This is a typical resort for DR in terms of guests expectations vs staff sloppiness. You need to leave your expectations behind and take the place for what it is to really enjoy it.
Arrival: We traveled with Air Transat/Nolitours – upon exiting the customs area, a flood of taxi drivers offered to take us to the resort, still our bus transfer rep was nowhere to be found. In the middle of all the noise we figured there is an Air Transat desk where we’ve asked for the bus number and directions to where it was parked (there are tens of buses in the parking lot).
At the resort desk we were all told in an approximate English the main things we were supposed to know about our stay (put the key in the holder for lights to come up, restaurant is in that direction, summary of the check-in envelope and the fines we’d pay if we lose key/tv-remote/etc.). Anything else was supposed to be clarified the next day by the Nolitours rep. Go figure.
Rooms: Typical for DR, room and A/C was smelling mold & mildew, but we’ve got used to it after a day or so. We’ve asked for a room at the upper floor because ground room have bugs & lizards entering from the gardens. A/C was hardly keeping up, especially because the ceiling was heating from the sun. This was mid-February and I wonder how it’s like being there in July. After a few days we’ve got used to the heat and humidity, and we were running the A/C less at night. Now this resort is suppose to be "Eco" friendly – but there’s nothing like that around: lights use incandescent bulbs, they have spot lights everywhere, toilets are using a tank full of water and need flushing 2-3 times.
The room was clean though, and we’ve tipped the maid each and every morning to keep it that way (she did a good job mopping everywhere every day). Towels were changed daily (they won’t dry on the balcony because of outside humidity). Beds were hard and I’ve only got used to it after 3-4 days, so the first part of our vacation I had to use lots of coffee during the day to keep me awake 🙂
Restaurants and Bars: Restaurants were amazing for the first couple of days, we couldn’t keep up with the varieties of food that was server at the buffet, table was nicely decorated, pots of hot coffee at each table at breakfast, all this leaving us wonder why so many people complain about lack of variety. That didn’t last long though, the days after the buffet changed to the point where you could hardly put together a meal at lunch, and we had to line-up the coffee machine at breakfast. And we were there at the very first hour every time, not like digging through leftovers.
I don’t have a good explanation for the change in food quality, staff won’t tell (they either won’t understand the question or pretend they don’t). The fact is day 2 we were given a survey to complete at dinner, so I guess there must have been some VP from HQ visiting, thus all the effort from the chef and management.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beach is great, typical white sands and coconut trees for Punta Cana. There are corals on the left side (facing the see) outside the resort area that you might want to see. Keep an ear on the running motor boats though, they come at very close range and most drivers don’t bother to slow down. There are long deserted beaches on both sides, we went for 2-3 hours trips in both ways. I found it interesting most guests limit their beach walk up to the spot where the resort security guard sits. So a 2 hours walk on the beach looks like buckets of people entertaining themselves at the resort beach, and a handful of tourists taking long distance trips. Pool it’s only one, crowded, kinda outdated, and most people seem enjoy themselves sitting around on the chairs rather than swimming. Pool is alright if only for the swim, they have daily "entertainment" programs near the pool – that’s where the staff makes fun of the guests.
Grounds are beautiful, never see something like that anywhere else we’ve been. That’s the only part of this resort that’s well maintained above everything else. There is plenty of fish, turtles, birds and trees to keep you interested.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Didn’t go at any night shows – and outside activities are a money rip off. I didn’t have time to look for local operators not advertised at the resort, they are usually cheaper and offer more adventurous experiences.
Other Comments: Resort seems to be run by Dominican management. We haven’t seen any upper management staff on the grounds, they must run the place from their office.
Overall a nice vacation and positive experience, not because resort staff made it enjoyable but because we decided to make the best out of it. We’d return if only for the wild life and beaches around, but given the way this resort is run I think we’d go someplace else next time (we only have a short time for vacation and this much money to spend, so why waste it).