We traveled to the PPC from July 15-21 for our anniversary. We did read mixed reviews before booking, but it was easy to pick out the people with the mindset of, "I should get 7 star for a 4 star price", which are best served ignored, anyway. And after a personal friend had gone to PPC & said it was by and large one of the best places on Bavaro Beach to stay, we decided to go with her recommendation... we travel a lot and have a lot to compare all kinds of hotels to in every 'star' category, and we could not have stayed anywhere else.
FOOD: Let's start by saying: we're major foodies... we know how things are supposed to be, when they're not right, or when a chef has added their own spin to a typical dish with a certain spice or similar... and everything was great. Buffets might not be the size of those on cruise ships (which are just repetitive, anyway), but the food was MUCH better. The buffets regularly had fresh fruits and vegetables, some stand-by favorites, a mix of different cultural dishes, and dozens of new things added at each buffet to try... everything is closely monitored and replaced even when not empty to insure the right temperature and freshness. Only minor downside is that the buffets are only scheduled for about 3-4 hours at a time, but if you arrive 2 minutes before closing they'll still seat you and let you eat at your pace. They tell you when they're open, so if you miss out then that's not the resort's fault, it's yours for not paying attention. The Evening (themed) restaurants are *fantastic* and would recommend using your concierge (everyone gets one, so I don't know why people are complaining about standing in lines) to make the reservations through... do this right away to insure you have each restaurant booked. Our favorites were Sakura (Japanese), Vita (Italian), Rodizzio (Brazilian), Marino (seafood at night, buffet during day... right on beach, beautiful atmosphere for dinner), and Fuego (Latin). To-go containers are at every buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner... if you don't want to make the trip back in but would like a snack for later on, it's a great idea for beaksfast and lunch. And room service will bring food to the beach for you, all you have to do is ask and let them know where you'll be waiting for them close to the Marino (buffet/restaurant attached to grill on beach). Waitstaff is amazing... drinks replenished when 1/2 empty, plates promptly removed and replaced when necessary, friendly beyond belief-- this is how service *should* be, and what you might expect in a good restaurant in the USA or other more developed countries, but the waitstaff service here by far exceeded the best restaurants we've been to around the world in both attitude and exuberance to make sure you are happy and have everything you want.
CLEANLINESS AND DECOR: Decor is misleading if you look online at the room pictures... what they show there is rooms at The Reserve and/or Royal Service... and they're not typical of the majority of the rooms, from what we gather. However, the less-swanky decor of the room we had, which was in bungalow 20, was still great and had an island feel... most importnatly, it was clean and put together nicely. We were in bungalow 20 and were very close to the beach. The room was always comfortable and clean... and cleanliness is our biggest concern staying somewhere; the cleaning staff were always prompt in getting to our room and were polite and friendly.
ROOM SERVICE: Great... menu is large enough that you can pick something different each time and be satisfied, or even enjoy the same thing over and over. We found room service to take anywhere from 10-20 minutes to be delivered, but if you're going to complain about waiting 20 minutes for room service then you ought to prepare yourself better for when you'll be hungry! There is so much food available at the resort that we only had late-night room service a few times when we wanted a guilty-pleasure sort of snack, but 99% of the time we were so over-stuffed from the previous meal that we could never imagine more food.
BEACH: Clean, spacious, comfortable- by far the best from northern point to southern point, and as you walk by other resorts it is very clear that the PPC puts more care in to their beach front! There were always chaise lounges available... it's true that if you want a covered baha bed then you need to get there at one of two times: before 7:30 AM or after 3:00 PM... we're early risers, though, so we never had a problem getting a baha bed close to the beach but under a thatched hut. There is no butler service unless you're in The Reserve or Royal Service, but we didn't need it. The Gabi (beach bar) and Grill (part of the buffet) were open for food, snacks, and all the drinks you could want. You could have room service brought to you on the beach if you asked. We didn't see any locals trying to sell on the beach until our second-to-last day, and then the security guards on the beach (which we never saw there, but apparently they'd been there the whole time!) would escort them quietly away from the PPC property. The beach is cleaned around 6:30-7:00 AM, which means it's all raked and neatened early on in the day. By far the nicest space of beach from point to point on the beach... we walked from the northern to the southern points a couple of times and many hotel's beaches were so unappealing that it made us thirlled we picked the PPC.
POOL: Bar was great, and fun... definitely the place to go if you're looking for party people to meet up with and get to know during your trip. Always good music, always lively. The pool was always clean and maintained, it's large, has a couple of beach entries and a sectioned-off part for parents to easily monitor smaller children. Plenty of chaise lounges, clean (and pretty!) bathrooms, right off the beach and tucked away in the vegetation like a natural lagoon.
RESORT SHOWS: Great. Very taleneted crew, we enjoyed them very much. Liked that there were baha beds in the bar area to lounge on while watching a show, and that the bar was right there.
RESORT GIFT SHOP: Typical resort gift shop stuff... overpriced and bland. If you want local flare go to the local shops on the beach; you'll get a better price and have a more interesting story to tell about the locals you met there on your return home, anyway.
GROUNDS: Amazing. Only way to describe. They were maintained consistently, that was obvious, but only on the last day did we see anyone working on them. The grass was always trim, the bushes were always pruned, and there was never any trash or cigarette butts anywhere to be found. We were even amazed that the grass, in such a warm and sunny place, was so green!
GYM: A little small, but serves its purpose. Great equipment, was just a little upset that there was no space to do my own routine of toning exercises outside of their machines. They do offer yoga and spinning classes, which I did not try because I was on the beach so much, but I heard they were great and saw that the roster of space for thos classes was typically full.
FRONT DESK AND STAFF: Overall the staff was great. There was a little bit of a language barrier with some, but you're in a Spanish-speaking country... if you want perfect english spoken then vacation closer to home. Always found the staff to be prompt and on top of every minute request and they were all always very gracious for compliments you could give them... they're in customer service and hear a ton of complaints, so when you compliment them you can tell they feel like they've done a good thing for you... and we recommend everyone try being consciencous of these people, to remember that this is how they spend the majority of their waking time- working for people like us that vacation there.
BEACH SHOPS: PPC has their own, but are overpriced... a pair of linen pants was $90 USD there and we found the same pair at the southern point shops for $20 USD! Walk to either point for bartering the best prices with the locals. Just beware: some will be pushier than others, especially since in the D.R... your monthly income might be the equivalent of what some make in a year, so they want your sale and will be very pushy if you don't know how to negotiate... if you've never bartered before abroad, just be polite but firm and don't be afraid to tell your lowest, bottom price- they'll meet you nicely between what they ask and what you want to pay (and usually it''' be more than half way where they'll meet you, to your benefit).
EXCURSIONS: Went for snorkeling to the reef (twice) and horseback riding... both were great, both set up for us by our conceirge, and both free. There are some excursions you have to pay for, but many are free. We don't imagine that we would have had a problem making our own reservations had they not been handled for us... the excursion hut (on the beach) was rarely busy enough to warrant a concern that we wouldn't have been able to handle our own reservations.
VALUE: ***GOING BACK***! We have no reason to try another resort, and will definitely be going back to PPC on our next trip to the D.R. We're already trying to figure out when we can fit another week-long stay in to our calendar.
- 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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- Also Known As:
- Paradisus Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana