This was a very difficult review to write. The resort has so many positives to it that I hate to fault it at all, but after having given it some thought, I decided it was worth mentioning the flaws with the caveat that I still hold this property in high regard. To give some context, we stayed for six days here, so I felt like we had a pretty decent opportunity to feel this place out and identify the things we liked/did not like. If we had stayed only a couple of nights, maybe none of these things would have been noticed or been sufficiently irritating to remember.
First off, our stay started a little bit rocky because the hotel transportation did not pick us up from the airport (and we arrived exactly on time), so I was not particularly pleased at having to decide whether to stick around and wait in the heat or to just take a taxi. We opted for the taxi who charged us $15 from the airport to the resort, including a stop at the grocery store for some incidentals (this price will become relevant later in the review). That being said, I arrived at the resort a little miffed. Luckily, the staff were so pleasant and welcoming that I soon forgot my irritation and focused on beginning my relaxing vacation. This became somewhat of a theme throughout the stay (i.e. I would show up to breakfast wanting to describe my complaints, but the staff's attitude put me at peace somehow).
The resort itself is flawlessly gorgeous. What a stunning blend of colors, textures, and stones! The landscaping (although not yet fully mature) was beautiful and well tended to. I found their use of plants and flowers to be consistent with the locale and done with utmost taste. They definitey spared no expense in the design and construction, and I would find anyone hard-pressed to challenge its 5-star status from an aesthetic perspective. The Caleton Beach Club had a similarly beautiful design and use of materials to create a tropical paradise.
Now to the room/villa: gorgeous! I was not terribly thrilled at the idea of staying in a room surrounded in pink, but it was tasteful, tropical and elegant. I loved the detail in the flooring and you could see that a lot of thought had been put into the flow of the room. The living room was comfortable, elegant yet sparsely furnished. The bedroom also had a minimalist quality to it, so it felt clean and simple. The bathroom was exquisite. The intricate flower-like weaving of the lamps by the vanities, looking out to the patio just outside the bathroom was beautiful as well. The villa, from every room and from practically every angle, brings the outside in, but with a feeling of complete privacy. I also thought the walk-in wooden closet was a nice touch. It felt like a home, rather than just a nice hotel room. The pool outside was always kept immaculately clean and the temperature was consistently fantastic. My only complaint about the pool is that it has a rough plaster to it, resulting in more than a few scrapes over the course of our stay. A pool of this caliber of resort should really either be tiled or have a smooth finish to the plaster. Additionally, due to the landscaping not yet being mature, you do not feel very private, especially if you have guests in the neighboring villa. We were alone the first four nights, but then had a couple move in, and it felt strange because you could hear their conversation, etc. Anyways, not a huge deal, but if you are expecting 100% privacy, then do not!
The service, for the most part, was quite excellent. I found everyone to be friendly, warm and very well-trained. They exuded a quiet elegance, and I really enjoyed talking to each of them. They also, for the most part, delivered everything quickly. For example, if we asked to have ice sent to the room, they were there in less than five minutes. They also promptly answered the telephone. There is nothing worse than calling reception and having the phone ring a thousand times. That did not happen here. The only complaint that I have regarding the service is that sometimes maintenance requests had to be repeated, and sometimes, the request was never taken care of at all. For example, the shower did not have any hot water, and I had to ask a couple of times before it finally got taken care of. Also, immediately upon arrival, we noticed that the outdoor speakers and the speakers in the living room did not work. We mentioned this every day, but we never got it taken care of and never really received an apology either. It would have been nice to have been moved to a different room with functioning speakers, especially since the resort was basically deserted when we were there. The beach service was the only service that I found to be appallingly amateurish. As I mentioned previously, hardly anyone else was there when we were there, yet it would take up to 15 minutes or more just to get a beer or cocktail. I also wish they would have had cool towels available to freshen yourself after being in the sun for an extended period of time. I also believe that they should have cucumber water stations available rather than charging for bottles of water. This is the first place I have ever stayed that charged for bottled water.
The food: breakfast was my favorite meal of the day. I loved the variety of choices that they offered and definitely enjoyed indulging in the coconut water. The breakfast staff were always super friendly, and their five-star service training was evident at each step of the way. I wish I could remember all of their names, but I am horrible with names these days. I definitely remember Maria though! Her smile could light up the room. The breakfast service may be a bit formal to some people, but I think anyone who has sufficient experience traveling at these types of places would expect it. After breakfast is where things fell a bit flat for me food-wise. When I travel, I like to have varied eating options, and I particularly like to have local eating options. Only two restaurants were open for dinner during our stay, and La Palapa was the only choice for lunch. When I travel someplace, particularly a beach resort, the last thing I want to eat is what I would consider "NY steakhouse" food, i.e. Italian dishes, heavy meats, etc. Granted, they do have seafood options (the lobster fajitas were INCREDIBLE!), but the menu never changed, so you get easily bored. I would have liked more local food options. I also thought the prices were pretty exploitative, but that is pretty much a given at any 5-star resort these days. For example, my partner ordered the Catch of the Day, and it was $34. I wanted something else, but the waiter insisted that the fish was too large for one person and should best be shared. Reluctantly, I agreed. Once the bill came, all of a sudden, the $34 fish became $68. If I would have ordered something entirely different (which was my preference, by the way), it would have been $34, but since we shared, it was $68? I found that to be a bit distasteful. After that experience, I was kind of turned off their restaurants and was determined to find an alternative option. Luckily, in our golf-cart excursions, we stumbled upon Juanillo Beach which is near Sanctuary Cap Cana. Juanillo's was exactly what we were looking for food-wise: seafood pizza, lobster, fresh fish, ceviche, etc., all served to you right on the beach. The prices were great, the menu had a good variety of options, the quality was amazing and it felt much more casual for the setting. I will talk about Juanillo more a bit later. All in all, the quality of the food at Eden Roc is without reproach, but I would ask that they consider having more casual/local options. They appear to be catering to the "American who wants to travel but still eat like an American." That is not me.
I feel like I have covered the main points. The last few things that I will address are really just irritating things, but again, if you stay for just a couple of days, I do not think they will be a huge issue. First off, I chose this place because I wanted privacy and exclusivity. The fact that the resort has only 33 or so villas meant to me that, at any given time, there would a maximum of 100 people. I did not, however, realize that the beach is not private. The beach club is just that: a club, so people from the community can come and enjoy the beach. The beach is VERY VERY small, so even a small amount of people can make the area feel crowded. The other thing that I actually absolutely hated was that they rent out the beach area to wedding parties, so the whole time we were there, literally, every day, there was some random couple posing all over the beach area, in the water, around the pool and around the restaurant for what seemed like hours each time! It was very off-putting because I felt like we were being constrained because when they were in the water, you could not go in for fear of getting in their picture (i.e. that is how small the water area is). I hated it, and I am sure the owners at Eden Roc are making a killing off of it, but it felt so low rent and more appropriate for an all-inclusive resort. After the third day, we stopped going to the Caleton Beach Club and went to Juanillo. At Juanillo Beach, the area is much more spread out (think long, expansive beach waterfront versus a small, semi-circular cove at Caleton), they play great loungy-beach music and you can literally stay there all day and feel more private than at the "exclusive Caleton Beach Club." Sorry for the brief rant, but I just feel like Eden Roc needs to decide if it wants to be an exclusive 5-star resort or just part of the way. My last rant involves the taxis. I noticed in a prior review that someone said they got a $2 taxi ride to the marina to go to dinner. I wish we would have shared their luck! We took two taxis: one to the grocery store to get sunblock, and another to a different grocery store for incidentals. The first taxi charged us $80 (I thought he was joking) for a 15 minute drive, and the second charged us $60 for a 5-10 minute drive. I felt so completely exploited and taken advantage of, and I have never felt that way in any other destination. We speak Spanish also, so I also did not expect to fall prey to such extortion. Remember, upon arrival, I noted in my review above that the taxi driver took us from the airport to the same grocery store and to the resort for $15. He even offered to take us on a tour of Santo Domingo for only $150. To be honest, the taxi situation is enough of a deterrent to prevent me from returning. Punta Cana (well, Cap Cana) is gorgeous, but the Eden Roc does not offer enough stimulation for a stay of longer than 3 days.
In summary, the resort is gorgeous, the people are friendly and the service is mostly outstanding. I suggest going for a few days, but think twice before extended stays here.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.