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.
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- Also Known As:
- The Palace At Playa Grande Hotel Rio San Juan