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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (?)
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.
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.
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"!
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.
- 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