Sports bar has pool tables, game systems, and four bowling lanes (fee)
Four freshwater pools include options for activities, relaxation, and kids
Seven restaurants, seven bars, and a nightclub that’s open late
All-inclusive rates includes top-shelf liquor and doesn't require wristbands
Separate supervised areas for teens and kids
Excellent fitness options includes free classes, plus a spa
Free cell phone for parents when their children are visiting the kids' club
Free Wi-Fi throughout the resort
Lounge chair saving is prohibited, but common
Pushy salespeople offering upgrades, tours, photos, and time-share memberships
Sand flies on the beach can be a problem (depending on the season)
Food doesn't get the most enthusiastic response from previous guests
Can be busy at night when sister properties arrive for the evening
Now Larimar is a three-pearl, family-friendly all-inclusive resort along Punta Cana’s gorgeous Bavaro Beach. Its 540 cinnamon-scented, air-conditioned rooms have fold-out love seats, flat-screen TVs, and private balconies. The resort’s beach is wide and breathtaking, and though it's lined with lounge chairs, there aren't enough umbrellas to meet demand. Freshwater pools -- including options for relaxation and children -- are ringed by tired seating, contributing to a slightly down-market feel in parts of the resort. This is exacerbated by aggressive sales pitches. Features include seven mediocre restaurants, multiple bars (one with bowling lanes), a Pevonia spa, gym, and separate clubs for children and teenagers. Travelers seeking even better extras might consider Club Med Punta Cana instead, which adds a Cirque du Soleil trapeze school and has far better dining options.
Grassy, manicured resort with breezy tropical vibe and evenings that are abuzz with guests
Now Larimar opened in 2007 and was most recently renovated in 2015. The rooms might show some wear and tear, but the grounds are well maintained and pleasantly tropical. Coral stone pathways wind through the resort’s grassy grounds, framed by fountains, blossoming hedges, and palm trees. There’s a big courtyard near the lobby where restaurants, bars, a coffee shop, and the outdoor theater is located. The nightly entertainment gets mostly positive reviews and includes musical reviews, magic shows, movie nights, and dancing. An evening craft market also takes place here, and includes artisanal products, though vendors can be pushy. Same goes for resort staff, who often aggressively sell everything from upgrades to tours and time-share memberships.
During the day, the courtyard is empty, but at night it's abuzz with guests, as the two other AM Resorts properties located next door share Now Larimar’s amenities. While not a guarantee, it usually translates to packed bars, limited seats at shows, and long waits in the restaurants. Reservations aren’t required at any of Larimar’s restaurants, but a reservation system might be helpful to reduce wait times. Hotel guests are mostly American couples of all ages and young families, though Russians have recently discovered Punta Cana and are starting to become frequent guests as well.
Oceanfront setting along stunning Bavaro Beach -- walkable to nearby shops and restaurants
The resort is located along Bavaro Beach, a gorgeous stretch of sand whose turquoise waterfront is dotted with massive all-inclusive resorts. There’s a small shopping strip with markets, gift shops, and restaurants serving Italian, burgers, Dominican, and international cuisines a 15-minute walk away. For a movie night, a first-run theater is a 10-minute drive from Now Larimar. It’s near more restaurants, supermarkets, and banks. The famed Caribbean nightclub Coco Bongo -- with its Las Vegas-style Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson reviews -- is a 15-minute drive from the resort. It’s also close to fast-food restaurants and other eateries serving local cuisine. Bavaro Adventure Park has zip lines, mountain bike trails, a paintball field, and Zorbing, and is a 15-minute drive from Now Larimar. Budget over two hours to reach Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone, the oldest city in the New World. Punta Cana International Airport is a reasonable 25-minute drive from Now Larimar.
Cinnamon-scented rooms with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, love seats, whirlpool tubs, and private balconies
Now Larimar’s air-conditioned rooms have tropical interiors with turquoise and beige walls, framed round mirrors, and oversize chrysanthemum flower sculptures on the wall. The resort's signature scent is cinnamon, but it can sometimes be too strong to enjoy depending on your tastes. Luckily the odor dissipates over time. The rooms aren't fancy -- and show some wear and tear -- but modern additions like flat-screen TVs with cable channels, DVD players, and mustard-colored fold-out love seats make them a solid mid-range option. They include either one king or two double beds with cayenne-colored bed runners, and there are rattan armchairs for seating.
All rooms feature coffeemakers with free coffee; minibars stocked with soda, water, beer, and juice (refilled once daily); irons and ironing boards; umbrellas, robes, slippers, and safes. We love the private balconies or terraces with either garden, pool, partial ocean, or ocean views, and some include walk-out pools. Marble-wrapped bathrooms feature showers, whirlpool tubs, illuminated beauty mirrors, hairdryers, and scales. Lots of toiletries are included with the rooms. Like other AM Resorts, Now Larimar offers upgraded Preferred Club rooms that are bigger, have improved amenities, a pillow menu, and better minibar options. All rooms include free Wi-Fi.
Gorgeous sandy beach, free water sports, four pools, mediocre restaurants, bars, and a bowling alley
Now Larimar’s gorgeous beach is the star of the show, and is lined with lounge chairs and umbrellas. It fills up quickly, though, so get there early, before the seat-savers stake their claim. Free non-motorized water sports are available and include kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, Hobie Cat catamarans, and wind-surfing boards. The resort has four freshwater pools surrounded by beat-up lounge chairs. Pool options include a relaxing pool with lounge beds built directly into the pool, plus an activity pool with a swim-up bar that hosts parties. There’s also a shallow kid’s pool and hot tubs. The fourth pool is a quiet spot and only for Preferred Club guests. Other upgraded Preferred Club amenities include private check-in, private beach area, and members-only restaurants. Like the beach, seat-saving is an issue at the pools, so get there early to claim your spot.
All-inclusive rates cover top-shelf drinks (though wine options are limited) and 24-hour room service, plus all meals, snacks, parties, and many activities. The resort doesn't require wristbands and has seven bars. Be sure to ask for the top-shelf booze, as the standard liquor doesn’t taste great. Scores Sports Bar is the biggest boozy draw (if you can pull yourself away from the beach), with its pool table, video-game system, and four bowling lanes (which cost extra to use). The resort’s open-air disco, Eclipse Night Club, is open late and has a lounge-like vibe plus a plunge pool.
Family-friendly options are a strong draw as well. Explorer’s Club is for children aged 3 to 12, and has video-game systems, a climbing wall, and lots of activities. Parents who drop their kids off receive a phone to call the club directly to reach their children. Core Zone Teen Club is for teenagers aged 13 to 17. It also has video-game systems, plus a life-size chess board, billiards table, and foosball. Secrets Spa by Pevonia offers standard treatments like massages, manicures, pedicures, hydrotherapy pools, and a salon. Treatments aren't included.
Now Larimar has meeting rooms, a business center, a clinic, an independently-owned casino, shops selling sundries, crafts, and a clothing boutique. The activity desk can assist in arranging tours, car rentals, taxis, and tour guides. Laundry service is also available and there’s free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Parking is free.
Dining options are numerous and varied, but get mediocre reviews at best
When it comes to food, Now Larimar’s restaurants get mixed reviews, but offer a wide variety of cuisines. Carnival International Cafe serves buffet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Mercure offers French cuisine has slightly gaudy interiors with oversized red chandeliers, photos of roses on the wall, and shiny silver booths. Spice serves Asian cuisine and has teppanyaki tables, while Bluewater Grill offers American-style steaks and seafood. Tamarindo is the Mexican restaurant with a colorfully hip interior. There’s also a beachfront snack bar and two Preferred-Club only restaurants. Coco Cafe serves snacks and coffee. Additional Italian restaurants and a pool snack bar are located at Now Garden, the sister property (that’s a roughly seven-minute walk away). All restaurants are included in the rates, and room service is offered around the clock. Reservations aren't required, but waits can be long.
Generous options for workouts, including lots of free classes
Now Larimar’s gym is loaded with Life Fitness treadmills, elliptical machines, stair climbers, stationary bikes, free weights, and dumbbells. We were pleasantly impressed by the excellent Hammer Strength weight machines. A ton of free fitness classes are offered and include Pilates, Zumba, yoga, aqua aerobics, stretching, and beach workouts. Near the resort's entrance are two tennis courts and a basketball court.