Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spotlight on: Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort and Spa


The Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort and Spa is located in Riviera Nayarit about 45 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta airport. It is a family friendly resort with 419 rooms.   The demographic mix is primarily Mexican tourists with some Canadians, Europeans and a few Americans. All the staff spoke some level of English. Most of the activities were fully translated into English. We never felt like we couldn’t communicate.

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Highlights
  • Great Value
  • Botanical gardens and lush landscaping
  • A la carte dining that does not require reservations
  • Adults only infinity pool
  • Free WiFi
  • Included Kids’ Club
Need to Know
  • Resort has a lot of stairs and inclines.
  • Main demographics are Mexicans and Canadians.
  • Kids’ programming is best suited to kids under eight.
Join me on a resort tour:




Pools

The resort has three pools: adults only infinity pool, a sports pool, and a pool with a swim up bar. All three pools have lounge chairs available with umbrellas. The sports pool and swim up bar pool are very active teetering on rowdy. Bar waiters do circle all three pools.  Activities start about every 30 minutes: water aerobics, water basketball, yoga, trivia, etc. The sports pool is next to the Splash Park with two slides for kids.
Beach

The beach is rocky with large enough waves for surfing. Boogie boards, stand up paddle boards, snorkeling equipment, and surf boards are available. The water goes to about waist deep in the swimming areas. Umbrellas are available for shade. A beach bar has cocktails, but we didn’t see any bar waiters.  The beach has an area for vendors to set up. We did see those vendors walk along the beach once or twice, but they were not harassing people.

Restaurants

The resort has five restaurants:
·       El Bosque – The main buffet restaurant. This is a great buffet. I was very impressed with the breakfast and lunch offerings. Both meals featured made-to-order food stations. You’ll see in the video tour all the different breakfast options. The restaurant offers both air-conditioned and open-air seating. The open-air seating is screened in.
·       Las Terrazas – A smaller buffet near the pool. This is primarily lunch and snack type options – hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, a salad bar, fried chicken, etc. This is screened in open air seating.
·       Restaurante Portofino –Italian a la carte restaurant. This had the best salad bar of the restaurants we tried. This restaurant is air-conditioned.
·       Bambu – Asian a la carte restaurant. The sushi was similar to what you’d find a grocery store. We were impressed that the waiter said almost all the dishes could be customized. The Bamboo noodles were very good. This restaurant is air-conditioned.
·       Viva Mexico – Mexican a la carte restaurant. I didn’t have a chance to try this one during our state. It offer indoor and outdoor seating. The terrace offers the best view of sunset at the resort since the sun does not set directly over the water.
·       Ribs & More – American a la carte restaurant. This is in the same space as Las Terrazas. The menu is beef and ribs.

In addition to these restaurants, food is also available:
·       Sports Bar serves a bar food menu of tacos, quesadillas, pizza, burgers in the evening.
·       Bar Hemingway has little desserts and tea sandwiches in the evening
·       Room Service is available after 11 am
·       Hot dog cart by the pool
·       Midday barbeque by the pool. It has different themes. When we were there we had tacos and paella.

Overall, we though the food was good – not amazing. The service could drag a little since there’s only one waiter for the a la carte restaurants. Reservations are not required, but some room categories can make them. Special diets can be accommodated. We were asked at every meal if we had diet restrictions. We saw a gluten free menu and a vegetarian menu.

Bars




The resort has seven bars.
·       La Pacita Lobby bar – This is bar right by the theater and the evening activities. It’s open in the evenings. It’s open air.
·       Bar Hemingway – An adults only air conditioned bar that opens at 6:00 pm. This bar has premium alcohol.
·       Beach Bar – A bar right on the beach near the water sports activities center.
·       Sports Bar – An air conditioned bar with a large screen tv and four smaller tvs plus a pool table. In the evening, it also serves snacks.
·       Swim Up Bar / Pool Bar – The main pool has a swim up bar and a regular bar for those in the main pool area.
·       Adults Only Infinity Pool Bar – This bar hosts the manager’s receptions on Thursday nights when the terrace isn’t available. It’s located right outside Viva Mexico restaurant.

The bars have at least one bar on tap. The brands of alcohol we saw were: Bacardi, Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Beefeater, Jose Cuervo. One drink I loved was the Palermo – tequila with grapefruit juice and Fresca. We also like Icebergs – draft beer topped with frozen margarita.

Activities


The resort provides included activities for ages 1 – 17. The baby club is for kids 1 – 3 and the Mini-Club is ages 4 – 12. This supervised club is open daily from 9 am – 1 pm and then 2 pm – 5 pm. These clubs also offer activities at the Splash Zone and a special show for kids at 8 pm each night. My observation is that the activities were best suited for kids up to age 8. We met a family with a 6 year old and a 7 year old and they spoke very highly of the kids’ club activities.


The Black and White Club is available for ages 13 – 17. It’s basically a clubhouse for the older kids to hang out. They offer 2 – 3 special activities like a disco. For after hours, babysitting services are available for an extra fee.


Other activities include:
  • Water Sports: Hobie Cat Sailboat, SUP paddle boarding, surf boards, boogie boards, snorkeling
  • Poolside Activities - water aerobics, yoga, in pool spin class, tequila tasting, trivia, pool basketball
  • Live music in the courtyard in the evenings
  • Tennis and archery - sign up at towel hut
  • Fitness center with lots of weights but not a lot of cardiovascular equipment
  • Spa – We were very impressed with the spa. It has a great wet area that is included in some travel packages or available for $10 per person per day.


Rooms




All  of the rooms will be non-smoking by August 1st. The entry level room category is a deluxe room. You can see a quick video tour below.



The resort also offers a junior suite with a sofa bed.  Take a peek:



They do have a category of rooms called Family Suite that is two guaranteed connecting rooms.


The room includes a mini bar with beer, water, juice and sodas. Free WiFi is available throughout the resort.

If you have any questions or want to see if this resort is right for your family,  send me an email.

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