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“Worst Ever”

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Paradisus Punta Cana Resort
Ranked #27 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed February 27, 2008

Food poisoning, bed bugs and pushy, disrespectful management is what we got at Paradisus Punta Cana. So, here is my review, forwarned is forarmed.
My family and I traveled to the Dominican Republic last week (February 16-23) for the second time in 4 years. This year we stayed at the Paradisus Punta Cana which is owned by Sol Melia. I made our reservations in November 2007 and carried with me the e-mail confirmation dated November 29, 2007.
Upon arrival (3 PM Saturday), we were told by management there were no more rooms. We had friends traveling with a tour group,arriving later who received rooms. (The tour groups are too valuable to anger I guess) The hotel had overbooked, insisted there were no rooms and sent us off along with some other families to a less expensive, inferior hotel 20 minutes away, then brought us back the next day. On the second day our friend got sick from the food but recovered the next day. On the fourth day my wife got food poisoning and was violently ill and feverish for 24 hours and felt poorly the remainder of the week. The room was often cleaned late (and not very well), and one day was not cleaned at all, until we requested they come and tidy up while we were at dinner. By the end of the week I was getting bug bites on my legs and arms and upon returning home it was determined to be bed bug bites.
I have to warn all who read this to consider our "worst ever" experience and ask you to tell others who may be considering this hotel/resort.

Stayed: February 2008
2  Thank 21ice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 26, 2008

We booked the Paradisus thru the Melia Vacation Club which made it very reasonable. My cousin owns a time share through them so we reimbursed her for the $500 maintenance fee for her week and only had to pay the all inclusive fee when we got there which was about $1200. We have stayed in many all inclusives around the Carribean and this was the best ever. We were so pleased that we booked another week for next year. The grounds were beautiful and our room was near the beach. The room furniture was a little shabby and the bed and pillow not as comfortable as I would have liked, but that about sums up the negatives.

We had breakfast every morning in the buffet restaurant Hybiscus and the food was great with an omelet station, fresh fruit shake station, hot food buffet and continental buffet. We had everything from smoked salmon with cheese to bacon with waffles.

Lunch at the Hybiscus was also good, with the grill preparing fresh fish, chicken or lamb chops. There was also a carving station and I tried the braised Ox which turned out to be the best "roast beef" I ever had. We also had lunch at the grill where you can pick out your fish and they will grill it for you with garlic and oil-delicious. We also had lunch at the Italian restaurant which was the only ala carte lunch place. They served an unbelievable tuna carpacio over arugala. The pasta with pesto was good too, but I think they just went to the buffet and got it from the pasta station.

For dinner the best restaurant was the new one called Vento which is near the lobby. The service and food were excellent. I recommend the squid in black ink sauce and the veal osso bucco.

We stopped for a drink at the Gabi lounge each night before dinner and that worked out well as it had a sophisticated ambiance and it was right next to the beach. We met people from Montreal and Germany.

El Romantico was excellent on the main course-the fillet minion I ordered was tender and well prepared. However the side dishes were not as described on the menu and a little disappointing. However there was a violinist playing as we dined and that was lovely.

We skipped the Chinese as people we met on the shuttle told us they were sick after eating there.

We tried the Japanese restaurant and the sushi was excellent. The main dish was cooked hibachi style with a "chef" cooking at our table of 12 people. It was OK.

The Brazilian restaurant was notable for the Chorizo sausage which was outstanding. Do try the three sauces with the various meats it was fun.

Reservations were needed for Vento, El Romantico, Sakura (the Japanese) and Albufera. Albufera is the steakhouse next to Hybiscus. The staff didn't speak English at all and didn't understand our Spanish. The t-bone steak was tough, but the filet mignion was tender.

The last restaurant I'll tell you about was the seafood. At night the grill next to the beach turns into an ala carte seafood restaurnant (no reservations needed). The beach in moonlight with a gentle breeze was gorgeous. We ate there twice it was so good. Our favorites were a shrimp casserole which was basically shrimp grilled in oil, garlic with a little hot pepper. We also like the ceviche and found that it was fun to alternate a bite of hot shrimp with a bite of cold ceviche - Heaven. Our entree here was the grilled lobster and we asked for a bowl of hot butter to dip into.

At all the restaurant we ordered bottlesof wine and champagne. We particularly like the white wine from France and the red wine from Spain. The bars had a variety of top shelf liquor but not any kind of rye whisky that my husband likes -Crown Royal or Jamesons. No Seagram Seven either.

The beach had as many lounge chairs as you could want and they hotel was full as this was presidents week. However, the beds were in high demand and you had to go out early to reserve one with your towel, magazine and hat. The beds were the size of a double bed with a 6 inch thick mattress which propped up.

My husband went golfing and the course was very nice but moved slowly because it was crowded. So a round took 5 hours. The last shuttle leaves the golf course at 6:15 and he almost missed it as no one had explained this. Also you cannot charge the cost of the cart to the room, so bring money or a charge card or you will be turned away.

I'dbe glad to provide any other info as I like remembering this excellent vacation.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank robandlil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2008

Vacationed feb 8th--15th 2008..... Upon arrival, we quickly got out of the airport with a mandatory $10 enter the country fee, and our passports stamped.....luggage put in our Apple Tours van with another couple, and within minutes we were off on our way to our hotel....it`s 30-35 minutes to our hotel, with a brief stop for the other couple.........upon arriving a staff member took us over to check-in and took care of our check in for us.....then took us to the lobby bar for a quick drink while he was explaining the hotel info...we then took our luggage in a golf cart type vehicle, quickly by the beach and then to our room........which was located in beautiful building #7......Our room was a beautiful and clean room, with great air conditioning and a king sized bed, a small t.v. with 2 or 3 american channels, the rest in spanish.......refridgerator was so so.....cooler by putting drinks up top......write the maid's a couple little words like cerveza y agua por favor....which means beer and water please.....and we got a 4- pack of their beer and 6 to 8 water bottles....we left a tip each day........You will need to brush your teeth with bottled water, do not drink their tap water!.......Our favorite bars were the lobby bar, and swim up bar. The lobby bar had nightly live music.....and if you didn`t want to sit at the bar......there were sofa`s and swinging seats close by..........There was live entertainment shows nightly, starting around 10pm.......in a nicely air conditioned room near the lobby bar, where you could bring your drink too.........we thought the entertainment was just average.....and often stayed about 15 minutes.......of the hour shows.........the ocean and the beach were excellent......plenty of lounge chairs and beds, the beds were SOOO comfy. People do tend to reserve chairs on beach around 8am by leaving their towels on chairs..........but we never had much trouble locating 2 chairs even at 10am......ocean was a bit rough, but not a problem...........lots of fun playing in the waves. Main pool is super too......with a nice swim up bar......aerobics by pool bar around noon each day........live music poolside once or twice.....Only bummer is the pool closes at 6 pm. You can get free cigarettes at any bar........sometimes a free cigar. The beach massage was awesome...lovely ocean breeze and the sounds of the crashing waves added to the relaxation. If you sign up for horseback riding, be aware the ride is about an hour in an open air (no top) truck, rough roads and blazing sun...but the horseback ride was worth it. We went running through the edge of the waves...really cool. Just be prepared for a 3 to 4 hour outing for a one hour ride. The food was good everywhere, except the steak house, La Albufera. The setting was beautiful and the service good, but our steaks were way over cooked, small portions. The Brazilian restaurant, La Palapa, was excellent. Carved the food right onto your plate...very good. The Japanese was really good...you share a table with others as they cook for 12 at a time, but it was fun and delicious....moved to another table for dessert, we had fried ice cream...really good. The newest restaurant, Vento, was wonderful. We had dinner there on Valentine's Day, and they handed out red roses to the women. The food was excellent, the service was superb and dessert was exquisite! We had a bottle of champagne. We loved it. The Chinese was suprisingly good. We enjoyed the buffet at Hybiscus, especially for breakfast. The local beer, Presidente, was good. They also had Heineken. The liquor was not cheap, quite good as a matter of fact. A little tipping goes a long way at the bars...your glass will never be empty if you tip. They will try to get you to listen to a vacation club/timeshare pitch, but we were able to get out of it. Just say no...that's what we did. Our conceriege, Tony, took a group of us on a party boat which was a blast. It was about a 20 min ride from the hotel in an air conditioned bus...took a little boat out to the bigger boat....beer and rum and coke...music...then we anchored for swimming, played a drinking game in the water with our conceriege...what a blast! When we got back on the boat the men were teaching the women how to dance, Dominican style! It was really fun.

There is transportation around the resort, but you can get just about anywhere in a 10-15 minute walk...the stone walkways are very nice and have good lighting at night. We only used the transportation 2 or 3 times all week. The grounds are beautiful, and the staff were working all the time to keep it that way.

If you need to extend your check out time, let the front desk know 24 hrs ahead...suggest you do it...we spent a few hours in the lobby with our luggage waiting for our ride to the airport...we sure would have loved another hour or two on the beach or in the pool!

The weather was perfect....about 85 during the day, 75 at night. Humidity was not bad....clear blue skies, sun....wonderful breeze most of the time.

We got up for sunrise 2 or 3 times, and it is worth it...absolutely beautiful. They rake the beach every morning, and it is spotless...no shells, but soft white sand.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with friends
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4  Thank buels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2008

Myy wife and I just got back and it was great. Here is a quick review of our experience.

1. Reserve Section
Try to get in "reserve" section of hotel Rooms, pool, bar and restaurant less crowded and better service. Those in "reserve" section are aloud to use all facilities but only "reserve" members can use reserve area. Food, pool, restaurant, bar all better due to less people. Really try to get this section. All newer.

2. Rooms
We got a bigger room with seperate bedroom and living area. Big bathroom and living area. Bring clock because none in bedroom. Don't use room service because of english barrier.

3. Restaurants
All great. Food really good. At Gabbi restaurant in 'reserve" section had lobster and caviar along with other great food selections. Favorite restaurants were El Romantico, Ventom and steak house. Need reservations. Get 9:00 seating and show up at 8:30 for seating. It will be available and you get to enjoy more of day. Otherwise they will offer 6;30 seating. You'll still be full from lunch.

4. Pool
Great at reserve and less crowded. Atmosphere awesome. Lots of places to sit and relax. Has swim up bar.

5. Golf
We picked this place because of "free" golf. Plan on losing 6 hours of vacation time. Have to shuttle to course which is aprox 20 min ride. Course really nice and you should play at least once. Cost $35 per person for cart. Crowded and don't forget voucher hotel gives you or they will send you back to hotel to get. We took attitude that can play at home and spend less time doing while can't go to beach this time of year at home!

6. Beach
Lots chairs available. Nice water and waves. Get to beach at 9:00 and grab your chair than go to breakfast. If wait until 11:00 have hard time finding chair.

7. Tipping
Bring some $1's and $5's for tipping. Believe me no one refuses a tip. Invest in regular bar tendors and servers. They will remember and take care of you.

8. Entertainment
Weak and not worth watching. Only good thing was shows are short. Lots of people walked out. Dancing in Lobby area after show very enjoyable and well attended.

9. Hotel
Awesome. Great decorations and easy to check in and out. Everyone very helpful.

10. Bugs
Some mosquitos around that will bite. Not as bad at beach due to breeze. Bring bug spray. We didn't but will next time.

11. Bar
Top shelf liquor to include single malt scotch and any and all top shelf after dinner drinks. Johnny Black, Stoli, Bombay etc. You won't be dissappointed with choices.

All in all a great experienc and we will return. Best most relaxing vacation I've had in long time

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank WildTurkey27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2008

My boy's and I had the chance to visit the DR this past winter during their Spring Break. After reading some reviews here, and talking to some friends, we decided to visit Paradisus.
The hotel is about 30min from the airport and on the southern coast. It is situated in a very lush tropical setting and the grounds are beautiful.

We arrived around 6pm and waited over an hour to check into the hotel. While there seemed to be plenty of hotel staff, they were really not focused on taking care of the guests as they arrived.
After a lot of confusion we were taken to the Family Conceirge to check in, and they too were a bit confused and unorganized.

Eventually, we were given our rooms but the confusion did not stop there. One of the rooms was occupied by another guest, who was suprised to see 3 boys appear at their door at 900p!! We moved into one room, while the Conceirge went to figure out where the other room was. About an hour later they found a room to use for one night in another part of the hotel. It was almost 1030p before this was ever resolved. The next day we had to move to another set of rooms that were adjacent to each other.

We had an all inclusive meal plan which was very convenient for all of us. The downside is that you are pretty much locked into eating within set times, and there are no late night places to get a snack or late dinner. The restaraunts are not the resorts strong point, in fact they are all fairly average, the one exception is the one that is on the beach and open for lunch - this one had a pretty good buffet in a nice setting on the beach.

The pool is very nice, but you need to claim your spots early in the morning to be assured being close to the pool. The beach is also very nice, good surf, nice wide beaches. This too requires a little advance scouting to claim chaises etc in the early am.

If sleeping on the beach/pool and completely relaxing due to a lack of activities is not your thing. You will need to get off the property. The lobby had quite a few services geared toward scuba diving, snorkling with sharks (more of a booze cruise), atv's etc

I used the gym, it was very small for a resort of this size, but if you hit it at the right time you had the place to yourself.

For us it was nice to get away and spend time together, but I would not return to Paradisus. The restaurants need to improve, the room decor could use an update/refreshening and the hotel staff was just a bit to unorganized for my taste.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled with family
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6  Thank DuffCooperJr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2008

Spent a week at Paradisus Punta Cana end of Jan. beginning of Feb. and absolutely loved it and would highly recommend. A friend and I stayed in the new Reserve section and it was fabulous. Everyone was very friendly and helpful and the service was great. We never did see the rooms in the main section, so I cannot comment on those, but ours was very very nice, with lots of extras.

Our concierge was fairly new, but very helpful and eager to assist us, although we did not really use his service often. When we did ask for something, we got it in a timely fashion. I worked in the airline industry for many years and have traveled extensively around the world, and found Punta Cana and the this hotel to be way above average.

We had a separate pool at the Reserve which was a smaller version of the main pool. We went to both pools and the beach and there were always chairs available. (People did tend to "hold" unoccupied chairs for a long time and some times we had to look for a couple of minutes, but always found something in the sun.) The beach was very clean and beautiful sand, and we were not bothered by vendors. (There were a few on the beach, but if you just shook your head no, the moved on.)

I did the water aerobics a couple of days, which was fun. We went horseback riding twice in the morning and it was great. The portion on the beach was at least half or more of the ride and you were allowed to walk or run your horses depending on your comfort zone. My friend went snorkeling and said it was really good. We both went on the afternoon boat excursion which was nice and gave us an opportunity to meet some different people. I went to the spa on the last evening and my masseuse was excellent and the facility was very nicely done. We also went to several of the shows which were entertaining. There were more included activities then anyone could take advantage of and we went mostly to beach and relax.

We went to most of the restaurants and everywhere the food was above average and beyond. We returned our last night to Gabbi as it was our favorite. I would recommend the Brazilian restaurant to anyone who would like the flavor of a real churrascaria in Brazil. Plan to spend at least an hour or two because the way food is served is different than a traditional restaurant, but like it was when I was in Rio and went to churrascarias there.

Overall, it was a wonderful, relaxing vacation and I would return and recommend to others.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled with friends
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11  Thank ecolu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2008

Jan 24 to Jan 31

We had a really nice time at The Reserve, Paradisus Punta Cana. It is a separate hotel in the grounds of the Paradisus Hotel.

With Buddar Bar style up tempo/ambient music gently wafting around the pool area, broken only by the patter of the fountains and water jets, this is a seriously chic boutique place.

Opened in Dec 07, it is a completely separate hotel to the main Paradisus complex and is restricted to Reserve band holders only. Paradisus clients are not allowed access to the Reserve and must pay extra to dine there. Don't know how much it is.

8 x 3 floor blocks, each block with only 24 rooms. 4 blocks either side of the main pool. The Reserve has it's own reception (air condidtioned and with a lounge and internet area) and every 2 blocks has a joint Concierge desk. Rooms are very modern as befits a hotel only opened in December 07. All rooms are either large junior suites or double suites, the latter of biblical scale. The main lounge was a good size, with sink, coffee machine, fridge, sofa, dining table and chairs and flat screeen TV. The separate bedroom had a king size bed with another flat screen TV. The separate bathroom had a double Jacuzzi bath, though a nice addition for honeymooners, is as always somewhat impractical as they take hours to fill. The separate vanity room had a full wall mirror, two sinks and hairdryer. A separate toilet and separate shower room with an impressive Roca multi head body power shower. Plenty of wardrobe space with a full size ironing board. Digital safety deposit box with clear instructions.

We could not fault the suite, which was well finished off with Balinese style glazed doors. The balcony, though not huge had proper cushioned armchairs.

The Reserve's main Gabi restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and evening meals and serves good quality buffet food from an electric door closed off area to keep flies at bay. The Gabi also does an excellent a la carte for both lunch and dinner. Being new, the concierge did not know it served a la carte. It does and it is first class. It had lobster at lunch, which was good quality and unusual for a resort and at no extra charge. They even had lobster on the buffet one day. The Vento (tried it twice, reservations required) is quoted as "Modern Mediterranean Fusion". Greeted with a champagne/peach liquor cocktail, it had a very nice ambience and served quality food, with a good selection of meat and seafood dishes. One night I had the baby squid stuffed with octapus in an ink sauce, which takes some pulling off in a resort restaurant. The hotel also had a separate lunchtime snack bar for burgers/chicken/hotdogs etc.

The main Paradisus has 10 restaurants. Most are al a carte and do not need booking. We tried the Steak (good), the Brazilian/Argentinian (average and a meat overdose) and the French twice (very good with superb fillet steak). Never had enough nights to get round them all.

Did not see any of the evening entertainment at the Paradisus, but he air conditioned theatre looked good.

Very mixed clientelle, US, Canadian, European and Russian.

We spent most of our time at the Reserve pool, but it also has its own private beach area. No entertainment in the day at the Reserve. Some light music in the evenings. Next to the pool area is a large childrens pool, with a smart indoor air conditioned kids club block for those pampered tots.

The pool has waiter service, who also brought fruit kebabs a few times a day. The main bar has a swim up section. Drinks are mainly top brands including 12 year old malts and Reme Martin cognac. They also have free cigarettes and gave me a nice cigar. Free sun lotions at the pool was also a nice touch. No shortage of padded loungers and cabanas and almost no early towel depositors. I've never seen so many cabanas. Normally snatched by the early risers, some were always spare throughout the day. Even in pool cabanas with tiled loungers.

The Reserve is further away from the beach than the main resort and this is a possible downside for beach lovers, but at the click of a finger, the "Reserve Express" golf buggies would whisk you there, or anywhere else on request.

We could find no fault with this hotel and found the attention to detail was excellent. The modern art around the Reserve is stunning and must have cost a lot. We were put here at no extra charge, as they had lost our reservation for the main Paradisus, which was full. We fortunately had their written confirmation and a post flight confrontation was avoided by this serious upgrade.

This was middle east style opulance, that remined us of Le Meridien Fujairah, UAE. It will not be cheap to stay here.


  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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11  Thank NeilandBarbara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Paradisus Punta Cana Resort

Address: Playas de Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#18 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#23 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#24 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#25 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#27 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#33 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $285 - $627 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Paradisus Punta Cana Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 688
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover the unpretentious luxury of Paradisus Punta Cana Resort. An extraordinary island retreat offering a super balance of natural and man-made wonders. Open-air architecture, featuring indigenous organic materials like raw coral and exotic hardwoods, houses an impossibly sumptuous gallery of luxury suites and an exclusive garden villa. All-inclusive and all encompassing, Paradisus Punta Cana Resort is an ocean front playground for all ages. Tennis, championship golf, every non-motorized water sport imaginable, a magnificent array of restaurants, our own casino, an incredible spa for kids, an exquisite full-service spa and health club and personal world-class service all seamlessly unite to deliver you the relaxing, romantic, carefree, fun-filled experience of a lifetime. The resort features 688 oversized suites including 143 royal service suites and 4 ambassador ocean view suites, plus a one-of-a-kind oceanfront garden villa. ... more   less 
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