This was our 8th visit to the Dominican Republic and our 6th to Punta Cana. This is a really nice Resort. We (2 couples) had a great week long stay and never felt like we were not safe nor did any of our personal belongings disappear as I read in past reviews. If there were problems with safety and security they appear to have been resolved.
Prior to arriving at the Resort we had requested 1st floor rooms closest to the beach but we were originally put in rooms on the 2nd floor in the main building. Our interpretation of the 1st floor and theirs is different and we should have asked for the Ground floor not the 1st floor. After I complained and wined a bit they put us on the ground floor in the VIP section. They said that this was a $500 upgrade but we would not be charged for the upgrade. When we booked our trip on JetBlue we were given only two options, standard or superior suites and we chose the superior suites and paid the extra costs. I sent an email to the Resort two weeks prior to our arrival again stating our suite choices and received an email back confirming our reservations and room choices. A special thanks from us to Nathanel and the front desk Manager for resolving our issue.
Once we were moved and got settled in our new rooms we had very little problems for the rest of the week. I definitely recommend the VIP section as it is closer to the beach and you have another pool with a swim-up bar to use. The VIP area is much quieter than the main pool but you get to choose either one but the non VIP’s cannot use the VIP section. The suites were pretty much the same throughout the resort but those in the VIP section are in what they call the Villas section which are closer to the beach and have a hot-tub on the balcony. They were spacious, clean and comfortable. We found no musty smells in any of the rooms which was a complaint I saw in some of the previous reviews.
The Resort is less than a year old and is well maintained as they are continually cleaning everywhere and everything. An issue I had with the resort is that it really did not have much of a Caribbean feel to it due to its modern styling and its glitzy motif. There was no Caribbean music being played and no Steel drum bands. Our experience at the resort would have been a little better if one of us spoke Spanish or more of the staff spoke English. Most of the staff did not speak or understand English other than the staff at the front desk.
The beach is spectacular and they clean it and pick up seaweed daily. There was no problems getting lounge chairs or beach towels at the beach or in the pool area but the resort was not full. There are no huts on the beach for shade but there are plenty of palm & coconut trees so there was no problem if you wanted to get out of the sun. The beach is one continuous stretch but it has three sections to it. The area in front of the VIP is the best. The area in front of the main pool is also good but there seemed to be more seaweed in that area. Between theses two sections is an area that has large rocks on the shore after the sandy area. Be aware of the water in this area as there are also some large rocks in the water that you cannot see. One of people in our group stumbled on a submerged rock and fell. Another individual that we met had a similar encounter with the rocks and she severely injured her foot and toes. There was no waiters/waitress on the beach which would have been nice, so you had to get your own drinks. We walked over to Riu Palace and they had waiter/waitress service on there beach, so maybe that will change at this resort in the future.
The food here is pretty good and there are plenty of restaurants and cuisines to choose from. We tried all but one of them and had no problem finding something we liked. We tried the Italian, the Steakhouse, Oriental, Krystal (gourmet) and the main Buffet (Monti Christo). There is also a Sports Bar open 24 hours and in the Lobby there is a coffee/pastry shop. There is another buffet located next to the main pool for lunch which turns into the Steakhouse for dinner. Just remember that you are in the DR and there cooking is going to be different than you are used to. About the only thing we didn’t like was the lasagna in the Italian restaurant. If you are a dessert lover you will really appreciate the Main Buffet. They had a chocolate fountain and more sweets than you could shake a stick at, I got a sugar high just walking by them. You have to make reservations for all the restaurants except the Buffet between 9 & 11 AM and we had no problems making reservations, but the resort was not full. We have been to Resorts where reservations aren’t needed and I believe this is the way all resorts should be, maybe someday.
We thought we could go to all of the Riu resorts but we tried to go to the Riu Palace Macao next to our resort but they wouldn’t allow any exchange privileges. We had no problem at the Riu Palace a couple of resorts down the beach. Maybe it’s because The Riu Palace Macao switched to adults only on Nov, 1st but we had no kids? The Riu Palace Bavaro is nicer than any other of the Riu resorts so there is really no reason to go to the other resorts but we liked walking the beach and bar hopping at the other resorts along with cooling off in there pools and checking out the other resorts..
The week we were here, most of the guests were Europeans. Americans and English speaking people were by far in the minority. The shows at night were primarily in Spanish but we had fun with them.
The service throughout the resort was exceptional. We tip people when we get good service but very few people, other than us, tipped at all. I can’t say enough good things about the maids, bartenders, waiters/waitresses, bellmen and front desk people that provide us with fantastic service. At times, we may have had problems communicating but they treated us like kings and queens and we grateful for the services. We would recommend this resort and there is a good chance we will return here again.
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