7 things to know before booking a stay at Royalton Chic Punta Cana
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Royalton Chic Punta Cana is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort that was introduced into Marriott’s portfolio in January. Part of the brand’s Autograph Collection, Royalton Chic is one of five all-inclusive Marriott properties in the Dominican Republic — so what sets this property apart from the others?
From the pink neon lights to the frozen margaritas on tap, this adults-only resort draws socialites in droves. Here are the seven things you should know about Royalton Chic Punta Cana.
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You can expect to pay $238 to $368 per night for a double-occupancy room at this Autograph Collection outpost, which offers an all-inclusive package featuring all meals and drinks, plus select resort activities. That puts Royalton Chic Punta Cana in the middle of the pack, as it’s neither a low-budget resort nor an ultra-luxurious property.
If you’re looking to redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll need to shell out 60,000 to 70,000 points per night.
While you can elevate your experience by opting in to other amenities, you can still enjoy your stay here without choosing additional perks. For instance, private cabana rentals are available, but you’ll find plenty of complimentary loungers by the pools. Additionally, there was only one “high-end” restaurant that cost extra, but it didn’t appear that many guests booked dinner reservations there.
- There was ample seating available at the pools and the beach.
- The all-day buffet was impressive, as it offered a diverse selection of tasty Dominican bites.
- All of the property’s facilities were sparkling clean, a welcome surprise given the amount of foot traffic.
- The 400-foot-wide beach was an excellent place to unwind when I needed a break from the resort’s party scene.
- Dozens of beach vendors bombarded guests throughout the day, detracting from the overall beach experience.
- The staff tried convincing me to pay for extras throughout my stay, so much so that it became quite annoying by the end.
- All of the sit-down restaurants were disappointing at best, serving bland food that lacked fresh ingredients.
- My guest room was small, and the bathroom could benefit from a refresh.
- As an Asian American woman, I felt very uncomfortable when multiple employees questioned my ethnicity.
Vibe: Party scene
Royalton Chic Punta Cana is a spring break paradise for adults. The rowdy swim-up bar was the place to be, with a crowd featuring everyone from millennials to retirees.
Resort staff wearing “Vibe Team” polos controlled the music and conversed with guests throughout the property. While the music was mostly techno tunes with indistinguishable lyrics, electronic dance music classics like “The Business” by Tiësto and songs from the 2000s like “Wobble” by V.I.C. also played during my stay.
Alcohol was readily available at practically all hours of the day, thanks in part to the main pavilion bar opening every day at 9 a.m. The breakfast buffet also had its own bar serving various morning libations, and the cafe offered spiked coffee drinks.
There was even a casino and a bar with a stripper pole at the resort, though those were practically deserted when I visited.
Most guests spent their evenings by the main bar, a lively area with nightly entertainment and disco parties.
Unsurprisingly, guest rooms also featured elements of the property’s nightclub atmosphere. To enter my room, I was given a waterproof bracelet instead of a traditional keycard.
Once inside, the neon pink light coming from beneath my bed immediately caught my eye. The bold pop of color wasn’t overwhelming, though, as it was balanced with contemporary furnishings and decor, including modern (yet beachy) pendant light fixtures, in a neutral color scheme. While the king-size platform bed was comfortable, it occupied most of the room, which caused the space to feel tight.
The artwork was … questionable and gave me the sense that this resort is designed for couples. However, I enjoyed the complimentary welcome bottle of Champagne awaiting me on a table by one of the main works of art. It was a great way to start my Caribbean vacation.
One highlight was the room’s balcony, which came equipped with two chairs and a drying rack for wet swimsuits. I appreciated having direct access to some fresh air in my standard accommodation, though my room’s location on the first floor was less than ideal. If you’re looking for privacy, request a space on a higher floor to avoid having a front-row view of guests and staff walking past your room.
Another welcome amenity was the minifridge stocked with complimentary beverages. I especially liked having access to a selection of Dominican beers and canned sodas.
In the hall leading to the bathroom, there was a small closet for stowing belongings, along with two black robes made with a fabric similar to silk. It also had an umbrella and a safe.
And in the bathroom, plush white towels, a couple of complimentary bottles of water and a few Royalton-branded toiletries were available. Despite having everything I needed, the space was a bit disappointing, as it lacked the modern, bright design of the bedroom. The polka dot doors clashed with the confusing mix of tile, and the layout of the shower and toilet (which were in separate enclosed areas within the bathroom) made the space feel cramped.
Overall, the room was fine but forgettable. Although I enjoyed the complimentary Champagne and the stocked minifridge, the quirky mix of decor styles made the room feel outdated and uninspired. I could’ve easily found this room at any tired resort in the Caribbean, as nothing set it apart from other properties I’ve visited.
Dining and drinking
There were six restaurants at Royalton Chic Punta Cana, all but one of which were covered by the property’s all-inclusive rate. None required making reservations in advance to visit.
Of all the on-site dining options, only one impressed me: the buffet.
While buffets tend to have a bad reputation of prioritizing quantity over quality, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Royalton Chic’s had the most delicious offerings available on-site. A minimum of 10 types of tropical fruit, plus an array of Dominican dishes (think: stewed fish, tacos and more) and artfully designed deserts were always available.
Of course, not everything was a home run (I preferred the breakfast and lunch options over the dishes served at dinner), but I was impressed overall with the selection and quality of the buffet.
However, the a la carte restaurants featuring “international cuisines” left a lot to be desired.
The sushi restaurant was the most disappointing, as the fish had a questionable color, a clear sign that it wasn’t fresh. The ceviche, with its unidentifiable assortment of fish (which the resort merely labeled as the “catch of the day”) and subpar accompaniments of canned corn and romaine lettuce, was underwhelming, too.
The Italian restaurant didn’t impress me either, though it was a step above the sushi venue. Despite receiving a bland caprese salad and soggy fried calamari, the tuna steak featured a delicious balsamic vinaigrette that somewhat saved the meal.
I also tried Munchies, a poolside venue that served a variety of American classics. The food was quite greasy, but it was satisfactory for a quick lunch.
Although the food was not quite what I’d hoped for, the drinks at Royalton Chic Punta Cana were top-notch. Whether I craved a morning mimosa or a poolside mojito, I could order it knowing I’d receive a delicious libation to sip.
During my time at the swim-up bar (the busiest bar at the resort), I decided to order a strawberry daiquiri. It took a mere four minutes for one of the six bartenders to take my order and only one additional minute to receive the drink.
Overall, I enjoyed the cool concoction. It was frozen and sweet without tasting too syrupy. What’s more, it contained the right amount of Bacardi rum to taste the liquor without being hit over the head with it. I appreciated the added touch of a fresh lime garnish, too.
Nothing is more frustrating than going to a resort only to find it so overcrowded you have to strategize claiming a beach chair and umbrella. Fortunately, I never came across this annoying predicament at Royalton Chic Punta Cana. Chaise lounges and daybeds with umbrellas were always available, regardless of the time of day.
The property’s all-inclusive rate reportedly includes nonmotorized water sports (such as snorkeling and kayaking), but I was unable to try out these activities since the shack was boarded up due to stormy weather conditions.
When the weather cooperated, I saw guests partaking in complimentary activities like tennis, basketball and group workout classes.
For an additional fee of about $50 per night, guests can also opt in to the Diamond Club, which comes with access to a personal butler, a dedicated beach area, the Mermaid Pool Lounge and more. However, I declined the upgrade opportunity to get a feel for the average resort experience.
Royalton Chic Punta Cana is without question a party resort for adults, attracting those who are looking to mingle. As a result, this is not the resort to visit for peace and quiet, as you’ll find poolside music blaring at all hours of the day.
Given the low quality of the food and small rooms, I would much rather book a cheaper hotel that is not all-inclusive so I can try out local Dominican restaurants and get a more authentic take on the area. That said, if you’re set on enjoying an all-inclusive experience in Punta Cana that features plenty of late-night fun, Royalton Chic is a decent option to consider.
Featured photo by Stella Shon/The Points Guy.
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