Dreams Resort in Dominican Republic GF-Friendly
|Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa|
|Location:||Playas Uvero Alto, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic|
|Date Visited:||December 2016|
|Review Posted:||January 2017|
|Summary||Wonderful gluten free experience at resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic|
This month we are showcasing a popular Caribbean luxury resort called DREAMS Resort and Spa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It is a AAA Four Diamond Resort in which almost everything is included in the price. Below, you will find two separate reviews, both from families who vacationed at Dreams over the Holidays.
REVIEW #1: Our family enjoyed our vacation at Dreams' St. Thomas resort over the 2015 Christmas break so much, we came back and immediately made a reservation for the 2016 Christmas break in Dreams' Punta Cana Resort & Spa. Unfortunately, a few weeks before the trip was to begin, two of our children were diagnosed with celiac disease and put on a gluten-free diet for medical reasons. We prepared for the trip by speaking with the resort ahead of time, and we were told our reservation would be noted "gluten-free," the restaurants all provided gluten-free options, and we would be given a Spanish-language note explaining our needs to provide to the server at each restaurant we visited.
An online review I found written in April 2016 said another visitor had had difficulties with the letter and that it did not explain the full limitations of a truly gluten-free diet (separate cooking areas for gluten-free food, the need to exclude chemicals derived from gluten-containing foods, etc.). The letter provided did seem minimal, and it was difficult to reach and communicate with the administrative staff, because I do not speak Spanish. However, we printed and brought with us these more extensive letters, translated into Spanish, that explain our needs. We handed them to the concierge when we requested the Dreams letter, and the information really seemed illuminating to them. The concierge we spoke with actually photocopied the longer letter and stapled it to theirs.
For breakfast each day we ate at the World Cafe, the extensive buffet in the main building. The first day we handed the letters to the server, who gave them to the manager, who assigned us to a Mr. Wilson. I cannot say enough about how terrific he was. He brought out the head chef, who read the letter and then walked us around to each dish to tell us which were safe for the kids. There were plenty of options - eggs, sausage, bacon, etc. Nonetheless, Mr. Wilson found the kids gluten-free cereal and arranged for the chef to make the kids gluten-free pancakes and waffles. When we came back the next day, he made the same arrangement without our even asking, and when we planned with him ahead of time to come to the buffet for dinner, he arranged for the kids to get gluten-free pizza.
Mr. Wilson left before the end of our trip (but let us know ahead of time) and introduced us to Mr. Elsipio, who took equally good care of us, even arranging for the kids to have gluten-free crepes for breakfast on the last day of our stay. The beach in Punta Cana is beautiful, my oldest child loved the amenities and the staff at the "CoreZone," a kind of hang-out and sports area for the tweens and teens, and the long, shallow pool was perfect for lounging and keeping cool. There were lots of after-hours activities that were advertised, although we participated in none of them so I cannot review them. Overall we had a wonderful time and I would absolutely recommend this resort to other families.
REVIEW #2: There are multiple restaurants within the Dreams resort, and all of the menus are marked well (for gluten free options). While I didn't see any of the preparation areas, four of us in the party did not have any kind of reaction. The concensus in the party was the steakhouse was the best and the Asian/fusion restaurant was next. There is a French restaurant we didn't go to, and we also skipped the pizza place. But the steakhouse, Asian, Italian, and seafood places were all good. My recommendation is to get the VIP cabana. They have a valet that keeps the cooler stocked with drinks as well as delivering things from the seafood restaurant. Their ceviche is amazing.
The World Cafe is a buffet style restaurant. We usually only had breakfast there, however. The ingredient listings weren't readily available, although we tried to talk to several people about it. Honestly, stick with the restaurants, versus the buffet, and you'll be great!
If you'd like some assistance in booking your travel to this Dreams Resort -- or any other GF-friendly resort in the Caribbean and Mexico -- call gluten free travel specialist Lesley Hayden-Hock at 800-487-6110. She works with Travel Leaders agency. There is no fee for her services, and she will find you the perfect resort match, let you know about exclusive savings and specials available through her, and make sure all your gluten free needs are properly communicated to the resort in advance of your trip.
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