Tag: Dominican Republic Hotel Reviews

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Bad Rate :: Luxury Pretention in the D.R. at Paradisus Palma Real

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  Site Where: Playa de Bavaro, Higuey, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
January 9, 2007 at 11:31 AM | by | Comment (1)

[Ed. Note: This is the Bad Rate in our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature. This screenshot was taken was on January 9, 2007 and is subject to change. Enjoy.]

If you want to go upscale, there are several all-inclusives in the Punta Cana area of the Dominican Republic where the food is a notch up, the liquor is not bottom shelf, and the staffers are fluent in English. Then there are those who just charge more and put a nice sheen on things. You can spend $158 per night for a couple at this week's Good Rate--Allegro Punta Cana--or pay $525 a night for a garden view room at Paradisus Palma Real.

The complaints on TripAdvisor are more entertaining than the typical ones your read for this kind of hotel (musty rooms, clueless staffers who can't fix problems, and ho-hum food).

The rooms have a "master switch" that turns all power off...and I mean ALL of it; lights, fans, clocks, etc. So, whatever you do, do not flip the middle light switch next to the bed or you will spend the next two hours trying to figure out what went wrong.

Butlers barely speak english and are basically a waste- -they stand there and jabber away about the property but they don't do anything and you need to keep tipping them.

My 11 year old turned on the bathtub jets and it shot water across my whole room, soaking down my bed. Don't do that.

The other negative comments mostly revolve around indifferent service, ocean-front rooms that get downgraded on a whim, and a major language barrier. If you're going to deal with these problems--common in this region--then go get a place where you're not paying a premium for supposedly better service.

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Good Rate :: All-inclusive Allegro Punta Cana for $158

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  Site Where: Cabeza de Toro, Higuey, Dominican Republic
January 9, 2007 at 11:27 AM | by | Comments (0)

[Ed. Note: Welcome to our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature where we look at hotel prices in the same city and decide which is better worth your hard-earned benjamins. The rate here was valid on January 9, 2007 and is subject to change.]

Fresh off a renovation, the Allegro Resort in Punta Cana is offering a fantastic deal (through BookIt.com) at only $79 per person all-inclusive through the end of January.

This is your usual vacation factory experience, complete with 540 rooms and a chirpy activities director shouting in a mic by the pool. But hey, at this rate, it's hard to go wrong if you're looking for a beach getaway.

If you've been to a typical all-inclusive resort anywhere in the world, you know the scene: free-flowing cocktails from five bars, lots of activity diversions, and a choice of four restaurants and a snack stand. A big plus here is that the pool and beach bars stay open late instead of them being shut down at sunset. The liquor will be far from top shelf, but at least the rum should be good.

The new rooms depart from the usual tropical floral theme and actually display a little style. They have the basic resort hotel amenities, including a safe, hair dryer, cable TV, and furnished balcony.

You can't book this rate through the buggy hotel site. Instead you need to follow this link to BookIt.com.

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Movie Set Hotel: The Godfather II

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  Site Where: Av. Sarasota 65, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
December 5, 2006 at 3:17 PM | by | Comment (1)

In most circles, The Godfather Part II is considered the shining jewel in the Godfather trilogy. The film's director, Francis Ford Coppola, no stranger to exotic locations (like using the Phillippines as a stand-in for Vietnam for Apocalypse Now), had the foresight to use the Dominican Republic as a suitable replacement for Cuba during the filming of the movie, which released in 1974, well before the onslaught of all-inclusives and hotel strips.

So why Cuba? Wikipedia says:

Michael (Corleone) and (Hyman) Roth traveled to Cuba under Fulgencio Batista in order to forge a partnership with the Cuban government, allowing them to be free to conduct their operations in Cuba without interference from the authorities, in return for generous payments to Batista.

These nefarious underworld schemes take place at The Occidental El Embajador Hotel situated in Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, and an ideal location to stand in for the grandeur and splendor of Cuba in the 1950s.

While the hotel bills itself as "the most emblematic hotel in Santo Domingo," reviews on Expedia show opinions split firmly down the middle, from raves to complaints of mildew and a new one, even for us jaded hotel chatterers: A "terrible amount of birds that were loud outside of the hotel on the car park side throughout the night and morning."

Movie lovers will appreciate the irony of the situation.  In the film, Roth attempts to control the mob's gambling circuit in pre-revolutionary Cuba, but the whole gang has to flee once Fidel Castro and his rebels overtake the government. Fast-forward to today: While you can't (legally) go to Cuba, you can (legally) gamble your heart away in The El Embajador Hotel.  The hotel boasts a casino, open daily from 4pm to 6am.  It's 7,500 square feet of slots and tables, so you can place your bets and give the waiter an offer he can't refuse:  A banana daiquiri.

Related Stories:
· El Embajador reviews [Expedia]
· El Embajador reviews [TripAdvisor]

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Oscar de la Renta Works His Magic on Tortuga Bay

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  Site Where: Ave. Abraham Lincoln #960, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
October 11, 2006 at 1:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

Admittance into the elite Leading Small Hotels of the World status is the equivalent of being offered a bid by the swankiest sorority, where hazing, if there were such a thing, would involve sleeping on zero thread count sheets, once daily maid service and Pier One decor. Thankfully for Torguga Bay in Punta Cana, they've got Oscar de la Renta as a guaranteed "in."

The hotel has 15 "casually elegant" beachfront villas encompassing 50 rooms decorated by the famed couturier (who also has a home nearby) and is now the first Dominican hotel to be accepted into the famed luxury hotel collection.

Tortuga Bay is also the latest in a series of new developments at the PUNTACANA Resort & Club, the 15,000-acre resort located on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. A new oceanfront Tom Fazio-designed golf course is under construction, complementing the acclaimed La Cana seaside course designed by P.B. Dye, and just opening is the new Six Senses Spa, recognized as the number one spa chain in the world.

More on what it's like to stay at Tortuga Bay post-click

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