About four months ago Rich and I spent one afternoon browsing the internet for this years summer holiday. It was my choice (fist pumps the air) so I sat down – Tea in hand and off I went. I knew I wanted a relaxing beach holiday where the only worry would be whether or not I’d packed enough bikini’s.
After about four continuous hours of searching I stumbled upon the Sensatori brand. I’d heard a lot about it and I just knew then and there that the Sensatori Punta Cana was where I would be holidaying come July. Everything about the place just sounded perfect.. The pictures looked stunning, as if nothing had actually been used and it wasn’t until a few hours later I realised that actually nothing had been used as the hotel we had booked was actually brand new and the images were in fact CGI.
July 4th came around and I was a little bit anxious as the Trip Advisor reviews so far hadn’t been very good, however, I went with an open mind and said I would enjoy the holiday anyway as it had only been open two weeks after the initial opening was delayed about seven weeks..
We arrived on the 4th July at around 2.30pm Dominican Time and set foot in the hotel for the first time. The lobby was nothing special, everything was quite plain looking – There was nothing that really stood out and made me think wow! We checked in and were handed cool face towels to freshen up, much needed after the nine hours of travelling. We we’re given a map and sent on our way to find our block. There were golf carts on hand to take people to and from rooms but we decided to have a walk around the grounds and find it ourselves.
We found our block after about a ten minute walk, it was ridiculously hot so we had to walk slowly but I would say it was only a couple of minutes from the lobby. The room was absolutely stunning. We booked a Family Suite which was situated in the family block and it was huge! There was a separate living area with dining table and the biggest balcony I had ever seen. The room we were in (6201 for anyone that cares) was adjacent to the hotel next door and so the views were pretty terrible – It was just a white brick wall and what looked like the entrance and exit for the workers so all day you would get the golf carts going up and down.. We didn’t spend too much time out there. The WiFi in the room didn’t work for a couple of days, even after numerous phone calls to the reception to get it fixed but on the evening of the second day a technician came to fix it.. There were a few minor issues with the room like the doors on the wardrobe wouldn’t stay shut and the doors separating the bedroom from the living room wouldn’t connect as they weren’t fitted properly, there were cracked tiles in the bathroom and the air con wouldn’t work properly. Not what you would expect for a brand new hotel, but it didn’t make that much of an impact.
The things that did make quite an impact were our particular room – I think because it was the first room next to the cleaning cupboard – didn’t get cleaned until 6pm every day as it was always the first room they started on, but we had to be out by 8am and if not they would skip past our room and go on to the next and then come back to ours at the end of the day. Drilling also woke us up at 8am two mornings we were there and it went on pretty much all day after that.
The resort itself was beautiful – If not a little strangely laid out. The Sensatori Hotel is actually shared with a Nickelodeon hotel. Thomson claim they are separate resorts but the only thing that makes them different is the colour scheme and separate lobby’s – All the restaurants and pools are shared (apart from K23 which is an adults only and Nickelodeon guests have to pay extra). On one side you have Sensatori and the other Nickelodeon and they run side by side all the way down to the beach separated by a footpath. The way they are built means that hardly any of the rooms have a sea view – Something to keep in mind when booking as I heard a lot of people complain about this! Each block has a swim up option for the ground floor rooms which I actually wish we had booked as they looked great – Some get sun a lot of the day and others not so much so if you are thinking about booking it’s best to check! There was still a lot of work going on around the hotel, which meant constant drilling and gardening every single day! One day they would lay turf and the next day they would be cutting it up – Crazy!
There is a Gourmet Village located near both lobby’s which houses six restaurants, a bar, coffee shop, theatre, gift shop and members lounge (the coffee shop I’ve heard won’t be part of the all inclusive in due time). Unfortunately due to the hotel being fairly new, a lot of the things weren’t open. The Spacewalker restaurant, theatre and members lounge weren’t open at all, while the gift shop was only partially open. A lot of the restaurants were very busy at about 8pm and you did need to wait around for a table and when you were finally seated you had to wait around 15-20 minutes for your order to be taken and then again for your order to arrive. We were in a restaurant for 50 minutes before we even got our starters one night – I’m sure this will get better over time and when the staff are better trained but it was a tad annoying for us. I later found out that the hotel was only at 70% occupancy too so lets hope more staff are brought in! The evening entertainment was pretty shocking the entire time we were there so we ended up in bed with Netflix most nights – There definitely wasn’t any ‘professional shows’ on.
The swimming pool and beach are beautiful and probably the place I spent most of my time. There’s meant to be five pools but I only counted three and one of those was a tiny kids pool with slides. The other two were both next to each other separated by a walkway down on to the beach. It was a huge pool though, complete with swim-up bar. I found it got a little overcrowded on a weekend with locals coming in Friday to Sunday and staying at the Nickelodeon Hotel and almost impossible to get a drink.On my last day I got up at 5.30am to take a few photos while it was quiet and to catch a sunrise and I spotted a few people with stacks of towels reserving sunbeds (one of my actual bug bears). We got out most days about 10am and all the beds around the pool were taken – It’s a good job I preferred the beach anyway!
I think the hotel has a long way to go before it is up to a 5* standard. I wouldn’t go back to this particular resort, mainly because it’s shared and I feel like I didn’t get the full Sensatori experience and was left a little disappointed. It was such a shame as the hotel was beautiful and had so much potential and in my eyes it should have never opened when it did. The staff are really friendly and can’t do enough for you!
I would love to know if you are going to Sensatori Punta Cana or if you haven’t quite decided yet I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the resort or hotel