My husband and I just returned from Sun Village Beach Resort and had an awesome time. Yes...we read all the reviews as well and were a bit nervous as well. We had a fabulous time, the resort is beautiful and the main pool is where we had the most enjoyable time. We didn't get sick except for drinking to much rum..hehehe. You really have to go with an open mind and realize, you are in a different country and things will be different. Remember as well, you are the foreigner and the minority. You are not in America so don't have such high expectations as to how things should be.
The sewage smell you are talking about is not really all that. Every so often you could smell it, nothing more than you would experience at home when a bad smell would permeate the air for a little bit. We didn't run into anyone being sick, just drink the bottled water and you will be fine. You will find bottled water readily available at all the bars and in your room. You can brush your teeth and shower with the water there, just don't swallow it. The folks who live there are immune to the water so it is safe for them to drink it. Take pepto bismol with you just in case. I can tell you the people who work the bars and restaurants don't move to quick like us Americans, it is very hot there so they move slow. Learn a little bit of Spanish, they appreciate that since that is their language. You will find that Spanish is spoken mainly by staff and they understand just a bit of English, not much. All in all, the people are very friendly who work at the resort. The shows at the Theatre are incredible, man can they dance. I would highly recommend knowing what the currency exchange rate is, being US $ to peso, it changes daily in the DR. You will find that the beach is a public beach and locals peddle their wares to you when you walk the beach, this I found annoying, so it kept us away from the beach. Also, the beach isn't what the pictures look like. It is a bit rocky and the locals come here to swim on most days. You are protected at all times by securtity guards who do carry guns and keep the locals off the Resort premises. We never ventured out of the resort, although if you wanted to, the resort has guided tours that you can set up. If you are a beer drinker, too bad for you, they only serve their brand of beer called the Presidente. We were told though that you can get a taxi at the resort and take you in to town to pick up American Beer such as Budweiser for about $10/for a 12 pack. If you are an Iced Tea drinker, it takes them some time to figure it out, they don't understand iced tea.
You will have a fabulous time and will find the staff very friendly and helpful. I would highly recommend going on the Resort Tour that they offer, it is very informative and gives you a chance to see alot of things that are going on. They are renovating a part of the resort next to the lobby where the Thai and Mexican Restaurant used to be, so get directions to the new location. I would highly recommend Ovandos for dinner, great fillet mignon I must say. If you go to the Mexican Retaurant, Ole's, try to get a seat outside where there is a breeze, we made the mistake of sitting inside and man was it hot. They have no fans inside this place and we were sweating a bit, food is OK. I ordered iced tea and they brought out hot tea.. : ) I highly recommend the frozen margarita, yummy. As for tipping, we did a bit of that a dollar or two here and there. Although, they say tipping is not required with an all inclusive, the folks who work there are very appreciative when they received tips and will be at your beckon call. Have a wonderful time and quit reading those reviews....