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“Paradise Found” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Villa Serena Hotel

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Villa Serena Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Las Galeras, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 6 hotels in Las Galeras
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Paradise Found”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

My BF and I stayed at Villa Serena for three days in May 2013 as part of a 10 Day trip in DR. We had originally planned to stay two but as soon as we arrived and looked out to the ocean, we knew that two nights would not be enough. When we arrived the front desk staff was welcoming in a quiet manner. May is low season and there was only one other guest at the hotel when we arrived so everything was very low key. The staff did seem to warm up and became a little friendlier each day. I think by American standards, they just seemed a little shy, especially the housekeepers and wait staff in the restaurant. I think some of them were not very confident in their English skills. We also tried our best in Spanish.

Our first night we had a delicious dinner at the restaurant. I remember my BF enjoying a Caribbean shrimp dish. The menu is fairly limited and a little pricey for DR, but American wines are cheap. We enjoyed omelets every day for breakfast and the delicious fresh juices

The grounds and gardens are absolutely breathtaking. Everyday the housekeepers would put fresh flowers in our room. Our room was on the second floor with a lovely queen size bed and a balcony with an amazing view of the grounds and the ocean. The room was very clean as well. We also enjoyed the pool everyday as the sun was setting. It was very refreshing after the beach.

To complain about the beach at Villa Serena is ridiculous because there are so many incredible beaches nearby. To make the most of a trip to Las Galeras, everyone needs to take a boat out to Playa Ricon, which is an amazing and pristine beach. It is a short boat trip which the front desk can arrange for you. We checked and the price was about the same if a boat captain picks you up at the hotel or you get a boat at the main beach in town. There are also great little restaurants run by locals who will cook you freshly caught fish for a great beach lunch. Take a boat, not an ATV so you can see the amazing cliffs and shoreline. We didn't visit Fronton on this trip (we will next time), but we heard that it is an even more spectacular and remote beach. Also Playita is a wonderful little beach which is just a short walk from Villa Serena.

Overall, we can't wait to go back and we would definitely stay at Villa Serena again. As it was low season many of the area restaurants were closed, but we did find some really memorable places. Make sure you check out El Cabito for cocktails and dinner at sunset. The views of the ocean and the cliffs are stunning. We also had an incredible lunch of freshly caught shrimp with a lovely fresh mushroom sauce at Yoni and Yes Papa! Yoni the chef is very talented. He made the best frites that I have ever had. Michele the proprietor is quite a character. We had a lively conversation in English, Spanish and French about Michele's former occupation as a stuntman. He will break out his scrapbook. The gelato at Plaza Lusitania is also a real treat. Get chocolate and coconut.

Room Tip: Ask for something on the second floor. The corner rooms with hammocks also looked nice.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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80 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

We stayed there 3 night out of 8 night in DR as part of our honeymoon trip that we planned for 4 months .
We booked our room in advance after reading the good reviews on tripadvisor looking at the hotel web site . having confirmed booking for AC room in a Honeymoon package we expected this place to be romantic relaxing getaway .
After a long drive for SD (more than 3hr) we arrived there tired, we welcomed really poorly, not even a smile or a greet .
The room we received was with two separate beds! no poster bed & spacious room as we have seen on the web site.
we went back to front desk and expressed our disappointment at the front desk , in return without apologizing or even trying compromise us, hotel manager reprimand us and said "who even book his honeymoon 5 months after the wedding ?" . We never received such rude & humiliating service in our life . we had to delay our honeymoon due to unfortunate reason , this is not for him to decide for us when to take our trip especially when the reservation was confirm weeks ahead .
If it wasn't dark already and such hard and long drive from anywhere. we would have left at very same moment ..
Eventually we were offered to stay in another room without AC, claiming the hotel is fully booked . Hotel cancellation policy does not allow money return since we already there .

Hotel ground is really beautiful can't argue with that, Pictures on website are little misleading in regards to Room, beach and the bridge/path out the the little house/structure in the ocean that is Not part of their property, it's next door private property .

Room: Clean, Outdated decoration, furniture and linen , No WiFi or TV.

Restaurant : really simple menu, not much choices ,OK food , a bit pricey - I would suggest to spent 7 minutes walk to Las gellers town and find much affordable choices .

Breakfast: Was Ok, nothing exciting . fresh fruit , eggs to your choice , dry old bread, coffee and fresh juice .
The pool: nothing special and cheap lounge chairs.
Beac: Not really accessible(only when the tide goes out) -so nothing to say here .

Staff /housekeeper (aside of hotel manager & front desk): Really nice & friendly .

At the 4 days stay most of time was rainy so we had not much to do there. Hotel was too remote from other attraction that are reachable by 4x4 only or arranging overpriced excursion Via Hotel was out of question Needless to say we did not want to spend any additional $ in this place.

Bottom line: I would not recommend, It was not even close to what expected as a romantic getaway . We belive that are much better places in this area closer to the broader & nicer
beach .

Room Tip: Reconfirm (Insist) that you are getting what you paid for prior to arrival !
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bogota, Colombia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

My wife and I were at Villa Serena for three nights. Views to the sea and the gardens are really wonderful as pictures show in Trip Advisor, it really looks like honeymoon type of hotel. Staff is very nice. We were quite unlucky in our first night, since we stayed in a room not in the main building. The room was really old, and not very well kept, compared to what you seen in pictures. But as already planed, we moved to another room for the second night, and it was much better. Breakfast is all right, just a shame you don't get to taste the local food. We did not eat at the restaurant, but people we had met really enjoyed it, which is said to be among the best in Galeras. But finally, I must confess after reading all reviews and seeing all pictures here in Trip Advisor, I really had higher expectations concerning Villa Serena.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

Absolutely superb! It's been 9 months since we got back and the taste of Villa Serena still lingers. The most beautiful setting we'd been to in the two weeks we spent in the DR. We had such an amazing time that we decided to cancel another booking and return for another night in Villa Serena before returning home. The rooms were great, but who wants to stay in the room when you can spend your time gazing at the sea and the well groomed gardens from the terrace, the main house or by sitting near the pool. The atmosphere is extremely relaxing, very quiet, and so intimate, you practically feel that you're staying in your own private summer villa. The pool was great, and when we wanted to go out and explore the area it was very easy booking a boat tour to the nearby beaches (which was amazing and very recommended) at the reception. The staff was extremely kind and helpful, and made our stay even more enjoyable. They also helped us easily reserve a table at the glorious "El Cabito" restaurant, located not far away on the edge of a cliff overlooking the whole area. We would definitely return, and would probably stay for a whole week or more instead of going to the very touristic resorts, that lack the unique serene qualities only to be found in Villa Serena. Thank you for making our vacation truly unforgettable.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

Goodness how I wanted to love this hotel..but I just couldn't find a way to fall in love!

Ever had a relationship where you have such high expectations and all the little things just add up to being to much so it's not going to work and you just have to move on...that's Villa Serena.

The little things:

Leading up to the trip communications with the hotel were spotty and they were unable to confirm a room or bed type. No online booking but being as we have done the DR several times we were OK with all that and as we are casual travelers nothing much bothers us. Upon check in we had a pretty old room and no king bed. Their solution, oh don't worry just put the beds together...both of us 6 feet and over...uh I don't think so...Resolution, switched rooms the following evening to a far better standard of room with a king bed.

Pictures on website a little misleading in regards to beach and the bridge/path out the the little house/structure in the ocean. Not part of their property, it's next door and very run down. Doesn't say you can't enter but not welcoming.

No beach to speak of except a little one when the tide goes out.

They say there is beverage service but the lack of bar makes it awkward and if you are out on the lawn in a lounger no one comes around. My wife's suggestion: When someone checks in give them a small flag or some other notification type that they can place next to their lounger stating they need service of some kind. We all know that alcohol and food sales can be the difference maker to the bottom line...when you have 20 plus people outside sunning give them a way to communicate (seeing as bar is not in existence) and offer to come to them.

Breakfast was good, not great just good. Restaurant is a little tired and the outside seating is on cheap plastic chairs and tables totally not in keeping with the rest of the Villa.

At check in there is no little handout telling you about the area or at least a solid map to assist. We research areas prior so no big deal for us, but for other they really should have this.

Playa Rincon is one of the top 10 beaches in the world and is a 10 minutes boat ride away. We asked at the front desk how much a boat out there and back is and they said they would call someone for us and they would come to front of hotel for $30 each round trip. Seriously folks you have no bar, no real ways to make additional dollars and you want to gouge me, it's not the money here folks it's just the way it's portrayed. Walk 7 minutes to the beach in town and you can easily get it for half that, even though we speak little Spanish. More fun too..$20 at hotel they could have taken me every day and the service would have been much appreciated.

The pool: nothing special and cheap lounge chairs.

The good:

Great location, stunning and I mean stunning landscaping and grounds truly beautiful. Entrance into hotel area provides for an incredible first experience but you never quite feel that again.

Dinner: Had no desire to dine there given the ambiance and I'm a foodie so that is rare.

Clientele: How do I say this without being offensive, as that is not my intention but if you are family with smaller kids this is not the hotel for you. If you are young couple with luxurious expectations then this is not the hotel for you. if you want to stay in a beautiful location for a few nights this fits but don't do a week here like we did. In general the clientele we saw were non American (which is fine LOL) and slightly older. I'm 46 but felt the vast majority were closer to 60 and older.

Being one of the priciest hotels in this small town I'm sorry to say that I would not return. Like I said I wanted to love this place and it's so very close to being amazing (location) they just need to change up a few things and they could be there...it's certainly worth them trying as this could easily be a $250 plus a night hotel!

What you could do:

Bed linens - Upgrade immediately and get rid of bedspreads, then add good pillows.
More information at check and better communication prior
Online booking
Facelift for some of the rooms
Patios on all rooms are great but outdoor seating on them was terrible and uncomfortable. Providing better seating and larger table on patios would make a huge difference and make people want to stay out there instead of just hanging up their towels to dry.
Some kind of flag/sign to enable servers to service the lawn area better.
New pool loungers.

But as always, that's just my opinion.

Good Luck

Room Tip: You can't pre-book a particular room and when I asked they said they do not guarantee a specific...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Sosua, Dominican Republic
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

Our 2nd visit was even better! The tranquility of the beautiful hotel and grounds is breathtaking. My sister was visiting from the states and was blown away!!!!!!The breakfast which is included was very good. The waitresses were very friendly and efficient.

Room Tip: We always stay near the desk. My sister was next door. Her rooms balcony was the best!!!!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013 via mobile

You can sit on your balcony or the veranda and gaze at the gorgeous ocean with surrounding reefs, overlooking the well-tended gardens. The only sounds are the breaking waves, the wind rustling in the palms and the doves coming to roost. Take a dip in the sea right out front or walk to one of the nearby beaches. The small town of Las Galeras is just a few minutes walk, with several nice restaurants and shops. the hotel restaurant is also good. if you want to stay home.The hotel is clean with a simple elegance from a bygone era. Very quiet, no TV or phone in the room, just the ocean breeze....a perfect place to really relax.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Villa Serena Hotel

Address: Las Galeras, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Galeras
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 hotels in Las Galeras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Serena Hotel 4*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Villa Serena Hotel Samana, Dominican Republic

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