We were moved to the Secrets Royal Beach at the last minute due to the fire at the Majestic Colonial. After two days at SRB, we decided to move back to the Colonial, so this gave us a unique opportunity to compare the two resorts. You can also read my review of the Colonial.
We decided to take the SRB option offered to us by our travel agent. Upon arrival at the resort, we were given a cold towel and were checked in. The "friendly information providers" started to work on us for their "club information" or whatever, but having read many reviews on tripadvisor, we pretty much nixed that right away.
Since our room wasn't ready yet, we went to the SRB buffet and had lunch. We found the buffet to be pretty small, but with a good selection and very good food. The staff were particularly attentive and friendly (a marked contrast to the Colonial a few days later). They smiled, talked to you, we tried to speak some Spanish to them and we smiled as we gave each other language lessons!
Once our room was ready we found that it was very nice, although a bit modern in style. The key that only required holding up to the door was neat. The room was efficient and clean, and everything was in good repair. The bed and pillows were extremely comfortable (again, a contrast to the Colonial).
We found that the beach, as feared, had a LOT of sea grass. This isn't really the fault of the resort, and they do clean it up every morning. Still, we were used to the beach at the Majestic from a previous trip, and the water was pretty disappointing. We do go to a beach resort for the beach, and the water was darker, less turquoise, and more seaweedy than we like or have seen elsewhere in Punta Cana.
While in the areas of the Bahia/Majestic/Riu/Iberostar, you can walk the beach for miles past many resorts, when we walked to the left (NW) a couple of miles, there are a lot of local areas, dirty/unmaintained beach, and generally less nice areas relative to the other resort areas up the coast a few miles. Again, not the fault of SRB, but it still does detract from the experience. If had never been to the other areas of Punta Cana I probably would have thought this beach was pretty special - but we do know better, unfortunately. Also, there are relatively few palapas at SRB, even though the beach is quite deep and there should be plenty of room for more. I was up at 6:30 am to grab a palapa with the towel game, and even then about half of them were already taken! Contrast that with the Majestic Colonial, where not only is the beach much better, you can find open palapas much later in the morning.
The pool at the SRB was reallly nice. The Now Larimar property was also nice. We found the vegetation to be somewhat more sparse/less lush than other resorts, and the grass was half brown as if it is not watered enough.
We also found the loud music at the SRB pool to be offputting. We go to these resorts for some peace and quiet, and the music was loud and obnoxious at SRB as well as Now Larimar. i'm sure if you are an extrovert that likes to party, it would be quite good.
In short, go to Secrets Royal Beach for:
- the food and service
- the comfortable rooms, beds, and pillows
- the beach, if you haven't been elsewhere in Punta Cana
Don't go to SRB if:
- you don't like a loud pool scene
- you don't think a top 10 resort should be aggressively pushing timeshares when you check in
- you want the best beach in the area - this is definitely not the one
I'm giving 3 stars as the beach is not really the resort's fault, but the music and the limited palapas and the timeshare salespeople ARE their fault.
- 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