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Reviewed 21 February 2012

Just returned from a wonderful 7 night stay at the Grand Palladium Kantenah in the gorgeous Mexican Riviera. We chose this resort largely in part due to its great TA rating plus the fact one has access to 8 different a la cartes with no reservations and it did not disappoint. For us its a solid 4.5+ star resort.

The resort itself is BIG, very well manicured/maintained, and is surrounded by mangroves, forest and tons of little critters all over the place (iguanas, coatis, racoons, birds, butterflies, etc). While some people complain about its size and how far everything is (use the provided trains/carts if you're that lazy!), we really liked the fact that all the guests are spread out over the property too so you never feel as though its overly crowded. Finding chairs poolside or on the beach wasn't too difficult. The buffets never felt overly busy. We really thought that the resort had to have been running at ~60% capacity but were astonished when we found out for the week we were there it was 85+%.

Check-in and check-out were a breeze and both parties in our group had all our room requests met although we were switched from the Colonial to the Kantenah. No big deal though as both sections sport similar villas/rooms built in the original phase of the resort. While the Colonial would have been more central to the rest of the resort, the Kantenah, located at the northernmost tip of the resort, by far has the best (ie. sandiest) beach-entry. The room itself was slightly musty but nothing out of the ordinary for a tropical room. Our jr. suite was on the second floor and the balcony fronted the forest/mangrove canopy. Loved getting up in the morning and opening the screen door to listen to and view all the wonderful birds and butterflies. The bathroom was not pristine (few dings here and there) but it was super clean. Maid service was efficient enough and we got 4 different towel animals throughout the week. Oddly our extra blanket disappeared from the room one cleaning and was replaced by a spare pillow. Have slept on more comfortable hotel beds/pillows but have slept on many much worse - here it did the trick.

Overall the food/drink/service quality was very good. The breakfast/lunch buffets offered something for everyone and only very picky eaters would go hungry. We ate at 6 of the 8 a la cartes and really liked not having to make reservations ahead of time. In most cases we were seated within 5-20 minutes with only a couple waits in the hour range. Wasn't a big deal as we just went to a nearby bar and enjoyed a few bevi's while we waited. All restaurants (with the exception of Sumptuori) had salad bars and we did find the quality/selection of salads/appi's to vary greatly between the restaurants. Deserts were generally mediocre with only a few standouts. Best meals we had were at Sumptuori at the show table (Victor put on a terrific show), El Dorado (all our steaks were very good and cooked to perfection), and La Adelita (Javier(?) our waiter was very good/professional and the food was pretty tasty). Mare Nostrum was the only one that stood out as a disappointing meal.

The Spa offers free entry and only specific treatments will set you back some $$$. Free use of the hot pools, lazy river, steam/sauna rooms, plunge pool, infinity pool was great and we were surprised that it wasn't packed in there all the time. We liked it so much we went 4 times. Ooooh so relaxing.

We had intended to go off the resort a few times but enjoyed ourselves so much that we really had to force ourselves to go offsite. Very glad we did take a private tour of Coba/ Cho Ha cenote with AGI Tours (excellent, btw) but we were looking forward to getting back to our little home away from home back on the coast. While we didn't take in too many of the resorts activies, the ones we did were great. The inhouse activity folks (People of Palladium) are all energetic and seem to go out of their way to ensure you have a great time.

The pools are all beautiful but Las Rocas, their salt water pool in the Riviera section, was gorgeous and very peaceful. The two main pools have tons of chairs for kickin' back, swim up bar for your bevi's, and provide hours of entertainment just watching everyone. Never did spend any time at the secret adult pool...never really felt the need as the other ones were overly overrun with kidlets.

All in all we loved our stay at the Grand Palladium. We'd definitely stay there again for a return trip to the Mayan Riviera or would stay at a Fiesta Hotel Group sister property elsewhere based on our experience at the GP Mayan Riviera.

Room Tip: Kantenah section to be closest to the best beach and/or kids club. Colonial section to be a bit more central to the rest of the resort.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Schnitzel_Konig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2012

Dear Schnitzel_Konig,

Thank you so much for your good comments. I apreciate your time. I will share your comments with our team.

With best regards,

Banesa Mª Burque
Resident Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

Well we just got back from the Mayan Riviera last night and the trip was not a disappointment, as usual. We stayed at the Grand Palladium Kantenah once again and really enjoyed ourselves. The weather was descent enough.... a little cloudy some days...but Oh well..."thems the breaks"...as they say.
The resorts (5 in total at the Palladium) are all quite nice but out favorite is the Kantenah even though it is the oldest of the 5. We spoke with several of our neighbors, that were staying there for their 9th and 10th times! That really speaks volumes with respect to the loyalty of their clientele, because of the great value and service. The food is very good for the most part, through-out the entire resort, once you consider the pure logistics of feeding that many people....and keep that in mind you'll realize that everything can't be perfect every time. Nevertheless even the evening buffets, if your in a hurry or just don't feel like dressing up are excellent..... As usual I won't carry on about the food because peoples tastes vary and some are just plain fussy.....but rest assured, we dine out a lot and know good from bad.
The resort is almost a wild life sanctuary in some areas.....from the every present Iguanas & Geckos, Crocodiles, to Chachalacas a turkey like birds wandering around in the trees! Coati and Agouti are very common mammals running around in the underbrush and even the odd Raccoon. Birds of many shapes and colors including the "Royal Mexican Air force" otherwise known as Pelicans. The water is also good for snorkeling with plenty of fish to take pictures of. We even had a huge stingray swim past us, one day. Not all that rare of a sight but when they're 5 to 6 feet wide it is! Beautiful! And when all else fails there's usually plenty of Hermit crabs wandering around the beach in the evenings.
Probably the only thing that really pissed us off all to often, during our much needed 2 weeks there was, some of the guests! It's mind boggling, when you watch a Chef knocking himself out in the Japanese resturant, doing the "tipon dining" thing....flipping and tossing food and cutlery, to cheers and clapping from excited patrons, only to watch them get up and leave without leaving any tip whatsoever! We saw this kind of crap all the time.....The drunken "mega groups" on the beach, getting 10 beers and 6 "girly" drinks at one time and walk away with out as much as a leaving a dollar tip! You people really suck! If you actually think that the Hotel owners share the profits they made from you with the staff you need to give your head a much needed shake. I spoke with a repairman on my patio one night while he was fixing my door, I told him what I did and we talked for a while...he ended up showing me his pay stub......$2900 pesos or basically $226.US ....For 2 weeks! These people are hard working and kind hearted and put in lots of long hours......and deserve more than a little pat on the back for their efforts. Not to mention it's just the right thing to do! Tip them!.....you cheap SOB's

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Sand_Hounds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2012

Thank you Sand_Hounds for taking time to give us your opinion about your vacation in Grand Palladium. I appreciate it so much.

With best regards,

Banesa Mª Burque
Resident Manager

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Reviewed 20 February 2012

We visited over Christmas and New Year, and it was an amazing experience. It was myself, my husband and 2 children aged 12 and 9 and it was our first time at an all-inclusive resort. The hotel is very clean, well-maintained, and the people who work there are very hard-working. We arrived in the evening, and the check-in was efficient and we were greeted with a cocktail and a smile. We were also given a free upgrade to a junior suite, and we had adjoining rooms as requested.

THE RESORT
The resort is huge and you need the map to find your way around the first day, but we soon got the hang of it. We were in block 48 which was about the same distance from the pool as from the lobby, so I'd say it was a good location. Getting around did involve a fair amount of walking, but given all the food we ate, a bit of exercise wasn’t a bad idea!

We spent most of the time by the main pool or on the beach. The beach is beautiful, although not all areas are for swimming as the seabed is rocky or there is the reef bottom, so you need to go along to the left to find where it is sandy. The sea temperature was perfect. Most days the red flag was up so there were quite a few waves, but the children enjoyed this and since they could go quite far out and still be well within their depth it wasn’t dangerous. On calmer days you could see how clear the sea is, we could actually see large fish swimming around our feet just by looking down.

I’d read in several places that the pools would be chilly at this time of year so I had resigned myself to not going in them, as I don’t like swimming if it is cold, but actually they were fine, just a bit cooler than the sea. The swim-up bar was fun too, but you could get a bit cold if not in the sun there.

We were glad we were in the Kantenah/Colonial area as there were more table tennis tables (the children spent several hours a day there!) and also my daughter went to the mini club which is also located between the pool and the beach. I’m not sure what you do if you want to use the mini club when staying in White Sands/Riviera – I guess you have to come over to the Kantenah side.

ENTERTAINMENT
We didn’t make use of much of the entertainment as we didn’t stay up past around 10 or 11 with the children, but all of the entertainment team were fantastic – enthusiastic, friendly and hard-working. Thanks to Memo, León, Jorge, Brenda, Ricardo and others whose names I didn’t get. Also thanks to Victoria, Edith and the others in the mini club who so enthusiastically ran the mini shows in the evening and looked after the children during the day. My daughter started going to the mini club about halfway through and made friends with other girls her age, and then wanted to spend all day there! My son found there were no boys his age so didn’t want to go. I think that some boys his age went to the junior club (13+) however that seemed to involve a lot of being indoors playing video games, computer etc, which felt like rather a waste of a Caribbean holiday!

FOOD
We loved the food and it was very well prepared, everything was always clean, hot and tasty. The special buffets for Christmas Eve and New Years Eve were spectacular – both in the presentation of the food and the quality of it. We loved the amazing chocolate fountains with marshmellows and strawberries! The ice sculptures were impressive too, and the lobster was excellent. We were there for 12 nights and towards the end we got slightly tired of the buffets – despite the huge variety – and of all the getting up and down, but that is no criticism. There were so many different things to try, and we tried to go to the ‘a la cartes’ in the evening for variation. We generally turned up about an hour before we wanted to eat, around 7 or 7:30 and waiting time was between 30 mins or 1 hour, once it was a bit more, but since we’d allowed for that we’d then go to the lobby for a pre-drink cocktail so the wait was no problem. We loved Adelita (Mexican) and Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean) – we ate there twice, both times at the lovely round tables outside on the terrace. The Japanese was a bit of a disappointment and Portofino (Italian) was very slow. The beach BBQ was excellent and we were amazed at the amount of work that went into preparing it and setting everything up, and by the next day it was all cleared away again. We also went to Punta Emilia, the only restaurant you need to reserve, and that was very good too.

Visiting at Christmas was great, as it is the first time we have spent Christmas on the beach in warm weather. It was a bit surreal to be lying by the pool in the heat and hearing Christmas carols playing. Also Father Christmas came , with his elves and reindeer, and my daughter had a photo taken with him, and she was in her bikini! Christmas was fairly busy, but it was for New Year that the hotel got really busy, I think it was full to capacity, and a lot of Canadians and Americans came then. It did mean that it was sometimes difficult to get a sun bed on the beach or by the pool, whilst earlier in our stay we had no problems. The hotel laid on a ‘european toast’ at 5pm which is when it turned midnight in Europe, which was great fun.

I would love to go back to the Riviera Maya, and would definitely choose this hotel again. I am rather surprised by some of the negative reviews. Having seen the high standards in the hotel, and how hard everyone works to make sure everything is perfect, you’d have to be rather grumpy or ungrateful to find anything to complain about!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank Juli_spain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2012

Dear Duraniegirl,

In behalf of Grand Palladium team, I would like to thank you for share with us and others readers your comments about your vacation. I am glad to know that you have had a nice time with us.

Sincerely,


Banesa Mª Burque
Resident Manager

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Reviewed 18 February 2012

We just got back from a 17-days lovely experience in this beautiful resort.
We emailed about 10 days before arrival and had a room according to our request in block 51, we even got an upgrade due to our third visit in a Palladium hotel. Thanks for that !

The grounds are very nice, lots of animals and jungle. It is big, but once you know your way, you can use a lot of short cuts to get anywhere. The beach is lovely and not so crowded as in Punta Cana.

The room was spacious, nicely decorated and well kept, only the bathroom was a little small and in need of renewal. We sometimes had a smell in the bathroom.

As we are both chef and have been to a lot of all-inclusive resorts around the world, we do not understand the complaints about the food in the different buffets or restaurants ! Everything was very good to exceptional, lots of choice and if you have to wait a long time to get in the a la carte restaurant then just try another one, you have about eight or more !
It's better than to have to make reservations in the morning, which takes a lot of time also ! And you can eat 24 hours a day, no complaints there.

The quality of the drinks and coctails was very good as well. Very good bartenders ! Good premium drinks in both Churchill and Hemingway bars.

We were very happy with the hard working and friendly staff as well !

A pity about the Travelclub indeed, they are to insistent. They clame if you join them you get the best rooms, which we hope isn't true, because that would be a discrimination to all of the other clients !

Anyway, for us it was the best all-inclusive resort ever and we are planning to go back around Christmas.

Thank you for a lovely holiday.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank MADESYHO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 21 February 2012

Dear MARIJKE H,

Thank you for your comments and thank you for your time. The opinion of our guest is very important for us.

Condially,


Banesa Mª Burque
Resident Manager

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Reviewed 17 February 2012

We stayed at the Kantenah from Jan 28-Feb 5 this year and were impressed by almost everything at the resort. First off, it is huge which for us was a bonus as it got us walking (and getting lost) a great deal of the day which helped balance off the number of calories being consumed! The grounds are beautiful, very natural and jungly with boardwalks throughout - felt like we were in the Swiss Family Robinson book although beware, the walkways and the tiles throughout the resort are slippery when wet, which they were a great deal of the time due to the amount of rain we experienced.
The pools, both the smaller more private ones and the large ones are all beautiful although very few people using them - just too cold! Occasionally a few brave souls played water volleyball but most people were hanging around the pool and it was never too difficult getting a lounger.
Our room was adequate - nothing fancy but was quite large and clean. However, I was disappointed with the bed - had asked for a king but got two doubles. The pillows are very poor and they offer a pillow menu for upgrading! Hello? Why not just have decent pillows to start with?
The food at the buffets was fine - there was lots and you'd have to be really picky not to find things to eat - not spectacular, but decent. The a la carte restaurants were fun to go to although we had to wait up to 1 1/2 hours each time, but I think if we had gone earlier it wouldn't have been a problem. All the a la cartes were fine, again, not spectacular (ie: the ribs at the ribs place were tough, the steaks at the steak place were overcooked) but fine. While we waited for our reservation, we would go to one of the lobby bars which are quite magnificent and huge and each one has a unique flavour. We were able to access the internet there and relax with a drink before dinner. Unfortunately, I did get sick on the 5th day we were there, I think from the beach bar food. When I told the front desk person, she seemed pretty uninterested and suggested I use the kiosk in the lobby which is used for guest responses.
We loved the spa with its little infinity pool and hots tubs, a zen like building and a really enjoyable way to spend a cloudy afternoon.
We found the staff very nice with lots of "holas" and smiles and no one seemed over the top pushy or rude even the vendors and timeshare people.
All in all, I would recommend this resort for its natural beauty, lovely beach and beautiful grounds.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Janet R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ColonialKantenah, Gerente at Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 18 February 2012

Dear jambie1024,

Thank you for taking time to give us your comments about your vacation. I would like to comment that the pillows menu are special pillows, for example, cervical pillows..This is a extra service with extra charge.

Regarding the sick problems, I would like to comment that no necessarily it's because of the food, it's possible for the change of the weather, water, sun..etc etc, may affect.

We working every day in our procedures in our Food & Beverages departament.

I will take note about your comment and I will analize this with our executive chef.

Please, if we can help you with anything, don't hesitate to contact with us.

Best regards,

Banesa Mª Burque
Resident Manager

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