Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Repúblic.
"A great time"
Posted by: JOHN on Mar 8, 2012
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This exclusive luxury hotel is located directly on the Playa Arena Gorda beach and is surrounded by palm trees and a charming subtropical garden.
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"The whole place seemed to be in excellent condition."
Erin from Cape Elizabeth, Maine on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jan, 2009
491 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Jan.1 2009- Jan 8, 2009
We have visited the DR 8 times in the past 7 years. This was our 5th visit to an Iberostar resort, our 1st at this resort and our 4th time in Punta Cana. We return yearly because we love the poeple of this beautiful island and we always have an excellent time. WE flew Delta on New Years Day. Our flight from JFK to Punta Cana only had 11 passengers on it. We arrived ahead of schedule and it took less than 15 minutes to go thru customs, get our bags and get on the bus to the resort. WE were the only passengerin the van and our driver drove very quickly to the resort. WE were they in about 25 minutes. Check in was quick. WE had emailed the resort adn requested to be in the building near the pool and beach. WE had asked for 2 rooms somewhere near each other. WE were given rooms side by side, one king and one with 2 doubles rooms 5276 and 5277. The # 5 represents the building #, the 2 is the 2nd floor. WE couldn't see the pool but is was a 2 minute walk to the beach and about 3 to the lobby.
Our rooms were clean and seemed to be recently remodeled although I am not sure about that. WE had a king bed, nice bathroom with tile. A couch, table with 2 chairs and a cabinet with space for clothes and TV. The deck had a small table and two chairs. WE overlooked the gardens and across to the Domincan buildings. Although there are 2 hotels it really seems like one. The Punta Cana is on the left when facing the beach and the Dominicana is on the right. The two resorts share the 2 pools and all the resteraunts. The casino, disco, internet cafe, spa and show area are on the Dominicana side.
Restaurants and Bars:
There are 4 or 5 a la cart restaurants and 2 buffets for dinner and 4 places to get breakfast and lunch. WE had breakfast down by the beach every day. There was plenty of fresh fruit, various breads, eggs ect. At lunch time they cooked out on a large grill everyday and also had 2 buffets at the 2 places to eat down by the beach. There was always a variety but the same variety every day. The salad bar and fruits were always good. I was not overly impressed with the food. It was OK but not as good as other Iberostars we have been to. Both my kids said it was better than the food they get at college but that is not saying a whole lot. The Oriental restaurant was very good, we ate there twice. The Mexican and Steak House were a good change from the buffet but were average. I am not complaining, we do not go on vacation to an all inclusive for the food. It was fine, just nothing to write home about. It was always kept clean around the food area. Some things that were very good were the Guacamole, fruit, potatoes, bread and salads.
All of the staff at the restaurants and bars were extremely friendly and always smiling. WE do not speak much Spanish but we did not encounter any problems. The drinks were a little too sweet for me but I found several that were good. The bartenders would make them however you requested. The wine at dinner was tart but passable. My kids enjoyed the disco at night although they were disappointed that the disc jockey did not play more to the crowds requests.
The beach is gorgeous. I got up every morning and found a great spot near the volleyball area. I was at the beach by 8 am and I could always find an area to set up for the day. It is funny to see all the places that get reserved early and the people don't show up until mid-day. I swam in the ocean everyday and it was wonderful. Nice sandy bottom, no seaweed, some waves and a slight undertow. WE brought a couple of floats and them blown up at the dive shop. It was nice to hang out on them and drift around. WE brought masks and snorkels but never ended up using them. It was a little choppy although some people did to the left side. It is a great beach to walk on in either direction. Nice and flat. The sand never got hot. The pools were nice. WE found there was more activity on the Dominicana side. The pool and the ocean are about the same temperature. We never sat out at the pool but there seemed to be plenty of people there everyday. We never had a problem getting towels, they always had them.
The grounds are beautiful. Everything was lit up for the holidays and it was magical at night with white lites wrapped around the trees. The groundkeepers work very hard and do an excellent job.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There was plenty to do at the resort if you wanted to. My kids played volleyball and partcipated in a few of the activities. If you want to be busy you can be but it is also easy to just relax and read. The Star Friends invited you to play but were not pushy if you chose not to.
WE did not do any tours this trip but have done Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure and Outback Jungle Safari in the past and enjoyed them both. Also I recommend the Sanoa Island trip. I thought the entertainment at night was somewhat lame. Again, we did not go there for the entertainment but we have seen better shows. We enjoyed sitting in the lobby area playing cards and people watching. We went to the casino a couple of times but it was very smokey. Other Comments:
WE had a great time. The weather was perfect, sunshine all day with a couple of brief showers at night. Everyone who works at the resort is friendly and nice. We tipped the maids and the waitstaff. We also brought baseballs which we gave out to some of the grounds crew. The people work very hard there and they are very appreciative.
This resort is very well kept, well run and in a great location. We did not have any problems. There was no construction going on while we were there and the whole place seemed to be in excellent condition. The employees and the beach make this a very good resort.