When I think of a Caribbean vacation, I think about lounging by the pool and on the beach. So of course no resort review would be complete without talking about the pools and Bávaro Beach location of the Grand Palladium resort complex in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Just how many pools? The resort boasts four main pools, the pirate ship themed kids pool, and another three pools in the Grand Turquesa section, one of which was for adults only. We spent most of our time at the main pool by the Kids Club in the Punta Cana section of the resort. The shallow end was about three feet deep so it was just the right depth for Tee to learn how to hold her breath underwater and practice her floating. By the end of our ten day vacation, she had learned to swim about eight or nine feet before having to put her feet down. I was so proud, but you should have seen how proud she was of herself!
At three years old, Kay wasn’t tall enough to touch the bottom so she wore her floaties and stayed close to one of us while she happily splashed around. I love how comfortable she was in the water – I have two little ducklings it seems!
Each pool has a swim up bar and a mini jacuzzi area. Most of the pools close at 7:00 pm (when it gets dark), but one adult pool was open until midnight. I’m sorry to say we didn’t get the chance to grab a late night swim, but it was nice to know the option was there.
We never found the pools overcrowded, and we were always able to find at least two loungers. At other resorts I’ve been to (even in off-peak season) you need to get up ridiculously early to “reserve” a lounger with a towel, but we never had to do that here. Staff regularly walked around the pool checking on our comfort and keeping our drinks refreshed.
The one annoying thing was the people approaching us to sell dolphin swim excursions. The resort also allows locals to bring in pop-up jewelry stands all across the grounds on Mondays and Fridays. I’m a true Canadian girl, eh, so the first few times I tried to be polite and listen to the salespeople’s pitch, but then I realized I was spending far too much time explaining all the reasons why I didn’t want to go on an expedition or buy another necklace. It’s not my first inclination to walk away from someone talking to me, but I soon realized they would keep talking and talking unless I learned to say, “No, thank you,” with a smile and keep walking or turn away.
A long stretch of beautiful Bávaro Beach was about five minutes (eight with the toddler) from the door of our room. When you think of a Caribbean beach, this is it. Soft, white sand and stunning, turquoise waters. Unfortunately, there was also a fair amount of seaweed on the beach at this time of year. I saw workers cleaning and grooming the beach regularly, but you can’t argue with the tides.
Of course we visited the beach several times, during the day and in the evening. I took a couple of brief dips in the warm Caribbean ocean, but my weird children didn’t like the sand sticking to their skin and the waves were too strong for them to play in, so after making a quick sand castle or grabbing a drink at one of the five beach bars, we retreated back to the pool. Older families will enjoy the waves and the warm water, taking a ride on a speed boat, or even parasailing, but my girls were too young yet.
On one of our walks along the beach, we saw a lovely couple getting married on the sand. Sigh. If I had it to do all over again…
Even though this was a family vacation, hubby and I were able to take several sunset and moonlit walks along the beach while the kids were playing at the Kids Club. Since having kids there hasn’t been much time for those romantic walks, and it was such a delight to be able to do it again, in the same place where we honeymooned almost ten years ago.
Looking through all my pictures and writing this post has me yearning for those lazy, sunny days and tropical nights with nothing to do but relax. If I had my way, this would be an annual trip for us!
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.