We just returned from 5 nights at Tortuga Bay and with the exception of one or two minor things, this place is perfection.
It's been mentioned in every review, but you cannot put a price on the VIP airport experience. You truly cannot even appreciate it until you leave, because that's when you realize the value. The check-in lines are long, the line for customs is even longer, and the airport is hot (no A/C) and loud. If you are staying at Tortuga Bay, you are whisked through the airport on pathways no one else is allowed to use, you are lead to the front of every line and you wait for your plane in a quiet, air conditioned lounge with drinks, snacks, free wifi and private bathroom. Again, until you are there and see everyone else, you cannot fully appreciate this, but trust me- it's a game changer.
The resort is beautiful and extremely clean. The rooms are large, tastefully decorated and quiet. The bathrooms are huge, and full of Oscar de la Renta toiletries. The grounds are impeccable and the service is stellar.
We started each morning with coffee in our room. There is an illy coffee machine and you have 4 coffee pods in your room. There is plenty of cream, sugar, etc. provided as well. They leave you Evian water to make the coffee b/c you cannot drink the tap water.
Next we headed to Bamboo for breakfast. This is the only restaurant at Tortuga Bay, but you won't run out of breakfast options. There is a large buffet and you can order off of the menu if you want your eggs a certain way. The offerings range from yogurt, bacon, sausage, waffles and pancakes to sushi, cold pasta salad, various cheeses and sliced meats. Don't miss the fresh orange juice or the chocolate croissants.
For lunch you can order to the beach, eat at Bamboo again, or take your golf cart to any of the restaurants at Puntacana Resort. We liked the bar area at La Cana Golf Club- similar to a 19th hole at a golf course, for lunch. They have burgers, salads, quesadillas, etc. We ate lunch at Bamboo one day and Playa Blanca another. Both were good, just depends what you want. We were going for more casual, quick bites. Bamboo is a lot of things- but it isn't quick.
One of the highlights of our trip was chatting with the bartenders at Tortuga Bay during happy hour. Drinks are 2 for 1 during that time, so it's a nice time to have a drink or two before getting ready for dinner. They'll bring you plantain chips with salsa & guacamole while you enjoy your drinks. Talk to the bartenders. They are friendly and happy to chat. Rafael and Beddy were two of our favorites in the lounge.
For dinner, we ate almost everywhere on the resort. If you're looking for a great view, head to LaYola. Great seafood, great service and a spectacular venue. If you're a foodie, Bamboo is your spot. Get the ceviche appetizer. Again, fabulous food and exceptional service. The service all over Tortuga Bay is phenomenal. La Brassa at The Westin was also very good and they give you lots of food- almost too much food. The whole fried red snapper was delicious! We ate at Playa Blanca one night for dinner, but decided it was more of a lunch spot. Good ceviche there as well.
So, the "one of two minor things," I mentioned earlier: Our package came with a picnic lunch that could be set up at either the beach or in your room. We opted for our room to get a little break from the sun. Our villa manager asked me what time and I said 1:00. She called me at 1:15 to to tell me the kitchen was behind and that it was coming in 5 min. At 1:30 the picnic arrived. Not a big deal, just not the norm at Tortuga Bay. Another time we ordered a salad and a hamburger to our room and they delivered the hamburger, but not the salad. The person who took the order thought the "salad" was the lettuce, etc. on the hamburger. I will say, while many people speak English- there is a bit of a language barrier over the phone sometimes.
There was a ton of seaweed on the beach when we were there, but it's seasonal, and one lady told me it always seems to happen in July. Another traveler told me it had to do with El Nino. Who knows. Either way, they cannot control it, and they do a good job getting it off the beach with tractors and wheelbarrows. So, if you are the type that would be bothered by a tractor going back and forth while you're laying on the beach- maybe check the seaweed report.
Lastly, there were quite a few children there while we were there, mostly with one large extended family. This surprised me, but Tortuga Bay is not an adults-only resort. Personally, I would not bring my children, but that's more out of lack of activities for small children. Again, not an issue, just something to note if you are interested in something adults-only.
Obviously, those minor incidents were not enough to warrant a rating of less than excellent. This property is equal, if not better, than most Four Seasons & Ritz Carltons. The views from the rooms are stunning. The rooms themselves are so nice and spacious. I never heard our neighbors or the family below us- which is rare for any resort. This place is just really wonderful. If you're going to Punta Cana don't look elsewhere. The airport service alone is worth staying at Tortuga Bay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Find yourself in the jewel of the Caribbean. The only AAA Five Diamond Awarded property of the luxury Dominican republic hotels, Tortuga Bay offers responsible luxury, impeccable service and villas with interiors designed by the world-famous Oscar de la Renta. As a Tortuga Bay guest, our friendly, professional staff has every detail taken care of from the moment you touch down at our own Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). Our VIP Service will whisk you through customs to a private car that has been awaiting your arrival. After a brief ride through the lush and vibrant Dominican scenery, your personal concierge will welcome you, check you in at your villa and provide you with your own golf cart for convenient travel throughout the resort. Located in a private enclave within the resort, this boutique hotel includes 13 luxurious beachfront Dominican Republic villas offering unrivaled luxury, privacy, security and five-star service. Guests may choose from a variety of accommodations: 1 bedroom junior suites, 2 bedroom suites, 3 or 4 bedroom villas, all situated along a private white sand beach, with every convenience within easy reach. ... more less
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