Let me start this review by saying I've never been to a resort before -- in fact, I've never even left the United States before -- so I can't tell you how this place compares to other places. But if you're like me, when you're going on vacation you really just want the lowest-priced place that doesn't have terrible reviews. You, not resort veterans, are my audience.
My wife & I stayed here for our belated honeymoon. We found a LivingSocial deal that gave us an all-inclusive week at Memories with the Diamond Club package and an excursion discount included, via Apple Vacations. When we arrived, we met our butler Lorenzo, who was very helpful. He gave us a brief tour of the resort and explained most of the important details, like the fact that we can use the facilities at the Royalton, their sister resort. He also helped us make dinner reservations and left a few nice surprises in our room. I'm actually not sure which amenities were part of the Diamond Club package, which ones were provided by Lorenzo, and which ones were just standard fare for the resort, so I can't really give a specific rundown of who was responsible for how well we were treated. But I do know that when we discussed things with Lorenzo, we felt confident that they would be taken care of. Whereas sometimes when we talked to other staff at the resort, it wasn't clear whether they really understood us or would help us.
Back to the resort itself, our room was very nice, with a balcony overlooking the main pool area. My only real complaint is that the air conditioning was excessive, even after turning the thermostat all the way up. At least, I *think* I turned it all the way up, but there were no instructions for how to use the thermostat, so maybe there was a way to fix it. International calling also didn't work for a large portion of our trip. We asked the staff to look into it about 3 times, but we never heard back from anyone about it. However, one day it magically started working, so I guess they must have fixed it at some point.
The restaurants were, for the most part, very good. The main problem was inconsistency. We did our first three nights of dinner at the three main restaurants on the resort: the seafood place, the Mexican place, and the Italian place. Those first three nights, our food was absolutely amazing. But when we went back to all of those places a second time for the next three nights, there was definitely a decline in the quality of both the food and the service. It was by no means terrible, but certain items clearly weren't quite as fresh. I got the sense that everything is still a work in progress (the resort hasn't been around that long) -- for example, the second time we went to the Italian place, they had completely reworked the way the appetizers are set up and the waiters had different uniforms.
We didn't go to any of the Royalton restaurants for dinner, since there's an extra charge of $15 per person. (We originally planned to, but after the excursions and all the people we wanted to tip, we needed to spare every dollar.) We did go to the Selections buffet every morning for breakfast, and then once for lunch and dinner toward the end of our stay. We were actually quite impressed by the dinner buffet, which even had a little sushi bar! The breakfast buffet was decent enough, but definitely suffered from the same consistency issues as the restaurants. Then again, it's a buffet, so naturally the freshness of the food is going to depend on when you go up to the line. Still, some days it was almost impossible to get the waiters to give us coffee. We actually would've preferred just being able to get it ourselves.
But I don't want to dwell on the negatives, because really, the all-inclusive package is still a good deal even if the food isn't always perfect. The facility as a whole is very nice, modern-looking, and well-maintained. There are pools everywhere, and open bars everywhere, including the pools! The two main pools are the "relaxation pool" and the "party pool", to fit whatever vibe you're looking for. And obviously, there's the beach. To get to the beach you have to walk all the way through the Royalton, which I suppose some would consider a hassle. Personally, we love walking, so we didn't mind. There is also an ever-present trolley that takes you to the Royalton entrance if you need it. There's also a water park, which has basically every kind of water slide you could want, as well as a wave pool. That IS basically it, though -- there isn't a lazy river or anything like that -- so if you plan a whole day at the water park, you may run out of things to do pretty quickly.
But as I mention all of these pools and beaches, I do need to point out one more downside: almost every area of the resort is paved with some sort of white stone tile, which gets VERY slippery when wet. And it's everywhere! One night when we were there it rained, and from what we heard, the resort doctor was up all night treating people for injuries they sustained by slipping on the tile. And it only rained briefly -- I can only imagine how this would be during a more typical rainy season in Punta Cana.
Anyway, back to the beach. As expected, it was absolutely beautiful. Not a lot to say beyond that. For Diamond Club members, there is an exclusive beach bar, which actually probably has the best food you'll find on the resort. We had a burger there which was much better than the burger we had at the Memories burger joint, and a salmon wrap which was to die for. They also have all the "top-shelf" liquors there, but to be honest, I don't really know the difference.
Compared to the Royalton, Memories definitely has a more kid-friendly, "fun" vibe. So you should take that into consideration when deciding which part of the resort you want to go to. We actually didn't realize there was a list of activities in the information package we got when we checked in, and it took us a while to discover that most of the "night life" happens at the Royalton, whereas most of the nighttime activities at Memories are strictly for kids. If you want live music, dancing, and such, you might be more inclined to stay at the Royalton. Fortunately, you can still enjoy both resorts either way; you just have to remember that what you're looking for may be on the other side.
Overall, while I certainly feel there are improvements to be made, we had a great time here. I was tempted to rate the resort "Average" because my review seems to have a lot of criticisms, but few of those criticisms actually had any impact on how much we enjoyed ourselves. So I'm bumping it up to "Very Good".
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This wonderful stylish family oriented resort is located at Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, one of the most beautiful landmarks of the Caribbean. 5 Thematic Restaurants reservation-free dining +11 Bars +Water Park features a children pool with slides, wave pool, relax pool, Jacuzzi, Kamikaze, Space bowl, Black hole and lots of tubes with amazing surprises. In addition, the resort also boasts 3 pools. ... more less
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