Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Ideal for those in search of a basic vacation with fewer crowds
The VIK is smaller than some other family-friendly properties in Punta Cana. The understated driveway leads to a simple lobby with one porter -- one who has probably been working there for years -- who will point to a front desk area that is refreshingly free of lines. There’s cool lounge music playing here, and refreshments offered in the corner. Guests who pay for Wi-Fi can sometimes be found here attempting to use it here (the only place it works, and only sporadically). Since the resort attracts mostly families and groups who travel together, the vibe is friendly and comfortable.
Attached to the lobby is a path leading to a small selection of shops; a game area with ping-pong, pool and darts; and an open-air theater that has an evening performance from a small animation team.
Behind the lobby is a spa, two tennis courts, a fitness center and separate path that leads to an old casino that is shared with another property; those who choose not to use it will not be missing out. Rooms in this area are lower priced and farther away from the beach, but even more quiet than those near the pool. The pool becomes magical just after sunset when the lights come on and jazz music can be heard in the background.
A beautiful stretch of Bavaro Beach -- great for swimming and sunrise walks
The long stretch of white sand and beautiful turquoise waves that makes up Bavaro Beach is about a 30-minute drive from Punta Cana airport. The beach a prime area, dotted with shaded palapas and lounge chairs, and extends the length of the property, ending at a private area of next door Cayena (guests do not have access to these cushioned lounge chairs or hammocks). Visitors at VIK –- as is the case at all resorts in the area -- typically stay on the premises, as there isn’t much else to do in the immediate area (and nothing within walking distance). Walking to key points around the property is relatively easy, though some amenities such as the fitness center, tennis courts, and spa are a bit farther away. There are no elevators in the three-story buildings.
Renovated rooms have simple decor and very few amenities
VIK offers 447 rooms in several three-story buildings (no elevators), and eight room types varying in view and size. Renovated units are clean and basic, with tile floors, white linens, and a few bright accents, as dark wood furnishings (headboards, desks, luggage racks). Balconies have wicker furniture, and amenities include flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges with bottled water There's a daily cost to use the safe; Wi-Fi also comes with a fee, but it can only be accessed in the lobby, and even there it's spotty. Bathrooms range -- some have tub/shower combos, and others have one large open shower with rain showerheads. There are single sinks with counter space and basic toiletries.
Each room has an ice bucket, but guests may have a hard time finding ice machines. This and the lack of coffeemakers means guests will be hitting up the lobby bar before breakfast for refreshments such as ice water and a morning cup of joe.
Family Suites have a bit more space and the addition of a sofa bed, but cots are available for any room type, and and can be delivered before arrival. The top-tier rooms of the resort are the Front Ocean Suites, which have a seating area and a bed that faces the ocean, allowing for the spectacular sunrises.
Prime swimming conditions, a freshwater pool, and no reservations required for dinner
VIK has low prices, and these cover unlimited food and domestic drinks, nightly entertainment, a fitness center, two tennis courts, and unlimited use of non-motorized water sports (snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, tennis, boogie boards, and pedal boats). Guests also get one 30-minute catamaran ride with a professional per stay. Guests can also sign up for an introductory scuba demonstration, as well as excursions for diving, golfing, sailing and horseback riding, all for an extra fee.
The large pool complex is freshwater -- with very few chemicals -- and is spread out into separate areas, including one that is suitable for children. Adults may be disappointed by the lack of a swim-up pool bar, however. Lounge chairs at the pool or beach are usually not a problem during the day, though shaded palapas closest to the water are typically snatched before breakfast.
Kids have access to a small club for scheduled activities, which is located right next to the beach. Families looking for more activities can make use of the ping-pong table, billiards, beach volleyball, children's playground, water polo games, and darts.
Breakfast and lunch is via buffet only. There’s a main buffet called El Mirador for all three meals (at dinner they have special events), with a separate snack bar to fill in the in between times. The a la carte restaurants (open for dinner) do not require reservations (a policy that saves guests major hassle); the options include Mexican, Italian, and Mediterranean, and all have rotating menus, large portions, and nice wines by the bottle for an extra fee. Special occasion dinners can also be arranged on the beach for an extra fee.
There's a beach bar serving beer, wine, and typical Caribbean cocktails. El Calypso Bar in the lobby serves tea, coffee, cocktails, soft drinks, and snacks until late in the evening. An hour-long evening show begins after dinner, and then guests can check out a late-night disco and casino -- thought not many do. Most people turn in early.
The spa and fitness center are a bit dated and are due for some renovations (set to begin in late 2014). The spa does have couples' treatments and offers Babor products, a quality spa brand from Europe.
This 447-room property, offering basic all-inclusive surroundings and consistent low prices, is popular with families and charter groups from North America and Europe. The compact size and relaxed vibe is key: most three-story buildings are an easy walk to the lobby, restaurants, large freshwater pool, and beautiful beach. Guests get unlimited use of non-motorized water sports (make sure to take advantage of the free 30-minute catamaran ride). Renovated rooms have nice tile floors, white linens with simple Caribbean accents, updated bathrooms (some with rain shower heads), and wicker balcony furniture. There's evening entertainment in the theater, and for those brave enough, an outdated disco and an almost laughable casino -- not surprisingly this is not well-used. Reservations are not required at any of the a la carte restaurants, allowing a bit more freedom. There is no reliable Wi-Fi, anywhere -- best to leave the computer at home.