful. Maybe you should look on the bright side of life.

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Nick65's Response to nICK65's Review

Written on: 27/12/2004

<br>By the time you read this response I assume that you are back from you vacation so you can write your follow up to this resort. If you have not left yet then I would strongly suggest you stay at one of the Aventura Palace resorts. These are 5 or 6 star resorts they cost more but you get what you pay for. The Katnenah, Colonial Palladium resort is an over rated 3 star resort that people pay 5 or 6 star to stay at. The place is dirty, the beaches are tiny and the facilities are shared with the next door resort.
<br>If I could suggest this to anyone is not to stay here it is not worth the money. There are many other 5 star resorts that give you 5 star quality, this place give you nothing but indigestion and you'll be lucky if one of the waiters get off their bottom to give you a drink. Get used to getting your own drinks or waiting a very very long time for service. This place gets only 1 star out of six in my rating.

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Eileen V's Response to nICK65's Review

Written on: 29/11/2004

My husband and I are going to the Grand Palladium Apr 17 to May 01 2005. Could anyone give me an idea of the type of weather we can expect (i.e.: is this the rainy season) This is our first time to this coast as we have always gone to PVR. in November, from all the reviews I have read the resort sounds amazing and we are counting down the days till our departure. EVM from BC.

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Jking's Response to nICK65's Review

Written on: 29/04/2004

Sorry to hear your stay was so horrible. This review is the first that i've read casting the colonial in an ill light.. Funny how MOST if not ALL other reviews are to the contrary... I visited this resort 2 Novembers passed and had an incredible time. I would have to agree that vacations are what you make them. I've just re-booked for the same place... this time, were going for TWO weeks.

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Jerrbo's Response to nICK65's Review

Written on: 24/01/2004


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“Stayed on the Kantenah side from June 8th-15th ,2003...”


written by Dave. on 21/06/2003

Stayed on the Kantenah side from June 8th-15th ,2003 and was afraid of the rainy season but got 7 days of sunny hot 36 degrees weather!!! This is an amazing place. I've been to a number of all inclusives in the Dom Republic and Mexico and Cuba and I didn't think anything would beat Iberostar Dominicus in La Romana but this place is equiv. or slightly better in some ways. From my travels I've observed and notice the difference between a 4, 4 , and a 5 star resort. Very posh as soon as you enter this resort. There is a big diff between those little stars if you are picky about service, food, and drinks. But then again it depends who rates it and people's past experience and expectations. My criteria are how the food is and whether or not your stomach has problems. If it's a top-notch place you should have amazing high quality food and not have stomach problems. You can still have stomach problems in a 4- 4 star resort. But not here nor Iberostar in the DR. This goes to show the good purification systems and the sanitation practices they use. Here at the Palladium, all food handlers wear rubber glove. Old or damaged food is thrown away right away! You don't see that in normal resorts!!! Furthermore the facilities are great here.


Here's a quick and dirty summary:


1. Food in general is top notch - or course some stuff look strange and you don't touch but a resort that serves Gigantic prawns and smoke salmon in the buffets is good in my books. Desserts are very good - moist cakes, somewhat sweet but not overpowering.
2. Excellent cappuccinos and expressos (house wine is fair)
3. Genuinely friendly workers (this is sometimes hard to come by)
4. Huge pool with 4 columned off jacuzzis and a swim up bar. Smaller private pools in the spa or adult pool area- great if you want the feeling privacy.
5. The beach is nice with turquoise water
6. Plenty of lounges and papulas (pool and beach)
7. Snorkeling off the beach is ok but not the greatest
8. Steakhouse and Italian a la cartes were very good
9. Proximity to Tulum/Akumal/PDC/ Xel ha


1. The Japanese a la carte was pretty bad despite a good show by the teppanyaki chef. Worst tempura I've tasted. The sashimi was so thinly slices - paper thin and the tuna looked BROWN. The negiri was 4 diff pieces to be shared by 8 people. The teppanyaki was not very authentic but they did give you enough to eat.
2. There is only one towel place which made it a pain to get if you use the beach or smaller pools
3. The main pool's water a little salty
4. Mini bar is stocked only every other day.


1. Email the resort ahead and request what you want. (eg King bed (very few rooms with it), Tub, 3rd floor, and an ocean view). I did and got everything I asked for!!!!
2. Grab international drinks from Hemingway and bring it to the cigar bar or the lobby instead of drinking the inferior booze.
3. If you want the best beach go to the Kantenah side as the sand is better and there are no rocks upon entering the water, just fine sand. Bonus is nobody is over there as everyone hovers in clusters around the beach near the bar/pool i.e. the Colonial side.
4. Snorkel early in the morning (approx. 8-10am) if the tides / wave are high as the water is calmer and visibility is better.
5. Book the a la cartes right away. Arrange your a la cartes based on the buffet themes you'd like to skip. Go for the later sittings as you get more pool time!
6. Don't buy anything from vendors at the resort unless you already know Playa Del Carmen prices. Buy Amber colour aged Tequila not white. White one will give you headaches!!!
7. Do yourself a favor and use 45 SPF sunblock. The sun is brutal. Fifteen minutes and you are toast. 80% of the people had 4th degree burns. I used 45 SPF and still got slightly burnt - and I sat in the shade all the time!!!


Marble Marble Marble. They didn't skim on this place. Nice fountains and illusion of floating restaurants with fish. Great flamingo and crocodile area as is an orchid area.

Great service esp if they are not busy. They will come serve you. The lobby bars are nice on both the Colonial and Kantenah sides. The cigar bar is nice but only Hemingways has premium liquor (3-4 scotch, rum, sparkling wine, vodka, etc )

Huge but deep. If you don't swim you have to say on the sides or by the lounge chairs, as the pool is 5'3" in most areas. There are some graduated spots but small. The smaller pools (adult pool and spa pool are 4'11" deep). Water is salty but that may be because no one rinses themselves after the beach.

Sand is not super white - beigish and some debris but the water is nice and turquoisey. There is quite a bit of corals between the Colonial and Kantenah side. Great breeze at the beach actually cooled you were the pool was stifling hot! The sandy patches are very fine in the ocean and the water is a warm 29 degrees.

They tell you to snorkel to the right side, as it's calmer inside the buoy. There is one small coral reef patch there with lots of marine life but it'll take you maybe 5 minutes to go around it. Search the sandy floor as you might see a spotted sting ray. To the left side of the lifeguard there is a more extensive reef outside the buoy. Lots of sea fans but go only if the waves are calm. Saw a 5 ft barracuda there.



Regular fair - made to order omelets, bacon, sausages, cold cuts, cheeses, hash browns, pancakes, breads, fruits (mango, papaya, pineapple, melons, guava), fresh juices, cereals, yogurts.

Lunch Buffets:
Pool Buffet (lunch only): very similar to main buffet but opens earlier and you can wear your bathing suit
Main Buffet: The Colonial Buffet was closed during our side and only the Kantenah side was open. Made to order steak, pork chops, lamb chops, burgers, hotdog, salmon or sea bass in addition to your regular stuff and of course a killer guacamole, pasta bar and super bready pizzas.

Dinner Buffets:
Usually a theme to the nightly menu. Seafood is the best. Huge grilled prawns and smoke salmon galore, calamari, mussels, other fish. Mexican was so so. Italian seems like a regular fair like Gala. Passed on Dominican and Moroccan themes. A lot of the lunch stuff made it to the dinner one also.



Excellent. Appetizer bar will fill you up and is great. Huge cold prawns (little overcooked), BBQ shrimp skewer (good), Proccuito, mushroom skewers, eggplant, grilled peppers etc ..I got full after that. Had seafood bisque for soup (very good), wife had duck breast with raspberry vinaigrette, Main was excellent tenderloin, I had mix grilled (salmon, bass, shrimp, scallops) - good. Amazing taramisu!!!!!!choc mouse was so so! And of course cappuccino.


Very good. Appetizer bar had smoke salmon and regular salads. Had excellent french onion soup and the beef broth was also good with lots of corriander. Rib Eye steak was huge (10-12 oz)- slightly overcooked but good - came with baked potato/mash and veggies. Dessert was cheesecake or from the daily tray.

Appetizer is either soup (this should be another course)/tempura (GROSS) /yakitori (good). Negiris too few for the whole table. TUNA was brown!!! Ekkkkkk. Sashimi was sliced wafer thin and looked strange. The rolls were acceptable. The teppanyaki is ok as a stir fried food (shrimp/scallop/chicken/beef) but not as Japanese food. I lived in Japan for 5 years so I know the real stuff. But this food wasn't even acceptable as pseudo Japanese food. Iberostar's Japanese a la carte in DR was amazing compared to here. Tempura ice cream was gross, as it was the same soggy doughy batter as the normal tempura. The coffee jelly was bad too. Disappointing as this was our last meal at the resort and I know I would have been better off at the regular buffet. Note they do have sake - no extra charge!!!

Beginning of week 60% Spanish, 30% Americans, 10% Cdn
End of week 45% Spanish, 45% Americans, 10% Cdn (more kids as school was out)

Exchange Rate:

Palladium Hotel Rate = 9.5 Peso/ US $ (Cdn is really bad so take US)
In town PDC or Akumal = 10.1 to 10.2 Peso/ US$
At ScotiaBank in Playa Del Carmen = 10.4 Peso/$1US
Almost everywhere will take US $ at 10 to 1 so you can just pay US.

EXCURSIONS Off the Resort:

You can do virtually any excursions on your own - better than paying $60 US for tour operators to do for you (save at least ) . Alternatively, go into town eg. Playa Del Carmen to book excursions like Scuba Diving in Cozumel $60 US or Chichen Itza at only $29US. That's the beauty of staying along the Riviera. Take the Collectivo white mini vans (red/orange striped) to almost anywhere as its cheap, convenient, efficient, safe and most, important - air conditioned.

SCUBA COZUMEL - (full day)
(15 Peso to PDC then 146 Peso (return) for Hydrofoil to Cozumel)- note take the Mexico Company Line as they are faster (39 mins) and have more frequent departures (every hour).

 Either go into Playa Del Carmen before hand and book a scuba trip for Cozumel from an satellite office of a company in Cozumel. I went to Blue Studio Dive Centre (don't know if I would recommend them as the ratio of divers to dive master was high at 1:7) which is near the main square near the ferry dock. They charge $60 US for 2 dives. Since it was low season he automatically went down to $55 and free equipment rental (usually $15). So it was a deal compared to diving at the Palladium for $130 at nearby reefs. It's worth the extra effort to do it yourself. Alternatively you can take the ferry over to Cozumel where there are 6-9 megshift booths of diveshop operations right on the docks who can take you out the same day (either starting at 9am or 2pm).
 Dove at Santa Rosa Wall but current was too strong and we lost a few members as they got swept away. It was next to impossible to swim against the current as I swam to shelter in a cave - your air disappears quickly. Really scary. Everyone had to surface and we realized that we had one missing party member. Search of the missing person took 20 mins. Everyone was freaked!!! They finally got spotted very far away. Used remaining air to do a quick 20 min dive on Chancanab Reef. Clear visibility, shallow dive 40-50 ft with baraccudas, lobster, moray eels and lots of other marine life. There is also a sunken vessel nearby. Second dive was Paraiso Reef. Extensive reef with lots of marine life. Very colourful and relaxing drift dive in a slow current. Nicer than Chancanab.

 Note: Diving in Akumal with Akumal Dive centre cost $60 US for 2 dives plus $15 for equipment

TULUM (1/2 day)
(15 Pesos - 15-20 min)

 10 min walk from highway (no need to take the tram for 15 peso)
 Be weary of time share people by the parking lot for the Allure Resort. Not worth wasting your time to earn $60 US or tickets to Xel Ha - it will waste 2-3 hrs of your vacation even though they say 1hr only
 Entrance free 37 Peso/person and video camera is 30 Peso
 Bring bathing suit as there's a nice beach - you'll need it after the heat
 Lots of water is essential as it's stifling hot
 Not mandatory to hire a guide ($5US). You can listen in to all the other guides and take your time. There are signs with explanations of the major buildings.

PLAYA Del CARMEN (1/2 day)
(15 Pesos - 20-25 min)
 No brainer ride from the resort
 Collective drops you off near Main street - 5th Ave
 The beach is there and so are all the souvenir shops selling much of the same stuff. Most places have fixed prices so its good as you won't get ripped off as much as if you bought from a market or unmarked item. T-shirt stores abound at $8 US for most designs. A 980 litre of Kaluaha is $8.50 US but is only $8.00 at a COSTCO like superstore which is 10-15 walk from centro by the highway called Chauradu (big orange building). Good place to buy stuff at good prices (reg clothing/beach stuff/Tequila/groceries etc).

(10 Pesos - 5 min)

 Take Collectivo and say you want to get off at Akumal Caribe or the Playa in Akumal and walk 5 min into town then from town you must continue towards the lagoon via a road passing by lots of villa/condos (approx 15 min) Try to hitch a ride if any car passes by
 Entrance fee is 60 Peso into the park (8:30am -5:30pm)
 Go early in the morning - no one is there plus visibility is better in the water
 Buy biodegradable sunblock at home - much cheaper and bring a T shirt to snorkel in otherwise you will burn. (can't use regular sunblock as it kills the fish)
 Bring a towel and water - no need to rent lockers as it's pretty safe and low key there. If you choose, lockers are avail and showers 10 Pesos
 You can rent snorkel equip there or in Akumal town at the dive shop for 50 Peso (snorkel & mask) 40 more pesos for Fin for all day.
 Hint: bring some banana to feed the Sergaent Major (black stripe with yellow) fish. They go crazy (hundreds will eat off your hand)
 Lots of boulder and caverns under the lagoon. Very calm water. Its like you are snorkeling in a canyon/cave. Really cool and strange as it's fresh water. You will see huge parrot fish/angelfish/yellow or blue tangs/surgeon fish/gunts/sea bass and even a barracuda or turtle if you are lucky. You can venture further out toward the bay where the water meets the sea and gets saltier and there are normal reefs. The water is a little rougher there.
 Bonus - same as Xel Ha but without all the tourist and Disneyland atmosphere. Great if you just want to do snorkeling without all the other stuff without the hoards of crowds of Xel ha (which cost $25 US to get in or $53 for all inclusive) Yal Ku Lagoon is still undiscovered so it was great!!!!

To summarize this is an amazing resort and given the price it's even better. Excellent value for money and I would pay even more - but I got a great deal last minute. Go away at the end of May or beginning of June or beginning of Dec as less people and better prices.

If you have any question you can contact me at

[email protected] or [email protected]


I've traveled the world extensively backpacking to 5 star resorts. If you want to read my personal website check out my other personal travelogues (India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Micronesia, Philippines, Tanzania, Morocco, Kenya, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, All over Europe, the US, Canada, Hawaii, and the Caribbean (Cuba, Cancun, Dom Repub) - which include my experiences and great travel tips, you can check out my personal web site at:


Note: if you want to read my reviews on resorts in the Dominican i.e.
Coral Hamaca (http://www.epinions.com/content_23662726788) or
Iberostar Dominicus Hacienda (http://www.epinions.com/content_65812926084) or
Casa Del Mar in La Romana (http://www.epinions.com/content_84550258308) you can visit my epinions reviews

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Goben's Response to 109349_Dave.'s Review

Written on: 27/12/2003

Hands down...this is one of the best reviews ever written. I'm printing this one out to use as a study guide of what to bring, do, visit, etc. I can't wait to make my first trip to Mexico!! This review gives me confidence in my ability to choose an awesome resort. We don't travel much - so we need to do a lot of research to find THE place. And thanks to this review - we know we will love the Palladium!

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