I’ve been twice; to the Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro in 2008, and the Gran Bahia Principe Esmeralda (upgraded section of the same complex) last June. We loved it both times, and are headed back to the Esmeralda in September.
The rooms at the Esmeralda were lovely, and the all inclusive package included 24 hour room service (very basic, nothing compared to what we’ve had in Mexico, but useful all the same), slippers and robes in the room, and a mini-bar, unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks inc some international brands (nothing top-shelf like Grey Goose, bu things like Absolut and Smirnoff were included, and the sparkling wine was very drinkable), and unlimited a la carte dining at a selection of about 12 different restaurants (including Italian, Steak, BBQ, Japanese, etc). We also had access to almost all of the resort complex (with one or two exceptions), including the adult-only a la cartes at the Ambar, and the pool, bar, gym and snack bar at the Ambar (adult’s only section). Ambar guests get the same privileges, but we chose the Esmeralda as we preferred the rooms. The food was decent, but nothing amazing; don’t go to Punta Cana expecting fine dining would be my advice, but you should still find meals you enjoy.
On our first trip in 2008, we did several trips, including swimming with the dolphins at Ocean World in Puerta Plata (I implore anyone not to do this; I massively regret it and wish we hadn’t), the Marinarium tour (basically a boat trip with a stop to snorkel with sting rays; again, wouldn’t recommend it), a Monster Truck safari (really interesting and lots of fun), and a speed-boat/snorkel trip (loads of fun, definitely recommend). On our trip last year we chose not to do any organised tours, instead visiting Santo Domingo for 2 days and 2 nights during our stay, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
I would recommend looking at the Esmeralda and Ambar, and I would also look at the Catalonia Royal Bavaro, the Majestic Elegance, the Iberostar Grand Bavaro, the Excellence Punta Cana, the Secrets Royal Beach, and the Zoetry Agua.
As far as general points go re Punta Cana, I’d summarise the pros and cons as follows:
Huge choice of resorts, so if you want to go all inclusive, you have plenty of choice, and because there is a lot of competition, the standards tend to be fairly high. There’s something for everyone, from huge mega-resorts like the Bahia complex, to smaller more intimate ones like the Excellence and Zoetry.
The beach at Punta Cana is still pretty in most places, despite some erosion, and the water is clear and warm (again, depending on where you stay)
There’s a good selection of organised tours to choose from should you wish to get out and about and explore.
Also, while a lot of people say that the food isn’t as good as places like Mexico, I have been to PC twice and Mexico 3 times (at much more expensive, higher-end properties) and found little difference in terms of taste and quality. Likewise drinks.
Punta Cana is basically purpose built for tourists; if you like to go exploring, it isn’t the place for you, and there is little to see or do off-resort unless you go on an organised trip.
The beach is often red-flagged and not always safe for swimming.
In terms of amenities, service etc the resorts in the likes of Mexico have the edge IMO; likewise decor.