Saturday 2 March 2019

Be Live Collection, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Sister Sarah and I go away for a sisters' week every year, leaving our husbands at home.

This year we went to Be Live Collection in Punta Cana ... we left last Saturday and headed home today.

Though the resort is on the beach, it is right on a main road ... usually resorts are down a long driveway off a road.  I had asked our tour rep during our orientation meeting on Sunday morning if it's okay to go off the resort and go for a walk along the road (there were shops, etc.) ... she said no because it's dangerous.  And if we did, we weren't to wear any jewelry or carry a bag.  Sadly we didn't leave because she didn't make it should like a good idea.

The main lobby

I arrived before Sister Sarah (her flight from Halifax ended being delayed 13 hours because of mechanical problems).  I had booked us into our own rooms but asked that we be close to each other.  When I entered my room in building 5, I couldn't believe what a dump of a room it was ... nothing like the pictures on their website.  The hotel bills itself as a 5-start resort and this room was 1-star ... they should be embarrassed to charge good money for such a room.  It was old and worn, patches on the walls, tired furniture and smelled bad ... these pictures make it look nicer than it actually was.

The lock on the entrance door was rickety as was the lock on the connecting door ... I know I could have kicked them in with no problem.  As I was pulling the dresser across to block the connecting door to feel safer, I thought this was crazy, I shouldn't have to do this on vacation and there was no way I could spend a week in this dumpy room.

I headed back to the lobby and asked for my sister and I to be moved.  I was told I could upgrade to the new adults only section that opened in December but there would be a cost ... I told her to do it.  When I booked our vacation in September on the itravel2000 website, I understood that the resort was at that point an all-inclusive family resort but would be converting to an adults only all-inclusive resort in December ... what was happening was a new adults section was opening in December.  So the wording on itravel2000's website at that point was inaccurate/misleading.  Paying to get upgraded wasn't cheap but it was worth it for the more modern and much better quality room in the adults section along with the VIP benefits.  So if you are thinking about staying there and don't have children, pay the extra when you book!

Here's my new room ... despite it having a strong funny smell all week, it was so much better!

I loved this tub and used it every day!
The toilet (on the right) and shower (behind the tub)
are behind the frosted glass
The bed was comfy
I had the TV on only twice and stopped bothering because there
were only a couple English stations and the cable stopped working
My view was of the resort next door
The rooms below me had swim-up pools ... sounds good!
I talked to some couples who had started off in them but asked to be moved
because of the lack of privacy (staff were walking around often cleaning) and
noisy (because of the resort right next door)

  I found the fan did a good job keeping the room cool and I didn't need to turn on the A/C.  In the room was a mini fridge stocked with pop and water (a beer showed up one day), an iron, a coffee maker and a safe (apparently in the non-adult section you had to pay to have a safe).  The towel replacement was odd.  I started off with two big towels, a hand towel and a bath mat.  When I had my room cleaned, I ended up with two face cloths, two big towels and a hand towel (no bath mat).  The next time, I ended up with two big towels, a face cloth, a hand towel and a bath mat.  Huh?!

Along with having a much better room, there were other perks including having our own concierge/lobby.  We were apparently assigned a butler but I have no idea who it was or what he/she did.  In talking with others in the adult section, they had the same experience.

WIFI was free and available within the resort.  On the VIP side, it's "premium" so apparently faster.  Because I had originally booked on the main side, that's the only WIFI I was able to access all week. even though the premium WIFI was part of my package.  None of the staff were able to get me access to the premium WIFI either.  It took a staff member four hours after I arrived to get me on the free WIFI.  It wasn't too bad but kept kicking out.  Sister Sarah wasn't able to access the premium WIFI either and I ended up connecting her to the free WIFI using my old room number.

There was a VIP/adults' only buffet restaurant next to our building.  We went a few times but preferred the main buffet restaurant because there was a larger selection of food and the food was labelled (the food in the VIP restaurant wasn't labelled so at times it was hard to figure out what it was).  The VIP buffet restaurant had a patio where drinks were served until 1am.

VIP/adults buffet
Main buffet

We also had access to the VIP lounge in the building next to ours (next to the VIP lobby).  It was open from 10am to 11pm and we could have drinks and snacks (I'm not a breakfast person that's where I grabbed fruit and pastries for breakfast).  It was next to one of the adult pools (the one with the hot tub) so you could order drinks there.

The patio next to the main buffet restaurant was nice.  It was open until 11pm for regular guests and 1am for VIP guests.

There were two pools on the adults only section and one had a hot tub.  I thought it was strange that there was no swim-up bar in one of the adult pools (considering it's just adults).  There was a waiter some days who took orders and brought them to you in the pool.

We were in the building on the right

The pool in the main section was more lively than the adults only section.  Lots of kids and that's where all the action was (foam party, contests, etc).   They had a swim-up bar which was popular.  The stage for the nightly entertainment was next to the main pool (the entertainment was good).

If you stayed in the main section, you were given a card to get a towel.  If you lost the towel or the card, there was a charge.  In the adults section, we had a hut and it was an honour system but a lot of days there weren't towels available in our hut.

The towel hut by the main pool

Sister Sarah and I would start our mornings at the beach and move to one of the pools later in the afternoon.  The water at the beach was wavy ... we had "yellow" and "green" flag days, which seemed to be the same.  The water was cool at first but refreshing once we got used to it.  There was a fair amount of seaweed.  Vendors spent the day walking up and down the beach trying to entice you to buy something like shells, dresses, sunglasses, cigars, rum, or to get your picture taken with a monkey or parrots, or to get your hair braided.  They weren't allowed in the VIP section but would call from the other side of the short roped fence.  They were entertaining and I was able to tune them out when I was reading or snoozing.

The VIPs had their own section on the beach and that's where we were.  Beach beds were free on our side and $10US a day on the main side.

There was a beach bar in the VIP section where you could get a drink or there were waiters delivering them to you on the beach.  They also served food, most made fresh to order.  We had lunch there our last three days.  On Wednesday, I had wings (they were cold as was the sauce) and steak and wedge potatoes, which was good.  Sister Sarah had wings and a chicken burger/fries (the chicken burger was similar to McDonald's) and she liked them.  On Thursday I ordered hummus and tzatziki with pita bread and a chicken breast and baked potato.  The hummus and tzatziki didn't taste like what we have in Canada but was okay.  The chicken and potato was really good.  I ordered that again yesterday.

We had lunch one day at the burger/pizza restaurant, which is in the main section.  That was a letdown because they mass produce the burgers, fries, mozza sticks, pizza and hot dogs and then they sit on a shelf until you order.  I had gotten a burger and fries and they were cold.  It sounds like a fun idea but they should be cooked to order.  There is a pop dispenser but the day we went they only had 7-Up.

There are various à la carte restaurants and you can make reservations at three during the week.  This is apparently one of the things your butler will do for you but when I asked I was told I had to do it myself (so I did).  We had supper at the Mexican restaurant on Wednesday night and it was good.

There were some shops near the lobby where you could buy pretty much anything ... liquor, clothes, snacks, jewelry, etc.

There was a small games room in the lobby for kids.

There was a casino at the resort (free drinks for players) and a disco called Kviar that was open to people staying at the resort and everyone else ... we went a couple times.  From 11pm to 12:30pm, drinks for free for anyone staying at the resort and after that we had to pay, which I found strange.  We never stayed past 12:30pm anyone so it was a non-issue.

For the most part, the serving staff were friendly.  Some like Diego, Rodner, Brito and Diosis were awesome!  Others barely acknowledged me and made it seem like an effort.

On the resort, we were constantly being approached to buy timeshare, book excursions, book a massage, etc.  I was polite and said, "no thank you" and carried on.

All in all, it was a fun vacation and it was great to hang with Sister Sarah!   Be Live is not the 5-star resort it claims to be.  I would perhaps go back but I would pay the extra to stay on the adults only ~ VIP section.


Unknown said...

Great review! Which has been your favourite all inclusive so farÉ

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

Thanks for your honest opinion of where you stayed. I think that tub alone would have been worth the upgrade.

Ann Wadden said...

I think our week in Antigua was much better!