My Dad recently got remarried, and they decided to make it a destination wedding. The location? Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa in the Dominican Republic. I was pretty psyched, as I hadn’t been to an all-inclusive resort before. The online reviews for the resort were all pretty favorable, and I was looking forward to visiting Punta Cana.
Unfortunately, my first all-inclusive experience was an absolute nightmare. It began with a check-in process that took over an hour. The staff finally got everything straightened out, and we went to check out our room.
I was floored when I entered our room. The rooms look very different on their website, as you can see here. Credit goes to their photographer, along with some good lighting which makes the rooms look much warmer than they really are. Thankfully, the bed was pretty comfortable, and the shower got the job done.
After travelling all day, all we wanted to do was eat! The resort boasts six international restaurants serving gourmet fare in “stunning outdoor and indoor settings”. Over the course of the week, we dined at all six restaurants. Unfortunately, this was the biggest disappointment of the trip, as the food was just awful!
How bad was it? 6 people in our party (myself included) got food poisoning the night we ate at their steakhouse! My husband had lingering stomach issues that required a round of antibiotics when we returned home. Not cool at all!
We knew that we weren’t going to get 5-star food like we’ve become accustomed to on previous cruises, but the food here was BAD. Not to mention, the service was incredibly slow, and with most of the restaurants outdoors, you were dealing with bugs, humidity, and all kinds of other things. Again, don’t just take my word for it, check out this TripAdvisor review:
The buffet was outside swarming with birds, fruit flies and flies on all the fruit, cheese and meats, if they left your plate alone. They did not even chill the milk for cereal, it was lukewarm..
The whole milk situation skeeved me out, to the point where I just ordered an omelet each morning for breakfast.
Many people choose an all-inclusive resort for the unlimited alcohol, and if that’s your motivation then you’ll be happy. We’re not huge drinkers, but we did enjoy some fruity drinks while sitting out at the pool.
Yes, the pool is where we spent the majority of our time on this vacation. Dreams has an enormous free-form pool that winds its way from the lobby all the way down to the beach area. The beach is just past the trees in the background, and the ocean is beyond that. There’s a swim-up bar where you can cool off with a drink if you like. There were also a lot of pool activities (volleyball, water polo, aerobics, etc) which were fun.
The beach was another story. This TripAdvisor review sums it up best:
The beach – well, about 92% of that is rocky coral and you cant go in furthur than your shin, otherwise you will need an ER and ASAP. it was full of seaweed, and no swimable unless you wanted to pack in with 50 other people in a 10×10 area. ahh no thanks.
My husband was looking forward to some of those ocean activities they touted in their brochure, but most of those activities (kayaking, windsurfing, etc) cost extra! The only free water activity was their ocean trampoline, which was rusty, sharp, and missing half of the springs. Play on that thing for awhile, and you’ll end up needing a tetanus shot!
So that was our trip to Dreams Punta Cana. Would I go back there? Not a chance! But I’d give another all-inclusive resort a chance.. Just not one in the Dominican Republic.