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Sunscape Bavaro Beach Punta Cana 3.5

Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Easy access to El Cortecito Beach, lined with many free lounge chairs
  • All-inclusive rates cover all food and drinks; reservations not required
  • Multiple restaurants with ocean views, an adult-only French restaurant, and a grab-and go pizza restaurant 
  • Several bars, including swim-up and beach options, plus a night club
  • 24-hour coffee shop serves drinks, snacks, and sweets 
  • Two pools include an activity pool and floating rafts, plus a floating climbing wall
  • Entertaining animations team provides games, activities, and a high level of energy 
  • Free non-motorized water sports like kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and Hobie Cat catamarans
  • Air-conditioned rooms with free minibars, flat-screen TVs, and rainfall showers
  • Nightly family-style shows including circus acts and dancing 
  • Full spa offers hydrotherapy circuit and fish pedicures
  • Sun Club packages include bigger rooms, free Wi-Fi, and a private bar
  • Free Wi-Fi in Sunscape Bavaro’s lobby and theater 

Cons

  • Beach views marred by unsightly Geotube erosion barriers 
  • Pushy beach vendors and aggressive time-share pitches
  • Complaints of low quality food and weak drinks 
  • Rooms are blandly decorated and no elevators to reach upper-level rooms
  • Expensive fee for guest room internet access 
  • Some features are reserved for Sun Club guests 

Bottom Line

Sunscape Bavaro Beach Punta Cana is a three-and-a-half-pearl resort that opened in 2016 on beautiful El Cortecito Beach. It offers some of the lowest all-inclusive rates in Bavaro Beach, but comes with some caveats. Namely, erosion barriers dampen the beach view and past guests have complained about poor food quality and weak drinks at the 11 restaurants and several bars. Still, two freshwater pools include a floating climbing wall and swim-up bar, the animation team is high energy, and the free teen club is fun. The 452 air-conditioned rooms have private balconies and free minibars. It might be worth the upgrade to a Sun Club package for a private bar, expedited check in, and bigger room. As an alternative, Now Onyx Punta Cana has hip decor and a nicer stretch of beach -- but higher rates. 

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Scene

An all-inclusive resort that caters to families who want an easy and affordable beach vacation 

Sunscape Bavaro Beach Punta Cana opened in December 2016 and the oceanfront resort’s thatch-roof lobby definitely sets the stage for beach vacation time. The huge lobby has super high ceilings and feels like a tropical lounge with low-slung plush chairs and couches. It can get crowded during peak check-in and check-out times and is rarely empty since there’s also free Wi-Fi. Sunscape’s grounds are full of grassy areas, bamboo patches, and tall palm trees whose soundtrack of crackling fronds blends with the oceanfront’s crashing waves. 

It’s not a spring break party resort and overall, the vibe is pretty calm. That said, there’s lots of splashing kids in the pool and bass beats rumbling from the theater during the evening shows. Resort guests are mostly from Canada, the United States, and quite a few Russians. Couples are common, as are families with children. Sunscape also receives quite a few local Dominicans depending on the time of year (especially during school holidays). Past guests have complained about aggressive time-share pitches from people selling "Ultimate Vacations." 

Location

On El Cortecito Beach, and within walking distance to touristy shops and restaurants

Sunscape is located along Punta Cana’s gorgeous stretch of Bavaro Beach, although its direct El Cortecito beachfront isn’t great due to the erosion barriers just offshore. It's only five minutes in either direction to more breathtaking beaches though. Within a five-minute walk from the resort are pharmacies, restaurants (Italian, Mexican, Indian, middle eastern), and gift shops. A 10-minute walk away are more restaurants, gift shops, bars, and a scruffier, backpacker-style area.

For an interactive underwater experience, guests at Dolphin Island Park can swim with dolphins and watch dolphin shows (14-minute drive). The nearest full-size grocery store is a 15-minute drive away and near a cinema, shops, bars, and restaurants including fast food and local cuisines. The closest golf course is a 16-minute drive. Coco Bongo, the famed (and much hyped) Caribbean nightclub with Las Vegas-styled shows, is a 20-minute drive away. There’s an adventure park with paintball, zip lines, horseback riding, and a short bungee jump, that's a 22-minute drive from the resort. Santo Domingo, the country’s capital with its fabulous old city (and where Christopher Columbus once lived, considered the oldest settlement in the New World) is a two- and a half-hour drive away. Punta Cana International Airport is about a 30-minute drive from the resort. 

Rooms

Bland, air-conditioned rooms with beachy accents, flat-screen TVs, and Bluetooth-enabled iPod docks

In general, Sunscape’s rooms are pleasant but mostly forgettable. The outdoor balconies or patios (some with ocean views) with two armchairs and cafe-style tables are definitely their top feature. Interior-wise, expect white walls decorated with whimsical skeleton-like fish figurines, overlapping round-edge mirrors, and wood obelisk-shaped floor lamps. Beds are a mix of a single king or two double beds with wood and fabric paneled headboards, swirly-patterned turquoise and white bed runners, and a matching throw pillow with fan coral print. All rooms have flat-screen TVs with cable channels, Bluetooth-enabled iPod docks, safes, and irons and ironing boards. Beverage-wise, standards include coffeemakers and coffee, and free minibars stocked with water, soda, and beer. Wi-Fi is available in all guest rooms, but it costs a pricy fee for access (unless your'e in a Sun Club room).  

Bathrooms are mostly bland with glass-walled stand-up showers and rainfall showerheads, built-in hairdryers, scales, and granite vanities. The water pressure’s pretty low and the shower’s poor design usually causes the bathroom floor to get soaked. Toiletries are limited to bar soap and shampoo. 

It might be worth an upgrade to the pricier Sun Club rooms, which have a similar decor but options like free Wi-Fi, ocean views, bigger rooms with fold-out love seats, and marble wrapped bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, robes, slippers, and lots more toiletries (sewing kits, lotion, conditioner, and dental kits). 

Features

Sandy beachfront, two pools, kids' pool; all-inclusive at five restaurants, kid’s club, and several bars

Features here focus on food and the outdoors, but there are some downsides. First, though the sand is soft and the beach has lots of palm trees and plastic lounge chairs, unsightly erosion-prevention barriers look like beached gray whales just offshore. Non-motorized water sports like kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and Hobie Cat catamarans are free to borrow. It’s worth noting there are no sun umbrellas at the beach or pools and beach vendors can be aggressive. The resort has two freshwater pools surrounded by plastic lounge chairs. The activity pools overlooks the beach and is also where scuba diving classes are held (free one-hour intro to scuba classes are available). The main pool is huge and often crowded. It stands out with a floating climbing wall and lots of pool floats for kids. There’s also a shallow children’s pool and two whirlpool tubs. A dedicated animation team does an excellent job at providing fun games and activities for guests, and keeps the energy upbeat by the pools. 

Sunscape’s 11 all-inclusive restaurants get mixed reviews for food quality, but all have oceanfront views and a casual atmosphere (no dress code or reservations required). Windows is the buffet restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sunnyside Grill is the oceanfront barbecue restaurant with buffet lunches and a la carte dinner menu. Da Mario is the oceanfront Italian restaurant. Bon Appetit is the most romantic option, it serves French cuisine and is adult-only. Chopsticks is the Asian fusion restaurant with teppanyaki tables. The Pizza Shop has grab-and-go pizza and Fish Tales is the beachside snack bar. Coco Cafe is a 24-hour coffee shop with snacks, drinks, and coffee located next to the lobby. The resort also has several bars -- including oceanfront bars, a swim-up bar, and a night club. However, don't expect premium alcohol and past guests have complained that bars often run out of items so that there's little variety. 

For relaxation, the spa offers massages, manicures, pedicures (including fish pedicures where small fish nibble the dry skin off your feet), hydrotherapy pools, and also has a sauna and steam room. The gym is located in a basement (so unfortunately no ocean views) but stocked with Matrix elliptical machines, stationary bikes, recumbent bikes, treadmills, weight machines, and dumbbells. The TRX and CrossFit equipment are nice plusses. There’s a trainer on-site and personal training sessions are free. Free daily fitness classes like stretching, beach workouts, and Zumba are available. 

Sunscape shares its kids' club with the neighboring Sunscape Dominican Beach Resort, but the teen club (called Core Zone) is located on-site. The teen club has an Xbox 360, air hockey, ping-pong table, multiple pool tables, and lots of bean bag chairs and flat-screen TVs. The resort also has a mini-golf course, additional ping-pong table, billiards table, and a beach volleyball court for all guests. Board games like Jenga, cards, dominos, and checkers are perfect for rainy days (and free to borrow).

Located near the lobby, the theater offers nightly entertainment that includes circus shows, dance shows, and musical reviews. For shopping (not included), there’s a gift shop, small market, and an independently-operated casino. Hotel staff can assist in arranging car rentals, tours, tour guides, and airport transfers. There’s an ATM in the lobby. The meeting rooms are located next to the theater and seem almost like an afterthought. Laundry service is available (for a fee) as are babysitters (also a fee). There’s free Wi-Fi in the lobby and theater.

The Sun Club upgraded packages include amenities like private check in, members-only bar, members-only lounge, private beach area, and free Wi-Fi. Sun Club rooms are also slightly bigger and have a wider list of toiletries. Room service is only available for Sun Club guests. 

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Address

Avenida Alemania, A-B 108, El Cortecito, Bavaro, Punta Cana 23301, Caribbean

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