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.
- 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