The Preferred Club rooms and suites—an upgrade—offer higher-end mini-bar and bath amenities. This editor particularly loved having access to the Preferred Lounge, a separate building near the beach with concierge services and an additional spot to relax for daily continental breakfast and hors d’oeuvres and bar service. There are also two computers with complimentary Internet access. The onsite concierge is there to help with any requests needed, and it was nice to be welcomed by name.
Especially appealing was that the Preferred Club guests have access to a reserved area on the beach with cabanas with large beach mattresses that fit a family of four. This is where this editor, with her family in tow, spent most of the days being pampered with waiter service providing tropical drinks (virgin piña coladas for all). We found ourselves often unable to move away from the breathtaking setting of the sand, sun and surf to get ready for dinner each night. However, the beauty of Dreams Punta Cana is that no reservations (nor wristbands) are required for dinner and there is never a line, no matter which restaurant guests choose.
dining choices Of all the yummy restaurants, our favorite for dinner was the World Cafe, with an international buffet. Mom, dad and the kids can go off in their own direction to choose the foods they like and then meet back at the table. A separate buffet area with kid-friendly foods at their height make it easy for the kids to pick out their favorites. Waiter service provides drinks and any special requests.
Oceana, the fresh seafood restaurant by the beach, too, is quite enjoyable, with excellent service and food, not to mention a fabulous view. Special requests from any other restaurant is possible so those kids who are non-seafood lovers, are able to get their hamburgers, pasta and chicken nuggets here, too. Other a la carte restaurant choices include Mexican, Pan-Asian, steak and grilled specialties and an adults-only Italian restaurant. Burgers, hot dogs and soft ice cream can be found poolside during the day.
After dinner, recommend guests head to the nightly show in the large covered open-air theater. Some of our faves were the Cirque du Soleil-inspired circus show, magic show and tropical show featuring Dominican Republic folk dancing. And when adults want to linger into the night without the kids, midnight outdoor movies, a disco and casino round out the adult fun.
kids’ clubs One of the strongest sales features for families at the resort is its complimentary Explorers Club and Core Zone, special programs for its youngest guests. And while the kids are busy in camp—running 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.—parents can head to the full-service spa, sort of their own “camp” for fun. Kids have a great time at the Explorers Club’s large playground, pirate’s ship water slide and indoor game room. Each night a big screen for movies under the stars provides time for parents to eat on their own.
Older brothers and sisters, ages 13 to 17, have their own dedicated space away from the kiddies at the Core Zone Teens Club. Open from 9 a.m. to midnight, The Core Zone features nightly entertainment, daily activities and lots of sports and games to enjoy. You can also spend some time as a family here as well, watching the kids try out the mechanical bull and go rock climbing. A family game of ping pong and foosball are also top of the list for family fun.
Agents receive 10 percent commission on land-only and package reservations booked direct. Starting rates for the property are $136 pp per night dbl. Up to two kids stay free when staying in the same room as two paying adults for travel through Dec. 23, 2011. Now that’s family-friendly, and a great surprise for parents.