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“Great Family Vacation”

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Iberostar Costa Dorada
Ranked #2 of 39 Hotels in Puerto Plata
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Timmins, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
40 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Great Family Vacation”
Reviewed 13 March 2006

We love the Iberostar chain. We know what to expect at each resort before we get there. This one was rated by ACV as a 4 1/2 star, but we were never disappointed. The price for the vacation was a lot less than the same chain in Mexico but the standards of food, entertainment, pools, rooms/beds and housekeeping were still the same. The only difference was in the “a la cart” restaurants. The ones in the DR were not quite as good as the Mayan or Lindo but for the price difference we were all very satisfied. I would still give it a 5 star.
We brought our young teenage daughters along but there weren’t many other kids that age for them to socialize with, so they had to stick with mom and dad. This would be a plus for couples traveling without kids. There was still plenty for them to do, water sports, shop, sea sports, beach sports etc, and they never once complained.
The food was great and after a week the buffets still offered enough variety that you never felt you were eating at the same place all week. We ate and drank everything we could and no one had any digestive problems except for maybe a bit too much rum. (The drinks were not watered down and my wife learned that “1/2 rum” meant ½ a glass of rum not ½ an ounce of rum as it does back home.)
I have never gone back to the same resort twice, there are too many places in the world to see before I die, but I would recommend this one to everyone who wanted to see the Puerto Plata area. The resort was top notch with no solicitations, time-shares or vendors on site. The nearest ATM was next door at the Hilton…and after visiting it several times…I was glad I stayed at the Iberostar. The Hilton was nice, but not quite as nice.
The highlight of our trip was a small sandbar called Paradise Island. It is a coral reef about 5 miles off shore and is one of the best places I have ever snorkeled in the tropics.

  • Stayed February 2006
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Helpful?
27 Thank DBCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Portland Maine USA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2006

WE returned to the DR after our first visit to Punta Cana in January to this Iberostar Costa Brava at Puerto Plata. the hotel is smaller and a year or two older than the Dominicana in PC but also had some nice touches by management.

Evenings the couryard area off the lobby became a plasant gathering place with tablecloths and cushions set our and small candles on each table. The musicians were good but the music tself was a little dated and sleepy.

Staff were all excellent and very helpful, the room was clean and comfortable, though a recurring complaint with island hotels is the infrequent launderings of such things as bedspreads. very stinky!

Food was overall good, though not as many choices because of a smaller staff/space.

I've read many reports of the beach before we went, but it was really quite pleasant. Water's edge had some minor seaweed but cleaned up quickly and nothing compared to Maine beach seaweed. Vendors were low-key and maintained a reasonable distance from sunbathers. The area we enjoyed best on the beat were the shaded areas under the palm and other tropical trees that dotted the upper beach. A quiet respite from the blast of the sun.

The clientele seemed to consist of many older european couples quite a few families with very young children and teenagers. Not too many in the 20-40 range.

The hotel should really consider updating their photos on the hotel website s the setting was quite more filled out and lush than tose pix would indicate. did not do the hotel a service.

Though a Spanigh operated hotel, they were very German in their enforcement of several poolside rules: reserved chairs were cleared if marked with unattended towels etc before 9:00 AM and topless sunbathing was extremely frowed upon-- a first for me in the Caribbean!

  • Stayed March 2006
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Helpful?
14 Thank sailnsun22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
nyc
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2006

we had a lovely week at the iberostar. the grounds were beautiful with exotic birds strolling about. the rooms were clean and spacious and the mini bar was always restocked. the pool was fabulous and we had no problem getting reservations at the 3 specialty restaurants. the staff was kind and helpful but never pushy. our weather was simply perfect!! the only negative was the beach- seaweed, wind and rough waters. the iberostar dominicus hacienda in la romana has a much nicer beach. still- this was an awesome deal and a great resort.

  • Stayed February 2006
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Helpful?
17 Thank rbl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2006

I was at the Iberostar Costa Dorada on Jan 24 - 31/06 and I travelled with my sister and my mother. My sister and myself are in our 40's and our mother is in her 70's. Before we chose this resort I did a lot of research on various review sites to see what kind of experience others had had at this resort. Most of the reviews were extremely positive so I based my decision on that. I went on this vacation with high expectations and was scared that I would be disappointed. All I can say is that it was better than what I had heard and read!! It was a fantastic week right from the start and it only got better as the week went on. The hotel itself is spotless and gorgeous; the grounds are spectacular; and the staff are incredible. In just one week we had made not only friends but people that felt like family members to us. I don't know about you but this speaks volumes to me!! Everyone from the maids, to the bartenders (Ricardo and Elvis), to the waiters and waitresses (Robert and Carly; Julian and Nancy); to the Star Friends (Tun Tun, Shaggy, Scooby, Alex, Victor, Cookarookoo, etc) treated us like queens and with the upmost respect and courteousness. I have never experienced that in all my years from not only one staff member but all of the staff at the Iberostar. The food was excellent, varied and well prepared and presented. The drinks were awesome and the entertainment was exceptional given that this is not Broadway but the Dominican Republic and they are performing for a very diversified crowd from all over the world. Since we were 3 ladies by ourselves on this trip (a true girl's getaway) the Star Friends always kept us busy on the dance floor. They do try and make your stay as pleasant and enjoyable as possible and since my mother loves to dance she inherited quite a few new sons that looked after her like their own mother. I have already booked our next trip there for Feb 2007 and this time our husbands and children will be there to enjoy the warm hospitality of the Iberostar staff. I do not spend my money unwisely and would only return if it truley did meet and exceed all of my predetermined expectations. And for me to return with all of my family, this will tell you that it most certainly did meet and exceed my expectations!! There is not one thing that I can negatively say about this resort or its staff. I can't wait to return. Oh, and we also met a lot of people there where it was there 3 or 4th trip back to the same resort. People wouldn't go back if it wasn't paradise!!

Helpful?
26 Thank jfellner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 8 March 2006

My husband and I recently stayed at the Iberostar Costa Dorada in Puerto Plata (Feb. 19 to 26). This resort is classy and beautiful. Clean, upscale, and tropical. Marble throughout. Decorated with a Spanish/tropical flare. The entire lobby/bar/theatre/restaurant area is outside, but covered with a grass roof. A beautiful courtyard for an evening drink. Flamingos and peacocks walk about. And turtles swim in the lobby pond. It is/was a wonderful choice for a married couple. In fact, we saw many young/and older married couples, as well as those with children of all ages. We are hoping to return next year with our two girls (ages nine months and five years). From what we witnessed, the children's program is amazing - and each evening the children perform in the main theatre. What a treat it was to watch them.

A bit more detail:
Reception: We arrived late (actually 10 hours late due to a SkyService flight delay in Toronto) so we missed the usual greeting from staff (with drinks) - but the front desk staff did take care of us(checking in). Just a tip: if you are going to get a room safe you might need to remind the guy a few times when checking in to give you a key for it. We had to ask four times. The safe cost about 372 pesos for the week. A lot less than we were expecting or that we had read about. Before we left for the Dominican we had requested an oceanview room in buildings five or six. Due to the unexpected late arrival we didn't get this request. However, we were put in building four and it turned out to be one of the best buildings for its ideal locale. It was close to the pool and close to all the amenties (bars, restaurants, theatre, lobby, stores and disco). Buildings five and six were at the other end of the resort near the beach.

The food: The food was amazing. The service outstanding. There was so much variety. Our favourite restaurant was the Brazilian (smoked sausage, grilled chicken, beef, baked potato). The service was amazing. Each sip of water you took from your glass was immediately refilled. And lots of seconds offered to you. I think the waitresses thought my husband was a human garbage can. The Tropical is down by the pool and the food was good. You must try Dominican soup - very tasty. The Mexican restaurant was probably my least favourite but still good. The dinner buffett was amazing and we ate there three of the nights. Each night was something different (seafood, roasted chicken/turkey, roast pork). Lots of salads, pastas, meats, cold meats, fruit (pineapple was so good), desserts. Again, there was so much to choose from that each night was a different dining experience. Food sculptures were also on display (like watermellon being cut and shaped to look like seahorses). Morning buffett was much the same ... but there were eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles, toast, yogurt, fresh fruit juices etc. There is a lunch buffett too (but we always ate at the snack/lunch bar by the pool where we had pizza, nachos, popcorn, hotdogs, salads, hamburgers, desserts (ice cream) etc. The bar staff here is great - especially Elvis who always had a drink ready for you before you actually got to the counter.

The pool: The pool stays open until 7 p.m. when it closes to be cleaned. But it looks beautiful at night all lit up. In the middle of the pool is a Jacuzzi. The pool is really spacious and never feels busy. There are lots of lounge chairs and many under shade trees. We never had a problem getting two chairs - even during the middle of the day. More lounge chairs are found further down by the pool snack/lunch bar restaurant. And then even more on the beach - where again, there is plenty of sun or shade depending on your preference.

The beach/water: The beach is nice and extremely private with only the Hilton next door. The only thing that isn't that nice is the swimming as it is weedy. But if you walk a bit to the right, you will find awesome swimming conditions. We often would walk about 30 minutes down the beach to the Occidental Allegro Playa Dorada where we had friends staying. Great swimming along the way. And you will find some beach shops. The great thing about the Costa Dorada is the absence of beach vendors, both on the beach and on the resort. When we went to the Playa Dorada we were asked every two minutes to buy something from the beach vendors. And they were inside the resort too. Got annoying.

Gym/Spa: My husband loved the gym and worked out most mornings before breakfast. The spa is in the same building and I would enjoy the hot/cold Jacuzzis (complimentary) while he worked out. Great way to relax and very private since the women's and the men's were separate.

Shops: You can buy postcards and stamps, souvenirs, items you forgot to bring, clothes, jewelry, and photos taken by resort staff. They only accepted pesos or credit card. The beach shops are a great place to negotiate. Never offer full price and be prepared to walk away. They usually will come find you. You will be amazed at the bargains you will get. It wouldn't hurt to bring items from home to trade (such as toothbrushes/paste/T-shirts).

Currency: Keep your $20 US (departure tax) on you as it is almost impossible to get American cash once you are there. There is a bank machine at the Hilton (in the parking lot), but of course it gives out pesos. There is a currency exchange at the front desk. If you book an excursion through your vacation rep (Signature Vacations) they will accept traveler's cheques. We used our credit card in the resort stores and in some of the ones in downtown Puerto Plata. Most times we used US cash for taxi fare, although they will take pesos too. It's good to have a bit of everything ... although we found it better to have pesos when buying souvenirs in the shops.

Excursions: Save your money and forget going into Puerto Plata. We paid a taxi driver to take us there and had a guide, but there isn't too much to see and most of the items being sold in the shops we could have gotten back on the beach. However, we wish we would have gone the other direction and paid a driver to take us to Cabarete. It is beautiful and has lots of shops along one main strip. (We went through the town on our Outback Safari). The Outback Safari is a recommended must do and we did enjoy it since it was one way to actually interact somewhat with local Dominicans. You also visit a school (well, look into the classroom as you are not allowed to actually go in). We brought suckers for the children and many others brought sports items, school supplies, and clothes. In the afternoon you get to boogie board for 45 minutes (not long enough my husband would write). At times this adventure seems rushed and a marketing mission for Outback. A bit of a deception is you thinking you are stopping at a local rum shack on the way back. Sure it was a rum shack but it was run by Outback. The prices seemed to change depending on which guide was trying to sell behind the counter. But if you get Ruddi and Junior as your Outback Safari guides you will have a great time. So overall, it was a fun day. My husband went deep sea fishing with the guys in his family staying at the Playa Dorada. They had fun but only caught a garbage bag - no guarantees.

Bars: The disco at the resort is good, but not busy ... the main reason, the clientel are not at this resort - meaning not too many young single guys or gals. We did go to a bar on the Playa Dorada complex called Mangu. There is a cover charge for guests from other resorts. The atmosphere and music were good, but the bartenders didn't know how to make a Tom Collins and it was expensive. The cab fare was $7US dollars from the Costa Dorada to the Playa Dorada complex.

Costa Dorada entertainment: Starts at 9:30 each night. Excellent - the singers are professional. We watched most nights. The Mister Iberostar was funny. And there are two bars, plus at your seat service.

The rooms: Spacious. Satelite TV. Nice soaker bathtub and great shower. Always had hot water. Comfortable beds. Mini-bar in room (including bottled water). Large bottled water for brushing teeth. We left $10 US for the maid at the beginning of the week, and she did keep the room clean and made a few things out of towels and left flowers and chocolates, but I think this was standard service. We really didn't get anything extra for the large tip.

Overall: We loved this resort and will go back. We also would not hesitate to stay at any other Iberostar chain resorts.

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
41 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 March 2006

I just got back from a 5 day vacation (Feb 28-Mar 4) in Puerto Plata at the Iberostar resort. I went with a friend of mine and I have to say we had a great time and would recommend it to anyone. Our trip didn’t
start off too well as we were denied access onto the plane due to our identification. Neither one of us had passports. They didn’t have any problems with my birth certificate and driver’s license, but my friend had his birth certificate and a non-driver license. They said they never saw one of those before and Immigration in Dominican Republic would not let us into the country. Long story short, we spent that whole day getting our passports done and we left for DR the next morning. I know your travel agents tell you that you don’t need passports but don’t listen to them! If your birth certificate has the slightest tear in it, they won’t let you on the plane. Apparently DR is very strict with identification coming into the country. Ok, now to the hotel review!

Weather:
We had great weather. The only day it rained was the day we arrived there. Every other day after was perfect, and really hot! The sun is a lot stronger then it feels. The beach is very windy and feels a lot cooler then when you sit out by the pool (which is gorgeous by the way!).

Beach:
If you are a huge beach fanatic like me, you might be a little disappointed. Like people said, there’s seaweed but they do clean it up so you barely are affected by it. The water is a little rough and more on the greenish/brown side rather than turquoise. There are little coral reefs all over so you can’t really walk into the water barefoot. If you can, bring water shoes. Some days the wind was a little strong and it was actually too cold to sit on the beach. One day during our trip the water calmed down a little and we were able to do some water sports which was fun. There is this guy that walks up and down the beach selling these tours that his company does. We actually did one (the jeep safari) and I’m glad we did. We payed $45 a person and they picked us up at the hotel at 8:50am and took us through town and into the farms and stuff. We got to make our own coffee, watch them roll cigars, see how people live, etc. Then they took us to a restaurant for lunch and the food was so good! After lunch we went into the waterfalls. It was the most amazing adventure. I highly recommend it (you have to be able to swim though because you physically climb up the waterfalls and then slide down them and jump off rock cliffs). Again, bring your own water shoes! I had to use a pair of canvas sneakers that they gave me and they were not comfortable. My blisters are still healing! By 4pm they had us back at our hotel. It was all worth the price we paid and then some!

Rooms:
The room was a decent size and was always kept clean. We found out the hard way that they have European 110 volt plugs, not the standard ones we have here in America. I bought an adapter at the store in the lobby and it worked great. The mini-bar was always fully stocked and free! For some reason there was no clock in the room therefore no alarm, so bring something with you if you require it.

Food:
Since our trip was so short we were unable to get a reservation for any of the specialty restaurants so we ate at the buffet every night. The food wasn’t great but edible. There’s always something that you can find. I was disappointed in that we hardly saw seafood, it was mostly meats. The good thing about this resort is you can get food 24/7! No matter what time of day, there was some place serving snacks or small meals. It was very convenient.

All in all we really enjoyed staying at this resort. The grounds are so beautiful, ponds and wildlife everywhere. Even the nightly entertainment was enjoyable! Please disregard all the rumors you hear about DR. The island is so beautiful and the people are really friendly. You will have an awesome vacation here!

  • Stayed March 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
19 Thank Jenn143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 6 March 2006

We have been on a couple of Cruises, but this was our first time at an All-Inclusive Resort and we were not sure what to expect. However, we were very pleased with the Hotel, Staff and Great Service we received! The room was always comfortable & clean, the Buffet was surprisingly very good - lots of variety every day, the Pool was clean and very beautiful with enough Shade for us, the Staff were always smiling and giving a friendly Hola! when you met them. The grounds were pleasant with the fountains and Orchids and the Open Courtyard was a lovely place to sit in the evening and listen to the Entertainment. We did not spend a lot of time on the Beach - only one day - but it was groomed every day and was pleasant enough. The a la Carte restaurants were so-so and the service not all that good, we found we enjoyed the Buffet more. The Beach BBQ was good and the Paella was to die for!! The Bar Service was good as well. We went on a couple of Tours: The Whale Watching is very far away and was a marathon day: 6am - 9 pm. It is a long Bus Ride, the food was not that good then they put you in Small Boats which can be very rough for anyone who has back problems when the ocean has swells. (and it usually does) The Tour Guide was not much fun either - no joking etc. and did not provide much in the way of Rum and no Beer or Pop at all! - so be warned if you chose this Tour. (we suggest find a way to rent your own boat - or book a fishing tour & combine with Whale Watching) We highly recommend the Outback Safari as it was a Blast - FUN Tour Guides, Lots of Rum, Beer & Pop, Good Back Country Tour, Very Good Lunch then Boogie Boarding and all! We laughed a lot that day. Our Day Trip into Puerto Plata was interesting but we felt shuffled like cattle at times. We recommend that you simply hire a Cab & Tour Guide (you can book one just outside your Hotel Gate - the group of people gathered across from your Gate are the Tour Guides for Hire)to take you around - you will see a lot more and have more personalized service - for about the same price. We did enjoy the Market at Sosua - enjoyed the Ambience a lot and had a nice Lobster for Lunch that day. It was an experience being on the Roads in the DR as the main driving rule seems to be simple: if you are smaller than the other vehicle you better get out of the way! The Buses simply honk their horns and the small trucks and scooters just move out of the way! A little unruly for what we are used to, but there does not seem to be a lot of accidents. We just took it in stride and did not let it bother us. All in all - a great vacation - thank you Iberostar Costa Dorada & all Dominicans who made our vacation so special - we will be back!

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
28 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
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

Property: 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 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 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#3 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Business Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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 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

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