The resort was beautiful and always clean. There are palm trees, a gorgeous beach, and a big pool to name a few. Although the beach got crowded during the day, there was never a problem finding a vacant beach chair. The evening breeze off the ocean was magical.
plenty of beach chairs in the shade
One thing that was strikingly different than the beaches I've been to in the U.S. is that many of the women at this resort go topless - even with children playing on the beach. Most of the vacationers were Europeans and going topless at the beach seems to be a normal thing for them.
To add to the atmosphere of the beautiful resort, there were flamingos, peacocks/peahens, roosters, and other birds that roamed the grounds. There were other animals such as frogs and turtles that swam about contently in the various fountains on the property. The animals generally do not bother the guests; however, there were one or two mornings I could hear roosters doing what roosters do at sunrise. Also, if you sit near the water in the main dining area of Dominicana and Punta Cana, there is a good chance a flamingo will come along and peek over the railing at your plate. Finally, at night, the bats come out to feed on insects (I don't think the bats were part of the resort plan). If there happens to be an insect near you and the bat detects it, the bat may fly rather close to you to get its meal. This can be rather unnerving to feel the sudden breeze from wing flapping around your head. My advice is stay away from the trees at night.
peacocks try to outstrut each other
frog floating lazily in a fountain
Our room, 4217, was a nice size and had a balcony. It had a refrigerator filled with free soda, beer, and water. Housekeeping will replace anything you drink free of charge. Our room was always kept spotless. The one thing that did seem to be a problem, however, was the lack of washcloths. With the exception of two days, housekeeping always seemed to be out of them that week. My advice is to bring your own non-white washcloths.
There are no irons in the rooms but the front desk will bring you one if you ask. They told us there is a three-hour limit on how long you could keep the iron; however, no one collected our iron for the whole week.
The Iberostar Resorts are all-inclusive resorts meaning your food and drinks are included in the cost of your vacation package. You could get something to eat or drink for pretty much 24 hours per day. There is a huge variety of food. The presentation was fabulous; however in most cases, the taste was only so-so at most. To add insult to injury, most of us complained of bubbling stomachs during our stay. We were warned not to drink the tap water. Fortunately, housekeeping was very good at making sure our room always had a supply of bottled water.
Each resort has a main dining room where breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets are served daily. We all normally met for breakfast each morning but did not worry about coordinating schedules for other meals.
Traci and I normally ate lunch at the grill near the pool and beach. Grill food such as hamburgers (smelled good but didn't taste like beef), hot dogs, chicken, kabobs, and pork chops (pretty good) were served there. There was also a nice little ice cream stand.
chefs prepare a seafood concoction by the pool
Course 1 of 7 at La Sabilia Restaurant
In addition to the main dining room, there are several specialty dinner restaurants at the resort. These include La Sabilia (7-course gourmet), a Mexican restaurant, an Oriental restaurant, a steakhouse, an Itailian restaurant, and the Rock Cafe (American). With the exception of the Rock Cafe, you are required to make reservations for the specialty restaurants. I guess this is necessary to avoid a situation that Traci and I experienced on our last night when we showed up at the Rock Cafe for dinner only to be told there is an hour wait to be seated. There is a dinner reservation desk at the resort but you must make your reservation before 3 p.m..
You are guaranteed to get reservations in at least two restaurants during a one week stay. Traci and I managed to eat at all the restaurants at the resort. I wasn't impressed with the food in any of the specialty restaurants other than the steakhouse, the Rock Cafe, and Mexican restaurant. I don't actually like Mexican food but the chicken wings on the appetizer buffet were good and the dessert buffet was good. The Rock Cafe was also good but don't expect to carry on quiet dinner conversation. The stereo was blasting in that place. Some nights, if Traci and I didn't enjoy our dinner at a specialty restaurant, we would just head over to the main dining room and get something to eat from the buffet there.
dressed for dinner
Regardless of where you ate dinner, the resort has a dress code for dinner. Beachwear is not allowed and men must wear long pants. The dress code was enforced.
After dinner, most of us would get a tropical drink and mosey over to the main entertainment stage. The shows normally got started around 9:45 p.m.. The emcees spoke Spanish and immediately translated to English. Audience participation seemed to be the main focus of the shows so sit in the back if that's not your thing. There was an excellent stage band that played everything from merengue to Top 40. Despite this, the shows rarely kept our attention for longer than the time it took us to finish our drinks. Oh well, live entertainment is probably not the main reason most people come to a resort like this. continue...