Punta Cana is one of the better developed areas in the Dominican Republic (D.R.) in terms of resorts. Club Med is there along with several other top name resorts. Supporting these properties is the Punta Cana airport which was basically funded by Miguel Iglésias and Oscar de la Renta (both have homes there). The airport is an open air, thatched roof structure but quite upscale inside and good sized.
Club Med is only a five minute ride from Punta Cana airport making it the most convenient and least expensive (transportation-wise) resort in the area. The resort sits on 75 acres of beautiful property fronted by almost a half mile of white sandy beach. There are extensive lawns filled with palms and other trees. The landscaping is all mature, and it all combines to provide plenty of shade from the tropical sun. Apart from the usual Club Med facilities, the property also has a full size soccer field and an entire trapeze set up to try out your circus act. As a bonus, there is also a beautiful spa at one end of the property which segregates it from the main activities and foot traffic.
Upon arrival only one G.O. (GO’s are the staff (gentils organisateurs, “gracious organizers”) was present to greet and check us in which was not consistent with other experiences I’ve had at other clubs. Nevertheless, it was efficient and we were immediately transported to our room with all our luggage.
When it comes to vacation value, you can’t beat Club Med’s inclusive water sports programs. The ability to grab a sailboat, windsurfer, kayak, or snorkel gear any time of day without any additional charge is probably a savings easily in the hundreds of dollars over a week’s time. In Punta Cana, the shallow clear water is beautiful for all of the activities just mentioned.
The main pool is extremely large and can accommodate a multitude of guests. It’s perfectly situated right between the Cielo Bar and the beach. There are separate pools for the children’s club and for the luxury suites as well.
The beach is expansive, beautiful, well maintained, and the shoreline is great for swimming and other water sports. In fact, I found this beach to be much whiter and cleaner than in other parts of Punta Cana such as at the Paradisus Hotel. The ocean water is the kind of spectacular turquoise blue that you see in brochures and it was a refreshing respite from the summer heat.
Food and Drink
The two main buffet restaurants were very clean, modern, well appointed, and beautiful. The usual broad variety of cuisine was available so there was never a lack of choices and the food itself was consistently tasty. The Samana restaurant was uncomfortably hot at dinner for several nights with air conditioning problems. Once that was fixed it was fine. At the Hispaniola restaurant which sits right on the shore, air flow was non existent on half of it (which was a hit with the local mosquito population) but the other half had a steady breeze and was comfortable and insect free.
It took a couple of days to find the real fruit juices at breakfast and that was important because the flavored “juices” at the fountain were not drinkable in my opinion. The real thing, however, was fresh squeezed and great.
The main bar (Cielo) is beautiful and situated perfectly above the pool. Hor d’ouerves including Sushi are served at Cielo every night and the atmosphere is open and inviting.
The Celeste Bar at the beach was a perfect hang-out. It is right on the beach with a helpful breeze and food and drinks are both available all day…all in all, a very handy place for all the guests who frequent the beach or pool.
We had a standard room for a family of four and it felt a little tight in spite of the two room layout. The rooms were kept very clean and insect free. We did find ourselves searching in vain for a place to sit whenever we had wet clothes and in a hot/humid place like Punta Cana that is the rule rather than the exception. I also thought that the lack of air conditioning in the bathrooms and lack of fans throughout were drawbacks. The beds were very comfortable though which made for a consistently good night’s sleep.
The La Cana conference center AV equipment performed poorly in showing the World Cup—a special event that Club Med set up for guests. The picture from the projector was not clear at all and there was no “keystone” control to make the picture square. It was appropriate for Club Med to offer an option for guests to see the biggest sporting event in the world but the venue was not made to be inviting whatsoever (oddly, CM is usually extremely good at creating a fun atmosphere in any corner of the clubs). There was no food, no drinks, or G.O.’s in sight. The equipment did not measure up in any way either.
Mini-club and baby club were both spacious, well-equipped, and accommodating for kids. The associated programs would provide great peace of mind for parents dropping children off there.
Water sports are very conveniently located.
An inexpensive touch would have been for the tennis venue to have chilled washcloths and on-court water jugs. It is extremely hot at the inland location of the courts both for the morning and afternoon sessions and the cold towels wouldn’t cost anything to provide and would leave a great impression. The tennis courts’ surfaces were extremely unusual—they almost felt hollow. I’ve never seen such a surface in 40 years of tennis. The problem with them was the uneven bounces from one area to another. I consider the two un-resurfaced hard courts as unplayable because of the cracks and unevenness.
With the heat and humidity, it is inconceivable that fans are not installed throughout the rooms, restaurants, and bars. There are none
All in all, the resort is a winner for a variety of reasons. It has a huge beach front, spectacular Caribbean ocean, 75 well-landscaped acres to roam, trapeze, soccer field, tennis, all forms of water sports, great food, spa, baby club, mini-club, teen club, friendly staff, and the usual high quality Club Med entertainment……..definitely worth a visit.
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