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“Most horrible vacation by far!”

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Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Ranked #40 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 27 July 2014

I never comment about my vacations on here, so here it goes!

Check-in this process set the tone for my whole trip the receptionist was not helpful and rude! I actually had to yell to get their attention! I arrived at 1 and did not get a room till 738 pm! At this point I was prepared to come back to the United States!

Rooms are not five star quality room! Ants was all over my room and in addition to that my jacuzzi tub had no stopper and forget satellite service!

Food
I have traveled many places and by far this food was horrible, undercooked not labeled well which caused me to be sick in bed for three days!

Staff

One word to describe them "rude." They have no concept of customer service or helping anyone that does not speak Spanish! The money I spent was not worth getting cups snatched from me in the dining area.

All inclusive
Go to a regular resort! They have cheap nasty liquor that is not worth it! You can get better food on a cruise!

I really want corporates information so I can make a formal complaint! I have been on many vacations and hands down my experience was extremely horrible! If you really want to go to the Dominican do not go to this hell hole.
I have made complaints and the staff never responded and when they did tell me my stay would be free they turned around and charged me anyway! Waiters was a joke. They are sitting somewhere relaxing. It taken two hours for my minibar to be stocked or even get towels.

FYI be prepared to pay to get in the country and the airport is unorganized chaos

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Smhowell76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wcervera, Gerente at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 7 September 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for choosing our Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa as the place to spend your recent holidays as well as for the time you have taken to post your review. Your feedback is of the greatest assistance to us.

We truly regret that your stay was somewhat marred by certain incidents as you already have mentioned; this is actually not what we want to project or make you to experience.

Please receive our most sincere apology for this unexpected events you have endured.

We assure you that the points for improvement will be part of our daily work and they will be corrected in a short term.

We hope to have the opportunity to serve you again. If your future vacation plans are toward Punta Cana for a next trip please let us know, we would be delighted to assist you and thus provide you a more pleasant and uneventful stay.

Kindest Regards,

W.Cervera.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 July 2014

Grand Palladium Punta Cana – The reality

We recently returned from a fortnight’s stay at the Grand Palladium resort in Punta Cana (20th June – 5th July 2014). After seeing some suspiciously differing reviews on here (which it seems Trip Advisor are looking into judging by the big red message that was on this page when I started writing this review!), I thought I’d put together an honest, in-depth account of what we encountered during our stay to give you an clear picture of what it’s really like.
Firstly I should point out that we are from the UK and travelled with Thomson so some of this may not apply to other nationalities. We are a young couple (both late 20’s) and are not fussy people by nature. We’re both happy to drink in the sorts of places where you have to wipe your feet when you leave and will usually be found sporting Primark rather than Prada. We aren’t the sort of people to complain unless absolutely necessary and until now, I’ve never written a Tripadvisor review.

As far as our summer holidays go, we always go all-inclusive (we find it much easier and cheaper) and will happily go for 4*, or even 3*, as we get everything we want – bed, bars, food, pool and beach. This time however we (well, my wife) chose to treat ourselves to a 5* break. We chose the Grand Palladium at Punta Cana as we had stayed at the 5* Grand Palladium in Mexico a few years back for our honeymoon (which, for the record, we thought was absolutely amazing!) and felt this would be a safe choice.

To straighten things out before I start, the Grand Palladium is made up of four hotels; the Punta Cana (our hotel), the Bavaro, the Palace and the Royal Suites, the latter of the four being a properly posh secret handshake snobfest which the rest of us muggles can’t go in. Other than that, you’re free to use all the pools, buffets, restaurants and bars that the three other hotels have to offer.

I’ve got a sneaky feeling that this is going to be a long review so to keep things easy, I’m going to break this up into sections and give them each a score out of 5 to give you a clearer idea of what’s good and what’s not so good. Right, here goes nothing…

Flights 4/5

Quite an important bit as it’s a fair old journey from Manchester (think it was about 8hrs). The plane, which was one of those new 787 Dream-Liners, was fantastic! Really spacious and quiet with plenty of films and other entertainment. I’m 6ft and could stretch my legs out in cattle-class so unless you’re some kind of giant don’t worry about paying for extra leg room. We had centre aisle seats (seating is 3-3-3) so didn’t have a window but we could see that they had little switches below which dimmed the glass rather than the traditional pull down shutters.
From what we could see of 1st class, it didn’t look much better than standard with similar sized seats and screens. Yes you get free drinks and slightly better food but that’s it really. If you’re happy with paying an extra £500 each for a glass of champers and real cutlery then crack on. If you’ve got half an ounce of sense though then save the money and sit with us peasants. TIP – we booked seats in the centre of row 26 with the toilet wall behind us. This meant that we could fully recline our seats without getting into a karate fight with the people behind (which was nice). Better still, the queue of people needing the toilet was on the other side in front of the extra-legroom people so we didn’t have a constant crowd around us. For some reason the queue for the toilet on the way home was much larger than on the way out. People were generally in there for longer too so make sure you plan your toilet runs carefully.
The only issue we really encountered was Punta Cana airport. The place is like a refugee camp. Only hotter and less organised. On arrival it took over 1 ½ hrs to get through and when we left it was closer to 2 ½. It might not sound much in the grand scheme of things but combined with the crowds and heat, it wasn’t good.
Oh, the coach transfers took approx 45mins for us. Coaches were air conditioned but both appeared to have been designed for dwarves as there was no leg room whatsoever. No toilet either which was especially nerve-wracking on the way back to the airport. I’d recommend bringing a cork.

Rooms 1/5

Please be VERY careful when booking with Thomson. To echo what some of the other reviews have said, this holiday is being miss-sold by them and we were not the only ones complaining when we arrived. The reason is that whilst the Bavaro hotel has been refurbished recently and has swanky modern rooms, the Punta Cana (and I think the Palace too from what we could see when nosing through windows) are still very old fashioned and, on closer inspection, rundown & tatty. We only came across this issue on Tripadvisor AFTER we booked online with Thomson/First Choice but after spending a combined total of 2hrs on hold over 4 attempts to call them, we were finally 100% assured that our “promotional” room was going to be one of the new ones (although suspiciously the guy I spoke to called Clifford would not confirm this in writing. Well a few days later we arrived and guess what, it wasn’t. It was one of the old ones. Here’s a bit of a breakdown of what we encountered when we arrived…

Room 1
Smaller than the sort of double you’d find in a Premier Inn. It was pretty much a bed with a few feet of space around it. You even had to move a heavy wooden chair to get into the wardrobe! Came complete with a corner balcony so small you couldn’t hold a cat out there, let alone swing one (ok, maybe not quite that small but smaller than anything we’ve ever had in far lower rated hotels. Less than 2m sq I’d say). The décor was shabby and dated. Worse of all, the TV didn’t work which was the final straw! We were in there all of 5mins and walked back down to the lobby to find the rep. After an interesting discussion with the rep (more on her later) and the hotel manager we were upgraded free of charge to a larger room (on a par with what you’d find in most 3-4* hotels) but he made it clear that this was only because we were existing Palladium customers so any Palladium-newbies out there might not be so lucky.

Room 2
Good size with a bubble jet bath in the main room rather than the bathroom which was a bit Tony Montana. Note – this was not a proper jacuzzi; It was a one person bath with bubble jets so maybe a bit more Tony Robinson than Tony Montana. Still a nice, unusual touch though. The balcony was also much larger and now had plenty of room to swing a cat. There was the same shabby dated 3-4* décor as room 1 but other than that not a bad room – on first glance. Then however we started to notice things (all photographed by the way)….
- The room STUNK like wet dog. It was a horrible, damp, musty smell. Even the bed smelt. I think the tiles even smelt!
- The room had a plastic suspended ceiling over the bath area which was bent, warped and damaged in several areas and looked awful (remember, this is supposed to be 5*)
- There was water leaking through the joints between the panels of this ceiling and puddling on the tiled floor from what (judging from the location of the vents) looked like the AC pipework which I slipped in. Without sounding dramatic, I could have been seriously hurt! Plus, faulty leaking AC is a classic way to transmit legionnaire’s disease which I can contract easily enough in the UK. If I’m going get a serious illness on holiday I expect something exotic. Ebola maybe.
- The metal grate over the plughole in the shower was bent which caused a sharp bit of metal to stick up which my wife cut her foot on.
- The TV worked. Just.
- The safe did as well. Just.

Room 3
Despite the odour, we spent the night in room 2 because by then we just wanted to go to bed after the journey. The next morning though we were yet again back in the lobby complaining and asked how much it would be to move over to the Bavaro (which is apparently rated the same as our hotel the Punta Cana). We were told it was an extra $45 a night which, over 13 nights equates to over $500! The vast difference in price shows that they clearly know it’s a better hotel (a proper 5*) so how they dare say that the Punta Cana is 5* is beyond me! Anyway, we declined their offer and instead were, yet again, given a new room which was in the same block as room 2 but on the next floor up. The décor was, surprise surprise, the same as room 1 & 2 although to be fair it was in a slightly better state of repair and didn’t stink like a moist labrador, which was a treat for our nostrils after spending the night in the dog basket that was room 2. There were of however still some problems…
- The hairdryer (built into the wall) had a mind of its own and made some very alarming noises. The power light randomly flashed red all through the night suggesting the wiring was shot. Never fixed.
- The TV worked (in a manner of speaking) for the first week or so but then shuffled off this mortal coil. We reported it but it never got fixed either so had no TV for the last couple of days. Had to resort to conversation with the wife.
- The electrics were faulty. As well as the hairdryer, the bedside light (built into the wall) would only work if you put a plug in a nearby socket and wiggled it!!
- The football sized glass “dome” over the bulb on the bottom of the ceiling fan spontaneously fell off and missed my wife by a few inches before smashing all over the floor.
- The AC sounded like a diesel generator. We didn’t mind too much as we found it strangely relaxing but if you like it quiet then it would drive you mad.
- Finally (and I can’t blame the hotel for this), the room next door took to playing reggae at full blast for a couple of days. Worse still, they only seemed to have one track. I can still hear the bassline now…

Grounds 4/5

As far as the green stuff goes, the place looked stunning. The grass is golf-course-perfect and the variety of trees and plants would send Alan Titchmarsh wobbling in his wellies. The whole place was spotlessly clean (other than the occasional bit of rubbish left around the pool) and was constantly being tended to by the gardeners. Forget tipping the waiters, these are the guys you should be giving your dollars to (On the subject of money, ignore what Thomson say and just take dollars. EVERYTHING is in dollars. NOTHING is in pesos).
As some reviews pointed out, this place is HUGE. We’re used to large resorts and although we’re young and healthy(ish) we honestly found it a bit too big. The layout is also very confusing and appears to have been designed by a drunk / child / drunk child. Furthermore, I’m fairly certain that the person who made the map has ever actually visited the resort as it was next to useless. On the plus side, it’s all very flat and there is a “train” that does its rounds (takes 20mins to do a circuit to give you an idea of size). There’s also a swarm of golf buggies zipping around the place delivering herds of Americans to their buffets so if you can squeeze your way onto one of those then they can be a big help.
All in all, it is very well maintained and looks very pretty which is fortunate as it gives you plenty to admire whilst you wander round lost for the fifth night in a row.

A La Carte restaurants 2/5

All in all there are eight of them I think (not counting anything on the Royal Suites side of the complex). They ranged from the excellent (steak house) to the absolutely awful (Mediterranean). I’ll give you an overview of each in a moment but firstly you need to be aware that, as a UK Thomson/First Choice customer, you are at the BOTTOM of a three-tier hierarchy when it comes to eating at these restaurants (they don’t tell you THAT on the website, do they!?) Here’s the problem…
Firstly, the hotel set aside approx 30-40% of the tables in each restaurant for the Royal Suites guests. These people (easily identifiable by their silver wristbands and air of smugness) don’t need to queue and can just walk into any of the a la cartes at any time and sit down, regardless of how many “normies” are waiting outside. Fair enough I guess, they are probably paying twice what the rest of the guests are. However, from what we saw the number of tables reversed for the Royal Suites guests far outnumbered the actual number of Royal Suite guests requiring them which meant that on most nights, huge chunks of the restaurants sat unused whilst people stood hot and hungry waiting outside.
Of the remaining 60% or so of the restaurants open to us mere mortals, seating is done on a first come-first-served basis. You arrive, ask for a table and if there’s not one waiting you’re given a buzzer and can wait at the bar with a cocktail for half an hour or so until you are buzzed. A very pleasant and fair way of doing things. Well, at least that’s what the hotel and Thomson would have you think… In reality, we found out that several of the foreign travel companies have a struck a deal with the hotel whereupon their guests can reserve tables. As a Thomson customer you CANNOT reserve a table. I repeat…AS A THOMSON CUSTOMER YOU CANNOT RESERVE A TABLE.

In a nutshell, with a large proportion of each restaurant set aside and the remaining tables being booked up days in advance by the other nationalities, as a UK Thomson customer it is extremely difficult (and sometimes impossible) to get a table. On our first night there was a 3hr+ wait at the Japanese if you wanted to sit at one of the show tables, despite there being next to nobody there waiting. On our second night we tried the Tapas and were told there was a 1hr ½ wait so instead tried the Italian and the Steak House. Both of these were fully booked up for the whole night (this was well before 8pm) so eventually we admitted defeat and ate at the buffet. On the third night we waited for well over 1hr 1/2 outside the Mexican (which was at least 50% empty!) and even then had to argue our way in. Oh, and they shut at least one restaurant each night which just results in the remaining restaurants becoming even busier and more difficult to get into.

The morning after the Mexican we went to the customer services in the hotel and asked if we could book a table. When we gave him our room number and he realised we were with Thomson he said no it’s purely first-come-first-served basis, which by then we knew was rubbish. Anyway, 20mins of arguing, two members of staff and one hotel manager later we left with five bookings. Again though, he stressed that this was only because we were existing Palladium customers. If you’re not a returning customer, you will most likely not be so lucky. When we said to the manager that we felt we were being treated as third class citizens when we expected 5* he actually told us that the vast majority of foreign travel agents actually rate them 4* at a push! Thomson call the whole resort a 5* and charge you accordingly. Go figure. As for the restaurants themselves…

- Steak house: Excellent. The rib eye we both had was perfectly cooked and absolutely huge. Good selection on the menu, well decorated and had Johnny Cash on repeat so really felt like a proper steak house.

- Italian: Good. I loved it but my wife was so/so (she swears the cannelloni gave her the trots). Again, done out nicely and felt like a “proper” restaurant. Also had a little three-piece band doing the rounds and although they weren’t playing Italian music, it was still a nice touch.

- Brazilian: Good. For those who aren’t familiar with Brazilian cuisine, you get an empty plate (bar a few choice bits of cold veg) and a green card and they then bring meat round to your table on skewers one meat at a time which they then slice off for you. Once you’re full you turn your card over to red and they stop force feeding you. There was a good selection of meats, although I’m pretty sure that boiled frankfurter sausages (skewer number two) aren’t a traditional Brazilian dish. The server dropped a full turkey breast on the floor next to our table from skewer number one which stayed there for the rest of the evening but other than that it wasn’t too bad.

- Japanese: So so. We didn’t do the show table as there was always a wait so just ordered from the menu. Disappointingly there was no sushi on the normal menu (that can be found in the Chinese/Indian strangely) but the food wasn’t bad. We ate there twice as it was the easiest to get into. On one occasion my wife’s rice was crunchy but other than that the food was ok, although to be honest it was a bit bland. The noise from the show tables is VERY loud too so if you want a quiet meal, avoid this place!

- Chinese/Indian: So so. I had a chicken tikka skewer (which turned out to be a scrawny bit of chicken & bones impaled on a stick in a coating which wasn’t tikka) and a curry (same scrawny boney chicken in a flavourless tomato flavoured water sauce). All in all, the worst attempt at an Indian I’ve ever encountered. My wife went more oriental and had spring rolls for a starter followed by duck/rice/soy sauce which she said was nice.

- Mexican: Bad. Had a pile of chewy meat with some chopped peppers. My wife ordered something different which, when it arrived, turned out to be a pile of slightly different coloured chewy meat with some chopped peppers.

- Spanish (tapas): Bad. Strange as it was always full but the five things we ordered just weren’t nice. Very greasy and fishy. My wife loves tapas and I can eat for England but we didn’t finish it. One thing we were served was simply a lump of black which was a bit disconcerting as it didn’t really tie up with anything on the menu. I still ate it, but frowned suspiciously at it as I did. There was also something called “emulsion” which sounds like paint but which, by a process of elimination, we think was actually grease-battered fish. Odd.

- Beach BBQ: Bad. Very, very bad. Unless of course you like undercooked, lukewarm road kill in which case this is the place for you! On the plus side, the setting (decked area down by the sea nestled in amongst trees with hanging lights) was very nice, especially when the sun went down. A very picturesque way of getting food poisoning.

- Mediterranean: Abysmal. With the lights on full, zero décor and no music it had all the charm and warmth of a prostate exam. I had the mousaka which turned out to be a heap of dry, undercooked, sliced carrots between two slices of greasy fried aubergine. I can eat pretty much anything (even the serving of black at the Tapas restaurant) but this actually made me feel ill. Avoid at all costs.

If all the restaurants were even half as good as the steak house and they got rid of the ridiculously unfair booking system then they’d be onto a winner here. As it stands though, the restaurants overall (which were one of the main attractions of booking this sort of 5* resort) were a huge disappointment.
One final point. If you are going to serve three courses then please provide three sets of cutlery. Do not take my dirty knife and fork off my starter plate and put it on the table cloth for me to reuse for my next course. I wouldn’t accept that in a bleeding Wetherspoon’s let alone a so-called 5* resort!

Buffets 3.5/5

If I’m right (ignoring the Royal suite restaurants which you can’t go in) there were three breakfast / dinner buffets and two lunchtime buffets. If there were more then we sure as hell didn’t find them!
As I said back at the start, we always do all-inclusives and as a result have fought our way round our fair share of foreign buffets over the years. With that in mind I’m pleased to say that, as far as food quality goes, these were very good. There was always a good selection of foods with salads, cold meats, fruits, lots of hot dishes, fresh food stations (omelettes, paninis etc) and plenty of deserts and whilst some of it could’ve done with being a bit hotter (common issue wherever you go), all-in-all it was pretty good.
However (you knew that was coming!) there was one MAJOR issue which explains the 3.5/5 score. Or should I say, there were 100 or so little issues all dressed in white shirts. That’s right, the staff…

Staff 2/5

The staff (not only in the buffets but across the whole hotel) could be split into three distinct categories –

- 10% Excellent. The girl delivering the drinks and the big guy in the towel hut around the Bavaro pool, Pedro in the steak house and Emilio who nearly caused us both to OD on Fanta in the Palace buffet. Most of the bar staff we found to be very good too and the maids were always friendly and courteous. As I mentioned earlier, the gardeners do an amazing job (although they generally kept themselves to themselves) and although we didn’t have too much contact with the entertainment staff, they looked fun.

- 10% Rude. The woman behind the fag counter in the Punta Cana mini-market and some (not all) of the lobby staff. These people seemed to resent the guests interfering in their lives and always looked annoyed if you would dare try to pay for something or ask for something as complex as a bottle of water. The Thomson rep (she gets her own section later…)

- 80% Useless. Zombies would be the best was to describe them, who could usually be found dragging their feet around the buffet restaurants. These were worse than the rude staff. At least the rude ones did their jobs (albeit begrudgingly). The zombies would shuffle round, eyes glazed over, not responding to anything happening in the world of the living. If you sat in the buffet at an empty table without cutlery they would look directly at you, stare for a few moments and then, rather than laying your table, shamble off and lay an empty table a few feet away from you. Then they would vanish. If you want a drink at the buffet, order three drinks from three different zombies if you wanting a cat in hells chance of getting one. We order two cokes once, received one 10 mins later and never got another! It became a running joke with a lot of the other guests (not just UK guests either) but at the end of the day, this is not what you expect from a 5* resort. You’d have more luck getting an alcoholic beverage in a monastery than in these buffets.
An extra shout out has to go to the market vendors who are allowed to set up their souvenir tables around the hotel grounds. Don’t worry if you accidentally climb through a thorn bush to avoid them as they’ll very helpfully chase after you and try to drag you back to view their merchandise. They all seem to sell the same selection of wooden carvings, novelty bottle openers and rude Rastafarian figures so if that’s what you’re into then you’ll be in your element.
For those looking for something a bit more exotic, one market seller down by the Bavaro pool calling himself “Stevenson Wiggy Wiggy Scooby Doo” (I promise that was the name he used) will happily sell you some cannabis (I declined). One middle aged Irish man I spoke to was also offered cocaine by one of the market sellers although couldn’t remember his name (maybe he’d seen Mr Scooby Doo already).

Thomson rep Sharon 0/5

I’m not normally into naming and shaming people individually but the Thomson rep Sharon is worthy of her very own section. Hell, she’s worthy of her very own reality show! Never have a met such a sour, rude, patronising and condescending rep as her. We only dealt with her for the first few days of the holiday when we encountered most of our issues and consciously avoided her afterwards. Here are a few of her best lines (all in the presence of other witnesses):

- “You get what you pay for”. What she said to us and other couple when we first complained about room 1.

- “What do you want me to do about it? I never sold you the holiday”. What she said when we left room 1 and told her about the miss-selling issue we’d read about (and were now caught in the middle of!)

- “Excuse me MISSY, don’t you think I am?” What she said (hands on hips) to my wife when she asked why she wasn’t reporting the miss-selling issue back to Thomson.

- “I’ll tell the hotel”. Her blunt response when I told her that my wife had almost been hit by a falling glass light fitting in our room. “She’s fine, thanks for asking” was what I said as I walked away.

That is just small selection of what we, and other guests, were subject to. Seriously, this woman should not be a rep or for that matter, in any role where she has to deal with people. She wasn’t just rude, her attitude, tone of voice and body language was, at times, borderline aggressive. This isn’t the first time she’s been singled out in reviews. I suspect it won’t be the last either. The other rep CJ wasn’t there during our stay, he was ill apparently.

On the subject of illness, I had to feel for her a bit as on the second day she had developed a rare form of throat infection where she lost her voice and subsequently rendered her almost completely unable to speak to us in English (which was nice) but which still allowed her to speak perfectly in Spanish on her phone. Poor woman, hope she’s better now.

Pools 3.5/5

Without googling a resort map (which as I said, wouldn’t be much use anyway) there were I think five different pools spread across the three hotels we were allowed access to. This obviously doesn’t include the Royal Suite pools which, some say, were filled with Bollinger or the pool for the swim up rooms. To be fair, we were never told we couldn’t go in that one but I imagine the guests in these rooms might be a bit disgruntled if you clambered over the wall and proceeded to perform a running bomb into their oasis of calm.
The main Punta Cana pool (which was the closest to our room) was a bit Benidorm for our tastes with sun loungers crammed in and noisy activities throughout the day. There was a large kids pool with a pirate ship in the middle which I’d probably have been all over if I was a decade or two younger! Amusingly, on the front of the boat (is that called the bow?) there was a mermaid spitting a water fountain out of her mouth. However, we soon realised that she actually looked like she was projectile vomiting and couldn’t look at her in the same way again. Especially the occasions when there would be a child stood under her stream!
As a couple on a chill out holiday we found the Bavaro pool to be the most suited to us. There were some noisier activities towards the tail end of the day but all in all it was much more chillaxed over on that side and felt a bit more 5*. You’d be brought a pretty endless succession of drinks throughout the day (the fruit punch was very nice!) and once the usual massage / jetski / dolphin salesman knew you weren’t interested, they’d usually leave you alone.
On the flipside, the toilets were pretty minging. By lunchtime the gents would usually be a half an inch or so deep in unconfirmed “liquid” which would actually slosh as you walked in. On more than one occasion the liquid was so deep it reached over the top of my flip flops and touched my feet. Still amazed me though how many people would happily walk in there bare-footed. Oh, and somebody managed to judo-chop one of the urinals off the wall which to be fair looked quite an impressive feat of strength. Took the hotel two days to fix it though (probably because it was at the far end where the liquid was particularly deep!)

Security 2/5

Unfortunately in this day and age you have to consider security and although we weren’t murdered during our holiday (which would have seriously put a dampener on the holiday) we did encounter some issues.
Our room key cards stopped working three or four times during the stay (common issues wherever you go). However, it only later dawned on me that when I went to reception to have the key programmed, they never once asked for any form of ID or even my name meaning that, should I have been that way inclined I could have had it programmed to any room in the hotel. Perhaps I should have given one of the Royal Suite room numbers!
One woman we spoke to in the pool had had her room broken into and had had two MP3 players and a Kindle stolen. As there was no sign of forced entry, the hotel had promptly blamed her for leaving her door open! When we told her about how the keys could easily be reprogrammed for any room she was unsurprisingly shocked.
On our second day in room 3 we were getting ready to go out in the evening when our door opened and a Spanish couple walked in with their suitcases and a welcome pack with our room number on! We showed them the door (they knew where it was but it’s always nice to help) and called reception. Amazingly, reception blamed the Spanish couple for making the mistake, despite the fact that they had a hotel-issued welcome pack with our room number on AND a key that worked our door!

Conclusion 2/5

All in all we were very disappointed with this holiday. Yes we had a good time (you’d have to be Ebenezer Scrooge not to!) but we did this INSPITE of the hotel, not BECAUSE of it. We paid a small fortune for what we thought would be a luxury Caribbean break and expected to be treated like royalty. Unfortunately, what we encountered was a million miles from our expectations.
Don’t get me wrong, if we’d have paid half as much for a 3* break then I could have lived with smelly rooms, rude reps and funky food. However, when you push the boat out and pay for 5* then you expect 5*.
We’re in the process of complaining to Thomson and, judging from conversations from other guests during the holiday, we won’t be the only ones.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
23  Thank Luke H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wcervera, Gerente at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 7 September 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for choosing our Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa as the place to spend your recent holidays as well as for the time you have taken to post your review. Your feedback is of the greatest assistance to us.

We truly regret that your stay was somewhat marred by certain incidents as you already have mentioned; this is actually not what we want to project or make you to experience.

Please receive our most sincere apology for this unexpected events you have endured.

We assure you that the points for improvement will be part of our daily work and they will be corrected in a short term.

We hope to have the opportunity to serve you again. If your future vacation plans are toward Punta Cana for a next trip please let us know, we would be delighted to assist you and thus provide you a more pleasant and uneventful stay.

Kindest Regards,

W.Cervera.

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Reviewed 23 July 2014 via mobile

Wouldn't even rate it a 1!! Where do I begin? One of the worst holidays I've ever been on. The minute We stepped off the plane everything went completely wrong! Getting your visa is the longest wait ever in the scorching heat with just a big fan in the room. ALSO we weren't even in the correct part of the resort, we booked the Bavaro and ended up in the punta cana. The lobby had no aircon and the check in took forever, then we had to find our room without being told where to go. The room was a tiny box room, a few days later after complaining we got upgraded to the bedroom with the bath in, still no better but at least it was bigger. The mini bar was hardly stocked! We rang reception I don't know how many times to ask for some water. In the second room there were ants in our toilet at night! then a few days later the room smelt of smoke constantly, even when we were sleeping, so we complained to the rep and they sent a maid with some air freshener! That didn't clear the smell so we went to the reception at 9 at night, so we were moved to another room! So that's 3 moves in total within the holiday!! As for the food, The al a carte restaurants were a joke! The men were in Dress code and had to wear trousers in the ridiculous heat. And you couldn't book so it was first come first serve, you would have to wait up to 2 hours for a table. As for the buffet restaurants: the food was horrendous it tasted exactly the same, even though there were themes. It was all so bland and was disgusting. On the second week my boyfriend fell Ill, not sure what from, (probably the food) we went to the medical centre and the doctor spoke hardly any English!! He was ill for the whole of second week and for 2 days after we got home! Thomas Cook reps, they were horrendous and no help at all! I will not be returning to the Dominican any time soon!

Stayed: July 2014
9  Thank AmyIsobella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wcervera, Gerente at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 24 July 2014

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your preference in selecting Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa for your recent holidays.

Concerning to the perception reflected on your opinion I would like to extend our most sincere apologies for these described events you have faced.

Our intention is everything runs as it is supposed to; in fact, as you can read in most of our reviews, situations like yours are not norm in here neither represent over all of our service or facilities on the contrary we are continuously praised by our excellent performances.

Regarding restaurants, it is advisable to clarify that as any Resort around Punta Cana it’s normal there is a dress code in some our restaurants. The service is intended to be “first come – first served”, notwithstanding many of the guests opted to wait until restaurants opens to put their names on a waiting list for later on, to come back at the time they want to eat.

We also would like to emphasize that during the evening we offer a wide variety of restaurants, both buffets as well as a la carte, in order to offer our guests several excellent alternatives at all times.

As far as your indications about the quality of the food offered in our restaurants, we are rather surprised because carefully selected products compose our gastronomical supply, taking into consideration the diversity of clients who visit our hotel.

We must say that the level of satisfaction obtained concerning the quality and variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner services has always been elevated according to the opinions reflected in our quality questionnaires.

We confirmed that our hotel is a safe and disease free complex, otherwise the doctor’s office would receive dozens or hundreds of guests complaining gastrointestinal discomfort, and this is not the case.

As you may know, certain risks are involved when travelling to the tropics, as there are various factors that may contribute to illness, such as climate changed, environments variations, travelling stress, combination of new foods and beverages, allergy to some native products, underlying diseases (diabetes, gastric ulcer, intestinal mal absorption syndromes, medications side effects, immunosuppressive states.), or the certain foods and drinks mixture, excessive sun exposure, that predispose individuals to react to gastrointestinal manifestations.

As a company oriented to the excellences in service our goal is to achieve the total satisfaction of our guests so we do believe there is always some point of improvements on each experience.

We hope to be your home for a next visit to Punta Cana and offer you a much satisfying experience.

Best Regards,

W Cervera.

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Reviewed 23 July 2014

We have spent a lovely 2 weeks in Grand Palladium in April. Hotel is huge! Complex is made up of 4 hotels and you can use facilities of 3 of them (unless you are staying in the Royal Suits side then you can use all of them). All in all, hotel is very nice but due to the sheer size there bound to be some issues. The issues however are rather minor and I cannot imagine any of it affecting our holidays so much as to complain. A chip in the tiles is not something that would ruin our holidays.

Check in/Check out:
Both went very smooth. On arrival we were given forms to complete on the bus which meant less paperwork when we arrived. We were greeted with a cold drink and taken straight to our room without any delay.

Rooms:
We were located in the Punta Cana part of the resort which is bang in the middle of everything. Before arrival we have asked for a quiet room and our request was accommodated. Room was rather small and bit dated but bathroom was a nice size. We did not spend too much time in the room so the size and décor of the room did not bother us.

Grounds:
Very well maintained grounds, with lush greeneries – beautiful. However, it is very easy to get lost. Hotel is massive and the map provided not very accurate so it took us couple of days to discover small footpaths that are not marked on the map which made getting to different places much easier/quicker (first trip to the Hemingway bar took us 30min following the map while in fact we were 5min away!). There is a shuttle train that will take you all over the resort but we found it quicker to walk.

Pools:
We had 4 different pools to choose from: 2 in the Punta Cana part, 1 in the Bavaro and 1 in the Palace. Our favourite one was in the Palace. It was good size, depth was well marked (the deep part wasn’t too big & in the middle of the pool so people could spread around in the pool). This pool was never overly crowded and never too noisy. Bar was very nice – with amazing staff, always smiling and very helpful. Special appreciations to Carmen (your drink: ‘Nina special’ was amazing!) & Janiel (can’t remember other names). Pool is conveniently located near one of the restaurants serving lunch and close to the beach if you fancy change of the location.
Our 2nd most favourite pool was in the Bavaro section. Here you have some of the sun beds placed in the water which is nice and cooling. Also there were large sections of shallow water where you could conveniently sit in the pool and sunbathe. Bar was very big in here but, as always, staff was very good.
One of the Punta Cana’s pools was located in the middle of the complex. Not too far from the reception. With pleasant bar and very near restaurant that is opened for all the meal in the day. We found this pool slightly too loud (kiddies pool was there as well-pirate ship looked very inviting) and there was a large deep section which meant shallower parts were slightly crowded. The other pool was very near the beach and just behind the Snack Bar – unfortunately, we did not spend enough time here to give an honest review but it looked nice.

Beach:
Amazing! Beautiful wide stretch of white, soft sand and breathtaking turquoise water looks like something on a postcard. We never had a problem finding sun beds and we never felt like the beach is crowded. Lovely breeze was making it easy to sit in the sun. Water cool at first was very refreshing after initial shock. Waves in some parts were making it fun to be in the water. And there were no seaweeds! Also we did not find we were hustled as much as in other hotels in the DR – we were not interrupted as many times by people offering us massages or souvenirs.

Restaurants:
To start with: we have never had a bad meal in the buffet restaurant. All meals had good choice of food and drink. At lunch, The Bavaro buffet could get a bit crowded at times but the Palace restaurant was always very pleasant (still busy). At breakfast the choice was immense: from fry up to mash potatoes (?) but also loads of cereal, fruit and sweet pastries. The only think you couldn’t get was a good cup of tea (water is never boiling hot) but we did without. We preferred the Punta cana or the Palace buffet to the Bavaro simply because the egg cooking station queue was always smaller. The evening meal is always themed (different for every day of a week) so it would be hard to get bored with the food. Minor issue was with the missing cutlery (unless you ate as soon as the door opened) but staff was working as fast as they only could, any faster and they would be flying.
Unfortunately, the A la carte restaurants were more of a hit and miss where food is concerned. Ddécor wise they all look excellent.
Steak house – amazing! Steak and lobster (the latter at extra charge) were superb but it’s very difficult to get the table (Arriving at 18:45 we were told the wait is 2hrs…)
Brazilian – very good. Just don’t waste time for starters or you won’t try all that’s to try.
Mare nostrum and Japanese – both ok. We didn’t try the tepanyaki table which seems to be main attraction and required early ‘booking’. It’s a shame that they don’t have separate queue for those who don’t want to eat at the show table as we got stuck in a queue for some time even though normal tables were empty.
Chinese and Mexican unfortunately were very poor. Chinese part of the meal was mainly soy sauce drizzled over the food (however sushi was very nice – shame it was in self service section). Mexican had always a long wait for a table despite place being half empty – looks like it’s been understaffed therefore only certain amount of people is allowed in at one time. Buffet selection was quite good but the hot food tasted like something from a fun fair stall.
To conclude, all a la carte restaurants had a part of the menu (usually cold starters) that you had to help yourself to at the buffet station. It’s a bit of a pet hate of mine… it is either a la carte and all parts of the meal are served by waiters or it is a buffet and you help yourself…
All in all however, selection and quality of food is good and I can understand having such a big choice of restaurants some will be better than others.

Bars.
All bars are entertaining. Hemingway was our absolutely favourite. Every evening they had a piano player which made for a very relaxed atmosphere. Inside is quite well air conditioned, selection of drinks is the best in the whole resort and staff is very knowledgeable when it comes to cocktails. B52s are flying like hot cakes. Iris and Louis looked after us amazingly. Iris’s chocolate martini and Louis’s passion fruit mohito were to die for! Also trying sambuca ‘on fire’ is a must – just make sure it’s your last drink of a night as it is very strong (don’t be put off by it because the show of preparing the drink is unforgettable). Thank you both for amazing coconut and pineapple glass drinks.

Bavaro lobby bar was our 2nd favourite (Iris and Louis were moved there). This bar was not always as well air conditioned but the atmosphere was ‘tropical’ anyway with nightly live music. This bar was always much livelier despite slightly smaller selection of drinks (no B52 as no bailys). However we found other drinks on and off the menu that we loved (passion fruit margarita, caprihinia and green ‘Pepto-Bismol’ were few of them).

Punta cana lobby bar – we have only visited this bar during the day but have no word of complaint. In the evening it is waiting area for some of the a la carte restaurants so can be busy.

Our 3rd most favourite bar was the pool bar in the Palace. Carmen’s speciality that she called ‘Nina Special’ was amazing. Janiel’s ‘vitaminas’ were also well measured.

Other bars we have visited only sporadically so we can’t say much. But to conclude we never got a bad drink or service in any of the bars visited.


All in all the hotel is worth visiting. The only reason for 4 stars is that the previous hotel we stayed in was that little bit more special. JC and Sharon – our reps were the best! Great advice, amazing company and perfect mixture of professionalism and friendliness.

Room Tip: Going back we would like to try rooms in Palladium Palace
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank Quinni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wcervera, Gerente at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 24 July 2014

Dear Guest,

Thank you for having chosen Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa as well as for the time you took to post your review. Your feedback is of the greatest assistance to us.

We understand that there is always room for improvement and our guests’ experiences play the key role in this continuous process, which leads us to achieve service excellence. We carefully reviewed all your observations and herewith I would like to apologize for any inconvenience you may have endured during your stay.

Thank once again you for having shared your experience on this trip and we hope to have the opportunity to hosting you again.

Your home in paradise will be waiting for you.

W Cervera.

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Reviewed 23 July 2014

We are just finishing a really enjoyable stay at the Grand Palladium, there are 6 in our party,aged 2 (18 years) 2 (19 years) & 2 adults, the facilities in the hotel are excellent, catering for either a lazy holiday or a full action time, this more than met our expectations, chamber maids were extremely
attentive, catering staff in buffet restaurants & speciality restaurants were extremely officious, while always smiling and joking with our group, special mention to reception staff especially,Lorin, Eyliana, Yicauri. Who went beyond their duty when one of our group dislocated their ankle, beach is as you see in the brochure, white golden sand mile after mile, final mention to the entertainment team & buggy boys who really looked after the girls after the accident - great holiday even after our small mishap, thank you Grand Palladium xxxx

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
2  Thank Martinmurphygerard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wcervera, Gerente at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 24 July 2014

Dear Guest,

First of all, allow me like to thank you for your preference in selecting our Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa as the place to spend your recent holidays.

At Grand Palladium we managed to create unforgettable experiences and it is truly a pleasure for us to hear that all your expectations were surpassed.

We thank again for having shared your experience and we look forward to have the pleasure to host you again at your home in paradise.

W. Cervera.

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Reviewed 22 July 2014

Stayed here for 10 nights at the end of June and had the best time ever. Hotel only about 20 mins from the airport so after a 8 and half hour flight it is ideal.

Reception
Reception area is nice enough, we went wit Thomson and were checked in really quickly as they had a separate table for Thomson guests to check in with everything ready. Bell boy took all our belongings and wasnt pushy for a tip like other places we have been to. Was friendly enough and took the time to show us where everything in the room was - including how to work the air con and safe. Reception has a bar that serves nice drinks and also a drink dispenser that you can help yourself to. Wifi is free in reception area (lobby) but didnt really use it that much as only wanted it to facetime and it wouldnt let us do this.


Rooms - Room was nice enough, 2 double beds, mini-bar restocked almost every day with water, beer, Fanta, coca cola, diet cola and sprite. Air conditioning worked a treat (even got too cold sometimes so had to turn it off), beds were really comfy and the safe in the room worked fine. Couldn't find any English channels on the TV really but that didn't bother us as we don't watch TV on holiday anyway - there was a docking station for ipods etc so we made good use of that. Hairdryer was powerful enough - only one thing i would say is that the shower isn't very powerful when on hot but wasnt too much of a problem really as it did the job. The jacuzzi bath was also good but we didn't use much.

Pools
Pools are really good, plenty of space for sunbeds unless you turn up around midday then it can sometimes be a bit difficult. We managed to get one in shade fine every day though. Pool bars were a godsend and were under shade as well. The pool had a foam party one of the days there which was different and we enjoyed this. Also had a bouncy castle slide for children one of the days which all the kids seemed to enjoy. Various activities such as aerobics/waterpolo/football/bingo etc would be around the pool.. Animation team would ask but werent too pushy if you didnt want to join in.

Food
Food was the best I have ever had from an all inclusive. We ate breakfast at the main buffet every day and was so much choice - bacon, sausage, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, baked beans, french toast, paninis, omlettes made to your liking, pancakes, cereal, yoghurts etc.. spoilt for choice. And they always had Heinz Ketchup :). We ate either at the beach snack bar, sports bar or the buffet restaurant for lunch. Always pizza/hotdogs/burgers/chips at the beach bar which is what we enjoy.. Buffet had a range of food lots to choose from. Dinner at the buffet restaurant was amazing .. they have themed nights every night - the USA night was amazing .. pork ribs were the best. We only ate at one a la carte as we didnt really want to queue for tea or go so early but the buffet restaurant was so nice it didnt bother us. Ate at the la parilla italaian ... Best a la carte ever - a must if you enjoy italian food.. Some of the best I have ever taste. Also believe the Japanese is really good food and entertainment and the steakhouse I believe was very nice and very popular.

Drinks
Plenty to choose from drink wise but I am not a big drinker - tried some of the cocktails in Hemingway cocktail bar (they also serve the cocktails at the lobby bars) but they were too strong for my liking - I ended up getting the non alcoholic cocktails andasking for shots of vodka and adding to my own taste - Staff are happy to do this for you. Soft drinks are really good - pepsi and coke, Fanta orange, sprite - the fruit punch here is also really refreshing.

Beach
Beach is one of the best parts of the hotel, lovely white sands and blue sea. Didnt have aprob getting a lounger.. Tried kayaking which was really fun also. Always a nice breeze on the beach which you need

Staff
Staff were lovely - the towel man advised us he didnt speak english when we asked him a question but then a couple of days later spoke to us in English was a bit strange , maybe he just couldnt be bothered answering us but on a whole they spoke well. Some of the women who serve drinks round the pool weren't very friendly towards us and made it seem like it was hard work if we answered 'yes please' when she asked if we would like a drink.. But one of the men around the pool (didnt get his name - young guy with braces) was really friendly and looked after us really well - as soon as our glass was empty he would offer us another.

Entertainment
Entertainment in the theatre was okay - enjoyed the Michael Jackson show the most! Drinks there are also really nice. Repeat the same entertainment each week though so can get boring if you go for longer than a week but same as anywhere else. There was also a nightclub but with the time different we never made it to them as they only opened around 23:00. Spent some of the nights at sports bar (pool table, football table.. hotdogs, pizza, chips, paninis made to order, popcorn) and some at the lobby bar/cocktail bar so plenty of choice

We also did the dolphin explorer trip whilst here ad I would definitely recommend this - amazing experience!!!

Overall would definitely recommend - one of the best hotels I have stayed at and can see why it has a 5 star.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank HolidayLover1803
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wcervera, Gerente at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 24 July 2014

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your preference in selecting Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa for your recent vacation.

I also like to extend our gratitude for sharing your experience on this trip and let aware future travelers to our destination about our excellent services.

Besides our guests, our personnel is one of our most important assets that never cease in their effort to go beyond in order to satisfy all our guests’ needs so we are glad to hear everything was very good as you have already expressed.

Hope to be your home for a next visit to Punta Cana.

W Cervera.

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Reviewed 20 July 2014

my girlfriend and I went there for 11 nights in June and everything was really good, from when we arrived till we left, really nice staff, spacious and clean room (and we've been upgraded for the room 7312 with Jacuzzi next to the bed) king size bed, mini bar, air con.... . a nice selection of restaurants a la carte ( for us the best was the Spanish one then the steak house) just the Italian one was really disappointing.
we found the buffets for breakfast really good and full of choice.
it would be to long to describe how good our holiday was.
i definetely recommend that hotel!!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Anthony G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wcervera, Gerente at Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 25 July 2014

Dear guest,

On behalf of Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa would like to express my gratitude for having decided to express your comments to future visitors.

We are very pleased to know that you were satisfied with your stay and services provided by our staff sincerely deserve this for such frank and warm reviews, therefore they inspire us to continue working to improve each day our service and facilities.

We will share your nice comments with our staff.

With great pleasure we will be glad to host you here again.

Kindest Regards,

W Cervera.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa

Address: Avda. Francia s/n | Playas de Bavaro Higuey, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Green Hotel in Punta Cana
#24 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#34 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#36 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#36 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: £145 - £371 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 535
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa enjoys a privileged, sea-front location on the renowned Playa Bavaro. The resort, located on a sprawling estate of lush tropical vegetation and a coconut plantation, is next to the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort & Spa, the Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino & Royal Suites. The facilities of these adjoining resorts are open to guests of the Grand Palladium Punta Cana (excluding the Royal Suites). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort And Spa
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort Spa

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