from St. Catharines, Canada
Submitted on 01-17-2017
I visited this resort with my spouse (both early 30‚??s) and another married couple (mid 40‚??s) from Dec 4-11. This was my first time in the Dominican Republic, though I have travelled a lot to Cuba, as well as Antigua over the past few years. I was personally looking for a sunny location to celebrate my 32 birthday that was more R&R focused, and I definitely found that at Viva Wyndham. The resort was full all week, but never felt crowded. We had no issues getting loungers, or tables for dinner...
I visited this resort with my spouse (both early 30‚??s) and another married couple (mid 40‚??s) from Dec 4-11. This was my first time in the Dominican Republic, though I have travelled a lot to Cuba, as well as Antigua over the past few years. I was personally looking for a sunny location to celebrate my 32 birthday that was more R&R focused, and I definitely found that at Viva Wyndham. The resort was full all week, but never felt crowded. We had no issues getting loungers, or tables for dinner. The place I felt they were lacking is that there is only 1 bar open at any given time‚?¶ Beach bar in the daytime, and lobby/lounge bar after 6PM. Some days we had amazing drink service from the waitresses, and other days we didn‚??t see a waitress for hours. We did have a few issues mostly at the start of the week, so I would rate this resort a 4.5 star if it were possible to give half stars.
We did Air Canada Rouge and purchased the extra legroom seats in the ‚??preferred‚?? section. This plane only had 8 ‚??preferred‚?? seats in total due to the business class. You also get nothing extra for your $100/pp (return) price tag... Very little extra legroom, no ‚??preferred‚?? check-in line, no use of the lavatory at the front of the plane due to business class, and as an added bonus, you get bumped into by flight attendants constantly due to them not being able to see through the curtain partition. The ‚??preferred‚?? row is called ‚??Row 12‚?? but it is actually 5 rows from the front‚?¶. Not ideal to get to the lavatory behind Row 30. Anyway, the flight down was fine until we were landing in Samana. The pilot aborted the landing (due to a miscommunication with ground air traffic control) about 50 ft from the ground‚?¶ pretty terrifying. On the way back, we had to circle the airport for nearly 1 hour and spend another 30 mins taxiing around snowplows. Needless to say, we were late. Air Canada Rouge also has no entertainment (other than an app you have to already have downloaded on your own tablet and/or rent one of their ipads for $10), and overpriced, tasteless food. I try to use other tour operators other than Air Canada Vacations whenever possible, but this time it was the only thing available.
Airport Shuttle/Check In:
The shuttle from the airport to the resort is only about 25 mins. It was not a private bus though so we ended up mixed with guests going to a family friendly resort down the road. Not a big deal since it was only 25 mins, just bear in mind that your ‚??adults only‚?? experience doesn‚??t start until you arrive at Viva Wyndham. We arrived around 6pm and check in wasn‚??t very well organized. There were only about 6 or 7 couples, but the guy at our desk was having trouble keeping things straight. He almost gave us someone else‚??s keys, nearly forgot my husband‚??s bracelet, and handed us a map. No explanation about anything else at all. We didn‚??t know this place had a spa until the day we were leaving since no one mentioned it, and it‚??s tucked behind the resort out of view. They told us to leave our luggage for the bell boys, but the resort is so small that we decided to take our own bags to our room. Since we booked a ‚??Vibe‚?? room (own pool), we also knew it would be on the bottom floor so no big deal.
We booked a Vibe room, as did our travelling companions, which came with its own plunge pool. It didn‚??t cost that much extra, and we used it a few times during the evenings. Worth it in my opinion for the negligible upgrade price. I think it was only about $200 extra for the week. Our safe didn‚??t work. It appeared that the previous guests had shut it and the resort hadn‚??t unlocked it for us. I called down about 20 mins after we checked in to have it opened, the front desk said they would send someone but we just gave up waiting after 30 mins, asked again the next morning‚?¶ still didn‚??t send anyone. Not a great first impression for people just arriving. I didn‚??t feel unsafe leaving stuff in my room, but it‚??s dumb to leave several hundred dollars in the room so I ended up carrying our cash with me for the whole week. The room itself is small, but new and modern. We got used to the mildew smell after the first night which is all too common near the coast. They definitely need to figure out how to get 2 suitcase stands in each room‚?¶ 1 obviously isn‚??t enough for 2 people. There were approx. 10 hangers in the closet, an iron, and ironing board. There was a clock radio and flat screen TV in each room. Though there were a lot of channels, the only ones that were in English were a CBS feed from Miami, and CNN. There is also no way to hook up your tablet or USB to the TV since you only have the cable box remote, not the actual TV remote. I don‚??t watch a lot of TV on vacation, but it‚??s nice to relax first thing in the morning and put something on in the back ground. The bathroom was small, but it had everything we needed including toiletries and a hair dryer. I always had hot water and good water pressure when I needed it. There was a mini fridge in the room that was supposed to have 2 beers, 2 pops and 2 waters in it but even after tipping the guy, we rarely got that. The maid was good. She kept the room pretty clean, always gave us clean towels, and made the bed. I don‚??t think any of them clean the floors regularly as they always were gritty/sandy. Smoking is not allowed in the room, but is fine on the patio. I rarely heard anyone in the rooms next door so I assume the walls are pretty soundproof.
Small, well thought out, and beautiful. The pool and beach area are visible from each room as they all face the pool in the center of the resort. Due to the erosion and palm trees at the beach, most rooms aren‚??t going to have an oceanview, though it‚??s possible that some third floor rooms would have a partial view. This is a great place to go if you have mobility issues as everything is within a stone‚??s throw from everything else. All their finishing and d√©cor items are very trendy, modern and sustainable. A lot of repurposed items used as light fixtures (pails, mason jars, etc), live edge wood tables and shelves, hand painted tiles. Please please please watch your step when it‚??s wet out. The tiles, though beautiful, are extremely slippery and not just beside the pool. They should put some thought into texturizing their floors at some point. There were wet floor signs everywhere, but not even those could prepare you for how slippery it was actually going to be. There is a spa apparently that we accidentally found on our last day which is too bad. I didn‚??t use the gym, but there was one. The day we were leaving, there were people moving props and costumes into the theater. There were no shows when we were there, because they were repairing (building?) the theater area. There was basically nothing to do at night‚?¶ low energy lounge singing for a few hours before the disco started up at 10ish. Disco closes at 1 at the latest along with the lobby bar. We did not realize that there wasn‚??t a 24 hour bar until we tried to get some drinks to have in our pool at 12:15 the one night. They had closed the bar early so we were S.O.L., hence why I am warning you now. There was a store in the lobby that sold pretty much everything you would need‚?¶. for 3 times the price you would pay for it in Canada with the exception of Cigarettes, but even those were $7USD. They also had the smallest selection of booze I have ever seen. I am used to a wall of rum in Cuba‚?¶ but this is not Cuba, and Dominican rum is terrible. I am a magnet for bug bites and although they spray twice a day for bugs, I still came home looking like a connect-the-dots puzzle even with wearing bug spray daily. I don‚??t know how you could possibly do anything about this so it‚??s more of a warning to those of you who have this issue. The public restrooms are all really nice , new and clean. Make sure you check for TP before you use them though, the ones in the lobby ran out pretty often.
Most of the staff were great. At the very least, they tried hard to help you. I have never been to a resort that had such a language barrier though. They tried their best, but it was very hard for us to understand each other. The animation team was pretty multilingual for the most part, along with a few bar tenders and wait staff. A couple of the girls on the animation team were on 6 month work permits from other countries and were fluent in several languages; Liesbeth (Belgium) and Lavenia (Switzerland). They are both really high energy and always want to chat and make sure you are having a great time. They were great at bridging the language gap which made it possible for everyone to communicate, joke around and have a good time. Adolfo took my husband and friend out in the catamaran which they loved, and we all had a great time laughing and dancing with Luz, Jennifer, Chocolate, and Carlos. The animation team are all HUGE assets to this resort. Tipping was appreciated, but didn‚??t seem to sway service one way or the other.
The food was great everywhere we went. I‚??m not much of a breakfast person, but they had a great selection of fruits and yogurts that got the job done. My husband was getting omelets and noticed that they hide the bacon with the omelet guy. I assume this is because people are wasteful, and bacon is expensive. In any event, they do have bacon, you just have to ask. They also had pancakes, French toast, etc. Pretty much anything you could think of. You have 2 options for lunch‚?¶ Buffet, or Beach Restaurant. The beach restaurant is a small buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs and pizzas. The main buffet had more of a spread. Both were great depending on what you wanted to eat. For dinner you have 4 choices; Buffet, Mediterranean, Seafood, or Fusion. The buffet was always good and easy. Though we did really enjoy the Mediterranean, it‚??s more of an experience. The food is great, but it takes a while to get through all the courses. Our new friend Santos works at this one. He was so accommodating, and although he didn‚??t speak a lot of English, he went out of his way to make sure we were getting what we ordered. Just an awesome guy. Our friends went to the Fusion restaurant, and said it was good. We never made it to the Seafood as 3 of us don‚??t eat seafood. As a side note, the hot food was always hot, and the cold food was always cold.
Kind of lacking in this department. There is only 2 bars on the resort and they are not open at the same time. The one in the lobby opens in the evenings (only until 1am) and the beach bar (which doubles as the pool bar) is open from 8am(maybe)- 6pm). They have wait staff that takes orders and brings you drinks, but they only have 1 for the whole pool, and 1 for the whole beach so it can be pretty infrequent. Generally I don‚??t care, because I have no issues walking 15 steps to get myself a drink, but I don‚??t love waiting in lines on vacation. It‚??s not like it was a long wait or anything, but I specifically pick small places so I don‚??t have to wait in lines. I also believe some of the drinks I had were not full strength. Somedays it felt like I drank 12 draught beers and just felt bloated, then the next day I drank 3 bottled beers and was half snapped. Also, sometimes my champagne tasted watered down compared to when I watched them open a new bottle. I don‚??t know for sure, just an observation. The drink menu was pretty inclusive, and they had some Canadian brands. They seemed to prefer to use the cheap stuff unless you specifically asked for the ‚??good stuff.‚??
The pool was nice, though I found it a bit on the cold side. They kept it really clean and in good repair. There is no swim up bar which I didn‚??t think I would miss, but I did. At the very least they should have a small tiki bar or something so people don‚??t have to go to the beach bar for drinks during the day. There were tons of loungers as well as several Bali beds and small huts. The beds and huts were first come, first serve unlike the beach where you have to rent them for the day. Some of the beds were broken and saggy probably from abuse from the guests. They did not pull out the mattresses for the loungers all week, so they weren‚??t overly comfortable to lie on. I saw the lounger pads in a lot of pics and reviews on here, so I am not sure what happened to them? Most guests seemed to be pretty good with not ‚??reserving‚?? chairs they weren‚??t using. We always found 4 loungers together at the pool or beach no matter when we went. The towel exchange in the front lobby was always good. They never seemed to run out of beach towels, and you could have as many as you wanted. The pool deck is RIDICULOUSLY slippery when wet (which is always.) If they don‚??t do something about this, someone is going to get seriously injured. I wish they had a hot tub in the pool area. There is tons of extra space to the one side of the pool which they could expand into. The first few days we were there they had no music playing, other than when they had aqua gym at 10am, however they started some zen type music later on in the week. It was fine, but kind of boring.
Amazing. There were lots of loungers and natural palm trees for shade. The sand isn‚??t exactly ‚??white‚?? but was still very soft. The staff did a great job clearing the garbage and seaweed that was washing up. We had a few days that were windier than others which churned up the sea leading to more garbage than usual, but the workers tried to keep up with it. The waves and undertow were a little much some of the days so you have to be careful. Made for some fun boogie boarding and water sports, but you could easily get swept away if you aren‚??t careful. They had a lot of different options for water sports; boogie boards, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, etc, as well as a beach volleyball court‚?¶lots of options for activities if you wanted to participate. The beach bar was nice, but there were a lot of bees swarming the bottles, so be careful if you have a bee allergy. There are Bali beds on the beach which were available for rent at $60USD per day. We opted to rent one on my birthday and though we enjoyed it, I don‚??t know if it‚??s worth it. It comes with 1 bottle of champagne, and 2 coconut drinks, and ‚??personalized service.‚?? I am not sure exactly what the personalized service means as the drink service was still really spotty at best, however, they did deliver us some pizzas from the beach restaurant to our bali bed. We just did it as something special for my birthday, but I definitely would not have paid for that on a regular day.
Odds and Ends:
The ‚??orange juice‚?? is terrible. It‚??s more like a watered down orange drink like the stuff you used to be able to buy at McDonalds.
The espresso machine in the room only has 1 capsule with it and it‚??s only 1 time use. I have no idea why they thought this was a good idea as people generally travel in pairs.
If you hang up your towels on the hooks, they will not be replaced. There is an explanation card in your bathroom that if you want new towels, you leave the used ones on the floor.
If you are a night hawk, plan accordingly as there is no bar open after 1am (at the latest.)
The disco is ok, but you have to request songs or they will play all Spanish music you probably won‚??t recognize.
This resort is geared towards R&R which is exactly what I needed. There is not a whole lot to do especially at night. If you are looking for a party place, this is not the resort for you.
There was a really wide age range when we were there. We made friends with people in their early 20‚??s right up to 70‚??s-80‚??s. You will definitely see people your age here, however the majority of them will be speaking French.
Try to learn a few Spanish words and/or familiarize yourself with the Google translate app on your phone if you have any dietary restrictions or special requests. They want to please you, but they can‚??t understand you.
The wifi was strong and reliable in all areas, though there are 2 different connections. The one that you use in the room will not be strong at the beach and vice versa.
Some of the wiring around the resort (outdoor) is shoddy at best and is probably why the power goes out for a few minutes every time it rains. It didn‚??t rain much while we were there, but we lost power literally every time it rained for 1-5 minutes.
Tips for the maids should be left on your pillow and anything else you leave on your bed might be considered a tip.
Bring the correct denominations of money you think you will need. They ran out of money at the ‚??bank‚?? literally every day. They prefer USD and DOP but if you bring a whole wad of US $20‚??s, you will not be able to get change. Ensure you bring a good amount of 1‚??s and 5‚??s for tipping.