Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Reviews

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Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa  

Cabeza de Toro, Punta Cana

"Don't listen to bad reviews!"
Posted by: Sandra  on Feb 27, 2013
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Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Reviews
Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Pictures and Information
Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Punta Cana-Bavaro Dominican Republic

#13
of 78 Hotels in Punta Cana-Bavaro

User rating 3.8

Based on 37 reviews

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Information


In the Natura Park Hacienda Style, ecological architecture takes advantage of the natural resources of the area and provides a feeling of freshness and comfort.

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Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Reviews

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 3.8 of 5 37 reviews
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"I would not suggest taking kids under the age of 5."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Doug from Toronto  on Jan 1, 2009  >  3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
184 people found this review helpful

Arrival: January 2009
We went to Punta Cana in January 2009 and stayed at Natura Park. We are a family of four with two kids under 3. As a traveller myself, I have seen about 50% of the islands in the Caribbean. This is a good resort for the money and we would return when the kids are older. I would not suggest taking kids under the age of 5. The resort is great for couples, older kids and retired people who are mobile.

Rooms:
The rooms were very nice and a good size. We always had beer and water bottles in our room.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was great with a good selection. The drinks were good. The hours of the main buffet were excellent when open. We did not make it to the steak house but heard great reviews about it from everyone. The pool bar was a nice touch and the bartender lady was the nicest in the resort. The staff here is top notch.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pools were very nice, but very cold. The beach was great.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The Internet was $3 for 15 minutes. The scuba diving wasn't great, but the prices were reasonable for what you got.

Other Comments:
The TV went out one night which isn't a big deal for a couple or single, but with a two year-old it can become an issue. The bars and food places did not always open on time. The flight home was the worst in the last five years for me. The flight was 90 minutes late and then we had to wait on people in immigration. There was no movie on a 4 hour flight from Skyservice. There was no elevator from the main lobby to the ground floor which was a huge hassle for our stroller.

Overall, we would return and the 4 star rating seems correct.

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"The Outback Jungle Safari is the best."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Jason & Cindy from Airdrie  on Jan 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
181 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Jan/5/09 - Jan/12/09
The arrival was a gong show at the resort. the did not have our reservations from signature. Was supposed to get a ocienview suit for or honeymoon, but end up with a room with 2 single beds. (ya not cool for a honeymoon) Our rep was useless, as a few people said , they were more interested in selling you tours instead of helping you with your problems.

Rooms:
Room was very clean, a/c worked great, fridge kinda sucked and we only had 2 single beds.

Restaurants and Bars:
Really didn't care for the food that much, but whatever ! not a big deal.. bars are a little understaffed but they try there hardest.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
THE POOL is kinda small but the grounds and beach make up for it. It is beutiful!!!!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
EVERYTHING WAS AWSOME the Outback Jungle Safari Outback Jungle Safari is the best.. PLEASE DONT TAKE ANY OTHER TOUR GUID OTHER THAN THE OUTBACK SAFARI. there colours are orange and black. They are awesome, I am not big on history to much, but it was incredible to learn about the country from "jose" This tour outfit treated us very well and we had so much fun and CHEAPY CHEAPY ! Debbies d/r has the logo on there page. We also went on the party boat to go swim with sharks and sting rays (dont worry sharks have no teeth and rays have no stingers. This was also a great time. They even had a clown for babysitting on board.. We also did the dune buggies and atv's also an awesome time and everything was...CHEAPY CHEAPY.. There is a guy in the resort that sells tours down near the towel shack, his name is edwardo, ask for him , he is a great guy, and cheaper than the tour operators like signature or sunwing..

Other Comments:
All IN all the first day wasn't good about the check in. However we had a fantastic time everywhere there. all the hotel staff were great and all the locals. We had such a good time we booked another one there feb/23/09 32 MORE SLLEPS ! WOO HOO.. WARNING!!!!!! WE LIKE GOING TO THE CASINO 2 DOORS DOWN AT THE GRAND OASIS. THEY GIVE YOU 1 $25 DOLLAR CHIPS WHEN U WALK AND ESCORT U TO A TABLE CALLED CARRIBEAN ROULETTE OR SOMTHING LIKE THAT, ANYWAY YOU HAVE TO ADD UP POINTS AND THEY MAKE IT LOOK SWEET... WELL ITS NOT, MY WIFE AND I DUMPED $600.00 IN 40 MINUTES.. STAY AWAY.....

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"Great memories."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 4.5 of 5

Posted by:  Keith  on Jan 1, 2009  >  5 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
174 people found this review helpful

Blau Natura Park Resort/Sunquest Vacations/Skyservice Airlines
Trip date 2008/12/20 – 2008/12/27

Interesting to read BobFromCanada’s summary – there are some similar observations - and it becomes evident that Blau doesn’t really follow up on customer suggestions.

This was our first time to DR and thus to Natura Park. We selected Natura based largely on Debbie’s reviews and input from other sites. Overall we were quite happy and came away with many incredible memories.

Sunquest: We were met at the airport – lost luggage sorted out – and led to a bus for transfer to Natura. We received an invite for an orientation session which we attended the following morning. Boris gave us some tips on avoiding stomach/intestine upset (ie minimize conconut based drinks like the pina colada) and reminded us to check in on departure time. The rest of the time he spent trying to sell trips which seemed to be the real focus on his job. Boris wasn’t any help in getting the luggage problem resolved and said he couldn’t do anything for me. He placed one call after I insisted he try to help but said he did not get an answer. I approached the hotel staff and they were very prompt and efficient at finding our lost luggage and were always able to get answers to their phone calls. I also tried to book upgrades for flights through Boris but he said to do that at the airport and that he couldn’t help me. Skyservice was fine on the way down and back. No delays and the flight attendants were OK. They lost one of our bags for a day and our Sunquest rep was not helpful but the hotel really stepped up and helped out nicely. (3 bags lost in total from our flight)

Pick up/Arrival: Our group was a bit late for the bus as we had to fill in a lost baggage form. About a 20 minute ride to the hotel with a brief introduction by our host who was more interested in reminding us that they get paid next to nothing and so tips would be appreciated (a great start to an “all expense” paid trip ?. Not the typical welcoming party seen at other hotels but directed to the front desk and the sign in process was quite prompt and professional. Instructions re keys, safe and towel cards were thorough. Taken to our rooms and baggage arrived promptly.

Rooms: We had 5 rooms on ground level midway between the beach and main complex. Our travel agent asked for 2nd or 3rd level rooms as we had several girls with us and did not want ground level for security reasons but the hotel does not seem to review travel agent remarks so take anything suggested or promised by your travel agent with a grain of salt. Rooms were clean but rather dated. Beds are small and hard (can't fit 2 adults on one bed comfortably) and the AC just gets by (it was only 82 outside so not sure what they could do in the summer heat). Across the 5 room there was a wide variety of TV quality (same model) ranging from being non- operational/hazy screen to very crisp. We didn’t really care as we were there to enjoy the beach not TV (fun to see how much snow is piling up at home tho)! The sliding wood doors in all our bathrooms worked poorly and required some wrestling to get them to work. We had a board from the bathroom ceiling fall down while "in use" :) which was rather an exciting experience. Any fixes requested were promptly acted upon throughout the week with the exception of light bulbs for in-room lights and hallways. We asked to be moved to a higher level but was told the property was sold out even though the restaurant manager pointed out to me that ½ the restaurant was closed as the hotel wasn’t full ? … nonetheless the lower level was much more convenient so glad they left us there. There were sticks jammed in the power slot so the AC kept running all the time which was necessary to keep the room comfortable. The hair dryer is useless unless you have hair like mine … all 12 of them. They must be 20 years old and barely blowing.

Excursions: We skipped the formal tours as they seemed quite expensive and time consuming. After chatting with some local guys selling tours on the beach we hired Candy to take us on a snorkelling trip for a fraction of the price, for a longer period of time and with a great guide called Dominique. Note that snorkelling off the beach is poor quality. Further out there is some colour to the coral and the fish are more numerable and diverse. Reefs in Bermuda, Jamaica and Belize are much better. We did one snorkelling tour with the resort staff but their idea was to jump overboard with a ton of bread and watch fish swarm you. We preferred Dominique’s approach where he pointed out coral and fish in their natural habitat.

Animation /Entertainment: poorest quality of any resort we have visited. The kids based events were OK but well below what we have seen as a standard. The adult shows were quite adult oriented in some cases. The lady doing the pool exercises was quite good and pleasant. Main entertainment guy (rides a noisy motorbike) was very rude to our girls (ages 14 - 19) and physically yanked them off the volleyball court so he could put guys allowing his team could win. I indicated what would happen to them if he ever touched them again and he seemed to get the picture. His other 2 team members seemed to be more interested in the activities and more polite. He promised 2 of our teens a prize of rum for winning the Olympics and each night he would say “I will have it tomorrow”. On the last night he said he wasn’t going to give it to them. The following morning I informed the guest service staff person of the situation and she contacted the Animation Manager who promptly gave us 2 bottles and apologized. Best solution would be to get someone in that cares about their job and the guests. Beach volleyball court is really nasty and well off the main beach … surrounded by vines and undergrowth and a garbage pile … good place to wreck your feet every time a ball needed to be retrieved.

CAUTION!!! - seems like some of the staff live on site in dorms and the male staff “after hours” activities was focused on mixing it up with female visitors.

Beach is the BEST and absolutely amazing!! Incredible sand! Get out early and book your beach loungers. Good mix of palms, huts and open beach. Definitely the highlight of this property! Pool was fine but we didn’t use it much other than for the complimentary scuba lesson and one water polo game. Beach bathroom: speaking mainly for the men as I didn’t tour the ladies. The men’s was always disgusting with urinals overflowing. I noticed other reports about the same thing. They need to get this fixed as the germ count is off the charts. Walked in a couple of times and walked back out. Nasty.

Nature: The Natura name is well deserved as this is no concrete jungle like a lot of resorts. Ponds and trees and animals of many sorts are throughout the property. Creates a very serene setting. Other properties we walked through were tile and concrete and mega pools with no trees or vegetation around. The natural setting and beach were two home runs.

Bars: Main bar was always well staffed and prompt. The bars close to the beach were a little hit and miss in terms of quality and consistency of drinks and service. Swim up bar was cool and not a place to stay. Food: Overall quite good with typical resort scenario where some types of food, plates and cutlery running out but hey it is the Carribean man so just wait or come back the next day. Some people got really stressed ? over the outages and change in menu but at least there was food. Omelettes by Andrea were to die for … smoothies YUM … the Christmas eve buffet and experience was top notch. Turkey, seafood, pork was all incredible. Staff were clean and professional and service was really good 95% of the time. The beach restaurant was good too and the patio bbq’s were fantastic … Seafood restaurant was Good, Steak restaurant was Good and the tenderloin was fabulous. The french onion soup was uggg (a square of unmelted processed cheese and thick slice of bread) … the dessert in both rather uninspiring and limited (ie 1 piece of chocolate cake for our chocoholic gang so they just went to the buffet for dessert). Must be a lack of food warmers as food like the wings were always lukewarm at best.

Overall:
1. Good staff
2. Good food
3. Reasonable rooms
4. Only 1 person sick out of 11
5. Great memories
6. Worth going back to?? Sure but we don’t return to the same place as there are too many islands to visit and explore

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"I really liked the rooms as they were a little dated."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  William from Norfolk, NY  on Jan 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
169 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Jan 10 - 17
Front Desk was very helpful, even though we had arrived early 12:00 pm they had us leave our bags an go for a drink and view the grounds. As this was our 6th time in DR we were very comfortable leaving our belongings.

Rooms:
I really liked the rooms as they were a little dated, I hope this never changes as if I wanted cold,, star trek rms ,,I will go to NYC. Anyways the cleaning staff just did a great job. We always leave 2 dollors a day on the bed (they will not touch if you leave it anyplace else) which the ladys really need.

Restaurants and Bars:
Restaurants, The first part of the week we were really upset as there were never any tables cleared, coffie, at the buffets but middle of the week we were asked to fill out a survay card and we did, service was good the rest of the week. Food was good at buffets. The Italion was very poor Steak House was good.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The best beaches, Pool was good but very cold which I don`t understand other than they chill the water to preserve the chemicals. This stopped alot of people from swimming alot. Sounds nuts but I have done polar bear dips in the ST Lawrence river in Jan and the water was warmer. They need to look into this as swimming is a big part of a winter vacation.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
As far as Iam concerned the shows were the best in the DR. These people work hard to put this on. Day activities around pool were good. Did 2 tours the trip to the stingray pen was not worth it as you only go out 1 mile then come back and stand on a sandbar,to expensive for what you get. The other trip was the Outback Jungle Safari which was great only it took us 2 hrs to get there.

Other Comments:
I would book this motel again
bill832@hotmail.com

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"Nice hotel for the price we paid."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 3.5 of 5

Posted by:  Lindsay from Saskatchewan  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
194 people found this review helpful

Arrival:
Fairly smooth check-in. There were a few other couples who were checking in at the same time, so the desk clerk made a group announcement as not not repeat herself then handed us an envelope with our necessary items, pretty self explanatory. Only complaint is that we were told to come back the next day for our safe locks because they had ran out.

Rooms:
I had emailed the resort the week before (use the email from the hotel website because the one listed under "resort contact" on this website is wrong) to ask for a specific location and we got it right by the beach (building 7) however we asked for a king size bed and got two twin beds, not exactly romantic but location was great. About the room: Toilet stopped working everyday but we managed to fix it ourselves, lots of ants in the room so keep items off the floor, fridge never worked at all but we were close to the bar! Linens were always clean and the maid did a good job of keeping things tidy. Ask for extra water each day as we found out two bottles were not sufficient. A/C not terribly cool but if you keep the fan going it is comfortable.

Restaurants and Bars:
Bars were good, best bar was by the beach, over-looking the pool. It had the best views and fastest service. Bar inside hotel was always packed so wait time was lengthy. Best frozen drinks were at the bar in the entertainment area, but only open at night. Food was so-so, beef was always good though. Best a la carte was the steak house, but if we want cooked steak ask for well done as i asked for medium well and received rare. I recommend eating breakfast at the main buffet, as the one by the beach had only a few select items.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beautiful beach, be sure to walk past the hotel grounds to the left as there are no other hotels, plus water has less weeds.
Groundskeepers deserve a pat on the back, always working hard and very friendly. Water in the pool was cooler, but not uncomfortably cold. Be sure to get up early to reserve seats on the beach, they go quickly. We brought our own beach towels from home to make them more identifiable. Overall beautiful grounds.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We walked about 10-15 min outside the resort (its safe) to a shopping/market area. Be sure to haggle as the shops have a lot of the same items, so you may be able to get a cheaper price at another shop. They accept pesos and us dollars and have a calculator ready. Make sure you know what exchange rate they are using because they try to confuse you and possibly rip you off. We challenged quite a few sales people.
We did two excursions: Outback Jungle Safari , well worth the money,it was a great tour and our guide Franklin was great. Bring money along to buy things along the way. The other tour was Reef explorer. Again great tour, but a little over priced. It was nice because we were able to snorkel at our own pace and not feel pressured for time.

Other Comments:
Overall, nice hotel for the price we paid and great location, but room and food were not 4 star. I would consider staying here again.

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"Except for the ants in the bathroom, we had an amazing time there!"

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Allison from Kitchener  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
207 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Jan 23 - 30
The room was not ready when we arrived, but we went to the bar and had a drink, went to the buffet and had some lunch and wandered around the property until they were ready. Not a huge deal really!

Rooms:
The room was very nice and clean! We left little goodies for the maids, and seemed to get fresh towels and extra water every day! We had a slight ant issue the first night, and in the bathroom the entire week, but it is an eco resort!

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet had great variety and it was all really good! We both found lots to eat every day! No stomach issues or sickness at all. They had purified water on the tables each day. They could have cleared the tables a bit faster, but as we were told on the bus ride in, you run on "Dominican time".

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is cleared all day of the seaweed that washes in. Beautiful trees and huts. Just make sure you get up early to save your beach chair! The pool would have gotten more use if it was heated, but otherwise no complaints. Grounds are just gorgeous! We have some amazing pictures!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did the Dune Buggies (the ride there seemed to take forever - but it was completely worth it!) and we also swam with the dolphins (this excursion is close to the resort - and is very fun!)Both were a little pricey once they got converted to Canadian dollars, but its not like we go on vacation all the time so why not?

Other Comments:
Except for the ants in the bathroom, we had an amazing time there! The food, grounds and staff were all excellent. Vendors come to the resort to sell goods in case you dont want to head to the market. We would recommend this resort to anyone.

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"Language skills were particularly absent when trying to solve even a minor problem."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 3.5 of 5

Posted by:  Jim  on Feb 1, 2009  >  12 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
204 people found this review helpful

Intro I’m writing this as someone who visited the Caribbean “BC” as in before children. Now that our brood is old enough to actually get something out of a tropical trip we took the plunge and set off for Natura Park in Punta Cana from February 4 to 11. We did a lot of research before the trip and by and large it paid off.

1.The hotel is expecting a ‘voucher’ but Westjet does not provide one. They will accept a print out of your Westjet itinerary so bring a spare copy. Otherwise you’re sent off to the Internet café for penance at the rate of $3 per 15 minutes while downloading. Of course if you don’t have it on file in your e-mail account you’re at the mercy of staff that seem to make up the rules as they go along. Yes – the resort is always ‘full’ but fresh rooms appear magically with the right persuasion.

2. By the time we were checked in it was dark. The desk clerk circled our ‘patio’ on the map on the back of our envelope and sent us on our way into the darkness. I thought it was easier to move from building to building via connecting links – Wrong! The wandering paths through the garden are actually simpler but in the dim lighting we walked almost around the entire resort before finding a security guard who, though speaking no English, took one look at our room keys and took us ‘home’. I paid that tip gladly.

3.The beds are hard. The two ‘double’ beds are actually ¾ size beds based on North American sizing. Our 10 and 12 year old daughters found them adequate but mom and dad were glad for the king size bed in the adjoining suite.

4. Language issues continue to dominate one’s experience. More on this later.

5. By and large this is a get-what-you-pay-for-experience. More on that later.

6. Bring a travel mug – details below

Hotel
Natura Park looks like it was built in the early to mid 70s. It is in reasonably good shape but is clearly showing its age. If you are looking for pristine anything move on to another property. The site bills itself as eco friendly but this seems to be more of an excuse for air conditioning that works only when the outside air temperature is deemed warm enough, fridges that struggle to keep a couple of beers cold and ceiling fans that look as if they might come detached from their lofty perches at any moment. Most important – the main buffet, all restaurants and all bar areas are covered only by a roof. Nature can and does take advantage of the access and not always to your comfort. The main area of the hotel is covered with extensive gardens, pools and wildlife, all cared-for expertly. If the same effort and expense was directed toward the guests this would be a 5 star at 4 star prices.

We paid $800 to upgrade to a suite that gave us one king bed and two ‘double’ beds in two rooms joined by a private hallway. It was money well spent. All of our Westjet companions ended up far away from the beach, often with the wrong bed layout and facing forest. So much for Westjet maintaining a block of rooms! By booking a full suite we were promoted to the edge of the ocean with a perfect view and a balcony that joined our two rooms. The balcony made the trip! We spent many an afternoon on it drinking wine and beer while watching the horizontal rain and big waves roll in from the ocean. All of our Canadian friends were very jealous!

Room
The resort is shaped like the letter U with the restaurants at the top and the two arms holding the ‘patios’. We ended up at the end of one arm of the U with an ocean view from our balcony. Given that everyone we met from Canada was unhappy with his or her first room we can only attribute our good luck to the upgrade we paid for. Other posters have commented on poor privacy, loud plumbing and maids who barge in at 0830 so I won’t go into much detail here aside to mention that all these things happen.

Your sheets will likely not be changed during your stay. Towels are changed only and I do mean only if they are left in the bathtub. Leaving extra tips for the maid may or may not result in extra beer and water, depending on the maid you get and what mood she is in. Room door locks are mechanical and easily by-passed with a credit card so leave everything of value in your safe!

Remember all those shampoo and conditioner samples you casually throw into your kit every time you stay at a hotel or motel? This is the trip where you’ll use them all up! Toiletries were refreshed irregularly. We finally gave in and purchased a bottle of conditioner from the gift shop at the princely price of US$12!

Staff
“Two solitudes” may be a Canadian concept but it applies very much to the DR. At the end of a week we came away feeling that the staff understood far more of our English and French than they cared to acknowledge. We did our best with please and thank you in Spanish and were grateful for the staff that introduced us to other useful phrases but by and large we sensed a great divide. Language skills were particularly absent when trying to solve even the most minor problem. This could well be due to the fact that staff work and live at the resort for 11 days straight and then have three days off with their families who often live several hours drive from the beach. That’s not much of a life for anybody so it is with some empathy that I point out the person who is being so sullen may well be starting another boring 11 day stretch of ‘duty’. Nonetheless some staff exuded such a hostile attitude that it was hard not to comment on it. By the last day I spoke French exclusively (my second language) and got far better communication.

Food and Drink
You will take most of your meals in the main buffet restaurant. The food is adequate but uninspiring. Custom made omelets in the morning, some decent coffee and a wide range of choices are the high points but after 7 days it all gets a bit boring. The beef was universally tasteless, likely from being too lean. Tacos and burritos were pointless exercises in blandness.

The a la carte restaurants fare a bit better but not enough to get out of the mediocre range. Neither the Italian nor the steak house was anything to write home about and considering they served the same wine as the buffet there wasn’t much different about them.

Speaking of wine – the white is barely drinkable. You are better off to go to the main bar and order as much champagne as you can carry to get you through your meal. The red is a bit more interesting but you’ll be missing your favorite shiraz or merlot within minutes!

Talking about wine brings us to booze. If you think you are walking into the land of free-flowing Johnny Walker and Bacardi – think again! While these brands are available at the main bar on specific request the vast majority of the liquor you’ll get will be local brands of questionable potency. The draft beer is Presidente and resembles a discount brand at an Ontario beer store. To be fair this makes sense, considering the deep thirst of your garden variety 20-something male – which would very likely be literally swinging from the trees if fed full strength sauce from 1130 onwards. Suffice to say you will be able to drink a lot without getting hammered.

You will get two bottles of beer per room per day. Again, this is uninspiring stuff but drinkable on the whole. Canadian breweries need fear not – nobody is going to come back looking for Bohemia pilsner at their local beer store. Finally we need to talk about water. There was never enough of it. Bribe the maid or not we were always looking for more potable water. The stuff in the tap isn’t fit for even brushing your teeth! Want to make a pot of coffee in the morning? Not if you got thirsty in the middle of the night. Want to brush your teeth? You may have to use pop instead of water! Providing more water would be the one simple and cheap way this resort could improve service!

Smoking
While smoking in a food service area is no longer acceptable in Canada it certainly is in the DR, especially in bars. And remember that open concept? Cigar smoke at breakfast is not at all pleasant. There are no signs respecting smoking but ashtrays are provided only in bars and the a la carte restaurants.

Weather
A complete disaster! One good day at the beginning and of course perfect again when we left but otherwise frequent rainstorms, howling winds and cold temperatures. The beach and pool patio would clear out in 15 seconds and stay empty for a couple of hours while the squall blew through. A local vendor said this was typical for the DR in February – if only we’d known!

Pool/beachfront
Punta Cana is well known for its excellent beaches and Natura Park lives up to this reputation. The resort faces due south and gets a lot of wind but on a sunny day you’ll be glad for it. Hotel staff cleans the beach of washed up ocean debris every morning and the swimming is very nice. As with most resorts you’ll have to play the reserve-a-lounge-chair game every morning. Beach area bars and restaurants reduce the need to make the long walk back to your room.

The ‘animation’ staff is supposed to get the guests out of their chairs for dancing, exercise or whatever other silliness can be imagined. I loathed the constant announcements in Spanish, overly loud music and ridiculous displays of intoxicated machinations but then I’m only one commentator. Leave me alone to read my book in the sun – but that’s just me.

Other
Things I wished I’d known before taking this trip
1. Bring a big travel mug because the bars use 6 ounce cups and it gets to be silly running back for two more gulps of beer. 2. Bring all the toiletries you’ll need. Gift shop prices are 300% of normal. 3. Bring a nylon shell jacket for protection from wind and rain.4.Forget access to the Internet. You have to go and sit in a small room and pay $10 an hour for crappy throughput. I will not go back to this resort for this reason alone.

Health
Two out of four of us developed GI issues and our friends from Winnipeg came down with cold/flu like symptoms. We were very careful about sanitation but I suspect there are deficiencies in kitchen and food handling protocols. As noted earlier, none of the main bars and restaurants is enclosed, meaning flies and birds are frequent visitors that usually are unwelcome. Staff is very casual about cleaning up tables after guests leave and in many cases we had to either refresh the table ourselves or point out the dirty placemats, cutlery, etc to serving staff who then took a very relaxed approach to bringing the table up to standards.

Vendors, Attractions and Excursions
We had little contact with beach vendors and what did happen was all positive. There is a small local ‘market’ within a short walk from the hotel but this amounts to about 20 small shops all selling the same trinkets, tee shirts, coffee and rum. Oddly enough, all bidding started at $95US and ended up at about 1/5th of that. Why anyone would want to buy alcohol that does not have a potency declaration on the label is a mystery to me.

There are many excursions but the costs are high – figure $100 per person on average. We didn’t partake and ended up back home with exactly $1 left over from a budget of $500US. A family of four that likes to ‘do things’ will need about $1,200US in cash to give everybody two excursions and leave enough for the daily tipping, gift shop, etc.

Finally
Departing the DR is organized chaos. Prices for food and drink at the airport are beyond belief! If you plan to eat a meal there then bring lots of cash! The duty free shops are surprisingly reasonable, especially if you are buying a known brand. I picked up a litre of Fundador Spanish brandy for $12US. That’s a deal considering that 750 ml of the stuff is $26 Cdn and I have to go to Calgary to get it! NOTE! No credit cards are accepted at Duty Free and judging by the amount of refused product at the cashiers, not accepted anywhere else either.
Natura Park delivers reasonable return for what you are paying. Based on what other travelers told me about the Mayan Riviera I think I’ll give it first consideration next time, even though it means giving up Westjet (who service Mexico only from Calgary and points west).

Ratings:
Father and youngest daughter (10 years) gave this holiday 6.5 out of 10
Mother and eldest daughter (12 years) gave this holiday 7.5 out of 10.
Combined rating is 7.0 out of ten.
I would consider returning to Punta Cana but this resort would not be at the top of my list.

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"Such a tranquil, beautiful resort deserves more attention to room issues."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 3.5 of 5

Posted by:  Joe from Boston  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Feb, 2009
202 people found this review helpful

Arrival:
The flight to Punta Cana and the arrival was effortless...we had a quick and efficient check-in...we came independantly so we were the only guests checking in at this time

Rooms:
WELL...the room itself was fine...comparable to others we have had in our many trips to DR...but...ur toilet stopped working three times and required repeated visits to fix...our refrigerator in the room managed to keep drinks at room temperature...the sliding bathroom door did not slide closed....finally repaired on day 11 of a 14 day stay...the TV worked fine for three days and we experienced an extremely snowy and troubled picture for the remaindr of our stay...we ere told there were cable problems...housekeeping didn't bring towels in a timely manner...two days we received them while we were at dinner...dried off with beach towels!

Restaurants and Bars:
the food was ok....what we usually expect at AI's....but the restaurant wasn't up and running at 7 in the AM....usually had to wait for staff to get to stations and for hot food to come out if you were there before 7:15....we found luch to be better at the main buffet versus the beach one...Italian Restaurant was POOR....Fish was better...Steak was good for or first visit...not good for our second...ars everywhere needed more staff...the beach bar consistently nad a long line between 4 and 6 when people started leaving the beach and heading for the bar....there was only 1 bartender during peak times...and just no bakup for the person...oftentimes the bartender left the bar to get replacement stock...dining room staff was hot and cold as well...loved Rosa, server in the main bar however...consistently good service from her

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Pool is small but don't go to DR for pools....beach was good...nice place to walk the beach although there was a couple of robberies at the far end of the beach despite police presence...THE GROUNDS are specacular...the best we.ve seen, the plants, the birds, the lagoons, and the groundskeepers care were all outstanding...it is the major attraction of this resort and my ambivalence concerning not recommending the resort or returning to it

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Went parasailing and took out the cat...both were great.....had to get in line early to reserve the cat and you had to get down to the beach before 7 to put something on a chaise if you wanted a palapa and shade...a staff member also approached us and told us for $ he would reserve a palapa for us...didn't accept but many did and as a result many palapas went early...hope mgmt stops ths practice.

Other Comments:
I hate to sound like I didn't enjoy the two weeks..I had a good time despite the conerns and problems cited...such a tranquil, beautiful resort deserves more attention to room issues, old and tired fixtures and appliances, and responding to calls for repairs...in addition the staffing issues are easily solved...hopefully the whole staff and operation will come up to the high standanrds of the grounds crew who should be proud of creating a DR paradise.

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"If this was you're first all inclusive you would be awed."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  June and Stu from Vancouver  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
219 people found this review helpful

Arrival: January 29 to February 5
Our arrival was around 9 pm. There were 10 of us checking in. The staff was organized for us. Unfortunately our room was not as we had requested. Because of the late check in there were no rooms left to move us to, but the following day we were moved close to the beach. They do try to accommodate.

Rooms:
The resort rooms are in need of a remodeling, but are always clean. Most mini bars do not work. A/C is sketchy. Sometimes your room could be made up at 9 am or as late as 5pm. The service is the same whether you leave money on your pillow or not. You need to ask for extra water bottles. DO NOT DRINK THE WATER FROM THE TAP.

Restaurants and Bars:
The main buffet served breakfast, lunch and dinner. There was lots of food. One section was a selection of Dominican foods. The middle section had a selection of pasta, breads, meats, fruit, deserts. Each night had a different main course (meat). The food was good but lacked seasonings. The meat was always well done.
The main bar was next to the main buffet. The drinks were served in real glasses and lots of alcohol was used. Table service is slow, so recommend ordering at the bar. This is the meeting place and can be very busy. The entertainment stage is next to the bar.

The beach buffet served a light breakfast and lunch. Sometimes the chef would be cooking up paella or a surprise for lunch from the bbq next to the beach buffet. Behind the beach buffet was a hot dog/hamburger stand. The beach bar served their drinks in plastic cups (6 oz). We found the drinks to be inconsistent each time. They used lots of alcohol and syrup and in a small cup not so good. Recommend bringing your own travel mug for a longer more consistent cold drink and not so many trips to the bar. There were 2 beach bars and a swim up bar. But do bring your own mug.

In the evening there are 3 a la carte restaurants and the times and dates are already scheduled for you. Even though there are several seatings you are never made to feel rushed. Please note that most of the staff speak very little English. So don't expect a lot of answers unless you are pointing to the menu. They do not understand. Fortunately one of us speaks Spanish and this opened lots of doors. Very enjoyable conversations were had. The La Perla became the seafood restaurant in the evening. We did not read the menu carefully and missed out on the lobster because it was labeled mixed seafood grill. We were not thrilled with our choices but we are the ones who made the choices. The staff was great.

The Media Luna steak house. Only used for the evening meal. The setting was charming as the restaurant was surrounded by water with flamingos, ducks and geese. We ordered medium rare rib eye steaks and they were cooked to perfection. The menu gave you a choice of french fries or rice, our steak came with a baked potato as well as the rice. The staff was very accommodating as we asked to change our table and they did it immediately. The Gondola - Italian restaurant. The food was very tasty and the presentation was wonderful. We had the mixed grill and the curry chicken. The curry chicken was the best meal I had all week! The service was great.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The grounds were mature and well laid out with ponds and bridges. There were boxes along the trails loaded with bread to feed the geese, ducks and fish.
The pool was small compared to other resorts. It was about 4' deep and was a great place to cool off or play with the kids. There was aquasize classes in the am and pm. The beach. If you wanted a lounge chair, you needed to claim it by 7 am or have a hard time to find several together. As most people kept their lounge chairs all day. We found the east side the best place as it was closest to the washroom, buffet and bar. The beach is cleaned every day of seaweed. It is fine sand so no need to wear shoes in the water. The water is warm even though it is on the Atlantic ocean. The swimming area is buoyed off to keep boats, etc away. Within this swimming area we found the best snorkeling with lots of colourful coral and fish. There is a reef that you can see about ½ mile away. See below.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The animacion crew had activities all day long from mini golf to meringue dancing. Then in the evening they were part of the entertainment starting at 9:30. The evening shows were good. Sometimes it was audience participation and some nights there was a Magician Act or a Michael Jackson impersonator. Go early to find a spot as it gets very busy. The resort had boats for hire to take you to the reef (about 3 minutes away) to snorkel or dive. Approx $10 US. There were also catamarans, paddleboats, kayaks, and wind surfers but you need to sign up early for these.

Off the resort
We went on the Marinarium ½ day snorkeling adventure. If you like to party this boat would be for you. We snorkeled for about 20 minutes (in a crowd follow the leader) and then swam in the nurse shark and stingray pen. Then back on the boat to a natural lagoon where they served us drinks in the water (we could stand up in) and then lunch more drinks and dancing back to the dock. I would recommend the Reef Explorer if you want to snorkel. We went on the Mega Truck excursion. We left at sunrise and came back at sunset. Very long day 11 hours. Gave us an overview of the country away from the resort. You had the opportunity to buy coffee and cocoa from the locals. I don't think this excursion was worth the time or the money.
There is a bus that takes you to the shopping outlet mall from the resort. We didn't go but heard mixed reviews.
There is no 2 pm bus.

Other Comments:
There is too much tipping at this resort. We spent $50 in one week tipping from the bell boy, bar tender, restaurants, the troubadours, maid, concierge. Everyone seems to have their hand out.
Bring bug spray as we had quite a few mosquito bites in our room while sleeping with doors shut. There is a general store but the prices are ridiculous. A bag of pretzels is $8. So bring your own salty snacks as the resort does not serve them. There are lots of vendors on the beach and some evenings by the main restaurant to buy jewelry, paintings, carvings, rum, etc. They are not aggressive but looking to them means you want to buy.

Over all impression
The resort was favorable and worth the money. If this was you're first all inclusive you would be awed. The resort had the cliches you would expect to find in a Latin country. We have been to all inclusives on the Pacific, the Caribbean and now the Atlantic and feel if we were to go back to the Dominican Republic we would look for a higher rated resort in the La Romana area. The locals have recommended that area to us.

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"Overall, this resort deserves the 4* that it's quoted."

Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa
User Rating:  Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Rachelle  on Apr 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2009
206 people found this review helpful

Arrival: March 21 - 28
Arrival went very smoothly. As soon as we arrived, our room was ready

Rooms
Room was nice and clean.

Restaurants and Bars
The food was great and plentiful. The Bar service was great

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was very nice. The pool and grounds were lovely.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The amination team was great. They really get you involved in all sorts of activities

Other Comments
Overall, this resort deserves the 4* that it's quoted. I would return.

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