Read lots of reviews before deciding to stay at this resort. Seemed impressive.
Maybe we had a bad experience but so much went wrong, I find it hard to believe it was just us.
We got to the resort fine and on time. We were taken to the "Preferred" area which is a separate check in area in the Adults Only section. We get there and our room isn't ready...like they didn't know we were coming. Hot and sweaty, we were told it would be ready in five. I assumed that meant five minutes. 25 minutes later we were told the front door to the room isn't working. It doesn't close or open properly. So we waited in the room while someone tried fixing it. He seemed to be having trouble so I went to ask for another room. Hotel staff said there was nothing else at this time, but one would be ready at 8pm. It was 4pm at the time.
So we waited, now hungry and sweaty. 45 minutes go by while he's fixing the door, so I kick him out deciding we can shower and go eat while they finish fixing the door. The door they couldn't possibly know didn't work until now because apparently housekeeping teleports into the room? My girlfriend was about to shower when I realized the patio door doesn't lock. So we'd be unable to leave the room to eat.
Ok. I'll order room service and then inform them of the other door not working. No one answers when I call. I call again. No answer. Two hours have now gone by, we haven't been able to do anything but wait. We paid more for an earlier flight so we could get some sun and time on the beach before sunset. Nope. Nice way to spend your Anniversary at a five star resort.
I leave for the reception desk after trying a third time to call room service. I'm trying not to lose my temper and tell her we're hungry, we're sweaty, we can't leave the room because the doors don't work and it's our Anniversary. Are we at the right resort? Secrets? Five star? What?
All of a sudden there's another room! Wow, where did that come from? And it's on the top floor (which is what I initially requested) instead of on the bottom floor. Also, like magic, it's ready right now. And it's an oceanview. Wow. Magic.
The new room is a "partial ocenview". If you lean over the balcony a bit, you can see the ocean...a bit. The thermostat doesn't work, the bathroom light doesn't work. Our King bed is two double beds put together. At this point we're laughing at the awefulness of this place. But we're thinking it can only get better. We're easy going people. We're not rich, nor are we snobby people.
We're on a special vacation celebrating both our first anniversary as well as my girlfriend's birthday. We decided to splurge on what would be our first ever "5star resort". Positive attitudes all week. Happy couple.
Room service brings the food (you know, because we can't go the buffet so far or leave because the doors haven't worked. Yay. A dry club sandwich with fries. I imagine Tim Hortons could make a better club sandwich. Not that Tim Hortons food is bad. It's edible, but does not have any qualities to make it delicious. If we weren't starving, we wouldn't have eaten them.
We finally get ready and leave to explore. It’s almost 8 by now. We’re heading to the buffet. Hopefully the food is good. It wasn’t. Selection was small. And what we ate was bland at best. Aside from the grouper. That was melt in your mouth and flavoured well.
Entertainment for the night was a musical performance by a duo who sound like their friends told them they’re really good on karaoke nights. Good singers. Nothing great. Casino’s open, we’ll check things out there.
Tiny, empty, literally three card tables and a dozen old slot machines. Positive attitudes. We sit and lose $50 with the company of one friendly gentleman in his late 60s. Crazy night right?
Club time! Empty. Kinda sad looking. Okay, we’ll call it a night and try to enjoy tomorrow.
Breakfast buffet was decent, smaller than I expected for a resort of this size. Food was okay.
We went for our meeting with our WestJet rep. He was 20 minutes late. I called to see why. He didn’t know he had to be there. 40 minutes later, a Hola tour rep shows up. He’s a rep for the WestJet rep…where’s the WestJet rep? I get the WestJet rep on the phone and we complain. Let them know we’re not happy so far and why, but we’ll make the best of it. An hour in an air-conditioned lobby on a gorgeous day. No beach or sun time yet.
The rest of our day here went in the same manner. Poor service from staff. Bland food even at the a la cartes. Our second night there we tried the Sushi restaurant, more rice than anything else in the rolls and no flavour. We left for the buffet. There’s no room at the buffet, but they can seat us in the sushi place which is attached. How embarrassing is it to leave more than half your food on your plate only to have the chef who made the sushi watch you eat food from someone else and watching you do so in his restaurant?!? No thanks. We’ll try the seafood al a carte restaurant.
More bland food and poor service. 2 hours for a three course meal. We actually complained about the appetizer to the waiter. When we got the main 15 minutes after finishing the apps, they came to ask if it was okay and we lied and said it was. Didn’t want to wait for another main for who knows how long. It was edible. Dessert was a “chocolate dome” that tasted like a magnum bar I forgot at the bottom of a freezer. 2 years ago.
At this point I probably seem like a whiner or I’m losing you. So I’ll sum it up to say we called our WestJet rep that evening since she wanted to talk to us when she had more time to talk as she was dealing with a group arriving at the airport. I ask to switch to another room, like the presidential suite! Or even switch resorts. She’ll see what she can do. The next day we’re on the beach for the full day.
Even though this Secrets is awful, we’re trying to be happy. Most of the other couples seem to have given up on that. My girlfriend and I are both noticing most couples aren’t talking with each other or with anyone else. They’re sitting there looking like bored strangers sitting close together.
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and were able to leave by Tuesday afternoon for the Majestic Elegance. Thank goddness.
Majestic Elegance, total opposite. Room was ready right away. Food was excellent. Service was excellent. Entertainment was fantastic. Couples were happy, kissing, holding hands, cuddling, laughing and so were we. Finally. We loved every moment at the Majestic Elegance. Every moment aside the ones where we paused to reflect on how crappy Secrets was.
I would not go back to this Secrets. I would not suggest to anyone that they stay here. Maybe if they got it for under a grand per person. The beach and weather were way better than what we have in Toronto in November. My girlfriend and I felt the food was better in Cuba than at the Secrets in Punta Cana. Cuban food better than Dominican food?!? 5star who? 3 star at best.
The secret is it’s all hype. This place sucks. We were happiest getting to leave for the Majestic.
- 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