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 !
- 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