After a stressful year, my wife and wanted to just get away and have a relaxing vacation that would not break the bank but where we could still be pampered. We have traveled to many places and stayed at several high-end resorts (Ritz Carlton in Maui, Elbow Beach in Bermuda, Auberge Du Soleil in Napa, and Blancaneaux Lodge & Turtle Inn in Belize to name a few) and are used to paying for quality service and food. For this vacation we were looking for a smaller resort that would hopefully provide the same type of service as the high-end places we were used to staying at. We found Casa Colonial in the” Small Luxury Hotels of the World” book, and after looking at Trip Advisor reviews, Frommers & Fodors information we decided this would be the place.
We opted for the airport transfer because we were not planning to rent a car and wanted to have a low stress time. Although this VIP airport transfer was $160, it required absolutely zero effort by us which was well worth the splurge. After getting off the plane and entering the arrival area a gentleman was standing with a sign with our names on it (its nice to feel like ‘High-Rollers!’). We were then escorted to a large comfortable lounge area, where we were offered drinks, snacks and comfy chairs. We gave another gentleman our baggage tickets and our escort got all of our information needed for customs. He then provided us with details about the resort and about the schedule of dinners that I had arranged with the concierge via email several weeks before we arrived. If we go back I will likely opt for this airport transfer option again.
The staff: Everyone from the beginning to the end of our stay was very professional, polite and courteous. From room service, to pool service, to beach service, to breakfast… FIVE STAR SERVICE all around.
The room: Our room was a Jr. Suite Ocean Front Lanai for five nights. This included breakfast and came to a total cost after taxes and fees of only $350 per night. The room was large and nicely appointed. We were on the first floor and had a nice view of the ocean. The room was always kept clean (serviced twice daily). Although they did not have an iPOD docking station, the alarm clock was a BOSE Wave radio. The TV in the armoire was a tube and probably should be updated to a flat panel LCD but this really didn’t matter to us since we watched very little TV. The bathroom was top notch with double sinks big shower and large soaking tub.
Pool & Beach: The rooftop infinity pool and 4 hot tubs were amazing. A full bar and eating area by the pool also made it very easy to eat and drink while relaxing with great views of the beach below. The Beach was very nice. It was combed every morning and the water quality and lack of rocks was good for swimming. It was not the white sand beaches of Bermuda, but it was more than adequate. Food and drink service at the beach also made our experience great. At both bathing locations, plenty of lounge chairs were always available, and the attendant was quick to put down towels on whatever comfy chaise lounges we chose.
Food: We dined at Casa Colonial for 3 of the 5 nights (nights 1,3 and 5). The last night we did the romantic dinner on the beach. The food was excellent each night and the menu was diverse enough to make each night’s dinner unique (however if we were there for a week we probably would not eat dinner more that 4 nights as it would probably seem redundant). The romantic dinner on the beach was very well done and I recommend it highly. Even when a light sprinkle came through the staff quickly and smoothly move a beach umbrella to cover us and our table. I won’t spoil the after dinner surprise but let’s say I was blown away and that it was totally unexpected. Full American breakfast was included in our rate and was excellent. We were told when we were picked up at the airport that we could have breakfast (or dinner) in our room at no extra charge (this is unheard of at any of the other resorts and was a pleasant option). For breakfast you could order off the menu or get the buffet or do some of both, they didn’t “nickel & dime” you and charge you extra for doing so. The only thing not include with breakfast were the mimosas we ordered (that we understand ;).
Ability to Relax: This is where the resort really shined. The staff was there to serve you and they did so genuinely. Whether we were at the pool, beach, lounge, dinner or in our room, the staff made us feel like we were special and never were any of our requests a burden on them. By far this resort was the best service we have every encountered in our travels.
Spa: We both got massages and had them outside by the beach. We both recommend the outdoor option. It made the treatment even better. The facilities (steam room, sauna & showers) were first rate and the staff also excellent.
Miscellaneous: No free internet (we were there to ‘check-out’ from the rest of the world, so this did not bother us); The buildings and the grounds are a beautiful white coral, they were cleaned constantly and always looked immaculate; The gym was small but functional; There are resorts on both sides on Casa Colonial however each resort seems to own their beachfront property – the staff was constantly on watch to make sure no interlopers tried to poach lounge chairs or umbrellas (not much of a problem during our stay), when we went into the water we felt 100% secure that our stuff would be there when we returned; Locals walk up and down the beach all day trying to pedal local wares but are polite when you say ‘no thanks’, they did not interrupt our relaxation; Had dinner at Mares and it was excellent, upscale like at the resort and apparently the chef used to work at the resort; Also had dinner at Ponderosa (nothing to do with the ‘Ponderosa’ here in the states), this is a very, vary casual local place where the food was like good home cooking. They have lobsters in the tank but we ordered mofungo and sancocho and they were both very good – this dinner was very inexpensive but good and casual; there is a strip mall with many shops and a few places to eat just outside the resort (5-10 min walk or take the golf cart if you don’t want to be hassled by men working for other timeshare resorts trying to get you to ‘come in for just 5 minutes’), there you can purchase just about anything you need.
Excursions: Although we were there for a relaxing vacation, once I saw a chance to jump off waterfalls I signed us up for the ’27 Waterfalls’ trip through www.iguanamama.com. We booked it well in advance and made sure we had water shoes and a waterproof camera. It was amazing and well worth the price of $185 for 2 people (including lunch). I’ve read some bad storing about waterfall adventures in the D.R. but this adventure was amazing and we felt safe the entire time. The guides were in excellent shape and in total control throughout the day’s activities.
Summary: If you want a place to go to relax and be pampered then this is the place. Very few children (I feel it would be irresponsible to bring children since they would have nothing to do). Excellent staff, food, rooms, grounds, and all at a very reasonable cost when compared to other places that promote such treatment. The next time we are looking for a total relaxation vacation we will be going back here (this probably means the most to us since we very rarely go back to a place more than once).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the exotic north coast of the Dominican Republic and directly on the crystal water, Casa Colonial Beach & Spa is the ultimate, world-class resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Casa Colonial Beach And Spa
- Casa Colonial Beach Hotel Puerto Plata
- Hotel Casa Colonial Beach
- Casa Colonial Beach & Spa Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata