DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 2018
For the past 30 years our family has taken a Xmas season trip. As our family grew and we acquired more young people (youngest 4) and our patriarch has reached the age of 96 we have opted to stay at all-inclusive hotels to make it easier to all eat together for meals and other activities. This year we were 27 people and opted to stay at the Grand Palladium Palace in the Dominican Republic. We normally do not stay at 5 star resorts but this year we decided to treat ourselves to a more upscale vacation. To say that this was a disappointing year would be an understatement. This is the review I sent to Trip Advisor.
First the pros: nice clean pools and lots of them, nice beach with plenty of chairs, clean well landscaped grounds.
FOOD/Restaurants: I know in other reviews some people rave about the food. I can only think they have never been to another all-inclusive resort. The food here is at best mediocre. It is also the same thing every breakfast, lunch and dinner. No variation – the same for dinner every night - and food is not available at all hours. Every other place we have been to there is always someplace where you can go and get food no matter the hour...not here unless you want to travel across the entire complex to the Sports Bar. The lines to get into the restaurants are long and the wait is longer. The lines are perplexing and I think it is just poor management of resources as there are always empty tables but you have to wait for the gate keeper at the door to assign you a table. We learned early on that you just went around the line and said your family is inside to get in. The ice cream machine ran out of ice cream long before the lunch hour was over. The specialty restaurants are mostly first come first serve and the time to wait was not worth the wait.
The only cold cereal available was those with lots of sugar.
Safety/Security: During our stay two rooms in our building were entered and the safe was opened and money and valuables were taken. One of these rooms was my daughter and her husband who lost an Ipad, cash and credit cards. The thieves were nice enough to leave their passports. It happened while the family was at dinner so we knew what time period the room was entered. When we reported it to the front desk they sent over a security person who immediately started to search the entire room including taking all the pillows off the couch, removing the mattress from the bed and looking in every draw and suitcase. My son-in-law who had ruptured his Achilles tendon the day before and was on crutches and in bed had to get out for the 'under mattress' exercise. The management person there explained that this was to see if we were just scamming them or had just misplaced the credit cards, cash and ipad. This was just the start of three days of basically accusing my daughter of making the whole thing up. The security person came the next day and took data from the door lock and the safe lock. There is a CCTV video camera at the entrance to each building and they were going to examine the data for each and get back to us with the result of the examination. For two days we asked when the exam would be over since we could tell the time from my daughter and also from the other people who also lost money and credit cards and a phone. They kept telling us that the examination of the tape was taking a long time since they only had staff to look at 30 minutes at time since they had other work to do. We kept asking them to report the robery to the police but they said they could not until the report was complete. On the third day we met with the management to go over the report. We were told at that meeting we had to go to the police station and the hotel was not going to report it – we would have to. They would pay for the taxi and send someone who could interpret since they did not speak English there. The data we were shown was not actual data but just an email from their security department to the management with a table that looked like at 8:40 PM (we were still at dinner) the door was opened by one of our keys and the safe had been left open all day from 2 PM to 8:30 PM. They asked my son and daughter-in-law to produce their two keys and asked them if they lent them to other people. They had both keys. My daughter always made sure to lock the safe when they left and had returned at 9:30 PM and found the safe open so their data made no sense. It showed the safe being closed at 8:30 PM. My daughter left the safe open until the safe security person came the next morning. The security people stated at the meeting that they could not see anything suspicious on the CCTV tape. I asked if I could go through the tape since I could identify people in the building probably better than the security personnel. The manager stated she would have to get permission from the head of security who was standing there. I said ask him now and she said I have to email him. The next day when I asked I was told she said the tape was internal and I could not view it. Did the tape actually exist – I tend to doubt it.
At no point in the entire interaction with the management did they seem concerned that someone was out there who could enter any room and enter any locked safe!!! For three days they kept insisting that the only person who had the master code for the safes was the General Manager. Anyone who has traveled knows that if a safe is locked in your room when you arrive or not working you call to the desk and in minutes someone appears and resets the safe and that person is not normally the general manager.
I walked around the breakfast and dining room with this sign after the breakin. Lots of people asked me about the sign.
Room Service: I cannot comment on the actual service because for the most part our family leaves the Do Not Disturb sign on. We are an environmentally friendly family and normally the towels we are given can last a week and we can or cannot make our own beds for a week. I can tell you that the maid service pays no attention to the sign. Various family members reported that the maid service knocked on doors up to 9 PM at night wanting to replace or add a wash cloth to the towels. Several family members found maids in rooms that had signs on the door. In our meeting when we were looking at the data and saw that a maid had entered my daughter's room at 8:30AM when they were at breakfast and the sign was on the door every day. The managers answer to why that happened was they should not have done that. I am sure that there was no follow up here.
Assorted other things: They seemed to run out of towels at the pool everyday. Constant soliciting for spa and other activities at the pool as you were trying to read and relax. Limited activities during the day. Some days no cold water in the room – other days no hot water. Water pressure was very low most days. Athletic ability needed to get into and out of the shower/tub/Jacuzzi with high slippery marble steps. Many rooms had water running onto the floor of the sleeping area of the rooms from the non-caulked shower. Showers not draining properly or at all.
The following are assorted photos from the trip:
Our waitress at the Mexican restaurant joined us for Tequila shots. We all had about 5 or 6 with her and she was just starting her evening of waiting on tables.
The Fisher sisters....
Brenan and Ava at lunch.
The King with Ava at lunch.
Calder and Ava got their hair braided on the beach.
Ava poses at the pool.
Morgan and the King.