Had great week here! We arrived New Years Eve, December 31, 2012 and departed January 6, 2013. The resort is on the most beautiful beach (Bavaro Beach) I've ever been on! This beach is better than any beach in Florida, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Hawaii, Mexico, etc. Stunning best describes Bavaro Beach. We walked the beach toward the Iberostar Resort. None of the resorts had a beach any prettier than the Occidental Grand. As far as the staff, all were really nice. Some of the names that I remember were Ruth, she is part of the wait staff in the lobby. Ruth waited on us and brought us drinks each night. Ruth is very attentive and is top notch at what she does. The outdoor buffet by one of the pools, Alfredo was on top of his game in waiting on us. Then there is Joseline at one of the beach bars. He took care of all our orders for El Presidente, Domincan Flags, and Mama Juana. Israel took care of our dinner reservations during our initial checkin. He was attentive and took care to get it right. Lenni assisted us at the front desk when it came to an extended checkout. You can get one for $24. It's worth it. One more person that I must mention is Eleazar. He is over the activities, shows and band. This is a man that enjoys what he does! The first time I saw Eleazar was when the band played in the lobby one night. I thought that he was an island pop star! What a great singer! I didn't realize that he and the band are part of the activities group. He is a true professional and a wonderful entertainer. I spoke with him one night at the beach party. If you have a few moments, talk with him. He is humble and wants to do his best to make sure that he and his entourage are taking the best of care of you, their guests. I will say that Eleazar and his act is one of the highlights of the resort, second on my list to the beach. VIP Travel provided us with round trip transfers. Jerry Paulino is the local contact. Jerry is professional and most helpful with assisting with selecting other outside tours. You are in good hands with Jerry. If you want beach activities, Pepito roams the beach and will assist you with that too. If you have multiple folks wanting some type of excursion and/or beach activity, you can negotiate a better rate with Pepito. He is negotiable. One special thing that Pepito helped me with. I saw a grounds keeper climb up to the top of a coconut tree and pick off coconuts. I asked him if I can have one. He gave me one. I proudly showed my coconut to Pepito on the beach. He took it to someone that had a machete. The machete man hacked off the outer layer. I then took the coconut to the main buffet. A waiter had holes drilled into the top and then served me with fresh coconut milk. He then took the coconut and cut it open, extracting the meat from inside. It was all delicious!
There are a few silly nuances about the resort. Most folks spend time in the main lobby for one reason or another. The restrooms in the main lobby also serve as the main restroom for the buffet too. Almost every time that I went into the lobby men's room, the housekeeper was in the restroom too. The cleaning ladies will walk right into the men's restroom and clean up while you are in there doing your business. They will give you a friedly "Hola" while they are in there cleaning up. Another funny nuance is on New Years Eve while attempting to enter the main buffet, I was denied entry because I was in khaki shorts. I had to go back to the room and put on a pair of long khaki pants, but yet I was allowed to wear flip flops. My teenage daughter was allowed entry despite wearing cutoff jean short shorts.
The all night wood fired brick oven grill is good, but not great like so many others have alluded too. There is a swim up bar at one of the pools. I was rather disappointed in It though. At times older teens and early twenty somethings would congregate there and play loud music and "funnel" beer. This activity tended to take away from the atmosphere.
We stayed in building 10 room 223. It's true, at night, after turning off the lights, you could see the foyer lights come in around the doorframe into the room. But you could see nothing else. Not a big deal. The TV was a flat screen. We watched the college bowl games on ESPN. The air conditioner is a little tricky. Each time we would come into the room, we noticed the room was very warm. But after returning for each evening, we would turn the air down as low as it would get. The room would get very cool each night. Apparently, there are sensors in the room and it can detect when you are out, therefore, the warm temp upon returning to the room each evening. The housekeeper was excellent and extremely friendly. Be sure to tip a few dollars each morning. You will be well taken care of. The rooms are of good size. The bathroom is of good size too. All floors are tile. The rooms are clean. This room is on the opposite side of the pool and faces the basketball and archery courts. These tend to be quieter at night than the rooms on the other side facing the pool and lobby.
We had the Romance package which included a bowl of fruit with the room. We only ate the bananas. The package also included a 30 minute massage for each of us (3 of us). This made the package worth the money that we paid. I found this package is only worth it if ordering throught Orbitz.com as it only cost us $139 extra for the package and other websites wanted that much extra per person. The package also included a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. They were pretty good. Also included is a bottle of champaigne, which is no big deal. Alcohol is included anyway and we didn't get to drink our bottle and gave it away upon check out. Breakfast delivered to the room is also included one morning. We chose to sleep in our first morning and have breakfast delivered then. That was nice, but half of the stuff on the breakfast tray, we didn't order. I think every room get's served the same thing anyway. A romantic dinner on the beach is included via the Royal Club. The night that we had selected was pretty much a sand storm. The wind was blowing so bad! We would have been crazy to eat on the beach. Instead of eating on the beach, the Royal Club staff set us up to eat on the patio of the Royal Club. That was nice. The food was really no better than the buffet food. I will say, we had lobster there that night and also on New Years Even in the buffet. The lobster was the worst lobster that I've ever eaten in my life. It was over cooked and tasted old and freezer burnt. They should really strike that from the menu. One word of warning - smoking, You can pretty much smoke anywhere. I saw folks lighting up inside the Royal Club dining room, as well as light up on the patio where we were. Folks were lighting up all around in the main lobby too. You will find that ventilation is quite adequate though.
As far as the concierges that are in each building that try to get you to buy into the time share and other stuff. Not a big deal. As far as the vendors that setup shop and sell their goods. Not a big deal there either. Just tell them all a firm "NO". That's all there is to it. As far as the guys selling cigars on the beach, just say "No Fumar", or "No Smoking". Again no big deal. These folks will leave you alone if you are straight forward and firm in your resolve. I found a few that were persistent. For fun, I would look at some of them and shake my head "No" and make up my own language that no one could understand. They would for sure leave me alone then.
Each night at the outdoor theater we would smell a sewer smell. One night water began to back up into the seating area. The entire theater cleared out. That was to bad as the show was quite good each night.
For breakfast each day, the banana shake and beet shake are absolutely the best!
The Metamorphasis Spa is good too. Juana is one of the therapists there and will take good care of you.
Overall, we really enjoyed the resort and its amenites and would not hesitate to return! Keep an open mind and have a great time as we did!
One more thing that impressed me. Upon checkout, in reception, I received a TripAdvisor.com card from Virgenia (Not sure of the spelling). She asked me to give a review on this website with my honest thoughts and opinions. That illustrated to me that management is interested in hearing the good, bad, and the ugly, not matter what it is and they value my opinion and want to improve where they can. The young lady also told me that she would respond to my input. I am impressed!
We stayed in building 10 room 223. The rooms which are on the side with 223 are quiter than the roo...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.