When you hear the words “Hard Rock,” you probably think of rock and roll and late night parties. Those things are certainly part of the Hard Rock brand, but there’s so much more! Our family recently stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana and found that it was actually a very family-friendly all-inclusive resort. In this review, I’ll cover the accommodations, the pools, the beach, the entertainment, the activities, the spa. I’ll also explain why I think this is a particularly good resort for families with teenagers. And of course I’ll cover the resort’s Covid safety protocols. Many thanks to the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana for hosting us!
The lobby of the hotel has a sort of moody, club feel, with dim lighting, heavy curtains and big portraits of rock legends like Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Chuck Berry, and Elvis Presley. The decor is really unique– walking through kind of feels like you’re backstage at a show.
Throughout the property there’s lots of interesting rock and roll memorabilia. There’s a whole wall about the Beach Boys, with some of their guitars and gold records, a motorcycle owned by Billy Idol and a customized limo that Madonna used at one of the Grammy awards.
One thing to note about this property is that knowing some basic Spanish will really help you out. While some staff members did speak excellent English, we found that many only spoke Spanish, even in prominent customer-facing positions. So brushing up on your Spanish skills will definitely give you a better experience here.
We stayed in a two bedroom suite with a living and dining area. There was a king bedroom and a double room. But one thing that was unique about the double room is that both beds were king beds! Of course, the girls absolutely loved that. Spanning the entire width of the suite is a big terrace with whirlpool tubs.
Hard Rock Punta Cana is very large and spread out, so you get around by golf cart shuttles that go around the resort, picking up and dropping off guests at regular intervals. If you prefer not to have to rely on these shuttles, you can actually rent your own golf cart for about $100 per day. Yes it’s a splurge, but it does make getting around the resort more convenient, especially if you’re traveling with kids. It’s nice not to have to wait for a ride, especially after those late dinners when the kids are cranky and exhausted.
When it comes to fun in the sun, there’s no shortage of options. There are 13 different pools at the Hard Rock, including a kids pool with a water slide. Live entertainment is a strength of this resort, so it’s no surprise that they even bring the show to the pool sometimes! The Hard Rock also has a lazy river, but when we visited it was actually out of commission, so we didn’t get a chance to try it out.
One huge advantage that Hard Rock Punta Cana has over other resorts in the area is its gorgeous beach. The property sits on a massive stretch of Bávaro Beach. It’s spacious and absolutely stunning, with soft white sands and clear blue water. The resort did a great job of cleaning up the seaweed, which can get pretty bad in this area this time of year. We had a cabana for a day which was nice.
This beach has some pretty intense waves, so if you have kids, they’ll definitely need adult supervision while in the water. Serge stayed with the girls the whole time, and they loved playing in the waves. Of course, this is a public beach, so make sure to keep an eye on your belongings the way you would anywhere else. The vendors here can also be pretty persistent, so be prepared for that as well.
One thing we really liked about Hard Rock Punta Cana is that it offers so many different gaming options. For adults, of course, there’s the casino. But kids and teens have lots of gaming options to choose from as well. There’s a traditional kids club, the use of which is included in your stay. But for an additional fee, there’s so much else to do.
Our girls loved the arcade, which had air hockey, driving games, claw machines and all the other classic arcade games. And they had a lot of fun trying the virtual reality experiences. The property also offers laser tag and an escape room. Many resorts offer fun activities for kids and adults, but not a whole lot for teenagers. So it was nice to see that this property had so many amenities suited for teens. We also had a fun family bowling night during our stay!
There’s lots of nighttime entertainment options for guests each evening. In addition to activities like karaoke and silent discos, Hard Rock Punta Cana offers a live nighttime performance just about every night! We caught two different ones, one called Mi Pais, which featured traditional Dominican music and dancing. But our family’s favorite was the Popstar Show. This featured performers doing different iconic pop songs, which was really fun overall, but the Michael Jackson impersonator was especially impressive.
Serge and I took an afternoon to check out the spa at the property. At 60,000 square feet, The Rock Spa is absolutely massive. It offers 42 different treatment rooms, and what it calls the Caribbean’s most complete hydrotherapy center with lagoons, whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas and much more. We enjoyed a lovely couple’s massage. The property also has a huge, full-service beauty salon that offers manis and pedis, hair, and makeup services.
We’ll start with the not-so-good dining, then we’ll move onto the better options. The Market was honestly, my least favorite restaurant at the resort. It’s a restaurant located in the main building, with about five or six different buffet stations with different types of ethnic cuisines. The concept is solid, and the decor is beautiful. But the execution wasn’t great. The servers at the buffet stations were quite unpleasant, even to our girls. The entire buffet system was really hectic and disorganized, and the food wasn’t that great. For all those reasons, I’d recommend skipping The Market altogether and trying out the other great restaurants I’m about to mention.
Isla is your other main option when it comes to breakfast. It’s not located in the main building, so I’m sure many guests don’t even realize that they can have breakfast somewhere other than The Market. The service here is much better, the buffet is a lot easier to navigate and it’s just a much more relaxed, pleasant experience.
Zen is the Asian hibachi restaurant at Hard Rock. The chef was entertaining, and had some pretty cool tricks, so this was a fun dinner.
Ipanema is the Brazilian steakhouse, and another really good option to dine at. In normal times, the servers would walk around from table to table with the different meats and cut them at your table. But because of Covid, there’s now a dedicated station in the buffet where the chef will serve the steaks to you.
Los Gallos, the Mexican restaurant, was hands-down my favorite restaurant at this resort.
The decor is stunning, the service was warm and inviting, and we had a lot of fun trying the flavored tequilas from the roaming cart! It’s an extra charge, but worth it for the experience.
Other dining options include an ice cream parlor, a coffee shop, and several bars and lounges. Room service is also included as part of your all-inclusive stay here, which is always a nice perk.
I was really impressed by the property’s dedication to keeping their staff and guests safe. Of course, there was hand sanitizer all around the resort. At every entrance to the main building, there’s a security guard stationed at the door to make sure everyone was wearing a mask. And if you didn’t have one, he had a big box of masks on hand so he could give you one. Every buffet was done very safely. Either staff would serve you from behind plexiglass, or if it was a self-serve buffet, they provided plastic gloves for you to wear, and of course, made sure your mask was on while serving yourself.
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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