Hyatt Ziva/Zilara Cap Cana - a weekend getaway

100   Recommended

Ocean View King
January 21, 2020 by

 Map | 1 Review | 100% Recommended
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 Map | 1 Review | 100% Recommended

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Ocean View King

Liked:
Location
Service
Food
Amenities
Room

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Room
Ocean View King

A long weekend is always an opportunity to get away, especially when it's 10F outside and a bunch of snow on the ground. Turquise water and white sand definitely sounded appealing, and we booked a quick two night stay at Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana over the MLK day. We originally wanted to stay on the Zilara side, but there was no availability.

I had an expiring free night to burn, plus Chase's $250 off $500 deal made this a very inexpensive trip.

 

Arrival and Check-in

We did not pre-book any transportation, and just got a regular taxi from the stand in the arrivals hall. One way fare to/from Cap Cana area is $30, and it only takes 10-15 min.

Upon arrival, we were greeted and escorted to the Club Lounge for check-in. Check-in was quick, and oddly, no credit card was needed. As a Globalist, I was hoping for an upgrade, however, the property seems very stingy, and we were told that all rooms are pre-assigned and cannot be changed; no buy-up was offered. We ended up in a King Room with a fairly nice view of the grounds and the ocean - it's probably categorized as an "Ocean View".

We also received a letter explaining Globalist benefits, which were mostly useless.

  • Private check in/out at the club.
  • 30% off spa, premium wine, and cabana rentals.
  • Access to the lounge (pretty useless overall), and club pools and bars
  • Access to Chinola and Shutters for breakfast and lunch (anyone can go there for dinner).
  • Late check-out at 2 pm (we had no issues extending this quite a bit more).
  • Assigned Butler (he was reasonably helpful)

Overall

The Ziva/Zilara nomenclature is somewhat of a misnomer - it really just feels like one resort, and it's small enough that walking back and forth is no big deal.

Despite it not being the "adult" side, we enjoyed the Ziva side much more than Zilara. It was much quieter, with fewer people, and we liked the lagoon-style pool. Zilara side was packed and loud with music and activities.

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The pools and hot tubs were excellent, although some hot tubs were too hot, and some were freezing cold. Not sure if that was intentional!

The beach is nice - white powdery sand that does not stick to your feet, and pretty turquoise water. Seaweed was present, and somewhat unpleasant one of the days, but no the other. The beach is pretty shallow and calm and would be good for kids.

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For us, the best part of the resort was the abundance of cool longing options, including multiple firepits that were great in the evening. Overall, the architecture and design are very attractive.

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There's also a rotating nightly show at 9:30, which gives people something to do other than eat and drink!

Room

Our King room had a decent view of the grounds and the ocean. It is well appointed, and attractive, but is very narrow, and lacks storage. The balcony had a table with two chairs and a nice outdoor sofa.

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The bathroom had large sliding doors with no lock, which is odd for a family-oriented property, and a separate room with the toilet (this one did lock). Inside the bathroom were two sinks and a large walk-in shower with a rain head as well as a hand-held one. Only one could be turned on at a time.

There was a faint musty/sewer smell in the room, however it seemed to dissipate after running the AC for a few hours.

The bed was comfortable, but only had two pillows - had to request extras.

Room amenities included robes, slippers, a drip coffee maker, and a mini-fridge stocked with water, apple juice, soda, and beer. Pringles and peanut M&Ms were the only snacks.

Service

Service throughout the resort was generally well intentioned but definitely not polished, and there was a language barrier at times.

There did not seem to be an expectation of tips, however, they were certainly appreciated by staff. Ramon and Lorenzo staffing the Club Pool bar (Coconutz) definitely deserved theirs!

 

Dining

There are many restaurants on the property, and we could not possibly try all of them given the short stay, and the fact that they open on a rotating schedule. Additionally, there are annoying gaps in opening hours (11-12:30 and 4-6) when the only option is room service.

Overall, we found the food mediocre at best, and lacking seasoning and flavor. Very few premium ingredients or dishes - disappointing given the price point of the resort.

Here are our impressions of the ones we tried:

Journeys (Indian)

"White people" Indian food. No flavor, no spice, extremely disappointing. The best thing on the menu is garlic naan. If you're looking for a punch of flavor, skip this one.

Tempest (Asian)

This restaurant has two options - Teppanyaki or Mongolian Stir-fry. We opted for stir-fry, which included a selection of appetizers and soup, and then a "pick your own protein, veg, and sauces" bar.

Definitely enjoyed our meal here, although I suppose it really depends on what you end up concocting.

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Presto (Pizza)

This was the most disguisting pizza I've ever had in my life. Not sure how you can even mess it up this bad. The crust had no flavor and gummy texture, the sauce had no flavor, the toppings had no flavor. Skip this one!

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Shutters (Peruvian)

Tried it for lunch. Delicious ceviche and appetizers, disappointing mains. They make a decent Pisco Sour.

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Buffet

There are two buffets (one on each side) with identical or nearly identical selection. Multiple made to order stations at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Frankly, the best and freshest tasting food at the resort was from these made-to-order stations. I would definitely not skip the buffet. One weak spot is desserts - they were just not good.

Conclusion

Even given the shortcomings of the resort, we had a nice and relaxing weekend. I personally would probably not return, but it's not a bad resort.

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