We stayed at the Paradisus Palma Real for 5 nights in May, 2012. It was our first trip to the Dominican Republic and this resort lived up to and surpassed all our expectations. We chose this resort based on the reviews here and the recommendation of my travel agent.
Our room was a one bedroom, garden view, master suite, all-inclusive. Many (most?) of the resort’s rooms, I believe, are time-share units. Thus, the midrange rooms like ours have a separate bedroom, a very large, divided bathroom, living room, dining area and a full kitchen (but who wants to cook?!!). The furnishings were elegant and impeccable, the room was spotless and was well maintained by housekeeping. We had a photo of our room from the website and it looked exactly like it when we got there.
Our travel agent got us an upgrade to “VIP” status and asked that we be close to the beach. Both requests were fulfilled. We had VIP check-in and that upgrade enabled us to eat free at the two top restaurants on site: The Gabi Grill and Aqua. More on those later. We also had access to a special “VIP” area of thatched cabanas on the beach, but frankly, the beach area was not crowded and anyone could sit anywhere without asking.
The lobby area and entrance was probably the most stunning of any Caribbean resort I’ve been to. It is especially beautiful at night with the colored spotlights. It looks out onto a large fountain area and pool below where several of the restaurants (Vento and the Japanese one) are located. There is a huge free form pool and a separate “VIP” pool near the Gabi Grill, but again, no one was checking (a good thing). Multiple bars around the pool area and grounds will keep anyone’s thirst quenched with satisfying drinks. I noticed that most top-shelf liquors were stocked, including singly malt scotch. There is some limited beach service as well.
The beach area was huge and the open sandy area was about 50 yards to the water. There is an abundant amount of thatched “umbrellas” in the beach area to stay protected for those like me who are sun averse. All the beach chairs have clean cushions and beach towels are readily available with no “checking out” (ugh!). We spend several afternoons on the beach enjoying the cool, offshore breeze with me in the shade and my wife and daughter sunning themselves. The only issue with the beach is there is a bit of a seaweed line at water’s edge, though not objectionable once you get in the water. This is true of all the resorts in Punta Cana, I believe. A tractor does come every morning and scoop it up. To sum up, the beach area was very relaxing and wonderful.
They have water sports on the premises....SCUBA, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking. I didn’t avail myself of SCUBA due to bronchitis, but I do understand that they do take you to an offshore island where the reefs are better than the mostly dead ones on shore. My daughter and I went snorkeling one day and it was fun—several hundred yards offshore is a shallow reef (5-10’ deep) with fair coral formations and quite a few fish, considering all the snorkelers trying to scare them off. We also went parasailing for the first time—FUN!! Incidentally, the beach at Paradisus Palma Real is better protected by the offshore reef, it is not nearly as rough as is at the Rui resort a few miles down the beach where we picked up the parasail boat.
The food...let’s get to that. There are about 5-7 restaurants on the property to choose from—we weren’t there long enough to sample them all. Breakfast and lunch were served buffet style in an open-air area next to the beach, it was very pleasant to eat there. Nothing too remarkable about the buffet breakfasts and lunches, eggs, omelets cooked to order, fresh fruits, all the other stuff you would expect. Lunches were the usual resort buffet lunch, lots of variety with an emphasis on local cuisine. Dinners? Ahhh....let’s talk about the dinners. Our “VIP” status allowed us to eat at the top 2-3 restaurants on the resort: the Gabi Grill and Aqua, for example. Otherwise, guests pay a slight “up charge”. The Gabi Grill and Aqua were AMAZING, they could both be a Michelin 3-star restaurant in any city. The lobster dinner and beef and turf dinner at Gabi Grill were divine. Here’s a tip---skip the lunch buffet and have lunch at Gabi Grill if you can...it is TOTAL grommet eating at its best. The Aqua restaurant was also Michelin 3-star, although after 2 martinis before dinner, I don’t remember as much!! We also ate at the Japanese restaurant (Benihana-type cuisine and service) which was very good and the Italian restaurant, Vento, also excellent. You will not be disappointed by the evening food.
To sum up, the suite was everything we wanted, the food was fantastic, the beach heavenly, the grounds and main buildings were immaculate. This is a time share resort (although we booked it as a hotel) so you might get asked by your “consigner” if you would like to attend a meeting. We didn’t express an interest and they didn’t push it. My only “complaint” might be that the evening entertainment was not exactly tops in our book, although, to be fair, we only attended one night. But that’s a small issue compared to all the other great things about the resort. My wife and daughter loved it and still talk about the relaxing time on the beach.
Would we go back? In a heartbeat!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the epitome of resort elegance. Paradisus Palma Real Resort envelops you in privileged comfort and simply astonishing beauty. Discover crystal Caribbean waters, pristine beaches, towering palm trees, stunning gardens and magnificent architecture. Delight in sumptuous private Suites, championship golf, seven world-class international restaurants and stunning pools lined with exotic Bali beds. An all-encompassing paradise of grace, elegance and charm located 25 minutes from the Punta Cana International Airport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Paradisus Palma Real Hotel Punta Cana
- Paradisus Palma Real Punta Cana
- Paradisus Punta Cana
- Paradisus Palma Real Resort
- Punta Cana Paradisus
- Paradisus Hotel Punta Cana