I just can´t wonder why there was only one review about this hotel here in TripAdvisor. It was a fortunate find! At first, when we made our reservation, I was worried about this solo review, but we decided to take the risk and fortunately we did that! Certainly would come back!
We had a huge room, #10, with nice bed, frigobar, table with chairs, AC, ceiling fan, safe, and was lovely decorated (note: no TV, but this wasn´t a problem at all to us). The bathroom was also large, with large mirror, very clean and well decorated. Shower was big and water had good pressure. There was a balcony facing the main street. I was afraid it would make the room noisy, but actually it was very quiet at night.
Plaza Lusitania is really a "square", as "plaza" means in Spanish: as long as you enter, you face a beautiful garden surrounded by a travel/tour agency, souvenir shop and an Italian restaurant. We haven´t used the services of the travel agency, so can´t say a word about it.
The restaurant is amazing. It has a nice decoration, that changes everyday, and it´s a very cozy place. Plates, cups, napkins and cutlery were very clean. Everything is home made, including all the pastas and the ice creams (try the flavour creme caramel). Because of that, some dishes in the menu may not be available. The food was so, so, so good that we didn´t want to try other restaurants during our 3-night stay in Samaná. In my husband´s opinion, it was the best italian food he had ever had (and consider that we live in São Paulo, Brazil, a city with very strong Italian influence). And as a bonus, if you are a guest, you have 10% discount!
Manuela, the owner, is very helpful and sincere if you ask her tips about tours (she´ll say what is and what is not worth to do). She is Italian (that´s why the food is so good in the restaurant!). José, one of the employees, was very polite and nice with us as well.
Our room was cleaned everyday and the maids were also polite.
There was bottled potable mineral water at the hallway, free for guests.
Breakfast was included, but it was poor: only milk ("watered milk"), coffee, coccoa, bread and butter (not a good butter). I usually have only those itens for breakfast, but here they were bad... My husband missed fruits and juice. There was a complete breakfast, but paid apart (we haven´t had that, so can´t say if it is good).
There was wifi, free of charge. Quality of connection was variable in our room, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn´t.
Check in and check out were easy and quick.
Although it didn´t seem necessary, there was a security guard every night in front of the hotel (guards carrying heavy shotguns, like rifles, are very common in the Dominican Republic).
The hotel is located at the main street of Las Galeras , which is a very calm village ("pueblo") in Samaná Peninsula. There are some groceries, souvenir shops and restaurants nearby. The surroundings seem to be very safe. The hotel is 100m away from Las Galeras beach. Only 10 minutes on boat, and you reach Playa Rincon, a paradisiac, beautiful pool-water beach (much more beautiful than Saona Island!). From Las Galeras you also get easily to Playa Fronton, another wonderful beach.
We´ve been there at the end of the season, so our impressions could have been different if we had gone earlier. Las Galeras is a calm village. There are some bars with live music, but everything ends up early. So if you´re looking for nightlife, that´s not the place for you. On the other hand, if you want a romantic, calm, cozy and no-children place, be welcome.
The guagua (the only public transportation in the peninsula) from Samaná Village stops in front of the Plaza Lusitania (guaguas to and from Samaná run every 15 minutes in weekdays; in weekends this period can be longer; travel time with guagua is around 1 hour; with taxi, 45 minutes. Read about taxi versus guagua below).
1) Samaná Peninsula has no water supply and distribution system at all. When we came, in March 2010, there was a government work along the road to install this system (the local people told us that these works had been lasted for 2 years, neverending...). So the water of the hotel (as well as in other places in Samaná) comes from the undergorund. In Plaza Lusitania, the water in bathroom was slightly salty because of that, but nothing unbearable.
Also the hot water in bathroom didn´t last much time. Considering that the Caribe is pretty hot, this may not be a problem to many people. It bothered me a little.
2) Breakfast included in fee. Could be better, specially the milk, which seemed to have water added to it.
3) The safe in our room was not working.
Definitely I would come back to Plaza Lusitania. Everything was perfect. Nice comfortable accomodations, nice food just downstairs, calm and quiet place. Although it can be a little more expensive than other hotels (75 USD per night per couple, plus taxes, considering it is the Dominican Republic), each penny was worth. We went to a resort in Punta Cana after being in Samaná and we missed so much Manuelas´s food and Plaza Lusitania with its comfort !
The road in the whole Samaná peninsula is horrible (a bit better when going to Las Terrenas), part of it has no pavement, poor road signs and many, many old cars and motos without lights and driving like crazy. Not to mention the neverending work to implant the water supply system. SO IT´S VERY DANGEROUS TO DRIVE THERE. Don´t rent a car to go to Samaná, take the Caribetour bus (ask for the one that goes by the new route, if you come from Santo Domingo) or a plane.
DON´T TAKE A TAXI FROM SAMANÁ TO LAS GALERAS, GO WITH THE GUAGUA. The cars (vans) used are exactly the same (old and dirty). The only differences are the price (1300 PESOS WITH TAXI AND 100 PESOS WITH GUAGUA) and time spent (guaguas may stop many times and the trip will be longer, but definitely paying a taxi is not worth unless you are really in a hurry).
If it is season, don´t miss the WHALE WATCH. We went with Kim Bedall, a naturalist on board the VICTORIA MARINE. It was more expensive, but it made the difference to watch the whales with an expert. We received also a small book explaining a little about Biology and behaviour of the whales, and it was included in the fee. Not to mention that the whole tour respects both the nature and the animals.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.