My wife, 6 year old daughter and I stayed at the Barceló Punta Cana Premium from March 23 to March 30 with another couple and their 7 year old daughter (see Angelabanana’s review for her take on things) and can honestly say we had a great time. I can only believe that those that say “it was the worst vacation ever” expected the Ritz Carlton at a Holiday Inn price, or perhaps they were in the minority of the guests that did have issues based on observations of those very happy people that were on property while we were there.
Here is an overview of how I thought things went and my observations:
• PUJ Airport and Transfer: I was pulled aside for a random check of my carry on, and I think the Custom’s guy was trying to get me to provide him with an incentive to make my time with him as short and painless as possible, as he kept on asking me if I had “hard cash” or something like that. I feigned that I didn’t know what the hell he was asking me for/about, and I think he finally got frustrated as he pointed me in the direction of my waiting family, without any said “incentive”.
• Check In: A bit of a hassle, and understaffed (or perhaps better stated staffed in a way that was not the definition of efficient). We wanted adjoining rooms, or at least rooms in the same building, and as luck would have it our complete party was “upgraded” from a Sea View room to a Superior Ocean View Room with a little persistence (and a $20 bill..) in building three.
That said, the property was beautiful, and was NOT filled with drunken springbreakers at all. Think family resort. If I was still single and in college hunting hot single co-eds I'd be very disappointed!
• Room: We had room 3302. Although it smelled a bit musty (by no means overwhelming), I would half expect that being that we were in a tropical location where the humidity is always present. The view was fantastic, the room was clean (but in need of a little TLC), the bed’s very comfortable, the air worked, we had hot water 99.9% of the time, and all the electronics and safe worked. We could definitely stay there for a week (or more). The refrigerator was also stocked with beer (only two, but there is a way around that), Bottled Water and Coke and Coke Light (Diet), Juice Boxes and a bottle of Rum.
• Restaurants: We all only did the buffet for the first night and for breakfasts, and truthfully the first night I thought “what are we in for?”. That said, for breakfasts were decent once you found the foods you like (it was Omelets, Eggs, Bacon, German Sausages and Toast for me mostly), but towards mid-week we all decided to try at least one “adventure” food for breakfast such as Bacon wrapped Bananas, Sliced Hot Dogs in some kind of sauce, etc. Half the fun was trying something you would never serve at home, but may be a staple in some other countries.
The burgers and hotdogs at the Marlin Grill were excellent for a quick lunch, and the pizza was decent if you have over an hour to kill or want to get out of the sun (and stand in a line).
As a group, we ate our dinners at all the Ala Carte’s throughout the trip, and I think it is safe to say we loved the Dominican and French restaurants the most- awesome food; however the others (Italian, Tex Mex, Seafood and Japanese) were decent to mediocre.
• Bars: Friendly bartenders and good drinks for the most part. You have to pay more for “international” brands (JD, Absolut, etc.), but because we were mixing with coke, or lemonade or whatever, it didn’t matter to us if it was rail or call. Also, Presidente or Presidente Light are acceptable beers.
• Pools and Beach: Simply awesome- nothing more to add other than it was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.
• Shows: 3rd Grade variety shows are better, but they tried.
• Excursions: We did Dolphin Explorer with the two girls, and the look on their faces when they interacted with the Dolphin was worth the expense alone. This is the Dolphin excursion recommended to us by our Delta Vacations rep as being the best run for people as well as the Dolphins, Sea Lions, etc.
We also booked an excursion to Saona Island with Dressl Divers out of the Iberostar. There is a dive operation on the resort property, but they never returned an email I sent them with questions, so I decided to go with a responsive outfit even though they were off property.
I dove and my wife and daughter snorkeled. They did a fantastic job from pick up at the Barceló to the return to our property. It is a top notch diving operation for those of you who are certified. You get a two tank (AM and PM) dive and an AM and PM snorkel, as well as a decent beach barbeque. Finally, you get drinks or beer for the divers after the second dive and all day for the snorkelers.
• Leaving: Sucked at the ticket counter, but security and customs seemed to do a better job than here in the states insofar as being efficient without being apathetic.
• Bring a lot of $1 bills (suggest at least $100 depending on the length of stay and # of individuals). Although it is all-inclusive, that doesn’t mean the staff doesn’t need your tips. For example, a Police Officer in the DR makes about $240/month. You can guess what a bartender, server or the housekeeping staff makes, and it is not a cheap place to live.
• Calculate the amount of sunscreen you’ll think you need, and then double it. A can of SPF 50 spray suntan lotion is about $32 (USD) in the complex’s gift shop.....
• Bring a hat. I highly recommend a “Boonie style” wide brimmed one you can dip in the ocean or pool.
• Leave a list of what you want in your room refrigerator, and a $2 or $3 tip- you’ll get what you asked for. Also, a tip for the maids is in order.
• Go there with a great attitude, and remember you are not in Kansas anymore. I still can’t believe some of the negative reviews....
We also want to give a huge thank you to Erick Francoise, our Delta Vacations Rep, who gave us great advice, as well as looked out for all of us. What an asset to Delta!
Finally, a shout out to our Canadian friends Uncle Ted and Lori - we miss the pool side, bar side and beach side drinks and conversations!
- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Punta Cana Hotel
- Barcelo Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Breezes Punta Cana
- Barcelo Punta Cana Resort
- Barcelo Premium Punta Cana
- Barcelo Dominican Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Barcelo
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