We thought we made reservation of our rooms through emails. We arrived late at night, fully tired, with kids, and not knowing the surroundings nor the highway. It was very risky and had many troubles to get there due to a mechanical problem with our car...but we were determined to arrive that day!...and we surely did!. The receptionist, a young guy could not find the reservation, but thank God we went on a weekday and not on the weekend, so they had plenty of rooms available for us. The guy went above and beyond to accommodate us in any way possible. Restaurants were already closed but he managed to make us sandwiches for the whole family. I don't remember his name but this guy is good!!!. Make sure to make a reservation prior to your arrival, and I NOW think you need to pre pay your stay before, that way you don't get nervous traveling so far away and find the surprise of your name not showing up on the reservations sheet. So we went to our room, Rey Congo. All the rooms have names, not numbers. Ours was on the newest part of the lodge (the top of the hill). This side of the hotel is less noisy and you don't have to be so careful about mosquitoes or "jejenes" (is a tiny little insect witch stings more than a mosquito and it's so small you don't actually see them). Our room was very nice, very clean, except two problems that the management should consider: the third bed (close to the room door) doesn't have a fan, so my kids could not sleep on this bed. You guys should consider to install a small wall fan, please....for the sake of others in the future. The second problem: there was a pretty bad odor on the bathroom coming out of the pipes..we had to close the bathroom door all night. And when we were bathing, the bathtub used to clog, so there's something wrong with the installation or functionality of the plumbing in that bathroom. That's about it with the bad....now lets go with the good.
The scenery is so perfect for this Eco Lodge, the views from the top are marvelous. You can take many pictures and see the samana bay from afar. We spent the day at the cascades. There are many of them, but our favorite one, the one on the back side of the kitchen of the restaurant. You don't need to wear any type of shoe on the cascades, its man made. They clean it every morning with brushes. They divert the course of the creek for a few minutes, they brush the bottom and the sides of the ponds, and again open the floodgates and in less than 10 minutes every pond is filled with the natural creek's water again. We enjoyed this sooo much, as everyone else, and believe me you won't regret going there.
They have many excursions, but the good thing is the very convenient dock they have in front of the entrance of the hotel, in less than 5 minutes you're on a boat ride to see the caves and the scenery..OMG this is so beautiful!!!!. We enjoyed the ride, our tour guide and everything we saw on that excursion. This is a MUST DO excursion. The other one...Zip Line!!..My girls enjoyed it so much. The start is above the cascades, so I was taking pictures and enjoying the cascades while they enjoyed the zip line ride!!..and there they came back to the cascades to freshen up!!. We had lunch there, we ordered drinks, bottled water and sodas and charged everything on our account, even the excursions, and we paid on check out, they take Visa and Mastercard credit cards, and also debit cards. Great.!!. Local cell coverage is great!!...but we did not find any wifi connection, maybe they had problems with internet, but I had my blackberry so I stayed connected at all times. If you expect to find wifi..you may have issues with this, but what the heck....disconnect from the world and enjoy your family and your stay.
In case you go there..here's a list of "must haves", and "must do's":
- Bring Beach towels (room towels are white and you're not allowed to take them out of the room)
- Insect repellent. (use it when you come out of the water at the cascades, during lunch, at night, at excursions)
- Sun block
- If you smoke....like I do...bring a few boxes (they don't sell cigarettes)
- Batteries for the cameras
- There's no store at the lodge (too bad), so bring snacks for the kids for the "in between meals"
- Bring a thermo or insulation glasses to keep your drinks cold. The Lodge don't use disposable cups (of course....et's ECO), and the weather around there is very hot and humid, the ice won't last long with their glasses.
- The hotel won't clean the room for you unless you leave your room key at the front desk and ask for the service. We preferred not to, only one day to sweep the floor. We're an ECO -FAMILY..LOL!.
- Try the fried fish with fried plantains!!!..at lunch ant the cascades....it's great!!!...
- Avoid weekends, some locals won't behave and will make plenty of noise everywhere. Also, if the hotel is booked or have many rooms, they will change the menu from "a la Carte"....to a horrific buffet. There was two downsides of food and beverage: Breakfast buffet and dinner; the second one, at breakfast they place a table with natural juice. When they ran out of juice, everyone runs out of juice....they say "that's the only one we have"...come one guys, you can improve on this little detail. You have many local harvesters, you can get orange juice, pineapple juice, and many, many more. We just had two kinds, every day and you guys ran out of them. One of the days I din't get to drink juice because of this (management please do something about this).
- Breakfast a la carte...Excellent, except the "juice problem" :((.
- Breakfast Buffet.....good.....Except the "Juice problem" :(((
- Lunch a la carte....Excellent
- Dinner a la carte....Good
- Dinner buffet....horrible.
Well guys...I really recommend this experience for the family. In case you go with kids, bring table games or any kind of game to entertain them at night, because there's nothing to do, just have dinner and go to bed (around 9:30 or 10:00 pm).
I almost forgot..this hotel is Pet friendly....we brought our little chihuahua...yeiiiii!!!
The higher, the better.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.