I am going to attempt to be diplomatic about this.
The Sivory markets itself as a luxury boutique hotel with exceptional cuisine, exceptional wine, and most importantly exceptional service. I found it to be the opposite, especially in terms of service. The group of friends I stayed here with are well-travelled, and we all understand the concept of “island time” and taking it slow and relaxing. We all agree that Sivory is not as advertised and did not live up to expectations.
Problems with the “cuisine”:
-They were often out of many of the items on the menu, and the menu is not extensive to begin with so we found that we ate the same meals over and over again. We had the distinct impression that they did not want to go to the stock room for supplies and would just claim to be out of whatever wasn’t close at hand.
-There were major problems with preparation. They try very hard to make dishes look fancy, as if they are from a very expensive restaurant, which is fine, but not at the expense of flavor and proper preparation. Most notably, we found that the food at Tau was quite awful. One dish was literally a plate of spaghetti noodles covered in soy sauce, while a lobster dish was so overcooked it was not chewable. No one ate more than a few bites. The French restaurant, while slightly better than Tau, was still not up to par and was not as good as we expected given the flamboyant marketing. Laveranda, the “basic” restaurant was the only vaguely consistent option, though it suffered from a lot of service issues.
-As mentioned they try very hard to be artistic, but we found that we often would have liked to have the option to order traditional, simple Dominican food. They have Dominican food on the menu, but it has to be ordered in advance (very strange). We did try to request in advance a number of times but then when we arrived and mentioned our request, they accused us of not having ordered in advance.
-They list a “Paella for Two” on the menu and they rave and rave about how good it is, but it has to be ordered 24 hours in advance. Thus, we made an order 24 hours in advance and then when we showed up to our reservation, they accused us (again) of not having ordered in advance.
-They claim to have the largest wine cellar in the Caribbean, which may be true, however we asked for a bottle of sauvignon blanc and they said that in their “8,000” bottle collection, they did not have a single bottle. Then we tried to order all sorts of different bottles off of the wine list and they claimed to be out of EVERY selection. Finally, the waitress brought over two bottles, one red and one white, and asked us which one we wanted. The two bottles were the same ones that are in the wine cooler in the rooms.
-On that note, I should mention that there are 4 varieties of wine in the rooms: a bad red wine (tempranillo, I think), a decent white, a decent rose, and a decent cava. These are the only wines you should expect to have during your stay. No matter what was listed on the winelist in the restaurants, they would end up serving us one of these four varieties, claiming to be out of EVERY other bottle on the list.
- Having tired of our 4 wine choices we tried to order cocktails with dinner one night. After an hour wait, we walked across the property to the bar, miraculously got a bartender to mix some drinks (no small feat) and brought them back to the dinner table. Yes, we had to serve ourselves beverages even though the restaurant was almost empty and there were staff standing around all over the place.
- In general, they had an EXTREMELY difficult time with even basic requests, such as leaving something out of a dish or making a simple substitution.
There were big problems with the service. In fact, to use the word "service" to describe the interaction between staff and guests is an extreme overstatement. We were shocked each and every day at how poorly trained and poorly managed the staff were. Here are but a few examples:
- We consistently waited an HOUR or more (not an exaggeration) for drinks when we were at the lounge, restaurants or by the pool. Often the "bartender" would take our order and disappear for 20 minutes, then come back and take our order again. Sometimes we would give our order to the same person 3-4 times.
- Almost every time we placed an order there was a mistake. I can confidently say that 90% of the time there were problems.
- Certain staff members had really bad attitudes toward us, and to this day we have no idea why. Eye rolling, pretending not to hear us, ignoring our requests -- often we would try to make a request and be told “I’ll be right back” but the person would never come back. It was really strange. When we arrived we were patient, friendly and tried to get to know the staff. It was only after several days of this poor service that a member of our group finally lost patience and went to a supervisor to try to figure out what was wrong. The supervisor had no explanation, and actually agreed with all of our concerns.
- During our 1+ hour waits for whatever we had ordered or asked for, we constantly observed groups of staff members standing around chatting with one another. This went on all over the resort, but mostly in the bars and restaurants. Usually there would be one or two people trying to help guests while a group of 3-4 others stood around chatting.
- It took 6 phone calls and 2 full days to have the Pepsi in our room changed to diet Pepsi.
- When staff were not in the mood to be helpful, they had no problem simply saying "no" to guests. I’ve never encountered this before in all my travels. We were not making ridiculous requests. By the end of the trip, we came to expect that about half of the time, the staff would simply say “no” and walk away. Also, depending on who you spoke to, you would receive wildly different responses to the same question.
- It's the guest's fault. Should anything go wrong, the guest was always blamed. One of my friends was given gin instead of vodka and the waitress said she was wrong and wouldn’t replace it. After a 3-foot long crack opened in the ceiling of the guest room, the staff informed guests that they shouldn't have had the a/c on so high. The a/c was set at a very modest 70 degrees. They reluctantly gave us a new room with a toilet that didn’t work. We were then, even more reluctantly moved to a third room that had dark brown water coming out of the fixtures. After this, we were too exhausted to try and move rooms again, largely because the staff blamed the guest repeatedly and were so reluctant to accommodate them.
- The manager was nowhere to be found. He did not try to assist us once, we didn’t see him once. It’s a big problem because the place needs a really good manager and there was no one. The problems all stemmed from poor management.
- We had big problems with the process of booking an excursion. The guy who handles it did not show up on 4 of the 6 days we were there, and the staff had no idea when he would or would not show up. There does not seem to be another option for leaving the resort and if there is, the "concierge" is not keen to offer it up.
- Given the fact that the excursion guy was nowhere to be found and could not (or perhaps the front desk staff just didn’t feel like it) be contacted, I inquired with the front desk about setting up a custom excursion. I had a lengthy conversation with them and the woman I spoke with promised to look into some specific details and promised to get back to me with options as soon as possible. I never heard another word about it.
- Truly, you need to confirm everything, every order, every request, every excursion, every spa treatment, every car service -- EVERYTHING -- at least three times. If you do not confirm at least three times (five times is safer), your masseuse will not show up, your car will not be there, your order will not be correct and your excursion will not be arranged. When you ask for something, the staff treats it as a suggestion, not as a formal request. This is not a joke or an overstatement. We experienced this every day, and at every turn. If you want anything to get done you have to follow up relentlessly. Takes the fun out of a relaxing vacation, doesn't it?
- The "complimentary" activities are a complete joke. We asked to borrow snorkeling equipment and were given 2 masks, one snorkel, and four mismatched flippers. This was really upsetting because they specifically advertise these activities, but once you get there, they hardly help you with the sports equipment, and there is hardly any equipment to use.
- We asked for a volleyball to play beach volleyball and (as usual) they ran us through the ringer and took a full 24 hours and about 5 different requests before someone finally got up to retrieve it for us.
-Every single day, without fail, they ran out of towels. We had to go down early to the pool and scavenge for towels because by noon each day they were all gone, and the staff would not replace them. I can’t even tell you how frustrating this was! It’s a beach resort and they had no beach towels. At one point we had to go into the spa and take the spa towels because there was no other option. The staff would tell us all afternoon “just a few minutes, we’ll have some more,” etc., but as usual, nothing ever showed up.
This is only what I can remember off the top of my head. In reality there were many more problems because truly, every interaction led to some sort of issue. By the end of our trip we just looked at each other and laughed in exasperation. The only way to describe it is to say that it was the most careless service that any of us have ever experienced.
Another problem: there were A LOT of maintenance issues. One (humorous) example: we were given a tour of the spa and shown the “6 different kinds” of showers - in typical fashion, 5 of them were broken.
The staff speak Spanish and in some cases, very limited English. Luckily for us, we had a fluent Spanish speaker in our group. He was completely exhausted by the end of the week because each request had to be repeated 2-3 times in English and 2-3 times in Spanish and still, we would not receive what we asked for. A few staff members spoke French as a first language. Luckily for us, we had a French speaker in our group. On some occasions, we would make our request 2-3 times in English, 2-3 times in Spanish and 2-3 times in French, all to little or no avail.
There were a few points that they did reasonably well (though nothing was exceptional in any way, the highest mark I would give any portion of the experience would be ‘adequate’), some examples: housekeeping and room service staff did a good job, the beach is nice and clean, there were one or two staff members who really did try, but they couldn’t run the whole place without any help. The rooms are quite comfortable and the design and layout is nice, that is, if you happen to get a room that doesn’t have major maintenance issues. It seems like at one time, this was in fact a great resort, but for whatever reason it fell into poor management and has some serious problems.
I try very hard to give the benefit of the doubt when traveling, and especially when traveling abroad. I have stayed in all kinds of different hotels and hostels and I expect nothing more than to receive what I was promised when I made the booking. Sivory just doesn’t come anywhere close. I would not come back here unless the resort was sold to a new owner or at the very least, put under new management.
The conclusion? Find somewhere else to stay. Sivory is expensive compared to the other resorts in the area and the experience does not warrant the higher price. Do not set yourself up for a painful, frustrating, un-relaxing experience. We all felt misled and taken advantage of by the end of our stay.
I plan to write letters to AAA, and all of the other organizations that Sivory is a member of and request that they reconsider Sivory’s membership. It is simply false advertising to refer to Sivory as a luxury resort.
Please feel free to message me if you have questions that I have not addressed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This welcoming AAA 4 Diamond awarded and member of SLH sandy beach hotel is high on style and comfort. East Asian influences are seen throughout combining the natural beauty of the eastern Caribbean with the style of a traditional Polynesian paradise. Each of the beautifully designed rooms features the finest furnishings and has a private balcony or patio. There are 3 unique restaurants including the AAA 4 Diamond awarded Gourmond restaurant and an extensive wine library housing an impressive selection of 8,000 bottles of the world's finest wine to enjoy, recognized with the Wine Spectator "Award of Excellence" for 2013 and 2014. And the Aquarea Spa & Wellness Center, will help you achieve the maximum level of relaxation during your stay. Whether walking the pristine beach, lounging by the infinity pool or experiencing Caribbean-infused cuisine, you are guaranteed personalized service and exceptional luxury in a Adults-only environment. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Priceline, Splendia, Orbitz, Caribbean Online Mgt Corp., HotelTravel.com, TripOnline SA, Odigeo, Hotels.com and Jetsetter so you can book your Sivory Punta Cana Boutique Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Sivory Hotel Punta Cana
- Sivory Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Sivory Hotel