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“Excellent stay and value for money” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Colonia Tropical

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Hotel Colonia Tropical
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Villas Del Mar | San Pedro de Macoris, Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 18 Hotels in Juan Dolio
London
Level Contributor
26 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Excellent stay and value for money”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2007

Ok, so here’s the deal: when you write a review about the Hotel Barcelo Colonia Tropical you also have to write about the Hotel Barcelo Capella, which is literally across the road, because as a guest of the Colonia Tropical you can use all the facilities of the Capella.

The Colonia Tropical is rated 4 stars on the Barcelo website (-), but I would rate it 3 stars. The main reason for this is that, despite having been built in 1995, it seems that management has not been worried about maintaining things as well as they could be. For example, the hinges of the door to our bathroom made a loud noise (that could easily be fixed), there was some rust in areas of the toilet, and it seemed that any cleaning was very superficial. Also, as it is clearly the poor relative of the luxurious Capella, we had the clear impression that staff were not very motivated. Having said all this, the hotel is nicely designed and a great place to stay.

The hotel has 40 rooms, with 25 of them built in five villas of 5 bedrooms each, dotted around a nice swimming pool with a beautiful garden, and the remaining 15 bedrooms in the main building on the main road. After a long flight from London to Punta Cana and a 3-hour transfer to Juan Dolio, where the Colonia Tropical is, we were very pleased to be offered a huge room with 2 double-beds and a large cooking and living area, and a balcony in one of the villas. The room was actually bigger that most 1-bedroom apartments in city like London or New York!

As part of the all-inclusive deal, you can have breakfast here (but you can also have it at the Capella) all other meals and drinks must be had at the Capella, which works out fine, although it must be dispiriting for the restaurant’s staff, as it is always empty. Actually, the distance from the bedrooms in the Colonia Tropical to some of the restaurants in the Capella is shorter than from bedrooms inside the Capella compound to the restaurants. Both hotels seem to be popular with a very international clientele from France, Germany, Italy, USA, Canada, and some Eastern European countries. Over the weekend, lots of Dominicans also stay over.

The Capella is a 5-star property that provides an amazing holiday! It has 500 bedrooms distributed between several buildings amidst well-manicured gardens, with two big swimming pools, fountains, flamingos, etc. You can choose to stay in a bedroom, apartment or villa, and the facilities are very comprehensive, including shops, a spa, volleyball, tennis, badminton, mini-golf, gym, pool tables, aerobics, Spanish classes, diving lessons, kids club, free towels, etc., etc.

The Capella has 5 restaurants to choose from, with two buffets that offer great food. I was a bit apprehensive about staying in an ‘all-inclusive’ because of all the stories you hear about food poisoning, but the food here is excellent, with plenty of things to choose from and they seem to be always fresh. You also have beach bars on the sea front open from 10 to 6 serving all kinds of drinks.

Another good thing of staying in one of the villas at the Colonia Tropical is that you avoid all the noise from the entertainment at the Capella that can be quite noisy if you want a restful holiday.

The beach at the Capella is beautiful and even though some people have complained about rocks and weeds in the water, it is still fine: it is just that the coral is not as powdered as in some other beaches of the Caribbean, but it is fine. It is also nice to swim amidst the rocks and sea weed and spot the fish swimming nearby. There are lost of beach chairs to use and plenty of shade under the palm trees.

The area outside the Colonia Tropical and the Capella compound is not that nice, with litter strewn in the pavements and bad roads. But things may be changing as some luxury apartments are being built and there is a swish country club close to the Capella. Both hotels organise excursions and we took the half-day one to the capital Santo Domingo. It is worth a visit once, but remember that this is a poor, developing country. There is a UNESCO designated area, the Colonial area, that has some nice buildings but most of the city is chaotic, with bad driving and lots of pollution.

Also, just to point out that as a male gay couple we had no problems with any of the guests or staff in either hotel. There were other gay couples staying at the same time we were there and it didn’t seem to be a problem for anyone.

If I had to rate the Colonia Tropical for this stay I would have rated it 3 or 3.5, but bearing in mind that you use the Capella for most of the time, I will give it a 4 (close to 4.5). It is also good to remember that if you stay here, you pay 4-star rates but are allowed to use all the facilities of a 5-star resort. Bear in mind there is a 3-star Barcelo down the road (Barcelo Talanquera) that, although it is also all-inclusive an on the beach, does not seem as nice.

  • Liked — Location and access to nearby Hotel Barcelo Capella
  • Disliked — Not good on cleaning and maintaining rooms.
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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12 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    1 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Chicago
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2006

Ok, I realize this is not one of the luxury hotels of the Dominican Republic but I loved this hotel. The staff was really friendly and attentive. The rooms were large and clean. We had access to all the amenities of the big hotel (Barcelo Capella) across the street but the feeling was much more intimate, less institutional and a little cheaper. We had breakfast at our hotel and the other two meals at the larger place across the street (the Capella).

The Capella was nice too. They had a small kids club that had a very nice staff and alot of fun toys and games and a kids pool and a playground. There were alot of palm trees around so the kids didn't get too much sun. They had a kids show at the stage at 8pm every night. My kids liked that too.

The beach was nice with plenty of palm trees to keep you from getting too fried. There are alot of vendors selling souvenirs but they are not too aggressive. Again, this is not one of the famous beaches of the Dominican Republic but it looked pretty good.

The food at the capella was ok. I thought all the Dominican dishes were excellent. Some of the other ones weren't bad but seemed to be prepared in a way more familiar to Europeans rather than Americans.

The other guests during the week were from all over - Russia, Poland, France, USA, Spain, England, Germany, and even Puerto Rico. The guests on the weekend were primarily locals -- mostly young singles on day trips from Santo Domingo -- and it was more crowded. There was a USA little league team staying at the Capella but they were mostly playing baseball all day in San Pedro de Macoris. There was a Dominican little league team staying at one point also.

As for the language skills of the staff, some spoke English very well, but most did not. It is a foreign country after all and their national language is Spanish. My Spanish is pretty poor but I had no trouble communcating. The staff was very patient and spoke slowly for me. It was a great experience.

I would recommend the Barcelo Colonial Tropical for everyone except those who want a very elite,, americanized experience.

  • Liked — The friendly staff
  • Disliked — The food
  • Tips/Secrets — Stay and the Tropical and use all the facilities of the Capella
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crewe, UK
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2006

Stayed at the Barcelo Colonia tropical over Xmas and new Year 05/06. Weatherwise it's agood time to go for us brits as the weather is hot, but not unpleasantly so and the humidity is low. It's also low season, and the hotel is fairly quiet, so there's no fights for the sunbeds or the sunshades. Great!
We were not overly impressed with the Colonia Tropical or the Cappella, its' sister over the road. Our plan was to stay at the Tropical, rather than at the Cappella, as it was secluded, and, if we didn't want to be with the crowds, we would have our own little swimming pool.
This didn't work out, however, as the bar at the Tropical is not included in the (supposed, and more of that later) all-inclusive package. This means you either have to pay for your drinks, or do a 500 yard round trips to one of the bars at the Capella.
As the Capella was quiet(low season) we stayed over there to be near the bars, and didn't use the Tropical's pool once.
Also, although the Tropical provided brakfast, it wasn't worth having so you ended up at the Capella for that too. In two weeks we didn't see anyone using the tropical's restaurant day or night. The job of chef at that place must be the most boring and demoralising in the world.
Our room was very spacious and well appointed, but we had to change rooms, as the original was damp and not clean, with mould growing on the bathroom ceiling.
In the 2 weeks we met a number of people who had had to reject rooms sometimes two times or more before finding something satisfactory.The grounds of the Capella are beautiful, but some of the maintenance is poor. In common with most of these places they have background lighting at floor level along the paths at night. There was one long of walkway stretch where the lights were out for the entire two weeks and no-one did anything to repair them. Any older people with poorer sight would have had problems with this.
The food was good with a varied selection, but, as they don't believe in hot plates, anything you got from the hot trays was stone cold by the time you got back to your table. Never got an actual hot (or even warm) meal in the entire two weeks, so we gave up and went on to salads. At least they are supposed to be cold.
We thought we would try one of the bookable restaurants, of which there are three. There is a French restaurant, for which there is an additional charge of about $20USD per head, but you can have anything you want from the menu.
Then there are two other restaurants, a Dominican one at the top of the resort, and the Las Olas grill on the beach which are billed as being part of the all inclusive package. Except that they aren't.
When you get there you find that most items carry a surcharge of 50% of the menu price.
On the meat menu there was only one dish (grilled chicken breast)that was "free", for all the others you paid 50%. On the fish menu there were two "free" dishes, the rest were charged at 50%.
A number of people were not happy with this, not so much because they had to pay, but because they had been advised it was part of the all inclusive deal, and therefore "free" which it isn't.
Also, despite the dishes being cooked to order, our meals still arrived cold!
Also, unusually in our experience, the hotel didn't have a lounge with a bar. This meant, if for any reason one didn't want to go to one of the evening shows, there was nowhere to "chill out" or socialise in the evening. true, the Flamingo reataurant had a bar, but this had about 6 bar stools, and, er, that's it. hardly enough for a large hotel. There were some sofas in the (small) lobby, but no bar.
Although there were plentl of sunbeds, there were very few umbrellas. This meant finding shade was a serious problem. OK in the low season when it was qiuet and the sun not too hot, but in the high season you're going to fry big time with no choice but to go indoors if you want some shade. The staff were very friendly, (as are the Dominicans in general) but of variable quality in terms of training and customer service.
Luckily, we were adopted by Eddie de la Santos, who is an absolute star, and should be made a manager as soon as possible. Nothing was too much trouble for Eddie, and we gave him a big fat tip before we left.
On the plus side, for the active, ther are plenty of things to do at the resort with watersports, tennis, golf etc., and a great Scuba diving centre catering for beginneres and expereinced divers. For $195 you could get your full PADI licence. Very good. Most importantly, the noisy keep fit guys with their 90db boomboxes have their own area away from the swimming pools in the activity and games area, so those of us relaxing by the pool don't have to suffer "techno" at ear splitting volume for an hour or so, as is usually the case in these resorts. Hooray!
I don't mind noisy and lively activites,so long as i can get away from them if I want to, and here that was a definite plus point.
If the hotel had a lounge with a bar, was abl to serve hot food that was actually hot, had more sun unbrellas, and better room maintence (i.e. not dirty and damp) this would be a good place.
As it is, however it is only average. Incidentally, as it was Xmas, we paid a premium. I would advise you to go either before or after Xmas or new year as it's much cheaper and therefore much better value for money.
Even better go in January and you can go whale watching. Apparently you are guaranteed to see whales leaping right out of the water

  • Stayed December 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2006

Staff....excellent 5/5
Rooms....average 3/5
Beach....Good (buy water shoes) mostly sand 4/5
Food.....Good 4/5
Drinks...average (you better like rum) 3/5
pool.....3 pools (nice but kinda small) 4/5
Value....Nice hotel you should have fun

Stayed January 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland Line, Maryland
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2005

Very nice hotel! The pool and the garden are beautiful as well. Cleaning stuff, receptionists, security and the other guys which maintained the area outside were always friendly. If you needed help not a problem at all! We never experienced somebody unfriendly!

Rooms were simple and nicely decorated. Missed a Mini Bar in the room! Bathroom equipment older and used but was always clean and worked very well.

Souvenir shop and restaurant are attached to the hotel. Little supermarket, bank, bar/ restaurant are not far away from hotel. More restaurants or bars, even a pharmacy are appr. 5-10 min walk from hotel away.

Our hotel was almost complete full and we had still a very friendly and helpfull stuff! I loved to use the pool after a half day at the beach and had never a problem to find a bench!

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2005

My girlfriend and I have just returned from are trip to Barcelo Colonia Tropical. I can not say enough about how beautiful the resort was and how wonderful the weather that we stayed in was. The resort is located across the street of where you spend most of your time and this allows you to have all the fun you want on the otherside and still come back to your room and have a nice secluded trip. For the most part all the pools were great places to soak up the sun and there were bars at almost all the pools so you could get a drink anywhere you went. The beaches were not my idea of a good time because the water was a little murky and I don't personally like to step on rocks, coral or seaweed. This wasn't a problem because you could walk down the beach as far as you wanted and could find a nice area of the beach.

The workers at both parts of the resort were very friendly and tried to do everything that you wanted. It was a little hard for us because we didn't speak to much spanish. So I would recommend learning the basics before you go. One small complaint I had was the food, don't get me wrong there were a lot of different choices to choose from and you could get pretty good fruit, but I find with any buffet the food gets stale and pretty rubbery after sitting out. Also if you are planning to drink a lot on your vacation you better like very sweet tropical drinks because this is all they serve that or el presidente beer. It was very hard for me to get drunk the whole weak, but that was just me. Overall though the place is gorgeous, go and soak up the beautiful weather. I recommend going on the Crazy Horse Excursion, where you ride a horse through the plantations and see Indian Caves and go into an actual Dominican town. Very eye opening. I hope this review helps I would recommend this resort to anyone and if you do stay at this resort go in the Pool in the middle of the Barcelo Colonia tropicals resort. It is by far the best pool and no one ever goes to it.

  • Stayed January 2005
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2004

My wife and I honeymooned at the Barcelo Colonia Tropical from 08/01/04-08/08/04. We had a wonderful time. Navigating the Santo Domingo airport ended up being easier than I expected as signs are in spanish and english.(we knew very little spanish) You need to purchase a tourist card for $10 each upon arrival at the airport which will be to your right and then proceed through customs where we were waved by without a single bag being checked. We had prearranged roundtrip ground transportation to the resort and back through Expedia for only $23.50 per person. Highly recommend this option! Although our flight with American Airlines was 3 hours late because of computer difficulties our ground transportation representative was still there waiting for us!! The trip to the resort is about 30 minutes. You will notice a lot of poverty as the Dominican Republic is a third world country. After arriving at the resort we were eagerly greeted by the front desk staff and security guard who gladly helped us with our bags. Our room was not yet ready but we were told if we did not mind waiting for about 20 minutes the resort would put us in the PENTHOUSE!!! We gladly accepted their offer!! The penthouse was large and well airconditioned. The bathroom was large and had a jacuzzi. On the downside there was no shower(a handheld unit was provided) and the bathroom was a bit dated, but very clean. The room had a kingsize bed. I strongly suggest spending $20 to rent the room safe to keep your money, valuables and documents safe.

The resort is small with just 40 rooms, but that is exactly what we wanted, especially so since we had full privileges at the much larger Barcelo Capella resort directly accross the street. Crossing the street was easy and only took seconds.(Not an inconvenience at all) Only breakfast is included in your all-inclusive package at the Colonia Tropical restaurant. Lunch and dinner are served at Capella's restaurants. Most days after breakfast we had the Colonia swimming pool to ourselves until lunch time! Colonia has a very picturesque little courtyard. The grounds at Capella are very beautiful as well.

We spent the first 3 days in the penthouse before being moved to a room in a villa because of an electrical problem that affected the penthouse and several other rooms. The villa room was nice as well with very good airconditioning. All of the staff members at Colonia were very friendly and helpful. Housekeeping did a wonderful job and we left a tip everyday.

The food at Capella looks much as our food in America but does taste differently. There is a different theme every evening with a little something for everyone with the deserts being very good. The food was probably my biggest disappointment but breakfasts were almost like home. The beachside "Grill" for which you need a reservation for dinner was very good and is partially all-inclusive. If you find yourself craving some American snacks (Pringles, Snickers bars), they can be had at the little mini-market store right beside the Colonia.

The beach is average but probably the nicest one along that stretch of resorts. We had no problems finding lounge chairs at anytime of day. Going down to the beach after dark is very nice and romantic with very few people around. The water is nice but there is seeweed and sharp rocks in places so you will want to invest in water shoes. The vendors do come and go on the beach area but just let them know you are not interested and they will move on. Lots of shaded areas if you do not want direct sunshine. The weather was very nice with sunshine and warm, humid temperatures everyday but one.

WE do recommend taking a side trip while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. We took a day trip to Saona Island for $50 each which we purchased just down the street from Colonia. The trip included a tour guide and we were transported to the island on a speed boat with a stop along the way to swim in a "natural swimming pool" in the middle of the Caribbean. The beach at the island is much nicer than at the resort and a barbeque lunch was provided. We returned to the mainland on a catamaran boat with music and dancing. Well worth the money!

We were a little under the weather one day with upset stomach's and cramps. Not sure if it was the water or something we ate.

We do not regret honeymooning at Colonia/Capella at all. We were looking for a quiet and relaxing vacation without breaking the bank and that is exactly what we got with many wonderful memories. In order to give yourself the best chance of enjoying your stay in the Dominican Republic, you must remember you are in a third world country, not America!! Most everything is going to be a little different, especially if you are used to staying at luxury resorts you will probably be a bit disappointed. Luxury resorts are available in the Dominican Republic but you will be paying far more money to stay at them. For the money, Colonia/Capella is a terrific value.

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Additional Information about Hotel Colonia Tropical

Address: Villas Del Mar | San Pedro de Macoris, Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > San Pedro de Macoris Province > Juan Dolio
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 18 Hotels in Juan Dolio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Colonia Tropical 3*
Number of rooms: 40
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