Arrival: March 6th – 13th: We flew WestJet, the plane was comfortable, more seat/leg room than a regular charter plane (ie skyservice). Disappointing that there was no movie included, you had to pay $6 pp if you wanted to watch a movie. Satellite TV worked for about the first 1.5 hour of the flight, after that, there was no signal. Punta Cana airport super busy, but fairly organized, we had no issues getting our luggage quickly and finding our bus to the resort. It was a short ride, no more than 20 minutes to the hotel which was nice.
We paid extra for the Mirage Package, meaning we had seperate check in at the VIP lounge at the resort. Check in there was fast and we then got on the golf cart with our luggage along with the bellboy and got dropped off at our room.
Rooms: The room was 1157. We had requested an upper floor, a king size bed with some sort of view. Of those three things, this room had none. Ground floor, 2 double beds (they call them queens, but there’s no way they were bigger than a double). Our view was a utility hut in front of a fence that seperated the hotel from the next property which i’m not sure what it was… lots of garbage, clothes lines, dogs running around… etc. not the most pleasant view. oh, and i forgot to mention the smell. It wasn’t just a little musty, because that is understandable in a tropical climate. It smelled like CRAP. My heart sank as we tried to settle into the room. It was really bad. Oh, and there was no power to the thermostat which controls the A/C, so the room was extremely hot and muggy. So we went right back to the VIP lounge to try and switch rooms. We were told it was impossible at this time (11pm), the manager was not in, and they staff had no access to the computer to be able to change rooms. The hotel was at full capacity, and we were told there was no possibility to get a different room. I was super upset, and couldn’t imagine staying 6 more nights there. We were promised someone would come to fix up the 2 beds into one large bed, that never happened. The next day, we went to our tour operator rep with our complaints. They were helpful in acting as a liason between us and the hotel staff. It was confirmed that a room switch was impossible, so they offered to move us to the Majestic Elegance hotel. I was overjoyed. All i wanted to do was get out of there. The details needed to be confirmed the next morning, when we would be moving. So we made the best of the situation and tried to enjoy the day at the NH. The next day, we were getting prepared to move, and then were informed that, no, they don’t have space for us at the Majestic either.
That afternoon we were offered a room on the fourth floor, with the same view and a king bed, so we took it. The room was miles better, no smell, and at least a balcony we could enjoy. There glass door for the toilet area was missing, so there was NO privacy whatsoever, so that might be an issue for some. I was just happy to be in a room that didn’t smell like sewage.
Restaurants and Bars: The food was very good. The A la cartes that we tried were great, Italian, Grill, and Romantic (best steak ever!!). The service seemed to be very hot and cold. Sometimes it was excellent, and other times aweful/non-existant. My husband has a severe nut allergy, which proved to be a challenge with many of the desserts, and especially at the Asian restaurant. But there was chicken curry on the menu, which would have been fine. After explaining the situation with the greeter (who spoke perfect english), she said she’d inform our waitress so that we could make sure his dish didn’t come into contact with nuts. Anyways, long story short, seems that our waitress didn’t speak english or spanish,( not sure why she would be employed at the resort??) and didn’t understand what we were trying explain ( and I do speak fluent spanish). Our salads were served, and after taking one bite, my husband instantly reacted, and had to spit it out (the dressing must have had some nut oil or something). I just said, better to be safe than sorry, so we left and went to the buffet. The best was the snack buffet by the pool, lots bbq stuff… burgers, chicken, hot dogs, thin crust pizza, and the best fresh guacamole ever. So yes, the food was great.
Beach- Amazing, lots of loungers and palapas, it was very windy a few days, so sitting at the beach wasn’t the best. You can walk for hours in either direction, and it was nice that the section of beach in front of NH wasn’t too crowded or packed full of ppl/loungers like in front of some other resort. The water was fairly rough due to the wind, there was a red flag up for the whole week except for 2 days, then it was yellow.
Pools- very nice, but of course, lots of ppl reserving chairs with towels, books, etc. We were at the pool on day, beside 4 reserved loungers… and no one showed up ALL DAY!!! I wish the staff would enforce a ‘no reserving’ rule, to make the situation more enjoyable for everyone. Grounds – very nice, well laid out, not too far to walk everywhere… some resorts are so huge you have to take a trolley, so that was a nice treat.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did the Saona Island excursion ($104pp), and would highly recommend it. The bus ride wasn’t too bad, about an hour and a half, with a rest stop halfway. We did speed boats to the natural swimming pool with starfish, then lunch and relaxing time on Saona Island, and then a Catamaran cruise back. What a fun day, the weather was perfect, and the sea was an unreal colour of turquoise you can’t even imagine something nicer.
We also went snorkeling one day for $20 each, they take you a short boat ride out infront of the resort to the reef. There was quite a current, and it was hard to see much… some scuba divers got into trouble and one guy got thrown up against the reef, and our boat had to go get them… he had a ton of scrapes a cuts on his legs. Needless to say, i didn’t feel too safe, and there wasn’t many fish to see, so i wouldn’t recommend it.
Other Comments: We are a couple in our mid 20s, and don’t have super high expectations, so we ended up having a good week, after the frustration of the first 2 days. Would we go back? Maybe if we could be guaranteed a room that faces the interior of the resort. We were not the only ones who were complaining about the rooms, as there seemed to be always someone trying to deal with the staff on this issue. On the other exterior side of the building 2, is construction, and one lady was furious that she was getting woken up at 6am due to that noise. There also seemed to be a fair bit of work going on at the NH, which seems strange since it’s a fairly new resort. But lots of tile repair, there was someone cutting wood with an electric saw in the hallway of the rooms, painting, drywall patching, etc.
We were also delayed on our return flight because the departure gate was changed, but there was never an announcement, so one couple was sitting at the wrong gate. So just make sure to check the screens for that information, as the announcements that are being made are sometimes hard to understand. If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to help. email@example.com