Paradisus Punta Cana Resort 4.5

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
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 beach doesn't quiet down at night as it can at other resorts, but rather comes alive with a party scene appealing to 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.

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 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 beach doesn't quiet down at night as it can at other resorts, but rather comes alive with a party scene appealing to 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 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 beach doesn't quiet down at night as it can at other resorts, but rather comes alive with a party scene appealing to 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. This 200-room upscale resort is just a five-minute drive from Punta Cana International Airport, and draws mostly American couples and families. Highlights include the long, large pool or white-sand (but short, and partially seaweed-strewn) beach. Rooms are elegant and modern, and most have at least partial ocean views. The atmosphere is low-key, but the resort can seem isolated and lacks the energy of activity-packed all-inclusive resorts in the area -- which is part of the appeal for many. The two restaurants serve organic fare, and there is a free shuttle to golf, tennis, and the restaurants at Puntacana Village. Secrets Royal Beach is an upscale all-inclusive resort along Punta Cana's beautiful Bavaro Beach. Its 464 air-conditioned rooms are attractive and modern, and feature balconies with whirlpool tubs, some with ocean views. The sandy beach is wide and gorgeous and the resort's no-kid policy keeps it low key. Three pools and generous all-inclusive rates mean things can get a bit loud as the day goes on, and it's worth noting that amenities like the spa are at kid-packed Now Larimar next door. On-site features include five restaurants, multiple bars, and three pools. Reservations aren't required for dining, though wait times can be long, but Preferred Club upgrades include a private pool and dining. Opened in late 2008, the 600-room Majestic is newer, cleaner, and more modern than most all-inclusives. With a renowned spa, nearby topless beach, a daily bikini contest, and the Elegance Club -- an adults-only section of the resort complete with ocean-view rooms and private access to a beach, two rooftop bars, and a VIP lounge -- the Elegance is geared toward adults. But the beach, giant pool, and reasonable rates attract many families as well. By day, the only music you'll hear is the soft Latin jazz coming from the fake-rock speakers around the pools, but at night, there's more live music here than at most upscale D.R. resorts. There's a wide range of environments to choose from: A boisterous crowd gathers in the large lobby bar, a younger crowd takes over the nightclub, and more low-key live music can be found at the Plaza Bar. But the buffet, like anywhere, isn't great -- a bit disappointing for the price. This family-friendly all-inclusive resort with 658 suites has an attractive setting, affordable prices, and a compact layout (no shuttle) that puts everyone within walking distance to the beach. It's a popular place for Americans, and the resort can sometimes feel overrun by destination wedding groups. Food is above average for an all-inclusive (especially at this price point) and variety is excellent. The beach is the biggest draw, and there is also a large pool area that runs the length of the resort, a number of bars, and a charismatic animation team. Rooms have classic, romantic style and marble bathrooms with jetted tubs (indoor or outdoor), but do show some wear and tear. Adults who choose to upgrade to the Colonial Club have access to a private lazy river pool and separate lounge for drinks and gourmet treats. The 410-room Grand Palladium Palace Resort Spa & Casino is the third largest all-inclusive in a sprawling resort complex, and closer to the beach than the Grand Palladium Bavaro. Grand Palladium Palace has three pools, three restaurants, and a small spa and fitness center, but other amenities, like more pools and restaurants, a kids' club, a casino, and a nightclub, can be found across the Grand Palladium complex. Bright, modern rooms with contemporary decor are the highlight here, but their open-concept bathrooms are better suited to couples than families (though the resort still draws a healthy mix of both). Restaurants are always crowded, and usually require long waits for mediocre food. This 174-room romantic all-inclusive luxury resort looks like a Spanish castle town and is perched on a cliff by the ocean in the still developing Cap Cana complex. It's near the airport, but a bit far from the main resort area. However, its beautifully decorated pools, spa, and restaurants are all among the D.R.'s best. This upscale, adults-only all-inclusive property is a 45-minute drive from the airport and has a spacious beach with rougher waves than at Bavaro Beach down the road. Swimming can be a challenge, but this surfer's paradise has a more secluded feel, even with 464 rooms on the property. The meandering pool is never too crowded, and at night, adults -- mostly honeymooners, couples, and wedding groups -- can choose from a number of high-end restaurants before hitting the theater or lively casino. Room service is offered 24 hours, and chlorophyll juice and apples are offered in the fitness center, yoga room, or luxurious two-floor spa. Excellence knows how to give excellent service, starting with the welcome glass of Champagne upon arrival. A more expensive club upgrade is available and may be pitched, but many will find they don't need it with all that is already on offer. A 10-minute drive from downtown Bavaro, this 708-room upscale resort aims to appeal to guests of all ages. The focal points here are the large, music-filled pool area and the mock town center -- not the small strip of beach. The rooms are spacious, but not as stylish as one might expect from this category, and not many have ocean views. There are plenty of dining options and lots of activities for kids and teens, and prices are among Punta Cana's most affordable for an upscale resort. This lively 658-room resort is situated on pretty Bavaro Beach and draws a mix of families, spring breakers, and wedding groups. The grounds are a highlight, with tropical birds and palm trees all around, and there's are a wide range of bars and restaurants -- even a 24-hour pizzeria for those needing a late-night fix. This three-and-a-half-pearl resort is more walkable that other mega-resorts in the area, and rooms have homey, tropical style plus whirlpool tubs and balconies. There are plenty of activities like biking, tennis, archery, and a range of free non-motorized water sports. However, staff are always around to sell extra excursions and timeshare packages, so start practicing: "No, gracias." This adults-only, all-inclusive beachfront resort is one of the smaller and quieter options in Punta Cana, with just 255 rooms. It offers impressive food variety given its size, with two a la carte restaurants on-site and more options next door at the larger, family-friendly Catalonia Bavaro Beach (for Royal guests, no reservations are required). Other features include a spa, gym, two pools, a small private beach a five-minute walk from the property (where beachside massages are offered), and a putting green. Just be aware that this is an upper-middle-range, not a luxury, resort, with some visible wear. With 1,790 rooms, 13 pools and restaurants, 23 bars, an 18-hole golf course, 65,000 square feet of meeting space, a massive spa and fitness center, and the Dominican Republic's largest casino, 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. A 20-room upscale hotel with apartment-style units, Chateau Del Mar Ocean Villas is a breath of fresh air in a town whose name is practically synonymous with the words "all-inclusive." Although you won't find amenities such as an on-site restaurant, spa, or fitness center, the hotel has a small pool, prime central location, and offers a breakfast package at the restaurant across the street. Well-equipped apartments have simple, modern furnishings and full kitchens; they attract families, couples, and friend groups looking to get away from the all-inclusive crowd. In this respect, there's really nothing else like the Chateau Del Mar in Punta Cana. Part of a sprawling five-hotel complex, the 612-room Riu Palace Punta Cana has excellent pools, a beautiful beach, and lots of on-site amenities. The resort draws guests of all ages, and the clientele is predominantly European -- not surprising, considering the Riu is a Spanish chain. The Riu opened in 2006, but rooms feel dated, and some guests complain of cleanliness issues. Food at both of the buffets and the a la carte restaurants is mediocre, but the Riu earns high marks for the name-brand liquor served throughout. CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts is a 323-room upscale all-inclusive with contemporary decor and a happening vibe. Opened in December of 2014, this adults-only property is quickly becoming one of Punta Cana's most sought-after spots, thanks to its ultra-modern rooms, varied on-site dining options, and beautiful pool and beach facilities. Amenities such as an on-site spa, a small fitness center, and free Wi-Fi throughout also make CHIC an attractive option. Guests who upgrade to the Diamond Club will be treated to premium drinks and exclusive beach and pool access -- but otherwise it's not worth the extra nightly cost. Though this is by no means a spring break type of place, loud music and lively poolside activities are part of the scene here, so guests looking for more quiet might prefer slightly pricier Sanctuary Cap Cana. 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 adults-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 pool with a swim-up bar and adjacent kiddy pool, a huge and gorgeous white-sand beach, six restaurants, and access to the options at Memories. A kids' haven that's not quite directly on the beach, this 525-room all-inclusive resort one-ups King Neptune with what's billed as the largest resort water park in all of the Caribbean. Rooms are upscale and some categories have big whirlpool tubs; Family Suites with bunk beds are available. Dining options include a buffet, three a la carte restaurants, and multiple bars, and guests also have access to some options at sister property next door, the Royalton Punta Cana. Despite its kid-friendly mantra, this upscale boutique resort is a relaxing, appealing pick for both couples and families. The Reserve is pricier than its larger sister property next door, the Paradisus Punta Cana, but for good reason. The 132 classic one-bedroom units here (some adjoining) have separate living/dining areas, pull-out sofas, and spacious bathrooms with jetted tubs for two. Reserve guests can access the amenities and restaurants next door (minus Royal Services), so they don't lose out on features by staying here. The beach area is a good hike away, but the tangerine bikes are useful for getting around, and it's not too far to walk to the large pool complex, fitness center, yoga studio, and Asian-themed spa. Feeling less like a hotel and more like its own little utopian town, this 1,139-room, 120-acre all-inclusive mega-resort is like three different properties rolled into one: a kid-friendly family place, an adults-only hotel for sophisticated couples, and a nature-rich preserve where guests share their vacations with sea-turtle eggs, flamingos, and a branch-level ropes course. Guests can expect to take trolleys to get around the sprawling property. With fewer than 200 suites, this all-inclusive offers a serene, luxurious environment. The property offers sprawling grounds, meandering pathways, and upscale amenities such as a top-notch spa, yoga, and a seemingly never-ending pool area; couples will find that the well-behaved little ones here are hardly ever a bother. Guests have free access to the services, facilities, and restaurants at Palma Real next door -- particularly the beach area, which this property lacks. Parents will likely appreciate the Kids Zone and babysitting services, while all can enjoy the daily excursions, quality restaurants and bars, and personal concierge service. Marketed as its own property, The Level Melia Caribe Tropical is actually the exclusive enclave of the massive, upscale Melia Caribe Tropical resort. With adults-only and family-friendly sections, The Level has broad appeal, and guests get perks such as private check-in, large rooms, and exclusive pool, beach, and restaurant access. But it's worth noting that The Level is situated in the forested swaths of a massive, overwhelming property where rooms are far from amenities and don't have ocean views. The 510-room mid-range Natura Park bills itself as an eco-resort -- but the air conditioners in every room, plastic bar cups, and lack of recycling initiatives have us questioning this claim. Still, with tons of exotic birds scampering around the lush property, Natura Park is more connected to nature than most of its neighbors. Features-wise, the hotel has a large pool with a swim-up bar, a beautiful beach, four dining options, and a small spa and fitness center. Rooms are simple and a tad dated, and there's no in-room Wi-Fi, but reasonable nightly rates make Natura Park an attractive pick. This multi-level upscale all-inclusive property is located on a planned village square and yacht-filled marina in the remote, uncrowded Cap Cana development. The 166 huge, modern rooms have nautical touches and kitchenettes; they feel like the apartments they were once intended to be. The small beach located near sister resort Alsol Tiara (a five-minute walk away) isn't the highlight here, but there are four chic pools, transportation to Punta Espada Golf Course, and no reservations required for the restaurants. It's a great value for a four-pearl resort. The Palace Deluxe is the main resort at the Barcelo Bavaro complex, and features tons of on-site features including an attractive spa, a 24-hour casino, several pools, and multiple restaurants. 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.
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