Arrival: July 15 to July 20 My husband and I (ages 29 and 30) spent 6 days(7/15-7/20) at the Dreams Palm Beach. We booked through Apple Vacations. This was our second time with Apple and in an all inclusive. We previously stayed at the Grand Palladioum Resort in the Riviera Maya. Our flights on US Airways were on time or early both ways. We spoke briefly with the Apple Rep when we reached Punta Cana and he immediately directed us to a minivan that drove just my husband and I to the resort. It was very nice not to have to climb onto a charter bus and make multiple stops. We were at our resort within 20 minutes. Hotel check in was smooth and our room was ready for us even though it was 2:00. We received cool towel and mimosas while we checked in. Check out and departure also went very smoothly.
The room looked just like the pictures. Some of the fixtures are showing wear already even though I believe they are less than a year old. It is still a very nice room. Our room was 6305 (on the 3rd floor–this is nice because you get cathedral ceilings). It had a great view of the pool and even a view of the ocean! We booked the AI Supersaver rate and received a standard room. It had a king sized bed, flat screen tv, iron, hairdryer, safe, shower (no tub), mini-bar, and a balcony with a small table and chairs. The bathroom had shower gel, shampoo, lotion, and bar soap. The AC worked great! Our room was clean when we arrived. Our bellman told us that the mini-bar was half empty and that we should request to have it refilled immediately. We did and they did come and add some items (I’m not sure how long it took, because we were at the pool). Our room was cleaned nicely each day and most nights we received turn down service. The mini bar never got restocked until we called on the 4th day. It took two calls before they came and we never really did get what their room guide said it should have had. Oh well, it wasn’t a big deal to us.
Restaurants and Bars::
There were many bars throughout the resort. They would even set up temporary, but well stocked bars, around the pool during the day, so a drink was never far away. We didn’t experience the long waits for drinks that others have described. We did feel that the drinks at the lobby bar were much stronger than the pool bars, so it is up to you on how you prefer it. The buffet had many choices and everything we had was good. We are very picky, but always found plenty to eat. Others who are more adventurous would probably really enjoy the variety. The buffet is open air and it can be pretty hot in there. Everyone is very friendly, but drink service is pretty slow. We ate at 3 of the restaurants. The only one we had a long wait for was the Seaside Grill. We enjoyed our meal, but it wasn’t spectacular and the service was very slow. We had virtually no wait at either Portifino or Bordeaux, but had the same feelings as Seaside Grill. Pretty good food, slow service, we were glad we’d tried them but weren’t anxious to go back. We tried room service a few times. It is a limited menu, but they were always quick. The room guide states 30 minutes, but we usually had our food in 10-20 minutes. We often ate lunch at the beach bar, which offered chicken (most of the time), burgers, hotdogs, and fries.
The overall grounds were very nice and well kept. The resort is nicely laid out and everything is easy to get to. The pools were very nice. It can be tricky to get chairs, but we always managed to get some without resorting to getting up super early and reserving them, like many people did. The rafts were nice. We enjoyed the swim up bar. There was always some music and activities, but it was never annoying or obnoxious. We met many friends around the pool and although there were many families with kids that never bothered us either. You can grab towels whenever you need them (no cards and no limits). We had a wait for them. It seemed easiest to get them early in the morning or late in the afternoon. It was easier to get chairs at the beach, but hard to get shade. There is a lot of seagrass on the beach and some floating in the water. The bottom is clean and sandy for quite a ways. The grass is better than normal seaweed, but I could have lived without it. They try to keep up with it, but there are a lot of boats going by and I think they stir it up and then it floats in. The water was clear and warm. The beach itself wasn’t quite as clean as I would’ve liked some litter and debris from the trees and seagrass. I talked to someone who stayed at the Moon Palaca and she said they had a large beach with no boats and no seaweed. I heard similar things from other who stayed up the coast in those resorts. If your main reason for going is the beach you may want to try a resor in that area. For us, it wasn’t a huge deal because we also enjoy the pool.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
We did the Mundo Authentico shopping/cigar tour (free through Apple). It was interesting and took less than two hours. Some items are a good deal compared to the resort and others are not. The selection of souvenirs seemed pretty limited. The only other time I left was to walk into town with a friend I had met. I am always a little nervous when leaving the resort, especially this time with it just being 2 women. The walk to the shops is very short though and things went fine. The vendors are a little aggressive (not as bad as the ones that come on to the resort once or twice a week) and you have to barter, but we felt our trip was a success. It was worth going as they had more reasonable prices than anywhere else we’d been.
Other Comments:: I hope my review does not come across as negative, we really had a wonderful time. I think most of the little bumps we had are common at most all-inclusives and they did not detract from our enjoyment. We found the staff to be extremely friendly and nice. We would consider returning or staying at a Dreams resort again. I had some reservations about traveling in July, but found it to be a very nice time to visit. The weather was beautiful. It was very warm, but there is always a nice breeze, especially in the evening.
My final bit of advice has to do with calling home. We left our 1 year old daughter at home and it was important to us that we were able to check in on her. We found that there really is no easy way to call home, even our cell phone gave us some trouble. The resort charges fairly high fees (around $2 to connect and then $3 a minute). My advice is to call home once right away (we ended up having the front desk place the call for us because our phone would not dial out properly). When you call, give your family the hotel number and your room number. After that have them call you on a calling card. I purchased a card ahead of time that was about $0.30/minute). If you use the card to call, then you will still be charged a connection fee, etc. But if they call you , then you will not recieve any additional charges. They can leave you a voicemail if you don’t answer (just beware that there was no way for us to know that we had a voicemail except to dial 8000 and check it! There was a red light on the phone, but it never flashed whether we had one or not) At the end of the trip, I had only a $3 bill for phone usage.