The Grand Palladium Bávaro Resort & Spa Reviews – Dominican Republic Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Travel Resort Reviews – The Grand Palladium Bávaro Resort & Spa

  Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa    Dave~ Brantford, Ontario

September 2009

Arrival August 14-21, 2009:
Flight to Punta Cana from Toronto was on time and easy. We flew Air Transat from Toronto. There were several screaming young children that made the flight seem longer. We landed around 4:30 and were at the resort by 6. We were greeted by our Imperial Club concierge, Waldin. He was amazing. We were given a package of material and black bracelets. Our room was ready and the bell man took our luggage and drove us in a golf cart to our room, 1284.

Rooms:
We had requested a Jr. Suite with 2 double beds, close to the beach. I was travelling with my 19 year old son. We were upgraded, free of charge, to a Romance Suite in building 28, overlooking the beach and ocean. The suite had a king size bed and sofa bed and I initially said we wanted 2 doubles, but my son liked the proximity to the beach and was prepared to take the sofa bed. It was not comfortable but he didn’t complain. The suite was very big. It included an outside terraza with a thatched roof, that included a shower and hammock. The jets in the hot tub didn’t work. Several other issues in the bathroom were taken care of.

Restaurants and Bars:
We ate most of our meals at the buffet restaurants. We tried 2 al a carte restaurants, steak/seafood and tex/mex and they were both good. The buffet was more than sufficient and the food was good and lots of variety. The service was very good and the staff were friendly. The Saturday night beach BBQ was fun. Language was not an issue as most staff spoke English. We really didn’t frequent the bars enough to comment.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is spacious and beautifully clean. It was a bit slow, perhaps at 60% capacity, so there were plenty of beach chairs and palapas. There was always activity on the beach with kayaks, Hobie cats, diving tours, and parasailing. Of course, there were topless female bathers on the beach, mostly higher up near the palapas. We didn’t spend much time by the pool but it did look nice. The grounds are beautiful with many flowers and a nice assortment of trees.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn’t go on any tours, but many were offered. We were warned not to buy tours from beach vendors. We went to entertainment on 2 nights. The show starts at 10pm. The Friday night show was a big Las Vegas type production show which really didn’t do anything for me. It was mostly in Spanish and just not exciting. We were advised to go to the Tuesday night Michael Jackson show by Waldin and it was quite entertaining. Of course, all the music was recorded but the dancing was very good.

Other Comments: This is a huge complex and includes 3 other Grand Palladium resorts. There is a complimentary train that takes you around. It takes about 15 minutes to walk from one edge of the property to the other along the beach. There is a flea market on the beach outside the east end of the complex. Our Air Transat rep, Caroline, was a very nice and helpful French Canadian girl. Between Waldin and Caroline, we were well taken care of. We thought we were going to experience Tropical Storm Ana but she lost steam the day before her scheduled arrival. Disappointing. Hurricane Bill passed by in the Atlantic but kicked up the surf on Thursday. Summer weather in the Dominican is hot and humid. We spent a lot of time in the suite staying cool. The choice of TV channels wasn’t great, no major US or Canadian networks, and mostly in Spanish with subtitles. We had 30 minutes of free internet each day, but the 4 terminals were in demand and 3 of the keyboards were Spanish and not well lit. All in !

all, we would return to Grand Palladium Bavaro.

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  Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa    Mike & Elda~ Markham, Ontario

June 2009

Arrival: May 10-17
Arrival was great. We flew in on Canjet, first flight out of Toronto. Surprised how much leg room the plane had. When we got to the Hotel our "package" (we had imperial club) was on a table as we entered the lobby. After picking up the package you go to the front desk for check-in. Since we were early our room was not ready so they gave us our bracelets (Black) and were sent on our way to have some lunch at the beach restaurant.

Rooms:
With Imperial Club we got a Jr. Suite. We were in Building 37. We requested a King Size on an upper floor but we got two doubles on an upper floor. We didn’t feel like changing rooms so I just removed the middle table and pushed both beds together. It worked out fine. The room was HUGE! The bathroom was also massive. The hot tub was more than enough for two people. Everything in the room worked properly and we had no issues.

Restaurants and Bars:
We only tried two of the restaurants on the property. We tried the Italian and the Mexican. Both were excellent and we had no issues with the food or service. The buffet was excellent as well. There was always something that we said WOW that’s amazing! We really enjoyed the pizza especially the garlic one! The crepe station was also a great touch. Gala night was great! Huge selection of food. I have to say the Lamb dishes at this resort were fabulous. The only bar we really went to was Hemmingways. This was a very nice bar and the fruity drinks were made with real fruit and not the slushy stuff. We are early risers so by the time dinner was done we had a quick drink and were off to bed.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
What can we say about the beach! AWESOME! There were always plenty of chairs available no matter what time you came down. If you wanted a Palapa you needed to play the game. We were down to the beach by 7:30am and were always able to get a palapa. If you don’t get one don’t worry as there is plenty of natural shade from the palms. We didn’t spend much time by the pool but it did look nice. The grounds are immaculate! The gardeners do a great job keeping the place beautiful.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn’t go on any tours as we are beach bums and like to just relax on the beach. We really wanted to check out Steve’s Bar but totally forgot what day it was until it was too late. We definitely check it out next time.

Other Comments:
We definitely recommend this complex to anyone interested. We are kicking ourselves by not coming to this resort sooner. We will definitely be back to the Palladium Complex again.

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  Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa    Nancy ~ USA

July 2008

Our family of 5 stayed at the Grand Palladium Bavaro from July 6th- July 13th and had a wonderful time.

Here is our family’s perspective (2 adults and 3 children: 11 and under):

Reception: they were very nice and very helpful, we were the only people inline at 10:30am tho. They did have buses full of travelers arriving Sunday night when we were headed to dinner. But they seem to have a system for this as they set up extra tables to accommodate the people. Our room wasn’t ready which we planned for. We finally got to checking in at 4:00 (we lost track of time while in the pool..LOL!) and dh went and checked us in by himself while the kids and I swam.

Room: we had a junior suite to accommodate all of us, and it was very roomy. It had 2 double beds and a large queen pullout that was already pulled out for us. The beds were comfortable. The room was VERY clean, very very clean. We had swan towel animals and flowers on arrival and again later in the week. It seemed very quite as we did not really hear our neighbors at all – except the day we both at the same time for breakfast.

I will say the a/c was broken on the Sunday of our arrival and it was hot when we went to try and sleep in the room, however, the hotel was working on the situation and sometime in the middle of the night a/c was restored. It was fine from that point on. Ours did not smell or have bugs or anything. It was located a short path walk from the pool. This was also very nice.

Food: La Cathedral had a great breakfast where they served so many things. They offered mimosas on Sunday with breakfast (wither orange juice or guava juice) which was a nice touch. The made to order crepes are also delicious. We had lunch at 3 places El Arrecife – the only lunch spot in the Bavaro section, La Uva and El Behique. El BEhique had the largest selection and it was very good, a little warm at lunch but the food was good, and La Uva was cooler but offered less, it was nice to mix it up, we all thought so. Dinner we ate at La Cathedral most nights because of the themed dinners it was never the same foods and had all types of food offered, beef Wellington, roast turkey, seafood, salads, breads, pasta, rice dishes, pork, also always available were an Italian pasta bar (we did not use this) and a grilled meat section (also did not use). So there was something for everyone. We were impressed with the food over the other 2 AI’s we have stayed at. The 2 nights we did not eat in the buffet we opted for La Uva and El Quijote. Dh and I ordered the same dish at El Quijote and mine was very good he however got the end of the lamb and it was dry my was completely the opposite. The kids all liked what they ordered too. La Uva was also very good and very different than anything at home. Everyone enjoyed trying it. The wait staff at each restaurant was very helpful and very friendly. Mi amigios!!!

Beach: beautiful!! Nice waters, wonderful sand, and love that they left the vegetation on the beaches, it actually is not as narrow as they say if one counts the entire sand portion. It was more than enough space for everyone and we never felt crowded. I did go early to get a palapa, we wanted a front one with the kids and everything, and it worked out well. The water was great!! Yes, there were venders but a simple smile and No Gracias, and they were on their way. We did walk down to the hut area to buy t-shirts and we did not find them to be too pushy at all, actually I was surprised.

Pools: we swam in the Bavaro section pool, the La Uva pool and the El Behique pool. We preferred the La Uva and the Bavaro section pools, mostly because they offered some shade in the afternoons while in the pool. All the pool bars were nice and we never found the drinks to be watered down. One afternoon they were offering the kids cocolocos y chocolate…..it was like a mounds bar in a cup you had with a straw…very tasty!!! The staff at the all the pool bars were also very friendly and very nice! We never found anyone to be rude or not helpful.

Grounds: stunning!!! Very well maintained!

Kids club: we did not actually go to the club but they do offer an excursion for the kids every Tuesday they take them to Manati Park from 10am-3pm for free. My children did not want to go, they said it was too long of a day to be away. My 3 did participate in the beach activities 2 days and also sometimes played waterpolo and volleyball when they kids club came to the pool we were in. For the beach activities they walked the beach asking kids if they wanted to join – they would tell them what they were doing and they kids could win baseball hats and tshirts and get certificates. The beach activities were beach Olympics, etc.

Other: we are English speaking Americans who thoroughly enjoyed our week there. We speak some but very little Spanish. My children have had 30 minutes of Spanish daily in school since 1st grade, I took Spanish in high school many moons ago. But in our attempt to speak with the staff and understand was truly appreciated, and to be quite honest they did everything they could to help everyone. One day at the dinner a man did not speak Spanish or English and when the staff member figured out his native language he went and got another staff member to help the translation. I found this to be the case in most areas. No one ever was rude to anyone that only spoke one language. So I am not sure why this is a huge thing…in fact we always found the opposite to be true. I also noticed how appreciative the staff was if we walked our empty plastic cups to the bar instead of leave them wherever. In my book common courtesy should be used at all times.

We would definitely recommend this hotel!

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  Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa    Amy ~ Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

March 2008

Arrival – My husband and I flew flew WestJet out of Halifax to Punta Cana on Sunday, February 24th, 2008 for a one week stay at the Grand Palladium Bavaro resort. Both our flight to and from Punta Cana were on time and uneventful. This was the 1st time we had flown WestJet and we were very much impressed with the service. Customs and immigration were quick and easy and we were soon off to the resort.

We had no trouble finding our bus (the Air Transat rep. at the airport tells you what bus number you are on). The bus transfer to the hotel was also fine with no problems – we even enjoyed an ice cold Presidente beer on the bus while we waited for the other passengers.

Rooms – We arrived at the resort at 12:00 p.m. and our room was not yet ready (as we expected from the previous reviews). We quickly changed into our swimsuits, grabbed lunch at the buffet and hit the beach. We couldn’t find any chairs, but we had our beach towels.

We got our room key at about 3:00 p.m. and one of the bellhops escorted us to our room. We had one of the loft suites, with the beds upstairs in the "loft" area (Room 6116).

We had stayed at 3 all-inclusive resorts and this was, by far, the nicest room we have ever stayed in. It was clean and bright, the beds were comfortable and it was very quiet. Our maid did a great job and we tipped her $3.00 US each day. We always had lots of bottled water, pop and beer in the fridge. We also had a jacuzzi tub in our room, which I tried one night and found there was lots of hot water. Our shower was great – we never ran out of hot water (even when getting ready for supper) and the water pressure was great. There was lots of closet space and our in-room safe worked fine. We had 2 TVs in the room, one downstairs and one upstairs where the beds were – the TV upstairs had a remote and also had many more English channels than the downstairs TV.

The resort complex itself is quite large and they have the trolley train that goes around the complex every 15-20 minutes, but we found it was very very easy to get around. We almost always walked everywhere and I didn’t find it to be a long walk at all. We took the trolley twice, but only because it was right there and we didn’t have to wait. It’s quicker to walk to where you are going than wait for the trolley to come!

Restaurants – The buffets were great – we especially liked the Las Torres buffet at the Grand Palladium Palace and we ate there 3 nights. We also ate at the Cathedral buffet every day for breakfast and the beach buffet for lunch. The food was delicious and the variety was awesome – we always found something delicious to eat!

The a la carte restaurants were very good as well, although we found a couple of nights that the service was quite slow, particularly at the seafood restaurant, but we were on vacation, so we didn’t really care. My husband had "the best steak he’s ever had" at the steak house. They are very generous with the wine as well, so be careful if you have an empty stomach!

There is a great variety of food to choose from. I am a vegetarian who doesn’t eat meat (I do eat seafood) and found myself to be completely satisfied after every meal – I never went hungary!

Bars – There are bars everywhere (I good thing I suppose!) and the drinks were consistent from bar to bar, something which I found to be lacking when we were in Cuba last year. The Presidente beer is very good, even by Canadian standards!

Beach and Pools – The beach is what Punta Cana is known for and they are not kidding! It is absolutely spectacular! The water is warm but refreshing and the sand is so soft. The beach is always bustling with activity – it was really fun to just relax and "people watch."

There are usually no chairs free on the beach after about 11:00 a.m. or so. Though we wished we wouldn’t have to do so, my husband and I went down to the beach every morning before breakfast to put our towels over our chairs to save them. I have always hated doing this, but everone else does it, so you really have no choice but to do this yourself as well.

One couple we talked to at the beach had grabbed what they thought were 2 "free" chairs because they didn’t have any towels on them, only to have a lady confront them that they were, in fact, her chairs and she asked the couple to give them back to her. When the couple refused to give them up, the lady went and got a security guard who requested that they give the chairs back, even though the couple explained to him that there had been no towels on the chairs indicating that they were being saved for someone. In the end, the couple gave her back the chairs just to avoid making a scene, but were understandingly annoyed by the whole incident.

Grounds – The grounds are beautiful and very well manicured and the gardeners are hard at work everyday making sure they stay that way! They were putting in 3 new flower beds in front of our villa when we were there. The vegetation is green and lush and the gardens are blooming with color.

Activities – We also went to a couple of shows and did go to the disco one evening, which was alot of fun. The disco turns into a very happening spot after the shows are over. As mentioned in previous reviews, the animation staff are quite talented and the Michael Jackson show was by far the best one – both the costumes and the dancing were amazing.

Also, we were there for Dominican Independence Day and they had a big festival on Friday night with a stage set up on the soccer field. I only stayed for one or 2 acts, but my husband enjoyed most of the show. Again, the costumes and dancing were great!

We did manage to pull ourselves off our beach chairs to take in a few activities during the day – we each got a massage on the beach, went kayaking and took a small 2-person catamaran out – it was fun to sail along the beach and see all the various resorts as you go by. We also went down into the village of El Cortecito and did some shopping, purchasing some souvenirs, and went for a couple of long walks on the beach.

There are vendors going up and down the beach to try to get you to do activities, but a simple "no, thank you" and they left us alone. There is also snorkeling, parasailing, glass-bottomboat tours, etc., but we didn’t do any of those.

A word of caution about walking on the beach – once you get beyond the limits of the resort, there are very very agressive time share vendors trying to offer you a free gift to get you to come into their office for more information. Our Air Transat rep warned us about these guys and said they could tie up more than 2 hours of your time if you go with them, and just to say "no, thank you" and move on. She was right – we were approached on the beach one day and had a very difficult time even trying to get a "no, thank you" into the conversation! They are very very aggressive!

Also, there was a soccer game every day beginning at about 5:00 p.m. Neither my husband nor I play soccer, but it was fun to watch and a number of the players were very very good!

Tours – We did the Reef Explorers tour and had a great time! It is a short drive to catch the boat and they take you to a floating dock just offshore where you can snorkel, get a massage or swim in the pens with stingrays (stingers are removed) and nurse sharks (very docile). Also, we got our pictures taken holding the stingrays which was very cool. We did the 1/2 day tour in the afternoon and found that it was perfect – we have done full-day tours in the past and found them to be too long.

The staff and trainers who run this tour are very experienced and very funny – it was a great time and I would recommend this excursion to anyone.

Conclusion – All in all, our week at the Grand Palladium Bavaro was the best vacation we have ever taken (compared to our experiences in Puerto Plata and Cayo Coco). The resort was fantastic, our room was great, as was the service, food and activities. We are already planning our return visit to this resort next year. I would highly recommend the Grand Palladium Bavaro to anyone.

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  Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa    L & R ~ Ottawa, On.

February 2008

Well this review started out to be for the Palladium Punta Cana but since we were bumped from there this is where we went.

We booked with I Travel 2000 during the let it snow campaign (unfortunetly we don’t live in Quebec) from the start we had problems with the price difference between what was advertised on the web site and what we were actually charged (be sure and print every page because they blamed Signature, Signature blamed I travel) that was the most annoying thing just not taking responsibility.

Anyway we had stayed at the Palladium Palace 5 years before and it’s the only resort we’ve ever returned to. Just because we think there are lots of places to see and we like going somewhere different every year. The Palladium is beautiful yes they speak Spanish that is the language of that area, however many do speak some English but they all appriciate it when you speak some Spanish as well. Por favour and gratious go along way. This resort like many it seems this year was over-booked they actually sent some people to other resorts the day we arrived. I am glad to say that didn’t happen to us although we were put in the Bavaro section. Unfortunetly we were put in a ground floor room which I personally hate we were told to come back the next day and they would try to change it. We did end up wasting most of the following morning getting the change I guess persistance does pay. Anyway we didn’t let it get us down and we were much happier with our second floor room. As a repeat guest we really expected better treatment.

However the grounds were wonderful the beach is like no-where else you can walk for miles and never see even a pebble on it. The weather was perfect a couple days of early morning showers high 20’s every day. The rooms are clean, fridge was filled every day safe worked fine once we discovered it needed new batteries but it was promptly fixed. The gardens are so nice the palm trees well trimmed the walkways are mostly covered it’s really pretty just to walk around.

Restaurants are a little unpredictable some nights really great service other times terrible, our favorite buffet was the one in the Palace section always seemed to be less crowded. We tried all the alacarts and the Mexican and Spanish were by far our favorites by all means go before 7 or else you’ll be waiting for a table. The steak and seafood restaurant was terrible we were there for hours just waiting for our food they forgot about us twice it was bad but funny. Luckily the guy pouring the wine was great so even if we didn’t eat much we had to take the train back HAHA.

The Michael Jackson show was terrific but that really was the only one the rest are pretty corny as the other reviews have stated. One night they had a beach party with dancing and a band great sangria too. The animation team did a great job of getting every one up and dancing in the sand.

All in all we had a great time and anyone going there I’m sure will love it our flight coming back was delayed 7 hours which isn’t great news when your flight was supposed to leave at 10PM and left at 5AM a night on a bench in Punta CAna airport just isn’t fun. But all part of the experience I guess.

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  Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa   Randall

February 2008

Stay for seven days one the couples in our group was robbed from the safe, The management of the resort, said that it could not happen, till the second time,they got into safe, They have a security problem, they won,t admit. Too many people not enought stall to handle all guest. The resort was clean. Food was good Will go back Punta Cana not that resort

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  Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa   Jess ~ Toronto, Ontario

January 2008

We are a 32 and 33 year old couple. We were at the Bavaro on January 10th – January 17th.

We booked through Avion Travel (Air Transat – Westjet).
Flight was great, bus trip to resort was also great.

Check in was really quick. Got there and there was no line. Us and our luggage were taken right away to our room.

We requested that our Jr. Suite be on the 2nd floor close to the beach and we got exactly what we wanted. Villa 18, Rm # 1188.

Room was huge and spotless. Not a bug in sight. Cleaned every day. Fridge now filled every day too. Coke, Coke Light, Sprite, Orange Fanta, Beer, and Water. If you need more of one thing over another…just leave a note.

We never had a problem with hot water or water pressure.

We tipped our Maid and the Fridge Guy every day $1.
We tipped for great service along the way aswell (waiter, waitress, even some landscapers we saw doing a great job..they really appriciate it)

We saw that the many pools were big and beautiful with pool bars, but we never spent any time there as we are beach people.

The beach is amazing. Very long and very clean. The ocean is warm but yet refreshing. There are waves, which we loved…its fun to play in when you have waves !

We got up every morning at 6:30am went out to reserve our spot on the beach, watched the sunrise, went to breakfast at the Catedral Buffet, then headed back to our spots on the beach for the day.

They decided to try no reservations at the a la cart restaurants when we got there so you can go to what ever restaurant you want as many times as you want. We did the Mexican twice (great fajitas). The rest of the dinners were spent at the Catedral Buffet because they had a different theme night every night (our favs were the Italiano night and the Americano night – oriental and mexican were also very good). Go to eat between 6:30 and 7:30pm when its not as busy. The restaurants tend to get busier after that.

Then you might find line ups.

The bars are everywhere !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The drinks are amazing. No need to ask for Mucho Rum… They put plenty in there !!! The bavaro lobby bar was great. Confortable seating, dim lighting, live band, waterfall in the centre of room with fish in it. The Hemingways bar sort of in the centre of the resort is also great. They also have a great drink menu with international brands. More quiet there, we went there to play cards some nights. You can also play games that they have…scrabble etc. You can also buy fine cigars there too.

There are bar kiosks all along the beach and beside some of them are beach BBQ’s with hot dogs and burgers.

STAY AWAY FROM ALL BURGERS IN RESORT. THEY ARE NOT COOKED AND YOU WILL GET SICK. EVEN IF YOU ASK FOR WELL DONE THEY ARE STILL RED INSIDE. We were smart and were very careful about this and avoided any meat that was not fully cooked. Most people that complain about getting sick on vacation are not paying attention to the meat they eat. Its not the same beef as you would have at home. Their animals are raised and fed different food. Just be careful. The hot dogs are great though !!!

Ketchup is also no good (we brought our own packages and were very glad to have real heinz)

We aren’t into the nightlife but the Disco was a happening spot when we popped in one night.
The Michael Jackson show is a must see…these people are amazing !!!!!!

When we left we put a bunch of little trinkets we bought at home to leave for the maid and the fridge guy, along with a couple more bucks american.
We also left our magazines for them.

The language barrier isn’t that bad at all. Most staff can speak a bit of english and love to try.

They also love it when you can speak to them a bit in spanish so it is nice to go there knowing a bit.

Over all we had the best time ever. We intend to go back as soon as we can.

The staff are so nice.

I highly recommend this resort !!!!!

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  Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa   Alisa ~ Edmonton

January 2008

This was my second time at this resort. Refused to book anything else because of great time I had last year…and this is my review:

Arrival:

Air Transat. Sucks Period. If you have the money shell out the $300 for business Class. Last year I swore I wouldn’t travel any other way as this was our second trip there. Unfort. on the way there business or "club" was sold out so we only got it on the way back. And HOLY what a difference. HUGE. If you don’t want to fly like a peasant then shell out the money! Worth it. In Canada Transat only charges $300 extra.

Rooms:

WOW. I emailed the resort earlier and said "I stayed there before it was an excellent place and we if possible would request villa 16 or 18 and told them there resort was inpeciable".

Go figure…we got there our package was stamped "VIP" and got the Junior Suite on the second floor in Villa 15. Close enough. We wanted to be close to the beach and close to El Bohqiue restaurant as this is the best buffet.

Room was HUGE. Sitting area, jacuzzi seperate shower, toilet, two sinks.. awesome.

Clean too no bugs, never saw one. If you hate bugs…here you won’t be dissapointed….its clean. Spotless.

Restaurants:

Not into al cartes. So don’t know

Food was awesome. One chef was wicked in particular – hilarious in the beach side grill on the bavaro side. He’d kid with you and tell you he had no food left and then after he cooked it he only gave you a small portion of say your steak they grill…it was funny. Tipped him for his humour. Nice to see them having fun.

The buffets are all good except don’t eat in the Le Catedral I think thats the proper name…go just down a bit to the air conditioned El Behique its way better it belongs ot the Punta Cana side but you have access to everything.

Bars:

Great!!! Very nice staff always wanted to get you drinks and they apologize if they mess up although that only happened once. Very good customer service.

Beach and Pools:

Beach what is there to say? White sand. Clear Water. The Grand Palladiums property stretches along ways. Takes at least 10 minutes maybe even 15 I bet to walk from the Start to the Royal Suites. Volleyball on the beach, Soccer on the beach, Animation team are fun… and lots of Huts…but you have to be out there at least between 7am to about 9 am or you won’t get a hut. If your out at least by 9/9:30 you are still guaranteed lawn chairs.

Pools – there are 4 pools between the 3 complexes (excluding the Royal Suites). There unbelievable the best pool probably is the one closest to the beach that belongs to the Punta Cana resort or the one in the Palace but the Bavaro one is also great. No complaints there.

Grounds:

Impeccable Lush, green, always being cleaned and groomed. Unbelievable the work that goes into keeping the grounds. There spotless. I don’t even know how they do it.

Activities:

Didn’t do much other then play soccer…aka Football…but if you are into football (soccer) then this is the HOTEL For you. They have one huge soccer field that is actually Field Turf. They must have paid an arm and a leg for that. THen there is a 5 a side field right behind it that is smaller for obviously 5 a side. Both have lighting and mainly everyone plays after 6. As its too hot to do so otherwise.

There is mini-golf, a couple basketball courts, loads of tennis courts has to be at least 8 if not more, archery, 4 badminton courts and then 4 courts that are the other version of badminton? British? Not sure about this one, there is 4 table tennis tables set up in sand.. so thats kind of fun.. badminton is also on sand as is the volleyball court and there is about 3 volleyball courts splashed across the huge chunk of beach these 3 properties occupy as well as the beach soccer I think there is 2 courts set up along the beach. The animation team always has something going on at either the beach or pool.

Conclusion:

There is no doubt why GLOBE AND MAIL. The national newspaper in Canada… rates this as there TOP RESORT!

This was my second time. And after reading loads of reviews from other hotels on here….since I’m planning a trip in April with some other friends and then again in Decmeber this year…..I was thinking about trying a different resort….now I’m not too sure especially after hearing horror stories on the plane from people and well running into people from Russia and Ireland who say they have been to this property 7 times because they trust it so much… I’m 100% certain that when I go back it will be Palladium all over again!

You can’t go wrong. You might depending on where you book pay a few hundred bucks more for this resort but let me tell you if you want worry free, great vacation, great food, loads of choices (i’m a very picky eater and I was super happy)…then you have no other choice but to pick one of the Grand Palladium properties.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Carrie and Greg

September 2007

We statyed at the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa in From Feb 21 Mar 7, 2007. This was our second time to Punta Cana and we are from Winnipeg, MB, Canada. We are in our 30’s.

Booking: Booked with Transat Air. Got a great last minute price. Flew Air Transat, planes are small and crowded, but managable. We keep an open mind when flying because we know we are on holidays.

Airports: No problem through customs. The Dominican baggange carriers are a bit pushy and want to take your luggage for you, so we let them. What’s a couple dollar tip anyways!

Check in: Went very smooth. Nice front desk staff who spoke good English and were very helpful. Gave us a map and called a bell boy and walked us to our room. Tipped him a couple bucks as he was very nice and showed us where they keep the ice etc. on our way to the room.

Room: We booked a regular room and were pleasantly surprised to have a king bed. The room was very roomy and the bathroom was also huge. We had a big jacuzzi tub that my boyfriend used every evening. The shower and toilet stalls were seperate and we never had a problem running out of hot water. There was a double sink which was convenient for the two of us. There is a longing area with a couch and chair, huge closet, desk, coffee tables, and a mini fridge that gets stocked every second day. This room also had a patio with 2 chairs and a table. Coffee maker, hairdryer , electronic safe also in room. This was a terrific room and the best we have stayed in since we’ve been travelling. The cleaning lady did a great job and had towel art a few times. I tipped her and left a small gift as well.

Resort: The resort is very large. There is a trolley to get you around and the wait isn’t long at all. There was a casino, huge sports complex with all types of sports, a gym, and spa. This resort is very clean and also has covered passage ways if it rains. Which it only rained twice when we were there. The lobby is big and there are waitresses serving you drinks while you relax. Live music in the evening and dancing too! We played cards alot and relaxed. The resort is beautiful and well maintained.

Pool: We don’t stay by the pool because we are beach people but they were very nice and had a nice swim up bar. Lots of action at the pool.

Food: We mostly ate at the Buffets and there was always something to eat and it was very delicious. Ate at the Asian restaurant and it was amazing. All in all the food was great, and hey if I’m not cooking it, it’s even better!! The presentation of the food was also amazing. Make sure to go on Gala night at the buffet as it was excellent.

Beach: WOW! This is why we came back to Punta Cana. You can walk miles and it is gorgeous. The water is warm and not much of an undertow during the day. Lots of loungers, although sometimes we had to look around. I hate those people that reserve their chairs and don’t show up. Boo to you! There are a lot of activities on the beach and we played volleyball twice a day. It was a lot of fun and we met great people, our age that we ended up partying with the whole time we were there. The animation staff was awesome and we also partied with them later in the night.

Entertainment: It was awesome. Really talented people. There is a bar in the entertainment palladium and comfy wicker chairs. Make sure to check out the Michael Jackson show. It was great.

Disco: Was a lot of fun and plays top 40. We had a blast and closed it down a few times. Drinks are included as well. Lots of people in the disco after the entertainment show is over.

There is so much more that i can rave about but I think you get the picture. This resort is fabulous and we would return in a heart beat. We are going to Cuba next year to try something else but have had second thoughts of returning instead.

Also, the excursions we did was the Bavaro Runner, Fabulous and Saona Island, which was boring to us. I parasailed and it was awesome as well.

This resort is amazing and we had a wonderful time. Just remember that you are on holidays and it is what YOU make of it. Don’t let little things that you can’t control upset you because it will ruin your time. Sit back, RELAX and enjoy your holiday! Afterall, we all deserve one.

If you have any other questions, you can email me at canash@mts.net and I will be happy to answer your questions.

Have fun!

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Tom

April 2007

Booking – Transat
Booked using Netholidays.ca. Actual price charged to my Credit Card was over $300 more then what I had booked!! Contacted Netholidays, refund of difference was in my hands in less than a week. Was angry for a little while though, turns out it was a computer problem on their end. They were cool about it, no problem in fixing it right away.

Flight
Flight going and returning was great. Westjet rocks!! They have TV’s but they don’t work all the way down, you get maybe 1 hour to 1.5 hours of satellite tv… better than nothing.

Airports
No problems whatsoever at either Halifax or Punta Cana Airports. Punta Cana is open air, so smoking is everywhere, if you’re interested. Mosquitos at the airport near the gate were plentiful… a few even got onto the plane and one poor guy got a huge bite behind his ear. There’s a Wendy’s at the PC airport… burgers and fries were yummy, didn’t trust the drink though, not sure where they get their ice.

Check in/Front Desk
Check in was pretty stress free. We arrived early, at noon-ish. Check in is at 3, so we had to lug some stuff around with us for a few hours… no biggie.

They allowed us into our rooms at 2:30. I had emailed a few weeks in advance to request 3 rooms in a general location and they had obliged!! I was very pleased and most impressed!! Actually, the front desk folks were among the best we have dealt with anywhere. Even though there were no vacancies, on our last day for late checkout purposes, they allowed us an extra hour… free. They also allowed us to keep our towels after check out until we were finished with them. They will store your luggage in a locked building if you have a late flight. There is a shower available… but no towels.

Room We booked a Junior Suite and were quite glad we did. The added space makes a huge difference. Lots of room in the bathroom too. It was spotless each and every day, and I mean spotless. The room has TV, a free in room safe that uses a code, hair dryer, coffee maker, phone, ice bucket, mini fridge stocked with a couple of beer a couple of soda pop and a couple of bottles of water. The fridge takes a while to cool stuff down though. Air conditioning was ok, not too noisy and would only really keep the temperature around 23-24c.

No problems pluggin in our batter charger or cell phone charger… no adapter needed. Each block of rooms was in a 2 story building and it was also spotless. Very impressive actually, just watching them clean up, they are hard workers!

Property
The property is large. Time should have been taken just exploring and finding the shortcuts!! I got lost on the way back to the room on the first night… then we started carrying maps. The Palladium group seems to be all about cleanliness. Even the common washrooms were not "scary" like we have seen elsewhere.

Food
We ate at 3 ala cartes… not bad, but really, the buffets were just as good. The ala cartes are great for a relaxing atmosphere though. The buffets are "hustle and bustle". Lots of choice though. What I hated about the buffets… and I mean, hated… were the people, the tourists!! Not all of them, but MOST of them. What is wrong with you people, you’re supposed to be on vacation!! Stop running around with a big snarl on your face, butting in front of people and muttering!! Slow down, there’s lots of food there, or more coming!! Don’t worry you’ll be able to eat your moneys worth!!

POP/Animation The People of Palladium were amazing. We thought they were the best animation team we had ever encountered.

They were on the go from early morning to late at night… every day!! Give yourselves a round of applause!! Next time, chew the antacid pill first before trying to swallow it, Sylvia!!

Service The bar service and waiter/waitressing was fantastic. I think it helps to get to know them a little. I watched some really ignorant people waving dollar bills around at the beach bars, only to be ignored, much to my delight. And there were the same goofs that were harrumphing around the buffets, snorting and butting in front of me at the beach bars. Nothing better than having the bartender ignore them until you get served. I got a lot of smiles out of the activities of the beach bar staff. They know "people". The lobby bar was our favorite early evening haunt. Really enjoyed the Brandy Alexanders after dinner.

Rosaria, we miss ya honey. The guys in the band like to chat, invite them to your table while they are on break… they won’t take a drink of anything though, they are professionals.

Sports bar
The sports bar seems unimpressive at first glance, so we didn’t spend much time there. As it turns out, there was pretty good food! The thickest BLT sandwich you’ll ever see. I did not find the bartender there very personable though, he was the exception. Maybe it was the noise getting on his nerves.

Shows
The evening shows. They serve their purpose. They fill the time between your after dinner drink and hitting the disco. A couple of entertaining shows… watch for the flame spitter… looks kind of dangerous!! I enjoy the shows, always do. I have to say that I liked the Africa show the best. Fermin, you were great in the audience participation shows… such an evil laugh!! I was the Cat-man in the Monday night show and got dragged up on stage by the POP staff to make a fool of myself singing "La bamba" with Fermin the next night… I apologise to anyone in the crowd on either of those nights.

Disco
The disco was pretty lively actually. Lots of folks dancing up a storm. Music was a bit repetitive from night to night, but that’s OK… maybe we weren’t supposed to be there every night!! Waitress service here was outstanding… in fact, that’s a trend all through the resort… great service. Well, except for during the shows, it’s quicker to go to the bar and get your own, just too many people. But the bar staff at the theatre bar were great!!

Shops There are a few shops just outside of the main lobby. Some cool stuff in there and some reasonably priced…

except for the necessities… they are expensive!! We did the wander around looking at and in a lot of shops down the beach, not my cup of tea though. Had heard that the beach vendors were aggressive… actually, they were kind of fun. Once they realized that we were not shoppers, they would just stop and chat on their way by. Some nice guys.

On… and on..
Could go on and on, Pools, Casino, Minigolf, Beach, vendors, train, bellhops, just too much that could be said, and all good. I would go back here, and I would recommend it to anyone. Good clean place with excellent service on a gorgeous beach. I cannot think of anything negative, other then towards the majority of the guests carrying chips on their shoulder, to say about this resort. This resort carries ratings anywhere from 4 to 5 stars depending on the site you visit… compared to others we have been to, this one is accurately rated. You will not be disappointed here.

Questions or comments?
tomaz61@yahoo.ca

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Darren and Bernadette ~ New Brunswick, Canada

April 2007

My wife and I went to the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort and Spa from April 9th to April 16th, 2007. We traveled with two other couples. We had 7 days of Sunny hot weather which made for a great vacation. This was a wonderful spot and I would recommend it to anyone.

Travel –
Our trip was run by Transat Holidays and we flew on West Jet. The West Jet folks were great. The cabin crew was very entertaining the whole way. There was no shortage of jokes and silliness on the flight down and on the flight back. This was very refreshing compared to most airlines which the crew is very somber and serious all the time. We had some friends that went to a neighboring resort at the same time and they flew with Can Jet. They made an unscheduled stop in the Bahamas for fuel which greatly delayed their trip. Can Jet did the same thing to us when we went to Cuba 2 years ago. They must get cheaper fuel in the Bahamas. They should make sure their passengers know in advance that they will be sitting on the runway in Nassau for a couple hours waiting to refuel before heading to their destination. After our Cuba trip 2 years ago we renamed them to Can’t Jet.

Reception –
When we landed at the Punta Cana airport we were directed by a Transit Rep to our bus which took us to the resort. The ride wasn’t too long, maybe 30 minutes. There was some road construction that we had to go around. Check in went smoothly and the folks at the desk were able to put all three couples close together. 2 couples in one building and the other in a neighboring building.

Room –
We had the deluxe room which was very nice. It was clean, well kept, and in very good condition. One of the couples had a Junior Suite which had a sitting area (sofa) in it and a larger bathroom with a large tub. It was very nice. I may consider spending a little more next time for the upgrade.

Staff –
The staff was wonderful. Always smiling and willing to help. The POP team (People of Palladium) were great. They worked hard to get people involved in activities at the beach, pool, and in the shows in the evening. I can’t believe the energy these young folks had. They worked from dawn till the late hours at the disco trying to keep everyone happy and involved, always smiling and energetic the whole time.

Food –
There were two main buffets on the Resort and Spa side that we used most often. The food was always good and there is no reason anyone should go hungry as there is a huge selection to choose from. You also had the option of dining in the neighboring resort because it is also a Grand Palladium (Fiesta Hotel) but we only ventured over there for our a al carte meals.

The a la carte dinners were a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the buffet. It was very relaxing and quiet. The only trade of is you don’t have the wide variety of foods to pick from when you dine a la carte. But if you don’t find something there you like you can always go to the sports bar later for burgers, fries, pizza, natchos or a BLT. The sports bar was open 24hrs so you could satisfy those late night munchies (or thirst) at any time.

Activities –
We didn’t do any organized excursions because of the extra costs involved but we did visit some shopping areas. I don’t like the haggling much but my wife did a good job and got some jewelry and a couple cheap bottles of Brugal Ron for us. There is shopping on the resort as well and there is no haggling there. We bought a nice painting there to and in our Caribbean themed family room at home.

At the beach and poolside there were activities like aerobics, dance lessons, water polo, and a beer drinking contest.

The nightly shows were very entertaining. There were a few with audience participation which my group always seemed to get involved in. We were known as the Punta Canadians by the time we left. There were a few musical and dance show as well. The performers were very talented and put on a good show.

After the show people would move to the disco for an evening of dancing which lasted well into the early am. There was a lot of Latin dance mix music so don’t go here expecting to hear music from the MTV or Much Music countdown. Again the service and staff were great. The POP team was always busy looking for anyone who looked bored and dragging them up on the dance floor.

Beach/Grounds –
The beach was beautiful. My wife and I are beach bums so this was the best part. There is beautiful white sand, palms, and gentle warm breezes. Shade is important, we had to depend on the palm trees for that because the little huts are always taken too early in the morning. We didn’t like to wake up too early so we just used the trees for shade. The grounds and gardens were immaculate. Everything was in blossom so the colors were amazing. They did a wonderful job taking care of the place.

All in all it was an awesome trip. When we booked the trip online it said it was a 4 star. I would have to say it was probably a 5.

Below are links to video clips and a photo slide show on youtube.

You Tube Video Clips

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mooHeCAHIZw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91Zaq–5Dsc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx93s1-sTmE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOplpfA4E-g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSHRd2_NVPQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_f1HytKk20
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XCTiZsPqhE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VshkbUlt9qQ

Photo Slide Show
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsym7spFcHA

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Ana

March 2007

A few years ago we enjoyed Christmas and New Years at Bavaro Fiesta. Positive: beautiful white sand beaches. Very well managed and organized, great staff and ambiance. Decorations and food – five stars. Negative: Very windy (could be the time of the year) and personally we felt uncomfortable with the poor conditions of the cooking staff – long hours in the heat, and not allowed a drink or provided a fan. Not much better than what we saw in Cuba.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Steve & Rita ~ Burlington, Ontario, Canada

February 2007

Steve and Rita’s complete review with photos

We were very pleased to be joined on this trip by our friends, Joann and Kevin who are also from Burlington, Ontario, Canada..

We were so happy with our Mexico trip and we talked about it so much that our friends decided they had to go somewhere..And soon!!..A little sooner than we had planned but it really didn’t take much to get us signed up as well..

Once again we dealt with the Flight Center Travel Agency Office

We weren’t as worried about the unknown this time and we pretty much decided where and when to go by ourselves..We did consider some last minute places but since we wanted a particular property, we found ourselves watching the prices..They did go up and down and we almost lost the chance to "get in cheap" by waiting..So when the price went back down we booked..About 1 month ahead of our departure date..We continued to watch the prices for future reference but they just kept getting higher as the property filled up..Less rooms available at higher prices..And we didn’t just watch Flight Centre either..Their prices were compatible with the other last minute places..We really think that if you want a certain property there really is no sense in waiting until the last minute..

As before, we took our time and did our research..We ended up deciding on the Grand Palladium Bavaro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.. Our vacation hosts were Air Transat and they took care of everything from getting us there to making sure we had fun while we were there by providing an Air Transat Rep right in the hotel and to getting us home

We chose an all inclusive package this time as well..There really is no way we’d do anything different..Eat all day..Drink all day..Its not that we gorge "cause it’s free"..But it is nice not to have to worry about the budget every time you want to eat.. We would recommend this resort without hesitation..All the pictures are thumbnailed so please feel free to click away for larger versions..Hope you enjoy your visit to our little adventure…

I`d have to say this was our favorite meal of the day..We ate so much all day that this was probably the only time we were actually hungry..Most mornings we would all hook up and go to breakfast together but some days we`d do our own thing..Breakfast was always at the Catedral Restaurant and there was more than enough variety to keep things interesting..No complaints at all about the breakfast buffet..Eat, eat, eat…We were never crowded or waiting in lines and the resort was very full..

The Arrecife Restaurant is located right by the beach..It was a great place to visit for lunch..Again..The buffet was awesome..I would suggest you don`t bother with the beef dishes as they seem very tough..But leaving the beef aside is really no problem as again you will find plenty of variety..A favorite of ours were the burritos..Yummy..Just enough spice to make you enjoy your beer, but not overly hot..Which we prefer..But make sure you visit the chefs..They are always cooking up something and it is some tasty stuff..

A la carte is very nice..The meals were all excellent..We did three of the restaurants and our biggest complaint was that we really weren`t that hungry..Eat eat eat..Drink drink drink…But it is really nice to get dressed up and have an evening out..We liked it more for that..THe food was great, but all the food is great and you get more selection at the buffets..I think next time we will just have one night out instead of three…It will be more memorable..But we do recommend you try at least one..All the ones we went to were great..Pick your favorite flavour(they are all different nationalities)..We`re sure you won`t be dissappointed..

At the Catedal again for dinner..When it wasn’t A la carte this is pretty much where we ate..Every night was a different country theme..First night was the United States..haha…Good hamburgers though..haha..

The rest of the nights pretty much covered the cuisines of the A La Carte restaurants..So you could have the choice of a la carte dining or just get a mixture of stuff at the buffet..(our preference was the buffet)..But on the other hand..The A La Carte was cooked and served right away(not overcooking under hot lamps)

THE BEACH:
Listed as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world

It really was an awesome beach..White powdery sand and beautiful blue/green waters..When that sun was out, which was EVERY DAY, it just looked so green.

As with most resorts you have to be sure to reserve your lawn chairs first thing in the AM by putting your towels on them for the day…We were getting up as early as 6:30 am to do this..And not being early enough..We really think that by the end of the week people were going back to the beach late at night rather than early in the morning..Keep that in mind…..

THE POOL:
Our pool was called the Piscina Pool…Thought that was a funny name for a pool This was our favorite spot by the pool..The pool is right in front of us..The whirlpool tubs are right behind us..And the POP guys are getting things going with their daily acticities right in front of us as well..But we are just far enough away not to be sitting right on top of them.. Again..If you want a spot under a shelter or even if you just want chairs you have to reserve them at the beginning of the day..Decide between beach or pool and get there early..

THE SHOPPING:
Our Transat Rep, Jane, sent us to this shop in El Cortecito..Apparently, the guy who discovered these blue colored gems named them after his daughter (Lari) and the ocean(mar)…The lady was very nice and her prices were good..All different sized pieces to fit your budget..Ask Jane at the Transat desk in the hotel lobby for directions..I`m sure even if you don`t fly Transat, she`ll point you in the right direction..

As for the shopping..We found a few places..If you go past the Beach boundery to the south you will come to some open markets..Just be ware that you will be hounded by the hawkers..

If that’s not your thing, turn right immediately after you pass the boundery flags..You still go through a few stalls and get "bothered" some, but its really not that bad.."No thank-you" and keep walking usually does the trick..

Turn left at the first corner and you come into El Cortecito..Here you will find a general store..The Jewellery store mentioned above and a cigar store (among other places)..We walked in there, but the smoke was just a little too thick..But apparently, if you are interested, the cigar store in El Cortecito is the place to go..

Another place is by the Theatre in front of the lobby..There is a great little store there that has just about anything you’ll need/want..And a T-Shirt shop??…

And you can also go to the couple of stores up the street from the Casino..Most of these stores have the same sorta stuff but we did find stuff in on e that wasn’t available in the next..In fact, two of the things we bought were only in one store each..

BAVARO RUNNERS:
We decided right from the start that we only wanted to do one trip..We actually were interested in just doing a half day trip but we found this one to be quite interesting..It was a full day and by all accounts, it was well worth the price of admission..We really enjoyed ourselves and that was due in large to our guides and the group we went with..Everyone was great…Check it out for yourself..Bavaro Runners

Our first stop was in a sugar cane field..We got to try some sugar cane and see the guys working hard to harvest it..Cow drawn carts and machetes were used to harvest miles of fields..Wow!!

Our ride was basically seats in the back of a truck..We didn`t see much of our driver, but he did a great job too…As mentioned..We had a great group of people with us and that really made the whole experience so much betterGood thing our driver knew the roads very well and knew when to slow down for the big dips..It was actually a pretty comfortable ride….We stopped at the top of a hill for this photo op of the countryside with the mountains in the background..

At the same farm, we were treated to something we have never seen before in Canada..It really was interesting to have the "trainers" explain how they run this sport..What constitutes a loss, how they train the roosters, and just how much a good rooster can go for…Up to $4000 US..Yikes…We were treated to a little scrap and we are sure the real thing can get a bit more violent but it was still interesting to see a bit of it..

Our Bavaro Beach Ranch stop..
This stop was a working tobacco farm(on a small scale), a horse ranch, a buffet, market and a beautiful beach all on a large ranch…We rode..We ate, we spent money and we swam in the ocean..Wow!!

Our next stop was at a local school..Schooling is mandatory in the Dominican, but it seems that only the kids in middle class and higher actually go to school..They still have to buy their own supllies and uniforms and the lower class just don’t have the money..At our other stops and this one we always saw the poorer kids begging..It really was sad..It was nice to see the Bavaro Runners do try to help out the kids though..They sell hats and shirts with some of the proceeds going to the kids..If you are planning on an excursion, it might be an idea to visit a `dollar store`before you leave home..The kids really light up when you give them anything and they appreciate it..We did find them to be a little more `grabby`than in Mexico, but we think they have to be a little more pushy so they don`t get pushed aside by the next guy..

Our next stop was this cave that apparently goes on for miles..In ancient times it was used as a worshipping place as well as shelter from the storms..Which we are sure they still use it for today..Another great stop..

Some snaps of the mountains as we head back south to Punta Cana..Those are rice fields in the foreground..We didn`t realize rice was a Dominican crop..You always learn something on these trips..

Our last stop was some Dominican people doing some traditional dances.. Accompanied by the guys and their drums & percussion instruments..Was a great end to a great day..We highly recommend this adventure…We enjoyed everything about it..The drive around the east coast to the visiting with the dominican people..Everything was a pleasure to see and do…The one thing we noticed in The Dominican is that there weren`t a lot of options for excursions, but this one was well worth it…We were all glad to have done it..

THE HOTEL: The first person we met when we got to The Dominican Republic was our Air Transat Rep, Jane…She met us at the airport..Got us on our bus and went with us to the hotel..She arranged our orientation meeting for the next day..This truly is something you want to attend…She will answer every question you can think of and we highly recommend that this is the best way to start your stay at any hotel in any country..

By the way..We want Jane`s job..She is Canadian..She lives in Canada except for the winter months when she flies down to the Dominican and does her tour rep thing..How cool is that??

.In your room package you receive when you first get to the resort you will receive this map…You need it..The resort is kind of big but we were surprized how easy it was to get around..Any walking we did was only five minute trips at the most..Unless we "went for a walk"..But generally, you didn’t have to walk far to get places..We were in building #19..Very close to the main pool..Very close to the beach and just a little further to the Catedral Restaurant..

Speaking of room #s…Thanks to our research on the net before we left, we had an idea how the room numbers worked..We were in room #1193…That’s all the info you get..You have to figure out that 1=the 1st floor,19=the building#, and 3 is the room..1193 is the actual # on your door though..Good luck!!..haha..

THE ROOM:
This property features 636 rooms in 62 two storey bungalows and 5 two-storey villas. We were supposed to get the Deluxe room, which has air-conditioning, 1 king-size or 2 double beds, bathroom, hairdryer, satellite TV, telephone, coffee and tea tray, minibar, in-room safe, iron and ironing board & balcony..Fortunatley we were upgraded when we checked in..Never asked for it or even saw our rooms yet..But both couples were in neighbouring Junior suites..Which are the same as the Deluxe rooms but the bathrrom has the whirlpool tub and there is a larger sitting area.. Our room was beautiful and we were in awe right from the point of walking through the door..No complaints whatsoever..

THE GROUNDS:
We can not say enough about the grounds at the Palladium Resorts..The greenest grass without blemish, the plants were all very colorful..Everything was just so well maintained and clean..

Be sure to take a train ride around the resorts to get a lay of the land..You will find that you don`t use this for transport at all…The train goes around the edge of the resorts and it really is quicker and an easier way if you walk where you need to go..One nice thing to do though, is to go from the Casino to the Theatre..That’s a bit of a walk and although it is a longer route via the train, we think its still quicker and way easier on the feet….(it’s actually about the same distance as walking when you go from The Theatre to the Casino)

PERSONNEL OF PALLADIUM (POP):
.They do an awesome job of getting everyone involved..We are not really the join in kind of people(Hey..We can`t help it, we`re Canadian)..But even we got a little involved..And if nothing else we enjoyed having these guys around..By the second day they knew who we were and were always so very nice to us..

And they were there all day..We saw these guys on the beach at 7am and they were at the shows at 11pm..

They usually started their programs with dancing and exercises on the beach..We joind in for awhile doing that..But it is very tiring running around on the beach..Joann and Kevin lasted a bit longer than Steve & Rita did in that.. As for the shows..Very good..Every night was something different..A few nights of different dance groups..One night was Karaoke(some really good singers signed up for this)..And one night was the Michael Jackson Band(didn’t we see that in Mexico??)

Of course, our favorite night was when Joann and Kevin got called up to the stage to participate..There were a few couples involved..A professional couple would do a dance and then the couples had to copy it..Very funny..Too bad(much to Kevin’s relief), we didn’t bring the camera or more importantly, the camcoder..They truly did a great job and they were really good sports about it..It was funny when for the next few days(the rest of our stay actualy)people would come up to us and say, "hey..Its those dancers"…hehe..Priceless..

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Dave ~ Canada

February 2007

My name is Dave and this was our 3rd trip to Punta Cana in 13 months. My wife and I absolutely love Bavaro Beach.

This resort is all that the other reviews say. It was a wonderful vacation. I won’t get into repeating what other people have already stated in their reviews but I will restate that the food was great and there was lots of it with a great variety.

Punta Cana Airport: Arrived at 9:30pm. Beautiful and hot! Pearson should take lessons from this airport. Baggage was off in a matter of minutes.

Check-in: We had a full coach going to Grand Palladium Bavaro and I was worried that we would be in the lobby forever. This was not the case at all. Talk about organized!!! We were all off to our rooms almost immediately and our luggage arrived to our rooms a short while later.

Food: Very good as I mentioned earlier. Everything in the buffet was well cooked. This wasn’t the case in the sports bar. I tossed a half cooked burger in the garbage. Not a big deal. I am a picky eater and don’t want to get sick on vacation so I always check my food when I eat out. Not only in the D.R., also at home.

Staff: Very friendly and helpful. Service was absolutely fantastic. One evening we were eating in the buffet and one of the waiters forgot to bring one of our 7ups to our table. His supervisor was watching him and tore a strip off of him. The second 7up was to our table in seconds. I felt sorry for the poor guy. These people work extremely hard long days. Tip them well. They work a lot harder than Canadians and we have to tip at least 15% when we go out for dinner. Izadora at the lobby bar is the best. What a sweet lady. Her smile will brighten your day! If you have some left over consumables at the end of your trip eg. hair spray, lotions etc. put them in a bag and give them to your favourite resort employee. They really appreciate it and these things are very expensive for them to buy. We saw most people weren’t even tipping a dollar. Don’t be so damn cheap. If you can afford a vacation like this you can afford to tip a buck here and there.

Beach: Breath taking. This is why we go to Punta Cana. Enough said.

Resort: Three words Beautiful, Clean, LARGE. Be prepard to do some walking. Or wait for the train. If you are lucky the train won’t be full. We walked most places.

Buffet: We took the train over to the Palace buffet every night because it was quieter there. Food selection was a bit smaller but mostly the same. Bavaro buffet was packed and noisy. One small thing that did bother me is that at the lunch beach buffet you had to wear shorts shirts and shoes or sandals. This isn’t a big deal but a bit of a pain because it was so hot. There was a line up at lunch also. We had to wait for half and hour to get in for lunch a few days. I got the feeling that this resort has more guests than what it can handle. I definitely prefer the Riu resorts over the Palladium in this area. The beach buffet at the Riu resorts will allow you to eat in your bathing suit if you wish ( HELLO, we are at the beach!!!!) Getting a table at the Riu’s immediately was never a problem but it was a huge problem at the Palladium. This is the only negative that I have with the Palladium.

A la cartes: Didn’t got to any. Couldn’t be bothered booking any and the food at the buffet was great. Most resorts have the same food at the a la cartes and the buffet anyway.

Room: King bed close to the beach. Nice size and very clean. Didn’t spend much time here at all though. The weather was too nice to be inside.

Special note: If you want to go shopping you have a few choices here. Plaza Bavaro is only a 10 min. walk from the gate. Be prepared to be dragged into all the shops here. The vendors will do anything to get you into their shop. Just take a quick walk through and smile and thank them on your way out. One phase that works well is, "your merchandise is very nice, but not for me." If you are nice to them they will be nice to you. option 2 is the beach shops just past the Royal Suites. Same advise as previously mentioned Option 3 and the best option. Walk just past the Royal suites and go right just as you reach the market then turn to your next left. Walk about half way down this street and you will find a grocery store that sells Brugel rum for about 12 dollars U.S. for a one liter bottle and a large bottle of pure vanilla for just over 1 dollar. There is also a lot of other things that you may need and this is where the most reasonable prices will be found. There is also a cigar shop and shop that sells Larimar. These two shops are the real thing and they have prices on everything. Don’t buy cigars or Larimar off the beach. You don’t know if they are the real thing or not and you will get ripped off. There are also a couple of other stores that carry gifts and so on that also have prices right on the product.

1 U.S. dollar is equal to 33 D.R. pesos, take time to do the math before you pay.

All in all it was a great vacation. Probably won’t go back, but we like to try different places. I do highly recommend Grand Palladium Bavaro. Don’t hesitate to book this resort. You won’t be disappointed.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Lynn ~ Nova Scotia

January 2007

We just returned from a one week stay at the Grand Palladium Bavero Resort and it was wonderful !

The food was fabulous and there were so many items to pick from. There shouldn’t be anyone complaining about the food.

Each night there was a theme in the main buffet dining hall plus all the old stand bys. The theme is posted outside the diningroom in the hallway. There are many Al a carts to choice from but a word to the wise, book them the first day. We only got to go to one but it did not matter the food was great in every place. The one we did go to was the Mexican restaurant and it was wonderful. They were taking your drink away before it did get warm and replacing it with a new one.

The staff were friendly and helpful. The rooms were great. We paid for a deluxe room and we had a room with a double hottub. The safe in the room is included in the price and there is an ironing board and iron in the room. One would think that this is not important but on day 5 when everything is balled up in the suitcase its nice to have the option.

We were in the villa #45 which is close to the main lobby of the Bavero section but our friends were in #19 and #65. Which were way on the other side of the resort so they walked alot. Its a wonderful HUGE resort and the walk doesn’t kill you but you do feel it in your legs.

The beach towel is also included in your price. You just have to present a card to the fella by a pool and he gives you a towel.Return the towels at the end of your stay and get your card back and then give it to the front desk on departure.

Here is something good to know, we live in Nova Scotia,and the rep from Air Transit told us if you want to call home do it dirctly from your room. Do not call collect as it is more expensive. Pay for the calls at the end of your trip at the front desk. I think its $1.30 per minute. I had no problem calling through and I talked to everyone and it cost me $14.00 US for two calls. I didn’t talk long as no one wanted to hear it was 35 and sunny where I was and it was -27 with the windchill where they were. They do have international cards you can buy there but she told us that it cost more to do it that way.

I did try to send an e-mail to the folks back home but it never did go through. You buy 1/2 hour for $5.00 US or 1 hour $8.00 of internet time, there is two sites on the resort. I am no computer wiz so I am certain it was my fault.

We did go into the little town at Punta Cana just off the beach on the resort. Alittle pushy the vendors are but they took no for an answer eventually. There is alittle shop in this town that Jane,the Air Transit rep,told us about. This young lady sells Larimar and amber jewelery that she makes herself. Good prices compared to the resort shops.

Just a quick note about the excursions wew went on. Before we left Canada we booked a Deep Sea Fishing trip for the three fellas. The sea was rough that day,the girls didn’t think so from the beach, but two out of the three threw up the entire time. It was $590.00 for 4 hours of private charter fishing. The guys that were sick said they would have paid $800.00 to go back to shore. They caught 4 fish so that was good. Oh well it gave them a good story to take back home.

The fellas went on the helicopter ride over the beach and they thought that was wonderful, worth every cent.

We went on the Marina snorkeling tour,swimming with Stingrays and nurse sharks, wonderful and funny. The crew on the boat is great. Half day tour well worth the $156.00 for a couple.

I recommend this resort to everyone. It looks by far the nicest from the road. Alot of people on the excursions from other resorts said that the Grand Palladium looked far better then the one they were at.

Take the time to see the sunrise on the beach, you won’t regret it.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Alisa ~ Canada

January 2007

Flight: Transat – Really Bad! The flight there wasn’t too terrible considering we got window seats but on the way back we didn’t and it was awful! So many people were getting sick on the plane, they were just getting restless flight home was 7 hours. Crazy!

Food: Unbelievable property. If anyone complains about the lack of food choices or quality at this hotel, then really I don’t know how you possibily could or what exactly your expecting. This is a 5 star hotel. The food was amazing, neither of us got sick (party of 8) everyone enjoyed the food. We never ate at the a la carte restauarants at all. We did however discover that the El Bohique is the best restaurant in the resort for buffet. The Le Cathedral is so/so. El bohique the one by the pool in what is technically the Punta Cana side with the way the resort is divided. (The one closer by the sports fields). The breakfast was one I looked forward to the most, fresh juice, waffels and french toast and churros oh my goodness it doesn’t get any better then waking up to that. I think people discovered this restaurant was the best closer to the end of our trip as we had to wait in line for a few minutes before entering the restaurant. This restaurant the El Bohique is more "restaurant" of a feel then a buffet. Very good!

The other one the grill in the palladium casino side very close to the beach by the royal suites is very good for lunch! It’s got a grill that has many varieties like steak, chicken, hamburgers etc.

The New years: The gala we went to also was fantastic. Great food again, they gave out bags with a new years hat, grapes (must be a spanish tradition) yes the fruit, then we got a special drink before we went into the gala. The resort also has 15 minutes worth of fireworks that were amazing, better then the ones our city here at home in Canada puts on!!!

Hotel Room: VERY clean we had a jacuzzi and two beds, was very clean the maids would clean the room and make it spotless every few days, we only got it cleaned every 2 instead of every day to give them a bit of a break. NO BUGS! Whatsoever! Okay, maybe like a little ant on the balcony/walk way but I mean this is the tropics!!!!

Hotel Property: The property is VERY well maintained and VERY Clean, the STAFF ARE SUPER! Very nice, courtious, I’ve never seen such pleasant staff before anywhere! Truly 5 star. The only downside is some of the staff know very little english, but enough to get you buy, there is usually a few in reception that know English and they will know enough to get you through the time there. Honestly, it is there country and really they shouldn’t be expected to know English, alhtough it will be nice in such a huge resort I doubt it will happen that easy, but if you try to speak with them in Spanish even if its from you little travel companion book they will really appreciate it and respect that. Remember to say GRACIAS and HOLA! Wherever you go in the resort. THe staff all say HOLA everyehwere they see you, which is kinda amusing in the first couple days if your not use to it!!!

The hotel also has SECRUITY GUARDS EVERYWHERE! Especially on the beach, they also have Dominican Police escorting the guys who try to get you to buy stuff from them off the beach, which honestly is nice because its a bit annoying. Its very good, if you think about it. You feel really safe! We never even put our stuff in the safe (ie. passports) we just put them amongst clothign in luggage and it was fine!

Beach: Oh my goodness, what can I say, my pictures from the beach I brought back people were flipping them over to see if they were POSTCARDS!!! No kidding! It looks that fake! Its beautiful, if that’s even the right word! Amazing beach long stretch of it! Its a long beach unlike other resorts we saw while walking the beach they have like almost no beach. This beach has tones of space, palm trees and the huts are at the back further at the back of the beach area. To get a hut you have to get up early. Got one only the last day. But if you get your towel out there and then just go back and eat that works as well, thats what most people do, which yes, is unfair but that’s how its done.

Sports: Lots of things to do, including my favourite Soccer/Football – They have two fields made of Field Turf (or something along the lines of that) couldn’t believe it, they have one that’s actual size, then they have a smaller one. Also within the sports facility is: mini-golf, beach volleyball an actual court in the sports facility, badminton, tennis-lots of courts, archery, etc. Lots of stuff. Soccer was mostly played at night as it was too hot during the day. THey also have a basketball court.

There was also beach volleyball and beach soccer. ON the Beach. People would just get together and play Some activites were scheduled, which you will get the schedule when you get to the resort.

OVERALL: Compared to all the horror stories about food, bugs, non-clean rooms, I would by far spend the extra $$$$ (money) and spend a bit more to stay in this 5 star hotel. You won’t be disappointed. I’m ready to go back in a heartbeat. Also looking at there properties – Palladium (fiesta hotel groups) in Mayan Riviera in Mexico.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Ellen and Gerry ~ Edmonton, Canada

December 2006

We are 55 years old and this was our 5th trip to Dominican Republic. Previously we have always stayed at Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort but the last time we were there, in 2001, we noticed the condition of the resort had deteriorated significantly since our first stay there in 1996. We decided to try the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort based on reviews we read at this site and we are glad we did. We are not demanding guests but we do expect things to be clean, safe and in good working order. For those who want everything to be just like at home, we advise that you stay home.

1. Flight – Nothing to do with the resort but since it is part of the package vacation I’ve included it. Air Transat, as always, is cramped and crowded but thankfully they have started serving only sandwich type foods – much easier to eat in a confined space than the slippery pasta dishes they used to serve. Travelling from Edmonton was easy and uneventful. The trip home, however, was brutal. There were at least 6 flights of people all arriving at the Punta Cana airport at once and lining up to check in. It took about two hours of standing in line in the heat before we were checked in. The plane was full, smelly and many passengers seemed to have colds. Arriving home at 3:00 AM is not fun.

2. Hotel – Check-in was very quick. We stayed in villa 61, which has about 20 rooms, room 6113 on the ground floor. There are some villas with fewer rooms but we wanted two beds and the smaller villas have one kingsize, I’m told. The room was lovely – marble floors, Jacuzzi tub, even facecloths, which is unusual. Everything worked and there were no bugs in the room. At Barcelo, we frequently found that the air conditioning worked poorly and we always had tons of little ants in our room and usually water on the floor around the toilet. None of that at Grand Palladium. We never saw a single cockroach anywhere.

3. Food and Drink – There are several buffets which mostly serve all the same stuff but it is all of high quality and lots of variety, with a different theme each night. There are also several a la carte restaurants included in the package, for which you must make a reservation. We tried the Mexican, the Spanish and the Asian. All of them were very good but our favourite was the Asian. Neither of us was ill at any time. There are many bars with the usual array of drinks. Here you are asked if you want rum in the slush drinks, otherwise they contain no alcohol. There are pool bars and bar kiosks all along the beach so refreshment is always close at hand. There is also a “Sports Bar” open 24 hours a day so you can always get something to eat or drink.

4. Staff – We found the staff and Grand Palladium to be superior – always friendly and very accommodating. The front desk staff all spoke English and many of the other staff spoke enough English that it was not a problem making ourselves understood. It also helps if you learn a few Spanish words and phrases, which we did. Tipping is not required but we did tip the maid $1 US each day and our regular waiters and waitresses a couple of dollars before we left.

5. Beach/Pools – I liked the beach at Barcelo better because of the palm trees which provide shade. Grand Palladium has cabanas but get out there early if you want one. The water at Barcelo is very calm so non-swimmers like me could go in the water. At Grand Palladium the water is fairly rough and there is a lot of boat traffic. Even my husband who swims, found the water too rough. That was really the only disappointment we had as it is nice to cool off in the water. The pools are all nice and have some cabanas but we came for the ocean so the pools were irrelevant to us.

6. Miscellaneous – Although there were people our age and older, we generally found a younger crowd at this resort, though certainly not rowdy. Something we appreciate is washrooms in the common areas, around the pools, so you don’t have to keep returning to your room – and they were clean too. Bring everything you need from home as toiletries, etc. in the hotel shops are astonishingly expensive. I saw a bottle of shampoo that was $34 US. Even the local rum is more expensive than at home. Probably cheaper at the flea market but you don’t know what you are really getting. There are people selling things on the beach but not many and they do not pester you.

Over all, we had no complaints about this resort and highly recommend it.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Marilou ~ Montreal

October 2006

Introduction
Hi, my name is Marilou and I travelled to Punta Cana, at the Grand Palladium Bavaro from October 22 – 29, 2006. I am a newly single 25 year old who went with my best friend for a girls getaway. This was my third time to Punta Cana. Resorts previously visited were the Ocean Bavaro and the Superclubs Breezes. I have also travelled to Mexico and Venezuela. This was the first trip for my best friend, first plane ride, everything. The purpose of this trip was a lot of R&R as well as letting loose a little and having a good time. This will be a long report, so if you are not interested in the long stuff, here it is, nice and simple, it was fantastic! Do not hesitate to go!

Arrival
We arrived at the hotel at approximately 5:15PM. We were greeted by very professional staff who assigned us to room number 1232 in villa number 23. Prior to departure, I had e-mailed the resort, asking for 2 double-beds, 2nd floor and as close to the beach as possible. Villa number 23 was fairly close to the beach. Our room was on the first floor and had 2 double beds. We went to the front desk to ask if we could get something else and they did propose other 2nd floor rooms, but we really liked the location of Villa number 23, so we stayed there. Note: the reception desk staff are the most competent and friendly I have ever encountered.

Room
Our room was gorgeous, and really big. Two double beds, one couch and table in sitting area, tv entertainment cented with mini-fridge and coffee stuff, small make-up desk with sitting bench. It was extremely spacious. The lighting was perfect and the closet space was out of this world. As you can well imagine, two mid-twenties girls travelling together had lots of stuff and we had more than enough room. The bathroom was also huge, with different stalls within the bathroom for toilet and shower, a 2-place jaccuzi tub and double sink with large counter space.

Maid service was excellent, always rearraging and cleaning the room. Towel art showed up occasionally. The maid team was really nice and always smiling. We really appreciated their hard work. Mini-fridge contained water, beer and soda and was refilled 3 times a week.

The resort
The resort is huge. It is made up of 4 sections. From the north to the south, First is Grand Palladium Bavaro, then there is Grand Palladium Punta Cana, then there is the Grand Palladium Palace and then the Royal Suites Section. We explored the resort a little bit, however, it is so big, we mostly stuck to the Bavaro section, which is where most things are anyways. The theatre and the disco are at the Bavaro section, near the shops, the lobby bar, the sports bar, the buffet restaurant and the 3 of the a la carte restaurants. It is nice that they have grouped this all together as everything is pretty close together at night and one does not need to move around a lot. Everyone staying in the Bavaro, Punta Cana and Palace Sections have exchange rights for all facilities at these 3 resorts. Royal Suites is exclusive to those guests and they, however, have access to the rest of the resort. In my opinion, the Bavaro Section is the best one to stay at. This is the section that has the nicer and bigger buffet, more a la cartes, the disco and the theatre. It also has the 24 hour sports bar along with a fancy piano bar.

Rooms in the Bavaro Section are made up of 8 room two story villas. There are several of them and trust me, when you arrive, you will be confused! Everyone got lost! No big deal, after the first day, you can figure it out pretty well.

The beach
The beach is gorgeous. I love the Punta Cana beach, this is one of the main reasons why I keep going back there. The palladium beach stretch is really long and one can find either loads of peace and quiet or games and music, depending on preferences. The water this week was really rough, with lots of waves, cloudy water and some seaweed. This is unusual for PC. It was still quite pleasant and a nice change to play in the waves. Water tempature was nice and warm. There is plenty of shade on the beach, however, for a prime spot, you do have to get there early.

The pools
There are 3 or 4 pools. We mostly stuck to the Bavaro Section pool as it was right next to our room. The pools are well maintained. Very clean. Tons of wait staff around the pool. The pool bar bartenders were fantastic.

The bars
There are so many bars at this resort, it is crazy. We didnt even come close to visiting all of them. There must be about 10 bar kiosks on the beach. Every pool has a pool bar. Every lobby has a bar. There is a piano bar, a cocktail bar, a sports bar, theatre bar and disco bar. Service was excellent at all of them. There is a very good variety of drinks and they will pretty much make anything you want.

The animation team
There is different animation teams for the different resort sections. I will comment on the animation for the Bavaro section. Well first of all, the actual people on the team are fabulous individuals. Very big thanks to Glenny, Doris, Alexander, Wilson and Hugo. These people work so hard to get lazy tourists off their butts to do activities and have a good time. They are very respectful yet actually participating in the activities is a lot of fun. Activities at the pool, including stretching, aerobics, dance lessons and games are from 10AM to 12:30PM. Activities at the pool including, dancing lessons, water polo, aqua aerobics, games are between 3:00PM and 6:00PM.

Entertainment
Besides the animation team activities, there is several other forms of entertainment. There is a show at the theatre every night between 10 and 11. It is mostly dancing shows and couples competion-type shows. These shows are pretty much all the same in all DR resorts. They are all right. Some people like them, some people do not. It depends on your preferences. There is always a band in the Bavaro lobby bar, and some nights there is dancing. They are very talented and it is very relaxing to listen to the sound of the music. The disco opens at 11:00PM, after the show finishes. It is a fabulous, perfectly sized disco, two stories with really amazing music. They play dance/techno music to start off the night and then they do the hotel dance and merengue, salsa. The animation team is there until approximately 12:30AM to dance with the guests and generallly entertain. Hugo, who is the DJ all day for activities and at night at the disxo, is very knoledgable about music and does a really good job with music variety and sensing the crowd’s mood for music. He has a great computer/mixer set up and the acoustics are great.

Restaurants
The main buffet at the Bavaro section is called La Cathedral and this is where they serve breakfast and dinner. The variety is truly astonishing and the quality as well. This hotel has by far the best food of any DR resort I have been to and actually rivals Mexico food. A buffet is a buffet, so I am sure some people find a way to complain, however, it really was great. We actually only used 2 of our 3 a la cartes reservations because we wanted to be at the buffet on our last night. Guillermina and Francesco at this restaurant were truly fabulous individuals who took really good care of us. We were actually known as Guillermina’s amigas at the buffet.

We went to the Don Quijote Spanish restaurant and had a fabulous dinner there. Service was exceptional there, not too fast, not too slow. The food was great. I had garlic mushrooms as an apetizer, lamb for dinner and cheesecake for dessert. Everything was perfect. The decoration at this restaurant was gorgeous. We also went to El Arrifice International restaurant. It is located close to the beach, in the same location there is the lunch buffet. It is a surf and turf kind of a restaurant. I had steak and my friend had chicken, both were really good.

As I said earlier, the buffet restaurant for lunch is loacated on the beach. It is fairly large and has an ok selection. I was never hungry for luch as it was way too hot. Our favorite waiter there is Santo. He is a really nice guy who always looked after us and liked to practice his english and we loved to learn some spanish from him too.

The negatives
There are only very few negatives. The one that really stands out is the sollicitators on the beach. There are sollicitators from the Spa, the Watersports Center, the hotel shops… There were several and although they were nice and not too agressive, it becomes a little annoying to always have to explain why you sont want to do this or that and then see them be disapointed. As well, they allow sollicitators from Captain Cooks restaurant in Cortecito to come and give their sales pitch and they were a little more agressive and would become real upset if you did not listen to their sales pitch. That was just too much. I would suggest that the Palladium management at least reduce the amount of sollicitators if not completely get rid of them.

The guests
Occupancy was probably about 60% and this is a total estimate on my part. It never seemed crowded, however it also wasnt eerily quiet. It just seemed like perfect resort capacity. There were not many canadians or americans. There were a lot of people from Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium…. Mostly couples and groups of friends in their 40s and 50s. We were a little disapointed that there werent many people in our age group and would have liked to see more canadians and americans so we could have socialized a little more, however, no big deal as all staff and especially the animation team made sure we kept busy and had a good time.

In summary, we absolutely adored the resort. It was great. The food, the rooms, the weather, the beach, everything was fantastic, however, what really makes this place, and this country for that matter, is the people, the staff. All staff memebers made us feel like we were right at home and quite frankly, now that I am back in my real home in Montreal, I really wonder what the heck I am doing here! A million thanks to the palladium team, management and especially staff for making this the perfect vacation.

If anyone cares to see my pictures, you can find them here:

http://community.webshots.com/user/marilouemard Please keep in mind that these are my personal photos, so although there are some scenic and technical shots, there are also several personal pics you might not be all that interested in.

I have pictures of all a la carte menus as well as the buffet schedule if anyone wants them. I am also available to answer questions if anybody has any. my e-mail is marilouemard@hotmail.com

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Jefferson

June 2006

We just got home from Punta Cana yesterday, and I already miss the place. My wife and I, both twenty-somethings from Missouri, had a great vacation staying at the Grand Palladium Bavaro. We have small children, and chose to only stay 4 nights away from our kids, which was about the right amount of time. We would have probably stayed longer if our kids were grown or we were childless, but in my opinion– the Grand Palladium resorts are not a good place to bring small children.

Our flight, booked on USA 3000 Airlines through Apple Vacations, wasnt bad– and the friendliness of the staff goes along way to overcome the defecencies of using a discount airline (lack of legroom, etc). Once we landed in the Dominican, we had no troubles getting through customs or on the bus to the resort. Before you get to the paradise that is the Grand Palladium complex, you do drive past some of the extreme poverty that makes up much of the Dominican Republic. But keep in mind that just by visiting this country, you are doing your part to help.

The Grand Palladium complex features three resorts: the Bavaro, Punta Cana, and Suites. For the most part, each resort has access to everything on the other two– which makes the whole complex rather large. Our first couple days there felt a little bit overwhelming, and we got lost a number of times– but it really doesnt take very long to walk from one end of the resort to the other. We stayed at the Bavaro side, which I honestly think is the best of the three (even tho it is the biggest and cheapest). The buffets are better, the beach is more active, and it is closest to all of the best bars.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the resort (and the rest of the Dominican presumably) is the lack of people speaking English. All of the resort employees and many of the guests will be speaking Spanish, but you’ll hear plenty of German, French, and Russan as well. Throughout our entire trip– everytime we heard someone speaking English, we would run up to them and talk to them. We ended up meeting at ton of people from Canada and the US,and hanging out with many of them. The high percentage of Euros at the resort isnt a problem or anything, just something your should note of so that you arent taken completely by surprise. If you like to stay up late (and we did), almost all Europeans seem to be go to bed by 11, and most people you see will be speaking English. It would certainly help you out in communicating with the employees if you know a little bit of Spanish, but you can still get by without knowing any. All food is labelled in multiple languages, and if you can say "hable’ ingles?", you’ll find an employee that speaks english in most parts of the resort (especially the bars and lobby).

We spent our first two days at the Palladium checking out what the resort had to offer. We checked out the beach for a bit and got some sun, played some beach volleyball, hit the swim-up bar for a bit, and got a bite to eat. We watched one of the employees scale up a 50 foot high palm tree just so the guests could shoot photos of him. The beaches at the Palladium are world class and much nicer than the pools, and the resort and activity seems to be geared around this. In the days, we had a great time hanging out as a couple and doing activities, in the night we generally hopped around from bar to bar and made our own nightlife– with the help of the other couples that we met down there. I would definately recommend talking with the other guests on the resort, swapping stories and laughs, and having fun together.
Unless its your honeymoon (wink, wink), isolating yourself really isnt the way to go when you’re in another country.

[[ ACTIVITIES ]] – We signed up for a 60 minute massage at one of the huts right on the beach. It cost about a hundred bucks for both my wife and I. My massage was great, and the girl took care of the whole body, front and back. My wife however, said that her girl really didnt know what she was doing, and my wife’s back was aching for the rest of the day after the massage.

On our third day in the D.R., we took the half-day party cruise excursion put on by the Kontiki folks. This cruise was fantastic, and everyone on the boat had a great time. The first part of the cruise was snorkeling, which was so-so, but once the party began it was amazing. The crew did a great job of keeping everyone dancing and everyone having fun. Michael Jackson and Prince made an appearance, and the booze was flowing aplenty. There was actually a huge rainstorm that was going on during our party cruise (after the snorkeling), and it just added to the effect. I highly recommend it.

[[ BEACH ]] – The beach at the Palladium is amazing. The sand is white and sugary, the water is clear green and warm. The employees clean off the seaweed every morning, and there is hardly any at all on the beach. We never had a trouble finding a chair in sun or shade, and there are large beautiful palm trees all over the beach. Yes, there are lots of topless women on the beach, but after a day or two– you barely notice. I didnt mind at all when my wife ended up surprising me and joining in with the euro women in going au natural. She joked that she felt like less people were staring at her when she was topless (remember, Americans are the minority here) There are plenty of beach bars, non-motorized sporting activities (catamarans, kayaks, volleyball, bocce ball), and you wont be harassed by vendors. There are merchant huts available if you go to the beach and walk right, and I had fun negotiating with them one day for some cigars and toys for our kids.

[[ POOL ]] – The pools are never quite as crowded as the beach, but there are always people there. They seemed a little disappointing to us at first, since the only other tropical destination my wife and I had visited was the Moon Palace in the Mayan Riviera, which features probably the best pools in the world. But there are swim up bars in each of the pools, and the entertainment staff does bingo, water aerobics, and water polo (but not very often, and only at some of the pools). We didnt spend a whole lot of time by the pool– but if you just want to curl up in a lounger with a book, there is certainly plenty of opportunity to do that.

[[ ROOM ]] – We didnt pay for an upgrade of any kind on our room, but it was fantastic. Not as nice as our room was in Mexico, but definately top knotch. The room had a mini-bar that was stocked every other day, a large jacuzzi tub right in the middle of every thing, vaulted ceilings, a large balcony, marble floors, and cable tv with at least 50 channels. The room was clean without any bugs at all, and the maid service was good. We did bring 2 gift bags for the maids, and I know that they were appreciated.

[[ FOOD ]] – The food at the Palladium is good. Dont let anyone else tell you otherwise, seriously. We ate at 4 different buffets and all but one of them was fantastic (avoid Ariffice by the beach). For dinner, they do a different theme every night at the main Bavaro Cathedral buffet. There are seriously at least 60 different things to choose from on the buffet, including a "grill section" and a nightly noodle bar. Our favorites in order: Mexican, Italian, Asian, American. Lunch is best at the buffet next to the Punta Cana pool, as the Cathedral is closed for lunch. This resort gives you coupons to make reservations at the 7 or 8 a la carte restaraunts, but the day that we arrived– each restaurant was booked up for pretty much our entire stay. We ended up getting reservations at the DominiThere was a large balconcan restaurant (La Uva), and we went there one night. We ordered off the very limited menu there and waited almost 90 minutes without getting as much as our appetizers– and then we just left and went to the buffet, which was fantastic. We ended up skipping our later reservation at the Spanish restaraunt because we wanted to eat with our new friends. Breakfast is also good on the resort, altho they stop serving at 10am which seems early. Definately get the cafe’ con leche, as the Dominicans are very proud of their coffee.

[[ DRINKS ]] – Our stay at the Palladium was overall a great experience, but the biggest negative about the resort was the drink selection. There is really no top-shelf American liquor available (except Bombay Saphire Gin at the Bavaro lobby), which was a disappointment. They also don’t have some of the juices that are commonly used in American cocktails (no cranberry juice, and the orange juice is from powder). The local domican rums are certainly not bad, but I dont think they have the alcohol content of their American counterparts. The only beer that the hotel has available is the Mexican El’ Presidente’, which isnt bad, but isnt great either. We certainly drank alot of them regardless. We met some people who went to some other resorts down there (Secrets, Princess Bavaro), and had no trouble getting top shelf liquor or American beer. But that said, the Bartenders are creative and just about anyone could find something to drink here. My wife highly recommends the "Aculpulco", which you can find at the Bavaro lobby bar (tastes like Strawberry Ice Cream). Also, I should note that there were days were it seemed like we drank all day long and still didnt get drunk. Very odd.

[[ NIGHTLIFE ]] – I realize that some of you who just read what I wrote about the drinks will think that we are just American crazy party people– but in reality– we have two small kids and rarely go out at home. That said, we tried to have a good time in the evenings with the other couples that we met. We spent time in the Bavaro lobby bar each evening, where the service and drinks were always top knotch. There was a live band, some people dancing, and the ambience was georgeous. We also found our way over to the Casino a couple of times, where plenty of people actually won money.

The Casino is very small, however, so don’t expect much (just Roulette, BlackJack, and a dozen slot machines). We spent another evening in the Sports Bar which is a nice place to mingle, and open all night. The discotecque is o-kay, and you can make it fun if you go in there and act like a total goofball (we did one evening for a half hour or so). Every night, the employees also put on a show near the Bavaro lobby. We went to the Magic show, but ended up leaving after a few minutes. Some people appeared to be enjoying the show, but maybe since we dont know very much Spanish– we didnt get the jokes. Some might say that this resort doesnt have much nightlife, considering that it gets awfully quiet after midnight– but we made our own nightlife with the Americans and Canadiens that we met down there and had a blast.

[[ SUMMARY ]] – Overall, I think that the Grand Palladium is a beautiful place, and worthy of the 5-apple designation that Apple gives the resort. Punta Cana is a fantastic destination with its beautiful beaches and perfect weather– and I know that it will continue to grow in the years that come. While we will probably come back to Punta Cana some day– we would probably stay at a different resort next time. No knock on the Palladium, it is a great resort, but we are the kind of people who like to try something new. Happy traveling everyone.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Canada

June 2006

My husband and I flew from Toronto to Punta Cana for a one week vacation at Grand Palladium Bavaro with Air Transat. Overall: highly recommended.

Flight: Check in with the airlines did not require us to open our luggage, this saved a lot of time and stress on both ways, especially on the way back from Punta Cana airport, which is an extremely noisy airport. The noise came from both continuous announcements which were too loud to hear and from the poor passengers who kept wandering around not being able to find themselves a seat in a overly crowded, under-seated airport.

Arriving at the hotel: We were given an ocean view room without any requests. In fact we were done with check in even being offered an attractive looking refreshment drink.

Room: Our room has a jacuzzi, tv, a mini bar filled up every other day, king-sized bed, towels. Our building is numbered 30 and is the closest building to the beach, 30 seconds walk. There are only two levels and our room is upstairs so for people who like some walking but not too much like myself it’s perfect. Having to walk up two levels like in some other resorts I’ve been to after a big good meal is not desirable to me.

Beach: beautiful reef-free gold sandy beach with blue ocean and coconut trees along the beach. We had no problem getting a hut and chairs everyday.

Food: Food is of good quality and variety. Loved the fresh juice every morning and the crispy fried long bread. The yogurts were also very nice.

There are several buffet and a la carte restaurants. The buffet ones were organised into a different theme every night such as Oriental, Dominican Republic, etc. We were given 3 vouchers to book 3 a la carte restaurants. There’s a sports bar which you can get food like a hamburger and frenchfries and popcorn 24 hours. We didn’t experience any alaria syndromes.

Staff: the waiting staff was fantastically nice and friendly. Few speak English but if you happen to ask those who don’t, they’d make sure there’s someone who does to assist you properly. The personnel at the front desk was a little snotty, such as the checkout female receptionist and the public relation person.

All in all we had a great stay at the resort.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Cathy ~ NJ

April 2006

After booking an all-inclusive stay at The Melia Caribe Tropical, myself and two friends were informed during check in our room was unavailable due to construction. Not having any vacancies we were rudley and quickly moved to the Grand Palladium Bavaro.

Check-In went well considering we did not originally book any reservations there. Our villa was 44, very close to the beach and pool. The only complaint was an employee at the desk who took a pair of scissors and tried cutting my pinky and a friends hair "as a joke" . Moreover, you’ll find the male employees to be a bit more flirtatious than what is acceptable… prepare to be bothered, hit-on, and gawked at if you’re a female.

The room was very nice and room service do their best to keep things clean but on more than one occasion we found stains on our sheets.

Beach– white sands and crystal blue waters…beautiful… only one problem, the resort has from time to time a problem with oil spills on the beach. Imagine our shock when we found our feet covered in it! The hotel had employees stationed at the pools with gasoline to remove the oil from visitors feet. During our stay housekeeping complained the hotel had not reacted quickly enough and had not stationed enough staff members around the hotel because many visitors were tracking the oil back into the rooms and making a mess!

Food was as good as can be expected. The buffets offers a tremendous variety, with every night having a different theme like Italian, Mexican, Asian, etc During our stay, for 6 days we were given two reservations at their restaurants. We tried El Quijote and La Uva and enjoyed both meals.

Management– Customers are not always right here! The management was rude and not accomodating. The lock on our door broke at 2 am. We had to walk back and forth to reception twice to try to get someone to our room to fix it. The next morning it did not work again and I was told I had broke the door slamming it shut too hard. Finally, someone came and had to replace the entire locking mechansism due to an electrical shortage. When I spoke to the Supervisor and advised him how many times we had reported the problem and what I was accused of, he gave an unsincere apology and we were not compnesated at all for our inconvenience. That same day, I overheard several others visitors at the help desk complaining about their locks not working either.

The resort was beautiful and the beach is great, but if you’re looking for a five-star hotel you definetely won’t find five-star customer service here.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Roe ~ NJ

March 2006

After reading a lot of the reviews on this resort I was hoping it was what certain people said. It was more that we expected. We had an absolutely fabulous time. 1) The room was beautiful (stayed in Villa 74) & cleaned everyday. Not one complaint there. 2) The beach was incredible…soft sand (felt like walking through flour) warm blue water, sun everyday, with temp. about 85 degrees. 3)The food was never-ending & excellent tasting. If you are a fussy eater, there is something for you. Just can’t understand some people when they said the food was not good. They must not be used to eating good food!! The buffets & ala carte restaurants were outstanding. 4) Recommend to get towel ,reserve your lounge at pool or beach early. They go fast. 5) Did not do any tours. They were expensive & didn’t seem that interesting for us. 6) Only thing we didn’t like was all the bartering we were confronted with when going to huts on beach. Also happens in town at the so-called mall. 7) We would definitely return to this resort again. Had a wonderful time. If anyone has any questions, I would gladly answer them.

Rcaval2233@aol.com

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Pat ~ Michigan

March 2006

My husband and I just returned today from 7 days (3/15 – 3/22) at the Grand Palladium Bavaro, our 6th trip to the Dominican Republic. We booked with Apple Vacations and flew out of Detroit at 6:00 a.m. on US Air 3000 and arrived in DR at 11:00 a.m. Our service in flight was great, and we enjoyed the extra beverage and movie to help pass the time.

Upon arrival, we were met by our Apple rep, and quickly boarded a small bus to our resort. Customs is a breeze in DR. 25 minutes later we arrived at the resort. Our room was not ready yet, so we went to a lunch buffet, walked around a bit, and when we returned to the desk we were escorted to our room on a small taxi. The room was lovely, with a large jacuzzi tub and spacious balcony.

After being at the resort for a day, my husband commented that he thought perhaps we had been at this resort before, but I did not think so, as I would have remembered the name of "Grand Palladium". Later that day, we came to realize that part of this resort is the old Fiesta Bavaro, that we had indeed stayed at a few years ago. Now it has expanded to the next two resorts and has been renamed as the Grand Palladium. Our only complaint was that it is possibly "too big". We still made wrong turns to our room after several days. We rode one of the trams around the entire property one evening and discovered buildings we did not know existed such as Casino, more markets, theatre. Since we are not big night owls, most evenings we were content to have dinner at the buffets, walk around a bit, and then watch a movie in our room. We are early risers and would enjoy sitting on the beach shortly after 7:00 a.m. and watch a few morning joggers and enjoy the sunrise.

Food is as acceptable as anyone could ask for. There is certainly plenty of variety, but after several days, one buffet started to look like another. We ate each day breakfast at the glass enclosed restaurant by the pool, and then lunch was always at one of the buffets on the beach. We varied our choice of dinner buffets throughout the week. We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants this year, although we have at other resorts, but just found that with all of the restaurants available, it was just easier to stick with the buffets. My husband did experience one day of stomach cramps, but just cut back on what he was eating and it passed in 24 hours.

Since we have been to Punta Cana several times before, we knew what to expect and what to avoid. We are "beach" people, so did not go to the pools. the beach allows plenty of room and there are plenty of chairs for everyone. We also wore 30 sunblock but still sought shade late each day. Even doing that we brought home beautiful tans.

Our biggest problem was the language barrier. We know enough spanish to be able to ask for what we want in the restaurants, but we did not meet many english speaking folks on the beach. In fact, this year we felt that there were even fewer americans/canadians than in our previous trips. The one thing that was not as superior as other resorts was the activities staff. We really did not see more than two activities staff members on the beach all day, and they were not that enthusiastic about getting participants in the volleyball, etc. In fact, we did not know when many of the activities were going on, unless we happened to be sitting directly in front of where they were taking place.

All in all, we had another wonderful experience in Punta Cana. The dominican people are gracious and appreciate the small tips we left for our room cleaning and at the bars. I also left behind a few small token gifts for our gal who cleaned our room, such as nail polish, scented lotions, american magazines, etc. She was always discreet and would be in and out without inconveniencing us in any way. We would leave her a note each day, asking for additional waters or "cola light" and a small tip and each day everything would be just perfect when we returned from the beach.

We will definitely return to Punta Cana again. We try to always stay at different resorts but I would definetely recomment this one. Five stars!!!

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Helena

March 2006

My bf and I just got back from a 7day stay at the Palladium Grand (3/10/2006 – 3/17/2006). All in all it was a wonderful trip with minor hiccups here and there that we soon forgot about. I echo all the good things people have said on this trip and was very appreciative for everyone’s advice. I agree with everyone that the rooms and service was awesome and I’ll try to keep my comments to things that I hadn’t read on the message board.

When we arrived at 3pm they didn’t have our reservation – which could have been Expedia’s fault. We had to wait an hour to clear this up. You just have to keep on top of the receptionist and also not be too uptight. We did find many angry ppl in the lobby however who arrived prior to the check in time of 3pm who had to just stay in the lobby for hours. My advice to those whose flights are coming in before check-in time: ask for a wrist band, change into a swimsuit and lounge by the pool and explore the grounds.

Food – Both my bf and I loved the buffets and the variety. Luckily we did not get sick and drank and brushed our teeth with bottled water. I also got fresh coconuts some mornings when I saw the maintance guys sitting on the lawn and cutting them open with a machete and asked nicely. I know some ppl didn’t like the food as they wanted burgers and fries most of the time. The Gala Buffet was the best! different cuts of meat – duck, beef, rabbit, pork; seafood – shrimp mussles and other foods such as paella, pasta etc. We were the first in line to get our a la cartes on our first night 5:30pm and we were by the desk. We only got 2 of our choices Nostrum and Arricefe. Both were good and it was a good break from the buffet. Arricefe is more of seafood and lobsters are extra $36 or so. We also got to do a beach side BBQ with our last ticket which was windy but I liked. Drinks were great but strong – I liked the Miami Vice.

Beach – Beach is nice but not as nice as I hoped. White sands and such but the waves were strong too but it could also be the time we went. We got a lot of beach and ppl were not on top of one another. We were able to find chairs most mornings before 10am. We also lounged by the pool. Did some topless sunbathing and plenty of people watching. The sun is strong and I put on a lot of SPF 30 but got sun poisioning – bf didn’t though so just watch out.. stay in the shade from time to time.

Activities – a good selection but we didn’t do it besides pool volleyball, tennis, table tennis and pool.

Spa – I didn’t do any of the paid packages but there is a steam room and outdoor jaccuzzi. However, there are separated by sexes. Male and females don’t go together.

Night time – There is live music in the lobby and lots of ppl go but I found the bar by the pool in the resort part nicer and younger. Plus I stayed in the 7000 area so it was closer by. I also liked the Sports Bar a lot just to hang out.

Highly recommend this place.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Terri ~ Vancouver Canada

March 2006

My daughter and I just returned last night from a week at the Grand Palladium Bavaro and I must say, it was a mix of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. The resort itself is very beautiful and very well maintained. The staff (except for management) are extremely helpfull and friendly. We stayed in villas 17 and 19, which was in the center of the resort, steps away form the pool and right in between the lobby and the beach, so we didn’t have far to go to get to either place. Our troubles started the day after we got there, when we were told the resort was overbooked for one day. It was explained that if we would give up our room and check out for 1 night, we would be sent to the Fiesta Hotel in Santo Domingo. The resort we would be going to was comparable to the one we were at, all expenses would be paid, we would have a tour of Santo Domingo and be back in Punta Cana by 5:00 on Sunday, when a room comparable to what we had would be waiting. Apparently it happens quite often that the hotels are overbooked and this trip to the capital happens routinely. My advice to anyone is NOT to accept it. Santo Domingo is aewsome, the trip there on a bus is long, but worth it. I would never again go on the trip the Palladium offers. When we got on the bus, the only seats left were at the very back. This wouldn’t have been a bad thing normally, but we had no air conditioning (it was broken) and the windows didn’t open. The bus engine which was in the back was overheating, the floor of the bus was so hot we couldn’t put our feet on the floor. The bus trip which we were told was 4 hours, was 61/2.

The Hotel in Santo Domingo that we were told was a 5 star, was 2 at most. The wallpaper was peeling, the toilet barely flushed, and we couldn’t take a shower after the long hot bus ride because the water was brown and rusty. When we asked to change rooms, we were told none were available. My daughter and I took a cab to explore the city, which is absoulutly beautiful!! There are not enough words to describe the old world charm and beauty of the city. We walked around for hours and always felt safe. The next day we did the official tour of the city, where Favio, our guide was a wealth of information on the history and people of the DR. Unfortunatly our bus, the same one as the day before, broke down twice during the tour. Fortunatly, the driver was able to fix it in under 10 minutes. Once back at the Hotel, we had lunch (the food was absolutely terrible), mostly leftovers from the previous nights dinner which wasn’t very good the first time around.. Then we were told to check out and the bus would pick us up at 3:00. We all waited in the lobby, unable to go anywhere or do anything because we were expecting the bus at any time. It was 5:30 when they came for us. Ten minutes into our trip home the bus broke down again, this time no one could fix it. We sat by the side of the highway for an hour and a half waiting for another bus. The one that came had the opposite problem in that it blasted cold air that wouldn’t shut off. People were taking down the curtains to wrap around themselves because it was so cold. We never arrived back to the Pallidium until 10 minutes after the buffet had closed (5 hours later then we were told). Although no one had eaten since noon, the wouldn’t let us in, even to get a plate of food to take out. The room we were given was not comparable to the one we had given up. We had expressly asked for a ground floor room like we had as my daughter has trouble with stairs due to recent foot surgery. Ours was on the second floor. During the night we both woke up with terrible abdominal cramps and started vomiting. Within a few hours we both developed severe diarrhea. The next day we were told we could change rooms and a bellboy would come help us move. After 45 minutes of no one comming, we phoned and were told someone would be there in a few minutes.

After another 45 minutes we phoned again and were told so sorry, someone will be right there. After another 45 minutes, we moved ourselves, running to make it from one bathroom to the next.. I started feeling better around noon time. My daughter however became much worse and had to go to medical services where they gave her antibiotics, and meds for her stomach and diarrhea. 4 needles and a bill for almost 15,000 pesos later she was feeling better. We later learned that several people from our trip were ill, one elderly lady had to be hospitalized. Once we were in our new room and feeling somewhat better, our vacation began and we were able to appreciate the resort and what it had to offer.

ACCOMMIDATIONS We were in a Jr suite, which is quite large and beautifully decorated. The bathroom is huge with a 2 person jacuzzi tub. There is a seperate frosted door shower, and frosted door toilet, so more then one person could be in there and still have privacy. The unfortunate thing is not one of the jacuzzi’s in any of the 3 rooms we had actually worked.

DINING – We went to 3 of the buffet resteraunts. The selection of food was good and there was lots of it. A lot of it is deep fried so it’s not the place to count calories. Breakfast and lunch is always the same, little or no variation. Once we got back from Santo Domingo we tried to make reservations at the a la cartes but were told that we needed to reserve before we left as everything was full. No one had let us know that.

SHOPPING – There is a good selection of souvinier shops between the Pallidium Resorts. If your buying some things, they’re very expensive i.e. $35 dollars for a bottle of sunscreen. Souviniers there are relatively cheap, with a good selection. With the exception of rum and coffee, we paid much less at the resort then we did at Santo Domingo!

THE POOL – There are several pools between the resorts, all with bars and wait service. The staff are wonderful, friendly and helpful. The water aerobics are a lot of fun and poolside dance lessons were blast. I still have 2 left feet though. There are painting lessons, darts, ping pong, bingo, water polo and vollyball. The downside is that if you like to sit poolside, be prepared to get up early to claim a spot. Some mornings, every beach and poolside seat was taken by 8:30. People may actually use them for 10 minutes during the day, but once someones towel is on the seat, it’s off limits to anyone else.

THE BEACH – is beautiful, white sand that stretches forever. The water is warm. The resort offers a number of water sports such as kayaking and windsurfing. Good luck in finding seating however.

MANAGEMENT – Were as unhelpful as could be. Our tour operator suggested we talk to them about the conditions of our lovely trip and resulting illness. She set up a meeting with the resort manager, who kept me waiting in the lobby for an hour, he kept sending messages via various staff members……a few more minutes. Then I found that he had left!!!! The next day,furious, I went back. Again I was told he was unavailable………….but soon……..Eventually I spoke with the assisstant general manager who said he would talk to the GM. He was very apoligetic……what would we like…dinner reservations? Spa services? He just needed to talk to the GM first and a note would be left at our room for us. Nothing that day. The next day we were told that the GM had left for vacation ………..the assist GM was trying…….come back later. We did get dinner reservations to the Italian restaurant, but the message was left at the wrong room so we didn’t get it until too late. Then we were told that we would both get complimentary massages, mani’s and pedi’s at the spa….just show up at 3:30. When we got there we were asked who wants the massage and who wants the pedi? Finally, after much persistance (the AGM wasn’t available for clarification) we each got a massage and pedicure. The manicures never did happen. We did get a late check out from our room which was very much appreciated. Although this review sounds like there is nothing positive to say about this resort, most of the problems we had there revolved around our trip to Santo Domingo. The actual resort is beautiful, and although it wouldn’t be my first pick, I’d still stay there again. Just pack lots of pepto bismal!!

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Sophie

March 2006

We stayed at the Grand Palladium Bavaro Spa & Resort from the 19th to the 26th of February 2006. The resort itself is big (be ready to walk as part of your daily activities), beautiful and everything is well taken care of. We had a room with an outdoor shower, hammock and queen size bed: GREAT room.

Many free activities are available (tennis, mini-tennis, badminton, archery, rifle shooting, beach volleyball, aerobics, dance lessons) and you will have a lot of fun with the instructors and other vacationers.

Our disappointment was the food. Keep in mind that the Grand Palladium is a 5 star hotel (or 4.5 depending on the website your read) rated here accordingly.

Everyone will find something to eat for breakfast: fresh fruits and juices, yogurt, cereals, dried fruits, eggs, omelets, bacon, sausage, French toasts, potatoes, cheese and great smoothies and more.

At every meal, you will find many types of cheese (local and European) which were really good and lots of fresh pineapples, watermelon, cantaloupe available.

Lunch: The first day, we had lunch at the El Arrecife restaurant, it was an ok but tiny buffet. The next day, the buffet was exactly the same (same paella, same salads, same small sandwiches, same white rice, same carrots in garlic butter…) except a different meat in sauce and a different type of pasta in the same tomato sauce. Having learned the lesson, we went to La Uva restaurant for lunch on the third day and discovered the exact same buffet.
Quite disappointing, repetitive and tasteless! Again, we would not expect a 5-star hotel to serve the same lunch 7 days in a row.

For dinners, Catedral offers a huge buffet with ok food, very often only warm. No refinement. Don’t expect clubmed quality food even though it is in the same category. Catedral has different themes each night but it seemed that the food was all the same. We tried a lot of different foods and grew tired of it quickly. We were surprised to find almost no fish. The fish brochettes were not tender at all. Definitely not gourmet and definitely not worth of a 5* hotel.

If you sit in Abraham’s section of the Catedral restaurant, he will get to know what you drink and bring it right to you as soon as you sit. Otherwise, be willing to wait and don’t forget you’re on vacations in the Caribbean where service is slow.

Restaurants a la carte must be reserved for the week as soon as you check in otherwise the only places that will be available is at 10h30PM.

We have been sick- diarrhea. From what we overheard of many other tourists of the hotel and from what we saw (!!!), we were not the only ones having to run for the washrooms. We heard other Canadian tourists say that they had never been sick before in an all-inclusive. On our trip to Thailand, we ate food at food stands on the streets and NEVER got sick.

The quality of food served in this hotel is 3 or 3.5 stars. However, having paid for a 5 star all-inclusive hotel, we are disappointed and feel we have paid for the beautiful big room in which we hardly spent any time at the expense of the food.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Melanie and Darcy ~ Saskatchewan Canada

February 2006

We loved this place.

Beach – gorgeous, picture perfect, better than I ever imagined The sand is so soft and goes on for miles. The ocean was great for playing in the waves. It was very windy while we were there with the exception of about 4 days. This meant that things like the catamaran lessons were cancelled. It didn’t bother us though. If we wanted to get away from the wind we just hung out around a pool instead. Fabio at the beach bar is great.

Rooms – we were in Villa 66 in the Bavaro section of the resort in a deluxe room. No complaints. It was very nice, comfy bed and pillow, nice shower. There was a Jacuzzi tub in our room. The floor was marble tile. Maids cleaned very well everyday.

Pools – very nice, we liked the one right beside our villa the best. It had a great swim up bar that William bartended at. He was a lot of fun. There were no organized activities at this pool which we liked. All the action took place at another pool. You had to be an earlier riser to get a spot reserved around the pool. My husband got our towels on the chairs between 7 and 8am on morning we wanted pool side chairs and a palapa saved. There were 4 pools in total.

Food – buffets were excellent. We ate at the buffet nearest our villa most often. It was recently renovated and had glass walls and marble everywhere. Food was very good too. Lots of variety. We only got into 3 al la cartes – didn’t like the Spanish but other people loved it??? Mexican and Italian were both really good. The food is not any different than you can get at the buffet on that theme night but it was a nice sit down meal. We booked 3 of them on our first day even before our orientation thinking we would book the other later. We checked a few times but they were full for our entire 2 week stay. The resort was full when we were there too.

Sports bar – good food. The guys liked the BLT’s, I went for the pizza or nachos instead. Great soft ice cream too…

Excursions – We chose the Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure and the Marinarium – both were excellent. The Jeep Safari was a full day and cost $80 US each and the Marinarium was half day and cost $62 US each. The Marinarium trip took you snorkel with sharks and rays and partying on a boat – very exciting.

Internet Café – used the internet café to keep in touch with home via email. Worked great! 8 US gave us 1hr of internet time. We were advised not to use the ones in the Sports bar apparently they were a little less reliable computers and if you ran into trouble there wasn’t anyone to help you.

We found the people very nice. They taught us a bit of Spanish and did their best to understand us when we were trying to explain. The vendors seemed pushy at first but as long as you went in their store and had a look they didn’t push you to buy anything. They really work at you to get you in their store if you are walking by.

We didn’t go to the shows – popped our heads into the disco on a few occasions. We were usually ready for bed by the time the disco got going at 11:30 or so (and we aren’t even that old).

We loved this resort and the beach was amazing – we would go back in an instant. It was a very relaxing 2 week holiday. The Fiesta chain is excellent. We stayed at the Palladium Colonial on the Mayan Riveria a few years ago and this place was every bit as nice. Exceeding our expectations.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Jim & Kate

January 2006

Trip Dates Dec 31, 2005 – Jan 7, 2006 Jim & Kate (plus 2 teens ages 14 & 16)
Tour Operator – We booked through Apple Vacations

Flight – We had a 6:00 AM flight out of Detroit on USA 3000. The flight staff was very friendly and efficient. We left the gate 20 minutes early but had to get the plane de-iced and ended up taking off 10 minutes after the scheduled departure time. Nevertheless, we arrived in Punta Cana 20 minutes early. Getting through customs and immigration was a breeze. Our Apple representative was waiting to direct us to our bus. The ride to the resort was approximately 35 minutes. The Apple escort on the bus was very informative and quite hilarious!

Check-in – We checked in at 12:45, but our room was not ready until 3:00. We were able to book our three a la carte meals right away then went and changed into our bathing suits and headed to the beach. There is a bathhouse near the main pool with changing facilities, showers, shampoo, conditioner, etc. If you have an early flight make sure you put your bathing suits and sunscreen in your carry on luggage. It is much easier than digging through you luggage in the hotel lobby if your room isn’t ready. Our room was ready as promised at 3:00. A porter took our bags to the room, showed us how to use the safe, TV, jacuzzi, etc.

Room – Our room was #1183 in villa 18. We were conveniently close to the beach, about midway between the main pool and the Palace pool. The walk to the lobby was approximately 3-4 minutes. We stayed in a junior suite that was quite roomy for 2 adults, a 16-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son. There were 2 full size beds and a queen sleeper sofa. The information that we received said the beds were queen sized, but they were actually full sized. The mattresses weren’t the most comfortable, but I had no trouble sleeping on them. The sleeper sofa was a bit saggy, but my son never complained. We had a nice patio with a view of beautiful landscaping. The bathroom was very large with a 2 person Jacuzzi that only my son used once, a stand up shower with a frosted glass door, a toilet also with a frosted door, and a double sink. We were able to have multiple people in the bathroom since there was such privacy especially while showering. The kids were very happy with the selection of TV stations. The mini bar would have been very convenient had it been stocked for a family of 4 rather than for 2 people. We tried to pay to have it stocked daily or stocked with a larger quantity of beverages, but that never happened. Every time we went past the lobby bar or were returning from the pool area, we brought a couple of bottles of water back to keep the refrigerator filled. Our villa was in a very quiet area of the resort.

Beach – The beach was spectacular!! The sand was very white and fine; it almost felt like walking on flour. The water was a beautiful aqua color. The temperature was very comfortable. I spent quite a bit of time just floating around. There were small waves, making it very enjoyable to walk along the beach. I enjoyed the beach here much more than in Aruba, Cozumel or most of the Hawaiian beaches we’ve visited. The beach reminded me a lot of the beach in Playa Del Carmen. We never had much difficulty finding 4 lounge chairs but after 11:30, I did notice that some people had to hunt around and move chairs for their groups. We had read that so many people had difficulty getting chairs where they able spend part of their day in the shade. The frustration we had was in the palm trees blocking the sun starting in mid afternoon. We found that the best area if you want total sun is as follows. Face the ocean in front of the Dive Center turn to the right and walk down the path that runs parallel to the beach. After the path turns to sand, stay on it and continue until after crossing the second walkway that is perpendicular to the beach. Enter the beach there. The palm trees are shorter; the beach is quieter and less crowded. This area is still close to a beach bar, the Palace pool, a lunchtime buffet, and the outdoor paella grill. We found that it was much more convenient to exchange our towels for clean ones at the end of the day so we would start each day with fresh ones. You will run the risk of the towel place (there is one by each pool) running out. This only happened to us once. Some people traded their towels in every day and got their towel card back. It was easier for us to keep track of towels rather than the cards.

Pools – We didn’t spend much time around the pools. The lounge chairs there did fill up early, and most of the time there was never anyone in them. There were a lot of families with younger children, music and activity around the main pool. There were usually young kids hanging around the swim up bar. This is likely because most of the pool is deep and kids can stand at the bar. The palace pool closest to the beach was quieter and less crowded. The bar was also quieter and I was able to get a drink with less waiting there. The water in all the pools was refreshing, neither too hot nor too cold.

Bars – We enjoyed the lobby bar in the evening. During the day we didn’t hang out much at the bars. The pool bars will give out as many water bottles as you would like. The beach bar has self serve water in 8 ounce cups. It’s well worth stopping off at the pool if you are out of water. I drank more beer than mixed drinks. The cocktails seemed to be weak, although they tasted great. The frozen lemonade was a favorite of mine, especially on the beach. About the water – the reason that you aren’t supposed to drink it is because there is a high concentration of calcium and other minerals in it, not because of bacteria. Purified water is used for all ice and food preparation.

Shows – I didn’t personally get to any of the shows, my husband got to several and enjoyed them. I think they are similar to cruise shows.

Food – I never got to breakfast. We always ate lunch at the buffets near the beach, I loved the nachos with guacamole and salsa and ate that nearly everyday. My daughter liked the salads, my son the fries, chicken, any kind of junk food. Both kids absolutely loved the soft serve ice cream available at the buffets and the Sports Bar (24/7). We ate at the Spanish, Italian and Tex-Mex a la carte restaurants and enjoyed them all. If you choose to eat at them, know that it will be a leisurely meal served by friendly staff. Our dinners were usually 1 _ to 2 hours. The meals were very relaxing for us and were a great way to hold our kids captive and get caught up with their lives! The buffets were good not exceptional but more than adequate. All of us were able to find foods that we enjoyed. I would recommend walking around the buffets and checking everything out before you choose foods since they do have such a large variety.

Excursions – Since we were only vacationing for a week we only did the Saona Island excursion through Apple. I thought the island was beautiful! We left at 7:30 AM, had a 90 minute bus ride (very comfortable), then took a speed boat to the natural pool just before the island and swam for 30 minutes, looked for star fish. Don’t bother to bring a mask/snorkel; there are no fish or anything exciting to see under water. Then we went on to the island. Since our trip was reversed, most people took a catamaran ride out and the speedboat back, we were the first ones to the beach that this excursion uses. I think that different tour groups use different beaches around the island. We were able to get some beautiful photos. If you do this trip, be sure to walk to your left down the beach, there are some great photo ops. The food was very mediocre, but the beer was ice cold. We spent about 3 hours on the island before taking the catamaran back to the port. Be sure to wear a higher SPF if you do this trip, this was the only time we really burned. We arrived back at the Palladium at 6:30. It was a long day, but I thought it was well worth the money spent. The trip was $80 US/person.

Staff – I thought all of the staff were very friendly and tried to be helpful. They enjoyed my futile attempt at Spanish and often helped me with my vocabulary.

Weather – The weather was beautiful! It rained several times, but only for a few minutes then it would clear up and be totally sunny again. Temps were in the low 80’s. The beach was always comfortable, with a nice breeze. The pool areas were very hot since the trees and landscaping blocked any breezes.

Markets – If you go to the beach and make a right hand turn there is small marketplace. Some of the shop owners can be aggressive. If you are not interested just say no and continue on. We found that if you just walk through their shop they will be happy. If you make a right hand turn through Captain Cook’s Restaurant, you will be in the little town. There is a grocery store and more souvenir shops. I did most of my shopping here. I generally paid about 50% of the original price. I would initially offer 1/3 of the asking price, they would act offended, then we would bargain back and forth until finally agreeing on the price. If I couldn’t get the price I wanted I would leave. Guaranteed, there would be the same item at the next shop. I found most of the shop owners to be really nice; they are just trying to make a living. If you don’t like to bargain, I would suggest you go to the hotel gift shops. We used US dollars for all of our purchases.

Overall Experience – We had a wonderful and relaxing week, met people from all over Europe, Canada and the US. I would estimate that the resort was about 15% American. We found everyone to be friendly. I wish we would have had more time in the DR; I would have liked to spend more time exploring the country. The Dominican people were very kind and want their guests to think highly of them and enjoy their country. Remember that when traveling to the DR, you are in a foreign, developing nation. Your expectations can either make or break your vacation. Time is slowed down in tropical areas, people move slower since it is hot and humid all the time. Take a deep breath of fresh air, enjoy the sunshine, and relax, you’re on vacation.

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Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa Shane

December 2005

We went Nov. 17 to Nov. 25 at the Grand Pallidium Bavarro(4 1/2 star) in Punta Cana. The only thing I can complain about my stay is my workaholic husband complaining. I had an absolutely great time. One of the things that made my trip was how immaculate the resort was. Everything was clean, clean, clean. We could always find someone who spoke enough English to help us out. Our AirTransit rep was helpful as well. The food was different and unusual, but I could find something palatable to my tastes as there was such an abundance of it. We booked early so our (romance suite) room was right next to the beach(bonus), but a 4 minute walk to the lobby and main dining hall.(I did more walking on my holiday, then I do at home.) We booked the the three a la carte meals a on our second or third day and did not get good choice for the time to eat. We had the Chinese, Italian, & seafood. The Chinese was gross. Booking your times early enables you to still hit the buffet if your supper doesn’t appeal. The nightly entertainment was very universal to all nationalities as it was mostly dancing & one magic show. I was disappointed at the available "Dominican Republicinish" things to take home, till I thought "what would I buy Cananadianish, maple syrup?) The excursions available were what we thought was expensive – $80 US each for an all day bus tour to a sugar cane field, cigar making museum, cocoa & coffee farm, beach ranch. $40 US for a 12 minute para sailing ride. Make sure you see the tandem one going if you want to go tandem or they will say you can but you really cant. $60 US for a half day catamaran/snorkel trip. All the trips were well run & semi – informative. The temp. while we were there averaged 30-35C or 80-85F. Too hot for complaining hubby Just as we were leaving they were setting up all the Christmas decorations. When we were in the flea market areas, a shop owner told us that the boys who do the enticing into the store, make 20 % of sales for the day. Be strong, do not be afraid to dicker, start low & work your way up to what you would pay in your country. 99% of it was cheap trinkets. If you look hard, you might find something unusual . tips- When booking, do you want to be on the ground floor(no stairs to climb), or upstairs(leave your window open) I had to open the door to feel warm, no problems with our air conditioner. We spent 1200 US while there. We did 3 things – Catamaran, Bus tour, para sailing. Hubby bought a couple of shirts, rum, & cigars. I bought 2 wraps, beach sun dress, 20 for cornrows, which I took out. (they hurt), tips, movies, phone calls, pictures that they took, etc

-get the sweat proof, no grease, sunblock- it was the best. Bring three bottles -bring lots of clothes, nothing dries (I showered 2-3 X a day) -the rental movies were 15 US each -if sitting together on the plane is important, pay the extra to do so, the best place to sit on the plane is a window seat next to an exit (room for your legs) Make a wallet sized chart of currency differences, US – Canadian – DR, it helps to understand how much your paying for stuff. You can do this on the net with a currency converter. -explore every avenue of debbiestravel, it really helped me prepare for my trip. Have a good one

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Kory and Anne ~ Canada

December 2005

We just got back from the Grand Palladium Bavaro and had a terrific time. A group of 7 for the first week, and just my wife and myself staying for a second week. Every time I go to this country I love it more! The resort is beautiful, and facilities (sports – both land and water) were terrific. The first week was extremely packed with the Europeans that are usually in Mexico this time of year, but the hurricanes down there caused them to travel to the DR. I understand I’m in a spanish speaking country, and I don’t mind a bit of a language barrier when dealing with the staff, but I found it annoying to go a whole day and not hear english spoken by even another tourist. Not too mention that you better have a good grip on the serving spoon in the buffet line, or they’ll take it out of your hand….Anyways, the second week 600 Canadians moved in and I found it a little more enjoyable chatting with other people. Anyways, here’s a bit of a review….

Tour Operator
This doesnt have much to do with the resort, but I have to say something. What is AirTransat’s story? How can they get worse everytime you use them and still be in buisness? I’ve had questionable service from them in the past, but it’s down right bad now. I could do this whole review on them, but I wont waste your time, I’ll just let you in on a couple of stories. First, on the way there, when the movies/music was turned on, there was no sound in our headphones. Not sure what the problem was, I buzzed for a flight attendant. One walked up and said "What do you need?", obviously annoyed. I replied that my headphones weren’t working, and got this, "No ones headphones are working. I was working on fixing it when you called me out here….". Didn’t i feel like an ass for not knowing that, and interupting his work! Then on the way back, when we got to the airport, there is apparently a new style of tourist card you need to fill out. Of the 200 or so people in the checkin lineup 25 people had the new blue ones, and the rest milled about asking each other if we needed blue cards, and received the answer. "I don’t know. I don’t have one. Do you?" Finally it worked it’s way through the crowd that you did need one. So the "where do we get them?" started circulating to no result. Finally we all find a bored looking AirTransat rep leaning against a table chatting with someone with a book of cards in her hand, acting suprised every time 1 of the 175 people walked up to her and said they didn’t have one…..Anyways….on with the resort review…

The Resort
Beautiful. Mature landscaping that is looked after by an army of gardeners. Very nice place. There are covered walkways running over most of the resort so you can stay dry if you catch a quick rainfall. There is a train service, but it’s painfully slow. Easier to walk everywhere. The resort is very large, but it’s not a bad walk.

The Rooms
We stayed in the deluxe room and loved it. It was clean and well maintained. The safe was free of charge. We had a jacuzzi tub in our room that was a decent size. We ended up with a King bed in our room without asking, while others in our group who requested it, got two doubles, and were told that was all they could get. No bugs in the rooms, which is a pleasant change from some i’ve seen. Plugins seemed to be kind of a combo plug that would accomodate a few different kinds of connections, and we found them difficult but possible to use with our standard Canadian plugs.

The Beach
Very beautiful. Big, with great white sand. Lots of chairs, but with the crowds, it was impossible to find shade, and could be difficult around noon to find a seat. The ocean was great. Fairly wavy, due to some late season tropical storm, but that makes it fun i think. Lots of toys there for your use, but the last week was so windy they didn’t let you take much out.

The Pools
Three large pools with tons of chairs and shade. We never had a problem getting a chair or a hut here at any time during the day.

The Bars
Here the service was a little slow. They seemed very short on staff for how crowded the resort was. If you waited to be served, you’d never get a drink, or not 2 anyways, even if you tipped the first time, they seldom came back twice. If you went to the bar yourself, the bartender was busy and overworked, but still friendly, and you’d get your drinks at least. The disco, was nice, but only busy from about 11:00 to 1:00, then was a ghost town.

The Shows
The show’s were decent, but the theatre was so hot! The place was terrific, comfortable, huge, well positioned chairs and tables, but was built like a bomb shelter and you could cook eggs on your forehead in there. We eventually quit going to the shows because when you came out, you were drained and ready for bed.

The Food
They had 2 separate buffet restaurants, one of which was definately superior to the other, but both had good food. One just seemed to have more staff, so there was more clean tables and a better chance of getting a coffee. We ate at the Italian, Spanish, Asian, Mexican, and the Dominican a la Cartes, and the Asian was the best. The salad bar at the a la cartes were never much to speak off, but the entree’s were good. If you missed breakfast, and couldn’t wait for lunch, a couple of restaurants have a small continental buffet which was largely some cold cuts and cheese. Pretty much a waste of time. Go to the snack bar/sports bar, where you could order burgers or hot sandwiches, load up on popcorn, nacho and cookies, grab some pizza or a hotdog off the rack, and top it off with soft icecream 24 hours a day. By far the best snack bar i’ve seen at a resort, or even on a cruise.

Over all, loved it, and would return anytime. Well deserving of the 5 Star status.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Randy

November 2005

I just returned from the Grand Palladium Bavaro November 19, 2005. We had a very good time. There were 4 couples that traveled with us and ages ranged from 30 to 55. We live in the USA in the state of Iowa. We were suppose to travel to the Cancun Palace in Cancun but as unfortunate circumstances had it the Hurricanes changed our minds. I will tell you that the Palladium is a very beautiful place. The grounds are impeccable. The pools were very nice and clean and all had swim up bars. The beaches were the cleanest along the coast that I has seen. Very nice white powdery sand and no rocks to contend with along the way. All people there were very friendly. It is a lot nicer though if you know some Spanish. A lot of them don’t speak any English. They truly don’t cater to the Americans. One nice thing though they do have American ESPN in the rooms. Maybe you won’t be so homesick knowing you can still see the games. The rooms were very nice and clean. Although they do have an odor of mildew. The country is so humid. We took a candle and had it burning all of the time. It does rain quite a bit there as well. Usually it doesn’t last very long. Luckily there is plenty of places to get under while it showers. We usually found a swim up bar to duck under. I meet lots of wonderful people from Spain, Germany, and Austria just to name a few. They were all very friendly. I found that since I had a rubber American Football in the pool they all wanted to be my friends. I taught several of them how to grip and throw the ball and they were delighted! I also took several baseball caps from the USA. I found out very quickly that they all had heard of the Chicago White Sox. I made immediate friends on the beach with the locals after supplying them with ball caps. If you are a cigar smoker. Apple Travel tells you they will call a man who owns a cigar shop and he will come and pick you up at your hotel and take you to his shop. They tell you that he is a man you can trust. Although I thought he was very nice. He tries to sell you what he can make the most money on. I went shopping in town and found several cigars that I liked more and were a lot less money. He will tell you that all Cuban Cigars are fake. I found that they weren’t he just didn’t sell them. Don’t get me wrong I think Apple Travel are great people that put on a great trip. I just was leery about the cigar shop. Sure that someone was getting a cut… $$? Anyway, we did enjoy the trip. Everyone has complained online about the food and service. Although the service was at times a little slow. Two hours at the Italian Restaurant, buffets were quite fast and convenient. The food was actually pretty good. I have been to Mexico and know that it’s not American food, just don’t go expecting it that way and you will be fine. They have omelets, pancakes, French toast, and a lot of fresh fruit in the morning. At lunch you can always find pizza, a hamburger, or something that you will eat. It might not be the Hot Dogs .. ???? Not so great.. We took the Kon Tiki Party Boat Cruise and had an absolute howl.. It was so much fun! I would strongly suggest it. They take you snorkeling but only half of the people did it. The others stayed on the boat and watched while drinking rum punch or beer. There is a lot of walking on the resort so have good shoes. I saw some women with stiletto heels and they probably paid for it in the long run. The entertainment was kind of cheesy at the theaters. But for the price, which is free it’s something to do. The disco doesn’t open till 11pm. If you can stay awake that long and you like techno it isn’t so bad? The Mangu at the Flamingo is where everyone goes. It is the place. Although you have to pay for drinks and I don’t think they are so cheap?? Anything that I didn’t tell you and you want to know, you can email me at rbowling@bowlingrvs.com and I will be glad to share information with you? Good luck and happy traveling.

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Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa Andy and Laura ~ Calgary

March 2005

A group of 12 of us just returned from a 2 week stay at the Bavaro Palladium in Punta Cana. This is part of the Fiesta Group of hotels and we stayed in the recently renovated deluxe rooms.

My wife and I have been to resorts both in Punta Cana as well as the Mayan Riviera. We felt that this resort was perhaps the best in terms of all around facilities and value that we have stayed at.

I won’t go into detail on all the restaurants that this resort has. Needless to say that they have 5 alacarte restaurants and two buffets which all served fabulous food. This resort I believe is one of the older ones in Bavaro howevever they have done major upgrades and our deluxe room was very near the beach and very clean and comfortable. Being an older, well established resort, the grounds were huge and mature with wonderful vegetation and scenery. Incredible manicured lawns and gardens with forests of palm trees everywhere.

If you are like us and the beach, swimming conditions and overall facilities that are convenient to use are important, then you cannot beat this place. The beach was huge and we never had any problems getting chairs on the beach. We came as a group of 12 people and were always able to get to sit together without saving chairs and we normally arrived at the beach around 10:00 or 11:00 AM each day. This is a major plus in that the Palladium has plenty of chairs to go around and if you have experienced the chair saving game you will appreciate this plus. Also, going in the ocean no matter where you entered along the beach, was fine powdery white sand with no rocks to hurt the feet. Not great for snorkelling but you can go elsewhere to do that and the resort will take you for $20.

The hobie cat boats were plentiful and easy to reserve. You just go to the fellow on the beach and give him your room number and away you go. If they are all in use you make a reservation; no money down or room keys. There were 3 swimming pools for those who are pool lovers. The main pool at the Palladium Bavaro has the largest swim up bar I have ever seen and our group would go up there to swim in the fresh water and drink cuba libra (with premium Barcelo Rum).

There was all kinds of sports and activities including volleyball, soccer, tennis, archery….you name it. They even had a cool sports bar open all night for drinks and pizza for the late nighters. The service was outstanding and dollar for dollar you cannot beat this place. We would not hesitate to go back.

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Bavaro Palladium Grand Resort & Spa Sharon & Frank ~ Canada

February 2005

Flight: traveled via Air Transat out of Winnipeg. Connecter flight from Regina resulted in an 8 hour wait making for a long day. We elected to upgrade to Club Class and were very glad we did. The Winnipeg – Punta Cana flight was great, getting you in the vacation mood as soon as you got on board. I would recommend the upgrade to anyone even thinking about it.

Check In: We arrived at the resort for check in about 1:00am. It was very quick allowing us to get a Presidente’ from the lobby bar while the bellboy loaded our luggage for the walk to our room.

Our Room: We reserved a Jr. Suite hoping to get something close to the beach with an ocean view. Thanks to an email address I received from a fellow member, this request came through. We stayed in suite 1306, second floor of villa 30 opening our balcony door to a wonderful view of the beach & ocean. The room had marble floors, a huge bathroom with double sinks and glass doors to the toilet and shower. A large two person Jacuzzi tub which made for a few excellent endings to a long day. The villa was very quiet, we only heard a few vacationers come and go on occasion.

The Beach: Okay what can I say that has not been said before. WONDERFUL! The sand is a cream / white colour with a fine texture. There were always lounge chairs to be found, but the best spots were taken by about 10:00am. Don’t get me wrong, there were no bad spots on the beach, only areas with less traffic passing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a morning or mid afternoon beach walker, anytime was great.

The Grounds: Very well kept. On a daily basis there were staff pruning, sweeping, raking and picking up after some visitors that felt it was necessary to leave items behind.
A covered walkway throughout the resort made finding your way around easy. They all lead to the main restaurants. Depending upon how relaxed you were, the walk from the main lobby to the beach could take anywhere from 7 – 10 minutes. While we were there the logoon near our villa as well as the lobby fountain pool were cleaned out. Each done very quickly, putting things back in order within one day.

The Food: Something for everyone. I could not believe the amount of shrimp and calamari available at both lunch and dinner. I’m sure this was daily. Different variations of fish, chicken, beef, and pork were always available. I hate to say it, but I’ve never found better tasting pork than what you get in the DR. This resort was no different. Fresh fruit was always available. For those that got hungry between main meal times, you could always get popcorn, soft ice cream, pizza, salad, burgers, nachos or donuts at the Sports Bar across from the Palladium lobby.
We went to four a-la-carte restaurants: El Arrecife – seafood, La Gran Cantina Mariachi – tex mex, Bambo – Japanese, and the Italian, sorry forget the name. Our favorite was Cantina Mariachi, Mexican followed by the Bambo.

Excursions: We took two tours during our stay. The Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure and Marinarium. The Bavaro Runner was good, but with our past experience taking the Outback Safari, our expectations were high. It was nice to see a sugar cane plantation and learn about how it is harvested. We stopped at the home of Maria where she now prepares coffee beans and coco beans for sale to the visitors. We had a demonstration of a cock fight which is very popular in the DR. It was also very interesting to see just how things we take for granted grow. Did you know banana trees grow 5 inches a day and bear fruit in just nine months…. Wow…

The Marinarium, swim with sharks and rays was fun. My only comment would be that I feel they should have had more guides in the water with the participants when snorkeling out to the penned area. They did not give you any idea how strong the ocean current or waves would be while fighting your way to the caged in area. I was new to snorkeling, and only tried it in the resort pool two days before our trip. Trying to watch were I was going and not hit the coral while fighting the current, I looked up only to find myself alone half way between the big boat and the penned in area. Once I made it, the sight was something to remember. Just seeing the large sharks and sting rays so close was great. There were many colourful fish as well in this area. Unfortunately there were so many people on this tour, that people were getting in each others way, kicking each other. I was however happy to find that the water was fairly warm, not the cold I expected. Once everyone got back to the boat we took a tour of the area and the party began. The art of making Coco Loco’s was shown with a taste test followed by music and dancing. We stopped in a calm spot in about 4 feet of water where you had an option to go and swim.

Overall: The staff were friendly, always eager to please. I believe they really appreciated our attempt at speaking Spanish, correcting us and trying their English skills. Not all staff spoke English, but there seemed to always be someone close by to step in to clarify questions or requests. All staff work long days… they were there first thing in the morning for breakfast, and you say them again during dinner time. I would highly recommend this resort. We intend to come back in a few years after visiting the Samana and La Romana areas.

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Bavaro Palladium Grand Resort & Spa Heidi ~ Pittsburgh, PA

February 2005

We just returned from the Bavaro Palladium Grand Resort & Spa and found it absolutely wonderful! The employees were very friendly and helpful. The weather was a great change from the cold and snow in Pittsburgh.

We arrived early, so we had packed a carryon to change into our suits and we actually had a fun filled first day. Bring along a travel mug to keep your drinks cold and less spillage on the beach and at the pool. For those of you who are fair of skin I would recommend a SPF of 30 or above even in the winter months the sun is strong and you can easily burn.

We had upgraded to a Deluxe Room with a King Size bed and it was well worth the extra $35.00 per person. If you don’t speak Spanish, print the Spanish worksheet on this site! It came in handy!

I have read about the food and it is different than in the US. They use heavy oils in cooking. You will find something to eat. There is always a pasta bar and pizza, which are both wonderful! Hint the Green Ice Cream is Pistachio and tastes great! Go and have a great time! It is easy to forget yourself in Punta Cana.

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Bavaro Palladium Grand Resort & Spa Kevin ~ USA

February 2005

My wife and I almost canceled this trip 5 times in the month before departure. Between the Malaria and the unknown gastrointestinal problems we had been reading about we really were unsure about going. We have been to Mexico many times with no problems. However after doing some research and with the help of the great people on Debbie’s Dominican Travel website we decided to go.

Our trip started out rocky, We were using Apple Vacations and USA3000 airlines. We were supposed to depart at 6AM Monday. On the Saturday before and into Sunday AM we had 18 inches of snow. But Monday ( our departure day ) is was a great day. However even though the airport was running mostly on time Apple was backed up due to the fact they had not added any planes to help clear the backlog caused by the snow storm over the weekend. Our flight ended up being delayed 16 hours so our 11AM Monday arrival ended up being 3AM Tuesday. I have trip insurance so I have filed a claim for the delay. Now lets get to the resort.

THE RESORT: Lets get one thing straight this place is massive. The walk from our ocean front room in building 4000 to the main lobby bar was 15 minutes. But the beauty of this place is fantastic. The flowers the plants and the thousands of palm trees are amazing. Everything is neatly kept and constantly being trimmed and maintained. You feel more like you in a beach community than a hotel. Because of it’s size it never seems crowded even thought when we were there it was full. You can walk around in the evening and not see another person for long periods of time. The size for me was part of the charm, you really need to carry a resort map with you especially at night because you will get lost I did, twice.

THE ROOM: We were in a Jr suite in building 4000. The room was very large, I would have to guess around 700 square feet. As you entered to your right was a sink with a mirror and behind a pocket door was the toilet and a stand up shower, to the left was the closet and safety deposit box. Across from the closet was a 2 person jet tub with windows looking out to the beach. Opposite the tub behind a half wall was a couch that folded into a bed. There was a coffee table a small round dinning table and 2 chairs. There was a credenza with a TV on top and underneath was the coffee maker and a refrigerator fully stocked with soda, water and beer. Across from that was a very large king size 4 post bed covered with netting, a night stand on each side and another table and chair with a mirror for doing make up. The room also had a hair dryer and a full size iron and ironing board. Next to the bed was the balcony looking out to the ocean. The entire wall was made of glass and gave you a great view right from your bed. At night we would leave the sliding door open so we could hear the sound of the waves, and feel the warm breezes.

THE BEACH: Ah the beach. I would have to say it is one of the nicest I’ve been to and I’ve been to a few mostly Mexico. Very natural looking not commercialized like Cancun. There are palm trees right up to the waters edge. The sand is soft and there is plenty of shade if needed. There are enough chairs to go around but you may still want to reserve one with your towel if your not going to the beach early. The beach never seemed crowded because the property is so large. Up the beach from the hotel is a small village you can do some shopping in, some of the stores are on the beach but go behind the stores into the village for the better deals. But be prepared to bargain these guys are good and will rip you off if your not a good negotiator. There are also stores on the hotel property and most items are fairly priced. However incidentals like sun screen, tampons or other things people forget to bring can be very expensive. I’m talking $20 to $30 dollars in some cases.

THE POOLS: Short comment here because I never used the pools. The are very nice and very large. Some have swim up bars but no one seemed to be using them when we were there. The water seemed cold in the one I checked but not terrible. Also most of the activities at the pools were not done in English, remember Punta Cana is a mainly European destination so you won’t find a lot of Americans there. But I enjoyed that, you really feel like you are in a foreign country.

THE STAFF: These people were great, YES there is a language barrier but if your paitent and learn a little Spanish you will do fine. Remember this is there country not yours. The Dominicans are great people and it’s not true that Americans are treated different. Just remember even thought it’s all inclusive doesn’t mean you can’t tip. A couple dollars goes a long way with these people. Tip a waitress at the lobby bar and your drink will never be empty.

THE FOOD: Well I gained 6 pounds in the week I was there so I thought the food was great. The buffets and are large and menu varies everyday. The specialty restaurants were good to we went to Bamboo and the Tex-Mex and both were very good. I have read people complain about the food being bland or repetitive. All I can say is they must have been at a different resort.

THE WEATHER: Well for us the weather could have been better, we had a fair amount of clouds and wind on all but 2 of our 6 days but clouds and 80 degrees I can handle. The ocean was warm but I don’t think as warm as the water in Cancun and Rivera Maya Mexico. And although the water is a pretty color it’s not like the water in Cancun and not as clear. You have to remember that Punta Cana is where the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans meet so the water is more blue green than a turquoise blue.

VALUE: This was a great value for the money. A resort of similar size and amenities in Cancun or Rivera Maya will cost between $400 and $800 more per couple. I know this because I did a lot of research before this trip.

Any questions feel free to e mail me at davis.k.j@worldnet.att.net Also photos of our vacation can be found at http://community.webshots.com/user/jailcop

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