Open-concept bathrooms lack privacy and aren’t family-friendly
Restaurants are always crowded, and require long wait times
Food across the property is average
No in-room Wi-Fi
The upper-middle-range 410-room Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino is the third largest all-inclusive in a sprawling resort complex, and closer to the beach than the Grand Palladium Bavaro. Grand Palladium Palace has three pools, three restaurants, and a small spa and fitness center, but other amenities like more pools and restaurants, a kids' club, a casino, and a nightclub, can be found across the Grand Palladium complex. Bright, modern rooms with contemporary decor are the highlight here, but their open concept bathrooms are better suited to couples than families (though the resort still draws a healthy mix of both). Restaurants are always crowded, and usually require long waits for mediocre food. Upgrade to Paradisus Punta Cana for nicer amenities and better food, but expect to pay slightly more per night.
Catering to couples and families, this huge resort complex has broad appeal.
Grand Palladium Palace feels more like a small village than a large resort. Staff members, guests, golf carts, tour busses, and delivery trucks share the veritable roadways that run through hotel grounds, creating a constant ebb and flow of organized chaos across the property. Wooden signs try to offer guidance, but for any newcomer, it’s easy to get lost somewhere in this massive walled enclave. Guests who finally find the correct lobby can expect long check-in lines and sugary welcome drinks. The Palace’s lobby is among the nicest in the complex. The open-air reception area features lots of elaborate wood work and a central courtyard. One side houses the large registration desk, while the other side is home to the lobby bar — a smart layout, considering guests will definitely need a drink after the long check-in process.
Though Grand Palladium Palace is a family-friendly resort, we encountered mostly couples during our visit. The majority of guests were Europeans, with a smattering of Americans and Canadians as well. Everyone from young twentysomethings to older retirees seemed to carve out their own niche somewhere on the property.
Unlike some all-inclusive resort complexes with multiple tiers and VIP upgrades, the Palladium complex is refreshing in that everyone gets mostly equal treatment. The Grand Palladium Palace, Grand Palladium Punta Cana, and Grand Palladium Bavaro all share facilities. The main differences are in the room types available and the location of each section. The Grand Palladium Palace is smaller than Punta Cana and Bavaro, and located in between the Punta Cana and Royal Suites sections. It is closer to the beach than Bavaro, but as Bavaro is the largest section it has a higher concentration of restaurants and is where the kids' club is located. A train shuttle traverses the entire complex, so it's not too hard to get around, and some would argue to go for the cheapest room as the sections share everything. Those who want a Loft Suite, though, can only book it in this section. Only the adult-only Royal Suites Turquesa is exclusive, and guests as the other three resorts in the complex cannot access it. Royal Suites guests are also the only ones who can make dinner reservations; everyone else can expect to wait in line.
Grand Palladium Palace, along with several other Grand Palladium resorts, is located within a giant walled complex in Bavaro — a tourist-friendly part of Punta Cana. Bavaro is known for great restaurants and nightlife, but few hotel guests ever leave the resort to experience it. Bavaro’s beach isn’t the nicest in Punta Cana — it’s narrow and plagued with seaweed — but it’s known to have a lively atmosphere, with beachy activities like scuba diving and kite surfing. Grand Palladium Palace is about 30 minutes from Punta Cana Airport.
Renovated rooms are bright and modern, while un-renovated rooms are not worth the price.
For the best possible guest room experience, it’s imperative to book a renovated room. Renovated rooms have light wood furniture and light tile floors, which give them a neutral palette and allow butter yellow and sky blue accent colors to pop. Beds have white tufted headboards and soft gray pillows — colors that are carried over into the living space, where zig-zag striped chairs and funky bird decorations add a touch of whimsy to the space. In-room amenities include flat-screen TVs, free fully stocked mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and iPhone charging stations. All rooms have some sort of balcony or patio, but beware when booking an ocean-view room, as most views are obstructed by palm trees or buildings.
Bathrooms pose a bit of a problem for families, or anyone seeking privacy. Completely open to the bedroom, bathrooms only have frosted glass doors covering the toilet and shower areas. Though they are a bit untraditional, bathrooms have cool design features, like floating mirrors and wrought-iron light fixtures. They’re also stocked with amenities like hairdryers, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. In rooms with whirlpool tub and shower combos, some guests complain that getting in and out of the shower can be difficult, thanks to the tub’s massive size.
Un-renovated rooms are seriously dated, with thick drapery and awful striped bedding. They also lack amenities like charging docks and flat-screen TVs.
Families looking for more elbow room (and more privacy in the bathroom), should check out Grand Palladium Palace’s Loft Suites, which have one and a half (private) bathrooms, a king-size bed, and a loft with a pull-out couch. Some Loft Suites also connect with Deluxe Suites (which have two double beds) for families or groups who need even more room.
A bevy of pools and activities, but Wi-Fi only works in the lobby
Grand Palladium Palace has three pools on its main property, but guests have access to dozens of other pools across the Grand Palladium complex. Named after Dominican beaches, the Barahona and Samana pools are popular spots for guests to lounge during the day. Both pools are huge, freeform aquatic spaces with large hot tubs and zero-entry shallow ends. Both have built-in water lounge chairs, swim-up bars, and circular white columns — the latter of which we still haven’t figured out the purpose of. Each pool is surrounded by tons of lounge chairs and palapa-style umbrellas. The Samana pool has its own kiddy pool, complete with a pirate ship, spewing fountains, and a few slides. Some guests may find it irritating that the pool areas are not smoke-free and do not have designated smoking sections.
The Grand Palladium complex fronts a large stretch of Bavaro Beach. While the beach isn’t the prettiest in the world — it’s narrow, steep, and plagued by seaweed — the hotel does a nice job of keeping things lively. There’s rarely a time when beachfront Zumba, group bachata lessons, or beach volleyball tournaments aren’t going on, and staff members are always on hand to help guests with free non-motorized water sports, like kayaking. Because of the beach’s lively atmosphere, we wouldn’t recommend the spa’s beachfront massages. The gauzy white curtains separating the palapa-covered massage tables from the volleyball court don’t do a great job of blocking out the noise.
Zentropia is the Grand Palladium’s spa, which is shared by guests from across the complex. The spa offers treatments like facials, massages, and body wraps, but they are not part of the all-inclusive package. The gym is connected to the spa, but was being renovated at the time of our visit. Other amenities across the complex include an impressive kids' club, a small casino, and a convention center. Nicely maintained sports facilities include tennis courts, basketballs courts, soccer fields, and a mini-golf course. The dozens of bars and on-site disco are popular nighttime hangout spots, and there's live entertainment at theater. Many guests congregate in the lobby throughout the day and into the night — considering it’s the only spot on the property with free Wi-Fi.
Mediocre food and no reservations at the many restaurants
There are 13 restaurants and 19 bars across the Grand Palladium complex, and Palace guests have access to all of them (except for the restaurants at the Royal Suites). Guests who’d rather not ride the shuttle to the opposite side of the property for dinner have a choice between the three located directly on the Palace property. Las Torres is the main buffet, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The behemoth of a restaurant is tastefully decorated, with soft green walls and cream accents. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows let in lots of light during the day, and create a dramatic effect at night. Tables are covered in white linens, but don’t expect the prompt service of a fine-dining restaurant. Many guests complain of lagging service at Las Torres — which is something we also noticed when it took over 20 minutes to get coffee at the breakfast buffet.
There are two a la carte options directly on the Palace property, Sumptuori, a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant, and Rodizio, a Brazilian churrascaria place. Food at all three restaurants can best be described as average. Guests who’d rather not wait on long lines to be seated at the a la carte restaurants (the hotel does not take dinner reservations) should just head to the buffet. Some may appreciate the reservation-free policy, though, as it at least allows more flexibility. Couples who don't want to wait in line might consider staying at the adult-only Royal Suites, where butlers can assist with restaurant reservations.
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