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Flight: We booked our trip online and ended up using Signature and flying Skyservice out of Vancouver. The flight was uneventful. They allowed me to carry on my wedding dress in addition to my carry-on bag. Unfortunately they didn’t have anywhere to hang my dress so it was stored in the overhead bins. It was fine when we arrived though, didn’t even need to be steamed.
Arrival/AGI Transfer/Check In: We arrived in Cancun around 10:00pm so we didn’t have all of the timeshare people harassing us. It was a little confusing when we got outside as everyone was trying to get us to go with them. However, as promised, the AGI driver was standing there holding a sign with our name on it. I spotted him almost immediately. We allowed a porter to help us with our bags, not even realizing that he wasn’t with AGI until he asked for his tip. No biggie, we tipped him and were on our way. The AGI driver was very apologetic about the porter but we didn’t mind. The AGI vans are new, clean, comfortable and air conditioned. The ride to the Palladium took just over 1 hour. We arrived at the Royal lobby and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was!! Check in went smoothly. The guy checking us in apologized for his “bad” English and we in turn apologized for our bad Spanish! His English was actually quite good! The bellhop loaded our bags onto the back of his golf cart and drove us to our villa.
Room: We all got basically the rooms we had requested. We had requested room 6925 specifically for us, and 2 other 3rd floor rooms for my Mom and Stepdad and my Dad. We got room 7025 and they got 2 other rooms on the same floor. We were all very happy. When we got to our room, there was a “Just Married” banner on the door. Funny because we weren’t actually married yet but it was a nice touch! My Mom had bought a flower arrangement and some towel art for us. Both were absolutely beautiful!! The hotel also had a fruit basket for us. We were like little kids checking out the room, oohing and awing over all the nice touches. The IPod docking station is a great idea! I loved the makeup counter with the lighted mirror. The open bathroom concept is great. Our king sized bed was very comfortable and the sheets fit fine (I read somewhere that people had issues with the sheets being too short). The “mini” bar was great though we didn’t even use any of the full sized bottles. It was stocked often. The peanuts they put in the fridge were a hit! We had different and unique towel art every day, even though we didn’t tip our maid for the first couple days. We started tipping him every day. Every few days we also got fresh flower petals around the sink.
Towel art when we arrived:
Beautiful flowers in our room:
Pools/Beach: We are more pool people than beach people but both were great. We preferred the adult pools over the main pools, especially the Royal pool. They have very comfortable loungers! The beach is clean, very nice and big enough to allow for your own little space. We weren’t too excited about the Royal section of the beach as it is away from the water and mostly shaded. We heard a couple people complain that people who weren’t staying in the Royal section were using the Royal beach. I guess some non-Royal guests would go down early in the morning and take up the beds and when people who were Royal guests arrived, there were none left. I would have said something to people if I saw this happen but we didn’t use this section of the beach anyways.
Breakfasts: We ate most of our breakfasts at El Jardin. The buffet at El Jardin has a good selection and you could have your eggs cooked fresh however you wanted them. They had a good selection of things to put in omelettes. The service was really good. The regular maitre d’ (I forget his name) was SO friendly!! The coffee wasn’t always very hot but you can always order a fresh espresso coffee. We enjoyed a good cappuccino on the patio – what a great way to start your day!!
Lunches: We ate almost every lunch at the Kabah buffet. The buffets are HUGE! I honestly can’t understand how anyone could complain about the food here. There is something for everyone and you can get quite a few different things cooked fresh for you. There was a large selection of fruits, salads, pastas, pizzas, meats, breads, desserts and other things. I always enjoyed meals here. It was neat trying new foods. The only problems came when you had to decide which things to eat because you can’t have everything!
Dinners: We ate at 8 out of the 10 a la cartes. Half of these we had reservations for and the other half we had no problem getting in without a reservation. One night we tried to go to Portofino at 6:00 and they told us it would be a 2 hour wait so we went to Ribs & More instead. There was never another time when we had to wait any longer than 10 minutes. All in all we were very happy with the a la carte restaurants. We loved the mariachi bands stopping in to play a couple songs!
El Jardin: Food and service were both wonderful! We ate on the patio which is absolutely beautiful at night. They weren’t able to make a table together for 5 of us without squishing us onto 1 table so we ate at 2 tables next to each other. The racoons and cats made for an entertaining dinner.
El Jardin patio:
Ribs & More: A group of 7 of us went here without a reservation and had no problem getting a table. We were brought a sampler platter of all of the starters. All of them were very good. The Pork ribs were also quite good. Great service.
La Adelita: We had our welcome dinner for our wedding here. They had a nice table set up for us when we arrived. They make things fun by giving us all sombreros for some fun picture taking. They brought us a couple of sampler plates of starters which were very good. The main courses were also really good. Again, great service.
Delicious prawns at La Adelita:
Mare Nostrum: We had our wedding dinner here. Service was great! The waiter did excellent, always serving my husband and I first. We had a good meal. The cake was delivered and a mariachi band played for a little while. We did the cake cutting (1 cut for pictures) and then the waiter cut the rest and served it for us. He was very patient and kind about taking group pictures for us with a few different cameras. They staff must have congratulated us a dozen times. Very, very nice!
Cutting the cake:
Sumptuori: My husband and I went here the day after the wedding. We were seated at a very nice and private table outside (as requested). Service here was a little slower but the poor waiter looked like he was really running around! We were enjoying ourselves and didn’t mind waiting a little longer anyways. He was very friendly and had a great sense of humour! When he wasn’t running around he was wonderful at helping us practice our Spanish! He brought us a sampler platter of sushi and tempura seafood. I am not a big sushi fan but I really enjoyed it here. We had the Teriyaki Chicken and the Szechwan Prawns. Both were very good!
Private table outside:
Portofino: This was the one a la carte that no one was impressed with. I was really excited to eat here as it seems to be a favourite among all the guests. We got a table on the patio which is a beautiful dining setting. The service was cold and not very friendly. A few people ordered pasta (which would normally be a great choice at an Italian restaurant). The Bolognese sauce and the Pesto sauce were very bland. The lasagne was ok. The chicken was the best out of what our group ordered. We were told there was garlic toast at the salad bar to have with the pasta but there was none. We had to wave down our waiter whenever we wanted anything. They weren’t even all that busy when we were there and seemed to have plenty of staff working. We almost booked our wedding dinner here but my husband really liked the look of Mare Nostrum. We were relieved at that decision!
Rodizio: This was a really neat experience! We tried all kinds of meat including beef, sausage, rabbit, chicken, turkey and lamb. Service was very good.
El Dorado: Service was pretty good. All 5 of us had steaks. I think all of them were undercooked. The New York was so tough most of it was inedible. Desserts were very good and beautifully presented.
Wedding Services: We arrived at the resort late on Sunday night. On Monday afternoon we had our blood tests and met with Erika. The blood tests went smoothly. Both my husband and I are terrified of needles but the doctor was extremely patient and gentle. Erika took all the information she needed from our witnesses and then met with my husband and I in her office. She had books with different flower arrangements. I told her I wanted something tropical and bright. We chose orange lilies and birds of paradise for my bouquet. For Jason’s boutonniere we chose an orange daisy. When I got my flowers on the wedding day, I was thrilled! They were absolutely beautiful! They had matching flowers on the table at the ceremony and on the wedding gazebo. Security did a wonderful job of roping the area off and keeping people at a distance. There were still many onlookers I notice now looking at the pictures. But at the time, I didn’t even notice!
The Wedding Ceremony: We chose the Kantenah beach location as we wanted to be married barefoot in the sand! A golf cart arrived at our villa to pick my Mom, my Dad, the photographer and I up about 5 minutes before the ceremony was to start. Rocio and Erika were both at the ceremony site and showed me exactly where to go when we arrived. The ceremony was performed in English and everyone was pleased with how well they were able to hear and understand him. He spoke some beautiful words and we exchanged our vows in the most beautiful setting I could have ever asked for. Afterwards there was a sparkling wine toast.
The ceremony was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined!! I chose not to bring my own music and to just go with whatever they provided. I was so happy when I walked down the aisle to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as this was the song I would have chosen had I brought my own music.
Spa: I booked an appointment for 9:00 for a bridal package that included a manicure, pedicure, hair and makeup. My Mom and I arrived at the Spa at about 8:50. Their reception staff hadn’t shown up for work (as we found out at about 9:20) and no one knew exactly how to deal with anything. I didn’t end up getting in until about 9:45 and this made the morning feel extremely rushed as the ceremony was at 1:00. The same girl did everything for me. She was unfriendly, bordering on rude, even after I tried many times to strike up a conversation with her. I was happy with my manicure and pedicure. Not so much with my hair. It was falling out even before we left the Spa and we had to keep asking her to fix it. She seemed almost annoyed, as if I were a pain. My makeup was ok, though if I had the opportunity again, I would do it myself. I gave her a tip and she took it as though it were expected and didn’t say Gracias or even smile. I realize that the Spa is a separate company from the resort and it shows in the service! I have since heard many good things about people’s experience with the Spa so I realize I probably just got the “bad apple”.
Wedding Photographer: I found the link to Tamm’s Photos here on Palladium Addict. After looking at her photo gallery online and emailing back and forth with her a few times, we decided to book her. On the wedding day, Tammara and her husband Grant (both photographers) met me at the Spa. Grant went to meet with Jason and Tammara stayed with me. Within minutes I was totally at ease with her. Tammara and Grant are wonderful people and so easy to be around. They were discreet and we didn’t feel like there was a camera in our faces all day. Though we don’t have out photos back yet, I am confident that they will be wonderful! As part of our package, they also did a “honeymoon shoot” with us. We met them in Tulum a couple days after the wedding and hung out with them for the day and they took what I’m sure will be more great pictures. I would not hesitate in recommending them to anyone! I really hope we get a chance to work with them again in the future!!
Bars: We enjoyed all of the bars at the Palladium though we spent most of our time at the Riviera Lobby. The Royal Lobby bar is great too! I loved my evening cappuccino and Baileys there! Service in the Riviera Lobby was usually excellent! Mojitos, Blue Hawaiians, Banana Mamas and Chi Chis were yummy!!
Riviera Lobby Bar:
Around the resort: True the resort is extremely large but it is also extremely beautiful!! Most of the time we really enjoyed walking everywhere, especially because we seemed to eat SO much! But it was nice to have the golf carts or the train available to use. We took the pontoon boat around twice, just to sightsee. The first time the driver was playing horribly crude music which really took away from the experience. I’m thinking that maybe he didn’t understand all of the words... The second time was a much nicer experience! True, the bridges get tiring to walk over (though the views are great) but you definitely don’t have to use them! We often walked on the road and through the lobbies.
Shows: We made it to see a few different shows in the 2 weeks we were there. We enjoyed all of them. Once we found the theatre extremely hot and stuffy but other than that, it was comfortable and drink service was good.
Royal Perks: The free internet in the Royal Lobby was great to have! We booked our Hidden Worlds trip online there but they don’t have a printer. We were also able to use the internet at the White Sands lobby for free in order to print our vouchers. The concierge was a nice touch. The one in our villa was rarely there but there was always one in the lobby. Being able to make reservations for the a la cartes was great, especially since there was a small group of us. They allowed us to make reservations for our whole group, even though a couple of the guests weren’t staying in the Royal Suites (and we did tell them this). The Royal Lobby is a great place for a morning cappuccino or an evening nightcap. It has a beautiful patio with very comfortable chairs! As I said before, we didn’t use the Royal beach. The room service was great to have, though we only used it twice. The morning after our wedding we ordered room service for breakfast. It was quite good but we were shocked at how much food there was! Each breakfast had 2 eggs, toast or pastries and 12 pieces of bacon! Yes, 12! Needless to say, some was wasted. The nightly turn down service was great! I loved the little chocolates they put on your pillow and a few times we came back to flower petals on the bed. The perks were absolutely worth the extra money spent!
Off the resort/Excursions: The day before our wedding, a group of 7 of us went to Hidden Worlds. It was such a blast! We did the Ultimate Adventure Package and it was well worth every cent! The Skycycle was a good workout but had amazing views! It was awesome to try new things: the zip lining and the repelling into the cenote. I would HIGHLY recommend it!
We booked a tour to Chichen Itza through the travel agency at the resort for about $90US per person. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable! The van was air-conditioned, comfortable and they had cold bottled water available for us the whole day. We stopped in Valladolid and then at a cenote. Chichen Itza was amazing!
We went to Playa Del Carmen for the morning one day. 5th Ave is a great place to shop for souveniers. We also went to Akumal and Tulum. The beaches at both places are beautiful!
Checkout/AGI Transfer: We were extremely sad to leave the Palladium! :sad: Checkout went smoothly and they held our bags in the back room for us until AGI picked us up promptly at 6:30pm. It was evening at the Palladium when we left and what a beautiful setting to have as our last memory there!
Flight Home: Our flight was delayed by 20 minutes. Once we boarded the plane, we were sitting there for quite a while as they were still cleaning the bathrooms. Then, a crew member was sick and they had to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Because they were a crew member short, they had to ask for 8 volunteers to disembark the plane (they would pay for food and accommodation in Cancun). So, we had to sit there while they found the luggage of the people who got off the plane. After 2 hours on the tarmac, we were finally on our way home! The flight itself was uneventful and approx. 7 hours later, we were back in Vancouver.
Final Thoughts: I am SO happy that we chose the Palladium for our wedding! I can’t imagine a more beautiful spot to get married at! The staff are incredibly friendly!! They work hard for little pay and are ALWAYS smiling genuinely! There were exceptions but there always are. I would HIGHLY recommend the Palladium to anyone. I would LOVE to go back to the Palladium in the Mayan Riviera but my husband wants to try somewhere different next time. So, we are leaning towards the Palladium in the Dominican. Thank you so much to all that keep this site running! The GP definitely has our vote!!
Tara & Jason
P.S. I hope to have more wedding pictures to contribute when we get the professional ones back!