The Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium Reviews – Dominican Republic Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Travel Resort Reviews – The Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium

  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Allen ~ USA

November 29 2009

Arrival:
 Quick and easy transfer to the hotel from the airport using VIP services. Entry through Customs was as easy as I’ve ever experienced.

Rooms:
The Royal Suites had excellent accommodations with quality furnishings and a very comfortable bed and very roomy. This section is quiet and secluded from the other areas of the resort but convenient, with the use of the inter-resort train. Loved the swim-up pool, right off of the suite’s deck.

Restaurants and Bars:
World-class cuisine and plenty of it! Quality of the food was exceptional, as was the service by the staff. Bars were plentiful, and the wait-staff numerous.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was pristine; sandy, clean, and no rocks to step on. Staff keep the entire complex neat and clean. Pools were clean and well maintained.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We stayed on the resort grounds since our purpose for this trip was to simply relax and ‘chill’; easy to do, but hard to leave.

Other Comments:
The Dominicans were very hospitable, polite and attentive. Lots of smiles and good manners and very welcoming to us, as visitors. This resort will see us again.

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  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Ed ~ Strateford, ct

November 29 2009

Arrival Nov 12-17

I love PUJ!  There is a slight hold-up for the picture with the ridiculously dressed girls, but no harm done.  Getting through Immigration took all of 2 minutes, buying $10 entry cards and then returning them up about 10 feet later.  Baggage started to come through fairly quickly.  It was crowded around the belt but that’s to be expected.  To leave the terminal, a firm but polite œno thank you got us through the porters and out to the taxi area.  Nodding to one of the several English speaking organizers holding up a simple taxi sign, we were escorted to our cab.  The driver did not speak English but we knew the fare from the gentleman who got us to the cab.  The ride to the resort took about 25 minutes.

Check In

When we arrived, there was no welcome.  No hola, no cold drink, no welcome, this is where to go to check in, nada.  We knew where to go from our visit last year and waited for the couple in front of us to finish, then sat at the desk for check-in.  I got a Presidente and my wife a bottle of water from the fridge next to the bar.  Check-in itself was smooth and fairly quick.

Our butler, or who we were told was our butler, escorted us to our room and gave a quick intro to the TV, safe, fridge, etc.  He said his name was Adanza and wrote cell numbers on the info sheet we can return to select pillows, define what we want in the fridge, etc.  Our bags were brought up about 5 minutes later.

I don’t know who brought us up to the room.  Adanza, we learned two days later, is a lovely woman.  I guess he was free in the lobby and it was easier to have him take us up than to find one of the œreal butlers.  When we did meet Adanza, we told her we’d turned in the request form with someone else.  The next day, our pillows and bottle of rum arrived.  Daily fridge refill is promised but did not happen.  In our 5 days, it was refilled once.  Not a big deal.

The Room

We were put into room 5026.  In the original section, this was a 2nd floor room close to the beach and overlooking the pool.  Exactly what I’d requested through Octavio about 10 days before arrival.

The room was in good shape.  The toilet seat was loose and one of the chairs on the porch was missing a bolt, but nothing problematic.  There is a free safe to use that will hold a small to mid-sized laptop.  Not sure about a larger one.  The tub was in the room but the toilet and shower were behind different doors, offering the required privacy.  What the room lacks is a dresser.  There are 3 small drawers in the desk and 3 shelves in the closet but this was barely enough for us staying only 5 nights.  If you’re on a 2 week holiday and pack heavy, you’ll have issues finding room to store your clothes.  The TV brought in plenty of English speaking or dubbed channels with fairly decent reception quality.

We left $3 each day for the maid, with a gracias note so she knew it was for her.  Everyday around 10-11am, the room was fully cleaned, with flowers and towels animals left behind.

Towels do get a little tricky.  Washcloths were there when we arrived but never replaced.  Used bath towels were taken when the room was cleaned in the morning but more than once not replaced until the evening.  Not great if you want a late afternoon shower before going to dinner.  We got around this by taking a couple extra pool towels back up to the room, just in case they were needed for a shower.  When done, we returned them to the pool towel hut, now wanting to leave them for the maid to deal with.

Pool

We were right over the pool.  For towels, the hut by the center path to the beach opens at 8:30 (usually earlier) and closes around 4:00.  The pool itself was not as clean as the neighboring pool by the now closed El Bohio buffet, and we know why.  At the RS pool, there’s a shallow sloped area to walk in with 2 small bubblers.  People think this is where they’re supposed to wash the sand off of their feet and sandals!  I don’t get how people can be so 1) clueless and 2) inconsiderate.  I’ve already sent a suggestion note to Octavio about adding a foot shower by the towel hut or at least adding signage directing people to the shower that is there already.

There are 2 pool bars.  The main bar with a swim-up area and a smaller one at the beach entry path by building 50.  The main had Presidente on tap, all of the assorted frozen drink machines and a full stock of liquor.  The smaller had bottled beer, a couple slushy machines, just the basics for liquor and the fridge for self-serve sandwiches.  Both were fine, plus staff circulates around the pool for drink orders.

We had to put towels out by 7:30am latest to get a shady palapa by the pool. RS wristbands are gold, then changing to silver during the week as the color wears off.  There were an awful lot of people around the pool with gray wristbands who walked over from other sections of the complex.  I guess those are the platinum wristbands for VIPs and repeat guests.  Needless to say, there must’ve been a lot of VIPs and repeat guests that week, as they seemed to take up 25% of the lounges by the pool.

Beach

Beautiful.  At any time of day, there were shaded lounges available, sometimes close to the edge of the water and sometimes further back.  Plenty of Bali beds too.  Drink service was offered for the RS section of the beach.

Lobby

Nice small lobby.  Two desks for check-in, a small but fully stocked bar, a fridge with water and beer to grab at any time and 4 free internet desks.
In the hallway between the lobby and the courtyard/pool, there’s a desk for butler service and others for excursions and tour companies.  Will your assigned butler be there?  Probably not.  But any of them can make you’re a la carte dinner reservations.

Dining

The Royal Gourmet was very good for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Food quality was better than at the buffet. The Los Torres buffet was fine for breakfast or lunch.  The quality was OK and the selection was very good.  We did not use a buffet for dinner. Dinners at the a la carte options were mixed.  We liked Japanese teppanyaki, Brazilian rodizio was good and we weren’t impressed with the Spanish.  For all of them, reservations are now available only at 6:30, 8:30 or 10:00. At all a la carte and buffet restaurants, the hostess gives you a squirt of hand sanitizer as you enter.

Room service one late night was surprisingly good.  The margarita pizza was very good and the burger, though it looked burned to a crisp, was tasty if not juicy.

Punta Cana Mike

If you have the opportunity to go off-resort with Mike, do it.  He’s a great guy.  We went with him to a Toros game in La Romana and absolutely enjoyed it.  A real treat for US baseball fans.  Mike’s a friendly and gracious guy.

Departure

Smooth at the RS.  Called for luggage pick-up, walked to the lobby, checked out and were in a cab in about 20 minutes.
Same at the airport.  Very nice to have Nathan’s, Wendy’s and Baskin Robbins as food choices.  I wish that were true in San Juan, where we had a 4+ hour lay-over and the only food options in the terminal were garbage.

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  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Joe ~ Florida

August 2009

Arrival: July 6, 2009
 Reception was a little bit confusing since we made the reservation months ago and they didn’t have the room we requested.  They offer to "downgrade" the reservation and have us stay in another room.  We declined the offer and they were suppose to have our reserved room available by next day. It never happened even after several attempts and almost pleading. 

Rooms:
The suite assigned to us was just beautiful but on the second floor and not as requested on the first floor with direct access to the pool.  The building bottlers were very attentive and accommodating and would go out of their way to make your stay a pleasant one.

Restaurants and Bars:
Bars were very good and the staff was fantastic everywhere. The Royal Gourmet (there was always a long wait after ordering and food arriving to your table)was the best and possibly only good restaurant.  The other restaurants were mediocre in quality and variety. Tried several of them but the Royal Gourmet was mentione was the only good restaurant.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Grounds were gorgeous and well kept.  Pools were clean and beautifully  decorated.  No complaints on that department but rather our compliments. The snack frig at the lobby was very handy.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went only to one show and took us about half an hour (by train) to get to the theater.  The show was good but again not worthy the trip back an forth due to the distance.  We stayed at the lobby of the Grand Palladium most of the evenings.

Other Comments:
We had been at many different resorts in Punta Cana as well as in the north coast of the D.R. It was our only time in which we will be without our children and were looking forward to it.  We were so disappointed that by the 4th day we called our Travel Agency and had us transferred to another 5 stars resort.  The stay at the latter was just fantastic in every aspect.  We do not recommend this resort to anyone except for honeymooners.

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  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Susan ~ Danville, Kentucky

July 2009

Arrival: July 3 – July 11 Sheer Bliss. My husband and I thought this was one of our most relaxing vacations in years. I have travelled all over the world, I used to work in the Middle East and got free plane tickets each year so have been many places, and this is one of my favorite resorts. It is just so beautiful there, and the people were so nice. Those beds on the beach were so decadent, the food was good and the people very friendly if you were nice to them. I will say though everyone was right about arrival and departure at the airport. Arrival was swift and efficient, but you better have three hours to get through lines on the way back. Our check in was quick, and we received cold towels and drinks while we waited. I loved the Royal Suites lobby. It was blessedly cool, had snacks, drinks, a lady who made coffees and cappucinos, free internet, that there was never a long wait to get, books, magazines etc. Very pleasant. The butler (more what I would call a concierge) sits at a desk right outside the lobby, and someone was there most of the time. I found them very helpful to book restraunt (do that ASAP) get flight reconfirmed or answer questions.

Rooms:
As we walked with our butler back to our room we were thrilled with how lovely the place was. Just way more beautiful than the pictures looked. Because I have a bad leg I had insisted on staying in building 52, right next to the pool and beach and this was so handy. We went in our room and the butler gave us a quick rundown of the room and options. We were very happy with the room. It was big, with a nice patio that looked over the pool, loved the big jacuzzi and shower and the bed was big and comfortable. Bar was always well stocked every day, and the maid did a good job with the cleaning. I left her usually two dollars and a candy bars and at the end left her several things. Liked the fan over the bed. Very good movie channels. Nice wooden chairs on the patio. I saw pictures of the rooms in the new section and while it did look nicer and their pool didn’t close, I loved being right next to the pool, beach and lobby.

Restaurants and Bars:
Our favorite restraunt was the Royal Gourmet. Yes, the Los Torres buffet had more selection, but was also more crowded and sometimes ran out of things. We ended up eating breakfasts, some lunches and several dinners at the Royal Gourmet. I loved the walkways to it. Kept the sun or rain off you when it was hot. Did like the Los Torres next door, the Palace buffet. Very interesting salads and grilled fish and at dinner here once or twice.

I ended up liking La Uva just down the beach in the Punta cana section for lunch. You could just wear a beach cover up and they had usually two rice dishes (sometimes paella) a soup or two, meats you could have grilled or fish or hotdogs, usually some types of pastas, some unusually good mexican selections, and salads and that good homemade bread. But why I liked it usually over the palace beachside restraunt, (which was barely a two minute walk from the Royal suites pool or beach down the service path along the beach( is because La Uva, which was just a bit further down, had such a lovely ocean view while you ate. It was also a good place to get snacks if you didn’t want the sandwiches at the bar. Although if you were on the beach around 11 30 they usually brought out yummy fruit kabobs and then pizzas. service was good around the beach, just wave to get their attention.

Our favorite restraunt was the Mare Nostrum the Italian place, right over by the Los Torres buffet and the Royal Gourmet. It was delicious and we would go here at least twice when we go back. Nice starter buffet, delicious main entrees and good deserts. My second favorite was the Japanese one, also right by the Los Torres buffet and the Royal Gourmet, just further down the line. Very good beef and shrimp, good fried rice, excellent fried ice cream. Nice show.

One night we went over to the Bavaro side of the resort. We looked at the flamingos. Had a drink at Hemingways, which is a nice bar, although quicker to get served if you go up to the bar and take it back to your table. Then we ate at the Chinese restraunt, which was okay, not my favorite one. We went and saw part of a show at the theater, but it wasn’t our kind of thing. Then we went over to the Bell captain at the little stand in the Bavaro lobby and asked to get a golf cart back since its a long walk and the train had just left. He was happy to assist us. That was the only time we went over to Bavaro, and to be truthful, probably the last time I’d go over there. It was very nice, but very busy, and I was just too spoiled by the things on the Royal Suites side.

We ordered room service several times when we’d had enough sun and didn’t feel llike going back out, and it always came hot or cold and quite good. I liked the chicken quesadillas, they called them tacos, the chef salad was a bit strange as it didn’t have much lettuce or vegetables, but was a good snack and it always came within thirty minutes or so.

If you get one of the sandwiches from the lobby or bar I reccommend the ham and cheese, quite good. Overall very pleased with the restraunts and selection of food, particularly the service and food at Royal Gourmet. Very good flank steak, eggs benedict and buffet selections. Some a bit strange for our American tastes, like mashed potatoes for breakfast, but still had bacon, eggs, and quite good pastries. Try the french toast. Made from fresh bread and eggs, delicious.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Well the grounds, beach and pools were even more beautiful than the pictures is all I can say. The lushness reminded me of Bali. I thought Hawaii had the corner on pretty landscaping but this was just wonderful. Loved all the flowers, that smelled so good, the shaded beach under the palm trees, those beds on the beach were just wonderful. Stayed on them most of the day. The sea was perfect, just enough wave, but you could float on your raft in it, I used to like to bounce in the waves and watch them frantically doing aerobics over on the palace beach. It was very relaxing. Although I liked the Punta Cana pool, I ended up liking the Royal Suites pool the best, although they did play the towel game there, didn’t like to lounge there though, too hot, and it was too pleasant under the palms on the beach. Did like the pool though, those cool whirpools were very nice and there were deep parts in the pool that were refreshing. Beach was one of the prettiest I’ve seen, and like I said I’ve been all over the world. Do go for a walk to your left sometime.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We just weren’t in the mood to go on adventures this trip. We just wanted to relax. Next time might go on either the dolphin swim or that island one though. I am still mad at my husband for not going to the Michael Jackson show, hehe, it was supposed to be really good. Otherwise, just went to a lobby and got a drink and listened to music. Some of the music at the palace bar was good. Sat out on a beach bed looking at the ocean two nights, that was romantic and very peaceful.

Did go shopping to the shops just to the right a few times. Like the jewelry in the first hut. Best to offer a fourth of what asked and then go up a bit or be prepared to walk away. When I go back, to get to that cheap Los Pinos shop that has set prices (they’re not, you can still get them down some) I highly recommend going down the beach to that restraunt and cut through that alley straight to the Los Pinos shop. That second row of shops were just too aggressive for me. The first row of shops really weren’t. I guess they’ve learned not to be. I liked one shop in that alley by the restraunt. Had really nice beach bags. Got a beautiful larimar necklace for my Mom for about twenty bucks. Not bad.

Other Comments:
We had a really wonderful time here and can’t wait to go back. Do put towels down in your room. All floors are slippery here. Do bring candy bars and nick nacks to hand out. The towel man was so thrilled when I gave him one.

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  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Kerry

June 2009

My husband & I love to travel. We have gone on several cruises & have enjoyed them immensely. Wanting to try something new this time, we chose the Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium which we were told was a 5 star resort. We always have a positive attitude & when we are on vacation, we have the attitude of “we are not at work, we are not at home cooking & cleaning, so how bad can it be, right????”

We usually can find the good in anything, so I will start with the GOOD:

We thought the butler service was a great idea. We loved that our butler made reservations for us at the restaurants so we wouldn’t have to wait in line to be seated. That being said, the butler was only at her desk a couple times for short periods of time so it was difficult to get the chance to speak with her. We loved the fact that they have an adult only section of the resort & beach. It was very peaceful & quiet.

Now for the BAD:

The weather was awful. There were thunderstorms every day & night. In the whole 7 days we probably got a total of a few hours of sun. The rooms were leaking & the resort was flooding. It made getting around pretty difficult. The weather couldn’t have been helped, I admit, but I do think the resort could have made things a little easier for us or compensated us in some way. I am not sure if it was the weather, or if this was just par for the course, but their attitudes were very poor.

Which leads me to the UGLY:

We booked the upgraded swim-up room specifically to have immediate access to the pool. Well, our pool was broke the whole week. The Jacuzzis were broke the whole week. They made no attempt to apologize or to switch us to a different room. Everyone in our building was complaining. We tried to be reasonable but all we were told was “is broke, Senor”. The advertised free wifi didn’t work. Again, when we asked about it we were told “is broke, Senor” The only way we could use the internet is if we made the trek thru the floods to go the lobby. Our A/C worked but not that great. We heard some people saying their rooms were cold as ice but ours barely worked. We tried to tell them but they didn’t seem to care. We were told there would be trains making stops at lobbys & restaurants every 10 to 15 minutes. Well, when they were running, the wait was always 30 to 45 minutes. We met an older couple who said they had to wait a whole hour for the train to come to their stop & they would have walked in the rain but they had arthritis. We were told that we could ask anyone to take us anywhere on the complex with a club car or golf cart. Once we were told “the train will come” & another time we asked the driver to take us to the main gate & he simply said “NO” so we walked in the rain! We asked the man at the front desk to show us where Hemingway’s bar was on the map. We even showed him the word “Hemingway” in writing. He said he didn’t know & he called 2 people & then he said “it’s on the map. The train will take you there” so we had to go find it ourselves. Something we found to be funny was on an electronic survey, one of the questions was to rate the staff of the Hemingway bar. Kind of funny since the staff didn’t even know it existed! We booked a tour that was leaving early in the morning. The night before, I tried to preorder breakfast thru room service. The room service breakfast starts at 7 & will get to your room in 40 minutes. That would have been too late so the night before when I called & requested to have breakfast sent to me at 7:30 the next morning, he said “No, you call tomorrow”. That was a huge inconvenience that could have been avoided. What would have been the harm in allowing me to call ahead for one morning? In the Royal Gourmet, my husband said that instead of having an appetizer, he preferred to try 2 different entrees. He was told “NO”. He thought he misunderstood so he rephrased it & the waiter said “NO, ONLY 1!” We were offended since in our opinion, we PAID for that food! At the same restaurant on a different night my husband dropped a fork. When it hit the floor, everyone around us could hear it, even the waiters. They turned their heads in our direction. My husband waited a moment & when it appeared no one would bring him a new fork, he got up to go across the restaurant to get it himself. We had to hold up our glasses to request water refills since it appeared that no one was even paying attention to our table. On several occasions we were served the wrong orders & had to wait even longer. On one occasion, they forgot to make our order & we had to wait a very long time to get our lunch. At the Japanese restaurant, when I walked in the door dripping wet from rain, the girl at the door didn’t offer me a towel; instead she glared at me, shook her head at me, & placed a wet floor sign beside the puddle of water I created. When we went outside of the resort, we saw that other resorts offered their guests umbrellas & rain ponchos. We would have bought them and used them if they were available to us but instead, at our resort we were treated as though our wetness was a nuisance to them. What was a nuisance was we brought very nice dress clothes that were ruined due to the mildew of constantly being wet. Our room was leaking, as all others were, so no clothing would dry even after being draped all over the room all week. The only thing the staff would do was keep bringing us towels to place all over the floors & tables. My husband went to discuss these matters with Miguel. (the apple rep) Miguel was very friendly but he didn’t seem to be very helpful. He, along with all others, would just smile & tell us to relax. There were no solutions to any of the problems, no apologies, just absent smiles. My husband explained to Miguel that we booked the upgraded room specifically for perks that we weren’t receiving such as the pool & the wifi. Miguel told my husband that all of the royal suites were equal in price. When my husband told Miguel that wasn’t the case, Miguel only smiled & said he didn’t know because he had only been there for 2 weeks. He said that he already knew that the pool was broken since other guests were telling him about it but that we were to “expect” these things since we were in a new section. But, more than a month before our vacation when we asked if this new section would be completed in time, we were told that everything was to be ready & open on May 1st. Had the pool in our building ever been working, or was it working at one point & then it broke? Either way, that was the whole reason of booking a swim-up room & Miguel could only tell us that it was “to be expected”. In the end, we saw the maintenance crew capping off all the jets in the pool so it looked as though there was no hope of it working anytime in the near future. The crew was digging holes all over the place & it appeared that there was some sort of plumbing/piping issues. I understand things break but it seemed as though this place was nowhere near being ready to be open to the public. I believe we were misled greatly. We were also told that there would be no problem with having a late check-out. Our flight wasn’t due to leave till after 8pm. We were told by the man at the desk that we had to be out of our room at noon. We said that seemed too early & asked if we could have late check-out. He became annoyed & said “only 1 more hour. You be here at 1:00.” So, we went to eat lunch & at 12:30 we attempted to go to our room to get our luggage & our keys had already been disabled. We had to go find a maid to let us into our room. Then even though it seemed as though they were in a hurry for us to leave, we had to call twice for a bellboy to pick up our luggage.

All of this being said, individually all of these complaints are not that big a deal but when you combine them into a whole week, it adds up to be very bad vacation. Like I said, we are not the type to complain about anything. We are passive people and we are very fun people. We usually make it a point to make the most of every minute of our vacations. We are usually annoyed when we see guests do nothing but complain thruout their vacations. But when we were blatantly being treated with rudeness & disregard, we were shocked & disgusted! On a cruise we are treated as though we are their friends. They get to know us, they get to know our traveling companions, they even learn how we drink our coffee. It’s the little things that matter to me. An example of how this resort was the exact opposite is what happened on our last day. We had been there for 7 days. We saw the same people over & over. We recognized them & assumed they would have at least known we had been there. Sitting in the lobby after the whole check-out fiasco, a member of the staff actually came up to us & told us that our room would be ready soon. There was never any attempt of them trying to get to know us or making us feel that we mattered. We are not wealthy people. This was a huge expense to us. We even added to that expense by purchasing the insurance plan but how can we be compensated for all of this? Not to mention the vacation days that we can not get back from our employers. We feel as though it’s all been wasted.

There are no other words to explain our disappointment & dissatisfaction

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  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Anne ~ Nova Scotia

April 2009

Arrival: April 5 – 12
Early flight on Air Transat. Club Class the only way to go. No other planes around just ours so the total time from landing to bus leaving was 1/2 hour. From landing to Hotel 1 hour. Taken to resort via big bus only dropping at the other Palladium resorts. Just 6 off at the Suites. Checkin was a breeze while sipping a fruity drink and cool cloth. Rooms not ready as expected, no big deal. Left everything in the lobby and changed into bathing suit, grabbed the big cup hit the bar on the way to the beach. For everyone who get so bent out of shape over your room not being ready, relax just be ready for it and go with the flow. The front desk will appreciate it so much more and remember you for being nice about it. Just hit the beach and relax.

Rooms
I had the prefect room and well as my other travelling companions. My rooms was on the top floor # 5144 just about dead centre of builing 51. Looking directly at the ocean. What a view from my bed. Everything about the room was perfect. Clean is an understatement. These maids work hard. I came back to my room at 9:00 for something and she had the bed pulled out from the wall mopping under it. Never felt sand or grit at anytime. King size bed. Sheets changed everyday. Not that they needed it be but some get bent out of shape if the sheets are not changed. Mini bar stocked everyday with 2 huge bottles of water beer, pop, crackers and 2 cans of peanuts. Flat screen TV, electronic safe. Room was simply beautiful. If there was ever a problem and I did have one with no water on day, called the desk and 5 minutes later the problem was fixed. Restaurants and Bars
For me the new japanese was the best. In the suites you do get to reserve and bypass the line ups. I did find that they used a little to much salt for me but I usually don’t eat it so it may have just been me. Mare Norstrum , way to hot in there for me and it took over 2 hours to get our meal when we did it was amazing but we left before dessert as were all to hot. I did mention this to the Concierge and he reported it to management while I was with him. Bamboo was wonderful and the orange dessert was to die for. Very fast service. El Arrecife, amazing lovely breeze blowing in from the beach, no flys. Service very fast as well. Did the buffet and all the food was really great. Fast and efficient. We always sat at the same area as there were 6 at all times so we got to know them and they us and knew what we wanted before we even asked. We alway left tips so this helps. I did notice that not many people do leave tips and I don’t know why. I know one can if they want to and it is not expected but come on people a buck or two here and there really helps these people out. The Gourmet is just for Suites guests and is on the mark. Service and attention to each person food ordered off menu as well as help yourself to the buffet items. Bars we did frequent Hemingway’s which is in a class all by it’s self. Mostly we used the bar in our lobby or the beach bar and the pool bar in the Suites area. Most drinks were delivered to us on the beach and perk at the suites. Everyday fruit kabobs delivered to us as well. Very nice touch. Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach…perfect as everyone knows. Never do a pool when I’m south so I can’t comment but they looked great. Very comfortable Bali bed at beach and pool area. The lounger are the best I have ever layed on, long and made of metal with webbing. I did take a MEC sleeping pad with me just in case thing got uncomfortable. These MEC pads are only 700gr. self inflate and pack up small. Good investment. Never had trouble finding a lounger. Landscaping beautiful. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Did do parasailing once I got up the nerve and was glad I did, it is very peaceful up there and the view was amazing. Went to Don Lucas cigar lounge. Anyone looking to purchase a excellent quality cigar should give this guy a call, your concierge will have his info. Top quality. He is very informative and picks you up in his vehicle and takes you back. The rest of my time was walking the beach and laying in the sun. Other Comments I did get to tour the new section of the Royal Suites and it is amazing. There are three builing opening in 10 days. No ocean view but everything else makes up for it. The swimup suites will be a hit for some for sure. Top of the line everything in these rooms. Only a 3 minute walk to the beach. I had been to the Royal Suites in 2006 and thought it was the best then now things are even better and the additions they have made make it all the better. Anyone who books do it with confidence as this place will give you everything you need in a vacation. Go relax and enjoy! Hats off to Palladium and the staff that make this place what it is. Please remember to tip! Also candy is a huge hit with the young and old. So pick up some discounted easter stuff and bring it along you will be surprised just how happy that will make them. Top of Page

  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Chuck & Grace ~ Ontario Canada

April 2009

Arrival We arrived at the suites on Sunday March 22nd after a 4 ½ hour flight from Toronto. After the usual customs and baggage routine, there was a new twist, you had to have one of the porters move your bags for you, you couldn’t use the carts outside of the baggage area.

However, when we arrived at the resort, there was no waiting, our room was ready, and we were escorted to our room, 5205 by our butler Carlos, who went through some of the services offered, such as pillow selection, etc.

Room The room was very nice and spacious, and was just as the pictures and previous reviews had stated. The room was always nice and fresh, with flowers and towel animals. The housekeeping staff was excellent, and were always considerate of the guests needs. The only thing that seemed to be in short supply was the face clothes. They would disappear in the morning, and would return late in the afternoon. Twice during the two weeks we were there, I had to go searching as they had not yet been delivered by 5:00pm. The fridge guy was sort of hit and miss. There were two or three days, he never showed up at all. That was never a big deal, because all you had to do was walk to the lobby, and there were 2 fridges stocked with beer, soda, water, yogurt and sandwiches which you could get at any time.

We did receive two small bottles of rum during our stay, as well as a bottle of chilled champagne and two glasses delivered to the door. We also received a fruit basket the afternoon of our arrival.

Restaurants and Bars We tried most of the a la carte restaurants as well as the Royal Gourmet. The one we found to be the best was the Japanese as well as the Royal Gourmet. The International Steak and Seafood located at one of the beach grills was by far the worst of the lot. Besides an extremely long wait both times, the beef was as tough as shoe leather, it was so bad, and I could not chew my steak, very disappointing to say the least. The Italian was OK, as well as the Dominican and the Tex-Mex wasn’t too bad either. We never took the time to try the Brazilian or the Oriental. We tried two of the buffets, and found the food to be fairly decent. I personally found that there could have been some more variety in the salads served, but I may have gone with a pre-conceived expectation of what we had last year. Also bacon was not available every day, but the omelettes were excellent. Overall a 7 out of 10 rating for the buffet. There were three of the staff at Las Torress that made the trip, they were Alessandra, Domingo and Yuniour. Always willing to help, and very attentive to the guests needs.

We tried the lobby bar at the Palace, which was nice, Hemmingway’s is a “must visit” while at the Palladium, but the best was the pool bar at the Royal Suites. Theodoro was the main man during the day, and Santos in the evening. They were always pleasant, and quick service. These are hard working people, and should be given credit for the work and effort that they put out.

Beach/Pool/Grounds The beach is absolutely beautiful, we have been to Puerto Plata twice, and there is no comparison in the beach and the color of the water. The grounds are immaculate and the gardening staff are to be commended for their work. One morning on the way back from breakfast, we watched them grooming some coconut palms, the gardener took down a couple of fair size coconuts, shaped one, and opened it and gave it to my wife to drink the juice. It was one of those moments that made the visit so special.

The pool is nice and with the swim up bar, you never worked up too much of a thirst. The only thing we found different was the “topless” ladies around the pool, we had seen that down at the beach many times before, but that was the first time ever around the pool.

Activities We did not take in any of the shows at the resort, usually by 10:00pm we were pretty worn out from the fresh air and the sun. We did go on the Nichol jewellery tour and the Dominico Cigar Factory tour but that was pretty much the extent of it. We did go on a shopping excursion to Plaza Bavaro with a chap named Marcus, whom we met in the lobby of the Palace section, selling trips to Captain Cooks Restaurant. He escorted us into town, and then took us to the Supermercado to buy our Rum, Coffee and yes clamato juice. It was a tad on the pricy side (the clamato), but hey, you are in the Dominican Republic. Twelve dollars for the cabs compared to $140.00 for a ½ day shopping trip, and we got everything we wanted for almost the price of the excursion.

We also ventured into El Cortecito, everything is cheapy cheapy, but if you look around, you can usually find what you want, if you are so inclined. It was not too bad of a venture.

Other Comments Overall we were very pleased with the holiday. Now that I have tried it, two weeks is definitely the way to go. Would we go back to the Royal Suites, yes definitely? My only concern would be once they open up the new section, it will put a lot of pressure on the beach area, which may have a negative impact on that part of the resort. As far as service and guest satisfaction, can’t be beat. Top of Page

  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Ann ~ Halifax

March 2009

Arrival
We left Halifax in the middle of an ice storm, apparently our flight was the only one that got out that day! How lucky. We arrived at Punta Cana airport, got our bags and found our bus without any difficulties – they have a great system there. I love the thatched roof airport! The drive was only about 25-30 minutes, through some very poor areas, great photo ops though…

Rooms
We were the first to be droppoed off at our resort – The Royal Suites is beautiful. Lobby reminded us a little of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, on a much smaller scale. Our room wasn’t quite ready upon our arrival so we changed into warm weather attire (highly recommend you take a change of clothing in your carry-on) and did a bit of exploring. I have to mention, I went into the bathroom off the main lobby, it was spotless and I will never forget the beautiful smell in there – what a great first impression. After an hour and a half or so we got to our room. It was beautiful. We were in the building off the lobby, I believe our room was 5118, corner room on the sceond floor overlooking the lush gardens. It was perfect. So quiet and private. Only thing I would mention that should be brought to the attention of management – the floors in the rooms are marble and they are EXTREMELY slippery when your feet are wet. Perhaps there should be a little warning sign posted somewhere in the room. Just a thought. There were fresh flowers laid out every day, and again for the nightly turn-down service, I loved them! We received a complementary bottle of sparkling wine and our fridge was stocked daily with water and beer (our choice). This is a fantastic perk! The bed was very comfortable and I loved the "pillow menu", I highly recommend the memory foam. The house-keeping staff do a tremendous job and they are so very friendly. Restaurants and Bars
We ate a few times at the Royal Gourment, I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan at all. Perhaps our standards were too high? We actually only ate dinner there once. The staff were great, the presentation was beautiful too – we just found the food to be a little off and lacking in flavor. The buffet right next door (the name escapes me) was more to our liking and if some of the fellow vacationers learned some basic manners on how to treat the staff (and guests), the entire experience would have been perfect. This restaurant makes THE best cappuccino I have ever had – it’s pretty much perfect. We ate at the Brazilian, great chicken! We tried the Mexian, not really to our liking…there was a new Japanese restaurant opening the day we were leaving, looking forward to hearing about that. The sandwiches available in the lobby and at the pool bars were very convenient and I loved the tuna wraps and the veggies sandwiches! Great with a cold Presedente! Staff at the pool bar were fantastic. I have a soft spot for Theodoro – he even invented a drink for me which we aptly named "The Theodoro." Perhaps he does this for everyone, made me feel special! The frozen daqiris are excellent, especially if you don’t want to take in too many coconutty, fruity drinks. Beach/Pools/Grounds
Gorgeous, immaculate, perfect – need I say more? Grounds keepers are constantly working. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t take part in any activites at all – we relaxed the entire week. Most strenuous activity was walking to the bar from time to time. Loved it! Other Comments I would highly recommend this resort to anyone who is looking for the perfect relaxing getaway. Adult only means no children and while we were there, there weren’t any loud and obnoxious tourists either! We loved it and would return in a nano-second. Top of Page

  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Dianne ~ Canada

March 2009

Arrival: Feb. 28 – March 14
We arrived on time by Westjet….no complications at the Airport and taken to the Royal Suites very quickly. We arrived at the Royal Suites and were taken right away at the Desk. The only problem was that we had to wait 3 hours before we got into our Room. Our attendant, I believe his name was Jack, went off duty, shortly after he registered us and, the next person on duty never called us regarding the availablity of our room (we were sitting on the chairs right next to him). I finally went up to him and he checked on the status of our room. It was finally ready. There was nobody there to take our suitcases, so we went to the room ourselves, suitcases in tow. We have travelled a lot, to different resorts, and I’ve never had to wait 3 hrs to get into our room. We were tired from our flight and disappointed with this service. This is something that needs to be looked at.

Rooms
Our Room 5202 was very beautiful, on the ground floor, overlooking the pool. Service was very good. We got champagne and a fruit basket, a bottle of rum and the fridge was filled everyday with water and beer. Restaurants and Bars
The Royal Gourmet was very good, we enjoyed the main courses very much, the filet mignon was excellent and the desserts were excellent as well. We didn’t much care for their buffet. We ate also at the Palace Buffett….great selection and the food was excellent. The only thing I would suggest that the Royal Suites need a small Dining area of their own, which could be built off the main lobby to the left as you enter the front doors. The Paradisus Punta Cana Royal Suites, have their own Dining Area for Breakfast, Lunch and H’Orederves (sp?) and No Supper. At the Royal Suites Lobby you could get sandwiches but, sometimes they were dry. Again, this is a situation that needs attention. Beach/Pools/Grounds
We are lovers of the beach, and we liked our private beach very much, except for the logs……sort of blocks your view. The pool area was great as well, we always came to the pool, from the ocean, about 4:00 p.m. for a few drinks. Danny the bartender was great as were the girls that served us. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We really didn’t get involved in any activities…..we just wanted to relax, read, walk and enjoy the ocean. The Beach was very clean and you could walk for miles. Other Comments We loved this Resort, with a few exceptions, as noted above, and would like to return. However, with the building of 235 additional units (470 guests) makes us wonder how this is going to change this quiet resort, i.e., the pool area and the private beach…..this is a great concern for us, as we loved it the way it was. Top of Page

  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Hlywud & the Warden ~ Ontario

February 2009

Vacation Photos

Arrival: January 23 – 30
Air transat, 1.5 hours late leaving YYZ but we made up 40 minutes in the air. Very comfortable flight on an A310-300. Private transfer was prearranged by Bronly from IBK Servicios and we were at the resort within 30 minutes and an hour ahead of the bus. Rooms:
Room 5148, third floor facing the ocean, very clean and comfortable Junior Suite. Room had lots of towels and condiments at all times. Service from the maid was excellent, we did try the Butler service and got new pillows promptly but we were a couple of days getting a complimentary bottle of rum, not a big deal. We did make reservations for any a la cartes we used, with these we got right in ahead of lineups of other guests. Restaurants and Bars:
All restaurants we attended were very good, Royal Gourmet was a bit slower service but food was quite good. Mare Nostrum as usual was very good. We tried the new Brazilian, good food but way too much meat. Buffets were also quite good, always an excellent selection of foods. Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach,pools and grounds were all in excellent very clean condition. Royal Suites pool was scheduled for a new paint job in June 2009 but this posed no problems for our group. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Steve’s bar for the meet and greet was very successful with over 70 tourists showing up and lots of donations for the schools and orphanage. Other Comments: A great resort, our 5th visit and definitely will be returning. We had a young couple with us who are getting marrried in November 2009, we arranged trips for them to the Majestic, Iberostars, Occidental and the Riu complexes. After their meetings with the different wedding co-ordinators they have decided to be married at the Palladium. Top of Page

  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Denis ~ Ottawa, Canada

January 2009

Arrival: January 10-17, 2009
My husband and I booked with Vacances Transat from Ottawa. The flight and arrival were uneventful. This was our fourth trip to Punta Cana. We were however glad to have waited an extra day to fly with Westjet as opposed to Skysquish (as some call Sky Service). Vacances Transat had a wrap and granola bar meal for us. Westjet had individual TVs for entertainment, however, we lost the sattelite TV half way there. You did however have access to pay TV $1.99 cdn for sitcoms and $5.99 for movies I guess nothing is free anymore You do have to pay $3 cdn for the headset so, if you plan to watch a little TV (half way) to pass the time, may I suggest you bring you Ipod headset

Rooms:
The rooms at the Royal Suites are very nice. One of the best we’ve had in Punta Cana. We were located in room 5032 and had a view of the pool area and the ocean that was a bonus. I think that if you are located on the third floor of in any of the buildings (exept the ends of the main building #51) you automatically have a view of the ocean’ you may also get this view from the second floor. However, I doubt you do if you are located on the first floor. Bar fridge stocked daily with beer’ put $2 in the fridge and see the beer multiply add a note and get the beer you want’ They also offered us a bottle of special drink I think it was between rum, champagne and something else we picked the champagne which was surprisingly good (actually a Spanish sparkling wine). The next day the butler asked us if we received our Champagne, I jokingly told her we did and it would be nice to have another if we could the next day we got another’ gave her $3 to thank her. Royal Suites guests also have access to wireless internet (sometimes not working in the evening and satellite TV (sometimes not working) and even DVD movie rentals. The shower and the toilet are in two separate cubicles’ the door to both are made of painted glass and have a clear Palladium emblem in them the toilet door is short, kind of like a public cubicle door so, if you are here with a friend with whom you are not 100% comfortable’ you’ll have issues (I know I would) otherwise your good to go. As for cleaning’ they took very good care of us. We left them a bag of goodies every day. May I suggest going to the dollar store, buy 6 gift bags (.50 cents each), get things they need, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, nail files, nail clippers’ things they like and can’t afford’ makeup, etc. things for the kids’pencils, pencil charpeners, colour pencils, whatever is available’ make a small bag with 3 to 4 items each day. I asked them and they truly appreciate it because these things are expensive for them and they make so little money. Think of it as a contribution to a charity where you actually get to see where the money goes, it’s cost us about $35, which if you can afford this kind of vacation should not be an issue. These gifts are probably worth more like $20 a day for them I doubt they can buy shampoo or 3 bars of soap for a dollar. Restaurants and Bars:
This is where the Royal Suites kind of goes down hill for us. We picked the Royal Suites based on a referral from one of the cheap tickets web sites for a few reasons, adults only, at least 4 and a half stars, special service (Royal Suites) and unlimited meals at a la carte restaurants (the most important for us). The nice thing about staying at the Royal Suites was that we were the only guest of the Palladium complex allowed to make reservations at the restaurants (that was a bonus we expected for the extra price). We were able to make a reservation each day with the butler which is available to all Royal Suites guests. On our arrival, since our room wasn’t quite ready, we went to the Royal Gourmet (Royal Suites private restaurant buffet and a la carte for all meals) for lunch. It had a very nice buffet which offered lot’s of different salads (something I love for lunch)’ they were all quite tasty and thought this is going to be an awesome place to eat’ Subsequently, we had lunch at the beach buffet of the Palace section, they only had two types of salads and rarely changed them, or they were just a new variety of potato salad they do however have a grill for all sorts of meat and a make your own pasta bar, the pasta bar (prepared by a chef in front of you) is quite good. First evening: Dinner at the Royal Gourmet, I had chicken which was a little dry and my husband had the filet mignon which he liked’ I would say it was average’ but, the service always came with a smile. We also purchased a bottle of wine from the Rioja region of Spain we love the wine from that region, it was quite good an extra $25US for that. After this meal, we realized that we had premium wine in restaurants for Royal Suites guests we opted for that wine’ they were not the new world wines we prefer, but 2 of the 3 types they had were good (all Spanish wines). In most restaurants and lunch buffets we had to ask them for the premium wine and show them our bracelet. On subsequent dinners, we tried different types of restaurants. Much to our disappointment, most of the food is simply ok’ although the presentation may sometimes look better than it would in a pub, the minute you taste it, it’s almost as if they made a plate for you off a buffet table and just made it look better. We have stayed at other resorts in Punta Cana, for example the Melia Caribe-Tropical were the food quality in the restaurants was much closer to gourmet meals, you could taste the difference between buffet and restaurants. I do have to say that my husband and I generally go to upscale restaurants whenever at home or away in North America or Europe. Therefore, we kind of expect a little bit of a WOW factor when it comes to good restaurants. So, although we still hate well, it just wasn’t a WOW., THAT WAS GREAT!!! kind of feeling. So, if prefer quantity rather than quality, I’m sure the buffets would satisfy you. BARS:
Again, tip them’ $1 for every drink is nothing’ We didn’t tip in the past, thinking’ it’s included, but then realised’ if we were on a cruise or even one of your local bars, we’d be spending $5 minimum on a beer so bring plenty of US dollar bills’ we also tipped $5 for dinner at the restaurants. They share the tips amongst all of the restaurant’s employees’ again, very little for us, a lot for them We estimate that we will probably spend about $100 on tips and gifts, but we are helping people who although are much better off having us visit are still being taken advantage of with very long hours and work weeks and very little money to show for it, be generous’ you’ll feel better and get even better service’ please note that you still get great service even if you don’t tip. Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach in Punta Cana is the reason we always return here. It is an incredible beach, we love to walk and you can basically walk until your legs fall off. Here at the Royal Suites you have the private beach, which has sufficient chairs and even beds. Although some people went early to the beach and pool to reserve seats, we went around 10:00 a.m. and never had a problem finding a spot in the shade, sun worshipers needn’t worry. However, the complex is growing. According to the butler, 235 new rooms will be available in May 2009 that means a potential of an extra 470 additional guest using the same space on the beach’. not sure what it will be like then. The Royal Suites also had only 135 or it’s 180 rooms occupied during our stay’ just that would mean a potential of an extra 90 guests. The pool area proved to be a little bit busier than the beach, so, in late afternoon when the beach got a little cooler with the wind, it was a little more difficult to find a chair in the shade. It is also usually generally quiet around the pool area, although depending on the bartender; sometimes they put the Caribbean music a little too loud for our taste’ We would personally prefer not having any music. We love to just listen to the waves, the breeze, etc Other Comments:
Would I recommend this place’ That’s a good question! We would never return because of the food, but that’s our taste. According to other critics on this site, it was great. According to one couple we spoke with, they had little complaints about the food. A second couple never had a good meal. So, it really comes down to taste. The other thing that would worry me is; What will the beach and pool area would be like with an extra 470 guests. The one thing I loved about this time around in Punta Cana was not having to go out and reserve a beach chair at 8:00 a.m. Also, would the new capacity potentially affect the service, which we thought was extraordinary. Basically, it comes down to what you like or what you are looking for.
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January 2009

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  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Roberta ~ Vancouver

January 2009

Arrival: January 4-January 18
We flew Air Transat from vancouver, Club Class as usual. We got off to a rocky start, long story short, 16 hours delayed, we lost a whole night plus most of the next day. First time in Punta Cana, in 12 trips we weere asked to open a suitcase at customs, took about 30 sec and we were on our way. Mike’s taxi service was prompt and waiting and off to the Royal suites at 4:30pm when it was suppposed to be 10pm the eve before. Oh well. Check in was fast. We were given our choice of 3 rooms to choose from (we are returning guests to the Palladium and I made a request) we chose 5220 on the 2nd floor, luggage was done in 5 min. All very smooth.

Rooms: The room was nice, clean, no odors, bed was comfy, nice jacuzzi but a little small for 2, the Palladium bavaro Jr Suites had a much bigger jacuzzi tub, bathroom is open to the room , meaning no separate room. Huge shower, toilet is separate. Its exactly like the pictures.We received 2 bottles of rum as well.Robes and slippers come with the room and the fridge is stocked daily with soft drinks , beer and water. One thing we did not use that I will next time is the Pillow Menu. There is a pillow menu where you can order pillows of different types. Next time. Our room overlooked the pool on the 2nd floor and a little of the ocean.Nice. No complaints. We backed onto El Cortecito so occasionaly there was some noise but we don’t mind at all, thats our favorite place to hang out anyway. Our balcony had 2 chairs and a table. In comparison, the Bavaro Princess Platinum Suites had a nicer balcony.They had very nice lounge chairs, better view, we enjoyed our balcony there. We thought for the Royal Suites they could at least put lounge chairs on the balcony.

These things are minor. next time I will request a room closer to the Ocean . The best rooms would be 5028 and 5232, they are closest to the beach.

Restaurants and Bars:
The Royal Suites has access to every restaurant and bar in the Palladium complex.We don’t use the Ala Cartes so I can’t comment here. The Royal Suites offer snacks in the lobby, just help yourself to sandwiches, deserts, yogurt,etc, anytime.The Royal Suites has its own Gourmet restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is right next door to the Palace Buffet. We did eat at the Gourmet Buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner once. Every meal was very nice, service was great, and I would reccomend it. The Palace Buffet is right next door, its big, has great food choices and a different theme every night. We ate breakfast there(closed for lunch) and dinner for the first few days, after that we headed outside the resort.We had lunch at the buffet by the beach in front of the Palace. They changed the hot dishes daily, we often had the BBQ chicken. Its ok for lunch. I have had better elsewhere but no complaints. The Buffet at the beach at the Palladium Bavaro is much better in my opinion. Its about a 10 min walk. We chose to stay close by. The waiters and waitresses are the same for breakfast ,lunch and dinner if you eat at the Palace buffets, they work 12 hour days. we always get to know them quite well and ALWAYS tip. They are super nice. As for the bars, get on the train and you will see how much this resort has to offer. The Royal Suites has a bar in the lobby and a bar at the pool that is open till midnight. There are 2 Manuels, we called them senior and junior, haha, but junior goes by tony. They are great and alot of fun. The atmosphere at the pool is very nice! quiet, Bachata music, just a great place that we visited every night.The make the best cappuncino at this resort, anywhere, even at the pool bar.

When you wear a Royal Suite bracelet you are entitled to different wine in the buffets and restaurants. The brand is Albaly and its very nice. I am a wine drinker. The wine in the RS lobby and pool is, hmmm, not good, in fact not good at all. I made a request with reception and Manuel at the pool bar to get Albaly wine at the pool bar and RS lobby. Why not? This is the RS and they go out of thier way for everything else. Anyway, after 2 days and many phone calls my request is granted. So if you are a wine drinker, you can request the better wine in the RS lobby and pool bar and you shall receive, thanks to Eduardo. Thank you, you worked very hard!!

Beach/Pools/Grounds: We were at the RS at peak time, the hotel was at full capacity. Not once, any time of day, any day was there a shortage of chairs, palapas or beach beds. No towel games, nada. Also, the towels do not have to be exchanged for cards, just help yourself and they will collect them off the loungers at the end of the day. We love the beach, the pool area was very hot because its between the buildings and there is very little breeze. We hung out at the beach and headed to the pool late afternoon for a coctail in the jacuzzi in the pool. There are plenty of tables too if you want to have drinks and play a game of cards. There was alot of security and Turisto Policia on the beach, more than we have ever seen, they were there all day.Therefore, there was hardly any vendors around. The RS is right next door to El Cortecito, the little town. You can walk there is a minute. Security checks you and is there all the time,even at 3am haha.

The grounds are immaculate. One thing I like about the Palladium is the covered walkways throught the resort. They really come in handy when the rains come.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We don’t go on tours. We prefer to hire a taxi/tour guide or call on friends there if we want to go out. We have been to the DR 12 times. I will make a comment on El Cortecito since its right next door.
Definately check out Casa de Piedro. This is a bar/restaurant. We had dinner there 2x and 2x just drinks. There is a live band friday nights, they start around 11 or so. We stayed till 3am!!! It was fun!The Crazy gator is a local bar where you can just sit and watch the local scene. This became my husbands favorite hang out. There is a Supermercado there with a Banco Populare inside if you want to draw some money from a credit card. There is a bank machine too. We have eaten outside of the resort numerous times, there are alot of restaurants, and shopping to be enjoyed.And don’t forget a visit to Steve’s bar. Other Comments: I have never written a review before even though we visit the DR often. I could say alot more but I hope I have covered the main items. We are planning to return to the RS in April/May. Yes it was that good. There is construction going on for 240 new rooms scheduled to open May 2009. I know construction in the DR, and I would guess May 2010 perhaps. There won’t be any disruption of niose to your holiday from this. Enjoy. Overall this is a wonderful place, with excellent staff. I can’t say more, I highly recommend it.

If you wish to contact me you can pm me on Debbie’s travel board under my name never2hot.

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  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Steve & Vicki ~ Bloomington Indiana, USA

May 2008

Arrival and Flight
This was our 11th trip to Punta Cana. We know the drill pretty well. It was our 4th trip to the Palladium complex and our third visit to the Royal Suites.

We flew coach on US Airways scheduled air out of Indianapolis, IN with a plane change in Charlotte, NC. Flights were on time and uneventful. Given the new rules that only allow one checked bag/person and a 50 pound weight maximum/bag without incurring additional charges, it was quite a challenge for my wife to pack for ten nights. She came in at 49 pounds. Good job, Honey! No meals are served on US Airways flights to the Caribbean any longer. Purchased snack boxes (yuk!) for $5 each. Arrival procedures at the Punta Cana airport were significantly improved over our last visit in March, 2007. Instead of the old mad rush to the booth to buy the $10 tourist visa, there actually is an orderly queue that moves people through efficiently. No form to complete any longer. Just buy your tourist card, walk ten feet and give it back to someone else. Immigration forms were provided by the flight crew on-board the flight. We proceeded to immigration and were quickly processed and sent to retrieve checked luggage. Transport by our tour operator’s representative agency (VIP Tours) was efficient and professional. We talked the VIP Tours bus driver into taking us all the way to the Royal Suites lobby to be dropped off (they normally drop you at the Palace and then you have to get a bell boy to help you get your luggage over to the RS). Unfortunately, no bellboys were available in the Royal Suites lobby at the time that we arrived so we had to unload our luggage and get it into the lobby by ourselves. Ten days prior to our arrival we sent an email to the email address for the hotel listed at Fiesta Hotel Group’s web site brochure and requested a non-smoking room on the second floor with a king-sized bed. We never received a response. Check in was quick and easy as we were the only folks there to check in at the time. We were offered a cold fruit punch during the check in process. After applying room identification tags to each of our bags, we were told to go find our room by ourselves and a bellboy would deliver our bags to our rooms. Because this was our third visit to the Royal Suites, we knew the layout of the hotel and quickly found our room. I could imagine this being somewhat intimidating for a first time visitor however. We waited over 40 minutes and our bags still had not been delivered but after a quick phone call to the reception desk they were delivered five minutes later. The resort complex consists of 4 distinct hotels: the Grand Palladium Bavaro; the Grand Palladium Punta Cana; the Grand Palladium Palace, and the Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium (adults-only hotel). There are currently 250 additional adults-only rooms under construction that will be included in the Royal Suites. Rooms
We were assigned a standard suite (5018) on the second floor of building 50. The room had a view of the end of the pool bar and the grounds in front of the lobby. Our room was furnished with two double beds, an armoire for the television, a mini-bar that was stocked daily with beer, soda and water, a desk with three drawers, a small sofa and coffee table, one table and two chairs. Closet was large with four shelves and a built in electronic safe. Plenty of clothes hangars were provided. The floors are all marble. The decorations are tasteful but starting to show some age and probably should be updated within the next few years. Rooms are well insulated for sound and we were never bothered by sounds from other rooms or outside The bathroom is open to the rest of the room. There is a door with frosted glass to screen off the lavatory and a painted door to screen off the spacious, all marble shower. A jetted tub separates the bath area from the rest of the room and is open to the entire room. There was only one sink available in the vanity top. Water was always hot and the pressure was more than acceptable. Daily maid service was exceptionally thorough and the room was always left sparkling clean and with fresh towels and face cloths. Towel art was changed a few times during our stay and the room was decorated daily with fresh flower blossoms and petals. We left a $4/day tip for the maid and $2/day in the fridge of the mini-bar since a different person actually stocks the mini-bar. Small bars of soap, bath gel, shampoo and other amenities (shaving kit, tooth brushing kit, sewing kit, comb, etc.) were replenished as needed in a basket by the sink. Turn down service and fresh towels were provided each evening while we were gone to dinner and out to the shows. There is a balcony with a small table and two chairs. A slight leak developed on our last day that dripped from the ceiling panel over the tub. I suspect it may have come from the drain in the bath for the room directly above us because the room started to develop a slight odor of sewer gas that day. Fortunately for us, we were on our way to check out about the time that this problem began to develop. Restaurants
There are 7 a la carte restaurants and three main buffets available for breakfast and dinner. The main buffet at the Palace is not available at lunch; however, there is another buffet at the Palace located between the pool and the beach that is only available for lunch. The a la carte restaurants include: Mariachi (Tex-Mex); Mare Nostrum (Italian); El Arrecife (Seafood/International); La Uva (Dominican); Bamboo (Asian); El Quijote (Spanish); and, the Royal Gourmet (only available to guests of the Royal Suites). Premium wines are available in all of the restaurants in the resort complex for Royal Suites guests at no extra cost. Room service is also included free of charge at the Royal Suites but we never availed ourselves of this option. We ate in 5 of the a la carte restaurants. The wrap-up is as follows: Mariachi (Tex-Mex) – Really good Tex-Mex! Quality of food was excellent and the service was fantastic. We were not offered the free upgrade to a premium wine without asking. There is an extensive appetizer buffet. You may also choose both an appetizer and a main course from the menu. Trust me on this: if you eat from the appetizer buffet, you do not need make selections from both the appetizer selection and main course selection on the menu. One or the other will be more than enough food for most people. We both had the house Margaritas to drink in addition to our wine. The Margaritas were excellent. Mare Nostrum (Italian) – Both the quality of the food and presentation were excellent. Service shared the top spot along with the Bamboo. We were offered the premium wines without asking. We enjoyed the extensive appetizer buffet including peel-and-eat shrimp, 2 kinds of caviar, etc. Bamboo (Asian) – Truly outstanding service with a smile at all times. The quality of the food was acceptable but not on a par with the Mare Nostrum. Try the vegetable tempura appetizer. It was fantastic! We were offered the upgraded premium wine without asking. El Arrecife (Seafood/International) – Overall, a real disappointment. We had to ask for plates for the appetizer buffet because none were brought out in over 10 minutes of waiting. It was obvious that the wait staff did not appreciate being told that more plates were needed (even though we did it quite respectfully) and after that they had our number. Our service was extremely poor and the wait time for each course was excruciatingly long. Other guests who were seated well after us were served both courses before we ever got our appetizer. We were not offered any bread until we asked for it, and even then it appeared that it was offered only grudgingly. We were not offered the premium wine. Only after I gently insisted on the Vino Blanco Especial was it provided. Most of the wait staff seemed to have an attitude. This restaurant is in need of employee training and new management. If I were running the complex, I’d bring someone from the Bamboo or Mare Nostrum over to run this eatery and teach the staff what customer service is all about. Royal Gourmet (International Gourmet) – Exclusive restaurant reserved solely for the guests of the Royal Suites. Absolutely the best quality food of any restaurant in the entire resort complex. Presentation of all dishes was magnificent. Excellent menu variety. Open for all three meals. Service was at times excellent and at times rather mediocre. On occasion, it appeared that there was not enough staff present to provide truly exceptional service. The air conditioning was not functioning properly during the last 4 days of our stay and this made the restaurant almost unbearably hot as it is fully enclosed. I felt quite sorry for the cooks. The Royal Gourmet offers a filet mignon on the dinner menu every day. It was superb cut of very flavorful beef that almost melts in your mouth. Absolutely the very best steak we have ever had in the Dominican Republic in 11 visits! Buffets
I must also mention the La Catedral buffet at the Bavaro hotel. This is absolutely a grand theme style buffet that offers an unbelievable array of quality foods, outstanding service with a smile and a different theme each weeknight. Everyone should eat in this buffet restaurant at least once. Bars
Bars were plentiful, fast and efficient throughout the resort complex. There are 2 bars at the Royal Suites – one in the lobby and one by the pool. Both offered fantastic service. There are a few premium liquors available at the lobby bar. We enjoyed Baileys on ice. Waiters provided drink service around the pool and to people on the Royal Suites section of beach. Hemmingway’s bar, located between the Bavaro’s lobby and pool, had the best selection of premium liquors and a true upscale bar atmosphere. Beach and Pools
The beach is the real reason we go to Punta Cana. The Palladium’s beach offers gorgeous with white sand, plentiful coconut palms, a protective reef offshore to help moderate the wave action and a sufficient number of palapas for shade. The Royal Suites has its own private section of beach that was never crowded. There were open palapas any time of day. True, people got up early to “reserve” the front row of palapas but you could always find one open on the beach when you wanted one. There are new multi-position loungers on the beach and at the pool but they are not being adequately maintained and are rapidly falling into a state of disrepair. The beach is raked of seaweed each day and is kept very clean. Security on the beach was not as effective as it was during previous visits we have made to the Royal Suites. Security officers were only sporadically available in the area and subsequently a number of people who did not belong on the beach and on the hotel grounds were wandering through from time to time. We even observed a young couple pushing a baby in a stroller up through the middle of the hotel grounds on one occasion and there were dirty diapers left in a trash receptacle by the towel hut. Not good for an exclusive adults-only resort! The pool is not the largest in the complex by any means but is still of sufficient size. There are a number of palapas and loungers around the pool but they were usually spoken for quite early each day. The pool has several areas of missing tiles and is in need of some repairs. The pool was kept spotlessly clean. The water temperature in the pool was very warm. We did not find it refreshing at all. When we needed to cool off, we headed for the ocean. Grounds
The grounds throughout the entire Palladium complex are mature and lush and are extremely well manicured. We utilized the tram to get around the complex given the considerable size of the Palladium. At times, it was quite hard to get a seat on the tram. Activities and Entertainment
We thought the animacion staff did a great job. These young men and women work extremely hard to make your vacation a truly memorable event. The performances are mainly by the staff and although they are certainly not Las Vegas quality shows, these folks do a wonderful job overall. The Michael Jackson show was most entertaining! Tours
We didn’t take any excursions this time. After 10 previous visits we’ve already done them all. Departure and Check Out
Check out was smooth and our VIP transportation arrived right on time. Check-in at US Airways counter was fast and efficient and we had a pleasant flight back to the states. Conclusion The Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium continues to be an excellent choice for someone looking for a quiet, relaxed, adults-only vacation experience. We would have rated the overall experience 8 out of 10 during previous visits. This time, I’d have to say that we would probably rate it a 7 due to some slight deterioration in infrastructure and services. Our biggest concern for the future of this resort is the fact that 250 additional rooms will be opening soon and we believe that the additional competition for space on the small section of beach allocated to the Royal Suites will make this resort unattractive for us. Top of Page

  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Jim and Debby ~ Canada

April 2008

Arrival and Flight
Arrived on Skyservice from Calgary on 24 March 2008. Flight was on time but not the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in. Will go back to West Jet in the future.

Rooms
We were in room 5237 overlooking the pool. The rooms of the Royal Suites are amazing. King size bed, large jaccuzzi tub, separate large shower and bathroom, in room safe, bar fridge and everything you need. A large balcony overlooking the beautiful pool with a view of the ocean made the stay that much more relaxing and worthwhile. Restaurants
The quests of the Royal Suites have their own private restaurant with combined buffet, al a carte services. The food and service here were excellent. We also ate at all the buffet and al a carte restaurants of the the Palladium complex. Never had a complaint about any of the food and my favorites were the Bamboo(chinese), and Mariachi(Mexican). Bars
There are no shortages of bars for those who like to drink. We tried all seven beach bars, and our favorite lounges were the piano bar at the Punta Cana, and the quite pool bar at the Royal Suites. Beach and Pools
The beach is absolutely beautiful as are the pools throughout the complex. The best part of being at the Royal Suites is that when you don’t want to be around the noise of the rest of the complex; you head back to your own area, where you have the luxury of bar service on the beach and at the pool. Dani is the head bar tender and an absolute riot to be around. All of the staff are polite and the service is fast. Grounds
The grounds here are lush and green and the grounds people are constantly doing things to make the place look even better. Activities and Entertainment
There are all kinds of activities throughout the day for those who want to keep busy but our favorite Entertainment was the Michael Jackson Show at the Theatre. We went to see this show twice during our two week stay. I f you want to see this show, get their early if you want a good seat. Tours
The only tour we took was to the new Palma Real Mall. A beautiful place that caters to clientel that don’t mind spending money. While the women shopped, my brother and I waited at the Hard Rock Cafe where the food and beer were great. Also went Parasailing on the beach and did a dune buggy tour with my nephew, which was a blast. Be prepared to get wet and dirty. Departure and Check Out
Check out was quick and easy. Check in at the airport was fast. as was security. Fight departed on time for our return trip. Conclusion We paid an extra $30US per person to upgrade from the Grand Palladium Punta Cana to the Royal Suites and it was well worth the price. Will definitely return here in the future. Top of Page

  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Jim and Carol ~ Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

March 2008

Jim and I just returned from a fabulas vacation at the Grand Palladium Place-Royal Suites,Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.We flew out of Toronto on {Taradactal} Air Transat airlines. Only way to fly this airline is first class. What a pleasure and nice comfort. Only complaint is they ran out of food on the way back and could only offer us pasta,so we passed on supper. Good thing we had something to eat before we boarded.

We landed early a.m.and went to our hotel which was very impressive at the Royal Suites. After settling in we returned to the Lobby and were escorted by a porter to the all night Sports Bar to get something to eat as we were hungry. We enjoyed some refreshments and some food. Upon waking the next morning,we were equally impressed with the beautiful surroundings. We overlooked the pool with the beach and the ocean in view a short distance away.The rooms were gorgeous with shiny marble and very clean. We went for breakfast at one of the many choices of buffets. The beautiful displays of various foods did not disappoint. We had lots of choices and the staff were very friendly and courteous. We then toured the large facility aboard a train they run throught the resort. What a lovely way to see everything they have to offer. Swimming in the ocean was heaven.The water was warm with waves which is just the way Jim likes it. We sat by the pool mostly as there is always a wind but only steps to the ocean. I enjoy sun bathing but Jim is a wanderer and so he went on his way. Jim enjoys bottled beer which he found in our lobby and soon had the girls having cold beer for him daily. The internet was supposed to be there daily but found it not working most of the time. Oh well! Drinks around the pool were served regularly by waitresses. We enjoyed massages on the beach twice. Very nice with the rolling serf in the background. We went four wheeling with the Macao Crazy Wheels and this was quite fun, but be prepared to get quite dusty. We enjoyed supper at the buffet most nights but did try a la carte at the Mexican and the seafood restaurants. both meals were very good, We had a private restaurant with the royal suites which we enjoyed very much also. Lots of choices and very tasty.Only complaint,is the times. Lunch not until 1:00 pm and supper not until 7:00 pm. We tend to eat earlier. We enjoyed the casino most evenings, and often took a train ride around. Very nice at night with the lights and excitement. We did not take in any theatre shows as they did not start until 10:00 pm and Jim and I are early risers and much prefer the sunrise on the beach or early morning walk in the peacefulness of the am. We had a very enjoyable vacation at the Royal Suites. They have no children in the suites and us,being in our fifties found this quite nice to have this choice, The grounds are very well kept and very beautiful with the trees and the flowers. The grounds workers work hard so don’t forget to say ola and to give some little thing. Jim took 200 pieces of double bubble gum , which he handed out generously and they were most appreciative. It doesn’t have to be much. We would certainly recommend this beautiful resort and would definitely return for another relaxing time.
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  Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium   Steve and Linda ~ Ontario, Canada

March 2008

Arrival
We booked Air Transat Holidays flying WestJet which definitely was the way to go. More leg room, leather seats, 53 kgs luggage weight per person and great fun flight crew. Flight times were 3.5 – 4 hours both ways. Only problem was they only handed out 1 immigration form per person and you need one to get out of the country so we had to see our tour rep. at the hotel to get 2 more before our departure date. Check in and out in both airports was no problems. In Punta Cana the Air Transat Rep. was right at the check in desk so no delays.

Rooms
We emailed a few day in advance of our trip our building and room request and were pleased on arrival to find out we got the 3rd floor of building 50 which is what we wanted. Our room was ready for us when we arrived and there was towel art on the bed and around the tub which was nice. The room was cleaned very well daily with fresh flowers and towel art each day. We asked (in Spanish) for 3 bottles of water to be put in the fridge every day and this was done and some days even more was left for us. Evening turn down service was also done about 8:00 pm every night with fresh towels again brought in at this time. We chose to tip the housekeeping staff and bar fridge staff every day and we also left some of our personal items for them when we left. Very friendly staff and they would go out of their way to speak to us each day. Restaurants
Breakfast was over at the Royal Gourmet daily as they no longer have the buffet set up at the pool bar which was disappointing to us as we really enjoyed eating breakfast beside the pool but we got used to walking over to the restaurant quickly for breakfast. Lunch was either at La Uva or we would get a couple of sandwiches from the well stocked fridge in the lobby of the Royal Suites. Dinner was either at the Royal Gourmet or one of the buffets. We prefer El Behique buffet over the others. This is very clean and bright restaurant and the staff is so great. They talk to us in Spanish and English as we also do and their is a lot of laughter as we all chew up both languages but we manage to get through to each other. The theme nights at the buffets is very nice and there is a great variety of foods to choose from. We didn’t go to any of the A la cartes this year because we do prefer the buffets. This year they have started the no reservation at the a la cartes except for the Royal Suite guests. RS guests book a reservation and show the booking to the staff at the door of the restaurant and RS guests are immediately taken in and seated while all the other guests wait for their turn. Long lines outside the a la carte restaurants most evenings. Bars
We closed the pool bar with the staff ( and other forum members) most evenings. We tried the cocktail of the evening every night and most were very good but some of the drinks were "different". We would sit over at the palace lobby after dinner for a drink and listen to the entertainment for a while before we wondered back over to the RS pool bar to be entertained there by Santo, Danny, Francesco, Ronny ( and Theo during the day). These are a great bunch of bartenders at the RS and you can’t stop laughing most of the evening. During the day the staff bring your drinks out to you on the beach or beside the pool. Great group of people. Beach and Pools
Excellent!!!!!!! Many new palapas and chairs, BUT, the towel game continues. We had to get up as early as 5:30 am to get a chair around the pool and 7:00 am was a safe time to get chairs on the beach therefore we were on holidays so chose the beach most mornings. Towards the end of the week, a manager was out around the pool at 6:00am to watch over the towel game and we even saw him remove some towels to free up chairs around the pool for some elderly clients. Grounds
The Palladium’s standard of excellence still continues. Grounds keepers were always seen out cutting, trimming and watering. The flowers were in full bloom and very colourful. Activities
We chose not to participate in any of the activities being held at the other Palladium areas. There are no activities held at the Royal Suites. This was a reading a sleeping holiday for us. We did walk the beach every evening before dinner. The new Spa and Fitness centre looks very nice and was well used during the week by guests. Tours
Again we chose not to take any tours but do plan to go deep sea fishing next year. Conclusion We had an excellent holiday at the Royal Suites Turquesa or so their letter head now reads. We are not sure about the name change and we think it is a work in progress. There is construction going on across from the lobby and all the way down the road to the Royal Gourmet. From speaking with the staff, they say it is more Royal Suites being built that will have a pool area but no ocean frontage. We never heard any noise at all from this construction. The staff here a very professional, friendly and out going. We never saw anyone shy away from speaking to us if they didn’t understand English. We have learned some Spanish to help with the communication there and the staff seem grateful with our effort and they are more than willing to try to speak English to us. The staff do go out of their way to make your stay is a very pleasant one. One evening, a manager called us to ensure we were enjoying our holiday and to ask if we needed anything which was a very nice touch. We would highly recommend this resort to anyone. If anyone has any questions, feel free to pm me. Top of Page

  Grand Palladium Royal Suites   Steve and Angela ~ Wheatley, Ontario, Canada

February 2008

My husband and I just got back from a wonderful, relaxing vacation at the Grand Palladium resort in Punta Cana.

We booked through Air Transat Vacations and flew out of London, Ontario direct to Punta Cana. This is a beautiful resort complex, sharing with the Palace, Bavaro, and Punta Cana sections. Let me say it was certainly nice to be in the adults only Royal Suites section. Very quiet, no little kids running around, no animacion staff bugging you to come play games and dance if you don’t want to. Mind you, you do have the option to go to the other three sections and join in on these activities if and when you so wish. The pool was a little dirty and a little on the chilly side, but over all, refreshing. The rooms were spacious and very nicely decorated. I did try out the jacuzzi tub in the room…very relaxing! Now some people complained about the lack of privacy regarding the layout of the bathroom/shower in the room. We had no problem with it. The shower was very nice, and very big! The fridge was always stocked with water, pop and beer. The maid was great, always decorating the room with fresh flowers. We tipped her a couple dollars each day. You don’t need to tip to ensure good service….you get that no matter what. But these ladies sure appreciate a few extra dollars to take home to their families. A couple dollars goes a long way for them! We also tipped waiters, bartenders, bell boys, etc who provided exceptional service. The whole resort complex is beautiful! Very lush, green, exotic! It is also very big!! They have a little train that goes around the resort complex, making stops every few hundred metres. This is a great way to get to know where everything is! In the Royal Suites lobby, they have a couple little fridges with sandwiches, pasta salad, yogurt, fruit salads, water, pop, beer, etc…available 24/7. The food is quite good! Not the best we have ever had, but there is lots to choose from. We ate breakfast every morning at the main buffet across from the Palace lobby, Las Torres. This restaurant is air conditioned which is nice! They have lots to choose from. You can get eggs/omeletes made to order as well as pancakes/french toast/eggs-in-a-nest also made to order. Lots of fruits, pastries, and much more. For lunch we went down to the restaurant by the beach near the palace section pool. Pasta bar, salad bar, grill, nachos, pizza, etc. For dinner, we never dined at the ala carte restaurants…we were more than happy with the buffet, Las Torres. They have a theme night every night. We enjoyed the Dominican night the best!!! So many choices every night! Lots of food stations where they make your food in front of you! Some nights they even had a crepe bar where they made you a fresh crepe to order!! On the Dominican night they also had a chef outside the restaurant carving fruits and veggies into beautiful works of art!!! This is the night they also have local vendors come onto the resort to sell their wares. Over all we had a great vacation!!! Would definitely go back!!! Our ratings:
Food: 8 out of 10
Rooms: 8 out of 10
Service: 7 out of 10
Beach: 10 out of 10
Amenities: 9 out of 10
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Grand Palladium Royal Suites Julie

May 2007

We just returned from a wonderful short vacation at the Royal Suites section of the Grand Palladium Palace Resort. I would highly recommend this section for couples (honeymoon) and older couples who want a quieter vacation away from the kids. Keeping in mind that anytime you wish for more "action" you can go next door to their pool or lobby or to any parts of the property (the disco, theaters, lobbies, sports center). There’s more on this property to do and see that someone would never be bored…or as we did — do hardly anything at all and enjoy the beach, the pool, etc.

The Rooms — Stayed in Building 52. As recommended requested the third floor and glad we did. The high cathedral ceilings made the room even more spacious than it was. Everything worked — plenty of hot water where and when we wanted it; fridge always stocked with sodas and water; only tipped one time with a note when we wanted extra coffee packets left; They give you quite an amenities package — soaps, shampoo, bath gel, sponges, razors with cream, combs, makeup remover pads, toothbrushes — i’m probably forgetting something. Glad I brought a small clock and a washcloth (they gave us some though) and a tub stopper (but didn’t really need it) as read here before.

Water/Drinks — There are signs everywhere reminding you not to drink the tap water. Never needed to cadge any bottled water from anyone/anywhere. Always had enough in the room; Plus could pick up some in the Royal Suites lobby fridge on the way back to the room if needed. Don’t know why anyone would complain re: drink strength. The bartender at the RS pool had a very heavy hand. In fact, most drinks were 2-3 inches of liquor plus a floater on the top!! I had to ask for weaker drinks most times. And they were constantly coming around on the beach and pool asking you if you wanted a drink. (As I can’t have pineapple, I liked their coco loco especial. But you can order things not on the "menu" of drinks, too.) Just ask for them. Even at the lunch buffets they would refill your wine glass constantly!
I’m a diet coke drinker but think the brand they have is pepsi. It’s pepsi light (in spanish ask for coca cola dieta). If you want ice, ask for hielo (ice in spanish).

Royal Suites Lobby — A quiet respite from all the other activities and other areas. Plus 2 free computers to use to check your internet. Usually no more than a 10 minute wait. The Lobby bar served all your desired drinks including soda and coffees (and if you didn’t make it to breakfast they had pastries there in the a.m.). The fridge as mentioned above had water, soda, salads, sandwiches, yogurt, etc. Just help yourself whenever. The lobby receptionist made change, answered questions, handled checkin/checkout, made reservations, phone calls, etc. — pretty much anything you’d need. My only complaint (which I put on my comment card) was that the free photocopied papers in the lobby (one in each language) did not have ONE US newspaper. Had to make do with the Canadian one in English or check online. Also there is a stack of books (many in German) and magazines that people have left and from which you can choose should you need. Kind of like an exchange "library".

Restaurants — One of advantages of Royal Suites is that there is no limit to what you can book when you want to nor where you can go. Booked 2 ala cartes on checkin at the RS Lobby Desk.
Had booked Mare Nostrum (Italian) based on websites but we didn’t think this restaurant was very good. Limited selections, slow service, and not that great entrees. The one entree I had wanted to order was not available. The couple next to us (from France) told us their lamb (mutton) was tough. The "large prawns" i had on linguine turned out to be regular size shrimp (camarones) — okay but nothing special.

Felt the best ala carte was the Arrecife (gourmet) which had a wide selection and variety on their menu and more upscale salad bar selections including carpaccio and blue cheese chunks for the salad. Had their extra cost lobster dinner. My husband had the lobsters dominican style (a tomato based sauce with peppers etc) and i had it plain grilled. Each dinner was huge — 3 half carribean lobsters plus vegetables. Extra cost was $33 per person for a dinner that in Florida would cost a minimum of $45. Well worth it.

Each morning we walked over to the Royal Gourmet restaurant for breakfast. This was private for Royal Suites guests. Enjoyed fruit and juice from the buffet while waiting for our selection of eggs (they also have pancakes and french toast) to be cooked to order. Then we would add to our plate from the buffet our choice of bacon or sausage or potatoes or whatever. Very amenable staff and good service here. Ate dinner the first and last nights here and had excellent meal each time. Would recommend the beef filet (my husband’s choice twice) or the wonderfully flavored churrasco (grilled flank steak) highly.

As usual house wines are included and poured constantly. For desert you can choose from the menu or have a few cookies and small cakes from the buffet (or both!), plus an after dinner drink is also included (my husband had Gran Marnier).

While waiting for our room to be ready for check in we walked over to the Behique, airconditioned buffet restaurant, to have lunch. Huge buffet — several stations — with many choices of meats, grilled foods (including lamb chops, steak, etc etc.), pastas, seafood paellas, etc. Very good quality and selections. You choose your table and turn the card over on it to say "occupied". They have a nonsmoking section (look for the no ashtrays) if this is important to you. Also went there on FRIDAY NIGHT for their GALA night dinner (based on web recommendations). VERY GOOD!! And would highly recommend this dinner that night.
Again huge selection — duck, lamb, turkey, roast beef, — think of a meat or seafood and they had it.

In general, we would leave a dollar for breakfast and a couple singles as a token after dinner, but we got good service even without tipping.

Activities/Entertainment — Can’t help too much here. We were going to take the rifle shooting and archery clinics one mornings but after riding the tram over to the sports center felt it was too hot. Stopped by the small casino each evening and played the 5 cent slots for a couple hours. Wound up winning about $10 total. My husband likes roulette and black jack but the minimum table bet was $10 — which he felt was too high for a basically empty casino. We would pass through the Palace lobby to hear the entertainers. We went one night to the Sunset Theater. Started at 10 pm. Very smokey inside for us. Watched the pseudo Las Vegas review — found it very hokey. The funniest part was that the MC made the same announcements and introductions in English, Spanish, French and German. None of the languages was understandable (either the pa system or his accent) and we speak the first 3 languages!! We poked our heads into the disco next door as they were opening, but it was already 11:15 PM and we figured we’d leave this for the single crowds. Did pass one of the dance classes on the beach on the way to lunch one day and stopped to join in — it was merengue. Fun! They give you lists of activities some are daily and some each week — if you need the english one and get it in another language just ask (we got the french one first time around). Some times at night we would just ride the tram around and enjoy the breezes and the ride — stopping to check out different places.

Beach/Pool — No problem by the Royal Suites section getting chairs on the beach; if a chickee hut wasn’t available we’d just pull our chairs into the shade of a palm tree. The beach at the RS section is a LOT less crowded than any of the other hotels/sections. Liked the roped off swimming area — which kept the boats out. The water was lovely — clean and wonderful. Depending on the tide either flat/calm or with a few small waves. The sand is the powdery white stuff — very soft. We spent hours in the ocean. After lunch (we’d just throw on shirts and sandals and walk over to lunch down the beach), we’d either go back in the ocean or head up to the pool. The pool was not crowded at the RS either. Pretty sedate (except for a group of drunken Canadians one time that kept falling off their inpool stools!). Only complaint was that the pool looked a little cloudy by the end of the week from everyone’s suntan lotion and beach sand. By the way, you are given 2 towel cards on check in . You exchange these at the pool towel hut for 2 towels. Each day you can exchange these for clean towels. Before you leave/or on your last day, exchange the towels for cards (which you turn in on check out). This keeps people from taking the towels (the fear of being charged for them!).

Transfers/tours — Warning!! One thing to say — Do NOT USE PRIETO tours!!! Ever! They handled our incoming airport tranfer okay, although it took 45 minutes to get from the airport to our hotel as we waited in the van. When we met the rep (per instructions) the next day in the Palace lobby to arrange our return pickup, he refused to believe us when we told him when our flight left (2 PM), was rude, and insisted on scheduling a time that we felt was too late based on international check in requirements. The day before we were to leave, we called the Prieto office and spoke with someone else who "guaranteed" we could make it to the airport in 20 minutes and that there would be no stops after our pickup at 11:40 a.m. Needless to say when PRIETO DIDN’T SHOW UP AT ALL. After waiting 10 more minutes, we had the receptionist call us a taxi. The receptionist told us he had heard of problems with Prieto before. It cost us $35 and the cab driver "drove like the wind" but safely — but with the road under construction and slow vehicles, we still took about 30 to 40 minutes to get to the airport. We lucked out as there was not a big line for Spirit (flight by the way was great each way) — first they hand inspect your luggage — then you check bags and get boarding passes. Also lucky it didn’t take too long going through immigation or security considering. And had we had time, there’s a Wendy’s and a pizza restaurant near the gates. Plus a cafeteria type place to buy sodas and sandwiches. Note: candy bars cost $3 (eek!). The plane boarded early (1:05 PM) and left 15 minutes early as all passengers were on board! Thank goodness for trip insurance but didn’t really want to have to use it for a missed flight.

Happy to answer any questions via email — jwfoxx@aol.com
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Grand Palladium Royal Suites USA

May 2007

We went on this trip to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, and had an excellent vacation. I am 31 and my husband 32. We have been to Mexico 3 times staying at the Moon Palace (twice) and the Aventura Palace. We have also been to Las Vegas multiple times.

Over all, we were thrilled with our selection of the Palladium Royal Suites and had an excellent vacation.

Here’s a breakdown of each part of the hotel and resort:

Flight
We booked charter air with USA 3000 as they fly direct out of Cleveland on Fridays and Mondays. We landed up booking the air and the hotel separately (each direct) because it was cheaper for us to do this (and because the Honeymoon suite that we wanted wasn’t available to be booked through Apple). The flight was on time leaving. We took off at 6am out of Cleveland Hopkins and landed in Punta Cana at about 9:30am.

Arrival & Punta Cana Airport
We paid the $10 per person entrance free upon arrival. Our bags were out nearly immediately and we were through the airport in 10-15 minutes. We took pictures with the Dominican ladies (but when we were coming home strangely the pictures weren’t amongst our flights to buy.) It took 5 minutes after we had our bags to be in a cab and on our way. We made sure to ask how much it would cost to go to the Palladium Royal Suites before getting into the cab, and the cab driver agreed to $30.

Check In at Royal Suites
There wasn’t a line to check in (probably because we were there so early). We were served glasses of champagne and red juice in the reception area. We had booked online the Honeymoon suite for the entire trip, but we found out from Abelino at the desk, that the Honeymoon suite wouldn’t be available until Sunday, 4/22. So we spent the first 2 nights in the Junior Suite. It was nice to be in both classes of rooms and to be able to compare them to each other.

Our keys were not given to us right away, because they were having a mechanical problem with the key machine, but they let us in the room without them. We hung out it the room for about an hour and a ½ waiting. When they still weren’t ready, we were going to just leave and go get lunch, but then when we went back to the reception desk, we found they were ready and waiting there for us. Not a huge deal, but we were excited to be there and wished they had told us when they were ready, as they said they were going to.

Junior Suite
The Junior Suite room number was 5009 – on the first floor, North Building. The location was nice – close to the beach and pool, but we were far enough from the pool for it to be on the quiet side. A large plant was in front of our balcony, which provided privacy.

The king bed was on the firm side, but I still always fell asleep soundly in it, and never stiff in the mornings, so that was good.

The room was spacious and had the Jacuzzi separating the main part of the room from the bathroom side.

Honeymoon Suite
Sunday when we moved to the Honeymoon Suite, we were in AWE! We were in 5232, in the south building, closest to the ocean. If anyone is trying to decide between the Junior Suite and the Honeymoon Suite, and wants to know if it’s worth it – IT IS! For the price we paid, we really don’t think that anywhere else would have given us this fabulous location without spending twice as much as we did. During our trips to Mexico they always say it’s an ocean view room, but in the end you’ve got you position your head just so, and see a sliver of ocean and sand in the end. But not here. You can sit up out of the beautiful canopy bed, and feel like the ocean is practically at arm’s reach. I mean, it’s RIGHT there. So amazing, and we were so thrilled with the room. The sound of the ocean rolling in at night with the doors open at night is the best natural form of AC. You could have the hardest bed in the world and still feel like you’re floating on a cloud because the room is so great.

There are 2 sliding glass doors to the balcony and then one full-length sliding glass window, so the air really flows through nicely. Whenever we were in the room we kept all doors and windows open, and just let the ocean breezes cool things off, and it really worked.

The balcony is the length of the entire room – it is huge. The Jacuzzi is out there, and you can even see the ocean from it. This Jacuzzi is also bigger and roomier than the one in the Junior Suites.

Needless to say, I really recommend this room. If you can ask for 5232 or 5332 (the floor above ours) I would say these two rooms are the best in the entire resort.

Pools
Surprisingly, the Royal Suites pool seemed the least maintained of all of the pools, as we saw cloudy water and film on the water. Because it had rained more than usual the first few days (especially Sunday 4/22 at dinner time) part of the reason for the Royal Suites pool problems was probably the dirty water that leaked in to the pool with all of the rains.

My favorite part of the pool was the large circle pool at the Punta Cana Palace. This one seemed to have the most action and fun going on. There was lots of sun at this pool because there were less palm trees.

At the pools the beer is served in plastic glasses and gets warm very quickly. We brought 32oz. Bubba Kegs with us and kept our drinks super cold. The bartenders had no problems filling them up for us.

We also brought Springfloats with us to use in the pool, and those were great. They don’t provide any floats at the resort so we brought these for relaxing in the water with. They travel well and are only $16 at Target.

The pools are very nice but can’t compare to the pools at the Moon and Aventura Palace.

Beach
This is the best beach we have ever been to. It really is fantastic!

If you would like good beach chairs, you will have to wake up on the early side – 7am by the latest. Many people were early birds while we were there. Many people reserve their beach chairs early in the morning, and then go back up to the room to sleep.

Miscellaneous Comments
If your light on your balcony is out, it probably means that someone just unscrewed the light bulbs. It was fine with keeping them off (eliminates any bugs being drawn to the light) but we didn’t figure that part out until about the last night. We wondered why half the lights seemed off at night, and why there was no light switch to turn them on and off!

The hot/cold water did pose an issue a few times. We tried to fill up the Jacuzzi one night but the water was cold. A couple of the mornings the water was barely luke warm, and taking a shower wasn’t the best. It seemed like the worst times to try to get hot water were in the mornings and before dinners (everyone is showering of course) but I am surprised that they have not somehow worked around this issue to provide at least warm water at all times of the day.

There are no clocks in the room, so make sure to bring a watch to be on time for dinners. CNN has the time on the TV. It’s nice though to be on vacation and not hear the evils sounds of the alarm clock going off. Enjoy that! That’s what the normal grind and work week is for.

There are TV stations in English – CNN, USA, NBC, and CBS. There are more channels to watch at the Sports Bar. The best is watching all the old cartoons on Boomerang in Spanish. We watched the Flintstones and Smurfs and it was like time travel watching that.

Don’t drink the tap water. They give you 2 large bottles of water for the room, and then there are water bottles at all bars, and in the lobby bar (in the self-serve fridge.)

We have Razor Phones from Verizon. If you know about the white dot , red dot pertaining to water damage on the phone, be aware that the high humidity can cause the white dot to turn red. This happened to us.

The room has a standard hotel safe.

There’s a slight musty smell in the room (we noticed this more in the Junior Suite) but you just get used to it and it was not a big deal.

The floors are marble so be careful when they get wet.

The hotel turns off ALL the lights in the hallways and stairwells at night. If you get up for an early morning walk (5:00 am), you might want to bring a little flashlight for the stairwells.

Men in Speedos and topless women are very common.

The work out facility looked to be reasonably modern and fairly new. The work out machines looked on the newer side. Since the spa/work out facility was on the beach, you were facing the ocean while working out.

They do have massages on the beach as an option from the spa. There’s a hut on the beach we saw, and couples can get a massage at the same time on the beach. I believe it is approximately $100 per person for this.

The Palladium allows the local vendors on to the property on Thursday nights to sell their goods.

You may want to pack any extra carry on to bring back and souvenirs or anything fragile.

The staff speaks Spanish and most spoke understandable English and German.

If you want to take a picture with the little monkey that they take around to the beach and pools, make sure to go on a Thursday or Friday, because those are the only days that he is out.

We walked into the little town next to the Palladium. If you are looking for cigars, go to Alhambra Cigars, which is on the very first street, all the way at the end. Miguel in store poured us some mamajuana while we were choosing which cigars we wanted. They have quality cigars at reasonable prices.

In conclusion we would recommend the Royal suites to anyone considering a beach destination for their vacation. The adults only atmosphere is very nice and laid back. Additional pictures of our vacation can be viewed at this link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/89918755@N00/
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Grand Palladium Royal Suites Jeff ~ Canada

January 2007

We are a little over 50 now and this was our third time in the Dominican Republic.

Flight: Air Transat:
Ouch! Size will make a difference. If you are bigger than 175 cm (5′-8") and if you are a wee bit on the wide side then you may feel a little bit uncomfortable for the ride. From Toronto it was roughly 4 hours. Unfortunately our 11:30 return flight was delayed another four+half hours so for many of us it was an all-nighter on the way home and the plane was packed.

During our stay I learned from a guest that there are a few seats on the plane available known as "Club Class". They may or may not be available and carry an additional reasonable fee which to me sounded like a very good deal considering a list of benefits. A few of these are "no line up or waiting, ample seating space, drinks included, private washroom, special meal etcetera while the others are packed in like sardines eating a sandwich".

Arrival: 11:30 PM
Everything looked fresh, clean and inviting. 10 out of 10 marks for presentation. No bugs anywhere. This proved to be a common thread throughout our stay. For some reason the Hotel could not give us a room in the area where we though we should be. We were travelling with 4 other couples. Since we booked at a later time we suppose that is the reason they split us up from the others. They upgraded us to the Royal Suites. This is an exclusive area connected to the rest of the property but exclusive with it’s own buildings lobby, bars, pool, champagne and snacks. The other guests on the property are not allowed in. This meant our friends could not come to visit us. Only we could visit them. I’m sure they were aware of this when we were checked in. There is good and bad in everything.

Hotel Room: 5201 (Royal Suites)
The room was very clean and presentable. It is the same size as many others that are not a Royal Suite room. I think the main difference is that the shower is larger. Of course we had the Jacuzzi in the middle of the room too. So romantic. Mini-bar and coffee maker in the room.

We thought the lighting was too dim in the washbasin and closet area. A little flashlight would of been handy especially to see inside the safe. We received washcloths for a couple of days and didn’t realize until they were gone that they were so illusive. Best to bring your own. For more comfort bring your own toilet paper and tissue paper.

For some reason our A/C could not get lower than 24 although set for 11. There was a ceiling fan in the room and we were comfortable on a large king-sized bed.

Leaving $2.00 for the maids everyday on a pillow was suggested. Our room stayed immaculate.

Food and drink:
First keep in mind when judging this 5 star resort that this is a third world country. The people who work here are genuinely friendly and sincere. The service was always good, great or excellent even though most of the staff speak very limited English.

There are several restaurants with a la carte menus to choose from with nice decorations. We went to a couple of them but they were just okay. Nothing to write home about. There are many food buffets and more grilled food at the beach. Always the food was good and plentiful with a wide enough variety to satisfy everyone. When considering this 5 star resort do not expect a 1" thick steak that cuts with a butter knife or fancy French cuisine. No. Not even close.

There are bars everywhere. Two kinds of beer. Most of your regular basic bar drinks available. The regular grade wine was poor at best. Because we stayed at the Royal Suites we were entitled to a better grade which barely cut the mustard. There was a wine list available at the a la carte restaurants which would come at additional cost and that’s where we drew the line.

Snack foods like BBQ, pizza, fresh popcorn, nachos, salad and bar available 24 hours a day at the Sports Bar. We didn’t try all the places to eat as there are so many to choose from. As always at this resort the presentation was perfect.

Hotel Property:
This is a big place. Again the presentation was perfect. There are over 100 buildings with accommodations on these beautifully landscaped prestigious grounds. Everything is well maintained and comfortable. This is a very large resort with only one other that is larger on the island. There are approximately 1500 people working at the Palladium.

There is a couple of mini trains that travel around throughout the complex. The train stops many places. Breathing in the diesel exhaust fumes that the tractor produces is another story that goes along with the one that claims that almost every guest smokes. No Canadian cigarettes available.

There are no Lifeguards anywhere but the grounds and beach are well guarded with Security Guards. Generally everything was always safe. You could leave your camera and or cash and or other valuables in your bag by the pool or beach and go swimming without worry that someone would try and take it. We used our safe in the room but I doubt we needed to.

There are numerous sporting activities like tennis, badminton, basketball, bocce ball, mini golf, archery, soccer, volleyball, beach volleyball and more. You will get a schedule of activities in your room.

There are several night spots to go to. We had fun at the Disco for a "Tequila Night Party" as well as cabaret style shows and and evening with much audience participation.

Knowing how to say Hola and Gracias will get you through 90% of the communication challenges. Having a Spanish translation book would have been handy to have. Another thing to have that would have been handy to have would be a good set of walkie-talkies. This place is so huge one could almost walk their legs off.

There is also a mini medial clinic. There are clean air-conditioned shops the property that sell items at reasonable prices considering their location. You can take a taxi and shop elsewhere is you feel like doing some bargaining although the end prices will be fairly close to the price you would pay at the resort shops when all is said and done.

There are a multitude of excursions to choose from. Sorry to say that we didn’t take any.

Beach:
This gorgeous picturesque beach is one our main reasons for returning a third time to this area. We have been to many places in the world and this is one of our favourites. The water was warm as was the gentle breeze. There was a guarantee that everyday was going to be the same. Our big bold beautiful sun was shining brightly through an array of scattered clouds. The sand was soft and clean. There are plenty of tanning beds and a fair amount of little beach huts. There are servers walking around taking your drink order.

The neighbouring beach to the south was unguarded, less clean, less wide and we found many people wanting you to buy something. Also this is where the fishing boats were parked. They use diesel as well and often would flood the beach near the Royal Suites with their foul fumes while they warmed up the engines.

There was also beach volleyball and beach soccer on the Beach.

Conclusion:
This is a great place to stay at. We are happy that we didn’t pay for the price for the Royal Suites as that probably would not achieved for us the value we would have expected. It was nice to try the Royal Suites out but if there is going to be a next time then we would be happier being located nearer the centre of the resort.

Tipping is not required but helps. In the last 10 years the workers wages have not kept pace with the cost of living. Bring plenty of $1.00 dollar bills with you as well as any items of clothing that you could spare. If giving any leftover clothing, or toiletries to the staff it would be wise to give them a small note with it stating what it is and you are actually giving it away to them. Security it tight.

If you are planning to go to the Palladium be prepared and you can plan on having a GREAT holiday
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Grand Palladium Royal Suites Anne ~ Canada

May 2006

Hi Debbie,

I was at the above resort during the time period April 19th – 26th, 2006. My friend and I were there for a wedding. We had originally booked a loft, but we were very pleasantly surprised when we were upgraded to the Royal Suites. Very nice! The one thing I cannot over emphasize is the friendliness and helpfulness of the resort staff. The suite was very nice, the amenities of the Royal Suites made me feel like a VIP. It was wonderful having our own private pool and beach area, I wish I had made more use of the beach – oh well, next time!

The food was good and plentiful. I felt relaxed knowing the water was purified, in that the fresh fruit and the ice cubes in drinks were safe to eat and drink.

The wedding (for me) seemed to go off without a hitch, although I know the bride did a lot of her own footwork in organizing what her guests would like for appetizers and entres for the wedding dinner. The wedding dinner was good.

I unfortunately had a minor accident when swimming at the Marinearium, and had to visit the doctor at the resort. Again, I cannot stress enough how kind the doctors were on staff and very thorough.

The shops on the resort were good, and I ended up buying most of my gifts from them.

As Royal Suite residents, my friend and I were allowed to eat at five a la carte restaurants. We only made it to three, the Dominican, the Fish Restaurant (El Alceriffe) and the Tex Mex. Of the three, I would have to say the Dominican was, for me, the best. The only complaint I have is that they should invest in proper steak knives in the a la carte restaurants. I guess the meat, although flavourful, is a bit tougher than I’m used to, and I found it frustrating not being able to cut the meat properly, and I wasn’t about to pick it up with my fingers.

I really loved the Buffet Restaurant in the "Punta Cana" resort area. Although El Torres (in the Palace resort area) was good, the Punta Cana resort was brighter, and seemed a bit newer. Also, they had a bigger non-smoking area (a big plus for me).

I would like to mention Cesar and Edwin, the excellent front desk clerks in the Royal Suites lobby. Extremely efficient, although, again, I have to say all the resort staff were great!

I would definitely recommend this resort to my friends, and if they can afford it – the Royal Suites!
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Grand Palladium Royal Suites Janice ~ Canada

May 2006

Let me start be qualifying where we’re coming from. We are a married couple in our forties/fifties from Pickering, Ontario. Between the two of us, we have previously travelled to the Bahamas, Barbados, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Columbia, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Mayan Riviera, Huatulco, Puerto Plata, and Uvero Alto. Our closest comparison to the Punta Cana area would be Secrets Excellence in Uvero Alto, where we have stayed twice previously.

We stayed at the Grand Palladium Palace Royal Suites from April 12th to the 26th. The short of it is that we intend to return. After reading some of the earlier reviews, I have to wonder if some of the writers stayed at the same resort!?! Perhaps some of our success was due to staying in the Royal Suites. We can’t complain about a lack of lounge chairs or palapas, because there were plenty of both. We can’t complain about the music being too loud around the pool or beach bars, because there wasn’t any music there. Our area was beautiful and serene. Although we were at the beach earlier in the day, I saw palapas available as late as 1100 hrs; and sometimes all day! And beach lounge chairs were so plentiful that some of the lazier folks actually had several on the go at once…apparently they didn’t want to be bothered having to move their chairs in and out of the sun. As distasteful as I found that practise, there were always empty lounge chairs to be found. The service of drinks on the beach was outstanding. With this crew hard at work, we never had to wait for a drink, or get one for ourselves unless we wanted to stretch. Whether you were at the beach, around the pool, at the swim-up bar, or pool bar area, the service was great! The rooms were beautiful, very large, and immaculate. It seems to me that there wouldn’t be a bad view from a room in our complex, as they all face inside towards the pool and ocean. From the front desk staff, bellmen, wait and bar staff, grounds keepers, and housekeeping staff, all did a fabulous job, were very professional, friendly, helpful and prompt. We enjoyed the bathrobes and slippers, premium drinks, the ease of a la carte reservations and air conditioned lobby that are all part of the Royal Suites.

We were also impressed with the a la carte restaurants. The short story is we ate at the Italian once, the Dominican once, the Mexican once, the international grill twice, the Asian twice and the Spanish twice. Neither one of us ever had a bad meal. We enjoyed all of our choices. In addition to the food, we were pleasantly surprised by the attention paid to the décor, including the dinnerware, and the uniforms of the servers. It’s clear that they put a lot of effort into delivering not just the food of the country, but a more complete experience. The Spanish and Asian restaurants in particular get extra points for décor. We did go to the beach barbeque one night. Again, from the welcome drink, to providing a wind break with a palm fence of sorts, they certainly tried, and, for us, succeeded in providing a fun and comfortable atmosphere in which we gorged ourselves on ribs. In regards to the rest of the food, if you can find a way to go hungry at the buffets, then you’d best just stay home. We have never stayed anywhere with as much variety. As an aside regarding breakfast, we so enjoyed our little pool side morning eats that we only went to the full buffet once.

The beach is one of the best we’ve ever seen. The guards that keep the Royal Suites designated area for its guests only do a fantastic job. No problems with coral or rocks, just smooth, soft, white sand. A big bonus for me was no bugs, as compared to getting eaten alive at Secrets. Another bonus was the grounds are large enough to run around without feeling like you’re going in circles. Even though there’s a treadmill, how often do you get to run on paths lined with palm trees and exotic plants?

I would like to say a special thanks to the breakfast service crew William, Rosebel, Jesus, Benito, and cook Juan Ramon. They did such a fabulous job. And Danny, Theodoro and Melvin kept us going through the day and were awesome! Santa was our late afternoon/evening girl, who was always smiling, and patient with the late night folks…the pool bar for the Suites is open until 2400 hrs. In the lobby, Cesar and Ursula were very helpful and a pleasure to deal with. No question went unanswered, no need unmet. Thanks to everyone who made our stay such a pleasure and hope to see you all next year!
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Grand Palladium Royal Suites Canada

March 2006

this place is awesome and we were up graded to the royal section which was a bonus. we travel two or three times a year, so we have been to the caribbean alot. i think the rooms were the best we have ever stayed in. the royal section rooms are the same as the regular in the place and the bavaro section, we viewed both. i would not pay the extra for the upgrade, not alot extra , fruit basket, 1 extra dinner, private beach, service on the beach was different, but nice little extra. breakfast by the pool was always cold, but it was nice to sit there every morning. we had champage when ever we wanted. the place is big and lots of food choices. very clean, beach is wonderful. it was our first time at this place and i would go back in a heart beat. we got it for 1099.00. it was well worth it, i would pay 1300.00 for it. i am going to the gran bahia prinicple on march 23 to 30 th. i hope its just as good because i really would have gone back here, wanted to try this spot. but i will be back next year for sure. the people in punta cana are wonderful. it was the best place ever. my husband golfed every second day, it was a bit expensive. on friday nights they have gala night and the food is out of this world, turkey, lamb, rabbit, steak.pork.roast beef and so on. if your thinking about going here , dont think about it , book it, its amazing place, doesnt matter what section your in, place or the royal, or the bavaro, beach and the rooms and the food are the same.
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Grand Palladium Royal Suites Allan ~ New Brunswick, Canada

February 2006

Allan is a regular contributor to our websites!

This was our 9th trip to the DR and the 6th to Punta Cana. This time we stayed at the Royal Suites (RS) section of the Grand Palladium Palace Resort, part of the Palladium complex, for 2 weeks from Jan 24- Feb7 2006 and in short we had a very good time at this resort and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice relaxing quiet get away. However having stayed at other resorts in Punta Cana which offered VIP packages we were a little disappointed with the RS. There were not a lot of extra services offered for this upgraded section and with the lack of a RS restaurant, I’m not sure it is worth the extra cost unless you really want to pay for a nice quiet adult only section. Overall rating 7.5/10

Beach and Weather – The weather while we were there was great. We had a few very windy days, very little rain and mostly very hot sunny days. The Palladium beach section is very nice. Although not the widest section of beach it is very long with plenty of good swimming areas and lots of spots for sitting in the sun or shade. There also was very little seaweed when we were there. 9/10

Room – we were in room 5144 on the third floor in the main building right off the lobby. This turned out to be a very nice spot for us. Even though it is the farthest building from the beach the room did have a great view overlooking the grounds, pool and beach! From anywhere in the room you had the same view- it was great! I stepped out of the shower in the mornings to this view! The room included bathrobes, extra bath amenities, washcloths, a good size closet with plenty of hangers, an iron and board, a sofa bed, 2 chairs and table, as well as a normal height table and lounge chairs on the balcony. The safe was programmable and included which we liked. No key to worry about. There was plenty of hot water (most of the times) and good water pressure. The room was kept very clean and tidy with clean towels daily. The bedding was even changed quite often during our two weeks. Rating 9/10

Lobby – The suites had its own small, quiet, enclosed lobby with a bar cart and server, as well as mini coolers with sandwiches, beer, pop, etc. Service here was very good and the staff was very friendly. They even got to know our drinks and would bring them to our table as soon as they saw us come in. There was also a self-serve coffee machine, which I really enjoyed! There were two Internet stations with free usage in 30 mins intervals. Most of the time these were quite busy but we never really had any trouble using them during our stay. You just have to be patient. The lobby was never busy and was a nice quiet place to sit and relax before heading off for supper or upon returning. The front desk staff was very accommodating and spoke very good English. This is where you would do you’re a la carte bookings. They had a copy of the menus so you could check them out before you booked. We had no problem doing bookings. Sometimes you had to book a different restaurant for a different night than you wanted but it was no big deal since we could book as often as we wanted. In fact I had to change our bookings on several occasions and it again was no problem. Rating 9/10

Food – Food overall we found to be quite good. In all of the Restaurants the food trays were constantly being replenished and we noticed a few times that the temperature of dishes were tested. However many food items were not labeled and sometimes it was hard to tell, especially with the meat dishes. As well a lot of the food dishes in all the restaurants we ate at were very salty. Neither of us had any stomach nor related problems the two weeks we were there. A small breakfast is served at the RS Pool Bar area. Most mornings we found this good enough for us. A couple mornings we did venture over to the Las Torres buffet where there was a greater selection of items. Breakfast however was the only food served at the Suites except for the snacks in the lobby cooler. For us one of the biggest problems with staying at this section was the lack of an on-site restaurant of some kind. At first I did not think it would be a problem but it turned out to be one, especially with staying for 14 nights. We didn’t seem to mind the walking, the waiting or train ride itself as much the first week, but by week 2 it was getting kind of old! It especially would have been nice to stay at this section for lunch rather than have to make our way to the other section of the complex to find food. In the evenings it also proved to be a headache some nights because of problems with the train schedule or lack thereof. It was not just a matter of deciding to walk over to dinner 15-20 mins prior to your booking. One had to plan to be dressed and down waiting in the lobby well in advance to make sure you were there to catch a train over to the other end of the resort complex to make your dinner reservation. So although it was easy to make an a la carte reservation it was not as easy to get there. Rating 6/10

Buffet Restaurants – We ate breakfast at the palace buffet a couple times as well as dinner 3 times during our stay. We found the selection very good and the quality good. Service as well was pretty good most times. One thing we did notice that we never had before was that you had to wait in line to get into the buffet sometimes. Our first 2 lunches were eaten at the palace beach restaurant, El Bohio, which had a pretty good selection and quality of food, but which we found quite crowded. So we were glad to discover Le Bejigue, the Punta Cana buffet, which was open for lunch. This had a greater selection including a grill station with various items to choose from, various selections of pizzas, pastas, salads and deserts. We really liked this buffet but again it was a little walk from our side so a couple days we just did the burgers at the beach grill so we could spend more time around the pool. We tried the Catedral buffet one day for lunch and found it almost empty and not as good a selection as Bejigue. 8/10

A La Cartes – There are 6 a la cartes throughout the complex. We went to each of them. Men are required to wear long pants at each and we did see this being enforced.
La Uva – Dominican restaurant located at the Punta Cana beach restaurant. We ate here twice and both times it was good but not great. The fried chicken and shrimp dishes were both good. The biggest surprise here was the fact that it has a very limited menu, (there were only 2 appetizer choices) which we found strange since we are in the DR. 7/10
Mare Nostrum – Italian restaurant located on the side of the Palace buffet restaurant. We really like this restaurant. We ate here twice and both times were very good. We had a 3rd booking but it was for a late hour so we changed it with no problem. The restaurant was a good size, the food was good and the service was very good. This was one of the few restaurants where the staff actually took time to ask if you were enjoying your meal, and they were always smiling. We also arrived about 20 mins early and there was no problem being seated. The dinners here were well spaced and we never felt rushed. Note the appetizer dishes (except for the soup) are a large portion. I was sorry I didn’t just do the appetizer bar and a main course the second time we ate there. The appetizer bar here was one of the best. 9/10
La Arrecife – Seafood restaurant located at the Bavaro beach restaurant was again ok but not great. We found the place to be too busy and too big for an a la carte. As well, being located on the other side of the complex, away from any bars, lobbies, etc it was a hassle for us to get there since we had to time the train just right. Although service and food were ok, for us it was not worth the hassle so we only ate there once. I had the Seafood grill and it was good but way too much food I had to send half back. 6/10

The next three restaurants are all located in a nice area, connected by a bridge walkway, off the side of the Bavaro lobby. There is a nice Meeting Bar where you can sit and wait before going for your booking. When we were there this bar was rarely used. Some international drinks were available here.
Gran Cantina Mariachi –Tex-Mex restaurant. We only ate here once. We were not impressed. The food was just ok, the appetitizer bar was nothing special and service here was very poor and very slow. We even debated leaving before our main course because it was taking so long. The appetizer dishes, chicken fajitas, burritos etc, were enough to be main course and probably would be just as good or even better. My friend had the veal and he said it was very tough. 5/10

Bambu – Asian restaurant. We ate here twice. We had a third booking but we cancelled it. Although the food here was good, the service was terrible. The first time we ate here we had Chinese Spring Rolls brought to the table but the second time we didn’t, even though the table next to us did and they even ordered seconds. Servers would walk right past our table even though we had empty glasses. I ordered coffee one night that never arrived. The Sushi and Peanut Chicken appetizers were both very good though so that’s why we gave it a second chance, but after the second night of poor service we decided not to go back. 6/10

El Quijote – Spanish restaurant. We went to this restaurant 3 times. The first time was the best – good food and great service. Second time the service was a little spotty and the third time it picked up again. We arrived once 30 mins early and the hostess said we could go in whenever we were ready. The Garlic Shrimp appetizer was very good although quite salty the third time we had it. The Orly Shrimp was good too but a little too much batter. All 3 times my friend had the Crackling Pork and it was good. I had the Salmon and it too was good! 9/10

Few Things we really liked here: – Didn’t have to sign for international drinks at any of the bars. – The Free or Occupied cards on the buffet tables – Desserts at the a la cartes (except for La Uva) were brought around on carts for you to choose from. – Quiet pool and lobby areas of the RS – no loud party music playing – no animation staff after you to join in activities – Unlimited a la carte bookings – Size and layout of the RS section – No problem finding loungers at the pool or beach at RS – Hemmingway’s Piano Bar (non-smoking) open in the evenings and located between the Bavaro lobby and pool area- this was a nice quiet spot with game tables, international drinks and good service. Most times we went, there was hardly anyone there. – Cleanliness of the whole RS section – Bottled water was available everywhere and bottles were usually left on your table at the restaurants to help yourself

– Gala Night at the buffets is not to be missed; they really have a huge variety of everything on this night. Of the 3 buffet nights for us 2 of them were the Gala Nights

Few things we didn’t like – The isolation feeling of the RS – The lack of a regular train schedule – sometimes in the evening they would be 5 mins apart and then 20-25mins apart. This could be a problem since they only hold your a la carte booking for 10 mins. – No restaurants at the RS – Size of the whole complex – it really was not walkable – No consistency with regards to drink selection at the various bars – No restaurants at the RS (oh did I say that already – well for us it was a big downfall)

– RS swim-up bar was not well attended to– could sit there for quite a while before getting served

Now for the biggest let down of all – Transat Holidays and Air Transat. Both were terrible on this trip and if at all possible we hope to never have to use them again! From the service on the planes and the snacks they serve for meals, to the chaos at the airport coming and going, to flight changes, to booking several people in the same seat, to Reps who are rude, condescending and unhelpful, to early check out times and late buses to down right very poor service and the ‘we’ve already got your money so who cares’ attitude, Transat is swiftly going down hill. Unfortunately for us in Atlantic Canada we have few other options for our wintertime vacations. Rating 1.5/10 and that’s only because they did get us to Punta Cana in the first place, and then back to Halifax an hour earlier. Top of Page

Grand Palladium Royal Suites Jill

February 2006

We stayed in the Royal Suites of the Grand Palladium Palace in Punta Cana the last week of January. It was a wonderful, quiet and relaxing experience for both my husband and myself (we’re in our late 40’s).

Our check-in was fast and we were immediately taken to our room. We requested, and got, a room on the third floor overlooking the pool, with a great view of the ocean. The room was spacious, clean and nicely furnished – marble everywhere. Our jacuzzi/bathroom area was all decorated with flowers left by the maid.

A short 30 second walk away was our private beach – reserved solely for the guests of the Royal Suites. There was never a need to wake up early to reserve chairs. We were served our drinks directly from our beach chairs – what a nice treat. The bar beside the pool as well as the lobby area was stocked at all times with water, alcohol, soft drinks and sandwiches.

A champagne breakfast was served pool-side every morning. Buffet meals were available at the other resorts, either a 5 minute walk to the Palladium, or short train ride to the Bavaro. These buffets had a different theme each night so it was never boring – and the selection!! We heard some guests saying that they did not enjoy having to leave our little area for meals, especially at lunch time, but the Palladium lunch buffet was literally a 2 minute walk down the beach. Their only request was that you cover-up your bathing suits while eating! It was our feeling that after sitting for several hours in the sun, we really SHOULD get a little exercise before we eat!

The dinner buffets always had a different theme – Mexican, Dominican, etc. The "Gala" night was overwhelming – the staff really outdid themselves on this particular night. It was quite a challenge to try and taste a little of everything that evening.

The beach is simply breath-taking. Every morning I walked along it to take in the sun rise. You can literally walk for miles along this white-sand beach. What a way to start and end our days.

We found all the staff to be extremely pleasant and helpful. Our Spanish is limited to a very few words, but we were always able to find a way to communicate. We were one of the very few English speaking guests (or so it seemed), but that was fine by us. We were looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday and that’s what we found.

We will seriously be considering a return trip to the Royal Suites next year.
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Grand Palladium Royal Suites Chris ~ Edmonton

December 2005

Just returned 2 weeks Nov 17 – Dec 1, 2005

Air Transat Club seats – An extra $300 each from Edmonton – We loved it. It was worth not having to stand in line to check in, the extra weight allowance (88kgs each), they didn’t even ask about our carry on. You can board any time after the flight is called. Choice of 4 gourmet meals and wine, orange juice and wine is provide before takeoff. Blanket, pillow, and headsets provided at your seat which is wider, reclines further, has more leg room and is cushier.

Arrival at PUJ is a bit unnerving the first time there but when we do it again if wouldn’t bother me at all. First you hit the picture ladies, which you can purchase when you go home for $7, then customs – have your tourist card and passport/ID ready. Make sure you hand them your tourist card intact and be careful with it if it has been folded up on the perforations as it can easily be separated. A lady in front of us had hers become separated and lost the bottom half without knowing it. She was panicked and it held up the only custom line open. Once through customs, follow the crowd to the luggage and then it gets crazy. It is noisy and everyone is yelling to get your attention for your bags, so keep your wits about you, if someone is going pick your pocket, steal you purse or luggage this is where it will likely happen. But I gotta say the luggage guys know the routine, so I can’t say don’t use them. We didn’t because we were worried about them taking off with our stuff, because we had read a review about that, but on the other hand they know what bus is what and swiftly take you to your bus. but make sure you don’t lose sight of them either, they move quick.You are busy trying to adjust to the heat, the noise, find your rep, so you are a bit over stimulated. Once you find your rep they will give you your bus number, proceed outside and there are tons of tourist buses to the various resorts and they are not lined up numerically, you just have to find yours. Once you do, put your luggage next to the bus, but make sure it gets loaded. It is a piece of cake from there.

The Royal Suites are an adult only area with its own pool and beach that are patrolled by security for "outsiders". It is very quiet and never had to jockey for position at the beach or pool. The pool bar has a continental breakfast everyday from 6:30am to 10:00am, we had no trouble getting coffee and pastries if we were late. The wait staff are great, bringing you whatever you ordered, drink wise to pool or beach.
BTW: Don’t worry when the bus drops everyone at the palace – You won’t find your name there. Let the front desk know you are at the RS and they will have a bellmen take you over by a shuttle cart. It is there you check in.

Room 5208 – Ground floor; terrace faced pool, entrance door faced wall that borders the village of Corticieto. Pretty quiet, very convenient to pool and beach. Would recommend bld 52 if on the ground floor, but not if you are on the 2nd or 3rd floor because you will be higher than the wall and the lovely people of the village are very social, so you will hear everything. Bld 51 has the lobby incorporated into it and faces the beach, but furthest from beach/pool. Bld 50 is parallel to the beach as is bld 52, thus the 3 form a horseshoe. Rooms are equivalent to a deluxe room at the palace, you are paying extra for all the great amenities provided. Here is a delicate matter…..If you are going on a romantic trip for the 1st time together and don’t know each other that well, you will by the end of the trip. THERE IS NO PRIVACY. The toilet is enclosed in the same type of cubbie as your typical high school cubicle. You will know each others bathroom sounds, if you know what I mean, by the end of the trip. The upside of this is – If you still like each other at the end of the trip, after hearing and smelling each other for a week or more. you will be able to marry each other, as you will know the human side of your roommate very very well. It wasn’t a problem for us as we celebrated our 18 wedding anniversary while there, so been there, done that.

Lobby at the RS is the only air conditioned lobby at the Palladium resorts and provides 24 hr sandwiches, pop, beer, and premium hard liquors. 2 Internet connections available unlimited usage in 1/2 hr intervals. Remember all these extras are included in the cost.

Staff at the RS are really good. When we checked in to our room, we were not happy as we always like to be higher, so we went to talk to Octavio about switching. With all of the hurricane refugees, the entire property was booked solid our 1st week and he asked us to check back in 48 hours. We understood the position he was in, so we waited. But oddly enough, everytime we came into the lobby (for whatever reason) he would calmly walk out of the lobby. We thought the first few times it was a coincidence, but as it became a routine, we assumed that he just didn’t know how to tell us that the change wasn’t possible. As the holiday gods were with us, we soon figured out the room location wasn’t so bad and was only a short distance to the pool and beach so it was all good. The front desk staff was very accommodating, special thanks to Francisco, Ursula and Ramone. The lobby wait staff were great, especially Edu she is a sweety. Don’t get me wrong about Octavo, I have heard great things about him and I am sure he would bend over backwards to accommodate anyone, this is why I think he kept out of our way, He is just not used to being unable to fulfill guest requests and it is hard for him to so no. Special thanks to CD at the pool bar at breakfast, always greeted with a smile and knew what we wanted. Get to know him, he will spoil you.

The whole resort is very big, but the train is only 20 mins away and there are stops every 500 feet, so just jump on and it will get you where you want to go. It took awhile to get our bearings, but that is part of the fun, poking around. So don’t think of it as a negative thing, just grab a map and get exploring. I never did figure out from just the looks of the place which was the Punta Cana, which was the Bavaro, but here is a hint. Read the welcome mat as you go into each lobby! There was a live band Tuesday to Saturday at least 2 of the lobbies, and you can cut a rug if you wish. We did and had a ball. Saw more than one bride and groom have their first dance.

Food is plentiful. The buffets are typical, and a free for all. Just learn the plate-in-hand dance! Accept the fact that people can be rude and pushy and just jump in with them. I am not going to critique each one. They all have theme nights just check the boards outside of each buffet for what each nights fare is and plan from there. The ala carts are good too. We ate at them all but 4-5 nites. Our fav was the Bamboo we did it 3 times, once by invite because there was "no Sushi" we had fun with the staff over that, teasing them that they had run out of sushi on our 2nd visit, so they invited us back and it was fun being teased by them about "NO SUSHI" We had the whole restaurant looking at all of us and laughing.

BTW lobster is extra at the seafood ala carte Be aware it is 850 pesos (approx $30 US – using the 27 pesos to $1 US rule which is what everyone uses when converting) and is billed to your room. We had it anyway and it was great.

There is a new ala carte called the La Uva. DR fare. We enjoyed it. Remember the DR’s food is bland (not what you would think with Spanish influence) but we enjoyed it especially the fried chicken; red beans and rice. I liked the pumpkin soup, my husband was iffy about it, but try it for yourself. The service was a bit shaky, but I think it is because it is new and everyone has to find their way yet. The Italian restaurant is good, but it is not what you think Italian is, it is the DR’s impression of Italian. Food is good, but strange. Service impeccable, best of them all.

The balance of the ala carts are all good choices and you can critique them all day if you want, but there really isn’t a bad one in the lot. Some nights are better than others, but who can’t say that about any restaurant. So stop being the NY Times food critic and enjoy.

The animation staff works very hard to please their audience. Plus we walked by the theatre during the mornings and they were always there rehearsing, and the show wasn’t until 10pm. BTW there is a new theatre just opened while we were there next to the disco at the Barvaro. I think the resort has consolidated all the shows there, as the theatre at the Palace was never used after the new one opened, but I could be wrong about that. My husband seems to think I am wrong about that. The shows were not our cup of tea, but all around us were enjoying them and we did enjoy the one at the new theatre. So go and appreciate the extent they go to please you.

The ocean is quite rough. The surf is not as gentle as we thought it was going to be, but with a bit of practise, you get the idea. Yes there is seaweed, but I think that comes with the deal. You are in the ocean!!. Yes it wraps around your ankles, yes you will think it is jaws, get over it and enjoy it. It beats the hell out of anything we have around here. I was jumping around whacking my ankles and getting weird about it touching me, and then I just relaxed and pushed it away.

Shopping: Two choices – the resorts stores, where prices are fixed and higher. (Vendor night is Thursdays. They get to set up in the open air areas of each of the Palladiums. They are just as aggressive as at the huts) or the hut vendors. Once you leave the property, turn right on the beach you are facing the ocean and you are free game. walk up to Captain Cooks (you know you are at Captain cooks by the shuttle boats moored in the surf. As you move along the beach they all come up to you and shake your hand and ask you to come in, but if you are not interested, just smile shake their hand and say no no Gracias. They love to make you feel guilty, but that’s part of the charm. Cut through CC’s and you are in Corticeto. Check out the market for pricing. Coffee was 85 pesos for 1 lb. Check out the prices on other consumables, rum and souvenirs. They have fruit, fresh lobster, crab, etc. From the market you can turn left or right. When you are facing the market, turn left. We found a shell vendor on the left (beach side) he was great. I bought a huge conch shell for $12 (he started at $40) he had lots of them plus two beautiful black ones (he wanted $60 each) but didn’t deal on them, but am kicking myself now. We were worried about getting them out and back to Canada, so if I had my conch taken away, I was only out $12. Then we wandered down the street and stopped in at Ramonas cigars. We watched them make cigars and they let us into the humidor by ourselves, not worrying if we were going to steal the loose cigars. We took a bunch of pictures and bought one single Churchill for $5. We don’t smoke but wanted a sample. It smelled so good in there. We can’t vouch for the quality but they were very accommodating to us even after they found out we were not going to buy tons of cigars.

Next to Ramona’s was the hut vendor we dickered with. His name is Henry and it was easy to fall in love with him! His vendor number on his shirt is 136. We dealt on the following: 4 thin long paintings, a medium size terracotta incense burner, a small DR plato, a 26 oz bottle of Brugel; 2 tee shirts, 3 lbs of coffee. He started out with $225 US and we ended up shaking hands at $60 US and 2 $10 cdn Wal-Mart watches. Everyone was happy, when we got to the nitty gritty we didn’t do the obligatory walk out and him coming to get us. So use that as the max for a mix of stuff and if you do better let us know in the Punta Cana forum. We were all happy, so isn’t that what its all about? When we were adding everything up to make the offer we gauged the paintings at $10 each, probably that’s were we could have done better, but maybe not. That size at the resort was $12-$15US, so who knows. We intended to use the watches as a bargaining tool, and we didn’t lie about their value. I think Henry appreciated that. We had so much fun with Henry. There were hand shakes and hugs, back slapping and air kisses all around. Before we left Henry had already paid a debt to a fellow vendor with the mans watch. Henry’s boss ended up with my watch her name was Laveta. So if you go, I would say deal there. We didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. Some of vendors’ approach made us not want to go in to look, but not at all from Henry. Make sure you tell him we sent you. No we are not getting a commission. haha. We read somewhere that you shouldn’t pay anymore than 25% to 50% of the initial asking price and that seemed to serve us well. Carry a small pocket calculator and have a price in mind before you start the bartering. We didn’t have any trouble borrowing one from any vendor, but you get to do your figuring without them looking over your shoulder. A word to the wise. We dealt on some coffee on Vendor night at the resort and my hubby started to walk away once and the vendor adding 2 1/2 pounders to sweeten the deal and he dropped the price, so my hubby agreed, then when we got back to the room, we found the vendor had smoothly removed the 2 1/2 pounders. So get the bag in your hand check it then hand over the $$$. And I have to say that at Henry’s I didn’t feel that was going to happen, even though there was several people wrapping, talking, and laughing. But keep your wits about you, though as you never know and just cause it didn’t happen to us at Henry’s…….We only saw a couple of streets in the village, and we get the impression there is a lot more, but we ran out of pesos and got what we wanted, so home we went. Not sure if you want to be there at night, says my hubby, but I had such a good experience with Henry, I would be more open to that now, but of course, nothing bad happened to me. So use your own discretion.

Tipping. Everyone has advice for this……At the buffets we did if we got things quickly – $1 in the hand. Wait staff at pool/beach $1 every other drink/water in the hand. Ala carts – $6 to $10 under the coffee cup. There are move people involved here and it is all pooled. Maid – $2 per day plus goodies on the pillow with a note of thanks signed by one of us with our room #. On the last day we gave her $8 plus the balance of the goodies, plus leftover shampoo, deodorant, our insulated cups, Ziploc bags. I gave it to her personally because we had a 4pm check out and I was afraid someone else would be cleaning the room. She cried, I cried, Hubby cried. Don’t forget to sign and put down your room # on the note, they have to show that to security at the end of the day to prove they did not steal the goodies. Bellmen $5 coming and going – we had 4 bags. Last day tips – We left CD a nice tip in relation to his spoiling us. And we acknowledged 2 of the front desk staff that were on when we left. I know we tipped others too, it is hard not to – first of all they don’t expect it, are very humble when you give it too them, and it rattles me to know that you may be giving a huge boost to their monthly incomes. A fellow traveller told me that the majority of the staff make $15US a month and work 6 on 1 off or 11 on 3 off 12-15 hours per day.

Other stuff Man I packed 14 of everything. STOP THAT!!!! We wore our bathing suits and cover ups 98% of the time. Remember that when packing. Unless your religion requires you to wear socks, leave them at home. I can guarantee you will not wear any except the ones you came down with. Underwear, well…..You wear them maybe an hour aday when you go to dinner, so do you need 14 pair? hemmmmm…….Shoes – same thing, I wore my sandals to dinner, who wants to wear heals when you don’t have to. The guys do need long pants, we saw people refused at the ala carts with shorts. But we were disappointed to see muscle shirts at the ala carts. id rather see shorts! Take Pepto rather than Imodium solves more problems and takes up less room (Thanks to Kara for the advice). We had few tummy troubles, more from too much sun and the rich food than anything else. Take mossie spray. You will need it, and if like me you take it and forget to use it, something for the itch, it is relentless. The bumps blister, then ooze then crust over then do it all over again. I am covered, hubby is not. It don’t know if they are all mossie bites, never saw a one, but what ever they are, they loved me. Take minimum 45 sun screen, the sun is at a different angle than home, and it is hot. It is more relentless than the Nevada sun. Take and use a hat. You are only 10 degrees off the equator. We had it, but at first we poo pooed it, and paid the price. Hubby in bed all one day just from the sun. Even in the shade use it. and reapply more often than the bottle recommends. Beware of 151 proof rum and the sun. I was in bed all the day before hubby, and all I had was one 151 drink and 4 regular rum. I drank the 4 no problem. Then they gave me the 151. I thought I had been drugged. It hits you NOW!!!!!!. I went from having fun to on my butt and hardly made it to bed. Best advice – join the forums and ask questions. We read everything we could on them and by the time we got there, we felt we had a good grasp of the DR. Other advice – Remember that you are in a 3rd world country that does not hold our materialistic values near and dear. The DR people are genuine and gentle in nature and it is true that if you smile and greet them with a genuine Hola you will be received with a greeting tenfold. And if you are doing more than passing them by, ask their names, tell them yours and tell them you are pleased to meet them. We acknowledged everyone, even the guys on the roof who were painting the red tiles. They all stopped to say hello and as we would more around, they acknowledged use again and again. It is truly infectious. When you come home, you will never again, tell someone to "have a nice day" robotically. You will grab them, hug them, kiss them, tell them if they ever need anything, it is theirs, and keep in touch……I know that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my drift. I was reminded of how cold we have become in our lives shortly after landing. The custom guy grunted at me after my warm hello and smile, and was pissy because he had to add something little to my declaration, when we handed our declaration to the next guy and tried again a smile and hello, it was met with an icy stare from him and the RCMP that was standing with him, and we couldn’t engage them at all…….Welcome home.
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Last updated: August 20, 2009

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