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“Fantastic Holiday” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Casa Marina Reef

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Casa Marina Reef
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   El Batey, Sosua, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #28 of 33 Hotels in Sosua
Oxford, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Fantastic Holiday”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2006

We have just returned from a fantastic 2 weeks at Casa marina Reef. We were a little apprehensive at first having read some very mixed reviews. We could not fault it.......yes the rooms are a bit dark & tired looking, but at least they were kept very clean, which in my opinion is of utmost importance. Clean towels(even if you didn't put them to be changed) & bed linen every day. Infact the whole hotel both inside & out was kept very clean. We saw them hosing down tables, chairs & floors in a couple of the eating areas so I guess they were all done in turn but dont know if that was daily. There was always some one gardening or sweeping. The pool & Jaccuzi areas were kept clean & treated every night & cleaned early morning.
Air conditioning was very effective & even though it was off all the time you were out of your room, the room was still very cool on your return. Your key card is used to put your electric on, so once you leave your room everything switches off. We had many power cuts whilst there, but it wasn't really a problem as the generator soon kicks in. Tele was a bit hit & miss, we could only get 2 channels, but then we were'nt there to watch tele. Some of the electric sockets were alittle to be desired. If you like a cup of tea or coffee to get you going when you wake up then I would advise you take a travel kettle & supplies. We were glad we took ours.

We had a leak in our toilet cistern, but this was very soon repaired & a request for new light bulb was done very quickly. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble.
The food was excellent....always plenty to choose from & we always found something that we all liked.
You are given vouchers to use in the A'Lcarte. We tried Seascape first but were not very impressed. The Italian was fab & the staff in there were lovely. Can't comment on the Mexican as it didnt appeal to us. You could get afternoon tea from a cart but we gave that a miss after the first couple of days but it was ok.
We went on the Monster truck. That is a must, it was a great fun day, but you do get dusty & dirty. The children love getting pens, pencils & sweets which you throw to them from the truck, so take some with you.
The staff are great at the hotel & very friendly. The one draw back is that you get invaded by the locals at the w/e & they take over the pools. Going to the town is quite an experience. If you want ATM turn right out of hotel & keep going straight on dont turn up any side streets & you will see it over on your right. There is a pharmacy close by, again turn right & then take first left, but it is sign posted. If you ask directions they will follow you or take you & then ask for money.
At the airport you need $10 to get in & then $20 to come home. you are also required to fill out a form. We were not given this on the plane (it appears that most flights are given them on board) so it was extra hassel to sort out once we got off the plane. We booked VIP lounge for our return. It was $20 per person, but well worth it as all your drinks, crisps & sandwiches are included & it is comfortable & air conditioned. They come & collect you when your flight is ready to board & escort you to your departure gate
Its not 5 star but then your not paying 5 star prices. If you just want a nice quiet relaxing time then I would recommend it & we will certainly be going back.
If I can be of any further help then please email me K18jenny@hotmail.co.uk & I will do my best to answer any queries you may have. Or if you were there between 28th Sept & 11th Oct then would like to hear from you.

  • Liked — The friendliness of staff
  • Tips/Secrets — Just be careful when you go out around the town.
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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london
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2006

just got back from their had great time food ok breakfast wasent that good drinks was good choices try brown cow very nice beer ok as well had problems with claners they kept leaving our sliding door open kept moaning to them but no one seem to bother doing anything not even our rep so i sent husband out to buy locks for cases kept everything under lock and key no entertanment for young children found that we tend to go to bed about 8 ish and was getting up early to watch sun set and play in sea before we had breakfast the place is very loud at nite not once did we sleep all night with out getting woken up by every one going back to rooms shouting and singing no one is quiet their at night, would be better if they put familys together away from the night clubs but they mix you up, very busy their at weekends when they let the locals in cheap but they were fine we went when it was quiet end of sep so not many people their nice time to go rooms basic and clean good air con aswell trips very expensive for a family dident do any children little young for them would go back may be with husbnd when kids grown up yes it was great holiday if you are thinking of going for it then do it you will have fun .dan if you read this please get in touch its us the 4js the ones you got drunk with by the pool

Stayed September 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Bradford
1 review
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2006

Arrived for a two week break at the Casa Marina Reef hotel on the 12th September. When we arrived we were very impressed with the grounds of the hotel - it is very pretty to look at.
Within a couple of days my partner was ill and i think the doctor at the resort was rubbing his hands together. For an upset stomach and a fever my partner was administered 2 drips - in his hotel bed - 4 injections - 2 courses of tablets and some medicine 2 days later when he was better. To us a lot of this felt unneccesary.
The rooms were okay for a 3 star hotel, the food at the buffets however was awful. The meat was cooked one day and then what was left was put in stews the following days, there were constantly flies on the food and for fussy eaters or children there was not a lot of choice - we reccommend you eat in the mexican at lunch time where you can get burgers/pizza/salad or chips. The food at the buffet just seemed very bland.
The resteraunts you book at were a lot better, in the Italian you get serenaded while you eat - it is quite amusing!!

While we were there we went on the paradise island trip, Puerto Plata top view, Catamaran, Dominican discovery and Ocean World. The Paradise Island trip is great if you like snorkelling but if its sunbathing you want there really isn't a lot of room to do this. The Puerto Plata trip was very rushed, you go to the amber factory and museam as well as a trip in the cable car to the top of the mountain. We did this trip with Thomas Cook in the resort but recommend you do this with the friendly taxi drivers just outside the resort, it is a lot cheaper and you can go where you like at your own speed. The Catamaran trip was very good however if you get travel or sea sick i would not advise this trip at all - trust me i found out the hard way. The dominican discovery trip takes you out to the poor villages. This trip was amazing and was certainly a culture shock. The great thing about this is that if you like horseriding there is the opportunity to do this, if not you can stay on the Jeep and drink whilst following those horse riding. The final trip - Ocean World was really good. We paid the general admission $120 for 2 adults and saw the shows. The sealions were by far the best. This trip is a long day and to be honest by 3pm you have seen everything there is to see.

We met some amazing people on this holiday and the majority of the staff are very helpful - though be warned we heard of a few people that had things taken from their rooms - best advice we have is take some strong padlocks with you and lock your valuables in your case as the hotel charges quite a lot for their safe deposit boxes and i think your belongings are safer in your case.

IT IS SAFE TO LEAVE THE RESORT - just beware of people constantly hounding you for money or to look in their shops - which all sell the same things!! also they don't take no for an answer. If you are after cheap cigarettes just outside the reef (second shop on the left) his cigs are about £9 for 200 much better value than the hotel shop.

Finally if you have had enough of the reef there is a lovely little English bar in Sosoua if you come out of reef walk down to popula bank to the next junction, turn right alongside La Roca and behind that is the rose and thistle bar. These guys have been in the DR some time and know the best trips to go on and also have contacts with the local scuba diving school - which is also run by an English guy. These people are the wealth of all knowledge and will show you the right direction.

Stayed September 2006
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
england
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2006

Returned from Casa Marina Reef 19th Sept had a good time. Will run you through our opinions.
Flight 8 hours 20 mins we hate it but has to be done.
15 mins tops to hotel from airport that was a relief.
Check in easy welcoming drink and bell boy to assist with luggage.
Rooms basic very clean no nasty smells air conditioning a bit primitive but did the job. Rooms very dark we took lampshades off for extra light. Electric can go off many times a day but usually only for a matter of seconds.
Food in our opinion fine plenty to choose from different themes at buffets. We only visited Resturants twice as buffet good.
Did not try seafood resturant but Mexican and Italian both fine.
Pools warm and clean. Beach also good but water a bit hairy once you got past the first few waves you are ok but be careful big waves come from nowhere and we saw a few accidents during our stay. Which is quite alarming as the beach was cordened off for at least 4 or 5 days during our stay due to the rough water but don't be put off watch the flags and take care.
Entertainment cannot comment on as we only watched one show. That was the Hollywood show and was very good.
All staff were friendly only needs a smile and a small tip.
Drinks were fine for us maybe a bit weak but couldn't tell as we were full of food!
If you need a coffee when you wake up get a couple of mugs to take or get some at the gift shop and go to the buffet and get some before you venture out. Lovely.
Didn't try the jaccuzis, massages so cannot comment.
Overall good relaxing holiday no complaints but is basic and perhaps a little tired in places.

  • Liked — resturants beach bars all close by
  • Disliked — no coffee making facillities
  • Tips/Secrets — rooms dark take lampshades off but put back on leaving!
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2006

For the second year running my parents and I stayed here for a fortnight in September - and we will be back again. And for the second year running - we cannot find one single fault with this hotel! The food is so great that my clothes no longer fit me - and there is so much variety every day - from chips and burgers for the really 'exciting' travellers to goat meat and cheese boards for us normals. The main buffet is always beautifully decorated with flowers and wildlife carved out of watermelons and the like. Even their bread baskets are baked out of bread! Each dinner at the buffet is themed so if it's a cuisine you're not overly keen on then you can find out in the morning and book into an a la carte restaurant (we used this privelege on both American and English night!). Plus there's a snack bar so if 3 meals a day plus afternoon coffee and cake isn't enough for you - then you can gorge yourself all day with just a 2 hour slot when you can't get fed as they need to set up for dinner. The a la carte restaurants are lovely - but I don't recommend the seafood one as from what I could tell the menu didn't differ much from the every day seafood dishes that are served in the buffet restaurants. The beaches are perfect - although I prefer the smaller non-lifeguarded beach as it really is a tropical paradise in every way as it is completely surrounded by the reef. The beach was shut for a few days - much like last year - due to massive waves - but we still didn't feel like we missed out on much as we just spent these days slipping in and out of the jaccuzzis to keep cool and sitting in the shade sipping our bloody maries. Time works in strange ways in that hotel I'm sure as you look at your watch 5 minutes after sitting down only to find out that you've been there for 3 hours. Can't comment on the pool - I try to avoid the communal bathing experience as much as possible - plus I see no reason to go all the way to the Dominican to soak in chlorine with a bunch of children. The hotel is really close to the airport - about 20 mins - which is great. The entertainment is the best I have ever seen in such a hotel and it has only got better since last year. This is down to two things: their equipment - the hotel has a thatched roofed amphitheater with a huge stage, lighting rig, pyrotechnics, elaborate and completely professional costumes - different ones for each dance/ skit each day, etc etc. And secondly - their choreographer - Ricky - who should be immortalised in my opinion! There is nothing that man can't create and put into action. The team are so talented and they look great together - and they do their job wonderfully. All the staff - including waiters and bar staff - try to be on first name terms with you - now that's good memory skills! This hotel also has the most extensive cocktail list I've ever seen in a hotel and besides - if they've got it - and you can explain it - they'll make it. There is also much wildlife to be seen in the hotel! There are lizards everywhere and really funny crabs that live in the reef and will eat ANYTHING (including sausages and biscuits)! Plus there's plenty of fish in the sea - with especially beautiful ones nearer to the coral. There's plenty of activities - if you really have enough energy (bear in mind - it's kinda hot to say the least) with darts, bingo, pingpong competitions etc being organised throughout the day. Plus there's windsurfing and all the standard watersport stuff you'd expect. The rooms are great and met all my needs - especially the air conditioning which actually makes it pretty chilly throughout the night! Plus there's bottled spring water on arrival in the rooms which I always think is a nice touch. There's not many English-speaking TV channels - but what are you doing watching TV in such a paradise anyway?! One thing that annoys me though - there are quite a few 'mature' and highly unattractive women holidaying there who think it's neccessary for everyone to be forced to look at their topless selves whenever they are outdoors. Luckily though these women really are in the minority! But nevertheless - yuck. The hotel grounds can get quite noisy on weekends (or rather Saturday afternoon/ evening and Sunday until dinner) when the local Domincans come and stay with their hundreds of very sociable friends! Finally the grounds of the hotel are like nothing I've ever seen before - they are loaded with hundreds of different trees, cacti, flowers and landscaping.

Anyways - apologies for the long review - I hope this helped and feel free to contact me for further details! Hope you have just as great a time (if not even better) here as my parents and I!

xxxxxxxxxxx

PS I shall post some photos when dad gets them off the camera!

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — The room cleaning service could be better.
  • Tips/Secrets — If you're extra nice to the staff they'll go out of their way to make yours a really wonderful stay.
  • Stayed September 2006
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent, England
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2006

We changed our original hotel to the Casa marina Reef as the reviews for it had seemed quite good. We were not disappointed. The first room we were given was more like a 2 star but we were so tired that day we left it until the following day. When we complained ( Air con didn't work properly and the furniture was really shabby) there was no problem and they allocated us another better room later that day overlooking the pool. Rooms are spacious and clean but basic, then again you don't spend that much time in them so it doesn't matter.

The 2 buffet restaurants are great. They try to cater for all tastes and they have a different theme everyday. The food was very tasty, but perhaps they could have been a bit more imaginative with the salad bar. We tried all 3 a la carte restaurants. The fish restaurant was our favourite. The food was lovely and the setting to die for - practically right on the beach - very romantic. The Italian restaurant also good. However the Mexican didn't fare so well. We usually love mexican food but we thought this was awful. Bland taste and not hot & spicey at all so we didn't go again.

The hotel grounds are huge with lots of different places to sit depending on whether you prefer the pool, the beach or the shade. We couldn't stand the heat for very long and tended to sit in the shade overlooking the wonderful views by the jacuzzis. The jacuzzi's are just wonderful to sit in with a cocktail whilst watching the sun go down.

Only thing I would warn people about is that at the weekends the locals take over. It was quite annoying to have hordes of children take over the jacuzzis with their lilo's and rubber rings, disrupting the relaxing atmosphere (although there is a sign clearly telling people not to splash, swim, or leave children unattended).

We found the evenings a bit boring. The entertainment staff, bless them, did their best and the games involving the audience were really funny and the dance routines were quite good. However it would have been much better if they had tried to sing as opposed to miming to everything. Some nights the shows were quite dire!

I'm sure that either they watered the drinks down or else the alcohol they serve are lower in strength and they buy it in that way because we didn't get drunk even once. And not for the want of trying! The most we could manage was slightly merry and one of those occasions was because we bought a bottle of wine whilst eating in the italian restaurant. By the way if you like wine, buy it, the stuff they serve free is awful!

The Paradise Island VIP trip was great fun. Yacht, champagne and oysters, riding in a speedboat - lovely! the island itself is nothing more than a raised sandbank in the middle of the sea (not quite paradise) but everyone had a really good, fun time.

We ventured into Sosua town a couple of times during the day but were put off with being hassled to buy stuff. We went out one evening with another couple we'd become friendly with and a guy came up and just asked us for $50!

Its a shame but I was put off with being hassled and I think the locals are getting greedy. I will gladly spend money for a fair deal but I know I was ripped off on a few occasions (e.g. £1 for a packet of minstrels, £2 for a large packet of crisps) which I resent. The hotel allows traders to set up their stalls on the grounds about twice a week and I bought quite a few bits of jewellery (you have to barter but I quite enjoy that).

All in all, a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday, which is what we were after, and the hotel is a typical 3 star. The staff are very pleasant, the food is good and the hotel is very clean. However, not sure I would rush back to Dominican Republic.

Also, if Trevor and Danielle read this, please contact us as we have stupidly lost your contact details.

  • Liked — The jacuzzis and shaded areas
  • Disliked — Lack of evening activities
  • Tips/Secrets — Don't pack too many smart outfits, you won't need them.
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
1 review
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2006

Well, where do i begin???? In a nutshell, this place is amazing!

I'll begin my saying that we were 7 girls aged from 23yrs old to 26yrs old that were at Casa Marina Reef from August 13-27-2006. We had the time of our lives. This review might be a little long, but i want to make sure i don't leave anything out!

Upon arrival, check was quick and easy. Our rooms were ok. We were staying facing the main pool at the Reef's side. It was spacious for 3 girls in one room. But honeslty, we really don't care about the rooms that much as we are not in them often besides to shower and sleep. They were clean and spacious. The only little prob here was that the power does go off for a couple of seconds but its not a big deal!

The hotel grounds were always kept clean. The maintenance was very well kept. The only prob about the resort in general is that there isn't enough lights during the night. When walking,you really have to keep your eyes open so that you won't trip.

The location of Casa Marina Reef is absolutely amazing. Its a 5 min walk to Sosua, where its great to shop for souvenirs or to go for drink at one of the many bars there. Its safe during the day but at night, just be a little more careful. If you do decide to out at night, just make sure you don't flash your jewlery or money. Just keep it as low key as possible.

The beach was awesome! Its beautiful, clean and clear. The sand is gold but very hot! The water gets deep very quickly so walk into it very slowly! Sosua beach is even more beautiful. Its a 10min walk from Casa Marina Reef but its worth it. The water is clear, the sand is white and soft. There are locals allowed there but its all good. Its safe and they won't bother you too much. Its worth going to Sosua beach since its not that far away!

The nightlife was awesome! We were a ittle deceived upon arrival because they passed a new law in the Domenican Rep. that all clubs close at 12am for security purposes from Sundays to Thursdays. But that didn't stop us at all! Every night we went to Calipso Disco (the resort disco) and it was a blast for 14 nights! Everybody goes there since nobody can go anywhere else and it was crazy!!!! Get ready for Merengue, Reggaeton and Bachata everyone! Enjoy Presidente Beer... We loved it! There is no cover charge but the drinks are not included. They aren't expensive either so no worries. Piece of advice, start drinking earlier until 11pm and then end your night at Calipso...it'll cost you cheaper! A must do is to go to Mangu Club in Puerto Plata! We had the time of our lives there! We went with some animators and let me tell, it was one of the best nights there! Its only 20mins away from Sosua, but soooooooo worth it!

As for excursions, we only went to Paradise Island. It only costs 50$US for the whole day, drinks and food included. It is a long ride but its worth it! The ocean and sand there is unbelieveable! We booked it with the hotel instead of Mel Tours cause it was cheaper.

The animation staff were what made our trip! They work so hard from morning until night, always making sure that everyone is having a good time! They even join you at the disco late at night! The night shows were amazing! Especially the Hollywood show...do not miss it, its amazing! I miss them so much because they are the most down to earth and fun people! A big thank you to the whole gang.. we miss you sooooooo much (Americo, DJ Sweety, Angelo, Papasote, Ricky, Felo Jackson, Yadelmi, Antonio, La Pluma, Santo, Boogie, Blackie, Edwin, Norberto and the rest of you)

The food was very good. At the buffets, there were different themes every night, ex, Italian, Mexican, Domenican etc. You won't starve nor get fed up of the food. The a la cartes were amazing. The Jalapeno (Mexican food) was amazing and so was Luiggi's Restaurant (Italian Food) was great too. Reserve early in the morning!

All in all, this was one of my best vacations. We all had a great time and we will not forget this trip nor the animators!! Enjoy it, smile and remember your on vacation so make the best out of it!

**Kisses to all of Kiko's Team from the 7 ladies from Montreal, Canada****

  • Liked — Hotel Location, Service
  • Disliked — Bad lights
  • Tips/Secrets — Have a blast!
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Marina Reef

Address: El Batey, Sosua, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Sosua
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly )
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Sosua
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Casa Marina Reef 3*
Number of rooms: 378
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Casa Marina Beach & Reef Resort
Casa Marina Reef Dominican Republic
Casa Marina Reef Sosua

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