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Ocean Blue & Sand
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Reviewed 17 October 2011

We stayed at Ocean Blue 1st Oct till 15th October having read all the reviews before we travelled and having a fair idea of what was in store. I don't think that this resort deserves the completely one sided negative reviews I've seen but we did find that there are a few negatives which could be important to anyone thinking about going to the Ocean Blue and Sand. I've tried to be as fair as possible.

I'll start with the positives:

*Pools and Gardens - Really nice and well maintained
*Drinks - Well made cocktails and premium spirits
*Good number of bars including two swim up bars. Sports bar is nice.
*Rooms - big and bright
*Mikes Coffee house - superb
*Steakhouse - had two good meals there
*Maid service - clean rooms, fresh towels and stocked mini bar every day,
*Wifi - resort wide wifi for reasonable cost (Various rates including $25 for 25 hours cumulative over 6 days or $60 unlimted per week). Free wifi in lobby but this has intermittent drop out problems.

The negatives:

*The most dispirited waiters and serving staff I have yet encountered in the Dom Rep.
*Poor food - bland, overcooked and poor choice. (breakfast was ok for me as they had a good omlette station. If you like eggs then breakfast is fine)
*No waiter service by the pool or in the lobby
*Locals at the weekend - became a different resort (much noisier). The locals kids like to play 'splash the tourist' at the pool.
*H10 premium sales staff - very annoying.
*Sea is cordoned off too close to the shoreline. You can't swim out very far.
*Speciality restaraunts other than steakhouse - Food is awful. Mexican gets a pass mark but beware the green coloured nachos!
*On site shop - very expensive to the point of blatant rip off.
*Wasp nests in the palm trees on the island in the middle of the pool. (I witnessed one person getting stung whilst in the pool).

I had a couple of bad experiences with serving staff at the lobby bar where I was deliberately ignored in favour of Spanish speaking guests.

I took $200 in small bills for tips. I only gave out around $50 during the fortnight to the small number staff who deserved it. The room maid got a good tip every day instead.

We also took one of the Spanish lessons and it was cancelled 5 minutes in to the lesson. The lesson was given by one of the Animation team and his boss pulled him away to go on duty at the pool (much to his embarrassment). The lesson was one of the pre-arranged activities for day too -poor show.

In my opinion there are better resorts in the Domincan Republic for a similar price or very small increase and whilst I had a fairly decent holiday I wouldn't go back to the Ocean Blue and Sand.

Room Tip: Block 9 - nearest the pools and beach.
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Lerx2112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ocean_Blue_RRPP1, Guest Relations Manager at Ocean Blue & Sand, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2011

First of all we want to thank you so much on behalf of Ocean Blue and Sand by H10 and We really appreciate the time you have taken to share your remarks as this feedback helps us to improve our level of service making special emphasis in these areas of opportunities mentioned by you in your valuable comments.

It will be our pleasure if you give us the opportunity to host you once again to show you a hole different an unforgettable vacation.

Receive our warmest regards,

Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2011

Just returned from a weeks stay at Ocean Blue. It was my first trip to the Dominican Republic and I was very impressed. The hotel is gorgeous, nicley laid out and very clean. The gardens were immaculate. The hotel is not a 5 star as you would expect in England but different countries have different ratings so it's probably at the top end comparative to the rest of the Dominican. As Thomson state on their website it's "affordable luxury" so people should take this into account before complaining. Prior to my visit i read several traveller reviews and i can say that I did notice most of the things that people had complained about whilst I was there and I can honestly say that none of them really bothered me.

Rooms - We had a good sized junior suite at the back of the hotel which was nice and quiet. We were in villa 9 which was an excellent location for everything, right by the pool.

Food - The food was all very good, not the highest quality but well cooked and presented with quite alot of choice. There are seven restaurants of different cuisine and the only disappointing thing was that in October they were not all open every night, restricting your choice. I wouldn't have minded if I was advised when they would be open/closed but the staff could only say that they open one or two nights then have a recess. Generally there were two open each evening apart from the weekend when the majority opened. This meant though that you sometimes had to wait for a table on a buzzer system. Luckily we managed to try each restaurant in the week. I would recommend the american diner and the steak house. The breakfast and lunch buffets were very good offering something for everyone.

Drinks - The drinks selection was very good offering branded alcohol all included. The water offered is all bottled water and the ice is made from bottled water which was great (do not drink from the taps and use bottled water for brushing teeth). My favourite non-alcoholic drink of the holiday was the frozen strawberry juice, would highly recommend. The authentic honey rum shots offered after our meal at the Dominican restaurant was excellent, especially being given continual refills by Kelvin the waiter who also joined us in a few, good times!

Lobby Bar - The lobby bar is huge and airy with plenty of sofas to chill out on. They also offer free wi-fi. The staff were very attentive here and refilled your drinks without you asking (the perks of all inclusive).

Staff - We generally found that Dominican people are so friendly and hard working. Luckliy we did not get hassled about a time share (think we may have looked too young!) and only got asked a couple of times by the people selling excursions. They are very polite though and if you say no they leave you alone.

Pool - There is a quiet pool and a noisier pool where they host the entertainment/activities. The swim up bars are great. There were always plenty of loungers with umbrellas as we did not go peak season.

Beach - The beach was not quite the idyllic carribean beach i was imagining as it is the atlantic ocean not the caribbean sea. There were quite a few waves breaking and seaweed but the sea was warm and it was still very pleasant. The hotel provides you with beach towels which you can change as often as you like so do not take your own like we did!

Dive Centre - The hotel has its own PADI dive centre which was excellent. Dargo and Maria were so welcoming. My partner went scuba diving with them and I went snorkelling.

Locals - As you will have read in many reviews the locals do pile in at the weekend. They are very loud and do appear to take over. This didn't really bother us but there is certainly a different atmosphere at the weekend.

Overall a very enjoyable stay in the caribbean and an excellent holiday at Ocean Blue & Sand.

Room Tip: Villa 9 was ideally located for the pool and beach. Although our room was at the back we preferred this as it was very quiet and not overlooked.
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank K18UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ocean_Blue_RRPP1, Guest Relations Manager at Ocean Blue & Sand, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2011

On behalf of Ocean Blue and Sand by H10 We would like to really thank you for your preference in selecting our hotel and for coming for the first time and giving us the opportunity to serve you. As well we will like to let you know that we are glad that you enjoyed the rest of the facility as well . We will continue improving our level of service day by day thanks to comments received from people like you in this web site. Thank you for sharing your valuable experience with others through Trip Advisor

We look forward to welcoming you to your home away from home.

Best regards,


Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2011

I can,t believe some of the negitive reveiws some people write about this hotel.We went open minded but all i can say is this is a great hotel.Check in was good we were in villa 9 the rooms were very nice spacious and clean, the rooms cleaned everyday with fresh towels daily.The views from the balcony are stunning! the staff were freindly try a bit of spanish and it can go a long way.Food was great something for everyone in the buffet the a la carte restaurants were very good the mexican being are favourite ,did not like route 66 but 1 out of five is not bad.Mikes coffee shop was great nice air con and great drinks and cakes.the lobby bar was great for pre dinner drinks special thanks to benny ,sonya ,raquel lovely bar staff who help you with spanish.the sports bar was great for pool and games while having a few beers special thanks to jaun and gullimro who were stars.Was a bit worried about the locals arriving at the weekend but we did not find it a problem just go the beach if it gets to busy.We are going back next year for a wedding and we are looking foward to it already ,you have got to be very fussy or a moaner if you do not like this hotel this is a great hotel.

Room Tip: villa 9 close to the beach
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank davaecho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2011

``Ocean Blue, 1st oct to 15th oct 2011.

CHECK IN.
check in was quick and smooth, reminded them i had sent an email to ask about getting block 8 to be with friends, he had to look up the computer as they did not seem to have my request. they managed to get us into block 8 ok and we were one floor below our friends.


ROOM.-
room was spacious and clean apart from a nasty thing on the wall beside my side of the bed, either snort or unmentionable. the bed was massive and comfortable, the balcony is huge and was looking towards the pool on the left or toward the gardens on the right.
the shower glass was very dirty and there was hair etc under the sink unit.
we dont always get towels every day, they seem to have a shortage. some days no hand towels or bathmats or facecloths. they dont bring them later in the day either.
the safes dont always work, on arrival, our one was not working when we got to our room and we had to get the guy out to fix it. my friends safe had to be fixed many times in there stay. the safe is free of charge. its big enough to put a ipad and netbook and more in with ease.
flat screen tv with a sd card reader in it if you wanted to look at the photos that you have taken. there is espn but its in spanish and any UK football will be in spanish, the other espn one has american football on it, there are french/german/spanish channels and films in english are after 12pm midnight, there are kids channels. there nbc/cbs/abc/fox channels.

GENERAL RESORT- is lovely with set garden area's , plenty of light at night for walking around. plenty staff always around and security guards day and night, on the beach, round the pool and during the night-time. if you get a rainy wet day there is a set programme of enteertainment in the lobby with films and activitys planned . every day as you go into breakfast there is a printed flyer that tells you what restruants are closeed that night and what is going on that day, also the weather forcast. all the restaurants are in the square outside the lobby apart from the fish one which is down at the beach(you eat on the beach so be aware of that if the ladies are dressing up in highheels) ,you will also have to pay $40 per person for that privilege , the shops etc are next to the lobby also.
the staff are all great and always helpfull, only seen one sullen female staff member who works at lunch times in the beach buffet, could not get a smile or anything from her inspite of saying ola or grathias or bene dias.
free wifi is in the guest services room in the lobby, in there there are sofa round the edges and many wall plugs to plug into if you need power. many folks were in there at night with there iphones and laptops.


POOL.
- the two pools are huge , plenty space to move around and the pool bar guys were good with there serving portions. some of the loungers have padded mattress's on them which was great if lying there all day. the water in the pools is very warm some days .(for those who ask if they are heated, the sun does a great job of that) so it was never to cold to get into. its deep enough to stand in at all points so no very deep bits.


BEACH.
- the beach is really nice , gentle entry into the sea, warm but lots of sea grass coming in (not the fault of the hotel, due to the tropical storms that went past the week before we arrived) plenty of sun beds but sometimes not any with shade in the morning if you are after 10am some days. the covers on the canaopy's let the sun through so be aware that you are getting plenty sun when under then(even with factor 30 on under the canopy we got burned ) .


FOOD.-
dinner on the first night was a nightmare with a very loud dominican band(hard to call that noise a band) playing in the restaurant right next to the tables. we could not hear our selves think or talk to each other. next night the buffet restaurant was down at the beach where the beach buffet was. except they forgot to tell you it was actually "ON" the beach. the whole thing was set up on the sand , now all us ladies who had got all dressed up for dinner in our best shoes etc had to walk in the thick loose sand and pulling in your chair to your table was almost impossible and once you got it in and sat on it you sank right into the sand. we were subjected yet again to extremely loud music from the kids show and they animation team doing there thing all while we tried to eat dinner in the dark ,you could not talk, could not see what we were eating or see what the black things were that was landing in our dinner as we ate. the one thing i avoid like the plaque is walking on the sand after dark because of the no-see-ums/sand flee's so to have to walk about in our high-heels and best cloths round all tables looking for something to eat was not a pleasant thing as well as being deafened by loud music and kids singing. 2 nights in a row a very bad eating experience. the one thing you will not find here is under cooked food. everything is over cooked and sometimes very dry. there is a menu for room service for room service. a good enough selection of starters , mains and desserts.
there cooking staff in the buffet has the best hygiene ive ever seen in any hotel in punta cana, they go far above the call of duty in hand gwashing at the least small thing. i was very impressed with there hygiene standards.
we ate at every restaurant except the seafood and the dominican and the chef's table, we were told he was in cuba opening a new hotel there. we seen several people have private dinners on the beach and it looked great, especially one that was there just as the full moon rose and bathed the water in beautiful moon light.


breakfast
- the selection is very good every morning, some mornings they have smoked salmon out, which is my favourite thing for breakfast if i can get it. they make great omelette with loads of ingredients. a wide selection of stuff plus freshly baked bread and cakes and dough nuts etc coming out the ovens at the counter. six different types of smoothie is usually there plus fresh fruits. there is also a counter with slimmers food if you are calorie counting.


mikes coffee.
- this one is great, nice and cool, a few newspapers, some cakes and biscuits, ice tea's and the ice coffee is to die for. you can sit in or take them away.

sports bar.-it has loads of tv's and show different sports games at the same time. there is a very very bad smell of sewage in there and one visit was enough (was in and out in 5mins the smell was so bad) .

steak house.- was good, my steak was a bit over cooked for medium so was a little tough but my friends blue steak was perfect at the second time of asking.

la brasa- the steak here was better than at the steak house. its waiter service and the staff are excellent. good menu also. a hidden gem.

route 66- in 2 visit here we waited an hour from when we placed our order to when we received our main course. the ribs were very tasty but its a very small portion and comes with a small portion of fries. the portion is only HALF the size of what they show on the menu. beware the coloured nacho's, the dye on them will result in some very scary deposits in the loo the next morning hahaha.

mexican- its very brightly painted and a bit sore on the eyes. there is a band that goes round the tables as you are eating so the noise is deafening. my chicken fajita were very over cooked and looked and tasted like the chicken that was cooked at lunchtime and just stripped from the bone and covered in spices, it was inedible.

italian- they have a fairly good menu but strange that it has no pizza as the beach bar one has a pizza oven and makes fresh every day. some of the pasta is a bit on the rubbery side (not al dente but rubber) so i think its the make of pasta thats at fault there. we had the carpaccio of beef which was the best dish we had at the resort in the 2 wks there. the fish roles were very good also and were cooked to perfection. the service let this place down as they got both the main and sweet courses wrong for my partner, we also waited ages for a drink we had asked for and had to ask 2 different people , when it was brought in it went to another table and went back out , only after we asked again for it did it come. by the time it did get to our table we had finished our meal.


Drinks- ask for name brand drinks or you will be given the local stuff which is pretty rough. they have brandy, baileys and smirnoff etc. the rum punch and mimosa is pretty good too.


The Casino- it is gorgeous inside. the machines take $1 bills and start at 25c a shot. you can get $$ when you cash them in or trade them for "casino tower" goods like hats, bubba's, pens etc which are in a glass case.


SUPERMARKET.
- the little shop has a good range of stuff plus medicines(they actually sell without a prescription stuff like penicillin and declofenic) and ointments. was actually amazed what they were allowed to sell in that category. gifts, niknaks - trinkets,t-shirts, bags , hats, sun creams, crisps and sweets etc . suncream ranges from $10 to $35 or so depending on what type/factor you are wanting. they also have after sun and toiletries.


PHOTO GUYS . i got my picture taken with 2 parrots by the poolside. the pictures are very good but the price is steep. $15 per photo. they will come round each day with either the 2 parrots or a cockatiel or a lizard. i have not seen the monkey on a leash , so hopefully that has now been stopped.


T-SHIRT PAINTING. i had a t-shirt made ( hand painted ) by the guys at the poolside. you can pick a picture from there book or give them one of your own and they will hand paint you a personal t-shirt by the next day. $25 per shirt. we got 2 others done and they were amazing, very well painted.

The Theatre is huge , we never went to a full show but can say they were good with what we seen. the bowling ally has lanes , plus pool tables and , table tennis . a good place for the teens to hang out in.




H10 SALESMEN.
- these guys are everywhere , on every road and outside every eating place. you cannot look up or down a walkway with out seeing at least 4 at a time. this does not make for a relaxing walk anywhere, it put me off walking around the resort to enjoy the gardens as you are always going to meet them where ever you walked. if you do not want to be hassled by them dont say hello or answer them as you pass. look ahead and walk on at all times. you could not even feed the fish/birds with out one or two of them coming right up beside you (invading your private space they lean in so close) and talking you as you try to feed the fish/birds outside of the buffet at meal times.

Room Tip: block 8 or 9 are next to pool and near beach. the beach restaurant is called la brasa in the evening. its a great place to eat.
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank buchananGlasgow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2011

I have been to this resort twice, 2010 march, 2011 feb. First time was with a friend and we had a wonderful time. Food was excellent rooms were clean and spacious, ( we did have privelaged rooms , which cost a little more) but worth it. Alot of little extras are nice. free wifi in room, privelage area with premium drinks, sitting rooms with tv, books, magazines,snacks, computers and staff to ask anything , private bathrooms, deck on beach , privelage area with cabana beds and personal drink service, tons of towels. they even bring you a bucket of ice with water bottles chilled.
The second time we went as a family ,kids are 19 and 21. We also had a blast. This just goes to show that a holiday is what you make it to be !!
Although second time around the food was not as good. Bland. Ocean blue has several rest. situated as a piaza which is really nice.Their are lunch buffets which are huge. Their is one by the beach which is very casual and to me thats what its about eating by the sand watching the water, who wants to be inside on a beautiful sunny day. WE had same privelaged rooms, but staff was not as nice as last year. That friendliness was gone. But we still had a good time. the pools are huge and clean the ocean is calm and blue, the vendors are a pain in the #@. But you ignore them.
They are situated on beach next to resort which is handy. The kids surprised us with a dinner on beach which was the most amazing seafood dinner we have ever had.!!!!
The evening entertainment was very good both times. They can sing and dance.

Room Tip: spend the extra and get privelage , they are closest to beach. second floor
  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank maremio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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