from St. Louis, Mo
Submitted on 10-12-2017
Would Return or Recommend: No
We booked this for our 1 year anniversary celebration. My husband and I were travelling alone, so we were considering Breathless and another hotel nearby. The pricing was more or less the same, with relatively comparable amenities. Because we were coming alone, and we enjoy an active, social lifestyle, we decided upon Breathless, knowing we were sacrificing some of the tranquility and relaxation that would have been afforded at the other location. Here are the main portions of our trip that I w...
We booked this for our 1 year anniversary celebration. My husband and I were travelling alone, so we were considering Breathless and another hotel nearby. The pricing was more or less the same, with relatively comparable amenities. Because we were coming alone, and we enjoy an active, social lifestyle, we decided upon Breathless, knowing we were sacrificing some of the tranquility and relaxation that would have been afforded at the other location.<br /><br />Here are the main portions of our trip that I will review:<br /><br />Room: We had read that the rooms were damp and musty. Since we knew we wanted a swim up suite in the Caribbean, we assumed this would be the case. It was. We brought DampRid and some air fresheners, which more or less took care of the problem. It was still a touch damp, but between our air fresheners and the incense in the room, the smells were generally not noticeable. <br /><br />Other than that, the room itself was as advertised. It was clean, well decorated, and physically maintained well. We were in building 4100. <br /><br />Breakfast: There were 2 locations open for breakfast: 1 for the Xhale members, which we were, and one was the general buffet. They are more or less the exact same, with the exception of the Xhale breakfast in Kibbeh included an a la carte menu. The buffet was standard, nothing special, but nothing terrible. The service was abysmal. It was faster for us to walk over to the coffee shop and order our cappuccino than it was to wait to be brought the same cup by the wait staff. My husband ordered pineapple juice, which sometimes came at the very end of our meal, and sometimes never came at all. It became a joke between us who could finish their meal before their drink arrived. However, you can usually get a mimosa at the drop of a hat. Usually. At one point I was finished with my meal, still waiting on my mimosa, and I could see the orange juice and champagne on the servers station 10 feet away. So I got up and served myself. No one seemed to notice, and the mimosa I ordered never came. At one point, the hostess stands were unmanned, and several guests just ended up seating themselves after waiting there for several minutes. <br /><br />Lunch: We went to Sofrito and The Strip. Again, we had issues getting the food we ordered. I ordered 2 starters and a salad, my husband ordered the chicken burger. I had all of my food eaten before his arrived, and I was then served a skirt steak that I did not order. Still no chicken burger. We went back the next day for the spinach cannelloni and a second chance, which I did not particularly care for as it seemed to be made with frozen creamed spinach. After that, it was all room service for us, which was good. The food came within a reasonable time frame, was complete and correct. I don't typically expect much from the lunch menus, and it was much like breakfast: not terrific, but definitely average. <br /><br />Dinner: We dined at The Strip, Sofrito, Coquette, Silk City at the hibachi tables, Silk City for sushi, Culinaria, and the Thursday night Lobster Party. The food was just okay as a whole. We ate everything we were served, but found all but Coquette to be our favorite. We were told to present to the beach at Xhale club for our Lobster dinner, handed over our reservation coupon, and were apparently sat in the Romantic Dinner tables, unbeknownst to us. It wasn't until we asked for a second lobster tail that they realized they had sat us in the wrong area. We were quickly shuffled over to the lobster party, which was comical. We didn't mind, since we still were able to get the all you can eat lobster, but it was a bit of another hiccup. The lobsters are grilled en masse, so don't expect a traditional lobster tail as you would in a restaurant. I don't mind drinking low quality wine, so I ordered the house at several meals. However, it is low quality wine. The red was not as palatable as the white, with an almost cough syrup flavor. So I usually stuck to the white. If you'd like to buy your own bottle you may, to the tune of about 25-30 dollars for an 8 dollar bottle of wine. Even with our coupons, we didn't spend any money on wine we can buy at the gas station at home. Food portions were typical for an all inclusive, relatively small by American standards, which is probably a good thing! <br /><br />Pool/pool bars: The 2 large pools are both beautiful, appear to be well maintained, and always had chairs/rafts available. There is only 1 location where you could pick up towels, so grab one by the restaurants before you head up to the main pool nearest the lobby. The pool staff won't bring you a towel, you must walk up and ask for one yourself. And if you need 2, one for you and for your husband, you must bring your husband. They wouldn't give me a second towel unless he was there with me. The wait staff was always present, but you had to flag them down usually. A couple would walk by and ask if they saw you with an empty drink, but not always. We found the drinks to be pretty tasty: they had enough alcohol in them, but not so much that you felt wasted after 2 of the standard sugary tropical cocktails. If you wanted something stronger, they had a menu of more traditional drinks. My one complaint was that money definitely talked at the swim up bars. There were times when I was standing and waiting, more or less alone, and the bartender would be cleaning/stocking/etc. and would blatantly ignore me unless I was holding money in my hand. If someone came up behind me with money, they would immediately stop what they were doing and take their order, mix their drink, then almost begrudingly take my order. I understand if you want especially fast service or "special" liquors, you need to tip frequently. However, I don't feel it is a good business model to ignore your already paying customers. I would try to order things in Spanish, smile, say por favor, gracias, sometimes make some small talk, all of those things to try and build rapport, but none of that seemed to make a difference, only dollar bills. <br /><br />UVC Club presentation: We agreed to the presentation, partly out of curiosity, and partly for the $100 of leisure cash that we intended to use at the spa. It was longer than advertised (60 min per our initial host and ended up lasting almost 3 hours). They are trained in high pressure sales, and send in 2-3 "closers" once you tell the first person that you are not prepared to drop 15,00 today, and would like to have a copy of the contract you would be signing for our private review before signing anything. They wouldn't give us anything on paper, just verbally, which was our first indication the entire process was not going to be for us. <br /><br />Spa: We had a severely overpriced couples massage. It was $400 for 50 minutes. We booked within the first 24 hours, so we got it down to $200. Plus our leisure cash, it only ended up being $100, which seemed to be closer to the actual value of the massage. It was a standard massage, much like any other spa you would go to. <br /><br />Nightly Entertainment: There is a nightly show each night. Usually the E-Team begins with introductions and the MC trying to hype up the crowd with a few dirty jokes, and some dirty dancing. Aside from the acrobatic show, the shows themselves feel like something I'd see at a high school talent night. It is always the same 6-10 people, who are I'm sure lovely entertainers in their own right, but never seemed to really create a true show. The themes are often loosely followed (the Gatsby Party ended up with the same fire dancing show from the Monday night Beach party... after the first number or 2 the Gatsby theme seemed to be abandoned). And the "Canadian Lingerie Party" was only Canadian insofar as one of the models was wearing a Canadian flag bikini. There was also a US flag, Spain, etc. so I didn't really see the connection with the "Canadian" theme. The "Sensual Party" was so bad many people walked out in the middle. I found the half naked women and men hinting at various sexual encounters and the background graphics much more risque than any music being played at the pool. It would have been nice to see an actual show, potentially with some sort of story line, or creatively used theme... Or even just a more varied dance program. Aside from the costumes, they felt the exact same every single night. There is nothing else to do on the resort at that time of night except watch this show, or eat dinner. I don't even know if the Casino was open yet. <br /><br />E-Team and Entertainment: They provide this thing called an 'Hourglass' daily that supposedly gives you a schedule for the day with the activities, weather, special occassions, and restaurant closings. It is never correct. Literally. Never. The restaurants are generally correct, but we did try to go to Sofrito on a night it was listed open, only to have it closed. That wasn't so bad since The Strip is open right next door, but don't necessarily get your heart set on any specific cuisine on any given night. The pool activities are never correct. We were hoping being a "party resort" the E-Team would be around during the day organizing volleyball games, playing games poolside, etc. We saw 2 mornings where they had Aqua Zumba, and 2 episodes where they were playing what seemed to be an unsafe game where you run across the pool on a bunch of rafts they've stacked together. Other than that, nothing went on at the pool during the day. Apparently music is only played at the main pool closest to the hotel, and they limit what can be played. It is always a mix of house/dance/electronic music during the day, but apparently at one point a DJ was playing an explicit version of a rap song, and a guest complained, so that was the end of the rap music. I find explicit rap music to be much less offensive than the dancing that often happened at the nightly "shows," which wasn't even that offensive either. But it was obviously an adult geared show, with the MC often dropping F-bombs and other curse words. Seemed like a bit of a double standard or splitting hairs, but we just ended up bringing our own little speaker and playing some more popular music either right near our chairs or over by our swim up which we used probably daily. The staff by the Xhale club was very good, she was attentive and frequently made trips around the periphery of the pool. The Hourglass will also tell you they have an 'auction' which you can use 'Breathless Bucks' that you have managed to acquire. This is per the discretion of the E Team. There is usually a planned party between 3-6 at the main pool, and the auction is supposed to occur near the Deep swim up bar near the beach. So if there is a party planned, they will still print that the auction/game/contest is happening, but when you show up, there will not be anyone there. It was frustrating every day looking at all of the fun activities that were supposed to happen, only to be disappointed when those activities we booked this resort specifically looking for weren't really going on. The only activities during the day at the pool were drinking at the aforementioned swim up bars. I didn't understand why the daily schedule wasn't accurate since it was updated every single morning on site. <br /><br />So the worst of it is this: We arrived on Tuesday. The room was set to 21.5 C. By our calculations that is around 71 degrees. Not terrbly hot, but enough that we had to sleep on top of the sheets and still ended up a bit sweaty. We could hear the fan going on the AC, but the air coming out was definitely not cool. We had the door closed, because if you have the door open the AC automatically kicks off. The first night we figured it was just because the room hadn't been used all day, so perhaps the AC just needed some time to catch up. We mentioned it to our private host Wednesday morning, and he assured us someone would come check the AC right away. Nothing happened Wednesday. Thursday comes... Then we met with the UVC staff, both of which we told our room seemed to be quite warm, even though the AC appeared to be working, but was just not allowing us to go below 21.5. While up in the lobby booking hibachi restaurant times either Thursday evening or Friday morning, the guest services concierge asked us how our room was, and we again told him it was quite warm, and no one had thus far been by to check it. This was when our room also stopped getting cleaned on a consistent basis, and I took post-cleaning pictures to show them. He again assured us that the room needed to be comfortable, and promptly picked up the phone to apparently call someone. We came back to the main lobby the next day/later that afternoon, so now Friday evening, and told a 2nd guest services concierge that it was still quite hot. Again she assured us it would be taken care of. Finally on Saturday, when we returned from dinner I had had enough. I went over to the Xhale club, and spoke with another woman who told us someone would be by within the half hour. As it was around 10:45pm, they closed at 11:00pm, so when I walked over at 11:20, the men inside wouldn't open the door to talk to me, saying they were closed. I called the front desk and asked to be transferred to the woman I just spoke with, and was hung up on. So now it's 11:40pm, and I'm in my pajamas ready to go to bed. So I walk up the 300yards or so to find the night manager in the main lobby by the nightclub. I told him I wasn't leaving the lobby until someone came to our room to look at the AC. He offered me another room, which I wasn't taking 4 days in and at 11:30pm at night, when no one had bothered to come to our room and even see what was going on. I was driven back to my room in a golf cart with 2 maintenance men, who found that half our AC vents were blocked, and once he fixed those.... cold air. My husband also figured out how to outsmart the wall unit, and by that evening we had a lovely 68 degree room. I addressed the room cleaning situation again with him that evening, which lasted all of 1 day until we were not being cleaned, not being restocked. We had to ask for new towels, new toiletries such as shampoo or conditioner. Or we'd just go steal them from the housekeeping cart like I do at the Holiday Inn. <br /><br />Most of the small things I could overlook if they were isolated incidents. I don't think they have a "anything to make the guest happy" mentality, even if that thing is "come check the AC." <br /><br />I have personally been to 5 star all inclusives in Mexico three times, Jamaica three times, and now DR once. We will not be returning the Breathless, would seriously consider avoiding AMResorts altogether, and would be hardpressed to go back to D.R. at all. To say this was 5 stars is unfair to the true 5 star resorts out there. I would say it's probably closer to a 4 star, and very inconsistent across the board, as others had vastly different experiences than we did.