Honeymooners are automatically upgraded and receive a few extras
Free Wi-Fi throughout (but good luck getting a steady signal)
Major differences between Privilege and Non-Privilege room types
Basic rooms, though cheaper, have more maintenance issues
Long lines at the front desk are common
Restaurant reservations required; bars serve only domestic alcohol
Language barriers can occur (Spanish and Italian spoken here)
No swim-up pool bar
There are just a handful of resorts on this particular stretch of beach about 20 minutes from La Romana, and this mid-range, 415-room property is a solid choice that draws an international crowd. This all-inclusive's best attributes are the beach (with great waves, snorkeling, and sunset views), and the food and drink spots, which are spread out over manicured grounds. It's a popular option for both families (children get their own section at the main buffet) and couples, especially honeymooners, who receive an instant upgrade when suites are available. Room types vary greatly: Non-Privilege are as basic as it gets, but Privilege rooms have canopy beds, stocked minibars, and sightly more contemporary decor. Plenty of sports activities can be enjoyed on-site and excursions are available for those who get a case of claustrophobia. Free Wi-Fi is spotty at best.
A resort that attracts an even mix of international couples and families
Dominicus Beach attracts a predominantly Italian market so guests can expect to practice speaking Spanish and Italian while here. With only 415 rooms (not as many as at some of the Punta Cana megaresorts) the property doesn't get too crowded, except for the front desk area, which typically has a line of people waiting for service.
The attractive pool area has easy access to the main bar (though it's not swim-up) and has different areas for scuba training and children's wading. There are lounge chairs available most of the time, because the beach, next door, is more popular; guests there can be found sleeping, reading, partaking in aquatic activities, snorkeling off-shore, or enjoying a hand-made crepe from the snack stand. Shade can be found under palapas or one of the many palms dotting the sand. A private area for Privilege guests has nicer lounge chairs and closer proximity to the beach bar.
At night, many guests enjoy pre-dinner drinks at the main bar before meandering to a la carte options in a few different areas of the resort. The most special option for romance is The Terrace, which overlooks the sea and has spectacular sunset views. The buffet is always a popular choice, and guests can help themselves to the beer tap, or have wine poured freely. After dinner, the theater and disco provide opportunities to mix and mingle.
Near La Romana, with a renowned beach offering sunset views
The resort is the last stop on Dominicus Beach and the fishing village of Bayahibe, an Italian-influenced area of Dominican Republic, about 20 minutes away from La Romana airport. 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 next closest 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.
Pretty major differences between Privilege and non-Privilege rooms
Signs designating the "Privilege" areas can seen all over the resort, from the private patch of beach to the private dining area of the buffet. And there's an air-conditioned office that offers Privileged guests a private concierge service and business center.
Guests can expect to receive an upgrade pitch for the Privilege package either before they arrive or when checking in. Non-Privilege rooms fall under the Garden View category and come with one king or two double beds. They are basic rooms, but spacious, with outdated furnishings and bathrooms showing some wear and tear. They're suitable for couples and families who want to use the room mostly for sleeping and bathing.
Privilege suites are more modern, with canopy beds (one king or two double beds), iPod docks, bathrobes, slippers, minibars stocked with beer and soda, flat-screen TVs and walk-in showers. Privilege Honeymoon Suites have all of the above, as well as outdoor jacuzzi tubs. Upon arrival, a fruit plate and bottle of sparkling wine will be waiting (make sure to bring a marriage license within three months of the wedding date for the free upgrade).
The resort's two best attributes, arguably, are the beach and the food and beverage program. The aforementioned is the only "Blue Flag Beach" in the area -- this is a French-based award given out to the best beaches in the world based on a number of factors. It delivers -- there are plenty of palapas, lounge chairs, and great snorkeling spots close to shore. Free non-motorized water sports are available to all guests, and the animation team keeps activities going on at both the beach and pool. At the pool, guests can take advantage of a free scuba diving lesson.
Restaurants can be found in a few areas of the property, and guests can make reservations for Asian, Italian, Mexican, and American (at the Rodeo Steakhouse). The main buffet, El Taino, is always available for a well-run and international breakfast, lunch, and dinner spread. There's even a real Italian cooking pasta on demand. Children here have their own separate buffet and seating area.