Barcelo Premium Punta Cana

We had the pleasure of staying at the all-inclusive Barcelo Premium Punta Cana (formerly Breezes).  The resort is just 25 minutes from the Punta Cana Airport (PUJ) and offers an American standard of comfort with a European touch in the service.  The public areas are attractive and clean. There is an abundance of lovely, well-manicured gardens.  The dining, activity, and public venues are close together and are easily accessible for the physically challenged. 

There are four connected low-rise towers set near the beach in this S-shape family-oriented resort with 587 standard rooms, 155 oceanview rooms and 53 suites.  The lobby, shopping area, and restaurants are in the center. The standard rooms are more than adequate for two people with adjacent room accommodations available for families with children.   We stayed in a deluxe (newly refurbished) room on the fourth floor and enjoyed the ocean and pool view from our balcony.  The downside of the top floor rooms, however, is that you can hear everything that is being said next door, a big plus only if your family or friends are in the adjoining room.  The room had bathrobes and an easy-to-use new safe.

There are three room categories – book a Club level suite if you can – and it’s the luck of the draw as to how close or far you are from the action in the plaza, the two main pools or the dining venues. All of the suites were booked throughout our stay so we cannot comment on them.  The Concierge Lounge and service staff for the Club level is outstanding offering an open bar with top-shelf liquor, fresh hors d’Oeuvres from morning until night and complimentary wi-fi internet access.

Beach and Pools
Situated on Bavaro’s beautiful long, clean, wide beach with powder white sand, a few palm trees and “palapas” for shade,  the resort has more than enough lounge chairs both on the beach and at the two pools.  There was a problem, however, finding space for my family in the shade on the beach.  Lounges in the prime shady locations were reserved by guests as early as 5:00am so you have to stake your claim early.

With a barrier coral reef and with the gentle surf, there were good snorkeling experiences from the beach.  There is a dive shop on the beach with many water activities available including: SCUBA lessons, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing.  There are no itinerant vendors on the beach to bother the guests.  Jetski rental and parasailing is offered at your own risk. 

There is an adult pool, a family pool and a new shallow wading pool with terrific waterslides and sculptures for climbing and fun for children of all ages.

There is an enthusiastic group of social coordinators organizing daily activities including a terrific circus trapeze, trampoline lessons, a rock-climbing wall, beach and pool volleyball, water aerobics, and group games.  The Kids’ Club is a supervised program and babysitting is available in the evening.

The small full-service spa has an adequate fitness center, a good Jacuzzi and a sauna.  The big theater has seats for everyone and offers nightly local entertainment with lots of involvement of the staff and guests.  There is a sports bar with internet access for a very reasonable charge, a small casino with humorless dealers, and a kickin’ disco.

The quality and variety of the ala carte restaurants is better than we expected. The small open-air “Alcazar Buffet” offers good but boring food for all three meals.  The Alcazar is not well lit, the traffic pattern is a bit chaotic when full, but the service staff is very friendly and anxious to please.  We predict that this main buffet will be upgraded in the near future.  NOTE: Get used to Nescafe if you require decaffeinated coffee – they do not brew it. 

Use one of the six excellent ala carte specialty restaurants for dinner.  Five of the six require reservations each day for only that day and you can go as many nights as there are tables available.  The Japanese themed Tokio is teppanyaki style, El Mirador is Tex-Mex, the El Marlin is the Grilled Fish and Steakhouse, Roma has outstanding Italian menu, and El Cornucu serves authentic Dominican style.  Our favorite dining spot was Paris, the air-conditioned, refined French dining experience.  It is a bit small and is usually the first of the dinner venues to book full. 

Liquid Refreshment
There are bars everywhere, seven in total, including a swim-up bar at the beautiful adult pool.  All serve local beer, blended drinks and house brand spirits with friendly bar staff.  Every room has a refrigerated minibar restocked daily with bottled water, soda, and beer.  Unlimited bottled water is available throughout the resort.

This resort is part of the Barcelo chain of hotels worldwide and every attempt is made to satisfy guests’ needs.  The management staff is excellent and we will be recommending it highly to clients of our travel agencies who are looking for a great value in a quality Caribbean all-inclusive family resort.

Sue and Marv Weber, owner/mgrs