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“Enjoyed our stay. Great service but a few niggles.”

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The Palace at Playa Grande
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Rio San Juan
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
332 reviews
306 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 494 helpful votes
“Enjoyed our stay. Great service but a few niggles.”
Reviewed 23 January 2011

It has taken me a while to write this review and so some of the issues may now be rectified.
Firstly, on the whole, my husband and I enjoyed our seven night stay here. The service was fantastic. Every member of staff went out of their way to make sure that we had a good time. We were on the 'all-inclusive' package and the drinks never stopped flowing. Every member of staff was genuinly very friendly and made us feel very special.
The hotel is small and so you get to know the other guests. Something that we enjoyed very much and added to our vacation.
Other good things about the 'Palace' include the building itself. It is a fantastic Indian style villa. It is luxuriously furnished with objects and silks from India. Everywhere is exceptionally clean and the views are sensational. The outdoor areas include lovely gardens and lots of private places to sit and wander around.
The rooms differ enormously in style and size and range from the vast and sumptuous ocean view Royal Suites to the garden view Deluxe. We stayed in a garden view Deluxe room which was nicely furnished with a comfortable bed. We had plenty of wardrobe space and a very small balcony overlooking the swimming pool. There were things about our room, however, which we thought could be improved. The bathroom was very, very small and very, very dark. The shower provided intermittent hot water with good pressure but you had to manouevre yourself around the door to gain access. Sitting on the toilet was another challenge regarding the door. There was no way I could apply make-up or dry my hair in such a dark bathroom. The hotel advertises that the 'fabulous' bathrooms are an indulgent oasis equipped with slippers, bathrobes and toiletries. Ours did not have, or indeed have room for the slippers and bathrobes and the toiletries consisted of a large bar of household soap and a bottle of 'Pert' shampoo. Still, we did not go all the way to the DR to spend time in the bathroom and we were given plenty of clean towels.
The balcony was very pleasant but not large enough to sit on. The doors could not be wedged open and so needed to be closed the whole time to prevent them banging in the wind. The room had a very efficient AC unit but we would have preferred a fan with the windows open as the evening air was a lovely temperature in November.
There was a shortage of electrical sockets in the room. The one in the bathroom was unusable as the lighting was so bad and the other socket was right next to the door. There was no safe, hairdryer or full length mirror in the room.
The private beach unfortunately had disappeared. Apparently, it is a seasonal beach and whilst there we could not even go down and see where it should have been as the gates were locked. We particularly like to spend time on the beach and so this was a big disappointment to us. The staff do lay on a shuttle bus to the nearby beaches of Playa Caleton (calm and pretty) and Playa Grande (vast with large waves). They were lovely beaches but we were approached again and again by beach vendors and Playa Caleton was full of trash on the Monday after the weekend. Also, you have to arrange your pick-up time in advance. This worked well until one day all the of the guests were expecting a pick-up at 1215 but the driver mistook this for 1250 and so we all (including a couple with a very young baby) waited in the hot sun not knowing if we were to be collected or not.
Other issues we had were that there was a fair amount of building work going on around the pool area. Very noisy machines were being used all day long. We had not been notified of this in advance and if we had we would probably have reconsidered our stay there at that time. We also had builders working right outside our bathroom window which menat that we had to keep the blind closed for decency resulting in the bathroom becoming a little musty.
The pool bar was not finished and some of the pool beds had seen better days but other than that the pool area is delightful and with so few guests there was never any problems of finding our own space. We never used the jacuzzis which are located throughout the gardens as the water in them was cold and we never saw them working.
The food we found a little disappointing. For our first breakfast we were asked what we would like. There was no menu or buffet. We asked for yogurt, fruit and pastries. Only one yogurt could be found, the pastries consisted of white toast but the fruit was good. So, for breakfast every morning we ate fruit and an omelette, which was good. After about four days some croissants appeared but they were straight out of the fridge and very unappetizing. We noticed that none of the other guests ate them.
Lunch consisted of a salad appetizer followed by either a local dish of meat, rice and beans, including goat stew one day, or the option of something lighter like a sandwich, burger etc.
During the afternoon snacks including nachos, canapes and pizza slices were served. Dinner was again a choice of usually fish/ meat and a vegetarian/pasta dish. The menu was a little restricted and the portions small but the food was freshly made by the chef.
My only other negative comments are that the internet connection was abysmal, the fitness centre was housed in a flooded basement and there is no scuba diving within an hour of the hotel.
To sum up, our stay was made memorable by the staff and their excellent service and the wonderful cocktails that they made.
During our time there the hotel entertained a maximum of eight guests and on one night we were there by ourselves. So, we had a whole palace to ourselves, what could be better.
Apart from the service and the spectacular villa everything else was a bit mediocre. When the building work is complete the pool area will be delightful and when the beach reappears the setting will be divine. The food needs to improved and the smaller deluxe room in which we stayed needs better lighting in the bathroom.Ladies need to bring their own hairdryer and toiletries.
Lastly, we left with happy memories of the lovley Dominican people. They are so friendly and full of fun and were the highlight of our stay. To all the staff at the 'Palace' a big THANK YOU.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank heb999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Westchester, NY
Level Contributor
35 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2011

We just returned 2 days ago from the Palace. We went with 8 couples to celebrate my husbands and his friends 50th birthday. We booked the villa through Luxury Retreats which was a great choice because they took care of all the arrangements and made sure everything went smoothly, and it did. We were picked up at the airport by the Villa mgr. Juan Carlos. He is fantastic and took care of our every need. He recommended outstanding entertainment for the evenings, trust his advice he is totally knowledgeable. The staff, especially Cynthia who was second in command when Juan Carlos was not around, literally bent over backwards to make our trip a success. They were willing to cook anything we asked, and believe me we are a picky bunch with 2 vegetarians among us. This place worked perfect for a large group. The spa is fantastic and Rosa the manager managed to keep all our bookings straight. After the first massages, everyone was so happy they kept booking more and more. My husband had 3 massages, I had one and a manicure/pedicure, there were facials and most treatments can be done on the spa balcony overlooking the oceanfront. The water in front of the villa is very rough and even the most experienced swimmers among us were not comfortable taking a dip at the villa beach. We went every morning to the local beach a few minutes away and there was always a car available to take us. There are 6 fantastic, I mean really fantastic rooms. 4 in the main villa and 2 on the hillside. The rest are nice but really can not compare to the main suites. The pool is beautiful and has a swim up bar, but most of the time we just ordered drinks and they were brought right to us where ever we were. Dinner was set up in a different place daily. The grounds and villa are magnificent. We have traveled all over the world and consider ourselves pretty hard to please but we were totally pleased with the Palace. We rented the whole Villa, I'm not sure what it would be like to just rent one of the rooms. I think it works better for a big group. There was no Verizon cell service al all but a few with ATT were able to get cell service. Always had internet access. They need a gym and it might just be perfect! There are a few glitches but nothing worth ruining a great review. Email me if you want more details. Overall..... a real winner. Last thing, do not under any circumstances bother going to Gri Gri Lagoon and the snorkeling was not too good either. Just stay at your villa and live like a king

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank hillbills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 December 2010

My wife and I went to The Palace at Playa Grande last month for a getaway and had a wonderful time. I wanted to write a review because we have never received personal attention like this before and we have stayed a lot of luxury resorts. The Palace has a team of employees that get to know your every need. After the first day, they knew what we liked, and when we liked it (our specific drink preferences and food types, time we like to leave our room, when to leave us alone and when to interact with us, the time we like to eat lunch). It was like a completely personalized vacation catering to our every want. It was amazing. So was their private beach, accomodations, views, lush grounds and private "estate" feel. The best two aspects of the resort were the completely personalized service and the gourmet food. We went on their food and alcohol plan, thinking we were going to get a good All-Inclusive experience, instead we eat incredible gourmet food at EVERY meal. We really could not believe it. We highly reccomend this hideaway resort for romantics. We will be back to visit our new friends in the D.R.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Beenaroundtheblock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Springfield, Illinois
1 review
Reviewed 17 December 2010

There are so many beautiful places in this world to see, why to stay in one twice? Right? That what me and my husband thought before we saw THIS place. Magnificent, amazing, gorgeous…that’s just few words that came to my mind when I first saw the property and this feeling did not leave me till the end of our stay. The architect of the palace was a true artist. The way it is incorporated in the nature and landscape is beautiful. The Palace itself has oriental flavor that mixes wonderfully with tropical surrounding. Your feel like a princess from Arabian nights in there.
And very attentive staff certainly helps you feel like that too. We felt so pampered! Manager Juan Carlos and all the helpers make you feel so welcomed, so like at home. I can’t say much enough of them; if I could I would give the service 6 stars.
Rooms. Beautifully decorated, very clean, candles, pillows and absolutely gorgeous windows views.
Food. You can have your breakfast, lunch and dinner anywhere in the territory of the hotel or in your room. Think breakfast in bed, lunch by the pool and candlelight dinner in the oceanfront terrace. Food was tasty and portion size was perfect for me. For my American husband a little too small, but he never had problems receiving seconds and even thirds.
Beach. It was always driver available to drive us to the nearest beach. One is 3 minutes away, and another one is less then 5 minutes too. One is smaller and better for swimming another is bigger and great for windsurfing.
Overall. Amazing place! Perfect for honeymoons, weddings, romantic getaways and just for busy, overstresses people who need to recharge. The little personal paradise we will be coming back year after year.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank alenataft
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Irving
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 December 2010

My wife and I travelled to the Palace after learning about it via Travel & Leisure magazine. The Palace is an very private mansion/estate on the beach in the Dominican Republic. It reminded us of a Relais Chateaux experiance. It has personalised butler service and resides on a cliff facing the ocean. The food was wonderful. The Palace is not for people looking for your typical Big Box resort experiance. It is a very intimate personalised experiance. We went horseback riding and to the village of Rio San Juan for a fishing trip. Both of these activities were awesome and made better by the very friendly locals. We did not have an opportunity to golf at the oceanfront course ajacent to the property, but drove by it and it looked beautiful. The room we stayed in was huge, and made us feel like we were truly staying at a Kings Palace. The Palace is perfect for couples looking for a romantic luxury retreat, if you are looking for nightlife and tons of activity, maybe not the best choice.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jtbsam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2010

This place is an enigma. When you arrive and first tour the property, you will be blown away with the picturesque quality of it. Unforutnately, this starts to wear off as your stay goes on.
We stayed in the coveted 3G room pictures at the top, which is probably about 1000sf with the bathroom, closet, and balcony included. Now, on to the problems...

We arrived and there was only one other couple there who was leaving the next day, they were at the beach and so we had the place to ourselves. We decided to go to the pool immediately. However, they were doing construction on the lounge bar outsdie (who the person below me states they used, although Im not sure how as it was being worked on). All the dust came straight to us down wind as they worked on it, but they didnt seem to care. We didnt complain as we were still in high spirits since we just got there. The next day we awoke to construction noise bright and early on a Sunday morning and again had to deal with the consruction outside by the pool. We found out they were trying to complete the construction for a wedding and other couples that were arriving (by this time we were the only people there)...which sucked for us since we had to suffer through it for the benefit of others. That lounge bar wasnt open and neither was the swim up bar since there werent enough guests there. They did serve poolside, though. That night was probably the worst/weirdest ever in a hotel.
We were served our dinner (there are a couple options each night, not too much to choose from). The food was ok, very avergae at best. After dinner, Juan Carlos informed us they would be leaving (he, the chef, and the butler were only there for us since nobody else was staying there). They ended up leaving after we played a couple games of pool (not much to do there at all especially when there are no other couples so bring many many books). All the lights were turned off and we were left with the guard circling the property and someone else in some guest house on the property. It had a very eery feel. Then the real problems came. About 50 beetles infested the room - no doors or windows were open so obviously its not sealed well. Then the roach(es) came in looking for the beetles. We drew the big net around the bed and sat in the dark listneing to them bouncing off the walls. I kept looking at the door wondering if I was going to see a silhoette of an armed guard walking by. Also, the itnernet barely worked. Long distance is NOT free, you record how long you talk and are charged a modest .75/minute (honor system). Also, the spa that person person raves about was also under construction (hence being awoken bright and early on a Sunday morning).
Additionally, the site says it has a beach but it wasnt accessible this time of year so we hadot go to the public beach and get harrassed by everyone in the area, which was a real pain. The next day we decided we had had enough and wanted to be at a resort. We quickly left. I think this place is best suited for a group of people such as a wedding. I would not reccomend to a friend.
Having said all this, I will say that the staff tries VERY hard and Juan Carlos and Carlos are great. I wish them the best of luck and hope they can figure things out.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank sting111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 December 2010

We too stayed in the royal ocean front 3G. Spectacular ocean view, spacious, clean, comfy with well made furnishings, fresh flowers, jacuzzi on the deck overlooking the ocean. Super, duper completely clean.

The service is five star. They are relentlessy cleaning the grounds, pool, and decks.

Daily complimentary laundry, turndown, free wifi, free long distance call to the states, beach shuttles are great.

The ocean is very close however the beach is small and quite rocky this time of year, but we spend our days at the pool and the spa is fantastic. They have four or sometimes more masseurs. There is usually two or three servers taking care of the pool are and lounge bar, this is great great service you will truly feel pampered.
I've seen a few rooms the other ocean front on three has a better water view but we see the pool an most of the rest of the coast I would pick this room again. The website said it was a queen bed however it was a king! The bathrooms are luxurious, certainly deserving the royal title. We arrived just after the construction so we had no complaints. Juan Carlos is a great GM. I'm in the hospitality biz my wife is a big foodie, we rarely left the resort. We were on the all inclusive plan it was a home run. I only hope we can do it again next year. I do get the feeling we struck gold here and I doubt it will be as easy to book next year. Big thanks to the staff they make the place live up to it's beautiful surroundings and the name is certainly the well deserved.

We took the Rancho Paraiso tour with David at drhorses in Cabrera. Truly first class animals and the family that runs the place made our tour one of our best memories.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Latethirties
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): £££
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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