Let travel writers rave about the four-posters with Memory Foam, the balcony views of palms and palapas and amoeba-shaped pools, the Nespresso coffee-maker and premium spirits in the mini-bar, or the hydromassage bath that’s conveniently near the bed. My butler at adults-only The Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium was moved to rhapsodize about the room service box. “When you order room service—it’s available 24/7–we open a door to this box that’s in the hallway, put your tray in there, and turn on this light.” He pointed to a little green light in my suite. “You unlock the box in your suite to get your meal without anyone disturbing you.” There’s nothing like discretion when you’re hosting a lot of honeymooners.
The Royal Suites is part of the 2,000-room Grand Palladium in Bavaro, the Dominican
Republic, a complex that includes Palladium Palace, Palladium Bavaro, and Palladium Punta Cana. It offers 537 suites in 14 three-story buildings with swim-out pools for ground floor guests and two pools for general use that are even larger.
Jacques de Paep, commercial director for North America, calls the Suites “a separate brand from Grand Palladium,” and I can see why. Aside from the amenities mentioned above, this enclave feels quieter and more exclusive than the family resorts. Guests at the other three Palladium resorts may not use the Grand Suites’ restaurants, Le Chanterelle (French a la carte) and Royal Gourmet. By contrast, Royal Suites guests enjoy free use of all the resorts’ 15 restaurants, three theaters, pools, land and watersports, and 20-plus bars. They also get shuttle service around the
I didn’t use the shuttle much, but I’m a New Yorker who enjoys walking. Especially there, because the entire complex is low-rise, with nothing higher than the palm trees. During these strolls I saw quite a few multi-gen families. Often, twentysomething newlywed couples were staying at the Royal Suites while their parents, grandparents, and in-laws with children stayed at nearby Grand Palladium Palace.
My aimless strolls often brought me to good things I hadn’t expected: a must-buy Hawaiian shirt at Diverse, a terrific band at Teatro Merengue, two(!) doctor’s offices, and another mojito at this or that bar. (Have to conduct a taste comparison, right?) Mostly, though, I knew where I was going—generally to one of four places:
1. The beach. “Close your eyes and think of a beach you would like to be on—wide, white, lined with palm trees—and this is that beach,” says de Paep. Sure, he’s paid to say that, but even so, he’s right. Palladium staked out its turf back in the mid-80s, so they were able to get this long, prime stretch of Bavaro beach.
2. The watersports center and dive shop. Because it’s at the center of the beach, it’s an easy walk from all four resorts. The boats are extremely well-maintained, so I enjoyed smooth sailing.
3. The restaurants. Grand Palladium’s six buffet restaurants offer genuinely fresh food and staggering choices. As for the nine a la carte restaurants, La Parrilla looks like an upscale steakhouse, serves tender Angus beef, and prepares it exactly the way you want it. Boghali, the superb Indian restaurant, is run by internationally acclaimed Indian chef Siddhartha Chandiramani, and it shows.
4. The spa. Royal Suites guests get free admission to the spa. It’s pure serenity, with almost no one else there. The spa’s steam room is exceptional, with no skimping on
I was happy in the least expensive room, a 475-sq.-ft. Royal Deluxe Junior Suite (see above for details), which starts at about $300 a night, or a shade below $2,100 a week.
A couple from Ohio invited me to see their Royal Deluxe Suite Swim-up, whose patio they had adorned with a Wildcats banner. Except for that flag (which, no doubt, returned
north with them), their 730-sq.-ft. swim-out was a place where you’d want to hang out for days, and that’s just what they did. From $340, or $2,400 a week. Agent commission is 14 percent.
The Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium: