Friday, January 8, 2010

RESORT REVIEW: Ocean Blue by H10

Trip Date: June 2005
Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Beach Junkies Rating: (based on 5 stars)
Beach: 5 / Food: 4 / Rooms: 3 / Pools: 5 / Snorkeling: n/a
Bavaro Beach

We stayed at Ocean Blue in Villa 9 from June 26 – July 3, 2005. Our group was 6 people, all couples. We booked with Air Transat and have no complaints. The flight arrived early, customs was a breeze and the bus ride was quick even though we had three stops before us. Check in at the hotel was fast when we arrived at the resort at 6:00 pm.

ROOMS: A few days before we left Toronto, we emailed the resort and requested that we have 3 rooms in the same villa (we originally requested Villa 8), top floor with a king size bed. I was impressed because when we checked in our request was filled. Only one couple in our group had double beds. We requested Villa 8 after reading some of the reviews but Villa 9 is great. We all had pool view rooms and our room, Room 9302 was right at the top of the stairs and had an extremely huge balcony. We managed to fit all 6 of us on the balcony with our chairs. The rooms are large and same with the bathroom. The maids kept it clean and always refilled our fridge with pop and water. Don’t forget when you check in to ask for the remote control if it matters to you. And the safe deposit box is included and it’s a cool little gadget. You set the code up yourself instead of having to carry a key. One thing to not get frazzled over is the water pressure in the washroom; you may find the water pressure low at times for the shower, sink and toilet. And lastly, remember to brush your teeth with bottled water.
view from Villa 9 room 9302

POOL: There are 2 huge pools. Both of them have a swim up bar but the pool closer to the beach is where all the activities happen. Later in the day, it becomes harder to find chairs under an umbrella. The pool closes at 7 pm but at times there are still people swimming. Towels are not hard to come across; we were even able to change them several times a day.

view from Villa 9 room 9302

BEACH: The beach of course is immaculate. From Villa 9, we were close to the pool and also the beach. There are so many chairs on the beach that our group was able to make a shelter to block the sun since the make shift huts do not provide much shade. What I like is that there is even a lady that will come and serve you drinks on the beach even though there are two beach bars located on the left and right side of the beach. As most resorts, there are plenty of water sports you can do. My only small complaint but it doesn’t really matter because in Toronto we can’t even go in the water, is that there was a lot of seaweed in the ocean and on the beach. I know the workers try their best to remove most of it but it didn’t matter to us, we still went in the ocean and coped with it. On the left side when you are facing the ocean is the grill restaurant (you can pick up your food there and eat on the beach) and washrooms and to the right is the towel and sports center.

RESTAURANTS: We followed what most people said on the reviews and avoided the Italian restaurant. We tried the Grill – La Brasa, Dominican – La Casa and Mexican - Margarita. All were wonderful. The Mexican restaurant was so lively with singing and dancing. We booked our time for dinner around 9 pm to avoid the rush. Our group took turns each day to wake up at 8 am to make the reservation. Even though we were in Villa 9, we had to walk over to Villa 8. Not a big deal, it was good exercise since all we do is eat. Mike’s CafĂ© is pretty good. The cheesecake is all right, just remember to get the chocolate one, it’s better than the strawberry one. I am not a coffee drinker but the mochaccino is amazing. And lastly, the Over Time Sports bar, which is open 24 hours, serves the best fries and also a variety of cocktails. It was our favorite spot to hang out at night.

BARS: There are many bars all over the resort and all the bartenders are very friendly. The lobby bar is the busiest one at night. There is a bar at the disco, at Over Time, one at the buffet, 2 beach bars, two pool bars…you will never go thirsty. And for those that like Malibu Rum, don’t be afraid to ask for it with orange or pineapple juice because it’s included. One night, our group wanted to hang out in our balcony so we asked the bar for a bottle of champagne and they gave it to us! Their signature drink is Ocean Blue.

OVERALL: For those that complained about a language barrier at the resort, I don’t speak Spanish but I try when I am there. Be patient and try to explain what you need, the people at the resort will take the time to find out what you are trying to say. Dominicans are a happy bunch and are always smiling and greeting you, you can at least do the same. They are there to make your vacation worthwhile. They all go by Dominican time (slow time) so get use to it and enjoy yourself. When you see a photographer with various animals, do get your picture taken with them, it’s a nice memorabilia to take home. You can pick up the pictures at the photo shop near the lobby. We really did not find use for the little tram that goes around the resort, yes, the resort is big but you can walk to the lobby in 5 mins. I have read a lot of negative reviews about this resort but I must say, I enjoyed myself. I have no complaints because I went there thinking that I get to lie on the beach, eat and drink all day and that I am away from the hustle and bustle of a smoggy Toronto city. What more can you ask for? Click here to view our photos of the resort.

Still not convinced? See what other people think here.

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