Monday, May 18, 2015

Resort Review: Secrets Royal Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Secrets Royal Beach is an adults only all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic connected to NOW Larmiar - a family all-inclusive resort.. We stayed there for 3 nights in May of 2015.


La Riviera - the Buffet
Seaside Grill - Caribbean inspired
Gohan - Sushi Bar
Oceana - Seafood
Portofino - Italian
Plus a private room called the wine cellar that sits up to sixteen. The restaurants do not require reservations. The buffet is also open for breakfast and lunch. A barbecue lunch is also offered on the beach. The Seaside Grill offers a la carte breakfast and lunch for those in the Preferred Club.  The close proximity to NOW Larimar makes it easy to dine at any of its four a la carte restaurants- French, Pan-Asian, Mexican and Italian. Plus NOW has two additional buffet restaurants.

We ate dinner at Oceana at Secrets and Mercure at NOW. Both restaurants had great service and adequate food. Nothing was bad, but we weren’t wow’d by anything either.  The decoration at both was impressive. Oceana had a great Sea theme that complimented the food. 

Menu at Mercure
Loving dessert at Mercure

Mercure had very elegant decorations to complement its French theme. Both these restaurants were air-conditioned. Neither had windows.

The Beach
Secrets offers two sections of beach - one for preferred club and one for all guests. 

Beach area for all guests LOVE all the shade! 

We didn’t notice a big difference between the sections. Beach service is available. The beach is nice. You can walk a long way as it connects several resorts. The beach is public so vendors did approach us to tell us about their stores down the beach. We didn’t see any vendors carrying goods. When we visited, seaweed was piling up on the beach.
Seaweed on the beach 

 The staff was out every morning with rakes and a wheelbarrow. The ocean also has sea grass as you walk into the ocean.

Secrets offers these great double decker cabanas for rent. One in pictured in the photo at the top of the page.  Anyone can reserve one for the day.  The pricing when we visited was $100 per couple plus $20 per additional person. It comes with two beds - one on top and one under the structure plus chaise charges and a table and chairs for dining. You have butler service plus a bottle of champagne and lunch.

The Pools
Secrets has a two pools: a large main pool connected to the swim up bar and a lazy river pool that winds throughout the property. 

One end of Lazy River Pool with Swim Up Suites 

Main Pool

Chairs can be difficult to find in the afternoon if you want to be around the main pool. We just put our stuff down on the ground to the side and headed to the Swim Up bar.

The Activities
Each day, you receive a schedule with the activities for day. Both the beach area and the pool area have competitions and activities. The activities around the main pool in the afternoon involved chugging a beer two of the three days we were there. For participating in the events, you get Secrets dollars you can use during a souvenir auction at 5 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The mix of people at the resort was young honeymoon couples and then a wide range of ages. In the evening, they had a main show in the plaza. It was quite a production and a lot of fun!

The Rooms

Junior Suite 

Secrets Royal Beach has two categories of rooms: Junior Suite and Master Suite.  Within the junior suite category, the upgrades are based on location and view. The Master Suites are the only rooms with a full ocean front view as they are located on the ends of the buildings closest to the beach. All rooms have a Jacuzzi tub on the balcony or patio. I would classify these as semi-private to everyone in the pool can see my business.
You can also opt for Preferred Club. Preferred Club provides suites in better locations, an upgraded mini-bar and upgraded bath amenities. With Preferred Club, WIFI is also included and you have the ability to have it in your room.

Our Experience in Preferred Club
I chose to upgrade to the preferred club partial ocean view junior suite. The main reason I upgraded but I really wanted to have a la carte breakfast and lunch. The Preferred Club also provides access to a separate pool with a swim up bar with slightly upgraded chaise loungers and a roped off section on the beach. 

WIFI is included with Preferred Club. You request a unique log in and password from the concierge

We tried both the Secrets preferred club restaurant and the NOW preferred club restaurant for breakfast and lunch.
Breakfast - Now Preferred Club has more interesting breakfast entrees than Secrets Preferred Club. Secrets had more standard options like omelets, French toast, and pancakes.

Secrets Preferred Club Breakfast Menu 

Lunch - Secrets Preferred Club had great ceviche! They also offered entrees similar to what you’d find in a restaurant. NOW Preferred Club has more traditional lunch options such as sandwiches and salads.

Pool Service - We had great pool bar service at the Preferred Club. The bar waiter would make a lap around the pool getting everyone’s drink orders then delivering drinks. It took about 45 minutes total. So you would be getting a drink every hour and a half if you ordered and then waited for a drink or every 45 minutes if you ordered when he handed you your drink. We noticed a similar system around the main pool and lazy river pool.  One day they even handed out calamari at the Preferred Club pool. 

The Preferred Club Concierge was helpful answering our questions, arranging a taxi back to the airport and with check out. Bell Services did a great job with luggage and confirming our taxi.

Overall, my husband and I were very impressed with the service at this resort. We look forward to visiting again in the future.

- If you are in a large group, be sure to visit the restaurants right as they open. The restaurants only have a few large tables so this will minimize your wait time.
- The rooms do not come with conditioner so bring your hair care products from home.

- Wine selection is limited to generic white wine, red wine and champagne. 

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Islands Magazine Top Picks for Punta Cana

Islands Magazine named their top picks for Punta Cana:
Best for Couples: Sanctuary Cap Cana
Best for Families: Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana
Best Food and Drink: Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe
Best amenities and activities: Club Med Punta Cana
Best Standard Room: Royal Service Paradisus Palma Real

Excellence, Hard Rock, Melia Caribe and Grand Palladium were runner-ups.

Check out for details