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“Buyer Beware”

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Paradisus Punta Cana Resort
Ranked #25 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
GreenLeadersGold level
A TripAdvisor Member
“Buyer Beware”
Reviewed February 28, 2005

My husband and I are in the midst of planning a vacation for the summer of 2005. We recalled our experience last year at the Paradisus and must share with you the truth about what you may experience. We have previously vacationed in St. Lucia and Cozumel and know that there is "Caribbean time" to factor in. We vacation to relax by the ocean, pool and enjoy our accommodations. The beach was very nice. This was the first resort that we visited with a swim up bar. Our first day, we saw a man vomitting into the water as he sat at the bar drinking. We were immediately turned off and never went in the pool again. I realize that this is not the resorts fault but still a turnoff.

Why we spent a fortune to come back home early: After our first meal, we both had diarhea within 30 minutes. This process continued after everything we ate. By my third day, I was down to bread for my meals. My husband kept trying to find something. On the fourth day, well after we had lunch and in the process of getting ready to try another restuarant for dinner, my husband began to violently vomit. That was the last straw for us. We contacted our travel agent and paid flight fees to come home early. The resort was sympathetic to our situation and offered mentioned it was the "coconut" oil they cook in. They did offer to cook meals at our request but this is not the point of an "all-inclusive" vacation where you can drink and eat at your convenience. When we arrived home, we continued to experience symptoms for over a week and visited our physician who had to take stool samples and test for parasites.

Please be careful when/if you go and if you can afford to go elsewhere, please do. Your stomach will thank you.

10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Atlanta, GA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2005

First, a Caveat - if you are a Scuba Diver, DO NOT GO HERE especially in the winter months.

We chose Paradisus Punta Cana thru a travel agent who associates with Vacation Express. Let me first state that this type of all inclusive with airport transfers and airfare included as charter is a great way to plan a vacation. We had not before done an all inclusive vacation, and even the cruises you go on you have to pay for alcohol and drinks so they are not comparable.

The resort itself: Very impressive! Beautiful grounds, well maintained, the pool and common areas all very nice and impressive. You get a 4-5 star feel from the moment you come into the enormous open-air lobby.

The food: Very impressive. We read reviews before going and were concerned, but found the food to be very well prepared, abundant and much choice. A tip: YOUR FIRST DAY make sure to go immediately to the desk beside the bar in the restaurant cluster and make reservations for the Japanese and French restaurants, or you will not get them. They go fast-we arrived on Mon. evening and waited until Tues. evening (when we finally found the place to sign up) and were lucky to get res. for Fri. and Sat. night.
We ate at all restaurants except the Chinese and Mexican (we eat enough of those at home) and found them all to be great. We went back several times to the Seafood one - great lobster. Also enjoyed the Brasilian, Steak, and Italian very much. We never ate at the buffet for dinner, but did several days for lunch and enjoyed. Breakfast was pretty good - the custom omelette station was great and the fresh fruit smoothies very good.
Drinks: You must have COCO LOCO's. They are fabulous and you will be hooked immediately.

The staff: Very good, except...the only drawback to the resort (and most likely every other Sol Melia property) is the INCESSANT TIME SHARE PUSH! Best advice - when you first check in they take you over with a drink and make an "appointment" for you to go see the other properties close by. We made the mistake of not being firm with them, and they hounded us for several days. They don't speak English very well, a lot of them, and will call and call to schedule and reschedule even when you tell them you are not interested. BE FIRM and tell them in the beginning you will not have any interest in any appointments...maybe that will be effective.
Otherwise, all staff seemed to be very friendly. The maid services often didn't leave all the towels, and sometimes there were no cigars at the bar (my husband took advantage of that being part of the all inclusive - they are supposed to have hand rolled cigars available each day, but the supply was not always there) but that's why it's a 4 instead of 5 star kind of place.

The Scuba Diving was dismal. Scuba Caribe is the shop onsite, and they are horribly inefficient. We sort of knew in advance from reviews that Atlantic diving in the winter might be sketchy, but after having paid for a resort that was to have unlimited diving, (we expected 2 dives per day) and only got in 1 dive the whole week and that was inside the reef and only down to 20 ft!) we were terribly disappointed. They kept telling us to come and we would show up and they didn't go out - too rough. Of course they wanted us to show up so they could once again try to sell us the excursion trip to the Carribean side of the island. (which we would have booked instead if they hadn't promised here that the diving was great, exceptional, etc.) when we called the dive shop and the resort before booking.

So, all in all, we enjoyed the week because it was our honeymoon, and as such, the resort was a great place to vegetate after the stress of the wedding - very romantic, great food, great sun, etc. But since we are divers, we will most likely not go back as we want both - the 4/5 star all inclusive combined with good scuba.

Also note: Excursions:
We took one excursion tour I highly recommend: the Jurassic Safari was EXCEPTIONAL and well worth the money. You get to see a lot in an action packed day. Very great to do!
AVOID: we didn't go because we'd heard before we went, but please do not go to the Dolphin encounter - the place captures animals and dumps them into chlorinated water, and they have 3-4 animals per day die. Don't subsidize their horrible treatment of animals!

  • Stayed February 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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5 Thank TheCPATK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 26, 2005

We arrived on 2/21/05 and was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of this magnificent hotel/resort. We were shown to our room promptly -- it had a splendid canopy king size bed. One small complaint -- the room smelled musty and we opened the terrace doors and windows. There was a whirlpool tub in our bathroom (very nice) The grounds are kept very clean, the service is exceptional, the help are all so friendly. I would highly recommend this little piece of heaven for anyone who is stressed and needs to decompress. Also, I almost forgot -- it's all inclusive, food, top drinks, horse back riding (loved it). Massage does cost BUT well worth it. The rest of the spa is free, clean and wonderful.

7 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2005

Overall, the Paradisus is a nice place for the money. Is it the Ritz Carlton? No. But it is much cheaper, and it is all inclusive. About this reviewer. I have been to upscale resorts such as Half Moon in Jamaica, Ritz Carlton in Naples, and Elbow Beach Bermuda. I've also been to various Club Meds and Sandals. I am a well off professional from the tri-state NY area. My opinion is mostly positive. The grounds are very pretty. The rooms were clean and attractive. The beach was fantastic. The food is decent (Although better at Sandals - which was also better than Half Moon believe it or not). No one got sick (altough we were very worried). One morning there was no milk at breakfast though. All the dinner restaurants (there are 8 I believe) were satisfactory. Service at meals was fine. Again, the service in the Carribean is never what you would get at an upscale US hotel where capitalism thrives. Issues with the place are as follows: Too many Europeans compared to Americans. Hotel workers had no mastery of English. Other than that, no complaints. Remember what you are paying before you complain. Also remember that the rating system is based on Carribean hotels, not NYC.

13 Thank dne1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 15, 2005

I've been meaning to write this review since we got back from the Paradisus in mid-October (2004). It took me a while, but here I am.

My husband and I got married at the Paradisus in October. We had 70 guests attend the wedding - 66 of them stayed at the Paradisus. Everyone had a wonderful time. The grounds are beautiful. The staff is helpful and friendly. The beach is absolutely stunning. And the food was very very good. And if you are looking to have a wedding on site, their wedding Coordinators are extremely capable and sweet. Not a single thing went wrong on our wedding day - or the entire week for that matter.

We visited 8 different resorts in Punta Cana before choosing the Paradisus. The only other place I considered was the Melia Caribe. The Melia is bigger and had a nice fub vibe to it but the wedding coordinator there was very rude and bored, and so we chose the Paradisus.

So the week we arrived at the Paradisus was one week after all of those hurricanes hit so we were really worried about what kind of state the resort would be in. To our relief the resort was in great condition. None of the rooms were affected. They had had some flooding and some of the grounds were disturbed, but just one week later - you would have never known. We were lucky because many other resorts suffered structural damage and a couple even had to shut down for a few weeks.

OUR ROOM was one of the Royal Suites right on the beach. We had a beautiful room with a king bed, a separate living room, an adjoining dining room with balcony and a great bathroom with jacuzzi tub and separate shower and another balcony. You do pay extra for the service royal but it was totally worth it for us. The service was great. We had our own butler in the morning and evening, and a private concierge that helped me immensely in tracking down my guests and helping me send them notes and gifts to their rooms etc. :) The butlers worked their butts off because every night was party night in our suite - after spending all day on the beach or at the pool - with swim-up bar (the crowd favorite) we would have dinner - and then invite a few friends and family up to our suite to play cards and listen to music - so the concierge would run up extra rum and softdrinks, cigars, chairs - whatever we needed. They were happy to accommodate - and we were happy to tip - even though you don't have to!

MEALS: We usually slept in and missed breakfast so I would normally just head straight out the door to the beach. On the mornings we managed to make it to breakfast we had it at the buffet and ordered omelettes. We usually had lunch at the italian restaurant - during the day it's not Italian, it's another buffet but it's really well done and they serve spanish, american and italian food. The also have a huge grill where they served burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken and fries - that's the only thing my little brother ate and he seemed perfectly happy with it. Their seafood paella was excellent, as well at the rice and beans and fish. You won't go hungry!

Dinner is a little bit more formal and a nice experience. We would get dressed every night, and then go to the French restaurant, Steakhouse or Mexican restaurant - all of them really really good (and I'm definitely a foodie). My favorite was the Mexican. It was absolutely delicious. The french restaurant had the best wine and desserts (and a great lobster dish).

We had a private rehearsal dinner at La Marina (seafood) restaurant, and the hotel did a beautiful job. It was a beautiful intimate setting, candlelit, with blue and white table cloths and covered chairs. Flowers on every table along with the menu cards that they printed out - I chose the menu of a caribbean avocado salad, a choice between filet in green pepper sauce or the coconut red snapper and a coconut flan for dessert. Some people had seconds! Everyone loved it!

The morning of the wedding, my sisters and mom and I spent at the spa for manicures/pedicures. And then went back to my suite where the hairdresser did our hair. I just showed her a picture of what I wanted and she gave it to me. I have very long, curly hair and it was an extremely humid day, but she straightened it and curled it again, and not one hair was out of place the entire night. At the end of the night, my hair was the only thing that still looked perfect! :) Anyway, while I was busy getting ready, my future husband was at the pool with his best man and some of the rest of our wedding party - just hanging out!

The wedding was everything I ever imagined and more. The trio that we hired played the most beautiful music and followed me down the aisle. My flowers were perfect (all roses in every shade of pink and coral and ivory). And the ceremony was performed by my sister and involved a couple of readings and prayers from friends and family. It was magical. We met with the judge while everyone was at the cocktail hour and made it official (it took about 3 minutes). The photographer at the resort is one of the best I've ever seen. Our pictures are magnificent. I don't think he took one bad picture. I was really nervous about that aspect but it ended up being the best surprise of all. If you marry there - or even if you're just visiting, you MUST take pictures on the beach around 5pm. Just perfect. AND to make it even better - we left the resort 4 days later, with all of our pictures. No 8 month wait, like here in NYC!

Our reception was held at La Albufera steakhouse. Again everything was gorgeous. And the food was outstanding. Even better was the service, the waiters were on top of everything. We never had an empty glass. They had cleared a great space for a dance floor and the deejay played music that I had put together along with merengue and bachata and other music from the Caribbean - and let me tell you, that dance floor was never empty! We had a 6 hour reception, nobody left early! :) Not even my grandmother who was up there dancing with all of us.

After the reception, my husband and I went back to our suite and found the stairs lit with candles and rose petals, and a path of candles and rose petals that led into the bedroom and bathroom where the jacuzzi tub was surrounded with candles and had a huge bubblebath already going. Along with a bottle of champagne and a platter of fresh fruit, and leftover slices of our cake. All thanks to our wedding coordinators! It was a wonderful surprise, I was very touched. What a nice way to kick off the wedding night! :)

We slept in again - spent all day on the beach and then met our guests for dinner to thank them and wish them a great trip home. (We stayed 4 extra days ALONE and it was heavenly) We've received so many notes since coming back, and have met up with many of the people that attended our wedding, all of them along with BOTH of our families agreed it was one of the best vacations anyone ever had. We will be returning to the Paradisus again for a long weekend for our anniversary. And my mother-in-law has asked that we send her there for her 70th birthday next year. :)

Happy travels.

(If you'd like to see pictures of the wedding - or have questions that I was unable to address here, please feel free to email me at clarissa_cana@yahoo.com and put 'Paradisus Wedding Info' in the subject line. Thanks!)

  • Stayed October 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
30 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brandon, Manitoba
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2005

Just returned from a one week trip to Paradisus Sol Melia resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Had an absolutely fabulous time.

ARRIVAL: arrived at the airport on time via Air Canada after a five and a half hour flight. They take your picture as you enter the airport, which you can buy for $7 US when you leave. The airport is huge and modern, while still maintaining an island feel.

After a 25 minute drive from the airport, we arrived at the Paradisus. The grounds were immaculate and our accomodations were great. The air conditioning kept up very well.

FOOD: There are nine restaurants to choose from. The only meal that was average came from the steak house, and all the rest were very good. We ate frequently at the Italian (great pizzas). The lunch buffet at the Grill was also very good every day. There is no shortage of freah seafood or freah fruit. MEN...no shorts allowed in the restaurants...pants only.

WEATHER: Hot and windy. You were actually thankful for the wind as the heat was really amazing. I have naturally curly hair and it certainly did not behave in the humidity. Great waves on the beach. They only have a few boogie boards so make sure you get there early if you want one. Pool was beautiful, and had a kiddie pool.

SERVICE: Everyone was extremely helpful. Even though their english was very broken, you could usually always understand what was being said. Polite and respectful.

ENTERTAINMENT: Only caught one show, but it was very good. You could take dance lessons on the beach or aerobics.

Had a great time and I recommend this resort to anyone!!!

11 Thank fishingwidow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake Orion, Michigan
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2005

This was a return visit for us and just as wonderful and the first. May I preface this review by stating my wife and I are golfers. We played the Cocotal course 4 times and the Punta Cana Resort course once. Both are excellent courses and pleasantly different. We made tee times via fax and it worked just fine. No problem.
Now the Paradisus. Frankly, this resort meets our needs perfectly. Food was more than adequate. Fresh and with excellent variation. Room was great too. In Bldg 32 #2321. Second floor corner. Enjoyed meeting the many nationalities. Very cosmopolitian.
Any needs, which were few, were attended to in a most effecient way.
Simply put. If we go south next winter for some r&r and golf the Paradisus will be right at the top of our list.
By the way we booked through Apple Vacations and were again most happy with there portion of the vacation.

7 Thank larrylife
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

Property: 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
#21 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#22 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#23 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#25 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 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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