Ah, where to begin?...my husband and I stayed at this resort for 5 nights and we couldn't wait to get back home. We had been waiting for this vacation for some time and a lot of time and research went into booking this trip (apparently not quite enough though). We chose to ignore the bad reviews and found them to be right on the money for the most part. To be fair, there are certainly some great things about this resort, and like someone mentioned in a previous review, there is a good deal of potential. However, there are some major overhauls that are needed in order to get this to the level of a true luxury resort, as it claims to be.
We've used TripAdvisor quite a bit for booking vacations and always appreciate the honest reviews. This is the first time that we've actually sat down to write a review about a place ourselves, and it's only because we feel the need to let others know what to expect of this resort. To start, the grounds and the beach look like they do in the pictures. Very nice and the sand is super soft, like brown sugar. There is quite a bit of seaweed but it does get cleaned regularly; not much that can be done about that. It's a fairly new resort and they certainly can make it much better than it is now.
The rooms - we finally understood what people meant about the musty smell once we got there. It's in the towels, the pillows, just in the air. I washed my bathing suit one night and hung it up to dry only to find it still almost completely wet a day and a half later! We were on the ground floor and some have mentioned that it may be due to that, but I get the impression it was the same to some extent on the higher floors as well. The bathroom was nice but it also seemed to have that moldy, mildewy smell. All of our clothes acquired that smell after being in the room for six days and we washed them immediately upon arriving back home to get that stench out. They are nice rooms otherwise. I will say that someone mentioned earlier that it echoes so loudly in the hallways from people talking (or yelling) as they are walking by and I'm surprised that not that many people have brought it up as it can be extremely annoying when you are trying to sleep.
We got sunburned the first day, so my advice on that is just make sure to bring adequate sunscreen for the powerful sun so that you don't have to shell out $20-$30 for some sunscreen at the gift shop that you could buy back home for under $10. Same goes for the aloe/after sun lotion (or anything really) - bring your own unless you want to pay double or triple.
And finally...the one thing that has gotten quite a bit of complaints and that ruined the entire trip for us - the food. There are little things here and there that could be improved upon and are minor inconveniences and could be easily overlooked. But this absolutely cannot be. For the money you pay, you expect to get some quality out of the food. We spoke with other guests and the general opinion was that the food was just terrible. As others mentioned, you had to make reservations at the restaurants, which were always completely booked except for one or two and then you got there to find half the restaurant empty. They were probably better than the buffet though, which was...I cannot find words to describe this. Suffice it to say there are a very few things that are good, a handful that are decent, and the rest are just plain awful. The staff is nice indeed but how can you tip when the food is horrible? And when it makes you sick? As I type, we have gotten back home and visited the nearby urgent care for the diarrhea and overall nausea that started halfway through our trip and hasn't completely let up since. A couple hours spent at the urgent care after getting back from our trip and a round of antibiotics later (for both of us), all I can say is - it is not worth it. If you have the strongest stomach known to man and can deal with food that has no flavor and that makes you sick then go for it. Otherwise, save yourself the trouble and don't waste your money like we did. We're still trying to figure out what it was exactly that made us sick, but honestly, it doesn't matter. It was enough to convince us that we would never go back and that we wouldn't recommend this resort (or Punta Cana in general) to anyone. As a closing remark, I found it funny that the doctor at the urgent care told me that just in the past week he had seen another couple that had gotten back from Punta Cana sick and miserable with a stomach bug just like us. Definitely don't do it to yourself. If you still think it will be ok and want to take the risk, at least do yourself the favor and pack a mini medicine chest to hold you over until you can get back home and see your doctor, which you inevitably will have to do.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ideally situated on the picturesque palm-studded, sugar white Playa Bavaro beach on the eastern coastline of the Dominican Republic, Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana offers adults all the privileges of Unlimited-Luxury®. Guests will immediately be embraced within an extraordinary environment where luxury illuminates every detail and our high level of personal service is unmatched. To ensure your romantic escape is everything you've imagined, every detail of your stay will be flawlessly provided and superbly attended to. From the fine quality linens to the daily refreshed mini bar and the unlimited premium brand beverages to the pool and beach wait service. You'll be immersed within a world of stunning architectural design coupled with resplendent views of the lush gardens, crystal-clear Caribbean Sea and dazzling swimming pools. This tranquil, romantic haven in Playa Bavaro is like nothing else you've ever experienced before. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, BookIt.com, Caribbean Online Mgt Corp., Orbitz, Hotels.com, Odigeo and Tingo so you can book your Secrets Royal Beach reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Secrets Royal Beach Hotel Punta Cana