Everything about our experience with Hacienda A21 was wonderful. We booked through Villas of Distinction. We were assigned a concierge, Brandy, that answered my myriad of questions prior to the trip, as we organized 4 different families for this trip. Once we arrived, we were assigned another concierge, Jose, who managed our stay at the villa. Jose was wonderful - solving many of our initial questions immediately and always willing to provide guidance and help. He stopped in at least 2 times each day and we could reach him any time we needed during our stay. We also had an onsite housekeeper Ruth, who was also truly wonderful. In face, there were a few issues with the villa and Ruth fixed all of them!
I agree with the previous reviewer, the maps that were provided of the property were not very useful - the best way to figure things out was simply to Google your location and go from there. Probably the only downside to the whole experience was that the community is SO big, it was impossible for us to see it all in just 5 days. I recommend the following:
1) I recommend a longer stay than 5 days.
2) Get a chef for the day. By far a better cost option for meals, and if you are lucky enough to get Chef Luis, you'll be very happy. I also recommend the Red Snapper!
3) A golf cart is a must! Even the closest beach to us was mostly walk prohibitive
4) Do not request groceries in advance. Instead, plan to go with the concierge and get your own products.
5) Plan for at least double your grocery cost. If you think your groceries would be about $400 in the US, double it, maybe even triple it.
I was incredibly impressed with Hacienda A21 and loved my stay there. We stayed in February 2017. Our group included 6 adults and 6 children aged 3-10 years old.
Hacienda A21 is in the Punta Cana Resort (PCR). I find the information online about PCR to be a bit confusing, so i will describe it here. PCR is essentially a large gated community that primarily is a housing development. You drive through a guard gate, and once you're inside the walls of the community there are several different areas.
There are several different subdivisions within the Punta Cana Resort where there are different sizes of houses. I think there are five subdivisions including Tortuga Bay, Hacienda (Here there are apts and houses), Arricife (very large houses), Marina and Corrales (the largest houses and right on the beach). We rented a villa in the Hacienda section called Hacienda A21, which we thought was incredible.
Within the walls of the Punta Cana Resort, in addition to the housing subdivisions, there are also two resorts. There is the Westin Punta Cana and Tortuga Bay Hotel (not to be confused with the Tortuga Bay Housing subdivision). We also rented a room at the Westin for the week, and got access to all the amenities of that hotel as well.
We booked our house at Hacienda through a local concierge service called Volalto Group. I would give them an A+ for service. They are incredibly responsive if you call them. I dealt with Thomas Drefs, a sales consultant, who helped us pick our villa and get us set up. Once we were a few weeks away from arriving, i contacted Thomas, who connected me with Marc Barrachina, who is one of the concierge staff from Volalto. Prior to us arriving, Marc was in constant communication with me to set up activiites, arrange for transportation, have our kitchen stocked upon arrival, etc. Marc and Thomas were two of the most responsive people i have dealt with over text, email or phone. I will absolutely rent through Volalto when we go back.
Every day, Marc, the concierge, would stop by the house three or four times to see if we needed anything. He helped us book activities, helped us with any issues in the house (i.e. one of the thermostats was having issues) and brought us to the supermarket a few times so we could replenish groceries at the house (though he would do that himself if we wanted, we just wanted to go to the store to shop ourselves)
Most of the private homes like Hacienda A21 come with a live in maid who works 12+ hours per day. Our maid, Ruth, was wonderful and her quarters were on the side of the house. Every day she did several loads of laundry, made all the beds, constantly cleaned the house, etc. We didnt really have to lift a finger. The only issue was that she didnt speak english, but we managed to communicate and we really liked her.
We rented golf carts for the week. Once you're inside the Punta Cana Resort you really don't leave, and the best way to get around is by golf cart. They were $55 per cart per day. We didnt rent a regular car.
In addition to spending time at the westin (which was a 5 minute golf cart ride from our house), you can also use the La Cana Beach Club, which is open to all renters at the Punta Cana Resort. They have a restaurant, large pool on the ocean, beach chairs, etc and a great beach setup.
There is also another beach club within the resort which is called Playa Blanca. There you can book watersports activities. We went fishing for a few hours. The kids loved it!
Within the walls of the Punta Cana Resort there is also a large ecological preserve where you can take a several mile hike. We were able to drive our golf carts to the entrance, and took the hike with the kids. Along the way there are multiple natural lagoons that you can swim in, with awesome crystal clear water.
All activities could be booked through Volalto Group. We did a swim with dolphins which was awesome and we booked it through Volalto.
In addition to the maid, who came with the house, you also have the option to hire a chef. Our Chef was named Hipolito. He was awesome. He normally works in a very large villa called Arricife 55, but since that villa was unoccupied during our stay, Volalto arranged for him to work at our house. It costs $40 per meal plus the cost of groceries to have him cook (not $40 per person, just $40 in total). He cooked two or three meals for us every day, usually breakfast and dinner. His food was amazing and he worked with Ruth to create an awesome presentation for every meal. The table was set perfectly, all food came out on platters, etc, it really did feel like a first class operation. Every morning he'd cook chocolate chip pancakes, eggs (scrambled/sunny side up), waffles, fruit platters, etc. Each day he'd throw in some new items too and get creative. For dinners he cooked something new each night ranging from traditional dominican fare to italian night to mexican night to bbq. This was an amazing experience.
If there is a downside it is that there arent really great restaurants in the area (from what we hear). We didnt even try any. We were so happy with our Chef that we stuck with him the whole week. We ate a few lunches at the Westin, but found ourselves questioning why we didnt just have Hipolito make lunch!
The Punta Cana Resort owns Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). We flew directly from Philadelphia to PUJ, and the rest of the family flew directly from Boston. The airport was very easy to navigate. The Punta Cana Resort is literally 5 minutes from the Airport, which is great. From what we heard, since the Resort owns the airport, they're able to make sure the planes dont fly over the resort, and despite the fact that the airport was less than 3 miles from our house, we didnt hear a plane all week overhead.
Volalto arranged from pick up and drop off at the airport. It was seamless.
Hacienda A21 was awesome, and exactly as depicted in the pictures. The backyard was great, and even larger than it appears, as there is a grassy side area that is large enough to have a nice football catch and for the kids to play.
Overall this was a great trip. We loved the house, loved the service and will hopefully be back soon!
Marc was amazing. Made booking our golf , tennis and spa appt so easy. He was quick to respond and always cheerful and helpful. Helped us with groceries and suggestions for restaurants. Hacienda 21 is gorgeous - highly recommend and the best concierge service we have ever had !!