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January 30- February 6, 2015: Another week in paradise

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January 30- February 6, 2015: Another week in paradise

Post by minou »

Positive Surprises: Minimal towel game at the beach; Excellent service at La Cathedral buffett; Vicenta Rijo fantastic maid service 5303.

We have been to The Royal Suites Turquesa numerous times and we return to enjoy the fantastic Bavaro Beach, great cuisine, lovely rooms and our Dominican family. Upon arrival (10:30pm) we were immediately greeted with hugs from Charlyn (reception) and Michelina (lobby bartender). Charlyn’s quick and efficient check-in, accompanied by liquid refreshments (cava and Imperial rum), were a great beginning to a wonderful week. Charlyn’s warm smile, her wealth of resort information and her willingness to assist guests makes her an important asset and member of the reception team. We were quickly transported to our Royal Deluxe Junior Swim-up Suite (5303). The remainder of the evening we visited with staff at both the main pool bar and the lobby bar, closing them both. In both cases we were greeted by hugs and handshakes, and our favourite beverages appeared without being requested. Now that is great service!

Beach and Pools
I am a beach person and the beach is paramount to the success of any vacation. We love the beach with it’s lovely sand, shaded palapas, on-shore breeze, and of course the sounds and sights of the ocean. I love the sight of the sun rising early in the morning, but usually this is associated with the dreaded towel game. A pleasant surprise was the absence of the towel game this vacation. I don’t know if it was due to the resort not being full, or the recent addition of the popular adults’ only pool. But whatever the reason there was not the fierce competition for shaded papayas. One could venture down to the beach and find a selection of locations as late as 10:30am or after 3pm. Now, there still were guests who reserved multiple locations (beach, RST pool and Adults’ Pool) and sometimes the reserved beach locations were never used.
For those who have read the reviews which state the Palladium beach is not good, forget them. The Bavaro beach is fantastic! Long strengths of beautiful white sand are easy to walk, explore, and are safe for children (with parental guidance). The beach can have steady winds, ocean waves breaking over off-shore reefs, and slight undertows. For some reason seagrass (which was cleaned up by the staff early each morning) seemed to be a present most days.

Punta Cana’s Royal Suites pools (new and old section) are easily accessible from the Royal Suites buildings. Balibeds, loungers and palapas surround the pools in the new section; while padded loungers and palapas are found in the old section.
The new adult pool adjacent to Palace building 96 is a welcome addition. This “quiet haven” services the entire resort. You will not hear music blaring nor people shouting or jumping into the pool. This is not the intent of this pool environment. Amenities include swim-up and land bar complex, tables and chairs, as well as Bali beds and loungers (some shaded). The bar and pool are open until midnight for swimming and refreshments.

The Royal bars (lobby, pools, Royal beach), as well as Hemmingways, all provide guests premium liquors, cava and beer. Outstanding bar staff included Danny (Supervisor), Michelina (lobby bar), as well as Daysi, Sandy and Manual (main pool bar). Many of the bar staff immediately recalled your favourite liquid refreshment and prepared it without being asked!
Butlers provide many services which help make a holiday unique. Karini, Oscar, Carlos, Andy and Tony are some of the butlers who made our stay memorable. Their smiling faces, a cheerful “Hola” and their pleasant personalities were fantastic. They helped make dinner reservations, got golfcart transportation, as well as sorted out minor room issues. Whenever you need anything, ask your butler … they frequently have the answers to your inquiries.

Staff and Restaurants
Kerlan is an unique and outstanding member of the Royal Suites restaurant staff. His positive and friendly manner, accompanied by his willingness to make your meal a wonderful experience, are just two of his many traits. No request goes unanswered. Other memorable staff included Juan Edwardo, Johnny, and Rueben. Restaurant service at the Royal a la cartes is specialized with staff responsible for specific duties (some taking orders, others clearing places, others filling wine and water glasses). Both Royal Suites restaurants, the Royal Gourmet and Le Chanterelle, offer a variety of choices within their fixed menus. Menus can be viewed online on the Palladium Addicts website.

The Royal Gourmet offers an excellent specialized breakfast menu (ex: Eggs Benedictine, Eggs Florentine) as well as a self-serve breakfast buffett (omelette, bacon, sausage, cold cuts, cheese, fruit, smoked salmon, crepes as well as traditional breakfast foods). Breakfast offers a wide variety of fresh juices ranging from the more traditional orange and pineapple, to more unique ones like banana and papaya.
Lunch at the Royal Gourmet included culinary delights which changed on a daily basis. Selections varied from duck to beef, to seafood, as well as vegetarian and angus burger choices. A seafood chowder, laced with a wide variety of seafoods (clams, shrimp, lobster tails), was a constant beginning to my Royal lunches.

Two restaurants (Royal Gourmet and Le Chanterelle) are open for dinner at the Royal Suites. Le Chanterelle provides excellent samplings of French culinary flavours, while the Royal Gourmet focusses on seafood and beef selections. My favourite Le Chanterelle meal commences with the Manchego cheese fondue, followed by Chateaubriand for two, and with the cointreau-laden crepes suzettes for dessert. An after dinner cognac is an excellent way to finish a delightful meal. Other favourites include the flank steak and the lobster thermindor. Royal Suites cheese selection tends to be more European in nature, with an excellent selection of cheese available as an appetizer or for after dinner cheese consumption. Dinner at Le Chanterelle with Octavio was an opportunity to enjoy friends and a delicious meal. This awesome meal included our favourites, as well as other culinary delights from the menu.

Most dinners at Le Chanterelle and Royal Gourmet are fantastic. The food is tastefully prepared and presented, and the service seemed to go that extra mile. However, service, on occasion, was less than satisfactory and it was not because the staff were not working or trying. It was because they were significantly understaffed (all levels). Examples include one person to take menu selections for the Royal Gourmet; while one person was responsible for both coffee and the dessert trolley for the restaurant. In some cases it appeared that some staff were not sure of their responsibilities. Most did everything possible to make the dining experience positive, but the lack of sufficient staff is undermining the experience.

We enjoyed other a la cartes for dinner. While lobster and steak were my entrees of choice most nights, a multitude of culinary delights were available. Dinner presentation was fantastic. Appetizers through dessert were artfully presented with colourful designs and with food strategically placed. Lobster at the Mare Nostrum (Mediterrean) was exceptional. We received excellent service during this well-paced dining experience. The “Inglish Soup” dessert turned out to be a multi-layered gateau presented on a tastefully decorated plate. Dinner at the Grand Cantina Mariachi (Mexican) with William Cervera was awesome! We enjoyed the Mexican delights provided by our host William Cervera. I was especially impressed with the passion fruit margarita and the new fajitas cooked on the cast iron skillet.

Twice we ventured to La Cathradal buffett in the Bavaro section for breakfast. With the exception of a couple of egg dishes, the selection was at least equal to the Royal Gourmet. The service certainly was superior. Glasses were immediately filled with cava and water, coffee arrived shortly after seating ... things that seldom happen at the Royal Gourmet.
A new beach snack bar has been attached onto the Bavaro beach bar in front of building 27. It serves hotdogs, hamburgers, porkchops and fried chicken, as well as paella. This is a welcome addition for the guest who does not wish to leave the beach for lunch.

99% of the staff I observed did a remarkable job. Gardeners, maintenance staff, room cleaning, bar and restaurant staff all were great employees.

The Royal Suites rooms offer a variety of accommodations from which to choose (Junior deluxe suites, deluxe suites, cabanas, one Presidential suite, master suites, as well as romance and honeymoon suites). The rooms are tastefully designed and decorated, with the older section recently being renovated (fall 2014). While Royal Suites ocean views are available in the older section, the ocean cannot be seen from the newer section.
We stayed in a Royal Junior Deluxe Swim-up Suite (5303). The room contains an open concept bathroom (shower and toilet have frosted glass doors for privacy) and the double sink areas are separated from the rest of the room by a privacy barrier. The Jacuzzi tub is located beside the bed and is open to the room. Our maid, Vicenta Rijo, was simply fantastic. She did everything within her power to make our vacation a memorable event. Any request was immediately responded to with a smile. The 4-poster king size bed was often tastefully decorated with towel art designs and flower petals arrangements each day. Immediately outside the sliding doors was a wooden deck (table and chairs). On a submerged pool platform sat two loungers in a few inches of water. Stairs lead to the pool from this platform. Some buildings get the morning or afternoon sun (ex: buildings 55-58) while others get the afternoon sun (buildings 53-54). I particularly enjoy the longer pool. Excellent for swimming (water is chest deep) or floating around in the light breeze.

Room upgrades should never be the expected and they do not represent the norm within the travel industry. They are based upon a variety of factors, availability being just one.

If you have the opportunity to experience the Royal Suites Turquesa, or other sections of the Palladium complex, you are in for a fantastic vacation. Enjoy your time in paradise!

Doug and Dianne/Minou

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