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Married or going to be married at Grand Palladium Punta Cana?


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#771 sungoddess_08

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    Posted 19 December 2009 - 03:27 PM

    Also - I am not sure what to do about music - my fiance is a DJ here but in nightclubs, he HATES wedding dj's, and is pretty picky. So I'm not sure if we should just do the Ipod thing and bring it down ourselves, so we have a selection that caters to our guests more, or what.

    What do you all plan to do for music? I'm pretty sure that mine would Dj our own wedding if I would let him lol

    #772 Nonnie

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      Posted 19 December 2009 - 04:13 PM

      OK here is my massive review

      Air Travel: C
      Air Transat from Edmonton to Punta Cana
      Our group at this point was unhappy with air transat, they drastically lowered the price of our trip as soon as we paid our fees, and despite letters and emails sent did not do a thing to compensate us or at least acknowledge how frustrated it made us feel. At this point I would have given them a D.
      The flight was cramped, the fact Mark is on a work permit with a dutch passport was a HUGE fuss (for a moment I thought they were not going to let him on the flight!). Mark and I had to insist on our perks (champage, free drink etc) to get them. The seats were terrible, and the aisles so narrow it was impossible to get passed people.
      One at the resort things were much better. Mark and I were upgraded to a romance suite (fantastic!) and the Imperial club concierge (Waldin) was the most helpful wonderful guy we met there. He even worked to arrange group dinners for us even though half our group were not with the imperial club.
      Come the end of our week at the Palladium Mark and I were supposed to go to La Romana for our second week and were strongly regretting this decision since he hardly got to visit his friends he had not seen for 2 years, same with his parents and we had grown very fond of the resort. We mentioned our feelings to Waldin, who said it would be possible to change our minds and set us up with the Air Transat rep. Long story short, we were able to stay, but it cost us $110 for half the taxi ride that we had to cancel, and $200 in contract breaking fees and administrative fees. We are happy we did it though, and Air Transat made us feel much better about them then
      On the way home we had to fight for the privileges we had on the way home, though I think this was more the airport's fault, it was very frustrating.

      Hotel rooms
      Romance suite A-
      This room was fantastic, outdoor side room area with a hammock and a shower, big jacuzzi, etc. bed was hard though, but we slept alright. Bit far from the lobby were our group tended to meet, but it helped me burn off some Pina Colada calories. I would give it an A+, but the night before we were going to leave for La Romana, sewage started backing up into our tub and shower. YUCK!!! Initially we thought it was clean water, then soon it was clearly worse then that. What a stench! We went to the front deck to complain and they handled it very very very well, and we got a gift as an apology, a basket of coffee, rum, a candle etc. They cleaned the room up well so we stayed there when we arranged to remain at the resort. Another problem, our AC seems to leak. My Grandma's leaked worse and unfortunately they were full so she could not change rooms and at one point slipped. I wish they did something about that. I cut them some slack since those buildings are probably not easy to maintain and the resort was full.

      Hotel amenities/entertainment
      Bavaro Section A
      The hotel is beautiful! The pools were wonderful, the bars fantastic, the beach incredible! We got glimpses of several other resorts when we went on excursions and the Palladium is by far the nicest.
      The animation team was fun, but be warned that if you start playing games with them it will eat up your afternoon. They can also be a bit annoying around the pools when they are trying to start something.
      The disco was fun, the 70s 80s night was the best since animation team was all dressed up. All ages welcome, even my 74 year old grandma had a bast.
      The theatre shows were varied in type and quality. The Magic show was real fun, and the brazillian circus group incredible but some of the dance shows seemed to lack in terms of the technical work. I work in theater so it really bugs me when the lights and sound are bad or when dancers are out of sync and start to undress for a quickchange before they have left the view of the audience. Mark mentioned that the shows are “meant to impress half-drunk tourists” so I needed to keep an open mind. I think he is right.

      Food
      B
      Generally the food quality was touch and go and both the buffet and a la cartes. Usually the chicken was dry at the a la cartes and not cooked well enough at the buffet. It was better then I expected though and there was lots of choice. My favorite was the Italian and Mexican. The Brazillian was terrible and the spanish mains were not so good (the beef filet could have been made into shoes). If there is a problem, complain and they will deal with it. I tended to eat just cold stuff for lunch which was the 'safer' choice.

      Hotel staff
      A
      Wow what a great group of people. I mean sometimes you'd get someone having a bad day, but they all seemed very kind and happy. I felt well taken care of anytime I dealt with the staff. Btw be prepared to be flirted with, especially in the disco, it's kind of cute.


      Outside vendors
      guys by pool with tables of stuff, excursion sellers, photo session sellers D
      Gah, this guys got annoying fast! My suggestion learn “No Gracias!” and avoid them like the plague. Some were polite, but most annoyed the hell out of me.
      Btw if you go to shop in a nearby town have lots of energy and limited amounts of cash. Be prepared to be hassled. I am forgiving since this is how they make their money. But if they would have left me a alone I would have been inclined to shop, as is I hardly bought a thing.


      Royal Suites C
      For our last 3 nights Mark and I decided to upgrade to the Royal suites, If we had planned on staying for 2 weeks in the first place, this would have been complimentary, instead we had to pay for it.
      What a mistake! The furniture in the rooms was lovely, but it was very open so If I needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I had to turn on a light that would wake Mark up. The Jacuzzi in this room was more bathtub sized, whereas in the romance (and Junior suites) of the Bavaro it was big enough for two. The picture on the poster advertising the upgrade showed the “Cabana suites” but did not say that, so we thought that is what we were getting, instead we got the standard room. Needless to say we were disappointed by the room. The WiFi was terrible and although the swim up room was nice it did not make up for other things lacking.
      The Gourmet restaurant is fantastic though! I wish we could have just paid to go there. Don't order the rabbit though, it was impossible to chew or cut (apparently rabbit is like that, I did not know). Filet Minion was the best I've ever had.
      Over all I would NOT recommend paying for this upgrade, for the $360 it cost us it did not feel worth it. It's rather dull over here, hence the fact I am starting my review while I'm there. Maybe you can inquire about arranging dinner at the gourmet though.

      WEDDING

      Wedding Coordination A++++
      Carolina is FANTASTIC! I ended up slipped more money into her tip after the ceremony. She deals with so many couples, but I never felt like I was not special. She was attentive to the fact that I wanted my symbolic ceremony to appear as real as possible. Always reassuring to talk to and dealt with surprises very well. For example we arranged to have a beach party, but then it started raining so we had to move it under a roof and she was very good at involving us in this decision and was apologetic (even though it was hardly her fault). I think she is the busiest person at this resort. A few days later she left on a well deserved vacation

      Flowers A+
      Once you get here Carolina will let you flip through a binder full of flower options, upgrades were less money then I expected. I paid $35 to upgrade to a white rose and orchid bouquet that was exquisite. I also paid $25 for a matching wrist flower for my MOH, and I think Mark's boutonni¨re came with my bouquet. We forgot to get a boutonni¨re for Mark's brother (Best Man) but my mom ended up making one from a flower she picked on the grounds that was lovely. The floral center piece that came with the package was all we ended up needing since we went with one big table for dinner and everyone was amazed we did not need to pay extra. There are lots of options, more then you get when you email Carolina to ask. I recommended she pdf her catalog to send inquisitive brides.

      Cake A
      Really really good cake, we went with vanilla with strawberries. It was way way more then we needed for our group of 18 ppl, so we told the staff to share the leftovers amongst themselves. Only complaint was that the strawberries were not throughout, so the piece Mark and I ended up with after we served everyone else did not have any fruit (3d layer from top)

      Ceremony A+
      Realistic, beautiful and the afternoons entertainment for those on the beach (it was ok since there is a security guard and most ppl are respectful. It was actually fun to have a big crowd watching). After the ceremony we did a champagne toast (I'm pretty sure there was more then the 1 bottle there, but we did not pay extra) we cut the cake, much fun and did a sand ceremony that Carolina did a great job setting up (Best part of the sand ceremony was that it made the trip back home!). There were waiters before and after.

      Dinner B
      My biggest complaint about the wedding day was the dinner. Although I asked for La Uva, our group was too small so Carolina had us in La Arrecife, which was the Steak and Seafood place. She arranged for us to be on the outside area under a thatched roof close to the ocean. The place we were set up was just right for a max of 18-20 people. The location was great! Much better then La Uva and we loved it. The issue was the food. The appetizer selection was all seafood, except for an onion soup. Mark and several others in our group don't like seafood, so we were stuck with the soup. I suggested to Carolina that they figure out some flexibility. We also had to pick one main, one dessert, one appetizer for everyone. This was tough. The food tasted alright, but I have had better. The waiters were good.

      Party: A
      So our beach party had to be moved due to weather, Carolina had the staff move the dinner tables (she busied herself assisting) and we used the same location. The bar was right there (under the same roof) which was convenient, it was close to the bathrooms (great since some people had travelers sickness) and near our rooms. Bar tender and waitress were wonderful. We paid $9 per person
      We ended up using the DJ and sound system, which cost us a total of $200 USD. I am glad we did this since a surprising amount of people in our group ended up dancing (albeit, not very well). The DJ seemed to struggle with our western rock and roll (mostly 60s and 70s stuff) and kept switching to R+B which we had made it clear we did not like. There was some entertaining culture clash going on between Mark and the DJ that had resulted in a ceasefire with Caribbean music punctuated with the Beatles and other classics.
      SUGGESTION: do not bring all your music and first dance some on a USB stick, it is impossible for the DJ to navigate. We ended up having to go get Mark's laptop to find “Real Love” by the Beatles without going through all 8 hours of music..

      Photography
      Resort photographer, Andres A+
      The resort is paired up with a company that runs the shops and photographers. They are everywhere with their cameras trying to sell you photo sessions or taking pictures of you with lizards, parrots or a small monkey (which you buy later at their headquarters for $10 each) Anytime I saw their work I was impressed and Andres was great. We decided to go with the platinum package for $750 USD since we would get the original pictures (Mark wanted to do some of his own editing) and I am glad we did since we got a beautiful digital book for my mom to give to my dad who was hospitalized during the trip. I HIGHLY recommend these guys. You don't need to plan in advance or pay a deposit and they do great work. Rates are also cheaper then other photographers I looked at and you won't need to pay the $100 for a day pass. I'll be posting pictures on Flicker and post the link soon

      Videographer
      Resort photographers, (can't remember his name, nice guy though, usually the editor) A
      We were not going to have a videographer, but ended up making a special arrangement due to my father's hospitalization. We arranged to have just the ceremony filmed with minimal editing for $200usd. The package offered was $400 for the whole day (which I did not want, who wants to be videoed getting dressed?) He did a great job, used a small handheld. Did some fun interviews with the guests while they were waiting and did more editing then we expected. He did cut out some stuff in editing I would have liked to keep in.

      Bavaro Hospital
      I guess I am one of few returning brides who gets to comment on this. I don't feel I can give it a letter grade since I am not the one who was hospitalized, but I thought it was pretty impressive. It was clean, well staffed with professionals and had really nice rooms (nicer actually then the room my dad was in back in Edmonton). Apparently they have someone who will take care of rearranging flights and dealing with insurance, but my In Laws never received any help, which was dissapointing.

      Excursions
      -Segway: Fun, and you see some nice sights of Playa Blanca the nearby celebrity hot spot but make sure you listen when they tell you how to use the thing. My Father in Law tried to get off the wrong way, fell and ended up in the Bavaro hospital because his ribs fractured and punctured his lung. Nice way to end the vacation. He is doing much better now, but my inlaws now have to stay an extra week before he is good to fly (I'm not sure how much of hardship this is)

      -Manate Park: worth the $30 if you go to the shows. Dolphin, parrot, seal and horse show were great, The Taino show and village were a joke. The village was just more people trying to sell you stuff and the show was hardly authentic.

      -Trip to Santa Domingo with Hotel Beds tour company: DON”T GO! Our tour guide (who called herself Fat Mama) kept switching into French, even though the handfull of french people on the tour told her to do it in English (we had more dutch people on the tour then french). I could go on about how terrible this is, but this review is already way to long. Just don't, if you want to go see if you can find a reputable driver who will take you and stay with you for the day acting as a guide. It may cost a little more (we paid $80 pp) but you will have more choice as to what you spend time seeing.

      Suggestions
      -bring US cash, not Canadian. They will take Canadian, but it is a bit of a hassle
      -don't pay for an upgrade to the Royal suites
      -for Oot bags
      -skip the mug, hardly anyone used it
      -put in extra immodium in the first aid kits and big bandaids
      -but in talcum power/baby powder and/or blister cream
      -make sure your man has several pairs of trousers since you will need them for the a la cartes
      -bring lots of clothes, laundry is very expensive
      -Make sure you have travel and health insurance, my In laws were pretty glad they did.


      whew, done there it is. Feel free to ask lots of questions

      #773 caribbeanLover

      caribbeanLover
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        Posted 19 December 2009 - 07:28 PM

        I've only gotten through half your review lol
        I just wanted to comment on the rooms- I book the royal suite (duluxe suite) and we are only paying $200 p/p more. SO I will consider myself lucky. I hope it'll be worth it.
        I am sure I'll have a lot more to say later on. I am so happy you had an amazing wedding you came out happy!! :) Also happy you enjoyed your vacation/honeymoon)
        http://i1002.photobu..../img-239-1.jpg http://i1002.photobu....0/img-21-1.jpg
        Tracy and Mike

        Married and in love all over again!!!!!!
        Happily ever after...

        #774 caribbeanLover

        caribbeanLover
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          Posted 19 December 2009 - 07:32 PM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by sungoddess_08
          Also - I am not sure what to do about music - my fiance is a DJ here but in nightclubs, he HATES wedding dj's, and is pretty picky. So I'm not sure if we should just do the Ipod thing and bring it down ourselves, so we have a selection that caters to our guests more, or what.

          What do you all plan to do for music? I'm pretty sure that mine would Dj our own wedding if I would let him lol
          I am doing my own music. I am putting it on my Ipod (I bought for the wedding) and will buy a loud speaker/docking system.
          But I am consider one thing. If it's going to cost me 150$ or more to get a decent enough docking system. And there will be the chance it wont be loud enough. So do I just hire them to set up speakers which is $200. Or do I just get the dj for 3 hours for $250.
          I just don't know. I will take a look at that on boxing day.
          http://i1002.photobu..../img-239-1.jpg http://i1002.photobu....0/img-21-1.jpg
          Tracy and Mike

          Married and in love all over again!!!!!!
          Happily ever after...

          #775 Nonnie

          Nonnie
          • Jr. Member
          • 172 posts

            Posted 19 December 2009 - 08:43 PM

            Quote:
            Originally Posted by caribbeanLover
            I am doing my own music. I am putting it on my Ipod (I bought for the wedding) and will buy a loud speaker/docking system.
            But I am consider one thing. If it's going to cost me 150$ or more to get a decent enough docking system. And there will be the chance it wont be loud enough. So do I just hire them to set up speakers which is $200. Or do I just get the dj for 3 hours for $250.
            I just don't know. I will take a look at that on boxing day.
            for $200 USD I got both the sound system and the DJ. I think they adjusted the price recently because in early November you had to pay more then that to also have the DJ. Perhaps they realized it was risky setting up the equipment and not having someone who understands it working it.

            #776 Nonnie

            Nonnie
            • Jr. Member
            • 172 posts

              Posted 19 December 2009 - 08:45 PM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by caribbeanLover
              I've only gotten through half your review lol
              I just wanted to comment on the rooms- I book the royal suite (duluxe suite) and we are only paying $200 p/p more. SO I will consider myself lucky. I hope it'll be worth it.
              I am sure I'll have a lot more to say later on. I am so happy you had an amazing wedding you came out happy!! :) Also happy you enjoyed your vacation/honeymoon)
              since you booked the delux suite I'm sure it will be worth it. You will find that area of the resort to be very quiet, so if you want to join in some of the Animation team fun you'll want to head over to the next 'regular' section's pool or beach area. It's a huge resort, but nothing feels too far away

              #777 caribbeanLover

              caribbeanLover
              • Sr. Member
              • 1,619 posts

                Posted 20 December 2009 - 01:45 AM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Nonnie
                for $200 USD I got both the sound system and the DJ. I think they adjusted the price recently because in early November you had to pay more then that to also have the DJ. Perhaps they realized it was risky setting up the equipment and not having someone who understands it working it.
                Oh that's really good to know, I think I made my mind up. I think I'll just go with the DJ then. After all it's probably what I'll spend on a docking system. ANd I really don't need one after the wedding. I could see myself using it once a year. Not sure it's worth it... I don't know lol ... sooo indecisive!!
                I appreciate you sharing that info so much. I feel bad for you in a since I am going to be bothering you with so much questions until April lol.. if you can last that long.
                SOrry in advance for all the questions I may have for you
                since you booked the delux suite I'm sure it will be worth it. You will find that area of the resort to be very quiet, so if you want to join in some of the Animation team fun you'll want to head over to the next 'regular' section's pool or beach area. It's a huge resort, but nothing feels too far away
                Oh good, I am excited to get the whole butler service and all ,since it's not something we would normally splurg on.
                Our guest will be staying on the other side Punta Cana section. So We will mostly be over on the other sections for the pools/beach and dinning. Altho I will take advatange of the Royal restaurant. Especially the day after our wedding.. it'll be our only escape from our guest lol.
                Thanks again!!
                http://i1002.photobu..../img-239-1.jpg http://i1002.photobu....0/img-21-1.jpg
                Tracy and Mike

                Married and in love all over again!!!!!!
                Happily ever after...

                #778 caribbeanLover

                caribbeanLover
                • Sr. Member
                • 1,619 posts

                  Posted 20 December 2009 - 02:32 AM

                  ceremony:
                  did it follow exactly like that, ceremony, cake cutting, sand ceremony?

                  I am really sorry about your father. How is he doing now?

                  again thank you so much for your amazing and detailed review!!! It's been so helpful
                  http://i1002.photobu..../img-239-1.jpg http://i1002.photobu....0/img-21-1.jpg
                  Tracy and Mike

                  Married and in love all over again!!!!!!
                  Happily ever after...

                  #779 Nonnie

                  Nonnie
                  • Jr. Member
                  • 172 posts

                    Posted 20 December 2009 - 02:34 PM

                    If I remember correctly we did ceremony,
                    then they moved the table over for signing,
                    then set up the sand ceremony on the same table,
                    then moved that over to make room for the cake which they had to take away quickly after the picture so it would not get sand on it.

                    #780 caribbeanLover

                    caribbeanLover
                    • Sr. Member
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                      Posted 20 December 2009 - 02:46 PM

                      Great,
                      DId you guest stand up while you did the signing of the papers?
                      I am wondering, as I prefer my guest to be seated for the sand ceremony. Will I have to get everyone back seated.
                      http://i1002.photobu..../img-239-1.jpg http://i1002.photobu....0/img-21-1.jpg
                      Tracy and Mike

                      Married and in love all over again!!!!!!
                      Happily ever after...




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