What a rare treat to stay in a quaint, clean hotel with so many on-site and nearby amenities run by a couple who truly understands what "Customer Service" is all about.
A chance meeting in early 2008 at a Sosua supermarket led to the discovery of a wonderful Cabarete gem - Casa Blanca Hotel - owned and operated by William and Dorothy Oosterman. We've been at the all-inclusives for years, but wanted something smaller and quieter where we could relax at our own pace. We were not disappointed!
When: late May 2008
Length of Stay: 2 weeks
Our studio room, Janet's Supermercado
We booked Studio E on the second floor with "Romeo and Juliet" balcony overlooking the pool and luscious garden just a few weeks after returning from a trip to Sosua in February. William provided me with lots of information about the hotel and area, and arranged for driver Jose to pick us up at the airport ($35 USD - government rate for taxi from POP airport to Cabarete).
The room was spacious with a kitchen area and countertop propane stove, sink, dishes and utensils and small fridge with freezer. Lots of storage space for our stuff, TV suspended from the ceiling with many channels, spacious bathroom and of course the balcony with table chairs and wicker loveseat. We really enjoyed buying our food and beverages at Janet's Supermercado (pronounced Yanet's) less than 5 minute walk from the hotel, and cooking our own meals and snacks. We spent less than $ 250 US in food, liquor, beverages and water from Janet's Supermercado in two weeks. At home, we easily spend that much in a week. Everything you need is in that store, including large jugs of water and liquor. There's also an exchange desk where you can change your money into pesos and a Claro (acquired Verizon Dominicana last year) mobile phone retail outlet. Many shops and restaurants just steps away from the hotel, and many kilometres of beach, sand, kite surfers and wind surfers.
We were so impressed with how clean everything was inside and outside the hotel with ample hot water and pressure, no complaints at all. The ceiling fan and movable floor fan cooled us off nicely, and the amazing mid-afternoon breeze was wonderful. Slept peacefully the entire two weeks. We even awoke at 6 am several times to watch the sunrise and listen to the birds. We enjoyed having our friend Larry the lizard in our room as he did a great job gobbling up some bugs. There were some mosquitoes, but we brought plenty of bug stuff with DEET. Our legs got chewed one evening at dinner on the beach when forgot to spray, but took a Benedryl to keep the swelling down. Some vinegar on the bites soothed the itching. Only a 5 minute walk to the sandy beach, and did some refreshing walks for up to an hour each way. We were truly ecstatic, and met so many nice people, too.
The daily maid service by Rita was fantastic; she even neatly folded some clothes we had accidentally dropped on the floor. We always left a tip for Rita as a thank you for her excellent work. Our room was always very clean, especially the bathroom. The pool was fantastic, and we spent alot of time there as I had a nasty cold for the first four days. William and Dorothy had inflatable chairs and mattresses for guests to use and we enjoyed their company on several occasions for a chat around the pool. The trees and flowers were beautiful, especially the flowering banana and coconut trees, many birds - mockingbirds, woodpeckers, mourning doves - visiting cat we nicknamed Claro who came by almost every day for a pat and escape the sun under the trees. Many lizards were fun to watch scurrying around, even rescued a little one "Poco" that fell in the pool twice.
William and Dorothy were the perfect hosts, asked us every day how things were, if we needed anything, and full of helpful tips like where to exchange money, getting around, restaurants, prices, etc. We went out for dinner with them, including Casanova (pasta and pizza specials half price 5-6 pm daily), The Downwinder (love the food, drinks & air conditioning), Tropicoco (amazing buffet), Pomodoro (very good pastas and pizza, but service very slow). We always felt safe in the hotel, but kept things locked away and locked our door and closed windows whenever we were out or on the balcony. Just like home, don't leave valuables laying about. Common sense is necessary wherever you travel. We appreciated their constant concern for us and other guests, and being able to call upon them 24/7. It's nice to know that if you have a problem or question, they're always happy to oblige. Never felt like we were being a pain by asking so many questions, unlike some places you stay. Even if you arrive late at night or wee morning hours, they make arrangements to pick you up at the airport and help you settle in to the hotel. Exceptional, first rate guest services! And, you could rent a motorcycle for $ 20/day, but we like to walk, so explored mainly on foot.
We ate often at Claro restaurant at the hotel's front entrance. Great food, great service, great prices. Our favorite meals and beverages: BLT, Yummi sandwich, Herb Chicken Veggie Wrap, Fruit Salad, Waffles, Cheeseburger, Traditional Breakfast, French toast, smoothies. We tried almost everything on the menu! And the coffee was amazing.
We also ate at Jose O'Shay's Irish Pub (awesome Margaritas and steak), Grill 15, The Downwinder (amazing homemade pies, cappuccinos, bacon cheeseburgers and very spicy Cabarete Burger), Lax and Pitu (yummy Mexican dishes). We rented two beach chairs and an umbrella one afternoon for $ 6 USD, and someone would take your drink and food orders and deliver them right to you for a small fee.
We didnít take any tours, preferring to hang out on the beach, go for long walks and people watch. We went for a few drives with William, who's also a Remax agent, to check out some properties. We had no intentions of buying anything, just to look, but we fell in love with a studio condo in Cabarete, just a five minute drive from Casa Blanca Hotel, and before we knew it, we made an offer, it was accepted and now it's ours! We're still in shock that we own a piece of paradise, thanks to our new found friends. This was by far the best vacation ever, and we look forward to seeing our new friends again very soon!