We just returned from our 7th visit to Dreams Punta Cana. We have previously been to Superclubs Breezes Puerto Plata, Beaches Negril (Jamaica), Victoria Resort (Puerto Plata), Occidental Allegra Playa Dorada (Puerto Plata), Gran Bahia Principe Samana, Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Punta Cana, GBP Punta Cana, Sol Rio de Luna y Mares (Cuba) and a number of others. Dreams is the only resort we have come back to even once – let alone 6 return visits!
Arrival: I put the names of some of our resorts above because I find reviews where people criticize a resort mercilessly and yet fail to name a better resort frustrating. If you’ve been to better people, tell us! We’re dying to know!!! In this case though, I can only say the best of things about Dreams. Drive to the resort Roads get better every visit. Freshly paved. They are getting very similar to typical North American highways. It used to be a common complaint about the distance to the resort, but with the improved highways, the trip isn’t bad at all. The drive itself is a form of adventure / entertainment as tailgating and beeping are normal behavior in the DR. We notice that the entire region looks better every time we visit – less overt poverty, more cattle in the fields, constant construction – just better all around. I read a reviewer who said "Dreams just gets it". That sums it up really. All the DR resorts offer excellent service in my opinion, but Dreams out does every other one we’ve been to. Upon arrival we discovered we had received a fantastic upgrade as a reward for our many return visits. Thanks Aida and Mr. Marcus Castillo! A great way to start our vacation. We arrived at our room and there was a banner strung across the door identifying us as return guests! How great is this resort? Some of the many features we love at Dreams: 1. No wristbands 2. No reservations for a la cartes dinners. 3. No limit to a la carte dinners 4. Free electronic in room safe 5. No towel cards – if you need a towel just ask People if you think about the above 5 points, how many resorts offer those features in this price range? We haven’t found one and we’ve looked at a lot.
Rooms: We stayed in a Preferred Club Honeymoon and it was terrific! The rooms are generally smaller at Dreams PC than many resorts, so if you like a spacious feeling, definitely upgrade to a Honeymoon Suite or Junior Suite. The standard rooms at GBP Ambar Punta Cana or GBP Cayacoa are all quite a bit larger than Dreams for example. However, the rooms at Dreams – even the smallest, are still fine. The room was spotless; the fridge regularly restocked without requesting it, maid service was great. Dated rooms? How is it that people sometimes complain about this resort that their rooms were dated when this place is just a few years old? We went when it was a month old just a few years back and I think people said it was dated before it was finished construction! We think Dreams PC is wonderful, but will concede that there are resorts such as Gran Bahia Principe Ambar and Cayacoa that have nicer rooms. However, these ones do just fine, and if you upgrade to a Honeymoon Suite, your room will have two TV’s, a couch, a loveseat, walk in shower, jacuzzi tub on the balcony, double vanity, walk in closet, hall closet, two ceiling fans, 4 poster king bed, etc. If you can’t make do with that on vacation, you need an attitude adjustment. By the way, these people who say rooms are musty? Well, 7 visits and we haven’t found a musty room yet. . . I wonder if people are just vying for free upgrades when they switch because a room is allegedly musty. . . People ask if it is worth it to upgrade to the Preferred Club. You will have a great time with or without it. If you like the little extras (daily newspaper, separate club house, private area of beach, etc. – go for it!). If money is tight, skip it, and you will still have a great time.
Margolis in the Preferred Lounge was great, and truly did everything she could to make the stay enjoyable. The bonuses from the Preferred Club included a private area of the beach; and a private bartender in the lounge that was always ready to make a nice drink and we never had to wait except for the time it took him to mix it. They have free DVD borrowing as well as free internet access in the Preferred Club area (for the Preferred members) so you don’t need to bring your laptop.
Restaurants and Bars: Food The food was excellent with plenty of variety. The steaks were significantly improved over previous visits. We had nice steaks at the Bordeaux during two visits there and a nice tender loin at the "Tex Mex" as I call it. (I forget their proper name). We had another steak at the Tex Mex but that one wasn’t a tender loin and wasn’t good. One thing about Dreams we have noticed over these visits is that if you don’t like it this visit, it will almost certainly be better next visit. Every trip we find little improvements to an already great experience. Steaks before weren’t very good, but this time 3 of 4 were very good to excellent. We had skipped the Mexican restaurant (El Patio) on a previous vacation, and this time we visited and the menu had improved, and we loved a tightly wrapped chicken in a soft shell served with melted cheese. They always serve a nice platter of nachos which if you ask for sour cream is definitely enjoyable! Menus for the a la cartes are on display at the main buffet entrance area. I think this is new. We looked at the menus and noticed they had changed (even better) from previous visits for every restaurant. This place just keeps getting better! Our First Dinner! Rather than describing every restaurant, let’s just say we arrived late our first day, went straight to dinner at the Oceana since NO RESERVATION IS REQUIRED! (overlooking the beach and ocean) and had wine, beer, mamajuana, frozen mango daiquiris, a basket of multi flavored fresh buns, delicious salads, grilled chicken and vegetables with beautiful presentation, cheese cake and peach and other deserts, coffee, and a live music trio (Trio los Alegres) who played requests as they toured the restaurant. (We bought their CD from them – and we had to ask if they had one, they weren’t trying to sell anything). Oceana offers a flaming coffee which is a fantastic form of live entertainment as "Mr. Coffee Time" dances and entertains as he mixes and pours flaming coffee. The service from beginning to end was outstanding – as always. Glass waters refilled constantly. Candle light dinner with an ocean breeze. The friendliest staff on earth. The bill came to NOTTA. Not a dollar. In Canada that dinner would have been $100 plus including taxes and gratuities. We gave them a tip of course, but what a deal! That was our first meal, and we almost felt like our vacation should be over, so great an experience that single meal was. Luis (El Capitan Mamajuana), Carlos, Humberto, Sanchez, Happy Nestor, etc at Oceana were all great! Jubelkis at the World Buffet and Yosida and Cristo and everyone else are superb too. Part of the greatness of this resort is the charming friendliness the Domincan staff exude. Their joyfulness is truly infectious, and there is staff everywhere.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach The beach has rocks in the water, so wear foot protection! Palapas, Loungers, Sunbeds & Floaties The resort has a lot of loungers and palapas and even sunbeds but still there are problems at this resort as with any, with people reserving loungers and palapas etc. that they don’t use. I met one couple who proudly mentioned they had loungers reserved at another location of the pool so they could go back and forth. Why? Overall, this resort has more and better loungers and palapas than most – in spite of those people who are so discourteous to others. We bring our own floatie so we have no stress over that anymore.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Service A quick example of service at this resort. At the buffet one evening for dinner I was looking to have a vegetarian pizza and the pizzeria section was sort of in a different area. I asked a server at the counter if it was open to the buffet area people or just for the al a cartes section at that time. He told me it was for the a la carte people so I said okay and started to leave. A manager (Cristo) overhead the conversation and immediately jumped in. He insisted I go sit down at my area (a fair distance away) and he would bring me the pizza personally. He came by smiling with the pizza a few minutes later. Where do you get service like that? At the Oceana I asked about steak as there wasn’t one on the menu, but there had been on previous visits. The waiter told me if I wanted steak he would get me one – no problem! I decided to stick with the menu rather than make his life harder but again, where do you get service like that? Vendors on the Sidewalk The vendors are almost all too pushy and ask ridiculous amounts of money for the smallest of trinkets. I believe they were there two nights. I do wish the resort would do something about this, as my wife always hates this part of the experience and dreads running the gauntlet of sales people. Drinks If you ask for your drink frozen will get a nice frozen ice drink of whatever you order, which goes a long way in the heat. Pool side and beach drink delivery service was top notch. You don’t have to give tips to get great service, but tips are naturally appreciated by the staff. I actually had to call back one server 3 times on different occasions to give her a tip – it was almost like she was so focused on her job the idea of a tip never entered her head. Excursions My son one year did the Outback Safari and absolutely loved it. He was exhausted when he got back, but definitely recommended it, and noted the truck though it looks like a rough ride, was quite gentle on the back. If you want to be extra safe, sit behind the cab where the ride is a little smoother. "Sammy Davis" was the tour guide and a very capable stand-up comic as well. CoreZone They have a batting cage, mechanical bull, archery, billiards, fooseball, and an endless list of stuff for the athletic types and teens. They had a nicely lit basketball court too, as well as a dance floor area. Rooms have MP3 players with FM radio and White Noise settings, so you can turn on the ocean wave sound, a gentle rainfall, etc. to sleep to. We bring our own IPOD and docking station and just leave it out all day on a bachata / salsa playlist for the maid to listen to. People complain about theft at every resort but we just introduce ourselves to the maid, show her how to operate the volume on the docking station, and we never have a problem.
Other Comments: When I do see a negative review for this resort, it is quite often something like "this is not a 6 apple resort". I finally went to Apple Vacations to find out who is 6 apples. I see 6 Apples is the highest you go, and Zoetry Agua (also run by the people who run Dreams) is a 6 Apple. Zoetry is almost twice the price of Dreams! Another was Iberostar Hotel (again almost twice the price). Clearly there is a problem with the expectation of Apple guests expecting Zoetry quality (visit their website and you will see they are off the charts!) or Apple Vacations needs to adopt a 7 Apple rating system for the super, super all inclusive resorts such as Zoetry. Who is this resort for? The guests at this resort are pretty much all honeymooners, couples, and families. If you are looking for a party type / spring break kind of resort, this isn’t the right choice for you. The resort attitude is very conservative, family oriented and fairly quiet. We’ve only met one person who had been to Dreams and preferred another resort in the price range and it was specifically because they were single and wanted to meet people. At Dreams everyone is already hooked up so it is dull for singles unless they really just want peace and quiet. Summary I believe for the money this resort is the best value in the Caribbean. I cannot imagine how anyone could not have a great vacation at this resort!