Buffet and nighttime entertainment can be repetitive
Rooms are a bit dated, some with tube-style TVs
No in-room Wi-Fi
The 510-room mid-range Natura Park bills itself as an eco-resort -- but the air conditioners in every room, plastic bar cups, and lack of recycling initiatives have us questioning this claim. Still, with tons of exotic birds scampering around the lush property, Natura Park is more connected to nature than most of its neighbors. Features-wise, the hotel has a large pool with a swim-up bar, a beautiful beach, four dining options, and a small spa and fitness center. Rooms are simple and a tad dated, and there’s no in-room Wi-Fi, but reasonable nightly rates make Natura Park an attractive pick. The nearby Be Live Collection Punta Cana doesn’t have the eco-friendly spiel, but it has more modern rooms, six dining options, and additional amenities for a similar price point.
A family-friendly all-inclusive that falls short of its eco-friendly name
Driving up to Natura Park, flanked by thick forests, one does get the feeling of being in an eco-resort. Once in the main lobby, the outdoor vibe continues with wooden beams crisscrossing in geometric patterns across the vaulted ceiling. Outside, the hotel’s lush landscape comes into view, and guests can can get up close and personal with the peacocks, egrets, flamingos, and storks that roam the grounds. But with hundreds of air conditioners in the rooms, plastic cups at the bars, and no apparent conservation initiatives, we wouldn't call Natura Park an eco-resort.
Guests here run the gamut -- everyone from topless Italian sunbathers, to Canadian families, to Russian businessmen; twentysomethings looking to party blend into the scene just as well as grandparents watching over goggled children. The hotel’s reasonable prices and decent on-site entertainment seem to be the draws here, not the animals or the eco-friendly mantra.
Along the beach and surrounded by dense forest, yet still close to the airport
As Natura Park is surrounded on both sides by a dense swath of forest, the feel is somewhat secluded. The hotel is far from the road, and there's plenty of space between it and the neighboring Dreams Palm Beach. The area immediately outside of the hotel isn’t the nicest, however, so guests seeking off-property dining or entertainment should head to downtown Bavaro, about 25 minutes away by car. The hotel is about a 20-minute drive from Punta Cana airport.
Simple rooms with a rustic feel and either balconies or patios
The 510 rooms and suites are spread among 12 three-story buildings, either with partial ocean views or overlooking the grounds. Rooms have a rustic vibe thanks to vaulted wood ceilings, thick wood moldings, and wicker furniture, yet still feel airy. Striped comforters and blue curtains are a bit dated though. Basic necessities -- including coffeemakers, TVs (either tube-style or flat-screen), and mini-fridges with water, beer, and soda -- are all present. Plus, all rooms have spacious balconies with table and chair sets.
Bathrooms have granite vanities separated from tiny rooms that house the toilets and shower/tub combos. There are also fairly large walk-in closets with plenty of storage space, ironing facilities, and full-length mirrors. Wall-mounted hairdryers and a range of toiletries are provided, but guests have to pay to use the old in-room safes.
Broad area of beach, though it's often ravaged by seaweed
The beach, like most in Punta Cana, is fairly windy and ravaged by seaweed, but the hotel has a netting contraption in the water to help alleviate some of the seaweed mess. However, at a (supposedly) eco-resort, it feels strange to see something man-made toying with a natural process. The beach itself is broad and powdery, containing ample blue lounge chairs. The beach is busy and has an active atmosphere, particularly with water sports available and an adjacent volleyball net.
Lively pool scene, a spa and fitness center, and nightly entertainment
The shamrock-shaped pool at Natura Park is the hotel's primary feature. On the pool’s deck, upbeat activities like Zumba lessons and dance competitions are held, while scuba divers (taking lessons), kids in flippers, rowdy teenagers, and casual floaters are in the water. There’s also a popular swim-up bar. As is common, lounge chairs can be hard to come by.
A small spa is at the hotel -- while not luxurious, it's a quiet space with several treatment rooms and a beauty salon. The adjacent fitness center is well-worn, and has a handful of cardio machines, strength-training machines, and free weights.
For guests who’d like to stay out of the sun, the hotel has a reading room and game loft above the lobby, but both are dated and usually vacant. The game room has a foosball table, a few weathered ping-pong tables, a pool table, and some dusty board games. There’s a theater where the hotel hosts nightly entertainment such as karaoke, Michael Jackson night, and beauty pageants; but the schedule can get repetitive, especially for guests staying longer than a week. There's also a kids' club for children age 2 to 12, though those under 4 must be accompanied by a parent.
Guests are given 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi each day in the lobby area. Otherwise, all-day access can be purchased, but it's only available in the public areas.
One buffet restaurant and three a la carte options, plus six bars
The all-inclusive property has one buffet restaurant, and three a la carte options that must be booked in advance (reservations can be difficult to obtain). The main buffet, La Cana, is open for all three meals and serves a wide array of options. La Perla is an open-air oceanfront restaurant that serves a buffet-style lunch and an a la carte seafood menu at dinner. Media Luna, the steakhouse, and La Gondola, the Italian restaurant, are only open for dinner. There are also six bars throughout the property, including two on the beach.
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