Date: January 9-14, 2009
Tour Op: Sunquest Vacations To start with, let me explain that I am NOT a fussy traveller, just give me a clean room, nice location and working amenities, and I am pretty happy go lucky. We booked the Dreams Punta Cana first off because of reviews and comments from friends and other members of this board. We booked it in August and the anticipation for this trip built day by day as it does for most travellers. Unfortunately, due to events that occurred during our stay here, we will not be going back to this resort again. Let me be clear, it was due to our own personal experiences that decided this, and not solely due to the resort or tour operator. I will start this review with general comments about the resort, and then will get into the nitty-gritties of our trip.
Our arrival went without a hitch. We arrived at Punta Cana airport, and quickly went through customs and baggage pickup. As usual, we picked up a bottle or two of ‘nectar of the gods’ before boarding the minibus to the resort. We arrived about 40 minutes after leaving the airport, our resort being the driver’s only stop.
The rooms we received, Block 3, Room 3216, was on the second floor of the middle building. When we got this room, we were so pleased that it faced the pool, and the nice views of the grounds. When we got into the room, this changed very quickly. We had contacted the resort before hand, as we always do, and requested twin beds. We arrived and got a room with a queen. We contacted the front desk immediately, and were told that is all they had at the moment, but would move us as soon as a room was available. ( More about this later). The room itself was very dated and had several problems. Bar fridge didn’t work, coffee maker didn’t work, screen was off the balcony door and just leaning against the wall inside our room, the lock on the balcony door was broken and couldn’t be locked without slamming it very hard. We had maintenance there 5 times to fix this, and it still wasn’t fixed by the time we left. The vanity in the bathroom was cracked from top to bottom. The cabinet and closet doors did not close properly and were misaligned.
This was one of the highlights of this experience. The food, ambience, and staff in the restaurants was absolutely top notch!!! We tried each of the Ala cartes for dinner, and ate at the buffet for breakfast and some of the lunches. We also ate lunches at the beach BBQ which was also exceptional.
Again, the bars and staff at all the bars were exceptional. Very courteous and very quick. The lobby bar and pool bar staff are definitely second to none.
BEACH The beach at Dreams was a disappointment to say the least. We weren’t able to into the water due to rocks and high waves the entire time we stayed there. You would walk out knee deep, and the waves were hitting you in the shoulder. We are both beach lovers, and love being in the ocean. If I wanted to sit poolside all day, I can do that at home.
This resorts boasts according to them, the largest pool in the Dominican Republic. It is huge!! It meanders along all the buildings like a little river, and is very well kept up. We did have a problem with a filter cover on the pool floor that was broken, which we reported, that wasn’t fixed. I actually put my foot through it.
This is where this resort shines. The grounds are immaculately manicured and kept. There are flamingoes and ducks and geese wandering around the resort as well as parrots in the wild. For the camera buff, this is a definite enjoyable experience. They also have an explorers club for the kids that is by far the best daycare I have ever seen for kids while on a resort.
There are numerous activities at this resort, from bocci ball, to archery, a shooting range, rock climbing wall, pool tables and the list goes on and on. No shortage of things to do that’s for sure.
The entertainment crew at this resort is very good, not the best I have seen, but they make up for it in enthusiasm as well as striving to provide the best entertainment possible. They also have an acrobatic show on the beach that was superb!!! The stage area is completely enclosed with a huge bar along side of it that made the viewing of the stage shows very enjoyable. In the evenings, in the upper lobby they have a couple that play piano, sax and clarinet that were very good, and was a nice ambience while having a late night drink at the lobby bar. ———————————————— As I said before, we are not picky travellers but I feel I have to tell the whole story and not just the sugar coated version you get in some postings here. As previously stated, we had issues with the room. This was never solved to our satisfaction, and as of our leaving this resort, the balcony door was still not fixed, and we had not been given another room.
Further to add to our dissatisfaction, on the third day, the girlfriend twisted her ankle on one of the bridges that crosses the pool in front of our building. One of the boards had broken away due to dry rot or old age. I told the security person at the towel/activities centre about this, and he got on the phone an informed someone of this. It was not repaired until two days later. We personally witnessed two others tripping or hurting themselves on this same board. When I finally got a security person to look at it, and showed him the nail still sticking out, all he did was bend it over with his fingers and didn’t have it removed or repaired. I saw another lady scrape her foot on this nail. This was unbelievable to me
Upon arrival, we also took advantage of the WIFI package offered by the Internet Cafe at the resort. Twenty five dollars WIFI was a very fair price, or so we thought. We couldn’t get access to their login screen, so we called down to the Internet Cafe, and he asked me to bring my laptop to him and he would configure it so it would work. This seemed logical and acceptable to me. He had it for almost half a day, and finally said it had something to do with my firewall and virus protection and asked me to disable it until he got it figured out. Well to make a long story short, not only didn’t he get it working, but he also changed so many settings on my laptop that many of my programs no longer worked, and he even reset my password. Two days of reinstalling programs when I got back home to rectify this. To add insult to injury, he wasn’t even going to refund me the twenty five dollars as he said it was an issue with my laptop and not their problem. We spoke with numerous others during our stay there who had similar issues with this, in fact one gentleman from England told me his laptop wouldn’t even work after all the changed they made to it. We had a few other little ‘incidents’ which I won’t go into in detail here, as I don’t want to bore you further with my rantings. Needless to say, I finally had enough and tried to get ahold of our Sunquest representative at the resort. This was a challenge in itself. To say he was less than helpful would be a compliment to him. All he seemed to be concerned with was trying to sell excursion trips. I told him repeatedly of our dissatisfaction, and he seemed very unconcerned. It wasn’t until I told him that I would make a call to Sunquest in Toronto that he even seemed to be concerned. He took us to the concierge desk, where we spoke with the concierge on duty at the time, and she told us that they had no record of any of our concerns. The Sunquest rep just dumped us off at the desk, and said he had to go to a neighbouring resort to see other guests for some excursion purchases. This just infuriated me to no end. She said she would pass it onto the head concierge and the manger the next morning and they would contact me. I went to see the head concierge and she told me she was not informed of any of this, but would look into it immediately. She got back to us and offered us a change of rooms. As previously stated, we had issues with our room, and were promised another room when was available, but were told non were available during the entire 5 days we spent here. It wasn’t until we were so upset that we wanted out of this resort that miraculously they had another room, in fact showed us many different rooms.
Finally after all this bickering back and forth and trying to get this resolved, we told them we wanted to be moved to one of the sister resorts. The head concierge said she would be pleased to do so if there was availability. We were told there was openings at LaRomana but not at Dreams Palm Beach. We said we had commitments ( excursions booked) in Punta Cana and LaRomana would not work for us. About an hour later, we got a call saying they had a cancellation at Palm Beach, and could we be ready early the next morning. We were very pleased to hear this. We were told at that time that another guest, ( a Debbie’s member) was also going to Dreams Palm Beach at the same time and one of the hotel managers was going to take us to Dreams Palm Beach. Not a problem for us. We met at the appointed time, and were told that our travel plans had changed as the other ‘guest’ wanted her own transportation, and that we would have to go by taxi. Again, this wasn’t a problem for us until all of a sudden they wanted us to pay for the taxi at a cost of $75US. We again said we weren’t happy about this and spoke with the manager and finally they agreed to pickup the cost of the taxi no problem.
We arrived at Dreams Palm Beach 25-35 minutes later and it was like night and day between the two resorts. My review of Dreams Palm Beach is already posted here. When we got back to Canada, I contacted Sunquest Vacation and told them our story. They asked for it in writing and asked if we had any photographs. We sent them the information and photos they required. Today we finally got a reply back from Sunquest, saying that although it was ‘unfortunate’ there was nothing they could do about it but pass on our concerns to the in-destination representative. There was nothing they could do about it. We told her that I have been travelling almost exclusively with Sunquest vacations yearly since about 1986, and this is the first time I have ever complained about a vacation, but to no avail. Needless to say, I will be looking elsewhere for my future vacation packages. We did receive an email from the head concierge at Dreams Punta Cana again stating how sorry she was for the events of our holiday, and did offer us a ‘free upgrade’ to the honeymoon suite in the preferred club upon our return to this resort. Needless to say, we will not be returning. ( E.I. Thank you for your understanding and assistance ) Photos of this resort, and photos documenting the problems we had can be seen on our website www.ontariobowhunter.ca/personal Just go to the photo page.
To wrap up this review, yes it is a lovely resort as per grounds, restaurants, amenities etc, and I have to give a huge compliment to the head concierge for her excellent attempts to solve this matter for us…if the rest of the management were as caring as she was, we might of stayed! Would we go back again, probably not…. Would we recommend this resort to someone, to be honest, I am not sure…. As I am very troubled by the events of this trip, I am undecided as to if this was an isolated case or the norm, so it would be unfair to say it was entirely the resorts fault….