Dominica is a beautiful country with very friendly people. The Castle Comfort is a very basic hotel primarily geared toward divers. We are avid divers and we thought the dive operation was excellent. The guys on the boat are very friendly and knowledgeable. The diving is good but not excellent. The reef is very healthy and there are some very interesting small animals (some I have never seen anywhere else) but there is not much fish life. Like the hotel, the dive operation is basic. If you need frills this isn't the place. They carry your gear to the boat, but you have to watch and make sure they don't forget it. They don't give you towels or fruit between dives, but that is okay. You need to take care of yourself a little and everything is fine. Again, the dive guys (Stinger, Reggie and David especially) are fun and talkative and know all about Dominica-they are also very safe.
The hotel is clean and simple. It is on the main road near Roseau so in the morning it sounds like the freeway outside. The breakfasts are good. Lunch is a headache. It takes forever and is overpriced. Go to Cindy's behind the furniture wharehouse across the street and get great takeout chicken or fish and dasheen and plantains for about 8 EC (about $3.25 US) along with great local fruit juice. All the guys that work at the dive operation eat there and it is good. Cindy may be the nicest lady on earth and all the locals there for lunch are great. Don't let the shack like appearance of the place put you off.
Dinners run from bad to okay. The ladies in the kitchen are the least helpful and friendly folks in the place. There are good places in Roseau to eat dinner (Fort Young, La Robe Creole) and the bus to get to town is only $1.50 EC. If you are down in town late it may cost about $10 EC to get back ($1 US = $2.67EC)
The rainforest is beautiful. It is harder to go on your own than it should be-too many guides and tours. However, with a little initiative you can take some good hikes on your own. There are some hikes you probably should use a guide.
Dominica is quite unspoiled compared to glitzier islands in the Caribbean. No chain restaurants or hotels. The local music is incredible. Service can be slow at an island pace which is okay unless you have to be back on the dive boat or on a bus to go to the rainforest. (See above-lunch at Castle Comfort is a headache). We had to admit we missed having access to a beach-there are none. The Castle Comfort is run by Derek and his wife and they could not be nicer. Some of the rest of the staff is a little indifferent-but overall very friendly. Again, the hotel is not fancy but is comfortable. The Evergreen next door looked a little nicer and you would still dive with the same great guys at Dive Dominica.
Dominica and Castle Comfort are definitely for divers and "eco-tourists" (although I am not sure what that means). If you need white sandy beaches and world class cuisine, go elsewhere. We also visited St. Lucia on this trip to get some beaches and French Chefs- so the two islands were a good combination for us. Overall Castle Comfort worked for us and Dominica was great experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a small, intimate Caribbean dive lodge located just one mile south of Dominica's capital, Roseau. With true Caribbean ambiance, our traditional style guest house makes you feel like a family member - as casual, relaxed and as comfortable as your favourite pair of slippers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Castle Comfort Dive Hotel Roseau
- Castle Comfort Dive Lodge Dominica/Roseau