BEST VACATION EVER. The Palace is absolutely amazing--beautiful open-air lobby, polished marble and dark wood everywhere, including guest rooms. Animacion staff is fabulous, wait staff is beyond attentive--we told our waiters about my mothers birthday at the beginning of our stay (just mentioned it, really) and when the big day finally rolled around at the end of the vacation we were greeted with a bougonvilia-covered table, candles, a cake and a serenade by several of the waiters, one of whom was playing a drum. Buffet-style food was wonderul with plenty of variety including some of the most fabulous breads and cheeses I've ever had. The grounds are immaculate, a testament to the ubiquitous janitorial/maintenance staff who can be seen mopping, sweeping, polishing, dusting, etc. at any point in the day. Astounding beauty aside, the real charm of this hotel is in the people who work there. They are fabulously warm and funny and manage to make each and every guest feel like the most important one.
The beaches are amazing, water sports readily available (non-motorized are free of additional charge), everything is within walking distance, yet separated enough so that it never seems crowded. Pacha, the disco, is an intensely american/european experience, however I'm told that the merengue and bachata happens later in the evening, 2-3AM. Caribbean street is quaint in a Disney-esque sort of way, but when you're as relaxed as this place will make you, thoughts of leaving the resort complex seem almost tedious. Nonetheless, a plethora of tours are available through the different tour agencies.
I can't wait to go back!