I recently returned home from a four night, five-day girl’s getaway trip to the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Majestic Colonial, which is an all-inclusive resort that is part of the Majestic Resorts located in Punta Cana.
Over the last 10 years or so I have traveled a good bit around the Caribbean and Mexico and have stayed in a variety of resorts ranging from budget to luxury all-inclusive as well as non-all-inclusives.
I don’t know about you but vacations are a big deal to me. I really look forward to getting away and relaxing. Vacationing in the Caribbean or Mexico is something that I really enjoy. There’s something about being out of the U.S. and on a tropical beach that feels truly special. I am grateful for every trip that I’ve had the opportunity to take, despite my budget at the time.
I truly believe there are amazing vacations to be had whether your budget is $1,000 or $10,000. It’s all about research, planning and your mindset going into it. Note, that I am mostly talking about beach getaways here and not international sightseeing trips. Those are a totally different ballgame!
Today I am going to share with you my experience at the Majestic Colonial, which I would consider to be more of a budget all-inclusive.
Let’s start with how we booked the trip. Two of my girlfriends and I wanted to book a winter trip that didn’t break the bank. We wanted to keep it around $1,000 per person all said and done.
We turned to Cheap Caribbean to help us accomplish this mission. January isn’t exactly “low season” when it comes to Caribbean travel but we were still pleased to find that Cheap Caribbean had a host of options for us to choose from. We had pretty much narrowed our choices to the Dominican Republic or Mexico due to the ease of travel (direct flights from Charlotte) and the abundance of options. After hours of research and reading about the various resorts we could visit, we selected the Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana.
For those of you who have asked about booking through Cheap Caribbean, I have used them twice now and have been 100% satisfied each time. Tons of selection, great prices and good customer service.
Our travel to Punta Cana was super easy. We were seated together on the flight, breezed through customs, hit up duty free and our ground transportation was ready and waiting. We added private ground transportation on to our package and it was well worth the $20 per person upgrade not to be on a giant shared bus that stopped at a ton of resorts. We were at our resort within 25 minutes of leaving the airport.
*Important note…this was my third trip to Punta Cana and I was really thrilled to discover that they have opened a new terminal in the airport that makes arriving and departing a MUCH more pleasant experience. Another transportation note…a new highway has also been opened that makes traveling to the resorts so much faster and easier.
We were greeted at Majestic Colonial with cold towels and some sort of mini drink that was way too sweet but a nice gesture. Our top priority was having two double beds in our room instead of one king since there were three of us. Our second priority was an upgrade if possible (which we were willing to pay for).
The upgrade was not available due to the resort being so full during high season but they did accommodate our bed preference (and then some). It was a bit of a racket at the front desk when we asked for the upgrade. The front desk associate pulled out a map and told us our room was going to be at the back of the resort and that they were moving us “poolside, close to the beach and the best room on the resort.” Clearly, that was a line they tell everyone! 🙂
At check-in we were given wristbands that we had to wear for the duration of our stay and they give you towel cards that you have to keep track of and turn in to get fresh beach towels every day.
We arrived at our room to find that it was already set up with three beds. They had brought in a third to accommodate our third person. (So clearly it was meant to be our room all along but whatever.) Our bags arrived shortly after we did.
Let’s quickly talk about the rooms.
They are spacious. Every room is a “junior suite” and features a small sitting area with a couch, desk and coffee table in addition to the bed. The bathrooms have double sinks and separate toilet and showers. We all agreed that the shower was one of our favorite things about the room. It was roomy and had great pressure. We also had a nice sized balcony that overlooked the pool.
The room was nothing fancy but it was perfectly nice for our price point and we really couldn’t have asked for more. This resort has once daily housekeeping service and our room was always serviced and equipped with fresh towels.
I’ll segue into the overall grounds and the resort itself.
This resort is BIG! There are 658 rooms, which means nearly 1300 people there at any given time if you generally estimate that there are two people per room. It’s large and spread out enough that you don’t feel overly crowded but you definitely feel like there are a lot of people there. This was the most evident in the pool and beach areas during the day.
The resort is a hot spot for destination weddings and we saw no less than two per day.
The beach and pool areas were definitely crowded but there was room for everyone. We never had to fight for lounge chairs and generally found that the beach cleared out by 2ish every day and we had it mostly to ourselves.
The pool was a lazy river type pool that spanned the length of the property. This was nice because it was pretty and provided a lot of space for people to go without all being in one area. There was one area of the pool nearest the beach and where the main bar was where constant entertainment ran from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Think music, pool competitions, games, zumba classes, etc. It was very loud. I know some people really like that kind of thing so it’s all good. We just didn’t hang out there.
One thing that did frustrate me a little was that they also had events, competitions, etc. at the beach as well and would bring music and loudspeakers out there. Sometimes there was nowhere to go if you wanted a quiet pool or beach experience. Luckily, the beach events usually didn’t last more than an hour or two and weren’t an all day thing.
While we’re talking beaches…
The beaches in Punta Cana are really nice but not the prettiest I’ve seen in the Caribbean. The water can be a little rough and it’s not the crystal clear, calm water you see on some islands. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still BEAUTIFUL but if amazing beaches are your thing, I just wanted to throw that out there. The water was pretty on the first day we arrived (see picture of me on beach at the top of the post) but a ton of seaweed washed in after a storm. Please note that I know this is all part of the ocean ecology and that the resort has NO control over the seaweed. The same thing happens at my parents place in Florida. I can go down there and the water is super clear or it can be murky and green.
The resort had several restaurants (I’ll get into food later), lots of bars, a gym, a theatre, some shops and a spa. We didn’t visit the spa, only made a short trip to the theatre one night and quick trips in the shops to pick up a few things like toiletry items and small souvenirs. I’ll make a quick note about the gym since I know many of you are workout minded…nothing to write home about. Three treadmills (one didn’t work), two ellipticals (one didn’t work), some bikes, free weights and a few weight machines. I only went in the gym once for about 15 minutes. I did the rest of my workouts outdoors around the grounds of the resort. There were plenty of places to do bodyweight circuits and paths for running.
The resort is divided into two sides, regular and club. This is pretty typical for all-inclusives and most that I’ve stayed in have featured some sort of club type thing but it was less of an issue at the Majestic. There wasn’t a special shelf of liquor or anything that only club members had access to. They did have their own beach and pool area with nicer lounge chairs and better service. We wanted to upgrade to Club level if possible but didn’t really feel like we missed out when the upgrade wasn’t available.
Okay, the food.
First things first, I went into this 100% knowing that the food would be average at best. I have a friend who works in the travel industry and she has warned me about food at these types of all-inclusives in the DR. I also read a lot of reviews before booking it. My girlfriends share similar eating styles to me but we all agreed going into it that we would make the best of the food situation.
And make the best we did! We quickly discovered what our best options were for breakfast, lunch and dinner and coupled with all the snacks we brought for our room…it was fine!
The resort has quite a few restaurant options including a giant buffet (so giant that there was a staff member whose sole job responsibility was to stand at the door of the buffet and squeeze hand sanitizer into your hands upon arrival), a Chinese/hibachi restaurant, a Dominican/Mexican restaurant, a fine dining, reservations only “French” restaurant and a beachside restaurant that is open breakfast, lunch and dinner. For the beach restaurant, breakfast and lunch are buffets and dinner turns into two different restaurants with menus.
We found that the big buffet was our best option for breakfast and lunch. It had plenty of good selections for breakfast including fresh fruits, made to order omelets, yogurt, cheeses, meats, etc.
At lunch we made salads and had fresh fish or chicken grilled to order to top our salads. They had dried figs and cheeses that we added on as well.
The buffet had these amazing homemade beet, potato and yuca chips that we couldn’t get enough of.
We tried the Chinese, French and Mexican/Dominican restaurants for dinner and unanimously voted that the Mexican was our favorite. We went there twice.
The food at the Chinese restaurant, Matsuri, was okay. You can eat off the regular dinner menu or make hibachi reservations. We skipped the hibachi and just ordered off the menu.
The best way that I can describe most of the food in general is that it looks pretty but doesn’t really taste like much…especially the desserts.
I had the Lemon Chicken for dinner.
The French restaurant, Le Gourmet, is the “upscale” dining option at the resort and requires reservations. We made a reservation the first day we were there and got a spot three days later at 8:45. The restaurant seating thing is a little funny because the restaurants are maybe half full at any given time but the reservations are limited.
The food at the French restaurant was again, okay. Not bad but not memorable. You select an appetizer, entree and dessert.
My fish entree was good.
The creme brulee was pretty terrible. The texture was way off.
And finally, the Mexican/Dominican restaurant, Taino.
This was hands-down our favorite place to eat at the resort.
They had great, fresh guacamole and homemade salsas. (With more of their addictive housemade chips.)
The first night we were there I had this crazy Dominican rice-stuffed fish that was good.
We were also addicted to these little stuffed arepas. They were like hush puppies stuffed with chicken and avocado.
The fajitas were the hot ticket on the menu and really good.
Let’s segue to alcohol and my tips around that.
The resort has one type of beer and all on draft. It’s Presidente. In the rooms there are Coors Light cans (random). I didn’t drink any beer while I was there. I have stayed at these types of all-inclusives before and know that the wine leaves something to be desired so we stopped at duty-free in the airport and bought our own wine. We brought it with us to dinner every night and enjoyed it on our balcony after dinner. We named our balcony the “wine balcony” and preferred hanging out there after dinner rather than being out.
As far as liquor goes, the selection is surprisingly great. If you don’t ask, you will get really average “house” brand stuff but if you specify there are good options. Our pool bartender quickly learned our preference for Jose Cuervo Blanco with soda and a splash of pineapple and would pull the bottle out from behind a plant every time we came to the bar. Seriously, they hid if from sight and we had to ask!
One of my top tips for all-inclusives is to bring your own cup! It makes a world of difference with the drinks. You can bring one from home or we bought these from the resort gift shop. They are a little bigger and insulated (the cups they give you are tiny and the ice melts so quickly). You spend less time getting refills and your drink stays colder longer.
There are no beach bars at Majestic Colonial. There is limited beach service but for the most part you have to walk to the main pool to get a drink. That was a little bit of a bummer for this beach girl.
So to wrap it all up…
I enjoyed my time at Majestic Colonial and I would definitely recommend it for a budget getaway. I really can’t complain about what we got for the price we paid. It was 100% worth it and I’m so happy we went on the trip together. We had a GREAT time!
All that said, I liked the budget all-inclusive I visited in Mexico last year a little better. You can read my review about it in this post. When I left that resort I definitely felt like I would return again…I can’t say the same thing about the Majestic Colonial. I’m glad I experienced it but don’t think I’ll be back. There are too many other places to see!
One last final note, I have heard better reviews about the Majestic Elegance that is the slightly more high-end sister property to Colonial Majestic. They are side-by-side and you can walk from one to the other.
And one last, last final note. I have stayed at Zoetry Agua Punta Cana twice, which is more of luxury all-inclusive, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat for anyone looking for a romantic getaway or honeymoon spot. I also really loved Couples Swept Away in Negril when I stayed there several years ago. Food was much better and beach was beautiful.
Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback if you’ve stayed at the Majestic Colonial or anywhere else in Punta Cana. Or if you have an all-inclusive to recommend!