Absolutely nothing wrong with this resort. Multiple ala carte restaurants; multiple buffets. Adults only eliminated a lot of headaches associated w/kids. Numerous bars. Maid service (tipped on morning #1) top rate. Help staff did not "work for tips" and very few were left but if you did reward service, they certainly remembered you and followed you for needs. Make restaurant reservations as soon as you arrive; fills up fast and eating dinner at 8:00 or 10:00 doesn’t work for us. French, Japanese and Brazilian restaurants excellent. Hibachi grille-show outstanding. Casino small and only play slots or blackjack. Clean beach. More than enough pool/beach palapas. Grounds exquisite and groomed daily. Resort so large, you felt alone. A lot of Europeans; heavy Spanish.
Royal Suites – Adults Only
Names were in daily arrival/entry book; nice touch. Concierge service excellent. Had to wait for 3 pm check-in as flight arrived around noon. Pack a carry-on with pool clothes and you are in the pool waiting it out. Went to lunch. Internet in lobby; two working terminals could make access difficult at times. Wi-fi in lobby as well.
Royal Junior Suite. Second floor; first floor balconies had swim-up pool entries. No building over three stories tall. No elevators. King-size, comfortable four poster bed. Marble — marble walls, ceilings, floors, vanity and seperate shower areas. Sunken hydro-tub. Gin, scotch, vodka and rum bottles in room. Presidente beer and water with Coke products. Refilled daily. Robes. Slippers. Discreet room service portal. Balcony with chairs and drying rack. In-room Ipod charger/player. Hi-def, wall-mounted TV w/NYC channels. In-room, programmable safe. Remote. Maid service available early or late; your call. Sitting area with pull-out couch and two chairs.
Restaurants and Bars:
More than enough. Did not have time to do all in 5 night stay. La Chantrel (French) needed no reservations as it was exclusive to the Royal Suites clientele. Chateau briand for two highly recommended. Japanese hibachi grille was entertaining and delicious. Brazilian Rodezio was way too much meat! Le Gourmet and Bohio buffets were excellent. Le Gourmet was exclusive to Royal Suites; Bohio in family area and kids can destory a buffet real easy. Room service delivered house wines; wines in room were higher standard and extra charge. Beach bar was excellent; likely due to smallish numbers at pool. Crowd rarely exceeded 20 people it seemed. Wait staff around pool was plentiful, always available and quite fast. Tipping there ensured greater attention. Pool bars also at swim-up pools in adults only area. Bars in palapas on beach.
Beach beautiful but short distance from palms to water. Some minor sea grasses but nothing outside norm. Top-optional for ladies- beach only (it seemed). Sand soft and white. Lots of beach foot traffic. Pools excellent. Enough surrounding palms to cast shade into pools during peak sun hours. Each had own "bubble" tubs .. think "hot tubs" but without heat. Getting own palapa was never an issue. Some "towel seat saving" but nothing extreme. Lounge chairs in pools seating one or two. Grounds were exquisite. Daily grooming. Roaming pink flamingos and peacocks. Resort so huge we never saw 50% of it as most dining/casinos/bars are located in middle section of third resort area with adults only section being the fourth. Spa huge but gym/workout equipment sparse or in need of repair. Attached to hot tub/sauna/lazy river/ lounge section. Massages were reasonably priced at about $2/minute.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We had no intentions of dsoing any did none so mission accomplished. A possible trip to Santo Domingo was declined due to one-way, three-hour bus ride. Others did zip-lining and said while course was good, 1.5 hour one-way trip up bad roads with bad shocks was brutal. Plus return. Others did a dune buggy/terrain tour and loved it. Did not stray from resort. Area outside walls was quite impoverished. Stores/shops looked in pitiful shape. Lots of young men roving around on scooters. Just south of resort was beach shop area. Peddlers quite pushy and insistive. Peddlers on beach (parasailing, banan boats, etc.) not too intrusive. Beaches are public so some expressed some fear on the beach at night. A mugging is possible anywhere, even paradise. We did not go there at that time but one must always be aware of their surroundings. The resort opened a local peddlers area in front of casino certain nights and peddlers there are also quite insistent. Small "mall" area on resort and it served our purposes well enough. Sports area in resort is huge and has all fields necessary for every sport imaginable. Activites around our pool were none; which worked well for meeting our objectives of quiet, solitude, sun and drinking. There si a tram service that runs around the resort; recommend taking it first day there and getting to know where things are.
We would certainly go back. Five days/nights suited us fine. Our son-in-law and daughters might be bored with things; this was not Cancun where there are discos, malls, ruins, Isla Mujares, and eco parks to explore. Hotel is second one on Bavaro Beach so ride to/from airport is short. Airport: small and open air. Seems all the planes come and go at same time so crowd can swell easily. We arrived before the line began and were at security within 30 minutes; others stood in check in line for two hours. Food behind security is American: Sbaro, Wendy’s, Nathan’s, etc. Nice duty-free shop. Porters swarm you but "no gracias" works fine. There is a $10/person entry fee, payable right before getting bags. Must present receipt and passport to entry officials along with entry form given on plane to enter country.