Somewhat isolated; 35-minute drive to downtown Bavaro
No nightly activities or shows
Free Wi-Fi only in the lobby; daily fee for Wi-Fi in-room
Six Senses Spa lacks facilities such as whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms
No swim-up bar
This 200-room upscale resort is just a five-minute drive from Punta Cana airport, and draws mostly American couples and families. Highlights include the the long, large pool or white-sand (but short, and partially seaweed-strewn) beach. Rooms are elegant and modern, and most have at least partial ocean views. The atmosphere is low-key, but the resort can seem isolated and lacks the energy of activity-packed all-inclusive resorts in the area -- which is part of the appeal for many. The two restaurants serve organic fare, and there is a free shuttle to golf, tennis, and the restaurants at Puntacana Village. Those seeking an upscale resort with all-inclusive rates might want to consider the Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection or The Level Melia Caribe Tropical.
The largely American client base spends the hottest part of the day splashing in the large pool or lounging at the beach, but the lack of activities at night makes for mellow, even boring evenings.
The predominant accent here is distinctly American. During our visit, we saw two middle-aged, blue-collar guys catching a Major League baseball game on the TV in the lobby bar over margaritas, a dad splashing around with his two young kids in the shallow end of the pool, ladies absorbing rays and summer fiction on beach loungers, and an older, wealthy gentleman and his thong-clad trophy wife lounging in the hot tub with daiquiris.
The busiest time is just before and after noon, when the pool and beach come to life with families and couples. At night, things slow down considerably. The hotel lacks the emceed theater-disco one-two punch of many area resorts, so groups either gravitate to the shuttle buses running into town, or to low-key tippling at the bars. There is a piano in the lobby bar, but it remained covered during our visit.
The Westin is part of the 15,000-acre Puntacana Resort & Club complex, which also includes Tortuga Bay, Four Points by Sheraton, the Six Senses Spa, and two golf courses (La Cana and Corales).
A five-minute drive from the airport, but a 35-minute drive from the more densely packed Bavaro
The Westin is about as close as you can get to the Punta Cana International Airport without jet backwash mussing up your hair, and as conveniently placed as physically possible for international travelers who want to cut straight to the beach. It's in Punta Cana proper, not in Bavaro, where most of the beach resorts are. The hotel offers free shuttle service to Punta Cana Village, a strip mall of restaurants, shops, and a large Nacional supermarket. The shuttle also goes to Six Senses Spa, La Cana and Corales golf courses (some of the area's best), the tennis center, the Ecological Foundation, Playa Blanca restaurant, and La Yola restaurant, all within the Puntacana Resort & Club complex and reachable within about 10 minutes.
Guests have to pass two checkpoints to get to the hotel, most of it through rather empty roads and featureless scrub. The much larger Club Med Punta Cana is next door, and guests can walk along the beach to reach the water sports vendors set up in front of it. The beach at the Westin is quieter, with no motorized water sports or vendors to bother sunbathing guests.
Modern, beachy, slightly generic rooms with balconies, many with great ocean views
Rooms are clean, well-lit, and modern. They're furnished with a white and blue color palette (reflecting the beachy location) and streamlined wood furniture; there are attractive carvings on the wood headboards. An especially welcome touch is the ring lighting on the bathroom vanities, which cast a flattering glow. The wall artwork, however, quickly reminds you that you're in the local branch of a ginormous global American hotel chain, and the close-up photographs of pebbles in a stream, soft-toned flower pistils, and raindrops on leaves of grass could be found in any Westin across the globe.
Thankfully, there's more to look at out the windows. The hotel is U-shaped, with the room doors facing out and the balconies and windows facing in. This ensures that though doors open onto bleak views of service roads, sun-scorched fields, or rooftop air-conditioning units, the views from rooms above ground level are of the manicured courtyard and pool area, almost always with at least a partial glimpse of the sea beyond. The ocean views from the Junior Suites at the tips of the "U" are the stuff beach-vacation dreams are made of. Guests on ground floor may feel a distinct lack of privacy, however, as their patios open right onto the courtyard.
A pretty white-sand beach, a large oceanfront pool, two restaurants, and access to the features of the larger Puntacana Resort & Club complex
The beach at the Westin has powdery white sand, quality loungers, and plenty of peace and quiet. The vendors that commonly harass guests in front of Bavaro resorts aren't found here, and as there are no motorized water sports vendors, there are also no Jet Skis to disrupt the tranquil atmosphere. We did see quite a lot of seaweed during our visit, so guests looking to swim will either have to wade through it or dip into the water off of the swimming pier.
The attractive oceanfront pool here is located in the middle of the building's U shape, and overlooked by rooms on three sides. There's a pool bar nearby, but no swim-up bar. Umbrellas and canopies provide the option for shade.
Wellbeing is a focus at the hotel, and the restaurants serve organic fare and locally grown vegetables. A spacious, modern fitness center includes cardio machines with individual TVs, and guests can rent exercise clothes and shoes through the Westin Workout program. Though there's no brick-and-mortar spa at the Westin proper, the hotel offers an extensive menu of spa services. Guests can also take the free shuttle to the Six Senses Spa, though should note that it lacks facilities such as whirlpools and saunas.
As befitting a hotel so close to the airport, there is a relatively large conference center in a separate building, with the larger room capable of hosting some 250 people. Children can spend their days with a staff member in an small kids' club with a good-size outdoor play area.
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