As never being to a AI in DR I don't have anything to compare this resort too. Having said that we have travelled to many other destinations and stayed in other AIs. We heard both good and bad from others that had visited other AI resorts in DR.
The rooms were sufficient. We travelled with our 2 children and did spend time in the evening watching movies before bedtime. The tv had a lot of channels in english. Beds were ok. Not luxurious but not terrible. We did have bugs of all kinds come in from the patio or if the door was left open. We come to find that can happen in any country though. There is Mosquitos at night so bring your repellant. We tipped our maid $2-3 dollars a day and got enough towels and our beds made (but not the bedding changed the whole week we were there). It is a different person that comes in to stock your mini bar so leave their tip in the fridge ($1-2) and you will get extras. We had one night where we didn't have any hot water to shower but otherwise it was fine.
We used the complimentary safe for all documents and valuables and it was good except one day we got timed out for putting in our code wrong and security came (not in a timely fashion), plugged in his iPad, and reset it in seconds.
We paid for the prestige upgrade with Transat holidays and there was no point because all the little extras didn't happen like the rum in your room at arrival and your beach towels waiting for you in your room too. We had to chase that all down. We never had a separate check in/check out line either so be prepared to wait! We did have a bus transfer to and from the airport to the resort.
The food was hit and miss. The seafood restaurant was terrible. The Dominican specialties was good. The Japanese was AMAZING and if we would have know it was that good we would have changed some of our reservations for just there. The French was pretty good as well. The pizzeria for lunch is the best and the grill (hamburgers, hot dogs, fries) was very good as well. But the buffet on the other hand was always the miss! We all got sick from the buffet! And some of the things we couldn't even tell what it was. Sunday is the big buffet night and was a little better. The late night food in the theatre isn't worth your time to walk out there! Cut up hot dogs and ham between some bread!
Drinks at every bar are different. We like our vodka but just couldn't drink DR vodka. Tasted like paint thinner! We drank drinks that had ice cubes and were fine and we also drank water from the dispensers at all the bars and were fine. We just didn't use the tap water at all, even to brush our teeth! When you order a drink at a restaurant order 2 or 3 because you can wait a long time for another or not get another one at all by the end of your meal. Especially at the pizzeria. Bring your own bubba mugs for at the pool and beach. A must if you don't want to drink sand!
The resort itself is HUGE! We stayed in building 2 and it was good. Close enough to the pools and beach and restaurants. We were by the theatre which was noisy at night but not for too late! The casino was at the end of our hall and did attract some late night passerbys that wanted to make themselves be heard! We went to the sports bar one night to play pool and it was quiet and fun. The disco was small and smelled terrible! The music is all Caribbean style or bad 90's techno! The nightly shows at the theatre were hit and miss too. We went to the magic show with our daughter and it ended up being dancers in Disney costumes. The circus show was good. The casino wasn't much but ok if your a 3 card poker player. I wouldn't trust the slot machines. They were pretty old.
My kids only did the rock wall and the kids pool. Both were "cool" to them! We didn't bother with the trapeze or kids club because of the times they were open and our routine we got into. Safety is not #1 in DR so there are little things that the kids can get hurt on in the pool and kids area like the filter covers on the ground that I seen several people fall through and get hurt! And the slippery tiles everywhere!
The beach is clean for seaweed and ocean debris but does have a lot of garbage from the guests like cups and cigarette butts. It is always windy and there is always waves. The first day we were there my 8 year old daughter was the in the ocean with her new mask and snorkel and a wave came and took her down and by the time she collected herself the mask was gone from the undertow. It scared her a bit so she didn't go out with mom or dad for the rest of the trip. My 13 year old son loved the waves! Bring lots of sunscreen, you will need it and it is expensive to buy in the resort store.
We bought sand toys at the shop for $18 for a set. It was a bit pricey but she played with them everyday. We had found a body board and some other sand toys on the beach at night and when the kids were done playing with them at the end of our trip we gave them to other kids as we didn't have a way to get them home. Passing it along :)
The resort lets vendors come onto the property and set up tables every second day or so. You can get some better deals on items that you will also find in the stores at the resort. Make sure you haggle with them. I got my kids 2 necklaces with shark teeth that they wanted to sell me for $70 and I got them both for $25. If your going to buy souvenirs there is a mini mall a 10 minute walk down the road that is worth it and I wish I would have gone there instead. I bought all my souvenirs from the resort store. Spent $100 but got some coo stuff that I felt was worth it. DO NOT WAIT TO BUY STUFF AT THE AIRPORT. It is STUPID expensive. The same shot glass I bought at the resort for $3 was $8 at the airport!
The resort store can be expensive for items. I bought the kids a bag of Doritos one night for munches while watching a movie and it was $6 a bag! And chocolate bars were $3 each! Try to avoid having to buy that stuff as you don't really know how long it has been sitting there!
All in all it was a great family vacation. We feel we got what we paid for but we probably won't go back to that particular resort. We met people that went over to Barcelo Bavaro Beach resort and it sounded like that was the Barcelo resort to choose! Worth the little bit extra.
Barcelo Punta Cana is not the worse resort but age is starting to show in the structures. The staff can be friendly but you get the few that will completely ignore you. Especially at the front desk. We didn't find a lot of the staff spoke english and if they did they didn't let it be known. To tell you the truth, we didn't find a lot of tourist spoke english at all. Lots of french and spanish. We love meeting new people when we travel but this trip we pretty much stuck to the 4 of us as a family.
Your vacation is what you make it! We didn't let the little things bother us and stuck to having fun at the beautiful beach!
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Breezes Punta Cana
- Barcelo Punta Cana Resort
- Barcelo Premium Punta Cana
- Barcelo Dominican Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Barcelo