My wife and I spent a week at this resort in Feb/08, and found it to be the best resort we have ever stayed at. The fact that is was small and relatively quiet was exactly what we were looking for, after having gone to many larger, more active ( noisier) resorts in various countries. Families with teenagers would probably find this resort not to their taste, because the teenagers would die of boredom looking for organized activities that are not offered.
We opted for the all inclusive package, and found the menu and quality of meals to be very good. The staff were very competent, friendly and seemed sincerely interested in our welfare.
By the second day, we felt we knew many of the other guests, because we bumped into them several times a day, and short conversations became invitations to join them for a meal.
We were able to walk into the town of Sosua, and do some shopping or just watch how the Dominicans went about their every day life. We felt safe and comfortable, and as long as you are polite but firm, the vendors won’t hassle you too much.
There are two beaches to choose from, and we preferred the smaller, more private beach to the right of the reef. The waves were spectacular as they crashed onto the rocks, and we learned from experience to check the colour of the flag on the resort, which indicates the condition of the waves and undertow. We found out red means stay out of the water unless you want to be beat up by the waves.
Our room was a one bedroom suite, with a small balcony that overlooked an abandoned resort next door, so there was no view but also peace and quiet. The room was large and well kept up. The only thing we would change was the room had shutters rather than windows to the hallway leading to the interior garden. Noise traveled into the room (we were in room 208, but it would also apply to 108 and 308). The adjoining one bedroom suites did have windows rather than shutters.
We have decided this resort is the one we will keep going back to, and many of the guests we got to know (from many countries) had been there many times before. They kept coming back because they too feel this resort meets all their needs.
Sosua by the Sea
Depending on what you are looking for, this can be considered a bad or a good review . We were there from Nov 13th-27th.
The hotel is located right beside Casa Marina Beach, and directly across the street from the Taino Bar/Restaurant. It is walking distance to Sosua beach, bars, clubs and restaurants. It has it's own quiet beach, and shares a livelier one with Casa Marina.
They are in the process of renovating the rooms, but it is in no way disruptive. You barely even notice there are workmen there. Our room(D2) was not yet renovated as far as I can tell, but it was great. Good size, kept very clean, and had a balcony overlooking the pool with an ocean view and much to our surprise hot water and good pressure in the shower! . The staff were all very friendly. Christina at the bar makes a knock you down drink, so ask for "poco ron' if you aren't a big drinker.
The food was ok , buffet breakfast and a la carte lunch and supper( soup, salad , dessert and 3 entree choices per meal). I personally prefer having a buffet for all 3 meals. Before the quality over quantity debate starts let me explain. Lunch for me is usually a quick bite on the run and I would rather have a light meal than full course sit down one. Some days had a lighter options, chef's salad, club sandwhich, etc on the menu. IMHO, I think the salad/soup bar should at least be buffet style for those who don't want a full meal and are on their way out. That being said we never ordered anything that we didn't eat.
The hotel itself is quite small compared to other resorts, and as such much quieter. There are no animation staff, no evening shows, no music by the pool, it is total peace and quiet, so again depending on what you are looking for this can be good or bad. There is music by the bar however. There seemed to be 3 bars, but only was open when we there, probably because it is still low season. There is a small gym on site, as well as hairdressr/manicure/pedicure salon.
Jolly Rogers on Pedro Clisante (the main street) is recommended for an inexpensive good meal, and good Happy Hour prices. The owners are Canadian, and are very friendly. (clean bathrooms too)
Our tradition of eating at Atlantic Blue restaurant(also on Pedro Clisante, just pass the Super Super liquor store) on our last night was done again this year, and as always food was amazing. We had the Atlantic Blue Spaghetti, creamy sauce with seafood, and the Taglietel(sp) with shrimp in a rose sauce. Both really good, and you have to try the shrimp cocktail.
And last but not least, leave the resort, see some of the real Dominican, have some fried fish on the beach, get out there and meet some people, if you stay on your resort your are truly limiting your experience.
Sosua by the Sea
First let me explain that this trip was provided to me by the DREAM Project in Sosua as a door prize at the Second Annual Debbie’s Dominican Fiesta held in July in St. Catharines, ON. It was sheer luck that I won it as I have NEVER won anything in my life – except for my wife, Giselle’s, hand in marriage. I figure after twenty-eight years; I was due.
The trip consisted of airfare from jetBlue Airways www.jetblue.com (their only DR flight is JFK – STI) and one week AI accommodation at the Sosua by the Sea Boutique Hotel www.sosuabythesea.com , in Sosua, RD. jetBlue provided a voucher which could be used to book anywhere they fly via 1-800-JETBLUE and Sosua by the Sea was able to be reached by e-mail and once the owner, Joseph, returned from his honeymoon – he answered all correspondence very promptly.
To connect with jetBlue we had to book an American Eagle direct flight from YHZ – JFK but fortunately they fly this route two or three times a day using Embraer 37 seat jets. Both American Eagle flights were on time and uneventful and the Embraer Jets performed as expected. We had some time at JFK and were very, very impressed with the ease of getting around the 9 terminals using the free AirTrain service. The only downer at all to the flights was the jetBlue scheduled departure time of 12:55 a.m. We arrived at the gate and were ready when boarding began.
Well, let me tell you that if we had not left at that strange hour I would not have thought we were traveling on a discount airline. jetBlue is amazing. The aircraft are extremely new Airbus A320s with leather seats and individual seat back viewing screens. Headphones are provided free and for $1US you can upgrade to leather padded headphones which you keep. There are no meals on this jetBlue flight but the cabin crew offers a variety (six or eight choices) of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages and they aren’t shy about offering seconds, thirds or more. Who needs a meal?
The entertainment consisted of Direct TV which you were pre-warned would disappear about 45 minutes after takeoff, two current movies and a constant MapQuest map showing position, altitude and speed (never sure if it was airspeed or ground speed).
Upon arrival at STI we purchased our Tourist Cards, filled them out, cleared Migracion, retrieved our luggage, cleared Customs (where they x-rayed 100% of the luggage on the way out of the terminal; must be looking for items to tax, LOL) and then we were out in the early morning Dominican Air, about 5 a.m. We had arranged for transportation to meet us around 6 a.m. as we didn’t want to travel over the mountains to Sosua in the dark. As promised our transportation arrived on time and we had an uneventful trip to Sosua arriving at Sosua by the Sea Boutique Hotel while it was still early.
Check in was quick and efficient and after some minor initial confusion (it was still early morning and we were thankful that we didn’t have to wait until the official afternoon check-in time to get into our room) we were set up in our room, #211 an Ocean View Suite. Our accommodations consisted of a good sized bedroom with a comfortable double sized bed, the normal expected furniture and sliding patio doors leading to a small balcony. The bathroom consisted of two rooms; one for the tub and toilet and the other for the sink and a closet. Purified water is not included but we simply purchased one bottle ($25RD pesos at the hotel gift shop and refilled it from the water cooler in the restaurant as often as we liked). The balance of the suite consisted of a large living room with comfortable rattan furniture and a day bed as well as a dining area with a dining room table and four chairs and finally a small functional kitchen with mini-fridge, two burner stove, sink, counter, cabinets, bar and barstools. Cutlery, glassware and a couple of appliances were also provided. A keyed safety deposit box is bolted to the wall near the kitchen. This hotel is a small (91 room) property right on the water in the town of Sosua and is set up as a boutique hotel with an all inclusive option. We were on the AI Program.
Sosua by the Sea is located on a rocky point of land with beaches on both sides and walkways leading from the resort to the beaches. One is shared with the Casa Marina Resort to the west while the other is shared with the resort next door which is undergoing renovations. There is an on-site Dive Shop operated by Northern Coast Diving; the best dive shop on the North Coast, IMHO. The view from the point is of Puerto Plata, Mount Isabel de Torres, the Puerto Plata Airport and the coastline leading from Sosua west to Puerto Plata. There are two interconnected buildings, one of three stories and one of four stories. There is a small elevator in the four story structure with access to the three story structure. All areas are accessible by ramps (although you might have to go around the back) and by elevator. There are no truly accessible rooms so some mobility is required but the common areas can be considered accessible. The grounds are lush and well planned although we did find the pool deck to be very slippery (please be careful) and the granular walkways were very hard on bare feet so footwear was a must around the resort (at least for me).
There is a main bar in a nice setting near the beach by Casa Marina and a pool bar which was never opened during our stay. In the AI program there is a limited menu of prepared drinks and draught Presidente which are included and a buffet restaurant serves the guests three well prepared meals a day and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights an excellent non-inclusive fusion restaurant called Joseph’s Grill and Grape is set up right on the point with wonderful food and spectacular sunset and night views of the DR’s North Coast. During our stay the resort was less than half full and some services were not fully operational and at some dinners there was a limited menu service with individually prepared entrees instead of buffet style (which was just fine with me). If you want to have guests for dinner they are welcome for a charge of $480RD pesos per person (about $14.50 pp at $1US = $33RD pesos). Breakfast always included a make to order egg and omelet station and while there was always two varieties of breakfast meats, only one day of the week did they have bacon. Service was always prompt, pleasant and courteous.
The pool is a nicely sized freeform pool (small for a large resort but nicely sized for the size of this resort) with a rarity in the DR a real hot tub – not just a cold bubbly jacuzzi. There are plenty of sun loungers and beach towels are available on request from the front desk. There were always floaties in the pool but we were unsure if they belonged to the resort or other guests so we didn’t use them.
One thing which was missing (thankfully from our perspective) was the usually ever-present animation team. They do not exist at this property. No constant barrage by the thumping poolside music and no constant bothering by the animation team – just relaxation.
The lobby is open and airy but small as would be expected of a resort of this size. A single computer on the fourth floor by the elevator serves as the guest internet service for the resort at a cost of $70RD pesos per hour or $40RD pesos per half hour (from the front desk). It worked OK but there are many internet cafes in Sosua (from one by Rocky’s at $40RD per hour to one just past Casa Marina Reef at $1RD peso per minute). Currency exchange was available at $1US=$26RD pesos at the hotel when the prevailing rate at the Casas de Cambio was in the range of $32RD pesos - $33RD pesos. Shop around for your best exchange rate as I often found a variance of a peso or more from one cambio to the other. Power interruptions were evident several times a day but the resort has a backup generator which cuts in automatically after a few seconds. This was at most, a very minor irritation, and is to be expected in the DR.
The clientele at Sosua by the Sea was primarily European (German, Dutch, Belgian, Swiss, etc. with a smattering of North Americans) and the reason for this according to the management is that Europe sends guests 12 months of the year while North America only sends guests for three or four months in the winter. If I were running this business I would also court the European companies with more diligence. There are big plans for Sosua by the Sea and they will involve room renovations (we saw a sample room which looked simply wonderful) and they will be designed to offer more differentiation from the large AIs and build on the boutique hotel concept. The non-AI model is actually a more profitable model but look for this resort to continue offering an AI option for the foreseeable future as the non-AI model is still immature in the DR.
In conclusion this is a solid 3* property and while management would like to do all they can to elevate that to 4* I have my doubts that they will make it past 3.5* simply due to the amenities which can be supported by a 91 room property and the drawback that the beach is slightly off property. I fully enjoyed my stay at Sosua by the Sea and if we are looking for a very relaxing, low keyed vacation at a reasonable cost we would seriously consider this property in the future. I have many good memories and no bad ones. Thank you to the Sosua by the Sea management and Joseph and Marc in particular.
On the way back to Santiago, my friend Martin Espinal (Martin and his lovely wife Belgica joined us for dinner on Friday evening) insisted on providing us with a driver for the trip and so as not to offend a friend we agreed. The trip was uneventful (all uneventful trips are the best kind) and we arrived at the Hillbilly Hovel around noon. Hillbilly is the senior curmudgeon of DR1 and a friend for a number of years. Hillbilly has recently started a Bed and Breakfast in his extra two bedroom apartment upstairs. The accommodations were spacious and clean and the fact that the bedrooms were air conditioned was a godsend. At $25US a night it is a bargain but I simply couldn’t permit a friend to get up and make us breakfast in time to make our 4 a.m. taxi pick up for the airport (the return jetBlue flight leaves at 6:00 a.m.). Besides I would have eaten all of the Nova Scotia Maple Syrup I had given to Hillbilly the day before, were he to make me the promised pancakes – another time mi amigo.
That afternoon Hillbilly dropped us off at the Monument and we viewed a French exhibit of unique pictures of various natural occurrences from around the world. It was extremely interesting and was followed by a cold beer at a sidewalk café watching the ebb and flow of the neighbourhood. A brief walk down the Calle del Sol brought us to our favourite Santiago restaurant, Pez Dorado, where we once again enjoyed a great meal. A taxi back to the Hovel, some TV and lights out as 3:15 a.m. comes early.
Our taxi was right on time, as was jetBlue and American Eagle and Gregg and Giselle, who woke up in Santiago, RD; ate dinner in Dartmouth, NS, after an extremely enjoyable week in the sun courtesy of the DREAM Project, jetBlue Airways, the Sosua by the Sea Boutique Hotel AND the luck of the draw.
P.S. - Sosua by the Sea is offered as a three star property from Canada by Nolitours www.nolitours.com as part of a vacation package offering which includes flight and transfers.
Sosua by the Sea
I stayed at Sosua By The Sea Resort in Sosua D.R..
This resort is excellent and they are trying to
from the others. A small resort compared to the mega
resorts in the region and this where they make their distinction.
Situated right beside the water where you can
experience all your meals looking over the sea as the
waves crash against the
rocks, a truly romantic experience. Because this is
one of first resorts in the area it has survived on
focusing on the
guest and their stay. The food served in buffet style
was truly delicious. They had plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat
and a variety of local dishes to tantalize every taste.
An intimate bar for guests where people can chat,
dance and get to
know eachother from different parts of the globe. There
are several areas from which to choose from to
sunbathe. You can
stay at the resort, or there are several beaches west
and east of the resort. There is an immediate beach
right next to
Sosua by the Sea where the waves come and you can
boogie board or body surf. Be sure to bring your
swim goggles and fins
as this will definitely help in the surf. Check out
the public beach of Sosua, here the beach is longer and
the waves a bit
more gentler. However, the chairs on this beach are
not free, so be prepared for that or bring a towel.
Another point of
interest, I highly recommend is to head east (15
minutes) for the day to Calibrete. This place is known
for its windsurfing.
A steady wind, lots of restaurants, bars and a very
long beach make this area not to be missed on your
trip. This is where
I spent New Year's Eve and did we have a blast. The
beach was full of people and at midnight a small
Joe Neurauter president of the resort was a super host.
His attention to detail and his concern for his guests accommodation
was apparent everywhere. The staff at the resort was incredibly courteous, efficient and respectful. This is just another
sign of Joe's presence and the way this resort tries to distinguish itself from others. Definitely a hands-on-type of
managerial style, if Joe thinks he can get something
done out of the ordinary for the guest he will try. For example, I tried
to change my ticket from Punta Cana departure to Puerta
Plata, and Joe phoned on my behalf, however, the
airlines would not
budge on their policy.
If you are looking for a place that is clean,
affordable, beautiful and a fun place to stay, don't
miss this place when you
are in Sosua.
Sosua by the Sea
Bruce MA, USA
My wife and I had the opportunity to spend 9 nights at Sosua by the Sea
in early March 2004. We were in Sosua the previous March and stayed at
Sosua Bay Hotel.
VIEW & BEACH: The view was amazing. We had upgraded to a deluxe suite
and had the most amazing view from our room. The surf was rough many of
the days we were there. The waves clashing against the rocks quickly put
us to sleep. The resort is situated on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic.
There is a smaller beach to the right facing the ocean (most of the
resort guests used this beach) and a larger one to the left which is
shared with the neighboring “large” resort. Beach chairs and umbrellas
were for “rent” from a local gentleman for I think it was $US2 per day.
The resort didn’t provide beach chairs on the beach. The beach is about
10 steps down from the pool deck. Some topless bathers on the beach
(Canadian and European mainly) (and a few on the pool deck).
STAFF: The staff was always friendly and helpful. A dollar or two tip
seemed to mean a lot. The President (Joe) was very friendly and wanted
to please. The General Manager (Gabriel) was in the process of retiring
after about 10 years at the resort. Check-in and check-out were quick.
Room safe cost us about 31 pesos a day (about 75 cents). You could
convert $US into peso’s at the front desk. The rate fluctuated between
44 to 46 pesos to the dollar while you could get about 3 pesos better
“on the street”. It was a great convenience.
BARS: Two bars served basic liquor with the all inclusive fee. The
drinks were $US1.50 if you paid for them. They had some top shelf liquor
but we didn’t use it. The red and white table wines (from Argentina)
were both pretty good. In the future I might avoid the all inclusive and
go to the local Super Liquor Store and by top shelf stuff there.
Presidente beer (the national beer) was on tap. If you are a diet soda
fan, you will need to purchase it either in the on-site gift shop or off
ACCOMODATION: We had a deluxe suite with a large living room (no sofa,
but two chairs (a day bed), a round table with 4 chairs and a bar
overlooking a small “kitchen” (refrigerator, cook top, toaster, blender,
plates, silverware and a few pots and pans.) We basically used the
refrigerator only. The bedroom was on the small size but adequate with
the double bed, a six drawer bureau, a small desk, two night stands and
one chair. There was a small deck with two all weather chairs off the
bedroom. The bathroom consisted of two areas (toilet and tub shower) and
a separate sink area with area for hanging clothes. Every thing was
clean but the rooms could use some updating. There were two times when
hot water was an issue. A call to the front desk solved the problem in
about 15 minutes. There is an elevator that reaches all 4 floors of the
resort. We needed to purchase “drinking water” when we arrived. There
was a cooler with 5 gallon bottled water which you could refill your
container as you entered the dining room. This is the Caribbean so plan
on the electricity going out at least once per day. The resort had a
dependable generator which kicked in after 7 seconds of no power. TV
stations are varied. CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC plus many Spanish channels.
INTERNET: Two machines on site. Price was $US1.00 for 1 hour. I did have
trouble accessing AOL Webmail. Most of the time went off site to an
internet café to check e-mail.
GIFTSHOP: Small gift shop on site (9Am to 3PM). Not opened the two
Sundays we were there. Sold soda, clothing, trinkets, suntan lotion, etc.
WORKOUT ROOM: There is a new small room with Precor 4-sided weight
machine and Precor exercise bike. Room was not air conditioned. They
were in the process of installing a TV and a fan.
FOOD: The biggest disappointment was the food. We didn’t go hungry but
it was pretty basic. It got to be very repetitive. Dishes were not
labeled so you didn’t know what you were eating. Two of the 9 nights had
a bar-b-q. (Chicken, pork, steak, hamburgers, hotdogs, vegetables,
potatoes, various salads, etc.) There was live 3 piece musical group
entertainment 3 of the 9 nights (Sunday, Friday and Sunday). Because it
is a buffet there was sometimes a delay for tables. Dinner plates and
silverware sometime were in short supply while it was being washed.
Breakfast had a chef cooking eggs or omelets to order. We did go off
site for 2 dinners at On The Waterfront (5 to 10 minute walk from the
hotel). We had two wonderful dinners including drinks, salad and
appetizers for about $50 (including taxes) for two people. The
restaurant across the street from the entrance to the resort had pizza
for about $US2.50 which people said was wonderful.
POOL: There were plenty of chairs by the pool and the pool was very
nice. The deck to the pool was very hard on the feet (i.e. the little
pebbles in the concrete were breaking apart and got stuck to your feet).
There was an area that was shaded, if desired.
DAY TRIPS: We were in Sosua to relax. We did take one day trip on a Jeep
Safari through Mel Tours (across the street from the resort). $US25 per
person included transportation, drinks, lunch, etc. Did climb
waterfalls, went to “back country”, and had a basic tour of the Puerto
Plata area. “Elvis” was our tour guide and he was great. Left at 8:15
and returned around 4:30. We recommend the tour. The rate was reasonable
compared to the other offerings we saw around town. Plan on tipping the
tour guide and the driver. See “Mr. T” at Mel Tours. You can tell it is
“Mr. T” by the gold around his neck
SOSUA: Sosua is a fun town. Felt very safe during the day time. Kept to
major streets and areas we knew at night. Negotiate your purchases of
local items as they start out high and you can get them finally for 25%
to 50% of the original asking price. Remember this is a poor country and
not to be too “cheap!”
FINAL COMMENTS: Would we return to Sosua by the Sea? Yes. However, we
would probably decline the all inclusive and try the various restaurants
in town for lunch and dinner. If you want dinner at the resort it is
$US10 per person. As long as your room has a refrigerator, you can take
care of your liquid refreshments. Bring an insulated mug for keeping
your drink cool. Breakfast is already included for everyone. Sosua by
the Sea is a great place to relax and enjoy a vacation.