6th time we have been to the Dominican Republic late July through to mid-August, & the 6th time we have managed to enjoy almost perfect weather (rain during the night).
We were due to stay in the Grand Palladium Bavaro but First Choice (Sharon is their brilliant rep) identified that their building works would be intolerable so we were upgraded to the Palace. A very good move on First Choice's part.
There's no doubt in our mind that the Caribbean coast (La Romana, Bayahibe) is the place to go, primarily because the hotels are that bit smaller & are a bit more personal. The Punta Cana/Bavaro resort & hotels on the Atlantic coast are too large and there's a much more commercial feel about the place - best exemplified by the non-stop motorised water sports. The beach vendors are no different, they'll soon realise that you're uninterested and will leave you alone - just smile and say "No thanks" through the first day.
The Grand Palladium resort is huge. Whether, being out-of-season, it can really cope with anything near maximum capacity I seriously doubt - there were times in Las Torres restaurant at dinner in the evening on Fridays and Saturdays when the basics (sufficient clean cutlery, crockery and glasses) weren't available and the serving staff were struggling to cope. But there's plenty of choice and our 2 (usually fussy) early teenage children were happy.
The rooms (we were in Villa 84) were OK, but as others have remarked they do need some overhaul and upgrading. I personally don't like the large bath taking up space in the bedroom, I'd much rather have a larger shower room & lavatory. The air-conditioning worked albeit noisily. Better to be cool and not hear the thunder during the night than be awake & sweating!!
We were hoping to try the a la carte restaurants but as we hadn't packed long trousers for our 12 year old son so we were refused entry and gave up trying. This is probably one of those underlying "impersonal" reasons that made me think "OK we won't be using this hotel chain again however hard you try!"
The beach is perfect, the swimming pools are scattered throughout the complex, and there are plenty of different restaurants and buffets to try. The grounds are immaculate and there's plenty of wildlife to look out for. But, hard as I tried, I much prefer the Caribbean coast and the (smaller) hotels there. My "rule of thumb" is that if there are happy Europeans (particularly Germans and Scandinavians) at a resort then the standards are OK, and I can just about tolerate cigarette smoking. I didn't see or hear many Europeans, and too many people insisted on smoking particularly in areas where there were lots of children.
Having written what does seem a bit negative overall, we'd be back to the Dom. Rep. every year as it is much better value (for about the same amount of money) as all-exclusives in Europe. Just the tropical storms and hurricanes which can make or break things, and we've been lucky every time.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
From the staff of Grand Palladium Palace Resort & Spa we want to thank you for dedicating your time to share your experiences concerning your stay.
We try to provide a good team, service and facilities at the height of your needs.
We greatly appreciate that we have totally satisfied your well deserved vacations.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.