Blau Natura Park Resort / Signature Vacations / Skyservice Airlines Trip Date: 2008/12/04 to 2008/12/18 (by BobFromCanada)
We visited this resort in 2001 and enjoyed it, so we decided to give it a try
again. Overall, we enjoyed the trip and would return, but .....
They've got all the major bases covered, but it's the little things that get
you. And let's just say there were a LOT of little things. Most were just
annoyances, but not all. With a little effort and not much expense, most of
these would be easy to eliminate. This place could easily be 4.5 stars.
WARNING WARNING WARNING. The edges on the steps on the stairs leading to the
pool bar and to the rooms are not well defined. There is no contrast. Even
worse, they are not lit at night. My wife thought she had the edge pegged, but
missed a step and took a tumble. Fortunately she recovered and with the
exception of a wrenched shoulder and a bruise where she bounced off the
railing, no serious damage was done. I met three other people who stumbled on
the same stairs. It would be so easy to conceal subtle lighting in the hand
rail so that this wouldn't be an issue. Oh yeah, I seem to recall complaining
about the same thing in 2001 .....
OK, on to the review. Signature Vacations rates the property as a 4 star and
Debbie's rates it 4.5 stars. The general consensus from the group I hung with
was that it was a 4 star property, but just barely. It was certainly better
than a 3.5 star property but it 'just' made it to 4 stars. Sure, it's still a
very nice property, but there are issues. Most were pretty minor, but it was
the sheer number of them that bothered me.
SKYSERVICE: Check in was pleasant and efficient at both ends. The advice to
arrive 3 hours before departure works well for a 6 am flight. For an afternoon
flight, it's another story entirely. We arrived at Pearson over three hours in
advance of the flight, only to be greeted by a rather lengthy line. This
however moved pretty quickly. At the Punta Cana end we were late arriving at
the airport due to a group of 15 golfers, none of whom were ready for their
scheduled hotel pick up. Not only that, the bus was totally inadequate to
carry them and their equipment. It might have been a surprise for Signature
when that group arrived from Toronto, but it shouldn't have been a surprise
for the return trip to the airport. As a result, we got split up on the flight
home. Also, our baggage looked like it had been towed behind the plane.
Signature/Skyservice will hear about that .....
GENERAL: It's a smallish resort and as a result, after a few days you tended
to recognize people and meet them over and over. The walk from the beach to
the lobby was a mere 5 minutes leisurely walk. The grounds are very lush and
tropical and the beach is superb. There's a small army of gardeners to keep it
that way. There's lots of wildlife around. That includes geese, ducks,
flamingoes, peacocks, egrets (actually a large white heron) and fish. The
hotel provides boxes with stale bread chunks to feed the fish. I did notice
that the egret was more interested in the fish than the bread .... The hotel
was running about 55% occupancy when we arrived and got noticeably more people
as Christmas got closer.
CLIENT MIX: A virtual United Nations. We met English Canadians, Quebecois,
people from France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Austria and the US.
Curiously absent were people from the UK. The resort was very European, which
means that tops were in short supply on the beach. Most ladies wore tops
around the pool, with the exception of a very few.
DRESS CODE: They were quite stringent about long pants and a decent shirt in
the specialty restaurants. The shoes and shirt rule (open toed sandals seemed
OK) was enforced in the buffet and I saw a few ladies turned away to get
cover-ups. The beach buffet at lunch seemed pretty much anything goes.
RECEPTION: The lobby and reception area is very attractive. We arrived quite
late at night, about 11:00 PM, but check-in was rather painless. Even though
they were expecting us (Blau Plus repeater's club), they had the wrong package
ready and had to go back inside to find our package. They quickly found the
right one and escorted us to our room. Since my wife has a sun allergy, I'd
requested a seaview room through the repeater's club and this was provided.
Thanks to the hotel for that.
BEACH: The beach was fine white powder sand. There was some seaweed but it was
raked several times per day. It was somewhat breezy while we were there and
the surf was breaking over the reef most days, so some seaweed was washed in.
There wasn't any growing there; it was just pretty well washed in by the waves
and the tide. This was raked up and got carted away by the truck load. Despite
the windy conditions, the reef kept the big waves away, so most days it was
quite suitable for swimming. There was a small but well supplied beach bar
conveniently located right on the beach. Service here was excellent. The towel
game was alive and well. However, with 55% occupancy, palapas seemed
relatively easy to get and there were tons of loungers. When the hotel is full
this might be a different story. There also appeared to be a changeover of
palapas at lunchtime as people relinquished 'their' claim and went to lunch.
POOL: The pool is small by current hotel standards, but it's quite nice and
appeared to be clean and well maintained. That's the important part. The swim
up bar was in the pool bar building and was behind a small waterfall. There
was minor water damage apparent in the ceiling that should be attended to. It
was quite cool in that area and I didn't see many people using it. Curiously,
the first week they didn't have a beer tap, but the second week they did. The
first week they tapped bottled beer into a plastic cup.
FOOD: This was the one area that most disappointed us. Not that it was bad or
anything like that, but they kept running out of stuff. You name it; Knives,
forks, spoons, plates, trays of food, the list goes on and on. One night they
had an excellent roast pork on the carvery. Really good. When I went back for
a second helping the roast pork had been replaced with some kind of a
manufactured ham (tasted like Spam) that wasn't very good to say the least. On
another occasion, they ran out of roast turkey. This got replaced with chicken
and when that ran out, it was replaced with ribs. They did say that more
turkey was coming in 25 minutes, but the promised turkey never appeared while
I was there. Also we noticed that their hot food system didn't keep the food
very hot. Not that it was particularly hot when it arrived from the kitchen. I
have to give top marks to the morning omelets and the smoothies. Can't say the
same about the pancakes. Very dangerous if I threw one at you and hit you
with it, if you get my drift. Also top marks to the beach BBQ. I got a very
nice piece of steak there one day. My only complaint was that they didn't do
it enough. Somedays the beach BBQ consisted of seafood paella.
SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS: Steak, seafood and Italian. We ate at each of them and
they were all pretty good. The steak one seemed to get the best reviews from
people I talked to. The Italian, while good, was disappointing. The menu
listed appetizer, pasta dishes and main course sections. However you were only
allowed to choose between the appetizer and the pasta, NOT both. Ditto when
it came to dessert. I was offered cake, ice cream and a few other things, so I
asked for cake and ice cream. Simple, right? Oh no, you could have cake OR
ice cream, but not both. So I ordered the cake and went to the buffet for some
ice cream ....
SERVICE: I found service at all the bars friendly and excellent. The table
service at the specialty restaurants also seemed quite good. As for the buffet
restaurants, service seemed spotty at best. Some days it was really good and
other days it was non-existent. Wine service in the evening was good. It was
especially hard to get hot coffee and milk in the morning. There were supposed
to be carafes on each table, but usually they were empty or contained tepid
coffee at best. Some days they were right there and other days they'd make
eye contact and then just walk on by. Funny, they were always around at tip
COMMON AREAS: The common areas, bars and restaurants are quite nice but there
are some issues. The washrooms in the lobby and main buffet area are quite
good, but there's a real shortage around the pool and the beach. I'll swear
there were washrooms in the beach buffet building the last time we were at
the resort. The sign directing you to them is still there, but the washrooms
aren't. There's one set of newer washrooms just off to the side near the pool.
Those washrooms got closed down for two days while they re-thatched the roof.
The next nearest washrooms were a bit of a hike, so that made things awkward
for a few days. Also, one urinal in the men's was plugged and overflowing.
Although that should have been corrected immediately, it took several days
before that issue was resolved. And one toilet was constantly running on in
the lower lobby washroom. That's a lot of water going down the drain in a
hotel that rates themselves as eco conscious.
ROOMS: The rooms were a good size, clean and relatively well equipped. We had
a king size bed (rock hard and I mean ROCK hard), a desk, table, TV, room safe
and a balcony with a table and nice wicker chairs (not plastic). The lighting
is quite attractive, but totally useless when you are trying to see something.
There are ceiling mounted quartz halogen lights that are pretty, but they
don't throw much light and that light is not diffuse. The table lamps have
very small bulbs, typically 40W so they're not good for reading either. TV
reception was poor. Every time I checked we had a different channel selection,
still fuzzy, so it appeared they were working on it, but not having a whole
lot of success. We had a coffeemaker, a hairdryer and since we had a suite, a
bidet. My wife reports that the hairdryer was slightly underpowered. The room
also needed some minor maintenance. The sliding door at the toilet was off the
track,as was the one in the room next door. I had to rescue the lady occupant.
She got the door closed and couldn't open it again. BFC to the rescue! The
bolts holding the bidet were missing, and the bar fridge was just slightly
cooler than the room temperature, which is to say, warm. When we arrived, the
air conditioning was pretty well non-functional, so we reported that.
Maintenance came within 24 hours to correct it. It was better, but it was
still pretty anemic. Common room complaints we heard were about bar fridges
and air conditioning. Our bar fridge looked like one of the originals and it
appeared to be well past its retirement date. It was trying, but not very
hard. As far as I could tell, all the rooms had an interlock so that the air
conditioning wouldn't run if the patio door was open. No issue with this. Some
rooms had the system where you inserted your key fob in a slot to enable the
power, but our room had a more 'sophisticated' system. Instead of the key fob,
the room had a door sensor and motion detectors in the room. This worked well
98% of the time. When you walked in the power came on as you opened the door
and stayed on when the detector sensed that someone was there. When you left,
the power went off about 4 seconds after you closed the door behind you. As I
said, the system worked 98% of the time, but it was a pain the other 2% of the
time. For example, when it didn't work was the time my wife wanted to retire
early and I took her to the room so I could take the one and only room key
they provided us. She went to the washroom and I left for the bar. You guessed
it. Four seconds after I left the power went out, leaving her in the dark
since no motion was detected ......
INTERNET: One word - expensive. Posted rates were $3 for 15 minutes, $6 for 30
minutes and $10 for an hour, all using their equipment. They also had
wireless so you could use your own laptop. My jaw just about hit the floor
when I asked about the rate. $30 for one day, $60 for two days and $100
for a week. I'm not sure if the wireless covered the entire resort or just the
Normally I have a lengthy "meet & greet" list. This time, with the exception of
a planned Debbie's get together at a local watering hole, I had no list. Due to
tire issues we didn't get to this planned event. In fact we ran into very few
people that had even heard of Debbie's. We changed that, so now we have some
new friends. Hopefully they'll join our forums. We also made some potential new
friends for Beyond The Beach. Unfortunately, I only gave out one email address
to people I met and was planning to use 'Reply To'. It turned out that my email
had failed while we were away and anything directed to that address bounced,
so I'm wondering how many people thought I gave them a dud email address ....
General comments (in no particular order):
- The serving arrangements in the buffet seemed pretty well thought out.
- The room had both 220V and 110V outlets (unusual).
- I had no need for my 'modified' extension cord.
- Take your own washcloths.
- The room key has your room number engraved on it. I saw people with their
safe key clipped to the room key. If lost, when someone finds it, they have
ALL they need to clean out the safe.
- Presidente beer WAS served in the bars. Bohemia in the bar fridge.
- They seem to have to mosquito control thing down pat. Hardly saw any.
WHAT WE LIKED:
- Nice property.
- Very lush tropical vegetation and landscaping.
- Property was beachfront.
- All the common facilities are in two spots.
(either by the pool/beach or the lobby).
- Food was acceptable. (I had some minor issues, but never went hungry).
- Rooms are somewhat basic but for the most part, acceptable.
- Nice pool.
- Very nice beach.
- Nice facilities. (bars, restaurants, lobby, pool, grounds).
- No time share / vacation club salesmen.
- Very few vendors on the beach.
- Eco conscious armbands. (very discrete).
- Red wine was from Italy and was reasonably potable, except when you got
one of the bad batches. Actually you could see it, as it was quite fizzy
around the top. I think the winery may have had a bottling issue and
bottled up a batch or two that was still fermenting. I also think they
knew about it, but couldn't identify the bad batch until the bottles were
opened and served. They were quick to replace it when you pointed it out
to them. I didn't try the white but I hear it was OK too.
- Brugal / Barcelo rum, Presidente beer. Classic liqueurs. (OK).
- Some top shelf liquors. (example Canadian Club, J&B, Jim Bean).
- Candles on the tables at specialty restaurants.
- Hardly saw a mosquito. We were on the ground floor. Some bugs entered via
the gap under the door.
- The beach BBQ. Only problem is that they don't do it often enough.
WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE:
- Only one room key.
- Every one we associated with hit the immodium at least once during the two
weeks. No common element, different times and/or food items.
- No face cloths. This is not unusual for the DR.
- We had an issue with a plugged toilet in our room. It took THREE calls to
reception before someone from maintenance showed up to repair it. The
promised housekeeping service to clean up the mess never showed up.
- Maintainance on public facilities took too long. It took 5 days before a
plugged urinal in the men's washroom (at the beach) was corrected. A running
toilet in the lobby washroom was never corrected during the two weeks we were
there. One towel dispenser in the men's washroom was NEVER filled.
- No soap trays in the shower.
- You can't get a liqueur with your evening coffee in the
restaurant. For that matter, it was difficult to get a coffee. Guess they
don't normally drink coffee with dinner.
- There seemed to be a lack of public washrooms at the beach/poo l area.
- No real fruit juice, with the exception of the smoothies.
- Bacon was rare in the morning. I saw it 5 times in the two weeks.
- I definitely didn't like the motion detector based power interlock in
our room. This was a royal pain in the butt. I also noticed that despite the
fact that we manually turned everything off when we left the room, the maid
had turned most of it back on when she cleaned the room.
- WATCH THOSE UNLIT STAIRS AT NIGHT .....
Pretty nice place overall.
Good food, not bad service (buffets are the exception)
A few warts, not 4 star, but a good solid 3.5 +++ star.
We would go back without much hesitation.
It is a great place to meet people and chat.
Overall, we liked it.
Unless you are truly looking for 4 star or better accommodation,
we recommend it.
There were things wrong that shouldn't have been. Most would be very easy to
remedy. The place has the potential to be a 4.5 + star property.
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EMAIL: I'll be glad to answer any questions I can. There is a link on my
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are not machine readable).
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Elizabeth Quebec, Canada
Arrival: March 2008
The arrival went very well. We had only to wait a few minutes. The front desk staff was very polite and efficient. The young man who brought our bags to the room was very nice. We had a good feeling from the start.
Even if we did not have a view of the ocean, the grounds were beautiful everywhere, so everyone had a nice view. The room was lovely. It was very clean, had all the amenities advertised and everything worked well. Our maid was very nice and helpful. My husband has to drink a lot of water because of kidney problems and she left several bottles for us each day without us having to remind her. Our only problem was that we had two single beds, but we just pushed them together.
Restaurants and Bars:
I would say that the one thing we liked less was the food, but we are foodies. We are not big eaters, but we like high quality food. They tended to overcook things. However, we did not hear any complaints from other guests, even when we asked them about it. Nobody got sick that we know of either, so the hygiene was definitely good.
The grounds were magnificent, very romantic. Although there were several buildings, the vegetation was so lush that we did not feel that there were so many. The beach was beautiful, although we had to get up very early to get chairs. The pool was clean and of a good size for the number of guests.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The shows were fun and very similar to what one gets in most resorts. We were not expecting Vegas or Broadway anyway. We did not do any tours.
The staff was very polite and helpful. We had very few vendors on the beach and once we said no, they did not come back. I would say that the only things they could improve upon are the food and perhaps adding more beach and pool chairs.
If you like to get out and mingle with the locals (visit real towns, etc.), you might be happier on the north shore or closer to Santo Domingo. But I would certainly recommend the resort for someone who is looking for a quiet, clean and pretty getaway.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Neal and Nancy Ontario, Canada
The room was nice. Two queen size beds that were really comfortable. The hibiscus flowers left on the beds by the maid was a nice touch. We had a ground floor patio that overlooked ponds with herons, egrets,ducks, geese, lizards and fish eating bats visible from it. A nice relaxing place to sit and drink the beer from the fridge. They left us four bottles each day.
We ate in the steak house twice. The rib eye steak was superb. The Italian restaurant was also good with a very nice lasagna. They allow smoking in the restaurants unfortunately. Nancy is allergic to it so we always had to try and find a spot off by ourselves.
The main bar had the best drinks but was usually too smoky to sit in. The pool bar was nice and airy and the bartenders were very good. A little overworked at times but always friendly. There was only one beach bar open during our stay and the swim up bar was not always open.
Beach and Pools
The pool was a bit small and there are not enough shady spots. Lots of activities if you like that kind of thing. The beach was beautiful and the water was warm. I have read complaints about the seaweed but I didn't find it to be a problem. They clean it up every day and it is just part of nature. Like the pool there are not enough shade shelters so people put their towels on the best spots and then go who knows where. It looks like you should be able to walk for miles along the undeveloped coast but we were turned back when we got to where the farm house is. That was a disappointment.
The grounds are great. there are ponds everywhere with fish and turtles. Lots of birds and amazing trees.
Activities and Entertainment
Not our thing. The entertainment was hopeless for us anyway. The smoke is so thick you could cut it with a knife.
We only went on the Monster Truck tour. It was well worth the money. It was a long day and we went to bed exhausted but we enjoyed it immensely. Others we spoke to recommended the Sanoa island tour. Avoid the Panoramie glass bottom boat. We saw more fish when we snorkeled from the beach and they brought us back an hour early.
Departure and Check Out
No problems at all.
We had a great time. The Dominicans are the friendliest and happiest people that I have ever met. The service at the resort was usually fast and always friendly.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
My friend Lisa and I went to Punta Cana for an all inclusive week in October at the Natura Park Eco Resort and Spa by Blau. The resort was beautiful, clean and perfectly lit for walking at night. The beach, of course was beautiful and although resort wise it was perfect I wouldn't go back there again, mostly cause I'd want to experience other places, but also for a few other reasons. Although there was a large staff presence and they were ready and willing to help you right away, I found most of them unfriendly. I know language is a barrier but you can still convey lots without words. Out of the large staff there were only a few servers who actually acknowledged you with a smile or a kind word (even Ola would be great) and/or some sort of eye contact. I found the bartenders to be very friendly and quite knowledgeable; they figured out what type of drink you were asking for and there were lots of drink menus. I think I tried every summer fruity drink you could get. Of course, depending on who you got it from it was never the same way twice, but yet very good. The cleaning staff were quite good at what they did and even they seemed happier than the servers to be there. I've always heard of "Dominican time" but it was ridiculous at checkout time. As we had to be out of the room by 1 pm but our bus didn't come until 6 pm they told us there was a "secure" room to leave our belongings in and a shower and a place to dry your hair after. Well after 3 calls to come pick up our luggage and one front desk inquiry, our bags were finally brought from our room at least a 1/2 hour later. The "secure" room was left open or unlocked every time we went back there. They indicated "the last person in is supposed to close it" well, that's not good enough. A person going in there should be chaperoned by a staff member at all times when in this room. When we went to take a shower, there were no towels and after 2 visits to the front desk we finally gave up and used used towels. They never did deliver fresh towels. To dry your hair the only plug in the bathroom area was near the door and it was not a prong we could use so that was useless. We didn't even get a have a nice day, hope your trip was good, nothing like that. We found this to be really rude. The only people I can't stop praising is Felix and Roberto, the two main entertainment guys. They spoke so many languages we were totally amazed. They could say hello in 6 different languages in one sentence. Sometimes they talked too fast but in order to get all languages in to explain what was going on they had to say it quickly. All in all the "animacion" department was fantastic. They both seemed to be there all the time, morning and night. You could tell they took great pride in their work.
The food was, well, your basic fare. Every breakfast and lunch were exactly the same but good. Lisa would have liked some more variety but I didn't find that so bad…I'm very much a creature of habit. We did all 3 ala carte restaurants which was awesome.
We went on two excursions and I would highly suggest anyone going to Punta Cana take a day trip to Saona beach. It is one of the most beautiful places I've seen. We spent a few hours on a catamaran (drinking rum and coke and dancing); then around 4 hours on the most beautiful, peaceful beach with lunch, seating and swimming. We then took off in a speed boat to a natural "pool" in the middle of the ocean (okay so it's a sandbar). We swam there for a bit (and drank some more rum and coke). We finished all this off with a speed boat ride back to our bus.
As for Signature, this went very well, except for their rep. He was late the first morning (which was okay with us as we did not get our wakeup call that am) and after giving us all the info we needed (which was good) we booked all our trips through him and I purchased a phone card as he indicated the one I brought from home would cost me more to use. The only problem we had is we wanted to book a zip line adventure but Signature does not have the rights to this yet. He simply told us to talk to one of the other reps in the front entrance (not that there ever was one to help us whenever we went up). Anyways, we never did go on the Zip line Adventure as we got conflicting messages from the sales guys on the resort property and the rep (when we called one) told us about a whole other adventure that was a full day but we only wanted the half day adventure so that scared us to think that maybe something wasn't on the up and up and we didn't bother with it anymore. On our checkout date I was charged another $17 for using the phone. The rep happened to be there for another group coming in and the only thing he said to me was "oh, didn't think they would charge that much (he told me about $1/call may be charged; when in actuality I made 5 calls one of which was to a rep; one did not go through and I talked to my daughter 3 times that week). He did nothing to help me out with this and that really ticked me off. I found him unreliable and non existent. He should have helped us find someone else to help us with the zip line adventure and with the $17 charged to me for the phone. He was there when we had the issues with the "secure" room and showers and did nothing to offer to help us out or talk to the resort personnel.
For these reasons we would not go back to this resort and hopefully won't have to deal with this rep again. We will, however, go back to Punta Cana anytime. Okay, I'm done rambling….
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Todd and Lisa Vancouver Island, Canada
My wife and I stayed at Natura Park >From March 27 to April 04. We flew out of Vancouver via Air Transat. The flight was just over 7 hours but at least it was direct with no stops in the US. We arrived at dinner time just in time to “dig in” to the fabulous buffet. My wife and I are pretty much vegetarian and we still found plenty of wonderful dishes to choose from.
Our room was awesome. Nice huge king size bed. That was nice. Our balcony overlooked the beautiful grounds with all kinds of wildlife walking around. We were right next to the main building and found the nightly entertainment a little noisy at times. It’s great when you are partaking in it, however, if you want to retire early, it’s a little noisy.
The staff were absolutely wonderful. Very helpful and the most friendly and precious people around. The always had a smile on their faces and you were always greeted with a friendly “Hola”. The nightly entertainment was quite entertaining with some pretty cool fun Spanish music. They were very energetic and fun and always included the guests in their entertainment.
We didn’t spend very much time in the pool but we enjoyed it when we were there. Theyhad scuba lessons and there were all kinds of games and fun during the day surrounding the pool.
We loved the beach. The north beach was the highlight. We walked around 2kms north up the beach and there were no other resorts around. The only thing we saw was a farmhouse along the beach with a donkey tied up to a palm tree. Once we passed the point 2kms up the beach, we found a little lagoon, unspoiled. It was a great place for snorkeling.
We didn’t choose to do any of the offered excursions, so we did a couple of our own. Actually we did go to Manati Park which was awesome. The iguanas were especially great since they are my wife’s favorite animal. One of the park keepers took us into the iguana pit and we hung out with them (all 200 of them) for about a half an hour.You could hold them, pet them, whatever. It was pretty cool.
Another thing that we did was rented a car and drove around the whole southeastern countryside in search of any private beaches. We didn’t have any luck, however we still had some great experiences along the way. Your vacation rep will strongly urge that you don’t rent a car, due to the crazy Dominican drivers. We were cautious and went for it. All you have to watch out for are the 1000’s of motorcyclists. They dodge in and out of traffic at the blink of any eye. You do have to be careful but it is worth it. The cost of a 24 hour rental was 75.00.
Another thing to do is to grab a couple of bikes from the resort and go into town just outside of the resort. You will find great deals there if you don’t mind bartering.
We cycled through town and met the locals. We love them. They are so humble and friendly.
I guess the only complaints we had were the thick smoke in the nightly entertainment bar and the vendors that set up shop inside the resort. The resort is a “smoking-friendly” resort and when ever you want to go to a bar for a drink, you have to fight off the smell of smoke.
The resort allow the local vendors to set up their booths to sell their overpriced merchandise to the guests. I personally found this annoying, as you couldn’t even walk through to get a drink, go to the buffet, or go to your room without them hassling you. Luckily it was only one evening during the week we were there.
Overall, we loved the resort and our experience. We would definitely recommend this resort to anyone.
Stayed there May 1-8.
Seven people in three rooms.
My wife and I (50 & 45).
My son (18) and two friends (19 & 18).
My daughter (15) and friend (16).
It was so quiet the day we arrived.
We were afraid to make any noise at the bar.
A woman came up to my son and his friends in the bar our first night and said in very loud voice "Spring Break is over" and stormed away.
I was sitting with him at the time and all he was doing was laughing out loud.
Lists itself as a 4.5 but I would say it is closer to a 4.
Clean and neat but is old.
The power went out on a regular basis (about 5 times in the week).
The grounds are beautiful with ponds and birds and wild life.
They are constantly being maintained.
Food was average and the booze is all Dominican but still tolerable.
We found all three ala cartes good but the service was slow.
Very good beer at the bars (Presidente) but the beer they put in the room fridges would gag a maggot.
The shows at night were enjoyable but they are the same at all these type of resorts.
Michael Jackson, Mr. Natura, Dominican night.
The pool is small but clean with music.
The beach is the biggest asset at this resort.
It's beautiful and you can walk for miles.
No need for water shoes when walking or swimming.
We didn't realize before we booked but we were there over the Dominican Labor Day Weekend.
They are permitted to book for the weekend at the resort and literally took it over.
I wonder what the woman in the bar our first night thought of this!
The pool was full with the wait at the pool bar 4 people deep.
Eventually the pool bar closed around 2 pm because it ran out of booze.
Other bars only had beer.
They had run out of rum, vodka, tequila and rye.
They devoured everything at the buffet dinner.
When we got there a half hour after it had opened, there was no where to sit.
We couldn't watch the show that night because the theater was filled.
I felt that while waiting in line for a drink, the staff served their countrymen before they would look at anyone else.
I like the Dominicans.
They're wonderful people and very easy to get along with.
This was our fifth trip there but first to this resort.
The agencies warn you about booking a trip at Easter and I feel they should perhaps do the same about Labor Day.
Take that weekend out of the mix and it's a great place for a vacation if you just want to relax.
It's not a place for the young crowd. There is no disco and the bars close at 1 am.
There were some couples with young kids but most of the clientele seemed to be fortyish.
We all agreed we would return to the resort but not during Easter or Labor Day.
If you take the resorts bike for a ride up the street you come in, there are lots of vendors with way better prices than the guys on the beach or the ones they allow in the resort two nights a week.
The weather was great every day. 30 plus.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Sheri and Willie May 2008
Before my boyfriend and I went on this trip I had read many reviews of this place and I was very leery of going. A good many of them did not sound very good, boy were they wrong. We both would go back in a minute. We arrived on March 30th in the evening and we had a hard time finding our room, there did not seem to be much staff around but when we checked out the next Sunday staff was limited as well. Many of them would be off because it was Sunday as we finally realized. The rest of the week there was lots of friendly staff around to help.
Our room was clean and comfortable. We had no problems getting extra water in the room. We just left a note with the maid and some makeup or nail polish and it was there every day. We left a little something everyday for her and some money when we left. Remember they make basically slave wages compared to us. The grounds of the resort are beautiful and clean. There are ponds, fish and birds all around. The flamingos are really neat. They also have geese there and as anybody knows you stay away from them. They are just plain nasty.
The beach - “Ah the beach” - was absolutely beautiful. The sand was so white and fine. There was a fair bit of seaweed on the beach but they have gentlemen raking it up constantly and let’s face it, beach plus ocean equal seaweed. It was a million times better than the beaches here in Nova Scotia, where we have rocks, seaweed and freezing water for our beaches. If you turn left on the beach you can walk for a mile or two and there are no other resorts. It was just beautiful. We did take a couple of extra towels with us to save our spots under the huts because the huts are limited. We also took with us a couple of thermos travel mugs for the beach. It saved on plastic ( they do not recycle there) , it saved on getting sand in our drinks (it was windy on the beach) and it kept our drinks cold and you did not have to go up to the bar as often. The bartenders did not mind filling them up. The drinks were great especially the lemon aid and rum.
The food was really good. I am quite limited in what I can eat and I found lots to eat. They had lots of fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs anyway you wanted them, pastries, bacon, the list goes on and that is just for breakfast. The desserts were delicious too. For lunch and dinner, there was a lot to choose from as well. We went to all three of the a la carte restaurants and the best was the steakhouse.
We only went to one night of entertainment and that was Friday and Michael Jackson night. It was pretty good.
We went on one side trip and that was to Santo Domingo, their capital. It was a long day; the bus left at 6:30am and did not get back until about 7:00pm. The bus driver and tour guide were great. Don’t forget to tip. Lots of interesting things to see and learn. The lunch for the day was very good. Got to do some shopping, bought some rum and some of their vanilla. We have been to the DR before and had done some of the same excursions, so we only did this one.
All in all, we had a great time. The resort was great. The rooms could have used some upgrading, but you are not in them long enough to matter. They were neat and clean and that is the main thing. Remember to take some extra face clothes with you, for some reason or other they do not use them in the DR. There were no bugs in our room that I could see. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The drinks were great. The food was delicious and we had no stomach problems. There are some mosquitoes in the evening so take some Off and we did take malaria medication to be on the safe side. We met some fellow Maritimers, transplanted Maritimers, Americans, Germans, many friendly people and we cannot what to go back.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Alan April 2008
I just returned from a spring break vacation at Natura Park Eco Resort in Punta Cana. I won't be back. My wife and I both had stomach troubles during the last week of our stay. This resort should be rated as a 2.5 or 3 star, it is not comparable to the Rio (which we stayed at during our last visit) even though it is rated the same.
During our first week the toilets at the beach were plugged and there was water, over an inch deep, covering the floor. On five different occasions my wife and I had workers of the opposite sex enter the restrooms, in the lobby and at the beach, with out even a knock or a verbal warning.
During our first week the signature representative informed us that the hotel had been over booked, because of this all services suffered. There are four restaurants in the complex but we were unable to get a reservation until the Monday of the second week because they were booked solid. They also looked at our scheduled stay, and knew that we would be there for two weeks and so always pushed our reservations back. Also during the peak dining hours they would heard the overflow into a back room which had no staff and was not properly set, i.e.: no glasses, no water, no cutlery, so you had to fend for your self. The wellness buffet is really only a sign on one table in the main buffet containing rice, a meat dish, and a vegetable. Ironically these same dishes could be found in the main buffet on different days.
I was lead to believe that a beginner scuba course was included in our package but was told I would have to pay. The water sports equipment was in terrible shape or just outright dangerous. What was available was booked very early in the morning. While I waited at the counter I witnessed a group of people who had paid five hundred US. each to go deep-sea fishing only to discover that there were only enough fishing rods for half of the group. They were demanding their money back but the staff were refusing to pay.
Needless to say I will certainly never stay at Natura park resort again.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
My sister and I took our kids (9 and 10) for March break. Previous reviews had us abit spooked, but fear not. We had a great experience, kids had a blast and we met some really wonderful people.
Rooms were clean and perfect for 2 people, with a beatiful balcony over looking lush gardens. The resort overall was beautiful and the beach OUTSTANDING. We lucked out with perfect weather for beach and pool. Thought a golf game would have been fun but way to hot for that !
If you plan any outside activities be sure to go to Sanoa island.....long bus ride to get to the bottom of the island, but well worth it. We did the Carribean Festival as well but found it was abit of a ripoff. I think we got spoiled going to Sanoa first.
Food was more than adequate and nobody in our group had any intestinal problems....lucky ! Value for your dollar ....... this place cannot be beat ! We booked last minute and lucked out. Very few of the people we spoke to who had booked in advance came close to what we paid, so if at all possible wait till the last minute to book.
We'd go back in a heartbeat, and highly recommend to families, looking to just "take it easy" .
Natura Park - Punta Cana
my 13 yr old daughter & I returned from this beautiful resort on March 30/08.
we had a fantastic time! beach was magnificent ! seeweed is almost non-existent & wha†ever there is is constantly being picked up.
we loved the pool- perfect temp & definitely large enough. resort staff very helpful & courteous.
we booked horseback trip with hotel as when we originally booked off beach, they never showed up. $30. & well worth it!
we snorkled off beach to left of resort & saw plenty colourful fish.
Kyaking was mucho fun! we requested by fax to hotel a rooom close to ocean & with view & we actually had the perfect room. patio VII -the patio door opened right on to beach, walk-in closet etc.
our favourite bird to watch was flamingo ! weather was hot with mixture of sun & cloud everyday. did not even need shawl at nite.
we get up early so we never viewed nite entertainment. but I only heard good things. if you are not morning person, and want a palapa on beach, forget about it! when I went down to beach to reserve cots with towels at 6am some were already taken. nobody sells on beach but vendors come to hotel mon & thurs evening.
only negative was food. not the best. do not waste your time with ala carte restaurants. buffet always much better!
all in all - totally awesome vacation!
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Cathy and Chris Manitoba, Canada
This is a beautiful resort and would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a quiet relaxing vacation.
We asked for a balcony but got a ground floor room but we were happy with the view and location which was
close to the pool and the beach. They supply two large bottled water daily which don't fit into the bar fridge
(our fridge didn't work) so take a smaller bottle with you to fill . If you take an insulated cup, the bartenders will
gladly fill it with beer or a cocktail or ice water (both ice and water are purified).
Also take a small flashlight and a couple of extra towels. You do get a towel every day however they are in
short supply and there might not be extra towels to exchange after mid-day. We had to check out at noon
and had our own towels to use until our pick up at 4:30.
Check prices in the gift shop before you go to the market so you are aware of what is a good price. There is
one main market on the street but there is also a small one on the beach (you can see the building to the left
or south) and there's another small one behind the pier which cuts off your walk along the beach. I offered $6
for a $12 t-shirt which wasn't accepted, I went to another shop and when I walked by the beach shop again I
offered him (David) $6 for the shirt and he accepted but asked that I bring him food from the resort. I had some
food in by bag and offered that to him. I also paid $6 for a $10 pak of 12 cigarillos at the shop behind the pier.
The only complaint we had with the resort is the lack of music at the bars and the restaurants. There was some
music played at the poolside but no Caribbean music which we would have liked to hear playing softly everywhere.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
If i had to recomend a resort to anyone this would be it! Not one time did we have a problem! There were 6 of us including 4 children so if something had gone wrong there was a good chance. The food, amazing, except for the bacon...it was definately cooked the way they like it. The grounds, animals, proces, and especially the staff made this vacation amazing! Everyone that lived there smiled, laughed, said hello and treated us so welcome...they even danced and sang as they cleaned the tables. The rooms were just o.k but that is expected as we did not go for the rooms. Some people complain about the wildlife i thought it was amazing! There was nothing wrong with the beach at all. The nightly shows were a hit and the drinks were amazing.The big complaint i had was the air flight with westjet it was cramped and just o.k.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
We also arrived at Natura Park March 3, our rooms where not ready either. The weather was really warm but the wind blew hard all week, I didn't find the beach nice at all compared to the year before we stayed at Ocean Blue/Sand. We have also at the Grand Pladium Palace. The food was typical dominican style and everything was outside I have never been away where there were flies around your food. The resort itself is very lush and the rooms are older but very clean. I have gone to Mexico in the last few years and I think I am finished with the Domician we have stayed at 4+ and 5 Stars and they are all about the same. I do however like the size of this resort and the animation team did there best to know all of the visitors, the staff tries really hard and does a wonderful job. I found a lot of ****** at this resort(rude) and lots of people smoking. For the price if food is not an issue I would recommend this resort for families and seniors. Everyone else if you are travelling with teenagers watch the girls.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
We arrived on march 3rd at around 11:30 our room wasn't ready but were told to come back around 1:00 and when we went back the room was ready. The first room was a smaller room with 2 3/4 beds and we really wanted a king size bed, we found the room to be a bit small, so we asked to change rooms and the next day they changed us to a room with a king size bed and separate change area very nice! The rooms are clean the decor could be updated a bit but other than that everything worked.
The food was good we always found something we liked, I specially liked the pasta and croissants. The a la carte restaurants had good service I enjoyed the steak restaurant the best, the seafood and italian were ok.
The service was ok, I've travelled to Punta Cana 3 times before this also to Cuba and Jamaica and the service is always a little slow. I found that they made more of an effort at this resort than the others I've stayed at. I do realized this is a 3rd world country and the people aren't paid very much so I am always patient, I'm on vacation I can wait a few minutes for a drink.
The grounds were beautiful the most beautiful I've ever seen! The beach is also very nice, clear warm water and white sand and a long private beach to walk along.
My only critic would be that there's not much to do in the evening, there are shows but the area is not big enough to fit everyone to watch the show. They don't have music playing at the bars or even at the pool I really missed that. The other thing was the set up for the buffet is too small for the amount of people they serve it's a little crowded.
I would recommend this resort to others, specially for families, older couples or people who just want to relax.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Gord and Marlene Ontario Canada
Arrived at 10:30 P. M. There was confusion regarding availability of food as we had a "dinner flight" on Skyservice consisting of a stale bun with a slab of mystery meat and cheese and a "dixie cup" of water. The clerk told our group the La Media Luna would open at 11:00 but did not check with the restaurant. They opened as scheduled at 12:00. If we hadn't been so tired and hungry this would have been a non-issue. At the time it was annoying. Now it's just amusing. Night time arrival is not best because you miss the initial impact. Also, staff was minimal and after a short wait we struck out on our own.
Well, after specifically booking a ground floor room, we ended up on the third floor. This actually turned out as a good thing. ***THERE ARE ELEVATORS. Look around and ask. *** On the third floor there are almost no mosquitos and you can sit outside and listen to the entertainment if you don't feel like dealing with the crowd, smoke and good looking but painful wicker chairs at La Teatro. We had a room with two double beds. The room was large airy and clean. The "double" beds were at best super-singles. This is not a complaint, just an observation. *** Remember to ask for a lock for the room safe. This will save a trip back to reception later, as we were not offered one nor were anyone we talked to. This is a must have! *** Nobody explained the energy saving feature of this resort to us, so pay attention, this is important. Your room key is on a large brass fob. When you enter your room there is a slot in the switch block beside the door. Insert the fob into the opening and this activates the low voltage switches and air-conditioning. You can defeat this by using one of the popcicle stick coffee stirrers provided with the coffe pot and supplies, to trip the micro-switch. This is important if one spouse wants to stay in the room and the other wants to walk about. *** Pack a small flashlight. Emergency lighting in the room is a candle. Good idea but there were no matches. I suspect that in severe weather, power could be unreliable. *** Be careful with regard to the mini-bar. Why there are specific rules for it in an all-inclusive escapes us. You get 2 Presidente beers and 4 sodas (Pepsi 7Up) per day. Everything else is extra and expensive. It took 3 days and persistance to get ours unlocked. It was unlocked after we had left the room for the day and when we got back to the room to dress for dinner there was a bill for $9.00 USD for a Red Bull and one of the 7Up bottles was opened and 1/2 empty. I raised the matter with Guest Services and Ambar (a very helpful youg lady)took our concern to reception. They were less than helpful until I asked that they called the police so that I could report a theft. They decided to wave the charge. We played this game again at check-out time. *** Important!! Report all these things to your tour rep. when they occur. You then have a dated report on file with a third party.
The buffet meals are filling but not spectacular. If you leave hungary it is your own fault. At breakfast there are two and sometimes three stations where you can get omlets made to order. Also, if you fancy fried eggs, they will do that too. There is a good selection of food at the breakfast buffet. One complaint: RUNNY SCRAMBLED EGGS. We'll say no more on that matter. At lunch you have a couple of choices. La Cana requires a little higher level of dress than La Perla but the food is about the same. La Perla offers a more relaxed lunch, where swimwear is acceptable. It also offers hamburgers and hotdogs at the grill located on the beach side. Try the soft icecream. Supper at La Cana offers a good selection of buffet food, a hot pasta bar and beef, pork and on at least one occassion, turkey. Again I stress, if you leave hungry it is your own fault. La Perla does a great a la cart menu in the evening, with reservations required. We both had the salmon and of the three a la cart restaurants this one was our favourite. The meal was excellent and the presentation was fantastic. La Gonda, the Italian restaurant was good, but not to the level of La Perla. La Media Luna offer steak and ribs and does a good job, keeping in mind that we are spoiled by the quality and availability of beef in Canada.
Overall, if you have a favourite drink you should be able to get it at any of the main bars. The "drink shacks" on the beach had a slightly reduced selection and somewhat sporatic schedule. Although they were supposed to be open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. some days they were not open at all. We tend to bypass pool bars so will not comment on this one. La Cohoba bar was located on a deck above the pool bar and with the wind screen on the beach side gave some respite for the constant wind and a nice place to get out of the sun. We would adjourn to this bar after lunch to play cards (pack your own) and cool down. La Merenguito bar offered table service but it seemed that the staff would take your order then never be seen again. I was easier to order at the bar and carry your own drinks to one of the many tables.
Beach and Pools -
The beach was good although sea-grass washed ashore constantly. Staff did their best to stay ahead but with the surf pounding on the outer reaf this was a full-time job. Some days the wind was so strong that we turned our lounges back to the wind to prevent the free dermabrassion. The pool was a nice centre-piece and for those that are not as nimble as they once were there are ramps with good solid hand rails on the beach side.
The grounds are well maintained and in keeping with the Eco theme of the property the use of compact flourescent lighting along the walkways and the driveway is effective. There always seems that something is in bloom. The ponds on the property are teaming with fish and ducks and geese wander around at will. We saw egret, cranes and two different but unidentified Fisher species. We wish we had packed a bird id book. At pond at La Media Luna there is a small flock (about 10) Flamincoes. It is amazing that such a pretty bird sounds so bad. Up by La Gonda there is an introverted Peacock. Little lizards scamper around but you have to be watching to see them. One night we heard what sounded like a helecopter flying a fair ways away. It turned out to be frog or toads calling from the edge of the ponds. We did see one in the shadows later.
I finally got up the nerve to try scuba in the pool but as we were leaving the next day I couldn't go out to the reaf for the open water dive. Oh well, next time. I was disappointed in the staff of the aquatic centre on the beach. These people are employees of Scuba-Caribe and not hotel staff. On the first day I went to book the Hobie-Cat and was able to go sailing within the hour and had a good sail. They required insurance at $5.00 per day or $20.00 for the week. I felt that the weekly rate was the best deal. You can also sign a waiver and pay for anything you might break. I booked for 10:00 the next day. When I went the following day they took me and another guest that I had offered a ride in one of the safety boats about a mile down the beach to "rescue" one of their boats that an inexperienced couple had sailed down wind the couldn't get back. We traded out and the We spent the hour sailing back to the resort. That was my last sail, although I booked each day. In the morning the wind was "too strong" and they did not rig the boats. I re-booked for later in the day hoping the wind wqould drop. Even though the wind dropped by lunch they refused to rig the boats. I rebooked for the following day. This repeated for the rest of the week. When I showed up in the morning of the second last possible day they said it was "too windy" so I rebooked for 1:00 p.m. that day and 9:00 the following (last chance to sail) day. At 1:00 I was told "too windy" again. I then checked to verify my booking for the following morning only to be told that it was already booked. I believe something fishy occured. I felt ripped off by their insurance scam and after arguing with them and demanding that as I had purchased the insurance they had to accommodate me and rig a sailboat for me, they refunded $15.00 of my insurance. I still felt cheated as other aquatic centres on the beach were allowing their cateramans out. My only conclusion is that these employees were poorly supervised and lazy.
As we were there to rest and recover we took no tours. A first for us on our annual trips down south.
We had an excellent vacation in spite of the minor glitches. The resort met our needs and we would consider returning.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Dave and Karen
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5
A wonderful resort we would definately recommend to others. The grounds are beautiful and the animal life present is a treat. Beuatifully manicured grounds and well kept. Restaurants are great, better al-la-carte than previous resort. Beach is wonderful and water is warm and inviting. Wonderful to stroll on 2 miles of unoccupied beach to the one side of resort. Snorkeling is great with plenty of fish to feed.
Visit: February 3-10, 2008.
Operator: Sunquest flight from Toronto.
Who: Couple, married, each 43 years old.
Previous travel: Puerto Plata-2007, Los Angeles July 2007, Disney 1999, 2005. Other extensive U.S. and Canadian travel.
Hotel: Natura Park is located about 20 minutes from Punta Cana airport. It shares beach with Sunscape Punta Cana, Oasis Punta Cana and Catalonia all on the right side, with 2 miles of open beach to the left. An older hotel with 6 bars total (1 main, 1 pool, 1 swim up pool, 2 beach, 1 theatre), 1 main buffet, 1 beach buffet, 1 beach snack spot, 3 a-la-carte, and 1 late night snack spot. The hotel design is awesome in-so-far that if it rains, and it did a couple of times, one can walk through building corridors without getting wet. Room service available at no cost (tip only). Bars are nice. Main one has table service. Our only complain here is that it would be nice to have an open patio area next to the main bar. We would have liked to sit in the sun and have a drink.
Grounds: Immaculate, stunning, lush. It's a joy just to walk through the grounds. The buildings blend in so well and are very attractive within the lush environment. A wonderful variety of tropical species. Pathways, bridges, ponds. No mosquitoes to speak of. Didn't see any til the last night. Flamingos, snowy egrets, geese, ducks, turtles and fish. Not a huge amount of them but enjoyable. They each seemed to have their own pool to stay in. One smaller bird would take bread crumbs from you then throw them into the water to attract fish, using the bread as bait. No word of a lie. We saw it with our own eyes, incredible.
Room: Our room was building 7 on the left side, closest to beach (2141). We requested main floor, ocean view with king bed. We received main floor, partial ocean view, and 2 3/4 beds. Opposite side of pool area within 50 feet of beach. Not too bad. Our room was available at check in but others had to wait an hour or 2 as we arrived about noon. Room was fine with everything working and as expected. Nothing fancy but patio was great. View of ocean with great scenery. Bathroom adequate, no complaints. A/C worked fine. Daily maid service was wonderful, the usual personal touch with towels and flowers. Daily tip was left for maid. No hot water the last day but not a biggie.
Food: Buffet was more than adequate with plenty of selection and changed daily. Some was standard each day with a selection of meats, pasta, salads and Caribbean specialties. We found more than enough to satisfy our palettes. 2 large buffet areas for standard fair and salads, plus centre area for meats, build your own pasta, slurpies and shakes, breads and specialty orders. Breakfast was more than we ever could need. Snacks available from midnight to 5am if the need is there. Some gaps in food service but generally not noticed. Buffet at beach building was okay but generally not as good as main building. Good enough for a quick light lunch. Beach BBQ is available for hotdogs, hamburgs and fries. We done burgs but there if need be.
A-la-carte: 3 restaurants and hotel guarantees 3 meals per week. We took advantage of each one.
Perla (seafood) at beach was okay. Lighting was a bit dark and meal was okay.
La Gondola (Italian) was nice. Sectioned off part of main buffet. Food here was good. 3 cheese Lasagna was awesome.
Steakhouse (Steak) was great. The best of the 3 by far. We enjoyed the rib eye steak and beef tenderloin and both were cooked to perfection and presented well with nice extras on the side.
Room service: We took advantage of this the first morning. We filled out the card left on the room desk and placed on door handle as indicated. It was picked up during the night. We need to call to remind of delivery as it was later than expected. No biggie we were not up early anyway. We enjoyed coffee, tea, selection of breads, fruit, spreads and yogurt on the comfort of our patio. Meal arrived about 8:15. Nice touch and neat to enjoy.
Room bar: Fridge fully stocked but only some items included free with all inclusive package. You are entitled to the large bottles of water on desk, local beer and soft drinks. Other items are for purchase and list given at check in stipulates this clearly and are pretty dear. If you really need it, go for it but be prepared to pay at check out. Our Sunquest rep made sure we knew this at our meeting. Some apparently were not aware of this and were shocked upon checkout.
Beach: Wonderful. Wind everyday kept us from getting to overheated. Sand does not get hot and is actually made up of crushed coral not silica. Beautifully white with a touch of pink. Yes there is seaweed every morning but a crew starts at 7am to rake it up and works most of day to keep it clean. Plenty of beach chairs but like other resorts, head out early to put towels out to reserve your spot. Not a lot available near pool. Lots of chairs available later on the beach to the right. To the left is harder to find later. Pool is ok. Not the largest. We swam in it twice. Preferred ocean. It was warm and nice.
Drinks: Plenty and ever flowing. Pretty much what ever you need, they have. Water is filtered as are ice cubes. Bottled water available in large bottles in room. Nice booklets to help choose unusual drinks.
Entertainment and staff: Animation crew worked all day to keep everyone entertained. We did not participate in any as we wanted to sun, walk and sleep. Nightly shows were corny at times but very energetic and fun. Enjoyed by all. Michael Jackson show was superb. Caribbean night was a good revue as well. Deals can be had by vendors who come to site twice weekly. Haggle, haggle, haggle. Staff were great, friendly and always there to please. Notice that many are working from early morning until late at night. You will see one person and breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spanish is main but we got by just fine.
Gift shop: Lots to choose from and prices very reasonable. Buy from hotel as airport prices are a lot higher.
Airport: Really neat open air with lofty ceilings. Exit aircraft onto tarmac and walk with crowd to the left to customs. Departure in terminal 2 is in new large A/C building nicely appointed. Well run. Exit upon arrival is really easy with guides to help with each company rep and assistance to which bus to board. Take your own luggage.
Money: Best to just take U.S. Easiest to deal with. Tips generally a dollar at a time for maids, drivers, barmaids and extras.
Weather: We had great weather. Mostly sunny all days with few clouds. 2 days, full sun. 2 nights we had rain, once at show time, once after we went to bed. One day it rained 3 times within an hour during the day but we were in bar anyway. Cleared up nicely.
Excursions: We did 2 this trip. Senoa Island and Caribbean Festival. In Puerto Plata we did Monster Trucks and that was Incredible but wanted to try other things.
Senoa Island was a great day. Pickup is early in the morning, 7:45. 2 1/2 hour ride to La Ramona for boat departure. You pass through the large city of Higuey. Long ride, make sure you visit the bathroom before you go. Trip to island is by boat. Catamaran there and speed boat back or vice versa. Drop off at sand bar for half hour swim. We found 2 starfish. Yes, they are real. Island was breathtaking. Great buffet lunch. Warm, with little cool breeze. Area has beach chairs and bathrooms. Highly recommend this trip to all.
Caribbean Festival half day was boat ride with drinks, entertainment, dancing and good times. Drop off to reef to swim with fish and snorkel. More fun on ship then drop off to floating enclosure to swim with sharks and manta rays. Well done and nice introduction to wildlife if you listen to intro. Picture of us holding manta ray was incredible so we bought both. What a treat. (stinger is removed) A fun day out. We bought the DVD here. $35. Senoa has one as well $40 or haggle to $30. We didn't get that one.
Generally speaking this is a great older, smaller resort. It shows its age in some respects but we preferred it to our previous resort and to those nearby which we walked through. A few minor little things that may bother some were just noticed by us. No biggies. No sickness by either of us. We would go back to this resort in the future after visiting other countries and not hesitate to return when going back to Punta Cana. We would also recommend this resort to any who asked. Some had a few room problems but were taken care of quickly. Don't forget to always have tip money with you at all times and at least $50 to spend on additional items. You never know when something will strike your fancy or a special person will deserve a tip for that one special bit of attention.
Go again? You bet. Recommend it? Absolutely.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
I had already emailed the resort requesting king size bed,balcony and Ocean View.Now before i go on it is very rare that you will get a reply. Luckily I did... and it was documented on the computer.
If you do request a room I suggest you play up how you are looking forward to stay in their beautiful hotel etc... wording really does help!!!
ROOM........ Very big and VERY clean.I hate hotels and i was impressed!!! But i still covered my pillow with a towel!! But thats just me! LOL!
Our room was close to the Main building so it will be noisy at night until the music stops.Didn't bother me as I didn't usually go to bed before midnight.Except the night after the Saona Island trip... I shoved my ear plugs in and was asleep by 10.30pm!!!!!
FOOD.......LOTS of it and lots of choices. There wasn't a lot of cooked veggies but always salad. One night i didn't fancy anything (not their fault) so i just had pasta. If you are looking for GREAT food then a more expensive resort is what you need.Personally I don't just go for the food...it serves it's purpose and keeps me alive whilst I'm there.
The A La Carte... we didn't try the seafood.The Italian was great although don't expect fast service.It was actually nice to sit and relax between courses.
The steak house.. well...everyone we knew LOVED it.Majority had the File mignon (sp).My hubby had the Rib Eye Steak and he said it was the worst steak he'd ever had. I had chicken and it was ok.. we didn't let it bother us.
ENTERTAINMENT...... I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.Each night has a different theme.They have a kids disco (mainly for ages under 6yrs I would say,but the same songs every night.Annoying for adults but kids loved it..lol) at 8pm and then at 10pm the anamation team come out. The best night was the “Stars” night... we were stunned... it was such a good show.These kids are truly talented!!!!!
After the shows they play all kinds of music you can dance to and that can go on until 1am.
GROUNDS....... WOW is all I can say!!! Lots of little bridges, although the bridge to our part was being worked on so we had to go to another bridge which was only another few steps. Geese... OMG they were hilarious!!! We were having breakfast one morning and we could hear “honk honk honk”... there were 3 of them making their way through the hotel to the pond!! Now then I do have to say that there are some little black birdies that fly around and can land on your table whilst your eating... but this is only on the tables that are closest to the pond. It didn't bother me... I loved sitting there as it had a nice breeze.
The whole main building is open... no doors. Because of the constant breeze it was very comfortable.
We actually didn't need the AC on in our room most of the time.The fan did its job but at night i turned it off as i cant sleep with a fan over my head.
The Flamingo's are beautiful and there is a pheasant roaming around.I saw it once from my balcony and thats it.
BEACH..... well what can I say...... HAS to be the BEST part of it all.If you were totally unhappy with everything all you would need to do to make it right is to step onto the beach, and all your worries would just float away with the waves!!!!
The busiest part would be right by the restaurant and pool.Thats where most of the louder ,party people would be.
We liked to turn left and go to the end of Natura beach.Its much quieter there.A little walk from the toilets and food but it does have a bar!
There are 2 little dogs that roam around that end of the beach.Don't be scared of them and don't be mean to them.They are sweet little things.If someone had food they would just sit there and watch you very politely.I actually went and got 3 hot dogs.I think they must be brothers.. i fed one of them from my hand but if i dropped it he wouldn't come that close to get it.I would pick it up and then give it to him.
I also saw a horse just beyond the beach sign....it would lie down and roll over to scratch his back... there is a house further down the beach on the left within the palm trees. I saw 4 kids on this horse so I'm figuring it belongs to them.
If you turn left onto the beach and just walk, walk, walk ,walk its sooooo beautiful.No hotels for ages....apparently there are LOTS of fish there so bring your goggles.
The beach is actually protected by its own coral reef so it is very calm to swim in.
You'll find lots of seaweed on the beach depending on how windy it is.Because of the reef it has nowhere to go except get washed ashore.The workers work hard clearing it.. sometimes raking 3 times a day.
One day i was lying on my sun bed and i heard someone singing.One of the workers was raking the seaweed and singing the most beautiful spanish song...I didn't want him to stop it was so lovely to listen to.
You HAVE to play the towel game!!! No its not a fun game... If you want a sun bed then you do have to get up early,take your towels down to the beach or pool and tie them to your chairs.Its the same everywhere and as much as its a pain in the ass and not fair you have to do it. It is a bit freaky going down to the beach when its dark though...lets just say I did it in record time!!!!
WEATHER....... Most mornings started out cloudy but because of the wind it blew over by late morning.We did have a few rain showers but they also blew over.I heard lots of complaints about the rain !! And i laugh...... yeah i understand if your whole week was rain but c'mon... they need the rain.. Its what keeps everything so green and lush!! And the Dominican people need the rain!!!
I personally wouldn't go in January again.I've been in Feb and we had 5 min of rain the whole week, BUT the following year it could possibly rain that whole week. We cant control the weather and you just have to make the most of what you get!!!
SPA... I booked the Pr-tan spa treatment which includes sauna,full body scrub,full body massage and Jacuzzi.
If you are shy or Bashful this is not for you.You are "totally" naked which came as a bit of a shock to me.I delt with it though.The sauna was wonderful,had bathing suit on for that.The body scrub everything has to come off and they do the back AND the front!!EEEEK!Then you shower and then you have a massage.
You are at least half covered for that but I do have to say it was the worst massages i'd ever had.Some friends of mine had booked just a massage and thought it was great.So maybe you need to stay away from the "packages" and stick to just one treatment. Apparently the massages on the beach are amazing,$35 for half an hour.
The Jacuzzi after was nice although went on to long.
TOURS...... Saona Island
Pick up was at 6.50am.EEEEEEK!!! We did have a wake up call but it came 15 min late.. other peoples calls were on time. There are a few things out for breakfast,yogurt,breads and donuts etc.
Took a small bus for about 20 min then we stopped at this big bus depot place.We must have waited for about 35 min without being told why we were waiting. Eventually a huge bus turns up and we had to get on that one.THEN we were off on the hour and a bit drive to get the boat.
When you arrive there will be people right outside trying to sell hats.. normally the vender's get on my nerves but actually so many people had forgotten hats etc that they bought one.They are nice hats actually and hubby bought one.
The toilets there are somewhat to be desired.No seat.. you gotta do the squat.And you get handed about 5 squares of toilet paper as you go in.. LMAO!!! Disgusting but i held my breath and tried not to let it bother me.. when you gotta go you gotta go!
The Catamaran ride was awesome... it was really overcast and so the ocean had a wonderful navy blue color to it.Lots of rum and coke,music and great people.Saona Island was a dream.Although you'll see LOTS of people on the main beach if you go for a walk to the left (when you step on the beach turn left) you'll find no one down there are TONNES of coral and shells. The barbeque's lunch was ok.Very basic.There are toilets and you can get a massage on the beach.Again.. vender's galore!!! Then you get a speedboat to the mid ocean pool.. about waist deep.More rum.. swimming or snorkeling if you have your own equipment.Saw 2 starfish...at first i thought they were plastic but then I saw it move!!LOL!\
The speedboat back was Sooo much fun....the 2 boats race each other.. really fast!
On the bus before you leave a guy will come on with a case of rum with your pic on it.. its taken when you arrive.They are $10 and quite a good pic i thought.
A VERY tiring day but would do it again in a heartbeat!!
Outback Jungle Safari What a GREAT trip.....The truck is VERY bumpy/bouncy especially at the back.I wanted to be able to look behind me at all the scenery.Or driver was Caesar and guide was Monchy who was totally hilarious!!! Ask him any question and he has the answer.We learned a lot about DR.
The coffee and coco plantation was ok... little children waiting outside when you come out.. i gave them all a lollipop each. Lunch was REALLY good.Driving up into the hills and seeing the countryside was wonderful and you pass by a lot of tiny villages etc.
The boogy boarding was the best.. the beach was beautiful and the waves were humongous!! The guides get in the water to stop you from getting dragged out to see... LOL!!!!
I managed to hit one wave and swear i was going to end up on the beach in the bushes.. i went so fast!!! Screaming and laughing all the way!
If your not a very strong swimmer you might want to sit it out.You can still enjoy the water without the boards.
Another extremely tiring day but I would also do it again!!
STAFF...... No complaints there whatsoever.Very nice pleasant hard working people. My hubby said that the bar men/women really don't leave if there are still people at the bar.How late they will stay I don't know but he said they were still sitting at the bar at 1.30am and they were still serving drinks.
So thats really about it, cant think of much more to say except I WILL be returning next time to Natura and will be taking my kids!!!
Natura Park - Punta Cana
We are an adult couple who takes at least two vacations a year in all inclusive hotels in the Caribbean. We have been to more than 10 different hotels in the last few years; therefore we can compare them with ease.
My wife and I spent a week at the Natura Park Hotel between January 12 and 19. It is our third visit to this Hotel. We had been there the year it opened (1997) and again in 2002 .
Of all three visits, in our opinion this was the best. Food quality has improved at the main buffet, there is diet food available for those who need it, although the hotel was full we never had to wait to eat at the main buffet, the food at the Italian restaurant was excellent, the quality of alcoholic beverages and wine is above average to other hotels of the same price range in the Punta Cana Area (Baileys at the main bar, bottled Spanish and Italian wines with all meals). General maintenance of the hotel is good, pool is clean, room was always made up early in the morning, never a towel missing in the bathroom, free safe in the room, beautiful but simple and natural setting all around.
The characteristics we like best about Natura Park are:
Very low buildings well blended with nature
Beautiful quiet beach with lots of shade
The atmosphere at the main bar and lobby is very relaxed.
Because it is not to large a hotel, everything is close by.
Low noise almost everywhere
No pressure to participate in activities
Very restful vacation
Superb leisurely walks on the beach to the left of the hotel because there is a very long stretch of virgin beach without any other hotel for at lest 2 to 3 km.
Located far away from the crowded stretch of beach near Cortecito which starts at the Barcelo hotels complex and ends at Breezes with more than thirty hotels one besides the other.
Comparing this hotel to several others within the same price range, we consider the Natura Park one of best values for your money in the Punta Cana Area and we highly recommend it to people who are looking for a relaxed and restful vacation.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
I have never done a review but as I often read them and find them helpful, I wanted to contribute. My husband and I just got back from Blau Natura Park, Punta Cana first time in DR. We are a couple in our early thirties. Our goal was to go south inexpensively to relax and get good weather. I read some awful reviews that almost led us not to go but I am glad we did.
Resort size and mix of people: Perfect - very little walking needed at all. It was a relatively quieter crowd (wide variety of ages - primarily older adults) which we appreciated very much.
Weather: The weather with the exception of one day (it was warm but rainy) was very hot and very sunny - perfect.
Food: The food was good with sufficient variety. The steak restaurant was awesome! My husband felt a little ill after one meal - he had an upset stomach for more than a day but nothing too serious.
Accommodations: First of all, I have never had a quieter room - it was great. However, we did not get a king and the 2 doubles were pretty small - we just pushed them together. The rooms were spacious and clean. We had a gardenview - not spectacular but fine. When I double chacked to see if an oceanview was available, the front desk staff person laughed and said we should have arrived earlier in the day..
Beach: Unfortunately, I think we have been extremely spoiled by Varadero beach. The beach itself was less than spectacular but it was the water that we really did not like as much as Varadero. The temperature could not have been more perfect but the water had lots of plant life/weeds - I still went in. I am not sure if this is the same everywhere in Punta Cana. Not to worry - we still spent everyday at the beach and loved every minute. My one warning for others would be that you need to be on the beach by 7am to get a spot with some shade and by 8am if you want a chair at all. I am a morning person so no big deal.
Service: Finally, the service at the resort. Having not been to any other Punta Cana resorts, I have to say we were somewhat dosappointed. We have always found the Cuban people warm, friendly and eager to go the extra mile. While there was nothing hugely wrong with the service nor would we say they were rude (other than the Bellman never did come to help with our luggage when we were leaving), we did not find the staff very friendly. If you had a question and they did not understand it, there was little/no effort to attempt to help, it was usually just no. My husband found this more of an issue than I did as he always has very high (but not impossible) standards. The sunquest rep however was very friendly and helpful.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
I recently visited the Metamorphosis Spa in Punta Cana at Natura Park & deceided to get a facial while I was there. I should have known it was going to be bad when no one could speak english in the entire spa, regardless I paid my $110 for pure hell! The lady who did my facial was not even in the room over 70% of the time, she would apply COLD rags to my face & leave, when i tried to tell her the rags should be warm, she claimed not to comprehend. Then she extracted my blackheads not with the little tool but with her finger & nails. I had to stop her, I thought I was on a hidden camera show! There was not one thing relaxing or enjoyable about my experience. All spas I visit they play relaxing music & friendly people, not here, the girl that did my facial kept taking deep breaths as if pissed she had to do this. I also noticed the sheet was a little dirty when I laid down & after my facial was done I realized they do not change the sheets after each person! I honestly feel my 10 year old son could have given me a better facial. When I tried to complain there was not a manager around & no one spoke any English. That place is a complete was of money & wish someone could of warned me of this. I should have been given a refund but I left for home the next morning & the resort claimed they could not do anything about it.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Rich New Jersey
We arrived on June 19 and stayed for 7 days. Room was not ready there was a mixup on room type. Booked king size bed and gave us two doubles. Finally, gave us king size after an argument.
The room was clean, but the air conditioning was poor. There was no breeze due to the layout of the rooms. Beds were okay. Bathroom was extremely small and nowhere to put your clothes.
The buffet was poor. The food was out in the open with no refrigeration. Flies were buzzing around the uncooked meat. The heat caused the cold foods to sweat making it unappetizing. There was three restaurants (again no air conditioning) and the Steak House did not have steak???? The Italian Restaurant was okay, but not great. Did not eat in the Seafood Restaurant because I got sick from the Steak House (eating the chicken).
Below average. Swim Up Bar closed half the day because of flooding. The best bar was the one on the beach above the swim up bar. Great service great view and a good breeze (which was desperately needed. The lobby bar was standard. The liquor quality was below average. They also did not have exotic drinks.
Beach and Pools -
The pool was dirty with debri from people leaving their cups and dishes pool side. No one waited on you for drinks or anything else. You did it yourself. Insufficient shading for relief from the sun. You had to put up your own umbrella if your fortunate to get one. No entertainment or music by the pool.
The grounds were breathtaking. The natural wildlife was great. The only problem was getting pass the geese. They kind of attack you when you walked by them.
Poor. Pool side activities were limited to morning only and late afternoon. There was nothing to do midday. No entertainment. Nighttime entertainment was poor. The locals did the show and that was it. There was no dancing or partying afterwards. Nothing to do but go back to your unaircondition room.
Did not take any tours, but they were offered at the hotel. Was disappointed that they rented rooms out to the locals on the weekends. It made the restaurants extremely crowded and lots of children in the pool.
We have been traveling to all inclusive resorts for the last 10 years and this is the first time in my travels that I got sick and was bed ridden for 4 days (due to the food). I would not recommend this resort to anyone.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Grounds: Breathtakingly beautiful, I have nothing bad to say about this. The flamingos, ducks, geese, fish everything was great and the kids did enjoy feeding them.
Food: I am a picky eater, but am usually able to find something, was very leery on most of the food, as it did sit out for lengths of time and lost its appeal. I did manage to live on, lol, bacon, toast and peanut butter & jam for breakfast. Daughter ate similarly, sometimes having the occasional omelette.
Lunch we usually ate at the pool, as they did have hamburgers, hot dogs and pasta.
Supper, was a hit and miss, at the buffet, service for drinks was terrible, seldom had a drink except the pitcher of ice water on each table...again stuck with pasta.
The Italian restaurant was ok, we missed the seafood as everyone wasn't feeling quite well enough to venture there, or they didn't like seafood.
The Steak restaurant was to die for, it was our last night there and was the best ever, had the tenderloin, baked potatoe & carrots, we all felt tons better after having some food with substinence.
Room: Was ok, we didn't spend alot of time in it really, so was ok for sleeping, air worked great no problems there until last 2 days....tub, toilet leaked, air conditioner did last 2 days, upon going to front desk with problems, they wrote it down and that was it, nothing fixed. The first bathroom door, didn't work, had to fight to get it slightly closed, we usually went to the toilet room to dress, as we couldn't very well do it in front of everyone.
Pool: Like most say, if you didn't get down early and put out towels you probably won't get a lounge chair, we managed to usually get chairs, but then when your towels get stolen and they tell you will be $40, kind of makes you leery on doing that as it could cost an arm and leg. The entertainment guys at the pool were great, even if they weren't doing something with vacationers, they were goofing around amongst themselves and was quite funny. I loved watching the dancing. There was no introductory scuba lessons as advertised. They did play water polo but was usually bigger guys/adults, so made it hard for the younger ones to play as they were quite rough.
Check out: We had to be out of our room by noon, and our luggage was to be put in a locked room since we weren't being picked up for airport until 9 pm...the room wasn't locked and heard some saying the locks on there bags were broke etc. Ours fortunately didn't have anything worthwhile in them or they were left alone.
Pictures: Unless you get the supervisor there, good luck, we were told 1 hour, than another 1 hour, and again another 1 hour, we finally left it for about 4 days, then went back our last day to get a disc made....this time we were told 5 o'clock, but we had no clue on what would happen at that time. We finally found someone that could speak a bit more English that could help with translating, she was great. She told us to come back after 5 and the supervisor would be there and we would pick out our pictures and he could make the disc.
Language barrier: I realize that Spanish is the main language and found out it is pretty much the only language other than a few employees. We weren't rude to them at all, as we are in there country, and we aren't like that anyways, but it was extremely frustrating when you couldn't ask for the simplest things because they had no idea. They were nice enough, they would smile and nod and go about there business, lol, at this point, we realized they were like us when someone spoke Spanish to us, clueless, lol....it was fun trying though. We had an awful lot of coffee in our room, but no cups to drink from, lol, we were asking for the cups, not the coffee.
We did take things down to leave for the maids each day, I just hope they liked the stuff and could use it or know someone that could....we were told to do this and our rooms would be well taken care of, well glad we did cause not sure what would have happened hadn't we, nothing special was done.
Anyways, sorry this was a bit of a bummer, it wasn't totally a drag, it was fun and we made the best of it while we were there, mind you we were all extremely happy when it was time to come home.
Would I go back..........definately
Would I stay at this resort........definately not.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
R Judith Western Massachusetts, USA
I stayed at the Natura resort from March 18-25, 2006. I am a sixty year old woman who was traveling alone. I have been going to the DR for years and
have visited over a dozen different resorts. During this week the weather
was spectacular – not a bit of rain until we left for the airport and the guide suggested that this was because the country was shedding tears that we were leaving.
Resort/Rooms: The room was nice with 2 double beds, a couch and lots of lights. The TV was small and you need to ask for a remote at the desk but
there no longer is any deposit on the remote. Unfortunately the room over
looked the lagoon that was a breeding ground for mosquitoes and had 8 flamingos that made noise all night long. Also the birds walk on the sidewalks leaving excrement. The room smelled a bit moldy and by the end of the week the clothes I had hung in the closed smelled so much I could not wear them. My husband noted when I returned and got in his car at the airport that I smelled like a swamp. My suitcase had to be aired outside and my clothes had to be washed multiple times.
Food: This was pretty good when I could eat it but I had intestinal distress that I never before had in the DR. You need to plan well in advance to book the a la carte restaurants. Two times I tried and once was told the computer was down and the second time all were full for 2 days. Media Luna, the steak restaurant on the lagoon, has wonderful food but beware of
mosquitoes. They were so bad even though I had a long skirt on and had
used Deet repellant that I could not finish my meal. A warning about this
resort being all inclusive – the Natura really isn’t. Upon arrival you are told that you could only have free 4 sodas and 2 beers from the minibar for the entire week. There also is a substantial charge for the smaller bottled waters in the minibar and the bars do not give out bottles of water as they do at the Barcelo resorts.
Beach & Pool: The beach was very disappointing – it always seemed dirty and not just seaweed but garbage in the seaweed. The pool is small and always was cold plus in the attached outside whirlpool many people smoked. You can ’t smoke in the main restaurant but you can in the pool. Plus the man who gave out towels smoked so the beach towels smelled. The beach chairs always seemed taken even though no one was there. On my last night some one from Vancouver told me if no one shows up for an hour you can take the chairs by imminent domain!
Night Entertainment: I enjoyed the open set up of the area and particularly liked the Jazz groups.
The Spa/Gym: There is a pretty well equipped gym with showers and inside whirlpool just off the lobby. There also is a salon/spa area. The only listing of services is there, you do not get one in your room nor is there a brochure. Prices are more expensive than services at the Barcelo Beach/Palace. Many massages cost $100 US. I had a manicure and pedicure and was pleased with the quality but it was no bargain. They use OPI polish.
Shopping: Other resorts such as the Riu and Barcelo groups have significantly upscale shopping areas and a jewelry store. The gift shop at the Natura hotel was reasonable but had only inexpensive items (including Red Bull and generic Imodium for eighty cents a tablet).
Health: I feel this a major problem here: I had intestinal distress that continued upon my return home and got more severe requiring medical attention for Shigella with antibiotics and intravenous fluids. The symptoms began in the DR as mild abdominal discomfort but developed to full-blown dysentery characterized by cramps, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and drastic dehydration having lost eleven pounds. Because of this I would never return to this resort.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Sue Ontario, Canada
My husband and our “almost 6” year-old daughter stayed at the resort from Mar 19-26. We travel at least once a year to all-inclusives and were quite happy with this one, particularly because we booked a great last minute deal. This was my 3rd time in the Dominican (previous to Puerto Plata and La Romana). Weather and beaches did not disappoint … clear blue skies, a nice “browning” sun (if you’re careful) and lots of breezes. As the Natura is further east from the biggest resort area, it was interesting that for our last 2 days dark clouds hung to the north of us and the other resorts supposedly had rain both days … we had nothing but glorious sunshine.
Resort/Rooms: very similar to the others we have stayed at in that it is not huge and overwhelming (we prefer this). Beautiful gardens and our daughter loved the animals (flamingoes, ducks, fish, peacocks) roaming..watch out for the geese as sometimes they get bossy and attack! Rooms are a little tired but very clean and lots of storage; always had hot water. Doors into bathroom are sliding louvers so warning that they are not very soundproof (especially when Montezuma’s revenge arrives!). Minimal face cloths left sporadically so you may want to pack a few! Maid service OK … we tipped and took gifts.
Food: Fine for us; typical of an all-inclusive in this price range. Got boring by end of week but didn’t really bother us as we didn’t go for the food. We ate at the Italian twice (awesome food; service is great; hola to Gendolzon) and the steakhouse once (good food; service not as good). The buffet has variety but make sure you LOOK AROUND as it is spread out between the main area and 2 side ones in other rooms (one is the “wellness” buffet I think). Pasta bar at lunch and dinner which is nice if there’s nothing else that tickles your fancy (plus great for a 5 year old!) Buffet at beach for lunch has Mexican, hot, pasta and pizza if you look to the side counter.
Beach & Pool: Awesome …there is some seaweed (they rake). So what if there is, it’s the ocean people – deal with it or stay at the pool! Depending upon how the breeze is, however, there can be absolutely zero seaweed as there was our last 2 days. Glorious. The nicest surprise for us (compared to a typical resort location) was that you can walk to the left and see absolutely no hotels for about 40 minutes. Safe walk, no pushy vendors and there are some non-seaweed areas you can swim in along the way. If you go to the right, there is the Allegro, Sunscape Punta Cana Grand and a market. We’re told way around the point further (not sure how far), there are Oscar de la Renta and Julio Iglesias’ homes.
Although only 1 pool (with kids wading pool as separate part of it); good size (smaller than Copa) and never crowded; has a wheelchair ramp/wade in area which was good for our daughter and nice swim-up bar behind a waterfall. Only negative comment is that only ½ the jets in the hot tub area were ever working…they should fix this. Bathrooms nearby (good with kids!) but watch the last stall … no toilet seat so you might fall in!!
Definite “chair saving” at this resort in comparison to others. If you end up “doing as the Romans do” enjoy the benefit of seeing the sunrise … ~ 6:30 am. – you are on the most eastern point of the DR and it is breathtaking..great pics! If you don’t want a palapa on the beach, you can usually score chairs later on; plus after lunch it gets shadier (sun behind) and the chairs seem to really free up. If you want a chair at the pool, saving is the only way you will get it after 8 am!! Even with saving, however, some people will still take your pool umbrella and move it to their spot before you came back! Chairs hard to get at pool even in afternoon.
Night Entertainment: made it to about 3 shows and they were enjoyable but not quite as good as others we’ve seen. Warning if travelling with kids: a lot of adult humour (as there was during some of the poolside games). There is a “kids disco” at 8 pm which is 2 clowns singing kids songs with actions … same songs each night and by the end of the week you’ll hate yourself for humming them! The kids liked it though.
They have a good house band and there is sometimes some dancing … other than that, we didn’t stay up late enuf to check out any night life. Couples/family resort mainly. Drink recommendation: Banana mama (not on menu but yummy).
Health: Take Imodium Advance and PeptoBismol for sure. A lot on our flight got sick . My husband had intestinal problems, daughter vomitted twice 2nd day but luckily seemed to shake it…husbands problems persisted. Typical travellers problems. We’re told they cook with coconut oil (natural laxative) and palm oil (we’re told some people can’t easily digest it). I was OK but had eaten 2 yogurts/day before we went and made sure we all ate 1/day after we got hit.
Miscellaneous: vendors come to the hotel Tues and Thurs nights… BARTER! They started out at USD$240 for my 3 piece set of Larimar and I ended up getting for $40 with an extra Larimar bracelet included. Same at the market down the beach. Hotel shop has not bad prices; insulated drink mugs great; there are his/her shower rooms off the lobby (across from Internet room; towels in there) anyone can use if your pickup is well after your checkout like ours was (and they charge a lot to keep your room to 4pm – if it is even possible – it wasn’t when we were there) -- the other “reviewers” must have missed being told this at their briefing – only drawback is no plugs there so no hairdryer can be used.
Natura Park - Punta Cana
Janine April 2006
Well, I had researched our trip (our 7th all inclusive vacation) using this site, so felt it was essential that I in turn share our experiences with you.
We just returned last Thursday and can honestly say that we were extremely pleased with the beach, quality of food, cleanliness of the room and the overall service we received.
My husband & I (early 50's), have been to the Dominican Republic 4 times, (our first however in Punta Cana). We appreciate the staff and show it in many ways (politeness, verbal recognition and monetary compensation). You do not need to tip at this resort; every member of their staff was courteous to us, however just as we are at home, an acknowledgement is definitely recognized and we did receive service above and beyond as we were remembered by all.
Our flight was with Sun Wing (the first for us). The service was excellent, especially on the flight down. We've travelled extensively and had the best flight attendant of all of our trips on the way down. I told her so but unfortunately I did not get her name. She went above & beyond for all onboard, in particular the young children. The free head sets, complimentary wine accompanying our hot meal were nice gestures as well. We were at the resort within 30 minutes of landing at the Punta Cana airport (which, by the way, is new and very nice).
When we checked in, it was 10:30 p.m., we literally walked up to the first attendant on duty; our bags were promptly delivered to our room which was located in block #8 - excellent ground floor room w/Patio walkout closely located next to the pool, beach, lunch bar & grill and the bar overlooking the swim up.
Our Sun Wing rep (Louis) was also very helpful and a pleasure to deal with.
The weather for the 7 days was very good; we did experience about a day & a half of heavy cloud cover with intermittent rain showers but nothing at all to mark/spoil our holiday (remember our summers in Canada and keep the weather in perspective). We visited all 3 al acarte restaurants and found all to be exceptionally good. The bottled wine in all 3 is a very nice touch. My personal favourite was the Italian. Highly recommend the beef medallion dinner (yes offered in the Italian - outstanding quality). If anyone's really interested in what to order at all 3, I would not hesitate to share our preferences with you.
The resort is rate 4 1/2 * and, in our opinion, deserves this rating. The room was exceptionally clean and other than one day (3:00 p.m.), the room was made up by 10:30 or so every morning.
Yes, you do need to reserve chairs on the beach or by the pool but because we're early risers, we had our choice every day. Quite honestly, there are enough guests coming & going throughout the day, you can easily find a chair (we never had a problem).
Yes, there is seaweed but as previously mentioned, the workers are constantly (in the extreme heat) attempting to keep the beach clean. We tipped the young gentleman for his efforts one morning; we had the feeling that this was the first time his hard work was acknowledged by a hotel guest.
Our only excursion outside the resort was the half day trip to swim w/the sharks/manerays. My husband throughly enjoyed this/ the snorkling was very good as well.
This resort to quiet - we found there were several young families with the majority being 35+. I would not recommend this resort to "partiers" as there is no disco/casino, however the house band and the nightly shows were entertaining.
I'd definitely recommend this property and would not hesitate to return, although we have, to date, made it our practice to not return to the same resort (for fear of disappointment/comparisons). We were given a site inspection at the Occidental Allegro (right next door) and will seriously consider this property for our next holiday in the DR. Although we've been to several caribbean islands/countries, we find for the money, the DR cannot be beaten.