First and foremost let me say this to the resort's defense: The price I got was unbelievably good. So that said, we get what we pay for. However, I feel it unfair to assume that other people would get similar pricing year round all the time so this review is objective and straightforward, regardless of price. FYI I took advantage of a "solo traveler" special, that and the "down" season came out to a nice price. Quick word of warning-Punta Cana is very hot and very humid 95% of the time, and this resort is ALL open-air, except the rooms. So if you have problems with the heat, then you may have a very hard and frustrating time here.
I thought I was getting off on the right foot initially be emailing the Manager of the hotel to introduce myself and request early on that if possible, I would like to have an Ocean view room off the first floor with one king bed. She responded accordingly but I got none of the above. That disappointed me as it almost seemed--dare I say...spiteful. But moving right along.
Relatively painless, but I think a resort, ANY resort that charges $24 to borrow a key and lock for your room safe is absolute insanity! That alone put a bad taste in my mouth. Also, be sure to tell the person checking you in very sternly that you have no interest in Timeshares. You'll be glad you did. About the front desk staff in general, I never had any issues personally except one small thing with the phone which was attended to urgently. I later discovered it was because they expected me to be paying for calls on it. Other guests I met had stories of "no responses" from the front desk except for verbal when it came to any issues. i.e. a couple with a 1.5 year old who were never given a crib after requesting one 7 times.
Nice size, but a bit dated and tired in some areas. The wall switches are set up very strangely. You'll understand. The beds are hard with lumpy pillows. If you keep the ceiling fan at the highest speed and AC at its coldest then the room will remain relatively comfortable. Be sure to write a note (in a nice way, of course) to your housekeeping rep. not to touch the fan or a/c during your stay. Also, tipping housekeeping a few bucks a day is a good move. They keep the rooms very clean and that is a plus. Don't forget to use your doorknob hanger! They don't knock! I met a honeymoon couple who were intruded upon while in the midst of mutual pleasures. Be careful in the shower as well. It is slippery and small and one wrong pivot of the foot can send you sprawling. I know, believe me, and my room 1109 has a brand new shower curtain to prove it.
Beautiful. The best part of the resort easy. Like a lush tropical jungle complete with flowers and plants the likes of which we do not see in America. The vegetation is accompanied by pretty little ponds and bridges throughout and the best part, beautiful exotic birds and ducks, flamingos, swans, fish and even a peacock that roam around the grounds. Not only can you feed them, but they are very harmless and very cute. Just hangin' out. The management clearly takes pride in this aspect of the resort, and rightly so.
A decent size and a cool bar, as it is out of the sun and hides behind a curtain of water. However, it needs a face lift badly. There are missing tiles and it is clearly not cleaned thoroughly enough. A few times I had the heebie jeebies at certain moments for no particular good reason.
FOOD & DRINK
The coffee is great. The buffet food, which is where you will be eating almost all of your meals, is decent. Not much more than that. It is, however, very repetitive. You will be served the same things in the same places over and over again. I ate at two of the a la carte restaurants. The ambience is nice and they do try. That said, food wise, the seafood was so-so at best and the steak place was "not bad". That's about the best I can say. Points to note: Omelet station, fresh fruit juice bar, and spicy red sausages for breakfast are great. The chicken is pretty good but a bit dry. I can never tell when anything was freshly made because it all gets recycled. Also, a strong comment: The beef at the buffet or snack bar in any form, but especially hamburger, do not taste the same as in the states and is much different than the beef in the steakhouse, which tastes fine. Take that as you will.
As for the drinks: They use a brand called "Royal" for everything and it is complete garbage. The drinks in general are very sweet and they have a real issue with using a proper amount of ice. Often times I literally got only one or two cubes for a drink. Ask for doubles or not too sweet and it will be almost palatable. The house red wine is barely drinkable but the white is pure turpentine. Go ahead and taste it, you'll see. Bartenders remember you if you tip them and Iris in the pool bar was easily the friendliest and nicest one in the whole joint.
Entertainers with limited talent running around onstage in scorching heat under flashing lights, doing the same dances over and over again, while lip syncing to popular American songs through the continuous loud and irritating ramblings of the M.C. who is obsessed with his own voice and the art of forcing people to clap and cheer. Rinse, spin the clock, repeat.
It's gorgeous, no doubt. Sugar fine sand with very few, if any, "rough spots". There are PLENTY of lounge chairs so I don't understand the complaints, unless they are talking about the chairs situated under the grass tree-like huts, but who cares? I don't. Try walking to the left along the shoreline. It is very serene and I thought it gave a nice hint to what it might feel like to really be on a deserted island. Plus you can swim all you want by yourself. Word of warning on the beach: don;t even think about going past the ropes. The party boats are constantly showing themselves off and will run right over you and not look back in a heartbeat. Also, the natural tranquility of the beach is often interrupted by relentless men yelling "Cigars" over and over again, or coming up to you with cheap jewelry or even excursion sales. This is an overall major issue which I will get into in more detail in a bit, but one that has become a major factor in my never returning again to the Dominican Republic, much less this resort. On that note, regarding the "free" non-motorized water activities: I asked to go for a ride on the Hobie Cat, which I have done before at other resorts with no problem. The staff member working the beach hut insisted that I am not allowed to go until I take a 30 minute lesson...for $30, even if I were to go with a guide. I found this to be a truly preposterous bait-and-switch tactic and I was so put off by it that I just turned my back on the guy and walked away while he was still trying to pitch me.
There are very few and overall, just not much to "do" on this resort. Not without paying a hefty price which brings me to the point of excursions. I wanted to do one and upon asking, was quoted a ridiculous price by the staff from the lobby. Then shortly after I was pitched again by the guy working the towel shack who said he could it for "much cheaper". He then went on to tell me that those people by the front desk worked for a corporation and hence had corporate pricing. Then the next day I relayed that info to the corporate people who said in turn that those guys were Independent Contractors and were not regulated, so it was a gamble. All the back and forth just turned me off to the whole charade so I just wound up putting the X on the whole idea and, for the first time ever, I went a whole vacation without doing any excursions.
A mixed bag. Most of the staff is friendly with a few thrown in, like anywhere, who wear the old "I hate this G.D. job" demeanor. I found the guests to be mainly comprised of French, Canadian, American and Russian. Some guests are very nice and some are downright nasty. I found this to be particularly true of the Russians and Americans, sadly, as I myself am American. At the Seafood place one night, there was one family who insisted on letting their kids (who were more than old enough to be able to sit and behave themselves normally) watch a loud, screechy and irritating kid's movie on a laptop right at the table! The staff ignored it and I can tell it annoyed other guests.
Overall, it is very difficult to ever walk from Point A to B without having somebody harass you about buying something. It can become very irritating. Sometimes people just want to be left alone, including myself. Officially I would give it 2.5 stars but it gets the extra half (rounded up) for the atmosphere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Natura Park Beach Eco Resort & SpaExperience a holiday in complete harmony with nature at our luxury Punta Cana resort, Blau Natura Park. Lush tropical gardens teeming with exotic bird life are interspersed with lagoons and bridges along winding paths which lead to the beach. Our Punta Cana luxury hotel is located on the marvelous Playa Bavaro beach, one of the best in the Caribbean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Natura Park Punta Cana
- Natura Park Beach Eco Resort & Spa
- Natura Park Beach Ecoresort Hotel
- Blau Natura Park Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Natura Park Resort
- Natura Park Hotel