My boyfriend and I stayed at Secrets for ten days from 8/20/-8/30, 2011. We were originally booked for only 7 days, but Hurricane Irene had different plans for us. So I feel like we were able to see the hotel in many different aspects then a regular week in the Dominican.
Upon our arrival we were greeted with a fresh towel and glass of champagne. Check in was a breeze and the staff was very friendly (thanks Leonardo!) They informed us that we would not have a King Size bed but they could have one for us the following day. We would just need to return to the front desk by 2pm. Well, when you are having fun at the pool/beach the last thing you want to do is move all of your stuff. So we declined. He kept checking in with us throughout the week to see if we wanted to move, but we were fine with our room. Little did we know, that was our last day of sun for the next four days! So I'm really happy we didn't waste that time moving.
The room we stayed in was 4140.. a swim up room. It was a nice room. Nothing really to write home about. It did have that musty strange smell to it. I soon became used to it, so it wasn't an issue. The Jacuzzi was cool, but allowed no privacy. We did use it once. Steves, who works in the bottle department, came and drew us a bath. It looked very romantic.. bubbles, rose pedals and candles. We loved it. The only problem there was when you turn on the Jacuzzi.. it was an explosion of bubbles. They were everywhere. I couldn't even see my boyfriend. We spent most of the time trying to control this mountain of bubbles.. :) Fun none-the-less.
Because of Irene, we got to see how the resort handles emergency situations. They were great about keeping us informed on the storm and what to do. They would send out periodic letters to all of the rooms. So we never really felt in danger. During the actual storm, the Entertainment Team (SPEEDY, AKON, & CARI) did a great job keeping folks busy. You could tell that they don't have a lot of rain in the Dominican, because they were busting out things that hadn't been used in a while.. Ping Pong Table, Bingo etc. Everyone would congregate by the lobby most days of the rain just to socialize. It was fun, but of course sun would have been a whole lot nicer.
After two days of Irene, we were able to leave the resort again. We went on our first excursion and it was AMAZING!! (XTREME BUGGY! - Booked it online, NOT through Hotel) I totally fell in love with the DR! The people are super happy and live so simply. There was never a time that we said hello to someone and didn't get a HUGE smile and hello back.
The next day we were supposed to go on another excursion to see the city and culture surrounding the resort, but my boyfriend became ill right at the beginning of the tour, so we returned back to the resort. He did spend most of the week a little ill. At this point (vomitting) we decided he needed to stop eating the meat. After that, he was would good for the rest of the week. Now keep in mind, he hasn't traveled much. So he did have some problems digesting the food. I had some necessary "quick" trips to the bathroom as well, but never felt sick. The food was not bad at all. It just takes a little time to see what works for you. We ate at the buffet mostly. They had an amazing selection. Some days were better then others, but you could always find something. I have to say too, they are very creative with their pizza.. lol Corn Pizza, Hot Dog Pizza.. so cute :) I absolutely LOVED the staff at the buffet as well. They just made me so happy everyday. There were times where I was really bummed out about the rain.. the "cansineros" had a way of making me happy again.. Our favorites - Neuri, Erbin, Felix, Zamora, and Montequis. I was so sad to leave them and you could tell they were genuinely sad to see us go too.
So because of Irene we had to stay three days longer at Secrets. We were not able to return home as it hit our area of the US. These are the days where we got to see Secrets at it's best. There is so much to talk about so let me break it down...
The Beach : Yes, there is a lot of seaweed. It didn't bother us. It's the ocean! There is a BEAUTIFUL beach that you can visit called Macao beach. It was breathtaking. No seaweed & crystal clear water right along side of a mountain. So if you are looking for that, definitely take the trip. It's mind blowing. Secrets beach is VERY active.. Parasailing, Scorkceling, Party Boats, Dance Lessons, Yoga, Volleyball, Music.. There is waitstaff there to get you drinks. One day they had coconuts and another pineapples. the water was nice, but a little choppy due to all the boats. It was very stimulating as there was always something going on. I like to lay in the sun. My boyfriend likes to stay active. So it was a perfect combination for us. It was never an issue to find chairs to lay on or a cabana to lay under if that's what you want. Tons of palm trees to lay under as well.
The Pool - It was beautiful! It winds through the property. People call it a lazy river, but it doesn't have a strong current like you would find at a water park. You can just lay on your raft and it will take you all the way around, but very slowly. We didn't bring anything to float on. We didn't even need it. So many people have left their rafts there that we could always find something.
Swim Up Room - It was nice. The only problem is that after a hurricane, the ground became super muddy. So our feet would be COVERED in mud going from the room to the pool. I really think they need to add stepping stones from room to pool. We really didn't use it much due to the mud.
Pool Bar- Mixalenis and Wily were AMAZING!! Have them make you their fresh banana drink. It's really delicious. They took great care of us every time we were there. Super friendly and fun! I also enjoyed the Frozen Limonada con Vodka as well. It wasn't fresh, but very refreshing!! :)
Night Time - Every night their are shows held at the theater in NOW. (When people say is a short walk, they aren't kidding. It feels like it's the same resort, but it's not. People staying at Now cannot come to Secrets, but we had full access to Now.) We only attended one show.. White Party. It was cute. As a Professional Dancer in the US.. I think they need a professional choreographer to help them out a little. They have very talented dancers, they just need some more training and someone to help clean them up a bit so that they are more in sync. We spent most of our time at the Casino (whose staff isn't so friendly) and the nightclub.
The Entertainment Staff - They are AMAZING in every way. They do a really good job keeping the guests happy and active during rain and sun!! We became very close with them as we all share the same passion (dance). They were so FUN and really just made our trip so special. It was really hard to leave them. THANK YOU AKON _ SPEEDY_ CARI_ STEPHANIE!! You are EVERYTHING! I hope to see you again upon our return one day! We miss your laughs, jokes, and happy faces so much!
Time Share Reps - Yes they are there. They will try and get to you as soon as you arrive. If you are absolutely not interested, just tell them. They will leave you alone. I knew about them from reading all the reviews on Trip Advisor. So I just told them.. I really don't want to do it or be bothered. They were ok with that. However, at the end of the week, we ended up doing it anyway to help Raul get his credit. He was genuinly a cool guy so we wanted to help him out. It was a really short meeting and we actually enjoyed talking with Wander the sales rep. He was awesome. We didn't purchase, but still got our free package. After 10 days.. what was 1 hour. Not all reps are as cool as Wander, so we got lucky!
Dominican Sales - The Dominican's average salary is $200 a month. So yes, there are tons of guys on the beach who want you to go to their store or sell you something. The resort tries to keep them from bothering the guests, but the beach is public property. So they will get you a some point. I actually enjoyed talking to them. They do take no for an answer, so if you aren't interested, then just explain. However, they are just trying to make money like you and I. They just do business differently. We enjoyed they whole shopping and bargaining thing. It's fun. The Dominican's are going to try and get the highest price they can from you.. so if they say $85... you say $10. Eventually you will get something cool for a great price. Just be strong and be willing to walk away. A lot of the vendors carry the same things. So if you don't get the price you want from one, you will find it again. If you don't want to be bothered at all with the shopping... just be honest and friendly. It goes a long way!
All in all, it was a FABULOUS vacation. Nothing is perfect and Secrets isn't perfect. They really do put a lot of effort into making you feel welcome and loved. I miss it so much, I guess that's why I just wrote a novel. :) If you stay there, I'm sure you will have a couple issues here and there, but all in all it is a very good, high quality resort! We loved it.
Oh and one more thing... ROMANTIC DINNER ON THE BEACH!!! Do it! :)
- 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