Arrival: Nov 12-17 I love PUJ! There is a slight hold-up for the picture with the ridiculously dressed girls, but no harm done. Getting through Immigration took all of 2 minutes, buying $10 entry cards and then returning them up about 10 feet later. Baggage started to come through fairly quickly. It was crowded around the belt but that’s to be expected. To leave the terminal, a firm but polite œno thank you got us through the porters and out to the taxi area. Nodding to one of the several English speaking organizers holding up a simple taxi sign, we were escorted to our cab. The driver did not speak English but we knew the fare from the gentleman who got us to the cab. The ride to the resort took about 25 minutes.
When we arrived, there was no welcome. No hola, no cold drink, no welcome, this is where to go to check in, nada. We knew where to go from our visit last year and waited for the couple in front of us to finish, then sat at the desk for check-in. I got a Presidente and my wife a bottle of water from the fridge next to the bar. Check-in itself was smooth and fairly quick. Our butler, or who we were told was our butler, escorted us to our room and gave a quick intro to the TV, safe, fridge, etc. He said his name was Adanza and wrote cell numbers on the info sheet we can return to select pillows, define what we want in the fridge, etc. Our bags were brought up about 5 minutes later. I don’t know who brought us up to the room. Adanza, we learned two days later, is a lovely woman. I guess he was free in the lobby and it was easier to have him take us up than to find one of the œreal butlers. When we did meet Adanza, we told her we’d turned in the request form with someone else. The next day, our pillows and bottle of rum arrived. Daily fridge refill is promised but did not happen. In our 5 days, it was refilled once. Not a big deal.
We were put into room 5026. In the original section, this was a 2nd floor room close to the beach and overlooking the pool. Exactly what I’d requested through Octavio about 10 days before arrival.
The room was in good shape. The toilet seat was loose and one of the chairs on the porch was missing a bolt, but nothing problematic. There is a free safe to use that will hold a small to mid-sized laptop. Not sure about a larger one. The tub was in the room but the toilet and shower were behind different doors, offering the required privacy. What the room lacks is a dresser. There are 3 small drawers in the desk and 3 shelves in the closet but this was barely enough for us staying only 5 nights. If you’re on a 2 week holiday and pack heavy, you’ll have issues finding room to store your clothes. The TV brought in plenty of English speaking or dubbed channels with fairly decent reception quality.
We left $3 each day for the maid, with a gracias note so she knew it was for her. Everyday around 10-11am, the room was fully cleaned, with flowers and towels animals left behind. Towels do get a little tricky. Washcloths were there when we arrived but never replaced. Used bath towels were taken when the room was cleaned in the morning but more than once not replaced until the evening. Not great if you want a late afternoon shower before going to dinner. We got around this by taking a couple extra pool towels back up to the room, just in case they were needed for a shower. When done, we returned them to the pool towel hut, now wanting to leave them for the maid to deal with.
We were right over the pool. For towels, the hut by the center path to the beach opens at 8:30 (usually earlier) and closes around 4:00. The pool itself was not as clean as the neighboring pool by the now closed El Bohio buffet, and we know why. At the RS pool, there’s a shallow sloped area to walk in with 2 small bubblers. People think this is where they’re supposed to wash the sand off of their feet and sandals! I don’t get how people can be so 1) clueless and 2) inconsiderate. I’ve already sent a suggestion note to Octavio about adding a foot shower by the towel hut or at least adding signage directing people to the shower that is there already. There are 2 pool bars. The main bar with a swim-up area and a smaller one at the beach entry path by building 50. The main had Presidente on tap, all of the assorted frozen drink machines and a full stock of liquor. The smaller had bottled beer, a couple slushy machines, just the basics for liquor and the fridge for self-serve sandwiches. Both were fine, plus staff circulates around the pool for drink orders. We had to put towels out by 7:30am latest to get a shady palapa by the pool. RS wristbands are gold, then changing to silver during the week as the color wears off. There were an awful lot of people around the pool with gray wristbands who walked over from other sections of the complex. I guess those are the platinum wristbands for VIPs and repeat guests. Needless to say, there must’ve been a lot of VIPs and repeat guests that week, as they seemed to take up 25% of the lounges by the pool.
Beautiful. At any time of day, there were shaded lounges available, sometimes close to the edge of the water and sometimes further back. Plenty of Bali beds too. Drink service was offered for the RS section of the beach.
Nice small lobby. Two desks for check-in, a small but fully stocked bar, a fridge with water and beer to grab at any time and 4 free internet desks. In the hallway between the lobby and the courtyard/pool, there’s a desk for butler service and others for excursions and tour companies. Will your assigned butler be there? Probably not. But any of them can make you’re a la carte dinner reservations.
Dining The Royal Gourmet was very good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Food quality was better than at the buffet. The Los Torres buffet was fine for breakfast or lunch. The quality was OK and the selection was very good. We did not use a buffet for dinner. Dinners at the a la carte options were mixed. We liked Japanese teppanyaki, Brazilian rodizio was good and we weren’t impressed with the Spanish. For all of them, reservations are now available only at 6:30, 8:30 or 10:00. At all a la carte and buffet restaurants, the hostess gives you a squirt of hand sanitizer as you enter. Room service one late night was surprisingly good. The margarita pizza was very good and the burger, though it looked burned to a crisp, was tasty if not juicy.
Punta Cana Mike
If you have the opportunity to go off-resort with Mike, do it. He’s a great guy. We went with him to a Toros game in La Romana and absolutely enjoyed it. A real treat for US baseball fans. Mike’s a friendly and gracious guy.
Smooth at the RS. Called for luggage pick-up, walked to the lobby, checked out and were in a cab in about 20 minutes.
Same at the airport. Very nice to have Nathan’s, Wendy’s and Baskin Robbins as food choices. I wish that were true in San Juan, where we had a 4+ hour lay-over and the only food options in the terminal were garbage.
Thank you for giving us your opinion.