Grade 4 out of 5 Stars
Originally the site of the Dreams La Romana. The Hilton group took over this resort in 2018. They put a bit of cash into updating the resort with the main change coming in the form of splitting the resort into two. On one side you know you have an adults-only experience, while on the other there is a family-only offering.
The resort is on the larger side with the adult resorts having 315 rooms with the family side having 418 rooms. The resort has a tropical hacienda aesthetic throughout. So there are lots of open-air areas, high-pitched roofs, and tiled floors. So the place feels very airy.
The resort is now modern throughout and has the Hiltons stamp of quality on it. There’s a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and things to do at this resort. We stayed here in August 2021 and the review is based on our experiences.
- Although the resort is essentially two separate hotels. They are connected and you can explore the offerings at the other resort. So make sure you do a bit of exploring. Adults can go between both resorts, this includes dining or drinking at any of the restaurants in either of the resorts. It’s important to know that children can’t go into the adults only side.
- One of the things we didn’t like here. There is a room service surcharge of $5 to have the food delivered. For an all-inclusive resort room service should be table stakes.
- More so than any other all-inclusive resort we have stayed in there were a lot of elements that are not included in your package. Even if you are staying in a premium room you will still need to pay a surcharge to rent a cabana by the pool, which was a theme throughout the resort.
- One of the nice things about all of the buildings in this resort is that none of them are over three stories high.This gives the resort a smaller, more boutique feel. Even though in reality it is an expansive resort.
- Although a large refurbishment was done a couple of years ago there were some areas that were not included in that update. The Spa specifically looks to have come straight out of the ’90s which took away a little from that 5-star experience.
- The property is perfectly located with a Westerly view. This means that every evening there is the perfect vantage point of the sunset.
- If you’ve read any of our reviews before, you know this is a tip that we give across the board. We recommend that you bring a reusable cup and straw. Firstly, this is better for the environment as you will use less plastic and secondly this is a resort that uses paper straws, which although we appreciate what the Hilton is trying to do to reduce the use of plastic, they are very annoying to use.
The check-in process was relatively smooth. When you arrive you are greeted by a bellhop and brought straight to a check-in desk. The staff knew which type of room that we were in, so we were brought to the premium club check-in, which was very smooth. The views of the ocean as you take your first steps into the resorts are truly stunning. The whole process only took a matter of minutes.
We had arrived in the morning, so our room wasn’t ready, but we had planned ahead and had our swimsuits packed in our backpacks and we thought this could happen. We got a call around an hour after to say our rooms were done, which we really appreciated as we had arrived quite early.
If you stay as part of the premium club you get your own private check-in area. You are brought to a lounge where you can get a cold drink and you are brought through the check-in process with a member of staff, which was a nice touch. It was also really beneficial to get a complete tour and overview of the resort by a member of staff as the resort is very large, so it’s great getting comfortable with your surroundings at an early stage.
Located in the Bayahibe area of the Dominican Republic, the resort is around a 45-minute drive from Punta Cana International airport. Santo Domingo airport is around an hour and 30 minutes away from the resort. As this was the Dream La Romana before the Hilton took it over the property and surrounding vegetation are very developed. The resort feels like it belongs in the area.
Is the Resort Child Friendly
Yes, this is a child-friendly resort. Although there is a specific resort you need to book into. As one-half of the resorts is a family resort and the other is an adults-only experience. There is a great kids club with a robust schedule of activities and fun throughout the day. This resort also has a great food offering for kids. All of the restaurants have kids’ menus which will make dinner choices very easy.
At the family side of the resort, you can see that this part of the resort has been designed to keep the kids entertained. There is a really impressive water park with a lazy river and loads of slides. It will keep the kids entertained throughout the week.
The kids club at the Hilton was very good. Although we didn’t have kids with us when we traveled we asked some of our fellow guests what the club was like. T
We need to start off by saying the grounds of this resort are absolutely immaculate. The second you arrive you will feel you are in a high-quality resort. There is also a huge amount on offer throughout the two resorts. From a Disco, casino, a water park for the kids, and a host of sporting activities. You won’t get bored.
Similar to the food options, you can use the facilities at either of the resorts. Regardless of where you are staying. Non-motorized water sports are available. This includes things like paddleboards, sailing, kayaking.
The entertainment team really does put their best foot forward in organizing unique things to do on a daily. Some of our favorites were the Spanish lessons, the Yoga classes in an idyllic setting, and the Mexican food cooking class.
Although we aren’t really too fussed about the evening shows we were a little disappointed with how it was put on at the Hilton. Our annoyance about the entertainment was that there was only evening entertainment on the adult’s side a few of the nights that we were there. While there was entertainment at the kid’s resorts all of the nights. So, if you were staying on the adult’s side and did fancy taking in the musical act of the night you had to go to the kid’s side while running the atmosphere a little.
The entertainment started every night at 9:30 pm at the main stage area. From tribute acts, dance routines, and local Dominican entertainment. The entertainment didn’t feel overly forced which made for a very relaxing vibe. It was just a shame about the setup.
With two main pools that are open to all hotel guests and a further two more pools that are reserved for premium club guests, it may not sound that this would suffice for a resort of this size. The two main pools are a pretty decent size, so you should have too much difficulty finding a secluded spot.
The gym is a very good standard here and was updated when they did the renovations a couple of years ago. The equipment on offer is top of the range. My only complaint is that space itself isn’t massive. So, the gym can get busy at peak times.
There are a number of courses that are very close to the resort. The La Estancia golf course is just a 15-minute drive away. It’s a competitively priced course between $80-$120 depending on the time of day and time of year that you visit. Club rentals are also available for $20 a round. The course is a decent standard and the perfect place for a round.
The beach here is the standout element of the resort. If beaches are high in your list of priorities, you should consider this resort a contender for your next vacation spot. The sand is fine and white and the water is clear and turquoise. You get some serious tropical feels from this resort. The beach is also located in a well-protected bay, so the waters are calm and perfect for swimming in.
Another huge benefit of this beach was that there was no seaweed when we visited. It could be due to the cove, but apparently the beach never really gets seaweed washing up onto it. The one drawback is that parts of the beach are a little bit rocky.
The price of treatments in the spa is actually pretty competitive. There is a full spa menu on offer. The unfortunate thing about this spa is that it is located on the family side of the resort. So in the spa and especially the pools, you can hear the kids around, which is a little off-putting.
We were impressed with the level of service. Every single member of staff we dealt with was super friendly and on hand to help you with any requests that you may have.
On the days we spent our days by the premium club pool. By the second day, the waiters had remembered our order and we never saw the bottom of our glasses. There was also always staff around. We find that poolside service is a great indication of the quality of the service at a resort. The more frequently they come, the more efficient the service is. The staff at the La Romana definitely got top grades for this.
As we got the personal butler service our every need was catered for. We could just text our Butler Roman and he would help us out with any request that we had. If we wanted reservations for the night ahead. Or a specific food brought to us at the pool, he organized well and was happy to do it. It really gave the experience a luxurious feel.
Although tips and taxes are listed as being included in the price of the all-inclusive, it is customary to tip the staff individually for their service. When we visit all-inclusive resorts we typically budget a few hundred dollars for tips throughout our stay. In general, we tip $1 per drink and for meals between $5 and $10 depending on the meals and the quality of service.
We definitely tipped a little more than we typically do on trips as we had the personal butler service during our stay, so we were tipping Roman a few times a day.
At an all-inclusive resort you hope that the staff gets paid a fair wage, but you never really know, so the only way to make sure that the staff is getting properly paid for their fantastic service is to tip them. For North American guests that may seem like second nature, but for Europeans it’s not as common to tip, so make sure you do.
The resort was really well kept. We did visit here prior to Covid but based on the cleanliness of the resort at that time, we can only imagine the precautions that they are putting in place during Covid. We didn’t see any rubbish throughout the resorts. Our room was also cleaned very thoroughly twice a day. The housekeeping staff was very prompt with their service. Consistently coming in at the same time each day.
The bar areas and restaurants were really clean. The staff was prompt in cleaning away our dishes at the restaurants and our glasses at the bars. There was literally no rubbish throughout the resort and the beach was impeccably clean.
Booking During COVID
There is a robust plan put in place by the Hilton chain of hotels and resorts to protect its guests and employees against Covid-19 and to provide a safe and enjoyable vacation. There is effectively a three-pillar approach to their policy which includes the clean safe program, testing for guests traveling to countries that require a negative test for reentry.
Hilton partnered with Reckitt, maker of Lysol & Dettol, to develop their Hilton CleanStay program. This innovative program builds upon our already rigorous cleaning standards by providing enhanced training for Team Members, increased cleaning of public areas, and adjusted food & beverage service, to ensure our guests enjoy a worry-free stay.
Antigen tests are available to get to avail of on the last day of your trip. This is really beneficial as a lot of countries require a negative test in order to get back into the country.
Be sure to double-check the Covid protocols before booking as a lot of resorts have a specific timeframe that these protections are available.
The one element that the Hilton Covid plan doesn’t include is an extended stay if you do test positive for Covid when you do your final PCR test before you travel. A Lot of resorts are offering this as standard when you book a stay, but the Hilton is not. You can get additional insurance from Hilton that will allow you to stay in the resort until your quarantine is over and it costs $29 USD per person. So, it’s not too pricey.
Price Range + Packages
To distinguish the rooms the separation between premium and regular rooms is that the normal rooms are called deluxe and the premium rooms are called the premium. So if you get a premium room. You can avail yourself of all of the benefits of the premium club. Only the premium rooms have swim-up suites and an ocean view, so if you want one of these rooms you will have to go for the premium club.
What’s included in the all-inclusive package
The honest answer to this is not as much as most other all-inclusive resorts. Things like room service aren’t included with the basic rooms. The food is included but, you need to pay for delivery. Then things like the Bali beds, butler service are also not included.
There are mini-bars in all rooms with beers, water, juices, and snacks. There isn’t any liquor in the rooms which we were a little disappointed with.
Food + Restaurant Options
The adults and family parts of the resort each have their own buffet restaurants. The a la carte offerings are available to all guests no matter which side of the resort you are staying in. The Caveat is that if you are staying in the family side of the resort and want to try a restaurant on the adult’s side, then you won’t be able to bring kids along. There are also a number of restaurants that are only available to premium guests for breakfast and lunch, but for dinner, all restaurants are available if they are open.
If you are staying in a standard room the breakfast options were a little bit limited, you effectively had three choices. You could use the buffet restaurants from either resort if you were an adult or get room service which has a $5 surcharge. If you have kids that means you only really have one restaurant option and room service which isn’t the best.
If you are a premium guest then you have the same options as the standard guests as well as two sit-down restaurants options Mare and Noor. Also included in your package is free room service, so there’s a lot more choice for premium guests.
All of the restaurants apart from the Sakaru do not require a booking, but given the fact that the resort is quite large and at full capacity, there can be around 1400 people staying between the two complexes there can be lines. So, we would have preferred a booking system.
Ranking the Restaurants
The Grill (Family Side)
Open for breakfast and lunch for premium guests and all guests for dinner, the location of this restaurant needs to be seen to be believed, it’s incredibly stunning. Perched on an elevated deck right next to the beach there are stunning 180-degree views of the ocean. With the cool breeze and the lapping waves, this is a really special spot for chow down. The food is pretty decent here too. The fresh grilled Lobster was the best dish we had here
This was one of our favorite restaurants in the resort. It is available for premium club members only for breakfast and lunch and for all guests for dinner. Located on the adult’s side of the resort. It’s a mix between a Mediterranean and Dominican restaurant. The food here was really tasty and it was located in a lovely outdoor setting. If you’re a premium club guest this is one of the two options to get a served breakfast. We only ate here once as the breakfast and lunch menu is exactly the same as the Grill restaurant and that had much nicer views.
Sakaru (Adults Section)
An Asian fusion restaurant that offers all of the best culinary delights this part of the world has on offer. From Sushi, Katsu curry, ramen, and pad thai there is a great selection of dishes. When we visited this was definitely our favorite restaurant. The Tuna sashimi melted in your mouth.
It’s important to note that Sakura is the only restaurant with a strict dress code. So, for the guys, you must wear trousers so make sure you bring a pair.
There is also a hibachi experience at this restaurant. Which was very enjoyable. You do need to book ahead to get a spot for these tables. They can book out pretty fast, so make sure that you make a booking early. This is one of the restaurants that have a dress code in place.
Mare Grill & Restaurant (Adults Side)
Serving up grilled fish and meats this is your typical seaside grill type offering. The red snapper was by far our favorite dish. It was super fresh and the crust was packing some serious flavor.
Spice Market (Main Buffet – Family Side)
This is the main buffet on the family side of the resort. It’s a carbon copy of the buffet area on the adult’s side. It’s a typical all-inclusive buffet that serves up a wide range of dishes. The breakfast omelet station is really good and the quality of the food is pretty good.
This was another strong offering at La Romana. This French-style offering felt quite authentic and had a lovely selection of dishes. The restaurant has a lovely French aesthetic and the food was really good. The Beef Tartar was very good.
As we stayed during Covid, all of the food in the room service menu was served in go-style packaging. This does take away a little from the room service experience, but given the times we live in we can’t really complain too much. The choice of dishes from the room service menu was pretty wide and varied and the quality of food was decent. The food was warm when we ordered room service for dinner one of the nights and we were only waiting for 30 minutes which was pretty decent.
Some of the restaurants do have a dress code in place. The a la carte restaurants are the ones that have a fancier dress code, but honestly, we felt that they were pretty relaxed. Sakura is really the only restaurant that has a strict dress code. It was slack and shirts for men and women can wear pretty much anything apart from beachwear.
Bars and Drinks Offering
Oddly enough there are actually more bars on the family side of the resort than the adult’s side. The family side is larger by 100 rooms, but it has more bars which didn’t really make sense in our heads. Both sides have bars at the reception area, premium club lounges, and swim-up bars at the premium pools and the normal pools. There is also a bar at the beach which serves both sides of the resort.
The drinks offered at the Hilton were a little disappointing. Their premium offering included the likes of Absolut Vodka, Bombay Gin, Jack Daniels just to name a few options, but it was really missing the top-shelf options such as Grey Goose, Johnny Walker Black, and Ciroc. We consider these to be staples at most all-inclusive premium club offerings.
The wine selection wasn’t too bad with a few red, white, and rose options included in the all-inclusive package. There is also a sommelier with a wine list that comes at an additional cost
Is the Premium Club worth it?
There are a range of benefits that come if you book into a premium club room. From private check-in, premium lounge, reserved areas at the pool and beach, upgraded mini-bar, premium drinks offering at the lounges and bars, access to all restaurants throughout the day, and a host of other benefits.
The private beach and pool area are probably the strongest features. Even though the resort was near to full capacity when we visited the premium beach and pool were never that busy.
There are a host of other benefits that are included with the premium rooms, most of them added little value if we’re being honest, but the private beach and pools + the free room service make these rooms worth the additional cost.
There were two elements we were disappointed with that weren’t included in the premium package. Firstly, we didn’t like that the nonpremium club guests needed to pay to have room service delivered. This should be included in all rooms at an all-inclusive resort.
The other element that we were disappointed wasn’t included in the premium rooms was the butler service. We had thought before we stayed that this service was included, but sadly it wasn’t. To add a butler service onto your stay it costs $199 USD for 7 days and $15 a day after that. We decided to add this service to our stay when we got there and it was a really great service. With the butler service, you can reserve spots in restaurants, spaces by the pool and beach as well as texting your butler for anything you may need. We used our great butler Roman who was top-notch.
The rooms here as a whole are definitely on the smaller side. The room that we were staying in was a premium garden view with 1 king bed. The room is 411 sq. ft so they are more like typical hotel rooms as opposed to resort suites. There isn’t a huge amount of variety in terms of room choices, which we are usually ok with, but because the rooms are so small we would have liked a few more options for larger rooms.
The options are broken down as follows. All of the rooms are available with the premium club attached to them. They are also available with an ocean view or garden view depending on what you fancy.
Deluxe Rooms + Premium Base Room
This is the base room, as we described these are on the smaller side coming in at 411 sq. ft. You have the option to get this room with premium club access.
Coming in at 828 sq. ft. these are double the size of the standard rooms. Again these are massive for a family suite, but you can fit two adults and two children into these rooms. There is a small living area and a nice big balcony that wraps around the suite. It’s a strong option if you are traveling with kids.
This is the same size as the family suite, but instead of a second bedroom, it has a large living and dining area. The capacity of this room is only two people, but if you have a small child with you it will probably work.
Premium Master Suites
The only different thing we could see in these suites was that the room comes with a four-poster bed, so in our opinion, these suites aren’t worth the additional cost.
The Dominican Republic is a big tourist destination so there are lots of excursions on offer. These include catamaran day trips, tours of local sinkholes and waterfalls. The beautiful Sanao Island and much more. Anytime we go to an all-inclusive resort we make a concerted effort to see some locals and we never regret it.
From Catamarans, a trip to the beautiful Saona Island, scuba diving, and taking in the beautiful nature on a ziplining circuit. There is really so much to see and do around Punta Cana.
The Hilton La Romana is located in a picturesque location and for that alone, this resort should be considered as a strong option for people looking for a getaway to the Dominican Republic.
Although there were extensive renovations done within recent years, there are areas of the resort that do feel a little worn in parts. This is limited to a small number of areas, but it does take away a little from the luxury experience.
The main selling point of this resort is the perfect beach. It is large, has beautiful sand and calm waters. There was no seaweed over the course of our visit, which was great as we know a lot of resorts in Punta Cana suffer from lots of seaweed washing up onto the shore. If you’re looking for a strong beach experience, this is a great choice for you. Overall we were impressed with this resort and would recommend it if you’re looking for a chilled back spot in Punta Cana.
Q. Does the Hilton La Romana offer a shuttle service from the Airport
A. There is a shuttle that is available from either airport, but it does come at an additional cost.
Q. Is parking available at the resort
A. Free Parking is available at the resort.
Q. Is Wi-Fi included
A. Yes, Wi-Fi is included in the price of your package. It is available throughout the resort and we found that the strength to be very good. We had no issues streaming Netflix at the pool and making Facetime calls from our room.
Q. What local attractions are there?
A. There’s a huge amount to do in the Dominican Republic and there are a range of excursions available to book at the resort.