Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • More daily activities than most Dominican resorts
  • Specialized kids' section at the buffet
  • Supervised kids' and teens' clubs, including a teens' disco
  • Name-brand liquor included in the all-inclusive rates
  • Massive pool spanning the property--among Punta Cana's biggest
  • Soft-sand beach

Cons

Bottom Line

A blasting, 620-room mega-resort with uniquely attentive service, Dreams packs in more goodies than most Punta Cana all-inclusives--including a mechanical bull, rock climbing wall, top notch gym, full service spa, massive streaming pool, six restaurants and 24-hour room service. But the Majestic Colonial is nearly identical (minus the family focus), so it's worth comparing rates.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

The huge resort is filled with a diverse crowd of 20-somethings, families, Americans, and Europeans. But it's so gigantic that everyone has their space.

Parrots
Parrots

Dreams' grandiose lobby is three stories high, under a palapa-style thatched roof, a fittingly massive entry to this 620-room, all-inclusive mega-resort. It might even make guests feel like victims of Rick Moranis' nutty science in "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" -- a feeling that never really disappears in the massive resort.

Muscular 20-somethings sip cocktails and play water polo, young kids tear through the property, and gingham-clad mothers tidy the beads on their daughters' newly corn-rowed hair. Dreams is a bit younger, and a bit more fit than the other resorts--the gym here is far better than most Dominican all-inclusives.

New Age-y Native American flute music plays in the buffet restaurant, followed by a nice kazoo rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine." Walking through the property, the sound level increases and beats quicken nearer the beach. Akon's "I Wanna Love You" provides a comparatively low-key soundtrack in the pool area. Closer to the beach, though, the entertainment staff plays through a familiar Dominican all-inclusive set of tracks -- think ""Who Let the Dogs Out" at top volume.

Privacy and quiet are hard to come by, with rooms opening directly onto the pool and lounge chairs crowded up against one another on the beach and poolside. Some of the super-social guests clearly enjoy mixing in and making fast friends with each other. On the other hand, a considerable number of guests complain about the noise, litter, and inconsiderate behavior of other guests.

 Location

Technically it's in Bavaro, just north of Punta Cana, and about an hour from Punta Cana International Airport.

Bavaro is also home to a limited smattering of restaurants and local nightclubs, mostly in and around the town of Friusa, which offers locals and tourists a change of pace from the dominant presence of resorts and poorly maintained roads.

 Beach

With clear waters and soft sand, Dreams' beach is on the coast's northern stretch, which has stronger waves and steeper drop-offs than farther south in Punta Cana proper.

The beach
The beach

The cerulean blue waters, misty waves, and clean, soft, sandy shore are about as picturesque is it gets in the Caribbean. The steep drop-off and somewhat vigorous waves make it less than ideal for swimming (you'll have better luck at resorts further south in Punta Cana). Negligible shells and rocks blend into the sand beyond the shore, but don't prevent guests from kicking off their flip-flops and curling their toes into the soft beach.

A speaker system is set up in the middle of the beach, pumping out pop songs like " Who Let the Dogs Out" at high volume throughout the day. Crowds of guests walk up and down the beach and compete for palm-roofed palapa umbrellas (shade is limited on this beach). But even with the music and crowds, the gorgeous natural setting took on an almost comedic dream-like atmosphere when a man on a horse came galloping around the corner with waves crashing behind him.

Active lifeguards are on duty throughout the beach, a superb family-friendly feature not found at most Dominican resorts (save the Holiday Village in Puerto Plata). A large palapa hut on the beach acts as a sort of lifeguard station for switching shifts and communicating with staff at the rest of the resort.

Equipment for water sports is available on the beach and looks to be in good condition. All equipment is free to guests. Horseback riding on the beach is also available at extra cost.

 Rooms

Some rooms are cramped and musty, with outdated TVs, rusting metal, and painfully hard mattresses--but there are decent bath products and balconies. Rooms have been in the process of being renovated since 2010, with the hotel completing one building at a time.

The Junior Suite
The Junior Suite

Heart-shaped towel art and hibiscus on the king-sized canopy bed welcome guests to their humble abodes, but the rest is less impressive -- in some rooms. Since 2010, the hotel has been in the process of renovating guest rooms building by builiding across the resort.

Older rooms are furnished with a loveseat and small desk which fit awkwardly into the room and feel somewhat cramped. As a result, the rooms don't feel spacious and breezy like most Dominican resorts. The beds are large and the sheets and pillows are generally comfortable. But the mattresses, built for cheap longevity, are particularly hard.

Newer rooms feature new white furnishings that considerably brighten the rooms. Red accents and gold hardware add pops of color and a bit of style.

Bathrooms are divided between the sink and vanity area and a separate shower and toilet. The bath basin is basic and clean, but not romantic or compelling for anything more than a quick shower. Gilchrist & Soames products are also provided -- the shampoo, shower gel, lotion, and beauty bars being a welcome upgrade from the wall-mounted shower-gel pumps at most all-inclusive resorts.

Every room comes with a balcony, though many are on the ground floor. Still, even on the ground floor, the balconies are sunny and big enough for a table and pair of chairs. They also each have a small, unique hanging chair that gives them a laid-back, tropical feel. Most balconies, though, don't feel particularly private. There's little division between them and the surrounding common pathways.

A mid-size Daewoo television shows several Spanish and English channels.

Minibars come stocked with free Bohemia beer, water, and sodas (standard in most all-inclusives). A small coffee machine is also provided, along with generic "Santo Domingo" coffee packets.

Noise from the evening entertainment echoes through the resort and filters into the rooms, but is more background noise than anything truly offensive. Extremely light sleepers or families with small children may want to request a room far from the lobby, though.

 Features

With more features than most all-inclusives have, there's a rock-climbing wall, mechanical bull, Wii game center, full-service spa, clean gym, and more.

Bicycles
Bicycles

A single long pool curves and meanders along almost the entire length of the property, next to guest-rooms and pathways. Small, landscaped islands punctuate the pool and bridges connect pathways on either side. The pool is liveliest near the bars, but in general it has a relatively relaxed vibe. While boom boxes blast on the more crowded beach, guests seem to have an easier time finding chairs near the pool. Though there's still poolside music, the staff plays mellower tracks at a tolerable decibel.

Beyond pool- and beach-lounging, Dreams offers a wide variety of features and activities. Even better, the staff actually makes it easy to find out about activity and facility schedules by distributing daily activity newsletters to each guest-room. The weather forecast, drink of the day, shop hours, entertainment schedule, kids' activities, and special events are all listed on the newsletter. As a special touch, newsletters also announce guest weddings, anniversaries and birthdays at the bottom.

Core Zone, the resort's activities center, provides an impressive collection of sports and activities. Mechanical bull-riding, ping pong, foosball, Xbox and Wii games, and even the popular Dominican game of dominoes are all available, alongside the Core Zone Bar. A rock-climbing wall and an archery target are also in this area. Even veterans of all-inclusives will be impressed with the number of activities provided.

A small spa and gym are in the same building. Both are clean and in good condition. The spa has a steam room, sauna, and Jacuzzi tubs, in addition to the treatment rooms and salon area for nail and hair services. The clean, air-conditioned gym has up-to-date equipment--that's far more than most Dominican all-inclusives can say. Not surprisingly, guests here actually use the fitness center.

Tours and excursions may be booked at an extra cost through the resort, though they're operated independently of the resort.

Shops in the lobby sell standard pharmacy needs, snacks, clothing, and souvenirs. A photo center sells copies of photos taken by resort staff.

 Family

Though not billed as a family resort, its kids' buffet, kids' club, child care, teens' disco, sports competitions, and active lifeguard make it a great place for families.

Kid's club
Kid's club

The Explorers' Club offers a full schedule of activities throughout the day. Nature tours like "Looking for Shells and Snails" and staff-led "lunchtime" and "shower time" are available. The kids' club, with large indoor and outdoor play areas, also offers child care. In addition to entertainment geared toward younger tots, a full schedule of teen activities is also available. It consists mostly of staff-led sports competitions and a teenagers' disco.

Cribs and roll-away beds are available free of charge to guests. Larger family rooms and suites are available to accommodate families; cribs are available upon request.

The Kids' Korner table in the center of World Café's buffet is a noticeable favor to parents. Non-adventurous kids'-menu type foods are all served on an especially low-height counter, making it easy for kids to find (and serve) their own selection.

At the beach, an active lifeguard reassures parents, especially with the giant inflated children-only turtle trampoline in the water.

 Cleanliness

Generally clean rooms and grounds, but the humid, tropical area comes with ants and rust.

The grounds here are impressively well-maintained. A variety of plants, flowers, and trees are kept trimmed, groomed, and healthy. Pathways are clean, and the property is free of litter--impressive, considering the size of the resort.

Housekeeping teams can be seen changing out bedding, glasses, and toiletries, and wiping down everything from the floors to the doors. Staff are always maintaining the lobby, and tables in the buffet's dining room are quickly cleared and reset throughout meal times. There is even an employee working at the entrance of the buffet dispensing antibacterial gel into the hands of every guest as they wait for a seat.

That said, the humid climate and local "fauna" are something to keep in mind. Things like metal hardware and lampshades rust quickly, grout between the tiles molds easily, and tiny ants often find their way into rooms. This isn't necessarily a sign of how well the property is maintained, though. Rather, it's just something that happens in the D.R. and is common among resorts in the area.

 Food

With reservation-free, à la carte dining at six restaurants, a massive buffet with a kids' section, burger grills, and 24-hour room service--guests never go hungry.

The buffet
The buffet

World Café Restaurant, the main buffet restaurant, serves a decent selection, with ample fried staples at lunch. The special Kids' Korner at breakfast has as many adults as kids picking at the bland and, more importantly, safe foods.

There are six à la carte dining options--Himitsu, El Patio, Portofino, Oceana, Seaside Grill, Bordeaux--each of which has variable dress codes (think long pants and closed-toe shoes, fellas). No reservations are required. This saves guests from having to run to guest services every morning for reservations (like they do at most resorts), but there might be a lengthy wait at some of the more popular restaurants.

During the day, beach bums and pool loungers can nosh on bites from the grills and a fruit stand set up throughout the resort. Guests shuffle in their flip-flops and swimsuits eating fresh slices of pineapple on a stick--a sort of Popsicle au naturel. Burgers and hot dogs from the grill are popular eats near the beach and pool where people can slide in line without worrying about their wet, sandy attire.

A very basic room service menu is also available 24 hours a day.

 Drinks

Name-brand liquor at no extra cost--a huge step up from most all-inclusive resorts.

Top-shelf liquor is available at no extra cost, but generic brand liquors are also commonly used to prepare cocktails at the bars here. All drinks (which aren't weak, by the way) are served in small plastic cups with straws; some guests choose to bring their own large tumblers to avoid frequent waits at the bar.

 Bottom Line

A blasting, 620-room mega-resort with uniquely attentive service, Dreams packs in more goodies than most Punta Cana all-inclusives--including a mechanical bull, rock climbing wall, top notch gym, full service spa, massive streaming pool, six restaurants and 24-hour room service. But the Majestic Colonial is nearly identical (minus the family focus), so it's worth comparing rates.

Things You Should Know About Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa

Address

  • Playas Uvero Alto Provincia La Altagracia DO

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Dreams Dominican Republic
  • Dreams Punta Cana
  • Dreams Punta Cana Resort
  • Dreams Resort Punta Cana
  • Punta Cana Dreams
  • Punta Cana Sunscape Beach
  • Sunscape Beach
  • Sunscape Beach Punta Cana
  • Sunscape Punta Cana

Room Types

  • Deluxe Family Room
  • Deluxe Partial Ocean View Room
  • Deluxe Room
  • Deluxe Swim-Out Room
  • Honeymoon Suite
  • Junior Suite
  • Preferred Club Deluxe Room
  • Preferred Club Honeymoon Suite
  • Preferred Club Junior Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 620
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): Some
Casino: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Address: Playas Uvero Alto Provincia La Altagracia DO
(See Map)
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