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Memories Splash Punta Cana 4.0

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Home to the Caribbean's largest resort water park, featuring a wave pool and waterslides
  • Upscale rooms with free minibars, some with bunk beds and whirlpool tubs
  • Kids' and teens' clubs
  • Big buffet restaurant and three a la carte options; no reservations required
  • Multiple bars, plus snack bar and ice cream bar
  • Theater for evening entertainment
  • Guests get access to some amenities at neighboring Royalton Punta Cana
  • Lots of regular activities for children and adults
  • Has an "eco gazebo" for events, and peacocks and ducks live on the property
  • 15-minute drives from Punta Cana airport and the tourist sights of Bavaro
  • Free, frequent shuttle to beach at Royalton next door
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Not directly on the beach (though there's beach space reserved for Memories guests next to the Royalton)
  • Lobby, buffet, and water park can get crowded
  • Smoking permitted in many areas; may bother some guests
  • No reservation policy can mean long waits for dinner
  • Pools close at 7 p.m. -- too early for some

Bottom Line

A kids' haven that's not quite directly on the beach, this 525-room all-inclusive resort one-ups King Neptune with what's billed as the largest resort water park in all of the Caribbean. Rooms are upscale and some categories have big whirlpool tubs; Family Suites with bunk beds are available. Restaurant options include a buffet, three a la carte restaurants, and multiple bars, and guests also have access to some options at sister property next door, the Royalton Punta Cana. The Royalton is more upscale, right on the beach, and better suited to couples. 

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Scene

Full of families eager to get spun, soaked, and spit out by the Caribbean's largest resort water park 

The crown jewel at the Memories Splash is the water park, which staff will repeatedly remind you is the largest at any resort in the Caribbean. Kids of all ages (and their parents) slide down water tubes into shallow pools, get soaked by enormous, suspended buckets of water, and brave the refreshing buffeting of a wave pool. There's also a contraption that spins folks around like a ball circling down a funnel, then deposits them in a dizzy, wet mess at the bottom of a pool. 

Outside of the water park, families (mostly from Canada and the U.S.) might salsa to a merengue band in an open-air plaza, pop into the American-style coffee shop or a break from the sun, or sunbathe in pools of the non-spinning variety. (The designated quiet pool almost hidden behind one of the pool bars is somewhat quieter and much less crowded.) There's no beach, but the hotel reserves space just for Memories guests on the beach by the Royalton -- on our visit, it was nearly empty, though. Our best guess is that the water park was simply a bigger draw than the ocean. Free shuttles to Royalton and the beach run regularly.  

Families who dig the water slides but not the crowds may want to explore the Cadaques Caribe, about an hour away from the Punta Cana region. Couples, especially honeymooners, will almost certainly be happier next door at the Royalton Punta Cana.

Location

In between Bavaro and the airport, and a 15-minute drive from each; to reach the beach, expect to take a free shuttle to the neighboring Royalton Punta Cana

About 15 minutes from the Punta Cana airport, the hotel sits on a stretch off the highway just shy of the Hard Rock. Guests will have to pull off the highway and drive a few minutes on a curvy local road before getting to the property, which is shared with the Royalton. Past the initial security gate, there's no signage telling drivers where to go -- Memories guests should check in immediately to the left, where there's a small parking lot and the rather small, dark lobby. Go any farther, and they'll check into the Royalton by mistake. 

The Memories Splash is not directly on the beach -- guests have to walk through the Royalton resort to get to their little stretch on the sand, and free shuttles are available. (They're welcome to use the non-Diamond Club Royalton beach as well.)

Rooms

Modern rooms with strong, free Wi-Fi; some categories are more stylish and have whirlpool tubs

Rooms at the Memories are all modern, though the Premium Rooms are significantly more stylish. They're well-lit and have light tile floors and dark-wood furniture; most rooms have accents in blues and greens, and some furniture incorporates natural fiber or whicker. Wall art typically includes pieces crafted from natural wood. 

All rooms have balconies with views of the pool or garden (the one in the Premium Room we viewed was large, with chairs, a small table, and an ashtray). Arguably the best feature, especially for the Dominican Republic, is the strong (and free!) Wi-Fi signal in the rooms. Amenities also include tea- and coffee-making facilities, free stocked minibars, and Bluetooth music stations. Room service is available from morning 'til night. Buildings 7 and 8 are near the pools, and are recommended for convenience, though they're not necessarily the quietest. Building 9 is closest to the Royalton and the beach. 

The Deluxe Room is the entry-level category and can sleep up to four; Connecting Deluxe Rooms can sleep up to eight. Many of the upgraded room types include whirlpool tubs. The Deluxe Family Jacuzzi Suite sleeps four but has bunk beds in a separate den for families that want more space. The Presidential Suite includes a pull-out couch.

Features

The water park's the big draw here, but an eco gazebo for parties, roaming peacocks and ducks, and separate kids' club and teens' clubs ensure plenty to do when you're not getting soaked.

The Memories Splash is all about the water park, the biggest at any resort in the Caribbean (but still small by U.S. standards). There are multiple water slides (children must be 48 inches tall for the larger slides), a wave pool, and a pool with smaller slides for younger children. The park evidently outshines the ocean itself, if you judge by the number of people at the park versus the beach (reached by the free, frequent shuttle service to the next door Royalton). Entry is free for guests of the Memories or the Royalton (it's an expensive day pass for non-guests). And don't feel guilty about the water usage: The water park recycles and reuses almost all of it, according to staff.

Guests who need space for events can book the outdoor area in the ecological park between the Memories and the Royalton, a sequestered, hut-filled clearing amid a thick tropical jungle. Nature lovers who don't need a party space might instead amuse themselves with the several peacocks and ducks that roam the grounds. 

Parents of children of a certain age will be pleased to know that there are both a kids' club for the younger ones, and a teens' club for older ones, conveniently located close to each other without getting in each other's way. Parents themselves can use the free time to avail themselves of the nearby coffee shop.

This all-inclusive resort has a buffet restaurant as well as a Mexican, Italian, and marine-themed international restaurant. No reservations are required, but those who show up during peak dining hours can expect a bit of a wait. There are plenty of spots to grab a drink, including swim-up bars at the two main pools. (One pool has lots of activities, and the other does not and is a bit less crowded). Guests get access to some bars at the Royalton as well, as well as its Italian trattoria (during lunch hours only). Wrist bands are required. Diamond Club guests get extra perks like a reserved section of beach.

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Address

Playa Arena Gorda, Macao, Punta Cana, Caribbean

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