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Our 30th Anniversary Trip

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Our 30th Anniversary Trip

Post by pagehall » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:29 pm

This was our first trip to Punta Cana after nine times to the Yucatan. We stayed at the Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium. This was our fourth Palladium stay in the last four years-- third time in the royal section. We were celebrating our 30 th anniversary. My sister and brother-in-law traveled with us. I will break this down in parts. 

Airport:  It's open air and it's hot. Arrival was a bit chaotic. We deplaned onto the Tarmac, and they took us by open air bus to the airport. We had our tourist cards already but still ended up in the wrong line. We gave our card then got our passports stamped and headed to luggage pick up. Our luggage was there. We got it and were swarmed by guys wanting to carry our luggage. We kept saying no. Then we watched as some people just walked by xray belts and out. We put ours on the belt and then left the airport and found our transportation. We were completely out and on our way in just about one hour from touch down. Departure was easy. The lines to check in were short. The process from hotel to gate was about an hour. 

Rooms:  At check in, the front desk advised we had been upgraded from a deluxe swim out suite to a cabana suite! This was awesome news as we had originally tried to book a cabana but none were available. We got one and did not pay the additional cost. Yay! it was bottom floor and had both a front porch and a back porch. The back porch was directly on the swim out pool.  The suite is comprised of three rooms: living room that has a sliding glass door to swim up pool and deck, bathroom with whirlpool bathtub, hydro massage shower, double sink and toilet with separate door, and bedroom with small front porch. The bedroom had a kingsize bed. Bed is HARD! A wonderful improvement would be adding the two inch temperpedic bed pads. The living room has a large entertainment center with the liquor dispensers, room service door,  small refrigerator and flat scene television. The bedroom also has a flatscreen television. Everything worked fine. The shower leaked a little. We had small bugs in the bathroom one night but they were gone by morning. It's a tropical climate so expect some bug activity. We had no issues with Mosquitos. 

Beach: the beach is beautiful, although I really did not think it is any more beautiful than the beaches in the Riviera Maya. The undertow seemed stronger. It was not cold. We could walk for miles and miles each way. It was pretty wavy and did not have the calmness I associate with beaches in the Caribbean. 

Vendors: We were accosted by the vendors as soon as we stepped off the Palladium property. They had a much harder tactic than the vendors in Mexico. We shopped the day before we left for about 30 minutes. Got our gifts and got the heck out and back to the resort. I was a bit overwhelmed. My husband thought the vendors were too aggressive. I agree. We did have a young man who took us to a couple of shops,  and he was very nice. 

Royal Beach Area: we saw lots of towels in empty seats but also awe lots  of empty seats without towels. We had a great area and hammock  one day. I saw no empty palapa beds, but I did not go down at the crack of dawn to save one. Instead I chose to exercise and then grab breakfast and then see what was available. 

Royal pool: we spent no time here as we preferred our swim out pool. There was plenty of chairs, beds and shade but we chose to hang on our porch area and in our area of the pool. 

Drinks: drinks were plenty and strong.  I found it a good idea to pace myself. 

Food: I completely acknowledge this is a very subjective area. There were some great foods. I realize I am comparing to the Palladium Riviera Maya when I say the food overall is better in Mexico, and I realize this is just my opinion.  We had breakfasts at the Royal or the buffet right next door. Royal was much better food and service was much better. I wished the Royal had an omelet maker instead of a crepe maker or both. The omelets were too dry and there is NO SALSA anywhere to be found. Being from South Texas, I always add salsa or pica de gallo to my eggs and find it hard to eat them without. So, I missed the salsa, the guacamole and the chips which are plentiful in Mexico and Texas. There are NONE here as far as I could find. We skipped lunch most days and would grab a small sandwich at the pool. We did order room service a couple of times. Would recommend the royal pizza and steak. Quesadillas and hamburgers I would not recommend. We ate ate The Royal for dinner the first night. All four of us got steaks. My husband also ordered lobster. All the steaks came out rare (actually pretty raw). We sent them back and asked for them to be well done. The steaks came back medium well which was fine. They tasted good. The salad bar has some good selections. My husband did not like the lobster and did not order it again. He ordered it every time in Mexico. The staff seemed a little upset that we asked our steaks to be cooked more. The next night we tried the French. We had the gruyere cheese fondue. They served it w bread chunks. It was YUMMY.  We followed that with the chateau briand  for four. It was AWESOME! the salad bar here was also great with a number of veggies and salads. For dessert I had the crepes which were very good (no show since only one ordered at our table), my sister had the creme bruile ( not great more like runny vanilla instant pudding) and the guys got ice cream. We also ate at the Japanese alacarte. We did not do the show table. The sushi was really really good. Actually it was some of the best I have ever eaten. We tipped the sushi maker and he gave us two HUGE platters which my husband and I did our best to eat since we were the only sushi eaters. I felt bad that's we could not finish. My sister and I got the three skewer dish( chicken,beef and pork). This was a great meal. The guys both got seafood fried rice. They both said the dish was not very good.  Fried ice-cream was dessert. We also ate at the steakhouse. We were seated in a separate room and were the only people there. Service was wonderful. The salad bar was okay but needed more veggies. The steaks were great. I had the flank steak, my sister and husband had rib eyes and my brother-in-law had the beef filet. All agreed mine was the best tasting but all of it was good. We also tried the steamed and mashed yucca. Yucca is not yucky, and I will be looking for this in our local grocery stores. Dessert was not good except for the ice-cream. Brownies were stale and pumpkin pie is gelatin. But we were there for great steaks and not dessert. We had great steaks. The last night we ate ate the French again and had the same meal w blue cheese fondue minus dessert.  We asked for veggies to dip in the cheese. The meal was great with great service. Bottom line we found lots to eat and some was not good and some was great. We missed coconut shrimp and chips and salsa but obviously we still enjoyed our experiences. 

Royal Service:  we had wonderful service beginning with an upgrade that we did not even ask for. We also had two fruit baskets delivered and a gift of Ron Barcelo rum. On our next to the last night there we came 'home' to find our room decorated with flowers and sweet happy anniversary signs,  a scented bubble bath and candles. Very nice and very appreciated. The bar tenders were so nice, and the bar was literally right outside our door (room5902)  This was very convenient but also meant we had loud music nightly until the bar closed at midnight. We don't party late but kind of felt like we were part of the nightly party. We did not sleep until the music ended. 
Resort lay out: this resort is much more compact than the Palladium RM. We never asked for or needed a cart. Everything seems so much closer. And most of the restaurants are in the middle of the resort with a few out towards the end and near the beach. Also the resort is very manicured and pretty. The jungle feel is not there. We saw no wildlife at all although a peacock and peahen roam the premises. the peacock makes a LOUD cry and will pose for pictures. He also came up to me and stole a pan dulce right out of my hand. 

Weather: there was a lot of clouds. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were mostly cloudy. We had good sun on Wednesday and Thursday and of course the day we left. There was a good breeze. It was humid. It seemed cooler than Mexico but might be due to the cloud cover. The evenings were very comfortable. Of course consider the source here. I am from South Texas where it's 80's/90's nine months out of the year. I had heard it was very hot in Punta Cana so was prepared for major heat. 

Language barrier: there is a major language barrier if you only speak English which I do. But it's their country and their language so its my job to make myself understood. We did the best we could and usually were able to get the gap closed enough to get what we wanted or needed. 

Would we return. Probably someday. If we do return we will definitely stay at RST. However, next year's trip is going to be back to Mexico and RSY. 

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