A few weeks ago, my family and I had the opportunity to take our very first family vacation together. We decided to take the girls to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, where hubby and I went on our honeymoon almost nine years ago. I hate to say it, but that was our last real vacation. So much has happened since then! I finished my degree, changed jobs twice, we bought a new house, and then along came these two little girls!
For a long time I was reluctant to consider taking a “real” vacation. You know, one where you go somewhere far away from home, probably in a plane, for at least a week. Sure we’ve gone camping as a family, but I don’t think that really counts as a vacation to most people. (Hubby would agree with them, seeing as he’s our camp cook!)
I just felt the kids were too young. Who wants to fly with a baby? What will we do with the kids when we’re there? Europe would be wonderful for me, but boring for a 3-year-old. I’ve been wanting a relaxing all-inclusive vacation on a tropical beach for years, but it’s not a vacation if I’m constantly chasing my toddler around to stop her from drowning herself.
A friend suggested looking into a resort with a kids club. Someone to watch and play with my kids for a while so I can actually relax by the pool? I like that idea! Almost all the places I looked at only offered childcare for older kids though. Five years old or sometimes four and up. Well, that wasn’t very helpful to me. And then I saw a mention of a resort with a Baby Club on TripAdvisor. In Punta Cana, where we wanted to go, the Grand Palladium all-inclusive resort caters to families with children of all ages, including babies and toddlers. I knew that was where I wanted to go!
There’s so much to talk about that I’ve broken it down into parts to keep it easy to read. In this part I just want to share a little bit about the resort itself. Like many of the larger hotels in the Caribbean, the Grand Palladium is actually a huge complex of several smaller resorts: Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites Resort & Spa, Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino, Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, and The Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium. We stayed in the Bávaro section which is a little quieter, but still close to the Baby Club and Kids Club.
After a long, exhausting plane ride and a 30 minute cab ride from Punta Cana International Airport, we were greeted with cold drinks for everyone.
Check-in was quick and friendly, and we got a mini tour of the complex during the golf cart ride to our room. That’s not to say we didn’t get lost multiple times our first few days, but every little bit helps, right?
We stayed in a Family Master Junior Suite with two double beds and a fold out couch. The girls don’t share a room at home, but they were pretty excited about sharing a bed on vacation. Our room came with a play tent and kids table, and the kids moved half of their stuff into the tent the moment we stepped into the room.
Our room was clean and cool, and we were greeted by robes, slippers, pretty towel swans, and fresh flowers when we came in. Aaah!
The extra large bathroom had a big jacuzzi tub, separate shower, and screened off toilet area. With a family of four, the extra space was really nice! The room also had a flat screen LCD TV and a fully stocked mini fridge, but honestly we didn’t spend much time in the room. Instead we explored the resort, lounged by the pool, played with the kids, ate and drank (and didn’t wash one single dish!), and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Hubby and I even got to sneak in a few sunset walks on the beach!
For families with even younger children, the Grand Palladium offers a Family Kit add-on where parents can order a la carte supplies like baby food, diapers, and formula. Our bathroom also came with a baby bathtub, a potty, and a smaller toilet seat to adapt the toilet for bitty bums so they don’t fall in. It’s those little touches that made the room and resort so welcoming for us and the kids.
The Grand Palladium has tons of other rooms of course. Best bet for families are the junior suites which come with a little extra room for comfort’s sake. Next time I’d love to stay in one of the swim up junior suites and relax in the private pool right outside my deck!
Keep reading in Part II to learn about all the things for kids to do at the Grand Palladium (and see lots of pictures of the kids having fun!), Part III: What to Eat, Part IV: The Pools & Beach, and Part V: Things for Parents to Do.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary stay for review. Nevertheless, all opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ.