I stayed at the Grand Paradise Playa Dorada from April 15th 2013 – April 22nd 2013.
I would first like to say : I am a black woman aged 33 but I look younger. Stayed in room 1340 and my friends who are a couple (white and black) stayed in the room beside us. This room is a standard room (even if they try to tell you it’s not) it’s not a suite. We were promised a balcony and if I didn’t bring the information to show front desk when we checked in, they probably wouldn’t have offered a room with a balcony. We were shown the room with the balcony which had a very bad mildew smell so even though we paid MORE for a balcony we chose to stick with the standard room. 1340 is right behind the main stage where all the performances are done at night time. I highly suggest if you are the type to go to bed early to request away from section 20.
The rooms were nice. One check mark.
Manny and Chispa (who you will see there if you go after my review) did make our trip better. Manny is great. Young, energetic and hilarious. He really makes the shows fun. This resort is NOT for young people in my opinion. Either it was the dates we chose or just going to Puerta Plata itself but there are many older people on this resort. The 2nd day you have to go to meeting to listen about the resort and what it offers. All I have to say is that don’t go if you do your research. There is no penalty for not going. Near the buffet they have the same information listed. She will warn you not to purchase excursions elsewhere. I suggest you walk out from the hotels and you can find stores that ONLY sell excursions. Those are way cheaper and just as safe as the hotels pricing. We did 27 waterfalls and rented some ATV’s. Never go with first price offered. Some one else is always offering it cheaper. We could have done 2hrs of atv’s for like 60 each couple and ended up paying 85$ per couple which sucks. It’s the same places they take you.
I honestly will say we made the best of our trip, but being a black tomboyish female I received many looks and just an uncomfortable attitude from many of the females that worked at this resort. The men who work at this resort would treat the Caucasian woman and men like royalty and when it came to us (3 black and one white) he’d take his time to take our order or many times we were overlooked. My money is just as good as the next person, silly because due to this/ many were not given tips. The people who were lovely all received tips as well as other things. The one white female with us received the same crap treatment when she was with us, but when she was alone (even she commented on the difference) . WOW. What year are we in. Luckily my girlfriend studies Carribean history at University and explained it all to us. The bad treatment ranged from being ignored completely when asking a question or ordering a drink or having someone 4th in line come up and be addressed first even when I was clearly standing there for 5mins before hand. Or just stares CONSTANTLY (which i dont mind ) but stares and then talking in Spanish to the worker beside you and they both laugh then look at you again: is a Definate disrespectful way of displaying professionalism. To not even being treated or answered at all. It just got to a point where we'd rather hang outside off resort than deal with the workers that work on the resort.
I’d like to comment on the bad:
- no 24 hr bar (what? So get all your drinking in before 2am) which to me is RIDICULOUS)
- If your drunk the night before and you wake up around 11am : good luck finding anything to eat, because the lunch buffet won’t open until 12:30 and there is ABSOLUTELY nothing else to eat. So us younger ones starved many a time or just paid to go eat off the resort
- No burgers on this resort either. Funny but most do have MEAT burgers. They offered fish and chicken.
- 2 drink minimum in small glasses. MAKE sure you do what all the older people did. Go to COSCO or Walmart and buy a big thermos. You can ask them to fill that up and not have to go to the bar every 5mins because your drink is finished
- The swim up bar should be cleaned a bit more often, 2 of us swam in it and both got splinters from some metal shavings on the floor of the pool (I never went back in after)
- If you can get 2 room keys; you’re in heaven. One for the room to keep it cool and the other one stay on you. Don’t loose it : $40.00 fee
- ***DO NOT USE THE INTERNET free one hr thing they give you: 3 people from our flight used it and all were charged from 100.00 – 300.00 dollars (even though they swore they used 1 hr and put in the free internet code. One guy was arguing when we were leaving with front desk with his 12month old baby with him and they refused to take off the fee. He was fuming.
- The food here is blander the bland. YUCK. I thought nothing could be worse than Cuba food. I Was wrong. At least in Cuba I could eat the fruits. The fruits even looked dingee or just yuck. Either there was too much water or not enough selection or the same thing each day. I couldn’t hold anything down. I got to a point were it was hard to eat bread and fruits. The only food I could keep down was OFF the resort. SOo good but make sure yOU ASK WHAT THE FINAL PRICE for things before you order. Even with trust and a friendship like rapport they will still try to swindle you. Unfortunate. We went to this one place for a burger. It was delicious: the menu says 390 pesos. And we agreed. Only to find out that she added all this unnecessary tax and when we didn’ t have enough pesos changed the 23 US to a 29 infront of us. They will lie and scheme and it got to the point were we couldn’t trust anyone or take anyone’s word. I mean up your amount by a little bit but trying to hustle us 75% more than what the actual cost is , simply is ridiculous. You go into the city, make sure you don’t’ get hustled. We got a taxi to get us there and wait for us for 30$ us there and back. I heard you can get it cheaper 20$ there and back. Or 10 one way. If they say no, say cool, I’ll ask someone else, and more times they’ll say fine.
- Friday/sat/Sunday get ready for the hotel to be invaded by locals. These locals take over, which isn’t bad if they were nice: but maybe again it has to do with us being black and female : not too sure, but they really take over the hotel. If you speak Spanish your fine, If not: your 2nd in line to whatever they want first.
- 27 falls: don’t do it if your not a good swimmer or if your afraid of the unknown or if you get tired easily: it’s a lot of hoisting up and using ur arms and I think personally they book way to many people at a time to make money that you can’t even really enjoy it. You will be swimming in the “natural water” falls and all the sudden your head hits the feet of the person from the group ahead of you. SO annoying. I still tried to have fun with it , though 2 of my friends stopped as they had no idea it would be so challenging (not for non swimmers, or those who get claustrophobic easy)
- You will get swarmed with beach vendors. It does get somewhat annoying after a while since not even 10mins goes by and maybe 5 will come up to you. Just say no thank you and they’ll move on.
- It’s not a 4 star hotel. I give it a 3 to be super honest. And yes I’ve stayed at 4 and 5. this is definitely not 4.
- The cups floating into the pool got annoying. And just doesn’t look nice.
- The seaweed that floats between your feet in the beach is annoying. Its always on a YELLOW flag even when at times it looked violent and should have been a redflag. I still don’t know who or where the lifeguard is/was.
- Even the horse buggie guys will try to rip you off. We were nice to one who then tried to ask for more money each time. We ended up walking or avoiding him. As soon as you step off resort they’ll ask you to take you somewhere , tell you not to worry it’s cheap> MAKE SURE You get the final price for everything before you step in or get on is all I’m saying.
- 4 star hotels do NOT have the toilet paper out just placed on the actual porcelain toilet. NOT COOL. For obvious sanitary reasons. This is done at the bathroom closest to the shows. (near the pool bar)
- The maids are very sweet. They always said OLA whenever we saw them , so tip them nicely
- Take bread to the beach and throw it in the water and watch little fishies jump to eat them> A European man showed us how to do it (bless his heart not one word of English but he’s adorable)
- Meeting people was cool.
- The Disco : they tried and the music aint half bad
- Manny (like I said) makes the show: he’s very funny and deserves to be promoted in my opinion. He makes the whole entertainment for all ages. He just makes it comfortable with a quirky sense of humour
- Always had water in my room which Is nice. Beds are comfortable.
- The white party on Wednesday was pretty cool this is on the beach. They play music other than reggaethon.
- I wish I could write about the one restaurant we went to 2 lbs lobster and other salad n plantain for 35$ each plate (definitely worth it: so good. And we shared it) 2 person per 35$ plate. BUT I refuse to give them credit as these same people ripped us off for ordering poutine and 3 beers. They charged the same 35$ us (for POUTINE that was makeshift made. So like I said: you make friends with locals and you think it’s great and then they try to hustle you again if you don’t ask upfront what the price is for things. We learned our lesson to always inquire before no MATTER WHAT.
Sadly, when I love a place: I’ll go again and I’ll support as much as I can. I work for the Government which I could have talked to all my collegues here to let them know how wonderful my trip was. BUT UNFORTUNATELY that is not the case. I’ll warn as many people as I can. DO not go to this resort if you are a person of colour or are younger. I work with so many different types of ethnicities and ages and all were so disappointed in this resort from Puerto Plata after I explained the treatment we received. SO to the owners of this resort, Check your people who are employed there if you want to continue to thrive in the hotel business. You just lost 4 people and whomever else I can warn away. Simply: if your staff (females more than males) were just friendlier and if your food was actually edible; your hotel could be so much better. My background is West Indian> you all should know better. **IBEROSTAR I’d suggest as I heard they aren’t as rude to people who look like them** this is also a 5 star. I’d pay 300.00 more for better treatment any day.
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