I think the Dreams and IHD properties are close to the same age in general. The base of the Dreams resort was built in 1997, then almost rebuilt in 1999 after Hurricane Georges went through. Since then, they have been renovating and upgrading buildings along the way, first the rooms but not the baths of building 4 then a complete redo of building 2 then the construction of buildings 1 and 3. Then, through 2008, the property Joecan referred to as Sunscape Casa del Mar was given a complete overhaul to be reopened as Dreams La Romana in mid-December. At that time, buildings 4, 5, 6 and 7 were entirely gutted and renovated, with minor renos to building 2. Since buildings 1 and 3 were only recently constructed they were touched up but not give the same treatment as the other room blocks. Since 2006 they have built 2 new infinity pools and 3 new a la carte restaurants and totally redone the lobby and concierge and lobby bar, also adding a coffee house. There’s now a casino and a new indoor theatre will be open on March 15. While it may be older than IHD, by the extent of the work done, if the same hasn’t been done at the Iberostar (which indeed, it hasn’t) then you get the feeling that Dreams is newer. IHD has never really been overly criticized for feeling old though so that’s a good thing. “Tired” doesn’t have to ruin a vacation!
I know what Joecan means about the beach being crowded at Dreams, since I have heard that for years. But the beach is really quite large and not well used. It’s a property that lines up loungers right up to the water’s edge which is really cool and people like to hug that main part of the beach, by the bar and activities area. There are pockets all over the beach and way down to the dive shop that are entirely unused. With the swim up bar at the main infinity pool there are two bars on the beach so people needn’t lump up since they can use the walk up portion of the 2nd bar. There is also now beach service so you can place an order with a server and never leave the comfort of your chaise. If it feels tight where you are, look further afield for an emptier area since there are many of those.
I’ve been to the Bahia Principe La Romana. It’s a gorgeous hotel with lots of amenities, good service, excellent food and junior suites for rooms. The problem is the beach water which doesn’t compare to the conditions in the Bayahibe/Dominicus areas like Dreams and IHD. If you’re a pool person, you can get excellent deals on this great hotel and have a perfect vacation. If clear pale waters with snorkeling from the beach like you can get at Dreams is your desire, you’ll likely be disappointed at the BP. Pics of my visit there are at:
I can send you an aerial shot which shows both Dreams and IHD, as well as the village of Bayahibe and the undeveloped between them. It can give you a true perspective on how far they are from each other since it’s not a graphic rendering but an actual picture. Dreams is the only hotel at Bayahibe and IHD is actually down by Dominicus.