My husband and I along with an other couple from Minnesota stayed at the Ocean Blue from Feb 6 – Feb 13 (Sat – Sat). Our little group vacations somewhere warm every winter and has been doing so for the past 8 years. This was our 4th trip to the DR, 2nd time to Punta Cana. When we fly to the DR we are never given any paperwork on the plane, we usually pay our $10 entry fee once we get to the airport and then there’s some paperwork to fill out while there….not this time. It was different: We paid the $10 then got our passport stamped then off to our luggage and outside for our ride. No paperwork, did we miss a step?!!! On the way home, we had some paperwork to fill out at the airport, we didn’t have to pay the $20 and other than the lines being very long, it didn’t seem like we were missing anything.
I have been reading reviews for a half a year getting ready for this vacation (I always do). This was our best resort trip yet!
Your Arrival: Easy check in – we were given cool, damp face cloths + a tray of punch was delivered. We were given a welcome brochure w/map along with our keys and towel cards…the man at the front desk was friendly too. No credit card was asked for, nor did we run into any timeshare people.
We left our bags and our room # with bell men to be delivered later and we grabbed a beer (Presidente) at the lobby bar for the walk to our room.
Rooms: We were on the right side, villa 4 on the top floor (3 floors max, no higher than the palm trees) #4301, king bed, view of the quiet pool and we could see the ocean a bit…loved our room! Our friends were checked into the Ocean Sand side on the left…doesn’t matter, two names, same resort. Room was very clean and spacious. Our fridge stocked with Pepsi, 7 Up, bottled water and 2 Presidente beers. The maid was near by, so as we were waiting for our bags we asked her for some more beer and tipped her a couple bucks…she was more than happy to stock our fridge for us. We never had a problem with water or anything. Actually, we couldn’t fault the place at all, this has been the nicest resort we’ve ever stayed at. I have been reading such good reviews that I almost couldn’t believe them, but they were right. The employees couldn’t be nicer! I’m still in awe about that! A "Hola" and a smile will get you everywhere.
Restaurants and Bars: In the welcome brochure you will see the restaurants and the times they open. Also, which ones require men to wear long pants ("casual" for long pants and "sport" for shorts), along with a lot more info. The restaurants open at 6:30 and you don’t need reservations…just walk on in. We ate at the: Italian – (casual) Great food, try the lasagna. Service a little slow but, we’re in no hurry. Dominican ‘La Casa’ – (casual) I loved the garlic shrimp! Mexican – (sport) I had the tacos and the fish tacos were my favorite. Caribbean, down by the beach – (sport) The beef fillet was very good! Buffet – (sport) My husband loved the made to order omelets for breakfast, he had one every day. I loved the smoothies. The service here was better than any other buffet at any of the other resorts we have been to. (For lunch, they won’t let you in if you’re damp/wet because of the cushioned chairs – use the beach buffet). Also the food was very good everywhere, I gained weight. Mikes coffee shop was also very good!. Lobby bar – nice to hang out at after dinner and listen to music and dance. Great drinks and service! Some days they had Mojitos and they were good! They don’t skimp on the booze either… We met so many nice people here! Overtime sports bar – We really liked this place! We would come here after a few drinks at the lobby bar. They had snacks and we thought the beer was colder here too.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Free WiFi in the lobby. It’s also quite a walk from the lobby to the beach, I at least got in some exercise walking. There is a trolley that will take you around the resort as well and we used it. Grounds: Beautiful, well kept. There was always people working hard there. Pools: 2 large pools, both with a swim up bar. The one closer to the ocean has activities and the other is more quiet…wonderful pools and great swim up service! Beach: Well, let’s just say you won’t be disappointed, the beach is the best. The ocean can be a bit wavy (depending on the weather), but not as wavy as Barcelo Premium’s waves up on the northern part of Punta Cana’s beach where we stayed 3 years ago. The ocean floor is all sandy on the bottom, I have ‘sissy’ feet and hate to step on anything other than sand, no problem here! As for beach chairs: Yes, you will have to get down there early to reserve a shaded spot (7 – 8am?). We never got there until 10:30 or later and always found some chairs in the sun, which I prefer anyways.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Shops: There is a cigar shop, a Harrison’s high end jewelry store and There is a souvenir shop with a bunch of t-shirts, flip flops, sunblock, necessities and trinkets, along with some nice jewelery & luggage… near the lobby. I found my silver bracelet at the souvenir shop, I was in search of one. I would come back every other day to see if it was still there. The jewelery salesman quoted me $110 US the first day and on the last day he said $155. I got him back down to $110…even though I didn’t want to spend that much, I really wanted it. So he will negotiate some. The shops on the beach or "Shacks Fifth Avenue" didn’t have the real silver I was looking for but they weren’t as aggressive as I thought they would be. So, we shopped there a couple times as it was so convenient being next to our resort and cheaper than the resort store…it was cheaper buying your t-shirts and things at the shacks on the beach. On Tuesday & Friday evenings there were vendors that set up their booths on site between the lobby and the restaurants. They were more aggressive, but as long as we just stopped to look, tell them they didn’t have what I was looking for, with a "gracias" we left…but, we stopped at every booth along the way looking and saying the same thing because, we couldn’t get by with just stopping at one booth, they would say it wasn’t fair. On Friday I purchased a pretty necklace from the first vendor we came upon. I pointed it out, he took me to a table to describe each stone, used his lighter to show me it wasn’t plastic or something and quoted me $68 US. I said that was way too much and he came down to $52, then $40…stopped at $40. I said I only had $25 and he came down to $30. When I acted like I was going to get up and leave, he said OK to $25. Entertainment: Aside from the music at the lobby bar, and the activities on the beach which I enjoyed watching, we saw three shows at the theater. The Circus show – good, Magic show – very good and the Michael Jackson show – totally awesome! I wanted to see it again and I didn’t see a show after that one (on Tuesday nt) because in my humble opinion, this show couldn’t be beat. We got a front row early for this as I heard good things about it and our group wasn’t disappointed. Excursion: I wanted a half day catamaran tour. At the beach hut (where you get your towels and free toys) they also had excursions to purchase. We did the Viva Colonial Catamaran, 3.5 hours, $49US per person (they said it was a "special"). It left right from our beach and was a great trip! It included a cruise down the shore line, one snorkeling stop, an hour stop at the natural pool (which was a sandy, shallow area to swim in holding your rum drinks), music & dancing, more rum drinks or beer and a trip back up the coast line back to our resort. They also take pictures of you during the trip and we can see them on line at their site for free…they might require a payment to download, I’m not sure.
Other Comments: We all loved this resort and Punta Cana…I know there are parts of the trip I’m forgetting but, I would just like to post this now and answer any questions …fee free to message me! If I could give some tips: We had a direct flight to Punta Cana from Minneapolis…on the way home our flight was over loaded and they had to take off 60 pieces of luggage. Not that big of a deal on the way home because they will deliver ours to our home (they were delivered 4 days later) and I don’t have anything of real importance in there…just vacation things. BUT if this would have happened on the way to PC, it would have made a big difference. It just makes me think, what will I pack in my carry-on next trip? Thanks for reading, I hope I helped. Kristi