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“Architectural Nirvana”

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The Palace at Playa Grande
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Rio San Juan
Seattle, Washington, United States
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Architectural Nirvana”
Reviewed 30 January 2012

When I die, if I get to go to heaven, I want it to look just like The Palace at Playa Grande. When I first saw the pictures, I thought they had probably been photo shopped, yet it does look just like the pictures or better. One visual I had that I didn't get a snap shot of, yet burns brightly in my memory was peaking out after the rain at night and seeing the lanterns on the railing reflected perfectly on the patio. If I was CezanneI would have painted that image. The other burning memory I regret not taking a picture of was all of the ladies on the staff on the third balcony wishing us well on our departure and blowing kisses and waving good bye. Forever that will be an image that burns warmly in my heart. We had three nights of total bliss at the Palace and were the only guests at the time, being mid week. The staff could not have made us feel any more cared for, pampered and spoiled. When laying out by the pool, even without asking, Carlos brought us some papa frites and soda's, just in case we were hungry and thirsty. Juan Carlos, the amazing manager at the Palace arranged to have DR's finest amber and latimer jewelery brought in for us to purchase one evening. Since we were there such a short time and wanted to kick back and relax, we didn't have lots of time for shopping, but did want to go home with some of the specialties of the area . DR does not have the same resources and economic base as we do in the US, so it felt good to spend some money there and help the local economy. With the limited infrastructure in DR, one must understand that the electrical is provided by a generator although we never heard it running, there were slight interruptions in power from time to time. I must admit, I looked a lot younger in the dim yellow light when I couldn't see the wrinkles. The yellow lights also kept any insects away and we never saw one mosquito, which I had been concerned about before going there. It was a challenge to get your hair washed and shower before the hot water ran out, but the cold wasn't dreadfully cold, actually rather refreshing.
We took advantage of the spa services while there, and my husband even went back for a second massage the next day he loved it so much. He was in very good hands with Nika.
Phillipe took us to see the near by cave, Blue Lagoon, water fall, beaches and then went in the bank to help and an electronics store for us to get a new sim card for our camera. We were lucky to have him to take us around and be our local guide for the afternoon.
I am so happy my husband and I had an opportunity to share this special place and time. I would love to go back with my grown children and their children some time soon for a family reunion and I have recommended it to my nephew as a wonderful spot for his upcoming honeymoon.

Room Tip: Take advantage of The Palace staff arranging your transportation from the airport. It was so much e...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank EAO9218
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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89 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (45)
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English first
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2012

For my birthday I had the pleasure of staying at the Palace. If you are looking for just a relaxing time away from your busy and stressful life this is the place to visit. The staff is so professional and the nicest people you could ever meet at an establishment. In my view this place is not for children. The meals were great, the service was excellent, and the establishment is beautiful. My experience was fun and romantic.

We stayed in the Royal Ocean Front Suite with Balcony/Jacuzzi room (which was an upgrade from what was originally booked). It was cleaned 2 or 3 times every day and every night the bed was turned down. Anything we needed was serviced. Because it was my birthday (which they did not know beforehand) they even made it possible to have a whole birthday cake for me which was very nice.

Yes, if you want to experience the culture of DR you will have to drive to one of the nearest towns (closet is five mins away) but it is not a big deal. They offer tours and expeditions during your stay along with spa services.

If the opportunity ever presents itself again I will definitely return to the Palace.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank ANR113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diegl
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2011

My wife and I had the privilege of staying at the Palace for 5 nights of our honeymoon. We were drawn to the Palace because of the boutique hotel experience that we could not get at the mega resorts. Long before our actual trip we were won over by their service and overall treatment of our stay.
Four months prior to our honeymoon we were contacted by the management to alert us to the fact that the remainder of the rooms were booked out by a wedding party, and that we would be the only other guests. They gave us the option to change the dates of our stay should we desire, but being our honeymoon we were unable to. In an effort to provide a more enjoyable experience, we were upgraded to the Ocean Cliffside Suites that are separate from the main structure. We were blown away that a management staff would alert us to this type of situation, and then offer a significant upgrade as to not take away from our experience.
We opted to fly into Santo Domingo, which I would not recommend for everyone. It was a challenging drive for those who rely on GPS in everyday life but fortunately we had a map, compass (app), and basic idea of where the Palace was at. Three and half hours later, we made it to the Palace.
The Grounds: Trust me the pictures do not do the Palace justice. The views off the back cliff are incredible and easily the best I have seen in the Caribbean. Every day we woke up to the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks below our room. The grounds were very well kept and the roaming peacocks were a nice touch. The swimming pool was usually pretty dirty, and neither Jacuzzi was ever hot, but we still took advantage of them.
The Service: Our room was cleaned and maintained every day very well. One big surprise was the laundry service. Every day our clothes in the hamper were laundered and returned the next day. All of the staff at the Palace is extremely friendly and we were sad to say goodbye to Juan Carlos, Felipe and the rest of the gang. Having worked in the hospitality industry in the past, I was impressed by the “steps of service” employed by the staff in this little spot in the DR. I was bummed that the swim up bar in the pool is not utilized; it is such a waste of space and a sad reminder of more fun you could be having. There also isn’t a “bar” in the typical fashion, but the servers can make most basic drinks for your time.
The Food: We took most of our meals at the Palace because we had the all inclusive package. I wouldn’t say it was anything out of this world, but it was sufficient. A lot of dishes are repetitive, and most of the food is over-salted. Don’t expect gourmet meals. If you get a chance, definitely have lunch out at Playa Grande. For $8 you get a fresh seafood lunch complete with salad, rice, tostones, and a table. And if you plan ahead, have the Palace pack a cooler full of beers to take out to the beach with you!
We absolutely loved our time at The Palace. Is it The Four Seasons or The Ritz Carlton? No. Is it a mega resort with activities and bars full of partying crowds? No. But it is beautiful property that will give you the feeling of what it may be like to have your own Palace on the Dominican Cliffside.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Stephen G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newport Beach, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2011

Our stay at The Palace was a fun, romantic and exciting getaway. We didn't know what to expect upon our arrival to DR, however, when we pulled up to the property it was just as advertised and more. The entire property to the rooms were amazing. The staff made the stay that much more fun and memorable from the great hospitality to the delicious food that was unique and different each day. We would like to thank Juan Carlos, Felipe and Carlos for making our trip a pleasurable and memorable one; we couldn't of had better service. And, a big KUDOS to the chefs who cooked to perfection every meal. We'll be back soon.

Room Tip: Any room there you will be more than satisfied.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank KevinMS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmond, Oklahoma
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2011

We had our honeymoon at the Palace and it was amazing. The staff was wonderful and we were waited on hand and foot. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and it was great. We didn't have any issues and we felt safe everywhere we went; even on the excursions. We stayed in the Garden Suite which looks out onto the pool. All of the rooms are so nice! The beach is right there and it is absolutely beautiful. Thank you to Juan Carlos, Carlos, Felipe, Alfredo, Tony and Cynthia for making our honeymoon perfect! We hope to come back soon!

-Marcus and Erin Favorite
Edmond, Oklahoma

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank erinmarie816
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2011

This is my first trip to the DR and I was very excited after I booked the vacation at the Palace... Based on the pictures, price and other reviews I was stoked!... At first glance the palace is everything it claims to be, however, it didn't take long for that image to change.

the food is very good but hardly what they claim... On the front side we were told they would make anything we asked for however there were two occasions when we were told they didn't have what we wanted. While dinner and lunch were varied breakfast was the same
thing everyday... Again not what you would expect for $500 per night..

There is no bar just a kitchen with snacks and drinks lined up on the counter and island. There isn't a bartender it is just who ever is working makes your drInk assuming they know how to make it...

So far on two different nights local sellers of merchandise came to try to sell their stuff... I am shocked a resort would allow this type of panhandling on property.. When I am at my hotel I do not want to be hassled.. Not t mention one night during dinner two guys with guitars showed up to play music at our table and try to sell cd's.... Are you kidding me????

The excursions were over priced for what you get.. We did the glass bottom boat and the jeep safari... The boat was cool for a bit but once we stopped at a beach it was a ful court press from the locals... In a matter if minutes we were bombarded by 4 different people trying to sell jewelry, hair services, petrified wood and music... Not what I expected...

The ac doesn't work well in the room And we had the most expensive room on property, the "jacuzzi" on our balcony is a tub that has jets, the water pressure is so low it doesn't accomplish the jacuzzi effect... More of a cold
bath....

The power went off three of the five days we were there...

Be prepared for what htis place is.. It's like going to visit a friend for vacation... Which is fine, but not at $500 plus a night!!!!!

  • Stayed July 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
24 Thank Msa2117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2011

My boyfriend and I needed a quick but romantic weekend getaway. We didn't want a typical all inclusive. We found exactly what we were looking for at the Palace! The hotel staff greeted us with a fresh juiced cocktail and gave us a tour of the hotel grounds which were both stunning and impeccably clean. When we arrived we were one of 2 couples. We had privacy and the staff were at our complete disposal. On the 2nd day of our trip, more couples arrived and there was a notable decline in the staff's availability and ability to provide us the same level of service (they were spread too thin). The staff remained very gracious and professional, however, we didn't get hot water in our room until the very last night of our stay despite us telling three different hotel employees. The food was hit or miss. We had some dishes that we liked, and others that were less appealing, but, the food was always fresh. All meals are a la carte and can be served to you where ever you wish. The portions were small but you can request additional plates if you're still hungry. The beach is secluded, clean and beautiful but you have to walk down a winding staircase to get to it. It wouldn't be very accessible to people with knee or leg problems (or cardiac problems) or small children. Getting down isn't the problem, going back up is! Despite the few complaints I make mention of above, I would still go back to the Palace and would recommend it to anyone interested in a romantic getaway. We would like to rent all 13 rooms with family and friends sometime soon! Despite the Palace's few flaws, it outshines other resorts and hotels we have been to in the Carribean.

We stayed in the Garden View room on ground level. The peacocks pecked at the windows, which we thought was "cute" at first but then became disruptive because it is quite loud. Also, our door was right beside the front desk and the music. We heard music from morning until night, which is fine unless you're someone who has trouble sleeping through such things. There was a loud radio by the pool, which was right outside our back door. Either way, we had loud music playing on either side of our room and most of the time it was the same music (one was a radio station, the other a cd), so the conflicting sounds got a little annoying when we tried to sleep in or take afternoon naps. The room was beautiful though! There was no door on the bathroom, just a curtain, so don't take this room if you're not 100% comfortable with your travel partner! :S

One of the highlights of our trip was the Ranch Paraiso (drhorses.com) and horseback riding. I grew up on a horse farm so I am probably more critical than the average person when it comes to riding and the condition of horses, but I can honestly say that the condition of these horses was probably on par or better than my own horses. The ride we took was fantastic! We got to experience the real Dominican Republic. Our guide, Abe, was great! He made sure we enjoyed our afternoon and took care to show us the types of things we wanted to see (authentic DR lifestyle). He went out of his way to make sure we enjoyed ourselves. We highly recommend this excursion!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank Hyde_grrl
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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