Bayahibe, La Romana. Dominican Republic
"internet was the only problem"
Posted by: zita on Oct 4, 2014
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Day and night, the fun never stops for families, singles and couples. The beach, pools, manicured gardens, and warm tropical breezes, fabulous a la carte restaurants and tropical drinks are all part of your escape because Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa is an All-Inclusive beachfront resort.
Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa official website
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"Have baby will travel"
Kate on Jan 20, 2010 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2010 | Leisure | Family and Kids
302 people found this review helpful
I'm a veteran AI traveler but this was the first time with my 10 month old daughter Zoe. I have tried specifically to gear this review to parents with small children as well as regular visitors.
Flight/Arrival: Flew AC from Vancouver to Toronto and stayed overnight and flew out in the morning to PUJ. When we arrived there were planes there from every major Canadian carrier and it still took us only 25 minutes to get out of the airport. We did get our photos done, and I tipped the guys playing the music since I was dancing to them with my baby to keep her entertained. We used one of the porters to move our luggage and I had tip money ready- there were 5 of us with 13 pieces of luggage; it looked like we were staying for a month instead of a week. The only weird thing was that on the flight the attendants handed out several forms for customs in the DR, not just the blue ones and the tourist visa and we filled them out. They were never collected and I still have them. Transfer: We were in a mini van and I brought a rear facing car seat for Zoe. Heads-up: the only place I could install it was in the center, very back seat that was in the aisle. Other seats had seat belts but this was the only one with the depth required. Front facing seats wouldn't be a problem. It took about an hour and a half but with the flight times etc I slept the whole way.
Reception: We received the traditional Dreams welcome of towels, cookies and champagne. The towels in particular are lovely. Reception was very efficient and we were told which rooms we would have and asked to have lunch and return as our rooms were not yet ready. We went lunch and met our favorite server of our entire stay. Carlos works breakfast and lunch at the main buffet and he was awesome. He remembered our names after the first meal, always got a highchair for Zoe without being asked and remembered our drink preferences. It was a great start.
Room: We were in building 4, 2nd floor, right at the top of the stairs. I had sent an email requesting 3rd floor, corner room (Zoe cries at night and didn't want her to wake the neighbors), king bed to ensure a quiet room. I got the king bed and really I wouldn't have wanted to carry the stroller up another flight of stairs anyway. Our room was very quiet, we could clearly hear the entertainment in the bathroom but in the main room it was quiet and there was nothing else noise-wise worth mentioning. Apparently the rooms with the connecting doors (they are located at the very back of the building) are much noisier.
One couple we spoke to could hear everything next door. We requested a crib in the email and when we arrived at the room it wasn't there. One call to reception and it was delivered within the hour. We always had lots of towels and received facecloths every day (I know that this is not the case with everyone while I was there). Our room had a shower only and since I knew this was a possiblity I brought a blow-up tub at Walmart and brought it down with us. It was great and I used it to do a little wash as well. If you want a tub, I believe you need to be in buildings 1-3.A few days into the trip we got the wireless internet deal (its only good for 6 days) and got decent reception in our room. It was slow to connect to some sites but since we were there during the earthquakes in Haiti it was nice to be able to tell everyone we were okay. Never had a problem running out of time but we made sure to log off when we were done.
Restaurants and Bars:
Restaurants: We ate at the a la carte's almost every night and loved the no reservations policy with Zoe. If she wanted to nap when we got back to the room, she could then leave when she was up. We never had a wait for dinner, that may have been the times we were going but nice none the less. If you are going with a baby look into a portable booster seat; I only needed it 5 or 6 times the whole week but... There is a kids menu available at all a la carte's but sometimes you have to ask for it. These are my opinions of the a la carte's. Mexican: average, almost every other AI has had a better one.
Dominican: Okay, other ones in the DR have been better (wear bug spray)Asian: Good, Sushi was pretty good for the DR, service was great. Seafood: Excellent, good service and a delicious somewhat adventurous menu so good we went twice. Seaside Grill: Dinner- great service, good food. Steaks are varied in the doneness; "Medium" had a variety of results, none of us were bothered by that and so went a second time. Italian: Classy atmosphere, good food, erratic service (new server?) and fabulous desserts. French: Looked great but adults only so we didn't go. Barefoot Lobster on the Beach: This is not included in the AI package but it was my birthday and we decided to splurge. Its wonderful and very private. Only 4 tables the night we went and although it rained a bit we were under palapas so we didn't get wet. Included is a salad bar, whole grilled lobster with rice and veggies and dessert bar (amazing). Room Service: We did it once and the food arrived in the time they said it would (30 minutes). The nachos weren't great although my husband liked them but the steak burger was very good.
Parents with small children: I brought a whole bunch of food (cereals, instant mashed potatoes, apple sauce, canned fruit, baby crackers) and other than on the plane and using a couple crackers at the resort I didn't need it at all. Zoe doesn't eat packaged baby food and I prepared for the trip to make sure she could eat regular food. Other than relaxing my standards on square meals and sodium content I didn't have to do anything else. She ate, was happy (didn't get sick at all) and even gained a little weight like everyone else does at an AI.
Beach: Beautiful sand with a nice soft surf. We were on the beach from 9 am to 5 pm with only a break for lunch. Zoe loved to sit in the area in front of a little natural cove where the surf swirls around.
Closer to the pier there is a smoother entry into the water but it is fine throughout the whole beach. Not a long beach like Punta Cana but very calm. There is a lot of shade available- my parents went to the beach early and got a couple loungers under a palapa for us, but there were families arriving on the beach at 10 that found shade under the trees with no problem. With the palms and other trees the beach looks very natural.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Excursions: On our 10 day trip we went on 2 excursions. We went Zip lining and did a snorkeling trip to Catalina. Zip lining was super fun. 1 hour on the truck to the zip lining site and 2 hours in the air.
Apparently kids 6 and up can do this (Zoe stayed at the resort with her dad) and there were several seniors doing this excursion as well. I felt very safe the whole time and it was well worth the money and the hour ride each way. Catalina was booked through Gri Gri Divers on site and it was great. I liked that it only took people on our resort, on our last trip to the DR our catamaran was over booked by 20 people due to a communication error. This time there was lots of room on the boat and the sailboat (not catamaran) was very nice. The snorkeling (1 hour) was good but I've seen better in the Philippines and Mayan Riviera. That being said it was still worth the trip. Catalina was beautiful, take bug spray as this is a natural island and we went after a rainy day. The mosquitoes sent a welcoming committee to greet me; 6 bites in 2 minutes. There is bug spray provided once you get to the beach but if you have a real problem with a few bites take some spray and put it on before you go ashore. Lunch was good and waves were stronger than at Dreams so fun to play in. After a couple hours there we sailed home, well worth the money. I particularly liked that they didn't sic vendors on the captive audience; many other tours get you surrounded when you stop at a beach area. I have nothing but good things to say about Gri Gri, Pedro in particular was wonderful (he wears a red Phillies hat). Although selling tours, we never felt pressured. Actually he came on the tour the day we went and we had a great time talking to him.
Entertainment: Didn't really do it or get to know the staff. My husband did beach volleyball twice a day and loved it.
Vendors: There were vendors around the pool 4-5 times during our stay. Their wares were not amazing but they were willing to deal. For better shopping and selection, particularly for medium-nice jewelery (not beach vendor, not Harrison's) and rum; I recommend taking the free shuttle into Dominicus. It leaves at 10:30 and its a 10 dollar cab ride home. There is a good selection of shops and markets to look at. Just keep in mind that some shops close from 1 pm to 3 pm for siesta. We didn't realize that and missed out on a couple items as we weren't willing to wait.
Bar Service: The beach wait staff were lovely and the bartenders were fun. Some of the wait staff have limited English so speak clearly and if you're not sure they understand, ask to write it on their pad or take what you get with a smile. It is much quicker to walk to the bar and order a drink but nice to have one delivered if you're not in a hurry.
The first 5-6 days drinks were great but in the last few days of our trip something changed, it was almost like they were running low on alcohol. You would order a drink and you had to specify with alcohol, sometimes twice. Preciously they would just add it or ask you whether or not you wanted it. Not a big deal but something to be aware of. Lobby bar was very nice as well (my husband really liked the peanuts they give out). We took insulated mugs because that's what we've always done and didn't need to use them. The resort uses plastic reusable glasses (glass in the lobby) that are a good size.
Overall: This resort was very good overall. I've been to resorts that were better in the beach, or the food, or the rooms, or the service but NOT all at the same resort. I found this to be a nice, clean, family friendly resort that made it easy to take small children to but still engaged adults interest. I may be back if not to this Dreams then to another location. As to the travel experience with a baby, it was awesome; Zoe is such a little trooper. Other than the first night at the resort she slept better than she does at home. I would go with either a younger or older baby next time. Crawling on foreign surfaces wasn't in my comfort zone so I would go pre-crawling or walking next time.
"What a great place!!"
Laura from Toronto on Nov 1, 2009 >
5 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009
258 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Nov. 2 through Nov. 9:
What a great place!!
We flew WestJet directly into La Romana, a small, new airport. We did not pay for the transfer through WestJet and grabbed a taxi to the resort, which is only a 20 minute ride away. $35 US for 4 of us. Arrival at the hotel was very quick and efficient. Champagne was offered immediately and the signature line "welcome home". Our emailed requests though the tour operator were met (3rd floor, king bed, etc.) and we were in our rooms with the luggage delivered within 20 minutes.
The room was nice. Ours was in building 5 with a view of the main pool, stage and a slight view of the Ocean and Harbour in Bayahibe. Nothing fancy and not too huge, but comfortable. The balcony was small, but perfect to sit and have a pre-dinner drink or a morning coffee. Everything was very clean.
Restaurants and Bars::
The choice of food is really amazing. Breakfast at the buffet was the usual - fresh egg station, good coffee, freshly squeezed juice and great service. The service in all areas of this hotel was truly one of the best we have experienced in our stays over the years, in many locations with the all inclusive option. Here are the a la cartes we went to with a personal rating.
Mexican - A+ - real Mexican food!! Delicious soup, guac, pico, tacos, enchilada's, margarita's. French - A - the beef tenderloin was excellent as was the lamb. Beautiful presentation and a good wine list if you want to spent extra $$.
Italian - B+ - Quite good. The lasagna was a hit with most.
Japanese - B - There is no Tapenake Grill at this location, but the dishes are prepared and displayed well. Nothing too rave about, but completely enjoyable.
Dinner Buffet - A - always lots of choice and hot things were hot, cold things cold. They kept it very clean and offered hand sanitizer to all that enetered before they ate.
Beach Grill - hamburgers and hot dogs were very good. Local dishes were offered as well.
Seaside Grill - Go here for lunch if you can - fantastic a la carte lunches.
All of the Bars were quick with a drink and offered an assortment of options. The lobby bar offered bottles of beer as well as draft and top shelf liquer. We didn't try the white wine, but the house red was ok with meals.
The swim up bar was an attraction as always, very large and usually the party place to be in the late afternoon.
The coffee bar was set up like a Bakery, with desserts and pastries. The coffee was delicious.
The beach is stunning. Calm and clear. Great snorkeling off of the pier and just past the sectioned off area to swim. There were always chairs in both sun and shade. The pools were kept clean and they allowed swimming at night, which is rare at resorts. Many guests took advantage of this as it was still humid in the evening. The smaller pool in the upgraded area never seemed busy and if you like your privacy, this would be a good option. There is also a private bar and beach area for those who upgraded as well.
The grounds were lush and lovely. The resort's layout is easy to navigate and everything is within a 5 minute walk or less. There were several guests in wheelchairs that moved around with little trouble.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
My husband chose to go off the resort to arrange for scuba and used Sharky's in town. Vlad and Denise were both extremely accommodating and friendly. You can access their shop by walking into Bayahibe, which is 5 minutes away down the beach from the resort. The diving was better than expected and enjoyed. We did a day trip to Saona island through Sharky's as well with a delicious bbq lunch on the beach. It was crowded after 11:00 am, and we were very happy to have our own boat to escape the madness of the speed boats and catamaran's arriving in droves. We paid less to have our own captain and guide!!
The casino was small and usually busy. The disco was very urban in design and played some good music.
The entertainment crew are bar-none. They have crazy energy, are funny, friendly, speak multiple languages, and make it fun when you are tired of lying on the lounge chair. There was a paella cooking contest on the beach on afternoon as an example of the events. The shows put on every night by the same people were some of the best. The one that takes place over the pool was stunning.
Over all - a great location, great hotel, and fantastic service. There is a very international feel as there are guests from all over the world staying here. While it is the Domincan and there are always a few minor issues that come up over the week, we would enjoy returning to this resort again.
"We felt welcome to be there and the activities were second to none. "
Rick from Toronto on Nov 1, 2009 >
2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2009
293 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Nov 9 - 16:
We booked through WestJet Vacations. The flight was 'economical' as there was no meal unless you wished to buy one. Snacks and drinks were served.
Upon arrival, total caos. The 'Hola' representative was swarmed with passengers as the bus supplied carried less then half the people it required to. With no organization, we were left at the curb and told another bus was ordered. When it showed, there was the usual stampede to get on. Since we were travelling with two small children, it made no difference if you were at the front of the line. We were pushed to the back. It was a short 20 minute drive to the resort.
Arrived at the resort and lined up again for our room. When we made it to the check in counter, our request for a king size bed with two cots was not met. To the credit of the front desk staff, they asked us to have a seat at the bar until the line thinned in order to accomodate us. They gave us a pager and called us back to do what they could for us. They offered us our request but also offered us an upgrade to Preferred Club (for an additional $100 per night). We opted for the Preferred Club which gave us two rooms etc etc etc. It was a great choice. Well worth the extra $700. The room we got overlooked the ocean and came with a king bed in one room and two double beds in the second room. It had a double balcony. We always had fresh towels, even 2 - 3 times a day and we had turn down service every night.
Restaurants and Bars::
From the buffet to the a la carte restaurant, the food was fantastic. In the buffet for dinner there was a great variety including t-bone steak and shrimp. There was no need to make reservations at the a la catre restaurants, just show up and you could use them as often as you like during your stay. As part of the Preferred Club, we had access to the private club where they had exceptional snacks and high end liqours. There were also two rooms with large screen TV's and access to the internet with 3 computers.
The only knock on the bars was the pool swim up bar. The staff there tended to ignore the kids which means I had to go over everytime the kids wanted a drink. There is a coffee shop close to the main pool where you could order lattes and capuccinos.
Two of the pools were huge. The swim up bar pool seemed to be the party pool where the crowd was loud and the explatives flew. If you're into partying, this was the place to be. The main pool was quiet and great for the kids. The pool contains a climbing 'ice berg'. The pool was huge and had waitresses coming around to offer refreshments. Lots of loungers available at all the pools. The last pool is the quietest, but reserved only for Preferred Club members. The beach is long with plenty on loungers. There is a water trampoline in the ocean.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
Tons of activities for the kids. All the equipment is in good repair with all the parts available. Some of the activities were ping pong, shuffle board, giant chess set, pool tables, video games (Wii, X-box & PS3)table soccer and a mechanical bull. There was always an activity being put on by the entertainment staff. Our kids didn't use the Explorer's Club but when we checked it out, it looked great.
The staff was very friendly. Whenever we requested something, they would do it with a smile and reply 'it's a pleasure'. My family and I have travelled thoughout the Carribean with our children who are now 8 & 10 years old. This resort is by far the best we have stayed at. We felt welcome to be there and the activities were second to none. When the kids are busy and happy, it makes for a fun and relaxing vacation. Looking forward to returning next year.
"We definitely left our hearts in the Dominican Republic"
Cherilyne on May 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2009
266 people found this review helpful
Dreams La Romana March 23 - April 20, 2009 We arrived at La Romana airport mid-afternoon on March 23rd where we were met by our complimentary Amstar transport to the hotel. As we booked Preferred Club and there have been many other reviews done on the general rooms at the hotel, this review is more focused on the upgraded rooms and amenities offered. A flurry of staff met us at the door; a bellhop for the luggage, two smiling people holding trays - one with welcoming mimosas and the other with refreshing cool cloths. Everyone was saying "Welcome Home" and we were ushered through the doorway to the lobby desk. A quick perusal of our reservation and we were escorted to the Preferred Club by Reynaldo who gave us an orientation of the resort on the way. At the Preferred Club we were seated in very comfy chairs and glasses of champagne were offered as we were once again, welcomed home and checked into our room. All the Preferred Club amenities were offered and explained and I was given a ticket to take to the Internet Cafe to obtain a password which gave me wifi internet access pretty much anywhere on the resort. (I did not test the limits, but used my laptop at the PC poolside and in our room with no difficulties).
We were given room 5334, much to my great delight. It is a partial ocean view room and gave us wonderful views overlooking the Preferred Club pool, the Caribbean, Catalina in the distance and my personal favourite - the glorious sunsets. Our room was sparkling clean, spacious, tastefully decorated and very welcoming. The balcony was perfect for enjoying a bottle of champagne and watching the stars come out after witnessing the glorious sunsets. It's a good size for two people, but it's not meant to be a party patio! The walls are thin but it was only an issue for us with a few of the guests. The bathroom was very large with a partially glassed-in shower stall. Man, do we ever miss that shower! Great pressure. Varying temperatures but we quickly figured out the best times to take showers that would net us our optimum temperatures. The shower drained slowly but that did not bother us. The sink when we first arrived gave us a bit of grief as the pipe leaked underneath but it was fixed quickly and although we were immediately offered another room, we declined to change. The pipe never leaked once they'd sealed it up, and again although it drained slowly, we did not mind. We were absolutely delighted with the amenities offered in the bathroom. One thing I did miss was conditioner, so if you use this product, take some with you. Amenities ranged from a mending kit to sunscreen. If you'd like a more detailed list, please contact me and I'll be happy to provide it. The king sized bed was the most comfortable bed I've ever had the pleasure of sleeping in, in my entire life! The pillows were very comfy and a good size. Sometimes it was hard to get up, it was that comfortable!
The Preferred Club bar has all top shelf liquor and beer. Mariano was our favourite bartender and although you could not complain about any of the other staff working the Preferred Club bar, Mariano's professionalism really stood out. Victor kept the Preferred Club rooms and the pool area pristine and ensured that fresh clean pool towels were on all the loungers early every morning. The Preferred Club lounge has the private concierge desk with four beautiful, friendly women always smiling behind it, ready to do or fix anything you desire. There are wonderful coffee drinks, juice and nibblies available all day and well into the evening. There is a good library of books you can borrow/exchange, dvd's you can borrow, three complimentary computers for guest use plus a connection and space for one private computer if you bring your own down. There is a comfortable tv room, nice comfy tables and chairs near the nibblies, board games and multiple tables on the terrace outside where you can lounge, read, eat or just have a coffee.
The Preferred Club pool has an infinity edge at the south end which overlooks the Taino garden and the Caribbean Sea. There is no "deep end" and thus no diving, (nor is there at any of the resort's pools) which makes the pool very calm and relaxing. There is a horseshoe-shaped area that contains jets but it is not a "hot tub". Some days the water felt very cold initially but the sun is very hot there so usually once you were in, the water felt good. We did notice that after several hot sunny days the pool water was much warmer - more like a tepid bath (which is exactly how the sea felt to us when we were in it). Loungers were not a problem at the pool however there are only 4 palapas. The first two weeks we were there we had no problem securing a palapa at 10 am but the last couple of weeks the clientele mix changed and if you wanted a palapa you had to secure it earlier in the morning. There was an occasion where we found a few palapas had been reserved before 6 am. By 10:30, neither party who had reserved 2 of the palapas had returned and the very observant Alfre (bartender at the PC bar) had towels removed so that others waiting could enjoy the shade of the palapas. Another palapa note - there are multiple swift nests in the palapa roofing - please take care when walking by the palapa overhangs or entering a palapa that you do not disturb a nest. There is a family of resident kestrels on the property that attack the swift nests for food from time to time. Overall, the Preferred Club is on the quiet side of the hotel (far west of the property). Not all rooms in buildings 5 & 7 are Preferred Club rooms. If you have been given a room in this part of the property but have not paid for the upgrade, you will not be able to use the lounge, pool or the PC bar. You will be asked for your room key as proof that you are a Preferred Guest. Best to take it with you until the staff all have a chance to know you.
Having stayed at the resort for a month, we had a chance to explore all the restaurants. We ate at the World Cafe, Seaside Grill, Himitsu, Bordeaux, Portofino, Oceana & El Patio. Although we attempted to dine one evening at Jungla, our initial seating experience was not the best and we left without ordering. We had intended to go back and give it another try but with so many pleasant experiences elsewhere, we never did get there again. We only dined once at Oceana. Being coastal island dwellers, we are very familiar with seafood as it is a staple of our diet. While the food wasn't bad, it wasn't really what we were expecting and we left it at a solo meal. By far our favourites for fine evening dining were the Bordeaux (adults only!) and the Portofino. We are huge fans of tiramisu and in fact we have been known to make a journey of many miles just to try a tiramisu somewhere. Without a doubt, hands down, it was unanimous - Portofino has the best tiramisu we've ever eaten! I think over our many visits there we sampled most, if not all, of the menu. Everything was excellent. Bordeaux was the same for us. My husband stated their rack of lamb was the best he's ever had - and he's a huge fan of lamb. The fish & chips at the Seaside Grill were amazing - loved the batter - not heavy or greasy - we will probably never eat fish & chips in a restaurant here again! Himitsu was another hit with us - we enjoyed several dishes on the menu many times. I have friends from Thailand here at home who own a restaurant and I must admit the Thai dishes at Himitsu were nothing like the ones we get here, but still they were tasty and we enjoyed the experience. El Patio was a huge hit with us as well. Great enchiladas, tacos, burritos - and hubby loved their margaritas.
The entertainment was a lot of fun and we made many friends among the staff everywhere. We did not do any of the excursions offered through the tour operators or Gri Gri. We did venture away from the resort to visit Dominicus, Bayahibe and Altos De Chavon. As they are unrelated to the resort experience I will not describe them here. Feel free to email me for details. I have to say that we feel we were treated like royalty everywhere we frequented on the resort. The internet cafe has computers you can rent time on plus a coffee and snack bar with plenty of delicacies. The lobby bar also has top shelf booze and entertainment on some evenings. Look for the nights Flore performs - she's got an amazing voice!! We renewed our wedding vows on our anniversary at the end of the pier. For many reasons, we hired a private photographer from Bayahibe for the event and were well pleased with our photos. We had the romantic dinner for two later that same night in the wedding gazebo which is pleasantly situated on the seashore in the Taino garden. Any questions about the ROV ceremony or the dinner, feel free to ask.
We did some shopping in the gift shop (I had to bring home some of that amazing coffee!) and my hubby bought a pair of pants in Bamblue. We had interesting experiences with the vendors both on and off the property. My husband celebrated his birthday while we were there and the staff went out of their way to ensure it was a great and memorable day for him. While we were there, he fell ill and had to spend a bit of time with the hotel doctor. We were both impressed with the doctor and his nurse. Everywhere we went afterward the hotel staff asked after my hubby's health. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and showed concern for his brief illness. We both had the deep relaxing massage at the spa and overall we would recommend the massages we had with Tomasa and Hector. I had other spa treatments which disappointed me and which I would not recommend at this time. The Eco Spa behind building 7 is currently closed for renovations and will remain closed until some time next year. Our maid service was excellent. I only regret we did not have more money to tip because they were well worth it! We did not always get turndown service and even when we did we did not always get chocolates, but we did not mind in the least. We did get several examples of towel art during our month-long stay - the maids are very talented and work very hard at this. It was easy to see why they would not always get to every guest with towel art. It takes time to do and they do have other chores! No matter where we went, what we did, everywhere we said a "gracias" we were answered with "it's my pleasure" and a big smile.
Many members of the staff helped us acquire some Spanish and we look forward to expanding our knowledge of this beautiful language. We picked up a Latin American phrasebook at the airport, which was a great help with the local dialect. We made many new friends from all over the world and connected with other bridal couples as well as many forum friends. It was great to meet each and every one and to finally put faces to some of the names we knew from the forums. The grounds were beautiful, the service excellent, the room comfortable, the food delicious, but what truly made this the holiday of a lifetime - what made it hard to leave and has us chomping at the bit to return was the fantastic staff at this hotel. Not all met our expectations, but they were in the minority and we had limited contact with them. The rest will forever live in our hearts and memories for having given us an incredible vacation experience. The day we left, staff from all over made a special effort to meet us somewhere on the grounds to wish us a safe trip home and a speedy return to Dreams - now our "Segunda Casa" too. I was teary-eyed all the way to La Romana airport and I cried when our plane took off. We definitely left our hearts in the Dominican Republic, and as much as we love our homeland and our wee farm here on this little island paradise, we cannot wait to return to Dreams La Romana next spring!
"We had a wonderful nice time and will return."
Carol from Pensylvania on Mar 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2009
282 people found this review helpful
Our arrival was smooth and nice with the preferred seating with USA 3000 and Apple. We have used Apple for many years and are always thrilled with our travel with them. We had the drive from Punta Cana but this was the first year we arrived in the daytime so it was nice to see the views. Upon the arrival to the hotel we were met with smiles, juice and cool wash rags. This is very nice but nothing beats the smiles
We stayed in the preferred section room 7135. The rooms were beautiful with the flat screen tv, well equipped refrigerator and must be new bed. The linen and the bedding were very nice and comfortable. I slept like a baby. Loved the bathroom all marble with a fantastic shower head. Great water pressure and great temperatures. Upon stepping out on our patio we were within feet of a bar--might I add which had Bob Sapphire Gin there--a big plus for him. An infinity pool and jacuzzi. Beautiful well kept ground and always clean.
Restaurants and Bars
Love all the restaurants and the idea of no reservations is a great plus. The only bad thing was I didn't get to go to two of the restuarants. We ran out of time--so disappointing. We can't critize all the food because when we come to the island we want the fresh fish. We eat the fish almost everyday and we're never disappointed.
Always clean, well manicured. I do believe they need more sand on the beach, storms have cleared some away.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn't take any tours because we're beach bums ..........
The animation team will always keep you stepping if you want. Beach can get crowded where we like to be--because we're never too far from the bar. They do offer beach drink service though, so shouldn't be a problem. I need to be in the shade also. I did notice that the silliness of saving chairs has been lessened. Not like years ago.
We had a wonderful nice time and will return.
Kathy from Wisconsin on Mar 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2009
277 people found this review helpful
How delightful it was to be greeted by staff, offering us orange juice and cool, wet washcloths, after a long bus ride from Punta Cana.
Delightful! Our room attendant surprised us with a beautiful rendering of swans, via washcloths, plus romantic music from the radio. It was special.
Restaurants and Bars
Unreal! Every day in the Universal buffet was a surprise. I will be looking for female chefs on the line, in the future.
Clean, clean, clean! Always raked, with the chairs lined up daily.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hote
I rented a cab to take us to Chavon. We were charged $80 from Dreams La Romana. Upon arrival, we were also charged $5 per person to enjoy the chavon area. Very unique! Look for the donkey to enjoy a ride.
The entertainment is spectacular. I could see a genuine pride in what they produced. Also, I truly enjoyed the land aerobics in the morning. You go, Leinie, Picachu and Risa. Wonderful!
"We did not want to leave paradise and return to reality."
Mary from Kingston, ON on Mar 1, 2009 >
4 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
277 people found this review helpful
We have been to the Dominican Republic 8 times in the last 10 yrs. Returned to Dreams (formerly Sunscape Casa del Mar) this yr for our 4th visit in 6 yrs. It was wonderful being back, felt like we were returning to visit a friend. The time went by way too quickly, we did not want to leave. It continues to deliver everything that we want in a holiday!
Had a pleasant flight with Sunwing, despite the 4 hr delay coming home. Food was good. The few higher priced seats are not any wider, just more leg room. Drive from airport takes 20 mins.
Lots of everything – towels and face cloths, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, shower gel, lotion, 15 SPF sunscreen, mens mini shaving cream and razor, shower cap, and sewing kit. Blow dryer, DVD player, fridge, coffee maker, umbrella, iron and ironing board. Everything worked, water pressure great, enough lighting. Pillows were flat, lumpy and horrible; but we got used to them. Our regular maid, a young girl, did not do a very good job. Her days off replacement did an excellent job. I guess we were lucky in that most of our neighbours seemed to be considerate and did not slam doors, etc during quiet hrs. First time we did not find towel art or flowers in our room, oh well, no big deal.
Pools and Beach:
Now 3 pools, very nice and kept very clean. Beach beautiful but very short, so don't expect to walk for hrs. Still pleasant snorkeling. Reef did sustain a lot of damage from 2 hurricanes. For those of you who have been to Dreams before, the beach is now a bit further back, a small outcropping of coral and tree roots exposed, but does not detract from the beauty, actually looks neat. Still lots of shade thanks to trees and palapas. They need to add more sand on the far east side because a lot of coral is exposed around the beach loungers. Even where it was not exposed, you could tell that the layer of sand was very thin. We would have welcomed more music at the beach as it was hardly ever played except for water aerobics. Contrary to another review, I saw only 1 broken chair. They must have been removed or replaced. We had 4 days of extremely high winds, thankfully not coming off the ocean. There was no need for anyone to pay for an exfoliation spa treatment, we all got it for free!
Food and Drink:
No problems, neither one of us was sick, no need for any meds. I have only 2 complaints about the food. Pancakes often tasted doughy/heavy, should have been light and fluffy. The other item was spare ribs, they were very tough, which is unusual for ribs. With the renovations and addition of several a-la-carte restaurants, you have several dinner options.
Jeans were acceptable for men at the a-la-carte restaurants, however most wore dressier pants. Gents, even though the buffet is very laid back, and yes you can wear shorts; in my opinion hats/baseball caps are not appropriate in any restaurant!! Neither are sleeveless/muscle shirts, definitely not at dinner, nor at breakfast – disgusting, unless of course you plan on shaving your armpits like we women do!!
Drinks, all great except for some of the ones I had at buffet which were hit and miss. I got into the habit of picking up my dinner drink at lobby bar on way to dinner. They have removed the self serve pop machines at the beach bar, means more work for bartenders and longer line-ups. Bring them back please! Get rid of the bowl style of plastic glasses at the beach bar and swim up bar, awkward and easy to spill, and you don’t want to spill a drop!
Most days, lunch of hot dogs, burgers, etc available on beach near the bar. This year they had mustard, but hardly ever onions, and sometimes cabbage instead of lettuce. BBQ sauce on burgers would be a great thing as the meat is quite tasteless.
Fruit stand is still set up in a small boat on the beach every day except Sun, in front of the Oceana restaurant/ infinity pool area. Variety of freshly sliced fruit for the taking from mid morning to mid afternoon.
Two waiters at the buffet stood out for us, Osvaldo and Juan (wears glasses). That’s not to say they weren’t all great, they were, but these 2 were our favorites.
Resort is architecturally very well planned with the guest's comfort in mind, everything is within easy walking distance, covered walkways between the bldgs and main paths for the times it rains. Wheelchair accessible.
Renovations and additions of restaurants, here is where we were not impressed. Is very modern looking, lacks the tropical feel. Like another guest commented, looks too “new yorkish”. Too cosmopolitan for our taste. Some of the seats/chairs were not designed for comfort. Included with the renovations should have been a fresh coat of paint on the room dividing walls at the buffet.
Bugs and Orphanage Donations:
Bugs, not a problem. Had one mosquito bite. However, we did find tiny bugs on the counter above fridge and on bathroom counter. They were there when we arrived, and were still there when we left. We were very careful with even syrup on the outside of pop bottles, and we still had them. I think you will find them in every room, are harmless. We found the resort very clean (and I do look for these things). Never found any garbage on walkways, etc. Dining areas were clean, everything was well presented and in order. The only complaint I have is that the beach washrooms could use more than just air freshner, hold your breath when entering. They could also use more than 2 stalls for the ladies.
Leave any donations for the orphanage with the Guest Services staff. When they have enough items collected, they will be delivered.
Shopping, Internet and Book Exchange:
Local vendors are set up in huts on beach just at edge of resort past water sports hut. A few vendors will set up near the beach bar several days a week. Contrary to previous visits, not once did we see them at the hotel at any other location. This was very surprising indeed, and nice in a way to not be harassed.
Internet is available at the Coco Cafe just off the lobby. Will cost you US$7 for 30 mins. This is also where you can get a variety of coffees and pastries for a snack.
Coco Cafe is also the place to drop off the books you have read or want to exchange for another.
Secrets Construction Plans Cancelled. There had been talk about building a Secrets resort next door. Not going to happen! Was told by Guest Services Staff member that the townspeople petitioned the government about not moving the cemetery in order to build a resort. Ruling was in favor of the town.
Casa del Mar met our expectations for the 4th time. Once again we ate well, slept well and enjoyed our stay very much. We did not want to leave paradise and return to reality. Service from everyone was excellent and professional, (love that Pablo Picaso, he’s a genuine entertainer – “no pee pee in the ocean, no make baby on the beach”...) We received smiles galore from everyone except from the spa staff who would not even say hola. The entire Dreams team deserves a 10 out of 10! Keep up the excellent work! We will be back for a 5th time next Feb provided someone flies into La Romana airport.
"This was a very definite 5 star resort."
Noreen on Mar 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
290 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Feb 16 - 23
there was a flight change... so we arrived 5:30 A.M Feb 17. We were supposed to get a welcome drink etc. but it was 6:a.m reception staff not especially friendly or knowledgeable but they have a concierge service and these people are helpful regarding any questions about hotel services.
perfect room. sliding glass doors onto private patio just feet from pool and beach. Room was very clean and well supplied with satellite TV and DVD player. Fridge stocked daily with beer, water and soft drinks. Bathroom all marble and wall to wall vanity. Restocked daily with fresh towels and shampoo, shower gel and even sunblock. No charge for room service and beautifully prepared, we enjoyed breakfast on our patio for a nice change from the buffet. Very quiet at night... no trouble getting a good night's sleep on very comfortable beds.
Restaurants and Bars
excellent a la carte retaurants no need to reserve. Beautiful decor great service. great food. Buffet was the best. we are vegetarians and had a wide variety of dishes to choose from. beautiful surroundings and friendly waiters. Many bars including swim up.
fabulous white sandy beach. water was calm and clear... smooth sandy bottom no rocks or sharp stones.. lots of beach lounge chairs and lots of palm trees for those who like a bit of shade. no flies or mosquitoes. Grounds and landscaping just gorgeous, never saw any litter anywhere.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
didn't participate in beach activities although there was lots to choose from. We went on 3 tours. The Jeep safari was fantastic, visited a sugar cane plantation and saw people working in the fields also visited a an elementary school for the children of the cane workers. The workers are all Haitians as the pay is very low and work is very hard. Dominicans won't work for $1.00 per hour. If you take this tour bring along treats for the kids and school supplies. WE visited a typical home of small farmer and also went horse back riding. On that same tour we took a houseboat ride up the Chavon river. Lunch was provided also drinks. Took a boat ride to Catalina Island to snorkel. Had a most excellent massage on the beach for only 20$ US. We had sunshine every day not a drop of rain.
This was a very definite 5 star resort. We also had a massage at the hotel spa. there is also a small Casino on the grounds. The staff were very friendly and courteous. All conveniences and sparkling clean inside and out. although the internet service was too expensive $4.00 US for only 15 minutes, cheaper to make a phone call. I would highly recommend this resort, have been to Cuba, Mexico and Costa Rica at very nice resorts... but this was the best in every way.
"I loved this resort and would definitely go back."
Barbara on Feb 1, 2009 >
9 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
252 people found this review helpful
My husband and I spent 1 week in January 2009 at this resort after spending our first week at the Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana. This was our first time at a Dreams resort and our first time in the La Romana area.
We used IBK Servicios for our transfer from the Colonial on Jan 20. Our driver was excellent and took us to a few stops in the city of Higuey on our way to Dreams. Very enjoyable.
We arrived at Dreams about 1:30 pm and our room was not yet ready. We were told our room number but asked to come back to the front desk at 3pm to check in. We wandered around and had lunch and got to our room 5213 shortly after 3pm.
Very nice room as far as the decor and the pillows were nice and soft. The balconies though are extremely small. They do have a small table and two chairs and there wouldn't be room for anything more. We do prefer a larger balcony to relax on. The safe was not working. The bathroom was nice. There were not very many drawers to store things. There are no elevators at Dreams La Romana.
We were pretty tired that evening so we had an early dinner and returned to our room to find that the rockband playing infront of the main pool was directly facing our room and the music was VERY loud. The band played until 10:45. After that we were able to go to sleep.
The next morning we asked to be moved to the other end of the resort into bldg 1 or 2. Well to make a long story short, we ended up getting put into bldg 7 which was the premium club area. Our room was 7339 and when we saw it, we were glad we hadn't paid the 250.00 per night upgrade charge as it was exactly the same as the other room except it had marble flooring and a bit newer furniture and linens. Oh and the safe worked. But the balcony was the same and so was the plasma tv. The linens when we went to bed did seem to be of a better quality though. Other than that, we were allowed free internet, another pool and bar and thats about it for the premium club. I certainly am glad we didn't pay for it.
We only had one major issue with this resort which was that the walls in all of the buildings are very thin and we could hear everything from the rooms on either side of us. It started every morning at about 7am with constant coughing. (We find that a lot of tourists in the DR smoke). The noise didn't really bother us as we don't mind getting up early. But one day, one of the couples had a big fight with lots of tears. Of course, all of the couples were either French or German, so we couldn't understand anything (thank God).
The pools at this resort were very nice and we used the main pool the most. It would be nice to have a bit more shade options around all of the pools though. Most of our time was spent lounging on the beach. There are lots of beach loungers, however, many of them should be thrown out as the majority are in pretty rough shape. I hope that new beach loungers are on the renovations list. There were more areas at the beach where you could sit in the shade. The ocean was great for swimming, warm and calm. We didn't have too much luck with the snorkeling though. We did go out on one of the pedal boats for a look and the water is very calm and clear most days.
The entertainment team does a wonderful job and works very hard all day with activities, dancing, games and trivia challenges. They are great fun. They play the music on the beach too loud though. We enjoyed hanging out with Coca Cola, Miami, Picachoo, Alisa and many others. They are genuinely fun to be with and obviously love their jobs. I can't say enough about them.
The buffet food was fairly average for an all-inclusive. Although the selection was a bit smaller than some and the desserts were not that great. The staff here were very good. The food in the ala carte restaurants was of a much higher quality.
We loved the No Reservations concept at the ala cartes. No lineups and no waiting. We ate most dinners at the french and italian restaurants. The red wine is not good. The French Onion soup was great as was the Beef with Pepper at the French restaurant. The pear and walnut salad at the Italian was delicious.
We thought the food in the ala cartes was definitely some of the best we have had at all-inclusive resorts. And all of the serving staff were very good.
The internet cafe has a lovely coffee/tea bar with pastries throughout the day.
The grounds are quite beautiful and the recent renovations are nice, great looking lobby area. The resort itself is set on beautiful property which is very mature in growth with a lot of natural landscape that makes you feel like you are experiencing natural beauty instead of all of the man-made beauty of Punta Cana. I think they need some staff for keeping the grounds a bit better maintained and also, they really need to have the hallways in all of the buildings cleaned regularly. They were very dirty and most days not swept at all, nor were the stairways to the rooms. There was a burnt out light in the stairway that wasn't changed the whole time we were there and it was very dark in that stairwell. We have noticed much cleaner common areas at all other resorts we have stayed at. The new bathrooms off the lobby were well kept and the lobby itself is kept spotless.
Overall, I loved this resort and would definitely go back. But I would ask for a room in bldg 1 or 2 or 3. Hopefully they will build a proper theatre soon and the noise will not be so loud in the guest rooms.
Finally, the sunsets are amazing and we got some beautiful pictures.They are on webshots under gemgirlbarbara.
"An enjoyable week."
Lenny from Old Saybrook, CT on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Feb, 2009
276 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Feb 6th to Feb 14th:
Uneventfull but a long ride from Punta Cana Airport to Dreams La Romana with Prieto Tours who did a very good job.
We were placed in building 2 on the 1st floor (we had requested upper level rooms but could not get one). Rooms were adequate and clean but worn. We had 2 problems with plumbing which took a couple days to get repaired. Toilet wouldn't flush properly and when we took a shower the water came up through a drain in the bathroom floor and covered the floor with shower water. Rooms were kept clean and neat daily. We did not get any towel art or flower petals on the bed as we have had at all other resorts we have been to over the years (no big deal).
The fridge with filled daily with water and soda, we never did get any beer.
Another problem in our building and room was the smell of burning garbage or burning of plants/vegetation the smoke and smell carried down the hallway in building 2 and entered our room under the door. We had to stack towels in the crack under the door to try and stop the smell and this did not work 100%. We had friends on the opposite did of the hallway and they did not get the smell in their room only the hallway. I asked questions about what was burning but got no answers. Only on the rare occasion could we smell the smoke on the beach.
Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants we OK, we ate in three ala cartes and the food was good in all of them. The buffet was also good with plenty of selections but did not vary much from night to night (this was not a problem for me).We however did not care for the new decor of the restaurants, too modern looking, I thought we were in New York City. I would prefer a more laid back Tropical approach but the designers did not.
I must say the bars had a good selection of premium liquor, better than we have ever found in a resort previously.
Most other resorts we have been to have had larger and better decorated lobbies (in our opinion), again more tropical feeling than Dreams La Romana. Most of this is our personal preference for decor and did not retract from our experience.
One downside is the lack of lunchtime outside buffet style restaurants all other resorts we have been to have had at least a couple open air buffets for lunch, Dreams had one small one that was not open every day so you have to go the main buffet or the Seaside Grille and order a meal from the menu.
The beach leaves a bit to be desired (for us), after a few times in Punta Cana you tend to get spoiled with beautiful long white sand beaches. We are used to being able to walk for miles on the beach and you won't find that here. The beach is shallow in depth and a lot of sand has eroded away to expose coral and the length of the beach on the Dreams property is not very long (maybe a 1/4 mile). We knew what the beach was like before we left so it was not a surprise to us. We however did miss our long walks on a beautiful beach.
The grounds are pretty and well maintained and the plantings are mature. The pools were fine, we only used them at the end of the day before we went to the room.
The watersports equipment was well worn and not in good condition, this is not what I would have expected.
The loungers on the beach are very well used and many need thrown away and be replaced.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The activities are just what you would expect at a AI resort, no better no worse. we did not go on any tours this vacation.
The staff was very good and very helpful and probably the best we have seen on our trips the the DR.
Although we had a good time and had an enjoyable week we would probably not return due to our personal preferences not anything bad at the resort.