** TLDR at the bottom**
This was our long awaited HONEYMOON destination...We waited 4 years to go and it was VERY worth it! We stayed June 10-17 2013. We arrived at the airport and were instantly assaulted by porters who literally try to grab your bags from your hands. No bother for me, but I did see others who were intimidated and let go.DON'T! Hold on to your own bags!
We booked through FUNJET via AAA...I had no idea there was a funjet counter at the airport (wish my AAA agent had told me this), so instead of getting the airport transfer to the resort, we took a cab, to the tune of $40!!! my own ignorance, so I won't complain!
We finally arrived at the resort and WOW!!! The entry, lobby and common areas inside are amazing!!! We were greeted very pleasantly by hotel porters who brought our bags inside for us and led us to the front desk. We arrived at about 4pm so there was no wait to enter our room. The desk clerk handed us our envelope and extended the invitation to contact him if we needed anything!
We got to our room, number 2003. The porter showed us around, pointed out the bar and fridge, which is restocked daily with your beverage of choice. The room was beautiful but the bed was weird. Instead of the king we reserved, there were two doubles, outfitted separately and pushed together. So if you want to snuggle with your loved one, you have to undress the bed first... like I said, weird but not really much of a problem for me, I don't mind moving sheets.
The air conditioning worked perfectly, actually every evening we turned it off because it was too cold! Our room was situated on the lobby end of the resort, not the beach end...which I have seen other reviewers complain about but I did not mind the short walk through the pretty landscaping. Also, it afforded us a shorter walk to the buffet restaurant and to the lobby.
On our next to last day there, I finally figured out the shower's water pressure fix! Better late than never!
The beach was beautiful! As it was the start of their "off season", there was no battling over pool chairs or perfect beach spots! We went to the pool only once, I'd prefer a beautiful beach, powdery sand and waves crashing over the noise and bustle of a pool bar...
I was nervous about pushy vendors on the beach, as I've heard horror stories from friends visiting Mexico, Jamaica etc... There were NO pushy vendors...There are very quiet guys walking down the beach with stuff to buy. ANY of the touristy knick-knacks you can buy in ANY of the shops, can be bought from these guys! Cigars, knock off sunglasses, paintings, jewelry, dresses.. They've got it all. I got sunglasses on the beach for $9 that were $25 in the shops.
The hotel offers interactive entertainment on the beach, and an endless supply of dudes with drink trays...order what you like, with or without alcohol...They'll bring ya anything! (seriously anything, we were offered maryjane on our first day there...yes, we declined) The water was beautiful and so much fun at high tide! Be careful though, especially if you have kids. There are no lifeguards and the rip gets strong!
There are 4 or 5 specialty restaurants here, and you have to make reservations upon arrival. We couldn't get into the steakhouse until our 3rd day there. I didn't mind at all when an excursion made us our seating...The buffet was perfect for me! There was a good variety of food every day, for all meals! The servers are very attentive and nice! I heard from other guests that we met along the way that the french and italian restaurants were overrated and sometimes downright gross! I don't feel we missed out.
The excursions... We did the bavaro splash, Santo Domingo walking tour and the trip to Maria's home in the mountains. I enjoyed parts of each excursion. Be prepared for very high temps if you do the Santo Domingo! It reached 100*F on our day! We booked all of these through our travel agency rep who sets up in the hotel lobby. There is an excursion concierge provided by the hotel for those who booked without an agency. DO NOT GO ON THE SHOPPING TRIP TO THE CIGAR AND LARIMAL MUSEUM!!! What should have been a quick 15 minute visit to two tourist trap shops turned into a four hour ordeal in the unrelenting tropical heat. The hotel busses that were supposed to drop us off and pick us up kept getting more and more hotel guests while we "toured" the museums, therefore by the time we were done at the last shop, there were 20 people waiting for an 8 person van... like I said 4 wasted hours.
On our last full day, we went to the spa for the honeymoon package! DON'T DO IT!! it was a quick rub down salt scrub, chocolate wrap and jacuzzi bath for two in a tiny one person tub... the massage was a joke, the masseuses were pushy and rude. All in all, a $300 (yes $300) bore. But then we went back to the beach and got instantly happy again!! Lesson learned!
All in all, I truly loved this vacation! It is by NO means a 4 star resort but it is definitely more than I expected for the price!! I will definitely be returning here as soon as we can possibly manage!
good value for the money (imo)
very relaxing atmosphere if that's what you want
good bars if that's what you want
very pleasant/friendly staff
replenished room beverages (we only drank water and one soda)
beds (plan on feeling achy for a day)
small pool (only one)
terrifying traveling on the roads, pray if you believe, for everyone else, bring xanax!
lack of room amenities (who wants to stay in their room??)
low quality booze...drink more if you wanna get drunk?
pretty much every other complaint others have made... relax people, its a low cost resort! Don't expect trump towers on red roof inn prices !!
In the future, I will find local tour guys for excursions or I'll just be lazy on the beach!!
Enjoy your vacations!
Rooms with Garden view won't be privy to the noise from the bar, patio and entertainment.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.