Punta Cana Feature

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New and Noteworthy Resorts

Two major resorts were in various stages of completion as this book was being written.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. Hard Rock's first all-inclusive property has its own unique identity, different from any other Domincan resort, and themed like its cafes. When you enter the grand lobby and see the larger-than-life displays of music memorabilia, you may be left gawking. The oversized rooms and suites are deluxe, but you need to decide if you’d prefer to be where the action is—closer to reception, restaurants, and the casino—or would have a waterfront rock star suite overlooking the Caribbean. Because of its size you have to be shuttled from the beach or to the lobby, and transportation waits can be long. Overall food is good (when the resort is not sold out); the buffet, even offers grazing portions of appetizers, soups, and desserts. The newest and most upscale Simon’s Mansion rocks! (.) This 121-acre property has one of the Caribbean’s largest casinos. And then there's the Rock Spa, a 68,000-square-foot, bi-level facility. Despite its size, the hotel, particularly its sensual suites, can be romantic. Pros: there is a large fun quotient here; mostly good service, particularly wait staff; variety and quality of the cuisine. Cons: complaints balloon when the resort is overly full particularly on long Dominican weekends and traditional holidays, like Christmas; some maintenance needed due to high occupancy; doesn't have a Caribbean feel except at the beach which has a bad undertow; not for those who prefer a boutique property. Blvd. Turístico del Este 74, Km 28, Playa Macao. 809/687–0000. www.hardrockhotels.com. 1,787 rooms. In-room: a/c, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center. All-inclusive.

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