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Reviewed April 17, 2012

I had travelled several times to Club Med as a child with my family, and this year, with 3 little ones of our own, my wife and I made plans to come back to Club Med Punta Cana for 10 days. We were at Punta Cana from March 31 through April 10.

First, I'll say that it was one of the best vacations I've ever experienced -- we had the kind of time where we were almost in tears to have to leave, and are all bummed out to be back to reality.

Accommodations:
The rooms aren't luxurious -- they could use a little paint, and some of the doors didn't fit quite right, but the family suite was big enough for us all, and everything worked fine. We stayed in Ovando, which is right in front of the Kids club, and about a 3 minute walk to the open-air Hispaniola restaurant, the main pool/reception area, or the tennis/archery area. I can see how rooms out past the Tiara section can be a hike from the rest of the property, but I had no complaints about the walking.

The cleaning service was good if sometimes a bit inconsistent. They were in the room a few times per day, cleaning, making the beds (including picking and leaving fresh flowers from the bushes near the room in a heart on the master bed), and coming back later to turn down the beds and leave chocolates. There's a fridge in the room which was generally kept stocked with sodas, and they kept a supply of 5-6 1 liter water bottles in the room as well. They also gave us a ton of towels, which you might go though if you find yourself playing tennis twice a day..

Food:
I enjoyed the food. The two main restaurants are buffet-style, but in addition to the typical "self-serve" food from steam tables, they also had some cook-to-order stations for eggs, create your-own (pasta, pizza, mongolian BBQ, etc). Each Lunch and Dinner also has a selection of a few "chefs specialties", which are usually interesting little dishes with a little more culinary flair, and usually plated in a nicely appetizing way.

In the first example of going out-of-their-way here, a few Jewish GM's asked the chefs to help prepare a Seder for Passover, and they really went all out and prepared some traditional foods for our seder plate (including ordering Maneschevitz and Matzo for the week), and cordoned off a small section of the restaurant. Vicki (GO from israel) joined us, and may have played some part in helping to set this up as well. During our small ceremony, the Chef and CdV came by to wish us a happy holiday. Well done and definitely above-and-beyond.

On the downside in the restaurants, I think they were understaffed. While there were always empty tables, they weren't always cleaned and reset quickly, and once you sat down, it often was easier to go and fetch your own water, wine, coffee, glasses, or silverware, from the bussing stations then to wait for someone to get these for you. I think the staff there was trying hard, and they were all very polite. For example, once they mistakenly cleaned up our table when we went up to dessert -- when they realized their mistake, they were really great about resetting things quickly. But with a full house, they just seemed to need more staff to keep up with the turnover in the tables.

Weather, Pool, Beach:
The weather was pretty excellent during the first 10 days of April. We got a couple of 10 minute showers during the week, but otherwise it was mid-high 80s all week, but quite humid. Just warm enough that it was always good to jump into the pool. It was a little hot in the afternoons for Tennis, but mornings were good.

The beach is excellent -- some days had more seaweed roll in than others -- it seems to depend on the winds and tides, but awesome clear blue water, and fine beige sand. The beach area closest to the bar, volleyball court, fitness palapa, and Petanque court gets pretty crowded, but there's plenty of space (and lots of quiet) if you walk a bit away from there.

There are actually at least 4 pools on the property -- the "main" pool, a private pool for the Tiara section, and 2 smaller pools for the Mini Club. Unless you're in the Tiara section or the mini club, you'll just use the main pool, which is pretty big, and has sections around 5' (1.5M) and around 3', so there's places where kids can stand and play water-polo, and some sections where only the adults can stand.

We generally stayed away from the Pool in the morning, but there is definitely a problem with the beach chairs at the pool -- too many people drop their stuff on them in the morning, and they don't come back for hours at a time. My rule was if I didn't see shoes there, the chair was up-for-grabs. It worked for me -- sorry if I took your chair.

Another place that wasn't always perfect was the snorkeling setup: First, we found that the snorkeling shack was usually unmanned (and the snorkeling gear locked up) when we wanted to use them, generally from around 12 until 2:30. So, most of the time it was kind of a free-for-all trying pull gear out of a bucket, and a crap-shoot as to whether you'd get the size flippers you need, etc.

One time, we had a great time snorkeling, though: We saw this big, deep blue fish (with black spots) and started swimming after it. He was a fast bugger, and quickly got away from us. A minute or two later, we saw a big, green fish. As we approached it, it dawned on me that it looked just like the blue one, except green. As soon as I realized what was going on, it turned blue and shot away.


The G.Os:
What really made our stay great though were the GOs. The mini-club staff was just great -- they are incredibly fun, patient, and energetic, and the kids all had a great time and they managed to keep things in order with out it ever not being fun. I think about 75% of the mini-club staff is Haitian, but I didn't have trouble communicating with anyone, and found everyone just super-friendly and accommodating.

For the grown-ups, we had good experiences with just about every GO we met. From Josie who led us to our room, to Nelson who gave fun and helpful tennis lessons we found everyone to be friendly, outgoing, and warm. We're not demanding people, but there wasn't a request that we made that they didn't step up to.

The Trapeze and the Circus Team:
Finally, I want to point out the Circus crew. I last came to CM Punta Cana about 25 years ago, when I was maybe 12 or 13. I did all the trapeze stuff back then, and had a great time. Now, I'm older, I have your typical aches and pains of a 38 year old, and I didn't think I'd enjoy the trapeze (and I wasn't sure my shoulder would take it). On the 7th day of our trip, we went to "family trapeze time", and I gave it a shot (figuring if my shoulder acted up, I could deal with it for a couple of days). After I went up, I did the knee hang, and Wren said "you did good -- come back today at 4, and we'll get you into the catch".

So, I figured what the heck -- I came back at 4, and did the practice runs with the half-dozen or so other "regulars", and then did the catch. It was kinda like being 12 again, except the whole thing was a different kind of challenge. As I came off the net after the catch, Manny said "good job -- come back tomorrow, and we'll teach you a new trick".

Then, I became a regular -- and spent 4-6 the last few days at the circus, hanging out with the Circus team and the "regulars", who were all challenging ourselves in different ways. It was a great, fun atmosphere, with everyone encouraging each other to try to do more and meet their own challenges. I still have healing blisters on my left hand, and some scrapes on my legs -- and I don't want them to heal because that will really mean my vacation has ended.

So, I want to thank the Circus Team -- Henry, Manny, Wren and Alex for a great time, and for being my family's favorite GOs.

Room Tip: Try to get rooms near the center of the property.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Steve K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Punta Cana, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2012

Dear Steve K,
Thank you so much for writing this detailed review of your time at our Punta Cana resort! We’re so happy you chose to come back to visit us after all this time! It sounds like you and your family had the vacation of a lifetime, and we’re sad that you had to leave! We’re so pleased to hear that our staff was able to accommodate your religious celebration. We think it is so awesome that you had a great time on the trapeze! We will be sure to look into all of our recommendations, as we truly value all of your comments. Safe travels and we hope you’ll come back and visit soon!

Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 16, 2012

We just returned from a week at Club Med Punta Cana and by far, the best part of the vacation was witnessing the joy our children felt at every moment. Our kids are 9, 7, and 2. By the end of our week, our 2-year-old wanted to marry his Petit Club GO, Nadege, and we would have happily agreed if our son had been just a little older. Nadege went far above and beyond, showering the kids with so much love and attention--she is really something special. Our son loved Lauren and Emmanuel in Petit Club too--they really stood out for their energy, terrific attitudes and dependability.

For us adults it was fun and relaxing too, but there are some drawbacks to the Punta Cana resort--the puzzling lack of umbrellas at the beach, the lack of designated non-smoking areas, the truly low-quality evening shows (but the kids loved participating, so we were fine with that), and the insulting prices at the boutique. The beach and the sunsets are gorgeous here. There are a lot of young families with happy kids--in fact, we didn't meet anyone on vacation who didn't have kids with them.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank globalestate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Punta Cana, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2012

Dear globalestate
Wow! It sounds like your children made some unforgettable memories at our resort! We’re so happy to hear how much fun they had at our kid’s clubs! We’re sorry you experienced some trouble finding lounge chairs on our beaches, but we take your comments and feedback very seriously, and will make sure to look into your concerns immediately. We would like to thank you for choosing to come to Club Med for your family vacation and hope you come back soon!

Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 16, 2012

First experience with Club Med and second time at an all inclusive. All in all experience was very good. Great location, great atmosphere, friendly staff, good food...
However at arrival and after a 12 hour trip, we had to wait quite a long time to get our room, which was not very pleasant. I complained and they tried to speed it up. We were assigned a room a bit far from the swimming pool, the beach and the reception and, traveling with a two year old and a five year old it was not what I expected. I complained once again and managed to get a room exactly where I wanted but only to be available 48 hours later (I have to thank Joel at reception for that). Once we moved and settled in the new room, vacation really started and we could relax and enjoy ourselves.
The GOS do a very good job mainly considering that they work from 8.00 AM to 12.00 AM and are absolutely fantastic with the children (special thanks to Martin, Nadesh, Lauren at the Petit Club).
We did not try the excursion provided but rented out a boat a couple of hours to see the coast and go snorkeling. We liked it but the prices are completely mad. They are fixed by Club Med and either you take it or leave it.
The local employees are nice and friendly, specially at the beach bar/resto Altagracia with her beautiful smile and kindness. Also Leo at the same spot was wonderful: friendly, efficient, super!
Thanks a lot to everyone!

Room Tip: Avoid the ground floor for the humidity and don't expect too much. If traveling with kids need to be located between the reception and the Restaurant La Hispaniola, don't accept going further! But even though the rooms are not top, you dont spend much inside and the beds are quite comfortable.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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Thank pgantonpacheco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Punta Cana, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2012

Dear pgantonpacheco,
We’re happy to hear that you had a great first experience with Club Med at our Punta Cana resort! Thank you for being understanding and allowing our staff to accommodate your requests in a a timely manner. It sounds like your children had a great time at our kid’s programs. Many thanks for taking the time to review your experience at our resort, as we truly value all of your comments and opinions. We hope you come back and visit soon!

Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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Reviewed April 15, 2012

This is the second time we go to Club Med with my wife. The first time was in Ixtapa a few years ago with 1 infant. This time, we came with our 2 kids, 7yrs old and 4 yrs old to look for relaxation for us and fun for the kids. Both Clubs are wonderfull and so relaxing for us... we work hard all year long and need this type of break with the kids being taken care of while we can enjoy all amities. Club med is unique to provide such experience. We will go back again for sure. Here are some tricks to enjoy the best you can of this great family vacation:

- Arrival at the airport: Painful on Saturdays, as European and American flights arrive pretty much at the same time... Expect at least an hour at Customs. Honestly, they need to fix this. After a long trip, this is not what you want to experience... If you have 3 kids, ask to go in front of the line. It works. Otherwise, forget about it. Try to avoid Saturday arrival, that's all. No need to take Club Med transportation in advance. There are plenty of official taxi drivers waiting for you in the luggage area. An official taxi would cost you $20 to get to the Club. Club Med charges $70-$80 and you have to wait for others in the bus, and you don't have the privacy & flexibility.

- Arrival at Club Med: After only a 10mn drive from the airport, you arrive at the resort and the room allocation is already made for you... no need to wait long fro check-in... very well done. Bravo the GOs! The "Chef du Village", Barcq, greets you and makes you feel at home. He is great and you can trust he will do everything possible to accomodate you along the way. In terms of rooms, if you have kids, choose the buildings next to the Kids Club, because you will go there often (drop, pick up kids, once, 2 or 3 times a day sometimes!). Our favorite building is Mariposa as it is right in front of the Kids Club and the Hisponiola restaurant, the best of the 2 restaurants available there as it is on the shore. Wifi was available in this building at $50/week (works in he whole resort). What's great about Mariposa (or any buildings nearby) is that you go to bfast with kids to Hispaniola, drop the kids to the mini club and then go back to the room to change before planning your day at the pool or the beach, the two main attractions... it takes you 10-15mn to do all this! Wifi is not great, honestly, it needs to be improved. Now that everyone has iPad or other tablets to read... it's really nice to have a good wi-fi everywhere in the resort.

Restaurants - Food is good, especially for an all-inclusive. They really try hard to make an effort on food. Just remember, it's Punta Cana, a resort area in the middle of the Carribeans... so it's not a 3-star Michelin, but one of the best in the area. Ask people who went ot Hard Rock or other resorts there... The French touch makes a difference. The local fish is really excellent.

Mini-Club - Mini-Club is basically like a day-camp for the kids, with a lot of attention from the animators. You can drop the kids at 8.45am and pick them up at 5.30pm, then drop them again at 7pm to 9pm for diner and a show. You can also pick up the kids during the day and drop them anytime in the activities... so convenient. All that is included in the package. What's extra is the Pyjama club after 9pm until 1pm. It's $30 per kid. I want to say a great thank you to all the GOs of the mini-clubs. They love the kids, are close to them and really do an amazing job at making this experience so memorable for the kids. Plus they accomodate all your demands and are so sweet. Thank you so much, can't wait to see you all next year!

Pool - This is the ridiculous part. Great Pool, but can't find a long chair unless you drop your stuff at 7am.... Club Med needs to do something about this. A lot of people drop their stuff at 7am and never even show up during the day... ridiculous. can't the Club Med do something about this?? For example, Impose a 1 hour limit for empty chairs. If no one shows up within an hour, the Gos remove the towels and belongings to lost and found. Just have one GO walk around the pool to time the empty chairs...

Beach - really beautiful pink/white sand... tall palm trees... lot of space between the chairs... beautiful water. Of course, some algae but not that bothersome. We loved the BBQ that is done sometimes near the bar area... so convenient and yummy.

Activities - Soccer, Tennis, Boating, Windsurf, Archery, Beach Volley, yogga on the beach, massage, and of course, the aqua-gym with Tony. Great energy. Great job all the GOs!

Return - Same comment as before, just ask the reception for a cab. It's only $20 and really convenient. Expect a long wait at the airport (45mn) on Sarturdays... Customs are not well organized. We found all the airport shopping expensive and pretty much tourist traps, what would you expect though?

Overall, wonderful experience. Will certainly go back, at least once a year. We loved the GOs, the flexbility, the beauty of the site, the food, the kids activities, the calm environment and energy at the same time. Great job and thank you again.

Overall, a wonderful experience

Room Tip: If you have kids, the best buldings are the Mariposa and the Colon. Others are good too, but try to avoid being too far from kids club. Call a week in advance to ask for these buidlings. We were in room 374, on the 2nd floor. The room was the standard room, and it was really good with a door separation between our room and the kids, A/C, a terasse, refrigirator, TV, Wifi access. View was average but who cares... you never in the room but to sleep.... Really good for the price.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Steven_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Punta Cana, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2012

Dear Steven_NY,
We sincerely appreciate this great review of Club Med Punta Cana! It sounds like you took advantage of all that our resort has to offer. We’re pleased to hear that you loved our friendly staff, our kid’s programs, and our beautiful location. We’re sorry to hear that you had difficulty finding a spot to relax by our pool, but we take all of your insights and comments seriously, and will look into your recommendations immediately. We can’t wait to see you again next year!

Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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Reviewed April 15, 2012

I just returned from a week long trip to Punta Cana Club Med with my husband and 13 year old son . We all had an awesome time and can't wait to go back ! The Ramp's teen club was great ! My son loved it . The team was fsntastic especially Jose , Audrey and Wanny ! We loved the beach and they also had a great staff especially Carlos ! The food was excellent ! My only comment is that better organization is needed in table clearing and in seating guests when they come in . The rooms were ok and kept clean by a lovely staff especially Lidia . My comment here is that the rooms and buildings could be in better condition. Overall , Barq and his staff were great. They really cared if we had fun and spoke to us several times ! Hands up for this super vacation resort !

  • Stayed: April 2012
    • Value
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Thank lesliemomcos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
clubmedofficial, Guest Relations Manager at Club Med Punta Cana, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2012

Dear LeslieMom,
Thank you for taking time to review our Punta Cana resort! We’re so happy that you and your family enjoyed everything Club Med has to offer! It sounds like you had a great time relaxing on our beautiful beaches, and interacting with our friendly staff! We truly value your recommendations and we can’t wait to see you on your next trip to Punta Cana!

Kind Regards,
Your Club Med Team

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