Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
An average Italian-influenced resort for all ages and nationalities
The bland entrance to the Viva Wyndham Palace is up a hill past a few local shops and cafes. The lobby itself has a its own bar (the lobby at its sister resort, the Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach, does not) which is the first indication that this property is a slight step ahead in terms of quality -- though the name Palace should not fool anyone. Decor is basic at best and the resort caters to mostly Italian families (this area has a history as a Italian tourist colony).
Walking pathways lead to a series of three-story yellow and white buildings that overlook manicured grounds and fountains. No shuttle is needed, but guests can expect to walk often along the expansive beach to get to all the amenities next door. The main pool overlooks a beach volleyball court, and there's another smaller pool and bar within a short walk that might have a game of water polo occurring.
With fewer rooms here, the Dominicus Palace stays less busy; those seeking a bit more beach party action can head next door for the bar, music, and animation activities -- though a wait for a mixed drink, or even a small cup of beer, can be expected.
The dock that divides the two properties is the pick-up and drop-off for excursions and water tours, and a pretty spot at sunset. Post-sunset, guests can make their way to the two buffets or the a la carte restaurants (reservations required) at either property, including the more upscale Atlantis restaurant on the waterfront that requires an additional fee. After dinner, nightly shows take place at a small theater on the second floor with views of the grounds, and the party continues afterward at the disco.
Close to La Romana, with a swimmable beach offering sunset views
The Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace is among a handful of resorts on Dominicus Beach and near the fishing village of Bayahibe, in an Italian-influenced area of Dominican Republic, about 20 minutes away from La Romana airport. La Romana was once sugar cane town that was transformed into a thriving tourist destination. Expect to run into guests from Italy, Spain, and Canada (Russia and South America are burgeoning markets, as well). If La Romana proves to be a more expensive flight, guests can arrive at the international airport in Punta Cana, about 80 minutes away. If the reservation is not a part of a group booking, this can become an expensive cab ride.
Rooms have either garden or sea views, and a few modern amenities
This resort is smaller than its sister property, with 330 rooms housed in yellow and white three-story buildings overlooking the sea and gardens. All rooms are basic and lacking in luxury, but have received slight upgrades in the form of white linens, bright decor accents, and flat-screen TVs. Rooms (either smoking or non-smoking) come with one king or two double beds, and have tile floors, work desks, mini-fridges with bottled water and a few sodas (Pepsi products and club soda), and small balconies with two chairs and a small table.
The most romantic room option is called Couples Retreat and has a double-jetted tub next to the bed, orange pops of color, iPod docks, and a small dining table. These rooms have a double mattress and do not skimp on the pillows.
The VIP upgrade, which is typically offered during check-in, includes extras such as coffeemakers, bathrobes/slippers, a bottle of wine and fruit plate, and room service for breakfast. VIP access also include a private section in the buffet, a private bar, and unlimited reservations at the a la carte restaurants.
Family-friendly amenities and a beautiful stretch of Dominicus Beach
The Palace is situated on a less-crowded area of Dominicus Beach and is separated from its sister property by the dock. People are attracted to this part of the Dominican Republic because there are fewer crowds here, and only a handful of resorts. The picturesque turquoise waves and the shallow shore make it a great spot for kids. Sailboats slowly make their way past the property and there's a constant gentle breeze; most people are happy to stay at the beach all day long, until sunset (when the cameras come out for group photos).
Free water sports include snorkel gear (there are both natural and artificial reefs nearby), paddleboards, windsurfing, and kayaking. The animation team regularly tries to get people to participate in aqua games such as water polo, but the scene isn't as rowdy as at Dominicus Beach. Guests are free to use both areas, including the supervised trapeze net, which has great views of the sea. This net is also next to one of the quieter pools on the property with a separate bar.
While Dominicus Beach guests do not have complete access to the restaurants at the Palace, Palace guests can access dining options at both properties. Restaurants reservations for a la carte options are required, and the usual all-inclusive assortment of cuisines is available (Mexican, Italian, Asian, and seafood); there are also two buffets. More romantic options include the Viva Café, which is an al fresco option next to the beach (great for people watching), the small but elegant 25 Degree restaurant for fusion cuisine, and the beachside gourmet restaurant Atlantis (for an extra fee) that sits next to the VIP bar. Wood-fired pizza is available throughout the night, though toppings are limited. Before the buffets open for breakfast –- they can get crowded -– guests can help themselves to espresso and croissants.
Additional on-site amenities include a spa for nail, hair and body treatments, a spacious fitness center, tennis courts, and supervised kids' club. Nightly entertainment from the animation team happens on both properties (the Palace has a smaller theater), and afterward partiers flock to the main bars (Dominicus Beach is more bustling) before making their way to the disco.
This 330-room mid-range resort for all ages attracts a European crowd (expect to hear Spanish and Italian) and has about half the number of rooms as its sister property next door. Fewer guests, expansive grounds, and full access to features at both resorts make this the slightly higher-priced option. The rooms are nothing to write home about, but have been upgraded with white comforters and flat-screen TVs; bathrooms have either tub/shower combos or walk-in showers with removable nozzles and limited toiletries (there's a convenience store on-site for the essentials). Kiddos stay busy with shallow swimming on the beach, a children's pool, and kids' zone next door. There are limited reservations for a la carte restaurants, but a late-night wood-fire pizzeria stays open all night.