Arrival: December 2008
We travelled December 19-26. The tour was with Transat. We were part of a party of 8, age range 9 to 62 years. Everything prior to check-in at the hotel went well. We were there at around 12:30pm and check-in is not until 3pm. Check-in was a bit challenging. We were supposed to have private check-in/check-out with Transat. The hotel staff took us to the office where the Transat people are. One of the Transat staff angrily told the hotel staff that he was only there to handle complaints and problems. The young staff member then took us to an empty table up near one of the lobby bars. Due to the language barrier we were unsure what he was trying to tell us. We waited there a while then gave up and went to the front desk. We were checked in smoothly and and wrist bands were put on so we could begin to enjoy our stay while waiting for our room to be ready. This took about 2.5 hours. Make sure you come prepared to change your clothes to your bathing suit!! We did so all was good there.
We had 3 rooms, 5227, 5228 and 5229. We were on the 3rd floor of section 5 and the balcony overlooked the garden out back. It was very nice and quiet and the wind was never a problem. We had sun on our balcony all day which we quite enjoyed. The walking path below our balcony was beautifully lit at night with Christmas lights around the palm trees.
The room itself was a basic 2 double bed room. Nothing special about it. Opened to a palm treed courtyard which was quite lovely. These rooms are not in the renovated section of the hotel but were not disgusting just starting to look a little worn. They are renovating some rooms in section 4 and 5 but seems to be a VERY slow process. Daily they were bringing in new comforters, pillows, lamps to rooms in section 4 etc. and refinishing furniture pieces and occasionally there was a new mattress. It seems NONE of the balcony doors lock. This was not a problem on the 3rd floor but I would be concerned on the 1st or 2nd floor. Rooms were clean and the maids we had were awesome! One or 2 dollars a day sometimes with a note, goes a long way to making sure you have exactly what you want in your room!
The rooms can be very damp from all the humidity. Keep your air conditioner on and bring a travel bottle of fabreze. Do not leave your clothes on the floor overnight they will be damp. keep your suitcase closed and hang what you what you can to keep air circulating around it. This may only be a problem if it rains a lot. It rained a lot...
Restaurants and Bars:
We ate at the Marlin, Roma and Tokio. Tokio was by far the best service and food. Marlin was second. Didn't like the lobster bisque though. Waaaaaaaaay to fishy! We were there at Christmas so we had 2 additional nights for which we had to make reservations on Christmas eve and Christmas day. They were 2 special buffets. You could make a reservation at any place you wished however it was the same buffet for all restaurants in the resort each night. We reserved the Alcazar Buffet Restaurant for Christmas eve. As we had 4 kids with us we figured this was the best way to go so all could eat what they liked. The Christmas eve buffet was far better than the Christmas day buffet.
Look for Hector in the Alcazar! He is so great! He had 2 others he seems to team with and they provide great service. We ate at this buffet quite a bit and he was always there to make your day!
We ate the buffet at the Alcazar and the Marlin. The Alcazar is open earlier until 10:30am and has much more selection then the Marlin but Most of us preferred the Marlin as it is outside. The chef in the hut beside the Marlin will make your eggs and omlettes to order. The Marlin breakfast buffet is open until noon. There is also a grilled sandwhich maker and soups available here during breakfast for those who ate really early and want luch at 11:00 or so.
We used the Marlin bar most of the time. The male bar tenders (there were 3 in particular but I cannot remember the names) are great. When the these guys went on break between 1 and 2 everyday there were 2 or 3 girls that took over. They did not know any of the drinks (such as strawberry daquiri???!!! which is on the sign there!)except water (agua)and beer (cerveza) other than that you never knew what you were going to get!
The cappucino at the lobby bars was a nice treat morning or evening! There are a couple at each lobby bar who make a really good cap!
The pools and grounds were very well kept!! Plenty of lounges available at the pool and the beach! Towels are constantly coming in so if there aren't any there will be soon! Just look for the little white van! Save some weight in your carry-on or suitcase-leave you towels at home!
The beach was super clean and the sand very very soft! You can walk for miles and miles and miles!
There is no drink service on the beach or around the pool. You have to get your own. We didn't care though it would have been nice at the pool!
We preferred the main pool by the Marlin as it had all the activity. The other pool was more quiet. The kids pool area was great with a lot of water slides, climber and waterfall palm tree.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Not much going on a nite unless you like to blow a little money at the casino(which is small) or you are young enough to appreciate the disco. The nightly shows are not very spectacular but seems to be a different one each night. We weren't overly impressed.
The kids loved the trapeze. The weather was not that great while we were there (rained A LOT!!-apparently not normal for the area this time of year-lucky us) so the rock climbing was not open very often. Kids also loved the beach and all the gigantic waves and the boogie boards.
Some of us did the snorkelling trip from the beach at the resort. It is about 1.5 -2 hours in total and leaves 2 times per day from the beach. It was 35.00US per person. This was sufficient for the kids. The resort also has kayaking and a couple other water activities but as I said the weather was pretty bad while we were there and not all the activities were safe to do at the beach.
Aldo and the boys entertain you daily at the main pool by the Marlin restaurant. They keep you hopping with all sorts of activities from morning until early evening!
There are tennis courts and a basketball court. Our kids did not get there nor did we as our days had a lot of rain.
We would have done another excursion had the weather been better.
Overall we found this resort to be comfortable, kid friendly and safe. Good for families not so much for singles and couples unless you like to enjoy your day and turn in early - like 10 or 11. The staff there was very good and tried to make sure your stay was enjoyable although language is a definite problem. Learn some spanish and your trip will be much more enjoyable. They seem to appreciate it when you try to talk to them in spanish.
Do not try to give a bar tender a big tip with a comment like "this is so you will remember me and what I like!" in an arrogant way as after you walk away they will laugh at you and then wash your money! Yes we saw this happen. That resort guest was unbelievable!
It is a very relaxed resort. If you like to be catered to do not come here. If you just want to get away and relax with the kids the Barcelo Punta Cana is perfect for that!
OH! I almost forgot! My friend ran out of US cash. The Transat rep at the resort told us we could get pesos from the ATM. She is canadian and has her check put in the bank (in canada) in canadian dollars and takes her pesos out at the ATM there. Make sure you have enough cash or travellers checks in US dollars! We were told by TD Bank our interac cards would work in the DR. They do not work at the resort ATM!! CIBC bank cards do not work either. The cashier at the resort said we would have to go to the bank in the town about a 1/2 hour from the resort to get pesos!! I am not sure if a credit card with a pin number would work in the machine BUT I wouldn't want to chance it! Nothing worse than not having enough cash to take part in some activities outside of the the Transat office where they will book activities with a credit card for you if you are on a Transat tour.
One final note. With Transat we were told when we went to our information meeting we did not have to pay the $20.00 U.S. departure tax to leave the country, it is now included in Transat's package price. Not sure if this is just Transat or all tour operators.
I am sure we will eventually go back to the Barcelo Punta Cana. The beach is beautiful!
Barcelo Punta Can
Christy Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Your Arrival: March 2008
Our arrival and check in and baggage collection was very orangized. We were greeted with beverages and were shown to our room by an employee within 10 minutes of getting off the bus.
The room was not super fancy but it did the trick. Because of the humidity, there was a musty odour to the room and it felt a little damp but again, it did the trick and there is air conditioning which helped.
Restaurants and Bars:
There were six (I think) restaurants and we made it around to almost all of them. We really enjoyed Tokyo. The buffett had a huge selection and was clean and every morning there was a fruit sculpture on display.
Immaculate! The beach is an eleven on a scale to ten. The pools and grounds were tidy and maintained and clean and cared for. The pools were beautiful and it was nice because there was a "loud" pool - where they played loud music, and a quiet pool without any. We travelled with friends and their 8 months old and they had a kids pool area as well.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn't take in too many activites as our trip was to relax before our daughter was born. But there certainly was no lack of entertainment, even though it was a little cheesey :)
We would absolutely travel to this resort again. Just remember that this is NOT North American 5 star....you are in a third world country. If something goes wrong, RELAX. These are very relaxed people and service will not be what you would get at home for the same price. Just grab another drink and chill. Would recommend this resort for sure!
Barcelo Punta Can
Steve and Debbie New Brunswick, Canada
Arrival and Flight March 8-22/Air Transat 180 MPH Head winds. Had to stop in Nassau to refuel. We had a 2 hr. delay. Best not to run out of fuel!!
Rooms The new section of the hotel is $27.00 a nite p.p. - buildings 1-3. If you want a good room and not pay the price, ask for building 6. It seems most Canadians were put in the old part of the hotel. We had to have our room changed, very easily as our Air Transat tour rep., Adriana Calero got on it rite away. We went to the lobby and Victor gave us our room after we agreed upon inspection. We had a king size bed, cathedral ceilings and a balcony. Our fridge was stocked daily. It wasn't new but in very good condition. The maids did an excellent job, $2.00 tip and some chocolate goes a long way. Nothing was touched in our room They value their jobs too much!
Restaurants Our favorite was Tex Mex. We actually booked this restaurant a second time. They were very accomodating as we went to our reservation the wrong nite. They let us stay anyway, but we had to sit outside. It was a beautiful nite with the waves hitting the shore and the moon shining over everything. This wasn't hard to deal with!!! Our second favorite was Parisienne. The grilled salmon was fantastic. Excellent service. Actually service was good at all restaurants and we had no complaints about the food. Our least favorite was the Marlin but you can always find something good to eat. None of our restaurants had a very long waiting time, as in previous reviews.
Bars Great service especially from Felix at the bar next to the Marlin restaurant on the beach. You can get premium drinks like Baileys, Absolut Vodka. The sports bar in the lobby had the best Margaritas.
Beach and Pools There is a brand new pool by the Tex Mex restaurant. It is the more quiet pool. The other pool is more lively with music, pool games etc. Both pools were spotless. Beach chairs and pool chairs were not hard to find. Do not turn in your towels until you have clean ones in your hands as they are hard to come by. There will always be some in 10 Dominican minutes. Don't wait around, just watch for the white van in the AM around 8:00.
Grounds The grounds were mature and spotless, although everything is very dry even with the sprinkler system. Everything is sterilized daily, the walkways and railings, public bathrooms etc. Wear shoes in the beach bar bathroom during the day as it gets very busy, lots of sand.
Activities and Entertainment There were plenty of activities to do for young or old. We didn't participate as we had to sit on the beach and veg all day. For those of you who have young children, they have kids waterpark. Very nice. The have a trapeze and a trampoline, which the kids use in the AM. The adults use it in the PM. They also have rock climbing. The entertainment at nites wasn't great, but they try hard.
Departure and Check Out The smoothest we have ever had, and we have been to D.R. 5 times. The security at the front watched our luggage all day. A small tip goes a long way. Our flight was delayed for 2 hrs. Our Haitian friend that works for Air Transat made sure we had everything we needed before we left. He would have held up the bus if we wanted to go for 1 more drink!!
Conclusion We had 2 spectacular rain-free sunny and hot weeks!! We did have a natural disaster which washed out part of the beach and palapas. The beach was closed for 2 days due to high winds and enormous waves. It was amazing to see mother nature at its worst. The beaches were being repaired whenever the storm subsided. It actually made nicer and wider beaches at the other resorts not far from us. There is a new hotel being built, Moon Palace. It should be open next year. It is going to be huge and luxurious, with an amazing beach. Watch for specials next year. We would not hesitate to return to this resort so do not listen to the negative reviews. See for yourself.
Barcelo Punta Can
Sue and Marv
We are travel agency owner/managers who had the pleasure of staying at the all-inclusive Barcelo Premium Punta Cana (formerly Breezes) from February 23-28, 2008. The resort is just 25 minutes from the Punta Cana Airport (PUJ) and offers an American standard of comfort with a European touch in the service. The public areas are attractive and clean. There is an abundance of lovely, well-manicured gardens. The dining, activity, and public venues are close together and are easily accessible for the physically challenged.
There are four connected low-rise towers set near the beach in this S-shape family-oriented resort with 587 standard rooms, 155 oceanview rooms and 53 suites. The lobby, shopping area, and restaurants are in the center. The standard rooms are more than adequate for two people with adjacent room accommodations available for families with children. We stayed in a deluxe (newly refurbished) room on the fourth floor and enjoyed the ocean and pool view from our balcony. The downside of the top floor rooms, however, is that you can hear everything that is being said next door, a big plus only if your family or friends are in the adjoining room. The room had bathrobes and an easy-to-use new safe.
There are three room categories – book a Club level suite if you can - and it’s the luck of the draw as to how close or far you are from the action in the plaza, the two main pools or the dining venues. All of the suites were booked throughout our stay so we cannot comment on them. The Concierge Lounge and service staff for the Club level is outstanding offering an open bar with top-shelf liquor, fresh hors d’Oeuvres from morning until night and complimentary wi-fi internet access.
BEACH and POOLS
Situated on Bavaro’s beautiful long, clean, wide beach with powder white sand, a few palm trees and “palapas” for shade, the resort has more than enough lounge chairs both on the beach and at the two pools. There was a problem, however, finding space for my family in the shade on the beach. Lounges in the prime shady locations were reserved by guests as early as 5:00am so you have to stake your claim early.
With a barrier coral reef and with the gentle surf, there were good snorkeling experiences from the beach. There is a dive shop on the beach with many water activities available including: SCUBA lessons, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing. There are no itinerant vendors on the beach to bother the guests. Jetski rental and parasailing is offered at your own risk.
There is an adult pool, a family pool and a new shallow wading pool with terrific waterslides and sculptures for climbing and fun for children of all ages.
There is an enthusiastic group of social coordinators organizing daily activities including a terrific circus trapeze, trampoline lessons, a rock-climbing wall, beach and pool volleyball, water aerobics, and group games. The Kids’ Club is a supervised program and babysitting is available in the evening.
The small full-service spa has an adequate fitness center, a good Jacuzzi and a sauna. The big theater has seats for everyone and offers nightly local entertainment with lots of involvement of the staff and guests. There is a sports bar with internet access for a very reasonable charge, a small casino with humorless dealers, and a kickin’ disco.
The quality and variety of the food and beverages is better than we expected. The small open-air “Alcazar Buffet” offered good but boring food for all three meals. The service staff is very friendly and anxious to please. The Alcazar is not well lit and the traffic pattern is a bit chaotic when full. We predict that this main buffet will be upgraded in the near future. NOTE: Get used to Nescafe if you require decaffeinated coffee – they do not brew it.
Use one of the six excellent ala carte specialty restaurants for dinner. These six require reservations each day for only that day and you can go as many nights as there are tables available. The Japanese themed “Tokio” is teppanyaki style, El Mirador is Tex-Mex, the El Marlin is the “Grill Fish and Steakhouse,” “Roma” has outstanding Italian menu, and “El Cornucu” serves authentic Dominican style. Our favorite dining spot was “Paris,” the air-conditioned, refined French dining experience. It is a bit small and is usually the first of the dinner venues to book full.
There are bars everywhere, seven in total, including a swim-up bar at the beautiful adult pool. All serve local beer, blended drinks and house brand spirits with friendly bar staff. Every room has a refrigerated minibar restocked daily with bottled water, soda, and beer. Unlimited bottled water is available throughout the resort. In the Caribbean and Mexico you, of course, should rely on bottled water
This resort is part of the Barcelo chain of hotels worldwide and every attempt is made to satisfy guests’ needs. The management staff is excellent and we will be recommending it highly to clients of our travel agencies who are looking for a great value in a quality Caribbean all-inclusive family resort.
Sue and Marv Weber, owner/mgrs
Marvelous Travel & Cruise Planners, an American Express agency
Plymouth Mtg PA 19462
Barcelo Punta Can
It was so nice to step out into the warm sun. We had to wait to get into a spot to unload, it was a brief wait. We had to pay the $11.00 visitor's fee. Some were only charged $10.00 which it was last year. The beggars spread themselves across the doorway under the disguise of being musicians. They would vigorously kick there collection pots toward you if you didn't donate. We were very confused as to what bus to board. Our guide, Worry Free, was now where to be found.It turned out 1/2 the people were on the wrong bus and thus we sat and waited for over an hour to depart. The guide did eventually show up.
The check in was quick and the rooms ready. We actually were given a suite which was very nice. It was a tad on the mildrew side. That went away after we ran some water. It took two days to get our safe to work. We called three times and after assurances someone was coming noone showed up. I got a hold of the rep. from Worry Free and he took care of it right away. Our friends got a room on the 3rd floor of #3 building. It is suppose to be the new ones. The 2nd night the sewer backed up in their bathroom, 3rd floor!!! It happened twice more before they got someone to fix it. It was very smelly. It just so happens they ended up sick for the better part of three days, two where they barely left their room. I don't know if it was because of the back up because there seemed to be a lot of people sick. The doctor was quite busy. My friend was taken care of and given medicine for some kind of bug, or so they claimed.
The food was nothing short of nasty, I don't know how else to put it. I was ready to volunteer my services. I have been around a lot of places but that was the worst, the eggs were even bad.
Needless to say, if we couldn't eat we drank. The waitresses were not the best even with a generous tip. They warmed up to us later in the week but at times we were ignored completely. The bartenders were very accomodating and it was always service with a smile.
Beach and Pools -
The usual battle for seats at both the pools and beach. I am an early to bed and early to rise person so staking out a claim was not an issue. We had a run in with a lady, I am not stupid you know, who insisted though we had our towels on the seats she could help herself. The kiddie pool sprung a leak and the outside of pool #1 looked like a swamp Monday morning. It soon was dry and we hung around that pool for a couple of days. They then decided to close that pool and cram everyone into the one pool or the ocean. The chairs really became a rarity then. The beach was not that clean. I was surprised at the amount of trash and mostly cig butts laying around. They didn't rake the beach as in other places in the early hours.
The grounds were very nice. I thought they were layed out very well and they were always trimming and keeping the lawns well maintained,
We didn't do much but hang out and read. We enjoyed each other's company. We don't do much for the very reason we have been to many places and done a lot of it before. The excurions don't interest us there.
None taken except for a stroll out the gates to the "market". They all had the same stuff and the usual hook.
I would not go back for the very reason of the food. I got a distinct feeling that Americans were low on the list. They had a avenue of flags at the entrance and no American flag was flying.
Barcelo Punta Can
Marie Nova Scotia
Location - 37 minutes from Punta Cana Airport
Arrival- we had no problem with arival. The heat felt so good
Rooms - there were 4 of us . myself and the lady that was with me had a great room, we had ocean front 7 we were right above the pool. great view. the other 2 ladies had to have their room changed, but there ws no problem having it changed.
Restaurants. we had no problem with the resaaurants. Paris was our best one . Our waiter was very sweet & he couldn't do enough for us. the bufffet restaurants were great. their was plenty of food , and all the waiters & waitresses were very nice to us.
Bars- what can you say. they were great. we met lots of people. Had lots of laughs. what we found was nice was no matter where we met our waiters and waitresses in the hotel they always had a smile and they always spoke to us as if they new us forever.
Beach & Pool- The beach was heaven. the waves were great, there was always a chair for us, we couldn't ask for more . the weather was great. the beach area was very clean.the pools were great also., very clean
Activities- there were lots . they kept a pretty well run slate of activities.
Tours- there were lots offered , but we didn't go on any
Conclusion- We had a great trip . the people were great. They couldn't do enough for us.
Barcelo Punta Can
Arrival: We went with four other couples. Booked Transat through selloffvacations.com. Excellent price. Vancouver direct to Punta Cana on Feb 1 and returned Feb 15, 2007. Transat is in the business of moving people cheaply, so I can’t say too much about the flights. Calling the food, airline quality, would have been a huge compliment! Arrival at Punta Cana was well handled and Customs/Immigration a breeze. The baggage boys were not too persistent. We took a van to the resort so it was direct & quick. Check in was a little crowded but went fairly fast. Leaving the country was even easier.
Rooms: We had two rooms. We asked to be moved as the first was above the staff room in Building 2. The staff was there all night and played music, so it was not restful. I had no grudge with the staff, as the room must have been hot! Both rooms had been renovated and were clean. The second room was a 3rd floor ocean view room right above the new pool. Very nice, but the front door opened onto the area above the Paris restaurant and buffet. Noisy in the morning and late evening, as staff worked. Everything in the room worked and there was no smells or problems. The supply of towels vacillated wildly, but was not a real concern.
Restaurants: We have been to Cuba and Mexico. The food here was not quite as good as Mexico but it was really close and the price was a lot less. The buffet was great. Lots of variety and really good food. Service was a little slow at times, but hey, it’s a buffet. The meat station had good food and there was always Lox and other surprises. The fruit was great. The desserts were always good and there was lots of chocolate. The Valentine’s Day set up was excellent. Cupid greeting the women at the entrance, a special drink and the food presentation was spectacular, especially the desserts.
The pool/beach buffet (Marlin) served both breakfast and lunch with a decent selection but less than the buffet.
We tried the Marlin (Seafood), Roma (Italian), Conuco (Dominican) and the Tokyo (Japanese). They were all good, but the service at the Roma was awfully slow, perhaps because we were a table of eight. The duck at the Paris was perfect. The Lobster at the Marlin was great for all but one couple, who were at a late seating.
Bars: We were happy with the domestic liquors that were served and there were generally top brand liquors available if you asked, Baileys, Grand Marnier etc. We used the Marlin bar at the beach and the Lobby bar next to the buffet. Both were good and here again the staff were eager to please. The beach bar line ups were sometimes slow, but what else was there to do? The coffee was a bit of a disappointment as it was only occasionally good. The cappuccino was too sweet and made from a mix.
Beach/Pool: Most of us stayed at the beach for both weeks, although one couple chose the pool. The beach is fantastic, soft sand and very few rocks or coral. The best beach we have ever visited. They keep it clean and there are plenty of newly covered chairs.
One problem here was there was only one bathroom in the pool/beach area. The women’s only had three stalls, one of which was out of order all week. Most women in our group went to the bathroom near the buffet.
There should be a few more palapas, the first week you could find one at 7:30, the last week you (well one of our group) had to go out before dawn to secure a great spot. A few more showers and foot wash places near the beach would be good.
Be prepared for lots of topless women at the beach and the pool. No big deal, but some people find it uncomfortable. Activities: Plenty to do. We spent a lot of time body surfing, boogie boarding, and just walking the beautiful beach. But we also played Bocce ball, shuffle board. The five pool tables in the sports area were great; we spent a few evenings in the cool breeze there. A couple of guys played pool sports, as well as table tennis. The Hobie cats were fun, as was the parasailing. The snorkeling was Ok, but I found it too rough, besides there were not many fish close to the resort beach.
Tours: The only tour taken by anyone in the group was the swimming with the rays and sharks. They enjoyed it. We did walk down the beach to the market to shop one day. It was an hour long walk but it was worth it. The selection was good and the prices reasonable, if you bargained enough. The good part was the boat ride back to the resort. It cost $10.00 per person, but it was fast and fun. They even beached the boat at high speed! If you take a boat, remember to protect your camera, as one coupe had their camera soaked and ruined when we were launching.
Conclusion: We got an unbelievable deal at $1600.00 total for two weeks. We would have been happy had we paid more! Yes, there was construction on the kiddy pool outside our room, but it was not that disturbing. The food and drinks were very good, the service great and the beach fantastic. The entertainment was not very good, mainly audience participation, rather than the professional shows at other resorts in Mexico and even Cuba. (We had lots of fun with our group so the entertainment was not that important). We would go back to Punta Cana and the Barceló Premium, but it might be nice to try another place just for fun.
Barcelo Punta Can
Clement and Chantal Cheneville, Canada
Just back from the D.R., Punta Cana. Our first trip to Punta Cana but second to the D.R.
Very nice resort, good food except for the Conuco restaurant (not good at all), Tokyo was the best, we also tryed Marlyn and Roma, very good.
A lot of chairs at beach and at the pool.
The rooms are ok they are clean, we stayed in bloc # 7 (is not renovated yet) , they renovated 1, 2 and bloc 3.
If you have a problem we had went via Air Transat and the girls were there to help us, to change our traverlers checks...
Souvenirs are very expensive. You need to cut in half at least.
The weather was not too nice. Each day it would rain and one complete day a thunder storm.
The bars are very nice, the staff is cool.
I would go back to Punta Cana but this time in February.
Barcelo Punta Can
Odette & Les Nova Scotia, Canada
My husband & I booked our trip through Sell Off Vacations
& traveled via Transat Holidays. This was our second trip
to the D.R. and we were slightly apprehensive as our first
did not go well. We were very pleased with the Punta Cana
area and would definitely return. The beach is beautiful
and the resort was very nice. We have been to many other
resorts in the Caribbean and this one was on a par with
any of the other 4 star resorts we stayed at. There were a
few problems that should be mentioned but none of them
deterred us from having a good time. Before outlining these
problems I want to say the staff were always friendly and
helpful. Our maid went out of her way to have the remote
control to the TV repaired. The resort has a small footprint
in spite of the large number of room so it was easy to get to
the various areas without walking miles. The grounds were clean and
well maintained. We never had to fight for a beach chair at the beach or the pool. The bars were easy to access and the staff worked very hard to serve everyone in a timely manor. The problems were mainly with the rooms & corridors. They had a mildew smell to them that was quite strong in some areas. It was always worse when the AC was running so since our room was on the 3rd floor we left the patio door open whenever we were in the room & at night and that solved the problem. Anyone with a mildew allergy might want to consider this before booking. The buffet was good but not the variety that we usually associate with the Barcelo brand or other 4 star resorts. We did not go to the a la cartes as we have found in the past we prefer the variety offered at the buffet as opposed to the set menu of the a la cartes. Anyone we talked to said they were OK but not anything to rave about. I will not comment on the other amenities as the other reviews cover this very well.
When you book a last minute trip we feel we should be willing to
take what we get for the price. We have only been disappointed in this respect once. Generally this is a very nice resort and we would definitely return to Punta Cana either to this resort or another one.
Barcelo Punta Can
Tim Alexandria, VA
Booked out vacation through Cheap Caribben. Flew out of Dulles Intl Airport, on a direct flight which was convenient on United. Arrived in Punta Cana, got our luggage with no problems, went through immigration which all they seemed to care about was getting your $10 entry fee. The bag boys came up to us but we politely said "no" and carried our 2 bags ourselves. Met Turinter tours right immediatly as we walked into the bus area, found our bus and got driven to the hotel, with a couple stops at other hotels along the way. Got to the hotel, check-in went quick. Within 20 minutes we had our room 7312, almost the last room by the oceanfront on the 3rd floor which was really nice.
Perfect view by the ocean. I dont think we could have asked for a better view.. Clean room, and the cleaning staff did a great job cleaning it everyday, and keeping the fridge stocked with water, alcohol and soda. On one day our hot water stopped working, which they didnt have a good estimate when it would be fixed. And it seemd everyday power went off at a certain point of the day, but I talked to people at other resorts and they said the same thing. Water pressure was always a problem as well.
Tried the Seafood(Marlin), Italian(Roma)x2, Dominican(Conuco?) and Japanese(Tokio) and the rest buffets. We were not impressed with the food at all. Been to better all inclusives with better food. The Japanese was probably the best but if they r trying to put on a show like regular restauarants there is no showmanship about it. No flair to the restaurant. Buffet was ok, nothing great.
Liked the pool bar the best. Didnt drink too much on this trip. Friendly bartenders though, and they tried to make what you asked for. Cuervo, Baileys and some other top shelfs are included on your all inclusive. We tipped the bartenders and that always got your drinks faster.
Beach and Pools
Spent most of the time at the beach but the pool was clean and nice. Could alwyas find chairs to lay on, and same goes for the beach. Beach was awesome.
Clean grounds, some construction going on. Not close to your room so it didnt bother us.
Didnt really partake in nightly activities. Nothing interesting for us. I did find the guy who MCd the nightly entertainment to be annoying, but thats just me.
We went on 3 tours on the trip.
Swimming/Snorkeling with sharks/party boat. Was fun, lots of drink. Didnt find the snorkeling to be too exciting. The reef didnt seem to have alot of fish, and the nurse sharks were pretty much in one place and not moving around
2. Dolphin Island, swimming with sealions. Was a good time, though bus trip to place was bumpy..Sea Lions were an experience, espeically when they kissed u on the cheek.
3. Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure. Great excursion, great guide named Eros, informative and a bumpy ride..
After reading review after review I was a little worried but it ended up being a fun trip. I was a little disappointed in that it seemed nobody spoke English there and it was hard to communicate with anyone unless u knew spanish. The hotel was really nice and we had a great view, and sleeping to an open door and the sound of the ocean is one to die for. I think this was a one time visit to this resort and maybe this caribbean country. I found it disturbing while waiting 3 hrs at the airport watching the bag boys crowd around an arriving bus fighting for bags to carry. I am sure some people have had their bags ripped by this madness.
Barcelo Punta Can
Janet Massachusetts, USA
Arrival: Took TNT charter out of Boston November 2007. Nice short direct flight was on time. TNT Rep was easy to find at the airport. Bus transfer to hotel went well. Check in was easy and courteous, we were the only couple checking in. Non-alcoholic drink was tasty & appreciated.
Rooms: I was disappointed in the condition of the rooms. Even though they were clean and big enough, they were in poor repair. The bathroom ceiling leaked on the sink counter for the entire week. The water pressure was so low that it was impossible to adjust the shower temperature. Every time someone turned on the water nearby we either got all hot or all cold water. We never once got hot water out of the sink faucet. Both the closet door and the balcony door were sliders and my husband had to open and close them for me because they were so bent out of shape. In all fairness, I must say that we did not complain. We have been to Punta Cana eight times in the last five years and it has been our experience that to complain would have meant one of two choices. Either wait in the room for a maintenance man to come and fix these things or pack up and move to another room. Both options would have meant using time that we didn't want to waste. I think that they need to check out these things before they put you into a room. (The hotel was far from being fully booked). The maid service was excellent, she was pleasant and eager to please.
Restaurants: Of all of the 4 star hotels we have stayed the food here is the best, it was fabulous! The buffet was so good that we returned two of the three A la Carte vouchers that were given to us at check-in and ate buffet all week. Great variety, good tasting and well presented. New items every day.Desserts to die for! We went to the Paris which was very good also. Had the rib eye steak which was very tender and tasty. The pool/beach buffet served both breakfast and lunch with a good selection and good food. Here again the staff were great and eager to please. You have to remember that to expect them to be fluent in English is not very realistic. They have many French and German clients as well as English. You can't expect them to be fluent in at least four languages if you can't master two. They try very hard.
Bars: We were happy with the domestic liquors that were served. They had a good selection of drinks. We used the Marlin bar at the beach and the lobby bar next to the buffet. Both were good and here again the staff were eager to please. They did not have self serve dispensers for water and soft drinks which I prefer so that I don't have to stand in line at the bar.
Beach/Pool: We stayed at the beach all week. This is the reason we go to Punta Cana. It's beautiful! They keep it clean, plenty of newly covered chairs. The pool looked to be very clean and well maintained also. The Jacuzzis were all working. Biggest problem here was that I could only find one bathroom in the pool/beach area and it only had three stalls, one of which was out of order all week. With a full house this could create long lines in the ladies room. I had to get in line more than once.
Grounds: Even though this hotel has been around for a while, the grounds are still well kept and nice.
Activities: Plenty to do if you had the ambition, we just walked the beautiful beach and laid around.
Tours: TNT orientation will get you all the information on these, here again we preferred to do nothing.
Conclusion: They are doing a lot of repairing and building and I assume the rooms will be renovated and brought up to par. If food and drink are your main priorities and you can get a good price, go for it. If the price is the same, go to the Iberostar Punta Cana. Been there twice.
Barcelo Punta Can
Travelled with Transat. Bus was waiting at the airport, so no issues getting to the hotel. It made a few stops along the way, but most onboard were headed to our resort, the last stop. I didn't have any trouble checking in, so I don't know why some others that have posted had issues. In fact my sister, who was travelling with us, requested an ocean view room and they immediately upgraded her room at no extra cost.
Our room was nice. It was not a luxurious room by any means, but really, how much time do you want to spend in your room? It was cleaned promptly every day, and well stocked. I liked having the safe in the room. The front desk gave us the key when we checked in, without us asking.
I liked the buffet, it had really good food. Especially breakfast. Try the "oatmeal soup", their version of porridge. Sweet, so no need to add sugar. Tokio restaurant was excellent, our fave by far. Second was the Dominican one, can't remember the name. The night we went to the Paris was very hot, and this restaurant isn't air conditioned. We were a large group, and service was a bit slow. Roma was really nice, air conditioned, and food was very good. The Marlin was very good as well. Sombrero was good, but not our fave.
Beachside bar was good. Fast service, but sometimes the Pina Colada mix got runny. Sometimes the bars in the lobbies had long lineups. I really liked the cappucino bar by the buffet entrance. The lobby bar to the right of the front desk is especially nice when the have the pianist performing.
Beach and Pools -
Beach - AWESOME. First time in the Caribbean for both of us, and it was everything we were expecting. It's nice that the resort is the last in line, the beach goes on forever. Swimming area is nice and big. GET UP EARLY to get shelter. Also, once you get your towel from the towel hut, don't give it back till the end of the week. It took me till the second day to get mine. ("20 minutes, 20 minutes")
Pool - Very nice pool. Big enough to have activity areas, and "just lounging out" areas. Swim up bar is good.
Both beach and pool kept very clean. Every night the cleanup crew sweeps, resets all the loungers. By morning, everything is perfect again.
While we were there, they were doing some improvements. They were planting a lot of palm trees, fixing walkways, adding some features, etc. They were also repairing some of the elevators, painting some sections of the buildings. This resort used to be a Breezes resort, and I'm really interested in how the Barcelo company will improve it.
Overall, things were kept very clean, and the staff were quite friendly.
Pick up an activity sheet at the front desk every morning. It lists the theme of the entertainment, and activities throughout the day. If you participate, you can win various prizes including bottles of rum and cheesy medals. lol
Also announcements are made. Who got married, etc.
My sister and her husband loved the trapeze lessons. They were part of the final evening's trapeze show along with some other guests that did pretty good.
Went on the Marinarium snorkling tour. Awesome. My husband has never snorkled before, and he had no problem. We all had a blast.
Also went on the Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure. Very good, but be warned it does take most of the day. If you go, good idea to bring something for the children, because you stop at a school. One lady on our tour was prepared and gave each child a little gift bag. They sang a song as a thank you. Very nice.
I have read some negative reviews about this resort, and I had an entirely different experience. It was amazing, and we're going back next year.
Wedding - We got married at the resort. Our coordinator was Kirsten. She was amazing. She met all our needs, and was very flexible. When we first got there, she showed us various spots we could have the ceremony. We originally picked the garden, and the night before the wedding we changed our minds. She had absolutely no problem switching it to the beach. Ceremony was so nice. They weave a wedding arch out of palm leaves for each ceremony. They had a little heart of rose petals under it for us to stand on. The flowers were soooo beautiful. We got the "Tropical" bouquet. They didn't have a picture of them, but she recommended them and I am so glad I went with her suggestion.
We got a fruit plate and bottle of rum in our room when we checked in, and a bottle of champagne was there on our wedding day. Also, when we checked out we got a letter stating that if we came back during the month of our first anniversary, the bride would get the hotel portion of the trip free.
Overall, we loved this place and are going back not just because of the deal we're getting but because we had such a great experience.
Barcelo Punta Can
Our arrival was just fine, there were many people checking in and it took some extra time, but there were no real problems. We did want a safe for our documents such as a passports and so on and had to convince the clerk to provide us with the lock/key, nothing serious though.
Our room was very basic, however, the beds were comfortable and it was clean. The house keeping staff were excellent, friendly, and eager to meet our requests.
We tried 3 of the specialty restaurants, nothing special and overall would say that we enjoyed the Alcazar buffet the most because of its variety. Never had any problems finding something great to eat.
The lobby bars were great and the bartenders were always entertaining and willing to help us choose a great drink.
Beach and Pools -
the beach was incredible!! clean and well maintained...just make sure to get there early to get a lounger
grounds are clean and well kept, and the ground keepers were also very friendly and eager to help with directions or answer other questions if they were able to
there are many free activities available on the hotel site, its up to you if you chose to participate, and there are many others that require a fee
We went on one tour, the Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure. it was excellent! a long day, but the tour was fun, the guide had an excellent sense of humour, and the beverages were awesome
This was my first ever vacation out of canada, and I am going back as are most of my other friends...a vacation is what you make it...if you are there for the room, you might as well stay home!!!
Barcelo Punta Can
CHECK IN: Had a fast check in with welcome drink, Luggage arrived quickly to the room. Desk staff treated us great, the entire stay.
Rooms: Had a comfortable room with a great view of the pool area, and the ocean from the fifth block on the top fourth floor. Elevators in each block..Room was clean, large bath room with separate shower and tub. It also had an electronic safe, I feel safer with them then the key safes. Fridge service was excellent, beer pop and water refilled every day. Leave a toy or school supplies for the maid, if you do leave a written receipt for them with your room number, name and date, to help them get through security.
RESTAURANTS : Tried the Mexican and the Seafood restaurants. Both were excellent, from the food to the service. I was told by a number of people the Paris was great as well.
The Main Buffet area is large, with lots of room between tables. Great selection each night. The front is open air which was nice.
BARS: Beach Bar and Restaurant: Open 24 hours, great chicken
Front Lobby bar, good size, 24 hours, comfortable area to relax and meet people. I found the staff in the lobby bar offered great service giving it that little extra.
Pool bar open till 5 pm. good fast service, brand name drinks upon request.
Cold sealed bottles of water were available in all the bars.
BEACH: What more can you ask for. White sand beach with palm trees, that go on for miles. Lots of lounge chairs and shade.
Lots of organized activities on the beach as well as the pool. If you want quiet you have lots of room on the hotel beach. It has red flag days.
Pools: The main pool takes in a large area, with a nice design. It has pool bar, and is close to the beach. It has a nice shallow end for the kids. Lots of chair lounges and shade.
GROUNDS: large, clean and well maintained.
Tours. Only went Deep Sea fishing. We got one 5 foot sail fish and a small sand shark, Five of our group of 7 got sea sick. Probally from the excessive diesel fumes when stopping and backing up to land the fish. It was still fun to do for those of us that did not get sick. It can get rough.
Their is a good size very modern new mall, a few miles from the Resort. For the home sick it has a Hard Rock Cafe and Tony Romas.
One of the employees of the resort took the time to show us three elementary schools.
All needed repairs and supplies. If you go to this hotel and bring down some school supplies. or sport stuf lile gloves, baseballsm soccer balls, you could leave them for the Sales Manager at the front counter, who would get them directly to the children in these schools.
Note: Some renovations are going on. We hardly noticed them. Hot water and pressure I am told was a problem for a few later in the afternoon. but it is the Caribbean, and the beauty of these resort overcomes any minor problems.
Conclusions: Great people, Beautiful grounds layout, you can get to everything within a short walk.with most rooms having great views. I have read some negitive comments from last year but except for the water problem on one day did not come across any others.When the renovations are finished, I do not think it could get better. Fantastic service. Great for families, couples and singles. with lots of room. We will definitely go there again, and am looking forward to slow down again to go on Dominican Time. The Resort is expanding next door with another new large swimming pool complex and rooms, which will only make this resort even better.
Barcelo Punta Can
Karen Nova Scotia, Canada
Went fairly smoothly. We were there with a group of 13 for our wedding. Prior to our arrival we had requested that we all be in the same block, but every couple was in a different building. Not a big deal but that is my only complaint!
The rooms here are your basic hotel room. They were kept clean and the fridge was always stocked with water, pop and beer. A dollar here and there and you were sure to get extra of whatever it was that you preferred.
our favortie resturant was by far Tokio. Besides the food being
excellent, the entertainment was awesome. Really great atmsphere.
We had our wedding dinner at the Roma resturant which was also amazing. They made enough room for everyone to sit together at the same table which I think was wonderful. The main buffet was always great too. My sister-in-law and I are both fairly picky eaters and still managed to find more than enough to eat!
Most of the bartenders were always smiling and singing. Again a couple of bucks here and there goes a long way!
Beach and Pools -
We only spent one day at the pool, which was very clean but we figured we could go to a pool any day. The beach was were we really wanted to be! It is a dream come true! Lots of huge waves that everyone had fun jumping and diving through. Lost quite a few pairs of sunglasses though!!
The grounds are very clean. If you were up early enough you would see the grounds keepers sweeping the sand off of the paths, trimming, weeding and mowing. Again, you were always greated with a smile.
Nightly entertainment was ok. There is a different theme everynight which is posted on the wall by the buffet restaurant. If you see something that you think looks interesting get there a little early as the seats were filled every night. We ended up standing to watch most nights. The disco was mostly locals or maybe workers that were there to keep the party going, not sure. We didn't spend too much time there.
We went on 2 tours. One to Saona Island and the other was the Barvaro Runners tour. Both were amazing. Filled with information and history. Very long days, but a great way to see how Dominican people live. Well worth the money.
I was very worried after booking this trip and then reading all of the negative reviews. I had no idea what was going on with the weddding other than when we got there we would be given an appointment with the wedding co-ordinator and a date and time for the wedding. I read all of the bad things about the rooms and the food, and I am so glad that I didn't listen to any of them! Our wedding day was perfect as well as the entire vacation. We are planning on returning here again this year for our anniversary. Everyone had such a great time that they are planning on going again too! Like so many of these reviews said, you are on vacation. Just go with the flow and enjoy it!! Happy and safe traveling!
Barcelo Punta Can
I’ll make it short and surly:
I stayed at the Barceló Premium Punta Cana September 12-19 and had a pretty good time. I’ve read the reviews posted here, and I agree to some extent with the negatives as well as the positives. In the final analysis, however, if you have a real problem with this resort, you are a hothouse orchid.
I traveled alone because I don’t currently know any women with whom I could bear to spend seven consecutive nights (and I’m sure the feeling is mutual). That gave me a better chance to meet other guests, many of whom were from Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Latin American countries. There didn’t seem to be many Americans during this, the slow season, and that suited me just fine. I’m an American, and I get my fill of us every day. The jury is still out on Canadians.
Since I took full advantage of the all-inclusive drinks, I also got to know a little better some members of the staff working at the bars in the resort. As more than one person suggested in these reviews, throw them a buck or two every now and then. I know that gratuities are supposed to be part of the all-inclusive plan, but if you can afford the vacation, you can afford to tip a little.
These kids (most are in their 20s and early 30s) work very hard for the little money they make, and if you spread the wealth a little, you’re more likely to get the kind of service you want. Once the bartenders and servers become accustomed to your face and the fact that you might slip them a little something now and again, you probably won’t have to wait to be served. At least that’s my experience.
And don’t forget the chambermaids, either. Those ladies dust and bust their derrières.
Because I usually travel alone, the one thing I’d like to see instituted at all big resorts such as the Barceló is a brief singles mixer every evening. It would be nice to see who might be up for some conversation, companionship, or whatever. Moreover, people who’d been at the resort for a while could get the newcomers up to speed on what there is to do.
Anyway, the Barceló Premium Punta Cana suited me just fine. There were a couple of minor glitches, but all in all, it’s a great place to enjoy some sun, sand, and surf. And, of course, meet some lovely señoritas.
That’s all, folks,
Barcelo Punta Can
Let me start by saying this resort does not deserve the four starts it received from some magazines when it comes to service. The resort had many amenities and the beaches are very pretty put the service took away from its beauty.
Check in - Transportation from airport to resort took 40 minutes. I had made arrangement 3 weeks in advance with vaccacionesbarcelo.com. When we arrived at Punta Cana airport no one was there to pick us up. It appears that no one from the hotel had any idea that we would be arriving. I had to show a written confirm to speed the process of transportation. We were told our rooms (2225 and 3313), for two parties of four, would not be ready for several hours.
Rooms – Rooms were nice but needed a lot of maintenance. We were situated in from of the theater. It was very noisy so try to avoid this section if you can. Ceiling light fixture fell from ceiling and was held by wires in the middle of our stay. Air conditioning ran at half capacity so keep rooms dark to stay cool at night. Hot water often ran out. With such heat I don’t think you would want any hot water at least our party did not mind.
Service- Resort staff service was awful when it came to attentiveness. The lack of communication between front desk and staff was shocking. We were short on 1 bed for my daughter and short on pillows and bed sheets. It took 5 to 6 trips to the font desk to resolve this issue which was finally resolved on the 3rd day of our stay. With this lack service, it was decided that it would be pointless to resolve the other issues about our room.
Beach- Was absolutely beautiful. The sand was white and very breezy. I suggest you take long walks or runs to see the rest of the resorts. If you have the all inclusive package you will have kayaks that you can use and boogie boards for riding good waves. You also get a free ride on the inflatable banana boat. It is good for the kids.
Pool and ground area –There was always some kind of activiy through out the day at the far end of the pool. If you have a child I strongly suggest you keep an eye on them as there were no lifeguards on hand.
Food- The main buffet was not very appealing. The food was not very appetizing. One evening water leaked on some of the food during a bad rain storm. Strongly recommend having breakfast and lunch at the Marlin. The cook on the beach was makes very good eggs. Try to make reservations at the restaurants to avoid the buffet. Best food was at Roma and Paris.
Activities – Good assortment of activities for kids provided a parent would accompany the child, which is what I did. The Rock climbing and trapeze workers are great with the kids. Strongly recommend trying this out. As far as the Kids club program, there are 2 women which were very nice and really worked hard but it is hard for 2 employees to work a kids club for a resort that accommodates about 2000 people. They were extremely understaffed in this area.
I strongly suggest you tip some of the bartenders and food servants if you want decent service. Best bartenders are Julio and Bernardo They will definitely take care of you if you take care of them. They came up with the best drinks when you didn’t know what you wanted.
In short I found that the resort needed a lot of work before it can be the kind of resort they want it to be. If you are a young couple and do no mind cheap liquor then this place for you. Lots to do here provide you don’t have children If you have kids I would recommend another resort that has a better kids club. I had heard that Barcelo had just recently acquired this particular resort from Breezes which is why they are extremely understaffed. It made for poor service.
Barcelo Punta Can
C. Nicholson North Carolina, USA
First of all, let me just state that I don't think "Premium" is the correct term for this resort. Don't get me wrong, there was some good points, but there was much room for improvement.
I went to Barcelo from July 28 - August 4 with a friend. Overall, we had a nice trip, but did run into a few snags.
First of all, I had made arrangements through the resort for transportation via email. I was given a confirmation number and was told that there would be someone there with a sign with my name on it. They never showed up. So after being shuffled through about 3 different people at the gate, someone shoved us into a taxi with someone who did not speak any English AT ALL. Luckily another family rode with us and the husband spoke enough spanish to confirm we were going to the right resort. Let me advise you, if at all possible, AVOID THE TAXI's! That was the scariest ride of my life.
Check in: Pretty quick. We did not arrive with a tour, so the line was not that long. We did have to wait on our room to finish being cleaned, but we got there around 2:30, and check in was 4:00. So, no complaints there. However, when we taken to our room, we found that the bed had not been made and there weren't any towels. I mentioned it to the bell boy and he told me it was OK. Later I discovered that the bell boys didn't speak much english, so he probably didn't understand what I was saying.
Room: We were put in a suite in building 7, which I was told had been recently remodeled. I don't think my standards are all that high, but I was disappointed. The ceiling in the bathroom was warped and sinking. Some of the fixtures had rust on them. On Wednesday, I noticed that after about 3 minutes in the shower, a foul odor that smelled like sewage was seeping up through the drain. And to top things off, a middle of the night bathroom trip was interrupted by a light fixture crashing to the counter and onto the floor with glass shattering everywhere. Maintenance came to fix it, and the glass was not replaced, he just reattached the metal ring around the light. I was surprised when I reported this to guest services, they made no apologies or offers to make up for the accident. Our air condition definitely could have been colder. We had it set on the lowest temperature and still couldn't get comfortable. In fact, the room was so humid, everything had a very musty smell. Our room was right beside some kind of closet with a sink in it, and a lot of the time, the water was left running and there were constantly dirty dishes sitting there, sometimes for days at a time which explains the bug problem. We also had issues with the lock on the door into the room. It wouldn't lock properly and we had to jiggle it everytime we left the room. I mentioned it to the maintenance man who came to fix the light, but he just left it. I later mentioned it to guest services and they were suppose to send someone up, and never did. We decided on Tuesday that we would just deal with it. The rooms are the main problem. There is definite room for improvement.
Food: Not exceptional, but we could always find something to eat. The grill hut by the Marlin was good. Mornings, you can have made to order omelets and in the afternoon, you have a choice of pork chops (AWESOME), burgers or kabobs. We only were able to get reservations at 2 A La Cartes. The pre-arranged reservations done by the resort were for late in the evening....9:00 p.m., so we ended up eating at the Alcazar buffet most nights. On Monday we ate at Tokio. The food was amazing, but dress for heat. There is no air condition and the heat was so bad that a girl at our table almost passed out and her family had to leave the restaurant before they could even order. Roma. We had an 9:00 reservation, didn't eat until almost 10:00 and not the best Italian I've eaten. I ordered the Lasagna and only ate a couple bites. My friend ordered a pasta dish with lobster and she said it had a funny taste as well. Now as far as the Alcazar. Most of the staff was nice, had a few that were rude. Look for Hipolito. He is a young man with sweet personality and a great smile. (we called him smiley) You also must check out the pasta bar. It was better to me than the pasta at ROMA. My advice, if you want reservations at the A La Cartes, get to the front desk very early. We tried between 8:30 and 9:00 and most were already booked up.
Bars: Best one was the Lobby bar near the Aphitheater and Paris Restaurant. Ask Sander to make you a Dominican Flag. Best drink we had all week. The bartenders at this bar were the friendliest and made the best drinks. We didn't go to the swim up bar because we spent all week on the beach. It sounded like the people there were having a great time with some games so I'd check it out. The bar in the back of the Marlin wasn't that good. Drinks were bad and bartenders at lunch were not friendly AT ALL. Night time staff was much better.
BEACH: Absolutely the most gorgeous I've seen. We spent everyday there. I had read that it was hard to find a hut, but we never had a problem and we usually got to the beach between 8:00 and 9:00. If you want to spend all day in the sun, there are plenty of beach lounge chairs. The sand is so soft and white, with quite a bit of beach area. The water is clear and the prettiest shade of blueish-green. We were in up to our shoulders and could still see our feet.
Pool and Grounds: Very nice. Also, the guys working the towel bar were always nice and greeted you with a smile.
Activities: A lot to choose from. We went Parasailing one day. A definite thing to try. Amazing!!!!!! Although, for $40 USD, I would like to have been able to stay a little longer. But I have no regrets. We also went to the spa for facials and massages. I absolutely recommend that.
Entertainment: We didn't participate in the daytime activiites, but the evening shows were enjoyable. We saw an African show, An International Musical/Dance show, and a Fever night which was a tribute to the 70's and disco. The rendition of the Village People singing Macho Man was Hilarious. We wanted to see the circus, but that was the night that we went to Roma and missed out. I suggest watching.
You will most likely meet a very tall guy who is involved in the entertainment named Jean Claudio (Spaghetti) . GREAT GUY!!
Overall, we had a nice trip. It is what you make of it. For the most part, the staff was pretty friendly. Yes, there were some rude employees, but I've gotten that here in the states as well. I don't think that I would go back to this resort, but it will probably be a long time before I go back to Punta Cana. I can only afford one trip a year, and I want to explore other places.
Biggest recommendation: Know some spanish. We didn't and had a lot of problems communicating.
Barcelo Punta Can
Laura New Jersey, USA
First, let me thank Debbie and all of the other contributors for a wonderful and very informative website! I'm very thankful for all of the tips and resort information I received here before leaving for our trip.
My husband and I, along with our 15-year-old son, stayed at the Barcelo Premium Punta Cana from July 12 - July 18, 2007. It was our first visit to the Dominican Republic. I chose this particular resort because of a fantastic pricing offer that came my way, courtesy of Travelzoo.com, and booked through CheapCaribbean.com, which I was very pleased with. Because of the reasonable price, I tried to keep my expectations low. I also was a little dismayed by some of the other reviews I read, particularly about the food and the rooms. All three of us ended up having a terrific time, with no complaints about a thing!
Check In - went very smoothly. We arrived around 3:30 PM on a Thursday afternoon. There were only two other couples on our airport transfer bus staying at the hotel with us. There were some occasions when we passed through the lobby and saw huge lines of people waiting to check in to the resort, so we were quite fortunate.
Rooms- were fine. No, they were not exquisite, but how much time do you really spend in them anyway? We were in Block 5, second floor and had a nice balcony with a view of the pool. It was close to everything and also very quiet.
Beach- Outrageously beautiful! White powdery sand (and surprisingly, not hot on the feet!), Sapphire blue ocean, framed by tall swaying palm trees with many palapas for shade. With just a little searching, we always seemed to find a palapa each day. We hit the beach every morning right after breakfast.
Pool- One of the best I've seen. It stretches out so wide and has areas for active recreation, like pool volleyball, and also more quiet areas where you can just hang out. The pool bar was always busy. They could really use a second bartender there at times, as it gets really crowded. One of the bartenders, Maribel, was the best! She handled the crowds comfortably and made the best drinks.
Dress Code- We brought all of the proper clothes the resort requested for evening dinners, but saw many men wearing shorts to dinner. I understand that they would like people to dress up for the evening and not wear beach clothes, but I think they could relax the dress code slightly, especially in light of the fact that a few of their restaurants are open-air Also, at the Sombrero restaurant, you have to walk through the sand on the beach to get to your table. When you're on a Caribbean vacation, you want to be comfortable. My husband and son wore nice dress shorts along with a collared shirt to some of the restaurants and no one said anything to them. For the nicer, air-conditioned restaurants, they wore the long pants.
Food- We had nothing to complain about. We only ate one dinner at the Alcazar buffet. There is such a wide selection of foods to choose from, starting with soup, a selection of fresh bread and rolls, salads, sliced meats and cheeses, a large selection of hot foods and a different "theme" of food each evening. There was always some kind of roasted meat at the carving station and a desert table with fresh fruits, cakes, pastries, cookies and ice cream. There was even a "kids" section with all kinds of kid-friendly foods like macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, etc. What I didn't care for at the Alcazar was the noise level and the large amount of people traffic. It felt like Grand Central Station. I prefer a quieter, more relaxing atmosphere. We were given two reservations from the hotel staff for our six nights there and was able to make other reservations each day for the other restaurants. We ate at all of the specialty restaurants except for the Roma, and all were good. At the Paris and the El Marlin, we were handed questionnaires after dinner, asking us to rate the food and service at each of these restaurants. It seems like Barcelo is looking to make your dining experience more pleasurable.
Power Outages- We had a few rain/electrical storms at night and lost power. The electricity would go out anywhere from 5 -25 minutes at a time. We had been in our room each time so it was just a small inconvenience. I would suggest bringing a small mag-light type flashlight.
MamaJuana- For Americans- you are not allowed to bring the dry bark mixture to make your own mamajuana into the U.S. They consider it plants/vegetation. However, if you pour rum into the bottle and bring it home, it is not a problem. I wish the clerk in the resort store would have told me this when we bought it. We were at the airport and a D.R. official told us about this. We were disappointed, and almost ready to leave our bottle there when he was nice enough to show us where, just across the street from the airline counters, we could purchase a bottle of rum to fill up our mamajuana bottle and bring it home with us. So it all ended well in the end!
Summary- All three of us had a wonderful vacation in Paradise. We enjoyed the beautiful flowers and grounds that were always being worked on. The animation team was wonderful, entertaining us by the pool each day and in the evenings at the shows. The Domincan people were very friendly. The food was great! The drinks were great! The only thing that wasn't great was having to get back on the plane and come back home to reality! We plan to go to Punta Cana again because it is a great value for the money! I would recommend the Barcelo Premium Punta Grand, however I would choose another of the many resorts for the next trip, only because I like to experience something different.
Barcelo Punta Can
I am little late posting this, thought it might be of some help. My wife and I along with 2 other couples went to this resort March15-22/07. Left from PEI, Canada, flight from Halifax, NS.
Flight to punta Cana very cramped, no air flow, a few of us got nauseated. Landing at Punta Cana airport great. Got there in beautiful sunshine. Buses waiting to take to resort. Short drive, a few extra stops, to paradise!
Get in line quickly. Our rooms all beside each other, great balconies. 3rd floor. One day our room had no hot water, otherwise good. Bit loud at night from theatre music, and a few rowdy guests. Went only to a couple of productions, very well done, just like a tropicana review!
We all enjoyed the variety and selection of the buffet. Each day was a treat, breakfast was superb, the omelettes fantastic. The "North American" buffet was the best, esp the hip of beef ! As for speciality restaurants, only the Italian was good in our minds, the Dominican and Paris were terrible. Wish we had of booked the Tokyo, that everyone raves about. Oh well.
Beach was heaven on earth, surf a bit rough, good for boogie boarding. Pool was amazing. Get up early to reserve the choice seats, get towels early.
The Marinarium (swimming /snorkling with sharks/rays) was the highlight of the whole trip. Even for those in the group who had never snorkled before, very easy to get the hang of it. The boat ride after, with the drinks and dancing, very nice. Went on the Bavaro runners tour which included a full day touring the jungle, caves, horeback riding and cigar making shack, along with the sugar cane plantation. Well worth the money, I think each excursion about $80-100 US
Overall we all enjoyed the trip, nice to go with other couples. One of our group did get quite sick 2 days prior to leaving (ended up getting appendix removed upon return to PEI). The medical facility on the resort helped as best they could. Beach walks, theatre, casino, scuba diving (2 of us tried this including me), pool activities, all great!
The trip back was very long and tiring, flight better , thanks to better air control, still cramped though, guess you get what you pay for!
Lots of great memories to last a lifetime, cannot wait to go back. Some of the resort needs some basic maintenance, they were working on some while we were there. The resort is owned by Spanish. Lots of Canadinas and Europeans present. Staff very friendly. Room always clean. Left "treat" bags for tips, a ziplock bag of personal hygiene items/gum/candy/ etc... on a pillow each morning. The weather was spectacular each day. Only rained for 10 minutes early a few mornings.
Hope the review helps!
Barcelo Punta Can
My husband and I stayed at the Barcelo Punta Cana for our honeymoon from April 5 – 19th, 2007, and we stayed for 2 weeks. Our friends from Calgary stayed with us also and they had been there previously when it was under the Breezes Superclubs. Well what can I say…the beach was amazing, it was hot, hot, hot everyday and we got the most amazing golden brown tans! That was the best part of the vacation…the resort on the other hand was not so great…
The longest flight of our entire lives (8hrs from Vancouver) with Air Transat and we were so tightly packed onto the plane, it was horrible. Unless you are willing to pay the extra money for the Club Class, you will have the most uncomfortable flight ever! They serve you 2 really awful meals, and you are lucky to get 2 little tiny drinks unless again you want to pay for a full bottle of water, or a can of soda, etc. Everything costs extra on the plane ride!!!
We had a stop in Puerto Plata for about 30 mins, and the plane was so hot and again very uncomfortable, then we were off to Punta Cana…
Arrival at the airport in Punta Cana was really neat, you get off the plane on the tarmac, and you are greeted by 2 Dominican women that take your picture…everything happens very fast at this point at the airport.
Check-in at the hotel:
Thank goodness our friends from Calgary arrived about an hour before we did and they were there to greet us at the hotel, and they knew from previous experience that you have to run off the bus and get in line at the check-in counter, otherwise you are going to be waiting a long time!!! Check-in went surprisingly well, and we were able to get a room on the same floor as our friends so that was awesome!
Our room was 3311, and it was very moldy smelling, and definitely needed repairs. Our bathroom light in the shower was hanging by a wire basically, and there was hardly ever any hot water which was really aggravating. We had a beautiful ocean view, but we were right near the theatre, so the noise level was really bad, and we could never go to bed before the show was over, it was so loud. We did have a balcony though which was nice because you could go out and sit and have a drink…
Our friends room was right above the buffet, so there was always an awful smell in the air, and the constant sound of dishes and people, it was a very noisy area.
Well I don’t have a very great opinion of the food that is served at this hotel, all I have to say is thank goodness there were fries, because they were the best thing at the buffet. Although the morning breakfast buffet, if you got there early, was decent at the buffet near the pool. But, beware of the moldy bread they put out to be used for toast, make sure you cut your own slice from the loaves in the basket.
I didn’t think I was a picky eater, and normally I am not, but the quality of the food was really poor, and things were very tasteless, and over cooked, or not cooked enough, the beef did not taste like beef, and it was just not what I expected, for once on a trip I didn’t gain a pound.
The only good restaurant was Tokyo, the food was really tasty, and cooked right in front of you, and you actually walked away feeling satisfied with your meal.
Two out of the 4 us did get very upset stomachs (if you know what I mean) for a few days, even though we took the Dukoral vaccine prior to the trip!
Basically the food was like a 2 on a scale of 1-10!
BEACH & POOL
The beach was really beautiful and the water was amazing, it was really the best part of the vacation…lying outside in the sun, listening to the waves, it was great! The sand was really neat and felt like flour, it was so powdery!
My only complaint about the sand was there were a lot of cigarette butts, and that was kind of gross.
The pool and the swim up bar, were really awesome too, as long as you tip the bartender, you get pretty good service.
As for the towels, you do get a card when you check-in that you exchange for a towel, the biggest problem we ran into with the towels is that there were never any towels if you got there too late in the morning! Plus they never really smelled all that clean, the towels had a very musty odor to them, but oh well, they did the trick! But do not lose the towel, or else you will be charged to get a new card!
We did go on 3 excursions, while we were there, these can be pricey, but well worth it to get off the resort for a day.
We did the Marinarium which was cool, you get to go snorkel with nurse sharks and rays, and it was a really fun afternoon. You go on this really cool boat, and after you finish snorkeling, you go on a little tour, you get drinks, and there is music, it’s a really fun excursion.
We also went on the Quad tour, which was our favorite because you get to go on a quad through villages, by the ocean, and you get to see a lot of what life is like in Punta Cana. Bring Candy on this tour for the children in the villages.
The other excursion we did was to Saona Island, and it was really beautiful and a really good time as well.
We felt quite safe going on the excursions, and the tour guides spoke pretty good English which was nice because there were not a lot of people who spoke English at the resort.
Overall, I would not recommend this resort, because of the poor quality of food, the constant need to tip to get any sort of decent service from servers, bartenders & the chef at the Mexican restaurant (especially). The resort is in need of being upgraded and the rooms need some work.
I would however recommend traveling to Punta Cana because the beach was really nice and the weather was fantastic. It was definitely a great adventure.
My only advice when choosing a resort, look for at least a five star resort because you will probably get better quality food, service, rooms, etc.
Barcelo Punta Can
We are two families with teenagers, and have been to all-inclusives in Mexico before. We chose Punta Cana because of a better price point, especially since we were bringing the kids. We booked the Barcelo Punta Cana last-minute, about 4 weeks from departure date. It worked out to be about ½ of the brochure price. We had been watching prices and reviewing resorts, and we felt we got good value for our money. We travelled over Easter and other than no music on Good Friday, or banana boat rides during the weekend, everything appeared to run as normal. The resort was mostly full during the entire time we were there.
I would rate this as a 3 ½ to 4 star resort. They are working on upgrading, (things do appear old) and still have a ways to go. The location is beautiful, and the water pristine – which is the main reason we are there. We did not have any problems with service or the staff.
We did not get rooms (3) anywhere near each other, and they would not do anything until the next day (we did arrive late 9pm). We ended up in the same building, but not on the same floor. We did not want to waste any more time moving, so left it at that. We did e-mail ahead with our requests, but it is the Dominican. We did not have an updated room, but everything worked and it was clean and very quiet. The maid did a good job, and we tipped money twice and gifts twice, all of which were appreciated, as she left towel animals for us. The beer & pop is replenished daily by a different person, so if you have requests or want to tip, you have to do that separately.
Always able to find something good to eat at the buffet, and all the ala cartes were very good (Paris was too slow and not air-conditioned). Also went to Tokio, Roma & Sombrero. Marlin was always full. If you are travelling with a large group, you will get reservations for ala cartes by room. You need to go to the front desk and have the rooms grouped into one reservation, otherwise each room may be sitting at a separate table. They try to be accommodating. Tip: show up 10-15 minutes before your reservation, or you may be waiting past your reservation time. Sombero bar by the water sports centre had chips, salsa and guacamole. At the buffet, fresh sugared donuts for breakfast were to die for. At the grill station at the back of the buffet they usually have three meat choices that they will grill fresh for you, if none are already cooked, you just have to ask. Pasta station was good, but way too slow. Desserts were quite good. Two in our party were sick for one day.
Spent our days at the beach and usually just before going up to the room stopped by the pool for a swim. The pool is very large and the water was warm. We were up to put out our towels at 6:30 am, and this was necessary, as the sun was very hot, and you needed to have a shady hut. We walked 45 minutes each way on the beach. Only one day, did we see any seaweed on our beach or in the water. The water was refreshing as it was so hot, and we had no rain the whole week. Clear and turquoise water and fine white sand. Beautiful. Played beach volleyball a lot, but did not participate in other activities. Book your free banana boat ride one day in advance at the water sports centre. The water sports centre is closed for siesta in the early afternoon. From there you can also sign out boogie boards & the waves are good in the afternoons. We booked the $29 snorkeling tour from there as well, and it was fine. The guide also took us to see the sharks and stingrays (just from outside the cage) and we drove by where they swim with the dolphins. It is interesting to see all the resorts along the way. You can take a water taxi from the resort to go to the markets on the beach, (we didn’t tho) for $10 pp return. Best time for pictures (lighting) on the beach is in the late afternoon.
Vendors came to the hotel twice in the evenings. You can walk about 10-15 minutes down the driveway of the resort and to the left and there is a tourist market as well, if you want more selection. They have wireless internet between the bar and the theatre. Some who brought laptops were watching hockey games and checking playoff scores. There was a book exchange at the towel hut and they also had board games. No mosquitoes, except by the tennis courts. The resort photographer takes good pictures. Pick up the daily activity sheet from the kiosk in the lobby. Activities are also posted outside the buffet doors.
We were able to get late checkout on one of our rooms until 4:00 pm. Cost $40, but worth it to not have to worry about luggage or showering and you could spend every last minute on the beach. Boarding the bus they had no list of names, so hopefully everyone was there. At the airport for departure it says you are not allowed to bring any liquids in your checked bags. We dumped ours, but they scanned the bags so quickly, I’m sure if we had any they wouldn’t have noticed. In the departure lounge we saw others pulling out beers from their carry ons. Food and drink at the airport is very expensive. There is a new terminal area (to the left when you walk in) that is enclosed and has air-conditioning and duty free shops, and much nicer washrooms.
Thanks to Debbie for this website and to everyone that wrote reviews and provided information on the forums. We had a great family vacation.