Just came back from VIK Arena after a 10 day stay. I wish I booked 14 days! I traveled with my husband and two kids age 10 and 9. We all agreed that this 4* resort beats heads down our last resort we stayed in which was the 5* Bahia Principe Jamaica in Runaway Bay/Jamaica. We loved the proximity to everything: the beach, pool, restaurants, lobby, theater, bars - everything within a couple of minute walk. This resort is really laid back, very family friendly, great and VERY HARD WORKING animation team - working hard all day long till late evening hours to keep the guests of all ages entertained. Good food choices; we tried two ala carte restaurants: the Mexican and International and the food was really excellent.
Overall, we had a GREAT time and would return anytime. There were a few "hiccups" and minor "inconveniences" that did not really affect our vacation in any major negative way, but I will mention them in case this might actually matter to some if the potential guests. Maybe the management will consider looking at these things in the future?
We booked the Superior room which is a more expensive room category to the Standard room. The difference is the Superior room is nice and renovated, and the Standard, old and run down. Upon check in we were told they did not have the Superior room for us, but that we will receive a free upgrade to the Family Suite. The Family Suite however was really in a terrible shape - coffee (I think?) stains on walls, bathroom door falling apart, beds and bed spreads very old, A/C barely working. We complained to the front desk and said we would rather have the room we actually paid for - as soon as one becomes available. We were moved the next day to a lovely room in building 4. Note to Management: please clean the stains (coffee spills?) on the walls in room 1111. It is really disgusting and an eye sore :(
I have to say the pillows in both rooms were horrible. Very clumpy and very hard. Not my choice of comfort, as I prefer flatter pillows, but maybe some people would be happy with them.
The animation team works very hard and the activities are great and plentiful. However, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you have activities for kids where they win prizes, please make sure the little kids can actually use the things they win. Kids were engaging in day activities and then encouraged to show up before the show at 9:30PM when the winners were announced and awarded the prizes. Except all the kids were getting was...coffee! :( It could really be anything inexpensive - but something the kids can appreciate getting: hat, t-shirt, bracelet etc. My daughters won 4 packages of coffee during our stay and were not even excited to get up on stage to pick up the award which was not really meant for kids to use.
We've noticed that some activities were just for the French speaking guests. That was quite disappointing to us, as it seamed they had a lot of fun dancing and playing every night near the theater, however all the games were in French ONLY, and other guest were not encouraged to participate.
Other shows and games (for example Bingo) were mostly announced in all English, Spanish, German and French. Many of the staff members do not speak English.
If you are not a smoker, please be aware, that A LOT of guests smoke at the resort, and smoking is allowed everywhere. On the other hand there are a lot of families with little kids. I understand that the smokers are on vacation too, and they don't want to be confined to smoking areas, but I wish there were at least some non smoking sections - on the beach and at the pool. Some people come to the beach to enjoy the pure fresh breeze, and instead you are forced to inhale clouds of smoke - you and your kids :( and even if you wanted to, there is no place you can move to - not to encounter more cigarette smoke.
Oh and yes...please be aware the beach is allowing topless sunbathing. There isn't much of it going on, but we've seen a few...older ladies....why but why???? :))
Rum - cheapest we've seen is at the Nicole's store near the resort (free transportation provided). We've been around the farms - rum is more expensive there; made a mistake to trust the tour guide that that was the best price! Also do not wait to the duty free at the airport - alcohol is MUCH more expensive there. $37US for a bottle of Barcelo Anejo!
Larimar - do not buy from the hotel vendors; much cheaper and better quality from the beach vendors - few steps to the left side of the hotel beach; I recommend there stores "Better than Walmart" and "Store 21" - got great deals from these guys. Of course, don't forget to laugh out loud at the first price they quote you. Usually 60% off that price will get you a sale.
Oil paintings - best deals: at the airport going back home; large paintings for $9.99USD, as compared to around $100USD for the same size paining at the resort! I bought 3 fair size painting at the airport for $22USD total. Best deal the hotel vendor was willing to give me was $40USD for 2 small paintings and he made me feel like I'm ripping him off. Luckily I did not buy from him.
Your rep will probably advise you that the Punta Cana airport is very strict if it comes to weight of your luggage. Every extra kg will cost you $15US. The hotel lobby has a luggage scale, and I truly believe that "service" should be free of charge. It would be so nice of the hotel to provide this courtesy to its guests. Instead I was disappointed to find out that the hotel turned that into a revenue source - each weighted item $1US! Not nice :(
Overall, we had a great time. Good value for money. Definitely you get what you pay for. We got a great deal and feel the money was well spent. I am in a travel business so I pay attention to details, therefore I felt the need to mention these few "hiccups" - I know I would share this with my clients, however, did this affect my vacation in a negative way? Definitely not. If you are not looking for luxury, but rather a laid back atmosphere of a 4* small resort, and you travel with an open mind, you will have a great time at VIK Arena.
- 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