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Iberostar Costa Dorada
Ranked #2 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 25 June 2009

travelled here after our mexico holiday was cancelled and was abit worried after reading some reviews but shouldnt have worried.all i can say about this hotel is fantastic fantastic fantastic.
our transfer from the hotel was about 20 mins and check in was quick and efficient with a nice cold tropical fruit punch on arrival.the reception area is fantastic with a pool with turtles that was cleaned 3 times while we were there.a nice pond with flamingos is by the lobby bar which is lovely.
our room was right by the pool with a lovely view and the furniture was more than adequate in fact ours was a lovely room and the maids did a wonderful job cleaning it everyday as i have to small messy children.we had asked for a cot as i have a 1 year old son but was provided with 2 as we also have a 3year old daughter.we didnt think our room would be cleaned on a sunday but it was.everyday you had a towel arrangement with flowers and the maids were so friendly.our room was fumigated against bugs 3 times while we stayed there and when my daughter spilt some sugar which attracted some bugs we told reception and it was sorted straight away.
the beach is a short walk from the pool and as expected was beautiful.the pool itself is large with a shallow area where families tend to gather but on the whole only goes neck deep on an adult anyway.it could do with touch up as far as paint work goes as it has spots that are peeling but is kept clean with a man who goes round several times a day cleaning it(one tip dont wear anything white in the pool it will turn green with the cleaning of the water)and last thing at night.
the food in the buffet is excellent as is the snack bar.you will always find something you like even if you dont want to eat the more exotic dominican food.we didnt try the a la carte restauranrs because of our children but from those we spoke to we gather the food is just as good.the same went for the night time entertainment as our children were ready for bed at 7 after the busy days.
now to the staff.again all i can say is fantastic and so freindly.keep an eye out for cheeky monkey(who is so funny) bossy boots and christina who does the towels both of these are lovely.they all made such a fuss of our children who were to young for the kids clubs.the buffet waiters cannot do enough for you and even when our small son threw food on the floor would rush to pick it up before we would(we had to say several times that it was okay we would do it).the same goes for the bar staff especially elvis in the pool bar.
a piece of advice is a small tip goes a long way.just 100 dominican pesos(£2) every now and then goes along way and means alot to them.
finally hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did i cant understand why some people complain about stupid silly small things and really had a fantastic holiday.we will be returning next year

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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3  Thank deedeemay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 June 2009

My wife and i stayed here on the 25th may to 8th june was due to go to mexico as were many people, most of those we spoke would not go back again. first i will give the good points; hotel staff were really good could not do enough for you;gave our maid 5 dollers when we met her had excellant room service and gave some pesos at the end of holiday when we eat in the buffet sat in the mostly same area and had the same waiter who we gave pesos to at the end of our stay;we know that they look for it but we felt they well earned it. all the staff there were friendly i speak a little spanish and got spoke to many times although it was not necessary being polite is all you need, the guys who cook in the buffet do a good job so it does not cost anything to say thankyou some people didn;t some people are just rude. bar staff also gave a good service;again i left a tip at the end . star friends also work hard putting long days and nights plenty of things to do during the day usual stuff although the comps were in general a bit long winded and usually the same people went in for them; every night they would give out the winners ; i am not playing we are the champions again for a long while. entertainment at night centered around the stage for the shows and surrounding areas and this was what let the hotel down because you could not sit any where without hearing it merengue music was a novelty at first but every night was a real pain . shows in general were good the lion king show got a standing ovation rightly so ; we felt the mr and mrs shows etc were a waste of time and those type of shows are outdated . Now to outside the complex went on 3 trips all with thomsons yes we did pay more than outside trips but we felt it was worth it for tha safety point of view . went on outback safari excellant trip had a great guide kenny who made the trip worthwhile beer and rum all day highly recommended. then done puerta plata trip not so good went to fort got hassled went to various factories some good some not worth it then stopped in town for 20 minutes hassled as soon as you got of coach . then went on cable car well worth it until we got up to top where it was cloudy ; we should have gone up there first . then went to marine centre ;sea lion shows ;shark shows etc only done this trip to get out for a while. as i say if you like to stay on a conplex 24/7 then this for you if like us you like getting about then dont go to the dominican . ps. we still enjoyed ourself

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank brianSpain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2009

This is one of the best holidays I have ever had, thanks to the staff at Iberostar.
I would certainly go back and recommend it to anyone!

We managed to get a suite room, ocean view, third floor, block 1. The suite is slighter bigger than a standard room. Huge bed, sofa, balcony, good tv channels (if you are into american sitcoms) and nice bathroom. There is a mini bar in there with beer, soft drinks and water which is refilled daily.

The entertainment team there are fab! They really made the holiday, such fun personalities, very friendly and they bring everyone together. They do fun activities all day and a show at the hotel theatre every night.

There is also a club in the hotel, but we didn't really go there as the day was so long we were in bed before 11pm (were always up at 5/6pm).

All the staff are friendly, at breakfast, at the beach bar, at the restaurants, at the lobby bar. The food was great, so much choice in the buffet. If you want to eat at one of the restaurants you need to book, we ate at the Brazilian and the Mexican. I preferred the mexican, the brazilian is all meat orientated and it got abit much for me personally. All the desserts are delicious!

They also do bbq's on the beach which is fun, you can eat the beach bar all day so you never go without food. The drinks were great, loved the rum, my fave was a banana daquiri! Gets you drunk quickly without realising!

The reception area is very nice and has very comfy sofas to chill on.

Some of the games you can play are volleyball, football on the beach, ping pong, chess, tennis pool table and games in the pool. There are also lots of fun games with the entertainment team throughout the day. If you don't want to get involved you don't have to, you can keep yourself to yourself and sit away from the pool area.

You can leave the resort, we only went out one night, too be honest we preferred staying at the resort as there is plenty to do.

The excursions we did were the cable car up the mountain, it was cloudy though. Also the rum and cigar factory- its just a sales pitch so I wouldn't bother.

We also did zip lining, wow what an experience- this is the first sort of adrenaline excursion we have done and once we got the hang of it and overcame our nerves it became an enjoyable experience.

I did get bitten by mosquitoes, make sure you take repellent with 50% deet. However, that didn't work for me but Thomas Cook sell patches which you can buy and that kept them away.

Thomas Cook are at the resort all day, so if you need them they are always there and are also very friendly and helpful.

If you want to change your money the best place to do it is here before you go. We took both dollars and pesos, its best to pay in pesos as that is what most people accept. You also need to tip so we made sure we took plenty of singles.

They also have jacuzzis, spa for beauty and massage treatments and a gym. We had the reiki massages which were done in an outside hut by the pool, reasonably priced and very relaxing.

I would ignore any negative comments about this resort. Yes there are chavs there, but it isn't hard to get away from them. You don't need to go anywhere near them or mix with them, there really wasn't that many.

We met some fun people from Dominican and the UK whilst there, everyone is very friendly- very easy to make friends.

Thomas cook flight out, plenty of room and good entertainment on the screens. On the way back it was crammed though and the entertainment was not as good.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank GSG_midlands
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2009

Iberostar Costa Dorada
Puerta Plata
Dominican Republic

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.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Mysterybee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2009

We visited Iberostar the week after March Break of 2008 as a family, including our (then) 12 year old son and 8 year old daughter. It was by far the nicest resort we had stayed at in Puerto Plata and we had a fabulous time. The ride to the airport is short, the staff were friendly and helpful, the food was fantastic, the resort was beautiful and clean, the drinks were great, the beds were good, and the Kids Club was a lot of fun. My daughter enjoyed the club so much that we made sure to tip Jesse a nice amount before she left. She was so happy that she jumped on my husband and gave him a big kiss and hug!

We've been to Puerto Plata four times and highly recommend Iberostar Costa Dorada. It is usually a bit more than other resorts in the area, but so worth it.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank suburbandiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2009

We stayed at this hotel for 2 weeks from 18th May 2009, for our honeymoon, and booked through Thomas Cook, paid a bargain price of £1700 for the 2 of us.
First of all I will just apologise for the length of this review, but it should cover all aspects of this hotel, and resort.

We flew from Gatwick, and we were concerned about baggage allowance, which for us was a very measely 15kg hold luggage and 5kg hand luggage, and apparently they are really strict now on hand luggage sizes, but to be honest, nobody sticks to these rules as we saw loads of travellers with oversized hand luggage, and most getting away with about 17-18kg hold luggage. Our hand luggage wasn't even weighed, but whether this is the norm i'm not sure?
Any Smoker's now is the best time to buy cigs in the duty free shops as they are about 25% more expensive in Dominican, they are £35 for 400 on the plane.
Anyway after our 9 hour flight from Gatwick to Puerto Plata, which by the way was a decent flight, decent legroom, good movies and entertainment to choose from and even more if you pay the extra £5 for an upgrade as you can play games etc, by the way all earphones / headphones work on the plane without any adaptors, so don't pay the £2.50 for the rubbish ones they try and get you to buy!
When we landed at the airport it was the usual affair, queing up to pay the tourist tax of $10 each, and you also need $20 each for when you depart!, some people don't read thier booking details and so were complaining and didn't have the correct money, Then you need to be carefull when you collect your luggage, and leave the terminal, as the usual baggage porters try to take your luggage and take it usually about 20 yards to the bus or taxi for your transfer and expect $2 per case!
Upon getting onto our transfer coach to Iberostar Costa Dorada, we were given a nice ice cold bottle of water each, and onto an air conditioned bus, the checking in was done on the coach, you were given your all inclusive bracelet, your room keycard, and 2 towel cards that you exchange for towels by the pool. 30 minutes later we were at the hotel, greeted with a cocktail, and a porter took our room number and arrived at our room 5 mins later, a tip of $2 is welcomed.

On first apperances, the hotel is definately a 5 star hotel, and after seeing other hotels on the transfer stops, it is certainly one of the best in the Dominican.

Our room was fantastic ( No. 1110), a very large room, with a massive (American style) comfy bed, air conditioned, ceiling fan, a nice balcony with stunning sea view, and very quiet, A fully stocked (Free) mini bar, with beer, branded soft drinks and water,
A decent sized tv, with satelite, a few American channels / German but mainly Spanish.
Bathroom was a decent size with fantastic hot showers, full size bath, the toilets are really low though.
Safety deposit box is located in the wardrobe, and is FREE, which was a suprise!
The decor is not the most upto date, and yes, was a little tired in some parts, but it is bright, very clean and to a good standard.


This hotel in my opinion, is one of the best i've stayed at, given the price we paid. I've stayed at the Belagio in Las Vegas which yes is very luxurious, but i paid the same there for a weekend, as i did for a fortnight here! so it's all relative.
But really, this hotel should suit the majority of people, It is a large hotel with large grounds, that are immaculatly kept, loads of lovely palm trees, fountains, ponds etc. but the icing on the cake are the Flamingo's / Turtles and Peacocks that live in the hotel grounds.
The hotel, has loads of comfy seating throughout, and if you want a quiet place to sit with a drink, you will always be able to find one,


On the whole, very very good. The waiters in the buffet areas are lightning quick to clear away dishes, fill up your water, or get you drinks. The bar staff, again very quick and efficient, albeit one time when my wife went to the bar and was ignored by barman, probably because he was to busy to serve an American who was tipping him with every drink he ordered. He was repremanded by the manager who saw him ignore my wife and he went off in a huff?

The Maids, were fantastic, our room was imacculate, and you are greeted each day with a towel arrangement in the form of an elephant one day, swan another, really clever, and decorated with fresh flowers. also our mini bar was restocked everyday, with fresh towels. We left the maid a tip of $1 each day.

Pool / Beach:

The pool is a very good size, not too big, but big enough to not get crowded, it is well laid out and suitable for kids, swimmers and those playing games.
It was always lovely and warm, even at 8:00 in the morning, Yes it was in need of a repaint in some areas but the water was clean and the pool was constantly being cleaned and maintained by staff. The only downside i would say is that it's quite hard to get in and out of with high steps which could be tricky for the elderly.
The loungers around the pool, are plenyfull but they get grabbed up quickly, and even though there are signs saying do not reserve the loungers, it seems that the selfish ones go down at 7am and earlier and put towels on them, then go to breakfast!

The beach is lovely, and is kind of split in two, with one side having loads of parasols and the other is just open allowing you to put the lounger where you want.
The sand is very nice, but be warned it gets red hot!, the seaweed is not an issue and is cleaned up all the time.
The sea, being on the atlantic side, can be choppy at times, but still safe to swim, and you can walk out for miles before it gets too deep, just watch out for the few reefs that are dotted about, but the water is clear enough to see coral quite clearly without standing on it. It's great for snorkelers!
Come mid day the wind can be an issue near the beach, whipping up sand, but to be honest, we stuck near the beach as it was nice to have the breeze.
You do get loads of touts / vendors trying to sell you hats made out of palm leaves / photographers / and loads of women trying to sell hair braiding. They are all friendly and don't hassle you that much, but there are loads of them.

The watersports for the Hotel are a bit sparce, you can either use the kayaks, single or double or the hobby catarmarangs, however you need to sign your life away for them to let you go on them, but I suppose they have to.
There are no powered watersports such as jetski's or bananna boats, but just at the next hotel, directly on the same beach, you can do all of them, parasailing, jetski, donuts ( Which was lethal, when we went on, and not for the feint hearted!!) also prices are not cheap around $50 for 15mins Jetski

Food :

The food at this hotel is top notch, and certainly deserve it's 5 star rating. If anyone complains about the food at this hotel, then I would love to hear of any better for the price. It really does cater for everyone.
There are 2 main buffet restaurant, the main one where you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you wanted, and then one by the pool, which is smaller and is part of the pool bar, and most use this for late breakfasts and lunch. Both have loads to offer, from fresh fish, salads, carvery, soups, loads of local dishes, down to simple pizza and chips and burgers, and the desserts are amazing, all fresh and cooked to perfection.
Then you have three al-a-carte restaraunts, which you book in the morning near the reception area, these include Brazilian, which is I think the best one, offering loads of skewered meats served at your table, then theres a Mexican, with tortillas, fajitas etc, and then a seafood one with you've guessed it seafood. These al-a-carte offer something a bit more special and romantic, with candelite and they have a 3 piece mariachi band come round and you can request songs, which is really nice.
I would reccomend booking at all these al-a-cartes, and again could not fault them one bit.
If you want a quick snack during the day, the main place to go is the pool bar/ buffet which has self service ice cream , pop corn, also in an evening by the bar in the main lobby, you can get sandwiches and deserts, and at the pool bar burgers and kebabs.


All drinks were top quality, all soft drinks are famous brands, self service at pool bars / buffets, Beer was a local brand called President and was good and was the main thing i drank . As for spirits, which i don't drink much of, so couldn't really comment on, but they had local brands and international such as smirnoff, grants, gordon's, etc and you just had to request these brands to get them at no extra cost, the only thing they didn't do was Red Bull, even though they sold it in the shop at about £2.50 a can!
Oh and cocktails were very good as well including margaritas // tequilla sunrises the usual and champagne aswell.


This depends on really what your cup of tea is?
In the daytime, the entertainment team ( star friends ) do try their very hardest to keep people entertained if you want to be, and those such as ourselves who just wanted to chill out, they left well alone, it's not like an 18-30's where you are badgered into doing stupid games.
The daytime activities are: water polo, volleyball, beach football, archery, shooting, horse shoes, darts, tennis, water aerobics, beach aerobics / pilates, salsa / mirenge dancing classes, bingo.
There are also 2 table tennis tables near the pool, 2 american sized pool tables near the reception, and some tennis courts.

Every evening, they have themed nights,which range from movies, theater, musicals, Mr & Mrs, and the usual karaoke.
These events take place in the auditorium, which is part of the main hotel, its open aired, but not air conditioned so it still gets hot! There are plenty of seats and a huge bar.
The waiters / waitresses will serve you at your seat, but they are far and few, and its quicker to go to the bar.
The entertainment usually starts about 8:30pm starting with a kids show, and disco, then its dancing time, where you can show off your merenge skills with the proffessional dancers who will teach you. Then it's time to award all the people who have won the days activities, which is the same everynight and can be a bit repetative, and is usually the same people who won stuff the day before!
Then it's showtime at about 9:30pm, this is when it can start to get busy. The shows are quite professional, in my opinion with good sets and lighting. The actors / dancers are very good, and overall very entertaining, Its not West End but its100 times better than Butlins!!

There's also a small disco called Route 66, which plays a mix of Chart music and merenge, but is air conditioned which is good, and by all accounts stays open till 6am!

Shops / services

There are a few small shops within the hotel, one selling general holiday stuff, such as beach wear, bags, solveniers and you can get photos developed, another which mainly sold food/drinks crisps, chocolate, newspapers ( expensive!! the Sun cost about £4.50 )
Then one that sold stuff like towels, and shirts, a jewelers with some lovely gold and diamond jewelery.
There is an internet room, with about 6 computers in it, Its $5.00 per half hour, and if you dont use the full half hour you just keep your ticket and can get the remainder back next time you visit.
There are 2 spa / treatment rooms, near the pool area. One specialises in massages, which are quite reasonable about $30 for 30mins session, for a full back massage.
The other speciallises in beauty treatments such as manicures, hair dressing etc and again quite reasonable prices.
A nice touch is the shower rooms, which are really handy when you are to depart, we had 5 hours wait from, leaving our room at 12:00 to 5:00 when the bus came, so a change of clothes and a shower was great, with fresh clean towels to use, and you are still all inclusive upto getting on the bus home.

Attractions / Out and About

First of all, we were on our honeymoon, so we were there to chill out and relax, but as is the case with most all inclusive you feel a bit confined to the hotel. We went to the welcome reception on the first day, and was met by Bev our Thomas Cook tour rep, who was very good, and sat through the usual do's and don'ts, and then were being sold the numerous trips that were on offer.
It soon becomes apparent that he trips are in my opinion very expensive, considering simalar trips in say Greece or Turkey.
We had budgeted for such trips and for a fortnight I would reccomend that unless you really are a sun worshiper, or love getting involved with every activity within the hotel, then at least 3-4 trips is recommended.
IMPORTANT, you can get all the trips a lot cheaper (maybe half price) if you book outside of the hotel. You are told by the rep that you take your chances as some companies don't exist, I would say thats true and DO NOT book with vendors selling trips on the beach, but if you take a stroll LEFT out the hotel, you soon see some shops offering all the trips you want, I would recommend going about a mile up the road to a place called The PLAZA, which is a very big gated complex housing loads of hotels and villas, but it has the nearest shopping type center, it's mainly just soulvenier shops, an few bars including a propper british pub, and a few shops selling trips, I just wish we had visited before we booked, and I would have saved about £150, but thats sods law!!
The trips we went on were:

Monster Truck Safari:
This was our favorite trip, its a full day affair, picking up about 8:30ish you get on board a huge ex-military open roofed truck, which takes you firstly to a ranch, of which you then get the chance to go horseriding, for about 45 mins which was good. You then get back on the truck and it takes you through the jungle, you get to visit all the locals who live in tiny wooden huts and seem to have nothing, it's a real eyeopener, you also get to visit a school funded by the monster truck company, i felt a bit of an intruder at times, and it is all very touristy, but i suppose it is their major income and their livleyhoods depend on tourism. We then went to a place that did stone carved ornaments, which of course you can buy, and were actually very reasonable, and than onto a coffee making hut, then to a cigar making hut. Then onto a secluded beach for some swimming. All in all a very good trip, which included as much drink as you wanted, a nice hot buffet lunch included.

Catamaran Trip

The catamaran trip was ok, but not worth the price paid ( about £50 each ) generally its just a large catamaran you board about 9ish and spend all day on it, and it makes about 3 stops so you can go snorkelling (included) Fantastic snorkelling and loads of great fish and coral. Very simple cold buffet lunch, unlimited drinks included, but nothing special really.

Paradise Island

Again, very expensive for what it is (paid about £65 each ) very early start about 7:00 start drives you to a beach which takes around 2 hours!! then onto a speedboat for another 45mins to a so called island! It is in fact a fairly small sand bank with about 4 wooden huts on it! A bit dissapointed, but the sea was deadly calm and crystal clear, perfect for snorkelling of which you get a guided swim around the island (sand bank!) amazing coral and fish, then you have a sandwich, and an obligitory photo taken. You are here for about 2 hours but it gets crowded very quickly, not the paradise we were expecting! You then get back on the speedboat, go see some mangroves and then to another beach to have a very nice hot buffet lunch, here you can buy more trinkets and your photo £15 if wanted? Then you get back onto bus to be taken yet again to more tourist shops, another cigar factory! A very long day, and to be honest only worth it if you like snorkelling.

So on the whole the trips are ok, not fantastic value for money, but it does break up the fortnight from your hotel, and you do get to see a bit of the local countryside and the culture. It is obviously all geared towards parting you with your money, even though you have paid a fortune on the trip in the first place, but again you can't blame them!

Out of the Hotel:

Not a lot really, on our 3rd day, we ventured Left along the beach, there were no other hotels at all, and we kept walking for about 45mins, thinking there must be civilisation somewhere ahead, we carried on and came to some beach cafe's which to be honest didn't seem to be aimed at tourists as the shop owner spoke no English, we carried on walking and in the end grabbed a taxi, and asked to go to the town. We were taken to the middle of Peurta Plata where we were the only tourist around, and felt very uncomfortable. We were like fish out of water, It wasn't like any other holiday town, yes there were loads of soulvienier shops, but thats it, no supermarkets, bars, restaurants, nothing. We were then luckilly approached by one of the security guards from our hotel who's day off it was, and was out with his partner, and quite catagorically told us that, this was not a good place to be out wondering alone, without a guide! and he told us to remove the gold jewelery that we were nievely showing off, as he said loads of tourists get mugged usually by the local mafia. By this point we were terrified, and the security guard got us a taxi and we went back to the hotel.
So to be honest i would really try and stick to the hotel, if you want to take a stroll then i would, if going along the beach take a right turn from the hotel, or left if going along the road from the hotel, and the only real place to visit is the Plaza shopping centre.

If you are wondering what currency to use, and what form to take, I would recommend just taking about £100 of US Dollars, and £100 of Dominican Pasos to start with, and if you can just use your credit / debit card to get money when you are there, or just use your card for purchases. If getting cash out the rate in the hotel is ok, but if you want better then just walk upto the Plaza as mentioned earlier, alternitavely, you can go to the cash machine (ATM) next door to the hotel, it's just behind the Casino. If using Cash Machines, take out as much as possible in one go, as you get charged £3.50ish each transaction, you can always keep it in your safe!
The majority of places accept US Dollar$ or Dom Pasos, However stupidly, the Thomas cook trips are priced in US Dollars but are then converted and charged in Euro's?
Don't make costly mistake we did, and get a pre paid Visa card from the Post Office in US Dollars, we did this primarily to pay for trips, but found out Thomas Cook couldn't accept it? and so was useless, We ended up not using it and so had to get stung with high conversion rate back home so ended up loosing about £80 in cashing it back into Pounds.

Don't bother bringing towels, they give you them at the hotel by the pool, and you get plenty in your rooms, and you can take them out if going on trips. They will only give you less room in your case and weigh more.

Haggle with everyone, especially jewellery, paintings and cigars, i usually got stuff 50% less than the starting price.

Take loads of suncream, its not cheap here, a cheap underwater camera is a must if you are going snorkelling, and insect repelent especially at night.

Tips, I would tip the maids by leaving $1 a day for them, i think this is why our mini bar was restocked daily, and tip hotel porters. Also on trips such as bus driver etc. and anyone else you feel gives you great service, but it's not really expected and i never felt a cheapskate for not tipping barmen or waitressess who didn't expect it anyway.

My only gripe during our stay, which was unavoidable, was that on our second week we we're inundated with loads of mainly British tourists who had, had there holiday canceled as they were supposed to be going to Mexico! and were given this hotel and resort as an alternative.
Now i'm not a snob i'm born and bread from Barnsley Yorkshire, but it seemed that a large number of these people who had brought along their darling kids, had barely learned how to eat with knives and forks! They were loud mouthed, drunken, smoking tattooed chavs.

They were the ones who would reserve the loungers with towels in the morning so they could get as sunburnt as possible, spend most of the day eating and drinking, whilst jumping onto the ever growing number of inflatables in the pool.
Then at night not bothering to adhere to any dress code in the dinning room, turning up in the same clothes worn by the pool, so all you could see is a mass of swim shorts, vest tops and flip flops, whilst the civilised ones looked vey over dressed.

I can't believe some people though, i saw many times people picking buffet food up with their fingers and not with the tongs provided, and once someone dropped the tongs on the floor and she just put them back in the dish of food for everyone else to use! Unbelievable! no wonder Mexico has swine flu!!!

But what really got my back up was, that I overheared loads of them saying, that it was a rubbish hotel and not half as good as the one they should be staying at in Cancun, saying that in cancun you get served drinks at your sun lounger by waiters! well if thats the only thing, and they can't be bothered to get there lazy behinds up to get a drink from the numerous bars around well god help them. And by the sounds of it they had all only paid about £600 for a fortnight!!!

I can't believe such people can complain, it must be paradise for them, being able to eat and drink as much as they like, smoke where they like, and let there darling offspring (who should be at school) run around like idiots and let someone else look after them or not as the case usually is!

Well that's my rant over and has nothing to do with the Hotel, it just makes me embarrassed sometimes to be a tourist from the same country.

So overall, The Hotel, was fantastic, very clean, great food and drink, decent entertainment, lovely rooms, great beach, and very good service. The trips were good, but overpriced, however found out later could have got a lot cheaper! (live & learn) The resort itself is very limited, personally i wouldn't venture off track without a guide, however all staff and local people met were extreamly friendly, the weather was great even with a few thunderstorms thrown in which only last 30mins but then its glorious sunshine again! But in all honesty this hotel does deserves its 5 star award, I would recommend it to anyone apart from Chavs!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
28  Thank donnylad75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2009

Stayed at this hotel 29th May-12th June, this was my second visit to this hotel (first time 2002) and it was better than i remembered. Rooms are big and clean, food is fab, staff are very friendly, entertainment good, grounds are lovely, i will most definately visit this hotel again in the future. If there is anything you would like to know please feel free to email me.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Susan P
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
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:
#2 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
#3 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Business Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £107 - £320 (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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