Arrived at the resort by midnight (1½hrs late) to the pleasant surprise of a free upgrade for all of us (8ppl) to Elite Club. Off to block 6 to find our rooms; warning, there are not many lights late at night so be careful and perhaps pack a small flashlight in your carryon.
Block 6, on the beach at the far right hand side of the resort. We had 3 rooms on the 3rd floor and one room on the bottom floor for the group. Good size room, mostly marble and tile; large bathroom with 2 sinks, stand up shower and corner jet tub. King size bed (which was quite comfortable), two night stands, dresser, large closet with bath robes, hangers, ironing board & iron and the electronic safe. Walk down two steps to your TV, (open the cabinet for your fridge and coffee maker), day bed, coffee table and out to the patio with 2 chairs, table and drying rack. We tipped our maid $5 USD per day plus a few gifts and we never wanted to anything (towels, beer, water, pop). Note, if you are bringing gifts for the maid be sure they are small enough for them to hide; if they are caught with anything they can lose their jobs.
Restaurants and Bars: Here is where we had to make our only complaints. We were not impressed with either of the buffets and only used them for a small breakfast (both serve champagne in the mornings and vodka) or light lunch (there was beach grill and beach restaurant we used). We tried the main buffet for dinner our first night there but never went back. There is a lot of selection for food but the service is non existent. Not that we are picky people by any means but when you wait for utensils, napkins and coffee every morning and they keep walking by you and not paying attention you get a bit ticked off. In our opinion all of the a la carte restaurants were great with the exception of the Italian. The food was very good there but once again they lacked in service. We were sat at a table in the back room due to the number of people (no problem) and then they seemed to forget about us! After we finished our main course we got tired of waiting for dessert or a refill of wine or offer of coffee and left. All of the other restaurants had very attentive service (especially the Mexican and Spanish) and they all deserved the tips we left. There is a small all night pizzeria under the spa (tucked out of the way in the back) should you have late night munchees and they will get you beer and rum if you ask nicely and slip them a couple of bucks!
Bars: Many to choose from; pool, swim up, lobby, sports bar, two on the beach, one by the small quiet pool, and late night at the pizzeria depending on who is working! Remember, a tip to the bartenders (money or otherwise) will also go a long way and be greatly appreciated in more ways than one.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Resort is lush with lots of trees, flowers, vegetation and quite large. There was never a problem getting loungers by any of the three pools or on the beach. The only bar which had a line up was the lobby bar in the evening but you could get a drink at the Sports Bar or the temp set up off to the side if you didn’t want to wait. Coffee Shop is a big hit and a great change from the usual resort choices. There is a small casino if you like to make a “donation”!. If you walk by the pool with the swim up bar look for Sandra in the Cameleon Club kiosk, she is very friendly and speaks Spanish, French and English fluently and loves to chat (and eat Tootsie Rolls)!
Beach, there is not much to say; Punta Cana beaches are beautiful.
Other Comments: Elite Club: I had read the pros and cons of the “upgrade” before we left so knew a bit of what to expect. Should we choose to return to the resort (which we would for the right price) I would book Elite Club. Your gold bracelet will get you a nice room on the beach, top shelf liquor (which you sign for but are not charged for, this is for them to keep track) should you request it, small bottle of rum and a fruit plate when you arrive, beach towels in your room, free internet, discounts at the spa and water sports. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the resort after reading all of the negative reviews; I guess when they say to go with an open mind and your vacation is what you make it they are correct. If you have any particular questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; please put Barcelo Dominican Beach in the subject line