Historical Traveller Reviews of Natura Park Resort & Spa Hotel
We traveled to Natura Park Resort and Spa from March 11-18 and had a fabulous time. I cannot understand what some of the previous people who wrote reviews are complaining about. As we all know, some people will always find something to complain about....and that is too bad for them because these people will never be satisfied. If you want American food, American resorts, American shopping and American entertainment then you should just stay in America. If you are not willing to travel with an open mind, then just stay home and stop complaining! As for our trip to Natura Park...we could not have asked for a better time. I have traveled a lot and have stayed at many 5 and 6 star hotels during my travels including Hyatt, Hilton, the Westin and the Ritz Carlton. Natura Park was not exactly the same as these, but came pretty close. (However, you must always remember that you are in another country....the Dominican Republic is not the USA!) I have also been fortunate enough to travel to Hawaii, Cancun, St. Martin and the Cayman Islands and I would have to say Punta Cana is just as beautiful as these other places. Do not hesitate to come to this paradise island in the caribbean. From what we saw (we went on the Outback Safari Tour, an all day tour to see the countryside - A GREAT time!) the island is very clean, the people in the villages are extremely friendly and we felt safe the entire time, out in the villages and in our hotel. Natura Park gets a 5 star rating from us and remember I am comparing it to other 5 and 6 star hotels in the USA. We stayed on the 3rd floor in building 4 which is non-smoking. I requested this one week before we left and we were assigned this room right when we checked in. ( we had absolutely no problems checking in). The rooms were average, but VERY clean and spacious. (This is quite alright though because when you go to the Caribbean you should not spend most of your time in your room---go to the beach!) They had wonderful balconys overlooking the beautiful grounds. There were no bugs in the rooms ever. We always had water pressure and hot water. Our toliet NEVER leaked. The housekeepers gave us clean towels and filled our minibar everyday. I brought my own hairdryer and there was already an adapter in the room for me and it worked just as well as it did at home. The food was only okay, but what can you expect from an all-inclusive hotel that is IN ANOTHER COUNTRY!!! I am an extremely picky eater in the USA and I did fine. There was always something to eat and food is served almost all the time. The Steak restaurant was the best. The beach bar was good also. The entertainment every night was fun. Remember, you are not in Las Vegas. The entertainers try very hard and get the audience involved every night. We went to the shows every night and had a good time. Have an open mind, relax and enjoy the show. You can even go as far as getting involved if you would like. Also remember, you will get out of it, what you put into it! If you like to go to clubs or the disco, Natura has a shuttle after the entertainment that takes you over there every night around 11pm. I believe this is free, but we did not go. The grounds are gorgeous and constantly being maintained. The beach is breathtaking and the water is clean and crisp. There was not that much seaweed and for pete sake, it is an ocean! I think I have seen more seaweed in St. Martin and Caymans and even Lake Michigan. The pool is clean and there were never more than 10 people in it at a time and we were there during the busy season. You can always find a chair on the beach with a Cabana. I think Natura Park's beach is the biggest and most spread out compared to the 2 other resorts next to it (Allegro and Sunscape). The Staff.....very helpful and friendly. We do not know any Spanish at all. I brought a Spanish/English dictionary and this helped a lot, but if you try, even just a little, the staff will thrive off of that. The waiters/waitresses. bartenders, entertainers, housekeepers, front desk employees, guest services, etc were all wonderful. Basically my main motto everywhere I go is "treat people the way you would like to be treated" and you will really always get farther by sticking to this. All you have to do is make a little effort and the staff will receive you with open arms. ALWAYS say Hello and give them a smile. They work very hard and very long hours and are dedicated to making sure their guests have a pleasant time. I brought a small bag of gifts from Walmart to give to the housekeeper everyday (nail polish, stationary, Blistex, perfume, etc.) and some T-shirts and ball caps for the staff members we talked with a lot. They really appreciated this and were extremely greatful. I recommend doing this, not only because you will get even better service, but by the end of the trip you will WANT to do this for the people you have "connected" with. Overall, we had a great time and would return in a heartbeat. I was exteremly sad to go home. I was hesitant to come to Punta Cana because I was uneducated about the Dominican Republic. I held the same stereotypes many Americans hold against this beautiful island, however, my stay at Natura Park in Punta Cana proved that I was very wrong. The Domnican Republic is truly the hidden paradise in the Caribbean. While I was here for my short stay of 7 nights, I fell in love with the beaches, the resort, the countryside/landscaping and most of all, the wonderful people. Give this resort and island a chance. I am confident that if you go with an open mind, you will have a great time and will want to return again!
it was great
from A TripAdvisor Member
After reading some of the reviews, I have to wonder where some of these people were staying or maybe did they drink so much they didn't know what was going on around them. We visited in Feb. & had a great time. It is only about 20 minutes from the airport which is really nice. No long bus ride to your motel. The staff were all friendly; no problems at checkin or at any time. Service was a little slow at times at the bar. They did have a good variety of International Drinks (Dewers, Beefeater, etc). The food was the usual at all inclusives in the Islands; same food all week, but if you eat a different type of meat and veggy at each meal it doesn't get boring. The only thing I found was that the omellettes were more like fried eggs than omellettes. But if you want the food to taste like it does at home, then stay at home.The grounds were beautiful. Rained for about 10 seconds during the whole week. Room was nice with a big balcony with a view of a pond at the back of the building. The only problem was twin beds instead of doubles. No big deal. We were on the second floor. There was no musty smell that some people complained about. The food at the Luna restaurant was very good (had steak once and chicken the next time- both were excellent) & the waiters were very pleasant. We ate there twice. They could use another washroom on the beach as it gets quite busy during the day. I found it faster just to go to our room to use the washroom. We got up early, put our towels on chairs then went for breakfast. The beach did have some seaweed during the week, but you can't control nature (at least it didn't smell.) and the beach did not have any rocks in the water; it was very sandy and firm. The last place I stayed on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico we had to step over a lot of small rocks to get into the water, and there also were rocks in the water; but not here. WE took the kayaks and paddle boats out every day. There is entertainment by the pool every day if you want to get involved, as well as voll when the water was very cool in the shower, but if everyone comes in around suppertime to shower, you are going to have this problem. We showered a little later in the day before going for supper & found we always had hot water. The burgers at the beach were great. Pool was big. Nice long beach for walks. Entertainment wasn't the best, but it was good. Didn't have a problem with mosquitos. The timeshare people were the biggest pests. We were approached a number of times near the lobby, and they just didn't seem to understand "NO". As for getting the best rate for US to pesos, it differs depending on where you change your money. This is the same in every country you visit. (At least they accept other foreign currency, unlike the US which will only accept its own currency) It is best to ask your tour rep. or check things out first before you change your money to see were you would get the best rate. I would definately like to return to NaturaPark. We had a great time, very relaxing, excellent weather, nice motel, nice people. You have to remember when you are visiting a foreign country, you are not at home, don't expect everything to be the same as it is at home.
from A TripAdvisor Member
When we arrived at Natura Park we were very impressed by the cleanliness, hospitable staff, and beautiful scenery. Although it would help if you know Spanish, you could still muddle your way through the communication barrier. The food was pretty good, but the best part of the trip was the being albe to lay on the beautiful beaches and by the pool, the whole point of our vacation.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
from A TripAdvisor Member
I read reviews here prior to leaving for The Natura Park Resort, and after returning. There are more negative reviews now than before we left and I wanted to give some balance. As with any vacation what really matters is what you are looking for.I will start with what we did find disappointing.. The first room we received was on the lower level and was very musty smelling. It was clean, but due to the nature of the resort and the climate, the lower rooms smell musty. We explained the problem we had and were moved to a 3rd floor room and loved the accomodations. . I honestly don't know if it's Natura Park or all of Punta Cana, but they are not big on hot water. Showers were luke warm usually, warm very occasionally, and cold from time to time. The Jacuzzi in the pool is the same temp as the rest of the pool which is understandable. but even the small Jaccuzzi in the Spa was cool water.. The service we received in the Steak specialty restaraunt was, although not outright rude, very indifferent.These were our only disappointments. Following are things that were fine with us but could be important to others.. Lack of English use. Many of the resort staff do not speak English. If you don't speak spanish, don't hold it against them. Have fun with it. My wife and I had Spanish in High school many years ago, but enjoyed trying to communicate and found that in the vast majority of the cases the staff had fun as well. It was our first trip where Americans were in the minority - and by a long shot. Germans, French, Italians, and Hispanics from many nations flock to Punta Cana.. Meals - I cannot say I was disappointed in the food, but I did get a little tired of the buffet. We stayed 7 nights which entitled us to just 2 Ala Carte dinners at the specialty restaraunts. The food was good, healthy, clean. We had no stomach problems the entire trip, we never went hungry and the quality was from good to outstanding. Fruits and desserts were the best overall quality in our estimation.. Open Air - With the exception of your room, no public structures at the resorts are enclosed. All are under massive Thatched roofs, with outstanding construction - very interesting architecture. We arrived on a Tuesday had no rain until Sunday night, and Monday was the only day we had any bug issues, and they were minor. The more rain/humidity the more bugs. We hit a good week.. Entertainment - There were many events by the pool for kids, The nightly entertainment is just okay. If your looking for huge wild dance parties, this isn't the place. But it is local music which can be lively at times and mostly Spanish in language. Entertainment isn't big on our list.The following we found to be exceptional:. The Beach is amazing. I read some complaints about seaweed and it's true - there is seaweed but it is the ocean. This is nature, not a sign of a poor run resort. Although there were times much busier than others we were never without a lounge chair and shade. Had to look for a few minutes a couple of times but always found one.. Along all of Bavaro Beach of which Natura Park is set in the middle of many other resorts, no structure is allowed to be taller than the tallest Palm tree. When in/on the ocean or walking down the shoreline you do not see endless rows of towering high rise hotels. You see the natural beauty of this remarkable island.. The Grounds of Natura Park are breathtaking. Pathways run through exotic trees, birds and flora. Bridges run over ponds full of fish that you can feed bread to over the rail. The geese are beautiful but can be a bit annoying when they get honking but it is all part of the setting. Large white heron type birds fly around the interior garden area along with woodpeckers, Hummingbirds and many other species.Well maintained natural setting.We were looking for a relaxing week on a beach, and got that and a lot more. This is not a 4 star hotel by American norms, but it is 5 star in natural beauty and relaxation. It is not Sandals, it is not the Hyatt Regency. It is Punta Cana and it is beautiful.
warm weather cold shoulder
from A TripAdvisor Member
My husband and I have been on many vacations but, this was by far the worst. I read some of the reviews on this web site but, hoped for the best. On arrival at the hotel there was nobody at the desk to welcome you and get you to a room. The people in front of us said they had been standing there for 2 hours. Very poor service at the front desk. Well, we got a room after a while and guess what ? The toliet doesn't flush. We went to the guest service desk and reported it. They said someone would be there soon to fix it. Needless to say nobody came until we complained again and again. This was a day and a half later. Now the toliet won't stop running. Oh well, guess we will live with that. Food was poor, rooms musty, spray for bugs while you are eating at an outside restaurant. I could go on but, I think you get the message. We would never go back.
Loved Natura Park!
The reviews I read on this website really made me nervous before we left for our trip. Contrary to what I read though, we had a great time at Natura Park. Our room was clean and spacious. The food wasn't great but it wasn't terrible - the DR is a foreign country so I would expect that it would be a little different from what I eat every day. The beach was beautiful -lots of chairs under little cabanas for shade when you wanted it. You couldn't ask for better weather. We took a catamaran out on the ocean each day, as well as kayaks and paddle boats. There is at least 2.5 miles of undeveloped beach front to the left of the resort that you can walk along. We set an alarm for 6:30 each morning so that we could go out on the beach, stake our claim on our beach chairs for the day and watch the sun come up. Such a great trip - I was so sad to leave. Go with an open mind and have a fun trip!
Would we go back?
from A TripAdvisor Member
We just returned from Natura Park Saturday p.m. March 8th. We travelled through 'TNT' (Boston) with no hitches, our travel documents, flight and transfers were all o.k., no problems. We actually stayed at the Hampton Inn the night before our departure, so we would have a place to leave our car for a week, $90 room & park for a week, what a deal. Our flight left early so we arrived early in Punta Cana @ 10:00 a.m. We breezed through customs, the bus ride to Natura Park was 20 minutes, and we were on the beach by 11:10 a.m. Since we had bathing suits on underneath our jeans etc., we wouldn't have to change there. We checked in to our room early, at 2:00 p.m. I found the front desk staff very cordial and went way out of their way to get us rooms early. I had e-mailed the resort a room request prior to departure and recieved no reply, so I was curious to find out what our room would turn out like. (After not recieving a reply, I emailed their headquarters and recieved no reply from them either...) I will say that they put us in a ground level floor room at first, that smelled really musty-mildewy and the air conditioner did not work. We changed rooms to a 3rd level room where everything worked, but was still a bit musty/cigarette smelly. I had requested a non-smoking room, but didn't get one. I did see that they have a wing of non-smoking rooms 'Patio 4?' They call the clusters of rooms 'Patios'. We tipped our "maid" $2 everyday. The fridge is packed with sodas, beer and other odds & ends. We cleared out what we didn't want and asked "Manuela" to just give us extra water and 'Presidente' beer which was free. Our room was spotless every day, and usually cleaned by 3 p.m. We found the staff very friendly and most could get by with speaking English, with exception of the waitstaff/servers and 'Maids'. Get to know the bartenders. We kicked them a few bucks and we never had an empty glass. They do appreciate this will get to know you quickly. I never saw any Europeans tip once. od was interesting. Me being a Chef, I had no problems with the food, although after a week I was bored with it. My Fiance is not big on tons of protien, so she was tired of the food after a few days. The buffet was a protien feast, with lots of beans, rice, pork, beef, mystery fish and chicken. The food was repetative in the way that there was usually the same meats everyday, they just changed the sauces or style. Thursday is "Local" night and was one of our best meals. In general, the vegetables were the typical carrot-greenbean 'ho-hum' either overcooked or undercooked. They usually had an interesting 'Yucca' dish to throw-off your mouth. Breads, fruits and desserts were pretty decent. Great Ice cream. Breakfast was the best meal I think, you can get eggs any way you want etc., but they cook bacon 'in clumps' and the link sausage was a tad wierd. A person was cutting fresh fruit every morning, the coffee was good. Breakfast, lunch and dinner there always seemed to be tons of sliced deli-meats and cheeses. I found the cheeses bland (most dairy products there are bland also), and they always had 3 different types of thin-sliced ham?, 'olive loaf' etc. The potatoes were different, usually mixed with protiens or wierd sauces. The juices really lacked! Not fresh, most too sweet and obviously from concentrate. It was nice to see self-serve coffee(and 'espresso'), soda and juice stations at the beach and buffet. They put a bottle each of white-rum, dark-rum and 'whisky' out at the beach serve-yourself staion to make your own rum & cokes etc, which was a nice touch. The meat 'specialty' restaurant "Media Luna" was the best; our friends had the steak or "Churrasco" that was reportedly very good and tender. I had the 'Tournedos', which were good, tasty and tender; the pork chops and Brochette got the big yawn. The seafood 'specialty' restaurant was a huge dissappointment! No fresh fish, we both had shrimp. She ordered the 'grilled shrimp and vegetables' dish, which came buttery and hadappropriate for the dress-code, but the dishes both tasted good. We didn't want to bargain on the "Dorado" or their "local" fish, as we had seen it on the buffet all week. The "salmon" our friends said was white!? and bland. My appetizer was "Coquilles St. Jacques", you know the scallop-shell stuffed with scallops in a creamy sauce, usually topped with a breading or cheese and browned under a broiler? What they served me was more like seafood-flavored bread stuffing, VERY DRY, stuffed in a scallop shell topped with melted cheese and not one scallop... did I say dry?We didn't hear anything regarding the "Italian" restaurant. Many people were going down to "Sunscape" for food, which was reportedly much better. The "Chef Executivo" seemed to be walking around alot or standing in the beach bar area, maybe he should have been spending more time showing his staff how to cook or cooking himself? The beach was good with soft sand and lots of palm-coconut trees for shade, a bit crowded, but good. Get there early to get a beach umbrella or "Palapa" at least by 7:15 a.m., there were usually plenty of lounges available otherwise throughout the day. I was not fond of the seaweed in the water. Natura Park seems to get more than its share of seaweed. They have a crew that cleans it off the beach every a.m. though. Bring plenty of sunscreen. We 'pre-tanned' a few days prior to our trip which helped out emensely, so by Tuesday and Wednesday we were using SPF #4 mostly, with a few exceptions. We were only accosted by the time-share people once, "Royal Holidays" their company is named, we just walked away and usually said nothing or no-thanks. The ocean was warmer than the pool! There were no vendors on the beach bothering you, like in Antigua etc. Lot's of topless sunbathers and thong wearers, which made for an interesting day most of them were an eye-sore. The only day the resort ran out of towels was Sat. our first day there, as it seems tor the locals or islanders. We went on the "Bavaro Runners" day-trip, it was worth it and a great day out. You do get 'lassoed' into buying a few hokie things though, but all in all it was fun and worth it. Our guide "Matthew" was very fun and informative. A few loud and party-minded Canadians made for a long day. They were in a hurry to get back to their hotel for more rum & cokes', and offended our guide unknowingly several times. Tip the guide will Ya? After all the crap he puts up with all day!We didn't buy many souveniers as we didn't trust the flea-market people much. We read about 'fake amber' and cigars etc., so we were a bit cautious. Definately check around on prices first before you buy, you'll probably find a better deal later in the week somewhere else. I got bitten by mosquitos for a few days, but finally resorted to using our "Deet" spray, (Yuk), then all was o.k. Natura Park was a great place. Not quite 4* by my book, but nice. Flamingos, Egrits?(or Herons) and Geese meandering around and very nice-well kept grounds made for an enjoyable week for us. The populous was comprised of mostly Germans, Spanish, Canadians some Chileans and then Americans. We are not typically ones to usually go to the same place every year, so we probably wouldn't go back UNLESS they changed-up the food and quality OR if it was a lot cheaper than what we paid for our this last trip there. Hope this helps...
Make English a lanuage in Punta Cana
from A TripAdvisor Member
The shows seemed good if you could understand the. Everything was done in a diffrent language. Never ENGLISH
The nitty gritty on Natura
from A TripAdvisor Member
Where do I start, we arrived at the hotel and were the last ones out of a large group to get our hotel room. I did not have high expectations and it was a good thing. The rooms smelled very musty and did not appear very clean, no where near a 4* (apparently upgraded to a 5* not sure how). We changed rooms three times before I was somewhat happy....the second room, the hairdryer was broken the shower and toilet leaked and it was near the disco so it very loud til 1 a.m. The third room was ok and at least quiet and everything worked (the toilet, hairdryer, shower ). The nightly entertainement was a joke. We tried to watch three times and had to leave twice, one night was decent (maybe becasue it was Independence Day in D.R) The food is par and that's it we had two good meals for dinner out seven (the steak house is the best) On a positive note, the spa was really good I had an aloe vera body wrap and my partner had a massage...very good. The beaches and the view were breathtaking and we had great weather every day. If you want chairs you have to get up early (7a.m.) or forget it. I would go back to Punta Cana but not to Natura Park. The people at the front desk were very passive and ususallly ignored you even when trying to check out. The rest of the staff was very nice and friendly.
from A TripAdvisor Member
Leaking toilet all week long, their idea of fixing a toilet is using a mop. Always short on towels for the room and for the beach. 5 days out of 7 there were no beach towels. They only speak english when they need to. Food was horrid, the place is beautiful but it has been run into the ground and the service.......there is no service. They even screw you on money transaction for pesos. We cashed in some money and got 20 pesos per dollar and come to find out that afternoon, the rate is 25 pesos and the flea market person said that has not changed for awhile and she goes to the bank in Higuey every day. The place is a DUMP.