My husband and I recently got back from a 3-night stay (our first ever) at Golden Parnassus. We were there March 26 to March 29, 2017. Before we got to GP, we were at Desire RM. Our trip report of that is here: Desire RM (Mar 24-Mar 26 2017) trip report
Quick summary: beautiful resort. excellent beach, good/OK service, good food, weak drinks, good entertainment, quiet nightlife.
Pros of Golden Parnassus:
Gorgeous beach - what everyone has said about the beach is true. The waters are clear turquoise. The sands are soft. The view is just amazing. The waters were a little too choppy for swimming during our stay. In fact, a local told us the waters tend to be rough in the winter/spring. There was some seaweed, but it came in small clumps, about the size of pine cones. Sure the clumps accumulated but it wasn't a deterrent at all. As we walked along the beach (heading right, facing the water) we noticed some resorts would bury the seaweed. I think GP had a jeep that scooped it all up.
There is a bar at the beach. We didn’t stay at the beach long enough to notice if there was drink service. There are quite a few beds on the beach but they were all taken by the time we got there, early afternoons each day. There are also beds with canopies that cost $80 USD to use. The beach is large and there are 2 stairways back to the resort, on opposite ends, but only one end (the one closer to Pier 12) has a water station to wash sand off.
No reservations needed for any of the restaurants. This was a huge plus. I hate making reservations because I never know when we’ll be hungry the next day. The dinner restaurants had casual dress codes (no tank tops for men) and only Shangri-La required collared shirts and long pants (for men)
Also, lighting was good at all of the restaurants. I cannot stand it when we go to a restaurant and we have to whip out the smartphone to use the flashlight feature. This has happened many times at Temptation. But all the restaurants were bright and airy. Nice touch.
Food at the Paradise buffet was terrific. Honestly, we felt like we could eat there each day, 3 meals a day. There was enough variety and other things stayed the same day to day. The guacamole was amazing - and we were not big fans of guac before this trip. If you sit by the windows, you’ll have a great view of the pool and beach. The service at the buffet ranged from terrific to average. On our first morning there, we weren’t offered refills on coffee, for instance. But servers like Gaspar, Angel, Oscar and Armando really did great jobs.
Ask for window seating at the buffet. You’ll get this:
Golden Parnassus, view from Paradise Buffet
The buffet offers an omelet station the morning and in the evenings a pasta station + grill (steak, chicken, fish) or stir fry
Paradise Buffet @ Golden Parnassus
Entertainment at the Galaxy Theater: the one night we went (Monday) the show was excellent. About 8 or 9 dancers and they did dances from around the world in very colorful outfits. I was impressed with the choreography from all the many routines. We missed the first hour of the show so I don’t know if it had been the same all throughout.
Drink service at the pool was very good. Servers Maria and Mariana did great jobs going around the entire pool area, even to the upper deck, and taking drink orders. Often they had to lug maybe a dozen huge Bubba/Yeti mugs filled with drinks.
So-so aspects of Golden Parnassus:
Hotel room was good. We were on the 3rd floor. There are 2 elevators in the resort and they worked fine. Room did not have a fridge. Window faced out to the Old Barn and tennis court. Beds were nice. Shower was good. (They use the same toiletries as Temptation. Body Clean, anyone?) On our first night, we found the noise from the hotel to be very noisy. The way the hotel is designed, you can see the lobby from the 3rd floor; it’s an open design. Somehow, the acoutstics are such that all the conversations, laughs, shouts, etc echo and make their way up the hotel hallways. It felt like we could hear every conversation, every joke, every door closure (not just slamming doors) I’m not usually a sensitive sleeper but it was bothersome the first night. Felt like people were right outside our room door. I think I got used to it by the 2nd night because it didn’t keep me up afterward.
The key to the hotel safe was an actual metal key strapped to a huge cord. Who wants to carry a metal key around? AND the key looked like a generic key; I’m sure some of us already have this key for a locker or something. The key design was just a circle with a notch. ________
Towel cards and key for the hotel safe at Golden Parnassus
Hotel room safe with METAL key at Golden Parnassus
Only 2 small bottles of water provided in the room. A note was attached that if we wanted more, it’d be at a charge of 10 pesos (50¢ ?) each. There is a water cooler at the Paradise buffet in the lobby, so we just got cups of water from there each night.
2 bottles of water provided in rooms at Golden Parnassus
Food at Old Barn was OK. I know many people have raved about the steaks there, but my husband and I just thought they were OK. Good, but nothing extraordinary. I honestly feel we make better steaks at home and we are not professional cooks. The barn decor was very nice (chandelier made of antlers, e.g.) but the service was a little slow.
Great barn decor at Old Barn @ Golden Parnassus
Filet Mignon with sautéed mushrooms + baked potato @ Old Barn - Golden Parnassus
Daytime activities by the pool were fun but more PG-rated fun than anything. There was pool volleyball, beach volleyball and yes, bingo. Actual bingo, the kind old ladies play in retirement homes. There was also a pool exercise session that my husband enjoyed since he was recovering from a shoulder injury. We never saw any topless women.
Golden Parnassus Daytime Activities Board
Nighttime activities ranged from boring to OK. I had heard great things about the Tiki Bar but really, not much was going on when we were there. Yes, twice in one night, a girl laid down on the bar, hoisted her leg against a support column and the bartender poured alcohol (I’m guessing tequila) down her body while her signifiant other licked and sucked. It would have been hotter if other people got involved or if she were wearing something sexier than a t-shirt, shorts + flip flops. Another night, one of the entertainment staff gathered 4 young men to do physical challenge which only involved 1) drinking a cup of beer; 2) then blowing a balloon until it burst. The fella who did this in the shortest time was the winner. Somewhat entertaining but not a whole lot.
A problem with this resort is people just kind of wander and do their own thing at night. For instance, at Temptation, everyone goes to PatyO’s at night, (if there’s not something planned at Nice Shoes) - everyone. So you know where to find the fun. Similarly at Desire RM, everyone goes to the outer area outside the lobby in the evening, then everyone heads up to the disco. However, at GP, after dinner, some people head to the Tiki Bar area (which doesn’t accommodate a lot of people ) some go to the Sixties Bar (which is boring unless they’re playing music or doing karaoke) and some linger by the Beer Garden in the lobby. It’s hard to find the fun crowd, if there even is one.
Sixties Bar: I had heard many good things about this bar. It’s very much like the Sports Bar at Temptation: 3 pool tables, large screen TVs, foosball, ping-pong. But IDK, unless you were with a big group of friends, it wasn’t very fun. On a couple of occasions, there was karaoke and dancing. It’s a little disheartening when some women are dressed in jeans and sneakers or a cardigan and dancing with a big purse at the hip.
Not-so-good aspects of Golden Parnassus:
Towel policy: We were given 2 towel cards at check-in These cards look almost identical to the room keys. Policy states you exchange one card for one towel and at the end of the day, return it for vice-versa. If you lose a towel or lose the towel card, it is a $30 USD charge
Towel cards at Golden Parnassus
Dinner at Pier 12 - neither my husband nor i liked what we had. The salads were good, but the shrimp cocktail did not taste good. Neither did our entrees. We had talked to other guests who had been happy with their meals at Pier 12 so maybe we just got unlucky. Also, it was very loud in the restaurant. It felt like we could hear everyone’s chatter. It wasn’t too troublesome, but a little annoying.
Scampi Shrimp Saltati at Pier 12 @ Golden Parnassus
Shrimp Linguini @ Pier 12 - Golden Parnassus
Dinner at Shangri-La: food was good, but service was awful. The waiter, Daniel, never smiled, never introduced himself, did not make small talk when we tried to initiate it. We were made to feel like we were an inconvenience to him. He came by with a basket of bread + just muttered “You want bread?” and then plopped the bread and butter on our plates. Never said “you’re welcome” (or “de nada”) even though we thanked him each time he brought something or took our order. Our food took a long time also. We didn’t complain, but at one point he came by and flatly asked “Everything OK?” How were we supposed to answer? No everything was not OK because the food was taking a long time and he did not acknowledge this nor offer any reassurance that it’d be coming soon. I’ve never had anything bad to say about service in Cancun, so this was a first. We left a tip, but only out of respect for the resort; didn’t think he deserved it at all.
But again, the food was very good. I had the pear salad and duck breast. My husband had another salad (I forgot which) and the salmon. We both loved the food. Also, the decor was nice
Shangri-La at Golden Parnassus
Drinks: the drinks were WEAK. My husband and I are not really drinkers. We rarely drink at home, and when we do, 2 Coronas or 2 Heinekins get us really buzzed (we are lightweights) That said, we drank and drank at GP and never felt the slightest hint of a buzz. In a typical day, we had 2 or 3 large mugs of beer, 2 or 3 Palomas or tequila sunrises (recommended by another guest) 2 or 3 kahluas with milk, 1 or 2 bloody Mary’s - all that and never a buzz.
Final thoughts: Golden Parnassus is a beautiful resort with a gorgeous beach. Service is mostly very good. Food is mostly very good. Drinks are so-so. You can have a great time here if you keep you expectations low. If you come with a group or if you make friends easily, it would be better as well. I think the price for this resort is very affordable and overall a very good value for the money. Would I go again? Maybe. It depends on how much Temptation rates turn out.
Some more photos:
Gorgeous beach at Golden Parnassus
Welcome cocktail @ Golden Parnassus
Poolside @ Golden Parnassus Golden Parnassus
Paradise Buffet @ Golden Parnassus
Daily + Nightly activities @ Golden Parnassus
Golden Parnassus map and restaurant guide
Security checkpoint before Golden Parnassus
Welcome cocktail @ Golden Parnassus
We stayed at GP in November and pretty much agree with everything in the review. The staff is very friendly but service is some times slow. The facility is nice but there is no effort from the staff to organize a party atmosphere. And it is not topless friendly, though the few ladies on the beach who went topless seemed to be left alone. But those at the pool were asked to put their tops on. In short, if you're looking for the TTR experience you won't find it unless you travel with a group that does its own party planning.
I liked the report above but I must say when I was there from 3/10-3/17, I didn't have any of the issues stated in the review. I think difference in the rooms has a lot to do with it. We did the Club package which put us on the 6th floor. With that you get a king bed, jacuzzi, and a room fridge which was stocked daily with all the water or beer you wanted! Our room faced the ocean which was an awesome thing, great views. Our safe, yes it had a key, but a real key and not a vending machine key. Now for the drinks. Our drinks had PLENTY of booze in them but I think it depends on what type of drink you order. If it involves tequila, it will be strong. If you made it over to the bar where Fonzi was, you got a good drink! When we ordered shots, we got 3 swallows worth of booze not 1. The service was a tad slow around the pool area but Mariana did all she could to keep us happy. She is an awesome woman. Now for the dining. It was our 25th wedding anniversary while we were there and had nothing but great service throughout the hotel. Including the restaurants. Our waiters at Shangri-La were excellent with no complaints. We ate there 2 nights and had different waiters both times with no problems. Either we had exceptional service for us and the 2 other couples we hung with, or maybe Cheers2us had a rare so-so time. I do have to say the report that was written was pretty accurate but I just had to give my two cents worth!
Thank you for the report. Very detailed and you were open with your opinions. My wife and I were there 3 or 4 years ago. We enjoyed it. I guess that we wouldn't fit in with your crowd. We like to relax on our vacation. We make our own fun. We have never needed the resort to make it entertaining for us. But, again that is just us. Your review is going to be extremely helpful to many wouldbe travelers. Thanks again.