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I've had a lot of time to think about this last adventure we took in 2016, and I've started to believe that the memories from this vacation are one of the things helping me get through this time I'm spending on the sidelines recovering from my broken foot. Thankfully the foot injury isn't that painful… my issue is having to stay still and stay home. My travel loving heart isn't happy about this. I just feel lucky that it happened after this visit because the memories of the time we had in Mexico are keeping me going until I'm am all healed and back on the road again. Special thanks to Palladium Hotel Group for inviting us to experience this wonderful resort and for sponsoring this post.
See all of our Riviera Maya articles here.
Our adventure started bright and early at LAX airport. I used to fly out of this airport when I was growing up, but San Diego International Airport is just slightly closer to us now, so we tend to fly out of there as a family. This was the first time we flew out together from this airport and it was awesome. LAX has come a long way and there are so many non-stop flights now originating from it that it just makes sense for us to travel from there. We will be taking a lot more flights through there this coming year. What made this flight even better was that that the flight was barely a quarter full. Em and I were really excited about that! To get to Grand Palladium, The White Sands Suites from SoCal, it is less than a four and a half hour flight to Cancun. Then there is about an hour drive down the coast to Riviera Maya. We are in love with this part of Mexico, and this was our second visit in a little over a month. We already want to go back! I imagined the drive from the airport to the resort as a sleepy back roads trip, but it was completely the opposite. If you haven't been here before, it is a very developed area with great roads. It felt like we were in the US more than it does in some small towns that are actually in the US!
We arrived at the resort after the sun had set, and they were waiting for us. Something we learned pretty quickly is that everyone that works here is always looking for ways to make your visit extra special. As soon as our driver pulled up to the entrance to the resort, we were instantly taken care of!
The resort is spread out over a huge amount of land and it is positioned throughout a jungle/rainforest. Most resorts remove the trees, but Palladium actually just cleared small sections for the buildings to preserve the forest. You really do stay in a forest here and that makes this so special.
We stayed in the Grand Palladium, The White Sands Suites, and there are four other resorts on the property. They are all located on the same all-inclusive complex and all five are 5-star hotels with direct access to Kantenah beach. To get to the beach from our room we just walked along a bridge for less than a minute and we were there! All hotels on the complex have access to the 9 themed restaurants, 5 buffet restaurants, 25 bars, and 9 swimming pools that are sprinkled throughout the resorts.
There is also a magnificent Spa, sports facilities, events and conference rooms, disco, Baby Club (1 to 3 years), Palladium Mini Club (4 to 12 years), Black & White Junior Club (13 to 19 years), and so much more.
Here is how we spent our first 2 days!
Check in was a breeze! We were given wristbands and then escorted to our suite with a driver on an electric extended golf cart. They handle all of your luggage the whole time you are there. After our flight, I was hungry but I also wanted to stretch my legs so I offered to just meet them at our room. They wouldn't have it and insisted on driving. It wasn't until the after that ride that I realized just how huge the resort was. That got us all super excited to explore the next day!
Our family suite was newly remodeled and just beautiful. It consisted of a family room, large bathroom, bedroom (with a king sized bed) and balcony on one side. It was connected to another room with two queen sized beds, a sitting area (with a pull-out couch) and another large bathroom and balcony. It was perfect for our family of 5.
I took these pictures above the next day after there was light again outside, but that night when we arrived we were greeted with fresh flowers, sparkling wine (for Pete and me), chocolate covered strawberries, plus two huge baskets of fruit!
After we settled in a bit, we headed out to dinner at one of the specialty restaurants, Chan Thai Restaurant.
Everything here was fresh and delicious and they were more than accommodating with our vegetarian/vegan diets. They even had special menus for different diets including those that follow a gluten free diet.
We had big plans to go swimming and explore more before bed, but we were exhausted and went to sleep shortly after dinner.
The next morning we decided to try one of the buffets.
I had it in my head that I was just going to have coffee to start the day. I had heard that their coffee was really good so I was happy to just have that. But, as we walked through the buffet I started seeing all of the food they had and I quickly changed my mind. I wanted guacamole. I am still not sure exactly what started that craving, but I wandered through the row after row of food until someone stopped me and asked what I was looking for. I was told that they don't normally have guacamole until lunch time, but to hold on one second. A second turned into about a minute and all of a sudden, the kind man came skipping over to me with a huge bowl of guacamole that he just whipped together. He gave me a generous scoop, even stopping to pick up some chips for me and then placed the rest out for everyone else to enjoy. He said he figured others were thinking the same thing! It was the little things that they did here that really stood out to us!
After breakfast, we all headed to the spa. The spa here is amazing and they have something for everyone. The girls all had mani/pedis, Em had her hair breaded while Pete and I had a couples massage.
The adults only pool at the spa was perfection!
I could have stayed in this relaxation room for days!
After all that relaxing, it was time to explore the huge complex and all the resorts in it. I'm not going to lie. We were here for four days and we didn't see it all. We tried, but there is just so much to see and do that we couldn't do it. I guess that just means we have to come back!
What we did see we absolutely loved… like this beach!
One of the best things about staying at all-inclusive resorts is that you don't have to leave to have fun! Here they offer so much, including paddleboats, snorkeling, and kayaking which are all included in your stay!
We enjoyed one of the buffets for lunch and a snack later in the day and had dinner at another specialty restaurant, Portofino. Italian food is my favorite and this one did not disappoint! Our dinner started as date night with the girls joining us halfway through dinner. For some strange reason, I only have pictures of dessert. Ha! I love that this resort makes it so easy to have couples time too!
It was another early night for us because we had big plans for the next day! Part two of our adventure will be posted in just a couple days!
Here are our daily videos from these days:
See all of our Riviera Maya articles here.