the travel geek

"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form."

Los Centros Turísticos (Resorts)

I find that with the resorts they’re all basically the same except each one has it’s quirks. The last resort we were at had beach towels galore but you couldn’t find shampoo. Here (the Palladium) our bathroom is full of little shampoo bottles, but for some reason it’s almost impossible to find a clean beach towel. – Woman from Toronto

The biggest adventure for us on this trip were the trials and tribulations that came wrapped up in the big package called hotel. WestJet is a great airline, but when it comes to arranging the accommodations at the end of the flight, they get a less than stellar grade.

When we arrived at our destination in Punta Cana (the Grand Palladium) there were no rooms for any of the people who arrived on WestJet. Headaches ensued.

For some reason, I quickly became the bargainer for the group (probably because I’ve done this a million times in India). It was a typical negotiation that involved head shaking, room upgrades, refreshments, and paid transportation to a new hotel. I was working on beach massages and dance lessons for everyone when the taxi arrived and we were whisked away for one night at the neighbouring resort — the Occidental Grand Flamenco. I suspect this happens all the time because they sprung into action pretty fast and the negotiation process was super easy.

The Flamingo wasn’t a bad place to be. The food was fantastic, beaches beautiful, the staff super friendly, and the evening dance show kept La Niña awestruck for the entire first night. However, we chose to go back to the Palladium because the Flamingo didn’t meet our top three criteria: access to a working safe for valuables, a room with two beds, and kid friendly activities (at some point I began to wonder if La Niña was the only kid actually staying at the resort).

We found lots of kids after we moved back to the Palladium. And, during the next 6 days we learned most of their names through the Mickey Mouse Club House and pool sessions when La Niña would practically leap at other kids and scream, “HOLA! COMO TE LLAMA?” at the top of her lungs. Thank God for the Mickey Mouse shows — they became a highly effective bartering tool and nightly hour of peaceful drinking while La Niña practiced her dance moves on stage.

The previous day’s room upgrade bartering exercise paid off in the form of a deluxe room with hot tub, two beds, safe and amazing views of the beach (back door view below). Scenes around the resort were interesting and rather eclectic.

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