Westin Punta Cana Hotel Review
For the first part of our nearly month long honeymoon we flew south from Indianapolis to the incredibly beautiful and peaceful Westin Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We just wrapped up celebrating our wedding day a couple days before so we were looking for pure relaxation and the Westin did not disappoint. We nearly had the entire resort to ourselves! It was off-season in June but we had amazing weather the entire time. Also no car was required, further reducing stress thanks to the free shuttle that goes to the Punta Cana Village, Ecological Park, and some other restaurants. Remember we booked this resort on points, only 10,000 points per night plus the fifth night for free for a total of 40,000 Starwood points. This was our first stay on our nearly month long honeymoon thanks to airline miles and hotel points!
To start we arranged a shuttle pick up from the hotel from the airport. It was a steep $20 for the 10 minute ride but there is no way around it. Taxis are expensive in Punta Cana to begin with and I estimated that the taxi fare would be about the same anyway. The driver was there promptly within 5 minutes from when we landed and we scooted our way to the resort.
Upon checking in to the hotel they noted we had been upgraded to a room with a better view thanks to my Starwood gold status. No mention by the front desk worker of our honeymoon but not a big deal. Our room was on the highest floor (4th) near the end of the southern wing. Nearly all the rooms have a balcony that face inward towards the pool but ours also was on jut in the building so it also faced the Caribbean sea. Absolutely beautiful.
We had a standard king room that had a small couch, table, and desk in the living area. The bed was extremely comfortable and the best part was that the shades were blackout. With the combination of the comfy bed and the pure darkness, thanks to the blinds, we slept amazingly. Also the air-conditioning worked to perfection providing a sanctuary to the insane heat and humidity outside.
Going into the bathroom area there is a mini-bar fridge stocked with overpriced items. We did not take anything from the fridge but it is not a sensor fridge. Meaning we were able to add some of our items to the fridge without the fear of being charged. We used the fridge to store some water bottles and yogurt that we bought in the Punta Cana Village.
The shower was nice along with the soap and shampoo. Never really fan of hotel soap but the Westin’s was nice. The sink had enough counter space which is usually my biggest issue with a bathroom so we were happy with that. Our one complaint of the room was that toilet room door was not much of a door. It was opaque glass that you could see through and it did not go down to the floor… Nevertheless we really enjoyed the room especially the view!
With the Westin Punta Cana being secluded meant we were at the whims of the resort restaurants. Honestly, we found the food to be really great! Somewhat overpriced yes, but not astronomical for a resort. The meats they cooked were done perfectly whether it was chicken, beef, or fish. At the resort there are two main restaurants. One is near the beach, Brassa Grill, and the other is close to the main entrance, Anani. I believe the food from both comes from the same kitchen but each has a slightly different menu. Brassa Grill specializes in meats and has a spectacular view.
Anani has a different buffet every night for dinner and also serves the breakfast buffet. It is $20 per person for breakfast and $25 for the dinner buffet. The breakfast buffet is extensive to say the least with an omelette station, breads, meats, cheeses, and standard breakfast fare. My favorite part was the juices which rotate each day with the best one being the raspberry one. As for the dinner buffet it rotates every night, Asian and Mexican were a couple of the themes when we were there. Mexican night was our favorite, we stuffed ourselves with all the guacamole possible, haha. We are also suckers for plantains and they served us plenty during our stay.
Outside of the resort we did take the shuttle into the Punta Cana Village for dinner one night and to pick up some snacks and drinks at the grocery store. Village is an appropriate term, it is not a real town but more like a mini retirement and resort extension. To get there take the shuttle to the Four Points where you can walk to six different restaurants, grocery store, and bank. Note that we did not find a single souvenir shop in case you are looking for any trinkets. We dined at the Mexican restaurant which was not truly authentic but did taste good and was cheaper than the Westin options. I wouldn’t suggest visiting the Punta Cana Village unless you have a long stay and need a break from the resort or need to pick up some cheaper alcohol or snacks. The shuttle schedule is below but may change throughout the year.
Our main reason to visit Punta Cana was to relax on the beautiful beach there. It did not disappoint. With it being in June it was hot but also off-season. We had the entire Westin Punta Cana beach to ourselves on more than one occasion. Stepping into the Caribbean sea it was like bath water, nice and warm. Many people have noted that there is a lot of seaweed on the beach which is true, but the Westin does a good job of cleaning it up. Plus it was really easy to swim around in the water as it all clumps together making for some beautiful pictures actually. Just note that the water here is very shallow even really far out. It was never above my head. It was also pretty comical seeing so many boats park at “our” beach because it was so nice. The boats park really far out because of the shallow water and the people never come close to the Westin area. It provides some interesting people watching from afar. Many boat tours stop here and call the stop a “natural pool” so do not get a conned into one of these.
From the beach we walked down to Playa Blanca, a restaurant that for some reason has free shuttle service to. It is maybe a 10 minute walk so it seems unnecessary. Going the other way you can walk to the La Cana Golf and Beach club by walking down two golf holes. There are quite some amazing houses along the walk and I would recommend doing it. It is a 20 to 30 minute walk one way. There is also a shuttle to La Cana for golfing and for the restaurant there.
Now onto the pool area which was really nice. It was a relativity shallow pool with no deep-end and the water was even warmer than the ocean. Don’t expect to feel refreshed in either the ocean or pool! The Kite-Bar provides drink service to the pool area and was pretty fast unlike the beach. We would usually use the pool in the late afternoon to clean off the salt water and socialize with the many other couples. While it was not an adult only resort there were almost no kids when we were there. It is also helps that the daycare service provided by the Westin is also free so it is family friendly as well.
Our favorite activity by far was visiting the lagunas (similar to cenotes) in the Ojos Indigenas Ecological Park and Reserve which is free if you stay at the Westin. It usually costs $25 per person so a pretty decent value. The shuttle also drops you off and picks you up at the park, just make sure to be there at the exact time. They do not wait! Before heading to the lagunas for a swim we ventured out to El Rancho and Petting Zoo area to see some of the wildlife. One unique animal at the park was the Rhinoceros Iguana which is only found on this island, Hispaniola and is endangered. After wandering the farm and realizing how freaking hot it was out we headed for dip in the lagunas!
The water at these natural freshwater holes was crisp and actually felt really good unlike the ocean! It was crystal clear water with a lot of turtles and fish swimming about. Most would scurry away if there were any splashes or shadows. Surprisingly we had the biggest laguna to ourselves most of the time which had a fun 10 foot cliff to jump off into the water. There is a total of three lagunas that you can swim in. The biggest and best one is closest to the main entrance. After touring the area we hiked to the beach where there is a hauntingly serene abandoned hotel, the Punta Cana Hotel. The main complex of the hotel is still standing and it easy to wander in. Going towards to the beach there is a giant tiki hut. For some reason there were hotel workers doing I don’t know, demolition? Anyway, I’d suggest wandering the area to get an even more secluded beach, just note that because no one else swims in this area there is a lot more sea life.
Beth and I absolutely loved the Westin Punta Cana. It was a perfect place for a honeymoon. In June there was almost no one there and we felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. I really hope it stays under the radar as we are planning on heading back sometime!