Well here it is at last…my review of Dreams Punta Cana.
Firstly let me apologise about the length of this review as I will try and include as much detail as possible. I will try and split this into sections to make this easier.
This is my 3rdstay here, this time only for 5 nights (the previous stays were both for 14 nights), this was the 2nd hotel in a tour of 3 that we did over a 2 week period. We checked in on the 16th of June after leaving Dreams La Romana.
We transferred from Dreams La Romana to Dreams Punta Cana by a private taxi, great driver who we had used for a tour last year to Altos De Chevon. He spoke excellent English and was able to tell us about the areas we were seeing on the drive. We had prepared for a 2 hour drive but it took about 1hour 30 and was great to see the sites on route.
As we were in a private taxi it was only us checking in. No cold towels and champagne to greet us but when we got to the check in they called the bar and asked what we liked they quickly brought us 2 beers. We had arrived early, about 2.30 the room wasn’t ready but as check in wasn’t until 3pm that was fine, so we took a seat and enjoyed our beers. 10 minutes later they came to tell us our room was ready. We were in building 1 (right by the beach) so headed to our room. When we got to our room the door wouldn’t open, neither or the keys worked. This happened back in 2007 when we had used the keys incorrectly but luckily this time we didn’t need to walk all the way to the lobby as building 1 has its own concierge. Jhonny was fantastic, he went and checked and said the battery had gone on the lock. He had only checked it a couple of minutes previously. We went to another bar and while he took care of it. About 30 minutes later and it was fixed and we didn’t have any other problems with the lock. It wasn’t a big deal, nothing a drink at the bar couldn’t solve.
Check out was easy, we spoke with preferred club concierge the day before and they helped us arrange out taxi to Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana. On the day our luggage was picked up from the room and taken to the lobby for us. We then checked out at the preferred club lounge before heading up to the lobby. You get a ticket to confirm you have paid and you need to show this to the bell boys when you get in your transport from the lobby.
We were in room 1309, great room with a sea view. This was the exact same room that we had in 2008 and WOW…the trees have grown! The sea view is still there but in 2008 it was more impressive. The room was renovated and brilliant, clean and bright. We had a plate of apples with a note saying there was a bottle of champagne waiting for us, we just had to call for this. The room was bright and clean with great air con. There was a good supply of toiletries in the bathroom, a great mini bar with Fanta, sprite, coke, coke zero, water, 2 juice boxes (love these) and some beers. I left a couple of dollars in the fridge the 1st day with a note asking for more beers which they happily added. There is a good coffee maker and again on the 1st day we asked for extra coffee and got plenty.
There was decent hanging space for clothes. The safe is free and we made sure we locked everything valuable away; we always do this just for our peace of mind. Maid service was always excellent as was turn down service; I love the towel art that they do.
We didn’t experience any problems of noise from the hall or rooms next door. We always ask for a room away from the stairs so less foot traffic, think that helps.
I love building 1 as it is close to the beach end of the resort, near the restaurants we mainly eat as and near where we like to sunbathe, please keep in mind this is a 5-10 min walk from the lobby area though.
We had been upgraded to preferred club and enjoyed the preferred lounge. The bar with a wider selection of beers and some nice snacks (the chocolate fruit was my favourite), there are 2 computers in here as well. It’s a great place to enjoy a drink and the terrace is nice here as well. All the preferred club staff was fantastic.
I loved the preferred club breakfast option at Oceana. This was a great place, love the a la carte option and great choice. This is a brilliant perk of having preferred club.
Ideally I would like to see a preferred club pool here and I think that would add even more value to upgrading.
There are lots of choices available, with more restaurants than night I will only write about those I visited.
World Café – Buffet
Great choice here, I love the made to order omelettes, lots of cooked breakfast options as well as fresh fruit. There is an outside area but for some reason this year it wasn’t set up as well as it has been in the past. Only a couple of tables, that weren’t in the best of condition and you got forgotten about with drinks, we didn’t get any a couple of times.
Oceana (preferred club guests)
This was a fantastic a la carte option. Loved having breakfast here twice with a huge choice and brilliant sea view setting.
World Café – Buffett
Fantastic choice here, I love the pasta station which was cooked to order. Huge choice, a couple of things did seem to change on a daily basis but the popular, salad, burgers, pizza etc. was always there.
My favourite spot for lunch, it gets busy so recommend you go early. A la carte menu, good service and a great club sandwich.
Some lovely snacks here at lunch time, great sandwiches and some nice chocolate fruit.
Just to note it is great to see the food option at Barracuda bar again, they had it the 1st year we visited and it vanished for a while. It’s great to see that back. And of course there is the bbq on the beach option.
WOW great addition to the resort. We ate here the 1st night and our last night. You buy a bottle of wine, which starts at about $26 and you get a more private dining experience. It’s located between the Seaside Grill and Oceana restaurants. You can order off of both those and the Portofino menus. Cipriani is the best waiter at the resort who takes great care of you. I highly recommend eating here at least once during your stay. Food was great both times we were here, grouper shrimp and brie, & salmon the 1st time. The second time was crab cakes (WOW) followed by beef and bacon skewers lovely.
It is open air so no air con. Service was quick and it was a great salad bar to start us off. A little too much sauce on the rack of ribs for me but hubby loved the surf and turf combo.
Out of my 3 stays here this has always been my favourite restaurant (although I think the wine room wins now). It was great to see that it hadn’t change much the menu here is definitely what I perceive as more traditional Italian then the one at Dreams La Romana. Great views from here and a nice place to see the sunset. Lovely bread and oil mix to snack on while choosing your meal. Service was very good here. It did smell a little musty when we 1st went in but the air con was definitely on here.
I really like the layout of this restaurant, the big wooden tables and chairs and traditional style. Service was great, chicken wings had too much sauce and fajitas not seasoned the way I’d normally have. It wasn’t bad just different. Hubby loved his beef toasts and tequila steak.
We ordered this a couple of times. Loved the pizzas, they are small though. The delivery was very slow one night the rest of the time it was within 45 minutes.
There are a lot more bars that what I am going to report on, but I only want to mention the ones I actually used.
We enjoyed having a drink here to cool down during the day or at night after dinner. There has been some great touches added, small snacks given out when you are sitting having a drink, amazing chocolate display a couple of nights and tea and coffee selection to help yourself to during the day. Table service was good and bar service was good through the day, a little slow at night.
They have a singer on here which felt louder and more intrusive this year than in the past, more a volume thing than anything else.
They have premium beers here, just ask, sometimes it was bud or miller or corona. It changes so just check with them.
Sugar Reef Bar
Wish they still had tables and chairs in the shade here as it is a great place to have a drink during the day. It’s the other side of the swim up and a great view of the beach.
Oceana bar (the middle of Oceana and Seaside grill)
Great place for pre-dinner drinks; excellent service and table service and they have introduced the snack dishes here as well.
Amazing views from up here, great location for a wedding dinner, although as it is outside you take the risks of it being too hot. There was a wedding here the night we came up. It was still private for them while we enjoyed a drink at the bar before eating.
Preferred Club Bar
Great place for a drink with added choice of beers here, the spirits were pretty much the same as the lobby. It was nice and cool and a great place to get chatting to other people.
The great thing about this resort is you are never far away from somewhere to pick up a quick drink. On top of what I’ve mentioned you have the Barracuda bar (midpoint of the pool), Veranda bar near the lobby. You also have the theatre bar and the disco.
We love the pool here, we are early risers but even when we were by the pool there were still plenty of chairs available until about 10/11am. We did still see people finding spots later on though. I was worried about the towel game but didn’t see it happening.
The pool is huge, it goes from the lobby right down to the ocean. Plenty of spots to choose from, areas where more kids hang out, near the iceberg, people who want to be in amongst the entertainment, by the swim up bar and the the middle area. We usually picked our spot outside of building 6. It’s the same place weve sunbathed every year we’ve been there, quiet but close enough to a bar. The pool service was much better this year from drinks which were great.
The team are amazing, always walking around with a smile on their faces. They start early and always say hello as they walk through. They are never pushy though at trying to get you to join in. Everyone down by the swim up bar seemed to be having fun though.
This is a huge beach where you can walk miles and miles in the sand and see very little. The sand is a little browner here, and the sea not the crystal blue however it is much bigger. There were plenty of chairs around for people and some of the entertainment takes place down here as well.
1st tip is to keep an eye out for the spa specials. I got the combination massage for 90 minutes I think it was and it was about $30-$50s cheaper than the normal price. It was fantastic and really helped my neck which had been playing up for a few days. I love the spa setting here.
This was a disappointment this year, in the past my hubby and I have enjoyed a couple of beers watching a football game or playing pool here. This year they don’t serve any drink here and there has been a big shift to this feeling as if it is just for kids. I am pleased the kids have this area as well and there are some great activities here for them. It was just a disappointment for us.
There are 2 places, 1 by the lobby and 1 by the core zone. Internet computers (there is a fee from $4 for 15 minutes, it is cheaper to use wifi $25 for 25 hours on 1 device over 6 days. The 1st day I was here it wasn’t a good experience with them, refusing to sell me wifi for my ipod as they said it didn’t work. It had at Dreams la romana who have the same wifi provider. I paid for the 15 mins only after explaining I wasn’t happy at all. When I met Vanessa the following day and found out we had access to the preferred lounge she hadn’t heard of the problem before and got me a wifi pass sorted out. The signal wasn’t great in my room but was ok on the balcony and excellent by the pool and at the lobby. Wifi is a much cheaper option for you.
Other information and tips
Please tip if you can afford it and if you feel the service deserves it. Tipping for us didn’t give us better service but rewarded good and great service.
Please check the dress codes of the restaurants, this is for men mainly, some restaurants you can’t were shorts at and we saw a lot of people having to go and get changed. There is a notice outside of those restaurants which tells you what is ok and what is not. Also you can check the Dreams website before and it lets you know, so you know what to pack. Personally we liked the dress code as for us we felt it brought elegant feel to the evening meal.
VIP/Unlimited Vacation employees – yes they do look like the staff, you can see on their badge that they work for unlimited vacations though. We were only asked about this once on our 1st day here down by the beach, and we said we weren’t interested and they left us alone.
Vendors – A quick no thank-you and continuing to walk on worked great. Generally we don’t make eye contact or look at the stalls and this works, we are not rude just firm in our response. We never felt hassled or that we had to change our route.
I would like to say a massive thank-you to Vanessa, Jhonny and Ciprian as well as all the other staff at the hotel, you are all amazing and did a great job making our return trip special.