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Reviewed 6 May 2011

My wife and I traveled to the Barcelo Punta Cana the first week of May. We arrived before noon and our room was not yet ready. We were politely asked to return around 2pm to check in, and were given our bracelets to enjoy the facilities while we waited. We wandered about and settled in on the deck of the pool bar. Doroteo the bartender quickly attended to us and we became friends quickly. After a few cold beers we checked back and our room was ready. We had reserved a Superior ocean view in the unrenovated section, but were placed in the renovated section on the top floor dead center of Bldg 3. Absolutely beautiful, with an outstanding view. The room was spotless, with flat screen. maid service was great, just flip that card over to do not disturb until your ready to get out for the day. Our room was always cleaned by early afternoon, plenty of towels, soap, shampoo etc.. Fridge was always filled. When I asked for a few extra beers and water, the next day the fridge was packed full. This was each and every day, great service. The resort has the two pools, one full of action, music and fun. The other more laid back, good for sleeping off a late night. There are organized pool games, music at the pool and music on the beach as well. The beach is incredible. You can walk for hours if you want. Water has small waves fun for playing around in, nothing huge but big enough to knock a small kid down. Entertainment is fun. These guys really hard everyday. The more fun you have with them the more fun everyone has. they feed off any kind of response, in a fun and happy way. Pretty much everyone spoke english to some extent and If your spanish is not very good, try anyway, they will chuckle and help you out. Dont be afraid to participate, its alot of fun. We only saw 2 shows in the theater, Grease and the carribean show. Both were ok, typical lip sync with costumes, but not a bad way to relax for 2 hours. The food was actaully really good for an AI. The buffets were loaded with choices, and had several stations making custom dishes as well. We only ate at the buffet, because we didnt want to deal with a time table for the specialty restaraunts. Break fast had fresh eaggs cookd any way you like as well as fresh omlettes cooked to order. tons of fresh fruit always. Marino in the buffet is a great guy. Lots of fun and always attentive. In general alot of fun. The staff is extremely nice and the more you interact with them the more attention and fun you'll have. The grounds are well kept, but the walkways and some tiles are shoing some age outside. Hey its a harsh environment 12 months a year, so weathering will take place. I find it hard to believe the reviews i read prior to leaving. If you cant have fun and be satisfied here, you are a pain in the butt then. You get what you put into your vacation here, be happy have fun, others will join you. If you choose to be misrable, well if your gonna be misrable, do it in your room and leave the rest of us alone. TIPS: The sun is extremely strong, lots of sun screen. Drink lots of water, there is purefied water all over the place. Make sure you keep it flowing in between the other cocktails. you will dehydrate, no question. Go and Enjoy!!!

Room Tip: Ask for rooms on the top floor. they are quieter.
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank sull29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2011

We just got back from our stay, and as usual it was wonderful.. Kudos to Sandy for the room selection 3402. Had a great view. Check-in was a breeze. Our room was ready when we arrived around 2pm. I knew as soon as I got off the plane it was going to be a great vacation. We had a wonderful breeze the whole week which was great. Only a brief shower on Sunday otherwise sunny. Food was good. Even my mom who had been sick prior to leaving always found something to eat. Room was always cleaned early and we always had towels. Mini fridge was always stocked. There seemed to be more activities going on this time compared to my previous visits. My son went to the beach party and loved it. It was a great vacation and we will be back at the end of November. The service I receive at this hotel is the reason I keep coming back.

  • Stayed: April 2011
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8  Thank kco156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2011

we went with a group of 27 for a 65 b-day the resort is very nice overall beach: stunning , clean, soft, white sand, clear water the staff and restauransts amazing the gardens were very nice .but the rooms a terrible in need of a makeover and lots of repair to be done would go back if the rooms were better .

Room Tip: tip
  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank rhonda w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2011

This is a review of the Barcelo Punta Cana. Four of us went. Three were there from April 11 - April 25, 2011 and one was there from April 9 - April 16, 2011. This was our second time to Punta Cana. Last year my husband and I went for two weeks with 25 friends for our wedding and we stayed at the NH Real Arena (formerly the EdeNh) so in this review, I will semi compare this resort with last year’s in mind.

The rooms: My husband and I, and my friend, each had what Transat Holidays lists as “superior ocean view rooms.” These were non-renovated rooms. The fourth friend stayed a renovated room in what Transat Holidays lists as “Deluxe Prestige.”

The non-renovated rooms were on the top floor (4th) in building 7 (7406 and 7407). Our view was spectacular. We were facing the “adult” pool and Marlin restaurant side of the resort. So from around 9 am we’d hear the music on the beach that they’d play for games etc. In the afternoon from around 3-5, we would hear the music from the games they’d play at the pool. You could close your sliding door and still hear the music but not to the point where you couldn’t hear the TV or take a nap. The floors were basic tile. The room was a good size with cathedral ceilings. The paint was in a good shape. The furniture was a light wicker type with lots of drawer space. The closet has glass sliding doors that didn’t run on the tracks really well. The bed was an older spring mattress with older bedding (some of the blankets had tears in them etc…) but we slept fine and comfortably. Everything was clean and although it was outdated, it all got the job done and we were happy. The bathroom was fine and clean. The shower and tub could use an entire overhaul but it got the job done. In our stall, some of our tiles were cracked and some holes had been filled with caulking but again, it got the job done. There was a coffee maker stocked with all the fixins every day so it was nice to enjoy a coffee on the patio every morning. The bar fridge was EXTREMELY well stocked every day. We left $2 a day and a note with requests and they were always filled – champagne, beer, water, sprite – whatever! Our television was a large, tube style, flat screen but our friend next door had a smaller tube television although she didn’t mind it. The safe was large and worked like most others. All in all, the room was nothing compared to last year’s luxury and it was certainly not 5 star but we found it was fine for the money we paid. We are pretty low key, low maintenance people so we managed just fine and enjoyed the resort for what it was.

In the renovated room, our friend was staying on the third floor in building 4. He had an ocean view as well. He had a stunning view of the “family” pool and ocean. It was quieter there during the day but at night he could hear the music from the bar or from the theatre until about 11 pm. It didn’t bother him but it might have bothered others. The floors were marble. The room was a great size but not overly larger than the non-renovated rooms. The paint was in good shape. The furniture was a dark wicker with tons of drawer space. The closet was wicker doors with shelving and lots of hangers – definitely nicer than the non-renovated room. The bed was a pillow top with a gorgeous white duvet with an orange runner. Again definitely more comfortable than the non-renovated room and updated and newer. The bathroom had been entirely renovated. It had no bathtub but a gorgeous tile shower with glass doors. This room had a coffee maker with all the fixins as well and the mini bar was the same. The television in this room was mounted to the wall directly facing the bed and was a large flat screen.

Both level of rooms suffered from shower pressure and water temperature issues. The shower pressure would suddenly drop off to nothing. All you had to do was to turn the shower off and back on and it usually came on at full force. Finding a middle ground temperature was difficult in both rooms as well – either a bit too cold or a bit too hot.

Honestly, the renovated rooms are certainly nicer and more luxurious and comfortable. It all comes down to what matters to you most and what you want to spend. It was about $450/week for us to upgrade to the renovated room and it honestly, it simply wasn’t worth it to us. We were more interested in spending less and having more fun in the sun than having a luxurious room.

If you go to this resort, in a non-renovated room, I think it’s all about having realistic expectations. The rooms are about a 3.5 to 4 star level resort and if you know that and are ok with it, you’ll be fine.

The food: the food overall was good. The buffets weren’t quite as delicious as NH but they were quite good – lots of variety! For lunch, we almost always ate at the Marlin which was wonderful. Edwin runs the grill and makes mean burgers and hotdogs – we called the McEdwins! We also tried the pizzeria once (above the Marlin) and it was ok but we have better pizza at home. We also ate at the Tex Mex for lunch once, by the family pool and it was amazing – I had wished we could have eaten there a few more times. For dinner, we ate at 4 a la cartes each week and did the large dinner buffet five times. First off, the dinner buffet was definitely not as good as NH Real Arena. Most evenings we could find something we liked but there was definitely less variety and the food wasn’t quite as “tasty”. Although any beef was amazing and incredible. We ate at the Italian (2), Japanese (2), Tex Mex (2), Seafood/Steakhouse (2), and the French restaurant (1) and they were all spectacular – delicious – amazing – fahhhbulous! The food was divine!

Night life: every evening they had a children’s show at 8 pm and an adult show (family) at 9:30 pm. The theatre is simply spectacular. It must have held 1500-2000 people with comfortable wicker seating, four chairs around a table. The bar was at the back with waitresses going around as well. The seating was spacious and was multi-level so it didn’t matter where you sat, you could see. It had a huge stage and the shows were wonderful. Compared to the outdoor small stage at NH with plastic chairs, this was luxurious and amazing. The entertainment was fantastic and the Michael Jackson show was Vegas worthy. And then on Sunday nights they held a beach party on the beach outside our room which was convenient with music and dancing and a huge beach bomb fire until midnight. They disco was in the basement and was fully air conditioned. It had mirrors everywhere and black lighting. They played about 40% top 40 club music and 60% Latin music. We had a great time. And your all inclusive drinks were included.

The Beach: I always thought that the beach was the beach in Punta Cana. This year, we were much further up the beach than last year at NH and this was a bonus on a couple of fronts. Number 1, there was next to no seaweed on the ocean floor whereas at NH, we had to watch where we walked to avoid it – and I hate seaweed. Without it, I was able to relax and really enjoy the water which was delightfully warm. Towards the end of the trip, there was seaweed in the water (we think there was a storm out at sea that washed it in) but even then, it wasn’t a big deal. Number 2, given the layout of the resort as a large S, there was huge beach frontage so there was tons of room for every single guest. There were no palapas (beach huts) but there was tons of palm trees that offered more than adequate shade for everyone. We typically had chairs in the shade and had a few out on the beach - there were so many. And you didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to get chairs since there were plenty. Number 3, the beach had some incredible waves. They had a flag system to indicate the “level” of waves and lifeguards on staff so it felt safe but I would definitely not have left a small child unattended. We had a great time in the water and enjoyed some boogie boards. Honestly, it was the most beach fun I’ve ever had. Number 4, because we were further up the beach, there was no local beach market nearby so there were no locals walking up and down the beach yelling out with stuff for sale. The resort had two huts for beach massages, a hut for henna tattoos, and a hut for getting your hair braided. There was one gentleman who circulated around the beach a couple times a day with his brochures of what was for sale but he was non obtrusive etc! At NH, the locals beach vendors were constantly walking up and down the beach yelling with things for sale and it got a bit intrusive.

The Pools: there were two huge pools. One with a swim up bar and in the afternoon hosted games and activities. It was huge and clean. The other was more of a family pool on the otherside. It was close the rock wall, kiddy water park, trampoline, and trapeze (yes, you read me correctly - all free for guests to enjoy)! The family pool was HUGE and gorgeous and very clean!!!

Overall: we enjoyed the resort, found the rooms more than adequate, loved the beach, loved the majority of the food, and found the nightlife amazing! We'd definitely go back. We knew we were going to a 3.5-4 star and we got what we expected and felt that this resort and everything that it offers was WELL worth the money we paid. We had a wonderful vacation and loved every second of it! We found the staff at this resort somewhat less friendly than at NH. If you reached out with an “olah” you’d definitely get one back and a smile but they just seemed less overtly friendly. I assume it’s because there was a much more international flavor at this resort than at NH’s. NH it seemed like there was 75% Canadian/US were here it felt like we were only 5%. There were people from Belize, France, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Paraguay, Italy etc. And on the weekend, there was a huge influx of locals. So I think the staff are more in tuned to a European flavor of people that wouldn’t care for overtly friend folks. But they were still lovely, smiling, and happy!!

Again, for us, this was a great resort and great trip for the money we paid. We didn’t go expecting 5 star. Having stayed at a 4.5 star last year, we were pretty sure we had reasonable expectations of what we’d see this year and we were dead on. If you want 5 star luxuries at a 4 star price, forget it. But if you have realistic expectations and are interested in an affordable trip that has all the essentials and nothing too fancy, this will be a great resort for you!

Room Tip: Upgrade to oceanview - prearrange your dinners
  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12  Thank FreddyBeach_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2011

I had read both good and bad reviews about Barcelo Punta Cana. However, the price was great, so my husband and I, along with another couple, gave it a try.

Taxi ride – We paid $10US per person for a 15 minute ride from the airport to Barcelo. It was a smooth ride and going through the airport was simple.

Check in – Check in was very smooth. We received the type of room we requested and this was done within a few short minutes.

The Room – We were on the newer side – often suggested by other reviewers. Our room had a gorgeous view. The room had all the basics. Our refrigerator was restocked daily with soda, beer, and water. The room did have slight mildew order. However, we travel frequently and know that on the islands, rust and mildew are possible. Finally, there were tiny ant-like bugs in some areas of the room. Again, I have seen this on every island I have visited. This is no way diminished from my stay. The maid service was great, too. Ask them for what you want and you receive it. The resort is not small, so we did have to do some walking based on our building’s location. Yet, I loved this. We ate and drank plenty, so we needed the exercise.

The Bar – We enjoyed each of the bars on the resort. We are Vodka drinkers and having Absolut and not the Vodka from the plastic bottle was nice. There was no Grey Goose, but we knew not to expect that. The bartenders made the drinks to your liking and to offer a dollar or two here and there ensured awesome service. We noticed that we received awesome service without tipping. The juice in most islands is very sweet; we used lime to cut the sweetness. The bar also had cookies to snack on for those of us with the munchies. Like most swim-up bars, the one at Barcelo closed at 6 p.m. This was a disappointment to us since we love the water and would like to drink until the pool closed at 7 p.m.

The Buffet – We travel to many islands and must admit that the food here was typical. The buffet was not a special place to us, but it was nice to have variety. We always found something we could eat. The lasagna was good and the baked whole fish stood out for us. We limited our time in the buffet since we found that after a while, you received the same food items. Again, this is typical for many island resorts. We made sure to make reservations each morning and there was always a restaurant available. One day none were available but it was suggested that we go to the restaurant and try to get seating.

The Pizzeria (no reservation needed) – We loved the brick oven baked pizza! It was a great way to get away from the buffet for lunch and eat something different. Between the 4 of us, we had the vegetarian, Barbecue Chicken, and seafood pizzas. They were all amazing! If you sit at the bar, you will experience beautiful views.

Tokio (Japanese – reservation needed) – The sushi was good and tasted fresh. However, that was about the only highlight for us. The cook was not very engaging and the food while not horrible, was very mediocre. It was interesting that while you ordered the meal you wanted (i.e. shrimp and chicken), the chef cooked all of the meats and offered you all he had cooked. This meant for a smaller portion of shrimp for someone who only eats seafood as others who may have ordered beef also took shrimp. On a better note, the Sake was good and the servers were friendly.

Marlin (Surf & Turf – reservation needed) – This was the best of the 3 restaurants we visited. The chicken salad, the fish soup, and the seafood grill was very good. We also enjoyed the cheese cake. This restaurant had a lot to offer and the offerings, tasted by all four of us, were very tasty. We would definitely recommend this restaurant.

Mirador (Mexican – reservation needed) – The shrimp appetizer was excellent and the fajitas were tasty. These were the highlights. The atmosphere was nice as well. I would suggest giving it a try, but admit that we wouldn’t go there a second time.

Beach – The beach at Barcelo is beautiful and filled with lounging chairs. Aside from the beaches in Cabo San Lucas, we have not been to a prettier beach.

Money – Change your money before getting to the resort and avoid using ATMs. We had money taken from us at the hotel’s ATM. The hotel could do nothing about refunding our money. However, our bank handled the situation and the hotel did write a letter for our bank verifying that the machine was faulty and took our funds. And for the inconvenience, with prodding, we received a night free at the resort. Using a credit card was fine as we receive alerts letting us know when our card is used outside of the country. However, I would avoid ATM machines there.

Excursions – We only went on the Adventure Boogie Excursion. The negatives include there being a caravan of about 20. This made for a slow experience with so many dune buggies to follow. Another negative is that the tour takes you through financial traps. Everywhere you go you are harassed about purchasing something. Children are all around attempting to get you to take pieces of paper where they have drawn pictures or offering to clean your shades for cash. Every stop included efforts to get you to buy something. While I understand the nature of the business, it can become aggravating if the goal was to enjoy the dune buggy experience. However, Macao Beach, the first stop of the tour is a beautiful beach with strong waves. The best experience on the tour was the Cave with the clear spring. Jumping off the rocks into the cool, clear water was the highlight of the experience. That made the trip worth it for my husband and me.

Entertainment – We have stayed at enough island resorts to know to avoid the resort shows at night. While I cannot attest to the pros or cons of the night shows, the daytime entertainment staff did a good job of attempting to get guests involved and there was a huge board that included daily activities. We like to do our own thing, but if you like being involved with the entertainment staff, you may enjoy the experiences they offer. Also, between the beautiful pools, the swim up bar, the trapeze, and the beautiful beach with sun shining brightly, you cannot ask for much more.

Internet - We have to conduct business while away and found the internet signal strong. However, it is $10 per 24 hour usage.

Gym - I went to the gym one day. If you like cardio, there are spin bikes and one old treadmill. However, there are lots of weights and other machine to build muscle.

Overall, I would stay at this resort again. The people were very friendly. Prepare to relax.

Room Tip: Stay in the new buildings; try the restaurants
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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6  Thank TheLesanes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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