Travel Dates: Oct. 21 to 25th 2012. This is off season and the hotel was at 60% occupancy. It was great since there was no fighting over beach chairs and no lines at the water park. Excellent time to travel.
Guest Description: Family (one child, daughter 10 years old). Other guests were mainly Korean, some Japanese, and Russian. I think I was the only American there, but I hear this changes in the summer months when more locals use the Water Park.
Rooms: The rooms were average, but clean. For us not such a big problem since we wanted to spend more time at the pool and water park. Amenities are severely lacking. No toothbrushes at first. No shaving kit. No bathrobes.
Food: We traveled from Japan, and in my opinion, the food in Japan is world class. Therefore, the food at the hotel basically sucked. The hotel is Korean owned so it caters more to Koreans and therefore the food is more Korean style. If you think you can get by on Pepe's (the Italian restaurant in the hotel), forget it. There were no guests in the restaurant and after looking at the menu, they only had one pasta dish. Also be aware: NO Room service.
A. If you are looking for major names such as Hard Rock Cafe, Tony Roma's, Capricciosa, etc... take the DFS bus (10 minute ride) to the shopping area.
B. If you want something close to the hotel you have a few choices:
1. Truongs: A Vietnamese restaurant that serves Asian Food. The Lumpia is excellent and portions are quite generous. Steaks are also available. Cost: we spent about $50 for the 3 of us. To get there, you walk out the hotel, turn right and it is next door to the hotel on the main road.
2. Inside the super market, they have a deli type cafe. Locals go there and they have various dishes, rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, etc... May not be open later in the evenings or weekends. Cheap price.
3. Gentle Brook Cafe: Across from the hotel you will see a building with a 360 at the top. That is a restaurant that rotates 360 degrees. The food there seems to be ok, but we went to a place on the 1st floor of that building. According to friends who went up to 360, they said that Gentle Brook was better and cheaper. Anyway, Gentle Brook has a variety of foods. Steaks, Pasta, Mexican, etc... Quite spacious, and again about $50 for 3. One of the chefs (I think owner) is Japanese so the taste is quite good. Please don't think this is gourmet level, but the food is decent. One thing to be careful of is, that there is no lighting on the street to get to the building.
4. There are other places to eat along the main road, but we didn't try them.
Hotel Staff: Here I need to break this up into 2 parts. The regular hotel staff and the Life Guards at the pools and water slides.
A. Regular Staff: Adequate, nothing special. Actually quite a let-down. When one is on holiday, you would expect the staff the at least greet you or help you out as quickly as possible.
B. Life Guards: They ROCK!!! Really friendly, outgoing, helpful, etc... Everything you would expect from a resort and more. They play with the kids, and make sure you have a fun time. The hotel should have a tip box just for the Life Guards, since they all were a great bunch of guys.
Water Park and Pools: Open from 9AM to 6PM, with a one hour lunch break for the slides and river pool. The Castle Pool is OPEN until 11PM!!!
The hotel has 2 regular pools, a Kiddie Pool (which was just finished when we got there), the Wave Pool, the river type pool with a current, 4 types of water slides.
The water park was the BEST part of the hotel. The Life Guards were friendly, fun, and basically made the whole resort. If you are not going to use the water park, then stay at another hotel, since I am sure the food and regular staff will be better else where.
Shopping: The shops in the hotel stay open till 12 midnight. Across the street you have Ace Hardware, a book store, and Joetson Supermarket (they also have clothes, shoes, etc... Kind of like a K-mart).
DFS is a 10 minute bus ride. Near DFS you have small shops as well as an ABC Store and another larger souvenir shop.
WIFI: They have two free WIFI lines. In the lobby and in the rooms. Both are kinda slow, but not bad for checking emails or Facebook.
Summary: Recommended for families with children who plan on spending most of their holiday at the pools and water park. If the water park is only a small part of your holiday, you may want to look into other hotels as well.
Tips: Our check out was at 12 Noon with a 2pm bus to the airport. For $20 + 10% tax, you can get a late check out of 1:30 and prices go up for later check outs. Next time I will do this and stay in the pool until the last moment. Be aware, food prices at the airport are crazy.
Please remember that we were there off season. The above comments could be different depending on the season and hotel occupancy rate.
Also I hear that taking a short trip to a close by island for snorkeling is very good, and on Thursdays they have the weekly market with lots of cheap food stalls. You can ask the hotel staff about these, but better to talk to the Life Guards who are more friendly and informative.
Also I hear that the spa, gym, and massages are good, but have not tried them.