So seven months ago my wife and I went to VIK Arena Blanca on the spur of the moment and were approached about buying into the Cayena Beach. Being famliar with the Marrott Vacation Club, I was hesitant about committing a large amount of money for the vacation club or time share side of Arena Blanca, but I was surprised at how little money was needed to get into the program here. I bought a package and we returned last week for our first week at Cayena Beach.
There are only 43 units on the Cayena Beach side so the place is very small, very quiet, very private, and the service is excellent and personal. There is a nice pool for Cayena Beach Club folks only and it is always virtually empty. There is a bar and restaurant, El Cano, reserved for Cayena Beach Club folks that serves buffet breakfasts and menu lunches. Both are excellent. Dinners are at the main buffet or the specialty restaurants on the Arena Blanca side. The bar offers some upscale liquor as opposed to what folks get at Arena Blanca. For example, Tanqueray is the speed rack gin. For an up charge you can get higher end stuff also.
The beach is beyond compare with faux wicker loungers and cushions. You have your choice of a little raised area beachfront that is very private for Cayena Beach Club folks only, or you can go down three steps to the regular beach. There were always loungers available any time of day. The beachfront is patrolled by security to make sure only Cayena Beach Club folks use that portion of the beach and it is empty and beautiful. If you take a walk left and right you will see others jammed onto the beach at other resorts, but not here.
I think to understand if this place is for you, you should ask yourself some questions. Do you want to pound tequila shooters till three in the morning with 25 year olds while dancing to the pounding rhythms of merengue? If so, then stay away. The crowd is older, or family types, and the bar at El Cano shuts down around 10 I think. Even the Arena Blanca side is small and quieter than any other resort I've been to except for one in Mexico that unfortunately was destroyed by a hurricane. You should also know that this place caters to foreigners. Americans are few and far between. Germans, French, Canadians, Russians seem to be everywhere and while all main staff speak English, secondary staff like maids, servers, and groundskeepers only speak Spanish.
You should also know that while I am extremely happy with my purchase at Cayena Beach, the place is showing some wear. Management is aware of that and I was told rooms are to be refurbished next year. Now, it is the Domincan Republic, so who knows? Also, when I was at Arena Blanca seven months ago in high season, the food was excellent. This time, in the off season, I was a bit disappointed in the food and, for the first time I can remember, left the Mexican restaurant without eating what was presented. It was seriously bad, yet when we ate there seven months previous it was fine. Nonetheless, neither my wife or I experienced any stomach issues and we ate the salads and leafy greens.
When I read bad reviews about places in the DR I think it is because folks expect these places to be like a top end Las Vegas hotel. In the DR, things move at a slower pace, the beds are universally harder and the pillows flatter, beef seems to be something folks there have difficulty preparing properly anywhere, levels of cleanliness might be a notch below perfect, and venders might seem pushy. If any of that bothers you, don't go to a developing country.
Finally, only one show is worth seeing at the Arena Blanca side. Do not miss the Domincan Folklore show, Soy Domincano. A professional touring troupe of performers put on the show. It is so high energy and amazing that you will be exhausted just watching it. The other stuff is high school quality put on by the animation staff, mostly getting French tourists on stage and making fun of them. Of course, making fun of the French has its own charm. Also, when you walk out onto the beach, turn left and walk a couple or resorts down to a strip of shanty stalls where local venders try to get you to buy stuff. Don't be put off. You can acutally cut a good deal if you did some price research before going. Coffee, Mamajuana, jewelry (be careful), paintings, and cigars can all be had cheaper, and in some cases much cheaper, than at the shops at the resorts or airport, but you should know what you are doing. When you fly in check out the prices at the airport of stuff you might want or at the resort you are staying at, then you can bargain with the local vendors.
I give this place five Dominican stars. If you understand that you will not be disappointed and, like me, may buy in.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Standing next to the VIK Hotel Arena Blanca, this hotel enjoys an outstanding location overlooking the beach of Bávaro. The Hotel Cayena Beach is an exclusive part of the complex, designed with the most discerning guests, like you, in mind ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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