When we booked this, we read all the reviews, and decided to spring for the club level, and I am pleased as punch we did.
Room: All the aesthetics of the rooms were great. Bed was comfy enough, and the second floor view of the pool was nice. Complimentary wifi for Preferred Club in our room, we brought our lap top to stay in touch with our kids back home. Fridge was stocked with beer, water, soda, and juice boxes. Coffee maker was nice to have, though we didn't use it since there is a coffee bar. There was a DVD player, and most channels are spanish, though HBO and a NY ABC channel as well as TLC were broadcast in English. I watched the tube before bed. Bathroom stocked with towels, and a nice assortment of toiletries. There was even a bottle of sunscreen!
Pools: We are not party'rs , we are reaching for 40 here soon. So we opted for the relaxed atmosphere of the Club pool when possible. We did venture briefly into both of the other pools, and were first met by the locals selling the stuff at various table. Yes, we spent money on stuff we really didn't need. I figure we asked for it. Plus, the country is very poor, we are helping their local economy. They are only at the main pool a few hours a day on certain days. Just an FYI. The other pool with the swim up bar was GROSS. Water was murky, and when I got to the bar, it smelled like rotten garbage. We then turned, left, and went to the preferred pool. The preferred pool was always calm with the people, and always had a chair available to lounge on. The pool bar was ALWAYS clean, always made top shelf drinks, and NEVER smelled, unlike a few of the others. Again, this is why we paid a little more for the upgrade.
Bars: The best bars were the Lobby bar, and the bar next to the Seaside Grill. Also the preferred Bar at the pool. The other bars smelled, looked dirty, and were under staffed.
Dining: BRING SLACKS! The two better restaurants will not seat you if you do not wear pants. Hubby left his home, so we did not get to try them. We did try The Seaside for dinner and lunch. Both meals were good. Seaside is right on the water front, so it is a very pretty place to dine. The World Buffet is the only place for breakfast, unless you order room service, which is also included in the All Inclusive Resort. We dined at the Asian restaurant one evening, and really enjoyed all of the food there. We usually ate lunch at the World Buffet, just for ease. Quick and easy to get in and out of so we can spend more time on the beach.
Beach: Preferred Club offers a private beach lounging area with little cabana like tikis. PERFECT!!! our last day had rain, so we were very content to be held up underneath reading and napping till the shower passed. The main beach does not have any shaded or covered areas unless you drag a chair into the shade. The sand is soft, and won't cut up your feet. Bring your snorkel and mask, and swim right off the beach. Hubby and I took a little Snorkel tour for $25 each, and it went a bit from the beach, but still stayed in the cove. Glad we did it, but much of the coral is dead, and inundated with sea urchins. Maybe a SCUBA tour would be better, but we passed on that this trip.
Transportation: We flew into Santo Domingo which is a 1 1/2 hour ride from the resort. If possible, fly into La Romana. It is only 20 minutes away. Otherwise, expect to see the cultural parts of the Dominican as you drive through a number of small towns on the way to the resort.
Activities: Every night you get a schedule for the next day and it has the restaurants that will be open, the activities, and times everything gets started. The evening entertainment was okay. Not Broadway or anything to write home about.
Tips: Tips are included in the ALL INCLUSIVE package, but if you want service, you should tip. Otherwise, expect a nod, but no smile.
Language: SPANISH, and I am not a Spanish speaker. The only thing you need to know how to say is your drink order ; )
OVERALL, I say spring for the Preferred unless you want to be part of the party scene, and rather loud music at the pools. We went for our anniversary, and we both wanted to have just time together, so we choose the route we took. I LOVE the all inclusive resorts, it is the way to go if you are looking for a care free vacation.