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Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

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New York
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Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

I've been doing a lot of my own research the past few days and I've been actively reading the forums. I finally decided to jump in and ask some questions.

My husband and I are looking to vacation in Punta Cana, but we have yet to finalize the hardest part: choosing the hotel! Here is some of the criteria that we'd like to find in a resort that would suit us:

- larger sized all-inclusive

- great beach! We don't like Secrets or Suncape because they lack this.

- decent sized pool with swim up bar.

- nice amount of ala carte restaurants. I've found that many resorts advertise "6 restaurants" and then I come to find out that its really on 2 because the other 4 are buffets and snack huts.

- lively entertainment / games both during the day and at night. However NOT entertainment that exudes a spring break atmosphere (centers soley around drinking games)

- dance lessons! I love to learn new dances and so does my honey!

- since you can't really leave the resort property, we'd like a resort where its still lively enough at night that we can enjoy the shows and live music and go to the disco if we want to. A resort with some live music at night would be a big plus!

- I read in previous posts that some people judge hotels based upon the landscaping, the hotel bedspread, and the marble accents. This includes us, definitely what we like to see in a resort.

These are the resorts we've narrowed down to:

Grand Bahia Principe

Grand Palladium

Paradisus Punta Cana

Iberostar Bavaro

Majestic Colonial

We liked the Paradisus Palma Real, but it was a bit expensive for us. Feel free to give criticism of these resorts. Its difficult to decide solely based on pictures!

Cold Michigan
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1. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

The Grand Bahia would be a great place for all that you are looking for.

They have two swim up bar pools, and one exclusive swim up bar pools.

The advertised ala carte resturants are good.

The place is landscaped beautifully, and is kept immaculate. The main lobby is just beautiful.

I can't vouche for the disco's - we didn't go.

I loved the beach, some don't because of the sunken ship.

Hope you have a wonderful vacation wherever you chose.

Saint John, Canada
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2. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

We stayed at the Grand Palladium Palace for two weeks in April. This was our second trip to the Palaldium resort last year staying in the Bavaro section. I highly recommend this resort! It has everything you are looking for and more. There are many pools to choose from. I liked the pool in the Palace section much better than the Bavaro but there are also two other pools on the resort both in the Punta Cana section. The landscaping is spectacular in all sections. This is an older resort that has been completely refurbished. There is a brand new Piano Bar on the Bavaro side that has top quality liquor and is very relaxing and cool in the evenings. There is live entertainment in both lobbies every night. The theatre is located in the Bavaro section and although not Vegas quality, they try their best and it is always good for a laugh or two. The disco is located right next door to the Theatre. There is also a Sports bar right next to the disco. There are many specialty restaurants including Spanish, Italian, Seafood, Mexican, Dominican and Asian. There are many buffet restaurants and many beach restaurants. There are beach bars located all along the beach front of the resort. There are swim-up bars at almost every pool. There are many actitivities taking place all day and night. There are dance lessons every afternoon by the pool.

I placed a review on the Palladium Palace just shorly after we returned. Please ignore the most recent review that is posted for the Palladium Palace as it is for the Playacar Palace resort in Mexico. Someone posted on the wrong thread.

You won't regret going to this spectacular resort. We are already planning our return for next year!

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3. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

I counldn't of wrote that email better myself. I am in the same boat right now. Too many nice resort to choose from. Reading too many reviews my head is spinning. I am looking to plan a vacation with another couple and we are looking for the same type of resort. Lively!

Looking at Secrets, MaJestic colonial, Ocean Blue, Paradisus Punta Cana, and Sunscape.

Depending on when you go I hear Sunscape is loaded with kids.

Hope someone can help us.....



Princeton, New...
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4. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

caribbean -

I sympathize with you deeply...you should take a look at the posts I've been making about choosing a resort. Now we can be "planning lunatics" together! Haha!

I think you are on the right track though, sounds like you've done your research.

We didn't even consider Secrets or Sunscape because of the beach issue that you mentioned. They looked like nice resorts, but the reason we are vacationing in Punta Cana is for the beach, not the pools!

Good luck!

Montreal, Canada
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for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
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5. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

not to add any more resorts to your long list, what about Melia Caribe Tropical. There are restaurants coming out of your ears, the beach is spectacular and the grounds are to die for. I have an account from my in-laws and their video. We went for the much less expensive Tropical Princess (it does not fit your criteria.) Our hotel was right next to your 3rd choice the Paradisus PC, the beach is gorgeous in that area. Majestic is a smaller resort. the Palladium had a very extra wide section of beach (or as I have called it in the past.. very large real estate) that is just a few doors down from the Paradisus with the same gorgeous beach.

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6. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

Just returned from the Melia Caribe Tropical and cannot stress how nice it was- I see you were looking into the Paridisus which shares the same land as the Melia and they are both owned and operated by the same company - I would try for the Melia Royal Service which might even be less than a standard room at the paridisus- so to the sol melia website directly and you can get rates we paid $219.00 per night all inclusive for royal service which is top notch- they have 12 resturants not to mention that royal service has their own resturant and once you eat there you wont even bother making reservations any where else for your entire stay, big beach, great pool area they have three 2 larger ones and a private royal service pool..... my boyfriend and I had a great time wish we were still there

:( hope this helps!

Alliston, Canada
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7. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

Hi Caribbealover!!!

I would suggest that you look into the Riu Complex. It is a complex of Riu resorts that vary in Star rating. There is The Riu Palace Punta Cana(new), Riu Palace Macao, The Riu Bambu, The Riu Tainos, The Riu Naiboa and the Riu Melao. The New Palace is apparently beautiful and has some good deals during its opening. The great thing about staying at a Riu is that you have the opportunity to use all the facilities of all the resorts, with the exception of the Palace resorts, unless ofcourse you are staying in one of them. The Palaces have a great calm atmosphere with not very many kids, The Bambu is the resort that offers the Swim up bar atmosphere and also has a great disco. It adds great variety to your trip and you will never be bored!!!! The Riu complex is also located on one of the best stretches of beach in Punta Cana. Had many friends and family visit these resorts and return year after year. You can check the resorts out at:


It also boasts a shopping street right within the resort areas.

I know that these resorts were not in your narrowed down list, but after reading what you would like this complex fits the bill.


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8. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

We were at Secrets in January...going back in November...something that we normally do not do.

Secrets is a perfect-sized resort...big, but never feels overcrowded.

Really the beach at Secrets is beautiful...large, clean, never overcrowed. Yes, the water is rough directly in front of the resort. But, if you take a five-minute walk down the beach, you will find calmer water. We found the beach at the Riu complex to be not as large and was overcrowded.

There are 2 pools...cascading (quieter) and main (more activity including a swim-up bar). We are well-travelled. The pools at Secrets are the best we have encountered. The only nicer pool is at the Atlantis on Paradise Island, Bahamas.

The only choice (besides room service) for breakfast is a buffet...but, it is huge...with live cooking stations.

The buffet is available for lunch, along with room service, and 2 ala carte restaurants. We didn't eat lunch in the restaurants...too full from breakfast. But, we did get their famous pizza a few days.

There are 5 ala carte restaurants for dinner: Mexican, Chinese/Japanese, French, steakhouse, and seafood restaurant.

There is also an Italian restaurant that is 1/2 ala carte and 1/2 buffet, along with live cooking stations. You can also order off of a menu. And, there is always room service.

The best part about the restaurants is: NO WRIST BANDS and NO PRIOR RESERVATIONS REQUIRED!

We loved the fact that Secrets is ADULTS-ONLY. Hence, the entertainment is geared toward a more sophisticated crowd. During the day, there are games, dancing lessons, cooking lessons on the beach, games in the pool...without the 'drunkin' alcohol games we have experienced in Cancun.

At night, the fun begins with nightly shows. One night there is a huge party on the beach...with food and entertainment. The other nights the entertainment moves into the Animation Theater...shows include: Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Ideal Couple Contest (OMG...never laughed so hard), Karaoke, and more. The bar at the Animation Theater is huge. People mingle and party here, along with the Lobby Bar. And, don't forget the Casino.

Then, the fun moves to the Disco. The entertainment staff works from early morning till late in the night to make sure you are having an awesome vacation.

The grounds at Secrets are just beautiful. There is a wildlife area with bunnies, ducks, flamingos, and other tropical birds. The lobby is open-air with a turtle pond, statues, and beautiful greenery and flowers. Marble is everywhere. This place is clean, clean, clean.

There is so much more about Secrets that I did not mention: The Spa, Texas Hold'em Tournament, Horseback Riding, Sports Area, etc.

I am really, really picky. Can you tell that we love Secrets? I know there have been some negative reviews written lately about Secrets. But, I have spoken to many people that have been there in the last two months and they have assured me that it is still awesome. I think some people have unrealistic vacation expectations and don't realized that they are in a somewhat third-world country.

Good luck with your research. You will love the Dominicans. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I will send you a copy of my review and map of Secrets.

Brenda :~)


Sterling, VA
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9. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

My husband and I really enjoyed the Majestic Colonial. I too did much research before picking a hotel. It will drive you crazy. The MC opened in Dec. 2005. At first, many of the reviews commented that the hotel opened too fast. When we went in May, I absolutely loved it and I don't regret my decision. One reason that I picked MC was the fact that it is a new resort. The rooms are not run down. Some of the pictures/comments about other resorts indicated that some properties need updating. Give me new any day of the week!

edmond Oklahoma
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10. Re: Stressing out - help me choose a hotel !!

Please help. I am so exicted about our stay at MC in July but my husband is worried that there may not be much to do once we are there. can you help? WE love to snorkel and if we can do some excursions of that kind it would be great. I, on the other hand, will dance. eat, drink and just chill out on the beach and be happy.