Submitted on 22-11-2016
So, I have to unfortunately start this review by saying that, although I had a great trip to Punta Cana, I was overall disappointed with Bahia Principe's newest resort, the Luxury Fantasia. This was my second time staying at the Bahia Principe property in Punta Cana. Last year we chose the Esmeralda property for our Christmas vacation. We thought we would try the Fantasia this time for a change of scenery, yet still within the same complex knowing that we would essentially be guaranteeing our...
So, I have to unfortunately start this review by saying that, although I had a great trip to Punta Cana, I was overall disappointed with Bahia Principe's newest resort, the Luxury Fantasia. This was my second time staying at the Bahia Principe property in Punta Cana. Last year we chose the Esmeralda property for our Christmas vacation. We thought we would try the Fantasia this time for a change of scenery, yet still within the same complex knowing that we would essentially be guaranteeing ourselves the overall things that we liked about the Esmeralda property.
In general, the Fantasia is a beautiful property. Everything is brand new, and this is what drew our appeal to it. Knowing that we would essentially be among the first ones staying in our room, we expected it to be exquisite; and, it was. Everything from the furniture, to the decor, to the bedding, to the flat screen TV built into the wall, to the large closet, to the bathroom with a large jacuzzi tub and separate walk-in shower...It was all beautiful. As were the lobby, the bars, the restaurants (including the buffet), and the pool. However, there were a few things we obviously did not enjoy.
First, note that the property is NOT on the beach. It is separated from the beach by the Bahia Esmeralda. This is not necessarily a problem, but it is a good ten minute hike on foot to the beach from the Fantasia. There are free shuttles/trams that run non-stop back and forth, But those were very unreliable, always full, and often we had to wait 15 or more minutes for one to show up.
Second, the Fantasia is geared towards families and there were LOTS of little kids everywhere. This was no problem for us, but if you are looking for a tranquil setting, the Fantasia is NOT for you.
Overall, the SERVICE was spotty at best. We had some excellent encounters with some, and poor ones with others. The wait staff in the lobby bar and by the pool bar were EXCEPTIONAL. They did a great job and were so friendly. As was Victoria at the Concierge desk in the lobby. Anytime we needed anything, she was there to assist us in an instant. Jose at the excursions desk was also very friendly, although he sold us on two excursions that were both sub par at best. (Note to self: You get what you pay for!) However, we had had several shuttle/tram drivers who refused to pick us up or drop us off at our requested stop (even though it was not out of the way by any means), and there was one occasion (in the buffet) where I went to the drink station myself and got my own waters for our table, as the waiter never brought them. Finally, one of my friends in our party was taken advantage of by a man at the front desk. When she checked in a day before us, he offered her an upgrade to a better room for $20 (which she gladly took). However, when we checked in, she noticed that we were in a room identical to hers just a few doors down, and she was not impressed. So, we had to go to the front desk later that day and file a complaint, and the manager informed us that she was not in an upgraded room and that the employee involved would be dealt with. He also refunded her the $20. Also, speaking of service, the free wifi at the property was definitely poor. We kept on getting booted off and having to rejoin all of the time.
As for the FOOD AND DRINKS, we had a good experience in general. I would say that the food was definitely better than what we had at the Esmeralda property (next door) last year. The buffet had lots of selection and the food was generally good if you got to the service at a decent time. (The later it got, the colder, more dried out, and harder the items became). As for the specialty restaurants, we ate at several. Mikado (the Japanese one) was our favorite, and the BBQ buffet restaurant by the beach was also excellent. Le gourmet (the French restaurant) was good, but the portions were tiny. The Mexican restaurant had an amazing appetizer and dessert bar, but the entrees were definitely sub par. (My chicken was dry and barely even edible.) Finally, the Circus restaurant (at the Fantasia) was our least favorite. Everything from the appetizers, to the entrees, to the bread, to the desserts were all quite bad.
Regarding DRINKS, I was VERY IMPRESSED. The bartenders at the Fantasia are AMAZING and the drinks FAR EXCEEDED my expectations. Both the lobby bar and the pool bar served excellent drinks, and even the wine served at dinner was quite good! The resort had by far the best drinks that I have ever had at an all-inclusive resort.
Overall, the Fantasia has LOTS of potential, and is at best a 4 star property (for now). As it had just opened, we were impressed by the newness of it, which ironically also is its downfall at the moment. There are many things that need to be fixed. It rained quite a bit during our stay in the DR, and the caused lots of havoc at the resort. Roofs were leaking, rooms were flooding, and even the lobby became a lake. I'm assuming all of these little things will be fixed over time. The next time I come to Punta Cana I plan on staying at a different property just to try something new all together. I would go back to Fantasia, BUT not until all of the bugs are worked out and the property has had a chance to mature...