We travelled to Dreams Puerto Aventuras from November 11-18th with myself, my wife and our three kids aged 9,9 and 5. We had previously stayed at the Dreams Punta Cana property and had a good experience there, especially with their Explorers Club which is why we chose this property for our trip to the Mayan Riviera. I can't say enough about the level of service at this resort. Everyone was courteous and friendly, we didn't have one bad experience with any staff there at all.
Check in was fast and easy. We came in by ourselves in our transport so that probably helped since there was no-one else checking in but we encountered no difficulties at all. The check in staff was courteous, friendly and spoke excellent english. Anytime we ever needed to deal with them (which wasn't very often since we had virtually no problems during our stay) they were very helpful and efficient. We got a family suite which had two double beds and a pullout couch. The pullout was actually fold out cushions which our children found much more comfortable than the spring version so that was great. The other beds and pillows were very comfortable too. We had a ground floor room overlooking the main pool which was great and conveniant. Noise was never really an issue as the resort overall seemed quite quiet at night. Maid service was generally good and the fridge was always well stocked. Our shower was awesome, strong, strong water pressure! We had a massive tub as well which fit our three kids with room to spare!
Once we got checked in we came back to the lobby to take a look around the resort. We were flagged down by Carlos who asked if we had just arrived. When we told him we had and were looking for where the dolphins were he immediately took us on a full tour of the resort. Carlos was very helpful throughout our stay, saying hi to us whenever we came into the lobby and helped us with booking our dolphin swim, photographer session and getting our online boarding passes for our flight home.
The property itself is fairly small and compact which was nice for us since we felt safe letting our children play off by themselves. The beach is small but never felt crowded, chairs were easily available. The drink service on the beach was excellent, the staff did a really good job of getting out there and serving you in a timely manner so we barely left our chairs when we were catching rays in the mornings. The beach swimming area is protected by a reef/rocks which is great for smaller children as you don't have to worry as much about safety in the ocean. There was little current at all in the cove and our kids loved playing on the ocean trampoline. Snorkelling and kayaking was excellent as well and we enjoyed going out on the hobie cat (small catamaran). There is a nice, quiet natural pool a ways down from the beach that has a ton of fish in it as well. The main pool is small but never seemed too busy our crowded during our stay. There was a nice "hot tub" which was warmer than the main pool and the kids really enjoyed that in the windy afternoons. Didn't spend a whole lot of time at the adult pool but it seemed nice with a swim up bar and lots of seating area, plus it's own hot tub.
The one thing I found about this resort was it was fairly quiet. It's a smaller property and wasn't busy during our stay so this probably contributed. I personally like to do lots of activities and there wasn't quite as many as I've experienced on other larger properties. This being said, the entertainment staff at this resort were absolutely fabulous. Roberto, Gabo, Israel, Jesus and Carlos were all excellent. They worked hard to get people involved in the activities and games and were great with adults and kids alike. Our kids loved getting flung into the sky on the bungee trampoline! Had a great time playing volleyball on the beach and getting pulled into lots of the "crazy games". The entertainment staff on a whole were all personable, friendly and engaging without being pushy. The night life seemed pretty quiet. Shows were hit and miss, the fire and water show was fantastic as was the circus show. The other shows weren't as good but weren't terrible either. As we had the kids we didn't go out after the shows so I can't comment on the disco which opened later.
Food was excellent. Being a smaller resort the buffet had a more limited selection than some we've been to but on a whole it was good. Always a selection of fresh grilled foods and good options for picky children. I found the more freshly prepared selections better than the hot plated stuff which was sometimes a bit bland and dry but that really is to be expected in that type of buffet setting. The a la cartes were very good, especially the italian restaurant. Excellent service throughout, my only complaint would be that lunch at the seaside restaurant was quite slow, though the food was very good. Carlos at the seaside restaurant, Jonathon at the mexican restaurant and Victor at the italian restaurant were outstanding in their service. Even my kids ate well at the a la cartes and they can be quite picky eaters about "fancier" foods. Food was nicely presented with obvious thought and effort put into both preparation and presentation.
The kids club was a bit of a disappointment especially since it was one of the main reasons we chose this property. Part of the issue was a lack of kids for the club. Often our children were the only ones there so this somewhat dulled their enthusiasm. As well sometimes the scheduled actvities didn't end up happening on a few occasions. The staff were really great though and the kids really enjoyed going there for the evening movies and activities but not so much during the day. I think if the resort had been busier there would've been more kids there and they would have enjoyed it more. Since the resort was small and we felt comfortable with them roaming freely it wasn't a big issue though as we could get some "adult time" without worrying about losing them on the property.
We did the dolphin swim as well which was excellent and I will do a detailed review in the dolphin discovery section. It was great to have it on-site so we didn't have to travel and lose out on time at the resort. We also got family pictures done and Adriana did a great job. We didn't get a great solo picture of my older daughter one the first run and there was no problem to do a later re-shoot.
All in all it was an excellent, excellent family vacation. Everyone had a great time and we had no real issues at all during our stay. Special thanks to Rebecca who is a great resource to talk to before and during your stay. I would highly recommend this resort for families and those looking for a quieter vacation with the best service I've experienced in my many travels to AI resorts.