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Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Houston, Texas
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Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Had an amazing time with my family (2 weeks). Hopefully I can answer some of your questions if you looking for an opinion from a young adult's perspective of this wonderful resort.

Kentucky
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1. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Hi vdiddy,

My wife and I are planning a trip in May and we were looking at the Palladiums. What is the water like? Is it calm or more wavy? Is there a lot to do at the resort? How hard is it to get palapas at the beach? How far of a walk to everything. Sorry for so many questions. Any other information would be appreciated. Thanks

Houston, Texas
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2. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Hi bluegrassguy,

I am happy to answer your question to the best of my abilities.

1.The water was amazingly warm during our stay (dec 6 -21); much warmer than the pool water I would say. Somewhat wavy, great if you bring a boogie board. For snorkeling I would recommend other sites as you can't see much; and if you do, its just white sand and turquouise blue waters. We hardly used the pool. In fact, only in the late afternoon (around 5pm) when walking back to our rooms (Villa #19, right across the pool, and half way between the lobb and the beach, 3 min walk to each location). The Animation staff typically start their show around that time right by the pool. Gets quite annoying after a few days as its the same thing day in and day out....However, hilarious to see the tourists performs some of the moves/dances and play their games.

2. There is certainly a lot to do at the resort and I am only talking about the Bavaro side. In fact, I came back 3 lbs lighter with all the activities I was involved with. I'd religiously play volleball every day from 10am till about noon of 1pm, and then again at 3pm. There 4 or 5 tennis cours, mini tennis courts, min golf, badminton courts, gym (not a World Health or Gold's Gym but certainly reasonable and you can certainly get a good work out if you know what to do), soccer field, sports bar (pool table, fussball tables), countless bars (beach, pool and around the resort, including an international bar close to the pool that serves international liquors/drinks/etc), dive center, amphitheater (shows start at 10am), the disco (starts at 11am) and let's not forget the gorgeous beach and the rest of the scene that comes along with it (you can probably figure that one out). Half the time, i was exhausted by dinner time and was falling asleep at the shows. Trust me, if you're like me, and like to be active, you won't have a problem.

3. Go down to the beach around 7:30a and reserve you palapa. Simply put your towel(s) on the loungers you want. I know a number of people hate when others do that, but that's the only way to ensure you get one.

4.Walking should not be an issue. I only took the tram a couple of times to get my bearings. The rest of the time, we walked. If you're planning on visiting the Punta Cana and the Palace sites, certainly take the tram (the stops are clearly marked). If not, walking is not an issue...trust me. I am still quite perplexed as to why others took the tram to get everywhere. It always went in a circle and took much longer to get to. The walk from the lobby to the beach was no more than 5 minutes. Everything else was in the middle, including the villas. Hopefully that'll give you an idea.

Hope some of this helps. Don't worry about it too much. You'll have an amazing time.

V

p.s. I'd also brush up on your German rather than Spanish...jk :)

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3. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Vidddy, can you comment on:

1. Accomodations as we have reserved a Deluxe Suite and not a Junior Suite at Grand Palladium Bavaro and

2. Ease of converting American or Canadian Travellers Cheques into cash at the resort.

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4. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Hello Vdidddy

First off all thanks for offering your time to answer our questions.

I will be travelling with my 1 1/2 year old daughter on Jan 11th. My question is how was the weather for you at night. Did it get cold that you had to put a light sweater on or was it warm enough to stay in shorts and short sleeve shirt.

I travelled to Punta Cana in April and nights were very warm but this is January and I guess it can be colder.

thanks in advance

Kathy

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5. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Hello all again and Happy Holidays,

I'll try to do this in order

Bluebomber:

1. Accomodations - we also booked 2 deluxe rooms. We stayed in Villa #19, and my parents were in Villa #20, both on the 2nd floor). Both of the rooms were incredible in my opinion; spotless marble floors, massive closet (his and hers), couch (pullout if you need it) in the sitting area, entertainment centre (TV, nintendo, coffee-maker0 and the mini-fridge filled with pop, water and beer). The bathroom was incredible as well: his and her sinks, separate stand-up shower, toilet with a door, 2 large windows, and a large jacuzzi in the corner. You could probably fit another bed in there. Hopefully that'll give you some idea of the size.

In all honesty, I wouldn't bother upgrading to a Junior Suite. My understanding is that the room is slightly bigger (again, can't imagine a bigger room that you're only planning on spending a very short amount of time in), with the jacuzzi inside the actual room and not in the bathroom. If you're not happy with your room, most of the time you can get the front desk people to get you another, WITHOUT paying extra. Be firm as they are not the most accomodating people. A number of them are conditioned to getting a tip in order to get that room/villa.

In terms of location, my preference would be in the middle as I said in some of my prev. posts - Villas 17, 19, 21, 20 etc.

2. Bring US Traveller's Checks as you'll get a better exchange.

1 US dollar = 31 D.R Pesos (in town you'll bet 34) and 1 CDN dollar = 25; the exchange can be done at the front desk of the lobby.

We didn't bother converting as almost all shops and places will accept other currencies, especially US dollars

Kasia:

The weather was fantastic. The 15 days and nights we spend there it only rained a couple of times during the day, and only for a short amount of time. It did rain at night, almost every night. I did bring a light sweater but never took it out. Even in the evenings its quite hot and humid. I'd bring one just in case, but doubt you'll need it.

So very jelous and can't wait to go back.

take care

V

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6. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Hi Vdidddy,

We are leaving for Punta Canta on Jan 5th, and have booked in to stay at the Grand Palladium Punta Canata Resort and Spa. We are hoping you can give us some insight into a couple areas:

1. Do you have any recommedation on day trip. My g/f is a huge water person, and would loveto swim with the dolphins, however both Dolphin island and Manti Park have very poor reviews on this site. Any suggestions?

2. How do the a la carte dinners work? Any suggestions on where to eat? what is the dress code for this restuarants?

3. How is the booze? I would not think they have anything like canadian rye, but did you find anything you liked?

4. Any adivce on tipping? Some people say to bring toiletries, etc for the maid staff? Any ideas?

5. Any other advise would be much appreciated.

Thanks

Colonel

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7. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Hi folks, saw an opertunity and jumped in.Also leaving onJanuary 5 for G.P. Bavaro. WE have been to Punta before but stayed at Iberostar.Vdidddy do you have any info about the casino how many slots and what kind thanks Barb and Geo

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8. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Hi Colonel,

I'm happy to answer your questions, but do recommend you read some of my other responses for "any other suggestions" as well as numerous other posts re: this resort.

1. Water activities and such - skip the swim with the dolphins, outrageously expensive and somewhat 'lame' if you ask me.

We opted out not to bother as a similar excursion i did in Cuba in 2000 wasn't that great. However, I WOULD strongly recommend you take the Marinarium Excursion - swimming with nurse sharks and manta rays (don't worry as they're penned)., about US $75 for half a day - certainly an experience. There is also sailing and kayaking which is included in your package (catamaran sailing was a hoot actually, if you know what you are doing :)), scuba diving if you're interested (didn't do it) and a few other water activities. For snorkelling I would recommend you go to Cabeza De Toro in front of the Natura Park.

2. Restaurants - you get 3 ala carte meals for a one week stay, and 5 for two. Depending when you arrive, go down to the lobby and make reservations at the earliest possible time for all your dinners. We ate at the Spanish, Mexian, Asian, International (all four were on the Bavaro side and beside one another, all along the lagoon, east of the Lobby), and the Italian which was on the Palace side. My favourite was the International which is right by the beach on the Bavaro side, and doubles as a buffet restaurant during the day. Reluctantly, I ordered a steak sirloin (never had any good luck at these type of resorts), but to my surprise it was unbelievably tasty and very well presented. The Bamboo (Asian) was very nice as well. Try ordering spring rolls and dumplings which they dont' have on the menu but will bring them out anyways (taste exactly like they do at home). I love ethnic foods and do get out as often as I can back home. So having said that, take your dining experiences there with a grain of salt. What they do lack in some instances is the use of herbs and spices. I will say though, that the service we received there, outweighed anything I have ever received back here in N.America. Anything and everything was done for us, and before I could even thank them or even remotely suggest that I needed something. The main buffet was my favourite (we heard that ours was biggest and had the most selection)

Make sure you dine there on Gala Night (Fridays) - every kind of meat you can imagine, seafood (with the exception of lobster), excellent prosciutto and other cold cuts, and even black and red caviar (that's right, caviar). The other nights are all themse nights and just as good. Me and my sister would religiously have our crepes with chocolate for desert and a cappuccino. The buffet here certainly rivals some we have been to in Mexico and Cuba. And once again, the service - just excellent! The waiter would see us coming, find us a table, half the time try to find one closest to the one on the previous night, AND, get this, remember exactly what drinks we ordered, and how we liked them. As I said, they went out of their way to please us (and no, not because we tipped them, see comments later).

3. Drinks - for international drinks, make sure to check out Hemingways on the Bavaro side. Very close the the lobby, and on the way to the pool if you're walking from the lobby towards the beach/pool. I was pleasantly surprised that they had Skyy Vodka and Tanqueray Gin. Certainly stop by and see what they have. I am sure you won't be dissapointed. The other drinks were typical Carribean type drinks - lots of coconut, banana mamas, daquiries and such. Careful though, as I hear coconut and coconut oil is a natural laxative. I didn't get sick, however did come to the conlcusion based on other people's feedback and my family's, that it is not the food that could make you sick, but the drinks (now I am not talking about unpurified water) and the copious quantities that tourists consume during their stay.

4. Tipping - we tipped every other day I would say, or depending on the situation (dollar or two). We also brought some trinkets and gifts that we left for the maid. We noticed that it didn't really matter as we still got all our mini-fridge refills (actually more than we really needed) and had all our towels replaced. We also learned that contrary to what others say in their reviews, these maids and other hotel employees, are not exactly starved, overworked and underpaid. Unlike in Mexico and certainly Cuba, we found dominicans to be quite entrepreneural. They hussle and bussle to make a buck, and are quite content with their lives. Don't get me wrong, tipping is a significant part of their income, but that does not mean that you're expected to tip everyone. Instead of tipping your maid, why not tips the women who clean public washrooms around the resort area, standing there in the scortching heat, ready to wipe the toilet seat, clean the sinks and such, every few minutes. Tip the groundkeepers, who begin work at 5 in the morning, climb palm trees to cut loose pieces, mow the lawn and sweep the sidewalks that you walk on (you'll find the grounds are in immaculate shape and very well manicured). Tip the fella grilling your steak or burger, who believe me, does not get tipped out by those servers who we're all so eager to tip after every meal.

Oh and beforeI forget, check out the shops at the VIlage of Cortecito right next to the Palace/Royal Suites. We found that you CAN bargain with them in a number of instances.

BarbGeo...unfortunately none of us gambled so I can't comment on the casinos.

I hope some of this helps. I am sure you'll will have a fantastic time, as well did.

Cheers,

Vdidddry

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9. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Vdidddy,

I had another concern and I've heard this about many resorts in Punta Cana. Are washcloths provided, or should we bring our own?

When you did the excursion, you said the sharks and rays were penned. How close can you get to them? Are there lots of other fish to see when you are snorkeling? Are refreshments provided with that excursion? Thanks again for all your help.

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10. Re: Back from Grand Palladium Bavaro, Any Questions?

Vdiddy

is there live music at the lobby bars in the evening or is it just the Piano bar?