I was recently married at the Grand Palladium set of resorts. We stayed at the Grand Palladium Palace, though the ceremony takes place in a lovely gazebo at the Grand Palladium Bavaro. We stayed our second week in the Royal Suites.
Honestly, if I'd known the layout of the resort, I'd have booked differently. There are 3 resorts side by side with no definite division between. One flows into the next. The only real giveaway is that every once in a while you stumble across another beautiful lobby. If you're waffling on where to stay - The Grand Palladium Palace, Bavaro, or Punta Cana - take the cheapest one. They're all the same in the end. The rooms might be slightly different layouts, but you have access to all 3 from all 3. The Bavaro resort seems to have the closest proximity to the evening stuff - a la cartes, the disco, the theatres. There is also a 4th resort in the family. The Royal Suites. This one's the private one. It's got a private beach area (with beds!) a private and less rambunctious pool and pool bar, and it's own a la carte/buffet.
We had 20 friends and family with us the first week, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that they all had a fantastic experience. We had some first time travelers and they were talking about "next time" before they left. There's so much to do and see at these resorts, that nobody was ever bored. We're creatures of habit, so we could always find each other in the same area on the beach or on the same side of the pool.I'll try to arrange my review so it's not overwhelming, but still informative.
Pool Activities: The animation staff was hilarious - I think the only english slang they know is "Oh my God, Wow!" and we hear it several times a day. There's always some contest or another going on by the pool - Water aerobics, pool volleyball, merengue lessons. You won't be bored, but if you want to block it out, you can usually get far enough away to get into a good book. We spent most of our time at the Palace pool, but only because of proximity. All 3 resorts have a large pool and swim up bar.
Food: The buffets were really good. Each night had a different nationality theme. (Japanese night was the best one!) Compared to buffets I've eaten at in the past where the food was bland and lukewarm, these buffets offered lots of tasty, piping hot food. There were also options to have things "fresh made" for you - omelets and crepes at breakfast, various pastas at lunch, hamburgers and different meats at supper.
The a la cartes were also very good. You don't have to make reservations for these anymore - it's first come first serve. They have a beeper system set up so that if you're facing a long wait, you can spend it in the lobby listening to live entertainment and drinking Coco Loco's. The Bamboo was the best for taste, but the Brazilian one was a fantastic experience to have.
Beach: It's crowded. That's not a bad thing, but it influenced our plans for a beach wedding. It's crawling with all sorts of people, who aren't afraid to get into your wedding photos. It's a beautiful beach and there were always enough chairs to be had. Sometimes you had to scout around a bit, but they were there. The sand is soft and the water is beautiful. I was surprised at the constant waves on the beach. The water was always rough and the wind was always blowing. There were all sorts of sticks and leaves and seaweed being washed up onto the shore and washed back out again. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but I think Cuba had a nicer beach and clearer water.
Entertainment: There are two theatres for the nightly entertainment. One in a central location, and one out in the Bavaro resort (next to most of the a la cartes.) The shows were a lot of fun - Michael Jackson impersonaters, comedy improv, dance shows. The only complaint I have is that The Merengue theatre always seemed too loud. There's also a disco on the resort (at the Bavaro end again!) with loud music and strobe lights if you feel the need to shake your money maker.
The Train!! We loved the train. The driver in the backwards Mountain Dew cap drove it the best. It runs in a continuous circuit through the three resorts, and there's two trains running at night. I'd suggest getting on the train the first day you're there. It's the best way to get familiar with the resorts and to see what's available to you. Also, the music on the train kicks [--]. If you want a cd, start asking bartenders. They'll eventually find someone who can hook you up.
Excursions: We did a lot of excursions on this trip, partly in an attempt to keep everyone busy and happy.
We did the Bavaro Runners cultural tour first. It was fantastic. Eddie was our guide - he was so informative. We saw sugar cane, a school, a cigar rolling demo, had lunch in the jungle, saw a typical home, learned about coffee and cacao... the list goes on. It's a full day trip, but it's worth every penny and then some.
We also went snorkelling - I found it too crowded to actually get a good look at the fish. Take the flippers if they offer them to you. If you don't, you'll be slower than the rest and will constantly be kicked in the head by the faster people in front of you :)
Deep sea fishing was a bust - they had fun, but only caught one fish. Not the resort's or the company's fault. That's just how fishing is.
Zip Line Adventures was super fun, but a hell of a workout. You have to climb up in order to zip down. 10 lines in all, the longest measuring 250m. It was fantastic.
Now, The Wedding: Choosing a destination wedding doesn't mean that it's a stress free wedding. It's just different stress. We had a lot of trouble communicating with wedding planner at the resort while we were still at home. Emails got lost, things got overlooked, plans got changed. All I can say is - persevere. I was dreading meeting with the coordinator. I was so wrong! She was such a sweetheart and was so accommodating once we were at the resort. I ordered my flowers "off menu" and they were perfect. I had a raging head cold and she took me to the pharmacy and translated the labels for me so I could get some medicine. The cake was perfect. The musical trio is the ONLY way to go. Everything was stunning and ran as smoothly as I'd first envisioned. Get through the stress, it's worth it.
So, that's my very wordy review of a wonderful bunch of resorts. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino enjoys a privileged sea-front location on the renowned Playa Bavaro. The resort, located on a sprawling estate of lush tropical vegetation and a coconut plantation, is next to the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa and the Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa. The facilities of these adjoining resorts are open to guests of the Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Palladium Palace Hotel
- Grand Palladium Palace Punta Cana
- Palladium Punta Cana