by Diana Lambdin Meyer
Dreams La Romana is the largest of the three Dreams resorts in the Dominican Republic with 751 rooms in 10 buildings. Some of those rooms are always under renovation and updating to keep the property to the highest of quality and standards, although a major renovation was completed in 2008.
The management at the three Dreams properties in the Dominican Republic has a friendly, good-natured rivalry about who has the best beach. They are all great, but we have to go with the La Romana property. The sand is soft and powdery, less gritty than their colleagues (maybe not as good for sandcastle building) and the water is crystal clear and very shallow several yards from the shore. Although there are plenty of palm trees for that necessary Caribbean feel, the beach includes a variety of other tropical trees that creates an altogether different look that many Caribbean beaches.
A large dock extends out into the water allowing for great photos back of the beach and an opportunity to feed the fish bread crumbs. The beach is more than 1,300 feet long. Putting it in more North American terms: that’s almost the length of four football fields. The beach is within five minutes walk of the fishing village of Bayahibe and the many shore excursions that leave from here, including the very popular trip for snorkeling to Somoa Island.
To learn more about Dreams Resorts and Spas, please visit Dreams Resorts & Spas.
Our Editor Loves
- Child-size buffet
- Teen center
- Feeding Fish From The Dock
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The standard rooms are about 350 square feet and most come with a tub/shower combo, but not all, so if your little ones need a tub, be sure to ask. Suites are about 840 square feet and include a bedroom, living area, two televisions and two balconies or terraces. Eight suites face the ocean and include two full baths.
About 20 percent of the rooms at Dreams La Romana connect to adjacent rooms and all have DVD players and iPod docking stations. A limited number of DVDs are available for check out from the concierge, so you may consider packing one or two of your children's favorites.
Each of these rooms comes with a mini-fridge that is re-stocked everyday with soft drinks, beer and bottled water at no extra charge. If parents want to minimize access to sugary soft drinks, simply tell the front desk and your fridge will be stocked with just bottled water.
Wifi is available throughout the property with an additional fee. If you have a need to be in touch with the world, or teenagers who have to be online, the most economical package is unlimited, multiple access for seven days for US$60.
Cribs are available at no extra charge, but bed rails are not available.
All of the essentials are provided: hair dryer, iron and ironing board, in-rooms safe at no extra charge, and bath products.
If your budget allows, go for rooms identified as the Preferred Club. In-room amenities including plush bathrobes and slippers, turndown service, complimentary WiFi and a 24-hour concierge. Preferred Club guests have access to a private beach area and a clubhouse that offers a continental breakfast and other snacks throughout the day. A private bar and bartender are also located here.
My boyfriend and I stayed here 7th-19th August. Before I begin if you are from the UK I would really advise purchasing with TUI. They went above and beyond for us and were available whenever needed.
We arrived to the hotel and it was lovely. Mimosas & cookies on arrival and we were soon checked into the hotel. On our arrival we were also greeted by the manager and as we were arriving a few days before the grand opening of the new hotel we would be upgraded to the new section free of charge in 2 days time. This was very lovely and we were grateful however we felt like there was no point unpacking for 2 days. The bell boy escorted us to our room taking our bags for us and showing us sections of the hotel along the way. Our room was lovely, no complaints whatsoever, nicely decorated and spacious. Equipped with a TV and mini fridge with drinks stocked daily (alcohol and non). The grounds are immaculate and I loved seeing the hermit crabs scurry around the place. Staff were extremely polite and always saying hello and willing to help.
Food I would say was okay. The options were very very generous however we did attend another 5 star hotel last year in Mexico and it didn’t quite beat it! On the old site it was very confusing trying to understand where the restaurants were and what was open when. It did take some getting used to. Pools are large and plenty of room for everyone. The beach was our favourite part and crystal clear!Always loungers available also. One day a boat arrived on the beach with freshly caught fish in which they gutted and cooked for us! Also a fresh fruit boat available every day on the beach. There is a hut to the left of the hotel which give free equipment such as paddle boards and kayaks.
When moving day came the hotel pushed it back an extra day and then we constantly trying to contact reception to arrange for our room swap. When we did finally get to our new room it was beautiful. They had made the hotel beautiful and modern in which I’ve shown in the photos. The restaurants in the new section were much easier to find & understand. Also when you turn your tv on it gives you information for the day such as activities, food & entertainment. Unfortunately I couldn’t comment for the entertainment as we didn’t really see the shows and spent our time at the bar and coffee shop which were a delight with fresh cakes!
In the end would we return? YES. I think the staff have some getting used to with the new hotel as sometimes we felt a bit forgotten. However we think this was just due to the changes. Also we would recommend tipping! A little goes a long way and they will always remain attentive. Excursions - Saona Island and you will scuba with fish and see giant starfish! Then arrive there with freshly cooked lobster. Worth the money. Only downside was that the people on the island were constantly pestering us for tips which made us not want to go up to get drinks or more food. All in all we had a lovely time and would return. Thank you everyone!!
I don’t have enough words to express just how amazing this place is! From the restaurants/bars, to the amenities, to the pools/beach, rooms, cleanliness, and entertainment everything is top notch! Although the property itself is beyond beautiful, the staff is what makes this hotel one to remember. The Entertainment Staff-Daniel, Ramon, Eddie Murphy, Pablo Picasso, and Ramy are THE BEST! We never had a dull moment on our trip as they always had something fun for us to do or performance to see. My boyfriend and I actually got engaged on our last night at the resort and Daniel and Ramon went out of there way to make it a success. Also a big thank you to the concierge team Paola and Pilasca who helped us celebrate my Dad’s birthday and make his day extra special! We definitely left part of our hearts at the Hilton La Romana and are already planning our next trip back. If you’re deciding between resorts to visit in the DR this one is an absolute must, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!
No need to leave the newborns or toddlers behind with grandparents on a vacation to this Dreams property. A separate play area has been designed for the tiniest in your family. The Kid's Club is an intimate little spot on the beach with nursing and diaper changing facilities, a small sand box and itsy-bitsy splash pool. A parent must stay with their child here, but it's so well designed, who's complaining.
When those babies are toilet trained, they will love spending their day at The Explorer's Club. Designed around a hard-plastic tree house with lots of nooks and crannies to explore, slides and swings to enjoy, the bilingual staff at the Explorer's Club engages kids 3 to 12 years old in typical activities like sandcastle building and scavenger hunts, but also cooking classes, children's dinners and Spanish language lessons. When parents leave their kids, they receive a mobile phone in order to be in touch with the kids at all times and to allow the staff to reach parents immediately if so needed. The club is open from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.
For those incredibly hard to please teenagers, let them spend their days and nights at the Core Zone. This place is a cool kid's dream come true -- from their own Internet cafe to Xbox 360 and PlayStations to incredibly loud music of their choosing to basketball, volleyball, climbing walls and Euro-bunge jumping, this place has it all. Parents and younger kids can hang out it, but it's supposed to be the place for 13 to 17 year olds. The nighttime disco is the only time parents and younger siblings are kicked out.
Beach & Pool
The remainder of the property and beach area is equally engaging for families. There are three swimming pools, including a separate kids' pool that is just two feet deep. At the adults pool, for kids 12 and up, complimentary introductory scuba diving lessons are offered almost every day.
Beach activities include kayaking, windsurfing and some motorized water sports. Join the kids on the floating trampoline for a little exercise and laughter.
The spa here is just fabulous with treatments on the beach, in cabanas and a lovely garden.
Children as young as six can enjoy these as well, but at least one adult must stay with the youngster at all times.
Off-property tours are as close as walking next door to the village of Bayahibe where fishing, diving and snorkeling trips to Samoa Island are offered. There's also golf about 15 minutes away.
You'll have no trouble getting kids to eat plenty of fruit on this vacation simply because of the festive atmosphere of the afternoon Fruit Boat. It looks like a shabby fishing boat on the beach, but each day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., it's filled with costumed individuals slicing up fresh pineapple, coconuts, oranges, star fruit and other healthy, fun snacks.
The swim-up bars at the pool also offer fresh fruit drinks sans alcohol for the kids.
Otherwise, the resort has eight restaurants, although one of those, the Portofino, is an adults-only restaurant. Just a note about wardrobe: Pack something nicer than shorts for the kids for dinner. A nice little dress or skirt for girls and long pants for boys will make everyone feel more acclimated to standard here.
Many of your meals will be consumed in the World Buffet, which includes a child-sized buffet table that allows kids to pick out their own food items. Of course, they can have anything else on the adult-buffet, but they will love the smaller utensils and child-size setting of their own buffet.
Dreams' attention to the health and welfare of their guests includes staff people at the entrance to the buffet to personally offer a squirt of hand-sanitizer to each person who comes through the door.
The steakhouse of the resort is in a bright, cheery setting with curved booths, canvas tarp ceiling to filter the sunlight and a view of the beach.
This coffee bar is open for a light breakfast or lunch and snacks throughout the day.
Specializing in local flavor, the Jungle Restaurant is -- get this! -- decorated in a jungle theme. Your family can get a taste of Dominican favorites in the outdoor setting.
This Pan-Asian restaurant is a fun Asian steakhouse the kids will enjoy.
For seafood, this is the place to go for fresh-from-the-sea gourmet seafood dishes.
For Italian, this elegant yet casual restaurant offers pastas galore.
Enjoy the patio dining at El Patio, which serves up Mexican cuisine.
Planning & Tips
All about the Extras
In-room baby-sitting is available at an extra charge.
The gym is comprehensive in the selection of equipment and classes. An early morning yoga class on the beach will get your day off to a great start. No one under 15 can participate in these classes or use the gym equipment.
Sun screen is provided for all guests at the towel cabana.
The Art of Smart Timing
Like all Caribbean destinations, high season is in the winter when families throughout North America and Europe want to escape the frigid temperatures. Therefore, you'll need to make your reservations early if planning a getaway anytime from about mid-December to late March or April.
This resort is actually fairly busy all year long, even in the off-season (September through November) thanks to reduced prices and competitive airfare from North America's eastern cities.
There's a greater chance for rain, tropical depressions or even hurricanes in the off-season, but temperatures remain in the 70s and 80s all year long.
You have two choices of airports to reach this resort. The first is La Romana (LRM) about 15 minutes and a $25 taxi ride away.
The second is the Santo Domingo airport (SDQ), although it is an hour away and the taxi ride will cost about $80 for a family of four. A reason to fly through Santo Domingo, in addition to the possibility of better air fares, is the history of Christopher Columbus' landing and settlement here. Plan a couple of hours on either end of your trip and consider it a teaching moment for kids.
For Mom and Dad
The little village of Bayahibe is just a five minute walk along the beach and includes a couple of nice restaurants. We didn't try it, but were told by others that the La Punta restaurant is a good experience with dancing until the wee hours.
However, if you wish to stay on property near to your children, Bordeaux is the adults-only restaurant serving up French food by candlelight. Afterwards, hit the disco, which opens at 10:30 p.m. and stays open until 3 a.m.