This is a huge resort. It has lots of restaurants (al a carte and buffets) and bars, two theatres, two casinos and a disco. There are two small trains which can take you from one end of the resort to the other. However, if you don’t like to walk you probably won’t end up taking advantage of the whole resort. It is actually made up of four Grand Palladium Resorts which are: Punta Cana, Bavaro, Palace and Royal Suites (adults only). Guests can use all of the facilities except for the Royal Suites. The staff were mostly happy and could communicate in English or Spanish (or French and German as well).
Parts of the resort are starting to show their age and could use a few touch ups.
The check in was easy and relatively quick. We had booked a room in the Punta Cana section, but it was full and we were given a room in the Bavaro section.
Rooms: We stayed in the 7100 block in the Bavaro Section. While we had originally booked the Punta Cana section because it was closest to the beach our room in the Bavaro section was very central to everything. The room was clean. As others had mentioned the jacuzzi tub and the sink are in the bedroom area with a separate toilet and show in the bathroom which was an unusual layout. Our room was quite quiet and we had no problems sleeping. If you want for $3 a night you can a premium pillow from their ‘pillow menu’.
Your fridge will be stocked daily with water, pop and beer.
Restaurants and Bars: One of the reasons that we choose this resort is my wife is a picky eater and it has lots of dining options. Overall the food was good. The menu’s for all of the restaurants are posted in the main lobbies. Take a look at them before you go. You do not have to reserve restaurants in the morning like at many other resorts. When you arrive for dinner if the restaurant is full you will be put on the waiting list and given a beeper. Then you can go off to one of the bars and wait to be called. Our longest wait was about 1/2 hour and there was no wait at all at the Seafood Restaurant. The Restaurants are: Breakfast – 3 buffet restaurants (the Palace was our favourite) Food included eggs (could be made any style), fruit, pancakes, waffles, cereal, sausage etc. Lunch – 2 buffet restaurants (close to the pools/beach) and food included chicken, fish, hamburgers, nachos, salad bar, fruit, french fries etc. You can also get some food right at the stands right on the beach (hotdogs, pizza etc.). Dinner – 3 buffet restaurants – similar to lunch but also included stations for pasta, prime rib etc. Each had a theme night during the week (mexican, american, chineese etc.). Dinner – Al a carte – 8 Restaurants- Sumptuori (Japaneese), Rodizio (Brazilian), Mariachi (Mexican), Bamboo (Asian), Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean), Arrecife (Streak/Seafood), El Quijote (Spanish) and La Uva (Italian). We ate at the Japanese (twice), Mexican, seafood and the Spanish, all of which were good. The Japanese has three options a sushi bar, al a carte and the show. Try and book the show at least once, it is very entertaining. The Japanese, Mexican and Brazilian seemed to be the most popular. There is also a Sports Bars open 24 hours with lots of comfort food (Nachos, hotdogs, pizza, coffee and deserts). It is air conditioned! Bars – There are lots. There are three large lobby bars, bars by all the pools, 5 or 6 little bars right on the beach. Hemingway’s is an air conditioned bar open in the evenings which includes premium alcohols (all included – no extra charges). There is also a disco and the drinks there are included as well. There are tonnes of staff and you rarely have to wait at all for a drink.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach – This is why you come to Punta Cana. The beach is clean and huge (we walked for over two hours in each direction and did not come to the end). Unlike other resorts we had stayed at there was never a problem finding a lounge chair. Even at 11:00 am there were lots both at the beach and the pool. The wait was not too rough the whole week we were their. The only downside was there were lots of vendors trying to sell you stuff (parasailing, cigars, massages, photos with a monkey etc.) Pools – We did not really use the pools ourselves. But they all has swim up bars and were clean. The pool near the ocean in the Punta Cana section was the party pool with lots of activities and music. The other two pools in the Bavaro section were more laid back. They all had a good mix of sun and shade. There were two more pools in the Palace area, but we didn’t go there. Grounds – They were very well kept and clean. Staff would offer to cut open a fresh coconut for you if you wanted.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We did go to the Palma Real Shopping Centre, which is a 10 min. free shuttle from the Resort. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe which was great. The rest of the shopping was actually high end designer stores for the most part and quite expensive. There is a large sports area which has basketball courts, soccer field, tennis courts, driving range, etc.
There are two theatres so there are two different shows each night. We only went to one – karaoke which was hilarious. But other guests liked all of the shows they had seen.
Other Comments: Overall this is a good resort if you want a relaxing beach vacation with a little partying thrown in. As long as you don’t mind walking a bit you can enjoy all that the resort has to offer.