My girlfriend and I arrived at this magnificent resort on June 1st, flying out of Trudeau International Airport in Montreal with Air Transat. Upon our arrival to Puerto Plata, a large group of us who were on the plane were put on a coach bus to take us to our respective resorts, four stops in total. After the third stop, my girlfriend and I were the last two on the bus, meaning we were the only ones booked to stay at the Iberostar. We would've been nervous except this is the fourth Iberostar hotel I've stayed at and the reason we chose Iberostar again this time around is because I know of the high standards and attention to detail to get with this hotel chain.
Rooms: Before departing, I had sent an e-mail to the hotel as well as a request through our travel agent for a room on either the second or third floor (each building has three floors) with a king size bed and an ocean view. Each request was accomodated. When we arrived in the room, we were also greeted with a fruit platter and a complimentary bottle of rum along with a note of congratulations. I guess they thought we were on our honeymoon. The rooms are kept very clean and tidy by the efficient maid staff and the mini-fridge, stocked with beer, water and soft drinks (also all complimentary), are refilled every day. There is a safe in the room which comes at a reasonable cost of $2 USD per day. Also in the room are a hair dryer, complimentary soaps and lotions and a towel/bathing suit rack on the balcony.
Food: This might very well have been the best part of the trip. In my six previous trips to the caribbean, I've gotten stomach problems every time....except this time. The buffet serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast is spectacular with every kind of breakfast foods imaginable as well as some you'd never think of. Lunch and dinner are also very good with good variety that changes daily. You will quickly find your favorite dishes. A La Carte restaurants are Mexican, Mediterranean and Brazilian. If you stay a week, you can try all three. We tried the Mexican and Mediterranean. Both were very good with excellent menu options and appetizers. The pool bar/restaurant also serves a more modest breakfast for those who like to sleep in but you'll still have a good meal. A lunch is also served there which is more modest than at the buffet but still very good. That's where you'll find the soft-serve ice cream machine as well.
Bars/Drinks: There are five bars total and they are at the beach, the pool, the lobby, the theater and the nightclub. Sadly, there is no bar in the actual pool but the pool bar is just a few steps away, which also has soft drink dispensers and slush dispensers with pina colada, orange, lemonade and fruit punch flavors. The lobby and theater bars are the most well-stocked and can make pretty much every drink you can request, cappucino and espresso included. On certain nights, there is also a table set up in the lobby that will serve sangria or a special coffee drink.
Beach: The beach is very nice and kept very clean by the staff. There are plenty of loungers and shade available (either under trees or palapas) no matter what time of day you arrive. The water itself is nice but take note that there is a lot of coral close to the shore and the water was fairly cloudy, although that could've been as a result of major storms in Mexico, not too far away.
Pool: The pool is very large with a special area reserved for games like water polo or water basketball. Off to the side is a children's pool as well although lots of kids play around in the shallow area of the main pool. There are also greek-style pillars in the middle of the pool which contains a bubble-jet tub. Lots of loungers and palapas available throughout the day. You can get cushions for the loungers at the towel shack and the hotel provides several floaties, balls and toys for the pool.
Grounds: The grounds are kept absolutely perfect and you'd be hard pressed to find anything out of place. There are all different kinds of trees and plants from the area as well as fountains. The hotel also put up several signs in front of certain plants and trees describing what they are. You'll also see a family of peacocks walking around.
Activities/Entertainment: The hotel employs are a large number of people for their animation and entertainment staff. During the day, the animators organize all sorts of activities and games like volleyball, water polo, ping pong, shooting, archery, soccer, etc. A few of them could probably work harder to organize and get people into the games but a few of them also do a terrific job. Every night at 9:30 in the theater, the hotel puts on a show. Sometimes the show ranges from Broadway-esque plays like The Lion King or they might do an audience participation show like Iberogrammy, Miss Iberostar, Mr. Iberostar and Ideal Couple. There are also a few shows that feature local dominican singing and dancing. Pretty much something for everyone. The shows are put on by the animators and the hotel's dance group. Among the other activities you can do are pool, ping pong and non-motorized aquatic sports (kayak, snorkeling, etc.), all of which are included.
Other: Like I said above, we chose Iberostar because of the reputation of their attention to detail and the Iberostar Costa Dorada is no exception. Every day, there seemed to be something going on to make that day unique. For example, one day they had a pool party which featured the hotel's band and dancers performing pool side while the chefs prepared coconut shells filled with coconut milk and rum as well as HUGE trays of seafood paella (rice or noodles with seafood) that had tons of mussels, shrimp, calimari, fish and lobster. Another day, they put on a beach party which had grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. The entire hotel makes you really feel like you picked the right week to stay there.
Overall, this was one of the most memorable vacations I've ever taken and if you're looking to go to the Dominican Republic, do yourself a favor and at least consider the Iberostar Costa Dorada. If you have any questions about the resort, I'd be happy to answer them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Hlywud / the Warden Ontario, Canada
We flew out of Toronto on Skyservice 757 in Row 2, lots of leg room. Uneventful smooth flight, arrived ahead of schedule time at 8:20 pm, customs was very quick, luggage quick and onto bus to resort with Grande Presidente in hand within about 20 minutes of arrival.
Check in was very efficient with welcome drink handed out and directed to room within 25 minutes we were back at the lobby for the evening. I previously emailed resort requesting a room overlooking the pool on the second floor with two beds. We got exactly what we requested,
Room was decent with a king bed and a single bed. There are lots of lots of shelf space and hangers in closet with an electronic safe available for $2US per day. The bathroom was rather small size but clean and it included shower caps, sewing kit, face cloths, lots of towels, body lotion, bath gel (as well as dispensers in shower/bathtub for shampoo and bath gel).
The balcony was a good size with two chairs and round table as well as rack for wet bathing suits. Maid service was good—usually cleaned by noon. My son mistakenly left US$ on the TV and it was gone that day, nice tip for the maid so she was basically looked after for the week on the first day.
Resort is very nice, but needs to be maintained with a bit more TLC as there seemed to be a lot of bird poop in certain area due to the large numbers of purple martins and swallows. Buildings are nicely painted but someone should show the maintenance workers what masking tape is, there was a lot of paint on the door frames and even glass block windows. As far as layout the resort is very easy to get around. Grounds are lovely and have some beautiful foliage and plants with a family of peacocks and flamingo’s wandering around.
The beach is better than I anticipated but there is a lot of coral and seaweed area.
Lots of loungers were available at the beach and the pool with adequate shade available.
The beach has the seaweed raked regularly, but more time should be spent on the amount of debris left around the loungers. Beautiful there in the morning but wind does get very strong in the afternoon and can be tough for lounging in the blowing sand.
Pool is quite large with lots of palapas and loungers. No problems with the towel game being played as there are plenty of lounges available. The pool was definitely in need of a refurbishment as there were lots of spots where the paint was gone from the bottom and near the sides also. The pool was a popular spot in the afternoon especially when the sand started to blow but it was very hot and one had to avail themselves of the water frequently to stay cool. Temperatures for the week ranged between 32C and 35C.
Food was fine. Tried the Brazilian and Mexican restaurants and preferred Brazilian. The Mercado buffet always had something to suit everyone’s palate but was consistently the same everyday even though the menu showed different things on it. From 11 pm to 7 am, Mexican restaurant becomes the place to get freshly-cooked food for a snack or early morning continental breakfast.
Entertainment in the evening didn’t really impress us it also started at 9:30 pm. Lobby bar and court yard was the place to gather/hang in the evenings, the wait staff to orders and efficiently delivered your drinks, as well live entertainment was provided on a couple of evenings.
The resort while listed by most operators as a 4.5 star in my opinion doesn’t meet those standards, but was a solid 3.5 that could be improved with the TLC that I mentioned previously.
We would return if the price was right and I was traveling to the North Coast.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Nancy and July Leamington, ON. and Mississauga, ON
Flew out of Toronto on Air Canada. Uneventful flight, arrived on time at 8:15 pm, customs quick, luggage quick and onto bus to resort Presidente in hand within about 30 to 40 minutes. One quick stop at Barcelo then all 20 of us got off at ICD. Check in efficient with welcome drink handed out and directed to room and unpacking within 1 hour of arriving at Puerto Plata airport. Had emailed resort requesting a room overlooking the pool on the second floor with two beds (and noted sister’s birthday). Got exactly what we requested, including a birthday cake in our room! Evening still young so we were able to wander around and familiarize ourselves with resort—restaurants, buffet, towel hut, theatre, beach, etc.
Room was great. Two beds, lots of shelf space and hangers in closet. Bathroom a good size and immaculate. Included shower caps, sewing kit, face cloths, lots of towels, body lotion, bath gel (as well as dispensers in shower for shampoo and bath gel). Balcony good size with two chairs and round table as well as rack for wet bathing suits. Beds were comfortable with fluffy pillows. Maid service was terrific—usually cleaned by noon. Left little gifts and US cash most days.
Resort is beautiful, well maintained and well laid out. Grounds are lovely and always being maintained and swept. Big enough to get away by yourself but small enough to get around easily and never very far from anything.
Beach is better than anticipated. Nice and wide with lots of loungers. Shade under palapas or trees. Clean and no garbage with seaweed raked regularly. Beautiful in the morning but wind does get very strong in the afternoon and can be tough for lounging in the blowing sand, but great for walking.
Pool is large with lots of palapas and loungers. Usual towel game being played. Found it a bit congested around the pool as there are lots of loungers, two rows mostly, around the pool and all laid out next to each other with not a lot of room for moving them around. Always a popular spot.
There is also an area between the pool and beach with three or four rows of loungers under palapas and trees which we found more desirable. Could still hear the ocean, but the wind from the beach was more of a pleasant breeze in this area. Not much air movement at all around the pool so the heat there seemed to be more intense.
Food was fine. Tried the Brazilian and Mexican restaurants and preferred Mexican. Buffet always had something for everyone. Lots of breads, cheeses and always a good variety of hot food. Breakfast particularly good, especially the freshly-made donuts! From midnight to 7 am, Mexican restaurant becomes the place to get freshly-cooked food.
Entertainment didn’t really impress us, although staff worked really hard. Lobby bar and court yard the place to gather/hang in the evenings and people-watching provided us with more entertainment.
Did two excursions, both of which we arranged through Martin Espinal - Isaira Tours. Met Martin a few years ago when he was starting his business and his office is just across the road and down a bit from the hotel—nice leisurely 5 to 10 minute walk and wanted to give him our business again. He is a great guy and runs a first-class operation. Initially we wanted to do a catamaran/snorkeling trip but not a party boat. Through our rep Freestyle Catamaran was $84, but Martin got us on a smaller catamaran (I believe also operated by Freestyle) out of Playa Dorada beach. Cost was $70 each and we were picked up at the hotel at 8:30 and returned around 4 pm. Sailed to Sosua Beach with two stops for snorkeling and nice lunch and drinks on the boat. Great crew and only had about 25 passengers so it was a nice group. Fun and lots of laughs but not crazy—great for families. Crew interacted lots with passengers and they seem to really enjoy their jobs.
Also had two of Martin’s staff (Alex and Jose) drive us around for the day. Picked us up at 9 am and returned us around 2 pm. Did Rum Factory, Amber Museum, the fort, a grocery store and then drove to Sosua and spent some time wandering around the beach. Got our rum at the Rum Factory and compared prices with the supermarket and there was no difference; however, each bottle was at least $6 more at duty free at the Puerto Plata airport. Paid $6 for white rum, $7 for Brugal Viejo and $8 for Extra Viejo. Bought back four bottles of rum, wrapped them all carefully in checked luggage, declared them all at Pearson and no problem bringing them back. Think four was pushing it a bit, but gotta try!
Went for a walk on a couple of afternoons down the beach to the Orange Market. Face the ocean, go right and a nice stroll. Be prepared to be approached by vendors between hotel and market for you to go check out their shop or a couple of children telling you they are hungry and ask for money. Orange Market is typical, but interesting. On our second trip down, I was nearly back to ICD when I realized I had left my camera at one of the stalls. Raced back fearing the worse-case scenario. Stopped at the first vendor and he actually helped me go to all the other vendors looking for my camera. Found it at our last stop and the shopkeeper had found it and held it for us, knowing we would be back. What a relief and what a tribute to the vendors. The vendor helping us search said not to worry, no vendor would keep it and that is exactly what happened. Game him a few bucks to show my appreciation and he initially refused, but I was so grateful.
All in all, a great trip. Beautiful resort (can’t understand how anyone can complain), good company, beautiful weather (not a drop of rain), great outings, great food and drinks. Yes, I would definitely return and hope to do so. Wish I were there right now!
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Janet New Jersey
Arrival and Flight: 4/13/08 Continental. Check-in was quick and easy. It was 12:30PM and our room was ready!
Rooms: Pleasant rooms and extremely clean!
Restaurants: Buffets; Mexican; La Rodizio. All-Inclusive has a rep for not having good food. We've been to many and the food here was the best - really good.
Bars: staff very nice, not a drinker but everyone around us seemed happy!
Beach and Pools: The beach is beautiful. They water is home to some natural rock formations so just swim around them! Staff comes a few times a day to clean washed-up seaweed off the sand, they keep the beach immaculate...I wish they'd do that at home! Some days were windy on the beach so we went to the pool where remarkably, there was no wind!
Grounds: Magnificent! The grounds and maintenance crews are always working on the grounds, they are absolutely beautiful...
Activities and Entertainment: Unlike some all-inclusives, this one has something for everyone. There are adult and children's activities all day long, yet if you do not wish to join in, it doesn't interfere in your relaxation at all. The'Starr Friends' staff are unbelievable. They work the activities during the day and put on shows at night, they are really entertaining!
Departure and Check Out: A breeze! 5 minutes and we were done.
Conclusion: This resort is well-organized in every way. All staff members are great, the food is wonderful, just everything was excellent! Extra note for the Spa - first rate services, wonderful staff....We will return to Iberostar Costa Dorada!!!!
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Cliff & Laurie Calgary Canada
Arrival - We booked this 14 day holiday with Signature Vacations a direct flight from Calgary on their own 757. 6 hour flight, 1/2 hour wait for our luggage to be unloaded, the Signature Rep. met us on the outside and we were quickly on the bus 15 miuutes ride to the Hotel. Check in was very quick with the clerk pointing in the general direction we should go to find our room, which was easy to find even in the dark. Our luggage was in the room waiting for us when we did find the room.
Rooms - Our room was on the lower floor in the 6000 Block, great view, nice patio, king size bed, TV had lots of stations with 40+% English. The Mini Bar was kept full of water, Beer and juice, the room had a coffee pot that we used every morning. The maid kept this room well stocked and spotless every day. I have to say the bed should have been replaced as it really sagged on the TV side.
Restaurants - They are all good, Iberostar has great Chefs. Every day the main buffet was great, leaning to the European stlye of cooking.
Bars - The Lobby Bars serve their drinks in proper glasses and even during the busy times we never had to wait to be served. Not to take anything away from the Pool Bar or the Beach Bar they are also well staffed and serve great drinks.
Beach and Pools - I understand Jan. and Feb. to be the windy months, late in the afternoon the wind would make the beach uncomfortable, no problem as we could always find room at the pool side. The beach is kept clean and although there are nicer beaches close by, this one is not bad. The water is warm, somedays there would be seaweed come in with the currents but it didn't seem to bother anyone. The Pool is very large and kept very clean.
Grounds - I took 175 pictures of the flowers and the differant gardens displayed at this resort, very well done, mature grounds with mature trees, surprises around every corner. Peacocks, Flamingos, Turtles, Big Frogs, fish and little green lizards all live somewhere in the resort. Small Black Birds will share your lunch at the Pool Bar. Take a good camera.
Activities - The normal all inclusive fair, we didn't do any of the day activities offered by the "STAR" friends, no pressure to join. Nightly entertainment was great fun, better then most all "inclusive" Resorts we have been to. Seemed like during the day the Star Friends always had a comedy act going on somewhere in the resort, great fun.
Tours - We took most of the tours offered by our Signature Rep. and we were not disapointed, good value for the money. Best by far was the whale whatching, another tour took us through a country school that had a black board but no chalk, no pens or paper, no desks for the 40 students! Note next visit leave the candy at home and bring proper school supplies.
Conclusion - Iberostar has a great resort with a great staff, good food, good weather,(85F everyday!) Seemed to be a 50-50 mix Europeans & North Americans. English, French, and German is readily spoken in the resort by most of the staff.
We are looking forward to returning next year!
The unexplained 3 hour delay when we were leaving the resort puts Signature Vacations at the back of the line...again.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Melanie Amherst, Nova Scotia
We have just returned from a week at the Iberostar Costa Dorada - Jan 26-Feb 2, 2008. We flew down with Transat Holidays on a Canjet plane. That plane was a little small for that length of trip, but we paid the extra and booked the emergency row seats. This made the trip a little more comfortable for my 6'2" husband.
We arrived at the hotel around 1:00 and of course we knew we would not be able to check in- check in time is 3:00. So we got our bracelets, saw the fruity drinks but I guess they ran out before they got to us. We changed into our bathing suits and headed for the lobby bar for our first drink. AHHHH a nice cold Cervasa. Then we decided to roam around and find the buffet for some lunch.
We had a small problem with a missing towel card when we arrived but out Transat representative fixed it up for us - Thanks!
After lunch we returned numerous times to see if our room was ready. Around 3:45 we got our room cards to the room we had requested in our emails- also slipped the guy at the desk a little tip. We had room 3214 over looking the pool with a king bed. Wonderful room. A large room with a small sitting area and nice large balcony overlooking the pool. The room had a small fridge stocked daily with beer, water, and pop.
We ate at two of the a la carte restaurants - The Hacienda - which is the Mexican and the Tropical - which is the pool bar during the day. They were ok. Not much different or better than the buffet. We usually ate lunch at the pool bar- they had hamburgers , fries, pizza etc. and it was convenient and close if you were spending your day at the pool or beach. I never had a problem fining something to eat. Always found something I liked.
A popular spot in the afternoon and evening is the lobby bar- complete with pink flamingos. The lobby bar is right next to the entertainment which is great if you want to watch the shows in the evening.There is never a problem finding a place to sit to watch the shows and there is a bar there as well. Get Ricardo to make you a Coco Loco. He adds his own touch and they are they best.
Beach and Pools
There was never a problem finding a chair at the pool or at the beach. The staff worked very hard keeping the beach clean - as it was noticed as we walked down the beach to the left to do some shopping - as we saw some garbage on the beach where there was no resort.
The hotel has beautiful grounds, is very clean. The staff was friendly as were the other guests .
We met some wonderful people while we were there and made some good friends. ( Hello Jane, Alan, Deborah and Scott)Overall, we had a great vacation, Enjoyed the Resort. Would definitely go back
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Dave & Ruth Addison ON Canada
What can I say, that other travelers haven’t already said! This is an awesome resort and we are so glad that we chose to spend our 2 weeks of relaxation at the Iberostar CD.
Flight: Our holiday this year was booked with Sunwing, thru Sell off Vacations & it was the first time that we have used this travel company. We were always apprehensive as Sunwing was notorious for changing flight times, canceling flights & terrible service. But because of the excellent price for the vacation package, decent departure time out of Ottawa & being able to pre-book emergency row seating, we decided to take the plunge & try Sunwing…. we were very, very pleased!!!
The departure time was set for 8:50am January 9th & we made an effort to be at Ottawa Airport by 5:15am. The previous day, flights had been cancelled or delayed due to the huge bank of fog that was surrounding the whole area from here & points west. We waited for the ticket agents to open & by 5:50am we were checked in…2nd in line and first through! Proceeding thru Security Screening with the correct items in our carry-on bags, we’ve had no problems and are waiting for our plane to come in from Sudbury so that we can join that happy group. We’ve had no fog this morning, but it was pouring rain, very very windy and +12c. Flight takes off at 9:35am, and we are treated very well during our flight…the breakfast & coffee served was hot, the hot towellets were a nice touch & the service was exemplary! With a flight time of 3hours 52minutes we arrived at Puerta Plata airport at 2:30pm to sunny skies & misty rain.
POP Airport: This was our 7th trip to the DR, so we knew what to expect & what to do after disembarking the plane. The only thing that sent me for a loop this time, was the long lineup once we came out of the airport….the Sunwing Tour Rep was behind the desk with her list of where everyone was going & on which bus you needed to be on. Once that was sorted thru, we were off!!
Resort Arrival: The transfer ride from the airport to ICD was very short! And from the time we arrived at the airport to the time we arrived at the resort, the time span was only an hour. Check-in at ICD was very quick & smooth…there were only 4 couples getting off the bus. We handed in our Hotel Voucher & in return our information packet with everything that we would need was given to us. The key/electronic safe was $2/day = $28/2wks…well worth it for much needed peace of mind. We gave our room number to the porter and our suitcases were delivered to our room in a matter of minutes.
Reception Area/ Lobby/Courtyard: This is a very beautiful and large area, which also houses ponds for the turtles & the pink flamingos. The Lobby Bar is the gravitational spot for a leisurely cocktail to discuss the days’ activities with newfound friends. The Internet café is located at the front of reception & is open from 7am to 12midnight. The cost was $130 pesos for 30minutes…the good thing was, if you didn’t use all your time, you could log on again later using the same username & password. The courtyard is setup with bistro tables & is a happening place in the evenings. Set with tablecloths & luminaries, waiters and waitresses are available to take your drink orders while you sit & listen to a dance band or the nightly entertainment in the Theatre. Three other ponds with lighted fountains and water lilies give off a very relaxed atmosphere.
Room: When booking with SOV, we had made a room request for ground floor, pool or ocean view & a king size bed. Hoping that our request would be granted, I emailed the resort approximately 7days prior to our arrival. When at Check-in, we asked about the possibility of upgrading to a Junior Suite & were advised to “check out your room first. I think you will like what you have.”…and she was right! We were located in Building 3 room 3013, right in full view of the pool. Our room consisted of a rattan ‘easy’ chair & coffee table, a comfy sofa bed/couch, king-size bed with attached bedside tables, a credenza with drawers and mirror & cupboard for the mini-bar, a low table with drawers & closet with lots of storage shelves. The safe is located in the shelved area of the closet. Across from the closet is the bathroom…a good size room with a deep tub/shower area, sink with lots of counter space & toilet set back out of the way. The tub/shower area is fitted with a shampoo & shower gel dispenser and extra amenities are available on the counter.
The room is cooled by ceiling fan & air-conditioning…the controls for these are located on the extended portion of the headboard. You will notice that the lights & a/c are on a sensor/timer…when you leave the room the lights (if left on) & the a/c turn off after 3minutes, but the ceiling fan is still functional. On an additional note, be sure to keep your patio door closed or the a/c will not run!
Pool: The pool area is quite large with lots of palapas available for shade. The pool was clean and water is sanitized nightly. Loungers were very plentiful, with enough for everyone. Signs are posted around the pool area to not reserve loungers…of course being human, people did not heed the written word and came down in the morning to reserve their favourite sunning spot. We actually watched with jovial delight as towels & lounge pads were removed by the Pool Manager & taken to the pool/towel house …there were a few surprised people when they came back to the pool and realized that their chosen spot was no longer!!
Beach: The beach area was my favourite with clean, beautiful, beige sand that was a delight to walk on. Loungers were plentiful here too and the area didn’t feel crowded at all. The ocean was at times, quite rough and Beach management had red flags flying for quite a few days. The waves were beautiful to watch…very relaxing while reading a book. We walked east on the beach & found what used to be the “Orange” Market, situated between Costa Dorada Beach & Playa Dorada Beach. This beach market has been refurbished with new buildings and the vendors are very pleased with their “new digs”. We were told that eventually a new restaurant & casino will be built in the area…in Dominican time! Twice a week a food activity was held at the beach at lunchtime…Sunday is BBQ day with hamburgers & hotdogs & Tuesday is the day for Seafood Paella.
Food: Of the 3 a la cartes & the buffet restaurant, the buffet was our favourite place to eat. There was a good selection of food each night, usually with a Theme …Wednesday is Dominican Night, and Monday is Chinese Night. We chose to eat at two a la cartes while at the ICD…the Brazilian & the Mexican. Of the two, we enjoyed the Mexican the most. The appetizers were plentiful and could have been a meal in themselves. After reading reviews on the Brazilian restaurant, we were extremely disappointed. All the meat was over cooked & too well done to be enjoyed. When breakfast was eaten in the mornings the favourite was fresh fruits, eggs, homemade donuts & croissants.
Tours & Tour Rep: Our tour rep was very knowledgeable and helpful & when we had a concern about our return pre-selected seats, she was able to find the answer immediately. Tour excursion prices were comparable to those posted by Martin Espinal of Isaira Tours and because we’ve used Martin in the past, our 2 excursions were booked thru him. We booked a private trip to Sosua, so we could shop at the Supermarcado & let new friends experience the culture of the beach market. Our lunchtime stop was Checkpoint Bar for some of Colleen’s homemade hamburgers. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Colleen as she was coming to work later in the day. Cost for the day was $60 US plus tip for the van & driver, plus what we chose to spend on souvenirs & lunch. Our second excursion was the Outback Safari….a rough & exciting tour into the outer areas of Sosua & Caberete. It was interesting to see flora & fauna and learn more about the people whom we’ve gotten to love so much. We swam in the Yassica River, rode the Jungle River Boats and checked out the crocodiles & lizards. The final stop of the day was Caberete Beach where those who were daring enough, tried boogie-boarding in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Cost of the day: $79US per person.
Staff: We found the staff to be extremely friendly and very helpful. They were eager to please us & make sure that our stay was the best. It was nice to hear the staff trying to speak to us in English as much as we were trying to speak to them in Spanish!
Star Friends & Shows: A very hard working group of people who are on the go from morning to night: those who work the beach & pool area trying to get us “sun lovers” to play beach volleyball, horseshoes, archery etc. And then there are those Star Friends who play a mean instrument & form a dance band to help liven up our evening in the Courtyard! What an awesome talented group of staff…. Iberostar Group should be proud of them!! We arrived in the middle of their entertainment schedule and missed seeing The Lion King by 2 days. But two shows that were very well done were Chicago & The Black Light Show, along with Iberostar Gala, the Big Band Show, & Dominican FolkLore.
The Grounds: An utterly amazing place that just tickles the senses. Clean, well groomed lawns & gardens that have such a beautiful array of plants, trees, fountains & lights.
By the way…did you know that you can walk from the pool area of the resort to reception when it’s raining & stay relatively dry?? Just take the walkways thru the buildings!
We had a wonderful time and look forward to returning to Iberostar Costa Dorada again. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email or pm & I will be glad to answer. forum username: mra email@example.com
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Liz Watertown MA, USA
Well, we just got back from our 10 day stay at Iberostar Costa Dorada (January 6th-January 16th). ICD was an EXCELLENT resort! This was our second time to the Dominican Republic, the first time we stayed at Casa Marina Reef in Sosua. As you continue through my review it will be divided by categories, and I may compare to our last trip…
We flew from Boston to Miami to POP, flights will be flights. As for arriving at POP, you will exit the terminal then proceed to the desk where you will have to buy your tourist card ($10 p/p), from the desk you will continue through customs (took us about 3 minutes), after customs you will go get your baggage and continue to the exit. We had arranged a transfer through Isaira Tours ($35 for up to four people), there are also taxi’s available which cost around $33-35 (for up to four people). Make sure you hold on to your bags regardless if your transfer or taxi driver offers to take them. There are people there who they will just give your bags to and they will demand $5 per bag. I knew to hold on to my bag through the building and until I found my ride, but didn’t think the drive would give them to anyone unless it had something to do with the transfer, but I was wrong! The ride is about 25-30 minutes, and there are a lot of great pictures to take along the way!
When you get to the resort you leave your bags at the opening of the lobby, with the bell boy. He directs you to check in and waits with your bags. At check in you should (if you want it) request your safe key (for 10 days it was $20). They will give you your bracelets which are yellow! They also give you your room key and number with a map. You will get a welcome drink (I’m not sure what it was) but it was Yummy! Then you head back to the bell boy who drive you in a golf cart type thing to your block and show you your room.
I e-mailed the resort about a week before we were arrived and requested blocks 1 or 5. We got block 1 with an ocean view! Granted it wasn’t direct and there were trees, but it was visible! We had a king size bed, which has a heart created with towels and flowers sprinkled on it. We had a couch as well as a chair. The balcony was nice! My only complaint about our room was that the A/C didn’t work very well. But it could possibly be controlled by the hotel in some way and since it wasn’t really hot maybe they turned the temperature up. Our fridge was filled everyday. We never had anymore towel art other then the first day. The rooms were spotless, no mold, no cracks nothing. There are dispensers in the shower that have shampoo/conditioner and body wash, so if you don’t want to bring your own stuff they are always full. I’m sure you’ve already read this but the bottle opener is on the wall of the bathroom. The A/C doesn’t work if the balcony door is open. The TV. gets very limited channels in English, sometimes they change the lineup, but we constantly got TBS, BET, BBC, and CNN. You can call and ask them to add a channel if there’s something you’d like to watch (like a football game!).
Food and Bars
The food was all very good. I am a pretty picky eater, and it kind of seemed like I ate the same thing all the time, but it was still good! They have a lot of variety, I’m just picky. I tend to eat chicken a lot and they were limited on the chicken choices. The buffet has one station which changes every day (I.E Mexican, Dominican, Chinese), then everything else alternates by the day, the sirloin was great. The pork I found to be a little dry, and the chicken that was there was delicious. My boyfriend eats a lot of seafood and he always had something new to try.
The El Bohio which is the tropical a la carte was very good, it was my boyfriend’s favorite. He had a lobster pasta dish, which he said was fantastic. I had the chicken filets which were AWSOME! They bring you a different drink at each restaurant. I’m not sure what we had at the bohio. They also have three guys who go around to all the places and sing and play music for each table. The Hacienda which was the Mexican, my boyfriend actually walked out of before he had gotten his food. He was very disappointed with it. I stayed and I thought the beef tacos were very good. They serve you margaritas in there. The Brazilian restaurant was my favorite! You don’t choose what you want off of a menu here. They have I think like 10 different things that they bring to each table and you choose what you want to try. I tried it all and LOVED it! They had beef, sirloin, chicken, chorizo, pork, sausage, and I’m not sure what else, but it was all very good! I’m not sure what drink they served here!
My favorite bars were the one in the bohio and the one in the theatre! Elvis (@ the bohio) was great, I don’t like strong drinks and he made them perfectly! The guy at the theater was awesome too! He actually allowed my boyfriend to try the “top shelf” rum (which we don’t know what it was but it wasn’t brugal). He could defiantly tell the difference. We never really went to the beach bar, so I can’t really report on that. The lobby bar was very good too!
Shows and Star Friends
The Star Friends (or entertainment team) worked very hard to make entertaining at the Iberostar a lot of fun. We went to all the shows at the beginning but then towards the end got too tired to go by then. Shows are at 9:30, and are usually and hour. We saw the following: Mr. Iberostar, The Lion King, Chicago, Iberogrammy, we saw others but I don’t remember what they were! My favorite was the Iberogrammy show; they had all different performances like MC Hammer (my favorite), Michael Jackson, The Blues Brothers, Dirty Dancing, and some others. The shows were fantastic and I suggest going to all of the ones you can get to!
They also have a kids disco and shows and what not. The kids get to be the stars of their shows; I guess they practice during the day. We saw Grease performed by the kids and it was awesome. Before all the shows they have a kid’s disco where they can dance to a bunch of songs with the star friends. I don’t have kids but they seem to have a lot of things for them to do all around the resort.
During the day they have a lot of competitions and games. Things like volleyball, soccer, shooting, archery, aerobics, pool games, Olympic Games, bikini contests, all sorts of stuff! The schedule is near the towel hut. I was forced to do the bikini contest, which was really funny and embarrassing. They choose three men to be judges and then like 7 contestants. They contestants have to strut their stuff then give the judges “lap dances”. I made it to the finals, and had to pole dance, but then lost!
There are ping pong tables and a giant chess game to keep some people entertained. It was almost always being used! There are also games that you can rent from the towel hut!
This staff does a lot to keep their guests entertained, I was very impressed!
Grounds and Beach
The grounds of the resort are beautiful. The staff is always busy doing something to improve it. The lobby is beautiful! There are flamingos and turtles which add some life! The beach itself was nice, but the water was dirty. There really isn’t much that the resort can do about it, it’s the sea not them. Their location gets tons of seaweed, which when it reaches the beach the staff clean it up, but it lingers in the water. If you’re looking for the crystal blue water, this is not the place to go. You cannot see your toes from 10 feet out; in fact you can barely see them 3ft out. Also at the spot in front of the resort we found that the water was kind of cold. Yet we walked down the coast line and found it to be warmer and cleaner.
The resort allows the vendors to walk down the beach as all beaches in the Dominican Republic are public beaches. They will ask if you want your hair braided or to walk down to their shops, but it’s their job, just like you do your job…So you don’t have to complain about them. It’s their way of life, a simple no gracias and a hand shake will suffice. If you’ve never been there before, do not say “Maybe later”, they will remember you…You will probably be asked by a lot of people if you’d like to check out the shops or get your hair braided, they work on shifts and take turns trying to get people to go down there. I was asked about 65 times if I wanted my hair braided while we were there. Also if you don’t want to walk down to the shops (which it isn’t a far walk at all!) they come in on Tuesdays I believe, and set up right in front of the Hacienda and Brazilian restaurants. They are really lovely people just trying to get by so buy something!!!! Go to Carlos # 16, he’s a really nice kid.
We went on two excursions this time, and we booked with Martin Espinal with Isaira Tours (they have a website, so look them up!) Martin is a great guy! I had contacted them before hand and they had just hired a new girl to take on internet requests, well she sold me a tour that was only for groups. So rather then making us cancel it, Martin himself drove us around and allowed us to stop wherever we wanted on the way to and from the tour. We visited the Cabarete Caves, which was a lot of fun. If you do want to go bring sport water shoes and a bathing suit, as well as cameras! You are allowed to swim in them (which we did not know). You can take a cab out there and its only $15 to get in to the caves! That was a lot of fun, there are three caves that you can go in, the stairs are very narrow, and so if you have difficulties walking or with knees then this is not the tour for you. There are a lot of steps… There are HUGE spiders too, but they are blind, unless you touch them, then they can find you…
We also went River Rafting, which was a blast! My favorite excursion thus far (we also went to Paradise Island and on a Jeep Safari last time). The only downside is from ICD it’s about a 3 hour bus ride to get there. But you stop half way to go to the bathroom and grab snacks and drinks. They give you breakfast, then you suit up (in a wetsuit, helmet, and lifejacket). And you drive another 20-25 minutes in open toped jeeps though a small town and up into the mountains. Then you go rafting for about 2 and half hours. There are professional guides in each of the rafts and they explain everything you need to know before you start. It was so much fun! I actually was the only single person to fall out, but it wasn’t bad. You just swim back to the boat and they help you back in. In one of the rapids a whole raft tipped over and they all fell out except for the guide, but they have safety people who go down before all the tourists in case anything like that. They have a medical team that goes with you also, on our trip one guy got hit in the eye with a paddle and we all pulled over and they cleaned him up. You stop halfway for a snack and some lemonade. Then continue on until the end. At the end you stop at another ranch and they give you drinks (beer, soda, or water). Then you take the jeeps back to the regular ranch and have lunch (chicken, rice, salad, bread, veggies). From there you get to watch a video of the trip, which the safety boat took. That’s was cool, you could buy it for $35 (we would have bought it but was at the end of our trip and we didn’t have anymore money) they also take a picture of your raft at one point, and you can buy those for $5. The trip was awesome and I would defiantly recommend it! We paid $80p/p.
As for where to buy the trips from, anywhere but the hotel. The hotel was VERY overpriced. The vendors that walk up and down the beach also sell the trips, and we saw a lot of people who purchased from them. As I said we used Martin’s company, which I had found on the web.
I would defiantly go back to ICD, it was a great deal for the price. I was just disappointed in the ocean. We used the pool more, although I found it to be cold. Another thing to be aware of is that there was a large population of bees which swarmed the juice and soda fountains (which are self serve). They have someone stand there with a sticky piece of film and catch them, but they are always around. We had bubba kegs, and they got taken over by bees a few days. We found that we had to bring a face cloth with us and wipe the bubba after every sip, and keep the top closed.
The resort was beautiful with very little to no room for improvement. Our only complaint was that when it rains there isn’t much to do. But you would have seen that with any resort not just ICD. Oh speaking of rain, it rained the first two days we were there constantly. Then after that it was sunny most days and only rained late at night. The temperature was cold compared to when we went in July. Humidity was only around 45% so 80’s on a cloudy day seemed cold. Pack a long sleeve and or a sweatshirt for night time and rainy days. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me!!! Hope this was helpful! We will be traveling to another Iberostar this year or next winter hopefully!!!!
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
We stayed only one night because we were in Punta Cana and our plane picked up people in Puerto Plata and then the weather got so bad they closed the airport and they put us at the Iberostar in Puerto Plata. It was wonderful even in the hurricane.
The staff at check in was friendly and helpful they arranged that a buffet be set up for us It was 1:00am when we arrived they cooked for us either pork chop, steak, chicken or a hamburger and they had all the fixings to go along with it.
Our room was nice two twin beds though. Fully stocked fridge and the towels in the bathroom were fluffy and soft.
The breakfast buffet was wonderful it just kept going and going I am serious when I say anything you want it was there.
We had a room that faced the pool and it was beautiful.
Next vacation I am defiantly staying in an Iberostar.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Mrs Lori Third Scotland
We have just returned from our 2 week holiday to the iberostar this is our 3rd time in as many years we love it, the staff are the most friendly and helpful I have ever encountered and the cleanliness of the hotel is second to none, both this year and last we have had occasion to call on medical help and we were impressed by the care given, this year I returned with my son of 19 and his 20 year old girlfriend along with my daughter and 6 year old grandson and my current husband, all of us had a fabby time and the food is wonderful.
We are going back again next year, and maybe my son and his girlfriend will decide to hold there wedding there, here's hoping.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
We stayed at the Iberostar Costa Dorada in 2005 (we actually not married there and it was a fantastic day). We have just returned from a two week holiday in Cuba and although we had a good holiday it reminded us that the Costa Dorada is definitely our number one destination and hence we will be going back in 2009 to celebrate what will be our 4th wedding anniversary by that time and my 40th birthday. It is a fantastic hotel, the staff were great, nothing was too much trouble. Even if we had not been going there to get married it would still have been our best holiday ever. Roll on 2009.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Katie and Paul Sussex UK
Booked with First Choice – impressed with their service, good choice of movies, games and TV shows to watch, was fed roast chicken on the way out there with a snack before landing of croissant and cake etc. Did get thirsty in between the meals so either take drink with you (purchase after security in airport) or buy on plane. Seats were comfy and room to stretch your legs, my partner is 6ft 4 and only started getting leg ache etc towards end of the flight. Very impressed with our landing at Puerto Plata airport, the pilot did a superb job (approach to the runway was unusual with a very tight turn at very low altitude, nothing to be alarmed about though). Baggage came through quickly and it was definitely worth getting the tourist card in advance, we went straight through without queuing meaning we were first onto coach so could sit and wait away from the heat outside. Don’t tip the bellboy just yet; we did it on arrival at resort. Our bus had two stops – the Victoria resort in playa dorada and ours about 3mins further down the road. Driving in Dom rep is very erratic but we arrived safely. Tipped the bellboy on coach $2 for putting luggage on bus and taking off again when we arrived at ICD.
First impressions of Iberostar – WOW! Pulled into resort and the design and quality was evident straight away. You leave your luggage by steps with hotel bellboy while u check in at desk, once you have room number you tell bell boy and he’ll deliver bags to room within 5mins or so (tipped $5). Check in was smooth, presented passports to reception and you get room card, towel card (one per person) little info pack and a map or resort, was refreshing to be given lovely pink slushy drink while they went through it all with us. We also requested the safe in room about $2 a day, you pay for this at end of your stay when checking out as well as any other charges made to your room – spa treatments etc. Once your checked in we were walked a little way further into the resort by an employee who showed us various things on the Way – restaurant etc, this was brief and it would have helped if they had explained things further, e.g. procedure at restaurant etc. then she pointed us in direction of room for us to explore.
We were in block 5, near the beach away from the main areas on second floor, this is probably the best block for quiet couples not minding a short walk to all facilities. very happy with room, overlooked mount Isabelle, very picturesque. huge King size bed, TV, fridge, (bottle opener on wall in bathroom), Air con (control by bed with 3 settings) wont work if patio door is open, and fan – on/.off switch other side of bed (looks like light switch!) table chair and sofa. Bathroom with shower/bath, toilet, sink, hairdryer and shaver/plug socket, basket of free little toiletries. We forgot shaving cream and were surprised to find it cost the equivalent of £7 in hotel shop!!
The hotel shop is expensive for international items although they had a good selection , things must be paid for in Dom rep pesos, or credit card– chocolate bars RD55/£1, sweets RD90/£2, Pringles RD125/£2.50. Whereas more regional items like tobacco, coffee etc were more reasonable. We found the reception Exchange rate quite low at $1 = RD29 or £1 = RD55. In general the prices were cheaper in the local plaza of Player dorada, and exchange rate also slightly better $1 = RD32 / £1 = RD59. Although personally due to our experience what is gained in exchange rates outside of hotel isn’t worth the hassle we went through on our trip out.
We decided to walk along the beach to playa dorada, expecting a few beach vendors to approach us but nothing we couldn’t handle. As soon as you leave iberostar grounds the beach immediatly gets dirty, and the locals persistently bothering you. It is not possible to walk along beach to playa dorada without getting soaked, at one point you have to cross a little stream so wear sandals and go bare foot, in shorts! Walking past other hotels on the way we were proven how lucky we were to be staying at the icd, the others just did not compare – they looked run down, un-kept and dirty. We unknowingly walked into another resorts grounds trying to find a way off the beach into playa dorada so we could get to plaza for shops etc, straight away a local security guard ushered us off premises and tried to direct us down a dark dingy ally way, my partner said thanks but no thanks and we walked back along beach until we found a slightly safer route down a path at side of helicopter field. Having entered playa dorada we found the plaza without to much difficulty but as were soaked from the knees down we had lost our enthusiasm to visit the shops etc which looked disappointing on arrival anyway. We decided to get back to the main road ASAP and walk back the street way as the beach route hadn’t been very successful. However this turned out to be even more problematic. On leaving playa dorada in hindsight we should have got a taxi, we decided to walk hoping to dry off thinking icd was a few mins away. Mopeds would slow down on approach to you and try and get you to get on with them for a ride, and were very persistent, the locals sitting on pathway outside what appeared to be cafes/shops (who knows?) were intimidating and walking around them meant having to go on busy road. After a much longer walk than we anticipated approx 2miles we came into sight of icd and were so glad to be back in safe surroundings we vowed not to leave hotel again except for excursions! We’re not exaggerating these events, nor are we amateur holidayers. My Partner is a very well built man, and said he had never felt so un-welcome and intimadated before.
The icd is beautifully wellkept, and the grounds are lush and full of gorgeous vegetation. To give you some idea the paintwork was being restored on outside buildings, there is always workers pruning the trees, getting rid of dead leaves, sweeping beach and pathways etc, and room maintenance was outstanding too, one night we noticed our patio light wasn’t working and the next morning a man came round to fix it with no prompting from ourselves, they are very vigilant. We also had someone come and clean the aircon unit out which is a good sign for health reasons.
We bought two mobile phones, a laptop, and sony psp with us, at no point did we feel the need to hide them away etc, they were left out at all times of the day in room with maid coming in and out etc. we used safe for passports, money and flight tickets and had no problems with security. We took spare batteries for the safe (AA) although we didn’t need them. We decided to tip our maid $2 a day (left money on bed) and this insured we had the fridge restocked every day instead of every other day, although the maid does not expect a tip, and with free drinks around the complex available day and night it wouldn’t matter anyway.
The main buffet for breakfast lunch and dinner is open 7-10am, 1-3pm and 6.30-9.30pm. On our first night we were confused as to the procedure and it took us a day or two before we felt comfortable. Go in and sit down at a table – it can be hard determining one that is occupied and one that is not. One of us would go and get drinks from the dispenser so there was something left on the table; it’s also polite to allow the waiter/waitress to pour water/wine, which also helps “hold” the table. Then go and help yourself to whatever takes your fancy. Breakfast = we highly recommend asking one of the two chefs located in each corner for an omelet, there is also bacon, sausage, egg, toast, fruit, cereals, pancakes etc.
lunch = salads, soups, rolls, meat etc.
dinner is varied every night but we had kebabs, lamb chop, a roasted joint every night, chips, pizza, burgers, fish, rice etc and as always fruit, bread, ice cream etc.
There are 3 other a la carte restaurants – the tropical doubles up as a snack bar during the day near the pool – we preferred the main buffet though.
We spent most of our time at the beach so can’t comment on the pool too much. The beach was lovely – could always find a sun lounger and the cool breeze coming off the ocean was needed in the heat.
Mornings tend to be brighter than the afternoons, although afternoons tended to be slightly hotter, remember you will still burn in the heat even if it doesn’t feel like u are. Wear plenty of sun cream. And keep reapplying. When we were on the beach we would take a couple of bottles from the fridge down with us or you can visit the bar near the beach for drinks/ice etc.
Our first week there were mainly friendly American/Canadians however the second week the majority of visitors were British who tended to be a bit rowdier.
SAONA ISLAND EXCURSION:
without a doubt the best part of our holiday was the day trip to saona island, we had the most amazing time and its not to be missed. be warned it is a long day we got picked up from resort about 6am and didnt get back until 7pm. you are driven to the airport 15mins away where you board a little plane that takes you down to the south of the island - carribean side, the flight is about 45mins - no toilets! but you get to take some stunning panoramic aerial photos, you land and get driven to a little picteresque village where you walk round for an hour or so, chance to get a drink etc, then we got on a river boat which was very relaxing ride, and we were served drinks and a light breakfast, without warning 2 speedboats pulled up and we all got helped across onto them and we were off! speedboat ride was so much fun!!! these took us along the coast of dom rep out to saona island, on the way we stopped at a sand bar and we got out and saw some starfish, had a swim etc - the carribean sea is to die for! so clear and warm, it was heavenly. once on saona your told you have about 3hrs to chill out, swim, sunbathe etc, lunch is a bbq with open bar, bbq was delicious. then we got on catamaran for a relaxing 1,5 hour trip back to dom rep - good chance to unwind, sit back and relax. short bus ride back to airport then 45min flight back to puerto plata again. was a day to remember and our guide rambo was excellent.
Overall this was the best holiday myself and my partner have been on, and would recommend the iberostar to anyone. It’s a shame we had to come home!
any questions email firstname.lastname@example.org
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Tula and Mike
I can't say enough about the resort, everything was super, all the staff was very pleasent at all times.
We will be going back at some stage, and i would recommend the resort to others, nothing was to much trouble.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
It has been one week now since we have been home from the ICD and I just have to say that we have had the best vacation ever.This was our 9th trip to the Dominican Republic and we are now planning for next year.
The Iberostar Costa Dorada is a wonderful medium size resort with lots of flowers,shrubs and beautiful trees which the gardeners take very good care of.They are always pruning and raking to make everything look great.The food is good and there are lots of places to eat you will never go hungry.We only tried one ala carte The seafood one The beach bar becomes the ala carte at night time.It was ok but I think the buffet was better.The rooms were spacious the bed was comfortable but the pillows left a lot to be desired,small and flat(bring your own)The maid did a wonderful job of keeping our room very clean and left cute annimal creations in our room every day.The lobby was beautiful and we sat there every night having a few drinks, and they were good, and people watched, we met a lot of great people during our stay from England, Wales USA and can't forget our adopted daughters(for the night) from Newfoundland in the lobby .There were lots of beautiful weddings while we were there and Santo the public relations person did a very good job as sometimes there were three a day every one was special in there own way.The beach was very nice and large (not as nice as Punta Cana but we didn't book Puerto Plata for the beach)there was lots and lots of loungers to be had and lots of shaded trees but the palapas were taken very early.The ocean was pretty riled up for the first few days we were there and the red flag was up because it rained so much but it calmed down after that.The staff at the ICD from Fransisco,Kennedy and Nelson at the buffet, Wanda at the lobby bar Lucy,Scooby,Superman some of the annimation staff made our stay unforgetable and there were others just can't remember all there names.The only complaint I had was no coffee makers in the room as I like to sit on the balcony in the morning and have my tea but according to Santo that will be rectified soon.All in all this is a wonderful resort and I would recomend it to anyone
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Elizabeth and Bob Newfoundland, Canada
We are a 50 yr old married couple and this was our third time at this resort.We have also stayed at Superclubs Breezes in the DR and Iberostar Varadero, Cuba. We were not dissapointed with our choice to return to this resort.
We were in building 3 pool view second floor, which was just what we asked for. The room was spotless and quite comfortable,though looking a little tired compared to the newer IB Varadero.
There were plenty of towels and facecloths, with the exception of the last day, when we got no facecloths. A lightbulb blew so we put the card on the door for repairs in the am and when we returned lunchtime, the bulb was changed. There were no insects to be seen, except the misquitoes we let in through our patio door. The air conditioning and fan worked well and was not noisy.
Always impeccable in all areas of the resort.Little amenities like fresh fruit and rum and flowers in the room upon arrival for return guests are a nice touch. On our wedding anniversary, sent to our room was champagne on ice,glasses,fresh fruit, linen napkins and a linen cloth on the table, plates and utensils, and a note of congratulations. In comparison, in Cuba they sent warm champagne and fruit, but no glasses, plates, etc.
In all the restaurants and buffet our water, wine coffee etc. never went dry until we would tell them we had enough.
During the Easter break the resort became more full and there was an influx of local people.We did not encounter any problems, nor did the service lag at all.
We found that during Easter the entertainment did slacken off somewhat.We did not see much of the dancers.Also for 4 days all tours and water activities, even the kayaks, were suspended. We were dissapointed with this. It wasn't just our resort, it was a government ruling. We did not encounter this other years.
In our second week ,after Easter, things picked up again and the shows were good. Contrary to the previous review, we found the dancers very good, and much better than at IB Varadero. They use a live band and singers, and they often played before and after the shows.
They were beautiful an very well kept. Everything was green, lush and well cultivated. There are orchids everywhere grafted into the trees. In comparison we found the grounds at IB Varadero lacking, maybe because it hasn't had time to mature.
Large, clean, well maintained. It was hard to get any chairs in the shade, especially over Easter. Early morning reserving was rampant. The water was a good temperature.
The beach is great, and wider than ever with the refurbishment that was done.Security keeps the vendors down by the waterside,they are not allowed up on the dry sand. The vendors are very intrusive when you walk the beach and get near the market,trying to get you to come to the market. By the end of two weeks our politeness was wearing thin, but that didn't deter them. This year there was a good bit of seaweed in the water. The other years they had workers with big screens removing seaweed, but they did not do that this year. At IB Varadero there was little or no seaweed, and no reef.
Several times they had beach parties at lunchtime,with payella or barbecues and live music and dancing.
They had great service, efficient and friendly staff. We enjoyed the drinks, found they had a wide variety, from slushy premixed pina coladas etc, to international coctails, to liqueurs, and we musn't forget the aged brugal rum, which my husband was given automatically once he asked for it a couple of times.
I can think of one negative point only..The beef tends to be tough. We found this the same at the other resorts as well. With that exception, the food is excellent. I could go on about it all day, but suffice it to say ther is a great variety for all meals,presentation is beautiful, it was always hot,and quite tasty.We enjoyed all the a la cartes. We enjoy good food and had no problem piling on a few pounds!
Of the three resorts we have visited, this one is our favourite, the IB Varadero coming a close second. The superclubs Breezes does not compare at all on the same level. Will we return? I hope so!
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
R & G Newfoundland
Friendly but not as interactive with the guests as others resorts. Animation Staff were lacking. The shows were not that great. Same dancers very night and not that skilled. Almost boring.
Spotless and efficient. Everything you need. They were alittle small compared to other 5 stars but over we were happy there.
Big, fairly clean, not too crowded. No swim up bar.
Nice staff but no fruity drinks all premixed slush and carbonated punched. Disappointed because I like real fruit in cocktails and blended drinks.
The food was excellent. We enjoyed all of the a la carat restaurants.
Rain Rain and more Rain. But we made the best of about the 10 hours of sun all week. The resort is configured so all the walkways had roofs. So we didn't get wet going to dinner at night.
Overall it is a nice resort but the Iberostar in Varadero,Cuba is allot nicer.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Helen New Jersey, USA
This is the first time that I’ve written a review of a property, but I thought that an American tourist’s perspective might be useful for this website.
My husband and I have been visiting the Dominican Republic almost annually since 1985. We have seen many changes and improvements, particularly to the airport. We have stayed at several properties both on the Playa Dorado and in Sosua. The one consistency in the Dominican Republic, and their greatest resource, are their people. Friendly, outgoing and very accommodating the people, and the weather, are the reasons we have returned year after year.
This year we booked through Apple Vacations (with which we were very pleased) and selected the Iberostar Costa Dorado as our hotel. We had heard many good things about the hotel and even though the hotel was not within the Playa Dorado complex, we thought that we would give it a try.
We were not disappointed. Our group began with 5 people and we were as many as 10 towards the end of the week. Five of us arrived around 1:30 p.m. Two of the three rooms were ready. My husband and I decided to have a bite at the buffet. We walked into the Dining Room and there was Jocelyn, an employee who remembered us from another hotel. She greeted us like old and dear friends.
When our room was ready, we and our luggage were loaded into a golf cart and driven around behind the property to get to our room. (This is a wonderful idea, as the walkways are never congested with luggage carts.) Our room was pleasantly cool and spacious. We found adequate space for all of our belongings and after several attempts were able to figure out how to lock the safe (a little tricky). The bathroom was quite clean and well stocked with towels and a nice hospitality tray but there was not much storage in the bathroom.
I will not go into every detail of every area of the resort, but will give some highlights. The beach was very deep with many chairs, some huts and trees for shade, and the water was not rough. The buffet restaurant had many, many good choices at every meal, my only complaint was that as an open-air restaurant with ceiling fans, it was sometimes very warm, especially near the areas where the chefs were cooking. We thought that the Brazilian restaurant was better than the Mexican restaurant. There is a third restaurant that is used as a beach/pool bar/restaurant during the day and an open-air restaurant at night. The menu is something similar to a bistro and was okay.
There are two very nice shops with moderately priced local souvenirs and a more expensive jewelry store. My husband used the spa for a massage and liked it. My friends used the open-air (not air-conditioned) gym. The one treadmill was broken but the person who worked there was helpful as far as assisting my friend to set the elliptical machine.
The bed linen was changed every other day but we did not care for the blankets. Apparently, they use a light wool blanket that is not able to withstand many washings. The blankets seemed clean, but appeared worn and shabby, not consistent with the 5 star rating.
Overall, we liked the Ibeorstar very much and would seriously consider returning next year. Having never booked a complete package before (airfare, transfers, hotel, etc.) we liked Apple Vacations as well and felt that the package was very good value.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
We are 2 - 24 yr old girls who stayed at ICD from Feb 14-21. We booked with Signature Vacations and flew SkyService out of Edmonton.
Check-in/out: No trouble at all. We were given the info, our wristbands and the key to activate the safe, then the bellman brought the luggage up to our room. They weren't able to accommodate our room request, but mentioned the email I had sent. At checkout, you get to keep your wristband until the bus comes to pick you up for the airport. When you're ready to go, they cut off your wristband and give you a card which you give to the bellman showing you have paid your bill (spa charges, phone calls etc).
Room: We were in room 2116, on the second floor with 2 beds. The room was directly across from the towel hut, which gave us a spectacular view of the pool and El Bohio. We had no problems with the safe and nothing was stolen - despite leaving it unlocked and open a lot of the time (oops). Our room was always very clean and we had new towels everyday. The bathroom had shampoo and body wash which was a nice rosemary/herbal/spicy scent. We left a note to have only diet pop in the fridge since my friend is diabetic and no problem. Our maid, Mildred, made swans and hearts out of the towels and decorated with flowers nearly every day. We didn't figure out how to operate the air conditioning for most of the week and slept with the balcony door open, which gave a nice breeze. There were lots of hangers in the closet and plenty of drawer space to unpack.
Food: Excellent! Never any shortage of selection. We ate at all 3 a la carte restaurants, and liked the Mexican the best. Suppers at the buffet the rest of the week were also very good with lots of variety. We had breakfast at the buffet most days and those fresh doughnuts fried right in front of you - yum! Lunch was alternated between El Bohio (pool) or the buffet, and again, very good food - always hot and fresh and lots of variety. The service was excellent as well. Our glasses were never empty and there was always a table waiting for us.
Drinks: The best drinks were made at the lobby bar. As with most resorts, the drinks are made differently at each bar, but all are good in their own ways. We got drinks at the beach bar during the day, and at the lobby bar in the evening. My favorite drink was the Iberostar. Try one!
Entertainment/Star Friends: We never watched the evening show but listened a few times. The theater area was always packed with people so it must have been good. We didn't see much of the star friends, but when you're sleeping by the pool or beach, you don't see much of anything. They were around though, and there was always a volleyball or soccer game going on, and they had Spanish lessons and dance lessons as well. We were never pressured to join, but if you wanted to you could. There are pool tables, ping pong, giant chess, and many board games to play if you ever get bored. We went out to the disco Route 66 one night and it was okay, but a very young crowd. Most people go off the resort to Mangu (near the Holiday Village resort) but we were always too tired after a long day in the sun.
Beach/Pool: The pool is absolutely gorgeous. It is huge and has a fantastic view of the mountains. There is a whirlpool in the centre which is nice for relaxing a little. The pool was very clean. We saw people in the pool cleaning it every evening, and sometimes there were people in the pool during the day scooping out any bugs or tree bits. Never any problem getting a chair, and there is lots of shade if you want and more than enough pads for the chairs. The beach is fantastic as well. The new beach is golden sand and very wide with shells all around. Again no problem getting a chair, and lots of shade and palapas even if you don't make it out until 11am or later. A 5 minute walk to the right from the beach is the Orange Market. There are vendors there selling the usual necklaces, paintings, and carvings. Lots of fun dealing here! We were looking for the Playa Dorada Complex to find an ATM (apparently there is one right next door at the Coral Marien) and ended up walking all the way to the point.... I would estimate about a 1 hour walk. Gave us the opportunity to see a few other hotels and ICD is the nicest!
Spa: Very nice and relaxing. I had the hot stone massage which was great. There are lots of services available, and prices are reasonable/comparable to home. They services are charged to your room, so make sure to take some money for a tip. I planned to go for another massage later in the week, but just ran out of time.
Tours: We took 2 tours. The first was to Punta Rusia/Paradise Island, which is about 2 hours drive each way. We went snorkeling, then on a speedboat through the mangroves and national park, lunch, then a little shopping, relaxing on the beach, the back to the resort. Next time I would pay the extra amount to go on the VIP tour/yacht. We also took the full day tour to Brugal Rum Factory/Amber Museum/Sosua. We had lunch then went to the flea market at Sosua. The beach at Sosua was very small and not nearly as nice as ICD. The Signature rep explained the tour incorrectly as the morning for the 1/2 day and full day are exactly the same, so I would take the 1/2 day tour in the future.
We had one day of rain which was spent on the balcony reading and relaxing with a cerveza, and napping. Otherwise, the weather was very hot and humid. There is security on the beach 24 hours a day so there are no concerns about safety. Overall, the best resort I have ever been to. I would absolutely visit ICD again, and plan to vacation exclusively at Iberostar resorts in the future. Truly a 5 star resort!
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Len & Judy Lanigan, Saskatchewan, Canada
We stayed at the Iberostar Costa Dorada in Puerta Plata from February 6 to 13, 2007. We flew with Skyservice through Signature Vacations. This was our third visit to this resort and probably won't be the last.
Everything was so wonderful from the friendly, courteous and helpful staff to the fine quality of food and drinks this resort offers. We went to the Brazilian a la cart which we would highly recommend. We were amazed that several of the staff throughout the resort, remembered us from previous trips. We took the outback safari excursion away from the resort and beaches. This was an awesome experience. We had Angel as our guide and Scoobie for a driver. They together gave us a day we will always remember. They were so enthusiastic and proud to be able to share their country and culture with us. The Outback organization does so much to help the less privileged. We would highly recommend this excursion to others and we would also do it again ourselves. In summary, this resort is truly a 5 star resort. Everything done is of high standards, with pride taken in every area. We would recommend this resort to anyone looking for a trip to the tropics.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
ABOUT US: We are a couple from Toronto, one who has visited before, one for the first time.
CHECK-IN Something new from the previous visit was that the hotel issued check-in information and resort wrist bands on the tour bus while travelling to the resort. Room number, check-in card, towel cards and tour information were all provided on the bus. This made check-in so easy as all that was required of us was to ensure our luggage made it off the bus and accept the drink offered to us as we entered the lobby. One slight downside was that we arrived at the resort just after 1pm local time but were told our room would not be ready until approximately 3pm and to check back then. As we’ve both travelled south before, we knew to pack readily available warm weather clothing so that we could change quickly and begin to enjoy all the resort had to offer immediately. The resort makes available change rooms to the right of the front lobby, prior to reaching the check-in counter complete with showers.
ROOM While reading reviews on the resort, we took the advice of travellers before us and emailed a request for a room in a specific building (email@example.com ). Our email was never answered, but when we were given our check-in package on the bus we noted right away that we had a room in building 1 (one of 3 buildings requested). Once we arrived at the resort we were ecstatic that we had a 2nd floor beautiful semi-secluded ocean view! If requesting an ocean view in building 1, consider the 2nd floor – the palm trees would block a 3rd floor view for most rooms. Other reviews have mentioned problems with the safe – batteries dying and contents being stolen – but we went prepared – on our 2nd last day the safe starting beeping erratically when opening and closing so we just replaced 2 of the AA batteries with those that we had brought ourselves – that way we didn’t have to wait around for staff to come and change them or risk contents going missing. One thing not mentioned when you ask for the safe is that your code is required to lock and unlock it. The patio door also has two locks – the button that pushes down to lock it from the inside, and also a round button that needs to be turned to prevent it from being opened from the outside. One good thing is that when the patio door is opened the air conditioning turns off. We never had any problems with anything going missing from our room. The only complaint about the room was housekeeping leaving local flowers in towel sculptures on the bathroom counter – looked very nice, but attracted many ants to the bathroom counter, and subsequently the room.
FOOD The buffets always had a great selection that would even satisfy the pickiest of eaters (me). The only “complaint” would be that the salad bar left a lot to be desired, basically consisting of iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots and cucumber. If you aren’t into various medley’s of make-your-own oil and vinegar dressings there were only 2 to choose from – one resembling Thousand Island and we’re not sure what the other was. We went to all three of the a la carte restaurants – the Mexican being our favourite. Most lunches were spent at the pool side restaurant which was handy being that we spent the majority of our week relaxing on the beach. The lunch selection at the pool side restaurant had a good selection of foods to choose from, but the main buffet did have more to choose from during lunch. BUT the pool side restaurant had soft ice cream for dessert – chocolate, vanilla or swirl.
DRINKS Taking the advice of others before us, we purchased two 20oz Bubba Kegs from Canadian Tire. These were the best! Each held the equivalent of almost 2 drinks, and the bartender would mix the drinks straight in each, which usually equated to more alcohol than not. Drinks stayed frosty cold without condensation, and allowed for more time on the beach and less time travelling back and forth for refills. In retrospect, the only downside of the Bubba’s was that we bought the 20oz – next time we might try the 52oz! Tip your bartender good the first round and they certainly remembered you afterwards and we always received prompt service, sometimes not even having to state our order. Coffee – keep in mind that when you ask for milk or cream in your coffee that to them that means half the cup! Be sure to specify just a little and that will get you something more along the lines of a double-double from Tims!
ENTERTAINMENT We started about half of the nights out watching the evening entertainment, but never made it to the end of any show. Not because they weren’t good, but there was always more “action” going on in the main lobby or plaza, where you could sit and still see/hear the show from. Every evening there were 2 shows – the first being put on by the kids club, the 2nd for adults. The “Star Friends” (staff that try to involve you in resort activities) are ever present, but it was noticed that they were less aggressive this trip compared to last. If you aren’t into joining resort activities, the towel hut has lots of board games, cards and a small library which to borrow from.
BEACH/POOL The beach was by far the highlight of our vacation. We spent literally hours there a day. Chairs were never a problem and there was always shade to be found. One noticeable difference this time is vendors on the beach. They are obviously regulated because they wear matching numbered shirts, but still, there’s nothing like having to tell several people in a short period of time (while trying to rest and relax) that no, you don’t want your hair braided. We found the beach more comfortable, especially in the afternoon, as a nice soft breeze would blow through. The weather was perfect – not a drop of rain, hardly a cloud – and only one afternoon on the beach was slightly windy, but definitely not windy enough to even consider leaving our beach chair. The sand is a brown sand, not a white powder, but was finer than most and always hot on the feet. We also encountered no bugs.
TOURS The only organized tour we took was the ½ day city tour of Puerto Plata which consisted of a visit to a fortress, the Amber museum, a store selling amber products, an old church, a supermarket (for coffee and vanilla) and the Brugal rum factory. The tour was good for a nice 4 hour tour of the city, but keep in mind it was the typical cheesy touristy tour. On our own we took a cab into town a couple of times for shopping, along with going to the Playa Dorada shopping complex minutes down the road. If you’re looking for gifts or souvenirs the Playa Dorada complex will be your most expensive option. But if you’re looking for Pizza Hut and a cinema, it’s the place to go.
CONCLUSION It’s a beautiful resort, the grounds are full of gardens and flowers. The front lobby has two pools – one full of turtles and one with 5 flamingos. The lobby is great for lounging in any time of the day. Twice that week local vendors were allowed to bring in their wares, which is a great alternative if you’re looking for souvenirs but don’t want to leave the resort. For those that need to reach out and touch reality, 30 minutes of internet usage is $3 USD (or 130 pesos). We would recommend this resort to any couples or families looking for a week of relaxation amongst beautiful surroundings.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Larry and Luba Canada
About Us : We are a couple in our mid fifties who enjoy traveling to the DR. This is our fifth trip here, second time to the north coast, the other three times to Punta Cana. First time at an Iberostar resort. Have stayed at Hacienda Andreas (now Lifestyle Crown Suites), H10 (now Ocean Bavaro), Riu Palace Macao and Bahia Principe Punta Cana. Easy going and adaptable couple. We got this vacation on a last minute deal.
Flight : Flew Skyservice. Put in hollow aluminum tube, go over 500 mph while your knees are up around your chin. Nuff said.
Arrival : Twenty minute drive from the airport. Went to check in, told to come back at 3pm. No problem as we expected this. Had a change of clothes in the carry on luggage. Went for lunch and checked out the lobby bar and beach. Came back at three, everything was ready. Had e mailed the Iberostar four days earlier requesting a room near the ocean and a king size bed.
Room : Got room 1008 villa #1 with a king size bed and ground floor. The room faced the ocean and being on the ground floor there were no palm trees to block your view. Was the best location we’ve ever had. What a surprise. The safe used a four number password that you chose. Had to enter it to both open and lock the safe. Ample closet storage and hangers. Bathroom was fine, bathtub/shower combo and lots of soap, shampoo etc. TV had some English channels, HBO was one, can’t remember what else. Fan over the bed and air conditioned. Leave the sliding patio door open and the air shuts off. Had a drying rack on the terrace like the Riu’s have.
Food : Quality and selection both very good. The open air buffet restaurant El Mercado serves breakfast 7 to 10 am. Large variety of food, omelettes made to order, was our favorite meal. Also had lunch and dinner here. Both lunch (1 to 3pm) and dinner (6:30 to 9:30) had at least one carving station. Looked forward to the buffet meals here. Menu for the dinners was posted at the entrance on the right side. Continental breakfast (10 to 12 am) was at the pool side snack bar El Bohio. El Bohio also had lunch (12 to 4pm) and then snacks up tp 6 pm. There are three ala carte restaurants. El Rodizio (Brazilian), La Hacienda (Mexican) and El Bohio (Tropical and is the snack bar during the day). Both the Brazilian and Mexican are air conditioned. Took photos of the ala carte menus for the three restaurants, click on photo link at the bottom of the page.
Drinks : Have a beach bar (10am to 5 pm), lobby bar (11am to 2 am), bar at El Bohio by the pool, and the bar at the entertainment area (5pm to midnight). Found the best drinks at the lobby bar. Photos of bar menus on the photo link.
Entertainment : During the day had the Star Friends who did volleyball, dance lessons etc. If you didn’t want to join in no problem. Worked very hard. At night they had the stage entertainment, Lion King, Chicago, Latin Night, Mr Iberostar etc. Ran on a two week cycle. It was alright, they try hard. Some nights the band would play in the courtyard before the shows started, really enjoyed listening to them. Entertainment is never one of the deciding factors on which resort we choose, but it was one of the best we’ve seen.
Beach / Pool : We’re beach people, only went in the pool twice. The beach now is very wide and the small areas of coral in the water are roped off and visible. Take bread out to the coral, lots of yellow and black striped fish will start to feed on it. Water was warmer than the pool, nice sandy bottom and the beach is raked every morning. Palapas are on the east side of the beach (by building #5). We never used them as trees go across the entire width of the property and there’s lots of shade. The loungers are the canvas type and there are lots of them. Never got to the beach before 10 am and always got a spot in the shade. You can go for nice walks in each direction. Right beside the Iberostar on the west side is the Coral Marien. After the its open beach for quite a while. Was told there are vendors up that way but never saw any. To the east you can see the point of the Playa Dorada complex, would guess a 35 to 45 minute walk. On the way they have vendors in their stalls with the usual stuff for sale. No shade so take water if your going for a while. Lots of people using the sea kayaks and hobie cats, was a yellow flag day the week we were there. Also have vendors walking the beach selling tours, hair braiding, etc. Just say no and they went away. Only the two boats from each resorts dive shops out front, no boat traffic like Punta Cana. Very relaxing area. The pool was large, around 4.5 feet deep with shallow areas. Also had a kids pool. The loungers were plastic, get pads at the towel hut for them, made a difference. Lots of palapas for shade, and never too far from the bar. The white columns with the jacuzzi in the middle does really look great, view it with Mount Isabella in the background for the best effect. Never ran out of towels and if you’re a pool person will love this one.
Staff : Excellent. It was the friendly attitude plus the way they did there jobs which stood out the most. As I said at the start we are easy going and we never had one problem the whole week with anyone. Believe that it was more to do with the way this resort is run than anything on our part. They were that good. Went through a lot of money for tips, not because we had to but because we wanted to.
Tour : Rented a cab for four hours one day, at a cost of $45 US total. Went to the cable car ride at Mount Isabella ($7 US each) and then to a supermacado. There were three of us so the bill per person was $22 US. Thought that was reasonable. At the supermacado we got rum, vanilla, coffee and coco. Plus you get to see a bit more of the town. Enjoyed the cable car very much. They have tours available at the resort, or by people selling them on the beach or just rent a cab and do your own tour. Just get a set price from the driver before leaving.
Conclusion : Relaxing, enjoyable vacation because of the people working here. Have stayed at other Spanish chains of resorts and this is right up there with them. Every so often you see new resorts open up with a very affordable price at the start. It can be tempting to book them. Then you get a last minute deal to an established resort that long ago worked out all the "bumps in the road" and you just know that you made the right choice. Would recommend this place to anyone. For Photos go to http://www.worldisround.com/articles/324398/index.html To read menus etc click on "view full size image".
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Ramona and Dean Mission, British Columbia
Just returned from a one week stay at Iberostar Costa Dorada in Puerto Plata (Jan. 10th - 17th, 2007)
My husband and I have stayed at Iberostar resorts in the past, so were confident that we would not be disappointed. Personally, we are not big fans of the All Inclusive, but as we were travelling with my 72 year old mother, we chose to go this route.
The Food: It was amazing. They do an excellent job at creating something different each day. Even for the pickiest eaters (I am a vegetarian and my mother has a gluten allergy) and we were never left hungry.
We did not try any of the a la carte restaurants, but heard great things from other guests.
The Rooms: I emailed the resort the week before we left and although they emailed me back to say my request was based upon availability, we were very happy to receive our 3rd floor, pool view rooms side by side. Blocks 7, 6, 5 & 1 are the perfect spots for anyone who wants peace and quiet at night, but a great view of the afternoon "pool games" from their balconies in the afternoon (block 7 & 8 specifically for pool views). We had one loud night (a wedding party that reserved the outdoor restaurant) but the band was gone by 1am and only a few unruly guests remained. Out of an entire week, it was our only sleepless night, so we really couldn't complain. We were in rooms 7214 and 7215 and would pick those rooms again, if we went back.
We find the Iberostars are frequented by a much more mature clientele. A lot of European families there with children and not a lot of hoopla at night. We've stayed at other All Inclusive chains, that seem to appeal to a larger number of "partiers" which we are not -- so for this reason we enjoy Iberostar. They seem to be a cut above in the class department.
The Entertainment: I've read alot of reviews that say the entertainment was "hokey" or "amateurish" but for the shows that we took in (4 out of the 7 nights) we were very impressed. >From my experience at other resort chains, Iberostar seemed to have a much larger budget for their entertainment. Sets were elaborate & the dancing was phenomenal!!! For anyone who complains about the calibre of the entertainment, I would agree that it is not a Broadway show, by any means. But I'd like to see any one of us get up on that stage and dance and sing the way some of these staff members do! I am always so impressed by the number of hours they put in during a day and then still have the energy to perform until 11pm or later each night.
Which brings me to The Staff: Hands down, absolutely the best!!!! All of the dining room staff, entertainers, reception, maids & gardeners are polite, friendly and always ready with a smile. It took but a day for one of our favourite waiters, Generoso, to figure out that I enjoy a couple of cups of tea in the morning and by the time we left, I didn't even have to ask. He just showed up with a fresh cup of tea when he saw I had drank the first. The other waiter who amazed us was named Domingo. I can't get over how they can meet you once and never forget your name or your preferences. As we did very little shopping on this trip, we decided to spread our money around like we were "Rockerfellers" and we tipped as many of the staff as we could -- specifically when the service warranted it. They were so appreciative and grateful. The staff, in a lot of ways, made our trip that much more special. The Dominicans are everything you've read and more. They are very gracious and welcoming!
The Real Reason for our Trip: Over the past few years we've decided to do something "charitable" on every trip. One time we collected funds from friends and family and were able to stock the cupboards and fridges of an orphanage in Mexico with a good month's worth of food and medications. This time we collected school supplies for schools located in some of the rural Haitian villages of Puerto Plata. With six pieces of checked luggage, full of supplies ready to distribute, we prearranged our visits with Martin Espinal. For a minimal transfer fee, he set us up with an English speaking translator/driver who took us to a Haitian school as well as two separate orphanages -- one with a school on site. Nothing can compare to the feeling these little kids can give you, with their grateful smiles and outstretched arms!! It was absolutely was the BEST part of our week in POP.
Martin Espinal & Isaira Tours: I read about Martin Espinal's tour company on Debbie's Caribbean. After having contacted his office to arrange our visit, I received further confirmation of his involvement in helping kids through a foundation called "Beyond the Beach". But, humanitarian work aside, if anyone is interested in booking a tour, he offers some great packages for the adventurous and the not so adventurous. Quite last minute, we decided to take one of his guided city tours and were the only ones in the van. It was just myself, my husband, the driver and our guide, Nestor. It was like having a private tour and we visited 3 different towns, Sousa, Caberete and Montellano. We got as much time as we wanted in each location and they also took us to another school/orphanage to drop off some extra school supplies. I found their prices to be very reasonable, even compared to those offered through the tour operators. They have a website, if anyone is interested in what they offer. Personally, I would highly recommend their services.
Learning the Hard Way: Although we knew we were visiting a 3rd world country, we were struck by the level of poverty. Vendors and merchants are much, much more aggressive than in Mexico. We found going into any of the little shops could be stressful, because they never left you alone for a minute. The merchants followed us around the store, giving us a play by play of every item on the shelves. It was hard, because you knew they must be desperate for a sale, but at the same time, the pushier they were, the less time I stayed in the store. Also, down the beach from the Iberostar (you can walk all the way past all of the resorts along Playa Dorada, by the way -- we went all the way to the Allegro. It was beautiful!) But just down from the Iberostar, just over the river, is a little collection of stores. This was where we did a bit of shopping, because we found very little in Puerto Plata itself. Most of the stores carry the exact same things, but what we found astonishing was the prices they were asking. For example, a little trinket that we saw in our hotel gift store for 90 pesos, this one merchant was asking 600 pesos!! I know they expect us to barter, but even still, we ended up finding most of what we wanted in our hotel gift store. Imagine that! Usually, it's the other way around.
We also got stung by a fellow outside our resort while we were waiting for the bus to go into town. We had heard a taxi into POP would be about USD$20, so decided to take the bus. While we were waiting a fellow sporting a yellow "Tourism" shirt approached us and offered us a cab ride for $10USD return. We thought it may be too good to be true, but accepted his offer just the same. He proceeded to flag a cab off the street and the two of them drove us to the Central Park area of POP. We thought he was just going to drop us off and we'd arrange a pick up time, but instead he started showing us around town. He took us to the Amber Museum, the Larimar Museum and to a couple of other little shops where he fed us to these merchants to try and sell us something. I'm sure he must have got a cut out of anything we bought, but we were trying to figure out how to get rid of him and were not interested in buying anything at this point. We asked him to direct us to the Malecon and explained that we did not want his "tour guide" services. My husband gave him full payment for the taxi and told him we'd find our own way home. Anything to just be left on our own!! He then requested an additional $20USD for the guided tour -- the tour we were never told about nor had requested.
My husband simply refused to pay him. He explained "here is your round trip fare for a one way cab ride and a tip for your time, but you didn't tell us you were going to guide us all over town." The fellow wasn't happy about it, but he finally left us alone. Moral of the story: if it's too good to be true, it probably is! : )
All in all Puerto Plata is a great place to visit and the Iberostar is an amazing resort. We certainly
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Brian & Joanne Calgary, Canada
Our stay in Puerto Plata at the Iberostar Costa Dorada – last week of January 2006
First off: no incidents, no issues, no problems just good times!
I am late writing this but it may be helpful to those thinking of heading there at the same time of year, in late January (likely it is time to start booking for that time frame, the good deals should be showing up soon)
This was our first southern winter vacation ever. We are a couple in our fading 40’s with two kids in college. The kids have been south on party holidays with friends, but never us. This will not be our last southern vacation for sure. We were with Signature Vacations and flew Air Transat. We were there only a week. We had one day of rain. The clouds would boil up in the afternoon so the best sunning by the pool or on the beach was in the mornings.
The rest of this rambles on so be warned, more of a blog than a structured review.
Airports are airports, lots of people, lots of lines, lots of waiting even at 5 in the morning. We got through this but my wife is a nervous flyer and this was the longest trip she would ever take and we did not have seats together. I am one of those who did not know that this can be an issue and that you can pay to pre-book seats together. In any event, the Air Transat folks bent over backwards to accommodate. Once we were loaded on the plane and seated, they made it work, they moved the two of us and sat us together. Bravo, it was a big plane and they have enough to do but they went out of their way to help us. On the way back, there was no problem getting us sitting together.
The airport in Puerto Plata is a reasonable place. We made it through the process of getting cards filled out and stamped (keep all the little stamped pieces of paper, you need to hand those in as you leave it seems). The Signature Vacations rep was at the other end as we picked up our bags and headed out the door. We told them which resort, they pointed to a bus and on we went. The rep on the bus was a Canadian from Montreal, nice lady very helpful, gave some good advice on our journey to our hotel. Don’t even think of renting and driving yourself. Driving there is more of an opportunistic randomized process, lanes, laws and rules are not of much value: two lane roads can hold four to six wide, making a left turn involves flashing headlights and sudden movements in unpredictable manners.
Our Time at the Resort
As this was our first vacation like this (we usually go camping and roughing it) we were a bit nervous about all of this. Upon arrival at the resort, we were guided to carefully identify and get our bags off the bus and stack them by the lobby entrance. It is an open lobby, trees, water, critters, just lovely. We were greeted by a young lady with a tray of fruit slush drinks but being the last off the bus, they were gone before we could grab one. A few people were ahead of us so it took a few minutes to check in (maybe 15). No surprises. We signed in quickly and were handed a package, room keys and a key for our in-room safe (had to pay extra for the safe but not much). Our bags were off and we were told to relax and enjoy ourselves, the bags would be in our room when we got there. Being nervous and distrustful of the world we booted it down to our room, a nice spacious very clean room on the second level down near the beach (just as we had asked in an e-mail we sent earlier). The bags showed up about 20 minutes later. We should have just done as they said from the start, go straight to relaxing and having fun, there was really nothing to worry about. I am not used to this.
We headed back to the lobby as that seemed to be where the action was (this was about 7-8 pm at night). The lobby bar is nice and classy, we got to know those fellas really well. It got to the point that whenever one of those bartenders saw us coming, no matter what bar they were serving from, they would have a couple of shooters sitting on the bar waiting before we could order (a few late nights at the disco resulted in this but that is another story)
Go to the vacation reps presentation the morning following your check in, we did. It provides lots of information about your resort you would take days to discover. It only takes a half hour and you get to meet people.
The animation staff is genuine, they work hard and they enjoy their work. Joanne makes friends of everyone so it was not to long before they knew us and treated us like old friends. Dance lessons couple of times every day and we were there for them (different dance every day). Lots of games by and in the pool (if you see them setting up for “running on water” go for it, it is as much fun to do as it is to watch) lots of games and activities all day long. You can choose to vegg out or to get involved, no pressure but lots of opportunity, if you are bored it is because you want to be.
Ice cream machine by the pool is great as is the bar and open air restaurant. We would disco till late in the evenings, sleep in till 9am, get up and go lay by the pool till noon.
No problem, missing breakfast, they move and serve breakfast to the poolside restaurant at 10 am. Competition starts for lounge chairs by the pool by 10 or so but no matter, people start leaving their chairs by noon anyway and there always seemed to be some available somewhere most of the time. There are plenty in the trees and on the beach. We never had a problem finding a chair no matter what time of day. Kind of a foolish contest for chairs; seems really important to some people to get just the right chair in the right place though. They would be out like a shot early in the morning to lay their stuff out and defend claims to chairs as if they were the rings of power; some stayed in the same chair all week. You would see them there, hugging the chair in the early morning mist, their voice rising quietly over the breeze….. “My preciousssssssss … “.
The whole area within the resort is lush well kept gardens. This is amazing once the sun goes down and the lights of the pool and pathways bathe the whole area creating a luxurious atmosphere. The restaurants are decent food (would be called good food in most places) but the buffet is wonderful. The buffet has a wide variety of choices, everything kept fresh or taken away after what seemed like a short time. All types o meats and several fish every night. They had these elaborate carvings of vegetables at almost every station, worth going to the buffet just to see the carving. There was a corner where they had an assortment of local foods, fun to try, some of it was really good, some bland. The service staff would run to get you tea or drinks and treat you well. The desert bar goes on forever. The atmosphere in the restaurants is a blast, costumes and all. They do move you through on a schedule as the next seating is just behind you (we always picked the early seating). The coconut shrimp are to die for. No hint of illness on our trip from food or anything else for that matter. I did hit the pepto bismal one day because I made a pig of myself and ate to much rich food. There is so much available and you want to try it all so it is easy to overdo it. Same goes for the fancy drinks with umbrellas in them.
Decent little gym available with lifecycles, treadmills, weight machines and free weights and a spa. Did none of those things although I intended to.
One thing on service. I am a big believer of “how you treat others is how you are treated”. I believe it even though I am not very good at following it. Joanne is a lover of people and they love her. I am like sandpaper. I get good treatment because I am with her, she treats people with kindness and respect and they respond with extreme kindness. Nobody likes being treated like a servant; be kind, leave the attitude at home and be forgiving of little mistakes. Treat these hard working folks well and you will have a great time. Trying to learn and speak the language helps for some reason, Joanne is bilingual so Spanish was fun for her. It didn’t take her long to become loved by all the staff and where ever she went, she had first class treatment and as a result, me too.
Joanne had her birthday while we were there. That day, all the staff treated her very special, a birthday cake in her room, happy birthdays all around, singing to her whenever they caught up to her during the day. They even had her up on stage following the lion king performance to get the audience to sing happy birthday to her. Their kindness brought tears to her eyes. It ended up being a special day in her life she will remember always. She still is telling people that this was the best birthday she ever had.
We did hire a cab and go into town, the signature vacation rep arranged this for us. As soon as the cab pulled out of the resort, it stops and a fella tries to convince you to hire a guide. I didn’t like this as I felt pressured but I was glad we did hire him. We used him as a translator, not a guide as Joanne went shopping all afternoon to the local stores. Bought some nice “bar tops” as they call them. We also stopped at a jewellery factory and bought some pieces made with lorimar and amber. Got some nice stuff, bargained but in the end, likely paid too much (but in all we only spent a few hundred and bought quite a few nice pieces set in silver, not gold). She did pick up a very unique piece in amber that still gets people noticing. I hate shopping but she enjoyed the afternoon. There is poverty and the standard of living is much below ours. Joanne had not been exposed to that before so the trip to town did have a serious impact upon her. Once we were back on the resort and once again immersed in luxury, it is surprising how quickly we can forget the plight of our fellow voyagers on this planet.
We didn’t take any tours, the week was plenty full without them. If we were there two weeks I think it would have been different.
We had one day where it rained most of the day but the activities continued on under shelter, it did not seem like a lost day, just a different one. One night we had a barbeque, band and fires on the beach followed by café diablo (a real display of booze, fire and coffee, wonderful display, good coffee).
Most mornings were nice and sunny but as the day wears on, clouds bubble up so that by afternoon, there is a cloud over you as often as there is sunshine. Showers move through sometimes but last only a short while. It was warm every day, never needed to don clothes for warmth.
The beach is not the highlight as the north Atlantic blows pretty hard most days at that time of year at least. I can see how Columbus ended up there but wonder how he got back. Couldn’t go sailing or paddling most days as it was just to rough or windy. Water was warm enough but not inviting because of the winds. I haven’t been diving in 20 years and I didn’t break the trend on this trip.
We checked out the vendor huts up the way and bought a few things, some local colour. Remember, I hate shopping.
I had made a few phone calls but knew it would cost an arm and a leg so I was prepared. Some people weren’t and ended up with some really outrageous phone bills, could ruin your day if you are not careful. One thing, they do have computers and the internet that you can buy by the hour so you can keep in contact that way as well.
We wandered over to the Hilton next door to get at the bank machine (we went in from the beach end and walked through to the entrance so we could scope the place out). We were not impressed. Seemed deserted, seemed sterile not a warm and comfortable atmosphere like at the Iberostar. They descended on us friendly and all, but the next thing I knew, we were being given a time share pitch. I said no thanks and they gave it up quickly and let us wander as we would. Nice facility and grounds but no character. Perhaps it was the time of year but I was glad we did not pick that place, it had no life. I got a very good exchange rate through the bank machine, better than anywhere else on the island (don’t go to the front desk, they give you the worst rate in the known world). The Signature vacation rep gave us a decent rate on small amounts.
I took along 100 - $1 U.S. bills for tips and such. I spread this around during our week, some to the maids, some to the servers, some to the bartenders, even some to the grounds crew. They obviously appreciated it but never did I feel it was necessary and never did I feel that it made much difference in service, the service was always good anyway (remember, I was with Joanne though)
There are medical facilities on site but we did not need it. Joanne started with a rash under watch but we hit it with polysporin (bring some with you) and it was gone in a day. In this climate, even a small scratch can get infected quickly.
I saw one mosquito and dispatched it.
We had no security problems as some have reported. We even forgot to lock our safe one day and nothing was disturbed. The maid was great. First day I left her a note on the pillow asking for mucho agua (I drink a lot of water). She left me a gallon and filled the fridge with water, beer and soft drinks. When my gallon was empty, she left me a new one. The first night I ran out of water and called the desk, they sent up some but it took a while. Pretty little towel animals and flowers in the room every day.
Entertainment and shows every night (repeats once every two weeks). Shows were great entertainment and we made it a point to catch them unless we had something else on the go. Dancing down front following every show, a bar a 50 feet long up the side for getting a drink. There are servers constantly bringing you drinks throughout the seating area during the show so you do not even have to leave your seat for a minute. Then it is to the lobby bar for some drinks (and cigars if you like). Great place to meet people and have a chat. Most everybody there was open and welcoming to chatting it up. The disco kicks off at about 11 pm. There is the front of a Mac truck in there that gives you a blast of the lights and horn from time to time, and a bar of course. Great DJ that can just fit into the truck. Cosy enough place that you don’t need a lot of people to get the party going but big enough to handle quite a few. Crowd of all ages, seemed to change night by night. Lots of good tunes and variety.
The paella pans came out one lunch hour by the pool and they put together a wonderful creation crammed full of seafood complete with lobster tails and special drinks. It was an event in itself, every step of its creation accompanied by elaborate description, comedy, dancing and music. It was an event with a meal. Of course, Joanne was out there in front with salsa dancing. The crowd either watched or joined in but all were entertained and fed well. No one went without a lobster tail or two, plenty for all no need to rush to the front of the line (I got the next to first bowl though….. I was with Joanne and they fed her first).
There were all sorts of people from all over at this resort. Every day another plane would drop in another bunch from another part of the world. Lots of Canadians, very few Americans for some reason and lots of Europeans from all corners from Sweden, Scotland, Holland, UK, France, Germany, etc. We met lots of good people and had some really good chats. We are all the same, just different is all. Great place is this way: you want to be left alone you are, you want to meet people from all over, you can do that to.
Wahhh! It’s over!
Leaving was just as easy and arriving. Checking out was simple and easy, you keep your wrist band so you have the run of the resort even after check out. Good thing because we were there until supper time. There is a room available to change and such after you check out. We were at the lobby bar sipping a cool slushy drink when our bus showed up and we were loaded and off in no time. Joanne tried to pet the drug sniffer dog at the airport. I snapped at her but no one else did (that one cost me but I was afraid for her). It was an hour or two wait to before we could board but that is par for the course. Places to buy last minute booze or jewellery but we were vacationed out. You need to pay a $20 US tax to get a stamp on your boarding pass, I knew this ahead of time and put money aside just for that.
In the end, all the little things I was worried about never happened, or if they did, they didn’t really matter or make a difference. I guess I am saying, after a time I finally relaxed and enjoyed myself and so did my wife. Next time, I will relax immediately.
Would go back to this place in a minute but there are so many other places to see. Winter vacations will now become a regular feature for us. This year we will likely try somewhere in Mexico. I am even thinking of doing this twice a year now (budget permitting). One week works for us, two weeks would be nice but seems to be just a bit to long. 10 days would be perfect but you rarely see these canned packages in that format. We’ll plan to go, wait to the last minute and grab the deal that works for us, hopefully we’ll end up somewhere as comfortable and inviting with good food as is the case at the Iberostar Coasta Dorada. Definitely we will stick with something 4 star or above, we like that kind of treatment.
I would say the best four things: Service, Food, Facilities, Entertainment
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Marian & Andy England
My Husband and I visited the ICD in August 2006. This was our 8th visit to the Dom Rep and we chose the ICD rather than our usual favourite the Riu Bachata because of the continued reports of illness at the RIU resorts. Having read so many wonderful reports on the Iberostar we were truly disappointed with our stay. The hotel and grounds are very nice, but we felt several things let the hotel down badly. Firstly the swimming pool is in need of renovation, so many tiles mising from the bottom of the pool, and even worse several times a day a nasty green scum appears on the surface of the pool which the pool cleaners seemed in no hurry to clear. This is truly the dirtiest pool I have ever seen. The number of times we went to use the self serve drink machines to find they weren't working was ridiculous. I don't think the machines in the main restaurant worked at all during our 2 week stay. Food and service were average, our room was nice if a little tired. This was our second trip to an Iberostar hotel and it will be our last. In our experience of more than 12 all inclusive holidays in the Caribbean RIU hotels offer a better standard for a better price
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
We have just spent 2 weeks at the Iberostar Costa Dorada and I must say that the hotel and its facilities are all first class. The rooms are spacious and spotlessly clean, they are made up each day and beautiful swans are made from the towels with fresh flowers left too. The food in all the restaurants was excellent, and the buffet displays were outstanding. The people that worked at the hotel were extremely friendly. My daughter picked up an ear infection from the pool, she was seen by the doctor at the hotel and she was treated and it quickly cleared up. When we returned to our room, the hotel management had left a get well soon note for her and a large bowl of fresh fruits, which we thought was a nice touch.
This hotel is rated 5 stars...... well deservedly
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
My husband, daughter and I have just returned from a 2 week Holiday at the Iberostar Costa Dorada.
Please, please read this report if you are considering booking a holiday at the Iberostar Costa Dorada as we ourselves booked this holiday after reading the rave reviews on different internet sites.
Good Points English People - We made lots of new friends and the support from them was amazing. One lady that we didn't even know came running up to us when she was departing to say that she had 100 US Dollars left if we wanted them.
Food - A wide choice at breakfast from croissants and cheeses to a full English breakfast. The bacon was the best we've ever had on holiday. The smoothies are also a must. Entertainers - Especially Scooby and Tun Tun. The Lion King show is definitely the highlight of the holiday. It's the best show that we have ever seen performed by the entertainers and children.
We also had money stolen from our safe (700 US Dollars), £150 English Pounds and our Flight Tickets. We presume that they may have thought the tickets were traveller's Cheques as they are in a book. The money was stolen when we were on a trip to Ocean World. A Rep. from Ocean World is present in the Hotel for at least 18 hours a day!
With the exception of Juan Louis. Laughed at us when the theft was reported. Accused us of lying as they said that there was only ourselves and the Head of Security that can access the safes. Which is a lie on their behalf as all the security people walk around with screwdrivers and Duracell batteries on their belts to change the batteries on the safe when they have worn down. Lots of things didn't add up. A technician had been in our room when we hadn't reported a problem and they said that it was to fumigate it and there was one of the security guards with him when it was being done.
The room was not fumigated when they say as it had been done 2 or 3 days previously as we'd received a note the night before telling us to cover any food that was in the room and we could smell it when we returned. We had a telephone call 2 nights previous to the theft when we were getting ready to go for our evening meal. It was from a male with a Spanish accent asking, "Is Peter there? Sorry wrong room Number". I was suspicious and left the T.V. on when we went for Dinner. I informed Guest Services that we were reporting the theft to the Police and they said that if we wanted to waste more money then that was up to us as nothing would be done and they would just laugh at us. I was also threatened by the Head of Guest Services, he said that as I'd been seen going round telling English people what had happened that I may not be going home when I should, as I myself was commiting a crime as I couldn't prove that the money had been stolen from our safe! I believe that because we were insistent on going to the Police, we were terrorised on our last night. We received 2 telephone calls, yes from a male with a Spanish accent. The 1st siad "It's Peter", then put the phone down, the 2nd call half an hour later said, "Is Peter there? My husband said, "Hang on a minute, who is it?" they then put the phone down.
We left the phone off the hook but we were too petrified to go to sleep that night as we thought that they were coming back for our packed suitcases. I would be very interested to find out how many people this has actually happened to. I couldn't believe it when I saw a report on your site dated May 2006. Why is this still going on and how backward are they in using the same name? The staff believe that nothing can be done as I told them I would try my best for our Holiday from Hell to be publicised so it isn't allowed to happen to anybody again and they laughed at me and said, "You try it". Apparently Thomas Cook's sister company is one of the biggest hotels in Tenerife and that is why the staff believe they can't be touched.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
We had the great holiday in the Iberostar Costa Dorada. We flew from Glasgow on the 19th July for 2 weeks. On booking our holiday we paid that little extra for the Premier Gold package through Airtours. It was perfect, smooth check-in at the designated check in desk. There were about 3 groups in front but it took no time at all. The My Travel plane took off on time and the flight was really good both there and back bar some turbulence which can’t be helped. We had loads of leg room and a little entertainment monitor each. The entertainment was a choice of films (Inside Man, Chronicles of Narnia), programmes (Friends, Little Britain etc). The food and service was up to scratch too.
We arrived in Puerto Plata Airport and walked to the immigration area. I bought our visas from the Dominican Republic Embassy before we left which saved a bit of queuing. You still have to fill out the blue immigration form though. Once you pass that area you reach the baggage reclaim where you collect your bags off the conveyer belt. There were no other security checks after that as I have seen in Cancun airport Mexico. Fallow the walk way round to the exit door and find the rep from the company who you flew with and give your name and hotel. They will then give you your bus number.
The heat will hit you like a steam train :o) Do not let anyone take your bag i.e. porters as they require a tip. The (Air conditioned) buses are not far away, directly in front of the exit of the airport. The buses will not go without you so take your time your on holiday.
Our transfer from the airport took about 15-20 mins. We were given our all inclusive wrist bands, room key card and resort info pack. We had the My Travel Rep called ******** who wasn’t the most helpful rep in the world. To be perfectly honest she must be the worst rep I have ever come across and I have been so some pretty dire places including Ayia Napa and Tenerife on lad’s holidays. If you want to be a rep at least enjoy it and the customers you are trying to please. Enough of the rambling!
We arrived at the resort and the lobby (reception) was beautiful with a pool in the middle with terrapins. We were greeted with an ice cold fruit slush drink which went down a treat after the long journey. The porters ask for your room number which they label your cases with. You then leave your luggage at reception where they deliver it to your room in about half an hour to an hour. We were given a quick tour by a member of staff. The grounds were stunning with a number of ponds with fish and fountains (Ideal for photos). Then you came to the pool, it is huge.
We eventually reached our room which was in block 7 on the second floor over looking the pool. We couldn’t of picked a better one. The room had a queen size bed which was massive, a TV which had Sky, mini fridge full of (Presidente Beer, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite and Coke), the bathroom had a bath, shower, hairdryer and a large area around the sink for toiletries.
For those who want to get stuck in to the free drink in the room the bottle opener is on the wall in the bathroom, for what reason I don’t know. We also had a large balcony with 2 chairs and a table.
The food is very nice. There are loads to choose from for everybody.
Breakfast: Eggs (Omelette, scrambled, fried and boiled), Bacon, Sausages, Beans, Bread, Toast, Waffles, Pancakes, donuts, lots of freshly cut fruit ( Mango, Pineapple, Water Melon, Orange Melon…) selection of fresh fruit drinks and the list goes on……
Lunch: Chicken, Pork, Fish, Pasta, 2 different soups, Burgers, Hot dogs, Fries, Pizza, Salads, breads and selection of desserts.
Dinner: Much the same as lunch but with more choice of stews, curries, fish.
There are also the Al Carte restaurants (Tropical, Mexican and Brazilian).
They were alright for a change but I much preferred the main buffet for larger choice.
There is a night club on the resort too called Route 66. We had many a top night in there drinking shots of Kamikaze, Sexy sexys and Sambuca. Say hi to the DJ nicknamed by us as Fatman Scoop (LEGEND). You have to get one of the burgers from the Mexican afterwards as they make the best food ever or maybe it was after all the drink
Trips: We took the Outback Jungle Safari tour which was very good just to see the scenery and way of life in the Dominican. Supposedly some of the film Jurassic Park was filmed on the island and no wonder when you see its beauty. The day finishes off boogie boarding at a beach in Carbarete which was awesome.
We also went white water rafting. This, I thought was a waste of time. The journey there and back was the total of 6 hours for a pretty badly organised rafting trip. This trip is not for the faint hearted as one of the girls we went with found out who fell in at the first bunch of rapids. Once you are on the boat you are stuck in it until the end as you flow through a huge gorge in the middle of no where. I wouldn’t waste your time on your well deserved holiday.
We also went on the Rep organised Mind Benders Tour of three bars. You get a meal and 2 drinks at each bar. I didn’t think it was worth the money but well worth it to get out of the complex and see some really nice bars. Word of warning the 2 free drinks at each bar only includes beer, rum and coke or rum and lemonade.
Over all our group of 6 had a wonderful holiday and would definitely recommend this hotel to everyone.
Phew finished! :o)
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Neil and Avril Scotland
Travel dates 5 - 20 May 2006
We are a married couple and went on this holiday to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. On this occasion we left our children at home.
We booked the holiday through Thomson holidays, and flew direct from Newcastle to Puerto Plata with Monarch airlines. Thomson were good in all respects, Monarch were OK, I don't suppose charter flights are ever great and neither was this one - but not terrible either.
We had a fantastic time and agree with all the good things said about this hotel in other reviews. Highlights for us were the beautiful environment - lovely gardens and beautiful pool area, and the food which was tremendous. The serving area in the main buffet is absolutely huge and has loads of different selections. Of all the activities on offer I enjoyed Water Polo the best, but spent a lot of time lying on a lounger reading books too. There were evening shows in the theatre at about 9.30pm each night - varying standard but the better ones were absolutely excellent. (These were the ones they rehearsed during the day - there were others that relied more on audience participation and consequently the quality was dependent on who was there).
Weather was perfect - warm and sunny nearly all the time (we had a couple of brief thunderstorms towards the end of the holiday, in the evening). Sometimes it was so hot we went into the pool to read our books instead of lying on the lounger.
We did two tours - Saona adventure, and Monster Truck Safari. They were a good contrast from each other with Saona being mostly on the water and Monster Truck Safari taking you inland to see more of the country. I'd recommend both. Saona is a little on the expensive side, but you get a flight and trips in speedboats and catamaran and it is a long tour, so you get value for money. We also went into Puerto Plata on our own (in a taxi, refusing the persistent offers of a guide) and enjoyed that too. The cost of the taxi for a morning to town, cable car and back to the hotel was $40US.
In summary this is definitely a hotel to be recommended.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
My son, my mother, my stepfather and I have all just arrived back from our second visit to the Iberostar CD and yet again, we were far from disappointed!! We were last there in February 2005 and nearly everyone remembered us!! The entertainment was fantastic as usual and Mamamaria and yese deserve a big round of applause for all the work they do with the kids. The shows were top notch and the kids were entertained from morning until night.
The heat was phenominal this time though. Last February we enjoyed highs of around 25c but this time it was more like 35!! Not really something us Scots are used to!! Coming home was a bit of a let down and, as expected, I caught a cold on my first day back!!
Shops are a little expensive in the resort for snacks etc so if you have a sweet tooth, I recommend you take sweets (candy for americans!) with you. The pool this time was just the right temperature for the time of year and was a welcome relief from the heat.
If you haven't yet visited this resort, what are you waiting for??? Do it now!! You will not regret it!
We are already planning our return in February!!
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Professional at times
Pool & gardens superb
Downside is safety outside resort otherwise brilliant
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
P & M Toronto
My husband and I visited the Iberostar Costa Dorada ("ICD") in Puerto Plata the first week of May. This was our third trip to an Iberostar resort. We have previously visited Iberostar Punta Cana and Iberostar Bavaro, both of which we absolutely loved.
The ICD is an amazing resort. We have absolutely nothing negative to say about this resort and we were lucky to have great weather the entire 9 days we were there.
We had a pool-view room with a king size bed. The maids did an amazing job keeping our room clean and replenishing the mini-fridge with soft drinks and beer.
The food was plentiful and very good. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, there was plenty to choose from. I especially loved the pancakes at breakfast. There was always enough to eat at the dinner buffets, not to mention the wide-range of foods to choose from. One night they even had a turkey they were carving up, something my husband thoroughly enjoyed. If you like desserts (I certainly do) you won't be disappointed. Make sure you try the mousse when you visit. So delicious. I will admit that some of the foods were a little bland (the pasta and potatoes) but hey, you're down south. As for the specialty restaurants, we never ended up visiting any of them as we like "going with the flow" on our vacation and not having to make a reservation for a certain time and then not making it. We did hear from some people we spoke with that the Mexican restaurant was very good.
Every evening, before and after dinner, we hung around the main lobby bar. We had a lot of fun meeting new people and drinking different kinds of cocktails. We saw about 4 or 5 shows the Star Friends put on. Now remember you're down
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Lesley and Sam Whitby, Ontario
The Kids Club was terrific. Our daughter (age 4) loved the Kids Club, she could not wait for it to open every morning. Our son (age 6) loved the kids competitions at the Kids Club - they could win medals, t-shirts. hats, etc. The club is open from 10am to 12:30pm then again from 3pm to 4:30pm. Best of all, Jessie and 'Mama Maria' take all the children at 7pm every night for dinner and then to the stage for the mini-disco at 8pm. My husband and I were truly appreciative of the time to have a quiet dinner by ourselves and the kids loved to eat with all the other kids! There seemed to be a wide range of ages of children in the kids club and the staff kept them all very busy and entertained.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Erik and Leah
I have to say that the wedding was the best I've ever seen (I am a little biased I suppose), and most of the people have told me the same. We were given a wedding coordinator, Santos, who was fantastic - he did everything in his power to make our day the perfect day. I think at first he was a little surprised at the number of people we had attending it (most of the weddings there tended to be quite small), but he rose to the occasion. Erik and I sat down with him to discuss all the different options for the wedding. If we wanted we could have had it on the beach, but they have a beautiful spot that feels much more private within the hotel grounds in a courtyard. For the cake and the flowers, we were given a number of choices, and were very happy with the results. The food for the reception dinner is served in the tropical restaurant and again we were given some dinner plans; however we opted for the choice of ordering off the menu since we had so many different people with us. We were able to play our own music for the beginning of the ceremony, and this was lovely as it was filter through speakers set in the lobby and throughout the courtyard. Erik and I also requested that we have our first dance after the ceremony, and again the music surrounded us as we danced by a fountain. The resort provides a photographer and our package included 12 photos. We could have had the photographer for the rest of the wedding, however my aunt from Spain is also a photographer and we used her instead - which consequently saved us a lot of $. The resort would have also arranged a videographer for us, but again we brought our own, my brother-in-law, who did the job for free! Santos was very helpful in guiding our "cameraman" to the best shots.
Erik was left to wait and sweat a bit, because the officiant was late (it's the Dominican), the flowers went to the wrong room (we had changed rooms the day before), one of my bridesmaid's had to feed her baby, and another forgot her passport in her room. But in the end I think the wait was good for him ;). My bridesmaids, my dad, our cameraman and I drove to the ceremony in a golf cart (lots of fun) and then after some photos, the procession started. The formal ceremony was short and sweet; however to make it personal Erik and I said our own personal vows to one another at the end. After the ceremony, and during the cake and champagne there was a music trio that played - it was a really nice touch. We had our first dance, which was magical (corny, I know). We then did lots and lots and lots of photos all over the resort and on the beach. After a little rest (time to get the rice out of my dress - see below), it was dinner time. The reception was relaxed and informal - just what we wanted. In the end, our wedding day was wonderful - it was like a dream - there was nothing missing.
The only things I would change is to request that the wedding coordinator does not give the guests rice to throw at us when we head back up the aisle. It went everywhere, especially down my dress! I had provided bubbles to my guests, which they used for a bit, but once the rice was handed to them, there was no going back. The other thing to take note of is the hair salon. Three days before the wedding my fiance and I went to the salon to make an appointment for my hair. We saw them write the appointment down in a book - in pencil. Two hours before my wedding, my three bridesmaids and I went to get my hair done. We were told there was no appointment for me and they were all booked up. We were a bit upset to say the least! However between us and a family friend who was on his way to the gym, the receptionist was forced to make some accommodation - she cancelled an appointment (an hour before our wedding) and gave my my maid of honor permission to start on my hair in the salon. In the end, my maid of honor practically did all of my hair, but put the veil in - and it looked awesome!
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Valéry et Frédéric from Trois-Rivières, Québec
Mon conjoint et moi sommes allés au Superclubs Breezes de Puerto Plata, en République Dominicaine, du 17 juin au 1er juillet 2005. J'en étais à mon quatrième voyage dans la région de Puerto Plata. J'adore l'hôtel Casa Marina Reef, or, comme il s'agissait de notre voyage de noces, nous voulions aller dans un nouvel hôtel. J'ai consulté mon agente de voyage, Chantal, chez Voyages Funtastique à Longueuil. Nous avons étudié plusieurs possibilité pour finalement rabattre notre choix sur le Superclub Breezes. Nous avons voyagé avec Air Transat, à l'aller et au retour. Les deux vols se sont bien déroulés.
Une fois arrivée au Breezes, nous avons eu la bonne surprise de voir que nous avions eu droit à un petit surclassement, puisque nous étions en voyage de noces. Nous avons donc eu droit à une chambre plus spacieuse, incluant un coin salon, une bouteille de vin et une assiette de fruits. La chambre était très propre et bien située. Nous avions un petit frigo remplit d'eau et de boisson gazeuse. Fait à noter, le Breezes a adopté une politique plus environnementale. Ainsi, sur le site, plusieurs distributeurs d'eau nous permettent de remplir nos bouteilles, plutôt que d'en ouvrir toujours de nouvelles... n'oublions pas qu'il n'y a pas de recyclage là bas. Qui plus est, chaque chambre est munie d'une carte qui permet d'indiquer à la femme de chambre si nous voulons qu'elle change les draps ou non. Il est donc possible de garder quelques jours les mêmes draps - comme à la maison - et de les faire changer au besoin. Aussi, il en va de même pour les serviettes, les femmes de chambre ne ramasseront que celles qui sont sur le plancher. Je trouve qu'il s'agit d'une façon très écologique d'économiser l'eau. Félicitations au Breezes pour ces choix.
La nourriture est très bonne sur tout le site du Breezes. Il y a le buffet central qui permet de déjeuner, dîner et souper. On y trouve de tout, pour tout les goûts, et les amateurs de fruits de mers seront servis! Des salades de calmar, de crevettes, des sardines, du poisson à chaque repas... et d'immenses langoustes - équivalente à un homard de 2 ou 3 livres! - lors du souper "gala". Il y a également un buffet tout l'après-midi et après le souper, au bar de la plage. On y sert hamburger, frites, ailes de poulet, etc. Le soir, ce buffet se transforme en restaurant Mexicain. Les repas servis le soir à ce restaurant sont convenables, rien de plus. Pour le souper, on retrouve aussi un restaurant asiatique. Il s'agit, à notre avis, du meilleur des quatre restaurants. La nourriture est très bonne, sautée devant nous par des chefs symptahiques. Le restaurant italien quant à lui n'est pas très bon. En fait, la pizza et les pâtes du buffet sont meilleures que celles servies à ce restaurant, et de beaucoup. Je ne vous le conseille pas. Enfin, il y a le restaurant français, qui a une bonne carte et où le repas est très bon. Pour aller à ces restaurants, il faut réserver le matin, à l'entrée principale du buffet. Il est de bon ton de réserver dès le début de vos vacances et ce, pour toute la semaine, si vous voulez être certain d'y manger. Ceci dit, les soupers au buffet sont aussi très bons. Par contre, pour nous qui aimons la culture dominicaine et la nourriture dominicaine, ce fut une grande déception. Nous avions droit à de la nourriture locale seulement un soir par semaine! Nous étions là, à rêver du poulet en sauce du restaurant Sosua (coin Beaubien, St-Laurent) à Montréal, alors que nous étions en République Dominicaine! Faut le faire...
Il faut dire que le Breezes est très "aseptisé" dans ce sens. Tout est très international, trop à notre goût! Les après-midi sont bercés des mêmes chansons, tout les jours, et nous n'en pouvions plus d'entendre Bryan Adams et Céline Dion!!! Si nous avons aimé notre première semaine par la découverte des lieux, nous avons rapidement convenu que nous ne retournerons plus à cet hôtel. Entendons-nous, on y mange très bien, on y boit très bien, on y dort très bien mais, rien nous fait sentir que nous sommes en République Dominicaine. C'est le côté qui nous a le plus déçu. Qui plus est, nous avions amené beaucoup de matériels scolaires, des produits d'hygiènes et des vêtements mais, il nous était interdit de les distribuer au personnel de l'hôtel. Le Breezes aurait une politique d'ajustement des salaires en fonction de ce fait. Il nous a été possible de distribuer nos choses lors de notre excursion, d'en laisser une bonne part à notre représentante Nolitour.
Nous avons assister qu'à quelques spectacles le soir mais, ce n'était pas très fameux. Ceux du Casa Marina Reef sont de loin meilleurs. Sur place, il est possible de faire plusieurs activités: trampoline, trapèze, jeux dans la piscine, locations d'équipements sportifs aquatiques sur la plage. Aussi, l'hôtel offre une navette, trois fois par jour, vers les villages de Cabarete et de Sosua. C'est un élément qui nous semblait fort avantageux lors du choix de cet hôtel. Or, rapidement, on se rend compte que cet aspect positif a aussi son versant négatif. En effet, le Breezes de Puerto Plata semble accoquiné avec le Azzaro à Cabarete et le Sosua by the Sea à Sosua. Si bien que, dès que nous mettons les pieds dans ces villages, nous sommes assaillis à la porte du bus, par des représentant de ces hôtels qui ne nous lâchent vraiment pas. Il faut dire que même au Breezes, il y a de tels représentants qui se tiennent à l'avant des portes centrales du buffet, près des toilettes - ce qui nous faisais toujours éviter l'endroit. Bref, ces représentants veulent faire de nous des clients "vip". Ils prennent beaucoup de notre temps, ils nous font visiter une suite de luxe et tente ensuite de vous faire prendre des engagements financiers de plusieurs milliers de dollars. Leur stratégie est de vous faire miroiter que, de passer directement par l'hôtel, en évitant les agences de voyages, vous fera économiser plusieurs centaines de dollars à chaque voyage. On vous fait miroiter des prix qui peuvent sembler alléchant. Toutefois, prenez garde car, lorsque l'on calcule le prix qu'ils nous offrent en plus du prix d'un billet d'avion aller-retour, ça revient beaucoup plus cher que d'acheter un forfait tout inclus. Qui plus est, n'oubliez pas que ces entreprises ne sont pas régies les lois de protection du consommateur dans vos pays d'origine. Donc, si vous vous engagez pour plusieurs milliers de dollars avec eux, vous n'avez aucun recours si vous changez d'idée.
Nous avons personnellement été visiter les deux hôtels, parce que nous avons eu pitié des personnes qui nous disaient, après près d'une demi-heure à leur dire que nous n'étions pas intéressé, que, si nous ne faisions que nous présenter, ça leur faisait 10$ de commissions. Or, il ne faut pas se laisser avoir. Cette commission, ils l'ont que si l'on prend un engagement. Notez que la représentante que nous avons rencontré au Sosua by the Sea refusait de nous dire le nom de la compagnie qui gérait ce système de client "vip". En plus, comme nous voulions y aller que pour que le type ait sa commission, nous avons donc menti en disant que nous reviendrions le lendemain, ce qui nous permettrait d'en discuter entre nous, à tête reposée. Elle nous a alors dit que ce n'était pas possible, que c'était maintenant qu'on devait signer ou jamais. Prenez donc toujours garde lorsqu'on tente de vous vendre quelque chose sur pression comme cela.
Les excursions: il existe une multitudes d'excursions à faire dans la région de Puerto Plata. Les plus intéressantes sont celles d' Outback Jungle Safari. En plus d'un tour dans les montagnes, sur la plage, cette visite nous permet d'en apprendre un peu plus sur l'histoire du pays, son économie et sa culture. Notez qu'Outback Safari recueille du matériel scolaire, hygiénique et des vêtements, qu'il distribue dans les régions plus éloignées des centres touristiques, donc les plus pauvres.
Nous avons aussi fait l'excursion "Hispaniola explorer". Dans un minibus, c'est plus de 600 km que nous parcourons dans l'arrière-pays. Nous avons entre autres visité la ville frontière (Dajabon) entre Haïti et la République Dominicaine. C'est vraiment effarant de voir la course folle des Haïtiens pour transporter le plus de marchandises possibles dans leur pays, lors des heures d'ouvertures du marché de cette ville frontalière. Ensuite, nous avons visité le village haitien de Tilori qui se situe dans les montagnes, à la frontière d'Haïti et de la République Dominicaine. Cette visite permet de constater les besoins énormes des paysans des montagnes, tant en matériel scolaire, d'hygiène qu'en vêtement. Si vous prévoyez faire de telles excursions, de grâce, n'amenez pas de bonbons aux enfants. Faites, tout au long de l'année, des provisions de vêtements trop petits, de pâtes dentifrices, brosses à dents, shampoing, savon (notamment ceux que l'on vous distribue dans les hôtels) et de matériel scolaire de toute sorte. Le tout sera beaucoup plus utile que quelques bonbons rapidement fondu sous la langue....
Sur ces recommandations, je vous dirai que le Breezes est un bon hôtel pour quelqu'un qui voyage à l'étranger pour la première fois et qui ne veut pas être trop dépaysé. Vous trouverez la même musique, bouffe et alcool que chez vous. Toutefois, pour quelqu'un qui aime entrer en contact avec une autre culture, aller ailleurs! Au Casa Marina Beach ou Reef, entre autres.
Ah oui! Un petit mot en terminant. Nous avons été estomaqués par ces touristes qui se plaignaient qu'il y ait des Dominicains en vacances sur le "resort". À ces personnes je dirai: restez donc chez vous!
Quoi qu'il en soit, bon voyage!
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
Iberostar Costa Dorada (Puerto Plata) 8 au 15 mai 2005
Semaine nuageuse et pluvieuse. On s'est fait dire que le mois de mai était un mois pluvieux par des employés.
Bonne grandeur - ventilateur de plafond - grand balcon avec un séchoir pour serviettes et costumes de bain - Télévision par satellite - environ 20 postes (TV5 en français) - Pas de réveil matin - eau dure (apporter un bon conditionneur pour cheveux) - Eau chaude abondante. Bien insonorisée.
Buffet - très bon et varié (crevettes*, caviar*, pizza four à bois)- Vin maison très acceptable (aucun vin à la carte disponible) * Une fois dans la semaine
Resto brézilien - On est servi à partir de brochettes sur lesquelles sont enfilées des viandes grillées. 2 services:6h30 et 8h45 - Ils font entrer tout le monde en même temps. Bar à salade comme entrée. Après, les serveuses passent aux tables avec les brochettes. On se sent comme dans une chaine de production car sur la brochette il y a de la viande pur toutes les tables - donc on se se sent pressés. Pas réellement d'ambiance.
Il n'y a pas de ligne d'attente pour réserver aux restos spécialités.
Resto BBQ autour de la piscine où l'on peut manger en costune de bain - Poulet BBQ - sandwiches - hot dog - vraies frites - paella avec queues de homard * et grosses crevettes en abondance.
* Une fois dans la semaine
En nombre suffisant - sur la plage il y a des arbres qui apportent de l'ombre
Bon programme pour les enfants - Big Mama, une sorte de nanny que les enfants semblent adorer.
majorité allemande et britannique - clientèle mature 50+ mais aussi beaucoup de jeunes familles - Mariages tous les jours.
Lobby - étang à flamands roses. Sur les terrains de l'hotel se promènent des paons en liberté.
Ne pas oublier les articles de toilette car boutique très chère. Apporter du OFF si on est du genre à se faire piquer.
Coffret de sureté - $2. us par jour
Internet - $5. us pour 30 minutes
Pourboires: Ils sont rares ceux qui laissent un pourboire. $l. us ici et là vous assurent d'etre reconnus
Animation discrète - musique à l'occasion sur le bord de la piscine
L'hotel est voisin immédiat du Coral Marien de Hilton (où il semble y avoir une clientèle plus jeune)
Nous ne sommes pas sollicités par des vendeurs itinérants lorsque nous sommes dans les chaises longues de la plage.
A 20 minutes à partir de la plage. Ne vaut pas le déplacement surtout qu'il faut passer par les vendeurs agressifs du marché aux puces.
Selon nous meilleur prix pour le rhum $5 us. pour 750ml -
Apporter un gilet et souliers car la climatisation de l'aéroport est très froide
Selon nous (50 ans), un tout-inclus 4 étoiles supérieur à la moyenne si on se fie aux autres que nous avons fréquentés dans le Sud.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
The kids club was pretty good. They have two care providers, Mama Maria and Jessie. They had activities for them (basketball, soccer/football, mini-put, bowling. They got to watch television. A few nights, they even took the children to dinner, so the parents could enjoy a nice dinner without the children. A pretty cool thing that they did with the kids and adults was for all the organized activities, the winner got a nice Iberostar medal, a T-Shirt or hat. Our kids really liked getting the medals.