Right on busy and beautiful Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana
All-inclusive property with kid-friendly features like a kids' club
Three freshwater pools including an oceanfront zero-entry option
Free water sports including kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and Hobie Cat catamarans
Air-conditioned rooms with king or double beds, flat-screen TVs, and balconies
Multiple restaurants in all-inclusive packages, including buffet and Mexican options
Central location that’s walkable to nearby bars, restaurants, and a casino
Nightly entertainment and activities every day
Spa with garden views for massages and treatments
Fitness center with weights and cardio equipment, plus tennis courts
Free internet for pricey Royal Level upgraded room categories only
Limited hours to make reservations at a la carte restaurants
Buffet menu doesn’t change enough and food can get monotonous
Drinks and food only get mediocre reviews from previous guests
Hard-to-avoid timeshare salespeople
No umbrellas on the beach or surrounding the pool
Pricey fee for internet access
Occidental Punta Cana is a three-and-a-half-pearl all-inclusive resort with a gorgeous setting along Bavaro Beach. Its 860 simple, but modern, rooms feature air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and rainfall showers. Unfortunately, there's no beach service (or free Wi-Fi) unless you're a Royal Level guest. Given the property's sprawling size, amenities are predictably numerous. Three freshwater pools have abundant poolside seating, while the zero-entry pool features ocean views. Occidental’s seven sit-down restaurants and four quick-bite eateries offer cuisines ranging from Asian to Italian. They get mixed reviews and reservations are required at some; drinks are also underwhelming according to previous guests. Other amenities include a spa, kids' club, gym, and tennis. For something even better for kids, check out Memories Splash Punta Cana, which has a water park, but isn't on the beach.
Beachy resort with low-key style that's slightly tired; draws families and partiers alike
Occidental Punta Cana was originally constructed in 2001 but recently completed a renovation in late 2016. Today, the whitewashed two- and three-story structures are surrounded by lawns, lush hedges, and tall palm trees. Interiors are simple and unmemorable, starting with the large lobby, where velvet couches sit next to live-edge tables atop marble floors. Elsewhere, while the style is modern, some spots are already starting to look a little worn (the spa, in particular, is a bit tired). Despite these stylistic shortcomings, the resort's relatively low rates and beachfront setting do keep it busy. While we wouldn’t call Occidental Punta Cana a party resort, the music bumps and booze flows freely around ambling, main pool, while entertainment takes place in the theater at night. Families are also frequent guests here, particularly during holidays, so prepare yourself for large packs of kids depending on the time of year. Most guests here are visiting from Russia and Canada. Keep in mind that the resort also operates as a timeshare community, and you should be expect sales pitches (even while relaxing on the beach).
On Bavaro Beach, amid the area's restaurants, bars, and casinos
This resort sits right on Bavaro Beach -- Punta Cana's most popular stretch of sand that buzzes with activity all day. This is prime Punta Cana real estate, and bars, shops, restaurants serving local cuisine, and casinos are all within a five- to 10-minute walk of the resort. For a golf course with breathtaking oceanfront greens, there’s a Jack Nicklaus-designed course a 35-minute drive from the resort, though there are closer options as well. Coco Bongo, the famous Caribbean nightclub with epic Las-Vegas style shows, is 10 to 15 minutes away by car. Adrenaline junkies can get their fix at a nearby adventure park that has zip lines, horseback riding, a paintball field, and a short bungee jump (a 20-minute drive away). It's a 25-minute drive to Punta Cana International Airport, while the capital -- Santo Domingo -- is two and a half hours away by car.
Simple and modern, with flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and balconies -- some featuring ocean views
Rooms have an inoffensive, anonymously modern style that consists of abundant hardwood accents, gray fabrics and neutral hues, and just a few pieces of tropical wall art. Beds are a mix of one king or two doubles framed by plush hardwood headboards, while low-slung couches provide seating. All rooms have either pool, garden, or ocean-view outdoor spaces with wicker-resin chairs and tables. Ground-floor units add two lounge chairs. Pricier rooms are available with whirlpool tubs on the balconies. Tech amenities include flat-screen TVs with cable channels, USB wall plugs, and Bluetooth-enabled iPod docks. Unfortunately, you'll have to pay for Wi-Fi unless you've opted for a Royal Level upgrade. Minibars are stocked with soda, water, and beer, and all rooms include coffeemakers, safes, irons, and ironing boards. The resort’s Euro-styled bathrooms are fully tiled, with marble vanities, recessed lighting, and rainfall showers. The showers could be better designed as water often soaks the bathroom floor's despite glass walls. Showers have built-in dispensers for shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Pricier Royal Level rooms have extra amenities like room service, free Wi-Fi, and access to private Royal Level dining.
Gorgeous sandy beach, three pools, free water sports, 11 restaurants, entertainment, and kid-friendly features
Like many other massive resorts in this part of the D.R., there are a number of features on offer here. The main draw is the wide, sandy beach, which is lined with lounge chairs and palm trees. However, there are no umbrellas or cabanas, putting shade at a premium. Keep in mind that unless you've paid for Royal Level upgrades, you won't get beachside food and drink service. The Royal Level section of the beach is also the only part with sunshades. Like all of Punta Cana's shores, the beach is public and vendors patrol the sand. The resort does a decent job keeping them away, but be prepared for beach hustlers. Free non-motorized water sports include kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and Hobie Cat catamarans. The resort’s three pools are surrounded by lounge chairs and include an oceanfront zero-entry pool and a huge party pool with swim-up pool bar and cold-water whirlpools. The third pool -- the most relaxed of the three -- is long and narrow and includes a small children’s pool. An aquatic wheelchair is available to borrow for guests with accessibility needs.
Food options abound at Occidental Punta Cana, but reservations are required for dinners at the a la carte eateries. Be sure to reserve early, as the reservation window closes surprisingly early. There are 11 restaurants to choose from as part of the all-inclusive plan, and include options like Asian-fusion, an Argentine steak house, Italian, and Mexican. The latter is the liveliest of the venues. For casual eats, Al Alcazar buffet has a huge spread but the menu can get monotonous. There are also a few grab-and-go spots including Las Canas Snack Bar, La Taqueria taco stand, and La Fontana Pizzeria. Bars are scattered throughout the resort, though previous guests have found the all-inclusive drink selections to be limited and underwhelming.
Metamorphosis is the resort’s full-service spa, with services like massages, facials, waxing, body wraps, and fish pedicures. It's not the most attractive space, but some treatment areas have garden views. There's also a salon for manicures, pedicures, and hair cuts. The gym is pretty drab compared to other Punta Cana resorts, but it’s stocked with cardio machines, free weights, and resistance machines. Personal training sessions are available for a fee. A small basketball court and Har-Tru tennis court are available with free rackets and ball rentals. There’s a fee for tennis lessons, playing at night, and for hiring a ball boy. Occidental has two kids' clubs, one for younger children and one for teens. Expect video games, toys, and a jungle gym.
Other resort amenities include a clinic, sundry and gift shops, and an ATM. Occidental can arrange airport transfers, taxis, car rentals, tours, and babysitters (for a fee). Like many Punta Cana resorts, Occidental has premium rooms -- the Royal Level -- that come with perks like private check-in, free Wi-Fi, member’s only bars, private dining, room service, lounges, pools, and a private beachfront area. Parking is free and unless you’re staying in one of the Royal Level rooms, there’s a pricy fee for Wi-Fi.
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