Playa Bavaro, Punta Cana, República Dominicana
"no selling point, simply amazing"
Posted by: ariana on Aug 25, 2014
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Located on the legendary Bávaro Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, the Paradisus Palma Real is the ultimate five-star, all-inclusive luxury Dominican Republic resort.
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"Beautiful resort but needs improvement"
Posted by: April
on Aug 8, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jul, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
1160 people found this review helpful
This resort is beautiful - both architecturally, interiors and landscaping. Lovely. Service was spotty. We had some great service and than again we had some terrible service. We are not the type to complain but you should be aware of the good and the bad with this resort. Don't stay at the Reserve - it's too far from the beach - you will only have a pool. You are better off at Palma Real in a garden suite. We paid for a beach view and you could not see the beach.... Loved eating all the shrimp and mussels at lunch. The fruit was good too. The smoked salmon on toast was delicious for breakfast.
Arrived by cab ($35)from the airport. Had to wait for our suites past the 3:00 time and than the salesman wanted to give us a tour before handing us over to yet another salesman. We were on vacation not shopping for a timeshare.
The Punta Cana airport is very nice and well laid out. Get your own luggage off the carosel and go find your own cab. Otherwise the men hanging around the carosel will take the luggage out and want money.
We had two suites - one for us and one for our two daughters. Missing remote controls for all tv's. Broken lock on girls sliding door. Suite smelled like paint. Overall it was clean but missing washclothes. Ordeal everyday to get them sent to room so we could scrub off sunscreen. Suites were clean and nicely laid out. Don't bother with an ocean view room - they are all garden view.
Restaurants and Bars:
Make sure to make your dinner reservations when you arrive. Even if restaurants look half full - they will not seat you without a reservation. Food is marginal. Lobster was mushy at Gabi at the Reserve and no air - very warm. Aqua was very nice and excellent service by Ezkeial. The tereyaki grill was good at Palma Real. Skip the Market Grill - not good. Tip - eat a yogurt for breakfast - might help you from getting Montezuma's Revenge. The bar in the lobby is the best - wonderful Mojito. For some reason, the restaurants with air are very warm. Turn down the temp a bit so people can enjoy the meal. Gabi Beach was a wonderful restaurant - food and service were good.
The pool was beautiful and clean. The beach had nice sand but lots of weeds in the water. Only a bit of beach had clear bottom - the rest was grassy. Loved laying under the huts on the beach and having a drink. Don't walk on the beach past the resort - you will be bombarded by people hawking shopping and hair braiding and rides on the banana boat.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Did the 2 hr horseback ride on the beach - fun. It was bit disconcerting to see the guy with the gun strapped to thigh accompanying us on the ride and slso the guy in the hut with the gun in his waistband. They were there to protect us and I can live with it. Remember to bring tip money for the guys on the horses who rode with us.
Don't leave the resort on your own - risky at best.
Did not like the pushing of time shares on us. We spent alot of money on two suites for a vacation and did not appreciate being bothered. Skip it! They are persistant so avoid them at all costs.
Don't buy the Mamawana bottle with sticks in it that you add your own rum, honey and wine to. They WILL CONFISCATE it at the agriculture check point at the airport. Strangely enough - you can buy the same thing at the airport shop on the other side of security.
Service is not so good at this resort. I would ask everyday at breakfast and lunch repeatedly for water and tea - at least 3 times. Same with wash clothes in the room - I would call in the morning before heading down to the beach. Than I would call two more times and they would finally arrive at 5:30.
Make sure to lock all your valuables in your safe (even when you are sleeping). Did hear that someone came into someone's room while they were sleeping and took things out of the room Better yet - don't bring expensive jewelry and watches. And don't bring anything of value and leave it on your lounge chair while you are in the pool or in the ocean. It might not be there when you return.
We made the best of our time and actually enjoyed ourselves. Would I go back? No - once was enough in Punta Cana.
"Honeymoon Nightmare!!! DO NOT STAY HERE!"
Joanna on Sep 27, 2009 >
2 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Aug, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
715 people found this review helpful
BUGS, DIRTY, and Rude People. I got so sick from the food or bugs and it was our honeymoon. Coch Roaches everywhere and small bugs on the food trey. Grosse. I was sick for two and half weeks when I returned home. The quality of the food was horrible and they were not friendly or accomodating at all. Total let down. Expected much more. Also, don not waste your time listing for 3 hours about the time share. It's not a good deal, unless you have an extra $80,000 to throw away. We got suckered into this when we arrived and just decided to listen so they would leave us alone. What a waste of time and energy. I have also stayed at the Iberostar in Punta Cana and it was much better, food was great and people were more friendly there for sure. No bugs. I would never stay at a Paradisius again or go back to punta cana now. Too bad of an experience unfortunately.
"We absolutely loved it."
Matt from Baltimore on Jun 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jun, 2009
623 people found this review helpful
Arrival: May 26 - May 31:
My wife and I just returned from a 5 day honeymoon at Paradisus Palma Real, and we absolutely loved it. First, we are not big all inclusive vacationers and generally prefer places where we can kind of adventure around on our own and try many different restaurants, beaches and bars. We decided that for our honeymoon, since we were only going for 5 days due to our wedding being on a Sunday, that we wanted to try an upscale all inclusive so that we could focus more on relaxing. PPR was the perfect place for us to accomplish this. I must also say that I read all of the reviews on various sites before choosing PPR and the conclusion that I reached prior to booking PPR still stands - certain people will work very hard to find things to complain about...at every resort everywhere in the world, things go wrong everyday and the key to enjoying yourself is not to let these minor issues bother you. We are a very easy going couple and the minor things that did go wrong did not bother us at all, we still thoroughly enjoyed our stay at PPR. We did not get Royal Service and I do not personally think it is necessary if you tip well and don't expect to be waited on hand and foot every second of the day. After listening to the Royal Service benefits listed by a few other couples who were staying in the Royal Service Section, our vaction concierge at the front desk did almost everything that the RS butler did for them and our maids left everyting we asked for in the room every day.
Our check in was quick and our room was ready, we were served a delicious cocktail while we met with our vacation concierge who booked our dinner for a few hours later and we were then quickly whisked away to our beautiful room.
ROOMS: Grade A+++ We stayed in an Ocean View Room (not Royal Service) on the 3rd Floor and it was excellent. We requested a 3rd floor room close to the beach while we were checking in and we were very pleased with our room. It was located a short walk from the lobby and beach. The room itself was beautiful, furnishings very nice, nice balcony too. There was a 32 inch flat screen tv, small fridge/minibar loveseat with coffee table, desk with chair and two other chairs with a small table. The balcony also had a small table and two chairs. We had a nice view of the pool and ocean. We tipped our maid $3 - $5 every day and left a list of what kind of drinks we wanted. I usually asked for a few Budweisers and a bottle of red wine and every day when we returned from the beach, our room was impecably clean and the drinks we requested were there. (Room service will also bring you pretty much anything you want if you call). Bed was very nice and comfortable but the biggest surprise was the number of tv stations available. The tvs get nearly 100 channels, most of them in english, including espn, hbo, showtime, starz and other movie channels. The craziest thing about the tvs was that the power goes out almost everyday at the resort and every light, clock etc. would turn off, but the tv would still be running, wow. We usually came back from the beach in the afternoon and enjoyed a few beers or bottle of wine while watching a movie and getting ready for dinner, very relaxing. The Jacuzzi was also excellent, very large and open to the rest of the room. The room also had a nice safe that you use your room card to set your own code to so no one else knows it.
Restaurants and Bars::
BARS: A All top shelf liquor, including my favorites Jack Daniels and Stoly were avaialble at all of the bars, most bars have a few beers but it seems like they run out of Bud and Corona from time to time and only have Presidente. I must say, I did not like Presidente when I had tried it a year ago in the Caribbean, but it does not taste bad out of a tap. They also have Presidente Light and a Dominican Corona substitute that is very good with a lime. We enjoyed the lobby bar a good bit, although it can be a bit hot and muggy and does not get a good breeze. The bar near the Naos buffet and Market Grill is a better bet at night as the ocean breeze makes things very comfortable. The pool bar is a lot of fun beginning around 2pm every day, very nice beds in the pool with tables for drinks and palapa huts overhead. We always met the other couples that we became friendly with at the pool bar in the afternoon for drinks.
STAFF: Grade A+++ I did not encounter any staff that did not speak any English at all. For the most part all of the staff spoke enough English to communicate and give us whatever we needed, absolutely everyone on the staff had a great helpful attitude and gave us great service in all aspects of our stay. A few times I asked the hostess at a restaurant if it was possible for us to sit at a table up near the ocean and the response I always got was anything is possible here. From the bartenders to the waiters to the hostesses and bellhops, everyone was super nice and helpful and always made their best efforts to speak English to us. A few of them even asked us for pointers on their English, which we happily gave.
WINE: Grade A I chose to give the wine its own section because we really enjoyed it. I am not a wine snob by any means, but I am an avid red wine drinker and I drink red wine several times a week with meals and have a fairly educated palette for wine. The wine included in the all inclusive package 5 or so reds and 5 or so whites is very good. While I only sampled one of the whites, I really liked all of the reds. They have a few Chilean cabernets that would stand up to any $20 - $30 bottle of cab you get in the US. Our favorite was the Maipo Cabernet. There were also a few malbecs and blends that were very nice as well.
FOOD: Grade B+ Overall, we really enjoyed all of the food we had at PPR. As many others who have reviewed Dominican resorts have indicated, for the most part, the food is not exactly of the consistent quality that you get in the US, so if you go in with that in mind, you will really enjoy almost everything. That being said, a few of the meals we had at PPR far surpassed our expectations and would rate right up there with some of the finer restaurants in the US.
Passion, Vento and Bana all have different specialty cocktails (bellinies, martinis, etc.) and a bar just outside each restaurant (but still in air conditioning), I would recommend showing up 15 minutes or so early for dinner to these places to sit at the bar to sample the drinks. Also, they request you to wear long pants and collared shirt and closed toe shoes, so pack accordingly.
NAOS breakfast/lunch buffet Grade B- The variety and selection of food at Naos is very good and some dishes are d brilliantly while some staples fall a little short. One example of this would be breakfast food. Without a doubt the best thing at breakfast is the made to order omelets. You pick out your ingredients and hand them to the omelet cook who always did a great job, we usually spiced our omelets up a bit with some of the spicy green chile sauce near the condiments, delicious. The breakfast food that fell a little short was the buffet bacon, sausage and eggs which were usually a little over/under cooked. The fruit was always plentiful and fresh as well. Surprisingly, they had very good cheeseburgers and decent French fries on the lunch buffet. A few days they had a good Paella with rice, chicken, shrimp, mussels and calamari and many many other options. We never had dinner at Naos so no idea what they served there.
ROOM SERVICE: Grade C, The room service menu is somewhat limited, for breakfast they only have cereal, fruit, yogurt, etc.; for lunch they have a few different salads, a club sandwich, cheese burger and fries but the burger was decent. Actually the thing we liked most from room service was the cheese and fruit platter they offer with a bottle of wine.
VENTO: a la carte dinner Grade A, We dined at Vento twice, very cool relaxing, romantic setting. They have a fantastic mushroom risotto that we had both times we were there. Also the shrimp au gratin was amazing. I had the same entre both times as well, the Filet, which was served atop gnocchi and was cooked to my liking, medium rare. My wife had a sea bass that was also tasty. I would rate the steaks as being a half step below what you would get at a restaurant like Ruth's Cris.
BANA: Grade B, Bana serves Japanese, sushi, hibachi style and thai. We ate at the hibachi grill, our chef was not very skilled or entertaining but the food was decent and it was a nice change from the other dinner places, which have some similarities in their offerings.
PASSION: Grade B+, Passion has a great setting, nice decor and the food is very good. I got the grilled lobster which was had a very good flavor but was a little on the tough side. Overall the food was very good at passion.
MARKET GRILL: Grade A+++, this was our best meal and favorite restaurant of the week. First of all, we had a 7pm or so reservation and it was not very crowded so I requested a table closest to the beach/ocean, and we got the best table there. The view, scene and ocean breeze could not have been more perfect, the most romantic setting for dinner. I got surf and turf, this time the lobster was perfect, right on the money, grilled tender with a squeeze of lime juice. The steak was also cooked perfectly, melted in your mouth, everything was great. We were having such a nice time that we lingered over our meals and ordered a 2nd bottle of wine, the wait staff was great and very accommodating. Market Grill is closed on certain days when they do a special Dominican dinner, I believe it was Saturday and Sunday, if we had known we would have booked our dinners differently so we could eat at Market Grill twice instead of Vento.
RESORT: Grade A+++ The grounds are absolutely breathtaking, the place really does look like it appears to in the pictures. The furnishings and architecture throughout the resort are absolutely top notch. The grounds and landscaping are beautiful, including the many flowers, fauna and lagoons. The flamingos near the lobby were neat too.
WEATHER: Grade A+ everyday was sunny temps in mid 80s and only one night was pretty humid, otherwise there was a great breeze coming in off the ocean.
BEACH: Grade A The beach is very nice and large with plenty of chairs and palapa huts. The sand is sugary and soft. I do not think the resort was very crowded during our stay, but we generally stopped by the beach to claim chairs and a hut around 8am each day and we always got the same chairs and hut for the entire 5 days. The towel stand by the pool never had any problems giving us 4 towels for just the two of us each day, we always got a hut and chairs up close to the ocean. The workers at PPR come out each morning and rake and remove the sea grass from the beach, there is always a little left over but not a problem at all. The clear water only goes up to about chest height and then you can see the sea grass on the ocean floor after that. There was a pleasant waitress at the beach by about 11am or so everyday, that brought us whatever we wanted from the bar, we usually tipped her a dollar or two for each order she brought back. There are also security personnel from PPR on the beach at all times to chase away any pushy vendors or non-PPR guests who pop up on the beach. I will say that the only thing that I was jealous of as far as the Royal Service Amenities was the padded beach chairs and beds on the beach in the RS section, the regular section had only standard beach chairs.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
SPA: Grade A+++++++, the 25,000 square foot Yhi Spa is located at the Reserve. You will see a smaller Yhi Spa in the main part of the hotel but once the Reserve section was finished in May 2009, all spa operations are there. First let me say that I had never had a massage before this trip and I was of the mind set that I would not enjoy one. Boy was I wrong. My wife and I booked a 50 minute couples massage for the second day we were there. You want to get to the spa about 30 minutes before your massage (just catch a golf cart at the main lobby) as they have a huge hydrobath area with all kinds of different baths, water pressure, etc. I called it the spa amusement park. We had a great time in the hydrotherapy section playing in all the pools and getting massaged by all the different water pressure outlets. I enjoyed going from the Vitality Pool which was ice cold water into the huge hot tub. They also have huts with beds that you can relax on. We liked it so much we went back 2 days later for a 75 minute couples hot stone massage. I would highly recommend the hot stone massage, it was an amazing experience. My masseuse was Maria and she was awesome, really work the kinks out. We tipped our masseuse $20 each for both massages. Also the fully private but outdoor showers for after your massage were a slice of heaven, the cool breeze coming in from above was invigorating.
CASINO: Grade B, My wife is not a big gambler, but we had a great time at the casino. The casino has numerous slots, video poker machines, Roulette, BlackJack and Caribbean Stud Poker. We mainly played black jack and roulette. It was never crowded while we were there which was nice as you did not feel crowded trying to play. $5 min bet on black jack and outside bets on roulette. It was also always easy to get drinks at the bar in the Casino.
SHOWS: I am not going to grade the entertainment because we only say about 5 minutes of a dancing show, which was ok. Their biggest night is the Dominican Michael Jackson Show, which we did not make it to. However, on a few nights, they had live music on a small stage outside of the casino and it was great, live singers, musicians and salsa dancing.
NIGHTLIFE: We preferred to drink the afternoon away, have drinks at dinner and then a few at the casino and we were usually in bed by 10pm or so, so we never even went into the disco. I did hear from a few guests that it was sweltering hot in there though.
EXCURSIONS: We only did the complimentary horse back riding, which was a lot of fun. We only had 2 other couples on our trip so it was not hectic at all and we were all beginners at riding horses so there was a feeling of comradery among us. It was fun and worth doing, they even let the horses go into a full gallop on the beach. A woman from the ranch follows your group around by car and takes hundreds of pictures, then shows them to you on a laptop afterwards and asks if you would like to buy a cd of the pictures of you and your wife/husband for $20. At first I was like yeah right but once I saw how many pictures of us on the horses there were and how good the pictures were I purchased the cd, it was delivered to our room the same day.
1. As I said, the power goes off almost every day at some point, so bring a battery powered clock or watch with an alarm, you can't rely on the alarm clocks there since they go off every night with the power.
2. Tip, just a few dollars, especially to the people who you will be encountering every day. Especially if you leave a list for the maids to stock your minibar, leave $3-$5 each day and they will give you what you want. A little goes a long way and a few dollars here and there can really help make your vacation more enjoyable.
3. Don't forget your toiletries/sunscreen, etc. While the resort provides, soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc., my wife wanted better conditioner. The shop at the resort is overpriced, for a bottle of conditioner and one other small item it was $25!!!
4. Go to the spa, at least once, you won't regret it.
"Absolutely a beautiful and relaxing resort that is well worth it!"
Megan from Washington, DC on Mar 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2009
616 people found this review helpful
The Punta Cana airport is probably the most beautiful I've ever seen, but CRAZY! You must pay a $10 (USD) per person entry fee, and then go through customs. While waiting for our bags, we were bombarded by men who wanted to take the bags to our shuttle. We had heard to be careful and since we had so many bags, we chose to do it ourselves. This choice made us VERY unpopular and in the end, caused a lot of confusion. But we did it and it was fine.
Checking in at the hotel was a breeze. Drinks immediately upon arrival. Lots of friendly faces and all but one room was ready.
GORGEOUS! Absolutely EVERYTHING you could want in a room, including TWO jacuzzi tubs (one of which was on our balcony!). Free mini bar with lots of alcohol, snacks, drinks, juice, etc. A nice sink, counter, and huge family dining table. Beautiful view of the pool and very comfortable. We were traveling with kids, including an infant, so the resort made every effort to make sure we had a crib and highchair in the room.
Restaurants and Bars
The main restaurant at The Reserve was a buffet, open for all meals. The breakfast was DELICIOUS and included lots of Dominican specialties. The lunches were great in the beginning of the week and got worse as the week went on. Same thing for dinner. Curiously, a beautiful bar in the pool area remained closed the entire week. ?? The other restaurants at the main resort were nice. Great food at the Thai/Hibachi restaurant!
One word of caution. Most of us developed Montezuma's Revenge by the end of the week, and we were OVERLY cautious with our water, drinks and meals. We did notice a chef serving grilled meat at lunch use the same utensils for serving as he did for transferring raw meat to the grill.
Grogeous, immaculate and impeccable. Like a dream.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Great kids center at The Reserve with friendly staff. The snorkelling was a lot of fun (and free!) and definitely worth it. The golf was great too.
Brush up on your spanish, as most people speak English only fairly well. We had several miscommunications which was more our fault than their's. And be sure to make dinner reservations WELL in advance. Although the restaurants are empty, they won't let you in without a reservation (ridiculously annoying and unnecessary).
Absolutely a beautiful and relaxing resort that is well worth it!
"This resort is very expensive."
Jeannine from Minneapolis on Mar 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2009
615 people found this review helpful
Arrival was fine, flew in on Delta from MSP to Atlanta, Atlanta to Punta Cana. I was with a big group so they has a special table to check in
The rooms were nice, however there is major construction at the back end of the complex thats starts at 6:00 am anyone who is staying there that has a room that begins with a three get moved
Restaurants and Bars
The pool bar was great. The reservation system at the restaurants was ridiculos, they would be empty and the staff would say that you did not have a reservation and not seat you this was frustrating, you had to stand in line for a the Breakfast and lunch buffets even if the entire place was emply, service was terrible
This resort is very expensive and I have been to alot of all inclusives, I would not recommend this as a place to stay
"Our best vacation to the DR. "
Greg and Cathy from Cobourg Ontario on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
552 people found this review helpful
We were to be in Puerto Plata but could not land due to weather. After spending two days in the Punta Cana airport they decided to keep us in Punta Canna for the rest of our week. We flew Skyservice and I would give them a poor review just for the lack of comunication through this ordeal. We were told practically nothing. Unfortunatley, our Nolitours rep was not allowed into the secure area of the terminal to give us updates. Once were let out of the termianl on the second day and allowed to retrieve our luggage, the Nolitour reps were very good. We were put on busses and taken quickly to the Melia Caribe where we were to finish our week. We we relieved as we knew this was a good resort in a good area. We were at the back of a slow moving line at reception when we were aproached by a Nolitours rep who wanted us to change resorts. Aparently, they were going to be short 12 rooms and needed some people to change reosrts. Mos people were reluctant, but once we heard the name of the resort, we were excited. They were moving us to the Paradisius Palma Real. We were a group of 12 that grew to 18 while spending two days in the airport. It took about a half an hour to pick us up and transport us over to the new resort. Once there, we had to wait for the paperwork to be done.It took over one hour to get us checked in, but Nolitours had a rep with us and we were allowed to get a few drinks at the bar. The view from the loby here is the best in all of Punta Canna. Once the paper work was completed, the check in was very fast. Thery did ask for a $600 deposit in case you charged things to your room, but some in our group refused and it was not an issue.
We had family suites with full sized kitchens a dining area a living area and a seperate bedroom area with king sized beds. The rooms were by far the largest and nicest I have ever seen. The linens and towels were very high quality. We were asked what we wanted for our fridge and it was brought imediatley. Things like milk,orange juice, apple juice, all sorts of pop, water , beer up to 18 at a time, chocolate ect were all available just for the asking. We had two walkouts to a nice balcony with an ocean view.
Restaurants and Bars::
The main buffet was open for 3 meals a day and was more than adequate. The dinner was just average though. There were very few people in the main buffet at night.There was a Market Grill open for lunch that had great burgers fries ect. These two restaurants had actual salad bars with quality romaine lettece and many other north amewrican style salad items to choose from. In the evenings this resort specialized in alacarte dining. the selection included Asian,Sushi, japaneese ( hibbatchi grill) Italian, French, Steack and Seafood and Mexican . We ate at most of them and the quality of the food and service was second to none. The food was alomost too pretty to eat.I ate steak that was just like home there was a nice wine list that was included with all meals and a larger list if you want to pay more ( up to $600 us per bottle) We felt underdressed at a few of these. We packed for a much more casual resort. Men needed pants and closed toed shoes.( no sandals of any kind) I had to go purchase a nice pair of shoes at the Palma Real Mall
The beach was spectacular with more Palapas and chairs than would ever be used. Even around the pool, there were ample chairs and palapas for everyone. There were a lot of actual Balli beds that were avaiable at almost any time. While we were ther, we could go to the beach or pool at any time of the day and get chairs in the shade. There was no towel game being played. You could have as many towles as you wanted all day long. At the end of the day we just left them behind or put them in containers around the resort. The grounds were spectacular as everything is well layed out. This is a small resort for Punta Canna standards.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
This is a quiet layed back resort. There is no loud music or animation team running around. There were acivities, but you had to look for them a bit more. Some of there activities were things like yoga, palates,flower aranging,wine tasting,cocktail mixing,the art of sushi, free horseback riding ect. The music throughout the resort was a peacefull zen type music and could be heard through rock speakers on the beach and throughout the gardens.
The service at this was unbelievable. We orderd room service several times and they were very quick. They would call nd let you know when it was on it's way and call back to see how you enjoyed it. We had a problem with our airconditioner and they had someone there within minutes. They called later to confirm that it was working and to see if everything else was ok. Overall this was our best vacation to the DR and if we could get a good price, we would go back anytime.
"* One of the nicest we’ve stayed at"
Debbie on Nov 1, 2006 >
Visited on: Nov, 2006
528 people found this review helpful
We flew Air Transat Club Class from Toronto. Good flight, everything was on time. We arrived at Punta Cana Airport around 8 p.m. and it was pouring with rain. The plane was close to the airport entrance, but we still got soaked. The girls that take your picture when you arrive weren’t too happy, as we were all soaked and no one wanted their picture taken. Immigration was quick, as usual, and we got our luggage and grabbed a taxi to Palma Real. Not one of our better taxi experiences. We told him we wanted to go to Palma Real and he repeated it, but somewhere along the way, maybe after he stopped at a gas station for 15 minutes to get gas, he forgot where we were going and thought we were going to Ocean Blue. We said no, we’re going to Palma Real, so he had to turn around and spent the rest of the time apologizing in Spanish. Taxi fare was $30.00 U.S.
Paradisus Palma Real is located about 25 minutes from the airport.(depending on your taxi driver). It is just north of Melia Caribe Tropical. With a total of 554 rooms, it is one of the smaller resorts in Punta Cana.
The hotel is absolutely beautiful. They had beautiful Christmas decorations and lights everywhere.
As you enter the hotel, the front desk is to the left, and to the right is a large carpeted lobby bar with comfortable seating. A large central staircase takes you to the ground level, where you will find all of the restaurants on the left side, and the Onyx Bar/Disco, Casino, Games Room, and Theatre on the right side, with fountains and seating areas in the middle. There is also an elevator that goes to the ground level.
Checkin was quick and we were given our wristbands and taken to our room with our luggage in a golf cart. The bellboy showed us how everything worked in the room and showed us the “shortcut” across the gardens to reach the lobby/restaurant area.
Our room was a Deluxe Garden View Suite, Room 1051, which is one of their regular suites. It was in a location convenient to the lobby/restaurant area, and about a 2 minute walk to the pool and beach. It was next to a pathway, so was a little noisy at times. I will describe the various rooms in more detail later, but basically the rooms are the same, it’s just the included amenities and room location that are different.
Our room was large, 520 square feet. Rooms have a plasma TV, a huge Jacuzzi tub big enough for 2, and a separate shower stall with European spa jetshower (should come with an instruction manual), and toilet stall with frosted glass doors. While there are shutters that can be closed between the Jacuzzi tub area and the rest of the room, it is still not totally private when using the tub. Water was only lukewarm the night we arrived, but got progressively warmer the next day and was fine the rest of the week.
Bathroom amenities included a hairdryer, makeup mirror soap, bath gel, shampoo/conditioner, body lotion, travel toothbrush kit, q-tips and makeup removal pads, razor with shave cream, sewing kit, shoe polish pad, and Kleenex..
An electronic in-room safe is included, and is large enough to hold a laptop computer. I had my 15.4” widescreen laptop with me, and by putting it in on an angle horizontally to get it in and out, it fit nicely.
Our room had two double beds, with good pillows and a comfortable mattress. My only complaint is that the beds are not attached to the headboard, so if you’re sitting up reading or watching TV, the bed tends to slide away from the wall. The room also contains a living area with sofa bed and table and chairs. It was very nicely decorated, and had mahogany furniture. The air conditioning worked very well and there was also a ceiling fan.
A mini-fridge contains 2 cans of Presidente, Pepsi, Pepsi Light, 7-up, 7-up Light, and bottled water, which is restocked daily. If you want more of one thing, just leave a note.
There is also a coffee maker, stereo with radio and MP3/CDR/RW playback, highspeed internet access, ironing board and iron., umbrella, bathrobes and slippers. Lots of closet and drawer/shelf space for your clothes.
Outdoor terrace has a table and 2 chairs. We had turn-down service one night, and one night I declined it, otherwise it didn’t seem to happen (possible we had the Do Not Disturb sign out a couple of times?). There are 4 large bath towels in the bathroom, we were never short of towels. Getting facecloths was sometimes a challenge.
Hint: The bathrooms in the common areas have baskets of facecloths to dry your hands with, just grab a couple from there if you don’t get them in your room.
Room service is free, and you will find a 24-hour room service menu in your room, including things like Continental breakfast, salads, hamburgers, club sandwiches, beef, chicken, and fish entrees and desserts, as well as pizzas. We did not try room service.
They have a “Serviexpress” hotline you can call that promises a 1-hour resolution to problems with room appliances or missing room amenities.. We did have a minor problem with our TV the first night. I think we hit the sleep button and then could not get it to come on. I called Serviexpress and told them the problem, they said they would send someone. An hour later no one had come – but in the meantime Pat was able to reach behind the TV (mounted on the wall) and unplug it and then plugged it back in and it worked.. I called and they said someone would be there in 5 minutes, I said forget it, we fixed it. I’m sure this has happened before, they really should tell people on the phone how to fix it.
Room types at Paradisus Palma Real are as follows:
Deluxe Garden View Suites (regular rooms) 520 square feet – located on right side of property (as you face the entrance to the resort).
Regal Ocean View Jacuzzi Suites – same as above, but with ocean view.
Imperial Romance Ocean View Jacuzzi Suites (honeymoon suites)
As above, but with 400 thread count sheets, romantic room setup, luxury amenities by Etro, his and hers sarong-style bathrobes, fresh flower arrangements and chocolates.
Luxury Junior Suites – 560 square feet with garden view or ocean view Located on the left side of property as you face the entrance to resort. Includes a Jacuzzi for two, separate living room area with sofa bed, equipped kitchenette, daily stocked minibar, and connection available with a one bedroom Master Suite.
One-bedroom Master Suite with Jacuzzi – This is the only accommodation that allows 2 adults and 3 children. - 815 square feet with Garden View or Ocean View, one kingsize bed, bathroom with Jacuzzi for two and double sinks, Luxury amenities, separate living room with sofa bed, daily stocked refrigerator, equipped kitchen, separate dining area, and connection available with luxury junior suite for larger families. This is really nice, it’s just like an apartment.
Rooms for People with Disabilities
There are specially-equipped rooms for people with disabilities – wider doors for wheelchair access, grab bars, etc. There is an elevator in the lobby area to get to ground level.
The resort is built in the shape of an “M” (for Melia). The lobby, common areas and restaurants are located in the middle, with the rooms to the left and the right. It is possible to walk under cover from one end of the resort to the other.
In the area between the rooms and common areas are beautiful, well-manicured gardens, with ponds, fountains, and wildlife – turtles, fish, and flamingos.
Weather and Bugs
The weather was beautiful for the most part. Even though it rained at some point nearly every day, showers were brief. Temperatures were in the mid-80’s, dropping off to comfortable mid-70’s at night. So if you are looking at forecasts for Punta Cana, don’t be alarmed when you see rain forecast every day! There was only one day during this week where it was cloudy and rained off and on most of the day. It did get a little windy the last couple of days of our stay here.
No problem whatsoever with bugs or mosquitos the week we were there.
Beach and Pool
This hotel is located on a beautiful stretch of beach that was kept very clean. The hotel was at about 60 per cent occupancy the week we were there. There was never any problem finding chairs in the shade, either at the pool or on the beach. They also have a couple dozen “Bali beds” (big mattresses under a palapa) . These are so comfortable! One morning when it was raining we got one of these and just relaxed and read, keeping perfectly dry. The pool is very large, with a swim-up bar, and numerous “jacuzzis” (cold) and fountains throughout the pool, as well as built-in tiled sunbeds you can lay on and be partially submerged in the water.
There are no towel cards at this resort! The beach towels are large and luxurious, you just go and get them at the Clubhouse by the pool/beach. You will see wicker baskets with lids throughout the pool area, these are for your dirty beach towels. Some people tended to just leave their towels on the chairs when they went back to their rooms, and pool attendants had to go around and collect them. Be considerate and return your towel when you leave for the day, or take it to your room with you for the next day.
Bar waitresses go around and take your drink orders where you are sitting at the pool or beach. For that matter, if you sit down anywhere at the resort, someone will quickly appear and ask you if you would like something to drink.
The main buffet restaurant is called Naos. It is located right at the beach and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The seating area is open air, but the buffet is in an enclosed air-conditioned area in the centre of the restaurant. It opens from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. for continental breakfast, breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and dinner from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Breakfast offers a large assortment, everything you can think of. Good omelettes made to order. Toast is somewhat of a problem, takes about 3 times through for bread to toast (I find this to be the case at most resorts). Some items could have been hotter.
At lunch and dinner there is a good selection of coldcuts, salads, meat (steak, pork, chicken, lamb), fish and vegetables, fresh breads and rolls, and desserts. Their cheesecake was wonderful. There is always a pasta bar with a selection of different types of pasta and sauces.
Within the restaurant there is also a separate Mexican buffet section “Algarve”, open at lunchtime and dinner.. At breakfast this is the area where you can get fresh juice made to order.
The Market Grill is located next to Naos Restaurant, and is usually open 24 hours a day. There is an entrance from the beach, and at lunchtime they serve hamburgs, hotdogs, fries, salads, etc. You can also get grilled meats here.
The first night we had dinner at “Passion”, (open for dinner only from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) which was excellent and my favourite meal. Wait staff very good in this restaurant. This restaurant is for adults only (16 and over). I had the Black Angus stuffed with mushrooms, served “nouvelle cuisine” style. There is a good selection of included wines, from Chile, Spain, and Argentina.
Bana Restaurant (open for dinner only 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) is an a la carte Asian fusion bistro – 3 dining options in one restaurant. There is a sushi bar, tepanyaki tables, contemporary Asian fusion, as well as a Martini Bar. We didn’t try the sushi or the Tepanyaki tables, but ate in the “contemporary Asian fusion” section . It was very good. Vento is a Meditteranean restaurant featuring a la carte international specialties. Food was good. It is open for dinner for all guests from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and there is an a la carte breakfast and lunch served there as well for Royal Service/Family Concierge upgrades only.
No reservations were required for any of the restaurants.
The a la carte restaurants are all very nice, and the food was good, but I felt there wasn’t a lot of difference in the food offered from one to the other. It seemed very similar in presentation, just in a slightly different atmosphere.. (Now I don’t eat seafood so my choices are somewhat limited and I tend to always have the beef). And we didn’t have the Sushi, or eat at the Tepanyaki tables (Japanese – where they cook the food in front of you).
It is stated that a dress code applies for all the a la carte restaurants - No shorts or sleeveless shirts or sports shoes or sandals allowed for men. (although we did see some men wearing shorts, so I don’t know how strict they are in enforcing this.)
There is also a section of the resort called Gabi Beach. It has its own bar, restaurant, entertainment and beach area. This is all-inclusive for Royal Service and Family Concierge guests only, except for Fridays, when anyone can go there all-inclusive. I didn’t really see much going on here the week we were there. It seemed pretty much deserted during the day. We did have an opportunity to have dinner there one night. It was a nice atmosphere, open air restaurant by the beach, with food choices of rib eye steak, lobster tails, chicken and fish dishes. Food and service was very good. The highlight, though, was that David Ortiz (Big Papi) from the Boston Red Sox came in with a group of people for dinner (he’s Dominican). He was signing autographs and people were taking photos of him. He graciously agreed to let me have my picture taken with him! A very nice man.
One night we went to the Jellyfish Restaurant for dinner, which is about a 10 minute walk down the beach, almost right next to the Melia Caribe Tropical (or a $10.00 cab ride). We met owners Gabriel and Wanda, and had an excellent dinner (I’m not a seafood person, but they had a nice pasta and chicken dish on the menu which was excellent). They are open for lunch and dinner. Unfortunately the night we were there it had turned quite windy, so they had the tarps down, otherwise would be a beautiful ocean view at night.
There are 8 bars serving Caribbean cocktails and international premium brand drinks (Absolut Vodka, etc., and they have Canadian Club). Bottled water is also available at all the bars. There is 1 lobby piano bar, 2 pool bars, 1 swimup bar, 1 casino bar, 1 Onyx disco lounge bar, 1 sky bar and 1 beach club bar. Included beer is Presidente, Presidente Light, Budweiser, Bud Light, Heineken, Miller, and Coronna. They also make very good Caesars!
We saw a couple of shows while we were there – a Latin show and yet another Michael Jackson show. Effects were good, but the shows were disappointing, but we’re not really into that kind of thing. Another night they had a Jazz band playing, and on Dominican night a Dominican band played and they had Dominican dancers in beautiful costumes out by the restaurant/pool area. There were also vendors stalls set up where you could buy souvenirs, cigars, jewellery, paintings, rum, etc.
There is a casino at the resort, open from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. We just went in and looked around, they have Roulette, Blackjack, Caribbean Poker, Texas Hold Em Poker, and some slot machines.
The disco is in the Onyx Bar, located next to the Casino. Can’t comment on this, other than poking our heads in one night, we did not go – too late for us.
Although I didn’t use any of the services, I toured the spa, and it is beautiful. There is a full selection of services available, as well as a gift shop. They have a Water Ritual Center (sauna, herbal steam, contrast thermal shower, experiences essence shower, Jacuzzi, chromotherapy shower, bithermal foot bath) that overlooks the pool, you can buy a daily admission to be able to use these facilities. They have the indoor spa, as well as outdoor treatment cabins in the garden area. There were no massage beds at the beach. They also have Pilates,Yoga, Tai Chi, and guided meditation classes.
Prices for spa services are what you would expect to pay at home.
A well-equipped gym with a personal trainer is located adjacent to the spa. It is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is free for guests to use.
Royal Service (RS)
This is an upgrade for adults only, that includes extras not available to other guests, including:
Same room types available, but in a better location, closer to the beach. More room amenities, including pillow menu, aromatherapy menu, butler services, expanded room service menu, luxury amenities.
Services of a concierge for planning tours and excursions. Preferential reservations for golf, tennis and other activities.
Separate roped-off beach area with their own pool. They can also reserve chaise lounges and Bali beds on a daily basis.
There is a Royal Service lounge for private checkin/out, that also has complimentary internet access, a daily continental breakfast buffet, coffee and beverages, international newspapers, and evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
RS rooms have a DVD player and guests can check out DVD’s from the Business Centre.
Access to Vento Restaurant for a la carte breakfast and lunch.
Includes use of Gabi Beach facilities.
There are also Royal Service Presidential Suites (2) - 1,670 square feet with huge terrace, 1 king-size bed, spacious livingroom, 2 bedrooms with Jacuzzi for two with luxury amenities, exclusive butler service, and connection available to Royal Service Imperial Romance Oceanfront Suites
Family Concierge (FC)
This is an available upgrade for families, the family counterpart of Royal Service. There is a Family Concierge lounge with a private checkin area, specially appointed Family Concierge Suites, and the all-day assistance of a Family Concierge to coordinate needs and entertainment for the family. On checkin you are given a radio that gives you instant access to the Family Concierge. Staff will come and pick up your children to do activities, and you can check via radio at any time to see where your kids are. Kids receive a beach kit containing a hat, t-shirt, float and tanning lotion. They are given a kids menu in each restaurant. Accommodation is in Family Concierge Luxury Suites and/or One-Bedroom Master Suites with extras such as a Play Station in the room upon request, children’s mini bathrobes and slippers, children’s amenities kit in bathroom, kid-size towels and pillows, kids’ activities menus, minibar stocked with children’s drinks, turndown service with milk and cookies, all-inclusive at Gabi Beach, and a separate pool area.
The Kids Club (called the Paradisus Club) is located down the hall to the left from the lobby area.. It is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is for children 5 to 12 years old. They will take the kids for lunch at 12:30 p.m. and dinner at Naos Restaurant at 7:30 p.m. There is a full schedule of planned activities for each day, as well as evening activities such as mini disco, mini karaoke, magic show, movie night, mini Miss show, Minis Playback Show, and a camping night every Wednesday from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. including dinner, a movie, mini disco and bonfire.
There is a games room next to the Theatre where they have Playstations, X-box, etc. This is free for guests, and seemed to be a popular spot.
Day Activities for Adults
There are all kinds of daily activities, pick up a brochure at the Clubhouse. Things like horseback riding, bicycle tours, snorkeling excursions, scuba diving, and boat trip are all included, as is tennis at the 3 courts located at the front of the resort. Non-motorized watersports are also included - see the Scuba Caribe people at the beach to arrange use of the equipment. – paddle boats, catamarans, windsurfers, kayaks, kite surfing, diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing (extra cost), and motorized water sports (extra cost).
The activities staff also arranges volleyball games, water polo and beach soccer. Also available are table tennis, table games, billiards, darts, giant chess, and bocci ball.
During the week there are also cooking classes, a wine tasting class, flower arranging class, painting classes, Tango and Salsa dance classes, and Spanish lessons.
Golf is included at the 27-hole Cocotal Golf & Country Club with unlimited green fees.. However, there is a mandatory cart rental at $35.00 per person (double) or $45.00 per person (single).
You will find the tour desk in the lower lobby area, where you can book off-site day trips such as jeep safaris, boat trips, Manati Park, etc.
There is a new shopping centre which was scheduled to open in December, near the front entrance of the hotel. This will include restaurants such as Hard Rock Café, Tony Roma’s, and some high end stores (not souvenir shops). There was only one store in the hotel itself, which sold a little bit of everything. Take what you think you will need as prices are higher than you’d pay at home, although not as high in this store as I’ve seen in other places, ie. They were selling paperbacks for $12.00 U.S. and suntan lotion for $9.00 U.S.
From the beach, if you walk to the right past the Melia Caribe, there is a little “mall” of souvenir stores.
Paradisus offers free Internet in all rooms if you have your own cable with you. Otherwise I am told you can purchase a cable for $14.00 U.S. (although the front desk did tell me you had to have your own cable). There is also free wireless in the lobby and salon areas of the resort. If you do not have a laptop with you, you can use the computers in their Business Centre, located on the lower floor under the lobby. Cost is $4 for 15 minutes, $7 for ˝ hr., or $12/hr. They also have DVD players you can check out for free, as well as a DVD library.
For information and pricing on weddings at Paradisus Palma Real, see their website at: http://www.romancebyparadisus.com/packages/weddings_anniversaries
There is a pharmacy and medical staff on call 24 hours.
Car and motorcycle rentals are available.
Sol Melia Vacation Club does have a desk on the lower lobby level, but never once were we bothered by anyone. Vacation club accommodations, I believe, are on the left side of the resort as you face the lobby.
Money can be exchanged at the front desk. If you have U.S. cash, you can use it for virtually everything without having to change it into pesos.
This is a very “elegant” resort, one of the nicest we’ve stayed at, one of the best in Punta Cana. Virtually anything you want to do can be arranged at the resort. There is a full assortment of activities available, or you can just relax by the beautiful pool and beach. Animation staff is somewhat low-key, they aren’t asking you to participate in things all the time. There is no loud music. While Royal Service and Family Concierge upgrades are available for a “total” experience, in my opinion they are not needed to have a great vacation at this resort.
The staff at this hotel were excellent. Very friendly and many spoke English very well. Service was consistently good.
If you have any questions about Paradisus Palma Real, you can contact us.
Special thanks to the staff of Palma Real, and to Vilma Flaquer for all your assistance.