Yes, the roads to the resort are not the best (!?) Having said that, you really do get a true picture of how the people live - families sitting by the roadside selling their wares from corrugated iron shacks. My children were humbled and realised what a good life they have.
The welcome at the resort was fantastic (champagne and fruit cocktails) and we were made to feel welcome. Cases were taken to our rooms by very polite and happy staff (who all look like rangers in their uniform!!!). Rooms were a little small but nice and clean but lets face it, how much time do you wana spend in it? The resort in itself was beautiful and just how it looks on the website.
We loved the fact that we could choose where to eat as this kept everyone happy (kids didnt want to eat the same as us adults) and in our opinion the food was a very good standard (never been anywhere that you could have smoked salmon and champagne for breakfast!) and I thouroughly recommend Oceana for the meat and seafood main dish as the steak was melt in the mouth. Some people said that the portions were small but hey, ask for more if you are still hungry! Personally I found it quite adequate and all resturants do 3 courses.
The staff everywhere were so helpful and happy, I did wonder if they were all on the wacky baccy! They were so eager to do anything to enhance our stay which went a long way. Of course they rely on tips ( the pay is meagre) but in no way do you feel pressured as they still treat you fantastic if you forget.
It is very secluded with only a few shops in the hotel and if you fancy a short walk outside there are some souvenir shops - my husband and I ventured out. We walked out of the gates and strolled along taking in the sights when all of a sudden we were aware of a guy in uniform from the hotel by the side of us on a pushbike, he rode by our side with a rather large baseball bat!!! He waited while we looked in the shops, then rode next to us on the way back. This did not make us feel intimidated at all as it is just a precaution, this is a very poor country and they so need our tourism to survive.
There are trips to go on but we were told by our rep to book them with her as they are fully insured and legislated. As for the cost of the trips, we were amazed at how resonably priced they were. If you havent lost the will to live, read on.......
Ocean world is a long way (short flight) as it is in Puerto Plata but well worth the journey. My two children (9 & 14), my husband and I swam with dolphins and sharks which was a wonderfull experience. The park itself was clean and well set out with staff that really were passionate about the welfare of the mammals which impressed us as we are animal lovers. We bought lots of photos and a dvd as again, the prices were so reasonable.
Saona Island also was a long way (coach and catamaran) with entertainment (dancing on the catamaran!) and lots to see along the way if like us you want to see how the Dominicans live. The sea is the most beautiful turquoise we have ever seen and the beach is pure white sand. Bar-b-que was ok. On the way back we went on a speed boat which was so much fun as they really do know how to handle them at high speed - my daughters giggled the whole way!!! We stopped in the middle of the ocean for a surreal experience , I will try to describe it............ They call it the 'national park swimming pool' as you get out of the boat and can touch the ocean bed (unless like me you are 4ft 11 ! ). It is so clear and we were able to handle the star fish ( crew told us how to do it without harming them which again impressed us!) Then they played a game of 'hot potato' with a bottle of rum & coke as a forfeit ! That was an experience we will never forget.
Horse riding at a local ranch only a 10 min ride in an open back truck was such a giggle (my husband had bruising on his under carriage- he didnt rise on his seat when we trotted!!!) While we were riding we had the company of the ranch dogs, who I was told by the tour rep where mostly strays that the ranch owner didnt have the heart to shoo away , and the whole time they jumped in puddles, rolled around in the sea when we got to the beach and generally fought with eachother! This amused us greatly. The only downside was we were not able to gallop as the heat was intense and too much for the horses, but we understood that and accepted it was for their health.
Back to the resort, we felt so secure and comfortable that we let our children wander off and do their own thing which we wouldnt usually do in another country. They made friends and played in the pool, ate when they wanted and had freedom which was great for them. While they did this, us adults had a rough time lying on sunbeds with a constant supply of cocktails brought to us by lovely waitresses ( a dollar now and then made them happy!) The entertainment was good with no expense spared for costumes and scenery.
Although all the staff were superb, I have to mention the guys in the lobby bar at night as they were outstanding, cuddles for my kids, banter with the adults and some wonderfull shots!!! Their names are Clemente , Chocolate, and Domingo. Met some lovely people, Linda & Eddie, Sandra & Paul. Keep in touch if you are reading this!
We only got home yesterday but are now thinking of going back which is not what we usually do as we want to see all the world! All in all we will treasure the memories we have of a fabulous holiday
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Secluded in a lush tropical paradise, Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa features one of the largest free-form swimming pools in the Dominican Republic, stretching from the lobby all the way down to the pristine beach. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dreams Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Sunscape Beach Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Sunscape Beach
- Dreams Resort Punta Cana
- Dreams Punta Cana Resort
- Dreams Dominican Republic