I boarded the plane at London Gatwick on June 13th 2010 for my first trip back to Dominican Republic since my wedding way back in 1996. After a long flight I was not really looking forward to arriving into Punta Cana and having to wait for long periods of time at the airport. I was pleasantly surprised, we arrived at the same time as 3 other flights and they all seemed to be feeding into 2 queues. We got past the photos with the Dominican girls and expected to be waiting for about 2 hours. The queue went down really fast and within 20 minutes we had our visas and gone through a very friendly immigration. Our cases were there waiting for us once we arrived at the baggage carousel. I was then really excited about the rest of the trip.
Dreams Palm Beach
This hotel is only a 20 minute transfer from the airport which we did in style in a limo van!! We spent 2 nights here and our room was in the preferred club section which gave us extra amenities and a private pool area. It also gave us complimentary internet access which meant that I could stay in touch with my family for free!!!
This hotel is a lovely modern compact property with very spacious and modern rooms, and has everything at hand all within a couple of minutes walk. The rooms all feature 24hr room service and mini bars restocked each day. It also had its own casino. We ate in the French restaurant the first night and I had the most fantastic Chateaux Briand steak which always features on any menu in a top French restaurant around the globe. The 2nd night we chose to eat in Himitsu the pan asian cuisine restaurant and once again were not disappointed in our choice.
The hotel is set on a beautifully long sweeping beach with golden sands. We also witnessed a wedding here at the beach.
The children’s club here was amazing (as in all Dreams Properties) and had a great core zone for the teens as well.
The pool area was lovely they had 2 really nice free form pools with a swim up bar and a daily entertainment programme.
This is an all inclusive tour which costs around $90usd pp and lasts for about 4hrs. You get taken out into the ocean to a huge platform. Here we were greeted by the staff and all shown to sun loungers. Everything then is free. There is a soft drinks bar and little snacks like fruit and sandwiches any time you like. You can also do kayaking, have a massage, swim with stingrays and sharks and snorkel to your hearts content (they provide the snorkels). You just need to take yourself and plenty of suntan lotion.
Dreams Punta Cana
This is the largest Dreams property and I stayed here for 1 night. It is the liveliest of the resorts and is spread over a huge piece of land. The children’s explorers club is brilliant and has a pirate ship water slide area for them as well. The core zone here for the teens was the best I had seen. They had absolutely everything from their own dance floor and non alcoholic bars. They also had the bucking bronco, computers, pool tables.. You name it they had it. The lobby area was fantastic and really did look grand and just downstairs they had the massive theatre. The restaurants were just stunning here especially Bordeaux the French one which had an outside terrace with the most amazing panoramic views. The rooms at this hotel were clean and nice and the resort was fabulous. This hotel also has the most amazing pool which winds down to the ocean through the whole resort and must be one of the largest in the Caribbean.
I also think that the wedding gazebo here is just stunning.
We finished the night off (after an impromptu visit to a locals bar) in the nightclub where we danced until the early hours before heading off back to our rooms.
This hotel is a small boutique hotel. They will accept children however it isn’t really a place that you would take your children to. It is a stunning property with a beautiful spa. It is a really tranquil hotel and the type you would want to go for a totally relaxing holiday with no interruptions. We had a fantastic meal here which was personalised for us by the chef. Natalia the Manager was exceptionally friendly and it seems that whatever you want at this resort she makes it happen for you. The suites here are simply beautiful and the gardens stunning. Again the beach is a golden beach and really lovely.
This was another tour that we went on which was really good fun. It costs around $90usd pp and lasts approx 3hrs. We were taken to the beach and transferred to a motor boat. This took us out to 2 man speedboats which we boarded. We then spent a good hour racing down the coast line like James Bond. They do give you an option to change drivers half way through. It definitely is not for the faint hearted but was fab fun. They then transfer you back to the motor boat and take you to an area where you can snorkel & enjoy soft drinks. You do get tuition before you are taken out to the speedboats.
This tour took us up into the mountains for what I can only describe as the scariest thing I have done!!!! You are given tuition on the zip lines and then are put into your harnesses. You then go to 11 different platforms and are harnessed up to a zip line and sent across large areas. The longest Zip is 1000 metres long and takes you over a ravine and river. I have to say that the views are spectacular. They then take your picture just to show how scared you look!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The drive up to this area is very bumpy and not good if you have a bad back.
We stayed at this hotel for 1 night. The hotel is adults only but has 2 restaurants that do accept children as they are just outside the property. Our rooms were stunning Junior Suites with Ocean Views. What can I say this was the definitely the best. The beach was pure white powder sand and the ocean was turquoise blue. Again 24hr room service and a mini bar restocked daily. We had another amazing 2 meals here (you will definitely need to diet once coming home). The manger Reyson was a wonderful man who it turned out used to be the manager of the hotel I got married in 14 years ago and he was there at the time!!!! This means I now have to go back here with my husband.
The entertainment programme was great as well both daytime and evening there was always something on.
There is a beautiful bar called “The Love Bar” which is a converted chapel (you can also marry in there if you want to). All internet here in the lobby area is complimentary. Any time you need anything you just call reception and they will send someone. They have a stunning restaurant called WOK which does all your tepanyaki and asian cuisine. We ate in the David Crockett restaurant which again was amazing; it has all your steaks and chicken.
The only thing that you would pay a supplement for at this hotel is the Lobster and it only a small charge everything else is included.
Dreams La Romana
This was our last stop on the way back to the airport and we had lunch here. Out of all the Dreams properties it definitely has the best beach. The beach is pure white powder sand and I have to say that the sea was the most unbelievable colors. The rooms here are very large and it also has the largest Cafe Coco which they all have (its a coffee bar which does all types of cakes and little sandwiches as well…again all included.) The pool areas were very large and spacious and did not look crowed at all even though the hotel was quite full.
Again it has a stunning wedding gazebo which overlooks the ocean.
This hotel had a refurbishment at the same time as Dreams Palm Beach.
We ate our lunch in the World Cafe buffet and the standard of the food was very high. We just didn’t know what to have as there was so much choice.
As we left the hotel we just stopped off in the gardens to see the pink flamingos they were really beautiful.
All the Dreams, Secrets and Zoëtry properties have the Unlimited Luxury All Inclusive which means that you have all top branded drinks and champagne is also included. They great thing about them is that you don’t have to wear wristbands and you don’t have to make reservations for any of the restaurants, you are also not limited to how many times you visit any them.
As you can tell I loved every minute of being in the Dom Rep and am going back there for my own holiday with my family in Oct, it cannot come quick enough.
I was really shocked at just how much there is to do and how many excursions there are to do.
I was also surprised at how friendly the Dominican people really are both in the hotels and outside. I had the best time ever.