With an abundance of luxurious resorts available at sun destinations, the Now Onyx Punta Cana distinguishes itself as a family-focused, friendly vacation resort that offers quality service and convenience in a beautiful location.
Our family was fortunate to stay at the Now Onyx resort which opened in late-2016. The following are our impressions of our stay at this resort as a family with two young children.
The Now Onyx is a hotel chain owned by AM Resorts, which is also known for their other hotel brands, such as, Secrets, Dreams and Sunscape. While some resorts are dedicated to adult guests, AM Resorts appears to have a corporate policy that offers a higher level of attention to younger guests. In our opinion, the main attraction of the Now Onyx are the kid-friendly amenities that offer Mom and Dad with a bit of a break!
As this was our first trip to Punta Cana, we were very impressed by the airport. The terminal was beautifully decorated and all of the staff were very friendly. The airline provides you with the customs and immigration forms. You will receive one immigration form per person as well as one customs form per family. There is an airport tax, which is purchased before you proceed to customs and immigration. If your travel provider has included this cost in your travel package, you will receive a voucher, which you should keep available to give to the staff.
Tip: Check out our advice on surviving airport travel with kids!
Once we were through the terminal, we quickly found our bus transportation for our 40-45 minute journey to the Now Onyx resort. For our trip, we made three stops at other hotels before reaching our destination. There are several direct transfer services available if you want to arrive sooner.
After a daunting journey from Toronto, we were warmly welcomed into an air conditioned lobby and given a welcome drink and cleansing towel. Our children were provided a freshly baked cookie. The reception staff were very friendly and helpfully explained the layout of the resort. Since our room was not ready, we were directed to the buffet for lunch, after which we were given our room keys.
Tip: You will be provided with a ‘golden key’ which you can exchange for a coupon booklet. You must attend a information session on their vacation club to receive the booklet. As well, if you go to the lobby bar across from reception, you will be approach by staff selling their vacation club package. The salespeople are very friendly and will gladly not hassle you further if you are not interested, but they can be easily mistaken for wait staff at the bar!
We found the accommodation at the Now Onyx to be very comfortable for a family of four. Our basic room was very large with two double beds, a couch and a balcony. The bathroom works quite well with two sinks located in the entrance way and a separate enclosure for the toilet and shower stall. It is nice to have access to a sink while someone is in the shower!
A jacuzzi tub is located on the balcony, which our kids loved since they could have their bath outside with the coloured lights in the tub!
Tip: Keep your room comfortable by ensuring your sliding door remains closed. A sensor turns off your air conditioning if the sliding door remains open for 30 seconds.
In terms of other room features, there is a very large closet that includes a safe that is free to use. The beds are very comfortable and the bathroom sinks come with a wall-mounted make-up mirror with lights. The room also has a bar fridge that is stocked daily with two varieties of beer and pop.
The housekeeping was not the best we’ve ever had. One day we did not receive housekeeping service, while other days we had to ask for it. On most days the room was very well cleaned and we were provided with plenty of towels.
Tip: If you’re travelling with very young children and like to splurge, consider booking a swim-up room. You can still enjoy the resort while your little ones nap by relaxing on your terrace and taking a dip in the water right outside your room!
There are so many pools at the Now Onyx resort, you could argue the resort has more water than dry land! There are 6 different pools across the resort, that includes a large jacuzzi, an adult pool and salt water pool. There are also 13 different swim-up pools located outside of the buildings. In total, this resort has 19 different pools and I probably forgot a couple! All of the pools were very clean and comfortably heated at just the right temperature.
If you’re really in need of more water, guests of the Now Onyx are provided with complimentary access to their neighbouring resort, Breathless Punta Cana. At the time of our stay, we were not permitted access due to a private booking of the Breathless resort, so we cannot offer our impressions.
If you prefer the sand, the beach at Now Onyx is very impressive. The resort is very closely connected with beach, so it is easy to access. Crews clean the beach at least twice a day of any debris that may wash ashore. Two bars are located on the beach and there are friendly, attentive servers happy to fetch you a drink at your request.
We found there were a few people selling goods on the beach, but they always kept their distance and seemed to be more interested in a friendly chat than selling their goods.
At either the beach or the pool, there are plenty of sun shades to protect you from the sun. It is was never a problem finding lounge chairs in the shade for our kids.
We especially liked the availability of beach towels. Unlike many other resorts, the Now Onyx doesn’t keep track of towels. You can take ten towels if you want and deposit them in bins when you’re finished with them. No more changing towels, or having them stolen by other guests only to pay for them later. The beach towels are large, brown and ugly – a perfect loss prevention tactic!
More generally, we found the grounds of the Now Onyx very well kept. They had very beautiful plants and grass throughout the resort. The entire resort is kept very clean by their hardworking staff. The property is regularly sprayed, so we had no issues with any mosquitoes or other bugs. However, we still recommend bringing bug spray to be safe!
The Now Onyx features 10 different restaurant options, not including the free room service. We were very impressed by the quality, delicious food available at this resort.
The main buffet, Carnival, has multiple food stations to choose from. There are food stations for kids, salad, meat, pastries, vegetables, pasta and more. Watch out for the freshly-made donuts that are incredible! The paella at lunch is always a good choice too.
Unfortunately, the buffet dining area is in an open air setting with no air conditioning or protection from bugs. During our stay, we didn’t find this an inconvenience, but it may be an issue during hotter months. “Preferred” guests of the resort are allowed access to their own dining area which is enclosed with air conditioning and a-la-carte table service.
For dinner, there are four wonderful restaurants to choose from that do not require reservations. They are:
- The Bluewater Grill – a steakhouse
- Capers – Italian
- Mercure – French
- Spice – Asian with Teppanyaki tables
We were so impressed with our meals at the Bluewater Grill and Mercure, we didn’t end up eating at Spice or Capers. Both the service and the food were simply incredible! These restaurants open at 6 pm and seat people on a first-come-first-served basis. Guests waiting for a table will receive a pager so you can relax and enjoy a drink in the nearby cocktail lounge.
If you are in the mood for an informal meal, look no further than the Burger Bar where they make some truly innovative creations that are delicious! Afterwards, you can stop by their ice cream shop for a sundae. Perfect!
One of the primary reasons we selected the Now Onyx resort was for their kids club. So often resorts have kids clubs that either don’t cater to younger kids or lack proper set up.
The Explorer’s Club at the Now Onyx is much different. Kids have a dedicated building with loads of fun activities. They have a video game room, snack bar, stage, outdoor playground with splash pad and more.
The only catch is parents are not allowed entry, which is a very good rule. The only adults allowed are the fully trained resort staff that work at the Explorer’s Club. Parents are provided with a pager that works on the resort if any issues arise or your child wishes to leave.
Best of all, the Explorer’s Club is open to kids as young as three years old and it is open until 9 pm! We were able to have not one, but two, dinners as a couple! Our kids loved the Explorer’s Club and kept wanting to return. Our younger daughter was hesitant at first, but after an afternoon of hair braiding, bracelet making and face painting, she was sold!
We found the Explorer’s Club the perfect solution to kids who grew bored of our company. Want something to do? I know just the solution!
We cannot speak highly enough of the kind staff, who we did end up tipping, but it was certainly not necessary. The kids even got their own t-shirts!
If you have older kids, there is a really nice supervised teens club that features lots of sporting activities and games.
The Now Onyx Punta Cana is a terrific resort located in a beautiful setting. While the layout of the resort is a bit awkward, we have never seen so many pools in one place!
This resort is clearly focused on service with their abundance of helpful, friendly staff who are only too glad to share a kind word. Staff seem to make an extra effort to make every guest’s stay a special experience.
The food at the resort was a delightful experience with so many different options to choose from.
What’s more, we were not disappointed by the kid-friendly features of the resort. Throughout our stay, an extra effort was made to help make sure the kids had an enjoyable time.
We will certainly be returning to another AMResort hotel again in the future!
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