(submitted by Julie and Dave, Ontario, Canada)
Hotel: Grand Palladium Palace Resort and Spa
Date Visited: February 12 – 19, 2009
Room#: 8701 first night (moved due to a leaky air conditioning system) close to Casino, garden view then 9607 garden view, very quiet – all rooms at the Palladium Palace are close to the pool and beach. Stay at 1 play at 3, Palladium Punta Cana and Bavaro also included so other pools, area of beach as well as a la cartes. Rooms have jacuzzi’s outside bathroom in the room, bathroom was good and shower was very good (others I have been to lack pressure/temperature), we had perfect showers everyday.
Service: Excellent service! The staff were all very friendly, the grounds were immaculate. There was always someone around to take your drink order. We had issues with our room on the first night and while we did have to ask 3 times to get someone to look at it, they very quickly moved us after.
Weather Conditions: Perfect! We couldn’t have asked for better weather. Although it had been raining for 5 days prior so it’s really hit and miss. We had rain for maybe 5 min one day and then no rain again until we were on the bus on the bus on the way back to the airport.
Snorkeling: We didn’t snorkel at the resort, but we did go on the “Marinarium” excursion which included snorkeling, as well as visiting a natural pool and swimming (in a large cage) with nurse sharks and stingrays.
Beach: Gorgeous! We always seemed to find a chair but sometimes this was challenging. Many put their towels on in the morning to reserve their spot. We also were able to find a palapa half way through the day, but not every day. Also on the beach (and by the lobby) was a spa service. I got a massage right on the beach in a little hut, it was very relaxing and it was one of the best massages I have had.
Food: Very good. Breakfast/lunch buffet was by the front lobby – large and had a different theme each night. Lunch buffet was between the beach and the pool. We didn’t try the buffets at the other resorts, but was the same food etc. You were able to eat at 5 a la cartes, not all at the Palladium, they were spread over the resorts. Mexican (Bavaro resort) – 4/5, you will leave very full! Brazilian (Palace resort) – 3.5/5, they come around with different meats, which we didn’t know so only take a little each time. Steak/seafood (Punta Cana resort) – 3/5, we’ve had better at another resort, but you are also in a different country so don’t expect a great steak! Italian (Palladium resort) – 4/5, nothing special but still very good. Japanese (Bavaro resort) – 4/5 also very good. Many of the a la cartes have small buffets at the beginning. We found the reserved/available signs useful. We could find a seat, turn the card over to red and not have to worry about someone taking the table. They used this idea as well in the a la cartes, so if you didn’t want any more food, you just put the red side up. Very simple but efficient.
Opinions/Tips: This was a great resort, with lots of activities and excellent service. We flew with Air Transat and our agent at the resort was able to recommend a jeweler and cigar store. You just let them know when you wanted to go and a driver comes and picks you up. Also down the beach were some shops but be prepared to be harassed – come to my store, I give you good price! They also had vendors on Thursday nights on the resort. Another great service they had were showers in the lobby. We didn’t leave the resort until 7pm and had to check out of the room by noon, so it was nice to be able to have a shower and get cleaned up before leaving.
I wanted to make mention of the little coffee house in the middle of Bavaro resort called Hemmingways. It didn’t seem like a lot of people knew about it but they had specialty coffees and premium liquor that you couldn’t get at the other bars. We would definitely recommend checking it out.
Would I return: We have always said we would never go back to the same resort so that we could see other resorts etc, but we would definitely consider returning.