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“Not what be planned. but”

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Puerto Plata Village Resort
Ranked #37 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed 27 November 2011

Puerto Plata Village, Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata, DR, March 2011

Things were kind of confused this year, so some background is required before I get into the review. This was not the trip we had planned. If things had gone to plan, this would have been a review of Fun Royale/Tropicale. As everyone who's read my reviews knows, I've always had a fond spot in my heart for that particular resort; not for the hotel itself, but for the staff. Over the years they've become just like family or close friends. The hotel (Fun
Royale/Tropicale) was a three star property at best but we've always been treated well and received five star service. Unfortunately, things didn't quite go to plan. The original booking was with Westjet Vacations for Fun Royale. Shortly after booking, Westjet dropped the property, so that meant no Westjet rep on site. No big issue there. Then the booking got changed to Fun Tropicale because the hotel block was being converted to condos. OK, so I
wouldn't get "my" room. I'll call that an inconvenience. Then, a mere thirty six hours before our departure we found out that Fun Royale/Tropicale would be closing their hotel operations for renovations in the middle of our trip, so we would be moved to Puerto Plata Village for the second week. They expected the renovations to take about 6 months (Dominican time). What we didn't know was that all the staff were also being let go and would be losing their jobs. If we had, we would have cancelled the trip. The emotional issues and
confusion surrounding the windup of operations made for a distinctly unpleasant week one and set the tone and our mood for the second week. This was trip 13 to the resort. I'm not superstitious but .....

Since he previous week was spent at Fun Royale/Tropicale, you might want to read that review prior to reading this one. If not, press on.

When life deals you lemons, make lemonade. I'd have to consider the move between hotels more or less a lateral one. But, in a situation like this, you can't help comparing properties. I liked some things at FR/T better and some things at PPV better. The hotels are both about the same rating, but the trip was NOT what we had originally booked or wanted. To be fair, under different circumstances we could have really enjoyed Puerto Plata Village, but not after
the emotional meltdowns (both staff and guests, mostly all repeaters) of the previous week. Due to the circumstances there's no way I can write a review of Fun Royale/Tropical that will be of use to anyone. My personal feeling is that it will never reopen again, so I guess it's a mute point. Despite this, my review for Puerto Plata Village is on the positive side, despite the upsets.

On arrival, we were greeted by the hotel manager and the guest services manager (OK, I know them both). The staff at reception were friendly, efficient and got us checked in and taken to our room quickly. Speaking of the manager, he is very energetic, personable and outgoing and seems to have some good ideas. I saw him frequently around the property introducing himself and talking to guests.


We had a superior room with a balcony/patio and amenities (read as a bar fridge). The room was basic but serviceable. Just what you would expect from a 3 star property. If you are looking for fancy, this isn't the place. But it was clean and everything pretty well worked. When we checked in, everything appeared to be OK except the toilet which was running on at a slow rate continuously. It was just a tank level problem. The level was set high and
some water was trickling down the overflow tube. I corrected that issue myself; it's just not a holiday if I don't fix something. During the week one CF bulb in the bathroom went intermittent, and one of the bedside lamps stopped functioning. Since we didn't need either, I put off reporting the issues until checkout. Oh, and after four days in the room, the a/c started to drip on the floor. I assumed it was iced over so we shut it off for the day. When I returned to the room it was running again. This is the first hotel I've stayed in that turned ON the a/c when you're not there. Normally they turn it OFF. Whatever, we set the temperature setting a bit warmer and it didn't drip again.

So, no show stoppers here and we had no major complaints. None of the issues were reported until checkout. Oh, and we got wash cloths. I don't know if this is normal or was special for us, but some of the other rooms we looked into didn't seem to have them. Follow the standard DR procedure and take some inexpensive ones with you. Then you have that situation taken care of. If you don't need them and have them it's not an issue but if you don't have them and need them .....


The grounds were clean and well maintained. There's a fair bit of greenery and trees, all carefully groomed. There are a few areas that appeared to remnants of what used to be pools/fountains but no longer used as such and they were empty.

The colour combos on some of the buildings were 'colourful' and in some cases maybe a bit too 'colourful'. One particular shade of green was especially bright.

It's an easy resort to find your way around. All the main common facilities (pool, entertainment area, buffet restaurants, specialty restaurants) are concentrated in the central area near the lobby. The disco is set aside away from most of the rooms.

The pool is nice and appeared very clean and well maintained. It has a very nice swim-up bar. With the exception of a few loose tiles on the pool deck I didn't have any issues.

The only comment here is that some rooms are near this area and may be noisy at night if you wanted to retire early. I'm kind of surprised that the late night entertainment wasn't moved to the disco to resolve that noise issue.


There is one main buffet restaurant and three specialty ones (Italian, Mexican and Dominican). We ate at all three and found them pretty good. I didn't care much for the Dominican one, but that might have been because we were late and the best offerings had been picked over.

Hotel occupancy was down, so some nights they funnelled everyone through one of the specialty restaurants. Other nights both the buffet and one specialty restaurant were open. We found the food to be quite acceptable. There were lots of choices and it was easy to find something that suited. It seemed to me that the chef had one spice combination that he liked and that mix was used a lot. It would have been nice to vary it a mite. That said, no one in our party nor anyone that we associated with got ill.

The tables were well bused and it was a rare event to sit down at a table that didn't have the proper utensils and cloth serviettes (napkins to you guys south of the border) already on the table. The top table cloths were replaced frequently.

The service was quite good. After the first day at breakfast the gals knew we wanted our coffee first thing. We'd no sooner sit down and the coffee was right there. Nice. The only thing was when they replaced your coffee with the second cup they took the stir spoon with it. This 'might' explain the odd missing spoon from an adjacent table. Don't blame the guy busing the table; blame a guest ....

There is a snack bar (burgers, hot dogs and pizza) near the pool and another snack bar at the beach club that served lunch from about noon until 2 PM. There was no rotisserie chicken alas, but most days there was baked chicken. Pretty well all the salads and chicken was catered from the main hotel kitchen. Burgers, hot dogs and fries were prepared at the beach club and the chicken was put on the grill to brown it up a bit. There was also rice, pasta, veggies, fruit and desserts. Quite a complete selection for a small area. I don't recall seeing fries at any of the other restaurants and it might well be that this is the only area where they are served on the resort.

There are bars located in the lobby, near the pool, the swim-up bar and one at the beach club. I believe there's a fifth bar in the disco. Drinks were also available in the restaurants at meal time. Of note, Presidente beer was served and most days Brugal was available. It wasn't the Anejo, but the Carta Dorada which is much better than Normandy or Classico. Pretty well all the other offerings were local.

After all that drinking it's nice to know that there are abundant washroom facilities and they are all pretty conveniently located. They seemed to be clean and well maintained.


Overall the beach was pretty nice and one of the better sections of Playa Dorada. I can remember this area from years past and it has been considerably improved when the beach was built-up a few years back. There is a fair bit of shade for those that want it and there was no shortage of beach loungers. They also had about 5 or 6 of the beach beds.

The beach club is about a five minute walk from the hotel. There is also a shuttle that runs frequently if you don't feel like walking.


Here are my comments about the hotel (in no particular order):

1) For those that care, the ketchup and mustard were Heinz (in the individual packets) and the mayonnaise was a brand called MacDom.

2) The beer served was Presidente on tap. Brugal rum was available but you usually had to ask for it. All the other liquors were local (read Normandy or Classico).

3) All the mix was bottled, not fountain. And yes, they had Diet Coke (called Coke Light there).

4) Bacon was a rare occurrence at breakfast. I only saw it once and that was our last day.

5) The beach club is a good place to have lunch due to the location. The food selection in the buffet was also good at lunch time. We ate most lunches at the beach club, but had several lunches at the buffet as well.

6) The beach party was very enjoyable. They served dinner at the beach club, had a show, put on some music, danced, had a bonfire and played a few beach games (like limbo). It's the kind of beach party I've been trying to talk the 'other place' into having for years now.

7) The pizza bar is quite good. It's different than at home, and the crust is pretty thick, but good. They pretty well cooked up small portions (6 slices or so) to order and you got to select what was on it.

8) There seems to be a lot of useable covered areas to use in the event of rain.

9) There were a lot of locals on the weekend. There were no issues. They behaved the same as the other guests.

10) There were two bottles of water in the room at check-in. When they were empty you could get them refilled at any bar. There were also dispensers conveniently located throughout the resort.


As I stated, this was not the holiday we originally wanted or booked, but when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. So we made do. Even though we were in an emotional turmoil from week one, we had a pretty good time. We tried unsuccessfully to forget that first week.

The accommodation was acceptable, the food was fine, the place was clean and the service was good. There seems to be a great staff. All in all a pretty good combination. We had no major complaints.

Would we return? Likely yes. There doesn't appear to be any vacation packages departing from Toronto (or Ottawa), but there are from Montreal. I'm not fussy about traveling all the way there to pick up a trip. Hopefully one of the tour operators will pick up the hotel with a Toronto departure. Alternately, If I wanted to arrange hotel, flights and transfers separately, that would be a good option too.

Room Tip: Rooms away from pool/theater area are quieter
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  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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24  Thank BobFromCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 October 2011

we stayed here in the spring of 2010 and had a great time as it was the first time that my g/f and i had travelled together out of the country. we got a lot of nice photos of the dominican. ate a lot of nice food. while we had a great time in puerto plata i believe that we would go to Punta Cana the next time we go to the Dominican. its more on the Caribbean side instead of the Atlantic Ocean side but thats just my opinion. ate a lot of good food.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank worldtraveller715
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2011

We stayed 11 days, wish we could of stayed longer! The resort is very quaint. Loved the style and colors of the cottage type houses.
It was very clean and well kept. Staff were always very helpful and made sure you were comfortable. Loved the pool setting with the waterfalls.
We met new friends we all seemed like one huge family having a great time. One of the guests was having a birthday so we asked the resort to help us give a party. The wait staff made sure everything went like clockwork even preparing a birthday cake with candles and singing. they even had a photographer who took professional photos!
The all inclusive food was $40.00 us per person, at first we thought it was expensive but afterward we said it is a good deal after all. You will never go hungry!
The food was good although many times turned out to be the same types served on the buffets. The only time it was different was when they opened up the Itallian & Mexican areas a fews times a week.
The only time we noticed the food was not that good was when they had many weekend visitors . We dont think they were able to keep up with the crowd. We did not get sick from any of the food. Sometimes people eat too much of a variety and drink to many beverages and their stomachs are not used to it, which could be the reason why some of the reviews say they got sick.

The ride to the beach on the trolly was very nice, we liked going though the tropical scenery. The beach seemed to be a bit eroded caused by the recent hurricane they had back in the late part of August. You have to be aware of Life Styles membership people next door, They have a luxury setting right next door to your beach area. Compared to your beach area and theirs it makes yours look like trash. Thats the way they want it too look like so if you get too close they invite you in to see their facilities and.... try very hard to get you to sign up offering you a low end package expensive plan. beware thats all we can say.

It was a slow time of the season, it was nice not to have all kinds of people crowds because we deal with the public each day in our work environment and needed a break. over all it is was a perfect vacation.

Room Tip: ask for the large room in the middle of the cottages, otherwise you will get a small one in the hot...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank rumpunchvacations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2011

This resort was really disappointing. The rooms, while perfectly clean, were very outdated with old, worn out furniture and a bath that had seen better days. This resort was sold to us as a "4 star resort", which it most definitely was not.

1) The all inclusive package included food in the buffet, restaurants and snack bar; and drinks. The snack bar offered burgers and pizza, all of which had a bizzare taste to them, and they are hardly what you want to eat in 30 C heat. There were no ice creams included in the all inclusive – these had to be bought at the shop on site.

2) The cocktails, while advertised on the website as being served in proper glasses with fresh fruit decoration were served in cheap plastic cups with generic 'mixed fruit' juice poured in top of the alcohol of your choice. Not quite what you expect from a four star resort.

3) The website advertises a buffet restaurant and 3 a la carte restaurants, however only one of the a la cartes was open about once a week. The 'Italian' a la carte restaurant actually had a buffet starter and dessert, and an a la carte main menu, with around 6 options. Only one of these options was italian (lasagna), while the others were things like lamb chops and chicken. My friend had the lamb chops, which were actually just fat and bones. The food in the buffet was horrible, and there were often flies on the fruit and the salads. The desserts were normally just a big cake, some fruit and jelly. There was a snack bar at the beach as well as in the resort which served burgers and hot dogs, again they had a strange taste to them. I would rather have eaten school dinners for two weeks.

4) Do not go here if you want to lie by the pool in peace and quiet. Loud dance music is played by the pool all day as well as by the beach. There is also entertainment like step aerobics and a strange 'sexy legs' competition, which, in my opinion, was pretty inappropriate for a family resort in the daytime and also appeared to be sexualising some of the younger teenage girls. Also, this is one of the only hotels in the resort complex which admits locals, which meant that the resort was very loud and busy during the weekends, with lots of children.

5) There was loud night time entertainment (i.e. karaoke) which we did not go to, but we could hear it in our room. The whole resort gave the impression of being the Butlins of the Dominican Republic.

6) We were pestered quite a lot by the local men, both at the beach (trying to show us around their hotel) and in the resort, even by the staff. Quite a few of the men would stare and hiss at us, while one of the first things some of the bartenders said to us was, ‘Are you single?’.

Overall, I really would not recommend this resort. We found it cheap on the internet and thought it was a good deal, however we definitely should have read more reviews before we booked – it appears some other people have also had bad experiences.

-Claire (and Laurie)

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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9  Thank ClaireA88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2011

We had serious doubts after booking this holidayl (unfortunately we didn't read the reviews until after booking) . Cheap flights, cheap resort and thought too good to be true...it was.

The stories and nightmares of awful food were true. 2 out of the 3 of us had horrendous diarrhoea and violent sickness. The buffet is the same everyday. The food in the ala carte restaurants worse. The mexican restaurant giving myself food poisoning and confined to my bed in the apartment for 48 hours. The only time of the day we felt confident with the food was breakfast. The prepared to order pancakes were great. We ended up leaving the resort and having meals in other local restaurants for lunch and dinner. The thought of smelling and tasting the food that made you violently ill again was enough to make us happy at spending extra.
The resort itself is very run down. In it's hayday...which was 20/25 years ago it was very busy. Now it's like a ghost town. Even the locals acknowledge this fact. The staff in the hotel it has to be said were excellant. They couldn't do enough to help you, and were very friendly.
The beach does not have white stretching sands and clear blue water. It is the Atlantic Ocean NOT the Caribbean Sea on this part of the Dominican. The sea is often rough and murky with lots of sea weed around your legs. Sand pretty average, you could be in Costa Del Sol or any resort. Usual beach sellers constantly trying to sell you the usual tat.
Outside the resort it is very expensive. Also beware of Mafia hanging about outside the resorts waiting for tourists to venture away from the guarded gates. We were unaware of these people until warned by a local bus driver after travelling the local way into Sosua.
Would we go back to the Dominican again...the answer is no. If we did I would pay extra for a nicer hotel on the other side of the Dominican.
Please read the reviews and think carefully before you book here. If we could have afforded to buy cheap flights home after our first week we would have.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with family
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10  Thank Clare R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2011

Worried about the weather at the time we were going, according to weather 10 day forecasts we wouldn't see any sun! How wrong was that. Complex lovely, staff deserve 20/10, food Brill, entertainment team fantastic. Going back in Feb to meet up with newfound friends.

  • Stayed: July 2011
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4  Thank dominican999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2011

very disappointed in some things with this hotel:
1. very outdated. rooms were old and furniture was disgusting.
2. supposed to have three restaurant choices but only one was open.
3. entertainment was pretty bad like one woman and five guys dancing to disco music CDs and playing drinking games with underage patrons.
4. some things ridiculous such as to use internet very expensive and to down load boarding passes you have to pay. to play pool you have to go back to main reception desk and pay (what happened to All inclusive).
5. they could have offered us a suite instead of two crummy rooms, that would have been much better and less expensive.
on the good side....very nice employees, good food, beautiful pool.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank leah262
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Puerto Plata Village Resort

Address: Apartado 716, Playa Dorada Complex, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#25 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £54 - £103 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Puerto Plata Village Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 385
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Puerto Plata Village Hotel Puerto Plata
Sun Village Resort & Spa
Puerto Plata Village Resort Dominican Republic

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