Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
At this adult-only resort it's quiet and mellow by day, but gets a little frisky by night.
It’s books, not babes, at this 18-and-up, 270-room resort frequented mostly by couples. Save for brief flurries of activity to swat at mosquitoes, it’s mostly about books by Jonathan Kellerman and Nora Roberts, and a lot of quiet days on the beach.
Punta Cana Princess’s airy, vaulted lobby emerged from a renovation in fall 2008 and it shows. The dark wood and wicker furniture is regal, the floor gleaming, and the lighting soft, giving it a more sophisticated feel than most lobbies, especially when the shows up to play some Elton John cover songs in evenings. At the breakfast buffet, opera plays over the speakers, a bit much at 9 a.m.
Piña colada- and beer-sipping guests lounge on the beach by day, and show up in droves by night for the lobby’s(there’s no theater, unlike most resorts in the D.R.). The show bordered on R-rated during the Ping-Pong ball game -- one person’s hands guide a little orange ball up another person's pant leg, and out the other.
Guests here are predominantly Canadian couples, with a few American, French, and German mixed in. With 270 rooms, the resort is smaller than most all-inclusives, but everyone has access to all of the amenities at the adjacent sister properties, and Bavaro Princess, if they feel like grinding with their partners (or strangers) at the disco, dining on Brazilian at or just borrowing a bike to check out the sights and sounds. The Punta Cana also gives free passes for the disco.
Rooms at the neighboring Bavaro Princess are on the dirtier side, but the resort is packed with kids, and features a castle-shaped casino, one of Punta Cana's largest spas, and beautiful, lush gardens with tons of wildlife. The Caribe Club Princess isn't nearly as nice -- the pools are loud and messy, but most of the rooms are on the beach.
Mosquitoes are a seasonal problem all over the D.R., but they're especially bad here due to the on-site mangrove .
Punta Cana Princess is in Bavaro, a neighboring village to Punta Cana. Over time -- with the proliferation of resorts in the area -- Bavaro has come to be considered a part of Punta Cana, at least for tourism’s sake. The resort is one of several resorts located on the nearly 10-mile stretch of Bavaro Beach, which was one of the most beautiful in Punta Cana, and the most beautiful in the D.R.
Quiet and clean stretch of sugary white sand beach where guests can walk for miles in either direction.
Located along a quiet stretch of white sand with gleaming turquoise water, this pristine stretch of beach rivals the best in Punta Cana. And unlike other resorts, there's no morning chaos here over obtaining a lounge chair, even during high season. Few people show up to the water aerobics class held on the beach -- it seems most everyone prefers to read, sunbathe, and log mileage on the beach, which you can walk up and down for miles.
There's no drinks service by the pool, but there is on the beach, and the waiters are friendly and prompt.
There are about 20 daybeds sectioned off on the beach, but these are all reserved for VIP members or those who pay per person, per day for the upgrade. It might be worth it, if you’re willing to get to the beach early to commandeer one of them.
Free water sports include windsurfing, kayaking, boogie boarding, and catamaran rentals. Parasailing and scuba diving are extra.
All but seven of the resort's rooms are called "luxury suites" and feature two full beds or one king, as well as a sunken living room with a pull-out couch. The other seven rooms are called "honeymoon suites" and come with a king-size bed, Jacuzzi, and typically a higher, vaulted ceiling.
Other than the whiffs of stale smoke (most, but not all, of Punta Cana Princess' rooms are non-smoking), the rooms are fairly clean and bright. The furniture is well-maintained, and the underneath the desk have been newly upholstered with perfectly white fabric.
The luxury suite was clean and bright with two full beds, but a musty smell pervades the rooms.
Bathrooms are basic, like most in the D.R., but do have his-and-hers sinks, but the fluorescent lighting is a bit dreary. Save for a little mildew in the grout around the bathtub, and an oxidized soapdish, the bathroom is clean -- until housekeeping comes to fumigate, at which point dead mosquitoes cover the counter and sink.
The minibar comes stocked with two Cokes, two Sprites, two Soberana beers (behold the irony of the name!), and four bottles of water.
The 27-inch flat-screen TV includes some English-language channels like CNN, USA Today, and Animal Planet.
Insects can be a big problem in the rooms. Mosquitoes are everywhere -- in the bathroom, in the bedroom, in the closet -- but thein the evening is filled with swarms. This is due in part to the mangrove swamps in this area, which the government has decreed cannot be drained. Ground floor rooms often see ants as well.
There’s only one pool on the property, but it’s large, clean, and has one rather subdued swim-up bar. Around the pool are several Balinese beds, which some people manage to turn into forts from the sun by draping their towels and beach bags over the taut lines connecting the columns.
There’s a small spa adjacent to the pool that’s affiliated with the larger Metamorphosis Spa, a chain of Dominican spas well-known for decent services at good prices, located on the grounds of the adjacent Caribe Princess. Services at Punta Cana are basic -- manicures, pedicures. There are some massage beds and a Jacuzzi.
There’s no Wi-Fi in the rooms, but guests can purchase a 24-hour pass that can be used in the lobby. You can also purchase 30 minute increments for one of the four computers in the lobby, but this is considerably more pricey.
Slim pickings by way of entertainment, which is no problem at all for many guests.
There's not much to do after 11 p.m., but to most guests this is one of the resort's best assets. Every evening the Princess puts on a show that occasionally consists of resort staff dancing to "Cotton Eyed Joe" remixes and a Ping-Pong ball game involving a little orange ball being guided up one leg of a guy’s pants and out the other. Not exciting, but most guests seemed happy.
Leave the kids at home -- 18+ only.
It’s adults-only at this resort. No one under the age of 18 is allowed on-site.
Minus the fumigation techniques, this resort is pretty clean inside and out -- clean beach, clean rooms, clean premises.
Smaller selection than most D.R. all-inclusives, but fair quality. Avoid the freezing cold crepes and waffles at breakfast.
The selection and variety is far more limited at Casabe, the main buffet, than at other . But the quality is largely OK, save for the freezing cold crepes and waffles hidden away near the station at breakfast. Both the salad and fruit bars are small but fresh. The dinner buffet comes with some grand (hilarious) displays -- like a mermaid sculpture covered in smoked salmon one night or a covered in bacon the next.
There are four à la cartes on the property, including Mare Nostrum (Mediterranean), Il Bacio (Italian), La Petite Fondue (Swiss), and Rio Grande (the Tex Mex-meets-steak house spot where I dined one of the nights).
Reservations aren't required for the restaurants on the Punta Cana Princess's property, but show up early if you don't want to wait upwards of an hour or more to sit down. Reservations are required if you want to eat at the restaurants at the Bavaro Princess or the Caribe Club Princess, and can be made between 9 a.m. and noon one day prior.
An extra few bucks gets guests top-shelf liquor.
Low-grade booze is free with any package, but for a few extra bucks guests can upgrade to name-brand liquor like Absolut, Jack Daniels or Ballantines 12-year. Unlike at most all-inclusives, the cocktails like piña coladas and banana mamas aren't too sugary.
A 270-room, adults-only resort with a quiet expanse of beach, a large pool with Balinese beds, and bright rooms, the Punta Cana Princess attracts a more mature crowd. But with access to the adjacent Caribe Princess and , guests don't miss out on the or late night bars, making this resort a great value.