First time to the D.R., so we can only compare this experience to other Caribbean/S. American getaways.
Summary: Great Service, Nice Rooms, Good Food. Needs a lot of kinks worked out to attact a broader group of visitors. The dozen or so guests that were there at the end of Jan with us were largely retirees from Canada. In our early 50s, we were the youngest couple there!
Because our vacation (March 2-9) ended on a bit of a sour note (see Transportation), I waited a few weeks before writing this to ensure the overall review would be balanced.
The first thing that comes to mind with this resort is VALUE.
Apparently this is a newly reinvented resort, and they are stimulating interest with some great promotions (all-inclusive runs approx $39-$50/per person per day, depending on timing/promotion and who you book through). What does that get you? Well it depends, and THAT is one of my biggest gripes.
The website tells you that the following is included: horseback riding, use of 4 wheelers, free transport to and from either airport.
- Horseback riding – great fun, leaves from the resort grounds where they keep trail and special horses (the owners are into horses). Great guides – one in front, one in the rear – made sure everyone was safe as we went through some hilly areas and looked out over the ocean.
- 4 Wheelers – apparently only one of the two options (horseback or ATV) is included. If you want to do both, or do either again, there’s a fee. Very misleading. We opted not to partake.
- Airport Transfers
o a cab driver met us at the airport and led us to his 20+ yr old Toyota rust bucket with no AC. He was a very nice man (Leo?), who stopped so we could buy our first Dominican beers to enjoy on the hot and dusty ride.
o Once we arrived at the resort, we saw BEAUTIFUL vehicles, all clean and shiny. We never saw any leave the resort (except the passenger van that is typically used to shuttle guests around), so I have no idea what they are used for.
o As we were arranging for our return trip to the airport, I reminded them how unpleasant it was to be without air conditioning, and asked that they ensure we got a better vehicle for the 90 min drive back. They said they’d have Juan Carlos take us in the van, but when it was time for us to leave, Juan was out on a beach run with other guests. Eventually, the management called for a taxi. To make a LONG story short, the taxi was an hour and 15 minutes late picking us up! We barely made it to the plane before they locked the doors.
Some other notes of interest:
- Laundry – free, just tip your maid
- Cock Fight – interesting; opens once a week to maybe 100 or more locals with birds and $ to gamble. VERY lively crew; the staff made sure we had safe seats out of the fray.
- Beach – there is a ‘private’ beach for the resort. You need to arrange for a ride but that IS included and convenient. The beach is lovely, the water is swimable, and there’s a restaurant/bar that’s part of the all inclusive. Also decent tourist shops and a less than decent bathroom. VERY nice way to spend the days.
- Casino – although there was a room on the resort that is intended to be a casino, it was never open/there are no dealers or anyone to run the few tables. I guess one could bring their own cards or dice, but with so few guests on site, there was no one to play with. We went to the big casino down the road and that was ok. Very cheap tables (25 peso blackjack) and free drinks. It was the quietest casino I’ve ever been to, until the dance show was being performed overhead.
- Pool – very small pool with moderate seating area between the bar and restaurant. Only one umbrella other than the center hole/non-adjustable type. Not a problem since there were so few guests and iffy weather.
- Dining – B+ Good variety and quality, although repetitive and very few deserts. Very nice dining room and wonderful service. Buffet 3x/day, with the option to order off the menu at dinner (plan ½ hr wait). We actually never ordered off the menu because there were always plenty of options on the buffet. We did ask for omelet’s at breakfast and that was no problem.
- Spa – we booked 1 hr massages at the spa. You pay at the office, where we were charged $75/hr instead of being given the half price special that other guests were offered. Even when we showed the manager the flyer, we were not refunded the difference. Instead of feeling badly or like they inconvenienced us, the manager and the sales leader seemed to argue about who offered who what. The massage, by the way, was excellent.
o Nice size, you walk into a rectangular sitting area then through to the round bedroom with attached bathroom.
o Bed and pillows are comfy, AC is great (quiet and responsive). Room included a fridge with water/soda, an ipod speaker system, TV and safe. Suggestions for managmement: Rearrange bedroom furniture so the giant free standing closet doesn’t block window. Add shelves in closet or a dresser – all there is is hanging space.
- Bar – there is one small bar (6 stools) but since there were so few guests, it wasn’t a problem. While "top shelf" wasn't part of all inclusive, they ran out of low end brands quickly and we enjoyed top shelf thereafter.
- Cigar Bar A+- Extremely comfortable, TV has broad satellite offerings (more English choices). Great place to hang out with a drink.
- Grounds - pretty, well maintained, not big enough to take a meaningful walk (maybe ¼ mi loop?). This should improve when they continue building out towards the beach.
- Service – Excellent! Maria and Janet served both the Restaurant and Bar – A++. Also many thanks to Juan Carlos, the driver, as well as Francisco and Gabriel.
Bottom line – Although we are not likely to return to the DR or this resort, the vacation was a great value, and the resort is likely to improve month over month as the expansion plans come to fruition. In the meantime, make sure you know exactly what is included, and bring your friends because there are so few guests to socialize with (mostly retirees from Canada during our stay).
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.