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“There are no words to describe the magic of this place.”

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The Palace at Playa Grande
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Rio San Juan
Northern California
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“There are no words to describe the magic of this place.”
Reviewed December 3, 2012

We stayed here in November and ever since our return I have been trying to summarize the amazing week we spent there. Before I booked, I read all the TA reviews. They were all so accurate and helpful. Make sure to listen to reviews about booking the excursions. We stuck with Felipe, one of the staff members at the Palace. He gave us such an amazing experience, between taking us horseback riding with a friend of his in the mountains (gave you an exellent look at small villages and houses you might not normally get to see with a larger group), driving us to the monkey jungle and zip lining (funds go to fund a free medical and dental clinic for the poor, totally legit and great operation), to taking us to all the local beaches and swimming lagoon. Felipe even took us one day for lunch at his sister's house- an experience I would have never received and it gave us such an intimate and personal look into the lives of the the Domincans. Plus, the food she cooked was exceptional.

The Palace itself is flawless. The grounds are so unique and well cared for. You are not staying at a resort, you are staying at an estate essentially. At times, it felt like our own private estate, as it only has 13 rooms- and there were never more than 6 other couples there with us. The staff waits on you hand and foot. Between the amazing drinks (I highly reccommend the Dirty Banana) and the phenomenal meals---you will feel like royalty.

If you are very active however, this is not the place for you. We enjoy laying on the beach or by the pool, maybe taking a couple of excursions--- so this was perfect for us. While we were there the tide was too high at the private beach, but they take you happily to any of the neighboring beaches. Playa Grande was where we spent most our days----a postcard setting really- long stretch of sand and bright blue water, plenty of space, vendors to sell many things including phenomenal food. I highly advise you try the lobster- I was worried at first given we were in a foreign country, but no worry necessary. I had the lobster 3 days in a row, accompanied with fries, plantains, salad and rice with lime. I am not sure I have ever eaten a better meal. They also bring you beers, pina coladas served in a pineapple or a coco loco served in a coconut. It's pretty much heaven, and all at reasonable prices. We found that the servers knew the guests coming from the Palace. Once we hired one server, he was ours for the week and none of the others bothered us. The vendors can be annoying but you just say no, and they move along. The surf here is so warm and good enough for body surfing and maybe boogie boarding but not too rough that you can't swim and enjoy.
We stayed in a Ocean View room (without the jacuzzi). It was gigantic. I would be curious to see what the cliff rooms were like, as they had a prime location, essentially built into the cliff itself.
It goes without saying that the staff at the Palace are just of this world. Felipe,especially won our hearts, and by the end I felt like he was family. Make friends with the staff, especially him, and by all means- if he invites you out to the local disco...GO! You will rarely have a more cultural experience. I am missing the Palace so much just writing this. I would go back in a heartbeat.

If you like a lot of excitement and nightlife, you could potentially book a few nights here, and then maybe a couple at one of the places closer to Cabarete. The Palace is a must though- it provides luxury, relaxation and above all else- an intimate look at Dominican culture.

Room Tip: If you get a bigger room- close the bathroom door whenever you have the A/C on- it helps keep the ro...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank dontquityourdaydream
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 reviews from our community

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English first
King George, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 15, 2012

My wife and I just returned from a 4-day trip to the Palace at Playa Grande and we could not have been happier. It felt more like a quaint bed and breakfast with everything included. Our room was as big as our house and our bathroom was big enough to host a party in it.

The staff of Juan Carlo, Ramona, Phillipe and especially Javaier were the best. There were so many others who made our stay enjoyable and pleaseant but I can't name them all. Before our trip we worked with Mark Lahood and he was just outstandnig and everything he told us was jujst as he stated.

The grounds, the view, the sounds of the ocean and of course the food and service were outstanding.

You will not go wrong staying for staying here.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tom K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed November 11, 2012

Went to a destination wedding here. Wow, it is so beautiful and expansive. 4 Story main house with 3 or 3 stories down the hill. I think it has 13 guest suites. Pool, jacuzzis, park like atmosphere.The staff are AMAZING. Every detail taken care of. It is secluded so once you are there you are there.

Room Tip: Downstairs rooms are handicap accessible. Albeit there are wheel chair ramps they are steep and I wo...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank thg07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 15, 2012

I knew we found the right place before we even got there when they worked with me to make sure the Groupon I purchased would work with the dates for our honeymoon. Before you leave the airport get some pesos because you WILL need cash and not everywhere will take US dollars easily. My husband was in heaven when our taxi driver handed us beers for the drive to the palace. Every picture you see does NOT do this place justice. It is absolutely the most amazing, unique building/property I have ever seen. We were nervous because we don't travel much outside of the US, but the staff bends over backwards to make you feel welcome. They were determined to teach my husband some Spanish and they started with teaching him how to ask for another beer :) They do everything they can to help you relax and not worry about a thing. Drinks by the pool, setting up romantic dinners by a bonfire (poor Javier ran back and forth the whole night to our remote location and was HAPPY to do it!!), playing pool with you, or suggesting fun things to do.

Felipe works in the morning and he will gladly move heaven and earth to show you a good time. Thanks for the invite from a few of the other guests (talk to the other guests! They'll be a wealth of information and a lot of fun at night as Javier serves you wine and his famous drinks) we went to the Monkey Jungle with Felipe. Zip-lining and playing with squirrel monkeys all for a good cause! Felipe will also set you up on a horseback ride through the hills (and you'll visit his family) and a local town. These horses are pets and well loved and cared for (I own horses so this was VERY important to me!). We did the couples massage and loved it! The location on a balcony was beautiful, the ladies very professional and did an amazing job.

The beach is beautiful, but beware the waves! I actually was a bit nervous of them and chose to enjoy them from my lounge chair in the sand. If you want calmer waves the nearby beaches are better for getting into the water. We stayed in the cliffside suite right above the beach and it was amazing!!! The nights cooled down enough that we could have the windows open, but the waves hitting the rocks were loud enough to hear clearly with the windows closed.

Water pressure was strong, a/c kept it cold, and hot water never ran out. They give you a hamper to toss your dirty clothes and every evening when they turn down your bed your clothes return smelling better than they do at home!! Lights flicker, but never went out and we kind of liked the ambiance ;) We drank them out of beer and alcohol a few times, but they rushed to refill as quickly as possible! Food was amazing and I loved the opportunity to choose what I wanted to eat. I always tried to pick something I wouldn't eat at home and was NEVER disappointed. There is always a guard on duty; so, even at the end of our stay when it was only us and one small family we still felt safe.

We sorta tipped as we went along and again at the end. I truly believe the staff would work just as hard for your happiness for free, but they definitely deserve any tip you are comfortable giving! Don't be afraid to talk to Cynthia, Felipe, Juan Carlos, Charlie or Javier! It's fun, but also they can help make sure you have the exact kind of experience you want. GO, GO, GO!!!

Room Tip: We stayed in the cliffside suites and the privacy and uniqueness of these self-contained suites make...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sara C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2012

The Palace is the most beautiful, serene and welcoming place we've ever been to. It is perfect for a couple in need of relaxation, and romanticism. The staff is outstanding, attentive to all your needs. The food was delicious, and quickly served. Our room, the 3rd floor suite with jacuzzi on the balcony, was gorgeous, comfortable and so spacious. the bathroom was very nice as well, other than a lack of good light for make up and such. Our favorite part was how special we felt the whole time thanks to Cynthia and Felipe, who helped us plan fun outings. Felipe drove us everywhere we wanted, so we had our own, very patient, funny, and so kind driver! So much better than going with the tour guide. We went to the Monkey Jungle in Sosua, and recommend this one to everyone. It is a free clinic and dental care for the poor, financed by a zip line adventure and a monkey jungle for tourists. It is a very nice place, with very happy monkeys! The staff is also super nice there, we had a great time. We also went scuba diving at the Northern Coast Scuba Center in Sosua. They offer a very affordable discovery course, so anyone can enjoy the under sea life and beauty! The center is owned and ran by Michael, originally from New York, who was so helpful and kind as well. It was such a wonderful experience. For those of you who are afraid of bringing cash versus credit card, you will NEED cash to tip everybody (many different staff members every day), and you will be charged an extra 16% fee where you can use your credit card. So, cash is the way to go (we know that now!). Go take a quick Spanish course before you leave, because English speakers are few there. This was the best vacation we've had so far, and we plan on going back as soon as we can afford another trip! The Palace does not disappoint!

Room Tip: If a jacuzzi on the balcony sounds great to you (it really was the first day we arrived, to relax af...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank alex t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whiteford, Maryland, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 8, 2012

The Palace @ Playa Grade was simply AMAZING! The suites were as pictured, beautiful, clean & well cared for. The staff was even more so....fun, more than accommodating, everyone went out of their way to make your vacation memorable.....I actually miss their smiling faces....The Dominican Republic is a poor country, however, the people are humble & go out of their way to make you feel welcome. I had future plans to visit other countries yet seen, but if the opportunity arises again, we will definitely return to the Palace! The only vacation where I truly relaxed, not too mention in such luxury.

My Best to all of the individuals @ The Palace,

Melissa Windle & Greg Rocks

Room Tip: Although I did not visit the Spa, I chose "Average" based on the prices, compared to where...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Mwindle1018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2012

We had never been to the Dominican Republic so I did a lot of research prior to finding our ultimate getaway. There are so many all inclusives to choose from, but we hate the idea of sitting on a beach and fighting for buffet food with 300 other people, and then the Palace showed up on my search and we booked right away. All inclusive, food and alcohol, but only 13 rooms. That's more our style!! So glad we went...this place is a true luxurious getaway. It is a bit odd when you drive up, as you are staying in an Indian Palace in a tropical Caribbean island. A bit surreal at first but easy to get used to! Sharing the place with 8 other couples isn't really that hard to take. Our days started off with coffee on our gorgeous jacuzzi oceanfront patio- just sitting in beautiful stuffed white cushioned chairs staring at the ocean. The patios were huge and beatifully furnished. Then we would walk down to breakfast, pick a lovely table on the patio to sit at and meet our lovely Cynthia, whose smile would start anyone's day off right. After breakfast, I typically sat by the pool watching the peacocks while I waited for my partner to play golf at the course next door. He would join me for our three course lunch then we would wander down to the beach which was always our private beach -we would drag the lounge chairs down to the waters edge and have the water wash in under our chairs. Private, waves crashing, and the water was gorgeous, turquoise and warm. They have kayaks to take out to explore the rocky coast line but sitting in the chairs watching the waves pour over the sand was more my style. A few hours on the beach, we would then stroll back up to the pool for poolside cocktails hand crafted for you by Carlos or Javier, true gentlemen who are so accommodating and will do anything for you. Felipe is another wonderful staff member who created special memories for us on our trip. Dinner was a more elegant fare, the women at the resort liked to dress up in their summer dresses although it wasn't formal in any way, shorts were fine too!! Dinner was another 3 course meal, nothing extremely fancy as far as fine dining goes, but locally grown, fresh, and DR style. You are in the DR, that's what you should expect! They had two BBQ events (lobster tails anyone?) while we were there with a trio of musicians singing for you. An earlier review complained about this, we thought it was wonderful and we have a soft spot for any musician sharing their craft. They were delightful and added an authentic touch of DR to our trip. You could easily not go anywhere for the week as the place was so beautiful (why leave??!!) although we managed to go see the nearby towns, the lagoon, the beaches and even went horseback riding with one of the staff through the hilly farmland and small towns. That was amazing!
Yes, we would definitely go back and as we shared our week with others at the airport on our way home, we made a lot of people jealous of our very positive DR experience. We loved our time at The Palace. Juan Carlos who oversees the Palace was also very accommodating and a gracious host.

Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Lori C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Palace at Playa Grande

Property: The Palace at Playa Grande
Address: Calle Rio San Juan | Playa Grande, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Maria Trinidad Sanchez Province > Rio San Juan
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Rio San Juan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Palace at Playa Grande 4*
Number of rooms: 13
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Also Known As:
The Palace At Playa Grande Hotel Rio San Juan

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