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Reviewed January 25, 2013

My husband and I just returned from the Barcelo Punta Cana. I had read the reviews prior to going, but wanted to keep a positive attitude. I've traveled abroad a number of times, so I had an idea of what to expect. Never in my wildest imagination could I have the expected such rancid conditions from a Delta vacation destination. From pulling into the resort, a red flag went up, when the Barcelo Punta Cana is the only resort with a HAND PAINTED resort sign. We arrived after 5pm, and were told that our room was still not ready. Once we were able to check in, and made our way through the smoke filled lobby and over the cracked, misplaced tile to our room, where a bug was dead in the sink. Trying to remain positive, we went to the buffet for dinner. We were sat next to a filthy wall that was covered in dirty finger prints, and old crusted on food. It hadn't been cleaned in ages. It made me fearful of what the kitchen looked like. The food is hardly bearable. Not one of the 9 days went by that someone in our group wasn't sick. After the first night, and the faucet falling off in the shower, and the hooting and hollering that continued on into 2am, I met with our Delta representative, Jeremy and he helped us change our room from the 7th building to building 4. Slightly better, but still not worth the money.
One of the worst experiences, is that "maintenance" knocked on our door after 11P.M.and needed to check the cable - that WAS working. The next day I met a couple who had money stolen out of their room.
The fitness center is a disgrace and has probably never had any cleaning.
The thermostat in our second room did not work, the hot water would stop working all together or it was sporadic. None of the table lamps would work, we had to have security fix our safe FOUR times. One of the times, it took them over an hour and a half to come and open it. The towels had holes in them, the clock in the room didn't work. I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the picture.
The customer service is as good as the food, regardless if you tip or not. There isn't any consistency, we are so disappointed on every aspect of this vacation. The only positive that I have is that the beach was decent.

Room Tip: Do not accept a room in buildings 4-7. Buildings 1-3 have been renovated.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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8  Thank keepcalmrideon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
barcelopc, Manager at Occidental Caribe, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

Dear guest,
Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback regarding our hotel.
We really appreciate your comments and appologies for any discomfort you may have encountered. We have taken note and we will definately consider it to help us to continue to improve our services.
Our main goal is to serve all our guests with the highest level of service and satisfaction.
Please feel free to contact myself directly if you are travelling to Punta Cana again so it will be a pleasure for us to have you as our guest again. We will work to make your vacations more than enjoyable.
Once again please accept our thanks and appologies.

Sincerely,
Sandy Pfeil

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Reviewed January 25, 2013

I think staff need to speak little more English bathrooms need update and rooms painted lighter ciolours . Food was great but need more labels as we never eat pork and all so cooks need to learn how to cook meats a bit better as there where to tuff . To many luck lucky men on beach . Wine was very very bad we a had to buy bottles at dinner . Hope you can sort these problems out as around the place was great and we had a great time thanks to the waiter juan he was great Sarah for uk England

  • Stayed: January 2013
    • Value
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3  Thank Sufya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
barcelopc, Manager at Occidental Caribe, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

Dear Sufya,
We would like to thank you for your feedback about your recent stay with us, being of the utmost importance for us and our main source to improve our facilities and service.
We will certainly take your comments into consideration.
It's a pleasure to know that you had a good time in general with us and you will keep a good memory of the Dominican Republic and our Hotel.
We certainly hope you will decide to visit us again in the future, thus giving us another chance not only to comply with, but to exceed your highest expectations.

Yours sincerely,
Sandy Pfeil

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Reviewed January 24, 2013

This was our 2nd stay at the Barcelo Punta Cana with our 2 boys, ages 5 and 2. We went in January of 2012, and returned this year primarily because of the wonderful kid’s pool in view of the ocean; we haven't seen this set-up at any other resort. We also liked the food and service, and found the entire resort to be clean, safe and fun for our family, with a price we can afford.

We arrived quite late at night, 1 a.m. Dominican time with two sleepy children. We were greeted by Jose Carrusco, who gave my 5 year old son a ride on the luggage cart to his delight! Check in was easy and our basic room was perfect, with new beds, tons of pillows and a vaulted ceiling in the 4000 section, nice and quiet which allowed the kids (and parents) to sleep very well each night.

I am surprised to read that some people had such different experiences than us at this hotel! Our room was great, everything worked from day 1, it was cleaned daily, towels restocked and the fridge filled daily as well. I read some reviews that people’s linens were not changed, this is to conserve washing linens daily for environmental reasons. There is a card in your room that you have to leave out if you want your linens changed, and a card for when to make up your room as well. If we needed something, we just asked with a smile, and we got it. I have always brought 3 things with me when I travel – one large towel, my own facecloths and a travel blowdryer, in case mine is not working in the room. This way, I don’t have to spend any time on the “little things” while I am away.

The food was fantastic; our favourite was the Tokio restaurant and the pizza place above the Marlin restaurant by the beach – homemade thin crust that was delicious! The buffet had many kinds of fresh bread baked daily, an omelet and pasta station, all kinds of vegetables and salads, a kids station with French fries, hamburgers and plain pasta, various meat & seafood dishes, with beautiful presentation of fruit and vegetable sculptures. For breakfast there are scrambled eggs, omelets, hash browns, bananas wrapped in bacon (yum), yogurt, fresh fruit, cereal, bacon, sausages, donuts and fresh-baked pastries every morning, among all kinds of other things. Thank you to Miguel De Leon and the entire restaurant staff. We ate everything both last year and this year and none of us got sick. I can't understand why people comment that they couldn't find anything they liked, perhaps they are looking for only hamburgers and pizza (which they have daily at the beach snack bar). Service at all of the restaurants and bars I found to be faster this year. Christian at the main buffet was excellent, and remembered us from last year. He always took care of us and got us anything we needed, particularly the wonderful Dominican coffee that we loved each morning! Nancy also remembered us from last year and provided great service in the main buffet and the Tokio restaurant - our kids loved watching the chef prepare everything on the grill in front of them, and the food was fantastic. I highly recommend trying this one!

Drinks are different depending on which bartender prepares it; Elinson Melo makes a fantastic Rum Punch at the beach bar. Take a refillable mug because it’s more environmentally friendly than plastic cups, and it will save you time walking back and forth to the bar so often.

Do bring some bug spray for the mosquitos if you plan to go out in the evening and are someone that the bugs like, I got a few bites but the rest of my family did not.

I do think there are some guests who are surprised by how many children and families are here, it is very family friendly - good to know if you prefer an adult-only resort. The mini-disco at the theatre every night at 8 p.m. was a huge hit with our kids again, they loved dancing on the stage, the beach party and the toga party in the disco on our last night. Bella at the Barcy Club is fantastic, she speaks many languages and does a great job with Sandy in entertaining kids from many different countries.

The beach is absolutely GORGEOUS! White powder sand and the bluest water you have ever seen! The ocean was quite rough some days so it’s something to consider if you want to swim with kids in the ocean. A little further down at Bavaro Beach is calmer. My kids are still nervous of the ocean but they both went in and jumped a few "waves" at the edge. We spent our mornings on the beach and afternoons at the kid’s pool, my 5 year old son was shriveled up every day from being so long in the water.

What I love about this resort is that it's not completely "Americanized" so to speak, there is a lot of Dominican flavour left. I have been travelling to the D.R. since 1998 and have been to Puerto Plata, Cofresi, Sosua, Cabarete, La Romana and Punta Cana. (I have also been to Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia.) Things take more time here, and a lot of the food is traditional Dominican, but there is a huge variety of foods from various countries if you want to stay in your comfort zone. You need to go prepared to slow down, open your mind, and try something new, isn't that what you go on vacation for?

Keep up the good work Barcelo Punta Cana, we’ll be back again soon!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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15  Thank Estrellica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
barcelopc, Manager at Occidental Caribe, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

Dear Estrellica,

Thank you for writing such positive comments about your last stay with us, it is always great to read reviews from our repeat guests.

We are glad to know that you enjoyed your vacation and we definetely hope to see you again in the future, It will be our pleasure to welcome you again!

Sincerely
Sandy Pfeil

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Reviewed January 23, 2013

We just returned last night from a wedding event at the Barcelo Punta Cana. I was floored as to the low level of quality and service that we received and witnessed there. These folks just don't care - there is no other way to put it. The facility has been neglected for years. It is dirty, smoke-filled, the people have no customer service training, the food is the worst I've ever experienced, the wine is undrinkable, the liquor is the worst you ever had in college etc. It has turned me off from the Dominican completely. Someone that I really trust would have to convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt there's a good resort there. In speaking with people at the airport, everyone said the food was bad, whether at the Hard Rock or others that are more highly rated. If you're like us and must go to the Barcelo Punta Cana, just set your expectations very low. If cigarette or cigar smoke bothers you, prepare to be miserable. It's in the lobby, seeps under your door into your room, comes in from the balcony, at the pool, bars 24x7. Towels are difficult to get in the room, hot water is inconsistent, language barrier is tough and prepare to wait 30min- 1 hour in line EVERY DAY at 8:30am to get a restaurant reservation. You do not want to eat at the regular buffet at night. Try to negotiate with US cash with the girl at the desk to get the restaurants you want or pay off the folks in front of the restaurants at night to get in. They always act like they're full, but they don't look full.
We would never go back here. I HIGHLY recommend you do not go under any cirumstance that's under your control. If you have questions, please ask. I could go on and on with a long list of problems.

Room Tip: Many of the rooms are loud due to birds, night club acts etc. The rooms in buildings 5,6 and 7 are horrific. The ones in building 3 have been renovated and are better. We stayed in 3304 which was ok. I'd advise 3rd or 4th floor in building 3 on LEFT side of lobby over quieter part of pool. Building 3 over RIGHT side of lobby is above entertainment area.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank JulieBMW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
barcelopc, Manager at Occidental Caribe, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2013

Dear Julie,
We would like to thank you for your feedback about your recent stay with us, being of the utmost importance for us and our main source to improve our facilities and service.
We have taken your concerns seriously and have dealt with the various personnel in correcting the service flaws that you highlighted in your review.
Please not that smoking is allowed in publica areas that are open air; all air conditioned areas are non smoking.
Please feel free to contact myself directly if you are travelling to Punta Cana again so it will be a pleasure for us to have you as our guest again. We will work to make you enjoy your vacations.

Kind regards
Sandy Pfeil

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Reviewed January 23, 2013

Our Christmas break trip at this hotel was a complete disaster. We had fourteen people go in total and we were all disappointed. I have been to other all-inclusives and I have never experience a vacation like this one. When we arrived at the hotel, we proceed to wait an hour in line for check in. Check in was completely disorganized. There were people cutting each other off, no proper line ups, and only a few reception people working to help a whole bus load. I got to the front and I finally got to check in at about 2:30pm and then reception proceeds to tell me that all three of my rooms are not ready yet and that I have to come back at four o’clock. I had a baby who was exhausted and now I didn’t even have a room. Reception proceeds to tell me to go enjoy some food and the pools, etc. and then to come back to reception at four o’clock. At that point, I take the kids swimming and I went to go get towels at the towel hut and the worker tells me that there will be no towels for 45 minutes. SO...NO ROOMS READY, NO TOWELS, that’s nice for a first impression of this hotel! At four o’clock, I went back to reception. Reception was still chaotic and unorganized. Guests were swearing, guests were yelling, guests were frustrated because of all the lack of organization. It was clear that it wasn’t just us. I waited another 45 minutes at reception and finally got to the front and they told me that my rooms were ready. The lady simply hands us our room keys and didn’t tell us which way to go, plus all the maps were all taken... so we really had no idea where to go. I asked the towel hut worker and I asked a server at the restaurant which way our rooms might be and no one knew the answer. Finally, a guest informed me that 7322, 7324 and 7326 were in the 7th building, on the third floor - a guest had to tell me! No bell person helped us with our luggage and the elevator near our room was out of order, so we had to carry all of our luggage up three floors, including my daughter’s stroller. I couldn’t even talk to my Transat Vacations representatives because they were unavailable until the NEXT morning (which is when our orientation meeting was). We finally get in our rooms, which were not very well maintained or cleaned. At first glance, they were not too bad, but we quickly noticed many issues. My room was 7322. The fridge in my room wasn’t working and I needed it to work to keep my baby’s milk bottles cold, the patio door kept jamming, the air conditioning didn’t work properly, and the ceiling in my bathroom was leaking. Even though I double checked with reception upon arrival, we still did not have a crib in my room either. My sister-in-law's room, 7326 had little tiny ants in many places, her patio door didn’t open at all, she had no towels in her room and absolutely nothing in her bar fridge. We made the most of it and we tried to enjoy our trip.

We did not get pool towels all day on that first day. Later on in the day, my sister-in-law noticed many more ants, on her bar counter, on her bathroom counter, in her safe and she still did not get towels or her fridge stocked. Later on that night I noticed lots of ants in my bathroom too. That night we went for dinner and again we noticed the lack of service - this resort was extremely understaffed, no one brought a highchair for my baby (we asked three times) and we had to repeatedly ask for drinks while we were eating, we even had to ask for water.

The next day I had to get up extremely early because I had to change our reservations for the ala carte restaurants. These were reservations pre-booked for us, with no choice as to time or restaurant. The line up for dinner reservations was so long, once again there was only one service representative for this huge line up. At 10:00 we went to our orientation meeting. Our representative made it very clear that if you have problems, we can talk to him. After the meeting, I let him know all our issues and asked him if we could change rooms because I was not happy to have a room like that with young children, especially for the price we paid. He said he would try to do something; he left and went to go talk to someone. When he came back, he said there was nothing he could do about changing rooms and that the problems we were having were “minor “ ones and that he would get them fixed right away. If those were minor problems, I hate to see major ones!!! Yes, someone came in and sprayed for bugs, someone fixed all the things we had complained about...but they were temporary fix-ups that only lasted for about a day. The next day, the fridge was still not working; the bugs came back, the ceiling still leaked and the patio doors jammed again.

Next, on New Years Eve, we were told to that in order to eat dinner (even at the buffet), that we had to make reservations, starting at 7am - that’s a very early time to get up at when you are on vacation with children!!!! But, I got up early and went down to go stand in line at 6:45am. I was the sixth person in line. I made a reservation at the buffet for 14 people (my in-laws and my family) at 8:30pm, they gave me a slip and I went back to my room. Later that night when we came for dinner, we were on time and they went to go seat us...they tried to seat 14 people at a table that was set up for EIGHT!!! I looked at the Greeter and said “Really? I was one of the first people in line, do you not have another table”. That didn’t seem to bother him and he proceeded to try and squish us into that table of eight. I was so extremely upset and frustrated that my husband and I sat at another table that was set off to the side. At that point, our group was ignored for the majority of dinner. NO drinks, no plates cleared. We finally pulled a waiter aside and asked for some pop...he brought us three drinks and then his boss/supervisor yelled at him and he never came back to our table. What kind of service is this???? Even though I am complaining now in this review, during our vacation we always tipped, we were never rude, inappropriate or aggressive towards the wait staff and this is how we get treated on New Years Eve - honestly, that was unbelievable and again disappointing.

The next day, when my daughter woke up in the morning, she was crying for a bottle of milk, so I walked down to the buffet to get milk at 8:30am (the buffet opens at 7:00am). There was no milk at the two cereal stations and no milk at the coffee station. I asked two servers and they just shrugged their shoulders. I was holding my baby’s bottle and showed them the bottle and asked “Are you telling me that there is no milk in this entire resort for my baby?” The servers just looked at me and gave me no answer. I had to go to the bar and get boiling hot steamed milk for the bottle and she told me to add ice to it. That really made me upset. I can handle waiting and rude service, but no milk for my baby? I really felt that nobody cared in this place. Again, I was so disappointed.

Later that morning, we went to the pool and again, no pool towels were available - we went back three times...still no towels. In the afternoon, my husband went to take my daughter back to our room to dry her off and give her a nap. There were no bath towels in our room either - not even the dirty ones we used the day before (I guess our maid cleaned them up). So, my husband asked for towels and they said that there would be towels in a little bit. We didn’t get bath towels all day. My in-laws had no towels either. It was 5:30pm and we wanted to wash because we had to go to dinner for 7:00pm, but no towels. We finally got only TWO towels at 6:00pm. I went to go in the shower and there was NO water, no water at all....not hot or cold. Well, at that point I had had enough! I marched to reception CRYING! Who cries on their vacation???? I told reception that I wanted to talk to a manager. I told him all the problems we were having and I demanded to move rooms. Thank God, he was the first person to have some sort of sympathy for me (his name was Allessandro, he was a nice man). He told me that he would try to fix whatever he could that night and that he would have new rooms for us if I come back at 3:00pm the next day.

The next day came and I went back to reception again. He showed us two different rooms, but said that they just had to be cleaned a little bit more. He told us to go back to our old rooms, pack up and he would send us a bell person to help us move our luggage. The bell person would be at our old rooms in 20 minutes/half an hour and the bell person would have our new room keys with the new room numbers. We waited until 5:30pm and still no bell person came to our old rooms. So, my sister-in-law and I went back to reception. The manager was not available. Reception finally gave us our keys. We went to the new rooms and the rooms were not the ones he showed me, we walked into the new rooms and they were occupied with other guests...great security in this hotel, giving us room keys to other people’s rooms!!!! So, we went back to reception and finally got the right rooms. My keys worked but my sister-in-law’s did not...so she had to go back to reception again-unbelievable!!! Her keys actually didn’t work for three more times after that and each time, she had to go to reception and wait each time!

The rest of the vacation went a little better after we got these new rooms. It still was not up to vacation standards. The toilets didn’t work, there were still bugs in our new rooms but not half as many, we still had water problems a few more times that week, but not as bad as our old rooms. All week, our rooms were never cleaned until late afternoon, at like five o’clock (when we were trying to get ready for dinner). The overall service was still horrible (the worst part was, that we tipped and still got horrible service!!). The pool bar was only server that was pleasant and fair to all he served. I think that every time I asked for a highchair, I never got - it so I gave up asking. I just went to get it myself. ALL week there was a problem with towels (pool and bath towels), the elevators always were out of service and service at reception was always unorganized. Those were constant on-going problems. There was even one time, when I was at reception, I was waiting patiently and the reception lady, pointed to the person BEHIND me and asked that person to come up to be served - I guess I was being blatantly ignored at that point! That was very rude and I spoke up about it, but she didn’t seem to care.
This hoterl was horrible, especially if you have chilren. The only good highlights from our trip is that the kids pool was nice, the grounds were nice, the food was okay (a bit repettive) and the beach and weather were fabulous, thank goodness for that! Unless you get a cheap deal, don't go!

Room Tip: Do not get rooms in buildings six or seven!!!!
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank Gina866
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
barcelopc, Manager at Occidental Caribe, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2013

Dear Mrs. Gina,
First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to communicate your opinion about your recent stay at Barcelo Punta Cana.
We are very concerned to read that your experience with us did not live up to our usual level of service. We have reviewed your comments regarding your recent trip to our hotel and I am deeply sorry that you encountered some issues during your stay. It seems that you
didn´t have an entirely pleasing holiday, although we work really hard in order to guarantee a worry free vacation. We hope that you have received our e-mail by now and we will be very glad if you give us the opportunity to host you again in the near future!

Once again our sincere appologies!
Sandy Pfeil

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