Secrets or Sunscape Resorts

Jul 11th, 2003, 05:05 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 32
Secrets or Sunscape Resorts

Torn between the 2 resorts. We don't mind kids but don't want to be overwhelmed. Sunscape is less expensive but we don't mind paying more money to get more amenities. Seems like Secrets includes more like horseback riding, etc. Want a great beach, good food. Would like opinions from people who have been at either of these resorts. Have researched the "Debbie's Dominican Republic" website and both resorts get great reviews. Just looking for more opinions.
loisagogo is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 08:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 125
Hi There,

We visited Secret Excellence in October and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We booked a package deal through Apple Vacations and found the cost to be a very good value. Having said that, I have to condition it by saying that there are also reasons why vacations in the Dominican are such good deals.

The resort itself is gorgeous, both grounds and buildings. The room we were in was nicely appointed. It was clean and comfortable. The view we had off of our balcony was very nice, although it was out over the flatlands and not the water. The water was way too rough to be able to swim in....we are spoiled by the calm waters in other parts of the caribbean. We were told that other resorts in Punta Cana that were closer to the airport had water that was not quite so rough. Regardless, the beach is really pretty and was mostly unused when we were there. The pools in the resort are very nice and seemed to be where most people spent their afternoons.

There is a wide variety of restaurants in Secrets. We tried all of them and found all to be very average compared to what we normally run into on our island vacations. Food is plentiful and readily available as are drinks.

We opted one morning for the horseback riding. It was very, very nice. Being one that is not particularly fond of horses in the tropics.....the excursion in Punta Cana was very worthwhile. The ride itself last better than two hours and was thoroughly entertaining. The horses were very well cared for (the local rancher?s livelihood depended on the horses ability to perform daily, so they were well taken care of.)

The resort was purchased by Apple Vacations about eighteen months ago and the transition to a more ?Americanized? resort is still in process. While you will find the resort staff very friendly and always with a smile.......that doesn?t translate into getting any type of prompt action when things start to go wrong. In our case it was the trip-long running battle to try to keep the in-room refrigerator stocked as well as the provisions so that we could make coffee every morning. Easier said than done. Also, there are ice making machines everywhere around the resort...however, only a small number of them actually work. There always seemed to be a lack of available ice.....and this when the resort was only partially full.

Here are some other things that we found interesting about Secrets.

- If you like to read, be sure to bring plenty of reading material with you. While the resort map indicates a magazine shop on the grounds and we were directed to the same, the place has neither magazines nor newspapers of any kind. The magazine shop had a rack with about a dozen titles....most of which were in languages other than english. The airport had a similar lack of english reading material available.

- In addition to the stores and boutiques within the resort, even though they will not tell you about it, there are a couple of small shops just off the property along the beach that are run by locals and not affiliated with the resort. These little shops offer a number of interesting souvenirs and also offer a selection of cigars at a much better price than the tobacco shop in the resort. Just beware of the counterfeit cubans that are sold there.

- For those of you heading down from the states.....there is no such thing as mayonnaise in the resort. Try as you might, your only selection of condiments for your sandwiches is mustard or catsup.

- Be sure to bring at least one can of insect repellant. We chose Deep Woods Off and it was a good one. The mosquitos at dusk are simply incredible in the sheer numbers that appear from nowhere. We even had to use the repellant when we were inside the casino in the evening.

- While the food was pretty good...don?t ask too many questions about it. On several occasions, the menu description of the meals did not match the food that was actually served to us. There were a couple of times when some of the items on the plate were not recognizable and our questions as to ?what is this?? got only shrugs from not only the wait staff but also the chefs.....kind of like the ultimate ?mystery? food. Watch your mixed drinks also.....it was the first time I was ever served a bloody mary that was made with a lemon and lime juice base. With certain bartenders it took several tries for them to get the basic drink formulas correct.

Schultz
Schultz is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 12:37 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,334
Schultz was at Secrets...we spent a week at Sunscape in February..because and only for this reason...it is a smaller type resort, not because it has been "americanized'. It seemsApple has another Sunscape resort they are building from scratch..It is no secret that Rod, the District Manager reads all reviews on the internet..and knows complaints and compliments...If you write to me I'l be glad to send you my review and pictures. Would I go back....in a heart beat... They also are "doing over" Casa del Mar in La Romana...a favorite resort of ours...we had been there twice. Many people prefer large spread out resorts....we do not and tend towards smaller facilities. There are things that I appreciated about the "americanizatioN' of these small resorts and other things I didnt' appreciate....like finding it difficult to get native Dominican food when there was a Tex-Mex restaurant there.. I had to admit the food inthe Italian restaurant was to die for..no wrist bands...and when we had a complaint it was taken care of immediately. [email protected]
ParrotMom is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 08:29 AM
  #4  
me
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 231
You may like to check out some other resorts than just those two.Neither of them are the best resorts nor the best value in Punta Cana ,especially Sunscape-every five good reviews you get one horrible !Both have been changing ownerships two (Secretes)three times(Sunscape) ,figured there's something from these hotel locations that not quite make it ?- One is the furthest and has a rough oceanfront , and the other is on the most busy,tacky and seaweeded stretch of beach in PC.Many other nice resorts on very good locations , shop around !Good luck.
me is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 12:46 PM
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ME must be a travel agent...I am not.. but have been a fan of the D.R. for value and friendliness for more years then I would care to remember, we've been to 7 different resorts, one..twice.. so that's 8 times.. and that includes 3 hotels and hoidays in Santo Domingo. I hate it when a person puts down a resort or a cruise when they have never been..or been on a FAM..Yes. there are probably much more $$ resorts like Casa de Campo...I have found my first resoure is Debbie's Dominican and then I read and read and read reviews.. There are some people who are never happy..they drink all those fancy tropical drinks and then wonder why they get the runs.. Don't know where I'm heading the second week in February 2004...most likely the D.R. I'm tired of getting ripped off...Went to an Iberostar in PDC and had the wrost recycled food, horrible entertainment, indifferent staff and I [paid for for off season than I do for "inseason"...in the D.R. Concurred with another vacationer from Georgia..the value in Mexico is definetely not there anymore..
ParrotMom is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 12:57 PM
  #6  
cdt
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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We've been considering a trip to Punta Cana and I have read literally HUNDREDS of reviews at the "debbies" site. I find it interesting that there are some very negative reviews of even the highest rated resorts (5 stars, or 6 apples, or whatever).

I don't know if this is just a reflection of the fact that some people are never satisfied, or the fact that 5-star resorts in the DR really aren't comparable to 5-star resorts elsewhere.

I'm also somewhat skeptical of the theory that people's digestive problems are the result of too much sun and too many pina coladas. I've known plenty of people who had an excess of both in places like Aruba or the VI and didn't wind up with GI problems.


cdt is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 01:47 PM
  #7  
me
 
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To parrotmom :No I'm not a TA , I'm just a traveller who's done a lot of it.I was staying at the Catalonia(next door) while this couple friends of ours stayed at Sunscape ! So...we had very good exchange experiences and visits.I've also been to DR more than a dozen times now,(just PC alone 8 times) including one stay at a friend's vacation home in Santo Domingo.Puerto Plata ,La Romana ,Sosua, Boca Chica...seen them all.I'm just trying to help by offering my opinions of what I know , same thing you're doing I think ?
me is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 05:53 PM
  #8  
 
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My apology.. the Catalonia this year had gone down a star...when we were there and I did love the place except it was so sprawled out. Our TA gave us a room in a building close to the pool and the beach.. it would have been ideal except for the long, long walk to the front.Sunscape and the Apple organization are bringing in an interesting theory of AI resorts..I don't agree with a few of the things they have done...but the fact that their resorts are more compact makes it much more easier to get around (Casa del Mar in La Romana too)..There are two sanitation inspectors on board at Sunscape. and according to the Mgr.. who reads ALL the review on the internet...they have the highest score of any resort in Punta Cana..Bottled water was available everywhere..If you care to read my review please write.. [email protected]. the resort is not perfect in the fact I would have liked more Dominican food and we did have a problem getting our room which ticked me off no end..lol and I would have gladly gone to the Catalonia..We have traveled S, America, Costa Rica, Mexico and find right now..the best for your $$ is the D.R..
ParrotMom is offline  

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