My best friend and I landed back in dull old England last week after a 10 night holiday in Mexico. Home feels a world away from the luxury life we lead on our jollies. We avoided Cancun, as we knew we would’ve hit the clubs every night if we stayed there, and a party holiday wasn’t really what we were after. Playacar has begun collecting an impressive number of nightly honeypots too, so instead we opted for the Riviera Maya, staying at the Grand Palladium hotel. We wanted nothing more than to laze around on the beach with cocktails and a few good books, and this was the perfect paradise in which to do just this.
I have never visited the Caribbean before and I must admit the flight out seemed really long, probably more from the excitement! We were delayed by 4 hours because of snow, which didn’t help, but it was well handled by the airport staff and we were given food and drink vouchers to keep us content. Besides the duration, the flight was good; the meal was surprisingly edible for aeroplane food, and the seat-back entertainment kept us amused for the journey! The two hour hotel transfer passed quickly thanks to the chilled beers waiting for us on the coach, courtesy of our rep. Check in went swiftly and smoothly, and we were glad as it had been an incredibly long day. Upon finding our room, we literally flopped onto our super-comfy beds and drifted off to the land of nod…
Upon waking up the following morning and taking a proper look around, we realised that we had been upgraded to a junior suite. The room was really big and airy, and we even had a Jacuzzi bath! Although the balcony looked out across greenery, it was a lovely view and the waves crashing against the seashore made for a really ambient backing track. The mini bar is included with all rooms, and is restocked each day. It’s great for a treat whilst you’re getting ready to go out on an evening.
There are no less than 4 buffet-style restaurants in which to have breakfast each morning. I don’t really know why, but we chose to dine in the same one each morning, usually waiting for about 5 mins for a table. The there was a wide spread of fresh food on offer each morning, and I indulged on freshly made omelettes, fry-ups, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, waffles, pancakes, and champagne(!) most mornings.
Lunch was again served in a buffet style with a large variety. The same kinds of meals are served each day, but there is so much choice that we still enjoyed a different dish every day. The hotel had a Mexican themed day on the beach and at the beach bar on the Sunday of our holiday. A marquee was set up in which huge pans of paella were cooked before our eyes. A live band played salsa music and the staff came around with sangria. The majority of people participated and it was a really enjoyable day.
The Grand Palladium is a collection of four hotels; the White Sands, Kantenah, Collonial and Riveria. As the complex is so big, getting around can often be a problem, so a hotel train connects the four lobbies. These miniature trains are similar to buses, transporting holidaymakers between rooms within the hotels. It’s easy to get around but just means that sometimes there is a short wait to be picked up. There are so many à la carte restaurants within the complex that we didn’t dine in the same one twice. They all serve well-cooked, mouth-wateringly fresh food but my favourite venue was the fish and rice restaurant, not actually because of the food itself, but the stunning setting surrounding it. The restaurant is situated in the Riviera Hotel overlooking the beachfront, and consists of grassy gazebo-like huts decorated with sparkly fairy lights to illuminate diners below. Whilst waiting for our starters, a large, dark shape scurried under our table. Jumping up, I realised it was a racoon! Looking more carefully, there were lots of them curiously sneaking up into the gazebos. They As the waiter pointed out to me, this was their home. These animals are so friendly and cute and if you offer it, they will take food out of your hands. They are ever so timid though, and it took us a lot of coaxing to get them to come near.
The Kantenah pool bar is always lively and good fun to be around. The guys make a superb Daiquiri and will conjure up any cocktail concoction you fancy if it is not on the menu. The entertainment team by the huge Kantenah pool are always up to something to keep you amused. Salsa, yoga, volleyball, drinking games, themes and general fun goes on, but there is no pressure to participate. On an evening after our meal we usually went to the theatre near the sports bar to watch the entertainment. The shows were really good, and that’s saying something coming from me. I am not one for cheesy all-inclusive shows but these were great fun and well organised. Waitresses are on hand to bring you drinks during the shows, and the bar next to the theatre has a really great after show atmosphere. There are a lot of bars to choose from, but generally we stayed at this one because it was lively and just a short walk from our room.
The spa was heavenly. The staff are professional and the facilities are second to none. Prices vary depending on treatment, but the saunas and Jacuzzi are all free and feel so good! We spent a whole day here whilst recovering from sunburn, and I must say, it was a lazy day well spent!
We spent a few days at the beach, and upon glimpsing it for the first time, I was fascinated by the ocean. Everything I have read about the Caribbean promises blue waters and white sands, but I couldn’t believe how blue and how white everything actually was. The sand felt like talc powder between my toes, so soft and so, so fluffy. The ocean was crystal clear with white and silver fish darting about beneath the shimmery surface. For the remaining duration of the holiday, we took bread from breakfast to feed the fish. There are literally thousands of them, and they will take the bread straight out your hand!
I can’t stop talking to my friends about my holiday to Mexico! The Gran Palladium had everything I was looking for. I’ve already begun saving for my return venture next year. I’ll definitely be going to Mexico, and if not, the Caribbean, without a doubt!