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“First Anniversary Vacation”

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Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana
Ranked #9 of 114 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed July 18, 2012

My husband and I stayed at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana from July 9th-the 18th to celebrate our first anniversary and we were EXTREMELY disappointed. This resort did not meet our expectations whatsoever. We stayed at Secrets Maroma Beach in Mexico last year for our honeymoon and we had an AMAZING experience, so we expected that this resort in DR would be just as great and boy were we wrong!

After arriving at the airport, we had to wait in the hot sun for our transportation. Amstar,the transport company that Secrets uses, was supposed to be there waiting for us and instead we had to stand and melt while we waited about 45 minutes for them. When you book your trip with Secrets, the transportation to and from the airport is already included and I was not happy that I payed for services that were unstatisfactory, such as my transportation not being at the airport waiting for me. Upon our arrival at the resort, we checked in and again, we had to wait because the resort messed up and set us up in a room with two full beds instead of the king bed that we booked. The staff at the front desk was not at all welcoming. As soon as we finished checking in, a representative from the Unlimited Vacation Club "hunted" us down. These people are like vultures! If you are approached by them, DO NOT go to their stupid presentation! It is most definitely not worth your precious vacation time. They offer you a 90 minute presentation to find out about their vacation club, which is basically similar to a presentation that you go to for a timeshare. The vacation club is a club that you pay $19,000 for to receive 25% discount when you vacation only at the 28 Secrets affiliated resorts. It is a load of garbage. They offer you a $100 spa certificate as a compensation for going to the presentation, which I found out excludes any salon services (manicures $35, pedicures $39, facials) and any services that are under $100 dollars (25 minute massage $85). Basically, they offer the $100 certificate to make more business, because all services are $150-$300, so they give you $100 so that you spend between $50- and $200 at their spa. It is not about making you happy, it is about them making money. The presentation which was supposed to be 90 minutes was 4 hours!!!!!!!! It took up our entire morning and the beginning of our afternoon, which we should've been spending by the pool or at the beach. To make matters worse, the man who took us on this presentation was a total sneak. He offered us an excursion for almost half the price that Amstar offers it. We went for it and we shortly found out that it was a scam. He told us he booked us for a Sunday and we shortly found out through Amstar that those excursions can not be scheduled on Sundays. My husband stomped over to that man's office and asked for our money back. He tried to make up a story about the money not being refundable and my husband went off on him until he gave it back to us.

Our room was mediocre and smelled very humid. The bedding smelled 10X worse. They smelled as if they were washed and not dried in a drier. They were disgustingly humid smelling. We called housekeeping and asked for them to be changed and they took care of it. When we returned to the room and smelled the sheets, they smelled the same exact way. Disgusting! We had to deal with that gross smell for 9 nights. Housekeeping did keep our room clean on a daily basis. One night we came back from a show, and as soon as we turned the lights on, there were cockroaches ALL OVER the mini bar!!!!! I was horrified and called the concierge immediately. They had to come and fumigate the next day. Even after they fumigated, the cockroaches came back the next night. They had to re-fumigate. Horrible. No too happy about our room and all of its problems.

The resort itself was very small. It had one pool with a swim-up bar (freshco) and a walk up bar (barracuda), there was also a lazy river and swim up pool for swim up rooms only. The staff at the pool bars are great. Aneudy and Angel were amazing. They were very cheerful and always met our expectations. They were a lot of fun and would bend backwards for you. There were not a lot of chairs around the pool area, so every morning before breakfast, we had to go "claim" our chairs before they were taken.

The resort only had three restaurants. A buffet: La Riviera, a steakhouse: Seaside Grill and a seafood restaurant: Oceana. The food is not great at any of the restaurants. The buffet offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and every day they change the theme (American, Dominican, Asian, Italian, French etc.) Oceana is pretty good. The food is the best of the three restaurants and the service is great. We loved Alexander, a waiter we had for 2 of our visits and Santo, the wine expert for all of the restaurants. Seaside Grill is horrible. It is a steakhouse, yet they didn't know how to properly cook steak. To make matters worse, on our last night at the hotel, yesterday night, my husband found a long hair in his shrimp cocktail. Soooooo disgusting! Terrible experience. Beware: If you are a man and do not bring long pants and closed shoes, you will not be able to dine at either Seaside Grill or Oceana. My husband had to wear his one pair of jeans every single night for dinner, which is completely ridiculous being that these restaurants aren't even glamourous. They demand a specific dress code and they do not even meet any standards of their own. There are other restaurants at NOW, the resort next door, which is affiliated with Secrets, but the food is terrible and the wait is ridiculous (2 hours if you go the restaurant after 7 and want to get in).

The beach is pretty and peaceful. There is also a bar by the beach and a barefoot grill, where you can walk right up at lunch time and grab a bite. The chicken and hamburgers at the barefoot grill are delish. The beach has A LOT of seaweed and makes swimming in the water not so refreshing and peaceful.

There is NOTHING to do at Secrets at night. There is live music every night at the plaza, and aside from that you have to walk over to crazy, loud and children filled NOW for entertainment. NOW is right next door, as I mentioned before, and Secrets guests may visit the resort and use all of their amenities. If you are looking for a quiet and romantic vacation, now is not for you. It is a family resort and it is loud and crazy 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Restaurants are full of people, the plaza is always packed, the pool looked like a sea of fish, people couldn't even move around! The entertainment team seems to try and "entertain" guests, but the majority of their night shows were not great. One of the shows, which seemed the most interesting "Circus of Dreams" was cancelled 5 minutes before it started and they had to scramble to make up something else to entertain the crowd with. Their attempt was an adult game between couples (mind you, the audience is FULL of children of all ages) which consisted of the couples popping balloons in different sex positions!!!!!! I was horrified!!!!! If i was a parent and my child was in the audience, I would have been outraged! If you call yourself a "Family" resort, then your shows should be appropriate for an audience that consists of adults and children. Now is crap, excuse my language. From the staff that treats you like garbage, to the horrible food and the mediocre entertainment. Secrets claims to play movies on the beach every night at 9pm and every night we walked over to watch the movie and no movie was playing. When I approached Speedy from the entertainment team he said that the projector was broken and that they were in the process of fixing it. I was there for 9 full days and never once saw a movie on the beach.

In conclusion, would I recommend this destination to anyone? Absolutely not! ESPECIALLY to any couples who are going on their honeymoon or anniversary celebration. Please do not vacation at this resort, you will certainly be dissatisfied and disappointed. For a wonderful honeymoon and/or romantic experience full of luxury, Secrets Maroma Beach in Riviera Maya Mexico is my highest recommendation!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank NR0d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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7,246 - 7,252 of 10,376 reviews

Reviewed July 18, 2012

My husband and I stayed at SRB from April 16-26 and had an AMAZING time! Last year we stayed at SWO, and although that property is beautiful, SRB was much more fun. Food was delicious, and alcohol was top notch. We only ate at the NOW side twice, at the Hibachi and the French. Both were OK, but did not compare to Secrets side. Also, the NOW side was often crowded with a long wait. We had no trouble getting seated on the Secrets side. We ordered room service almost daily, and it was very prompt. The pizza was a great afternoon snack! Also, the best way to get coffee in the am, since they do not have a coffee bar, is to order it from room service.The beach grill was a fantastic treat, the server that works the tables in that area works very hard and is very friendly. We stopped at the NOW beach grill, but the Secrets was SO much better.
They had pretty much any alcohol you could want, and the pool bar serves Red Bull which came in handy for the 4:00 pool time fun! The music blasts, and everyone has a great time! If that's not your scene, simply go to the beach or the lazy river and relax.
The beach was so nice; there was some sea grass for a few days. I believe this must have something to do with the wind, because some days there was no sea grass and it was clear as can be. I am pretty picky about water I will go in, and had NO issue at all. We enjoyed a beach spot under the hut down in front, so I made sure I put a magazine on my chair at night. There were so many chairs, it wasn't really an issue. There are not as many pool spots, so you have to get up early and get a seat. Or wait until the afternoon, when people went back to their rooms. We did bring our own floats (rafts). It is true what they say, they are hard to come by. But NOT because the resort does not provide them, but because RUDE people keep them when they are not using them. You would THINK they would just float around the pool for people to hop on and off, but many guest put them on the patio of their swim out, lay or sit on them in the grass. It was kind of crazy. We even were walking back to our room,and noticed a cleaning woman in a room that had two floats in it. I would say that this was my biggest complaint. I noticed the staff get them for people who asked; we never did since we brought our own. One bonus of having our own float was that I was able to use in the ocean.
We took long walks on the beach. There are people that will try to get you to go shopping and give you their business card. To avoid them, just say you already went shopping. We went to the "walmart" and it was NOT worth it- the people were very aggressive, and get mad if you want to look in another shop. The people from the town also come to sell things on wednesday nights, in the NOW plaza. Same aggressive nature, but at least in a safer environment. The hotel gift shops were reasonably priced with better quality items.
We did two excursions while we were there, the zip lining and Saona Island. Both were a lot of fun. I recommend the Saona Island because it is a unique experience you can only do in DR. It is an all day excursion, and you really get a lot for your money. It was an hour and a half bus ride, but it was a tour through the towns and very informative. Then we took a catamaran to the island (lots of dancing and rum on the boat), had lunch and more rum on the island, and took a speed boat to a shallow area where the water was waste high, crystal clear, and you can pick up starfish (and have more rum.) we also stopped at a souvenier store on the way back (and to use the bathroom from all the rum!)
Entertainment in the resort was fun, the NOW side has more going on-Secrets has music in the lobby. We usually stopped there for a drink before or after going to the NOW side. Although there were children on the NOW side, I didn't seem to really notice. I was concerned because since it was our honeymoon, I prefered adults only. The casino was ok, my husband played in a poker tournament and we both played blackjack. Some of the slot machines were in spanish.
As far as reviews indicating that people did not speak english, I would like to say that the staff was fantastic. I did not find it hard to communicate, they were all very good at their jobs. I DID notice that many of the other guests did not speak English. Many people are from Europe, and the American in me just assumed that when I struck up a conversation the person would understand. A few times I was looked at funny, so I just gave up. The swimming attire is definitely different for Europeans, and they must not be as self-conscious as Americans, because they let it all hang out. So if you think you can't rock your bikini, just do it. Everyone else will be!
In conclusion, we felt this resort had it all! There was plenty to do, and different parts of the resort to explore if a change of scenery was needed. If peace and quiet are what you are looking for, there are plenty of places to read a book or take a nap.

Helpful tips:
Some of the movie channels are in spanish- you may want to pack a movie for a rainy day
There is also a "Special' channel for all the couples out there...or people traveling alone! LOL
Bring a raft- the scuba hut will blow them up.
Our room was third floor, Ocean View? I knew going that there really isn't any direct ocean view.
The new NOW section is great for a change of pace- not as many people. We enjoyed the Windows Buffet on that side.
There is soft serve ice cream on the NOW side- another guest gave us the great idea of getting Kaluah at our side, and walking a few short steps to NOW and put ice cream in it!
Be nice to the Time share person, but firm. They are happy that they have the job, and do not want to have any complaints.
Bring conditioner, they do not offer it.
The blow dryer is the little standard hotel one.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank MRB B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2012

We’ve just returned from our holiday in Secrets, we had a great stay there! From the moment we arrived until check out we were treated like kings. We had a room with ocean view, it was large and spacious, always clean. The housekeepers did a great job, every once in a while there was a surprise waiting for us – rose leaves on our bed, bath full of warm water with bath foam and champagne – although we didn’t celebrate any special occasion.
The pool was nice, there is a swim-up bar with lively music. However, we spend most of the time on the beach, which is wonderful! I highly recommend the cabana, which is a private two-story sun deck :-)
The resort has 3 restaurants, the food and beverage quality is excellent. We also appreciated the level of professionalism and friendliness of the staff, they were always ready to fulfill our wishes. The entertainment was also good, we had a lot of fun on the beach (dance lessons, yoga, Olympic games etc.).
Overall our stay was outstanding and I would definitely recommend this resort. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic 6 times and I would say this resort was the best one! It has everything – lovely beach, very nice accommodation, kind and friendly staff, great food and a lot of activities to participate in.

I’d like to give special thanks to all the managers of the hotel, who were very nice to the guests, always assuring that we have everything we need. Great thanks to our personal butler Juan Manuel, who did a great job! He fulfilled our every wish and did even more than we asked! He prepared a wonderful birthday celebration for me. And also to Speedy, a member of the entertainment team, who taught us how to dance merengue and win two bottles of the Dominican rum.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank billiejean286
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

Overall the stay was good. We stayed July 9th - July 16th. Check in and out was smooth. Transfers to and from airport were easy and unstressful. We had a junior suite with ocean view which was more of a pool view, but still beautiful. The room was nice, bathroom clean, and bed was comfortable. Maids were good and fast. The pool and swim up bar was relaxing. Beach was very nice with lounge chairs and shade. Our biggest issues were with the service at restaurants. Which is more of an opinion and personal preference. The waiters were good and did their job, but to me I felt like the hovered. I couldn't eat a meal with my husband without someone interrupting by asking if I wanted more water, I couldn't stop chewing my food without someone asking if I was finished with my dinner, and they were constantly reaching across me to remove silverware, coffee cups, or salt and pepper shakers. I know this is part of the "atmosphere" and type of service they are trying to provide but I don't like people in my "bubble." My husband didn't back an pants so we couldn't go to the majority of the restaurants that we paid thousands of dollars to go to. I heard others complaining of this issue too. We ate at the buffet all week and by the end of the week I was sick of the food. We did do a romantic dinner on the beach which was beautiful but we got sick from it. Overall the food was just ok. Sometimes hit or miss. We went to the gift stores a few times. It had neat things and I probably would have bought some cute sandals but each time there was someone always following us around the store like a hawk. She never said a word to us just followed us. Again. In my bubble.We went on two excursions. The marinarium and deep sea fishing. highly recommend both. Marinarium everyone was very friendly. You did scuba diving for about 45 min then went to sand bar where the excursion turned into a booze cruise. Deep sea fishing is not for the sea sick prone.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Kelly S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2012

It was very beautiful at this resort. The pools were amazing and the lazy river was very relaxing. the beach was beautiful with lots of little huts to give you shade and plenty of lounge chairs. It should be mentioned the security at this resort was amazing, the poor guys dressed so hot out on the beach did an incredible job of keeping the peddlers away and for security, they were very friendly. I felt safe the entire time we were on the resort grounds. The staff at secrets royal beach was AMAZING! They all truly go above and beyond making you feel welcome. In particular, Alhennys from Scores was SUPER sweet, he resembles a young Chris Brown. His English was incredible (we found out he taught himself the language by listening to American music!) and since we were able to communicate so well we were able to get to know more about the country and it's people. We found ourselves going back there several times throughout our stay just to visit him. He remembered our names and our drinks every time we walked through the door. We honestly wanted to take him home with us he was that nice! The only bad things I can say about the resort had nothing to do with the people or the food, our room had this musty odor that no amount of perfume could mask, and it was especially heavy within the bedding and closet. I had to wash my clean clothes when we returned home because the smell came right back with us. Not sure what it was but it was not nice at all. We had a swim up room which was totally worth the extra money but maybe that had something to do with the smell, I'm unsure but I would not recommend it if you have a sensitive sense of smell....I don't but it bothered me that much and my husband who never complains. Given how nice the staff is I know they would have moved us if I spoke up but I didn't want to give up our awesome swim up room. Another negative that's not really a huge deal is how dark the lighting in the room is... Good luck putting on makeup ladies. Again, minor... We found it a little hot and the unit would not move below 25 degrees. We found the entertainment on the adults only side to be lacking for our expectations, all that was offered was live entertainment until 10 pm or a movie on the beach. The resort is attached to a family resort that secrets guests have full access to, but all shows happen on the family side, given the fact I left our children at home, I was not in the mood to deal with the Chuck E Cheese atmosphere in the evenings. If I were taking my children I would definitely consider the Now side. Secrets did provide the relaxation and solitude I was searching for during the day so for that I would highly recommend them.

Room Tip: The swim up room was amazing!
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Sarah E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2012

We stayed from June 29th through July 6th at Secrets Punta Cana. The ride from the airport was short (25 minutes) and the check-in process went smoothly. The food and service were outstanding on the Secrets side. Everyone who worked at Secrets were very friendly. There were plenty of food options to choose from. The drinks were ok, but you must ask for a top shelf brand or use will be given some off brand liquor. We were disappointed that the frozen drinks were premade in a large machine instead of being freshly made in a blender. We enjoyed Angel, the bartender at the Pool Bar.

The beach was beautiful. It was one of the nicest beaches we have seen. There was never a problem getting a chair at the beach. The pool was nice. It started off quiet, but got a little noiser in the afternoon with the entertainment crew. The lazy river pool was very relaxing. There was alot of shade around the pool because of the thatched huts.

If you want evening entertainment/excitement you had to go the the NOW resort. They did have quiet music on the secrets side each evening.

The rooms were very large and clean. Our room was a little warm and we were unable to adjust the air conditioner.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Secrets Punta Cana and would recommend this resort to friends.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank poolbarpirate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2012

We went here on lur honey moon and it was amazing! We had an ocean-view suite, it was spacious, always clean and had all the nescessary things and so much more! The food was always top notch, the 24-hour room service a definite plust! The entertainment was great, very high quality and fun! Many activities to choose from, so much fun to be had! We are definitely going back soon!

Room Tip: Rooms facing the ocean are the biggest, but all the rooms face something beautiful! Can't go wro...
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank akarlova1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana

Address: Ave Alemania S/N | El Cortecito, Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Green Hotel in Punta Cana
#4 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#7 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#9 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#11 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $299 - $659 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana 4.5*
Number of rooms: 465
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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Secrets Royal Beach Hotel Punta Cana

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