The "official" site inspection does have a fee; it's a package they call "Love at First Sight". I booked mine thru my travel agent at DestinationWeddings.com, and if I recall correctly it was about $700 or so and if I recall correctly it requires a minimum 2 night stay.. You can contact the Romance Department in Miami and ask them about the "Love at First Site" package and see what the fee will be. Its a non-refundable fee, but if you decide to book your wedding with PPC that amount will be applied towards the total cost of your wedding. Anyway, this gets you a scheduled appointment to meet with Miguelina (or whoever the wedding coordinator is that day), go over prices, options, date & time availability, and check for availability of the ceremony & reception space, etc. You also go over menu options and select your tastings during this appointment as its included in this package. This is where I would suggest asking to do a tasting of a few PLATED menu selections AND BUFFET menu selections. I do know for a fact that the PLATED menu options are not on the regular menus for the restaurants...I think it's the same for the BUFFET, but I'm not sure. I must admit I was NOT very well prepared for this because I wasn't sure of where I wanted the reception due to uncertainty of # of guests, which hindered me from making the decision to taste buffet vs plated...just ask to do both! Having as clear a vision as possible of your day is something you should DEF know ahead of time. Try to envision of what you want your wedding to be like (casual, formal), location, colors. After your sit-down appointment with Miguelina, you go on a guided tour of the entire property with her or one of her assistants. They take you to every space where they do ceremonies and receptions. Take lots and lots of pics of these spaces. The spaces are NOT set up for a wedding, but if you stay there for at least 1 night you definitely are able to get a peek at what a wedding looks like because surely there will be one during your stay. They also will take you on a tour of the Royal rooms and the Reserve Rooms, and all the different restaurants. With the "Love at First Sight" package, you're supposed to get a coupon for the spa for about 15% or 20%...use it! You want to be sure of who will be doing your hair and makeup...I took advantage of that and booked a blow-out since I have curly typical Dominican hair which isnt very easy to deal with..I was fully satisfied and knew that if they could blow out my hair straight they would have no problem with doing that AND an up-do. Also, in the package you're supposed to get a bottle of champagne and fruit platter delivered to your room on the first night. Neither the spa coupon OR bottle of champagne was provided to me until I spoke up on my 2nd day. They were apologetic and said there was some kind of miscommunication on their end. If you do the Love at First Sight package, I would highly suggest calling the hotel directly yourself or go thru the Miami Romance department to confirm the hotel itself has all of the information on you so their wont be any miscommunications when you get there. Lastly, Miguelina will schedule a wedding menu meal tasting (based on your selections from your meeting with her) during your stay for dinner. It's ALOT of food, but its only the entrees, not the h'ors doeuvres. Try to get a taste of as much as you can i.e. chicken, fish, steak, vegetarian option so you'll know exactly what your guests will be getting. I don't have a documented list of questions I asked, but in my opinion, key things to ask about are: extra fees for anything and everything (photographer, videographer, flowers, dj) space constraints, backup plans, upgrades to rooms, time limitations of events, rehearsal dinner spaces and reservations and fees for those, all those extra little things that add up like OOT bag delivery to rooms, any penalty fees for ANYTHING, OMG theres so much!
Regarding which hotels I suggest to cut out, this of course is very subjective..but I would say don't bother with Ocean Blue. Its just around the corner from PPC, only about 5 min away by car. I really did not like this property. It was very small, the ceremony spaces were very limited and very public - they didnt offer much privacy at all. I was completely unimpressed with this property. It just seemed VERY average and a little low-budget to be honest. I was told by a few folks that the Melia Caribe/Tropical and PPC and Paradisus Palma Real are the 3 biggest resorts in Punta Cana. This proved to be very true. All of the other resorts were just too small for my taste, lol..I didnt want to run into the same people day after day around every corner! Please know that Melia actually owns PPC and PPR...so you're going to get great quality for all 3. Melia Caribe in my opinion is a resort you should DEF see. I found their customer service to be wonderful...but the property didnt offer that fun tropical feel as much as PPC did, in my opinion. I did NOT visit any of the Bavaro properties so I can't advise you on those, sorry! I based my site visits on what my travel agent recommended for my needs/wishes and the many many blogs, youtube videos, and pics on the internet.
Its alot to take in when you go on your site inspections. The PPC official site inspection does cost some $, but you get it back at the end if you do book with them. The meal tasting is totally worth it. The other resorts did not due wedding menu meal tastings, they will let you try their food but its just from their regular menus.