+ Beach: Water- beautiful, calm and warm in wonderful colors, sand white and nice, not good for long walks, since the sand is soft. Bring your snorkeling equipment, there are some fish to see, not spectacular, but worth bringing a mask.
– Beach cots need cleaning, they are full of bird droppings. You can always find an empty cot, but some areas are crowded.
+ – Restaurants: Are ok, but not worth the time you need to stand in line at guest service in the morning to get a reservation. The buffet at the palace offers different theme evenings, the food is great.
– Dining area and bar: The worst are the guests touching the food provided – for example cake or fruits which can be eaten all day. I did get quiet sick before, you watch the guests, they touch their private areas and then touch the food with their hands- and the staff working there does nothing about that and the management does not give them instructions to stop these nasty guests. There are pliers provided, but a lot of people use their hands. The management stresses the fact, that they have a working food management system, but the details are not enforced. I have talked to a lot of guests, each one got sick at one time or another. So beware where and what you eat!
– Dresscode: In the evening you will find people with bathroom slippers and shorts, as well as couples dressed up for dinner. It would be nice if a minimum dress code would be enforced. After all, it is supposed to be a 4 * hotel- with a one star dress code. Management claims they cannot enforce a dress code, but it is a lack of interest.
– Smoking: Be prepared to be smoked in, everywhere and anywhere, the only place you cannot smoke are in the restaurants- at any other place- you sit down, you will get smoked in by chain smoking Europeans. It is very unpleasant- do not try to see a show in the evening- because you won’t see much because of the smoke!
+ People and Personnel: The staff is nice and they are one of the reasons we keep coming back to this hotel, there are wonderful people working there, that try their best to make your holiday special.
– Entertainment and Sports: There is an ok Gym at the viva beach hotel, also they offer some aerobic lessons- which is mostly done without shoes and the same, same music every single day, so if you want to do sports bring your sneakers…you can also do Merengue and Salsa classes with the animation team. Don’t expect too much, though….
– music- be prepared to hear music – any and everywhere, the same tapes over and over, the animation team has their favorite 5 or 6 CD’s, or bring you own music….
+ Garden: Simply beautiful, wonderful flowers, thanks to the many garden workers from Haiti, that are paid even less than the hotel personnel by a sub lease company and they are the reason the place is as nice looking as it is, they clean up after the guests, collect cups and plates at the beach, left behind by many guests, they cut the flowers and bushes, they pick up the cigarette buds out of the sand.
People act very careless, leave everything and a lot of them have no respect for the work done for very, very little money and bad food. When you see these garden workers give them your sneakers before you leave, or soap, even t-shirts – since they get paid practically nothing and food is very expensive in the Dom.Rep. Often they support their families in Haiti, which is one of the poorest countries in the world. Help where you can, a tip to a garden worker would be nice too, since they do not get any tips. They are also happy to get a cold soda while working for you in the sizzling sun. Beware to be discreet in front of Hotel staff and give them good things – they have their pride too! You will feel like you made a difference and leave with a smile on your face. Most people speak no English, so brush up on your Spanish and bring a honest smile! All together, be prepared to meet a lot of different cultures, Italian, French, German. You will see how different people are…
We will be back, don’t get us wrong, we like the place.