Buffets (especially at breakfast and lunch) are quite busy
Check-in can be a slow process
The beach can get crowded
Some unrenovated rooms with dated decor
The 674-room Grand Palladium Bavaro is spread over spacious grounds (guests also have access to two sister properties) offering 15 bars, five buffets, and eight restaurants. Walking shoes are recommended, but family-friendly amenities, lower prices than some neighbors, and renovated rooms are the big draws. In 2014, the resort added 178 units including a swim-up option overlooking the beach (a great pick for honeymooners -- otherwise romantics may want to check out the adults-only Royal Turquesa next door). Kids and their parents, on the other hand, will appreciate the outstanding kids' club, but the beach can get crowded.
There are four separate Palladium properties making up a huge complex on this particular stretch of Bavaro beach. It can be hard to keep them straight (they all feel pretty similar). The open-air lobby of this property is attached to a terrace with plenty of seating for reading or enjoying a drink from the main bar. In the evening, guests can start and finish the night here or head to many other bars, such as the Hemingway. Evening entertainment can sometimes occur directly in the lobby, otherwise the animation team has a nightly performance on the theater stage, and of course, later at night partiers and gamblers can hit up the disco and casino.
A huge resort complex along a prime stretch of Bavaro Beach
Palladium is a 30-minute taxi ride from Punta Cana International Airport. Like all resorts in Punta Cana (there are many!), there is not much to do outside of the resort, so once they're here, most guests are content to stay on resort premises. Not many choose to rent a car. The Grand Palladium Bavaro is one of four resorts on a single complex that consists of nearly 2,000 rooms. The spacious grounds -- expect to walk or use the train trolley service -- is a bit like its own city, with a long beach (though busy at times), four large pools, numerous restaurants, buffets and bars, a casino, spa, and sports complex.
There are 674 rooms on this property alone, and thorough renovations were completed in 2014. There are a dizzying number of room categories, with the Junior Suites (there are 124), Master Junior Suites (there are 309), and Deluxe Junior Suites (108) being the most popular. They are contemporary, upscale, and fresh after the 2014 renovations. Rooms have coffeemakers, minibars (water, soda, and beer), flat-screen TVs, bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, and balconies with a table and two chairs. Some of these connect to a larger Master suite, which a nice option for families. Romance Suites are closer to the beach and have large Mayan showers on an outdoor terrace attached to the already huge bathrooms. The swim-up suites facing the beach (with a private terrace and private swim-up pool) are the most romantic option.
To get around the massive resort grounds, a train trolley (kids will love this) picks up and delivers guests at key points around the four properties (usually every 15 to 20 minutes). Most guests, though, choose to walk; it can be a 10- to 20-minute walk , depending on where you need to go and how fast. There is free Wi-Fi in the lobby, but service can be spotty.
The properties share four large, clean pools with swim-up bars and a more shallow section suitable for kids. The beach is very walkable. Many resorts on either side, including Palladium, have guests that walk along the shore -- making for great people-watching. Certain sections of the sand are pretty narrow and because there are always too few chairs and palapas, it can be hard to snag a good spot during prime time. It's not a secluded or quiet beach by any means, but the white sand and medium-sized waves provide a lot of fun.
There is a castle-style kids' club for ages one to 13. The spa and spacious fitness center can be accessed in the same building. There are a number of treatment rooms for couples massages and the usual menu of body and facial treatments. The sports center includes tennis courts, a soccer field, archery, basketball court, and mini-golf course. There's also beach volleyball on the beach and free use of snorkel gear, kayaks, and windsurfing equipment.
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