Debbie's Dominican Travel.com Old Reviews - Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort Casino & Spa
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Ieesha 
Ohio
August 2008
I traveled with my cousin Lahki, and best friend, Leticia. All of us are African-American females in our late 20s, early 30s.

Arrival and Flight
(LONG but DETAILED review!!!) We arrived Sunday, August 3rd, and stayed through Sunday, August 10th, 2008. Since we booked through Apple Vacations, we were able to get a great deal on a 8 day/7 night stay out of Detroit. The deal was well worth the 3.5 hour drive to Detroit. We flew USA3000 charter airlines. We left on time and maybe even arrived early. We were made to fill out our visa information on the plane and this allowed us to bypass the madness, pay our $10 and zip through Immigration. Booking through Apple includes many special perks, but no one really seems to know what they are, unless they have stayed there (well, the maids and the Apple rep at the resort knows. The resort does not). These perks included free use of the in-room safe, free room service (be sure to order from the Apple menu, as it is modified a bit), free drinks at the disco (yes, all others pay for drinks there and all the other bars shut down at that time), 3 a la carte reservations (and the guy at guest relations said that we could possibly get a 4th if we attended our first and then came back to see him...we never got around to it), bottles of beer in the fridge in the room (others said they only got Quiequeya...we had Presidente), a coffee maker with all the trimmings (including tea), and an iron and ironning board.

Rooms
This resort has the 2 resorts in 1 thing going on. There is the Cocotal side (the side we were on) which is made up of traditional hotel rooms, and the Tropical side which is made up of Junior Suites). We stayed in room K102. This was on the 2nd floor of a two story building (most are 3 story). We had a vaulted ceiling with a ceiling fan and an oceanview. We were in close proximity to the beach, the snack bar/Mexican and Steakhouse al a carte restaurants, and pool. The main reception area was kind of a lengthy walk away, but we liked being closer to the beach. Our room had two double beds which were quite hard, but after a long day of sun, beach, drinks, and dancing at the disco, I couldn't tell the difference.

Restaurants

We visited 3 al a cartes, opting for the buffet on all other nights, so as not to be on a strict schedule. The first was the Steakhouse, or the Mexico Nuevo. This one is the pool snack bar during the day (the crepes are out of this world!!!) and then is turned over around 6pm. It is split in half. Half is the Steakhouse and the other is the Mexican. One thing I learned quickly is that ALL beef on this resort is tough; but the flavor is amazing, so I risked breaking a jawbone to eat it. They brought an appetizer plate with chicken wings (yum!), spicy peppers of some sort (I don't do spicy), some sausages, and some other snack food I'd never seen before. It was kind of along the lines of blackened hush puppies. For my entree, I ordered the Sirloin steak, medium well. It was done a little better than medium well, which I didn't mind, as I don't like raw meat. But, it was a little on the tough side...but scrumdiddiliumptious.

The 2nd al a carte we visited was the Mediteranean, or the seafood. This one was a little difficult as I didn't know what many of the items were on the menu, or didn't eat the ones I recognized. Somehow, our orders got messed up and we all received something we didn't order. My cousin was horrified because she doesn't eat much seafood for fear of illness and she was given the wrong entree'. I had what she was supposed to have. The deserts we ordered didn't come out and when we inquired about them, they were served cold.

The 3rd a la carte was the Jade Japanese restaurant (although the menus said China on them). It was a hibatchi styled restaurant kind of like Beni Hana's. The cook was personable, but didn't put on as much of a show as Beni Hana's (or the guy who cooked for us at the Japanese restaurant at the Barcelo Punta Cana last year). The food was wonderful. The only complaints were of course, tough beef with yummy yummy flavor; and the fact that we were given menus and were trying to decide what to order when in this particular restaurant, the menu was more or less a guide as to all the things that would be served for dinner that evening. Some of the appetizers were served buffet style. We were all given sushi even though no one ordered it. My best friend who is a seasoned sushi eater cautioned us not to eat it, as she said it was not fresh. After dinner we were offered Sake and Mamajuana.

We ate most of our other meals at the buffet restaurant on the Cocotal Side. I'm a very picky eater, and while I can't say that the food on this buffet was 4 stars (and sometimes not 3), I didn't starve. I was always able to find something to eat. Often times, more work went into the presentation of the buffet than the flavor of the food. Don't go expecting REAL fruit juice because you won't find it here. This was also my experience at the Barcelo Punta Cana last year. They serve a fruit juice substitute called Frutal. The orange juice tastes more like Tang orange drink. They use it to make drinks also, so your drinks may have a funny taste to them. The service at the buffet, however was excellent. Our drinks were rarely empty long. And on the last night, our server greeted us and then looked at me: "vino blanco y sprite? Correct?" I laughed because that's what I always got at dinner. Then she looked at my best friend, "Sprite for you." And then at my cousin "sprite no ice for you." We laughed so hard and told her she was right. When she left I told my cousin and best friend, "That's the type of thing that makes me never want to go home."

Bars
We didn't frequent the main bars in the lobby area much. We only got a drink there when we were passing through. We visited the beach bar quite a bit (the guys there knew my order by heart also), as well as the bar inside the snack bar, the bars by the theatre, and the bar inside the Discotecque. The service always included smiles and conversation. They tried very had to speak English, as we tried hard to speak Spanish. And somewhere in the middle, communication took place. If you don't like strong drinks, beware of the pool bars...especially the one on the Tropical side. The lady there made the drinks very strong! But if you're trying to party quickly, that's definitely the place to go. Unfortunately, the water in the pool near that bar is very very warm because of the shallow waters nearby being heated by the sun (and I shudder to think of the obvious...drunken people too lazy to get out of the pool). It was pretty uncomfortable.

Beach and Pools
The beach was nice, but I have to say that I've seen better (and worse) in the DR. The sand here is more of a golden color, rather than the white sands I've seen on other beaches there. Therefore, it gets extremely hot and holds heat. For long walks on that sand, water shoes or flip flops are appropriate. The resort seemed like it was only at 60% capacity when we were there. Therefore, it was always possible to find a lounge chair on the beach or at the pool. Palapas were a little harder to come by. I wasn't getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to go out and reserve a seat. That's too much like Preschool. I'm on vacation and part of that is being able to sleep in. My last day on the beach, I found a nice shaded area under some lower palm trees. If you like nice, quiet beach time, opt for lounging out closer to the Watersports center, or on the Tropical side. The Animacion team runs activities between both the pool areas and the beach. This includes loud music, high energy activities, and loud talking and laughing. It doesn't bother me and provided much entertainment. It wouldn't be for the quiet set, though.

Grounds
The grounds were beautiful, but not flawless. Many other reviewers commented on how things were beautiful from far away, but needing repair when you looked up close (and even took and submitted pictures). I think some of these folks must be resort inspectors in their occupations and need to remember that they are now on vacation. Let it go! The grassy areas were a little dry and not as green as I'd seen in the pictures, but I'd heard that the DR is in the middle of a drought when I was there...no rain during their rainy season (I only saw rain one evening while we were there for 8 days). The flowers on the resort were absolutely beautiful. The grounds and buildings were spotless, as we never saw any trash or anything laying around. The only complaint I would have is the people who smoke on the beach, but are too lazy to properly dispose of their cigarette butts. All they'd have to do is put them in a cup. A resort staff member comes by regularly to pick up cups and trash and things. It's just sheer laziness and apathy on the part of some hotel guests.

Activities and Entertainment
We didn't really participate in any of the beach or pool activities with the Animacion team (merengue dance lessons, beach and pool aerobicss, olympic games, etc), other than when my friend competed for Miss Bikini 2008 (She was robbed!!!). I will caution parents of young children that sometimes the entertainment can become a bit advanced sexually for small children. I've learned that there is a certain level of sexual freedom in Dominican culture that is not so in the U.S.A. Many things are taboo here that are openly displayed and discussed there, i.e. sexually suggestive dancing, and sexual jokes.

We caught the tail end of some of the evening shows in the outdoor theatre (if you booked dinner in an a la carte around 8:00pm, you will most likely miss most of the theatre show). The shows can be very silly at one point, and then show off the amazing dancing talent of the performers in the next scene. Of the silly side is a performer by the name of Spaghetti. The little kids seemed to love him and flock to him. But he seemed to provide comic relief to many of the shows. The Animacion team did a rendition of the popular movie Dirty Dancing. It was pretty good--many of the dance sequences had a latin flavor and the coreography was amazing. After many of the theatre shows, the Sirenis Band would perform live merengue and bachata off to the side of the theatre. The members of the Animacion team grab people from the audience and invite them to dance. One evening they had karaoke and I had the opporunity to sing "Unbreak my Heart" by Toni Braxton. They had a pretty good selection of songs and I saw folks singing songs in English and Spanish. They were going to have a talent show the night we left and many of the Animacion team members were trying to get me to participate. I hated that we had to leave and I couldn't.

The discotecque on the resort does not open until 11:00pm. It closes around 2:30am. It was hard for us to stay awake that long waiting for the disco to open (and we actually fell asleep the first night, as we had been up more than 24 hours). And then once you get into the groove, it closes. After the disco, be sure to go to the buffet on the Cocotal side. They have food available and they guy in there serving gets pretty lonely. He begged my cousin to stay and talk to him because he said he never sees people.

Tours
We did two main excursions. The first was the Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure. AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!!! Our tourguide was Mimi and he was very knowledgeable of Dominican people and culture. We learned so much from him! We were picked up at our resort on an open air bus and taken to a ranch for horseback riding. We only rode for 15 minutes, but that was enough, as we are not experienced riders who sit correctly. It was an easy ride and we weren't sore afterward. We left there and drove through the countryside to a "typical" Domincan home which also functions as a ranch where they were picking and grinding coffee beans and cacao beans. We sampled caribbean fruits, coffee, and mamajuana. The mamajuana there had been marinating for 3 years and was much tastier and smoother than what they serve at the resorts. We then visited an elementary school. We got to see a 4th/5th grade split class. We took pictures with the kids and left school supplies we'd brought over with us with the teacher. Mimi cautioned us not to leave too much with the kids at the school because Bavaro Runners sponsors the schools they take tourist to. They only go to each school one day out of the week so as not to disrupt the learning process. He told us to give the majority of our things to the children back in the countryside. We went back into the country side and when kids would run behind the bus asking for things, we would stop and give them snacks, candy, and school supplies we'd brought with us. We stopped at a ranch for lunch. The food was Dominican cuisine and EXCELLENT!!! That was one of the best meals I had the whole week. We left there and went to Macao beach. It was the most beautiful beach I'd ever seen. None of the resorts that I've stayed at had a beachfront like this. However, there are vendors and begging children on that beach to beware of. The children there don't want candy or school supplies. They want MONEY. And only MONEY!!! One little boy tried to sell my cousin fruit. When she said no and offered him a stick of gum, he got an attitude, snatched his fruit from her and walked away...with the gum. We're on vacation. We laughed about it.

The 2nd excursion we did was the Saona Island excursion. I have to mention that the Sirenis is very remote (far north) and so every place you go is a 40 minute to 1 hour and 15 minute ride. We essentially had to ride a bus an hour and 15 minutes to the marina in LaRomana (right across from the Sunscape Casa del Mar resort). Once we arrived there, we took an hour catamaran to the island. There was drinking and dancing on the catamaran and the views were amazing. When we arrived at the island, we could smell lunch cooking and were told it would be ready in about 20 minutes. You WILL NEED water shoes. The beach on the island is absolutely beautiful, but is not what it seems. Entry into the water is rocky...lots of sharp piece of coral to step on. Once in the water, it doesn't get much better...large pieces of rock and coral to stumble over and seaweed. My water shoes solved all of those problems when I wore them the 2nd time in the water. Lunch was served and then they offered beach volleyball, dancing, massages (for a price), and roaming vendors. We took a 45 minute speed boat ride back to the marina. Next time, I'll sit in the back, rather than the front as it was painfully bumpy at high speeds.

I'm not sure if you can call this an excursion, but we booked the Imagine Discotecque through Claudio, the Manati Park rep. Imagine disco used to be the Tropicana disco last year. It's now under new management with a new theme. It is actually down in a real, live cave which makes it an amazing experience. We paid $50 per person. This included the taxi to and from the disco (the cab ride one way alone is normally about $60 one way), the cover charge, 3 free drink chips (drinks are valued at $8 each...more about that in a moment), and you are able to return as many times nights as you want during your stay in Punta Cana. We went two nights. The first time was on a Tuesday night. It was nice, but only one of the 3 dance floors was open. We went again on Friday night and it was packed full of people. All three dance floors were open. There was even a guy named Georgie who did a fire show where he spit fire. Amazing! Just a word of caution...if you are homophobic, Imagine might not be the place for you. Some of the staff members and locals there were openly gay. If that makes you uncomfortable, you may want to think seriously before booking this disco. We, however, had a blast! The staff dancers who are charged with engaging the guests to dance were wonderful and so much fun! We went to a fast food restaurant off the resort the next day and one of the dancers who recognized my cousin from the night before walked in and yelled her name out before giving her a huge hug. Beware of the water at the disco. When I said earlier that ALL drinks are $8, I wasn't exaggerating. I walked up and asked for some ice water. The bar tender got a glass, put in ice and opened up a bottle of dasani and poured in what was left in that bottle, filling my glass. He told me $8. All of a sudden, my Spanish got really good because I clearly told him I wasn't paying him $8 for some water. It didn't even have liquor in it, nor was it the entire bottle of water. So he handed me a full, unopened bottle of Dasani and said $8. I told him again that I was NOT paying him $8 for some water and that he could keep it. He called over one of his supervisors who asked me what the problem was. He spoke a little English and so I explained to him that I was being charged $8 for a bottle of water. Paying $1 or even $2 for a bottle of water is understandable, but not $8. That's crazy! He explained to me that ALL drinks in the disco are $8. And $8 for some water is crazy because the owner is crazy. He then gave me the water, free of charge.

Departure and Check Out
We had to meet our transfer to the airport at 7:30am. After an entire night of partying and hanging out with friends we'd made throughout the week, we didn't get much sleep before checking out. Check out went smoothly and the only charges we had on the room were for a few local phone calls. We were not made to pay the $20 departure tax on our way out of the country. Nor did we pay it last year. We thought we snuck out last year because we'd missed our transfer and caught a ride on a bus full of Canadians. Since I've read that most Canadias pay the departure tax when they book, I thought maybe they thought we were Canadian also and expected that we'd already paid. Our plane actually left early and we arrived in detroit almost 45 minutes before scheduled.

Conclusion
All in all, I would definitely return to the Sirenis Punta Cana. It was amazing that we made so many friends (both locals AND tourists) in the week that we were there. We knew people by name and they knew us. The staff members did a wonderful job of greeting us and other guests by name. We even exchanged contact info with some staff members and other tourists with the intentions of keeping in touch. The average food is well worth overlooking because the service was amazing. We even had customer service call our room half way through our stay and ask how everything was....the only complaint was that the #7 button on our phone did not work (and it wasn't worth complaining over because I could just call the operator and have him or her dial the number I needed). They sent over a new phone. Each day we tipped our maid $3-4US, some school supplies, snacks, candy, and some make-up or toiletry items we'd brought with us from the States (my cousin had made a male friend last year who thought the smell of her Lever2000 soap was out of this world, so she brough some travel size bars to give away). This was a wonderful vacation at a wonderful esort staffed by wonderful people and visited by many wonderful guests. I hated to board my return flight.

Vacation is only what you make it. If you go in with the attitude that I'm going to paradise and nothing is going to ruin that for me, you'll leaving having had a wonder vacation experience.

If anyone has any further questions about my trip to the Sirenis Punta Cana Resort or any of my past trips (Barcelo Punta Cana--Aug 2007 and Riu Naiboa--Feb 2005), or excursions please feel free to email me at
ashton_morgan2002@yahoo.com.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Mary & Ray 
Astoria, NY
June 2008
Arrival and Flight :
AA flight landed a bit late due to weather- torrential downpours and T’Storms. This may have affected the baggage handling as we waited over an hour until our bags came out. Once out, the Apple Guy found us and sent us to the right bus. Waited for another group to show and we left. We were the only ones going to Sirenis while the others went to Dreams.

Check in and Room:
Since we were the only ones checking in, no lines and a drink was in our hands before we even got to the counter. As I mentioned in a post on the forum, we had originally tried to book the Tropical suites side but wound up with a regular room on the Cocotal side- we got that straightened out by upgrading to a Junior Suite at the Cocotal before hand. We get to the desk and we are done in less than 5 minutes. Keys, towel cards, Reservation sheet for restaurants, etc. We were assigned Rm M106... On the Tropical side, overlooking the pool and ocean with a nice breeze.

The room is serviceable, if not all that large. Fridge was stocked with soda, water and Quesqueya Beer, not Presidente. Fine, it was cold…ish. Iron and Ironing board in closet of the Junior Suites.

A/C in the room was anemic at best- especially during the day. It was on, just didn’t seem to work very well. At night the Bedroom had a fan and the combination was fine. Bathroom was a fine size, plenty of room.

The silly 4 headed shower wall thing put water everywhere if you didn’t pay attention- so that’s something they could have skipped. I used the regular hand held spout from the holder. Plenty hot or cold as you wished. Bathroom also stocked with bottled water, shampoos, gels along with a hair dryer.

Grounds :
Well kept and neat except for the occasional snake in the grass over by The Spa. Lots of “Green Shirts” around taking care of the plantings and trees. BUT- they start VERY early. 6:45 am I could watch them spraying with those gas powered bug gassers around the Cocotal side, very near to balconies so I think there were a few folks who didn’t get all the sleep they thought.

Beach and Pools:
Fairly spectacular by any measure, Pool had 4 distinct sections with a shallow ramped ends on either side with the deeper sections in between. The beach is fairly wide with beautiful golden sand, raked every morning, btw. The beach is divided into 3 or 4 sections for swimming, non-motor, and motorized activities. Coral outcrops close to shore make for the interesting dappled color of the water, this also kept fish very near to shore that could be observed while snorkeling and even fed with some bread from the buffet. Be aware the DR is fairly well known for its sea urchin population and one small outcrop is LOADED with them, so climbing and jumping off is not advised. The sea is very calm even on days when the surf was breaking fairly large on the barrier reef 100-200yds/meters offshore. Walking east along the beach, be aware that some urchins may wash into the tide line and be stranded- don’t pick them up or try and kick them back. Sea Urchins stingers have barbed ends and create pain as if the area is on fire. Since capacity was less than 50%, no issues with palapas around the beach or pool. Empty ones were still available on the beach at 10 or 11 am.

Restaurants and Food:
Overall, I’d give a “fair” assessment to the food at the Buffets. Some was excellent (mostly desserts) and other items were dull and lacked flair. The carve station usually had the best- the Pork and Mare fish were the winners of the week. A veggie and kids section were well received it seemed. None was bad and no intestinal issues all week. Some repetition was observed so a stay longer than 7-10 days would likely be a bit much. We visited 2 A la cartes- the Italian and the Steakhouse.

The Italian was stunning in its décor but the food was no better than the buffet selection. Average at best. The Steakhouse was head and shoulders above the Italian. Appetizers were delicious, the steak was perfectly done, and the service was prompt without being rushed.

Activities, etc…:
Plenty of options, from onsite excursion bookings (CASH ONLY) (Tour rep excursions take credit cards). Animation activities near the pool and beach bar area on the Cocotal side. Shopping area a bit scrawny, with only 2 or 3 shops open on each side. Maybe the new shopping center down the road took the business since it might be cheaper to taxi there than pay the ransom type prices on site. Mary took a relaxation message at the Spa and said it was very well done and came back a bit wobbly, so I guess she enjoyed it.

Checkout and Departure:
No trouble- we took care of any room charges (The Spa is billed to your room, no cash or charge cards taken), just double check any conversion they do. Bus arrived on time and made one stop at Dreams for the crew we dropped off the week before and on to the airport. First 15 minutes and the last 20 minutes are fine, but that middle half hour is a real doozy- especially when you can look out the windows and see the new road right of way being worked on. Lines at the Airport were pretty long, but did move at a reasonable pace and, for the first time, the power stayed on the whole time.

Impressions and Conclusion:
During our stay the Tropical side buffet and Beach restaurant were under renovations and closed, but as stated above, capacity was easily less than 50% and there were no issues with crowding. This is a very nice secluded resort, favored by Europeans and especially Weekenders. And therein lies the problem. Day Trippers and Weekenders (not necessarily locals) were especially rude and obnoxious. Basically taking over the beach hut bar, pool and swim up bar on the Cocotal side and making others feel uncomfortable. Things quieted down by Tuesday, but ramped up again on Friday. This was of little issue to us, since we were at the beach on the Tropical side, but others we spoke to felt like there could have been more control of the situation. The buffet was also a victim with jumping lines and rude behavior. A NOTICEABLE increase in security on Friday night seemed to show that the hotel is aware of this and was taking some action to contain any situation.

Were we generally satisfied with our visit? Yes, it was a good value for the price paid. Would we return? No. There was that certain ‘something’ missing that we have found at other resorts. The staff was friendly, helpful, even helping me with my bad High school Spanish when I mixed up some grammar. The Apple perks were well received (Free safe, Free room-service, and preselecting alacartes after checkin.) as well. The Apple Rep however, was basically invisible. Only on duty one hour a day between 4-5pm so it was tough to coordinate since some of those days they are out on the orientation meetings. The one gentleman I dealt with to book the Outback Safari was pleasant and very helpful deciding on which one to book. The other young lady later in the week was not exactly the picture of hospitality to put it kindly.

The overall atmosphere was missing that certain something to make an even better experience. This was our 4th trip to The Dom. Rep. so we have experience with the format but this one just didn’t have “it”. At least this time around. At best- a 3 out of 5 for this one.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
John  

April 2008
We had a very wonderful vacation at the Sirenis Tropical - We had a 2 room suite in H Block and it was well maintained. We were on the second floor as we like to sleep with the patio door open. It looks like there is an alarm system built in, but this is so when the door is open the airconditioner shuts off.

We had nothing but wonderful meals the Japanese and the Italian ala Cartes were the best. The buffet was good and never went away hungry. One point to the buffet if you do have an early excursion or early check out breakfast is advertised from 0500-0700 and you get what you get. We managed to have buns and ham and cheese the two mornings that we required this and it was more than adequate. The steak house was good - but when ordering your steak get one level below what you normally order. And definitely have the chicken wings for appetizers. When booking the ala carte the longest had to wait in line was about 5 minutes. I mean really where else do you have to be.

The pool is wonderful and the service at all the bars is friendly and quick. All though in past reviews it mentioned about problems with chairs at the pool or on the beach, we did not find this a problem at all, even if you wanted a Palapa later in the day.

Over all we would go back to this resort in a heart beat, but we would make sure that we stayed on the Tropical side, as we did hear some complaints from the people on the Cocotal side on the size of the rooms.

The main thing to remember is that you are on vacation and you are there to relax. Don't sweat the small stuff and have a wonderful vacation.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Tony 
NB, Canada
April 2008
Flight: Canjet

Down to DR was uneventful and on time.
Flight back was delayed in total 6 1/2 hours. That does not sound bad but we left the resort at 1020pm after an initial delay of three hours to be told at 1230 that the incoming flight would not land until 3 am and eventually it did arrive at 4:20 am. Punta Cana airport is not a happening spot or comfortable place in the wee hours. Although no reflection on the resort but on the carrier it is part of the Dominican Republic experience.

Resort: The last review was very good and helpful and we agree very much with comments on the food and restaurants, but there is a bit to add. First, NO beer in the fridges. I do not know when they stopped it but it is a thing of the past. We asked others on the Cocotal side and they said the same thing.
Second, do not take for granted that the maid service is very good and that a few small tips will get better service. Sometimes you just end up with a lazy maid. We got minimum service. i.e things were wiped down and beds made but no niceties and no smiles whether we left a tip or not. I do not want to sound like a complainer, but we should tip for good service, and not just because.
Overall, this was a very good, clean resort with lots to see and do.

We took three, but would like to say that the Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure with Eddie was well worth it and was a great way to experience the local Dominican culture. The tour stopped at a school and they always appreciate school supplies, so bring along a few pencils and notebooks if you plan on going.

A comment earlier was made about the road from H---. Actually the roads in New Brunswick at this time of year are much worse, so it did not effect any of our travel. They are constructing a new highway so things will get better.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
MBL 
Canada
March 2008
Arrival and Flight
Went March 9-16, 2008. Like other people have said, of course the airplanes' seats were cramped and uncomfortable. We also had to be put on another airline on the way there because of a flight cancellation. But that has nothing to do with the resort! Because we ended up getting there 1.5 hours late (about 3pm), the Apple rep. didn't meet us. I think she should have made a point to do this. Otherwise, going with Apple was great. A few perks that we didn't know of in advance because of being with Apple. (We're Canadian, but it's easiest for us to fly out of Detroit.). We were greeted with a drink and check-in went quickly.

Rooms
There were 4 adults - 2 rooms. Regular hotel rooms. Good size. 2 double beds. Lots of closet space. Tiled floors. Double doors to the balcony. No handles on the outside of the balcony doors, so don't close them tight. Air conditioning and a ceiling fan. Iron and ironing board in the closet, but it needed a converter that we didn't have. Coffee maker (which we never used). TV that got 3-4 English channels. Remote now in room, unlike what other reviewers here have said. Also, now there are no credit card-type keys to turn on lights - it's just normal. Mini-fridge with pop, water, beer. Restocked daily. One facecloth each was provided. Housekeeper gave us more when we asked. Housekeeping staff was very good. Were there twice a day. Not a lot of English, but friendly and helpful. Wanted to please. We left tips daily - money and/or small gifts. (As an earlier reviewer said, you should provide a note stating it's from you so they can take it off-site.)

Restaurants
Buffet was good, and varied daily (breakfast and dinner). Friday is Dominican food night. Mexican - 2 of 4 meals were good. We all liked the Italian and Seafood, loved the Japanese and Vegetarian. Didn't try the Steakhouse. Buffets at lunch good. BBQ on the beach for lunch excellent, especially the chicken. We got their chicken and then went to the buffets for side dishes. Food in general was good. We had no trouble making reservations, but noticed sometimes the line was long. Another perk of going with Apple. All the buffets had signs saying what the food was, in Spanish and English. Menus in 4 languages. Evening dress more casual than I expected (based on my earlier cruise experiences).

Bars
I think we hit them all! All good, all bartenders efficient, knew what they were doing. Pop available too. Loved the lobby bar, especially Alex, Alberto and Juan Carlos. Waitresses pretty good at coming to your seat in the lobby. Same thing with waiters at the beach. Came by for empty glasses all the time. We didn't pay to get into the disco; although we were told non-Apple people had to, we didn't see anyone paying.

Beach and Pools
Great! Like other reviewers said, you have to go out early to get a palapa, but that's par for the course at resorts. Lots of palapas, lots of lounge chairs. Get a towel for the next day the afternoon before, because the towel place doesn't open until 9. Yes, there are cigarette butts on the beach, which I, a non-smoker, think is rude, but it's not bad. Pools are kept very clean, like everything else. Long pool, with shallow and deep areas. Cocotal side of the pool is the focus for the entertainment team, but they're not there all day. Noise is no problem, but it is a little quieter on the Tropicale side (it doesn't matter which side your room is on - you have free range of everything). Beware - topless women (but that is a minority). One morning it was a little too windy, but otherwise it was a light breeze, which was very nice.

Grounds
Kept very clean! Lots of places to sit and relax/chat. Large, but well laid-out, lots of signs. Almost no bugs, including mosquitoes. An earlier review mentioned the lights in public bathrooms timing out - never happened; this must have been changed in their recent renovations.

Activities and Entertainment
Entertainment team was great! We got a schedule of activities when we arrived and did many of them. Martin's Spanish lessons (done in English and French) were good. Volleyball, bocce ball, water polo, frisbee, water and beach aerobics, dance lessons...All good. Entertainers (they often call themselves the animation team) were good, especially Romeo, Domingo, Martin, Reyes. Their English was good. They try to do everything in Spanish, English, French and sometimes German. Works well.
Shows in the evenings (9:30) pretty good. Lots of dancing. House band after shows, then the disco after that - entertainers participate in the dancing.
4 computers available with internet, have to pay by half hour or hour.
Both ways just past the resort grounds (beach) are vendors. They can be very pushy, but will leave you alone if you say no a couple of times. Barter! You're within walking distance (by beach) of the 2 resorts on either side - Excellence and Dreams. Long walk, but definitely do-able.

Departure and Check Out
Long line to depart, but no problem. True for hotel and airport. The flight was an hour late leaving, but again, this is no reflection on the hotel. Ask the day before what time the bus will pick you up to take you to the airport. You can't take mamajuana (local drink) into the USA; they confiscate it at the airport. (I don't know about into Canada, but would expect the same.) Also, vendors at the resort were selling hats made out of palm leaves - can't take them back to the USA either. (No plants allowed.)

Conclusion
We had a great time and would definitely recommend Sirenis to others.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Rob 
Ottawa, Canada
March 2008
I recommend this resort if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway with enough activity options if you want to do them. If the price is right, you won’t regret going here. Sirenis calls it a 5 star, but it’s really a 4 star.

Positives:
- Nice resort for people of any age – there were couples young and old, groups, kids, seniors, everyone.

- It’s well laid out, easy to walk, very well landscaped.

- Service is very good. No hassles.

- Food is also good, anywhere you eat except perhaps the Steakhouse (tough meat, likely because it’s grass fed local beef).

- Serve international drinks – read the brown menu at the bars to see which ones.

Considerations for anyone who likes high-end or for things to be “perfect”:
- The rooms are just standard hotel rooms, not very fancy but certainly serviceable. Many have ocean views.

- Beach is usually windy, but not so much that you don’t enjoy yourself.

- You have to reserve your chair on the beach or at the pool, early in the a.m., but then you have to do this at 90% of resorts.

- Pool is big and long, yet I found it somehow a bit odd in how it’s chopped up.

- Phone calls back to North America cost $2.50 per minute.

- Not a lot of shopping nearby, but you can find a few things you want.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
P & J 

We spent the week of February 16 – 23, 2008 at the Sirenis Cocotel Resort in Punta Cana.

We got a great deal from Applevacations which we made even better by going through Traveloni who takes 5% right off the top. We have used them numerous times and have always been very pleased with their discounts and customer service.

We got off to a rocky start by leaving 1 hour later than scheduled. We found out on the flight back that the delay was due to USA 3000 having to fly a pilot in from another airport. Once in the air, USA 3000 was awesome. Great planes and great service on the ground and in the air. Only problem is a recurring problem of not enough food for everyone on the flight. Always, always, by the time they reach our seat (usually mid-plane) they are out of one of the selections. This trip, it was so bad, that they were selling the food that was intended for the return flight later that evening. I hope those folks ate at the airport before boarding to go home.

Arrival at Punta Cana airport was unbelievable. We have been to the DR 5 times and have never seen the airport so busy. The tarmac was full of planes. Luckily, our luggage was promptly unloaded and the Punta Cana immigration/customs inspectors were not checking/inspecting many visitors. We then made our way to the arrival area and after notifying the Apple rep that we would not be taking their transfer (they always look so hurt that you are not taking their transfer) went with our pre-arranged taxi transfer. We have used Sr. Silva’s Dominican Airport Taxi service numerous times and could not be happier. They are always where they say they will be and they are always on time. Their vans are new and in great condition with perfect Air Conditioning!! Also, I always bring at least one suitcase of donations for the children and leave it with the driver who delivers it to Sr. Silva for distribution to a school or orphanage.

The drive to the resort was nearly an hour, which I expected. Sirenis is the next resort to the north of Dreams (previously Sunscape the Beach). We have been to Sunscape 3 times and the last time was in October just before the hurricane. The road was in bad condition at that time, but it is now deteriorated to be nearly unusable. I love Sunscape and Sirenis but will not be returning to that area until the new road is completed. I will not put either myself, or my husband through that terrible drive with pothole next to pothole.

We arrived at least 20-25 minutes before the Apple transfer bus. As we were leaving the front desk, they were walking in and they looked peaked/green from that roller coaster drive on that nasty, nasty road. Check-in was very smooth and efficient. At that time, we were given our room cards, towel cards and safe key (free safe with Apple). We were also given a sheet to request our ala carte restaurants for the week. Another Apple benefit, whereas others had to stand in line at guest services in the morning to request an ala carte for the evening meal. Also, we were given an Apple room service menu, which was free to Apple guests, but had a fee for other guests as per the menu in our room.

I had emailed a request for a top floor room. We were assigned to building J, second floor. I was a little disappointed until I looked out the window and found out it was an ocean view room. It was a spectacular view!! Great, spacious patio with a table and 2 chairs. Just make sure you don’t close the patio door when you are outside or you will be locked out of the room. The room was a comfortable size with two full sized beds. The beds were hard ( but we have had harder beds at Sunscape and in Mexico) with the tiniest pillows. Minibar had Coke, diet Coke, Sprite, water and Presidentes!! Closet was very large with shelves and lots of hangers. The safe, which was inside the closet, was on the small side. I don’t think many laptops would fit inside of it. Our safe had a hand towel inside of it. Once I removed it, I realized why it was inside the safe. The safe was lined with rust!! Luckily, I had gallon sized plastic baggies that I just put our camera case and valuables in to protect them from the rust. It was a pain dealing with that, but I did not want to give up that view just to get a better safe. The bathroom has an odd little half wall between the toilet and vanity that just takes up space and makes the bathroom small and awkward. Lots of hot water and great water pressure, though. Plenty of towels and once the young man cleaning our room realized we had brought our own face cloths, he made sure to leave face cloths daily. In addition, he would come by around 5 pm, when he knew we were getting ready for dinner, to check if we needed more towels, coke, beer or coffee. He took good care of us and we made sure to take good care of him. Not only did we leave him a nice tip daily, but we also left him baseballs, baseball gloves and ball hats.

Just want to mention that our building had an elevator that was very convenient to use if you did not want to or could not walk up the stairs as well as taking your luggage down.

The beach was just beautiful. Seaweed was raked daily. Sadly, some folks think it is OK to just toss their cigarette butts in the sand. That is just ugly….These same folks think it is OK to just leave their cups and plates and other trash laying around and the hotel staff has to pick up behind them. That is so sad and so disrespectful on so many levels…..

The staff works so hard all day and night, picking up other peoples messes and cleaning, shining and washing.

If you want a palapa or shady area at the beach or pool, you have to get up real early. I am an early riser and was amazed at all the chairs that had towels on them at such an early hour (sunrise). Later the first day, I noticed that when folks were packing it up for the day, they were tying their towels to the chairs for the next day. Staff does not remove the towels for the evening. Very interesting chair saving ritual.

The pool was top notch. Great design with shallow areas for the kids and deep areas for the adults. Early every morning, workers were cleaning the pool. By mid afternoon, straws and wrappers were floating in the pool. That is not due to lack of cleaning, that is due to lack of manners by some guests!! Two swim up bars. Two beach buffets adjacent to the pool. Very well planned beach and pool area. Bathrooms were located in both beach buffets which were manned with a housekeeper all day. Not only were those bathrooms decorated with flowers, but they were kept spotlessly clean.

The food was the best. The buffet did not have a huge selection, but what they had was excellent. Good quality food, prepared well. We would have been happy to eat at the buffet morning, noon and night all week. It was that good. The service at the buffet was over the top. We have never been at an all-inclusive where you were always greeted with a smile and taken care of so promptly. We did eat at the seafood, steakhouse and Italian restaurants that were all very good with excellent service. That is were this resort excels. The people working there are genuinely happy to have you as a guest. Prompt and efficient customer service was the norm.

Sirenis is a beautiful resort with a very hardworking staff. But, unfortunately until the new road is completed we will not be returning to that area of Punta Cana again. I would return in a heartbeat, but the thought of enduring that bumpy twisty road again is not possible.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Arlene 

February 2008
Arrival - 2couples in our 50's. I have cruised many times but no experience in all inclusive other couple stayed at Ocean Blue last year. Booked with Sunquest and flew out of Kitchener by Skyservice. No leg room on the plane compared to other airlines and the food is airplane food what more can I say. took 1 hour and a bit to get to resort on the road from H--L. Check in was fast but rooms werenot ready so went to bar for an hour or so no big deal.

Rooms - Room was nice size very clean everything worked fine and our cleaner Thomas was absolutely wonderful and we tipped him with money and small gifts every day. Flowers on bed and sink fridge stocked daily.

Restaurants - Main buffet breakfast and lunch ok however dinner buffet was very disappointing. We didnot starve but I felt the quality of the food was just not there and I expected better. Our friends said the other resort they stayed at last year was great and I am sure that there are problably worse than what we had. The a la cartes were better. Steak was ok, Seafood great, mexican good . The barbecue on the beach was fantastic.

Bars - The bars and bartenders were excellent especially the pool bar Angelo 1 and Angelo 2 and the theatre bar Henry, lobby bar Juan Carlos, and Alex. Never had to wait very long and if you want international just ask and they will oblige. Wonderful people.

Beach and Pools - Fantastic, wonderful, great. Windy on the beach every day. Gets to you after a while so spent more time up at pool area. Beach and pool clean. Shade a little scarce but builing more cabanas.

Grounds - Absolutely Beautiful. Well maintained. Very clean. Seen only 1 mosquitoe.

Activities - Top Notch. This is not Vegas howevr the entertainers worked from 10:00 am on the beach and pool area until 11.30 p.m. at the show and they were wonderful and entertaining. Special mention for Macaroni. Wolf, Robert. Love you guys.Special mention of Nirey who braided our hair "what a beautiful person you are"

Tours - Did not go on any tours because of the 1hr and a bit ride on the road from H--L to go anywhere. There are new roads being built but not sure how soon they will be done. This resort is quite a drive from anything. However there was lots of activities on the resort to keep you busy if you wanted.

Conclusion - We had a great holiday and I would recommend this resort. The service & the people at this resort are 5 star plus.I know this is an all inclusive but please remember to reward people if your service is good. So do what we did read Debbies reviews before you book. No resort is perfect and try to get the best value for your dollar. Happy Holiday.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Peter 
Ontario
February 2008
This is a really nice resort. The grounds are beautiful We found it quite windy. We had no problem on our arrival and the room was fine. The tour company was Sunquest and the carrier was Skyserice. The meal on board was terrible. It was basically an old stale Egg McMuffin that I couldn't even eat. Whatever, it is a budget carrier and we just wanted to get there. The coach was new and beautiful. Air conditioned of course.The beach is really nice, lots of cabanas and chairs. Windy though. The pool is pristine. Beautiful. The food is subpar. Buffet is bland and a lot of the same stuff. Some food seems to make multilpe appearances. The a la Cartes are subpar. Steakhouse fair to poor, Mexican was poor, the Italian was the best of a bad lot. The entertainment was better than average. There seemed to be a lot of smokers at this resort. In Ontario, we enjoy laws that ensure fresh air.Travelling to place like the Sirenis makes you realize how nice it is to have these no smoking laws at home.The staff were really good. They work hard are friendly and cheerful, really nice. Dominicans are great people. The room was comfortable, a/c was adequate, water pressure good but the pillows are terrible. They are huge and are stuffed into undersized pillowcases.This resort may have the nicest grounds and the best lay out of any one I have been to in the Dominican.

Now for the bad news. The thing that ruins this resort and the reason I will NOT be going back is the chair saving.It is terrible and out of control. I went down to the pool at 8 am (I am a morning person) and there was not a soul around the pool except the pool guy vacuuming it, and there were hardly any chairs available. Every covered cabana was reserved and no one was there.There was an assortment of towels, sandals, books etc, on the chairs to indicate they were taken. Some people even bring kerchiefs and lash the chairs to the centre post on the cabana.It is the highth of inconsideration and competitiveness. As I like to walk in the early morning I began to notice that people were getting up as early as 5 am and coming to the pool area to take the chairs. Then they would mosey back to the pool some times as late as midday and claim their spot. We even witnessed a confrontation over the problem. These resorts need to deal with this ongoing problem as it is a real unfair nuisance. They need to have system where you check out a number that you hang on the corresponding cabana and is done on a first come first serve basis. So to sum up, unless you want to get up at 5 am every morning,you might want to take a flyer on this resort. I hear the Iberostar in Puerto Plata does not allow chair saving and for that reason alone I will be going there next year. So,thumbs down to Sirenis Hotels because of this issue .
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Garnett 

February 2008
First trip to the Punta Cana region of DR. Westjet great carrier for Sunquest direct Ottawa to Punta Cana. No delays at airport, great food and staff very thorough and entertaining .

Hotel is an hour from the airport and we were the last stop. One of our bags was left at the second last hotel in error but we managed to check the baggage cart, note the missing bag, and get contract bus to go back and check for wrongly dropped off luggage.

Hotel was great. Entertainement shows were above average for the island. Food at specialty restaurants (Chinese, Italian and Mediteranean Seafood) were pretty good. The steakhouse was rough... Steak tough and very "smokey".

Theme nights at Buffett were very good. Breakfasts were repetitive and were just average but bacon, eggs etc. always abundant.

Weather was quite rainy in Mid November but the rooms were neat and spacious.Maintenance staff repaired a fan/light and TV remote within an hour of reporting.. Quite impressive, really.

Front desk staff cooperative but never enough small currency available to exchange for Tips.

Overall the holiday experience was good. Bars, Pools, Animation Staff , all were staffed with competent people.

NOW FOR THE BAD PART. While we were checking out and discussing a request from the Sunquest Rep , one of our bags was either stolen or put on a wrong airport carrier. We received very little help or sympathy from Hotel or Sunquest staff. We received no satisfaction from Sunquest in our quest for some form of restitution since the bag had been lost going to the hotel and totaly lost on the return voyage to the airport.

In my opinion, this had happened before, yet Sunquest did not push for action by the hotel in any manner what so ever. THEREFORE, KEEP A GOOD WATCH ON LUGGAGE STORED IN THE LOBBY PENDING AIRPORT PICKUP.

This is a solid 3+ or 4 * hotel, reasonable rates with a good layout of two hotel complexes sharing a common lobby,common pools, entertainement and beach with the Sirenis Tropical Resort. Security sucks and attention to luggage and personal belongings should be extra dilligent
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Randy (Coda) 
USA
February 2008
Nice last year Much improved this year.

This year we returned to Sirenis jan25 –feb1 Same great price as last year. Flight from Pittsburgh and transfer from PUJ to Sirenis uneventful. Greeted with cocktail Check in smooth about a half hour wait for room to be ready it was ready before 3pm. Surprise we were put on tropical side in N block the suite was large clean and adorned with fancily folded towels and flowers. The mini bar was this year stocked with bottled Presidente’s. First thing we noticed is the improvements aground the resort fresh paint, .new landscaping, water fountains refurbished and all the treated lumber decks and bridges were replaced with nice plastic composite lumber. They also built a permanent bar-bq on the beach and had lunch each day We booked thru Apple vacations which I find out has a contract with Sirenis now. Thus many more Americans. My fears from last year that more Americans would somehow change the place were somewhat warranted but not all for the worse. The shows (which were excellent) were a little more Americanized and more English was spoken at activities. There were several top class shows including a circus with aerialists and a very good band on the beach. the lobby during dinner hours had a excellent music every night. and my fellow Americans were all well behaved to my knowledge . ala care restaurants we were guaranteed 4 and could book all at once and when we booked beyond the 4 it was no hassle. we did Italian, sea food(Mediterranean)then Mexican and Japanese (jade)each twice. all superb we did though prefer jade. The buffet was also wonderful and I could have eaten there every night but….the misses likes to be waited on. Beach, pool, grounds, room & staff all excellent. Overall experience was great! Some rate Sirenis 3,4 or 5 star or Apple 4 red apples . I think it rates a solid 4 star this year and on an Apple rating I say 4-5 and very close if not at a golden apple rating. WOULD WE GO BACK? ABSOLUTELY! I do fear the rates will be quite a bit more next year.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Krys 
Ontario
February 2008
Hi Debbie,

Read lots of reviews before we went (husband and an 18 and 16 year old). We just got back Feb. 3 after a week. The bus ride wasn't a big deal, it went quickly.

Hotel - check in was long as we did try to change rooms but never did manage it (just as well as we liked were we were). We arrived at 2:30, but didn't get into our rooms until after 4:00, as they weren't cleaned yet. The supervisor would keep going behind a door behind the front counter without giving us any new info. We just gave up and waited for the rooms, it was like a Seinfeld episode!

Property - is beautiful, large and well maintained.

Pool and beach - are also beautiful, whoever said that the sand isn't "white" is mistaken. It is much whiter than the southern beaches in the Dominican, yet not as white as Ocho Rios, but beautiful. I have never seen so many coconut trees!

Food - was good, always something to choose from. Steakhouse was good and the Italian was better. Tried to book all restaurants at once but was told that we couldn't. Also tried to book a same day in the morning and there weren't any openings, had to go the next day.

I agree that sometimes there were too many people participating in activities but not a big deal. Down side was too many smokers in the common area, even though it's an open concept, smoke would hang around and it wasn't pleasant.

Staff - friendly and helpful, very nice people We went for the fun, sun and relaxation and we got all that and more. We would definitely go again and yes it is a 4 star property!
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Todd 

February 2008
Arrival - At the airport we were sent to a small bus where we waited...and waited. We finally went and asked when the driver was coming. We were hurried to a different shuttle with a few other lost souls and driven to various resorts to drop people off. No biggie. I was happy to be in a warm climate.

Rooms - Our room was great! Clean, good ceiling fan, Beautiful bathroom, nice balcony with table and chairs, t.v., large closet. The maids cleaned our rooms perfectly. We tipped them regularly a couple bucks each day and we received flowers in the bathroom every time!

Bars - We didn't go. We heard they were good.

Beach and Pools - The pool was MASSIVE! I loved it. I could get in at one end and swim to the swim up bar, have a drink and swim to the other end where the other bar was and have another drink. The beer was delicious. "Presidente" Its similar to a Pilsner. Very light and easy to drink...a lot of them!

Grounds - Very beautiful grounds. The odd thing was that there were hidden speakers in the shrubs lining the sidewalks. They played local music which was nice but sometimes were on the blink and we'd hear strange "bits" of the music emanating. Funny.

Activities - We didn't do any activities though there were plenty to choose from. We just went to tan and relax. The restaurants were pretty good. I recomend the Mexican one for sure! Also, book all your a la carte reservations immediately upon arrival. The reservation counter is open for only a few hours daily.

Conclusion - We highly recommend the Sirenis. The price was right, the service was top notch and the beach was beautiful. Bring bug spray and an outlet converter for your electronics. They are cheap at Circuit City or a drug store. The Mosquitoes are pretty heavy at sunset and the bar, though covered, is a favourite feeding ground for the bugs. Also, bring some gifts for the maids and/or school children. We brought school supplies like, paints, pencils, paper, etc. It costs you nearly nothing and makes a huge difference in their lives. The only problems we had with the Sirenis was the buffet food. Theres PLENTY to eat but it was "buffet" food; fatty, saucey, buttery and it gets old fast. The wine is pretty bad too. The other problem was the check out time. I know someone else complained about this issue in another review and its true. 12o'clock check out but our bus didn't leave till 7 p.m. They didn't have a safe place to put our bags and to stay in a room until ONLY 4:00 was another $40. It was impossible even if we wanted torent a room as the hotel was booked solid. They assured us it was ok to leave the luggage out in the open in the main foyer. But we didn't leave our bags out of sight. But those were the ONLY problems with the Sirenis and those were pretty small problems in comparison to the beautiful vacation we had there. We'd go back! OH, have the local coffee, they use an espresso machine behind the bar to make coffee drinks and its amazing coffee. Buy a bag or two before you leave.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Dan 
Gatineau
November 2007
Arrival - The bus ride does take awhile and I don't know why but they don't process the check-in on the bus. I put that in my review form so hopefully they will do that soon. The bus ride was about 1:15 or so but there were workers fixing the road when we left so maybe it will be faster now. We were brought some delicious drinks while waiting in line to check-in.

Rooms - Room was nice and clean, we had a suite which meant we had a separate living room. It was kind of nice to store our suitcases and clothes.

Restaurants - Buffet was pretty good but they have almost the same stuff every night. There's lot of variety so you should be ok. We went to 3 a-la-carte restaurants (I believe they have 8 total). The mexican was pretty good, the steak house was AMAZING and the mediteranean was crappy.

Bars - There are bars everywhere so no trouble finding one. I didn't book this resort so I don't know the hours but the first night had us out of luck for a bar since the main one closed and we didn't know of any others that were open. It wasn't a problem since we were in bed by 11pm each night. Some of the waitresses didn't understand english so drink orders sometimes came back wrong but it's free so no biggie. The selection of drinks was huge, there was no problem mixing things up (pun intended).

Beach and Pools - Pool is by far the biggest I've had to date, I was out of breath swimming from one end to the other. There's two swim up bars at the pool and plenty of space. I spent most of the time at the beach. It's pretty rough most days which was just fine for me but probably not good if you have young kids, the undertow was pretty strong some days. I recommend walking down the beach to the next resort; if you are the beach and facing the ocean you want to head left. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get there but the waves come right into shore and are awesome. We bought some boogie boards from a vendor and spent a few days surfing at the other resort.

Grounds - Very beautiful grounds, best part is the sidewalks are not hot so you can walk around barefoot all day.

Activities - This is the first resort where we have too many people doing activities. Most resorts struggle to find participants whereas here you have to wait to get into something. Some days I would play beach volleyball for 3 hours straight. Other games aren't as fun with so many people, for example darts take a long time when there's 30 people waiting to go, they could solve this easily by buying 4-5 more dart boards and breaking people up into groups. I only found the ping-pong on the 3rd day, there's a sports bar just outside the entrance that has ping-pong, pool and foozeball (which was broken).

Conclusion - This resort is great, food is good, drinks are great, beach is awesome and pool is huge. This resort would be a contendor for a return visit. I would recommend bringing bug spray as this was the first resort where we had bugs, my girlfriend got eaten up pretty good. They do spray but I guess since it's a little out there bugs will drop in at night. I highly recommend going out for a sirloin steak at the steak house, it is amazing. There's some shops off the resort with some decent stuff to buy, again the trick is to make an offer and walk away, they are VERY high pressure and if you have trouble with people like that then it's best not to even get close to the shops. I bought a couple of paintings, they wanted $70 a piece but we paid $50 for both. Of course if you have no problem walking away you can normally drop by for a free cigar and a drink.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Mandy 
Toronto
November 2007
Arrival - Arrived late in the evening. Bus ride is long and bumpy but on the beginning of our vacation so all is good.

Rooms - We had rooms just above the lobby. They were large compared to the other rooms. The only down fall is that you have to climb stairs to get to the elevator (we had a one year old with a stroller) BUT considering the rooms were double the size of the other rooms in the other buildings, well worth the climb.

Restaurants - The food was amazing. We were there for 2 weeks and I gained 10 lbs. We went with our 4 kids (who are extremely picky eaters) and they always found something to eat. They actually looked forward to going to lunch and dinner just to see what they were serving.

Bars - The bars were great. Bartenders always friendly. The only complaint is that they close too early!!

Beach and Pools - The beach and pools were beautiful. The only problem we had was lack of chairs and sunshades. As we had a 1 year old, we really needed the sun shade. During the 2nd week of our trip, we started to go out at around 1:00 a.m. and would leave books, shoes etc on the chairs to "reserve" them and when we arrived the next day our spots were saved.

Grounds - The grounds were beautiful. There were always staff working on them.

Activities - Tons of activities and the entertainment doesnt stop.

Tours - We went to Saona Island. Wouldnt recommend this for anybody who has young kids. We couldnt bring our stroller and had to carry a one year old the whole day! Besides that, very good. The open bar at the Island is very limited!

Conclusion - Beautiful place. The only reason I wouldnt return is that it is too secluded. Also, a lot of French people and we found them to be quite rude. The kids werent happy with all the topless women either!!
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
HC 

August 2007
my son, my best friend and I just came back from the Sirenis Tropical Beach Resort, in Punta Cana on August 12th, 2007. We were extremely excited to go to this resort as it was sold to us as a 5-star resort, that had a fabulous suite with all the amenities! Our first impression of the resort upon arrival was spectacular! It had wonderful landscaping, the lobby area was sensational and the staff was A-1. Unfortunately things went downhill from there. Our room was far from a 5-star suite, I wouldn't even call it 4 star. It was dark, mouldy and definitely not the size or look as depicted on the website- in fact they used table clothes for bedding! I will say after a few phone calls to the staff, especially Junior who was amazing, they did what they could do to accommodate us. They quickly found us another room, closer to the beach which was a little better, but still not up to the standard that was sold to us.

The beach was wonderful and very close to the pool, so it was very convenient to go back and forth between the two, especially with a 9 year old who wanted to be at both. The food was quite good and we tended to stay with the buffet, due to the variety. Unfortunately both my friend and I became violently ill with food poisoning on the same day. Moreover, we met another two girls who one actually found a caterpillar in her rice and took a picture of it to prove it!! As a result of the food poisoning we did lose one day, staying in the room all day. Thankfully, once again, Junior came to the rescue and sent us healing food, via room service. This was very thoughtful and made up for the sickness for sure.

We were extremely frustrated and disappointed with our Noritour representative. She obviously was quite new and provided little or no assistance to things. The one thing that got me very upset was regarding the shopping tours. Our Noritour representative encouraged us to take the quick shopping tour which she arranged. She said that the driver would take us to the shopping area so we could buy DR-made specific items. I for one was very interested in purchasing some large pieces of artwork and asked our rep not once, not twice but three times if the area would have big pieces of artwork. She assured me that there would be. Well were we ever in for a surprise! The driver did take us to the market, where there were many different stores you could barter with and who had outstanding selections of items. However, the driver led us to one particular store, that was obviously owned by foreigners. We were very disappointed with this store because the selection was minimal, the artwork was non-existent and the prices were outrageous! I decided to venture to other stores to find other items, but as I was walking out of the store, the owner of the store came running to me telling I wasn't allowed to go to the other stores as she paid for the taxi to bring me to her store only and therefore I was obligated to purchase items from there and there only! The owner went on to tell me that this was the arrangement she made with the Noritour representative. Obviously this was not communicated to those of us who decided to take this shopping trip and so we were all shocked when the owner of the store demanded this! The onus was on our Noritour rep to be perfectly honest and tell us what the arrangement was and that we were only allowed to shop at one store. So for those of you who do go Sirenis and have this particular Noritour rep, beware of taking her amazing shopping tour..its not amazing unless you get to go to the other stores. By the way, I did end up sneaking away from the store and ventured over to the other stores, which were run by locals and by far much better in every way than the store operated by the foreigner!

All and all, I do have to say the location, beach and facility is a 4 star. The room was a 3.5 star and the Noritour representative should be replaced! On the other hand ALL the staff at Sirenis Tropical were 5 star plus..unbelievable people who seemed genuine in their dealings with the visitors!

One other thing, I wondered if this was a partial nude beach, because it was unbelievable how many women walked around topless. Normally if this was an adult resort its not a big issue, but this is sold as a family resort and with many young boys, such as my son, it got extremely embarrassing for them. At one point I had to talk to my son about it and he said "what is going on with all the women here! don't they know their not wearing a top!". What can you say to 9 year old..but they forgot?
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Pippi 

August 2007
Hi There,
Just got back from the Dominican rep on Wed (15th August 2007) morning and thought I’d update you on the place. My Daughter and I have just come back from the Sirenis cocotal beach and Spa in the Dominican Republic At the airport, it was a breeze, no complications at all and the locals could not do enough to help. The transfer to the hotel was nothing to complain about...my daughter slept all the way since it was dark there was really nothing to see. The check-in at the hotel was smooth with no delays we were quickly were given our keys, and went to our room which was really pretty ...just remember to take your mosquito net with you....we took ours and did not get bitten even once!!! Also always spray on your mosquito repellent (use one with deet ...it really does work). The lady who cleaned our room was very pleasant (don't forget to tip as it does make their life a bit easier it also ensures that you are well looked after because the word does spread around)!

The buffet meal had a large variety and we honestly could not fault it. We had a meal at one of the speciality restaurants (the Mexican ...which was a dress up affair and good fun. We decided not to go to the other restaurants as we just wanted to chill as opposed to the formality of ordering etc

We did not go to the casino, or night club, as my daughter is only 11 and therefore not allowed into those areas we did however catch all the shows that they put on every night and one of my fav was the Michael Jackson show (they have a lot of talent in DR which is not even recognised) The animation team was absolutely brilliant!!! not only do the work days but also take part in shows that they put on at night....we absolutely loved Tyson a real character who is a must for every one to see....Giselle, Claudia, Johnson etc sorry I haven't put down everyone’s name as I’m quite hopeless is remembering names but they all know who they are

We booked one of the excursions through our tour rep and I think that is one of the best things we did(we did a full day tour on the monster safari...stopping off at different places to see the life style of the locals .. we visited some schools , church, sugar cane plantation , swam in the river shopped at a local market (don't forget to bring some spending money) and met the children(we brought some pencils etc with us for the children and they were so appreciative, it just makes you realize how we take things for granted

The swimming was great (word of advise, if you are like my daughter with very sensitive skin....keep away from the pool nearest to the Mexican restaurant as it tends to get very hot there that is unless you spend most of your time under the bridge and near the pool bar where it is cooler . You are better off going to the pool on the tropical side where there is more shade). It does tend to get very hot between 10-3 sometimes even as early as 9 am so be sure to use that sun screen (we used factor 50 and my daughter still managed to get slightly burnt on the nose and cheeks:( Take part in the activities. Not only are they fun but you can also win prizes e.g. Dominican rep T shirts and the local drink which a lot of people seemed to enjoy doing. They have so many activities you don't really have time to get bored sometimes you have to remind yourself to slow down as you are on holiday. (The one sad thing I found about the activities is that some of the Dominicans tended to be extremely competitive and always had the "Us against them" attitude which sort of spoilt the fun-but hey that's just a few people so I shall not go into that)

About the beach wear...lol.... I’m not going to burst any ones bubble but I will say this much if you want to go semi nude, why not book a nudist beach holiday. A lot of these all inclusive holidays have children and some of the younger boys were getting really embarrassed in front of their parents when they would see a woman topless.

All in all we had an amazing holiday …
Would we go back!!!! Heck YES
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
R & L 
Gatineau
April 2007
We read some of the reviews on this site before booking our trip. Some reviews were so severe that we hesitated some.

The Sirenis Cocotal resort surpassed all our expectations. What more could you ask for? Why would anyone rate this a 2*. It's easily a 4 star resort.

Food is a notch above the rest, 6 à la carte restaurants and 2 buffets, 24 hour snacks, the largest beach I've ever seen, drinks everywhere, entertainment at night, you can walk the beach for hours and hours...

Safe, very clean, quiet and fun. Many European tourists and lots of Canadians and Québécois.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Cheryl 

April 2007
Left Canada March 24/07 and returned at 2:30 a.m. April 8/07; a 14 day stay.

We stayed on the room side of the resort; it was extremely clean, comfortable and we were quite content. The first night we had a problem with the patio door not locking, being two middleage ladies, we were concerned. The security guard posted outside the building saw us trying to fix it and immediately sent a repairman who had it fixed in a few minutes (Canadian minutes, not Dominican minutes) This was indicative of our entire stay. The staff was fantastic, from the maids to the animation group. The nightly entertainment was great. The food was good, a lot of variety, very little recycled. Everything was piping hot, the pasta bar is great, desserts (especially ice cream) very pleasing. All in all, we would certainly return to this resort, no question about it. This hotel was better than the Krystal in CayoCoco, especially food wise. There were so many buffet restaurants, beach, poolside and two at the main lobby. The only negative would be that they really don't have 24 hour snacks, they kind of discourage you to go into the retaurants between meals but people went anyway.

We met so many great people; the clientele is so varied - from every country in the world. The only flaw was that for Easter Weekend, the affluent Dominicans are allowed into the resorts for their holidays; they were overwhelming, so many kids running loose while the parents partied. They took over the diningrooms, pools and beach in droves. It really wasn't pleasant but hey, it came at the end of our holiday, not the beginning and they deserve a good time too. We loved it.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Juliandrea 

April 2007
Went with my family March 2nd 2007

five of us, two adults and three children ages 9, 8, and 4 Went really to this resort because it was a five star and because it can accomodate 3 children without having to get two rooms, seeing as our children are young.

We were very pleased, we would go again. This time is great because it is not busy. the ride is an hour from the airport but totally worth it. The food is great, nothing missing everything you need is there. Great place to relax, and you do because thekids are kept busy. If you have kids that dont swim bringing a life jacket is smart because they can swim while you enjoy a drink at the swim up bar. You can eat anywhere and you dont have to leave where you are sitting really, it is safe and the beach is absolutely beautiful. The people are friendly and very accomodating. dont know if I missed anything but all I can say in closing is that you wont be disappointed.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Ana 

March 2007
We have been to the Dominican Rep. three times. Punta Cana is way better than Puerto Plata.

Punta Cana -
Fiesta Bavaro -A few years ago we enjoyed Christmas and New Years at Bavaro Fiesta. Positive: beautiful white sand beaches. Very well managed and organized, great staff and ambiance. Decorations and food - five stars.

Negative: Very windy (could be the time of the year) and personally we felt uncomfortable with the poor conditions of the cooking staff - long hours in the heat, and not allowed a drink or provided a fan. Not much better than what we saw in Cuba.

Overall: 3+ stars.

Sirenis Cocotal - just came back - Loved it

Positive; Very complete overall 5 Star Resort Hotel. Extremely well organized, numerous options of entertainment, access to sports equipment at no extra charge, and 24 hour services for restaurants, bars, casino, a la carte restaurants (6), dancing, live shows, karaoke, live bands, etc. The staff is amazing, upbeat. There is something going on at all times. It's so big that one can still enjoy quiet and private beaches, never waited in line for more than 5 minutes. They move huge amounts of guests so well because they have many many well trained staff. Excellent management. Restaurant workers work two 4hour shifts per day, as opposed to the longer hours at Fiesta. Gold sandy beach with green-blue water.

Tours to Purchase: Caribbean Festival - Swimming with sharks, but DO NOT BUY THE USD$35.00 VIDEO. You're better off buying your underwater disposable camera. They'll ask you to pay up-front and you can't get a place to watch what you're buying until you are back home. It's a boring endless very poor quality video of empty ocean floor, a fes glimpses of a fish, and many stange faces - not yours. We were told that we were being filmed underwater, waved many times, but I guess were edited out. The video also works at its 25% and then goes black, as if Negative: We can only think of a couple of things: once you check out of your room, they'll let you shower at the spa, but there's only 2 shower stalls and 1 toilet. Maybe this is the same in many other places, but it seems that smokers have no restrictions whatsoever which is umpleasant for a non-smoker.

Puerto Plata - bad experience - DON'T buy any tours. Grand Palladium Reort
- old and run down. advertises itself as a 5-star when it's barely a 1 star.
No kidding, their excuse is that those are Dominican Stars. Tours purchased from NOLITOURS - a rip-off. We won't go back to Puerto Plata.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Karen 

March 2007
My partner and spent one week at Sirenis Cocotal Jan 28 - Feb 4/07

Flight: as the others, not very roomy but a good flight none the less.

Arrival at Punta Cana: fast and efficient, better than landing and departing from Toronto. Picked up baggage right away and headed to tour bus. Yes the road is bumpy, didn't bother us, the bus was comfy and had a/c. We took an early flight and got to check out the scenery on the journey.

Sirenis Cocotal: no problem checking in. fast and friendly staff at the counter, drinks served also. It helps to speak a little bit of Spanish. Would recommend early check in. check in is not until 3:00 pm but we had a bite to eat wandered around and then were escorted to our room

Grounds/Beach/Pool: all beautiful. Always neat and clean. Big pool and fantastic beach, really fine sand. Lots of beach chairs, people get up early to reserve the little huts or shaded areas to sit, otherwise lots of chairs if you don't want the shade. We were there for the sun not the shade. Nice breeze on the beach. I didn't notice it being that windy, but without the breeze it would have been really hot.

Rooms: room was fine, tiled, a/c, balcony and clean. Always had hot water, always had enough towels, water and pop. We tipped and brought small gifts for maid and she always had the room looking fantastic when we returned. Beautiful flowers and towel arrangements. No facecloths here, bring some cheapy cheapy ones and then just leave them. Room didn't smell..not sure what the other reviews were talking about.

Food & Drink: I think we ate enough to feed the whole island. An endless supply, you will never go hungry. I loved their pizza and there was something about their potatoes I couldn't resist. We enjoyed the buffets better than the "theme" restaurants, although the Mexican one was our favourites. Loved the breakfasts.We tried everything and never got sick, creamy cold salads, ice cream etc..even the water and ice are purified so you can enjoy. The drinks were good also.. Try the Coco Loco's

Entertainment: always something going on during the day and night. A lot of audience participation if you wanted to join in or not. The animation team work hard and are there long hours. Some of the evening shows are pretty funny. Probably not the place if you are single and looking for some action

Shopping: we spent most of your money on tipping. Wasn't much to buy at the resort or at the beach vendors just paintings, carvings, jewellery, always the same gifts. Don't buy cigars from the beach huts, not sure what's in them, even the jewellery might not be real gold or silver, be careful.

Excursions: we went on 3. really enjoyed the trip to Sanona Island. The drive maybe long but again you get to see a lot of the country side. The Catamaran ride to the island was fabulous and the island itself was beautiful. The speed boat ride back was fun and stopping between the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea was fabulous. Bring a bit of money as they stop at a huge gift shop in one of the town, something our Sunquest Rep never told us. Bavaro Runners was another good trip, although our guide could have been a bit more exciting. The last was the fishing trip by Sunquest…don't do this one, a long trip out to the marina, our driver was late and made up the time, we both felt ill after the ride, that's how bad he drove. In the boat it was trolling and we only caught one fish, it was boring otherwise, not enough rods for anyone, and they cut our 1/2 day short because the driver was late. Sunquest did nothing to refund us.

All in all we would go back!
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Debbie & Tim 
Winnipeg
March 2007
Photos

Hotel Overall:
Isolated and second furthest from the airport. Minimum 1 hour transport time if no other hotels are stopped at.

Supposed to be a 5 Star, they must rate themselves because there is NO way this is a 5 Star, I'd be hard pressed to even give it a 3* on a good day, maybe a 2* We were transferred to this hotel from a true 5 Star and DO know the difference. It seems the people who like this hotel didn't have to spend very much on their vacation and perhaps they have factored this into their opinion. To me a 5 Star should be a 5 Star whatever you pay for it. We even heard someone say they wanted to physically remove the stars from the walls in the lobby.

We encountered many people counting down the days till they were out of there and had to deter quite a few people basing Punta Cana on this one hotel.

Lots of European and French people (won't say anymore on that subject). We did meet some very nice English people and some Canadians.

Check-In
: Took 3 3/4 hours, got shuffled from one staff member to another. Morale here must be really low to treat their guests in such a manner. It was 3 hours before we got wristbands and were able to get a drink.

Pergola Bar:
Good service and drinks if being served by the male staff. Female staff not forthcoming with service or smiles. Funny thing is, we were sitting at the bar and one of the staff looked at another staff member and pointed to us and said "Bavaro". Still don't know what that was supposed to mean.

Pool:
Looks nice, lots of kids. Small pool bar. Lots of chairs, not very comfortable without the thin chairpads and there wasn't even enough of them for 50% of the chairs. No security to enforce the "No Diving" off the bridge, lawsuit waiting to happen.

Beach:
Sand is brown colour and very littered with cigarette butts, no ashtrays provided and people didn't think twice about dropping them in the sand. People also left their garbage, dishes and drinks on the beach too. No beach grooming while we were there. From the inconsiderate litterers there beach grooming would of been pointless.
Beach chairs comfortable. Sand/beach area on a steeper slope than other beaches.

Towel Hut:
The fist day getting our towels the person TOLD us to get him 2 beers before he would give us towels, he wasn't smiling about it either. We avoided the towel hut after this.

Phone Service:
They dial an incorrect number and then charge you $3 US for the call. Phone messages never made it to our phone.

Shopping:
Even the Reps tell you that the shopping in front of the Sirenis is very expensive, they were not kidding. Shopped at the Bavaro for almost half the price. No wonder a good majority of the shops there are closed for business, I guess they just don't get it. Beach vendor prices start higher here too than other beach vendors.

Rooms:
Nothing fancy or appealing about this room (G105 Cocotal). Our bed had two broken legs so the blood rushed to your head when laying down. Plain bedspread was no better and just as thin as an oversized tablecloth. Furniture was dated and many chips, gouges, burns, rings etc. And yes, I did take pictures of this in case anyone thinks this is exagerated. Boy, none of their promo pictures look like the room we got stuck with. All the promo pics I've seen have floral drapes and bedspreads but not ours. I did like the Dominican art on the walls. We had an oceanview but for this you sacrafice and have to put up wtith the outside noise.

Bathroom:
No facecloths. Toilet ran 24/7 with an occasional phantom flush every now and then. Bathtub area filthy with mold and rust. Ceiling above tub leaked cold water on you when showering and the same from the light fixture above the sink. In general the ceiling was caving in, probably due to water leaking for quite some time. When in the bathroom you could hear your neighbours talking in normal tone and whatever else they were doing. Yuk.

Plugs:
Recessed in the wall prevented some chargers not to fit.

Mini Fridge:
Stocked daily with water, 2 Cokes and a Sprite...No beer in this 5 Star ????

Patio:
Not bad, nice view. Patio door obviously has been pryed open a few times.

Noise level: Terrible, you could hear people coming and going at all hours, you could hear them walking in the above room and whenever they opened or closed their closet doors. One night they had a show at the pool until after midnight, this was very loud and felt bad for any parents trying to get their kids to sleep or even themselves.

Maid Service:
Room never made up before 4:30 each day, no flowers or towel arrangementsand One day no bath towels left, had to steal them from the supply room, but the maids are very friendly.

Room Safe:
No point, someone there obviously has a duplicate key or something as our safe was broken into and two rings were stolen. Nothing done by the security staff either. We talked to other people while there who had the same problem and witnessed other guests leading Security to their rooms. I have written a complaint to Head Office, still no reply and probably won't get one either.

Specialty Restaurants:
Quite a line-up on a twice a day system, the wait could be as long as 1 1/2 hours. One a la carte allowed per week. We went to the Steak House and the Chinese. Both were very good. The restaurants are very small and very hot inside. The only time a staff member smiled was on our way out and the greeter asked how the meal was. I suspect staff moral problems here.

The Gourmet restaurant is an additional $35 per person.

Buffets:
Birds flying through and over food in the buffet. Buffets serve the exact same food as each other so shouldn't really count as a separate restaurant. Food was plentiful but very generic and usually cold, they did however provide microwaves to heat up your food, what a pain that is though. No shrimp or lobsters at these buffets and variety didn't change much from day to day. I'm used to seeing happy friendly cooks in the buffets at various fresh cooking stations, you won't find them here as these stations don't exist at this hotel, they only have the omelet guy, the pasta guy and the carving guy, everyone else is behind the scenes. The serving/table staff here are very friendly and attentive and appear to be much happier, perhaps because there is more management walking around here.

Bread selection I think is worth mentioning as it was very limited. White breads and rolls, no ryes or pumpernickels and very very dry. Dessert selection very limited also but adequate, pastries not too fresh.

Disco:
Drinks not included here.

Casino:
Drinks not included unless you're gambling.

Internet Cafe:
Consisted of 4 computer stations.

General Grounds:
Getting a little tired and beat up, they look like they are trying. Lots of palm trees.

Note:
We were rerouted to this hotel after our initial stay at another hotel had run out due to being booked solid. Sirenis was the only hotel in a 50 mile radius that had vacancies, I guess we should of wondered why it was the only hotel that could take other people that had been bumped. The other people were so mad they all got a free one-week stay for next year at their original hotel (Iberostar Bavaro) and cursed every day they had to be at the Sirenis and couldn't wait to leave. One party even had to change their wedding plans.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Peter & Vance 
East Hanover, New Jersey
February 2007
Summary ---------------------
1. read as many reviews as you can - so you can be prepared 2. 7:00 AM dash for beach chairs (this rule continues to hold true) 3. nightly entertainment (9:00 PM to 10:30 PM) in covered theater 4. disco dancing (11:00 PM to 2:00 AM) - latin, english, carribean, reggae 5. safe to walk on grounds at night, after disco 6. beautiful grounds, walkways and rooms are clean 7. food is plentyful and healthy (with lots of fruits and vegetables) 8. windy most of time - bit too much for us 9. theme restaurants were trimmed back - good for avoiding long lines 0. expensive during peak season holiday

Detail Story ------------------
We wanted to return to Punta Cana, DR for another vacation since our prior experience (some 4 years ago) was excellent. All due to many travelers’ writings on Debbie’s Dominican Republic website, we became confident that this hotel was the place to visit. The Serenis Cocotal with its all inclusive package is ideal for travelers who do not want to constantly have to search for a restaurant and nightly entertainment. There were six of us going on this trip. So, basically to make the trip worth while, we asked **ALL** travelers in our group to read the various reviews **BEFORE** taking the plunge. Well, this takes about 3 to 4 hours. Without this reading, the level of expectations for the vacation can vary tremendously. Once the homework was completed, betting on the location and hotel was an easy win-win situation. This time, we bet on Serenis Cocotal. It was very good.

Certain features of Serenis Cocotal appealed to us greatly. The cleanliness and courteous staff (even though we were prepared for somewhat slower paced level from that of a big city), and the freshness and new looking experience of this hotel, proximity to the beach and its beautiful poolside eating areas, barbeque functions and long paths surrounding was excellent. We were also prepared to brace ourselves for the 7:00 AM dash out the room (sometimes half asleep and in pajamas) so as to get a few good beach chairs near the poolside and beach front, all because we knew from prior readings that there continues to be a problem getting beach chairs.

And this was the case for us, too. But, for others who were not prepared, we witnessed lots of frustrations and sad faces (for them, this was not a good vacation). Only thing, the trip was expensive. Prices were high during the peak holiday season (between Christmas Eve and New Year Day). The all inclusive package included meals - a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to balance for a healthy diet. This was important to us, since we did not want to eat an entire cow or pig and return home with a tan but also gaining 5 lbs around the waist line. Yet, we were dissapointed at the trimming of poolside theme restaurants as compared to 4 years ago. Other reviews grind the point that the hotel does not have a four star menu, and this was correct. Guessing that these adjustments were cost saving considerations, we accepted it. For us, this turned out great. Because we did not have to wait on various long lines to make reservations for these theme restaurants during lunch and dinner hours. Instead, we just had fun and sun. We suggest for you do avoid these too. It does not make business sense for Serenis or other hotels to continue theme specialty restaurants, because the number of staff people needed to support this becomes costly to the hotel – and results in a loss of services in other areas, such as good buffet food and service. The lunch time barbeques were consistently prepared in good fashion. So, we converted into this- eating barbeque chicken, pork chops and burgers at lunch. Then, we were leaving the vegetables, salads and fruits selections for our dinner meals. Of course, we had a struggle not to eat too much, and gain the calories. Thanks to the hotel grounds and the activity schedule, we took on the long walking paths, the endless pool activities, and the nightly discothèque parties which allowed us ample opportunity to burn off whatever calories we needed, and to have a fun time.

It was getting hot in here, so why not take our clothes off? (50-Cents song) The disco was hopping. Dancing to current music songs - English, Latin, Caribbean, Spanish and Reggae sounds helped burn off some calories. As far as we were concerned, that dance floor was jammed up for a night of shaking, wiggling, bending and stretching. We were very happy with this set-up.

And, at the end of the evening, we walked back to our hotel room – no need to take a taxi or get behind a wheel of a car and drive. This was a tremendous advantage of the all-inclusive set-up. The nightly entertainment (9:00 PM to 10:30 PM) and the disco (11:00 PM to 2:00 AM) provided all that we wanted in a vacation. On the flip side, we were a bit disappointed that on one night the disco was empty at 11:00 PM, but these things happen.
Possibly, we were lucky it was hopping on most nights because this was the high season (during Christmas to New Year break,) and so there was a crowd.
We loved to party and dance (can you tell?) We also love to swim on the beach,bask in the warm sunny weather and get a nice tropical tan.

But was the wind too much? It seems that this time, the weather at Punta Cana included too much wind. The waters were calm and swimming was allowed, but the winds were a constant reminder that floating on the beach ocean currents and waves was not going to be easy. So, we converted to the pool swimming, and that was good enough. We got the sun and the sun tan. Others in our group thought that the hot weather excitement was dampened a bit because of the strong winds. For example, any reading materials and hats needed to be secured down, or else, they along with the beach towels, always find their way onto the sandy beaches, blown by the wind, some 10 to 30 feet away. The winds were strong. Looking back, we were lucky to bring a few extra carry bags (these were give away items from local merchants in our home town of New Jersey.) The carry bags were used to claim chairs early in the morning, along with beach towels and tee shirts. We made sure to tie them down securely to the chairs, so the wind did not blow them away. As the rule goes, no towel on the chair, then you may loose that chair when returning from that wonderful breakfast buffet.

The hotel grounds and rooms were adequate. Others comment on the slow service when it comes to fixing a leaking faucet or toilet. We agree, but because this was our second trip to Punta Cana, we made note to find alternative bathrooms – just in case. So, we made use of the lobby toilets and washrooms whenever possible. This seems like a trivial point, but worth sharing with you folks who may need to know (so, just don’t get stuck.) The rooms had ample space to put our clothes and beach goggles. We brought the snorkeling gear but did not use it. Funny, basking during the day under a palm tree, getting a great tan, during the warm sunny but cool days and party dancing at night seemed to be enough vacation for us. While walking on the beach, we noticed a few abandoned homes which appear deteriorating due to the climate conditions. We also think that the materials used to build the home may not have clean concrete. If they used local concrete, which was salt minerals, and these minerals were not cleaned from the sand before turning into concrete, then the structure would have an internal corrosive factor that will damage the structure quickly. Funny little point we picked up while talking to a few friends back in the United States. Anyway, there were plenty of places for beach activity, but not the same as other resorts, we assume. Maybe the snorkeling and scuba diving should have been planned for a trip elsewhere. Anyway, we were not disappointed. And, the hotel grounds included two large covered theaters for entertainment. The covered open-air theaters were of great value because on one occasion, there was a tremendous downpour, yet the show went on, and many were able to sit down (sheltered from the rain), and enjoy the show. Some even stood near the sides and had a cigarette without disturbing the others at the audience. People were generally very nice. We liked that.

Other reviews suggested the same, that the vacation folks coming to this resort were generally very nice and polite. This was the case. Mostly Europeans and Canadian folks with their well behaved children. What a wonderful sight for us to see – well behaved children. Also, because the all inclusive included alcohol, there were many adults were drinking, but descretely. We did not find vacationers who were out of control, gone wild, and throwing their clothes off - after drinking a few glasses of the local rum. Of course, this bad behavior occurs mostly with folks back home. We folks in New York City and New Jersey know how to get into a party mood, and let it all hang out. So, without this company, we as a group, were a bit more polite and curious to others. This ened nice, really nice. And nobody got hurt. When we were tired and sleepy, other people’s noise did not bother us, and the quiet sounds became an added plus. It was really safe to walk the grounds at night, under the black skylight with bright stars lighting up the galaxy. The peaceful nights were romantic – but this was after the nightly entertainment (between 9:00 and 10:30 PM) ended, say about 10:30 PM. We can talk so much about the value the nightly entertainment has – but it will take more of your time. To say this quickly, because the Serenis Cocotal has this all inclusive which includes the nightly entertainment and disco – we chose this place to vacation over many others. And we were not disappointed. After an evening meal, which includes an espresso café and some sweets, sitting down and watching the staff put on a comedy sketch or musical was just great. OK, the show was not on level with a Broadway musical, yet again we need not have to drive into NYC, park the car for $30, pay $200 per ticket, and still unable to have a coffee while watching the show. Here, at this hotel, we did have our coffee or Pina Colata while watching the show, and that was nice. It was relaxing.

Of course, the $64 question, was it worth it? Personally, we thought the price was a little too expensive, but for the holidays, we had a nice vacation and got away – to somewhere warm. We hope this review was good information for you. We have some pictures to share, but they are similar to others on the photo site.

Photos

Yet, if you have any questions, you can email us, and please do the following:

Email: peteraft@msn.com and use subject: PUNTA CANA, DR - 2007
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
 
Canada
February 2007
We are a couple in early 30, experience travelers, with many visits to Cuba, Dominican, Mexico, and Bahamas.

FLIGHT
Skyservice - plane e320 is very small, can feel every little bump & they put people like sardines. No J class. Flight was 4hrs and 25 minutes to Punta Cana from Hamilton. If you flying from Hamilton note that this facilities are very small, and yes - no duty free or smoking area.

ARRIVE IN PUNTA CANA
Prepare yourself to walk from the plane down the stairs. Quick process at the airport. Bell boys not too pushy - just say NO. Ride to resort is another story - they say is around an hour - more likely two hours on curvy, bumpy road. Sirenis is one of the fares one, so be prepare to stop in others resorts on the way there - too long. TAXI faster, but not recommended - not sure about safety.

SIRENIS COCTAIL
Late check - in is a totally nightmare - it seems like they don’t know what they doing, that is why is so long, no welcome drink. Be prepare to wait till morning hours to finally get to your room and even then you cant be sure that there is nobody else already sleeping there. It had happened too many people on our flight - ....and haw many others?? In the middle of the week we were awaken in the early morning by another couple try to get "their" room. Since there we kept “NO MALESTADE" sign outside our door.

Rooms - good size and clean. Be preper that some of the things in the room may not working and it takes forever for them to fix it ( things like - phone, air condition, patio door) thing that takes 5- 10 minutes in here - over there is like 5 - 10 hours and there is always tomorrow. NOTE - if you plan to have some gifts for cleaning people - they are most men, not ladies. We were at “K - coco side" - the best ocean view - just few meters away from the beach & pool.

Food – there are choices of food for everybody, and we didn’t see anybody being hungry. Only disappointment was in a lack of fish. Island and no fish sound bizarre. The “Al Carte” restaurants are in my opinion are waist of the time – most people end up at the buffet anyway. What is the point to serve a chicken at “seafood restaurant” or “sea cocktail” with two little shrimps in it and rice?????

Entertainment - except few shows there is nothing there. Perfect for anybody who like to be in bad by 11 pm. Bar open till 12 am with no international drinks. Daily entertainment is very poor. If you are a party animal look somewhere else. Disco is small, smelly, dark, and you have to pay for the drinks. Going outside the resort at night time is not recommended due to your safety.

Shopping – there are few shops in the front of hotel – expensive, for good bargain visit one of the small shops at each end of the property , right on the beach. Bargain, bargain prices , they usually start from high and you can pay only 20%. Nice paintings.

Grounds – very clean and in good shape – from time to time you can see crew working on something – no problem.

Beach and Pool - beach is not bad, cleaned daily. Coral reef is close to the beach – watch were you stand in the water. Pool is nice, big, two swim-up bars, quiet section, kid’s pool – cleaned every morning. You have to reserve a lounge early in the morning.

Extrusions – there are few trips that they are offer, but really nothing special and way overprice.

Overall impression - It is not bad for 3.5* - 4* resort. Very windy.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Lorrie 
Canada
February 2007
We just returned Feb 1 from a wonderful family vacation to the Sirenis Cocotal in Punta Cana. Funny how all the reviews I read prior to going all suggested they visited the same location and yet varied so greatly from "will never return" to "loved it and going back". Well, here is our take:

We are 37 and 38 our children 8 and 9. We have travelled to Santa Domingo, Puerto Plata and now Punta Cana.

SKY SERVICE Flight: Oh boy... everyone who said it was a small cramped plane was NOT kidding! I'm 5' and I got swollen legs from being cramped. Make sure if you are on this plane, you make a couple trips to the furthest washroom just to get the blood flowing in your legs. Both flights were exactly on time, and the staff were amazingly friendly which was a huge surprise after what I had read. (I told them that I was surprised they smiled as well and they laughed). Food however, was... well... gross. The way there was a warm wrap of spaghetti sauce, small carrot/raisin salad, cup of water, cheese and crackers (those were good!) and some sort of cake thing. The way back was similar with the exception of some spicy thing in the wrap. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD FOR THE PLANE. They have movies which can be access via the earphones they sell you for $5 or you can use your own from home.

DRIVE TO RESORT: Yep, it is 60 minutes for sure, maybe a little more and I had to laugh when I read a review somewhere by a fellow with a preg. wife who didn't like the bumps. I guess he thought they were going to take the Dominican 401? They do not have good roads there. Anywhere. I think if I was preg. I would be doing a little more reading up on where I was going before getting on a plane so things like that wouldn't be a surprise. But, yes it is long but at least the 2 buses Sunquest put us on were nice.

RESORT CHECK IN: Here is a tip and I hope it doesn't come back to bite me if everyone starts doing it. I jumped off the bus and headed for the front desk while my husband waited for the luggage. By the time everyone came in, we were all signed in and ready to head to our room. We were greeted with a wonderful glass of juice and off we went.

ROOM: I have to say our room was the nicest we have ever had of any hotel we have stayed in with perhaps the exception of Stage West and the Double Tree west of Toronto. Huge room with a marble bathroom, great water pressure and hot water at every time of day even with 4 of us showering several times a day in some cases. Mini bar was always full, beautiful balcony looking towards the water... what more could we want? (get the safe key for $2 per day at the desk when you check in to save yourself a trip back to the front desk later).

FOOD: Well, it isn't "our" food (Canadian), but it must have been alright because I packed on almost 10lbs in 7 days! We are rather picky eaters, for example, our kids think hot dogs are a treat when they go to a friends birthday party because I don't buy "mystery meat". However, there was always fresh pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, and papaya. Always something to put a salad together as well. Breakfast always served up pancakes and sausages (different than ours) an omelette bar, yoghurts by the dozens (not the same as you are used to), and cereals, smoothies made fresh while you watched, donuts and pastries, etc. Again, these are "their" version so don't go down expecting to get Tim Horton's stuff. Lunch had the same fruits and desserts, breads, soup, hot dishes, etc. etc. and Dinner had at least 3 assortments of meats some carved in front of you, soups, potatoes (I think the mashed were instant though), etc.etc. I have to say, the people that said they couldn't find anything to eat there really shouldn't be traveling. They need to stay close to their own stove. These people go out of their way to ensure the tourists have everything they want, and I find it sad that so many seem ungrateful of those efforts and cannot see the forest for the trees. I love crepes with peaches and whipped cream, but had to settle for plain ones with a syrup. Oh well. It is the same as 10 people bringing a potato salad to a party. I'll bet not 2 are the same. Everyone has their own version, some you will like and some you wont.

BEACH: No words can express the beauty of what you are going to see.

CHAIRS: Not once in 7 days did we "reserve" a chair or have our towels moved while we were at the water. Perhaps we lucked out? Always lots there.

ENTERTAINMENT: WOW. I highly suggest you take part in all the exercise classes though if you are going to enjoy the food as we did. They had stretches and aerobics. Lots of fun stuff to like dance lessons and games and a Mr. Sexy 2007 that was the best 30 minutes I can remember in a long time.

KIDS CLUB: The two women who looked after this were wonderful. Our kids had the option of going or staying with us and always chose to go. 10am to 12pm and then 3pm to 5pm. Some nights the kids met them for dinner and then off to the mini disco or beach party. They even got a Sirenis Cocotal T-shirt to show off to their friends on Monday.

EXTRAS: When you walk down to the water you can walk along the beach to the right or to the left. If you go left, you will see a big white sign for horseback riding, ATV rentals, Fishing, etc. We ended up becoming quite good acquaintances with Ramon there who books the tours and I would even call him a new friend since he was concerned enough about us that he called me when we got home to make sure we arrived safely. You must put aside $40 for the 2.5 hour ATV tour! We went through the town and our kids got to see what life is like for the children there. When they hear the bikes coming, they all run out yelling "olla" and put their hands out so you can give them a "hi 5". I was just about "olla'd" out by the time we got back. We stopped at an underground cave which was magnificent and then at a store in the town were we rested up for a few minutes and got a free coke. It is $40 for a bike so if you double it, it is still the same money. I suggest you pack a bandana though for the dust and if you have swimming or ski goggles, you might want those as well.

Horseback riding was fun and I went 3 times. We have our own trail riding facility of 31 horses, so it was hard to see those horses. I was able to show Ramon though that doing up that back cinch so tight made it hard for the horse to breath, so at least that has changed. The ride was wonderful, $20 for 90 minutes. They also have a full moon ride that you should ask about as well. A beautiful ride down the beach at around 8pm is a once in a lifetime thing. Check it out. If you do, would you please do me a favour and tell him Lorrie or the horse lady from Canada says hi! He only gets paid if he books a tour, so make sure you share the word with others as I have if you enjoy it.

BAD HAIR DAY: Ladies, if you are prone to frizzy hair in damp weather (I didn't realize I was!), pack a bottle of anti frizz hair cream. My hair is normally straight and I looked like I had a bad perm going on for the week. Where'd those curls come from???

MOSQUITOES and SAND FLEAS: Yep, found 'em. Only at night in the specialty restaurants did we have problems though so we sprayed our ankles and all was well. The sand fleas were bad in a couple areas down the beach, but we never did have a problem with any on the resort. Tiny little things that you really have to look for to see.

MAID SERVICE: Our maid was wonderful and as the saying goes "what goes around comes around". We took her special things and made an effort to communicate with her when we needed 2 extra towels (thanks to Debbies travel spanish/english cheat sheet!) we were able to leave her a note and VOILA, there were 2 extra towels. We made sure we always said Olla and smiled and left her special things each day, and one day we came in and she had left us 2 small paintings for our kids and 1 large beautiful one for us! I asked her what she would like from people wanting to bring things and she couldn't narrow it down, just that she would be grateful for anything. She kept pointing to our knock off Walmart special Crock shoes so we left those and she wanted us to leave any of our kids clothes that we didn't want. So, if your kids have outgrown anything, I know where you can take it.

WAIT STAFF: Eat fast or your plate is gone! They are so fast at ensuring you never have a dirty plate in front of you..... always smiling, always willing to help with anything you need.

VENDORS: When you go left on the beach there are vendors just past Ramon's little hut where he books the tours. The don't seem to have as many things as the ones on the other side, but sure worth a check because they have other things. The one thing they all said about our family was that they felt "equal" to us because we would shake their hands and smile and laugh when they called us into their little stores. What a great feeling that was, and again, how sad that being friendly all the time and smiling and taking their had was "different".

COCONUT AND SUGAR CANE: Neither are on a shelf for sale. Ask. The vendors to the right of the beach were wonderful for climbing the trees so our kids could see how they get them! Amazing! Take the camera for that one and although they never asked for money because they knew it made us happy, we paid for everything. Take some straws with you so you can drink the milk and then taste the young coconut. Nothing like you have ever had before. The sugar cane is brought in from town. Tell them if you want 1' or 4'. Again, I always paid since they went out of their way for me. The kids love chewing on that stuff! Anything else you want? Just ask!

SPECIAL PAINTINGS: Have a picture you would like painted in an oil painting? Take it with you and show it to them the first day you get there to ensure you give them enough time to do it. Be very clear on the size you want and the price you are willing to pay before you make the deal.

SIRENIS TROPICAL: Same resort, just on one side of the sidewalk and the Sirenis Cocotal is on the otherside of the sidewalk. However, if you are going to book, try for the Tropical because they are suites rather than rooms for what seems to be the same price. Also mini bar is apprently stocked with rum as well, and includes a bathrobe and a few other goodies. Found this out the last day we were there.

AIRPORT FOOD: Expensive! $7US for a Wendy's small combo. $3US for a large muffin. I suggest taking zip lock bags with you and making yourself a little picnic for the airport if you are between meals with your flights. I'd also make sure you let the staff know what you are doing so they don't think you are hording.

WOULD WE GO BACK?: In a heart beat and in fact, I'm looking into March 1, 2007 right now to surprise my mom, dad and mother-in-law with a trip! Will I eat as much as I did last week? NOPE! Apparently my bikini had too much stretch to it and I didn't feel myself growing into a beached whale. Harder to lose than it was to find. :)

Take care and happy resorting! Thanks for this wonderful service Debbie.
Sirenis Cocotal/Tropical Suites
Glenn and Lori 
Ontario, Canada
January 2007
We travelled to DR for a family holiday from Sunday, Jan 7th to Sunday, Jan.14th

We are a family of 4, our teenagers are 16 and 17.

Flew SkyService ....same old complaints, but that part will never change so we will carry on.
I recommend pre-booking your seats for $15.00 each

Went through the Punta Cana Airport very quickly - no complaints

Bus ride truly is about 1 hour long - our bus went straight to the resort, we did not make other stops at other resorts.

Check In was fine - they had all envelopes ready with 2 room cards, power card and towel cards.
We had 2 rooms - they were right across the hall from each other in building E
We asked for adjoining rooms as well as a 2nd or 3rd floor room but were told the resort was full, etc.... Front desk wasn't willing to budge on moving 2 rooms and I did not want to start my trip on a sour note so took what we got and it worked out just fine.
Our rooms were in good shape. The kids had a toilet that sometimes backed up ....but the nice thing about 2 rooms is we could share and not have to wait for it to be fixed. The maids looked after the problem....we never had to go to front desk.
The maids cleaned our rooms everyday and I left them gifts and tips. No complaints at all about that.The rooms were not always cleaned right away - usually after lunch but we seldom went into them during the day.

The beach is absolutely gorgeous !!! There were lots of loungers and the beach bar was so convienant. We parked ourselves within a very close walk to bar and it was great. The beach bar always had bottled water which is nice !!!

The pool is very large, first day we sat on Tropical side of bridge but moved over to Cocotal side as swim up bar was at a more convienant location.

There is unfortunately alot of lounge reserving and some people are very rude. They put their towels out at 7:00am and don't show up at the pool until late morning.
I don't personally like that game but the one morning we tried to get a cabana , a very rude gentleman took our towels and books and left them on a lounger by its self - ( we had 4 ) in the middle of the pool area. So that game backfired on us. I guess we could have made a fuss with him...but he was just the person to give it back and why ruin a vacation.

The breakfast buffet was excellent !! You had tons to choose from. Eggs, bacon,omelettes,donuts, breads, muffins,yogurt, smoothies etc..............

Lunch Buffet - we ate at the pool restaurants everyday. Mostly pizza, pasta, burgers etc......
One day they also set up a BBQ at the beach - which was very nice !

Dinner Buffet - there was always something to eat - It was not excellent but it was good.

We ate at the
Italian restaurant - good
Seafood - OK
Steakhouse - Excellent

There were lots of bars to get drinks no matter where you are at the resort.
I loved the Cocolocos.
The bars in the lounge area have a menu of drinks and we tried many of them- yummy !!

The Casino is little but if you have 10 minutes after dinner and before a show - go in and put $5.00 in a slot - we did this 2-3 times and had fun with it.

My kids have never been in a casino, so they experienced how fast hard earned money can go !!
My kids went to the Disco almost everynight.
They met alot of the resort staff there and had a blast !!

Entertainment was very funny some nights - no, its not Las Vegas ...but it is worth watching and the performers are very hard workers.

We went on The Monster Truck Safari excursion and it was very good. My kids got to see real poverty and I think that is worth the trip alone.

My overall rating of this resort is a 4 star .We had a great time and of course it is all what you make of it.
I would recommend this resort.