I have been back from Punta Cana for about a week and a half now. I thought it would be best to really think about what I wanted to post rather than write a review based on my immediate feelings upon returning to the states. My husband and I generally take a week long beach vacation each summer and for the most part it is usually centered around one attraction that we will being visiting/experiencing. This was a very different trip for us as we could not find any "out of the ordinary" things to do in Punta Cana. With that said, we were at the resort the whole time - maybe that is where the mistake was made. This was a last minute decision on our part and we ended up choosing the resort simply based on the price (around $2K for 2 adults, 7 nights, AI). Anyway, I know you always should start with the good and end with the bad/ugly so here it is…
BEACH! The beach is amazing and the water is a beautiful turquoise. The sand is warm - not scolding hot - and has a nice powdery feel to it. The beds with canopies made the trip. They are fantastic and I will look for them at every resort I book from now on. Super comfy and you have a beach view from every bed. There is generally one available whether you wake up at 7 am or 11 am.
STAFF. All the staff were very nice and really seemed to genuinely care about your experience at the resort, and more importantly, in their country. On that note, everyone cautions you on how dangerous it is outside of the resort. THIS IS STUPID!!! We ended up going out for every meal, besides breakfast, for the last 3 days we were there, and guess what?, everyone is just as nice and helpful outside the resort. We had a great dinner with fresh fish about 40 yards from the resort at The Beach Club and they have a small cigar shop where the older gentleman will roll your cigar right in front of you. Worth the experience and cheap in comparison to the states.
Nightly Shows. This is an add-on to the last point but the entertainment staff are pretty amazing. I actually enjoyed our conversations (Stephanie, Mini-Me, and Silvia) more so than the shows - which were also neat.
Overall, the staff are extremely hard workers, with minimum pay, and have incredible stories to share if you get to know them. Please, please, PLEASE tip them. AI does not mean you do not need to tip for the service. They deserve it.
Rooms and Property: Other than the price of the trip, the most appealing part of PS is that it is small, intimate, and the rooms are huge. We had a one room which included, one master suite, one and half bathrooms, a living space, full kitchen, and a small mud room. The whole property, including our room, remained super clean throughout our whole stay. Obviously, no sewage smell; however, I did smell it near the front rooms one day and do not blame the others for demanding a new room.
Time Share. It's not any secret and should not come as any big surprise that the resort is part of the Lifestyle Vacations - Timeshares. It appears that you are expected to go through the sales pitch on your first full day there. My husband and I both patiently listened to the lady share information about the company and allowed her to walk us on a drawn out tour of the resort. At the end, about 2 hours later, we politely explained that we would consider the offer and left. They did not bother us again. Unfortunately, that was two hours of beach time taken away from our vacation.
Pools/Bars. The pools are hidden in the middle of the resort and do not have a bar (unless you're VIP) that is accessible from the pools. My husband and I love the idea of swim up bars and have met many friends at them so it was a disappointment that one was not available. Since the alcohol at the pools were limited to servers or you walking back to the beach, the pools were typically empty - I noticed that families with younger children utilized them more often.
Lights off at Midnight. My husband and I are in our late twenties - early thirties and do not party like we did in college; however, we have been known to have a couple late nights on vacation - not here. Bars close at 11 and the crowd is gone by midnight.
Food: I feel like I should start off with the fact that neither my husband or I had high expectations for the food because we are huge foodies in the states. However, the food was not good. Breakfast was okay but beyond that - no thanks. My husband made the comment that it seemed like they were sent a few menus from the states and decided, based on the description, that they had the ability to make them. Not so much. The Japanese restaurant was by far the worst - do not get their lettus wraps, the best way I can explain is boiled cabbage with a mystery meat. Also, the food has enough ginger to give you heartburn till breakfast. The lunch was okay, some of the time; however, I ordered a hamburger from the beach which was raw and ended up making me terribly sick for about two days. As you have, I have read many of the reviews on Tripadvisor and recognize that many seemed to find no fault in their food - to each their own. You do have to make reservations at the Japanese and Italian restaurants by 10 am the day of.
Robbery. I heard multiple stories of people having items stolen from them. Thankfully, I cannot add a personal experience to this review but the other guest's were enough for me to never visit this place again. I don't know what the ramifications are if you have your passport stolen, as far as leaving the county, but I definitely never want to find out. The place did appear to have enough security to protect against a small war so it seems as though they have an internal problem… which means nothing is protected whether it's in a safe or not.
To end this review, I have to say that our overall experience at the PS was okay. Not horrible but not great. They are fairly new (opened in Nov. 2013) so maybe by the time they have renovated the property next door (huge resort with at least 5 restaurants - expected to be complete by 12/31/2014) the resort will have had a sufficient amount of time to fix all the small challenges and create a much more desirable environment; however, I will not be returning to see it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Imagine a resort where your cares melt away while you watch the hypnotic dance of the waves upon the sand, both such extreme colors that at first it doesn’t look real. Soak up the sun, as well as a specialty drink, like a Banana Mama, served to you beach-side by our friendly staff. The newest luxury property to be added to the Lifestyle family, this resort is set within the lush tropical area of Punta Cana, with a Caribbean hideaway vibe, and scrumptiously appointed one, two and three bedroom suites. Fully furnished living and kitchen area, with stainless steel appliances and designer furnishings set the standard for lavish comfort. Presidential Suites – Punta Cana is a Luxury All-In resort with 3 restaurants and 2 bars on property for your convenience. Enjoy an Italian pasta at Basil & Tomatoes, or an Asian delight at Kimonos, our Teppanyaki styled Japanese restaurant. Ready for something with variety? Our main dining restaurant, Decadence, is open early until late for your convenience. Sip a specialty drink from Utopia, while enjoying the ambiance of the restaurant and bar area. Unwind at Nirvana Beach, a private-access beach, with attentive service and comfortable beach beds for enjoying the sun, sand and sea. Experience live entertainment shows, beach-party extravaganzas, exciting casino nightlife, and so much more offered within the area. Add in world-class golf, water sports and endless island adventures, this is the Lifestyle you deserve. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Presidential Suites By Lifestyle - Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana