Our All-inclusive Dreams Macao Beach Resort Family Vacation
Last week our family spent 5 nights at the recently opened Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana all-inclusive resort (Read all the way to the end to find out how we stayed for free!). I’m just going to go all in with the cheese and say, it was a “dream!” Really! We couldn’t have asked for anything more. The staff, the food, the entertainment, the beach, the pools… all of it was beyond what we expected. And now that we’re back I wanted to share more about our experience for anyone considering a vacation at this Dreams Resort location by putting together a Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana review.
Arrival at Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana
My husband arranged a private shuttle to pick us up at the airport and after loading up our luggage we took a 30 minute drive to Dreams Macao.
Upon arrival you will immediately see the precautions they are taking against COVID-19 as your bags are sanitized and you are served a welcome drink by staff who either do not touch the cup and offer it to you off their tray or they hand it to you wrapped in a napkin. The staff take your temperature and offer hand sanitizer to each guest.
There is a bar in the lobby, so if you are checking in here (we were checked in in the Preferred Club Lounge. More on that later) you can have a drink while you wait. The lobby is open air and beautifully decorated and is elevated above the majority of the resort so as you exit you are greeted with a breathtaking view of the property and the ocean.
The Rooms at Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana
We stayed in room 1231, a Preferred Club Ocean View Double room. My parents traveled with us and were in an adjoining King room next door. Having them come with us ended up working out perfectly with the Kids Stay Free promotion going on this year. One child under 12 stays free per adult, so with 3 kids we just had one of ours stay in their room so that there wouldn’t be an additional charge for our 3rd child. Rooms can accommodate 5, though you would pay an additional fee in that case.
In our room we had a minibar that was restocked daily with soda, water, juice, and beer. Our room did not have a couch or a tub on the balcony, but my parents’ king room had both. My son was provided with a rollaway bed in my parents room but it would have fit in our room as well.
Our room also had a tablet on the nightstand where we could access information about the resort and the restaurants as well as order room service. I believe this is a feature of a Preferred Club room so standard rooms may not have a tablet. However, room service is available to all guests 24 hours a day at no additional cost!
Another interesting feature was the “secret box” that is only accessible by hotel staff. Any deliveries to your room like extra towels or room service were placed in this compartment so that you didn’t have to answer the door. And then when you are done with your room service you can place your dirty dishes in the compartment. It’s really a genius idea because not only does it get rid of the clutter in your room, but as you walk the halls you won’t see dirty dishes laying by guest room doors.
Dreams Macao Beach Preferred Club
We were fortunate enough to have been upgraded to a Preferred Club room during our stay. During the planning of our trip I didn’t think I would miss anything by booking a typical room, but after experiencing the additional amenities of the Preferred Club, we would definitely book this way in the future.
Here’s a quick list of what we got as part of our Preferred Club room.
Personalized Check-in and Checkout in the Preferred Lounge
Upon arrival to the resort our family was guided to the Preferred Club lounge for a private check-in. The lounge had a small buffet of finger foods and snacks as well as a full bar. The kids and I were able to enjoy a snack and a piña colada while my husband checked in with the staff.
The lounge also has a daily continental breakfast, afternoon hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, desserts & fine liquors served daily. My kids would sit down here in the morning with my dad and play chess while having 1st breakfast. Then we would all walk together to the World Cafe for 2nd breakfast. Because how are you going to gain 10 extra pounds on vacation without eating 2 breakfasts?
Macao Beach Resort Adults Only Pool
We were with our kids the majority of our vacation so we didn’t get to use the Adults only pool, but it looked beautiful and quiet! It is a salt water pool with a hot tub, chairs with cushions and cabana beds.
Oceana is Dreams Macao’s seafood restaurant and is only open for preferred club guests during breakfast and lunch (dinner is available for all guests). I would be tempted to book a preferred room just so I could eat at this restaurant for every meal. We had great experiences at all of the restaurants, but the food at Oceana was by far our favorite. And the setting of the restaurant is hard to beat, with open air views of the ocean and infinity pool.
On the beaches in Punta Cana you will likely see vendors selling anything from a photo-op with a monkey on your shoulder to fresh coconuts. There’s not much the hotel can do about this, so having this set aside beach area for preferred guests was a safe place to sit and drink my Coco Loco in peace. There is an attendant assigned just for the preferred club beach who will make sure you have as many towels and drinks as you need. There is even a small menu available if you’d like to order food beach side.
At first the idea of a butler seemed silly to me, but after spending a week at Dreams Macao I came to appreciate this added benefit. Our butler, Cesareo, greeted us at check-in, gave us a tour of our room, made nightly dinner reservations for us, was available for any questions by text all week long, and even arranged a special Dominican meal for us after my husband made a comment about wanting to try Dominican food while we were on vacation!
We did tip him at the end of the week so that’s something you’ll want to plan for in your vacation budget.
For a more extensive guide on tipping at all-inclusive resorts you can read this helpful article from AMA Travel.
We were surprised to see the oversized Gilchrist & Soames toiletries in our bathroom that even included bottles of sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and bug spray. They were restocked during our stay so we came home with 2 of everything. (We’re not the only ones who take home hotel shampoo, right?)
When my boys read about the Preferred Club pillow menu, it was all they talked about in the days leading up to our trip! The pillows in the room are made of down which I thought were very comfortable. But when you arrive you will be given a menu in your room describing all of the different pillows available. And because it felt special, and because apparently my kids are fancy, the boys all picked out their own pillow off the menu to use for the week.
Wondering what to expect when it comes to the beach? The beach at Dreams Macao is one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. We kept commenting to each other that it could be on a postcard. The water is the most beautiful turquoise blue and the sand is perfect for sand castles. It was even voted by UNESCO as one of the Caribbeans’ best beaches.
We had read that the water could be a little rough, but growing up going to the Jersey Shore I wasn’t phased by the intensity of the waves. You do have to watch out for one section that is a little bit rocky. But as long as we kept away from the visible rocks, we had no problem splashing around in the water safely.
The Pools at Dreams Macao Beach Resort
There are 3 main pools at Dreams Macao, 2 of which are infinity pools with views of the ocean. There is also 1 adults only salt water pool, a huge kids splash area, 7 waterslides, and a lazy river. There is literally something for everyone.
Dreams Macao Food
So, let me start by saying that we were not expecting a whole lot when it came to food. We had read some mixed reviews online, so we were prepared to be underwhelmed.
But I have to say, we were so pleasantly surprised by how much we loved the food. My husband and parents are vegetarians and they were very pleased with the amount of options available to them at every meal. Even the buffet had more than enough vegetarian and even vegan friendly options to leave each meal more than satisfied!
Here is a list of the restaurants available to you at Dreams Macao All-Inclusive:
- Oceana – Seafood (preferred guests only at Breakfast and Lunch), our favorite! Literally everything we ate here we loved.
- Seaside Grille – á la carte grilled meats, fish and hamburgers.
- El Patio – á la carte Mexican
- Bordeaux – á la carte French cuisine, didn’t eat here because it was adults only, and well, we have kids.
- Portofino – á la carte Italian cuisine, our least favorite but loved the desserts.
- Himitsu – Japanese/Hibachi, so fun for hibachi! But we also had dinner one night and ate off the regular menu and we loved it as well.
- World Cafe – a huge buffet that was only open for us during breakfast. Not sure if they are open for other meals normally so I can’t speak to that, but for breakfast it was great. They had a huge selection of fresh juices every morning, vegan options, more meat than anyone should ever eat, bagels, salmon, ceviche, omelets, you name it.
- Barefoot Grill – poolside food like burgers, nachos, and pizza. We only ate here once and enjoyed the nachos. It is open all day which is a plus and was the only option available when we arrived hungry at 4:00.
- CoCo Cafe – small bites, ice cream, and coffee. This was a 2 times a day stop for me, especially once I learned how to order an iced coffee with almond milk. (For my lactose intolerant friends: “Cafe frio con leche de almendras.” You can thank me later).
- Food Truck – located near the waterslides.
Reservations are not required at any of the restaurants, however our Butler made reservations for us each night because of the size of our party so that we would have no problem getting a table right away.
Physical menus are not currently available due to the pandemic, so you will need your phone to scan a QR code at your table to view the menu.
There is a kids menu available with options like mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and fish sticks but children are welcome to order off the regular menu as well.
Packing tip: We were not sure what to expect when it came to the dress code at restaurants because we had read conflicting things. But pants were only required at Bordeaux (the adults only restaurant) and shorts were perfectly fine everywhere else. Close toed shoes are required everywhere for men and boys, so pack accordingly!
Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana Entertainment
Each night the entertainment team at Dreams Macao offers some form of dancing and entertainment. Our kids were pretty tired most nights from swimming and being in the sun, so we only made it to shows 2 out of the 5 nights. One night we watched a dancing show in the amphitheater and on the second night we saw a circus themed act with some pretty impressive acrobatics. Both were great!
Are Dreams Resorts Kid Friendly?
What drew us to this specific location was the family friendly nature of the resort. Without being overly childish and geared solely to children, there was plenty to keep the kids occupied. Our son told us when we came home that this vacation was like a dream come true so I can safely say it was a hit for all ages.
Here are just a few of the amenities geared towards kids (some were great for the big kids too ;)).
Dreams Macao Beach Waterpark
When I saw the photos of the water park at Dreams Macao, I knew our boys would be pumped. They had a blast making their way up and down the stairs over and over again and racing each other down the slides. They even made friends with other children as they played.
And the lazy river was a favorite amongst the adults. The river travels around the water slide area and even flows underneath the slides. So we were all able to be entertained in the same area as the kids for a few hours most afternoons. And if you just want to sit and watch your kids there are plenty of chairs to lay out on and even a few picnic tables.
Surrounding the water park area you will find the 2 bedroom family suites which looked amazing. I can see that being a great option for a big family as you could basically walk out your door and be at the water park each day.
Dreams Macao Kids Club
I was really hoping my kids would check out the Explorer’s Club during our stay so I could share more about it, but with Mama and Papa traveling with us, it was hard to convince them to leave their side! I did pop my head in once to take a peak at their daily schedule and they had an hour by hour schedule of all of the activities they have planned for your kids. I saw things like water balloon games, crafts, and basketball. It looked like a good time to me!
Dreams Macao COVID Testing
Guest staying 3 or more nights at Dreams Macao will receive a complimentary COVID-19 antigen test the day before their departure. They will provide you with documentation on the day of your departure to show at the airport for re-entry into the United States.
When booking this vacation it was important to us to find a resort that would allow us to stay on property if we were to (God-forbid) test positive before we left. Thankfully, Dreams Macao and all other AM Resorts will cover the cost of quarantining at your resort for up to 14 days for you and one other guest if you were to test positive. You can read more about the CleanComplete+ Quarantine program here.
Would we recommend Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana for families?
In a word, ABSOLUTELY. We had such an amazing time and made some lasting memories as a family. It was a great way for the boys to spend time with my parents and for all of us to feel like we were on vacation.
It will be hard to go on any future vacations where food and drink are NOT paid for in advance. For someone like me, It is so much easier to enjoy myself when I’m not concerned about how much we’re spending each day. I am fully sold on All-Inclusives after this!
How to book an all-inclusive with credit card points!
Believe it or not, we spent $0 to stay at this resort for 5 nights! And we aren’t special… you can totally do the same thing! Using our Chase points and by booking through the Chase travel portal, we were able to book 5 nights for 2 adults and 2 kids for just under 100,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points.
You can read more about how to get started in travel hacking in this post about how we take free vacations with our entire family.
If you’re looking for the best card to get into the travel hacking hobby, I suggest starting with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It has a low annual fee of $95 so the risk is low and you will more than make that back in travel value. The normal sign up bonus is 60,000 points but if you’re lucky you can catch it when the bonus is increased to 80,000!
I hope you found this Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana review helpful as you plan your next family vacation! Let me know if I can answer any questions, either by leaving a comment below or by emailing me at [email protected]
More Family Destination Ideas
Want more?? Check out my Disney page for ways to make your vacation more affordable and enjoyable or my Travel page for tips on traveling with your kids or my Destinations page for other places we’ve traveled with our kids!