7 things to know before booking a stay at Zoetry Agua Punta Cana
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World of Hyatt members received exciting news in 2021 when it was announced Hyatt was buying up 100 all-inclusive properties. Among the AMR Collection list was the Zoetry brand, known for mixing wellness, luxury and romance throughout its seven properties in the Caribbean and Central America, including the Zoetry Agua Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
Serene relaxation, picture-perfect views and great dining options are delivered at a high price tag. Here are seven things you should know before booking your stay.
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Zoetry Agua Punta Cana is one of the more expensive all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic. Rates for a double room start at $503 per night and rise to $1,000 per night in peak periods like Christmas. At this price in what is an otherwise affordable destination, guests expect perfection and this wasn’t always delivered.
I was offered an upgrade to an ocean-view suite for an additional $250 per night at check-in. A quick tour revealed it was larger than the base junior suite with garden view I had originally booked and had a tiny plunge pool, but lacked privacy since it was right next to the pool bar, so I declined and stayed with my original room.
- It was easy to relax and truly unwind with plenty of peaceful and private spaces in a beautiful setting.
- The nightly entertainment was surprisingly good for a small property.
- All rooms were spacious, airy suites with a personal concierge available at all times via WhatsApp.
- Excellent food options in a variety of beautiful dining settings.
- Room service delivered perfectly cooked french fries quickly.
- There were numerous service failures at this premium price point.
- Daily activities were frustratingly not revealed until late the night before.
- Cocktails were poorly mixed using bottom-shelf spirits.
- The main pool bar was promptly closed at 5 p.m. despite many guests still enjoying beverages.
Vibe: Romantic getaway
While there was the odd family and group during our stay, it was mostly couples enjoying a quiet, peaceful and romantic getaway. With fewer than 100 rooms on this huge property, low occupancy and plenty of space to stretch out, it never felt crowded and we didn’t see many guests outside of mealtimes and performances.
If you are looking to meet new people and be constantly entertained, choose somewhere else, but if you want your daily troubles to melt away, Zoetry Agua is a great option.
The main pool bar was the only real space to socialize with other guests, though staff regularly checked on guests everywhere in the resort to offer refills. I was surprised to see the Caicu pool bar promptly closed at 5 p.m. sharp each day (I was staying over a weekend), much to the vocal dismay of the handful of guests enjoying the sunshine while quenching their thirst. This seemed like an odd cost-cutting measure at this price point for guests who clearly wanted to keep the festivities going.
Our garden-view junior suite was located on the second floor, back from the beach, which ensured both a restful night’s sleep on the four-poster bed and a lovely view of one of the many swimming pools from the suite’s spacious deck. At 775 square feet, it was huge for a base room. I loved the vaulted, thatched ceilings and, while I’m not usually a fan of so much contrasting dark wood throughout, it gave a real sense of place in this tropical setting. A fruit plate, bottle of chilled prosecco and local rum were waiting for us when we arrived in the room. Unfortunately, the fridge stocked with some complimentary sodas and local beers took a good 24 hours to actually chill, but an ice bucket was only a quick call away to speed up the process.
Essentially three separate areas, the bathroom was almost as big as the bedroom. The combination of a huge toilet room, double sink, soaking tub and shower stocked with Bulgari toiletries was a true luxury experience.
Dining and drinking
I was impressed with the number of dining options for a resort with fewer than 100 rooms. Breakfast and lunch were both offered in the beachside Indigo restaurant, a breezy open-air space just steps from the ocean. It was never more than half-full and service was excellent, with drinks refilled before we even asked for them. Staff proudly served locally sourced coffee, encouraging us to try it in the traditional Dominican style (black with sweetener).
I recommend both the Mexican chilaquiles for breakfast and the Argentinian steak for lunch.
There were also lighter meals available poolside including surprisingly good, freshly prepared sushi and a less impressive Tex-Mex pop-up buffet that was definitely quantity over quality. Fortunately, these were the only buffet-type offers at the resort.
There were three separate dinner venues to choose from, serving Dominican (Piragua), Mediterranean (Amaya) and Italian (Olena) cuisine. We tried the first two and the ambiance, service and cuisine were luxurious and romantic. Despite staff insisting Dominican cuisine wasn’t the greatest, it was our favorite, especially the zesty and fresh octopus salad entree.
Over at the bar it was a much less successful affair. The cocktails were dreadful in presentation, ingredients and taste. I tried a strawberry daiquiri which was served up in two minutes but tasted of nothing but the cheap local Bacanal rum and sickly sweet sugar syrup, as there was no fresh (or frozen) fruit to be seen. The margarita was like sucking on a lemon with no balance of salty, sweet and sour. No fresh fruit juices or smoothies were available during our stay.
With a focus on privacy and relaxation, I wasn’t expecting a busy schedule during my stay. I observed sunset horse riding along the beautiful beach as we arrived and excitedly told our personal concierge we would love to do it during our two-night stay. He then rattled off the available times — we’d just missed one chance and the next option was well after we checked out — with no awareness of how disappointing it was that neither option was possible. He promised to send us a list of the following day’s activities by WhatsApp each evening but these did not arrive until 10 p.m. each night as we were preparing for bed. It was frustrating to have to wait until so late to plan the following day.
There was a decently appointed and deserted gym for any guests keen to balance the unlimited meals and drinks with some exercise.
An advertised wine tasting one afternoon at the Canoa lobby bar never happened, with the local sommelier not receiving an invite and the bartender barely knowing the difference between white and red vinos.
What did impress was the circus show on the first evening. Expecting some basic juggling and slapstick clowning, guests instead were treated to a full trapeze constructed in the resort lobby just for that night with a talented troupe of locals hurling themselves above guests’ heads with bartenders ensuring guests’ thirsts were quenched. It was a great show and a brilliant use of the space.
The Zoetry Agua Punta Cana gets most of the basics right. The property is gorgeous and well designed, from the spacious all-suite rooms to the endless private spaces to truly unwind. I haven’t felt that genuinely relaxed in a long time, listening to the birds chirp as the sun set by the pool with a local rum in hand. The cuisine options are varied and high quality and each dining space is a lovely place to linger over a leisurely meal and chat with the staff.
At the prices charged, both the drinks and the overall service need work and there should be flexibility on the pool bar’s closing time. Servicewise, activities should be organized, confirmed and communicated to guests much earlier. If these few hiccups can be fixed, this will be a spectacular all-inclusive property.
Featured photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy.
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