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“Very nice place, though more for families than couples”

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VIK Hotel Arena Blanca
Ranked #78 of 114 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed 22 April 2006

My wife and I just returned from the DR, we were there from April 13 - April 21, though we only stayed at LTI for four days.

The positives include:
The stretch of beach the LTI is on is absolutely beautiful, white sands, clear blue water, wonderful weather. The facilities are very clean and modern, the reception hall is beautiful, the pool is segmented so there’s a kiddy pool, a Jacuzzi and an adult pool, lots of lounge chairs and shades on the beach front, and the grounds well kept with lots of tropical plants. A few different spots to relax with a drink or grab a meal. If you want to use their gym you must wear gym clothes and sneakers or they’ll kick you out. That happened to us!

In general, the staff were friendly and helpful. Most know enough to communicate in several languages - English, Spanish, French, and German being the most typical. We have never stayed at an all inclusive, so it was wonderful to eat all we wanted, get drinks whenever we wanted, try a few water activities and never pick up our wallet. There are some pay options for additional activities and meals, but we didn't bother.

There were a variety of activities led by the "animation team" like beach aerobics, games, dancing. And nightly activities, like a live band one night, a dance performance on two different nights, and a karaoke show. There was also a "night club" - though it tended to be populated by teens and reggeaton music, so we didn't go back. We had gone to the DR planning to dance lots of merengue and salsa which didn’t happen with the type of music played at the disco. How ironic.

The slightly less positives include:
We prefer to experience as much of a culture as possible, so we were glad that we traveled around the DR before ending up at LTI, because LTI is fairly far removed from the rest of Dominican life (though I suppose most resorts at Punta Cana are). As many people have said, the largest population at the resort are couples and families from Germany. My wife and I both speak Spanish, but my high school German came in handy more than anything else.

There are tons of kids. If you are a family looking for a relaxing experience, then this is the place - they seemed to have lots of activities to keep the kids interested. But if you're a couple looking for a romantic rendezvous, just know there will be little feet running everywhere. It wasn't bad, per se, but you definitely know it is a family resort.

I don't know if I should call the food "less positive" or "positive". I disagree with some of the other reviews saying it was terrible. It wasn't. We're from New York City, the restaurant capital of the world, we think we know great food, and yes, LTI's meals weren't five star, but for an all-inclusive/buffet-style atmosphere I think they did fairly well. Yes, it is true, most options repeat themselves each night, but the chefs do make an effort to change them up a bit. For example, fish was available every night, but sometimes it was breaded and fried or made with an almond cream sauce or grilled or poached. And there are many, many options. Plus there are four places to eat (two of which you do have to pay extra - we didn't eat at those, but I supposed that offers more options). Fresh fruit everyday and every meal was a huge plus and we felt we were able to have enough choice. When my wife asked what I thought of the food, I did often reply, "yeah, it's okay." So no, I didn't feel like I was eating at the 21 Club, but I totally disagree that it was "terrible". In fact, now that we are home and have to cook for ourselves and buy our own meals, we REALLY miss it!

It is important to know that there is a timeshare building on the premises called the "Cayena" and yes, nice men in yellow shirts wait outside of the main food hall and walk the beach trying to interest people in a tour. So you know what we did, we just avoided them. Simple as that. We wish they weren't there, but they weren't pushy - in fact they never spoke to us.

Needless to say Punta Cana and LTI in general are not easy to get to, we came from Santo Domingo and two buses and a cab ride later we arrived. I'm not sure what the experience would be like if you flew straight into the Punta Cana airport. If you're up for adventure, our bus rides were actually not so bad - we took a coach style bus from Santo Domingo to Higuey [RD$150 pp, about 2.5 hours] and then transferred to a guaga style bus to "Bavaro Plaza" [RD$60 pp, 45 min] and then cabbed it to LTI [the cab was aimed at tourists and so charged RD$150 to go 5 minutes]. There are NO buses to Punta Cana from Santo Domingo or Santiago, so it takes some work, but for us it was a good and safe experience, although it was somewhat tiring. We were also winging it; not knowing exactly how to get there, how much it would cost, nor the prices we would be charged.. My wife is Hispanic and took care of all the transactions and haggling, questions etc… Thank goodness because no one spoke English outside of the resort and it may be a bit overwhelming for non-Spanish speakers to try. It would probably be better to fly straight into Punta Cana to avoid the hassle of getting there from Santiago or Santo Domingo.

We do have a few complaints:

It seems that the LTI contains NO non-smoking rooms, or so we were told. This was a big draw back for us. Though, on the brighter side, the housekeeping service did their best to change all of our bedding and even sprayed our room to try and get the smell out. It helped a lot, but we were shocked they had no non-smoking options (did anyone else hear otherwise?).

Pay for internet access?? Please. US$6 per hour, not a lot, but was it really necessary at an all inclusive resort?

Again, the "disco" was not what we thought. Now, other reviews have said that Punta Cana resorts don't have good discos in general. Believe it, it's true. We were hoping for salsa and merengue but got reggaeton and American Pop instead and the small room was filled with mostly teens and college students.

Bring everything you need, because the prices for amenities in the little shops are unbelievable. A tiny 4oz bottle of suntan lotion was RD$525 or about US$17 and that was the cheapest and smallest. Postcards were a dollar.

One thing my wife noticed was that there were mostly women at LTI, so dancing in the "disco" or with the live band was not easy unless women danced with women. The male:female ratio was not all balanced. There were definitely tons of single women but few single men - so maybe that is actually a plus for some of you!

All in all, having never been to Punta Cana, nor an all inclusive resort, it was a lovely experience and very, very, very relaxing. We had so much time on our hands at first we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. By the second day we got the hang of it and started to just RELAX, know and accept that we didn’t have to do ANYTHING unless we wanted to. Now that’s a vacation ! We would recommend LTI to friends, especially those with children, but we also think that if we returned to Punta Cana (which we might) we would want to try another resort to see what else is out there !

  • Stayed: April 2006
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19  Thank vivacaciones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 April 2006

We just came back from the LTI Resort. We stayed there from april 1 to april 15. The only thing who was nice was the room with ocean view. The food was awful and most of the guests are from Germany. Few people speak english, so we had nobody to talk to. We are from Quebec, Canada and speak french but we speak english very well. The buffet was always the same each day for 14 days. I never saw jello and cookies as a dessert but they have those at each meal. You can eat salad and fruits, but it is the only thing who was good to eat at the buffet. We were very disapointed, and we do not recommand this hotel to anyone. If you are on a diete, that could be nice to eat salad and fruits during 14 days. Really we are very desapointed and we won't return to Dominican Republic, because we had a bad experience in this resort. More, they have people at the resort who try to sell you some vacation package at 10,000$ US and they are vey harassing.

  • Stayed: April 2006
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10  Thank Nicole M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2006

My boyfriend and I stayed at the LTI for spring break this year and we also went with another couple. We do a lot of traveling and Punta Cana was by far the most beautiful place I have ever been. The weather was absolutely perfect and the beach is amazing. We are going back next spring break but we will stay at another resort.

The grounds of the LTI were really nice and well-kept. The staff was great and extremely friendly. My biggest problem with the place was their alcohol and their food. They serve the most cheapest kind of liquor they can find and when you ask for Jack Daniels for example they want you to pay extra. I am not a big drinker, but the entire week I think I forced 5 drinks down. The cups were really dirty too. (All four of us had this opinion).

For the food I was the only one who didn't get sick. But I ate pizza, bread and salad all week long. The other three ventured out and ate some really wierd things and they are still getting over it now, two weeks later. There was only 4 restaurants to choose from and the Italian restaurant that is suppose to be A lA Carte only has pizza on the menu!

The other wierd thing is,they push two twin beds together to make on big bed...and when you ask for a big bed they say "well, you didn't request one." Which I know my travel agent did...I was right there.

If these things don't bother you then by all means try out the LTI Resort because I had a fantastic vacation just a little dissapointed.

  • Stayed: March 2006
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11  Thank traveler613
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2006

My wife and I spent a few nights at LTI in late January and had a great time.

Everything you need to know can be found in the 2/18/06 review by crushadave and the 2/23/06 review by TA member from NH.
I can't add much, but wanted to add another positive review.

There haven't been many negative reviews, but I haven't seen any of the problems that they wrote about, except for the time share hawkers (oops, sorry, "vacation club" hawkers).

Grounds, pool, and beach were absolutely gorgeous.
The staff was mostly great, and at worst ambivalent towards us.

I'm guessing that they were overbooked because they put us in Cayena, which was supposed to be an upgrade.
It was nice, but nothing special. (Be advised that if you're put in Cayena by LTI you are NOT entiled to use the Cayena facilities. Found that out the hard way on Day 2.)

All in all, I'd recommend LTI and will probably go back some day. Maybe even next year.
The bottom line, if you're looking for a reasonably priced vacation in a beautiful setting, try LTI.
If you're a generally unhappy person with money to burn, go somewhere else.

  • Stayed: January 2006
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13  Thank fatchet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Providence, RI
Reviewed 15 March 2006

I just got back from Spring Break at the LTI and LOVED it!!! So it's not your typical Spring Break scene, but that's not really what I was looking for. It was very relaxing, and there were plenty of ways to make your own fun. We made friends with a lot of the staff--and not because we tipped, I'm pretty sure it was because we're all 20/21 year old American girls haha! But everyone was very friendly and highly amusing. The Animacion team was the best! They always got us to play games on the beach, and we made friends with a lot of them as well. They are really good at remembering names, which makes you feel very special. The nightly entertainment could be a little strange at times, but we enjoyed every minute! They have a small disco for hotel guests, and not that many people go, but we always had fun. They play a mix of Latin and American music, and there's always Animacion staff there to keep everyone dancing. The beach was absolutely beautiful. The accomodations were good, not the best I've experienced, but good enough -- same goes for the food. The pasta was actually quite good, and coming from an Italian, that means a lot. I want to go back to the LTI as soon as possible--in fact, I think I might look into working there lol!

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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13  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about VIK Hotel Arena Blanca

Address: White Sand, Carretera Arena Gorda | Bávaro, Punta Cana 290217, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#64 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#67 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#70 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: S$184 - S$380 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — VIK Hotel Arena Blanca 4*
Number of rooms: 447
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The VIK Hotel Arena Blanca is placed overlooking the incomparable beach of Bávaro, just 30 minutes away from the International Airport of Punta Cana. This hotel in Punta Cana was renovated in 2006 to be able to offer a wide variety of environments: ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vik Hotel Punta Cana
Lti Beach Resort Punta Cana
Lti Punta Cana
Lti Resort Punta Cana
Lti Beach Punta Cana

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