Having spent a wonderful honeymoon in the South Pacific several years ago, we were hoping that the Caribbean would measure up on our first visit...and the Dominican Republic certainly did! We spent a wonderful week at The Reserve, and everything was top-notch...from the food, to the resort facilities, to the staff and service.
Our suite was huge (and we had the "smallest" one available at The Reserve...about 800 sq ft), and it also had a large balcony with a jacuzzi tub, along with a spacious sitting/living area. There was more than enough closet space and the bathroom was a nice size, with two sinks and a walk-in shower. The in-room minibar is free and restocked daily...be sure to try the pear juice and plantain chips!
The staff at the resort was excellent...the grounds and indoor spaces were impeccable, and everything was beautiful and well-manicured. When we had two small maintenance issues in our bathroom, they were fixed within hours of the request (one of them was literally fixed by the time we came back from breakfast 45 minutes later)!
The majority of the staff spoke conversational English, and we never had any language issues. Some staff members really went out of their way to provide great service, such as Pedro Paulino each morning at breakfast and Aneuris Miguel Santana at the Gabi bar. One staff member in particular, Julio Moya, was always very attentive when we were in the pool area, making us feel as if we had a personal concierge. He would always get us towels on arrival, check on us at least once an hour for food and drink, and would bring around appetizers throughout the day.
The variety and quality of food choices at the resort was simply amazing. Being guests at The Reserve, we had access not only to all of the main resort's restaurants, but also to three restaurants exclusively for Reserve guests. We were especially impressed with the quality of the buffet choices at breakfast, lunch, and dinner--it was a great way to sample smaller portions of the gourmet food being served. At night, the dining experiences were also very memorable, especially Bana Sushi, Vento, and Aqua.
There was always a full-service bar close by, and all of them served top-shelf liquor at no extra charge. Each bar has a drink of the day, but often they were different across the resort, and not all bartenders seemed to know how to make all of the drinks...which was not really a problem, because "something fruity for my wife" worked every time!
The after-dinner entertainment also exceeded our expectations, with a variety of different themed evenings, such as a Dominican Night, a beach party with fire dancers, and even a Michael Jackson tribute show.
During our entire stay, there were really only two experiences that were less than perfect. The room upgrade pricing is done per night, per person--which does not seem to make much sense since you'd be consuming the same amount of food and alcohol either way. Since were staying for 7 nights, the upgrade costs really added up, and we would have had to spend several hundred dollars (even with a $400 resort upgrade credit--see below) just to get a little more space--clearly not worth it. Having to deal with this situation immediately upon check-in was not a great welcome, but the rest of our stay was so fantastic that we quickly forgot about it.
We had also received a $1,000 resort credit with our 7-night stay--which sounds great at first. However, it turns out that it's extremely difficult to use any of it without spending at least the same amount of your own money. For example, you get three $50 spa vouchers, but the eligible services must cost at least $100, and you can only use one voucher per treatment. The only ones that we ended up using several times were the $20 wine vouchers, which can be applied regardless of price (for example, there are several $30 and $35 wine bottles on the menu). It's understandable that the resort credit would be used to encourage you to spend more money, but they could at least be a little more subtle about it and not require you to essentially match each "free" dollar one-for-one.
However, these two issues were not a big concern and had very little impact on our overall perfect vacation. We were really glad that we chose The Reserve because we ended up using many of its benefits daily. For example, the Reserve pool area was never crowded and much more private than the main resort pool. The breakfast experience was much less busy, and we had additional restaurant choices for dinner. Even at the beach, there was a separate area with more comfortable lounge chairs where we never had a problem finding a spot. As a bonus, there was also an exclusive pool area with a bar right next to the beach--so we used that one quite a bit!
Overall, our week at The Reserve was a fabulous experience that we will never forget. The food, exquisite grounds, beautiful beaches, and island culture left us wanting to plan more trips to the Caribbean!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Explore The Reserve, our new boutique resort within a resort, designed for those whose stay in a luxury suite is as important as sun, sea and sand. Including three pools and a la carte restaurants, YHI Spa and gym, Swim up Suites with direct access to the pool Family Concierge Suites. Take benefit of your stay at The Reserve and use its facilities and services as well as the ones in Paradisus Palma Real Resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Reserve At Paradisus Palma Real Hotel Punta Cana