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“Paradisus Palma Real - A rough start but then we hated to leave”

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Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort
Ranked #20 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
GreenLeadersSilver level
New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Paradisus Palma Real - A rough start but then we hated to leave”
Reviewed 27 June 2014

Just returned from a 7 night stay at the Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana. After a somewhat "bumpy" start to our 30th Anniversary trip, we were able to relax and enjoy all this resort had to offer. We would definitely return.
I will give my impressions first...and then if you wish...you can read about our rough start and why.

Overall Impressions:
Paying Extra for Royal Service IS worth it....but...
If you upgrade to royal service, make sure you know exactly what you're supposed to get. We were left with the feeling that if you didn't ask... you weren't getting it. We asked and we got. In the end we did feel the Royal Service was worth it...quiet, exclusive pool & beach...NO KIDS...and Palazzo Restaurant (exclusive to Royal Service) was one of the best.
The resort is clean, beautifully landscaped, and tranquil (love the piped in music on the walking paths!). The beach is absolutely beautiful and looks like a screen saver. The pool and the beach (Royal Service) was not crowded at all...even though the RS rooms were totally booked.
Ask for a room on a top floor (3rd)...yes you have to walk the stairs but it's much quieter and no foot traffic going by like on the first floor.

Housekeeping:
Ask to have your room cleaned early in the day! Twice we came back to the room between 5:30 & 6:00 p.m. and they were in there cleaning - including the night our butler had set up a "romantic" Jacuzzi tub for us.

Spa:
The YHI spa on the main property (next to Palazzo) is small and only houses the "water ritual" things (jet showers, steam room, Jacuzzi, etc.) When I went in there the 3 girls standing at the desk just pointed me in the direction of the locker room. I wandered around the "water ritual" for awhile trying to figure out how it worked and finally gave up. No one offered to help.
The YHI spa by The Reserve is beautiful! (you get there by golf cart). There was a sweet young girl who walked me through the water ritual and then I had a fantastic massage by Anna. The whole atmosphere was so relaxing and healing.
The Oriental Garden on the main property is a bit different. All treatments take place in little "huts". The huts are blocked by foliage but there are walking paths on the other side of the foliage and it felt very "exposed" being half naked with people talking & going by the hut. I did have a fantastic massage by Silvia though.

Food:
We all enjoyed the food very much. Would highly recommend Palazzo (Italian), Bana (Asian fusion) and Teppanyaki (hibachi restaurant). Vento was also very good (Mediterranean food) and a nice atmosphere. Passion ($60.00/pp extra not including wine) had great service and interesting presentations but if you're not into "gourmet" eating...skip it. Market Grill (dinner) our waiter was fantastic & friendly...the meal was slightly above average for steak. The Buffet was nothing special. We ate there the first night cause it was too late to get a reservation anywhere but given the choice I wouldn't eat there again. Having the butler make the reservations was very helpful because without him I think we would have been eating very late at night (9:00 pm). We did question why the reservations seemed so hard to get but the restaurants all had empty tables (?)

Dress:
We overpacked. There did not seem to be a dress code for women at any restaurants (woman in short shorts at Passion?) but there was for the men. Passion, Palazzo and Vento all required long pants, collared shirts and close toed shoes for the men. No jackets required anywhere. Breakfast and lunch you could wear bathing suits with cover up or tee shirt and be ok. You don't need a lot of day AND night clothes.

Staff:
It really is helpful to speak Spanish. You don't have to be fluent but it helps to know some basics. Pretty much everyone we ran into was friendly and pleasant and tried to be helpful. The men in particular worked very hard and the woman who greeted us at Palazzo every morning was cheerful, has a beautiful smile and was genuine in her demeanor.

I cannot say enough good things about Samuel...He was attentive and really did try to make things right. He gave us the cell phones to call him when we needed anything, asked about our preferences for beverages/snacks in the room, told us about the resort and said he could schedule pool cabanas, spa treatments and make all our dinner reservations...and then, all week, he did just what he said! YAY! He even set up our Jacuzzi tub with candles, rose petals, wine and incense on the night of our anniversary and left a cake in our room as well. He was terrific and I'd recommend asking for him.

Martin Tineo and Pedro, who did the set ups at the pool and on the beach, were also great. These men made sure no one wanted for anything...towels, drinks, lounge chairs, beds moved from sun to shade and back...they did it all with a smile and a thumbs up. Great job Martin & Pedro.

Another stand out was Jose Ramos who was our waiter at Palazzo in the morning & Vento in the evening! He was friendly and gave outstanding service.

Miscellaneous:
The Dominican Republic charges a $10.00 fee to all non-residents who enter.
Bring lots of singles. Tipping is not required but is accepted for "outstanding service" and US dollars are preferred.

Now for the rough part...

We booked this trip through a travel agent who highly recommended this resort. Since our original plan was to travel with our adult children, we booked 2 suites in the Royal Service area of the hotel - 1 Garden View w/ 2 double beds and 1 Regal Ocean view w/ 1 King bed. The travel agent also told us that this resort participates in a program called "My Time" which offered "an exclusive experience filled with special touches, extra amenities and unique recognition at no extra cost".

We got to the hotel around 1:00 PM, which is early, as check in is at 3:00 p.m. So, on arrival we were told to go to the Royal Service lounge to check in. We did and someone came to greet us and took the vouchers the travel agent had given us. We were given our Royal Service bracelets and told to go have some lunch then come back. After eating lunch, we returned to the RS lounge to wait for our butler to show us to our room. After waiting, and my husband asking one of the 4 girls sitting at the 2 desks, our butler arrived. After a tour of the grounds, she took us to our rooms - which were right across the hall from each other - strange since we were suppose to have different views. Our keys didn't work, so she used her master key to open the doors. Both had 2 beds in them and both had garden views. I told the butler our reservation was for an "ocean view" suite with a king bed and her response was, I kid you not, "we can push the beds together"!
Strike One.

The butler called reservations and explained, that we were put in the wrong room. Clearly, the person on the other end thought we were lying, cause we were asked to produce our vouchers from the travel agent. Good thing the travel agent sent us copies because the one set we gave at check-in was never seen again. After more waiting, we were shown to a room with a king bed and an ocean view - but housekeeping was still cleaning it. We were told that we could stay there the first night and move to another room the next day (?). I asked several times if this was the room we had PAID for and if so, why we would have to move the next day. I don't know if it was a language barrier or we were getting a run around but the answer never was made clear. We said we'd take this room - if, in fact, it was the Royal Service Regal Ocean View Suite we had booked and paid for. We were told it was (but who knows?). Strike two!

The butler then told us she was going to get the keys for both rooms, as the ones she had weren't working. We were tired after being up from 4:30 in the morning and traveling so all we wanted was to change and get to the beach. We started to unpack but in order to use the room safe...you need a room key! We waited for about 30 minutes for the butler to return, which she never did. I headed out to go to the Royal Service Lounge to see what the issue was and who do I pass??? Our butler showing around another couple! No keys or explanation given. It was now 4:30 p.m. Strike three!

At Royal Service lounge, again there was about 6 people standing around asking how they could help me. I asked to speak to a manager and was told to take a seat. The manager (Omar) was very apologetic & sincere, he said there was some problem with their "system" and that's why we didn't have any keys. He said we could use the pool/beach and just leave everything in the room...that "any butler can open the rooms" when we wanted to get back in. Now maybe it's because I'm from New Jersey, but it was unsettling to know that anyone can be let into any room - all they'd have to do is ask a butler. I went back to the room to wait for the keys. After waiting another hour or so, I lost it...called Royal Service and asked for someone to come to our room AND to give us a new butler as the
first one had still not come back to even tell us what was going on.

Carlos, the manager in charge of butlers came to our room with our keys and a new butler - Samuel Rodriguez. It was now 6:15 p.m. So, 5 hours after arriving, we finally had our right rooms & keys...whew!

The next day, I went to the lounge to see about the spa credits and the $50.00/room credits (due to getting in our rooms late) I had through "My Time". Again, multiple girls were standing around offering assistance but when I asked about the credits they acted like they didn't know what I was talking about. One finally went behind a door for about 10 minutes and returned saying the room credits would be applied at check out, but I had to go to Market Grill to get the spa credits. Sounded strange but off I went. The girl at Market Grill acted like she didn't know what I was talking about until I showed her the letter I had received from the travel agent. She disappeared to call someone while I cooled my heels and returned saying I didn't qualify because I had BOOKED my room in November 2013. HUH? I showed her the letter again, that said "valid for ARRIVALS February 1st 2013 - June 30, 2014. We arrived on June 19, 2014. She sent me back to the lounge which is not a short walk away. Back at the lounge I saw the girl who sent me to Market Grill and told her she gave me wrong information and I wanted to speak to the manager. She disappeared again, came back and told me I didn't qualify for the same reason the other girl told me - despite me having a letter saying I did qualify. Again, Omar was a help...he assured me he would contact the spa and let them know that there were spa credits for each room we had booked....and he did just that! YAY Omar!

So, after a day & a half of aggravation and a major waste of "my time" we were able to relax and enjoy this beautiful resort.

Room Tip: Ask for 3rd floor for quieter night...better view (3084 was great!)
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
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3 Thank Irishys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Raleigh, North Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 June 2014

My wife and I recently spent seven (7) nights at this resort for our honeymoon. This is our second stay here since November. We have ventured to other resorts in this area of the Dominican Republic and most do not compare. The Living Social voucher made the trip even better. We are hoping another Living Social deal comes available soon.

The Royal Service was truly Royal. Our butler Francis Castillo assisted us with our every need and made our experience absolutely hassle-free. When we arrived Leonardo Mota, the Royal Service Bartender greeted us by saying welcome home friends. He wasn't just saying this to be nice, he went out of his way to make us feel at home and kept our cups filled with delicious drinks (that were considerably better than the drinks at the main pool bar). We hope Leonardo is still around next time we return. The Royal Service Pool Valets, Francisco and Pedro, reserved us a spot on the beach or by the pool everyday, we didn't even have to ask!

We typically wouldn't use the spa, but with the resort vouchers we decided to get a couples massage. The Spa at the Reserve was absolutely amazing and private. We only saw one couple during our entire visit. Joan Abreu was our personal spa valet and did a fantastic job putting us through the aquatic therapy and ensuring we had a relaxing experience.

The food at this resort is amazing, especially Palazo, the restaurant exclusive to Royal Service guests. Most days we found ourselves eating all three meals here. Should you decide to stay make sure you check out the daily activities, most of which are included. These include sailing, spinning, and sushi making, to name a few. At night be sure and check out the open air lobby, it is gorgeous, and there is always live music.

We will absolutely return to this resort. You should give it a shot too. Don't waste your time on other popular resorts such as the Excellence, you will be disappointed.

Room Tip: Royal Service Building H.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank AJB0603
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
Reviewed 27 June 2014

The Romance Department at the Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana is amazing. I can't speak highly enough of Sahoni! I am a wedding coordinator in the Philadelphia area and I was apprehensive about the logistics of the wedding. My clients and I were so grateful for all of the help the team gave us and how beautiful everything was.
I would highly recommend having your destination wedding at the Palma Real.

Thank you, Sahoni and Laura!!!!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled on business
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Thank jen s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 June 2014

Just spent 6 days and 5 nights at this resort, I cannot say enough wonderful things about it. The staff was friendly and polite, the resort was clean and beautiful. We went with 6 other couples and had the vacation of a lifetime :) My best two recommendations are to absolutely splurge for the Royal Service if you are adults, it is worth every penny and makes all the difference. Also, ask for the BEST butlers in the resort, Faustino Ramos and Johnpi Rivera. They were the most courteous and kind as well as attentive staff on the resort! They will arrange your excursions, draw your bath and above all make sure you have the most comfortable and easy vacation/stay ever! We could not have asked for a better vacation! Best restaurants are Palazzo and Gabi Beach. The night life was never disappointing and the weather was perfect! And don't forget Yhi Spa and golf! I defintely recommend!!!

Room Tip: Ask for Royal Service
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Jennifer E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tulsa, Oklahoma
1 review
Reviewed 27 June 2014

My wife and I went here for our honeymoon June 7-14. The resort was wonderful and beautiful. It was well kept and in the evenings they would have incense burning in the walking areas. This was a nice touch as it set the tone for the evening. Everything was so comfortable and relaxed. The food was great, the entertainment was great also.

We got the Royal Service, and I must say it was worth it! Our butler was Nicolas Maracallo. We met him upon arrival in the Royal Service lounge (which has a beautiful view of the ocean) where we they immediately brought us a couple of mimosa's and some hors d'oeuvres. This made the check-in experience much more relaxed and made us really feel like royalty. The Royal Service lounge also had premium alcohol available and they made some wonderful drinks for us throughout our stay.

Nicolas was incredible! He gave us a cell phone that we could contact him on at any time. Throughout our stay, he made reservations for all of our dinners and helped us coordinated the excursions, problem solved, answered any questions we have, gave us a tour of the resort, made bath's for us, unpacked our bags, brought us room service, and was just an overall great guy to be around. He was very helpful and gave some good local tips and shared some of the local culture with us. We very much appreciate him and all of the staff at the resort! All of our requests were attended to immediately. It was impressive. We will be going back here!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with Melia Hotels International

Helpful?
Thank Todd Michael T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Salt Lake City, UT
Level 6 Contributor
254 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2014

I went for a concert and shared a room with 2 friends for the night. This kind of hotel is normally WAY out of my budget, but split 3 ways, made it more affordable. It is very beautiful, almost gives the feeling of walking around your own palace. The staff was very friendly when an outlet in the bathroom blew, they had a maintenance person in our room within minutes. I never had a chance to see the beach view or pool as I left only there for the concert and left 12 hrs later. The main court yard has fabulous fountains and shops. The room and very lovely furniture and was laid out in a usable manner with a walk through bathroom from the hallway and the master bedroom.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Heather G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, Nebraska
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 June 2014

Recently, my significant other and I and two other couples traveled to the Dominican Republic and booked this resort. We booked our trip through Expedia and purchased the hotel transport through Blue Travel. Upon landing at the airport and getting our bags we went to the Blue Travel desk and were immediately taken to our hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, the bellman took our bags and we were introduced to Franklin who showed us around the hotel. He was so nice and knowledgeable and helpful! We were blown away by the beauty of this resort. It was clean, it was inviting, it felt like our home away from home! The people in the Dominican are so incredibly nice and we felt like we were royalty. From the time we got there to the time we left I would say there was not one thing that went wrong. We did not upgrade to the Royal Service, and I don't know that it was really worth it to upgrade as we were able to get into any restaurants we wanted to and if you ask for the better alcohol in the non-royal service areas you can get it. The restaurants were all great with plenty of options. We also took the yoga class at the Yhi Spa and it was amazing! Plenty of things to do, day or night, and plenty of options for food. The resort had performances of some sort every night and we were always very entertained. I highly recommend going to this resort - it was simply perfect and wonderful! We will be back, for sure! This resort exceeded our expectations by many, many miles!

Room Tip: We didn't spend much time in our room, so honestly I wouldn't worry about what kind of "...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank LouieMom2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort

Property: Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort
Address: playas de bavaro | Playa de Bavaro, Punta Cana 23301, 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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#14 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#17 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#18 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#19 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#20 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 554
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

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