April 21, 2017 at 7:35 pm #10548
By As the Crow Fly
“The ‘Royal Suites’ was royally sweet…..”
Now that a month has elapsed, allowing for the opportunity for forgotten micro-details to be recovered from the cerebellum and all empirical data to be parsed by sober second thought, (although “sober” and “all-inclusive resort” seem to be strange bed-fellows) I shall, in my usual extensive and overly detailed manner, recount my thoughts and observations in regards to our recent visit to this establishment.
Therefore, in no apparent order of importance and less about regurgitating the wealth of salient information as posted so very well by many other TA members, but more about the sometimes overlooked minutiae which can often make or break a holiday.
Arrived about 1:00 pm, went directly to the front desk for check-in, never did this sitting down before, but this was a bonus as there was a massive amount of guest info to absorb and we were sat there for quite a while. A bit early for having the room ready, but they kept our luggage under watchful eyes while we took a stroll about the area to begin getting our “resort legs”.
We were ushered into our room (a Junior Suite) in due time, kudos to the excellent “bellhop” who carted our cases on a hand-trolley over the “bridge” to the villa and then up to the (top floor!) room.
We were quite amazed (in comparison to past resorts) by all the amenities. The thick towels, the L’Occitane soaps & potions, the top brand liquor selection, the well stocked mini-fridge, the balcony loungers, the stocked wine cooler, it was all so very posh.
Now down to the “little things” we liked and sometimes had issues with, but not to find fault, just our personal feelings. The bath robes, great as they were, became a bit much for wearing about long term. The slippers (yes, we did take them home anyway) were a nice touch but we abandoned them the first night as the necessity of “one-(big)size-fits-all” did not work for us. The safe in the closet was at just the right height and a decent size. However, they need to have the original big operational info sticker replaced as it took me a while to notice the “new” instruction stickers on the side of the door. For the pending Royal Suites expansion and refurbishment, Palladium may wish to consider installing the newer style safes with a power outlet inside for device charging purposes. It’s counter-intuitive to have a safe and then leave your tablet, etc. lying out somewhere near an outlet on the charger. Did not like (in fact I detest them anywhere) the “you-can’t-steal-me” clothes hangers, so glad most of my clothes came on hangers from home. The amount of shelves and drawers for smaller clothing items was just enough for us. The wall hooks by the shower, when used for robes or towels, always impeded the doors to shower & toilet and need to be re-thought. Loved the double vanities and all the space for our various bits and bobs. The magnifying mirror showed me things I never saw on my face before and the Missus wanted to take it home. A double-up on the towel bars would be a nice touch, especially if you desire to NOT have towels changed as part of the resorts’ eco-friendly policies. Switches at the bedside made “lights out” dead easy at sleep time. The clock-radio was easy to read, once we figured out how to set the time, but had a very bright glow during the night. The balcony tub, while not being a true “hot tub”, filled with copious hot water in an acceptable time and the “Jacuzzi” jets created a mountain of foam from the bubble bath we added. Seemed big enough for four, but just right for a couple to cuddle in. The padded loungers were a real treat, but hard to move sideways and the (aged?) rubber wheels left “skid-marks” across the tiles. Time to refurbish or replace these as well. The balconies, especially on the top floor, were rather private, but a bit of frosted glass between all the rooms on the balcony edges as well as on some sides that face other villas would be make things even more secluded from (albeit accidentally) nosy neighbours. After all, this is the ‘Adult Only’ section mostly catering to couples. Found it difficult to close/open the balcony door from the outside to activate the aircon for room cooling on very hot days while enjoying the tub.
Moving on to other facets of the resort….the private Royal Beach area was just brilliant! Loved the Bali beds and the service from Fernanda was outstanding! Drinks and snacks from the ‘La Jarra’ bar always just when we wanted them. She is the best! The pontoon boat that travels the canal was a nice way to spend some time and see parts of the sister resorts from a different perspective. The inter-resort cart service seemed to be available pretty much when we needed, (being “Royal” was an advantage here) even carts only for use by Travel Club members stopped for us sometimes when empty.
The Royal lobby bar was our last stop every night where Lucy, Antonio & Manuel(?) were always bringing their ‘A’ game. Hope they will still work the new Royal bar in November. The ‘La Terraza’ pool bar was similarly excellent as Luis, Demitrios(sic) and others were always ready to bring drinks faster than we could finish them. Unfortunately we were only able to enjoy the poolside lunchtime BBQ on two occasions. As for the pool itself, watch out for that last step going in as it goes from about 3 feet to 5 feet deep real quick! (hold that drink glass up over your head)
I’m sure all the many restaurants & buffets have been reviewed to death in TA, so in fairness I’ll skip that as we did not have time (ie: at least 3 weeks) to visit them all. Except to say that the ‘El Jardin’ and its staff were exceptional and DO NOT MISS the ‘Sumptuori’ teppanyaki-table dinner and “show”!
The spa, recently reinvented by the ‘Zentropia’ service provider was very much enjoyed, despite some patrons who totally ignored the “Silencio” signs around the infinity pool area and carried on quite annoyingly. Our two massage ladies knew how to dig in an elbow or two for maximum stress-relief effect. Ahhhhhhhh…..yes….that’s the spot!
Final random observations based on our personal peccadilloes…. we found the speed bumps on the main roadways out to the 307 motorway to be rather poorly designed and much more jarring than at other nearby resorts our transfer bus had to stop at. The use of hard plastic “glassware” that was reusable was a most welcome eco-friendly experience as compared to years of cheap throw-away cups we saw in other places. (notably Cuba) The special “turtle habitat” the resort actually installs and removes every year shows just how much they care about the environment and the seas they adjoin. Too bad we were a month or so before the breeding season began, but we did celebrate Earth Hour while there.
Watch out for the iguanas, they are pretty harmless, but pop up unexpectedly everywhere. Capybaras, raccoons and lemur-like critters round out the resident menagerie, so mind your food!
The butler service was a real treat for us. Especially Fatima, who on our anniversary night snuck in during dinner to cover the bed with flower petals and a bottle of iced sparkling wine with chocolate strawberries! A special shout out to Claudia (I hope that is correct, so many names to remember!) who found my mobile phone still charging on the desk when we checked out and ran it over to the reception area. Ignacio our housekeeper always did an excellent job, almost felt guilty to mess up the bed each night. All the lobby staffers were a pleasure to deal with, mostly for changing large Peso notes for smaller or making restaurant reservations. (until I figured out how to make the resorts’ phone app work) There are also so many other staffers that we sadly cannot remember who are also deserving of recognition, but a sincere well done to you all. A final salute to manager Roxana who had a hand in arranging our preferred choice of suite.
The biggest gripe we may have is that in an attempt to be all posh & fancy, somebody at Palladium has decided that making some menus and other items at restaurants in a certain fashion (poor choice of font style & size or colour) which can for some, make them practically un-readable (especially in low light, always carry your phone with a “flashlight” app to make things easier) which is just annoying.
The worst of all, go figure, was the uber-posh form we received from our Royal butler in order to select our preferences for room service time, turn-down time, liquor selections, fridge stocking, pillow choices, etc. Being all fancy-schmancy gold-on-black printing in very small fonts with multi-languages running together, along with tiny boxes to fill in was just tedious. Even our next-day ‘Mayordomo’ we returned the form to said fellow butlers thought the forms were a pain to deal with.
There is so much more to say, (and so much more amazing info available by Google searching for “Palladium” fan-sites) but overall, we feel that the ‘Grand Palladium Riviera Maya’ with its many resort options is a highly recommendable choice for a better-than-most holiday and are especially thankful that we picked the ‘Royal Suites Yucatan’ section for our special anniversary.
Can’t wait to go back again.
Room Tip: Make any special requests by e-mail, ONE week prior to arrival.
Green Features: NO throwaway drink cups, annual turtle habitat, massive organics "recycling", re-use your towels as long as you want to. They are as green as Kermit.
Stayed March 2017, traveled as a couple
Note on Dress Code
IMHO, sorry to say that Palladium has definitely dropped the ball on this one. For such a high-end resort, allowing T-shirts went WAY too far in the wrong direction. Plain ones maybe could have been ok, but saw too many in poor condition and/or imprinted with tasteless, politically inflammatory and even rude graphics. Shirts should have been restricted to at least short-sleeve “dress shirts” which can be either tucked in or not, or a proper polo / golf shirt. Note that T is the first letter in both “Tee shirt” and “tacky”.
That, along with “shorts” than have less in common with Bermuda than an onion, accessorized with whatever footwear was available, turned the finer dining restaurants into nothing better than a copy of many Cuban two-star resorts or the Punta Emilia at lunch-time.
Seriously, you don’t have to $hop at ‘Tommy Bahama’, but even Sears carries ‘Arnold Palmer’ wear and Topsiders which will make you look like a respectable tourist. You’ve spent big bucks on a holiday, why dress like you are from the ghetto?
I truly hope that Palladium re-evaluates this policy change as it’s clearly a black mark on an otherwise stellar reputation for providing a top-notch holiday experience.
Unfortunately, I forgot to broach this subject in my general RSY resort review which I know the GP management always keeps abreast of as I’ve seen their responses. Maybe they’ll read this one as well, or I’ll just send it to them.
May 18, 2017 at 7:51 pm #11124
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