I normally don’t write reviews (who has the time???) but I felt I had to done one for the BQ Princess to clear up any misconceptions. I stayed at the hotel for four days in Jan 2013 while in Santo Domingo. Like most folks I checked out the reviews. I was a little hesitant at first because it seems there’s a wide range of views from good to not so good so I figured, I needed to see for myself. Here’s the most common issues that I saw travelers listing on this and other sites and my experience!
Noise from Casino:
There’s A LOT of reviews talking about the casino part and noise. Frankly, I didn’t have a problem in the slightest. The hotel is built with a Casino in the center on the ground floor with hotel rooms on floors 2 and above radiating out from the center. First, the casino is, in my opinion, not loud at all. Casinos I’ve been to here in the Northeastern USA (eg. Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Atlantic City etc.) are far louder. This is a much smaller casino and didn’t even qualify as loud. The hotel rooms go far back from the center on each floor. Perhaps if one chose a room on the 2nd or 3rd floor where the door directly opens to the casino might be able to hear it but I didn’t hear the casino AT ALL, seriously. No problem here.
Noise from Disco:
Just like the Casino, again didn’t experience this at all. There seems to be a lot of rooms at the hotel and they radiate out. Just ask for one away from the casino when checking in if you have any doubts (but again, I don’t think you will). Frankly, I LIKE the fact that here’s a disco (and casino) right in the hotel. If you feel like dancing (and perhaps having a drink) you’ve got it all right there without having to drive. That’s a plus in my book. Also, the casino had a small Latin band on the weekend playing Merengue, Salsa etc. I did go into the casino to listen to that, it was a nice change from what I’m used to (and exciting to watch, they play FAST!!!)
Can’t really comment on this as I ate out everyday. There's a full-time kitchen on premisis. I saw a lot of food being served and people apparently keep coming back so I assume it must be fine.
Check-In/Check-Out Guest Services etc.
The transactions at the Reception were fast. The man who was there most of the times I was at the counter, Apolinar, was extremely helpful, polite and professional. It was no different from being in the US. He spoke perfect English and there was no problem communicating. I asked for one of the rooms that did not directly enter out into the center casino area and there was no problem, he was more than happy to accommodate my request. During my stay I also was served by a couple other people at Reception, a young lady once and a young man. Same experience, both were nice, helpful and spoke perfect English. Also, there was one review about having to go through the casino to get to Reception (and the hotel rooms). This is not entirely true. While there is an escalator you can use from the casino to get to reception, right as you walk in the front door there's the elevator to the left which takes you to Reception or your hotel room by bypassing the Casino part.
I only reserved the basic room (not Deluxe, Suite etc.) but even that was VERY NICE, super clean and nice bathroom, plenty of room etc. The room was as good as you’d find in any quality US hotel. Sheets crisp and clean, daily maid service, the bathroom was good size, sparkling with marble countertop etc. Absolutely no problem with the room (and it was a great price!) The locks are usual electronic key cards, heating/ac turned on/off with the card inserted into the inside reader as in the US and there’s an in-room safe large enough for a laptop. Usual LCD television etc. Also I heard comments about no hot water, low water pressure etc. I never experienced this at all. The “bathroom experience” was the same as in a good US hotel (and if there’s one thing I’m picky at, it’s the bathroom!)
A lot of the reviews I saw talked about the pool being very nice and it is. It’s actually on the 2nd floor roof so it catches full sun and was nice and warm. The whole pool area was well laid out, very modern etc. Also, just like many of the reviews mentioned, the pool was practically deserted my whole stay. This is good if you have kids (or like quiet) as you’ll have free-run there. Note the casino guest are there for the casino, they’re not at the pool or other areas within the hotel so no riff-raff about!
There was a comment in one of the reviews about armed guards in the parking lot. To those of you who have traveled Central America know that this is not unusual at all, it’s the norm. Any hotel where tourists congregate will have visible security. It’s there for your protection and frankly, it works and DOES make you feel safe. The BQ Princess was no exception. Armed security in the front parking lot and the back. By the way, if you rent a car, the parking in the hotel lot is free and again, guarded 24x7. It’s really safe, no issues about leaving your rental car there. Frankly, if you’re staying somewhere in the DR that DOESN’T have visible security, you’re staying at the WRONG place.
Frankly, this hotel would work for any traveler, family, couple or single. For singles and couples it has the casino which, although I don’t really gamble, it’s fun to play a few dollars at the electronic roulette for the experience! For families (and all travelers) there’s the pool which for my kids (10 & 12) is really all they care about! Kids I assume can’t enter the casino area same as they can’t until they’re adults same as in the US.
Very convenient. It’s right off one of the major avenues heading to/from the airport (about 20min away) or to the Autopista (similar to our Interstate) which you can take to any part of the country. There a couple malls within a 3-4 block radius (Blue Mall, Acropolis Mall ) which are almost identical to a US indoor mall with many of the same shops/stores/food court places (eg. Gap, TGI Friday’s, Outback, Coach etc.) You can walk to them. Also there are taxis on-site if you want to go to the Colonial Zone (nice trip, do it if you have time), the beach or elsewhere etc.
When you look at pictures online they’re pretty much accurate. The one thing that I found was that there’s one picture online of the casino that makes it look very “pink/red neon” in a gaudy/cheap/cheesy/Vegas-y kind of way (sorry Vegas, your casinos and hotels are great but those Elvis quickie-marriage places HAVE to go LOL!). Note the casino is not like that at all. Again it looks like a small US casino. Note to management, re-do that picture :-)
Also, I’m sad, I took a bunch of pictures of my hotel room to post online... the pool, inside areas to post online etc. and I lost my SD memory card :-( I've only got a couple, the hallway left. Trust me, the hotel looks very nice. Don’t hesitate to stay here, you’ll be glad you did and the price is more competitive than the competing hotels in the heart of Santo Domingo. You can email me if you have any questions about the BQ Princess or in general, firstname.lastname@example.org . It’s not a problem, I was THAT happy with my stay (and love to talk travel!) -Jim
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- Also Known As:
- Princess Hotel And Casino
- Princess Hotel Santo Domingo