I must start this review by saying that I am an avid traveler -- both for business and leisure. I spend 100+ days on the road each year and I've been doing that for many years.
If you're not an experience traveler, then I would likely say that you'd be happy with this place. For me and the 15 other people that we were traveling with, it was less than a positive experience and I personally would not recommend Dreams Punta Cana to anyone I know.
That said, I'd like to present the pros of the resort first:
1) You will almost always get a chair at the pool or beach. You won't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to drop your magazine and towel on a chair in hopes of saving it somehow, for after you've eaten breakfast. The pool was very clean. If you upgrade to Preferred Club , you can get a lovely beachside bed to rest in and terrific staff that continuously bring you drinks.
2) The Staff that manage the Preferred Club are really helpful. It's as if they already know that the accommodations are so bad that they go out of their way to do other things for you. Plus, it's the only place where you can get top-shelf \drinks as all other bars only provide wells to guests.
3) Their spa is great and their circuit is wonderul. You can listen to some timeshare guy in the lobby give you a schpiel and he'll give you a coupon book in which you can get 40 bucks off of a massage.
Here were the cons to our stay:
1) It's a solid 45 minute to a 1-hour ride from the airport. And that's ok, but the last thing you want to do is be shoved into a bar and asked to wait for someone from the Preferred Club (which you paid to upgrade to) to come and get you. We sat in that bar for nearly 35 minutes before we had to remind the registration folks that we were still there.
2) When we arrived at the Preferred Club, we were immediately told that the hotel was not at full capacity (we found out later it was less than 50% full) and asked if we would like to upgrade our room to a honeymoon suite for $100 a night. Based on the pictures of the room that we booked, we thought we'd be fine in the room that we reserved, so we said no. When we were brought to our room and the door was opened, we were immediately taken back by the smell of mold and mildew. It was completely overwhelming. The Preferred Club representative clearly smelled it too as she immediately opened up the sliding glass door. The second thing we noticed was that we had 2 beds in our room (which we reserved a king) and what was even funnier was that they were on rolling casters. If you sat on them, they rolled out from under you. After about a minute of standing in the room I told my husband that there was no way we could stay in that room even one night as we couldn't even catch our breath -- the smell was horrific. So we decided to upgrade to that Honeymoon suite she offered. Bait and switch? You decide.
3) We met up with our friends who arrived a few days before and sadly, didn't say anything to the folks at the hotel and decided to stay in the type of room that they tried to give us. She said that she knew it was awful but didn't think that anything would be better. Thankfully, they decided to change their room too because any of our friends that stayed in those room types all came down with some sort of head/sinus funk which we assume was caused by all of the mold and mildew. After we sorted out their room issue, we decided to go to dinner. We went to their Seaside Grill and ordered. I let them know that I do not eat meat and asked for their Grilled Mahi without any of the potatoes and a side salad. I got the grilled Mahi with the potatoes that had bacon in them and a side salad topped with bacon. Awesome.
3) The next morning we left at 11:00am to get some breakfast. It was pouring, so we decided to make a run for the closest restaurant which was Oceana which offers a special "Preferred Club" breakfast. They were closed. I asked what would be open and I was told that nothing was until lunch now. I thought that was odd, but we decided we'd simply go back to the room and order room service. I ordered my breakfast --- 2 scrambled eggs with cheese -- in both English and Spanish. 45 minutes later, I received 2 eggs filled with sausage and vegetables -- no cheese. So I called back to explain and they said they'd be right there with the proper order. 30 minutes later we just decided to leave. (I found out the next day that their room service really wasn't worth a hour and a half wait unless everything is closed and at that point, just get the pizza because everything else is inedible.).
4) There is nothing to do there when it rains. It rained every day -- hours at a time -- with a window of about 1 - 2 hours of sunshine. Take advantage of it.
5) Our other friends began to arrive and were shown the same room types we all booked. We gave them a head's up on the mold and almost all were able to upgrade their rooms to something without the stench and rolling beds. Our friends needed to change their room 3 times during their stay as their first room was filled with black mold and their second room experience a major plumbing issue as the ceiling in their bathroom pretty much gave way from the water coming in from the room above them. Our other friends arrived back at their rooms to find their door open and folks cleaning it out as their room (in another building) had also flooded their stuff. We couldn't tell what type of water it was -- may have been sewage.
6) As we're used to traveling with a large party, we know that it's difficult to seat a party of 16 together right away and we're good with that. But as no restaurants there took reservations, eating dinner was always a bit of a nightmare. The worst was trying to get into Himitzu - their Teppanyaki restaurant that also has a Chinese restaurant within it. As we could never fit in any of their 3 seatings, we opted to try their regular Chinese cuisine. I will tell you that this was the worst restaurant of all of them. Their head chef should be fired and the restaurant closed down. Do not eat the fried rice -- it tastes like ash tray. Their sushi was crunchy and could not even be chewed. Their dishes were less than tasty and many of which were inedible. All 16 of us left after not eating anything other than the seaweed salad and opted for room-service Pizza. The only restaurant that was good (and I say that basing it on the quality of the rest of the restaurants on property) was Portofino. I recommend the Gnocchi.
7) Their entertainment at night is ghastly. The only thing that was somewhat interesting was karaoke night but as soon as folks started having fun, they shut it down. Their casino is the size of a large walk-in closet. Their "Disco" is dark, smells of a combination of manure and mold. It's impossible to breathe inside of it.
8) Nearly everyone caught some sort of head thing related to the mold and mildew. I had to take my husband to their doctor on the property (not associated with the hotel, just on their property). I'm no doctor but I'm a mother of 2 and I know a sinus infection and ear infection when I see one. The doctor agreed that he needed an antibiotic, ear drops and antihistimine, but then tried to upsell us into a "head x-ray". Seriously??? A head x-ray??? Sadly, the woman behind us who had just fallen on when stone and was waiting to see the doctor was likely sold the head x-ray. She probably needed it though.
9) Beware of the tarantulas. They're everywhere. On the last night of our stay I was walking from the bar by the pool to the ladies room (none of the toilets flushed) and the crazy tarantula went after me. I kid you not. We have pictures.
10) They're supposed to restock the refrigerators in the room every day. We had it done once while we were there for the 5 nights. Calling them did not help.
I could go on and on but you can see where this is going. I guess the most interesting part of the stay was when I checked in on Foursquare and said "They should call this place Nightmares instead of Dreams", their person who handles their Social Media reached out to me saying that they'd be in contact to talk about my stay and asked me to send them an email; which I did. I've yet to hear from them and it's been 10 days. I guess I should have expected that.
Punta Cana is a fantastic place. I was there 4 years ago with my husband at another all-inclusive resort and had an amazing experience. Dreams just doesn't do the Island any justice.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.