e are a married professional couple in our thirties who just got back from a 7day stay at this hotel. We read the reviews, did our research and picked this hotel based on a number of factors; with one of the major ones being the Hard Rock name and its promotion of $1500 in resort credits.
ARRIVAL AT HOTEL: Nice lobby and a hotel rep is right there to great you and help you check in. Good music too! While checking in, you'll have a waitress walk up to you and ask if you want a drink. Check in was a few minutes but after you'll sit with your assigned rep and go over everything about your hotel; what it offers and how to use your resort credits. Good start!
ROOM: 6400 and awesome. Spacious, clean with great patio and decent view. The fridge was stocked with soda, beer and other soft drinks. (I don't drink hard liquor but it looked like basic brands.) Plenty of large bottles of water too; which you will be also using for brushing your teeth. Also, if you ask, you can receive different types of red/white wine. (We later learned the wine selection is pretty weak, though.) Again, so far so good!
We were set to go! There are so many eating venues, so many pool venues and let's not forget the beach. What to do first? Eat.
A rundown of where we ate. (TIP: Go early to specialty restaurants. Anything after 6-ish, you’re waiting 45-60 minutes.)
THE MARKET: Inside buffet. (I write "inside" for a reason and will explain later.) Decent food displays with food made to order. A fraction of a Vegas buffet in options.
LOS GALLOS: Mexican menu food. I had the “Gringo”, which was diced pork and pineapple. Sounded great and tasted good tot; but it made me sick. My first bout of food poisoning ever and it happened that night and lasted almost 36 hours. Man, it was bad and what a waste of valuable vacation time. The worst part was that this happened on our second full day there and I was paranoid to eat anything other than the Snickers bars from the gift shop. But I chugged along when I felt somewhat better and continued…
ZEN: Nice area to relax and wait with drinks inside the main building. Larger than expected when inside where you’ll sit at a large table with others. Just like Benni Hanna. Rice, chicken, beef, shrimp. Decent but my stomach was still uneasy to truly enjoy.
TORO: The best of the three. It’s an inside eatery near the beach but was kind of hot once inside. No air circulation. Anyway, we ordered the filet; unfortunately, “well done” do to food prep concerns. Good piece of meat though but came with one small cut of carrot and one piece of cauliflower. (Seriously)
IPANEMA: A nice venue but with open air which brought bugs, flies and birds (during the day). The night version consisted of waiters bringing meat, pork and chicken around on a stick and they would cut you off pieces. The same problem: food preparation. How long was the food left out in the open, on the stick and being passed to hundreds of people? Again, I was somewhat scorned that I had been sick. Some people may not care about the food prep and presentation, but we did.
LUNCH: Again, The Market had decent foods and indoors. IPANEMA and ISLA had open air buffets. Birds flying on tables (really) and food freshness was always on our minds.
(TIP: Lounge at the Eden Pool: It has hammocks, hanging comfortable beds and cabanas. The music was kind of loud but had the feel of a South Beach pool.)
CASINO: Ahhhh, finally….something to smile about! Great tables, great fun and plenty of waitresses. Give the waitresses a dollar a beer (every night was a different type of bottled beer---Presidente was only on draft) and they were at your table every five minutes.
GOLF: Using our credits, we played three rounds of golf at the Cana Club. Nice facility with good range, putting green and sand trap/chipping area. Even though they were air-raiding & top dressing the greens, it was in good shape. White tees-mostly 3W off the tee, blues and black definitely driver. Tee boxes and fairways in good shape and greens have some good slopes. (TIP: bring your own drinks from hotel and eat before your round. There is a worthless “bar” in the pro-shop and no available snacks. However, the cart girl was seen pretty regularly around the course and had plenty of soda, water and beer. Don’t eat the sandwiches. They are not refrigerated and she rides around with them sitting in the sun all day. Again, safe food handling is apparently not explained)
BEACH: The beach is about 75 yards wide. Most of the chairs are near the resort but many pulled them toward the water. Awesome water with some decent body surfing waves. Great staff/waitresses too. Give them a $5 the first time around and they'll be back every 10 minutes! I have no complaints about any of the staff. (TIP: Bring about $100 in singles for tipping. From the your arrival at the airport you will need singles! They (the staff) will love you too. We didn't see that many tippers at the bar or anyone leave a couple of bucks on the table after dinner either. Tip them; its vacation money and means a lot to them!)
CONCLUSION: Sorry for the long review. I tried to keep an un-biased view for all you readers out there even though I got food poisoning. We feel for the price we paid for the week, we should have little or no complaints. We expected the Hard Rock name to truly elevate the standard of food quality and drinks. Which reminds me; the drinks at all the ouside bars were sub-par. All “frozen” drinks were a small Dixie cup with a small layer of non-crushed ice on top with a liquidy syrup underneath.
We will not be recommending this hotel to any of our friends and will obviously not be returning. It seems to cater to twenty year olds who are there to just drink and eat and have low standards/expectations.
(I guess we’re spoiled?!) Anyway, for those who do decide to go after reading this; I hope the resort steps up for you, you have a great experience and write an honest review upon returning.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Dan M, We are disappointed to know that we did not fulfill your expectations on this trip.
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We are very sorry to learn that your time with us was affected by this unfortunate situation; we sincerely hope that you recovered quickly. In this way, please allow us to inform you that our Hotel is governed by strict regulations that are set forth through the Health & Sanitation authorities in the Dominican Republic, and we are in total compliance with this. Our Food & Beverage procedures are thoroughly inspected by CRISTAL UK DOMINICANA to ensure that our food preparation processes are enforced. The HACCP food safety management principles are implemented and managed on a daily basis, which provides significant reduced risk from food borne illness and meet the hygiene, health and management standards required in the preparation of food services. In the same way, it is worth mentioning that we have been recognized by CRISTAL Check Safety First, for our performance in the management of Food Safety.
You can be sure that your comments concerning our food and beverages have been addressed with our Management Team and our Executive Chef in order to ensure the satisfaction of our valued guests. We hope that you will give us another try in the future so that we can provide you with the Rock Star experience that you truly deserve. ALL IS ONE.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.