DH and I headed back to Cayena Beach (November 23 – December 1) for the second time on our 4th trip to the Dominican Republic. As on prior trips we booked using Skyauction. Like an old friend, Cayena Beach welcomed us back with open arms. Overall, I will say that the property is showing its age. I will also say that if you are a traveler who does not sweat the small stuff, then Cayena might fit the bill. However, if you need lots of amenities, oodles of restaurant choices, oodles of meal options, private jacuzzis, etc, etc, then head elsewhere and leave Cayena for those of us who enjoy its more simpler options.
• We loved the additional VIP seating at the beach! There are now additional (comfortable) loungers and hammocks on a raised area behind the original seating area. Love it!
• Love the new comfortable loungers with cushions. Something to think about though – the fabric colors selected will start (and have started) to look stained and tired. The new chairs are a basket-weave type that are very sturdy. No more “loosey goosey” suspension in the middle.
• Security now seems to patrol the VIP area more than in the past. They’ve perfected the art of smiling while scanning your wrists for the Cayena bands.
• Surprise, surprise! We got excellent WiFi every day while lounging at the beach! We were in heaven. I surfed on my Kindle Fire and Nook and DH used his I-phone every single day. Periodically we would get kicked off but we’d just reenter the security password and we were fine. WiFi in our room was still bad though unless you sat on the patio or directly facing the reception area.
• The a la carte restaurants are now open on the same nights. In the past they used to alternate. We ate at neither restaurant as there was no need. To those who often ask – men need to wear long pants, shirts with collars and shoes with toes. Interestingly enough that’s the same requirement at the buffet and very few people followed that instruction! LOL
• I believe we were only asked twice in the entire 9 days if we wanted to get an offer to own a unit at Cayena. Both times we were asked by different people, so they quickly moved on. Last year, you may recall that we were approached several times by the same person who seemed to have made it his personal mission to convince us. Just to clarify since I don’t believe I made it clear in my prior Cayena review – the salespeople who approached us work for Cayena and a tour is/was not required as part of our Skyauction booking.
• While lounging at the beach we were approached by a salesperson at Ocean Blue and Sand – the property next to Cayena/Arena Blanca. He was polite and DH (the nicer of the two of us sometimes ;-) led him to believe that we would consider his offer to tour and have breakfast at Ocean Blue – not. I flat out said no and why (see my reasons below). On this trip we walked by more properties near to Cayena and quite frankly Ocean Blue does not compare. Maybe that property put its investment into restaurants and other amenities, but the beach area is lamentable. The chairs are laid out row-on-top-of-row like little soldiers, the seating is tired and there is limited shade. Why someone would think that a free breakfast offer to people staying at an all-inclusive would appeal is beyond me. Get this property some marketing help immediately! LOL
• Guests seemed a bit nicer to each other overall this year. I didn’t notice some of the pushy/rude behavior by resort guests that I’ve noticed on prior stays in the Dominican Republic. We only had one run-in with “a real piece of work” so we must be living charmed lives!
• Maybe we missed it last year but you can now get beach towels at the reception desk. Last year we depended on catching the towel guy in the towel hut – essentially we were two ships passing in the late afternoon with towels in hand. This year we turned in our towels each day and got replacements – at the front desk.
• The towel guy now offers beach drink service! You could have knocked me over with a feather when he stopped by to ask if we wanted a beverage on our first lounging day at the beach. Bless his heart, he offered drinks maybe 3 of the 9 days we were there, so there has been sightings, drinks on a daily basis are apparently a work-in-progress.
What stayed the same?
• We headed back to Suite 106 (the same as last Thanksgiving) – first floor, double beds, centrally located, patio, private back yard. I said it in last year’s review and it was ignored by at least one other reviewer I know of – I would not choose Cayena Beach for a honeymoon. It has too many double beds and too few kings. Here ends my public service announcement. This year we didn’t request 106 but it was perfectly fine and met our requirements – first floor, centrally located, super-functioning A/C unit. We were well-located for walking to the beach or to meals at el Mirador. Also, proximity to the front desk helped with WiFi access.
• We ate at the buffet (el Mirador) for the entire time we were there – breakfast, lunch and dinner. If lunch was a bit less than we expected (or we were hedging our bets on dinner, we would eat a snack (hot dogs, pizza, cookies at el Bucanero). At either restaurant food was always tasty, and there was always something or a couple “somethings” that DH or I could eat. I will say that the best lunch of our trip was on Wednesday when there was whole fried fish with a tasty rice. I had to take a picture. It’s the photo titled Best.Meal.Ever. LOL! Breakfast always had the basics. I was glad to see crepes, croissants and lots of fresh fruit making a repeat performance! Lunch offered the most variety IMHO. Dinner was hit or miss and it was often where the chefs tried to go upscale and often missed the mark. As long as I had fruit, a starch, beans and a protein (fish, roast pork, chicken or some such) at lunch and/or dinner I was fine. So was my DH. We only drink non-alcoholic drinks so we can’t speak to alcohol choices, drinks being watered down or the like.
• There were more than enough loungers and palapas on the beach for the number of guests staying at Cayena (at least when we were there). I’m very sun-sensitive and an early riser anyway, so we always got a palapa. However, most of our 9 days there we saw unclaimed palapas at 9am or later.
• The property layout appears to be the same, which was great. There is construction going on but nothing that impacted walking anywhere.
• The a la carte restaurants still require no reservations.
• Had to head to the gift shop over on the Arena Blanca side to find an obscure personal item and have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find it and at a relatively reasonable cost. For a small shop, this gift shop is chock-full of stuff – most of them not cheap, but to expect that would be unwise.
• We used Conexion this year for our transportation (just as last year) and all went well once again. On arrival we looked for our name on a sign and found our driver quickly. On our return our driver arrived at 2 pm on the dot and we were quickly on our way. You pay for pick up and drop off on arrival in Punta Cana. We will definitely use Conexion on our next and future trips.
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I wish you safe and happy travels. Feel free to send me a PM with specific questions about Punta Cana, Cayena Beach, the Dominican Republic, Sky Auction or any of the other properties or islands we’ve visited.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Standing next to the VIK Hotel Arena Blanca, this hotel enjoys an outstanding location overlooking the beach of Bávaro. The Hotel Cayena Beach is an exclusive part of the complex, designed with the most discerning guests, like you, in mind ... more less
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