This is a difficult review to write. I have to agree with a lot of the positives that have been written about this resort and I'm sure that if you come in November when all the construction is over (or so Zoetry promises!) that everything will be wonderful. Our problem was that we chose to visit the place during their off season - the resort was only 1/3 full - and they were capitalizing on the low capacity to get a lot of their maintenance done. The major additions - basically doubling capacity - really didn't affect us at all. This portion of the construction is separated from most of the resort and the impact of it, as has been described by others, was minimal. However, the thatching (cana) that is basically the roof of every building needs to be replaced about every 8 years and it's being replaced on many of the buildings right now. As a result of this, the Indigo restaurant was being entirely gutted and was closed for the entire week we were there; also necessitating the closure of the (adjacent) main pool for three consecutive days because of falling debris. The same work was also being done on the coffee bar; internet cafe and boutique keeping them closed for the week as well. These three shops will probably be completed as I write this and the Indigo Restaurant work was moving quickly - my estimate was that it would be completed by the first week in October (2013). The bottom line on all this from a review standpoint is that it probably won't affect YOU as a future guest at all. But I do think the caveat is that while off season prices may be lower and rooms may be more available, resorts use the time (understandably!) to do their heavy maintenance when there's fewer guests. Problem is, it makes for a less inviting stay. We were placed right next to the construction - supposedly an upgrade, but the workmen were very noisy starting at about 7 AM. Add to this fact the problem that only one of the two other restaurants was open each night made our dining choices very limited. Incidentally, of the two restaurants only Amaya has AC. Olena therefore can be very uncomfortably warm at this time of year and when you have no alternative choice of restaurant...well, we sweated a lot every second night!
OK; enough about the "unfixables"! The place itself is beautiful. Grounds are well kept and as I said, all the thatch is experiencing a makeover - even on the guest rooms and walkways. The pools are very nice but they as well as many of the the walkways could use some resurfacing in the future. Not a big deal though.
I would rate the food as "very good" although not the "excellent" some other reviewers have given it. We could have used a bit more variety, but with one of the restaurants out of commission this was probably a big factor. Lunch on the beach was great! Their beef was excellent; something that is pretty unique in the Islands! All the adult beverages are top shelf. My wife and I are martini drinkers and we were able to imbibe our normal Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire's "No Problem"! Although there is a "for purchase wine" list (rather steep in price), the "included" wines were all pretty good.
There was always enough space under a palapa on the beach or at the pool (when it was open). But as I said, the resort was only 1/3 full and will be doubling its size. I'd have a little concern about beach accommodations in the future since it did not appear that the beach size will be increasing to match the additional guest load and full capacity would make it 6 times as full as we were this week. Towels were plentiful and the chair cushions were replaced when we were there.
The staff here are what set the place a step ahead. They really did know our names by the second day and greeted us as such continually. I probably won't remember all their names, but Merina, Fernando, Juan, Juaquin and Rosalia of the wait staff were all spectacular.
If I could leave management with one suggestion upon completing this note (I know they read every one from TripAdvisor!) it would be this. Some modest entertainment would be a real positive! I'm not talking about a disco or stage show here; I actually don't think it would be in keeping with the atmosphere of the place. But a nice piano bar in the lobby would be great. After dinner there is literally NOTHING to do do here. Even the lobby bar only sports 6 stools that during our stay were often empty. It's a shame to have to go back to your room to Dancing With The Stars on vacation when there's such an easy fix that's available at just about every other all-inclusive resort - especially one that's trying to get to 5-star classification. Only saying...
Overall if we went back, it wouldn't be in the off-season!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Limited to just 96 exclusive suites, their hardwood floors, cane-thatched roofs and natural stone accents harmonize with the lush, secluded oceanfront setting. Although a mere 24 miles from the Punta Cana International Airport, the spirit here is far, far removed from the hectic tempo of everyday living. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Zoetry Agua Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Agua Hotel Punta Cana
- Agua Punta Cana