My wife and I stayed at Sivory Punta Cana hotel last May. After spending much time searching the internet and travel sites, we decided on this hotel since it is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World boutique hotel chain. We have stayed at many of this groups boutique hotels around the world and have always been amazed with the hotels we have chosen. Unfortunately, this time we got it wrong. I don´t know if they have never gone to inspect the property or what happened, but this hotel did not live up to the usually high standards of the other SLH properties.
If you think you are going to Punta Cana, this is the first disappointment you will encounter. That is because Hotel Sivory is located more than 1 ½ hours north of Punta Cana! One would think that if the words Punta Cana are in the title of the hotel, that is where you are going, but do not be fooled as you will be nowhere near PC. Next, when we finally arrived to the property, the entrance was a razor wire fence with a rope as a gate. This is 5 star? We thought our driver had us in the wrong place. The check in was very nice, efficient and we thought the glass of champagne was a nice touch, but the mold we saw on the ceiling should have alerted us to what we were in for. As our concierge walked us to the room (very friendly), we passed over an algae ridden pond that truly looked like it was breeding dengue. We started to get that unsettled feeling again. We continued down the dimly lit walkways, and entered a charming room with nice appointments. Unfortunately, in the light of day, it was not quite so charming! There was a moldy smell that made my wifes allergies go crazy. Our wine refrigerator always had the temp at 81 degrees, no matter how many times we called for repairs. (Needless to say we did not drink any of that wine, even though it was included in our meal plan.) The phone had messages left over from guests dating several months back. There was no clock. Lighting was dismal, making it almost impossible to read a book. Cracks were prevalent throughout the walls and roofing. The a/c kept us cold, but was so noisy, we decided not to use it. There is only one problem, not ONE window in our room could be opened! Here we thought we could enjoy a nice tropical breeze, but I guess they want guests to stay locked inside with a/c. That made no sense to us! The bathrooms were lovely, except the toilet area had no fan. Add that you can´t open a window, and I will let you all guess what problems arise from that. If you take a shower (the showers are wonderful!), everything fogs up, and there is no way to defog! We had a Premium Deluxe room, which is located on the second story, right in front of the beach. Or so they say, as we could not see the beach, as there were trees and scrub blocking the entire view. If you booked a room downstairs, you got a cute little pool, but if you were expecting it to be private, you would be sadly mistaken, as our room looked right at our poor neighbors pool! Although they raked the beach each morning, it was constantly full of debris, and the waves were so big, it was difficult to swim there. No calm caribbean waters at this hotel, so don´t let the website fool you! Thankfully, Sivory has a lovely large pool, so we decided to spend most of our time there. Kind of ruined the point of being at a Caribbean destination though. Do not get me going on the restaurants, as this was our biggest disappointment! The hotel sells itself as having Arte Cuisine. Although I honestly wasn´t sure what that was, I guessed that it would mean excellent food, with an exceptionally impressive presentation. No matter how many meals we had, there was never anything even close to even an average presentation, and although the food was quite tasty, it was almost the same in all three restaurants. We bought the all inclusive meal plan for $150 each per day, it includes the wine, but all they give you is literally vinegar on this plan. We would have been better off eating a la carte and ordering our wine separately. They have a wonderful wine cellar, they just don´t include any of those wines! At least the staff was friendly and tried to speak English to us, so that made up for a lot of the other disappointments. All in all, I can honestly say that although we had a good time, we would not recommend this hotel. If Sivory were rated 3 stars, it would be a wonderful hotel, but for a hotel that belongs to Small Luxury Hotels and totes itself as having 5 stars and 4 diamonds, we felt overcharged and hugely disappointed. Enough so that we have contacted SLH to inform them that they need to rethink this inclusion in their normally fabulous portfolio.
Sivory Punta Cana
Sivory, where do I begin..........
First of all the Dominican Republic is a beautiful island and it's nice to see the eastern shore of Punta cana being developed.
Sivory which is a secluded resort at the end of the strip holding a 5 star rating was average at best.
First of all no fault to the people at the resort but the road conditions make Bagdad look like Palm Springs.
The staff has an inflated view of the facilities granted it's a nice place but it's not all it's chalked up to be. You go to a country like the Dominican Republic and you expect to enjoy the native food and the benefit from the strength of the US dollar. This place has Manhattan prices but they are failing miserably with their their feeble attempts at French, Asian and Mediterranean Cuisine. We ended up walking to a local seafood restaurant down the beach and enjoyed it so much more.
The rooms were not as large as the may seem on their website and the floor plan leaves a lot to be desired.
We stayed in the suite with a pool and it was so small that to be honest why bother. The bed wasn't very comfortable, the TV only had about 5 channels available and the phone rarely worked. This is the first time I've stayed in a hotel where an iron wasn't provided in the rooms. I mean I know I'm in the caribbean but come on at least give me the option especially if you've already charged me for it.
Speaking of the rooms although they may look pretty clean I have to question that being that we had mice in our room...... yes you read correctly I said mice!
The one and only time we ordered room service we were graced with the presence of mice about 15 minuets after our food arrived. We called the front desk and told them what happened and while mickey mouse was doing back strokes in my salad all they could do was send someone over with a broom. I mean what were they going to do dance with it. We requested a new room and although they did give us one at this point we were fed up. The next day when we went to complain to the manger in charge she seemed disinterested and offered no concession. Outside of a few the staff was nonchalant and unprofessional.
The spa was nice but I've been to many other spa's and I have to say it really was not the sanctuary they claim it to be.
Although this is a small resort you would expect them to have some sort to nightly entertainment but at night this place was about as dead as George Washington. In an attempt to find something to do in the evening other than hearing the crickets chirp we went down the road to one of the all inclusive resorts and paid for the night to partake in the activities they had to offer. There we were able to play at a casino dance and watch live shows.
Overall for Sivory being one of the supposed "small luxury hotels" of the world and what they're charging, there are better values on the Dominican Republic eastern shore........ WITH THAT SAID BUYER BEWARE.
Sivory Punta Cana
The hotel is mismanaged and difficult to book. Only one person handles reservations and did not answer telephone calls or email for days.
We were overcharged and the hotel will not respond to rectify the problem. One month of calls and email, the manager offered to partially refund the amount but then disappeared again. If you spend large amounts of money, you would expect at least a response from the hotel. A “5-star resort” does not ignore billing problems.
Although the staff is generally friendly, very few people speak English and they are poorly trained. Even if you speak Spanish, whether there are additional hidden charges depends on who you speak with. Our billing problems could have been avoided if the staff were knowledgeable. The concierge admitted that their staff lied about the service charges at the spa (26%) so that we ended up overtipping.
Except for the empty restaurants, service is poor. Waiters and housecleaning woke us several times because they got the wrong room number. House cleaning did not adequately clean the rooms. A concierge will call every night to see if everything is fine. But if you request anything, it will not come. There is no service on the beach. We did not experience the reported one-hour wait times or the severe food poisoning at the 3 restaurants, but the resort was empty during our visit. However, we did experience menu shortages as others reported. Also, the restaurant hours are inflexible.
After all the hidden fees and expensive meals, there are much nicer places to stay for less money. This hotel is unprofessionally operated. The meals are extremely expensive (26% surcharge) and the hotel rooms also have a large 15% surcharge. The rooms inside are nice but outside they look like cement cell blocks. The patios face each other and there is no foliage and therefore no privacy. The beach is pictoresque, but the waves are too dangerous for swimming. The water is not clear. The fact that there are no restaurants in the vicinity makes you a victim to overpriced meals. The place was infested with mosquitoes and bugs. The swimming pool is shallow at 4.5’ and separated by a cement walkway in the middle of the pool where the water is ankle deep; it hence smaller than the picture. The spa and gym are tiny.
If someone takes the time to write a negative review for a 5-star SLH resort, there is something terribly wrong.
Sivory Punta Cana
WOW !!!–Caught up in the rat race,? Stressed out on the job? , Need break from the kids and the daily hustle and bustle?, Sivory Punta Cana is a perfect place to relax and unwind. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world Sivory is a little slice of heaven. Located in Playa Uvero Alto, about an hour west of the Punta Cana airport, Sivory is literally at the end of the road and away from the resort row of AI’s. If you are looking for a lot of activities, entertainment, gambling etc Sivory is not for you. It is quiet, relaxed and intimate.
Accommodations– Sivory reminds me of a fusion of southwestern US meets the Caribbean. Perhaps it is the angular architecture and adobe color nestled in a palm grove. They have 54 suites which include a villa and honeymoon suite. We were in a junior luxury beachfront suite with a plunge pool about 20 yards from the beach. Suites are large and tastefully furnished in rattan, teak and wicker. The plunge pool is about 10' by 10' and on the deck there are two lounges, two comfy chairs with ottomans and a table and two chairs. Also a shower to wash off coming from the beach. Rolled out of bed and into plunge pool, cocktails before dinner in plunge pool and into it before bed. Heavenly!! The tub is large enough for two and there is a dual shower, one with a wand and another with massage jets to massage lower body. There is a complimentary mini bar stocked daily with soda water and beer. Also a wine cooler with six varieties of Spanish wine from $7 to $13 . Flat screen TV but if you are a TV addict be advised there are only 5 English speaking channels, NBC, CBS. TNT. ESPN and Discovery. There is also a CD/DVD player. The beach is awesome–Fine powdery tan sand. Plenty of palapas for shade and lots of lounges on the beach for those wanting to work on their tan. Really large pool which is shallow enough to accommodate non swimmers. There is a putting green for those who want to putter around and a tennis court. They have snorkel gear, kayaks, windsurfers and a Hobie Cat sailboat. Other activities and tours off site can be arranged by the Concierge.
Restaurants/ Food–There are three restaurants. Laveranda serves breakfast lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu is fairly standard. One thing not on the menu but very good is the breakfast club sandwich. Lunch is a variety of salads, sandwiches and for those wanting something heavier a variety of pastas. Favorite salad was the Nordique with shrimp and smoked salmon. The blue cheese burger was wonderful. For dinner there was a choice of chicken, pork, snapper, beef and a vegetarian entree. Really liked the Tuna Tartare appetizer. Not raw tuna but cooked with Jalapeno jelly and served with mustard ice cream.
TAO is an Asian fusion restaurant and very good. Entrees are chicken, filet. lobster rolls, sea bass, and pork. The appetizer, seared almond crusted foie gras was wonderful. Sea Bass and Filet were great. They say the beef comes from the US but nothing like I can find. Tastes like beef should taste. The dessert Magical ball is a must and sinful.
Gourmand is the French restaurant.–Lovely dining experience. Entrees are lobster,
guinea hen, snapper and fillet. Although the menus aren’t extensive everything is executed very well.
The pool bar also serves lunch which is lighter. Salads and some very good wraps.
At Laveranda and Gourmand you can either eat outside or in air conditioned comfort. TAO is indoor dining.
Aguarea Spa–I am by no means a spa expert but this spa offered everything you could want. There is a sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, exercise room with tread mill, stair stepper, recumbent bike, universal weight machine and free weights. Agua implies water and there are six showers that all have different massage functions as well as a pool with three different stations to pummel your body with water. You could easily spend the whole day at the spa. I was rubbed, scrubbed, defoliated, refoliated, exfoliated from head to toe for three and a half hours and walked out felling like a bowl of jello. Best spa experience I have ever had.
General comments–Flew from Orlando via Ft Lauderdale to Punta Cana on Spirit. First time we ever flew them and it was very enjoyable until we reached Ft Lauderdale on the return. Spirit shares a terminal with the puddle jumpers that fly the islands. It took 1 ½ hours to clear immigration and customs. The line was worse than for a ride at Disney World. Only three immigration officers for US citizens and two customs officers. Needless to say tempers were short. We then had to drop off our luggage for transfer and go thru security again. Next time we will fly via Miami. The transfer from the Punta Cana airport and return was by a Mercedes Benz Van and was $80 each way. A taxi is a little less but with a wider wheel base and A/C the van was a better ride. In some places the roads are still pretty rough. If you are adventurous you can do the transfer by helicopter which takes 10 min and lands you right on the beach. $145/person.
The price range for dinner at Laveranda is mid teens to mid twenties, TAO twenty to thirty dollars and Gourmand thirty to forty dollars ( for two lobster tails). One day I had to go to the bank so we went to Plaza Uvero Alto and stopped by El Navegante for lunch. It is a seafood restaurant on the beach. Really good. Had two pounds of lobster and wife had grilled garlic shrimp. Must have been 30 shrimp on the plate. Lesson#1-Share. Skip the sides of salad and fries and just have seafood and plantains. Also went there for dinner and had grilled conch and a local fish cirrhata (sp) which was like a steak fish and delicious. El Navegante will provide transportation fron Sivory and return via taxi or for the adventurous they will take you by ATV’s along the beach.
The Sivory staff was outstanding and went above and beyond to make sure you were enjoying your stay. Didn’t have any language problems. They were all proud they were learning English and happy to teach you some Spanish. Some are being sent to school to improve their English.
Sivory offers several packages on their web site. I got our package on Luxury Link. One thing included was an early AM coffee eye opener which not only included coffee but fruit cup, juice and pastries. Since breakfast was included in our package and there was a coffee maker in the room we canceled the eye opener but it did arrive on a couple of occasions. Overall Sivory was a wonderful experience. Great place to relax and bury your head in the sand. The sun comes up and goes down and the biggest decision you’ll have to make is what to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sivory is truly a jewel.