The massive pool and the beach are not only the highlights at this resort, but also the scenes of lively, booze-fueled fun throughout the day. Nonetheless, the mid-range property attracts plenty of families with amenities such as a kids' club and a teen club. Rooms are large, albeit with generic decor, and the food quality varies significantly (our advice: stick to the basics), but overall the Now Larimar is a solid all-inclusive option.
Boozy middle-agers are more interested in partying than meditating at this lively resort.
Packed with booze-soaked middle-agers with families in tow, the Now Larimar is fun by way of all-day drinking, starting at the swim-up bar early in the morning and finishing up at the disco at night. The rowdiness, however, is relatively well-contained around the swim-up bar, and a designated "quiet pool" is a good spot for guests looking for a more tranquil lounging experience. Preferred Club members also have two small pools to use with poolside drink service, and these are generally more quiet.
The hotel consists of a series of long, narrow U-shaped buildings that surround a rectangular fountain lined in stones. In general, it feigns a Zen-like sensibility with its cool, calm colors, modern furniture, and water fountains, but falls short partially because most guests are more intent on partying than meditation.
Unlike some uber-expansive properties in Punta Cana, Now Larimar is relatively compact, making it easy to get from one amenity to the next, and guests need not wait for a hotel shuttle. The majority of the restaurants -- as well as the sports bar, casino and disco -- are clustered around a courtyard. The lobby -- with its high ceilings and dark-wood accents -- also opens onto this courtyard, and no room is more than a 5-minute walk away. The beach and pool area are also just a short walk from the lobby.
The Now Larimar is a 30 minute taxi ride from Punta Cana International Airport, and it's among 50-plus resorts piled on top of one another on a giant strip of white sand beach. But there’s not much here outside the resorts.
The Now Larimar, part of the long line of resorts that sit along the beaches of Punta Cana, is on the northern end of the stretch. It is located on Los Caroles beach, where the white sand and calm waters attract plenty of sunbathers and swimmers.
Ten minutes away by foot is Plaza Dorado, where guests find a well-stocked supermarket and a bakery. For a Tommy Hilfiger fix, the Palma Real shopping mall is a 10-minute cab ride away.
The Punta Cana Airport is about a 30-minute taxi ride away.
On a large beach with plenty of water sports and lounge chairs
The Now Larimar is situated on a long stretch of sand, much larger than that at the nearby Barcelo (although arguably not quite as nice either). As expected in the D.R., the white-sand beach leads to beautiful, crystal-clear water. Some seaweed debris collects during the day, and it can certainly get crowded, but there's still room for everyone (and Club Preferred members have their own section of lounge chairs).
Free non-motorized water sports are available at the beach, and the water is home to an ocean trampoline and an "inflatable iceberg," both crowded with kids.
Rooms at the Now Larimar are large, with small sitting areas, balconies, and spacious bathrooms. Rooms look tidy but not particularly luxurious: Decor is a generic mix of bright walls, floral throws, and wooden accents. It can make the space look a bit empty but the minimalist look keeps it from feeling kitschy, as well. All rooms have flat-screen TVs (with a large selection of channels), free minibars restocked daily, and free Wi-Fi access.
Upgrading to a Club Preferred room includes quite a few extra amenities. These rooms feature outdoor Jacuzzis on the patio or balcony, as well as upgraded toiletries (which includes sunscreen -- a nice touch), upgraded room service and minibars, and a pillow menu. Club Preferred members also have access to two private pools, a private section of the beach, two exclusive bars and a restaurant, and the Preferred Club lounge, with its own bar and snacks.
Large bathrooms with walk-in showers
Closets with irons, ironing boards, safes (large enough for laptops), and robes
Balcony or patio
Minibar restocked daily with fruit, sodas, and beer
Plenty of families stay at the Now Larimar. Though the area around the swim-up bar can get a bit loud, it remains contained and the main pool is large enough for kids to still enjoy some play time, including at the volleyball net. There is also a small children's pool with a ping-pong table.
The hotel also features a kids' club for ages 3 to 12. It features a playground, a small theater, a rockclimbing wall, and plenty of games and arts and crafts.
Older kids can hang at the teen zone, which has games and TVs and also coordinates weekly activities such as bonfires and "disco nights."
All the restaurants but one (the French restaurant) allows children, and feature kid-friendly menus.
The buffets offer a solid range, but the a la carte restaurants are hit or miss
The Now features eight restaurants: five a la carte, a buffet, cafe, and a daytime grill by the beach. The grill is perhaps the tastiest option, where simple but tasty burgers, grilled chicken, and hot dogs are served alongside fries and salad.
The buffet offers a solid range for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Aside from this -- and beachside grill -- all other restaurants are open for dinner only. None of the restaurants require reservations, but long lines can form during high season.
Meals at the Bluewater Grill can be pretty disappointing, while those at Mercure, the French adults-only restaurant, are a bit better, but sticking to the basics -- like pasta, pizza, and burgers -- is probably the way to go here.
24-hour room service is available for an additional fee, and Carnival Buffet offers late-night dining into the wee hours of the morning.
Guests of the adults-only Secrets next door can also dine at the Now's restaurants, but Now guests don't have reciprocal access. They do have access to the restaurants at neighboring Now Garden Punta Cana.
Whether you want a drink at the pool, with your dinner, or while you're watching the game, it's easy to get one. There are nine bars featured in the all-inclusive plan, located everywhere from by the beach to off of the lobby. And guests seem to take full advantage of alcohol's ready availability. All of the restaurants also offer a beer and wine list.
Main pool features a large swim-up bar, a volleyball net, and activities such as dancing
The main attraction here -- perhaps even more so than the beach -- is the pool. Partiers pack in at the swim-up bar from early in the morning, and daytime activities like volleyball and poolside dancing lessons make for a lively scene. However, the pool is large enough that guests can also find some tranquility away from the crowds. Or if they can't, they can head to the designated "quiet pool," which features a massage hut. The Club Preferred pools are also generally quieter and include poolside drink service, and there is a small children's pool as well.
The fitness center, on the Now's property but shared by Secrets guests, is small but adequate and up-to-date. The space is divided into four sections: Two feature cardio machines including treadmills, bikes, and an elliptical (for a total of nine), one is a free-weight area with weights and benches, and the fourth is a small space with mats and balls for stretching. There are no weight-training machines.
A trainer is available throughout the day and guests are provided with towels and fruit.
The renovated spa is a highlight. Though small, it has a tranquil, intimate vibe: the salon, treatment rooms, and relaxation lounge feature warm shades of creams and browns, accented by beachy touches such as shells. But perhaps the key feature is the outdoor courtyard, with a small, sexy pool and a cabana with fresh fruit juices and snacks.
The spa is located on the Now's property next to the gym, but can be accessed by Secrets guests.