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“We found paradise on Earth!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Palace at Playa Grande

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The Palace at Playa Grande
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Calle Rio San Juan | Playa Grande, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Rio San Juan
Raleigh, North Carolina
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“We found paradise on Earth!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

The Palace is the most beautiful, serene and welcoming place we've ever been to. It is perfect for a couple in need of relaxation, and romanticism. The staff is outstanding, attentive to all your needs. The food was delicious, and quickly served. Our room, the 3rd floor suite with jacuzzi on the balcony, was gorgeous, comfortable and so spacious. the bathroom was very nice as well, other than a lack of good light for make up and such. Our favorite part was how special we felt the whole time thanks to Cynthia and Felipe, who helped us plan fun outings. Felipe drove us everywhere we wanted, so we had our own, very patient, funny, and so kind driver! So much better than going with the tour guide. We went to the Monkey Jungle in Sosua, and recommend this one to everyone. It is a free clinic and dental care for the poor, financed by a zip line adventure and a monkey jungle for tourists. It is a very nice place, with very happy monkeys! The staff is also super nice there, we had a great time. We also went scuba diving at the Northern Coast Scuba Center in Sosua. They offer a very affordable discovery course, so anyone can enjoy the under sea life and beauty! The center is owned and ran by Michael, originally from New York, who was so helpful and kind as well. It was such a wonderful experience. For those of you who are afraid of bringing cash versus credit card, you will NEED cash to tip everybody (many different staff members every day), and you will be charged an extra 16% fee where you can use your credit card. So, cash is the way to go (we know that now!). Go take a quick Spanish course before you leave, because English speakers are few there. This was the best vacation we've had so far, and we plan on going back as soon as we can afford another trip! The Palace does not disappoint!

Room Tip: If a jacuzzi on the balcony sounds great to you (it really was the first day we arrived, to relax af...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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80 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Whiteford, Maryland, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

The Palace @ Playa Grade was simply AMAZING! The suites were as pictured, beautiful, clean & well cared for. The staff was even more so....fun, more than accommodating, everyone went out of their way to make your vacation memorable.....I actually miss their smiling faces....The Dominican Republic is a poor country, however, the people are humble & go out of their way to make you feel welcome. I had future plans to visit other countries yet seen, but if the opportunity arises again, we will definitely return to the Palace! The only vacation where I truly relaxed, not too mention in such luxury.

My Best to all of the individuals @ The Palace,

Melissa Windle & Greg Rocks

Room Tip: Although I did not visit the Spa, I chose "Average" based on the prices, compared to where...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2012

We had never been to the Dominican Republic so I did a lot of research prior to finding our ultimate getaway. There are so many all inclusives to choose from, but we hate the idea of sitting on a beach and fighting for buffet food with 300 other people, and then the Palace showed up on my search and we booked right away. All inclusive, food and alcohol, but only 13 rooms. That's more our style!! So glad we went...this place is a true luxurious getaway. It is a bit odd when you drive up, as you are staying in an Indian Palace in a tropical Caribbean island. A bit surreal at first but easy to get used to! Sharing the place with 8 other couples isn't really that hard to take. Our days started off with coffee on our gorgeous jacuzzi oceanfront patio- just sitting in beautiful stuffed white cushioned chairs staring at the ocean. The patios were huge and beatifully furnished. Then we would walk down to breakfast, pick a lovely table on the patio to sit at and meet our lovely Cynthia, whose smile would start anyone's day off right. After breakfast, I typically sat by the pool watching the peacocks while I waited for my partner to play golf at the course next door. He would join me for our three course lunch then we would wander down to the beach which was always our private beach -we would drag the lounge chairs down to the waters edge and have the water wash in under our chairs. Private, waves crashing, and the water was gorgeous, turquoise and warm. They have kayaks to take out to explore the rocky coast line but sitting in the chairs watching the waves pour over the sand was more my style. A few hours on the beach, we would then stroll back up to the pool for poolside cocktails hand crafted for you by Carlos or Javier, true gentlemen who are so accommodating and will do anything for you. Felipe is another wonderful staff member who created special memories for us on our trip. Dinner was a more elegant fare, the women at the resort liked to dress up in their summer dresses although it wasn't formal in any way, shorts were fine too!! Dinner was another 3 course meal, nothing extremely fancy as far as fine dining goes, but locally grown, fresh, and DR style. You are in the DR, that's what you should expect! They had two BBQ events (lobster tails anyone?) while we were there with a trio of musicians singing for you. An earlier review complained about this, we thought it was wonderful and we have a soft spot for any musician sharing their craft. They were delightful and added an authentic touch of DR to our trip. You could easily not go anywhere for the week as the place was so beautiful (why leave??!!) although we managed to go see the nearby towns, the lagoon, the beaches and even went horseback riding with one of the staff through the hilly farmland and small towns. That was amazing!
Yes, we would definitely go back and as we shared our week with others at the airport on our way home, we made a lot of people jealous of our very positive DR experience. We loved our time at The Palace. Juan Carlos who oversees the Palace was also very accommodating and a gracious host.

Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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St augusine, Fl
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2012

First let me start off by saying that this villa is one of the most elaborate and beautiful places I have ever been to. Every single piece of wood in the place is hand carved from India. The villa took 8 years to build and was very well thought out. We stayed on the third floor with a wonderful ocean view and huge Jacuzzi tub on the balcony. We had two balconies one with a view of the pool, and the other with the view of the ocean. Absolutely breathtaking!

The Villa is all open air and the rooms have wall units, if you stay in one of the huge rooms like we did the AC doesn’t always keep up with the heat. The smaller rooms however stay nice and cool. Our bathroom was huge with a shower that about 8 people could fit in! Everything here is grand and beautiful!

The staff that work at the villa are amazing and work very hard! We loved the people there. Javier and Charlie were our helpers in the afternoon and evening, Phillipe and Cynthia took care of us in the morning. Ramona always made sure that our clothes were cleaned and ready for us to wear. If you put your dirty clothes in the hamper Ramona will take care of them for you. Just remember to tip well! We always felt welcome and taken care of. The staff here do not disappoint and they will make sure that whatever you want, you get. The manager Juan Carlos is so kind and again, takes care of your every wish.

I had high expectations coming here just from what I had read online and seen. They definitely exceeded my expectations, and this does not happen often. I recommend getting the meal and drink plan so that you don’t have to worry about the cost. EVERY single meal we ate here was enjoyable and delicious. Their food was amazingly fresh and a lot of the meals were made from fruits and veggies that are grown on the property. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was like a feast and they always served amazing desserts. We loved their fish and well really every single meal. I loved the drink that Charlie would make me “dirty banana” yum yum…..made from the bananas they grow right there and couldn’t be better. I highly recommend having their fresh juices as they are so precious and amazing….not like the fruit juice we have in the states. I am really missing that pineapple juice!

The beach here is gorgeous although for some people staying there they thought it was too rough for them, there is a nice beach 3 min away that Phillipe can tell you about and they will take you there and pick you up for free. You do have to walk down a spiral staircase, so I could see this being a challenge for older people or those with disabilities. But it is well worth it! This villa has so many places to explore and see, it is an adventure just walking around the property. They also have peacocks that live here, they are gorgeous but they do make a lot of noise. We found it entertaining, but they can wake you up early.

We recommend having the staff take you where you need to go, we rented a car from POP and drove to the villa to save some money. It was about an hour and definitely an experience. If you have never driven in a third world country it could be stressful for you, especially if you do not speak Spanish. Honestly everything you need is within 5 miles from the resort and they take you anywhere within that range for free. Next time we will probably not rent a car. There are no rules and signs and directions like we have in the states. You are kind of on your own here. Also the roads are terrible and at one point we had to fix the bumper because we hit a huge bump and it knocked off halfway. Also do your best to learn some Spanish before coming and really use it when here, the Staff speak English pretty well but most other people here speak little to no English.

My husband and I got married here and we really enjoyed it, and everyone was so kind and helpful that we had nothing to worry about! It was also very inexpensive., but it was also just me and him. We made friends with all of the other guests and it was nice because you had some social time. They also all came to the wedding! It was great. It is kind of hard not to make friends with other people here because the place is so small.

Also you must, must, must, get a massage while here, it was one of the best that I have ever had!

Something to note is that Phillipe can help you with anything that you may need whether it is an excursion or going into town. I recommend bringing plenty of cash so that you do not need to worry about when you get here. Also they do accept US dollars however it was much easier to purchase things in pesos because you don’t have to fool with a conversion. But tips and things are easily given in US dollars.

The villa is very safe, as it is completely fenced and there is an armed guard at the gate, please remember that when going outside of the resort to be smart about it. I wouldnt go into town alone.

Some cons are that the internet was a little slow, and only available in certain common areas, but we didn’t really need the internet here…..we completely disconnected. Also they have a lot of bugs and very LARGE bugs. Again, we didn’t really have too much of an issue with this because they don’t bother you, but you will see them around in the evening. That is about all of the Cons! Not too many lol!

All in all this was a wonderful trip and we do plan to return here! Thank you to the amazing staff and we miss you all!

Room Tip: Upgrade to the oceanview with the jacuzzi suite! Dont forget the groupon or livingsocial deal as wel...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2012

This was our honeymoon trip. We purchased this deal via Living Social. We were looking forward to this for the longest time and everything was soo worth it. We had an oceanview suite (without Jacuzzi)

What we loved the most:

1. The Service

It was all because of the service that we loved this place even more.

The comedy show of Roselio (Charlie) and Javier started on our first night, when we had requested to prepare breakfast in our balcony. These two are just hilarious as they seem to always be in somewhat of a competition with each other, but they always work together as a great team! I personally love Charlie more because one day, he surprised us and brought us 3pm snacks- tempura shrimps with fries and cervesas all the way down at the private beach when we had least expected it. I mean, that was just perfect to have a gourmet snack and a cold beer in the view that we have after jumping in the waves. No one had asked him and he wasn’t obliged to keep track and know where we were exactly at what time. He also takes the time to make sure our breakfast orders are perfect and that the eggs are done the way that we want, and he won’t take “all-American “ for an answer. I like that. Javier repaired my broken sandals. I don’t know if he did it himself but he made sure it was fixed for me the next day! Then there’s Cynthia and Felipe during the day. They are so sweet, and nice and caring. My husband and I both agree that Cynthia makes amazing drinks!! Like, the best out of all of them! Felipe, we love him in a different way. He’s very down to earth and super fun and very knowledgeable about things around him. And how can I forget Ramona. On my last night, we went horseback riding and I was so worried that I was going to bring back muddy clothes, but she literally waited for us to get back home almost close to supper time and washed and dried off our clothes so they were ready to be packed nice and clean the next morning for our flight back home! I’m just wowed.

2. The Palace

As was written on other reviews, the Palace is owned by Dr. Balaji who lives in the United States who comes to this place for a vacation with his family at times. It’s a private property that went public just a few years back. The place is rich in details and architecture. There is a helicopter pad on the side for anyone who might be interested. It’s surrounded by nice column railings by the cliff of the waters which gives you a magnificent view of the ocean. When you go down by the private beach, the combination of the rocks and the waves and clear water is just breathtaking. If it wouldn’t be for the intensive heat of the sun, one can just stay there forever. There is a nice shade of a tree where you can pull a beach chair and read a book or relax if you’d like. However, the space is limited. Our room was huge, with a spacious balcony. After a day long excursion, there’s nothing else that would better welcome you more than a nice pina colada in your tidied up air conditioned room! Also, because it’s not like your regular hotel, their bar is actually the indoor kitchen. They prepare all the drinks there. They have a nice pool and ping pong table. The pool, everyone hangs out at the pool. We’ve had countless discussions about how annoying their pet peacocks were in here. We also dipped in the pool several times in the middle of the night and just stared at the stars as they have these seating floaters that allow you to do that. We felt privileged to experience the serenity of the palace blended with the beauty of the stars and the evening breeze and a nice drink on our hand.

3. The Food

Their soups are amazing. We were so impressed in the end that we kept on repeating in the plane back home how the soups never ever failed. I personally don’t like beans or peas, but this place just knows how to do it! It’s incredible how there’s so much flavour in the food that they prepare. They always have a Dominican dish, an American one, and pasta. We stuck with the Dominican dishes all the way, and they served seafood dishes I would say 90% of the time! I’ve had a taste of their shellfish, crabs, octopus, lobster, Mahi-Mahi. I love the way they prepare their Grouper fish when they sear it and put coconut sauce on it. They may not look as fancy five-star, but the taste definitely hit the spot for us.

4. The Excursions

This guys Felix comes there almost every morning to try to sell excursions to the visitors. We knew that his prices were just normal and are within the touristic range but we knew that the real “at cost” value was at least 20x less. We were right. But we still fell for one, which is probably the best excursion I’ve ever been to in my whole entire life. It’s the 27-waterfalls. It came with the Brugal Rum Factory tour and the city tour. It’s amazing because we were able to walk in the rainforest, and literally work our way up from one waterfall to the next. The view inside the rainforest and in between waterfalls was just incredible! http://www.27charcos.com/index.php The water was green and fresh, and the fact that you needed to swim and exert a lot of strength to climb up a waterfall was just amazing for me. On our way back after the jumps and the swims, our tour guide told me to pick up some mineral mud that looks like rocks. I actually did and tried mixing them in water and had my husband help me put at the private beach of the palace. They’re amazing for the skin!! I wish I had brought home some here! Also, we went on a horse back riding tour with one of the workers at the palace, and it was just beautiful. I was too scared to manoeuvre the horse so a kid who knew the horse well was always behind me. They took us at the mountains with a breath taking view of the mountains of Dominican Republic, by the river- we even jumped in it and went for a quick swim. It was so worth it. We bought them some drinks at the local bar after and they were happy. Lastly, we went for another short city trip with the same person in the towns of Cabrera and something else about 45 min. away, and he took us even farther away at the edge of the cliffs and at the old lighthouse. It was soo relaxing just to see the view. We also went to the waterfall where this guy jumped in and we were able to film him while he did it. We tipped him 50 Pesos, and I felt bad because he risked his life doing it, but apparently, it should be enough. After having a small glimpse of the country, it’s always amazing to come home to the palace. Because of its richness and of the abundance of beauty concentrated in an ample space, I feel a little sense of guilt to come home to such a nice environment and service while everyone else in the surrounding is struggling to make a buck. But you easily forget it after a few spoiled hours spent inside.

5. Things that the Palace could work on

- The guests could use more beach/lounging chairs
- Big umbrellas
- A outdoor bed would be nice- especially by the beach
- Change the soap at least every other day, not every 3-4 days.
- Shampoo seems diluted
- There is no tv in the rooms (I guess this could be a good thing for some)
- A phone in each room could be of better use

These are just minor things. I barely even felt the need for them, but just a few thoughts in my head of how Balaji could top it up another notch.

Room Tip: Apparently, the room downstairs right near the beach are nice. Oceanview inside the palace are nic...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
20 reviews 20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2012

I am going to offer a number of practical tips for travelers considering a stay at Palace at Playa Grande (or Balaji Palace). First, book now. Don't hesitate. Just do it. You won't regret it. I traveled to this place alone for a relaxing getaway and had a total blast. Here is what you need to know:

- The building is unbelievable. The owner, from India, took eight years to custom build this home-away-from home. It looks like you're stepping into an Indian palace. Every detail is perfection. The grounds should be billed as a botanical garden, lush with local and exotic plants, flowers, and wildlife.

- The staff is unparalleled. Cynthia, Javier, Charlie, Felipe...they will treat you like royalty and cater to your every need from the minute you wake up until the moment you fall asleep. They can arrange for tours and escorts into town (don't go into town alone) and a fellow guest who wanted to snorkel was offered companionship with a staff's brother and sister (the guest reported having an amazing time and she was grateful she didn't have to snorkel alone). The support staff (grounds and maids) speak no English at all, but all are very friendly. They even do your laundry!!! Just be sure to bring lots of cash and tip them well. They deserve every penny and more.

- The private beach is exquisite if you want a quiet place to listen to the ocean and take a small dip. The water is filled with rocks and coral, so for the heavy swimmer or snorkeler, ask to go to the nearby Calabrone beach (a 3 minute drive).

- Fly into Puerto Plata, no matter what. The taxi drive is just over an hour through small villages where you will see amazing things like families of four on a tiny motorcycle, locals carrying sharks and branches of crabs, trucks exploding with pineapple, bananas, papaya, and mango...If you fly into Santiago, it's a 2 hour drive through harrowing mountain roads (other guests made this mistake and got sick on the ride to the Palace).

- It's the tropics. You will need more sunscreen and bugspray than you could possibly imagine. The sun here is much hotter than the sun in the U.S., so every single guest burned on their first day regardless of the warnings. Apply, re-apply, and repeat OFTEN. The mosquitoes are pretty thick, though they only bothered about half of the visitors. Bug spray helps, but one couple brought citronella candles and that really saved us night after night.

- The rooms are enormous, even the smallest in the building. Ceilings range from 20 to 40 feet high, depending on the room. With a single air conditioner in each room, the larger rooms get very hot because the A/C just can't cool the space on sweltering days. Someone recommended that I keep my bathroom door closed (the bathroom and closet are HUGE). As soon as I made a habit of keeping that door closed, my room stayed much cooler.

- The food is delicious. GET THE ORANGE JUICE. Your life will never be the same. Your mind will be blown. Probably the best thing I've ever tasted. You have several options to choose from at each meal and they were very kind in accommodating my vegetarianism.

- A couple that stayed during my visit had a small wedding and it went over beautifully. The hotel decorated the gazebo beautifully, local musicians were brought in to sing to us all night, and it was a festive and communal affair.

- Don't be scared of the bugs. Yes...there are tarantulas in the jungle, but not near the hotel. There are small lizards everywhere, but they are very cute and dart away as soon as you walk by. Plus, they help eat the pesky mosquitoes.

- Peacocks and chickens roam the property. If you're lucky, you can catch the male with his 5-foot long plume open in the morning. He does a proud strut for about 5 minutes, though he is a little shy.

- Fellow guests become your family. As I was booking my vacation here, I never in the million years imagined getting so close with my fellow travelers. Something about the intimacy of the property (it only sleeps about 20 at maximum capacity) brings everyone together.

- Beware of Felix. Felix is a local guy that comes to the property once a day to try and sell his services (glass bottom boat tours, snorkeling, jungle tours, horseback riding, etc). Several of the couples had horrible experiences with him. The on-site staff can help arrange just about anything you're looking for. If you do deal with Felix, just be assertive and clear about what you want.

- This place is ideal for those looking to relax. There isn't much nearby, so your days will be filled with beach, pool, eating, and hanging out. The property does have board games, a pool table, ping pong, and a TV, but the natural beauty draws everyone outside.

- Best massage of my life. Get one.

You will have a magical time here. All of us were visiting using a Groupon/Living Social deal, so keep you eye out for them. They run new deals every few months and the rate is like a third of what you'll be charged if you book directly.

Room Tip: The larger rooms are much warmer since there's more space to try and cool. You will spend almost...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ladera Ranch, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012

We purchased this trip (6 days) on GroupOn and thought the value for the money was excellent. The Balaji Palace (this is a rarely used name for the "resort" but it is the only way to locate it on the road when trying to find it!) is a BEAUTIFUL place. The grounds and location high atop a cliff overlooking the Caribbean are almost magical. The staff was beyond superb, so accomodating and friendly. Kudos to Juan Carlos, Javier and Charlie who made us feel like family by the time our vacation came to an end. However, I would categorize The Palace as really more of a bed and breakfast than a resort...it is owned by a doctor in upstate NY and was built so his family from India had a place to vacation.

The food - very good. We were concerned about eating the produce but were told by other Americans staying their that it was ok. And they were right. The salads everday were delicious, as was most of the other items on the menu. The soups were to die for as well. Don't expect "over the top" presentations as you are on an island that is essentially a 3rd world country. Although, I was surprised at the lack of seafood on the menu during our stay even after making requests prior to our trip.

If you plan to stay here know this: you will be 45 minutes outside of the nearest tourist town (Cabarete). There is not much to do (we are not group excursion people) if you are very active. The Monkey Ziplining was awesome, a must try experience and all proceeds go to fund a medical center for the extremely poor. We opted not to do the horseback riding after seeing how malnourished these poor animals are (or are extremeley parasitic, one). We did learn from another guest that one of the resort workers has a horse ranch, with very well-cared for horses, and you can do a private tour with him. I wish we had known earlier....

We rented a car to get back and forth and to have the feeling of freedom while on vacation. I'm not sure I would do that again....there seem to be no driving laws and it is a traffic free-for-all. However, we were able to go to parts of the country we might not have seen otherwise. So...drive at your own risk if you do rent a car. NOTE: make sure you under stand the insurance policy!

The all inclusive plan without alcohol - please note: the drinks aren't cheap. We rdrove to the closest store that sold booze/beer (again, scary driving) and bought our own which the staff kept seperate from the rest of the alcohol and we drank for "free". This came in handy with the frozen banana rum drinks we concocted. We were also able to pack a cooler (provided to us) to take to the beach everyday with cold water and cervesas.

The Beaches: 1) Playa Grande - A lot of vendors trying to get you to buy their wares and the best grilled lobster for a good price right on the beach. The pina colada in fresh pineapple wasnt bad either Hint: bring your own rum. 2) Cabarete - this is the town 45 min. away and is the most tourist-y we saw. There were far too many vendors so it was hard to relax. But, you can rent stand-up paddle boards, which we did since the surf is non-existant during the spring and summer months (which was a bummer if you planned to suf as we did). There is an Irish-Mexican pub called Jose McShay's which was awesome - on the sand, great music, decent pub food. Two doors down is a great restaurant with AMAZING seafood. The ceviche was the best! 3) The Balaji Palace's private beach - in one word: INSANE. So beautiful and easy to access. Again, pack a cooler so you dont have to go up and down the stairs several times. You can also ask for a lunch to be packed up and sent to you while you lounge.

The peacocks - Let's just say I wondered what peacock would taste like for Thanksgiving dinner. As regal as these creatures are they must be one of God's most annoying. Make sure you ask for a room - PRIOR TO YOUR ARRIVAL - away from the poolside of the hotel. Otherwise you will not only hear the peacocks throughout the night while trying to sleep but also the rooster who begins his crowing at around 4AM. Needless to say, until we asked for our room to be moved we got no sleep. Hence, why I have marked the sleep quality as "poor". The beds, however, were quite comfortble.

Mosquitos - Lots of them. What saved us was bringing citronella candles (two giant ones) with us. We ended up sharing with the other guests since everyone was getting bitten. Make sure you pack your own OFF or deet-based spray, as well as those candles. Also, we definitely took advantage of the mosquito netting around the bed, even though our doors and windows remained shut. Somehow those little buggers find their way into the rooms anyway.

Helpful tips: bring a pack of cards, backgammon, games, ect as you will have lots of down time. The Wi-Fi is intermittent at best (I found the terminal the day we left on the 3rd floor - FYI.) Bring a small umbrella.

Last comment: we befriended another couple who had an ocean view room. They were nice enough to let us see the room and view. If you can afford to upgrade DO IT. Their room was a little efficiency apartment with amazing views, had a kitchenette and just a few steps down to the beach.

I hope this review was helpful. Enjoy your stay in The D.R.!

Room Tip: See comments above about peacocks and ocean veiw room.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Palace at Playa Grande

Address: Calle Rio San Juan | Playa Grande, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Maria Trinidad Sanchez Province > Rio San Juan
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Rio San Juan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Palace at Playa Grande 4*
Number of rooms: 13
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Palace At Playa Grande Hotel Rio San Juan

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