The poor reviews made me nervous about this hotel - I almost cancelled the trip a couple of times. I'm so glad that I didn't!
First, let's get the construction out of the way. Yes, there is still some going on but in no way was it intrusive. Every once in awhile you might encounter a workman with a ladder or see a splotch of paint somewhere, but I heard no noise and experienced nothing that detracted from my vacation.
My room was on the top floor of Building 4 on the Heaven side. It had a great view of the Caribbean from the balcony. There is a set of stairs inside leading upward and, when I asked about it, the bellman informed me that they led to another terrace with a hot tub! The view from the terrace was wonderful. The only drawback was that there were no chairs on either balcony. There were some chairs inside that I could have taken out to the lower balcony but which couldn't be taken up the stairs (too heavy). Some outdoor furniture would have made for a lovely experience. Most of the rooms in this building had hammocks on the balconies but mine did not.
As some have mentioned, there is no solid wall between the bedroom area of the room and the bathroom which could be a challenge if you are rooming with a platonic friend. (There are doors on the shower stall and the toilet cubicle.) But the bed was comfortable and the room was serviced every day; everything was clean. In fact, everywhere I went at this resort, people were cleaning and keeping things spiffy!
The stellar thing about this resort is the service. Everyone, from the gardeners to the servers in the restaurants, greeted me with a cheerful "Ola!" No matter what we asked for, people went out of their way to get it for us. There's a slight language problem that resulted in a few mixups with food or drink orders - when my friend asked for ginger ale she got a scotch and soda! - but these were quickly remedied. The staff seemed eager to make sure that we had a good time and had everything we needed. It was interesting to note that though the alcohol flowed freely - there were five bottles of liquor in my room! - I saw no one at any time showing evidence of overimbibing. This made for an extremely pleasant experience! However, on my rambles around the resort I saw no evidence of an ice machine so you probably need to order it from room service.
My impressions of the food are mixed. My favorite restaurant was the French, Le Petit Cochon. We ate there twice, we enjoyed it so much! Try the oil-poached salmon and the mussels. The Mexican restaurant was good, too. I didn't enjoy the Italian or the Brazilian restaurants so much but others in our group liked the Brazilian. For breakfast each morning, the Ciao restaurant (Heaven side) put on a sumptuous buffet with anything one could want, including cold and hot dishes and made-to-order eggs, omelets, and pancakes. Really good, although I had a problem finding butter at one point. The Toro restaurant put on a similar huge buffet for lunch and allowed us to sit outside, talking over drinks, almost all afternoon.
But the nightlife was puzzling. I was with a group that attended musical events in the evening that concluded around 11 p.m. At that time, on the Heaven side, there was one bar that stayed open till 1 a.m. inside and the martini bar outside where we could dance until 1 a.m. as well. There was no food that I could see so, if you are hungry after this time, the 24/7 room service is the only way to go. All the bars shut down at 1 a.m. so if you're a night owl looking for late night action, you'll need to go somewhere else.
The resort is quite spread out, with the all-adult Heaven side and the family-oriented Hacienda side. There's a shuttle that runs every few minutes between the two sides, or you can take a 5-minute walk to go from one side to the other. I've seen complaints here that people come down early and claim lounge chairs by the pool which is true, but the week I was at the resort this was not a problem, there were plenty of lounges to go around. Don't expect a wide sandy beach to walk on; a few people in our group were disappointed by this.
All in all I had a wonderful time at the Hard Rock. Once the construction is all finished and with a few small improvements (outdoor furniture on the terrace and a place for a late night bite, for example), it's going to be a stellar place to have a vacation. Muchas gracias!