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“Heaven on Earth!”

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Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge
Ranked #103 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed 6 December 2011

Dominican Republic, Cap Cana and Golden Bear Lodge are just wonderful! Let me just start out by saying that we stayed here in March 2011 and loved it so much that we are going back again in a couple of weeks for Christmas break. We are a family of four, son 16 and a daughter 14. We love the beach, golf and great food and Cap Cana has it all. Yes, this place is empty but if you are content within your own family, why would you want the crowds? This is the prime reason why we are going back, we have the entire Golden Bear Lodge to ourselves, the staff is very attentive to our needs, the grounds are immaculate and the rooms are luxurious and large. Can't beat the Price at about $250/night (2 bed suite) inclusive of breakfast for all four of us! The golf at Punta Espada is equal to or better than Pebble beach at less than half the price, and nearly empty so you can play a round at any time your heart desires. The caddies make the experience all the more wonderful. The food at the various restaurants including the Marina, Secrets Sanctuary and Caleton Beach Club are exceptional and varied. Yes they are expensive but well worth it for the quality, service and location! The beachs here in Cap Cana are picture perfect! We rented two golf carts during our entire stay last March and some of the most fun we had was driving in them to dinner or to the beach as a family and racing down the empty roads with not a care in the world. This has given us an opportunity to enjoy quality time with our children before they start going off to college soon. Let me sum this up in a couple of sentences. This place is not for the "all inclusive" crowd. As long as you are content within your own family or group, love golf and the beach, eat great food, solitude and enjoy the hospitality and kindness of the Dominican People than you cannot go wrong with Cap Cana and Golden Bear Lodge!

Room Tip: Caleton Beach is better than Juanillo beach. There is an ATM between Golden Bear and Caleton Beach C...
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  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank sugarmull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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29 - 35 of 69 reviews

Reviewed 2 August 2011

If you are a celebrity or simply hate the crowds, this is the place for you ! A fantastic resort built just before the global economic crisis that stands alone in the middle of nowhere as a ghost town. I didn't meet a single human being in the entire property during my stay. The structure is new and well mainteined , but defenetly not a 5 star resort . The beach is far as anything else, so you need the car or rent a golf cart to go anywhere. Prices are out of this world for mediocre food and service. I woulnd't go back.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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6  Thank cristianonyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2011

This review is written by golfers (from Switzerland), regular travellers to fine quality golf-resorts in Europe incl. Canary islands / s. Africa / Mauritius / and more.
We saw a report on Golf TV-Channel about Cap Cana in late 2010. We checked out the hotels on the internet (‘Golden Bear’, as well as the ‘Secret Sanctuary’). Very impressed and enthusiastically we booked a two week vacation for April 2011 at the golden bear. The trip to the Caribbean island with exclusive/expensive hotel and golf-courses was meant to celebrate an “important” birthday…
When we arrived, no welcome whatsovever, unprofessional staff at the front desk. Instead of a warm welcome we were told there is a temporary problem with water and air conditioning in the rooms. As soon as we got to the room, there was a total electricity breakdown on top of this. Fortunately we had just left the elevator. The poor guy who carried our luggage to the room couldn't help at all, not a word of English or any other language (we speak English, French, German and Italian). No torch, no candles. We had to use the light of the cell-phone to find the way... Ok - the electricity came on after 20 or 30 minutes. As it was already past 8 p.m. We asked which of the restaurants were open. There was only one - and we were the only guests. We ordered a light meal which was fine. Back to the room we have warm water (not hot…) and take a shower. The shower head leaks and water spills in all directions.
The next day we go to the same restaurant for breakfast. Again we are the only guests. The waiters are friendly, but again they don’t really speak English. Our impression is that the locally hired employees (front desk, waiters, etc.) are not trained in their profession, and neither do they speak a foreign language. Though they try hard and are mostly friendly, the problem remains that you cannot communicate…
Then we use the shuttle to the golf-course and play a nice round on Punta Espada, a very beautiful and challenging course. The golf course is not busy at all (and so are La Cana and Corales, all of which are spectacular, but very expensive!)
Back at the Golden Bear, we notice the pool area is deserted. No other people, the pool bar and the pool grill are closed. The waiter tells us we could order food or drinks and he would carry it from the only restaurant that’s open…
We decide not to have dinner at the Golden Bear. The shuttle brings us to the ‘Marina’. Nice area, lots of construction going on – but (guess what) no people. There are a few restaurants, all of which are nearly empty.
The next day at Golden Bear we ask when the spa is open. The answer is that the spa is open daily. We go to the spa during the opening hours and find it closed. A glance through the glass door reveals there is nobody inside. We check back a few hours later and insist that somebody will show us around. One room looks like it is under construction or maintenance. None of the facilities are in operation (no sauna, steam bath, Jacuzzi etc.). This was particularly disappointing, because we asked our agent before we booked the trip to specifically reconfirm that the spa is open.
After 3 days we decide we don’t want to stay here. We visit the “Secret Sanctuary” and find out they have rooms available. There is “life” - there are lots of guests, pool activities, evening shows, gym and spa, 4 restaurants, bars and more. We call our agent who books a room and we move there the same day.
On the positive side: without much discussion Golden Bear allows a full recharge for the remaining 10 days. They know very well that they can’t expect us to stay!
Bottom line: the “Golden Bear” brand makes a very poor impression, in fact we feel robbed. None of the promises and nice words of Mr. Nicklaus’ statement (what “Golden Bear” stands for….) which can be found on a large wooden board on the wall near the front desk are true. They are a joke! I would like to invite Mr. Jack Nicklaus to visit the resort of his own brand and let us know what he found. It is not correct to charge full price when in reality most of the facilities and services are nonexistent.
We cannot recommend Golden Bear!

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Peter M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2011

Just one week, and it was a long boring week.
Cap Cana! What did I read about that region before! Donald Trump, big names. Hyatt will come, most exclusive spot in the RD!
What did I find? A nice hotel with an icredible staff, they try hard to satisfy the guests.
Huge rooms. No complains - but you already can see: dominican maintenance all over
and clean? Oh yeah, bugs and crawling animals are commun in the DR!
Animation? Not at all, beside you are constructor. Than you go and explore Cap Cana!
Construction here and there. Beside that: Whatever you can get in Cap Cana: it cost unfortune. Because it is Cap Cana. I would say: until nothing is finished, satisfy clients with specials, so they close an eye. But charging them full and have nothing to offer beside a nice view and a nice pool, with a stuff who try... no way. I think for the next 5 years Cap Cana is not the place to go on vacation, until something is ready and no half construction / half ghost town. At least: it was my fault, I didn't make a good research.
Since my stay in GBL and Cap Cana I know: Get informed before you start.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank travelfranky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2011

We just return past evening from Cap Cana staying at the Golden Bear Lodge. We rented a 2 bedroom and a 1 bedroom unit for our family. The apartments are perfect. They have wonderful views of the golf course and out to the sea. They are quite large with individual splash pools and the furnishings are top notch. The folks at the front desk are very helpful, and do everything they can to help with your needs, especially Americo the bell man.

If we were to go again, there are few things I would do differently. For starters when we telephoned central reservations for Cap Cana the gentleman who took our room reservations (Giuliano Garufi) told us if we needed to book any tours or excursions he could arrange them for us since he is a concierge for Cap Cana. As soon as we checked in, he tracked us down at the pool and started the process of trying to arrange scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing for us. At first we were pleased with his service, and booked a full day (8 hour) private boat charter for $900 where we could do all 3 activities the same day. The boat was to have equipment for 4 people, and drinks and snacks. Although we have taken private charters around the world doing the same thing for less money we were advised by Giuliano, "this is Cap Cana, things are more expensive here", we still agreed to the trip. Less than 12 hours before the boat was to take us out, Giuliano called us to advise we needed to pay an extra $250 for equipment. We told him we would not pay an additional amount and if they didn't honor the original price we would cancel. We were then told if we cancelled, we would incur a cancellation penalty. I called our credit card company and found out our card was already charged the full $900 and the only way to prevent additional charges was to cancel our credit card which we did. When I was on the telephone with Giuliano discussing the charges etc. we were disconnected, and he never called me back. I immediately emailed him and told him we are canceling the trip and I will dispute the charge when I get back to the states.
The next morning Giuliano telephoned and told me if we go on the trip they will honor the price as it was quoted, so we decided to go. We arrived at the boat and there was only the captain who spoke NO english. He took us to a dive spot approximately 30 minutes from the harbor and basically tied up the boat and we were on our own. There was no dive master, no pre dive instructions, nothing. My husband and son went in and started the dive. The current was so strong there were mooring ropes underwater they had to hold on to or they would have been swept out to sea. They spent 20 minutes in the water and decided to call it a day since it was too dangerous. Next we asked the captain to take us to a beach, and he took us to a sand bar with 5 feet of water. We decided to try snorkeling there, and it was a bust. No fish, coral, just sand and grass. We then asked the captain to take us fishing and we could not communicate so we asked for a translator. He telephone Giuliano who proceeded to tell us the water is too rough to fish. All of a sudden we realized we had gotten ripped off. When we looked all over the boat they had only brought 1 fishing rod for a 6 person trip, and no live bait. We were on the boat for less than 3 hours and there was nothing to do so we asked to go back. In addition, when we asked for a drink, the captain opened the cooler and all they had was 3 water bottles, 6 beers and 3 sodas for 6 people for an 8 hour trip.
When we came back to Golden Bear Lodge, we asked the front desk people about Giuliano and they told us he is just a guy in central reservations and he is not a concierge for the Cap Cana Property. They also proceeded to tell us how much less we would have spent for our excursion had we booked it with them.
We were completely taken advantage of and it seemed like no one at Cap Cana could do anything to help us. Needless to say, we complained to Giuliano's supervisor, and he blamed a minor earthquake on the strong current, and the rough seas. Everyone we spoke to said they could not help us get any sort of credit. It was truly fraud and was done under the name of Cap Cana. Cap Cana is being classified as a "world class resort", but a telephone operator can take advantage of guests and it seems OK.
If I were to go back, I would not deal with anyone except the folks at the front desk of the property you rent. I addition, I would rent a car so you have options for meals. The restaurants are good but very expensive for the quality.
All in all, this was the most stressful and expensive trip we have every taken just for a week at the sea. Golden Bear Lodge was the only positive of the entire week.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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10  Thank neverhomeCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2011

Spent 1 week here in Feb. This is our 3rd time in the DR and our second time in Cap Cana. The rooms (condos) are large and well equipped but aren't very well maintained.
Maid service was inconsistant and not very detailed. The food was pretty bad and limited. No snacks to purchase at pool whatsoever. Both outdoor food facilities/bars were closed. Although, pool is lovely and the Staff tries really hard to please you, but sometimes its just outt of their control to help.

Very private location - a little like a ghost town- nobody for miles on the beach. Very few places to dine in the Cap Cana area. Our opinion is this place will be great in 7-10 years. Lots of new construction in the area, and lots of vacant buildings as well.

Wont return any time soon.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank nessnesskitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2011

Went to the Golden Bear Lodge this week and was very impressed. The room we rented from an owner directly was unreal. Huge, beautiful, decks galore with a great ocean view, furnished well, top of the line construction everywhere and a great price. The master deck also has a plunge pool which is great after a run or walk. The resort facility is beautiful, the service is incredible - everyone there is so eager to help and befriend, totalchange from the US. The bellman, Amerigo, was just a great guy as were all the guys in the restaurant. Food was good to excellent and it just seemed like we had the place to ourselves (actually we did with an occupancy of 12% during the stay). The golf course that is open is the prettiest course I have played (and I have played a 1000 probably) and is worth the trip alone. The beach club is over the top gorgeous with a beach that will take your breath away.
There were only a couple of minor negatives on Cap Cana, one is the fact that it takes a little time to get used to the deserted feel of the place and the fact that there is half done or finished construction with no occupants everywhere. Cap Cana has got be running on fumes with the real estate bust and you can only hope Cap Cana is going to withstain. In the meantime,the prices to stay should be taken advantage of. The shuttle to get around Cap Cana is a little bit of a headache but just relax and enjoy the experience,you will not be dissappointed. Oh, the ratings of 4 for location was because the surrounding areas of Golden Bear are a 2nd Nicklaus golf course where construction has stopped (9 holes are done, 3 are almost done, and 6 are not started - no money to finish obviously) and hundreds of empty villas built on or near the course. The 4 star sleep rating was due to the splash pool noise, we wished we could have found a way to turn the pool off at night. Also, the spa/gym looked like it needed a little TLC and the shower water is not as hot as Americans are used to.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank rostoni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge

Address: Cap Cana, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#70 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#81 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: £136 - £329 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 90
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Inspired by the life and lifestyle of the legendary "Golden Bear", Jack Nicklaus, and perfectly situaded near his signature golf course Punta Espada. Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge is conveniently located 10 minutes from Punta Cana's International Airport. Our accommodations are exquisite designed within great spaces to bring a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere along with great views to the turquoise sea: Ocean View Studio Suites, and one and two bedrooms Ocean View Suites. A flat-screen TV, iPod docking station, and CD/DVD player are included in all condos at Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge. The rooms are stylishly decorated in tropical colors and also boast a fully equipped kitchen. Concierge service from 7:00am to 11:00pm, multilingual staff, Golf Concierge, tennis courts, swimming pool and jacuzzi are waiting for you at this spectacular and luxurious suites overlooking the Caribeen Sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Golden Bear Lodge Cap Cana Hotel Punta Cana

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