After staying in 160 hotels throughout the D.R., we’ve determined the best ones to head to for a party-hearty good time. Check out our list of the top party hotels in the Dominican Republic.
With 1,790 rooms, 13 pools, 13 restaurants, 23 bars, a nightclub, an 18-hole golf course, a massive spa and fitness center, and the Dominican Republic’s largest -- and best -- casino (it's 45,000 square feet), the word “huge” doesn’t even seem big enough to describe the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. But the Hard Rock isn’t all about size — the massive luxury property also happens to be one of the nicest all-inclusives in Punta Cana. It’s equally suitable for families, couples, and those just looking to have a good time. With so much space, it’s easy for each group to find its niche, and the hotel’s mile-long list of amenities ensures everyone will find something to keep themselves occupied.
The 1,600-room Palace Deluxe is the main resort at the Barcelo Bavaro complex, and features tons of on-site features including an attractive spa, four pools, and tons of dining and nightlife options including buffets, a seafood restaurant, a 24-hour casino, and a disco. The are 14 bars in total (including a swim-up bar at the main pool), and minibars come stocked with local beer. But aside from substantial lines at the front desk, the guest capacity of the resort rarely shows: Guests do not have to search for spots at the pools and beach, and reservation requirements keep restaurants well organized. Couples, families, and partiers all mingle seamlessly at the property. Though the adults-only sister property has a slightly more romantic vibe, plenty of couples opt to stay here as it is where most of the features are located. The hotel's rooms feature iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and attractive, sleek decor.
The sole adults-only hotel on the five-resort Riu complex, the Macao has a generally upscale vibe that’s significantly more tranquil than its sister properties. There’s still the requisite poolside entertainment and loud music by the gorgeous, white-sand beach, but couple-friendly amenities (which the other properties lack) include name-brand liquor and a designated VIP section on the beach. While this all-inclusive features sleek rooms and fun nightly entertainment, many guests complain about the mediocre food and the long walk to the gym and spa.
The largest of four Paradisus resorts in Punta Cana, this 683-room property still manages to feel uncrowded due to its expansive grounds. Guests can expect to walk or hitch rides on the regular shuttle service to get to the beach, pools, luxury spa, yoga studio and impressive restaurants around the resort; there are also bike stations for those who prefer to cycle. The prime beach area with a fun bar scene doesn’t quiet down at night as it can at other resorts, but rather comes alive with a partiers both young and old. The Royal Service upgrade -- expect a sales pitch upon arrival -- allows access to the private lounge and a separate pool and beach area.
The 674-room Grand Palladium Bavaro is spread over spacious grounds (guests also have access to two sister properties) offering 15 bars, five buffets, and eight restaurants. In 2014, the resort added 178 units including a swim-up option overlooking the beach (a great pick for honeymooners -- otherwise romantics may want to check out the adults-only Royal Turquesa next door). Entertainment includes evening shows, a casino, and a disco.
The adults-only Secrets caters to honeymooners and couples, but of the more party-hearty variety: The resort offers numerous on-site bars as well as nightly entertainment. However, tranquility (and romance) can certainly be found in the kid-free restaurants, lazy river, and intimate spa, and all rooms feature balconies or terraces with large whirlpool tubs. Room decor is similar to, but a step above, that at the Now: Floral throws, bright furniture, accent walls, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and large marble bathrooms all come together to make comfortable, if not particularly luxurious, accommodations. The resort lacks a golf course, but overall its a solid choice for couples looking to let loose -- and still enjoy a bit of romance.
This 652-room property offers some amenities that stand out from other all-inclusives in Punta Cana, including a wide beach that stays relatively uncrowded, lively bars that serve craft cocktails, and a disco that stays open late-night. There are two buffets as well as three a la carte restaurants requiring reservations; dining is not a strong point here, though, and restaurants book up quickly. Rooms are divided into two areas: the garden-view, bungalow-style Standard Rooms, and the newer Superior Rooms with more contemporary furnishings. Expect an upgrade pitch upon arrival, but know that this more expensive option lacks a walk-out balcony. Guests use the free shuttle service to get around to the two main pools, outdoor whirlpool area, theater, bar, and the peaceful Cafe Dominicano. Beware of pesky sales people wandering around selling extras.
BlueBay Villas Doradas is an adult-only, upper-middle-range, all-inclusive resort with lots of entertainment options. Whether its dipping in one of the multiple pools (including a designated quiet pool and one with a swim-up bar), nightly theater performances, mini-golf, or beachfront massages, there’s always something to do. White shag rugs, back-lit headboards, and sleek tile bathrooms give the 244 guest rooms a modern feel -- but dingy tile floors and worn bedding look less upscale. Food is mediocre throughout the hotel (if better than at some nearby all-inclusive resorts) and drinks are made with bottom-shelf liquor. The hotel charges for things like beach towels, Wi-Fi, and room service.
This lively 658-room resort, not to be confused with the more romantic adults-only Royal property, is situated on a pretty section of Bavaro Beach. It appeals to a mix of families, spring breakers, and wedding groups. No guest shall go hungry or thirsty with the all-inclusive's five bars, two buffets, four a la carte restaurants, and a 24-hour snack-bar. The resort is more walkable that other mega-resorts in the area (it's shuttle-free). Rooms have modern tropical style, whirlpool tubs, and balconies, but they are not the highlight here. Golf fans will love having easy access to the 18- and nine-hole golf courses, and other activities include biking, tennis, archery, and a range of free non-motorized water sports (wind surfing, too!). Plenty of people are around to sell extra excursions -- start practicing "no, gracias."
The oldest of the four resorts that make up the 2,000-plus-room Palladium mega-resort in Bavaro, the upscale, 537-room Palladium Punta Cana is also the most affordable, attracting an active and party-friendly crowd of younger, mostly North American adults. Every room has a big jetted tub, and the main draws are the clean white-sand beach, access to four free-form pools, and eight reservation-free restaurants with some of the D.R.'s best all-inclusive fare -- a good value, if you don't mind the impersonal size and lines at dinner.
This 652-room, upper-middle-range all-inclusive offers solid value in tourist-heavy Bavaro. Clean, modern rooms, a huge, lively lake-style pool (popular with partiers), quieter pool by the villas, and a bar surrounded by several hot tubs are all points in the hotel's favor. A prime section of beach is a 10-minute walk (or short shuttle ride) away. Not a resort for those seeking peace and quiet, the IFA Villas Bavaro has an incredibly busy and crowded atmosphere and thumping music and dirty dancing at the theater and disco.
With over 700 rooms in this section alone, the Dominican Beach all-inclusive property (the cheapest in the Barcelo lot) is perhaps best suited for a young, party crowd -- think international groups and spring breakers. Food and beverage options are impressive in number -- seven bars, seven a la carte restaurants, and three buffets -- but not impressive in quality. There are three pools and a lovely white-sand beach studded with palm trees, though outside vendors can be a nuisance. Rooms are basic and bright with white linens and nice-sized terraces but there is a fee for Wi-Fi and it can be a challenge to connect.
A dirt-cheap all-inclusive not far from the beach, whala!bavaro attracts a young, international crowd who’s ready to party. Though the hotel itself isn’t particularly rowdy, guests take advantage of whala!’s all-inclusive alcohol, three pool areas, and fun beach club. whala!’s proximity to downtown Bavaro’s restaurants and bars is another plus, but the hotel seriously lacks on-site entertainment options — unless of course, one considers watching the masses viscously overtake the buffet a form of entertainment. Rooms are clean, but pretty bare bones, with humdrum decor and few amenities.
This 871-room mid-range all-inclusive resort just outside the sleepy tourist town of Dominicus Americanus provides a dizzying array of options for eating, drinking, and playing -- specifically, seven restaurants, seven bars, a disco, a big main pool with a swim-up bar, and a beautiful beach. Rooms range from slightly dated to stylish and beachy; most guests consider the VIP amenities well worth the upgrade.
The Iberostar mega-complex is made up of four neighboring properties, and the 500-room Iberostar Dominicana is perhaps the best option for families given its more compact size and adjoining rooms. It's also popular with couples, who can likely appreciate the romantic, manicured grounds and fountains, while partiers can take advantage of the lively scene at the pool and beach bars. The beach here is renowned for a reason, but the chairs nearest to the ocean often get snagged in the early morning. With access to the golf course, tennis center, late-night disco and quality food and beverage options, it's a stand-out option for the low price. Just don't expect to be wowed by room decor, or have free Wi-Fi.
With a 24-hour sports bar, large beach, three pools, late-night snack shack, and one of the area’s only casinos, the theme of the all-inclusive, three-pearl Costa Caribe Coral is best defined as beachfront block party. Almost everything here comes with a "but." The beach has white sand and calm water, but relentless hawkers and dated water sports equipment. The 416 guest rooms are clean and spacious, but have dull decor and some maintenance issues. Five restaurants include everything from Caribbean cuisine to a buffet to Tex-Mex, but the quality of food varies and some restaurants are closed during the week. There's Wi-Fi in the rooms, but there's a fee. Alcohol is included in the all-inclusive package, but it's low quality. The price tag and the beach are the biggest selling points here.
The massive pool and the beach are highlights at this resort, and 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.