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Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino 4.0

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • On a gorgeous, clean, big stretch of white-sand beach with turquoise water
  • Chic ocean-view pool with swim-up bar and kiddy pool
  • Stylish, modern rooms, some with ocean views or swim-out access
  • Six restaurants, including buffet, steakhouse, and Japanese options
  • Nine bars, including lobby bar, beach bar, nightclub, and casino bar
  • Diamond Club upgrade with dedicated pool, beach, and lounge areas
  • On-site casino, and live evening performances at the theater
  • Ample organized activities, such as zumba and aqua aerobics
  • Full-service spa with indoor whirlpools and outdoor pool with jets and waterfalls
  • Full access to Memories Splash features next door, including kids' and teens' clubs
  • Wi-Fi is both free and strong throughout (rare for the area)
  • 15-minute drive to the airport or downtown Bavaro

Cons

  • Some room noise from nightly shows and hallway passerby 
  • Food gets mixed reviews (though some love it)
  • Beach and pool can get crowded, and loungers with shade can get snagged early
  • Some restaurants lack AC
  • Waves at the beach can be a bit strong for some
  • Pushy time-share salespeople and crafts vendors
  • Top-shelf liquor for Diamond Club guests only
  • Nightlife a bit tame for some tastes

Bottom Line

This 485-room upscale all-inclusive resort serves as the newer, pricier sister to the Memories Splash next door. It is better suited to couples, with its on-site casino and adult-only options (a pool and dedicated room buildings), while the Memories Splash -- which has easier access to the large water park, as well as some rooms with bunk beds -- draws more families. Rooms here are stylish and modern, and some have swim-out pool access. Features include an attractive ocean-view main pool with swim-up bar and adjacent kiddy pool, huge and gorgeous white-sand beach, six restaurants, and access to the options at Memories. 

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Scene

An upscale all-inclusive resort drawing lots of Canadian couples with its elegant public spaces and gorgeous beach

There's water seemingly everywhere in this attractively designed, wide property that sits on the ocean and features multiple gently lapping pools (though most are off-limits for regular guests). The guests -- couples of all ages, as well as some families -- hail mostly from Canada and the U.S. They spend their days lounging by the beach, strolling through broad plazas, or debating their dinner options (reservations are required for a la cartes, except for Diamond Club guests).The resort's adult-only options and a greater variety of restaurants and shopping help make it a more upscale, grown-up alternative to its sister property, Memories

The main lobby is an impressive two-level affair -- a soaring reception area with vaulted thatched roof above, and a sleek shopping arcade below, reached via stairs. The central plaza, where craft vendors often have tables set up, seems to float on water -- guests must traverse a shallow, decorative pool to reach the grassy grounds on the other side. The first swimming pools guests will encounter are the meandering step-in pool for guests of swim-out suites, and a fenced-off adult-only pool (for Diamond Club guests only) that is as solitary and quiet as the main pool is bustling. Past the last cluster of restaurants, and a beachside bar where guests sit on swings, is the main event: the beach, gridded with palapa-shaded loungers until the short, steep drop-off to the waterline. Sister property the Memories isn't right on the beach, a main reason some may prefer the Royalton. 

The look here is contemporary and understated, but mostly lacking any local feel. Those seeking something a little more characterful might want to compare rates with the adult-only Sanctuary Cap Cana, which is designed to look like a Spanish castle town. 

Location

A 15-minute drive from both the airport and downtown Bavaro

This location may be relatively far from the tourist hub of Bavaro, but it's got two advantages to that popular destination: It's closer to the airport (by about 15 minutes), and you don't have to wait for quite as many mega-buses to clear those ubiquitous Dominican speed bumps. Not far off the highway and down a bend-filled, only slightly potholed road, the hotel is two or three minutes past the front security gate it shares with the Memories Splash. (If you pull into the first parking lot you see, you'll waste 15 minutes of your time trying to check into the Memories by mistake.) Unlike the Memories, the Royalton is directly on the beach, but Royalton guests are free to use all Memories amenities -- including the Memories water park, which is about a 10-minute walk away. 

Rooms

Understated, contemporary rooms, some with swim-out access or ocean views, but noise can sometimes be an issue

The rooms are decorated in spare, understated furniture and tones -- white walls, white bedding with sea-foam greeen accents, and modern dark wood furniture. Art consists of framed wooden gewgaws and oversized photographs of orchids that loom over the beds. All rooms have free minibars with beer and soft drinks, as well as coffeemakers. There is a terrace or balcony in every unit, with views of the gardens, pool, or ocean. Bathrooms have vessel sinks and walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads; some higher-tier rooms have separate whirlpool tubs. Wi-Fi is both free and strong throughout the resort and in the guest rooms -- surprisingly uncommon for area resorts. Guests also get unlimited free in-room calls to the U.S., Canada, and most parts of Europe.

The standard room category is the Luxury Room, which has a king-size bed plus sofa bed or two queen-size beds. These fit up to four guests, and connecting rooms are available for larger parties. The Diamond Club Luxury Room is no different aside from placement on the property, though Diamond Club guests get a variety of other perks. Those who upgrade to the Diamond Club Luxury Swim Out Room will get step-in pool access: Guests walk right off their back patios into a pool reserved only for them. 

Noise can sometimes be an issue -- at least it was in our ground-level room on the far side of the property. At night, we could hear the pounding music from the nightly shows at the theater or lobby, and during the day, the chatter of passersby seemed amplified by the long, echoing hallways. 

Features

A beautiful but crowded beach, an ocean-view pool with swim-up bar, and plenty of dining and drinking options

The beach at the Royalton has a lot to recommend it: A wide expanse of white sand, a convenient beach bar, lots of quality lounge chairs and palapas, and a sandy entry to the turquoise water (no coral). Just note that chairs are placed close together and the beach can get crowded. There's a dedicated area for Diamond Club guests with its own bar, though note that unlike the exclusive Diamond Club pool, it's not adult-only. Waves can be a bit strong, especially for young children. Water sports equipment such as kayaks and paddleboards are available, as well as Hobie Cats (these require a paid lesson to use). An external water sports company sells snorkeling and diving excursions. 

All guests can use the main ocean-view pool, which has a swim-up bar and adjacent kiddy pool, though it's a bit small and also gets crowded. Diamond Club guests can use a quiet adult-only pool as well. 

All-inclusive rates cover meals and drinks at six restaurants -- including buffet, Italian, Mediterranean, tapas, steakhouse, and Japanese options -- and nine bars. Diamond Club guests can have their butler make reservations, and get top-shelf liquor at the bars. Food gets mixed reviews, ranging from guests who claim the food made them ill to those who raved about the variety and quality.

Royalton guests maintain full, free access to the water park and other Memories features. The Royalton also shares an "eco gazebo" with Memories, a series of huts in a clearing inside the dense wilderness between the two resorts, available for rental for events.

The resort is all about helping keep guests plugged in -- not only is Wi-Fi free and strong throughout the resort, calls to the U.S., Canada, and most parts of Europe are free from the guest rooms. The Royalton also offers a social media app for download so guests can communicate easily both with each other and their families back home.

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Address

Arena Gorda, Playa Bavaro, Punta Cana 23000, Caribbean

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