Kim, of Fox World Travel recently went on a trip to Punta Cana with her husband. She shares her review on the Dreams Punta Cana Resort
Dreams Punta Cana is in Uvero Alto on the Atlantic side and is about 30 minutes from the airport. About 15 minutes from the airport, we passed the new development ‘Downtown Punta Cana’ which is a planned area of residences, shops, restaurants, and entertainment spots including CocoBongo, the beloved night club experience.
The elevated entrance to Dreams Punta Cana does give the resort a grand feel upon approach and you are immediately met by the concierge staff with a cold towel and a glass of champagne. The lobby is expansive and open air, with seating areas and a lobby bar. The grounds and landscaping are far more beautiful and tropical than any picture I saw prior to departure and it has a lovely flamingo pond and wandering peacocks on site. We had been booked into the Preferred Club which is an extra, though not significant upcharge and does give you additional perks: access to the Preferred Club Lounge and their concierge staff, a private bar, all day snacks, free Wi-Fi, beach beds, and exclusive access to The Seaside Grill for breakfast and lunch or Oceana for lunch while those are only available for dinner to other guests. We found this upgrade to be worth it and appreciated our travel agent suggesting it.
The property is a long expanse of three-story buildings flanking a long winding pool that leads down to the beach promenade and ultimately the beach. The pool is no more than 3 feet deep anywhere and has a small waterfall and several “islands”, a Jacuzzi, and a wading splash pad for kids. It seems mostly for bobbing around and relaxing and laps might be a challenge. Definitely no diving, but horseplay seems to be encouraged. There are plenty of chairs and floating pads, and although those may be hard to come by in the busiest times, the pool itself seems like it could never be so crowded to be a problem. The beach is wide, clean, with beautiful fine sand and few rocks. There were apparently some larger rock structures out in the water to the right end of the beach, but they are completely avoidable. The water is not clear just by virtue of it constantly being wavy. The riptide was not necessarily strong, but the waves are constant and come at a side angle so it can get a bit turbulent. It also has a significant pitch where sand meets water and about a 5 foot drop about ten feet into the water. It goes from calf deep to nearly over an adult’s head instantly. For these reasons, this is not a family friendly beach at all for younger children. I wouldn’t exclude Dreams as an option for families, but the water does not seem safe. They have a very cool Explorer Club with a pirate ship and castle to climb in, a small pool and a shaded open air clubhouse. There is also an active Teen Zone and they have varied and interesting activities for all ages so I think there is enough to occupy an entire family even if they don’t get in the ocean.
We had a deluxe room on the second floor and it was bright, clean, and attractive with a small balcony overlooking the pool (closes at 6pm). It was usually too warm to enjoy the balcony for long, but nice to have. Featured a stocked mini-bar, safe. Room showed some signs of wear and tear, but maid staff kept it tidy and was always prompt with cleaning. Closet area is OK, but bring extra hangers if you care about a week’s worth of clothing being properly hung. Our room was an adjoining room which would be great for families, but not so great when you are solo parties. You could see the light from the other room around the frame and no insulation from neighbors’ conversations and/or domestic strife. There is a swim-out version of each room category that would be great for many people. Additionally, there is an upgraded suite option available which was very spacious with a slightly separated sitting area, two TVs, better shower, and more storage and an expanded balcony with a Jacuzzi tub. This would be a great upgrade and value added bonus. I believe it was an additional $100 per night.
There are 8 restaurants at Dreams Punta Cana: The World Café buffet (open breakfast, lunch and dinner); Himitsu for hibachi, sushi, or Chinese (dinner); Bordeaux for French (dinner); Portofino for Italian (dinner); The Seaside Grill primarily a steakhouse (dinner only unless Preferred); Oceana for seafood (breakfast and dinner only unless Preferred); La Trattoria for wood fired pizzas (lunch) and pizza and pasta (dinner); and Barefoot Grill which is as casual as it gets right on the beach for burgers, dogs, and tacos. There is also CoCo Café in the lobby for full menu of coffee drinks and pastries. There was nothing we did not enjoy about the food at this resort. The buffet which is often dismissed in an all-inclusive as the bottom was expansive at every meal, very flavorful, and never boring I thought. All of the specialty restaurants were good with The Seaside Grill, Portofino, and Himitsu being our favorites. The best thing about the dining at Dreams is no reservations required. You don’t waste time standing in line to make reservations and there are no significant waits or rejections. We did wait about 45 minutes during prime time for Chinese food, but it was no bother. A friend of ours said they waited two days to get into a restaurant at their resort, so Dreams does give that benefit of being impulsive which we really appreciated.
The service in some of the restaurants was inconsistent at times, though good mostly, but nothing so bad to have complained about it at the time. There are many bars on property and if I do have some misgivings about this property, it would be regarding bar service. They have a very large swim-up bar and a few additional bars around the pool. The roaming bar staff was decent, though somewhat slow and they really need more bartenders in almost every location. It was often a bit of a wait to get a drink just due to them not being able to keep up with demand. Admittedly this got better as the week went along, but it seems to be an issue. They were, however, very diligent about collecting empty glasses and the resort always seemed clean.
The entertainment and activities on property were varied, high quality, and well attended. Their evening theater shows were professional with great production value (Brazilian, Western, Burlesque, Dominican, and Circus shows), and there were always two movies, Latin singers and dancing, and special event programming at night. You could not possibly be bored at this resort unless you chose to be. The entertainment staff was great at recruitment and the pool near the swim-up bar was the destination for high energy fun and games that always seemed to span the generations.
If you need or forget anything, the shops in the bottom lobby are almost sure to have what you need in the way of clothing, medicine, tanning oil, books, candy, souvenirs, cameras, electronics. I was impressed by what they carried and picked up many things here throughout my stay. Overall, we had an amazing time during our trip to Punta Cana and we cant wait until we get the next opportunity to visit again!
Do you want to hear more about Kim’s trip to Punta Cana? Check out her other post called Review of Tours in Punta Cana where she shares her insights on adventures to be had outside of the resort!
Photos Courtesy of DreamsPuntaCanaResort.com