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All reviewsroyal sidelobsteralfredoroyal restaurantsuites poolpool sidepillow menumaster suiteribspalladium resortprivate restaurantmain resortpool barjacuzzi tubtravel cluba la cartethe mexican restaurant
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Reviewed November 11, 2008

I find the two reviews before mine and the April 1 review are all pretty spot on.

I stayed one week at the Royal Suites with my wife. This is definitely a place for couples.

The room was decent - it was quiet, relatively clean (found a few dead bugs and a leak in the ceiling) and with a very firm king bed. For the most part, service was fine except in the lobby (bar and front desk). The food was tasty (amazing guacamole and salsa, of course) - no problems getting seated at any of the A la Cartes (I recommend the mixed teppanyaki at Bambu and don't miss Viva Mexico b/c the view from the terrace is superb). The Royal Suites pool is a highlight - ultra comfortable loungers - lots of sun and lots of shade. All you see and hear is the ocean nearby. We never had to show up early to get a spot. Also, just a few steps from the pool is a collection of cabanas overlooking the ocean. And, just a few feet down from there is the private beach - it's not as nice as the Palladium side to the east b/c it's smaller and has a ton of big rocks ashore and in the water (not very foot-friendly), but it's ultra quiet. In many instances, my wife and I were the only ones there. And if you like going for walks to explore and look for shells, this beach and anything west of it is your place.

Last thing to note: the Palladium/Royal Suites is extremely far from Puerto/Nuevo Vallarta - it's in a remote area called Costa Banderas, which is between a small town called Bucerias and a port called Punta de Mita (where the Four Seasons is located). If you want to be close to the city for shopping, night life or sight seeing, it's a 300 peso cab ride or a 15 peso ride on the wacky (but fun) local bus - with a bit of traffic, you're likely looking at over an hour.

Would I stay here again? Probably not. I certainly appreciated the relative seclusion and the ability to leave the busy crowds on the Palladium side (yes, there was a mad rush of vacationing locals from Mexico City and Guadalajara between Thursday and Sunday). But, my wife and I are the kind of travelers who like to walk into town to look around - even a short cab/bus ride is fine, but a one hour commute, well, it's one of the things I like to take a holiday from. For a resort to be as secluded as the Palladium/Royal Suites, it has to be exceptionally special to fully mitigate the inconvenience its remoteness causes guests from "getting around town". It's a nice resort, but it's not exceptional.

This all said, I know there are plenty of travelers who seek to truly get away and just focus on eating/drinking and lounging at the pool/beach in solitude. If you're one of them, the Royal Suites at the Palladium Vallarta Resort is worth considering.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank GlobalEyes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 23, 2008

I stayed at the Royal Suites side of Palladium five times (each time was a long weekend) in Jan, Feb, March, Apr, & May of 2008. I chose it because of the solitude and relatively dark skies (brought a telescope). Comments:

The Royal side (total 100 new rooms opened early 2007) has excellent service and rooms compared to the Palladium side (about 400 rooms that I think are about 10 years old). If you’ve booked a package deal at Palladium, upgrade to Royal when you arrive. I’ve always just booked direct with Royal, and (stupidly) paid higher prices by around 30% because there are no packages available from my location in Salt Lake City. I liked the location, so I paid it anyway.

Children are allowed in Royal only during low season (about mid - April to mid - Nov.) Children are allowed all year in the Palladium side. Also in low season, heat in the Royal Pool (a clean, uncrowded pool during weekdays) is turned off. In high season, the water is about 92F (33C). This is VERY comfy for night dips. In low season, it’s lower by about 10F (6C). In low season, prices drop, and the whole resort, including Royal side, is VERY crowded with locals from Fri afternoon thru Sun. aft. Then it’s almost deserted on weekdays, so I got great service weekdays. During low season, only one of the three themed restaurants is open every night. On low season weekends, you can see there’s a problem. However, as a Royal guest, the “Punta Mita” restaurant is ALWAYS open for three meal intervals daily (closes 10:30 PM). No reservation is needed there. The dinner menu is always the same (but lunch varies). Being vegetarian, I didn’t have much dinner diversity, so I mostly ate at the main buffet, which was OK.

Technical issues that the resort doesn’t make clear: Don’t drink the tap water (free bottled water is always available and the bartenders can always refill your bottles if you run out). At the end, return your room keys (each $10.US) and the wrist band ($20.US) that they put on when you check in. Otherwise, there’s a charge (as shown). There’s no ATM at the resort, but they can change foreign currency there at a not great but not real bad rate. The lights in the room will turn out if there’s no activity (there are thermal detectors) for 10 minutes. If you’re recharging a cell phone, this could be a problem. One outlet does not turn off; it’s the one closest to the frig (and the frig should be plugged in there). The bedroom thermal detector may click at night in response to movement. Just cover it with paper to stop it.

Overall, the ocean was too choppy for swimming, but there's a great, secluded walking beach that stretches a half mile to the west, so I liked the location. Service was mostly great and the food was OK.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled solo
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5  Thank BillLee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 22, 2008

Our vacation was absolutely perfect. The room was great, the food was great, the staff were great, and the facilities were amazing.

We arrived on June 20th to an almost empty resort, our room had a problem with the safe and we were eager to go out an explore. Within 20 minutes they had a maintenance person in our room to fix it. On our first night we ventured to the main half of the resort and ate at the buffet. The food was standard all inclusive buffet, and it was a little crowded, but otherwise good. One thing that we noticed right away was the feeling that we were a distinct minority.

It seems that we arrived during the height of Mexican vacation season, and there were many Mexican families staying in the main half of the hotel. When we joined the show that evening, we were surprised that it was mostly in spanish and we seemed to be the only foreigners in the crowd. The resort seemed overly crowded with teenagers looking for a party and the list of available drinks that were available from the overworked bartenders was short. After the entertainment we decided to explore the Royal Suites side of the resort. What we discovered was an absolute paradise, an empty bar, restaurant and pool, isolated completely from the crowds.

From there on out, everything was out of this world. The bar by the Royal pool had fantastic bartenders, and most of the time they were free to keep an eye on us and bring us whatever drinks we required. Our dinner on the second night couldn't have been any better. We arrived to an empty terrace overlooking the ocean, were seated by the Maitre d' and had a choice of fantastic dishes from the a' la carte menu. The restaurant had seating for around eighty people, but there was only one other couple there, so we had complete attention from the waitstaff and the bartenders. My rib-eye steak was done just the way I liked it, my drinks were kept cold and full, and most importantly, I was able to spend a fantastic, romantic meal with my girlfriend in the perfect tropical setting.

Our discoveries didn't end there, the pool and the pool bar were immaculate, and we were treated like royalty all week. Room service was included in the all inclusive package, and was available 24hrs at no extra charge. When we ordered a pizza one night, it arrived hot from the oven in just over 10 minutes. The lobby, with it's air conditioned bar and free internet, was a great place to relax and wind down, or plan an excursion. But you should definitely plan your own excursions in advance. The deals we found online were much better than any of our tour company packages. We found that if we booked 3 activities with Vallarta Adventures we got a 10% discount, and a free 4th activity. Our tour company was only offering the 10% for booking 3 or more packages, whereas the vallarta adventures website offered the 10% off just for booking any tour online.

The a la carte restaurants that we tried (Mexican and Italian) were excellent. Make sure you have a reservation though, as it was very busy. Again we had a great ocean view, and the food was presented very well. The flaming coffee is not to be missed. However we didn't feel pressed to leave the Royal suites dining area very often, and the menu was changed enough to keep us interested and the service was fantastic. The presentation of the food was amazing all week, and I'm sure you could have a nice steak three times a day if you wanted to.

In short, this resort gave us everything we were looking for and much more. The level of intimacy, the attention to detail, and the personal service made this a dream vacation. Strangely enough, we were able to book the Royal Suites for less than the price of the main half of the resort. Keep your eyes open for deals here, and try to hit this resort when it's not busy. My one question is how the Royal suites staff would hold up to a higher number of guests.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Graemelives
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 15, 2008

We arrived on April 4. Sure was great to get warm again. The weather was perfect for the week we were there.
Our trip price was $3,142 for two people for one week. After we were there I felt kind of ripped off as other people paid about $1,00 less than we did. I have doubts about using my travel agent again.
We had to fly out of Vancouver which cost an overnight stay at the beginning and if we didn't want to put the family out at home we had to return via Nanaimo because the Friday ferries back to Victoria are full by 6:30 pm.
The Palladium Suites is separated from the Palladium Resort by a chainlink fence. Suites guests are welcome to both facilities but Resort guests are restricted entry.
I found the Suites side to be a lot more quiet. The pools were lovely and warm, if not a bit hot, more like a hot tub. There was pool service or rather sun bathing service as the waiter brought drinks right down to the beach. The drinks were higher end than the regular Puerto Vallarta AIs. I didn't notice what they were serving at the Resort.
The Suites included an al a carte that was fantastic. The lunch menu was always great. Hopefully I can attach some photos. I am all about the food when I travel.
I found the al a cartes to be okay. Some dishes are better than others but you can get that at home too. We were offered surveys at two of them and I completed them honestly.
Sweat part, was the non working air. For 3 days we didn't have air-conditioning and we complained and explained but nothing was done. Because of sensors on the door the air would work when you opened and closed the door. It would shut off after about 1 minute. So I guess they would check buy walking in and the air would be on. We hopped up and down all night opening and closing the door. Finally a non-English speaking guy came on the 3rd night and we worked it out that it needed an electrician. On the 4th night we said we wanted a different room and it was handed to us immediately. Why didn't we make demands before?!
I was really glad to move because I didn't like that room configuration. The jacuzzi tub was in the middle of the room and the toilet room didn't have a fully enclosed door. Even though we are married and my honey has seen me squeeze a baby out, I still don't want him to listen or smell me having to poop or visa versa.
We took the public bus to Buserias ($1) one day and to Wal-Mart ($1.50) another. We bought some booze at a store in Buserias. We could have saved a couple of dollars by buying it at the Duty Free. But what the heck. Next time. If you go to the Duty Free at the airport it is past all the security checks.
In the evenings they have very nice entertainment in the square by the theatre. However, we didn't enjoy it very much as it was very pungent. The air seems to change direction after dark and you would smell the zoo and also the roofs of the buildings are made of straw. It reminded me of the barn, hot straw and manure. Now add the body products of all the sweaty people, yuk!
Don't forget a hat, ear plugs, sunscreen, and oh yes, bug repellent. The Palladium is out in the country and we got bit multiple times. (No bed bugs though as we have been dealing with them at our work so every hotel gets an inspection before we even sit on the bed.)
$1's for tips. You maybe going on an AI but the staff get paid peanuts and need to rely on tips. A trip to Wal-Mart or the Mega Grocery will show you that the food isn't cheap.
Would we go again? Next time to Mexico we will be taking the family and going to the Royal DeCameron for sure. There are more pool options and quieter places to play. Plus the buffet breakfast never changed the whole time at the Palladium Resort. Boring. The pool that welcomes everyone is horribly loud with Spanish continually being yelled over a microphone or else it is techno music. I would go back to the Suites (adults only) but it would have to be a better price first.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Lavonne_Huxley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 1, 2008

We stayed at the Palladium Suites Mar. 24-Mar.31, 2008. We were looking for the "quiet time" which a resort far outside PV might provide. I have to admit, the suites-side of the Palladium provided exactly that, except from 8:30 - 11:30 P.M. every night, including Sundays, when loud speakers blasting music (live entertainment and CD's ) at the Sports/Hemingway bars precluded thinking or sleeping. We were in Suite #4213 in Building one, facing the Palladium bar-side. Were I to go again, I would request an even numbered suite in Building 2 or 3 because they might be more quiet.

Even though our room might have indicated we were on the 4th floor, it actually was the third. There are no elevators, but the flights of stairs are not difficult to manage, unless you have trouble walking stairs. I nopticed handicap ramps from the driveway to the lobby, from Villa 3 to the pool and restaurant areas. There were stairs to the terrace and the beach, but, again, these were not excessive.

Our room was clean. It was made up every day by 10:30 a.m. We left for breakfast, put the sign out to please make up the room, and when we returned, all maintenance had been done. Of course, we were never sure if we'd get 2 body lotions, and no shampoo, one or two packets of coffee, 3 soaps, or none. In other words, the re-stocking of the bath amenities was somewhat random. However, a quick call to the front desk or a comment to the maid resolved those issues quickly.

The jacuzzi was huge. The jets were clean & powerful. The rooms have a safe, a table with 3 drawers for clothes, a suitcase table, a small desk, two chairs, a small settee, bed, two bedside tables, TV that seems to get CNN & NBC only, & fridge.

The fridge is supposedly stocked daily with 3 beers, 3 waters and 2 cans of soda. On the first day, we had to request a bottle opener. Some days we got 2 beers; other days we got 3 sodas. Again the random factor was at work. We actually found it kind of fun to guess what we'd get every day.

There is only one wastebasket in the room. It could use two (personal preference). Each suite is provided with two terry cloth robes & 2 pairs of slippers. Nice touch! There is NO clock in the room.

The porch had a small plastic table and 2 chairs on it, under a thatched roof. Nice view of the mountains, and, a sliver of the ocean. In truth, the view didn't matter to us. We had a resident gekko we found fun to watch, plus a number of bird, butterfly & moth visitors.

There are two internet computers in the lobby at the suites. They worked fine. The lobby bar appeared well-stocked.

The Punta Mita restaurant food ranged between good to excellent. Breakfast eggs were generally OK; not great. The has brown potatoes tasted as if they had been made with cream. I found those indigestible, as were the sausages. However, there were sweetrolls, toast, cereals, and fruits available. When Giovani or Alfredo were cooking, the lunches and dinners were fabulous! Nothing better than their fish with their accompanying sauces!

After one week eating 3 meals/day at the Punta Mita Restaurant, tho, we found ourselves somewhat bored with the (lack of) variety on the menu. We never tried any of the restaurants on the Palladium side, because we heard from other guests that the food was terrible.

The beach is small and, as has already been mentioned, rocky. It is quite typical for the Pacific coast. The resort was using a small bulldozer while we were there to de-rock the area, and we saw people cleaning up the scrub and seaweed. It's simply not an Atlantic coast-type beach. We did enjoy looking in the tidal pools and walking over the hill to other beaches, picking up rocks and shells. This is not a super shelling area, tho.

The sewage smell people have also mentioned seems to come and go. The place where it is worst is under a grate going down to the ocean from the suites. There is a flagstone partially covering the sewer outlet that appears to have slipped. Were it not covered by a grate, I might have tried to shift it back into place. I did mention this to the concierge, but who knows if it will be taken care of.

The pool was warm, and clean. Poolside was quiet, with no children or activities bellowed on a bull horn, as over on the "regular" side.

Beverage service on the beach & poolside was good, and fairly frequent. Perhaps once per hour, someone would come by asking if we wanted fruit kebobs or something to drink. We always gave 10 pesos as a tip. In fact, for every meal, we left 20 pesos, ditto for the maid every day. Service people don't make much money, so we felt our tips (small as they were) would be appreciated.

The zoo over on the Palladium side seemed well kept, except for the one time when some worker abandoned a rake, tong-side up, in the cage with the ostriches. A quick call to the desk rectified this problem-waiting to happen. The zoo contains 2 spider monkeys, parrots, rabbits, 2 ostrich, 2 coatundis, two peacocks and pea hens, and some other tropical birds. They all look well-fed. There are crocodiles who are fed every Friday at noon in a pond at the front of the hotel; there is a cage with deer, that is somewhat smelly, but then what cage with a herd of deer wouldn't be?

I am surprised no one has mentioned the botanical gardens around the regular Pallaium hotel. The specimen trees and plants are clearly marked. We spent an enjoyable time walking the gravel paths around and up and down. People who have trouble walking should not attempt to go there, tho. The gravel is slippery, and the incline might be problematic.

The two small stores (a kind of general beach-resort, sun tan lotion, Mexican souvenir type) and a silver jewelry store were in the main hotel complex. Prices seemed higher than in town, but then, the articles have been "brought to you," so to speak, so you should expect higher prices.

Buses run to Punta Mita, Soyulita, Bucerias, the Marina and PV every 15 minutes until around 9 P.M. The cost from the hotel to Bucerias is 10 pesos per person. You catch the bus on the main road (right side for Bucerias, PV), and across the stree in fron of the real estate office for Punta Mita & Soyulita. Just wave the driver down.

All in all, we got what we wanted - a reasonably quiet vacation, at a clean resort with decent food.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank Travelingmaven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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