Travel with Kids in the Caribbean – Debbie's Caribbean resort reviews – Travel with Kids

Great family time. the beach way better than punta cana
Hotel Aguas Azules (Formerly Club Amigo Varadero)
User Rating:  
MAGS >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We all liked this resort, beach and pools all where great. food was ok nothing special burgers at the beach bar and pool where very good. my girls 13 and 14 had fun walking around by themselves. As parents we felt it was a lot safer then in when in punta cana. Cuban people are sometimes said to be snoby, i totally disagree. they are polite and respectful. They do not beg or make you feel uncomfortable. Shopping in the markets was fun no one pulling you into their stalls and bugging you to buy something.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
GREAT FOR THE ACTIVE VACATIONERS, OUR YOUNGEST PLAYED BEACH VOLLEYBALL EVERY DAY AND MET SOME OTHER TEENS BY JOINING IN AT THE POOL SIDE GAMES. NIGHT SHOWS STARTED LATE, THEY WHERE FUNNY AND THE STAFF DID A GREAT JOB.
Arrival
ONLY DISAPOINTMENT WE HAD ASK FOR ROOMS BESIDE EACH OTHER, DID NOT HAPPEN. WHAT PISSED ME OFF THE MOST, WAS THERE WAS A ROOM RIGHT ACROSS FROM OURS THAT WAS EMPTY. THEY LIED AND SAID IT WAS NOT. THE NEXT DAY WE MET A GREAT FAMILY, THE PARENTS HAD THAT ROOM AND ALL OF THE KIDS WHERE DOWN THE HALL. WE HAD ARRIVED AT 10AM THEY ARRIVED AT 10PM. THERE WAS NO REASON WHY THE FRONT DESK COULDNT HAVE GIVEN US THE ROOM CLOSEST TO OUR ROOM
Beach/Pools/Grounds
GREAT, CLEAN LOTS OF BEACH CHAIRS. BAR CLOSE BY ALL THE POOLS OR ON THE BEACH. EMPLOYESS DRAGGED THE CHAIRS TO THE SPOT ON THE BEACH THAT WE WANTED. LOTS OF SPOTS TO CHOOSE FROM. IN PUNTA CANA IF YOU DIDN’T SAVE YOUR SPOT THE NIGHT BEFORE IT WAS HARD TO GET A GOOD SPOT. SAME AS BY THE POOL LOTS OF CHAIRS TO LIE DOWN AND RELAXE, SHADE FOR THOSE WHO DONT WANT THE SUN.
Other Comments
BRING TRAVEL MUGS ONE FOR HOT DRINKS AND ONE FOR COLD. RINSE WELL BEFORE BED AS SWEET DRINKS ATTRACTS ANTS FAST INTO YOUR ROOM. THE CUBANS LOVE GIFTS AS WELL ALL DO. WHEN EXCHANGING MONEY ASK FOR SMALL CHANGE FOR TIPS. OTHER THAN THAT IT IS A GREAT PLACE TO RELAX AND HAVE A FEW DRINKS. IF YOU EXPECT A FANCY RESORT WITH EXCELLENT FOOD YOU BETTER GO TO EUROPE. THIS IS A POOR COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE WORK HARD TO PLEASE US. WE WENT HERE FOR A INEXPENSIVE FAMILY TRIP AND GOT WAY MORE THEN WE PAID FOR.
Restaurants and Bars
THE FOOD WAS THE SAME MOST DAYS, WE ALL FOUND SOMETHING TO EAT AND NEVER WENT HUNGRY. POOL SIDE BAR HAD GOOD CHIPS AND BUGERS AS MENTION BEFORE. GRIILED CHEESE WAS NEVER THE SAME TWICE BUT ALWAYS GOOD MY KIDS SAID.
BAR TENDERS WHERE ALL FRIENDLY AND MADE WHAT YOU ASKED FOR ALSO ENJOYED TRYING THE DRINKS THEY MIXED UP FOR ME. HUSBAND STUCK TO CRYSTAL BEER AND WAS QUITE HAPPY. THE GIRLS LOVED THEIR BLUE LAGOONS AND OTHER VIRGIN DRINKS ( I THINK ALCOHAL FREE)
Rooms
CLEAN, BIG, NICE BATHROOMS. WE HAD A HUGE BALCONY TO HANG OUT ON AND READ, PLAY CARDS OR PEOPLE WATCH.
Great family vacation!
Hotel Akumal Beach Resort
User Rating:  
YVRck >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Date of Vacation: Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 2009 Wholesaler: Signature Vacations Airline: Air Transat (direct flight Vancouver-Cancun)

About Us:
We are a laid-back, self-employed, professional couple, age bracket 55-60. We tend to favour casual resorts which offer good off beach snorkeling opportunities as we are very avid snorkelers. Large, fancy resorts with amenities we are unlikely to use do not appeal to us. We prefer small resorts on a nice beach and it goes without saying that cleanliness is paramount.

We have vacationed at the Akumal Beach resort previously and were very anxious to return. This trip was a family vacation which included our 5 year old grandson, our son & daughter-in-law. This was their first experience to the Mayan Riviera and the little fellow’s first tropical vacation and trip on an airplane.

Flight:
As experienced travelers we have flown Air Transat many times. Flight was on time both coming and going and actually arrived early at destination both ways. I had opted to pay extra and pre-booked our seats so we would be seated close to one other near the rear of the aircraft. Both hubbie and son are tall so I made sure they had aisle seats. Everyone was reasonably comfortable considering the 6 hour flight and of course I was well prepared with on board snacks, although some snacks are offered for purchase. Effective Dec. 1, Air Transat is again offering hot meal service so we enjoyed this on the flight home. Choice of two meals, which included a tiny glass of red or white wine, was decent for airline food compared to the cold sandwich offered on the way to Cancun. Flight staff were extremely friendly and professional. No complaints!

In advance of the trip, I had signed our grandson up for the Air Transat Kid’s Club membership. No charge for this and some worthwhile perks are offered for the child & his immediate family. The Kid’s Activity packages handed out by in-flight staff were a big hit and even I was surprised at the decent quality of the toys included in the package. Full marks to Air Transat! Our grandson’s first air travel experience was very positive and he can’t wait to do it again.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities:- The resort offers a variety of daytime activities and a nightly show in the theatre located across the walkway from the lobby. They have an animation staff and a list of daily activities is posted on the outside wall of the main bar area facing toward the gift shop. The few times that we did inquire about a certain activity, it either didn’t happen or the staff were not at the venue at the time indicated. This is often the case when a resort is at low capacity. Animation staff were present around the resort and often engaged guests in conversation but more often than not, they were chatting amongst themselves at their station, listening to/playing music or busy preparing for the evening show. We did observe frequent beach volleyball games and once we were fortunate enough to convince a staff member to let us use the shuffleboard equipment after she finished playing with other guests. The equipment needs to be returned to the animation station when you’re finished and they appreciate you doing so in a timely fashion. We had been looking forward to playing chess on the large outdoor board near the buffet entrance, as well as some bocce. When we inquired about using this equipment, we were told it was not available. Perhaps it’s broken? A games rooms with a pool table and table tennis are located in the area behind where the Mexican a la carte used to be set up. There were no paddles available for the table tennis and the pool cues were in pretty rough shape with the set of balls also incomplete. It should be noted that a fitness room- very small and with aging/outdated equipment- is also located in this area as well as a medical/first aid centre which was abandoned with an emergency telephone number posted on the door. The resort has two tennis courts which appeared to be in good condition, although we never saw anyone using them. No idea where one could get some racquets but I’m guessing that many tennis playing guests probably bring their own equipment. I recall that a tennis pro used to be on staff and perhaps one of the animation team specializes in tennis. While I enjoy playing tennis at home, the tropical heat always overwhelms me, so I rarely play while on vacation. Archery is set up in an area next to the theatre. This was something that especially interested me but no one was around at the time posted for the activity and the equipment shed was locked. I was aware of the child size bows since I had seen them being used by children on a previous visit. After making an inquiry with one of the animation staff, we were directed to go to the archery centre with our grandson for a specific time so he could try it. We arrived 15 minutes early, found two staff sitting and chatting but were told that sorry, they were closing up, please come back some other time. I did try to convince the girls to at least let us see the child size equipment and perhaps try it even just one time, but to no avail. My grandson was especially disappointed and we were leaving the next morning, so we never did get to try the archery despite our four attempts. The Kid’s Club, which we went to check out daily, was always closed which made the small fenced off playground unavailable. Just as well as there were a lot of mosquitoes in this area! There were several families with young children at the resort during our stay. We all seemed content to supervise our little ones and let them play on the beach. For us, this was a family vacation so dropping our little fellow off at the Kid’s Club regularly was never part of the equation. It should be noted that an ATM machine is on site by the large gate near the Kid’s Club area, but it wasn’t working. The evening shows offered at most all-inclusive resorts are something people either really enjoy or take a pass on. We enjoy shows with a cultural theme or good comedy well presented, but we don’t bother with audience participation/shenanigans types of shows. We made the effort to go for t
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach:- The beach, with it’s amazing directly off the shore snorkeling opportunities, is what keeps us and many others coming back to the Akumal Beach Resort! For a resort of this size, the beach is reasonably long and quite wide with white, powdery soft sand. Plenty of white, plastic beach loungers and palapas or palm trees for shade. A sign is posted asking guests not to “reserve” their loungers by placing personal effects or towels on them at the crack of dawn or the night before, so none of those dreaded “towel wars” many resorts have problems with. I can’t say for sure this doesn’t happen at the Akumal Beach resort, but with such very low occupancy during our stay, it wasn’t an issue this time nor on previous vacations. The beach is well suited for young children and our grandson really appreciated the few sand toys I had brought along for him. Entry to the ocean is quite gradual, there is no erosion, very few rocks in most places so water shoes are unnecessary and the reef formation keeps the water relatively calm. No jet skis or parasailing! We did have a couple of very windy days (red flags) which kicked up some waves but nothing too intense or dangerous, so our grandson was still able to frolic in the ocean close to shore. Of course, he wore his lifejacket at all times! Some of the fish seem to have been habituated to expect food from guests who enjoy wading beyond knee depth water or they are exceptionally curious. It took no time at all for us to be surrounded by a bout 8-10 pompano fish (possibly Trachinotus falcatus) swimming in and around our legs as we stood in the ocean supervising our grandson. One fish even snuck up the leg of his bathing trunks and this momentarily frighten/startled him. He soon enjoyed the interaction with the fish, attracting them by snapping his fingers underwater, but I can well imagine other children and adults not reacting positively. The major attraction at Akumal are the sea turtles, rays and accessible reef formations; truly a snorkeler’s paradise! Although the weather and visibility were not as good this time, we spent many enjoyable hours snorkeling to our heart’s content. Bonus was being able to take a hot shower in the area behind the resort’s dive centre when we come out of the ocean. Pool:- We rarely use resort swimming pools. Due to a couple of very windy days at the beach and because our grandson loves to swim, we spent quite a bit of time in the pool. A pathway separates the pool from the beach so getting away from the wind completely isn’t possible but the view of the turquoise blue ocean is wonderful. The pool offers a toddler area and whirlpool section. Water was reasonably warm and clean although some areas of the pool had a nasty algae build up on the sides. We observed staff making an effort to scrub the sides, especially in the deeper pool which leads to the whirlpool area. A complete draining of the pool, followed by a thorough cleaning and a coat of light blue paint on the bottom would do wonders! Plenty of loungers and some umbrellas are available around the pool. The towel exchange counter is located by the pool, along with a small souvenir kiosk. A dive shop, the pool bar and the snack bar are just a stone’s throw away.
Other Comments
Conclusions:- Having previously vacationed at Akumal Beach Resort, we were a bit shocked at the deteriorated condition of the resort when we arrived. Those who know me from my countless years of travel forum participation are aware of my high praise and recommendation to visit the Akumal Beach Resort. VentaClub, who were most recently managing this resort, did it no favours and thankfully they are now out of the picture. Shortly after returning from our vacation, I found out that the resort management has been taken over by the owners with a promise that things would improve quickly. I can happily report, based on information gained directly from the new manager, that improvements to the quality of alcohol, coffee in the buffet, condition of the rooms, repairs to the balconies and changes to the entertainment have already been made. I am very optimistic that the Akumal Beach Resort will once again be returned to its solid, 3 star resort status. For those who enjoy a basic resort with great friendly staff located on a 5 star beach with snorkeling directly off the beach, put the Akumal Beach Resort on your vacation list. Our family definitely plans to return again! If our 5 year old grandson had his way, it would be tomorrow! Thanks for reading, Cristal (YVRck)
Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants & Bars:- Travel brochures list the resort as featuring one buffet, one snack bar, 2 a la carte restaurants (Mexican & Italian) and a specialty restaurant which requires payment. In previous visits, the a la carte restaurants were set up in larger allocated areas between buildings 2 & 3. Sadly, this area was dark and abandoned. For this visit, a small separate area next to the buffet was used as the a la carte venue. They alternated nightly between Mexican & Italian. A la carte restaurants are not available on Sundays. We did not dine a la carte for this visit so I can’t comment any further. Several years ago, a fire damaged the buffet restaurant extensively but it has been rebuilt. Although not air conditioned, it sits virtually right on the beach and large opening windows provide plenty of fresh air and a fabulous view. Service was adequate to excellent. Many of the reviews posted before our departure complained about the food offerings- or lack thereof. We were more than happy with the selection and presentation considering this is a 3 star resort. They have labels telling you what the dish is! At every meal, we always found plenty which appealed to all of us- yes, even the 5 year old!- and the breads/pastry selection was especially fresh and delicious. Some of the hot dishes could have been hotter but this is a common problem at many resorts. A custom omelette station is available at breakfast . Only incident I can recall as being negative (but with a positive outcome!), was that a box of pre-packaged, sugar coated breakfast cereal our grandson selected was stale, so he didn’t eat it. While many vacationers enjoy being served and expect this, we have no problem getting our own beverages or refills. Our son loved the self serve beer tap! Water/juice/soft drinks/milk/wine dispensers are all available in the buffet. The coffee machine was quite another matter. Coffee was horrible and the wine not much better! Explains why so many people arrived for dinner with their own bottle of wine in hand. I need my morning java fix and found it available at the main bar which opens at 8 AM around the corner from the buffet restaurant. The snack bar near the pool always offered fresh, oven baked pizza with various toppings as well as nachos with fabulous fresh salsa and guacamole. Hot dogs and custom cooked burgers were available upon request and one day they also had onion rings. The availability of chicken wings or fries was intermittent. Our family found the snack bar, which is open until 6 pm to be especially handy as it provided a late afternoon snack option for our grandson who would otherwise have been very hungry (and cranky!) by the time the dinner buffet opened shortly before 7 pm. Again, the self serve beer tap was a welcome addition to the snack bar area as was the water/lemonade dispenser. Alcoholic drinks were offered at the bar around the corner. There are 3 bars at this resort, the most interesting being the Moonrise close to building #1 as it features swing seating. The resort uses only domestic brands of alcohol, probably the least expensive brands available, but they do NOT water it down. We aren’t big boozers but I sure do look forward to having a few tropical cocktails when I’m on vacation. This was a disappointment and a surprise change from our last visit! Compared to the lovely cocktails I’ve been spoiled with at Cuban resorts, where they use juices, this resort uses overly sweet and sickly syrups. Pina coladas were questionable and while I did enjoy a couple of daiquiris, I found myself ordering gin and tonic for most of the week. My son ordered a Caesars from the main bar one evening and it was undrinkable but hubbie had better luck with the Bloody Mary he ordered. It helped that he carefully supervised the bartender every step of the way. All of the bartenders were very friendly and accommodating, a few of them exceptionally so, and it was a real pleasure to deal with them. At no time did w
Rooms
We had booked gardenview rooms, hoping to again be placed in building #1 which has some adjoining rooms. The resort was at extremely low capacity during our stay. We were assigned rooms on the ground floor of building #6 . Buildings 5,6 & 7 house the superior rooms at this resort, so we received an upgrade. Except for a few select rooms, buildings 1,2,3 & 7 were not being used. Room 604 had a king size bed while #603 had two doubles. We had also been assigned #609 which is a handicapped room with a king size bed. This room was absolutely not suitable. Any showering would have immediately flooded the floor and a longer shower curtain was apparently not available. When we were informed by the front desk that we could not be relocated to another room, we opted not to use #609 although we had paid for it. Odd considering the very high vacancy rate during our stay!! I’m sure the maid didn’t mind having one less room to clean. The furnishings are basic and many complain about the beds being hard but we prefer a firm mattress so no issues on that account. Extra pillows are in the closet. The mattress and box spring had however seen better days and need to be replaced! We always take our own travel alarm clock. Just as well since none are provided. We did miss not having a mini-fridge, which we had in our room on previous visits. There are no coffee makers, iron/ironing boards or radios provided. All of the lights worked and no lamp shades were missing. In my first review of this resort back in 2003, I dubbed the decor “mexicano rustico”, and it still is! The bathrooms have a shower only, separated from the WC and vanity area. No water pressure problems and plenty of hot water. Vanity area is large, 1600 watt, two speed hairdryer is provided as is an ice bucket and a small thermal jug for bottled water (which is available from the dispenser in the main hallway on every floor in each building), face cloths, hand & bath towels, box of kleenex and small containers of shampoo, lotion & soap. We prefer to bring our own toiletries. Very large mirror with decent lighting but the mirror has seen better days. The retractable clothesline in the shower is handy! Across from the vanity area is a large clothes closet with double doors made of bamboo sticks (some missing!) and beside that is a narrower door which opens to four shelves. The closet floor was spacious enough to accommodate our empty suitcases placed flat and side by side so we didn’t use the luggage stand provided. The no extra charge in-room safe (lock & key operated), is located on one of the shelves. There is no dresser in the room but the shelves are more than adequate. I pack my hubbie’s cotton shirts on their hangers and bring along a few extras, so we never worry about a shortage of hangers. TV (cable, not satellite) is wall mounted. The remote control in our room was fine, but the one in our son’s room fell apart as soon as it was picked up. A couple of elastic bands solved this problem. The A/C was adequate albeit a bit noisy.We prefer not to use air conditioning and appreciated the screen on the patio door. The door sweep on the entry door is a bonus as it prevented critters from entering the room. A note of caution:- the patio door locks easily so don’t close the door behind you when going out on the balcony! A desk with chair, along with one other chair round out the room furnishings. Two plastic chairs and a small table are on the balcony/patio. We noticed that a few balcony chairs in building #5 rooms had some nice blue cushions. Our son’s room patio door didn’t lock properly and he had no hot water. These issues were repaired/resolved very quickly and satisfactorily. We were alarmed to find yellow caution tape around our balcony railings! I can’t explain the logic in assigning this room with a very unsafe railing to a family with a young child except to say that one can safely presume a young child will not have an accident due to being intoxicated. It was only
Your Arrival
Our flight arrived 30 minutes early in Cancun at about 8:30AM. Going through immigration and customs was a bit of a wait but otherwise painless. I knew to head straight for the exit doors to find our Signature rep. so the time share sharks had no opportunity to distract or detain us. We had no problem finding the bus which was to take us to the resort but as most often seems to be the case, we had a fair wait for stragglers. Our bus was to drop vacationers off at 4 resorts, and Akumal Beach Resort (ABR) was stop #2 after the Barcelo complex. Trip from the airport to the resort took about 95 minutes. Our little guy slept for a good part of the way while the big guys enjoyed a beer (Corona) offered for sale on the bus. We arrived at the resort shortly before lunch. Considering the amazing price I had gotten for this resort, I was very surprised that our family members were the only guests on the bus going to ABR.

Walking into the spacious, open air lobby with it’s quaint wooden plank floor and thatched roof (which leaks in some places when it rains!) was welcoming. Check-in was a breeze and even though check-in time is usually 3 PM, our rooms were ready when we arrived before noon. The check-in envelope contains the lock/key for your in-room safe, a room key on a lanyard, towel cards and a pamphlet outlining the resort amenities. Please note that your room number is engraved on the key so anyone finding your key can access your room. Although we had no theft issues, and I didn’t hear of any either, I suggest you always keep your room and safe key separate! WiFi is available in the lobby area at a cost of $25US per week for those who travel with their laptop/netbooks. Computer stations are charged at $10US for one hour of use.

Allegro Puerto Plata
Hotel Allegro Playa Dorada
User Rating:  
Gerry >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Well this was my 2nd trip to DR and first to PoP. I had an open mind and was not disappointed. The resort was great, the people were nice and I loved the city. I will be returning to this resort with the kids in the new year.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The imagination crew were good. Most days they did some activities but I did not partake in any of them. They tried hard to keep the guest entertained and should be given a pat on the back for that as they did a good job. The evening entertainment started with a kids show then the adult one followed. I was there almost every-night and the shows were funny, and good. No its not Vegas but I had no problems with the entertainment. Again they all worked hard for the guests. I met a tour guide as I was walking to the Playa Dorada Mall, his name is Dominic and he was parked at the Wyndham hotel. He took me out on two excursions. He was a decent guy, always early for our pickup times and he did give us the"Dominican Experience". He was clear about the price for the taxi drive and his payment was what we decided to tip him. If you want the one on one/small group sight seeing then I would definitely recommend him. I booked through Didi on the beach as Manual was not there at that time for the City Tour just so I could go on the cable car(which I enjoyed). At the mall I used Julio to book for the dune buggys and that was fun but very wet and muddy so be warned.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach- what can I say other than it was beautiful. Well kept with lots of loungers to lay on. Pools were constantly being cleaned as were the grounds. This was a real nice resort, it was not perfect or super fancy but there were no major issues and the staff tried hard to make your stay good.
Other Comments
If you want more info just message me and I will go into more detail. I just skimmed over the points. But from the reviews I read before going down they were dated and/or not flattering and I feel this resort deserved better than that after I had a great week there.
Restaurants and Bars
Topaz Buffet-Food was basic but plentiful. It was not the biggest selection but there is enough variety to keep everyone fed and happy. No issues I liked it alot. The Lotus-Oriental A la carte, I had one supper there and it was a great meal and experience. Pancho Villa-pizza for snack/lunch daily and it was good, it is also the Mexican A la carte. I enjoyed my supper there once. I never had an opportunity to get to the Italian A la carte but ate there during afternoon snack and the food was always good and served fast. Bars, the wave pool was never that busy with good service Felix was an excellent Bar-tender. Main bar fast service most times but busy. The Palms bars- great service, great view of the beach and ocean. Franklin was an excellent bar tender. It would have been nice to be able to have a bar open past 1am.
Rooms
My room had a single bed and a daybed like couch that I used just to store suitcases on. It was on the ground floor looking onto the golf course which was nice. It was not the best room I have ever stayed in but it had what I needed and was clean. The AC worked great, fridge kept my water cool, always had hot water regardless of what time of day it was, my coffee maker wasn’t working but as soon as I notified the front desk it was changed. The maid did a great job everyday. My only real issue is the tv reception was not very good and there was no wi-fi but those are just picky points as far as I am concerned.
Your Arrival
I flew in via Canjet on Transat Holidays. Once cleared customs and headed outdoors there was a rep right there at the booth who directed us to the right shuttle bus. Within 20min we were heading off to our hotel. We arrived around 1030 but check-in time is 3pm. The lady gave us our bracelet for the AI and told us to try back at noon to see if our room was ready. I went back at 1145 and got my room keys. I had to wait a few minutes for the bellhop to show me to the villa but make it to the room and back in time for the buffet to open up for lunch at 1230. Overall very pleasant very efficient.
WoW
Hotel Allegro Puerto Plata
User Rating:  
Pascal >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Very nice hotel. Small reception. Food very good at all restaurants and buffet! Poor evening show. Very nice and clean room, always hot water. Staff helful and very nice. Overall one of my favorite trip!
Arrival
Check in very fast.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Nice beach, very nice pool, wave pool, grounds beautiful
Restaurants and Bars
Excellent food! Good drinks
Rooms
spacious, clean and confortable. No bugs seen.
Almond Beach Village: Shocking!!
Hotel Almond Beach Village
User Rating:  
DanUK >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Dec, 2004 | Leisure | Family
Just returned from a 2-week Xmas & New year break (December 2004) at ABV, which cost £12,500 for Mum & Dad and young twin girls. What a dreadful resort this is, I would strongly warn anyone away from this place.
After Xmas
In week two, after Xmas, the resort seemed to fill up with familes dressed head to toe in Burberry checked clothes, shiny football shirts, and wearing rather a lot of gold jewellery and tattooes. They, and their teenage children certainly did seem to be having a whale of a time, I must say, particularly later in the evening after a day on the free rum punches.
Arrival
We arrived on 18th December. Within 48 hours, our 2 yr 9mnth twin girls were running 40 degree temperatures, with fever, diahorreah, sickness (and so were we, to some extent). We called for the "24 hour, on call Doctor", only to find that this was another marketing fairytale. There is NO DOCTOR AVAILABLE on this resort. Think about that when you consider bringing your kids here. We had to call a Doctor in Fitts Village (a 40 minute cab drive away), and make our own arrangements. The doctor refused to visit the resort, so we spent the best part of a day (and about $400 BD) visiting the doctor and getting the children onto medication.
Bedbugs
Then I came up with an awful rash, covered in little red bites. We searched the bed and found it crawling with bedbugs. This was reported to the director of operations, who took two days to replace the bed. 10 days later I am still covered in the bites. The room was filthy, even he admitted that it fell far short of "acceptable standards". This resort is listed as 4-star, our room would not even rate 2 stars as a backpackers doss-house.
Conclusion
If you are a fan of Burberry and gold chains, and have a lot of teenage children, and are very interested in how much free booze the price includes, this is probably the place for you. If you are looking for a slighly more sophisticated family resort in Barbados, try the Virgin Escape Hotel down the road. We certainly won’t be coming back here. STEER CLEAR.

Danmurphyemail@aol.com

Diahorrea
They continued to suffer from diahorrea for the entire 2 weeks, and these children are not sickly petals. Both my wife and I had the same. about 80% of the people we spoke to by the pool, in the restaurants, etc were suffering, both children and adults alike. The management refused to discuss the matter saying the problem did not exist. We then discovered that there had been a case of salmonella, where a 12 year old boy from ABV had been in hospital for 4 days, this was the same week we arrived. The father of that child had to arrange for an external health inspector to come and test water, and arrange for his son to be diagnosed and taken to hospital. The resort management refused to admit the problem, and denied that anything was wrong. You want to bring your kids here? Think very carefully.
Disaster of a holiday
All in all, a complete disaster of a holiday. Sickness and filth, and immense disappointment at the huge difference between what these people promise on their website (it is still all there today if you look), and what you actually get when you arrive. We spent the first week of our holiday walking, and pushing two buggies through a muddy building site where they were building a new pool on the only thoroughfare between our room and the main reception areas. Unbelievable.
Staff
With the exception of some staff (special mention must go to the ladies in Enid’s restaurant), we found most of the staff surly and brimming with "attitude". Simple questions like "what time does the restaurant open" or "where should we sit", got either a blank wall, or a slowly raised stare which made it quite clear what a nuisance you were for bothering them. I’m sorry to say it, but the attitude and sloppiness of the staff made you very uncomfortable to ask anyone anything. 95% per cent of all questions are answered with a raised finger and a curt "just a minute". Broken lights in stairwells, problems with the aged TV, etc all took at least a day to get fixed. However, if you bought a bottle of wine in the restaurant at 10pm, it would be on your room account by 5 minutes past, so they are able to get some things right.
To quote
First off, pop along and read what the ABV says on their own website (http://www.almondresorts.com/vil_accommodation.asp) about the standard of their accommodation (and the beautiful photos of rooms!!)

To quote: "…Almond Resorts will have the final phase of its US$10 Million refurbishment and renovation project by the end of the 2004 summer season. Upgrades… include all rooms, suites, furniture, fixtures and recreation areas. All rooms and suites are being lavishly re-appointed and will feature lush Caribbean and Balinese style fabrics, new mahogany furniture and armoires as well as new refrigerators, television centers and air conditioning units. Bathrooms in every room will be elegantly upgraded with new mirrors, fixtures and sleek granite vanities. Every suite is being outfitted with luxurious new beds and fully stocked mini-bars…."

Absolute, total rubbish. The rooms have not been touched for 6-8 years (according to the Resort Director himself), and are in the last stages of dilapidation as many others have observed in these reviews. When I asked the resort Director why the website presents such a false impression, he told me that it is simply a matter of interpretation, "we had every intention of completing all the refurbishments during 2004". Shocking.

He was unable to let me see even ONE room (out of 300) which had seen the sort of refurbishment lavishly decribed on the website. How do these people get away with this?

We hired a full time driver
Three days from the end of our holiday we became so fed up that we hired a full time driver and had him take us and the kids out to various places, and restaurants for lunch, dinner, etc. Within 36 hours we had all pretty mucyh recovered our digestive operations, and this was purely down to the improved quality of the food. If you are a fan of pizza, burgers, and chips, or you have never eaten a decent meal in a restaurant, you would probably love the food at the ABV. Frankly, it is all mass catering, double cooked, tough as old boots school dinners and buffets with pretensions around dress code that are not justified by the standard of food on offer.
You will be disappointed if you go.
Hotel Almond Beach Village
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EvaCanada >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Arrival First off, when we arrived, we were eager to get checked in, because we traveled all day with our baby. The bus driver did a detour that took about an extra 30 mins to pick up another bus driver at his house. Rooms The rooms were very disappointing, dirty and not up to our standards. There was black hair on our floors and inside the bed sheets. The room was in a noisy area, we found it hard to sleep at night because of the nightly shows. Restaurants and Bars Same food every day… don’t stay too long or you will loose a lot of weight! Alcohol is all cheap brands you have never heard of, don’t expect to find liquor that you normally find at our liquor stores. Juice is all syrup and water mixes. There is NO real juice. All you get for fruit is watermelon, grapefruit, and pineapple. Beach/Pools/Grounds One of the pools was very nice but it was for adults only, and since we have a baby, we couldn’t hang out at it. The beach is beautiful! Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel We stayed at the resort. Other Comments

I advise people not to go there. We spent a lot of money and it wasn’t worth it. We could have had a lot of fun at other resorts that I’ve been to, that were great and a lot cheaper. This is over-priced and you will be disappointed if you go.

We like it
Hotel Almond Morgan Bay Beach Resort
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David >  22 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2009
Arrival Was arranged with our travel agent and the hotel. We took the scenic route and stopped for photo’s and a beer over looking Dennery. The driver was a very helpful tour guide and the long ride was worth it. Even the kids enjoyed.

Rooms

The room was clean and a nice size for the four of us with a view of the ocean and tow bathrooms.

Restaurants and Bars

Reading some other reviews I am not sure I was at the same place. The staff stood back some until they found out what we were looking for, then they were great. The food was fantastic and the variety was good. The staff ensured we had enough and gave suggestions for activities for the day when we asked.

Beach/Pools/Grounds

The Beach was clean and the water sport staff were excellent about sailing and helping us when we needed it. The pools were clean and at one point one was drained for cleaning but there were still others to use so it was fine. In fact the kid pool put me closer to snacks and the bar.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

We did the Brig Unicorn and it was well worth the money for both myself and the kids. I did a dive with Dive Fair Helen and then With Rainbow divers on the Beach. I preferred Marie and Judy (The Mermaid) the trip was more relaxed and it was me and my family so I got to see more then on the crowded boat dive. Both dives were good but next time I would just use Marie’s services.

Other Comments

When you go on holiday If you look cranky the staff are likely to stay away. Remember you are on holiday and the staff are still working a little respect can make your holiday excellent.

A Great Bargain
Hotel Aparthotel Montehabana
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Brad >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
A friend and I stayed here Oct. 5 for 1 night. We payed $38 and the value was tremendous. Our check-in was very smooth. The hotel is connected to Occidental’s all-inclusive, we had use of the pool and could purchase a buffet dinner for 12 pesos and a buffet breakfast for 6 pesos. We used the pool for about 20 minutes and did not get meals, we just needed a place in Havana. There is a small grocery store on site where we bought cola and some snacks. There is also internet and phone for purchase and a Cadeca for exchanging currency. The internet was very slow, I was able to check my email but was unable to send any. There is a lobby bar where you can watch TV, drink and eat. There was a baseball game on between Canada and Cuba so that was interesting. The rooms were standard and had a large bathroom and a balcony. TV was decent and the room was nice and clean. My only complaint about the room is the lack of pillows. I hope management will consider adding more pillows to each room. This room was just as good as our room at an all-inclusive in Varadero. The hotel is in an upper class neighbourhood with countless embassies and several good restaurant choices. We took a coco taxi from Plaza De La Revolucion for 6 pesos. From Old Havana I estimate it would be 10 pesos. We walked the neighbourhood a bit, visited John Lennon Park which is in the area, and ate dinner at El Aljibe. I would stay here again for sure.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Internet service, quite slow and pricey. Miramar neighbourhood is very nice with lots of embassies and good reastaurants to choose from.
Arrival
Check in was fine. The lady at the front desk spoke mediocre English but explained our meal options and the facilities. We did not really need the front desk for much as we were only there 1 night.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
You have access to the pool at the Occidental Miramar. Grounds seem decent.
Other Comments
Paid only $38 Canadian for 1 night. 10 Peso coco taxi from Plaza De La Revolucion.
Restaurants and Bars
Buffet restaurant at the adjacent Occidental Miramar, 6 pesos for breakfast and 12 pesos for dinner, also a small grocery store on site. Good for chips, pop, beer etc. Also a bar in the hotel where food an be bought, TV with baseball playing.
Rooms
Average sized room, 2 3/4 beds, TV with 5 or 6 English towels, desk area, mini fridge, balcony, large bathroom, decent shower and sink.
Great relaxing vacation!
Hotel Arenas Doradas
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katie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
n/a
Arrival
Our arrival was not too great. We checked in around 11pm and were given a room with no a/c, balcony and bathroom door did not lock, no shower curtains and the beds were not made. We went back to the reception and within minutes we had a new room. I don’t remember her name, but the reception staff are very friendly, speak English and you don’t have to wait forever to get what you need.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool was nice and refreshing. Very big with a small wadding pool. The pool bar there is great.
Grounds are nice, clean and neat. There are always men out working on it to keep it looking beautiful.
Other Comments
Great vacation. Friendly staff, great food and drinks. The workers tend to be a little more flirty then we liked and we were freaked out a bit, as well as the security. Two girls travelling alone so they assumed we wanted some fun maybe? just be careful.
Bring a beach towel. There was one day that we didn’t have one and other days where we had to use the same one day after day because their laundry machine wasn’t working. You have to pay $10 pesos at check in per towel which you get back when you check out. Don’t use the public bathrooms, they smell like a bear cave. DISGUSTING, that and half of the time they don’t have toilet seats. Better to go to your room and use it.
Restaurants and Bars
The buffet restaurant is great. They have the best bread there!!!! They have a omelet and pasta station, which are great…very tasty. Some food is a bit repetitive but it never lacks flavour. We didn’t try any a la carte because you have to book it only at 11am for dinner the following night, and you can only book one at a time. By 11 we were in the pool so we didn’t bother, the buffet was more then enough.
Bars were great too. The drinks were good and not too strong. The bartenders are friendly…but a bit flirty so be careful. My friend was talking to one bartender and out of no where he just stuck his tonuge in her ear….not too sure what to say about that lol
Rooms
The rooms are very basic but very clean. GREAT water pressure and the toilets actually flush well. Very little light in the rooms, but you just have to open up your curtains for the sunlight to come in. I found the beds and pillows to be really comfortable…I always had a good night sleep.
The main feeling we returned with was "rip-off"
Hotel Atlantis Royal Towers
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KarenCNewJersey >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Apr, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My husband, 14-year old son and I recently returned from a one-week trip to the Atlantis. We were very excited about this trip, having extensively gone through their website. Unfortunately, the main feeling we returned with was "rip-off".
The ground are indeed spectacular, and I have never seen anything to compare with them. The walk-through aquariums are fascinating, as are the various lagoons with sharks, mantas and other large sea creatures. The pools are beautiful, and there are so many from which to choose. Each chaise lounge is equipped with a movable awning, so you can choose whether to sunbathe or stay in the shade. However, the beach is mediocre – it’s relatively small, and there is neither shade nor any pretty palapas, etc., as you find in Punta Cana. The water was rough (the red flags were up most of the days we were there).
Arrival
My husband, 14-year old son and I recently returned from a one-week trip to the Atlantis. We were very excited about this trip, having extensively gone through their website. Unfortunately, the main feeling we returned with was "rip-off". The ground are indeed spectacular, and I have never seen anything to compare with them. The walk-through aquariums are fascinating, as are the various lagoons with sharks, mantas and other large sea creatures. The pools are beautiful, and there are so many from which to choose. Each chaise lounge is equipped with a movable awning, so you can choose whether to sunbathe or stay in the shade. However, the beach is mediocre – it’s relatively small, and there is neither shade nor any pretty palapas, etc., as you find in Punta Cana. The water was rough (the red flags were up most of the days we were there). The resort has several different buildings, which are all connected. We stayed in the Coral Towers, which is a step down from the Royal Towers, but an upgrade from the Beach Tower, which is pretty far from everything. There’s also the Cove, which is the highest level, very, very expensive.

Check in was pretty efficient, although our room wasn’t available when we got there around 3 PM. So, we went to Murray’s Deli for some lunch. Our first glimpse of the high prices was here, where a modest lunch for the three of us ran about $75.

Casino
My husband gambled a lot, but he didn’t get comped – you have to bet $50/hand on average to get comped. The casino was very clean, and though they allowed smoking, it didn’t get smoky. One odd thing was that the high-bet tables ($500/hand) were out in the open (not that we were playing them!).
Food
The food was, in general, astronomically priced, and I heard many, many people complaining/ commenting on it. I understand food prices are up and they have to import everything, but this was ridiculous. For example, the breakfast buffets cost $86 for the three of us. We often went to some little shops across the street for breakfast, and a few dinners too. (Anthony’s and Gio something both had good food at more reasonable prices). We did have one fantastic meal at Carmines; we go to one of the New York City Carmines, and the one at the Atlantis was very similar to the original. A major disappointment was the Seafire Steakhouse. We have been in Ruths Chris, Mortons and Ben Benson’s steakhouses, so we have a basis of comparison. The Seafire not only cost about $70 more, but the steak quality was comparable to Outback. The mashed potatoes tasted like they were made from instant powdered potatoes. (The ambience at least was beautiful).
Overall
Overall, I would never go back to the Atlantis. You just don’t get your money’s worth. The best way to see it is to get a day pass from a cruise ship. I would much rather go back to the Sol Melina in Punta Cana, which has spacious rooms, good food, gorgeous beach and is all inclusive – a far better value for the money.
Room
OK. So, we get to our room. Our room was $670/night (no kidding; it may have been higher than usual because it was Easter week). The room was not large, and it had two double beds (not queen size), 2 chairs, a small round table, an armoire/TV/room minibar frig and a nightstand. I have been in Holiday Inns that provided larger, more comfortable rooms. There was a small balcony with 2 chairs, and the view was beautiful in one direction. The closet did have a lot of nice wooden hangars. The bathroom was pretty standard; it had a blow dryer, but did not have a magnifying mirror. Overall, the room was disappointing.
Water Park
The water park was good. They do have the Current, which is a mile-long lazy river, except it’s not lazy. Picture a lazy river combined with a Roaring Rapids ride and a wave pool, and that’s what you get – it was the best part of the whole hotel, and just so much fun! Although the place was mobbed, we never had a problem getting a tube, and the staff was wonderful and helpful. The slides are great if you don’t mind waiting; it took about an hour to get on one of the slides at Power Tower. It really was a great slide, but not worth the wait.
What a great trip!
Hotel Atlantis Royal Towers
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PatPennsylvania >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Dec, 2007 | Leisure | With Group
We just returned from 4 nights/5 days in the Royal Towers of Atlantis Resort. What a great trip! We had a family of four including a 19 yr old girl and 21 yr old boy. Lots of things to do for adults- I had been concerned that it was just a childrens waterpark- no way! We did 2 excursions off site- The Powerboat Adventure and the Dolphin swim. A bit expenive, but worht it! The Powerboat Adventure was just that- an adventure! A one hour 40 mph boat ride, first visiting an island of all iguanas- then off to ‘their island’. Open bar,snacks and an island lunch are all included. We did group snorkeling, hand feeding the sting rays and laying in the water with googles on while they dray the sharks in close! Amazaing! Atlantis resort food is expensive, but I had read reviews and packed half a suitcase with water & snacks. We also ventured just off the property to the shopping center near the Marina walk and ate at the News Cafe & Anthonys. Rooms – Our room was in the west end of the Royal Tower. We were upgraded to an oceanview and it was breathtaking! The ocean on one side, the harbour on the other and the dolphin lagoon and lazy river in between! Probably more of a walk than you would want with small children, though. Restaurants – The only restaurants on Atlantis that we ate at were the pizzaria- (at $30 a pie) and Bimini Road on the Harbour walk. It was good food, drinks, music at a moderate price. Beach and Pools – For a more quite area- we would lounge on the west side between the Royal and the Cove. You could catch the lazy river over to the ‘more active’ area if you didn’t want to walk.

Conclusion – A really nice family vacation for us all.

We purchased the American Food plan
Hotel Atlantis Royal Towers
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DexterNancyArkansasUSA >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
May, 2007 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We recently returned from a stay at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. We stayed 4 nights the first week of June at the Corral Tower section. We were offered at check in an option to upgrade to the Royal section. We turned this down, preferring an Ocean view at the Corral section to a Garden view at the Royal section. Believe me, we found out, at least judging from outside appearances, there is a vast difference between the Corral Tower building and the Royal Tower Building. I would advise you to take the Royal building if offered, it is amazing, awesome. The Corral Tower section is downright tacky in comparison.
Arrival
We recently returned from a stay at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. We stayed 4 nights the first week of June at the Corral Tower section. We were offered at check in an option to upgrade to the Royal section. We turned this down, preferring an Ocean view at the Corral section to a Garden view at the Royal section. Believe me, we found out, at least judging from outside appearances, there is a vast difference between the Corral Tower building and the Royal Tower Building. I would advise you to take the Royal building if offered, it is amazing, awesome. The Corral Tower section is downright tacky in comparison.
Beach
The beach was great, beautiful sand and water. The beach was somewhat crowded and had a few beach vendors pedaling various items but not bad at all. The pools and water parks were very entertaining and our 5 year old pretty well lived in the water for 4 days. The 48” height required for some of the water parks was a bummer for baby as she was about 4 inches short of that height and they would not budge on letting her in. The lazy river she could do and we enjoyed this. When the lazy river ride got crowded, it wasn’t much fun, but with few people it was a favorite. The Lagoon and Snorkel beach was also a favorite place. We probably spend as much time there as anywhere. It’s not a real place to snorkel with not much to see but baby didn’t mind. Overall, this resort offered the most varied water entertainment of anyplace we have visited.
Food
We purchased the American Food plan and probably did not come out on it. A dinner at one of the Buffet restaurants would have averaged over $100 for two adults and a 5 year old. The food was plentiful, which was mandatory, as finding something edible was a problem. I’m not sure if it was our spoiled American appetites or if the food was really bland and tasteless. The Breakfast buffets averaged about $60 and the Omelets were pretty good. Service at the restaurants was typical of the Caribbean resorts, slow and slower. You just have to adjust to a lower scale of service and you’ll do fine.
Resumé
After years of going each year to Mexico or the Caribbean, we went last year to an island off the coast of Greece. I have to say I was no more impressed by last year’s trip than I was by the Atlantis resort. We spend hardly anytime exploring the Bahamas and probably going to the Atlantis is more like going to Disney World than to a foreign country. Regardless, It is simply a great feast for the eyes and a genuine place to do nothing but what you want to do. I always say that I never go to the same vacation place twice as life is to short and there are way too many places to see. But, if I ever change my mind, I will be back at the Atlantis and, next time when they offer the upgrade to the Royal Tower I will say yes and Thank you!
Room
Our first room in the Corral Towers was awful, the “water view” required tunnel vision and a good imagination. We complained and Peggy at Guest services came thru like a champ and the next day we were offered a beautiful sixth floor room with a great view of the Ocean and the entire facility. On the second night, they has a totally awesome fireworks display at the new Cove section. This was indeed impressive and if we had taken the Royal room we would not have had the great view. I guess our bad judgment worked out OK in this instance. The room itself was fairly plain, but clean and pleasant. Nothing like the rooms at some 5 star resorts we have been to in Costa Rico or the Dominican Republic, but still overall there was no complaint. Service was good and the Hotel employees were friendly. This is unlike what I had read in some other reviews.
Tours
We went on one tour, the Dolphin experience. We took a boat ride to an island and baby and momma got to touch and kiss a Dolphin. The Tour cost about $80 each to participate with $25 to observe. It was a fun trip and worth the money. The same basic Dolphin Experience at the Atlantis was about twice as expensive.
And after 2 days, I had had enough
Hotel Atlantis Royal Towers
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 >  1 contribution(s) 
Aug, 2005 | Leisure | With Group
Well, what can i say – if money is no object and you like thinking that you are one of the rich and famous, this resort is for you – but if like me, you want your moneys worth stay away!!!!! We travelled with our married son and grandchild, so we stayed at the Harborside (time share) part of the resort – which i highly recommend if you are with children – room for them to run around and there is transportation to the main resort. The place is beautiful and there is lots to see – however…. how many pools can you swim in at one time???? My advice – stay at the nearby comfort inn – they give you breakfast and you have priviledges at the atlantis, or stay at an even more reasonable resort and get a day pass for the atlantis. For the price of this vacation, we could have taken 2 at punta cana, or cancun I agree that the ocean water in the bahamas is the most beautiful – better than bermuda, dominican republic and hawaii BUT the beach itself is not

No matter which pool/beach you went to, unless you were up at 6am and/or "schmoozed" the pool boys, you did not get a chair and of all the chairs, only about 1/4 of them have shaded tops. As for the people being friendly and helpful, PLEASE there is a 15% gratuity tacked on to everything so there is no reason for them to be nice, friendly etc. Not that they were rude – just that no one went out of their way to be helpful. We went for a week, and after 2 days, i had had enough. I know people will say that i could have gone off premises but with an infant and a pregnant daughter in law it wasnt that easy. Unless you are prepared for a lot of walking and shelling out of money – find another place to visit. I for one will never go back here UNLESS, i can get a spectacular deal – they did have one but i found it too late – $99/night in the beach tower – which i personally think is the best place to stay – the pool is right there along with the beach and the buffet restaurant. Hope this helps – feel free to contact me at trtl29@yahoo.com

My father and husband got food poisoning
Hotel Atlantis Royal Towers
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JaimeCanada >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2004 | Leisure | With Group
I have been to Atlantis twice before and loved it! Yes, our rooms were never ready and you could never check out late, but we rolled with the punches. Until this time. Time #3. My father and husband got food poisoning from Murry’s deli on our last night. We went to the resort Doctor, who diagnosed them with food poisoning and gave them prescriptions. We missed our flight and have a Dr note for insurance purposes. While they were at the DR and I was watching my 9 month old son, i received a phone call telling us they are over-booked and we need to check out. They had found us the last 2 rooms in Nassau at a 2 star hostel down the road. They wouldn’t even let us stay in our rooms. We faught. We got our rooms back (after over-hearing they were going to give 4 over-booked villa’s to the man beside me who was a high roller in the casino). Nobody called to check if we were well or even comfortable. We had to pay for our rooms FULL PRICE and any other expenses we had. We never recieved a cot we requested on day 1. BOTH our TV’s were broken and had to be replaced, our shower didn’t work and we were charged for stuff out of the mini bar and we didn’t use it. The book said internet was $.05 a minute, we got a 3 minute charge of $6.00. We were told they upped our prices to $.50. They said they would refund us and never did! My baby threw up all over the crib one night, so I asked for an extra sheet…I saw it 2 days later. When we filed our security report for the food posoning, we asked for a copy…we had to go down 2 days later and fight for it. The service SUCKS!! I would much rather go elsewhere. The pools were FREEZING and half of the slot machines didn’t work. Sounds fun huh? We are still in the process of fighting for our rooms.
Great place for families with child small children!!!
Hotel Azul Beach Hotel & Spa by Karisma
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Nancy >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I stayed at the Azul Beaches Hotel in March of 2010 (10 months ago). I can’t say enough about how great the stay was. I traveled with my husband and two small children (12 months & 3 years). It rained two days while we were, thankfully they had an inside play option full of Fisher Price toys. The beach was so calm with the reef being like 200 ft out. On a day of no wind, the water was like glass. Only downfall was the "sea-grass." The staff were all about the customer service from the moment we arrived. One night, my 3-year old had a melt-down going to dinner. Approximately 6 staff came out attempting to help ease my child. Typically I would prefer others to not engage my screaming child, however this night the staff saved our night. My 3-year old participated in a mexico style birthday party, a very pink princess tea party, and a few other random activities that the kid’s club staff were doing around the resort. My daughter found a bracelet made for her and she remembered the staff lady who made it for her. Our room was about a minute walk away from the 18-inch kids pool. We pretty much lived there. The only challenge, other than 2 days of total rain, was that dinner does not start until 6:00. After a fun filled day I don’t believe we made it through a dinner with both of our kids awake. We never had troubles being seated immediately. The menu always included something small child friendly, including the sushi place. Our kids just couldn’t keep their eyes open past 7.

We were bummed when we started to schedule our vacation this year and the Azul Beaches was full.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Didn’t leave the resort.
Arrival
Prompt greeting. Arrived at 12:30, which is significantly before check-in. My 3-year old loved the chocolate smoothie. The hotel is only about a 20-minute drive, if that from the airport.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was calm due to a reef out a ways. It broke the waves. No waves jumping on this trip. 18-inch pool was perfect. A bit cold, but the kid was happy. Always clean. Always able to find a lounge chair. Needed to book beach bed the morning before.
Restaurants and Bars
Room service menu is limited. Enjoyed a different restaurant for dinner. Many al a carte options. Enjoyed the Mediterian restaurant the most. With a 1 & 3 year old we didn’t get to experience the bars. Was definetly quiet enough at night though. I think the resort in general is pretty much quiet after 10/10:30. It was primarily families.
Rooms
Typical Mexico Style room. Small with stiff bed. But who goes to Mexico to hang out in the room.
Fabulous Vacation
Hotel Azul Sensatori
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Christine >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
Our group stayed at the Sensatori Azul at the beginning of April 2010. There were 11 of us in total. No one had any complaints. Vacationers travelling the earlier flight times should always remember that 90% of the time, rooms are never ready much before 3:00 (just like here @ home-don’t forget – All Inclusives deal with many more people) I have noticed that this complaint is on many reviews and I don’t feel it should be relfected on the resort itself. The beach @ the Azul is nothing to brag about – we hit the "seaweed" time and it was very rocky, but if you wanted to walk – you could walk for hours and go swimming in different areas where it was nicer. The resort is isolated, therefore, you do need transporation to go to either Cancun or Playa De Carmen (approx 1/2 hour either way)there are buses scheduled for both. The staff were great and went out of their way to make our stay a very memorable one – that it was! The grounds are kept immaculate. The main buffet is very "noisy" as that is where most families seem to go & eat and they have a very good selection. It was nice not to have to make reservations, although sometimes, due to us having a large group – it was difficult to sit altogether, but again, the staff tried to accomodate the best they could. We stayed mainly @ the Wave Swim-up Bar (Adults only). If you want the "beds" by the pool you do have to get up early to reserve, but ensure one person stays with the bed & your stuff til at least 8:00 a.m. There were many that reserved by throwing their towels, etc on the bed, but never showed up til much later in the morning. A complaint was lodged, and the security was on top of it and kept a close eye on the "reservations made with nobody there". After 15 minutes, towels, etc were removed and returned to the people later. I believe that was a fair decision made by the resort. Food overall was very good – no complaints – only a fussy person would find something to complain about. Would we stay at this resort again or suggest it to others – YOU BET WE WOULD! Michael & Christine

Ontario

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
staying @ the Adults only pool – the anitmation team would do a quick walk thru once to advise what was going on and left it entirely up to you if you wanted to join. Very good schedule board thruout the resort.
Restaurants and Bars
Le Chic was definitely different, but very interesting. We were all surprised that no one was hungry after due to the small "sample" portions.
Rooms
very spacious and clean. Always fresh towels, etcs.
Your Arrival
arrival was very quick and in good order.
everything was explained to us with no problems.
Something for Everyone
Hotel Azul Sensatori
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Elizabeth >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We wanted a last minute getaway somewhere hot with good food, good service and a good kids program. My husband and travelled with our sons who are 7 and 5. We found this resort lived up to our expectations and was a very good value. The hotel has and excellent program for children. At the same time if you are looking for an adult vacation there are three pools that are primarily for adults and areas in most of the restaurants with tables for two away from the tables they sit families and groups at.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The entertainment team on the resort was excellent. Always had things going on and kept you in the loop but never applied to much pressure to participate. There were activities all day long and several options in the evenings. There was early entertainment a few nights during the week at 8:30 with chances for the kids to participate (talent night, mini disco, Africa show). As we were travelling with kids the programming for the children was important to us and was excellent. The indoor kids club was probably 2000 sq feet if not larger and included an bright gym area with a padded floor and climbing structures, an interactive gaming room (Wii), a theatre, a nap room with 4 beds, a large craft room, a Fischer Price room catering mostly to babies (although baby care cost extra)and a doll room. Our kids did not spend more than a couple of hours a day a the kids club but loved to go and always came back to us with fun crafts and stories of fun games they played. The kids club was also open in the evenings from 7:30 to 9:30 usually for a movie with popcorn and drinks. There was a theme for every day, a daily family activity at 4pm and play time in the morning for the under 4 crowd with a participating parent. For the adult activities I enjoyed the yoga, pilates and aqua aerobics while my husband participated in the tennis related activities and got to play against the onsite pro.
Arrival
The hotel was close to the airport. The bus ride was less than 20 minutes which was welcomed after the plan ride. The staff was very friendly when we arrived and had champagne for adults and smoothies for the kids. We arrived around 10 am in the morning but did not get our room until 3pm. We were prepared for this and had bathing suits ready in the carry on.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The best thing about this resort is the size. From our room which was in the middle of the resort we could get to every spot on the resort within a minute or two. No need for a golf cart which many of the larger resorts required. This was one of our reasons we chose this resort and it was great. There are five pools a the resort. Children are encouraged to use only one of those pools but it is huge and has two shallow sections and a swim up bar. The kids also have a special area away from the other pools with a splash pad, wading pool and small waterslide. The beach itself is very nice with several chairs, umbrellas and beach palapas. If you wanted a good spot on the beach you do need to claim it early or go after lunch. The park on the beach was a hit with all of the kids at the resort. There is a large Covered open air area in the middle of the resort which has self serve coffee, tea, soft drinks and ice cream in the afternoon. It was a great spot to find some shade and curl up in a comfy chair in the afternoon especially if you don’t like to be in the sun all day.
Other Comments
This resort was not perfect but exceeded our expectations in most respects and we would definitely go back. All the staff worked very hard to make sure we had a great vacation and made a big difference in the overall experience We chose this resort and would recommend it if the the following is important to you: 1) Great value for the vacation dollar 2) Excellent childrens (ages 4 to 12) program 3) Food and water safety ( I could not find review anywhere that mentioned tummy problems and was comforted to see a staff member using a laser thermometer on the yogurt at the breakfast bar at 8am.) 4) Food Quality and Childrens menu – I am not a big fan of buffet, like good food and liked kids menu resort wide so we could eat with them at the nicer restaurants 5) No need to commit to a la carte reservation times 6) Great staff that make the week enjoyable 7) Family friendly but not wall to wall kids 8) Good size (no need for a golf cart and easy to run back up to room)
Restaurants and Bars
There were lots of food choices. An a la cart menu in most restaurants even at the spoon that was set up primarily as a buffet. The childrens menu including all the standards was available in all restaurants so the kids always had choices. The a la cart exceptions are the Beach BBQ which is only open for lunch, Le Chique the adults only food experience set menu restaurant and the Tapaz restaurant which also has a nightly fixed menu but also has the childrens menu available. I really liked that there were no reservations needed with the exception of the Le Chique. Our favourite restuarant was the Italian restaurant Sienna followed by the Caribean Zavas.
Rooms
The rooms were great. We stayed in a Luxury Oceanview Jacuzzi room. The rooms with two beds had two Queens which is hard to find as most resorts have two double beds. The Rain shower, flat screen TV and clock radio with a docking station were all great features. I also found there was plently of storage in the room so we could unpack and put the suitcases away for the week. Most of the rooms above the first floor have an Ocean view which I also loved.
Poor Management Attitude – Disastrous Xmas Eve dinner experience
Hotel Bahia Principe Punta Cana
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Mike from Ottawa >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
I booked three families and arranged for another two families to join us for a week of vacation at this resort. Unfortunately, I found the service to be poor, staff had difficulty of communicating properly in English and at times giving wrong information. Despite our initial request, at the time of reservation to be placed close to each other, we were spread around the compound, not able to have breakfast or most dinners together. Worst of all, it was the Xmas Eve dinner. Having booked our dinner table to be together and promised to have this arranged, we were spread all around the restaurant at individual tables. The dinner menu was preselected and handed to us at the restaurant, consisting of: Lobster & prawn cocktail, Langoustine soup, spiral of sea bass Mornay (half cooked), lemon sorbet, stuffed turkey roll, creamy gem squash cheesecake, coffee/tea/liqueurs. No considerations were made for kids, people with sea food allergy or dislike, vegetarians, etc. When aske! d for an alternative to some menu courses, servers promised to bring something else, which never arrived. All the kids in our group went to bed hungry that night. Our reservation was for 9 pm, the turkey was served at 11:15!! Many left the restaurant before the turkey dish arrived. We were still waiting for the French Fries for our kids, so that they would not go to bed with empty stomach, which never arrived. TOTAL disaster. We managed to talk to the night manager, Daniel, after a lot of difficulty. He initially did not want to hear us, at the end apologized and promised to talk to the General Manager and get back to us; we are still waiting, but not holding our breath.
Very Pleased With Trip…First time ever did a trip like this
Hotel Bahia Principe Punta Cana
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Barbara >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We read alot of reviews from this website some good and some bad. So we went ahead and did discover our own reviews.Its a beautiful place. Not alot of English spoken and the trolley drivers dont know the resort..like where the restaurants are you have to study the map. Which is your job !!!Kinda like a maze..lol
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Theone activity wedid was the mega truck and its 95.USA and it was wellwoth it. Our tour guide was Alex and hes so funny ..We visited the children school..sugar cane fields..seen the country side..went to a ranch horse backride and had a lunch..seen how cigars are made seen how people live there also seen how they jar and make coffee..coca..vanilla..met afamily toured their house.Also if you take this tour bring school supplies for the school and the soaps from the hotel. But most of allcome with a strong heart as their are children there that beg…and its not allowed to give them anything for their own safety you have to give the items to the school.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach/ Pool beautiful clean and tested daily…the pool checkers walkaround in white jackets like they are doctors..lolThe grounds are WELL maintained and there are tons of people cleaning everything railings..floors…balcony..its trulycrazy howmuch cleaning goes on here and you can smoke anywhere as well.
Other Comments
We have never done a holiday like this …i am ready to do another trip and see what is all out there….its like heaven with no responsibilities…..iwould return in a heart beat……planning one for next February with my kids. They look after every detail…like a sticker on the toilet paper…the maids if you tip will be very good to you too
Restaurants and Bars
The main buffet is great…the snackbars are fabulous….the alle carts well we only did the bbq one as we arent ones to try new things so the paris/japenese/meditrainin were the others and we didnt go..the main buffet kept us for the week. So the food islike chicken turkey ham roast beef lamb pig carved as you ask…..there is tons to eat burgers fries pizza fried tomatoes veggies omelettes/pasta bar and breads and steak and pork chops baked /boiled potatoes….you will not go hungry the snackbar is a mini buffet plus allthe sandwich meats and cheese.If your nota vinigertte dressing person forsalads bring ur own and also if u like HP sause bring it as they have none.
Rooms
We asked for 2 double beds. But oh well we gotaking and a single it still worked so no biggy. One thing you need toknow is the dominican peopleare very smart as when u get a room you get two cards one for the door and the second one there is a slot inside the room for the other one and u put it in there and it works the air conditioning and lights (trick bring a walmart gift card and it works too and allows the air to continue to run when ur not there)as your card gives the power to the room. The bathrooms are all tile and real nice the tube is a jacuzzi….its nice blow dryer and huge mirror and a mini mirror…they supply lots of shampoo/conditioners/combs/sewing kit/combs
Your Arrival
We arrived at 1am with Airplane delays. At first we got there we wernt direct to the VIP. Thus waiting in the general line for 20mins before we were told different. Then when directed to VIP we went in and got a room package. With our allecartes already assigned. And our purple bracklets disappointed we got no other direction. That was a lil sad as we didnt know what trolley to get or where even to go.but we found our room and was in bed by 230am
Two reasons for a Four Star rating
Hotel Bahia Principe Punta Cana
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Kayne >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Recently back from the Bahia and will keep this short.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Did one catamaran tour, basically a snorkel booze cruise. Had a blast. Not the best snorkelling I’ve done, there was another boat out at the same time and it was way too crowded to try and see any fish. When I went away from the group out on my own, I got called back closer. Oh well, their rum wasn’t watered down.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Spectacular everywhere.
Other Comments
Here comes bad point number two: the resort was too big. Didn’t like meeting people and then not seeing them again for the entire week we were there. Beach too crowded. Amazing staff, polite and courteous.

Wouldn’t go back because of the liquor or size.

Restaurants and Bars
All excellent. Had one piece of fish that was undercooked (out of 30 so that’s not bad.) Garden Grill had the best steak I’ve had in a long time, yummy.
Here comes bad point number one: the liquor was all watered down! I’m not that big a drinker but it still really bothered me, a lot. Tried ordering doubles but even that didn’t cut it.
Rooms
The room was huge and gorgeous. The only issue I had was that the shower would keep cutting out almost as if there wasn’t enough water pressure to keep it flowing. We were on the third floor though. Oh yeah, one morning while enjoying my coffee while waiting for my sister to get ready to go, a man came around the corner from the next balcony onto ours to clean cobwebs from the ceiling! Good thing I had on the bathrobe, LOL!! He took me quite by surprise! Dangerous too, the rooms must have 10ft ceilings.
Your Arrival
Arrival was a pleasant surprise, rather than stand in line at the front desk we were escorted to take a seat and brought a cold drink. The receptionist came to us to check us in. Before our departure we had written the resort telling them that we were repeat guests, we asked for any available upgrades but didn’t know what we would get. Well, at first it didn’t seem like we would be getting anything but then a second lady from the front desk came over, confirmed who we were and then proceeded to cut off our bracelets and replace them with the VIP ones! Wow, we were spoiled every where we went. Not that manners and some small tips hurt but still amazing.
Nightmare Vacation
Hotel Bahia Principe Punta Cana
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D >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
6th time in the Dominincan, 4th in Punta Cana. All of our other vacations to the Dominican were amazing…and we looked forward to returning before we even left. However after this stay we will not return to a Bahai resort, and we will probably not go back to Punta Cana. We will never deal with Transat!!!!! We hope all other vacationers have a great experience at this resort, and it was obvious the fun many people were having…but we feel we must share our experience.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Hardly saw the entertainment staff, which was dissapointing for our kids. They did do alot of activities but due to the size of the resort it was hard to know what was going on when. Staff didn’t cirulate as they did at the other resorts we visited and didn’t try to get the tourists involved. We did see the Lion King and Michael Jackson…3+ maybe. Not sure of the off resort activities since we missed the Transat Tour meeting, and when we asked our rep about it, she didn’t answer but told us to look around.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Grounds lovely. Always people working and quick to say Ola !!
Pools clear and warm. Beach clean with lots of chairs. Towel guy at main pool irritable always and refused to change towels at the end of the day. We didn’t have bath towels so we tried to get fresh beach towels before getting cleaned up for the night but he refused. We ended up keeping them and getting new ones in the morning..only to be yelled at daily for not handing them in for washing over the night. I explained every day our dillema…he simply did not care.
Other Comments
Our girls (18yrs)were coming home from the Karoke one night and took the trolly to our room. Upon exiting the trolly the driver summoned them to him, and they went. He then opened his phone and showed them a video of a Bull having sex with a woman, all the while talking Spanish to them. They were terrified and ran quickly to the room. Their vacation changed from that moment on…as did ours. We finally went on the long walk with determination to find the Transat Tour Lady the next morning and went through all of our concerns (even though we had discussed them to Golden Club earlier twice with no luck). She was vaguely interested in the room and getting lost issues…but jumped when told of the video stating he would be fired immediatley and wanted more info. We declined at that moment, fearing the girls would be targeted by other staff and agreed to give all info as we signed out. She agreed this would be best for the girls and agreed to meet…however never showed up at check out time and we could not find her…not surprised !! He is still lurking around…… Other concerns: No face clothes. No bath towels for all of us. Room never swept (big insect of some type was dead at the base of our patio doors all week) we left him there as our check. Bar fridge filled 2 times all week..we really only needed the water and had to get our own. Our rep actually told us to brush our teeth with tap water, which in the past was a huge NO. CHECK OUT: Again…no Transat Rep around. Quick and efficiant sign out at the Golden Club. We saw a group from our flight entering a bus at our designated time. I asked the Nolitours rep if it was our flight and he said yes to get the family and luggage. I told him we were Transat and he said no problem. Once on the bus they asked us to leave. We said ok but needed to get our luggage. They said no, our luggage would be at the airport for us when we got there. We refused to get off without it. Finally at his insistence we were leaving, and he quickly said "go sit back and stay" then came and explained numbers (no clue what he was saying, but realized other Transat people on the bus were looking quite concerned ). I wanted to speak with Transat Tours…but could not find anyone. We stayed on the bus…and cheered when we arrived at the airport and new we would soon be in Canada to celebrate our Gold medal wins !!!

It was the best feeling ever to be home…and that is a first for all of us. It is especially disappointing when you go through the propper channels with your concerns and no one cares…hence the reason I am writing this review.

Restaurants and Bars
You are pre-assigned your 4 a-la-cartes. Which is good and bad. Great to have the opportunity to actually get into 4 during your 7 day stay, but the times meant an early day from the beach in order to get cleaned up. We used 2 of them and enjoyed the atmosphere at both. The main buffet on alternate nights was always good, and very clean. We enjoyed breakfast over looking the Ocean every morning and it was beautiful. Snack bars by the pool and beach crowded and hard to find a table…but enjoyed by the kids several times a day.
The bar staff were wonderful and entertaining at the main pool bar (both swim up and walk up). The male bar staff at the Sports bar very accomodating and friendly. They went out of their way to get the Canada Hockey Game on every night and cheered along with us.
Rooms
Upon entering our room with the Bell Boy, we quickly noticed we had been put in a room that had yet to be cleaned. The family/group before us sure had a good time…the room was a disaster. We knew if we left, we probably were not getting another room and the Bell Boy told us not to worry and to get settled. Hot, sweaty and very irritable…we slipped into our bathing suits in disgust, locked our stuff in our suitcases in the corner (had not been told about a safe) and ventured to the beach…without towels !!!
Your Arrival
We flew Air Transat. First time with this company. Lots of leg room, but flight attendants refused to smile. They actually yelled at my daughter for not having her table up, when I told them it was due to the fact they had not collected her food or partially full juice, they snapped it up and walked away. Otherwise…good flight.
We were directed to the wrong bus at the Punta Cana airport with another couple. Drove for 1 hr before they simply just dropped us at the Bahai. They were not expecting us, and after a long debate drove us to the Esmeralda part of the resort. After another 30 min, alot of Spanish and tension we were told we were not staying there. Then we were taken back to the lobby (soaken wet with our Canadian clothes still on) and very thirsty (could not get a drink due to no wrist bands). Another 30 min or so and they found our room with the Golden Club. Keep in mind, I had my Hotel Voucher with me and let everyone read it several times. Finally got the package with wrist bands and we were taken to our room.
understaffed and overcrowded
Hotel Bahia Principe Punta Cana
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TK >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This resort was lacking simple ammenities: Pool towels were unavailable, air conditioning wasn’t working, rooms weren’t cleaned until almost dinner, unfriendly staff
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
excursion = Marinarium… must see… swim with nurse sharks and sting rays
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Excellent beach. Limited chairs. Beautiful, well manintained grounds.
Restaurants and Bars
Understaffed. Difficult to find tables at breakfast in particular. Food was mediocre.
Rooms
Not very clean. Outdated.
Your Arrival
Arrival was rushed and confusing. Packets were handed to guests as we arrived on a bus with no verbal information. Rooms were not ready upon arrival. While this is common, no one gave us information as to when.
Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/Ilovlos/GranBahiaPrincipeBavaroDiamondClubSection02#
Videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/lovlos
Gran Bahia Princiipe Bavaro – Diamond Club lived up to our expectations plus more!
Hotel Bahia Principe Punta Cana
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Kelly >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Myself (40 years old), my husband (43 years old) and our niece (15 years old) spent two lovely and relaxing weeks at the Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro Diamond Club Section from July 8-22, 2010.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Regarding activities on and off the resort, I can’t review off the resort because I didn’t book any, yet there are a number available from the representatives who walk around the resort everyday.

On the resort you have the pools, the beach activities (non-motorized water sports-one hour free daily), the games around the pools and beach and the shopping in the resort at the front area to the left of the lobby. As well, there is a casino but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has won at one in the Caribbean.

Arrival
When we arrived we immediately left our bags with the bellboy at the front entrance, walked 100 metres or so to the Diamond Club lounge and very quickly checked in with the incredibly professional Francy Dugarte, the Diamond Club Manager. She explained our a la carte bookings, gave us a map of the resort, and provided us with a cold welcome beverage. After signing for our electronic key we were directed back to the front area where a bell boy placed all the luggage in a tram and drove us to our villa #34 directly beside the Diamond Club pool. Alexandro carried all the bags to the third floor room and welcomed us with a smile.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
I can’t comment greatly on the services and fun available on the beach because I am pretty much a pool tourist but on the days I did walk down to watch my husband take out the catamarran, I found plenty of lounge chairs and a sandy ocean floor to walk on. The water is not as clear as it was during our last visit three years ago but it was quite wavy due to a storm system in the area. I did see an entertainment crew running games such as horseshoes and volleyball so it looked like there was plenty to keep you occupied on the beach. As well, there was a beach bar for guests with a slightly less assortment of drinks to choose from. The grounds are positively immaculate for such a large resort and you will always see groundskeepers out in the baking heat trying to make your day a visually appealing one. Positively no complaints with the grounds! There are an assortment of pools in this resort. There is a beach front pool divided into sections with the deepest area being to the right of the swim up bar. I was actually a bit surprised at how deep it is, a good 5 and a half feet because it came up to my shoulders so I don’t think I’d want too many little people in that area. This pool is positively CRAZY during the day with people and activities. If you are looking for relaxation, don’t sit at this one! This is the pool for those booked into the Junior Suites and not upgraded to Diamond Club. Like I’ve said before, book Diamond Club and avoid disappointment. This booking gets you four a la cartes instead of two per week along with a nicer breakfast and lunch and the exclusive use of the nicest pool on the property. Which brings me to the Diamond Club Section pool. I have taken both videos and photos of this area that speak for themselves. The links are attached to this review. It is a large free flowing pool with a swim up bar, pretty views to every side and plenty of lounge chairs. The towel service and bathroom is a 20 second walk and it is also directly on the transportation line that runs the length of the resort. A special thanks to Jose, the pool guy who kept the pool area clean and inviting during our entire stay. He greeted us each and every day with an "hola" and a smile, a very sweet man.

As noted on other reviews, this resort is very large but not daunting and very manageable with the "tram" transportation service that runs every 3-5 minutes along three seperate lines of the resort from front to beach.

Other Comments
This resort is a very solid 4.5 star and certainly a 5 star if you factor in the quality of the a la carte restaurants. The service was fantastic, the room location ideal, Diamond Club pool inviting and hotel as a whole completely lived up to our expectations and exceeded them! One last note that we found helpful when packing for our own trip. Men are allowed to wear dress shorts in the buffet restaurant, and all but one a la carte restaurant so if you wish to try the French restaurant you must wear long pants…no exceptions. I know that on the review sites the reviews for this resort differ greatly, with some loving, some hating and those that thought it just so-so. We are experienced 15 year + all inclusive travellers who have stayed at 2.5 star resorts, 4 star resorts and 6 star resorts and I can honestly tell you that we would return to the Diamond Club section, Premier section, the Ambar (adults only) or the Esmeralda section in a heart beat! I didn’t really go into the Esmeralda area review, but there is video about it on my video link. It is a smaller resort attached to the property directly on the beach but strictly for those guests who book there. It looked heavenly when we walked around it and when talking to guests they compared it to the Bahia Principe Ambar but for families. It is very tempting to stay there next time as well. You won’t go wrong booking the Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro but Diamond Club or better is a must! Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions regarding this review. My email is kcponce @ hotmail.com. Cheers and happy travels!

Kelly

Restaurants and Bars
When you book at the Diamond Club section you are allocated four a la carte reservations per week with your concierge. In addition, at the Diamond Club section you are provided with exclusive use of the Italian Restaurant for breakfast and lunch each day. It is only steps away from the Diamond Club pool and is a much quieter and relaxing breakfast and lunch experience. On the evenings we ate at the buffet restaurant it was just ok compared to the a la cartes but we never went hungry on those evenings and simply understood that the process of presenting food on such a large scale isn’t going to produce gourmet. Now the a la cartes are an entirely different story because they are all FABULOUS in their own unique ways! Our favourite was the Garden Grill located mid resort, with the highest quality food I have ever experienced at an all inclusive! The manager is Joselo, an incredibly friendly gentleman who will greet you with a smile and assist in making your dining experience a great one. I highly recommend you book this location as soon as you arrive. Our second favourite restaurant was the Italian Restaurant with a wide selection of main entree as well as an enormous variety of appetizers in a buffet style. I can’t say enough about the entire staff working in this restaurant from first thing in the morning when they greet you for breakfast till your evening dinner reservation. Very hard working, always with a smile and each one of them made our vacation a great one! Thank you Yulia, Jesus, Juddy, Ramon, and Rafael for your professionalism and daily smiles! Our third and final favourite that I’ll mention was the Japanese Restaurant. You have two options for eating at this restaurant, the tapanaki area where they cook the food in front of you and the table service. Don’t forget to request the tapanaki so that you aren’t disappointed. As well, just a tip, always double check your reservation slip after booking with the concierge to make sure the request is noted. We did see a family quite upset when they were seated in the table service area after believing they requested the tapanaki but unfortunately that area was completed reserved for the night and the slip was table service. The bar service was on par with the majority of other resorts in the caribbean that I have experienced over the past 15 years or so. The beer on tap was Presidente, there was champagne for mimosas and cocktails were colourful and well presented. There are blenders at the bars and I would suggest you request they be used for some drinks because the "slushi machines" don’t do them justice.

There were three bartenders who stood out as the friendliest, most professoinal and most customer service oriented during our visit. They are located at the Diamond Club pool.Thank you to Maria, Starling and Joselo!

Rooms
The room in the Diamond Club room was spacious and included two double beds, though king size beds are available upon request and if you aren’t travelling with a third like we were. There was also a sitting area with a table and two chairs, a television, dresser drawers, bedside table with reading lights on either side and enough closest space for everyone. My recommendation to you is to bring along extra hangers or ask your maid for additional ones upon arrival. There were only 5 hangers per closet side. The hangers you will receive upon request are wire hangers so if you have an issue with them, bring your own plastic ones. The bathroom consists of a jacuzzi tub/shower combination with marble surround as well as the sink and toilet. Don’t forget that the water is NOT DRINKABLE out of the tap at this resort and therefore you will have to brush your teeth using the bottled water provided. There are new bottles delivered to your room every day. In the room there is also a mini bar fridge that contains water, pop (pepsi, 7-Up and Orange) and two cans of Brava beer. The fridge is restocked as needed. Each evening when we returned back to the room, there was new stock free of charge. The fridge does have some extra room in the event you bring your own wine, liquor or refrigerated snacks with you on vacation.

As well, every room does have a walk out balcony with a small table and two chairs. I would suggest that you bring along clothes pegs or a clothsline if you wish to hang your bathing suits or towels to dry in the evening because there is no rack made available on the balcony and otherwise you are hanging items from the chairs or the balcony rail, neither of which are ideal. My only suggestion regarding the room to the resort is a drying rack added to the balcony, I have come across them at RIU resorts in the Dominican and Mexico.

Den Den and Family – The esmeralda was a delightful experience.
Hotel Bahia Principe Punta Cana
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Dennis >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We stayed with our family at the Esmeralda resort which is part of the Bahia Principe groupd of resorts. Our resort was very nice and the stay was pleasant.
Arrival
Arrival was a little confusing since the Esmeralda does not accomodate the bus that takes you from the ariport. You must get off the bus and load your luggage on a wating cart to shuttle you to the resort check in. Check in was quik and we were soon on the beach with our family.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach is good and the pools are nice. I really wish people would atop running out at 7:00am in morning to claim their spots. This is very annoying since we saw one set of towels on some chaors all day and no one showed up to even use them. Hey…there are other pople who could use the spot doe heads!
Restaurants and Bars
We went to a few a la carts and they werer OK for food. The only a la cart I really enjoyed was the italian. The food selection at the Buffet is OK I guess. I have stayed at other resorts that had a much larger election but that’s just me. The food was OK but not great.
Rooms
Rooms are nice and the maides keep it very clean. No complaints there.
The resort is very beautiful and everything is well set up for comfort and enjoyment.
Hotel Bahia Principe San Juan
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Libby >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Beach/Pools/Grounds
I was really surprised how nice this beach was. It ws very clean and there were lots of chairs available everday. You don’t have the beautiful nice white sand and the blue water like Punta Cana but the scenery and the countryside is just beautiful.
Other Comments
Our overall vacation was great and we had a good time. There are some venders at the end of the beach and a few shops to go to but they all have the same things and not very exciting. Try to take a tour if you can to see the countryside and take some things like candy and school supplies to had out to the kids. They love seeing the tourist and love it when you give them something.
Restaurants and Bars
The main restaurant was amazing very big and open and the food was also very good and they had a big selection to choose from. We went to the Seafood and the Mexican restaurant and they were very good. There are lots of bars in the area but there alcahol is not so good. They are using the Normandy brand of alchol and they have no flavor. I’m not a drinker but there drinks taste like sugar water. No flavour at all. If you want a good drink you have to go to the Casino and pay for it.
Rooms
The rooms in the Golden section are so much better. It is totally worth it if you can upgrade. The other room was musty and old and the lighting is very bad. In the Golden section you get a coffee maker and the rooms are more bright and airy. The cleaning service was very good. There is a fridge with some water and a few bottles of pop and beer. You can’t use the tap water at all even to brush your teeth.
Your Arrival
It was the first time that my two sisters and I were able to go on vacation together. Our arrival at the airport with Skyservice was on time and we got our luggage in good time. One of my sisters had booked for her own room and we send many e-mail to request two rooms together and we never got a reply back so of course when we got our rooms they were not even in the same building. The service at the front desk was very bad and they didn’t understand English to well so we were not getting help from them. We finally had to go to the Golden section and ask to get our rooms upgrade with extra cost of course so that we could have two rooms together. The service there was so much better.
Perfect
Hotel Barcelo Arenas Blancas
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Anne >  1 contribution(s) DENMARK
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I Love it!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Good
Arrival
Very good
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Very good
Other Comments
A very nice place!
Restaurants and Bars
Good
Rooms
Good
We had a wonderful time.
Hotel Barcelo Arenas Blancas
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Cathy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family
I can only assume that things have changed for the better since some of the previous reviews were written, because we had an excellent time at Arenas Blancas from December 30, 2010 to January 6, 2011. The rooms were clean, the elevators reliable, the food was decent, and the staff personable. We were fortunate to have had great weather. There were items in our room that could use repair, but nothing was so bad as to be unacceptable. We did not get clean towels in our room until the last day, but fresh good-quality beach towels could be obtained from the pool kiosk. I think attitude is an important factor in Cuba. To have a good experience you need to embrace the positives (beautiful beach, safe surroundings, clean bed, interesting culture and people talking to one another instead of texting on their cellphones) and let go of the little irritants. I will return.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Hit and miss. The band Neptuno and dancers performed on several evenings and were absolutely great!
Arrival
Bring a bathing suit or change of clothes in your carry-on. You may need to wait for your room. Check out the bar or the town.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beautiful beach, pool and grounds. The ocean was warmer than the pool. The Solymar hotel part of the beach was more lively, the Arenas Blancas more laid back.
Other Comments
Great location, walking-distance and minutes from the town of Varadero.
Restaurants and Bars
Always something to eat. Good strong coffee. Not the same as home or anything I wanted to gorge on, but that’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Rooms
Clean, somewhat in need of repair but basically okay. Hotel staff were willing to fix things if they could. Be polite. Nice view from oceanside fourth floor balcony.
NO, DO NOT GO!!! THEY DO NOT CARE, THEY GIVE YOU PAID ROOM AWAY, THEY HAVE MOSQUITOS!!!!!
Hotel Barcelo Bavaro Beach & Convention Center (Formally Palace)
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Belkys >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | Family
11 persons in my vacation, all but one adults, one age 3. my parents 72, and 71, everyone else from age 25 to age 52, all professionals, non-drinking 9 persons, only 2 drinks if any for the two persons that do drink. They do not care, who visits the hotel. They do not Care!! that is the conclusion we have ended with. They do not want to speak to you if you are not Happy or having a problem. They just have to give you a room, and check the room when you check-out to make sure you did not take anything!!!! even if it was not there when you checked in. MAKE SURE YOU REPORT IN WRITING!!!! ANYTHING MISSING AT CHECK-IN. MUST DO SO, DO NOT FORGET. The missing plastic ice holder, which was not in the room since it was cleaned the 2nd day, was the hold up for 2 1/2 hours at check – Out, We did not ever use it so, so we did not report it missing. I’ll be more than happy to open my bags and have them checked in the lobby, infront of everyone, I have nothing to hide. They never gave us an answer, I waited hours for them to find the plastic ice holder, Did they find it??? I still do not know. What kind of people visit this Hotel? they have to check the rooms at your departure. WOW. they will not be visited by my friends and Family, that is for sure.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
9. Unless you go to ALL the area Hotels and see the calenders you have no idea if there are shows? or parties? or what ever, no itinerary or calender to help plan your days, and activities, WHY they are a Big Well known hotel??? NO organization for the programs offered, not good with the amount of persons checking in daily. They have to get organized and have an organized schedule for persons wanting to do things. 12. They need more help in the Casino, you wait for over 5 minutes for someone to help if a machine is not working. Not GOOD… 13. Stores in the Barcelo Barvaro inside shops, they need to be organized and updated, too much stuff, but nothing to really buy, you can not find anything nice at any price. they are old things and dusty, not clean, Gum is $4.50 and up??? why??? If they do not have good sales, there is a reason why. they need uptodate stores, since you really can not go outside without a taxi and allot of planning. They need a good BUYER!!!

They should organize going to the nice outside stores, a bus tour, you could sign-up for, a trip once per week or twice, morning or afternoon. they may get people to put money into the area this way.

Arrival
1. Arrived on 7/30/10 around 9 PM, Barcelo Bavaro Palace, they say this is not the hotel take your things and you will be transported to the next hotel Palace Deluxe, they have your rooms, ok, 2. Arrived at 2nd Hotel Palace Deluxe, they are asking me why we are there? Because I was send by the 1st. hotel here to check in, we do not have your rooms. you have to go to the 3rd hotel Palace Family (the new one) they have your rooms. What are you saying? This is crazy we have confirmed and paid reservations. Why do you not have our rooms? "I can not help you, I do not have the rooms, you will be at Family one tonight and then tomorrow you will move to the other correct hotel." NO WAY, I will not be moved any more, You have the rooms and the guy at that desk is shaking his head, because of what you are saying. what game is it you play? I have elderly travelers and a small child, what is wrong with you? do you really think we are going to send our vacation moving hotel rooms? NO NO, I will sit here until you get this matter and our rooms solved here, not moving. I will be here, and we will all sit here, until you can get this mess together. I do speak Spanish, so do not get nasty, in Spanish, I do understand. 4. Called our travel agent. 5. Called lady at 1st., hotel. she gave us an apology for the mistakes, and said you will be taken care of. ok, I said. thank you.

6. We finally had rooms (5) rooms, 2 persons per room, as reserved. they were two rooms next to each other on 1st floor of building 4, one in the 2nd floor, one in the 4th floor and in building 3, one in the 3rd floor. But why say anything, we had rooms!! Happy. The rooms are beautiful, the mosquitos NOT!!!! everyday all day, Mosquitos!!!! and more Mosquitos. WHY???

Beach/Pools/Grounds
10. Truly, the beach temperature was great!!!, Love it, but the beach was not clean, they need to clean and take care of the Mosquitos, Never visited the pool too far from my hotel, they are building a new one infront of the room I was staying in, wanderful, for the next person to visit, not for me.

Distance is too much for elderly my parents, they walk, but this was too much for them, because of the temp. weather also affected the situation.

Other Comments
14. I requested to speak to the person in charge on the last day at the facilities and no one ever came. why? No one ever spoke to us. 15. Wheel chairs look like I just got them from the 2nd hand store, WHY?? 16. They need to be supervised by a general manager that cares, seems as if no one cared, what you had to say, good or bad. no reactions, no one is in charge of anything, or gives an answer to anything. 17. Owner and investors of this Barcelo Bavaro need to wake up, and look around, they are building more, without fixing big problems.

I would love to speak to the investors and ask them why? are they so big that they do not care if a few customers are not happy? Paradise or Mosquito infested dream.

Restaurants and Bars
everyday all day, Mosquitos!!!! and more Mosquitos. Chicken Soup was GOOD, Great, Bread was good, Desserts fantastic. 8. the other, Food was not too tasty?? all the same in every restaurant. well, that’s life. The workers (cooks, maids and helpers, bag boys, bell boys, VERY VERY NICE!!!!!! love them all. they work hard.

11. The restaurants at the Casino, Hotel, smells BAD, BAD water smell!!!!! you can not eat, at this restaurant because you can smell is so bad, so this restaurant is always with less visitors, wander why???…

Rooms
NICE CLEAN and Great…..!!! Really Great. Take inventory of all things every thing, make a list and take to them at chekin. DO SO. They think you take things, even if you do not.
spectacular 3rd time here
Hotel Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe
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jack >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
I love this resort, My wife and I have been to Dominican Republic for our last 8 vacations (I know, go somewere else. we cant pass on the best beach in the world for its price though). the palace is the 5th resort we have stayed in at Bavaro beach and we LOVE IT. I love the food and the people. I love the full ocean view room. My wife and I are there to lay on the beach and soak in the sun and RELAX, and we do.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
sun and drinks
Arrival
we book our own flights and times and we always take a cab from the airport. we usually stop and eat at a roadside place and grab a Presidenta beer. Once again we take our time and enjoy the ride and people.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Great pool but usually lay on the beach.
Other Comments
Most of the reviews I see are (or seem) to be from very uptight Americans, and yes I’m american, that expect to pay for a bargain and get attention and special treatment. Just go and relax and have fun, so you got sprayed by a sprinkler Geez! The golf is great and the fun for any kids is awesome.
Restaurants and Bars
we normally eat at La Brisa and love the food.
Rooms
Love the rooms, great flat screen TV’s and the air works great and comfortable.
Heaven within paradise
Hotel Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe
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David >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This resort was so special and the staff are fantastic, from Andrea and pedro at La brisa to Rossi at the palace bar. the reception crew and the management team. Big smiles friendly service. The food was great and the room was made up so nice everyday and the minifridge fellow filled you up with what you wanted if you left him a note in spanish. Spreading a few dollares around to the staff made the smiles bigger, after two days thanks to my Canada tattoo the bar staff knew my drinks orders before I made it to the counter. They called me Captain and or Mr Canada! We loved it so much 8 of us are going March 2011!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Tons of things to do or just lay back and relax your choices are limited only by your imagination.
Arrival
Met at Airport by shuttle bus great tour guide stopped of and got us ice cold beer. Realy helped get us the mood to lay back and relax.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Best beach in the world cleaned daily and the tree trimmer climbed up and got coconuts for the ladies and trimme dthem up so you could put drinks in them!
Other Comments
For ebery positive review you read there are hundreds of satisfied people who just dont feel the need to spread the joy. for the negativve revies read them carefully and you will see why these folks did not enjoy themselves! In the Dominican you have to become Dominican chill out relax smile laugh dance and sing and don’t be in a hurry or in a rush and drop a few dollars here and there it brightens up their smile and your heart!
Restaurants and Bars
clean well run excellent staff and great management team. These folks work long long days so we can relax!
Rooms
Spacious new and clean
Cayo Santa Maria Barcello is one of the best resorts we have visited.
Hotel Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria
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D >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We visited the Barcello Santa Maria from Jan. 18. through Feb. 1 2010.14 days of amazing weather.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We were there for 2 weeks of sun and relaxation. We did not look for any activities, so while there were things to do we did not participate. The best part of this no one bugged us.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach, outstanding. Grounds,well maintained and gorgoeus. Pools also first class.Beach was the choice of most guests and you had to get their early to get a decent spot.
Other Comments
The bus trip was a drag.If we don’t return that would be the only reason.The Barcello will be on our short list for 2011. Staff was excellent. Anything we asked for was tended to quickly.The only place we had a problem was at the hairdressers in Pueblo. It is very poorly equipped.
Restaurants and Bars
Buffets, never a problem finding something to eat. Food was as good as we have had in Cuba.Really enjoyed the a la cartes, Spanish,good food, lots of it.Italian also good, portions smaller than Spanish, seafood was OK.Most of the guests loved the seafood, we had the salmon and it was so-so. Bars were well stocked. mixed drinks were great,but consistency varied with the bartender.Service was usually quite fast.
Rooms
Clean, large, well equipped, comfortable.Everything in working order.For 2 adults it was more than adequate.
Your Arrival
Flight sucked!2 attempts @ landing in a storm before diverting to Cayo Coco where we sat in the plane for over an hour besore returning to Santa Clara airport. Bus trip to resort about 1 1/2 hrs. Arrive at the resort @ 2:00 a.m.
Check in well organized,however the 10 min the bell hop told us to get the luggage to our room was at least 30 min.
Our Family Vacation
Hotel Barcelo Dominican Beach
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Peter & family from Toronto >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2009
Arrival Arrived at the airport and had a smooth time getting to the hotel bus. I was going to use a porter but they didn’t come chasing after us so we took our own bags. We arrived in pouring rain at the hotel. The rooms weren’t ready so we went for lunch. Everyone had to come back at 3PM which was a minor pain.

Rooms

The first rooms (we had 2) were in 3000 block. The rooms were modest, clean and comfortable with a view of the gardens. I seem to recall the bed being soft. The only thing we didn’t like was the nightly entertainment started at 10PM (too late for us) and we could hear it clearly in our rooms. The rooms were too close for our liking. We had only two bath towels. Through a connection, we were moved after 2 days to the 6000 block to a terrific room but it was at the edge of the property so it could be noisy at times with construction nearby. We saw someone’s room in the 7000 block and it was like our original room but in a quieter location.

Restaurants and Bars

The food was ok, about what I would expect from a 4* as opposed to 5*. The selection was limited compared to our last resort (a 5*) but we found something to eat at every meal. Two of us are vegetarians and we managed. We liked the main buffet for breakfast and the smaller buffet by the tennis courts for lunch. I tried the pizza place and the pizzas were good although at meal time it seems that they were gobbled up as soon as they were taken out of the oven. We tried the rest. by the beach but didn’t enjoy it. We tried the Mexican, Italian and Japanese a la carte restaurants. We really enjoyed the Italian and the Japaense was good too. No sign up for any but the Japanese. We went at 6PM to the a la carte’s just as they opened and we always got a table but I guess by 6:30 there was a line up. The service in the restaurants was just ok but I think that was largely because most of the service staff spoke very little English and so they couldn’t communicate.

I didn’t find anyone who served me at the various bars to be a standout and worthy of a decent tip. The favourite place for us was the coffee bar. They made different drinks including great coffee & hot choc. from 10am to midnight. The staff were good even if they didn’t speak English.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The grounds were lovely and the beach was cleaned every day. No complaints except for the weather. A few rocks in the ocean where the swim area was and bits of seaweed but nothing worse. The water outside the swim area was a ‘major’ route for the local boats ferrying people to various places so it was not the best place to try wind surfing or sailing. Other than a couple of kayakers, we didn’t see anyone at the resort using watersports. The pools were ok, lots of chairs around the pool. It seemed like finding some chairs with good cover/shade at the beach or by the pool was tough if you were not out by 8am.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

We played tennis 3 times and the courts were in decent shape for a resort. We brought racquets and balls but they had them at no charge. Still I would bring balls. You could sign up a day in advance. We brought ping pong racquets and balls and they had a couple of tables in various locations. They also had several pool tables that were in good condition. The activities weren’t as intrusive as at other resorts. If you wanted to participate you went to the location. Seldom did they try and coax you to participate. Beach volleyball and bocce were popular beach activites.

Other Comments

My only complaint was with the wi-fi/Internet. When we arrived Internet was down. I never bought the wi-fi but from what I could gather it has limited range depending upon the room you were in. As a result we had to use their computers and other than shutting down if you didn’t send/receive frequently they worked and weren’t too busy. Rates started at US$5 for 15 minutes but they had 50% off specials. I think this resort was great value for the money. You can see the ‘wear’ in some areas but overall it was clean. We had modest expectations and so we weren’t disappointed. We have 2 girls 12 & 16 and they found enough to keep them busy.

We booked a couple of months in advance and paid about $1K p.p. incl taxes for the week at the end of March break. I would bring lots of US$1’s for tips rather than try and get them when you arrive. Not always easy for them to make change. Old clothes and chocolate bars seem to be appreciated by the staff as well as $$$ (not Loonies or Toonies).

GREAT VACATION
Hotel Barcelo Dominican Beach
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chris >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
this was our 3rd time at the barcelo dominican and it was great.We enjoy the resort great ppl great place.the staff couldn’t be bettter and the bartenders are the best,very friendly……………and we’re going back in 4 weeks resort is beautiful grounds and beach maintained……………
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
wonderful enterntainment staff plenty to do if thats wat u want
Arrival
No problem checking in check in at 3 but if early you’re banded as a guest and the fun begins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
always enough chairs for everyone by the pools and beach never too crowded
Other Comments
Love this resort 4 time returner should tell you something
Restaurants and Bars
good food and great service.plenty of each around entire resort
Rooms
no problem with rooms clean and kept clean the entire stay
best vaca ever
Hotel Barcelo Dominican Beach
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magda >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Sep, 2010 | Leisure | Family
In general it was the best vacation ever after one little complication but it was not important. The BEST part is the activity staff at the beach ( to me they were like family) The activities were awsome golf water ballon toss:).
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities how i said earlier the BEST part for me awsome people hope they dont change before i go back there for thangsgiving 2011.
Arrival
They were very nice and welcoming aka helpful.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach beautiful the sand white as snow good keeping of cleaness as well.
Restaurants and Bars
I recommed the ITALIAN just the best cant get better.
Rooms
rooms depending on where you get it but pretty much good view is okay you see the beach usually.
The best time ever!!
Hotel Barcelo Dominican Beach
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Alvin >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
wow people who write bad reviews are incredibly bitter! seriously what else do people want? it is amazing, people are great, alejandro was the best waiter in the world. no one was ever rude and no one harrased us( we were a group of 16 17 and 18 year olds) in any way. poeple leart quickly your name and were very kind and full of life. the food was amazing and i never got sick once, and i have a very upseting stomach. the beach was clean i don’t know why people said it was dirty. Don’t listen to bad reviews about this hotel, they are not true at all, the service is the best i got to eat pizza at 5 am and sometimes at 3 am.

I really advise people to go and stay there, it’s the best!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
i didnt have time to do any of the activities exept for the snorquel but some of my friends that went to the other ones had blast
Arrival
The arrival was pretty quick, we got checked in in about 10 minutes and a very nice employee drove us to our room.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Everything was very clean, pools were amazing spetially the pool with the bar.
Restaurants and Bars
the people in the bars are amazing and full of life, the restaurants were cool too, the japanese restaurant was the best.
Room Block
96
Room Number
9633
Rooms
rooms were cool and the mini bars were refilled dayly
SO much fun!!!!
Hotel Barcelo Karmina Palace Deluxe
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not telling >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2011 | Business | Family
I cant even begin to say how much i loved karmina palace. i would go there again, again, and again!!! its amazing and SO much fun u could do everything there. the food was delicious and they have a BUNCH of activities to do for grown ups and adults! theres a great kids club and everybody is so nice.theres no hotub for anybody under 18 with kinda sucks but it isnt that bad…its completeley beautiful and i definitly wanna go again.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
the walmart sucks, id reccemend going to sorianas in stead which is across the parking lot from burger king, the tous i went on r lots of fun although the vacano tour is a little boring for kids
Arrival
17 hour delay with can jet(ugh)
Beach/Pools/Grounds
the sand is a little course on the beach and there r lots of pools so its easy to get lost for little ones, bbut u can snorkel right off the beach, and take pictures undeer water with a special glass and the waterslides really fast
Other Comments
i am definitly going back.
Restaurants and Bars
good service, great food, an dthey can make any drinks(no corona, root beer)
Rooms
amazingly big.
excellent place
Hotel Barcelo Los Cabos Palace Deluxe
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glen >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
there were some activities on resort but we did not participate in any, just vegged and drank by the pool or on the beach. off the resort we went on the sierra buggies which were great, we rented waverunners down the beach and went to cabo on a tour for snorkeling, whale watching and to see the arch. we also walked up to the town centre of san jose a couple of times. we ate at la panga which was very good, we sat in the rooftop bar called shooters and had 10 peso beer. there happy hour is actually 6 hours from 10 am till 4 pm. did some shopping downtown and felt very safe walking around town.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
the beach is nice, sand very fine and a big beach it just drops down to the water very fast and you can not swim in it. the pools were very good a little cool but once you got in great. the grouds were kept in great shape with lots of work on the sidewalk. they had about 8 to 10 fire pits with chairs around them, they were propane with the flame comming up thru rocks.
Other Comments
on a sad note we went on westjet vacations and had a horrible time at the airport when we left. the airport personel hit our plane with the stairs and they had to fly a different plane in from toronto. it was a 11 hour delay in the airport which is very small and closes at 4 pm. they kept the restuarant open till 6.30 for us but after that all was closed. the westjet people handled this delay terrible, we were never informed of how long our delay would be, just maybe 2 more hours. the air conditioner was on a timer and shut off at 4pm, no one knew they could leave and get back thru security till we were there for about 8 hours. we were promised rooms when we arived back in regina because it was going to be 4 am, but that never happened. we got ten dollar food vouchers at the airport but all that would buy was a hamburger we had to buy our drink with our own money. ALL IN ALL WESTJET VACATIONS SUCKED

bad ending to a great trip any questions email glgeddes@rfnow.com

Restaurants and Bars
first of all men need closed toe shoes for the ala cartes. we did four alacartes listed best to worst japanese, mexican, steakhouse, italian. both buffets were great for breakfast dinner and supper. lots of bars during the day but at night if you wanted to sit at a fire on the beach you would have to walk all the way back to the lobby bar for drinks. at night the three bars were crowded but good, my favorate was the lobby bar, they made the best mojitos.
Rooms
we had a room with two double beds, would liked to have a king but we didnt complain so was alright. the room was very clean with a jacuzzi tub separate shower, balcany overlooking the adult pool. the smart tv had all the room controls on it including internet. we brought a laptop so got the password rom the front desk and used it instead. had a room safe robes and slippers,great mini bar including two different kinds of beer, four cans of soda, fruit juice, nuts, chips, and even asprin and alka seltzer.
Your Arrival
greeted at airport and got onto bus, check in at hotel was a little slow but we were served drinks while we waited so alls good. our roomwas ready, it took the bellboy about half an hour to get our bags to our room, but again there was beer in the mini bar to keep entertained.
**Warning** This place is infested with bed bugs
Hotel Barceló Marina Palace
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Bryce >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
My parents thought it would be a great stress reliever to visit the island of Cuba. They booked their trip through a local travel agent at the Barcelo Marina Palace in hopes that it would offer the 4.5 star quality rest and relaxation one might expect on a trip of this sort. Instead, my mother was badly infested with bed bugs. My father also contracted bed bugs from this place, but my mothers case was far worse. She went to the front desk to tell them what was going on and was told to relax and go back to bed, that it was only mosquito bites. She tried, but the bites were causing her pain so she went back to the front desk asking for a different room. They insisted it was mosquitos and even mocked her for thinking it wasn’t. Eventually through persistence they were able to secure another room. The bed bug infestation continued. She started developing sores that looked like welts and went back to the front desk where they told her they had an in house doctor. The doctor told her it was a reaction from MOSQUITOS, and when asked directly if it was bed bugs he said "no". The condition got worse, so she visited a different doctor. She got a different prescription (Benydryl) and was told to sleep it off. The condition worsened to the point where she couldnt walk around with out people pointing out the sores and locals were telling her it was clearly bed bugs. The hotel did nothing. Apon returning home they both tried sleeping but couldn’t, and made appointments with their family doctor the following day who immediately diagnosed the problem as…you guessed it…bed bugs. My fathers condition may clear up in a few days with proper medication instead of the idiotic presciption the "house doctor" provided, but my mother is requiring far more serious treatment. All of their clothes, luggage and bedding (from home) had to be destroyed because bed bugs are known to travel on personal belongings. They’ve contacted the travel agent they used who is asking if they want to use insurance to cover their lost clothing. You should consider yourself well warned, this just happened at the beggining of February 2010 and you can see on this site and many others that this place has had multiple reports of cockroaches and bed bugs since as early as 2008 and it’s still taking place 2 years later but this hotel is somehow able to continue doing business and calling itself 4-4.5 stars.

Stay at your own risk.

Other Comments
I can’t believe North American travel agencies could have the nerve to sell packages to this bug infested hole.
Rooms
INFESTED WITH BED BUGS!!! MORE THAN 1 ROOM and more than 1 bed in the room.
Rat in the room!
Hotel Barceló Marina Palace
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Mark >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
By no means do we want to discourage anyone from going to Cuba. We had a fabulous time in Havana! Amazing city, rich with culture. A must to visit if in Cuba but the Barcelo Marina Palace is a disgrace! We have traveled to many tropical all-inclusive resorts and never have we experienced what we encountered at this Barcelo resort. Rude and belligerent staff. Yes they do run out of wine. A la carte restaurants – no comment. Mosquitoes are welcome at this resort and other bugs as well. Our first night there I got up at 2AM to use the washroom and encountered an eight inch rat in our room. Their reaction to the rat was unbelievable. They did not apologize in any way but rather made us feel terrible for the inconvenience we had caused them. After more than two hours of negotiating, we were moved from a king bed/ocean view room to a double bed room facing an extremely noisy road. It should have been a week of R&R with family but who can relax when you don’t feel welcome. Thank goodness for the "fantastic six" that traveled with us. We would not have survived without them! Visit Cuba, especially Havana, but don’t make the mistake we did by staying at the Barcelo Marina Palace.
It was all right
Hotel Barceló Marina Palace
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MJ >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My husband and I stayed at Barcelo Marina Palace in the Cayo Libertad section in April 2010. This was my 4th trip to Cuba and certainly won’t be my last. However, we thought the resort was just okay but we would be unlikely to return.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
I’ve taken the Havana day trip twice before so I didn’t do it again this trip. It’s great, though. This time I decided to do the Matanzas – Camaguey tour, which is only 28 CUC (7:45 a.m. to around 2 p.m.) It included a stop at a pharmacy museum in downtown Matanzas, a visit to one of the markets where locals buy their groceries (a real eye-opener), a drive through the countryside past lots of farms and a stop in Camaguey to get a drink before heading back to the hotel. It was a really good value and gave an opportunity to see interesting things. We also took the beach bus all around Varadero – it was packed in the morning but the crowd thinned out in the afternoon. They were also offering a free transfer to Havana and an overnight stay at another Barcelo hotel one night while we were there – I would have liked to do that but it happened to fall on my husband’s birthday and he wasn’t keen on it.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The resort is sprawling, not compact. The Cayo Libertad section is more efficiently laid out. The landscaping is still quite young, and many areas need to be “finished” (i.e., there are areas with construction debris and areas with no grass). The buildings are quite attractive in all areas of the resort. The beach is not as nice as the main beach in Varadero (few beaches can rival that) but has the advantage of being private, in fact almost deserted. However, sand fleas were a huge problem and even though I only went to the beach for a total of about 2 hours, I ended up with huge itchy welts all over my legs (I’m very allergic to their bites). We saw a few mosquitoes but they were a minor issue next to the sand fleas. They fog the property from time to time with a chemical smudge on the back of a truck – if you see it coming, go the other way. One surprising thing was that in order to get to the beach from El Penon, you have to basically pick your way through a field of sharp twigs and rocks and even some construction debris. It is unbelievable that they wouldn’t build a walkway down there since it is a very common place for people to walk barefoot.

The Cayo Libertad pool was a good size for the number of rooms it served, and it wasn’t a problem to get a lounger. The water was too cold for much swimming when we were there but it was refreshing to take a dip from time to time. We didn’t spend any time at the other resort pools. Beach towels were provided in our room and changed each night by the maid – no need to deal with towel huts or cards.

Other Comments
The service had some highs and lows. Usually in Cuba, it’s not very hard to find someone who speaks fluent English. At this resort, not so much. We were surprised that the staff at the Cayo Libertad check-in area spoke very little English or French, since that is where most people will naturally go for assistance and a large proportion of them will probably know little Spanish. We had a problem with our door lock and it was really difficult to communicate about it. The guys who drive the long golf-cart type luggage buggies are really friendly – you can flag them down and get a drive with them if they happen to be passing by while you are walking. One of those guys, whose name I forget now, had much better language skills than the desk staff. Another time, we were offered cigars by a staff member and when we declined, we were hit up for money or gifts (first time this has happened to us in Cuba). The currency exchange always seems to have a very long queue. However, when I got very sick on the same day I had to fly home, I had to get the resort doctor to come to our room and she and the nurse accompanying her were wonderful. They didn’t have any injectable Gravol or antibiotics on hand so they personally went out to the pharmacy to get them for me and brought them back within an hour. I was not in great shape on the return flight but thanks to their efforts I managed to keep it together enough to get back home. Our maid was also quite good and kept everything in order. We tipped her a couple of pesos per day and left behind our unwanted toiletries, etc.
Restaurants and Bars
The food was a disappointment and normally we enjoy the food in Cuba. However, what seemed to be missing were the traditional Cuban foods – i.e. rice and beans, ropa vieja and other stewed meat, pork of all kinds including ham, good bread… The El Penon restaurant on the island tried so hard to be complicated and stylish but usually some ingredient was unavailable and the menu descriptions were quite deceptive. The best things were the simplest – grilled meat and seafood. And the bread products throughout the resort were really not that good and tended to be undercooked and doughy, which shocked me because usually the bread products in Cuba are excellent. There was no toast at El Penon the entire time we were there – apparently the toaster had broken. Most of the fish and meats were overcooked although we did have a lovely lamb dinner one night. However, the coffee at El Penon was probably the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life. One of the waiters there deserves special mention – Michael. He is one of those instantly likeable people who has a special ability in the service industry and he would be able to hold his own in any good restaurant in a big city around the world. We also ate at the main buffet restaurant a few times and it was fine, and that has the advantage that you can see what you’re getting without having to rely on a menu description. The supply issues were also present there, though. Hamburgers with no buns or ketchup, salad with no lettuce, etc. The pasta bar was good, and the cook who ran it was entertaining. More seriously, there were issues with food temperature control and I experienced a bad bout of food poisoning on the last day (more on this later). We loved the cigar bar! It was a lovely, uncrowded place to have a drink in the evening and relax while listening to a very talented pianist. The restaurant bar at El Penon was also very good, as was the pool bar by the Cayo Libertad pool. We didn’t care for the main lobby bar – very noisy and crowded, and hard to get served. Those were the only ones we tried.
Rooms
Our room was excellent, and I doubt there are any bad rooms in the Cayo Libertad section. However, I noted while walking through the main part of the resort that I wouldn’t want a room on the bottom floor of some of those buildings because the footpaths go right through the building past your door and I’m a light sleeper. The balcony in our room was huge, with padded wooden loungers and a drying rack for towels and swimsuits. The room itself has an entry area with a little table, and there was a bottle of rum and some Cuban chocolates waiting for us on arrival. There is a bar fridge (including a tiny freezer) that is stocked with water, soft drinks, individual rum bottles and beer. The TV is basic, with satellite service carrying about 20 channels, a few of which are English. There is a DVD / CD player. The bed was not great – rather lumpy, and instead of a king-size bed, it was 2 twins pushed together and made up separately, not exactly the most romantic configuration. The pillows were almost completely flat – you would have to use 3 of them to get one regular pillow. The bathroom was spacious, with double sinks and a large tub with shower. The toilet is in a separate room, and there is also a walk-in closet including a safe and bathroom scales. There are no drawers in the room but there are a few shelves and a suitcase rack. There is a 115V outlet in the bathroom and 220V outlets elsewhere with the type of opening that allows either the European or North American style of plug to go in (nice feature that I haven’t seen in other resorts). We also had a look at the Grand Palace Villa, which was close to our room and was absolutely gorgeous, with private pool etc. It was unoccupied for most of the time we were there. I saw a sign saying it’s $300 per night to upgrade but I’m not sure if that’s per person or if that’s on top of the extra you pay for a Cayo Libertad room.
Your Arrival
The transfer from the airport was in a standard Havanatur bus – no issues. Barcelo Marina Palace is the very last resort on the peninsula so naturally we were the last ones to get off. Even so, the transfer only took about 55 minutes. We were dropped off at the main entrance and a porter on a golf cart came and delivered us to the Cayo Libertad lobby where we had a private check in. Our room #3204 was not ready at 1:30 p.m. when we arrived so we had to wait a couple of hours by the pool (since the towels are exchanged in the room by the maid, we had no beach towels…however, I liked not having to deal with the towel exchange routine every day so in my mind, the slight inconvenience was not a large issue). Eventually the very friendly porter came back and showed us to our room at around 4:30 pm.
not bad except for mosquitoes and the dampness of rooms
Hotel Barceló Marina Palace
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maria >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
There was a pond right in front of the resort (not the entrance) which attracted mosquitoes. Some people had to see the doctor to get medication for mosquito bites. We all looked spotty and couldn’t stay out for long. There was also the smell and feeling of dampness (no I did not experience it anywhere else). The staff was polite and kind. The meal wasn’t that good. Coffee was heavenly.
Things have changed at the Barcelo
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
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Bernada >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Things have certainly changed at the Barcelo Maya in the two years since we had been there. There has never been a problem with the language until this time. All of us had a difficult time getting our needs and wants across because of a language barrier. There always seemed in the past to have a stable group of employees but there were very few we recognized from our previos visits to the resort. The food was not as good as I remember. Many items were cold. The service has certainly changed. If you did not tip heavily, you had a hard time being served a glass of water. We never experienced any of that in our previos five visits. I think that it is time for us to research and find another resort.
Great Hotel – Great Experience!
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
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Ron >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did take part in one off-site tour – Coba ruins. We enjoyed the ruins and the visit in a Mayan family home. On site, we took part in water aerobics and enjoyed the use of the kayaks and the large tricycles. We also snorkled next to the resort at the far point (it was too rough in front of the Palace where we heard there was good snorkling) and there was a decent reef there to check out with plenty of fish. The evening entertainment was decent with a cultural flair in all shows but the circus show on Friday night. We went into Playa Del Carmen on the one afternoon that the weather wasn’t great. If you go, be prepared to be ‘bothered’ as you shop with ‘deals of a lifetime’, etc.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool area is very nice, with crystal clear water (albeit a bit too cold for many people). The grounds are immaculate – the nicest I have seen at a resort. The beach is nice and you can walk a decent distance in both directions. There are rocky/weedy areas in the water in spots which makes swimming a challenge in some locations but there was a large rock/weed free area for swimming that was very nice. The water is shallow for a decent ways, so great for kids swimming.
Other Comments
We are a couple in our 40’s and have travelled extensively in the caribbean. I would rate this hotel as one of the best I have stayed at, anywhere. The staff were fantastic in all locations of the hotel and did everything they could to help. I was surprised by the number of older teens at the resort (man, where do they get the money?! :-)), but other than at the bars in the evening, they weren’t very noticeable. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at scuba24@hotmail.com

Best of luck as you research your ideal vacation!

Restaurants and Bars
The food was above average compared to other caribbean resorts I have been to. Something for everyone. Desserts often looked better than they tasted. Highlights for us were the varieties of fresh bread each day and the salads. We went to the Italian restaurant and the Steakhouse and found both very good. We had beef tenderloin and it was very nice. The flatbread in the Italian restaurant was awesome dipped in the oil/balsamic.
Rooms
We had a room on the 3rd floor in Building G, on the far side of the property. We had a king bed – fairly firm but comfortable. The air conditioning seemed to only have one setting – cold! I didn’t check it out with management; perhaps it could have been adjusted somehow. I ended up shutting it off and on a few times each night. Overall the room was very nice – large enough with a couch, clean, updated and a very nice shower.
Your Arrival
Arrived on March 13, 2010 – just in time for the Canadian March Break crowd! Check-in was quick and uneventful. We had to wait for an hour or so for our room to be ready, so picked up some food, a beverage and took a brief tour of the property. The property is breathtaking. If you exchange US funds into Pesos, be aware that the hotel will not convert back to American funds (you can do this at the airport, if they are open!). The other option is to do it at a bank in town.
Handicapped Accessility EXCELLENT
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
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Dixie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This resort has exceptional handicapped access to restaurants, theater, activities, pools even the beach! You will not feel like you are the only one who is handicapped at this resort –many people with varying disabilities have been repeat visitors to this resort.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The sand has a hard paced base so both strollers and wheelchairs can get down to the beach. At the foot washing stations you just roll right in-you can also use the rain shower option to rinse off the salt water. The foot washing stations are everywhere. The beach restaurants have low-sloped ramps, all wash rooms have handicapped facilities and are close to the beach and pool. The pool has many different types of entrances – hand bars, low slopes beach like entrance you could roll your wheelchair right into the water if you wanted. All pathways are well cared for. The walk ways to the main lobby are marble so its smooth sailing watch for a drop of about four to five inches on the marble surface- there are only a few in the day you might not see them but at night they are lit up.
Other Comments
I would recomend the Barcelo Maya to others who are handicapped or with a wheelchair or a family with a stroller.
Restaurants and Bars
All totally accessable the staff are happy to carry your plate to the table, get something from the buffet, etc.
Rooms
A ground floor room is fine if you are able to transfer there is plenty of room with only a sliding door track to get over to your balcony. The bathroom has a tub with two lower grab bars with an angled bar on the wall. There are also handicapped rooms available with roll in showers.
Fabulous Wedding !
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
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Louise >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
We were 22 people at the Barcelo Maya Beach from March 6 to March 13 2010. We got married on the beach on March 11. Resort: The rooms are spacious; they are nice and very clean. They always fill up the fridge with beer, water and pop. The beach: Best beach of the 5 resorts, it was well groomed and the water was warm and blue. Food: The buffets were average. The lunch buffet was excellent but at dinner it was bland and everything tasted the same. The restaurants: The Mexican was very good and we paid extra to go to the Palace, La Brasserie and it worth every penny. It was delicious. We were told by some friends that the Steak house and Spanish was also very good. The Wedding: The Wedding coordinator Xhail & Karen were fantastic, everything was perfect. They were professional and really make sure that this day was a special day. We took a package (mint), it was very affordable and we had a private dinner reception where there was 7 servers taking care of us (for 22 guests), we were spoiled. There was a nice bar, we had brought our own music and they provide us a music system, it was fun. The food was excellent and the cake also. Thank you very much to Xhail, Karen and Roberto at the reception. Overall, we would recommend strongly this resort to get married and to spend a wonderful time on the beach.

Louise & Derek

Wonderful Family Vacation – something for everyone!
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
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mary >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jun, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Barclay kids club – kids spent 1-2 hours each afternoon doing an activity or craft. This was good as it got them out of the sun for a couple of hours and allowed the parents to read/swim by the pool
Beach/Pools/Grounds
smooth sandy beaches. Pools were great. Grounds were wonderful. Water park is amazing for kids. never a moment when there is nothing to do
Restaurants and Bars
Only did the buffets – this is the second time at the resort and we felt the a la carte restaurants offered same food as buffet but took 2 hours to complete dinner. Easier with kids to remain at buffet
Rooms
Spacious – club room – master king room – with living room – one single bed, and a futon bed – comfortable for 2 kids. Very clean. Stayed at the Tropical – room was directly close to waterpark ****
Your Arrival
excellent – no line ups – efficiently moved rooms. Down time so we upgraded upon check in to a deluxe sweet for a third of price. Well worth it when travelling with 2 little children.
Great vacation
Hotel Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe
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Rod >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
I loved this place – we got upgraded to the palace and enjoyed everything about it. The food was great, the snorkelling with sea turtles was fun and the adult bar and bartender made one rainy day the best day at the beach. The only thing I can say that was not the best was that our room was the furthest away from everything and it was a walk to get to the main area. But It was great in the sense that we can take the trolley to any other locations! Great place and is what you expect from an all inclusive!!!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Go to Chichenitza! It is a wonder of the world!
Arrival
Easy as pie – we took a privte USA trashfer and they were amazing. check in was easy and fast.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pool was great and always found a seat, beach was also great and not over crowded. Sea turtles are friendly and right at the beach. Often they swam around the swimmers without them knowing they were there.
Other Comments
We got 2 extra days there due to a hurricane in the gulf – no problems no worries – we were taken care of and got two more sunny days!!!
Restaurants and Bars
The adult pool bar was the best! Rainly day becasme the beast day. The resturants were good – but I really loved the grill and buffet!
Rooms
Very very nice – the junior suits were amazing and it was large clean and the bar was stocked daily with what I requested. I tried to tip for the whole week but they dont have the same staff look after the rooms.
The entertainment at night was great for kids and adults.
Hotel Barcelo Puerto Plata
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Darlene, Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2009
Arrival: Trip from Toronto to hotel was very long as we were delayed in Toronto for 4 hours, upon arrival at airport very quickly went through customs no problem, looked for our bus very well organized very informative on the bus ride to the hotel.

Rooms:

As we were late arriving our rooms were ready for us very clean we were in the prestige rooms bathrobe and slippers were there for us, beds were turned down everynight bar was well stocked, had problem with toilet phoned down was fixed in no time

Restaurants and Bars:

Buffet and all of the al la cartes, snack bars, pizza bar were excellent, food was well cooked atmosphere was very nice in all al la cartes…SERVICE WAS OUTSTANDING

Beach/Pools/Grounds:

They were always cleaning the grounds no garbage was anywhere very efficient in picking up anyy plastic glassses around the pool and even on the beach. You could walk on the beach for miles….it was hard finding chairs but that is at any resort…vendors on the beach not bothersome you said no they did not pressure anyone to buy

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

Our kids went on the dune buggy tour for 3 hours in the rain had a fantastic time would do it again in a second

Other Comments:

I found this resort to be very entertaining no one got sickwhich is wonderful and says a lot for any hotel in that area as I have been to the Dominican before and always got sick, there was 5 of us no one got sick everyone and a wonderful time, service was fantastic, rooms very clean, security excellent felt very safe when you were even out walking around the complex after dark.

There entertainment at night was great for kids and adults, the staff that entertained with different events during the day were fantastic

the best
Hotel Barcelo Puerto Plata
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Nana >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
i stayed at barcello resort from 12-9-2010 to 12-14-2010. I had the best time. the food, staff, entertainment is the best. I strongly recommend this hotel to anyone. I will definitely stay there again
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
good
Beach/Pools/Grounds
it was chile so I didnt go to the pool
Room Number
11-203
Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/576393200kCybhd
Amazing time
Hotel Barcelo Punta Cana
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Nancy >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I just returned from a week at this property and after reading other reviews was a little unsure of what to expect. I was with a group of 8, 4 adults and 4 children so the main selling point on this location was the amazing kids pool.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pools were very nice, we spent the majority of our pool time at the kids pool, since we were traveling with an 8 year old, 6 year old, 5 year old and 2 year old. The Beach was kept clean, the waves were quite rough…which led to some amazing Boogie Boarding! The Grounds were kept clean, although I have to admit that they were very plain in comparison to some of the other resorts that I have been to. The children were all a little disappointed that there were no Peacocks or Flamingos on the resort…This is the first time that there were none to be found and they all really enjoy watching and feeding them. There was also a lack of the beautiful flowering bushes that we have all become accustomed to.
Other Comments
Just a side line the medical services on the resort were great, one person from our group had to visit them as they had injured their toe. The Doctor was fabulous. The staff from the kids club were also great!
Restaurants and Bars
The staff at the Bars and Restaurants were very good. We only tried 2 of the A La Carte Restaurants, as we could not get earlier Reservation times at the others and 9pm dinners for 4 kids is just not feasible. The Buffet Restaurant was good. You will only go hungry if you choose to. The French Restaurant was my personal favourite
Rooms
We had booked through Air Transat and were to receive the "DELUXE" rooms. We were placed in renovated rooms, which were beautiful. My sister in law had e-mailed the resort a week before arriving requesting that our rooms be near eachother…..we were placed 2 doors away from eachother. We had decided to to upgrade to the Ocean view rooms but were very pleasantly surprised to get the most amazing Ocean and Pool views!!
Your Arrival
We arrived 2 hours later than expected because of flight delays. When we finally made it there, check in was very quick and easy. We had our room assignments and were being led to our rooms by the bell boys within 5 minutes of getting off the bus.
Spectacular
Hotel Barcelo Punta Cana
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Irene >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Weather was fantastic as well as the beach with the spectacular waves.Plenty of beach chairs never had to reserve chairs.Buffet and a la carte restaurants were all fantastic.Service was excellant.All in all a very nice and welcoming resort.Would go back anytime because the beach is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was breathtaking.The waves were something else.We were brought back to shore when a big wave hit.The waves were huge all week.We enjoyed playing in the waves all week.
Restaurants and Bars
Plenty of bars.Drinks very good especially the pina coladas.The Japanese à la carte was excellent.Good entertainement and delicious food.The dominican as well as the italian were very good.
Rooms
We were located in the old section where the rooms were not renovated but still acceptable.We were in block 5 and the renovated rooms were blocks 1,2 and 3.
Your Arrival
Three hour delay at the airport therefore got in to Punta Cana later than we expected but every thing went well and fast at the resort.
It’s not a 4 1/2 star hotel!!! And don’t go during March break as they gear to University students.
Hotel Barcelo Punta Cana
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Julie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
This resort needs to pick it up on the service to meet a 4 star rating for me. Language barriers with front desk staff and concierge service and I felt they did not want to accomodate the guests and create a wonderful experience. Entertainment staff was excellent. They were busy throughout the day and night and deserve koodoos for a job well done. Definately made our evenings enjoyable.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities were great. Lots to do for the kids and entertainment by the pool was good, if you can stand the obnoxious university students. The sip line, reef explorer and swimming with dolphins excursions were very good.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
pools were cleaned daily. I think the family/kids area was cleaner than the recreational area were all the university students were. it’s sad to say that the children behaved better than the university students. Towels were a hit and miss-some days you would get towels that seemed they weren’t even cleaned. Some were bleached (they were suppose to be blue) you had to register or get a card to get a towel. For prestige class, towels were suppose to be delivered to your room-again a hit and miss. You’d think they’d know 3 people were in the room and would give you 3 towels.

The grounds were clean, beaches were beautiful, the ocean was a little rough to swim in but if you walked down the beach there were other areas that were calmer. It would have been nice to see the beaches combed in the evening to clean smaller debris however all in all it was nice.

Other Comments
When I travel I prefer 5 star and expect 5 star treatment as I pay extra for that. This resort was not by choice,however it is selling itself as a 4 1/2 star and giving 3 star service. If I had known it catered to university students, i would not have booked there. However, all in all the beaches were beautiful, the excursions (hosts) were great and I enjoyed my stay in Punta Cana. Would I go back? Perhaps, but I would choose a different resort.
Restaurants and Bars
Food was okay at main buffet. Wide selection of food available but variety did not change daily. They did have a few speciality nights however still the same selection of food with a few add ons. Japanese restaurant was excellent, italian was okay and seafood, well I would have expected maybe seafood on the menu, but the fish was still good. we missed the french/Paris, but heard it was very good.
Rooms
a little paint does not upgrade the hotel to a 4 star. This resort, at best, would be a 2 1/2 star. The rooms are cleaned but basically-floors are washed and toilets are cleaned. The sheets, towels and pillows smell like mold and I’m not sure if they even use soap. When someone showered above us, a broken pipe in the ceiling would leak in our bathroom and would create puddles on the floor and drip over the toilet. We complained 5 times, even showing the housekeeping and the inventory people (yes inventory people-apparently they are worried we are going to steal the stained lamp, dirty towels and rusty cd player in the rooms), nothing was ever done. I was able to go to each area of the resort and fellow travellers were gracious in letting me view their rooms and they were no different. This is not a new resort as noted. our room also had an inside and outside balcony…..section 3 over the french restaurant. Don’t recommend staying there as you can hear the staff cleaning and preparing for the next day in the restaurant, cutlery and chatter after 11 pm also the bar was just outside the restaurant, which is were guests gather for after dinner entertainment, so this also echoes up through the inner balcony. Plus the doors barely closed which did not provide much of a sound barrier. Balcony door did not lock. I strongly recommend checking your room before unpacking…and good luck getting a new room.
Your Arrival
checkin is noted on website as 3:00 p.m. we arrived at 2:30 were told checkin was at 4:00 and did not get a room until 6:00 p.m. So pack something on your carryon and plan to sit around for awhile.
We loved this resort!!!
Hotel Barcelo Punta Cana
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Kirinda >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We loved this resort. Just big enough, not too big. Loved that it was right on the beach (BEAUTIFUL beach). The food was great. Didn’t really get to know the staff, not like in Cuba.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Did the sharks & rays snorkling tour-absolutely fantastic!!!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Fantastic beach-very big and clean! Lots of chairs and shade if you wanted it. Pools were great, big, clean and not too crowded. Loved the lounge chairs that were built right in the pool. Grounds were clean and well kept.
Other Comments
This was the first time in Punta Cana for us. We are going back next year!!!
Restaurants and Bars
Great food at all restaurants. Bars were plentiful! The bars were busy- it was spring break for college students too-aughhhhh!
We were very pleased to discover that our a-la-carte restaurants were already booked for us-very convenient!
Rooms
We were told that most people choose to upgrade to the prestige class rooms for an additional fee-we didn’t feel the need to. Our room was great. We had a 4th floor room which had a vaulted ceiling-nice and roomy feeling.
Your Arrival
We arrived late-after midnight. Check in was quick and easy. We were happy to find that snacks and drinks were still available-fried chicken and chips!YUMMY!
A great week
Hotel Barcelo Punta Cana
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Naj >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
May, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Alright first of all arriving at the airport in punta Cana was an experience on it’s own, my sister an I have not been to Dominican republic for six years and it was wonderful to feel the open air and see the palm trees the moment you step off the plane. The airport is completely open as well and unique. I do suggest to book transportation to the hotel if you have not already and the best one would be coco tours. Once arriving I was hooked, the entrance is huge and very well furnished. In general the pool, the food, the shows, and the drinks are just amazing and let’s not forget the most beautiful part of the hotel; the beach.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
On the grounds of the hotel barcelo you can participate in the games the workers create for you. There are salsa lessons, contest in the pool area and on the beach. Beach and pool volleyball, water polo, arobics…and just plane dancing. Every night they host a singing and dancing show in the huge ampitheater; there you can order drinks, play pool and watch the show. For lids there is the kid pool call the varcy water park ; full of slides and water falls. There is also a day care for kids and a game room for teens, a sports bar for adults and a spa as well. They also have a huge trampoline and trapeze for the daredevils out there. Of course on the beach there is parasaling, windsurfing, and all that good stuff. And I wouldn’t know about outside because I never wanted to leave but they do host excursions to vie other islands and zoos ect.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pools are seperated in terms of quiet pools and one with music and animation. Both are really great to spend time with family . The quiet pool is next to the kids pool and also next to the restaurant a el mirador. It is very relaxing and calming. The pool located near the buffet is full of people who want to play pool volleyball and water polo and want to watch the workers dance and well…animate the ambience. The beach is amazing; it is so clean and blue and the water is very refreshing…all there is to waorry about is going to far into the water.
Other Comments
The staff at the hotel are very friendly and really are there to make your stay the best.
Restaurants and Bars
Where can I start? The buffet alcazar is the best for breakfast (I encourage to eat there every morning) a huge variety of sweet breads, crepes, pancakes, fruits, and traditional Dominican breakfast. Oh! And there is a chef that will prepare an omlette with your choice of ingredients. The other buffet called the marlin is perfect for lunch if you desire chicken, rice, French fries ect. Obove the marlin is the pizzeria don Simon…let’s just say it is the best thin crust pizza I have had to date. Then there is the restaurant el mirador that is also excellent for lunch and it is only open from 12 to 3, so hurry up and eat there , the food and salad is amazing. Of course all of these are walk in restaurants but make sure you slate dried up and covered up from the pool or beach before walking in. The al carte restaurants are given to you by reservation that the hotel kindly makes for you; there is the conuco that is fancy Dominican cuisine, the Roma which is Italian, the tokio which is a habachi style restaurant and there is Paris which is french cuisine. I wouldn’t know how to describe Paris because we did not get to eat there but all the al carte restaurants were beautiful in design and food to die for.
Rooms
The rooms are very elegant and I for one was surprised to gets room like I did. Each room has a balcony so don’t worry about having the one without. The beds and pillows are extremely comfortable and ofcourse each room is equiped with a flat screen tv (English and Spanish channels included) and the bathroom is very well structured with a shower head that is detachable and room service is always on point.
Feels like home
Hotel Barcelo Punta Cana
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Alex >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2010 | Business | Family
We are headed back for the 5th time this year 2010 for Christmas and New Year. We can’t say enough good about this place. We went the first time eyes wide open and it exceeded our expectations. The staff was great, food was great, everything was great! People who write bad reviews about Barcelo must be really high maintenance. What do you expect? This is a paradise and we call it our home away from home. We had a minor medical thing with a sprained ankle and the staff doctor and the hospital were fantastic. The Dominican people are warm, friendly and know everything about the world. We love it!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Fantastic!
Arrival
Arrival was perfect!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was like a Hollywood set.
Other Comments
We don’t expect perfection but the Barcelo Punta Cana was as close as you can get. Give these people some slack, they work their fingers to the bone trying to keep us happy. We love them.
Restaurants and Bars
Fabulous! All of them.
Rooms
Room was perfect!
We would definitely reccommend getting married at this resort
Hotel Barcelo Tambor Beach
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Denise from Peterborough, Ontario, >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2008
Arrival: Dec 2008/Jan 2009
We arrived in San Jose on Dec. 30,08. Customs was very quick. There were 11 people in our party, including a 9 month old baby. We decided to take the short flight from San Jose to Tambor ( remember to take your bathing suit with you as your luggage will go on the ferry and arrive later at the resort). Great trip, amazing scenary. Check in was fast.and friendly
Rooms
We were in the green building (600’s) right beside the Nature Park and the ocean. It was only a short walk to everything, but far enough away not to be disturbed. The Howler Monkeys would come and visit the fruit trees infront of our rooms everyday, and there were iguanas everywhere :). Rooms were really clean, Mini bar in some the rooms was stocked daily with pop, water and beer, other rooms did have to ask for it to be refilled but this was no problem. Lots of Hot water, A/C was awesome. Rooms on the corners of the building had hamocks on their balconies and they all had tables and chairs.
Great hotel, perfect location
Hotel Barlovento
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Debra >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We just returned from two weeks at the Barlovento Hotel in Varadero. We flew with West Jet Vacations out of Thunder Bay
Beach/Pools/Grounds
There are three pools at the resort. The two near the lobby are the busiest….as well as the noisiest. The music and entertainment team are always there. If you like the involvement then that is your spot. The kids pool is next to it. There were a few small ones enjoying it. When it is windy on the beach this pool is more sheltered so not as cool. The pools were always being cleaned. The one night the aqua ballet was done in the larger pool…they are really amazing artists. There were always enough chairs by the pools…never saw the towel game played. The beach is beautiful…what we go to Varadero for! There are too few beach loungers so get there earlier in the morning….9ish is fine. Coming at 11 you are not likely to get a chair. They do need to invest in a few new ones. Beach bar was a fun place with one of the nicest bartenders I have ever met. She is always smiling and happy….even when it was a little cool and windy. They don’t have beer at the beach but she can come up with something for you. There are hobi cats, kayaks and paddle boats to take out. The water doesn’t get deep fast but is not too shallow either…perfect for everyone…my grand daughter loved jumping into the waves.
Other Comments
This hotel is at the edge of the town so is a perfect location. You can walk to the flea markets and restaurants in town. If you need a taxi the most we paid to get to the other end of town was $6. I would go back to this resort in a second and would recommend it to anyone. We loved it!
Restaurants and Bars
We booked all of our al a cartes as soon as we got there as they fill up fast. We went to all three…they were all great. Mexican was the most fun and the food was very good. We were the last sitting so we never felt rushed. The tequila shooters were funny….”no lady the camera never worked we have to do it again!” A great bunch of guys working there! The Cuban restaurant…in the same place as the Mexican…was really good too. The Italian was a nice quiet change from the others…the music was more classical….food tasty. The food in the dining room was basic. We always found something we liked. Some days were better than others. Breakfast was really good as you have the fresh juice bar, eggs cooked the way you like them….bacon too if you take it to the grill. Lunch is at the beach restaurant with burgers, pasta, fish, sausage, chicken and pork….you wont go hungry! For supper there was something different at the carving station every night. We had a very nice white and red wine at meals also…it came after day two.
Rooms
Our room was great. We were in a bungalow just down from the beach, across from the out door lunch buffet and the quiet pool. The room was smaller than our friend’s but our balcony was huge. The room had a fridge that was stocked with bottled water every day so we never had to buy it. The maid service was very good too….no too many fancy sculptures on the bed but that’s ok as long as the room is clean.
Your Arrival
Check in was really quick…front desk has an amazing group of very friendly and helpful people. There was a bell boy there to take our luggage to our room…no waiting.
Stunned to see the number of languages spoken by most of the people seving us.
Hotel Bavaro Princess
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Michaud from Dieppe N.B. >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2009
Arrival: March 25 to April 2 Easy access upon arrival Buses with drivers identified to resort. Introduction on the Bus with good information

Rooms

Well kept confortable , veri nice patio , We were on 2nd floor of the Villa which I recomend . Bathroom while neat is in need of a face lift ( Tired after so many years)

Restaurants and Bars

Good choice , good food ,very pleasant service , funny , likes to joke with you very friendly and of service with a smile

Beach/Pools/Grounds

Beach , oustanding as the eye could see. Beautifull and very clean .Supervise by security gards non disturbing and you feel very safe . Grounds of this village of over 90 buildings is fabulous , very pleasant to walk and good shuttle service for every corner of the resort Beutifull at nigth ,well lite Poll room also needs a facelift

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

Many activities on the resort with scheduled board at a few stratigic places. Did three off resort .Manati Park which I feel is overpriced but our daugther loved swimming with the Dolphins.( Bring your own towels )Horseback riding which me and my daughter loved even thougth it is was done for only the two of us at regular price .Horse riding broth us in wooded areas on the beach fabulous natural scenes. We also went Jeep safari :this is a cultural shock between the fairy tale life on the resort and the real life and hardship,It was very well done we visited sugar cane in bloom ,coffe plantation ,banana trees and all sort if fruit grapefruit etc. We visited shools and some of the houses .Bring lots of small gifts for kids especially pencils(lead and coloring )

Other Comments

I was stunned to see the number of languages spoken by most of the people seving us. Every show at nigth were presented in Spanish, French and English . Other langauges like Russian and German were also frequently spoken

Our Stay at Bavaro Princess
Hotel Bavaro Princess
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Mike from Canada >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2009
Arrival: Feb. 6 to Feb. 13 We flew with Sunwing out of London, Ontario. The flight was very good, with friendly attendants and fast service. Good food on flight. Will book with Sunwing again. We had the same experince on the way home. Really enjoyed London airport. We’ll consider for future vacations.

Rooms

We were not happy. We got to our room and all we could smell was mildew. Over powering. Called the front desk many times. Because of the time we came in they could not help till the next day. We moved to another room the next day. We traveled with our 2 children so we required to single beds to be brought to our room. The gentleman brought the beds and 1 was soaking wet. We found the rooms to be fairly tired.

Restaurants and Bars

The ala Cartes 5 star, buffets 4 star.

Beach/Pools/Grounds

Everything in this catagory has to be 5 star. The grounds were beautiful, beaches were amazing, pools clean and warm.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

Dis not leave the grounds so no comments. The entertainment was good and interactive. Give it a 4.5 star.

Other Comments

To bad but because of the rooms and some service problems getting extra blankets and pillows, we will look elsewere to spend our vacation dollars. This resort is advertized as a 5 star. I give it a 4 or 4.5 at best.

Nice location, but beware of the Royal Holiday scam
Hotel Bavaro Princess
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Juan Pablo >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We went there to enjoy our well earned vacation. All we wanted was to rest at the beach and spend time with the kids.

Unfortunately we were conned by the Royal Holiday timeshare scheme into spending listening to the pitch. The original 30 min "meeting" turned into 90 minutes. Countless drinks later the managed to get a deposit out of me. The next day I asked for a refund and since no contract was sign they agreed to do so in writing. Three month later I am still waiting.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
nothing to write home about
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Excellent
Other Comments
Stay away
Restaurants and Bars
Wine was undrinkable. Food was fine, but not great.
Rooms
less than we expected
Your Arrival
Arrived at midnight with two very tired little kids.
Wedding with Family!
Hotel Bavaro Princess
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Taylor >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did parasailing and Adventure Boogies, both of which were well worth the money! Parasailing may have been frightening at first, but it was such a rush! They accomodated us right away, were friendly, and made it a fun, safe experience. Adventure Boogies was $65 per boogie, well worth it for dune buggying across the countryside, seeing some of the homes, a chocolate/coffee plantation, a lagoon/cave, and Macao beach with horseriding! You sure get muddy though, so don’t shower beforehand, because you’ll be covered head to toe!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
What can I say? The grounds were huge and slightly confusing for the first few days, but after we got use to it, it was no big deal! The shuttle proved an issue more than a few times due to being full, so it would have been nice if they ran them more often. The grounds were very well kept though, and everything was just beautiful! Same with the pool.. The entertainment crew were great, the water was refreshing, the swim up bar was a neat touch, and it was a nice area to just lounge around in. Then there’s the beach.. White sand, clear water.. Everything you could ask for!
Restaurants and Bars
I have to say, before leaving on my trip, I heard a lot of complaints about food, so I was slightly leary about the whole food poisoning issue. I had none of that! I absolutely loved the food.. We ate the buffet twice a day and ate at an a la carte restaurant for dinner, my favourite buffet being La Hispaniola (the food was pretty good for the amount they had), and my favourite a la carte being Sakura. Some of my family members had issues with the food, and you obviously have to be cautious when it comes to tap water (don’t drink it!) and making sure your meat it fully cooked. The only "restaurant" I had a problem with was the small burger shack behind El Gaucho, as the burgers were undercooked, and when we asked for them to cook them a bit longer, they were less than friendly! They also have a restaurant, Licey’s, which is the only one not in the all-inclusice package ($40/person). They have a very nice selection, and I especially loved their seafood! Let’s just say it was money well spent, and I left feeling very, very stuffed.

One issue with the restaurants, however, is when you’re in big groups, they often get the food mixed up, and you’ll be switching around your plates looking for what you ordered, but the food quality is so good that no matter what you end up with, it’s bound to be delishh!

Rooms
The rooms were very nice! We stayed in a beach front platinum room, and i have no complaints at all, besides perhaps the shower, which had a drain that didn’t exactly suck the water down quick enough, so I had the issue of an overflowing tub on a daily basis. Otherwise, everything else was nice; the bed seemed comfortable, the jacuzzi was nice, and it was nice and spacious. Eevrything was always stocked up for us, so the maids did their job!
Your Arrival
The arrival was probably the most stressful part of the trip, but after that, it was smooth sailing. The people assisting us with check-in didn’t tell us where they were taking our luggage, they just pointed us to the shuttle and we were on our way, slightly concerned about our belongings. We were also separated from others in our group, since we were Platinum and they were not. Lastly, there was a room issue in which they gave our beach front room away to another group, but that was sorted out after one night!
Very nice resort Transportation problems sucked!!
Hotel Bavaro Princess
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Frank >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Overall we had a very nice vacation. The negative reviews about this resort must be from pretty unhappy people as we had very few issues. In fact, the ONLY issue was with the trams and service vehicles that travel around the resort on the sidewalks. We were always having to watch for them and get out of the way. If you have ever seen how Dominicans drive you will understand completely!! Other than that we had a great time until the flight home. When we arrived at the La Romana airport it was closed and we were informed by another PASSENGER that there was no plane to take us home. I asked our bus guide to contact Signature and was told very rudely by their agent – LAURA – that it wasn’t her problem and that the airport was responsible to accomodate us and then she hung up on me. So much for customer service. Then we come to find that SUNWING had not been able to get the plane going yet because of scheduling problems. We kinda thought that this would be something that was taken care of well before the time to send the plane – sort of like how they require us to PAY in advance…. Regardless, we were offered a $5 voucher for food and the airport opened approx 1 hour later and we were allowed to check in but were told that the plane had only just left and would arrive @ 6am. Keep in mind that all of this was going on from 1am until approx 3am for a flight that was supposed to depart @ 3:45am. The plane did arrive @ 6am only to do a touch and go because of fog and continued to Punta Cana to get fuel. We finally departed @ 9am. SUNWING is now 2 for 2 in screwing up on flights for us and I am thinking it’s time to find another travel provider. Especially as we were also told by the signature rep that Sunwing had bought them out so we could expect better service….. still waiting for that part.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Didn’t go off the resort but there was lot’s of activities to choose from and the animation crew was working hard to keep everyone entertained.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was beautiful but the water was a bit rough most of the time. We actually got washed ashore one day but it was ok. The same old game of palapa and lounger saving is alive and well @ this resort even though there are signs asking you not to so hopefully someone from your group is an early riser!!
Restaurants and Bars
Didn’t try any of the al a cartes but the buffets were pretty good and the selection was finne. You could always find something to eat.
Rooms
Rooms are a little dated but very nice nonetheless. Only issue was that the thermostat didn’t work so the air conditioner ran full tilt unless you turned it off. We just turned it off at bedtime and kept the overhead fan on. Actually slept better this way as it was way quieter!!
Your Arrival
The trip down was fine, but we didn’t realize that we were looking at a 2 hour bus ride to the resort. Be very careful to check these details out as the trip description said the resort was 35 minutes from the airport – I guess we needed to clarify which airport!! Check in was pretty quick and we were in our room within 30 minutes of arrival @ the resort
Great time but….
Hotel Bavaro Princess
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Greg >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
…the service does not warrant the five star rating. It is generally poor. Plus having to pay for WiFi access in a five star when its free at Mom and Pop hotels everywhere is crazy. The beach is great, as everyone knows. The food is passable all inclusive fare. The facilities are good. The hotel is not as large as some, so that’s good. There is definitely enough to contribute to your fun. But service was not great.
Very Hot
Hotel Bavaro Princess
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Ursula >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I would never stay at the resort during the hot months. Unfortunatly most of the dining halls as well as the lobby do not have airconditioning.One can not enjoy the food if one at the first bite perspires. Another sore point Guests are allowed to smoke in the dinninghall. A lady on the next table smoked. We asked her to please stop because we had a 14 month old baby at the table, she just laught and refused . There is a huge problem with the loungenchairs and gazebos at the beach. Guests get up at 5 AM put their towels on the chairs and go back to sleep. Most of the time they do not show up until late morning or afternoon. When I pointed it out to the staff it appear to me nobody cared. The same applied at the large swimming pool.The concept of Bavaro Princess is a great one but needs much improvement.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
A lot were listed but did not neccessarily commence as posted
Arrival
Room was not ready a big inconvinience!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
pools could use a fresh coat of paint
Other Comments
The ground were immaculet
Restaurants and Bars
The airconditioned restaurant were also very good and the wait staff very attentive
Rooms
The housekeepers were great. The room was always clean with fresh towels and plenty of bottled water.
The toilette has some issues it overflowed twice
We love the place!!!
Hotel Bavaro Princess
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Cindi >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Nov, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
After our FIFTH consecutive year vacationing at the Bavaro princess and reading all the other reviews, I finally decided to write my own review.

First off, I highly recommend going Platinum. We always have. We believe it’s worth it just for the easy check in/out and upgraded liquors alone. Then you have the room close to the beach, the use of the Platinum lounge (Ana is wonderful!), the great beach beds and beach service that is exclusive to Platinum people… the benefits are endless and it is WELL worth the extra dollars. Martires at the Platinum lounge is awesome and will help you with anything and everything.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The Outback Safari excursion is a must do. It is a lot of fun and you get to see some of the Island and how the Dominican people live.

We have found a wonderful restaurant off the resort-about a 10 minute cab ride. It is called Jellyfish and we always go there for dinner at least once during our stay. It is a little pricey, but well worth it. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is awesome!

Arrival
For anyone that’s never been to the Dominican, the one thing I will say is that it is HOT. Every year I forget how hot and as soon as I step off the plane, it hits me hard. You feel like you’ve stepped into a sauna. However, it beats the cold and snow any day! I always recommend for women to bring lightweight loose clothing and hair clips or scrunchies. Headbands are good for keeping bangs off your forehead. The airport is easy to get through. I recommend using one of the guys with carts for your luggage as you get out of the airport quicker. They never inspect your luggage and you don’t have to wait in the exit line when you’re with one of those guys.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The only thing to say about the beach is that it is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The sand is so white and so soft and doesn’t get overly hot. You can walk on the sand in bare feet in the middle of the afternoon and not burn your feet. The water is beautiful and warm.

The beach is optional topless, but we have found that relatively few people actually go topless.

Other Comments
We don’t speak Spanish, but have always managed to find a way to communicate (and it usually ends up being quite humorous for us and the staff). We have NEVER found that any of the staff look down on us for being American. Most of them are genuinely interested in our country and ask a lot of questions, although they all seem to think everything is near New York. You will find that Americans are in the minority in the Dominican. It is mostly Europeans and Canadians. We have always met great people and had a great time with them.

One warning for young single women/girls traveling to the Dominican…the entertainment staff (at all of the resorts, from what I’ve heard) are notorious for hitting on the girls. They are known for trying to hook up with girls/women and trying to get to America or Canada with them. Just be careful.

Restaurants and Bars
I’ve read a lot of negative reviews that focus on the food. First off, I have to say that if you want a 5 star American travel experience, then you would be better off staying in the States. For us, we want to experience the different culture that staying in the Dominican gives us. We have never had a problem finding food that we enjoy. Most of the food is wonderful. I think my Hubby could live on just the Mangoes alone. If you are Platinum, you have even more choices for food. We always eat at the A La Carte restaurants. We enjoy the tepanaki restaurant and El Gaucho the most. The Argentinian steak is outstanding! As Platinum, you also have the option to eat at the restaurants on the other Princess properties. Our favorite is the fondue restaurant. We love the pool bar. In the past, Reuben was the main bartender at the pool bar, but we were told that he moved to Spain this year. However, towards the end of our trip, we were told he was coming back, so who knows? Most of the bartenders are great. They do tend to move a little slower than in the States, but…you are in the Caribbean and EVERYTHING moves slower there. Again, with Platinum, you have upgraded liquor choices. The Platinum lounge has most top-shelf liquors available and Ana to serve them to you with a smile.

On the subject of water, you MUST drink bottled water. The water in the restaurants and bars is safe. The water they make ice out of is safe. The water that comes out of ANY faucet is NOT safe. We have found that people that get sick from the water make one of two mistakes: they brush their teeth with the water from the faucet instead of using the bottled water or they open their mouth in the shower without thinking. Either of these WILL make you sick. Keep a bottle of water by the sink and remind yourself to keep your mouth closed in the shower and you should be fine.

Rooms
The rooms used to be a little tired and in need of a facelift. We were happy to see that the renovations have started (and may be completed by now). We had a renovated room this year and it was beautiful. We did miss the old shot bar, though 🙁 One funny note, the renovated rooms have a whirlpool tub between the bedroom and the hallway to the bathroom. I "remembered" the hard way that where the tub is now is where you used to step down to go down the hall to the bathroom. I fell in the tub in the middle of the night on my way to the bathroom. Ouch. Hubby laughed his head off until a couple of nights later when he did the same thing. Ha!
Very pleased with new hotel on best beach in St. Lucia
Hotel Bay Gardens Beach Resort
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Greg >  1 contribution(s) Canada
May, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Bay Gardens Beach Resort (BGBR) consists of eight 3-story buildings with 1- and 2-bedroom suites. Six of the buildings circle the pool with views of the ocean and headlands, while two face the beach directly. The resort is right on the end of Reduit Beach, just beside the entrance to the marina at Rodney Bay.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Lots of watersports activities can be arranged directly through the hotel. We went on a Power Boat tour that took us to Marigot Bay, along the west coast of the island, and down into Soufriere, where we packed into a van for the land portion of the tour. We went to the Sulphur Springs volcano and the Mineral Bath before stopping for lunch at LaDera. LaDera is a beautiful open-air hotel situated in the hills between the two Pitons that St. Lucia is famous for–what a view! Finally, we snorkeled in the bay between the Pitons. Well worth the USD$100 each. Book with Andre on the beach at the blue hut.

Another day we drove to the Diamond Estate to see the Diamond Falls and Botanical Gardens. The drive is not for the faint of heart, but having driven along the cliffs and switchbacks in Amalfi, Italy, this was no worse, (it helps that we rented a 4×4). Took about 2 hours each way, depending on stops you may make. Plenty of lookout points, although there is not always a good place to stop. The Diamond Estate admission is just USD$5 each, and well worth it! You can hire a private guide to give you a tour; they will explain the fauna and history of the estate, but it’s not totally necessary.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beautifully landscaped grounds, and the Reduit Beach has to be the nicest in St. Lucia. Rodney Bay is well protected, I guess, because the waves were negligible.

The free-form pool has lots of shallow areas to just sit & a cool off in, and there is a hot tub jacuzzi in the centre. The poolside is surrounded by more tables and chairs than deck loungers. Not a problem in late May–the hotel was at less than half occupancy–but it might be a bit of an issue to get a lounger in high season.

Restaurants and Bars
"Pebbles" bar services both the beach and the pool. Walk-up service only, though, and service is definitely on "island time", if you know what I mean. Reasonably priced, (USD$2.50 for a Piton lager and USD$5-6 for most other drinks), with 2-for-1 Happy Hour 5:30-6:30pm. "Hi-Tide" restaurant is also right on the beach and is good enough for lunch, but there are better options along the main drag in Rodney Bay for dinner.
Rooms
Rooms are very spacious, including a nice-sized terrace. Our room, (#611), was on the third floor and faced directly onto the pool and ocean. The nicest views have to be from the third floor, as I think that the view of the ocean from the first floor would be blocked by the beachside bar & restaurant. Kitchen was well-equipped, (although the solid-core electric elements do take forever to heat up and then to cool down), including both a cooktop and an oven. The bathroom was large and stylish.

Fresh beach towels were provided each day in our room–no towel cards or anything like that required.

Your Arrival
Arrived direct from Toronto via Air Canada and rented a car from Avis. (St. Lucia is a former British colony, so driving is on the left and be prepared for roundabouts in towns.) Drove directly to the resort in a little over an hour. Might have stopped for some of the views in Dennery and to check out the rainforest, but left that for another day.
Great people
Hotel Be Live Brisas Santa Lucia
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Tony >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Room was OK, Food was plentiful, the entertainers and hotel employee’s were great. We are intending to go back just because of the people there.
Great Time – Will go back
Hotel Be Live Brisas Santa Lucia
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Lucy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My husband and I traveled to this resort during March Break 2010. We had a great time. The only problem we had was during check in. There has to be more than 2 people to check in 3 bus loads of guests at 11:30 in the evening. I had requested a head of time a room on the second floor facing the ocean. I contacted the hotel via e-mail. We were given exactly what I asked for (and will request the same room again). The hotel is very clean. All the staff work very hard and it shows. The entertainment staff are a great group of people who do their best to make your stay a happy one both during the day and in the evening. Every day we had good experiances at the buffet. The wait staff got to know us quickly and when they saw us coming in, they knew were we liked to sit and would have our coffee and juice ready for us. Please remember that these people work very hard and just as in Canada, a nice tip will make the differance. It was mine and my husband’s birthdays while we were there and our regular breakfast and lunch wait staff baked us a cake as a surprise. Our chambermaid Aldemira was great always a happy face and kind words. The front desk staff as well (they made my calls home stress free). The pool and beach at the hotel are terrific. The coffee bar is great and they make a cold coffee that will put Tim Horton’s to shame(I found out about this coffee late into our trip – the husband kept bringing the hot coffee) If you get a chance get out and see the little town it will open your eyes. Ask for Enrique the coachman to show you the sites. He is a very nice and informative man. He took us to Coco Beach and we had a lobster lunch that we will never forget (our lobsters could have fed a village in Africa). If you can, bring school supplies for the little school in the village they appreciate the gifts. We met one of the teachers again very nice lady, she made us feel at home. While at the hotel we walked along the beach and yes we met with many locals and yes they did ask for things but we always felt safe. Each hotel has security staff and they are always around. All in all we had a great time. The smoking was an issue on the resort but that is not the hotel’s fault that is other guests who only think of themselves and not the people around them. You would think that Canadians who don’t smoke in puplic places in Canada would think the same way outside of Canada.

We will go back again.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
very limited on and off the resort.
Arrival
took to long 3 bus loads and two check in people. One bus was just teenagers and no management to control them. It was not a pretty site, it did get ugly for a bit.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beautiful, very clean.
Restaurants and Bars
Good food and good coffee.
Rooms
Our room was great. Very clean and ocen view could not have asked for more.
Photos: http://travelmaniacx-mytravels.blogspot.com/2010/11/brisas-santa-lucia-cuba.html
Amazing hotel and vacation!
Hotel Be Live Brisas Santa Lucia
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Asya >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We stayed in Brisas Santa Lucia for a week. We had an amazing time, we loved mostly everything about the resort and our vacation! I wrote a blog about our trip, with pictures. Please visit it and feel free to ask me any questions 🙂 I’ll be happy to help!

http://travelmaniacx-mytravels.blogspot.com/2010/11/brisas-santa-lucia-cuba.html

Photos: http://travelmaniacx-mytravels.blogspot.com/2010/11/brisas-santa-lucia-cuba.html
Great time in Cuba
Hotel Be Live Brisas Santa Lucia
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Shirley >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
Recently a group of 6 ladies stayed at the Brisas Santa Lucia. I found everything to be perfect. We were treated like royalty from the minute our bus arrived. The service from all staff was exceptional and the hotel itself very nice and clean. I hope that when the 6 of us travel to Cuba next November that we will stay there again.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We stuck to activities in the resort as this was rest & relaxation time for all of us. We did however go horseback riding and full body massages. We went to the live shows each night and felt right at home. It is plain to see that Cubans love us Canadians.
Arrival
Nov 25, 2010.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pools were kept very clean and around the pools also very clean. The grounds were in perfect condition. I took notice of how neat the grounds are kept and in particular no garbage on the ground anywhere. We didn’t spend any time on the beach as it was too windy and sand was blowing. Too much seaweed on the beach too.
Other Comments
It was a wonderful vacation and I hope to see you all next year!
Restaurants and Bars
Loved the restaurants and bars. I tried lots of food and drinks that I hadn’t tried before. The waiters & waitresses were very good to us and made us feel welcome.
Rooms
The rooms were very well kept and spacious enough. It was great to have an adjoining room too!
Hotel is horrible not a 4* for sure
Hotel Be Live Brisas Santa Lucia
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DIANA >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | Family
If your are looking for a nice hotel this is not the place to be, this resort is run down to the max, the linnen is horrible so old and smelly nothing i have ever seen :(…..however, the staff is wonderful can’t be any nicer. Food eh somewhat ok at times, very small buffet. Entertainment need major work..i wouldn’t recomend anyone to this hotel until they do so reno. The rooms are nasty….the beach need to be cleaned too much weeds and no maintenance.
Arrival
DEC 16-26, 2010
Room Number
714 &711
Relaxing – Beautiful
Hotel Be Live Canoa (formerly Oasis)
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Miranda >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Relaxing – Beautiful
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Many activities excellent animation group to keep everyone participating. Off resort tours can be purchased at the beach for a much lower cost than from the tour companies. Saona Island was beautiful but for a full day trip only about three hours allotted for exploring. I would recommend Catalina if you are interested in snorkeling.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beautiful long white sandy beach with turquoise water. Tons of beach chairs not many teaky tents for shade. The ocean is roped off, alonf the rope is a man made reef, snorkling is FANTASTIC along this reef. A MUST SEE! Pool is huge and pool bar is beautiful. Again not many teaky huts but lots of chairs. Grounds were well kept as well. Very serene.
Restaurants and Bars
Buffet served breakfast, lunch, dinner and all night snacks. Dinner buffet was the only one that I didnt really care to attend. Lunch and Breakfast were good. Snack bar by pool and ocean served excellent burgers, chicken wings, pizza and french fries. This snack bar alternates the seafood and Mexican dinners. Mexican was tradition and good (but I made the mistake and had the shrimp brochette and it was not good at all) We did not attend the Seafood but I heard the steak there was excellent. No crab or lobster. The Japanese did require reservations and you had to be at the guest service booth by 830 am to get a reservation. Surely worth it! Sushi starter, chicken, steak, shrimp and fish accompanied by grilled veggies and rice. Lastly the Italian restaurant was AMAZING!! Excellent apps and antipasto bar. The entrees were very traditional and delicious.
Rooms
Room was beautiful…Bed was soft and had a slope, bathroom needed improvements(faucet was off the shower wall a bit) There was an iron board/iron, fridge, television, hairdryer and large make up mirror. The fridge is stocked daily with 2 pop and 2 beer and 2 water. Safe lock fee is 4 dollars a day. Maid service was phenomenal. There were sand flies on the furniture but was to be expected. We stayed in block 12 which was right by the ocean and pool. Excellent view very clean and quite.
Your Arrival
Flew Skyservice when checking in baggage was said to be way over weight however in bringing more stuff back it was way underweight. In the future if this happened I would request my bags weighed at another station as I believe the Toronto Airport did not get the correct reading on our luggage. Landed in Punta Cana rather than La Romana airport. Could be anywhere from 1.5-3 hour bus ride which is nice to see the surrounding area and towns. Check in was smooth, had to wait for our room but were able to enjoy the facilities while we waited. Bell boy holds your luggage while you tour the resort. Bring swimsuit/light clothing in carry on so you can enjoy the resort while you wait.
A relaxing vacation at a beautiful resort.
Hotel Be Live Canoa (formerly Oasis)
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Jeffrey >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Prior to our trip I was concerned about Oasis Canoa because of negative reviews I read. Maybe my expectations were less than those who wrote negative reviews or perhaps they are people who expect too much.

For the price we paid for 8 nights, roughly $900 for two people, I feel we more than obtained our money’s worth.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Didn’t attend many of the activities but there were numerous available.
Arrival
Check in/out staff: Checked us in quickly and directed us to our room. Our luggage was delivered to our room within 20 minutes.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Grounds: Well maintained and kept in immaculate condition. What you might expect of a tropical paradise. Pool: Large with ample room for guests. Cleaned every morning. Good supply of lounge chairs. Could use more cabanas to escape the sun and ocassional rain. Beach: Nice, kept clean by staff. Again an ample supply of lounge chairs. More cabanas would have been nice but there were numerous palm trees that shade could be found in.
Restaurants and Bars
Drinks: We enjoy the forzen drinks and that is one area that was a problem. I suppose it is due to the tropical heat and perhaps the turn over rate of these drinks, but the frozen drinks never seemed to have time to get frozen. Rather than using ice and a blender the resort usese machines that keep turning and I suppose should have been freezing the mixture. Many of our pina colada’s were nothing more than syrup, rum, and water. Beer and wine, the few times that I had any, were good. Food: Breakfast- Great buffet selection of typical western breakfast foods and foods not so typical of western breakfasts. Good made to order omlets and eggs. Wide variety of juice and pastries. Lunch- Main buffet had a good daily selection that varied each day. The snack bar, with the exception of a few items, had the same offering daily, hamburges, hotdogs, french fries, salad, and either chicken or fish. Dinner- The main buffet has a theme each evening which included, Mexican, Oriental, and Caribbean. As with breakfast and lunch there was a great variety of items to choose from. Japanese Restaurant- I was hoping this was like a true Japanese restaurant that offer traditional Japanese food. It was more like a westernized chop and dice place in which you sit around the cooking surface and watch the chef prepair the food, entertaining yes, but the food was nothing more than grilled chicken, steak, fish, and shrimp. The miso soup and mock sushi were OK. Italian Restaurant (VeraClub)- The night we made a reservation was Mexican night. I was hoping for a wide variety of Italian food but saw little more than a few pasta offerings. The Mexican food offered was very good it just wasn’t what I was anticipating from an Italian restaurant. Food Service: The bussing service was typcially very prompt and dirty plates didn’t stay on the table long. Beverage service was a little less than ideal. We often had to flag someone down to obtain beverages or refills. I found this to be annoying.
Rooms
Room: Clean and spacious. My wife would have liked a dresser to put clothes in but this was not a big inconvenience. I missed not having a clock in our room so I didn’t need to find my watch to tell the time and to set for wake up rather than using a wake up call service, which did work very well.
Photos: http://twitpic.com/photos/risingstarfun
Had a great time, very satisfied.
Hotel Be Live Grand Ambar (formerly Oasis)
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Philip >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Part One First the PROS, the weather was great, 83 degrees slight tropical breezes and no rain for the whole week. 7 wonderful pools, 1 child pool and 1 adult spa pool of the 7. The pools were clean a little cool but soon got used to the water once you were in. Lots of pool furniture for poolside and for right in the shallow edges of pools. Room was better than your average hotel/motel budget ones but not a suite/condo type of higher end either. Again like I have heard the hot water for the room took awhile to run before it was hot but once it started it was alright. The flat-screen TV was on an awkward angle to the bed. Had an nice balcony. We were in Room 30224 and the view was towards the ocean but there were other buildings that blocked our sightline. The housekeepers did a good job, we left 2 dollar tips on the pillows with some small make-up items for her everyday. The grounds were meticulous, the gardens/plant life were very well taken care of. All pathways, stairs and such were well lighted and maintained. The Ambar had 3 restaurants and 1 large buffet restaurant. The 3 were Brazilian, Mexican and Asian. The buffet was the same for every breakfast but changed up menus and mixed it up for lunches and dinners. They would even change the decor slightly at the entranceway to the buffet to reflect the type of menu for that meal. The Asian and Brazilian rest. were the 2 best and the Mex. was 3rd. But all were very, very good. Easily comparable to a high end local restaurant where a meal for 2 would be easily $75.00 without drinks. There were no limits on anything you wanted. We do not drink so cannot say how that part was. The staff was so friendly in every instance, most could speak some English and all always had smiles on their faces. They are very hard working and you do not see any standing about trying to look busy.The diet coke seemed to taste different depending where it was dispensed from! The purified water they served and swan in was good, no problems with any food or water, but they did emphasize not to drink from the tap water in rooms. We took Imodium with us but never needed it. The tour guide for us down there said you needed to make reservations for any of the 3 rest. But when we inquired with the staff they said no just to show up. But if you didn’t show up right at 6:30 and say maybe showed up at 7:30 you could then be waited on the terraces for up to 2 hours for a table. It wasn’t that the rest were full it was I think staff related along with the chefs handling the entrees. I would have given 5 stars but feel nothing rates a 5 since there is always room for improvement. Now the CONS, the beaches a Puerto Plata are ok but as we have heard not near as nice as Puerto Cana on the other end of the island. As a couple we do not care that much because we are more pool people than ocean people.
Part 2
There were certainly nice portions of the beach but not your pristine white sandy look.This is a critical one here and I want to emphasize if you are an older couple, handicapped with mobility, wheelchair bound or anything of this nature this is not the place for you unless you plan on staying on the upper tier of the resort. Grand Ambar is built on a hillside, on 3 tiers, it is easily navigable if you do not have any of those conditions I described. There are pathways and golf carts that I am sure they would send to pick you up but I feel that that would be very tiresome very quickly. There are NO RAMPS anywhere on the property. The Ambar was just renovated and reopened a month before we arrived, everything was fine but the property id made up of the resort, timeshares and purchased condos. If and when you go down to the beach you will be stopped by nice young men in white golf shirts asking if you have received your free gift yet? They want to take you on a golf cart tour of all the facilities and then go in for the pitch. We just refused and for the next 5 days if we bumped into any of these people they would ask again if we would do the interview. It seems they get $10.00 for each one. It wasn’t a big deal since I do not find it difficult to say no but this might make some people feel comfortable.The nightly entertainment was pretty amateurish, as you might expect. You will not see any type cruise ship performances here and you shouldn’t expect it. It is just not in the budget. But the staff tried hard and to some I am sure it was fine, especially the kids. They would do the kids show from 8:30 to 9:15 and then the adult would start art 9:30 PM. The adult spa pool was supposed to have an outdoor Jacuzzi but it never worked and you had to pay to use the indoor one that was actually inside the spa.You might hear that the town of Puerto Plata which is the closet town to the resort has a district sewer smell, we never went into town and the resort was 30 minute drive away so no smell there. I walked along the beach once and smelled something from a runoff creek but that was further up the beach from the official beach property. Everyday staff would rake the beach for seaweed and any other stuff that would wash up.I can’t talk again on the local’s situation since we never left the property. I would highly recommend going there for a holiday. Novitours treated us well and Air Transit flights from Toronto and back were also good, no problems there. Now the CONS, the beaches a Puerto Plata are ok but as we have heard not near as nice as Puerto Cana on the other end of the island. As a couple we did not care that much because we are more pool people than ocean people.
Part 3
There are pathways and golf carts that I am sure they would send to pick you up but I feel that that would be very tiresome very quickly. There are NO RAMPS anywhere on the property. The Ambar was just renovated and reopened a month before we arrived, everything was fine but the property is made up of the resort, timeshares and purchased condos. If and when you go down to the beach you will be stopped by nice young men in white golf shirts asking if you have received your free gift yet? They want to take you on a golf cart tour of all the facilities and then go in for the pitch. We just refused and for the next 5 days if we bumped into any of these people they would ask again if we would do the interview. It seems they get $10.00 for each one. It wasn’t a big deal since I do not find it difficult to say no but this might make some people feel uncomfortable. The nightly entertainment was pretty amateurish, as you might expect. You will not see any type cruise ship performances here and you shouldn’t expect it. It is just not in the budget. But the staff tried hard and to some I am sure it was fine, especially the kids. They would do the kids show from 8:30 to 9:15 and then the adult would start art 9:30 PM. The adult spa pool was supposed to have an outdoor Jacuzzi but it never worked and you had to pay to use the indoor one that was actually inside the spa. This was truly the nicest pool area, as you can see from the large cushioned recliners and porch in sunroom. It was truly Oprahesque! If you wanted to go inside the spa everything had a price but no limits to any access outside. You might hear that the town of Puerto Plata which is the closet town to the resort has a district sewer smell, we never went into town and the resort was 30 minute drive away so no smell there. I walked along the beach once and smelled something from a runoff creek but that was further up the beach from the official beach property. Everyday staff would rake the beach for seaweed and any other stuff that would wash up. I can’t talk again on the local’s situation since we never left the property. I would highly recommend going there for a holiday. Novitours treated us well and Air Transit flights from Toronto and back were also good, no problems there. We flew there on an Air Bus 330 and returned on a brand new A 330, each plane holds 300 and 2 left for Puerto Plata back to back and the same for the return. So that is 600 people going to that area. We all stayed at lots of different resorts in the area and on the return I talked to some people in the departure area of the airport and I got a sense that we had the best experience. It wasn’t that everyone had a lot of negatives but just that ours seemed the best.
Room Block
302
Room Number
24
It was fun, it was sunny.
Hotel Be Live Grand Bavaro (formerly Oasis)
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Blayne >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
We found that the service staff did their best and were pleasant. The food was decent. However, there appears to be a huge problem with the reception/administration at this hotel. For example, with two issues (getting a security lock and getting change) We were told repeatedly to "come back tomorrow", "come back in 15 minutes", "come back in 10 minutes"…and on it went. It took some of us two days to get a security lock and we never got change. We understand that we were in their country, and we respected that, but there should be somebody at the reception/administration area who can understand and take action. As typical Canadians we were all trying to be understanding and polite, however, after 2 or 3 days we gave up even going to the front desk for any issue.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t really go out of the hotel area…there to relax. We simply went for walks or stayed around the pool.
Arrival
was pleasant and enjoyable..felt welcome. However, within one hour after arriving (we arrived at noon) there was confusion as to room readiness as we were told they were not ready and we would have to wait 3 hours (we arrived…and no one could give us an answer.) We simply went to our rooms after 1/2 hour and walked in and they were ready. The reception/administration area were the people that told us our rooms weren’t ready….we, in turn, came back and told them they were ready.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
All good
Other Comments
After awhile, one almost becomes ‘short’ with the people trying to sell you time share condominiums, fishing trips or things from the stores. It does get bothersome and they don’t give up.

The entertainment was good.

Restaurants and Bars
They were all good.
Room Block
5
Room Number
5118
Rooms
We were in the older section but the rooms were decent.
Our Family Vacation
Hotel Be Live Grand Marien (formerly Oasis)
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Arto ~ Montreal, Canada >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul, 2009
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
As mentioned, there is a sports bar near the lobby, with a projection TV, a couple of pool tables, and a foosball table. There are also a couple of foosball tables, and a couple of ping pong tables near the pool. There’s also a large chess board/game behind the towel exchange place. At the beech, they have horse shoes, and bocce ball, right next to the kids club building. Our kids never went to the kids club, but we did notice a trampoline, and a small swimming pool outside the building. The also took the kids go karting one afternoon (heard this from one of the kids our boys made friends with. All kinds of activities around the pool and at the beach during the day. We went to the nightly show a couple of times. Not bad, but typical resort shows. We’ve seen much worse…
Arrival: June 19-26
Arrived at the hotel at around 6PM with my wife and 2 boys (9 & 12). The hotel is only about 20 minutes from the airport, and is located in the Costa Dorada complex which contains only this hotel and the Iberostar. Since there were more than 50 of us checking in from the same flight, we had to wait a bit to get our room. The front desk clerk filled us in on the mini-bar (which supposedly is operated by a separate company). Only the 2 BOTTLED soft drinks, and 2 beers(don’t remember the brand) are included. Everything else is extra, and is quite expensive. There is also a litre of bottled water in the room which is also included. We were given our room keys (cards), and sent on our way. Our luggage arrived at the room a few minutes after us.
Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was quite wide, and there were plenty of loungers. Lots of trees at the back for shade for the times where all of the shade ‘structures’ (not palapas) were reserved by non existing guests. Water was generally calm, but contained quite a bit of floating sea weed. They raked up what came ashore daily, but there is nothing they can do in the water. For a few days, low tide was near noon, and the kids were able to do some snorkeling near shore at the left end of the beach. Unfortunately there is not all that much to see. The pool is quite large, and divided into 3 walk-in sections. Never felt crowded in the pool, and were always able to find a lounger. Again, though, finding a spot under a hut was almost impossible, since they always seemed to have towels, books, etc. under them, but rarely people. Considering the number of rooms in the resort, the grounds are not that large. They are generaly well maintained, but I was a bit surprised that they didn’t clear the excess water from the pathways after a major downpour. Something else I noticed, or rather didn’t notice: I never saw anyone cleaning the public washrooms. Not once. The washrooms weren’t particularly dirty or anything, but on occasion, there were no paper towels, etc.
Other Comments:
Overally, the resort was quite nice, especially considering the price we paid ($2400 CDN for the 4 of us). Would we go back? Possibly, if we got a great price. However, if paying full price, we would probably try somewhere new, or go back the the nearby Gran Ventana, where we have gone for the previous 4 years. The food and service there (as well as the snorkeling) was definitely better. On the other hand, the rooms, and pool at the Grand Oasis Marien were better.
Restaurants and Bars:
The hotel has 4 a-la-carte restaurants (Pasta, seafood, tex-mex, and crepe), the main buffet, as well as Mangos, which serves lunch, and perhaps other food after the restaurants are closed (never stayed up that late). Each of the a-la-carte restaurants was closed one night of the week. As indicated elsewhere, there are no reservations for the restaurants. You simply show up and try your luck. If there is no space, they will take your room number and tell you when to come back. Only the pasta restaurant is indoors, and is small, so it fills up fast… We ate at all of the a-la-cartes, and went to the tex-mex a second time. All were reasonable good. Service was decent but nothing exceptional. We had breakfast every morning at the buffet, had supper there only twice, and lunch only once (the last day). Service at the buffet is a bit lacking. Hard to find someone to refill a coffee or water cup, or to get a soft drink. Plates are not cleared from the table quite quick enough. As for variety, there are 2 rows of hot trays (one on each side), but when they are filled, they contain the same things. In the morning there are always pancakes, and an egg/omelette station, fresh juices, all kinds of breads, etc. Plenty to choose from. For supper, however, we noticed that the variety of options could have been improved a bit. Not a bad buffet, but perhaps just a bit weak at night. We ate lunch at Mangos just about every day. There are 5 or 6 hot items (with french fries every day), as well as hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, salad, soup, and deserts. They will also cook meats for you at the grill. The meats are located to the left of the grill in a section that is sort of outside the main food area (behind the coffee machine). There were pork chops, lamb chops, steaks, sausages to choose from, depending on the day. There are also tortilla chips a soft cheese dispenser back there. There were 4 bars, one near the beach at Mangos, one by the pool, one next to the show area, that I think only opens at night, and one in the sports bar just outside the lobby. Wait time at the bars was not too bad, but I think that they need to either increase the staff behind the counters, or add another bar near the pool during the day.
Rooms:
We had requested a 2nd floor room in building 8 or 9(2 of the newer ones). We were assigned a second floor room in building 7 (#7201). It’s one of the older buildings, and is located just to the left as you leave the lobby. Buildings 6, 8 & 9 are the new ones. Our room was relatively spacious. There were 2 double beds, a night table, a dresser with 4 drawers, a hutch with 3 large drawers, some storage space for suitcases, and which housed the TV. Plenty of channels on the TV(many in English), including the major US networks, and Cartoon Network (for the kids). There was also a small round table & chair in the corner. There was additional space for clothes in the closet on some wire shelves in. Overall, plenty of space to put things away. There was also the mini bar with drinks and snacks. The washroom was a nice size with a single sink in a large counter, the toilet, and bathtub. There is liquid hand soap next to the sink, and combination soap/shampoo/conditioner in a squeeze bottle in the bathtub. A couple of minor maintenance issues in the washroom, but nothing worth reporting. We did loose hot water one evening for about an hour, but no big deal. The room safe worked with a key cylinder, that you have to get from the front desk at a cost of $21 US for the week. Well worth it for the peace of mind. The A/C pumped out plenty of cold air, and the thermostat worked perfectly. There was also a ceiling fan in the middle of the room. Beds seemed fine to us; not too hard or soft. The clock radio in the room wasn’t working properly, so we called the front desk, who transfered us to housekeeping. There was a new unit in our room the following afternoon when we goot back from the beach. Houskeeping was, as in most other resorts, a multi-phased task. Dirty towels are removed from the room in the morning, the room is cleaned and made up after that, and some time in the afternoon, fresh towels are brought in. Somewhere in there, someone comes in and checks/restocks the mini-bar. Note that the mini-bar is locked down the day before you leave. The room was clean, and we only saw a couple of small bugs one day after a heavy rainfall. The rooms are sprayed on a regular basis, as we received a notice advising us of spraying to take place one morning. They also left a card you can hang on the door if you do not want your room sprayed. We left 3$ each day for the cleaning lady, who seemed to do a good job. After the first day, she realized that we did not use/want the bed covers, and stopped putting them back on the beds. On the first day, we left a note next to the provided water bottle asking for 2 bottles, and she left us 4. Every day after that, there were 4 bottles of water in the room!
A fabulous vacation for our family
Hotel Be Live Grand Marien (formerly Oasis)
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Scott >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Our family of four stayed at the now Grand Oasis Marien. It is not the Coral by Hilton anymore. This was our third time going to the Caribbean with kids. All in all this had to be the best resort we stayed at. Everything from the staff to the food were excellent. You will not go wrong staying at this resort. I highly recommend staying here.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
This area has tons of activities to do off the resort. We did the Outback Safarri and the Tip Top Catermeran. The Outback Safarri was one of the highlights of our vacation. A great way to see the area and learn how the locals live. A real must. Make sure you also take the Brugal rum factory tour. A ten min walk off the resort. There is also a local market (Orange Market) down the beach to the right. It is a ten min walk. Worth a look. Make sure you don’t pay more then 50% of there asking price. Barter with them.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was great. Lots of chairs and shade areas. The sand was a soft brown and the waves were just right. Not to powerful to knock you over. Kid friendly. The only downfall to the beach is the tour reps bugging you to go on excursions and there was a bit of a walk to go to the snack bar for drinks. The pool was very large and never crowded. There are lots of chairs, but you have to get up early in the morning to reserve one in the shade. It does get really hot in sun. You will need it. The pool bar has fast friendly service. The grounds were very nice and kept clean.
Other Comments
I cannot say enough good things about this resort. You will get your monies worth staying here. Lots to do on and off the resort. The nightly animation team was great. It was the best we have seen from any other resort we stayed at. They work really really hard to put on a great show. Just ensure that you get involved in the animation activities.
Restaurants and Bars
The food was great. We ate at all the a la carte restaurants and the buffet for dinner. The buffet had lots of choices and was well prepared. You will really enjoy the breakfast buffet. It had almost everything you would expect back home. The service and food were excellent at the a la carte restaurants. They took your orders fairly quickly and ensured your wine glass never went empty. There was a Tex/Mex Grill, Italian and Seafood restaurant. The snack bar and buffet seem to be always open so you will never go hungry. The only thing I didn’t really like about the a la carte restaurants, is that you can’t make prior reservations. You have to get in line at 6:00 to either eat or make reservations for later in the evening. The lines can get long for the initial feeding time. The plus to it being this way is that you can eat at a particular restaurant each night instead of only once. If you like eating at 8:00 you should be able to walk in and eat.
Rooms
Our room was wonderful and modern. We stayed at the new bulding #8 right beside the pool. There are three new buildings constructed on the resort amongst the original ones. The room had two double beds, jet tub, mini bar, hair dryer, coffee machine, iron board, alarm clock, flat screen tv, etc. Our maid was great. She keep the room very clean and tidy. She made swans out of towels on our beds and even placed fresh flowers on the bed. We left her some small gifts and $1 USD each day for a tip. If you ask the maid she will give you extra bottled water.
Your Arrival
Once the plane arrived at the puerto Plata airport, things went very smooth. We had our luggage and were met by our tour guide showing us what bus to get on. For a couple of bucks, the porters were eager to take our bags over to the bus for us. We made about three stops at the other resorts dropping off people before we arrived at our hotel. All in all it took about 30 mins to arrive at our hotel. I was surprised this time how fast things went at the airport. You will be given a green custom form (per person) to complete on the plane for customs. If you have it ready on arrival, you wont have to waste time completing it there. You will also be given another white form (one per family)that is to be filled out while you are waiting for your luggage. While I was watching for the bags, my wife completed the form. Keep a pen handy on the flight and at the airport. Your tour company covers the arrival tax now. Once the bus arrived at the hotel I headed to the front desk to begin check-in, while my wife and kids collected the bags. We were all done and in our room in about 30 mins. Fast pleasant service. Also have 21 USD for the safe key ($3 a day rental). Worth every penny for the peace of mind.
Exceedingly Abundantly above ALL I could ever have Hoped for… AWESOME- WOW – FABULOUS
Hotel Be Live Grand Marien (formerly Oasis)
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Mary Anne >  1 contribution(s) Canada
May, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This resort was More than I could dreamed it would be even after seeing photos on line, it was Beyond… our dreams… all the way,.,,,,, 4+ star
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There is always something to see & do, the Pool games were lots of fun for us for an afternoon laugh… dancing lessons everyday at 5 pm, spanish also is taught pool side.
there is a nice pool bar & a resteraunt above it is airconditioned Italian cusine
Beach/Pools/Grounds
lovey, soft light gold/ beige sand… easy to walk on, and CLEAN beach
water was warm & lovely, lots of places to sun & also hide in the shade… mango trees all around provided a wonderful canopy over us on a day we so needed to rest & enjoy the breezes
Other Comments
I’d HIGHLY reccomend this resort , I cant say anything bad about it at all the only thing we found hard to deal with was the number of peddlers, selling their wares, and they hound you on the beach, or while on tour/ excursion in Puerto Plata, the people there need to make a living & so many are selling art, jewllery, carved wooden boxes, or in town square, a lilttle boy came and gave me a yellow flower tip tip tip – they ask if you dont… that was the only part of hte trip which made us feel like they could ruin a lovely time. yet knwoing they need so much.. be careful, and go with your gutt instink when you talk with them… I bouight some nice jewllery from a boy at the beach, and he was very easy to talk with… no pressure; then there are some who will tell you $250 US… for items we canget here at home at dollar store.. and pay a total of $10

they insist you wear this or that & they fill a bowl with things they want you to buy,… i certainly learned much and how to say NO.. and walk away.. strong & OK with not being taken.

Restaurants and Bars
WE loved the SANTA Fe- (mexican bar& grill) – had the Chicken Fahita’s and the portions were large, enjoyed also the 3 mix plate with shrimp and steak and chicken breast. this was our favoritw resteraurt a la carte; next ws the BUFFET, always good & more than plentiful, with fruits, and salads, and choice from the grill. such as porkloin, chicken breasts, fish, shrimp, pork roast, salmon, huge beef roasts, the display & garnishses were amazing… the staff -excellent & polite & always wanting to serve you more lots of servers, friendly warm, and obliging There is a Great resteraunt overlooking the, and it is air conditioned- serves Italian cusine, dress is nice shirts, shorts, but ladies take a sweater, or shawl… it teends to be tooo cool up there.

we had pork tenderloin, and beef tenderloin… was very good, as was the desserts….we were WOW’d again

Rooms
WE were surprized when we got an OCEAN VIEW ROOM, in Bldg 3
Kingsize bed… and warobe with lots of rooom to put away clohes, larege closet, and safe, bathroom was also a good size & the maids kept our rooom clean & adorned with fresh flowers & towel art each day; we made sure to tip here veryday & Ileft gifts for her ( perfume, soaps, candies, etc.)
Your Arrival
we arrived early in the morning around 10:30 am, such a warm wlecome & very efficient, our bags were kept secure by the front lobby watchman, and we could used the hotels resteraunts& bars, and pool while we waited for our rooms to be fully ready. WE were greated with pineapple & Coconut drinks, and BIG WARM friendly smiles and HOLA’s….
Photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=212411&id=561890798&l=0c71382866
Excellent all the Way , this Resort exceeded our expectations, we had a marvelous time
Hotel Be Live Grand Marien (formerly Oasis)
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Barrie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
May, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
The Resort was not only clean, and grounds well kept it was beautiful beyond description. Behind the resort is Mt Issobel Torres, which overlooks Puerto Plata. The days temperatures were around 30- 40 degrees incl. humidity sunny days for teh most part of our stay- we had a few rain showers, and one evening of "torrential" downpour" unlike anything I had ever experienced, the staff took it all in stride, and provided umbrella’s , and an extra glass of wine & beer while we waited for the rains to cease.
The view is breath taking, and the lay out of the resort is very walkalbe, and makes the most of all its ammenities. We always had fine service, and great food at all the resteruants. The staff was very gracious, and polite, alwasy keeping things in order. They were friendly & plesant, our room was well maintained, and each day we where graced with towel art, swans& hearts with flwoers. We left a ti0p and gifts for our maid each day ( fellow travelers had told us to bring small perfumes, and lipstick, and pantyhose, childrens vitamins, toothpaste, soaps, things that she might not be able to afford on her her meager wages.) Our miad was delighted to recieve the gifts we had brough _ i was also prpared with gits for children, toys & blow up balls… with smilie faces, and little girls jewllery, and things for their hair,.. Next time we will bring more school supplies, and ask the airline about bringing items down to give as gifts & to help families there
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We were only there 7 days. and we had 5 day trips 1) OUTBACK SAFARI – was most excellent, intersting, informative & fun- our guide KENNY ( ask for Him) was a fountain of knowledge- and also great fun. we toured sugard cane feilds, saw farms, visited a small school (where we took school supplies) & tasted fresh ground and brewed domincan coffee, we also visited the rural community that this OUTBACK supports, 1/2 of your fare goes to the school ! we had a great lunch at the outback headquateres, and then off to do some BOGGIE Boarding, body surfing on a very secluded beach; we also went to a mountain stream, and found a fresh water pool to swim in. that was perfect to get off the salt water. drinsk flowed freely all day & they took great care to see we were all happy & having a good time….. 5 stars!!!!!! ya ps- your travel group wont give you this partifular tour option… I booked all mine here online… from HOME and saved $$ and loved the freedom to choose OUR OWN TOURS 2) FREE STYLE Catamaran – what a glorious Day of Sailing and SNorkleing in Sosua Bay.. it cost us about $84 US each but well worth it for the experince of seeing thsoe incredible coloured fish.. amd corals. under the sea.again… go to the REAL DR online and book this EXCURSION. ( link provided below) you will NOT regret it 3) Puerto Plata Tours with HOLA – WE had GERMAN for our guide- excellent very knowledgeable about the history and area….. what an excellent value $37US each, the tour included: Brugal Rum Facotry, Jewllery Factory & Store ( Bring money), then a Cigar Factory & Store; next stop Fort San Filpe, then AMber Museum, then off to the Cable Car & UP Mt Isbobel Torres. to see a great view of Puerto Plata. there was cloud up there when we arrived at the top 300 feet up, but it did clear & I got some fabulous photos. http://www.therealdr.com/store/puerto-plata-excursions-80/ 4) DEEP Sea FSIHING — STAY AWAY FROM **GONE FISHING** NOT a good value & no fish or service….

5) We made our own Tour on Sunday- as we hired a taxi & went to church, and sight seeing.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean and lovely, very nice layout. always kept, each day grounds men were working, mowing lawns, weeding,.. keeping things beautiful. Beach sand was a light golden brown, soft, and free from stones, or cutting shells. it was nice to walk on. the ocean was also clean & warm nice to swim in. We enjoyed the pool, after our excursion days, to cool off & get refreshed. We also joined in some of those 4:00 O’clock pool side games.. was fun, the staff really get you to join and feel a part of a fun holiday comminity,..sometimes they dress up like caats, sharks, palm trees… and otehr tribal get ups… supperman also plays volleyball!

was fun, youthfull, and refreshing.

Restaurants and Bars
There are 4 a la cartes & 1 buffet which helps to keep variety the spice of life THe display of choices is beautiful, and a wonderful and tastey selection greeets you each day. Sunday there is a GALA Buffet dinner, all other reseraunts are closed, one night a week tehre is also a BBQ and Beach Party for all to enjoy. ( Unfortunately we missed that- as we were so tired from a days excursion we went to bed very early; but heard this LLUD party.. for hours… the next day I found out just who was making that racket outside OUR bedroom balcony it was the entire resort, all guests partied on the beach… oh well we still had a good nights rest, next time we will join them!
Rooms
The Room was spacious, and overlooked teh ocean, which was lovely, we could here the birds in the mornings, and thought the open air concept of the hallways was quite unique. The furniture was all wood & spanish with the Oasis, palms with the theme. clean rooms, with orange/ rust coloured cermanic tiled floors, bright yellow walls, and nice linens, and curtains.

We also appreciated teh safe provided, (you have to pay extra to get the lock & key)- but peace of mind is worth it- to keep vauables safe.

Your Arrival
Our arrival was smooth- we noticed jsut how small the airport was, it can recieve only one plane at a time, however the staff are helpful, and going through customs was noneventful, we all boarded small buses to take us to our hotels (quaint, small, bumpy little buses, with some airconditioning) and a very friendly & welcoming guide- takes you to your hotel. We enjoyed his descriptive tguided tour to our hotel which was only 20 minutes away. Upon arrival at our hotel, the porters greeted us & helped us with our bags, which nede to stay in a secure area until our offical check in time. WE had about 5 hours to enjoy the the resort, before our rooms were ready for occupancy. We learned alter from others to give a tip $10-$20 US and presto you WILL have a room… ( so we will keep that in mind for next time) the POOL was lovely as was the beach, clean and free from litter. WE were also greeted by a young gentleman in WHITE- we learned alter on that these "folks" are hired to bring you to the VIP area, where you are given the opportunity to sign and pay into a resort vacation program, and get better room rates & deals.

Our friendly "pal" met us almost daily…. and called us his borhter & sista from a differnt mother – how cute!… he made us feel warmly welcomed, and he wanted us to have a plesant stay.

one week felt like two
Hotel Be Live Grand Punta Cana (formerly Oasis)
User Rating:  
lynn >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities: Constant on the beach or at the pool. Every hour offers something. Scuba lessons, sailing lessons, dance lessons, fun contests, bike tour, volleyball, bachi ball, ping pong, tennis courts, water sports, etc. etc. There is also a dedicated children’s building and play area at the beach. Shows: Excellent! The best I’ve experienced for all-inclusive. Professional dancers, costumes, etc. Don’t miss the Michael Jackson show or the circus. Very impressive!!!
Arrival
First visit to DR. Compared to mexican riviera, it’s about equal. Nice carribean waters and beaches, but one is aware of the general premise to stay on the resort or sight see with a paid excursion. I picked this resort because it is very close to airport and size is medium. Large enough to support activities, services, and variety, but not 800 or 1000 rooms where you have to walk far or be shuttled around.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach: Awesome, but I’ve never been to a bad carribean beach including mexico and grand caymen. Warmish clear water with lots of sand. Typical carribean beach. Plenty of chairs, palms and tiki huts. Do snag a tiki hut by 0830 am or you won’t get one. When we didn’t, we used a palm tree for shade, so no problem. Gentle waves and lots of breeze. I actually prefer more vigorous waves for body surfing, but not charactieristic of the beaches in this area. Can walk as far as you want as all beaches are public. Not many shells wash up. Seaweed does, but the resorts employ people to rake it up, so again, no problem. All the resorts have discrete security on the beach, so you feel safe walking, day or night, along the resort beach fronts. Pools: Main pool very nice and warmish. Swim up bar very nice, no long waits. Plenty of chairs and tiki huts, but again, save tiki huts early or you won’t get one. Plenty of swimming room. Bars: Scattered through resort. One is always open with food. 24 hours. Grounds: Immaculate, beautiful. Lots of plant life. There are many sitting areas with gazebos, pergolas, bridges, fountains, ponds, etc.
Other Comments
Workers: Friendly, fun, efficient. Special thanks to Francesco who leads many activities on the beach, at the pool, and MCs the shows. He speaks four languages FLUENTLY, has a heart of gold, and is fun, energetic, and funny. We adored him. Cons: Vacation Club (timeshare) reps. Annoying at first. Once they understand that you are not going to bite, they leave you alone. If you’re not interested, make this very clear at the start. Keep in mind, they are trying to make a living. I feel sorry for them, actually, and they are nice people too. From talking to other travelers at the airport, many resorts in this area are pushing vacation clubs/timeshare. This is not exclusive to this hotel. Not much to do in the area except a few shops with aggressive shopkeepers. Can get the same items at the resort shops for the same prices. Do haggle. Resort shopkeepers are also a bit aggressive, but not as bad as off-resort shopkeepers. Casino small, boring, and slots are confusing.

Taxis are very expensive. OMG. This makes going out to explore less inviting. It was $45.00 one way for a 20 minute ride to another resort we went to check out briefly. $90.00 round trip. It was not worth it, but we did get to see a bit of the area that way. Mostly shack-like shops and restaurants/pubs. No traffic signals. Decent roads.

Restaurants and Bars
Food: Pretty good, not amazing, not bad. Good variety. Tex/Mex the best. Italian, very good. Windows buffet, average. There is also food at the beach cafe which was convenient if you didn’t want to leave pool/beach to go to a restaurant. Food and drinks are available 24 hours a day. Also, no reservation required for specialty restaurants which is a bonus. We did not try the Japanese since my husband dislikes Asian food. We NEVER got sick. Drinks: Good. No long lines. Whatever you want, including espresso to perk you up. We drank all we wanted, never got totally ripped, and never had a hangover either. We NEVER got sick. Fun, friendly servers.
Rooms
Room: During our stay, we had a suite upgrade which was beautiful, newer, and worth the money. It included a jacuzzi and canopy bed. We did not have private check-in, check-out or concierge as advertised. It was made up daily with no complaints.
Prostitutes were everywhere
Hotel Be Live Hamaca (formerly Oasis)
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Wanda >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
My family and I recently took a five day trip to the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Oasis Hamaca. We were terrorized. My medications were stolen from my luggage. We did not get the bedroom type that was requested 5 months in advance; however, we were told we could get a room change immediately the following day. The next day we were told we could not get the room change until after 3 pm. We got it after 4pm. The room was a horror. Bugs were everywhere. The ceiling leaked in the luggage room. The room smelled moldy and unclean. Outside the room the roof had fallen in. There was decay, holes and dirty leaky water running in. At 7:30 am construction began. This went on Friday Saturday and Sunday. Someone used a sledgehammer and began banging for hours, non-stop. I developed a headache that never went away. I screamed, I complained and I begged the construction workers to stop. On Saturday evening we were told they wanted our permission to fumigate the room (Leaflet regarding this is missing from my luggage). Prostitutes were everywhere. Activities advertised to be held in one room got held in another. No one was notified. The drinks were alcohol free. The excursions expensive. A taxi ride to the mall was $70 a person. We were discouraged from venturing outside the compound alone. Activities were geared towards those twenty five and younger. Spanish music, only, at the disco. Danger was said to be everywhere. Security walked about with shot-guns. T-shirts were $6-20. The sealed ones were dirty. The positives? The food wasn’t bad and there was plenty of hot water for the shower.

Rooms:

Unclean

Restaurants and Bars:

Numerous

Beach/Pools/Grounds:

Clean

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

Tours are expensive. Traveling alone is discouraged.

Other Comments:

I would like for this to reach the owner.

awful
Hotel Be Live Hamaca (formerly Oasis)
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jeff >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Apr, 2010 | Business | Family
after looking at six rooms, we were able to find one reasonably acceptable. the rooms had an odor, tv’s did not work and air conditioner was not working at capacity. shower was fantastic but toilet took several times to flush when anything was in the bowl
Great Value, Friendly and Enthusiastic Staff
Hotel Be Live Hamaca (formerly Oasis)
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The Laperriere’s >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family
Before traveling to the Hamaca my family and I had read many bad reviews and were frankly afraid of having a bad stay. Everything we read couldn’t have been more off, our stay was fantastic and well enjoyed. First off, when we arrived we were given a free upgrade to an ocean front room. Following that, Randy one of the bell boys brought us to our room and he was extremely friendly and helpful showing us how everything in the room worked. We arrived at night in the dark so it was difficult to really see the beach at first. The next morning was Christmas morning and the entertainment staff did an excellent job for the kids. They brought Santa in on a boat and gave a gift to every single kid on the beach. The beach was beautiful and you could walk out for an extremely long way as there was a coral wall break making it an great spot for young children to play and enjoy with out fear of an undertow or other safety concerns. As the resort got busier as New Years Eve approached there seemed to be a shortage of both towels and lounge chairs. However, the staff brought in more of both within a day of having a shortage. We were extremely impressed with the resort’s commitment to continuous improvements. Our only difficultly was getting a reservation for the gourmet restaurant. However, after talking to the guest services manager they implemented a fair way of giving out reservations so that it really was first come first serve and we were able to get a reservation for our last night. The meal was the best of the trip and our waiter, JR, could not have been any better. Our final day was New Years Eve so we didn’t not get to see all the festivities of the night but we watched as the staff worked hard to set up a new years gala buffet on the beach along with a massive stage and dance floor, it looked like it was going to be a fantastic night. Overall, we could not of asked for more from a resort that provided more for the value of the holiday getaway for our family of three. Go for the waterfront view rooms.
Room Number
017
There is a kids club that is very active
Hotel Be Live Las Morlas
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Debbie from Northern Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2009
Arrival: April 4, 2009 We flew Cubana Airlines with Hola Sun as our tour operator. Other then losing one piece of our luggage…my grand daughters beach toys…everything else was fine. We arrived later in the evening so it was hard to get a good idea of what the resort looked like but in the morning we were very happy with the way everything looked.

Rooms:

Our room was older and smaller but very clean. We were on the 4th floor in the middle of the building so from our balcony we could see all of the pool and a bit of the ocean. It was a bit tight space wise as there was my husband, myself and our grand daughter…they had put 3 twin beds in the room. After a few days the guest relations lady asked if we would like a bigger room…some of the other guests were checking out so one was available. It was a much bigger room and we didnt feel so squished. The air conditioning worked great in both rooms, there was plenty of hot water…and a tub for the little one to play in after a day in the sand…darned stuff gets in everywhere! There are fridges in the room so our water was cold.

Restaurants and Bars:

Breakfast and dinner were served in the main buffet restaurant. Lunch was served by the beach…only a few days when it was too windy were we moved to the buffet. The food was really good. Most of the guests were Italian so it did have an Italian flare…the wine was really good. Every night there was a different meat at the carving station. Pasta was not mushy like some of the resorts so our grand daughter was in heaven! There was an a la carte but we never tried it. There is a bar in the lobby that makes the best espresso.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:

The beach is beautiful. There are quite a few huts but you still had to go to the beach right after breakfast to get a hut. There is other shade and lots of chairs…the hotel was full so some days it was a bit crowded. The water is more shallow with a sand bar a bit further out. Great for just bobbing. There is a beach bar just inside the fence so it is not too far to go for a cold drink. The pool is a meandering type pool with a shallow section for the little ones and a deeper section for dunking. It is very clean with a little water fall at the shallow end. There is a swim up bar also. The drinks at the pool bar are quite good. the bartenders were for the most part very good and very fast. The grounds are very small as this is a very small hotel…quaint! They always seemed to be fixing something, painting something or cleaning something.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: There is a kids club that is very active but my grand daughter was a little intimidated as there was very little English spoken…only Italian. She had a great time at the kids shows at night. They have a show every night where the kids dance and sing. She just followed what everyone else was doing. We watched a few of the adult shows and they were fun too but they are too late for a little one to stay up…maybe next time we go without the little one we will get to see more.

Other Comments:

Your really have to watch your towels, if they get stolen you will be charged $20 to replace it. We had one go missing but two ladies across from us saw the the young boy take it so I went to the head of security and after he talked to the ladies I was given another. This was the first time we didnt take our own…wont do that again! The staff at the hotel are wonderful. Any problems and they will try and solve them as fast as possible. Front desk people are very helpful too. This is a really nice, quiet resort. I would go back in a second. If you like wild times…dont go here.

Outstanding
Hotel Be Live Palm Beach
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Rob >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Room were very clean and modern. We enjoyed all of the restaurants. Beach was very calm and shallow for the children. Would go there again.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Kid club was great for our children.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean,calm,and shallow.
Other Comments
4+ star.
Restaurants and Bars
Great restaurants.
Rooms
Excellent
Your Arrival
Friendly staff.
dump
Hotel Be Live Playa Coco
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Brenda >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This hotel was Not what I expected, the people are NOT happy they expected big tips for every thing. The front desk is the worst customer service I have every seen, paper products are hard to get, we did not get toilet paper in our room,when we arrived. And it took them several hours to get it. Then the maid did not leave any again, this was on going all week, LOTS of no see bugs they do not spray for them, and you well have bites all over you. Then you have to see the doctor for $25.00 then it will cost you for the drugs, bring bug spray if you go to this resort the food is plain NO taste bring spices with you as we did.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
NONE NO direction to whats going on no signs to say whats there we did not know there where bikes on the resort. If you go on the JEEP trip beware it said your OWN jeep but when you pay for this you will end up with a other couple in the jeep with you
Beach/Pools/Grounds
very clean
Other Comments
Bring bug spray and paper product it hard to get them there. I will never go back to Cuba as the people expect money for every thing. There was three of us and we went through $300.00 each in tipping as we did not go on any trips. Due to illness.
Restaurants and Bars
the food is plain no taste and the meat was over cooked. do not go to the BBQ night or Cuban night the food was tremble. every one left and went to the buffet, they are always late in opening on time for breakfast, lunch, dinner.
the nosee bug there on the beach for the BBQ night & Cuban night are very bad they DO NOT spray for them like other resort’s
Rooms
the room was a little dirty fuss balls on the floor and NO toilet paper in the room. all week the fuss was there and always asking for toilet paper.
Your Arrival
Bus was there for you but wanted a big tip for your ride to resort The front deck needs a lot of work on customer service they DON’T CARE, very unhappy people.
Heaven  1 contribution(s) Canada
May, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This was my first trip to Cuba. I went with my husband and 2 of our friends We were not sure what to expect, because we heard so many different points of views about Oasis Playa Coco..after just a day we loved it

The rooms are not bad, a bit too many sand bugs but not too bad. The food was good, the Japanese restaurant was amazing. The pools are nice and relaxing, beach is beautiful. The bartenders/chefs and especially our friends from the animation team were all super friendly. We became friends with so many of the staff members, their all so easy going and real easy to get along with. We plan on going back to same hotel for our next vac.

Ok place but has potential to be so much more
Hotel Be Live Playa Coco
User Rating:  
Christine >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jun, 2010 | Leisure | Family
First, thanks to all for the negative reviews as it set our expectations so low that our experience could only go up from there. We were a group of 6, my husband and I traveled with our 2 kids (13yrs and 6yrs) and my husbands parents.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t do any excursions, so I can’t comment on those.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
We were there with low occupancy so not all the amenities were open. There was a small pool right outside our building, but the bar beside it and the ice cream parlour were not open – too bad or that would have been our spot all week. Main pool was good, with a swim bar – staff were always friendly. There is also a mini-putt and new playground equipment but was too hot to use. The Beach was great. I dont know that I would travel again in June as the bugs were bad, even though they resort sprayed every night (how people can blame the hotel on this is beyond me – try staying at a resort in Huntsville Ontario this time of year you’d have the same problem!). Also, it was HOT HOT HOT – and humid, even at night there wasn’t a break. The temperature may drop a couple of degrees but it was still humid and little breeze.
Other Comments
Overall, we still had a good vacation. Not sure I would go back unless I got the same great deal again – we paid $400/pp (with taxes!!) so that helped us overlook things in our room. I would only recommend this resort if you see it at a good price – would not pay full price for it. I think they should rate it 3 star. This place has all the amenities & potential to be a great place, if they could just take care of details like the grounds, housekeeping and maintenance of the rooms.
Restaurants and Bars
Food & Beverages – I don’t get the complaints about the food at this resort – it was good. No worse or better than other resorts we’ve stayed at in Cuba. We always found something to eat. The Japanese restaurant was great, food was awesome and the chef was very friendly. The Italian restaurant was a disappointment. The food was very bland, which I didn’t understand since they had garlic at the buffet – why wouldn’t you use it at the Italian restaurant?! We didn’t get into the Seafood restaurant as it was already booked. The snack bar at the beach was hit & miss, sometimes they had food and sometimes they didn’t. As for beverages, there were times when one of bars wouldn’t have beer – but there wasn’t ever no beer in the resort. They seemed to have the basics in stock, rum, gin, vodka etc… To get any premium shots (ie Johnny Walker, Baileys etc..) there was a cost, but if your sticking to basic drinks you’ll be ok.
Rooms
Our room – #9112 – was very musty smelling when we walked in. I’ve been to Cuba 5 times prior and know that sometimes the room can be a bit musty when you first arrive, however this was really bad. We asked to see another room, but it was musty also so we didn’t bother changing. The room my in-laws had – #9114 wasn’t as bad. We lit some candles and put the air on, it helped but there was always a bit of an odour. Another disappointing thing about the room, was the repairs that were still needed. It appeared that in the past they may have had a leak in the room as we could see where they made a patch in the ceiling. Also, in the bathroom the mirror had rust around the edges and the 2 pot-lights over the mirror were rusted around the edges. Although the room was clean when we arrived, these are little things that should be fixed to give a better first impression. Room #9114 didn’t have these problems. At one point room #9111 was unoccupied and the doors were open to air it out, we walked in and it looked better than ours too. If you can pack your own pillow – do it! The pillows were hard & lumpy.
As mentioned, the room was clean when we got there, but the housekeeping service during the week could be better. It would appear they only sweep/mop the bathroom and the main walkway from the front door to the back patio door – in-between the beds, tables were not swept. We also had sand in the bed – I didn’t expect sheets to be changed but getting any sand off them would have been nice. I’ve stayed at 3, 4 and 5 star resorts all have been great with housekeeping – except this place. Also, it appears that they just sweep anything out onto the grass, and they even through out the plastic tealight holder onto the grass instead of the garbage.
Your Arrival
Flight – With Westjet – first time flying with them and loved it! Staff are great, funny and friendly. Both flights there and back were on time.

Check in – Very fast, front desk staff were friendly and even tried to joke around – first told us we didn’t have the right papers from our travel agent, but they would sort it out if we wanted to come back tomorrow – haha, the look on my father-in-laws face was priceless.

Your holiday is what you make of it!!
Hotel Be Live Playa Coco
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Danny >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
Cuba will always be a favourite. Whoever has visited more than once, will understand what I mean!!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t do much. We just rented a car one day ($80 CUC) – I prefer doing my own excursions in Cuba since I know the place and trust the people – We drove to Moron (the Cayo Coco highway over the ocean is a wonderful experience by itself – they charge 2 pesos each way to use the Autopista, and bring your passport) then we came back and drove to Playa Pilar in Cayo Guillermo then went to an old resort we had stayed at back in January to visit some friends
Arrival
Sunwing, as usual, always a great flight with all the extra inclusions that other airlines have decided not to offer anymore. Once at the Cayo Coco airport, it was a breeze…we were the only landing flight, immigration and luggage within 25-30 minutes and then on the bus… One mishap though is that a family had a person without a Canadian passport so we unfortunatly got delayed for an hour and a hald almost..which was unfortunate, but hey we were 10 minutes away from the hotel and we all survived!!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach – I mean it’s Cuba…do you really need me to say anything…It’s Cuba people, the pearl of the caribbean..I’ve been to many beaches, Cuba does have the best sand and water on this planet Grounds – Kinda lush, but beautifully kept. The hotel layout is very nice

Pool – Very nice freestyle pool. Nice for the afternoons because of the activities (if you wanna have some fun) but not too busy while we were there, it was low-season

Other Comments
If I have anything negative to say about this resort it is the buffet food, then again we were there off-season and I do not know how it is during high-season. But still you will find something to eat, and you will not die of hinger.

Great vacation, great people….and remember, you and your crew make up your holiday. We’ve been to a 5 star Bahia Principe in the Dominican and had the worst time of our life (even though the food was great), because we had people that "suck" with us on holiday, so we’re never taking them again…lol!!!

Restaurants and Bars
Bars are great, the beach one had lemon juice that tasted great. My favourite though was the 24 hour snack bar by the Teatro, Pedro and Angel (the chef) are the best staff boys I’ve ever met on holiday (and I go to Cuba twice a year)…Angel makes the best Tuna sandwich you can ever have and is the nicest man you can ever meet. Buffet – mehhhhhhhh is all I have to say. the pasta bar and the grill had always something good. But the rest of the stuff that you choose from didn’t have much choice, but, do not worry, you are still eating better than the rest of Cuba, so do not take this for granted. Japanese – A MUSTTTT…simply amazing Italian – Excellent

Seafood – DIdi not try it, our reservation was too early so we decided not to go.

Rooms
All our group had Oceanview rooms in block 4 (the pink one on your left). They were spacious nice and very clean. Beach towels were there and none of us mentioned any kind of bad smell in the rooms. The women with us loved the rooms, and that tells that they were nice…us men just wanna shower and sleep!!!
Photos: http://facebook.com
Super belles vacances
Hotel Be Live Playa Coco
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Sue >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Pour ceux qui aime le luxe, ce n’est pas la place pour eux…C’est un pays très pauvre et pourtant tellement beau. Quand j’y suis allé ce n’était pas mon idée de critiquer négativement ce beau pays pauvre mais d’admirer le paysage fantastique. La bouffe est quand même bien, j’ai vue pire dans les resto de Montréal…Notre chambre était bien de toute façon on y va que pour dormir. Le service est bon et les serveurs aussi. Ce n’est pas d’une propreté incroyable mais ce n’est pas si sale que le monde disent. C,est sûr qu’il y a des bibittes mais on en a ici aussi!!!! Très reposant et relaxant c’est la Sérinité sur place!!!! Pas trop d’activités parce que c’est une île et pour aller à Moron ça prends 1 heure de bus. Vixits Canne à sucre, usine de cigare, magasiner et c’est vraiment pas cher! Ceux qui veulent faire la fête je ne leur recommande pas même si il y a une discothèque dans une grotte. Spectacles à tous les soirs et c’est bon. J’ai connu Calabria lè-bas et quand je suis revenue ça commencait à jouer à la radio.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Il faut sortir en bus pour aller en ville.
Arrival
IL y a un mini aéroport là-bas ça l’air d’un petit hangar mais lorsque j’ai mise le pied sur le sol Cubain avec le gros soleil qui m’attendait je suis tombée en amour avec la place. Seul hic! je me suis fait fouiller parce que j’avais apporter mes médicaments. Si vous devez en apporter, emmenez la prescription de la bouteille c’est très surveillée là-bas. Une bagatelle. J’y retourne encore cet hiver et j’ai très hâte. La sainte paix!!!!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Super de belle piscine avec motif dedans super beau et la mer on se voit les orteils.
Restaurants and Bars
Ils ont un vin absolument délicieux (rouge)
Rooms
Propres et fait à tous les jours….
terrible… worst experience of my life
Hotel Be Live Playa Coco
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jj >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Dec, 2010 | Business | Family
I will be honest through the full review. The staff were a mix of some of the nicest people i ever met and the worst. Soe would make amn effort with you to see if you are a tipper and then if you werent would not bother with you. Prepare fro day 3 to get harrassed to leave money and clothing etc for tips. I gladly did this – but not to thoiuse who were brazan enough to ask. I cant comment on enetertainment as there wasn’t any. The disco bar was clo9sed the whole tgime anfd could not drink anything as they had no diet/ sugar free drinks. The breakfast was quite good to be honest thugh expect lots of ques. The rooms are a disgrace… take loo roll clean towels and blankets and a bath plug (and a bottle of bleach). If you havr children do not stay here there really is nothing for them. Kids club was shut rge whole time and there were pool tables etc but no good without the ques. Reception staff are no help and ignorant. Im sorry for the fe genuine nice staff. Please do not waste your money. Do npot use the safes. Ours was emptied and returned after 2 days and a day of polioce interviews. 🙁 waste of money …. luckily got a flight ho,e 3 days early 🙂
Our stay at Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios
Hotel Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios
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Carie >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Jul, 2009
Arrival: July 22-29, 2008 My husband and I have been to a number of all-inclusives to include Oasis, Crown Paradise, Secrets, Excellence Resorts, Couples and Breezes. This was our first Sandals associated property and if it’s any indication of the Sandals brand, we weren’t impressed. Overpriced for the quality received and in fact quite rundown and dirty.

Rooms:

Accommodations were pretty typical resort hotel rooms. We were allegedly "upgraded" to the concierge level service but didn’t notice much change in service or amenities. Were given a rollaway, which was nice to separate the two kids. Bathroom was pretty small for the type of resort but similar to a stateside Ramada or Comfort Inn. We had to take a list of what we wanted stocked in the mini bar to the concierge if we wanted anything outside the ordinary. Another peculiarity was there were snacks in the room but a price list accompanied them…so much for all-inclusive. Guess our thousands of dollars didn’t includ gummy bears and nuts. No free internet in room or anywhere on property…disappointing.

Restaurants and Bars:

Our first dining experience was disappointing at best. Very slow service. We ate at the BBQ Park and nothing was good. Fries were cold and limp, ribs were fatty and tough, no flavor in any of our four selections. Eleanor’s was very good food and service was prompt. The Bayside Restaurant was the buffet and was overall good with bouts of average. Food was flavorful, selections were stocked and there were ample choices, to include healthy options. The Venetian (Italian restaurant) was the best by far. Service was incredibly slow and seating limited, so prepare accordingly. Tiramisu was delicious especially with a cappucino. There is no room service offered…something one would expect at a resort at this level. The Appleton Bar was a fun little getaway spot for steel drums and kid-friendly fun. Kids loved the place…much like a small beach bar. Great atmosphere! Pool swim-up bar was loaded with bees…they were everywhere! Desserts were not worth the calories consumed except for the tiramisu mentioned before.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: An example of how the grounds were kept: the same three french fries were on the stairs near the spa for more than three days. It almost became a joke on our way to the gym every morning…are the fries still there? Pools were kept clean, although chair areas could have used a more thorough cleaning…used cups and plates stayed around a little too long. The plants are gorgeous and the beach is kept nice. Experienced no poolside waiter/cocktail service, something we’ve totally appreciated at other resorts. No fun cocktails in coconuts like at Excellence Resorts. Water slides were nice and lines weren’t too long but they advertise 11 slides and for our kids (ages 10 and 14) there were really 3 that were usable for those ages. The rest are for tiny tots…good if you have small children.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

Gym was decent but not top notch…only large beach towels were offered, hand towels made more sense. Only water fountain, no bottled water. In fact, no bottled water available outside the room, only pitchers and water fountains. Not exactly ultra luxury. There were water sports available and they seemed available most times. Off-site excursions were available, heard feedback from a couple who was upset about their experience so we decided to book on our own.

Other Comments:

Beaches claims "ultra luxury" but I can tell you this is NOT even luxury let alone ultra anything. For what we paid I would at least expect internet access to be complimentary yet we were charged $38.99/week. Power outages were frequent and incredibly annoying. Be ready for a more than 2 hour drive to the resort…without music. Thought a nice touch would be some Jamaican/reggae music to get vacationers in the spirit of their stay. Overall, wouldn’t return to a Sandals property…we’ve had much better stays at lower-priced resorts with much better food. Can’t imagine why a couple would come here at all (geared more toward families) when there are wonderful resorts like Couples and Excellence out there to choose from where there are no children screaming in the dining room.

Debbie made my trip an absolute delight.
Hotel Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios
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Emily >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Debbie is sooo cool. My brother got a wacky prize from her and he was happy.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
dunn’s rivers falls was fun & the safari jeep ride.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
nice nice
Other Comments
i didn’t like how the craft market people wouldn’t leave you alone!
Restaurants and Bars
amazing service
Rooms
they were very tidy
Your Arrival
march 4, 2010
Bees, Bees, Bees…
Hotel Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios
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Paul >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We arrived at Beached Boscobel very excited about our upcoming week of relaxation, waterslides and golf. What we found was thousands and thousands of bees which infested the resort. There were bees everywhere, at the bar, at the ice cream dispensor, at pop machines, on your food and pretty much everywhere you went. There was no escaping this nightmare. We tried to make the best of it but my wife is allergic and I just hate them so we asked to be moved to another beaches resort. They made room for us at Sandy Bay in Negril which we were told was 45 minutes away and that there would still be golf. Turns out it was three hours away and the golf was extra. We did manage to get them to pay for one round but needed to insist on this. The beach at Sandy Bay was great but we certainly felt like we downgraded by coming to this resort as the facilities were less, the restaurants not as nice and no water park. We were able to also use Beaches Negril which was less then 5 minutes away however the water park there was clsoed the last few days of our trip. There were also bees at both of these locations but not nearly as bad but still disturbing to someone who has an allergy or fear. And by the way what they call bees are in fact wasps in Canada. We have since tried to contact them numerous times since our return but they are not easy to deal with and continue to tell us by email that our problem was fixed to our satisfaction but te computer system they are using is wrong and we are not happy and will not return to a beaches resort in the future. Needless to say, the week was a big disappointment. We were paying for a "sandals" type experience but it was not there.
Amazing!!! Can’t wait to return.
Hotel Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios
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Lori >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We were traveling with a 2 and a 4 year old. We chose this resort because of the children’s activities. We were NOT disappointed. The children’s club was great; my kids enjoyed the activities plan and the staff at the children’s were great!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We mostly attened the childrens activities. I thought they were great, well planned by great child care workers. Plus my children loved them. The Sesame Street characters were a great hit with my young children. I can’t say enough positive things about the water park…beautiful to look at and fun to play in. There were water slides for the young and old. I especially loved the lifeguards…they were everywhere and noticed everything that was happening in the pools and around the pool area. It gave me alot of security knowing that other people were also watching out for my children’s safety.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was small but for us it worked…we always knew where the children were to. The beach was cleaned daily. Tho pool areas were also cleaned constantly. There were lifeguards at the pools, and beach, plus a rescue boat in the ocean. The grounds were beautiful…full of blooming trees, flowers, water fountains, and thick green grasses. There were always people cleaning, painting, mowing and pruning.
Other Comments
The staff were great. Some of the lifeguards, reception clerks and waitresses took the time to learn and remember my childrens names, and they would take the time to talk to them. Also had ample number of security guards, both around the pools and on the beach. This made me feel that my children were safe on the resort.
Restaurants and Bars
We ate at all of the resturants…the service was great, both for food and drink. The quality of the food was also great. Loved the selection for the kids buffet. The Arizona resturant was the best…loved eating outside over the bay.
Rooms
Our room was great. We had a premium room- two double beds on one level, and a step down with a pull out couch, dressor, desk and chairs, plus a nice size patio. The dressor and tv stand did show some wear but the room was very clean, large and much nicer then the rooms at other all inclusives that we have stayed at.
Your Arrival
Very quick and easy check in; beautiful lobby to wait in, plus drinks offered as soon as we entered the resort. We were in our room within 15 minutes of arrival.
Fun family vacation
Hotel Beaches Boscobel Ocho Rios
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Jeff >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This was our families 3rd straight vacation (in 3 years) at Beaches Boscobel. We have a 4 and 6 year old and we all love the destination. The staff throughout the property were all extremely nice. 1) Venetian is the best restaurant. The rack of lamb is excellent. Arizona is also a good resturant for outdoor dining. There are a few tables which are located out on a small pier in the middle of the ocean which offer a really nice view. Our favorite dish here was the tenderoin and shrimp. The Bayside buffet is good; however as we prefer ‘a la carte’, we only used it for breakfast (which was very good). 2) The waterpark is extremely fun. Our kids spent most of their days on the slides. 3) The main pool with swim up bar is well designed and also very nice. 4) The beach is small but the water is calm & warm (in April)and well maintained. 5) Our kids loved the X-Box room- complete with many free play games. 6) There are sesame street shows, entertainment/day, parade and various activities which will also delight toddlers. 7) Rooms are above average; but are a nice size and clean. 8) There are 3 levels of kids camp. We didn’t use these much but heard that children quite enjoy themselves. 9) There is a nice bar off the main pool, a piano bar (which is quite dated) and a bar over-hanging the ocean- all with premium liquor. The ‘dirty banana’ coctail is excellent.

10) This resort offers good value considering all the facilities and activites. For families with small children, it is a particularly appealing spot. It is considerably less pricey than the Turks and Caicos Beaches property.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Golf/Tennis/Ping Pong/Billiards/1/2 Basketball Court/Shuffle board: all seemed good. X-Box Oasis- Great. Nightly Entertainment + Sesame Street Shows: Short but enjoyable. Sesame Street Parade with marching band: Great.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach: Small, but well maintained. Water activites looked fine. Pools: Main pool is very nice complete with waterfall, swim up pool bar and water mats. Grounds: Beautiful. In April when we visited, there were NO bees whatsoever.

Waterpark: Excellent. 27,000 sq. feet. Great for all ages.

Restaurants and Bars
Venetian – Excellent Arizona – Good Bayside – Good (particularly for Breakfast) Elanors – Decent/Good Outdoor Lunch Restaurant – Mediocre Food

All day ‘snack counter’ with popcorn, soft ice cream, sno cones, pop: very popular for children.

Rooms
Above Average. Nice size and clean. Free in-room safe. Well stocked mini fridge with pop, juice and water.
Your Arrival
April 23 – May 1, 2010
Kids loved the lazy river and water-slide
Hotel Beaches Negril
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Cameron from Minesing, Ontario >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Just got back from resort and having reviewed the comments posted would add the following, the food does need to be improved but is OK, we had Conrad as butler and he was amazing, if your going with the family and want your wife to enjoy holiday spend the extra money and get the butler service. Rooms: Rooms are clean, large and well stocked, no complaints…. Restaurants and Bars: The Seville is overrated, Kimonos Japanese restaurant was by far the best, breakfast was average, the wild cats in the dining room are cute but also scary if they ever decided to bite one of the kids. My oldest daughter was giving them food and did not have any problems, events are first rate and the marching band was excellent Beach/Pools/Grounds: Pools are are amazing, kids loved the lazy river and water-slide. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: SCUBA is well run and very safe, the guys and girls who run the shop are very nice once they get to know you. Other Comments:

Conrad our butler was amazing, our 3 kids loved all the activities, women staff need to learn how to smile, security is first rate, if your a diver most of the dives are less than 60ft but you will see turtles, stingrays, large schools of fish and crabs and the equipmet is OK I dived 6 days and did not have any problems, the beach is safe at night, bus ride from airport and back is a great way to see what life on the island is all about, overall its a great holiday.

Amazing Family Resort – Worth the money
Hotel Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort
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PatToronto >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Our children are aged 11, 9, 8 and 6. This is the best family resort we’ve ever been to. On each visit I continue to see more and more couples of all ages without their children (or grand-children) on the trip with them. It truly is a resort for all everyone, so don’t dismiss it because you won’t be there with children. Many extended families make the trip together. There is enough to do that you could hide from that one relative and spend extra time with the ones you like.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The water park opened earlier this year and was a great addition to the last time we were at the resort.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach on Grace Bay is incredible for sun worshippers, scuba divers, and everyone else.
Other Comments
I enjoy not wearing a wrist-band, not tipping, not being told I need to lineup at 3pm to book my meals for the week, not having to keep track of my six towels, not paying for the safe each day, not being told I can’t order two entrees (add the Risotto to your Steak!!), not checking my watch to know when the restaurants open…you get the idea. Spend the extra money. It’s worth it.
Restaurants and Bars
With 16 restaurants it’s hard to complain. If you don’t like what you get just get up and go to the next. Only two places require reservations for dinner. You can get a buffet or order of a menu at any meal at almost any time of hte day.
Rooms
We received the connecting rooms we requested for our family of six. The rooms were the best connecting rooms we’ve ever had.
Wonderful time
Hotel BelleVue Dominican Bay
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Kathleen >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Sep, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
We had a group of 10 of us with 5 rooms.. rooms were clean, staff was excellent… food was ok..always found something I would eat and I am a picky eater… fun shows.. entertainment involved us every nite.. beach was nice.. liked the fact that venders couldn’t come up past rocks..so you could shop as they walked by but they couldn’t hound you.. would go back again.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Staff was excellent in activities.. included us daily… fun at shows… Papino …OHIO LOVES YOU…you to Louis, speedy,
Arrival
sept 18-25 2010
Beach/Pools/Grounds
beach clean, pools clean, exceptionally clean grounds..
Other Comments
Would go back again…
Restaurants and Bars
Friendly staff great entertainment
Rooms
5 rooms all clean great staff
We enjoyed this hotel and would recommend it
Hotel Best Western Hotel Las Mercedes
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Lee & Mike >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2009
We stayed here for one night before our departure from Nicaragua and after our one week stay at Hotel Vistamar (see our review of this hotel also). We enjoyed this hotel and would recommend it. We booked on-line on the Best Western site. The front desk personnel were very efficient, pleasant and helpful. Upon your check-out, you can literally walk out the front door, across the road and into the main door of the airport (a 2 minute walk perhaps). There is also a shuttle bus available. The grounds of this hotel are beautifully landscaped with a wide variety of plants and trees and the occasional fountain situated along walkways between the rows of rooms and throughout the property. The rooms are in long rows that look like summer cabins with open air walkways between the rows. It almost feels like a little village. Our room was small, but adequate, with a very spacious bathroom. Everything was very clean. There were the usual amenities in the room – coffee maker, iron & ironing board, clock radio, shampoo, soap, towels, washcloth and bottled water. The hotel is renovating their rooms and we had a look at one just down the hall that was in the process. It had been gutted, literally right down to the dirt floor and from the look of our room, everything has been updated. There were two pools on-site – one right beside the restaurant (along side a bar & a future snack bar) and one near a gym & massage room.

The only disappointment or surprise here was the restaurant. The food was good and moderately priced, but there was no atmosphere. It was located beside one of the pools and was open air on two sides and adjacent to a beautiful piece of the garden. However, the two remaining walls and ceiling were stark beige and the restaurant was a conglomeration of mismatched tables and chairs. It looked like a whole afterthought to the rest of the hotel. We only ate one meal here and this was the only complaint that we had with the hotel.

Loved it and have recommended it to my family coming to visit
Hotel Bird Rock Beach Hotel
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Katelyn >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2009
Rooms: I found the rooms to very nice. My mom and I were not looking for anything luxurious so it was perfect. For the amount of time you spend in your room it was great!

Restaurants and Bars:

The resturant’s were really good. I really enjoyed all the food. And the drinks were really nice and strong 🙂 if your used to mexico drinks this is a real shocker!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

We went on an island tour with a taxi driver named Bouncer. He was really helpful and even gave us a free ride back from dinner on New Years 🙂

Other Comments:

The staff there are really nice and friendly and made us feel welcome. We only got to stay a few night because my mom is going to the Windsor University here so we only had to stay a short while in a hotel. Loved it and have recommended it to my family coming to visit!!!

We were quite disappointed
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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MirelaMontreal >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jun, 2006 | Leisure | Family
Our family (my husband, two daughters age 5 and 8 and myself) just spent a week at Blau Colonial, June 3-10 2006. We were quite disappointed. I understand it’s not peak season for the resort, but we have already been to Cuba, to a 4 star resort, this time of year (Iberostar – Cayo Guillermo, last year) and had a wonderful time, can’t even compare it to Blau, as if it were not at all the same category.
Arrival
Upon our arrival, at about 22:30, we were pretty much left alone trying in the dark to find out where the reception area was, nobody was there to greet us (at Iberostar they’d greet us with a welcome cocktail, non alcoholic, very refreshing for a tired traveler). Reception area was dark; gentleman there was not very helpful. We had requested a room on a superior level when we booked, but they gave us one on street level (and yes, it’s a street, we had cars and buses pass in front of our door at all times of day and night, couldn’t let the kids leave the room on their own, there was traffic, not to mention the noise) and refused to give us different room at that time. As well, we were not given beach towel voucher, or the key to the safe, I quote “Come back tomorrow, if I did that for everyone tonight, I’d have to be here till 1!”
Blau Colonial
First of all, let me get al the positive things out of the way. The beach is beautiful, clean, and wide, water clear and surprisingly deep close to the shore. On the other hand, the beach towels, chaises and cabanas are literally falling apart. All that’s left of the cabanas (the beach and the poolside as well) is the construction. There are no palm branches on top, so they’re pretty useless when it comes to shade (or protecting you in case of rain).
Conclusion
I’m sure young people enjoy that kind of atmosphere, most of them were drinking all day, walking around with half gallon mini kegs, and seemed quite happy. Overall, we would never return to Blau nor would we ever recommend it to anyone. For the same price you can get so much better service elsewhere.
Entertainment
The entertainment, especially during the day, was almost non-existent. Those few animators that were there completely lacked enthusiasm, you could see them hang out near pool bar, play table tennis, take a dip in the pool, watch TV, sometimes even drink or smoke on poolside chaises, as if they were on vacation. They didn’t even have uniforms, they wore swim trunks.
When I read one day there was going to be a beach party11:00-2:00, I was glad. At Iberostar, they would do that, bring music, organize games and dancing, set out a mini buffet and bar, used to be fun. Not at Blau, their beach party was at 11 at night. Obviously, the families were not as important guests as young partying bunch.
Food & drinks
The food was OK, not as many choices as we have seen elsewhere, but what was there was decent. A la carte restaurants were nice too. Piano bar was not open.
The drinks were really small, and they’d fill that already small cup halfway with ice. I had asked for a margarita, a daiquiri, a mai tai, and was told every time “We don’t make those” WTF?!
Kids Club
The kids’ club literally had no activities; it may have as well not been there. Zero, zip, nada.
The room
The room and the bathroom were very nice (we had booked a standard room), very spacious, clean, comfortable and in working order. However, the promised bathrobes, slippers, ironing table were not there (no big deal, who wants to iron on vacation anyway) and all “the fully stocked mini bar” really is three cans in your mini fridge, and if you wanted them replaced you had to call a certain phone number between 10:00 and 13:00 (when you normally wouldn’t be in the room).
We constantly had to ask questions
Generally, the information we’d find useful was really hard to get and was never volunteered. We constantly had to ask questions, and way too often the answer was “I don’t know”, “Go ask there” or “It’s written over there”. And then: – The operating hours for a lot of services mean nothing – The doors must be very thin, we’d often be awaken by guests returning to their rooms under influence – The advertised “15 min from the airport” is really a lot more when your bus goes to two different hotels first – We wanted to take a kayak and were asked for two pesos “deposit”

– Service got a lot worse when soccer championship started, you could stay at the bar for a long time before somebody would come to serve you, they’d be watching TV.

A very expensive waste of money
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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JulieScotland >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Jul, 2006 | Leisure | Family
We booked this trip in January from the Thomas Cook website after studying all the available hotels in Cayo Coco. We picked this one as it seemed to tick all our boxes – 4*, Kids Club etc etc. By no means was it the cheapest so we expected a high standard.
Bars & Restaurants
The Piano Bar is nice and cool and was a haven from the humidity but even that became boring as the grand piano has been kitted out with an electrical device to play the same tune over and over and over….. Yoel the barman was great though! The Italian Restaurant was unlike any Italian I’ve ever had before. The traditional pasta dishes were worse than the budget frozen ready meals in a low end supermarket. The remaining dishes were all served with frozen veg and Smash (instant mash potato)!!! The head waitress was the grumpiest and most rude person we encountered the entire holiday.

The pool bar served lunches and there was salads and desserts left out for you to help yourself. You’d be insane to do so as there is flock of birds who hang about this area and at every opportunity swoop in to stand in the food as they pinch it. Nothing is done to prevent this and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the source of the illness everyone had whilst we were there.

Conclusion
Overall the holiday was a very expensive waste of money. Go to Europe and save yourself the 8.5 hour plane journey and jet lag!!
Entertainment
The entertainment is beyond a joke. You get the same old salsa trash every night by the same 6 teenage dancers. They come into the restaurants to interrupt your dinner to remind each and every one of you that the show begins at 9.30pm in the Disco – whatever you do don’t go. I’ve seen better shows at my son’s primary school.
Food
The food is atrocious! It was very difficult to create a recognisable meal with the choices at the buffet – sprouts & French fries for breakfast and sometimes the previous night’s leftover beef & carrots. Our 10 year old barely ate all fortnight as there was hardly anything there that would appeal to a child – he lived on burgers and spaghetti.
The staff in the buffet restaurant expect to be tipped so unless you tip them for your first drink, do not expect a refill.
Illness
Without exception, everyone from Britain we spoke to on both the Manchester & Gatwick flights had lost several days of their holiday to illness. This ranged from nausea, fever, the squits!! And vomiting and left you bed-ridden. When the rep was approached to ask why so many of us were ill – his response was "What do you expect, your in Cuba!" Nice one Fran Garcia!
Kids Club
There was no Kids Club there of the kind you would expect in European resorts. The Mini Club was run by one teenager and aimed at toddlers. Our 10 year old was bored out of his mind once the novelty of the pool had worn off. DON’T GO HERE WITH KIDS IT JUST ISN’T SUITABLE. The trips organised through your rep are run by the Cuban travel agent Cubacan. The "Colourful Cuba" trip was perhaps one of the worst experiences of our holiday. The first part was fine but then you get taken to Moron (the nearest town) for a sightseeing tour in a horse drawn carriage. Sounds lovely but is the beginning of your exploitation! At every opportunity, you are hounded by beggars. They are relentless and it is very unpleasant. The Cuban travel reps do nothing to warn you of this and nothing to protect you from it. Don’t waste your money it is so depressing as the deprivation is beyond expectations.
Trip
Another trip we paid for was the speedboats in Cayo Guillermo. The bus did not turn up for us so we were rebooked for another day – the trip was then cancelled but we were not told by any rep and only after standing outside in the blistering midday sun for over an hour did someone come to tell us. The tour operators had known about it since the morning but did not bother to let us know.
Beautiful colonal style hotel complex
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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MikeNicolaEngland >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Jul, 2006 | Leisure | Family
Went to Blau Collonial July 2006 for two weeks with wife and two teenage boys. Hotel was beautiful, very nice rooms, lovelly setting, clean everywhere in the resort. Although you may read that part of the complex is closed this has no effect whatsoever on thr rest of the hotel. the staff were all very friendly and helpful. There were not many guest there and at times we had the beach to ourselves – a beautiful white sand beach and warm sea. The only downside for us was the lack of sailing boats (there were 2 hoby cts that you could not take out on your own and one Laser which for the first week did not have a sail! – we are keen sailors so this was disappointing). There are no villages to walk to and excursions are expensive (four adults to Havanah for one day trip cost £500 approx). If you want to relax, read a book and eat reasonable food you could not want for a better place. The hotels down the beach were unattractive in comparrison but had more going on. We decided that the bad reviews we had read on this site had put people off going, unfairly – Blau is not a building site whatsoever and is a beautiful colonal style hotel complex.
There are other better options
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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MichelCanada >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2006 | Leisure | Family
We just returned from a last minute trip to Blau Colonial and wanted to share our experience. I travelled with my wife and our 18 month old child.
For anyone considering coming here, I would recommend that you search elsewhere. If you’ve already booked, don’t worry because you’ll still have a good time but in my opinion there are other better options available.
Baby
We travelled with our 18 month old child so I had emailed the resort beforehand to verify that there were cribs available and was assured that there were so we were quite disapointed when the crib we were offered was not suitable at all and did not use it. There was also a kids club there which is advertised as 2-12 but we left our son with the attendant, Yojinda on several occasions and he loved and she was great.
Beach
The beach is actually very nice; very wide, super soft sand, water is very clear. Waves vary, when we first got there it was very calm and suitable for children but we had some storms for a few days and after that it was quite wavy – fun for adults but probably not suitable for kids under 10 without a lot of supervision. I didn’t look into it but there appears to be only very limited watersport availabilty – there are catamarans that you can go with the person, other than that, I did not see any sailboards, kayaks, pedal boats, etc. I didn’t try them but I was told that the snorking masks were very poor so you pretty much needed to have brought your own. As for snorklening, we didn’t do any (did not get nice weather) but I was told by others that it was actually pretty good just going past far out from the beach.
Booking
We booked it through TMR holidays in Canada and they rate it as a 4.5 star. We paid a bit extra because it was rated pretty high and we wanted a nicer place. Even by ‘loose’ Caribbean standards this is way too high – we’ve been other Cuban / Dominican resorts and it doesn’t compare favorably (we visited Trip Cayo Coco (4) on this trip, went to Melia Cayo Guillermo (4.5) last winter, and visited Gran Ventana (4.5) in Puerta Plata, DR and Coral Canoa (I think) (4) in La Romana, DR among others in the past).
Conclusion
Overall, while it wasn’t a bad experience and some parts where nice, I just fell that for the money there are much better options available. Unfortunately, I would not recommend this resort.
Entertainment / shows
The shows were ok but (the performers are all very talented) but overall, they were not as impressive as some that we’ve seen at other resorts. Part of the problem was that there wasn’t an outdoor stage and the shows were done in the discotheque.
Food
Although some people always complain about food at these resorts, we actually always think it’s fine. This was pretty typical with a pasta station and ‘grilling’ station and some ‘pre-cooked’ food however even here, it wasn’t as nice as other resorts we’ve been too; the selection was actually quite limited even for these buffets. However the biggest problem with it was that other than the food you have them cook for you (e.g. omelettes, pasta, stir-fry, etc), the ‘pre-cooked’ food was pretty much always cold – cold scrambled eggs, cold bacon, cold lasagna, cold meat, etc). The ‘a-la-carte’ restaurants where also not up to the standard of other resorts that we’ve been to.
Pool
Some of the resort profiles from travel companies will incorrectly say that there are 2 pools – this is true except that one is in the ‘permanently’ closed section so you only have access to one. There is no swim-up bar (also in the closed section), The pool is actually quite large and was nice. It has a shallow portion (maybe 1 or 2 feet deep) and a deeper portion. The only small drawback is that it didn’t have a ‘reef entrance’ which slowly goes deeper, it’s either really shallow (kids section) or deep.
Room
The room was very large and nice. However there were some problems: First, the AC was not hooked up to the thermostat so whether you set it to 15 to 30, if it was on, it was blowing cold. Too cold, we liked having it on (with the fan set to low) but that meant that at night the room was usually 17C (we have a travel clock with a thermostat on it). Because of this, we’d turn it on for a while, get up and turn it off, … The problem was that if you didn’t have it on, the room would get damp and muggy. There was also water issues. Every night around 3am, we’d lose ALL water to the room – no toilet, no sink, etc, usually by morning we’d get the cold water back but not the hot, not sure why but it usually wouldn’t be until we got back from breakfast (around 10:30ish that) we’d have hot water – this isn’t there was no hot water left (we’ve experienced this at other resorts (usually before diner when all guests are taking showers), here, you’d turn the tap and you’d get air sound in the pipes.
The resort
Some aspects were very nice; the beach was beautiful, the room was very nice, the resort is very charming and original (not just a big ‘block’ of rooms), interlocking stones pathways everywhere, nice landscapping, very friendly staff (didn’t expect to be tipped everytime they did something for you and were very appreciative when you did). Very quiet, not hard to get beach chair or chair by pool (more on this later)

Many aspects were not: It looks like 10 years ago, this was probably a very nice resort but now it’s been neglected and parts are not in good shape. A large section of the resort is permanently closed (chain link fence around it and brick wall closes off the road) (The official story is that this area is being renovated but it’s been closed since 2003 and speaking to the staff, it does not appear that there is any money to actually do these renovations so they will probably never be done). This includes the ‘salt water pool’, the swim-up bar and some of the restaurants and we were were told were the nicer rooms. There is also several blocks of rooms between the pool and the beach that were not used – we were told that this was simply because it was very quiet but I noticed that several rooms had a ‘official seal letter’ closing the door so I wonder if there is more to those rooms being closed. The resort is not good if you are in a wheelchair or have a baby stroller (steps / curbs all over the place, some ramps were at difficult to access areas, some ramps were very, very steep, etc. For anyone travelling with young children and needing a crib, you need to bring your own. They do have some and I was told I didn’t need to bring one but it was not suitable for use (the railing was maybe 1 foot above the mattress so any child that can stand could easily fall out). We asked several other parents and no one else was using the provided cribs either. Like many other resorts, on the last day, the checkout is early but you only leave the resort later. We were told that this was no problem because they provided a ‘hospitality suite’ where we could get changed and shower, etc. Turns out that they had ONE room for all guests to use (2 buses for us) so needless to say, a lot of people didn’t get to shower and/or change in the room. One major issue for some guests is that this resort is pretty much dead; there are very few guests here so if you are looking for a place to party, go elsewhere. If you go with kids and they want to play with other kids, go elsewhere. If you just want a very quiet place to sit by the pool or by the beach, this isn’t actually too bad. My biggest complaint was probably the lack and condition of the public bathrooms – when I eat at these buffets, I often have to go to the bathroom and it’s not always convenient to return to the room. Here, there were very few public bathrooms (only 1 male and 1 female bathroom by the pool so there was often a lineup and it was often not particularly clean.

Some days you couldn’t go on the beach
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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Deb >  1 contribution(s) 
Nov, 2006 | Leisure | Family
Hi, My family and I took a holiday at The Blau Colonial in Cayo Coco, Cuba on the 29th November 2006 for two weeks. We flew with Thomas Cook airlines and booked the holiday on the internet which I found to be a really smooth, quick,and easy armchair booking and would recommend to anyone!
Activities
We found it very windy throughout our stay at the resort which resulted in our deep-sea fishing being cancelled. Some days you couldn’t go on the beach because the sand blows in your eyes and the sea was that rough throughout the whole of our stay apart from 3 days. There was sea weed on he beaches every day and lots of it and because of the wind the water sports were shut apart from those 3 days mentioned earlier and we were allowed a pedlo and Kayak and further down the beach they had parasailing which was a lovely experience with fantastic views of the Blau Colonial and neighbouring hotels and you have to pay for this but it’s well worth it.
Arrival
The flight over to Cayo Coco was a good one and the staff were pleasant and helpful, however we had to pay for our drinks and snacks on board which I’m not used to doing. There were five of us travelling my husband, son, daughter and boyfriend not forgetting myself and so a mixed age group from 13 yrs, 21, 25, 41 and 42. We arrived at the airport and went through customs and they pulled us all on one side and took us in to a private room, trying to ask us lots of questions (English not to good) and made us feel like terrible criminals but realise they are just doing there job! They then continued to open all the suitcases and empty all the contents out, not what you want after a 9+ hour flight! Two hours later we finally get on the run down bus and make our way to our Hotel. The journey was a short one which is quite a relief after a long flight and the booking in at the reception was quick and easy although their English wasn’t to brilliant.
Conclusion
All in all we had a good time with a few downfalls to the place that we found which were mainly: Hotel in need of a refurbishment all round, lack of good entertainment we were all bored after 10 days and ready to go home. Most of the staff very nice, polite and friendly but a few in need of training for manners and lack of English! The 24 hour snack bar is awful and the menu boring and if you order to your room unless you tip well you are in for a long wait. We waited for over an hour the one time. The restocking of the mini bar was rubbish unless you ordered it every morning and even then was not guaranteed to get your can of Cuban beer and 2 cans of coke or maybe a sprite if your lucky. Management definitely need to look at this aspect. My husband used the bank on two occasions and on both times they short changed us but luckily the husband is very switched on where money is concerned and had already worked out what was due to us down to the pence and luckily he picked them up on this however the banker argued with my Husband before he rectified the mistakes he had made on both occasions and finally apologised saying he thought he had given us twenties not tens. If my husband had not realised we would of been nearly £300.00 out of profit so please be aware before changing your money. The water in the shower was nearly always cold and no water pressure. If you want a decent size bath make sure you get back to your room early before other people so you may be lucky enough to get some hot water but bare in mind it takes 1 hour and 10 minutes to pour a bath some. The toiletries they supply ie: shampoo, conditioner, shower cap and shower gel do not get replaced at all. The maids swept our balcony twice in the two weeks we were there and I asked the one maid if she would do it for us and she said yes but never did it so I ended up doing it myself by borrowing there broom and they never once offered!

I would definitely rate this hotel 3 stars not 4, they need to make some changes before they reach the 4 stars and it could be a fantastic place at the right time of year. If your looking for a quiet retreat with not much to do but lay in the sun all day and your room for just putting your head down and some decent food then this is the place for you but definitely not for the young at heart that want to party 24/7 or people looking for a bit of luxury and sophistication! Not for children either in my opinion.

Food
We spent a fair amount of time by the pool because of the weather and enjoyed our selves with the entertainment staff and played volley ball, yarey’s bar right on hand which serves a lunchtime menu of Pizza’s, burgers, chicken and chips and a buffet salad bar which was just about satisfactory. The buffet restaurant was very good and we enjoyed almost all of our meals in there. On a few occasions some of the dish’s looked like the left over’s from the previous evenings dinner and I am fairly convinced it was but avoided anything that looked funny as did the rest of my family. The Italian restaurant served lovely food and we enjoyed both meals in there and it was voted to be our favourite unanimously. The fish restaurant was very good but the menu not really very exiting so we ordered lobsters for everyone and they were fantastic and very cheap (We had to order them at reception and pay separate) however the extra cost was well worth it!
Pool
The swimming pool was large and very nice and had 4 sections to it with one end being quiet and the other end can be very noisy and make sure you get there early to be able to get a sun lounger. The paint in the pool had come off in places which made it look a little shabby but overall not bad.
Room
They allocated our rooms in the main building two floors up above the reception area. The bedroom was ok although really needed a refurb but it was clean and fairly spacious with two double beds in the room, french doors opening up over the square in front and a very large balcony to the side overlooking the square and the shops to the side but this balcony was a shared balcony with a double room with people we did not no. We were very annoyed that our daughters room was not the double room that shared our balcony. To my mind with booking as a party of five people and requested a family room for three people and a double room for two people they would have put us together. My daughter and boyfriend were given their room down the hall about 10 rooms away. We went and had a word with reception which was hard going with the lack of English however eventually got our point across and they offered us a new room the following day so we could all be together. I then asked when the couple were vacating from the double room that shares the balcony with our room and they told me Sunday so i suggested that my daughter and boyfriend moved to that room on the Sunday as it was only 4 days away and that’s what we did which was ideal and made the holiday that bit better.
Trips
We booked a few trips and the first one we went on was the speedboat trip which we all very much enjoyed. You get to snorkel amidst the mangroves and see all the different fish which is great and drive your own mini speedboat in single file at a fair speed following one of the instructors through the mangroves. Good day out. Our next trip was the 1 day havana trip which was also well worth a look. Our day started with pickup by the hotel reception and coach driven to the airport and boarded a small plane which flew us to Cuba. The flight was fantastic with brilliant views of Cuba but the weather was not good, no sunshine just clouds and lots of rain which spoiled it a bit as we were all very cold but nobody on the trip had a jacket and the air con was on all the time in the coach that picked us up from the airport in Havana and took us on our tour. A very interesting tour but not for teenagers! My 13 year old son was very bored with it all! We got to speak to the locals and it upset me when they discussed how they have to live but was glad I went on this trip. Our deep-sea fishing trip was cancelled and the weather did not get good enough to rebook which was disappointing but we did book the catamaran trip which would have been brilliant if the weather had of been better. The views were spectacular and we visited a boat wreck which now belongs to the crabs who are very protective over it. We unfortunately had cloud for the whole day which ruined it and again very windy and quite cold so if you book this trip and it looks dull on the day you go be sure to take a jacket. Dinner is served on board with drinks all included. Our dinner was Lobster tails, Chicken, rice and vegetables which was really nice. Recommend highly!
Don’t plan to take a shower for the week
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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Alexandre >  1 contribution(s) Canada
May, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Traveled to Blau Colonial with my husband and 7 year old daughter last week in March 2007. In sum, it is a pretty looking hotel – Colonial style buildings. As for the room – don’t plan to take a shower for the week because honestly there is no water pressure at all and the water is cold.. There is a mini club – but no activities planned so not sure why it is there. The most annoying thing about the hotel is the way the BUFFET IS SET UP. No matter what time we went there was a very long line up in order to get food. Everyone had to wait in this line up in order to reach the tray food and the 2 tiny grill areas. Even if you did not want something from the grill area you still had to wait in the line-up in order to reach the tray food – so no seconds – unless you wanted to wait again. The reason for line-up was that they only began to grill food when you asked for it which in theory is nice but did nothing to help the line up move faster. Not fun waiting and watching for someone else’s food to be grilled…. If you tip at the Buffet the waiters will remember you and you will get INSTANCE service. If you didn’t tip you were practically invisible and would have to try very hard to make eye contact with any waiter for a drink or coffee. CAYO COCO is windy pretty much all the time – so always red or yellow flag. So if you do not like waves and wind you will not like the beach.

So I would rate this hotel a 2 star only and not a 4.

Food quality went down since 2006
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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Nabil09 >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2009 | Leisure | Family
My 4-year old son and I were at Blau Colonial from Feb 10 to 17, 2009. The reasons I chose this resort over others in the Caribbean are mostly to accommodate my son’s needs, plus I prefer to be in Cuba than say Dominican Republic or Mexico (safety, culture, music, friendly people, no peddlers’ nuisance).
I speak fluent Spanish and so I had the opportunity to talk to staff and have conversations beyond the ‘hola’ and ‘buenos dias’.
Adult Show
poor and not interesting. I have been to at least few other resorts where shows and night programs are much more interesting and engaging.
Conclusion
In conclusion, would I go there again, the answer is NO. Would I recommend this resort to others, even qualified recommendation, the answer is NO.
Is this place suitable for some tourists? Perhaps, if they mainly care about the beach and the proximity to the airport and the relatively short flight time from major Canadian cities, and the general architecture of the resort, and not food, activities within the resort, bed comfort, kids’ program, and showers.
Food and Food Queues
the overall food quality went down since 2006, and this was confirmed by some of the Buffet staff. There were line ups taking more than 10 minutes to get some food items such as pasta, seafood, and waiting for orange juice and milk in the morning, while my son is sitting alone and waiting for me. At one time he panicked and started crying and was walking around looking for me. The grill by the beach had a line up with 30 to 40 minute waiting. I got tired of all that waiting. Other than the morning watered-down orange juice there was no juice of any kind anywhere or any other time. I was surprised to find Cubans think it is OK to give pop to a 4-year old. There was one type of white wine and one red, both are not better than “cooking wine”.
Hot Water
no hot water for 2 days. The staff did not know when the repair can be made to the hot water broken equipment. The courtesy rooms offered at the main building, where the lobby is, were all taken when I actually went to give my son a shower. The staff did not know when one will be available.
I felt disappointed
We were there in Feb 2006 the first time, and I remembered some of the good things about the resort, such as supervised daycare, availability of babysitting, great beach, and generally good food and service.

However, this time I felt disappointed, and this is not a reaction to one detail but my conclusion when I think of the shortcomings of the place. Here are real examples of what was wrong with the resort:

Mini-Club
kids show started at 8:30 pm. This is too late for most kids coming from outside Cuba, and my son would be getting ready to sleep by then. The music was very loud to the point he was scared of the noise (heavy base). Once I cajoled him to watch and plugged his ears with rolled tissue to reduce the sound level.
Room and Bed
the room was fine. The twin beds were not comfortable at all. They caved in and I am only 160 lbs. I have slept on much better beds at almost any other place including B&Bs, motels, hotels, other resorts. I would say the beds needed to be replaced, period.
Snack
kids eat snacks at different times that those when the Buffet is open. What was available at the 24-café did not come close to a fair choice for such a resort (this is a 5 star resort after all). Sometime only ham and cheese sandwiches were available, and on one occasion I had to wait 15 minutes for it.
Supervised daycare
was moved from the big thatched room beside the pool (under renovation) to a smaller room, which did not have much in terms of toys and things to do. The sandy playground at the back of the room had very little shade, so a parent would have to ensure the child is not spending all the time in the sun, one way or another. Staff did not totally stick to the printed schedule.
The beach and rooms were good.
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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AnneLondon >  1 contribution(s) 
Mar, 2009 | Leisure | Family
My husband, 2 year old son and I spent March Break at the Blau. The weather was perfect the week we went, but they had just had a terrible storm the week earlier. Take your chances with Cuba. The food was what we expected. The beach and rooms were good. Our big problem was the students. This hotel is the main hotspot for the S-trip organization in Cayo Coco. Student (high school) "organized" March Break trip. There were a ton of them. They would sleep all day, emerging from their rooms around 4pm and coming back to their rooms at 4am. They were typical under-age students. VERY drunk, not supervised and not made to be respectful of people sleeping. The hotel staff would do nothing about them. We never complained, but many did. We never slept well b/c of all the door banging and yelling in the middle of the night. You also could never get to a bar because it was 6 students deep. I would stay at the Blau again, but never during March Break!
Great time
Hotel Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
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Laurie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
The Blau is the oldest resort on the island but it is clean, modern and very close to the beach. We went over Ontario March Break and while the other resorts were overrun by out of control drunk teenagers, the Blau, with its mix of families of all sorts was relatively quiet and low key. I think other times of the year, the Trypp and DH would be fine. They are more modern than this one and seem to have more activities on an ongoing basis.

Other reviews commented on the poor food. We found to our pleasant surprise that the food was just fine. I particularly liked the grilled shrimp at dinner and ice cream became a favourite every night.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We really enjoyed the glass bottom boat that we waded out to from the beach. For 20 CUC, it would take you out to the reef for a good half hour or more snorkling. Before getting to the reef, they go along the beach and pick up people from the other resorts and it is fun to exchange stories. We went on it twice. We also really liked (especially the boys) the boat adventure. We only took the 2 hour tour and it was enough. The snorkling is pretty good and getting there in the little boats is great fun. My mom took the two day overnight to Havana and couldn’t say enough about how good it was. She particularly liked the hotel. We also took the all day catamaran but because of wind, were not able to snorkle on the reef. Pretty good anyway, but not the best because of that. Do NOT recommend the horseback riding. Too much trotting on very skinny horses. Very hard for beginners and even experienced riders.

The shows are quite good and the staff had everyone in stitches. My boys have now downloaded the theme song and are still dancing to it.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Spent very little time at the pools with the beach so close. Good to get there in the morning to grab a shade hut for later in the day. A beach boy will get you the lounger and set you up. The water is beautiful and was warm due in part to the shallow water. It was usually pretty windy so there were waves but that just added to the fun for the boys. You can sign out kayaks and snorkling masks from the boat house. Did not see paddle boats. The Hobbie Kats were sailed for you.

Next time would bring own snorkling mask and bougie boards to take advantage of the waves. Get your towels on arrival by getting a paper at the front desk and taking it to the towel hut. Towels can be exchanged daily.

Other Comments
Bring Canadian money and enough to tip – as you would at a resort in Canada. I spent a lot of unplanned money in tips. Bring bug spray and extra sun screen. You go through a lot of sun screen and to buy one at one of the shops was $20 Pesos or about $25 Cdn. To book excursions, they covert the money to US then to Canadian (and I think Pesos are in there too). If you can plan your excursions roughly ahead of time, I recommend you pay in Pesos, not by credit card. They will only take Canadian bank credit cards (Visa). No bank machines were seen. We also brought things like toothbrushes/toothpaste/toiletries. I even gave one shop lady a package of boys underwear. Also, they like Canadian stuff. Always greatly appreciated by the polite and pleasant staff.

We enjoyed our stay and would recommend.

Restaurants and Bars
We enjoyed the buffet. Tried the Italian restaurant but with few waiters and lots of customers, did not like it very much. We were actually happy to get back to the extremely good service at the main buffet. The wines served at meals were quite good. The boys (12 and 14) really liked the hambergers grilled at the beach bar and the fries at the salt water pool were good as well. Our real treat every night was the Churros served up to order with a variety of delicious toppings. Another treat was the Spanish coffees from the main bar. Many of the tropical drinks were very sweet but the rum and coke and the cold cervasa at the beach were always great. A Timmy mug is good for keeping your drink cold at the beach.
Rooms
Our rooms were in the main pavillion which was very convenient looking over the plaza, but also noisy as we were next to the disco which played into the wee hours. With closed windows and good air conditioning, there was no problem sleeping however. The rooms were clean and the maid service very good. Other reviews had talked about bed bugs but we had none and saw no bugs other than mosquitos. The resort sprayed a smoke screen of sorts morning and night which kept the mosquitos down to almost none. I did hear that other resorts had lots of mosquitos.
Your Arrival
Travelling from Ottawa direct to Cayo Coco was a delight. Our Signature rep met us at the airport. There is a big push to book the VIP room at the airport for the way back, but we had no problem with the main airport departure lounge instead. The shops actually had better souvenirs and cheaper with a money exchange right there.

Our rep gave us a good briefing on the morning after our arrival and was very helpful throughout the trip. There is also a Canadian working there, Mango, who can help you with any challenges you have. Front desk was also very good.

Great place BUT….
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Kathy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
My husband and I stayed at the Blau Costa Verde the week of Jan 30 – Feb 6. We really enjoyed the week and the facilities but the beds in our room were horrible! They were like sleeping on a wooden plank; very uncomfortable and hard on the hips, elbows, shoulders. The pillows were also of very poor quality. Having got that off my chest, here’s the rest of our review!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We stayed on the resort this week and didn’t go outside on trips. We loved having the pool table in a covered facility. We liked the shows most nights but would have liked to have seen more "shows" rather than musicals. We thought it would have been nice if the hotel gets rid of the tennis courts (it’s usually too hot to play on it anyway) and turn it into a mini golf course. We also liked the fact that the hotel allows people to come in and sell Cuban things each day.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beautiful beach, pool area, grounds. Lots of mature vegetation, flowers, trees etc. Lots of lounge chairs at the beach and pool area. Both were also very clean. The beach is lovely but does have rocky areas; be careful when you first go in the water. We liked the Hoby Cats and the snorkelling right on the beach.
Other Comments
Overall, it was a great holiday. The weather was gorgeous each day and as anywhere in Cuba, the people were very friendly and helpful. I’d go back again for sure and would recommend it to anyone who asked me about it but I would hope that the beds, pillows and the food choices (at the buffet) could be improved. I’d also bring my own instant coffee as I find Cuban coffee way too strong for my taste. My sincere thanks to all the staff for making our stay an enjoyable one – it was much appreciated.
Restaurants and Bars
The alacarte restaurants (Cuban and Italian) were both excellent the nights we ate at them. The wait staff were quick, friendly, attentive and not over intrusive. We were serenaded over supper which was a nice treat. Desserts were not all that thrilling but everything else was okay. The beach restaurant had great burgers and fresh fish but I didn’t like having the shrimp with heads and bodies still intact – plus they were messy to clean! The pizza’s in the Italian restaurant were really good as was the pastas each day. The pool bar and grill was very good – food and service. The drinks at this resort are not very good – the cola and other non alcohol beverages were very sweet and at one of the bars I had the worst Mojito ever – I don’t even think it was a Mojito! We missed some of the drinks made with fresh fruit and crushed iced – I think they only offered Bahama Mamas made with real bananas and I can’t eat bananas. Also, they didn’t offer Bailey’s; only a cheap substitute which was again way too sweet for my taste. Needless to say, we didn’t drink a lot (we are not beer drinkers). The cappacinos were excellent – every single one we had was a treat! The buffets are typical buffets although we didn’t like a lot of the food so ate mostly the fresh grilled foods. All in all; okay but definitely not spectaular.
Rooms
Okay. The hotel is older (I think it was another chain and Blau just bought it out?) so the rooms were typical of Cuba. Like I said above, the beds were terrible as were the pillows but everything was fine. Our housekeeper kept the rooms spotless every day. I forgot that you don’t get tissues or face cloths in Cuba so we didn’t have any of those and the towels were a bit rough but overall, the room was just fine.
Your Arrival
We arrived at close to midnight and were booked into our rooms in minutes. A porter took our luggage and put in on a rack, gave us a mini run down of the hotel and smiled very pleasantly all the way. It was the best check in at any resort we have ever had!
needed some sun
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Monique >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Business | Family
We are usually Florida people. Thats where we escape to from Canada but this year was different. Cuba was new to us. Our first time. What a wonderful choice to introduce us to Cuba.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The resort had great, I mean, great shows every night. You were never bored. The resort was also great for the kids; shows in the evening to amuze them and a really nice shallow pool to play in. Of course, it was up to the parents that the kids were ok but hey thats the norm, right.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was wonderful and the beach bar and beach chair guys were great. Security was always ther to make sure the guests were not disturbed and comfortable. They had wonderful Cuban beach parties on Fridays with BBQ pork sandwiches mohito lessons and cuban coffee lessons. Then bring on the salsa lessons. We were very please with it all. The grounds were impecable and the manager was always there making sure that things were perfect.
Other Comments
There was always tables in the lobby with local artisans if you wanted to buy treasures and a bank to change your money. The staff were wonderful and the rooms were very clean and the bar fridge stocked up. We loved our trip and would return tomorrow if we could go back right away. Thank you, Blau Costa Verde for the best time we could have had in Cuba. It was amazing!!!!!
Restaurants and Bars
We had read alot about Cuba and the food, etc. We brought snacks and whatever we thought we might need. Thank goodness we brought our thermoses. The food at the Blau Costa Verde is in one word- amazing. The a la carte restaurants are pretty good but the buffet restaurant was well past our hopes. Food was plentiful and very good. Our plates were never empty. The servers got to know us right away and we made new friends. A wonderful experience. The bars were great- thank you Carlos for all the attention and we miss you already!We quickly learned that the drinks were served in little plastic disposable glasses but as I said previously we brought our thermoses so we had beer whenever we needed it with much less travel. You don’t need a hugh thermos but a smaller version sure makes it a pleasant experience.
Rooms
We had a great room overlooking the ocean on the top floor. Everything was clean and ready for us. No delays.
Your Arrival
We arrived on a later flight. We found the airport a very easy experience and were very glad to see our luggage. The bus was ther waiting for us and after a bumpy ride we were brought to the Blau Costa Verde. The checkin was great and the people were very nice. At this point we were tired but ready to get to know our new resort.
Multi -Cultural
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Jane >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
The Blau Costa Verde in Holguin is a great place to snorkell. There is a coral reef right there along the shore with all kinds of fish species. This beats having to travel out to sea to snorkell! The hotel rooms are spotlessly clean, large and comfortable. The air conditioning is centrally controlled and they often turn it down in the afternoon and through the night. This is a pain but a phone call to the front desk will quickly correct it.

The hotel staff are all very polite and accommodating. They all encourage tipping. The coffee with milk at the Snack Bar is delicious. The steaks at the Cuban Restaurant are cooked to your liking and grilled to perfection. The water activity crew at the beach are all excellent. Make sure you go for a Hobbie Cat ride with "Ray"! He is very handsome, charming and extremely good at what he does! This place is a great Family vacation resort!

The best trip I’ve ever had!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Laura >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2002 | Leisure | With friend
I just returned from the best resort Blau Costa Verde. Flew Air Transat. Arrived April 28/10 and left at midnight on May 5/10. Flew first class definitely worth the extra 55.00. I am 24 years old and traveled with my mother this year. We had an amazing time. The hotel is beautiful with lots to do for any ages. The food was amazing. Some of it even tasted like home. They don’t have ketchup very often so I would suggest bringing your own. The staff was so helpful and very friendly. Some things that they really need are sunscreen, deodorant, soap, shampoo and conditioner. The things we take for granted. So if you can take some of these essentials to give to the staff. Trust me they really appreciate it. The beach is awesome but make sure you take your water shoes because there is some corral. You can feed the fish right out of your hand. Barbara does hair and nails. She is awesome so make sure to book an appointment with her. And if you do go by the fitness center please tell Barbara, Deni and the nurse Joa that Laura from Nova Scotia sends big hugs and lots of love. I had a blast with them. I wish they had of played more Cuban music at the restaurants but that is my only complaint. The Cuban restaurant was my absolute favorite. The Italian was amazing too. If you go to the Cuban restaurant get a banana split for dessert. I swear it was better than dairy queen. We stayed in room 3307 had an amazing view of the mountains and water. Maid was great. Hot water everyday. Needless to say I hope to be returning to this resort very soon. I would recommend it to anyone. Please remember to keep an open mind when traveling anywhere in Cuba they do not have the same things that we have. They are the sweetest people. And please remember to tip. They depend so much on this. If anyone is traveling to this resort and you live in or around Halifax if you could contact me at lauraj212010@hotmail.com if you would be willing to take a letter down for me that would be so appreciated. If anyone has any questions feel free to contact me by email.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beautiful. Well kept at all times.
Other Comments
Worth every penny to go this beautiful resort. Hope to be going back next month for my birthday!!!!
Restaurants and Bars
Food was very good at this resort. Cuban restaurant was the best.
Rooms
Great for the amount of time you spend in them. The beds are a little bit in the hard side but take the cushion art off the wall and use that. Always clean. Great shower. No complaints at all.
Your Arrival
Excellent very fast service
Pleasantly Surprised!
Hotel Blau Costa Verde
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Amy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t do anything outside of the resort (we’ve already been there, done that) but on the resort we did participate in the beach volleyball every morning as well as bocciball shortly after. The entertainment staff had activities throughout the day but that’s all we chose to participate in because it was located conveniently on the beach. At night, there were different shows every night. We never really saw a show because it started late (9:30pm) and by then we were already asleep.

They also have a games place where there is a pingpong table and a pool table. For pingpong, it’s best to bring your own ball and paddles as I’ve noticed the ball went missing at one point. The pool table has its own equipment always there.

Arrival
We travelled as a family which included my parents, myself(20) and my brother(14). Arrival was very speedy. The front desk had everything ready for us. We asked for 2 rooms and they had put them next to each other.

We were also pleasantly surprised to find that our beach towels were also waiting for us in our rooms. We did arrive after midnight, so it wasn’t really necessary to have them but it was nice not to have to find the club house the next morning while we still had no idea where everything was.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The grounds were meticulously kept. The beach was always clean. The palm umbrellas (that’s not their correct name, but it doesn’t come to mind right now…) were maintained and plentiful.

The staff that dealt with the beach chairs were sometimes hard to take. This one guy in particular was incredibly lazy and would often attempt to ignore my request for chairs. I would’ve preferred a lack of staff for that on the beach. I’m quite capable of getting my own chair, but we had to put up with them for 2 weeks. They also collect the chairs at 5ish and if you want to stay longer they give you looks. Their shift ends officially at 5:30-6:00 I believe and they always want to be done earlier. I just ignored them when I wanted to stay longer which was just once or twice during my stay anyways.

Other Comments
The hotel’s gym/spa also offers manicures, pedicures, haircuts, etc. For the most part these are generally less expensive than at home. However, don’t expect the kind of manicure you get here. It’s very basic there: cut the nails, file, do the cuticles, put on the polish. The manicure and pedicures were each 5 CUC. The haircut was also 5 or 10 CUC (I can’t remember exactly at the moment). They also offered massages. Ranging from just foot massages to full body, whole hour massages. We didn’t try as we found these to be expensive in comparison to other resorts. The foot massage was 10 CUC and it went up from there to 25 CUC for a full body massage for half an hour I believe. Overall, we really enjoyed our stay. We would definitely recommend this resort and would go again if we didn’t want to try a new resort each year. The manager of this resort (tall, young and bald) is always walking around. He’s glad to talk to tourists and often comes up to people randomly and asks them how they’re enjoying their stay and if there’s anything that needs changing. Feel free to introduce yourself to him, he looks scary but he’s very friendly. If you have any kind of problem that you can’t resolve in other ways, he’s always happy to help.

Also, keep in mind that this is a very small and very, very quiet resort. I would definitely not choose it for a spring break vacation with my friends. But it’s perfect for R&R and families with small children (which by the way, they do have a daycare for).

Restaurants and Bars
The main buffet restaurant was where everyone ate generally. Since the resort was not even half-full, all the seating was outside though they also have inside tables which they set up if there are a lot of people. The food was good. Every night they had a different theme such as Asian night, Italian night, etc. The food was very varied from day to day. Breakfast was generally always the same thing, but lunch and dinner were always different from the day before and from each other (this is something that at other hotels bugged me because they used to have the same food 2 or even 3 days in a row at times). The waiters were all amazing. If you stayed long enough like we did (2 weeks) they had memorized our drink orders. They were always smiley and eager to get you whatever you needed. We didn’t try the pool bar, as we spent all our time at the beach but I’m sure the service there is exactly the same as on the beach. The beach bar was actually being extended while we were there. The service was good. The bartender was always at his post and made whatever drink you wanted. The only thing I personally disliked was the lack of martini just at the beach bar. It’s pretty much the only alcohol I drink and I had to find something else to enjoy while on the beach. In the end it wasn’t a huge deal but it would’ve been nice. I assume with the new, larger bar they’ll have all the drinks they have everywhere else in the resort.

There are cats in this resort and they enjoy strolling by while people eat as some insisted on feeding them. And yes, they’re fuzzy and adorable but they have fleas so I recommend you stay far away from them.

Rooms
The rooms were very nice. They appeared to have been renovated recently. Contrary to some of the reviews I read before we went, the safe in the room was free. There was plenty of room for clothes and the such. The closet was roomy (and the top shelf has blankets in case you need them) and there were drawers in and out of the closet. Each room also has a minifridge which is stocked daily with beer, soft drinks and water. The AC in all the rooms was centrally controlled which we have never encountered at another hotel (this was our 8th year in Cuba). This bothered me slightly because if you turn it off, you fry overnight but if you leave it on, it tends to get very chilly some nights, which is when I was very glad for the blankets. Also, contrary to many hotels, the card slot only controls the electricity and not the AC. The AC runs all day unless you turn it off. The maid came by everyday. We found that there was a different maid almost every day. Which didn’t concern us in the least. However, I noticed that some of them cleaned more thoroughly than others. Sometimes our floor was swept, other times it wasn’t. Some would wash the bathtub and others would not. Just little things. The room was by no means ever dirty, just not always as clean.
Natura Beach Resort in Punta Cana was great!
Hotel Blau Natura Park Eco-Resort
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elayne earp >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
We travelled to Punta Cana over Christmas and throughly enjoyed Natura Beach Resort. The food was very good and the variety and selection was amazing. They put on a Christmas dinner that was terrific. Everything from Lobster to raw oysters, and an amazing selection of quite rare cheese. And for the Vegetarian or Vegan every day there were dishes specifically geared for these people. One could even have a fresh fruit smoothy made in front of you every morning from a selection of fresh fruit of your choice. YMMMMM! I had no complaints in the food department. The drinks always seemed a bit watered down and became a bit boring with the same bottled mixes.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
They seemed to have something going for younger people every hour at the hotel. Lets say if u were under 35 there was lots of games etc to play. NOTE: BEWARE! We took a Catamaran day trip that was without a doubt one of the most horrifying trips of my life. (and i have been all over the world) Firstly they do not tell you that it take 2-3 hours to get to the boat docks, and Dominicans are very fast drivers. We finally get to the dock, board the Catamaran and had a lovely 2 hr trip to an island. We spent about 2 hrs on the island and then were loaded into speedboats (2 X 200hp Yamaha motors)(approx 30 people sardined into boat) and it takes off back to the dock as it would take to long to return by Catamaran. We hit a storm! And I mean Oh My God! The swells were approx 15 ft, the boat was smashing thru the water, the rain was coming down so hard sideways it felt like hail. The sky was black! ! I was terrified and had my ultra athletic daughter take my 6 year old grandchild to keep with her for when the boat tipped!!! (she could save her before I could) In all my life I have never been so wet. To the bone. Finally after 30 minutes going thru storm we arrrived back at dock, got off and loaded onto a bus that the driver would not turn off the air conditioner and no one had a dry piece of clothing. We then all froze to death during the trip back to the hotel, (another 2 hrs) These trips are sold at the hotels Beware.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The ground of this hotel are beautiful. It must be very labour intensive for them to keep it up. Lagoons and lovely walking paths all thru the resort. Flamingos, cranes, geese, turtles, fish all in the lagoons. The paths thru the resort are very well maintained and lit very well at night.
Restaurants and Bars
The main buffet as I mentioned was great! The Seafood restaurant was OK. Seems Dominicans like to over cook seafood and meat. The Steak restaurant was also ok, as the menu was quite limited. I preferred the main buffet, the lunch buffet at the beach and the snack bar at the beach.
Rooms
I had read reviews before going and also looked at pictures of the rooms. I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and well kept it was. It also helped that my boyfriend is handy and was fixing lights that the wiring was quite messed up. We did have a leak in our bathroom from upstairs. Every time they ran the bath or flushed the toilet our bathroom flooded. We did report it 3X and they best they did was bring more towels to mop it up. The air conditioner was adequate and sometimes it was too chilly. All in all found the room very comfortable even if the bed was a little hard. The rooms were cleaned very nicely every day and if you left a few $$$ you were sure to get extra bottled water, extra fresh towel. Oh and the mini fridge did not work.
Your Arrival
On arrival to Punta Cana we had just gotten off the plane and even before you could go through Customs they were holding up the lines, taking pictures of your party to try to sell to you on your departure. Check in was a bit slow but quite efficient. We were a party of 9 and somehow the 6 year old had been put in a room with the 86 year old (in retrospect it might have been a good idea)
Good Value for a Last Minute Vacation
Hotel Blau Natura Park Eco-Resort
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Shelly >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Good resort for the price, but not a five star as stated on their website. 3+ at the most.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The nightly entertainment was good. There was a different show theme every night. And the entertainers do work hard and try to put on a good show. My complaint with the entertainment though, is that the MC’s or hosts were always in the spotlight. If they had a group of guests up on stage, the guests were pushed back and the hosts were centerstage. I think it should be the other way around, or at least have the hosts intermingle with the group. It just seemed to us that it was more about the hosts than the guests at some points. For other activities, there was a list of daily activities listed by the pools, but we never knew where they were taking place nor did we see the hotel staff actively looking or recruiting people. We were disappointed in that regard. We had stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Beach resort in 2003 and there was designated areas for beach volleyball and dancing lessons. Here, we didn’t see areas for sports, or other activities. But each night, before the show they had winners for the various events, so I guess we either missed the announcements or were in the wrong place to participate in them (not that we really cared either way). You could book different excursions thru the resort or travel rep. Lots of different things to do from scuba dives, to zip lines to shopping and segway trips. We booked a shopping trip (free) and were quite disappointed with it. We thought we were going to be going to different shops or markets, but instead we were bused to one building which was two levels. There first floor had jewellery with SET prices. Silver, gold, larimar and amber. A bit better quality than what you would find at the beach/market vendors. Upstairs was a cigar outlet and other touristy items. Again, SET prices. If you don’t like barttering(sp) then this is a good place, but very limited in selection and a little more high end. Another downfall, is that you have to wait for the same people who you took the bus with to finish shopping. We had to wait 30 minutes for another couple who were just wandering around looking at the stuff. They weren’t willing to call another bus for them as ourselves and another family (traveling with a small child) were done and wanting to get back to the resort. Some of the excursions were a bit pricey. We were warned at the beginning by our travel rep that some of the excursions didn’t have insurance so you needed to be careful who you booked with. I think you were pretty safe if you booked thru a travel rep or the hotel. On the beach there were always guys trying to sell snorkeling trips or segway tours. Some were reasonably priced. We saw segway tours almost everyday, so I think they were quite popular.

There is a games room where you can play pool or pingpong, but everytime we went the attendant was sleeping or on his cellphone. We tried to rent bikes one day and they didn’t have any bikes for kids and they weren’t really in the best of shape.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
This is the absolute best part of the resort!!!! The hotel grounds-keeping crew kept the grounds impeciably clean. If you have seen pictures of the resort, you will know that it very natural. Lots of grassy areas, man-made ponds and bridges that connect the paths to various areas. There are ducks, geese, egrets, flamingos, turtles, peacocks and so many other animals just hanging around. The pool is a nice size. It was never crowded. BUT trying to get chairs around the pool was difficult. My major complaint with this that people would leave their towels over the pool chairs and then bugger off to do something else, and people were literally gone for hours. My daughter went down to the pool while we were playing cards in the bar overlooking the pool. She got a chair which she assumed was empty (there was actually flipflops underneath the chair). She was in the chair for well over an hour. When we went to get her, the chair people came at the same time, and said that they had their stuff there and that was there chairs. They weren’t rude, just polite in pointing out the fact that their stuff was there. My daughter was mistaken and we got up to leave. Well no more than 5 minutes later, they were gone again, and no word of a lie, those chairs sat empty for at least another hour. There should be a time limit!@! We didn’t have any problems finding chairs at the beach. Finding an empty palapa(sp) was a bit harder, though if you stood at the beach and walked to to the right close to the end of the hotel property, there was plenty of palapas. The downfall was it was further to walk to the beach bar. The beach itself was excellent. Always cleaned. The sea grass that washed up was raked daily, sometimes more depending on the amount. The resort as roped off areas where you can swim in the ocean. Take note: DO NOT SWIM/SNORKEL OUTSIDE OF THE ROPED AREA OR YOU WILL GET HIT BY A BOAT!!!! Seriously, people would snorkel outside of the roped areas and the beach lifeguard would whistle at them and tell them to get on the right side of the rope. And no more than 5 minutes later a motor boat would go racing by at least 2-3 feet by the rope. A couple of times the boat drivers would actually slow down and yell at anyone who was on the outside of the rope. There are reasons why these things are in place, it is for the safety of the resort guests and they need to be respected!!
Other Comments
Our complaints were few and minor compared others we had read/heard. I think the main thing to keep in mind is that it is a very laid back atmosphere. They run things on Dominican Time, not Canadian or American Time. Like I said before, if you treat the with respect and are pleasent, they are really a nice people who work hard to make your time there as best as it can be. Tip when you feel you had good service. We tipped the maid daily (we didn’t bother with those little trinkets from the $1 store) we gave her a couple bucks each day and got excellent service. We tipped the buffet waiters/waitress who we were served by oftened. They remember you and treat you better, believe me. On the hotel in general, it was surprisingly nice and we were pleased. It is dated, but the grounds and beach make up for any shortcomings. How much time do you spend in your room when you think about it. Would I go there again, yes, as a last minute deal, but probably wouldn’t choose this resort if given other options (depending on the options & prices). We paid just over $4000 for the four of us. We thought it was a fair price for what we got.
Restaurants and Bars
There is one main dining buffet and 3 ala carte restaurants (steak, italian and seafood) and a restaurant down by the pool/beach plus at least 6 bars in various locations. We dined most times at the main buffet, but did try the Italian (La Gondilla) and the Steak House (Media Luna). The breakfasts at the main buffet were the same everyday. Now, I had originally thought that there needed to be more variety at the breakfast buffet, but now that I think about it, there was tons of variety. My daughter got sick on the Tuesday, and we weren’t sure if it was because she had a fried egg, that wasn’t really cooked throughly or if it was sunstroke. Maybe both. But she was better in less than 24 hours. Lunches were standard. Hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, deli meats, tacos. Lots of local foods. All very delicious. Dinners at the main buffet were based on themes. The Italian ala cart restaurant was so-so. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a lot of pasta dishes. I had the chicken. It was stuffed with prosciutto and provolone. It was really good, but it was served with mash potatoes, which unfortunatly were quite gross. Very dry and there was some kind of weird spice (I think nutmeg) was added. I had one taste of the potato and that was enough. The service was okay and you have to like your wine glass filled after each sip (or so it seemed). We also ate at the Steak ala carte. The service here was much better, though it took longer to get our meal. Again, bottomless wine glass is a good thing. There is a good variety of meals to choose from. Obviously steak (rib-eye and tenderloin), plus fajitas, ribs and chicken wings. Here you got to choose your appitizers and main meal. We had the potato skins (plate was freakin’hot, but the potatos were only just warm) and we all had the tenderloin and my daughter had the fajitas. Note: ask for your steak WELL DONE, even if you don’t like it well done. We had ours done medium and it was just about raw. My son had his well done, and he ate all of his, and ours were not ediable once you got to the thicker portions. Bars were good. Never had to wait. And the drinks were always cold. They certainly aren’t stingey on the alcohol. Our sunwing rep had warned us about having too many drinks with coconut, as it is a natural laxative. We had maybe one pina colada, and then switched back to the sourballs. No problems. I was disappointed with the swim-up bar. It is completely covered and doesn’t get any sun no matter what time of day.

The water was fine to drink coming from the restaurants or bars. DON’T DRINK THE WATER FROM THE BATHROOMS IN YOUR ROOMS. Use the bottled water to brush your teeth. Common sense, but some people don’t know that.

Rooms
Here is one of the areas where we were slightly disappointed. We were traveling with our family of 4 + my SIL. We had two rooms, so my hubby, myself and our son(11) was in one, and to cut the single occupancy rate, my daughter and SIL in another. There were two "double" beds plus a single sofa/day bed in each room. I quoted the "double" cause calling those beds a double would be very generous. I would say a super-single would be more accurate. Very hard for two adults to sleep comfortabley in one of those beds. The rooms are very dated, but our rooms were always clean and we had plently of towels. The TV worked, but had only about 5-6 english channels. Our airconditioning worked all the time. The bathroom was clean, with the toilet separate(in a separate little room)from the bath and sink. There isn’t a bathroom exhust fan, so modesty from normal bodily sounds takes a backseat. 🙂 The rooms were damp, but your by the ocean so really, that is unavoidable. The beds were comfy and pillows were okay. We had extra fuzzy blankets which helped at night, as the blankets on the bed were thin. Our safe was included in our vacation fees, otherwise you had to pay $24 US for a week. I would strongly suggest using the safe. We never had any problems nor did we hear of anyone having items/money stolen, but better to be safe (no pun intened) then sorry. The locks on the doors were nothing more than our normal bathroom door locks. Very easy to jimmy open. We used the chain locks every night on both the room door and balcony door. One night, my hubby woke up and the door was open as far as the chain allowed, and we got a little freaked out, but then figured out our son didn’t shut the door properly.

We did lose water pressure for a couple of hours one day, and then the electricity went another, but it was for the whole hotel, not just our room.

Vendors in the Hotel
We had one very bad incident that I will mention. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the hotel brings in different vendors to sell their goods. On the Thursday we went down to have a peek at what they offered. I wanted a necklace and we were going to pick up some other things depending on the prices. We went to a table and a vendor named "Tony Montana"(character from Scarface) helped us out. He was very friendly. We picked out some necklaces and he gave us a price (heavily inflated) and we went back and forth for a bit. I told him that we would be back as the necklace that I wanted was at a different table and he didn’t sell it. So he was a bit upset but I promised we would be back. I bought my necklace and a bracelet from another vendor and went back as promised to Tony. My SIL and daughter picked out what they wanted and put it in the "shopping basket" and waited as Tony was with another customer. His face lit up when he saw us and told the other vendors to leave us alone as he helped us first. Fair enough. Anyway, I guess something happened with his current customers and his boss (every sale has to be approved by the boss) and Tony became quite upset at his boss or the customers (don’t know as I am limited in my spanish). Tony came over mumbling and we said "hey. we came back, no worries!" He saw what we wanted and gave me a price of $25 US. I hand over the money and get our necklaces. So we start walking away. We got around the corner and Tony comes up to us and takes the envelope and takes out my daughters necklace and puts the other one back in the envelope. He says "Just say you bought this one at another vendor and you bought only one from me" and takes off. Well Boss-man comes running after us. Yelling "What did you buy"?? I told the truth, I bought two necklaces from Tony. "How much you pay??!!!" he asked, so again, I told him $25 US. He says that I bought both for $5. I said No way, I paid $25. He asks me to go back to the table. He gets Tony and me and says basically that he only got $5 for both, and that I was given the wrong price and to cough up the $20. I told him that what I paid. Boss-man than tries to take my other purchase from the other vendor but I pulled it out of reach and stuffed it in my pocket. So thinking that it was over with I go back to my family and again head toward the stairs. Next thing I knew Boss-man is back yelling at me that I ripped him off and that he would never sell necklaces both for $5. I said I paid TWENTY FIVE He asks me again to come back to the table, so off I go again. He says he could sell one for $5 no problemo but other one, no way. I say fine, take back the necklaces and give me my money back. He hands me the $5. I say no I paid $25!!!! Meanwhile Tony stands between us with his back to his boss, and gives me the $20 THAT HE HAD POCKETED!!!!! He was the one that ripped of his boss!!!
Your Arrival
Our vacation was booked thru Sunwing directly as we had a person travelling from Toronto and our family flying out of Ottawa. The bus ride can be a bit hairy as those hotels don’t seem to be able to accomadate a hugh bus, so there was a lot of backing up and 7 point turns. Once at the Resort, we were greeted by a hotel rep, who explained our check-in procedures and gave us the wrist bands. I will say this: if you treat the hotel staff with respect and consideration, you will be rewarded with great service. An example was that a woman in our group thought it wasn’t nessacary to pay attention and she started to walk away toward the check in desk, she was asked very kindly by the hotel rep to come back as he was explaining important info. She rolled her eyes and looked pained as she listened. The hotel reps have information that is important to your well being and safety at the resort, it is a good idea to listen. :). We were very attentive and instead of having to wait in line, the same hotel rep opened up his computer and took my family right away. No problemo! I overheard many our groups (meaning the bus, not my family) rooms weren’t ready. We had two rooms, and one was ready and one wasn’t. Not a big deal. Try to remember that they are a very laid back culture. You are in their country and their time frames to get things done is VERY different from ours.
Nice natural setting…relaxing vacation.
Hotel Blau Natura Park Eco-Resort
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Rob >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Just got back from Blau Natura Park in Punta Cana. It was a pretty good trip. Natura Park has some really nice features as well as a few negatives PROS Grounds – Very nice natural setting which appeared very well kept. Our room overlooked the pink flamingos which were very entertaining. Also lots of ponds with fish & ducks etc Rooms – Nice spacious clean rooms, each with private balcony or patio, walk-in closet and separate vanity (outside the washroom), which was handy. Our air conditioning worked as did our toilet (most of the time) Beach – Quite a nice beach with white powder sand and lots of palm trees. Be advised, you need to get out at 6AM to claim a hut or you’ll be out of luck. We got one every day and really enjoyed it Food – If you want amazing food, go on a cruise. For an all-inclusive, the food wasn’t bad…I’ve had much worse. The buffet was decent and The Italian a-la-carte was pretty good. I saw a number of other reviews mentioning people getting sick, but my wife and I were healthy the whole time Good snorkeling at the reef. They will shuttle you out for $20 (be aware some operators will try to charge you more). Although, you can probably borrow one of the sea kayaks or peddle boats and go out to the good snorkeling on your own. Lots of colourful fish to see – particularly if you bring bread/buns to feed them! CONS Hard to communicate. Most staff (while friendly for the most part) speak NO English. In the early part of the trip, this was particularly annoying as you are trying to get your bearings and understand where everything is and the general routine of the place. As the week went on and we got into a groove, the language barrier became less of an issue as we no longer needed info from staff Beds were ROCK HARD, making it tough to get a good night sleep. Couldn’t wait to get home to my own bed Beach. There is a lot of sea weed floating in the water so the swimming isn’t great. Also, personally, I enjoy a beach with surf and waves rolling in. This beach did not have that since there is a natural break-water a little off shore which made the water pretty calm However, this may be a good thing if you have kids $24/week charge for a room safe. TACKY, when you market yourself as a 4-5 star resort. We grudgingly paid it and felt much more comfortable keeping our passports and valuables locked up WIFI – expensive. $100/week Luna Steak House – This a-la-carte is awful. Don’t waste your time. Go to the Italian instead, or even the buffet

All in all, not a bad place if you get a decent deal. While I enjoyed the natural setting and wildlife, I probably won’t go back simply because I really prefer a beach with surf and waves (like Cancun, Mayan or Cuba) and there isn’t much if anything to do off the

Loved our stay at the Natura Park Resort.
Hotel Blau Natura Park Eco-Resort
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Gary >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
May, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My husband and I stayed at Natura Park Resort for 7 nights. We have nothing bad to say about this resort. Everyone was very helpful and attended to our every need. Even though we speak or understand very little spanish we had no problem with a language barrier. We will go back to this resort in the future.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We went on the Marinarium reef tour where we snorkled an swam with the stingrays and nurse sharks. We were able to hold and have a picture taken with a very large stingray. The entertainment crew on the boat were great. It was well worth the money and time, very entertaining. We would and did recommend this tour to other people.

There was always something to do day or night. The hotel entertainers were great and worked very hard to keep every age group busy. The best show at night in the resort was the Michael Jackson show. Karoke night was a lot of fun for all ages.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool and the area around the pool was very clean and beautiful. We never had a problem getting chairs at the beach or pool. The beach was just beautiful and pick up and very clean every morning. Plenty of towels available.
Restaurants and Bars
There was plenty of food to choose from for every meal at the buffet. The specialy restaurant was great (seafood). Everyone was always smiling and trying to help you if you needed it. Plenty of bars never had to wait very long to get a drink. We got to know about three bar tenders and one very specail waitress that just kept the drinks coming.
Rooms
Our room was great very clean, the air conditioning worked great and the room was very spacus. The maids very polite and did a beautiful job of cleaning the room.
Your Arrival
We flew in from Ohio on USA 3000 and had no problem with the flight. They only problem was the airline should have had the forms to fill out on the plane for getting into the country. It was very crowded at the counters with everyone trying to fill out the forms at one time.
Awesome Vacation !!!!
Hotel Blau Natura Park Eco-Resort
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Dawn >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Just returned from an awesome week at the Natura Park Beach Eco Resort & Spa in Punta Cana DR. We were there from 8/9/10 to 8/16/10. We booked our trip through Apple Vacations and got an incredible deal for the 8 day 7 night trip. Let me start off by saying I was very nervous before we left, after reading all the negative reviews. I was worried for nothing !!!! when we arrived our room was ready and we were quickly checked in and bags were delivered to our room in no time at all. We ate lunch at the beach side restaurant and were under a beach palapa within an hour. Staff is excellent they are there for anything you need all you have to do is ask them. I got up early every morning and found a palapa on the beach without any problems, there were also plenty of umbrellas at the pool if you got there early everyone was very respectful of the towel policy (you put towels on the space you want while you are away eating or swimming). The room was small but comfortable you had to leave the a/c on the whole day with the fan on high. It does not get ice cold but it gets a comfortable temperature. There were enough English speaking channels on the television that when we were in for the night we could always find something to watch. The room fridge is really just a cooler so things don’t get cold more like cool but that is ok with us we were on vacation and the bars are always open and you do most of your drinking while you are out anyway so this was not a big deal for us. We are used to staying at a suite type resort so we did not know what to expect when we booked this resort. Really it was a great resort and we had an awesome time and would go back again in a heartbeat. It was totally worth the money and then some.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Get up early to make sure you get a spot on the beach or the pool.
Excellent resort friendly helpful people
Hotel Blau Natura Park Eco-Resort
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J. >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We came with Sunwing, good service, choice of meals on the plane, the best meals have had on a plane. Arrival within 10 minutes of expected time.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The animation team were helpful and funny and all really worked very hard from morning till the late evening hours.
For entertainment most nights is was a different group, their costumes were fantastic, some of the best we have seen on the island. Do not miss the Circus and Michael Jackson shows.
Arrival
Reception was quick and efficient, we arrived at noon and were in our room with our luggage within 20 minutes.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach is awesome, only problem is with the towels on the beach chairs, you needed to get out real early if you wanted a covered space.
The grounds are very well kept. The wildlife was amazing and quick friendly what with pink flamingos, ducks, turtles, geese andfish.
Other Comments
Had a great time, we would go back.
If you are planning to buy Dominican rum, DO NOT buy is at the airport, their duty free price is 50 percent higher than what you would pay at the resort. Other types of spirits were about the right price
Restaurants and Bars
We only used the buffet restaurant there was always plenty of food with many choices, sometimes it could have been warmer.
Service at the bars was quick and efficient.
Room Block
12
Room Number
3336
Rooms
The room was quite large, with king size bed our beach towels were there and also a small bottle of rum. The room had a nice size balcony overlooking a pond.
Fun for everyone at the Blau
Hotel Blau Varadero
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Marlene >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Hotel – Super Clean – Comfortable – Spacious – Beautiful. Staff – Super Nice – Welcoming – Outgoing – Happy. Food – Delicious – People should learn to give a little bit (one Pesos can go a long way) especially when the cook is making the hot food! Simple things as giving them a cold glass or two of juice while waiting for your omelet to cook can go a long way too. Even though it was an all-inclusive week vacation, one must remember to give too and not always get 🙂

My heart goes out to all of the staff.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Water polo, Salsa dancing by the pool which I miss so much, Volleyball, Croquet, Soccer, Other Games, fashion show, water ballet shows and of course must not forget the Musical Quiz every night around 8:30pm followed by another show which we watched all everynight that we were there!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean – Easy to Get Around – Super Safe
Other Comments
BLAU – BLAU – BLAU – GO ONCE AND YOU’LL WANT TO GO BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN 🙂 EXCELLENT WORK TO ALL! Our boys 13 & 21 and both were ALWAYS ON THE GO!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t go snorkelling because the waters were too rough the day we wanted to go however we will go next year because we’ve heard nothing but good for that too. Go with the people at the ocean and it’ll only cost $20.00 Pesos/Person and only about 6 people are on the special boat (katamaran).

Restaurants and Bars
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM – All you can eat buffet filled with loads of goodies – something for everyone "GUARANTEED"! Our 21 year old said he felt like a King and ate like a King too! His friends told him other stories about the food etc. and let me tell you, he came back and talked so much about his great vacation (place, food, drinks, people…..EVERYTHING)!
Rooms
Spacious – Clean – Comfortable

Once again, acknowledge the staff that take care of you; they’ll go an extra mile + if you simply recognize them too.

Your Arrival
Courteous – Warm Welcome – Beautiful and must not forget the champagne and orange juice that awaits you in the reception area (All day – everyday)…nothing is a problem 🙂
An amazing B&B!
Hotel Blue Belize
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Corissa >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2009 | Leisure | Family
My teen-aged son and I came to Belize to do some exploration…flew into Cancun, bussed it to Chetumal, then rented a vehicle in Corozal and drove all the way down to Punta Gorda. (Note: unless you rent a vehicle in Belize City, you just might get "stuck" with an older-model, high-mileage vehicle – and it was not cheap – $75 USD/day!) I found BlueBelize when I searched online for places to stay in PG, so I really didn’t know what to expect – just the reviews that others had left. But whatever I DID expect, those expectations where met – and exceeded! We didn’t get to meet Rachel, but Dan, his sons, and his friendly canines made us feel right at home. (My son missed his dog, so Mrs. Pips and Maxine helped fill that spot!) The flat was large, bright, and airy – and even in the PG heat and humidity, we were pleasantly surprised that we actually didn’t need A/C! The flat was outfitted with a fridge, microwave, hot plate, coffee maker (and coffee), kettle (and tea), plus dishes, pots, and utensils – and a Brita water filter jug (we didn’t have to go out and buy bottled water). And the high-speed internet was always on – making it easy to let people back in Canada know what they were missing! The breakfasts consisted of homemade zucchini loaf, banana muffins, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, fresh OJ, tea and coffee…perfect start for a day of exploration! The view was spectacular – right on the water front. BlueBelize’s location in the town was perfect – a bit removed from the main area, which cut down on noise and traffic, but everything was still in walking distance. It was nice to take daytime walks in the quiet and friendly neighbourhood. The tree out front was a haven for birds – and that friendly igauna. Who needs an alarm clock when birds can do the same thing!? One morning, my rented 1995 ford explorer didn’t start. Dan went out of his way to get it going – my son and him spent over an hour working on it. He didn’t want payment for his services, so I left him (and his sons) some gifts.

Would I recommend this place to a friend? MOST DEFINITELY! BlueBelize was a home away from home – hmmm…but my home back in Canada was under freezing conditions – so BlueBelize was BETTER than home!! Can’t wait to come back!

A wonderful experince
Hotel Blue Cove
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Razial >  1 contribution(s) Colombia
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | Solo
I came to San Andres and became enchanted with the Island and its people and now live here. When I first arrived here I lived at several different Hotels and one private home. The best place I found for me was located on the South end of the Island called the Blue Cove. I spent several weeks there. and had a great time. Its about 20 minutes from the airport (The Hotel van will come and get you if you tell them when you expect to arrive. Its Free) The rooms were clean with air conditioning, flat screen cable TV. The price included all meals,snacks during the day, all the Hard and soft drinks you can consume and a wonderful staff who are mostly" ISLANDERS" who speak English. (Most of the high price Hotels at the North end do not speak English and there staff are 95% Spanish speaking mainland born Colombians who prefer to cater to Colombians only. ) The manager of the Blue Cove Judy Ward will do almost anything to make your stay pleasurable. There is a Restaurant, a Sea side bar and a sea side Hot tub pool. Its a small Hotel at this time only 44 rooms. They also have a dive and snorkel shop, Spa, and Kayak rentals. Buses stop in front and can take you down town shopping. The view and sea is the best on the Island. Also very quite. The best part is the price 90,000 pesos or about $45.00 US per day depending on the season. I have posted some pictures and would be happy to send more if asked. Also I have a lot more first hand info about this Island and its original people. You can email me at Jeep2006@live .com for more info.
BLUE BAY, Cayo Coco family trip
Hotel BlueBay Cayo Coco
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Michelle >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We have been to Cuba in the past so my expectations were where they should be. I know the food is not great and the mixed drinks are not what I am use to. Having said that I was pleasantly surprised by our stay in Blue Bay Hotel. When we arrived all was good, Baggage handling is no different then any other air port a pain but everyone gets through it. The bus ride was nice and quick. When we arrived they had our rooms ready and served everyone drinks (nice touch). We did arrive at night so we were tired and just wanted to get to it. They delivered our luggage quickly. We had our two kids with us in a separate room. I was worried they would not be joined and they were. The rooms were clean and well stocked. I brought some dollar store things for our maid and felt weird leaving them. She in turned wrote us Thank you notes. She was excellent the whole week. The food was what Cuba has… I don’t care for it at all but it was ok and no one got sick. Same with the mixed drinks they just are not good but everyone that reads up on Cuba knows this so no one should be complaining. The beach was WONDERFUL they cleaned it with a tractor which was also nice. You did have to get out early for covered areas but again that is normal. My husband took the kids on a catamaran fishing for about 3 hours cost was about $75.00 CDN and they loved it. They caught three huge fish which we gave to the guys that took them out. We also rented a jeep which is really a tracker. This is the only BAD thing that happened on the trip. Beside Blue Bay is another hotel DO NOT GO THERE TO STAY OR RENT A CAR. The beach is awful all rocks and when we took the so called jeep we new it looked a bit beat up but that is normal. After we paid them $75.00 CDN we had to put another $30.00 CDN gas in. this is when we realized the gas gauge did not work, turn signal was broken, windows would not work, and the worst there was a rag where you fill up the car. They were basically to bad for you I already have your money.

Other then that Our family enjoyed our trip and the weather was hot and sunny everyday. Though I won’t go back to Cuba because I have been there a couple of times I would suggest people go to Blue Bay for a clean cheap trip. The people are friendly and know what to expect and you won’t be let down.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
They tried to do activities some days were better then others. People would take part and that is when it was fun and funny. Other days no one would get up so they would give up. They tried so I will give them a thumbs up.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool was great and warm.. They cleaned it everyday actually scrubbed it down by hand. It was warm and they had a net etc. for the kids to play with.
Restaurants and Bars
Bars and food were ok typical Cuba.
Rooms
Were clean and large. Bathroom was well stocked. I asked the maid twice to change the sheets in both my room and my kids. She happily did so. Reminder… TAKE SOMETHING TO KILL THE MOSQUITO’S IN YOUR ROOM AND SOMETHING TO PUT ON YOU. They do spray but that is not enough.
Wonderful Vacation
Hotel BlueBay Cayo Coco
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Lori >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This was our first time to Cayo Coco but have been to Varadero prevously. Resort is small so it makes getting from one place to another easy. Remember in Cuba they don’t have alot but what they do have is beautiful beaches, friendly people and warm weather. We will definetly go back to this resort again.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
there is paddle boats, kayaks, hobi-cats and snorkeling as well as volleyball, dance lessons etc. Lots to do if you want or you can just lay back relax and read a book or people watch.

We did the power boat and pillar beach excursion, it was great, snorkelling not so good really merky water.

Arrival
Arrived in Cayo Coco safely, passed through the airport with no problems on to the bus and arrived at resort. Check in was quick and we had our room in no time at all, taken to room on a tram and he gave us a bit of a tour around resort before getting to the room. Resort is small so it makes getting from one place to another easy.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach is beautiful, lots of chairs and shade. Staff is friendly and the grounds are kept clean. Pool is large with a swim up bar. Staff are always doing something around the pool, dance lessons, water exercises etc.
Restaurants and Bars
Buffet was clean and food was good, no there is not a huge selection but there was always something that satisfied the pallet. Snake bar is open 24 hours. Great french fries and grilled ham and cheese sandwhiches.
Rooms
Room was large and clean, our maid kept is cleaned. Small balcony with a couple of chairs and table. Hopefully you don’t spend alot of time in your room because the beach is beautiful.
It exceeded our expectations
Hotel Breezes (formerly Starfish) Trelawny Resort
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Jan >  5 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2009
Arrival: Feb 10 – 17 Flight was on time, the bus for transfer to the hotel was not at the airport when we arrived, but it did arrive within half an hour….it took approx. 35 minutes to arrive at hotel….smooth check in….as I was first in line!!

Rooms

Rooms are in a need of an upgrade, rather disappointing on initial arrival, but after a few days, the room grew on us……bathroom sadly needs major makeover, but we had lots of hot water most days and lots of pressure for showers etc…the tv had tons of channels, could even watch our local city tv station from Toronto……..only problem is, the volume was quite loud and could not be turned down…had a nice balcony and they supplied a bar for your wet clothes.

Restaurants and Bars

main dinner restaurant left alot to be desired, lunch and breakfast were fine…we upgraded and ate at the speciality restaurants..Casablanca, and Guiseppes….wonderful….men need long pants for Casablanca and no open toed shoes were allowed either…….some menu items were not extra….i.e. the lasagna was wonderful and it was included….at Guiseppes….wonderful staff especially Adrian at the Casablanca and Caroldean at Guiseppes….most bar staff very friendly…especially at the pool bar and boy, are they over worked…needed another bar by the pool….too many line ups most of the day…would recommend a Hummingbird drink……….wonderful and healthy with a fresh banana in it!!

Beach/Pools/Grounds

grounds were lovely, well kept and clean…pools by the beach were amazing…the private beach located to the right of the resort, is absolutely stunning, the water was so warm and you could walk out quite far…

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

lots of poolside activities, entertainment at night was mostly bands, but not every night…….good music…did not go on any tours….

Other Comments

this was definately a three star resort in many ways, and in some it exceeded our expectations….lots of families with children, so if that is a problem, you may want to stay somewhere else…heard that they are changing ownership in October and becoming a Breezes, so the price will definately go up, but hopefully there will be some renos done at the same time……..all in all…considering everything, I would say it was definately rated a 7 out of 10 most days…

Arrival: Feb 10 – 17
Flight was on time, the bus for transfer to the hotel was not at the airport when we arrived, but it did arrive within half an hour….it took approx. 35 minutes to arrive at hotel….smooth check in….as I was first in line!!
Rooms
Rooms are in a need of an upgrade, rather disappointing on initial arrival, but after a few days, the room grew on us……bathroom sadly needs major makeover, but we had lots of hot water most days and lots of pressure for showers etc…the tv had tons of channels, could even watch our local city tv station from Toronto……..only problem is, the volume was quite loud and could not be turned down…had a nice balcony and they supplied a bar for your wet clothes
TRIP TO REMEMBER!
Hotel Breezes (formerly Starfish) Trelawny Resort
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K >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Jun, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I was VERY dissapointed to see that the beds were not very comfy, the room looked NOTHING like the pictures. It was very run down and the tiolet leaked. The front desk was not helpful on several occasions, but the rest of the staff was nice. The food was great. The beaches were cool the water was warm too. If you are on a budget like we were, it is ok but if you could spend the extra $, I would suggest a different hotel in Montego Bay.

P.S. Make sure you bring bug spray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Perfectly Pleasurable
Hotel Breezes (formerly Starfish) Trelawny Resort
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Donya >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This place introduces you to an amazing, unspoiled view of the countryside, while allowing you to experience an amazing experience for an amazing price. When they said everything was included, they meant it. The only extras are the jet skis and the scuba diving. We snorkeled, toured on a glass bottom boat, played on float rings, rode the banana boat, etc. Also, my daughter LOVED the FREE games in the arcade!

If you are looking for a relaxing atmosphere, that offers a big bang for the buck, check out this hotel!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There was quality entertainment offered EVERY night. There were extraordinary and well known groups that performed. Throughout the day, the entertainment department filled the time with fun games and competitions, all with an age appropriate prize. Kenisha was our absolute favorite with her bubbly personality and crazy dance moves! They even offer a club for those who want to dance and continue hanging out, after the shows are over.

We toured the countryside, with our FABULOUS driver, Harry. If you want someone you can trust to take you around for a reasonable price, look for Harry. He’s usually sitting out in front of the hotel in his White Toyota Corolla. He’s the BEST!!! He stayed with us the whole time, even when we went to an Independence Day celebration and then a club.

Arrival
From the moment we arrived at Breezes Trelawny, we felt welcomed by those who took our bags and offered us drinks. Check in was literally a breeze, and we were quickly in our rooms. The rooms were fine; they had all the amenities needed and were very clean.
After we settled, we descended down the stairs and were treated like royalty by all the employees. The people were the difference between an okay hotel and an amazing one.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The lifeguards were awesome and even rescued a little boy while we were there. Ricardo was the absolute BEST!!

The beach is BEAUTIFUL! And they even have a small island right off shore. The pools were large and accommodated a vast array of guests. There were two waterslides, pool tables, a swim up bar, a volleyball net, tables and chairs and lounge chairs in the water.

Other Comments
People who have complained about the staff, where probably like the ones we saw yelling and demanding the DJ to change the music or pitching fits in the lobby because they didn’t like something minor. Or those who murmured words of complaint because the room hair dryer took forever to dry their hair, and they had to get to dinner. People can be ridiculous with their expectations and for the value, we don’t see how people can find things to gripe about. For our family, anything that arose, the staff immediately responded and took care of the situation. Of course, our family treated them with respect and gratitude.
Restaurants and Bars
The food was great. The buffet offered a large variety of food, with a tasty sampling of authentic cuisine. We like Jamaican food and thought they did a great job providing such a vast spread that also tasted really good. The staff was on point, even remembering all the members of our party as soon as we walked in. We loved Sasha Gay, Tamara, Stephny. Sophia made an awesome omelette every morning. The two specialty restaurants, Casablanca and Munasan, were good. Casablanca, the Italian/French restaurant provided a nice, comfortable atmosphere, with excellent cuisine. The maître d’ and the wait staff were wonderful! The snapper was the most delicious of all the items we ordered. Munasan, the Japanese steakhouse, was pretty good, but really hot. My daughter did not enjoy it, and I ended up taking her to the buffet to eat afterwards.

The bar drinks were good. We did not find that the alcohol was watered down. And if it was, its ALL YOU CAN DRINK! How can you complain about that? The bartenders, Alister, Yvonne, Germaine, Wilfred and all the others always took care of us and remembered from our first drink, what we liked to order.

Rooms
We had two rooms on opposite sides, as we requested. And were given ocean view rooms, even though we paid for mountain view. The rooms were a good size, especially considering you don’t go to Jamaica to hang out in the room.
the time of our lives
Hotel Breezes (formerly Starfish) Trelawny Resort
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chris >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
we had the time of our lives here …everything was amazing the kids club and the gals that work there were amazing. My son wanted to go daily he had a great time. If you use kids club ask for Candy and yvonne wonderful ladies. The games people always had fun with them Kevan Keneisha and everyone else went above and beyond their jobs. The rooms are very simple but clean. the grounds were kept immaculate the pools were good. The front desk was nice Lisa marie was amazing. the circus crew as well amazing… I could go on and on but I love this resort and looking back to our 2 week holiday there over the holidays. Check out the japaneese restauraunt excellent the Italian not great but Im italian so given that it was good. We love this hotel … If your lloking for fancy rooms then this isnt for you but if you want good food,good entertainment, family time and time away from the kids this is the place….If you go make freinds with the entertainment crew they are good people

enjoy

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
on resort everything imagineable
off lots use reggae tours amazing
Arrival
Arrived Jan 1 2010
Beach/Pools/Grounds
excellent waterslides and splash pad for kids hot tubs,waterslides games room mini golf basketball nets
Restaurants and Bars
munsaun japaneese casablanca Italian seashell bar and sncks and the buffett
Rooms
room 312
Would not recommend, not as advertised, not suitable for the 14-18 age group
Hotel Breezes Bahamas
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Catriona Fraser >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
No water skiing, no sign of a tennis pro, slow service, noisy all the time, shabby and in need of a massive upgrade
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Advertised activities not all available, other activities on timed schedule, would have preferred to enjoy activities when we wanted, not when they wanted
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Water too cold to swim in pools, hot tub OK, grounds OK, they (and the hotel)all look much better in photos than in reality!
Restaurants and Bars
Cafeteria college style, also noisy, food OK. 2 restaurants with weird booking arrangements
Rooms
Shabby furnishings, scratched furniture, carpets coming off floor, inadequately soundproofed
Your Arrival
Could not go to rooms for another 2 hours, although changing rooms and showers were available
This was a dream vacation
Hotel Breezes Bella Costa
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Anne from Ottawa >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2009
When: April 24 – May 3 Family – husband, wife and daughter. Amazing Family Resort! I love this place! This was our first time to Cuba. I loved this resort. I am planning to go back again next year. We stayed in the villas, so I cannot comment on the rooms in the main building. Our room was spacious, clean, and comfortable and had 2 balconies both with views of the ocean, truly amazing. We found that when we left a peso or two for the maids each day, they did incredible towel art on your beds! Everyone is so friendly and helpful and also appreciative of anything extra that you give them whether it be pesos or perfume, shampoo, etc. We bought extra stuff to give them and they loved it. Especially hard to get is shaving cream so next time we will bring more little cans to give away. They really like baseball caps too. Please note that Canadian money is useless to them so don’t even think about tipping them with it. The location is purely heaven on earth. Gorgeous beach and ocean. I cannot imagine anything better then these turquoise waters – anything else would be a let down. The resort has a lovely pool, lots of cabana loungers for everybody, and great, well kept gardens. The food is so good at the buffet that next time I will not eat at the other restaurants on site as I preferred the incredible buffet. Lots of variety for everybody, the fruit especially is so delicious and fresh, lots of cheese, chicken, pork and fish…not so much beef though. The custom- made individual pizzas everyday by the beach are unbelievable. The fresh fruit juice in the morning is incredible. Lots of activities to keep you laughing and amused. Our family appreciated the fact that there is no topless bathing allowed either at the resort or on their beach, so it is a great resort geared for families. It was perfect for our family and there were lots of young families with little children there. This is not a "swinging singles pick up club" kind of place, but there are other hotels on the strip that are more geared to that sort of thing if you are looking for that element. If you are a shop-a-holic, there is not much to buy in Varadero other than rum and cigars. We did not go there to shop so that suited us just fine. The local Cubans sell little trinkets on the beach, like shell necklaces etc that are quite cute and cheap. They do not bother the tourists, they just set up their stuff for you to browse.

My husband did the day trips which he really enjoyed like going to Havana. I preferred just to relax by the water.

The only negative thing to speak of is not the resort itself but the tourists at the resort leaving their drinking trash around the grounds, pool and beach for the Cubans to pick up after them. I was embarrassed and disgusted. The Cubans work so hard, 14 hours a day with only one day off, the last thing they need to do is pick up plastic cups from tourists too lazy to put them in in the bins. The beach would be littered at the end of each day…..a disgusting shame. Yet every morning it is spotless because they work all night to clean it up. If you go, be considerate and pick up after yourself. Another frustrating thing is Havana airport. On the way home, the whole computer system crashed leaving us delayed an extra 2 hours…but there are no seats in the tiny airport so we had to stand or sit on the floor…not fun. Apparently the delays are very regular so go being prepared to be delayed. At least we now know what to expect when we return.

Aside from the inconsiderate tourists and Havana airport, this was a dream vacation.

Nice place
Hotel Breezes Bella Costa
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Paul >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This was my 6th trip to Varadeo and the first at the Bella Costa. Great all round. Food was good compared to other places I have stayed. Stay in a bungelow if you can.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Night entertainment fairly good.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Great
Other Comments
Will return without question
Restaurants and Bars
Italian the best resturant , Japansee good, Cuban not the best.
Rooms
Good,
Your Arrival
Excellent porter Josha
Great Experience
Hotel Breezes Bella Costa
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Vicki >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Business | Family
I travelled with my 15 year old daughter. This was my third time to Cuba and although it was not the most beautiful resort I have stayed at, I have to say it was the best in alot of respects. It’s a little run down …could use a face lift, but was very clean
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There were activities and games during the day and the staff were very good at getting a lot of people to participate. They had entertainment every night at 9:30. Typical cuban show with dancers and music but we saw one of the best magic shows I have ever seen.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool was small but adequate. water was a bit cold as well but once you got in it was very refreshing. The beach was beautiful with lots of chairs and cabanas available, so you didn’t have to be there at the crack of dawn to get one. Lots of chairs around the pool as well. They were never all occupied
Other Comments
I would definitely recommend this resort, especially for families with kids of all ages. It was fully booked when we were there but never seemed overcrowded. Great vacation.
Restaurants and Bars
The food at this resort was very good. Jimmy’s buffet had a large assortment to choose from and the food was fresh and delicious. We ate at all of the a-la-cartes and they were all awesome. My favourite was the Cuban restaurant. The beach grill was great for lunch as well. It had a nice buffet and a station where you could get freshly made pizza almost all day. The pizza was excellent, although you had to wait quite a while in line during the lunch hours Jimmy’s buffet has a lobster night every Thursday. Get there right at 6:30 though or you will be waiting in a big line.
Rooms
The room was quite spacious and clean. The room itself and the bathroom were tired looking(needs some updating), but was adequate. Lots of closet space but not many drawers. Our cable kept cutting out when we had HBO on but no big deal. You get one bottle of water the day you arrive and then have to keep filling it up at the bar because they do not give you any more after that. Our maid was wonderful and made beautiful displays with our towels and fresh flowers an our beds. We left her 2 pesos a day and she left us a nice note each day telling us how happy our tip made her and how grateful she was.
Your Arrival
We arrived on Saturday January 30 for a one week stay. We flew Sunwing and had a wonderful flight. Getting our luggage was very quick and we were ready to roll on the bus in about 20 minutes. Though it states that it is only 35 minutes from the airport it took over an hour because of all the stops the bus made to drop other guests off at different resorts.
Check in was quick and our room was ready when we got there (12:00 noon)
Not all it is cracked up to be.
Hotel Breezes Bella Costa
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Linda >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Bella Costa is an old hotel that needs to be refurbished. Taken over by Breezes approx. 3 yrs. ago. Staff are excellant, very pleasant and helpful. Friends found cockroaches and ants in their room, but we did not. Had a water leak on our section of the floor. Pool was fine, lots of chairs. Weather was so so, some days very windy couldn’t used beach as it was too cold.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Approx. 4 -5 games per day. Winner gets bottle. Took excursion into Havana. Not bad but because is was on a Monday some of the attractions were not open. Tour of castle limited to one area. Tour guide nice and informative. Lunch provided on tour, wasn’t bad. Kids begging all the time. When you say no they will continue to ask for money. Just walk away.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Nice. Took the long walk into Varadaro by the beach, 4 1/2 klms. one way. Clean. Life guards good at posting flags water conditions and jelly fish. Lots of lounges and sunshade.
Other Comments
I haven’t decided if I would ever to return to Cuba. Once was enough. If you go outside the resort and need to use the facilities take some kleenex with you as they don’t have any or they will ask for money for some. Shopping is not great, just junk at the markets, same everywhere. Wood carvings very nice, but do not think they would last in Canada because of the temperature here. Would likely crack and dry out. Vendors will bargin. We also took a taxi (old car) into town and it was a nightmare. Not all taxis as bad as the one we had. Took a taxi back to hotel from town and used the newer vehicle. Cost in the area of $5.00 p. Lots of places to drink in town, didn’t try any food.
Restaurants and Bars
Jimmy’s restaurant good. Great staff, very helpful, you ask and they try to accomodate you. Specialty restaurant’s not all they are cracked up to be. Italian restaurant presented you with a menu, but didn’t have everything available. Head waiter rude. Japanese rest. not bad. Fish was good. Lobster on Thursday nights at Jimmy’s. Beach rest. not bad, good french fries, pizza. Birds flying around all the time.
If you decided to tip you will get great service. Seems they pay more attention to those with money.
Rooms
Room not ready when we got there, had to wait couple of hours. Rooms cleaned every day. Our room overlooked the pool, ocean and stage. Entertainment ended at approx. 11 PM so don’t try to sleep before that.Safe in the room. Towels not bath size, but adequate. No face cloths.
Your Arrival
Trip from Toronto to Cuba was a long process as is with every trip. Arrival was fine, bus trip from airport to hotel not very long, but had to stop off at different hotels, that’s expected. Greated by friendly front desk staff. Drinks awaiting your arrival.
Time of our life !
Hotel Breezes Bella Costa
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Velma >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family
Travelled as a group of nine. 4 adults, 5 teenagers. We flew sunwing from Winnipeg. The staff on the flight were polite, helpful and fun-loving. They had a contest going to guess the combined ages of all the stewardesses and my sister-in-law guessed right and won a box of wine! Check into the hotel was smooth and trouble free. The staff at the hotel are very nice and so gracious. A wonderful resort for families!! Lots of activities for the teenagers on and off the beach. The rooms were clean, the maid service was excellent. The food at the buffet, grill restaurant and a la cartes ( Cuban, Japanese, Italian) was top notch!! This was our 3rd visit to Cuba and my sister and brother-in-laws first and we will definitely be returning to this resort!!

K & V Dunn, Hartney, Manitoba, Canada

Wanna Bang for the Peso ! ( Kinda Short but Sweet ) — > SuperClubs-Breezes-Jibacoa CUBA
Hotel Breezes Jibacoa
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The Derry’s >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Travelled from Gander, NL., Canada on the 31st of March 2010 and flew out of Cuba on the 7th of April 2010. I used a very good agent at a.buckle@tpi.ca who was patient and found us a very good deal & resort combination. Sunwing was beyond our expectations. Flights ahead of schedule both south and northbound, great onboard staff, meals, ammenities and on the ground resort personel available 6 days a week to address any concerns. Takes a private airline to set the benchmark eh? Super resort 4.5 / 5 and very good value for the $$ money. No kids under 14 years of age permitted. It only has 250 rooms thus no line ups or crush of people for a beach chair, meals, drink, etc. This resort is not on the Varadaro peninsula. In fact, it is west of Varadaro in "Jibacoa Bay" (on north side of Cuba aprox 80 miles south of Miami. Also known for some of the best coral reef snokeling)about 1 hr by comfortable air conditioned full size charter bus from the airport. That suited us just fine, a resort ~ with privacy. The captial of Cuba – Havana – is only 1 hr away, again west, from this resort which we found convenient for excursions. One gets to see the country side enroute to exploring Cuba! * If you want to party like stray dog or cat ~ this place is not for you * Relax to the max or pedal to your own speed ~ and hit the bunk by 11PM or 2 AM (if you enjoy the disco)then you’ve found it ~

Good food, clean rooms, beverages of ones’ choice, safe enviroment, and varied clientele.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We, as a family or four with two teenage boys 18&16, had a grand time at this resort. They boys bumped into some Albertan male buddies, were maintenance free and us secure in them being safe / well-behaved for our stay. They attended the nightly outdoors theatre shows with us that were put off by the resort @ 9:10 PM to 10:30 PM, and then slinked into the disco to socialize, sans parents,afterward. As parent were never concerned about thier safety on the resort or swimming. Most here are Canucks and look out for each other I must say! #1 two boys did resort scuba diving x2 $30 each for 1.5 hours , #2 my wife and I had a massage $20 each for 1/2 hour each, and #3 did a hike up a mountain (free by from resort), the base of which the resort is situated upon. #4 We all did an excursion to Havana by taxi vs a bus and the driver walked us around old/new Havana/huge flea market, spoke good English and had an exceptional knowledge of his countries history. Regretably, I’ve got my doubts most Canadians could recite a similar history lesson. He could also press the flesh to get us bumped up in a lineup in this busy city. It cost 4 of us $70 peso’s total or about $100 bucks CDN – we left at 8:30 AM and home at 5:30 PM ~ awesome. Just enquire around. #5 I rented one 2-seater scooter on the resort for about $15 for three hours and booted around at my own speed. Went to St. Cruz nearby and took photo’s of that small town about 20 km west of the resort. A photographers ~ mecca. #6 We did the Costa Blanca catamaran excursion, the only excursion we went through the Sunwing representative to book. We did the $69 dollar tour to just "watch a dolphin show" (don’t pay double to swim with dolphin’s unless you choose) At 7:45 AM the bus departed from our resort to the Varadaro peninsula, a nice air conditioned drive to get there, only 1 hr, but scenic . At 9:00 AM we left Varadero peninsula on the catarman and steamed to set anchor at 10:45 AM and did some group snorkeling. All equipment provided but if you have your snorkeling gear bring it will save you "water time" ! Lots of room for gear/kit bags on board. How big ? we are talking a 64′ boat here folks ~ no slouch of a craft. All drinks, free. At about 1:30 PM we arrived at Waterworld, an island, where we docked and swam in the whitest, warmest of beaches, shopped at a market set up for the day and had lunch; lobster, crab, chicken, favorite beverage, ~ again fill your boots. A very good tour and good value.

Again, you could do all of the above, some of it or, none of it ~ tasters choice 🙂

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean, large pool and two jacuzzi tubs on the same deck.

Grounds are tended to daily by ground personnel so no coconuts fall on YOUR ‘coconut’. No issues.

Other Comments
Bring stuff for the kids and adults…….. Cubans love baseball hats, esp., the one with the ProFit head band. These folks (from walking to the gereatric ward) practice baseball with everything from a junk of palm tree and a rock, to a bat and ball, if fortunate enough. Also medicine (and oddly disposable diapers) are very expensive or not attainable. I regret not bringing more "stuff", giving money is one thing but despite that Cubans often cannot attain what they "need" My suggestion, when you have your next visit with your family physician, ask for few/bag full of the sample pharmacutical products that medical pracitioners get from drug representatives and take them to Cuba. Check the visitor site, one is only allowed 10, get this, "kilograms" per person. Since our stay was over the Easter break, and Cubans are Catholic, my wife brought down Easter Bunnies and on the moped tour we went to the hardest spots (not crime ridden – very little crime/drugs in Cuba)stopped and gave out items to the kids. Not one melted ! The DERRY’s – NFLD
Restaurants and Bars
Buffet – great. Most evening there is musical entertainment. These groups could easliy be cover bands in Canada and amass a small fortune. The breakfast egg omelettes are remarkable (with or without the yolk). Full variety of hot/cold food, soup, fruit, if you can’t get it here ~ stay home and eat TV dinners. Beach bar – wicked fries (I like them crispy, cheese burgers x2 or x3 patties, chicken & pizza – fill your boots – justifies the selection of no egg yolk at breakfast, see ? ) Both the Italian and Cuban restaurants are good and formal in the sense of a dining experience. With two teenage boys, or big eaters, don’t expect to "dine and dash" You are entitled to visit each only once in your 7 day stay.

If I had to pay out of pocket what my two ‘seagull’ sons ate during the week at this resort ~ I would be a pauper.

Rooms
Cleaned daily. Again are clean, modern, comforable (for the time spent in them) and a good night sleep after a day in the hot Cuban sun. Rooms have a key locking safe, small fridge 2’x2’x2′, a hairdryer, and a converter from 220Volts to CDN voltage, all provided free. TV’s are on satelitte 20+ channels.

NFLD’ers even get NTV news on channel #36 ~ daily.

Your Arrival
I made 2 boo boo’s … #1 I failed to heed the previous posts and did not bring a thermal mug for beverages. A MUST have, for both hot and esp., cold beverages. Saves repeated trips back and forth to the bar. Beer / hard drinks come in a 6 oz plastic cup on each endless serving. Oh, and for smokers (I am not) cigarettes are .60 cents a pack. No tax on anything, the sticker is what you pay. #2 Take a hoodie/fleece or 3 season jacket and long pants/sweats for the nightly outdoor stage performances on the resort. You won’t want to miss them ! Evenings, despite being a low of 18C, with the wind and your sun burn can feel cool. Ironically enough ~ have a fall outfit at the ready and in your suitcase if you want to be comfortable and enjoy a cold beverage at the same time. Nice to know :

If you are a ‘face cloth’ person (we were not) you will need to bring your own, only towels of the standard size (ample) are provided.

Wonderful Time
Hotel Breezes Panama Resort & Spa
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Lauraine >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Sep, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This trip was our 20th all-inclusive vacation. We got a great deal, $1720.00 taxes incl. for two incl. prem.ocean view balcony room and VIP seating on Sunwing. We’ve been to nine different cuban destinations, six dom rep. dest., Jamaica, Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela and now Panama. We’ve stayed at 3 to 5 star resorts. The Superclub Breezes Panama Spa has been our over all favorite. Even if there is still a few minor things to iron out. The staff and manager do their very best to make everyone happy. They are all open to any suggestions. In past reviews there has been some negative reviews, all I can say if you are hard to please, stay at home. Then you won’t spoil other peoples vacation by your complaints. There are just some people that you just cannot please.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Being this resort is so new, they could use visitor in put. Suggest different things that could be done to entertain guests from other resorts that you’ve visited. They are all so open to any suggestions.
Arrival
Going through customs went smoothly. The Sunwing Rep. gave us an interesting guided tour of our trip from the airport to the resort. You were offered a drink upon boarding the bus and were told that if you needed to make a pit stop they would do so. On the bus we were given packages with our room keys, & excursion pamphlets.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was clean, and had beautiful marble white & black glistening sand. You could walk a long way in both directions. The red flag was up most of the time. When this happens be careful. My sister-in-law was in the ocean half way up her calf when a wave came along and swept her into deeper water, she needed help to get up. The pools were very clean. The waterslide was fun. The grounds were very well maintained.
Other Comments
KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK BREEZES PANAMA SPA
Restaurants and Bars
All of the a la carte restaurants were excellent!!! The service was wonderful. We are not picky eaters, but most a la cartes at other resorts either serve small fancy portions or the food isn’t great. This was the first resort that we’ve been to that my husband didn’t have to go to the buffet afterwards. The buffet had a great variety of choices. If you didn’t see it, just ask and they would get it for you.
Rooms
The rooms were clean, modern and spacious. The shower had the best water pressure and always plenty of hot water. The pr. oc. bal. room did not have a fridge, but the manager was so accomodating, that if you needed one for ie: baby formula or medication, I’m sure we would have had one right away. The rooms were made up even when I left a do not disturb sign on the door. If you retire early or are a light sleeper Block 1 (#1502 was our room) was right above the disco and piano bar and was busy til 2 or 3 am., not a problem for us though.
Good; not great. Glad we went; wouldn’t go back though.
Hotel Breezes Panama Resort & Spa
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Jay & Jenn >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Panama is a unique place to go right now; you have the relaxed resort to enjoy, the beaches, the Canal to explore, as well as a city that’s been labeled a world heritage site. But it’s also going through a transformation right now, since the Americans left the nation in 1999. The city is being gutted and rebuilt (literally) to bring in more multinational corporations, condos, and tourism; the latter of which is just starting to blossom. Consequently, there are still a lot that needs to be learned with experience in regards to how travelers to resorts expect to be serviced. In addition, because the Panamanians lived quite separate from the Americans when they occupied the Canal Zone, English is only spoken by 14% of the population; which does not make for easy conversations when shopping, or when trying to communicate what you want to some of the resort staff.

In terms of weather, we went in August, which is the rainy season. We’ve gone in August to Mexico and the Dominican in the past, with great weather. Panama is a bit different in that it gets quite a bit of rain, sometimes their wet season lasts 8 months. On our trip, clouds dominated. Usually, they get some mix of sun and cloud in the morning; solid clouds by noon, and rain in the afternoon/evening. During our seven days, only three days of complete sun were enjoyed. The other days, were cloudy, with spotty showers. However, we were lucky to be off the resort on those rainy days, so it’s not like we were sitting around hoping to get tanned. But if you want a vacation with solid sun the majority of the days, I would not travel to Panama in the wet season.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Because they built the resort in this area, there is little else right now. There are no vendor stands, or any kind of local market that you can walk to. Down the beach is a small fisher village. Next door is a time share condo; with very few people there. You can walk for a couple hours on the beach and see no one. But, this means that you spend a lot of time on a bus. 2 hours from the airport makes for a longer day of travelling on your way into Panama and on the way out. In addition, most day trips will involve at least 4 hours on a bus round trip. A couple tours have you ona bus for 6 hours. Ask in advance how long you’re on a bus for – we found that the bus really tired us out more than anything, and that ‘s one of the reasons we wouldn’t return to Panama at least for a decade or so when more things start to pop up closer to the resort area.
Arrival
The airport is efficient with no worries. The duty free shops are all over, selling much of the same merchandise, but some had more variety than others. When you arrive, a truck will take your luggage to the resort. We had no issues with that. Remember to set aside $40USD per person for the departure tax. When you check your baggage as you leave Panama, you will have to cough it up. The Hotel itself is quite isolated, in the dry belt of the country. You’ll still get clouds and rain, but nowhere near what the rest of the country gets – in the city it rained every day we were there. But the resort only got rain in the daytime 3 times, and it was brief. It rained through the late night a lot – but few care about rain at 3am. The hotel is small, with 4 buildings, a slew of pools, and the beach. Building one is the largest, main structure with the lobby. Building two, three and four are on a slight slope heading down to the beach, with 4 being the only one with direct views of the ocean for a lucky few. I’d recommend avoiding anything on the 2nd and 3rd floor of buildings one or two; that faces the pool area of the resort – at night, a lot of loud, latin hip hop music is played from the sports bar (bottom floor, building two) which would disturb many people. Many seem shocked that the hotel wants to copy your passport, but it’s common in Europe for hotels to keep your passport numbers, so it didn’t phase me. The front desk now has a small photocopier out front to expedite this process; but we saved time by bringing copies ourselves
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The hotel was not very busy during the week (perhaps because it was in August), but local Panamanians take their families for a getaway to the resort on the weekend. It got much busier, but not overcrowded to the point of being stressful. The pools were great, and there’s a waterslide for the kids. The beach is nice to look at, but the water is quite choppy. Very few people went in. Your small children will likely be kicked out of the water by the lifeguards. We went in the ocean the first day and got so pummeled by sandy waves that the rest of the week we kept finding new grains of sand in our ears with every q-tip. If you like the ocean, this is not the place for you. But outside of swimming, I took out a kayak a couple times, and once past the breakwater, the ocean was fine. However, the guys working the watersports hut have zero personality (except one taller gentleman). Like a lot of the wait staff, they give one word answers and seem to genuinely want you to go away. Perhaps this is a language barrier issue and nothing more. But if I pay a thousand bucks for an all inclusive that rates itself as 5 stars; I don’t need to be treated like a king; but do expect some common courtesy.
Other Comments
Overall, I am glad I went to Panama. It’s amazing to see the Canal, and unbelievable to see how the city is rapidly changing to embrace big business and tourism. But I wish I had gone in their summer; and it’s not a place I’d go to twice.
Restaurants and Bars
The bars all stock top shelf liquor, though the bartenders tended to lack knowledge of common drinks, and had trouble with consistency. I ordered a simple mix of Malibu and passion fruit juice, which was made perfect; but when I asked for another one, the bartender put in grapefruit instead, despite the fact that he had just made the original 5 minutes before. WE found that this kind of experience was common with the exception of a couple bartenders that were excellent – they were always manning the piano bar in the main lobby. The buffet could use a bit more variety, though it wasn’t awful – just a notch below resorts we’ve been at in Mexico and the DR. Breakfast was always decent, with great service from the guys making omelets. But the people making pasta at night could do with some training – with four burners and lots of pans, it seems they only make one pasta at a time; which means you could wait 15 minutes in line for one of your own. The late night snack table gets rolled out around 11pm; but this consists of sandwiches made from dinner’s leftovers. I couldn’t eat it. Overall, though there were some servers who genuinely made an effort to provide friendly service, most staff at the bars and buffet didn’t seem like they wanted to be there. The hut down by the pool served some food during the day like burgers, chicken nuggets and fries, but had to have the worst quality out of the whole resort – I don’t know how you mess up chicken nuggets, but they were mushy and tasted so bad I couldn’t swallow them. As for the al a cartes, you are guaranteed 3 bookings at the specialty restaurants of your choice; which you do at the orientation session (which really could have half its content in paper format). You can try and book more, but they tend to be fully booked every day. The steakhouse was utter crap. The steaks are small, thin, and have little taste. The ribs are a waste of time – they’re boiled so long that they lack any kind of flavor. The chicken was decent, but not worth the booking. We didn’t do the Italian place as we didn’t hear one good thing about it. But we went to the Japanese place twice – and most people we talked with agreed that this was the best place to eat on the resort. The cooks put on good show for you, but the serving staff really can’t seem to get you out the door fast enough. All I’d recommend in this place is a few more smiles and a lot more courtesy.
Rooms
Our room was originally a premium oceanview with a king sized bed and balcony. Unlike many rooms, this wasn’t a Juliet balcony (which are plentiful – and you can’t sit out on them), but large enough for two of us to sit out and chill. But the balcony is shared – it joined with three other rooms, so you won’t be sitting out there alone – no big deal. That room was in building three overlooking the pool area. It wasn’t too noisy, but instead of a king bed, there were two doubles. The front desk was courteous enough and said they could get us what we booked the next day. Outside of this issue, the room was substandard compared to what we were used to. The walls were scuffed, there was dirt along the baseboards, there was no fridge. . . . it just looked a bit dingy, but we figured we’d just roll with it; after all, it’s a different country and tourism is new. The next day, the front desk told us that they couldn’t get us the premium oceanview with a balcony and a king size bed, so they were upgrading us to a suite. The suites are on a totally different level than the other room we were in. The suites are in building four, and if you go on the Breezes website, under the heading ‘rooms and suites’ pictured here: http://www.breezes.com/resorts/breezes-panama/rooms/ you will see the suite we stayed in. There’s a standard room with a bed and bathroom, and then you can go into the adjoining room, which is a big sitting area with yet another TV, full bathroom, fridge, and dining table. Go outside, and there’s a huge balcony spanning the two rooms of the suite, with 4 lounge chairs, and an unencumbered view of the ocean. Unlike the premium ocean view with balcony we were in the first night, the suite had granite counters in the bathrooms (which were larger) and was generally in much better condition in terms of cleanliness, with no signs of wear or neglect on the walls.
Snorkeling was awesome
Hotel Breezes Resort Spa & Casino Curacao
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Brenda >  8 contribution(s) Canada
May, 2009
I had been to Curacao once before and stayed at Sunset Waters. We enjoyed Sunset Waters at the time, but in recent years the price had gone up there out of range and we’d heard it wasn’t as good as when we were there. The Sunquest package for Breezes was affordable so we decided to go there this trip. To sum up before I start giving details, the resort was much better than I’d anticipated. Better food, nicer rooms, nicer beach and better snorkeling than I’d expected. Now for the details.

Rooms – we had a room in Flamingo wing. It’s the building furthest from the main pool. It was very quiet, not crowded (tons of empty loungers on the beach even when it was busy), nicest pool. Drawbacks to Flamingo wing were longer walk to restaurants and lobby and no pool bar for refreshments. However, closest bar was in Pelican wing, right next door. The rooms themselves were reasonably spacious, much better than other rooms I’ve been in. The room had just been updated with new paint. Bathroom, while not spacious, was beautiful, marble countertops with bowl basin on top of counter. Glass walk-in shower. Our room had a large flat screen tv on the wall, but can’t say channel selection was great. Not a biggie after all, you have the Caribbean and beach right out your doorstep!

Beach and pools – Pools were immaculate. Main pool is more like a river – very narrow and broken up by various "things" – islands, pool table, fountains, tables, stools etc. Pool at Pelican wing also broken up into smaller sections. Pool at Flamingo wing is the most open and quiet. Beach had reportedly just gotten new sand and it was very nice. Beach was clean – never saw any litter at the Flamingo end. Beach was a bit crowded near the main pool and the snack bar.

Buffet – well, let me just say anyone who complains about the food at the buffet restaurant is out of their cotton picking mind!! The food was great. My only complaint – and its minor – is not a lot of vegetables. Lots of meat dishes – almost every meal had selections of chicken, beef, fish and pork. Sometimes lamb, sometimes goat stew (which is the national dish by the way). Often prawns and calamari. Always rice, pasta and potatoes of some sort. Desserts were plentiful – cheesecake, layer cakes, cookies, and ice cream (best I’ve ever had to be truthful!). Cappuccino machine was always on at breakfast and dinner and I used it a lot. Service was almost always fantastic. There were a few nights where there were glitches in the service – one night when a large group of women came in for a conference, and then just a couple of nights when the wait staff couldn’t get their act together. However, that being said, the service was much, much better than most other buffets I’d been to and it was always pleasant with genuine smiles and greetings.

Ala carte – we did the Munasan Japanese restaurant. The food was good, however the night we went the service was very slow. No desserts there and we were still a bit hungry when we were finished, so we went to the buffet afterwards for coffee and dessert. Pastafari – food was very good, service a bit slow, but nothing to complain about. Only problem there was huge line-up at the salad bar – too many people trying to go through it all at once. We didn’t bother with the BBQ ala carte because by then we were just pleased with the buffet food.

Entertainment – for the most part was good, albeit spotty, time-wise. The three sax players (on different nights) were all good. The second sax player was the best musician, but all were good entertainers. The steel pan player was barely audible over the congo drums, but was also good. Nothing ever seemed to happen with guest/staff talent night. There was one night, I think Wednesdays, that all the ala cartes are open and the pool deck is loaded with people. The entertainment on that night was great and it was like a big party atmosphere.

Snorkeling – was awesome. There is no reef as some people had said – unless you go outside the breakwaters. The days that we were there were a little too rough for our comfort to go outside the lagoon. If you do want to venture out, it’s advised to check with the dive shop as to currents for that day as there can be rip currents in the area. The breakwater has an abundance of sea life to view. We saw thousands of tangs, grunts, goatfish, yellow-tailed snappers and tetras. We also saw at least 3 puffer fish, 4 morays, an octopus, a barracuda, schools of halfbeaks (some people call them needlefish) and zillions of red-lipped blennies.

Children and activities – the resort is definitely family friendly. There were tons of kids there. The climbing wall never seemed to be used and the skating rink wasn’t really useable (and who wants to go skating anyway?). There were lots of pool activities, a giant chess board, shuttle boards, bikes, a game room (with the arcade type games), ping pong tables, water bikes, kayaks, hobie rides and more. Lots for kids to do. There is a spa and a gym as well. Also a small library to leave/take books in the TV room in the lobby. The gift shop is okay. More expensive than town, which is usual and didn’t seem to be restocked very often, but did have a few choices and necessities.

Minor glitches

– our toilet plugged the first night but maintenance people were there within a few minutes to unplug. – security guards at the flamingo end were often not attentive enough and we frequently had local invaders in the pool that would sneak around the wall – minor workmanship issues with the room, but nothing that was a problem – check-in was not very efficient, but not time consuming

Impressive extras – twice had supervisor types knock on our door and check that everything was okay

– a personal letter from the hotel manager asking if our room was satisfactory – iced tea on request in the buffet restaurant – servers around the main pool deck after dinner to get drinks – cappuccino machine was an unexpected bonus

Loved Breezes, Curacao
Hotel Breezes Resort Spa & Casino Curacao
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Gail >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Ostrich Farm and Hato Caves: Paid quite a bit for this excursion, then to find out when we arrived at each location that we still had to pay an entrance fee, didn’t know about that one so watch out ! Ostrich Farm was OK, lots of ostriches (really!) loved the crocs and the turtles in the pond. Didn’t get any time to try any of the delicacies at the restaurant, checked out the African gift shop but we found it was very overpriced. Hato Caves was OK as well, extremely hot in the caves (as expected) we were told we could not take pictures in certain areas which was unfortunate. Saw plenty of cute fruit bats and staligmites and stalactities ! Don’t get me wrong, they were each unique in their own way but I wouldn’t go back again. Klein Curacao Catamaran with Bounty Adventures: This excursion was amazing but too long for us. A very long day if you have kids with you, even though they were older, it was soooooo hot. Bus arrived and took us to the Catamaran, an interesting drive through the local areas of Curacao. They served "breakfast" which was a bun with a very thin slice of very salty ham and that was breakfast. They had plenty of beverages – coffee, pop, juice and after lunch the alcohol came out. Klein Curacao is beautiful, the beach is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, miles of powder white sand, the water is clear and warm….. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven :). Snorkeling was amazing, we swam with a family of turtles and they didn’t care one bit about us, we shared our adventure with them and felt blessed to have been able to do so. Dolphin Swim: At Seaquarium, a short but very hot walk from Breezes. Very neat place except one of the reasons we decided to go to Curacao was the Animal Adventure where you feed the sharks, turtles and mantas, and it was Closed. Yes, imagine how disappointed the four of us were after hyping ourselves out to feed these incredible creatures to find out they were closed, and expanding. Waaaaaaa. But, the two girls had the Dolphin Swim of a lifetime, the adventure was about 45 minutes long and the smiles on the girls faces told the whole story. One of the girls said it was better than the adventure we had in Orlando….. and that one was amazing.
Arrival
Arrived at the airport, a Breezes rep was there waiting for everyone, filled out the paperwork and onto the bus for the short and interesting ride to the hotel. Once there, check in was quick and efficient, got the two rooms in the Flamingo wing as requested and the folks at the front desk couldn’t have been more helpful. Lugged our luggage down to the end of the complex, up the 3 flights of stairs and arrived at our room(s).
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was incredible. We were right at the end of the beach, opposite to the Dive Shop, the sand was soft, no rocks, water was shallow for a bit and then it got deeper. Just right ! No need for water shoes if you’re at this end of the complex! The water was warm, the odd time we’d find a cool spot but not for long ! The snorkeling was absolutely amazing, on the beach side of the barrier we saw a Moray eel, tons of Tangs, and fish I have no idea what they were. Friendly little things too, they weren’t afraid of the big human fish with fake fins ! On a calm day make sure you go around the barrier and snorkle – man what a different world that was…. the coral and the fish, it was like swimming in your fish tank !
The pool at the Flamingo wing was excellent, water was always clean and warm. Grounds were kept in immaculate condition. Beautiful.
Other Comments
We can’t say enough about the customer service at Breezes. Customer Service is #1. We got to experience that first hand, every day. It’s nice to see and experience genuine concern for their customers. From the folks at the Front Desk to the Gardeners, customer service is what Breezes personnel live and breathe.
Restaurants and Bars
Didn’t have any issues with the food at all, oh maybe one….. too much and too good ! Jimmy’s Buffet’s were great – there was always something different to try both for lunches and dinner. Breakfast was great, they had pancakes every day (banana, pumpkin, strawberry), french toast, bacon, sausage, Johnny Cakes, made to order omelettes, cold cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, make your own toast or toasted bagles, and on and on. Excellent orange juice and endless coffee, latte’s, and cappachino’s. Oh and Jimmy’s caters to those who get hungry after hours, they serve food up until 1:00 am and my girls said the burgers were great ! Pastafari: Because we were there two weeks we got to visit twice and enjoyed ourselves and the food both times. Excellent service (with smiles!) excellent food and chose to sit inside in the A/C – but only twice ! Munasan: Only visited twice, but the food was excellent, they do a good job cooking Japanese food. We all had plenty to eat, the atmosphere was great and the service was too. Carousel Beach Bar: Had great cheeseburgers and fries, they also serve grilled chicken and fish, hot dots, nachos and popcorn. Service with a smile and had some great conversations with the lady there. Beach Side Restaurant: Went twice and both times had incredible meals, the grilled fish and chicken were excellent, right on the beach, waves crashing, moon dancing on the water….aaahhhhhh ~!

Bar Service was great as well, loved the frozen Pina Colada’s and the Strawberry Daquiri’s, with and/or without alcohol. Tried most of the "drinks of the day", didn’t care for the beer but we didn’t go for the beer now, did we?

Rooms
They were just like we thought they’d be. Lots of room, lots of storage, very clean, bright, and surprisingly soundproof. Loved the view (pool and ocean) from the balcony! We really liked the Flamingo Wing, a nice walk to the rest of the resort, but far enough away from all the "action" at the main pool in the evenings.
We love this place
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Jayneb from Ottawa >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2009
Arrival – Feb 8 – 15 Our arrival was smooth, Villa staff had all keys ready and waiting. We were offered valet service but since we new our way around decided to head to our room ourselves

Rooms

Stayed in Villa 5 (room 5203) Great location looking over the pool area and backing on to the beach. Last year we were in Villa 6 and that was great too. Upstairs rooms are bigger(not sure if these are the Minisuites). We dont usually book the mini suuites but have been in them both times. The room had a king size bed, couch and they added a single bed for our 6 year old daughter. Bathroom large also. Good shower. Mini fridger and coffee maker also. Rooms were kept very clean. If you like big pillows you may want to figure out a way to bring one with you. (or ask for extras)

Restaurants and Bars

Both the Villa buffet and Hotel Buffet were open. We found them both comparable although people in the past have said the hotel one is better quality. Honestly, we found the food not as good as last yearbut nothing to complain about. Pasta made to order was a hiot at noth places. Went to the Italian and the seafood al a cartes, They were really enjoyable. Carlos is a waiter at the seafood one and will always take great care of you. As usual the pizzas and bugers were a hit for lunches at the pool side.

Beach/Pools/Grounds

Hotel pool has been completely renovated and look great. Villa pool is good to especially if you have little ones.It tends to be on the more quiet side and is more shallow.] Beach is good, they have lost a lot of trees from last year but have put up palapas to give more shade. We never had any trouble finding a spot to sit.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

We participated in the tree planting ceremony for returning guests and found this lots of fun. Had a great lunch too. Our daughter felt really special. Didnt partake in any tours really except to take a buggy up to the school to give out supplies that we had brought.

Other Comments

Overall what can I say. We love this place and my 6 year old daughter was already talking about when we go back next year what she will do. They have done such an incredible job since the hurricane. If you have never been here you would never know the devastation that took place there.

We will go back in an instant to meet up with new friens that we met and hope to take many friends with us next year.

Pleasant surprise
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Maryanne >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
My daughter and I travelled to Brisas Guardalavaca for her university reading week, Feb 14-21. We wanted a week in the sun at a decent price, and our expectations were low. It was my 2nd trip to Cuba, the first time was a trip to Varadero and I had not had a good experience. So many people rave about Cuba, I gave it a second chance and I’m glad I did. I liked this area much more than Varadero. It is not as built up and seemed much less tourist-y and maybe because of this, I didn’t see the hustlers, etc that I’d noticed in Varadero. I was pleasantly surprised with the hotel, which is rated 3+ some places and a 4* others. I’d read that the villas were considered the 4*; however, staying in either side (hotel or villas) you have access to the entire property. We stayed in the hotel and it was a little noisy because it was reading week, so we had a lot of 20 yr olds on our floor. I always pack earplugs, but this trip I forgot. Big mistake and it won’t happen again. The hotel was decent, nothing fancy but really clean and everything in our room was functional. We ate in only one buffet (there are 2) and the food was good. We really enjoyed the a la cartes, and they do have a wine list ($) if you are a wine drinker. The beach is long and there is a boardwalk so you can walk safely past the next resort and to a flea market area and public beach. It’s a nice, laid back atmosphere. We loved the staff and made friends that we did not want to leave. We also met a ton of Canadians and a few Brits and enjoyed sitting in the large lobby bar after supper for drinks. I really liked the atmosphere of this resort and would (will) return.
Wonderful vaction,with great people at Brisas Guardalava
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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Betty from Winnipeg >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This was to be our 5th time here at Brisas Guardalavaca We were booked in Sept this trip because it was for one month. As most canadians know most of the west had to travel via Toronto. We are from Winnipeg.Most charters only hold so many seats for 3 and 4 week travels.Also Westjet was the only carrier to Holguin Cuba.

Was very happy with the service I might add. Great luggage allowance.1 hundred pounds each plus 2 carry ons each at 10kg.Had it packed to the max

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Always something to do/ The animation team really try to get you involved with volleyball, dancing games in the games room. They have archery with pelet gun ,Bachi ball and more.
The evening entertainment good. Modeling show my favorite :)Aquadic show, Christopher Columbus show Really funny 🙂 and more.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Love the beach. Just pristine. My hubby loves to snorkel and has gone fishing way out front of resort and caught alot of fish on occasion.
Pool at hotel is more lively as they have a grill bar there. Great pizzas and hotdogs and the like.Villa is nice for small kids. Little bar close by.
Other Comments
We rented a car for 5 days and toured around. Town of Banes to see friends. Holguin to visit and stay with friends. Seaside town called Gibara. 2 hours from Guardalavaca. Really nice drive. Stopped at a home that served lobster there.Couldn;t have had a grander day. Stopped and played ball with some kids that were playing.My friend and I gave away alot of shoes and clothes on this journey.Fantastic My husband and I wish to go back and do it all over again Get out and meet Cuba Bettyboop
Restaurants and Bars
Two buffets to eat at. You can have your choice in the morning for fresh made eggs however you like them.Lots of fruits and veggies and more. There are 2 alacarts Italian in the hotel and Seafood down by the villas.Have yourself a drink at the cappachino bar next to Italian before dinner . Nice place for a coffee afterwards. Great service.Seafood, they sometimes have the servers entertaining you with sing or guitar. Very good.
You can also get breakfast served to you at 1o till ii.30 at the seafood if you miss buffet which closes at 10.
Your Arrival
On time and good ckeck in.We stayed in the villas as much more room and in most places quite.Our room building 6000 you walk right out to thebeach. Awsome
coffee maker and small fridge with water everyday. Maid service has always been good.
awakening
Hotel Brisas Guardalavaca
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joe >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This place was truly heaven for my familt and me the people are amazing that was most important. As well i found that the people visiting this resort were amazing i look forward to seeing my friends there again soon VIVA Cuba lol
Nice Place, but a few glitches.
Hotel Brisas Sierra Mar & Los Galeones
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Wendy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Our family of 4 adults traveled to Brisas Sierra Mar for the week of Dec. 27-Jan 3. We had read many reports on the condition of the road to the resort, but were shocked at how bad it really was! Two people on our bus had to move to the front due to motion sickness, and one member of our group was just about ready to join them. We were told that repairs were to start in March, but they didn’t say what year!!
Aside from these minor glitches, we had a wonderful time at Brisas Sierra Mar. The resort is a solid 3 star, with pleasant staff, and I would recommend it to anyone, but would probably not return. I understand that these issues are beyond the control of the resort, but the condition of the road and the beggars on the beach are a huge deterrent to going back. However, the amazing January weather may call me. There are so many places to see, we generally prefer to try a different place every time.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did one excursion, a Catamaran/snorkeling/Santiago tour, at a cost of 58 CUC per person. When the "catamaran" showed up, it turned out to be a fishing boat that reeked of diesel fumes. The snorkeling was at a sunken ship, and was interesting, but not as pretty as a reef. The ladder to get back on the boat was broken and I was unable to hoist myself onto the platform after snorkeling. The tour guide and captain had to haul me up by the arms. I still have the bruises to show for it. After a wonderful included lunch, we were to have a walking tour of Santiago de Cuba. Unfortunately, a half dozen people on the tour did not come prepared, and needed to find a bank. We were instructed to wait in the square in front of the Cathedral while these people ran to the bank for cash. While we waited (and waited and waited) some people decided to go to a local store and buy some rum and cigars. Then the people who had gone to the bank started rum and cigar shopping. We spent over 45 minutes of our 1½ hour tour time waiting for people to make their purchases, before heading off to the "flea market". It was then we realized that 3 people had never returned from the bank. We spent the next ½ hour re-tracing our steps, then heading to the bus, while our tour guide frantically searched for the missing people (whom he found). We ended up spending 2 hours in Santiago with not one word of info on the history, culture, etc. This was in no way the tour guides fault. He was visibly agitated at what was happening. We ended up not getting back to the resort until 7.00 pm, when we were supposed to have returned at 4.00. It was a long and disappointing day. Be warned, the Hola Sun tour desk does not accept credit cards. Luckily I had tucked some extra cash aside, as I am not comfortable getting a cash advance in Cuba.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The weather was absolutely amazing. It averaged 30C every day, and would dip to about 25C in the evenings. We didn’t have any rain at all. We usually travel in January, and the weather and water temperature can be hit or miss. Here we were able to enjoy the ocean every day, and never needed a jacket in the evening.

The beach has been badly eroded in the last year. There is a 3 foot drop from the lounger level to the actual beach. It starts to level out as you move further to the west. There were plenty of loungers available, and never a need to be up at 6.30 to reserve one. The beach bar was never very busy and served a good selection of tasty drinks. The pool area also seemed to have plenty of loungers, but we are beach people and never ventured up there. Most of the daily activities took place at the pool. We were not bothered by sand fleas or mosquitoes, but we did notice that the resort sprayed the wooded area every evening around 6.00 pm.

Other Comments
For the most part the holiday was great, but there were a few glitches and disappointments. -Beyond the resort boundary is a beautiful beach for walking. The only problem is the relentless beggars. We were hounded constantly for soap, shampoo, clothes etc. We tried asking them to leave us alone, we tried ignoring them, we even tried telling them we would come back on our last day, and not to bother us in the mean time. It made no difference. They would not back off. -The New Years Gala was extremely disorganized. None of the food on the New Years buffet was labeled, and it was too dark to really see what was on the platters. Many of the dishes had no serving utensils. They could not keep up with the volume of people and ran out of plates before everyone was served. Line ups were long for everything. The show that night was very disappointing. There were some singers, an hour and a half of canned music, and then a mediocre magician followed by some ballet dancers. It was dismal. We didn’t talk to one person who seemed to enjoy it. -Although we found the lobby entertainment every evening to be top notch, the repeat guests we spoke to said it was sadly inferior to previous years. They had noticed a significant change for the worse in the entertainment, service and atmosphere. They told us that staffing levels are way down, which would explain only one bartender during the peak before/after dinner hours, as well as the problems with the New Years Gala. Several people mentioned that the house wine was of extremely inferior quality to past years. -Also disappointing was the lack of information on activities. There was a festival on one day, with a parade which was never advertised on the activities board. We heard the festival music from the beach, but thought it was some sort of pool game going on. A printout of what is happening for the week would be a great addition to the envelope you get when you board the bus. -The New years Dinner required people to make table reservations for the number of people in their party. Unfortunately, many people did not know this, and showed up to find they had no table. We were lucky that someone on the beach mentioned it to us, or we would have been among the many people wandering around looking for an un-reserved table. None of this was mentioned in the orientation, or on the activities board. -Also while we were there, due to a broken washing machine, there were no beach towels available for the first 3 days of our vacation. We wasted so much time walking up and down the stairs from the beach to the towel exchange by the pool only to be told “come back in two hours”. Why they did not explain at that time that the washer was broken is a mystery.

-A simple note regarding sandwiches being served for our early morning checkout would have avoided two bus loads of people trying desperately to eat from the small continental buffet in the lobby.

Restaurants and Bars
Brisas has one buffet, a beach grill for lunch, and 3 a la cartes. Selection at the buffet was very limited while we were there, and vegetables were scarce, with yams and squash being the main offering at all 3 meals. There seemed to be a shortage of onions, even for the omelet station. Other than pre-peeled clementines, there was no fresh fruit at all. No bacon was available all week. That being said, they worked wonders with what they had. Every meat on the buffet table and carving station was tender and flavorful. I can’t recall any dish that was a let down. The beach grill offered the standard burgers, fries, hotdogs, pizza, and fish. We had a meal at the Ecological a la carte, and it was amazing. The atmosphere was wonderful, and the food was fantastic. The bruschetta was served cold, but that was the only disappointment. House wine is included at this restaurant, and we feel it was probably the best meal of the week. We also were able to eat at the Cuban a la carte. The food here was o.k., but a little disappointing after the Ecological. There is no house wine available here. You could purchase a bottle starting at 5 CUC, up to 60 CUC. We bought a 7 CUC Chilean Merlot, and were quite happy with it. Some guests brought their own wine from the bar to avoid purchasing a bottle. They also had a massive New Years Eve Gala Dinner set up around the stage and swimming pool, with delicious turkey, pork, beef and lobster. The dessert table that night was to die for!
Rooms
We were in Block A, rooms 402 & 403. We had a partial ocean view, but mostly we had a lovely view of the mountains. The room had been freshly painted, and was very clean. The draperies and bedspreads appeared to be new. The furnishings and bathroom were in need of an update, but they were perfectly functional. There was a 12 inch TV on the dresser with a remote that actually worked! We had two ¾ beds which we pushed together. The beds were a little soft, but not so much that they were sagging. The pillows were better than we have had on other vacations. Our balcony had brand new reclining chairs and a table. The evening entertainment could be heard quite loud in our room. Evidence of renovations are everywhere around the resort. The bottom floor of Block A was closed for updating, the bathrooms at the lobby and pool area look to be completely new, and they received 20 new bicycles on New Years Eve.
Your Arrival
Bracelets, room keys and check in forms are done on the bus. Once we arrived, all we had to do was grab our luggage and head to our rooms. The resort is built on a hillside, and is very compact. The lobby, pool, and restaurants are all on one level, with two blocks of rooms cascading down the hill below. There is an additional block of rooms opposite the lobby that moves up the hill.
Bevere if you are non smoker
Hotel Canto Del Sol Plaza Vallarta
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Bil Balint >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Business | Family
Smokers paradise non smokers HELL Positively speaking the resort is with the standard of the 3 stars and plus. Unfortunately the Management ignores the non smokers rights. We had a very comfortable room #306 nicely equipped partially good ocean view. Arriving on the 16 January entering the room. it was horrible.. THE SMELL OF SMOKE WE CAN NOT describe. Some maintenance person spread something which camouflaged the cigarette smoke smell and added some other unpleasant odor. After several complains the answer is ‘the guests are not supposed to smoke in the rooms" but the balconies OK. Well who can enforce this rule. Conclusion, the cigarette or cigar smoke infiltrate into the neighboring rooms. the air conditioner units are interconnected and you can enjoy your neighbors stench. Do not use it!! We consulted the issue with several officials, but we don’t think They will do anything in the near future. We suggested segregated section for smokers and non smokers accommodations.Plenty enough to mingle with the smokers around the pool and bars area. Finlay arriving home our lungs slowly cleared out. Very unfortunate this situation because the resort is lovely good service all around.

Too bad I can not recommend to any one who takes seriously "THE SMOKING KILLS"

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Ecceptable
Beach/Pools/Grounds
beach non Pools good but crudy graunds well kept but croudy
Other Comments
Segregation smokers rooms and non smokers room long over due
Restaurants and Bars
GOOD
Rooms
306
Your Arrival
16 January 2010
This is a divers resort but even non divers will love it
Hotel Captain Don’s Habitat
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Carter >  1 contribution(s) SWEDEN
Jul, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Don’s Habitat was started by the legendary Captain Don Steward. The captain not only started the hotel but is responsible for making Bonaire a diver’s island and convincing the authorities to declare all the waters a national park. The Captain still frequents the hotel on Mondays. You’ll find him at the outdoor bar. The outdoor bar is also where you can listen to Moogies island music and watch the slide show. You will probably end up as part of the slide show since the DMs and others seem to love taking pictures. The motto of the hotel is "diving freedom". Diving is indeed available 24hrs. The dive pier is large with two staircases and a rope leading to depth to make night diving a breeze. Truck rental(car) is on the property making shore diving easily accessible. If you tire of shore diving and house reef diving, Don’s has three dive boats going out daily. The DMs are among the best. Likewise, dive education including photo courses, are of very high quality and are located in new buildings, as is the dive shop and spa. Even if you are not a diver it is still a great resort. This is not a luxurious hotel but it has everything you need and it is clean and well managed. There is no real luxury resort on Bonaire although Harbour Village tries to fit into this category. Don’s Habitat IMHO is a little less luxurious than HV but still I prefer Don’s for other reasons. There are many great dive resorts on Bonaire. Some of these resorts are too large for my taste, like the Plaza and likewise some are too small for my taste. Carib Inn is one of the smaller resorts and it is an excellent dive hotel but it lacks some of the activities and facilities that Don’s has. Don’s has everything I want in a resort but is still small enough to allow me to become friends with everyone.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
I think I mentioned most but not all
Beach/Pools/Grounds
beach; what beach?
Pool; Clean, very well maintained and a good enough size in my opinion. Grounds- Very good. Many of the plantings were the result of the Cap’t landscaping skills
Restaurants and Bars
Rum Runners IMHO can easily compete with the best restaurants on the island. That said the food quality does vary. This is however, even true of some of the well known restaurants. We have for example eaten at Will’s and thought the food was worth a Michelin star but than the last time we were there we were very disappointed. OK I’ll admit I never thought Rum Runners was worthy of a Michelin star but still the food is usually of high quality. It is delicious. You won’t go wrong ordering the daily special or whatever fish is fresh. The breakfasts are great too! The restaurant by the way is at the water’s edge so you will be able to look down and see the fish, but do watch out for the iguanas who are waiting to hop up and steal your food if you let them (same thing for the gulls).
Rooms
There is a wide variety of rooms with new rooms being build 2010. We always stay at the Oasis Cottages. They have two bedooms/bathrooms and are very spacious. A/C throughout. Unfortunately they do not have any ocean views. The cottages vary since they are owned by different people. One of the Oasis cottages is quite luxurious, most are not. The staff does a great job keeping this area clean and well maintained.
Your Arrival
Try to do your paperwork at home. Dive liability release forms etc can all be downloaded beforehand
Don’t believe the crap others write.
Hotel Carabela Beach Resort & Casino
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Gord Sperry >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
My family, (mother,sister,brother in law, daughter and myself) went here even after reading all the terrible reviews and have been to Columbia, Cuba, Mexico and a few other places. I generally try for 3 1/2 to 4 star resorts and this place was amazing.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t book anything with nolitours because the rep was hardly ever there and when she was anything we tried to book with her was near double anyone else. We took 2 excursions over to islands in the caribbean which were both amazing and we took a ride in the glass bottom boat right off the resort which was also very good.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pools were great, little cool but i like them that way. The beach was amazing, very large, lots of sun or shade, we could swim every day, waves were broken by a reef so swimming was always good. Lounges got a little scarce after the hotel fillled up but we made out allright.
Other Comments
I have been to quite a few other resorts around the caribbean and this resort was at par with any other 3 1/2 star resort i have been too. The employees were always friendly and cheerful as long as you were the same to them. I read so many bad reviews and the only thing i can figure is that the people writing these other reviews were actually other resorts trying to drum business there way because there is no reason whatsoever not to go to the carabella and i wouldn’t hesitate to book there again. Any questions you can contact me at gordsperry@sympatico.ca and you will see i am a real person writing a real review.
Restaurants and Bars
All the food was fair to good, very few complaints whatsoever, got spoiled for christmas and new years with all you can eat lobster and amazingly decorated dining rooms. The bars are another thing, it is strange to have a pool bar without service, and the bars at the smaller pools were either closed or self serve beer and pop. The lobby and patio bar was very good and they even had waitresses that served us our drinks. The drinks were good, beer was good so no real complaints there.
Rooms
We had 2 rooms, we had asked for ocean front which we got, same floor and three doors down. My sisters room did leak in the bathroom ceiling when it rained really heavy, but nothing to cause them to want to leave or move. We had asked for a few repairs in our 2 weeks which were promptly taken care off. The view from our 2nd floor balcony was to die for.
Your Arrival
We flew with transat, through nolitours and this trip went perfect all the way without a hitch. I have had problems with transat before but this time everything was timely. We took off on time, landed on time, got our luggage quickly headed to our tourbus and the only hitch was some idiot that decided to sit in the bar and have a few while everyone searched for him. Check in was a breeze, front desk was polite, did english well enough to comminicate and sent us on our way.
Paradise!
Hotel Caribe Club Princess
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Linda >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Business | Family
I travelled with my 12 year old son and it was our first trip to a resort so we did not know what to expect at all. The Caribe Club Princess surpassed all our expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by everything.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There were all kinds of things to do at the resort. We played tennis, mini putt, fruize ball and shuffleboard. The highlight of my trip was a buggy tour that took us down muddy backroads. They told us to get ready to get dirty but I never imagined how muddy we would get. It was a lot of fun though but if you think you might take this trip, make sure to take some old clothes and shoes that you can just throw out after because it’s just not worth trying to clear everything up afterwards. It was a really good tour with stops at a coffee plantation, down into a cave with a swimming hole and a beautiful beach. We also did the Segway tours (motorized scooter-type devices). That was a lot of fun too, these were a lot easier to drive than the buggies and a really good family activity. We went past some amazing houses ($8 million +) and again stopped at a breathtaking beach). Both these tours were quite costly($65.00US each) but well worth the money.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was amazing. We walked the shore line a few times and it was always very clean. The pool was a good temperature with a swim up bar that was quite nice. I was very surprised that there were very few people who took advantage of the pool, most sat around tanning so it seemed like my son and I had the whole pool to ourselves most of the time. The only complaint here is that the pool closed at 7:00 and sometimes it would have been nice to have a little swim after dinner.
Other Comments
I had also heard that the people could be really push when trying to sell you something and that is very true but just as long as you keep giving them a firm "NO’ they do get the message and move on so it was never a problem for me. A woman travelling alone with a child seemed to be a real novelty and was met with surprise by a lot of the resort employees but there was no time that I did not feel safe. Security was good and there was always tourists or people walking around the resort. Overall, this trip was like a dream come true for us, it more than met our expectation and we are looking forward to a return visit as soon as we’ve save up our money again. We would definitely stay at the Caribe Club Princess again.
Restaurants and Bars
The food at the buffet restaurant was wonderful. Even my picky son was always raving about something from the buffet. There were choices for every taste. For nights when we wanted something a bit more special and relaxing we ate at the Brazilian Restaurant one night and the Mexican Restaurant another and at both places the food was terrific.
Rooms
I had heard some bad reviews about the hotel rooms but ours was wonderful. Very clean and the bed very comfortable.
Your Arrival
We were the third stop from the airport so it took about 45 minutes to get to the hotel. We arrived right after another bus load of people so the wait to check in was very long but I found the people at the reception very friendly and efficient.
Best Place to Stay in Punta Cana!!
Hotel Caribe Club Princess
User Rating:  
Sunni >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
This was an awesome resort to stay at!! The place was clean, modern and well-kept, service was fast and good. They make you feel like royalty here! There were so many activities to do, and the activity leaders were fun, animated and great to talk with. We stayed for 8 days and had no need to leave the resort (other than the disco and casino just down the road). We could have spent another 8 days and not been bored. There were activities for kids and adults alike. While boating along the coast we noticed that none of the other resorts seemed to have the fun beach activities that the Caribe Princess did – this resort always had fun activities lead by the ‘animacion’ team and beach music – it was like a beach party almost all day everyday! This was for sure one of the best resorts in Punta Cana! I’m definitely bringing my entire family next November and my common-law spouse and I were so impressed with the resort that we forgot all about our plans to check out other resorts for our wedding next year. Because of the great service, atmosphere and people here we will be getting married at this resort next year.

** I’m not sure why some people are complaining about the weather or flights as these seem totally unapplicable to the resort itself, AND while here no-one once asked me for a tip – possibly if you go off the resort to the stores you will be asked for tips but definitely not while within the resort grounds**

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities on the resort were a lot of fun. There were contests, games, dancing and even a beach party! We only went to one activity outside of the resort which was the Scooba Doo (underwater bikes). It was o.k., but not awesome. The people taking you on the bikes were definitely not hired by the resort or it would have been a blast!
Arrival
Service was great, we arrived early and they got us our wristbands quickly and let eat at the main restaurant and roam around the resort until our room was ready.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
2 pools were great, one with a drink bar right in the pool. Activities/games were sometimes held at the main pool, if this was not relaxing enough the other pool was in a quieter area away from all the fun and games.
Other Comments
In our opinion there is something for everyone at this resort – unless you don’t like having fun! ☼
Restaurants and Bars
Always good food to choose from. 24 hr snack bar was good. Reservation restaurants were easy to make a reservation with, and the food and service at the restaurants was terrific!
Rooms
Clean, bright, modern, air conditioned. Serviced every day, fridge refilled every day with water and pops.
great hotel
Hotel Caribe Club Princess
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richard >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
my family and i have stayed at this hotel 2 times in the past and have felt it is a great hotel..remember you are on vacation ,things happen out of the ordinary, run with it .think before you speak and enjoy surroundings and the resort .will go back , bavaro beach rocks
casa calexico : your home in the caribbean
Hotel Casa Calexico
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marian >  1 contribution(s) The Netherlands
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
we really had a perfect holiday on the beautiful island of Bonaire. Due to our stay at the casa calexico house we immediately had a nice and homely feeling and it sure made our holiday even more perfect. Beautiful house and garden, nice swimmingpool with a very special, carefully choosen tropical atmosphere, outside shower at the pool. At night we slept on perfect comfortly beds, breakfast on our own terras. We went sightseeing during the day or just relaxed on the beach, my husband went diving several times. At night, after nice meals in good restaurants, sometimes we went for a drink in one of pubs. All is nearby, even in walking distance.

Overall we enjoyed our stay so much that we are planning to go back more

A Nightmare in the Dominican.
Hotel Casa Marina Beach
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Renee >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Business | Family
The hotel is lacking in a whole bunch of areas. The noise level is horrible. I think in 7 nights we may have got one night without being awoke by screaming guests. The rooms are dirty, they have no fridge, blowdriers, water isn’t provided and it isn’t easy to find after hours. They don’t have toilet paper roll holders in the bathrooms so if yours falls on the floor and gets wet good luck trying to get another. In the 2 rooms we were in cause the first had mold, both has gaps in the doors. Our first room had black mold on the ceiling and a 1 inch gap on the top and bottom of the patio door. Our second room had sliding doors and one of them had an inch gap. If you have kids we were told that you have to stay on ground level. My kids are 10 & 11. One family that we were with was worried thier daughter would go out the patio door in the middle of the night and go swimming in the pool that was less than 20 feet from the door. They do not have a gym. Or If it is raining they do not have a place to go with the exception of a spot about 200 – 300 feet big. We were not able to stay in the dining room when it was raining. So you had 2 choices your room or the other space. We had to spend 3 days there.

I would skip this hotel and try to find another.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Not much happening. we didn’t see the anamators till 3 days into our stay. They could be rude and mean. But were usually frendly enough especially if you were a single female. The city of Sosua was right outside the resort. They are pushy but frendly. The shows were not all family friendly in fact we had to leave one show because of the sexual content.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Were OK. They had 3 pools and 2 seperate beaches.
Other Comments
I would not go to this resort again. This was my 5th trip to Dominican and by far the worst I do not think this resort is a 3.5* I would give it a 2 maybe a 2.5* at best.
Restaurants and Bars
There is one bar that holds 98 (about) people and is very very small. It closes at 1am and there is no where to go after that. The restaurants are not the greatest. The food choice is non existant. and the food is not very good. The dessarts were on the most part awesome. They allow smoking in all the restaurants and for non smokers it can be very gross.
Rooms
Dirty, moldy, lacking in fridge, blowdriers, drinking water, hot water some days.
Your Arrival
Our Arrival was wonderful. We were treated very well. Every one was very nice to us.
Best Boutique Hotel in Sosua!!
Hotel Casa Valeria
User Rating:  
Sylvia >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
If you don’t travel with family to Sosua, stay here and it is like having family!! Arien and Diana (and Volker) are the best of the best! We have stayed three times at this hotel and have never regretted a moment of our stays. Every detail is taken care of from the cleanest rooms around, everything works great, fabulous air conditioning, comfortable beds, lots of hot water, great location, quiet rooms and restrictions inforced for limited exposure to visitors (you know what I mean!) They provide books in the lobby for those of us who read too fast and need a novel to get us thru, they have umbrellas for visitors when those rains happen unexpectedly, they will help with any detail you require.

I would highly recommend this hotel. It is the best we have found in Sosua and we have visited this town eight times since 2001.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
-nice shaded pool -comfortable seating -relaxing -great sitting areas
Restaurants and Bars
-great attached restaurant -lots of fabulous restaurants within 3-5 min walk
Rooms
-clean -great air conditioning -comfortable bed -lots of hot water
Very Enjoyable
Hotel Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Golf & Casino Resort
User Rating:  
Kelly >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
We arrived in Punta Cana at 10:30am, found our luggage without a problem, were directed to the bus without any confusion, boarded the bus and drove to the Catalonia. We arrived by 11:30. Had a welcome drink. Reception told us to come back at 2:00 and they would have our rooms. We asked for 3 rooms in the same building. Had drinks in the lobby bar, went and got some lunch at the pool bar. Went back to the lobby and at exactly 2:00 we got our rooms. We had asked for 2nd floor but they put us on 1st floor in building 30. Two rooms at one end of building and one room at the other end. We had been to the Catalonia before, so unpacked and went to the pool before 3:30. Got chairs without a problem, drinks.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
They had beach aerobics. They had contests at the pool. Kids club. Entertainment at night, but doesn’t start until 9:45, to late for us after a big day on the beach. Casino that has quite a few machines. My son and friend paid to swim with the dolphins. Just 2 minutes from the Catalonia. They upgraded to 45 min. in water with 2 dolphins. I paid to go watch and take pictures. Also had a sea lion show. Great experience, well worth the money and only gone for the morning. Lots of other excursions but just takes me away from the beach.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool is absolutely gorgeous. Huge and pretty warm. Island to swim around. Swim up bar. Only 5’3" deep. Lots of chairs and palapas. Kids pool also. The beach is beautiful. Lots of lounge chairs and palapas. Not rough water at all. It was quite windy when we were there, but so nice. Had a couple showers but not enough to get us off the beach. Sand is so white and soft. The beach is relatively quiet, lots of people to watch, but that is why we like it. Relaxation is important to us. Workers rake the beach every morning and sometimes again during the day. Just up the beach is a "Shopping Mall". Get experience, don’t go alone, very overwhelming. Harmless people but not what we are used to. They love to haggle over prices. Never pay more than 1/2 of what they ask.
Other Comments
Tips are not necessary but sometimes are very helpful. If you leave the tip on the table, they have to share. If you put it in their hand its theirs. On our last night there was a torrential rain storm go through. Our bathroom had about 6" of water in it and it ran in under our door. Not much they can do about the weather. Thank goodness it was our last night. One problem with ground floor. Everything outside was under about 4" of water also. Building 30 is right up by the lobby, so I walked there to use the washroom. Overall we had a great holiday and would not think twice about going back for a third time, I have recommended it to several people. Its an easy resort to find your way around in.
Restaurants and Bars
They have 4 ala carte restaurants. Steakhouse, Mexican, Italian and Japanese. When we were there before you had to have a reservation so we never bothered. They have changed their practices and you just go to the restaurant and wait until there is a table. We went at 6:30 and never had to wait. You can only go once to each one. They were all excellent and the workers try very hard to make your experience as real as possible. Dress in theme outfits, somberos in Mexican. Japanese is a wonderful treat. They cook at your table. We had never tried such a thing before. Awesome. The buffets are always excellent with lots of choices. The chicken they serve at lunch at the pool bar is beyond belief. Build your own omelettes in the morning, fresh made crepes. There is an ice cream parlour up in the shopping area. Lots of bars and a couple dollars go a long way. Always have tablecloths and linen napkins, fancy glass glasses in the bars.
Rooms
The rooms are lovely and large. We had a king size bed and a cot for our son, all as requested. The shower is rather small but serves the purpose. Our maid always made us a figure out of towels. Not many washcloths. Fridge was always stocked up. Safe in room is at no extra charge and worked wonderful.
Wow what a wonderful week
Hotel Catalonia Gran Dominicus
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Maureen >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We stayed at the Catalonia Gran Dominicus from November 8th to 15th and had a wonderful week. We are not strangers to Dominican Republic and have stayed at the following resorts… Puerta Plata – Oasis Marien and Iberostar Punta Cana – Catalonia, Princess and Gran Bahia Principe The Gran Dominicus is a very personable resort. The staff are all top notch and we felt pampered with their care. From the entertainment staff, our wonderful waitress, the dive staff, staff at the front desk,the medic and even the telephone operator; all spoke english and were more that accommodating. The layout of the resort makes you feel a part of everything that is going on because nothing is too far away. The large bar is where everyone gathers and like a clock all the other amenities are located around it; the pool, the buffet, the theatre, shops and a la carte restaurants. The food in the buffet was very good and there is a wide selection and every night there is a different theme. As written by all other reviews; the pizzeria is fabulous. I don’t even like pizza but everyday I had to try another piece. It is cooked in a wood burning oven and is very tasty. The rooms need some renovating and you can upgrade your room for as little as $15 per person per night but we found our room clean and comfortable. There are lots of channels on the TV but bring a digital clock, there isn’t one in the room. The prices in the gift shop are competitive and they have a full compliment of liquour, medication and snacks. Everything was clean and there is always staff working on keeping it that way. There are many different people at this resort and many languages being spoken but we always got by with a little help from the staff. The beach was so calm especially since a hurricane Tomas had just left. There is some erosion on the beach which makes it hard to walk along. The fish are so beautiful. The snorkelling is great right off shore or you can book a great trip to Soana or Catalina island. To book any dive tour see the resort dive guys on the beach. No need to drive to the boat there is a large dock on the resort. We were always entertained by the animation staff which kept us busy.

We would like to go back tomorrow back it’s back to work.

de sonhar voltar um dia
Hotel Catalonia Riviera Maya
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todinho_20056@hotmail.com >  1 contribution(s) PORTUGAL
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
este hotel e de 5 estrelas somos bem tratados sao amigaveis e tem uma ekipa de animacao espetacular com pessoal da pesada pra nos rirmos e divertirmos vale a pena irmos pra este hotel k e de 5 estrelas.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
ekipa de animacao espetacular paola jimenez 5 estrelas e a ekipa tbm.noite de tekila…futbol,danca,ping pong,byke…..etc nao paramos e nao percam nada com eles k sao demais
Arrival
fomos bem recebidos com um coktail e foram rapidos a acomodarnos pk eramos muitos mesmo e no estante o pessoal desapareceu da recepcao sao muito amaveis com os portugeses venham aeste hotel k e um espetaculo
Beach/Pools/Grounds
espetaculo de corais e peixes de todas as cores mergulhem com a mascara de mergulho e desfrutem da beleza k eles teem a frente do hotel nao percam esta oportunidade.
Other Comments
hei-de voltar a este hotel k vale a pena ir voces sao 5ESTRELAS

ABRACOS ….SAUDADES

Restaurants and Bars
comer ate fartar tudo de varios gostos nem sabes onde comecar ou acabar e graca e os passaros k tem a voar la dentro mesmo a moda tropical k ate da gosto de tar ali dentro
Rooms
sempre arrumados frescos e ainda por cima com enfeites k eles deixavam em cima da noxas camas muito bem feitos tudo a maneira
teriffic value
Hotel Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada
User Rating:  
Ross >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Spent two weeks at this resort from march 1 to March 15 and had a wonderful time and we are already making plans to return next year. had no issues at all the first room we were assigned was a third floor suite with an upstairs bedroom, which was not convenient as my wife has a bad hip. I went to the fron desk and spoke with jhonney and he moved us to a beach front ground floor suite no problem.Beach was fabulous, food was excellent, animation staff tried very hard to engage everyone. I would rate this resort as a 3.5 for sure. in my opinion it is a diamond in the rough. we will be going back and would recommend it.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Animation team worked very hard during the day to engage people in the activities and the shows at night were very well done. Special mention for Joan(Juan), Junior aka Scobby Doo and Roselyn all of whom were just crazy.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach simple as good as it gets Pool clean and refreshing

grounds constantly being cleaned.

Other Comments
This resort is a wonderful vacation destination for the value. If you want 5 star service then go to a 5 star resort. We travel for the Sun, sand and food and in that order and this resort did not disapoint.We will be going back.
Restaurants and Bars
The buffet food in my opinion was excellent. we did try all the a la cartes, but choose to stick with the buffet.The best a la carte was the Komoda resturant at the beach especially the night they had the beach party it was really nice.They do reservations one day in advance and did not seem any problem to get reservations.
Rooms
As stated the first room we were given was not convenient for us so the next morning we got moved to a ground floor suite facing the beach with a beautiful view.This room in bld 14 definitely had some upgrades and was very nice. 11 days into our stay we were told that the boiler in the building was broken and we would have to move. They moved us to building 18 which was brand new or it seemed so, it was great, even had wi fi access in the room. there were at least 2 buildings that were not in service and had been gutted and were being renovated. it appeared to me that all rooms would be updated in the very near future.
Your Arrival
we flew from Fredericton on Canjet.Flight was as expected. we arrived late at night arround 12.30 am so there was no one at airport. got the bus and arrived at resort shortly after 1am. check in was naturally smooth at that hour.
wonderful vacation
Hotel Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada
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J. >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We just returned from a week at the Celuisma Tropical and it was wonderful. The place was really nice, lots of updates on the rooms. Ours was huge, with a kitchen, living room, 2 tvs and a balcony looking at the ocean. The only concern was the bathroom was reeeally old but they are continuing to fix up the rooms. The food was very good. The chicken and fr fries at the beach daily were great. The large buffet always had plenty to choose from and the a la carte restaurants were great. The food isn’t on the same scale as a 5 star in Mexico but if you can’t find something you like you are waaay too fussy. The people were very nice but the time share people are a huge pain. Every day either walking the beach or at our hotel they bugged you. I’d like to see something done about that, that’s my only complaint. Hope to go again next year.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Games area near the pool, volleyball daily at the beach, aerobic at the beach.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean and beautiful
Other Comments
Very good time expecially for the price.
Restaurants and Bars
very good. Somewhat limited in the mix selection.
Rooms
Big and clean
Your Arrival
Early arrival, quick check in.
GREAT NO PROBLEMS-WOULD DEFINTELY RETURN
Hotel Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada
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Tammy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We were a group of 12, 6 teenagers and 6 adults, and we had a great time, no one was sick, as you always worry will happen especially as we took our sons(13 and 17) and they had never been before. We all had a great time and would defintely return. I had read in previous reviews that if you had a problem go see Ramone or Julio(front end managers), that was true and they were very helpful,also speak very good english. Julio who we dealt with the most called me the lawyer(as I am the mouthy one of the group).Staff were all good with the teenagers and would carry on with them and joke around, my oldest son is tall(6feet and quite skinny) so they nicknamed him spaghetto and they all called him that. We booked excursions(dune buggies, cable cars and ocean world)thru the resort with Edwin however don’t do that, as the dune buggies were $100.00 more than at the plaza, so I went back and told him if he didn’t give us some money back that we would not do Ocean World(we hadn’t paid for that yet)he did take $80.00 off the price of Ocean World. Watch out for him.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
If you are planning on doing any excursions, book them at the Plaza which is a 5 minute walk away, cheaper and they will barter more. We did the dune buggies, cable cars and ocean world. Take lots of cash as we thought that we could book those on a credit card but we couldn’t, they wanted cash so I had to take a cash advance. There is shopping near by at the plaza however there is a big Orange Flea Market at the end of the beach(which is a 10 minute walk) with a greater selection of things with better prices. Barter with them, whatever price they give you, you can get if for half or less.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was beautiful, waves were quite forceful and could knock you down very easily, as they did to us a few times, be careful if travelling with little ones.Beach vendors were there daily but did not bother us, we got to know them all and would get them drinks and snacks(which we were not suppose to do but you can,do not hand them to them, just sit them down and they will pick them up.)Pool was nice however most days we were at the beach.
Other Comments
We had a great time and would not hestitate to return, remember it is not a 5 star, we were not looking for a 5 star, we wanted a decent resort with a decent price and we got it.I had read all the reviews and most were good. Buildings 11 and 18(that one is right on the beach) are the newly renovated ones and Julio told me that those are the buildings everyone wants. Maids were wonderful and rooms were made up quickly, remember to tip them they work very hard. If interested you can email me at dtbcveinot@ns.sympatico.ca for more information.
Restaurants and Bars
We ate at the buffet daily, no lack of food, food was good , not a big selection of food but none of us ever went hungry. Waitresses got to know us and would have our tables set up and waiting for us, especially Modesta and Benedicto, remember there were 12 of us. We ate at the Caribbean Grill one evening which was good, we also nibbled daily at the beach grill, the teenagers especially liked that. My only disappointment was that there was no ice cream at the buffet(you could buy it at the little store in the lobby), always in the past the buffets always had ice cream. Bars were good, we even got our drinks delivered to us on the beach, bartenders are amazing, they have excellent memories.
Rooms
Our suites were located in building 14 which was right next to the beach(they did have beautiful views) however the rooms were totally unacceptable, they were old and very musty smelling(we think that the room had been closed up and hadn’t been used as they were opening the windows for us)Julio (a front end manager) and Art(the bell hop-who was a sweetie) took us there and I immediately told them the we would not staying in those rooms, as I was the spokesperson for the group, probably because I am the mouthy one and also because I have been to the Puerto Plata area six times. Julio told me that he would see what he could do, we left our bags there and went for lunch at the buffet and then to the beach. Later I got to see Ramone(the front end manager who was on duty) they asked me to go into his office to see him, I was not sure what to expect, he was either going to give me another room or ask me to leave, he graciously gave us other rooms in building 11-great choice, newly renovated, spacious rooms, with fridges and hairdryers, lots of hot water.
Your Arrival
Arrived on March 29,2010 at 11:30am, there were 12 of us travelling together, 6 adults and 6 teenagers, check in was quick and easy. I asked for a two bedroom suite for my husband and I and our two teenaged sons(13 and 17). They gave us all suites which was fine until we saw them. They awere serving fruit punch to us during the process which was nice.
Excellent value for the price
Hotel Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada
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Muriel >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
We found the grounds very well kept,our room clean and quiet 99% of the time, and the gentleman who raked the beach did a great job, but the water while we were there was very dirty, with lots of "grass" or sea-plants floating freely around our feet and legs, and shoulders when we tried to swim.This was disappointing, especially if one is accustomed to the pristine waters of Tobago as I was.The food was wonderful, and the Animation team fabulous, the beer Perfect, the waiters friendly and accomodating. But I got to the point I wanted to scream at the endless barrage of vendors who never gave us a moment’s peace when we were on the beach. We tried walking… just about hopeless, as even more vendors came running from the kiosks and flea markets. We couldn’t read, or nap in the sun: couldn’t even ignore them. It was so annoying.I firmly believe Celuisma should at the very least limit their time for torturing tourists… perhaps allow 1 hour in the a.m., another in the afternoon, and if that’s not possible, give the paying customer a little sign to plant firmly in the sand beside their beach chair, saying "NO VENDORS PLEASE", in Spanish.I would do this myself if ever I returned. It really did spoil many a planned siesta for us. There wasn’t even a variety of goods: each seller had exactly the same jewellery or paintings as 10 others before and after him. My other complaint is the $20.00 US calling card I bought at the gift shop did not work, and believe me many people on staff tried to help me get a call through to Canada. Complete waste of time. So I finally had to call home, "Collect". Imagine my shock when the bill rolled in, $48.00 for a 6 minute call! Major shell-shock!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Animation TEam were amazing; endless energy and made everyone feel welcome and important. So full of fun despite their really long hours and low pay.Talented dancers and entertainers.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pool was lovely, but a little too public for me… right outside the cafeteria.Grounds very nice, but water at beach very dirty.
Other Comments
The Managers beach party was great: only off-site entertainers we saw all week, and they were gorgeous girls in gorgeous costumes. Drinks were beautiful and delicious.Was nice to be acknowledged by all the various managers.
Restaurants and Bars
No complaints at all.
Rooms
Clean and quiet, but no special "Towel Art" as in Cuba . Only time we even had a flower or a flower PETAL, was the very first day. Boo-hoo!!!
Your Arrival
Fine… no hitches.
Best holiday i hav eva bin on in mi life !!! 🙂
Hotel Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada
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Danielle >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
May, 2010 | Leisure | Family
it was brilliant, i neva wanted 2 leave, the staff were the funniest people i hav eva met and the kindedest. the food was exceptional every nite and there is a wide variety too. the swimming pool was really refreshin n clear !! sensational !! it is gorgous weather every day, the beach was the whitest, softest, best sand you had ever walked along. the sea was as clear as glass and stretched as far as the eye can see.The rooms were cleaned thurally every day and were spotless, the beds where the comfiest i had ever slept on, the flour was clean and crisp. the tv was quite large, lots of wardrobe space and the bathrooms were spotless.the entertainment was excellent and every nite was different shows and performances and the last nite show was exceptional. i would recoment this hotel to everyone and i would go again in a minute.

the only thing i would say is that dont go there just for a week because it is 2 far to travel for just 7 days so i recomend goin for 2 weeks insted, but overall it is the BEST EVA !!!!!!!!!!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
the day trips were exceptional and i would advise you to go on them all, also there is a wide range of acitvities to do in the grounds including a spa, golf, tinnis, gym and many more.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
the pool was cleaned every nite and was cool and calm, they hav a seprate bit in the pool incase you want to have a game of vollyball and the staff regualy hosted games during the day. there is also a mini pool where your youngsters can go and make friends. also round the bak of the tennis courts there is a jaquzzi where you can chill. the beache was raked every morning so it looked clean and inviting every day, the sea was as clear as glass and relaxing. the grounds were simple to find your way around and spacious.
Other Comments
all i can say is that i would recomend this hotel to everyone and i would deffintly go bak there agen !!!x big thumbs up 🙂 xx
Restaurants and Bars
food was exceptional every nite and there was a choice of quite alot of bars to attend, otherwise go to the buffay witch was top standed every nite. the bar staff and waiters are very friendly and helpfull and the drinks were chilled and refreshing.
Rooms
everything about the rooms were top class !! do i need 2 say any more ?!!! x
Your Arrival
arrival was teriffic, you get the blast from the heat as soon as you get off the plane but you soon get used to it. the baggs came quite quick and the trollies were free so that was good. it is very easy to find your was around and the staff tell exactally were 2 go and reach your coach, it is very straight forward.
Love it everytime
Hotel Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca
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T. >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
We have stayed at Amigo 8 times in the last 3 yrs. Its like going home each time.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The best thing about this area is it is not tourist. Rent a scooter and take off the views are some of the best I have ever seen and take my breath away everytime. The people are beautiful and will give you the shirt off their backs without asking for anything back Boca de Semo is amazing and the aqerium is pretty good to. Look for Thomas the buggy driver to take you there.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach is fantastic everyday but Sunday when the locals seem to spend a lot of time down in our area. The guys that work the beach shack, Carlos, Johnny and Jesus are fantastic and will go out of their way for you. Carlos and Jesus (heyzuez)are both fishing nuts so some extra line and a few lures in you bag for them.
Other Comments
We have stayed at other 5 star resorts in the Carribean but Guadalavacia has become a second home to us. There are several resorts in the area. Pick one and make friends that become family to you. Cuba and its residents are truly beautiful people. You will love your time there as long as you remember that you are in a 3rd world country and are on the receiving end of the best they have to offer.
Restaurants and Bars
Cuban food…yuk! We always take small cans of tuna and rice crackers, soya sauce, peanut butter and ms. dash so we can flavour our food and never really go hungry love the veggies that are served there somehow our plates always end up being full but the food is mediocre at best.
Rooms
Love staying in the blue barracks, very queit at anytime of the year. Rooms are run down but it is the oldest part of the resort..the villas were we tend to stay now are definetly 4 star.
Your Arrival
Arrival was good as always Thanks to Anna who seems to be at the desk each time we get there. If your going she has 2 boys and they wear large mens clothes.
I had a blast with our friends and their children
Hotel Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca
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Nat Brampton >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Sep, 2009 | Leisure | With Group
When my husband and I got married, we never went on an official honeymoon. We had planned on going on a 10 year anniversary without children, but ended up taking them both (6&11). We also went with our friends and their 3 children (2,7&10). I couldn’t wait to be on vacation all inclusive. Well let me tell you that you MUST really look into the Hotel you will be staying in. It was a horrible first experience but thank goodness for the company you keep I had a blast with our friends and their children. So much to laugh about and I look forward to going away with them again…. Thank you…………
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
What, there were activities. I did not see any. If only someone directed me to them, maybe I could of had more fun. (Maybe not)
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pool bars – well the swim up bar was great, but if you have a connection with the bar tenders maybe they will fill your beach bags too with goodies (booze). Was that lady with the big bag lucky!!!
Other Comments
When picking a hotel to stay at ask around if anyone has stayed there. Pay the long distance charges and find out what will be going on the week you will be traveling. Do your homework to find out the most you can find out about it. But most of all travel with friends you know you will have fun with no matter what. Can not wait until February 2010
Restaurants and Bars
Food was tolerable, drinks were cold, at the 24 hr. bar food service was terrible. How can you ignore someone if you are sitting at the wrong tables to get served. (Speak up and let your tourist know, how do you expect to get a good tip.)
Rooms
Our first room (in the barracks)had 3 twin beds for 4 people. Could you get any more cramped. No hot water the night we arrived or the next morning. T.V. hung off the wall so that every time I walked by it I would have to duck. Mold was growing on the curtains and sheets, oh boy what an experience.
This hotel was the bottom of the barrel
Hotel Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca
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nelly >  1 contribution(s) SEYCHELLES
Mar, 2009 | Leisure | Family
The flight was great as I expected.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
What activities? You had to creae your own.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was nice when the locals werent stealling the tourists cameras. The pools all catered to old people and they have no music at all, I suggest that you bring along a radio of some sort.
Other Comments
Save your money. This hotel was the bottom of the barrel. I wouldn’t go back even if it was FREE.
Restaurants and Bars
Food was all crap. Drinks were the routine tropical drinks. They have no concept how to cook food at all. Burgers and everyhing else was deep fryed. No fruit or vegetables that week we were there, perhaps the delivery truck got hijacked by some desperate locals, who knows.
Rooms
When we got there they placed our family of five in a room small enough to house only one person comfortably. When the door opened for the first time all you smell is mold. My daghter slept with tree mold spots on her blanket we dicovered in the morning. There was no fridge no hot water and no clean air to breathe, we had to place our socks in the air conditioning unit in order for it to work, what a joke, things had to change fast. We then transfered to a small suite which was like the Hilton hotel compared to where we came from.
Friendly fun group at Caracol
Hotel Club Amigo Caracol
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kate >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
My girlfriend and I just came back from the Caracol in Santa Lucia. We found the hotel rooms clean. The staff very friendly. The service to be great. The meals were a little lacking. Not much to chose from. But other than that everything went just excellent. They have an excellent massage person there! The beach is nice. There is security so no need to feel afraid. You are not bothered on the beach by beggars or persons trying to sell too many trinkets. There are no time share pitches. So overall… I’d say Cuba is WAY more fun than Mexico!

If you do decide to travel to Cuba. Do the people of Cuba a favor and bring along extra old clothes that are in good shape that you may have outgrown or decided to discard. Take along a whole spare suitcase full if you can. They especially would love used shoes, baby clothes, shampoos, lotions, medicines like tylenol or advil, makeup, essentially anything you are willing to bring is fair game for a well appreciated tip.

the Real Deal on the Corales
Hotel Club Amigo Carisol Los Corales
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Sandy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Summary: this resort is a solid 3 star for Cuba with standard Cuban food and drinks but the biggest selling point here ( and the reason we will return) is the weather !! In the high 30’s every day and no rain. For more info and some tips to make the most of your stay please read on…
We travelled to Los Corales Dec 27 – Jan 3 with a family of 12 (aged 12 yr to 78 yrs). We have travelled many times to Cuba including Manzanilla, Santa Lucia, Cayo Coco as well as other parts of the Carribean ( Mexico, Antigua, St. Thomas, San Juan, Costa Rica). I had researched this resort and we new what to expect. The resort was not even 1/4 full so we felt like we had it to ourselves. They just opened the week before we got there. The sister resort the Carisol also had low occupancy. We could go back and forth to both resorts but basically stated at the Corales. We were told that they are trying to make the Carisol the ‘party’ hotel for the younger crowd. NOTE: there was NO internet at either resort!!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
STAFF Bar staff – at pool were AWESOME!!! Ovidio and Ivan we miss you ..thanksfor taking care if us!! Maids – were very efficent and friendly but I have to admit I did not even see ours as we were not in our room much. Others in family talked to them daily and they called them by name. Gardeners and Security – lots of both of these around everywhere and they were friendly Activities staff – WHAT Activities staff??? really..did not see anyone in charge of activities for the first 3 days..when they did show up they announced Salsa lessons at 4:30 ..but never showed up..VBall at 4:00 and never showed up..and this went on every day. We actually made a joke of it until finally a water polo game did materialize. We were a group of adults and kids who would have participated and were disappointed at this aspect of the resort. Even the dive instructor was disinterested in drumming up participants and when we did go to get a lesson, he sat at the bar drinking beer while the bartender hooked us up with the tanks. Honestly, our take on the activities staff was they were lazy, but maybe there were at the other resort. HINT 15 – If you plan on doing alot of activities you may be disappointed as they were non- existent at this resort. Entertainment There was entertainment every night that started at 9:30. The dancing got repetative but they switched it up with some audience participation, a magician and water ballet. WEATHER – 3 words..HOT HOT HOT..mid 30`s every day ( I always take a themometer so I know the daily temps ) and at night went down to 25 or so..very few clouds and not a drop of rain!!! this is why we will come back…. HINT 16 – Bring a thermometer and tie it to your chair so you can tell your friends how HOT it was !! TIPS and GIFTING We tips the bartenders and wait staff but also brought tons of gifts like shoes and batteries and duct tape etc etc… HINT 17 – They realy need shoes especially running shoes so if you have good used ones bring them to give away. HINT 18 – Don`t forget about the gardeners and cooks. EXCURSIONS We did the 2 hr horse back riding which was fantastic. We took knapsacks full of goodies to give out along the way as we rode through the mountains. cost – $15.00 We did the snorkel excursion through Marlin on a catamaran where we were out on the water for 4 hrs, fished and snorkeled…saw great sea life and caught 5 fish. A very fun trip – cost $45 We also did the dolphins which was the highlight for some – took the bus and watched the show and swam with dolphins for $55.00 NEW YEARS EVE CELEBRATION This was a special night for them where they roasted a pig, decorated the dining room , had fancy desserts, served champagn, had nice appetizers. We took horns and glow stick and hats and were glad as they did not have any of this.

The entertainment was the same dancers as the other nights..and at NYs there was a count down and more champagne.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
POOL The pool was cleaned daily however they were very lax in the cleaning of the pool deck. The candy we dropped on the first day was still on the pool deck on the fifth day.The pool guy did not work too hard and sat drinking beer after the bar opened ( sorry..but we watched this every day!!) Pool chairs where fairly new and in good shape but very hard on the butt.. We pretty much had the pool to ourselves so there was no issue getting a spot. The towel lady appeared every day about 10:00 and was there until 4:30 so you can exchange your towel every day. You will be expected to turn in the # of towels that you signed up for or there is a charge.

HINT # 14 – Take a small air mattress to blow up as a cushion on the lounge chairs

Other Comments
CLOSING SUMMARY
We would return to this hotel for the weather and the people. The food is basic but still good and no one went hungry or got sick. If you are looking for a no fuss resort with great weather then this is the resort for you. If you are looking for 5 star dining and fancy accommodation this is not the place for you.
Restaurants and Bars
There are 3 bars 1) Daiquiri Bar by entertainment 2) Swim Up bar 3) Lobby Bar. these bars are opened at different times during the day. they have cappachino and expressor but did not know how to make a spanish coffee. Some of the drinks available are Cuba Libre, Mojito, Pina Colada, Hemingway Special, Ron Punch, Planters Punch, Gin Fizz. They also have draft beer on tap. If they ran out of beer they replaced the keg ASAP however when they were out of vodka they would not go get more at another bar. Pool Bartenders ( Ovidio and Ivan were fantasitc) but others were sparatic in terms of there moods and service. HINT #6 – They do not have diet soda/pop. A nice drink for the calorie cautious is Sparkling water,lime and vodka or rum. Ask Ovidio at the pool bar to make you one!! HINT # 7 – Drinks will taste different at every bar depending on who makes it. HINT # 8 – Sparkling water is water with ‘gas’ so be sure to ask for gas or no gas water HINT # 9 – Bring a thermos mug as the cups are small and plastic HINT # 10 – If you like to drink out of a straw in a big mug, take some straws.They did have them at the end of the trip but they were short ones HINT # 11 – If you like Bailys Irish Cream…bring you own..I wish I had for my coffee HINT # 12 – They only have red wine, which was pretty good , so if you like white, bring your own. FOOD We always found something to eat. There was always a carving of beef , chicken and fish on the grill. Buffet offers soup, salade, great buns, a variety of potatoes which changed daily, beans, veggies etc. They had ketchup, mustard, HP sauce and hot sauce. You will need to know when the restuarant are open as there are periods of time when there is no food available. Breakfast at the buffet only ( 7:00 – 10:00) with typical breakfast options including an ommlette grill, real bacon, boiled eggs, meat , cheese and buns, pancakes, french toast etc… Lunch options are buffet ( 12:30 – 2:00) or Italian Grill at the Corisal or Grill at the beach. Grill had fries and burgers or hot dogs. Italian had pizza or pasta. Dinner options same as above but Grill turns into a Seafood resturant which needs reservations ( Lobster and Shrimp are extra) and Italian is the same menu and also needs reservations which need to be booked the same day at 10:00 am.

HINT # 13 – get to the lobby early if you want to book the Italian as it fills up fast

Rooms
We stayed in 501, 502, 504 which is right near the Coffee bar and entertainment which was perfect for us. Others from group stayed in 106 and 108 which was perfect for them as it was further away from the music and early moring coffee goers. Rooms were cleaned daily and towels refreshed, no smell, no bugs, fresh sheets, great patio with chairs. We did not need convertors for electricity. There is a fridge but there is nothing in it. Safes for us were free but we needed to get someone to come and activate it for us. HINT #1 – the 500 block only has mirrors in the bathroom…bring a mirror if you will need to do hair and make up while the bathroom is occupied. HINT # 2 – Bring some extra toilet paper as they refill everyday but only one roll..so bring some in case of emgerencies HINT # 3 – If you want a quieter room ask for 100 or 200 as they are further away from the action. HINT # 4 -The beds are hard and the pillows are slim. If this is a problem for you bring an extra pillow or drink more before you go to bed.

HINT # 5 -There are no clocks in the rooms so make sure you bring an alarm clock or watch or you will be like me and wondering what time it is

Take the package that includes the night dive
Hotel Club Med Columbus Isle
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Sandi03 >  1 contribution(s) 
May, 2003 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Columbus Isle is a key of the Bahamas for those of you wondering. My 12 yr old son and I, left from JFK at 8am Easter Sunday, and arrived at Columbus Isle at about 11:30am. We were welcomed by the staff at the airport (about 2 people), and were quickly ushered into Club Med Mini Vans and driven the 1 minute commute to Club Med..Yes 1 minute, it was at the end of the runway!!! The resort was quite nice, nothing like other Club Med’s I’ve been to. The rooms were well decorated, clean, not dorm room at all. The food was quite good, and the service pleasant. The best part of the vacation was the diving. This is where the resort excelled. The boats were new, clean, state of the art. The scuba equipment was well taken care of, and the reefs were amazing. There were caves and wrecks to explore, and pleanty of surprises. Definately take the package that includes the night dive. The night life was almost non existent, but we definately made do, especially my 12 year old, who made friends with other kids, and they had their own fun at the ping-pong table.

Hope this helps

We were in for quite a shock when we went poolside
Hotel Club Med Columbus Isle
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KennethUSA >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Feb, 2003 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
RE: Club Med San Salvador Island “NOT AS ADVERTISED” What a miserable vacation it turned out to be.

The beach is lovely, and the facilities are very good, the food barely passed for mediocre, and the atmosphere was just awful! This was our third Club Med, the last two in Mexico, and we will never go to another Club Med again.

This was a huge disappointment.
RE: Club Med San Salvador Island “NOT AS ADVERTISED” What a miserable vacation it turned out to be. The beach is lovely, and the facilities are very good, the food barely passed for mediocre, and the atmosphere was just awful! This was our third Club Med, the last two in Mexico, and we will never go to another Club Med again. We have two kids, 8 & 9 yrs old, and they did not get much use out of the Kids Clubs in the Mexico resorts, so it was no necessary we go to a Village with a Kid’s Club. The marketing material, along with representations made by their agents said that kids are welcome and Columbus Isle would be just great for families. To avoid the Christmas travel crowds, we pulled the kids from school for a week in February (both kids are great students). We were in for quite a shock when we went poolside; a good half of the women were topless. (While this may appeal to many people, it is not the kind of thing for kids from where we come from.) My wife was totally humiliated. I did complain while I was there, asked about getting off the island (not easy), and was shrugged off. Upon our return home I learned that nude bathing is against Club Med policy, (even the GO’s were going topless), as well as it is against the laws of the Bahamas. I really don’t care what they do at the Village; just don’t promote it for kids. They had plenty of opportunity to warn us (or the travel agent). Their response concerning my complaint ha been very unsatisfactory. The food. While the food in the Mexican Villages was excellent, the food at Columbus Isle varied fro standard buffet mush to inedible. A person in the buffet line in front of me had to kill a bug crawling out of a dish. Then the server tried to put the platter back! Some of the fish dishes were above average, and the bread was decent, but we did not put on any extra weight because the meals were so great. If you like fresh air, forget it! The theater (where it is clearly posted “No Smoking” was a fog. In fact we had to walk out of shows because our eyes and throats were burning because of the thick cigarette smoke. But the smoking is everywhere. It may be a cultural thing with the large French contingent, but at meals, the pool, even in the ocean plumes of smoke always seemed to be in one’s face. The bar bracelets are a good idea, but during popular times you had a good wait to get you drinks. They said they were short a bartender. Oh well.

This was a huge disappointment. In the future we will not be going to Club Med.

Much nicer than I expected for the price!
Hotel ClubHotel Riu Bambu
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Janet >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We left Boston on a TNT charter flight via Miami Air. Great flight, on time both on departures and arrivals. Good cold meal snacks both ways. Pick up at the airport and arrival at the hotel was prompt.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Plenty of tours to pick from. If you book on your credit card, make sure you check your billing for duplicate charges.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pools were nice and clean with plenty of chairs and shade. The beach was beautiful as usual (this is one of the things that keep me going back to Punta Cana). The only shade on the beach was from the palm trees, but there were enough of them to follow the shade and space was ample. The kiddie pool had a nice little playground. We did not take advantage of the structured programs for the kids, but other parents remarked about how much their kids liked them.
Other Comments
We knew when we booked that the hotel was planning on closing in April for renovations and I was a little leery about what we would find. I’m not sure what their renovations will include, but I was happy just the was it was. The only negative thing I would say about this hotel is that the soap bars that they give to you are smaller than what I throw away. If you go here bring your own soap and Kleenex!
Restaurants and Bars
Our family of 4 generations ranging from 3 to 80 years old found plenty of variety and tasty food in the buffets for everyone. We choose not to go a la carte so I can’t comment on them. Not ONE person in our party suffered from ANY KIND OF AN INTESTENIAL ailment! Bartenders were eager to please. There was a good choice of domestic alcoholic drinks for everyone. Much better quality than some of the other hotels in Punta Cana. I’ve been to Punta Cana ten times now.
One of our party left her beach bag with money and an expensive camera in the lady’s room. When she realized that it was gone about a half hour after that, she went to the lost and found and it was there!
Rooms
Room were clean and maid service throughout the stay was efficient. Free mini- bars were well stocked with water, 4 kinds of alcohol and soft drinks. Staff were friendly!
Your Arrival
Check in was done immediately on arrival with free in room safes.
We had a fabulous time
Hotel Coconut Bay Resort
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T&M >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2009
We had a fabulous time. The weather was nice and hot with a constant breeze. Hotel room was simple, but clean and comfortable and a good size. Food was very good. The buffet was smaller than what we have enjoyed at other resorts but they changed up the menu every day and always had a good variety. I never ate the same thing twice or experienced anything I did not like. The Hotel puts on a Country and Western BBQ night on Wed and a Pirate theme cookout on Sat, plus with the Italian restaurant, the Asian restaurant and the Beach Grill, you only need to eat at the buffet restaurant 2 evenings, if you choose. Alcohol was plentiful. They offer all kinds of mixed tropical drinks and they are strong! Kids lazy river, pool, water fountain area, and slides were all alot of fun. Pools were cleaned daily. No need to reserve loungers as they offered plenty. Towels were picked up and dropped off as required by the pool. No towel cards required. No arm bracelets required. Beach was also cleaned daily of seaweed. Ocean was very rough so we did not swim there but did walk along the beach and put our feet in. Cushioned beds offered along the beach for a nice afternoon siesta. My only complaint, and that is because we were travelling with a 4 year old, is that we arrived at the hotel at 1pm. Luggage follwed in a separate truck, but we did not get our room keys until after 4:30pm. Our little guy was very cranky and exhausted by then. I would certainly recommend this hotel to anyone travelling with young children because of all the great activities included. Hotel is literally minutes from the airport.
Coconut Bay excels
Hotel Coconut Bay Resort
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Hlywud >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
St. Lucia Jazz festival was on and each night was a variety of live music on in the lobby, some was excellent and some was a bit too loud for my liking. Overall on a scale of 1 to 10 the entertainment should rate a 6.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Splash side had great huge pools, lazy river and water slide which was great for families, very clean pools with a large swim up bar which we never used. A great hot tub was also available. Beach is long and extensive but lots of rocks along the shore as they try to save the sand from the constant waves of the trade winds, we went knowing that the beach was not going to be great and would have lots of seaweed each day, but you still could go in and find warm clear waters with a nice sand bottom.

Grounds were quite extensive and would be beautiful if the island were not in the midst of a 12 week drought and all the vegetation was getting very stressed.

Other Comments
In most cases this resort is advertised as a 3 to 3.5 star resort, it definitely falls into a 4 star category based on its food, cleanliness and great staff. Atually I have been to many advertised 4.5 star resorts in the DR and Mexico that would not come close to this gem on the south shores of St. Lucia.
Restaurants and Bars
Buffet was impressive although not overbearing, having been to many 4.5 and 5 star resorts here everything was piping hot and never luke warm. There was a very decent selection of foods available, it would be your fault if you went hungry.
A la cartes needed to be booked a day in advance and I will say that they rivaled any I have been to at any resort I have been to, well presented, very tasty and definite hot, service was excellent.
Rooms
4th floor premium cean view Harmony (Adults Only) side. Clean and comfortable, built in electric converters did not work but not a major problem during our stay. Some signs of mould from humidity on ceiling outside of bathroom. Water was always hot for the shower, pressure was also excellent.

Rooms were not lavish but well appointed and very nice size, with lots of closet space and a very large electronic safe also a large scree lcd tv with a very good selection of channels.

Your Arrival
Deboarded the plane at 1:08 pm and were in our room by 1:30 pm, very fast and efficient transfer and check in procedures.
Amazing
Hotel Coconut Palms Resort
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S >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I loved this place!! Stayed there for 7 days and was thoroughly sad upon leaving. This place truly captures the warmth and comfort of the island while still providing an escape from the ordinary with just the right amount of luxury. My family and I stayed there and we all enjoyed the warmth of the entire staff and the authenticity of the entire resort. Smiling faces all around, eager to help truly goes a long way in having a great vacation stay.
Don’t believe everything you read, this place is wonderful
Hotel Coral Costa Caribe
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Caitlyn >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
I have been to Coral Costa Caribe 3 times now. I have nothing bad to say at all about this resort, the people are wonderful, the food is wonderful, the resort itself is wonderful. I never had a bad experience in my combined 21 days there, which I think is saying a lot. All three times I’ve traveled with my family who are part of the Vacation Club. I couldn’t say enough about the company. They’ve been perfect. We’ve gone to other resorts, but I have to say, Costa Caribe is the best place to be a Vacation Club member.

Also remember, if you want everything to be perfect, you should have stayed home and done it yourself.

Perfect March Break Getaway
Hotel Coral Sol de Plata Resort, Spa & Casino
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Sandra >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Arrived March 12, 2010 and departed March 19, 2010 This was a family vacation which included one teenager. It was our first time to the Dominican Republic as well as first time to an all-inclusive resort. We thought it was fabulous. The staff were all very pleasant and willing to help in any way they could.

The only real complaint we had were the vacation club "vultures" as we called them. They would circle around just waiting to pounce on you when you walked by to pressure you to sit in on one of their presentations. We thought we were clever in evading them, however one of them was waiting for us as we exited the buffet restaurant and we finally acquiesced and went in for the presentation against our own will. We sat there and listened to the "spiel" for all of 5 minutes when I finally abruptly got up and walked out with my family. I told them I was there on vacation to enjoy the pool/ocean and was not interested in sitting indoors getting information on any "timeshare" venture that was a waste of their time as well as ours because we were just NOT INTERESTED. They never bothered us again.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The Chocolate Friends did a great job organizing daily activities by the pool and nightly activities on the main stage for the kids as well as shows for the adults. The disco opened too late (11 pm) which we were always fast asleep by that time so we never got to experience that. The casino always seemed empty but looked inviting although many of the slot machines were out of order. We also went on a couple of excursions off the resort although that gets expensive. Paradise Island was beautiful!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The grounds are beautiful, the pool was amazing and the ocean/beach was private, clean and there was lots of room, it was not too busy at all which was surprising. Being March Break I was sure it would be packed and would be hard to find a spot without being one on top of the other.
Restaurants and Bars
The food was delicious and had a great variety at the buffets, every day for dinner there was a different theme (ie: Chinese, Mexican). There were also three other restaurants and the only complaint we had was that we never got to go to the Japanese Restaurant because you needed to make reservations and it was always filled up. We received conflicting stories about when we should try to book it and at each time we tried (in person and by phone) we just had no luck. I even asked to speak to the manager however was told that he was not there. The drinks at all the bars were good and the bartenders always very pleasant.
Rooms
Room was clean, quiet and well tended to by the maid during our stay. We were missing an alarm clock; a light over one of the beds did not work and the phone did not work (although we told the hostess at the buffet and when we returned to our room it was fixed…thank you Rosanna!) We had a nice balcony overlooking the gardens.
Your Arrival
Arrival was uneventful and quite rapid. Our luggage was brought to our room for us.
Corozal Bay Inn – a true gem!
Hotel Corozal Bay Inn
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Corissa >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2009 | Leisure | Family
My teen-aged son and I stayed at CBI for a night on either side of a trek down to Punta Gorda, Belize. Douglas (owner) was friendly, and went out of his way to offer advice and make phone calls. We loved the quietness of the inn – especially after spending a couple of nights in the noisy and crowded Playa del Carmen, MX. The atmosphere of the bar/restaurant was just what we needed – and native and ex-pat Belizeans – and other travelers – used the bar/restaurant to meet and hang out. Yet, there were usually no more than 10 people in there at one time. The food was quite good – the breakfasts were incredible – make sure you ask for the Belizean flapjacks instead of toast! And a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ! The price of beverages was reasonable – even less than half of the price in Mexico. If you come to Central America, then you had better get used to the bugs and geckos! If that is too much, stay home!!! Geckos are the most friendly creatures – and are way more scared of you than you are of them – believe me on this, a Canadian girl who doesn’t see bugs for half the year due to the winters. CBI is clean, very well-run, and great value for the money. I had just spent over double for a night in PDC, MX (read my review of the Fusion) – and the only difference was a beach at CBI. The Fusion doesn’t even come close to the quality of CBI! We loved the thatched roofs of the cabanas – and yes – at night we could hear the geckos scurrying around up there, and chirping their songs! In the morning we were greeted by the parrots singing their praises to the sun! So many sounds that cannot be heard in noisy, crowded Mexico…or North America. The internet access was iffy – but not due to CBI, but to Belize. I was able to get online every evening and morning, though – just not in the afternoon.

If you have a chance, don’t hesitate to stay at CBI. It’s a haven for travelers, and a place to just "be" – instead of "do."

Great first trip
Hotel Cubanacan Brisas del Caribe
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mike >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We loved the people, the sunshine, and the beautiful white beach. Only had a few windy and cloudy days. The food was ok considering.

great price for what we got and will be going again more than likely to the same hotel.

WoW, This was our first time in Cuba and I would go back in a FLASH to this resort !
Hotel Cubanacan Brisas del Caribe
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Julie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Wedding | With Spouse/Partner
Hola, Cuba Friends, My first time in Cuba was in April 2006 we got married and it was just amazing, I gave it a 5*****, the food 3***, the Beach 5***** rooms 4**** ( smell a little like mold ) Peaple 5*****.
We went back in April 2007 for our 1 year Anniversary and I still gave it a 5*****, the bad reviews they are wrong. You need to think that Cuba is a 3rd world country. We are thinking about going back to Oasas Del Carib in April 2010.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Awsome
Beach/Pools/Grounds
I give it a 5*****
Restaurants and Bars
Good, we went to 3 a la cart
The price was good and the resort was better than we expected..
Hotel Cubanacan Club Amigo Marea del Portillo
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Elaine >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Oct, 2009 | Leisure | Family
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did almost every tour. The sunset cruise (booze cruise) was a lot of fun and it was a great way to meet a lot of people who were staying at the resort. The party in the village in Pilon was okay…but not for everyone. Very hard to find a bathroom..there was one in a restaurant but we heard it was pretty bad. I heard most people just find a dark corner and go..lol.. We got tired of it after a while and wandered to the church and watched the service from outside..they were singing and dancing. We really enjoyed that even though we are not "church type people". They all came over to us and welcomed us when the service was over. The jeep tour was fun…and the roads were really rough and terrible!! But it was great swimming in the waterfall. Great scenery also. Lunch is included..but we missed ours as the farmer didn’t think we would come as it stormed the night before.(The tour rep gave us a partial refund because of that) The tour to the city of Manzanillo and Bayamo was very, very long. Bayamo is a nice city and lunch was very good. Your first stop in Bayamo is at the Sierra Maestra Hotel…bathroom stop…yay!! Then you go for a horse and buggy ride around part of the city. It is a full day…and it seemed like most of it was spent on the bus, but you see lots of Cuban towns, villages and scenery. You can ask the tour guide to have the bus pull over and cut you some sugar can to chew on..Also..if you have to go to the bathroom…they will pull over…men go out to the front of the bus and ladies go behind the bus. Cayo Blance island was great and so was the food. White sand and clear water. Just keep your eye out for jellyfish. Bring some cortisone cream just in case you get a sting. They also have a couple of kayaks there that you can use. You can go on the boat..about a kilometer off shore to snorkle at Cayo Blanco. There is also another waterfall..sometimes the waterfall is dry but the pool is great to swim in.. it’s near the resort..about a 25 minute walk down dirt roads, past farm houses. You can find a Cuban to guide you there if you walk down the beach to the left. You can also rent a guide and a horse at the resort and ride there.

If you go wandering a little ways in front of the resort you can usually find you a Cuban that will show you their house, farm animals, etc. etc. We really enjoyed that…just give them a few pesos or gifts…it means a lot to them.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool was nice and had a deep end. The grounds were kept up and had lots of different flowers, plants, trees and bushes. The beach in front of Marea is huge and very long..kind of a brownish tan colored sand. The ocean was fun to swim in..but not clear. If you walk down the beach to the left it starts to get pebbly/rocky. You can find Cuban families down there if you like to bring gifts for them. The fishing village is down that way, but we never went that far.
Other Comments
You may read about older Canadian men going to the resort to hook up with young Cuban women. We didn’t have a problem with this. The "couple" we met were very nice, polite and a lot of fun. We loved this area of Cuba as it seems like the "real" Cuba …compared to Varadero or Cayo Coco. We wanted an adventure and thats what we got. Don’t just stick around the resort…get out and explore!!! We thought we might get a little bored at this resort…but we were busy and on the go every single day and really enjoyed ourselves!!! (us..56 year old mother and 29 year old daughter)
Restaurants and Bars
The restuarant was okay. You can sit inside or outside. Go early as they run out of certain things. There wasn’t a lot of variety and it was very repetative…but it was healthy and you won’t starve. They usually have a variety of fruit, a few salads, rice, rice with beans, and more rice!! Pork, chicken and fish. Fresh bread, buns and butter and cake and baked custard for dessert.(You can also go to the restuarant at the Farallon resort). There is only one bar at the Marea resort…its right next to the pool. Service was fine…cups are small but they have a variety of drinks. You can also go to the bars at the Farallon section which is around a kilometer or less away. You can walk the beach to it or take the golf cart shuttle. You are allowed to use the services of both resorts. ***This was the only resort that I have been to where the staff really didn’t bother you or hint for tips!!
Rooms
We booked the V.I.P. Cabanas (Marea del Portillo resort) We asked for the two top rooms closest to the main hotel..and thats what we got. The rooms were much nicer than I expected. Oceanfront, balcony, two comfortable double beds and very clean other than a stain on one of the chairs. The only problem we had with our rooms was no hot water (but we didn’t even bother to tell them) and my daughter had a noisy airconditioner in her room, which they tried to fix. All in all we were quite pleased with our rooms. We didn’t hear anyone complain about any of the rooms at the Marea resort.
Your Arrival
We had a mid morning arrival and when we got outside we were handed envelopes with our wrist bands and room keys, before we got on the bus to go to the resort…a very easy check in! There is a money exchange booth in the airport on the right hand side near the exit doors. You can also buy beer and pop outside…near where the buses park. The ride to the resort is long…at least an hour and a half, but the scenery is interesting. You can see the mountains from the airport and the resort is behind the mountains (and you go the long way around them)
Most awesome & humbling experience of my life, I absolutely LOVED it!
Hotel Cubanacan Club Amigo Marea del Portillo
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Denise >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Can’t say enough good about this – hopefully sunwing publishes my review, it was too long to type here again 🙂 Was an absolutely amazing time, spent on the resort and with the locals – very poor although extrememly happy and loving people – unbelievable time of my life.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
amazing adventures
Beach/Pools/Grounds
awesome – again!!!!!
Other Comments
check this out, it has become the place I want to have a home away from home
Restaurants and Bars
no complaints – clean area with fresh food 🙂
Rooms
spotless albeit old. comfortable & cool 🙂
Your Arrival
awesome, speedy 🙂
This resort is better than I expected
Hotel Cubanacan Club Amigo Marea del Portillo
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Andrew >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I traveled with my mother and sister here. I came with the intention it was going to be a backwash place in the middle of nowhere, but really, I dont know why anyone was really complaining. Aslong as you go to Cuba expecting Cuban standards, you will have a great time. The food is exactly what you will get for a 3 star, but you dont go to Cuba for the food, you go for the beach and pool. After the hurricane they remodeled the resort, so be sure to stay at the Farralon de Carib. It is much more elegant, with better food, and nicer rooms. Overall we found the staff very friendly,but try to find Henry (he is very nice and helpful). Come there with a flash light, because the nightly entertainment rotates from hotels every second night, and the road can get slightly dark. Also, dont go expecting to use the internet, it is expensive and takes FOREVER to load a page!!!!! I do not recomend this hotel for the young drinking crowd however. The resort is very spread out, and after a night of fun (or to much to drink) there is no food to get after dinner until breakfast!!! Otherwise, familys with kids and older citizens I do recomend this tranquil atmosphere.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
This resort is more friend orientated. There are activities on the resort, like bingo and contests. The tours were fun, but not very organized. They had ping pong, which was very fun, but the tennis was not very good. If you are a player, you are better off to walk down to the Marea del Portillo resort, because the Farallon’s tennis is isolated and hard to get to. The shows were funny, and the entertainment staff were very nice!!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
If you stay at the farallon, the beach is about a 5 minute walk, but it is worth the walk.The path ways are clean, and the grounds are very lush. There were animals on the resort pathways, (goats, horses, pigs, cows) but aslong as you avoid there poo they dont bother you. The beach at the Farallon side isn’t very nice. The sand is very dark and rigid. We allways walked to the other hotels beach, which had lighter, and softer sand. The pools were very nice. They were clean and relativley warm. Other than the pathways, the grounds were spotless.
Other Comments
The resort was better than I expected, and aslong as you go for the weather and not the food you will have fun. If you are younger I dont recomend this hotel. Overall, it was a good vacation
Restaurants and Bars
The food is what you would expect in Cuba. We found the Farralon’s food was a little better than the other ones, and a better variety. The food is very simple, rice, beans, pork, chicken ,beef and salads, but the bread is amazing!!!!! The fruit was fresh, but the desserts were plain, and the icecream only came in vanilla. The bar had a wide variety of drinks, but I suggest you bring your own cup, beacuse the cups are really small. One thing I didn’t like is that there was no food avaliable after dinner.
Rooms
I cannot stress this enough, STAY AT THE FARALLON!!! The rooms were relativley nice. They were very clean, and everything worked fine except for a noisy airconditioner. There were about 5 english channels on the TV. ( You cannt scroll to CTV news because of the American and Cuban fued, but if you press channel 2 you can watch it. The room 414 had a bug problem in our beds after the wind died down, but they gave us a spray bottle. After dark besure to keep the doors closed, because once sand flies are in the room the get into your sheets and matress. This is Cuba, so if you want somthing done right, you must complain.
Your Arrival
The flight was not that bad in my opinion. The seats are a little bit closer together, but they had a movie, food, and pillows. When you arrive in the airport you go through normal customs, and then board a bus. ( Be sure to bring somthing to do, because the bus ride is another hour and a half.) There is a bar where you can get drinks, and they give you your key and bracelet befor you board the bus. Very convinient!
Attempted Rape! Do not make the mistake of going here
Hotel Cubanacan Club Amigo Marea del Portillo
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Zaid >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul, 2010 | Party | With Spouse/Partner
We stayed in the Marea del Portillo resort for one week starting July 21st. We met so many awesome people there and had a great time. One night, one of the girls we met went to the washroom. She was pulled by her elbow into a dark corner by security and was told to stay with them. When she asked to leave and tried to pull her arm away, they pulled her back into the corner and started to touch her inappropriately, despite her numerous demands for them to stop and to let her go. The security staff was backed up by management and the receptionist refused to call the police for over an hour before I tried to bride her with 5 pesos to call the police. The police said they could not do anything because it was all just the girl’s word versus the security guard’s and therefore the rapist security guard was back on his shift walking the grounds outside the room that the girl stayed in. He was not fired and he was not in any real trouble. We found out the hard way that in Cuba, a tourist should have bruises, scrapes, scratches and vaginal damage for anyone to be charged with rape or attempted rape. Upon leaving, airport security asked about the situation. They acted as if they were going to help, and asked to see the picture we had of the rapist security guard. When we showed them the picture, they deleted it from our camera to get rid of evidence. We now have to contact the Canadian Embassy and other officials to try to bring justice for a girl that has been changed forever. Security is all over the resort, and that’s definitely NOT a good thing. They didn’t serve, protect or do anything to help anyone. There were numerous complaints of security stealing from hotel rooms, asking for beers or food too many times, and even peeping into hotel rooms to watch as vacationers changed or were being intimate in their rooms. I even tested their security by yelling out several times "Seccoro!" which is Spanish for "help me" at the top of my lungs at a far dark area in the resort and none of them showed up. However, they were definitely there to watch us dancing together in the disco at night. The city, the beach, the pool and the activites were all too beautiful to describe in words… however the security and rest of the staff were completely rude and ignorant and just got ruder and more ignorant if you complained.

I do not recommend going to this city unless you DO NOT want to party or have a loud time on your vacation and I especially do not recommend going there if you are not fluent in Spanish. If you are a senior or a family with young children and don’t mind bad food (even by Cuba’s standards) then this resort can provide you a simple and inexpensive vacation – just make sure you lock all your belongings in your suitcase every time you leave the room.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities were fantastic! Horseback riding was inexpensive and beautiful. The cruise had an open bar and music and was also very inexpensive. There were also other activities we didn’t partake in that looked fun such as snorkeling, lobster lunch on a nearby white sand beach, jeep mountain tour, etc.
Arrival
Beatiful weather and cute, tiny airport… Horrible 2 hour bumpy bus ride to the resort.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach had brown sand (which we didn’t mind) and the water was so warm we couldn’t believe it! The water temperature was just too perfect to imagine.
Pool temperature was perfect as well. The pool was closed early at night and they did throw bleach and other harmful chemicals in there – which was a shame due to the perfect pool temperature for night-time swimming.
Other Comments
Find an English speaking lawyer in Cuba before going to Manzanillo to party. It’s just not a party city and the service is bad enough if you aren’t drunk and belligerent, so if you do start to get loud the service will go from bad to worse. If you complain the service will drop off the scale to an unacceptable level.
Restaurants and Bars
Bars closed whenever the bartenders felt like it, so we suggest buying water and other drinks from the gift shop for the nights that the bars decide to close at 11:30 PM.
Restaurants were ok, but the food and the service was not. There were numerous occasions of having rude service and the food was constantly recycled from the day before. The food in this resort was horrible compared to the food in another resort in Varradero that I had on my last trip to Cuba.
Rooms
An insect infestation of 4 different types of bugs resulted in us having to change rooms. The second room was much better, however the security guards do peep into the rooms, so we recommend only being intimate in the dark for short periods and changing in the washroom.
My home away from home
Hotel Cubanacan Club Amigo Marea del Portillo
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lois >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Just returned to Marea del Portillo after an absence of 20 years. There were still friends there who recognized me. THe arrival at the airport is well organized. The ride to hotel gives you an amazing insight into the way of life of Cuban people. THere is help at the hotel for your luggage. The rooms are adequate and have hairdryers and towels provided. Beach towels are provided as well. THe hotel is located in a rural setting which makes it a very relaxing quiet place for all ages to enjoy a safe and fun filled vacation. The hotel is clean, the food is plain but tasty. Lunch can be served at the beach bar. The staff are very friendly and helpful. There is a money exchange and internet access in the lobby. The beach is just delightful and uncrowed. Enjoy the excellent snorkeling in the lagoon. Take every opportunity to explore the surrounding country side, the locals are delighted to meet you. Take the planned excursions available, the horse riding is great. The evening entertainment is a colourful and musical introduction to the Cuban culture. Feel safe to explore the beach and surrounding area. Enjoy this very special place.
Chow
Value for money
Hotel Cubanacan Club Amigo Marea del Portillo
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Bobby >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I travelled with my wife and daughter to this place. Staff was very nice and they speak English. Safety was excellent. Very good experience. I am surprised, why people are complaining about this hotel.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Nightly entertainment, other activities, pool… etc.
Arrival
They welcomed guests by drinks and music.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Nice beaches.
Other Comments
Good value for money….. good for people who like nature….
Restaurants and Bars
Food was good most of the time, but sometimes more Cuban and less Canadian food…
Rooms
Air conditioned rooms, with both hot and cold water… both 110 and 220 volts electricity…. cable TV and mini fridge…. nice room….
In case you didn’t realize it, you are in Cuba
Hotel Cubanacan Gran Club Santa Lucia
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Todd from Montreal >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2009
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We played beach volleyball with Pluto and some of the other staff. My wife and son went on a Catamaran ride on the last (and least windiest) day. They also went horseback riding (6 pesos per person).
Arrival: March 2 – 9
We (family of 4, including boys 14 and 10) flew out of Toronto on March 2nd for a 1 week stay at the Gran Club Santa Lucia in Cuba. The same package out of Montreal was approx $1500 more expensive. We parked at DirectFlight Parking ($60 for the week) which gave us excellent drop off and pick up shuttle service. The Sunwing flight was a few minutes late taking off but the time was made up en route. The service was very good for what some consider "no frills". We had champagne, a decent airline meal with a glass of wine and saw a movie (High School Musical 3). Ok so the movie was a bit lame for the older folks but my kids were happy. Luggage pick up and customs were a breeze although the bank was closed so the bus driver ended up with a couple of US dollars. The bus ride was exactly as described: 90 minutes on a Montreal-style bumpy) road. FYI if you want your passport stamped you need to ask the customs officer to do it.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool was big and clean. It also had a pool bar. The chairs were quite close together and if you want one you should try and grab one early by placing your towel or t-shirt on top. The beach was a bit of a disappointment. There was a lot of debris and seaweed. It was VERY windy the week we were there and the sand was blowing everywhere. You can walk a long way up and down the beach. There were a few local vendors but a simple "no gracias" usually did the trick. The grounds of the hotel were pretty nice. It was apparent that last year’s hurricance did some damage but the resort is trying the replant some small trees on the grounds.
Other Comments
All in all we had a good week. The weather was not great but it was better than snow and minus whatever. The staff was pretty friendly. We have been to Holguin and enjoyed it more and would probably try somewhere else before considering Club Santa Lucia again. We can’t complain about the price though. A family of 4 for under $3000…you can’t go wrong. Now….I mentioned that crowd of the week. Here are some observations that not only my wife and I had, but some things that were noticed by our boys (remember our youngest is 10). I’m sure we have plenty of faults so I hope the comments are taken constructively: To the guy who freaked out about being placed in a room next to the disco. Take your complaint to the desk. The 80 odd people at the orientation really didn’t want to start their vacation by listening to you explode at the Sunwing rep. We also didn’t really care about how you stayed at many other resorts and blah blah blah. To the people who complained about the food yet took more that they could ever eat and left it on their plate without even saying or grunting a "gracias" to your server…take a second to look around the surrounding areas and wonder what some of the locals would give to have even a portion of that "lousy" food. To the people who seemed to not realize that the napkins on the loaves of bread where there to be used…WAKE UP!!! I’m pretty sure if you think about it long enough the thought of someone picking sand out of their butt crack and then picking up the loaf with their bare hands may make you may think twice before ignoring the napkins. Oh yeah people…In case you didn’t realize it, you are in Cuba…While the staff did an excellent job of trying to accomodate the unilingual speaking (English, French, Italian) guests, it may be a "bonne idee" to keep your racist comments to yourselves. You may not want to assume that the staff (and/or other guests) don’t know what you are saying when you laugh at an employee who mispronounce "merci". Hey, not everyone was a Muppet. There was the guy who had enough of the heavyset guy who did the 3 plate balancing act without watching where he was going. Ok so maybe the guy could have avoided some of the language he used when informing the "gentleman" that he was not the only guest on the resort but I think he said what was on a lot of people’s minds. There was also the couple with 3 kids under the age of 5 (including a 5 month old). Congrats… you have very well-behaved children and it was nice to see that they did not waste food and were very polite.

Last thing before I get off my soapbox: On the flight home…you know the one that lands at 2AM? Is it really necessary to get up and walk around and hover in someone’s personal space after a hot day at the beach and perhaps forgetting that extra swipe of deodorant? Hey..at least we got to see Madagascar 2.

Restaurants and Bars
The food was OK. Not great…but not bad. The buffet was very clean and had a good selection but not much variety from day to day. Breakfast was good. There was an omelet station and quite a bit of fresh fruit. There were several types of breads for toast and usually 2 types of cold cereal. Our waitress was very nice and brought us our coffee and tea and juice every morning (again, the gift/tips seemed to help). The snack bar at the beach had hotdogs, hamburgers, fries and fruit. The lunch/supper buffet always had a couple of choices at the grill and there were at least 2 pasta choices. We went to the Cuban and Seafood a la cartes. They were not bad. The Seafood is actually the beach snack bar that is converted at night. One pain in the a$$ for both is the presence of cats looking for scraps. Of course they will stay away until some Muppet decides to feed them. Speaking of Muppet moves we pulled one of our own and forgot that there was a time change on the Saturday night and missed our reservation at the Italian a la carte. The bars had an ample supply of rum and fruit punch etc. The only blender to speak of was at the lobby bar where the Pina Coladas and Iced Cappuccinos were outstanding. There was also a Coffee bar where you could get Expressos etc. Suggestion for tea drinkers: bring a few tea bags from home as there seemed to be a shortage at times. One common point at all the bars/restaurants is that the people all work at the same slow pace. No complaints (at least not from us…but more on that later) but be prepared that the service speed is not the same as it is in Canada.
Rooms
Check-in was uneventful. There seemed to be a lot of returning visitors who seemed bright enough to get out of the way with their luggage and let 1 family member stay in line until the actual check-in when all adults had to sign a damage "waiver". The crowd seemed to be in pretty good spirits and I thought that it may be a pretty good bunch for the week (more on that later). We stayed in the Junior Suite (#303) and the room was again, exactly as advertised. The slight musty smell went away in about 5 minutes once the AC was turned on. Suggestion: you only get 1 key and the power/AC is controlled by a key slot so if you can get ahold of any hotel key card (or any card with a magnetic stripe) it will work and you can leave the AC on when you are out. Our room was very clean (including the bathroom). We always had pleanty of hot (sometimes too hot) water and the maids did a great job of cleaning and replacing the towels. The bed linen was changed 1/2 way through the week. We left some gifts every day (the usual Dollar Store stuff: Hair clips, body lotions, razors, etc.). We found that the people appreciate gifts as much as a peso or 2 and the maids made some nice swans/hearts with the towels.
My children were treated very well!
Hotel Cubanacan Gran Club Santa Lucia
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Kyla from Nova Scotia >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2009
Arrival: April 6 – 14 We were greated by PR staff and family that had flown down the week before. The lobby was very big and exceptionly clean. Our luggage was delievered to our suite.

Rooms

My three young children and I stayed in a family suite and had more then enough room. The suite was very clean. The maid clean and changed our sheets daily. The towels at the end of the beds were a hit with my children. My 4 year old daughter ended up being allergic to the flowers placed in the room and the maid was notified. She generously placed candies in place of the flowers which made my children very happy.

Restaurants and Bars

All the restaurants and bars had very good food and service. I’ve read in other reviews about the service being slow…you are on vacation…what do you have to rush for? Even though the service may have been slower than in Canada, the children always got fed first, the way it should be. My son had no to any of the bars and ordering himself a drink of juice or a "Mickey Mouse" (Shirley Temple in Canada – Sprite and grenadine). There was a variety of food to choose from and if the cats were a problem, as it seems for some on this review page, the buffet restaurant or the snack bar at the beach offer cat free dining. lol I personally did not find that the cats were around the guests, the ones I seen were always running away from people. Over all, the food was good, the staff was excellent and would go out of their way to help. Our waitress was outstanding! Excellent with my children.

Beach/Pools/Grounds

The beach was great with the exception of cigarette butts in the sand. Unfortunately that is due to the guests of the resort! The resort provided plenty of ashtrays along the paths and in buildings to place butts, but the guests merely "buried" them. Out of sight out of mind…until my 6 year old twins and my 4 year old started digging and playing in the sand. Again, this is not the fault of the resort but the ignorance of the guests. The pool was fairly clean and the grounds were beautiful. The staff were constantly working and improving the grounds.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

Activities for the kids were very good. They offered activities through out the day. The only thing that I did not like was that the "baby disco" was at 9:30pm. A little too late for my kids after playing all day in the sun. Although they did make it to a couple and had a great time. The balloon animals were a huge hit! They can always use balloons so if you are looking to take something with you as a "thank you" this is a great gift for the animation staff.

Other Comments
I was sad to leave. The staff were all very good to us and my children were treated very well! The only upset I had at the resort was caused by other guests not watching their children or just plain rude people. Other then the resort, the trip down on Sunwing was excellent, the trip back however was the worst flight I have ever been on! We left our resort at 7:00am to get the airport to find our flight delayed by 2 hours. We then were delayed an additional 2 hours after that. A total of a 4 hour delay with three children! We could have stayed at the resort and had breakfast instead of waiting in the airport for all that time! I would not recommend travelling Sunwing to anyone. The flight ran out of drinks and we were served water or wine with our meal! I didn’t pay that amount of money to not have a choice, especially for my kids. Then they started Madagascar 2 in the middle of the meal only to stop and put on High School Musical 3. As if this wasn’t bad enough, disappointing the young children, they did this while the kids were all trying to get their ear phones while their trays were down. The flight crew were rude! They were talking about other people in rows in front of us while walking down the aisle! People were asked to return to their seats if the seatbelt sign was on…it did not matter how badly you needed to use the facilities!!! Over all, SUNWING WAS HORRIBLE!!!!! THE RESORT WAS AWESOME! FIND A WAY TO GO TO THE GRAN CLUB WITHOUT USING SUNWING!
We did enjoy our visit immensely
Hotel Decameron Aquarium
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Pat & Diane >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2008
Well I can’t really expand too much on what has already been written about this resort. As our second trip to this island, I can only add that once again, we were not disappointed. It was wonderful to see familiar faces and the same happy employees from last year. There is nothing this resort wouldn’t do for their guests and again, we were treated like family. Service was excellent, food was excellent and even though hubby was ill (cold/congestion) we did enjoy our visit immensely. Nelson provided wonderful dives and didn’t disappoint in the least. We also did a tour swimming with the stingrays. If anyone wants an exciting adventure, this is it!!!!! What a thrill it was feeding and swimming with the rays and even got to see a nurse shark. We were going to book with Mario until we talked to Raoul (from the Aquarium Dive Shop) and he gave us a good price and the most wonderful experience possible. What was great about Raoul is that he only took out 4 of us so we got individual treatment and our time was not limited – we swam as long as we wanted!!! So if interested, I would highly recommend talking to Raoul and what he can offer you – he is great !!! The weather was hot, hot and hot, wonderfully breezey ….. the beer was cold …… the water refreshing. What more could a person want? No complaints about the food whatsoever. Rockey Cay was terrific as well as dinner at the San Luis – although it was so noisey in that restaurant we didn’t linger too long. Seafood restaurant at the Aquarium – top notch!!!! Any questions, don’t hesitate to e-mail……selectivedi@yahoo.ca……………..until the next visit
Have baby will travel
Hotel Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa
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Kate >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I’m a veteran AI traveler but this was the first time with my 10 month old daughter Zoe. I have tried specifically to gear this review to parents with small children as well as regular visitors.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Excursions: On our 10 day trip we went on 2 excursions. We went Zip lining and did a snorkeling trip to Catalina. Zip lining was super fun. 1 hour on the truck to the zip lining site and 2 hours in the air. Apparently kids 6 and up can do this (Zoe stayed at the resort with her dad) and there were several seniors doing this excursion as well. I felt very safe the whole time and it was well worth the money and the hour ride each way. Catalina was booked through Gri Gri Divers on site and it was great. I liked that it only took people on our resort, on our last trip to the DR our catamaran was over booked by 20 people due to a communication error. This time there was lots of room on the boat and the sailboat (not catamaran) was very nice. The snorkeling (1 hour) was good but I’ve seen better in the Philippines and Mayan Riviera. That being said it was still worth the trip. Catalina was beautiful, take bug spray as this is a natural island and we went after a rainy day. The mosquitoes sent a welcoming committee to greet me; 6 bites in 2 minutes. There is bug spray provided once you get to the beach but if you have a real problem with a few bites take some spray and put it on before you go ashore. Lunch was good and waves were stronger than at Dreams so fun to play in. After a couple hours there we sailed home, well worth the money. I particularly liked that they didn’t sic vendors on the captive audience; many other tours get you surrounded when you stop at a beach area. I have nothing but good things to say about Gri Gri, Pedro in particular was wonderful (he wears a red Phillies hat). Although selling tours, we never felt pressured. Actually he came on the tour the day we went and we had a great time talking to him. Entertainment: Didn’t really do it or get to know the staff. My husband did beach volleyball twice a day and loved it.

Vendors: There were vendors around the pool 4-5 times during our stay. Their wares were not amazing but they were willing to deal. For better shopping and selection, particularly for medium-nice jewelery (not beach vendor, not Harrison’s) and rum; I recommend taking the free shuttle into Dominicus. It leaves at 10:30 and its a 10 dollar cab ride home. There is a good selection of shops and markets to look at. Just keep in mind that some shops close from 1 pm to 3 pm for siesta. We didn’t realize that and missed out on a couple items as we weren’t willing to wait.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach: Beautiful sand with a nice soft surf. We were on the beach from 9 am to 5 pm with only a break for lunch. Zoe loved to sit in the area in front of a little natural cove where the surf swirls around.
Closer to the pier there is a smoother entry into the water but it is fine throughout the whole beach. Not a long beach like Punta Cana but very calm. There is a lot of shade available- my parents went to the beach early and got a couple loungers under a palapa for us, but there were families arriving on the beach at 10 that found shade under the trees with no problem. With the palms and other trees the beach looks very natural.
Other Comments
Bar Service: The beach wait staff were lovely and the bartenders were fun. Some of the wait staff have limited English so speak clearly and if you’re not sure they understand, ask to write it on their pad or take what you get with a smile. It is much quicker to walk to the bar and order a drink but nice to have one delivered if you’re not in a hurry. The first 5-6 days drinks were great but in the last few days of our trip something changed, it was almost like they were running low on alcohol. You would order a drink and you had to specify with alcohol, sometimes twice. Preciously they would just add it or ask you whether or not you wanted it. Not a big deal but something to be aware of. Lobby bar was very nice as well (my husband really liked the peanuts they give out). We took insulated mugs because that’s what we’ve always done and didn’t need to use them. The resort uses plastic reusable glasses (glass in the lobby) that are a good size.

Overall: This resort was very good overall. I’ve been to resorts that were better in the beach, or the food, or the rooms, or the service but NOT all at the same resort. I found this to be a nice, clean, family friendly resort that made it easy to take small children to but still engaged adults interest. I may be back if not to this Dreams then to another location. As to the travel experience with a baby, it was awesome; Zoe is such a little trooper. Other than the first night at the resort she slept better than she does at home. I would go with either a younger or older baby next time. Crawling on foreign surfaces wasn’t in my comfort zone so I would go pre-crawling or walking next time.

Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants: We ate at the a la carte’s almost every night and loved the no reservations policy with Zoe. If she wanted to nap when we got back to the room, she could then leave when she was up. We never had a wait for dinner, that may have been the times we were going but nice none the less. If you are going with a baby look into a portable booster seat; I only needed it 5 or 6 times the whole week but… There is a kids menu available at all a la carte’s but sometimes you have to ask for it. These are my opinions of the a la carte’s. Mexican: average, almost every other AI has had a better one. Dominican: Okay, other ones in the DR have been better (wear bug spray)Asian: Good, Sushi was pretty good for the DR, service was great. Seafood: Excellent, good service and a delicious somewhat adventurous menu so good we went twice. Seaside Grill: Dinner- great service, good food. Steaks are varied in the doneness; "Medium" had a variety of results, none of us were bothered by that and so went a second time. Italian: Classy atmosphere, good food, erratic service (new server?) and fabulous desserts. French: Looked great but adults only so we didn’t go. Barefoot Lobster on the Beach: This is not included in the AI package but it was my birthday and we decided to splurge. Its wonderful and very private. Only 4 tables the night we went and although it rained a bit we were under palapas so we didn’t get wet. Included is a salad bar, whole grilled lobster with rice and veggies and dessert bar (amazing). Room Service: We did it once and the food arrived in the time they said it would (30 minutes). The nachos weren’t great although my husband liked them but the steak burger was very good.

Parents with small children: I brought a whole bunch of food (cereals, instant mashed potatoes, apple sauce, canned fruit, baby crackers) and other than on the plane and using a couple crackers at the resort I didn’t need it at all. Zoe doesn’t eat packaged baby food and I prepared for the trip to make sure she could eat regular food. Other than relaxing my standards on square meals and sodium content I didn’t have to do anything else. She ate, was happy (didn’t get sick at all) and even gained a little weight like everyone else does at an AI.

Rooms
Room: We were in building 4, 2nd floor, right at the top of the stairs. I had sent an email requesting 3rd floor, corner room (Zoe cries at night and didn’t want her to wake the neighbors), king bed to ensure a quiet room. I got the king bed and really I wouldn’t have wanted to carry the stroller up another flight of stairs anyway. Our room was very quiet, we could clearly hear the entertainment in the bathroom but in the main room it was quiet and there was nothing else noise-wise worth mentioning. Apparently the rooms with the connecting doors (they are located at the very back of the building) are much noisier.
One couple we spoke to could hear everything next door. We requested a crib in the email and when we arrived at the room it wasn’t there. One call to reception and it was delivered within the hour. We always had lots of towels and received facecloths every day (I know that this is not the case with everyone while I was there). Our room had a shower only and since I knew this was a possiblity I brought a blow-up tub at Walmart and brought it down with us. It was great and I used it to do a little wash as well. If you want a tub, I believe you need to be in buildings 1-3.A few days into the trip we got the wireless internet deal (its only good for 6 days) and got decent reception in our room. It was slow to connect to some sites but since we were there during the earthquakes in Haiti it was nice to be able to tell everyone we were okay. Never had a problem running out of time but we made sure to log off when we were done.
Your Arrival
Flight/Arrival: Flew AC from Vancouver to Toronto and stayed overnight and flew out in the morning to PUJ. When we arrived there were planes there from every major Canadian carrier and it still took us only 25 minutes to get out of the airport. We did get our photos done, and I tipped the guys playing the music since I was dancing to them with my baby to keep her entertained. We used one of the porters to move our luggage and I had tip money ready- there were 5 of us with 13 pieces of luggage; it looked like we were staying for a month instead of a week. The only weird thing was that on the flight the attendants handed out several forms for customs in the DR, not just the blue ones and the tourist visa and we filled them out. They were never collected and I still have them. Transfer: We were in a mini van and I brought a rear facing car seat for Zoe. Heads-up: the only place I could install it was in the center, very back seat that was in the aisle. Other seats had seat belts but this was the only one with the depth required. Front facing seats wouldn’t be a problem. It took about an hour and a half but with the flight times etc I slept the whole way.

Reception: We received the traditional Dreams welcome of towels, cookies and champagne. The towels in particular are lovely. Reception was very efficient and we were told which rooms we would have and asked to have lunch and return as our rooms were not yet ready. We went lunch and met our favorite server of our entire stay. Carlos works breakfast and lunch at the main buffet and he was awesome. He remembered our names after the first meal, always got a highchair for Zoe without being asked and remembered our drink preferences. It was a great start.

the best place in whole DR, especially if u can’t swim but love be in the water
Hotel Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa
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yekaterina >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Nov, 2009 | Leisure | Solo
actyally i discovered it in 2003 when it was a Sunscape, loved it better then, less "russians" (being one myself), enough room in the beach, no need for reservations, good food, lovely property; re-discovered it when it becme Dreams, still love, wish it had more beach, smaller pallapas, more sand, will go back definately. Wish there was a direct flight from NY, to avoid long drive from either Punta Cana or SD
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
loved aqua gym, aerobics
Beach/Pools/Grounds
very manicurerd grounds, nice pools though never been there-i am a beach person, the pallapas should be smaller
Other Comments
staff is great, love the place, recommend
Restaurants and Bars
excellent, never got sick
Rooms
clean, sometimes ac/safe is cousing problems, resolved, the walls are still thin
Your Arrival
perfect, never had to wait for room
If you are a smoker, and French, you will love it!
Hotel Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa
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Deborah >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | Family
The Staff – The Staff are WONDERFUL. I cannot say enough about everyone. Lots of big smiles and a Hola from everyone. The maid service was very good but lots of times it was done very late in the day (which didn’t bother us). Our maid, Margarita, worked hard and we appreciated her very much. Not only did I tip her but I brought her treats like make up and candy and other things. The restaurant staff is VERY HARDWORKING. They hustle constantly. They are very friendly. Tipping – it is NOT expected but most appreciated. We took over $200US in singles and didn’t even use them all. PLEASE PEOPLE, TIP THE STAFF!!!!! The entire time we were there, I only saw one other person leave money on the table at dinner time. The staff works so hard. We tipped at every meal, from $3 at breakfast to $5 at dinner. We only tipped a few times for drinks at the bar, but mostly because we were wearing our bathing suits. The maid was tipped and given little gifts.

Ps. We flew Westjet and they were fantastic! I would suggest, when possible, to fly directly to La Romana, and not Punta Cana, if you are staying in La Romana.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The sports and entertainment staff are fantastic! These people and all the people working here make this resort wonderful. It’s because of them that you would want to return. Some of them knew us by name and always made time to talk to us and invite us to activities. We enjoyed going to the theatre at night and playing games and then watching the shows. Whether you love the shows or not, you have to appreciate how hard the dancers works…wow!!!
Arrival
Airport at La Romana was fast (why fly to Punta Cana and take a shuttle or taxi for 1.5 hrs?).

Check in at the resort was fast. Bellhop took us to our room immediately. He was friendly and showed us the A/C operation in our room, and the maid card which you leave outside your door (red for no service, green for clean the room).

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Resort itself – the resort is nice. It’s not as large as I was expecting. It’s easy to get around and walking distance from place to place is very quick. The men were always manicuring the grounds. The resort was clean, except for the mess the guests would leave (which was picked up by staff). The pools were really gorgeous. They are not heated so they are a little cool, but refreshing. We did swim in the pools a few times. The infinity pool has the swim up bar. Not a lot of people were using the swim up bar, that I noticed, until the day we left, which was a super sunny and hot day. The main pool is also the children’s pool. It has the climbing ‘iceberg’ that my daughter loved to play on. This pool also has the hot tub, which was always busy.

The beach is nice but small (which I was prepared for due to previous reviews). The water is warm. There are fish to see while snorkeling, especially by the pier. Grab some bread from one of the restaurants and take it with you and you will literally have the fish eating from your hand! The coral isn’t colorful at all. The water is super salty and it burned our eyes. We weren’t prepared for that.

Other Comments
The worst for last – we were taken completely off guard by the number of smokers. We’d guess that 80% or more of the guests smoked. Most guests were French. The smoke was unbearable at times. They can smoke anywhere and everywhere, except in an inside area that is enclosed. Even then, they’d be smoking right outside these areas. My family would have to weave our way through all the smoke. It was disgusting. The beach was littered with cigarette butts. We moved from lounger to lounger on the beach every day, trying to avoid the smokers. It was nearly impossible. The smokers were everywhere…around the kids pool, the restaurants, the hallways, EVERYWHERE. After the first day, I was almost in tears. I had no idea that there would be so much smoke. No where on any review had this been mentioned!!! I did talk to a couple other guests who also found this disgusting. There was no escaping the smoke!!! Sometimes people would also stand in the ocean with a cigarette. UGH! One man was smoking in the water and dropped his butt in the water when he was done. I picked it up and handed it to him and told him it was unacceptable to leave his butts in the water. YUCK! In closing, I don’t know if we’d go back to this resort because of the rude guests and all the smokers. It’s a real shame because we loved the staff and the Diving DR down the beach. If you don’t mind smoke, everywhere, you should love this place. I tried really hard not to let this get to me, otherwise my vacation was going to be spoiled, but it was frustrating. I cannot understand why I didn’t find any reviews that mentioned that the majority of guests were French and that mostly everyone smoked. I did give feedback to the concierge and on the surveys that were given to me. I’m also going to email the resort and suggest that perhaps they would consider having some non-smoking areas for their non-smoking guests (and children). They have the ‘preferred club’ so they should be able to have some non-smoking areas. Please!
Restaurants and Bars
The food – We found the food ok. The buffet was especially nice for breakfast; omelets and eggs made to order. Lots of fresh fruit and juices and everything you could think of. Pancakes, french toast, bacon, cereals, etc. The Seaside Grill was nice for lunch. Location is fantastic. My family had dinner there without me one night and their steak was overcooked and they couldn’t eat it. The Mexican restaurant was ok too. Taco Taco Taco was good. The Oceana was nice and quite fancy. The food was good but like all the restaurants, the portions are small. The Grill on the beach made really good burgers and hot dogs for lunch. The Pizza hut by the main pool had pizza that the kids enjoyed a lot. I like that reservations are NOT required anywhere! The Bars – we liked the one by the infinity pool the best. They seemed to be really fast to serve. The kids are addicted to the lemonada frosties as they were awesome. The hubby misses the pina coladas already. We are not big drinkers. I had a drink or 2 at dinner. The could use more servers on the beach and by the pools. Most times, we’d just get our own drinks as it only took a minute. Some people wanted to be served and one old grump was annoyed that his server was taking too long as I heard him complain to the bartender. The man was only about 20 feet from the bar and I thought he could get his own drinks when he was that close. Some people are just born complainers!
Room Block
3
Rooms
Our room was nice. Nothing fancy. We had the garden view room and were happy with it. As I requested, we were in building 3 and had the top floor. We were centrally located and pleased to be there. The AC worked great. The shower was good, with lots of hot water and water pressure. The balcony was small but adequate. The tv worked great as we watched it before bed most nights. There is a lot of closet space. The mini bar was stocked with water, pop and beer. The mini bar is free. We had 2 sets of robes and slippers. Our room had 2 double beds which were comfy enough but I didn’t care for the pillows (I could have contacted the concierge for another pillow but didn’t bother).
There is no way I’ll stay at Dreams again.
Hotel Dreams Palm Beach
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Steve from New Jersey >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Jul, 2009
Arrival: June 26 – July 01
We flew on a 6:00am flight on Apple Vacations charter airline, USA 3000. The check in at Philadelphia was chaotic. Nothing is computerized. Other than that, the flight was uneventful, which means great. The flight attendants were extremely friendly. Our return flight was also great. Again, the flight crew was excellent.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did the parasailing. They promise you 12 minutes, but they only deliver about 6-8. Still, it was fun. We also went deep sea fishing. You have to do a lot of negotiating to get a decent price. After 3 hours of boredom, we did catch a 6 Marlin, so in the end it was worth it.
Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The grounds are very nice. The pools are large. I think the resort was very full, so chair and float saving was a very big issue. We were up at 7:30 to make sure we got floats and lounges. The beach is powdery soft white sand and the ocean is crystal clear. It’s probably just the time of year, summer, or maybe just all those people sitting at the swim up bar and not moving all day, but the pool water was warmer than the air. The ocean is cooler and more refreshing.
Other Comments:
This resort is next to the Grand Oasis which was the Sunscape Punta Cana Grand 4 years ago. I stayed there when it was Sunscape. I loved it. I wrote a great review about it on Debbie’s website. While Dreams might be considered a better resort (both AMSTAR properties), we had a better time at Sunscape. Supposedly there was an activities team at Dreams. This was the first resort that I’ve been to in the D.R. (or any Caribbean resort) that had no music playing at the pool during day. They also didn’t try to get any activities going. They did activities with 2 or 3 guests. They had very little interaction with the guests. We hardly saw them and we were at the main pool all day. The entire team should be replaced. I was also a little shocked by the bar service. Yes, they had some top shelf liquor, Absolut, Stolichnaya, Kahlua, Baileys, etc, but they almost always only had one bartender so there were always long waits. They also never had cold water at any bars, only like warm. The bartenders also were devoid of personality except for Clemente at the lobby bar who was loaded with it. We spoke to couples who had their rooms changed, some twice. Many who had previously stayed at Barcelo, Melia Tropical, and Paradisius, all of whom said they would return to those resorts before Dreams. I love the Dominican and Punta Cana, but there is no way I’ll stay at Dreams again.
Restaurants and Bars:
The main buffet has some great choices. The breakfast buffet is your standard, omelet station, pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, etc. At lunch, they had absolutely delicious grilled shrimp and mussels. There was always a fresh fish being grilled. Other than the heat, since it is open air, the breakfast and lunch buffets were great. For dinner, we never ate at the buffet. We ate at 4 of the 5 specialty restaurants. We did not try the Italian restaurant since we heard from numerous people that the food was awful. Our first night we tried Himitsu, the hibachi side of the Asian restaurant. Our chef was Acevedo and our waiter was Danny. They were great. Since the show is a big part of Hibachi, wanted to mention them by name. We loved it. The food and the interaction was great. Again, I don’t know what they do to the shrimp, but they are amazingly good. The caramel bananas and the fried ice cream are the winners as dessert choices. The next night we ate at the Seaside Grill. This was a big disappointment. The food was not good and the service was terrible. Most our group got the shrimp cocktail and the (gotta love this translation) Tibon steak (T-Bone for the rest of us). The shrimp was over cooked and chewy. The steaks were like half a cow. They were bigger than the plate, burnt to a crisp and full of fat. I personally got the rib eye. It had a lot of fat, but the when you cut off the fat, the meat was pretty good. El Patio, the Mexican restaurant was next. This was a lot of fun. Everybody enjoyed their diners except for my nephew who didn’t listen to our waitress, Noami, and ordered the tacos. She was best waitress that we had at any restaurant. Great service and a great personality. The manager, Carlos, was also phenomenal. The dessert here is the Tree Milk Cake. Not sure what it means, but it was very good. Don’t miss this restaurant. The French restaurant, Bordeaux, isn’t really French food, but it was pretty good. The only problem here was that it took 2 ½ hours. We returned to Himitsu to try the Chinese side. It’s not really Chinese, but once again, everyone enjoyed their meals. Very good service. Overall, the food is very good for an
Rooms:
We were a group of 8, in 4 rooms. Two of these 8 were my 24 year daughter and her friend. The front desk had a lot of problems handling this. They wanted to put us 8 rooms apart. We had requested connecting with our travel agent, and it could have been her mess up, but the front desk wouldn’t even try to move us next to each other. We ended up in building 8, while the other 4 in our group was in building 6. It appears that nobody is allowed to think with the permission of their manager. It took a few hours and they finally put us in adjoining rooms. One small problem, the door from our room to the girls room was bigger than the frame, and therefore wouldn’t close. They said they would fix, so we left and headed out to the pool. When we returned, the door was closed. Of course it was jammed closed, so now we couldn’t open it. Kinda defeats the purpose of connecting rooms. We waited 4 days, but they did fix it for our last night. For our second day, we returned from the pool to find out that we had no shower. Maintenance did some sort of jerry rigging and we had a shower a few hours later. Yes the shower set up is pretty stupid, and the floor gets soaked, put a towel on the floor. Problem solved. Just to top off our room problems, my wife went back to the room during the afternoon of our third day and the toilet didn’t work. It took a while to fix this problem. Then of course later that night, when we returned from the casino, our toilet didn’t work again. I spent the next few days lifting the float and repositioning the flapper. To be fair, Jose the day time front desk manager offered to move us to a honeymoon suite, and move the girls close to us. We really didn’t want to pack and unpack again, so we said, no, please just fix the room we’re in. We did ask for and receive access to the preferred club so our girls could use the internet. Unfortunately, our room issues never stopped. Our mini bar was never stocked. No matter how many times we called, we would return at the end of the day to an empty mini bar. Every afternoon we called for a refill. One night, we returned a little after midnight and called the front desk. They connected us to housekeeping who told us that the mini bar service was closed for the evening but they could transfer us to room service. Room service was gracious enough to tell us that we could get drinking water in 60 minutes. A little talk with the front desk sped up this process. The next day, empty mini bar. They told us that they had restocked it at 2:45. They told us this same answer for the next two days. Our housekeeper was very good about forgetting to bring us towels. Most days we received two towels, no floor towel and no hand towels. We had to make daily calls housekeeping about this. A couple of days we received the paper with the next day’s events, but not every day. Cesar at the front desk was about the only person who was able to get anything done for us. He was also probably the only person who cared. The rooms themselves are fairly large and the A/C worked great.
This resort is FANTASTIC and we couldn’t have been more happy with everything
Hotel Dreams Palm Beach
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Rose from Thunder Bay >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family
All I can say is WOW! This was our first vacation of this type (family of two adults, 17 and 12 yr old) and it was fantastic. We had the time of our lives and could not be happier with the Dreams Palm Beach Resort. Everything was wonderful! We are already making plans for next year! Absolutely fantastic!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Entertainment team was great (especially Rey, Felix and Gilbert and staff at the water sport center/Christian, Francois and Carlos G). We highly recommend the snorkling tour/boat tour ($35 each for 2.5 hours), the kayaking (free), parasailing ($45 each) and the bike tour (free). Also, be sure to take part in all of the free activities (beach volleyball, numerous games, crafts, cooking lessons, etc.)…and see the free shows at night (especially the circus).
Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Awesome….well maintained and beautiful. Pools and beach are close to all buildings (no more than 2 minute walk at the max) and easy to get to. Beautiful beach and shoreline. Great pools.
Other Comments:
Overall, this resort is FANTASTIC and we couldn’t have been more happy with everything. The staff is wonderful as was pretty much everything about the resort. This was our first time…..but it definately won’t be the last!
Restaurants and Bars:
Hubby loved the buffet….and the kids and I loved the coffee shop! We ate at all but one restaurant (Bordeaux which is 18+ only) and have no complaints. But for us, the buffet was ideal as it’s hard to plan your day. Word of advice though….the restaurants do NOT take reservations so it’s best to get there right when they open to put your name on the list as sometimes it can be a bit of a wait…..some night we did not eat until 9pm. No complaints about any of the bars….great service…awesome drinks….be sure to look for Juan (server) as he was awesome with us the entire week….and would actually "hunt" us down every morning and take care of us all day.
Rooms:
Rooms are as pictured….we had the two doubles. I would recommend a 2nd floor room as we had one bad rain storm which flooded the downstairs rooms as there are no exterior doors on the buildings. No complaints about the room….overall, quite happy/satisfied with it!
Poor food handling.
Hotel Dreams Palm Beach
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Dan >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We stayed for 10 days during which time 4 of our 6 were ill. I saw chefs at the buffet use tongs that they had used on raw meat (chicken or beef) then serve the cooked food with the very same tongs. They also would place raw chicken & then raw beef on the same plate time after time not changing the plate. The food industry in Canada would call this cross contamination. On more than one time we were served under cooked chicken at the buffet. The bacon for breakfast had a spoiled taste. So if this was seem in the front part what happened in the back part where you didn’t see. The food was the same in the buffet all 10 days and rated about a 4 out of 10. We also ate at the beach snack area where they served hamburgs & Hot Dogs & Fries, we were served under cooked hamburgs & I saw the chef place hamburgs on the grill with his bare hand & then with the same unwashed hand cut the hamburg buns an place them in the serving basket.. Food in the theme rest were better but would be rated a 6 of 10. The booze was watered down as well. The rooms are good (ground level rooms are very musty) the hotel was clean the staff were very attentive & the beach was good. We have been to the D.R. serveral times & this was the worst food handling & quality that I have seen.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
typical resort activities
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Good
Other Comments
I would not recommend this resort
Restaurants and Bars
Poor food handling many people ill
Rooms
good other than ground floor very musty
Your Arrival
No issues
It was great got spoiled
Hotel Dreams Palm Beach
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John >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
I have been to the D.R. 4 times and this was the first one i attended and all the others were a let down after staying here. The service was excellent. The resort was great and felt right at home there. We just loved it. Since then I got divorced and went to another resort by myself and won’t make that mistake again. I am already planning a trip back to this resort. I recommend this resort to anyone that wants to get there moneys worth. I will be going back there very soon and hope to be greeted as I did last time. Hope to see you all there you won’t be disappointed.
John Sorensen
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Lot’s to do. You never run out of things to do. And the prices were not bad even your average Joe can afford them. The resort is hard to explain it is just so beautiful everywhere you go. They treat you like royalty. These people know how to run a resort. Everything is so clean and perfect.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool was awesome and very clean. The beach is something you will just have to see on your own. We just loved it. And at night could not get any better.
Other Comments
This is a great place to vacation and you really get your moneys worh and I will be returning soon. Like I said have been to the D.R. 4 times and this was the best place by far.
Restaurants and Bars
All food was very tasty and the bars were top notch and it seemed there was never a lineup for drinks. They are great people that serve you and have no complaints.
Rooms
The rooms had everything you could possibly need. The AC worked great which is a big plus so you can get a good night sleep.
Your Arrival
Was great treated like royalty
A great value
Hotel Dreams Palm Beach
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Charlene >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We booked an Apple Vacations "6 apple square deal" which meant we did not know until our destination until the morning of our departure. The "Square deal" saved us about $130 each over the sticker price of this place. We are seasoned travelers but this was our first time for an "all-inclusive." What a value and wonderful, relaxing way to vacation.
WEATHER – it rained almost every day of our trip, but in a rain-forest kind of fashion. The rain would come and 15 minutes later the sun would folo. So it was not like a rainy day at the Carolina beaches. One morning it stormed so bad that the rain was coming in the open-air buffet. We noticed one gentleman eating his scrambled eggs under his umbrella. But by the time we finished, the sun was out.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t do any excursions this trip. We did hit the local flea market, which is not far from the front gate. These guys are quite aggressive, but there are bargains.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Very clean pools. Guests can get two fresh beach towels each day. The beach does get seaweed, but they are busy cleaning it up every morning. There are fun ocean things — like an inflatable climbing wall — for kids.
Other Comments
This place apparently is a big wedding destination. We saw at least 6 weddings. One family told us they had 85 people there, It’s also kid friendly. This was SUCH a good vacation.
Restaurants and Bars
Honestly, how could anyone ever complain? In general, we don’t like buffets. We prefer to be served, so we never ate dinner in the buffet. But we usually checked it out to know what we were missing. One night they were cooking filets. They had grilled lobster tails on two occasions. There was always a pasta bar. We did eat breakfast and/or lunch at the buffet. We saw fruit we had never seen in the US. Always fresh squeezed orange juice, and sometimes champagne to go with it . . . They had an omelet bar that also made eggs to order. The salad bar at lunch was good. One day they were cooking T-bones for lunch. It is true that drink service at the buffet can be slow. Getting coffee in the morning was no problem, but asking for a coke at lunch took a couple of requests. On Saturday, they cooked huge woks of paella at the beach. For dinner, we went to the Hibachi place twice, the seaside grill twice (great-flavored steaks) and the french place twice. Only disappointment was the Italian place because pasta didn’t come with the meals. You had to ask for it extra.

True. the pool bar drinks were not strong. But we never went wanting for alcohol. One night they put out a whole table of cordials for help-yourself service. . . another evening they served champagne at the gazebo while a saxophonist entertained . . . the coffee shop coffee was awesome.

Rooms
Clean. Spacious. The AC worked fine. The shower is a little strange. There is no shower curtain — just a permanent glass front. Only the glass is only half the size of the shower, so it is virtually impossible not to get water on the floor. There is even an umbrella in everyone’s closet, which can come in handy.
Your Arrival
Cookies, a fruity cocktail and wet cloths added to the outdoor ambiance of the lobby. The staff was very accommodating in trying to meet our request for a lower-level room.
Absolutely Amazing!
Hotel Dreams Palm Beach
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Arhea >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities off the resort were so much fun! The bavarro runners tour and the Marinarium Marine Park were a delight!
Arrival
Check in was a breeze, we had to arrange out own transport since there is no shuttle service from the hotel.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was unreal.. It was stunning.. There are 3 pools and hot tubs.. We stayed in the preferred area, it was well worth it!
Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants awesome and drinks, plentiful!
Rooms
Awesome!! The bed was extra comfy. The room was a little damp and musty smelling but we were given a dehumidifier, and we took air freshener,after reviews. The Jacuzzi tub was addictive!
Super wedding week at the Dreams Palm Beach
Hotel Dreams Palm Beach
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carol >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Aug, 2010 | Wedding | With Group
My son had a wedding week from 20/8/2010 TO 27/8/2010 at the Dreams Palm Beach. We were there with aboout 60 guests. The hotel staff could not have been better. With so many check-ins quite close together, the hotel did a fantastic job of organizing them. We were directed away from the main lobby and desk to a side area. Here all the rooms, keys etc. were preassigned and we just had to pick them up. Super! They even had hors deourves and a bar set up for us! I’m sorry that at present I do not remember all the names but the concierge, the wedding planner, Julio and Ms. Frencis as well as Gasolina made our week fantastic. No one in the group had any complaints about the rooms or the food. They all agreed it was great! We had one private party on the beach and the wedding reception indoors. Both meals were done buffet style, at our request, and the presentation was quite nice. The wedding was on the beach and the decorations were beautiful. All in all it was a great week and we would definately be interested in returning to this resort.

One small thing did distract us during the week. There was no music at the pool with the bar. Everyone missed the music. They should consider adding this.

Upset stomachs.
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Donna >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2009
Arrival: March 7 – 14 Booked a Sunwing package through selloffvacations.com. Arrived on time morning of March 7th. Airport was a breeze! Only 7 people going to Dreams so had a van just for us. Drive was fine. Arrival at resort went smoothly. Room not ready but we were prepared for this. Put on our swimsuits and headed to the pool!

Rooms

My husband and I and our two children, 9 & 7, arrived at our Junior Suite mid afternoon. Nice room but we were expecting two beds and a pull-out sofa. Had a king size four poster, a couch (that didn’t pull out) and a loveseat (which did pull-out). Not exactly as planned. Two calls to the front-desk for a cot got us one before bedtime. When it was time for bed, we could not pull out the loveseat into a bed so my daughter slept on the couch. By the next evening, loveseat was pulled out and made up into a bed (couch was apparently more comfortable). The plug in the hot tub on the deck would not close so you couldn’t fill up. Never complained about it as it wasn’t really needed. Water in shower had a mind of its own – mostly alternated from scalding hot or freezing cold but with enough "warm" in between to clean up. We were in Building 8 on the 2nd floor. No view per se but was very quiet and an easy walk to everything. I really wish there had been a screen on the do! or and in the window. Not a big fan of air-conditioning and the lovely breeze that we had all week would have been wonderful. Overall, room was a good size (would have been awesome for two) and clean. Safe worked. Coffee machine worked. Two T.V.’s with a DVD player in the sitting area that worked. Lots of storage but not enough hangers. Large vanity with two sinks. Every evening with turn-down service you received the "Sundial" which was information on the following days events. Restaurants and Bars: Went to the buffet for breakfast every morning. Perfect. Staff friendly and efficient. Had lunch at pool or buffet. Tried out several of the a la cartes – Oceana, Himitsu (one night we tried Chinese, the next "Japanese") and the Seaside Grill. All were fine. Good service and always something on the menu that everyone liked. Unfortunately, my husband became very sick the 2nd day and his stomach remained upset the remainder of the week. My children had occasional upset stomachs and bathroom issues throughout the week. I also had issues during the week. Not sure what caused the problems. As of writing this (2 days after the trip) we are all still feeling "off" and have "bathroom issues".

Beach/Pools/Grounds

Lovely. Very breezy during the week so waves were big most days and prevented any watersports (sail boats, etc.). Well maintained property.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel The Core Zone was a hit with my children. There were pool, ping pong and fooseball tables. This was the area that also had the mechanical bull, climbing wall and a trampoline with harness. They did try the Explorers Club a couple of times but they had an issue with a couple of the other children there so only went when there was something specific they wanted to do. The women that oversaw the Explorers Club were great but did have their hands full with some of the children. We only saw two evening shows. The Tropical and the Magic Show. The Magic Show was great. We went to the Animal Adventure Park which is approximately an hour from the hotel. Bumpy but fun ride in the back of an open truck on the way there. Had a half-ton with crew cab on the way home. A half day adventure which everyone enjoyed.

Other Comments

This was my third time in this particular area of the Dominican. If I go back to the Dominican, I will probably go to a different area just for a change of scenery. I would have some concern about recommending this resort, mainly due to the stomach issues that we all experienced. I would be more than happy to respond to any questions (helps me relive the experience!)

Superb!
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Mary >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This is our 5th trip to the Dominican Republic and the third time to Dreams Resort & Spa! We will probably go back a 4th time to this resort, we are just that happy with it!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We have done the shopping thing, Jeep Safari, Horseback Riding and Saona Island. Saona Island and the Jeep Safari are our favorites! Check both of these excursions out!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Love the fact that you can walk the whole pool from one end to the other! It doesn’t matter where your room is, you walk out and there is access to the pool anywhere! Sometimes if you sleep in you may have a hard time finding a lounge poolside, but don’t forget there is a large beach with close access to a bar and washroom facilities. Another reason for the Preferred Club is the Lounge Beds (in a separate area) on the beach. Wait service is also available for drinks anywhere on the beach or pool side. Towels are available for you whenever you want.
Other Comments
It’s quite obvious that we are huge fans of this resort. If anyone doesn’t like the Dominican Republic than I would challenge that they are too hard to please. Remember this is your vacation, so relax and enjoy!

We look forward to our return next year!

Restaurants and Bars
We have travelled quite a bit over the years and have been impressed with the food quality and assortment. The World Cafe has a great selection, always found more than enough to please us. The wait staff is over-accommodating; you rarely have to ask for anything. The alacart restaurants were wonderful. The salmon was delicious and the men loved the steaks. A few of the alacart restaurants also offered breakfast and lunch as an option to the World Cafe. If you can’t find something here that you like to eat, I would suggest that you are way to picky! The bars and the staff and extremely friendly. A little tip goes a long way to great service. Yes, I know this is an all-inclusive, but these people don’t earn the money that the rest of us do.

The staff at the Preferred Club as the best! Again, I would recommend this luxury.

Rooms
The first two years we had the deluxe suite! What a great room. Large with two his and her sinks, walk in closet and separate shower/toilet room. King size bed, with TV and VCR as well as a sitting room with two couches and another TV. Large balcony with a jacuzzi tub. This year we had a Deluxe room. Lots of space, king size bed, good size bathroom, two couches and nice size balcony. Took us a couple of days to get the air conditioning figured out, but that was our fault. The bar fridge was stocked nicely and if you wanted anything special, you just called the Preferred Club and they seen that it was delivered.
I like to leave the maids a little gift each day on the pillow. I start collecting throughout the year. Sometimes something special for the ladies, and sometimes I leave something for their children! I really enjoy shopping for these gifts.
Your Arrival
We are used to the airport. You wonder about the $10 to get in and the $20 to get out, but over the years we have noticed a big improvement to the airport and the roads. Good to see where this money is being used.
Arrival at the resort was very easy as we had signed up for the Preferred Club with SunWing Vacations. I would highly recommend that this is worth the little extra money.
Wonderful
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Denise >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We flew To Punta Cana with Sunwing. It was our first time flying with them. Pros: Complimentary Champagne. Snacks and a meal. Candy or sweet afterward. Attentive friendly flight crew. Cons: Plane was very cramped. I felt sorry for the flight attendants working in that environment. It was old and rickety, wonky tray table, ashtray in the armrest. Reminded me a lot of the school buses of days gone by. Didn’t make me feel all that secure. There were a lot of angry people on our flight. They too had their flight times changed without explanation. Some had been up for more than 25 hours. I felt sorry for them, particularly those traveling with children. Shows a contempt for your customers, that is almost equal to that of Air Canada’s.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Didn’t take any tours…..health issues. Lots to do or not do on site. No pressure on this holiday for sure.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Every day you get a sheet of paper in your room called the Sundial that tells you all the days’ activities. There were lots of options. You can choose to participate or not. We were there for rest and relaxation so the most active thing we did was walk and walk and walk. The beach and grounds were beautiful. Sand is nice and soft, no stones and things are kept clean. The Atlantic provides nice waves that many people took advantage of to propel them to shore. Walking in the water is easy, no stones, but there are sudden changes in depth and it’s not long before you find yourself in deep. With the waves it’s lots of fun. The safe areas are roped and there is a diving platform. There are lots of shade areas for people to lounge under and listen to the sound of the waves and the wind. There are lots of staff coming round to offer you cocktails on the beach.
Other Comments
All the resort staff work very hard. I’d heard that some of the staff come from outlying villages. They work 12 days and stay in a building on the resort. They are bussed home for 3 days off and then the cycle starts again. I’m guessing they are the ones who speak little or no English. It must be so difficult for them to be separated from their children and spouses so much. I felt a great deal of empathy for our maid and tipped her generously. She gave me a thank you and a big hug the day she left. It made my vacation. The Entertainment team worked very hard. I didn’t realize it at first but not only do they put on the nightly show, but they also work in the day. Overall Impression Pros: Everything was wonderful. They were always cleaning things. Spraying lounge chairs with some sort of antiseptic, maintaining the gardens, sweeping walkways. Sometimes you could hear the staff singing to themselves. Cons: Hard to think of any. We wanted to get change at the currency exchange. They don’t give out one dollar bills, only larger denominations. There are a few very minor maintenance issues. Nothing serious but they should keep on top of it. If ever I can afford to, I would return to Dreams in a heartbeat, with more tip money.
Restaurants and Bars
We tried all the restaurants but one and only because of lack of time. We couldn’t pick a favourite, they were all great. You are given a dollop of hand sanitizer when entering all the restaurants. The Barefoot Grill at the beach had wonderful bbq chicken. The house wine was very good and there was no problem getting premium drinks. I had more Bailey’s with my coffee that week than in my entire life. The buffet is wonderful as are all the restaurants we tried. We had no problem getting in the a la carte restaurants, perhaps because we were always there for the first seating. We brought all manner of things for tummy issues with us and never had to use them.
Rooms
We were in Room 2203, building 2, second floor. Building one is closest to the beach. I don’t think there is any building that would not be convenient to everything. All the buildings surround a long winding pool, with bridges crossing over from one side of the pool to the other. We were always able to walk from our room to the main building without getting rained on. Our room had two double beds, a desk and mirror, two bedside tables, a clock radio that we couldn’t get to work but no big deal, a bathroom with tub and shower, a closet and a balcony with a table and two chairs. There was a tv and dvd player as well. In the closet were an ironing board, an iron, some hangers and two housecoats. There was also shelving storage in the closet. The first thing we did was go out on our balcony to see the view. My husband closed the sliding balcony door and we found ourselves locked out of our room. Fortunately a kind stranger we called down to for help, called someone to let us in. I don’t know if it was a maintenance issue or a security thing but don’t go out on your balcony and close the sliding door behind you or you will be locked out. Aside from that bad start, we had no problems. The safe worked fine, housekeeping was wonderful. Yes there are tiny little ants that come into the room but you’re in the tropics. It’s no big deal.

The Bathroom: I’ve read conflicting reviews of this resort and I think perhaps the bathrooms have a lot to do with it. I think they were configured with a raised tub and half glass to make the bathroom appear larger and perhaps more esthetically pleasing. Sadly, they should have thought it through farther than that. It must be a nightmare for the housekeeping staff, and if a guest has any mobility issues it could ruin a vacation. To get into the tub/shower you have to step up about 22 to 24 inches. Trying to take the step down when your wet and slippery is a scary thing, particularly when you’re not a spring chicken and have arthritis or back issues to deal with. Seeing yourself naked in the large bathroom mirror attempting to exit the bathtub uninjured just adds insult to injury and makes you grateful for poor eyesight! I felt very sorry for the maids having to clean so many of those awful tub/showers every day. They must get terrible back pain.

Your Arrival
Airport and customs was relatively easy to navigate, follow the crowd. The Tourist Card was a joke. Pay $10.U.S. get a card. Walk half a dozen paces and hand over the card. It felt just like getting shafted by our Right Honourable’s back home. Went to the Sunwing Rep Desk to find out which of the many many buses we were to take to get to our resort. They are numbered so don’t go looking for a bus with your resort name on it, you won’t find it. The bus ride was air conditioned and comfortable. It took about 50 minutes and there were no stops at other hotels. I have back issues and was worried about the bumpy ride but it wasn’t bad at all and in fact didn’t seem that long. We passed a few villages or something and it would have been nice if we had been told what we were seeing. Dreams! What a beautiful place! The buildings, the grounds, the views. Wow! Check in was quick and efficient and we were taken to our rooms in no time.
Don’t Bother
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Carol >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Nothing was nearby off the resort. The excursions appeared to be greatly over-priced and just not worth it. If you were at a beach resort where you should be able to go in the ocean, why pay more to be bussed to another resort to do the same thing? The CORE zone was a joke. No one was ever there other than the 1-2 employees who were assigned to the area. No one offered to let you participate in any of the activities, such as the rock climbing wall or the archery. It seemed to be too much of a bother for the employees to get off of their chairs and set anything up.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach is very small. The pool is only 3 feet deep. Everywhere. The ocean was green, not the expected blue, and the caution flags on the beach remained up for our entire trip. Some days you could not go in the water, and other days you could go in if you were "cautious". None of the water activities were do-able due to the beach cautions. If you want to sit like a blob, it was perfect.
Other Comments
Okay, I may be at times thrifty, but seriously…$52 dollars for 2 bottles of sunscreen and some aloe when our stash from home ran out?? I guess they know that there is no other place to shop, so they stick it to you big time!
Restaurants and Bars
Food at or below average. The buffet did not change from day to day and the food was never worthy of the walk to dinner. The Japanese restaurant rated an average. The Mexican restaurant left me wondering what about it was Mexican.
Rooms
First, let me tell you that I reserved our room in the preferred club, so that we would receive the best treatment and have ou own concierge. The room that I had booked for my two teens and I was supposed to have 2 queen beds. The room we were given had 1 king bed. Not acceptable. The other choices I was given were a tiny room with two full beds, or I could pay another $700 to "upgrade" to a room with 1 king, which I shared with my daughter, and a pull out chair, which became my son’s bed. I hate to think about the rooms that are not in the preferred club. We had ants in the bathroom sink all week. Never resolved. We had water dripping from our ceiling. Resolved within hours. There were no screens on our patio door or windows. Never resolved. The patio door lock was broken. Never resolved. The refrigerator in the room never actually got cold. Never resolved. The bathroom light bulb burned out and for some reason could not be replaced until mid-morning. Showered in the dark. Several times a day the power to the room would go out for a few minutes at a time. Okay…that was the room.
Your Arrival
Safe. We arrived at the airport and were stopped to pay an entrance fee of $15 per person, cash only. 15 feet beyond this "booth" was a second "booth" where you turned in the tourist tickets for which you had just paid $15 per person. Why, exactly, do they waste the paper and our time rather than just collecting the cash an letting us pass through. We were lead to a van, uur luggage loaded, and we climbed on board. 10 minutes later, we were asked to identify our luggage so that it could be moved, along with us, to a second van. The first one had apparently changed course already. The driver was pleasant, and the 50 minute drive was uneventful.
Perfect Family Escape
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Russell >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Just returned from a fantastic trip to Dreams Punta Cana. We are already talking about when to go back next year. We were a family of 3–My wife and I age 38 and son age 5 ½ On the plane home we tried to find bad things we did not like. The only thing we came up with was that the resort was 50 Min from the airport. But it was worth it.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The entertainment team is fantastic. They are friendly and engaging, but not pushy. There was always something going on if you wanted to participate. But if you didn’t – no problems. The evening shows were fund and entertaining. We were in bed by 10:30 – 11:00 after the shows due to our son, so I cannot comment on the disco/nightlife. But Dreams is not the place for 20 something’s going to party and pick up. It is much more family/couple oriented. That being said – there are not a bunch of little kids running around bothering you. They tend to stay to one end of the pool where the climbing floating iceberg is, or they are in the kids club. On that note – the Kids Club is fantastic. The give you a phone when you drop off your Child. So if the child wants to leave anytime – they can call you. But chances are, your kid will want to stay for the day. They are very entertained with lots of choices of activities.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The layout of the resort is fantastic. The two large pools snake through the centre of the resort giving lots of places to lay and to swim. The entire pool is only ~1M deep – so no problems of kids to touch and enough water to keep you cool. But there is no place to dive deep. The beach is clean and pure sand. No shells to speak of. No need for shoes of any kind. There were a fair amount of waves – so no “swimming” but I’m not sure if this is the norm or not. But the waves were fun for splashing around in. We did not do any excursions – but the people we spoke to said they had a great time. The grounds themselves – green, clean, very well maintained. They have resident peacocks, parrots, fish, and flamingo’s. They are all very cool.
Other Comments
We all look forward to going back next year to Dreams Punta Cana.
I would recommend it to anyone.
Restaurants and Bars
Food was fantastic. The buffet was expansive, changed themes daily, and great quality. The restaurants were also great. I had steak a number of times – ordered medium, got medium rare, but tasty and tender. Also – no reservation for sittings at the restaurants. So you are not on a schedule. We never had to wait as were eating @ 7:00ish. Their might have been a 15 min wait for the later seatings, but they ensured you had a drink in your had the whole time. Service in the restaurants was great. Always friendly and efficient. We tipped between $1-$5 USD when service warranted it – and it was always greatly appreciated. Bar was a typical southern bar – lots of rum drinks. But they did have some good name brands if you asked. And like I mentioned, the Preferred Club Bar was more expansive
Rooms
We had a third floor suite facing the ocean. I really appreciated the extra room. Our room initially smelled musty, but after the AC was on for a bit, it quickly went away. We easily controlled the cold/heat of the room – so it was never too cold or too hot. It was clean, the bed was soft, we had a great view. Everything worked as it should – including the Jacuzzi. I was initially dubious that we would have enough hot water to fill it – but when I did fill it – it was actually too hot to get into.
Your Arrival
Punta Cana airport is quick and efficient. Walking off the plane, on the tarmac, we quickly went through the airport and got our bags. We avoided the baggage handler guys, found our rep, there was a small glich with our name snot being on the list, but he quickly fixed it afer we showed him our papers, and we boarded the bus for the 50 Min drive to the airport. Once at the resort, we were quickly brought to the Preferred Club where they checked us in. We upgraded to the Preferred Club – we found the expense worth it.. This gives you a better room location on the resort -more central to everything, a Jacuzzi Tub on your porch, a small section of beach that is reserved for Club members, and access to the Preferred Club Building. Here they have a TV, free Internet, someone always on staff to answer questions or get you anything you might need, and a bar with better drinks – e.g. Johnny Walker Green, Macallan’s 12 yr, Grey Goose, Belvedere, Corona, US and import beers – and a lot more. Also, if there had been a line when we arrived – the preferred club reception would have been a whole lot faster.
Rain Rain go away
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Diane >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We have stayed at several resorts in Punta Cana. This was our least favorite. Although my husband and I had a wonderful time together and we enjoyed ourselves I would have been very upset if we would have paid more. The resort is well kept and clean except for the rooms and beach. The water and beach is the main reason we choose DR. The area in front of the hotel has coral and sea urchins. TO the left of the property is the only place you can swim. Every day but one the red flag was up, no fault of the resort. But with the water so turbulent you could not see the rocks. Snorkling was really not fun either. There was no life guard on duty however there is a guard that sits on the edge of the property. People are slobs, there were cigerate butts, bottle caps and trash everywhere. The towel situation is out of hand also. What really upsets me is when people "save" chairs and never show up. There was a limited supply of chairs, forget the beds. Unless you want to get up very early and "save one". We were unfotunate to be there when it rained almost every day, so there were not as many things to do with many activites held in doors. Our first room was on the ground level and in the family side. It was dirty, the comforter had stains on it and the comforter pillows had a strong smell of perfume. I had breathing problems and we were moved to a second floor room over on the adult side. Less noise and our own balcony and clean. Some rooms had robes, some did not.

This is definitely a family resort and it looked like they were having fun. We enjoyed the resturant down by the sea the most and room service. We were told what was expected in tips and that was a down side for us.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We walked to the right of the resort to check out the mini mart for coffee and vanilla. Don’t bother was out findings. There is a tour that takes you to a farm in the moutains where they make vanilla, etc. Make a pont of going on that one and picking up the clear vanilla. If you can’t do that you can buy coffee and vanilla at airport cheaper than the resort.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pools are too shallow and close at 6 pm every day. Plus it was cold, rainy and miserable most of the days to enjoy. But they are well kept and clean. The bridges that go over them to the rooms on the north side are in bad need of repair as the hand rails are pulling off. The beach was not clean, and water in front of the resort is difficult due to rocks, coral and sea urchins. When we swam we walked in to the left of the resort. We truly enjoyed the water when it was safe to swim in. Best part, later at night we took towels and laid down on the beds in the dark and listened to the water and looked at the stars.

Ground themselves are clean and in general look good

Other Comments
This is NOT A PLACE for those with disabilites. There is alot of walking. There no elevators except in the main lobby. That is 2 stories and has a huge stairway. We did find a covered walkway that connects the buildings which helps but if not on the ground floor it would be difficult. IF you have CPAPs, you may need to bring an extension cord. I also recommend good walking shoes. Bathtubs are very difficult to get into. And if you have asthma and can handle the stairs I would make sure you take a second floor room. Dress for men seemed to be walking shorts except the French resturant. But we noted most men wore slacks to all except the Cafe. Women, tended to dress up more. It was hard to know what to pack as we left snow behind. It was cool and rainy for most of the days then very humid. I was very glad we packed light weight jackets. You have to ask for umbrellas

Even with the rain we had a good time and met some really nice people.

Restaurants and Bars
We tried the Old WOrld Cafe, it was okay but the noise level was unacceptable, plus it was indoors….we like to be able to see and hear the water. The Oceania was wonderful. It was not until the third day we discovered it was also open for breakfast. We tried the French and the steak place. Not impressed. Room service was neat, once we was able to get a menu.I was not impressed with any of the drinks I tried. But I enjoyed the mamajana. It settles the stomach. That being said I was impressed that everyone was asked to use hand cleaner when entering for meals. We ate everything we wanted and only started having stomach problems on the 5 day after swimming.
Rooms
On the family side first floor, small dark, damp. Dirty. We changed to the other side building three and it was airy. Smaller than we are used to. Refrigator is a joke. Bathroom was clean and free of mold. However I am very short and it was a struggle to get into the tub/shower. Of which it does not function as a tub. It was overal clean and we had a neat balcony we could sit on, In this room we had a king size bed and small table. It was light enough to read. Even with the constant raining it was nice
Your Arrival
At the airport. The expected. We knew they would be taking our picture and we look forward to buying that. As you walk into building from the plane they snap your picture. I think Apple is very organized at the airport. A air conditioned bus waits for you and your luggage is loaded. Arrival at the resort was pleasant, but we were shocked when we were not given a 2nd floor room and was instead told we could upgrade to the second floor with hot tub. Of course for a considerable fee. We declined. When we were taken to our room and I really found it unacceptable we were told it was "impossible" to change us. The next day out Apple agent made the arrangements and we were given a airy clean room second floor.
It was a 6 STAR"dream" come true.
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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MARY >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We have been to punta cana 4 times before this trip to Dreams resort & spa punta cana. My husband & I both said this vacation was magnificant! I read the reviews of this resort after it was booked and I was ready to cancel. I am not sure if it is other resorts that write in bad reviews so you don’t go there but Im glad I decided to keep my first choice or we would have missed out on the very best trip of our life! The resort had 9 units with 3 or 4 floors to each unit. We were placed in unit 1 with a ocean view, balcony and the most beautiful room imaginable. Everynite our bed was turned down. We had chocolate on our pillows and red flower pedals sprinkled on our bed. We were not honeymooners, this was for everyone and the maid would turn on our radio with beautiful music to set the mood! We never came back until 2 a.m. every morning because we danced the night away in the great disco!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We go to relax at the beach and pool. We dont leave the resort. there are many things to do off the resort though. The pool activities are soooo fun because of the staff. The staff cannot do enough for you. Your glass is never empty and your face never without a smile because of the staff. Many thanks to Julio, Bernardo, Wilbur, 2Pak, maritza(one of our pool & beach waitress’)Isabell and all the others who made our stay unforgetable! I mean that sincerely!! You literally "want for nothing". Its all there for you and more. Wait till you see the gounds! I will not even try to explain it. You so need to see it for yourself. All I will say is that it is BREATH TAKING!!!!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was beautiful. If you are a beach walker go to the left not the right. You can only go about half a mile to the right. To the left you can walk 3 miles out to the next resort(solice). The pool is one lazy river starting at the begining of the hotels to the end at the ocean. 3 feet deep all the way with rafts available. Just beautiful and very well maintained. Water bars right there. Great!
Other Comments
I cannot wait to return to this resort again next year! The weather on March 22-29 was in the 90’s everday. Their rainy season is in may. dont book then!!!
Restaurants and Bars
What wonderful food! 5 resturants and a full buffet dinning room with about 14 different stations with unbelievable foods. If you leave hungry its your own fault. There are no reservations needed for the resturants. There is an Italian, mexican, japaneese, chineese & french. Unbelievable and most delicous. You can order anything and as much as you want. I thought the beef was of a better texture and taste than US beef. No joke. Dress is casual but nice. Men must wear long pants for french and mexican and japaneesse. Dress shoes for men, no sandels. ITs WORTH IT!!!
Rooms
The rooms are spotless,lite and airy. Beautiful open canapy bed(king size),plenty of clothing space in closet and drawers. Terrycloth ropes for your use for the week. chocolate on pillows and flower pedals on top of your rolled down bedding every nite. Hairdryer in bathroom and iron(planga) and board in closet. Balcony with table & chairs looking out on the carribean. WOW!
Your Arrival
I always love flying into punta cana because I love the thatch roof airport all open with a mariache band playing for you as you arrive. The girls at the airport are dressed in native red & white dresses taking your picture as you arrive. You can purchase this picture when you are sadly departing! And I mean sadly! Entry is smooth with lines moving smartly. No problems. Have passport & papers ready in hand.
Dreams Punta Cana – Paradise!
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Ken >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Sep, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We just returned from our 7th visit to Dreams Punta Cana. We have previously been to Superclubs Breezes Puerto Plata, Beaches Negril (Jamaica), Victoria Resort (Puerto Plata), Occidental Allegra Playa Dorada (Puerto Plata), Gran Bahia Principe Samana, Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Punta Cana, GBP Punta Cana, Sol Rio de Luna y Mares (Cuba) and a number of others. Dreams is the only resort we have come back to even once – let alone 6 return visits!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Service A quick example of service at this resort. At the buffet one evening for dinner I was looking to have a vegetarian pizza and the pizzeria section was sort of in a different area. I asked a server at the counter if it was open to the buffet area people or just for the al a cartes section at that time. He told me it was for the a la carte people so I said okay and started to leave. A manager (Cristo) overhead the conversation and immediately jumped in. He insisted I go sit down at my area (a fair distance away) and he would bring me the pizza personally. He came by smiling with the pizza a few minutes later. Where do you get service like that? At the Oceana I asked about steak as there wasn’t one on the menu, but there had been on previous visits. The waiter told me if I wanted steak he would get me one – no problem! I decided to stick with the menu rather than make his life harder but again, where do you get service like that? Vendors on the Sidewalk The vendors are almost all too pushy and ask ridiculous amounts of money for the smallest of trinkets. I believe they were there two nights. I do wish the resort would do something about this, as my wife always hates this part of the experience and dreads running the gauntlet of sales people. Drinks If you ask for your drink frozen will get a nice frozen ice drink of whatever you order, which goes a long way in the heat. Pool side and beach drink delivery service was top notch. You don’t have to give tips to get great service, but tips are naturally appreciated by the staff. I actually had to call back one server 3 times on different occasions to give her a tip – it was almost like she was so focused on her job the idea of a tip never entered her head. Excursions My son one year did the Outback Safari and absolutely loved it. He was exhausted when he got back, but definitely recommended it, and noted the truck though it looks like a rough ride, was quite gentle on the back. If you want to be extra safe, sit behind the cab where the ride is a little smoother. "Sammy Davis" was the tour guide and a very capable stand-up comic as well. CoreZone They have a batting cage, mechanical bull, archery, billiards, fooseball, and an endless list of stuff for the athletic types and teens. They had a nicely lit basketball court too, as well as a dance floor area. Rooms have MP3 players with FM radio and White Noise settings, so you can turn on the ocean wave sound, a gentle rainfall, etc. to sleep to. We bring our own IPOD and docking station and just leave it out all day on a bachata / salsa playlist for the maid to listen to. People complain about theft at every resort but we just introduce ourselves to the maid, show her how to operate the volume on the docking station, and we never have a problem.
Arrival
I put the names of some of our resorts above because I find reviews where people criticize a resort mercilessly and yet fail to name a better resort frustrating. If you’ve been to better people, tell us! We’re dying to know!!! In this case though, I can only say the best of things about Dreams. Drive to the resort Roads get better every visit. Freshly paved. They are getting very similar to typical North American highways. It used to be a common complaint about the distance to the resort, but with the improved highways, the trip isn’t bad at all. The drive itself is a form of adventure / entertainment as tailgating and beeping are normal behavior in the DR. We notice that the entire region looks better every time we visit – less overt poverty, more cattle in the fields, constant construction – just better all around. I read a reviewer who said "Dreams just gets it". That sums it up really. All the DR resorts offer excellent service in my opinion, but Dreams out does every other one we’ve been to. Upon arrival we discovered we had received a fantastic upgrade as a reward for our many return visits. Thanks Aida and Mr. Marcus Castillo! A great way to start our vacation. We arrived at our room and there was a banner strung across the door identifying us as return guests! How great is this resort? Some of the many features we love at Dreams: 1. No wristbands 2. No reservations for a la cartes dinners. 3. No limit to a la carte dinners 4. Free electronic in room safe 5. No towel cards – if you need a towel just ask People if you think about the above 5 points, how many resorts offer those features in this price range? We haven’t found one and we’ve looked at a lot.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach The beach has rocks in the water, so wear foot protection! Palapas, Loungers, Sunbeds & Floaties The resort has a lot of loungers and palapas and even sunbeds but still there are problems at this resort as with any, with people reserving loungers and palapas etc. that they don’t use. I met one couple who proudly mentioned they had loungers reserved at another location of the pool so they could go back and forth. Why? Overall, this resort has more and better loungers and palapas than most – in spite of those people who are so discourteous to others. We bring our own floatie so we have no stress over that anymore.
Other Comments
When I do see a negative review for this resort, it is quite often something like "this is not a 6 apple resort". I finally went to Apple Vacations to find out who is 6 apples. I see 6 Apples is the highest you go, and Zoetry Agua (also run by the people who run Dreams) is a 6 Apple. Zoetry is almost twice the price of Dreams! Another was Iberostar Hotel (again almost twice the price). Clearly there is a problem with the expectation of Apple guests expecting Zoetry quality (visit their website and you will see they are off the charts!) or Apple Vacations needs to adopt a 7 Apple rating system for the super, super all inclusive resorts such as Zoetry. Who is this resort for? The guests at this resort are pretty much all honeymooners, couples, and families. If you are looking for a party type / spring break kind of resort, this isn’t the right choice for you. The resort attitude is very conservative, family oriented and fairly quiet. We’ve only met one person who had been to Dreams and preferred another resort in the price range and it was specifically because they were single and wanted to meet people. At Dreams everyone is already hooked up so it is dull for singles unless they really just want peace and quiet. Summary I believe for the money this resort is the best value in the Caribbean. I cannot imagine how anyone could not have a great vacation at this resort!
Restaurants and Bars
Food The food was excellent with plenty of variety. The steaks were significantly improved over previous visits. We had nice steaks at the Bordeaux during two visits there and a nice tender loin at the "Tex Mex" as I call it. (I forget their proper name). We had another steak at the Tex Mex but that one wasn’t a tender loin and wasn’t good. One thing about Dreams we have noticed over these visits is that if you don’t like it this visit, it will almost certainly be better next visit. Every trip we find little improvements to an already great experience. Steaks before weren’t very good, but this time 3 of 4 were very good to excellent. We had skipped the Mexican restaurant (El Patio) on a previous vacation, and this time we visited and the menu had improved, and we loved a tightly wrapped chicken in a soft shell served with melted cheese. They always serve a nice platter of nachos which if you ask for sour cream is definitely enjoyable! Menus for the a la cartes are on display at the main buffet entrance area. I think this is new. We looked at the menus and noticed they had changed (even better) from previous visits for every restaurant. This place just keeps getting better! Our First Dinner! Rather than describing every restaurant, let’s just say we arrived late our first day, went straight to dinner at the Oceana since NO RESERVATION IS REQUIRED! (overlooking the beach and ocean) and had wine, beer, mamajuana, frozen mango daiquiris, a basket of multi flavored fresh buns, delicious salads, grilled chicken and vegetables with beautiful presentation, cheese cake and peach and other deserts, coffee, and a live music trio (Trio los Alegres) who played requests as they toured the restaurant. (We bought their CD from them – and we had to ask if they had one, they weren’t trying to sell anything). Oceana offers a flaming coffee which is a fantastic form of live entertainment as "Mr. Coffee Time" dances and entertains as he mixes and pours flaming coffee. The service from beginning to end was outstanding – as always. Glass waters refilled constantly. Candle light dinner with an ocean breeze. The friendliest staff on earth. The bill came to NOTTA. Not a dollar. In Canada that dinner would have been $100 plus including taxes and gratuities. We gave them a tip of course, but what a deal! That was our first meal, and we almost felt like our vacation should be over, so great an experience that single meal was. Luis (El Capitan Mamajuana), Carlos, Humberto, Sanchez, Happy Nestor, etc at Oceana were all great! Jubelkis at the World Buffet and Yosida and Cristo and everyone else are superb too. Part of the greatness of this resort is the charming friendliness the Domincan staff exude. Their joyfulness is truly infectious, and there is staff everywhere.
Rooms
We stayed in a Preferred Club Honeymoon and it was terrific! The rooms are generally smaller at Dreams PC than many resorts, so if you like a spacious feeling, definitely upgrade to a Honeymoon Suite or Junior Suite. The standard rooms at GBP Ambar Punta Cana or GBP Cayacoa are all quite a bit larger than Dreams for example. However, the rooms at Dreams – even the smallest, are still fine. The room was spotless; the fridge regularly restocked without requesting it, maid service was great. Dated rooms? How is it that people sometimes complain about this resort that their rooms were dated when this place is just a few years old? We went when it was a month old just a few years back and I think people said it was dated before it was finished construction! We think Dreams PC is wonderful, but will concede that there are resorts such as Gran Bahia Principe Ambar and Cayacoa that have nicer rooms. However, these ones do just fine, and if you upgrade to a Honeymoon Suite, your room will have two TV’s, a couch, a loveseat, walk in shower, jacuzzi tub on the balcony, double vanity, walk in closet, hall closet, two ceiling fans, 4 poster king bed, etc. If you can’t make do with that on vacation, you need an attitude adjustment. By the way, these people who say rooms are musty? Well, 7 visits and we haven’t found a musty room yet. . . I wonder if people are just vying for free upgrades when they switch because a room is allegedly musty. . . People ask if it is worth it to upgrade to the Preferred Club. You will have a great time with or without it. If you like the little extras (daily newspaper, separate club house, private area of beach, etc. – go for it!). If money is tight, skip it, and you will still have a great time.

Margolis in the Preferred Lounge was great, and truly did everything she could to make the stay enjoyable. The bonuses from the Preferred Club included a private area of the beach; and a private bartender in the lounge that was always ready to make a nice drink and we never had to wait except for the time it took him to mix it. They have free DVD borrowing as well as free internet access in the Preferred Club area (for the Preferred members) so you don’t need to bring your laptop.

Awesome all the way! 2nd time visiting
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Darlene >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Sep, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
I really don’t understand why there are so many negative comments.???? The place is beautiful, clean, great food and employees so polite. Helps to know some Spanish. We stayed from Friday to Friday and cost approx $2400 from NY. ..with upgraded swim out room.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Spent the week lounging and laughing. Swim up bar right near Unit 1. Bring your own blow up rafts if you are a pool person, like us.
Arrival
No problems. 1 hour drive from airport in air conditioned van/bus. Goes quickly. Roads improved from our 2008 visit. Pass through towns of their culture and poverty.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Well maintained and clean. Love their pool. It flows through out the whole facility. Swim up bar right near Unit 1.
Restaurants and Bars
Food always available. World Cafe is extra large buffet with everything, including carving stations, pizza, pasta stations, etc. But our favorite for dinner is the French restaurant– it has the best appetizers and entrees…from shrimp, snails, lobster, steaks, lamb chops. We ate there 4 nights. Each restaurant, except for the World Cafe, is not open every night, so plan ahead. The French is never open for lunch and does require dress code- pants for men. Also, it is upstairs- no elevator. Great view and there is a bar upstairs too.
Rooms
Stayed both times in Unit 1 with the swim out pool upgrade. Room has own patio with table and 2 chairs, 2 lounge chairs few feet away from patio and right in front of wonderful pool. Rooms have king size bed, 2 night stands, desk, small love seat, TV armoir, large closet. Had no problems with any bugs, or non working items. Air conditioning worked great. Rooms were clean and maid visits daily. Floors are slipper when wet, but ask maid for floor mats to avoid slipping.
Bringing in the new year with my family
Hotel Dreams Punta Cana Resort & SPA
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Colleen >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family
My family and I stayed at Dreams Punta Cana recently. My husband and 2 teenage daughters brought in the new year here and loved it! The staff was extremely efficient and eager to please us. I tried to do as much research as I could before we arrived and I’ll admit I was a little worried based on some of the reviews I was reading. I’ve been to the Dominican 3 times and I can tell you this…if you’re looking for a friendly, beautiful family destination, you will not be disappointed! We were in building 5. Adjoining rooms #5219 and 5220. We checked in and easily got to our room that was clean and perfectly ready for us. The pool, which runs the entire length of the resort blew me away. So gorgeous! The restaurants were amazing. The Italian restaurant was our favorite. Being an all inclusive resort, the portion sizes are small, but very satisfying. There was absolutely nothing I have to complain about. The people at this resort did everything they could to make our stay the very best they could. My kids loved the teen club, The Core Zone. They met some new friends and had a blast on the rock wall, the mechanical bull, the pool tables and Wii games. I will tell you that it is not supervised quite the way they say in the brochure, so unless your kids are older I would not drop them off there assuming they will be watched over.
The live shows every night were AMAZING! The entertainment staff is really something to see! Overall, a great way to spend a family vacation!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There was always something to do right on the resort. We did several activities off the resort, but on the days when we stayed at the resort, they had the entertainment staff walking around dancing with people, aerobics everyday, volleyball, great swimming, rock walls, mechanical bulls, movies by the pool every night and the live entertainment in the theater was amazing. A new show every night.
Arrival
Punta Cana airport is a little hectic and unorganized, but overall, we found our tour guide easily and the transportation to our resort went very well. No problems at all!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool at this resort will blow your mind! It runs from the front of the resort and ends at the ocean. It is kept very clean with wait staff available to take drink orders at any time. The beach was gorgeous! They have plenty of lawn chairs so you’re not walking around wishing you had a seat during the day. The grounds keepers were there at the crack of dawn every day raking leaves and cleaning the grounds, trimming bushes and trees and making things beautiful everyday!
Other Comments
I highly recommend this resort. We left with smiles on our faces and memories that will last a lifetime!
Restaurants and Bars
All of the restaurants and bars were fabulous. Our favorite restaurant was the Italian restaurant. The World Cafe, which is a buffet that opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner is also great! Again, the service was wonderful and people really treated us very well.
Room Number
5219&5220
Rooms
We stayed in the Family Deluxe room. It was 2 adjoining standard rooms. Both rooms had a private balcony and bathroom. Each had a fully stocked fridge everyday. Room 5219 had 2 queen beds for the kids and 5220 had a king size bed for my husband and me. Both rooms have their own TV, love seat, desk and closests and drawers. Housekeeping did a very nice job…don’t forget to put the maid service card in the door or you wont have service until late in the day. We also discovered that if you leave a tip your room is cleaned immediately. If not, you wait.
Fantastic Vacation
Hotel Dreams Resort and Spa
User Rating:  
Derek >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
The Dreams Riviera Cancun was a perfect blend of service, atmosphere and enjoyment. Yes there are children at this resort but we went as a couple knowing this and were able to still have a wonderful vacation.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Lots of energy and activities if you wished to participate. Not overly agressive to gather people for events and the noise from them was never really annoying.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was unfortunately not that great due to the weather during our stay. Winds were strong and had a storm front for a few days of our vacation.
Other Comments
Excellent service, attention to detail and memorable experience. Would highly recommend and we plan to return soon.
Restaurants and Bars
Food was excellent…we really enjoyed the Japanese and French. Plenty of bars to accomodate a thirst of any nature. Good selection of liquors availble.
Rooms
Exact replications of what they portray on their websites. We found them stunning and almost all have some sort of oceanview.
Your Arrival
Nice and close to the airport with about only a 30 minute drive.
wonderful
Hotel Dreams Villamagna Resort
User Rating:  
Debbie Gazdacka >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My boyfriend and I were here in July of 2010 for 1 week and we had a wonderful time. The staff were wonderful and they were always looking to help someone. There were dirty dishes in the hallways which I did not like either but I did not make a fuss about it. If I seen any rodents running around then I would have. Most of what we saw were bottles. The hotel rooms were very clean and comfortable. The hotel had a special theme every night and drinks of the day and lots of activities for adults and children. My child did not go with this time but they have all day activities for the children and they seemed to be very excited to go and could not wait to go back. This place was much more than I expected and I will definetly be going back. I loved that there was a waiter that came by the pool and the beach to get drink orders. I was just awesome.
Arrival
As soon as we arrived we were welcomed with a complimentery drink (i was not expecting it right after we got off the bus. Our conceirge took us to our room and explained everything to us and was very helpful to us during the week.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
very clean
Restaurants and Bars
Most of the food was good. Good selection of mexican/american. Bartenders made good drinks.
Rooms
the rooms are clean and large. I loved how the shower and toilet were separated by glass.
dining out in Mazatlan
Hotel El Cid Castilla Beach
User Rating:  
Gary >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jun, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Don’t carry a tab outside the resort pay as you go, we went to Joe’s oyster bar after carrying a tab for drinks for a party of 4 from about 7.30 to 10 15 pm the bill was just under $200 US. We were being charged $15 US for a rum and coke in contrast we payed $20 US at senor frogs for all you can drink from 9.00 to closing and its right next to the El Cid
A Beautiful Golf Resort with there own Private Beach Club!
Hotel Embassy Suites
User Rating:  
Isabel >  1 contribution(s) Canada
May, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We stayed here in March of 2010 with some family members. I have been throughout the D.Rep and have never stayed at such a clean,safe and friendly resort! If your looking for 24 entertainment this is not your place. They are in a gated community with huge homes surrounded by an 18 hole golf course. They have a huge outdoor pool and can always find lounge chairs! A kids pool, 2 tennis courts, mini golf, putting green and driving range. The hotel is very clean and the staff are so friendly. They have a private beach about 5 mins from the golf course and offer free transportation. There is a restaurant there with hammacks and chairs right on the water. Great food!

There is a Spa adjacent to the Hotel and they have many types of massages and a salon for guests. There are many good restaurants in the area and taxis are cheap to go to and from They offer various types of excursions.We went on a day tour of Santo Domingo and Catalina Island. There is something for everyone and its close to everything! I give it a 5 star rating for families,business travelers and golfers..

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Golf ,Tennis, mini golf , kids playground , kids pool , mini golf , scuba diving and excursions available off the grounds
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Big lagoon shaped pool Private Beach club and restaurant
18 hole golf course
Other Comments
They also have an all inclusive plan for those wanting to stay at the Hotel. We went to several restaurants in the town of Juan Dolio and were very pleased
Restaurants and Bars
2 restaurants and 2 bars The bar in there Atrium is like being in a jungle but air conditioned!
Rooms
Huge! They are all suites with a separate living room, bedroom, bathroom, microwave, refidgerator coffee maker iron blow dryer and balcony
Your Arrival
Very friendly welcome and quick check in
Great for Teenagers
Hotel FDR Pebbles
User Rating:  
Amanda >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2009
Arrival We are a professional couple in our mid-40s with 2 daughters, 11 & 14. We spend our winters skiing and our summers at the cottage and this was our first time to Jamaica. We had the best vacation of our lives at Pebbles and are already making plans to go back. This is very much a family resort, small & intimate, and focused on kids.

Rooms

We loved the rooms, probably because they reminded us of the cottage. We had 2 adjoining suites in Block 10, right on the ocean and it was more than enough room for the 4 of us. We could easily stay in one suite. You are rarely in your room, so get what you can afford and don’t worry about it. Beds are great very comfortable with lots of good pillows (and I’m fussy about my pillows!). Every room has a good sized balcony with either a daybed or 2 chairs and a table. It’s a great place to sit in the evenings.

Restaurants and Bars

We were all including my VERY fussy 11 y.o. – able to find things we really liked at every meal & the grill. Lots of great salads, lots of fruit and at least one delicious Jamaican dish at every meal. They never ran out of anything in our time there and we certainly weren’t the first ones at any meal. We loved Sabbia (the adults-only Italian restaurant) and thought the Overproof (the adults-only Jamaican restaurant) was okay. Definitely get the jerk chicken at the grill as your afternoon snack’ fabulous. The drinks are yummy – lots of smoothies for the kids and name-brand alcohol for the adults.

Beach/Pools/Grounds The pool is great, with a 100′ twisty slide that the kids all love. It is on the cool side, but that makes it very refreshing on those super hot days. If you have kids who are going to spend a lot of time in the pool, jumping around on the bottom, bring water shoes for them. In spite of all the vacuuming they do, there is a lot of sand on the bottom and it rubs the kid’s toes raw. My daughter won’t wear anything on her feet because she doesn’t like the feel, so we just put bandaids on them and that worked fine. Bring your own bandaids, though they are very expensive down there. The grounds are beautiful – winding paths with lush greenery and gorgeous flowers (that the maids use to decorate your room).

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel

You should definitely go on the free tour to Falmouth it is very informative and interesting and a great way to show your kids the living conditions. It’s also nice to stop and get some fresh fruit and the absolutely delicious beef & cheese Jamaican patties at Juicy Patty.

Check the activity boards every day they always have fun things going on for everyone. For adults, we especially recommend the Know Your Spouse contest (hilarious) and the jerk chicken cooking class. For kids, the daily slide competition is a must-do and the scavenger hunt is a blast. Also, bring lots of white t-shirts for everyone for tie-dyeing – the results are spectacular.

Other Comments Teens and Tweens Although there are lots of littler kids around, this place is a piece of heaven for the 11-16 set. Because the resort is so small, you can let them go anywhere on their own and find them in 2 minutes (if you really want to!). I didn’t really believe I would be able to do that before I went because I am pretty protective, but they were basically gone after day one. Shane, the teen coordinator, is unbelievable at getting all these kids involved and doing stuff they would never normally think is cool’. As my 14 y.o. said, Shane would find us and say c’mon and we would just follow him without asking any questions. The games room is a great hang-out – very centrally located above the restaurant so parents can easily check in – and kids just love having a place of their own.

Nanny

We got a Nanny because my younger daughter is under the age limit, and at first we weren’t sure why we would need her. But Sasha was terrific, and she was able to help us figure out what was going on, when it was happening, the smart times to do things, the fun things to participate in and just generally point us in the right direction. I thought it might be awkward because there wasn’t a lot for her to do, but she was completely unobtrusive and very willing to chat or not chat, depending on our mood. I would highly recommend her to any family, especially one whose kids love soccer Sasha represented both her school and her parish (like a province/state) on their soccer teams and she loves the game.

We read a lot of reviews before we left that complained about the mosquitoes. If you’ve ever spent time at a cottage in Canada, there is no mosquito problem here! Granted it was windy the week we were there, but we were able to sit out every night with no incessant dive-bombing attacks, we never used the mosquito nets and we only got a few bites each (and I am normally a mosquito magnet). We never used our repellent, but I would bring it anyway, just in case the wind really did make that much difference. amanda.dexter@yahoo.ca

The FDR Pebbles has an awesome “Teen Program”.
Hotel FDR Pebbles
User Rating:  
Bev >  3 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2005
Sunquest Vacations Skyservice

About us: We are a professional couple in our mid 30’s with two children ages 12 and 7 yrs old! Our previous travel experience includes multiple trips to the UK., Island hoping in Greece, many visits to the USA (mostly work related) and a yearly “Caribbean relaxation” trip to an “AI” resort. Some of the “All Inclusive” resorts that we have had the opportunity to visit over the years are: Iberostar in Cozumel, Spanish Bay Reef in Grand Cayman, Sandals Dunn River in Jamaica, Paradisus Rio de Oro in Cuba, and finally the FDR Pebbles in Jamaica.

We have stayed in accommodations rated from a 2* resort through to a 5* resort. When choosing our vacations, we typically try to decide on “exactly “ the type of vacation we want first and then we go from there.

For example, our trips to Cozumel and Grand Cayman were based purely on the quality of the “aquatic programs” the resort offered, likewise for our trip to Cuba, we were interested in a “low key” romantic vacation and we were not disappointed. On this vacation we were looking for a resort that was extensively geared towards family and kids, we really didn’t care which Island we were visiting or the * factor. We knew exactly what we were looking for in a resort and for the most part the FDR Pebbles met our expectations

at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay was right on schedule. The airport does seem a little “run-down” and could use a real good “make-over”. Finding our luggage was not really an issue as it arrived quickly on the carousel, we headed to the “nothing to declare” line (and declared that I was happy to be in Jamaica) and then tried to find the Sunquest rep. Now the fun begins…Being that this week was March Break for many people and a Saturday night, I guess I should not have been surprised with the amount of people pushing and shoving their way around. Once we finally found the person who we thought was our rep, we were directed to go to another counter to speak to somebody by the name of “Marlin”(?). After wandering around aimlessly we managed to find and speak to Marlin, whom, handed us our information packet and told us to make our way to the exit and speak to “Bethany” “she will set you up with your hotel transfer”! Okay, frustration was really beginning to settle in now. Finding Bethany became almost as daunting as finding Marlin. Once again through perseverance, we eventually found her and she instructed us to “go out” into the parking lot to find Omar (?), “he will be your driver”, she said… So, now we had to find Omar!

Finding Omar, took another 10 minutes of us wandering around the parking lot aimlessly with our entire luggage collection and two very tired kids… FINALLY another driver helped us find Omar (for a tip of course) and we settled in for the 40-minute drive to the resort. We were traveling with three other families from our flight and one American family.

2) Better Security! Okay, the beach at this resort was not really all that bad, I mean, Steve and I had a chance to visit Hedo III while we were in Jamaica, now that was a truly horrible beach! The beach at FDR Pebbles was quite narrow, however there was some length and never busy, always lots of room! If you like to take long walks along the beach, you can do this here, however you will need to go past the fences and the security of the resort. Security, what security, oh yeah, I think I saw somebody once and awhile, wandering the beachfront in a uniform! As the beach was public, anybody can walk along, and they do, all day long! Locals, mostly from the “bamboo village” calling out to you “Hey mon, do you want me to braid your hair? Hey Mon, don’t be rude, come see my wares! All day this would occur, I would even see them coming up past the beach. I don’t mind sharing a beach with the locals, after all this is their Country; however we were constantly harassed! It got to the point where we would not sit at the beach anymore! I would not have wanted a “beach front” room that’s for sure, It would have been very, very easy for somebody to walk along the beach and hop with onto the bottom balcony and break right into your room. There would have been NO security to stop them! Needless to say, we made sure the “chain” was across the door every night!

3) The Nanny program!

Okay this was our single biggest disappointment, which is why I left it for last! The concept is a GREAT idea, however in practice, I think the service needs a major overhaul! Part of me feels horrible complaining about this, as maybe our expectations were too high, we did see plenty of families who were completely satisfied with the nanny service! In fact some people went as far as to say, that the “nanny” would be the only reason that they would return to FDR Pebbles, however, we were truly disappointed with the program!

Food: Despite all of the negative reviews that I had read about the food at this resort, I was really quite impressed, and I do consider myself a “foodie”! The only true disappointment was the Curry dishes; they were way too bland for our taste, with only a hint of “curry” in the flavor! The food served at the FDR Pebbles was by no means “haute cuisine”, however very wholesome, fresh and certainly had a “home cooked” feel about it! The meals were very similar to the type of meal my “mother-in-law” would create, as my husband is from Newfoundland, I found it quite surprising that they shared some “similar” dishes… For the “less adventurous’ they had the North American staples… Breakfast consisted of: Omelet Station, toast machine, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal (cold and hot), fresh juice (apple, orange, pineapple, papaya), milk, “home fries (or some other potato variation), bacon (yuck) or sausage. More traditional Jamaican dishes were “dumplings”, “braised kidney’s” callaloo (steamed and put into quiche), creamed cabbage, esckovitch fish, and of course Akee and callaloo, Akee and rice, Akee and fish. I somehow think the chef managed to somehow “incorporate “ Akee into every breakfast. Lunch: Word of advice, if you don’t want to get “sick” of the buffet, I would avoid lunch at the Oceanside. If we even had lunch (as we were usually too full from breakfast) we would try and hit the “Pool grill”! These guys really do make the “BEST” Jerk chicken that I have ever had… Tried the pork 3 times and all 3 times, all I got was a plate of “jerked fat” (Yuck)! The “Grill” also served burgers, hotdogs, French fries, sandwiches, a daily special (patties, curries), Ice cream, fruit and cookies… The kids really loved “saddling up” to the old “pool bar and grill” to order their daily fix of hotdog and fries (Erich liked a side order of jerk sauce to “dunk” his fries into). Dinner: Dinner was buffet style, and again had plenty of North American dishes! Each night the buffet had plenty of salads and “salad fixings”, three or four types of vegetables, and one or two types of carbs. (Usually potato and rice), two fish and one chicken dish, and a “roast of something” at the “carving” station. Of course the kids were thankful for the “pasta” person as well. Pretty much every night at least one of the kids would find themselves at the “make to order” pasta station! The resort also had three theme nights, Monday was Asian night at the buffet, Wednesday was “beach BBQ” night and Saturday was Caribbean night (this is the night you will get a chance to try curried goat). Now, the resort also has one (1) “adult’s only” restaurant called the Sabbia, the food and atmosphere was supposed to be really nice, however we dined here twice and were really disappointed. The meal itself was good, one night I had the pork, the second night the lamb, however, dining here was anything but relaxing. The service has haphazard at best, and downright non-existent at its worse. Not only was the service horrible, the fact that this restaurant was on the edge of the resorts property, with the “public” beach just on the other side of the fence, made for some very interesting fumes coming from the “sellers” next door. I actually witnessed a “mother” from our resort purchasing some of the local herb, while we tried to look inconspicuous eating our appetizer.

The “soft” dinner music they were playing was actually just the local radio station, playing top 40 hits from a “ghetto blaster”. Now the kitchen was another problem, the kitchen window was so large that you could “plainly” see what was going on in the kitchen while you were trying to eat. I am not trying to nit-pick, however between the condition of the kitchen and the less then sanitary practices that I witnessed on our second trip, left us with no desire to return!

Here is a list of some of the “Preteen activities”: Pool and Beach volleyball, Soccer, Cricket, Hikes, Dance class, Disco, talent show, Camp-outs (both weeks in the disco as the beach was too windy to set up tents), Beach party, Kayaking, Sailing, Windsurfing, Scuba lesson, Tie and Die, Tattoos, Pool (Billiards), Air hockey, Table Tennis, Video Game tournament, Pool Party. The teen and preteen coordinators also took the kids on field trips off the resort to places such as “Bamboo Village”, Tubing down the White River, Trip to Ocho Rios and FDR (the sister resort, for a day of friendly competition), Montego Bay trip, Water Park and Go-cart racing.

Adult Activities:

For the adults they also had activities scheduled from around 8:00am till 11:00pm. Although I never really participated in many of them… They had poolside games, power walks, trips (already mentioned above), water sport activities (including Scuba), fitness classes, aerobics (water or land), dance classes (really lame), trivia contests, “not so newlywed game”, and evening entertainment. They have a resident band, which played most nights, however I found the band quite disappointing, as I did with most of the evening shows. I certainly was not expecting a “Las Vegas review”, however I was hoping for something better then a third rate garage band or high school drama production. Most evenings the “main bar/restaurant” cleared out pretty quick. This is the first resort that I have been to where the evening entertainment “chased” its customers away! Oh well, this is a family resort and for the most part I was really ready to “crash” by 10:00 pm anyway! The adult coordinators Leon and Paulette really did try their best to get people up and motivated, unfortunately I think most people come to this resort looking for relaxation. I really did not see a “huge” turnout to any of the “adult” activities!

Excursions:

As this is a review about the FDR Pebbles, and not of Jamaica, I wont really go into great detail about the “excursions” we took away from the resort, except to say, even though we “went” to our “Sunquest meet and greet”, we found her information to be basic and her tours of little interest. She had the “obligatory” Martha Brae rafting tour, Swim with the Dolphin tour, “Dunn’s river” falls, Shopping excursions and several “combination” packages for astronomical costs… The resort has its own tour desk with more reasonable costs and is willing to “mix and match” specific tours for you. The other alternative here was to “hire” a taxi driver for the day! The resort has its own drivers that you can hire from $75 to $125 USD per day (you need to negotiate a price, depending on where you want to go), the driver will not only take you to your places of interest, but he will act as a tour guide along the way, pointing out several points of interest, and will stop for photo opportunities if you choose! The resort also organizes several “field trips” throughout the week! You can find out about these tours from either the “adult coordinators” or the tour desk personnel, the costs are reasonable, and it’s a nice way to meet people from your resort! The excursions we took, were the “Luminous Lagoon”, Shopping trip to Ocho Rios, Tubing down the White River, Falmouth Historical tour (free), Bamboo village walking tour (free), an evening in Montego Bay (which included dinner and music at Margaritaville) and a “Day trip” to Hedonism III for my husbands birthday!

All in all, I was disappointed with the tours offered through Sunquest, however we did like the “flat rate”, “make your own tour” option that was available through our resort!

In Summary: I have tried to keep this review as factual as possible, without “injecting” my own biases! However I do want to take this opportunity to share MY rating of this resort and a brief explanation as to why! Please keep in mind that I always take in account the “value per dollar” scale when assessing a resort or vacation destination. For example, if I paid $20, 000 to visit Atlantis Paradise Island in the Nassau for two weeks, vs. the 10,000 I spent on my trip to Jamaica and experienced the exact same service and facilities, I can assure you the Paradise Island experience would see a much lower * rating. Overall I would give my vacation experience a 2.5 star while I would give the resort itself a 3.5 star, I probably would have given the resort a 4 star rating if they did not disappoint me so badly with their inability to “pull it together” when the resort was at its maximum. The resort was beautiful and a lot of care really is taken considering the “age” of the majority of its guests. You have to imagine that a resort geared specifically towards children must see a lot of abuse. The pool was quite large and the resort quite small, so there was always plenty of room in and around the pool (They could use more sun-beds when the resort is at its capacity). The food was a pleasant surprise, again I found a delightful mix of Jamaican and North American cuisine being served, and as long as you didn’t eat all three meals in the buffet, the meals were not too repetitive. The mix of guests for the most part was different then what I am used to while traveling. I would guess 75% American, 20% Canadian and 5% other (for the weeks we were there anyway). Normally we AVOID resorts that are geared to the American population and tend to enjoy our vacations with a more “European” cliental, however for the most part we were quite delighted with the people we met, the resort seemed to “draw” an unusual amount of people from the “Midwest”! W e did have the opportunity to meet several wonderful families for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, even Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. We met a “single mother” and daughter from California who were a delight to get to know, and of course we did “bond” with other Canadians while there. I would like to send a very special “shout out” to the Harmons, whom we did have an opportunity to get to know quite well through the help of our daughters (who were practically inseparable the first week). The entertainment coordinators for both children and adults truly worked hard and tried their best to get people involved. Again, the scheduled activities for “all” age groups, kept everybody “hopping” all day long. The staff in general from the gardeners to the waitstaff, really tried their best and was always smiling, even when you knew they had to be exhausted. Mr. Rance himself showed up several times throughout the two weeks and during the second week, I was able to discuss with him some of our enjoyment and concerns (That is a first for us while on vacation). The beach, although not the best beach we have been to, certainly was not the disappointment I had expected. The only real problem I had was the constant barrage of locals, that would try and “sell” you their wares, although they were never aggressive, they were persistent, several people all day long walking the beach.

Word of warning… DO NOT lead these people on; they consider this extremely disrespectful (as do I). They will not forget your promise and will come looking for you. I saw this several times on the beach!

Prefix: I always start my reviews with a warning! Reviews are just individual travelers experiences. I think reviews can give you great tips, advice and a general feel for the resort; however, you have to remember that your vacation is going to be what YOU make it! What one family may find exciting and extraordinary, another family may find uninspiring and unpleasant. Planning a family vacation can be a daunting task, especially when you have many personalities to consider. My best advice would be to read as many reviews as possible, take the time to figure out what everybody in your group wants from their vacation, and try to find a resort that best matches their needs. Never discount a resort due to a few bad reviews, and don’t book a resort based on overly exuberant reviews. Stay focused more on “factual”, “middle of the road” reviews as they tend to be the most “honest” and probably the closest to “actual” you will get! I hope you find this review enjoyable and informative. If by any chance at the end of this review you still have questions regarding the FDR Pebbles, please feel free to contact us at sbbudgell@rogers.com Thank you,!

Flight:

As “Sunquest tours” is the only “tour company” that carries the “FDR Pebbles” we had no choice but to fly with “Skyservice” (Sunquest uses Skyservice as its Aircraft carrier. With the seat configuration of 3 seats isle 3 seats), we prepared ourselves for what we figured was going to be a long, miserable, cramped flight to Jamaica. However, I have to say that my husband and I were pleasantly surprised. Although the seating was cramped, we were able to “prebook” our seats and as we are a family of four, we were able to book seats A, B, C and D of the same row… This allowed me to sit with our children and in return this did afford us a little extra room (our kids are pretty small for their age).

The Activity Programs: As I mentioned earlier in the review, we chose the FDR Pebbles based on its “advertised” children programming. We realized that the resort as a whole was only rated as a 3.5* and for the most part we would agree, however, the children program was rated as 5* and we expected to see a 5* program in place” again, for the most part that is exactly what we got!

The activities center around three distinct age groups:

Children Center (Children 2 thru 8) For children ages eight and under they have there own children center called the “Yellow Bird” club. The center is open from 7:30 am until 10:00 pm daily with organized activities every half hour around the clock. The daily activities are listed on a black board in the children center, so every morning on our way to breakfast, Natasha (7yr old daughter) and I would check the board for the daily activities, and then we would “mark-down” the activities that she was interested in doing for the day. If Natasha was with us, we would drop her off at the activity, if she were with the Nanny, our Nanny would stay with her until the activity was completed. Typically we would have the Nanny clean the room first thing in the morning, while we tried to have some “quality” family time together. The Nanny would normally join us around 11:00 am and then she would watch the kids for the rest of the afternoon! Here is a sample list of activities offered for children 8yrs and younger: Arts and Crafts, Fishing, Shell collecting, Crab hunting, Crab racing, Beach Games, Beach Picnic (field trip), Talent shows, Fashion shows, Tie and Dye, Kayaking, Soccer, Snorkeling, Dance Lessons, Nightly Disco, Evening movie, Playground time, Glass Bottom boat rides, Tennis Lessons, Video Games, Treasure Hunts, daily Scavenger Hunts. While we were there the resort had a “magic show” one-week and a “snake and alligator” charmer the following week. The Yellow Bird coordinators also arrange great birthday parties for anybody having a birthday while away! Preteen Activities (9 thru 12yrs) We also have a child who is considered a “preteen” (ages 9 thru 12). The Preteen coordinator was awesome, probably one of the “shining lights” at this resort, between the Preteen and Teen coordinators our son Erich always had something planned (whether or not he would join the activity was another story). Currently the “preteen” center is under renovation, so, the teens and preteens are sharing the “games room and “ballroom” as the meeting center. However most of the day, if they are not on a field trip somewhere, you will find them at one of the many sports areas. During our first week, their really was not a lot of “preteens” so Francis the “teen coordinator” really tried to include Erich in many of the “teen activities” ensuring that he kept a special “eye” on him. By the end of our first week going right through to the end of our second week, there were at least 25 to 30 preteens on the resort. Rick the “preteen coordinator” was really able to “kick-up” the activities then, although Erich found it harder to make friends with so many preteens around!

Here is a list of some of the “Preteen activities”:

Pool and Beach volleyball, Soccer, Cricket, Hikes, Dance class, Disco, talent show, Camp-outs (both weeks in the disco as the beach was too windy to set up tents), Beach party, Kayaking, Sailing, Windsurfing, Scuba lesson, Tie and Die, Tattoos, Pool (Billiards), Air hockey, Table Tennis, Video Game tournament, Pool Party. The teen and preteen coordinators also took the kids on field trips off the resort to places such as “Bamboo Village”, Tubing down the White River, Trip to Ocho Rios and FDR (the sister resort, for a day of friendly competition), Montego Bay trip, Water Park and Go-cart racing.

The Resort: FDR Pebbles an Overview: Two resorts, the Franklin D. Resort and the FDR Pebbles resort are the creation of – and named for – Frank Rance, an enterprising Jamaican hotelier. Mr. Rance was an innovator back in the 1970’s when he was the first General Manager at the original Negril Beach Village. That was the first resort to incorporate what was to become known as “the Caribbean all inclusive concept.” And, it was Frank Rance who subsequently came up with the idea of a resort for “couples only.” Mr. Rance managed the conversion of Tower Isle Hotel Ocho Rios into Couples – the world’s first couples only resort – as well as becoming its first General Manager. He also spearheaded the creation of Boscobel Beach Resort. Eventually Mr. Rance wanted to “break out” on his own and open his own resort, a resort geared exclusively for families, this resort however was to be designed slightly different then the other family resort his helped create (Boscobel Beach). At the FDR resort not only will your entire vacation experience be geared towards entertaining you and your family, each family vacationing at the FDR resort is supplied a “Vacation Nanny” to ensure that it does happen. With the success of the Franklin D. Rance Resort, the opportunity to open a second resort presented itself and Mr. Rance took the “plunge” The FDR Pebbles is the “sister resort to the original FDR resort. FDR Pebbles was a dream of Frank Rance for a long time – FDR Pebbles is an all suite, all-inclusive family resort with 98 deluxe air-conditioned cedar wood suites. FDR Pebbles is closer to the international arrival gateway of Montego Bay and offers most of all of the same amenities and services as FDR. However, as the FDR tends to cater to families with small children, Pebbles is geared more toward the youngsters, as they get too old for FDR. In other words, the families start at FDR and go to Pebbles after the children get older.

The FDR Pebbles, s advertised as a “soft adventure” resort, where the emphasis is on learning as well as fun for the children. There they can learn first hand about the history of the island of Jamaica, as well as experiencing the ecology of the nearby coral reefs and the area surrounding the resort, including a luminous lagoon. Children learn where bananas come from and what causes the Caribbean to be so blue. They tour a working sugar plantation and historical sites and go on ecological trips in the parish of Trelawny.

A family, had complained about their Nanny, the Nanny was “let-go” and for the rest of the week, the other Nannies made sure, the children they were looking after did not play with the kids of the family who complained. To make matters worse, I had heard from another family a nasty rumor about the family that had let their Nanny go, of course they were told this “nasty rumor” by their Nanny! So, Steve and I just kept our mouths shut, and took it upon ourselves to make sure the kids were having a great time, after all they are our children and this was supposed to be a family vacation. The Davinci Code isn’t going anywhere! Just so people don’t think we got the “rotten apple” in the bunch…. Who do you think our Nanny was taking to all of the times she should have watching the kids? That’s right, other Nannies who were also supposed to be looking after kids. One of more comical things I would see is, the Nannies would “fawn” all over the children when the parents were near by, however as soon as the parents were out of sight, the children would be neglected. As soon as the parent would begin their approach, one of the Nannies would signal the other Nannies and the “fawning” would begin again! So the parents naively believed the Nanny was there the whole time paying lots of love and attention to there children. Sorry to say, the majoirity of the time this was not case! Now with that being said, I really did see some GREAT Nannies, the funny thing is, the Nannies that seemed to be really into their jobs, were not part of the “clique”. They pretty much “stayed to themselves” and spent time with their charges… I really wished we could have had somebody like that… Oh well, maybe you will be luckier! One more thing… I asked our Nanny how much training she received and she laughed! “Training, what training”? Our Nanny told us that she came for the interview and they had her with a family the very next day! The “kicker” here is that she was actually applying for a wait staff position! Apparently there is a “Nanny Pool” for the FDR Pebbles, and they do have a hard time finding and keeping Nannies, many of them don’t like being “casual labour, which is what these girls are. In a pinch they have assigned wait staff and bartenders to act as “Nannies” (according to our Nanny anyway).

So, I would not recommend this resort to somebody who is basing their vacation on this service, because you could be very, very disappointed, and I would never recommend the Nanny Service to families that have children who are too young to tell you when something is not right!

Finally Steve and I asked our Nanny to NOT allow Natasha into the pool after 2:00 pm and we spoke to Natasha to ensure that she understood that she was not allowed in the pool. Natasha assured us that she did not ask to go the pool; it was the Nanny who asked Tasha… Anyway, the following day, I found Natasha down by the sports beach playing with a few girls that I had yet to meet and there was no Nanny around anywhere. I asked Natasha where the Nanny was, and she didn’t have a clue! I did find our Nanny waaaaay down by the other end of the beach, yes that’s right, chatting it up with 4 other Nannies. I will add here that not one of those Nannies had children with them either! Another thing I wanted to mention was, even though our Nanny was supposed to be responsible for both our children, she never once knew where Erich was. Whenever I would ask where Erich had disappeared? She would always reply the “games room”! I would check and surprise, surprise, no Erich! By day six 6 I had enough, I ended up writing out an afternoon agenda, clearly outlining what I wanted Natasha and Erich to do for the day, that evening, Erich told us that the Nanny was mad at Natasha, because she figured Natasha had complained about her! Pretty much from that day forward, I kept the children with me! The Nanny would hang around the pool all afternoon chatting with her friends while I made sure the children got to their activities, had somebody to play with and I really enjoyed the water activities with them! Steve would always dismiss the Nanny as soon as he got back from diving, which would be around 4:00 pm. A couple other things that bothered me was that she would alternate between Steve and I, asking us to get her a “drink” from the bar. We would always oblige, however we would ask the bartender for something without alcohol. I think she caught on, so the Nanny started to ask us to get her and her friend a couple of “rum creams”. Yeah, that’s right, the Nanny thought we would supply her and her friends with alcohol while she was supposed to be watching our children, I told her under NO circumstances would we supply her with alcohol, and with that she stopped asking. You might be wondering why Steve and I didn’t ask for a new Nanny? Well, this brings me to my final complaint… The Nannies here are a very close nit, gossipy group! Not only would they gossip amongst themselves, our Nanny had a tendency to want to tell me about all the stories she would hear. In some cases, the stories repeated were completely inappropriate.

However with that being said, we pretty much knew instantly if we tried to “swap” or dismiss our Nanny, the children would have been ostracized by the other Nannies and I could only imagine some of the stories that would have “floated” around about us! We did unfortunately happen to see this is action by the way!

I knew ahead of time, that “water pressure” and temperature of the water would probably be an issue, so, this was the first thing I checked, however in all honesty, with the exception of one (1) evening (where we had virtually no pressure) we were never bothered by the lack of pressure nor did we find a problem with the temperature of water being too cool, actually we found that for the most part the water never really got cold, we ended up brushing our teeth with warm water most mornings. These suites actually reminded of my childhood cottage, beautifully constructed with cedar wood paneling, warm lighting and cathedral ceilings, quite spacious with two rooms separated by a ¾. wall. Our room was slightly different in design to the other suites, as our “living room” area actually had the “two” single beds as oppose to the one “pull out” couch and “rollaway” bed. We also had the television in our room as opposed to the children’s room, which worked out fine for us, as the only time the children were allowed to watch TV was when we were all getting ready in the evening for dinner. We had a huge private balcony just off of our room, with a nice view of the mountains from one side and a view of the pool and further out the ocean on the other side. The balcony was our favorite place to hang out first thing in the morning, where we would sit outside to enjoy our morning cup of coffee…

In total I believe the suite was approximately 430 Sq Ft. Just a note, we brought our own coffee machine and filters with us as they don’t supply coffee machines in the room, they don’t have hair dryers or irons either, however you can borrow one from the front desk. My daughter and I had our hair braided by our third day so the hair dryer thing did not bother us, and who the heck “irons” their clothes on holidays, especially at such a casual, family friendly resort!

I was not offered drugs at the Bamboo village, however my husband was offered several times, as he had to go over to the Bamboo side of the resort fence on a daily basis for his diving. As “drugs” are not our scene, he kindly said “no thank you”, and he was left alone (at least until the next day). The only time “marijuana” was even mentioned to me was by our Nanny. When she asked me if “I smoked”, being the naive person that I am, I went into the whole story of how I “smoked” for years and finally gave up the horrible habit using the “nicoderm patch”. It wasn’t until she told me that her father “grew the stuff” and if I ever needed “anything” she could arrange something for me, did I realize that we were talking about two different things. After I quickly explained that I was talking about cigarettes not marijuana, she quickly apologized for bringing up the topic. I never reported the incident, as I am sure that as wrong as it is, many families probably do go looking for marijuana while in Jamaica, This was probably just our Nannies way of trying to be helpful. I blame the tourist for that one not the Nanny!) The resort also provides a free excursion into the town of Falmouth. The adult entertainment coordinators host this trip, which leaves the resort Tuesday and Saturday around 2:00pm and returns around 4:30 pm. I would not really recommend the tour (Falmouth is far from Kansas), except that we did get a chance to visit the “Juicy Patty” shop (The best beef patties in all of Jamaica) and I was also able to finally buy Mangos at the local vegetable market. The resort couldn’t make my favorite milkshake (mango) because apparently Mango was out of season. So during our trip to Falmouth, I bought some mangoes and had the bartender whip me up a Mango and rum milkshake. Yummmm!

Vacation Nanny:

At FDR Pebbles, families are provided with the services of a “Vacation Nanny”. At the very least these ladies are charged with cleaning the suite and stocking the refrigerator daily. However, her real responsibility is to help plan, coordinate and participate in the fun filled activities for the children throughout the day. Unfortunately, we did not have much luck with our particular Nanny, however we met many people who were absolutely pleased with this service and mentioned that by the end of their stay the Nanny almost feels as though she was part of their family. The Nanny normally arrives at 9:00 am in the morning, she takes a lunch break from 12:30 to 1:30 pm and then she is with you again until 4:40 pm. The Nanny is also available to stay with your family in the evenings for the cost of $4.00 USD/hr (+tip), the Nannies really do try and solicit the overtime, as whatever they make from you during the “after hours” care, they can take home. Contrary to what I have read in other reviews of the FDR Pebbles, the nanny IS allowed to eat with your family in the dining room, you just need to go to the “front desk” and ask for a permission slip for her. This slip shows that you have made to personal request to have your Nanny dine with you and your family. The manager will also need to sign the slip, however the whole ordeal is really quite painless, and probably took no longer then 10 minutes to do. The resort does provide meals and accommodations to ALL of the staff in the “staff” housing units”, which were located directly behind our block of suites… The Nannies/Teen coordinators and entertainment staff are allowed to spend the night in the “staff quarters” if they have worked late into the evening.

However, the one (1) night we had our Nanny stay late, we offered her the option of having us pay for her cab home or stay in the “staff house” she quickly replied that she wanted to go home. Apparently, things can get a little wild and outrageous in the “staff quarters” and the Nannies prefer to just go home in the evening!

I would also like to mention the woman who kept my children well fed with the “make to order” pasta at lunch, she was also a hero to my family, very sweet, and worked extremely hard and always with a smile! By the end of the second week, we also had our favorite waitress and waiters, and really did try and make sure that we sat in there section each night… One of our waitresses even dedicated a song to us on the “staff and guest” talent show night! This was a very enduring waitress and such a beautiful gesture will never be forgotten!

Now the negative:

Three (3) areas for improvement stood out loud and clear while we were visiting the FDR Pebbles! Keep in mind that we had the opportunity to stay for two (2) weeks and had a chance to observe many things that either really bothered us, or we could see some real room for improvement! 1) Better “hands on” supervisors! The second week we were at the FDR Pebbles, we were totally “flabbergasted” at the difference in service; it was almost as though the staff was on a “work to rule” schedule. A total lack of organization. During the second week found ourselves “bussing” our own table, getting our own coffee/wine! The second “beach BBQ night” we were seated at a table that when the “surf” came in, we got completely washed out, my husband was “drenched” from the knees down… Three waitress stood by and watched, completely perplexed as to how to remedy the situation. I finally got mad and grabbed our linens and plates from our table and started to reset a “dirty table” further up the beach, as I went back to our “washed out” table to get our water glasses, a different waitress proceed, to give our second table away. Now I was fuming, I approached the second waitress whom at this point didn’t want to have to remove the other family, as there were no more tables, “sorry”, “I guess you are just going to have to wait” she said!

“No problem” I said “I will speak to the “General Manager” (who happened to just enter the beach area)… This did not help remedy the situation, as I had mentioned earlier “one speed” (dawdle). The GM himself helped to clean off a third (3) table for us, and as it turned out we very nearly lost that table as well. By the time I made it to the buffet, the “curried conch” and “suckling pig” were all finished! I could go on and on about the little things that went wrong the second week we were there, like “saved” sunbeds, “lack of towel’s, constant “power failures”, over booked field trips, however I believe it was just that the resort staff just could not handle so many guests, and I did not see any supervisors giving guidance or assisting in any way, I did see a lot of staff standing around aimlessly or dawdling, which aggravated me further!

If you are the type of traveler that chooses to stay on the resort or in organized tours, I can see how you can walk away with a positive opinion of Jamaica, however, we are more “independent travelers” who prefers to “blend-in” with the local culture, and really get to know the Country we are visiting. In the case of Jamaica, the more I got to know about the “Culture”, the Country, the Politics, the more I just wanted to leave. For the most part, I truly felt the people we had met, had an “angle” or a “hidden agenda” and were not interested in a genuine friendship. I really did begin to feel like all I was to these people was a “walking” sack of cash. I did not feel safe leaving the resort (unless accompanied by a local). The “rampant” drug use, and the “laid back” attitude really did start to anger me, especially after I had met so many hard working people on the resort, who were trying their “damdest”, to “sell” Jamaica as the “perfect” vacation destination. As of right now, I can’t say that we would return to Jamaica. If we do, it would be to “experience” the resort not the Island (Hedonism III was a great resort). I still recommend people visit Jamaica at least once in their travels, as the Island is beautiful, the “theme resorts” are great and you will make some “interesting” acquaintances. I will chalk up my own experience by saying that “I” really did not feel a “kin-ship” with the Jamaican culture, which is not saying that you wont! As for FDR Pebbles…I read a description once that described our experience at FDR Pebbles, to a tee… “Jamaica all inclusive meets Northern Ontario summer camp”. If you keep your expectations in check, you really will have a great time! I would recommend the resort for families with children that do NOT need the “Nanny service” (ages 7 thru 16), who are adventurous, who want more a more Jamaican experience then what you find at a typical “AI” resort and do not need all the bells and whistles of a more lustrous resort. I hope you found this review insightful or at the very lest enjoyable to read. We have attached two links of our vacation photos for your viewing! Thank you, very much for giving us the opportunity to share our trip! Stevenbev, (The Bev half)

http://community.webshots.com/user/stevenbevjamaica

The “in-flight” crew were completely professional and attentive, the meal service on the flight to Jamaica was actually quite good (Chicken Teriyaki in a potato boat), however, a little less desirable on the way home (Penne Pasta). One complementary non-alcohol drink is served prior to the meal service and coffee and tea is served after the meal. Those wishing soft drinks, bottled water or alcohol on board will find these items are subject to charge- between $1.00 to $5.00- depending on your request”. The flight to Jamaica went off without a hitch, a nice smooth ride on the way down with very little turbulence. I believe the total flight time was just over 4 hrs. The flight back was quite rough, actually, probably the most turbulence we have ever flown in, however the pilot and staff handled the situation calmly and professionally and I never felt as though our safety was in jeopardy. The flight home was closer to 4.5 hours with approximately 3 hours of turbulence! Both flights left exactly on time with no delays! One other note of interest, Skyservice is very strict about the weight of your checked-in luggage. The allowable weight limit is 20 kilo or about 44 pounds per person, which may be spread between two suitcases per person. When two or more people check in together they usually take a combined weight, but they don’t have to. I spoke to several people who had to pay the “excess” weight penalty (and that was on the way down, I would hate to see what they would have been “nicked” on the way back once they bought all of the souvenirs). Excess weight baggage is penalized at a cost of $7.00CDN or $5.00US per kilo.

With everything taken into consideration, we would not hesitate to use Skyservice again! Yes, the seating is still very cramped, however for a short flight (3 to 4 hours) I can survive, I am just thankful that we have the “charter” option in Canada as it really does help keep the costs of traveling down a bit!

The FDR Pebbles has an awesome “Teen Program”. I don’t believe you can find a resort anywhere that offers as many activities and programs for the “Teen/Preteen” then the FDR Pebbles. The resort has set aside its own supervised tropical "campsite" for outdoor camping (Which sometimes takes place in the disco as the weather does not always cooperate) The preteens are taken hiking, the had beach party outings, pool parties, cycling trips, field trips up the nearby Martha Brae River. tubing on the “White River”, day trips to Montego Bay (waterpark/go-cartes). They receive instruction on how to Sail, Kayak or Wind surf. They’ll learn about the flora and the fauna indigenous to Jamaica.” And then they come back with stories about how fascinating the island of Jamaica really is. Located on the oceanfront, the 12 cedar wood buildings each house 8 junior suites and are nestled among palm trees and beautiful, lush gardens. Most suites have ocean views, while others are situated directly on the 600 ft white sand beach. The resort also boasts an expansive pool, complete with “swim-up” bar. The FDR Pebbles has three (3) restaurants to choose from, The Oceanside, which is the “open air” main dining room that offers buffet meals three times daily. The Sabbia is the “adults” only restaurant, which offers an Italian (loose translation) a la carte menu. Finally the “Pool grill” which makes the BEST jerk chicken I have ever had! There is also a “kids” buffet offered in the evenings from 5:30 to 7:00 pm situated above the pool grill. I don’t recommend the kids buffet! The one night I took our daughter upstairs to check it out, I found “Mac and cheese”, plain spaghetti noodles, hotdogs, French fries, cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. They also had cookies and melon for dessert. It appears the only people who actually eat in the kids buffet are the children that were left with the Nanny for the evening. Actually I saw more Nannies eating up in the kid buffet then children!

Other Interesting Resort Features:

This resort also has a ‘’petting zoo”, a turtle farm, a “catch and release” stocked pond, excellent condition tennis courts, basketball courts, whirlpool and sundeck, volleyball court, PADI scuba diving clinic’s with programs starting for children 8yrs old and up (1 dive per day for certified divers is included in the cost of your AI package). There is also a gift shop and beauty salon, Steve and I each had two massages outdoors in the massage hut for $60 USD 1/hr session. On the premises you will also find a nurses station, tour desk, games room (pool table, foose ball table, air hockey, and X-Box), cyber café (really only two very slow computers, but at least its something), disco, gym and fitness center (which I only visited during my orientation).

The water Sports center included: Snorkeling, Windsurfing, Kayaking, Sailing and Glass bottom boat rides (which I only did once as I was waaay too seasick to try it a second time) If that is not enough and you really want to get off the resort… There is golfing nearby in both Montego Bay and Runaway Bay, the hotel will arrange a shuttle for you. Directly to the left of the FDR Pebbles is a great “Gilligan Island” type beach bar and grill called “Time n Place”! This “beach grill” had excellent food, and even better atmosphere, a great place to “escape” the loud sometimes over bearing noise at the FDR Pebbles… Conde Naste traveller listed this place as one of the top 30 Caribbean hangouts. Many a movie and photo shoots have happened in this location, including the famous beach bar scene in the move “How Stella got her groove back”. Not sure if I got my “groove back” here, however it was a great place to come and get recharged! Directly towards the right of the FDR Pebbles along the beach heading towards the “Starfish” is a local group of entrepreneurs know locally as the “Bamboo Village”, The people at the Bamboo Village try to pass themselves off as artists living in an “artist” community, however this place is really very far from that. I was lucky enough to be turned onto a local craftsman by the name of “Puttymon” who owns a “hut” in the Bamboo Village, and gave me the “real score” about what the Bamboo Village is really all about.

Although you will find some “true artists” at the Bamboo Village, most of the people actually get their wares in the “big city” and mark them up in order to sell to you the tourist. I suppose there is nothing really wrong with that, as most tourists would rather not go into Montego Bay to buy their souvenirs anyway, as long as you understand that you are most likely not buying an original piece of art. You are still supporting the local Jamaican economy and bringing home a gift for somebody so why not?

The whole process described above was totally chaotic and un-called for. From the time we left the “nothing to declare line” till we reached our driver, took over an hour and we were “sent off” to speak with four (4) different people! This is a process that I think Sunquest needs to spend some time ironing out! The vacationers who were staying at the “Superclubs” resort were just ushered to their own waiting area and offered refreshments while they waited to be escorted to their buses… Urrrhhhh!

Resort check-in and first impressions:

I had read somewhere that “what the FDR Pebbles lacks in curb appeal she makes up for with charm”; well I was certainly counting on it as we pulled into the driveway. I have to admit, even with all the research I had done on this place before we arrived, I don’t think I was expecting how “low key” this resort actually was.

The “check-in” process was smooth and painless. There were two efficient staff at the reception counter and we were not asked to leave our passports however we were asked to leave our “departure pass/tourist card”. This resort does not have “in-room safes” only “safety deposit boxes“ that are kept in the “office” behind the reception desk. Just a word of warning, do not lose your safety deposit box key, they will charge you $100 USD to have the “locksmith” come and “re-key” the box (This happened to a family while we were there). Across from the reception desk is a little waiting room with a few wicker coutches and chairs, a tour desk and the manager’s office. In total I don’t think the lobby could have been larger then 40’ by 40’ in size. Please keep in mind that this resort is actually quite small with only 96 suites so I guess they did not feel the need for a “grandiose lobby”.

This excerpt is taken directly from the “FDR Pebbles” website! Our Exclusive Vacation Nanny Program Our Nannies are special. They are not just based in a Kids Centre. They are assigned to your family exclusively, full time, for your entire holiday. Your Nanny will welcome you, and say goodbye to you. You will love her. Your kids will adore her. From rinsing swimsuits to combing their hair, from getting them dressed to taking them to dine, the same trained Vacation Nanny will care for and entertain your children. She is also available for babysitting after hours. So you will complete your holiday feeling relaxed, pampered and totally revitalized and your kids will want to return year after year. This could not be further from the truth. First I will begin with the positives! Our room was always spotless, our nanny did a great job cleaning our suite and our fridge was always stocked. Our nanny was personable with a great wealth of knowledge which she enjoyed sharing. Our Nanny was quick to explain the “do’s and don’t” in Jamaica and would always have the “inside scoop” (including gossip) of what was going on at the resort! Now, when it comes to the most important part of her job (watching our children), she was really not interested! As we wanted to spend time together as a family, we would have our Nanny clean the room in the morning and then meet us around 11:00 am. Most days she would not show up until 12:00 and then want to leave for break at 12:30! Okay, so we figured that would be fine. Steve had his Scuba diving each afternoon, so as soon as the Nanny would have her “lunch break” we would have her watch the children so that I could have some “time” to myself (I wanted to finally get around to reading the DaVinci Code), however this too never seemed to work out! You see, once the Nanny would get off her break and “find” us (like that should be too hard at a resort this small), it would be 2:00 pm, she would then proceed to take Natasha to the pool and then sit with the other Nannies chatting around the pool, Our Nanny was not watching Natasha at all!

Thank god Natasha is a good swimmer, as I am sure she could have drowned and the Nanny would not have taken notice! I had asked the Nanny on several occasions to take Natasha to the organized activities at the “Yellow Bird” club, however, the next time I would walk by the pool, I would find our Nanny once again chatting it up with the other Nannies around the pool, When I would ask why Natasha was not participating in her programs the Nanny would tell me that Natasha was not interested!

To be honest the buffet offered more choice anyway, and we enjoy eating with our children. Everybody is so busy doing their own thing during the day that we enjoy getting together over dinner to discuss our day’s events!

The Staff:

Okay, normally I would not comment on the staff at a resort, however, as this resort is so small and you really do get to know the staff, I thought I would make an exception. For the most part (with the exception of the nannies), the staff does work really hard to try and please you. Especially the front desk personal, I really would not want their job, I mean having to deal with people complaints all day long really must wear on you! The staff at the “swim-up” bar ALWAYS worked hard especially the “Chef” and a special bartender by the name of Natalie, who always remembered our food and drink preferences, made my special Mango and Rum milkshakes, however, MOST importantly, remembered my daughter’s allergy to “strawberries”! As most of the children “drink special of the day” had strawberry syrup, Natalie always made sure (and instructed others to do the same) that she would have a “Natasha Special” conjured up daily! Not only did this make me feel comfortable knowing that Natasha would not inadvertently drink something she shouldn’t, it made Natasha feel special as well. As I mentioned earlier, the coordinators worked long and hard hours as well. Francis the “Teen coordinator and Rick the Preteen coordinator worked tirelessly trying to create and organize activities “geared” to the particular group of kids they had each week. Even though my son is a bit of an “introvert” and chooses to spend a lot of time on his own, the program was there if he wanted to join, and after explaining to Rick some of Erich’s challenges (extremely shy), Rick made a point of sincerely trying to encourage Erich to participate. Rick really went out of his way to ensure Erich always felt included, which as parents we really, really appreciated! The restaurant staff was a “curious” sort…. They were very obviously understaffed (especially the second week when the resort was over-booked), however the staff for the most part had one speed… DAWDLE (as my mother would call it)!

The busier the resort became, the more frustrated the staff would be, however they never, never seemed to “pick up the pace” instead they became more “surly”. Again there were exceptions to this… We had two eggcellent (joke!) omelets makers in the morning, no matter how large of a line-up they were always pleasant and ready to “crack” a joke.

Total check-in time took no longer then 20 minutes! To our great delight, the resort does not require you to wear those dreaded plastic ID bracelets, nothing worse then being “banded” like a “Canadian Goose”, so, with our room assignment, basic resort information and key in hand, our suitcases were loaded onto a pulley and we were whisked away to our room. Now, I had contacted the resort prior to our vacation and did request a specific room, however realizing that no request is guaranteed, I had at least asked for a second story room. Although I did not get the room I had initially asked for, I was rewarded a very lovely, corner, second story suite! The only problem with the location of our room was that we were located right beside the resorts “petting zoo” which, with such humidity, the wretched smell of the animal pen could be enough to make you physically ill, especially in the late afternoon/early evening, as you were making your way back to your room to prepare for dinner. Yuck! Thankfully the smell never permeated through our room or was it noticeable off the balcony. The bellboy brought our luggage up to a second floor room and took great care and time to explain the air conditioning controls and to show us the “care package” our “soon to be” Nanny had left us! This care package included: cheese, crackers, cereal, sliced melon, 2 pop, 2 Red Strip beers and a jug of water. Each evening prior to the Nannies departure she would restock your “mini fridge” with the items that you request from the “order form”. You can find this “order form” on your fridge the first night you arrive. The list of choices are not extensive, mostly, Pops, Juice, Beer, Cheese, Cracker fruit and Cereal. As it was quite late when we arrived (10:30pm), the meal service was over, however the “main bar” was still open. The bellboy graciously offered to “show” Steve where the bar was, so that he could get us a couple of Daiquiris while I unpacked and got the children settled.

My first impression of the room was quite favorable, actually I would say, that this was the best room/suit that we had ever stayed in (even nicer then the Paradisus). However as the consciousness traveler that I am, I made sure prior to unpacking that everything was in good working order.

We also enjoyed the “Body shop/Beauty Salon! We had the opportunity to use their services for both “hair braiding” and massages, and in both cases, the attendants were truly professional, friendly and certainly knew what they were doing. When we arrived at FDR Pebbles, both my husband and I had a year worth of stress on our shoulders, by the time these ladies were done with us, the stress had melted away into nothing more then a memory! As for the hair braiding… Our daughter managed to keep her braids for almost 3.5 weeks and they still looked as good as the day they were created! As mentioned before, our single biggest disappointment was our “Nanny” experience, although our room was always spotless, at best, our Nanny was an adequate “babysitter” and I certainly would not trust her with a young child. For a resort that “sells” itself on the “Nanny Program”, I think Mr. Rance and the management team really need to evaluate its current program! I was also disappointed with the disorganization and chaos that took place from ALL levels of service during our second week, when the resort was at its capacity. Again, I believe this may be a training and/or lack of supervision issue that “management” should seriously look at. If we had only visited the FDR Pebbles on the second week of this vacation, I can assure you my review would have been extremely different. It truly appeared as though the resort “fell apart” under the pressure of capacity. The only area the benefited by the “capacity” issue was the activities! More people at the resort the more people to join the activities! Finally, you may have noticed that I gave my “vacation experience” only a 2.5 rating, while my resort rated at a 3.5… Please keep in mind that this is only my opinion and based on our travel experiences, however we really did walk away from Jamaica feeling quite sad and disappointed.

I have never in my travel experience seen such poverty, sadness or felt such an undercurrent of anger or animosity towards the vacationer.

Heaven on Earth from beginning to end!
Hotel FDR Pebbles
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David >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
My wife and I have always wanted a destination Wedding. We have done extensive research on most of the Caribbean destinations and Jamaica came out on top. We have a 4yr old and a 9yr old so we really wanted somewhere kid-friendly and family-oriented. Family members who had been to Jamaica highly recommended Franklyn D. Resort & Spa and Pebbles.We were told that we could get a vacation nanny which was included in the cost at either property.This seemed really great because we could finally get some alone time. When we called the resort, we realized that the same coordinator plans for both resorts. This made us a bit hesitant because we really wanted our dream day to be well planned and professionally executed. After continuous emails and countless phone calls from the Wedding Coordinator we wondered if she showed the same personalized service to other guests. She was amazing! She ensured that everything was taken care of- from assignment of rooms to bouquet selection to the area of wedding! She even emailed me nice styles for wedding dresses for my wife when she did not know what to wear. She even remembered Tahni’s birthday( my 4yr old daughter) and surprised her with a birthday cake upon arrival. I probably must have said it in passing and she remembered! She gave us a virtual tour of both properties and answered all our retarded questions. In the end we chose to get married on the beach at Pebbles and it was the best decision we have ever made! I tell people everywhere I go – if you want service second to none, a vacation nanny that will pamper and spoil your children and a wedding coordinator that ensures that all your needs are met and that you leave thrilled at the end of it all- Pebbles will be your destination of choice. We have been to other resorts but we are yet to see any that compares to Pebbles! All the staff are friendly, attentive and they don’t make it look as if they are desperate for tips! The only problem is that we had to reprogram our children when we got back home – they got so used to having everything being done for them by their nanny that they were stuck in that mode! We are already planning to visit Pebbles again next year!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The coordinators are full of fun and energy. The kids have their own coordinators that teach them to do tie dye and arts and crafts.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
They have lush , tropical foliage that gives you that home away from home feeling. They have swim up pool bar with a huge slide.
Other Comments
Every penny well spent!!!!
Restaurants and Bars
It’s a small boutique property but it has enough restaurants and bar to make you feel relaxed. The food is average most days and you can always fnd something to snack on.
Rooms
We got a junior suite in Block 10 and we were comfortable and had a nice view of the ocean! The suite are large enough to hold our entire family. Additional beds were placed in the living area. The suites are like wooden cabins and are more of a rustic simplicity and comfy enough to relax.
Your Arrival
We were greeted by our Wedding Coordinator and our Vacation Nanny with a birthday cake for my daughter! We felt like we were at home!
A fun -filled Vacation for everyone
Hotel FDR Pebbles
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Susan >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We just arrived home from FDR with our 5yr. old daughter and 2yr old son. We were really surprised with the size of the resort in relations to the activities and amenities that were kindly offered to us. Upon arrival we were greeted with warm smiles and real Jamaican friendliness. We requested an additional nanny for $20 per day and we were glad we did. Both nannies worked like a team and ensured that all our needs were met. My wife and I have really demanding jobs and were looking for a vacation that we could get some time to ourselves and just to rest and we were in for a treat. Jasmine and Corona took care of our kids as if they were their own, they ensured that they were fed, properly looked after and every cry was met with a hug. We arranged a tour to Dunn’s River which was very hectic but our nannies made it possible. They were gems!! I recommend everyone to request an additional nanny if you have a daughter like ours who is very active and loves playing in the water. Our kids were so involved in all the activities, they were even in the fashion shows , which was a treat to us because we never knew that they would have been so outgoing. They tie dye our shirts and made so many friends at the resort. The sad part was watching my kids cry when they were leaving. FDR really made our vacation special and have given us memories of a lifetime. We will be going there next year and we will be requesting our same nannies.
Glad we went but we won’t go back…
Hotel FDR Pebbles
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Tracy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
If you are used to Club Med, then this place is NOT for you. Not fancy-schmancy, but still nice. Beautiful grounds and foliage, big rooms with nice balconies, great small beach. My son is 11, so we didn’t NEED the nanny service, but it came in handy a few times (Ask for Aneisha, she is GREAT!). Most kids and kid activities were for younger kids, 8 and younger. My son had a good time, but we won’t go back because of his age. Our room was in the middle of two rooms with babies, so we were awake all night with crying kids. If you have a baby, you are used to that, but we weren’t. Food was a nice mix of N. American and Jamaican. My son is a PICKY eater, and he found something to eat every meal. With the economy/fewer travellers, some activities were cancelled or had a fee. Only 1 specialty restaurant and the buffet. We brought our own beach toys/games and we were glad we did, and we left them there. Big room; hard bed. Water pressure/temperature is hit and miss. If you want to do any excersions, $150 travel fee to Ocho Rios, but if you have smaller kids, there is enough to do on the resort. BRING BUG SPRAY! Plan on tipping your nanny at least $10 a day when you leave, and the nannies will try to get you to hire them in the evenings. Nannies show up at 9am, and will want to eat breakfast with you. Bring plain white shirts for tie-dying. Bring water shoes for the pool, because the surface is rough and my son ended up with bloody toes. More than we expected for service/resort, less than we expected for activities.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Fewer activities than advertised, and some charge a fee. Ocho Rios is a good hour away, so excersions there have a high transportation charge.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Great pool and beach. Bring water shows for the pool for the kids; rough surface.
Other Comments
Aneisha is a GREAT nanny! The perfect place for families with young kids! Plan on tipping your nanny at least $10 a day before you leave.
Restaurants and Bars
The buffet, the snack bar and 1 restaurant only. The others are closed.
Rooms
Big and clean. Hard bed. Water pressure and temperature is hit and miss. Nice balconies.
Your Arrival
Not as organized as some resorts, but everyone is helpful. Remember…Island Time!
Photos: http://www.bobfromcanada.com
Videos: http://www.bobfromcanada.com
Still Had a Good Time
Hotel Fun Royale Beach Resort
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Robert >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | Family
– 24 hr AI is now back by quiet pool where it should be. – Chicken BBQ is back at the beach club. Chicken is GOOD. – Swim up bar in the main pool is not open. A lot of guests noticed this. – Bugs (no-see-ums, NOT, repeat, NOT bed bugs) were terrible. They had three weeks of rain prior to our arrival and they thrived. Hotel fogged five days in a row. I’ve never seen this at the hotel, but it sure culled the herd. – Still got 5 star service. I managed to get ‘one’ glass of wine myself at dinner and once I managed to get my own coffee without being intercepted. Beer and drinks just magically showed up at the table just as I was finishing. Talk about just in time delivery ….. – New manager, only been on-site for about a month. Seems energetic and with some good ideas. Hands on type; I saw him mixing paint with the painters and hanging ‘curtains’ in the beach bar. – C & D blocks are shut down for renovations. We saw the model suite and the colour scheme looks bright and cheery. Similar changes are planned for the RCI villas. We saw a model of that too. – Occupancy was very low, about 20%. Not just Fun Royale, but most of Playa Dorada. The beach was very empty. Blue Bay, Grand Paradise and Grand Ventana seemed to be the exceptions. A lot of positives mixed with the negatives. We met a lot of people that were hating the place and a lot that were loving it. People we were traveling with this year had some issues, but it was mostly with RCI. They planned on doing their own cooking the first week and the AI the second week. They were expecting a full kitchen (stove, fridge, utensils etc) and not the bar fridge, toaster oven, microwave and hot plate that they got. As a result, they had to cough up for the AI after day two. Naturally they weren’t happy. And their first dinner was the Oriental theme night, and it was not very good (this is an understatement) and there was no carvery or grill station. The next day’s lunch at the buffet was terrible according to them. Their seafood salad was mostly shells and he couldn’t eat it. But at dinner, we took them to the Italian and he went into raves about how good it was.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean and well maintained. Walkways starting to show their age.
Other Comments
Short version. See my full review, photos and video via my website at www.bobfromcanada.com
Restaurants and Bars
– Most of staff are still there but on reduced hours. – Food cut backs (lower selection, not many grill stations or carvery, NO ice cream). Actually, on the first week we didn’t see a carvery or grill station, but the second week we did. Food can’t be that bad. I gained 7 lbs …… – Buffet food varied from very good to positively brutal. It was hard to believe it was coming from the same kitchen. – Specialty. Excellent, but only open 2 nights per week each. Since the food was so much better there, we ended up eating at Italian 4x and Brazilian 3x. – Beach club. Excellent. BBQ chicken is to die for …. – Pizza. Very good – Buffet. Inconsistent (varied from good to very bad). Ice cream station shutdown, low selection choice and carving stations / grill stations were rare.

– Presidente beer and Classic liquors.

Rooms
– Dated, spotlessly clean, everything worked. A/C quit during our stay but I didn’t report it until check out. Had some plumbing issues. I think some of the old brittle plastic piping in the buried water supply, especially the parts near the surface and exposed to the sun. They had a few burst over the two weeks we were there and they had to dig up and repair. – Got our room again. Still clean and everything worked, sort of. I think the toilet valve may have got a piece of plastic stuck in it as it wouldn’t stop flushing. This happened immediately after one of the plumbing repairs. The a/c crapped out the last few days. You turned it on and initially you got cold air, but after an hour or so there was no air flow. I didn’t report this until we were checking out.
Your Arrival
Quick and painless.
Awesome!!!
Hotel Fun Royale Beach Resort
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Shiela >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
My second trip to the island and first to this resort. 14 wonderful days! Met some wonderful people who were on holiday as well, had our daily happy hour with Hector. He was willing to keep my Bubba jug full. The staff was some of the nicest people I have ever met. Smiling, dancing. They always appeared happy doing their job. Found it a shame that, they are fighting to get their rating back up. West Jet has them listed at a 3star resort, and Sun wing at a 2.5, but with the service and food, and the cleanliness of the rooms…this rating should be upped to at least a 4 star. Will I return to the Island…Yes…Will it be this Resort. Absolutely!!!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The hotel offered nightly trips to the clubs, we however did not partake. We did go off on our own to the casino one night, which the hotel made sure we had a free cab there. We booked a cab along with some other people and went into Puerto Plata for a day trip and toured the Rum Factory among others sites. We also took in a day to Paradise Island, Wow! is all I can say on that. A trip up into the mountains to visit a school, see the water falls. Another great day! Last trip was out on the Catamaran. A day at Sousa Bay, snorkeling and a 2 1/2 sail back. Wonderful! The animation team was a great group. High energy! Have to say I lost weight due to the water activities. Fun! Drawback – Same activities everyday…would like to see new for next year
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach was nice, and was raked daily. The only draw back was all the coral right in front, but it was no problem to walk down the beach a bit. There you could wade right in, and swim with no problems. Spent most of our time at the main pool. Kept clean by the guys, who used the net a couple of times a day. The grounds were raked and swept daily. Very neat! Beach towels were big…NO…holes in them! Note: We did decide to sit at the quiet pool one day, about 10 days into our trip. We were there only a short time before getting our first bites on the legs. Mind you it had rained the night before, but we got up and returned to our spot at the main pool and all was good again.
Other Comments
One of the things that impressed me the most was the many loyal customers they had. Pretty much everyone that I met and spoke too, have been coming to this resort for 5yrs up to 12 years, some even said they came more then 3 times a year. These were people from Canada, England, Germany, and Sweden.
Restaurants and Bars
We had two great bartenders Rocco during the day and Hector in the evenings. Sorry to say I didn’t get the young lads name at the swim up pool bar, but he sure could mix a great drink and do a slam dunk from his station to the net! We pretty much had the same waitress in the mornings and same waiter in the evenings. Both were awesome at their jobs. Wish I could remember their names, but they each greeted us with a hug and kiss. The food was good and varied. We did not feel like it was the same every day. The extra pieces of chocolate cake were very much appreciated. Best pancakes ever! Going the extra mile for wine for us, who could ask for better service. Pizza as a snack by the pool was a daily event, would let you build it yourself if you asked.
Rooms
Our room was very spacious, lots of drawers and closet space. Our cleaning girl was very sweet; she left us flowers every day. The balcony was quite big and gave us privacy. The bed was comfortable and so were the pillows! Lots of hot water, but who needs that much when all you want to do is cool off. There were hairdryers in the bathrooms. A small fridge with a counter and cupboards.
Your Arrival
We arrived around 5pm. Checked in and had our bags taken to the room. They were kind and showed us the way to the dining room. Made sure we had a lock and key for the safe. Lucy (the spitfire) was there with a big hug and welcome. She was ready willing and able to answer any question that one may have. Go Lucy! The reception area was a very nice place to sit and relax; one could always feel a nice breeze
Excellent trip – BEWARE CanJet
Hotel Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
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steve >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family
My son and I recently returned from Playa Costa Verde. It was just as we had hoped, a nice relaxing vacation. However, we do have a major complaint against CanJet Airlines I packed (among other things) a Battery charger for a Sony digital Camera AND a charger for my son’s Nintendo DS game Upon my arrival to Cuba, I noticed that both these items were missing from my luggage. I would find this extremely difficult to believe they went missing on the Cuban end of my trip. The Cubans do not have, and cannot get devices for which these chargers were meant to power. Also, their voltage and shape of the plugs is different than our own. As such, I believe a handler within the Ottawa airport siezed an opportunity to confiscate these items as their own. Of course, their official stance is "we are not responsible . . ." So that’s the bad.

And I will not fly CanJet again . . . but I need to talk about the good as well

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We took the "swim with the dolphins" excursion, and it was really special. I really struggled with the balance of trying to please my son, and trying to be environmentally responsible.

In the end, we took a "once in a lifetime" excursion, that will provide a lifetime of memories.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach, what can I say ? That’s why we go to Cuba !! And this beach did not disappoint. Nice shallow entry (for my son), good snorkelling right off the beach (bring some bananas from the restaurant). My favorite beach is still "Cayo Santa Maria" but this is quite nice too. The grounds are always being maintained by hard working staff. I like to bring these guys a beer from the bar, or give them a peso, or a ball cap, or something small . . .to show them I appreciate their effort to make MY vacation as nice as possible. The bartenders, maids, servers make decent tips . . .but these guys are working as hard or harder. While a peso here or there is really nothing for us, it could be the equivalent of a days pay for them.
Other Comments
Remember you are on vacation. Chill out, walk a little, smile at the people you meet, dance a little, make new friends, try new foods, swim in the ocean, try that blue drink, be respectful, get a massage, go to the gym, so sailing . . .have fun. When I go to Cuba, I usually bring my gently used clothes, some toiletries, some small toys to give to the families. Let me tell you, a little gesture like this goes a long way. So when I say I go for the beach, I also go because the Cubans are genuinely warm, friendly, appreciative people, who go out of their way to ensure your time on the resort is as good as possible.
Restaurants and Bars
We mostly went to the buffet restaurant, because in the past, we found this to be the most convinient. My son likes to try a bit of this, bit of that . . .plus we have a fairly rigid schedule at home, we didn’t want to have fixed time to eat. That being said, the buffet had very good food, with lots of variety. There was a grill station, in which you could get chicken, beef, and/or pork. We always had something from the grill . . . Mmmmmm! On our second day, on our way to lunch, we saw them roasting a pig over the coals. My son was little reluctant to try "wilbur", but once he did he said "I hope they will be roasting another pig tomorrow" . . .and they did . . .every day . . . Once again Mmmmmm! We tried to taste everything in the restaurant, but there was too much variety. Must tries: – Something from the grill – Pizza – Fresh juice (my favourite – Canteloupe) – Bananas Flambé – Coconut Ice-cream We went to the Japanese restaurant, one evening, and it was quite good. Our preference is definately the buffet restaurant(s). After 6 Cuba trips, 3 Mexico trips, 2 Dominican trips, 1 Jamaican trip . . .we know what kind of travelers we are
Rooms
Our room was large and clean, with two twin beds. As we were on the first floor, we had a large terrace (upper floors had a balcony). One of the bed-frames was broken, so I contacted the front desk. We were told not to worry, it would be fixed before we retired for the night. We washed up and went for dinner.

Upon our return, the bed was fixed . . . no problem

Your Arrival
Thankfully, there were no other flights ariving at the same time as us. Holguin airport is quite small, and this can sometimes create a real bottle-neck at customs. This is not something you can control, or your travel agent, or the airline. It just happens at small airports. Our arrival through customs, baggage claims, onto the resort bus went very smoothly. Once we arrived at the resort, our check-in went quite quckly as well. Unfortunately, due to the timing, our room was not ready yet. They gave us our bracelet, so we could enjoy our "all-inclusive" experience. They have a luggage room where we left our suitcases, got into our swim suits, and off to the beach. When we returned from our day (approx 4:00) our room was ready.

They took us(and our luggage)to the room.

total pleasure and relaxation for me
Hotel Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
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pierre >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Sep, 2010 | Leisure | Solo
going in decembre for the fifth time.needles to say hotel enviroment ,staff food ,drinks,and hawsome excursions .most of all staff becomes family ,hugs when you arrive and leave.the natural smile and warmth these people have cannot be described in words.making friends with people from around the world confirms my sentiments for this resort"ultimate we all agree".a must is an hour with a dolphin ,jeep tour,the beach and snorkell in corals ,visit of city of holguin and more everytime i return .i give this 5 stars .
Arrival
unforgettable
Beach/Pools/Grounds
animation staff "love em"
Restaurants and Bars
got to try it
Rooms
5 stars
Marvelous!
Hotel Gaviota Playa Costa Verde
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Fournier >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family
My hole family fell in love with this place and the people working at this resort. The food from the grill is great, the drinks made mostly from real fruit juices…The cerveza is cold, the rum is generous…The entertainement staff: Scoobidoo, José, Richard became good friends and later our adopted sons :))There are plenty of fish and corals accessible from the playa. Tips: bring a hot dog bread for them to feed on…you will see them so well! Incridible! The jeep safari is so fun: speed boat, hoseback riding, visit of a farm and tobacco factory all in one…one of the best day of my life!!!!
Do not hesitate, this hotel is great!and the people working there are terrific!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Jeep safari incredible! Shows excellent, specially beach party.
Arrival
Really prompt check in. You get your dining reservations.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beautiful pool. Bring shoes for beach, lots of rock and corals….but fish in bonus!
Other Comments
Say hi to José, Richard and Scoobidoo!
Restaurants and Bars
Grill food is good. Fruits excellents. Japanese and cuban restaurants great.
Room Number
3315
Rooms
So big!!!!Nothing luxury, but very clean and confortable. Good matress. Big bathroom. Showers work well. There are no facecloths in Cuba, bring your own.
Great vacation at a beautiful resort
Hotel Gaviota Playa Pesquero
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Francois >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family
I traveled with my wife and 2 year old son from March 21st to March 28th 2010. This was my first trip to Cuba but my 3rd all-inclusive vacation in the Caribbean’s. The weather was just great, mostly sunny and 30ish every day, and the resort was excellent. Here are some thoughts on my personal experience and impressions of the PP.
À la carte
Reservation was a breeze; I didn’t bother on the Sunday, but when to the reservation desk around 10h00 on Monday morning. There were three people taking the reservation and only two were busy. It took five minutes and I had four reservations for 6h30. We booked the Vegetarian, Seafood, Italian and Caribbean. They were all very good, if I had to choose a favorite, I would say the Seafood one. The service was good at all of them and they have some decent wines also. They give you the bottle of wine, which is nice; they had a selection of Chilean and Spanish wine. It’s a lot better then the “house wine” they are serving at the buffet for dinner, which taste like what my father makes in his basement(not very good). I did book a fifth reservation on a day we didn’t have any. I just went to the reservation desk and asked nicely if there was a spot available somewhere for 6h30. The lady was very nice, as I didn’t realized it was already 3h15(the reservation desk closes at three), so she couldn’t enter us in the system and she had to make a few phone calls. It took her five minutes, but she did get us another reservation at the Vegetarian for that night, which was great as we preferred the à-la-carte to the buffet. Beware of one thing, when they serves you a plate and they tell you it’s really hot, you better believe them: my wife and at least 2 other people got a burn after lightly touching the side of the plate that was just served to them at the veggie – it seems like they cook the dish in the plate itself! At the Italian, they have a separate kids menu and at the Seafood and Carri bean, they offered to cook something for my son that was not on the menu, like burgers and fries.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We took a cab to the Guardalavaca market one morning. It’s about a 15 to 20 minutes ride and it cost 12CUC each way (for the cab, not by person). The cab driver was great and he waited for us to bring us back to the resort. The market itself is not really big and was pretty crowed, we didn’t stay there long, there is a beautiful beach just a short walk from it and the kid played there for about an hour and we walked around a bit and then we got back to the resort. There are a few small bars around the area also. There are other options to get to the market, there is a train( which is not really a train, it’s the same sort of train that runs around the resort all day ) and it leaves around 9h30 to come back around 1h30, it is 5 CUC’s each way. There is also a double Decker bus, that you can hope one, I believe it’s the same price as the train and it goes by the resort around 9h10 and stays at the market for 2 hours. You can also take one of the horses-trolley to get there, if I remember well, it’s around 35 CUC’s if you go by horse. We did take a horse ride, for an hour, it was 15CUC’s and we rode to the small village of Melia, where most of the resort workers live. It was an interesting ride, too bad the driver wasn’t very chatty, but we did see the living conditions of some of the locals’ which are pretty basic. There is also a small school in Melia, if we have known that before, we might have brought some school gears with us to give to the school.

We also went to the dolphin aquarium, and I did swim with the dolphins, and it was a great experience. It was 79CUC’s for swimming, 35CUC’s if you were not swimming and it was free for the kids under 4. It’s only a short bus ride from the resort, around 10-12 minutes and then a 5 minutes boat ride to the aquarium. We left the resort at 8h45 and we were back at 1h30. It was really hot over there and a bit too long with the kid, the sea lions and dolphins show were nice to watch, but they were pretty short and there was a lot of down time with nothing much to do.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
I thought that the beach was great. It is kind of split up into two portions by some rocks/corals. The portion to the right where is the longer beach area where you can walk to other resorts, and a smaller beach area on the left side of it. We tend to spend our time on the smaller part of the beach, since it was closer to our room and felt less crowed. The kid had a blast at the beach and the water was very calm all week, even thought some days were quite windy. Yes, some portions are a bit rocky, mostly on the smaller portion of the beach and it is not the smoothest sand I’ve seen, but it is still a great beach with the water having beautiful different shades of blue/turquoise. As I’ve read in a lot of reviews, it’s probably not like the Varadero beaches, I’ve even overheard that comment a few time on the beach from other guests. So, my suggestion on this is: If you want the beach to be like the ones in Varadero, then you probably should go there. There are a lot of free activities available and you can have some decent snorkeling not very far off the beach. There is no problem getting loungers, as some guys will even bring it out for you anywhere you want. As for a spot under the palapas, like I’ve mention before, unless you go later in the afternoon, you will have to wake up pretty early to get one.

Pool:This is one huge pool and it’s beautiful. It’s the warmest pool I’ve been in at an all-inclusive. The main bar is the pool bar, which was really busy, but there are smaller bars around the pool. It was great with the kid, since a lot of the sections are very shallow. It’s not the cleanest pool I’ve seen, but I did see some staff trying to clean it a few times during the week. There no problem to get a lounger, but if you want one under a palapas, then I guess you will have to wake up early, as the towel game (which I’ve never understood) is played intensively on the beach and at the pool. We would usually go to the beach in the morning and at the pool in the afternoon, after the kid nap, around 3h30 – 4h, it was not a problem to get a good spot at that time.

Bugs
We didn’t see any mosquitoes are got bitten until the last night at the resort when we went to eat the Italian restaurant La Gondola. I don’t know if it’s because it’s at the far end of the resort or because it has ponds of water around it, but we did got a few bites that night. Me and the kid didn’t got much and they didn’t bother us, but my wife started to have a bunch of bites coming out, mostly on her legs as soon as we were back home. Seems new ones were coming up for at least 2 days. Fortunately, by Thursday it was getting a lot better. Make sure to bring Benadryl with you if you are a mosquito magnet and usually react to bites.
Other Comments
Yes, it’s a big resort and you will have to walk quite a bit during your stay, it’s not a problem for us, but if it’s not your thing, then it might not be the best place for you. A stroller is definitely a must with a young kid. A Bubba Keg, or something similar, is also a must if you want to have drinks. Because at the beach/pool bars, they will only give you small plastic cup, that holds maybe half a beer. Before leaving, I had read a lot of reviews about the different bathroom on the resorts being disgusting. I’ve visited, at one point or another, pretty much every bathroom on the resorts and my only problem with them was that most of them don’t even have a window. So, it’s like a sauna in there and obviously it will not smell like roses, but they were all kept clean and it was a non-issue. There are some Internet workstations in the Lobby, you have to buy card at the Lobby desk with an access code on it. It sells by the hour and it cost 8CUC/hour. The Internet connection is quite slow, but it’s good enough to check and send e-mails.

There are a few shops on-site, where you can buy cigars, alcohol and some souvenirs and stuff like solar cream, chips and pops. There are also some vendors around the pool everyday selling stuff. They rotate each day, so if you see something you like, you might not see it again if you are only staying for one week. As for the alcohol, the best rum were : Havana Club 15 years : 150CUC, Havana Club 7 years 11.90CUC, Havana Club bullet proof 29.50CUC and Ron Santiago 11 years 40 CUC. The prices were pretty much the same at the airport and the bullet proof was even more expensive as it was selling for 35CUC. So, unless you are worried about your luggage weight allowance, I don’t see any benefits of buying it at the airport.

Restaurants and Bars
The food is not great, but it’s pretty good. I’m not a fuzzy eater, but they had plenty of selections at the buffets and you also had other options to eat during the day. It is a bit confusing at first, as there are a lot of different places to eat at different time of the day and some places have different names during the day and at night. They could certainly do a better job of giving you a good document (at the front desk checking-in) with all the different options you have for breakfast / lunch / dinner. The paper they give you, doesn’t have half of the options on them, it should definitely be updated. But, if you want to eat, there is always a place you can find food 24hours a day, same for drinks. And, unless you don’t like fish, pork, chicken and pasta, you should not have any problems finding something you like. The fruit selection wasn’t great, as it was pretty much bananas, pineapples and goyaves for most of the week. The last two days, we started to see some apples, cantaloupe and honey melon also. There is also a very good ice cream bar that is open until 10pm. The buffets and all the restaurant (except the Romantico) are open air style places. So, yeah, like any other open air buffets I’ve been before, you do see some birds flying and the odd fly, but it’s was not worse than other all-inclusives I’ve been too. Neither of us had any stomach issues whatsoever and I didn’t heard of anyone having issues either during my stay. You won’t have any problems getting a drink at the resort; there are bars pretty much everywhere. They have Crystal, Buccaneros and Mayabe for beers and even some Beck’s at the beer garden. The higher-end alcohol is at the lobby bar, the best dark rum they have is the Havana Club 7 years. The Mojito’s at the Mojito bar were excellent! Most of the bars are closing at 5pm, except for the beer garden and the lobby bar that are open 24 hours I believe. At night, they have the usual entertainment shows at the theater, some nights were pretty good when they had Cuban musician playing. Some other night it was pretty lame, but that’s where the action is at night. It’s was always full of people, the same for the lobby bar. They had musician playing at the lobby bar the nights they were not playing on stage, which was kind of cool. There is a nightclub beside the theater, I just took a peak inside, it’s not really big and it was pretty dark, but it had a decent amount of people dancing. There are also always people hanging around at the beer garden. I’ve always had great service from the bar staff and I’ve never felt like they were expecting a tip, or that tipping was making a difference in the service. I believe, that a: Holà, por favor, gracias and a smile goes a long way on the kind of service you get. I did tip here and there, and they were always grateful for it, but they do put it in a pot and split it amongst all the staff.
Rooms
We had a second floor Superior room, in building 46, which is not the best location, but not the worse either. The room was quite large which was great with our son. At our arrival, the maid was waiting for us and as soon as she saw the kid, asked us if we wanted a crib in the room (it wasn’t in the room even if we had requested it in our reservation and by email prior to our arrival), but within 5 minutes they brought one in. The small fridge was already filled up with 2 colas – 2 beers (Bucanero) and a big bottle of water. A few minutes later a guy came in and brought us another bottle of water and two more beers (Mayabe). He also had a 700ml bottle of white rum (Ron Cubay) for us, which I believe we received because it was a superior room. I saw the rum selling for 4.50CUC’s at the airport. It’s not an expensive one, but still pretty good with cola. Inside the room there is a small TV, with around 20 channels. I really didn’t pay much attention to the TV stations; most of them were Spanish, with a few English ones and one or two French. There is also a small portable cd / radio / tape deck player in the room, it’s very basic, so there’s no Ipod connexion on it (I had an Ipod FMtuner that worked great). The bathroom was big, with a full bathtub with shower, a toilet and a bidet. We had more than enough closet space and there is a good size balcony with two chairs and a small round table. We also had a small hair dryer, iron and ironing board in the room. The in-room safe was big enough to fit my portable DVD players and all the stuff we wanted to put in it. The air-conditioning in the room was not great, but it was good enough to keep the room at a decent temperature. You do have to have a key in a slot for the air-conditioning to work. One of the first things I did was to get another key for the room (as they only give you one at check-in), so the air-conditioning could be running all day. The kind size bed mattress is somewhat hard, but it didn’t bother either of us, as we found it quite comfortable. The maid did a great job of keeping it clean and overall it was a great room. We did see some small ants in the room, they are everywhere outside the room, in the stairs and outside the building, so obviously some were in the room also. We really didn’t notice them until we left some food on a table; not a good idea. Make sure any food you have in the room is sealed.
Your Arrival
The flight was with Sunwing and it was great. Nice friendly service, free earphones, hot breakfast, gift bag for my son and a glass of champagne. Plane was on time for departure and arrived on time at the Holguin airport. Bus transfer was with a comfortable air-conditioned bus, but without a working toilet. It took around 1h to get to the resort, with one stop along the way. We arrived at the Pesquero around 11h45 am, and they had welcoming drinks waiting for us. Since we had book a superior room, we even had a choice of having a glass of champagne instead of the usual drink. The room was ready, and it took 20 minutes to get all our stuff and be carried over to our room.
beautiful swimming beach/well maintained restaurants/lovely staff
Hotel Gaviota Playa Pesquero
User Rating:  
kenneth >  1 contribution(s) Canada
May, 2010 | Business | Solo
I have been returning to this hotel every year since it opened in 2004,it is almost my home away from home, the staff are lovely people, respectful and pleasant, always willing to satisfy. Especially beautiful is the swimming beach with almost no wave action, almost a lagoon with transparent water 100 ft off the surf line 10 to 15 ft deep. (There is also a small sheltered bay near the river, but sand flies can sometimes be a problem there.Don’t lie on bare sand!!!!).
Arrival
There is usually a cocktail reception on arrival, but as the bar is also in the very large and beautiful reception area, there are many varieties of cocktail that the barmen will be happy to make for you!!!!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
beatiful large pool with swim-up bar, comfortable lounge chairs and sun shelters. An exercise gym also contains a jacouzi pool.Lots of pool activities.
The vegetation is beautiful once again,(3 yrs after the hurricane Ike passed through),many palms have been replanted.
Other Comments
The hotel is especially popular for marriage ceremonys, and welcoming parents with small children with open arms.There are organised baby-sitting/playing to give the parents a rest!!!!, and private baby sitting can be obtaines too I believe.
Restaurants and Bars
Very good variety in the restaurants, for the ladies who like to dress-up at least once for a special night the Romantica restaurant is a favourite. The buffet resto is very good too, as is also the pool resto for lunch which is very clean.Five "a la carte" restos are on the grounds with wine service.

Old Reviews – Traveling with Kids

Rex Halcyon Cove
This was such a DISAPPOINTMENT!! On our arrival, we were told that the kids club was closed on Tuesday – fine, no problem, my daughter waited patiently to the next day. On Wednesday, I approached the front desk to find out the hours of operation: opens at 10:15 am and closes during lunch and opens again in the afternoon. On several occasions, I personally walked over to the kids club which is by our building, the room was locked and dark. I went to ask the front desk, and they acted all surprised. After the 3rd day, I realized this resort did not cater to kids. As for the playground, there’s a frame for the swings, but no swings and the games room also non-existent. In comparison to other resorts, like Mexico, Turks and even Cuba, it really is disappointing. FYI…I spoke to people who stayed at the Pineapple Beach and St.James, everyone said the same thing – "it must be an island thing" was our conclusion. So, keeping this in mind, DON’T ADVERTISE THIS TO YOUR KIDS, BECAUSE IT IS NON-EXISTENT.
Turtle Beach Resort
Kids Club: Our children really enjoyed the Club and asked to go there every day when we were not out on a tour. They chose to have lunch and dinner in the club with the other children on several days. One of the main attractions was the wide selection of video games. The ladies who worked there were very friendly and the children were kept occupied with games and craft. Video game time was (wisely) limited. During the evening, at 7.30, a film was shown. We have travelled considerably with the children, and stayed in many hotels that operate Kids Clubs, but this is the first hotel we have stayed in where the children have actually wanted to attend Club. It was certainly a treat to eat alone with my husband whilst being confident that our boys were safe and happy.
Paradisus Playa Conchal Beach
Christine Toronto, Canada
February 2004
They have a great centre for kids of all ages. There a two halves – for children 4 and under and the other for 5-12s. There are playgrounds, one of those inflatable jumping things, a trampoline, a climbing wall, tightrope, rope wall, crafts and more. They have a glossy pamphlet with the weekly activities for kids in the two age groups. The staff dress up as clowns in the evening and get all the kids up on stage for dancing and games. The only thing was there were hardly any kids there. Our daughter was lucky to find another 6 year old girl to play with. Maybe it’s busier other times of the year.
Bahia Principe Varadero
Lynda Gilles and the kids New liskeard, Ontario
January 2007
This is our second trip to Cuba. You can check my other review to villa covarubias from last year. We traveled with sunwing from Sudbury. It is very nice to leave from a smaller airport when travelling with kids.

FOR THE KIDS: This resort is very child friendly. Their is many organized activities for the kids all day and into the evening. Bowling, darts, ping pong, checker, tennis, dancing, dress up, playground, just to name a few. I felt safe to leave my 7 and eleven year old at the daycare. The daycare worker was very nice and my kids loved her. The swimming pools are safe for children.

OCEAN: The ocean is just wonderful. Activities includ kayaks, catamarans, and peddal boats.

RESORT: This resort is clean but seems to need some carpets to be changed.(paint and stains on them) The rooms are clean but look a little old.

FOOD: My take on the food in Cuba is if you don’t like change then stay home. None of us starved! The kids ate all day, snacks plentyfull, fresh fruit, pizza, hamburgers and french fries. Their was always lots to choose from in the buffet. We all found something good to eat. The a la carte restaurants were very good. The x-mass supper was great! Hey! I’m not going to lie, some food is bad BUT you’re in a different country. If you rather eat things you are used to then stay in Canada. As for the beer, crystal is always a very good choice. The mix for the drinks, not so good. You can drink the water in Cuba, we did and never got sick!

TRIPS: Their are many trips you can take daily in Varadero. We did the dolphin swim for x-mass. It includes a day trip in a catamaran, all inclusive drinks, a swim with dolphins, snorkeling, lunch on an island. A must for children. My kids loved this. We also took the kids on a horse caridge ride in the town of Varadero. They got to see alot of different things that they would otherwise not get to see if we stayed on the resort. I went for a walk with my cousin to the markets and felt very safe to do so.

This was a very good trip, the staff was nice, the weather was great, my kids were safe.I will be returning to Cuba.

Blau Colonial Cayo Coco
 Georgia – Canada
March 2007
If you go with children: Take jarred baby food with you, especially fruits and vegetables. Based on our previous experiences in Cuba (once in Cayo Largo, once in Santa Lucia, Camaguey), we thought that surely we would find something to give the baby. So I didn’t pack any baby food. For our dissappointment, the food was bad at this hotel, and very seldom we found something to give the baby. So we fed him toast with butter, platains, and whatever we could find that was cooked enough. The vegetables were cooked canadian style if I may say so, I mean, just blanched and we couldn’t feed the baby that. The meat was hard because they use frozen meat which they cook without thawing. Take a bottle warmer if you can because you have to wait a lot for the water to warm. And it’s not a pleasant thing to stay by the tap 15 minutes in the middle of the night. Because we were at the ground floor we could wash any clothes because we didn’t have something to hang them to. The kids pool is nice, lots of room for them to play. There is also a mini-club, but they don’t accept babies unless there are no other children to be taken care of. Or they will accept if they’ll stay in the stroller. Again, in the mini-club building, tiles on the floor, baby couldn’t crawl. If you want something cooked for the baby, you can talk to somebody from the kitchen and they will gladly accomodate your request. I requested some veggie puree and sometimes I would get carrots with potatoes and chicken, sometimes whatever they made the soup of. It was good taking into account that food that was available in the common serving area was so bad for the baby to eat. I also requested some fruit, which I’ve put in the fridge in our room.

Pack a peeling knife, a fork to cut and mash the fresh fruit, plastic spoons, a big bottle, plastic plates just for the baby. Aside of bottles, cups and whatever you use for the baby.

Club Amigo Caracol – Santa Lucia
The kids club is described in the brochure as "Supervised kids club ages 3-11". Having made use of kids clubs extensively in the past when travelling to Varadero with our kids, we were very disappointed. This one is quite different. In the interest of informing future families – here is what to expect. The kids club was non-existant on the first two days. We made several complaints to the signature rep, and made sure many staff from the animation group knew that we really, really both wanted and expected there to be a kids club. There was no facility, or room to meet, which differes from other Cuban vacations we have enjoyed, where there was an air-conditioned facility filled with toys and games, and usually even a tv, and videos. At Caracol, apparently the staff would round up the kids at certain times and organize activities. The official times were from 10:30-12:00 and 3:00-5:00. We pushed and pushed, and finally by mid-week staff from the animation appeared to "baby-sit" the kids at the pool. There were only two occasions where there was an organized excursion to the beach, once to play in the sand and once to visit a neighbouring resort’s pool. The resort was obviously having staff problems relating to the kids club and we learned that a student had been operating it for the past 3 months but had returned to school. During our week it was different people each day, and they obviously did not have experience in organizing the kids and providing structured activities. There was an enormous language barrier for the children, as there were children speaking French, English and Italian, and the supervisor often spoke only spanish. I guess its no wonder she didn’t venture into any other activities beyond playing with them in the kids pool. There is no way any child over 6 or 7 would have been interested in this. And my little guy was reluctant to go off with a different person each day, which made it difficult for us. And I really felt I had to stay nearby in case things didn’t go well, or there was some discipline problem.

The pool itself was a disappointment, again, because our kids are 4 and 6. The "kids pool" was a small square pool that was equally shallow everywhere, (.35 meters). It had absolutely no appeal for my children, it would only be good for toddlers. The other pool, also not very big, was the same depth everywhere with steps leading down, at 1.25 meters (approx 4 feet). My children could not touch beyond the steps. And oddly, there was a wall between the two pools so you could not be in the big pool and watch your kids in the small pool. This is not usually the way it is in a kids-friendly resort, but at least if you know what to expect, you can decide if this experience will work for you and your kids. Make sure you bring floaties unless your kids are excellent swimmers.

Club Amigo Guardalavaca Village
We were at the Club Amigo Guardalavaca Village from Dec.31- Jan 14th,2005 with our 2 & 7 year olds. There is nothing wrong with the resort for a 3 star. The only complaint I have is that we booked through Signature because they state in brochure and website that the kids club is for 2 & up. When we arrived we were told that the club is for 4 & up . Major disappointment since that was the only reason we booked this hotel.Of course hotel blamed Signature and Signature blamed hotel. Our 7 year old still used the kids club but it was very poorly organized. We’d ask in the morning what the kids would be doing and it was never the same as the listing on board by door of club. One morning we were told they’d be playing soccer then mini golf. When we picked up our 7 year old later he told us he’d been swimming. Not only did they take him swimming without permission but he does not swim. He always wears a lifejacket and is within reach of us at all times. They took him to the Olympic sized pool with no lifejacket and 1 supervisor for 14 kids. On another outing on a train ride to the countryside they also had 14 kids to 1 supervisor. The kids were spread out all over the train with no supervisor watching. We just happened to be there with our 2 kids. They were willing to take younger kids only if you paid them. After this we kept our son with us because we did not trust the kids club. The resort is fine if you want a cheap place for some sun and beach.They had other things like basketball and ping pong but I heard a lot of complaints about equipment missing. We had read all the reviews on a couple of forums and even asked questions about the kids club but received no info. Just thought I’d send this in to give other people the info we wish we’d had. If anyone has any questions I am Holidaypinettes and you can just PM me.

Just don’t go for the kids club because you will be very disappointed!!!!

Grand Playa Turquesa
The kids club is amazing, very attractive to the kids and well organised during the day. The mini-disco at night was not always a success depending one the creativity of the animator but still a high light for the girls. Perfect for our age range… don’t know how it would have been for younger or older kids. They also loved the carito rides around the resort (golf carts that are used as shuttles). Came in handy for everyone at the end of the day.
Grand Playa Turquesa
The kids club was excellent. The ladies working there were absolutely incredible. The kids have their own clubhouse, with lots of activities, their own pool and it is gated in. The ladies would take the gang to the buffet for lunch, down to the beach snack hut for pizza and ice cream, I never once worried about them at the club. I felt guilty when my husband and I were eating lunch at the buffet and here come the kids club with our boys(it felt a little bit odd) but the boys had so much fun with the kids club they didnt want to spend the day with us( hey, I’m not complaining!) They had a mini disco every night and a fashion show once a week, it was really cute. We tipped these ladies huge, they were so deserving and one had a son a bit younger than mine so we left her a bunch of clothes for him(they have so little)
Grand Playa Turquesa
This is like a little resort for the kids. The staff there are wonderful and truly do enjoy kids. Kids Club has it’s own pool and exterior play area as well as several different rooms that offer play, sleep and dancing. Keep in mind that this is more for younger kids that are 7 and under. No worries in leaving your children there as they are very well supervised and you must sign in and sign out each time. Our daughter is 8 so she would only go to Kids Club for certain events such as Spanish Lesson or when they where preparing for the evenings stage event. Yes, your child gets to participate/perform nightly at the kids disco in the Theatre between 8:30 – 9:00 pm. Wednesday is always Birthday Party Day. They celebrate all the kids’ birthday and serve cake. The team at Kids Club do take the kids on mini excursions to the beach etc. etc.
Iberostar Daiquiri
Andre and Wendy Canada
January 2006
The kids club was a bit hit and miss. They advertise that they take kids from 4-10, but I certainly wouldn’t leave a 4 year old with them. We laughed one day because they had about 3 kids that were waiting for the kids entertainment to start and she told them to wait there while she went to find more kids, OK for the older kids, not so good for the young ones. The hardest part was for the kids to! try to plan their days, some days the siesta was from 1-3:30, you were just never sure when things would start. Worked fine for us because the 9 year old is very independent and knew where to find us, don’t know how wonderful it would be for a shy kid. When they did have things organized the kids had a great time, there was just lots of down time with nothing really going on.
Melia Cayo Santa Maria
Jeff & Deby Hamilton, Canada
February 2006
My kids just loved the staff at the mini-club. The first time they arrived they met Mila the mini-club staff person. She asked their names and remembered it for our entire stay. The kids just loved Mila and she treated them like her own brothers. The mini-club had its own small wading pool, outdoor climbing structures, foosball table, mini-basketball net, toys, puzzles and games. The kids could do crafts alone or with the staff’s help. There was also a TV with a Playstation 2 for the kids to use, which mine only used once since there was so much else to do. There was lots of shaded area as well so that the children could stay out of the sun. In the evening there was a mini-disco for the kids and it was always done whether there was 1 child or 20.

There was also baby-sitting, however we never used this service so I couldn’t give an opinion on it.

Oasis Playa Coco
Kids club was located in a convenient spot, just outside the buffer restaurant. If you sat outside the buffet in the patio seating area you could watch the kids play in the playground while you lingered over lunch after they were all done. Worked great with our older son, but the 2.5 year old was too young to be there unsupervised. Besides, she was usually napping by lunch time. This is the one fault with lunch being at 12:30. By that time our younger daughter was falling asleep, so she ate at the snack bar around 11:30 for lunch. Often our older son joined here and he would simply sit with us for a bit on the patio area and enjoy ice cream from the buffet and then run off to play while we finished lunch. The actual kids club was well supervised by a lovely lady named Alina. She took both kids in with no problems, although the official age is 3 to 12, our 2.5 year old is well adapted and independent, so she was fine to stay there for a couple of hours. There was not much in terms of organized activities for the kids, mostly because it was just the one lady so she just supervised the kids indoors while they played. There are no cribs in the kids club as some photos will show. Also the kids club is closed from 12 to 2, however, you can arrange Alina to take your kids to the buffet for lunch if they are older and you need the whole day away for some reason. There were toilets inside the kids club. Inside there was a ‘little tikes’ play house and play structure with slides and all. Quite safe for 3 and up (guideline, as our daughter who is 2.5, very tall and independent was fine on them, but some 2 year olds would have trouble. There was a TV there, but I didn’t see any of the kids watching it. I would say that the kids club was great from 3 to 8.

There was a kids show every evening at 8:30, and while our kids were too shy to participate, they really enjoyed watching. This was organized by the wonderful Alina.

NH Krystal
Kids’ club: My kids didn’t want to go, mostly because they go to daycare after school every day and it seemed like more of the same – crafts, games, Lego, drawing and painting, plus little excursions around the property, and swimming. The girls who ran it were nice, and seemed good with the kids. I feel for them though, having to entertain such a wide range of ages for long periods of time in a confined space, and with limited resources. I’d say from observing it briefly a few times that it’s probably best suited to 4-7 year-olds. The kids’ club has its own buildings, washrooms and shallow pool which is fun (kids can use it even if they’re not participating in the club, as long as a parent supervises). It’s in a little area at one side of the Laguna section, so it’s not super convenient if you want to drop in or check up on your kids often (on the other hand, if you really want uninterrupted time to yourself, it’s excellent, plus there’s little chance of a child wandering off and getting “lost in the crowd”).
Playa Pesquero
Laura Ottawa, Canada
March 2007
We are a family of four with two young children (ages 3 years and 21 months) from Ottawa, Canada. We traveled to Playa Pesquero from February 16-23, 2007 using Signature Vacations. I booked the trip about five weeks ahead using canadatravels.com. I checked lots of other websites but theirs was user-friendly and seemed to match or beat the other prices and I’ve used them before with equal success (the other website I particularly liked was itravel2000.com). They phoned me the following day to confirm my internet reservation and answer my questions, and they forwarded our requests to the resort – we got a room with one king bed on the second floor, quite close to the lobby (although in building 27, not one of the specific buildings I’d requested). If you’re booking for a family, note that different tour operators – and sometimes even the same tour operator – charge different amounts for the kids’ fares. Of course I started off looking at the cheapest adult fares, but soon found that if I plugged our ages in on all the different options (even with more expensive adult fares) we could end up with a lower total price. We ended up getting a superior room for less than the cost of a standard room (also with Signature Vacations!) by using this tactic. Also, prices seem to change every day or two – if you see a price you like book it right away! We chose this resort over any other because of the baby club. Most places only have a kids club for children aged 4 or 5 and older. Note also that the different tour operators may tell you different ages that the clubs are good for so you may need to do some separate research – the Signature Vacations brochure, available on their website, has a separate page at the back that lists resorts with a baby club. The club at Playa Pesquero is right by the main pool and is enclosed by a low fence. Inside are a little paddling pool, a couple of play houses, a couple of pedal cars, a shower in the shape of clown, a sand box, a decent sized climbing structure and two large roofed rooms with soft floors. The room for the older kids was closed for renovations when we were there but our two kids were in the baby room anyway, which had tables, chairs, a TV, a dark room for sleeping, a bathroom with child-sized toilet, bathtub and change table, a kitchenette, and various toys and activities. The little ones normally stay in the room most of the time because it has another fence to keep them out of harm’s way and of course it’s out of the sun. The group also left the club from time to time, especially to walk to the ice cream parlour which our kids loved! The caregivers were Yanet (who is pregnant!), Diana (has one daughter) and Reina (didn’t really get to know her at all). They were very friendly and patient, especially with our daughter who unfortunately was devastated to see us go and cried most of the time we were away (our son had a great time). That was very unfortunate because my husband and I ended up having much less “couple time” than we had hoped because we were too sad to leave our daughter at the baby club! We did however get out for a couple of a la carte dinners after the kids went to bed, while Yanet babysat for us. We didn’t take any tours and the only adult activities we did were an hour of rather mediocre snorkeling using our own equipment, a couple of hours of moped rental, ten minutes in the hot tubs inside the gym and the Cuban show one evening (which we thoroughly enjoyed). We went jogging around the resort a couple of times too – it’s large enough that it’s easy to cover 5K! During the day we mostly hung out by the pool, which had a shallow area (ranging from about 2 cm to about 40 cm, then a line of little underwater seats that served as a barrier from the deeper part of the pool) where our children loved running back and forth and pouring water out of watering cans. The white tiles are very slippery – if you’re going to be running both adults and children should wear water shoes! We always managed to find lounge chairs by the pool, and almost always in the shade. The shallow part of the pool is also right by the washrooms and some smaller plastic climbing structures, and only a few steps from the 24-hour trattoria. We were a little paranoid about sand fleas so only spent a couple of mornings at the beach but the children loved playing in the sand and none of us got any bites, nor from mosquitoes. In the evenings, my husband and I brought back a couple of drinks to the room and sat out on the balcony sipping pina coladas and reading our novels. Not very exciting but a nice break from a Canadian winter! We ate most of our meals at the buffet Latino. It was slightly further from our room than the buffet Criolo but had a better selection. We always found things that the children liked, and if we got a table right by the buffet we could leave them at the table while we went to get food. There are high chairs available. At breakfast we generally filled up two sippy cups with juice and picked up a couple of bananas, rolls or tubs of yogurt as snacks for the kids later in the day. My favourite meal was breakfast with chocolate croissants, made-to-order omelets, fresh orange juice and sometimes prosciutto (I must have eaten $30 of prosciutto in a week!). We had sparkling wine or beer with almost every lunch or dinner – we didn’t like the regular red and white wine at all. We all got a little bit of “traveller’s tummy” but I think it was just the change of food and nothing to do with hygiene. Our a la carte dinners at the Grill and Romantico were a nice change but small servings and nothing special. Our flights were great. We didn’t pre-book our seats but the airline staff and other passengers traded seats until we all managed to sit together both ways. Our room was also very clean, comfortable and well-equipped and, in my opinion, qualified as “superior”. We brought inflatable Ready-Beds for our children (we bought them a year ago at Toys R Us and they are truly fabulous, allowing children to sleep in their “own” beds wherever you go), the only disadvantage being that they creak a bit when the children roll over and so my and my husband’s sleep was interrupted.

I don’t have much to compare with, only having taken one sun holiday in the past (at Sol Club Rio de Luna, also in the Holguin area, in 2002). We didn’t like the location as much as last time (Rio de Luna is on Playa Esmeralda where the snorkeling was better and there was also ample opportunity for birdwatching at the mangroves between Rio de Luna and Paradisus Rio de Oro). Otherwise Playa Pesquero was fantastic and we plan to go back in two years when hopefully my daughter will be happier about being at the baby club.

Playa Pesquero
The kids club was very nice. It has a little pool, playground structure, sand, toys etc. Our kids would go play there in the mornings. We never went too far though. I liked to keep the club in view, as sometimes, the workers were helping with coloring activities in the building and not really watching the kids that were out around the pool. My kids left a few times, the workers did follow them out till they saw us, but I would not have been comfortable leaving my 2 year old there without me being able to see the club. One really great thing was they lend out strollers for you to use while you are there. We thought we could do it without one so left ours at home. This resort is huge, and alot of walking for little ones. The tires on the strollers do need air, but they worked just great to haul my 2 year old and all of our towels and gear around.
Sirenis Las Salina
We would return in a heartbeat except that the kids program was horrible. There wasn’t one. Travelling with 6 children ranging in age from infant to 10yrs, the kids club was to be an important part of our holiday. We wanted and the kids wanted to be able to have the option to go and have fun with other children. They did not have any daily activities planned and for the most part kept the kids inside the clubhouse. After last years vacation in Mexico where they had a fabulous program, we were very disappointed. My advise to parents if you are looking for a resort that offers these services do not book at Sirenis. As mentioned, we would return in a minute if it was not for that reason.
Sirenis Las Salina
Art & Jeanne 
February 2008
We phoned Selloff Vacations & Sunwing to check the hours of the kids club and were told it was 10 to 5. We also emailed the resort and were also told the hours were 10-5. When we got to the resort we were told they were from 10-12 and 2-6. We were very disappointed to not have the hours we were told available. We were told we could get the kids club from 12-2 but at the cost of $5 per child per hour. We would have had to spend another $20 a day to get what was supposed to be offered. Only after we talked to the Sunwing rep. did the hours change 11 days later.

When our kids did use the club they were usually the only ones over the age of 3. Sometimes there was only 1 lady to take care of them and the little ones that were there. Of course the lady had to take care of the babies so our sons were left to entertain themselves. There are 2 sides to the kids club; one has cribs and a little kid’s playroom which is very nice. The other side has older kid’s games. Unfortunately since there was only 1 caregiver they often had to stay on the baby side. Not to much fun for a 5 & 10 year old. They were usually the only ones there over 4. Other kids would check it out and see that they weren’t doing anything then would leave. They’ve been to 5 other resorts with kids club and said this was the worse one. They never had a schedule of activities and often they sat and watched tv. The club was fine for kids 3 & under. The activities around the pool & beach were also geared to get the adults involved and not the kids.

Sirenis Las Salina
Nicole & Oscar Edmonton Alberta
November 2007
This is a great resort for families, the kids pool has a huge water slide, kids club with park and baby pool, water volleyball and the animation team keeps things going all day at the pool. The adults can swim up to the pool bar which is inside a cave complete with waterfall at the entrance and there is a snack bar on site. Bring a stroller for the litte ones as there is a lot of walking at this resort.
Sol Cayo Guillermo
The Kids Club (4-12 years old, approx?) was *excellent* – better run and better facilities than Melia Caribe in the DR/PuntaCana we visited last year, and the MeliaCaribe makes a big deal about its kids club. They have a good space (nice clean space, good AC, lots of toys, dress-up stuff, a good size small private kiddie-pool, good supervision, and once our nearly-5-year-old-daughter started going it was hard to get her to spend time with us on the beach 🙂
Sol Pelicano
One of the main reasons I booked this resort was for the Kid’s club. Our 3 year old speaks only English but speaks very well. The girls that work with kids speak fluent Itallian and Spanish with only a little English. All of the other children were Itallian so the staff spoke almost exclusively Itallian. Our 3 year old was confused by this and didn’t enjoy the club very much. The toys were old, the crayons were stubs. We gave the staff a large bag full of crayons, markers, stickers etc. so that in the future I hope other kids can play.
Sol Sirenis Coral
BabyClub:
One of the reasons we chose this resort is that they had a babyclub (0-4) which was actually very good. It was in a large building and had a separate portion where kids could have their nap (other parents took advantage of this and dropped off their toddlers for a nap while they were at the pool/beach but it never worked with our son) and a playroom with toys. Most of the time there’s 2 older ladies watching / playing with 2 or 3 kids. Our son loved it and we left him there for a while (30 minutes to 2 hours) on most of the days.
Tryp Peninsula – Varadero
Robert  Alberta, Canada
December 2008
The kids area has a wading pool for toddlers in a small fenced area with sun chairs and palapas around it. Adjacent to it is a bit larger pool that goes up to about 3 feet deep, a whale shaped fountain in the middle, and more sun chairs and shade palapas around it. Between the 2 pools is a large Spanish style castle with a waterslide, it is a little short (15 feet long id say) and fast, but it is there and the kids enjoyed it. There is a building beside the pools which is the size of a 3 car garage, it contains the kids club, a washroom, little tables, play area, some games, and a little buffet of hamburgers and hot dogs. Outside the building there is a granita machine that they make slushie pina coladas in, and a table with a full bar service for the moms and dads. The service from the bartender here was excellent. The kids club offers babysitting service for little ones, activities and kids projects and events all day. It was phenomenal and our kids had a blast participating in the events that they did. The girls who run it really are great with the kids and seem to love it.
Tryp Peninsula – Varadero
Paul Montreal, Quebec
February 2008
BABY ROOM – we had mixed experiences. Some Staff (eg Enya) are clearly interested and capable in looking after your child whilst others are more mechanical. It’s worth mentioning that the toys are not as numerous as in the brochure photos and have seen better days! They do have the only baby-change facilities in the complex and a nice sleeping room with cots.

CHILDREN’S MINI CLUB – this is fine if your child is a primadona. Delia is keen on doing her evening shows but made no effort to engage with the kids otherwise, and rather spent ther time playing dice with adults. She was in no way accomodating of children slightly younger than the stipulated age despite the fact that the Baby Room is not suitable for those aged over 3. Julia from the Kids club made a good effort with the 3 year olds. The lady who runs the kids pool snack bar is lovely (Sonya) and if you read this and are going to the Tryp please take copies of positive commmets with you, the staff realy appreciate the feedback

MINI-DISCO – this is fantastic….if you can keep your kids awake until 8:30pm. Lots of fun for all ages!

Villa Cojimar – Cayo Guillermo
I must mention the kids club!! Janette is the girl who is in charge of the mini club and we loved her so much!! Our boys had a great time with her the two weeks we were there. She took them bowling ate dinner with them sometimes and they also went to a park off the resort and went swimming at the next resort over. The boys were even in a play and I was amazed how well they could act. She also did a mini disco with them everynight with all the other kids and that was always fun to watch. So if you bring your kids to this resort I promise you they will love janette and the kids club.
Bahia Principe – Punta Cana
The Sherry’s  Ontario Canada
October 2005
The kids club was good. If you have kids over 10, it may not be for them. Our girls are 5 & 7. They met some friends and had a good time. They had mini-disco every night. It is the same routine every night, but the kids loved it. Stephanie and Isobel were the supervisors. They did a good job. The club had movies, Nintendo,an outside play area and play area inside. They would go to the beach sometimes, or the pool or play games (tennis, board games). Kids club was open from 9am to 6pm. The good thing is that if the adults wanted to do a day trip, they could go and do that.
Bavaro Princess – Punta Cana
Tara (Saultgirl) Sault Ste Marie, Ontario
May 2007
This was our first time taking our 2 children. It was clear the Dominican people love children. They were acknowledged constantly. The staff would say “hola” or “high 5” just passing on the sidewalk, the tram driver mimicked birds and the kids would be looking around. The waitstaff would ask them if they wanted special things, like making hot chocolate at the table in the am, and when I went alone with them, they would tell me to go to buffet and hung out by table, keeping an eye on them. At dinner, my picky eaters often did not eat a la carte meals. No problem, they would get fries or pasta from the buffets ajoining without an issue. The suites accommodate 2 trundle beds no problem, but the sofa bed is a double and we used that.

The property:

It is huge, but try to take time to walk around, especially through the animal area and the mangrove. My children were fascinated to discover a peahen and her chicks walking beside us on the road, and the peacock showing his plumes at the buffet. You can take bread out of the buffet and hold it in the water in the lobby and the turtles and fish will eat from your hands. So will the ducks and flamingos. We had a visitor in our room – a baby gecko that kept the kids entertained for a couple days. Food: OK, my children are very picky eaters. They don’t like to try new foods at all. They lived on fries, pasta with butter, and waffles pretty much. The 7 yr old ate hot dogs & pizza, and the 6 yr old bacon. However, they never starved. They loved the ice cream—the pink is bubblegum, not strawberry. My 2 never had any stomach problems at all Little boxes of Cheerios and Lucky Charms were always available at breakfast and staff didn’t mind us taking them out, so I stockpiled for snacks and the plane.

Kids Club:

This ended up being my 7 yr old daughter’s favorite spot. The staff – Primotivo “Master Ping Pong”, Nathalie and Ana Theresa were terrific. It was a little confusing at first as there is no schedule to speak of, so I didn’t know where the kids would be and that freaked me out a bit, but after checking regularly, I got to know the routine. A printed schedule would be very helpful as an improvement. The culture is a lot less rigid than we are used to with our day cares, but generally it went like this: Opened at about 9. Kids stayed in club area and did whatever they wanted —nintendo, games, crafts, soccer, etc and then at about 11 there might be a structured activity, depending on number of kids ( a couple days, my daughter was the only one there as my son wanted to stay with me, on those days, she literally called the shots….pool, beach, walk, etc) There was archery, dressing up as pirates, ping pong, . At about 11:30 the kids went to the pool for an hour. After that they picked up food at the grill and went to club to eat. They stayed in club area until about 3 pm when they went to pool again. At pool kids would be rounded up for a game, little show, or other activity. At 5 you pick them up. We gave my daughter a radio to call us, but she just used it to play with. At 8 pm they go around the lobby buffet collecting kids and take them on the stage for ½ hr-45 min. They have games, a fashion show, etc. You can pick them up at stage at end. On Fridays they do The Lion King. They pick kids up from pool area about 3-3:30 for practice. You take them at 8 for makeup (they will get you about 9 to take pics). At 10 they are on stage and then sit to far right of stage to watch show and are on at end again.

Suggestions for taking kids here:

You don’t need much for clothing: a few evening outfits (kids can wear shorts & sandals), and bathing suits & coverups. Laundry service is very inexpensive (most items about $2 for kids). So is a Tide to go pen. Get a long sleeve 50 spf boarding shirt for each kid. My daughter wore hers almost the entire time. My son just in the pool. The problem with sunscreen is that when it is re-applied, you have to wait for it to absorb and the kids don’t wait so it washed off.

Catalonia Bavaro – Punta Cana
The kid pool was where we spent most of our time. The kids LOVED the pool and it was not too deep. They would hang out there all day and play with the other kids. We brought water toys and beach toys that they all shared and had fun.

The resort has a kids club which was for 4 year olds and up. I was not expecting much and was slighlty impressed with the club. Are 2 year old also played and did crafts there. They had a decent swing set and some toys to play with. They had a room where you could do crafts, watch some TV or play some games. There was always a friendly staff there with the kids. The club was gated but most kids could come and go as they pleased. The staff was not really watching this so we did not leave the kids unattended. There was a small eating area across from the kids club where us parents could sit eat and drink if we wanted to. The kids enjoyed the club frequently. My only negative comment was when the staff was allowing my 2 year old to throw real darts at a dart board.

Club Med – Punta Cana
Walden & Michelle Texas
June 2004
We have a 2-year-old and placed her in the petite club for four days. The Petit Club is closed on Saturdays, as that is the major check-in and check-out date for Club Med. The GO’s were wonderful with the kids and watched them closely. Every morning, they had arts & crafts, went to the baby pool, went to the beach, played under a covered awning on little cars, went to lunch around 12:00 at one of the restaurants and then went down for their nap from 1-3. Around 3:30, the GO’s herded the kids to one of the restaurants for a snack and then either let them play in the play room or had entertainment down at the beach where the parents picked up the kids. Overall, money well spent. We were able to relax or do water sports and we felt confident the children were being well watched.
Dreams Punta Cana
Nancy  Toronto
December 2008
The Explorers Club for kids is also fabulous, my 7 and 4 year olds wanted to stay there for the entire duration of the trip. This is the first resort that I ever brought them to that I felt confident leaving the kids at the Kids Club. They assign you a cell phone when you check the kids in and contact you if your kids need you, or in my case if they just wanted to call you and see if they could do lunch with the Club Kids instead of having me pick them up.
Fiesta Bavaro – Punta Cana
Kids Club: Our two younger kids (4 & 6) stayed there for a part of most days. The older 2 girls (9 & 11) preferred to stay with us at the beach. The kids club looks like a western fort’s stockade, with climbing areas, sand to dig in, craft room, Nintendo, ping pong, bathrooms with showers, small kitchen, and little soccer field. The staff are friendly and speak some English. Our kids really enjoyed making foreign friends! The staff has all sorts of planned activities, and most of the time sticks to a schedule posted at the gate. They took the kids on a Hobie cat one afternoon. They go mini-golfing, do archery (older kids), go to the pools and beach. They also take them to the lunch buffet at the beach restaurant, Arricefe. On most days, there were about 6 kids at the Mini Club at a time. You can leave your kids off at any time between 9am and 5pm. One of our kids started with the stomach probelm while ther, and the staff was very caring until we returned. They had a place for her to lay down, and made her an Alka Seltzer drink. When we got there, a staff member was reading a story to her. When we were saying our goodbyes on the last day, the director gave us a CD of the Dominican kids music to take home. Our kids loved that bouncy misuc, and still enjoy listening to that CD. She also gave us her email address, so the kids have enjoyed exchanging emails.
Fiesta Palace – Punta Cana
One area I found little about in your reviews, was Fort Fiesta, the camp for kids. My sons and nephews went every day for at least a few hours. It was a great respite for us. The counselors were warm and fun for the kids, and had lots of activities, including a pizza party , and an ice cream party. This was all included in our package. I found the hotel was great with kids.
Fiesta Palace – Punta Cana
Sarah Ontario, Canada
July 2002
Hello my name is Sarah. Im 15 years old and this is my first trip to a tropical place. My family and I went to Fiesta Palace, Punta Cana. I was Amazed with this resort.

When we finally arrived at the airport in the Dominican Republic the were to girls in traditional outfits waiting at the entrance and then you get a picture with them. (Which you can pick up when you are leaving for 5 dollars) But sometimes they don’t turn out so they are not there which happened to us. We went and went through secruity. Next we were going to get or luggage which we found took a while. I think we were one of the last people who actually got our luggage. When we got or bags we went and found the represenative for our hotel. They showed us where our bus was. We decided to sit near the front as we would get to the resort around 5 pm. We were the second ones to check in. When we were waiting a waiter came and served us drinks. I think it was a fruit punch but not quite sure. After we checked in the bell boy showed us to our rooms. Once we got to our rooms we were not satisfied with them as they were on the 1st floor and had a smell to it, and we were looking more for the second floor with a beach view but not necessary as all the view is gorgeous. We went back to the front next and asked if it was possible to get a room on the second floor. The lady was very nice and helpful and gave us a couple of keys to go check out the room and told us to tell her what room we decided on and to return the keys. We were in the 19 something i think can’t remember as it was 2 months ago. It was on the second floor and was close to the beach pool and the main lobby. My sister and i got the better room as it was our first trip to a place like this. We had abit of an ocean view but not much which was ok because we had other very nice view and your not in the rooms alot anyways. The only time we were in the rooms was for showers before dinner and bed we found. I found the room very nice and the beds were comfortable as you have to remember they are not a wealthy as we are. In the washroom we had some ants which didn’t really bug us because thats the only place we ever saw them. My sister and I each had our own bed which was a double. Tip: don’t drink the tap water as you will get sick. When taking a shower keep your mouth close and brushing your teeth use bottle water they supply enough that you will never run out and there will be no need to use the tap water. When my parents did some research on the internet knowing that this was their first time going to this resort and some people complained that there were not enough towels. That was wrong when we went there was always plenty of towels (beach and shower). They were always clean. The rooms were always clean and if you leave your pjs on your bed which i forgot to take off one morning (oops). They maids will do them up all fancy looking. It was really cute. The food at the resort was not bad considering i am a extremly picky eater. You can always find something for anyone. For the a la cartes they say you can only have one for the week, which is not true. We tried almost every restuarant as possible. We really enjoyed the tex mex as we really enjoy mexican food. But friends of ours didn’t care for it as they are not big on mexican food. I didn’t like the sea food place because i don’t like sea food but my parents and my sister really enjoyed it. For breakfast we always ate at the buffet which was right across the lobby over the bridge. We always ate there because it was easy, variety, and staff was very friendly. For lunch we ate at the restaurant by the pool. They would bbq fish, chicken, pork, beef, hotdogs, hamburgers, ect. I really enjoyed the chicken nuggets and french fries there. But also enjoyed other dishes. There is so much food you will never be dissatisfied. I found all the staff was very friendly as we became really close to alot of staff there. The beach was gorgeous and was always keep nice. The seawweed and other floating stuff that lands on shore was always raked up in the morning to be keep neat and tidy. The water was a blueish green. The sand was unbeleivable. It was white and powdery. There were always enough recliner chairs for every one so that you don’t have to go and reserve them before. Just as we wanted. there were shacks about 5- 10 mins down the beach where you can get you hair braided and buy things. Tip: Bargin them down even if you feel really bad for them like me because they make there prices higher then normal because they know that people bargin them down. Try to get them to go atleast 50% as i was told from a worker at the resort. The pool was also very nice which we did not spend alot of time at because we have a pool at home and its not everyday that you can go to the beach. The pool had a swim up bar, kiddie pool and a jacuzzie. The only thing we found by the pool was that there were lots of chairs but all the ones under a umbrella were saved by the time we went for breakfast about 8. So if you want to spend the dasy by the pool and want shade be prepared to get up early and put your towel there to save your spot. There is alot of entertainment there and you will never get bored. Actually the first night we where there we were in the lobby listening to the live band and having a drink and the people who work there called the fiesta fun organizers came up to me and my sister and asked us to dance, they don’t take no as an answer. We weren’t really in the mood to as it was a long trip and we just got settled and we were tired but they didn’t know that. I am glad they didn’t take no as an answer because i really enjoyed the dancing, though i was embarrassed. But hey your not likely to see the people that are watching you ever again. TRY IT! You will have a blast. The evening shows were different some where good and some we didn’t care for. Different taste for different people. We never did go to any of the discos at the other resorts but we did go and check them out and walked around with friends we met up there. The resort is always nicely kept and the paths were always washed and swept. The staff is very friendly, helpful, and organized. As for tipping we tipped every other day instead of leaving it to the last day. We left money (pesos) on our pillows for the maid and waiters ect. For money they will take Canadian, American or Pesos. They will not take coins though as it is no good for them. So you don’t have to get your Canadian money switched to American like we did. Overall My family and I really enjoyed our trip and the resort for sure. We hope to go back next year to the same resort.

Grand Paradise Bavaro
A great find for us this year as we didnt’ take kids before was the Kids Club. They take kids from ages 4-12. You could drop them off at 9:30 and pick up at 12 for lunch. Then they opened again from 3 pm til 5:30. Also had nightime activites at 8:30 like bonfires and "mini fashion show". It was great for a little break from the 5 year old and gave her time to play with other kids. They did activites like face painting, sand castles on the beach, coloring, games and swimming. Ours seemed to have a great time. The staff spoke faily little English but didn’t cause any problems. They seemed to really enjoy the kids and we were very impressed. The couple travelling with us arranged for a babysitter in their room for their 10 month old one night for 15/hour US and had a great experience as well.
Gran Ventana
Rick, Caren and girls  Ontario
April 2005
Room location – We were first given a third floor room over looking the main pool in the Saona building. This is an awful location if you have kids. Due to the compact layout of this resort all of the entertainment (daily and nightly) can be heard loud and clear from these rooms. If you or your kids need an afternoon siesta or want to turn in earlier than 1 am in the morning do not stay in a room over looking the pool. We requested a move and they were very accommodating. We were moved to the Catalina building facing away from the pool (request 2nd or third floor) and it was much quieter.

Food – There was always something at the buffet for the girls to eat. They have good pizza’s and pasta everyday. I also saw hamburgers and hot dogs. The food was very good – roast turkey, beef, pork. For breakfast there was omelette and waffle stations and just plain cereal everyday. We tried the Italian restaurant and didn’t love our selection (lasagana) – we heard after that the chicken stuffed with parmesan and risotto is really good.

Pool/Resort layout – if you are pool dwellers like us, then this one is great for the kids. It has a gradual slope for the little ones and is quite large with the pool bar in the middle. The resort is compact, so you can always see where your kids are if they want a little freedom to roam around the pool area. Get out early to save a lounge chair – everyone does it.

Kids Club/Entertainment – The staff in the kids club is great – the kids can wander in and out as they please so if they just want to get out of the heat for an hour and then come out for a swim that’s ok. They can do crafts, play games, clay, video games, draw etc. I don’t think that it would appeal to children over 8 years old. For the older kids, there is a large room above the main lobby with ping pong and pool tables – I think the boys aged 10 – 14 hung out there. Every night they had a mini kids disco on stage at 8:30 (before adults show at 9:45) – my girls and all of the other kids loved it. On Wednesday they had a party in the kids club at 3pm in the afternoon and then they rehearsed for a fashion show that night on stage. Again, my girls loved it.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this resort with kids. We went March 24 – 31st, 2005 and there were lots of kids from the UK (their spring break is apparently around Easter every year). My kids met some good friends and had a great time. P.S. My girls got their hair braided on the beach for $25 US each and it takes along time, but was so convenient to just wash and go. If your daughter wants it done, you might want to consider just getting the front done for the sake of time.

Holiday Village Golden Beach
Rooms: We had two family rooms 13-2 & 13-3, great location, across from the water slides/wave pool and right beside the kid’s park. We could not have asked for a better location. (I did email the hotel and ask that our rooms be close together) Each room had a king size bed, TV, ceiling fan, air conditioning and a separate room with a set of bunk beds and a TV. Rooms were clean and very comfortable. Mini fridge was stocked everyday with 2 Pepsi’s, 2 7ups, 2 beers and 2 large bottles of water. Our maid kept our room spotless everyday.

Pools: This resort had a few pools, the wave pool with pirate ship. The water slide pool and the main pool. They also had a small pool at the kids club. The wave pool is where we spent most of our time. The waves came on every hour on the 15 minutes and lasted 20 to 30 minutes. The kids big and small enjoyed this pool and they would all run in when they heard the warning siren signaling the waves were about to start. My grandchildren spent a lot of time in this pool. The pool was built in the shape of an upside down capital T, one end of the T contained a large pirate ship which had water slides on it, this is where a lot of the smaller children played as the water was very shallow. The other end of the T was a little duck slide for the real little ones. The other pool in this area was the water slide pool which had two slides the “blue” one was at least 3 stories high straight down and the other “green” was a winding one which my grand kids loved. The adults had a great time on the large one.

Restaurants: (they enforced the dress code at all restaurant) We did the 3 a la cartes, Asian, Italian and Mexican, all have a children’s only menu also. We did not enjoy the Asian at all. The Italian was our favourite. Mexican was also good.

Buffet was good and had a good selection of foods most meals were geared towards the British and I found there were a lot of deep fried foods which we tried to avoid. They had a Pasta station every night. The kids had there own little buffet section with pizza, chicken nuggets, fries and ice cream that was built to their height so it was easy for them to help themselves. Breakfast they made Micky Mouse pancakes which all the kids were crazy for. Overall the food was good, you could always find something you liked. The snack bar at the wave pool served, hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken wings, chicken nuggets, salad bowl or fruit bowl. They had nachos and cheese on the bar which you could help yourself too.( a little to high for the kids to reach, they need to put this somewhere else) The Mexican a la carte was the Pizza place for lunch, they had a salad bar which you got yourself, pizza was good not great but good.

Holiday Village Golden Beach
The kids club was the absolute best. Trevor is amazing with the kids and they always keep them busy with fun stuff to do. Our kids did the high ropes and absolutely loved it. Well worth the extra charge.
Holiday Village Golden Beach
The Kids’ Club is AMAZING. The staff is just awesome with the kids and their "play and learn" sessions were really great. Our son loved going there. The pools were very well-tended to, as were the grounds. The wave pool was very nice, but hard to get a lounger as it is a very popular spot. Our kids loved the water slides and pirate ship. Our son took Swim Kids lessons with Lisa and she was fantastic.
Holiday Village Golden Beach
Well what can I say my kids loved the clubs they used wavelength and tried lots of new things .There are 3 or 4 sessions a day including one that runs from 8.30 – 10.30pm.

The in2action team work tirelessly andy and chris my kids are missing you .There is always something different happening 3 times a week that twilight session charges a fee but this is always for sweets and treats for your child at a price of 5 dollars, if you go in the shop and see the price of sweets you will soon see this is a bargain although we still heard many people moaning about it. In addition there is a cinema on site that shows 2 films daily one is always a children’s film.

Holiday Village Golden Beach
David & Mary   Toronto, Canada
January 2007
Over all, it is a great resort for guests with young children. If you have children between ages 4 – 12, it is a great resort as there are dedicated “In2Action” coordinators that will keep them busy. Teens will find it boring with little to do.
Holiday Village Golden Beach
 Ottawa, Canada
January 2007
For activities for the kids you can’t beat it! It was fabulous, they were occupied for the week! They had a blast at the waterslides, wave pool and kids’ clubs, even the adults! With regards to the event schedules including the movie schedule, there is a complete list on a wall near the bar that is next to the main pool. Just ask an activity staff member, they can direct you. Kid’s club activities are posted on their respective activity buildings.

Family Room – The family room accommodation was great! The kids loved the bunk beds. No problem with our room 27-2, A/C worked, it was clean, no bugs, no leaks, no problem with hot water or electricity, a little dark but we were only there in the evenings to go to bed so it wasn’t really an issue for us. Our room was cleaned everyday but didn’t need to be, empty water bottles were replaced (we left $2-3 US on the bed each day, maybe that helped). Yes, it was close to the wave pool machines which could be loud but it only ran during the day and we were rarely in our room then.

Holiday Village Golden Beach
Amber Canada
January 2007
The resort was totally family orientated, and a huge amount of fun for kids!!! The water park had a fantastic pirate ship, a large wave pool and water slides. Bring water shoes for the little one’s, it can be pretty slippery. The kid’s club was a wild and creative experience for my son. He loved going, it was always a cool adventure. They played dress up, put on shows for the resort, went on treasure hunts, did a load of arts and crafts. They were always busy with something. My daughter enjoyed the nursery. The staff are amazing, most come from England and are highly trained. They play with the babies and do everything they can to make them comfortable. If you want babysitting in the evening, bring extra money. It costs about $46 US for 3hrs in the evening. It is worth it though, my husband and I enjoyed the time stress free. In the evenings the children get up on stage and dance to some of the funniest music I have ever heard. We bought the CD for our son, it is hilarious. We put our son in private swim lessons, worth the money. He is now a really good swimmer at the age of 4, no more water wings!!

They also offer soccer instruction, saw loads of kids having fun with that.

Holiday Village Golden Beach
Hendem Canada
January 2007
Kids programs – up to age 15. Kids enjoyed the soccer program. Swimming lessons are available. Daily activies are available for the kids in the morning, afternoon and nightly activies to keep them busy. Our kids were very happy.
Iberostar Costa Dorada – Puerto Plata
Lesley and Sam  Whitby, Ontario
January 2006
The Kids Club was terrific. Our daughter (age 4) loved the Kids Club, she could not wait for it to open every morning. Our son (age 6) loved the kids competitions at the Kids Club – they could win medals, t-shirts. hats, etc. The club is open from 10am to 12:30pm then again from 3pm to 4:30pm. Best of all, Jessie and ‘Mama Maria’ take all the children at 7pm every night for dinner and then to the stage for the mini-disco at 8pm. My husband and I were truly appreciative of the time to have a quiet dinner by ourselves and the kids loved to eat with all the other kids! There seemed to be a wide range of ages of children in the kids club and the staff kept them all very busy and entertained.
Iberostar Costa Dorada – Puerto Plata
The kids club was pretty good. They have two care providers, Mama Maria and Jessie. They had activities for them (basketball, soccer/football, mini-put, bowling. They got to watch television. A few nights, they even took the children to dinner, so the parents could enjoy a nice dinner without the children. A pretty cool thing that they did with the kids and adults was for all the organized activities, the winner got a nice Iberostar medal, a T-Shirt or hat. Our kids really liked getting the medals.
Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus Bayahibe
The kids club was excellent … nice building, great play structure, nice staff, and a very small pool area to cool off in. Our kids wanted to hang out with us most of the time so spent very little time at the kids club, in total I think they probably spent 14-16 hours there over 2 weeks.
Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus – Bayahibe
Jason and Beverley England
December 2007
There is an excellent kids club at the hotel located adjacent to the Palapa grill restaurant. It has its own club house, adventure playground and also small splash pool, all enclosed by a perimeter hedgerow. The club operates between 10am and 5pm and has the following groups. Lucy’s mini club 5 – 7 year olds Lucy’s maxi club 8 – 12 year olds

Lucy’s teeny club 13 – 16 year olds ( this club runs between 1st July and 15th September)

Iberostar Punta Cana
The workers at the MiniClub are fantastic (Lalli, Belkis, Rosa, and Bel) and this is the first resort where we truly felt comfortable leaving our child at the Mini Club. My 5 year old has a great time (scheduled activities during the day, kids mini disco at night, and special shows that the kids participate in (mini Grease, mini fashion show, etc). She literally talks about her vacation all year long.
Iberostar Punta Cana
John & Ann USA
April 2004
Just returned from a week at the Iberostar Punta Cana with my husband and 5 year old son. We have taken our son to the Mayan Riviera twice. This was our first trip to the Dominican Republic. Let me start by saying that the Dominican Republic is a great place for kids. The Dominican people really love kids and they treat them wonderfully. We stayed in a Junior suite at the Iberostar Punta Cana. This room had 2 double beds and a seperate room with a King sized bed. This is perfect for families. The television has several English speaking channels as well as Cartoon network and Disney channel. We didn’t use the Kids Club that much. We like to spend time with our son while we are on vacation. The kids club opens at 10 and closes at 5pm. The mini club is actually located on the Dominicana side of the resort, find the casino and go straight. This is different than what is printed on the map. If you wanted to, you could drop them off in the morning and pick them up at 5pm. They also eat with the kids at 7pm at the Punta Cana buffet. There is a table by the kids buffet right by the Snow White picture where they meet. The kids have a "mini-disco" at 8pm in the theater. This consists of the kids dancing to some tunes and playing a game. Afterwards they met and played bingo or another game, complete with prizes for the winners. My son won a round of bingo and got a medal that he is very proud of. He wore it around the resort and the staff were calling him "el-champion". The ladies that run the kids club are Rosa and Lollie. They were very energetic and I felt safe leaving my son in their care. They also speak several languages. The Iberostar is very kid friendly in the way of food also. They had pizza and french fries available every day for lunch and supper. Chicken nuggets were served every 3 days on the buffet. They had hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken breasts and popcorn available down by the pool. Be sure and try the ice cream bar. They have all kinds of flavors and make great milk shakes also. Cold cereal and fresh milk are available for breakfast-my son’s favorite. I am happy to report that none of us got sick. We avoided the tap water. We drank only bottled water and brushed our teeth with it as well. Be very very careful of the sun. It is extremely strong in Punta Cana. Take more sunscreen than you think you will need and apply it frequently. We have a "solar suit" for our sun. It is a pair of swim shorts, shirt and hat made of UV protected fabric. It works like a charm, we have avoided sunburns in Mexico and the DR now. I highly recommend it. After a couple of days we let him take the shirt off and we apply sunscreen to his other exposed parts. Spray sunscreen works wonderfully for the beach. I took a bag of snacks to have in the room (fruit roll-ups, fruit snacks, cheese and crackers, etc.). This worked out great, I wish I had brought more! I ended up buying a 5.00 can of pringles in the hotel gift shop after my son plowed through the snacks from home! Any kind of snack is extremely expensive in the gift shop. Save some room in your luggage for some from home. Works great to tide little bellies over until dinner or to munch on after a day in the sun.

We took the Outback Jungle Safari tour-it was great! My son laughed so hard at our guide. It was a very enlightening experience for a spoiled little American boy to see where other kids live and go to school. Two little boys came running up rolling an old tire with sticks when we stopped at the Dominican home. He didn’t know what to say when we explained that "yes, this is what they play with-they don’t have what you have". We have already talked about sending clothes and toys to the kids for Christmas. I am very glad we did this tour. Do not hesitate.

The airport has a neat little playground to use while waiting for youre departing flight. It is between gates 2 and 3. What a great way to burn off some energy before a long flight home.

All in all, I think the DR is a great place to take your kids. We will definitely go back. Please e mail me if you have any specific questions. Hope this helps. johnandannb@aol.com.

Melia Caribe Tropical
We did not use the kids club but went in to check it out. A couple of the ladies were very nice and as the week went by I would have felt comfortable leaving my children with a few of them. We’re just paranoid parents and don’t feel comfortable at this point leaving them and enjoyed spending our week together as a family. One couple in RS seemed to have a private nanny provided which was a nice alternative if you have the $s. The resort has done a nice job with the Flinstones theme. This is definitely more of a family resort and for the most part all kids were well mannered and having a great time.
Melia Caribe
Sarah Toronto
September 2007
We used this for one hour one day. They allow infants, which was a nice surprise. It was our first time using a kids club and so we were quite nervous. We stayed at the pool directly in front of the kids club in case there was a problem. Our daughter had a blast there, and the girls who work there were great. Every day they came up to her in the buffet to say hello. The kids club has a Flintstones theme and one night we caught a big Fred Flintstone walking around the resort.
Melia Caribe
Regarding children, the KidsClub for toddlers is TERRIBLE. The staff seem disinterested and poorly trained, security is non-existent (gates left open with no supervision, no kid/parent tagging on check-in or out!). Activities include crayons, paints and inappropriate television shows. The junglegym play area is not for kids under 5 unless parent supervised, which given the level of staff supervision is probably a good thing. They take the kids for walks off the daycare site, if your comfortable with that. Needless to say, if your planning to use this service in order to get some R&R away from your child, it would be hard to relax knowing where you’re leaving them! We couldn’t do it.
Ocean Blue/Sand – Punta Cana
My one daughter absolutely loved the kids club. The two women, Bela & Nersy were absolutely fantastic! The kids loved dancing every night at the mini disco.
Riu Bachata – Puerto Plata
E & A  Canada
January 2005
Jan 2005 with our 16 month old son. Firstly apologies to anyone on our Skyservice flight Jan 1st to Puerto Plata. There were many hung-over people on our plane that were not happy to hear our son crying for two hours. Note to self: do not fly on an early morning flight where you have to wake up at one year old at 3am next time… We picked the Riu because it was family friendly and were not disappointed. We packed all our sons food and snacks along with a Sunbeam “Hotshot” water dispenser for heating food and bottles. If you take any appliances you will need an additional adaptor available in the gift shops as the Riu outlets are recessed. We also packed antiseptic dish washing liquid and a large Tupperware container with a lid for me to wash all his bottles and bowls with bottled water. This worked out very well. Dominican people love babies! We were told they view babies as “angels” and our son was continually being picked up and hugged!! Do not be afraid if this happens as is just their way! Our son actually enjoyed the attention and seemed fascinated by the Spanish language! We requested a crib in advance and it was there on our arrival. It was a sturdy wooden crib with clean sheets. You might want to bring your own crib sheet if your baby is very small as they use a large sheet folded in two. The restaurant has many high chairs. It is easy to use the hot water there for bottles and dried baby food. They have cheerios and raisins along with the breakfast cereal in the mornings which proved invaluable! We looked at the Kids Club for future reference. It takes children from 4 years plus. The ladies seemed very nice but only one spoke English. I actually preferred the look of the Kids Club at the Riu Merengue as it was enclosed with a fence.

To sum up we had a great time but your expectations of travel with a small child have to be realistic. You are not going to have the relaxing vacation you may be dreaming of! I would recommend the Riu Complex to families but would probably wait until our son is a few years older before we return.

Riu Bachata – Puerto Plata
Thomas Family  London, England
August 2003
Our 6 year old son was very worried that he wasn’t going to meet other children to play with (not the case) so we made sure that there was going to be a kids club in all three Riu hotels, he had made so many friends. I had read reviews before I left about the kids club not being that good for the kids. We had a lovely children’s rep name Sara who had the kids from 10-12 and 3-5 and also at 8 for the mini disco, even in between these set times she was always there with the kids playing and doing activities with them, she was fantastic. She was always smiling and encouraging my son (who was being very shy) to join in the activities. In the evening she would get all the children up on the stage, teach them songs, dancing and do games with them. There could be 20-30 children on the stage and she had no help, but she was excellent and kept the children amazed for an hour.
Riu Mambo – Puerto Plata
Melissa and Craig Canada
December 2002
I have to mention the Kids Club as I have heard mixed reviews about it. Some have said it is not as advertised in the brochure (RIU LOVES KIDS etc…) but I have to say, it was better than I imagined. The young woman, Jahira, who looked after the Kids Club was amazing. As soon as they opened the door into the kids club, our children would jump out of the pool and run over to join the rest of the children. She took them to play ping pong, and had horseshoe tourney’s and soccer games on the beach etc… They did crafts and just enjoyed meeting so many other children. Every night at 8 they would have a mini disco on the stage where they play about 5 songs and the children learn dance steps to them. SO by the end of the week our children could do almost the entire routine. Also, on the Saturday night they had a Caribbean street party, in Caribbean street. They had bands at both ends of the street and people were dancing and carrying on, it was great!!! Felt like we were in New Orleans during Mardi Gras or something. The children performed for everyone there, and then got all decked out in costumes and did a conga line through the street to music. It was amazing and the children just loved being on stage, and in front of an audience. We tipped Jahira $10 USD at the end of the week, and felt like total cheapskates. Even though the Kids Club is included, we felt we had to give something. We would have given much more if we could have. I don’t know if many people tip them, but they look after the kids from 10-12 and then from 3-5 every day, not to mention the mini disco in the evening. Next year I plan on taking more money for tips. We got our 6 year old’s hair braided for $20 USD which is cheap, cheap, cheap. If you’ve ever traveled to Barbados, St Lucia etc… you know it is much more expensive there. I paid $70 USD in Barbados years ago, so I can just imagine what it costs now. The lady was very nice who does the hair braiding and she does it right in front of the kids club on the walkway to the beach. She was very busy and had people all the time. I would recommend talking to her a day or two before you plan on having it done to discuss pricing etc… I would also suggest going to the bar and getting a drink for her when you are done, or if it’s around lunch time, maybe getting her a plate of food. She seemed very thankful to anyone who did that.

If you have children who have outgrown any summer clothes, please take an extra bag of clothing down with you. There are so many people you will meet that you can give them too. The lady who did the braids asked me if I had any clothes that I could leave for her granddaughters. I left two bathing suits and a pair of sandals my daughter wore while we were there. I wish I had more, as I have a ton of stuff at home.

Riu Merengue – Puerto Plata
Toni  Mississauga, Ontario
February 2002
Our only disappointment:
The lack of programs for children. The advertisement in the Alba Brochure states a Riu Mini Club, well let me tell you now, nothing like that exists. Sometimes there was someone at the Kids Club building , but she didn’t do things with the kids, she just sat there and watched them. (not supervising them, just observing them) And you couldn’t trust her to make sure they didn’t get into any trouble, she couldn’t speak a word of English. This was my one and only disappointment.
Riu Merengue – Puerto Plata
We are family with 2 children (8 and 6) and live in Vermont but generally travel out of Montreal

Children’s Program Not as advertised. The kids club was only for babies and toddlers and didn’t seem to have set hours The children’ activities were terrible. They had one member of the staff come around the pool and beach each morning at 10.30 and each afternoon at 3 to collect the kids for an activity. Some days there were 10 kids and someday there were 20 –but still one staff member. The played bocci ball, beach ball, miniature golf–but had one putter and one ball for 15 kids. Needless to say the activities were totally boring for the kids and they never joined after the first day or two.

Again, we could not leave the kids–even for the hour they were in the activities. Each evening before the adult show (at about 8) they had dancing on stage for the kids–but with the identical tmusic tape every night for a week and a few nights a game after the dancing.

We were able to get a night babysitter for a few hours each evening–US$5 hour

Riu Taino – Punta Cana
Michelle  Ontario, Canada
March 2004
KidsClub: For kids age 4-12. This is the one area we were disappointed in. The “brochure” states kids club is 2hrs in the morning and 2hrs in the aft. During our week, we were lucky if she had the kids for 45 min per session. The lady was always very friendly and pleasant with the kids. But kidsclub was only one of her jobs at the resort. They’d gather around 10:15 or 10:30 by the pool hut as there is no designated kidsclub area. They would make a craft or do an activity. Then our kids would be wandering back to us. Activities included: play ping-pong, build a sandcastle, decorate a crown with glitter and paint face, practice for a fashion show, color, paint a large white sheet, make a picture gluing pasta onto paper, swim with water balloons in the pool shallow end, tried beach volleyball. The kids were not always excited to go to kidsclub. There appeared to be little responsibility for the kids: for example we were told we could pick our kids up at 11:30 (dropped off at 10:15), so some parents went to the beach. I stayed by the pool. After a brief activity she put the kids in the shallow end of the pool with some water balloons, and then poof she was gone well before it was time to pick up the kids. Yes it is the shallow end and the kids were fine but the kids would be wandering around if the parents weren’t there. We were lucky to have met 3 other families and got to know them, we helped watch out for each others kids. Also, tipping didn’t seem to help with kidsclub. There were some 10 yo boys at the resort and they were not at all interested in kidsclub. We walked by the Bambu kidsclub where they actually have a fenced area for the young ones, a kiddy pool larger than ours, a small basketball and volley ball court just for kids, some playground equipment. It looked nice. It was a ways from the Bambu pool though.

In the evening is the minidisco at 730pm. The same kidsclub lady ran this and the kids loved it. It is a 20 minute tape of music they dance to on the stage, such as the hokey pokey, etc. Then she took the kids to the back of the room and brought out some toys like hula hoops, etc, and the kids could run around back there.

SuperClubs Breezes Puerto Plata
I just wanted to write a little something about Breezes Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. We travelled there in January 2005 and it was a great resort. The children never said they were bored once our entire stay. We have a girl 8 and a boy 6 and they said it was awesome. The pool area is set up really well so the kids could swim in the pool right in the centre. There were two slides and they spent the majority of our stay on them. They also were in and out of the hot tubs(which weren’t hot) all day. There were plenty of kids games by the pool and a basketball net in the water. If you have small children there was a baby pool right close. The kids thought the swim up bar was fantastic as the juice was not stop whenever they were thirsty. We only spent one afternoon at the ocean as the kids enjoyed the pool so much. They had a rock climbing wall that seemed to be pretty busy but our kids didn’t try it. They did however go on the trampoline and watch the trapeze in action. They had a good time playing pool in the lobby by the bar and thoroughly enjoyed the kids programs at night. This resort did a good job of keepig the children busy while they were in the same area of us as we had a bit of time to relax while still enjoying the company of our kids. I would have definately taken the kids to the kids club as it seemed well cared for and continually busy execpt for the fact that we were so busy ourselves we didn’t get a chance to take them. The kids always found something to eat on the buffets and at night they had their own childrens buffet to choose from off to the side of the main buffet. Their favorite part of the meal was being able to make their own ice cream after their meal at the sundae station with soft serve ice cream. I rate this a 4.5 our of 5 for kids as we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and the kids had a good time too. I hope this review was helpful and surely you won’t be dissapointed with your stay their. Good Luck!
SuperClubs Breezes Puerto Plata
  Montreal, Canada
January 2004
When searching for a resort we looked for one with a mini-club for the kids. We thought we might be able to convince the kids to go once or twice for a couple of hours. Boy were we wrong … The kids loved it and asked us as soon as we got up to go the mini-club. We couldn’t believe it. They wanted to go every day, so we had to limit their time there and the number of days in order to spend some time with them. Lola, Mimi and Maria did activities with the kids during the day (trampoline, painting, nintendo, beach games, swimming) and at night they would have a mini-disco or show with the kids participation. My kids loved it!!
Tropical Princess – Punta Cana
Only concern is the KidsClub staffing. Current Tropical Princess staff has no interest in the young ones not keen on water polo, volleyball etc. Take your younger ones next door to the more accommodating staff at Punta Cana Princess instead. Do not recommend the early afternoon hours for Kids Club. Overworked staff yell at, then shut all kids in the sleeping room with no supervision. Staff then have their own siesta in the main room. Hours the Kids club staff work are insane: 9 – 5:30 with the kids, then working in the shows, then dragging the old farts up to dance in the Lobby at Midnight. They work 9 days then get one "day" off, but still have to work in the show. Management needs to address this or lose the family element. Just the same, lots of fun had by the older kids throughout the rest of the day.
FDR Pebbles
strong>Teens and Tweens  Although there are lots of littler kids around, this place is a piece of heaven for the 11-16 set. Because the resort is so small, you can let them go anywhere on their own and find them in 2 minutes (if you really want to!). I didn’t really believe I would be able to do that before I went because I am pretty protective, but they were basically gone after day one. Shane, the teen coordinator, is unbelievable at getting all these kids involved and doing stuff they would never normally think is cool’. As my 14 y.o. said, Shane would find us and say c’mon and we would just follow him without asking any questions. The games room is a great hang-out – very centrally located above the restaurant so parents can easily check in – and kids just love having a place of their own.

Nanny

We got a Nanny because my younger daughter is under the age limit, and at first we weren’t sure why we would need her. But Sasha was terrific, and she was able to help us figure out what was going on, when it was happening, the smart times to do things, the fun things to participate in and just generally point us in the right direction. I thought it might be awkward because there wasn’t a lot for her to do, but she was completely unobtrusive and very willing to chat or not chat, depending on our mood. I would highly recommend her to any family, especially one whose kids love soccer Sasha represented both her school and her parish (like a province/state) on their soccer teams and she loves the game.

Beaches Ocho Rios
KIDS CLUB – My children didn’t really want to participate in the activities. They preferred to hang out with mom and dad. The one time they did want to participate was for the beach science. There were supposed to make a volcano. We went to bring them there and we were told it was cancelled because there were no other kids. Well, for $11,000, we expected them to accommodate. When we pushed the subject, we were then told they couldn’t do the volcano because they were out of vinegar. How can a resort with 4 restaurants be out of vinegar. The kids also wanted to go on the glass-bottom boat ride. The day it was scheduled it was too windy so it was cancelled. I called to find out if it would be rescheduled on a better day and I was told no. They then said, why don’t you take them (there were others scheduled for all guests) yourself. So I told them that the one and only time I went on one of those boat, I threw up. That’s why I wanted my children to go with the Kids’ Club. For a resort in Jamaica, I also expected more outdoor activities. A lot of times there were indoor activities scheduled. Like movies and parties. One last note on the Kids’ Club. There was never enough kids to have an age appropriate group so they combined the age groups.

PETTING ZOO – One of the offered attractions is a petting zoo. Sounded good. Well, when we got there it was not so good. It was smelly and dirty. There were a few animals behind bars. The cages were empty of any kind of “habitat”. There was nothing for the animals but a dirt floor. Even if I wanted my kids to touch the animals, they couldn’t because they were all behind bars. The only animal that was in reach was a pig and it looked so diseased that I wouldn’t go near it.

Beaches Sandy Bay Resort
Our family of 4, two girls ages 5 & 3 spent 2 weeks at Beaches Sandy Bay in Jamaica. We have travelled many times to the carribean. There were many positives and a few negatives about this resort.

Positives first.

1. Sesame street characters. There were 3-5 times a day a character would roam the resort and offer hugs and kisses to the children. The even had 3 shows a week in the evenings that were fabulous. This was a highlight for my kids. A character breakfast could be paid for but we found we saw enough of them for free. Be sure to get a picture with all the characters on Thursday.
2. Staff was very attentive and friendly. We loved the no tipping permitted badges they wore as then we didn’t feel guilty. My husband even left a tip for the maid but she didn’t take it.
3. Restaurants. the buffet was hit and miss and the selection smaller than and Beaches negril due to the size. The italian restaurant was fabulous. Best ceasar salad, bruschetta and salmon I have ever had! no reservations required either!
4. Beach. Negril is amazing. It is safe to walk outside the resort for miles if you wish.
5. Beaches Negril. The shuttle was 5 mins and ran every hour. The lazy river, pools and resaurants were great here. We did like the quiet of our resort better and the fact that our rooms faced the ocean (very few of Negrils did)

Negatives.

1. This resort is only a 3 star resort as our Air Canada rep told us. I would rank it a 4 but it certainly did not meet our expectations of a "Beaches/Sandals" resort. It was nice but certainly not worth $3-4000 more than other resorts we have stayed at.
2. Rooms. All rooms do look onto the ocean which is nice but unless you get an oceanfront one bedroom the rooms are really small. Our room had 2 double beds and an entertainment cabinet that doubled as a dresser which we had to almost shimmy around. There was no table or chairs in our room and very little room at all. We had paid for the 3rd room up for an ocean view (which was nice) but the room size was very small. It also needed upgrades expecially in the bathroom – there was rust and mold around the tub.
3. Kids club. The staff was great and lots of activities but they don’t advertise that a 5 and 3 year old are separate clubs, even in different buildings. That was not acceptable for us so we didn’t make use of the clubs much.
4. Water slide. There is a strict 4 foot rule inforced for the water slide. This is not advertised anywhere. Also you cannot go with your child and you have to remove any jewelery, glasses or hairclips

I would recommend this resort for small children and if money is not an object. Overall be wary of all the advertising they do – you are paying for that and many pictures are not like it really is.

Beaches Sandy Bay Resort
We chose Beaches as they have a kids club for 2 yr olds – the staff were friendly and our son’s favourite was Kerri Ann – she was awesome! The Sesame Kids activities were awesome – the character parade with marching band, the stage shows, baking cookies with Cookie Monster, birthday party with Elmo….it was all awesome and our son was in heaven and we had fun too!
Holiday Inn Sunspree
KIDS CLUB- Excellent! The staff geniunely care for the children and they do LOTS of activities. Our son loved going there, and we had no hestiation at all. The have a nursery for babies and a bigger playroom for the older kids (equipped with movies and toys) and a big playground. Face painting, crafts- they had a lot of fun. It was touching because the staff get teary when one of the kids are leaving to go home.
Holiday Inn Sunspree
Kids/teenage clubs: three of them in total, one for babies, one for children (both opened 9am-9pm) and one for teenagers. The teenagers club has free air hockey and fusball (my 7 year old loved this), as well as the latest equipment in video games (nominal charge applies). The kids club is the one we used the most: the women there are amazing and the facility is very nice and seems new. Large playground in front. My daughter celebrated her birthday and what they’ve done certainly exceeded our expectations: she had a customized cake (you have to order the day before), balloons, candles, a little gift, games and activities for the kids that were present at the event. No cost for all this (we tipped them, because they’ve really done a great job!).
Riu Negril
Antoinette USA
March 2007
My family (husband, myself and 8 year old son) stayed at the RIU Negril for a week. This was our first trip to Jamaica. We have been to Mexico and the Dominican Republic several times. Our son always travels with us. Jamaica is beautiful and the people are very friendly. The resort was absolutely beautiful and extremely clean. It is situated on Bloody Bay so the beach is very calm. This would be great for small children. Take some floats and a raft for the beach. They did have a small kid’s club, kiddie pool and swing set. I never saw a lot of people there. There were not a lot of children at this resort. I don’t know if it was the time of year though. My son did play with some boys from Canada and made a friend from Maryland too. Food was standard all-inclusive fare. They had nachos, pizza, hot dogs, fruit, ice cream and lots of kid friendly stuff. We went on an excursion with Talk of the Town tours. We saw YS Falls, the Pelican Bar, took a boat ride down the Black River (saw some crocodiles) and visited an orphanage. Soloman and Sienna were our guides and they were great. Sienna is an American who has lived in Jamaica for 9 years. She is a former elementary school teacher and was just great with our son. We ate lunch at a Jamaican kitchen which was a road side cook shop, it was a very authentic experience that we never would have gotten with another tour group. I highly recommend this company for your tour. We also did