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Vacation – Food Allergy edition

I have been fortunate enough to have never developed an allergy (that I know of) in my life.  We thought my daughter was allergic to shrimp/shellfish but after some testing with a specialist, we discovered it was FPIES (pronounced Eff-Pies).  It was such a relief to learn that we wouldn’t need an EpiPen for the rest of her life but it really made me think and wonder how I could serve my clients with life threatening allergies.

That decorative almond paste trim on the cake at the desert bar, the cream & cheese added in the pasta sauce, the peanut oil used to stir-fry – the potential for danger is everywhere.

This sent me off to do some research and I must say – it was hard to find vacation properties that made an effort to accommodate those with food allergies.

Other than Disney, and a few cruiselines, I was able to only find one large chain with properties in Dominican Republic, Brazil, Jamaica, Italy, Spain, and Mexico that has made a promise to try their best to accommodate these guests.

During a hosted site-visit in Punta Cana, I visited the Grand Palladium complex and learned about the company’s committment to help those with food allergies.  This is what they provided me:

 

Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts : food allergies menu

Eating away from home while on vacation can cause some serious concerns for those who have food allergies and who need to follow a special diet. With this in mind, Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts has created the Palladium Dietary Card program. Learn more about it below:

With menus designed for guests with allergies to nutsdairy products and lactose—and that also feature gluten-free dishes—Palladium takes your dietary needs seriously. It has thought of everything so that you can have a worry-free vacation.

With Palladium, travelling is all about joy, relaxation and peace of mind. And let’s not forget treating the taste buds!

How to access the menu?

  • Contact the Front Desk or Guest Services to let them know about your allergies/food intolerances.
  • You’ll be given a card that clearly indicates your allergies/food intolerances.
  • Show this card at the resort restaurants, and the maître d’hôtel, executive chef or food and beverage manager will assist you.

Disclaimer

Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts will make reasonable efforts to prevent the introduction of allergens into the food by paying close attention during their sourcing, preparation and handling processes. They cannot guarantee that allergens were not introduced during another stage of production or, even inadvertently, during preparation. Please note that Palladium resorts do not have separate kitchens to cook with allergen-free items or separate dining areas for guests with allergies or food intolerances.

 

Research is tiring but necessary (or reach out to me!).  Try to find reviews and see what other’s experiences have been with the program.  I was able to find some reviews that discussed the issue of inconsistencies.  Some saying that the chef would actually walk the guest through the cooking areas to ease any anxieties.  I thought that was helpful.

Overall, Palladium will be a go-to for me when I learn a client has food allergies.

Here are some TIPS (at Palladium properties or wherever you book):

  • Speak to the hotel manager upon arrival.
  • Learn how to communicate your allergy/allergies in the native tongue to the resort you are visiting. If you are worried you won’t get it right, print out the translation on a piece of paper and carry it with you everywhere (maybe laminate it if you plan on being poolside!)
  • Insist and persist – many cultures cook with nut oils or animal fat and don’t think it couldn’t possibly be bad for you – like peanut allergies are barely a concern in the Caribbean.  Another example, recently I was speaking to a Sales Manager of a popular resort in Mexico.  I asked him about their vegan offering and he said “Mexican’s don’t even understand what the word is because it basically doesn’t exist…” in their culture.  Finding Vegan resorts is another post for another day!
  • and for Travel Agents, don’t forget to make sure you notify the airline that your client has an allergy.

This program is available Mexican and Caribbean properties.

If you have dietary needs but still want to enjoy your vacation, feel free to reach out to me. Let’s set-up a call and I’ll guide you through choosing the best optioncalendly.com/theurbantraveler/15min

 

Jasmin Linton, TICO licensed Travel Agent

[email protected]

Visit me on Instagram, @Urban_Traveler

Visit my Expedia webpage, expediacruises.ca/en-CA/JasminLinton