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Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino
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Reviewed August 18, 2009

We stayed at the Grand Palladium Palace from July 11th to the 18th. We brought our 18 and 15 year old children. We had a great time. The beach is beautiful. If you want chairs under the huts, be prepared to get out there by 6:30am to get one. Otherwise there our plenty of chairs in the sun. The pool is very nice with a swim up bar. The only thing that we were disappointed with, was that the pools closed by 7:00pm. We like to swim laterbut said they close early to put in chemicals? but you can go to the beach. The staff were very friendly and fun. They had games for the kids to play to win prizes. There were a couple of 18 years old there but no one my sons age (15). Like I read in previous reviews, some of the restaurants you do need to get there early. The buffets have plenty of room but what we learned if you want to eat in the Hibachi restaurant or the Italian restaurant, you need to get there when they open. The Hibachi is very popular and good. We did eat at the steakhouse in the Bravaro. They only cook the steaks, medium or well. We chose medium and the steak was burnt on the outside. You learn from other tourists what is good or not. We booked thru Apple Vacations and they have a briefing with the representative from Apple. It was very helpful. We went on 2 excursions. We went and swam with sting-rays and sharks. This was a lot of fun. If you do not like to be on a boat and drink, this would not be for you. After you swim and snorkel, it ends up being a party boat. There are plenty of drinks and you can swim in a shallow area, where they float drinks around. You also dance on the boat with all of the staff. We all enjoyed this tour. The next day, we went swimming with the dolphins. Not exactly what I expected. THe dolphins swim around and you can touch them but you cannot hold on to them and swim with them. We did the tour where you swim for 25 minutes. There is another one that you can only swim for 10 minutes with the dolphins. If you are afraid of deep water, these tours are not for you. You have to jump off the boat and then swim over to the area where the dolphins and stingrays are. There were smaller children on our boat who would not go into the water. THis is the first all inclusive trip for us. THere was plenty of alcohol in the drinks. Not what I would expect. We would recommend Punta Cana to everyone.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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5  Thank puntacana0709
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2009

We stayed in the Palace from jul 31/aug 7th, what a beautiful place. The resort is very large with a lot of customers, however, what a pleasant surprise to find that it never seems to be crowded, no matter where or what time of day it is.
Our loft suite was excellent, comfy with a working a/c unit, no complaints from us, our room did not necessitate the use of the card key for the power to operate, therefore, very nice room temperature at all times.
We made 3 a la carte restaurants, Japanese, Italian and Steak place, all were excellent, the food was well prepared, the service was quite quick and very pleasant.
If you want to gain weight, this is the place, the deserts are out of this world, all with more calories per serving than you realy need, but, what great choice you have at all meals, be it in the buffet or the a la carte places.
As for the beach, nothing to be said, Punta Cana has one of the best beaches of the caribbean, crystal clear water, very warm at this time of the year and hardly any waves.
Unfortunately, many power boats run back and forth near the cordoned-off area which is the only unpleasant thing to be said. Since this beach is situated in a very large palm area, shade is plentyfull, and many cabanas to be had for those who wish.
There is a casino.... small and not many winners were noticed.
Since it was our 13th visit in the DR, we did not take in any shows, after a while, we have seen them all and it becomes more of the same.
Anybody complains about this place needs to go elsewhere, If one wants to pay DR prices and expect the Ritz hotel chain, well, go to the Ritz and pay the price.
We absolutely loved this place and would return anytime.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank tubbbby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2009

just came back from this hotel, brilliant place, massive complex. i have a three year old son, he loved it. he got so much love from all the staff, it was crazy!
people are really friendly and helpful
we had a hot tub in the room, which was good fun.
food was basic and very limited for veggies, which was bland and tasted processed! ( chemical after taste)
beach was amazing, do a tour its good fun, we did the outback sarfari, good fun!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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3  Thank mazter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2009

The Grand Palladium is a complex of three hotels, the Grand Palladium Palace, Grand Palladium Punta Cana and Grand Palladium Bavaro. Staying at any of the three hotels entitles one to use restaurants and facilities at any of the other two. We stayed at the Palace for 6 nights, from July 29th to August 4th. My overall impression of the resort is that, while situated in a beautiful area with an impressive beach, it seriously lacks decent, on-site management and maintenance. In particular, upgrades to this property as it has aged have not been performed- many aspects of this resort are worn, stale and lack a quality feel (more on this below). Most of my negative experiences during my stay can be traced to one of these two problems, maintenance or management.
Now for the long-winded, detailed version for interested parties.
We arrived at the hotel around 10pm in the evening. Upon checking in we received no instruction as to the resort or greater Grand Palladium complex worked. Had it not been for some reviews read on TripAdvisor, we would have been lost. When the bell-boy led us to our room we found it to be incredibly musty. This presaged a big problem at this resort, namely the inadequacy of the AC units in the rooms. The AC units are old but more importantly, inadequate for cooling AND dehumidifying the air in the rooms. Both of these are essential functions of an air conditioning system (especially in humid environs). As a result, these rooms are somewhat cool, very humid environments that, I'm not kidding you, smell like musty caves. This room also featured a television that did not turn on and a mini fridge that did not work. Disappointed, we sat on the bed and had an inkling of what would be another big problem during our stay- the quality of the mattresses. We called the front desk but received no answer. I walked to the front desk and explained the situation. The staff seemed genuinely perplexed and unsure of what to do. After conferring with the manager on-duty, we were assigned another room. Upon arriving at the second room (with a functioning TV and mini-fridge), we realized the musty odor problem was pervasive. We settled on this room and attempted to find something to eat. As others have written, the only food available once the buffets and a la carte restaurants close is the so-called sports bar. After catching a train (actually a shuttle with cars attached, looks like a little train) to the stop for the "sports bar" we realized what a sad excuse for an eatery the place actually is. Extremely limited "menu", (fries, hot dogs, burgers and ham sandwiches, all mediocre at best) prepared by a disgruntled worker in a decaying pseudo-sports bar setting. The place looked as though it was an afterthought of an afterthought, slapped together without consideration as to presentation or welcoming nature. Sub-par tables and chairs, broken floor tiles and crappy lighting all enhanced the effect. We vowed not miss regular dinner at the resort again.
We retired to our room hoping a good nights rest would change our initial impressions of the resort. We were mistaken. Returning to the room we discovered another important issue we were not made aware of by the front desk staff. Inside the room, as is common in many hotels nowadays, is a room key reader that, with one of the room keys inserted, is required for the room lights to remain on. What no one mentioned to us is that this system also required for the AC unit to operate. Thus, while we were gone, the AC was off. Normally, with an adequate AC system, this wouldn't be much of an issue. One would set the temp for 72F (22.5C), cool air would refresh as it blew in and the room would be cooled to a comfortable temperature in little time. Instead, our unit struggled and the air that was blown in, although cooler than the air temp, was not very refreshing. We went to bed with an interior room temp a stuffy 79F (26C) with high humidity. Not very comfortable. By the next morning the AC unit was only able to achieve a temperature of 74F (23.5C). I called the front desk the following day to report this issue and they sent a technician later that evening. Upon entering the room at looking up at the vent the technician confessed that our AC unit operated as well as any of the units in their rooms. I explained to him the problem we had experienced the night before and his suggested solution was to leave the room key in the internal reader in order for the AC to maintain a cool temperature. I spoke to the front desk and they also suggested this as a solution. Unfortunately they instruct the housekeeping staff differently because housekeeping would remove the key from the reader every time they cleaned the room, even after we asked them not to, leading our room to heat up making it warm when we arrived in the afternoon. Sigh.
The other half of our experience our first night was getting acquainted with our mattress. Imagine the feel of cheap coil mattresses from 30 years ago with little support. Add to that cheap pillows, about as thick as a pancake with lumpy filler material. Perfect recipe for backpain AND neckpain. I also complained to the front desk about the mattress and the pillow situation. Incredibly, our mattress was replaced- with one with the exact same characteristics as the old one. It appeared as though they simply did not have better mattresses at this hotel. Simply inexcusable when a hotel bills itself of the quality that this one does. As for the pillow situation, the front desk staff kindly pointed me towards their pillow menu. What is a pillow menu you may ask? A pillow menu is a list of pillow upgrades you may have- goose down pillows, memory foam pillows among others. At an additional cost of $3USD per night, per pillow. Remember this is supposed to be a quality, all-inclusive resort.
The rest of my experiences at this resort cemented my initial impressions. Although the grounds are well maintained, small details detract from the overall experience. For example, pathways connecting the rooms with the pool area and lobby are kept clean and the landscaping well manicured but some of the showers continually leak, causing water to continuously pool and eventually smell pretty bad. The beach is beautiful and beach chairs plentiful, but about half of them are not usable because they are either broken or the material has sagged so much it is highly uncomfortable to lay in them. The buffets are plentiful, but the selection so random and eclectic and the quality of the food so mediocre that meals at the buffet are very unsatisfying. This brings me to another point.
Food at the a la carte restaurants is considerably better, but you better get there early if you want to guarantee a spot. Seating at these restaurants is very limited and they do not accept reservations. If you get there too late (past 8pm or so), they will tell you that seating is closed for the night. I quickly found out that people line up outside the restaurants, even before they open at 6:30pm, in order to add their name to the waiting list. Lining up for 30 minutes outside of a restaurant before it opens in order to secure a dinner spot is not my idea of a good time during my vacation. But it is a nightly staple at the Grand Palladium if you want to avoid eating dinner at the buffet, or even worse, the sports bar.
In general, the staff is cordial, and some are very friendly. But, there is a significant portion of the staff that is very unfriendly and downright rude. The cleaning staff can also be inconsiderate as they tended to communicate with each other by yelling across rooms in the building where our room was located. Waking up to people hollering at 9am while we were attempting to sleep in was not very pleasant. Also, the resort contracts with local tour operators so they can sell their tours and excursions on hotel grounds (rogue tour operators also abound). This means that one is accosted at least 4-5 times a day, by the beach, by the pool and even in the hotel lobby, by pushy locals trying to make a sale. While I understand that this is a part of tourism, the frequency with which it happens at this resort is very irritating.
In summary, I’m sure that the Grand Palladium Palace was a nice resort when it was built 10 or 15 years ago. Unfortunately, the lack of upgrades and maintenance in addition to pitiful management make for an often disappointing, mediocre experience. Although the beach was spectacular there were far too many downsides and disappointments at this resort in order to recommend it or think about going back.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Bri2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2009

My husband and I stayed at the palace from july 24 to july 31 2009. We really enjoyed our first trip to Punta Cana. Check-in was a breeze and before we knew it a bellhop was taking our bags to our room. The rooms were a great size and clean and comfortable. There is also a jacuzzi in the room which was a nice romantic touch. The resort is on the beach which was breathtaking. BEWARE IF YOU ARE TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN THE BEACH IS TOPLESS. There were several pools at the resort that you can come and go to as you please and all were nice, big, and clean. The entire resort was nice and clean and the staff was extremely friendly. There are four resorts in one which gives you lots of options when it comes to restaurants. There are seven a la cartes at the resort: Japanese, Brazillian, Mexican, Spanish, American, Italian, & Chinese. There are no reservations at the restaurants so it is first come first serve. The Japanese restaurant is the most popular because of the Hibachi show so get there early if that's the one you want. All of the others are never as busy so you can usually get right in. There are also a bunch of buffets around the resort and you can go to all of them any time you want. We liked the buffet at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana the best for luch. This buffet is just catty corner from the Palace. All of the buffets had a different theme every night so that was a nice change. Just one note about the meat they serve, it has to be well done so if you want a bloody rare steak this is not the country for you. There are loads of bars dotted about all of the hotels so where ever you go in the resort you have a place to grab a drink.

At first the resort looks huge, but when you get your bearings its not so bad to get around. There is a train that comes every 15-20 minutes that takes you around the compound. The only air conditioning in the resort is in your rooms so pack light clothes because it gets hot and humid there. There is a spa there so if you want to take your relaxation the the next level I highly recommend it. I got a facial and a massage and it was wonderful!!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank cdolezar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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