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“A Soft Spot for Sam's!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Castilla

Hotel Castilla
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Hotel Castilla
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Jose del Carmen Ariza #34, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 8 Puerto Plata B&B and Inns
Pittsburgh, PA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“A Soft Spot for Sam's!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2008

It has taken me a while to sit down and write my review of Sam's, Hotel Castilla, but here goes. We were there in October and this marked our 8th trip to the DR, but our first to Puerto Plata and our first outside of our regular all-inclusive in Punta Cana. The only draw back was the non direct flight from Pittsburgh with layovers in Newark. I bid on our stay at Sam's through the Beyond the Beach charitable auction. If you are used to an all inclusive, you may not be easily adaptable, but with an open mind just will surely enjoy yourself! We had a blast. It was the experience I was looking for of living outside the confines of "the all inclusives". And Joanne and the staff of Sam's were just great. "Jimmy" (Manuel) our occasional guide was also wonderful. And we are still in contact. The food and conversations at Sam's were great. And staying there gave us the opportunity of "being on our own". Long Beach just 3 miles up the Malecon was beautiful and of course all the people of the DR are just as nice as the staff you find at the resorts. It was amazing that we could get a taxi at any time and ask that they return at a certain time and they were always there and even 15 minutes early. That does not happen in the states! At no time did I ever feel afraid or apprehensive of being out in the city. You just have to watch the drainage holes, believe me, if you are out at night you just may fall into one. I did, but that was after our first day there and definitely after too much rum and Presidente searching for the Steeler game broadcast. The highlight of this trip was going to the school, the Mustard Seed orphanage, AIDS education center and the Micro-Loan office with Father Dale and Marta. I have been involved with helping the children of the DR and was lucky enough to experience all of this first hand. It will be an experience I will never forget. Check out their website: http://www.geocities.com/dominicanoutreach/
The cable car ride to Mt. Isabella was also a highlight of the trip, but if you go, go early in the morning before the fog sets in. We also attended mass at the beautiful church in Central Park. Although the food at Sam's is reasonably priced and delicious, we favored CoCo's on the Malecon, probably because of the ocean view it provides. Service and the food equally excellent as well. Overall this was the trip I had wanted to experience and Sam's was there to offer affordable lodging, good food and good people. So if you are looking for this type of experience, stay at Hotel Castilla and enjoy this beautiful country!

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Hotel could use some touching up
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Michigan
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2008

I can't really say enough good about Hotel Castilla. I am a single female, traveling alone to Puerto Plata for the first time. This is exactly what I needed. I always felt safe, and the rooms are secure. I found myself tearing up when it was time to go home. Thank you for everything, I will be back soon :) Thanks again!

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2008

For someone escaping an English winter, arriving in downtown Puerto Plata is quite an experience.
Its hot, its noisy, its chaotic and ramshackle, its busy and best of all its very much alive.
For those of you willing to escape the confines of the hotel complexes there is an exciting and vibrant town to be discovered.
It is, of course, necessary to have a safe haven to retreat to when the intoxicating Latin pulse threatens to overwhelm, and this is where the Hotel Castilla and its associated Sams Bar and Grill comes in.
Run by Joanne, this Victorian built institution offers the warmest of welcomes to the many travellers who cross its door.
Like some surrogate mother, she quietly dispenses advice on all things local ,aided and abetted by a host of regulars who congregate at the bar including Martha and Kari.
The accommodation itself is basic but for £3-5 a night it represents amazing value.Joanne will happily keep any valuables in her safe and the breakfast of eggs and bacon with potatoes, toast and jam is delicious and enough to last until the evening.
If Carlos is working in the kitchen, he'll probably be happy to take you round the local bars and clubs after work. Just buy his drinks and you've got yourself a local guide.
To all my new friends at Sams, thanks for the welcome, thanks for the memories and I hope to see you all again

Take care

Stayed March 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puerto Plata Dominican Republic
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2007

Sam's Bar and Grill is a favorite hangout for gringos and tourists as well. It's a historical building, built in the 1890's. It was the first hotel in Puerto Plata. I enjoyed the variety on the menu. You can have a great American breakfast anytime. The hotel rooms were clean and the staff friendly. As a matter of fact, I lived in a apartment upstairs for a year. I had no security or other problems. It's friendly and you can find out where to go or what to do from many patrons.

Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Castilla

Address: Jose del Carmen Ariza #34, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Castilla has been designated as a historic site and is part of the cultural route in Puerto Plata. The hotel was built around 1896 and was Puerto Plata's first hotel. ... more   less 

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