Sunday, March 17, 2013

Apple Vacation My Trip to Punta Cana Dreams Resort

Alright,we stayed at Dreams in Punta Cana and got about nine nights for two for 2,400 including flight and then I added 250 for the two of us on an upgrade in room package and use of .  There was one major annoyance.  One of the fans for the A/C had a scratching noise.  I don't know why I didn't call to just have it fixed but I didn't.  That is my fault.  The other small annoyance was they dropped the ball when we first got there.  We had to remind them we had upgraded our package which included express check in and had booked the honeymoon package which included dinner on the beach and spa treatment.

The room was huge but the decor was a little out dated, but expected.  The room included a balcony with an outdoor hot tub, which was cool but not real functional.  The upgraded room came with a butler and refrigerator they restocked daily.  I didn't feel comfortable using the butler so we didn't even use that service, but he was there if we needed him.

Now for tip number 1 always go with the upgrade.  The biggest thing is the upgraded bar and club room. This room allowed you beers other than the standard Presidente offered on the rest of the resort and premium alcohols like Absolut, Johnny Walker, etc...  The rest of the staff in this area speaks perfect English as well.  The bartender also knew how to cure Montezuma's revenge.  It is some liquor from Italy and it has the most horrible taste but it works almost immediately.  It takes about a bottle and half of coke to wash it down.  The club room also was always stocked with some pretty nice snacks.  They rotated them frequently throughout the day.  The biggest thing is that this was the only place on the resort outside your room with A/C.  There is also a private beach area for club members but that is no big deal just more boring.

There were quite a few restaurants many which came with the upgrade.  The main dining place was buffet style.   There was also a seafood restaurant at night.  The other restaurants included a seaside cafe, high end Italian, gourmet Mexican and Sushi place.  Just a warning the Mexican place was awesome but not what you would expect as an American.  Then again everything is like that to an extent.

The resort also has an on site night club and casino but they are small.  Everything on the resort dies down at about 1 AM but you probably won't make it to that point most nights.  I am not sure I was ever up past the time the club and casino closed so I am not sure whether how late they stayed open.  They also have nightly shows which were very impressive.  I was surprised at the entertainment level of these shows.  It was unfortunate that during the circus night we saw one of the guys on stilts take a dive.  He was okay thankfully.  Now truthfully I planned on blowing these shows off but my wife went to one without me and couldn't stop talking about how cool it was. That is how I got sucked in.  Warning they do have shows that involve games with the guests but even those were fun.  There is always the drunk lady that tries to molest one of the locals in front of the entire resort in one of the shows, it's great.

Now for tip number 2.  If you want to hang out with people from where you came meet them on the plane and bus ride to the resort.  That reminds me our bus broke down on the way there, I thought we were going to get robbed but everything turned out okay.  We never saw the people we flew in with after getting to the resort.  It would have been nice to get a little more information about them.

The one tip I wish I could give you is related to tipping.  I know it wasn't necessary but a lot of people still tipped, and I did as well.  For the spa treatment and dinner on the beach I didn't know how much to tip.  I tipped twenty for the dinner on the beach.  Please, let me know how I did.  By the way eating near the ocean is scarier than romantic.  I was constantly thinking what is going to rise up out of there and try to eat me, and my wife agreed so don't act all mature and sophisticated in your comments.

Traveling Abroad Priceline vs Travelocity

I have some really great information to convey about this topic.  I would not have thought that there would be a major difference between travel sites, but  I definitely found out otherwise.  When I travel I am certainly want to get  good deal after all this id what this site is about, but at the same time I am willing to spend extra for a nicer experience.  I a not looking to stay in a five star hotel but I definitely want to book a four star hotel.  Now on to my experience booking trips to Hong Kong.

The first time I went to Hong Kong I booked with Travelocity at a five star hotel.  The second time I went to Hong Kong I booked a four star hotel.  The hotel I booked with Travelocity was located on Hong Kong island and when I booked with Priceline I booked a room in the New Territories close to Kowloon.  The rooms were very close in price and the trips were two years apart.  Enough background information.

When I booked with Travelocity I ended up with an extremely small room with a small bed (barely enough room for my wife and I) and small bathroom.  As for the bathroom it was so bad I literally had to squeeze into the shower (I am 6' 3" and at the time weighed 235 lbs).  The rest of the hotel was very modern but the rest of the hotel was also small.  The lobby, the bar and the hallways even, which were not decorated.  The hotel also lacked amenities like pool, exercise room, restaurants, etc...  Also, be cautious because I upgraded my room package when booking on Travelocity.  

When I booked with Priceline the room was huge it even had a king size bed, which was great.  The bathroom was also large.  There was a bathtub, shower stall and toilet stall each with plenty of room.  The hotel also included a lot of amenities.  There was a spa, outdoor pool, several restaurants and bars, a gift shop and valets.  The lobby was also impressive.  The hotel was also just an escalators ride away from the MTR.

I found out the difference between Priceline and Travelocity was the guarantee.  Priceline is very dedicated to making sure that the star ranking associated with the rooms delivers on a promise of what you will receive.  While things are a lot less certain with Travelocity.  For me it is a big deal that I know what I am getting for my money.  I originally thought that Priceline was more expensive but I found out about some hidden costs with Travelocity.  At the end of the day I don't oppose using Travelocity but be sure to call the hotel and verify what you will be getting when you book lodging overseas.