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“Awesome!!!!! Everyone deserves to be pampered.”

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The Palace at Playa Grande
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Rio San Juan
Reviewed October 16, 2013

We just got back from four nights at the Palace. It was peaceful, romantic and totally awesome.
It is the low season and there were just my husband and myself and one other couple at the whole resort. It has a totally private (and isolated) beach and for three days my husband and I were the only ones on the beach. The ocean had many strong waves and undercurrents and would be dangerous to swim but great to splash and relax (really would NOT be safe for children). We had a personal waiter/attendant. The cook made whatever we wanted. We could not ask for any more pampering. The bed was turned down nightly. Fresh flowers and chocolates were on our pillow every night. I could not think of any way it could have been more perfect.

Room Tip: All rooms are huge and any would be nice.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank MNSc-travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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26 - 32 of 90 reviews

Reviewed September 26, 2013

I don't know where to begin. We stayed for 8 days all inclusive and it was absolutely amazing. We were greeted on our first day with delicious drinks and the most wonderful people. The manager Juan Carlos got us checked in and showed us around what I can only describe as a stunning hotel. It is truly a palace. It was our honeymoon, and when we were shown to our room, the oceanview suite with jacuzzi, it took my breath away. It was HUGE and beautiful and romantic. To add to the romance, there were flowers on the bed and throughout the suite. They had spelled out "Love" on the bed in flowers next to a swan sculpted from towels and adorned with flowers and it was so beautiful. The view from our room was amazing too. The patio had a view of the ocean, the jungle around us and the cliffs as well as part of the garden below and the jacuzzi was awesome. It turned out to be a little slow to fill but worth waiting for.
Now, the food. Wow. Every meal was excellent. From lobster to filet mignon, to some of the best soups we have EVER had. The chef is fantastic. Each meal was 3 courses that were all so very good. In the late afternoon, the chef would also make a snack that ranged from chips and pico with brie to chicken tenders and fried plantains. It's just what you need after swimming in the ocean or the pool. We do not drink alcohol really, so the drinks we had were fresh squeezed juices that were absolutely scrumptious. I wish that we could squeeze oranges and limes and have it taste like that. The fruit punch is a delightful concoction of pineapple, lime, orange and a little grenadine for color. YUM! And we tried iced tea with lime (very different from lemon) and absolutely delish. We are making our tea like this now at home because it was so very good. You can choose where you want to eat each meal. Breakfast was usually on the main patio for us, but lunches and dinner we chose to spend down overlooking the water and the sunset. It was so romantic. Some of our most beautiful moments and photos were there. There was something magical about candle-light dinner over the ocean, listening to the waves crashing on the beach, watching the sunset and spending quality time with your love. It was perfect.
Now, finally, the staff. They are incredible. Juan Carlos is a great manager that helps with anything and everything you need and does whatever you need to make your stay better. Javier, Felipe and Charlie were phenomenal. They were kind and attentive and got us whatever we needed. They obviously work on their english-speaking and that helped a lot for us because our Spanish is not so good. Felipe also took us out sightseeing so we did not have to worry about taxis or how to get where we were going. He was so friendly and fun and having him driving was VERY reassuring. It's a very scary place to drive and he was awesome. We had SO much fun with him and another tour guide we met named Tomas (Tinto). Tinto was so funny and so incredibly knowledgeable on the history of the country and the area and we learned so much from him. He was funny and spoke AMAZING English, as well as a few other languages. We did a local tour in Rio San Juan, took a boat ride to Caletone Beach, and we went to Du Du to consider the zipline drop into a natural pool, but I will be honest, we saw another guy do it and belly flopped and we decided it was not for us. The drop from the zipline is at least 30 feet, maybe more. We did however walk through the cave and then go down to a more private pool with a partial cave and swam there. It was FREEZING compared to the beaches, but it was beautiful and we loved it.
The maids are sweet and do a tremendous job keeping the palace clean and smelling amazing. They always greeted us with smiles and were just wonderful. We also got a couples massage while we were there. The spa is on the third floor (right next to our room) and the beds were set up out on the patio so it was lovely to relax and hear the waves crashing below you, the birds chirping and a lovely light breeze to keep you cool. It was wonderful. The masseuses were very professional and did a great job. Finally, the grounds keepers do a tremendous job at keeping the grounds beautiful. They are constantly sweeping and pruning and tending to the flowers. The plants, trees and flowers are stunning and clearly a result of their hard work.
Finally, I have to reiterate what others have said. When we travel somewhere for the first time, we like to sightsee and enjoy activities off the property, but it was so beautiful and so comfortable and the staff was so gracious, we spent a lot of time there at the palace. The beach was incredible and warm and we swam every day. We also enjoyed the pool too several times. We live in Las Vegas, so to be able to swim in the ocean was key for us. Some have said it's not enough beach, which we don't understand. No, it's not miles of beach to walk, but it is warm, private and all yours when you're there. We snorkeled and swam and rode the waves for hours each day. If we were still down there in the late afternoon, we had a snack delivered to us on the beach with drinks. It was wonderful.
I could go on for days about the palace and the staff and the food, and since we have returned we have told all of our friends and family that they must go. I hate to tell too many people, because you almost hate to share such a secret treasure, but at the same time, stories and photos only go so far, you have to experience it. The country itself has a lot of poverty and they rely on tourism as a major part of the country's income. Furthermore, all the wonderful people that take care of you, whether it's at the hotel, or on a tour, or whatever, tips help them. If you appreciate them, tip them. It goes a long way.
The only negative I can really write about is one thing. The most annoying thing was the tour coordinator, Felix. When we met him, we had specific things we wanted to do on the island while we were there and he made it sound like we were asking for the moon and quoted us unreal prices to make it happen. We did coordinate one local tour with him, which I am glad we did, because that is how we met Tinto and learned so much. But I can't stress enough, talk to Felipe before you make any planned tours. He is happy to help and get you where you want to go. For the few trips we took with him, it was the cost of the admission and basically gas money. Gas is RIDICULOUSLY expensive there. It averages $7 USD/gallon. So no lie, getting places can be pricey. But Felipe is fair and wonderful. He took us to the Monkey Jungle in Sosua and also to Puerto Plata to do 27 Waterfalls and to take the Cable Car that goes up to overlook the city. Yes, they were long rides, but well worth it. We have reviews for each of them too. All excellent experiences.
Bottom line, we chose this for our honeymoon because it is private and intimate and not a huge resort. We wanted a beautiful romantic getaway and that is exactly what we got. Balaji Palace is extraordinary and we fully intend to return. No doubt about it.

Room Tip: The ocean view suite with jacuzzi is amazing, but there are ocean view suites that are below the pal...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank TraceyM92013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

My wife and I spent a week at the Palace for our honeymoon, but we would go back in a second for another vacation together or with friends. We chose the Palace because it is small and intimate, but still offered the option of having meals and drinks included with your stay. The Palace was an ideal combination of getting a resort experience and comforts while also experiencing culture and local life (if you want to).

We were not bothered by the lack of a TV or WiFi. The Palace is a relaxing paradise - the rooms, grounds, private beach, and pool are all exquisitely beautiful and exceptionally well maintained and clean. Our room had two large chairs and a coffee table on the balcony (next to a wonderful jacuzzi), and we spent many mornings and afternoons reading, eating, and looking out over the ocean. The private beach in small, but it is great for relaxing, swimming, and snorkeling.

Service at the Palace is incredible, from Juan Carlos the general manager, to Javier and Rossario, our servers, who made sure we were well fed, happy, and entirely comfortable throughout our stay - not to mention Javier makes an incredible rum punch. They'll set up meals for you around the Palace, so you can different views, have something more private, or just eat on your balcony. What distinguishes the Palace's service is that they know the DR very well, and can present an array of options for you outside of the Palace. As people have indicated, the Palace is not a place to go and rent jet skis or play volleyball on the beach. But the staff at the Palace will make sure that you have all options available to you - whether you want to take a formal tour, or have one of the Palace staff members drive you (we did the latter). We took a day trip to Samana Bay and Las Terranas beach, as well as DuDu lagoon and the town of Cabrera with Phillipe who works at the Palace. There is also Cabarete, a cool town 30 minutes from the Palace which has some great beaches for kite and wind surfing. Chip in money for gas, tip the folks from the Palace that are taking you, and you've got a safe and fun way to see different parts of the DR. Finally, we did have an incredible 60 minute massage, worth every penny.

It was our first time in the DR, and the Palace was a warm, friendly, beautiful welcome. We miss it and look forward to going back.

Room Tip: Balcony rooms on the third floor have a great view of the ocean.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Robbie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

I am not the kind of person who goes to an exotic place and stays at the resort the whole time. Yet, that is exactly what I happily did during our time at the Palace at Playa Grande in Rio San Juan. I’m also not the kind of person who likes to go back to the same place over and over, but I could easily see myself returning here year after year. Honestly, I would have been happy never to have left. I wish they had a lifetime rate. I almost don’t want to write this review because I want to keep it a secret.
This resort definitely appeals to a certain kind of traveler. There are no TVs or phones in the rooms. Wi-Fi is pretty non-existent outside of a small area they have set up on the first floor. This is the perfect place to go if you are happy reading a book or lounging by the pool for hours at a time. The scenery is amazing! There is a small beach on the property, but some days it’s taken over by the ocean. You can pay to take excursions or the staff is willing to take you to the local beaches. It is a small resort with only a dozen or so rooms, so it is pretty quiet even when the place is full. It’s all inclusive and the food was good to excellent, especially the soups and seafood. I wouldn’t recommend it for children, as I think they would grow bored pretty quickly.
The service was incredible. Javier and Juan Carlos in particular were so helpful, although everyone was wonderful. I visited with my mother and we got a room with 2 double beds, which is hard to find at resorts. The entire place is decorated in an Indian style, making it very unique. There are Hindu statues and elephant sculptures scattered throughout the resort. Our room had an onion dome above it, so we had a very high ceiling and looking up you stared into the inside of the dome. There is also a spa on site and we had such nice massages and pedicures. We came home relaxed, rejuvenated and looking forward to our next visit.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank AkariChan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2013

I was just looking at my pictures from our honeymoon and forgot that I never wrote a review! I feel like I'm going to repeat many of things already said in previous reviews. I spent many hours researching resorts for our honeymoon and when I came across the Palace on Groupon, I hadn't come across that many positive reviews for one place. It was just what we expected - after reading the reviews and looking at the pictures, I knew the names of the employees and they were as fun and wonderful as everyone stated. Rosario is soft spoken and gives wonderful service, Felipe loves pool and has a mischievous giggle when he's beating you at it; Javiar is very nice and brought us a snack when we were lounging at the private beach; Cynthia is so sweet and will teach you about their culture if you ask; and Juan Carlos, the manager, is friendly and accommodating. The room was even more amazing than the pictures - definitely spend the little bit extra to stay in an oceanfront room. It was huge and the balcony so relaxing with the ocean sounds that I fell asleep in one of the chairs. The Indian decoration and colors of the place are awesome - my husband and I kept finding new details even on our last day. I loved the peacocks walking around - you can catch the male in full bloom usually in the morning.

The areas where I rated a bit lower: the sleep quality because our AC had troubles 2 of the nights - they offered to move our room, but we loved it so much, we wanted to stay, so they gave us a fan which helped a lot. The fitness center is small and dingy, so I wouldn't plan on working out there. We got a massage at the spa and it was great and relaxing - on the balcony of the third floor, but not for shy people. And the location is off the beaten path, so it's not a happening "party" place. That being said, the resort will take you to the golf course or the nearby Playa Grande Beach, which are both beautiful...or you can book a trip with Felix, who will come to the resort which we ended up not having time for. We did take a trip to Oceanworld in Puerta Plata - it was a drive but Oceanworld will pick you up, it was a day away from the resort, but it was a lot of fun.

A few tips about travelling to DR: Unless you plan at just staying at the resort the entire time, the four days we stayed were not enough to do everything that we wanted to do. We used a lot of sunscreen but still got burned, so make sure you reapply often. You need $10 cash at customs for a tourist visa. If you don't know any Spanish, learn a bit - the people appreciate it when you speak to them in their own language and many do not speak much English.

Room Tip: Oceanview rooms are spacious, beautiful and not to mention, the view! Way worth the extra bucks!
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank StephaniePM0428
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

We just came back from vacation at Playa Grande. Let me tell you, this was a vacation that I will never forgot. The employees over there are amazing and very respectful. Anything you want, they will make it happen. They Make you feel like royalty. The food was amazing as well. The manager Juan Carlos is such a wonderful person, he tried to make everything happen for us. There was one employee in practicular who blew my mind. He was the most caring person ever , always tried to make us laugh, his name is Rosario, nicname "Charlie". Such a humble person. But overall I recommend this place to EVERYONE. The landscape is beautiful, filled with peacocks, waterfalls, and much more. Everything is fresh there. They have a farm Of crops and farm animals.

Room Tip: All the rooms are gorgeous and memorizing, we had the royal ocean front suit with jacuzzi, which was...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Artursiran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

My husband and I spent 5 days at the Palace -- what a treat! The property is astonishingly beautiful and incredibly well maintained and the level of service was fantastic. We've stayed at many five star hotels in the US and Europe, and we've never experiences such a caring, thoughtful and cooperative staff. The manager was waiting for us when we arrived and quickly served us a delicious fruit punch to welcome us. Our room overlooking the ocean and pool was bedecked with fresh flowers everywhere! In addition, the food was fresh, healthy and very tasty. We are both vegetarians, and the cook quickly offered to adjust his recipes to accommodate our needs. We also took a wonderful day trip to two amazing freshwater lakes and another spectacular beach. We would highly recommend the Palace and can't wait to return! And . . . only a 3 1/2 hour flight from NYC!!!

Room Tip: All of the rooms seem to be fantastic, and of course, an ocean view is the best!
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank suzyburke
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

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: $230 - $325 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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