Arrival: April 17 – 24 Just a short 20 minutes from the PC airport. Luggage arrival quick and easy, apple tour buses ready and waiting and a nice cool welcome drink at reception.Check in was excellent. Room was available upon arrival.Didn’t take long to settle in and start enjoying the sunshine! For us, it feels like coming home. We have tried another resort in the PC area and made the best of it, but we keep coming back to the Grand Oasis time and time again. We are probably planning on returning to Puerto Plata in the spring and will probably stay at the Grand Oasis Marien. We get home and are ready to go again!
We are repeaters and have come to love Block 7. Jr. Suite wonderful as always. Beach was our back yard. Great for watching sunrises from the patio. Maid Service was excellent, no problems with safe and no problems (in 9 years) with anything being stolen from our room and we have left valuables out in the open. Use common sense, put your passports and wallets in the safe and perhaps if you brought a priceless piece of jewelry and don’t feel 100% safe, perhaps you shouldn’t have brought it or perhaps ask the hotel to place it in their safe. Building 5 is also enjoyable especially the third floor with cathedral ceilings. If you have young kids who still enjoy an afternoon nap, perhaps when booking ask not to be placed by main pool area.
Restaurants and Bars:
Windows for breakfast is just wonderful. We have a new secret dining destination, Aqua and spent many a evening there for dinner. Atmosphere was relaxing, romantic and the food was just wonderful. This restaurant is part of the Bavaro suites, but we were able to frequent. The Italian ala cart is also a favorite. Didn’t find the opportunity to try the new Japanese venue, because we really enjoyed Aqua. Best kept little secret of the resort! SHHHHHHHHHH…. The Beach Bar is great for lunch and the burgers, fried chicken and fries are hard to beat! Windows also offers variety for dinner as well. I have never experienced any problems with the food in all the years we have been visiting and often think people tend to indulge in too much sun, alcohol and food and when they start to feel the effects, of course it had to be only the food! Take a tummy test drive the first day or two and see how it goes…Also a good tip is to bring all "pharmacy" items with you from home. Cheaper that way…
Beach is wonderful and great for swimming and morning walks. The staff does a wonderful job of raking the seaweed and the temperature was just great. If you like a lot of afternoon activity the main pool area is great, but we prefer the adult pool for relaxation. This pool also has its own bar with Nicholas, who is one of the resorts nicest bartenders. The layout of this resort is great. Small enough to navigate, but never feels like it is crowded even when the hotel is at full capacity. If you have teens, this is a great resort that allows them to venture off a bit without the worries. My kids have outgrown the kids club and going to the DR has now become our week away from the kids, but when they visited and were younger the Kids Club was pretty fantastic.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
Since we have been to the Dominican Republic 9 times, we have done more than our share of excursions and have come to appreciate just relaxing and enjoying the people and the sun. Over the years we have found the Soana Island and Outback excursions the most educational and enjoyable. The half day Outback trip was a great addition a few years ago since the full tour is a very long day. Don’t be afraid to venture off the resort either. The shops down the road are great fun to shop at and there is also a new little bar just outside the shops that is a lot of fun as well. Do what you feel comfortable with. We recently stayed in Puerto Plata on our own this past October and am so glad we did it. The tour guides have a tendency to "keep you on the resort" for their own benefit. Just take common sense with you and you will be fine, just like you would anywhere else. The DR has a lot of history to offer and it is a great place to explore! The vendors on the beach are trustworthy. Captain Cooks is a great experience, but stay away from a newer tour group, Tuitti Fruity. Just not as organized as some of the more experienced guys on the beach. The vendors even at the resort, if you are not interested, politely say so and they may nudge one more time, but they got it. I have fun with them and a good rule of thumb is 1/3 of first asking price. But remember everyone has to make a living, so don’t be insulting either.
Other Comments:: Ladies, we all pack enough and probably too much clothing…please wear some of those clothes to breakfast! I appreciate that we are all on vacation, but really, save the bathing suit (even with the cover up) for the beach or pool, it is only a few 100 yards away and is not going anywhere) and as I mentioned this resort layout is great and it would take only a few minutes to go back after breakfast and then change into your suit. As far as "chair saving", we spent many a morning drinking our coffee on the patio watching this ritual. Not my cup of tea, but it provided early morning entertainment. I don’t believe in this practice, there are enough chairs either in sun or shade for everyone, but I guess it happens at all the resorts. I believe it is a bit rude if you place your towel at 5:30 am and don’t come back for hours. Also if you have some extra room in your luggage for some school supplies, throw them in. Any items are always appreciated and accepted. Any remember your maids. That is probably one of my favorite rituals before visiting, picking up the maid’s gifts for the week. The staff at this resort is great (tipping at an all inclusive is not required, but don’t we basically tip if the service is appreciated?) and remember no one or any place is perfect so if you are experiencing some sort of problem, approach it with courtesy and a smile because remember you are on vacation,, enjoy yourself and BE HAPPY!!!