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“It's a beautiful, peaceful place”
Review of Villa Serena Hotel

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Villa Serena Hotel
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Las Galeras
Certificate of Excellence
Hyattsville, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
133 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
“It's a beautiful, peaceful place”
Reviewed 3 May 2014

It’s a truly beautiful setting, and after visiting Las Galeras and other hotel sites, where there is a lot of noise from loud music, and vehicles, we were extra-glad we chose Villa Serena.

The hotel is extraordinarily well-maintained and cleaned. The little beach is lovely, at all hours, even when subsumed by the tide. The handsome grounds are a treat. While at least one reviewer complained that they don’t remove the seaweeds from the water in front of their beach, they do have a guy who harvests all the coconuts so they don’t fall on people’s heads. (And if you're lucky they may hand you one, opened and with a straw).

Most meals, we ate in their restaurant. The food was, each time, as good as at any top-quality restaurant at home or other travel destinations.

This is not a hostel-budget accommodation, but overall the prices were reasonable. For example, the hotel arranged driver transfer from the airport, and we later saw a sign board at a competing all-inclusive resort nearby that suggested theirs was a much heavier markup.

The staff were universally pleasant, and most were warm; not overly-familiar like U.S. service workers are, but pleasant in conversation and in the ordinary exchanges of hotel stay. It probably helped a little that one of us is a native Spanish speaker.

We loved the fact there are no TVs and internet in the rooms, and no music in the public areas either. This made for a very peaceful, tranquil, and refreshing vacation; and a better night's sleep as well. When guests want internet they sit quietly in the hotel lobby, absorbed in their devices.

Las Galeras is small, so we couldn’t help but encounter the other lodging options. For us, Villa Serena seems the best place to stay here. The others appeared not quite as well maintained (cleaned and painted and kept in good repair), and are too proximate to public beach – like the handsome Hotel Todo Blanco -- and roadways -- like Plaza Lusitania -- where it’s clear that many Dominicans, we learned in our first trip here, apparently love noise and are in a continual competition for who can have the loudest and most earth-shaking car stereo systems. Villa Serena is a good enough distance from the public beach that even when the music is blasting, it isn’t unpleasant.

There were only two negatives. First, the hotel's web site represents “Villa Serena has twenty-one spacious and comfortable rooms, all with a large private terrace and a stunning ocean view.” In fact, the room we received did not have an ocean view, but a recessed view of the main front of the hotel and the garden, and there was a small balcony big enough for a single upright chair, not a terrace. The only way to see the ocean was to go onto the balcony, and stand in its very far corner. (So, ask for room #15 if you want extreme privacy, I guess, where you can stand nude on the little balcony without much risk of exposure).

That leads to the second negative: the female manager is mostly absent, has a smile like the cat that ate the canary, and is as warm as her Russian homeland in winter. We arrived in the night, so in the morning asked if a room with the advertised ocean view could be available. No one but her, evidently, had authority to answer, because we had asked two others at the desk before she finally appeared on the scene. When she arrived, she put a book on the counter, threw it open dramatically, raised each arm high with open palms upward, and with a hard little laugh of derision pronounced, “People are booking a year in advance for this.” Okay, so they’re full.

But, on our very last day, I encountered her coming out of what was evidently her own room at the very center of the building, with a bag over her shoulder, freshly dressed and headed out. The manager herself, I saw then, occupies one of those advertised rooms with the ocean view and large terrace, which meant that this pair of guests couldn’t have one.

Hotel managers often get a room or even a suite, and sometimes these are among the very best rooms, but I have also traveled the world enough to have experienced that when a hotel is truly full – especially a self-described boutique hotel with only twenty-one rooms -- a manager will sometimes cede the room to a paying guest. Not this manager. In that moment I saw that the negative comments about her on Trip Advisor are right on target. If it weren't for the negative experience of her, I would rate the hotel "Excellent."

The manager may be a piece of work, but we'll be back.

Room Tip: Room 15 does NOT have ocean view, and the balcony is small. But if you want a room that's out o...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank ryan61562
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, Manager at Villa Serena Hotel, responded to this review, 15 May 2014
Dear Mr. Ryan,

thank you for the review, we really appreciate each comment :)

Well, I will try to explain what you saw as a negative of the hotel.

Rooms 14, 15 and 16 are the biggest at the hotel, containing 2 double beds plus extra beds, so we are always trying to give those rooms to people who are arriving with their families.
I'm really sorry if you found it as a negative.

On the other hand, I really believe that I tried to be helpful, not dramatic to any of our customers.
I doubt that previous comments were written about me, as I'm here just a couple of months.

Also, I have to disappoint you about manager's (mine) room at the hotel. I do not have any room at the hotel, I actually live in a house nearby, which was also rented to one family at this time when you were at the hotel. To tell you the truth, "manager" was sleeping at the laundry floor these few days, except for one night, when there was room nr. 20 available at the hotel. I guess, the same day when you saw me going out of a room in the middle of the building.


Anyhow, please, accept my sincerely apologize for any inconvenience,

best regards,
Marina Vesanovic-Dvornik
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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187 reviews from our community

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English first
Montpelier, Vermont
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2014

This was a perfect spot for a romantic getaway. My husband and I had never been to the DR before and we didn't know what to expect. A driver picked us up from the airport and took us to the Villa Serena. We were welcomed by charming and gracious staff. The hotel itself is gorgeous and everything is beautifully maintained. Our rooms (and every room - as far as we couild tell) had a wonderful view of the sea. They considered every detail - a complete breakfast every morning and flowers in our room every day. It was a find!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank debfromvermont
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jackson, wy
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2014

Spent 5 nights here and can't say enough nice things about the hotel. The grounds are beautiful and peaceful, the staff was fantastic, the room was comfortable. Loved the balcony off the room, the views to the ocean. Made use of the kayaks and snorkels that are available for use. The breakfast was wonderful. Had one nice dinner here as well. They can arrange boats to other beaches that pull right up to the grounds as well as any other activites you are interested in. It was always nice to have the Villa Serena to come back to for the peace and quiet.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank capeck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2014

You can't visit Samana without staying at the Villa Serena Hotel. I came across it by accident, stayed 2 nights and came back 3 weeks later for another 2 day stay with visitors from the USA.
The view of the ocean as you come into the hotel lobby is breathtaking. Marina, the hotel Manager, was very accommodating, helpful and a lovely person. The rooms were spectacular, clean, roomy with a great balcony and the canopy beds in the photos are for real. The pool and beach are very relaxing, well maintained and picturesque. Don't miss out on this lovely hotel, you won't regret it and won't want to leave. Joel (North Beach, Maryland)

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sailthebay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oslo, Norway
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2014

If you want to get away from the all-inclusive areas of DR and still have all the comfort and beauty of a Caribbean holiday this is the perfect place. The hotel lies by the sea surrounded by a beautiful tropical garden. Clean, spacious rooms with large balconies with a perfect view. Friendly staff who helped us with boat rides to the beautiful playa Rincon and playa Frontòn. Made reservations to the restaurant El Cabito, the cliff hanging place witch is a "must" if in Las Garelas. The hotel has a central location only a short walk to the main street with restaurants and dive shops.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank kbring
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2014

My wife and I were looking for an off-the beaten path type of place to stay for a winter vacation. Las Galeras fit the bill - quiet beach town at the end of a long road at the end of the Samana peninsula. Villa Serena was the perfect place to stay in Las Galeras. The hotel is charming and in a beautiful setting within easy walking distance of the town center (such as it is). The staff were pleasant and helpful. All in all, we loved it and have already recommended it to others.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Christopher M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
1 review
Reviewed 27 February 2014

Me and my husband went there for our wedding anniversary on feb 20th 2014 !
We were so glad that we chose this hotel for the occasion !
the staffs are great and very friendly ! Ready to help anytime !
the views are spectacular from the hotel and all the beaches and good resturants are just 10 min walking distance !
will surely visit again :)

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ara P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Villa Serena Hotel

Property: Villa Serena Hotel
Address: Las Galeras, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Galeras
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Las Galeras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Villa Serena Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 21
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Also Known As:
Villa Serena Hotel Samana, Dominican Republic

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