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“A pretty solid experience overall”

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Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
Ranked #7 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed 19 March 2010

Stayed the week of March 8-15 and overall we were pretty happy with everything. However, a warning to those going for March Break: on our second last day, a ridiculous swarm of high schoolers came down for a grad trip, multiplying the wait time at the bar by tenfold and the [--] factor by a million-fold. Although there is some humour to be found in watching high school guys try to pick up. Prior to this invasion, you only had to wait a minute or not at all to get a drink.

My only beef with the Grand Paradise is that you can't get a drink there after 12:45 - you have to go to a local bar or club. Most nights it wasn't an issue, but it can be a real buzzkill for those nights where you're looking to have some fun. Kind of weak for a place that's supposed to be all-inclusive.

Food was pretty great, plus we booked three a la carte meals (restaurants essentially) for extra classiness. Service can be slow at times, but nothing too terrible. Maid was great, refills your mini fridge with water and coke every day and did a great job. We tipped a few bucks every day, not sure if that makes a difference in the quality.

We booked through itravel2000.com which was great because they had "price drop protection." Sure enough, the price dropped substantially about a month after we booked, so we each got about $150 back after putting in a price drop application. No other websites I saw offered this perk, plus all the prices for the resorts are the same across all websites, so there's no reason not to book here.

We went on two excursions - a waterfall tour and whitewater rafting. Whatever you do, DO NOT book through the resort. Go to the mall across the street or even buy them from people on the beach. Prices at the resort are twice as much. We got to go on both excursions for $88 US each, including getting a bit of the price knocked down since we booked multiple excursions. I thought that was a pretty sweet deal considering white water rafting was the most expensive excursion offered. Only downside was that the rafting was a two-hour bus ride each way.

There is a casino at the resort, which I made my way to on a couple of occasions. I played blackjack, but I wish the casino had a betting house so I could bet my life savings on lines like "no one will smile at you the entire time" or "the person sitting next to you will have absolutely no idea how to play blackjack." I think the T-1000 had more personality than some of the dealers. Casinos are usually fun, but this one just had a really bad vibe to it. Avoid.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Puerto Plata is a very nice place, even if the actual city is somewhat impoverished. Grand Paradise earns four out of five Bazingas. However, their bar closing times earn a SQUADOOSH!

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Bazinga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 March 2010

There was a group of five of us that were there from March 6 - 15th, with three rooms in totally different areas of the hotel. Even with the recent hotel upgrades I'd say this was a 3 1/2 star at best (I've travelled numerous times to this area staying at different hotels each time, Punta Cana, Cuba, and San Andres in Columbia). Three of us arrived on the Sat night (6th), and the two remaining arrived on Mon (8th) during the day. It would have been a very relaxing vacation except for the fact that there were approximately 600 yes 600 Grade 12 students there! Unchaperoned and uncontrolled! Apparently this is the first time the hotel has booked this...and hopefully the last or else they are going to loose alot of business.

Staff: We found helpful, cheerful staff no matter where we were, from the front desk to the gardner everyone had a smile and a kind word to say. Never had to ask twice for something, and if there was a delay for some reason we were given an ideas as to how long and why the delay. The Management and front desk staff acted promptly upon my friends complaint about the wild drunken behaviour of the students and extra security was added which helped somewhat.

Food: We ate at both al a cartes twice, ordering something different each time, food and service were both excellent. The buffet was always good, with a nice variety of tastey well presented foods. The snack bar pizza was so so - I'm not a pizza lover but it did seem to be quite popular there.

Drinks: Only complaint that we had was that they seems to be short staffed at times, considering that the resort was fully booked more often than not we found only one bar tender at each bar. Also it seemed that when they ran out of something it wasn't replenished until the next day. With 600 students away from home, unsupervised and free booze, you have an idea as to how fast they can run out of things! The beach bar never had limes after 11am because of the Tequila shots that some of the students started drinking at 10am! Also don't expect to see any blender drinks - they were non-existent.

Rooms: We had three totally differnent type rooms, two groups had paid the upgrade for superior ocean view and the third for superior garden view. Upon arrival on the Sat night one superior ocean view was given a room directly across from the Disco (which is open till 1am), but was moved the following day to a small room overlooking the ocean on the third floor. The second party was given a room that overlooked the buffet and if you leaned to the left you could see a little bit of the ocean. When they asked about being moved to an ocean view room, they were told that they do have an ocean view! The third room in our party had a room overlooking the pool bar and activity area - unfortunately that's considered a superior gardenview and they got very little sleep for the entire week - even with earplugs! All rooms had been renovated, beds were comfortable, pillows were foam chip. No extra pillows in the room nor blanket. You had a card to put into the slot for your a/c, it was a chance thing if the front desk remembered to give you an extra card for that or not. Maid service was fantastic, rooms always clean, and if you ran into the maid in the hallway she'd always ask if everything was ok or not. You had a large jug of water in your bar fridge and one bottle of each coke and sprite. I asked for diet cola and was given a 1 litre bottle no problem.

The beach is fantastic! we stayed at the far end (away from all the "action"), and always had no problem finding loungers ar 9:30 in the morning, even were able to find little side tables most days. The vendors are constant though, but we didn't have any problems with them just said "no thanks" and they left us alone. The Orange Market is a whole new ball game - it's like sharks attacking when you walk down there!

The ocean where we were was beautiful, nice soft sandy bottom, gentle waves, clear and warm. The beach is cleaned every morning and not much washes up during the day.

We did a day trip through the tour rep, no problems and we feel that we got our money's worth. The Rep for Nolitours (Jonathan) was fantastic - he check with us throughout the week to ensure that everything was ok - when we did have a problem he tried to resolve as soon as possible and got back to us.

Overall we paid next to nothing for this trip considering the time of year, I think we got our money's worth, but the hotel is a 3 1/2 star at best - we knew that going so weren't disappointed. Our biggest disappointment is that they booked the student tour group (such a large one at that) during prime time also. They were totally unprepared security wise the first night for the onslaught of students (who never slept it seemed and were constantly drunk). But they quickly added more security and took them off site to the local disco most evenings. I felt sorry for the families with small children who would be woken up upon the students rowdy returns from the Disco.

Would I go back? I'd consider it during a quieter time of year and if the price was this cheap again.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Oshawamom57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2010

puerta plata verses punta cana? Punta Cana wins...But Staff was fantastic.... Food was Great, anyone says not enough variety is full of themselves. salad bar great,pasta bar great, hot food great, dessert bar great,, grill bar great..no complaints and we had 5 people with 5 very different expectations. had to be 90 feet or more of buffet. No one was dissappointed. Only 2 other restaurnants both very nice.
Two bars, Sinners and pool bar, very loud but make good drinks if you tip alittle each day as they rotate bartenders.Also swim up bar but pool too cool to be in for extended period of time.closes at 5. O.K cause time for shower and dinner anyway.
Rooms were very clean and well kept by maid, but we did tip 2$ a day and extra for water or pop in fridge. Always do this when we travel so no big deal.

Be careful people do steal your stuff if u leave it at poolside, but not everyone is a nice person. so never leave your stuff unattended.

Although never had that problen at sirenis in punta cana.

Did run out of hot water every day as well as water pressure, but if u shower in a.mbefore 9 or 5ish no problem... must say never water issues in punta cana; but that is to be expected as well. remember where you are going the country is not rich.

My biggest dissapointment is there was not one single place to find some quiet anywhere because the resort is so squished in so very loud. the beach is public unlike punta cana where it is private. so everybody bothers you aaalll daaayy looonngg.

EX.time share sellers, and merchants.

Oh well not a rich country so every one has to try to earn a living.We do the same when we are working.

Alan ther bartender lots of fun but Enrikha is the one who really looks out for you.

Did spend the day at Jasmines Spa... GOOOO, Fantastic,

I would reccomend to go to this resort if you like it loud and yes poolside rooms do keep you up till around3 a.m people like to party thats what they paid for. I personally perfer a little earlier bedtime

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank neenapatches
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2010

We travelled to Puerto Plata with another couple. When we arrived at the hotel we were scared because the look from the outside is not that appealing. As soon as we entered the lobby all of that changed as it was beautiful, fresh and clean. We checked in and the staff was very pleasant. We were with room keys in a matter of minutes. Our room was small but very very very cean and bright with a bacony. They put us as a couple in a queen bed and our single friend a king bed even though I requested one when we checked in. Being our honeymoon I must say that the bed issue was not a big one until we both got sunburn one day spent on the beach. The food was good and there was a lot to choose from at the buffet so there was always something for everyone at every meal. One evening for dinner it started to rain so all of the people seated outside ran in and had trouble finding a seat to continue their meal. Within minutes the staff had opened up a second leve and had the outdoor chairs and tables set up on the second level in no time. Nobody was put out except the guy that was carrying his soup up the stairs and fell....no worries they also had him cleaned up in seconds. There were 3 a la carte dinners that we were to fullfill and there were 2 restaurants to choose from. Edens was one of them and the food there was not good at all! The choices on the menu were limited and all 5 of us had a meal that made us want to eat at the buffet. The other a la carte was Michelangelos and it was a GREAT restaurant!!!! It was italian inspired and yes there were a couple of things to be desired but for the most part it was nice to have some Italian food amongst all of the foreign flavors that we had been eating. Skip Edens and you will be better off. The greatest thing about the buffet restaurant was the fact that you were basically sitting on the ocean eating your meal and there is just nothing better than that! We bought our 2 excursions from the on site table that was set up each day as I know that some of the guys on the beach are selling the low budget ones so even though you may pay less you are getting less of a trip and it may not even be that safe once you have left the resort. Always go with your tour operator for your off site excursions. The staff at the resort was amazing and the entertainment group that did the games each day and danced each night were so much fun!!!!!!!! There was a lot to do each day and night and we took part in all of it even when we felt lazy it got us off of our butts. I also loved the fact that the resort was within a gated community with a few other resorts so it was safe to leave and walk to the mall as well as go to a few outside bars or pubs. Meet other people from neighboring resorts and just to get a change of scenery. We were very very happy with everything and if we were not the type to want to try a new place each time we would go back to this resort. The one thing that they did not have was the beach umbrellas and that killed us one day...I wish that they had shade coverage on the beach. Oh and I almost forgot...the swim up bar was a big hit with my group!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank shers_74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2010

This resort was absolutely fine!!!! I've read other reviews and some people are just being harsh and picky...Sure the service wasn't the greatest, but remember you are not at a Sandals nor are you paying the price for 5* service.
The rooms were clean - the resort immaculate!! the food was good but the al a carte restaurants were even better. House wine not great, so if you are particular, take your own or buy quality brands there.
The beach was nice and I will agree that the time share people were a pain in the ...!
We had 5 days of rain - very poor weather but the resort staff worked extra hard to entertain and you really do make the best of a poor situation.
Whatever you do, don't miss the safari and waterfall tour - you can buy it at the mall from Marysol for approx. 35.00 us - 10.00 less than the guy next to him.
The tour guide, MAMA, was exceptional and the trip was worth every penny - quite the experience!!!!
I would go back to this resort again and would recommend it to others.
I agree that the front counter staff were not the quickest in resolving issues, but the Nolitour Rep - Jonathan was quite efficient.
There is no gym there - was not available during our stay, but in looking for it, it seems non-existent - no renovations anywhere and no equipment to be seen - so I assume they simply don't offer one there.
The theatre leave alot to be desired - just a room with chairs - nothing special - entertainment was 9:45pm - sometimes a little too late depending on your day.
All in all, if the sun had of shone, it would have been an 8 out of 10 for us.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank WendyNeal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2010

This was only my second trip to the Caribbean. Last year I went to a 3 star in Varadero, Cuba, this year we tried Puerto Plata. My boyfriend had been before and stayed at a 3 star in the same Playa Dorada complex, and had my expectation high, as he swore Grand Paradise being a 4 star would be "amazing", compared to where we stayed in Cuba and the place he stayed at previously. We were also travelling with another couple, and the booking through the travel agent, specified, Superior Garden view rooms, with a King Size bed, for which we paid $100 premium, and the rooms were to be close to each other. When we arrived noonish, the rooms were not ready we could come back for the room keys at 3ish. Our luggage sat in the lobby for 3 hours, to change we had to open luggage on the spot and use the lobby bathroom. When we went back for the room keys, we first found out the rooms where at opposite ends of the resort. Our room was a long hike and on the "third floor", at least the door was on the third floor, you then had to climb a spiral wooden staircase to the room in the "attic". To be fair, had the room been in another location it would have been fine, it was newly renovated, large and clean, but no King Size bed as booked, and our view (if you stood on a chair, you could look out the windows), was of rooftops of the rest of the resort.

When we went down to complain, they said there was nothing else available, and to come back tomorrow. We went back in the morning, and were told they would have a room for us in the same building as our friends, but it would not be ready until 2, when we went back at 2, we were told that room was also not available supposedly because the air conditioning wasn't working. They offered us a choice of two rooms in the next building and we took the one on the second floor overlooking the pool. So it took and day and some inconvenience to get the room we had booked. Lesson learned, description of rooms is open to interpretation.

Once settled into our room for the week, it was a nice clean resort, with a better variety of food and alcohol then Cuba, but wait staff were not as amicable as in Cuba. Maid service was adequate.

The beach was clean and lots of activities available for those wanting to participate.
Highlights of the trip, would be shopping at the Orange Market, a short walk down the beach....and taking the Nite on the Town tour, which took us to a local restaurant for dinner and then bar hopping in Sousa and Puerto Plata...a good time was had by all.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank Happytogosouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2010

This was our 2nd time in the DR our first time was to Punta Cana. Our friends stayed at this resort last year and wanted to go back, so we decided to go with them. Well let me first say that this resort is a 3 star at best! The food was good! Mexican night is the best.
The animation team worked really hard to keep you entertained. The rooms were clean but small, bathrooms brand new and clean. Only one swimming pool, clean too!
Bartenders and most of the staff are friendly. Worked hard and then worked harder when you tipped. Beach was dirty, lots of rocks, we even found wood with nails in it, lots of sea weed that they could not keep on top of.
We had paid for a ocean view room, and did not receive that. Our friends also paid for the ocean view but were upgraded or so the call it an upgrade to a suite with a spiral stair case leading to an attic type loft. If you stood on the bed that was the only way to see outside, with no balcony. That seemed to be the case with many guests we talked to. We booked thru Nolitours, and this seemed to be the same with everyone else.
Rooms didn't get straightened out until we spoke the the Nolitours rep.
The resort itself is very dated, not sure where the multi-million dollar upgrade went or where the ocean view was!
Keep your money!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank startt0travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Paradise Playa Dorada

Address: Complejo Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata 332, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#6 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £64 - £348 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Paradise Playa Dorada 3.5*
Number of rooms: 425
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Also Known As:
Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Hotel Puerto Plata
Paradise Beach Club Puerto Plata
Paradise Beach Resort Casino
Paradise Beach Puerto Plata
Paradise Beach Club Casino
Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata

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