This was our first visit to Punta Cana and Ocean Blue, May 12 - 19. We were here for a friend’s wedding. Thanks to our agent, Christina at Apollo Tours for making sure that all the details, even the little ones were taken care of. Upon exiting the airport in Punta Cana we were directed to a tour bus that was dedicated to our group of over 40 wedding guests. The bus trip was informational and relaxing, the tour guide taking the time to point out relevant information needed for our stay.
Upon arrival we were directed to reception and while we were unable to check into our rooms, we arrived at 11 am and check in is 3pm, we were given pool towel key cards and wristbands to start enjoying the resort.
Now let me break down the features of this resort:
The lobby is large and airy, and of course comes equipped with over 30 grouped seating areas and a bar. Just off the lobby is the reception, currency exchange and a piano bar. This is a great place to curl up in the morning with an espresso (the bar serves coffee) and read a book. We also met our Transat rep here and we are so happy to have gotten Charleston as our rep. He made sure we were taken care of. He helped organize our excursions and even came on our last day to see us off (he was off this day, so extra awesome).
After check in we went straight to our room and what a great surprise. It was perfect. The large king size bed and a roomy sitting area. Lots of storage, from the three ½ door closet (1/2 because the safe takes up some space) and the three built in drawers. My husband and I had room for everything. I especially liked the shelf located beneath the bathroom counter, this way none of our personal stuff got in the way of the cleaning staff. Our large balcony overlooked the well-kept grounds and view of the pools. Bonus for us, our room was located near the front of the resort (building 7) so we didn’t have far to walk to the restaurants, theatre or lobby. Each night we received turn down service which included: a quick room tidy, empty of the garbage and chocolates/flowers on the bed. NOTE: we never had an issue with water temperature or pressure, we showered many times a day, with no issues.
We didn’t have time to go to all the restaurants, but we love the concept of no reservations (except at Sensai). It was a first come first serve and worked really well. Overall, the food is great here. See my specific reviews by restaurant below:
el Carey & la Tortuga, the main buffet, was surprisingly good. We have stayed in Jamaica, Cuba and DR (Puerto Plata), and this is by far the best buffet. You are greeted upon entrance and if you want, you can be directed to a section, we floated around the first couple of days until landing on once specific server: Richard, who took very good care of us. He ensured we had plenty of coffee and water. Over the course of the week we ate breakfast here every day and each time I was able to have something different. Made to order omelets, freshly prepared French toast/pancakes and the vast array of yogurt, fruit, pastries and meat selection, meant we never had a problem finding something we wanted. For lunch we alternated between the main buffet, the Marina buffet, Burger place and the poolside food service (random food offerings set up by the pools).
Marina Buffet was open for lunch and most dinners (unless reserved for private parties). It served a selection of finger foods and sandwiches, as well as many other buffet items. The staff here were attentive and it is situated right on the beach. Burger place is located just outside of the Marina buffet and serves French fries, hamburgers and hot dogs. Great for kids or a quick bite after coming in from the beach.
Margarita was very good. We both loved our appetizers (mine was the mozzarella and mushrooms) and main courses. The fish and the flank steak tacos are awesome.
IL Mascherati di Venezia was so good, we ate there twice. I had the same thing both visits because it was that good. I had an appetizer of sliced Mozzarella and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and herbs. YUM. Followed by the Chicken parmesan served with mashed potatoes and a tomato risotto, I suggested this to the others we dined with and many chose this dish with favorable reviews.
Steak House was alright. There was nothing really wrong with the steakhouse, through no fault of their own, but how can you really get medium rare from a ¼” thick steak?
Sensai, teppanyaki style, was amazing. We booked two separate parties, our reservation was for 19. They were able to accommodate us and we were so happy they did. Our breakfast server, Richard, was there and he gave us the best service. The show that the chef put on was entertaining and the food was delicious. Make sure you book a reservation here, you won’t be disappointed.
Best for last, Mike’s Coffee, this was by far our favourite place to hang out in between beach, dinner, entertainment and bedtime. We had the great fortune to be served by a wonderful lady, Argentina, she made sure my Caribbean coffee (mucha leche) was perfect EVERY time. There are several comfy chairs and tables, we would often meet up in groups of 2 to 20 in this cozy refuge. Other than coffee, there is a wide selection of frozen drinks, teas and plenty of delectable deserts. Five stars for this place.
The nightly show was OK, it got a bit repetitive with the dancing/music, but still good. I would have liked more audience participation activities, since these parts of the show were the most fun. We didn’t bowl, but did go into the building to see friends, it was clean and bright. There were children playing shuffle board, pool and other games. We did have the opportunity to go the Sports bar, to play pool and grab a late night snacks (steak Panini and fries). The guys played pool and we didn’t get out of there until almost 2am. Fun night.
OK, so I get that the beach isn’t perfect. Lots of weeds, but honestly, once you got out there it wasn’t that bad. The temperature was warm and there was always a place to lay down. The pool however was incredible. Loved the swim up bar, the gradual entry (for us that don’t like the ladder) and the water was perfect.
We went on two excursions that were both a huge success. The first was a cultural tour, for the entire day, our tour guide was so knowledgeable about both the area and the medicinal use for native plants. We toured a local home/farm, cigar maker, sugar cane farm (which came with a great history lesson on Dominican Republic and Hati) and ended with a swim at the best beach. For our second trip, I helped organize a catamaran trip for 41 of us. How awesome is that? We went snorkeling and had a long leisurely swim in a shallow spot located in the ocean. The staff served drinks while we swam, danced on the boat and had a fantastic time.
The best part of this trip was our participation in my friend’s wedding. Rachel and Jon got married on the beach, followed by a private dinner at the Marina and spectacular entertainment. The bride arranged for dancers to show up after dinner and perform for us. It was wonderful. Best destination wedding EVER. The staff here really know how to work with the bride and pull off a seamless wedding party. From the rehearsal to the late night cake by the ocean, we had a blast.
We never felt that a tip was expected. Now saying that, we did recognize some specific tip courtesy: we always left a tip for the maid service in the morning, just a couple of US$. When getting drinks from the bar, we didn’t get just one drink, we would go with an order for several drinks and a small tip and we would take turns getting drink rounds. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, we would tip and tour guides i.e. excursions, would also get a tip, the amount depended on the service received.
OK, so you will have two different camps on this one. 1. You’re on vacation, put your phone away and 2. I want to share everything with everyone. We were in the middle. Having a Facebook group with fellow travelers made getting together so much easier. The internet is good, better in some places i.e. Mikes, but you do have to re-connect often, get over this since you are on vacation.
Richard (breakfast and dinner), Argentina (Mikes), Charleston (best Transat rep ever) and so many others made our stay wonderful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled on the wonderful beaches of Bavaro, and immersed in tropical foliage, close to the White Sands golf course, the Ocean Blue and Sand is an all-inclusive resort featuring suite accommodations, two luxurious pools, casino, spa and fitness center, dive center and an extensive activity program including childrens' and teen mini clubs, to make your stay an unforgettable experience. All-inclusive: Meals, drinks, cocktails and snacks included 24 hours. Some additional services are available at additional charge. Free WiFi available in all the resort areas. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Ocean Blue Punta Cana
- Ocean Blue Hotel Beach
- Ocean Blue Resort Punta Cana
- Ocean Blue Golf Beach Resort Punta Cana
- Ocean Blue Dominican Republic
- Punta Cana Ocean Blue
- Ocean Blue Hotel Punta Cana
- Ocean Blue Resort Dominican Republic