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“Great layout...okay resort”

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Iberostar Costa Dorada
Ranked #1 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 5 March 2009

Walking
My main reason for writing this is to let people with mobility difficulties know that this resort is great for them. The layout is like a horseshoe shape and everything, including the beach, is less than a five minute walk. We had a room on the first floor in building 8. We requested this because it (and building 3) seemed to be the most central. However, any of the buildings, other than 1 or 5 are good too. We were just a few steps from our room to the pool. There is a bathroom by the pool and also a bathroom near the beach. I did not need the ramps, but they do have them if you need them. I did see a few people with crutches or canes and one person in a wheelchair and they seemed to be able to get around everywhere comfortably.

Rooms
Rooms were ok. The beds were pretty hard. We got stuck with 2 singles, but just pushed them together. The TV was small and had very few channels. It was pretty clean but not fantastic. We saw a cockroach once, but I guess that is the climate?! The hairdryer sucked but I brought my own (from Canada) and it plugged in fine. Voltage is 110 so I tripped the electricity once and had to call to get our electricity back on. It was fixed within minutes.

Pool
Nice and big. COLD. No swim up bar. Lots of places to sit in the sun or shade. People do reserve spots with towels though 

Beach
Very nice. It was clean and not rocky. There were plenty of places to sit in sun or shade and always a nice breeze. I don’t know why other people posted complaints.

Food
Not too bad. At the buffet there was always something that you could find that you liked. Breakfast was the best. It was all pretty repetitive though. I would not say it was 5 star. A la carts were ok too, but nothing fantastic.

Drinks
Coco locos were awesome. Every other drink tasted like tang. They do not use real fruit in any drinks except those available with breakfast.

Grounds
Beautiful and easy to navigate through.

Staff
Very friendly and attentive. Check in and out were easy and quick.

Entertainment/Disco
We did not watch a full show because they always seem to be the same at every resort we go to. People seemed to be enjoying them though. The Disco opens at 11. It is cool inside and they play an okay mix of music...too much Brittany Spears and Back Street Boys though.

All in all, I would probably give the resort 4 stars.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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3  Thank TrickyTrix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 March 2009

This is an OK destination if your o a tight budget, Like we were at the time!!!!! however we should not complain were just spoiled!!!!!!!!!!

The buffet at the beach is your typical food, salad is awesome, fish was a NO NO for me being an original NFLD,er & all "with out the bad vocabulary!!!!!!! LOL :)
Their was only 1 pool & lots of kids swimming; however, not to complain about it I do have 4 BOYS and when they swim in a pool "for some odd reason they never ask to be taken to go potty" EEEWWWWW!!!! no thanks.
BEACH- is nice lots of shade and lawn chairs this is a nice beach however it is a SMALL area to swim.
I would only recommend to some one if they really really wanted to go away on a low budget........
It is very load everywhere, its a mixture of young to old.
we did not go to any of the restaurants, so we can't give a description of that, however we heard it was not that bad and the food was hot just say away from the fish .
FRONT DESK:::::: VERY, VERY, VERY RUDE. not helpful at all, you have to fend for yourself...........LOL not kidding.....

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Victor I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2009

Ratings for the Iberostar Costa Dorada state it’s a 4 ½ star hotel. I’d say that’s pretty accurate - maybe give it a four star rating if you compare it to similar hotels in Cuba and Mexico. But keep in mind that it’s not a 4 ½ star hotel by Canadian standards. My boyfriend and I our in our early forties, from Vancouver, BC, Canada and we’d have no problem recommending this hotel.

HOTEL: Rooms are clean, large and there was no smell. Our first room was in building one and had a view of the fence/wall of the next door hotel. Went straight back to the reception desk and requested a room facing the pool. We were then put in building three on the second floor. Nice view, better location, spacious. The A/C worked fine and wasn’t too loud, rooms come with a hairdryer, small coffeemaker and the coffee/condiments are provided. Mini fridge was handy and stocked every day with beer, water and pop. We had a few ants around the bathroom sink. I told the front desk and they came and sprayed with insect repellant right away.

The nightly entertainment was done by 11:30 pm. The shows are different every night, as there are 21 different shows that they rotate through. Shows are ok, some better than others. Grounds were kept tidy, nice open lobby with a tiny lagoon with 7 flamingos in it. Staff was friendly and the pool was clean. Of the nine 3-storey buildings, I’d recommend building 7 or building 8 (request to face the pool). These are centrally located between the beach, main buffet and lobby area. They are also close to the snack buffet and easy walking distance to the lobby bar (here’s where they serve the best drinks with “premium” alcohol). Building 1 & 5 are nearest to the ocean but are only good if you actually get a room facing the ocean. The view ain’t bad but it’s also not the greatest as the palm trees block your view a bit. Otherwise, bring comfortable walking shoes as it’s a jaunt to get anywhere except the beach.

They have 3 a la carte restaurants that you must make a reservation for (but you can go back to these as much as you want, no limit): (1) The Brazilian restaurant (they come to your table with apprx 6 types of meat on a large skewer and cut a piece off for your plate), (2) The Mexican restaurant (you choose your type of taco here) and (3) The Seafood restaurant. Men are required to wear long pants for these 3 places. We found the meat everywhere to be on the tough/overcooked side. The main buffet is ok. It changes the “theme” every night so there is some variety in the selections but its kinda true what other write in the fact that it does get repetitive and boring by the end of the week. Breakfast and lunch buffets are pretty much the same everyday.

HOTEL LOCATION: Just so you know, the hotel is about 12 km east of downtown Puerto Plata. Not much around except the neighboring hotel, the Grand Oasis which has a casino (we didn’t make it there). Be aware that there are no shops or restaurants on the streets nearby. There is a flea market, called Orange Flea Market, located on the beach, about a 10 min walk away. When facing the ocean, walk to your right as it’s a nice stroll. Typical souvenirs sold here. Watch as they’ll try to rip you off.

The Iberostar is on the main highway and you can easily get local transportation if you want to venture out of the complex. Go west about 1-2 km (8 min walk) to reach the Brugal Factory. Note that it says “Brugal Rum Tour” on all the excursions and brochures – not quite! It’s actually a bottling factory and the admission is free. You watch a 5 min video, view the workers and assembly line machines and then you exit the bldg and you can get a taste sample of the rum. There’s a factory rum store. Prices here aren’t bad: white rum was $7 US, Anejo (amber rum) was $8 US, and the Extra Anejo (aged rum) was $9 US.

TRANSPORTATION & SIGHTSEEING & TIPS: Go and see Sosua. It’s about a 25 min car ride, heading east, from the Iberostar. It’s a larger tourist town with many streets filled with souvenir shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. There’s also the “public beach” that has numerous souvenir shops and tiny bars. In Sosua you can transfer into another caro publico (see below) to get to Cabarete, which is about a 15 min car ride from Sosua. This is a small town, only one city block long known for windsurfing. Lots of shops and money exchange booths and hostel type suites for the night accommodations. Best prices for rum, coffee and cigars are in Cabarete at Janets Supermarket. It’s at the far east side of the main drag, north side. For cheapie souvenirs and t-shirts, we found the best prices here in Cabarete at the Liquidation Store. It’s on the south side of the main drag, in the center of the strip.

We also took a caro publico heading west from the hotel to old Downtown Puerto Plata. Here you’ll find a large public flea market, the amber museum, the old fort, the pier and this is all within walking distance. PP is about 15 minutes away and you see it’s a large city (90,000 population). We enjoyed getting around on our own and felt it was safe. No problems. Of course, the tour rep will suggest you take their tours rather than going out on your own. Be warned, the drivers in the caro publico are aggressive and may not necessarily stay in the proper lanes as they do a lot of passing, some of which might not be for the faint of heart. One time we took the Guagua. This is like an old Volkswagen minivan. Don’t recommend this one so much as they pile everyone and anything into these vehicles. We squished in and counted 24 people! Plus its stop and go constantly as people get on and off whereas with the caro public, once the maximum load of 6 passengers is achieved, the driver can pretty much get a good speed going.

You can take a taxi but they charge outrageous amounts. On the main hwy, there are 2 ways of getting around, the Caro Publico and the Guagua. We tried both and recommend the caro publico. It’s a small car, like an older Toyota Tercel that will hold 7 people. There’s the driver, 2 passengers sit in the front and 4 passengers squeeze in the back. On the roof of the car, you’ll see a red sign Puerto Plata/Sosua. These cars travel back and forth between these two cities. Cost is 30 – 35 Dominican Peso’s. Verbally set your rate before you get in. Of course, with your hotel wristband on, they see a “sucker” tourist and will want to charge you a lot more! Stand your ground, or wait for the next car to pull to the curb and if you can, cover up the wrist band! Cars with a greenish/blueish sign Sosua/Rio San Jan on top of the roof travel between these two cities. Take this car in Sosua to get to Cabarete which will cost 25 Dominican Peso’s.

If you’re into dirt-bike riding like my guy is, you can rent/ride KTM’s for apprx 200 US . He had a great time, 5 ½ hours riding around the jungle and countryside. Just look up Cabarete Enduro Tours on the internet as Rudy runs this excursion out of house.

Friends we met at the hotel took the Paradise Island excursion. They said it was too long of a bus ride (2 hrs) to get you to a spot where you board an uncomfortable boat that takes another 30 minutes to get to the sandbar (aka Island) that is really out in the middle of nowhere. They did admit once you get there, it was beautiful.

Sorry this is so long and wordy, but I know when I was scouting around reading other peoples reviews & comments, that it was helpful and well appreciated. I hope this helps with your traveling plans. Adios!!

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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20  Thank NorthDeltaRose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2009

My boyfriend and I just got back from a wonderful stay at the Iberostar in Puerta Plata. We went from Feb. 23 to March 3rd, 2009. First I would like to thank tripadvisor for all the info before going. I always check here before I book my trips and have never been let down. This years' trip holds true to that statement. I was concerned before going, not about the resort but about the weather as I had heard that there was quite a bit of rain in and around the Dominican this year. I checked all the weather sites on the Internet and the icons didn't look good, always rain clouds, thunder bolts, and very little of clear blue skies with that sun shining brightly. Bobk on this site made me feel a bit better by giving a daily weather report for the week before we left. Luckily when I got there I realized that those little icons didn't mean a thing. We had sunshine every day even though the resorts weather reports were the same as on line, so if this is a concern of yours don't worry, go and enjoy.

The Iberostar Costa Dorada in our opinion is a very nice compact resort with all the amenities of a larger resort. Our first impression was that it was not as impressive visually as some of the other resorts we have been to in previous years, yet it had a quaint charm that grew on us. The longer we stayed the more we liked it. We arrived
around midday and our room was not ready, so we were told to go and enjoy lunch at
the buffet and return to get our key. Right away we were impressed by the efficiency and
friendliness of the buffet staff, always smiling and always concerned that you had everything that you needed. I guess this is something you take for granted most times but at this place it is very evident that they are trying to please, and it actually looks like they are enjoying their jobs and their customers. This was pretty much the norm for all staff at this resort, always a smile and a hola just in passing. Nice touch!!

The food is typical of an all inclusive, breakfast was always the same with no variations yet there was everything you needed from boiled eggs to cereals. Very good yet after three or four days a little tiresome, yet I don't know what could be done about that to make it more exciting so.....not a complaint. We ate lunch daily at the lunch buffet beside the pool. This was my personal favourite meal of the day, Hots, Hams, rotisserie
chicken (Yum) , buffet salad, Nacho's with really good homemade spicey salsa, a daily pasta special and also a different daily meat and vegetable entrees. Always good and just perfect for a quick or leisurely lunch. Two days a week they also have a barbecue on the beach with entertainment!!! Kind of breaks the routine, again, a nice touch, tasty and fun. Dinner was good, you could always find something to your liking and if you ventured out of your taste zone, you could probably find something you really loved and would try to duplicate at home. All in all, good food for an all inclusive.

The rooms are nothing special, like others I would have to say that they are adequate and clean, but it's probably a good thing you don't have to stay in them any length of time. We stayed on the lower level and had a bit of an issue with the smell of mold which seemed to remain the same or get worse with the air conditioner. We didn't complain, but maybe we should have asked to move as I had a reaction towards the end of the week. also as someone else stated in buildings 2, 3, and 4, you were awakened at approximately 2AM every morning by a garbage truck from the next store resort, first backing up (beep beep beep..) and then crushing it's trash for about 15 to 20 minutes. Again we didn't complain, but just wanted to mention it so you could choose to ask for a different section. We stayed in building 3 with a room facing the side of the Oasis Marien. Can't believe something can't be done about this!

We found the beach to far surpass our expectations. One of the nicest we've been on, very spacious with warm atlantic ocean water. I know everyone goes on about the white beaches of Punta Cana and for that matter Cayo coco, or Varedaro but to us this beach was just as nice. The water was turquoise and very inviting and there was always a lounger to be had regardless of what time of day you decided to go there. I've noticed that people have complained about the debris on the resorts' beach and on the surrounding beaches, but the only debris I noticed on the resorts' beach was typical ocean bottom stuff, eel grass, kelp and shells etc, which were raked up daily and taken away. So... if it is your desire to walk off the resort beach and venture onto god knows who's property, then you get what you get, can you honestly expect the resort to rake an entire two miles of shoreline it doesn't own, and ...maybe if we as tourists, weren't so careless with our garbage, such as plastic cups and cigarette butts the beaches would start to look like the pristine beaches we expect to see. Shame on us!!

Not much going on at night at the Iberostar. Everyone congregates at the lobby bar so you get to meet and chat with alot of different people, always interesting. As stated they do have nightly entertainment but it's over by 10. Hate to say it, but you get so exhausted just sitting around in the sun that for us, it was usually an early night regardless. I would say that the majority of people at this resort are over 45, a few younger couples with younger children, and alot of people 60 +, so if you are a party hardy kind of person don't expect alot of hoop la from this resort rather go to Cancun!!

All in all we throughly enjoyed this vacation, would definitely recommend it to friends that we think would enjoy it's rhythm. As for us, we like to try something new every year because... by the end of the week no matter where we are, we usually get tired of the same ole everything, but for those who like a relaxing trip in a smaller setting, with great food, a beautiful beach, friendly staff and good value for their dollar the Iberostar Costa Dorada should be for you. Enjoy!!

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank Halli2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2009

My wife and I and two friends visited the Iberostar, Costa Dorada from Feb.23 to March 02/2009 and had the best holiday thus far. The hotel is described as a 5 star resort and it truly was in all aspects. The hotel room was spacious, clean and the mini bar was continuously stocked with free drinks. All the resort staff were friendly and would go out of their way to make our stay memorable. In all our travels we have never seen such clean resort grounds. The staff worked very hard and were constantly cleaning the beach and the interior of the resort.
There were planned activities from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., such as archery, dance lessons, pool activities, etc., if you wished to participate. The entertainment each night was lively and fun. We especially enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and after dinner music in the central courtyard. This resort had a lot of character and the vegetation throughout the resort was lush and flowers were beautiful.
Breakfast, lunch and supper buffets were delicious with a wide variety of foods, both hot and cold. We made reservations at two of the restaurants and loved the food and the service. All in all, we enjoyed every minute of this beautiful resort and would highly recommend it to anyone. We will definitely be returning. All- inclusive is truly the way to travel as it will cost you nothing but tips to the resorts staff which are well deserved.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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5  Thank Rick17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2009

You have heard the plus's from the other people. Clean rooms, great staff, beautiful gardens.

Now my minus's. I was not crazy about the food. Yes it was plentiful and it tasted fine. But it was really not what I expected from a 5 - 4 star resort. Maybe it's because I come from a state where we have the greatest food. I just did not find the food as amazing as some ther reviews have stated. This of course would not stop me from going again.

The drinks are WAY watered down. Everything from the liquor to the wine to the beer. My favorite bar is the one by the beach.

The pool was killer for my vacation. It was freezing. Now mind you, it rained for 10 straight days before we got there. But I did not go in the pool once.

THat is pretty much my only faults with this resort.

I do recommend that you get up early (around 7am) to get your seats by the pool otherwise you will lose out.

If you go down by the beach be very firm with the locals as they will try to get your hair braided and take you to the town to shop. If you don't want to go just say NO. Don't tell them maybe later.. Because they will come back until you say yes.

My plus's. The resort NEVER felt crowded. Even by the pool.

The Staff. I can not say enough about the staff. The entertainment crew was fabulous. They work long hard hours and always have a smile on your face. I recommend talking to everybody from your wait staff to you bartender to your house keeper to the entertaiment crew. They are very very nice people.

I would recommend this resort if you want a nice relaxing vacation. The island is beautiful and the weather is to die for.

Stayed: February 2009, travelled with family
4  Thank amyhof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2009

So I won't bother you with all the same stuff that you hear from other travellers. Suffice is to say that this is a pretty nice resort that does nothing badly. The best of the resort are the actual grounds. Relatively lush and well laid out. the optics are nice. Flamingos, turtles, peacocks and fish go along with well-manicured gardens. The pool is huge and nice (though it is getting a bit banged up on the bottom.)

For me, the big letdown was the food. It was not bad, per say. Indeed, at an all-inclusive, you expect it to be pretty average... and it was. It was plentiful, but not imaginative nor tasty. Even the gourmet restaurants were pretty average. If you desire culinary delights, this is not the place for you.

FOOD TIPS

Under no circumstance should you go to the Mexican restaurant. The food was tough to get down, completely without spice and unlike any Mexican food I've ever eaten (and that's where I typically vacation); If you go to the seafood restaurant, order the grouper or the calamari (the calamari is relatively tasty, but not crispy like you would expect); if you go to the Brazilian restaurant, go early or on time and you don't have to eat all the meat (this is a big one folks, they bring out meat on skewers and if you are there early, you get first shot at it. Meat left on the skewers goes back in the oven to stay warm and so cooks for extra time. However, if you like your meat overdone and leathery, by all means, go late! Also, they will give you a taste of all the meat if you want, so if you don't feel like some, but more of another, order what you want when it comes around.)

BEACH TIPS

BRING WATER SHOES! The beach is great to walk on. Long, winding and with firm sand. BUT, I found 2 razors on the beach and the beach between the resort areas no cleanup is done so the garbage that washes up is thick and dangerous (glass, metal, etc.) With the type and amount, my guess is that they don't incinerate or bury their garbage, but rather take it out a couple of miles and dump it - damn shame. The sand may feel nice between your toes, but don't take the chance. Hepatitis is not fun.

If you want shells, walk to the left, past the breaker walls and dig in the sand. Down a foot or two, you'll run into all kinds. Take a shovel so you don't rub your fingers raw. But, remember, if everybody takes all the shells, there won't be a beach left. So, just take a couple. Oh, and be prepared to have some shells given you by hopeful young kids (hopeful, you'll give them a dollar or two.) This wouldn't be a bad idea, but be careful there aren't too many around, otherwise they all want some. Another nice touch is to take a few packets of candy down for them. But again, be careful when you pull them out or you'll be surrounded by them.

POOL TIPS

Get up early, go to the pool and reserve your chairs. They call them hammocks and tell you not to reserve them, but everybody does and if you do not, you're out of luck, my friend. That said, if you find that towels are sitting on chairs for more than an hour or two, move them off and take the chairs. They know the rules and are not likely to say anything to you. Choose your location carefully. The kids area is by the kiddie pool and near the volleyball nets. The more adult area is at the pool end nearest the hotel lobby. There are chairs on the beach but typically quite windy though many are protected from the wind and sun by palm trees. In between the seafood restaurant and the beach are rows of chairs that afford a view of the beach and relative quiet for those older folks.

KIDS TIPS

Have fun with your kids. Okay, this has nothing to do with the resort, but really I cannot believe the number of people who lay around the pool drinking, smoking, sucking up the rays, virtually oblivious of their children running around water, strangers and in a strange country. So get up and interact with them, create memories that you and they will cherish forever! How long will you remember the beer or cigarette in your hand?

Okay, that's enough of that, I'm off my soap box.

The kids club itself is not that fun. I rarely saw kids there and ours did not use it at all (ages 3, 7, 9). However, there are plenty of activities going on if yours are the type that like to get involved. I'd recommend them for kids aged 8 to 12, ideally.

ROOM TIPS

You've likely come across the issue of the early morning garbage truck, so try to pick your room to avoid it. We were in building 7 which had no real problems. We overlooked the mountains which was picturesque, but there was a road beyond the hotel limits so you could hear traffic when you were in the room (which was, admittedly, seldom). I'd recommend requesting a poolside room as traffic will not be an issue. The pool also shuts down by 7 and the disco is far off so that shouldn't be too bad. However, as we did not stay on this side, you never know there might be other issues. Anyway, building seven is right in the middle of the pool and halfway between the restaurants and show facility and the beach.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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9  Thank 2gundogs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Iberostar Costa Dorada

Address: Carretera Luperon km 2.5 | Marapica, Costa Dorada, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#1 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#3 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Business Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £106 - £321 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Iberostar Costa Dorada 4*
Number of rooms: 516
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada hotel is located in front of the large golden sand beach of Costa Dorada, 10 minutes from the city of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic's north coast. This wonderful 5-star All Inclusive resort is a wonderful haven for aquatic sports lovers. Renovated in 2011, the IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada hotel has 516 rooms 498 Double Rooms , 18 spacious Junior Suites ,4 handicap, 10 interconnecting, 27 superiors and 45 ocean view. The colonial-style complex and common areas are surrounded by huge tropical gardens. An attentive multilingual staff helps to make this a perfect vacation experience on the island. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Costa Dorado
Iberostar Puerto Plata
Iberostar Costa Dorada Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata
Iberostar Costa Dorada Puerto Plata
Iberostar Hotel Costa Dorada
Iberostar Costa Dorada Hotel
Costa Dorado
Puerto Plata Iberostar
Iberostar Hotel Puerto Plata

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