Sigh. I did a ton of research before coming to DR. I had never been, but my husband had when he was younger and enjoyed it. The problem is that I had to temper expectations because I have been all over the world and go to Maui once per year (let's face it, this is NO Maui but I didn't expect it to be...) I am also a huge fan of the Virgin Islands so I know I really like the Caribbean beaches. I went with an open mind expecting a shorter and less expensive beach getaway and pre-baby moon.
-The Reserve Property is nice and quiet. The swim up rooms are definitely worth the money because of easy pool access and private palapa. The incense also smell really good.
-There are frequent golf carts to take you to the Palma Real resort where the beach is and most restaurants, and it's a few minutes ride.
-The larger Palma Real lobby is very impressive. We didn't stay here but wondered if it would've been nicer to be that close to the beach.
-We didn't purchase the family concierge, but we were assigned one anyway. Norberto was very kind and made reservations for us, which was great because we were stressed from earlier reviews saying we may not get good reservations.
-We showed up early at some restaurants and they worked us in anyway.
-The beds were very comfortable. We were impressed, having slept in many "heavenly beds" during our Westin stays.
-Room service options and taste is OK. We opted for room service many times over the horrible restaurants.
-The beach is wide. There's a lot of area to set up, and there is a private beach for members and reserve guests.
-Our concierge, perhaps unintentionally, made us feel obligated to do a time-share presentation. He said that's how he got paid, so we didn't want to be the ones to prevent him from putting food on his kid's plate so we reluctantly went.
-They said it would only be 90m and we can leave early and we get resort credit of $30.
-We were kept longer than 2.5 hours and most of our afternoon! It was a complete waste of time and we didn't get our resort credit which we were promised. Also, beware their fuzzy math. They won't let you leave and ponder anything, and for as much money as it costs, they dont have many answers. DON'T GO.
-The Reserve pool needs work. Lots of tiles are falling off and under the bridges is flat out gross. Also, the metal rails that guide you into the pool are all loose and falling down. be careful.
-The television selection is extremely limited. Don't expect to be able to watch anything other than a few english channels in your down time.
-Everyone, everyone expects a tip. For everything. Be prepared.
-The beach had a ton of black sea grass all over it. They only cleaned it after our third day there. Its in the water too, and it gets all over you and tickles.
-There are a ton of drug dealers all over the beach offering marijuana and cocaine. They are aggressive.
-There is really no shopping, so don't expect to do much other than shop for cigars (if that's your thing). That Melia shopping mall leaves a lot to be desired.
-The Casino at the PR is a joke. There was only one Blackjack table open (all seats taken but other dealers standing around doing nothing) and the slot machines don't print out the winnings. Some guy who speaks no English walks around with a log of winnings you have to collect at the end of the night. Also, they short-changed me.
- Regardless of what they say, there is NO INTERNET. NONE. Your device will find the network but not be able to connect. They are fully aware and just kinda shrug it off. We couldn't do facetime with our young son, which was a huge let down.
-The Food is TERRIBLE. Almost inedible. What are they thinking making people choke down this garbage? We went to Gabi Beach (gross), Aqua, Mizu, and the Hydro Grill at the bar. The only food that was palatable was Gabi Club at the Reserve because you can make your own pasta at the buffet. The little flat steak on the griddle was decent, too. Fruit was not fresh; nothing was fresh. We got up early without finishing our entree at GB and Aqua because we couldn't finish our food, it was so bad. Passion was the only decent place and its $60 pp. (I digress but the potato soup at Passion was delish.)
- There's a cess pool/swamp between the two properties and it gives off the most rank and foul smell I have EVER smelled in my life. Imagine rot and sulphur and waste. I am pregnant and I almost threw up many times. I'm getting nauseated now just thinking about it. Hold your breath!
We are foodies, and we love to experience all types of cultures and places but the Dominican was just not the place for us. Maybe, because I couldn't get drunk, I didn't enjoy it...but then again, I shouldn't have to get drunk just to enjoy a new place. I've crossed this country off my list and won't be back.
I also asked other travelers at this resort about the issues we experienced and they echoed our sentiment. No internet, terrible food. We all kind of bonded over it, like, oh well that's just how it is down here.
Tips: Don't pay for room upgrade because Expedia guests and maybe other booking sites will give you a $200 upgrade voucher upon check in. The swim up is worth it, though.
Arrive at the PC airport more than 2 hours in advance when you're leaving. The lines are terrible at the ticket counters and some people who showed up 2 hrs in advance missed their flight.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Explore The Reserve, our new boutique resort within a resort, designed for those whose stay in a luxury suite is as important as sun, sea and sand. Including three pools and a la carte restaurants, YHI Spa and gym, Swim up Suites with direct access to the pool Family Concierge Suites. Take benefit of your stay at The Reserve and use its facilities and services as well as the ones in Paradisus Palma Real Resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Reserve At Paradisus Palma Real Hotel Punta Cana