I’ve never written a hotel review before, but I’m going to try something new!
*Disclaimer: I went on vacation. Nobody paid me to write this. These are my thoughts.
As you know, I spent a week in the Dominican Republic at Breathless Punta Cana. This was our 4th visit to an all-inclusive, and the 3rd time we’ve gone to one of the AM Resorts properties. Overall, we had a great time, but as this is still a very new resort, there is also room for improvement.
LOCATION – About 35-40 minutes from the airport, the resort is not exactly in Punta Cana, but right outside it. I liked how isolated it was – the closest resort was a Dreams, about a half mile walk down the beach from us. However, our room (with an ocean/mountain view) also had a view of a vacant lot next door, which more closely resembled a garbage dump every single day we were there. It was weird. There were also military men with guns roaming it at one point as well, for reasons unknown. We did have fun trying to solve the mystery, though.
View of the mystery lot, in the pouring rain.
STAFF – I couldn’t say enough nice things about the staff. They were nice, accommodating, and extremely helpful. We particularly enjoyed Stephany at check-in, Luis at the Wink bar, and Randy at the buffet.
GROUNDS – So beautiful. So, so beautiful. Well-maintained, and we did see a lot of people out there cutting the lawn and pruning the flowers and such. It was such a nice place.
ROOMS – Our room, while spacious enough for our needs (plus that ocean/mountain view!) was not the best room we’ve ever had. We were missing a shower head, and our room never really got super cold. To the point where we would walk down the hallway and feel other peoples’ A/C and be soooooooo jealous. We’re both very sweaty people, and would have appreciated cooler temps. I would have also liked more outlets in the room.
Looks like our room. Photo from the Breathless website.
DINING – The food was delicious! The only bad meal we had was at the Strip Grill, which is supposed to be a more American-type place. Not awesome food, and we both had stomach problems.
As for the other dining options (names from website, opinions all my own):
Kibbeh (Lebanese) – I don’t know if the food was actually traditional Lebanese, but the beef filet was delicious. I also enjoyed the apple pie for dessert (See what I mean about non-traditional Lebanese?).
Spumante (Italian) – Probably our favorite. We ate there twice. The mushroom risotto was ridiculously good.
So was the tiramisu.
Coco Cafe (Coffee/pastries) – Coffee was good, pastries just so-so. But the space is so cool – looks just like a Starbucks in the USA.
Culinaria (International Specialties) – Food was delicious, and they had a dessert cart. That’s right – dessert. cart.
Bites (Tapas & Small Plates) – We were so excited for the tapas, but when they say tapas, they mean… buffet. WOMP WOMP.
Coquette (French) – Did not try. Looked at the menu and were not impressed.
Spoon (International Buffet) – Ate here every day for lunch and once for breakfast. Food was varied and really good. We loved everything, especially the bread.
The Strip (Gourmet Grilled Specialties) – Not impressed.
Silk City (Pan-Asian) – Did not try. Jakre does not eat Asian food.
Sofrito (Latin Criollo Cuisine) – Did not try. Looked at the menu and were not impressed.
Barefoot Grill (Beachside Grill) – Open only for lunch. The pizza was good, but everything else looked unappetizing.
ALCOHOL – Drink service was very inconsistent. This definitely needs improvement. Sometimes what you got wasn’t necessarily what you ordered – it seemed to depend on who was making it. The same drink came in a different glass, nearly every time. Ordering drinks on the beach or at the pool was an adventure – sometimes they wouldn’t come back, or if they did, they brought you something random. If they even came at all. We found that the best drinks AND the best service were at the Wink lobby bar, where people seemed to know what they were doing.
Solution to bad drink service? Order from all of the waiters so that you have backup.
APP – The resort has an app, which proved to be tremendously helpful. You can order room service and submit a maintenance request (you know, if you’re missing a shower head or something). There is also awesome wifi throughout – I was able to tweet from the beach and stream Netflix in my room.
POOL – There were actually 2 pools, and both had swim-up bars. One pool had a constant DJ and loud music, and the other one was a bit quieter. Because we are secretly geriatrics, we obviously spent all of our time at the quieter pool. Just walking near the other one made the teeth rattle inside my head. As long as there’s booze and a place to sit, it doesn’t matter which pool it is!
Jakre photobombed my pool pic.
OCEAN – The beach was BY FAR my most favorite place at the whole entire resort. Not only did I get engaged there (that didn’t happen until the last day, so my review is unbiased, obviously), but it had plenty of palapas to sit under, and the most amazing breeze. The breeze kept me from getting too hot. There was never not a breeze, which was the best part. I could have sat on that beach forever and for always.
Beach. Picture from the Breathless website.
GYM – The gym was really, really nice. Plenty of treadmills, other cardio equipment, and free weights. Never too crowded. TVs always tuned to ESPN.
My one gripe, and this is my gripe about the resort as a whole – bottles of water were not offered. Only cups from a water cooler. At every other resort we have ever been to, if you asked for water, you got a bottle. Here? You got a cup. And if your service was particularly bad, sometimes your tiny cup of water was warm. To turn this place around, offer bottles of water! It’s so simple, you guys.
ENTERTAINMENT – Easily one of the best parts of the whole experience. In addition to the nightly shows at 9:30pm, they also had games and activities that you could do throughout the day. We aren’t really joiners, so we didn’t participate in any of the contests, but the cocktail class and the horseshoe game DID look like fun. As for the shows, we went to a circus show and a karaoke show, and both were so much fun. We laughed a lot.
The resort also had a (very small) casino, with my favorite slot machine in the whole entire world. There was a sports bar as well, but it turned into a dance club at night. We went there to watch the Tigers game on Sunday night, but left in the 5th inning when the boom boom music became too much to handle.
BOTTOM LINE – While we did have a lot of fun and enjoy this resort, it still needs a little work. We’ve been spoiled by this one, which is the only one we have ever been to that we would actually return to in the future.