We were two American families (4 adults & 8,9,10 year olds) traveling on our annual trip to the Caribbean – we were a bit nervous after reading the reviews – and I can’t imagine what could prompt such negative reviews? Overall, in my experience, the resort is slightly above average, not the best that I’ve stayed at (for the same price point), but certainly adequate for a week of fun in the Caribbean provided you book at a value price. The resort is huge, with beautiful landscaping, very close beach access, numerous pools, Kids Club, activity club, casino, numerous restaurants, theater and bars everywhere! I am sure that the experience of your trip will depend on when you travel and the weather. For our trip in early August 2012, the resort seemed deserted – we had no trouble finding a spot on the beach or shaded chairs at the pool – we had no trouble walking into any of the a la carte restaurants for dinner (except the Hibachi which we did stand in line from 5:30 to 6:00 to place a reservation) – and we had no trouble being served at any of the pool or lobby bars.
We travelled via Sunwing and that was a GREAT airline experience! We got everything promised – champagne, wine, meals, movies, hot towels, snacks and activity packs for kids – BEST AIRLINE EVER! First class service – awesome!
Feel free to email me with any questions?
(1) FOOD! Food and service was really good in the a la carte restaurants and my favorites were Rodizio (Brazilian), Sumptori (Hibachi) and Cantina Mariachi (Mexican). Meals were excellent! I did not care for the Beach Buffet “La Uva” (hamburgers, fries, fish sticks, nachos, chicken nuggets) as the food was greasy/bland. Also, the Trattoria (Italian) was not very tasty and had terrible/nonexistent service. The breakfast buffet was great, with many selections and even mimosas on certain days. The lunch buffet served a great variety of food. Dinner buffets are themed and the staff is very energetic if you arrive when the doors open. A La Cartes are the way to go!
(2) Select Staff – Two names that stand out were Freddy at the Saona Bar and William at the Buffet – super nice people that made our trip more memorable! There was also a great guy at the Lobby Bar that kept calling us family (can’t remember his name)! Also, the guy with Dolin Divers at the Palace Pool saw me struggling with moving my lounger chair, moved it for me and said – “You are on vacation – I will get it for you” – very courteous!!
(3) Theater – Dominican Divas was very entertaining and the Magic Show (missed the other shows)
(1) Front Desk Personnel - Dealt with some really rude people here – seems like the crabbiest check in ever! I arrived at 11pm and the guy yelled at me “Lady I told you I can’t do that” about getting our rooms close to the family we went with (as pre-requested). Completely unnecessary. Plus they would escape to the back office even though we were waiting at the desk for some need. Very RUDE!
(2) Seaweed – I’m not faulting the resort as you can’t control mother nature and they did rake up/remove the seaweed on a daily basis. The plants wrap around your legs in the ocean. The ocean temp was in the mid 70’s, which was a bit chillier than I have become accustomed to in the Carib and the water was a bit murkey with a stronger tide – this may have been a temporary situation caused by Tropical Depression Ernesto that was on the fringe of the DR. I much more enjoyed the ocean at Riviera Maya (we stayed at Barcelo Aug 2011).
(3) Shower/Tub in Room – poor design of a whirlpool tub with a hand held shower above – this shower sprayed outside the tub and flooded the floor everyday. Also, had a hard time getting hand towels.
Booked parasailing on the beach with Pedro for $30 per person (negotiated) – ended up being in the air for about 10 minutes only – trip was promised at 45 minutes - my husband talked to Pedro and he offered another trip to compensate. Ask questions before you book!
Booked Dolphin Island through resort’s Sunwing rep – Tourist Trap beware! $145 per person plus $45 more for the pictures (for 2). The trip was ok – but once I talked to others at the resort, I felt this was a horrible value. This was a trip to pet and play with the dolphins but not actually swim on their backs like another trip that was only $5 more per person – book that excursion instead. We were in the water about 30 minutes with the dolphins, then snorkeled with sharks and rays, then had about 1 hour of free time before the bus left, which seemed excessive. Further, the bus stops at all the resorts to pick up/drop off, all of which have tons of speed bumps – not a fun ride at all. The trip was misrepresented too - promised to be 3 hours but was 5 hours in total.
You may be offered ‘free shopping’ in the lobby – this is a Tourist Trap! You will drive about 1-2 miles away to a mini mall with two stores that do not have negotiable pricing. Prices were ok on some items, but others seemed higher than the locals. This bus will not pick you up for another hour. We decided to walk back to the resort on our own, rather than wait and found another shopping area on the way. There are tons of the same type of shops at the Royal Turquesa edge of the resort – they all have the same items – and the experience is very high pressure. My male friend was told by Palladium security to not go there alone although we had no problems as a group. The items are authentically made – coffee, jewelry, knick knacks, t-shirts… I honestly wish that I would have just bought my t-shirt souvenirs at the Hotel Shop as the quality was better.
Palladium Travel Tips:
Lobby has free wi-fi access
Electric is 2 pin 110V – you need an adaptor for standard American appliances – our room had two adaptors for use and we were told they also sell them for $2.00 at the resort.
Plan to dine early (6:00pm) when the a la cartes open – huge lines formed as we were dining.
Pillows were ok – got really bad reviews for some reason. I took my own and forgot it there
We took a stack of $1 and $2 bills for tips – I surprisingly didn’t see many people tipping, but great service deserves tips!
Communication was frustrating at times. This is a predominately Spanish speaking area – it was very hard to communicate with the maids and certain staff. Some staff speak English very well though. I personally wished that I was more fluent in Spanish.
Take bug spray – got a little bit up at night.
We sat through the Palladium Travel Club presentation and were so tempted but ultimately did not buy – if any members are reading would you send me a message on your thoughts on the club?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa enjoys a privileged, sea-front location on the renowned Playa Bavaro. The resort, located on a sprawling estate of lush tropical vegetation and a coconut plantation, is next to the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa, the Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino & Royal Suites. The facilities of these adjoining resorts are open to guests of the Grand Palladium Punta Cana (excluding the Royal Suites). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Palladium Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort And Spa
- Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort Spa