We arrived via pre-arranged taxi, so no busride to worry about, and also had 4 icey cold pressies waiting in the taxi for us upon arrival. Checkin at hotel was effortless as all room packages were pre-prepared in envelopes with your keys, remote, etc…
We had requested a 2nd, 3rd floor with pool or ocean view, and were given a ground floor with courtyard view, which was corrected immediately. We were told our room wasnt ready, and this was just a temporary room. The room we wound up with overlooked the edge of the main pool and was in the cayena building, 3rd floor. Room was very clean, and no issues with anything working. Only minor complaint as stated in earlier review was no tub, shower only.
Restaurants and Bars:
The main buffet had a very wide assortment of foods and a different theme each night. Coffee in the mornings was a little harder to get as they didn’t put a full staff on it seemed until after 8am. Evenings was entire different story. We were treated better at this resort than at some of the 5 stars we have stayed at in the past. Quick friendly service, especially from Carlos, who always had a smile and ‘good evening’ for you when he saw you, and your drinks never ever ran dry. Mamma Mia the Italian was good fare and the ambience was quite nice. Shanghay, the Asian was by far the best of the ala cartes and the meals would rival alot of high priced restaurants back here in Canada. The Sombrero, the Mexican was the only disappointing one, as it didnt offer much selection, and we found the meat a little tougher than we normally liked.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach – equisite white sand, with no seaweed for the first week at all. Second week we saw a little, but it was always cleaned up. The waves were a treat, as most ppl enjoyed playing in the rolling waves that came into shore some days. Pools – kept very clean, but too cool for my liking, and besides, I come for the ocean and not pools. Poolbar staff was quick and funny and ‘Obama" always made everyone smile and laugh.
Grounds- very well maintained. Natural mangrove area did give off an odour on a couple of days, but nothing you couldn’t live with.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Animation staff was always busy with getting people involved. The evening shows though on the most part were a dissappointment as they definitely weren’t up to the standard of others we had seen in the DR. The Casino, well lets just say if your rich fine, if not, stay away. Those who liked to play cards, had a $10 minimum, and for those of us like myself who liked to play carribean poker, this meant $30 per hand if you wanted to play. No thanks… Slot machines were numerous and varied, though most people didnt understand how alot of them paid out. Excursions – Tropical Storm Lobster Cruise – excellent, excellent, excellent, until we went to the Jellyfish. Lobster was ice cold, and four other couples we met and talked to afterwards all were ill the next day. Those that had the turkey or pasta felt fine, so I think it was just the way the lobster was prepared. Kudos to Olga, Simon and the staff at Tropical Storm for making this an enjoyable day.
PCMike’s Adventure – Higuey tour. This was nothing less than probably the best tour I have taken in the DR. Informative, eye-opening and just a delight. From the visit to the ‘carwash’ to the cigar factory, to the open market, and especially the stop at Magdelena’s school. This woman is amazing with what she has done with so little. I only hope our two bags of supplies help her in her very wonderful cause.
Other Comments: My three criticisms of this resort are as follows: 1. TOO MANY SALESMAN AND VACATION CLUB PITCHMEN. Didnt matter how often you said no, the next time you walked by, you went through it again. Finally I had to tell this one persistent guy if he bothered me again, I would go to front desk. He left me alone after that. 2. Not enough washrooms. As the previous poster stated, there weren’t really enough washrooms spread around the resort. 3. Internet. There was no Wi-fi available unless you rented a modem from them for $15 per day with a 1 week minimum. The internet room itself had slow dial up service and the person who ran it was less than cordial. He always tried to force one hour sessions on you even if you only wanted 1/2 hour. He said there weren’t any 1/2 hour sessions left. Well when your paying for time used….how is this possible? Overall this is a decent 4 star resort. Is there room for improvement, definitely, but again, you get what you pay for and in the case of this hotel, this is true.
We met alot of nice people from across Canada on this trip, and met other’s at Steve’s Bar which we will definitely keep in touch with.