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“Beautiful resort, some disappointments”

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Natura Park Beach - EcoResort & Spa
Ranked #77 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Ottawa, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Beautiful resort, some disappointments”
Reviewed December 26, 2013

The Blau Natura Park (formerly Eco Natura) has some excellent aspects, but its age and its economizing cause some disappointments. To like it you should be keen on gardens, birds, cleanliness, beach, and quiet. Here are comments on it by topic, compared with several other resorts of this price range. Other comments are so varied, maybe this will help the balance.

Garden and buildings -- They do a wonderful job on landscaping, best of any resort, really artistic, with ponds and many birds: a complete park experience. The garden does not have many interesting flowers (such as orchids or cannas), just routine bushy ones (hibiscus). There is no place to sit and enjoy it, with or without a roof for rain: a real loss.

The lodging buildings are pleasantly designed and integrated in the landscape, not industrial looking. Every room has a nice garden view... the beachfront buildings 7 and 8 get the noise from the pool. The buildings are old but rooms are big (with sofa) and in our building 10 they are renovated, nice wood finishes, wood ceiling, rattan furniture, updated bathroom. (Economizing in the rooms: TVs are 70's relics, but lots of channels; iron but no ironing board; and they give you a derisory pad of paper and sawed-off pencil!) Safes are too expensive at $4 a day... didn't use. (Internet is also no good, saw no one using it.) Our cleaning lady Noami was quite good and helpful (even with just minor tips). We had requested upstairs (directly to the resort) but they refused at arrival. Our Nolitours agent Hector was great in general and arranged it the next day.

Lobby and buffet -- This main building suffers from aged design, big and dark. Inner lobby has no windows and very minimal lighting. Be prepared for an unexciting resort entrance, not bright design or nice plantings of flowers to enthuse you on arrival. Front desk staff varies from bit negative to congenial, and essentially they do solve problems. Nice lobby bathroom (but only two men's toilets in it... and only one other toilet found in the whole resort! at the beach).

The buffet has problems. It is not big enough for the population: you trip over people. Most tables have no exterior view, one whole section appears to be underground (and the assertive greeters try to lead you there). The food suffers from economizing: repetitive food compared to other resorts, small variety of foods, few vegetables, few mixed salads, repetitive three fruits and frothy-cake desserts, poor quality fruit juices (but good blender juices). Papaya appears every few days and is gobbled up and gone. Has a meat and a fish cooking station, but just a couple of varieties offered in each. They bought fancy coffee machines, which break down every couple of days. Aged facilities also drag down two of the a la carte restaurants: they don't have much atmosphere.

Beach and pool -- Beach is beautiful, clean, perfect fine sand, with long swimming areas. Waves are small (not as minuscule as at Cayo Coco for example). Lounging area not crowded at the right end (watch for one small area of bad coral in that part of the swimming area). Two drinks huts on the beach. Not too many hawkers; the tour sellers waylaying you on the garden paths are worse. Lots of loungers: they just received a hundred new ones. The pool suffers from its age: rather small and not very pretty in design or landscaping. It has "animation" that makes the whole pool area noisy.

Staff -- So many staff that you don't get to know them. We found no problems, no thefts. Some staff tend to sway and swivel when serving drinks or even when cleaning tables in the buffet: this would be more suited to a "party resort" which this definitely is not. Some servers seem over-keen in the macho-friendly DR way, possibly to befriend and get tips - - but this is encouraged by some guests doling out tips at every chance.

Resort as a whole -- It isn't "eco" (disposable plastic used widely, the usual laundering of 1000 beach towels a day, etc., just like other resorts); it isn't really "natura" (whole place is cleaned, raked, severely clipped back) - - maybe it should be called Meticula Park. Evenings are quiet; and no beach parties.

Resort information is as bad as elsewhere: the main info map board outside the dining area has several big errors (and it doesn't show public bathrooms); the shower rooms for late departures are not explained anywhere (not even on the door of the rooms! if you find them). Weather forecasts are posted... in a place no one will see them. Many people never figure out that there is a little hall leading between all the lodging buildings and to the buffet if it rains.

Surroundings -- We needed to walk outside the resort, which is rather small. The beach is pleasant walking to the right, passing the Dreams and Be-Live and coming to an ugly end at the marina centre. To the left is great, endless beach nature walking, with lots of walkers so you feel safe. You eventually come to the outflow of the laguna. The entrance road of the resort is pretty enough for walking, especially the boardwalk (from the tennis courts to the road). Just after the resort's gate, one comes to the visitor centre for the laguna, which is just a large lake (see it on the Google map)... go to the centre at 8 am or 5:30 pm to wander around without paying at the entrance building: it didn't seem worth paying for. They seem to rent kayaks. Next is the casino of the Be-Live, then the marina / dolphin tourist centre with shops and trinket market. Then just a long road, passing the entrance to the Catalonia.

Room Tip: All rooms have nice garden views. Buildings 7 and 8 near the pool, noisy.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank Ronald L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Coyhaique, Chile
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2013

Visited for three weeks in November 2013. Enjoyed it as much as any place I have been including much more expensive places nearby. Superb attention from friendly and really outstanding staff. Unlike most 200 meter waterfront places that project back into concrete and glass apartment complexes, Natura Park abuts a long isolated, undeveloped part of the beach, and has tree lined grounds with lots of ponds with gorgeous wading birds and fish. Very romantic restaurants overlooking the water. The ONLY minor complaint and suggestion to management is that their wine selection staff could get a much better selection for the same or less money than the barely drinkable variety they serve. Guess we are spoiled here in Chile, but be forewarned and plan to include extra money for international wine with your meals..

Room Tip: Second floor balconies right in the trees. Very nice.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank gary h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2013

Let me start with a word of warning: if you are considering this hotel because you would like your vacation to have less of a "footprint", you will be disappointed. Their are two nods to environmentalism at this resort - CFL bulbs and no A/C except in your rooms. There was one recycling bin on the beach, but I think we were the only ones who put something into it.

Overall, a good value for the money. We did not go there to eat, and you should not expect gourmet. The one free dinner at one of the specialty restaurants was comparable to a night out at a nice restaurant at home. The buffet was fine but not particularly special. It is fairly broad, though, so whatever your preferences or allergies you should be fine. The house wine is pretty horrid.

The grounds are gorgeous. The layout is a long thin property perpendicular to the beach, and the main path is a double helix running down the middle. In all the little gaps this forms are found ponds and brooks teaming with exotic birds, fish and turtles. There is a canopy of palm trees over everything. Most public areas are open to the outside and the breeze makes this quite comfortable.

The thing I liked the least was the barrage of hawkers at every turn, selling everything from cheap swag to crafts to ATV rentals. They wander the beach constantly, and post themselves at every choke point on the paths. And they will demand your attention, waking you up (we even got a call early in the morning in our room asking us to come to an "orientation" to go over all the things we could pay extra for) and even stepping into your path to block you if it looks like you won't stop to consider what they are offering. I found myself using the service path near the edge of the property to get to and from the beach so I wouldn't be hounded.

The beach is very nice, and a reef protects it from big waves. You can wander safely along neighboring beaches. There are plenty of lounge chairs, and shade can be had. The pool is nice and there are four bars within a few seconds of both the beach and the pool.

Since we were just trying to get away an unwind, the proximity of the airport and the direct flight were a big bonus. If you will need to stay connected, consider that internet is only available in public areas, for a fee, and my smart phone was unable to get emails or other data.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Chris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrie, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2013

I was lucky enough to visit this property on a self guided FAM trip at a cost that was ridiculously cheap. After reading the reviews I went with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised.

Being that I am a travel agent I was really looking at this property as a good moderate priced hotel to refer my clients to. It is exactly that. Good value for money.

In general the staff were very helpfull with particular shout out to the front office staff. For the most part they were very kind and a happy lot. I had a lovely tour by a very delightfull young lady who gave us a good overview of the property.

The property itself has wonderful lush flora and fauna. It has a jungle feel to it. The buildings with the exception of the hotel rooms all have thatched roofs to make it very eco friendly looking. None of the public areas are air conditioned except the souvenir shop. It can defitnitely get very sticky when sitting around the buffet or main bar.

We got upgraded to a beach front balcony and were in seventh heaven. Several nights we left only the screen door closed and had the overhead fan on and it was lovely to fall asleep to the sound of the waves. The room was a good size with a king bed and nice high ceilings. There was a seperate walk in closet and a seperate sink and mirror area. The bathroom was fairly basic with a few problems. Shower curtain too short, wall socket for shower head hanging loose and toilet that got plugged twice. It would have been really efficient if they had just have had a plunger already in the bathroom. But we had to call for maintenance twice.

So OK there were issues with the room. Bulbs that were out, TV converters that needed replacing, keys that opened our neigbors room ( we forgot which room we were in and our key opened their room ( luckily they had their sliding lock on). And we heard a host of other issues from fellow travelers. But people you have to understand that these resorts are a constant revolving door of guests. There is never enought staff to fix everything all the time perfectly. It's all about the attitude of the staff and how helpfull they are in resolving issues. For the most part they were efficient when faced with a problem. How can you let this type of problems ruin your holiday. Everyday you can sit on a gorgeous beach and forget your troubles. It simply is not worth it to allow it to upset your holiday.

The beach is beautiful! Lots of chairs and palapas. Yes some of the palapas are a little worn but they were few and far between. There is an issue with the seaweed but they do come with a large tractor and trailer and go the whole lenth of the beach and pick it up. Unfortunately it comes back daily. There is a property to the left of the beach that is completely natural with a long shoreline. We walked this everyday down to the end and back which took about an hour. We swam here most because there didn't seems to be as much seaweed in the water. It was nice and private for the most part. You would see the occasional other tourist enjoying it as well but certainly not droves of people.

The food at the buffet was plentiful and if you can't find something you are extremely finicky. Staff are friendly bringing wine constantly. You do need to approach the buffet with caution so you avoid things like cheese sitting out too long etc. Use your common sense just as you would at home. If the mayonaise has a clear yellowy tinge, you know it's been sitting out at room temperature too long. There was an abundance of bread and I could not figure out why nothing tasted fresh. It was only on the last day that I found some fresh bread. We did all three of the A La Carte's and was sorely disappointed. Not sure what the issue is because I know they try hard.
The interesting thing is we spoke to people who loved it so it is completely subjective. I consider myself a foodie and if I order a creme brulee I don't expect to get a lemon tart. When I order shrimp cocktail, I don't expect to get one shrimp on a bed of lettuce. Call me crazy! When I get potato skins I don't expect it to be cold and a day old. Give me the buffet. It was always a better choice!

Yes there were locals who came on the weekends but I have to say they were no bother. The Dominicans are wonderful family people who like to holiday together. I loved seeing them dress up for dinner. They would put some of the North American women to shame. It is their country we are the interlopers!

The staff in the restaurants were wonderful most days. There was the odd grumpy person but some were outstanding particularly Reggino who knows we all like attention. They do their best and we did tip our favorites. Why not give someone who goes out of their way to help you something extra! We did tip a maid that we only ever saw in the hallway once and she did a good job. She restocked the mini fridge regularly with beer, water and soft drinks.

We took a tour with Pro Excursion out of Bayahibe to see Saona ( pronounced sowna) Island for the day. They are a reputible Canadian owned company situated in the charming village of Bayahibe. We met with Michael the owner who greeted our small bus that had picked us up at our hotel at 7 in the morning. It was a nice trip on the new highway. It's always great to see the countryside and it took about 50 minutes. We had a wonderful boat ride to the Island, snorkeled and had a BB lunch of lobster as well as discovering the little village on the Island and getting in the crystal clear water on the way home to hold and check out starfish. They played a very funny drinking game that had everyone in stitches. We were two English speaking people with 18 French people. The guide did and excellent job of keeping us in the loop.

I did have a chance to speak with the General Manager of the property and spoke of some of the issues I had experienced and he said they were doing an overhaul of all the rooms going one by one to fix all those little things that break down. That was very encouraging! It will only get better people!

As a last thought it was really interesting that the predominant traveler was Russian. It was really strange as I had never experienced this. They are not a friendly people unless they are drinking a lot. No one would speak to us on the beach but at night in the bar when they were drinking straight rum they seemed more willing to try a little english. Apparently they normally go to Egypt and Turkey but with the political unrest they are venturing furthur South. They had no regard for general upkeep of the property often leaving their garbage around the pool or leaving all their drink cups laying on the beach. It was shamefull.

Would I go back? Of course!!!!!

Room Tip: Beachfront is best if you can get it closer to the reserve side
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank wordlywendy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed December 18, 2013

We bought a discounted package deal to this resort so weren't expecting much. But we were very pleasantly surprised. The resort sits adjacent to a very large undeveloped property so you can walk north for more than a mile along a pristine shore line that feels like one is in the south Pacific. The food was very good too. Not as high end as say club med but still very palatable with lots of healthy choices. Vegetarians like it too my spouse is one. When we were there the clientele was primarily Russian and Dominicans. It makes for an interesting mix. I dont like rowdy and this place catered to that desire pretty well. People were low key and not making too much noise. One day we took public busses to Santo Domingo. One can hop on one right outside the resort. That took all day but allowed us to see the country unmediated by tour operators so well worth it. I like to swim so I like a nice pool. The resort's was rather small but I didn't miss it since the beach was so alluring. There is a reef way out so there isnt much surf. The ocean is calm which I like.

  • Stayed December 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Luke F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barcelona, Spain
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2013

The resort is very good considering the money you pay. Great environment with nature and birds. Rooms are big and comfy. Food is alright in the restaurants but you need to book beforehand, many times full... this is the first thing you should do when arriving..

The MEDIC POST is a DIRTY SCAM. I came in for a cut in my feet which the doctor didn't even notice as this internship boy was just asking me about the payment. Just for seeing him he charged 100 dollar (!!!), and I had to pay myself for the bandage around my feet. He wanted to send me to their clinic and charge me 800 dollar (!!!) for stitching my feet... In the end we went somewhere else and did everything for 60 dollar in a good modern clinic.

If nothing happens to you which requires medical attention you´ll be fine and have a good time.

Room Tip: Choose a room in the 1st or second floor (less bugs)
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank Tim187497
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottigham, new hampshire USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013 via mobile

I unexpectedly had to stay in this dump of a hotel during my trip to punta Cana due to Russians travelers strong dislike of Americans... We feel the same about them but are able to contain our beliefs n mouths while trying to relax on vacay, but that's another story in itself! My stay at natura park was horendous right from te start!!! The rooms r nasty!!!!! Sand fleas chewed me alive In the bed! They spray pesticides just outside the buffet right before dinner ever night while the food, that has been sitting out for 2+ hrs before u were aloud in to eat it mind you, is sitting out most uncovered and being misted with pesticides!!! Mmmm yummy NOT!!!! Very few English speaking employees so very hard to communicate with them at all!! The food was ABSOLUTELY horendous!!!! It is pretty much unedible!! I lived on rolls with butter (and pesticides) and pineapple (also covered in pesticides) so if I never see either one I these two foods again it will be too soon! Employees are not too friendly... Vacationers consists mostly of European & Russian decent and they too are not friendly to the American vacationers their! I ended up at this dive hotel because the hotel I booked and stayed at for first 5 days had a very belligerent drunk Russian couple who decided to approach me & my hubby to ask if we were from Russia. My husband said no USA well I guess he didn't like that and shouted "America, America [--]" as he proceed to grab at his gentians while threatening us in some Russian chanting and spitting on us!!! We transferred because the hotel didn't care to make me feel safe and I fed did not their!!! And to be out in this dive was absolutely disappointing! I would never ever return to the Dominican Republic let alone natura park! Americans beware of this country and def don't stay at this dump if u decide to visit the DR anyway!

  • Stayed November 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank OljeyUSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Natura Park Beach - EcoResort & Spa

Property: Natura Park Beach - EcoResort & Spa
Address: Cabeza de Toro | Laguna Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Ski-In / Ski-Out Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Best Value Hotel in Punta Cana
#66 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#69 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#70 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Natura Park Beach - EcoResort & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 510
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Natura Park Beach Eco Resort & SpaExperience a holiday in complete harmony with nature at our luxury Punta Cana resort, Blau Natura Park. Lush tropical gardens teeming with exotic bird life are interspersed with lagoons and bridges along winding paths which lead to the beach. Our Punta Cana luxury hotel is located on the marvelous Playa Bavaro beach, one of the best in the Caribbean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Natura Park Punta Cana
Natura Park Beach Eco Resort & Spa
Natura Park Beach Ecoresort Hotel
Blau Natura Park Punta Cana
Punta Cana Natura Park Resort
Natura Park Hotel

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