We just returned from a much needed vacation at the Be Live Grand Punta Cana. Upon arrival we were handed a glass of "juice" in the lobby and our room was not ready. They held our bags but signed us in and gave out our wrist bands so we could have some lunch and get a drink. It took quite a while for the room to be ready. We quickly learned that 30 minutes is an hour and a half dominican time. Many people were in the lobby waiting for their rooms. Most were not happy, but we took it in stride, enjoyed a few beers and eventually got into our room.
Tip! Don't forget to ask for the safe key! $15 extra for the week.
The room was nice, tile floor, white cotton bed covers, nice bathroom. Our sliding glass door did not work but we were not offered another room as some others were in other reviews. We told the staff about it and they came to fix it. It was not fixed correctly, but they quickly came back and replaced the lock, so I can't complain. I would have liked another room. We were in Building 12, and our room faced away from the property, looking at the razor wire and the path which the workers took to get to the beach in the mornings, causing the dogs to bark every morning at around 6am.
The room was nice in that it was bright and clean. The bathroom was nice, although there was some mold and it smelled pretty musty. Luckily our AC worked very well. The maid service was great, but be prepared for 3 or 4 different people to enter your room during each day. The maid, the towel guy, and the refreshment person. We asked for extra water and got it no problem. Drinks from the fridge were replaced as we used them.
There were plenty of other rooms available, but we were never moved -- I'm guessing this is because we were Groupon people.. but I later learned that folks got a better deal and better rooms through hotels.com. It appears to me that they book a lot of discount rooms in the hopes to sell everyone the Lifestyles VIP service. (more on this later)
The resort itself is in a state of construction, but most areas are fine. The pools are nice and vacuumed each morning, with the exception of the main pool which needs to be repainted. Many buildings, including what I believe to be the original lobby are being re-done and we got to hear the jack hammers several of the days we were there.
The food: There are several restaurants on the property but the main one is Windows. It is a nice buffet open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it offers a good variety at most times of day. The staff is wonderful and they are quick to bring you coffee or beer or whatever you'd like. The ala carte restaurants are open for dinner but you need to make a reservation with the girl outside of the windows restaurant between 9am and 3pm. We ate at the Japones, Sport Bar, Italiano and Rodizio.
The Japones and Rodizio were pretty good, but the Sports Bar and Italiano were poor attempts at both styles of food. The Italiano was terrible and the only similarity to italian food was the fact that pasta was involved. The Sport Bar was chicken wings and burgers and such, but again, the sauces are all wrong and the burgers aren't really beef.. not sure what they are.
Late night they open the Japones for "bar food" and if you're going out early for an excursion (before 7am) then your breakfast will be leftover bar food from the night before.
Now the good! Despite the construction the hotel is pretty lovely. The beach is beautiful, the pools are gorgeous, and the staff are amazing. They engage with the guests and make you feel at home. All of the activities people were awesome as well!
With the exception of the front desk staff, most speak several languages very well. It seemed to me that the bag guys had a better handle on English than the folks behind the counter.
I've read reviews about the seaweed on the beach, but it's raked and removed at least once a day along with all the other garbage that washes ashore. We felt the beach was beautiful and they did as best they could keeping up with what came in at high tide.
You can walk all the way down the beach - the shoreline is owned by the national government, so you can walk and walk, which is nice. Lots of vendors walking up and down the beach selling excursions and gifts, hair braiding, clothing, cigars, etc. For most a nice "no" works, but others are more persistent.
Speaking of persistent.. the Lifestyles VIP guys are everywhere! They lurk outside the restaurants to catch you on the way out. We are nice people and it seems that was construed as interest.. No didn't work and we had to try to avoid the guy during our whole stay. If it is uncomfortable for you to have to say no to people all the time..be forwarned. "But they'll give me $50 if you come upstairs.. my family needs the money".. It really turned us off. Even after we explained that we were not interested, we were approached and approached time and again by the same individual. We were also called on the phone by a "groupon guy" who met us the first morning. Sure, he had some tips like don't drink the water in the shower, but he was just someone else trying to sell us excursions that were much more expensive than some others.
Overall we had a great time, the Dominican people are amazing. Special thanks to the dive shop folks -- Paul, Sarah and Nicolas -- they created new divers out of us in a very non-threatening environment (the lessons were free!). Anyone considering learning to scuba should go and see them! We took one day trip to Catalina Island on their recommendation and felt that our guides were the best on the boat.
As for the hotel, I think I'd rather pay more and not be hounded all week to upgrade.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Be Live Hotel Grand Punta Cana is an exclusive all-inclusive 5-star hotel resort in Punta Cana that has been especially designed for those who wish to spend their holidays with their family, get away from it all with their partner, or enjoy a holiday among friends with an authentic touch of the Caribbean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Oasis Punta Cana
- Globalia Punta Cana Grand
- Grand Oasis Hotel Punta Cana
- Grand Oasis Bavaro
- Punta Cana Grand Oasis
- All Inclusive Punta Cana
- Oasis Punta Cana
- Gran Oasis Punta Cana