Posted 12 September 2013 - 07:43 PM
Lets me say this tip, tip, tip, wisely but tip!! $1 will get your service $5 will get personlized and efficient service. Arrival at Punta Cana international was okay for a rainy day (hurricane season), it's a small airport however the process went very fast!! Walk-in, pay $10pp tourist card fee (if your not resident), get passport stamped, proceed to baggage claim (good luck with finding which belt your bags are going to be on), grab bags go thru baggage scan (i would call it security but it lacked the secure feeling) and find transportation attendants. Now I will say this, if you have not booked your transfers to and from the resort I strongly recommended that you use Prieto Tours, and if you have already booked your transfers well good luck! Our transfer attendant (didn't catch his name, he moved entirely too quickly) met us at the gate asked us if we were using Prieto Tours, we answered yes and he said follow me. From there he grabbed our bags and zzzoooommmeedd us through the airport and straight to the front of the baggage scan line and out to the bus in less than 5 minutes. We checked the taxi rates from the airport and at minimum your looking at $30 one way. The 20 minute ride to the airport was uumm let's use "scenic", lots of trees land and more trees o yes I did spot an IKEA and a few rental car places however not too sure on how you would go about that process. We were the first stop on our transfer, we did pass Melia Caribe, Paradisus Palma Real, Dreams, and of course Secrets is next door. Okay so arrival! The gate is hand opened by a security guard who ensures that people coming in are supposed to be on the grounds. 6 speed bumps later we were at the front door and greeted by 3 gentlemen who grabbed our luggage off the bus and escorted us to the front desk where we were greeted by Juan, who welcomed us home and offered us champagne. Smooth check-in process lasting about 7 minutes. Juan of course offered us the preferred upgrade in which we declined being that we knew majority of our guest for the wedding will not be upgrading so we want to give them reviews based on "a regular stay". We booked a tropical view and were upgraded to the pool view due to the promotion they were running at the time. We were then escorted to the "VIP" table where we were given vouchers to use on the resort which totaled $200 listen carefully and read what you sign. The vouchers are the equivalent of no sales tax (18%). So it's a "savings" but not as much as you may think. From the VIP table Our bellboy escorted us to our room pointing out where everything was on the way. I don't really know how you can call a room on ground level a "view" of any thing but the room and grounds were impeccable so I digress. Our room was in the Punta Cana building and our room was directly in front of the fountains. I believe I have seen in previous reviews something about "the other building" being really far, those buildings are the Garden View Rooms and are VERY far from everything else on the resort. All the rooms are the same size except of course if you were to upgrade to a suite. All rooms come with a stocked mini fridge (the soda is not American, and check all of your water bottles to ensure the seal is not broken), safe, walk in shower, jetted bath tub, and room service. The pictures on the website are exactly how the room looks (if you are like me, my biggest fear is arriving some where that looks nothing like the pictures). The beds are FIRM. Housekeeping staff are definitely on their own time, first night 4:30, second day 11:30 and 7:30, third day 5:00 -Carnival Restaurant: Carnival is a casual come as you are buffet (no bathing suits). -Scores Sports bar: had a PS3 Xbox WII pool tables 4 flat screens, projector for the games, bar, and 5 lane bowling alley ($10/5ppl +$2/pp for shoes). -Moments: is very nice lounge/bar area but also very dark (dim lighting/candles). -Tamarando: Mexican food with made to order Margaritas (surprisingly I'm still waiting on mine) attire business casual -Castaway is for preferred guest only -Beachside Grille (grilled food) is a come as you are (bathing suits allowed) -Spice: Asian (closed for renovations during our visit) business casual -Blue water grill: american steakhouse business casual -Mercure: french cuisine says formal however we seen business casual walking in -Explorers club: looked really nice from the outside with an okay size secured play ground -Room service: quick and hot the first night the second night we waited for 1 1/2 hours -Unlimited Vacation: is a timeshare if your not interested in time shares just say no up front they will try to convince you that it's not a time share and they are commission based so they will do ANYTHING for a sale. Beware they do discriminate one of the gentleman clearly said to me we try not to waste time with students because of money, jobless, and those who don't look interested. Interestingly enough my fianc©e and I were interested in purchasing right up until that statement was made. I looked at my fianc©e who gave me "that look" I quickly told a little white lied that we don't have any credit cards to purchase. The gentleman ripped our papers up and rudely said ok maybe next time and quickly moved on. We could have been major investors, however his statement causes him to loose a sale.. -The guys on the beach WILL (if you go out to the beach before 8-8:30) approach you about buying souvenirs. Security as well as the police do a really good job at keeping them off the NOW/Secrets portion of the beach. I will say my fianc©e and I walked 20 minutes back to NOW from the Jellyfish Restaurant and NOW was the cleanest (yes there is sea grass but the staff do a good job with clearing it up every so often) beach and the only one with security guards. -I'm not sure if this is a negative or positive however I'll throw it out there just as a heads up. My fianc©e is half Bermudian, and I'm assuming could pass for Dominican due to the constant Dominicans speaking to him in Spanish and telling him he looks Dominican. One last night we walked the beach around 7:20 (looking for the Redskins game on the big screen that we never found) and were approached by a security guard. The guard asked my fianc©e if he spoke Spanish and of course his repose no. So the guard says to me is he with you (lightbulb I'm holding this man hands walking on the beach... Nope I don't know him at all) I reply yes he goes where are you staying and then proceeds to ask to see the key to confirm. Part of me wants to say "ok great the security presence is visible and they are actually securing the premises" the other side of me is thinking "in the event the my fianc©e went down to the beach to look for the "big screen" by himself which was his initial plan what the hell would have happened". -staff who were of great assistance Osvaldo Victor Miguel Juanito Wilki Mercy (entire wedding dept) We originally scheduled a meeting with Mercy back in July for the 10th at 4:00pm come to find out she was In a meeting and our coordinator Yakayra was in the middle of a wedding. So naturally I was upset feeling as though the purpose of our trip was to meet with them confirm budget and vision and see the various options for the ceremony. However Yohannelly was more than happy to show us the grounds, options for ceremony, pictures of recent weddings, and answer as many questions as she could (only been there less than a month). After that meeting we returned around 8:00 that evening and met with Yohannelly Luna who answered all of our questions and scheduled a 9:30am meeting for us to meet with Yakayra the next morning before However, Yonnelly was more than happy to show us the grounds and answer all of the questions she knew the answer too (she's been there less than a month). We returned that evening on our way to dinner (8:30) to find Mercy still working. She stopped what she was doing greeted us and answer all of our questions she even scheduled us to meet with Yakayra the next morning at 9:30. Yakayra was very apologetic and very patient with my millions of pictures,concepts, and questions. She showed us lots of pictures of weddings at different locations on the resort and options that we could have for our wedding. She even walked us over to the photographers office as I was very iffy about their work. We were shown photos and videos of there most recent ceremonies as well as TTD sessions. I would say book with them and save the $500 vendor fee. I did confirm that bringing any outside decor may run you a 25% (of their selling price) set up fee. So definitely number crunch before to ensure your really saving money by bringing things from home. Unless its something that they just can't get in their country or its really significant to you!! Side note: once you confirm your date, you will receive a excel spread sheet which is a wedding planner. You enter all of your numbers (guests, extra chairs, tables, etc.) and it calculates right there instead of sending numerous emails to get prices everything is right there and calculates as you go. This way you can ensure that your in budget. (You also add your selections of colors, decor, bouquet, etc. right on this spreadsheet). ---I CANT send you an example because each one calculates according to the wedding package chosen and the amount of guest you are having. Let me know if you have any questions!!
May 01, 2015- complete!! 73 guests+bride & groom! Now Larimar Punta Cana!