In our recent trip to Dominican Republic, we stayed in Santo Domingo for five nights. We chose the Hostal Nicolas de Ovando because of its charm and location. We were not disappointed. The service was really good and the rooms were really clean. The hotel lobby is not impressive but the rooms are clean and the ambiance very charming and excellent. You literally live where the colonial governor lived and (it is rumored) that Christopher Columbus stayed. The neighborhood is nice and appears to be safe. The breakfast was really comprehensive and delicious. The staff everywhere, especially at the breakfast area were extremely professional and attentive. Particularly a young and professional lady by the name of Akosh Bello. The front desk staff was also pleasant and helpful. The only complaint I have is about the behavior of the lady at the concierge on August 19, our check out day.
Our trip itinerary included a week of stay at a resort in La Romana. Previously I had inquired from a taxi driver about the price and he quoted me US$80. I had his number but decided to see if we can use the hotel concierge to get a taxi for us. The lady called and told us the price is $160. I said that is too much and I will get the taxi myself. First, she said that this is the regular and normal price. Then she asked me to wait for few minutes. After about 5 minutes, she returned with the “discount” price of $140. I refused and called the other driver. He arrived and seemed happy. When he was loading our luggage, the concierge lady came to the door and in Spanish told the driver that the distance is too far (as if the driver didn’t know) and he should charge $150. Our driver did not say anything, but I knew he was unhappy. Therefore, upon getting into the taxi, I told him that I would pay him more. I ended up paying him $100 plus $20 tip. The cost was not a real problem. My issue is that the guests are in a strange and unfamiliar country. They rely on the hotel staff and specially the concierge to give them sound advice and protect them from abuse and overcharges. This lady, failed as a professional. Instead of protecting and guiding the guests, she conspired to rip them off. That was an unpleasant note to otherwise pleasant experience. Overall, I highly recommend the hotel.
The hotel location is excellent. All historical sites are very near and I highly recommend that you take a walk and see them all. While shopping, be prepared to bargain over any price they tell you. That is almost expected and the potential discount is already included in the original quoted price. Don’t forget to go to a Bazaar at the edge of the old Colonial Town. It is a yellow brick building filled with shops and souvenirs at good prices (nonetheless, you still need to haggle).
There are many other shops and restaurants all over the Old Town. Make time to visit (and have drinks and sweets) at Chocó Museo. Filled with chocolate and history. For dinner or lunch, I highly recommend Mimosa (Arzobispo Nouel No. 51). Ask for the waiter from Haiti (I forgot his name) and he will take good care of you. He will even suggest what you should eat or what you should not order. The food is local and very good.
Taxis in Dominican Republic are inexpensive and very easy to get. The ride from the airport to the hotel is about $40.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the heart of the colonial quarter of Santo Domingo, set among remarkable buildings, stands the Nicolas de Ovando hotel, the former home of the Governor of the same name, a contemporary of Christopher Colombus. Built on the first paved street of the New World, where beautiful Spanish ladies strolled to display their rich costumes, the hotel's guests will enjoy an outstanding stay in a unique place where the stones, patios and fountains will take you back in time. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hostal Nicolas De Ovando-Mgallery Hotel Santo Domingo