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19-nov-2010 Valuation:2 2 Judy
Arrived at hotel and had to wait 2 1/2 hours for our room. No problem though, they gave us our all inclusive bands and we went for lunch and sat and had drinks in the lobby while we waited. Ended up with two single beds for my husband and I which just didn't cut it, so we requested to be moved to a room with a king bed which they accommodated no problem but had to wait another 3 hours for it. Obama at reception was very helpful and accommodating. Once settled in our room, then the rest was wonderful. Don't forget to bring your own sunscreen though, we had to buy it at the shop on the resort and it cost us $27.00 US...ouch. They accept US dollars and Dominican pesos everywhere. The grounds were very well maintained, beach was raked every morning, pool was clean, rooms were well kept and we had a fresh flower on our bed or in the bathroom each day. Bar fridge was always stocked with bottled water, coke and sprite. You couldn't drink the water from the taps, so used the bottled water supplied for brushing teeth etc. Pillows left a lot to be desired though. They were like sleeping on a newspaper wrapped in a pillow case. If you have the room, it's worth it to bring your own. No clocks in the rooms either. They had lots of activities throughout the day if you wanted which were a lot of fun, aquafit, aerobics, bocce ball, volleyball, darts etc. We went during low season so never had a problem finding a lounger, even ones under the umbrellas were usually available. Dominique from WestJet vacations was very helpful as well and directed us to the markets down the beach. Turn left on the beach and its a 5-10 min walk to a small market or turn right at the beach and walk 45 min or so and there is quite a large market where you can find all your souvenirs (and at a much better price then the hotel) don't forget to barter, lots of competition means you can get some great deals. Also the hotel brings local vendors one night a week to sell their wares, so if you don't want to go to the markets you can wait for them to come to you, but there aren't as many vendors so the deals aren't quite as good, still not too bad though. Food was good. Two of the al a carte restaurants were closed due to renovations, but the Estrella de Mar was opened and they served their seafood menu one night followed by the Italian menu the next. Both were good and service was great. You can't wear shorts and men can't wear sandals here though so make sure you bring at least one dressy casual outfit. The buffet had a great variety of food. The first few days we were there, there was some kind of sewage smell near dining room #1, which just happened to be the only non-smoking dining room, so that wasn't pleasant but we didn't notice it the last couple of days there, so I think they got whatever it was fixed. The public washrooms were generally clean but the toilets didn't always flush properly so quite often they were dirty. Staff were all fabulous and the entertainment folks were great. The shows at night were very entertaining. We did two excursions through WestJet vacations while we were there. The reef explorer was $89.00 ea, we took a boat to a floating dock in the middle of the ocean where there were loungers for everyone, massages, kayaks, snorkeling, swimming with the nurse sharks and sting rays. Even got a photo holding a sting ray. This was my husbands favourite but my favourite was the Ocean Spa excursion which cost $125.00 ea. Went on a boat with all white decor, very relaxing, yoga on the deck, ocean float on mats, massages on the upper deck and foot baths on the lower deck. Then we stopped at a floating dock where we swam with stingrays and put our feet in tubs of water with Dr. fish (little fish the suck all the scales off your feet) This was very cool. Then a relaxing trip back with fruit, juices, wine, sandwiches. Wonderful pampering, very relaxing trip and I highly recommend it to everyone. My husband even enjoyed it. The resort had an area and activities for children as well, but we didn't use it. All in all we thought it was a great resort, friendly staff with lots to do for the whole family. Would recommend it to everyone and will definitely go back again.
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