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The Palace at Playa Grande
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Rio San Juan
Reviewed 9 May 2013

I don't know if I can add much more than what others have said. First off I feel like such a loser for waiting so long to finally write this review. Once I got back from this AMAZING vacation the reality of everyday life set in and well, its just taken me a while to actually sit down and take a moment. This vacation was soooooooo relaxing and just as EVERYONE has said, the staff is incredible!! Everyone bends over backwards to make sure you are enjoying yourself. If you want to just sit back and relax and enjoy the location you have so much free personal space and if you want to go out and adventure there is plenty of opportunity for that. We rented a car and drove from the airport which was nice because it gave us more freedom but I would not recommend that for everyone. The traffic is CRAZY and seemingly no laws. I felt comfortable enough because my boyfriend is from India and familiar with this type of chaotic traffic and rough roads but if you are timid at ALL, let the professionals drive. I also recommend doing stuff with Felipe. He is wonderful and it feels more like you are going out with a buddy. He along with one of the kitchen staff, Donny took us out on a horseback ride through the country and we got the opportunity to meet Felipe and Donny's family. We also got to try coco nuts. The fruit of the coco nut is really mild and actually kind of reminded me of marshmallow. We also went to the lagoon and I went off the zipline a few times with my boyfriend, Felipe and Donny cheering me on. Apparently I was the only one brave enough to jump. If you do the zipline into the lagoon I would recommend some sort of ear plugs. I had annoying water stuck in my ears for weeks. We also went as a group with the other couples at the hotel on a day trip to the other zipline adventure. This really did take the entire day but it was lots of fun and we really enjoyed spending some time with the other couples at the hotel. Several of us were nervous about the zipline and we each cheered one another on. I have to say it is a little scary signing a waiver that says you're not going to hold the company responsible if you die! But just make sure you follow their instructions. Once I got started I felt fine. My boyfriend gave me a scare when he put his hand on the rope IN FRONT of the mechanism. FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS. There is also a place to feed monkeys. Get the camera cause this is fun and not as death defying. Back to the hotel, like pretty much everyone has said, the staff is AMAZING!! If you want something specific for your meal they do everything they can to accommodate. One morning my boyfriend asked for something specific for breakfast and they didn't have the ingredient needed so they went out to get it. I don't know any other place that would go to those lengths. Most people just say "oh we're out of that". To sum it up, the palace is beautiful, the food is good, the staff is wonderful and I can't wait for the opportunity to return.

Room Tip: I read a review that the peacocks can be loud and to get a room away from the peacocks but I was nev...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Amanda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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36 - 42 of 90 reviews

Reviewed 19 March 2013

Work, kids, family can overwhelm our lives, but when my husband and I needed a getaway, we chose to stay four nights at the Palace. We left the week first week in March, and are counting the days until we can return to this place. The picturesque views are awe-inspiring, and bring you closer to nature. We paid additional to have a seemless arrival in DR, customs and were greeted by Juan Carlos and Javier with delicious fruit punch drinks when we arrived at the palace. We were given a tour of the facility and they have cliffside apartments, oceanview suites, and garden villas. The hotel is a Warwick hotel- which are the top of the line hotels for international and domestic travel. The hotel itself was immaculate! I consider myself a clean freak and everyday the staff were cleaning the grounds, bedrooms, laundry service etc.. They cleaned the floors with a solution that smelled wonderful. The staff: Juan Carlos (manager)Javier, Cynthia (guest services), Ramona, Felipe were all great. They must have mind reading powers (esp) because they would address our needs before we had a chance to ask. The 3 course meal dinners were delicious! We had fresh mahi-mahi, soup, plantains. My husband and I embraced the DR menu which was amazing. There were only 2 other couples during our stay, which made it an intimate getaway. No phones, no tablets, just a chance to reconnect. I know for us it will be a place that we come back to for years to come. If you are considering staying at the Palace, I would say to go for it, but dont tell too many people, that way it can remain "our little secret hideaway."

Room Tip: All of the rooms are beautiful, it would come to a matter of preference. Do you want to hear the oce...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank tenuredtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2013

We took our first trip to the DR without doing much research, and we chose the Balaji Palace on a whim. We couldn't have been more pleased with the results. The grounds were immaculate and welcoming, and the staff was so professional and friendly. We felt like we were spoiled rotten every minute of every day by Juan Carlos, Felipe, Charlie, Javier, Cynthia, Romana and Ruby. We felt like part of the family - a very nice family who attended to your every desire.

This part of the DR is far enough away from the tourism to be a real escape, which was a huge selling point for us. We heard stories that development is making its way to that part of the island, which is a shame, but sadly inevitable. This is a glorious place with the kindest people you'll ever meet. Don't hesitate to go, just don't tell too many people. :)

Room Tip: All of the rooms are nice, but the ones away from the pool are quieter. The cliffside rooms are glor...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Stephanie_WW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2013

We just got back from our trip from the palace on Feb 11 2013. We had a 5 night all inclusive, with alcohol package... We also had a jacuzzi room with balcony! THE cocktails WERE SO CONSISTANT From everyone who made them they were amazing!!

Benefits!! : 1. The room was amazing, the size of a studio the balcony, incredibly beautiful. We did not use the jacuzzi much, it took forever to fill up. If you are looking for a balcony they might have a balcony without the jacuzzi which I think will cost less. Either way it was amazing and I don't regret anything about this trip.

2.Staff? NOthing TO SAY EXCEPT WONDERFULLY PERFECT! Need I say more? THey respect you and help you and make you feel like a queen. All the reviews about Javier & Felipe are true! They are simply devine people inside and out and they made our trip more than perfect!!

3. The hole surrondings are beautiful, there are peacocks that roam the facility and the cleaning services are so clean!! THe place looks absolutly amazing. Some hotels you go to you see a lot of dirt and grime but NOT this one! Spotless and beautiful.

Things to know..
1. They have complimentary laundry services. SOme people on our trip were sad they didn't know about it or they would have packed less. We knew and that was a really nice feature.
2.There are eating times... make sure to find out the times for breakfast,lunch and dinner.
3.This place is so intimate and relaxing! At night you can hear the geckos, frogs and waves crashing. So serene
4. THERE IS NO TV Or PHONE in your room. If you are looking to get away from all that back home then this is your place! This was wonderful for us and we were very happy having no distractions and focused on being husband and wife.
5.There is a private beach however there wasn't as much to do as I had hoped! With that in mind there is still probably about 10 things to do in this location. There are excursions who a guy named Felix sets up for you and he's just wonderful. You can book them through the hotel.We did a monkey tour much closer to puerta plata airport. Felipe took us there. The staff is more than happy to take you anywhere you want to go for a cheaper price than regular cabs!
6.FOOD... The food was pretty good. I was surprised. The first 3 nights though it seemed a little bland... then by the fourth day the food had more flavor and more exoctic things to try. Everyones tastes are very different so we still enjoyed the food and the time.
7. I WOULD GO BACK AGaIN IF WE GOT THE THE CHANCE!!!! i loved everything about this plaCE..

Suggestions? I think an awesome food menu would really help.. Meaning I loved the choices however it might be more enticing esp for americans to have one really spicy dish, something authentic maybe something THAI and then something bland. Test all taste buds for all different kinds of people.
Lastly because this is a romantic private relaxing resort. I think the best thing for the manager to do would be to put a printed out piece of paper on your bed so when you arrive to your room instead of getting overwelmed with the beauty of the place and trying to remember anything that this paper on your bed will say..... what's going on with the palace....like there's complimentary laundry, a local beach near by,tips can be paid at the end of the visit, that there is complimentary bug spray and sun tan lotions on main floor and certain times to eat. That way everyone would know what's going on exactly and not find out something on their last night. AND THEY ALSO HAVE A PRETTY AMAZING SPA that you must try... i got a reflexolgy massage and it was wonderful. I think that would be a great way to still keep the beauty of this place and be able to relax immediatly when you arrive!

I LOVE THIS PLACE IF I WERE TO RATE IT I WOULD RATE IT A 10 and I will definitly tell everyone I know about this place... IF you want romance, seclusion and relaxation this is the place for you. The couples whom stayed were lovely as well. Did not feel croweded at all!
IF you can brush up on your spanish it's always a plus if not that's okay too because you will find that felipe and Javier will work with you!

Lastly Bed was kind of uncomfortable however we just managed and STILL HAd a wonderful trip! DO NOT NOT GO HERE because of a bed! Some people might actually like it.
THIS PLACE IS A MUST SEE AND VISIT! I WOULDN"T SAY IT IF IT WASN"T TRUE
BEautiful Place !!
YOu will be sorry if you do not go!!!!

We hope to come back some day! Thanks to all and everyone at the PALACE!

Room Tip: Definilty get a balcony! It's so worth the money!! If not get an ocean view! Love this place!
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank audrey m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2013

My husband and I had absolutely the best experience possible! We visited late Jan, 2013 and were blown away by the whole experience. The intimate atmosphere was perfect. Much better for us than a large all-inclusive where you have to schedule your dinner or fight for a chair at the pool. During our trip there were 4-6 of us in the house the majority of the time and up to 13 by our last day but even with that plenty of room to find your own space and always feel as if you are the only ones there. As other reviews have stated the water pressure isn't perfect and the hot water heaters aren't enormous but it is certainly adaptable and makes for a little bit of a vacation story.If you are looking for dance clubs and a gym on property this isn't the place. If beauty, serenity, comfort, seclusion, and atmosphere are what you are looking for this is it! If you have a chance take it because the palace was more than we could have dreamed of!

We could not have asked for nicer staff Cynthia, Javier, Rosario, and Phillipe who went out of their way to make our stay perfect. Very clean and comfortable throughout.

We opted for the 3rd floor room with jacuzzi tub on the balcony and it was perfect to have the ocean view and jacuzzi tub combo (just plan 45-60min to fill up the tub). Every part of our stay was memorable from the peacocks greeting us at breakfast, turn down service, a few pool games, and the ability to spend the day poolside or in one of the various sitting areas curled up with a book. We chose to be completely unplugged and didn't bother with the tv or internet so I can't speak to those. We wanted to be away from it all and relax and that is exactly what we got.

Secluded: I was very impressed with the lack of hassling. No random vendors walking up on the beach due to the seclusion. We had a previous trip where we were awakened by a nearby nightclub late at night and there is no opportunity for that at the palace which was perfect! Shopping is a drive not a walk away.

While there if you are a scuba diver visit Pablo at Aqua adventures in Sosua..he was awesome! I would also recommend at least a local trip to Cabrera for one night of dancing. Dudu lagoon and cavern were a quick trip and worth jumping off the zipline!

Room Tip: We preferred 3rd floor with jacuzzi tub. Ocean front suites have the direct ocean view but are away...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank MTP79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2013

We just got back from 4 days at the Balaji Palace and I feel like I need to write this review right away. First of all if you are thinking about going here and have not decided or are hesitant, my sincerest recommendation would be to go! Go Now!

This is not a hotel for everyone. For those who want to be entertained either by TVs, or slot machines, or musicians or theme nights, this is not a place for you. Nor is it for those expecting a traditional all-inclusive resort with lots of pools and shops and attractions and a choice of endless restaurants or buffets. This place is best suited for those who want to have a unique experience, get away from the every day noise, listen to and watch the ocean and decompress and disconnect from their busy lives. By design, there are no televisions or telephones in the rooms. The wifi is spotty, so don’t bring your laptop. Instead bring the books you have been meaning to read or borrow some from the hotel bookshelf, lay by the pool or engage with your fellow guests. If the latter is not for you, there is enough space on the property that even at full capacity you can snag a quiet space all to yourself. I will say that all the guests we did meet at the hotel were lovely and friendly and just as in awe of the place as we were. Those who understand that bigger is not always better will appreciate that this hotel is at once elegant and luxurious but also very laid back and unpretentious. The stay here is a wonderful and unique experience.

This boutique hotel unlike large hotels (no matter how nice, and I have stayed at some very nice luxury properties) has soul. Something that very few hotels are able to achieve. Largely this is due to their incredible staff overseen by Juan Carlos who is who himself is unbelievably accommodating. But, Javier, Filipe, Cynthia and Rosario are amazing. They are kind, fun, lovely, amazing folks who will make your stay memorable and make you feel like you are a temporary owner of a magnificent house on a cliff overlooking the ocean. They take such care to make sure that you are enjoying yourself. Because the hotel only has 13 rooms, the attention each guest gets is unparallel to anywhere else I have stayed. That is not to say that you are not left alone to do as you wish on the property, merely that if you should need something, there is someone there to help you right away and go above and beyond to provide whatever it is you are looking for.

The hotel sits behind a large gate down a long driveway of perfectly manicured grounds. It is surrounded by lush, gardens with an enormous variety of tropical flowers. Perfectly manicured and yet left to feel as if the hotel was built around the plants and not the other way around. The large airy rooms with balconies that open up to the grounds, some with views to the sea, are comfortable, not over the top and offer bathrobes slippers, plush towels etc. Each room has fresh tropical flowers upon arrival. There are large bathrooms, showers and closets. The air conditioning works well. The rooms and the hotel are immaculately clean. The rooms get cleaned twice a day and turndown service is offered nightly.

The small beach reached by the spiral staircase from the property is a lovely cove surround with cliffs on both sides. You could sit for hours and watch the water. Depending on the time of year the water can be calm or have big waves, but during our stay it was good enough for swimming though not completely calm. If your dream is to sit on a beach or poolside lined with hundreds of beach loungers this is not the place. This is the place for you if you want to swim in the ocean, lounge on the chair on your own on sit on the coral rocks for hours and enjoy the view. Despite other reviews, I don’t think it is true that the beach is not used. I think those who come here want to get away from it all and thus if they see someone on the beach will give them the courtesy of having it all to themselves and will then use it when empty. Numerous guests while we were there used the beach, but I never saw them when I was down there. If you are interested in going to a larger beach, Playa Grande is just a five-minute drive away and the staff will gladly take you if you don’t have your own car. Playa Grande is a long stretch of soft sand with palm trees lining it and is picture and never full.

It is hard to comment on the food as everyone has a different palette. Coming from NYC where the cuisines of the entire world are at your doorstep, the experience can be hit or miss, however the staff will go above and beyond to accommodate your tastes ahead of time. I am vegetarian and there was always an option for me on the menu at every meal. Breakfasts are simple affairs of eggs and fruit and toast. Still better than what one would have time for at home and exactly all one needs when one is having 3, 3-course meals a day. The serving sizes are just right, not over the top and if you wanted more than one item off the menu or were still hungry, I am certain that your request for more/different food would be accommodated in no time. The fruit is fresh and local, the coffee is strong and delicious and the surroundings wonderful. I have certainly had better meals than at this hotel, but there is something to be said for someone taking care of cooking for you and you just showing up and enjoying it. The food tends to be better in my opinion when the kitchen embraces the traditional Dominican/Caribbean cuisine instead of trying to cater to the American palette. A little more spices and a lot more local flavor would have been my choice, but this is so subjective, that everyone will feel differently. The seafood is really fresh and the traditional rice and beans very good and all the food is made to order. The hotel will ask prior to arrival of any food allergies, dislikes and dietary restrictions.

This place would also be amazing for a small wedding or another event.

The luxury snobs will likely find some faults with the place, maybe the pillows can be softer, the wine list better/bigger, the water pressure stronger, but in my opinion these things are so far outweighed by the benefits of the place, that if this would be your concern, maybe this is not the right place for you. And it is true that it is more expensive than other good hotels in the Dominican Republic, but I really believe that a four-night stay here will provide you with more rest and restoration than your cookie-cutter all-inclusive in Puerto Plata could in 7 days. So just go now.

Room Tip: Rooms on the 2nd floor are all lovely, but 2band 2c have great balconies with water views.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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16  Thank greengabby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2012

The staff here is incredible. The waiters/bartenders (Felipe, Javier & Roselio) provide impeccable service and truly make you feel like the center of the universe. They are genuine and accommodating. I am a vegan and they adapted the menu to suit my dietary needs with delicious food. My boyfriend, an omnivore, also enjoyed all his meals. The manager, Juan Carlos, provides excellent customer service as well. They were having a slow week so he offered us a free upgrade. The basic room was lovely but the upgraded room was phenomenal. It was enormous and luxurious with an oceanfront view off the spacious balcony. The maids were also friendly and fastidious. Wilson was another member of the staff who drove us to the beach (playa grande) and was there to help us with whatever we needed. This place is breathtakingly gorgeous. Palace is not an exaggeration. We were lucky enough to be there during a slow week (early December before the holiday rush) so we were actually the only guests for a couple of days. We felt like the King & Queen. You can just stay at the palace and enjoy eating, drinking, taking in the views, swimming, playing pool & ping-pong, and just relaxing. There are also many activities in the area. Felipe, one of the waiters, was also our chauffeur and tour guide. If you buy him some gas he will drive you where you want to go, whether its the 27 waterfalls (recommended for adventurous travelers only!!!!!) or some of the nearby towns & beaches. Overall, it was paradise! We highly recommend it!

  • Stayed: December 2012
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3  Thank Munchkin3737
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Palace at Playa Grande

Address: Calle Rio San Juan | Playa Grande, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Maria Trinidad Sanchez Province > Rio San Juan
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Rio San Juan
Price Range: £171 - £244 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Palace at Playa Grande 4*
Number of rooms: 13
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Also Known As:
The Palace At Playa Grande Hotel Rio San Juan

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