Arrival: July 3 – July 11:
Sheer Bliss. My husband and I thought this was one of our most relaxing vacations in years. I have travelled all over the world, I used to work in the Middle East and got free plane tickets each year so have been many places, and this is one of my favorite resorts. It is just so beautiful there, and the people were so nice. Those beds on the beach were so decadent, the food was good and the people very friendly if you were nice to them. I will say though everyone was right about arrival and departure at the airport. Arrival was swift and efficient, but you better have three hours to get through lines on the way back. Our check in was quick, and we received cold towels and drinks while we waited. I loved the Royal Suites lobby. It was blessedly cool, had snacks, drinks, a lady who made coffees and cappucinos, free internet, that there was never a long wait to get, books, magazines etc. Very pleasant. The butler (more what I would call a concierge) sits at a desk right outside the lobby, and someone was there most of the time. I found them very helpful to book restraunt (do that ASAP) get flight reconfirmed or answer questions.
As we walked with our butler back to our room we were thrilled with how lovely the place was. Just way more beautiful than the pictures looked. Because I have a bad leg I had insisted on staying in building 52, right next to the pool and beach and this was so handy. We went in our room and the butler gave us a quick rundown of the room and options. We were very happy with the room. It was big, with a nice patio that looked over the pool, loved the big jacuzzi and shower and the bed was big and comfortable. Bar was always well stocked every day, and the maid did a good job with the cleaning. I left her usually two dollars and a candy bars and at the end left her several things. Liked the fan over the bed. Very good movie channels. Nice wooden chairs on the patio. I saw pictures of the rooms in the new section and while it did look nicer and their pool didn’t close, I loved being right next to the pool, beach and lobby.
Restaurants and Bars:: Our favorite restraunt was the Royal Gourmet. Yes, the Los Torres buffet had more selection, but was also more crowded and sometimes ran out of things. We ended up eating breakfasts, some lunches and several dinners at the Royal Gourmet. I loved the walkways to it. Kept the sun or rain off you when it was hot. Did like the Los Torres next door, the Palace buffet. Very interesting salads and grilled fish and at dinner here once or twice. I ended up liking La Uva just down the beach in the Punta cana section for lunch. You could just wear a beach cover up and they had usually two rice dishes (sometimes paella) a soup or two, meats you could have grilled or fish or hotdogs, usually some types of pastas, some unusually good mexican selections, and salads and that good homemade bread. But why I liked it usually over the palace beachside restraunt, (which was barely a two minute walk from the Royal suites pool or beach down the service path along the beach( is because La Uva, which was just a bit further down, had such a lovely ocean view while you ate. It was also a good place to get snacks if you didn’t want the sandwiches at the bar. Although if you were on the beach around 11 30 they usually brought out yummy fruit kabobs and then pizzas. service was good around the beach, just wave to get their attention. Our favorite restraunt was the Mare Nostrum the Italian place, right over by the Los Torres buffet and the Royal Gourmet. It was delicious and we would go here at least twice when we go back. Nice starter buffet, delicious main entrees and good deserts. My second favorite was the Japanese one, also right by the Los Torres buffet and the Royal Gourmet, just further down the line. Very good beef and shrimp, good fried rice, excellent fried ice cream. Nice show. One night we went over to the Bavaro side of the resort. We looked at the flamingos. Had a drink at Hemingways, which is a nice bar, although quicker to get served if you go up to the bar and take it back to your table. Then we ate at the Chinese restraunt, which was okay, not my favorite one. We went and saw part of a show at the theater, but it wasn’t our kind of thing. Then we went over to the Bell captain at the little stand in the Bavaro lobby and asked to get a golf cart back since its a long walk and the train had just left. He was happy to assist us. That was the only time we went over to Bavaro, and to be truthful, probably the last time I’d go over there. It was very nice, but very busy, and I was just too spoiled by the things on the Royal Suites side. We ordered room service several times when we’d had enough sun and didn’t feel llike going back out, and it always came hot or cold and quite good. I liked the chicken quesadillas, they called them tacos, the chef salad was a bit strange as it didn’t have much lettuce or vegetables, but was a good snack and it always came within thirty minutes or so.
If you get one of the sandwiches from the lobby or bar I reccommend the ham and cheese, quite good. Overall very pleased with the restraunts and selection of food, particularly the service and food at Royal Gourmet. Very good flank steak, eggs benedict and buffet selections. Some a bit strange for our American tastes, like mashed potatoes for breakfast, but still had bacon, eggs, and quite good pastries. Try the french toast. Made from fresh bread and eggs, delicious.
Well the grounds, beach and pools were even more beautiful than the pictures is all I can say. The lushness reminded me of Bali. I thought Hawaii had the corner on pretty landscaping but this was just wonderful. Loved all the flowers, that smelled so good, the shaded beach under the palm trees, those beds on the beach were just wonderful. Stayed on them most of the day. The sea was perfect, just enough wave, but you could float on your raft in it, I used to like to bounce in the waves and watch them frantically doing aerobics over on the palace beach. It was very relaxing. Although I liked the Punta Cana pool, I ended up liking the Royal Suites pool the best, although they did play the towel game there, didn’t like to lounge there though, too hot, and it was too pleasant under the palms on the beach. Did like the pool though, those cool whirpools were very nice and there were deep parts in the pool that were refreshing. Beach was one of the prettiest I’ve seen, and like I said I’ve been all over the world. Do go for a walk to your left sometime.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:: We just weren’t in the mood to go on adventures this trip. We just wanted to relax. Next time might go on either the dolphin swim or that island one though. I am still mad at my husband for not going to the Michael Jackson show, hehe, it was supposed to be really good. Otherwise, just went to a lobby and got a drink and listened to music. Some of the music at the palace bar was good. Sat out on a beach bed looking at the ocean two nights, that was romantic and very peaceful.
Did go shopping to the shops just to the right a few times. Like the jewelry in the first hut. Best to offer a fourth of what asked and then go up a bit or be prepared to walk away. When I go back, to get to that cheap Los Pinos shop that has set prices (they’re not, you can still get them down some) I highly recommend going down the beach to that restraunt and cut through that alley straight to the Los Pinos shop. That second row of shops were just too aggressive for me. The first row of shops really weren’t. I guess they’ve learned not to be. I liked one shop in that alley by the restraunt. Had really nice beach bags. Got a beautiful larimar necklace for my Mom for about twenty bucks. Not bad.
We had a really wonderful time here and can’t wait to go back. Do put towels down in your room. All floors are slippery here. Do bring candy bars and nick nacks to hand out. The towel man was so thrilled when I gave him one.