Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

I’ve been home for over a week from my kid free vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and it already feels like I’ve been back for months. No offence to my boys or anything but an all inclusive without kids…that’s a hard thing to leave behind.

Now that I’ve had some time to detox and dry out, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some details of the resort and to do a a real review. I know that there are tons of reviews on TripAdvisor but I find them kind of all over the place. Some of the reviews were so scary that we almost cancelled. Which is a shame because the Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort (with a casino and aqua park!) was one of the best affordable all inclusive resorts I’ve been to.

ROOMS

We booked our trip about 10 days before we left. I do this a lot because with this timeline, resorts and hotels, are looking to fill their rooms and the prices often begin to drop substantially. We compared what we paid with others at the resort and we definitely got the best deal at $677 CAD per person for our flight and all inclusive stay. At the time of booking we asked for a non-smoking, updated room, near the beach and pool. We landed in Block M which was a bit far from the main bar and restaurant but close to the sand and pool action. It was still quiet enough at night that we didn’t hear any noise from the club or the beach parties. (That I may or may not have participated in. Until 6 am.)

Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. A real review

Our room was lovely, with two double beds, huge closet space, an updated bathroom with walk in shower (no tub) and lots of room to move around. We had a nice view of the back of the property with lots of palm trees and foliage however, we spent very little time in our room. Let’s be real. We were there to eat, sun, and party. The room was for sleeping and I barely did any of that.

Some of our friends had rooms directly above the main building and I heard that these rooms haven’t been renovated. They didn’t mind since they also didn’t spend much time in their rooms. What would have driven me round the bend, however, was the insane screaming of the peacocks who hung around the main building. We often saw them perched on the balcony of the second floor rooms. That would have been a total no for me. Peacocks are gorgeous but they’re kind of the assholes of the bird world.

The upgraded members had rooms on the quiet side of the resort with access to bed like cabanas and things I neither can afford nor care about. It looked lovely and quiet over there and really, really boring. So there’s that.

MEALS

The main building hosts two buffets to accommodate all the guests. As with most resorts, the buffet hours are limited and breakfast often ends before the party people come back to life. Which didn’t really matter since a breakfast buffet was also set up near the main pool. That breakfast buffet changed into a lunch buffet that ran all afternoon. We hit up the breakfast buffet in the main lobby (either Sanoa or Macao) most days but skipped the lunch buffet in favor of hanging by the pool. We only had dinner in the main buffet one night since the concierge was able to get us into restaurants every night but one. Super appreciated that because we got to eat at the Japanese restaurant twice. Mmmm….sushi!

We had one meal at the Mexican restaurant and it was fine. The Italian dinner was lovely as was the Mer. But Jade was simply our favorite. We didn’t make it to the steakhouse, of the Diner largely because there may have some pool party shenanigans and we forgot to check back in with the concierge that night for the Steakhouse dinner. We wound up at the buffet just as it was closing. I have no idea what I was eating at that point but I think it was delicious.

POOLS, BARS, AND ENTERTAINMENT

The Sirenis Cocotal has insanely gorgeous pools that wind throughout the resort. We spent most of our time on the shallow side near the swim up pool bar where all the action was.

Review of Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort, Punta Cana, Domincan Republic. travelingsinglemom.com

The cabana of the bar coupled with the bridge made for some well needed shade during mid-day. The cocktails and party atmosphere made for some crazy times. The other side of the resort also had a pool bar and it was much quieter with a more relaxed atmosphere. The deep end of the pool is in the middle and connects to the other pools. Personally, it was too deep for me to hang out in without spilling my ever present drink.

Review of the Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic- travelingsinglemom.com

The statue attracted some bathing beauties who were not interested in partying with us. We liked that they kept to their side of the pool, thanks very much.

Traveling Single Mom- Review of the Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort- Punta Cana

The Animacion (entertainment) team was a little bit cheesy but also a whole lot of fun. The Miss Bikini and Mr. Sexy contests haven’t changed all that much since I was there in the 1980’s and the insane skit on our last day was beyond cheesy but pretty hilarious in the end.

The Animacion team was also responsible for water aerobics and exercise classes. People seem to like that. I enjoyed watching while sipping my first Bloody Mary of the day. Apparently there is a gym on site as well, but I may have missed that.

Some of our friends hit up the shows every night and loved the productions. I was too busy being my own production.

We’re not really into shows so we usually booked ourselves into late dinners before meeting others at the main bar. Where we drank the local drink, Mamajuana, into the wee hours. Occasionally we hit the disco, where we danced until 2 am with resort guests and locals before hitting the beach to party until dawn. Sometimes we skipped the disco and hung around the main bars until closing time. The bar closed at 1:30 am and the disco at 2 am. Hence the beach parties. It’s rather amazing that we actually ever made it to breakfast before the 10 am closing. Yes, I’m 47. I regret nothing.

THE NEGATIVES

Overall it was a pretty terrific experience however, there were a couple of negatives. The first was that the pools (and pool bars!) close very suddenly at 6 pm. One minute the music is blaring and the party is on and the next, security is blowing whistles and telling everyone to get out. Not cool. The other had nothing to do with the location or the staff and everything to do with the parents who let the kids jump all over people in the very adult area of the pool bar. Since I’ve got kids and all, I tried not to get annoyed with the little people jumping and splashing water in my drink. I was super annoyed however, with the parents who were lounging at the bar and ignoring their children. There’s a water park at Sirenis that is pretty spectacular. Parents. Seriously. There’s a bar and restaurant and everything and you can hang out with other parents. I would have killed for that when we were in Cuba last spring.

A review of Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. travelingsinglemom.com
Source

TRIP DETAILS: (affiliate links included)

WHERE:  Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

CURRENCY: Dominican pesos or US dollars

RESORT: Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort Casino and Aquapark. See the TripAdvisor reviews here.

BOOKED THROUGH: Redtag.ca

COST: $677 CAD- All inclusive with flight for one week. Expedia has some pretty great deals, as well, from the US and Canada when you combine flight and hotel packages.

TIP: Book 10 to 12 days before for the best deals. Ask for an upgraded room near the ocean. We were in the M building.

DRINK: Mamajuana!!

EAT: Jade- The Japanese Restaurant. Best sushi and a pretty great show, too.

 

That Time I Took An Adult Only Vacation

I’m all about traveling with children but every once in awhile you need to bust out and take yourself on an adult only vacation. No kids, no husbands (not that I have one of those), just a much needed girlfriend trip with zero responsibilities.

There’s a lot to be said for taking a vacation without kids. Like you can have a conversation without being interrupted 97 times in 15 minutes. Or you can go a whole week without hearing poop or potty talk. Or wiping someone’s bum. And then there’s the whole daytime drinking thing. You can’t do that around kids so that’s pretty swell. You can stay out past 8 PM and you don’t need to worry about someone waking you up when they wet the bed. You can sleep past 6AM and skip breakfast. Or you can have a breakfast that doesn’t involve gulping a bowl of leftover soggy kid cereal and indulge in three cups of cafe con leche. And you can party at the pool bar instead of trying to keep a kid’s head above the water.

This trip idea came about after my friend, P, told me that her husband didn’t know how to make lunches for his kids. One kid has been in school for 3 years. He also didn’t know how to get pizza or make dinner without waking her from a nap to watch the children. This is the same husband that goes to Vegas for two weeks every year and golfs in tournaments all summer long and plays pool all winter. He’s hardly home. Great guy but never around. I casually mentioned that the best way to teach someone to parent is to disappear for awhile.

From my end, I’ve been shuffling my boys to all sorts of therapies, attending meetings and school planning appointments, fighting the child welfare organization to keep my boys in daycare, and was all around worn out and exhausted. The boys were running wild and I was turning into a shrieking shrew. I’m not terribly proud of my parenting skills leading up to the week before our trip. So when P said “Let’s book a trip”, I didn’t need to be told twice.
BookingBuddy

We didn’t much care where we went as long as there was sun, beaches, and a swim up bar. Okay. That swim up bar criteria was mine. Because when we were in Cuba, I had a few brief moments of envy of all the people standing around in the swim up pool bar, drinking, laughing, and having a big ol’ party. I was there with my boys and while we swam up to the bar once, we got the heck out of there because nothing kills a party like a couple of young kids splashing water in your drink. P’s criteria was that the resort be adults only. I wish I had listened to that! Ours wasn’t but the next one will be.

So we headed off to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic one fine Friday morning. Where we were welcomed with cocktails, lunch, and an invitation to make use the resort amenities until we could check in since we arrived a few hours early.  Make yourself at home, they said. Don’t mind if we do.

Why You Totally Need an Adult Only Vacation
Photo Credit

After some well earned daytime drinking, we found ourselves floating in the ocean shortly after our arrival where we met two lovely fellows who were also from Ontario. The funniest and most animated guys I’ve ever met. Seriously. They instantly became the directors of all things fun and managed to bring the entire resort together. It’s like they were simply there to meet, greet, and introduce everyone else and get the party started. When we found out we were next door neighbors, our two rooms turned into a crazy kind of frat house. They were only with us for three days and I think the entire resort went into mourning when they left. Except the families. They probably breathed a huge sigh of relief that the shenanigans by the pool were dialed back just slightly. We may have referred to them as the boy band…so there’s that.

I’m not terribly chatty, nor do I seek out new friends for the most part so I’m not entirely sure what happened  down there. It’s like someone poured rum (or possibly mamajuana) in my glass and I became the most insanely extroverted person ever. We partied at the pool bar, we talked to everyone, and I barely went to bed. I’m a little obsessed with sleep so this was a bit of a surprise for me. We went to the disco and when P went back to our room at a reasonable hour, I just kept going. Three nights in a row I found myself at some kind of after party on the beach, partying until the sun came up. I’d sleep a few hours and start all over again. That’s probably how I lost my voice. Not that I let that stop me or anything.


So here’s to the people who made this party something else…

To the mysterious Ontario fellows who wouldn’t provide last names or Facebook info…Good call. Thanks for the wild and crazy, the beer nuts, and the afternoon we spent talking only in country music titles. It’s all fun and games until you’re “Drunk on a Plane”.

Why You Totally Need an Adult Only Vacation
Photo credit

To the 7’1″ tall, so white he glowed in the dark, RCMP officer and his short and completely opposite looking friend, thanks for the stories, the beach party, and the hilariousness of watching you roll in the waves at 4am. Also, despite your height, a flash light shining through a bottle of vodka does not make a disco light. Apologies for telling you I’ll shove that flashlight somewhere and turn it on so we could see if you still had your appendix. I was just messing with you. Sort of.

To the two incredibly polite boys from Canada by way of India . Thank you for the respectful company, intelligent conversation, and lovely dinners. They had mad respect for us as a couple of older and married moms (Well, one of us is married anyway.) Until that one night when the quiet one who blushed when things got crazy at the pool decided the party wasn’t over, produced some vodka from his room, jumped the bar to grab shot glasses and kept the party going. Why, yes, the clock does say 2 am. Apparently the party was just getting started.

That time I went on vacation without my kids and acted like it was spring break

He also decided to strip down to his boxers to join the super white guy in the ocean. I have never laughed so hard in my freakin’ life. That may have been the night I lost my voice. I also learned to dance to Punjabi music. Love.

To “Crazy Joe”. You’re a pretty funny guy with a cool English accent. You’re gonna want to watch that temper, though. We always kind of wondered if Joe was wanted for murder somewhere in England. He sort of went from fun and games to this crazy I’m going to kill you stare and then back again. One of the boys we met the first night swore Joe was going to kill him and he wouldn’t make it home. Since we have no way of contacting him, it’s a possibility.

That Time I Took An Adult Vacation
Photo credit

To all of the other English peeps, and there were a lot of you….Wow! You can really hold your liquor! Well done, you! Y’all made me feel less like of an alcoholic that week and part of the party. And, although I’m a couple of decades older than most of you, no one really seemed to care. Super cool to learn new English phrases, as well. Like when I put Crazy Joe’s phone in my purse and he said “Don’t nick it”, I heard “Don’t lick it”. I didn’t realize they licked phones in England. I was corrected when I went to “the loo” for “a wee” with another English gal (which I heard as “a week”) and finally understood what he meant. No wonder I got the crazy stare when I asked why I would lick his phone.

To the guy that bit my friend’s ear…You, sir, are a great dancer but you do some weird stuff when you drink. Go home, Mike Tyson. Go home.

To the creepy guy at the pool who had found a girlfriend but was busy making eyes at us and splashing to get our attention. Stop. You’re a gigolo. It took me all week to figure that out. Love the one you’re with and all that.

To all of the staff at the bar who started calling me “Mamajuana” and kept my glass full. Couldn’t have kept the party going without you. Also, I brought 4 bottles of that intoxicatingly delicious swill home. So there’s that.

Mmmm.....mamajuana!! The best part of our last trip to the Dominican.
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To the entertainment/”animacion” team. Mostly that was kind of strange…particularly the whole Madonna rescue scenario thing that played out for like an hour. I’m not sure that Batman actually drove a bike but I’ll accept your literary interpretations. But to “Banana”….You, brother, are the best. Like the day you showed up at the pool in full blown army camo with a gun and those aviator glasses. To be fair, I think P and the rest of the Canadians were a little freaked out. Me? Not so much. Since only an amateur would put his pistol down the front of his pants. Like who would risk shooting off his precious man parts or having some lunatic make a grab, right?  Probably we should have looked closer at your name tag which actually said “Banana”, but we somehow managed to miss that. So when you turned around to walk away, revealing that your camo pants had no back? Thanks for that. I kind of feel sorry for whomever had to do the drawings on  your naked hiney. Or maybe I’m just a little jealous.

And how excited was I to meet some fellow Southerners on this trip!!! Pretty freakin’ swell except my full blown Alabama accent is back and I’m having a hard time shaking it. I’m pretty sure the 3 of us will stay friends. S, you’ve got a mad crazy voice…go get yourself a recording contract. D, you got game, brother! Y’all better come up and visit next summer!

And finally, to my new 24 year old fake husband. Mad love to you for punking my kid (who’s 25) by pretending we got married at the resort. That was pretty swell and you did a great job of proposing, grabbing the ring off a friend and dropping to one knee. Nice. Since you’re a year younger than my daughter, referring to yourself as “lil poppa” was just over the top awesomeness. Also, you provided some pretty great drama that made me relieved to be out of the dating game 😉  I also kind of enjoyed swimming over and having you introduce me as your wife. The horror in their eyes (since I’m 47 and all) was pretty hilarious. I don’t know if they felt sorry for you or admiration for me. #cradlerobbingiscool

And one not so cool thing.

Parents. I know you want to hang out at the pool bar and party with everyone. I miss those days, too. But you can’t. It’s not cool to let your kids jump on top of everyone, knock drinks over, kick water in peoples faces, or take up precious space at the pool bar when the rest of us are gasping for alcohol and talking raunchy.  If you bring your kids to a resort you really can’t hang out at the pool bar, sip your cocktail, and pretend they’re not yours. It’s also super uncool to expose your kids to the sort of partying and drinking that was going on there.  All day, every day. There’s a kids area and an aqua park for a reason. I’m saying that as someone who’s watched enviously while herding my two guys back to the family friendly area on all of our other travels. #sorrynotsorry

TRIP DETAILS: (affiliate links included)

WHERE:  Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

CURRENCY: Dominican pesos or US dollars

RESORT: Sirenis Cocotal Beach Resort Casino and Aquapark

BOOKED THROUGH: Redtag.ca

COST: $677 CAD- All inclusive with flight for one week.

TIP: Book 10 to 12 days before for the best deals. Ask for an upgraded room near the ocean. We were in the M building.

DRINK: Mamajuana!!

EAT: Jade- The Japanese Restaurant. Best sushi and a pretty great show, too.

 

Time to make your own kid free vacation plans