My friends and I just returned from Secrets Royal Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The resort is beautiful, with huts along the white sand beaches, and turquoise blue Atlantic waters. The photos on their website is what you get! Our room looked exactly like the one shown. We had a garden view room which was great, and we were at the beginning of the free form pool, which was great to float in! One of the rooms we had was an end room, #4128, which made it convenient to get in and out of the free form pool. We spoke to other guests who had swim up rooms, and they loved them. Also, bring your own floats/tubes. The resort does not provide any, and they will blow them up for you. You can buy them in the gift shop, but it's more expensive than bringing your own.
You must remember you are on Dominican "island" time, so the service may seem slower than what you are used to, so just relax and enjoy where you are!! :-))
The wait staff at the restaurant was great, however, the food was just fair. We ate at Mercure (French), Spice (Asian/Teppanyaki), Capers (Italian), Oceans (Seafood), Seaside Grill (Steak and Seafood), and at the Rivera Buffet. We each had a favorite, but for me, I preferred Spice (table & Teppayaki). The restaurants are either in Secrets (Adults Only) or in NOW Larimar Resort (Family). The two properties are shared. Guests from Secrets can use both resorts, but guests from Larimar cannot come over to Secrets. There are security guards along the border of the two resorts checking room keys. The restaurants are mainly at NOW Larimar. Be forewarned! You usually have to wait in a long line to put your room number in, but there's a chance you won't get in until much later or at all. We tried to get into Spice every night we were there for the Teppanyaki grill, and the only time they had was either 9:30 or it was full for the evening. We finally got in on our last night, but at 9:30. All the other restaurants we were able to get in, but there was always an hour or more wait time. So, if you like to dine early and get there when it opens, you'll be fine. However, if you are like us, we like to maximize our beach/pool time and eat later, which is where the problem occurred. So, if you're a late diner, especially for Spice, go early to put your room number down (and watch to make sure they write it down!!) and they'll probably tell you the wait is an hour or more, then go get ready for dinner. During lunch time, go to the bbq grill outside. They will grill up chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, and kabobs. The chicken was my fave!! Then, go into Rivera buffet to get your other foods.
The swim up bar and the beach bar were both terrific and entertaining! The entertainment staff was definitely outgoing and fun. A few of the daily activities that we participated in included, yoga/Pilates on the beach, water aerobics in the pool, step aerobics, Zumba, caribbean dance lessons, and fun contests in/by the pool! I actually won a bottle of Barcelo rum!! In addition they had daily special activities, including: painting (only 4 people could do this one and it was fun!), hat/bowl making with palm leaves (only 10 people could do this one, but we missed it), cigar lesson and making (we learned about the Dominican cigar and make sure to ask to make one), and Spanish lessons - basic and fun (she came up to us under our beach hut and gave us lessons). Other activities we did not participate in included drink making class, fruit decoration class, and bedding decorations. For some reason, they have all their activities back-to-back in the afternoon. They should spread it out throughout the day so you can participate in all of them, if you wanted to.
The nightly entertainment was okay, and could improve. The entertainment was at NOW Larimar. The disco could have been better if the DJ played a variety of music genres. It was mainly Dominican music, which was great, but there were a lot of international guests there, especially from the US, and it would have been nice to hear some American music to dance to. In addition, the kids and teenagers were allowed in the disco, which didn't feel like an adult nightclub. We usually missed the nightly shows because we were dining at the same time as the shows. We did see the Michael Jackson show, which was entertaining. We also went to the disco for karaoke, which was fun. After dinner, we usually found ourselves back at Secrets having a cocktail in the plaza. Secrets had live music nightly, but ended at 11pm. Again by the time we finished dining, we usually only heard a couple of songs and the band was packing up. The evening basically ended around 11pm for us.
We went on one excursion, to Santo Domingo. It was a long bus ride to and from Santo Domingo, but it was worth it. We booked through Amstar and it was a guided tour through the capital city. Each historical site we visited had it's own tour guide. I really liked seeing the Dominican culture and locals.
Housekeeping...you'll probably have to call down several times and wait a long time, if you want extra towels, mini bar refill, or just to get your room cleaned. Again, they're on DR "island" time. Otherwise, everything else was fine. Oh, those of you who use conditioner, bring your own. They provide a shampoo & conditioner combo, which most know does not work as a conditioner.
Checking out...the front desk will ask you to fill out a survey while you're checking out, which can be cumbersome when you're trying to catch your shuttle to the airport. My recommendation is to double check to make sure you do not have an outstanding balance and ask to fill out the survey the night before. Make sure to ask the concierge to prearrange your airport shuttle pick up the day before departure. We did not have any problems with Pietro Tours. They picked us up on time in a nice air conditioned charter bus and got us to the airport without any problems. Also, you can check in and print your boarding pass for your flight using the concierge's computer.
All in all, we had a fabulous time, and we really didn't want to leave!! We all wished we could stay another week!! That should tell you how wonderful Secrets Royal Beach really was!! This resort opened in May 2011, so they are still trying to figure out the kinks and are working towards improving their resort. If you book with Secrets, I hope you have a great experience as my friends and I did!! :))
- 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