Old Reviews - Luxury Beachfront Cottages in Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Coastal Cottages by the Sea
Lindsay and Mark Calgary, Canada
My boyfriend and I recently enjoyed a fantastic stay at Coastal Cottages by the Sea in Cabarete from June 24th though June 30th. The location of the cottages is quite secluded and private, yet with a little walking, you have access to Cabarete in one direction and surfing in another.
Our hosts, Rob and Sandi were very welcoming and helped us wherever they could. The cottages and pool were beautiful - and - without overlaping too much what the previous comments say, were very well maintained and furnished.
During our stay we signed up with Ali's Surf Camp at Rob and Sandi's recommendation. The surfing area was about a 20 minute walk on a road alongside the beach heading west. We woke up every morning at 6am for 5 days to walk to the beach. The lessons lasted 3 hours and left us wiped out every time! Surfing was a lot of fun, and this was an ideal way to learn with other beginners in a very comfortable environment.
We also walked into Cabarete quite often to go to the restaurants and shops. The walk east along the beach from Coastal Cottages takes about 45 minutes. One of the best restaurants we found is at the Extreme Hotel, only about a 15 minute walk away. It was very reasonably priced and had great food.
One of the best meals we had was at Rob and Sandi's Taco Tuesday, where they invite there friends, most of them North Americans and Europeans living now in the Domincan, and guests, for a great meal and drinks.
Anytime we needed a burger or drinks by the pool, Pedro, the cook and bartender was always very friendly and on top of it.
Our experience at Coastal Cottages was excellent. My only hope is that in Rob and Sandi's plans to sell the place that they make sure people like them buy it.
Coastal Cottages by the Sea
Moses and Ben Rhode Island, USA
My son and I (ages 55 and 21) spent 5 days with Sandi and Rob Riley at Coastal Cottages by the Sea in Cabarete during March of 2006. Our reason for going there and for finding this hotel was that we were interested in off road motorcycling which is offered by Rob through Coastal MotoAdventures. So there are two things to review here – the hotel and the riding experience – and the bottom line is that both were truly excellent and I recommend them highly.
For a more detailed review, let me start with the hotel. I have traveled all over the Caribbean (as well as a good deal of the rest of the world), and I would say that something very striking that you notice immediately about Coastal Cottages is that it is beautifully designed and constructed. Rob and Sandi are ex-Boeing Aircraft people, and their aircraft sense of quality really shows here. The cottages are immaculate, tightly constructed and finished, and in excellent, like new condition. The room charges may be modestly priced, but the cleanliness, general condition, minimum of invading insects, safety and function of the electrical and plumbing systems, etc. all put the highest priced Caribbean properties to shame. They even have DSL internet in the rooms – and it works.
If I got it correctly, the hotel consists of 4 separate cottages. I assume they are all similar inside, but I could be wrong on that. Anyway, ours was one bedroom with a single queen sized bed, sofa and a coffee table. All pieces were in great shape, no musty smells, damp corners or any of that stuff that is so common in tropical resorts. We asked for and received a separate cot for my son to sleep on, and there was plenty of space for that. There was a clean, dry, well sealed bathroom, also in perfect shape and comfortable size. And there was plenty of open shelf storage space and a large clean closet including a small key based hotel room style safe (which is recommended but I suspect not at all necessary). The rooms have air conditioning and you can use it if you want, but most of the time you just don’t need it – the rooms ventilate just fine using the windows and doors because the place is right on the beach.
The cottages are all clustered closely around an absolutely immaculate little swimming pool, but they are laid out in a way that privacy for the individual cottages is not an issue at all. And next to the pool is a small beach bar kind of thing where you can get meals or drinks at essentially any time. The food is prepared by a gentleman named Pedro – an excellent cook, incredibly friendly, and he’ll even try to teach you to speak Spanish if you like. The cuisine is simple but good – and a little on the American taste side.
The ocean beach is within a hundred feet or so of every cottage. It is clearly public, but it gets very little traffic, and it is sheltered from view from the land by bluffs about 10 to 20 feet high – so there is an excellent sense of privacy on the beach. I am told that the ocean is sometimes calm as a mill pond, but Cabarete is known for an on shore breeze, and that’s the way it was for us. The beach was sandy and clean with no coral or sea urchins, but the water was rough enough that small children would probably be a bit intimidated. The famous windsurfing and kite surfing beaches of Cabarete are visible from the hotel, about 20 to 40 minutes walk down the beach.
My conclusion about the hotel is that I would definitely go back there even if I was going to Cabarete for the kite surfing or windsurfing. Coastal Cottages is quiet and private with clean, not damp or musty rooms. The service is friendly and easy going but always available. Security is almost invisible, but very attentive and effective. It’s just a great place. But it is true that it is a 10 minute cab ride from Cabarete, where the sailboard and kite places are. The cabs are very available, sometimes a little spooky, and cost about $10 US each way (with a tip). In my opinion Coastal Cottages still beats staying in town where the beaches are. And in addition, at this hotel you can get the benefit of Rob and Sandi’s unbiased help on available activities and restaurants. You will benefit from some help particularly with the choice of restaurants. In the past I have heard that Cabarete has a reputation for creative and eclectic European/Latin fusion cooking. This was not true in my experience – anyway it certainly is not like South Beach. The hotel restaurants on the beach are over priced and not all that great, and there are clearly a lot of just basically marginal places around. I think that the Riley’s can give you some truly independent advice about where to go. They took us to a surf camp which I never would have tried or found, but which was really very good – MUCH better than “best place for seafood” on the beach, and MUCH, MUCH cheaper.
And regarding the motorcycle riding – I highly recommend it, but with some cautions. (I am a 55 year old former A rider who did mostly motocross back in the 70’s. I continue to ride trails in the eastern US, not in competition. And I also have on and off road riding experience in central Asia, Europe and South America.) First I will comment on Rob (your guide) and the equipment. Rob was a member of the 1991 (I think) US ISDE team. He is a truly excellent off road rider. In addition to that, he is very careful to assess his clients ability and comfort level, and he is very good at offering challenges without trying to kill you. Wheelies are a very import part of the off road riding culture in the DR, and Rob certainly does his part to advance that field of endeavor, but other than that he is just a very smooth and impressively competent rider with no show boating and no effort to impress or intimidate his clients – none at all. The machines are recent model KTM 250 4 strokes – the enduro models. At first I thought that I would miss my YZ 250F motocrosser, but I very quickly learned to appreciate these bikes for this application. And electric start helped that impression big time. Like the hotel, the bikes are clean and immaculately maintained every day.
So what are the cautions ? A few things. The terrain is quite variable, but most off road loops include at least some really pretty challenging stuff if the weather has been wet. There is mud in some places that is greasier than ice – really – and it can completely coat rocks and other stuff to make some very tricky going in some places. Also, there are some pretty steep hills – if they are greasy they can be a handful going down and just relentlessly hard going up. And then there is the road riding and street traffic which you need to deal with from time to time to connect loops. Driving rules in the DR are informal to say the least, and it would be easy for an inexperienced or unwary rider to get into trouble. So bottom line – this is probably not the place to go to learn off road riding. Rob is an excellent teacher, but the environment will make it tough. On the other hand, if you are an experienced rider who wants a truly unique off road experience then you should absolutely go for it. The hills and jungles of the back country are incredibly beautiful with an endless variety of medium to high speed cow trails, river rides, greasy little gullies, etc in a landscape of forests, remote farms not served by roads, cane fields, beaches, and country roads. The locals are delighted to see a big dirt bike – really. The weather is warm, but not at all oppressive – just bring a hydration pack. The experience is a blast.
Coastal Cottages by the Sea
My wife and I were there from the 2nd of Mar untill the 13th of Mar. We had a fantastic time. We loved the cottages and their location. They were beutiful and well taken care of. The staff there is very friendly and extremely helpful..
Rob and Sandi are great people and are a pleasure to be around.. They go out of there way to make you feel comfortable. If they don't know the answer to a question, they will find it.. They will do the research on the Internet, call a friend of which they have many, or go to their right hand man Pedro..
They take a lot of pride in what they do, and it certainly shows.. I met several of their family members there, which I now call friends..
They are highly recommended by me..
Coastal Cottages by the Sea
Colin and Beth New York
We just returned from a week at Coastal Cottages and
had a great time. Rob and Sandi (owners) are generous
and friendly hosts that make you feel completely
comfortable and at home. The cottages are extremely
clean, very well maintained and overlook a small
private beach. The pool is pristine and also overlooks
the ocean. Rob and Sandi's location is great - right
on the beach, secluded and within walking distance of
the local surfing break. The grounds are always
immaculate and every morning we awoke to great coffee
and a fantastic made-to-order breakfast - compliments
of the DR's number one cook/bartender (Pedro). Rob is
an accomplished motocross rider and guide, and his
moto adventure tours are a blast - I highly recommend
them. Rob and Sandi can also organize diving (with my
new friend Pablo), surfing, snorkeling, fishing and/or horseback riding.
If you love typical, crowded, all-inclusive Caribbean
resorts with overflowing quantities of people, really
bad food and warm tap beer... this is NOT the place
for you. Conversely, if you hate that %$#@! and are
looking for the nearly extinct and ever-elusive
private and personal Caribbean resort experience with
all the necessary comforts and amenities... than this
IS for you. We had a great time and will be back again soon...Our new home-away-from-home and preferred destination for quick getaways.
PS - If you stay there, make Rob and Sandi take you to
'Surf Camp' for dinner, tell them you'll have the
Churasco but hold the 'smooth rough'..
Coastal Cottages by the Sea
Ward, Judy, Katie, Chris Martin Calgary, Alberta
Just returned from our second trip to the Dominican in two years and we could not have been more surprised and pleased with our choice of accommodation .From the moment we stepped from the cab we knew we had found paradise. Secluded yet close to all amenities, a home away from home. Rob and Sandi (owners) really have got it right when it comes to making the holiday special. We had it all, relaxation and plenty of recreation if we chose. Rob’s motocross adventures are outstanding .From advanced rider to beginner (me) there is no better way to see the surrounding area while at the same time challenging yourself, an experience of a lifetime! Sandi has done an outstanding job at the cottages with a lot of personal touches one would recognize only when they are not present. Always helpful with planning other adventures by using their extensive web of contacts in the area (which is extremely helpful not speaking Spanish myself to well) such as scuba, snorkeling, fishing, transportation, etc. If you get stuck with the language barrier, and neither of them is around, find Pedro the bartender. If he is translating for you don’t try and understand what he is saying without a few rum/cokes in front of you…….. or in you. (you still won’t understand his Spanish, but you can say it was because of the rum). All the staff makes this resort truly personal, from the owners to the always present security and maintenance people (Nelson) make Coastal Cottages one of a kind .Already booked us for 2005 and 2006.