Punta Cana Adult All-Inclusive Hotels

MarkDR

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Feb 18, 2016
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I've been a member here for years.
And reading through various messages in this sub-forum it doesn't seem you
cater to vacationers to PC do you?

Well, in any event I'll ask my questions.

Does anyone here have experience staying at a variety of PC hotels over the past few years
(for more than a day or two) and are able to say which are the best in your estimation, and why
you liked them?

I'd also like to get a heads up on two in particular if possible:
Catalonia Royal Bavaro - All Inclusive - Adults Only and
Be Live Collection Punta Cana Adults Only

The pros and cons of each?
Thanks!
 
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keepcoming

Moderator - Living & General Stuff
May 25, 2011
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I guess it would depend on whether there is a specific price range you're looking at. Hyatt Zilara is very nice, had good food and rooms were very nice. Not an overly large resort so easy to get around, at least I thought so. The Zilara is the Adults only side, Ziva is the family side. Majestic Mirage was also nice, shares the grounds with the Elegance and Colonial. Mirage is newer and rooms are larger, separate living/bedroom area. Food and service was good. IMO if you are looking at an Adults Only resort in the price range of the Catalonia/Be Live then maybe look at the Barcelo Bavaro Adults side. Beautiful beach and a part of a larger complex. However, the Adults side is separate. Others may chime in with other choices.
 
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MarkDR

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Feb 18, 2016
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Hello keepcoming!

Thanks for helping out, I appreciate it. :)

After looking at quite a few resorts so far, I guess I'm looking at the $225-$300 US/day per 2 adults.
Both the Catalonia Royal Bavaro Adults Only and the Be Live Collection Adults fit that range.

The Hyatt Zilara does look nice, but we'll be staying for more than 10 days, so that would be too pricey for us.
The Majestic Mirage also looks very nice, but it is pushing $500 US/ night.
Actually having looked at the Barcelo Bavaro Adults, I see it is even more expensive than the others, $700 US.

If anyone else has ideas of hotels they liked, I'm all ears. :)

I'm not looking for an entertainment hotel.
I prefer a quiet setting, good quality food, nice beach (do all have seaweed these days?),
comfortable room.
 

MariaRubia

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2019
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Hello keepcoming!

Thanks for helping out, I appreciate it. :)

After looking at quite a few resorts so far, I guess I'm looking at the $225-$300 US/day per 2 adults.
Both the Catalonia Royal Bavaro Adults Only and the Be Live Collection Adults fit that range.

The Hyatt Zilara does look nice, but we'll be staying for more than 10 days, so that would be too pricey for us.
The Majestic Mirage also looks very nice, but it is pushing $500 US/ night.
Actually having looked at the Barcelo Bavaro Adults, I see it is even more expensive than the others, $700 US.

If anyone else has ideas of hotels they liked, I'm all ears. :)

I'm not looking for an entertainment hotel.
I prefer a quiet setting, good quality food, nice beach (do all have seaweed these days?),
comfortable room.

Personally I think if your budget is $150 per person per day, that's not a great deal for an all-inclusive and you have to recognise that you're not going to get all that much in this market, where tourism is booming as it soaks up all the demand that didn't happen during the pandemic. You need to understand that of your $150 per person per day, 18% is tax, 10% is service charge, 15% is paid to the travel agent and from the US$ 90 remaining you want a nice room, unlimited drinks, unlimited food and a beachfront location. So if we break it down to, say, US$ 60 for the food/drink element and US$ 30 for the room element, then you're now down to US$20 per meal. If you went to an all-you-can-eat place in the US and it was $20 for unlimited food and drinks, do you think the quality would be good? And remember our food prices are now way higher than the US, have a wander around a Dominican supermarket.

If it has to be an AI, then keepcoming's recommendations are spot-on as far as I'm concerned, the Hyatts are currently the best ones. They are expensive but I've only heard good reports. Eden Roc has also got a great reputation with eye-watering prices, and Barcelo Bavaro Beach is also perfectly OK, they do a lot of conventions there and they have a lovely pool. The Catalonia and Be Live are both much less upscale brands. Be Live can often get full of groups of young people (adults but we're talking early twenties). A friend of mine stayed there and said the food was dire, and honestly he's kind of rough so I was surprised.

I would recommend that you have a look at some of the rental products. Look at renting an apartment through someone like VRBO or AirBnB and you'll find quite a few which are on complexes which have a restaurant and which have a shuttle to the beach or are within a walk of the beach. I would look at Karibo as an example. The apartments are really nice, it's very quiet, the pools are lovely and again quiet as you don't get hoardes of drunk idiots screaming. They have a restaurant on site, but you also have a kitchen so you can either cook or eat at the restaurant and they do a shuttle golf cart to the beach, you just call when you want to come back. Personally I'd far rather be there than in any AI. And this is one of many, there are quite a few of those types of properties in Bavaro / Punta Cana.

Does it absolutely have to be Bavaro / Punta Cana ? The fact that you are on this forum (which is mainly used by people who live in DR) shows you are thinking a lot more about your vacation than 99% of people who go to Bavaro. Would you consider hiring a car and mooching around the island? A mix of all-inclusive and normal hotels in different locations maybe? Would you like to see a bit of culture, a bit of history, eat the freshest chicken you can imagine eating, get drunk and do the merengue with some locals? Sit on a beautiful white beach with literally about 10 people on it? Drive through eye-wateringly beautiful mountains? This country has way more to offer than nasty AI buffets, crammed beaches and long lines for everything that is pretty typical of most AI's in Bavaro.
 

melphis

Living my Dream
Apr 18, 2013
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I've been a member here for years.
And reading through various messages in this sub-forum it doesn't seem you
cater to vacationers to PC do you?

Well, in any event I'll ask my questions.

Does anyone here have experience staying at a variety of PC hotels over the past few years
(for more than a day or two) and are able to say which are the best in your estimation, and why
you liked them?

I'd also like to get a heads up on two in particular if possible:
Catalonia Royal Bavaro - All Inclusive - Adults Only and
Be Live Collection Punta Cana Adults Only

The pros and cons of each?
Thanks!

Of the 2 hotels you mention I prefer the Catalonia. Overall it is in better shape, had better food and has a golf course. If you want to spend more and have really good food I would recommend Excellence Punta Cana, Excellence El Carmen, Majestic (any of them), or Bahia Amber.

If you want better than average food I would recommend Barcelo, Margareteville, or Princess Adults only. They are still more $$ than the 2 you mentioned but are nice hotels.

Good luck and have fun.
 

Kipling333

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Jan 12, 2010
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I would never suggest renting a car to a tourist and driving around the DR although it is a great idea in most countries. For one thing the roads have deteriorated greatly over the last year and driving is far too stressful for someone preferring a peaceful setting . I go along with the hotels recommended by Melphis but I do not regard any AI hotel in the DR as being particularly peaceful.
 

jd426

Gold
Dec 12, 2009
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I would never suggest renting a car to a tourist and driving around the DR although it is a great idea in most countries. For one thing the roads have deteriorated greatly over the last year and driving is far too stressful for someone preferring a peaceful setting . I go along with the hotels recommended by Melphis but I do not regard any AI hotel in the DR as being particularly peaceful.

I concur ,, however after a couple years of observing one can easily make the jump
Almost everyone I know who waited a couple of years , or did like 10 trips before Renting a Car , has had no problems , not major problems anyway .
Small scratches are expected , but no major incidents .
But anyone who thinks they can rent a Car on their First Trip to the DR , and immediately understand the driving style pulling out of the Airport , that person is sadly mistaken .The DR has a very unique driving style ..
Its mostly Intimidation by SIZE of Vehicle , with some Motocross Rules thrown in , and anything goes after that .
If you follow the written Rules of driving and expect others to as well, you will be in big trouble, fast .
 
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keepcoming

Moderator - Living & General Stuff
May 25, 2011
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There is the Occidental Caribe (former Barcelo Punta Cana). Probably close to a 3-star resort but buildings 1-4 have remodeled rooms. Beach is beautiful and a good portion of the rooms have ocean views. It is not Adult Only. 2 pools, besides 2 buffets (large one, then a smaller one closer to the beach) there are about 5-6 ala-cartes. You can also try the Bahia complex, there are several hotels in the complex one of which is Adult, I think. I hate to say with your budget good food may be hard to find. But then again food at a resort can be hit or miss, even at the more upscale resorts. Wherever you decide please come back and let us know about your experience.
 
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MarkDR

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Feb 18, 2016
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Does it absolutely have to be Bavaro / Punta Cana ? The fact that you are on this forum (which is mainly used by people who live in DR) shows you are thinking a lot more about your vacation than 99% of people who go to Bavaro. Would you consider hiring a car and mooching around the island? A mix of all-inclusive and normal hotels in different locations maybe? Would you like to see a bit of culture, a bit of history, eat the freshest chicken you can imagine eating, get drunk and do the merengue with some locals? Sit on a beautiful white beach with literally about 10 people on it? Drive through eye-wateringly beautiful mountains? This country has way more to offer than nasty AI buffets, crammed beaches and long lines for everything that is pretty typical of most AI's in Bavaro.
Thanks Maria for helping out.
For our situation currently, a rental wouldn’t work well. For a seasoned DR adventurer I could see it working.
No it doesn’t have to be Bavaro / Punta Cana. I am open to other locations in the vicinity.
I’d be open to say La Romana. Does that area have quality resorts in my price point with the features I mentioned? If so could you possibly recommend a few candidates?
 

AlterEgo

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As far as renting a car, I’d qualify it based on where the tourist is accustomed to driving. Someone who normally drives in suburbia or country or highways, nope. Someone who easily drives in Manhattan will probably be okay.
 

MarkDR

Member
Feb 18, 2016
264
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Of the 2 hotels you mention I prefer the Catalonia. Overall it is in better shape, had better food and has a golf course. If you want to spend more and have really good food I would recommend Excellence Punta Cana, Excellence El Carmen, Majestic (any of them), or Bahia Amber.

If you want better than average food I would recommend Barcelo, Margareteville, or Princess Adults only. They are still more $$ than the 2 you mentioned but are nice hotels.

Good luck and have fun.
Thanks melphis for your help!
I have actually been to Punta Cana twice before. I stayed at the Princess the first time and Catalonia the second time. The stays were a decade apart.

Does the Catalonia have rentals for golf equipment? And will they allow the adult guests to use the family side facilities/restaurants now? I read somewhere that resorts stopped allowing this due to Covid.
Has that now changed?

I looked at the Princess and saw that they don’t have availability for my dates unfortunately.
I’ll check out the others you mentioned.

At Booking.com, Margareteville strangely has no reviews and just a few photos! Is it new?
 

MarkDR

Member
Feb 18, 2016
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I would never suggest renting a car to a tourist and driving around the DR although it is a great idea in most countries. For one thing the roads have deteriorated greatly over the last year and driving is far too stressful for someone preferring a peaceful setting . I go along with the hotels recommended by Melphis but I do not regard any AI hotel in the DR as being particularly peaceful.
I would agree 100% Kipling! Fortunately I do have driving experience in DR from quite a few previous trips there (Santo Domingo) so I am open to this possibility.
 

MarkDR

Member
Feb 18, 2016
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There is the Occidental Caribe (former Barcelo Punta Cana). Probably close to a 3-star resort but buildings 1-4 have remodeled rooms. Beach is beautiful and a good portion of the rooms have ocean views. It is not Adult Only. 2 pools, besides 2 buffets (large one, then a smaller one closer to the beach) there are about 5-6 ala-cartes. You can also try the Bahia complex, there are several hotels in the complex one of which is Adult, I think. I hate to say with your budget good food may be hard to find. But then again food at a resort can be hit or miss, even at the more upscale resorts. Wherever you decide please come back and let us know about your experience.
Thanks keepcoming for your additional recommendations. I will be sure to check them out.
I gave a general budget, and would be willing to raise it a tad if something were highly recommended.
 
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SKY

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Apr 11, 2004
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I would highly recommend this resort. Great food for an AI, and a nice quiet beach. But it is listed as La Romana, but it is actually before La Romana in Bayahibe which is 45 minutes from PUJ. You can read the reviews and see if it fits.

 
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jd426

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Dec 12, 2009
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As far as renting a car, I’d qualify it based on where the tourist is accustomed to driving. Someone who normally drives in suburbia or country or highways, nope. Someone who easily drives in Manhattan will probably be okay.
I literally drove a LIMO in NYC back in the day, and I still did NOT feel ok driving in the DR , for years .. I observed for a long time .

I am no longer a risk taker like in my younger days . Have been known to turn around and go back home in bad weather , like a Snow Storm , risk reward was not there for me .
When I had all the pieces put together , I rented a car, with confidence ..
Saw too many people destroy their Vacations by Renting a Car without proper experience and getting into serious accidents on their first Trip , the DR is very unique driving wise, imo, every person is different though I guess.
I drive with the intention of ZERO mistakes , and was very upset when we did scratch the Rental Car first time in Samana..
2nd time my Wife scratched it , parking at the hotel , good grief .
 
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Kipling333

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The Hilton at Bayahibe is an excellent choice if you can find a good price . It is actually before the now very unattractive seaside village that used to be so quiet and peaceful. The hotel has a synthetic grass tennis court and normally very pleasant food as well as beach. the area of Bayahibe and Dominicus is favoured by Italians with many charter flights using la Romana Airport .
 
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AlterEgo

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The Hilton at Bayahibe is an excellent choice if you can find a good price . It is actually before the now very unattractive seaside village that used to be so quiet and peaceful. The hotel has a synthetic grass tennis court and normally very pleasant food as well as beach. the area of Bayahibe and Dominicus is favoured by Italians with many charter flights using la Romana Airport .

I agree, we love Dominicus. Our place of choice is Cadaques, we rent an apartment. It’s a replica of a town in Spain, right on the beach.
 
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NanSanPedro

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Apr 12, 2019
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Thanks melphis for your help!
I have actually been to Punta Cana twice before. I stayed at the Princess the first time and Catalonia the second time. The stays were a decade apart.

Does the Catalonia have rentals for golf equipment? And will they allow the adult guests to use the family side facilities/restaurants now? I read somewhere that resorts stopped allowing this due to Covid.
Has that now changed?

I looked at the Princess and saw that they don’t have availability for my dates unfortunately.
I’ll check out the others you mentioned.

At Booking.com, Margareteville strangely has no reviews and just a few photos! Is it new?
Mark, I would stay tf away from booking.com. I lost a $200 deposit from them a few years ago. Now, I always book direct.

We have only stayed in the RIU Palace and Hard Rock. Probably twice each in the last 3.5 years. Riu is less than half of Hard Rock and outside of the RnR glitz, not much difference.
 

keepcoming

Moderator - Living & General Stuff
May 25, 2011
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Dominicus/Bayahibe is also a great area. The La Romana Hilton has an Adults Only side. There is also a couple of other resorts in that area. I always book directly with the resort/hotel.
 
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MarkDR

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Feb 18, 2016
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Thanks folks I've got a few more questions for you.
A couple have mentioned preferring to book directly with the hotel.
I certainly am amenable to that. When traveling on the fly, I've often done that.

Will the hotels offer the same FREE CANCELLATION that Booking.com is offering?
Booking.com gives a cut-off date for this. After the date passes you are locked into paying.

I had an idea that I'd like to run by you folks. I'm not sure anyone here has done this before.
I haven't.

I am considering hedging my bets on this vacation.

I know what Catalonia Royal Bavaro is like. I stayed there three years ago.
I wasn't blown away by it. Rooms were OK, Food was just OK. Beach had the infamous seaweed.
But I know what to expect. That's important.

I am thinking about booking two hotels for my 10 day+ vacation.
That way I can be assured of something decent with Catalonia Royal Bavaro
and possibly something better/worse with the second hotel.

The second hotel I'm looking at now is coincidentally part of the Catalonia family;
Catalonia Bayahibe.

Any impressions about that hotel and my idea?

Five days with say Catalonia Bayahibe and then five plus days with Catalonia Royal Bavaro.