My family and I are currently at the resort - 5 days down, 2 to go. I read many of the TA reviews prior to booking and took a chance, disregarding the negative ones. I feel comfortable posting this review while still into the trip. Here my 5 cents worth:
We arrived at the resort around 1pm last Thursday. The bus ride from the airport took roughly 50 minutes, mainly because on that day, we were the last to get off the bus. Several resorts are handled by the same bus company, which is normal. Upon arriving, we were informed that check in is at 3pm, which we knew ahead of times. I asked if we could get into our room early but were told that it wasn't ready, yet. My immediate thought was that this is hotel policy and that management doesn't want people checking in too early. I later had to eat my own words because upon entering the room, we found the marble tiles still partially wet from cleaning. As well, although prior to check in time, we were given our all inclusive bracelets so that we could enjoy lunch while waiting on the room. A nice gesture by the front desk clerk, which he didn't need to do.
We opted to pay a bit more for the Jr. suite which was perfect in size for the three of us. King size bed and a pull out sofa. The sofa is comforatble enough according to my daughter and the king is as well. The pillows could be a bit softer. The room has a 27" TV with many channels in a variety of languages. The picture is a bit fuzzy but ok. As well, we have a nice porch with 2 chairs and a small side table (plastic). We asked our travel agent at the time of booking if he could request ocean view. As many of the buildings are not exactly right at the ocean, 3 buildings are. We lucked out and received room 3032 - ocean view. Once a week, this room ay be a problem as a fairly loud beach party happens right behind it. That first night, I didn't have enough rum into my system yet so it kept me up for a while. Other than that, the room was quiet as we heard our neighbors only sometimes. Another plus, a beautiful pool plus bar/swim up bar is right behind the building. Back to the room, the bathroom seems small at first but due to the fact that the sink is outside of the bathroom, we had ample room to move around. I highly recommend room 3032!
The grouds of the resort(s) - 4 resorts in total with one reserved only for Royal Suites guests only, are very clean, very well look after - basically spotless. A large groundkeeping staff looks after the place and you can see that they take pride in their jobs! I have to take issue with the negative reviews regarding the large size of the three resorts you can eat, drink and play in!! Although a tram stops and many differents spots every 15-20 minutes or so, I was faster walking to any point in the three resorts. Our resort is in the middle of the three but even if it were not, you can easily walk anywhere. The a la carte resaurants are within 5 minutes by foot, so are at least 3 buffet restaurants. Please don't aver your decision to book here due to the larger size; that concern is totally unfounded! On the positive side, you get three for the price of one!
Our beach was beautiful - no doubt when you look at the web side pics. I have to admit though, tat the 2 adjoining resort beaches looked just a small bit nicer. If you look for beach activities, our resort had it all while the other two were more on the quiet side. You decide - and in any case - a five minute walk in either beach direction will put you onto the beach of your choice.
As to the restaurants, we syuck mainly to the buffet style ones due to my daughter being a vegetarian. I found the food very good, the restaurants were very clean and selection was plentyful. There's a different theme every evening so you won't get bored. Sometimes rum tasting at night, champagne for breakfast, etc. My wife is a chef and I'm a bit of a foody so I carefully say that I may think what I'm talking about. Which brings me to the a la carte restaurants, which you don't need to make reservations for if you show up early (6-30pm to 7pm as in early - big plus!) We only went to the Japanese restaurant - which was ok but just that. Having spent years in Japan, one can understand why. I assume this is the same in the Thai, Italian, etc restaurants but that is only an assumptions since I did not eat in these. I find it's best to eat local food where you live and not try to eat exotic stuff from different countries. The buffets provided a good selection of local foods.
One buffet issue: Europeans have very little buffet etiquette and it seems that the stronger and faster gets the last boiled egg sort to speak. Being originally from Germany (but many years in North America now), I had a German tourist take my omelette this morning because - well he seemed just more hungry even though I was in line before him. He in turn ended up with mine and I had to eat his, which lacked cheese! If you are from North America - this behaviour may bother you at first. If you are from Europe - you already have your running shoes on to beat the best man/woman to the salad bar!
There are numerous bars and swim up bars throughout the resort and you won't go thirsty. Tipping is not a must but I typically spent US$ 20 in tips per day to show my appreciation.
This is my 4th trip to the Islands, with Jamaica, Cuba and St. Thomas already in the bag. I have not returned to any of the resorts yet - but will to this one. The Ritz Carleton on St. Thoams was very nice but a bit rich to return to for the time being.
I hope this review will make the doubters amongst us think twice and give it a chance
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa enjoys a privileged, sea-front location on the renowned Playa Bavaro. The resort, located on a sprawling estate of lush tropical vegetation and a coconut plantation, is next to the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa, the Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino & Royal Suites. The facilities of these adjoining resorts are open to guests of the Grand Palladium Punta Cana (excluding the Royal Suites). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Palladium Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort And Spa
- Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort Spa