Preferred or not preferred that is the question…..

PLEASE NOTE THIS POST WAS UPDATED ON THE 15TH OF SEPTEMBER. It now include the information from my June 2011 stay. 
I see this question asked time and time again and it always is debated and I’ve seen posts where the debate gets so much that it can become quite personal which I never like to see. So I thought I would put my thoughts down, I’ve stayed preferred club at Dreams La Romana (twice now) and I’ve stayed and in standard twice and preferred club once at Dreams Punta Cana. For my 2011 Secret Dominican Dream Tour I’ve chosen preferred club at DLR and standard at DPC. We were lucky to be upgraded at DPC so we have now enjoyed the preferred club perks so hopefully this revised post helps people make the decision that is right for them.
1st Dream La Romana
WOW….preferred club made both of our holidays. We originally booked preferred club as we were going away with friends who were celebrating their honeymoon and thought this would make it even nicer. We were 2 couples with ages ranging from 25-37. We enjoy having a laugh, getting know people, making new friends (for those that don’t know we all became friends back in 2007 at Sunscape The Beach Punta Cana and last year was our 2nd trip away together). We however are not huge fans of a spring break atmosphere. Due to our 2010 experience of preferred club we rushed to book this again and WOW if anything it was even better this year. 
What we got and why we liked it:
– The Lounge – great place for snacks, drinks, shade, book exchange, free computers with internet access. Nice place to enjoy a drink on an evening outside. Quiet and personal. The staff  can’t do enough for you here from the second you check in to the moment you leave. 
– The Bar – this is the one beside the preferred club pool. Hector was amazing every evening. It is a small bar but it had some regulars which we soon made friends with. This was a quiet bar away from the crowds and personal service. Hector was there again this year and is again amazing. The girls on during the day were fantastic as well….even better this year which I didn’t think possible. Small touches like bringing around the fruit sticks at 10am, when they didn’t have a chilled corona ready even though I was happy to drink something else she brought one as soon as she could. We were glad we had  this as the main lobby bar where we tried a couple of times was very very busy and noisy at night and we didn’t’ enjoy that. 
– Preferred Club Pool – this was perfect. Not too busy. Not too many kids, quiet, time to relax and sunbathe. We are pool people not beach people. This pool had for me the most proper shade. I’m very fair, originally from Scotland and I have the stereotype Scottish skin 🙂 Therefore shade is essential to me. Here I was able to get shade when I needed it but walking around it was clear I would have had difficulty getting this anywhere else. The shaded structures around the other pool had a lattice effect and very few parasols. This might not seem much to people but it means a lot to me. This year I woke early most mornings and had the pool to myself until after 9 and then it was only a couple of people until about 10 or 11. There were still always a couple of loungers free though. 
– Free WIFI – now this is a hot topic of debate “why go on holiday and use the internet?” I hear some of you cry……well because I like to….. for fun 🙂 I choose to do live posts when away. I get so much from others that I like to give back and hey putting down my book for half an hour and putting posts on facebook and tripadvisor is no biggy to me. I was able to do this on my ipod touch by the preferred pool and on my balcony. So for me yes the free wi-fi was great. I enjoyed helping others and plan to do the same again this year. For others it can be used to Skype home, emails, work for those of you who are unfortunate enough to have to check in (I know there are some of you out there). The wifi seems to have improved on signal and strength this year which was great to see.
– Newspaper – yeah we got it everyday but don’t think we really read it.
– Upgraded amenities – I don’t think it made a difference in preferred club. Although I do love them.
– Upgraded mini bar – I didn’t notice this, however we often ask for extras and leave a tip and get them.
– The rooms – we loved our room but most important was the location. Building 7 for us was great. The room we had was modern however you could end up in this building even if you’re not preferred club so don’t make this the only reason to upgrade. An added extra was the nice touches that would sometimes get delivered such as a small bottle of rum, chocolate fruits or coffee.
– The beach – we didn’t use this as I mention before we are pool people. However the beach does not have direct access to the sea due to rocks.
How are you recognised as preferred club you might ask….2 ways we have been told. Your key card is a different colour and has preferred club written on it, secondly the towels are yellow. We saw people a number of times being asked for their key as proof. Only once the staff get to know you they stop that. I think this is a good mix of trust and enforcing the rules.
I have heard comments saying things like “we laughed at seeing the people with their yellow towels not using their pool”, for me I think that is a shame. People pay preferred club for lots of different reasons, they may not all be like me and want to use the preferred pool. It could be for the lounge, wifi….whatever it is personal choice.
So in conclusion for Dreams La Romana…Do you need to have preferred club to have an amazing time here??… absolutely NOT. However for me it is worth every single penny. We love it and if you can afford the extra then I will always recommend it. 
Dreams Punta Cana – we have stayed here twice when there was no preferred club, so just standard and this year we were upgraded to have access to the preferred club amenities. I will cover off what we experienced as well as extras I know others have had.
– Rooms – Over our 3 stays we stayed in the presidential suite (our 1st stay) which was amazing, huge with a jacuzzi on the balcony, then in 2008 and this year we stayed in the same standard room in block 6 with a sea view. The room this year was definitely a renovated room and I love the freshness and the colour scheme. Block 6 has added benefit of Jhonny the concierge for the block and he was fantastic.
– Upgraded amenities and mini bar. I didn’t see a difference here from the last time we stayed, however I do love the juice boxes that are here. I have to add that I do know people who have stayed in preferred club have had additional stock in their mini bar so we might not have got this due to having been upgraded to have access to preferred club rather than being where the preferred club rooms mainly are. 
-Breakfast at Oceana – WOW I have to say this is a brilliant touch. A la Carte option only available to preferred club guests and with a great Ocean view. I do wish that La Romana had this to offer as well, it was a really great way to start the day. 
– Preferred Club Lounge/Bar – unlike La Romana these are both in the exact same spot. It is a lovely bright aiir conditioned area where there is computer access, snacks and a place to enjoy a drink.there were a couple more beers here to enjoy as well. The staff here were fantastic and would go out of there way to help you.  Unlike La Romana we do enjoy the lobby bar more here which means we didn’t use this as much as we could have The lobby bar here is fantastic. It has lots of space that you can have privacy, it is also open to the theatre so you can watch from afar if you decide. Great for during the day and for night-time. 
– There is no preferred club pool here which is a shame and I know the staff as well as myself would love it if there was. It would give even more value to the upgrade. There is a preferred club beach but as mentioned before we are pool people. We stayed here in 2007&2008 and always found a great mix of quiet areas at the pool and party areas. We love the swim up bar here and most importantly there  are plenty of shaded areas for my fair skin 🙂
-Wifi again is included here, the signal is great by the pool and in the lobby, it was weaker in building 6 but that’s ok I wasn’t on it 24/7 anyway.
So if I was booking again today what would I choose…..if money was no option I would go preferred club every time. Personally I love the extra touches. If like this year we only had the money to pre-book preferred club at one of the hotels then it would be La Romana because it has the pool area for us. 
So do you have to have preferred club to enjoy the resorts NO.
Is it personal choice YES
Do I recommend preferred club YES
Do I expect everyone to agree NO 🙂 but please don’t get personal, I just like what I like and you like what you like….the world would be boring if we were all the same
With that if you have any specific questions please let me know.
Dream Big

About ekingy

I am HUGE fan of AM resorts having celebrated my honeymoon, 1st and 3rd anniversary's & 3 birthdays between Sunscape Punta Cana, Dreams Punta Cana and Dreams La Romana. Most exciting was that 2011 will saw me, my husband complete our Secret Dominican Dream Tour in June 2011. Celebrating our 4th anniversary and another of my birthdays...WOW it was a Dream come true.
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7 Responses to Preferred or not preferred that is the question…..

  1. baltobabe says:

    GREAT POST Emily! I love the Preferred Club and try to book it whenever I can! Your points are great and I agree…you don’t have to be in Preferred Club to have SWEET DREAMS but the perks of Preferred are something I enjoy too! HUGS!

  2. Julie Sternhagen says:

    I enjoyed your post. We have been to a number of Dreams resorts and always thought that the benefits of Preferred weren’t something that we needed to pay extra for. (Wouldn’t use the private pool, prefer lively swim up bar, don’t need internet, standard rooms are all we need, etc.) But I must say that after we lucked out and were upgraded on our last trip to Dreams Palm Beach, I really enjoyed the extra perks and will consider Preferred Club in the future. I loved the jacuzzi tub in the room, used the internet every day, loved that there were pool towels in our room, and the list goes on 🙂

  3. jon williams says:

    Hi loved your post. We are going soon and v excited and our booking says preferred club as our travel company messed us about so they added it. Does this mean we have it as I’ve read reviews that they charge for it on arrival so I’m confused?!

    • ekingy says:

      I’d say that if your booking says its preferred club then it’s already included. You might want to drop the resort a quick email with your booking reference to confirm though. Which hotel are you staying at?

      • jon williams says:

        Dreams palm beach we are booked for I will follow your advice and check! Thanks for that any other top tips greatly appreciated

  4. jessica says:

    Hi Emily, thanks for this detailed posting! Which resort did you stay in when you went to Punta Cana? Dreams Palm Beach or Dreams Punta Cana? Have seen mixed reviews – my concerns are around musty rooms, bed bugs?! I have stayed at Dreams before and also Secrets in Mexico and have never had a bad experience.

    • ekingy says:

      Hi Jessica,
      Glad you’ve found this useful, please keep in mind this was from 2011 so there could have been many changes.
      In Punta Cana it was Dreams Punta Cana we stayed. Loved it and we can’t wait to return 🙂

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