More about Grand Palladium White Sand Resort & Spa
The Good, the bad and the ugly.
We travelled to the Grand palladium White sand resort from April 20-27th and I thought it was good. We had no problems with the room we were staying in, it was brand new as this resot is. Absoltely no problems with the room. We stayed at villa 53 which was prety close to everything as my fiance has a bad foot. The walking was no problem. This resot has a train that takes you around the resort every 30 mins, or the bell boys are always driving around and do offer you a lift if they see you walking. Walking was not a problem!
The buffet food was pretty good, it got a little repetative after the 3rd time there for lunch, but for dinner you rotate through your buffets and a la cartes. No problems with the food at all!
The pool was great, but the drinks were a little inconsistant with the odd one not drinkable because there's no way of measuring the alchohol input per drink. Drinks were okay!
The beach that is good for swimming is at the colonnial resort a bit down the beach were the sand bottom is without so much coral. Once again, the walking was no problem on the beach! You will have access to 3 resorts, all pretty close, and different things at each one. Remember the trains run every 30 mins so its not a problem to get around. Crocs and flamingos at Colonial but not at white sands but that doesnt matter because you can get there easily enough. At white sands there is a boat that drifts around the resort which is nice in the evening. The staff are all hard workers! No attitude, never looking for tips just looking to take care of you! If you need an answer from the bell boys or people at the front desk, make sure you simplify you questions and ask them multiple times until you are sure they understand. If they cannot tell you what you want, they have not understood what you are asking. We had a hard time to in getting a diet pepsi with a lime! Remember there first language is mexican.
So you ask where is the ugly..... well it was all good, but there was a slight sewage odour that can make you want to go (well it made me anyways)
Have a great trip, and remember, take the vans outside the resorts for 1.50 - 3.00 us dollar or pay a cab 20.00 us dollar. Vans were great into playa and cheap. They're fast and often for sure!
I am a travel agent from Wisconsin. I stayed here from March 2-9 2006. The resort just opened in December and they were still having a few growing pains yet but nothing that ruined our great vacation. I took a group of 16 with me and only a couple of people had any trouble whatsoever. One was me where the A/C started making loud noises in the middle of the night. They fixed it the next day and we had no more trouble. There was an issue with the hot water a couple of times but when we called and they came it suddenly started working.
All but one in our group got the Suites. The other got a Jr. Suite. The Jr suite consisted of one large room with a sitting area with a sofa sleeper and a large balcony. The Suites were awesome. They had a balcony off the bedroom and another off the living room. The bedroom was large, a huge jet tub and very large shower area was the bathroom, then a living room with sofa sleeper, another TV, 3 tables, coffee maker and minibar. The minibar had pop, water and 2 kinds of bottled beer Dos Equis and Superior I believe.
The grounds were beautiful. They were still planting trees and shrubs but it was mostly done. They have a manmade lake around the property that can be seen by pontoon boat. It takes about 20-30 minutes depending on how fast the driver goes. Because of this, there are brdiges everywhere. This would be nuisance for anyone handicapped or that can't negotiate steps. There are several steps up, cross the bridge and several down again. You can avoid them but you would have to walk a longer way or take the trolley train that comes every 15 minutes. Red engine goes to rooms and lobby, green train goes to all 4 resort lobbies(including Kantenah and Colonial)
The food and service was great. There is a little waitress named Rosa at the White Sands pool bar that was so great. We tipped her very well as she was on top of us all the time making sure we all got drinks as soon as we needed them. She always remembered what we had too.
We ate at Rib's and more which was good. They recommended the beef ribs which I got but others got the pork and they weren't as good. Other's got surf and turf and said it was delicous. We ate at the Japanese Restaurant and the food was okay but the hibachi cook must of been new as he screwed up the orders. We sat at the "cooking table". Then we ate at the Mexican Restaurant where the food and service was very good. The buffet always had plenty to chose from and I never had a bad meal there. They have a crepes station to die for. My fav is carmel with nuts. Try one if you've never had one, you'll love it. There's a 24 hour beach bar with taco's, hot dog, beef steak, cheddar cheese poppers,etc that was really good. I loved the Chicken Tacos. The beach bar serves beer all night but not mixed drinks after 11pm. The buffet at the pool bar for lunch was good too. They will make you a burger, fish plate, chicken breast and other stuff fresh everyday. Tons of salsa, chips, guacamole and hot melted cheese too, along with tons of salads and soft serve ice cream everyday, which I ate everyday! The breakfast at the restaurant was good but pretty much the same everyday. They will make omelets or any kind of eggs for you.
There were a couple of 3 man bands playing here and there every night which were actually pretty good. I never made any of the shows and I stopped by the disco a couple of times but nobody was there that early(11pm). I guess it picked up later but played a lot of techno which is not my favorite anyway.
The only thing I have to complain about which has nothing to do with the resort, is the long ride down there on Apple Vacations. We had at least 6 stops and it took 2.5 hours. It was gruelling since we had been up since early morning. It didn't take that long on the return as we only had 3 stops. I heard a rumor that there might be an air strip added down there eventually, which I hope is true.
All in all it's a great place to spend your vacation. Plenty of beach chairs even later in the day. They have adults only pools also.
You can email me and I would be happy to answer any questions if I can.
Not ready yet
We stayed here late Feb we were supposed to be in the Kantenah Section were told we were upgraded. But really they overbooked and could not put us in the Kantenah section. Hotel is very poorly managed at this time. I suspect due to growing pains to much to fast.Staff is new and confused. We noticed a big difference between the older and newer side with Restaurants and staff. Do not stay here if you have walking difficulties. The Kantenah/Colonial side is fine even the White Sands but the Riviera Section has alot of stairs and walking not good for older people or wheelchairs. Food was cold at times and hard to find some condiments. Shows were corny, great costumes and dancing, content was cheezy. Disco was pretty high tech and one of the nicer ones I have seen. Lots of great extras like alligators, flamingos etc just really spread out and vegetation looks pretty bad right now whether it was due to construction or Emily not sure.
Spa was really nice other than the bad smell coming from underground in the area. In 2 or 3 years this property will be stunning right now lots to work on. Hopefully Managements gets their act together and spends money on staff training and customer service.
We have just returned from a very satisfactory vacation (March 11 - 18/06) at the White Sands. Based on some of the reviews posted on this site, I wasn't sure if I was in the same place! My wife and I have been travelling in the Caribbean for over 25 years, and I'd put White Sands in the top 5 resorts for the following reasons:
Room: 5625, Building 56, Junior Suite top corner. Beautiful - from the balcony overlooking the pool and the beach. Large, clean, nicely appointed. Bit of a problem with hot water in the shower but was quickly fixed upon reporting it to housekeeping. Nice to soak in the Jecuzzi after a strenous day of laying on the beach! My wife would leave a small bag of make-up, toothpaste, perfume samples, etc on the pillow every morning and we would return to towels on the bed shaped as swans, rabbits, snails. Very creative!
Food & Beverages: Stick with the buffets, endless variety for every palate. It may not be a 5 star Michelin rating, but its plentiful, well prepared and quite tasty. Fresh fruit is especially good. The waiters/waitresses in the main restaurant are courteous, prompt and friendly. However, the maitre d's can tend to be a bit officious when seating people, especially at supper. During a one week stay, you are entitled to try 3 of the ala carte restaurants. We chose the Chinese, Italian and Japanese. The first two were below par both in quality of service and the food itself. However, the Japanese was very good, excellent sushi, entrees and surprisingly, desserts. Request the "show" table, very entertaining watching the food being prepared. The bars are plentiful with excellent service and a large variety of spirits. The drinks are extremely generous and I didn't see a measuring glass any where. Front desk and consierge service was very friendly and professional.
Grounds: In a word - Vast!! The entire area is a unique blend of paths, covered walkways, canals, bridges that abound all around you through manicured lawns and jungle vegitation. Be advised that if you are in Building 68 of the Riviera or 36 in the Kantenah (the two extreme ends of the Grand Palladium property), you could be in for a 30 minute walk to the dining facilities. However, all 8 White Sands buildings (52 through 59) are centrally located and a very pleasant stroll to the main areas. (Keep an eye out for the occasional iguana or lemur that may be sharing the path with you). Because of the use of canals and bridges, it may be difficult for those with mobility problems to access all the areas very directly. There are two trains that travel the grounds every twenty minutes or so, if you tire, hop on board.
Beach & Pools - Not the fine white sand of Varadero or Barbados, but a more coarse grain with the occasional piece of coral to stub your toe. The beach is well groomed every morning to get rid of the sea weed that washes up with the tide. Also used is an interesting gizmo that sifts the sand for larger pieces of coral. There are plenty of lounge chairs and straw thatched umbrellas/cabanas (?) for shade, so you don't have to be on the beach at the crack of dawn to reserve your spot! Although the beach area is several hundred yards long, it is not advisable to access the water at any point. Just beyond the water line, the bottom is strewn with broken pieces of coral. Wear a rubber soled sandal or even better, a "surf wader" shoe to protect your feet and ankles, when entering the water in these areas. The best place for a firm sandy bottom is just beyond the catamaran and sea-doo parking area. As this area is closer to the Colonial section of the complex, it is can get very congested but the advantage is that the White Sands area is further away, quieter and more relaxed.
The main pool is huge! It is a uniformed depth of around four feet, with built in tanning chairs and a Jecuzzi area as well. Access is available from graduated steps or a rampway for the smaller children. There is also an adjacent adult pool for those 18 and over.
Gym & Spa: Just opened with state-of-the-art weight training equipment, free weights, tread mills. Large room available for aerobics and yoga exercises. Didn't try the spa, but the facilities looked very professional.
There is a down side to this wonderful slice of paradise but it is not the fault of the hotel, per se.
Regardless of what the travel brochure says, the White Sands is at least a one and a half to two hour bus ride from Cancun Airport! Add this onto your flight time, milling about waiting at the airports for check-in, security, Immigration, baggage claim, and finding your bus makes for an extremely long day (13 hours in our case)in both directions. I heard that a new airport is to be built near Playa del Carmen, but this would still be a few years off. So take a deep breath, relax and enjoy your vacation!!
I loved this resort!!!
My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon at the Grand Palladium in Playa del Carmen. We were in the Riviera section of the White Sands Resort. We had a mayan suite in the Riviera section. If you stay in the riviera section, you have access to all of the other sections, but only the people that have rooms in the riviera section are allowed in that area. The room was very clean, and has a true 2 person jacuzzi. There is an outdoor shower, but we were unable to use it because there was a 3 story building near us that could look into our shower. It was not worth all the trouble to change rooms when we discovered this, so we stayed put. This resort is huge!! It consists of Kantenah, Colonial, White Sands and Riviera. Because this resort is so big you should be prepared to walk. This turned out to be a good thing because the food is so good you need to be able to work it off somehow. There is a train that transports you around the resort, if you need it. We stayed for 6 days. The weather was beautiful, and the ocean was about a five minute walk away from our room. Our room was near the riviera lobby so it was not as far a walk to the ocean for anyone that is away from the lobby. There are about 5 buffet restaurants that are open different times of the day. There was an enourmous selection of food, so no one should have any reason to go hungry. The al a carte restaurants were definately 5 star. The service was always excellant and the food was great. There is also room service for about a $6 fee. There was nightly entertainment at every lobby. Vendors are brought in at night also, so if you don't want to pay the $18 for cab ride into town they had plenty of souvenirs to choose from. If you decide to go into Playacar then take a cab to 5th avenue. If you are american take dollars in small bills. This way you get a better rate and don't have to get too many pesos back in return. If you book your vacation thru Funjet or Apple, they have reps at the resort every day to book your excursions. You also need to book your reservations to the restaurant as soon as you get there. Since we were at the Riviera we got our choice of restaurants as many times as we wanted. As I understand it, other sections only got a choice of 2 per week stay. The earlier you make your reservations for dinner when you get there, the better selection of time slots you get. There were 2 restaurants that had outdoor tables that were more private - the Japanese and the Mediterranean. We didn't know this at the time we booked our dinner reservation, but you have to book these tables at that time. If you want a more secluded table surrounded by reflecting pools and lush landscape, this is what you want. Not all of the restaurants have this, so you have to ask. All of the staff were courteous and helpful. Most everone spoke english in addition to a few other languages like german and french. If they didn't speak english well, they did try very hard. They also have a spa at this resort. We had a couples massage at the spa in a private cabana surrounded by jungle. We originally booked it be on the beach near the ocean, but this time of year the weather was a little to cool at night for a massage on the beach. Hurricane Wilma did go thru this area, and there are places that you can tell, but they have done thier best at restoring the place with new plants and trees. There were plenty of pools, plus a salt water pool on the beach. Our first day there we did a lot of walking around to famaliarize ourselves with the layout. They give you a map, which is very valuable, because if you don't know exactly where to go you can get lost. Check out time is at noon, and we were not scheduled to be picked up until 4. But every lobby has shower facilities for departing guest, which was very nice and we took advantage of that. When were in transit to our excursions we got to see some of the other resorts very few compared to the Grand Palladium. I would reccomend this resort to everyone. If anyone had a bad time here, it is my opinion that if they had a complaint they didn't make it know to the staff so they could correct it or they just didn't want to have a good time. This resort had something for everyone. It caters to couples as well as families. It was a fantastic trip, and we will definately be returning to this resort.
3rd time is a charm
This was our third time to this resort. We love every bit of it. We were concerned that the hurricane may have wrecked it, but not true. It is so clean, hardly a tree out of place from the monster last year.
We arrived at the new White Sands portion, and were pleasantly surprised at the size of the room. Larger than the Colonial rooms. Nice and new. A little sparce with new plantings of flowers and small palm trees. Pool area is open and a little too hot. We spent our time at the colonial pool area where we felt more surrounded by trees and flowers. However, the new pool is only 4 feet deep as opposed to the older one a 5 feet. Don't have to bounce on your toes with drink in hand at the new one. The bar is very far from the new pool, not a plus. And the bridge is TOO tall and too many steps. get rid of it! Too hard to get to.
Food is great, except for the BBQ. Don't go to it. We love the buffets and stuck with those.
Staff goes out of their way to be nice, a few dollars tip is helpful.
Great SPA, nicest I have been to. Like you went to heaven. See ya next year.
We stayed at the resort for a week there was 10 of us in our party./ We vacationed at the end of Jan/ Found that even though they were not running at full capacity the service was awesome/ Food was great/ The resort was beautiful./ Rooms were unbelievable.// They are still working out the kinks/ The people on the fun team were amazing they had lots of activites / The only things bad that we found was the pools were cool, and the local bus "collectivo" was a bit scary.// All in all the resort was totally awesome// We would recommend this resort to everyone// We would like to someday visit the resort when they have finished building/
Won't be back
Returned 4/24 after a week stay with another couple and our two teens plus their two children. Stayed in bldg 59 of White Sands. Our 3rd time to Mexico, other couple has been to Mexico many times. They prefer the Iberostar over this resort. Said pretiier, better service and better food.
--Housekeeping (maid forgot washrags 3 of 7 days)
--Refrigerator only filled once every 3 days - had trouble getting water
--Leak in bathroom ceiling from floor above
--Poor service at beach restaurant
--Buffet service - had to search out silverware often
--Too large and spread out - walking is great exercise but all 8 of us prefer smaller resorts
--White Sands pool is too deep to stand in so if you have kids or anyone under 5' go to Colonial pool
--Bring inexpensive inflatable rafts from home and use in pool AND in ocean - great fun - on our last day we found other families with kids and passed them on
--Have comfy walking shoes and bring plenty of bandaids for blisters
--Make restaurant reservations immediately and if you really want to eat in more than 3 a la cartes, you can discreetly ask if there are any openings (a $10 tip will help)
A great five days I wish it was longer
My husband and I m who are in our 70's, stayed at the Palladium Grand White Sands from April 30 to May 4, 2006. We booked with Judy & Maria's Travel.. This is the 2nd time we booked with them and were very satisfied both times.. It was a completely no hassle vacation.
We arrived at the White Sands Lobby about 11:15. We were the only two getting off the bus at the White Sands so there was no line for check-in. The girl a the desk took a lot of time with us explaining all the ammenities of the resorts. Before we went to our room we made reservations for two nights at the ala carte restruants. We stayed in room 5004 near the Spa (which I can't say enough about.) We were surprised to find out that we had been upgraded to a junion suite. It was beautiful. It was hudge with two balconies.
We ate at the Stake Restaurant and the Italian one. We didn't care for the Italian.
I didn't get sick. Last time we stayed at the Iberostar Del Mar and the 2nd day I got sick.
We loved the place and maybe plan to go back next May.
I would definetely rate this resort as absolutely great! Now there is some minor hurricane damage, but that doesn't ruin the beauty of this place. It is huge, so walking is extensive, but you can take a train if you do not feel like walking. Also, staff on golf carts will take you around usually if you flag them down. We booked through Apple Vacations and they were great. If you are going to book extra excursions I would recommend the Caribbean Party boat cruise......it was a blast. They have professional entertainers on the boat and take you to an island for a buffet and show. They include everyone in the show and you can even dance on stage with the dancers........we also did the swimming with the Dolphins through Delphinus.....wonderful time! The horseback riding was fun, too. They let us ride bareback in the ocean and swim with the horses. As for the resort everything there is gorgeous and you get treated like royality. They have a play area for kids with slides and rock climbs.....the pools are gigantic......we took out 3 year old son and he had a ball. There are not a whole lot of kids running around this place, so I believe it would be fine for honeymoners. We seen a wedding just about everyday in the chapel by the beach. The food pretty good. There were some nights we didn't care for what we ate, but overall it was fine. No one got sick from the food either. I could go on and on, but I will let my photos speak for themselves.
THE PAINTING STALL
Kukulcan's Pyramid. El Castillo (Kukulkan-Quetzal
Kissing the Dolphins!