I apologize in advance for this long and rambling review. However, we had such a unique and enjoyable time at Tortuga Bay, I feel compelled to give back a little to the site that directed me there!
As stated, we picked Tortuga Bay for a week long vacation based exclusively on the reviews seen here on Tripadvisor. We have traveled extensively throughout the US, Carribean, and Europe and have stayed at the typical high end places- Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Iberostar, etc. The Tortuga Bay resort is likely the best, and certainly in the top 2 or three places we have visited over the last 10 years.
The "campus" is actually a 15,000 acre complex which is in a sense separate from the remaining island. It includes the privately owned international airport, Tortuga Bay Resort, The Punta Cana Resort Hotel, Punta Cana Village, some luxury private homes, and two operating golf courses- La Cana and Corrales. When you land in Punta Cana, you are already within the confines of the 15,000 acre complex. Within the campus, there is excellent development and infrastructure- well maintained roads, streetlights, restaurants and shopping. You will feel as if you are in any well developed part of the world.
Once at the airport, you're greeted on the tarmac by the resort's VIP service and wisked quickly through customs to your shuttle. Contrary to what I saw from other reviews, this appeared to be a very eclusive service. Of the hundreds of travellers lined up to pass through customs, we were the only party to have this service. It did not appear that any other resorts made it available to its clients. Upon our departure, there is a VIP lounge for the reort's clients. We were the only two clients in the lounge, which was large, luxurious, and on level with the finest frequent flyer lounges that I have encountered anywhere in the world. The arrival/departure VIP service is unlike anything I have experienced and makes this relatively expensive resort even more worthwhile.
The resort is gated and a separate enclave withing the campus. Once again, Tortuga is separate from the remaining resort- giving it an "ultra exclusive" feel. Once at Tortuga, we were taken immediately to our Junior Suite for check in. Our villa manager, Victor, took great lengths to make sure we understood everything. We were supplied with a cell phone and keys to our own golf cart. Any whim could be realized by hopping in our cart or calling our villa manager via the dedicated cell phone.
The room was very large and superbly appointed, consistent with what you would expect from Oscar de la Renta. Large comfortable bed, WiFi internet, large flat screen satellite TV. The room has a large wrap around veranda overlooking the Carribean and is only about 100 feet from the private beach. Large closet, huge bathroom with L'occitane products, double vanity and garden tub, and a large dedicated kitchenette off the entry foyer. Again, it is a very large, sunny, and luxurious room on par or superior to anything you will encounter, even at this price range.
The restaurant, Bamboo, is excellent. They had a sale on wine so each bottle was 1/2 price. We had one slight problem with the preparation of my steak one evening- undercooked then overcooked. The staff graciously comped the steak without my asking. I would not have expected this and did not solicit the complimentary steak, which was quite tasty despite not being cooked to my specs. We also had breakfast each morning at Bamboo- delicious, fresh food with attentive service.
We played 2 rounds of golf- at La Cana and at Corrales. Both courses were outstanding, with incredible views of the Carribean. The La Cana course designer, PB Dye, was in residence while we were there. He and his lovely wife, Jean, are extremely kind and friendly people. We feel like we made two new friends while we were there! I got an education on turf and golf course design from one of the world's best! Mr. Dye is constructing a third course, Hacienda, opening next year. At Corrales, our caddie David was great- highly recommended. The course pro, Jay Overton, is a fantastic guy and went out of his way to make our experience feel special. Golfers can plan on a world class experience at Tortuga Bay.
The beach at Tortuga is gorgeous, with attentive service from Ezekier. I agree with others that the chairs could have been more comfortable, but it didn't deter me from napping for several hours! 2 towels will pad the chairs more than adequately. Most of the time, we were the only persons on the beach- something we have not experienced at other resorts.
There is a complimentary shuttle service to take you to the village. We had 2 very nice meals in the village at Mama Luisa's and Acenta. I would encourage dining at Bamboo, in the village, and the grill at La Canta. We did not dine at any of the other establishments at the resort so cannot comment on the other spots.
We had one, unavoidable problem with our shuttle one evening- it was 20 minutes late taking us out because it was making a run to the airport. In what appears to be the norm for Tortuga Bay, a bottle of Grey Goose vodka awaited us, with an apology letter, upon our return. Again, I would not have expected this recourse for such a minor issue. But our villa managers, Karin and Melissa, went out of there way to ensure a very special experience.
My wife and I both had a variety of different treatments at the spa- foot soother massage, body massage, and facial. The therapists were attentive and skilled and the treatments were on par with what would be expected from a world class resort.
The only nit I would make would be the fitness facilities. Although Tortuga's gym was clean and had a spin bike, universal machine, 2 treadmills, and an Elliptical, it was not what I would expect from a resort that provides this level of amenities and service. I will qualify this by saying I am a bit of a fitness fanatic, so perhaps my expectations are a bit overboard. I was able to get a good cardio workout and a light pump on the universal machine, but a larger, more well-appointed gym would completely top off this beautiful resort.
In summary, Tortuga Bay is a fantastic place. The staff is exceedingly gracious and the natural (and man-made) beauty of the place makes it one of the most enchanting places we have visited. We'll be back.
- 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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