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“Hidden Gem” 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
vancouver
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2014

Just when you thought Dominican Republic couldn't get any better you stumble across a Gem like The Palace. We stayed at The Palace for 3 nights and they were unforgettable. It has huge spacious rooms that were beautifully decorated in traditional east Indian style. The staff was amazing from the wonderful manager and waiters right down to the very friendly ladies that serviced our rooms. It has a giant pool that accommodates people of all heights and ages perfect for families. The view is breath taking as you look down upon the hotels own private beach or the nearby cliffs of Playa Grande. After inner they also have many amenities for entertainment such as a very nice pool table a ping pong table and a verity of different games again perfect for families. The only negative was the food when traditional Dominican food was served it was perfect but any thing from outside the countries cuisine such a steak ribs etc. was over cooked and under seasoned however we were asked by the owner himself and the manager what our opinion of the food was and when we gave our honest opinion we were told that it would be perfect by the next time we visited and visit again we will in the very near future.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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74 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
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2014

We went for a 4 night package in February and had a fabulous time! The place was absolutely stunning and definitely not your average all-inclusive. If you are looking for someplace peaceful, private, unique and beautiful, this is it.

The Palace itself was stunning with a beautiful private beach, amazing views of the ocean, jacuzzi, lovely pool and nice rooms. It was one of the most unique places I have ever stayed in (and I travel for a living) and the staff--Javier and Felipe in particular--made us feel right at home. The attention to detail was wonderful, right down to making us sandwiches to take to the airport unasked and remembering to make me one without bacon on it!

Usually it takes me days to unwind on holidays, but somehow on my second afternoon there I found myself napping in the sun and feeling as relaxed as I usually do after an entire week of holidays.

We are planning our next trip already...

Room Tip: The only thing I would change there is to have doors on the bathrooms--it was a bit unusual to find...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013

I went here with a group of friends who had all purchased the Groupon. We didn't know what to expect, and I was very pleasantly surprised. This is definitely a luxury resort, and the privacy, the wonderful service, amazing meals and gorgeous views were way more than I expected from a resort in the Dominican Republic. We had 5 star dining every night, first-class service, and Charlie was always on hand with his famous rum punch. We were catered to completely, even so far as the waiters bringing snacks and drinks down to the beach for us. Our group was the only one at the palace most of the time and so we played our ipod music at the pool bar every day. The beach at the hotel was a little rough some of the days we were there, but we went to Caleton beach for wonderful snorkeling and did a few other day trips, and we went dancing in town every night. All in all, this was one of the best vacations I have ever been on and we all had a wonderful stay.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gulf Breeze, Fl
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2013

We agree with all the wonderful things said about "The Palace." It's not likely that we will ever stay in another place so unique. The view alone is incredible. The staff is personal and wonderful and always looking for opportunities to serve you and help you in any way possible. It was quite a humbling experience. It was our 30th wedding anniversary and I am sure we will return. We can only say,"You should GO!".

Room Tip: There is no fitness center. There are 2 outdoor jacuzzi's. Staying inside the Palace would be b...
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  • Stayed November 2013, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013 via mobile

It might be an adventure with the taxi ride to get to The Palace, but once we walked into the place we where amazed! Never imagined we would get to go to a place like this, with staff constantly bringing you anything you might want. We had all inclusive package which was definitely the way to go. The room was breath taking with beautiful view and porch to enjoy it. The staff where happy to take us out dancing in the evenings. Our favorite local we met was Tinto. He was our guide on our excursions we went on through Felix. Honesty goes along way, and not knowing what was expected for tips, cost of cab rides and items in town was tricky. We over tipped and overpaid for a lot before we met Tinto! He went out of his way everywhere we went pointing out little things we wouldn't have noticed, laughing and showing us a great time. I don't want to forget Donny whom escorted us on our evening outings. He and Felipe took us to a local birthday party, which was such a great outing to see a more personal look at the dominican. They truly made it a unique vacation! Havier, Charlie and Hose took excellent care of us at the palace. If airfare wasn't so expensive we would go back yearly! This was a great groupon purchase!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
houston
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013

We just got back from four nights at the Palace. It was peaceful, romantic and totally awesome.
It is the low season and there were just my husband and myself and one other couple at the whole resort. It has a totally private (and isolated) beach and for three days my husband and I were the only ones on the beach. The ocean had many strong waves and undercurrents and would be dangerous to swim but great to splash and relax (really would NOT be safe for children). We had a personal waiter/attendant. The cook made whatever we wanted. We could not ask for any more pampering. The bed was turned down nightly. Fresh flowers and chocolates were on our pillow every night. I could not think of any way it could have been more perfect.

Room Tip: All rooms are huge and any would be nice.
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  • Stayed October 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

I don't know where to begin. We stayed for 8 days all inclusive and it was absolutely amazing. We were greeted on our first day with delicious drinks and the most wonderful people. The manager Juan Carlos got us checked in and showed us around what I can only describe as a stunning hotel. It is truly a palace. It was our honeymoon, and when we were shown to our room, the oceanview suite with jacuzzi, it took my breath away. It was HUGE and beautiful and romantic. To add to the romance, there were flowers on the bed and throughout the suite. They had spelled out "Love" on the bed in flowers next to a swan sculpted from towels and adorned with flowers and it was so beautiful. The view from our room was amazing too. The patio had a view of the ocean, the jungle around us and the cliffs as well as part of the garden below and the jacuzzi was awesome. It turned out to be a little slow to fill but worth waiting for.
Now, the food. Wow. Every meal was excellent. From lobster to filet mignon, to some of the best soups we have EVER had. The chef is fantastic. Each meal was 3 courses that were all so very good. In the late afternoon, the chef would also make a snack that ranged from chips and pico with brie to chicken tenders and fried plantains. It's just what you need after swimming in the ocean or the pool. We do not drink alcohol really, so the drinks we had were fresh squeezed juices that were absolutely scrumptious. I wish that we could squeeze oranges and limes and have it taste like that. The fruit punch is a delightful concoction of pineapple, lime, orange and a little grenadine for color. YUM! And we tried iced tea with lime (very different from lemon) and absolutely delish. We are making our tea like this now at home because it was so very good. You can choose where you want to eat each meal. Breakfast was usually on the main patio for us, but lunches and dinner we chose to spend down overlooking the water and the sunset. It was so romantic. Some of our most beautiful moments and photos were there. There was something magical about candle-light dinner over the ocean, listening to the waves crashing on the beach, watching the sunset and spending quality time with your love. It was perfect.
Now, finally, the staff. They are incredible. Juan Carlos is a great manager that helps with anything and everything you need and does whatever you need to make your stay better. Javier, Felipe and Charlie were phenomenal. They were kind and attentive and got us whatever we needed. They obviously work on their english-speaking and that helped a lot for us because our Spanish is not so good. Felipe also took us out sightseeing so we did not have to worry about taxis or how to get where we were going. He was so friendly and fun and having him driving was VERY reassuring. It's a very scary place to drive and he was awesome. We had SO much fun with him and another tour guide we met named Tomas (Tinto). Tinto was so funny and so incredibly knowledgeable on the history of the country and the area and we learned so much from him. He was funny and spoke AMAZING English, as well as a few other languages. We did a local tour in Rio San Juan, took a boat ride to Caletone Beach, and we went to Du Du to consider the zipline drop into a natural pool, but I will be honest, we saw another guy do it and belly flopped and we decided it was not for us. The drop from the zipline is at least 30 feet, maybe more. We did however walk through the cave and then go down to a more private pool with a partial cave and swam there. It was FREEZING compared to the beaches, but it was beautiful and we loved it.
The maids are sweet and do a tremendous job keeping the palace clean and smelling amazing. They always greeted us with smiles and were just wonderful. We also got a couples massage while we were there. The spa is on the third floor (right next to our room) and the beds were set up out on the patio so it was lovely to relax and hear the waves crashing below you, the birds chirping and a lovely light breeze to keep you cool. It was wonderful. The masseuses were very professional and did a great job. Finally, the grounds keepers do a tremendous job at keeping the grounds beautiful. They are constantly sweeping and pruning and tending to the flowers. The plants, trees and flowers are stunning and clearly a result of their hard work.
Finally, I have to reiterate what others have said. When we travel somewhere for the first time, we like to sightsee and enjoy activities off the property, but it was so beautiful and so comfortable and the staff was so gracious, we spent a lot of time there at the palace. The beach was incredible and warm and we swam every day. We also enjoyed the pool too several times. We live in Las Vegas, so to be able to swim in the ocean was key for us. Some have said it's not enough beach, which we don't understand. No, it's not miles of beach to walk, but it is warm, private and all yours when you're there. We snorkeled and swam and rode the waves for hours each day. If we were still down there in the late afternoon, we had a snack delivered to us on the beach with drinks. It was wonderful.
I could go on for days about the palace and the staff and the food, and since we have returned we have told all of our friends and family that they must go. I hate to tell too many people, because you almost hate to share such a secret treasure, but at the same time, stories and photos only go so far, you have to experience it. The country itself has a lot of poverty and they rely on tourism as a major part of the country's income. Furthermore, all the wonderful people that take care of you, whether it's at the hotel, or on a tour, or whatever, tips help them. If you appreciate them, tip them. It goes a long way.
The only negative I can really write about is one thing. The most annoying thing was the tour coordinator, Felix. When we met him, we had specific things we wanted to do on the island while we were there and he made it sound like we were asking for the moon and quoted us unreal prices to make it happen. We did coordinate one local tour with him, which I am glad we did, because that is how we met Tinto and learned so much. But I can't stress enough, talk to Felipe before you make any planned tours. He is happy to help and get you where you want to go. For the few trips we took with him, it was the cost of the admission and basically gas money. Gas is RIDICULOUSLY expensive there. It averages $7 USD/gallon. So no lie, getting places can be pricey. But Felipe is fair and wonderful. He took us to the Monkey Jungle in Sosua and also to Puerto Plata to do 27 Waterfalls and to take the Cable Car that goes up to overlook the city. Yes, they were long rides, but well worth it. We have reviews for each of them too. All excellent experiences.
Bottom line, we chose this for our honeymoon because it is private and intimate and not a huge resort. We wanted a beautiful romantic getaway and that is exactly what we got. Balaji Palace is extraordinary and we fully intend to return. No doubt about it.

Room Tip: The ocean view suite with jacuzzi is amazing, but there are ocean view suites that are below the pal...
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  • Stayed September 2013, 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.
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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 ( WiFi ) 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*
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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