Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oh HEYYYYY

WOW. It might be a new record for blog tardiness. Oct 29th was the last time I updated this blog. THIS blog. I have another blog, you see. But you know what? I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SEE THAT ONE! It's great. What a novelty, not sharing all your life's details with strangers.

I have been writing in this other blog about stuff which I am not writing about on here yet. So, take that as you will. Actually, if you know me, you will totally know what I am talking about because it's likely I have already talked to you about it. And if you know me and I haven't told you, it's because I haven't seen you in like...forever, so pick up the phone, bitch. Because you're the last to know!

Anyways, maybe you can guess at what I'm hinting at, and I promise I won't leave this blog in suspense much longer, but it's just not time yet for the big reveal.

As you can imagine LOTS has happened over the last few months, and some of that was travel related. November was a big month for fun things. We did the annual Long and Long on Remembrance Day weekend, which was super fun. We had a great house and a great group of friends consisting of myself and James, Olivia and Vicky, Marion and Aren, Erik and Anna. Great times were had by all. Surfing, boogie boarding, beach walks, boardgames, dance parties, rain storms, tacos!

We headed south to Punta Mita Mexico the following week for a wedding, which was super fun. I definitely was not overly impressed with the resort we were staying at (it certainly did not meet expectations based on January's resort experience...needless to say, we're done with AI's), but we had a great time. The weather was awesome, the people we were with were amazing (new friends galore!), we had adventures (Isla Marietas, Punta Mita town, Sayulita, public transportation in Mexico!) and ate some AMAZING food off the resort. Neither James nor I got sick (huzzah!), and we came back tanned and relaxed. Definitely hatching a plan to hit up Sayulita again sometime. Very cool little town.

My detailed review of the resort on Trip Advisor is as follows:

“Meh. You Get What You Pay For.”
3 of 5 starsReviewed 3 weeks ago
My husband and I spent the week of Nov 16 - 23 at the Grand Palladium. This is a balanced and honest review of our experiences.

We took a shuttle from the airport, which was about an hour or so drive. This was arranged by West Jet Vacations and was easy, though make sure you don't get sucked into the fake agents that immediately swarm you. Look for the guys wearing West Jet shirts, holding a West Jet clipboard.

At the hotel, we found check in to be fairly quick and straight forward, though the front desk guy was not very friendly nor did he provide us with extra information (such as: the extra beers and waters in your fridge are not included - we only found this out at check out).

Our room was not ready when we got to it. We ended up with doubles instead of a king as requested, and one of the beds was not made up. We were also missing waters and towels. This was quickly rectified after a phone call to the front desk, but first impressions were not great. We were also in an adjoining room, which meant we could hear EVERYTHING coming from the room next door. Thank God for the fan and ear plugs.

The Food:

We were hungry after our flight and drive, but could we find anything to eat? Nope. It was 3 pm, but the only thing open was the snack bar near the main pool, and it was really picked over. First food impressions were that it was gross. Stale tortilla chips and cold burgers. Sadly enough, stale and cold was the theme of the meals at this resort.

We ate at Portofino that night and had the worst meal of the trip. The food was cold, the meat was poor quality. Even the desserts were inedible. We had a great time with our friends, but only because it was so laughably bad, it was hard not to enjoy the experience.

We had a decent experience at the Mexican a la carte. We had mixed fajitas and tortilla soup and even though we can get better in Canada, it was edible. The chips and salsa were tasty, and the first virgin margarita they made me was awesome - it was limey and tart and amazing. The second one I ordered was unfortunately the slushy and bland variety. I guess she didn't want to hand squeeze limes for a second time.

The Asian restaurant, Bamboo was okay. We come from Victoria, where we have amazing sushi and Asian restaurants so my expectations for this are high. It was seriously only marginal, at best.

The Beach BBQ was fun. The ribs were good, but quality was inconsistent. One set was great, the next was full of gristle. If you have a green wristband, this is the only place you can make reservations for. Do that. It's definitely one of the better dining experiences here.

Your best bet at the buffet is to get there EARLY. Get it while it's hot, get it while it's fresh. At breakfast, get an omelette made, or fresh sopes. I enjoyed yogurt, fresh fruit and granola too. At lunch, be sure to get fresh mahi-mahi and ask them to grill you tortillas so you can make your own taco. It will be hot and fresh. Not much changes at the buffet, so it gets repetitive and by the time we left, I was really bored with the food. I don't eat gluten so that could have played a part in my boredom as I did see pasta and pizza stations that looked okay.

A few members of our group got sick, but it's hard to tell if that's from food, or simply too much sun and booze, or accidentally swallowing sea water. I did not have any booze, and I have Crohn's and did not get sick at all. I think if you are careful about what you are eating - making sure it's cooked, and fresh, you shouldn't have issues. The water and ice they use is all purified, so I felt safe drinking it or getting blended beverages.

As you can imagine, the best meals we had were off the resort, in Punta de Mita at Serendipity, and in Sayulita at Mary's. AMAZING FOOD at both of these places. Fish tacos to DIE FOR.

The Staff:

Front desk aside (check out was a nightmare), the staff were all really friendly and hardworking. We had no issues.

The Grounds:

Gorgeous and green. LOTS of stairs, so not recommended if you have mobility issues. I didn't mind the stairs - was nice to get some exercise. However, during the hot days, I spent a lot of time going up stairs. Not a big issue for us though.

NOT a fan of the zoo. I don't like zoos in general, though. I didn't see them being mistreated, but the animals looked a bit sad and bored to me. It's not very big. It's supposedly a rescue facility, but I'm not sure - these animals should be free, in my opinion.

The Beach:

Unfortunately it was red tide for the first half of the trip, so the water stunk and was kind of brown. It didn't keep us out of the water, but we made sure to shower and then dip in the chlorinated pool afterwards. By Wednesday, it was clear and beautiful. Nice temperature. Good for surfing. Not the best for swimming as lots of rocks. Best time to be at the beach (or anywhere on the resort for that matter) is between 7:30 and 11 am. It's quiet. Be sure to reserve your shaded palapa first thing or you will never get one and you will need shade if you are anything like me. It's too hot otherwise.

We liked the salt water pool at night. Great for night swimming with friends. Warm and safe. No rocks.

The Pools:

The adult pool (relax) was nice in the morning. Before the annoying loud drunks take over. It was a great temperature. The main pool was nice too, but got really crowded. Didn't spend a tonne of time in the pools, as I am more of an ocean girl. Why be in a pool when you can swim in a warm ocean?

Getting towels was a bit of an issue. Get them at 9 am when they open or you may not get one, or spend a lot of time waiting around for one. Never had this issue at the other resort we stayed at earlier this year, so this was annoying.

Lastly, people can smoke everywhere here. It's horrible. Not used to it anymore, so found it really really bad. It gets INSANELY busy on the weekends. It was so bad that I couldn't wait to get out of there by the time we left. It was elbow room only.

We had a fun week, don't get me wrong. We had a great time with our friends, and once we dropped our expectations about the place, we got over the flaws. Do yourself a favour though and LEAVE THE RESORT. You will find better food and better beaches.

I would not recommend this place unless you love crowds, repetitive and mediocre food, and don't care about seeing the real Mexico. I won't be back. In fact, I won't go back to an all inclusive ever again. Not my thing.

That being said, the reason we were at this resort, for our friend's wedding, was actually fantastic. The ceremony was beautiful, the reception was fun, the beach party the resort set up was AWESOME, and the disco afterwards was a good time (even though without all of us, it would have been empty!). They do a good job at weddings and we loved that.

So, you get the idea.

Stay tuned for exciting updates on this blog coming in the new year! x

1 comment:

  1. In the 80's and 90's Punta de Mita was a gorgeous, secluded, rocky beach with a tiny (Mexican-owned) surf shop, an amazing restaurant and the best snorkeling anywhere around. No tourists anywhere, no golf courses, none of that. We tried to get down there to the original beach a few years ago and were blocked by development. Devastating. What a waste of a beautiful, special spot...especially if (one of) the resorts are crap.

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