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“Beautiful beach, pools, grounds but NO customer service”

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Paradisus Punta Cana
Ranked #20 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
GreenLeadersSilver level
Atlanta, GA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful beach, pools, grounds but NO customer service”
Reviewed April 20, 2009

My family (with three kids ages 7-11) stayed at the Paradisus Punta Cana resort from April 5-11 and were looking forward to some relaxation, good food and beach time. Like a lot of people on vacation, we lead very hectic and busy lives in "the real world" and were looking forward to being waited on and maybe even pampered a bit (after all, the "Reserve" is marketed as a 5 star resort). Unfortunately, not only was there no pampering, there was close to no customer service at all. In fact, by the end of the trip, the kids were even referring to the resort as the "Land of 'No'" because we heard that word so often from staff members when we asked them about something or for something.

There are plenty of accounts of the ridiculous restaurant reservation system on this website, and I would encourage you to believe them. We arrived on Sunday and were told of the "stand in line at 8 am for reservations at half empty restaurants" policy. What a way to spend your first morning of vacation, right? We were able to secure reservations for Friday night (our last night there) but for no others. On the first few nights we ate at the Hybiscus restaurant which like most buffet style restaurants (including the "Gabi") had terrible (and often cold) food. We actually didn't even eat dinner on one of the nights because we didn't want to deal with the stress of convincing 3 children to wait 2+ hours at one of the non reservation restaurants and we couldn't stomach another terrible dining experience at the buffets. On the fourth night, we "tried" (and I emphasize "tried") to eat at the Chinese restaurant. We arrived at 715 and were told that it would be about 830 before we were seated. That was fine with us, and we sat down in the waiting area and had some drinks. Later, we were told that it would be closer to 9 or 915. OK--a little frustrating but we were in the mood for someone to serve us something. We got seated around 915 or so and immediately (or whenever the first waiter approached us--around 930 or so) ordered appetizers, soups and our meals. At around 1000, the appetizers came out and the soups around 1030. By this time, 2 of the kids were asleep in their chairs. We waited another 15 minutes or so until about 1050 before leaving without eating our meals. Another satisfying dining experience. The ONLY good dining experience of the whole trip was at the Italian restaurant (about an hour wait but good and prompt service and great food).

For the most part, we found the resort staff to be fairly unfriendly and unhelpful. For example, no one at checkout asked us how our stay was or anything along those lines. On multiple occasions at the buffet restaurants, we would order soft drinks for the kids and either never receive them or have to ask 3-4 different waiters in order to have them brought to the table. There were some exceptions to this--the bartenders in the Reserve lobby bar were friendly and fun as well as the main property's pool bar staff. There was also one maid who went out of her way to help me one day. I think the biggest surprise to us during the week was that there was not a "culture" of going out of the way to help and serve the customers who are paying a lot of money to stay at the resort. Although we have stayed at other all-inclusive properties (including the Paradisus in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which was great and a main reason we chose this resort in DR), after this experience, we came to the conclusion that when you pay ahead of time for customer service instead of paying and TIPPING as you go, customer service suffers.

There were some positives about the resort. The grounds are beautiful and the rooms at the "Reserve" were nice as well. The pools were nice and the beaches were as beautiful as I have ever seen. However, these positives were definitely not enough to outweigh all of the negatives. For the first time in a long time, I was not upset to be coming home from vacation--a sad and telling statement indeed.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank wella72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Cincinnati
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2009

"It was like being thirsty in the middle of an ocean". Food and drinks all you can stand, but please believe me, none worth getting exited about. During our time there my wife and I found ourselves talking about where we would first eat when we "got back home". The food is just short of Ponderosa quality. Drinks are not good. I don't know what they do to them but a vodka and cranberry tastes like a vodka, cranberry and water...equal parts of each. Want a beer? Better like El Presidente because that's your selection. The grounds are beautiful both in the main area and where we stayed at The Reserve. The Reserve wants to be special but lacks that aura. The pool music itself was a continual new age techno beat that forced us to go to the beach to pull ourselves out of the trance-like hypnosis of this sameness in sound. Reserve room service was iffy and inconsistent, and although the food there was a bit better it is not worth the upgrade. The rooms are a nice upgrade but ours had splatters on walls, woodwork and windows that appeared to have DNA dated to its grand opening. The staff is just not tight and right and those that expect the best from Parasidus will be sorely disappointed.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank ultratruthiness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 19, 2009

Just returned from a week away at Paradisus and if you are a normal human being, you will absolutely enjoy this hotel and everything it has to offer. We have stayed at other hotels in Punta Cana but Paradisus was much cleaner and takes excellent care of their guests. We always felt comfortable and relaxed, the staff will do whatever they can to assist. The beach beds are fantastic, but get out to the beach to lay out your towels before 9 to get a good spot. Tip everyone because they deserve it! We did NOT stay at the Royal Service and were nervous about feeling left out, turned out great. The RS seems to be a very similar experience but you have an additional pool and bar, really not worth it. Everyone eats at the same places, it just isn't worth the extra money.
Spa was great too!

Make sure you eat at Fuego and Vento and avoid the French and Chinease.

Overall, absolutely great!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HudsonStreetNyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2009

Our 2nd time to Punta Cana/Carribean. I was kinda hesitant after reading the negative reviews on TripAdvisor but decided to go anyways was it was ranked 5* but the travel groups for our honeymoon. Check-in was 30+mins & they gave us the wrong room. I got really sick last 3 days of the trip then caught a cold on the plane on the way back. It's a 5* resort but definitely not 5* to me. Service overall was not good as my husband would at times have to ask for his drink several times. Food was alright as sometimes way too salty, fantastic in some restaurants (Italian & Marinos - Seafood) but it's quite hard to book at some of the a la cartes unless U're at The Reserve or pay off the hostess. Lots of bugs esp mosqitoes, 1 coakroach & 2 moths in the room.. & got a body rash from bedmites. The beach is wonderful & was my main reason for going back to Punta Cana. The resort is beautiful but with all the problems, would never go back or recommend to anyone. Lots of inconsiderate smokers smoking in the restaurants - which totally made me more sick. Souvenirs in the shop was very expensive & variety limited. They do have faster internet which was nice. I was quite bored at night, they had shows but didn't find them interesting. From this experience, we may not come back to Punta Cana again as my husband got sick as well. But we had a great time the 1st time around last yr.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank VegTravelor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2009

Arrived at the hotel around 8pm. Check in took maybe 10min. The front desk gal was very helpful, and showed us the Reserve section on the map, and after finding out how far away from the beach that section is, we declined the offer to upgrade there. We were in a Jr. Suite with jacuzi, in building 21, on the group floor. Room was great for our family of 2adults and 2 kids.. two queens and a pull out. The man who brought our bags in called room service for us and we had beer delivered within 15mins...We gave him a small tip and had beer in the mini bar from that day on. The beach is great and we did not have too much trouble finding a bali bed, even when we got there at 9-930am..Same at the pool, we always found a spot. The beach is divided into sections and we in the "middle" section, close to the Gabi bar. They had all the same beach beds as the Royal section. There really is not a lot of difference in the services, and didnt seem to matter if you were a Royal guest of a reserve guest...Iam not even sure what you would classify us. We did have a Concierge assisned to our family, and I gotta deal you, he was annoying. Kept trying to get us to go on a tour of the Reserve rooms..I flat out refussed and he finally stopped bugging us. We spent an afternoon at the Reserve pool. I didnt think it was that great. Our kids ar 6 and 8..The kids pool was too "kiddie" for them, and adults pool was too deep..It was very quiet over there...No action at all. I am very glad we did not stay in that area. The main pool was fun, and staff had pool games going all the time. Reservations are intead difficult to secure. My husband lined up for almost two hours, and got only two nights servered. The Japanese was the one we really wanted but did not get...I did hear from some other people that they showed up and got in right away...so I would say dont worry if you dont have a reservation..just show up! The food was good all around. The Italian was the kids fav...And the Chinese. WE booked a catamaran trip with "Tropical Storm"...Great day... very worth it! All in all it was good..this was my 7th time to the Caribbean and enjoyed it very much.. The service was similar to all of our other caribbean holidays...

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank YYCTA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pickering, ON
1 review
Reviewed April 14, 2009

Our original trip was cancelled at the Riu Palace DR less than two weeks before we were scheduled to depart. After booking the Paradisus and then reading the reviews was concerned about we'd done, even though we had upgraded to Garden Royal Service Suite.

It was a 5+ for DR! The Royal (Adults only) or Reserve (which was a little hike from the beach) has added extras....private check-in/out, beach/pool service and ambassador lounge..which if you can is definitely worth it.

The restaurants where better than expected, but if you can't get reservations the buffets always had a assorted variety of food that was good. We went to Terra (Steak), Fuego (wonderful atmosphere) Gabi and Sakura (Japanesse). Room service is also available 24 hours, we never waited more than 15 mins and the food was good.
You will not go hungry....nor thirsty. Premium drinks and free Cigars/Cigarrettes.

The staff are friendly and courteous. The rooms were clean and well maintained. The grounds were manicured and spotless. The beach was spectatular! I look forward to going back and plan on staying at the Paradisus' resorts in our future travels.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GraysPickering_ON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2009

My wife and 2 children, age 5 and 10, traveled to this resort from April 6th to April 13th 2009. We ususally travel to JW Marriotts, Ritz Carltons and the all inclusive Iberostar Pairiso Maya in Playa del Carmen in Mexico.

We stayed at the Family Concierge RESERVE SECTION. Do not bother going to this resort if you do not stay in the family concierge RESERVE section.

The Reserve is a brand new section within the old Paradisus resort with brand new pools, marble rooms with plasma Tv''s and private concierges. The family concierge guests get a private butler/concierge. The only way to get a dinner reservation at this resort is through a private concierge who we tipped $20/day to get dinner reservations at the a la cart restaraunts. All other hotel guests must wait on line an hour in the lobby each morning to be told all the restaraunts are sold out and they have to go to the terrible buffets. The Reserve family concierge gives you a private cell phone to contact him 24 hours a day and you definitly need it. He fixes all the problems of poor maid service and any other service problems you might have. This private concierge/butler reserves a chair for you each day at the beach and Reserve pool with a sign on the chairs with your family name on it. You can sleep late and not worry about getting up early to put a towel on a chair to save a spot.

The shows at night are not good and the theatre is just a conference hall with a bunch of chairs lined up. Go to Iberostar hotels for real quality theatres and shows.

To sum things up:

1) Don't go unless you stay in the Family Concierge Reserve section.
2) The beach is amazing.
3) The reserve pool is beautiful, the main pool is ok with very few chairs.
4) The food is horrible in general except the Romantica(french), Japanese(Habachi), and Terra(steakhouse). You can only get reservations at these restaraunts if you stay in the Reserve or pay some one off. Most are stuck with the disgusting buffets. They have some non reseravation a la cart restaraunts like Chinese and Italian, but you have to wait 1 1/2 hours if not longer to get in.
5) This hotel is all about different levels of service. (Reserve, Royal Service and the regular Nobodys) Royal service guests still stay in old rooms .
6) The resort is huge and you need to take shuttle trams around from place to place,
7) Most of the staff are very friendly.

Stay in the Reserve Section, tip good, and put up with some bad food and you can have a great time due to the beautiful beach and Reserve pool and rooms.

My advise would be to go to any Iberostar resort and get real service for half the price without the tiered class system.

Email me for details if you would like at hangerguy@aol.com

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Hangerguy
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

Property: Paradisus Punta Cana
Address: Playas de Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
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:
#14 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#17 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#18 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#19 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#20 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#33 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Paradisus Punta Cana 4.5*
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 sumtuous 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 oceanview suites, plus a one-of-a-kind oceanfront garden villa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Paradisus Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Paradisus Punta Cana Resort

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