Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Paradisus Resort)

We ended up booking this resort to attend a family wedding.  We had a great time but I would say that it was more due to the company than it was the resort.  Read on.

This was not a ‘bad’ vacation by any means.  Rather, I see our experience of this resort as a reflection of our reason for creating this web site in the first place.

The resort itself is divided in sections that I would describe as “adults only” high end, "general population” moderate to low end, and family luxury which as an upscale area of the resort targeted at families.  We stayed in the family luxury area called the Reserve.  We had  a large family suite, a dedicated “family concierge” who was assigned to us to book any dinner reservation we needed and generally deal with any requests we had.  They even gave us a small phone to call the concierge any time we wanted.  Forgot your suntan lotion?… just call them and they’ll bring it you.  We paid approximately $4500 for the week.  The resort is all inclusive and quite large to the point where they have trams to drive you around the resort to its many restaurants and the beach.  It might sound like a pain, and it can be, but our son looked forward to the ride.

The Reserve is located quite far from the beach but at the same time has its own kids pool and aquatic area complete with kids club where you can drop your kids off.  We did not leave our son there as we just didn’t have enough trust upon meeting and observing the staff.  The ratio of kids to staff members was far too high and the attitude seemed to be one of ambivalence.  As for the kids pool area, it was a lot of fun for our son.  He had a blast here and you can tell that they have put a great deal of thought into how this area is laid out and the different water features for kids.  There are lots of shady places here to retreat from the sun. 

The food was inconsistent and by the end of our week we we were all hard pressed to find something that didn’t leave you repeating a previous meal.  There is ALOT of variety to choose from and we are definitely not picky eaters but let’s face it, when you are serving thousands of people, the food is a cafeteria prepared and tastes like it.  We hunted for the foods that we thought were healthier and less fast food like.  

The beach was definitely quite dense in terms of packing people in.  With your Reserve room you are able to reserve cabanas or beach loungers every day.  This is important as you are otherwise left to fend for the few “general population” loungers which can be a battle.

What this experience taught us isn’t that this resort isn’t up to par but rather that the all inclusive resort vacation was just not for us.  We like to hoop-it-up like anyone else but it seemed to us that you compromised on a lot of other things, like food, restfulness and rejuvenation to have a party-at-the-beach sort of holiday.  The balance was way off here in the sense that this vacation left us depleted: too many gin and tonics, too many times to get our son dressed for meals, constantly planning/reserving seats for meals etc.  I felt as though I was constantly planning and managing my holiday while on my holiday.  

As all inclusive resorts go I am sure that if this is your thing that you would have a great time.  As this type of vacation experience goes, they did about as good a job as you would find anywhere I think.  

How you feel about the Paradisus and other resorts like it is a reflection of how you define a family vacation and as we discovered, we define it quite differently.

© Paul-Sarah 2013