Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Right on the sea front at the wonderful beaches of Bávaro, immersed in the luscious tropical green of palm trees and close to the White Sands golf course, the H10 Ocean Blue and H10 Ocean Sand hotels dispose of complete suites, all-inclusive services*, and an extensive activity program to make your stay an unforgettable experience.
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"The lobby is very comfortable."
Anne from PEI on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
208 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Jan 11th to 18th, 2009
Flew with Canjet this year and had absolutely no problems. Had booked emergency exits and had tons of room. Flight took 3 hrs 55 minutes and our return only took 3 hrs 35 minutes. Arrival in Punta Cana went smoothly and our bus ride took exactly 25 minutes using a part of the new highway. Check in was long as there were many people checking in at the same time.
Our first room was in 5116 which was ground floor. It was extremely musty and after one hour, I returned to the desk and they immediately switched us to 4305 (third floor). This building is halfway between the beach and the lobby so very convenient. We had requested second floor but there was nothing available. Everything in the room worked ok. They are in the process of refurbishing the rooms but we still had the old furniture. Safe is free and programmable. There are 12 hangars in the closet. We were lucky to get facecloths every day but some people didn't so bring a couple in case. We had a huge balcony around 8 by 10. You need to adjust your showerhead so as to avoid water on the floor that people are talking about. Lights are a bit on the dim side but they use energy efficient bulbs throughout the whole resort.
Restaurants and Bars:
We found the food very good this time around compared to 2006. We also felt the service had improved dramatically. The beach bar not turns into the Carribean Grill at night and is very nice. We had the best beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes. By the way men need to wear long pants at the Italian and Dominican. All other restaurants let you in with nice shorts. I have to say our best night was our last night. We went to the buffet only to discover that we had to go to the kitchen to get our food. Naturally we were not impressed. We walk in and discover ice sculptures and decorations everywheres that words cannot describe. It was breathtaking. They had lobster soup, turkey with gravy and tons of great food. I think they call this Kitchen Party and it was on Saturday night. Do not miss this one.
I was up around 7 or so every day and had no problem getting a palapa by the blue pool which is the quieter one. The yellow one has all the activities.We saw the workers cleaning the pools every day. We took walks on the beach which is lovely and even had a few dips in the ocean. The grounds at this hotel are really stunning with its beautiful folliage and flowers. There is piped in music in rocks all along the pathways during the day.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
The lobby is a very nice place to be in the evenings where you can listen to live music. Yes the lobby is a bit small compared to some other resorts but is's very comfortable.
This was our second time there and we are booked to return on March 29th. We have absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in returning. If you have any specific questions, I will be glad to try to answer them. Can't wait to return.
"One of the best resorts we've ever been too."
Chris & Susan from Elmira, Ontario on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
222 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Jan 11 - 19, 2009
Left from Kitchener which is always great. Arrived at Hotel around 2am only 2 staff at reception to handle a full bus. Went to the Sports Bar, that has a late night buffet and had a quick bite to eat along with a couple of drinks
The room was great. Very large and clean. Bathroom had a whirlpool tub and double sinks. Nice balcony with table and chairs TV worked with lots of english channels. Nice having a fridge in the, it was always stocked with Water, Pop and Beer.
Restaurants and Bars:
No reservations required for the speciality restaurants!!! You just showed up and if they had tables available you were seated. They have 6 speciality restaurants all are great with a variety of menu options. Went to the Italian twice for the lamb chops. The Sports Bar was good for watching Football and Mike's Coffee shop was great. The Coffee Shop is like a Starbucks, any type of coffee or frozen drink with lots of pastries. The Buffet had lots of variety and was setup with food stations, so no lineups.
The Bars all served
Beach was fantastic lots of chairs. You could walk for miles in either direction. Water was warm and clean. Pool was hugh with 2 swimup bars, again lots of chairs. The grounds were spotless, lots of flowers, birds. We saw cranes and a pair of wild parrots.
One of the best resorts we've ever been too. We've been travelling to the Caribbean for over 30 years and have been to Punta Cana dozens of times. More staff members/guest than I have ever seen. They thanked you for a tip however, they weren't looking for tips. Service was the same.
"* A very nice, well laid-out hotel."
Debbie on Nov 1, 2005 >
Visited on: Nov, 2005
252 people found this review helpful
November 6 to November 13, 2005
Ocean Blue Golf & Beach Resort is located approximately 35 minutes from Punta Cana Airport. It shares its property with Ocean Sand Golf & Beach Resort. If you’re walking along the beach, it is directly adjacent to LTI Resort to the south, and the Iberostar Hotels are to the north.
Ocean Blue and Ocean Sand are essentially the same resort. When you enter the lobby, the reception for Ocean Blue is on your right and for Ocean Sand it is on the left. Rooms along the left side of the resort as you face the beach are for Ocean Sand guests, Ocean Blue accommodations are on the right. Accommodations are identical, all room types are available on both sides. All resort facilities are shared between the two.
You check in at reception, unless you have upgraded to a deluxe junior suite or honeymoon suite. For these suites, which are in Villas 6 and 10, you have private checkin/checkout privileges at Guest Services, which is around the corner from the Ocean Blue reception. We just went into the Ocean Blue reception and they escorted us to Guest Services.
On checkin you will be given a wristband, your room keys, towel cards, and a “Welcome Passport”. This includes a map of the resort and excellent information about all the restaurants and other hotel services.
The occupancy rate was between 50 and 60 per cent the week we were there it seemed to be mostly Canadians and Americans.
Grounds and Beach
A nice thing about this hotel is you don’t have to spend a lot of time finding your way around. All the restaurants (except for the beach restaurants) are in one spot, across a courtyard from the lobby, and all other common areas are at the front of the resort by the lobby, with the two swimming pools in the centre of the two resorts. The villa buildings of the resorts are in a row along each side of the resort. There are palm trees and gardens throughout the property. The gardens are still young, but will fill in nicely as they mature.
A shuttle runs around the resort on a regular basis. If you are walking, it would take about 10 minutes to walk from the beach to the lobby.
There are two huge swimming pools, both with a swimup bar. The pools have a beach-like sloped entrance, which is nice. At their deepest point they are less than 5 feet deep.
There are lots of chairs surrounding the pools, and some umbrellas for shade. The chairs around the pool are plastic, though, and not as comfortable as the chairs at the beach.
Beach towels are available at the Watersports Centre on the beach.
Due to lower occupancy, only the bar on the Ocean Sand side of the swimming pool was open. The one on the Ocean Blue side is a swimup bar only, and it was closed.
The hotel is located on a beautiful wide stretch of beach. You can walk for miles in either direction. There was a little bit of seaweed washed up on the beach, but not much. There were some waves, not as calm as further south at PUNTACANA Resort where we spent our first week, and the water was not quite as turquoise blue-green as it is there, but still very beautiful.
A few palm trees dot the beach, offering a little bit of shade. They don’t have the traditional thatched beach palapas, they have constructed wooden pergola-type structures with a covering on top (see pictures). I didn’t find that these really provided much shade, though.
We had a great week for weather, hot and sunny every day, it only rained at night a few times. Unfortunately one of those times was the first night we arrived, it started pouring rain while we were walking to the restaurant for dinner, we got absolutely soaked in just a few minutes! There is an umbrella in every room, too bad we didn’t bring it.
The morning we left there was a change in the weather due to a tropical depression. First thing in the morning we could see the ocean was a very deep blue colour. A little while later the dark clouds rolled in and it started blowing hard rain off and on.
There was absolutely no problem with insects or mosquitos.
There are 374 rooms on the Ocean Blue side, and 334 rooms on the Ocean Sand side, located in 10 buildings.
It is interesting to note that this is one of the few resorts that allow 3 children in a room. Maximum occupancy is 4 adults or 2 adults and 3 children, or 3 adults and 1 child.
All of the Villa buildings have inner courtyards, all decorated differently. Reminds me very much of the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus. I especially liked the beautiful pots of Trinitarias (bougainvillea).
There are 3 room categories – the regular Junior Suites, in Villas 1 through 5 at Ocean Blue and Villas 7 through 9 at Ocean Sand, the Deluxe Junior Suites in Villas 6 and 10, and the Honeymoon Suites, also located in Villas 6 and 10.
Regular junior suites are very spacious. All offer 1 king or two queen-sized beds, air-conditioning, ceiling fan, living area, full bathroom with Jacuzzi-style tub, hairdryer, telephone, cable TV, coffee maker, mini-fridge stocked with soft drinks and water, iron and ironing board, umbrella, in-room safe. There is no clock-radio in the room.
We stayed in a deluxe junior suite. The deluxe junior suites are all in Villa 6 at Ocean Blue and Villa 10 at Ocean Sand, which are the buildings closest to the beach. We had a wonderful view of the pool and beach. These suites are larger than the regular junior suites, and the bathroom is different.. there is a window in the bathroom that looks into the rest of the room from the Jacuzzi tub (toilet and shower are private), which lets in lots of natural light during the day. There are blinds on the window that you can close for privacy. We had a 4-poster canopy bed and comfortable seating area, and nice wicker furniture on the balcony. There was no ceiling fan in our room, I was told rooms with 4-poster canopy beds did not have ceiling fans. The air-conditioning worked well, and we always had plenty of hot water.
English TV channels available were Cinemax, HBO, ESPN, Disney, CNN, TBS WGN TNT, and the cartoon network.
A little tip - The power in our room went out one day, apparently very briefly. A few lights came on immediately, but the TV and most of the lights were not working. We just assumed there was a power outage and the generator was on. I happened to go downstairs a while later and mentioned to the concierge about the power being out. She told me it had only been out for a minute, and that I just needed to re-insert the card in the slot inside the door. I’m glad I asked, not sure we would have figured that one out for a while.
Deluxe junior suites have all the amenities of a regular junior suite, plus you become a member of the Ocean Elite Club, which entitles you to: Private checkin and checkout, VIP wristband, welcome cocktail, fruit basket upon arrival, 2 beach towels in the room, bathrobe and slippers, 24 hour a la carte room service, personalized concierge service, nightly turn down service, one 30 minute massage per adult per stay, selected Dominican cigars in room -3 per room per week (we never got these). You also have beer in your fridge and a selection of bottles of premium liquor in your room. Extra water or soft drinks are available on request. I just left a note and tip in the fridge.
In addition, those staying in Deluxe Junior Suites have the following options (note these inclusions were in effect at the time of our stay, check with the hotel for current inclusions):
*Fresh tropical fruits in the room daily.
*Gourmet dinner at the beach
*One complimentary dinner at Bucanero seafood restaurant
*One complimentary dinner at El Bodegon Chef’s Table & Wine Cellar Restaurant
*Motorized water sports – 1 hour per day
*Catamaran sailing – ½ hr. per day, with captain
*One dive excursion per person per week for certified divers
There are 12 honeymoon suites (six in Villa 6 – Ocean Blue and six in Villa 10 – Ocean Sand). These rooms are beautiful, very different. Everything is white, including the door to the room. These suites are two-storey, with a king-size four-poster bed with white netting and sitting area on the main level, You go up the stairs to a Jacuzzi area, also with a table and chairs, and then outside to a private outdoor shower. (see photos). The Jacuzzi overlooks the beach, but there’s special glass so people can’t see in from outside. There are two balconies in these suites. The suite also has a DVD player, and alarm clock. Those in Honeymoon Suites also get the Ocean Elite Club amenities described above, plus the following:
*Romantic dinner for 2 at Bucanero Seafood Restaurant or El Bodegon *Morning after breakfast in their room with sparkling wine
*Private Spanish and Merengue lessons
*Catamaran sailing ½ hour per day, with captain
*Romantic horseback riding at night – one hour per stay
*You can specify what time you want your room cleaned
Villa 5 of Ocean Blue is for Apple Vacations clients, and they have representatives on the desk in this Villa during the day.
The resort is wheelchair-accessible, and they have 4 handicap-equipped rooms. (grab bars, etc.)
Bars and Drinks
*There is no shortage of bars at this resort:
*La Cana Lobby bar – popular in the late afternoon and evening. from 10 a.m. to midnight
*Overtime Sports Bar – open from 5 p.m. until 6 a.m.
*Luna Bar – by the theatre – open from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
*Las Palmeras pool bar – open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
*El Cocotal pool bar – open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
*Caribbean Grill Bar – open from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
*Wave – disco bar – 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
*Buffet Bars – at La Tortuga Restaurant and El Carey Restaurant
*Snack Bar bar – at La Cana Restaurant at the beach
* Beach bar
I was drinking mostly white wine, but did have a decent Banana Mama at the beach bar. I asked for a Caesar at the Lobby Bar, but was advised they do not have Clamato juice. And while they do have a selection of premium liquors, they don’t have any Canadian whisky. The only beer they had was Presidente.
Main Buffet Restaurant
The main buffet restaurant is El Carey for Ocean Sand and La Tortuga for Ocean Blue. The buffet area where you get your food is between the two, so the food is the same for both, there is just separate seating on each side of the buffet. While we were there the La Tortuga side was closed, so everyone sat in the El Carey section. The food selection is good. At breakfast they have all the usual stuff – fresh fruit, omelettes, juices (their orange juice tasted like Tang, though, it wasn’t real orange juice), pancakes, sausage, bacon, etc. The restaurant is air-conditioned. There is a smoking section in the restaurant. We found the service to be fairly good here.
The restaurant opens at 6 a.m., with continental breakfast until 7 a.m., breakfast buffet 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, and Dinner from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. During the week we were there, this central buffet restaurant was closed a couple of nights, and the buffet was at the beach restaurant.
La Cana Buffet Restaurant – at the beach
La Cana Beach Restaurant at the beach opens for continental breakfast between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and snacks are available between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. We ate there at lunchtime most of the time as it was more convenient than going to the main buffet and you could go in with your bathing suit on. They had hamburgs, hotdogs, French fries, pasta, salads, and pizza on a daily basis, and a few other items that changed each day, as well as fruit and deserts. Try their icecream – it’s great!
Aside from the buffet restaurant for dinner, you can also choose to go to one of the a la carte restaurants. We never had a problem getting into any of the restaurants. Some people made reservations for the restaurants at the buffet restaurant in the morning, but it is my understanding this winter they will totally do away with reservations. If the restaurant you want to eat at is full when you arrive, they’ll give you a beeper and you can go and have a drink at the lobby bar, or relax at Mike’s Coffee while you wait. Long pants for the men are required in the a la carte restaurants, although it didn’t seem this was enforced as I did see some men wearing shorts.
Route 66 Restaurant
They serve American-type food – burgers, fries, ribs, steak, etc. They have gone all out in the decoration, complete with a ‘50’s Ford parked out in front. We ate here our first night. I had a rib-eye steak, it was just okay, a little big tough. Service was pretty good. Coffee was horrible, but that’s before we discovered Mike’s Coffee. The music played was mostly from the 60’s and 70’s.
This is the Mexican Restaurant, and it was excellent. They have an antipasto bar which is a meal in itself. Very nice décor.
I Mascherati di Venezia
This is the Italian restaurant. Again, the décor is very nice and food was good. The menu offered chicken and shrimp dishes, spaghetti, rigatoni, etc. I also had an eggplant appetizer that was very good and Pat had the soup and said it was excellent. The “salad” was ricotta cheese with apples and raisins, different but good.
La Casa de Mi Abuela (My Grandmother’s House)
This is the Dominican restaurant. It is very elegantly decorated, and the food was very good. Service was excellent.
Overtime Sports Bar
We never went in here, just looked in from outside. Typical sports bar with TV’s, pool tables. It is open from 5 p.m. until 6 a.m., with snacks served from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Mike’s Coffee and Tea
This place is the best! It’s the closest thing to Tim Horton’s you’ll find in the Dominican Republic. You can get just regular “Americano” coffee or specialty coffees and teas. There is also a “cookie jar” with delicious cookies, or you can choose from an assortment of deserts – the cheesecake is awesome! It is air-conditioned with comfortable chairs and tables. It is open from 4 p.m. until midnight every day. After the first night we never ordered coffee in the restaurants, we just went to Mike’s afterwards for our coffee and desert. This is one place that may be crowded when the hotel is full. It’s not that big, although there are tables and chairs in the courtyard outside where you can sit as well.
La Brasa Caribbean Grill on the Beach
This is near the La Cana Beach Restaurant, it wasn’t open when we were there. It serves continental breakfast from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. lunch from noon until 3 p.m., and dinner from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
El Bodegon Chef’s Table & Wine Cellar
This is not one of the included restaurants, you pay extra to eat here unless you have a deluxe junior suite or honeymoon suite, then you can eat here once free of charge. Otherwise the cost is around $25 U.S. per person (plus wine) for a Black Angus steak. If I remember correctly, you could also get a salmon fillet ($15), Churrasco ($22), or a ribeye steak ($25).
Their Black Angus steak is excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here. They start off by bringing a plate of prosciutto and cheese, and a basket of fresh bread. They have an extensive wine list. You can’t get a glass of wine here, though, you can only buy it by the bottle.
Bucanero Grill Seafood Restaurant
This is not an included restaurant, again, unless you have a deluxe junior suite or honeymoon suite, then you can eat here once free of charge. It is right on the beach, not really a restaurant, just some wooden tables set up on the beach, with a thatched roof over top. A lobster dinner costs $35 U.S. per person.
Room Service is available for those in Villas 6 and 10 only, who are in the Ocean Elite Club. They had a fairly extensive room service menu, we never tried it, though.
Pelicano Watersports is located at the beach. Here you can sign out windsurfers, kayaks, snorkel equipment, boogie boards, etc. and arrange for motorized watersports, fishing, catamarans, dive trips, and certification courses. Also saw someone kiteboarding one day.
There is a new golf course, White Sands, right outside the resort (transportation provided from the hotel). They have a special right now - $45 U.S for 9 holes, regular $60.U.S. The second 9 holes will open next year.
Tennis courts are located just inside the entrance to the hotel. Open from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Make your reservations directly at the tennis courts.
The Kids club is at the beach next to Watersports. It’s for children ages 4 to 12 and is open from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. They play supervised games, have competitions, dance lessons, Spanish lessons, go on bike tours, have videos and movies, and snacks. There is a Mini-Disco and games for the kids at the theatre every night at 8 p.m.
There is a Royal Vacation Club that operates at this resort. It was somewhat annoying when there were 5 or 6 of their sales people standing at the entrance to the restaurant every morning. I started handing them my card when they approached me, and then they didn’t want to talk to me anymore ? They sell timeshares (oops, excuse me, vacation club) at this resort with exchange privileges at other resorts worldwide
They put out a newsletter every other day telling what is going on. There will also be a board by the Pool Bar with Activities (they had taken it down to fix it while we were there).
There are lots of activities – aerobics, bicycle tour, ping pong, darts, boccia, archery, beach volleyball, dance lessons, Spanish lessons, contests, etc. There is a rock-climbing wall where you can try your skill. Didn’t see many people using it, though.
There is live entertainment (saxophone) in the lobby starting at 7:15 p.m. which we enjoyed.
A large enclosed theatre is at the front of the resort beside the lobby. There are shows every night at 10 p.m., with a Mini Disco for the children at 8 p.m. We only went to a couple of the shows. One was the Dominicano show and one was an audience participation dance competition.
Guests are given one free game per room at their “Strike” bowling alley, then it’s $15. U.S. per game for up to 6 people. A good activity for a rainy day.
There is an internet place with 5 computers in the front lobby area. Found the rates a little pricey at:
*15 minutes - $4
*30 minutes - $7
*1 hr. - $12
*Wireless Internet is also Available – $12.00 for 60 minutes
*Also noted they did have a card reader available, if you wanted to upload photos, etc.
*It’s open from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Casino inside the resort is open from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. It is run by Tower Casino, who also have a large casino just outside the resort. We didn’t go to the one outside the resort, but did go a couple of times to the one in the resort. The first night we played $60.00 in slots for about 1-1/2 hours, came out only down $3. People did seem to be winning on slots – one man next to us won 1,000 coins. We went back another night and lost about $20.00 in the slots, then Pat played Blackjack for awhile, but we came out losing. We had fun for a while, though.
The “Wave” Disco is located off the lobby area. It’s open from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. We never went… Just saw it while we were at the Manager’s cocktail party there, which is every Wednesday.
There are several shops in the lobby area. There is a cigar shop, a Harrison’s Jewellery Store, a Mini-Market that sells clothing, snacks, souvenirs, paintings, a little bit of everything, and a store with clothing and sandals (I bought a pair of sandals there for $16.00 U.S. because the sandals I’d brought broke, unfortunately the new ones cut into my feet so badly, I still have the marks…
For more shopping options, you can go into the “town” area outside of the resort. We never did do this, because it was just too hot to wander around, but there are lots of shops, money exchanges, and bars and things in the area outside the resort, including Plaza Bavaro. You can walk there, or take a taxi for $6.00 U.S.
On Dominican night vendors set up in the courtyard between the lobby and the a la carte restaurants. Or you can visit the vendors on the beach, just to the left of the resort. Be sure to bargain for the best prices.
I assume you can change money at the hotel, I don’t recall seeing an ATM machine there. We just took U.S. cash and never had a need to change any money into pesos.
The spa here is run by Metamorphosis Spas, who run many of the resort spas in the Dominican Republic. They have a complete line of services available, prices are the same as you’d expect to pay at home. They use top of the line products, and the spa is beautifully decorated, with an inner “outdoor garden courtyard” where there is a Jacuzzi and other treatments are available here. For those who book a deluxe junior suite or honeymoon suite, a free ½ hour massage is included.
I went one day for the ½ hour massage and another day had the 75 minute “Scents of the Caribbean” massage treatment. It was wonderful, very relaxing. Pat enjoyed a combination massage.
There is also a massage hut near the beach where you can get massages. Massages start from $40.00 U.S. for 25 minutes.
The gym is also located at Metamorphosis Spa and is available to all guests. Medical Services is located on the other side of the spa.
There were a couple of weddings held at the beach the week we were there. A beautiful backdrop for pictures. They offer free weddings for guests booking a deluxe junior suite under the Ocean Elite Club, or if you book a minimum of 7 rooms with a minimum 4 night stay. You can have your wedding at the beach, in the hotel gardens, or by one of the ponds. The free wedding includes the services of a civil judge, silk bouquet for the bride, silk boutonniere for the groom, ironing of wedding dress and groom’s tuxedo, a bottle of champagne, wedding cake for ten people, romantic candlelight dinner for 2 near the beach, guaranteed late checkout, , 10 per cent discount on all spa services, and turn down service each night. Additional services are available at extra cost.
There is also a wedding package available for $850.00 U.S. Contact the hotel for further details.
You can book off-resort tours such as jeep safaris, boat cruises, ATV trips, horseback riding ($35.00 for an hour), Manati Park, a trip to Santo Domingo, shopping trips, etc. at your tour operator’s desk in the front lobby or through Turinter Tours, who have a representative at the hotel every day. You’ll find him in the lobby in the morning from about 9:30 a.m. on.
A very nice, well laid-out hotel. Spacious rooms, numerous dining options, lots of activities, and beautiful pools and beach, make it a good choice for a holiday destination. I found the staff to be very helpful, and service was good.
Ocean Blue and Ocean Sand are sold from Canada by Transat Vacations, Signature Vacations, and from England through First Choice.
Special thanks to Alexandra, Mr. Smith, Benedicto, Wellington “The Duke”, and all the guest services staff for making our holiday special, and to Turinter Tours http://www.turinter.com/travel/welcome.asp for providing our transportation while at Ocean Blue.