I was very anxious when I read the bad reviews and told myself that we would go with an open mind and try to make the best out of it.
The airport was very fast, got our luggage 10 minutes after landing, the drive to the hotel took around 10 minutes. We were the only couple checking in that day so everything was fast and easy. I previously put a request by email to Hilario Peralta...
Very clean, very spacious, we asked for a room on the 3rd floor and it was just PERFECT! The washroom is very small but who cares? You only spend 10 minutes a day in there...The ceiling was very high, the most comfortable bed I've ever slept on, lots of pillows, beautiful view from the balcony, fridge was filled up everyday. Everything was working fine, hot water everyday, a/c kept the room cool...what else could we ask for?
Oh! we bought lots of gifts for the maid and we left tips on a daily basis, we were hoping for some nice swans or any kind of designs on our beds but NADA! :( I was sad but it's not a reason for me to complain.
We bought a 25$ wireless internet and we have 25 hours for one whole week.
It wasn't worth it because it was either very slow or it wouldn't connect or have very low connection. It worked best early in the morning or in the afternoon when there would be less people using the wireless. In one week, we barely used one hour of connection and ended up giving it away before we left.
Very beautiful beach, we took our daily walk on the beach and we walked for 30 mins on the left hand side. We came across merchants selling souvenirs on the beach, bought coconuts everyday from locals and they even climb up the tree! Sand is powder soft, water clear blue...gardeners work hard to get rid of seaweed everyday.
Some people would snorkle but apparently there isn't much to see.
Chairs were easy to find everyday...if you wanted shade under the hut, you should go between 8-9am. But even without the huts, there were plenty of shades from the palm trees.
Pool is very nice and big, we could get floats easily and it's very nice to float around the pool in the afternoon. Water is not as cold and what I read on the previous reviews...
There's the Mexican, French, Italian and Japanese restaurants. I loved all three except the Japanese. We had the sushi and it was horrible (Because my boo and I are sushi experts) People at the teppenyaki seemed to have lots of fun tho, they were very loud.
The other 3 restaurants had amazing food. Mexican were our favourite. No reservations needed in those à la carte restaurants. Sometimes we would have to wait 30mins to an hour and we would get a pager and have a drink at the lobby bar or gamble at the casino in the meantime. In the mexican, we would get strawberry margaritas and corona beers!
Buffet was very good too, lots of variety, lobsters almost every night. Breakfast and lunch was good also. Lots of fruits and fresh fruit juices.
They also have a grill on the beach that makes juicy hamburgers and hot dogs with fries...I really pitied the old guy frying those hamburgers in the heat.
Food was so good that we had 4-5 meals a day :)
Oh! Room service was really good too!!! We got room service once and we had pizza and gazpachio soup and it was extremely good! Service was quick - 20 minutes and the waiter even pick up the dishes after you're done.
Always greeted us with a smile, always helpful and respectful, Cesar the Trainee at the reception and Luis at the buffet had the warmest smile in the resort!
We didn't really watch the shows...I think they could put some more effort in the night entertainment...Casino was okay and we didn't go to the nightclub so I can't really comment on it.
We did the reef explorer which was very very nice, a boat brings us to the floating platform 7 minutes away. We get to swin with the stingrays and the sharks, and we do some snorkeling and we saw beautiful corals, sea urchins and lots of fish!
You can use the floats, the canoe or just relax on the chairs on the platform. There is a 15 minutes massage included in the package but we didn't do it. You get a small snack but it wasn't all that good so make sure you have a nice big lunch before you go.
We also did the espagnola safari trip. A jeep brings us to Higuey, about an hour ride, and we visit a dominican village and we see how they live in those small wooden houses, with their small TV, small fridge...we taste their coffee, and then a ride on the donkey!
Then we go on the mountains, taste the sugarcane, visit a small village where the sugarcane workers live, then we have lunch in a dominican restaurant on the mountains.
Food was good, no one got sick. We get to taste the cocoa fruit and see how they make coco and coffee and cigars. They also bring you a to store that sells jewelleries and paintings and they were extremely expensive. We didn't do the boogie boarding because the weather was cloudy, rainy and cold the whole day.
Their massages are very very good! They have a 2 for 1 everyday for 90$. We got screwed because we had 100$ vouchers from the hotel and when we went for our massages, the 2 for 1 didn't apply and they said that it was an extra of 50$. They didn't specify if it was 50$ extra PER PERSON! Basically it would've been cheaper if we didn't use the vouchers.
Shopping for souvenirs:
We went outside of the resort, 6 minutes away by foot there's a market where locals would sell all kinds of souvenirs.
One thing you should know: BARGAIN!
We especially liked Moises from store number 14. He is a very reasonable man, gives you good and honest prices. If you tell him that Karren sent you, he will give you a good price.
The others ask for 90$ a painting, we got it at 20$ from Moises. We went back to his place only because we would get AMAZING deals! We almost felt bad for the guy...
We bought 7 big paintings in total and he gave us 3 small ones as gifts. I also bought 3 necklaces and 3 bracelets...all for 180$. No one could beat his price...
We went back to the market 5 times and it was hilarious to see the locals trying to get you to visit their store and the phrase you'll hear very often is "Cheapy! Cheapy! Almost Freee!!" and then they try to sell you a 90$ painting. haha.
On 2 nights, locals came into the resort and installed their tables in front of the buffet and they would sell their souvenirs and paintings...again, BARGAIN but I definitely think that it's cheaper at the market outside of the resort.
We didn't have the weather we wished for but it was better than being in the snow in -10 degrees. It was mostly cloudy, windy and showers from time to time. we had 2 days of really nice and warm weather and the day we left, it was really hot and sunny and not a single cloud in the sky. Bring a sweater.
I think I covered almost everything, any questions, email me and I'll be more than happy to help :)