We visited Sun Village from 9/24/03 thru 9/29/03. We've now been home a couple weeks, so we've had a couple weeks to fully digest our experience. Please understand, this was our first excursion to the Carribean. We have travelled to Europe 3 times and around the US many times (San Dieo and LA, CA, FL, New Orleans, CO, the North and others) With that said, we chose Sun Village because of their overexaggerated claims of 'soothing, relaxing Carribean getaway' with a hope that our 'expectations would be elevated' (as their website states). Well, those expectations WERE NOT elevated. This is not to say we didn't enjoy our vacation,tho.
We chose Sun Village because we just wanted to relax--no gambling, no discoing, no heavy-duty shopping, no extensive activities or pressure to get involved! We wanted to exist in their website with soothing ocean sounds washing over us as we gazed at the ocean, drink in hand, floating in a pool.
First of all, the level of service from the staff is spotty. One bellboy (Jose) went out of his way on several occasions to provide us with whatever we desired. He was wonderful. On the other hand, many other staff members met our questions/concerns with an empty stare and a "huh?" Don't know if this was a language issue or not, but whatever the reason, we experienced this A LOT! Unfortunately there were no managers around fluent in English or with problem solving expertise to help us! This left most guests to walk around with a confused look on their faces, particularly in the first 36 hours of arrival. While visiting with other guests, confusion seemed to stem from how to make dinner reservations, why we couldn't eat at the same restaurant twice (even tho they were virtually empty), how to order a drink other than rum-and-whatever-fruity-juice-was-handy (beware--you can NOT get any beer other than Dominican Republic beers here, and forget premium liquor other than the Lobby Bar after 6 pm), how to obtain a cold bottle of water, how to go about scheduling optional excursions (we booked thru "Travel Impressions" and their DR representative was a HARD man to track down and we couldn't use the Sun Village concierge for this--frustrating!), and even how to get back to the airport on time. And all this was during the slow season; we expect confusion would REIGN during the busy season.
Let's see what else--shopping included one cheesy beachwear store, a small jewelry store (be prepared to haggle and offer about 1/2 of what they say they'll sell it to you for!), and one sundries store. We paid extra to be guaranteed an "oceanview" room. Once again the manager issue came up when no one on the premises could assuage our concerns about the "oceanview." To our surprise, there are NO oceanview rooms!! Ours was in a good location-close to the beach and the beachfront pool-but our view of the ocean was a sliver here and there thru the trees. We might have been able to hear the ocean, but our room was too close to the water treatment services and their noise. The room was clean, with minimal decoration. We were on the ground floor and had a slight moldy smell that never went away. Aso, be forewarned--allow an extra 1/2 hour for the water to heat up!! Lock boxes are available, so be ready to plunk down another $20 for that (we did it 'cause our windows didn't really lock properly).
OK, enough of the negative. Anything positive?? Our maid one day placed fresh flowers down the steps to our room, on the bed and on the bedside table. Nice touch! The beachfront bar was delightful. It's great to sit by the ocean with the breeze in your face and a drink in your hand. There are locals that sell their wares in brightly colored beach huts close to the resort. Luckily they will leave you alone if you tell them you're not interested. We did, however, find a couple things to buy cheap. The oceanfront pool was a great place to relax--you can float around and lift your head up to see the ocean. (Of course, the peace was interrupted at about 10 am by the acitivities director screaming for you to come join a game of volleyball!) So, get up early to enjoy the peace down on the beach! The security throughout the hotel was reassuring, tho perhaps not needed. The other hotel guests were a joy to meet. Many nationalities were there, particularly folks from the UK.
Surprising to us, the resort was pretty much bug-free! Also the flowers throughout were beautiful and well maintained. Oh, and my husband says that the topless pool was a plus!! The beach party productions (we were there for the "Dominican Night" and "Beach BBQ") were fun; good food.
Overall, we will look back with good memories of a relaxing 5 days at Sun Village. We came home with nice tans, rested and refreshed. However, we look forward to exploring other areas of the Carribean.
Want any more info? Feel free to email us!
Chris and Sterling