Once you get in, the entrance is GORGEOUS! Everywhere you look makes you feel like you're in the middle of paradise surrounded by palm trees and beautiful flowers. The buffet is okay. Not all of their food is properly heated so expect to eat warm or sometimes even cold food... But, it tastes good. I did experience awful abdominal pain accompanied with diarrhea the first day after eating lunch there. It lasted about 6 hours and I was fine after that. My husband had mild pain towards the end but nothing serious. The Gourmet restaurant was my FAVORITE out of all of the a la carte restaurants. If you want to eat something different and fast, book at the Takara and/or Italian restaurants. They both also offer a buffet on top of their a la carte. Perfect when you do not want to miss their entertainment! Their entertainment at 930pm is OUTSTANDING! From magic shows, the a Lion King play, to a Michael Jackson tribute, to even a CIRCUS... Whatever you do, DO NOT miss them, they are all fantastic. The drinks are pretty good, but do not expect premium/imported drinks unless you pay. That being said, try their coco loco, banana mama, pina colada and mamajuana drinks. They are superb! The staff is very friendly, and they hang out at their hotel when they are off. Weird at first seeing the hotel manager with shorts having a drink, but we didn't mind it.
It is far... About 45 mins/an hour from both Santo Domingo and La Romana airports. That translates to expensive taxi drives (about $70-$80 each way). Try to plan your ride in advance or you might be waiting and get frustrated. The company Dominican Quest was the best I found by FAR! Best price and best service. They even wait with a sign with your name on it, and provide a courtesy call on your way to your destination. They take up to 6 people for the same price. You will be paying that if not more for a taxi from the hotel, you simply cannot beat it. There are NO shops or ANYTHING next to the hotel for miles and miles and miles... You get the point. If you want to go somewhere, it HAS to be by taxi or with a tour. Do NOT drive or plan on renting a car unless you are a local with experience. Seriously, just don't. People drive crazy, there are motorcycles everwhere, and noone seems to follow any traffic rules. You still want to rent a car? Get their maximum insurance and bring some cash with you.
Some tourists are inconsiderate, leaving cups and straws all over the pool (gross)! They don't seem to have a staff person cleaning the pool during the day, though I will say it was all clean by morning. The beach is not that pretty clear water you are expecting, not because it is dirty, but because there's a river next to it. But because of that you are getting this 4 star hotel at less than $100 per night. Want to see clear water? Do an excursion to Isla Saona. You will not regret it. Don't care much for water and rather have adventure? Their Safari tour is the best one my husband and I have encountered. There was one day we didn't have hot water in our room, but after a call to their concierge service and a few hours later, it was fixed. Also people with kids, beware of staff members selling illegal drugs! The one stand offering henna tattoos by the pool to be specific. The gentleman approached my husband and promised to be discrete. That being said, I didn't see ANYONE using or at any point smelled weed, etc. Just be careful. Lastly, stay away from their Club Priviledge team. They will offer you a gift to listen about their timeshare and might even give you a pitty "I need points for my family" story. If you have at least two hours to kill and are interested in their vacation plan (for GODS SAKE READ all documents line by line, ASK QUESTIONS, and DO NOT trust all you hear or you will be stuck in a 30 year contract) then ask if they can give you a credit towards a tour. At first they will offer you a Dominican package option with rum, coffee and cigars; or a Club option with towel, bag and hats. After not showing interest, we lucked out and got an $80 voucher towards any tour. For 2 hours of our time, it was well worth it. They will say 60 mins or more, trust me... It's closer to two hours. And if you happened to sign their contract and are reading this, please call their club and RCI to find out if all the information you were given is true.