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“Great beach, but....................................”

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Club Med Punta Cana
Ranked #45 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Great beach, but....................................”
Reviewed April 23, 2009

Let me start by saying I was apprehensive about going. I have been to Club Meds in the past, but haven't been to one in 20 years (purposely), so I knew the deal. Went with my family - adults and children, but I had no children with me. Yes, this is the perfect vacation with children, but if you don't have children, don't go if you want peace and quiet. The best thing about this Club Med is the setting - the beach and water are magnificent. For me, that was the saving grace.

It has been recently renovated and they did a nice job. The rooms were very decent (not what I remember of Club Med). Very hip - kind of what you would expect in a boutique hotel. We had nice porch facing the water, but set back. They built a lovely spa, but none of us thought our services were great. They did a really nice job with both bars - one on the beach and one near the main building. We would go to the bar after dinner around 9:00 and they played the same music every night. They should have a D.J. playing music to encourage people to dance. I believe the beach bar had music starting at 11:00, but I gather most people with children are already in their rooms.

The dining rooms - there are two, are very nice, but the food is very average. Every meal is a buffet and I can't say there was one thing that I thought was delicious. It's very repetitive, although there is a big selection. Even the fruit and baked good were tasteless. At breakfast, they had one person making eggs so you had to wait forever and then, it's not even good. And, if you love your morning coffee, you will be very disappointed - THE COFFEE IS AWFUL. I would take a couple of sips because I was desperate. I couldn't wait to get home to eat great food and drink my coffee.

Last but not least, one of the kids was stung by a jellyfish. They rushed him to the nurse's office only to find out that she was on a break. The front desk then called her and they had to wait 20 minutes until she appeared. That is unacceptable and dangerous. It makes no sense that they don't have two people covering for each other. What if the situation were life threatening??????? Another annoying thing was the front desk. If you have a question, or are checking in/out you have to wait in line for what seems to be forever. Very inefficient.

All in all, I enjoyed my time with my family and was happy on the beach, when there weren't little kids running around screaming (which was rare). I am used to staying at 5 star resorts or renting villas, and that's what I prefer. I'm never going back to Club Med, but if you have children and don't want to spend a fortune, then Club Med Punta Cana is a good choice. Just know what to expect.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
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2 Thank LifeisGOOD58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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NY
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 22, 2009

Do not bring travelers checks to this resort or to the Dominican Republic. In fact, don't go at all because you will most likely get a nasty stomach flu. All four of us who went did, and we are now back in America, still suffering. Yes, there is a Doctor on site, but he will charge you for each person in your family he sees, even if you are all suffering from the same awful thing. He will give you meds you have never heard of and that don't work which you will have to pay for. There are flies literally swarming around all the food at the buffet, it was horrendous! The salad bar has no sneeze guards, and the people at the front desk can either be nice or sinister depending on what you need and who you get.They certainly do not go out of their way for you at reception!!!!!!!The spa however is heavenly!Beach gorgeous!We also enjoyed snorkeling.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
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1 Thank lpd71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pollykat
1 review
Reviewed April 13, 2009

I just returned home from a weeks stay at the club med in Punta Cana. This is my second trip to this resort with my LARGE family...6 children 8 and under and 7 adults. We had a great time again! People have complained about many different aspects of this resort but I have nothing to complain about. The resort has been renovated in the past year and it was beautifully done. The rooms are laid out in a more useful way and are kept up very well. We spent limited time in the room just in the mornings to get ready for the day and then in the evening before dinner. We had rooms in the Mariposa building which was across from the Hispaniola and mini-club so it was very convenient. The restaurants are lovely and so is the pool and the beach. The bars are great as well. The entire resort was filled to capacity but it never felt crowded. We never had trouble getting a spot at the beach or pool. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. The check-in at the front desk went smoothly and 2 of our 4 rooms were ready when we got there at 11:30am. There have been complaints about people getting sick so we used the anibacterial cleanser located at the entrance to both restaurants before and after we ate and not one of the 13 of us had any stomach issues. The restauarants had so many choices for breakfast lunch and dinner and the food was always delicious. And the kids really had a blast serving themselves. The chicken tenders are some of the best ever! The adults were eating them because they were so delish!! The grilled fish was great as well has the specialty dishes at lunch and dinner. You definitely don't go hungry. Dessert was also great especailly the self-serve ice cream. The bar staff was also wonderful. We qucikly made friends with Daniel a bartender at the main pool bar. He was wonderful to us and the kids had so much fun ordering drinks...tell them to get a miami vice..its a kid friendly drink! The Mini-club activities and staff are wonderful as well. The really take pride in their program and are so great with the kids. It is a flexible program and most of our kids were in and out of the club during the day some would go on the catamaran ride in the morning and then do archery, or they'd go in the afternoon to go in the kids pool. It is open to all when the mini-club isnt scheduled to use it...we would go around 4pm and the kids absolutely loved it. Please dont let some of the neagtive reviews keep you away from this great resort especially if you have children, they will love it here! We are hoping to make this a yearly family vacation and we all cant wait to go back!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank pollykat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed April 6, 2009

I just got back from a fabulous vacation with my husband, and 5 and 6 year old kids. Both kids loved all the activities in the kids' club. At circus, my 6 year old learned how to do acrobatic tricks on the trapez, and my 5 year old loved jumping on the trampoline. Both kids participated in the two kids' shows (they did cute and easy dance routines with their groups) and danced at the end of the week party on Friday night (which was decorated very stylishly for the kids). When the 4-5 year old walk around the village their leader leads them in cheers, which are cute and helpful to let parents know to either run to say hello, or to run and hide. : ) Two of the club's restaurants have been renovated beautifully and the rooms are a lot nicer than they were three years ago when I first went to Punta Cana. My husband and I relaxed on the beach and went swimming in both the calm ocean and the huge pool. I met a woman (who went there with her boyfriend) that came for the well known fitness instructor (there were workout classes on a shaded pavillion on the beach all day). The food is always great (especially on Friday nights).

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank LoriBNewYorkCity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nyc
1 review
Reviewed April 6, 2009

I was hoping this wouldn't happen to me but I did get a TERRIBLE vomiting bug and went to their infirmary where they treated me effectively with IV and medications. I had to pay the extra $250 on my bill because of this and it ruined the rest of my stay. It was either a bad shellfish allergy ,or the Rotovirus bug which seems to be a problem outbreak there and in France(Google it). Since its mostly French guests this is a problem. I noticed A LOT of adults and children using their fingers instead of tongs to handle the food which was really gross and disappointing given the issue of outbreaks. This is an all buffet resort so if you have any type of food allergies beware. Language barriers can be an issue at times and can be frustrating. The GOs with the kids were A plus. The mini club was like a summer camp. The kids can go on a catamaran, take archery, circus, theater, etc. Bring lots of extra sunscreen, hats, and sun shirts for the kids. The sun is strong. It will cost you $20 to buy sunscreen at the store. Also, bring your own medications b/c they don't sell tylenol, diaper rash, medications, at their store for some reason. You can get it at their infirmary for free but what a pain. Since its mostly French, remember that its customary for the women to bath topless, and smoking is allowed in ALL public areas. It is a very laid back and gentle European feel which can be a nice alternative to the rush of the American way. It was nice to be away from Americans BUT at times felt disorganized. All excursions cost extra money. Spa/hot rocks massage was very nice but expensive. Some GO's did complain to us about working too much. They only get 1 day off per week. The pool was large enough for all to use, and enough swim space for little ones too. Beach too had plenty of chairs. Overall, it was a good experience and a beautiful spot. No waves, clear water, so easy swimming. Private beach w/lots of security so no hassles. Felt safe. My 11 year old son had total freedom to wander all day w/ new friends and loved it. No tipping, no wallets so that's relaxing in itself. The grounds were IMMACULATE. My room had minor problems. Reception could be friendlier. We didn't receive the warm reception when we first arrived that maybe you get on charter flights. Also, mosquitos! Bring repellent for night time.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank travelling4evernyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2009

We're from Toronto & this was our second trip to a beach resort with our two kids 6 & 9 who can be very difficult to travel with. Both trips have been to Club Med Punta Cana & we can't say enough about what a positive & balanced experience it was again this time for all concerned in our family.

Read our comments further down below from our first stay a year ago in March 2008, & just add to it that: 1) the resort has significantly upgraded many of the rooms, the main restaurant & the outdoor lounge & bar areas, & 2) that the food was even better this year (we thought it was great last year, they have just added a noticeable bit more diversity, spice & upscale presentation to it). Jean-Benoit (village Chief) & Yann (leisure & activity director) are terrific hosts & were always available & responsive if we needed assistance.

Also add to it two things we'd note that we were just a touch put off by this year: 1) We elected not to buy the roundtrip airport transfers with our hotel package because its only US$15-$20 for to or from the airport. when we were checking out we noticed an approx US50 charge on our bill & when we asked what it was for they said for airport transfer for our return (eg they tried to charge us $50 for a trip to the airport we didn't ask for & that we could have taken for $15). We said 'no way' -- take it off, we just want a taxi. They were quick to take it off but found it a bit slippery that they added it on in the first place, especially at that rate, without asking or telling us. 2) The second thing would be the water bottles: they give you two or three blue 1L Dannon bottles gratsi in your room when you arrive & you're supposed to refill them (simple & fair enough, & good for the environment). They also leave a couple of the white $5 each Evian water bottles in your room. They didn't tell us or anyone we met that you won't get more blue ones so please refill the ones that are in your room at the start. We met several people that weren't very happy with the add-on's to their bill for more drinking water bottles. They said it was an oversight they didn't mention it on check in but just be aware…

Bottom line: pretty much everything about the trip to Club Med Punta Cana (CMPC) exceeded our expectations. Nothing went wrong & nothing disappointed. We'll be back next year for March break for sure.

When we arrived at the Punta Cana airport we went right to the little Club Med desk in the arrival lobby. There was no line & we were warmly welcomed by a delightful young lady who immediately had a professional driver take us & our baggage in a new air conditioned van directly to CMPC. No waiting, no busses, no stops along the way at other properties, no taxi hassles, etc.

What's very nice about CMPC & which we'd read about in other reviews is that the property is only 10 minutes or so from the airport (most of the other Punta Cana properties are much further) yet you really never hear planes at the resort. We met some people at the airport on the return whose hotel was an hour long van drive to get to...

When we got to the property at 8:00 pm there was almost no wait at the check in desk. A cold drink was offered. All of our keys were in order & we were quickly checked in, given our keys & bracelets & taken to our room.

Our room was one of the ones which hadn't yet been renovated -- but we knew this when we had made the reservation & it was perfectly fine. Good news was that it was in the original part of the property & was thus very central & close to everything (pool, beach, in between both restaurants, etc) which we found really convenient. in fact, our 'garden view' room had a terrific view of palm trees & the ocean. The room layout was great for a family of four in that the master had a queen bed for mom & dad in a room separated by double doors (locking ;-) from the separate sitting room (which had two large couches which easily converted to sleeping beds in the eve for the two kids). the room had a tv with a good selection of US TV stations (if that's what you're into on a beach vacation...) as well as a mini fridge, lots of fresh water bottles that were replaced every day, a separate wash & shower room from the toilet room. Two very large closets with plenty of shelves & hanger room, & an in room safe. The room was essentially like having a junior suite with a separate bedroom. all the outlets are 110 AC US style so no adapters needed. Perfect for us. The only downside -- & its a very small deal -- of the location of the property is that the sun sets on the other side of the island so there are great sunsets (I hear...) & the sunset time is really pretty & peaceful but you don't actually see it set into the ocean.

One of the primary reasons we selected this property was for the kids club (aka mini club). It was terrific in all respects. everything that many of the other postings say about how the GOs (gracious organizers) work so hard & genuinely care so much for the kids is all true & then some. they make the kids feel totally welcome the second they arrive & then proceed to entertain, comfort, coach, joke with, swim with, sing with, sail with, & eat with them for the next week. Never did we see a GO that looked tired, bored, disgusted or angry. They are incredibly disarming & comforting, most have been there at least a couple of years, & we saw few if any kids -- whether they were 3 or 12 -- that weren't having a blast. In the first two days alone of mini club, my 8 year old boy had done sea kayaking, swimming (3x per day), archery, soccer, basketball, catamaran, etc. We'd drop them off at 8:45 or 9:00 after breakfast. Sometimes we'd grab them for lunch with us but often they have lunch with their group. We'd pick them up at 5;30, have a family swim (while mom 7 dad had a cocktail) at the main pool (which is huge & well spread out) & then we'd shower for dinner. at 7:15 we'd either dine as a family or we'd let the kids dine with their groups -- their choice (about half the time we ate together). After dinner around 8:15 there was always a show -- half or more of which the kids participated in & most of which were actually entertaining (often in a silly way that the parents easily got through with a cocktail but always in a way the kids liked). By 9:15 or so the kids were passed out in bed with a smile on their faces.

During the day mom & dad spent most of the time reading books & napping under palm trees on the beach. The beach actually very big (there's the main beach to the right & then a whole other wide open expanse to the left of the sailing center which we found quiet & peaceful even when the club was at full capacity. the beach is along a bay which is protected by an outer reef no matter how windy or rough the sea (we heard of some other properties that had to close their beach for a couple of days when it was particularly windy but we didn't have a problem at CMPC). The beach was always kept clean & the sand was the powder white you'd hope for in the Caribbean, & it seemed like there was always a terrific breeze which was just enough to keep the edge off of the heat when at the beach or pool.

There were plenty of adult activities including snorkeling, wind surfing, sailing, snorkeling, volleyball, archery, bocce pool aerobics, scenic power walking, etc, etc. There was no pressure at all to participate in any of them & it was easy to relax without a bunch of noise, but there was plenty to do if you got bored. We were there for a full week & never left the property other than to go out into the ocean.

There were two restaurants. One is enclosed & air conditioned (& move central) & one is more open & right on the beach. You can dine at either & the food is essentially the same. the food is buffet & not a la carte. For us with impatient little kids this was perfect. if you want a quiet romantic five star a la carte dinner, don’t go to CMPC. If you have kids & want to balance ease & their tastes with your own enjoyment, this was a perfect compromise. The food was frankly better then we expected. Given that about 40% of the guests were French (with another ~40% Canadian, ~15% American, & ~5% 'other') they wouldn't stay in business if it wasn't. There were always a wide selection of great fish & chicken dishes. The fruits & vegies were plentiful & we ate them all with no problems. The cantaloupe melon & mango were as sweet as we've ever had in the world. The breads were amazing (though we caution you that addiction to the white chocolate bread is a common & dangerous phenomenon...). The different themes each night introduced enough variety so you didn't get tired of the food over the course of the week. There's also a beach grill that's open starting at 3:00 that has burgers, sandwiches, fruit salad, etc in case you nap through or decide to skip lunch.

The grounds are impeccably maintained & are very green (compliments of a sprinkler & irrigation system they activate at night). They also fumigate the property late every night so the mosquito issue is pretty much non-existent except in a few brightly lit spots in the early evening.

If you have small or medium kids & want to get away to a tropical beach easily accessible from the eastern US or Canada & with an all inclusive club & with plenty of organized activities (with safe & thoughtful supervision) to keep the kids busy all day while you relax under a coconut tree, this is as fine a choice as we could ever imagine.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TorontoTraveler321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2009

It is difficult to meaningfully add to the comprehensive reviews immediately below, but since I read so many negative reviews prior to my trip, I thought I should put in my two cents here. First, before getting into specifics, I feel compelled to emphasize that we (my 7 yr-old daughter and I) had none of what I will call the "French issues" so often described in these reviews. We loved that the resort was full of diverse guests -- mostly French, Canadian and American, but with some German and Latin Americans thrown in. We didn't feel that we had substandard level of service due to the fact that our first language is English v. French. And I was impressed at the ease at which GO's managed 2-3 languages at a time. We had a few bad service events, but frankly, I chalk that up to the all-inclusive atmosphere and the fact that its not the Four Seasons or Ritz -- nothing related to our "American-ness"! I do happen to speak fluent Spanish (but not French), but I don't think this was the "secret" to our good experience. I don't like to sound harsh, but will reiterate what another poster said below -- do not travel to a country where the spoken language is not English if you want an "English-only" environment.

More specifics -- 1) This is a beautiful resort with a gorgeous beach, pool and open air bar/sitting area (Cielo); 2) The kids club was beyond all my expectations. My 7 yr-old daughter is a "momma's girl" and not a big fan of spending time apart. She didn't even take to the Disney Cruise kids club that much, and that is supposed to be great. But she loved the Mini Club Med, although she only spent mornings there, as we jointly decided that we would have our own time in the a.m.'s and then spend each afternoon together. The kids GO's were just fantastic -- so fun, funny and caring. And contrary to many previous comments, my experience was that they all were fluently trilingual, and made a special effort to include everyone, regardless of first language; 3) the fitness classes in the a.m. were really pretty good -- not typical "resort-style" mild cardio for ladies that lunch. The cardio-boxing class in particular was great; 4) spa is beautiful, although the prices are somewhat high (unless you are from NYC or similar); 5) the rooms are simple, but clean, roomy and modern -- they fit the bill for us, particularly since we only were there for about 1-2 non-sleeping hours per day; 6) apart from the restaurants (which did get chaotic at times), the resort never seemed crowded or overrun with people -- and we were there during prime spring break time; and 7) this is a fabulous place for a single parent to vacation with children.

A few negatives: 1) No, the food isn't spectacular, and sometimes its downright mediocre, but it met my expectations for an AI. AI's are not known for fine wine and food...period. If you want that experience, choose something besides an AI; 2) the service at the beachside snack bar (Celeste I believe) is particularly bad -- and its the only place where I had some encounters with rude staff; and 3) I didn't think the excursion choices were all that great, and seemed expensive. But this is more an issue with the Punta Cana location than Club Med itself. PC is not that convenient for off-resort sightseeing. But I knew that prior to going, and we were there for a beach/water vacation. Still, its worth noting that this is a negative for some as compared to Mexican Riviera or even other Caribbean island resorts.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tigregirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Club Med Punta Cana

Property: Club Med Punta Cana
Address: Apartado Postal | 106 Higuey Provincia La Altagracia, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#18 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Club Med Punta Cana 4*
Number of rooms: 631
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover the Dominican Republic in this all-inclusive family resort, designed over a long white-sand beach, considered to be the finest in the world. Travel to Club Med Punta Cana with your family and enjoy a carefree all-inclusive vacation in this resort which flourishes beside a lagoon surrounded by magnificent grove of coconut palms. Fun moments filled with memories await your kids at Club Med world-famous children's clubs with dedicated activities and sports for children and teenagers from morning to evening, for each age group, and all coordinated by qualified and enthusiastic professionals. This newly redesigned resort has something for everyone, with amenities such as: Baby Club Med™*, a new Spa* with private pool access, exclusive private Oceanfront Family Suites, new dedicated programs for Mini Club Med™ including Le Petit Tennis(R), circus school and Baby Gym(R), Passworld for teens, and more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Med Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Punta Cana Club Med
Club Med Dominican Republic

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