We traveled with another couple and stayed at the Iberostar Costa Dorada for my birthday (Jan 25 to Feb 1). In the past years, we have stayed at a 5 star in Jamaica and a 5 star in Punta Cana. This resort in my books is not a 5 star but more a 4 star. Here's my review:
Hotel and room:
The hotel grounds are clean and well maintained. The resort facilities are not overly luxurious but nice and simple. We stayed on the ground floor in the building 3. The room was facing the neighboring resort's AC or other machine that makes a loud noise. We didn't use our balcony for that reason. The room was basic and a bit outdated. The minibar is refilled every second day and doesn't have liquor dispenser. The bathroom, by a female perspective, is lacking the basic amenities. Such as a make-up (magnifying) mirror and hair dryer (The room does have what I call a reverse vacuum).
The pool is a nice size and has various depth. The pool is conviniently located in the middle of the resort. At night, the pool is nicely lighted. The pool doesn't have a swim-up bar.
Gym and spa:
The resort's gym is a good size and has many machines. The spa is located next door and has 2 wet saunas and hot tubs. These can be accessed even if you are not getting any spa services. Great hang out spot on a rainy or overcast day.
The beach is great. Many chairs, tables and little huts. The beach does have some seaweeds but as said in many of the reviews, the staff picks them up everyday. This area of the beach has a lot of corals which reduces the "swim ability" and is also the reason of the seaweeds. The corals block some of the waves. If you like big waves, you can take a short walk on the beach (to right) and get nice waves somewhere in front of "le petit Francois". I spent most of week on the beach. There was a few beach vendors, but they are controlled by the resort and are not too persistent.
Overall the food was good. The "a la carte" restaurants are, in my opinion, overrated. Most of the food served at the "a la carte" is available in the main buffet at some point. The main buffet was the best for all meals. It has a good variety and seems to satisfy all. The beach/pool restaurant also has good food. Late in the night, the main buffet serves a mean breakfast and burgers for those seeking a late night snack. Some of my highlights food wise: soft serve (beach/pool restaurant) cheese (all restaurants), various ice cream (main buffet), breakfast including nutella and bagel BLT (main buffet), lobster tail (main buffet), fresh and delicious fruits (everywhere)
Bars and service:
Alcohol is free flowing at all times of the day (and most of the night). Service was excellent, friendly and fast. The lobby bar has the most drinks and brand selection. The on-site disco is big and is open from 11 to 2. They have played international music (top 40, oldies but goodies) and local music. The DJ accepts requests but be prepared to write it down. We went a few times and had a lot of fun.
We went off-site on 3 occasions. The first time, we went to the cabarete. The couple that traveled with us had gone to this area before and raved about it. We got a taxi through the hotel ($70 both ways) and went there for 4 hours. The driver dropped us in the main area and we walked to the beach. The cabarete beach has many little restaurants/bars. Each place accepted various currencies and had many "happy hour" deals. The beach was beautiful and had good waves. This area has also great shopping. I would recommend this outing.
One evening, we went to the Costa Dorada plaza (unsure about the name) to find a sports bar as the resort doesn't have one. We went to this small pub called Philip pub bar. Small place but great service. We watched the hockey game while sipping on very reasonably priced Presidente's.
Our last outing was an actual excursion. We did 7 of 27 the waterfalls. The waterfalls itself were really fun, but exhausting.
We tried the local disco outside of the resort called Pure. Nice dance bar, but overcharges for drinks. We only stayed for one drink for that reason. The bar played good music. Also another reason why we left, it was obviously a pick up place for the "ladies of the night". This is also seen throughout the Puerto Plata area but rest assured is not seen on the resort. On that note, the resort is very secure. It's in a gated area, has many security guards day and night. They even ask for ID at the gate.
Along the beach, there is a beach restaurant called Hispania (or something like that). Highly recommended for their poutine!
On a final note, I enjoyed the trip, resort and location, but most likely will not return to this resort or location.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you for choosing Iberostar Costa Dorada for your first visit to Puerto Plata and for taking time to write some comments about your stay.
In the name of the Hotel Manager, Mr. Pedro Morales and his team, we want to express you how glad we are to read that you enjoyed your holidays due to the friendliness of our staff, our varied gastronomy and the beauty of our premises. In Iberostar one of our guiding principles is to upkeep our premises. We are glad to read that you appreciated the cleanness of our hotel premises and facilities.
We remain at your entire disposition for further assistance in case you decide to visit us once again.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.