I just returned from Cacao beach with my husband, we thought that it was a brand new hotel that had just opened, but were surprised to find that it was being renovated.
First of all, let's say the package description from the travel agency does not correspond to reality. It is not thirty five minutes away from the airport but an hour and thirty minutes. There are no water sports, no mini-golf, no gym. Also, the hotel is not located directly on the beach, you have to cross a road where there is quite a bit of traffic (motorcycles, buses, trucks...) and yes it is pretty noisy at the beach. However, there is a security guard always there to help you cross the road. There is no grill restaurant, but to compensate for the fact that it is not open yet, every saturday night they serve scampis at the buffet.
The room: The first room we were in had a lot of ants everywhere and had not yet been renovated. The TV did not work properly (sound and image), the bathroom was clean but the tiles were all chipped and overall very old. The chairs were so uncomfortable on the balcony you could only sit in them for a minute or two. (We do not usually sit on our balcony when we travel south, however at this hotel, there are not enough chairs on the beach or around the pool at this hotel. The second room was renovated and the beds were comfortable. Also there were adirondaks style chairs on the balcony. The ac and TV worked fine. Also, if you like your water warm or hot you should take it in the morning or before rush hour (around 6 pm).
We did have a plumbing problem on our last night, we woke up in a small pond, but this I guess could happen in any hotel that is renovated. We advised the desk about the problem at 9h00 am and it was not fixed at check out time (1 pm). However the maid had come to mop the water. And after a while someone came to put our wet clothes in a drying machine and returned it dry and folded.
Also, you do have to pay for the security box in your room. It is 25 US dollar.
Most of the staff does not speak anything else than spanish so it helps to learn the basics
The service: In a couple of words you could say that the service does not suffice to the demand. You may have to wait a little while to get a drink at the bar, a table at the buffet, some wine at dinner... also you will probably only get served once during your meal (wine and water even if you tip).
The food at the buffet is good. The drinks are good but limited because even if there is a list of drinks posted, the barman don't necessarily know how to make them. Try the banana mama or the cacao beach there are great! The "a la carte" italien restaurant is unlimited but it is not very good. The night we tried it, we went to the buffet afterwards to eat.
Now that you know what to expect about the hotel, let's talk about the location. It is great!!! You walk about 10 minutes to get to the town of Las Terrenas and you will discover a friendly community of French people (from France) and Dominicans. There are quite a few restaurants, a French bakery (sucré-salé), lots of shops to buy souvenirs, food markets, cigar shops, jewelry shop. It is hard to stay long because of the air pollution due to heavy traffic on the main road (motorcycles, cars, buses etc,) but it is great so do go visit, it is not dangerous.
Also, you can walk for hours on the beach on either side of the hotel. It is just beautiful scenery and the beach is much nicer and quieter when you get away from the hotel.Playa bonita was fantastic and so was the beach after the town of Las Terrenas Our trip was fantastic, not because of the hotel, because we only had breakfast, dinner and our sleep there but because the surroundings were beautiful. We packed a little lunch from the breakfast buffet to eat on the beach (sandwiches, cheese, bananas)...
There are nice snorkeling spots too, not a ton of fish but nice corals and cute little fishies.
We would go back to this location anytime maybe to another hotel, but on a tight budget cacao beach is good if you like to walk and discover.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.