Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Diverse crowds fill the 600-plus rooms here -- not much privacy at the pool, sunny beach, or massive buffets. Because this mega-resort is the family-focused alternative to the adjacent Majestic Elegance, the night life is quiet and pools close early.
With more than 600 rooms and a romantic, couple-oriented sister resort practically built in its image next door, the Majestic Colonial is a massive beachfront property swarming with guests. It's one of the nicer all-inclusive mega-resorts in Punta Cana, and any loss in intimacy is made up for by the massive beach and slew of amenities.
As with most Dominican mega-resorts, poolside pop songs blast throughout the afternoon as a soundtrack to water aerobics classes, volleyball, and afternoon debauchery at the swim-up bars. International guests of all ages -- mostly Canadians, plus a few Americans -- enjoy themselves here: families, retirees, and young partiers. This family-oriented resort isn't exactly a spring break crash pad, but some guests opt for the all-inclusive to enjoy themselves with a pina colada in hand. However, this may change with the completion of the Colonial Club in November 2012. This adults-only section will include 318 of the resort's 659 rooms, and will feature its own pool and VIP lounge.
Families, wedding parties, and retired couples mingle throughout the property without issue: While it's a "nice" resort, it's also laid-back, and people are here to enjoy themselves, regardless of who's doing what around them. So don't be shocked by the leathery tan couple making out in the pool, the loud group of 25-year-olds yelling "Uh-oh!" at escalating volume as the bride of their party sneaks by the groom, or a loud 5-year-old New Yorker getting pushy at the pasta bar at dinner.
The Majestic Colonial shares a resort complex with its sister, the Majestic Elegance. They are in Bavaro, which is technically the area that stretches north of Punta Cana International Airport but is often considered part of the Punta Cana peninsula. The area is primarily covered with mega-resorts, but Bavaro is also home to a smattering of restaurants and nightclubs. It is about a 30 minute drive from Punta Cana International Airport to the resort.
The beaches along this northern stretch of the coast generally see much stronger waves and have a steeper drop-off than those to the south in Punta Cana. The beach here is no exception. It's beautiful but crowded, and has fine sand and clear water. The walk out into the water has a sandy bottom, so there's no need for reef shoes or sandals. The water was much clearer than it was to the north at Sivory but not as calm as it was to the south at the Barcelo resorts.
A narrow swimming area is marked with buoys, but it's tight for the large number of guests on the beach. Signs ask guests to respect the swimming boundary, but no one seems to heed them, and no one seems to enforce these rules, either. Be warned, however, that boats taking snorkelers on excursions do blast up and down the beach and come very close to the swimming area. Swimmers should take great caution when going out of bounds.
There are bars near the beach but no regular drinks service.
Rooms are spacious and feature comfortable furnishings, not least of which are the large beds. The open bathroom configuration is somewhat awkward, though -- especially for guests traveling with children.
Rooms are couples-oriented: Champagne, towel art, and the open bathroom configuration are designed for romance. The simple décor -- white, cream, and sand colors accented by dark wood -- gives a classic feel that's still appropriate for the surroundings. The Colonial Junior Suite Ocean Front is sunny and spacious, with a gigantic ocean-view terrace and its own Jacuzzi. All rooms here are suites, with varying sizes, views, and balcony or terrace options.
Beds have plush mattresses and soft cotton sheets. Decorative curtains surround the four-poster frame, but these do not function like a mosquito net, which was too bad considering the ubiquity of bugs and mosquitoes in the area. It would be wise to keep balcony doors or windows closed -- ocean sounds and tropical breezes are only nice until the bugs come in at dusk.
A small tube television is located in a small console across from the bed; it receives a small cable package, but there's no DVD player or in-room movie option. The selection was better than at most all-inclusives. In addition to the typical stock of free soft drinks, water, and chocolate bars stocked in the mini-fridge, Johnnie Walker Red Label and a modern Nespresso machine with espresso capsules are also included in the all-inclusive package.
In 2011, the hotel announced it was converting 318 of its rooms to make the Colonial Club, an adults-only section of the resort which will also have its own pool and VIP lounge. Construction was completed in November 2012.
The large, clean fitness center is one of the best in Punta Cana, at least by mega-resort standards. It has a large collection of relatively modern, clean equipment inside an air-conditioned room -- a luxury not offered at many all-inclusives. Large windows make the room a bright, pleasurable space for working out.
The resort shares a collection of souvenir and drugstore shops with the Majestic Elegance in an area called Caribbean Street. There is also a cigar shop and a large business center (with several computers, printers, and desks) located in the lobby. Internet access is available there, or in the rooms at an extra charge.
The resort's large entertainment stage is also shared with the Majestic Elegance. Like at virtually every Dominican all-inclusive, shows are performed nightly, and usually consist of mediocre lip-synched pop performances whose strongest feature is the well-choreographed dance routines.
The hotel's main attraction - the pool - closes early, and while the nightly shows are popular among children, adults can bore of the scene quickly. If you're traveling without children and crave busier nightlife, consider staying at the slightly classier, more romantic Majestic Elegance. Its disco, live music and outdoor bar stay open into the wee hours of the morning. The resort also shares a casino with its sister property on Caribbean Street.
Daytime activities at the pool include aerobics lessons, water sports, and outdoor dance classes. The schedule rotates and circulates on updated hotel flyers.
One of the biggest and best pools in Punta Cana, with swim-up bars, music, a children's area, and activities at one end and a at the other. It's clean and well landscaped, and spans the entire length of the property.
The pool scene is active in areas and quiet in others. It's so large that it's not hard to find a quiet corner to chill or float around in without much noise or contact with other guests. On the other hand, there are enough swim-up bars, regular bars, , and even a poolside buffet restaurant to keep every guest well fed and watered. Loud pop music bumps at all hours near the beach end of the pool, but the vibe is much more relaxed closer to the lobby. Guests float up and down the pool, but crowds tend to concentrate near the beach.
The hotel also features a children's pool, where supervised children's activities take place during the day.
An adults-only pool opened as part of the Colonial Club at the resort in November 2012. This adults-only section features 318 rooms and a VIP louge. Construction was completed in November 2012.
There's a Kids Club on-site, complete with supervised, age-appropriate activities. The resort is the family-focused answer to its sister resort next door, the Majestic Elegance.
The crowd here is incredibly diverse, but the resort is kid-centric and accommodates hoards of families. The bar scene goes late but stays mellow, and more mature guests may not like the lack of nightlife on the premises (for a scene that includes live music and dancing, try the Majestic Elegance next door). The grounds are big enough that kids will have no problem sleeping through the entertainment and nighttime chatter.
The huge pool supplies tons of fun for families, and a huge, castle-shaped Kids Club houses facilities and activities for kids of all ages. Children are split up into two groups during the day for supervised play. Older children sit on plastic desks for supervised drawing, and there are other activities for toddlers. There's even a ball pen for kids to play in.
Rollaway beds and cribs are available free of charge, but try to request ahead of time to ensure that they are in the room for the first night. Rooms are spacious, so this shouldn't be an issue, but there aren't separate sleeping areas for kids. The room layouts are generally very open.
Though the a la carte restaurants serve more adult-focused menus, plenty of children help themselves to the wide selection at the buffet (which includes plenty of kid-friendly options like pasta, fries, burgers, and tons of desserts).
The rooms and are generally well kept, as are the pool and beach. But small details -- like ants in our room and a few too many dirty bottoms on plates -- keep it from standing out within its price range.
On the surface, the resort looks good. There's no litter, and empty cups didn't linger around the property for long. Waiters picked up used plates and silverware quickly around the buffet dining area. On closer inspection, though, the plates at the buffet were flecked with their last user's meal.
Rooms are cleaned regularly, and the relatively new furniture and upholstery still seems fresh, but ants can be found in the rooms. Though bugs and a little mildew go hand in hand with the tropical Dominican weather, it still felt less than pristine.
The giant, varied buffet is just the beginning of the resort's eight restaurants. Quality is variable, but even if it's not the best sushi this side of Japan, it has a great selection compared with many Dominican all-inclusives, and reservations are not required for most.
Like at most Dominican all-inclusves, the Majestic Colonial's eight restaurants serve food of variable (and questionable) quality. Though it's mostly imported frozen ingredients that are prepared without much flavor, the variety is still impressive compared with many Dominican resorts.
At "Buffet Restaurant Supreme," the options are better than most all-inclusive buffets. Where other Punta Cana resorts' vegetable selections feature boiled potatoes or near-frozen lettuce, the Majestic Colonial has a large variety of vegetarian sides. Plenty of cooking stations serve freshly prepared meat and fish. But the pasta bar was a disappointment -- just oily, overcooked penne floating in a soupy sauce, sprinkled with parmesan. Even the cheese was like bits of tasteless, chewy plastic. It was hardly worth the 10-minute wait in line. , by the beach, has a much smaller selection of the same buffet food: hot dogs, burgers, fries, and Jell-O are the mainstays.
The a la carte restaurants -- Taino (Dominican and Mexican cuisine), Matsuri (Japanese), (grilled meats), and (fish and seafood) -- all offer dinner without reservations. (Many of the non-buffet options at all-inclusive resorts require them; the process can be annoying, to say the least.) gourmet "Author Cuisine" requires dinner reservations, and Matsuri requires reservations for the . Reservations must be made at the guest services desk in the lobby. Given the size of the resort, this can be somewhat inconvenient.
Most restaurants close up by 8 or 9 p.m., but Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, is a late-night snack bar open from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., located on the shared property with the
Name-brandis available, and free, and it comes with the standard mixers.
Unlike most resorts, the Majestic offers name-brand liquor at all of its nine bars: Johnnie Walker and Jose Cuervo are available alongside the generic Dominican rums and vodkas.
A standard all-inclusive wedding location, with minimal options (and minimal privacy)
A giant pool, a wide selection of quality food, name-brand , and a crowded but beautiful stretch of white-sand beach draw families, retirees, and young partiers alike. With 659 rooms, this kid-friendly resort is not intimate, and service is impersonal.