Arrival: Oct. 29 – Nov. 5 2009 Arrival was by private transfer and was quick and uneventful, although we did miss our pre booked connection due to flight number being changed. Our flight to the DR was #248 and was via Puerto Plata, flight from POP was #247 which was not on the arrival board at Punta Cana airport, we arrived early and our private driver was looking for flight #248 and we did not see his vehicle in the parking lot.
On arrival at he resort we were immediately whisked away and registered in the Royal Club, a one bedroom suite, 2nd floor ocean view, simply beautiful. Within 10 minutes of arrival we were at poolside having an ice cold Presidente.
While we were in the Royal Club, I did take time to visit the Transat Preference and Prestige rooms of people who we made friends with at the airport on the way down. These rooms were very nice with spanish terra cota tile floors and well appointed rooms with a king bed, a full bath and a small sitting area adjacent to patio doors to a balcony that looked out in both cases to the pool area. Honestly these rooms would have been very adequate for our stay.
Restaurants and Bars:: Even though we were guests in the Royal Club we visited and used various buffets and a la carte restaurants to gain a good perspective of the entire resort. Main buffet was very good for breakfast with separate omelette and egg cooking stations, there was a a large selection of fresh fruits, juices, smoothings and many other foods available for our enjoyment. We also did eat one night at this same buffet, there was a huge selection of various meats and vegetables available, nobody certainly should ever go hungry. The Dining area was very well appointed and also airconditioned. Like most buffets the food could which was on steam tables could have been hotter but in comparison to other buffets it was on par. Beach buffet, an open air restaurant on the beach buffetted by a nice breeze off the ocean had an excellent selection of pizza, meats, cheeses, fruits salads and veggies, something for everyones palate. Japanese a la carte was quite good especially for those who like oriental cuisine, we are not into the sushi culture so stayed away from the appetizer sections of the menu. Our main course was very good and steaming hot and was very enjoyable. This particular a la carte is not a teppenaki style restaurant. Italian a la carte was indeed a nice suprise with a exceptional range of pasta dishes as well as main courses cooked with an Italian flair, food was well presented and quite hot. There also was an excellent salad and soup bar available.
Brazilian a la carte, well the steak was very good and cooked to perfection. I overheard many people saying that they expected a Brazilian Rodisserio type menu with many types of braised meats brought to the table on larger skewers, when actually it is more like a grill restaurant. Royal Club restaurant (members only) was a beautifully appointed room adjacent to the RC jacuzzi pool, air conditioned comfort with eloquent service and a fine menu of appetizers, soups and salads with a different daily menu of main course dishes. Any we had were marvelously prepared and very tasty. This restaurant was open to members for breakfast, lunch and supper, we tried them all and were very impressed with the service and food quality.
Beach/Pools/Grounds:: Bavaro beach, what is there to say other than it is simply beautiful white sand and gorgeous blue colourations of the ocean. The resort had staff who were continually grooming the sands to make sure that there was no tourist generated debris around any of the loungers, when a glass was empty it was quickly removed, ash trays were available at all the palapa’s. All the pools were very nice well maintained and were very child friendly with walk in sections that gradually went to a depth of just over 3 feet. Swim up bars were available at the 2 we briefly visited. 90% of our time was spent on the beach.
While the Occidental is one of the older resorts in Punta Cana, arriving you are greeted with a large marble and spanish tile floored open air lobby that just sparkles. From the lobby you are led through a pathway of red painted and white curbed winding roadways through the myriad of beautifully white painted spanish style buildings with orange tile roofs, pools and gardens that are meticulously maintained by a very friendly staff who alway greet you with a friendly "hola".
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
Off resort we went to the El Mundo Meijor Children’s orphanage in Higuey. And of course dis our usual afternoon at Steve’s Corner bar.
Other Comments:: The resort was very well maintained and clean, staff was very friendly and accomodating. Public washrooms in the lobby are were very well maintained and clean as they were in any of the restaurant area. One exception was the large washrooms adjacent to the evening theater, I was told that a number of toilets in the ladies side did not flush and was in need of a complete refit. The resort 2 years ago when I was there, they had started a complete renovation program of its rooms and this is now an continuing process spearheaded by their resident manager. I definitely did see a lot of wonderful improvements in the resort, and am sure more will be taking place in the near future. Personally I do not see why anyone can not go to this middle of the road solid 4+ star resort and have a wonderful fun filled all inclusive vacation. Please note that even though we stayed in the fantastic Royal Club section, has absolutely no bearing on this review, as I tried to see and use as much of the resort as possible to give a true perspective of what to expect. I met with and discussed the resort with the resident manager and went over many of the points that would be included in this review.