Please note that we have never made a negative post before and this is frustrating for us to be posting this with such a negative tone but it needs to be said. Spent one week at the VIK hotel in Punta Cana during the week of March 24th to 31st. We were very excited to be spending our winter getaway in Punta Cana as it is one of the only resort areas in DR that we had not visited and wanted to check it off our list. Wish we had decided to check another tropical destination off our list instead. Bavaro Beach is a bit like a walk down a busy street. the sand is powder and white but there is a consistent pile of sea grass along the edge. no biggie though. Water was like a big bathtub .There were people everywhere. We literally had to wait for people to pass to get to the water. If you like to snorkel Bavaro is not the best as the coral reef is outside the permitted swimming area and on the other side of the Bavaro Highway (a strip of water that is busy all day long with speed boards, parasailing boats, banana boats) The smell of gasoline was prevelant all day. You could experience sea air at night or first thing but during the day it smelled more like the Muskokas. And there are helicopters flying overhead all day long.
The flight with Thomas Cook both coming and going was great. More leg room than Sunwing and service was consistent. Airport in PC is a bit unorganized but it is Dominican time after all. and on the way home, the airport has a full food court with Wendy's, Sbarro's and Cinnabun! All they needed was a Starbucks or Tim Hortons.
When we arrived at 11:30 am we were told at check in that our room would be ready in one hour. At 2:00 we returned to be told to come back at 3:00. At 3:00 we were told to come back in 20 minutes and then the fun began. To sum it up, we did not get into our room until day 2. They tried to pawn off a ground floor room with double beds and a new bedspreads as a "beautiful" renovated room. The first room the key did not work and was not what we booked and we explained that it was not the King Size Garden view second floor renovated room that we reserved, so they moved us. The second room was even worse. The patio door was not only screwed shut (slight safety concern) but was facing the main walkway for the 1000 other guests to view our room and the shower did not drain. We returned to the front desk requesting either another room or to pay whatever it cost to be upgraded to the Cayena Club next door. (still part of VIK) The staff acted as though the upgrade was something they did not understand (and their english was passable)and promised yet again that we would be moved to a "beautiful" room and to return to the front desk at 10:30 am. the next day. At 10:30 we were at the front desk only to be informed that we were to come back at 3:00 and they would have our "beautiful " room. I suppose patience is a virtue but when you pay a good price for a room (this was not a last minute booking or deal) and have never been delayed like this before, you get a little frustrated. Plus we like to unpack and get settled so our vacation can start. At 3:20 we were waiting for our room and finally at 4:00 were led to our room. It was as we had booked, finally! I recommend you print off a picture of the room that you think you have booked and keep it on hand for their reference. I get that you might not always get a king and might get two doubles but the rest of the amenities are important. and they do not try to amend their shortcomings with an apology or even a complimentary bottle of rum or a cola!
The rooms do not provide you with wash clothes (although we always had clean towels) the sheets do not get changed during your stay, the mini bar is only stocked with water and their are only basic bathroom necessities (shampoo dispenser and hand soap dispenser) no shower caps or lotions and potions. The bed had plastic pillows the first night (or should I say second night) we left a note for the housekeeper using our Spanish translation book and she changed them. But plastic pillows at a 4* resort...really? the shower was amazing, always great pressure and hot water and huge!
The beach and pool chair situation that people have alluded to is 150% accurate except that even 5:30 is too late to get a palapas or a pool chair in the shade. Both my husband and I wore 50 sunscreen and were burned to a crisp. we tried repeatedly to find shade to no avail because as previously stated there are people that go down in the middle of the night and lay out their towels books and mugs and then show up mid afternoon. (sort of like cockroaches)My husband experienced a fellow canadian from another province attack him at 5:45 am because he had laid our towels on "her "chairs. and we only tried this because we gave up playing fair. He finally gave up as he is a gentleman and she was certainly not a lady.
There are certain individuals that have a sense of entitlement, that made the stay less than memorable. Keep in mind there are signs posted that clearly state no chair reservations.
Butting in at the buffet and bars, acting ignorant and billigerent were only a few highlights. I finally gave up trying to get a piece of pizza because someone came into the line and took most of the pizza that has just been laid out and this was the same behaviour at any given time of the day or night. I will double check as to the origin of most geusts visiting a resort in the future because this resort only had a handful of English speaking guests or guests with manners. Our teenagers behaved more admirably during a recent resort vacation than the folks at the VIK. Too bad really as the property is lovely.
The buffet was great and the a la cartes were very good as well, particularly the Italian. At the peak of our frustration, I reserved a private beach dinner for the two of us and it was a highlight. Set in a gazebo with private service and incredible food and music to dance to, it was worth the $200.00 we spent. It was the peace of mind and real piece of the paradise that we had hoped for.
The breakfast omelette guy was awesome and he will make your omelette blanco if you prefer egg whites only. (he does like a tip though and he deserves it) Juan Sanchez in the buffet during breakfast and lunch is a sweetheart. Dalmy at guest services although very straight forward delivers what she says she will. The staff are hard working but do seem slightly disgruntled. We have always met memorable characters during our vacations but there were not many staff that reached out or were interested in getting to know you.
Someone compared Bavaro (Punta Cana) to be a bit like Cancun and I agree, except you can eat the lettuce and the ice in PC.
We did have the opportunity to visit a nearby restaurant (although staff acted like they had never heard of it) that made the trip worthwhile. It is called the Huracan Cafe. It is a nightclub at night and offers amazing food. The owner is Italian (although a lawyer in Santa Domingo) and all his dishes are authentic italian. We had met friends that were staying at another resort there for lunch (both paid $20 for a short cab ride). It was the best meal any of us had experienced in a while (and we all enjoy food and wine and entertaining) and his hand selected menu for us was incredible. You must check it out if you want to explore the area a bit.
True to other reviews the vendors are relentless, especially the ones at the beach marketplaces. All day long and at night they stand outside of the restaurant waiting to sell you time shares, parasailing, vespas, and trinkets.
We did not attend any of the shows, as once you have seen one resort Animation crew show you have seen them all.
There isn't a coffee bar but rather a coffee machine, the house wine (as everywhere in DR) is made from concentrate but the wine available by the bottle was acceptable and the additional $25-35 a night was worth it. The bars do offer some top shelf items if you don't mind spending a few dollars. They do not offer chair side (beach) service anywhere.
We tip as a rule of thumb (did not seem to be the norm here though) $2.00 at breakfast and lunch, $5-10 at dinner depending on buffet or a la carte, $2.00 for housekeeping each day and then $1 tips at bar for every other round. (not they we drank that much).
So in nutshell we would recommend if you are going to Dominican, check out Samana if you like quiet and hospitality. This resort is for folks that don't mind rude patrons, less than hospitable staff, crowded beaches and no shade. sound like you? I doubt it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The VIK Hotel Arena Blanca is placed overlooking the incomparable beach of Bávaro, just 30 minutes away from the International Airport of Punta Cana. This hotel in Punta Cana was renovated in 2006 to be able to offer a wide variety of environments: ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vik Hotel Punta Cana
- Lti Beach Resort Punta Cana
- Lti Punta Cana
- Lti Resort Punta Cana
- Lti Beach Punta Cana