Enforced diet camp of doom
My fiancé and I traveled to the Punta Cana Princess for the dates of 12/16/2012 through 12/23/2012 for my 30th birthday. I have waited this long to write this review because it is a very sore subject and I would just as soon forget the entire trip. I have tried to let some time pass so this does not seem like a rant (but….it may still come out that way because the experience was pretty much ALL negative). We chose this resort because it was mid-grade; not the most expensive, but not the cheapest either. Also, because it was adults only, which was awesome! And, the bookit/internet reviews were good---it has an 8 now. I would also venture to say that “star” ratings are not universal after this trip.
We arrived Sunday evening, about 6 pm & checked out a honeymoon suite—which DO NOT have ocean views—not the one we saw at least, there might be one or two that are at the very end of the buildings, but they FALSELY advertise their property as having 7 ocean view honey moon suites. The only difference was the ½ loft with a Jacuzzi. We decided to get the regular room. After walking to and from the lobby twice because our key didn’t work, we finally got in. Nice enough. Typical hotel room, nothing special but we did get the king bed. We stayed in building 4 and I think there was a club somewhere near by….I heard it, but never actually saw it. We went straight to the beach and skipped dinner that night. Woke up the next morning and went to the buffet (Casabe) to get breakfast. TERRIBLE FOOD. The eggs were like soup. The bread/muffins were all rock hard. Milk was sitting out getting warm. Lunch and dinner were both the same story so we decided that we would eat dinner at the a la carte restaurants for the rest of our stay. The Tex Mex & Fondue place were the only places we tried on our resort. The baked potatoes were not even warm and the “nacho cheese” was literally like cheez-whiz out of a jar; not even so much as warmed up. Fondue...to be continued later.
Tuesday morning we walked over to the other resort to check out their breakfast buffet. It was a little better. During our 5-7 minute walk, we were accosted by someone at the sister resort’s “Visitor station” who informed us that if we got married at the resort, TODAY, he could offer us a special deal. After explaining to him that we were NOT willing to get married without our friends and family but may be interested in having a destination wedding with their resort, he spent another 15 minutes trying to persuade us to get married TODAY. I eventually just walked off. While we were relaxing by the pool, we had 2 separate employees approach us and ask if we wanted to book a massage. We told them both that we had already booked one for tomorrow. THIS IS A CONSTANT PROBLEM AT THIS RESORT. THEY WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ALONE NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU SAY NO. I had read the reviews that said as much and thought that having a 6’3” 250+ lb. male would encourage people to leave us alone after we said no once….not the case. It didn’t matter how many times you passed the same people, they tried to stop you EVERY TIME. We didn’t want to be rude, but at the end of our vacation when they started shouting to us when we were 15-20 feet away, that was just too much. Neither of us can recall an instance when an employee approached us and asked us if there was anything we needed that wasn’t extra (drink? Towel?)
Wednesday was my birthday. Thankfully my fiancé had shelled out an additional $400 to make it an awesome day! He had them decorate the room with balloons and flowers (which they actually did on Tuesday night………so, surprise a day early!) We had room service breakfast delivered and it was great so we decided we would just shell out the extra money every day to have room service for breakfast. While we were waiting by the spa for our massages the same 2 employees from the above paragraph both approached us AGAIN and asked if we wanted to book a massage. We told them we already booked in about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they were changing the water in the “jacuzzi” so we were not able to use it. FALSE ADVERTISING: This is NOT a Jacuzzi! This is a kiddy pool. There is not a single jet in the entire thing. We had a romantic dinner on the beach, which was nice and a local band of 3 gentlemen came around & sang to us! It really was very nice! The food was good because we paid for it separately, so it was actually worth eating.
By Thursday afternoon, we were locked in our room, eating stale Cheetos and Snickers from the gift shop because it wasn’t even worth the effort to fend off the vultures outside to get around the resort.
Other crappy things:
We paid the upgrade charge so we could have premium drinks. Let me ask you though, HOW IN THE HECK DOES A RESORT LIKE THIS RUN OUT OF A LIQUOR? We finished off the bottle of Jack Daniels that they had and were told there was no more. Why did we pay extra for premium drinks then? When we got drinks at the pool bar, they filled up the cup with their drink ice mix and floated not even a shot on top. You could not even stir it in to the drink. We also never received our fruit basket, slippers, robe or anything else that was supposed to be included with the VIP package.
The casino that you are allowed access to…..you have to fend off a timeshare sales man for that property every time you walk to the beach. We were literally sitting in the lobby with our bags, waiting for our taxi to the airport to go home and he had the nerve to come over and ask us if we wanted to go see the other resort! My fiancé had told him ‘maybe’ the first day (trying not to be rude) but had told him we weren’t interested at least 3 times later in the week.
BOOK IT EXCURSIONS: I booked a dune buggy ride for our trip through the excursions section of bookit. We were told that we had to meet the VIP travel representative (Armando? Armande? Never got a straight answer) in the lobby to set up pick up times and what not. When we asked the staff when he would be there, they told us and we came back at that time. He never showed up. He never showed up the next day either….so we were never actually able to do our excursion. Luckily, they refunded my money, but I still bought snorkel gear specifically for that that we didn’t get to use.
Fondue restaurant: The fondue restaurant was closed for the first 5 days that we were there. There was no explanation why, not even so much as a sign on the door! You just had to figure out that they weren’t open when you walked up to the door and it was dark, then figure out where else you were going to eat. Once we did get in, it was.....edible with very sloppy staff. One of the tables actually caught on fire because they just slop the fondue pots around.
Ocean waiter Service: We saw the waiter on the beach one time the entire 7 days that we were there. Again, I call that false advertising.
DOMINICAN NIGHT: They closed every other restaurant on the property and forced you to eat at the buffet if you didn’t make reservations elsewhere. Then they let in vendors to set up at the entrance to the buffet so you had to fend off the local vendors just going to dinner. There were about 7-10 of them.
They need to pay their cable bill. Normally that wouldn’t matter while on vacation, but once you get sick of fending off the salespeople and don’t want to leave your room, it starts to matter. There was constantly a black box popping up, blocking out the screen saying “call us to discuss your bill” (we have a pic.) We watched Philadelphia on this vacation….that’s how tired we were of being accosted by the employees/salespeople at this resort.
By Friday, we had to track down the housekeeping staff because they just quit putting drinks in our room refrigerator. Not that it really mattered as we came back from the beach on Tuesday and realized that she had stocked it in such a way that it wouldn’t close and wasn’t making anything cold anyway. The last straw for eating anything at this resort was when my fiancé spent the day on Thursday in the fetal position with stomach cramps. He didn’t drink any of the water….we didn’t even brush our teeth with it.
The archery “range” has exactly one target.
The mini golf course (at the sister resort) is unplayable. The green is coming up and if it has rained, it’s a swamp.
Mamma Mia at the sister resort was VERY GOOD. As soon as we were able to get over there after we realized how bad everything else was we decided we’d go there every night for dinner if we could. The problem that arose with this is that you have to make a reservation the day before, before noon. If you go there on Wednesday & like it, the soonest you can reserve again is for Friday dinner.
The beach is beautiful. The property is also well maintained, but again, what is the point of raking the seaweed off the beachfront when you don’t bother to clean the cigarette butts up at the entrance from the beach to the resort?
The sales people leave at 6 so you are allowed to roam about freely after that.
Jean Marie Guerin (pronounced Gene—at least that’s what he said). He works for the photo place inside the Princess resort and was AWESOME!!! His amazing photos literally made me cry. I was so happy how great they turned out. The trip was so bad by that point we were considering paying $300 to change our flight and eating the cost of the lost days at the resort.
Manuel—he is the hardest working person I’ve ever seen. I think he spent more time at the resort than we did the whole time we were there!!!! He works at the Mare Nostrum bar by the beach and was our favorite person (along with Jean) when we left. PLEASE TIP THIS MAN!!!! All the staff overall was very nice. Housekeepers and maintenance crew were all very friendly and smiley.
I could go on and on….but I will stop as this is long enough. I literally shed a tear when we took off and again we landed back on my home soil. The reason for the subtitle is because my fiancé and I both lost 10 pounds this week and I can assure you it WAS NOT from physical activity. I don’t want any person to feel as ripped off as I do so if this review stops even one person from booking here, it will have been worth my time to do it.
A few notes about the Punta Cana Airport (PUJ):
It was basically a mad dash once we got off the plane. The airport workers do not try to give you any direction and barely speak to you when you present your passport. We weren’t even sure what we were doing or where we were going….we just followed the other people on our plane and hoped it would be ok!
NOTE: If you do book this resort even after reading this review, go ahead and set up the Hard Rock Casino visit with the salesperson that ropes you in when you are going to the taxi line. We were wishing desperately that we would have by Wednesday….just in the hopes of getting an edible meal.
Give yourself plenty of time for your departure. We gave ourselves 2 hours (typical for all flights that I have ever taken). This was almost not enough. When we got to the airport, the computer system was down and it took about ½ hour for the airline employees to open their counter for check in. Then, we were FORCED into a line to get a photo taken with females dressed in “native garb”. There was NO OPTION to leave this line.
This forced a lot of people to be running a bit behind as they didn’t plan on spending ½ hour in line for this. Security was…….annoying. The line that we were in had a broken scanning machine (or whatever) and they didn’t bother to close the line so once we got to the front, we had to cut in line of the line next door.
Their flight schedule clocks were about 15 minutes slow for the actual time.
Our gate showed the wrong flight destination until we were running down the runway to catch it because we didn’t know which gate we were supposed to be at due to the misinformation of the airport.
We are so adamant about this being a terrible place to go, we would attach a phone number or email so you could call us and we could talk you out of staying here if we could!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Punta Cana Princess All Suites Resort & Spa in an Adults Resort (18 years old and over) where the fascination of an unforgettable holiday is readily available to our clients. Caribbean style and art of living combine in each of the corners and rooms of this pleasant, high-category holiday resort in Bavaro Beach. Five-Star All Inclusive Hotel, quiet and relaxing, on a heavenly beach; that offers all the services and facilities of our sister hotels Caribe Club and Tropical Princess.The charm of the 263 beautiful Platinum Suites, the seduction of the 7 Honeymoon Suites equipped with a thousand and one details and including a full range of services are completed with the careful and selected menu of our 5 restaurants (main buffet, Italian, Tex-Mex, Mediterranean and Swiss), and a functional snack. Wedding packages available. A full range of daytime leisure activities, extensive gym and spa area, a beautiful bright environment, with a large number of evening activities, next to the famous Princess Tower Casino (located at Bávaro Princess Hotel), and Areito Disco (one of the best in Punta Cana); that add the pleasure of some days of rest and an unforgettable holiday at the famous Bavaro Beach. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Punta Cana Princess Resort
- Princess Punta Cana
- Bavaro Princess All Suites Resort Punta Cana
- Bavaro Princess All Suites Resort Spa & Casino
- Punta Cana Princess Hotel