Wonderful gluten free experience at resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic,
January 03, 2017
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 ( http://www.glutenfreeeasy.com/facts/files/Spanish_Dining_Out_Cards.pdf ). 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 and he warned us 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.