Arrival: April 23 – May 7 We booked our vacation with Air Transat, through a travel agent. I asked at the check-in counter about the travel visa and the attendant had no idea what I was talking about, but they handed them out on the plane. The Air Transat airplanes have very uncomfortable seats, compared to many other planes I have been on. We chose them because they flew direct to DR, but we did have a brief layover in Peurto Plata. Customs was a breeze, and baggage was quick and efficient. A porter helped us find our (air conditioned!) bus, and we were off to the hotel. Ours was the last one (of course), so by the time we checked-in, it was about 8pm local time. Check-in was very fast and easy, and the hotel manager happened to be working there. He was very nice and welcoming. We were lead right to our room. Because we booked with a tour, we met with the rep the next morning, and she walked us through the hotel, told us about the water, food, currency, customs, etc and about tour we could go on. For that reason alone, I highly recommend booking with a tour company.
Our room was good. Air conditioned, king size bed, everything was clean and stocked. We had a small balcony with two chairs, which was very nice. We were in room 7225, which is building 7, floor 2, room 25. Housekeeping didn’t usually get there until 4pm, but once we figured that out, things were fine. We left $1 US each day for the maids, and they would spend almost an hour in our room every day. I heard that other rooms at the hotel were newly renovated, but our room was fine. I think all the rooms would be fine. Ours was far away from the big buffet and quiet pool, and faced the wall to the next resort, but that just meant that it was nice and quiet. Note that if you request/get an oceanview room, you will also be facing the pools, bars, etc, and it will be louder for you. But the hotel is in a U-shape, so all the rooms are fairly close to everything. We drove through the Punta Cana Princess next door, and I was amazed how far away some of the rooms were to eve!
rything else! At our resort, nothing was more than a 5 minute walk.
Restaurants and Bars::
The food, in general, was delicious tasting. The buffet was well stocked and had lots of variety. It had an omlette/egg station at breakfast and a pasta bar at dinner. The big buffet was only open 8:30-10:30, 12:30-2:30, and 4:30on, but there was another smaller buffet by the main pool that was open 6am-4pm. They also had an omlette station, and made fresh burgers and fries for the afternoon. The a-la-carte restaurants were all really yummy, especially the Japanese one. The service was great, and everyone was very helpful. Unfortunatley, we got a little sick the first week. I had taken Dukoral, so I wasn’t too bad, but the boyfriend was very sick. Then, the next week, we both got very very sick and didn’t leave our room or eat anything for 2 days. What we decided is DO NOT TOUCH DAIRY. We never drank the milk, but even cheese, yogurt, mousse (the chocolate "mousse," which is actually stiff whipping cream is what made us so terribly sick) is all bad. It’s too bad because it all tasted so so good…
Beach was fantastic, as expected. Never had trouble getting chairs in the shade, we never had to lay out towels early or anything. On the beach they have palm shrubs, that are about 6 feet tall, so you just pull a couple chairs under one of them, and you’re set! The pools were very nice, very clean. The grounds were nice, make sur eyou bring your flip flops, because the walkways get hot! The resort was very nice and clean and pretty.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:: This hotel has a trapeze, and they offer classes everyday. I think that everyone should try this at least once, because really, how many chances in your life do you have to try a trapeze swing (and for free, no less!). They serve premium vodka (Grey Goose) at the "sports" bar downstairs. The casino is super expensive ($10 min per hand), and the payouts are low (for video poker, only 5/4, much lower than the 8/5 in Vegas and most other casinos). We didn’t go to any of the shows in the theatre, but it did have a nice bar, which is fully staffed, but empty before the show starts, so a good place to hit if you want quick service after dinner. We rented boogey boards (for free) one day, but the waves aren’t strong, so we mostly just floated around. The kids pool looked fine, but in general I don’t think this hotel is best suited for little kids.
We went on Bavaro Runners Jeep tour, which was great, I highly recommend. The tour is awesome, the guide is hilarious, and the booze is included! Great photo ops, and a chance to see more of the "real" island. We also went on a sunset/happy hour cruise, with Tropical Storm. It was disappointing. The cruise itself was fine, but the snorkeling was only for 30 minutes of a 4 hour cruise, and the food was awful. The support staff were rude and extremely sexual, which I found very offensive. For example, I was heading to the bathroom (I was a bit seasick) and one of them grabbed me and pulled me onto his lap, as if I was supposed to give him a lap dance. When I forcefully said no, and pushed his arms off me, he looked at me like I was crazy and shot me dirty looks all day. Not worth the $109US, even if there was a ton of booze included.
Other Comments:: Overall, our trip was great. Even with getting sick, I think I would still go back to this hotel. The service was FANTASTIC, the resort was clean, and the beach was to die for! Except for $1 for the maids, we never tipped, and no one seemed to have a problem with that.
Suggestion: bring a travel coffee mug or other insulated mug, and use it at the bars. That was your drink will stay cold much longer, and you won’t have to go get refills as often (the glasses they use are only about 5-6 oz, quite small).
Suggestion: bring a couple boxes of crackers, granola bars, chips, etc because sometimes you just want a snack, but don’t want to trek down to the buffet. Or, if you get a little sick, having a "normal" granola bar will settle your stomach.
You are on vacation, there to relax. Have a good time, and don’t worry about too much. We met a couple who changed rooms 5 times(!!). Everything they thought was "wrong" with the room would have been fine with us. For example, our TV remote only worked when it felt like…who cares?? We weren’t there to watch TV! Also, the hot water would sometimes cut in and out. Again, who cares? Most of the time you’re so hot you want a cool shower anyways. Or sometimes they didn’t have face cloths. If you need to wash your face that badly, use the corner of a hand towel. Another person tried to order Raspberry Stoli, and of course, they didn’t have any. They have a ton of fun drinks, let the bartender make you something. If you don’t like it, it’s all included, so just order something else. You’re on vacation. Relax!! Enjoy!!