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“Secluded, Beautiful and Relaxing” 4 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
los angeles
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Secluded, Beautiful and Relaxing”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

Went to a destination wedding here. Wow, it is so beautiful and expansive. 4 Story main house with 3 or 3 stories down the hill. I think it has 13 guest suites. Pool, jacuzzis, park like atmosphere.The staff are AMAZING. Every detail taken care of. It is secluded so once you are there you are there.

Room Tip: Downstairs rooms are handicap accessible. Albeit there are wheel chair ramps they are steep and I wo...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

I knew we found the right place before we even got there when they worked with me to make sure the Groupon I purchased would work with the dates for our honeymoon. Before you leave the airport get some pesos because you WILL need cash and not everywhere will take US dollars easily. My husband was in heaven when our taxi driver handed us beers for the drive to the palace. Every picture you see does NOT do this place justice. It is absolutely the most amazing, unique building/property I have ever seen. We were nervous because we don't travel much outside of the US, but the staff bends over backwards to make you feel welcome. They were determined to teach my husband some Spanish and they started with teaching him how to ask for another beer :) They do everything they can to help you relax and not worry about a thing. Drinks by the pool, setting up romantic dinners by a bonfire (poor Javier ran back and forth the whole night to our remote location and was HAPPY to do it!!), playing pool with you, or suggesting fun things to do.

Felipe works in the morning and he will gladly move heaven and earth to show you a good time. Thanks for the invite from a few of the other guests (talk to the other guests! They'll be a wealth of information and a lot of fun at night as Javier serves you wine and his famous drinks) we went to the Monkey Jungle with Felipe. Zip-lining and playing with squirrel monkeys all for a good cause! Felipe will also set you up on a horseback ride through the hills (and you'll visit his family) and a local town. These horses are pets and well loved and cared for (I own horses so this was VERY important to me!). We did the couples massage and loved it! The location on a balcony was beautiful, the ladies very professional and did an amazing job.

The beach is beautiful, but beware the waves! I actually was a bit nervous of them and chose to enjoy them from my lounge chair in the sand. If you want calmer waves the nearby beaches are better for getting into the water. We stayed in the cliffside suite right above the beach and it was amazing!!! The nights cooled down enough that we could have the windows open, but the waves hitting the rocks were loud enough to hear clearly with the windows closed.

Water pressure was strong, a/c kept it cold, and hot water never ran out. They give you a hamper to toss your dirty clothes and every evening when they turn down your bed your clothes return smelling better than they do at home!! Lights flicker, but never went out and we kind of liked the ambiance ;) We drank them out of beer and alcohol a few times, but they rushed to refill as quickly as possible! Food was amazing and I loved the opportunity to choose what I wanted to eat. I always tried to pick something I wouldn't eat at home and was NEVER disappointed. There is always a guard on duty; so, even at the end of our stay when it was only us and one small family we still felt safe.

We sorta tipped as we went along and again at the end. I truly believe the staff would work just as hard for your happiness for free, but they definitely deserve any tip you are comfortable giving! Don't be afraid to talk to Cynthia, Felipe, Juan Carlos, Charlie or Javier! It's fun, but also they can help make sure you have the exact kind of experience you want. GO, GO, GO!!!

Room Tip: We stayed in the cliffside suites and the privacy and uniqueness of these self-contained suites make...
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  • Stayed October 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St augusine, Fl
Reviewer
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
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
18 helpful votes 18 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.
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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
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant 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*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Palace At Playa Grande Hotel Rio San Juan

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