Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa could be abbreviated GPV for Great Place to Vacation! Located in the Riviera Nayarit outside Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the Grand Palladium Vallarta is a festive resort that raises the bar on all-inclusive. “The GPV” has it all: great beach, stunning views, fabulous food, fun options for all in the family, and friendly staff.
While I was in Chicago last month, I checked my email and found out that I would be visiting Mexico the next week for a press trip on behalf of Traveling Mom to the Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa. You can imagine my surprise and enthusiasm! Talk about a lot of travel in a short period of time. Then again, what’s wrong with that?! But because it was Mexico and I would be traveling solo, I was a bit nervous. Here’s the lesson: sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and go for it. I am SO very glad that I did.
I learned not only could I handle solo travel internationally but I NEED to vacation by myself to stay in touch with what makes me ME. No one saying “Mama” for a few days and needing something. No meals to prepare or laundry to do. I become a world explorer who is wide eyed and tapping into the joy I felt when I first traveled to Europe after high school graduation. The newness and adventure and possibility all right in front of me.
Not only was the opportunity so unique, but THIS resort was so special. I’ve been to many resorts in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, St. Croix, St. Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, and Grand Cayman. But I had not been to Mexico other than a port stop in Cozumel in April. So I needed to up my Mexican travel game, and boy, did I ever with the Grand Palladium Vallarta.
The resort is comprised of two properties: the Grand Palladium Vallarta and the adults only Royal Suites Punta de Mita. Let me share with you a photo tour of the highlights of this amazing resort.
So the Royal Suites side of the resort has its own pool, restaurant, two bars, and 100 suites. And did I mention every suite comes with butler service? YES! From making your dining reservations to preparing a bath to bringing you a special pillow from the pillow menu, your butler can do it all! But what really had my jaw hitting the floor was the location. I mean, come on, this was the view from my building to the Royal Suites pool and beach…
How about the saltwater naturally formed pool on the beach. It doesn’t get any better than this. Imagine yourself in this pool with a drink in your hand and waves lapping at your feet. Pure bliss!
Take a siesta poolside on the Balinese beds-yes, they are actual beds that will lull even the most energetic into a calming chill that may produce a nap. Here’s what lies just below as your view…
Stellar Food and Drinks
I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the food. That’s the real way to impress guests is to have top notch dining options. Two surprises: 1) the caliber of the food options; and 2) the dietary card program.
After sampling the Punta de Mita restaurant for Royal Suites guests, I can say that this isn’t your mama’s all-inclusive. Dishes were made to order by chef Pablo Gomez, who has Michelin stars! I noshed on sesame encrusted avocado, eggs benedict for breakfast and seared Ahi tuna. All were exceptional. And then there was the bacon. Ahh, so good, I had to learn how to say I love bacon in Spanish: “me encanta el tocino!”
Other standouts for dinner were Viva Mexico and Portofino (Mediterranean). Try the tableside guacamole made by Anna-it’s divine! Tip: Choose to eat on the terrace and take in the stunning sunset over margaritas.
You’ve got to give props to the Palladium group for implementing a Food Allergy Card program. I have never seen a resort take food allergies and heath conditions so seriously. My daughter used to have a peanut allergy, so I know firsthand how important food safety is to families. Before arriving, guests can indicate if they have any allergies or conditions like celiac, diabetes, and seven other common allergy/special diets, including allergies to nuts, fruits and vegetables, seafood, egg, dairy and lactose, fish, and monosodium glutamate. Chefs and their staffs have been professionally trained in the preparation of dishes and have created allergy compliant recipes so they can offer guests with food allergies a wide selection of gourmet options.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that we also did a tequila and Mezcal tasting and tried the gin and tonics after dinner service with my friend Miguel. Hey, it was all for research!
No trip to a tropical destination would be official without a drink served in fruit or a coconut. Here’s my “Wilson” made of pineapple. Our group even carried a Wilson around to lunch although we forgot to bring him with us when we did our Hobie Cat excursion. It seriously was reminiscent of the movie Castaway because there was a serious surf break at the beach that we had to clear kind of like the one Tom Hanks faced in getting out to sea. Our guide named Oberon said we could call him Obie but he also goes by Castaway. Suddenly I was wishing we had Wilson with us!
Speaking of water sports, you have tons of extracurricular activities to choose from. One of the most buzzed about is the surfing. The resort has a killer surf break that has attracted the attention of locals and surfing professionals, some of whom host an annual SUP and and Surf retreat at the resort. Surfers were literally on these waves from sun up to sundown.
For those who desire something a little less demanding, there’s the Zentropía Palladium Spa & Wellness for rejuvenation, reflection, and relaxation. Guests can relax in a dry or wet sauna, vapor bath, eco-meditative cold bath or Jacuzzi. That cold bath will wake you up for sure! I loved every minute of my Zentropia massage after a day touring the resort.
Here’s my favorite part of our Palladium experience: the staff! You won’t find a friendlier, more accommodating group of people. They were gracious, hospitable and engaging. From Edith the Royal Suites general manager who always wore a brilliant smile to Daniel the assistant manager of the Grand Palladium Vallarta who spoke French with me and made excellent wine recommendations, we were blessed with outstanding service at every turn. It was more than a job to them-they treated us like family!
If you are looking for a magical Mexican experience, then think GPV: the Grand Palladium Vallarta and the Royal Suites Punta de Mita are a Great Place to Vacation.
Thank you to Grand Palladium Vallarta and Royal Suites Punta de Mita for hosting me for three nights to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and based on our personal experience.
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