Arrival: First visit to DR. Compared to mexican riviera, it’s about equal. Nice carribean waters and beaches, but one is aware of the general premise to stay on the resort or sight see with a paid excursion. I picked this resort because it is very close to airport and size is medium. Large enough to support activities, services, and variety, but not 800 or 1000 rooms where you have to walk far or be shuttled around.
Rooms: Room: During our stay, we had a suite upgrade which was beautiful, newer, and worth the money. It included a jacuzzi and canopy bed. We did not have private check-in, check-out or concierge as advertised. It was made up daily with no complaints.
Restaurants and Bars: Food: Pretty good, not amazing, not bad. Good variety. Tex/Mex the best. Italian, very good. Windows buffet, average. There is also food at the beach cafe which was convenient if you didn’t want to leave pool/beach to go to a restaurant. Food and drinks are available 24 hours a day. Also, no reservation required for specialty restaurants which is a bonus. We did not try the Japanese since my husband dislikes Asian food. We NEVER got sick. Drinks: Good. No long lines. Whatever you want, including espresso to perk you up. We drank all we wanted, never got totally ripped, and never had a hangover either. We NEVER got sick. Fun, friendly servers.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach: Awesome, but I’ve never been to a bad carribean beach including mexico and grand caymen. Warmish clear water with lots of sand. Typical carribean beach. Plenty of chairs, palms and tiki huts. Do snag a tiki hut by 0830 am or you won’t get one. When we didn’t, we used a palm tree for shade, so no problem. Gentle waves and lots of breeze. I actually prefer more vigorous waves for body surfing, but not charactieristic of the beaches in this area. Can walk as far as you want as all beaches are public. Not many shells wash up. Seaweed does, but the resorts employ people to rake it up, so again, no problem. All the resorts have discrete security on the beach, so you feel safe walking, day or night, along the resort beach fronts. Pools: Main pool very nice and warmish. Swim up bar very nice, no long waits. Plenty of chairs and tiki huts, but again, save tiki huts early or you won’t get one. Plenty of swimming room. Bars: Scattered through resort. One is always open with food. 24 hours. Grounds: Immaculate, beautiful. Lots of plant life. There are many sitting areas with gazebos, pergolas, bridges, fountains, ponds, etc.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Activities: Constant on the beach or at the pool. Every hour offers something. Scuba lessons, sailing lessons, dance lessons, fun contests, bike tour, volleyball, bachi ball, ping pong, tennis courts, water sports, etc. etc. There is also a dedicated children’s building and play area at the beach. Shows: Excellent! The best I’ve experienced for all-inclusive. Professional dancers, costumes, etc. Don’t miss the Michael Jackson show or the circus. Very impressive!!!
Other Comments: Workers: Friendly, fun, efficient. Special thanks to Francesco who leads many activities on the beach, at the pool, and MCs the shows. He speaks four languages FLUENTLY, has a heart of gold, and is fun, energetic, and funny. We adored him. Cons: Vacation Club (timeshare) reps. Annoying at first. Once they understand that you are not going to bite, they leave you alone. If you’re not interested, make this very clear at the start. Keep in mind, they are trying to make a living. I feel sorry for them, actually, and they are nice people too. From talking to other travelers at the airport, many resorts in this area are pushing vacation clubs/timeshare. This is not exclusive to this hotel. Not much to do in the area except a few shops with aggressive shopkeepers. Can get the same items at the resort shops for the same prices. Do haggle. Resort shopkeepers are also a bit aggressive, but not as bad as off-resort shopkeepers. Casino small, boring, and slots are confusing.
Taxis are very expensive. OMG. This makes going out to explore less inviting. It was $45.00 one way for a 20 minute ride to another resort we went to check out briefly. $90.00 round trip. It was not worth it, but we did get to see a bit of the area that way. Mostly shack-like shops and restaurants/pubs. No traffic signals. Decent roads.