Well hello ladies!! I am so sorry for taking so long to write my review! I cannot believe we have been married for over a month already! Time really flies by too quickly.... So here goes my review!
We flew Continental from Newark, NJ straight to Punta Cana. There were 24 of us. We rented a party bus that picked us up promptly at 4am! Everyone was so excited! Before we left, my husband and I gave everyone their gifts that we made for them which included t-shirts saying "Headed to Paradise...for Eric and Gaby's Wedding," mugs with our names and date on them, and nips (mini vodkas). We got to the airport with plenty of time and had no trouble getting through security. Well, except for my fiance's grandfather that does not speak a word of English. He got searched because he kept beeping going through the metal detector. No one knew what was making him beep until he started pulling nip after nip out of his pockets! lol. Other than that everything went smoothly. They hung my dress up in the front of the plane and the staff was very friendly. The airport is very different from a US airport- no AC but music to welcome you! When the little mariachi band saw me carrying my wedding dress and my Bride tiara on my head, they started playing "Here comes the Bride." So cool! After we all got our luggage, we found our bus and were off to the resort!
It took us about an hour and a half to get to the resort. Once there, check in wasn't too bad. There were a lot of us and some with special requests (for my husband's grandparents to be on the bottom floor, etc.) and after a little confusion, everyone had their room. We got ours right away. We did not get a suite but we did get upgraded to preferred club priviledges. We asked about a suite our second week- because the first week we wanted to be close to everyone and didn't mind- but were told we would have to pay more. It really didn't matter to us and were actually glad we stayed where we were because we had so much stuff! Our room was beautiful. We had a great view of the preferred club pool and ocean. We were on the top (third) floor which was cool because the ceiling looked like a cabin ceiling- wood rafters. And at night, when it rained, it sounded really cool. The room was clean everyday- always fresh towels. No bugs in our room. We stayed in building 5. The only thing is I wish they would have refilled our suntan lotion and stuff more often. But that was okay because everytime we passed the maid's cart, I would swipe what I could! lol:)
In my opinion, the hotel is amazing. It is just so beautifully decorated and has a nice modern feel to it. It has so many restaurants and even though we did not get to try them all, the ones we did try were delcious! The buffet is great and you have to make sure you try the pizza by the main pool (served from noon-6). The beach bar was the bar we frequented the most- Santos, Cesar, and Beto were excellent bartenders. They really got to know our family well the first week. Especially Grandpa- he would sit by the bar playing canasta with a bottle of Absolut next to him. They were excellent and during our Honeymoon week, the second week, Santos would even bring our drinks to us. We made sure before we left to tip them extra because they made our trip even more enjoyable. The bar by the main pool is really good, too. Eric and I became familiar with this one really during our second week. I think it started on the day we received the DVD of our pictures and spent 5 hours trying to pick out which ones we wanted. After we left the room, and went through 2 bottles of champagne, we went to the main pool bar and met Antonio. He took care of us for the rest of the day (with 3 bottles later) and also the rest of the trip. We didn't really visit the pool bar too much which surprised us because the pool bar is important to us whenever we are picking a place to go on vacation. The beach was too amazing to pass up, though...
Dreams's beach is just breathtaking. First of all, the sand is smooth and clean. They have huge palapas all over the beach for people to go and sit under. The water is so clear and really is like a pool. There really aren't any waves so it is nice and calm. The view from the beach is the pier on one side and a local fishing village on the other. It really is so pretty because there are always boats docked over there and it just makes it feel...I don't know...more like you aren't in the middle of nowhere. There are always games going on and the entertainment staff to get you going to participate. If you do, you can earn their funny money which can be used at the auctions during the week to get free stuff like bottles of mamjuana and paintings. You can walk down the beach a bit to go to the little village but be careful because there are vendors there that will walk with you down the beach to try and get you to buy something.
The entertainment was pretty good. Some of the shows were better than others. We honestly did not see many of the shows but the ones we did see, we enjoyed. The Disco was pretty cool. Most nights they played local music but they also had themed nights. The casino was small but was fun. We won a little bit but then ended up giving it back:) Other than our wedding night, the best night there was the night we arrived- the fourth of July. After getting pretty tipsy at the pool bar and then on the beach, we all showered and changed and went to dinner at the pool party. They had tables and tables of food set up along with tables and chairs to sit. They had live music, a show, and then more live music. Unfortunately, most of our party went to bed early because we did have a long day of travelling, but Eric and I and a few others were not ready for bed! We danced and sang and me and one of Eric's cousins even jumped in the pool in our undies! It was great!
When we were there with everyone, we went to Saona Island. This is a definite must. We had such a blast! We got picked up at our resort at 9am. This was soo cool because usually you have to drive somewhere and spend time on a bus. Once we got on, they gave us beer and rum and water. They had music and a videographer and it was just great. When we got there, they fed us lunch- so good!- and we hung out for a few hours. The water was beautiful and the sand had pink sparkles in it! After our time was up, they took us to a sandbar in the middle of the ocean that was shallow enough to stand. And here, we found and held real starfish! This was so cool! They wanted to take us back but we kept tipping them so they let us stay pretty late. There are other excursions that you can go on, but this one I highly recommend. We didn't go anywhere during our second week because we didn't want to waste time on a bus that we could be enjoying as the resort.
We did have one rainy day our first week- and that was LizzyJane's wedding day. We did meet up a couple nights and even though her pictures are beautiful, she was even more beautiful in person! She was very sweet and so was her hubby:) We enjoyed hanging out with them and wished we could have spent more time together. But sometimes it is hard with such a large group. If it does rain, there is always a rain schedule on the newsletter you get every night for the following day.
Be careful of the vendors that frequent the resort every other day. They set their booths up by the pool (the main area) and can be very pushy. Just say no thank you and smile and usually that is enough for them to back off.
One thing I really want to comment on is tipping the staff. They work really hard and some of them work 12 hours a day, with only one day off a week. We spent quite a bit on tips but it is so worth it. At this resort, they will take care of you regardless, but it is always appreciated and remembered if you do slip them a little something for taking such good care of you.
My next post will be our wedding review!