If you think you're booking a 5-star luxury resort when you book the VIK, then you're going to be disappointed. However, if you can appreciate the fact that this is probably the best bang for your buck for an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, then you can relax and enjoy your vacation by tempering your expectations. Consider that our family of 5 paid $500 (through a Southwest Vacations package deal) for a 7-night all-inclusive stay at the VIK this past fall. That's not $500 pp...That's $500 TOTAL for the 5 of us! Somebody lost money on that deal, and it wasn't us.
Of course your specific cost will vary...But it's pretty hard for me to complain since it would've cost us MORE to stay home and go out and eat 3 buffet meals/day and see nightly entertainment! For some odd reason, I could book 2 dbl rooms for us hundreds of dollars cheaper than 1 family suite. Since I'd read that sometimes the A/C doesn't work in rooms in many of the resorts in PC, I liked the idea of having 2 chances to get a good A/C because believe me...You're going to need a working A/C in PC! It's the only place I've ever been where sweat was constantly coming out of every pore on my body the entire time we sat down and ate a meal.
Turns out both rooms had A/C systems so cold you could hang meat in them. Yeah, there were some "problems" with 1 of the rooms. Specifically, they were doing construction -- and I mean a full renovation -- on the 2 floors above it. I came in one afternoon and I kid you not, water was "dripping profusely" through the ceiling into the shower and rest of the bathroom. I knew (from reading other reviews of this "European" resort) that it wouldn't do any good to run down to the office and complain to a desk clerk who couldn't care less.
So I calmly called the front desk and said, "Something seems to be wrong in our bathroom. Water is pouring into it from the ceiling and destroying everything in the room. Just thought I'd let you know..." You'd be surprised how quickly the guys from maintenance showed up and repaired everything! Fortunately this was "my" room because my wife would've lost her mind if it happened in "her" room (haha)...I just kept telling myself that we're only paying $14/person/night, so nothing should surprise me. Then we all went and hammered the dinner buffet while they worked on the room.
As for the food, we never went hungry! In fact, we kept the omelette station (fist bumps necessary or you won't be served) during breakfast and the pasta & stir fry stations busy during dinner. While it's hard to name specific dishes that were memorable (other than meatballs that were absolutely delicious), none of us ever spit anything out. There was always plenty of variety on the massive buffet...Or you could have your food prepared right before your eyes at one of the stations. I will say the chicken & steak stir fry with noodles and HOT sauce was spectacular, and I'm not a stir fry kind of guy! Some might say I was even seen going back for thirds there on some nights...I will neither confirm nor deny.
Nightly entertainment was typical all-inclusive resort stuff: acrobatics, dancing, magic, etc. But this time there was a pleasant surprise -- The Michael Jackson Tribute Show. I'll say this much...This show is as close as you're ever going to get to having front row seats to see Michael Jackson! It was truly impressive! You can see videos of it on YT. The guy (and his troupe) are so good, you'll think it's MJ himself. Just a tremendous performance and something I thought would be reserved for only the more expensive resorts in the area...
Oh...There's a pizza/burgers/hot dogs/fries place right by the pool. Just make sure the meat is well-cooked. I had to tell the "chefs" that the burgers were practically raw one day. He offered to make us a cheese-stuffed crust pizza in the pizza oven...The kids will tell you it was the best thing they ate there all week! I had a slice and it really was good. I swear it had 2-3 lbs of cheese in and on that one pizza...And after the nightly show, there's a cooler near the bar that they stuff with tuna and ham/cheese hoagies for midnight snacks. You can even press them yourself if you like them toasted.
So when I consider all things, this was a 5-star resort FOR US based on VALUE. We typically got up and left the resort during the days, had plenty to eat & drink while on property, played with a beach ball in the pool each day, played pool & foosball whenever we wanted, went to the beach a couple of times, saw some decent nighttime entertainment, had cold A/C and a place each night to lay our heads.
I've seen many people complain about the VIK Arena. If you don't expect the Taj Mahal, then you probably won't be disappointed. If you do expect the TM, then you're booking the wrong place and you'll need to pay more -- considerably more -- to get what you want.
PS. PLEASE TIP for good service. The workers are bused in from nearby towns like Higuey and they work hard at the resorts and many of them don't even earn $100 a month. We tipped the maids and got freshly picked flowers on our beds each day -- a sign of true appreciation for how a little extra $$$ can make a difference in their lives. We visited one of the local schools on a school day and many of the kids only have a single uniform to last them an entire year.
Enjoy Punta Cana and the wonderful, friendly people of the Dominican Republic!!!
- 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