Iberostar Costa Dorada Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
For a massive, hyperindulgent all-inclusive mega-resort, the Iberostar Costa Dorada is the best in Puerto Plata -- great buffets, activities, entertainment, liquor, and service. Most guests, even those with kids, like to party. Drinking starts at about 10 a.m. and ends around 2 a.m. Buffets stay open for late-night sandwich gorging. The Iberostar pumps veteran drinkers from around the world with top-shelf booze, signature cocktails, and even espresso (when the evening looks like it could fade). Sure, there's no gym and the giant pool can get a little chilly. But to the many guests who come back every year, those are just petty details.
Viva Wyndham Tangerine Rating: 3.0 Pearls
An affordable all-inclusive near the happening kite-surfing town of Cabarete, the Viva is a great option. But its hip location on one of the north coast's best beaches is the draw -- not its weak buffet, worn rooms, or scarce features. Plan to head off site for better food and a great party scene. At night, the cafes lining the Cabarete beach turn into fun nightclubs where young locals and expats come to party.
Barcelo Punta Cana Rating: 3.0 Pearls
A giant step up from most Barcelo resorts, the Barcelo Premium comes with some newly renovated Deluxe Rooms, three pools, name-brand liquor, waterslides for kids, and a fantastic beach. Standard Rooms are dingy and the restaurant reservation policy can be maddening, but for the rowdy groups of 20-somethings who take over the property in February and March, the lively, late-night bar scenes, jumping disco, and quality booze more than compensate.
Bahia Principe San Juan Rating: 2.5 Pearls
Attracting party-focused youngsters in search of pre-noon cocktails, the Bahia Pricipe San Juan is one of the liveliest (i.e., loudest) all-inclusives in the D.R. It's in the middle of nowhere, so guests stay on-site -- drinking begins early at the swim-up bar and ends at the disco or the karaoke bar. The rooms are worn, but fine for passing out.
Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach is a young European party resort year-round, with hot Italian guests (Viva Wyndham is an Italian company), salsa dancing to live music by the bar, an all-day snack bar and all-night pizzeria (perfect for when the drunken munchies hit), and white canopy beds on the stunning soft-sand beach. Plus, fun activities like free trapeze lessons from circus performers, racy adult games led by the enthusiastic staff (such as the Kama Sutra, a relay race in which guests have to form suggestive positions to break a balloon), theater performances, a late-night disco, and weekly trips to a local club will appeal to party-minded 20-year-olds. But the taxi ride from Punta Cana International Airport is about $110 each way.
Be Live Grand Marien Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Garden rooms (half of them renovated in late 2008) with marble, Jacuzzi-equipped bathrooms amp up this otherwise ho-hum all-inclusive. An enormous pool, a nice spa, name-brand liquor, and reservation-free restaurants are other perks, but the crowded, less pristine beach isn't ideal, and the buffet and entertainment are mediocre. Still, for Puerto Plata, it's a great value.
IFA Villas Bavaro Resort and Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The 262-room property attracts young couples who want to party with its loud music, dirty dancing, and lots of spots to grab drinks. Since its '08 renovation, the IFA has brought a Jacuzzi bar, a huge lake-style pool, clean rooms, the best pizza this side of Punta Cana to one of the greatest coasts in the D.R. -- all for an uncommonly fair price. The beach is a 10-minute walk, though.
Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls
All rooms at the 425-room Punta Cana, part of an 1,825-room mega-resort complex, feature in-room Jacuzzis, but the real draws are the clean white-sand beach, access to four free-form pools, and eight reservation-free restaurants with some of the D.R.'s best all-inclusive fare -- a good value, if you don't mind scrounging for a rogue lounge chair. With spontaneous dance parties and a disco that can stay bumping until the wee hours, it's a great place to party.
Catalonia Bavaro Beach - All Inclusive Rating: 3.5 Pearls
At 700 rooms, the Catalonia is one of the D.R.'s largest mega-resorts. It's fun, and roomy enough that guests can party at the big pool or lounge quietly at the beach. Rooms are big, too, each with a Jacuzzi tub, but food options, as at so many Dominican all-inclusives, are not great.