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Background: I typically do a ton of research on the resort before we travel. After we booked in May of 2012 I stumbled upon the Palladium Addicts site. It gave me so much information I felt that I had made the best choice on resorts. I decided to join their group and found out that the very week that we had booked they were having a get together at the resort. What a fantastic group of people we had met and made some great friends. The party was so much fun and the week was incredible. They welcomed us and turned us into true Palladium Addicts.
Travel Group: My husband and I traveled with our 3 year old daughter and 4 other adults and a 16 year old. We are in our mid to upper 30’s. We booked through Apple Vacations via our Travel Agent that we always use. We joined the group of Addicts of approximately 60 other people when we arrived.
Resort: Yes it is a 45 Min drive from the airport but we already knew that and we prefer to not be in a strip of resorts stacked on top of each other. The resort is large and we knew that and were prepared. We brought a jogging off road stroller for our daughter and could go anywhere. It is truly a magnificent resort placed on the side of a mountain with gullies, serene type bay areas, coves and inlets. I am sure we have only seen 25% of this resort as we were spoiled where our Villa was. The architecture is beautiful. The resort is only 4 years old and very well kept. It is the hot moist weathered Caribbean so yes there is wear and tear on some things but if you are going to critique a cracked tile here and there the tropical areas are not for you stay home. This was the most beautiful and largest resort we have ever been to. We were impressed.
Room: We had originally booked the Jamaica side but were placed on the LH side. I had emailed them with my requests for rooms and in the order of importance. We had booked a 1 Bedroom suite and requested that the other room for our friends was either adjoining or next to us as her daughter was our Nanny for the week. I had asked that if possible are entire group be in the same building or close to each other. We ended up in Villa 26 room 2630 Oceanfront Suite with our Nanny being right next door in room 2629. The other two rooms were in Villa 28 right next door with Ocean view rooms also. Check in was a breeze, took about ten mins for 3 room check ins. We got there at noon and they were still working on them and our other party had not arrived yet. We went to lunch and came back at 1PM and all 4 rooms were ready. We asked for extra room keys right away so we could leave one in the wall and each person could have a key and it was not a problem. The Villa was right next to the Main areas pool, Lobby etc. fantastic location. The room was huge with a separate King Bedroom and Living area, pull out sofa all made up for our daughter, huge jet tub, huge shower, lots of counter space and 2 very large balconies. The views were amazing. We expected a musty smell and brought small candles but never needed them, we expected hard beds and hard pillows and were surprised at how comfy they all were and we are use to a Temperpedic Mattress. Our AC was wonderful and I woke up needing blankets several mornings. The housekeeper Paula was wonderful. Our room was cleaned twice a day, always had towels, nightly turn down service and our fridge was always restocked and even with extras. We tipped her 3 out of the 5 days only because I forgot the other two but gave her extra, still had great service all days. Out of all 4 rooms 2630, 2629, 2829 and 2827 there were no real complaints. The open air courtyards in the Villas were beautiful and we did not mind walking up to the third floor even with a stroller. We left it by the bottom of the stairs all day with our pool stuff in it and brought it up at night with no problems. Nothing was ever touched. The tree frogs and crickets were loud but we could not hear them in our room. We were right next to the theater and never heard any noise in our room. There was only one night when we were in bed at midnight and we fell asleep just fine, the other night 3 and 4 am. If you kept your balcony door open then yes I could see the problem but who would do that it is really hot and humid.
Staff: We NEVER encountered anyone who was rude or not willing to help us in any way. Everyone was always happy and smiling and willing to do what we needed. We do tip because why would you not. We always bring about $150 and tip that per week that we are on vacation. Sometimes we did not tip and got them the next time. In the mornings we tipped the bartenders well and then well again in the late afternoon and always had our drinks ready for us. The staff was always interacting with our daughter and asking us if we needed anything for her. She had a fabulous time. We are a pretty low maintenance group and came to enjoy ourselves and we did. When we did not tip we still had great service. We never once felt unsafe on this resort. Be smart don’t walk out alone to Sunset Cove at 2am. We always stay in a group of 2-3 people and stay where you are supposed to be.
Food and Drinks: I usually just drink beer and Red Stripe was good. It was hard to get limes at some of the bars but they had Lime juice which was fine. The rest of our group had many of the mixed drinks and said they were great. We brought our own cups and it was just easier and it kept them cold. Every bar always had apple juice for my daughter. We ate the buffets and never had any problems went to the Italian Rest and it was good. When in doubt eat a salad and bread. Had the Jerk Hut for lunch it was amazing with the BBQ sauce, Jerk sauce really hot. We had a private dinner for The Addicts party at Poseidon and the food was incredible (not normally offered at this rest.) Duck pastrami, Lamb Chops stuff I would not normally eat but it was fantastic. The party was amazing and the staff and the resort went all out for us. My 3 year old was always able to find something to eat but I did bring Gerber Grad meals for her and jello and pudding just in case, we used some but brought a lot home. It was nice to be able to keep it in the fridge for her just in case. The Sports Bar was our late night stop like 3AM for Chicken Quesadillas. Room service would be a bonus but the resort is just so large it would get cold quickly and probably take awhile. Yes there were cats but who really cares; I only saw maybe 10 we even brought them cat treats. I work with animals all day for my career in vet med and a few cats running around are not going to make anyone ill. If you don’t want to interact with them they go away. If you want to some were very friendly and my daughter enjoyed that because that is what she knows.
Beaches and Pools: We really only used the main Infinity pool. It had a shallow end for our daughter but she also liked the deep end. I thought it was clean enough, it is large and would be hard to vacuum every inch of it, I did not notice broken tiles or mold it was fine. The beaches are spread out but there are plenty of spaces. They are not soft sand but we knew that and brought water shoes but hardly used them. There are plenty of reefs just several feet out to snorkel on and my daughter was able to swim in the water and enjoy herself. Plenty of chairs, beds and palapas at both the pool and the beach areas. Sunset Cove was our favorite beach and worth the 10 min walk.
Entertainment: This was the best entertainment staff we have seen. The shows at night were great. During the day there were lots of games and dancing lessons. The steel band up in the Infinity Bar was great. We enjoyed the disco until close many nights. Stopped in the casino and blew $20 and always ended up in the sports bar for late night food and last drinks. The staff went all out for the entertainment for The Addict Party. Fire eaters, great dancers and everyone had a great time. We were very impressed. There is a kids club but we never used it, we brought a Nanny and also traveled with 3 others that my daughter adores so we never needed it. They do have a play set but it is in the hot sun so really not OK for a 3 year old. It could benefit from a roof over it. My daughter was way too busy anyway and we walked past it several times a day but she was heading for the pool.
Tips: Bring an extra garbage bag for going home clothes, most of our stuff never dried with the humidity. Bring several swim suits so they will dry. Bring a cup for drinks. Send a room request in 7 days in advance but don’t expect to get ocean front without paying for it just book that room if that is what you want they go quickly. If going with kids book a 1 bedroom suite much more roomy. Bring water shoes and snorkel gear. Bring a smile and a polite attitude and you will be taken care of.
Please do not be hesitant on the bad reviews on here. If you want to have a great vacation, go and enjoy. Go onto the Addicts site and ask many questions or find the answers there. You will not be disappointed. We are already planning our next vacation to GP in Riviera Maya, GP in Punta Cana and will be back to Jamaica. We want to thank all of the resort staff and the other Addicts for a fabulous time.