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“Pleasantly Surpised”

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Now Larimar Punta Cana
Ranked #11 of 28 Hotels in Bavaro
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 17 November 2011

It's been a few weeks since returning from NOW Larimar and time to write the review. First off we ended up at NOW Larimar in Punta Cana as a last minute change from Playa del Carmen due to hurricane/tropical storm. By way of background this trip was our 4th in six years to AMR properties and our seventh to an "All Inclusive" so I will hope this will put things in some perspective. Second trip to DR others to Playa del Carmen area in Mexico. Profile Family 5, kids 8-12 yrs age, mom dad young 40's but act like teenagers sometime.

First off NOW is a relatively young brand and AMR Resorts has only recently (in terms of few weeks) taken over full management responsibilities of this property from NH Real. So when you're reading reviews from even a month or so ago recognize there will likely be changes and I would suspect those changes will be for the better. My understanding is AMR will manage the property in a more western style whereas NH Real handle in a more european one. On our trip we had several nice visits and meals with upper level management of the resort and found there position on the transition from NH Real to AMR will result. It is from those conversations/meals that I can report some of those "changes".

First. The grounds of this resort are fantastic. Easily one of the prettiest interior courtyard/pool area of any AI we've been to. Beach is fantastic. Bavarro Beach is beautiful and NOW Larimar is no exception. For those that complain about some seagrass wahing up onto the beach....stay in the pool, it's the ocean, somedays there is more than others and mother nature is in control. I can tell you AMR management has hired a new beach crew that will clean the beach in the pre-dawn hours and use a tractor to "screen" the sand vs. prior practice of men with rakes and wheelbarrows. Wheelbarrows will still be used to haul grass off beach. Seagrass at this resort is no worse than any other resort we've been to.

Room. Rooms in this resort are adequate to nice. I think it depends on the building. We stayed in a preferred club regular room a few nights then moved to on of the end suites. Both had the same bedding that was average but again plenty nice. I expect linens and bedding are on the upgrade list but don't have a timeline. AMR has introduce a dream bed concept and it is available at the Secrets next door so management recognizes this may be an issue for some. Secondly our two rooms mattresses were different, one a bit harder than the other, both were firm. Again not unlike every other AI we've been to. Flat panel TV's in all rooms is a nice touch. Some rooms have clocks some don't. Both our room needed more wastebaskets. Bathroom in the end suites are fantastic. Tubs on balcony are a nice touch but we did have some maintenance issues (broken shower head/faucet). In all I have been in "nicer" rooms as well as some that weren't as nice. For us the rooms were adequate and the end cap quite was fantastic. We did have two issues with our in room safe when we moved (dead batteries in them) One call to maintenance and 20 min later fixed (nice job).

Food. How to review food. Had some wonderful things. Had some things I didn't like. Culturally and based upon supply the food in the Dominican is different than in Playa/Cancun Mexico. You are traveling expect that. Dominican menus rely more heavily on caribbean vegetables like plantains/squashes vs. cancus that's a days drive from the US salad bar growing region so Mexico tends to have better western style cold vegetable salads than the DR but this is a supply issue more than anything. There is still a salad bar at NOW that is good. We did do the lobster dinner and it was fantastic. Treat yourself and do that. Buffet hit all the marks of a Dreams/Secrets buffet and even during the week we were there changed for the better. In conversations with the new Food and Beverage manager there will be continued improvements and I suspect will mirror the Dreams/Secrets AMR style more so in future. We ate at the Japanese steakhouse on night...food tasted like ours at home, chefs tried to put on show and the kids liked it. Italian restaurant was great (try the steak dish) and my kids liked the pasta. One thing to note especially if you are traveling with kids. In the specialty restaurants if your kids want something from the buffet (nuggets, plain spaghetti, etc.) just ask the waitstaff, be pleasant and they will do there best to accomodate. Did not eat at the French restaurant. Blue water grill was great as well. In short the food is different than home. Service in the specialty restaurants is great. Sevice in buffet area is not....but it's a buffet get up and get it yourself.

Pool, pool bar etc. Great. If you can't have fun in a pool with a swimup bar then stay home. Preferred club pool was nice retreat especially for us to go to with kids as day wore on and no kid having bar patrons BAC's climbed, but again this is normal and by no means a problem. If we weren't in preferred club we could have also moved within main pool and been plenty insulated if we felt we needed to....then again mom and dad would have had a longer walk to the bar.

Preferred Club. Great lounge in main lobby. Need to have second lounge out in Preferred club building with few computers, limited bar, food etc. When we were there no (free) wifi in Preferred Club rooms, not acceptable, as this is brand standard for AMR. I was assured by new resort manager this a priority project as part of the changeover and will be a welcome change. If I were traveling without kids I would seriously consider Preferred Club for the two private pools as they tended to be quiet retreats during the day. Please note those pools though are not adults only so it is possible kids may be there with less than adequate supervision. If you want no kids, go to an adults only resort.

Shows. Same as other AI's cruise ships, etc. Can be a nice diversion if you're in the mood. Magician one night was outstanding. Not vegas, so stop complaining. Entertainment teams works hard all day. They do a nice job with the shows.

Some highlights of our trip/resort. 1) town square layout specialty restaurants is awesome. It permits you to meander around while waiting for dinner, grab a drink, listen to some music and I think brings alot of energy to the resort. Cool design. 2) Main lobby bar, Air Conditioned and one of the neatest of any AI we've been to. Especially cool when they set up one man band playing merange music. Staff here was great. 3) Sports bar. Cool touch to have a place to watch a game. Love the concept, few suggestions to make it even better: put a TV behind the bar so patrons sitting at bar can watch the game without turning around and if possible maybe a light bar snacks menu (nachos, slider burgers, chicken wings etc.). The attached bowling alley is cool but maybe sell a "weeks pass" for families if charge at all?

Room service - spotty. breakfast was great. dinner one night - fair. Delivery time, so-so. If you want your vacation highlight to be room service, go somewhere else. If you'd like a nice omlett and fruit brought to your room one morning because you have a headache from the night before it'll feel like you're in the Ritz.

Staff. Staff provide the heart and soul of any resort. In the DR the people generally are very friendly. Staff here are no exception. When customers have a "bad experience" with a staff member more times than not some fault lies with the customer. Talk to the staff like they are people....raising your hand and yelling at the waiter for a drink when the bar or water dispenser if 15 ft away from you is rude and irritating in any culture. Act that way and you will get the appropriate response. Talk to the staff about there families, wish them a good morning/evening and ask them how there day is going and you won't need to get up to refill your water. Tipping improves service, this shouldn't be a suprise. Don't complain if the guy who tips the bartenders $10 bucks a day gets his drinks faster than the person who doesn't, in the end the non-tipper will still get there drinks. Tipping is no different than any other AI resort out there. It is always important to point out staff members who make a vacation special. In our trip there were several who stand out. First and foremost, Marcileno (sp?) in the Preferred Club make our vacation special. Friendly, caring and genuinely concerned...in the hospitality business what more can you ask for, I expect under his leadership the preferred club will continue to deliver and exceed expectations. Mr. Blacky taking time to throw a ball and goof around with our kids is a little thing but very nice touch. Erme our waiter, nice job.

Did step foot in Casino, nightclub. Did use "spa" and had massage, it was ok. Main spa under renovation so I will hold judgment there.

All in all great trip, made special by Marcilleno and his crew. If I return to the DR with the family we'll return to NOW and see how AMR has improved things as I'm sure they will.

Forgive the typos and mispelled words as I'm late for work and don't have time to proof.

Mark L.
Missouri

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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16  Thank Mark L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 November 2011

Just came back from NOW and totally loved it. I´m usually not the a person that makes reviews however thought I had to appreciate in some way my perfect vacations. I miss already the staff (specially Henry) and the resort itself which is beautiful!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled solo
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5  Thank Gio M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2011

My husband and I went for our Honeymoon and when we got there it was late, 5:30pm, we were tired, hungry and just wanted to get to our room. We checked in at the lobby and we were greeted by our "Vacation Concierge" that took up an hour of our time luring us to a time share appointment for the next day. We refused but he insisted and would not let us go to our room until we said yes. When we finally got to our room, yes, it was nice and clean, cold but the bed was VERY uncomfortable. They only gave us 2 small pillows for a King size bed and the extra pillow smelled like mildew. We did not get one good night sleep while there.

The food was bad... just bad! Their version of Alfredo sauce was Campbell's Soup Cream of Chicken, Their chicken was dry and hard as a rock. My husband and I do not eat pork and when we asked them if they had chicken they looked at us like we were crazy. The waitstaff was not very good, they never came back to check on us, either my husband or I had to go and get a refill on water, wine, tea, etc. The restaurants were always closed and when they were open it was a 2 hour wait, so we were left no choice but to eat at the buffet. Same food, every night. The food that was by the pool area was mediocre... same stuff everyday! Dry, tasteless food

The beach was nice, aside from the mountains of sea weed along the shore. There was so much of this stuff it was impossible to swim in the water. The pool was the best part, it had a bar and that part we did enjoy. But who travels thousands of miles from home to go and swim in a cement hole?

During the night they had shows, but the waiters were no where to be found. If I found one and we ordered our drinks, they would roll their eyes and never come back. We wanted this trip to be special, the service we got from this place was the worst ever. It's not like my husband and I are hideous looking or mutant like, and even if we were why avoid us? We gave tips to all the waitstaff when they brought us our drinks, but most of the time WE had to go and get ours since they never came.

I would not stay at this resort ever again! Punta Cana is a gorgeous place and it was a shame that we were misguided by what this Resort offers. It claims to have a private beach, but it's not, the small walk from the pool to the beach, there are at least 5 men asking you for money, some for tours that their companies are not associated with the hotel. Which the Resort does have a booth where you can book your excursions. Even while napping on the beach people came up asking us for money.

Another thing... DO NOT GET A MASSAGE AT THEIR SPA! I spent $98.00 on a massage that left me in more pain, I had to make an appointment with a chiropractor due to the neck injury I received, even had an MRI done.

Please stay somewhere else!!! Spend the extra cash a for a better place! This place is a rip off!!

Room Tip: It's a waste of money to do the Preffered Club Upgrade... don't do it! You get treated the s...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Elva Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2011

My husband and I just returned from our 25th wedding anniversary on Friday, November 11, 2011. We were guests for 7 days at Now Larimar resort. When we planned this trip we had no clue which resort would be the best, but with the help of our travel agent, we found this gem. After doing some research, I added Now Larimar to my facebook and read all of the information I could find. We were so excited when we arrived and found out everything was above and beyond our expectations! The resort is beautiful, the grounds were well manicured and so tropical! Food and drink were amazing, but best of all was the staff and their going "above and beyond" to welcome us "home". Concierge Juana was very sweet and helped us feel very special. Marcelino is very amazing and spoiled me to death! Alejandro spent time helping make sure our trip was going smoothly, especially at our swim up bar. Bartender Aurelio was great, knowing what we wanted the second we walked over! even making a special drink that was amazing. The cleanliness and the comfort of our rooms made us feel like we were in our own home. Anyone planning on visiting this fine resort will love it. The only downfall of our vacation is the fact that it was over way too soon. We had some rain, but there are so many things to do that rain didn't put a damper on the trip. After all, its the Tropics! It has to rain to keep things green. Thanks also to Raphael for the help getting our luggage to and from our room. All I can say is that I recommend Now Larimar to everyone!! Excellente!!

Room Tip: We thought the 4th floor was the best for the ocean view.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tina M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2011

From the moment I arrived, I could feel the difference: elegant, clean, personnel at the front desk are very profesional and helpful. Rooms are spacious, confortable, cozy and impecable clean. As for the food, it couldn't be better; they had a large variety of salads, meats, seafood, etc. The entertainment team are really good, they go out of their way to make you feel at home and to never have a dull moment. No doubt I would recomend this hotel, for vacation or business as they have great conference rooms with audiovisual equipment, wifi, etc.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
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5  Thank Rosa T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Now Larimar Punta Cana

Address: Av. Alemania S/N | El Cortecito, Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana > Bavaro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Green Hotel in Bavaro
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Bavaro
#9 Luxury Hotel in Bavaro
#10 Spa Hotel in Bavaro
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Bavaro
#10 Casino Hotel in Bavaro
#12 Romantic Hotel in Bavaro
Price Range: €173 - €567 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Now Larimar Punta Cana 4*
Number of rooms: 822
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Step into the breathtaking Now Larimar Punta Cana and enjoy a wristband-free, excitement-filled getaway. Far from life's demands. Back to its simple pleasures. Where sophistication meets understated. And the kids have as much fun as the grown-ups. Located on over 700 yards of picturesque palm-studded white sand beach on the majestic turquoise Caribbean Sea in Playa Bavaro, Now Larimar offers all of the privileges of an Unlimited-Luxury(R) escape in an exquisite seaside setting. Savor every moment with deluxe accommodations, reservation-free gourmet restaurants, premium cocktails, pampering in our world-class Spa, endless daytime and nighttime activities and much much more. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Now Larimar Hotel Punta Cana
Nh Hotels Punta Cana
Nh Hotel Punta Cana
Edenh Real Arena
Edenh Real Punta Cana
Edenh Punta Cana

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