We diverted from our norm this year & chose the Dominican Republics’ east coast as our destination…the Sirenis Tropical Suites Resort on Uvero Alto Beach being the exact location.
Flight: Our vacation this year was booked with TMR/ Tours Mont Royal thru Sell off Vacations & we were going to have some challenges…a “French flight”, flying out of Montreal & we are anglo-speaking! What made us choose TMR you ask?…an excellent price of $1468+ taxes per person for 2 weeks, plus an extra $50 pp credit for being 55years & over. Departure time was set for 10:15am Tuesday January 13th, flying Air Transat. Arriving at the airport at 6:50am, check in is very swift & due to the fact that we pre-selected our seats both for departure & return, we had no worries. We are sitting in row 9BC, which is the first emergency row…we’ve got excellent legroom, but find the seats to be very uncomfortable and narrow. Take-off is on time at 10:15 and during our 4-hour flight we have exemplary service from our flight attendants. It is during the flight that we do our Immigration paperwork & receive our Tourist Card.
PUJ Airport: This was our 8th trip to the Dominican Republic, but only our 2nd trip to Punta Cana….a few things had changed, but in the most part, I remembered the steps from a previous trip. We touch down at 3:40pm & after de-planing onto the tarmac, we were escorted into the Airport where we were greeted by two senoritas, had our pictures taken & then ushered into line where we handed in our Tourist Card & then proceeded thru Immigration. The luggage carousel was an elbow affair, where 289 other passengers jostled you around, all looking for their suitcases too! Finding our Destination Rep, we got our hotel packet & our bus number and the next leg of the journey began.
Resort Arrival: As pre-warned in reviews that we read prior to our departure, the road from the airport to Sirenis is long & not all a smooth ride. Once past El Cortecito it was a matter of “shake, rattle & roll” & if I had had an open bottle of Presidente in my hand, I swear that it would have been all over me instead of in the bottle! We arrive at Sirenis Tropical 60minutes after leaving PUJ airport at 4:45pm, stopping first at the Grand Paradise & Dreams Punta Cana to drop off guests. I must say that we were really disappointed upon our arrival at Sirenis: No one greets us as we get off the transfer van; we take our own luggage into the Reception area, no welcoming drink or hot towel. Although check in is very smooth with no waiting time, another of the things that turned us off was “the upgrade” spiel. The upgrades were Silver ($25), Bronze ($45), Gold ($75) & Platinum ($95) levels …that is starting at $25 per person per day. For the upgrade you would get a coffee maker, iron & ironing board in your room; the safe would be free; 10% discounts off Spa services etc. Now if you do the math, $25pp x 14 days = $700.
An “all suites resort” which is what the Sirenis is being billed as, would already have a coffee maker, iron & free safe in the room…why should we have to spend extra to have these amenities available to us?? We decline the upgrade package & pay for our safe….$50 deposit up front + $3 per day x 14 days = $42. A porter arrives to take our luggage & escorts us to our room
Tropical Suite: We are located on 1st Ave in Building E006. This is a ground floor Jr. Suite, with a separate living room & bedroom. The bedroom has 2 double beds with bedside tables, a dressing table & T.V. with remote, but no clock/clock radio. There are 2 full closets with a bank of shelves between them…the keyed safe is located inside one of the closets. Waiting to greet us once you entered the bathroom was a towel swan, with beautiful red hibiscus flowers, sitting on the most striking marble counter top. The swan is keeping watch over a basket of shampoos & lotions. The toilet is in a small separate area & the shower has a glass “curtain” & a “high tec” full body shower system. The living room holds a comfortable couch, a rattan chair, coffee table, writing desk, T.V. and mini fridge. The fridge is restocked daily with 5 or 6 bottles of water, soft drinks & beer (if you wish). The patio was one of our favourite places to sit & could be accessed from the living room or from the bedroom. Both the bedroom & the living room have their own a/c controls, along with a ceiling fan in the bedroom. We had no problems with lack of water pressure, lack of hot water or electricity outages.
Our maid Josefina did an excellent job of keeping our room clean & the fridge restocked and always surprised us with flowers & comforter designs on the bed. We tipped her daily, leaving the tip on the bed pillow.
Food: The food at the Sirenis was very enjoyable…some days better than others. But we were never without something to eat. My husband is much more adventuresome when it comes to eating away from home, as I have to be a bit more careful. I thoroughly enjoyed the home made soups & fresh breads…some days I could have made a full meal just from those. Breakfast is not my “first thing in the morning’ must do, so I can not really comment, but Dave enjoyed the fresh fruit & smoothies that went with his fresh donuts, croissants & fried egg sandwiches. We were disappointed with the “continental breakfast” items that were ‘available’ at the El Bohio pool side restaurant….a smattering of fresh fruit, stale bread, buns & coffee were what was available. Continental breakfast was supposed to be available from 10:30 to 12noon, but most days there was nothing available after 11:00am. During “survey day”, we made it known to management that this service needed an update.
Macao Dining Room: Due to the resort being at 75% capacity, it was the main buffet restaurant on the Cocotal side that was open nightly. At times we found the dining room to be quite crowded. Staff coped nicely keeping everything clean and well stocked. It was the guests that seemed to leave their manners at home. People should chill out and remember they are on vacation. There will still be lots of food left if you wait your turn. The Staff was attentive but we found them to be always in a hurry…clearing the table just as we finished or removing plates/utensils if we were just taking a break. We had no specific waiter/waitress that we could call our own while there for the two weeks, so could not really develop a definite rapport with any of them.
A la Carte restaurants: was open 6:30 to 10:00pm
Nuevo Mexico: Our meal was better than I expected, due to the fact that I cannot tolerate spicy foods. Taco chips & dips for the appetizers, along with a choice of soup, salad or quesidillas. The entrée was a choice of chicken, beef steak or tacos. Compared to other Mexican a la Cartes that we’ve eaten at, the décor was very basic & didn’t really set a “Mexican vibe”.
Cinnecita (Italian): The décor of the Italian a la Carte was breath-taking…bright white walls, tables & chairs, with accents of black. Even the plates on the table were in white with black accents. The menu was varied from pizza to pasta. I had the spinach & cheese stuffed ravioli in a béchamel sauce….tasteless! Not enough spinach or cheese & too much of the béchamel sauce.
Jade (Oriental): Another restaurant where the décor tickled your senses! Done in black & red with a splash of gold, this restaurant was very appealing. Sitting in a square U shape of 14 people to a unit, we were treated to a cooking presentation that I’ve never experienced before. Mixed vegetables, rice, chicken & beef were all cooked on the grill, followed by shrimp & calamari. I found the food to be over cooked, with too much soya sauce…but enjoyed the presentation.
EL Rancho (Steakhouse): After all the hurry/scurry of our meals in the main buffet, this meal was actually slow—we thought that the staff had to go & kill the cow! Dave’s order of BBQ ribs & baked potato & mine of BBQ chicken & baked potato was extremely good …one of the better of all the a la Cartes that we ate at.
Beach: A very beautiful stretch of beach to walk on. To the left is Excellence & to the right is Dreams PC. At this time, there were ample loungers & palapas to choose from and if you couldn’t find a palapa then the palm groves gave off plenty of shade. Lots of activities such as beach volleyball, chess, kayaking, sailing, and snorkeling to keep you busy, but if you are like me a good book will suffice. The water was “red flagged” for most of the time, but we were able to watch a few kite surfers & a banana boat excursion. Vendors wandered the beach, but they were just there to entice you to their market at El Navegante plaza to the left of the resort property. Liquid refreshment could be obtained from the Coralino Bar (also a swim up bar) at the El Batey restaurant (Tropical side), the Uvero Beach Bar (in front of the Animacion Centre or the El Bohio bar at the El Bohio poolside restaurant.
Pool: The pool is a meandering hub of activity, with 4 definite sections and accessible to 2 pool bars and 2 pool side restaurants. At time of our holiday, only the El Bohio restaurant on the Cocotal side was functional. Liquid refreshment could be obtained from the same locations as from the beach, with the addition of the La Yola swim up bar. There was plenty of loungers & palapas available and of course like most resorts, the “towel game” took place. The quieter section of the pool seemed to be on the Tropical side…so if you don’t want to be bothered by loud music, that should be your destination.
Staff: The staff of the joint resorts was exceptional…very friendly and willing to help make your stay the best. Everyone seemed to enjoy his or her job, greeting you with “Hola” & a smile. Our favourite staff member is Jenny, who worked in the bar/lounge area.
Reception/Lobby/ Lounge/Bar area: This is a very busy area and another gravitational spot to meet friends & discuss the days’ activities. The upper Reception area held comfortable wicker/rattan chairs & couches along with the La Piramide Bar (5pm-11pm), while on the lower end was La Pergola Bar (9am-1am). This bar ran parallel to the Reception area & was the anchor to the 2 lounge areas of the Cocotal & the Tropical Resorts. The two Lounge areas had comfortable seating & bar service is available to each table. Also in this parallel area of the Pergola Bar are washrooms (both sides), Internet Services, & the desks for the various Tour Operators… flight information & tour books are available to peruse. Internet access starts at $7.00 per ½ hour & an access code is available from Reception. The Guest Services Desk is in the upper Reception area …use this service to book your a la carte reservations. At the end of the Lounge areas, just prior to stepping out onto “Seaview Ave.” are a Harrison’s Jewelry & the photo kiosk.
Evening Entertainment: Entertainment was held in the El Merengue Theatre, which held another 2 bars and plenty of seating for guests. It was in a separate area on the Cocotal side, so unless you stayed in building F, E, D, you could not hear the music on the rest of the resort. A varied listing was posted each day & ranged from Dominican Folklore to Dirty Dancing. Most nights an “in-house” band played & sang in the upper Reception area, and for me I found this much more to my style than the noise of the Theatre.
Gardens: The flowers and bushes were in blossom with a full range of colour…. beautiful hues of red, pink, purple and greens. The Taino sculptures placed at the front of the Resort added a degree of expectancy as they drew you in thru Reception and then out along Seaview Ave to view the fountains & sculptures that led down to the beach. The gardeners are to be commended for their excellent job in keeping everything so neat and tidy.
Commercial Centre- Ibiza Ave: This was a great disappointment…of the 14 shops on the street, only 4 or 5 were in operation…and only sporadically. There is a 24 hours Medical office/clinic & Los Haitises Sports Bar complete with big screen tv & pool tables.
Tours & Tour Rep: We did not involve ourselves in any of the excursions this time, but there is quite an array to choose from: Bavaro Runners Safari AdventureBavaro Runners Safari Adventures, Tropical Storm sailing & snorkeling, Zipline Adventure , & Manati Park to name a few. Our Destination Rep at the airport was Alberto & he was at our Resort the day after arrival to do the Orientation session…kudos to Alberto, as he did an extra session in English, just for us! TMR’s Tour Rep at Sirenis Tropical is Fanny & she is at the Rep desk 9:00am to 10:30am every day except Wednesday. Double kudos go out to Fanny who assisted us in getting an upgrade to Club Class for our return flight….the most helpful lady you could ever ask for !
All in all, this was a very relaxed holiday full of sunshine, good food & new acquaintances. Would we return to Sirenis Tropical? Honest answer…I don’t know. There are still many other resorts to visit…so only time will tell.