Debbie's Dominican Travel.com Old Reviews - Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & SPA
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Doug 
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
December 2008
Arrival: Dec 13-Dec 22 2008
We traveled via a Sunflight out of Toronto paying a little more to get the Elite package which gave us pre booked seats and more leg room and a larger weight allowance well worth the money it was an excellent flight.on arrival at the resort we were given our welcome drink and into our room within 20 min.very quick, the staff was excellent,

Rooms:
the rooms are quite nice ours was in the 4000 block close to most everything in our part of the resort, the maids did an excellent job of cleaning, i did not see a bug in our room at anytime during the week, we had plenty of hot water at all times and had no problem with having towels in our room or any other essentials, the fridge was stocked daily with beer and coke

Restaurants and Bars:
the buffets on the resort were all great plenty of food and good food at that i never went hungry and i am a picky eatter at the best of times, the bars which there are plenty to chose from served the typical drinks, the staff was always friendly and the service fast, fast being carribean fast so if you remember where you are it seems fast, and again i was on holiday so like what was the rush i didn't mind waiting a few seconds to get served,

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
the beach is awesome it is not as wide as some of the other resort beaches but still it is a beautiful beach, and every morning the gang was out raking the sea weed and picking up the litter, the pools are also great there are at least four to chose from and lots of beach chairs, but if the resort is busy they can be in short supply, we stayed around the main pool just off of the front lobby its close to our block the buffet , this pool has a swim up bar it was cleand everyday at 5am i know cause i was up and walking and watching the pool guys clean it everyday the resort is a large one but they have a train to hop onto that will get you anywhere in the resort we used it to get to some of the other buffets and specialty resturants but again we also walked the grounds are kept so beautiful that it worth the walk just to take it all in and relax

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
we went to Samoya island tour i hope thats the spelling it was a fabulous day and i would recommend it as it was well worth the money we booked this trip thru the Sunquest people as they had the best offer,

Other Comments:
before we left we read the reviews on this resort everyday, reading some of the negative reviews and then actually spending time at this resort i really cannot understand some of the comments posted i truly believe that these people expect way to much and are negative people by nature, i can honestly say that i could not find anything to complain about we throughly enjoyed out stay the staff was great the Domincan people are so laid back and smile and sing all the time , we have been to D.R. four times and never had a bad time yet we travel every year i would return to this resort in a minute.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Kristina (kmm224) 
USA
November 2008
My boyfriend and I stayed at Grand Palladium Punta Cana from October 26th through November 1st. We had a wonderfully relaxing week at the beautiful resort. Overall, I found the resort to be absolutely amazing... but there is always good and bad and I will be honest about the bad as well!

Off topic to the resort... we had a bit of an adventure leaving the airport. The cab driver brought us to the wrong resort even after verifying Grand PALLADIUM multiple times... we ended up at Grand Paradise.. yep allll the way up there past the right resort. Poor guy I think he was very confused. Anyways, after some confusion and much to our relief (I didn't like the looks of Grand Paradise) we were back in the taxi to the correct resort! No big deal in the end, but next time I may consider booking a transfer in advance.

Check In: A breeze! We were welcomed with a nice cold fruit drink and the woman at the front desk had us checked in and our luggage with the porters in no time at all. She also took the time to introduce us to the map and point out the different buffets/restaurants and their hours. We were then off to have a few drinks at the beautiful lobby bar before heading to our room.

Room: We stayed in a deluxe room in villa 73. The room itself was very nice. King sized bed, Jacuzzi tub, desk, TV, closet and separate room with toilet and shower. Everything seemed spotless and in order. My only complaint about the room was they only give you one (rather flat) pillow each! If you like a little more fluff, I'm sure the maid or front desk would happily bring more. Our building was in a great location, not far from the lobby and casino... and a short walk from both pools and the beach. Unfortunately the pool right outside our room was closed for maintenance during low season... but it looked like they were almost done when we were leaving.

Beach: BEAUTIFUL. White sand, warm blue water, plenty of trees, shade, and loungers. Just heavenly. Food: The food was good. The buffets had a great selection and there was always something to choose for anyone's taste. We preferred the buffet in the Bavaro section over the one in the Punta Cana section. The service and selection was a little better on the occasions we were there. The sports bar was also a great option for lunch/snacks-GREAT pizza... french friends, grilled sandwich, hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, and salads. The ala cartes were very good as well. We tried the Mexican, Italian, and Oriental. Of the three, the Oriental was our least favorite food wise but the décor was beautiful and the service great. My boyfriend loved every shrimp dish he ordered so if you like shrimp definitely order it! Just remember... the food will not be like home so don't expect it to be! Have an open mind and you will enjoy!

Staff: Overall I found the staff to be a mixed bag. Many of them were so wonderful, always smiling, and super friendly. There were a few though that I felt, seemed just a bit uninterested and rude. Despite the few, our overall experience was great and we enjoyed getting to know some of the wonderful staff. We especially loved Iris and Ramon at Hemingways and all of the bartenders at the punta cana pool bar and lobby bar. Just remember... a friendly smile and a well deserved dollar or two tip goes a long way and is the least you can do in return for great service and company.

Spa: The spa was amazing! GO GO GO! We chose to do a package... which was very reasonably priced and included exfoliation, milk bath, and massage. It was very very relaxing and a wonderful experience. The whole spa is beautifully decorated and clean. The water circuits, private pool, steam room, and sauna are a must try.

Casino: Small, but so fun. We tried to stop by for a quick after dinner bet almost every night. The waitresses there always had a drink for you too!

Entertainment: We didn't really get involved in many activities this time around- but the entertainment team seemed great and others seemed to be having tons of fun. We saw three nightly shows and the dancing is excellent. Just a note, though, the theater gets quite warm if there isn't enough of a breeze! My boyfriend preferred changing back to shorts from his long pants for dinner if we were going there!

Other notes:
-Hemingways is a must try for night time drinks. The bartenders here are wonderful, the indoor section is nice and cool, and we had fun playing cards there at night. -Ok, here's my one complaint! And honestly I had been contemplating for the past 3 days whether or not I even wanted to include it but I decided that it did happen and we're about honesty here so here it goes. On our second to last day, we noticed a rather large dead roach outside of our room in the hallway. I am squeamish about this stuff so I was pretty grossed out. But I let it go because it is the tropics and they are out there like it or not despite how clean any resort is they do breed on the climate. Also, I am assuming they sprayed the hallways that day, hence why it was dead. So I let it go. Later that night I woke up around 3am to go to the bathroom. I turned on the light and walked in there to find two.... One not as large as the outside one and one baby roach scurrying in the bathroom. Well I basically freaked because I am so squeamish about bugs. My boyfriend reasoned with me though, that if they sprayed the hallway that's probably what drove them into the room. Good point that I will suggest to management... if you're going to spray the hallway, they should probably spray the rooms in that area as well as to not drive them into the rooms. So overall... these were the ONLY bugs we saw all week long so I really don't want to give the impression that this is an issue or should deter you from this resort (trust the place was immaculate!). But I did feel the need to be honest that I did experience it. Again- remember people, it's the tropics! There will be some bugs! And they will not bother you if you do not bother them!

- We did try the parasailing. Great fun. Bring a waterproof camera up with you for some fun pictures!

- Take a walk down the beach to the right and you will find many shops. They are pushy and tricky so stay strong but you can negotiate some great deals!

- The train runs every 15 minutes to talk you to almost any section of the resort. We chose to walk most times... but it's a great way to get around a familiarize yourself with the super large resort.

Overall, we had such a fabulous week and would go back tomorrow! Please do not hesitate to PM me if you have any questions!
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Cal and Carm 
N.S. Canada
May 2008
I was hoping to have a full 14 day experience at this resort for my review but I will touch on the reason why this did not happen and how it may have helped in doing this review. We, and three other couples flying with Sunwing Vacations were “bumped” to the Ocean Blue resort upon our arrival. We spent two days at that resort and then moved to the Barcelo Bavaro Palace for a further two days. This gave us a better perspective on the comparisons of various resorts.

Flight:
We traveled with Sunwing Airlines and the vacation was booked with Sunwing Vacations. The flights were on time both ways. Flight crew service was very good. Food was better than average for a charter flight. On board movies were shown and champaign was served with breakfast on the way down and wine with dinner on the return flight. Sunwing is flying new 737-800 series aircraft with a 189 seat configuration. Very tight seating but no worse than most others. You can pre-select your seating for a fee of $15.00 each way and select extra leg room seats for $25.00 each way.

Arrival:
I will just say that in my review, I won’t discuss our problems with “bumping” and beyond that we were taken to the Ocean Blue resort. I did not personally like this resort, mainly due to it’s lack of mature gardens, lack of amenities at night beyond the lobby area, and the presence of H10 hotel RCI people who present themselves as the “official” orientation guides for first time visitors. Unless you are interested in this time of resort sharing, you should just give these people a firm “no gracias”. Staff at this hotel was very good. Nice resort maybe for a one week vacation but does not offer enough variety for two weeks.

We then were moved to the Barcelo Palace. The Barcelo complex is huge consisting of five resorts. The Palace is the first established resort on Bavaro Beach and is showing it’s age inside the rooms but still very clean and comfortable. This resort complex is actually too big to venture around on foot and it is necessary to take the train to the other resorts on the property. The beach at the Palace was the best I have seen with lots of chairs and lots of shade. Food was top notch at the Palace buffet but it is a semi-open air concept and the food was always swarming with flies which did not appeal to me. If they were to enclose their buffet, they could improve this situation and would have a great buffet setting. The grounds at the Barcelo complex are very mature and outstanding.

Grand Palladium Punta Cana:
When we finally arrived at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana we were pleasantly surprised and it was everything that we had expected through other reviews and our research on the resort.

We chose this resort because it offers a multi-resort facility for a reasonable price and this is important for us for a 14 day vacation. A single use resort can get a little boring for an extended stay. Check-in was very normal. Good front desk service. Like other resorts, you will probably have to wait until after 3:00 pm to get your room. Bellboys were great when it was time to move to our room. Our room was in the 4000 block building on the ground floor. The room was as we expected. Very clean and everything in working order. We did not get our fridge stocked the first or second day, and I called reception about this. They promptly stocked the fridge with two day supply of drinks and water and followed up with a complimentary bottle of rum and fruit tray in our room. In the following days, the fridge was stocked daily with the type of soft drinks we preferred along with water and two beer. We left a small gift and money in the fridge each day for the bar person and a gift and money daily for the maid. Building 4000 is close to the beach, close to the Palace facilities and away from the Punta Cana pool if you prefer a little more quiet setting. It is also very convenient when at the beach because there are no bathroom facilities on the beach and it was only a short walk back to our room. This hotel complex should consider installing more bathroom facilities on the beach front.

Hotel Service and Buffets:
All I can say, is that this is probably the best resort we have stayed at to date for the price. We ate at the Palace buffet, Punta Cana buffet, Bavaro buffet, La Uva beach restaurant, and the sports bar. All food was above average in presentation, variety and quality. The Buffets are glass-enclosed (reduces flies etc. on the food) and air conditioned. Although, the air conditioning wasn’t always used. Service was very good and lots of smiles from the staff. Most of the staff, spoke more English than at other resorts where we have stayed in the past. The resort seemed to be at capacity while we were there but because of the number of eating choices (including the a la cartes) it never seemed over crowded. There were plenty of fresh cooking stations and every night on a 7 day rotation, they featured theme food. Even though La Uva is a pool side lunch service restaurant where you did not have to comply to a strict dress code, they still served you with white linen, and wine glasses. All the bar services were excellent with many selections and good quality drinks. Hemingway’s serves all top shelf drinks and is included in your package. Probably not much to your liking that you can’t find here to drink. Fully enclosed and air conditioned. All of the buffets and restaurants are now smoke free and that is a pleasant change.

General comments on the resort:
This resort consists of four separate areas, Royal Suites, Punta Cana, Palace and Bavaro. Royal suites clients can use all facilities unrestricted and other guests at the other three resorts can use all but the Royal Suites facilities. Train runs around the resort on a regular basis and I recommend taking your map and going for the full ride around the facility when you arrive to get a better idea of the layout.

You will find that if you have no physical restrictions, you can walk to most areas of the resort in 10 minutes. Grounds are well maintained with many mature plants. There is a shopping area with small stores where the prices are shown on items. These are typical “on resort” stores with higher prices than normal, but not ridiculous. You have to pay for convenience I guess. There are two amphi-theatres on site with nightly shows. Good table service provided here also. We spent one full day pool-side at the Punta Cana and also received full bar service at your chair which was very nice. Pools all appeared very clean as were the surrounding grounds. Lots of workers active all day doing maintenance and cleaning. All reception areas offer full bar service and provide live entertainment in the evenings. Small Casino on site with nickel machines if you just want to have a little fun. Full bar service provided at the casino. For the younger or young at heart, there is a disco near the Bavaro which runs late into the morning. This resort complex has a lot to offer without quality compromise and with the number of guests on site, it was impressive that they maintained such a high service level.

Beach:
The beach in front of the Palladium Resorts is a little narrower than most but certainly large enough to enjoy. If you want a palapa at the pool, be out by 6:00 am and if you want one at the beach, be up at 5:00 am. I hate these games, but it happens and you have no choice if you want chairs. This may not be as bad when the resort is not at capacity. However they are now adding another 250 rooms to the Royal Suites and if they don’t construct additional palapas add more chairs this will be an ongoing problem. There are still people reserving chairs at poolside and at the beach at the same time and this makes the problem worse.

We walked the beach to the north each day and you can do this barefoot as there is nothing but soft sand under foot. We did not walk too many times to the south as it moved in and out of resort areas and was not as pleasant to walk along. The beach vendors are about a 5 minute walk in this direction and you can get some bargain items there if you like to haggle. It’s kind of a sport in the DR most of the sellers are fun to deal with.

I don’t want to repeat what everyone else says in their reviews but it is a sad statement that the most negative thing at the resorts is the clientele. So many rude and greedy people I have to commend the resort staff for the extreme patience they display is some situations. I don’t think you will avoid this at any resort in the area.

General:
I would recommend this resort to any short term or extended stay traveler who is looking for a decent multi-venue resort which delivers good value for the dollar. People will always say that there are better places, and I agree, but it is all relative to how much you are willing to spend. This resort exceeded our expectations for the price we paid and it may well be slightly under rated in it’s star value. I would definitely return to this resort again. There were no major issues that were of concern to us during our stay.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Val and Bill 
England, GB
April 2008
ARRIVAL
Arrival at the grand palladium could not have gone smoother. the staff were very friendly and efficient. We were in our allocated room within 15mins. Luggage was transported to our rooms by the porters who were extremely friendly and this was my first opportunity to practice my Spanish!! they appreciated my feeble attempts. Of note we were allocated a ground floor room and requested a change to the 1st floor. This proved to be easy and hassle free, we went to the reception bar enjoyed a long cold cocktail whilst our luggage was moved to a room that better suited. I loved the fact that none of the accommodation was higher than 2 storeys.

ROOMS
Well how nice were they?! The suite had a large bedroom with separate shower room. The main room had a well stocked fridge, ample wardrobe space , TV and private balcony. The bed was Queen size very comfortable and loads of room to spread out and rest. The final touch was the Jacuzzi bath in the main bedroom. . . large enough for two too!!! The room was immaculately cleaned on a daily basis and the maid would decorate it with fresh flowers picked from the resorts gardens. The towels were sculptured in a different design everyday.
The fridge was always well stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, you could always request more of your favourite drink the fridge waiter, who's aim was to please.
The amenities within the room were of a high standard, always hot water and good water pressure at whatever time of the day and night. The air conditioning units were very quiet which was a plus during the night. A safe was available within the room and was large enough to fit all valuables in.

Restaurants
I myself am not a 'big eater', and my partner is 'particular' about what he eats! I know we sound like a nightmare to feed but the quality, choice, and consistent high standard fuelled our appetite and desires. There was no difference between the standard of food delivered in the Al-a-carte restaurants or Buffett restaurants. You were always welcomed into the restaurants by door staff. The restaurants were very clean and kept that way as the evening went on no matter how busy they became. Whatever time you were in the restaurants early or late there was always the full range of choices available.(there seemed to be a busy time approx . 8.30 to 9.30).There was a hot griddle available in all the buffet style restaurants that allowed you to have foods cooked exactly to your requests.
A particular favourite of ours was the buffet restaurant next to the beach where the excellent views, sea breezes complimented the tasty buffet lunch.

Bars
Would like to mention the excellent quality and choice of the intoxicating cocktails/ wines, beers and soft drinks on offer. All the bar staff were very experienced in the preparation of drinks and turned their hands to most requests. They all had a fantastic customer service skills as well as a good sense of humour. They always made a trip to the bar intoxicating with their good humour and the quality/quantity of the drinks they served.
Lots of choice in the styles of bars available, quiet and relaxing, live music, pool bars etc. Once again without question all bars kept exceptionally clean no matter how busy they were.

Beaches and Pools
I am a beach person rather than pool. The beach was gorgeous and although we were down there at 5.30 am to catch the sunrise and take an early dip the temperatures of the sea was pleasant. The soft white sandy beach stretched for miles, the sea was always only a few strides away, heaven. At grand Palladium I liked the fact that natural shade was afforded by the palm trees and shrubs , alongside bamboo parasols. As I strolled along the beach i was pleased to see we were at the resort with the most natural looking beach front. Whilst bathing you can be approached by beach vendors but a polite no thank you and they move on. Again the beaches and pool areas were clean, lots of sunloungers available although you do find people will get up at the crack of dawn to put there towels out!!
The resort provides towels for use on the beach and at the pool.
Long white beaches, turquoise seas and expansive blue skies ....heaven.

Gardens
The gardens were perfectly kept, the flora and forna were well pruned the grass was a well kept carpet of green with clean and even pathways. The ground staff obviously worked hard to maintain a pristine enviroment.

Activites and Entertainment
Sounds very boring but we did not join in on any of the organised activity programmes. That said whenever we witnessed any of the events they were great fun to watch, dance classes on the beach were particularly good fun.The staff that led the activities were proffessional yet relaxed and friendly.

CONCLUSION
The resort was the best I have visited for many reasons, I would find it difficult to critisise or find fault. It was also one of the friendliest places, well staffed and their aim was to please and ensure we enjoyed our stay and that we did.The resort was serviced by a small train to transpot you around if neeeded, this could have run more freqent! The staff have to have a special mention they were friendly, welcoming, engaging and extremely pleasant in whatever area they worked and whatever time of the day.Most the staff had a working grasp of the english language and ther was always someone who could heip if there were any difficulties.
The staff loved my attempts at Spanish...... no matter how poor or how often I wanted to practice.

In short a fantastic week, in a fantastic place with fantastic staff, facilities and food. Idefinately recommend Grand Palladium Resort to everybody.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Karen 
Florida
April 2008
Wow – What a place

About us: I am 51 and hubby is 63. We are totally beach people and love to just lay in the sun.

Flew to Punta Cana from Miami. Airport at Punta Cana is the cutest little airport I have ever seen. Better than any other island airport we have been to. Very open and clean. Thatched hut roofs, girls dressed in costumes meet you when you arrive and take a picture with you. Band is playing. From the time we got there until we got into the cab was about an hour, so not bad. Immigration was a breeze, had to wait a little bit for the luggage, found our tour rep, and headed to the resort.

Ride to the resort was about 25 minutes. From the moment we drove in, we were awed by how well kept and beautiful the place was. Gorgeous reception area with fresh flowers all over the place. We had asked our travel agent to request Bldg 2000, 3000, or 4000 with a room on the top floor. I also emailed the resort with the request before we left. We had a Deluxe Ocean View. Our request was granted and we go room 2219 on the 3rd floor. View was gorgeous.

Room: Tub was in the bathroom, so had a huge tub/shower combo which was nice. Fresh flower petals all over the tub, sink, towel animals, and on top of the towels. So pretty. Big king size bed. Patio had 2 chairs and a table. Full size sofa, desk, cabinet for TV, fridge, etc. and another lower table. Room was very nice size. Loved everything about it.

Resort: Simply gorgeous. Grounds are so well kept, everything is so clean and well manicured. Our pool b/t Bld 2000 and 3000 was beautiful. Loved David, our bartender at the pool bar. Did not matter where you walked, you just saw gorgeous flowers, shrubs, etc. Don’t know what else to say except perfect.

Food: IMO – if you can’t find something to eat, it is your own issue. I don’t eat meat except chic, and no seafood, and there was plenty for me. Hubby loved the variety of foods. We liked the buffets so much, we never ate at any of the ala carte’s until the last night, then we did the Mexican and it was really good. For the buffet, we liked El Cathedral by the Bavaro lobby the best. Presentation at all the restaurants was incredible, every night a different theme and all laid out to look absolutely gorgeous. Tons of different things to choose from. On Wed/Sat mornings they serve Mimosas in all the breakfast buffets, one night they gave out Tequila shots and one night some kind of liquor shots.

Beach – Oh my God – we were in heaven. Gorgeous, gorgeous beach. You do have to play the towel game. I got up by 5:45 every morning to put our towels out and already must of the thatched huts were gone. I think people left them there overnight. I really don’t have an issue with people saving chairs, but it irks me when they never show up all day. That is just rude. I put our towels out, went for my walk, and by 8 or so we were out there and stayed all day. When we left to do a couple of snorkel trips, we took our stuff and freed up the chairs so someone else could use them. But The water, sand, beach, everything was just simply wonderful.

Things to do – you can do as much or little as you want. The Animation team always had stuff going on. But they don’t bug you, they sometimes ask if you want to participate, if you say no, they leave you be. Same with the vendors, they do not bug you. They walk around with books, pictures. If you see something you want to do – like parasailing – you call them over and then they come and talk to you. Do big selling push at the beach at all.

Marketplace – went a couple times up to the little marketplace outside the resort. Vendors were not any worse than any of the other islands, but you for sure have to barter. Never pay what they are asking. We bought some stuff at the little grocery. Presidente Lite in cans was around $15 for a 12 pack. No American beer there at all. The resort only served Presidente on tap, and I just could not do that all week. Also bought some champagne at the little store, about $13 a bottle so I could have mimosas down at the beach.

Excursions – we Parasailed and that was fun. $85 for the both of us. We did the Tropical Storm snorkel trip and that was great. I think we paid around $168 including the tax. Would do this again. Also did the Marinarium and that was around $160, it was okay, but would not do it again. They make you stay in the group to snorkel and that is just not what we like. So had fun, but will try a different one next time.

Overall, perfect week and we are already planning to go back in 2 years. Next year we are already booked in St Thomas for a week or we would go back to PC again. Will spend many years at this resort. It was fabulous.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Pooja 
Toronto, Canada
Arrival and Flight - My husband and I took off for Punta Cana on March 30th, 2008. Flight scheduled for take-off at 6:30am and indeed it did!! We arrived at Punta Cana around 10:30am. Perfect sunny and hot weather greeted us.....nice change from the -30 degrees that we were accustomed to. The resort was about 30 mins away from the airport. We were the first drop-off by the bus which was good. We arrived at the hotel at about 11:30am or so. We were afraid that we would not get the room as check-in was to be for 3pm. The guy at the reception desk was really nice....greeted us with a smile. My husband told him that he had e-mailed the management requesting an ocean-view room as an upgrade, in building 4000 and on the top floor. To our surprise, we were given exactly what he had requested and got our room soon as we checked in.....so we had lots of time to eat lunch and hit the beach!!

Rooms - The room was really nice and big. It had a jacuzzi and a balcony and ofcourse the oceanview!! Clean room with no smell. Air conditioner works with a card which was already in its slot so the room was cool. Another aspect of the room we really liked was that if you open the balcony door, the air-conditioner shuts off and soon as you shut the balcony door, it turns back on.....this saves energy which is always good!!

Restaurants - 3 buffets and i think about 7 a la cartes! This is because there are 3 palladium resort on one propery. We were able to go to any restaurants we wanted. We mainly ate our buffet which was called "el behique"....really good food and lots of variety. The best thing - fresh fruit juices made infront of you for breakfast and serve-urself ice-cream/cone machines for lunch and dinner. We also ate at "la uva" which was another buffet by the beach but not that many choices. Another one of our favourite restaurants was "bamboo". Amazing chinese noodles and indian lamb curry. We also ate at "mara nostrum".....really good steak.

Bars - lots!

Beach and Pools - beach - was windy but gorgeous. pools - were really nice but packed! The punta cana pool has a huge jacuzzi as part of the pool......really nice.

Grounds - big and eye-catching. Walking is nice if you like the exercise....otherwise there is a small train that picks you up from the "train-stand" which looks like a bus-shed....very cute!! The only down-side is that the train comes every half hour so if you miss it you'll have to wait or walk!

Activities and Entertainment - we went there to relax and so we didn't do too much. We watched the show called "continents"....worth watching. They do dances from different continents.

Departure and Check Out - check out was a breeze....took a minute! The bus came to pick us right on time....8:40 am and since the buffet opens at 7am, we had ample time to eat breakfast. The airport however was a different story....it was insanely packed and took us almost 2.5hrs in line-ups (tickets, customs, security check)....so when we were done with everything, it was time for us to board. The flight was ontime and we landed in Toronto at 4:05pm.

Conclusion - Give it two thumbs-up!! Would recommend this resort to everyone. We would definately go back there ourselves.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Fran 
Waterloo, Ontario
March 2008
Arrival - We were a group of 4--my husband and I, and my parents, two 70somethings. We visited this resort the week of February 25, 2008.

We had booked a direct flight from Toronto through Sunwing Vacations and everything was fine until about 2 weeks before departure. At that time we were informed that our flight would be making a "pit stop" in Puerto Plata in order to drop off/pick up passengers before heading on to Punta Cana. I was a little ticked, but there was nothing I could do about it. Once in Puerto Plata, we were on the tarmack in the plane for about an hour before we finally lifted off for Punta Cana. Quick 30-minute flight and we were at our destination!!...The pilot then came on and explained that there was major conjestion and we'd be waiting for a parking spot for upwards of an hour. About 55 minutes later we deplaned. After that it was fairly quick getting out of the airport, to our bus and onwards to the resort. The drop in Puerto Plata and delay in Punta Cana had cost us about 90 minutes.

Check-in at the resort was nicer and faster than we had when we visited last year. We were welcomed with nice cold rum punches and I was delighted to learn that my email room request had been granted!

Rooms - We had requested and received rooms in the 2000 building, facing the pool--rooms 2210 and 2216, both on the top floor of the building. Rooms were cleaned early each day. One day we came in to find our maid mopping the floor of our room with a bleached water solution and all the furniture was pulled away from the walls so she could get behind and under things. We were fairly impressed with the level of thoroughness in the cleaning of our room. We always left a dollar or two for our maid and one evening we discovered that she'd made us a most unusual towel "doll", that remained there the rest of the week and was decorated each day with fresh flowers!

Restaurants - We ate at two of the alacartes during our stay--El Arrecife(International Style) and El Quijote(Spanish). At El Arrecife everyone in our party thoroughly enjoyed our meals, however the service that night was a bit apathetic. Our waiter seemed like his mind was elsewhere and it took a waving of some dollar bills to get the wine waiter to see us at all!...After he found us, he was back for many refills and our waiter seemed to be replaced by someone else by the meal's end. Our evening at El Quijote was nice as well--the staff in there went above and beyond as far as service and attention, however the meal wasn't as good as what we enjoyed at El Arrecife. My dad's pork was tough as nails and the meals didn't seem very hot by the time they got to our table.

The rest of the week was spent testing and tasting the various buffets in the resort. I'd have to say that La Catedral was my favourite as far as variety however it was quite warm because it's not air-conditioned. We also enjoyed La Uva for lunchtime, and Las Torres and El Behique for breakfasts, varying our locations daily. It was a nice surprise to see that all restaurants are now non-smoking buildings--makes for a much better dining experience and more seating choices as well.

Bars - This year we finally managed to get ourselves to Hemmingway's Bar and LOVED it. Very quiet location, air-conditioned with premium drinks. I'm not much for premium drinks, but we tried a few martinis and had some Kahlua on ice for after-dinner drinks. We found the Bavaro lobby to be extremely busy (and warm!) and only had one drink there the entire week. The Palace lobby was a nice place to wind down the day and listen to the small band that was playing.

Beach and Pools - The beach at this resort is very long, but also fairly narrow with many loungers and many people laying on them! We decided early on to camp by the Punta Cana "noisy" pool and just dash to the ocean when the mood struck. The pool was cleaned and shocked on a daily basis. My husband saw the pool guy scrubbing the sides of the pool every morning, and chlorine levels were always being checked by their staff.

Grounds - The grounds at the Grand Palladium are absolutely GORGEOUS!. There's always someone trimming or mowing or manicuring the lush greenery. Mom and I loved watching the pink flamingos and turtles in the pond outside the Bavaro lobby and found some beautiful plumeria shrubs nearby.

Activities - There is plenty to do at this resort! Something for everyone! Being there for a relazing holiday we chose to only participate at the pool games. We enjoyed the entertainment around the pool-darts, shuffleboard, water aerobics, mini-golf, water polo and volleyball, and of course the beer-drinking contest! We loved the animation crew, particularly Margarita and Kelvin who always stopped to say hello and see how we were doing. It was nice when they remembered us from our visit last year! These animation people don't stop. They start work around 10 am and finish out the day by working the disco until 2 am in some cases. They're full of energy and always have a smile and a nice word for you.

Our group usually took in the nightly entertainment in the Merengue amphitheatre and enjoyed all shows the week we were there. The bar service is really nice in there as well! Some nights the animation crew provided the entertainment, other nights you could see that performers from outside were brought in. We finally got to see the "Michael Jackson" show I'd read so much about and it did not dissapoint...Great show!

Tours - My husband and I have been to the Dominican a couple times before this trip, but we met up with friends who'd never been. We decided to do a half-day excursion and settled on the Marinarium trip. To make a long story short, we weren't impressed. The half-day included snorkelling in the ocean, a stop at the natural swimming pool, the opportunity to swim with nurse sharks and stingrays, a snack and drinks on board the catamaran. The ocean was very rough that day and we were advised to snorkel without fins (not sure why, but what a mistake!). I spent the next 30 minutes struggling against the rough waves and currents, saw about 6 fish because the snorkel kept being filled with water and we were never told that the sharks/stingrays were on the opposite side of the boat we'd jump off of...so...lots of $$ (83 each) and no real event except for the boat ride and beverages. I do have one heck of a "snorkelling gone wrong" story for my friends and family though, so I guess it wasn't a complete write-off...The scenery on that trip was gorgeous, but as far as delivering what they promised I'd have to say I won't recommend this trip. I much preferred the Soana Island day and Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure day that we'd done in the past.

Conclusion - I LOVE this resort. Having been twice now, we probably won't return for a few years, but I highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for a resort with plenty of variety, good food, wonderful and friendly staff and interesting entertainment!
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Tropiclady 

February 2008
This will be my first written review so will do my best to give a fair and honest opinion.

Booked with Sell Off Vacations - No problems
Tour Operator was Conquest - They were great from start to finish with only one small complaint which I will let them know about so they can improve on.
Airline - Air Canada - They were great. We have flown with them the last two holidays and would not hesitate to do again. We much prefer them to SkyService and they have a bigger luggage allowance.

Check In was very smooth and we were greeted with a great tropical fruit drink upon arrival. I think we were at our room within 20 minutes and Tony (Bellboy) was great. We found the front staff to be very friendly and accomodating throughout the stay.

Room - Very clean, on the 3rd floor overlooking the pool with a partial ocean view and King Bed. The room was great and only two small complaints. We weren't crazy about the shower system and felt that the A/C could have been programmed better. These were by no means make or break vacation complaints. We ran into the maid several times and she was very friendly. I came back one day to pick something up in the morning and the room was being inspected, so I think the resort tries hard to have good standards.

Pool - We loved the PC Pool and yes, you have to play the towel game. I said that I would probably not play this game but learnt quickly on the first day that it is a game that you must play. The bartenders were all great but David was our favorite and always went to him. The animation team was also very lively and provided great entertainment and usually your choice to participate or not. I did get dragged into one game after doing the water aerobics but it turned out to be great fun. We were usually at the Pool until 5 most days. There was only one day that the people beside us placed out their towels and never showed up until 3, this is because they were at the beach all day. How rude is this, someone else could have certainly enjoyed those chairs through the day and by 3 many were already empty.

Beach - My biggest complaint about the resort! Yes, the beach is beautiful and you can walk for miles but it is was way too busy for us. We did walk the beach several times but actually only spent about an hour one day sitting as I found the beach to be a bit of a zoo. You have to be up even earlier to play the chair game there. I was up to see the sunrise at 6:30 one morning and many of prime chairs are already gone. I found that the beach is way too narrow and small for the amount of people at this resort but that is just my opinion.

Buffets - We found that all the buffets were all good and we tried all of them at least once. We would probably give a slight edge to Le Cathedral at the Bavaro. We never had a problem with the service and find that a smile can go along way. We liked the different theme nights and always found a good variety for us. La Uva was great for a late breakfast and we enjoyed the lunch buffet there. We always tried to be outside looking out at the ocean and there was only once that we were inside.

A La Cartes - We only ate at El Arrecife and this was very good. We both had grilled bass and really enjoyed. The service was also very good. We did try to get into Mare Norstrum twice but with over an hour wait both times we just ended up at the buffet. There always seemed to be empty tables there but they were being held for Royal Suites people who hadn't shown up yet. I think that if you are going to have a no reservation policy it should go for everybody. At this point we just gave up on a la cartes as the buffets were good and the hubby could wear shorts and sandals.

Bars: We liked the Palace Lobby Bar the best, it seemed to have the right kind of atmosphere for us. A little livlier than the PC and quieter than the Bavaro. We however did enjoy the PC when we wanted it quieter and than there is everyone's secret bar Hemmingway's. I was able to get my Bailey's fix here. We had a great time at the Sports Bar outside watching the Super Bowl game and the waiters did a great job of providing endless Presidente's.

Casino: We did venture in here a couple of times but found the machines to be pretty tight. We still had fun and will get our gambling fix in Vegas soon.

Corner Bar: We made it to the Corner Bar on Feb 3 and this is a great little place, only a few of us but it was great to meet everyone and Mike Fisher. Would have loved to have been at the big Meet and Greet the week before.

Excursion: We did the Caribbean Festival and really enjoyed.

Overall we really enjoyed our stay and hope to be back but alas there is always so many places to see.

I hope this helps and I am sorry for it being so long. I would be happy to answer any and all questions.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Hlywud 

February 2008
Rate in Tour Brochures as a 4.5 star, I would rate it definitely between a 4 and 5 star resort.

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/342541/index.html for photo’s

Flight
We live 2½ hours from Pearson Airport in Toronto and with a late afternoon departure. We parked our vehicle at the Valhalla Inn on Burnhamthorpe Road. The rate of $99 included 7 days’ parking and a stay over the night on our arrival back in Toronto. They provide excellent customer service and the rate is reasonable. And the shuttle ride is very short and efficient.

We were scheduled to leave from Toronto at 4:35 pm and did not leave on time, 5 pm due to de icing for a 3 hour and 46 minute flight to PUJ on a Boeing 757 with Skyservice. The 757 I felt had a much better seating room than the previous A320 aircraft I had been on. I was in seat 13F and my wife in 13E and we were very comfortable for the flight down to PUJ.

Dominican customs Check-in at the airport was very quick and we were on our bus within a half an hour of landing and on our way to the resort with a stop to let off 6 passengers at the EdenH and then rode for another 5 minutes to the Barcelo Dominican to drop off 8 more passengers, about 10 minutes later we pulled into the Palladium.

Check In
On arrival at the hotel we were greeted Bell captain who secured the entire luggage and checked in about 10 minutes, and then escorted by the Bell Captain to our room 4030 in Building 4, right across the hall from last years room an identical Romance suite, we were surprised that we had been upgraded to an Ocean view room again, of course this was our fourth visit, a prior email to the manager got our entire group into Building 4000 which was very central to everything.

Accommodations
A huge room, we found a huge king bed , an armoire with 37 inch TV, 2 sitting chairs and oval table, a chesterfield with coffee table and sliding patio doors to a very decent size balcony. There was a separated Dressing room with a table to put your luggage on, and a large 7 foot Jacuzzi bathtub separated from the living area by a 4.5 foot wall and a huge closet with electronic safe on the other side of the room. The toilet area was a small closet area with sliding door with a nice stall shower in the opposite corner. We unpacked quickly and headed to the lobby bar for a cool Presidente and then onto the sports bar for a quick bite to eat before turning in around 3 am.

Restaurants
We had use of all the buffet restaurants in the entire complex and found them all very good with an excellent selection of foods. We also had unlimited a la cartes and chose to try the Mare Nostrum (Italian) and the Arrecife. Steaks were not much to write home about, this year they were tougher than a horse’s reins. The buffets afforded us a good variety of food and there is really no way anyone should go hungry.

Pools
The Punta Cana section had two large pools for our use as well we could have used the Bavaro and Palace pools, they were well maintained and lots of loungers were available. The water was very cool and refreshing. Each pool has a swim up bar.

Bars
We spent most evenings in the Punta Cana or Bavaro lobby bars where each night they featured live bands. After most evening meals we went to Hemingway’s quiet bar and indulged in some good premium drinks either inside or on the patio. Service at this bar was exceptional with a very large variety of premium cocktails available.

Grounds
The grounds were well manicured and kept well maintained with daily watering was a common practice, they needed of no rain as it rained most nights while we slept and once for about 2 hours one afternoon.

Beach
What else is there to say about the soft white sand beaches of Bavaro other than fantastic. The wind was quite high one day of the week and we stayed pool side after we cancelled our catamaran tour on the Patatatu which was moored of the Palladium for the week. We managed the trip 2 days later and had a fantastic cruise.

Entertainment
We only took in one show while at the resort, “The Michael Jackson Review” which reasonably well performed and mimed by the animation staff.

Check-Out
Resort Check out was very quick and efficient on our departure day at noon and took all of about two minutes, we relaxed pool side for the balance of the day and then we bused for our return to the airport. At 7 pm. One must be aware that at the airport check in many tourists being charged for extra weight again, we had weighed our bags before heading to the airport with a fish scale and we were fine as our bags were only 2 kg under the limit. Should you feel that your luggage is not overweight protest loudly and ask for a supervisor as some did and they were allowed to check luggage at no additional costs, while others were definitely overweight and had to pay.

Accessibility
The resort for those who might need a wheelchair is completely handicap accessible and I saw no places that there would be any problems with a wheelchair other than the beach of course. Byerbill had his wife in her wheelchair for the week and was ablly assisted by the staff when necessary.

There are two trams that run constantly to get around the resort so movement from one section to the other was never a problem.

Weather
The weather was hot and humid every day (28C to 32C) with nice puffy white clouds floating by and a nice soft breeze off the ocean with exception of one day when the wind was very high and we took refuge around the pool, there was an occasional shower for a few minutes on a couple of days.

Like being in any of the tropics there are geco’s, bugs, lots of butterflies, the occasional fly, dragon flies around the ponds and fountains, but never did we see a mosquito or any no see ums or sand fleas.

Return Flight
The outbound Toronto flight was 3 hour and 46 minutes, our flight home was very fast and smooth even though it left Punta Cana 3 hours late due to the previous day’s snow storm in Toronto landing at 3:10 am .

Summary:
Would we return to the Palladium Punta Cana?
Yes definitely and we are planning our 5th trip for next year.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
jacalope 

January 2008
A long review, I have tried to put things under headings.

We stayed at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana from the 12th to the 26th November 2007. Our room was in villa 75, centrally located near the ‘quiet’ pool at the Punta Cana and only steps from the activity pool. The room was very nice with a bathtub and sink in the main room area and the toilet and shower in a separate space. The safe was the type in which you input your own combination and there was no charge. The bed was fine, and the pillows flat. Air conditioning worked reasonably well. There is no way to hang wet clothes, though we had brought clothes pins and were able to secure items on the balcony. Everything was in good working order, though one day the lights didn’t come on when the key was inserted in the slot. I spoke with the chambermaid and she had already notified maintenance and they fixed it before we returned to the room. The room had universal electrical plugs and we were able to charge our cell phones and use appliances with no difficulty (no need for the extension cord someone had suggested … we left it for the maid). The room is equipped with a hair dryer and comes with a remote for the TV (no need to request it at the front desk).

We were very close to the lobby and it’s bar, the El Behique Restaurant, La Uva Restaurant and one of the closest villas to the beach. The 2000, 3000 and 4000 buildings are closer to the beach, when I peeked into those rooms, they look a little bigger and have the bathtubs in the bathroom.

Check in was quick and painless. I had expected to be in the longer buildings and mentioned something to that effect (as we were given a villa), the front desk worker instantly offered to try and get me a room in the longer buildings if I came back the next day. As it turns out we were pleased with both location and the room.

The size of the resort can be quite daunting, especially if you travel around the resort on the tram. It appears much larger on the tram because it takes perimeter roads. If you walk from the Punta Cana lobby to the Bavaro lobby, it is about 7 minutes. Waiting for the train can take 15 minutes or longer (and if it is dinner time or raining, the tram will arrive full) and then maybe a 5 minute ride to the lobby. The walkways are seldom straight and so somewhat confusing until you get the hang of it.

Both the Punta Cana and Palace lobbies are close to the beach and close to each other. There are 2 a la carte restaurants and 3 buffet restaurants, the casino and a shopping area in the lobby areas.

The Bavaro lobby (which has one of the theatres, the disco, the sports bar, some shops, three a la cartes and the Cathedral buffet) is at the back end of the resort (farther from the beach). The Bavaro also has Hemmingways (a lovely bar with air conditioning as well as a patio) and the El Arrecife a la carte seafood restaurant, which are both closer to the beach.

All three lobbies are comfortable with nice furniture and lovely drinks.

Staff – if you smile that them or say “Ola”, you always get a big smile and friendly “Ola” back. It seems there are many visitors there who don’t do either of those things and appear to be unhappy/grumpy. Oh well … their loss.

Other guests – There are mostly Europeans at this resort and very few English speakers, either American, English or Canadian. There seems to be a ‘thing’ with some guests to see if they can get you to move from the walkways so they can walk two or three abreast. These people were exclusively Europeans (from what we could tell by listening to them speak). Eventually we stopped moving one behind the other and braced our shoulders for impact … it never happened, but they didn’t move until the last minute. Clearly not all Europeans are this ignorant, but combine the walk-ways adventures with the pushing and shoving at the buffet (you would think that there wasn’t going to be enough food) it was hard to understand. The place is so lovely and relaxing, I don’t understand the nastiness.

Live music – the Bavaro lobby had a wonderful band with about 6 members, lovely singers, dance and relaxing music. The Palace lobby had a very nice 3 member band, didn’t notice singing or any dancing. The Punta Cana lobby had a one man band which was great for socializing in the lobby or lobby bar.

Food – the food was different than what North Americans may expect, but there was great variety and lots of options. We did find the pushing and rude behaviour at the buffets to be a bit trying but found that by eating at the a la cartes nightly kept our stress level down. I don’t think the food at the a la cartes was vastly different, but being served and taking time over dinner was very pleasant. We ate in the a la cartes 11 out of 14 nights. Our least favourite was the El Arrecife (alternately called a seafood or an international restaurant). We had shrimp dinners there that were mushy … not very appetizing. We also found the meat quite tasty but with lots of gristle – but we found that throughout the resort. On another night, the wedding we attended hosted their dinner at the El Arrecife and it was a fixed menu with chicken as the main course and that was good. At the beginning of our trip we ordered and appetizer, dinner and desert, once the meal was ordered we were invited to go to the salad bar. We soon learned that we were ordering TOO much food and became more judicious, sharing appetizers and taking less from the salad bar. We ate at the Bambu (Asian food, Japanese, Chinese and Indian) 3 times, the Gran Cantina (Mexican) and the Mare Nostrum (Italian) twice and La Uva (Dominican) and Don Quixote (Spanish) once. We would have returned to all of them, except the El Arrecife, we just ran out of time. We ate at the buffets for breakfast and lunch and occasionally ventured over to the Sports Bar and the beach snack bars. We found the burgers often came red on the inside, but if you request well done, it wasn’t a problem. If you aren’t ready for breakfast until after 10:00, the hotel offers a late breakfast at La Uva (near the beach in the Punta Cana). La Uva has a different schedule from most other restaurants offering a light breakfast or a snack (made to order sandwiches) from 10:00 to about 12:00, buffet lunch from 12:00 – 15:00, snacks (made to order sandwiches) from 15:00 – 17:00 and a la carte dinner from 19:00 – 22:00.

Sun loungers – We had no problem getting chairs as long as we were there by 9am. Choice spots were gone by 7:00 or 7:30 am.

Beach – gorgeous of course. There are no lifeguards at either the pool or the beach and the waves at the beach are a fairly large. There are vendors, but they weren’t too bothersome, a ‘no gracias’ always did the trick.

Theatres/Entertainment – We attended two shows. We enjoyed the Dominican Show as it gave you a flavour of the music and dance. All in all though, we preferred the bars and socializing. Other members of our group went to the shows nightly and loved them. There are two theatres. Both at the back of the resort (farther from the beach). The animation team were friendly and actively tried to get people to participate, though were ok if you just wanted to laze. If you don’t want them to bother you, pick a place on the beach farther away from them.

Courtesy Rooms – There are courtesy rooms available at all three resorts. A handy thing to know if there are 25 people trying to use the showers in one place. The Punta Cana has courtesy rooms available behind the reception area of the lobby. The Palace (very close to the Punta Cana) has courtesy rooms available across the hall from the public restrooms in the lobby. The Bavaro has courtesy rooms available in the building near the pool, on the Hemmingways side of the restroom building. All were clean and tidy whenever I checked them out. The Bavaro area didn’t seem to provide blue beach towels for use but the Punta Cana and Palace had fresh towels for use and all three provided shampoo, shower caps and shower gel.

Sports Centre – We played mini-golf several times and it was fun. The facility could use a little TLC, but was good fun none the less. We wanted to try archery, were too late once and on two other occasions it just didn’t start up (maybe no one had signed up).

Sky Service – On departure from Calgary (we arrived two and ½ hours before departure time at check-in) our pre-purchased seat selection were not honoured. Meals were not provided for all passengers. The flight attendants served from the front and the back. Finally there was a bit of a cluster fluster and the few remaining meals were Frisbee tossed out to the ‘lucky’ passengers in the middle of the plane. Some didn’t get meals and some got sandwiches but no niceties like napkins. On departure from Punta Cana, there were two line ups. We got into the wrong one (not a surprise). Our line took at least twice as long as the other. The main problem was the Signature rep (the boss in Punta Cana) took a group of 6 people to the front of our line up. When we asked the rep from our bus, he had us speak with the ‘boss’. She informed us that there was a ‘medical emergency’ and that is why the group of 6 went to the front of our line. Clearly, there was a gentleman in a wheel chair and none of us had a problem with him getting priority clearance. We did have a problem with 5 able bodies people riding his coat tails. 1 or 2 people to accompany him would have been sufficient. Clearly the gentleman required assistance, but what kind of emergency is it when he is riding on the same plane as us and arriving the same time as us.

Signature – the rep at our hotel was good. He gave us an orientation the day after we arrived (we arrived at 9 pm or so at the hotel) and was available during the hours listed. We were told to check the Signature binder to ensure that the flight was still on schedule. We did so the morning of our departure and again at 2 pm. There were no notes in the binder. At 4:15 were had showered and were waiting in the lobby with our carry-ons. A woman came by in a wrap and asked if we had heard any further information about our flight status. We had heard nothing, let alone further information. Turns out she was in the lobby in the morning and ran into our rep who informed her that the flight would be delayed by 2 hours. When the rep arrived he didn’t make an announcement, we had to approach him to ask what was happening. Once we found out we went to the sports bar for some early dinner.

Airport – Upon arrival the truck with the stairs is pulled up to the plane, a line of passengers disembarks and heads in a line up towards a quick photo with 2 Dominican ladies in costume. We found ourselves at the back of a line and dodged out to get into a different (shorter) line. It was a fairly quick process. Departure was fine, though my boyfriend asked if he could have a lighter and, of course, he couldn’t. Many others just took their lighters with them … not the most comprehensive security. There are two departure areas. The first one is not air conditioned and there were a lot more people there than in the second area located past the food court, which is air conditioned. The extra space and air conditioning were both very welcome. There isn’t much to buy at the duty free or shops, and the rum is more expensive than ‘in town’ or at the resorts. Though if you purchase at duty free you aren’t required to pack it in your luggage.

Shopping – Before you buy take some time to check out the shops at Bavaro and the Palace. It will give you a good idea on what you should spend. The vendors that came on site Thursday and Friday night wanted an outrageous amount of money. I had chosen a picture frame, a small drum, a small shell encrusted box, a key chain and another little trinket. The guy punched up his calculator, handed it to me and it said $78. What a joke. I told him not to worry, we were so far apart that there was no point. He hounded me to put what it was worth in the calculator. I entered $20 and handed it back. He was appropriately offended. I told him that the same sized drum would be $8 or $11 at the resort, the picture fame no more than $10 and the other stuff no more than $3. We finally settled on $25, which I think was reasonable. Didn’t make it to the market by the hotel, but walked by a few times, lots of requests but easy enough to turn down. The market in town (about a 15 minute walk from the lobby at Bavaro to the end of the resort property and then another 10 minutes to the little town area) was ok. It was a rainy day and very quiet, though some people still wouldn’t barter much. Lots of requests to come to their shops but nothing as tough as Jamaica. Many of the prices are very high. I know that in Canada I wouldn’t pay more than $20 or $25 for a wrap, they were asking double. We walked away from one place and got a few cute things at prices that would be reasonable in Canada. There is a more conventional mall ($13 taxi ride from the Palladium) with a Hardrock Café in it. They had a nice jewellery store (though the one our Signature rep hooked up with was a better deal and they came to get us and drove us home), some nice clothes shops, cigar stores and a Brugal rum shop. I didn’t think I would enjoy paying for alcohol while staying at an all-inclusive. We had a great time at the Hardrock! The drinks and service were excellent (there is something to be said for good alcohol!) and the snacks were tasty (we really enjoyed the Heinz ketchup!). Two or three drinks and we were all giggling and having a great time!
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Debbie 
Saint John, New Brunswick
June 2007
We have returned from our 8th trip to the Dominican and our third stay in the Grand Palladium complex, this time staying in the Punta Cana section. We were there from April 16-305h, 2007.

We stayed at the Palladium Punta Cana from April 16- 30th and had a fabulous trip! From the moment we stepped into the lobby until the time we left we were treated absolutely wonderfully by everyone... We are already planning our trip back for next year.

Arrival- We arrived at 4:30 pm and were greeted with cold drinks, and everything ready for us. There was a small problem with our room but we were quickly moved the following day to building 4000 with the rest of our group.

Room - Absolutely spectacular! We were located in building 4000 in a large room with king size bed and Jacuzzi surrounded by pillars. We found the location to be prefect as we were close to the lobby, pool, restaurants, and the beach. The maid kept our room totally spotless and placed beautiful flower arrangements around the Jacuzzi everyday.

Pool - We enjoyed a morning swim in the pools and a couple of drinks at the swim up bar but found it too hot to stay at in the afternoon so we spent most of the time at the beach.

Beach - It was everything that I remembered from last year. Pure white sand and amazing palm trees, what more could you ask for? We never had a problem finding chairs with some shade no matter what time we went. There were three beach bar huts located along the beach. The water was a beautiful greenish blue with small waves most days. There were two days that it was a little ruff but it just made it more fun for us.

Weather: Out of the 14 days we only had two days of rain and a couple of night showers while we slept. Perfect! On the day that it did rain we played board games in the lobby.

Lobby Bar: We spent the evenings at the Lobby bar and had a great time with the staff. Many of the waiters/bartenders actually remembered us from previous years.

Entertainment: These people never stop. They are so friendly and make sure to include everyone that they can in every activity. They go around the pools and beach every day just to say hello and ask if you are enjoying your stay. There is everything that you can imagine to do if you wish to participate. There is painting, archery, basketball, volleyball, mini-golf, badminton, soccer, ping-pong, darts, aqua-size, tennis, etc. At the beach there is windsurfing, catamarans, kayaking, boogey boards, etc.

Restaurants: We went for breakfast at the Palace buffet each morning (Las Torres), the Punta Cana beach restaurant for lunch and then alternated our suppers between the buffet at the Palace, the buffet at the Bavaro (the Cathedral) and the Specialty restaurants. We never tired of the food and found most of it to be quite delicious.

Specialty Restaurants: We went to the Mariachi (Mexican), the El Quijote (Spanish), The Mare Norstrum (Italian), and the Seafood. We enjoyed every one of them for their food selection and their ambiance. We also found the service to be excellent and the staff very friendly.

Shopping: To avoid the aggressive vendors, walk down to Captain Nick's Seafood Restaurant. Go up through it and you will come to another street, there is a shop called LOS PINOS that have set prices (very cheap). They do not barter there and give you unbelievable deals.

We did not go to the theatre or disco as we have seen them all before and we are early risers (6am) so are in bed by 11:00 or so each day.

Excursions: We went on the Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure and had a blast! Ruddy and Raphael were excellent guides! We visited a sugar plantation, a cocoa plantation, a middle class family's home, a cave, a ranch complete with horse back riding at the beach and a delicious lunch, as well as shopping, we also stopped at a village on the way back to the resort where we handed out items to the local school children. A local band played music and danced for us. It was wonderful!

Don't forget to use one of the trains on your first day to get acquainted with the resort as it is a very large complex and you may miss out on some of the facilities available to you. The trains stop at every lobby, restaurant, the sports bar, the casino, and the sports complex.

Check-out: The check out was very fast and our bus arrived exactly on time as indicated by our tour rep. We were thanked for staying and told that they hoped we would return next year.

On our way to the airport, our rep was called on the phone to advise us that our flight had been delayed by 5 hours due to the weather here along the eastern seaboard. We were promptly returned to the resort where we were able to enjoy an extra 5 hours of eating, drinking and swimming.

We are already planning our return! We highly recommend the Grand Palladium Resort.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
 

May 2007
Grand Palladium Punta Cana
3000 Building
Stayed from April 29-May 6, 2007

This was our first all-inclusive vacation and couldn't have turned out better.

Flight down was with Skyservice and compared to other airlines we have flown with, this was great. Hot meal was served and was very good even if it was just microwaved food. We booked with Signature Vacations.

Got through airport just fine. Watched for the baggage handler situation -- not a problem and the Signature rep was at the booth. Directed us to the bus going to GP. Worked fine.

Although we arrived at night, we could see that it was a very nice place. Check-in was fast and not crowed at all. As expected, by reading DDRR forum, our room was not clean....at all. No problem. Went back to lobby and got a room across the hall. All was well. (Almost seems like a little ritual one has to go through).
After we figured out how the lights worked and reported that we hadn't broken the door chain, (so we wouldn't be charged upon check-out) we settled in.

Checked out the balcony and discovered they had planted a coconut tree right in front of it just for me. How wonderfully thoughtful of them. It was great.

Washroom was clean and make-up mirror was very handy.
Lighting was good in washroom too. King size bed was very comfortable. Added bonus. Mini fridge was stocked and after getting in late at night we were happy to have a cold one on the balcony. Left a tip for the bus boy so that when he came every second day, he would leave us lots of water. Didn't hear any loud partying in and around the place.

Couldn't believe how beautiful this place was. Trees everywhere, even in the middle of the pool, which was the nicest pool, in my opinion. And, we were only about 50 paces from the beach which was great. Could see the beach from down the hall of our building and pool was closer, of course. I think it is so great that they build AROUND the trees rather than taking them down.

The Beach:
Well, it's the Bavaro beach and enough has been said about how beautiful it is whichever resort you stay, it seems. No seaweed, no sand fleas in the Punta Cana section. We just didn't have any bugs bothering us at all and that's what I call a vacation. No problems with finding shade even though you won't find a lot of palapas there, just don't need them. There's enough bushes and trees for that. Lots of loungers available most of the time. We usually got to the beach around noon and didn't have a problem finding a spot. Found some very cozy spots amongst the shrubs. We had a swim at 9:00am one morning and it was like bath water, couldn't believe it.

This section of the beach also didn't have any timeshare people. Didn't see one actually. At the resort next to us is where we met up with one. That was the only time and we didn't venture that way again.

Food:
Ate mostly at the Le Behique buffet and didn't mind the food at all. Some nights very good -- some nights good. At the Sports Bar in the Bavaro section, had the best burger I've had in years. Very tasty and pizza was good, although it's different to have corn and sliced ham on it, but it tasted fine. Didn't try the a la cartes, just too much work for us to sign up for them (we're on vacation). Most food items were labeled in four languages including English so we knew what we were getting. Coffee cup was never empty at this buffet. As soon as you sit down, they are there to pour the coffee. It was great. Only thing we didn't enjoy was the smell of cigarette smoke while eating. No smoke-fee areas, which we're not used to at all in Canada

Staff was friendly and we didn't find the language barrier a problem at all. They know some English terms and tried to accommodate us always.

This is a resort I would highly recommend for first-timers. No surprises here. Although everyone should be cautious and careful when travel ling, we felt safe on this resort. We went off resort once by shuttle that was provided to buy some Larimar in town.
Gone total of 1.5 hours and then again through the vendors to go to the supermarket. We did the vendors trip just once. Not worth the hassle for us.

We would go back to the Palladium Punta Cana again for sure. It was more than I expected.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Scott 
East Coast Canada
April 2007
Email: breton@nb.sympatico.ca for any further details/questions.

Departed from Halifax Nova Scotia
April 8th to the 15th 2007

Due to Easter Sunday Blizzard conditions in Halifax, Skyservice flight was delayed by 10hours. Stayed at the Hilton, so they took good care of us, met lots of nice people and made friendships that we kept up all week at the resort. Skyservice only has one plane that services all destinations via Halifax, so if it is late on one of their departures then all others after it are affected until they make up time in the air. Anyway we were given food vouchers and such for meals at the airport. Got my nights sleep as we flew southbound. Arrived into PUJ at 7am, so there was no sun time lost as we were suppose to arrive late in the night anyway. Watching the sunrise as we descended into PUJ was awe-inspiring.

Transfer to hotel was fast and efficient. Check in was a breeze. Emailed in advance for Block 3000 top floor pool view asking for all three rooms close to one another (mentioned being a repeat guest) and Palladium came through as per my request…..however me and another male buddy travelled together, so when we opened the door and discovered that all rooms on the 3rd floor have King Bed configurations only, we quickly went back down to the lobby and they assigned us a primo room, at the end of the hall, ground floor by the beach with a pool view with two Double Beds, ahhhh. Was AWESOME as we were 1min to pool, food, and beach, it rocked. Rooms were nicely appointed since being renovated and the Jacuzzi tub in our 3000 block was in the bathroom which I preferred, however showering was rather entertaining without flooding the bathroom as there is no full glass nor curtain around the tub. Housekeeping was a bit tardy some days in cleaning the room, but we never made it back to the room till 5 or 6pm anyway, so whatever. One night at dinner mid-week in the buffet everyone was given a survey on guest services to complete, we stated our room number and mentioned the housekeeping tardiness and for the rest of the week it was done by lunch and they even called the next day asking if everything was to our satisfaction and done by a decent time. This is where customer service and satisfaction as Palladiums are known shone. There was little to no noise heard from the open hallways as some have mentioned previously, nor could anything be heard from the room above or beside us, so that was great. Air Conditioning is basically pre-set for 20 or 21 and it won’t go much below that, so it was adequate I guess in regards to temperature…if you wanna keep the electricity and AC running non-stop, then go to the front desk and ask for an extra room key card to insert into the gizmo on the wall (unlike many other resorts not just any magnetic strip card will work in the gizmo to keep the electricity on in the room).

Pool area was great. The towel game is played here, so when in Rome, do as the Romans’, we all took turns placing towels on the chairs for the beach, so we had a Palapa everyday in the same place which was great. The beach, as like the rest of PUJ was fantastic and it was sunny everyday, not a lick of rain to be seen. Surf conditions were great and there was a slight breeze each day, which cooled of the body as needed after basking in the sun. Was the best weather yet in my 5 stays in PUJ. Brought $2 blow-up plastic mattresses and we all had barrels of fun and laughs in the ocean goofing off and relaxing with these.

In regards to restaurants, we didn’t go to any a-la-cartes, as some of us done them before and the rest of the party was more than happy with the selection at the Palace (Los Torres) and Punta Cana (El Behique) buffets. The food was better than it was 3years ago. A few in the party had some gastro-issues, but nothing that confined anyone to their room or a bathroom. Myself and another friend took the Dukoral and as my tummy is sensitive, it was my first time ever not spending half my vacation in the restroom, tank you Dukoral. El Behique Buffet (the Punta Cana section buffet back by the old Club Lookea Pool behind the lobby…….2min walk from the Punta Cana section) is all glass walls and is air conditioned so it felt nice and cool for all meal times. LaUva (open-air buffet in the Punta Cana section by the beach was open for Lunch buffet and was great, but dear god they do love their fish dishes don’t they ?? LOL……not my thing I guess, but there was always Pasta and sandwiches and hamburgers and hotdogs and fries for lunch. There is a Pizza and Pasta station at the El Behique buffet for Lunch and Dinner, and two omelette chefs in the mornings. Line-ups were minimal for all meals and only on Gala Buffet Night (Fridays) was there a few minute wait to get in, but simply standing in line with friends drinking Bloody Mary’s passed the time rather quickly, hehehe. When not happy with the theme night (eg: Dominican/Seafood…..), there is always the SportsBar which is all self serve Nachos, Pizza Burgers, BLT’s, soft-serve Ice Cream, cola’s, fries and full bar. This was a fun spot for pizza after the disco at 2am and/or after a late-late night swim in the pool after a few too many cool ones. (shhhh, LOL).

Transportation if done by foot can be rather exhausting in 40 degree heat, hence there are 2 trolly trains (replica’s of locomotives) that run from 7am till 2am. Music is played on board and it runs through out all 4 sections of the complex. Casino was a blast and I finally learned how to play Roulette, was a blast. Nightly entertainment was much better than the last time I was there. The Palace Section Theatre is closed, so all Punta Cana, Royal Suites and Palace sections use the Merengue Theater back by the old Club Lookea Lobby area, 3min walk from the Casino and Palladium main-street. Michael Jackson show was the BEST I’ve ever seen in the Caribbean. Kareokee was rather entertaining hearing all different languages and such. Learned from a German fella at the airport why over 75% of the resort was German this time around………….Germany like many other European countries have country-wide school holidays for two consecutive weeks (the week before and the week after Easter), hence that is when they do their Spring travelling as a country, I guess Spain & Netherlands are the same as well. Anyway…..hearing 99 Loft-Red balloons sung in the original language at Kareokee was rather entertaining.

Service was Excellent. Everyone in my group is all about service, hence the reason why we chose to go back to the Palladium complex. Table service for bar beverages at all lobby bars and pool side was AWESOME. Met my next future wife at the Punta Cana Lobby bar…..a bartender we coined “Gasolina”, in memory of the jet-fuel she put in my glass that gave me a very sore head each morning, LOL. Bartenders were fast, efficient, friendly and didn’t have their hand out for a tip like Cuba has become.

In all, a fantastic holiday, on my next stay at any Palladium property I become a repeat guest club member, so looking forward to that. Flight home was an hour late, but un-eventful and god bless the smart person who opened the Wendy’s restaurant at the Punta Cana Airport, mmmmmmmmmmmmm, talk about good (tasted just like home) and has the same full menu like home,,,however I gotta say this time around the food was really good at the Palladium and it wasn’t do or die to have the Wendy’s burger to have a taste of home on the return……however I’d never pass up the opportunity to chow down on a double classic combo with cheese when given the chance, LOL.

As an agent, I will sell this property with full confidence that it is everything it boasts to be and is true value for one’s money…..What’s great…….is that unlike many properties, this one has gotten better with time.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Angela 

March 2007
This is my third trip to the Dominican Republic, second to Punta Cana. My friend and I are two professional women in our 50’s and we took my two adult daughters (20s). Because I was bringing my daughters during their reading week, I wanted a 4 star resort. I booked the Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort through Redtag Vacations over the Internet and asked for rooms close to each other. The resort, rooms, and staff were all great! It is one of three Fiesta resorts with numerous restaurants, bars, pools and amenities. In spite of staying in the least expensive of the three resorts, we enjoyed all the amenities of the other two complexes, either by walking (and getting lost!) or taking the little train around. The little train proved to be a good place for darling daughters to meet other young people going to the shows or the disco.

Rooms
Our rooms were large, well appointed, clean and close to the beach. We were right across the hall from each other. There were plenty of towels and the best electronic safe I have seen in any hotel. You key in your 4 digit code twice and then use that code to open and close the safe throughout your stay. Luddite that I am, I could manage this technology! No extra charge either.

Beach
The beach was well landscaped with quite a few low trees for shade but it was not very wide. And, we had a beach chair fight the first morning we came down. We arrived at 9 a.m. to find a free palape. Perhaps, that should have been my first clue! There were three empty chairs under it. We pulled up another and began to enjoy the beach. An hour and a half later, a couple asked us if we had seen their white towel and t-shirt that they left on the chairs the night before as seemed to be the custom at this hotel. They had been using this palape for the last ten days! There had been nothing on the chairs, we assured them; we explained that we had been in DR before and knew the chair rules. They were really chuffed but we were on the chairs and figured they could have them back the next day as we are not that territorial so would find some other place to enjoy the beach. They left and shortly thereafter when we were rearranging the chairs for more shade, we looked up and saw their T-shirt and towel neatly folded and rolled up in the beams of the roof. Apparently, beach staff must have put what they found on the chairs up there when they were cleaning the chairs. Who knew? I don’t think that the couple ever found their stuff because it was still there a couple of days later.

Shows
Usually my friend and I don’t go to the shows because we are up early watching the sunrise and walking the beach. But darling daughters really enjoyed the shows and I have to say that they were quite entertaining. The quality of performance and costumes were better than I had seen at other hotels. We actually returned several nights. If you go to the bingo, you have a chance of winning a bottle of rum and you will learn your numbers in at least five languages! Friday night Karaoke was also fun. The disco was apparently a lot of fun as well.

Food and Drink
The food was beautifully presented in most restaurants and there was no problem finding something to eat. Each night there was a theme (for example, Italian or Spanish) at the large buffet restaurants where we found the food to be better than at the a la carte restaurants. We are not picky eaters and I have been to two other resorts in the DR and have yet to return home lighter than when we arrived at the resort. However, the food is different and the meat and chicken are chewier. Paella and ribs at lunch were delicious. The bars also offer cappuccinos and espressos as well as a list of cocktails.

There is a small grill on the beach on the far right of the complex where you can get hamburgers, etc… rather than going into the lunch buffets where they have the white linen table clothes. We didn’t find it until the last day!

Trip to Sanoa
Two hours on a bus with a short ten minute stop for a bathroom break and opportunity to change into bathing suit. Smart people would put the bathing suit on first thing in the morning. Bus to speed boat. These were actually quite good with the requisite number of life jackets. Speed boat to catamaran where we were knocking back cuba libres at 10:30 in the morning and dancing with strangers. Beautiful day in paradise, good lunch and drinks and dancing on the beach and swimming. Snorkeling prospects not that exciting.
I bought the DVD from the filmmaker. $20 US on the bus and then they told me that it would be delivered at a particular time the next day at the bellmen’s station. And it was exactly so. I gave the delivery guy the other $20. There is a 15-20 minute standard film of sites from Santo Domingo, museums, etc., then us with all the other tourists swimming, drinking, dancing, etc. There is no voice commentary. It is all music. We had a great day. $85 US. We were gone from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Shopping
We walked to the little town of El Cortecito which was adjacent to the hotel a few times. There is a supermarket and a number of gift stores all selling the same thing. The gift store vendors are licensed and have to wear there numbered t-shirt. Look for Pepe number 33 on the main street beside the Internet/phone place —gentle, kind guy who gave me a good deal! Dicker and deal as best you can. Senior Cheapy-cheapy will only be outdone by Senior Almost Free and Senior No GST! The vendors can be persistent. Say no gracias and walk away. All prices in the town are cheaper than the hotel gift stores. The hotel had nicer T-shirts and gifts but more expensive.

We bought coffee, vanilla, and larimar jewelry in the town. I found the people very nice and interesting to talk to—many were from Haiti. We were walking around in flip flips and bathing suits with just a wrap cover up and felt pretty comfortable.

The Internet place on the main street is not a café. They just have Internet and phone booths. Each 15 minutes on the Internet is $1US. Compare that to 30 minutes for $5US at the air conditioned hotel.

Future Trips to DR
I would love to go back and try self catering the next time. I really appreciate this site as it gives you a good idea of what to expect, what to bring, and what to do. I think the Dominican people are very nice and hard working at the resorts. Even off the resorts, a smile, and a little Spanish and French go a long way.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Lori and Dave 
Canada
February 2007
A little bit about us
Lori and Dave from Canada, we travelled from February 1 to February 7, 2007.
We are in our 40's.

URL to webshots our photos is http://community.webshots.com/user/firemanwifelori

Flight
We had an early departure out of Pearson Airport in Toronto the only way we like it is an early departure. We flew with Sunwing and were worried from all the reviews we have heard on them. We parked our vehicle at Sky Parks which was a great value....and would do it again. Sunwing did a great job. Yes the seats are crampy for the plane is only a Boeing 757 just like Skyservice. But the service was great they tried so hard to make you comfortable. We were lucky we had an empty seat beside us so we could use it to lay down. They served a nice breakfast with champagne and orange juice. They supplied the head sets as well.

The Punta Cana airport was very quick and we were on our bus within a half an hour of landing and on our way to the resort. They take a picture of you when you lands which is great but you start wondering where it went....but when you leave you get to see it and it is funny for everyone is all white in the pictures. There are allot of Dominicans waiting to grab your luggage.....a firm no and they leave you alone.

Check In
On arrival at the hotel we were greeted Bell Hop and within 15 minutes we were escorted to our room. Our room was in the 3000 block and we were on the ground floor which at first I was not happy about for I have never stayed on ground level but I ended up enjoy it. Our balcony faced the pool and was very close to the beach so I could use my room washroom which was nice.

The Room
The room was really nice. We had a huge king bed most times we found it was always two singles pushed together but not this time. It had an armoire with a big TV, a chesterfield with coffee table and a nice size balcony. We had a Jacuzzi bathtub which was located in our bathroom. We only used this once for it does take a while to fill the tub. Did not see any bugs or roaches or nothing. We had a safe in the closet and a fridge in the armoire which was refilled every other day. The maid did a great job and we usually left her a few trickets along with a couple of dollars.

The Restaurants
We had only 3 a la cartes which we booked the Spanish (El Quijote) which was very good the Garlic Shrimp appetizer was very good. We ate at the Dominican (La Uva) this was good but not great the fried chicken was very good. And we ate at the Italian (Mare Nostrum) it was good but again the food can be bland compared to what we are use to. The servings are very large in the Italian so watch what you order. We enjoy the al a cartes for we like the atmosphere for it makes your holiday a little more romantic than the buffets. Just remember you are in a different country and the food will not always be like home. We had use of all the buffet restaurants in the entire complex, the buffets were nice and big. I never had to stand in a long line up at any of the pasta bars or the mornings getting my eggs....which was nice. The only thing these places need two toasters....this was my only beef especially when people but in line with there friends...grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! Each night they offered a theme night which was good for variety. We also liked the beach huts where you can get burgers and fries.

The Pools
We stayed in the Punta Cana section which did have the nicest pools by far. The Punta Cana section had two big pools each one had a great swim up bar and we found the water just perfect. In the past we found the water at the swim up bars way too cold but this was just perfect. We did go to the Bavaro pool with another swim up bar, it needs a face lift Punta Cana section much nicer. We did find that you need to be an early riser to find a lounger by the pool but this did not bother us for we are beach people and there was always plenty of loungers by the beach.

The Beach
Oh my.... oh my.....what can I say.....the beach is beautiful and we loved that crooked tree.

The Bars
We hit the sports bar once for the Super Bowl which was great might I add......They had hamburgers, hotdogs and a salad bar. This bar was open 24 hours so you could always find something to eat late at night. after the Super Bowl we did make it over to the disco. I have been to discos at other resorts and found this disco by far the most exciting. I am not a disco person but did enjoy myself. The Casino was fun we did not lose allot of money but I am sure you could. I did not see anyone winning large amounts. We spent most of our evenings in the Punta Cana and Palace lobby bars where each night they featured live bands. We were at the lobby bar at the Bavaro section once for a after support cocktail and it too was also nice. The service is very good and great cocktails....our favs were the cocoa loco, Miami vice and my own fav mai tai. The swim up bars were great and had great music going on.

The Entertainment
The animation staff are great they are always trying to get you involved with volleyball or doing aerobics on the beach or by the pool. The live entertainment was also great. We only saw a very few amount of entertainers at the restaurants which I think they could use a few more of them. The only show we took in was the “The Michael Jackson Show” which was very good!

The Spa
I did not use the facilities at the spa however it looked like many people did. They have a small gym for the workout freaks. There was a Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. There was many places where you could get a massage by the beach.

The People and Shopping
I would say I found the Dominican people very nice the only thing I did not like was at the end of the beach they had a flea market where the locals had there shops set up. I found these people very pushy and would grab you to come and look in there shops. A firm no sometimes would work but not always. If this is something you do not like then I advise not to walk that way on the beach. If you are a good barter then it is a good place to shop but for me I find that too stressful and would rather shop in the gift shops within the complex which I did. The prices were reasonable, got t-shirts for 7.00 US.

The Tipping
At the buffets we did not always leave anything but we always had a dollar in hand when the service was very good. Especially for the evening buffets when someone is serving you drinks. Ala Carts we left anywhere from 3-5 dollars again depending how the service was only one place we left 3 for we found it was not that great. The maid I left hr 2 dollars a day and always left some small trinkets for her. Bartenders well usually every other trip to the bar I left 1.00.....I found it helped for better service. I left my baseball cap for the one bartender as well. There was a gardener out every morning making the grounds so beautiful who I saw every morning on my walks I tipped him 5.00 for I am sure they do not get the tips like others.

The Drinks
The drinks were excellent - El Presidente beer was very good (even for a Canadian!) and the rum drinks were always good. The alcohol was not brand name but this is normal at all resorts you want brand name then pay for it....remember you get what you pay for!

The Grounds
Very Very Beautiful! The grounds were well manicured and we very well maintained! Remember tip the gardeners for they really deserve it for a job well done! This complex is very large I suggest taking the train around the first day to get your bearings on where everything is.

Excursions
We only did one excursion there which was the deep sea fishing.....we lucked out!!!! We ended up catching 18 fish while some other boats were only catching 2 or 3 some even none. Check out my pics of our fish! This was very exciting and the time on the boat is very relaxing providing you do not get sea sick.....I don't but if you are the type to get sick take a gravol.

Weather
The weather was very hot which suited me fine! Everyday was 29C to 34C we had pure blue skies with one or two days with nice puffy white clouds. No rain except for one evening the night of the super bowl and by the time we left the sports bar it was done so it was a nice walk home.

The Bugs
Because you are in the tropics there are bugs.....Like we have bugs to in the summer! I did see the occasional fly, dragon flies around the ponds and fountains, but never saw any mosquitoes, sand fleas or cock roaches. Just because I did not see these bugs does not mean they are not there.......again I must stress that it is the tropics and you do see these types of bugs. I did see lots of geckos running around which was great!

Check-Out
BESIDES being a sad day....... Check out was very quick and efficient on our departure day and took all of about two minutes, and then we were bused for our return to the airport. Our flight was scheduled to leave Punta Cana airport at 12:30 and we left the resort at 8:30.

Return Flight
The inbound Toronto flight was 4 hour and 10 minutes, our flight home was very fast and smooth with a lady pilot, our first time and let me tell you she landed the plane very smoothly. Again when the bus arrived at the airport the Dominicans would literally grab your bags I just said no and they left them alone.

Summary
Would we return to the Palladium Punta Cana? Yes definitely and I would go to the Palladium again maybe a different section.....we loved it!
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Donna 
Canada
February 2007
My husband and I, along with our best friends travel every second year to a hot destination. This year we chose the Dominican Republic for two weeks in January. What a nightmare we encountered.

We stayed at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana. When we checked in we were given rooms in the 3000 building. We felt they were not the rooms we had paid for with our vacation package but thought, hey, they are nice enough so lets just be happy. We were on the ground floor, that was perhaps our first mistake. Our rooms were very close to the pool so that was handy for using our own washroom etc. We used the electronic safe (as suggested during our orientation meeting with our tour rep) to keep our passports, money, ID etc. Our safe gave us a low battery message the second day we were there. When my husband inquired he was told that the repair person would need to come to change out the battery. My husband stayed and waited in the room for the hotel staff and the battery was changed. This was Thursday. Friday we left the resort to go on the Outback Jungle Safari , which was a lot of fun. Saturday we lazed about the pool, leaving our room at 10:40 am. We came back more than once to use the washroom in our room. At 1 pm I came back again and noticed things tossed about the floor. I actually thought did the opening of the door create such a breeze? I cannot tell you the shock I felt when I looked into the closet and saw that our entire safe had been stolen. Someone pried open the patio door, which did not have a dead bolt lock only a lever handle that you turned down to engage the lock. They put the safe in my suitcase that contained almost all my undergarments, swim suits and some other clothing and proceeded to haul away all our valuables. I immediately called the front desk and the manager was dispatched. The local police were called and we gave our statement to the hotel manager who translated it to the police. What an awful feeling. The only ID we had was the photo copy of our passports. I had $100.00 us and $50.00 cdn in my beach bag. The hotel in my opinion gave us nothing but a bunch of lip service. It took them one week exactly to come up with an offer to compensate us for our losses, which included my husbands wedding ring, cash, jewellery etc. Their offer will not come close to replacing what we lost, but we do have travel insurance. I am only thankful we had our friends with us, we were able to borrow what money we needed from them and I was able to borrow some undergarments from my friend. When I told the manager that I needed certain things replaced immediately he always said we must wait for the insurance. The hotel did provide us with a taxi to go to the police station and would have provided a taxi to go to the Embassy to get new travel documents. On Tuesday the hotel manager informed us that they found my suitcase on the beach. I was amazed that our ID was still in our wallets. They had pried the safe open and stole our passports and money and jewellery, but at least we now had ID. However, our holiday was ruined because the security that should be in place obviously was not. We were thrown into a tizzy, unable to relax for the remainder of our holiday.

Our friend needed to see the resort doctor as he developed a lung infection. He saw her twice and felt that she gave him very good medical treatment.

The food was awful in all the restaurants we ate in and all four of us suffered diarhea.

Our tour rep in the hotel was incredible. He came with us to the police station to translate for us, tried to get us a police report, but was not successful with that, we got a report from the hotel and one from our tour rep but never from the police. I called him when I discovered the break in and he was to our resort in a very short time to try to help any way he could.

My new ideas on travel are: always book through a tour company so you have that added bonus if you encounter trouble, never allow your room to be on the ground level, don't put all you valuables in the safe, I don't think I will ever separate myself from my passport again. Always carry a copy of your passport and ID on your person at all times. I had all my telephone numbers in my cell phone address book, but my cell phone was in the safe so make sure you have emergency numbers with your photo copied ID. Next time we travel sentimental jewellery will left at home.

Will I go back to this resort. No. An offer of even a couple hundred dollars immediately to give us a bit of cash would have gone a long way.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Hlywud 
Canada
January 2007
Rate in Tour Brochures as a 4.5 star, I would rate it definitely between a 4 and 5 star resort.

Photos

Flight
We live 2½ hours from Pearson Airport in Toronto and with an late afternoon departure. We parked our vehicle at the Valhalla Inn on Burnhamthorpe Road. The rate of $99 included 7 days’ parking and a stay over the night on our arrival back in Toronto. Continental breakfast is also included. They provide excellent customer service and the rate is reasonable. And the shuttle ride is very short. And efficient.
Once again we decided to pay the extra fee of $15 per person per on each-way trip for pre-assigned seating. Much to our pleasant surprise, we were pre-assigned seats 3E and 3F for both legs.

We were scheduled to leave from Toronto at 4:05 pm and did leave on time for a 3 hour and 36 minute flight to PUJ on a Boeing 757 with Skyservice. The 757 I felt had a much better seating room than the previous A320 aircraft I had been on. I was in seat 3F and my wife in 3E and we were very comfortable for the flight down to PUJ.

Dominican customs Check-in at the airport was very quick and we were on our bus within a half an hour of landing and on our way to the resort with a stop to let off 8 passengers at the Ocean Bavaro and then rode for another 10 minutes in a huge air conditioned coach to the Palladium.

Check In
On arrival at the hotel we were greeted Bell captain who secured the entire luggage and checked in about 10 minutes, and then escorted by the Bell Captain to our room 4031 in Building 4, on arriving at our suite we were surprised that we had been upgraded to an Ocean view room, of course this was our third visit.

Accommodations
A huge room, we found a huge king bed , an armoire with 37 inch TV, 2 sitting chairs and oval table, a chesterfield with coffee table and sliding patio doors to a very decent size balcony. There was a separated Dressing room with a table to put your luggage on, and a large 7 foot Jacuzzi bathtub separated from the living area by a 4.5 foot wall and a huge closet with electronic safe on the other side of the room. The toilet area was a small closet area with sliding door with a nice stall shower in the opposite corner. We unpacked quickly and headed to the sports bar for a quick bite to eat and then off to lobby bar for a few libations.

Restaurants
We had use of all the buffet restaurants in the entire complex and found them all very good with an excellent selection of foods. We also had unlimited a la cartes and chose to try the Bamboo (Asian) Quixote (Spanish) and the Mexican. All were quite good with exception of the Mexican while the food was plentiful the ribs I ordered were cold, not even warn and I had to send my plate back, they returned in a about 10 minutes with a new plate of ribs that was piping hot, so it was not a real problem.

Pools
The Punta Cana section had two large pools for our use as well we could have used the Bavaro and Palace pools, they were well maintained and lots of loungers were available. The water was very cool and refreshing.

Bars
We spent most evenings in the Punta Cana or Palace lobby bars where each night they featured live bands. We visited the lobby bar at the Bavaro for a pre dinner cocktail and were treated here also to live music. Service at these bars was exceptional with a very large variety of cocktails available.

Grounds
The grounds were well manicured and kept well maintained with daily watering was a common practice, they were in need of rain badly but we had no showers for the entire week.

Beach
What is there to say about the soft white sand beaches of Bavaro other than fantastic.

Entertainment
We only took in one show while at the resort, “The Michael Jackson Review” which was very well performed and mimed by the animation staff.

Check-Out
Resort Check out was very quick and efficient on our departure day and took all of about two minutes, and then we bused for our return to the airport. We were allowed an extra three hours late check out from our rooms which is normally scheduled for noon. One must be aware that at the airport check in many tourists being charged for extra weights again as there seems to be a scam in progress and a way for the check in agents to make a few extra dollars under the table dollars, we were fine as our bags were only .4 kg over the limit. Should you feel that your luggage is not overweight protest loudly and ask for a supervisor as some did and they were allowed to check luggage at no additional cost.

Accessibility
The resort for those who might need a wheelchair is completely handicap accessible and I saw no places that there would be any problems with a wheelchair other than the beach of course.
There are two trams that run constantly to get around the resort so movement from one section to the other was never a problem.

Weather
The weather was very hot and humid every day (30C to 34C) with nice puffy white clouds floating by and a nice soft breeze off the ocean with exception of one day when the wind was very high and we took refuge around the pool

Like being in any of the tropics there are bugs, lots of butterflies, the occasional fly, dragon flies around the ponds and fountains, but never did we see a mosquito or any any see ums or sand fleas.

Return Flight
The inbound Toronto flight was 4 hour and 10 minutes, our flight home was very fast and smooth with a lady pilot, our first time and let me tell you she landed the plane very smoothly.

Summary
Would we return to the Palladium Punta Cana?
Yes definitely and we are planning our 4th trip for next year..
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Mandy and Tony 
St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
January 2007
We visited the Grand Palladium Punta Cana the week of January 13th through the 20th and we travelled and flew with Sunwing. Our flight was direct from London, Ontario, Canada. There were six of us travelling, four single men between the ages of 32 and 42 and myself, I’m 33 and my fiancé who is 41. This was my fiancé and my sixth all inclusive vacation. We previously visited Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Holguin and Varadero, Cuba; as well as the Mayan Riviera, Mexico.

Flight: Our flight was delayed by seven hours. Unfortunately there isn’t much to do at the London Airport so it was pretty dull luckily we made some friends at the airport to help pass the time. Once the flight was underway there were no problems. We all thought the flight crew were great and the movie and meals were very good. Four of us travelling paid extra for the Sunwing Premium Flight Package which allowed us to pick our seats, priority express check in, advance boarding, free headset, etc. Two of our group didn’t pay the extra $49. We didn’t get priority express check in, we did get to board the plane first, we did get the free headset but then again everyone on the flight got that. My fiancé and I had the front row of the plane which is supposed to have more leg room but on the 737 there really isn’t more leg room. In fact, our two friends that didn’t upgrade ended up seated near the back of the plane and both of them had no one sitting beside them so they were both able to lay down over three seats during the flight there and back. So we would recommend saving your money and just getting to the airport early on flight day to book a good seat for free.

Punta Cana Airport Arrival: Customs was a breeze and moved very quickly, a Sunwing representative was there to point us towards our bus. Leaving the country was also easy, don’t forget to save $20 US to get out of the country.

Resort Check In: Due to our flight being so late, the resort assumed we were no shows and had no rooms ready for us. We were scheduled to arrive at the resort at midnight but didn’t arrive until 7:00am. The reception desk sent us off to the buffet for some breakfast and by the time we were finished our rooms were ready.

Rooms: The Grand Palladium is four resorts in one.
There is the Bavaro, Punta Cana, Palace and Royal Suites sections. We were situated in the Punta Cana section which seemed to be central to everything. The Punta Cana section is made up of three long buildings and 15 smaller buildings. When we arrived we asked for one of the long buildings, we were in building 2000. We liked the long buildings because they were the closest to the beach and pool. Our friend’s rooms were on the main floor across the hall from each other and my fiancé and I were on the second floor over one of their rooms. My fiancé and I had a king size bed, a pull out sofa, a desk and chair, satellite television, a mini fridge that is only supposed to be stocked three times a week but if you tip and ask for more they will give you more. The bathroom had a huge Jacuzzi tub that was sometimes a challenge getting in and out of but the water temperature and pressure was good. Our friends had twin beds in their rooms. The beds were comfortable and all of us had working air conditioning. Our balcony over looked the pool and could be noisy in the afternoon due to the animation team. This wasn’t a problem because we were at the pool contributing to the noise ;-)

The Grounds: The Resort grounds are absolutely beautiful, the grass is green and all the flowers and trees are well maintained. All of the buildings are in good condition and looked after. There are several pools located in each section, I thinks our big pool in the Punta Cana section had the most activities.
The Resort is huge and there are two trains that stop and take you wherever you want to go. They aren’t on any particular schedule so just have some patience.
We walked most of the time but to really get a handle on how large the resort is ride the train around the entire grounds, it is lovely.

The Beach: What can I say, it was beautiful. There are miles and miles of white sand for walking. I didn’t walk off our part of the beach because the vendors can be aggressive once you are off the resort.
There are also vendors that will approach you even on the resort. Some will ask to take your picture with, an iguana, a monkey, parrots, Dominican attired show girls, etc. There will also be people asking you to buy excursions like lobster dinners, parasailing, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, etc. The animation team will also ask you to join in their beach activities like aerobics, volleyball, horse shoes, etc. The water was a beautiful blue and the entire week we were there the red flag was out because of high winds and huge waves. We had a lot of fun playing in the surf jumping over waves. There are no sea shells for those that like to walk and collect them and snorkelling is a challenge there because of the high waves and I don’t think there was anything to see down there anyways. Boogie boarding was a favourite with our group.

Food: There were at least three buffets that we visited, they all have theme nights. You can see what restaurant is having what theme by looking in any of the four lobbies. There was always a wide assortment of choices. There were five or six a la cartes and we went to three. We did the local Dominican called La Uva (which is also a lunch buffet beside the Punta Cana section busy pool). The service for dinner was really slow and not that great. We also ate at the Tex Mex called La Gran Cantina Mariachi. This was our favourite, they had great steak tenderloin and chicken and steak fajitas. We also tried the Spanish called El Quijote.
The food there was also good and there was even cheesecake for dessert. We were all so stuffed at all three a la carte dinners. A word to the wise, don’t get too much from the salad bar before your dinner arrives or you’ll have no room for the appetizer and entrée. The only blot on a perfect feasting week was my fiancé and I suffered from upset stomach most days and it’s hard to tell if it was from the oil they cook everything in or the rum we consumed. None of the rest of our group suffered any mishaps. Most of the a la cartes are in the Bavaro section.

The Night Life: There were a couple of amphitheatres that played evening shows, my fiancé and I never watched any of them. After the shows there is a disco and a 24 sports bar in the Bavaro section. I only went to the disco once and it was pretty full. They play mostly Dominican music with the odd North American song thrown in. The animation team is also at the disco each night and gets the crowd dancing.
We felt kind of bad for the animation team because they work so hard all day from early morning until after midnight and they have high energy jobs. We were tired just watching them. The 24 hour sports bar has munchies in case you get any cravings in the middle of the night, ice cream machine, nachos and cheese, pop corn, etc. There is also a few internet stations in the 24 hour sports bar in the Bavaro section and another in the shops in the Palace section.

Shops: There are several shops in the Punta Cana and the Bavaro sections. You can buy souvenirs here or head down the beach to the vendors. Almost everything is priced in American dollars so no need to bring pesos. As far as we know there is no town to travel into to shop. We did see they are working on a huge new shopping mall in Punta Cana but no idea when it’s set to open.

Different Sections: Bavaro has most of the restaurants, the sports bar, amphitheatre and the disco. It also has the busiest lobby with live music. It has shops and a theatre on site. If you want to stay in this section and be close to the beach try buildings 57, 59, 61, 27, 28, 29 and 30. Punta Cana Section has a buffet and an a la carte restaurant.
The kids club, the spa, gym, sports complex and an amphitheatre are in this section. If you stay in this section and want to be near the beach ask for buildings 2000, 3000 or 4000. Palace Section has a buffet, a la carte restaurant, casino, shops and an amphitheatre but I think it is only used once a week to bring in vendors. If you want closest to the beach you want buildings 81, 82, 91 and 92. Royal Suites has great rooms but nothing else. It’s so far away from everything that you always saw the royal suites people in the Punta Cana and Bavaro sections. Every time we took the train past the royal suites the lobby was always barren, not a soul to be found.

Excursions: We only did one, a half day catamaran trip to swim with stingrays and nurse sharks. It was really fun but kind of pricey at $78 US. No lunch is included but they do give you a make your own sandwich on the catamaran and drinks are included.

The Palladium family or resorts is so huge it caters to every type. You can do as little or as much as you want during your vacation. I would recommend this resort to anyone; singles, couples, families and seniors. A vacation is what you make of it and if you are there for a good time, you will find one. If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to email me. Make sure to put Grand Palladium Punta Cana in the header of the email so I know which resort you are enquiring about. giddddyup@yahoo.com
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Patricia 

September 2006
My husband & I left on Feb.12th 2006 through Feb.26th 2006 ( 2 weeks ). Our room was nice to look at if you want to look at 2 junior beds and a jacuzzi, a counter, a standup shower and a toilet. If you really looked we had cockroaches the size of 50 cent pieces, worms and spiders galore. The 4 large pools that we had to choose from were not crystal clear like they should be . We have a pool at home and is treated with chemicals if it cloudy. The ocean was ruff and the current of undertow was strong even standing in 2 feet of water it was not clear to see the bottom. The resort was divided into 4 groups with pools and restraunts and walking was quite a distance just to eat as we had to wait for the trolly trains which were suposed run ever 15 minutes and were always late. The food their was mostly fried! Fried turkey, chicken, sausage,eggs, bacon, pastas galore. Always cold food.Some rolled up tortetas with tuna or crab mixed with mayonaise and the fruit was not much of a choice either. We were very disapointed with the food............sorry for those people who watch out for their cholestral intake!!!!!!!

We had an emergency on the resort and the doctor was sent to the wrong place. The medical team came and a tourist was giving this man C.P.R. When the woman from the medical team came we felt that she was just interested in her dreadlocks instead of giving the man C.P.R. The streacher came and the people picked up the man and dropped him like he was a sack of potatoes on the streacher. We all saw that his hands and nails had turned BLUE. The woman in dreadlocks said he had a weak pulse but we already knew that he had died before the medical team had arrived. Why did she lie? We all, this group that had gathered around this man talked later about the lack of communication that the doctor was sent to the wrong place and maybe his life could have been saved! We all felt that the hotel staff from the medical room did not take this seriously. The staff themselves were pleasant but did not speak ENGLISH. They served decaffenated coffee, but what it took for me to get a cup of hot water was unbelievable. They always brought me tea!!!!!!!!!!! Would I recommend this hotel ? No no and no. Many people got sand flea bites............how nasty! There are nicer resorts there that would love your business. May the man, his name was Estefan, rest in peace, he was on vacation with his wife from Italy. Oh how sad!
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Natasha 

August 2006
My boyfriend and I flew to Dominican Republic from Toronto, Ontario and stayed at Punta Cana Beach Resort and Spa.

Arrival- we arrived at 10:00pm Sunday night. We were able to check in with no problems and once we checked in, we were given a nice tropical drink to enjoy while walking to our rooms. The bell boy was really nice and was very appreciative with the tip that was given.

Room 7.5/10- The room was really nice, we had two double beds, so we decided to put them together so we could sleep beside each other. The bathroom was really big and clean. A nice Jacuzzi was in there with fresh flowers around it. There was fresh fruits in the bedroom as well. The only problem I found with the room was that if you don't leave a tip for the maids, they stop leaving fresh flowers on the bed and in the washroom. We also did not eat the fruits in the room and the maids didn't take it out. Eventually the fruits began to spoil, we got fruit flies in our room and it really smelled. So we ended up throwing out the fruit. If you are not going to eat the fruit I suggest you throw it out yourself because they won't. Our room was right in front of the pool so it was nice to wake up in the morning and go out on the porch and just look at the scenery.

Pool 8.5/10- The pools were really nice and big. There's a lot of chairs around that have umbrellas with them so threes plenty to choose from. The bar at the pool was nice as well. The bartenders were all nice and always willing to serve. Although they don't speak English, they still try to converse with us which was actually really nice.

Beach 10/10- The beach was amazing. The water is crystal clear and the sand is white and soft. There's plenty of seats and you are able to bring them closer to the water if you please. There were times when we got a couple of big waves but other then that, the water was very calm and nice.

Weather 10/10- The weather was beautiful. We had rain twice which was the next morning we got there around 6am (which didn't matter since we were sleeping) and it also rained the day we left (while we were eating breakfast). The rain did not last long at all. Other than that, it was really hot but a nice breeze came with it. No complaints!

Restaurants 7/10- We went for breakfast every morning, which was pretty good. We didn't really go to the lunch buffet because we found that there was not too much to choose from so we basically just waited till dinner. The dinner buffest was ok. Some nights were better then other because they just had more selection. One night we went to dinner at the other resort (Bavoro) and it was actually better because they had a pasta section where you can make your own pasta. We went to one al a carte dinner which was the Japanese one. It was really good, the setting was really nice and comfortable and the waiters were very nice.

Bars 10/10- the bar in the main lobby was usually the bar that we went to at the end of the night to un wine. They always have the drink of the day which was good because you can try different drinks that you never heard of. The waiters there are always willing to give their opinions on drinks and recommend what drinks are good. The bar area there is really nice and spacious with comfortable seats.

Entertainment 9/10- We didn't really go to the clubs or watch any shows. We went on one tour which included snorkeling (only my boyfriend went in the water) where he saw really nice fish. Then we went on a nice boat ride where they served drinks and the men on the boat offered to dance with you (young ladies) and they played Spanish music. You can lay out on the boat and tan or just relax and take in the scenery (the boat is very spacious). Me and my boyfriend sat at the edge of the boat and looked at the scenery. I couldn't believe the color of the water. It was sooo blue, it looked amazing. The boat then took us to a private island where they served food on the beach. The beach was really nice because the whole area was shallow and warm. After the beach we went on a speed boat and they took us to a natural pool area in the ocean where you can get off the speed boat and literally stand in the water in the middle of no where. In that water we were able to pick up star fish and hold them up and take pictures with them. That was really cool because I've never seen a star fish let alone hold one!

Shopping 8/10- We shopped mostly by the Bavoro side. The shop wasn't too expensive, it was actually cheaper then I thought. They have a lot of nice paintings but the really nice ones are kind of expensive.

Resort 9/10- The resort itself is really nice. Threes flowers all around and its very very clean. To get to different places for example the sports bar, you have to take a train which takes about 10min to wait for. One time we were at the sports bar waiting for a train there was a lot of people. The bell boy that we gave a nice tip to the first day saw us waiting and gave us a ride back to our resort in his cart which was really nice of him because it was late and we didn't think we would be able to get on the train since it was going to be packed. The train ride was always nice though because you get a tour of the whole resort and they place nice Spanish music. The people on the train always got excited hearing the music so they would sing along with drinks in their hand!. It was a nice and fun atmosphere!

Overall I would definetly recommend this resort. It’s not really a party resort which was something that we weren't looking for. It’s more couple/family and its very quiet and comfortable. It is a really good experience!
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Jeanne 
USA
August 2006
Just returned to the USA after spending one incredible week at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana.

This is the first time that we went to the DR and stayed in an inclusive resort. We spent many evenings reading all the reviews on many websites, and we still had some doubts about the trip.

Upon our arrival at the resort, we were welcomed with a cool tropical drink, warm smiles and greetings. The desk clerks were very friendly and courteous. We stayed in the 3000 building in suites 3201 and 3213. Both were clean and well equipped. Bathrooms were roomie including a large Jacuzzi style tub. Our rooms looked out upon the pool which also has beautiful landscaping. We were also just steps away from the beach and La Uva restaurant.

The grounds of the 3 resorts are beautiful landscaped and meticulously maintained. The pools were very nice, but we stayed mostly on the beach or at the smaller pool between buildings 3000 and 4000. While the resorts cover a lot of land, there is a tram to use to get around if you are in a hurry. In a few cases, where we were pressed for time to make our dinner reservation, they actually called and supplied a driver and large golf cart to get us to the restaurant on time.

The food is plentiful and very good. There are so many offerings, that you can always find something to hit your specific taste buds. We had read many reviews that the food was so-so. We found all the food at the various restaurant to be very good, and the service was incredible. None of us could understand the negative comments that we had read. While several of the Ala Cartes restaurants require the men to wear long pants, no formal clothes are required. Frankly, we all packed way to much. My husband and I brought home more clothing that had not been used, than we used. Pack several bathing suits and cover ups. Maybe one sun dress and shorts and tops. It is still warm in the evening, so you really do not need sweaters or jackets. I did bring a short sleeve crocheted sweater which I wore. Bring lots of suntan lotion as the sun is very hot and if you are on the beach you will need to keep up with the lotion. I saw several people with severe sunburns who had stayed out on the beach all day without lotion. No need to ruin your vacation by being careless.

The overall service is excellent. We did bring small gifts, school supplies and also tipped in US funds. The services we received were certainly top notch. Our rooms always had fresh flowers and the sink and bathtubs were decorated with fresh flowers too.

The few dollars that we tipped the service people, came back 100 fold in the personal service we received. We had no problem getting chairs on the beach nor at the pool. The service people in the bars and restaurants were very friendly and certainly made us feel welcomed.

Most guests were from Europe. We had no problems meeting new people and all were just as excited about the resorts as we were.

Security is always in sight. On the beaches, at each entrance and generally in the area. We always felt perfectly safe. There is a safe in the room, which we did use for currency and jewelry storage. It was easy to use and well located. The rooms locked automatically with no problem. Also the balcony door locked very securely. This was not an issue for us though, as we were on the 3rd floor ( which is also the top). No buildings over 3 stories, so you do not feel overwhelmed. Also the buildings are all spaced well apart from one another.

Although all speak Spanish here, most also speak French and English. We had no trouble communicating with anyone. I speak a little Spanish and French, so I tried to use their language whenever I could. They were always very pleased that I had made the effort, although I must admit I probably really mangled many of the words.

We did venture off the resort. We walked down the beach past the Royal Suites to the small town. Many many shops ( don't go if you do not like to barter). We got many things at the prices we thought were very fair. There is also a small grocery store. WE purchased our coffee there as the price was much cheaper than at the resort. Sugar and Cocoa were cheaper at the resort though, so made those purchases there. Shop around in the resorts, as the prices vary from location to location. We first window shopped at all the locations, than later in the week went back and actually made our purchase. No bartering in the resort.

WE did book the snorkeling trip $30.00 per person in the glass bottom boat. Next time we will spend more and take the large luxury cruise. It is out all day. but I am sure much more pleasant.

WE got massages on the beach which were wonderful. $48.00 US for 50 minutes. We had reservations at 11:00 and when we arrived, the service people were already started on others, They took us to 3 separate locations, and we still had to wait on hour, but they added on 10 minutes to our time, and it was worth it. We just laid in the beach until they came and got us. The massages were as good or better than I have had in the states, and of course the price was very reasonable. Laying there with the sound of the ocean in the background really sets the stage for a wonderful experience.

Book the catamarans early when you arrive. There aren't many and they are booked up very fast.

This was one of the most relaxing vacations that we have taken and we all agree that we will definitely go again.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Randy & Janet 
Halifax, Nova Scotia
April 2006
My wife and I stayed at the above resort from April 16th to the 23 rd, 2006.
We are 48 years old, and this is approximately our 15th trip to the Caribbean over the last 20 years or so. This was our 3rd trip to Dominican Republic, and the 2nd trip to the East Coast ( Punta Cana ).

Flew Sunwing out of Halifax, N.S. - flight was fine, eneventful, arrived on time. Good service, decent food on flight. This resort is about a 40 minute bus ride from the Punta Cana airport, so it's pretty close. ( Time depends on how many other resorts the bus has to stop at before they reach your resort ). Flight home was also good - all went as planned.

This is a large resort, and is essentially three resorts combined. You can use the facilities of all 3 Palladium resorts, which offers more dining and beverage selections. We stayed in the " middle " resort, and had a regular room ( the resort call it a " deluxe " room ). It was very nice, clean, and had a good size bathroom, with a jacuzzi tub / shower combination. The only complaint we have about this type of room is the central hallway in this 3 stry.building - it has tile floors, and they are extremely noisy whenever people are in the hallway ( after you go to bed, you really notice it ). Consequently, I would recommend an upgrade to one of their other buildings that contain the " superior " rooms which are smaller 4 and 6 unit buildings that DONT have a common hallway. You enter your room directly from the exterior through your own door, and they all have their own porch or balcony. Very nice. Housekeeping was very good, and we both commented on how clean the whole resort was. It looks quite new - perhaps it has undergone a renovation within the last couple of years, as all the buildings looked in very good condition. There are 5 pools to choose from ( if you want to ) however the beach is the place to be in Punta Cana ! Our big complaint about the beach was that shade came at a premium, ( almost no beach palapas, and very few low trees ) unless you wanted to drag yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. and run down to the beach with the other idiots and put a towel & a hat on " your " chairs for the day ! Who started this crap ? The lounge chairs are put there on a first come, first served basis, and the resorts should be enforcing this. It was common to walk along the beach and see over half the chairs empty ALL DAY ! Thanks for nothing people ! Please stop the madness ! ( We never saw this bad habit in Jamaica, Mexico, or Barbados ). Please be fair and give everyone an equal opportunity to use the facilities that we all paid for.

Every day from noon until 3 p.m. they have a beach grill that serves hamburgers and hot dogs. Just make sure your burger is cooked all the way through ( don't ruin your vacation with food poisoning ) I had to have him cook mine twice - just to make sure. They taste a little different than what we are accustomed to in N.A., however they still taste good if your half drunk and hungry. We usually ate the hot dogs. F.Y.I. we did not get sick, although I did get the " greeen apple two-step " later in the week. I was gulping Immodium pills like they were M.& M's.

Food was moderately acceptable, and each night offered a different international theme. Tuesday night was Mexican night, and we thought it was the highlight of the week - very good. Oh, by the way, who told the Dominican's that we like deep fried cheese ? Who started that ? Someone from Wisconsin I bet ? Stop it - it's disgusting. Breakfast ( as usual ) was good except they kept running out of the good yogurt we both liked. Great fruit smoothies. Coffee was hot, black & strong - just the way we like it. We managed to get out twice through the week to the " specialty " restaurants - and they were both, quite frankly, disappointing. ( the Italian restaurant didn't even have any Italian wine on their wine list ! ) It all tasted like the same stuff in the main dining room. The house wine is dreadful - and they served it COLD one night - oh well - it's not the Ritz, right ? We felt more thought could go into providing more international dishes and flavours such as curry, Jamaican jerk, ginger pork, and a nice marinara sauce for the poor, bland, pasta dishes which just cried out for some pizzaz ! Most of the food just tasted bland. ( except Mexican night - great guacamole ! )

The no-name booze available at all the bars scattered around the resort was exceptionally bad. I could barely drink any of it and what I did drink made me ill. I'm not a beer drinker, so I can't speak for the beer, but the hard liquor was absolutely horrid. I would strongly suggest they offer international brands, and have some sort of charge system to your room if you don't want to drink the regular stuff. I would be very happy to pay extra to drink good booze on my holiday ( that's why they call it a " holiday " right ?) Had we known, we would have taken two 40oz bottles with us. ( I recall the other resorts in D.R. we stayed at previously had pretty good booze. ). FYI : There are no stores near the resort to purchase international brand name booze.

The people are very friendly, and try to communicate as best they can ( a lot of them have a basic command of english ). After all, we are in THEIR country, and I guess we should try and speak a little Spanish. ( come on - it won't kill you ). 99 times out of 100, you can make yourself understood.

All in all, this is a lovely resort, with clean, spacious rooms, good service, friendly staff, 5 swimming pools, and a fantastic beach. The only negatives that we could see are food selections ( but you could always find something if you were really hungry ) and the quality of the liquor.

In summary - some positive changes to this resort would be as follows :
1 ) Upgrade alcohol choices to include premium ( international ) brands
2 ) Create new menu's at the specialty restaurants aimed at offering more flavourful and exotic dishes.
3 ) Build several more ( 75 or so ) beach palapas
4 ) Create new wine lists that offer appropriate pairings with the food choices at all specialty restaurants
5 ) Stop this " reservation " habit of the lounge chairs.

Cheers,
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Wendy & Ian  
Nova Scotia, Canada
April 2006
Wendy & Ian ~ Nova Scotia, Canada My husband and I visited the Grand Palladium Punta Cana the week of April 2nd – 9th, 2006 and had a fabulous time. It was our first trip to the Dominican and relied heavily on the reviews posted before our trip and thought when we returned we should post one as well. The resort is a large one consisting of the Grand Palladium Punta Cana, the Grand Palladium Palace and the Grand Palladium Bavaro. When you stay at one, you have fill access to all areas of the resort except for the Royal Suites, an area in the extreme right of the resort where it is adults only. There are 4 swimming pools, 5 buffets and 7 al la cartes. You are allowed 3 al la cartes for a week stay and 5 for a 2 week stay. This resort is very large and requires a lot of walking to get around. There is also a train that runs around the resort from 9am to midnight. We travelled with a group of 58 for a family wedding and the bride and groom stayed at the Royal Suites. We had no problem meeting up with them and hanging out on the beach…the only areas we were not allowed to go (and no one stopped us, it is just that the Royal Suites guests have a different color bracelet) were the rooms and the restaurant and pool. With the number of pools and restaurants on the rest of the resort, this was not a problem. One thing we did notice, since there were so many of us, was the allocation of room assignments seemed to be random between the Palace and the Punta Cana specifically. For instance, the parents of the groom booked at the Grand Paladium Palace, we booked at the Grand Palladium Punta Cana and our rooms were in the same building across the hall from each other. This was great for us but it does show that although there are three resorts there, they are essentially treated as one. I will follow the previous review I read and section this one out to make it easier to read.

Flight: We flew Sunwing out of Halifax. We had never heard of the company before and were a little nervous. I guess they fly mostly out of Toronto from Halifax they only fly to Punta Cana. Everyone else in the group flew Air Transat but due to work commitments we had to fly Sunday to Sunday rather than the Monday to Monday trip Air Transat flew. Our flight was delayed about 45 minutes leaving Halifax due to a problem in Toronto. All flights leaving Halifax were delayed and some for a lot longer than ours. We had a terrific flight down. We had preselected our seats in row 5 (A&B) to be close to the front of the plane. A tip for next time would be to take row 6 because the TV is right in row 5 and when you look at it, it looks like a photo negative. If we were one row back it would have been perfect. I was amazed at how roomy the seats were even though we were not in an exit row. I had plenty of room to cross my legs and even with the seat down in front of me there was lots of room. They served us a hot meal (choice of chick or pasta). I had the chicken (honey garlic) with rice and vegetables, salad, cheese and crackers, hot roll and brownie for dessert, complimentary wine and tea/coffee. Hubby had the pasta with all the trimmings. The food was delicious…we were not expecting much from airplane food but it was really good and lots of it. Just before we began our descent into Punta Cana, they cam around with a complimentary glass of champagne. The staff were very friendly and the pilot was very informative. We landed in Punta Cana at 11:15pm about 25 minutes behind schedule.

Entering Punta Cana airport, there was no problem with the customs or anything…the only thing was they asked for our tourist cards and both the forms we had to fill out to enter the Dominican and the forms that we had to fill out for returning to Canada. Some women in the line in front tried to argue with the agent but with the language barrier, there was no point. We just gave them everything knowing we could get more forms when we left to come home. Baggage claim was painless and then we exited the airport. The airport was practically bare but we were approached by some locals asking to take our bags to the bus. We said a polite no, gracias and were on our way. In hindsight, next time, I probably would let them take it. The Sunwing rep was right there and directed us to the bus. Our bus had only one other couple going to our resort and about a dozen more people headed to the Barcelo. By the time all the busses were loaded, it was almost an hour later. We had a great guide who spoke some English and in our broken Spanish we managed to have a bit of a conversation. It was very helpful to learn a bit of Spanish (phrases, etc) before we left.

Hotel:
Check in: We got to the resort about 1am and check in was very easy (there were only 4 of us). Room: We were in building 3000 right in front of the lobby, first floor room 3029. Room was nice with large tub and marble floors, 2 doubled beds and very clean. We were disappointed at first because we had asked for a King size bed but we pushed the two beds together and ended up with one huge one. Our balcony looked out to the pool and to La Uva restaurant as well as down to the beach. We had thought about asking for a change to the King size bed but when we realized the location of our room when we saw it in daylight, we were ecstatic. We walked out of our room and we were literally 50 feet to the beach…we could hop our patio and be in the pool and we could throw a dart to the restaurant. Mini-fridge was stocked 3 times a week with beer, sprite, coke and diet coke, and fanta orange ( fanta was gross). We saw the bar fridge guy the next day and asked him for a couple of extra beer. We gave him $2 and he gave us 4 more for the room and kept it well stocked for the rest of the vacation. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi tub which we never used and a hand held shower on the wall. The only problem was that there was no door or curtain on the tub so when we showered, we got water all over the floor. When we first went into the room, I thought it smelled musty (of course with the humidity, it is hard for things to dry) and I remembered the reviews had said to bring a scented candle, which I did. Once the candle was on and the air conditioner was up, the smell was gone. We left gifts for the maid each day (pantyhose, nail polish, lipstick, crayons coloring books for kids, etc and $2 in a note. I had printed our a few phrases in Spanish (thank you for keeping our room clean, you are doing a great job, etc) and would write that on the note. We also listed what we left and signed it with our room number. That way there is never a question that we intended for her to have it. She left us a note tanking us for the gifts and telling us her name and that she is well. We got flowers in our room every day from her.

Lobby: The Lobby is very large with lots of marble floors and rattan seating areas, adjacent is the lobby bar with more rattan seating and a nice marble bar with seating. Lobby and lobby bar both have table service so you don't need to get up and get a drink yourself. They have an area beside the front desk where you can keep your luggage at check out and beside that down a little hall is shower rooms with clean towels, two shower stalls in each room with a toilet The washrooms in both the lobby and lobby bar are very clean and look brand new. You can also book your al la cartes here and the info boards are located on the wall in the lobby as well as all the tour books with info in them particular to your tour group (Sunwing, Air Transat, etc).

Bars: You will never go thirsty at this resort. Never a line up and we were told the resort was full. Lobby bars has lots of people serving the tables and sometimes you have 2 or 3 of them asking you what you would like. There are 6 beach bars, 4 lobby bars, 24hr sports bar, 4 swim up bars, a piano bar and a little glassed in bar between the Asian and the Mexican al la cartes. The piano bar has no piano that I saw but to be honest did not miss it. This bar is not to be missed as it is beautiful, all glass walls and wood bar and tables, they have green felt tables for playing card etc. Food: We enjoyed the food and there was lots of it with a huge variety. I wonder what the people who complain about the food in other reviews eat because it seemed to me that there was enough to appeal to all tastes. We tried a lot of the buffet restaurants and our 3 a la carte restaurants and never went hungry. In fact came home with an extra five pounds and I don’t mean in the suitcase. Our two favorite buffets for breakfast were the glassed in one El Behique and the one at the Palace Las Torres. Food is the same at all the buffets but laid out a little differently…nice for a change of scenery. For lunch, since we were on the beach, we ate at La Uva (close to our room) and at the Palace El Bohio most times and one day we got a burger at the beach BBQ. Again variety and taste were great…no complaints and no problems with our stomachs as some people had described. . As for the a la carte, we had our three bookings but it is difficult to get a reservation for more than four people at a time….most of the tables are set for four and most of the reservations were for 2 or 4 but then again, most people don’t travel with as large a group as did we. We did have one night where were had 8. Our favorite was the Tex Mex restaurant La Gran Cantina Mariachi near the Bavaro reception. It was fantastic and the staff were great. Our waiter, Maximo, made sure we had a great time and kept the wine flowing freely. All the staff were friendly and smiling. A simple Ola! goes a long way. We also ate El Arrecife which was a seafood restaurant but it was not as good. I had the shrimp skewer but the shrimp tasted mushy…the deep fried ice cream made up for it and lets face it, if you don’t like the meal you can always go to the buffet afterward. Our third one was the Italian Mare Nostrum and it was delicious. The staff are so accommodating and the food was spectacular. Of the three resorts, the buffet and the reception bars etc at the Bavaro seemed to be the most crowded and with the most activity.

Beach: What can you say about Bavaro Beach that hasn't been said already, it is simply one of the most spectacular beaches in the world; miles long and white sand and turquoise water. We would get up to watch the sun rise and try to get a palapa or under a palm for some shade during the day. The sun is very hot and you need to get out of it some times to avoid being burned. There were lots of chairs to go around and people would leave their towels and bags on the chairs when they went to lunch and no one ever bothered the stuff. Even though the resort was full, we never felt on the beach that we were crowded. There are lots of women who go topless on the beach and don’t be surprised if you see both men and women changing right in front of you. After a couple of days, you don’t even notice anymore.

Pools: The pool at the Punta Cana was beautiful, warm and not crowded. We spent more time at the beach than the pool but the times we did go up in the afternoon, it was hard to find a chair. Just like the beach, these people are up early to get a lounger. It was not a problem for us though as I said, our room was right there so we could leave our towels on the patio and go to the pool to swim. The pool at the Palace and the Bavaro are both very noisy and that is where the daily activities take place. The Punta Cana and pool down by the glassed in buffet are the quiet pools. You can exchange your towels daily for clean ones (they give you a card at check in to exchange for your first set of towels) but you should get there before 4pm as they may run our of clean ones…not really an issue as you can get them the next day. Keep in mind that with the high humidity, things don’t dry down here.

Nightly Entertainment:
don't know, as we never went to it. We were up every day at sunrise and by 10-11 we were gutted. Some of our group went to he disco though and seemed to enjoy it. We stopped in the casino one night but in these enclosed areas when people are smoking, it is really bothersome to us non smokers so we opted not to stay. There was plenty other things to do. The lobby bars are great places for a relaxing drink and the piano bar was wonderful with some international booze.

Weather: We had a full week of sunshine and hot weather. The only rain we saw was the first day when we awoke and by 7:30am it was over and it was hot. Some people in other reviews said the wind was a problem but we did not notice that. There were times when it was breezy on the beach but it was a welcome breeze. In the evenings it is still hot so there was really no need to change out of shorts except for supper.

Shopping:
There are shops on the resort, gift shops etc, most are priced in pesos and you can ask them to convert to US dollars for you. On Thursday night they bring vendors in to the resort to sell there wears. We looked at paintings and the vendor wanted us to pay $95 US for 2 prints we liked but we said no. The next day we went down to the village. If you walk along the beach, there are vendors right on the beach who will come out and try to get you to come into their shops. We were told of a market and supermarket to go to. If you walk along the beach to the end of the resort (just past the Royal Suites…to the right if you are facing the water) you will come to the flags that indicate the end of the resort There is a greenish building which is the first shop on the beach and there is an alley there you can walk down lined with shops. Then you can take a left and walk down a street lined with shops. We went to the supermarket (rum here was about $7 US) and a place called the Plaza. There were two places where you do not have to bargain, the price is the price. The same prints the vendor at the hotel wanted to sell u s for $95 US were priced at $5 each. Plus we got another bigger print for $12 and they gave us a smaller one for free. Bathing suit wraps were $8-$12 and they sold coffee, vanilla, carvings, etc. It was nice not to have to dicker with them. A shop further up the street had the prints we liked for $14 but $5 was a great price. Just a bit down the road is a cigar manufacture place where you can watch them make the cigars and buy them there. They always want to give you something for free and sometimes will ask where your husband is if you are just a group of women but I never felt threatened or in danger. General safety rules apply, travel in groups, not alone, etc…even off the resort the people were very friendly.

Tipping: We had read that tipping is appreciated. Our tour guide said it was not necessary or expected but if we wanted to tip it was appreciated. We generally tipped a couple of dollars each time; the maid, the baggage handlers, the bartenders…we also sought out the people who you don’t often think of like the guy on the beach who was there all day picking up seaweed, cups, etc. We struck a conversation with him one day and he was grateful for the tip…also, the security guy who stands in the heat all day and into the night to make sure no one comes onto the resort who is not supposed to. Again, very appreciative.

Everyone on the resort is friendly, say Ola! and Buenos dias, etc. There is not a lot of English spoken, mostly Spanish of course but even amongst the guests, there are lots of European languages around. It was helpful to us to pick up a Spanish-English dictionary which we brought with us. We had a great conversation with our minibar guy by using this as a tool.

Final Note: I would highly recommend this resort it is beautiful, the grounds are immaculate, the staff are friendly, the food is great, the beach is glorious and there is something for everyone. It is big enough that you never feel crowded and yet easy to find your way around. There is a train that runs around the resort and we took it a few times to tour the resort but it is closer to walk the paths from one area to another. This way it is not as big as it looks. We had to leave the resort at 8:45am for a 12:55pm flight and spent some time at the airport. When our taxi arrived at the airport, some locals took our luggage to the counter and had them out of the cab before we even got out but they were very polite and respectful. We thanked them and gave them a couple of dollars. Check in was easy…we had to fill out another card for customs as they had taken our first one when we landed but it was no problem. There is a giftshop and a few places to eat at the airport… it cost us $16 for two hamburgers and fries and one beer. There are 2 duty free shops, one upstairs and one downstairs. The one downstairs had cheaper prices by a couple of dollars (vodka was $12 up and $10 down). Upstairs has signs posted that there are no returns…now we know why. Our flight was delayed leaving but listening to the PA system, a lot of flights were delayed. Overall, our trip was fantastic...we definitely recommend this resort and Sunwing vacations.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Jacquie & John 
Toronto
January 2006
My husband and I left on January 14, 2006 for 2wks at the Palladium Punta Cana. This was our second visit to this resort but our first since the recent renovations. You can now use all areas of the hotel except of course the Royal Suites. 4 swimming pools, 5 buffets and 7 al la cartes. You are allowed 3 al la cartes for a week stay and 5 for a 2 week stay. This resort is very large and requires a lot of walking to get around. There is also a train that runs around the resort from 9am to midnight.

Flight: Flew a 319 Conquest/Skyservice out of Toronto at 3:20pm. We pre-booked our seats both aisle seats but moved to an empty row and had all 3 seats. Seats were very cramped so it was nice to have the extra room. Flight was on time and was smooth. Meal was chicken with rice and wasn't bad at all. They announced when we board that a passanger has a peanut allergie and asked anyone with peanuts or peanuts product to let the flight attendants know so they could have them removed from the plane. Flight home was an A320 airbus and much more room, we ended up with the entire row of seats again on the way home. Flight arrived about an hour late from Toronto so we were late leaving PUJ. We were amazed with how fast they did turn the flight around though...flight was a little bumpy at first but fine the rest of the way to Toronto. They served lasagna and my husband and I also got a free bottle of wine each.(don't know why, but said thanks). Arrived in Toronto at 1:40am as did 5 other flights from Punta Cana and of course immigration and baggage areas were very busy.

Hotel:

Check in: They served a welcome rum punch and then you were off to your room, fast service! Front desk very polite and welcoming.

Room: We were in building 4000 right in front of the lobby, second floor room 4122. Room was very nice with large tub and marble floors, king-sized bed and very clean. We had a nice view of the ocean. Mini-fridge was stocked 3 times a week with beer, sprite, pepsi, and fanta orange.

Lobby: The Lobby has been totally renovated and is very large. What was the amphitheatre last yr is now the lobby with lots of marble floors and rattan seating areas, what was the lobby last yr is now the lobby bar with more rattan seating and a nice marble bar with seating. Lobby and lobby bar both have table service so you don't need to get up and get a drink yourself. They now have an area beside the front desk where you can keep your luggage at check out and beside that down a little hall is shower rooms with clean towels, two shower stalls in each room with a toilet The washrooms in both the lobby and lobby bar have been renovated. You can also book your al la cartes here and the info boards are located on the wall in the lobby.

Bars: You will never go thirsty at this resort. Never a line up and we were told the resort was full. Lobby bars has lots of people serving the tables and sometimes you have 2 or 3 of them asking you what you would like. There are 4 beach bars, 4 lobby bars, 24hr sports bar, 4 swim up bars, a piano bar and a little glassed in bar between the Asian and the Mexican al la cartes. (sorry if i have missed any) The piano bar has no piano yet, we were told it is still on a ship coming from Spain, this bar is not to be missed as it is beautiful, all glass walls and wood bar and tables, they have green felt tables for playing card etc.

Food: We enjoyed the food. Our favorite buffet is the new glassed in one at the old Lookea section right behind the lobby. They serve the same menu in all buffets on the same day, so if it is Italian night in one it is the same in all buffets that night. Great variety of food from chicken to pork to steak and fish. The Asian al la carte was a favourite while the international al la carte was our least, I had the shrimps and they were charred and tasted awful. They now have beach BBQ's set up for lunch where you can grab a burger, hotdog or a rice dish.

Beach: What can you say about Bavaro Beach that hasn't been said already, it is simply one of the most spectacular beaches in the world and I have seen a lot of them. There were lots of chairs to go around but what we found is people would save chairs at the pool and the beach and move back and forth. Also it was very windy while we were there and people would stack chairs at the end of theirs as a shield and so 2 people would have 4 or 5 extra loungers stacked all around them!!!!!! The beach in front of the Royal Suits is not as nice as along the rest of the property it has a lot of little pieces of cement etc. from them putting in the papayas for shade.

Pools: The pool at the Punta Cana was very cold (other pools were comfortable) and they have added a swim up bar, lots of loungers but greedy people like to have one in the shade and another in the sun, we spent our last day at the pool and watched one man move from one of his seats in the sun to his other in the shade all day as people were looking for loungers and finally just started bringing them up from the beach. We only got seats as my husband went out at 6:30am and put our towels down. The pool at the Palace and the Bavaro are both very noisy and that is where the daily activities take place. the Punta Cana and the old Lookea pool are the quiet pools. We are beach people and only go to the pool if the weather is not too good.

Nightly Entertainment: don't know, as we never went to it.

Weather: We had 2 days of rain where it rained off and on all day and very windy.......there were only 2 days out of the 2wks we were there that there was no wind at all. Sitting on the beach you would get sand blasted and it actually hurt but we made the best of it.

Final Note: I would highly recommend this resort it is beautiful, the renovations are done and there is something for everyone whether it be honeymooners, singles or families with children. It is big enough that you never feel crowded abd yet easy to find your way around. We are looking forward to our third trip to this hotel in the future....