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Reviewed 20 March 2006

My husband and I just returned March 17/06 from the Coral Costa Caribe, this resort is rated as a 4 star I would have to disagree with that... a 3 star rating at best would be more accurate. The overall condition of the buildings were shabby and in need of painting and a good cleaning. The main lobby floor was clean but the hallways and the buffet dining room floors were filthy. When we checked in the first room they gave us smelled musty like mold/mildew. It also had 2 double beds, not a king and no balcony as we had requested. They did give us a new room no problem so we at least had a balcony.

Problems with the water for 5 of the days we were there. The first 2 days we showered with luke warm water, then the following 3 days it was cold showers before the boiler was fixed. My main concern was just how did they clean the dishes, linen, towels and clean the bathrooms with no hot water in the resort? To add to the list of annoyances they were planning to fumigate our room one morning, they said it wasn't harmful to our health but we weren't about to take any chances. I would assume things like that would be looked after while the room is not occupied.

The grounds outside and the pool area were kept clean and neat and there was plenty of seating whether you wanted sun or shade.

We never had to wait in line at the restaurants. The food was ok, some days were better than others.

The staff was friendly and we always left a tip to show our appreciation.

Despite some of the problems we did enjoy ourselves. The highlight of our trip was the excursion to Saona Island offered by the resort. It was definately worth it!

Would we return to this resort? No, I know we would receive better value for our money elsewhere.

  • Stayed: March 2006
    • Value
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7  Thank GoPlaces1415
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2006

This was our first stay in an all-inclusive resort. I was expecting to not like the concept because I usually get quite a bit of enjoyment from exploring local restaurants and getting out of the hotel. However, other than a dozen or so colonial buildings in Santa Domingo, there seems to be very little to see in this country. If you want to relax and sit on a beach for a week, without much sightseeing, this place would be fine.

The room was very large, was clean and updated, and had a balcony. There was central air and it worked. The walls were thin and we could hear conversations in adjacent rooms quite easily. The hotel was above average, the concept and country were below average.

There were three specialty restaurants, one Dominican, one Mexican, and one Italian. The Italian restaurant was the most popular, and was quite small--you had to get in line 10-15 minutes before it opened to have a good chance to get in. The Mexican restaurant had a taco bar, besides the main meals, and those tacos were the best meals I had on the property. The specialty restaurants were all much better than the buffet. But get to dinner early to get a table in the specialty restaurants. The service in the buffet was so-so, one day I got seated at a table then a guy showed up and said he had already been seated there and just went for food. The Italian one is the hardest to find and is at the end of a building of hotel rooms. The Dominican one is near the main reception area, and seemed to be the easiest one to get into.

I don't think I had a hot meal anywhere in the complex. I'm not sure if that is because in a hot climate, they don't like hot food. I got sick one day and I never ate outside the complex. Others go sick too, some got quite sick. I was careful and only used bottled water to brush teeth, etc. And I've eaten salads in Mexico without getting sick. Anyway, you can't assume you will be safe if you only eat at the hotel--be careful.

There was a casino on site--drinks there were not included in the all-inclusive deal. Odds were quite bad.

You can borrow paddle boats as part of the all-inclusive deal, but they don't let you go very far, the boundaries are all far (one boundary is a wall of stones).

They have a guy on a microphone during the day but he is kind of annoying. They have shows at night that are mostly just dancing to pop music, not very exciting. Really, the main activities here are eating or handing out on the beach. If you go out of the complex, there are a couple of strip malls 5 minutes walking distance away on a small street with garbage in vacant lots on the sides of the road.

The only interesting sightseeing is in Santo Domingo which isn't too far but traffic in town is absolutely terrible. Go early and spend a full day so you don't have to deal with the drive more than one day. A tour guide is well worth the money, just don't let them waste too much of your time in stores that likely pay kickbacks to the tourguides. There are several interesting colonial buildings, National Pantheon, an old Cathedral, a fort, and several houses near the Columbus park. There is a Sofitel hotel right in the heart of that area. If you could spend your arrival or departure night there, and have time for an extra night or two beyond your all-inclusive period, it would probably be well worth it.

By the way, if you arrive in Santo Domingo's airport, it is quite disorganized. The lines on the left are for Dominican residents. You need the lines on the right. You have to buy an entry permit (U.S. dollars) before standing in the immigration line but nobody tells you that. You need a blue immigration form but they don't have them out, you have to go to the front of the line to get one then go back to the end of the line and fill it out while moving. A couple of people have encountered the same scam--someone will tell you it is someone else's birthday, and after you say "happy birthday" they will suggest you give them a gift. This happened to one person in immigration, and to another person in the hotel (in the business office). Other than that, we felt quite comfortable and safe in the country.

Overall, not a lot to see in this country. I feel no need to go back. I haven't been to many of the Carribean islands, but so far I like Puerto Rico and Cayman Islands the best, in terms of cleanliness, safety, and things to see and do.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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9  Thank spokanetraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2006

We had a great vacation at this hotel. The Costa Caribe seems very "hit and miss" - some people in our group loved it, others hated it. My suggestion is to read the reviews and follow the hints/tips and you'll have a good trip that won't cost a fortune. We printed all the online reviews and read them on the airplane (ie: we got the safe, we were careful with the mini-bar, etc.).

Best thing for me: I found the food was quite good and plentiful (especially if you like chicken, pork etc.).

Worst thing for me: The beach - my feet were quite cut up from beach volleyball.

Note: We were there from Feb6-Feb13 2006

  • Stayed: February 2006
    • Value
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9  Thank Otowntravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Ottawa, Canada
111
Reviewed 2 March 2006

The hotel was clean and OK but it is older. It is not our usual quality expected from a Hilton. It is a four star local resort not a real international four stars. It is family oriented. Waves of Dominicans and family come for the week-end. They must get a real good price.
The safe deposit box is a must. I heard of quite a few robberies (one every second day) in room at ground level. The hotel tries to charge for the key for the safe eventhough it is included. It is expensive. Tell them and they will not charge for it.

At the resort the service was excellent so was the food. We tried all five restaurants at the resort and they were OK. We did not fancy the Mexican one because of the food selection. But it was still a nice place. The Italian restaurant was great. Booze was ok and also the white and red Spanish wine. We had to pay extra for other type of wines (carte) and it was a bit expensive.

The Guavaberry golf course is part of all inclusive at this Resort and provide excellent shuttle service. The overall course was very nice inclusive of the greens, except for the bunkers. Very poor sand. There is a new director of golf since November. He is Canadian and he will have lots of work to do because there is no discipline on the course. No marshall. Tee times means nothing. We visited some of the available condos for sale at the golf course. They are very very nice and the price is not bad. But we are not buying.

For internet, do not used the hotel one because you pay in advance. Just outside of the resort, walk to the right for 5 minutes, at the Plaza de la Luna, there is an internet café and you pay as you used it. With one dollar US you go a long way. I never paid more and did all my business. Also at this Plaza, you can find lots of local souvenirs and what ever you need. It is cheaper than on the beach or at the resort. Negociate all the time but pay a FAIR price. It is their living.

There was a show every night at the resort. Lots of dancing and nice people. Fairly enjoyable shows. Before the show, the kids are entertained by dancing with a clown.

We went on a Great Safari Tour. Be ready to ride in an open truck for a full day. We really enjoyed our day. Great visit. We also went to Sanoa Island for a day. Beaches were beautiful and the boat trips (speedboat (50 miles/hour) and catamaran were OK. Vitamin drinks (local rum) were flowing easily during those trips.

We did also visit Santo Domingo for a full day. Very old and interesting city so were the local people. Good shopping with good prices. But be ready to be bother a bit, here and there, on the main pedestrian street by vendors. But they are not as bad as it was for us in Egypt.

All those one day trip can be arrange in the lobby at the hotel.

Overall for 28 days it was a good vacation away from the snow and the cold.

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
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11  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Ottawa, Canada
18
Reviewed 1 March 2006

Just came back from a week with my two teens and husband at the Coral Costa Caribe. After we paid, I read over 120 reviews until my eyes were almost bleeding and altho many many of them were bad, I just used them as a reference as to how I would correct the the problems before I got down there. The resort was lovely. I had only stayed at a 3 star before so the variety of restaurants here was great. Not wild about the grill but there was some choice. Italian was fun but a long wait so bring cards or dice to keep busy. Also, there didn't seem to be much of a system so the ones that were always in the hostess' face, seemed to get tables faster. Knowing some Spanish would be a definite asset at this restaurant.
We never experienced the power outages but then every time you leave your room, if you take the card, everything turns off so who knows.
The biggest complaints in all the reviews was not enough towels, so I brought one from home, altho there were lots of towels afterall. Also, the ever disappearing remote control. If you got one, why not just put it in the safe when you leave?
My daughter bought some junk food in the hotel. DON'T buy anything in the hotel. It was outrageously expensive and very stale and dusty white (if you catch my drift), so bring lots from home as we always seemed to want to munch back in the room.
We did see the ants but come on guys, they were microscopic and few if you didn't leave food out. You can buy some pest free towelettes from Home Depot but anything else, is prohibited by law to bring over the border. At least these don't look too much like pesticides.
Our bus arrived after 1:00 in the morning. As many of you know, checkin is at 3:00 almost everywhere. If you come earlier, you WILL wait so we understood that. The porters will let you go thru your bags whenever you want tho so you're not totally stranded. Checkin after 1 am was so smooth. Our fridge was not opened until later the next day when we hunted someone down. When it gets unlocked, they HAVE to review it with you or you will be charged with missing items unless you fight it. That took us 1/2 an hour to do. Who wants to do that on vacation? It was reviewed many times upon checkin that only bottled beer, two water in the freezer and bottled coke are free. If you don't drink the free stuff, you can give it to the maid at the end of your stay if you write a note saying it's a gift for her.
Some things you might want to know. The fancy boats on shore cost $10/1/2 hour. Everything else is free. When walking to the mini plaza's nearby, you will be acosted constantly by entrepreneurs. Don't make eye contact and never ever shake hands unless you are blessed with a strong spine. Shake a hand and they will almost force you to buy something. On one occasion, they were "best friends" with my husband and before he knew it, the friend had sloshed foam all over my daughters suede runners. It all happens so fast and if you want it cleaned off, they will gouge you. If you stand your guns, they will back away but then you have sloppy shoes.

If you encounter men on horses, they also carry large machetes to chop the tops off coconuts. Under no circumstance do you stop to make small talk as they will force the coconuts on you and order you to pay $10. They have machetes! We paid a couple of hundred peso and left very annoyed because we hate coconuts. My last beef is with an excursion we booked away from the resort but it's the same one as the guy who booked with the resort. Skip the snorkling. This is the second and last time I sign up for snorkling as they take your money with promises they will be with you every step of the way, then they kick you out of the boats, with no life preservers (big mistake in the waves they are going to leave you in) and they take off with the scuba divers. There is never anything to see, whether you go 10 minutes away with the resort sponsored tour or on the way to Catalina Island, and it's always very wavy and murky so even the strongest of stomachs might feel motion sickness. If you've scuba dived before, DON'T snorkel in the Dominican. It will only disappoint you. Take a life preserver even if you are a good swimmer. With that said, we had a great time and it was very relaxing- (esp for my 14 year old who got the same alcohol wrist band as her parents! Hmmm.)

8  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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