Four couples meet for the first time a week ago on a van ride from Punta Cana airport to Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach. The conversation is dominated by shared concern about the widely divergent reviews we've read. First, I am thrilled to say we all had reservations and rooms ready when we arrived. The others may post their experiences, which I believe will be favorable, based on our discussion on the return airport trip.
As for my SO and I, the reception staff who greeted us could not have been nicer. I believe that when I am a guest in another country, it is encumbent on me to speak a few words in their language. As we checked in, I was able to explain in simple Spanish that we were looking forward to this special anniversary vacation. The receptionist suggested she would give us a very special room, and did she ever! We were in a newer building, in a completely updated suite, beautiful and well-located within the resort. Even the bellman seemed surprised at how lovely and spacious our rooms were. The king bed was great, and we slept generally well all week.
The next morning, at the suggestion of one of our new acquaintances, we booked all three of our ala carte restaurant evenings. As vegetarians, we didn't spring for the lobster dinner at Atlantis, but everyone we spoke with said it was great. Our favorite was 25, where the food, service and overall experience were top notch. The only downside is that it is indoors. La Roca is beautiful and beachside, where we found the food fine, but unremarkable; the same for the Mexican place, although there, our server was delightful. In all cases, the servers understood "vegetarian" reasonably well and helped accommodate us. We found a favorite corner at a window in La Terraza, the main buffet, and tipped $1-2 at each meal there in response to help bringing us beer or wine when the glasses at the self-serve beverage station ran out, which was frequently at the height of the dinner hour, or keeping the cafe con lechwe coming in the morning. The servers in our area were genuinely responsive and happy to see us. They seemed to enjoy our feeble attempts at Spanish and took the opportunity to practice a little English. My expectations for a buffet are generally low, but the omelet station and fresh fruit at breakfast and fresh salad bar at lunch satisfied me quite well. My honey developed a fondness for fresh, hot donuts. He did experience stomach discomfort for a couple days during our stay, although we did not pin down the source. The wood-fired pizza at the outdoor pizza joint was always fresh and tasty, and the place is open until 7 am. For $45/pp you can upgrade to VIP service for three days minimum, which we were told provided in room beer stock and access to a premium liquor bar. We were fine with the standard fare, and bartenders were happy to adjust strength up or down and to fill the large plastic cups we brought from home. Refilling extra water bottles was easy at every bar, and the in-room water was always sealed DaSani, in our experience. We did buy off the wine list at the ala carte restaurants, and enjoyed that.
Other reviews helped us prepare: we snorkeled with our own gear just off the beach, and a few pieces of bread from the buffet were all it took to attract a variety of fish. The beach IS beautiful, and we had no trouble finding chairs either in the quieter section near the towel station or in the more active "animation" area near La Terraza, depending on our mood, both steps away from a bar. We did not feel pressured to take part in activities at the beach. We did have a massage one day, and while mine was great, his aggravated soreness in his neck and shoulder that was really uncomfortable. And we met some lovely German, French and Italian guests, along with Americans from the Northeast and Midwest. Most of the evening shows were not quite to our taste, but others seemed to enjoy them. A steady chatter among Americans, at least, was that the scathing reviews did not seem to bear out our realities, even those who were in the dated bungalows.
The trip to Saona, which I'd done once before from a Punta Cana resort, was fun. The beach there is breathtaking and the Viva section was clean and comfortable. The trip leader and I shared our sadness at the decimation of the starfish population at the "natural bath tub" stop, due to the hundred of visitors daily. Our vacation objective was no-agenda R and R, so we didn't take other excursions. We did walk the Domincus Beach-Palace property end to end, and bargain-shopped at the beach shock market beyond the Palce as well as the village shops outside the main resort gate. We did not try the Italian place just outside that's mentioned in several reviews, but it was recommended to us by other guests as a reasonably priced and delicious alternative. We really liked the relatively intimate size: big enough to have numerous amenities and activities, but small enough to be within a comfortable stroll of everything.
We certainly would consider a return trip, although our "suite" experience may have spoiled us! We got home today and couldn't wait to post.
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- Also Known As:
- Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach Hotel Bayahibe
- Wyndham Hotel Bayahibe
- Viva Dominicus Beach
- Wyndham Resort All Inclusive Bayahibe
- Wyndham La Romana
- Bayahibe Wyndham
- Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach Dominican Republic/Bayahibe