So you wanna get away to the Caribbean huh? Cool! I couldn’t blame you but now comes the daunting task of selecting an island and the everngreater task of closing in on a hotel. Sure, Tripadvisor can help but do you really wanna take advice from someone that walks around with a fanny pack, passport in their Hawain shirt breast pocket and one of those hideous umbrella hats? I think not!!! Not if you’re reading this blog at least. Today, we’ll see if Westin Punta Cana makes the cut.
Westin Punta Cana Hotel and Resorts is owned by the Punta Cana Resorts Group. These are the guys responsible for making Punta Cana PUNTA CANA. Basically, they built the Punta Cana airport and in a very Field Of Dreamesque kinda way, they built it, so they (sun screen toting tourists) come, often and often again. The Group also owns the Punta Cana Resort, Sheraton Four Points, and the well renowned Tortuga Bay that is designed by Dominican Republic’s on Oscar DeLarenta. I digress, back to The Westin.
Located approximately 10 minutes from the airport the Westin is a gorgeous property completed in 2015 so the facilities are modern and still flex the new resort smell. The lobby is an open air lobby as is with many Carribean resorts and decked out with marble everywhere. Our check in was fast however they only have 4 check in counters so at busy times this could be cause for long check in times.
Having a fast check is is definitely a plus but it’s also nice for the receptionist to take some time to give you a brief overview of the property. This didn’t occur. It was more like a type of check on that you would except from an airport location that has very little to offer than close proximity to the airport. Coincidentally this property is close to the airport but doesn’t fit in the airport hotel category by a long shot as it has so much more to offer. We had booked a Premium King Room and was told that the only one available was on the first floor so I begged and pleaded until they found a room on the 3rd even though I had to downgrade to a Traditional Room.
Side note: SPG elite members shouldn’t expect an upgrade at this property as they are a limited participating property.
We had a Traditional Room on the 3rd floor and located midway in the “U” shape of the hotel. The room itself was pretty spacious and decently appointed. If you’ve ever stayed at a Westin property you’ve probably enjoyed a full nights sleep on their Heavenly Beds. One of the reasons why I’m a loyal Westin customer is partly due to the Heavenly Beds, suffice to say each room is equipped with these beds.
Most rooms at this property have ocean views. I say most because while the 1st floor rooms are technically ocean view, you won’t be able to see the ocean as you’ll have no elevation and the rooms are about 200 yards away from the ocean. My advice is to request a room on the 3rd or 4th if ocean views is what you seek.
Part of the reason that I have a love/hate relationship with Punta Cana is because while I love the beaches, I obsolutely hate the food. I’m not talking about Dominican food which I love, I’m talking about the bland resort food. Having stayed at the Riu, Barcelo, and Hard Rock on previous trips I was severely disappointed with the food. In fact the last time I was in Punta Cana and was staying at the Hard Rock I began leaving the resort for Lunch and Dinner after the 2nd day even though it was an all inclusive hotel. The good news with the Westin is that it’s not an all inclusive resort and as a result, happens to have better quality food than any other resort I’ve stayed at in Punta Cana. With that being said, the food is just a bit above average so don’t expect to have your pallets blown away with excitement.
Playa Blanca is a restaurant that’s about a 2 minute walk along the beach from the Westin and the food there was pretty good. Especially the local dishes.
Food Costs: Punta Cana isn’t a cheap destination, hence that’s why most travelers opt to go with All Inclusives. Westin doesn’t dispel from those facts as the food prices are a bit expensive for what you get. We opted to go with the Half Board meal plan that gave us Breakfast and Dinner included at a cost of $60 per person (before 18% tax and 10% service fee) which was a mistake as the dinner buffet was reasonably priced most nights and we actually preferred the buffet food over the a la carte.
If buffets aren’t your thing and you usually order appetizers and deserts than you may want to consider the meal plan. However if you are a light eater than I wouldn’t recommend the meal plan as you would save money by paying as you go.
I found the service to be indifferent which is pretty consistent with all the other times that I visited Punta Cana. Don’t expect to get the happy go lucky bartender that will chat you up while making your drink or the waiter that has a brand new joke each day like they do at some of the top resorts in Cancun. Here, you’ll get a greeting and they will do their work without much festivities or chatter, nothing more, nothing less. Speed of service is also on the slow end, on a couple occasions I was half way finished with my breakfast before I was offered coffee.
Simply put, it’s fantastic!!! I would venture to say that it’s probably the best stretch of beach in Punta Cana. Powdery white sand, turquoise water and calm waves. You’ll love the beach at The Westin!!!
Non existent. They do not have an activities team nor do they have nightly entertainment which could be a plus as most of those resort shows border on the line of cheesy to terrible. They do however provide a shuttle service that goes to an area called The Village that has a strip of restaurants and shops some of which are open a bit late and play some music.
I would recommend this property for families or couples looking for a short getaway of 3-5 days. It’s located close to the airport and is surrounded by some of the best beaches in the carribean. Since there aren’t many activities and only 3 restaurants I wouldn’t recommend long stays as you may get bored after the first week. On a side note, don’t forget to pick your sunscreen or else get ready to pay $23 for a small bottle, ouch.
Pros: Great beach, good shuttle service to the village, decent food, close proximity to airport.
Cons: Indifferent service, no entertainment, pricey food and gift shop.