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!
- 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