I am just back from a trip to the Dominican Republic checking out new hotel options for travelers. One, you should know that the Dominican Republic has a very high rate of vaccinations and still has measures in place to mitigate any Covid infections, as well as freely testing returning guests to the US.
I selected the area of Punta Cana that is washed with both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic, which offers different beach styles in the area. First, I stayed at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, a junior suite style, all-inclusive property for adults only. This is a charming boutique style hotel. A great place for lots of pictures for your social media. It has a tropical vibe with some luxury flare. It is tucked away, but part of the larger Catalonia next door for families, golf and the Pearl Social Beach Club…you can easily dabble in all.
Best was the staff, every and I mean every staff member, greeted you as they passed with a good morning, afternoon or evening, no matter if they were delivering room service, cleaning a pool or trimming a bush on the property. You found yourself smiling and returning the greeting. You really felt welcomed.
I moved on to the new LIVE AQUA Beach Resort. As you walk in there is a very calming feel to the lobby, a marvelous light aroma scent, a welcome drink handed to you and quick flawless check in. This adults-only all-inclusive property may have 350 rooms, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way, it was intimate. I may have shared one of the pools with two other couples at max. Here hospitality again was not just a word, beside the top level service, the greetings were taken up a notch too, when greeting - it was with fist to heart. This may be the rigor for La Coleccion Resorts, I don’t know but it certainly made an impression on me.
From there to The Finest by Excellence, open only one week, but any hiccup was not for a lack of trying. Again and again, staff was quick to acknowledge and attend to needs. The Excellence team will do everything possible to exceed your expectations, excellence is more than a goal. A very sleek design and stunning aesthetics surround guests, creating a perfect picture and unforgettable experience both in your large 800 sq. foot junior suites or beachside.
They do offer two-story rooftop suites with their own plunge pool, or nighttime star gazing from your Bali beds and with 24 room service, is there a reason to leave? Well maybe to enjoy the Excellence Club, where every detail of your stay has been upgraded with seamless perks and over-the-top offerings. A private lounge, pool, beach, and restaurant are available exclusively for Excellence Club guests, while luxe, in-suite offerings such as private check-in, daily in-suite fresh fruits and petit fours, in-suite sparkling wine and fresh flowers. The exclusive intimate Club Lounge was truly an added perk for breakfast, cocktails and dinner.
Then back to the States. The following week I checked in to a well-loved hotel at Universal, Lowe’s Royal Pacific Resort, touted as “Get swept away to a place filled with tropical wonders in the Pacific. A sparkling lagoon-style pool surrounded by a white sand beach and palms invites you to escape.” Besides an “Aloha” at the front desk, not one, I repeat not one employee offered a greeting, or even eye contact during my stay. Over the last 20 years they may have kept the hardware up to snuff, but the software definitely hasn’t kept pace, how disappointing.