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“Lovely time” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Dona Elvira

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Hotel Dona Elvira
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   207 Padre Billini | Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Zona Colonial)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #37 of 76 Hotels in Santo Domingo
Piscataway, New Jersey, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Lovely time”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

We were at the Dona Elvira for a week in March 2013. Our room was clean and comfortable with a large window that opened into to courtyard. We had a tv and a wall a/c unit. The private bath was small, but was it was clean and worked fine.

The greatest selling points of this place are its charm and its location. It does not offer the same level of luxury as a 5-star big-name hotel, but I think its charm more than made up for that. It's in a converted 16th-century mansion and centers around a courtyard with a small swimming pool. The pool is shaded by a large mango tree...a net beneath the tree keeps mangoes from bonking you on the head while you swim. All of the guest rooms (I think) as well as the common areas of the hotel open to this lovely courtyard. We ate breakfast in their dining area every morning, and it was breezy and beautiful. And it's an easy, easy walk from tons of restaurants, shops, and sights in the Colonial section of town.

The staff were polite, friendly, and helpful. They do not, however, speak much English. We were there as part of a group, and most of the arrangements had been made for us by local friends, but even so, the fact that I have a working knowledge of Spanish came in very handy.

We ate breakfast at the hotel every day. It didn't vary, but that could very well be because it was prearranged for us that way. I didn't ask. We had coffee, fresh fruit (banana, melon, papaya, pineapple), scrambled eggs with ham, and potatoes. Breakfast might have been my favorite interval of the day...had we not had places to go, I might have lingered with my coffee in the cool of the morning by that courtyard for a long time. They also packed us a lunch one day when we took a day trip outside of town.

If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, this is probably the kind of place you will enjoy if you prefer an international experience that feels local. I'm glad we stayed somewhere that felt like we were in Santo Domingo. If you prefer to have your lodging more familiar and just venture out into the culture during the day, there are big-name hotels on some of the main streets in Santo Domingo, but that would have felt sort of sanitized to me.

Having said that, and reiterating that I enjoyed our stay and would gladly return, let me list a few hints that might me helpful.

1. The safe in our room didn't work at all. I don't know whether this situation might have been easily addressed...we never tried.
2. The water pressure and temperature in the shower were unpredictable and sometimes varied dramatically during a single shower. When we first arrived, the shower wouldn't turn on at all, but they fixed that quickly. There's a dispenser in the shower with some body wash/ gel stuff.
3. On the fourth day of our trip we returned home to discover our dirty clothes were missing. It turned out that the housekeeping staff had taken our laundry bag. They washed and dried our laundry and returned it the next day. The same thing happened to others in our group. They didn't charge us for this service (we never figured out if it was standard or if our friends had arranged for it), but I should mention that a bunch of us were missing a sock or two by the time we left. :) Still, it was nice not to go home with a huge pile of sweaty clothes.
4. They have a cat and a calm, sweet old dog that meander around the common areas. I'm allergic to cats but didn't have any reactions.
5. There's a jacuzzi or hot tub or some such thing upstairs on a little veranda, next to a little shaded sitting area and a couple of pieces of ancient exercise equipment. The jacuzzi is very pretty with its colorful tile, but it wasn't clean-looking enough for me to want to venture into it.
6. Very important--there is no fence or guard rail or anything blocking the pool, which is central and prominent in the courtyard. It would be very difficult to have a toddler around it...you'd have to be on your guard every moment.

Even with all of the above quirks, we really had a wonderful time. If I return to Santo Domingo, and I may, I would happily stay there again.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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95 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Madrid, Spain
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

Nothing wrong with the hotel, that I booked and paid for with Expedia. When I arrived I was told that Expedia had not confirmed with them, that they were overbooked. I went to a differnet hotel . I stayed in Dona Elvira later that week. The problem came when I tried to be reimbursed for the night I never used: after phoning Expedia several times when I returned home, I was given the run around several times, asked to email, fax and send all kind explanations and justifications. Expedia refused to reimburse me because they could not reach anybody in the hotel Dona Elvira who spoke English. I thought that Expedia might have some operator who spoke Spanish, but this option was never been considered . . Eventrually I managed to get ther refun but the leson learnt is DO NOT BOOK A SMALL HOTEL IN A NON ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY WITH EXPEDIA, if you have a problem and try to be reimbursed for not having your booking honoured you may run into the same problem I did. You are better off booking directly. Expedia has sent this review back to me for changes several times for changes, so by now I had to tone down the reality.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

Quiet, great rooms , we were a family with 3 kids, in a Rey fernando jr suite, super nice, next to swimming pool, bar, resto, patio, wifi, staff friendly as can be, walking distance to everything.Not sure what some guests were writing, everything worked great, good value, if you like rich positive emotions and memories, choosebthis historical 16 th century building! If you modern glass towers i suggest the Hilton nearby!

Room Tip: Large family rey fernando rooms next to the pool
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

We really enjoyed the stay at Hotel Dona Elvira. Although some people may not appreciate an older building turned into a hotel and would much rather enjoy a five-star hotel and all its amenities. My husband and i rather like being able to stay in such a heritage site. Our family get-away consisted of my husband and I (47 & 50yrs old) our two boys (7 & 13yr old) and my 70yr old mother. We stayed at this hotel because of its location, Colonial Zone. Many tourist attractions and reasonable restaurants within walking distance. This hotel was very clean, quiet, friendly staff, with a breakfast, which consisted of fresh fruit, toast, eggs, ham, juice and coffee. Our 7yr old son was given the choice of eggs or corn flakes! a good value indeed! We bought a peanut butter & jelly spread, which we had at the table and spread on our toast. (no hassle from the staff). We also had a bottle of Baileys to pour into our morning coffee (no hassle from thh staff) During our stay we saw a few mangos fall from the very old mango tree in the pool area and watched the staff pick up the mango and place it in the kitchen. I would only imagine that it would be consumed by the guest/staff, How wonderful to eat such fresh fruit! The room we stayed in was on the main floor which consisted of two rooms, with one king bed in one room and one room with three single beds. Perfect for a family of 4-5! (We originally booked the apartment room, which we found out when we checked in that it was located at a different site - way too far. The staff had us booked in at the hotel and offered us alternate accommodations - the main floor suite! We will definitely stay there again. thank you hotel Dona Elvira!

Room Tip: fitness center consisted of a few few weights, stationary bike. There was a Jacuzzi hot tub, locate...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gothenburg, Sweden
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

During our recent trip to Dominican Republic we decided to visit Santo Domingo. As the main part of our holiday was on the north side of the island we just needed a hotel in SD for a couple of days. We made the reservation thru Booking.com and got a firm confirmation back. Imaging our surprise that after a 4 hours bus ride we showed up at the hotel doorstep to find the hotel over booked and no room for us. Luckily this didn't spoil our trip to the city as we found another hotel. And to be fair, your front desk clerk helped us out finding this hotel but having to spend time solving such an unnecessary problem is not the best start for a visit to a new city.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Ottawa, Canada
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

With a charming courtyard around a non-swimming pool, the rooms don't feel so small. The excentricities about an old colonial-era house are the attraction. A great location in Ciudad Colonial also helps. Nice breakfast. Wi Fi. Lots of restaurants, nightlife near-by.

Room Tip: Rooms on the main floor have two beds but feel a bit like a hostel. Rooms on the first balcony are n...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013 via mobile

Claustrophobic rooms, poor breakfast, service even below dominican standards, relatively high rates, worth only for the location. Given the way the hotel markets itself vs the low value for money, the owners could only be French

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Dona Elvira

Address: 207 Padre Billini | Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Santo Domingo Province > Santo Domingo > Zona Colonial
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #37 of 76 Hotels in Santo Domingo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Dona Elvira 2.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A large lobby and spacious dining rooms await visitors, crowned by 20 feet high ceilings featuring original mahogany beans encased in massive colonial walls. Cool off from shopping and musueum jaunts with a relaxing dip in the pool and jacuzzi. Drink a cocktail in the private garden patio under a century old mango tree. Fifteen rooms and suites equipped with the latest amenities welcome the modern traveler, on business or leisure. Walking distance around Hotel Dona Elvira, discover the delightful historical ambiance and stately beauty of the Zona Colonial of Santo Domingo with its landmarks, sidewalk cafes, elegant restaurants, night clubs and cultural events. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dona Elvira Hotel
Dona Elvira Santo Domingo

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