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Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

Ambler, Pennsylvania
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87 posts
27 reviews
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Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

This goes against all of the experience gained while traveling. My girlfriend's best friend is planning a trip to Punta Cana. I always try to rent a house or condo. I like to go into town, shop & cook etc... With all inclusive resorts I feel you don't get to see the area you're visiting.

Anyway enough of my ranting. I'm trying to narrow down the search and one thing that is a must is good food. In my younger days I experienced how bad food can be at these places. We don't need fine dining but I don't want crap either.

Any help will be appreciated.

Here are a few places we have stayed in the past.

Bahia Encantada - Jaco, CR

tripadvisor.com/…CHECK_RATES_CONT

Villa Leone - Cabarate, DR

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g317144-r586…

Toronto, Canada
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9,090 posts
29 reviews
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1. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

First off, Punta Cana bears NO resemblance to Jaco. I've stayed there a few times so can compare.

I'm not going to recommend any particular AI resort. Generally speaking the more you pay the better the food but in saying that no AI will have the quality you desire. They are preparing food for the masses.

Food is subjective. What you call crap someone else may find perfectly acceptable.

La Ronge, Canada
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2,365 posts
39 reviews
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2. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

If you were to tell us what other criteria you're looking for it would help people make recommendations. For example, big resort or small? Calm water or wavy? Adults only or does that matter? One thing is for sure, you have to go with an open mind or it doesn't matter what resort you choose... You likely won't enjoy it! AI vacations are awesome and certainly doesn't mean you can't explore the area you are staying in! A vacation is what you make it...

York, Pennsylvania
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6,624 posts
34 reviews
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3. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

Well said travel4.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

No all inclusive resort will provide really great food. As long as you have realistic expectations, you can have a great experience at an all inclusive resort.

Look at the highest rated resorts on Tripadvisor. Do a quick search on expedia for a vacation package to make sure your expectations are in line with the desired budget.

Good luck!

Ambler, Pennsylvania
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87 posts
27 reviews
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5. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

Thanks for all of the info everyone. The resort will need to be Adults only. The water can be calm or rough.

I have fun every where I go its just that I prefer to avoid AI's. In this case I don't have a choice so I want to make sure we stay at a decent place.

When I plan our trips they usually range from 800-1100 for a week per person. This includes air, transportation & condo / house. I never use a travel agent. They just add to the overall cost and have never been able to match the packages that I can put together on my own.

London, United...
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2,902 posts
30 reviews
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6. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

I understand what you mean. The problem with Punta Cana is that it is quite isolated at the far east of the country + it is a recent development (25 yrs old) where previosuly there was nothing. + with so many AIs the number of indpendent bars cafes etc is limited. Punta Cana/Bavaro is in reality a long line of AI hotels along a beach - walking the beach means you can't escape from them. What may once have been a great beach is now IMO over developed. We recently stayed in Paradisus Punta Cana for a wedding and were there a week. Any longer and I think we would have found it a bit boring. The food wasn't bad and the range of items was sufficient to keep anyone happy - some local dishes + fresh cooked calamari to order etc.. The staff were very professional (certainly more so than First Choice), the hotel has nice grounds and it made a very relaxing short break.

London, United...
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3,625 posts
60 reviews
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7. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

I agree with DomingoUK; I can understand your reservations about staying AI, but IMPO it's the only real option in Punta Cana, as there is little off-resort; it's not like other places where you have large towns with large selections of bars and restaurants to choose from, it's very much geared towards All Inc holidays.

Adult only properties you might like to look at would be Excellence Punta Cana, Iberostar Grand Bavaro, Punta Cana Princess, Royal Suites Turquesa, and Majestic Elegance Club, as well as Gran Bahia Principe Ambar.

As others have said, food is never going to be great at an all inclusive resort; we've stayed at some fairly high-end properties in Mexico for 3 years running, and the food has ranged from poor to very good; in general, it's been average-good for an all inclusive. If you go knowing that you are unlikely to experience great food, you probably won't be disappointed, so my advice is to go with an open mind, expecting poor-average food, and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Nottingham
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947 posts
59 reviews
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8. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

Hi Guys i have to say in my opinion the Iberostar Grand Bavaro is an excellent hotel with very good food and is also Adult only

Norwood, MA
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96 posts
6 reviews
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9. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

H! Been to many AI in Punta Cana...just back from the Paradisus Palma Real...in my opinion, for your price range, a good choice would be the Gran Bahia Principe AMBAR, adults only section, closest to the beach in this mega resort. you can make all your dinner reservation ahead of arrival, corner rooms are huge, food is decent. I have to agree that the food at the all-inclusives are about the same. Don't expect gourmet, pesentation is lovely, food edible, and plenty of choices. I like the buffet at the Ambar for breakfast and lunch, a/c, and a nice dining room. Guests at the Ambar can utilze all the al la carte restaurants in the resort which is huge! Check it out. For a smaller resort, i'd recommend the Majestic Colonial / Elegance. I've never disliked a resort we've stayed at. Punta Cana may not be the place to venture out, as you'll note on the way to the resorts, other than excursions. Happy, Happy Travels!

Ottawa, Canada
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5,788 posts
9 reviews
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10. Re: Seasoned traveler regretfully booking an ALL INCLUSIVE HELP

Agree with previous post that Ambar is a great choice for your price range - we went twice and loved it. We've also been to the iberostar Grand Bavaro and it was excellent - but it might be out of your price range. Wherever you choose, go with a positive attitude and have fun!