We just got back from our week long vacation last night.
Prior reviews mentioned about upgrading upon arrival and since we had 4 adults and 3 young adults I decided that would be a good option for us. When we arrived they gave us our keys, wristbands etc and I asked about upgrading to VIP. After going to visit the room first, I saw that it gave us the option of the separate VIP pool, closer location to the beach etc. I paid $250.00 extra for each of the 3 rooms which I thought was a little too high and looking back I think I could have got cheaper. Anyway after the week I can say for us that was the best decision I made as the private pool was unbelievable, never overcrowded. Large canopy beds by the pool, we would leave our towels and items on two of them and come and go all day. Never had anything stolen!
Rooms: No mold in any of our three rooms. One of the rooms sheets were stained and towels had faint stains. Room service is okay. Don't leave your patio door open all night, we woke up to condensation overload. You have to leave the AC on and have doors closed. One of our rooms had our 3 young adults who left cases open all the time, nothing was ever taken.
Entertainment: WOW! These kids really work hard, Red shirted staff are the entertainment and are dancing, playing games, etc from 10am till 11:30pm. They are a great bunch of kids, paid to get people to have fun, so if they find you joining in they will try to get you to keep coming back to events as you are a help to them. We joined in the aqua aerobics, the salsa dancing, the games, (darts, horseshoes, mini golf) it was very entertaining. In the evening we had to go up to win our prizes (rum and a certificate), then everyone sings we are the Champions (shampions). Evening entertainment is very good, lots of spanish dances and a show each night.
Food: You are in Punta Cana, eat the fruit and salads!!! we fell for the reservation themed restaurants, for us the restaurants: steak house, Japanese, Italian lacked one thing, a qualified Steak house, japanese and italian trained chef. They all made a good effort, but expectations were dissappointing. For us we made a joke out of it and it was our tradition to eat at our reservation restaurant then go for our meal at Monti Cristo Buffet. The Buffet we found to be very good. With 7 people all of us found plenty to choose from, never did anyone go away hungry. Save room for fruit, I ate fruit I had never seen before and make sure to enjoy the breakfast fresh juice bar! We are not big desert (cake types) but there did seem to be some unusual items up there. If you like red wine ask for the wine from Chile it's okay, the italian they offer is awful. Wait staff were good. Every morning the workers picked fresh Coconuts from the hotel trees and sell them poolside, what a great treat. I paid $3 eaters, $2 drink.
Tipping: I took $100 in singles, it was ample,I didn't feel pressure to tip everyone and only tipped where I felt appropriate. They really appreciate it.
Shopping: This was our biggest disappointment as we wanted to buy items, Caribbean street was a rip off, it belongs to the hotel and prices were too high. Sun lotion $28. If you walk to the right on the beach there are huts with items that are much more reasonable, you can barta with them much better. Same Sun lotion was purchased for $15
Day Trips: We did scuba diving/snorkeling at Catalina Island, 2 hour bus ride really shows you the real island life. Two scuba dives, snorkeling, time at beach was nice and BBQ on beach was okay. Snorkel boat ride to natural pool was a lot of fun.
Airport: Make sure you give yourself 2 - 3 hours to get on your flight. Not like the airports in USA. We arrived at the airport at 12 for a 2:30 flight and didn't have time for duty free.
Overall a great trip was had by all, great beach, good food, great people, Dominicans like to party!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana * Inside the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Naiboa hotels and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu * The Splash Water World will be opened from 1st November 2016 * 4-story building * Surrounded by 63,000 m2 / 75,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Higuey * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Intl. Airport ... more less
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