Given the circumstances of how we arrived at the NH Royal Beach, we had a wonderful time.
Traveling with my BF, as well as my brother and sister-in-law, this resort was not even in the running when we were considering where to vacation n PC. We booked at the Catalonia Royal but one week before our trip we (and as it turns out, many others) were bumped to the NHRB. After relying on the reviews (and forum posts) of my fellow TA brothers and sisters, we began to look forward to our trip. We were not disappointed.
The resorts proximity to the airport meant we were there within 15 to 20 minutes after our arrival. After check in we headed to our rooms to drop off our things. Our rooms were located on the bottom floor facing the service road that staff use to travel to the restaurant. This was disappointing. It had the typical musty smell. I couldn't find the recommended damprid so brought an air sponge purchased at Wal-Mart, which seemed to do the trick. Being smokers who do not like to smoke in our room, we used the patio frequently. While staff passing by were always friendly, there was a constant parade so there really was no privacy. The buffet and restaurants are at the end of the block, so we also had constant cooking smells wafting up to our room. We made inquiries with Leonardo at reception about a room change and after the second night, we were moved to room 4250 in the opposite building block. Ahhh...this was more like it! On the second floor and now centrally located, we had a lovely view of the lazy river and alot more privacy. You really are a ninja, Leonardo!
The resort is picturesque; the lazy river that winds around the centre is bordered by gardens that are well manicured. The beach...I have not previously been to the DR so I was blown away by the soft white powder texture of the sand and the turquoise colour of the ocean. The ocean was cool and inviting after baking in the hot sun. Yes there is seaweed. It didn't bother me in the least. Step over it and move on people!
The lazy river really is fun. We didn't bring or buy anything to float on but would consider bringing something if we return to this resort. It was great to slowly wind around and chat with other guests as you go. While there is a swim up bar at the end closest to the beach it (wisely) has its own pool and is not connected, so the river stays lazy.
Food and drinks are plentiful and well prepared. The buffet had a different theme every night and we all found something enjoyable. We tried three of the al a cartes; El Mortero (on the royal side), the Tapenaki and Cinque Terre (on the arena side). The food was good at all. The tapenaki restaurant was alot of fun. We also paid extra for an all -u-can-eat grilled lobster dinner on the beach. The lobster was delicious, the service was great and the setting couldn't have been better~awesome experience! My sister-in-law can't eat lobster so they prepared a steak for her that was perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. The servers at all of the restaurants were great, and really took care of us. Yakline at El Mortero was a stand out and included us as family. Happy, Happy! Be prepared for smiles and jokes and occasionally, to get up and dance with the staff, when the mood strikes.
While we don't know Spanish, my Italian background came in handy as they are similar. Some of the staff only speak Spanish but there are many who speak multiple languages so you will get by. Learning some phrases (cinecero por favor!) really comes in handy and seemed to be appreciated. The google translator app didn't hurt either.
A tip for great pictures~when facing the beach the block of rooms on the right (closest to the beach) has an open area on the third floor (above the coveted suites) that overlooks the beach where you can take amazing pictures of the ocean and beach bar. Anyone can go up there, just take the stairwell at the end of the block, closest to the beach, and up three floors (you're welcome!)
We have two criticisms of this resort, the renovations of the entertainment area and the beach/pool-palapa/seating.
They started renovations on the entertainment area located at the lobby on the day of our arrival so there were several days of jack-hammering that echoed throughout the pool area all day long (but couldn’t be heard at the beach) and work has taken place well into the evening. It looks like they are building the foundation for a stage similar to the NHRA side. There is never a good time for improvements to take place at a resort, but you don’t expect it will happen during your stay. With the jack-hammering over, the sound levels are not that bad but there won’t be entertainment in this area for a while. The entertainment on the NHRA side was just a short walk away and was fun. There was a band that played by the lobby bar on our last night and they were great. Unfortunately, it was cut short by a downpour, but that was entertainment itself!
Getting up at an ungodly hour just to get a seat is not my idea of a vacation. My sister-in-law is an early riser (5:30-6:00) who was only able to secure a palapa on two occasions. On the second occasion one of the “reserved” palapas was hi-jacked by a gentleman who did not seem to understand, and pointed us in the direction of where to get towels…hmmm. Not being an early riser myself, I even got up one day but, at 6:30 was only able to secure chairs on the palm tree side. The pool side seating is seriously deficient and has plenty of room to be expanded. I watched a couple spread their towels out on the sand then pay staff to bring them chairs. Management needs to address this issue to ensure that all guests have access to comfortable seating and sufficient shade from the strong Caribbean sun.
While not allowed (by security) into the area where you sit, there are the aggressive salesmen who want you to go shopping down the way. It’s located in a dilapidated building to the right (facing the beach) of the resort. The salesmen are aggressive and can be intimidating initially but, eventually bartering for their goods was fun! Don’t be afraid to talk them down to a quarter of their price. It is a game~they appreciate a good barter and will shake your hand when you secure a good price. They are good people who are just trying to make a living.
We were able to go on PC Mike’s tour and that made our vacation special (review to come). We did not partake of any other excursion except to take the shuttle over to the shopping mall. The shuttle does not run frequently so we paid for a taxi on return ($8.00 for a 2 minute ride – no bartering).
Did we have a good time? Absolutely! We certainly weren’t about to let minor annoyances get in the way of a much-needed vacation. Will you have a good time? Definitely, just bring the right attitude (and a whole bunch of sunscreen!) Will we go back? Overall, the resort is great. This is my first trip to DR so I would certainly consider other options that would more closely match my needs before returning here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ideally situated on the picturesque palm-studded, sugar white Playa Bavaro beach on the eastern coastline of the Dominican Republic, Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana offers adults all the privileges of Unlimited-Luxury(R). Guests will immediately be embraced within an extraordinary environment where luxury illuminates every detail and our high level of personal service is unmatched. To ensure your romantic escape is everything you've imagined, every detail of your stay will be flawlessly provided and superbly attended to. From the fine quality linens to the daily refreshed mini bar and the unlimited premium brand beverages to the pool and beach wait service. You'll be immersed within a world of stunning architectural design coupled with resplendent views of the lush gardens, crystal-clear Caribbean Sea and dazzling swimming pools. This tranquil, romantic haven in Playa Bavaro is like nothing else you've ever experienced before. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets Royal Beach Hotel Punta Cana