We just returned from a 5 night stay at The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real. It was a stunning resort that felt small and intimate. This trip was our first all inclusive and so was a bit of trial and error. Here are our general impressions of the resort, staff and amenities:
1.) Rooms and resort set up: The room we had was wonderful, clean and spacious. We got an upgrade to the family concierge, but managed to end up with an additional upgrade to a private patio as well which we did not expect. The rooms were well maintained as was the entirety of the property. It was beautiful and clean! We loved the open spaciousness and yet the intimate small resort feel. Our room had two jacuzzi tubs and so much space. It was immaculate. The restaurants were all terrific, food was really good.
2.) Staff; The staff was in general very nice and always said "hola" and "it is my pleasure." They are clearly well trained. There were some standouts:
Julian at the Hydro Bar/main pool was the star of our trip. He was eternally smiling and wonderful. He was gracious and lovely. I hope he gets something extra for this review because he really made our trip special and gave us a reason to really enjoy our time at the resort.
Luis the chef at Mizu was terrific and funny and actually got my 10 year old to eat fish and steak. He was a kick! The food was wonderful… our favorite the whole trip.
Mateo who was our waiter the first night at Gabi Beach (REALLY good food) and at Mole the last night. He was really a great guy, remembered us and treated us wonderfully.
Edward Peguero/Carlos Peña the activities guys were hilarious, engaging and always in a great mood. They had a magical way of getting people up to do things and were always in bright lights.
Marina in the Family Concierge who helped me coordinate things from afar via email. She was super helpful.
The women who worked in the Kids Zone were AMAZING!! They were wonderful in treating our kids special, remembering who they were each time and just simply great. The Kids Zone was a major highlight of the resort for sure.. A great space and such a treat for our kids!!!
The cons (and there were several big ones):
1.) The family concierge program: it was a waste of our $600 dollars. While it was great for our kids to get the amenities (robes etc), much of what they had was way too young for the 8 and 10 years we have. We were given a phone to call our concierge, but the explanation of how to use it was in half English/ half Spanish and completely incomprehensible despite several attempts to do so. We would see that we got calls and were unable to get them or the messages. Additionally, our concierge did not follow up with us at all and many requests took several times of us seeking her out. We did not feel it was worth it for older kids. Having said that, our concierge,was lovely and our kids really liked her. She was very pleasant, but really did not do a lot except for helping one night when we went to dinner and left the kids at the Kids Zone. For little kids this might be a great program, but for older kids I'm not sure it was worth it. Despite what we thought, we were one of several families that our concierge was in charge of and since we didn't request a lot we felt like we were last choice on her list of things to do. We would not do it again.
2.) Club Melia parasites: Within 24 hours of arriving at the resort we were bombarded by one of the club melia parasites who would not leave us alone despite telling her that we DID NOT want to buy a time share or listen to their program. They constantly badgered us and really cast a pall on our vacation. This is unacceptable for a 3K / 5 night vacation. We should not be bothered and made us feel really icky. Additionally, there were many occasions where we felt like we were being watched: phone calls the minutes we walked in our room (for the only moment all day) or staff knowing about what we had done that day even though we'd never seen them before. It made us a very uncomfortable, again not acceptable.
3.) The restaurants we wanted to go to did not open until 7:00 p.m. but the kids zone closed at 8:00 so we were unable to leave our kids there and eat at certain restaurants including Passion. This was a major disappointment.
4.) There is NO WAY to get change at this resort unless you beg the bartenders or waiters and they seem miffed to help. We wanted to tip frequently but did not have as many 1$ and 5$ bills as we needed. Trying to get change was like trying to get water in the desert. This is a big problem for the staff and for the guests who wish to treat them well. IT MUST BE REMEDIED!!
5.) Wifi was a joke. Horrible. Unreliable and advertised as available. We basically were incommunicado while we were there b/c we were unable to get it despite being advertised as getting it in our rooms. 1/20 times we tried we'd get on line and then it would end instantly.
6.) The beach stunk. The water was pretty, but the sand was not really clean (lots of cigarette butts) and people asking for money or to sign up for excursions. Jesus who did the towels was lovely and wonderful, but we did not stay at the beach for those reasons and also because the wind made playing in the sand unbearable. We only swam at the pools which was a major bummer because we came because we heard the beach was great.
We loved the resort in theory, but in practice I'm not sure we'd return to it because there were some seriously major cons. It also turned us off from doing all inclusives because we are now convinced the main purpose of the resorts is to get people signed up for time shares.
We gave the resort a 7 because of these and because of the lack of a great beach. The overall rooms and food and pools and the special stand out staff listed here are reasons it rated so high.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A luxurious experience can only be achieved with services and facilities designed to provide guests with the highest possible degree of exclusivity and personalized service in a luxury all-inclusive resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Reserve At Paradisus Palma Real Hotel Punta Cana