Little sidenote: I’ve slowly been making my way through one of my hard-drives and stumbled across so many old photos from trips I have taken. Since I didn’t have a blog back in 2014 I thought I would go ahead and publish these here (my photo style has definitely changed in the past 4 years or so…)
Basically, after graduating from University I moved back to Stockholm for over 3 years and Robbie, my husband- then boyfriend, was still living in Scotland. Because we were both living on our own in two different countries and had just graduated we threw everything into work and when we had the time off we made sure to make the most of our time together which included a few great trips away! In February 2014 we found a great deal for flights from Europe (we started our flight from Tallinn) to Miami and then the Dominican Republic for around 400 EUR. It was a crazy good deal and we couldn’t pass it up. We started the trip with 5 days in Florida and then decided to treat ourselves to an all-inclusive hotel break in Punta Canta in the Dominican. This was the first time I’d ever been to an all-inclusive resort since I’m usually the Airbnb,hire a rental car and drive around, live out of a crusty suitcase type of traveler. The resort we stayed at is called Alsol del Mar and it had literally just opened its doors about a month before we arrived. We spent 5 days, 4 nights there and this is what I thought…
What I liked about Alsol del Mar:
– I’ll start with the rooms first. One of the most important things for me is the bed. I need a comfortable bed if I’m going to be sleeping somewhere for a few nights, especially if I’m trying to relax. They were the right amount of soft for me, not soft enough that you would sink in and can’t turn but not hard enough for it to feel like you’re lying on a plank. I liked that there were several pillows and a silky duvet.
– The rooms were super spacious, there was more than enough room for the both of us including our luggage being spread out. The room we had was pretty long and first you have the bathroom which is almost sectioned off into three with the toilet on the left, then a large sink in the middle and a separate shower. In the room itself we had the bed to the left, then a large sitting area with a sofa and TV and finally a spacious balcony. No complaints there.
– I liked the design of the rooms. Lots of muted tones, light, fresh and “beachy” vibes. Imagine lots of blues and cream shades going on. Hard not to like, really.
– What I super impressed with was how well and often they would restock the mini-fridge. It wasn’t that you had one bottle of Coke and one beer in the fridge- when they restocked it, it could last you a week. I think we only managed to drink through like a third of a stocked fridge the four days we were there.
– This was a minor thing but still made my stay better- the TV channels. Since we don’t have a TV at home and most definitely don’t have US channels. it was really fun to be able to binge watch the Real Housewives of Whatever City in the evenings. They had literally every channel you could ask for.
– With the rest of the hotel, the first thing I noticed when we got to the hotel and went through the reception (which is small and doesn’t feel like a typical reception or check-in area- I like that), were the views. The hotel area is laid out kind of in a square shape so all the building surround a big courtyard space with pools and the beach at the end. I really liked this because the buildings wouldn’t block out the views.
– Check-in was super fast and we were able to get our rooms several hours before we were meant to (this was probably because it was low-season and the hotel has just opened though)
– Now, into the most important bit. The pool and beach. The thing that stood out to me the most during our stay was how spread out everything was. You didn’t feel like you were sharing the pool with hundreds of other people.
– We also didn’t have to run for sunloungers every day, which was a massive plus. I hate feeling the stress at 8 AM when you feel like you need to sprint down to the pool and claim beds. The sunlougers here were also massive. There were several large circular ones that you could spread out on with 2 people. It meant that Robbie couldn’t escape me at all hehehe.
– The staff were all so lovely, especially by the pool. Sometimes they would ask if you wanted to join for a volleyball game but they wouldn’t push it. I liked that. I’m not the kind of person who goes on holiday and wants to be a part of every social activity and feels guilty saying no. I like to put my headphones in and read a book for a week straight. The staff totally respected that. And they also came around with wet towels and fresh fruit every afternoon which was amazing.
What I didn’t like:
There honestly wasn’t a lot that I didn’t like but a few things stood out to me that could have been improved. These things all probably have to do with the fact that they had just opened and hadn’t gotten into the groove of the things yet.
– The room service was so slow. We didn’t order room service a lot, maybe two or three times during our stay but it was terrible. We had to call down several times to confirm an order, would be hung up, the food showed up like an hour and a half later or sometimes didn’t come at all. It was all a bit weird. At first I thought it was down to a language barrier but everyone I talked to on the phone or at the hotel spoke excellent English so it was all a bit confusing.
– The food at the restaurants was okay at best. It wasn’t terrible but it was definitely nothing to write home about (except for the breakfast, since I just gobbled down fresh fruit).
– Because the place had just opened a few months before we got there, they still had some renovations going on. This was understandable but I heard some people at the hotel weren’t too happy with it, especially the people who had rooms closer to the renovations and couldn’t sleep because of it.
– One of the things I found strange was that when we got our room there were still a few things left behind by the people who had stayed there before us. Not like massive pieces of belongings but papers and a notebook etc. Most of these was in the safe but I thought it was weird that the staff hadn’t picked up on this before giving us the keys.
Would I go back?
This is a question I asked myself several times after our trip and especially before we booked our honeymoon last May to the Dominican. I’m not completely sure. If I could get it for a good price then YES, definitely. But if I had the chance to try something different in a similar price range, I would give that a chance. I feel like if you look around you could get the same level of “niceness” anywhere, not just here.