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Reviewed 26 June 2018 via mobile

My beautiful girlfriend and I spent 6 days and 5 nights at the Paradisus Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This vacation was a celebration of her 40th birthday and we were joined by three other couples who helped us celebrate.

Every person has different priorities when it comes to picking and ultimately critiquing a resort. For me (and I find for most people) food and hospitality are my two biggest needs.

Almost of equal importance to me. If the food is bad but I’m spoiled rotten by smiling faces, kind words and attentiveness, the cuisine can be forgiven. And if the food is incredible, the frowns and scowls can be overlooked... but only a little. I’m not sure if I can consider myself a foodie because I still enjoy a kraft macaroni and cheese every once in a while and I think that disqualifies me but I do enjoy my food and like to think I have great taste... My love of boxed pasta and powdered cheese notwithstanding. Food is important to me. It has the ability to dictate my mood and can make or break my evening. I’m also in a civil service career and “service” is the key word. My job is to serve the public and when I’m on vacation, I want to be given the same attention I bestow on others when I’m at work.

My next priority is ambiance. If I’m in the Caribbean, I want to know I’m in the Caribbean at every turn. That means palm trees, colorful flowers, bright red sand crabs, steel drums, and lots and lots and lots of aesthetically pleasing landscaping. The pools are cool and blue and have swim- up bars and grass-covered beds. It needs to be a resort that reflects the destination.

Activities: keep me entertained. Mostly I’m going to sit around the pool and sip on a drink and talk but I would like the option to join a beach volleyball game or some kind of pool-side contest. After dinner maybe some dancing or a comedy show. Maybe a historical discussion about the region (the nerd in me LOVES history). In short, I’d like to have something to do.

Last is the room. If I’m at a good resort I won’t spend much time here but the time I DO spend should be comfortable. The room isn’t much of a priority. That’s why cruises still appeal to me. I don’t mind the cramped quarters.

Ok, enough about me, let’s talk about Paradisus using the needs I listed above.

Food:
Like I said, this is the most important factor in my vacation requirements and unfortunately, the food here did not measure up. I won’t say it was terrible because it wasn’t but it absolutely fell short of impressing me. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and it doesn’t take much to make a good breakfast but they didn’t even seem to put in the little effort breakfast takes. Every single breakfast I had found me leaving the table very disappointed. We had lunch at one of the buffets on day two and again I walked away unsatisfied. From then on we just ordered appetizers next to the pool for lunch. Dinners were slightly better but still didn’t make the “good” category. My favorite meal was probably the hibachi dinner at Bana and I still can’t bring myself to say it was good. The sushi was warm (HUGE turn-off for me) and the rice served with dinner was undercooked. The sake was delicious and went down a little too well but even in my inebriated state, I couldn’t find pleasure in my dinner. The Grill, the resorts’s steakhouse, wasn’t bad but it bothered me that you had to pay extra for better cuts of meat. The ribeye steak was as close to impressive as the resort got for me, however the hospitality and the side-dishes were so bad that it killed what could have been a good meal. I’d give the food 2 stars out of five only because it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t good either.

Hospitality:
Paradisus was probably the worst resort I’ve ever been to in this category. With the exception of a few stand-out personalities we encountered, like the Sunset bar pool bartender “Juan” and “Jose”- they were fantastic....but most of the people of Paradisus left us feeling like we were bothering them. Bartenders told us “no” more often than they said “yes.” Hostesses only wanted to know how many in your party and smiles were rare. The few times we heard ”buen provecho” (enjoy you meal) was as they were walking away. There were a few that were outright rude (the hibachi chef) but for the most part, I just didn’t feel warmth. Our “butler,” Junior was very warm and we genuinely liked him. He smiled a lot, had a wealth of knowledge about the island and was accommodating. We unfortunately didn’t see much of him and our primary communication with him was through text messaging. That was a disappointment but he earned the tip that he received.

Which brings me to the next point in the hospitality category. Tipping:
I have never been to an all-inclusive where tipping was not only acceptable but it was expected. I mentioned the hibachi chef earlier. He was very funny, the food was acceptable and he entertained us all (eight of us in my party) and we agreed that we would all tip him $10. However, as the waiter was explaining dessert, the chef stood behind him and we were waiting for the waiter to finish to bestow our monetary gratitude. The chef walked out of the room before the waiter finished his last word and the look of utter disgust the chef threw at us cut right through the buzz the sake had given me. It could not have been any more plain than a slap across the face with his talented spatula. We ended up asking the hostess to retrieve the chef as we left but my $10 tip was more obligatory than appreciative at that point. Everyone you encountered wanted a tip including the guy that INSISTED on the 2 minute golf cart ride to the main lobby. It’s a little off putting if you ask me.

Ambiance: This is the category that gets its highest mark from me. The resort is beautiful! Flamingos in the main lobby, beautiful blue pools. Grass thatched huts and hammocks. Comfortable beds on the beautiful beach. Soft sand. You know you’re in paradise when you walk anywhere on the resort. It’s impeccably clean and well manicured. I was impressed.

Activities: I’d say Paradisus is about average in this category. We had no idea about the free kayaks or free sailboats (hobie cats) until our last day. They just weren’t advertised and were hard to find. No beach volleyball or pool-side contests. They had a Queen tribute band one day by the pool which was cool. Nighttime is somewhat different. There was always at least one activity happening (movie on the beach, dance club or theater) but, again it wasn’t advertised and we always kinda found it while walking around. The beach is beautiful and not very crowded. The water is warm and semi-calm. We would wade in the water for about an hour as we chatted amongst ourselves. On Day 3 of our vacation, the seaweed was EVERYWHERE which obviously wasn’t the resort’s fault but bears mentioning. We loved the beach and we spent every morning there after our mediocre breakfasts. (I’m writing this from the beach as we await our departure in an hour). We also went on an excursion with Adventure Boogies and I’ll write a separate review for them elsewhere but I will simply say for now that we enjoyed our excursion despite the bad weather.

Room: Again, this category receives an average mark. The bed was incredibly comfortable and the pillows were plenty and soft. The room was a great size and the sliding doors let in beautiful ocean breezes. The bathroom was a little tight when we were both getting ready for dinner but not prohibitively so. The downside.... the showers!! We were so excited when we saw the large showers with dual shower heads. Romantic and luxurious but that’s where it stops. The water pressure was INCREDIBLY low. It took a good couple of minutes to rinse off even when using only one of the two shower heads. The water was incredibly hot and we had to run the shower for at least 20 minutes before getting in just to cool it down. It was like the opposite of a crappy New York City apartment! We both agreed that the showers were a major let-down and put a huge damper on our excitement for the room. We called to complain twice and we were told they were working on it but we never saw anyone from maintenance and the problem persisted the entire stay.

There were some other small problems that we had with the resort that alone would have only been a very minor annoyance but, when combined with our other complaints, just solidified our decision to never return here. There was a foul smell every so often on the resort. Like a sewage release or something. The jacuzzi at the spa was broken the entire visit and we weren’t able to use it. The drinks are watered down noticeably and the liquor was the worst quality. It’s very evident that every corner was cut in an effort to save money. The vendors on the beach are very aggressive and rude when rebuffed.

As I’m sure you can tell, I was less than impressed. I’ve been to at least a dozen resorts and 4 cruises and I can easily say this was my least favorite. I had fun but I know it’s because of the company I was with and the beauty of the resort. I also had fun because you’d have to be a robot not to enjoy ANY Caribbean destination. I love the Caribbean waters and the relaxation it brings me. The serenity gets into me by some strange tropical osmosis and I’m still leaving this substandard resort more relaxed than I’ve been in months. However I have to give credit where credit is due and the turquoise water, the ocean breeze, my wonderful girlfriend and the way she fills a bikini, my friends and their awkward humor and the numerous naps on the beach brought me this tranquility. Not Paradisus!!!

Stayed: June 2018, travelled as a couple
6  Thank andread17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2018 via mobile

We are actually currently here and I normally don’t write reviews but I am writing this out of frustrations. We are looking for the next available flight to return to Toronto.

Do not believe the positive reviews about this resort. The infrastructure of the hotel is in a horrible shape. They had brown-outs and blackouts last night which is apparently quite frequent. This damaged the AC system in our building (maybe it was already broken) and the temperature went up to 27-28 degrees in the room with 100% humidity at night. Our 2 year old didn’t sleep at all. Today they offered us another room and asked us to be ready around 3 pm to be picked up. We waited till 4 and no one showed up. After maybe 10-15 phone calls someone showed up at 5:30 to move us to our “upgraded” room. We were totally astonished when we found out that the AC in the new room is also broken and on top of that there is no hot water!!! I mean, we paid a lot of money for this vacation assuming we would get a decent service. Stay away. They are nice people but the infrastructure is totally broken. I will be calling Air Canada vacations asking them to remove this from their list of resorts.

Stayed: June 2018, travelled with family
1  Thank KevinK1978
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2018

We spent 10 days at this resort, and I can honestly say I couldn't get home fast enough. This resort needs some serious updating in their rooms and training on customer service. We were with a large group, and many of us had issues, not to mention others we spoke with during our stay.
We paid extra for the royal service, and that was laughable. I can only imagine what it would be like without it.
Let's begin with the rooms:
We had to switch rooms 3 times. The first room the air conditioner was broken and it smelled musty. We later found out that MANY rooms have broken air conditioners but they still put people in them. The 2nd room was right behind the pool. Great, or so we thought, until we had to listen to booming music from 10 am - 4 pm. It was so loud we couldn't even hear the tv in our room. The 3rd room was a charm, or at least as good as it gets for this resort. However, we were without hot water for 3 days, and some days we had NO WATER, and others had only scalding hot water. Some people in our group were also without power. Our toilet kept clogging up, so flush, flush, flush.
Butler service:
Matiel was great! He is a really nice guy who was happy to help us. We didn't expect hime to follow us around or even do that much, but he checked in daily and added special touches to our visit. He had a few days off and so another butler took over. Totally different experience. He did not check in with us, only asked if we needed anything when we saw him a few times walking around the resort. We asked to have crackers in the room for a snack and he said we needed to call room service. We called room service and they said we had to call whoever refills the snacks. Total runaround, which is exactly what everyone at this resort does.
Beach service:
Don't expect much, even on the royal service side. There are a few guys that walk around and take your order, but it took 45 min. just to get "nachos," which was chips/guac. See my photo regarding the recycled chips. Waited an hour for sliders that were raw. You're better off getting your own drinks at the bar b/c they take forever to bring them. The maintenence men are fabulous, and will bring you fresh coconuts. My saving grace for drinks on the beach.
Restaurant service:
Eating at La Palapa saved us! The food and service was good, although the menu got old after a few days of eating the same things. Breakfast, lunch, & dinner were great, and way better than the buffets. The royal service lounge was also good for afternoon snacks, even though we did see the workers touching the food with their bare hands.
The other restaurants were hit & miss, mostly miss. Many in our group got sick and are still having stomach issues. Some are getting tested for parasites b/c the issues haven't resolved. I chalk this up to half cooked food or having it sit out too long.
Our favorite was Vento, with great food, service, & air conditioning. The other restaurants were okay. The issue was getting reservations. Many in our group made reservations, only to have them cancelled at the last minute or they had to eat at 9 pm. Many times they were told that there weren't seats available, but when we arrived there was always plenty of empty tables. Fuego wasn't even utilizing the entire back half of the restaurant, yet our group had trouble getting seats.
We ate a Gabi beach buffet, disappointing. One of the workers spilled ice cream all over the floor. It was a huge mess. I thought he was going to the back to get a mop, but nope, he disappeared and never came back to clean it. It was there the entire time we ate, and was a huge slipping hazard. I couldn't believe he just walked away.
The drinks:
Great drinks, but you pretty much had to go to the bar to get them yourself. Good luck finding a server.
Housekeeping:
Our room was "clean" by dust bunny standards, but was really falling apart. Many in our group had doors that wouldn't lock or they would lock them and come back to an open door. One person had their toilet overflowing with foam, others had a sewage smell. The sheets and towels were clean. I came home with several bites on my legs. I can't say we saw bedbugs, but it's been a week and I'm still itching like crazy so I know they aren't mosquito bites.
We literally saw a housekeeper getting water from the pond to wash off the balcony. Makes me wonder where the water comes from to mop the floors.
Payment:
Check your bill carefully. They were trying to charge us $40 more, luckily I had my confirmation numer. Many in our group were overcharged for the spa services, and one person had an email when she got home saying "we forgot to charge you for 1 day, please send us a picture of your credit card to we can charge it." Are you kidding me?!
There are MANY other issues that we had with this resort, too many to even write about. They did give us 4 "free" days of royal service to make up for the issues, but honestly, that didn't make up for not having water (the entire resort) and the other problems. All I can say is that we will NEVER go to this resort again, and if you want a decent vacation, pick another resort.

  • Stayed: June 2018, travelled on business
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank B K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2018

The location of Paradisus Punta Cana is lovely; the property is a little dated and has some concerns with air conditioning and periodic loss of water. Beyond that, the staff was incredibly helpful and kind and the food was good. Beware, most restaurants are outside and so don't plan on a lot of a relief of the heat and humidity. I live in Florida and the humidity in the Dominican Republic was stifling.

Room Tip: Royal Service close to the ocean is best.
  • Stayed: June 2018, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Pasoporaqui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paradisus P, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Paradisus Punta Cana Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 28 June 2018

Dear Pasoporaqui,

Receive a warm greetings from Paradisus Punta Cana,

First of all we would like to thank you for selecting our Paradisus Punta Cana and for sharing your comment with us, to know that we actually exceeded your expectations fills us of joy and happiness since it’s our mission to make of your vacations a memorable experience, we feel gratified with your kind words and positive feedback regarding your stay at Paradisus Punta Cana.

Thank you very much and we are going to be waiting for your return!

Best regards

Rafael Megias
Guest Experience Director

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2018

It's still love between me and the Paradisus but something unusual happened. First, the room was not cleaned everything, the Palapa used to be the best restaurant it is not anymore. Sometimes at the breakfast we waited 20 minutes for eggs and we have to asked for coffee, but for dinner the service was very good. We were at the Royal Service so we should have our turn down every evening; we had only 3 or 4 times. We are also with Club Melia and we asked for a transportation He never showed up. I know it is small things but I used to have better than what we received in June. The only reason I could see is the lower season. However, the food is still very good, the staff is still the best in Punta Cana, especially Maria and Matiel (bulters), the bartenders at the Royal pool are amazing and the beach in the Royal is top. Everybody is always smilling and you can see that they are at you service. I am returning in October and I hope that those little things will be corrected.

  • Stayed: June 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank chichmacrach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paradisus P, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Paradisus Punta Cana Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 28 June 2018

Dear Guest,

Recieve a warm greeting from Punta cana!

We appreciate very much your feedback regarding your stay at Paradisus Punta Cana and also thank you for selecting our resort to spend your holidays.

Your comment is very value and important to us; Knowing that your expectations were met is really valuable for us, since our top priority is always our guests satisfaction. We already took good notes about your comments in order to improve our service for our future guests.

For us will be a pleasure to receive you once again to provide you an unforgetable stay.

Best regards

Rafael Megias
Guest Experience Director

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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