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Gina & Jay, Alabama

Review of Dreams Palm Beach

Posted: August 01 2011
Related Categories: Destinations Dominican Republic Punta Cana Resorts Dreams Reviews

I visited Dreams Palm Beach with my 6 year old son July 10-15, 2011.

Punta Cana Airport

The Punta Cana airport is pretty easy to get in and out.  When you arrive, you’ll be walking down the stairs from the plane and walking on the tarmac to get to the check-in area.  They are fairly organized.  Note that you will need to buy a Tourist card for $10 per person in cash.  They keep the line moving very quickly, so have your cash ready.  Then you go through immigration and get your bags.  Our driver was waiting with a sign and pulled up the car right away.

Dreams provided Amistar for our transfers. They were very good, safe drivers.  Esperanza came along with the driver.  She was great.  She gave us tips while in Punta Cana and also when returning reminders about what we can take through security--don't forget to remove your sunscreen from your carry-on bags, etc. She was also with us during our site inspections and was a great help with Ardan.

When returning, check-in at the airport was pretty easy, but if you get there after a big bus, you may need to wait longer.   Immigration was pretty easy.  The airport is nice and the food court has a number of choices.  Wendy's, Nathans, Sbarro Pizza, sushi, and various quick serve stores. There was a lot of seating. Except for our flight being late, it was pretty easy.  On our second flight into Harrisburg when we were getting off the plane, we asked if Ardan could see the cockpit.  He got to meet the Pilot and Co-pilot.  And he even got to shut off one of the engines.   It was a great experience and a wonderful end to a great trip. 

The Resort

Dreams Palm Beach is in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  It is about 20-25 min from the Punta Cana airport.  The drive from the airport is pretty easy.

The grounds are green and well kept.  There is healthy vegetation all around the resort, so it has a clean refreshing feel.    They keep all areas clean and well-kept.

The Dominican Republic is a Spanish speaking country.  Everyone I interacted with at this resort spoke English fairly well.  Comparing it to Mexico, I’d say they speak a little bit better English in Mexico, but it was never a problem.   

Note that they do not have any elevators.  So, two of the restaurants are not accessible to those in a wheelchair.

The Service

We arrived around 12:30.  We were greeted with cool towels, refreshing drinks and then we were taken to the Preferred Club Lounge.  The check-in at the Preferred Club lounge was easy and comfortable. After check-in and an explanation of the resort, restaurants, and activities, we were shown to our suite.  Remember, typically check-in is not until 3pm, so if you are early and your room isn’t ready, they will store your bags and you can get lunch or head to the pool.

The service was good.  The bar tenders & waiters were friendly.   The bar tenders, waiters, and concierge staff spoke English pretty well.  They were pretty responsive too—I don't recall ever being impatient while waiting for a drink or dinner, etc.  The staff was always polite even when they were busy.   They also tried to take notice of who was next at the bar. I never noticed any favoritism.

The chief concierge, Jose was very attentive. He even got my special beer and coordinated birthday surprises for my son.

The maid service was very good.  We had Rosanna & Johanna and they kept our room clean.  They would watch for us to leave and would take care of our room when they saw we were out.

On Friday, Ardan's Birthday, we were scheduled to leave the resort at 12:00.  Carlos, from the Preferred Club was great.  He asked about a time to get our bags the day before we left.  He was always very friendly and always remembered our names & something about us. 

The Rooms

Preferred Club Honeymoon Suite Jacuzzi Tropical View

We stayed in the Preferred Club Honeymoon Suite Jacuzzi Tropical View, suite 4108.  It was a nice suite.  View the video on our You Tube Channel.  It had a bedroom with King size bed, a separate living room which had a couch, flat screen TV & DVD player, Table & chairs, and 1 ½ baths.  The Master Bath is very large.  It has a large Jacuzzi tub, a walk-in shower with clear glass, and a double vanity.  They brought in a rollaway bed for Ardan.  The rollaway bed was in the living room and it wasn’t in the way.  The bedroom has sliding doors to allow for some privacy.

The patio (or balcony for higher floors) includes a table & 2 chairs and a hammock.  It is a fairly nice size.

We were right next to the Preferred Club, the Preferred Club pool and close to the beach.  We were close to the main pool too.  So the location was convenient.

The room includes 24-hour room service, a coffee maker; a refrigerator stocked with soda (Sprite & Coke), beer (Presidente & Presidente Lite), juice, water; an in-room bar with snacks (Pringles, M&Ms, and Planter’s Cashews) and single serving bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label, Bacardi Gold Rum, and Absolut Vodka.  This is stocked once daily.  They also have an incense burner with incense.

The room also comes with a hair dryer, iron & small ironing table, and an ipod docking station. Amenities that include sunscreen (SPF 15), shampoo, shower gel, and hand lotion. A tooth brush, tooth paste, shower cap, shoe shiner, razor, shaving crème, cotton & Q-Tips, sewing kit, and comb.


Preferred Club

The preferred club service comes with the Preferred Club level rooms.  There are a number of perks (like checking-in at the Preferred Club lounge where they offer you a drink), but the main advantage of the Preferred Club is proximity to the beach and a better view.

The Preferred Club Lounge always has little snacks to eat and a bar.  We would go there after dinner to get desert.  They had a few small finger food type deserts, small appetizers, and sushi.  In the mornings, they had muffins, croissants, and fruit.

Preferred Club Rooms also include free wifi and free use of the Preferred Club computers.

Tipping

Tipping is allowed at this resort, but not required.  I saw many people who did not tip and they got great service.

The Explorer's Club (Kid’s Club)

The first day Ardan tried the kids club was Tues when I did a site inspection of Dream Palm Beach.  They call it an Explorer’s Club and the theme is that the kids are explorers.  The counselors are dressed as Explorers.  The club is for children ages 3-12 years old.  All the staff is Red Cross certified.

After you sign your child in, they give you a cell phone.  You can use this to check-on your child or even see if they want to stay longer without going back to the camp.  By the way, parents are not allowed in the Explorer’s Club—only kids and staff.

That day, they did bungee cord jumping on the beach, went to the pool - baby pool to dive dominos, and then Mario Bros games.

When they did the bungee jumping on the beach, I met them.  The bungee jumping looked like a lot of fun. Ardan was even able to do a flip.   At first it was with the assistance of the Explorer's Club person, but then he was able to do flips on his own.

One night they had a Camp Out on the Beach at 7pm.  They went to the beach, had a bone fire and watched a movie on the screen they had set up on the beach.  They watched Madagascar.  Then they roasted marsh mellows.  One day, they had an Ice Cream Party on the Beach.

They do other activities including Spanish lessons, basketball shooting, croquet, diving for dominos, mini disco, crafts & drawing, and swimming contest.

The staff at the Explorer’s Club was very nice.  They were always very friendly and nice to the kids.  They would try to get all the kids involved.

On Thursday, at 12:00 I took Ardan to the Explorer's Club for a surprise.  Jose, the Chief Concierge set up a birthday surprise at the Explorer's Club. When we arrived, all of the kids were outside and they had a birthday party set up with balloons and cake. 

When we went outside, everyone yelled happy birthday!  Ardan was a little embarrassed, but he liked it.  The song and dancing was led by the entertainment staff.   They are very good and very energetic.  The kids also played musical chairs and then had cake and soda.  The cake was very good.   It was double layer chocolate with chocolate crème in between the layers.  The cake was very moist-excellent quality.

I left Ardan to enjoy the party.  When I went back after lunch, Ardan said he wanted to stay. I came back an hour later and they were in the back of the Explorer's Club playing in the spray park.  I could tell Ardan was having a great time.  All the kids were yelling and laughing. Of course, he told me to come back again in another hour.  When I came back, they said that they were at the beach on the bungee trampoline.  I got there as Ardan was finishing up. 

 

The Food

Most of the food was good at this resort.  They only have 1 buffet restaurant, the World Cafe, the rest are ala carte.  For dinner, the restaurants open at 6pm and close at 10:30 or 11:00 pm.  Reservations are not required at any of the restaurants.  Most of the restaurants required long pants for the men for dinner.

One thing to note, while the resort has been close to 100% full, I’ve never waited more than 5 min for a table.

1.      The World Cafe - local and international food, buffet.  They also have breakfast and lunch as well as dinner.

2.      Portofino - Italian, ala carte.

3.      El Patio - Mexican, ala carte.

4.      Himitsu - Pan-Asian food, ala carte.  They have a hibachi grill.  

5.      Seaside Grill – grilled food ala carte.  This is also open for ala carte breakfast & lunch for Preferred Club guests.

6.      Bordeaux - French food, ala carte.  This is the only adults-only restaurant.

7.      CoCo Cafe - coffee, espresso drinks, and deli snacks & deserts.  Open 7am-10pm.

8.      Barefoot Grill - hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza.

 

The World Cafe

 

This is a buffet restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  For lunch, they had a lot of food to choose from.  They had a hamburger/hot dog station, burrito station, make your own pasta, brick-oven pizza, and rotisserie chicken. The chicken was very good.  I also liked the pasta and the brick oven pizza wasn’t bad.  They have a salad bar, fruit station, Kids' Corner (hot dogs, pasta, and other kid’s food).

 

We ate breakfast and lunch at the World Café.  We only ate dinner here once before Ardan when to the Explorer’s Club Camp Out.  I didn’t eat, but sat with Ardan.  The food was good for a buffet.

 

On our last day, we went to World Café for breakfast.   We made two sandwiches and put them in zip locked bags.  We put them into the frig in the room.  These were great later on when we were on the plane.   They actually held pretty well and tasted good.  I was sorry that I didn't try a sandwich during the week for lunch. They had ham, roast beef, turkey, different cheeses, lettuce, pickles and other condiments.   You could toast them too.

Portofino

We went to Portofino, the Italian Restaurant the 2nd night we were there.

Ardan ordered the Spaghetti Bolognese.  I ordered the Caprese, Minestrone (they also had Cream of Tomato), Lasagna Bolognese, Veal Scaloppini (I couldn’t decide between the Lasagna & Veal, so I ordered ½ portions of both ).

They start you off with Bruschetta which is very good.  It has a strong garlic taste, but I love that.  It also seems as they maybe use balsamic vinegar on it too.  I didn't like the Minestrone (I never do, so I don't know why I keep ordering it thinking it will be different). Anyway, Ardan wanted to try it and he liked it, so I’m thinking it was actually good and I just don’t have a taste for it.  He also liked his spaghetti bolognaise.  I tried it and it was very good.

The veal was very tender, but the dish was somewhat plain.  It wasn't bad, but just not interesting.  As I said though, the veal was tender.  The lasagna was pretty good.  Not like in the US—it was a different style, but not bad.

I also ordered an espresso with Sambuca.  The Sambuca came with 2 coffee beans in it which was pretty cool.

El Patio

We ate at El Patio the 3rd night.  We got there at 6:45 pm and had no wait.  They start you off with Tortilla Chips with 3 salsas - guacamole, chunky tomato (a tiny bit spicy), and green salsa - hot.  Ardan really liked the green salsa.  The chips and salsa were really good. 

I had the Stuffed Chili Pepper appetizer.  It was pretty good and not spicy.  I tried both soups, the Tortilla Soup which was pretty good and the Corn & Chicken Cream Soup which was very good.  For the main course, I ordered Chicken & Beef Fajitas and they were OK.  I also had the Beef Filet which was OK. It was basically flank steak, but it was tender.

At the end of dinner I ordered an espresso with Sambuca.

 

Himitsu

We had dinner at the Japanese hibachi restaurant, Himitsu. They have seatings at 5:30pm, 7:00pm, and 8:30pm. You can also choose to eat a table for ala carte Chinese food.  The show was pretty good and they even got me involved in the show.  He asked me to come up and had me flipping rice around.  Then he had me try to flip a seasoning shaker into my chef's hat.  After 4 tries, I still hadn't got the hang of it.  On the 5th try I gave up after almost shooting it on another guest.  The food was very good. The chicken & steak was tender and favorable. 

After dinner, they brought a cake to us for Ardan’s birthday.  The entire staff sang for him and then he got to blow out the candle.  The cake was a regular cake (not a slice) so we got to share it with the rest of the table.  The cake was very good—moist and tasty.

Bordeaux

Adran  went to the Kid’s camp for Camp Out, so I got to try the adults-only restaurant, Bordeaux.

I had to wait about 5 min but that was only because a large group showed up right before me.   As soon as gave them my info, they were able to seat me.  The other groups ahead of me had 4 or more people.  I got here around 7:45pm. 

The atmosphere was very nice and the service was very good.  While the service across the resort has been pretty good, I'd say the service at this restaurant was top notch.  I was served by the Restaurant Manager.  I think he felt bad because I was eating alone in this romantic restaurant.

I tried two salads.  The Bordeaux signature salad was crisp, fresh, and tasty.  It had lettuce, goat cheese, prunes, and balsamic dressing.  I also tried the Breaded Camembert which was baked breaded cheese, baked apples, and mushrooms. This was also very good.  The Cream of Potato Soup wasn’t bad.

I heard some other people saying that the Lamb Chops Provencal was good, but upon the recommendation of the Restaurant Manager, I got Pork Scaloppini.  These were crispy and tasty.  I also tried the Chicken Breast with Pairs and it was also a good dish.  Note that most of my meals, I tried two different dishes so that I could get a better feel for the food across the board.

I don’t normally have desert, but the manager recommended that I try the Chocolate Truffle.  It was very good and presented well.

To cap it off, I had a single shot of Espresso and Sambuca. The shot of Sambuca had 2 coffee beans in it and the manager lit it on fire.  It was pretty cool.

CoCo Cafe

The CoCo Café is a coffee shop that serves various coffee drinks.  The espresso was pretty good.  They use real espresso machines, not the prepackaged automatic machines.

They also serve various pastries & sandwiches appropriate for the time of day.

By the way, many of the bars have espresso machines.  

Seaside Grill

The Seaside Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  All of them are ala carte.  Breakfast & Lunch are only available for Preferred Club Guests.

We ate at the Seaside Grill the first night we arrived because the dress is casual and we were tired.  We wore shorts and a nice shirt.

They serve soup, appetizers, steak, seafood, and chicken.  Most are grilled. They did have a couple of vegetarian options. They had vegetable soup, vegetable curry, cream of corn soup, grilled vegetables, Soy burger (in addition to the seafood options).

Ardan was so tired that he fell asleep before we even ordered.  I tried the chicken wings (different than in the US, but pretty good - BBQ sauce, not hot, but tender), cream of corn soup (not bad), rib eye.  The rib eye was OK.   I usually eat filet, so maybe I'm not giving it a fair comparison. It came with a baked potato and grilled vegetables.  The grilled vegetables included grilled zucchini, squash, and corn on the cob--all pretty good.

The Barefoot Grill

We only ate at the Barefoot Grill once, when we first got there.  It is right off the main pool on the beach.  They cook hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken.  They also have nachos & cheese.  It is self-serve, but they have drink service.

Room Service

We ordered Room Service the first night because Ardan fell asleep at dinner.  The person who answered the phone spoke pretty good English and repeated our order to make sure it was correct.  We ordered it at 8:40 pm and they said that it would arrive in 30 minutes.  Sure enough, at 9:10 pm, the food arrived and it was as we ordered it.  We ordered the Soup of the Day - chicken vegetable, and Beef Medallions with carrots.  Both were pretty good.  The Beef Medallions were tender.  I wouldn’t say that it was the best steak I had by far, but it was fairly decent.

I also ordered room service the last night.  I ordered ham & cheese sandwiches.  I put this in ziplock bags and put them in the frig.  We took them with us to the airport the next day.

The Beach

The beach and ocean are pretty nice.   The sand is soft and the water is clear.  There is a little bit of floating sea weed, but it wasn't bad at all.  It is very swimmable.  Jose told me that they had some recent storms, so this was unusual. 

They had plenty of beach chairs and various palapas where you could find shade.  There were a few beach beds which were first-come first-serve.

The Pools

They have 3 pools.  The main pool has a swim-up pool bar and they do activities like exercise classes and games.  On our first day, around 3:30 pm, they had a game of water polo going on.  There was an entertainment staff member referring the game.  It looked pretty serious—they even had hats for each team.

Behind the main pool, is another pool that loops around like a lazy river (but doesn’t move).  This pool has what they call an iceberg.  It is a blow up float.  You climb up the side and then can slide down.  It looked fun, but Ardan only climbed up.  He didn’t slide down.  This area also had a volleyball net.

They also have a large baby pool on the end of the river pool.

The 3rd pool is in the Preferred Club pool and is only available to Preferred Club guests.  They have a large hot tub also.  It doesn’t have a swim up pool bar, but there is a bar around the corner and they also have drink service around the pool.

Evening Entertainment

They had a beach party the night we arrived.  They are supposed to have a fire show, but we are tired.  I also saw that they had a movie at one of the pools.  We might catch one another night, but tonight we are tired (got up at 3am), so it is bedtime now….Tomorrow we visit 4 resorts, so I’ll have a lot to report.

After dropping Ardan off, I went to the Manager's Cocktail Party. They had a singer and then a balancing act from Cuba. The balancing act was very good and he did some amazing things.

Most nights, they have a movie on the beach for the kids around 7:30pm. Then, they play a movie for adults around 9:00 or 9:30 pm.  We didn't watch the adult movie, but walked along the beach. 

One night, they had a Magic Show.  The magician was very good.  He knew what he was doing and did a bunch of tricks including elevation, making a live dove disappear, and the box tricks with a woman inside.  All of the tricks were great and entertaining.

Other nightly shows include Night of Stars, Comedy Show & Hypnotist, Western Show, and a Karaoke Show.

Water Sports

Dreams Punta Cana has a number of activities available.  They include hobie cats (little sail boats), wind surfing, kayaks, snorkeling off the beach, and the include an introduction to scuba diving.  They take you in the pool and teach you skills.  Once you finish, you can dive in the ocean (there is an extra charge for this).

Casino

They have a casino on property.  I didn’t go in, but it looked like they had slot machines and tables.  They are open 10am – 1am.   

Spa

The spa was very nice.  I didn’t do a treatment, but I toured it and the facility was nice.  It is a full service spa including hair & nails.

Weddings

While we were there, they had a couple of weddings.  They have a garden gazebo and a beach gazebo.  They can also set up right on the beach.  

Meeting Rooms & Banquet Halls

They have a six flexible meeting rooms.  The large ballroom seats up to 300 guests.

Recommendation

Dreams Palm Beach is a nice resort with well-kept grounds.  The service and food are good.  The Explorer’s Club (kids’ club) is fun for the kids.  The staff is Red Cross trained and they care about the kids.  The nightly entertainment is very good.  The beach is nice and the water clear.  The English of some of the staff is not as good as in Mexico, but it is still good and was never a problem.  

I’d recommend this resort for families that want a nice resort, which is reasonably priced, with good service, and a nice beach.