My wife and I and our 16 year old daughter just returned from a one week stay at the Cabarete Beach Houses at the Nanny Estates and we were pleased enough that we decided to do something unheard of for us--submit this review. I will try to make it helpful in the areas we lacked info in for those considering future travel to Cabarete in general and this place specifically, especially for travel in the summertime.
First, a general comment on the Caribbean and the DR at this time of year: yes it is hot, and it is definitely humid. But we were pleasantly surprised that as long as we were down by the beach, with the winds that blow this time of year in Cabarete, it was very comfortable. Walking around town during the afternoon on the pavement was not pleasant, and we ended up doing very little of that. We found the evenings to be comfortable even in town. Considering that we are from Arizona and are not at all used to humidity, we did just fine with the weather conditions and would definitely go back this time of year.
As to Cabarete specifically as a vacation destination, we loved it and found it a perfect blend of still small enough to have real character and culture/ yet developed enough to have anything one needed at their fingertips and PLENTY to do. We found the people there to be warm and engaging, although the people hawking stuff on the beach and the streets can wear a bit thin. We tried to keep in mind that they are just making their living, and we found that the vast majority of the time a polite 'No gracias' sufficed. The fact that the tourist base is very international, with Americans making up a small percentage, especially at this time of year, made it all that much more interesting to us. It was helpful that I speak some Spanish, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the place to non-spanish speakers as well. The beach here by the way was great--Bozo beach, the main beach area in Cabarete for swimming/body surfing etc, was beautiful and the water was great. We have heard some people make negative comments about the beaches here but we strongly disagree, and feel they are first-rate as long as you're not looking for white sand.
Now, specifically to the Nanny Estates. We originally had traded a timeshare week through RCI for a different place in Cabarete, but had read some pretty unfavorable reviews and really thought we could get more value by just paying for a better quality of place--the rates in Cabarete are after all very competitive. The decision turned out to be a good one. The freedom of having a condo with a full-service kitchen is great in a place like this, and we did some grocery shopping upon arrival and prepared our own breakfasts and lunches. We really wanted to enjoy dinners at the great little local restaurants on the beach in Cabarete, and not having an all-inclusive that we felt obligated to get our money's worth for freed us up to do so. A word on the supermarkets--I really don't recommend the closer of the two 'supermarkets', Rosa's. It's small, it smells, some of the groceries are questionable as to their freshness. And it's quite a bit more expensive than Janet's, which is down at the end of the main strip in town. Janet's is a real grocery store with real aisles and a real produce department and butcher counter, and things look fresh and safe.
We found the accomodations at the Nanny Estates to be even more than we had expected. First, we have to give big kudos to Maria and Lourdes for really making us feel welcome, and for being there with helpful advice and answers whenever we had questions (tours, restaurants, shopping transpo, etc). We had asked Maria to arrange for our transportation from the airport at Puerto Plata, and it went much more smoothly than we expected. We have a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta and we have always hated being mobbed by people trying to sell us rides from the airport immediately upon getting through Customs. Here, there was none of that and the driver was waiting for us with a little card with our name on it. The cost of this ($35) was just added to our bill--well worth avoiding the hassle. By the way, as others have noted there is a fee for going through Customs here, it was $10 per person. No big deal and it added maybe 2 minutes for us.
Upon arrival Lourdes showed us our unit, #A-6. It was not one of the deluxe units, but it was clean and well-furnished, with everything we needed including nice portable phone, computer modem (wired in this unit), dish soap, a water cooler with a full 5-gallon bottle on it, full-sized refrigerator, TV (we never even turned it on), small stereo, and even quite a few paperback novels on the shelf. There is AC in both bedrooms, room-sized units that operate with remote controls. They do a great job for the bedrooms, which are upstairs, really don't have an effect on the downstairs living area. We found that by keeping the front door open and the back door also (it had an iron-bar security door), and with the two ceiling fans downstairs, we got plenty of air movement and even at this time of year it was comfortable. For my money, AC in the bedrooms like this is definitely preferrable to make nights sleeping more comfortable.
The maid service each day (except Sundays) was wonderful, and our lady did a great job. As others have noted, a small tip for the staff members goes a long way. We left a couple of hundred pesos (about $5) each day for the maid. Up to you what you choose to do. We always had fresh towels and she even put any dishes we had in the drying rack away into the cabinets.
Some others have touched on the safety/security issue, so I will too: we never, ever felt unsafe at any moment during our stay. We did pay for the safe in our room ($3 per day), and kept our valuables in it. Didn't bring a laptop, wouldn't fit in the safe unless its a netbook or such. There is security very apparent (a man at each side of the complex--beach and street) from around 6pm to 7am each night, and during the daytime there is so much staff always cleaning, maintaining the landscape etc, it's hard to imagine much of a problem. We took care not to take unnecessary risks, for example we took taxis home after going out each evening rather than walking home along the beach. Honestly we saw many others on the beach at night though and really didn't see it as a major concern. Taxis by the way are 200 pesos for anywhere to anywhere in Cabarete (for a car) and 55 pesos for a Moto taxi (a motorbike) which we were not brave enough to try (and there were three of us so that was out). The walk to the restaurants on the beach from Nanny Estates by the way is an easy one, and we found it pleasant to start out just before nightfall, a little after 7 or so and it was a 15 minute walk.
Finally, a word on tours. We took the snorkel tour offered by Mel Tours (take a 1-1/2 hour 'safari' to a small marina where you board a Catamaran for a 1-1/2 hour trip to a small cove). If you expect the unexpected and can roll with the punches you'll probably enjoy it. If you expect it to be just as advertised you will feel ripped off. The snorkeling was basically a joke but we really enjoyed seeing more of the area and interacting a bit with some locals during the trip.
Bottom line we loved our stay at the Nanny Estates in Cabarete and will almost defintely be back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our Caribbean two story two bedroom townhouses are surrounded by beautiful tropical landscaping on private oceanfront property overlooking Cabarete Bay . Our property offers a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, tennis court and free parking ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Cabarete Beach House At Nanny Estates Hotel Cabarete