We have travelled to Punta Cana 2-3 times a year for the past 12 years or so and have always stayed in 4, 4+ or 5 star rated resorts. We booked the BBPD through Transat vacations with the expectation of a Prestige Oceanview room. All info indicated these rooms had large balconies with jacuzzi tubs.
far from everything
Upon arrival at the resort, we soon found that the reviews we had read regarding poor service were true. Front desk staff spoke better French than Spanish or English. Check-in wasn’t bad as far as timing and we got our rooms right away, even though it was only past noon.
Rooms: The section our rooms were in was about as far from the main lobby of the Palace Deluxe as you could get. The room did have a beautiful oceanfront view, but the balcony was relatively small and this was the only section with no jacuzzis on them.
They were also outdated and somewhat smaller than other places we have stayed in Punta Cana.
Restaurants and Bars: We were so far away the actual "Deluxe" area of the huge complex, we rarely ate at the buffet there, but on the two occasions we did were thankful to have tables outside, because of the odor in the buffet itself. Also, very poorly organized and set-up of food stations was poor. The buffet at the Convention centre sectopm of the resort was better, as was the little Dominican lunch restaurant and another a la carte with salad bar for which no reservations were required.
We didn’t even bother with the a la cartes that were part of the Palace Deluxe because it was too much of a pain to find where to make the reservations and they had to be made all at the same time for the entire week. A very antiquated set-up, compared to the Ocean Blue/Sand and NH Eden Real where you basically can just walk in to any of the a la cartes and if there are tables available you can get in either right away or are given a beeper to let you know when a table is ready.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach was lovely, as always in Punta Cana. The pool at the Palace Deluxe area was a madhouse with screaming kids and far too crowded with people. Pool area at the Beach and Convention centre was nice, adults only, but showed evidence of age and wear. There were bare electrical cords hanging where lights used to be.
Grounds were very nice, but lots of areas needed pruning of shrubbery and trimming of grass.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We only saw the activities group once during the day, doing a half-hearted dance. No evidence of any games, fun activities for afternoon entertainment. We didn’t go to the main theatre because it was too far to walk and/or wait on the tram. The theatre at the Beach and Convention centre section of the resort was pretty lame, using guests to entertain each other with talent contests, etc. A little of that goes a long way. One night, all they had was Bingo!! I mean, really!?! We only went off resort to El Corecito by taxi as we wanted to look at the area and see a condo we were interested in renting. We spent a couple of hours checking out the grocery store, bakeshop, and a couple of nice little bars.
Also, we spent quite a bit of time at a little bar just where the markets on the beach beside the resort start, called "Aqua". Nice spot, ice cold bottled beer, good tunes.
Other Comments: I guess overall although we knew the place was big, it was waaay to big and impersonal for our liking. It was almost impossible to get help from Guest services and we nearly missed our bus to the airport the last morning because our safe wouldn’t open and we had to wait an hour and a half until staff were in who could open it for us.
It certainly isn’t deserving of a 5 star rating and we would not recommend it or return. We prefer the resorts with fewer than 700 rooms, where the staff are friendly and smiling. There were times we wondered if we were even in The Dominican – the staff at this resort were so indifferent and seemingly unhappy.