Iberostar Costa Dorada
I’ve recently returned from holiday 01/06/09 – 13/06/09 with my partner who has also lodged a lengthy review and whilst her report is magnanimous on many fronts, I firmly believe that anyone intending visiting the Costa Dorada be fully aware of what to expect and importantly what you get at the Iberostar. This was an alternative to our original choice of Mexico due to swine flu outbreak. We were limited to this period of travel due to private commitments..
On certain levels the Iberostar is 5 stars, namely Staff, Food, The Spa and beach location, but it sadly lets itself down. Fallen from grace perhaps since opening. The internal TV loop is still showing the promo video which is clearly dated to better times.
Wireless Internet is available but at a price and only in the main reception area.
The rooms are dated and in need of new furnishings, drawer handles wedged with paper, furniture scuffed and scored. Bathroom facilities that any self respecting DIY expert would be itching to replace. The bath was set into the floor so a very deep step in, hardly ideal for any elderly or infirm persons who haven’t booked a special need s room if there are any. No lifts so book ground floor early.
One swimming pool for such a large complex is inadequate by modern 5 star standards and it soon becomes cloudy and less enticing due to the amount of sun lotion and oils wash off.
The hotel prides itself on the wildlife ponds as you enter the main open lobby. Turtles, Flamingo’s how wonderful, but lacking husbandry. After two weeks you couldn’t see the turtles due to the algae in the pool and it only got “cleaned” after we complained. The Flamingo area wasn’t much better. Oh and Peacocks screeching outside your bedroom window in the morning is not exactly welcoming.
Where the hotel loses its 5 star rating is the evening entertainment and on site Animation team. This is one step up from the Spanish Costa’s at best.
A – Amateur, N – Nonsense, I- Inane, M – Moronic, A- Annoying, T – Tiresome, I – Idiotic, O – Over The Top , N – No escape.
Some activities are fine, Shooting, Archery, Darts, Volleyball, but extremely puerile “dance lessons” and “beach Olympics” plus evening activities such as Bingo, Ideal Partner (Pajera Ideal), Men v Women (Hombres contra Mujeres) are no more than an excuse to have fun at someone else’s expense, grown adults removing clothing or rolling about the stage floor in some simulation of love are cringe worthy and worrying when young children are also in the audience.
It doesn’t stop with animation; there are a number of shops and two “a la carte” restaurants to contend with. The restaurants work on a two sitting per night basis, so don’t be expecting a leisurely romantic interlude. Get them in and out in an hour would seem to be the order of the day.
The gift shop and camera accessories shop only take pesos, not US $. The staff were extremely unhelpful and in fact rude, a shrug being the main response to any request for assistance. This is explained in the tourist guide as “Manyana Syndrome” but that doesn’t excuse rudeness or willingness to volunteer advice. Try getting rechargeable batteries for your camera. That ended up in a $40 taxi ride in to Puerta Plata and not a pleasant experience other than the Taxi driver who was committed to getting me what I needed – for a tip of course. Kamikaze driving by the locals and the extremely unpredictable motor cycle taxis makes it a risk not worth taking unless absolutely necessary.
Try not to fall too ill either as the local “hospital”, the inverted commas are intentional, is abysmal. A fellow hotel resident spent two nights with her son there and was extremely frightened due to lack of security. It’s definitely third world at best and my stay there was a brief 1 hr but that was enough. Be prepared to pay heavily for Hotel medical attention and onward transfers to the hospital. $500 for an ear infection, antibiotics, pain killers and drops is excessive by anyone’s standards – pity poor insurance company have to pick that up.
So finally, back to the hotel, there is no sanctuary from the evening entertainment, no quiet piano bar/cocktail lounge, no beach front facility to enjoy the warm evenings over a cool drink. If you dislike Merenge or Salsa music, this is definitely not the destination for you. Also you can run the gauntlet one or twice a week with the local traders selling you their “cheapy cheapy – I give you good price” wares. Is this really what Iberostar believes is 5 star offering?
And it doesn’t stop there, be prepared to be pestered daily by the local beach front pedlars persuading you with mock friendliness to visit their shop – the flea market where you are expected to haggle down the over priced trinkets, baubles and painted masterpieces. Oh and why not pick up a massage and hair braiding while your there?? Selling Conches and photos with exotic animals is hardly environmentally/wild life friendly? The hotel really needs to better control this. There are hotel employed beach security but they stand idly by.
There are others selling you the safari, catamaran trips etc at “cheapy cheapy price” – they are the same trips being offered by your travel company but I’d sooner pay the extra with the travel company to at least guarantee my insurance cover. $100 whoever you decide to pay for an outback safari sitting on a converted flat bed lorry with bench seating, no seat belts is a risk too far. The local are obsessed with sales pitching and that also includes the duty free area at the airport too – so don’t expect a leisurely browse there either. That taxi ride I took earlier, well even that was hijacked by locals wanting to escort me to town and show me all the best places and shops for a small commission – The taxi driver deliberately stopped to permit this – so be aware.
To venture out of the complex unescorted is highly not recommended. Attempted mugging on two guys sporting gold chain necklaces was thwarted by an astute security guard.
The local settlements and Puerta Plata are about one or two steps up from a South African township. The local money lives behind gated communities/complexes. Its no wonder visits to the casino and local carting track are escorted trips
I had a relaxing two week break with good food and pleasureable buffet returaunt and beach bar staff, but buyer beware I say.
- 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 498 Double Rooms and 18 spacious Junior Suites. ... 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