Do not come here. It will leave you breathless and you don't want to be that way during COVID19.
Reviewed 18 September, 2021
I had written this review previously but several things have transpired, so I deleted the original review to add details.
DISCLAIMER: I actually like the AM Resorts chain, and I love Dreams, Onyx, & Secrets Cap Cana, but this hotel is nothing like ANY of them. It's like a run down motel posing as a 5 star hotel based on nothing but its location. The beach is not even swimmable; unfortunately, the algae situation is around all of the coastal areas but you can find hotels with a much better beach than this one if you go down to Cap Cana or up to the northern coast (Michés or Samaná).
- This is, by far, the worst travel experience ever. Even after leaving, I have not been able to shake these people. This negative review has caused me much more pain and headaches than you would think possible or necessary. But they are going out of their way to harass guests and assure that if you leave any negative comment anywhere, it somehow disappears, even if they have to do something completely unallowable by corporate -- or illegal.
- I feel very comfortable saying that management of this hotel tends to hold anti-Black sentiment. The hotel guests and staff are (from my understanding) majority of color, but he doesn't seem to care. When I asked him if he knew about anti-Haitian sentiment and how it contributes to anti-Black sentiment in DR, the GM said, "I don't talk politics." If you're anything darker than white, this is probably not a safe vacation destination for you. The staff (most of whom are Black) and management will engage in anti-Black discourse in Spanish right in front of guests, assuming nobody understands. Take that as you wish.
Real quote: "The Haitians here don't ever want to admit they're Haitian. See that one: he's from Nevis. That one's from Panama. That one is from USVI. All Haitian."
(Clearly, none of them were Haitian.)
Now to start the review, this is not a five star hotel. Think, a cross between the Best Western and the Super 8 Motel with a Caribbean back drop.
This seemed to attract a heavy midwestern crowd which was interesting and cool but bizarre from my perspective coming from the east coast.
I can make many recommendations for hotels in the AM Resorts chain, but this ain't it. Stay at Onyx next door or Dreams if you want, or I recommend Sanctuary Cap Cana (not AM). Also, it must be stated that nobody actually checks to make sure that you are an exhale guest (and paid for an upgrade) around the pool areas or when moving between resorts, so a lot of Breathless guests just migrated over to Now and brought their obnoxious loud selves over and made my stay even more miserable than it already was.
Don't come here if you're Black, as you won't be treated the same as if you're white, guaranteed. It's like the Jim Crow South in resort form but all of the workers are in the sunken place. And if you're looking for an authentic experience, don't come here, as there's no Latin music, no really good Dominican food. The food is incredibly salty. You can feel your cholesterol rising every 30 seconds any time you eat.
Exhale guests must *still* wait to get a table at dinner, so you don't get any benefit there. Honestly, not worth the expense. Do not come here. Save your money. Go to another resort. Go to Cap Cana, go to Turks and Caicos. Go to Puerto Rico. Go somewhere that's not a version of Get Out on loop. What I would recommend for people who want the exhale experience is to entirely go to a different resort; there is nothing "VIP" about the exhale experience at Breathless. Anyone can walk to and from the exhale pool and if you're in the pool area, you can easily order drinks from the exhale bartender. Also, anyone can go to Onyx, because nobody checks your identification, even though supposedly the exchange privileges are for exhale guests. Do you know what chantaje is? Look it up and translate it -- there really is no equivalent word in English, but they'll do this all day, and they do it every day.
Speaking of something on loop, it was usually just the same bad songs on loop. And not even good songs, and not super modern. It was 15 songs on loop, none of them actively on the radio, none of them in Spanish, none of them have I heard since... I don't know? 2009?
It's also like being in prison. The resort is gated and the only way you can leave basically is if you have rented a car or if you go through Amstar, which...guess what...is owned by the same company that owns AM Resorts!! And will take you on trips that generate income for the chain. They won't even let you leave to go to the kiosks that are literally ten feet right outside the gate; they act like you'll be murdered by someone if you step outside. Like ok?!??!?! Fine!! I'm in h*** already anyway!!
And I was trapped, but apparently I didn't have any access to my. room, because I was first locked out on my balcony (first morning) and then my card was deactivated a total of 4 or 5 different times. When I texted my "butler" for help, one time he said he'd send someone else. That was when I found out it was a texting service and NOT WORTH THE EXPENSE. Another time I texted him about being locked out, he said, "I'm at lunch, I'll try later."
BEWARE: Do NOT buy the Unlimited Vacation Club. It is a scam. I didn't, but I know not everyone does the math and just being on vacation can excite you. Don't talk to the men who will harass you walking towards the main building at breakfast (they work on commission and get paid if you buy a UVC membership, for which they'd have to run your credit score...).
The street vendors on the beach are unforgiving; they will come up to you regularly, trying to sell you larimar stones, pictures with monkeys and parakeets, random trinkets from the DR. If you want local things, this might be cute -- but all of it is overpriced. Remember that most beaches in the Dominican Republic are privatized, so for these vendors to have access to the beach in a resort area, they would have had to have a relationship with a resort. People may claim they don't work for the resort, but Punta Cana is notorious for taking public land and privatizing it for touristic benefit. These vendors are just as much part of the game as the rest of the hotels.
The alcohol is watered down so you can't possibly die from drinking it since it's probably Dasani.
I came to Punta Cana with a friend, from New York. I have been to Punta Cana before and expected exceptional service. I have been to both 4 and 5 star hotels and expected that level of service at Breathless. The grounds really are quite beautiful and well manicured, on the outside.
The rooms are moldy and the floors are humid. The showers don't have curtains or a door that shuts so obviously they are prone to flooding; what genius came up with that idea?
The air conditioners hardly work and the wifi sucks...everywhere, from the rooms, to the outside, to the exhale lounge, to the lobby. You will NOT be able to work from this resort. If your idea is to "work from Punta Cana," you will not be able to do it from here.
We were in exhale and I had a butler, Luis, about whom I had written a review previously, saying he was nice, comparing him to basically to a handheld assistant since the butler service at Breathless is a text messaging service It is not a full butler service, so it is not worth the expense (check out Paradisus, where it is a full service or Sanctuary Cap Cana where the service is extraordinary). After the review, which I wrote on my second to last night, he came to my room with a folder letting me know he had 45 rooms, pretending to cry and telling me he would be fired if I wrote a negative review. In other words, the reason this hotel has so many positive reviews is because they manipulate guests into writing them, thinking we're idiots. I deleted mine so I could be more thorough and add these details. The only time he really was a butler was when he took me to dinner on my last night in a golf cart and I didn't wait. The one saving grace at this resort was the concierge/customer relations, Martina, who met me on a day when I was having a terrible morning...one of many, I should say. I was locked out of my room (again). I texted Luis to let him know and that I had to change to go offsite, and he told me he was having lunch. Well, he said he would send someone. He sent someone WITH A GOLF CART, but no KEY to get into my freaking room. I was in a bathing suit. I had no money, and my butler (Alexa Junior) somehow wanted me to leave the premises. Please make it make sense. I flipped out at the guy with the golf cart, who told me I should talk to someone in customer service - it was the best advice I got, because she actually tried to solve some of the problems that I was having, like she got me a brand new phone with phone numbers on them. And sent champagne and fresh fruit to my room and make sure I didn't get Coke Zero and that I always could eat gluten free food at any restaurant I went to. The food still didn't taste very good, but the gesture was nice. Have you ever had school lunch? I would equate the seasoning at this resort to a public school lunch.
On my first morning, I got locked out on my balcony. I texted the butler, who sent someone to get me off the balcony. No, the butler did not come. He was in a meeting. Remember, he's not actually your personal butler. He's just your texting buddy. He has 45 rooms.
I went to breakfast, where I asked a woman what gluten free options she had and she told me she had gluten free toast, then she showed me a tray where she had a ton of bread displayed, some of it gluten free, some of it not, all of it unwrapped, all of it on the same tray. I really don't think i need to say more.
I kept drinking soda that tasted like it was flat and thought maybe they were serving expired soda because of the pandemic, until I told a waiter at lunch that every soda I'd had was flat at the resort, so he proudly brought out a bottle, on which I noticed a black stripe. It was Coke Zero. Any time you order a Coke at this resort, it's Coke Zero, which he told me tasted the same. I guess his taste buds weren't working. From that moment on, the chaos ensued. They rapidly rectified that and made sure I got Cokes "with sugar," but who in their right mind would default to Coke Zero?
My key card stopped working 7 different times while I was there. For the first two and a half days, I only had cold water in my room. My phone in my room did not work until day 3, when concierge sent me a new one (thank you so much, by the way :)). In one day, I heard Jerusalema, which I really had never heard before in my life, 15 times, I now know all of the lyrics and I do not speak zulu.
Although there are signs saying that you (tourists) have to wear masks unless eating or drinking, they really only ask you to do it when you enter restaurants. I said this to the general manager, but he was very stuck up about it in his response and acted like what I was saying was not true. The adjacent resort is very different regarding masking and guests abide much more readily and willingly. He bribes people to get them to take down negative reviews, which is how this resort looks as good as it does. It's not that good.
The atmosphere at Breathless is certainly a party atmosphere - I was touched (more like pulled/accosted) without consent by people at this resort, which might be your thing, but it's definitely not mine. I'm not exactly a fan of sexual harassment; I don't know anyone who is.
We had no running water for about a day. I went to bed one night and my toilet couldn't flush, called 0, was told I would wake up and would have water, woke up, still it couldn't flush, but now my sink had no water and my shower didn't either. (It was all over the Uvero Alto area, because of an issue in the pipes, as I understand but it doesn't take away from the issue).
I was eating at Silk City, a restaurant at the resort and a Black couple, who had a reservation, said they wanted to eat outside, and a waiter told them, "Look, there's no table for two outside." Five minutes later, a white couple was given a table outside, even though it was a table that seated four people that the Black couple wanted to be seated at. I pointed this out to the GM and he told me it couldn't possibly be racist because almost all of the employees at the resort are black as if antihaitianism in the DR isn't real. Then he told me he doesn't talk politics.
The programming is very repetitive - zumba, yoga, Spanish lesson, dance lesson, volleyball, every day. And they seldom play Latin music. And when I wrote my previous review I said I didn't hear Drake or Latin music so that night I walked by the plaza so they played hotline bling and Romeo Santos. Wow, you guys, congrats - you over did it. Not.
The food is garbage. Ok, so I have celiac disease, which means I'm gluten free. I called the hotel before I arriving, and let them know. There are really not very many options for me. At the French restaurant, a waiter even brought me what was very clearly a pastry, with flour. I hardly ate at Silk City, which is where the Black couple wasn't seated outside (they were seated indoors despite there being a table with four seats) and when the guy who brought my meal came out, he said I probably didn't like it because the soy sauce is what gives the food flavor. I've been eating gluten free Asian food since 2007; the seasoning is what gives the food flavor, and they also make gluten free soy sauce. So, what????
This is a major party resort, and it got super loud, and there were people who would just talk to me about very inappropriate things that I didn't want to be talking about with strangers. I'm not here for it.
I have never been so happy to be back home in a city where rodents roam the subways and winter and summer can exist in the same day.
The vibe is more Miami at this resort than Punta Cana FWIW. If you want to feel like you're in college and at risk of constantly being harassed, then cool, go here.
If a guest says they did not like their stay, the people at check out just say, "Bye," but if you say you did, they tell you to leave a review on tripadvisor. That's manipulative; from a business perspective, it's smart, but it's manipulating the image of this hotel and projecting one that is inaccurate.
This hotel is absolute garbage; if given the choice between this place and SpongeBob's pineapple under the sea, I'd choose the latter -- and with the latter, I would actually have no oxygen, but I bet it wouldn't leave me breathless, as in gasping for air, needing a doctor.