I had read a lot of negative reviews before leaving on this trip and almost switched hotels, but I'm glad that we stayed here. We took a quick 5 day trip right before Thanksgiving to get a break from work and some warm weather before the crazy holidays. The entire resort was seemed about half full. The Reserve is a quieter smaller section and I highly recommend booking a room there as opposed to the larger resort area. I'm pretty well traveled for work and play (15 countries) and have stayed at a variety of hotel classes and styles. The Reserve was a very good value for the money - it's not the Four Seasons, but you're not paying for the Four Seasons either! The hotel room (luxury master suite w jacuzzi) was larger than most 1 bedroom condos in NYC. It was clean, comfortable and stylish. The entire Reserve staff was really nice and helpful - the service at the Gabi club for breakfast buffet was much much better than the buffet service at the regular resort restaurant. Smaller and more personalized service and generally the same foods. The attendant at the Reserve beach, Maker, hustled to keep us comfie and happy on the beach with an endless flow of drinks and towels. The beach is beautiful and clean! It was very windy so we weren't able to enjoy the beach as much as I would have liked - apparently November is a windy month!
The distance from the beach (maybe 1/2 mile) was not an issue - we walked as much as we could (exercise to work off the food!!!) and the trams were available most of the time. They even stopped while we were walking to see if we wanted to hop in.
Food - well it could have been better. We never had any issue getting a table at the a la carte restaurants and the service was always good. The menus were varied but I found they tried to be too inventive and probably should have been more basic - as a result we really only like about half of what we ordered; we should have sent some things back. Gabi club was good, Vita was very good, Ciel was good (small warm water lobster but tasty) - I wish we had more time to try Vento, Rodizio and Terra. Was not impressed with the food at Romantico (again - tried too hard!).
Regarding "bugs" of various types - I was really concerned about picking up a bug from the food or water (and the cholera outbreak in neighboring Haiti). Many many years ago I picked up a major bacterial virus in Mexico - so I know what I'm talking about. We had no issue with any illness, but did follow common sense rules: drink bottled water, brush teeth w bottled water, eat cooked foods on the hotel premise only, wash your hands alot. We did eat a raw DR coconut that a gardener cut open for us at the pool and lived to tell... I recommend bringing hand sanitizer, bug spray, sunscreen, first aid things, etc. just in case. You'll pay through the nose at the lobby shop. Since this wasn't the very rainy season (Summer through Fall is hot, wet, humid), we didn't have a problem with bugs - outside or in the room.
Time Shares/Tour Operators and other Hawkers - hey, everyone needs a job! You will be approached often but just state that you're not interested and want to enjoy your vacation time and people will respect that. I found St. Maarten and Aruba to be worse with hawkers as a reference point.
Tours, etc. - We did the dune buggy ride - it was fun and dirty and a little on the unsafe side - so try to pick a tour operator that has decent equipment and if your buggy isn't operating right - tell them you want another (we almost hit a telephone pole due to bad steering). Would have like to snorkel but the water was rough. We walked into the little "town" right outside of the complex and had fun haggling for souvenirs and cigars (buy the Aurturo Feuntes!). Our trip air, hotel & shuttle and tours were arranged through Covacations (and Turissimo locally for DR shuttle and tours) and we didn't have any real issues with that service. If you don't like to wait for other people - get a private transfer; we lucked out because we were traveling at odd times and had our own van. They do want to sell you tours and the dune buggy ride was like $5 more than another tour co located at the desk near them.
Final recommendations: book the Reserve! the grounds are beautiful and just walking around the entire resort is relaxing. The entertainment is decent for an all inclusive but I agree it should start an hour earlier. If you don't like your meal, send it back and get something else (that will send a message). Stay from Dec - April for ideal beach weather. Remember - there's a reason why there's a "high season" and "low season" and the people on the island can't control that. PLEASE TIP FOR GOOD SERVICE - I know it's "all inclusive" but some staff try harder than others and your tips are really appreciated and just may make your stay a little more comfortable :-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover the unpretentious luxury of Paradisus Punta Cana Resort. An extraordinary island retreat offering a super balance of natural and man-made wonders. Open-air architecture, featuring indigenous organic materials like raw coral and exotic hardwoods, houses an impossibly sumptuous gallery of luxury suites and an exclusive garden villa. All-inclusive and all encompassing, Paradisus Punta Cana Resort is an ocean front playground for all ages. Tennis, championship golf, every non-motorized water sport imaginable, a magnificent array of restaurants, our own casino, an incredible spa for kids, an exquisite full-service spa and health club and personal world-class service all seamlessly unite to deliver you the relaxing, romantic, carefree, fun-filled experience of a lifetime. The resort features 688 oversized suites including 143 royal service suites and 4 ambassador ocean view suites, plus a one-of-a-kind oceanfront garden villa. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Paradisus Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana