Author: Monique Johnson
Date of Trip: April 2004
Just thought I would write my own review as we just returned on Friday April 30 and it was the most magnificent 7 days of my life, next to my wedding and the birth of my children of course. We booked through a Canadian (Ft Erie) travel agent, we live in Buffalo, NY. Only my husband and I went- this trip was to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.
Airport: We flew out of Toronto into Punta Cana International and let me tell you, the pictures we saw on the web do not do it justice. Hatch roof, open air, very tropical. After going through customs, very easy if you have a passport and your tourist card already filled out. These cost $10US, hopefully whom every you book through has them in your package already. You claim your luggage and head for the outside.
There they have lots of men with signs showing several Travel groups, they tell you the number of your bus to your resort. Cross the parking lot, find your bus, check in with your travel guide, watch your luggage get put on, then take a seat. Our guide made a “CERVESA”(BEER) run to get cold, ice, cold El Presidente, the beer of chose in DR.
Then its off to the resort. We did have to drop off people at 2 other resorts. They looked very nice, but none compared to what we were about to see.
Check-In: the people-OH so very friendly. Check in went well, as well as any check-in can be. Told them our name, received cold tropical fruit drinks while in line. Had everything explained to us in English-pleasantly surprised after all the negative reviews about the language difficulties. Informed due to the time we arrived Noon our room would not be ready until 3pm, changed into our other cloths (swimsuits & shorts-packed in our carry on- thanks for the tip) we had lunch -Hispaniola-buffet, they open @ 1pm.
Then, because we opted for VIP,(very wise chose) we asked if we could get our key now, since we were heading for the beach and didn’t want to have to come all the way back to the lobby in a couple of hours. The front desk guy was great-“Hansel”, he handed over the keys without even getting a tip- but we tipped him anyway. They make so little.
Room: the pictures on line or even in the brochures do not do it justice. Beautiful, full stocked refrigerator, CERVESA, & cold soda & water, even diet soda! Fresh flowers, our maid even made the towels into ducks/swains and a heart on the bed. We did leave her little gifts after the first day, I got that as a tip from another website, but we also left a couple US dollars too. Next time I think I’ll just leave US dollars, the gifts made our luggage extra heavy. They even had a cake delivered on the first day stating “Feliz Annivesario”. We thought that was a nice touch.
*** Remember to pack the colored wash cloths-another tip we got***
Beach: Beautiful, wonderful, magnificent, more than enough chairs & hunts for shade, even if you don’t go out @ 8am to leave a towel on the chair-which to me seems lame, since the people who do this do not even show up to lay out and enjoy the beach until well into the afternoon.
Pools: As pools go I guess they are good, but I didn’t come all that way to sit by the pool. We lounge by it the first day, then it was the beach. But I do have to say the swim up bar is very cool.
Food: never got sick, not even a little and my husband & I are lactose intolerant and we ate ice cream. We did as our Sunwing agent-Yessy said, stayed away from the coconut milk-natural laxative. So when I had a fresh fruit smoothy-pineapple every morning it was made with OJ instead of coconut milk and NO PINA COLADAS. But that was OK the food was great.
El Gaucho- Steak house- good, not great, no steak sauce, so if your an A1 guy or gal bring your own
MacPrincess- beach hunt, burger joint- great, chicken burgers, hamburgers, french fries-ketchup is different-kind of vinegary but OK if you only eat Heinz or Hunts or only like that kind of taste-bring your own
Bella Pasta- just what the name implies-Italian, Great! pizza, pasta, steak, lasagna-great!
El Pescador- Seafood-had the very first night-wonderful, lobster does not taste like Maine lobster but good just the same.
Sakura- Japanese theme-Asian flair- good but keep in mind your in DR not Japan-try the pistachio ice cream-to die for.
Chopin- great- buffet style, so something for everyone. Make sure you book for after around 8:30pm, that’s when the piano boat signer sings 20 minutes-very nice.
Licey- gourmet-very, very nice. Atmosphere very romantic, had a bottle of Champagne with dinner along with “VINO”, food was OK, glad it was included in the VIP, I don’t think I would have been as happy if I had to pay the $25 per person charge. The “Princess Lobster” was different than what I was expecting but my husband had steak and he thought it was great!
Hispaniola- I think by far the best buffet I have ever been to. We went Thursday night, which is Dominican night. Shots of “MAMA JUANA” greet you at the door. Then the selection of food is amazing, all the delicacies of DR are on display including but not limited to the roasted pig-full body, of course. What can I say the food was great, I ate well every day.
Breakfast was the main buffet-Hispaniola-eggs made to order, fresh made fruit smoothies, waffles, doughnuts. Heard Chopin also had breakfast but never made it there for breakfast.
VIP: well worth the extra money, didn’t do the horseback riding, but the Bottle of Rum-delicious, cigars, gourmet dinner and massage-WHICH WAS THE BEST ONE I HAVE EVER RECEIVED, was well worth it!
PARASAILING: wonderful-and I’m afraid of heights-I don’t even take my kids on the ferris wheel. But I did it 250- 300ft in the air, the company that took us out even dropped us off at the beach of our resort like a water taxi. Cost $75 for the two of us to go up together for about 15-20 minutes-GREAT!
Shopping: Across the street or down the beach-BARGAIN, do not settle for the price they give you, move on if they do not give in, someone else will.
PEOPLE: The Dominican people are the most friendly people I have every met. “HOLA” was all we ever heard from everyone we came across. The Europeans-Spanish, in particular are rude. They seemed to act as if not only was it the staffs every desire to fulfill all their wishes and commands but for all other guest to bow down to their feet also.
All in all this was the greatest trip and best resort we have ever been to, but since this is the first resort we have been too, don’t take my advise, check it out yourself!