Arrival This was our fourth year in a row in POP, first at the Sun Village. Check in was easy enough, though the majority of the front desk staff spoke very little english and were less than helpful. We arrived shortly after 1:00 pm and had to wait until 3:30 pm for our room to be ready, despite the fact that half the resort seemed to be empty. We had emailed twice, ahead of time, as we had family arriving a day after us and wanted rooms near one another. When we arrived, we made mention of this again and they said they didn’t have anything near us. Again, half of our building was empty. Once they realized we weren’t going to take no for an answer, they seemed to find a room in the same building as us for our family members. This took three or four separate conversations with different people on different occasions to get straightened out, since no one seemed to want to help.
The "superior" rooms are nice, but very basic. The major benefit of it over the standard is a much larger balcony — I think it was about 12×12. The "superior rooms" on their website with the plasma tv’s and such are not what you’ll find, though they are very clean and comfortable. AC always worked just fine. Rooms could be cleaned any time between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, but were always done very well. Hot water was plentiful, but took some time to get there. Turn the shower on and let it run for a good 3 minutes and you won’t have a problem. We stayed for two weeks and never once did we not have hot water (we were in bldg 308).
Restaurants and Bars
Malibu Buffet – Excellent! We were two adults, two small kids and two seniors and none of us had any trouble locating food that we liked. We often found TOO much! Don’t miss the Dominican Buffet night. So tasty! Sonora Beach Restaurant (daytime) – Basic beach food, like hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. It was close to the beach and the food was decent. If you don’t feel like wandering up to the main restaurant and aren’t looking for anything fancy, give it a shot. Sonora (evening) Mexican a la carte – SLOW service, but the food was good. Try the Sangria — yum!! Lemongrass Asian a la carte – Food was very good, ambiance was excellent. We celebrated my husband’s birthday here. When they came to sing Happy Birthday to him, he’d just gone to take our son to the washroom. Once we told them this, two of the staff took off into the bathroom, banging pots and pans, to find him. It was priceless! Excellent service, very good food.
Citrus Italian a la carte – Food was ok. We saw a rat running across the rafters, which made us not return, nor did we much enjoy our meal after that. I am sure it is hard to keep those critters out, but it really turned us off. When the people at the table next to us brought the rat to the waiter’s attention, he didn’t seem the least bit phased. Ew.
Beach/Pools/Grounds The beach is short, as has been mentioned, but very well tended. Sand is hard-packed, and not soft. TONS of loungers, always. Never any problem locating one, no matter the time of day. Sometimes, shade was hard to come by and, as we were travelling with kids, this was kind of a pain. No palapas anywhere on the beach. When it’s stormy, the waves can get a bit big, but there’s no undertow and the beach/water felt safer to us than the beach at many spots along Playa Dorada. The kids’ pool is fantastic, with its little waterslide. Lots of shade around there and usually not too difficult to find loungers. Every other pool looked very well taken care of. The gardeners work tirelessly to maintain the property and do an excellent job.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The activities staff is very friendly but not overly pushy and if you say no, they leave you alone. There were lots of activities going on near the beach. Went to Ocean World for the second time and it was great, as always. Worth the $$, as the kids really enjoyed it. The road between the resort and Ocean World makes for good walking and is safe, though I don’t know if I’d feel good about walking it alone at night. The beach is public, as any beach in the DR. On the weekends, especially Sundays, you will find this beach loaded with families and local people enjoying the day.
Friendliest staff of any resort we have been to, ever. The Spa is AMAZING and not to be missed! We liked their "Sun Village Signature Massage" so much, we went back for it a second time. The timeshare guys are relentless, but they make a commission off of every person they bring through, not just off of sales, so they’re just doing their job. We took the tour on a rainy day and The Bungalows are gorgeous, though the price tag made us gag. Don’t listen to them when they say it will take 20 minutes — it took us over two hours. If you don’t want to do it, lie and tell them you already have. Isa at the kids’ club is FANTASTIC! Our kids loved her and loved spending a few hours there every couple of days (especially when it was raining). The staff said the resort was at 80% capacity, but it felt pretty empty. Tons of loungers, lots of tables at all the restaurants. I think the longest we waited for a drink was one day at the beach bar when three people were ahead of us. This resort is one of the best we have been to in POP (aside from the rat sighting!) and I would definitely recommend it, aside from the Italian restaurant.
We never go to the same resort twice, so we’re not likely to return, but it is an excellent vacation spot.