A kids' club and nightly entertainment in the theater
A range of tours and excursions (for a fee)
Access to some of the sister property's amenities (for a fee)
Morning espresso and croissants on a pretty terrace
Convenience store and shops on-site
Free Wi-Fi in the lobby
Overall the resort is showing wear and tear
Expect crowds, especially at the beach, main bar, and buffet
There's typically a wait to get a drink and pours are small
Occasionally the resort is overbooked
Rooms closest to the lobby might experience late-night noise from the entertainment
Wi-Fi throughout the resort comes with a daily fee
This family-friendly, 613-room all-inclusive resort has a mostly European clientele. Basic rooms have received a slight refresh (no more patterned bedspreads), and the limited all-inclusive amenities help keep prices low. Three pools, trapeze lessons, and tennis are available, but most guests flock to the beach. For drinks, guests will have to take turns standing in line to get small pours in plastic cups, and repeat the process until the (beautiful) sunset. Food is not a highlight: there’s a limit on a la carte reservations, and the main buffet seems to have a crowd at all times. Overall, though, this is an affordable choice for families. Romantics should consider the VIP upgrade.
A lively crowd of mostly Europeans and their families
Dominicus Beach is larger and more affordable than its sister resort next door, the Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace. Taxi drivers may occasionally drop guests off at the wrong lobby, but porters are on hand to assist if that happens (the two lobbies are separated by a pretty walking path). The Dominicus Beach lobby has a few lounge areas that are occupied by people trying to get on Wi-Fi. A bustling guest services desk can help with problems and excursions, and there are also public bathrooms (where guests may choose to dig through their suitcases for swimwear before an evening flight home). The resort caters to large groups from Italy, France and other European destinations, and overbookings are possible, so specified room types might change.
This lobby area is a short walk to a currency exchange, convenience store, small spa, spacious fitness center, tennis courts, and business center (where guests can purchase in-room Wi-Fi). Evening entertainment happens in the theater, which has bleacher seats like those in a high-school auditorium.
The main pool offers some daybeds and lounge chairs, but most people tend to hit the beach, which is crowded with chairs and people drinking plastic glasses of beer and frozen drinks. Receptacles for these plastic glasses as well as ashtrays are sprinkled throughout the resort. The bar seems to be understaffed at all times, so expect a wait to get drinks; some may find it just easier to buy beer from the convenience store and store it in their mini-fridge.
Early risers will have an opportunity for some peace and quiet before the animation team and music starts. It's particularly pleasant to enjoy a cappuccino and croissant on the terrace overlooking the sea --an activity the many European guests can likely appreciate.
An popular area with Italians near La Romana, offering gorgeous sunset views
The two Viva properties are among a handful of resorts on Dominicus Beach and near the fishing village of Bayahibe, in an Italian-influenced area of Dominican Republic about 20 minutes away from La Romana airport. Expect to run into guests from Italy, Spain, and Canada (Russia and South America are burgeoning markets, as well). If La Romana proves to be a more expensive flight, guests can arrive at the international airport in Punta Cana, about 80 minutes away. If the reservation is not a part of a group booking, this can become an expensive cab ride. One of the upsides of this particular beach area is the sunset view (those in Punta Cana enjoy a sunrise view).
Several room types to choose from -– though expect wear and tear
The resort’s 613 rooms are spread out in three-story buildings, which mostly come with garden views. All rooms are basic and lacking in luxury, but have received slight upgrades in the form of white linens, red or bright green decor accents, and flat-screen TVs. Rooms have tile floors, work desks, mini-fridges with bottled water, and small balconies with two plastic Adirondack style chairs and a small table. There are smoking and non-smoking rooms of each category.
Families should consider adjoining rooms, or the One-Bedroom Suite -- a spacious unit with a kitchenette and sliding doors leading to the patio from both the living room and bedroom.
Bungalow rooms are situated closer to the water in separate one-story buildings that have coral stone and thatched roofs. These rooms offer more peace and quiet as they are spread out among pretty manicured grounds and tend to have partial or full views of the sea.
A popular beach, three pools, and trapeze make this a popular option for families
The resort offers a long beach area (with lounge chairs and palapas) extending the length of the property, which is divided into two sections via the main pool and buffet. While one section has better swimming conditions and more crowds, the other enjoys close proximity to a quieter pool with daybeds (and sans animation activities), though this area of the beach is rockier and not ideal for swimming.
La Terraza, the central buffet where guests will spend most of their meals, overlooks the water for pretty sunset views. There are different themes for dinner, though service is not a standout feature -- it may take flagging down a server just to get basic water or coffee. Expect crowds at all times with people dodging in and out of stations and few, if any, manners. A la carte options (limited to three dinners per week) include an Asian, Mediterranean, Italian, French, and Mexican option.
Additional on-site features include a small spa for simple treatments, a large fitness center, tennis courts, trapeze set-up, and a supervised kids' club. Non-motorized water sports are free for guests, and there are also diving excursions available, such as one to the 240-foot sunken ship off the coast. There’s also a sales office on the property for off-site activities such as trips to Saona Island and Santo Domingo.
Evening entertainment occurs in the well-worn theater and is often followed by loud music, so beware of rooms closer to the lobby area, which may experience late-night noise. The bars do not stay open too late, and there is a small store on the property that sells beer and liquor for those who want to keep the party going.
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