Overall: The people who work at this resort are awesome and are eager to make you happy. We can’t say enough about their service and attitude. A few of our favorites were Hector, David and Negrin, but we didn’t have one bad experience with anyone at that worked at the resort. And the weather was spectacular-85 and sunny every day. The grounds were impeccably maintained.
One word of caution-if you have an important request or issue, you may need to check and/or verify a few times. We had two issues over 8 days, and were assured they were resolved. I subsequently checked for verification and found that they were not addressed (both issues required triple checking before being resolved). I don’t think it was negligence, more of an issue of being overwhelmed as the place was near capacity.
Arrival: We got off the plane and lined up on the tarmac, and were then led into the airport to go thru customs. They had four booths open that seemed to be only for our plane, and we got thru in only a few minutes. You need $10 per person. Our luggage arrived in only a few more minutes, and it was checked by an attendant (he verified our passports matched the names on the luggage) and we found our way to our transportation company. They made us set up an appointment the next day at the resort to finalize our departure info. This turned out to be a fiasco (more on this at the end). A few minutes later we were on our way. Our total time in the airport seemed to be less than 20 minutes. Once we arrived at the Royal Suites, we were warmly greeted, given champagne, and checked in. Our butler Jose came and walked us to our room, along the way giving us some basic resort info. He was quite helpful when we needed it, but we really didn’t have many requests. One thing that irked us-they leave your luggage in reception while you are walked to your room. It took a good hour for our luggage to get to our room, and we were sitting there looking at our swim out pool in jeans until our luggage with our swimsuits arrived. Add in the fact that the refrigerator and AC were off until we got into the room and you can imagine our frustration-8 hours of travel, warm beer, and no way to hit the pool. It took several calls to finally get the stuff to the room.
The Room: Room definitely has a musty odor but you do kind of get used to it. Bring some sort of dampness agent for your closet. When we opened our suitcases at home, the smell was overwhelming and we had to rewash everything. The bath area is pretty open, and you can hear everything. We had no problem with the A/C, if anything it may have been too cold. The refrigerator is stocked OK. I tended to grab a few extra Presidentes at the bar on the way back to our room from the beach; they only put 4 in for the day. When our stocker saw this, he showed up with 10 one day, so they probably will bring extra stuff if you ask. Wine in the room is not free-you need to buy the bottle. But you can ask room service to bring you complimentary wine (which isn’t very good). We had a swim out room, and it was so worth it. Even though the pool is not private, it was extremely quiet-we only had a few people swim near our deck in 8 days. If you are in this section, but not in a swim up room, there is ample seating and palapas available along the pool, so you still get to enjoy the pool area. The water temp was somewhat cool, refreshing to take a dip, but not necessarily to hang out in. The ppol itself is in need of some minor repairs. A few tiles needed replacing, and the wooden portion of the deck was worn. But these issues really didn’t bother me. You have two sun loungers that sit in about 8 inches of water, and two chairs outside the sliding door. There is also a drying rack for your wet stuff. You can swim to a bar area, but you do have to get out of the pool to get a drink. Each bar area in the swim up areas has ample seating with palapas. You can also wait for a server to come around to your pool deck, they seem to come by every 20 minutes or so. WiFi was good, but it seemed to require you to log in again a few times a day. Bed was a tad uncomfortable. The floors can also get slippery when wet. Room service was OK.
The Restaurants: We stayed in the Royal Side for meals. Both the Royal Gourmet and La Chanterelle were good for dinner; we loved the fondue and the chateaubriand. The pork dishes were also good. The outdoor seating is nice, but got buggy after dark. If you get there at 6:30pm, you will likely get a seat outside if you like. After 7 or so it gets crowded. They have a resident peacock flock, and at dusk if you look closely, you can see them flying into their tree to roost. Breakfasts were OK, but getting coffee can be a challenge unless you go find it. The servers seemed to be slow in delivering water/coffee. Lunch was OK, limited buffet options but a decent menu. We did get to the sports bar, but found it a little scary for food. A lot of fried stuff, and even a hot dog oven. Unless you are out after midnight, or need to catch a sporting event, I wouldn’t plan on going there for a meal. The pool bars in the swim up areas were fun. They cannot make every drink, but they try their best. This is where you will meet a lot of people, so if you are an extrovert you will like these spots.
The Beach/Pool: We went to the beach every morning between 8 and 9AM. There was usually a cooling breeze, and the water was refreshing-not cold and not warm either. The surf and undertow were a little rough but we enjoyed it. We always got loungers, but shade was a little hard to come by as many people set up shop under all the palapas or the natural shade spots. The towel game was in full force. I don’t mind people setting out their stuff early so much, but there are two problems; since towels are not limited, it is very easy to either not show up to your saved spot if something else comes up, and it is also easy to leave your towels (out of pure laziness) in your spot at the end of your beach day with no intention to return to the beach. There is no consequence. We saw several spots that were home to towels for 4-5 hours, but nobody ever showed up. This is one major reason we will probably not return. Also, we walked all the Palladium beaches and the RST has the most shade, so I imagine the competition for spots is even fiercer over there. The excursion people will chat you up but accept a polite no thank you. The shops next to the beach are aggressive but do not come over the line of the RST beach. They will scurry down to talk to you if you cross over to their side of the beach. Security also looks out for non-guests on the beach, but since the beachfront is public they can’t do much about wanderers from other resorts. They did tell a few people to move along since they grabbed loungers. You will also see kids non-stop along the water. They walk along the beach to the shops and excursions. One family with a small toddler set up shop on the beach, but a guest shooed them away. It was a slight disappointment for an AO property, but not much can be done about it.
As for the towel game, the main pool was even worse, there were zero palapa spots available in the mornings, and usually there were no people there yet. We even overheard a few people talking about a confrontation about seat saving at the pool. Not what you need on a vacation. On the bright side, there is a table/seating area with umbrellas/palapas behind the pool bar, so if you get a full sun lounger, you can go sit in a shady spot if you need a sun break. Since we had a swim out room we were able to hang out there every afternoon.
Departure: This was one of those triple check issues we had to resolve-we apparently were not on the pick up list even though we had a reservation and had discussed the details once in person (a meeting at the resort) and once on the phone. We decided to hang out in a lobby bar where the transportation person stopped by at 4pm every day to post the next day’s pick-ups. I grabbed him when he arrived at 4:30pm and we were able to finally get on the list after a few phone calls. It was pretty aggravating overall, but this was not an RST issue, it was our specific transportation company; our butler did help out where he could. The airport was a little crazy, but we had a porter bring us to a kiosk to check in, and then found our way to the counter to check our bags. You will need to get by the picture taking station with the ladies. They actually grabbed at me to stop, but I was able to break free. The security line was long but the BAFs (Big A** Fans, actual name) kept the area cool enough. There was no $20 exit fee, you just get your passports stamped and you are in the gate area. It probably took less than 90 minutes to arrive and get through to the gate. There were a number of fast food places and a bar available, so if you have time you can eat/drink if you want. The PA system is crappy, so you should check in the gate area for your flight info. Several gates changed when we were there and a few people almost missed their flights. They started boarding our flight over one hour before the departure time, so if you have some sort of early boarding ticket, you want to be at the gate at least an hour ahead of departure.
Other things to note: The stores did not seem too overpriced. We ran out of sunscreen (we had brought 3 bottles, apparently not enough) and found the price reasonable for a resort, $25 for a bottle we pay $15 for in the States. The train is nice to take for a ride, but can get really crowded. One guy actually held up the train at a stop so his buddy could run into his room to grab a drink. Trying to make change is hard, the stores didn’t want to give back ones. We were able to change a $20 into ones in the lobby, but a few days later they wouldn’t do it. So bring plenty of singles for tips. We lost power four times in one day, but it was the whole area, not a resort issue. Bugs were non-existent until after dark.
Summary: We really enjoyed ourselves, and took advantage of the time to just relax. We decided to stay on the RST property to avoid having to make reservations. We wanted no time constraints. Service was great and the workers seemed genuinely happy. Not sure we would come back due to the beach shenanigans, but apparently you really can’t escape the towel game anywhere. I hate to blame the resort for this though.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Royal Suites Turquesa is an exclusive VIP area of 372 luxurious rooms located within the Grand Palladium Resort in Punta Cana. Featuring private facilities and personalised service, the area includes an exclusive restaurant, concierge service and free Internet in the private lobby, air conditioned bar serving premium International beverages, exclusive pool with built-in Jacuzzis and bar service to the sun beds by the pool and at the beach, and much more. For adults only. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Royal Suites Turquesa By Palladium Hotel Punta Cana
- Royal Hotel Punta Cana