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“Nice time on the honeymoon”

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Iberostar Costa Dorada
Ranked #1 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
A TripAdvisor Member
“Nice time on the honeymoon”
Reviewed July 27, 2005

My wife and I just returned two days ago from a week-long honeymoon trip to iberostar costa dorada. All in all we had a very nice time. I will begin with the many positive aspects of the trip.
Firstly, the accomodations were nice in that the room was nice and clean. Our room did not have any real view (back roads behind hotel) so I mentioned this to the staff. After initially informing me that an ocean view room would be available two nights later, they then offered a pool view room for the following night. It was absolutely beautiful with views of the mountain behind the pool in the distance. The staff was excellent all around especially Santo and Guillermo at guest services.
The shows are hit and miss with some (lion king especially) definately worth seeing. The Star Friends entertainment troupe is so earnest and honest in their efforts that even when they occasionally fall short it is still charming.
Just a seven dollar cab ride (for 2) away is the American Casino at the Jack Tar resort. While the casino is small by American standards, it is charming and the serious player can definately attempt a win at this casino. The dealer play is sloppy (I was able to view three improperly dealt cards by the dealer in two hours at the Blackjack table. This is unacceptable in Vegas or A.C.) I left up both nights I went and My wife even left u8p at slots. I hit 200 coins three times within a half hour of play at one point. The second night we went to the american casino they arranged a free cab which was nice. One note about the casino is they DONT HAVE AN ATM? When I mentioned this to the pit boss he unexpectedly offered me a line of credit as long as I had a license or passport. This was nice. I have never been to a casino in the us or abroad without an atm.
Some tips:

1.Try the pool buffet breakfast -it is often better than the regular buffet.

2. Don't buy anything from the guy blowing glass in the lobby - they break on light light contact - I bought something for 27.50 American and it broke shortly after with normal use. When I asked to speak to the guy who sold it to me Santo told me he is here once a week. I told him there was a reason for that and the next day there was 30 american dollars at the desk for me - they were excellent in being accomodating.

3. Bring a lot of suntan lotion and aloe - it is 16-20 american dollars in the gift shop.

4. Ask for something if you are unhappy.

5. Check out Punta Rusia - it is an island in tyhe middle of the ocean on the caribbean side of the island and the snorkeling there is cool - it was about 80 dollars a person for a 10 hour trip (it is a long day).

One final note. The only few complaints I have seen on the site tend to be from other New Yorkers like me. They say it is not a five-star resort and they are right in that by American standards it is a three or four star resort. The five ranking is based on a ranking by the dominican tourism board. I have been to five star resorts in the states and while the surroundings warrant a five all other accomodations are about a 3 or 4. However, how can you expect any more when you are paying (after air fair) less than 100 amer dollars a day with food included lol. It is definately a great hotel and I was consistently impressed by the all around value of the trip.

  • Stayed July 2005
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed July 26, 2005

As a little girl I always had dreams of exotic lands with beautifull island scenary, blue waters and breath-taking sunsets...Well i found it. July 2005 was my first time visiting the Dominican Republic and my family recommended I stay at the Iberostar. From the minute i walked into their beautifull marble entryway up untill my heartbreaking departure, I was greated with nothing but smiling, happy and ready to help faces. No matter what time of day you are found wondering the hotels you will always see a smiling face. I had one of the best vacations a woman could ask for. I dont know where to begin with my review so i will start with the hotel staff...
Everyone is exceptionally friendly and very helpfull.. whether you need to book a tour group or just need to know how to find your room someone is always ready to answer your questions.
Now for the hotel....
The minute I stepped out of my taxi I was in awe. It was unbelievable. I was greeted in a large marble entryway with brilliant wood carvings. Off to the left was the lobby bar with beautifull couches and oversized ceramic vases.. That was just the beginning. The landscaping is georgeous. Larg palm trees and exotic flowers (all with little plaques that inform you on what type) Then came the pool... I dont even know what to say about the pool, it is picture perfect. I advise you take a walk by it at night all lit up. Now to the beach.. The star friends make your day extra special whether lounging by the pool or playing on the beach. They have everything from water polo to beach aerobics held daily. The beach was a nice change from the crowd. (I will let you in on a little secret.. The best spot on the beach is to pull a lounge on the edge of the water and let it hit your feet while sun bathing.. The breeze off of the water is the best)
The entertainment..
The hotel holds nightly entertainment..You will recognise M.C Hammer as the star friend that was playing water polo with you earlier that day. They put on excellent shows that will have you rolling in your seats. And when the show is over you just go around the corner to the disco.
All in all i had a wonderfull time. I would reccomend this hotel to everyone and anyone. They make sure they accomidate everyone the best they can. Whether you are on your honeymoon or vacationing with family, or coming down with your single girlfriends there will always be something to do and alot of fun to be had!! I had such an amazing time that i am planing a trip back in November to celebrate my 21st. I hope you decide to spend your vacation at the Iberostar..(you wont be dissapointed) Afterall dreams do come true.

  • Stayed July 2005
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13 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed July 26, 2005

Great in every way the food ,service ,grounds, 5 star all the way .
special thanks to Santo for all he did while i was there me & my wife got remarried after 12 years as a surprise for her it was not easy but thanks to
the staff at the hotel we pulled it off this place is top notch and new yorkers
are hard to please would recommened to any one looking for one of the best places to stay in dominican. We have four children & they had a great time in the pool & with mama maria at yhe kids club also hats off to all the
bartenders (lobby) bar is the best. Top notch place to stay already looking
into booking next year.

  • Stayed June 2005
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14 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NJ
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2005

I just returned from a five day stay. We picked this resort based on reviews on this site and must say they were on target. It was a well-run resort and we had a very relaxing stay! The big overriding impression is: Everyone who works at the Iberostar Costa Dorado is VERY VERY cordial, cheerful and helpful. I left my husband and teens home and went with my recently widowed mother. I was concerned about us being two women travelling alone. Would we be treated poorly or ignored? But, it was not at all the case! Everyone was very nice and kind to us. Whatever you want, they do. We were pretty reasonable, of course - not asking for room service etc. But they were just very nice and happy to help however we wanted. This is an all-inclusive resort and we never felt any pressure to tip at all. We did leave a few dollars each day for the maid because we kept getting extra towels and bottled water but otherwise, we felt no need to tip and did not feel that we were treated poorly because of that. Maybe if we were big drinkers and wanted stronger drinks or more frequent service, or if we had used the outstanding babysitter/camp service (then for sure we would have tipped), we would have felt differently.

Here are some details:

Plenty of chairs etc by the pool, the beach and the area in-between the pool and beach (garden?) - also lots of places where you could be in the shade - or sun if you chose. Towels and cushions available by pool in hut. Although we were told they were almost full, it never really seems crowded. The pool, garden and beach were very large - the beach seemed to go on forever and it had chairs all over - in the sun and under trees.

Nice selection of activities. The staffers were friendly and always asked if you wanted to participate in whatever they were doing (bingo, basketball, dancing etc.) Once, there was a dance party on the beach and my mom and I were watching. At least 5 or 6 men (employees) very nicely asked us to dance and kept trying until we did. It really turned out to be fun. People participated in activities regardless of age and no one seemed to feel silly or out of place. I did the morning stretching class (I do Pilates at home) and it was a well-run class - not exactly vigorous but very pleasant and on the beach. What could be bad? It seemed like there was an EXCELLENT kids program that kept the children very happy and occupied. The kids actually put on a show each night at 8 pm in the nightclub (costumed, singing, dancing) that was quite good. Lots of people came to it and had fun - we went and enjoyed it too even though we didn't have any kids in it! The evening shows were OK. Much of it was in Spanish (we don't speak the language) and the performances were very "Catskills" but it was fine. I live in the NYC area and have seems some wonderful world class performances but I wasn't expecting Vegas or Broadway. It was fun just to be amused by silly stuff and to have a good realxing time.

Grounds are very very pretty. Nice buildings, plazas, landscaping and gardens. There is no trash laying around and they seem to keep everything very neat and tidy. There was a spa with separate ladies and mens Jacuzzi/hot tub. We used that but did not use any of the "extra" services. They cost about what they cost here at home.

VERY clean. Rooms are plain but nicely done and comfortable. Tile floors -immaculate, not sandy or gritty and I am VERY VERY picky - I never go barefoot if there is a SPECK of dirt even at home. Clean sheets and towels daily. Nice bathrooms with strong showers and blow dryers. Mini bar filled daily (soda, water, beer) - free. TV - only CNN, Cartoons and ESPN in English. Coffee table and 2 chairs (we did ask for an extra as we started with one and they were happy to bring one ASAP). Shaded balcony with table, 2 chairs and drying rack for suits etc. Also, lobby, facilities, bathrooms by pools, beach, restaurants are also CLEAN!

Several dining choices. Somewhere almost all day there is food to eat and a place to get something to drink (maybe not alcohol but always a cold drink or coffee). For breakfast - huge buffet restaurant - chef stations for made to order omelets and eggs, fruits, cheese, bacons/meats, casseroles, local foods, breads, coffee/juice/etc/etc, really hard not to find something you would want to eat. Continental breakfast by pool in restaurant later. For lunch - either large buffet in restaurant or grill restaurant (pretty big) by pool. For dinner - 2 air conditioned restaurants with reservations (not a problem) - Brazilian or Mexican entrees are cooked to order - buffet for appetizer and dessert. Tried Mexican - it was good. One seafood restaurant (open-air) - reservations - also cooked to order - very good too. One buffet restaurant - no reservations - chef stations - huge selections - like a cruise. Food was good, nice quality and well prepared, and always something appealing to eat among the many choices. The staff remembers you from one meal to the next and always welcomes you with a smile! It is a nice touch. But it was not fancy gourmet dining - after all they are cooking for a large crowd. There were beverages and bars all over the place which you need since it is hot and you need to stay hydrated.

It was interesting to see how much some of the people drank and ate - I guess it is particularly noticable because it is all-inclusive. It seemed that EVERY beverage they had was a beer or whiskey or some fruity frozen rum drink and every meal was a very full plate. By my third night, I could barely eat dinner. The waiter asked if there was anything wrong with my food because there was so much left. I just couldn't continue to eat three square a day and lay on a lounge chair... Nobody misbehaved or affected us in any way - it was just something that we aren't accustomed to. Again, this wasn't a problem at all, just a difference in the way that we chose to do things on vacation (like preferring sun or shade). I know some reviewers felt like the drinks were not strong enough. I had a beer with dinner each night and it was fine. Once or twice I had a Baileys on rocks - again, fine. What is nice it that you can have however much or little food or beverage you want and your choices are so vast. Just remember to stay hydrated with some non-alcoholic drinks as it is so very hot that if you don't you could really become quite ill.

Very few Americans. We might have been the ONLY Americans there and we did speak to many people. Lots of UK citizens, some Germans, many Latinos. It was fine with us and acutally fun to hear all the different accents. But, many of the employees (esp. non-front desk or wait staff) spoke very little English - it was not a big problem for us as we were always able to manage and get what we needed. Everything is printed in Spanish and English translation is about 3rd down on the list. That was a little surprising - again, it was NOT a problem at all - just something that we were not initially aware of and it did take a few hours to realize that we were not going to be able to communicate with ease on our first try all the time.

We arranged a city tour with a company near the resort (Martin Espinal / Isaria Tour). I had read about him on the Internet through Tripadvisor and he does have a website. I e-mailed him before we went with our dates and he called the resort after we arrived to book something. He is VERY charming. We had a private 4 hour tour $70 with a driver and English speaking guide who took the two of us shopping (and helped us to negotiate) wherever we wanted after we saw the sights. It was just a few $ more than going with the Apple package tour for less time and more people (if I bargained I could I have done better on his price I think). I do think there are some other excusions like a jungle/monster truck and a swim with the dolphins too. But, there really is not a lot to see (or shop) in Puerto Plata - this is a vacation to just RELAX!

There are beach shops in shacks a short walk on either side of the hotel (BTW, there is security on the hotel beaches although you can safely walk to the shops). The ones to the left (past the Hilton) are nicer (in that the people are somewhat less pushy and leering) than the ones in the Playa Dorado complex to the right. The starting prices are about 4 to 8 times normal and usually more than in town too. There was a statue I liked and the starting price was $125. I bought it for $30. If you buy jewlery and want the "real stuff", buy it from the museum shops (Amber or Carmen) in town (you can bargain there too). On the beach, it can be plastic or metal. If you buy on the beach, know that it may be costume and pay accordingly.

Weather was good. It rained heavily one night after dinner but we were in the room already. One afternoon, it drizzled but we were under a tiki hut playing Scrabble (lots of games to borrow from the pool hut) and just stayed there and were dry. Even though it was hot, there was always a nice breeze off of the water to the beach and garden where we sat. We didn't sit by the pool (it was close enough to pop in for a dip) but it did seem warmer there. It could get very warm in the lobby and as you moved away from the water/beach. The room were nicely air conditioned and also had ceiling fans.

We wore lots of sunblock (30 SPF) and stuck to the shade and we never got burnt. Lots of people looked burned though so be careful. We had brought bug spray because we had heard they were mean but didn't need any. Maybe the breezes helped. We also kept our sliding door closed and used the a/c. Some of the little kids did look bitten up so I'd bring some just in case you are susceptible. Also, my mom had her allergies act up and I had brought some medication (I am a traveling pharmacy) which she ended up needing. You should be careful to pack up for those types of contingencies, as well as for tummy trouble (we were fine but stuck to bottled water, peeled veggies and fruit and no salads or shellfish). The resort shop had limited supplies of these things and the pharmacies don;t look like CVS at home.

In sum, we would definitely go back to the Iberostar Costa Dorada resort again. We met 2 groups of people on the plane coming over and again on our return who went to other resorts in Puerto Plata. Both had just OK times (rooms not nice, not enough chairs, too crowded, too many steps, yucky food etc. etc.). For the extra few $, I think this resort was well worth it.

BTW, the airport is nicely run and has air conditioning. Do not use the airport porters - especially if you have rolling luggage or prearranged ground transport. You only have to walk about 25 feet in any direction before someone from the airport or the travel company is there to help you.

Enjoy your trip!

Helpful?
53 Thank MLE642
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2005

This place was fantastic from start to finish. Totally exceeded our expectations. Small problem when we arrived in that there was not a fourth bed for our 5 yr old son, although they had put an extra one in for our 7 yr old daughter but this was soon rectified. Slightly cramped due to 2 singles and 1 double bed but how much time do you spend in the room?! Mini bar was re-stocked every couple of days, we never ran it out. Cleaning ladies used to make swans with the towels and put lovely flowers in them. Hotel gardens were absolutely beautiful, well kept, peacocks walking around the hotel freely and flamingoes and turtles in reception. Food was great in the buffet restaurant and also the speciality restaurants were good. Kids club was fantastic and the staff so enthusiastic, kids used to go off and practise for a show that they would perform later on in the main stage area. This meant that the staff would take your kids to eat early and then the adults could eat alone before taking your seats near the stage later on! Unlimited alcoholic drinks, branded if you particularly wanted them and the staff would even serve you drinks at the courtyard/main bar area if you were too lazy to go to the bar yourself. Great pool area, had to get up early to reserve sunbeds near the pool but isn't that always the way!

Would definately return again

Helpful?
30 Thank sammylou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nj
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2005

Hola!
My husband and I just returned home from the Costa Dorada. We had a wonderful time. The weather was excellent considering the fact that Hurrican Dennis just blew by.

The pics that are posted on sites of the resort do not do it justice. However my husband took some fantastic pics which we will post.

The food was great considering that this is an all inclusive. There was plenty of fresh fruits, juices and vegetables at the buffet at all times. There were also 3 specialty restaurants; Brazilian, Mexican and Tropical. We ate at all 3 but really enjoyed the Mexican. All were air conditioned and served buffet appetizers and desserts. We advise taking an antacid prior to eating, as we got ill the second night, after that, we had no tummy troubles.

The staff were very friendly and helpful. A tip of a dollar or two here and there to our waiters, bartenders and maids, really goes a long way and is truly appreciated although not expected (since their pay wages are very low).

The beach was nice but very windy and the ocean was not as clear as some in the Carribean, however many people enjoyed the beach, just be careful not to get burned since you might not feel the intense heat of the sun. There are mosquitoes so bring spray. They are much smaller than the ones you get in the States, and you don't even know they get you until it's too late. We were also told that by taking Vitamin B complex keeps them at bay.

The pool is marvelous, always clean and refreshing, not too cold just right. It is so large that no matter how many people are swimming, there is lots of room and you can float on rafts. I suggest bringing a hot/cold cup so that your drinks stay cold by the pool. There is no need to bring beach towels since there are plenty and you may exchange wet ones for dry ones throughout the day. We had lovely lounges under palm huts, but make sure to get out by 8 or 9 am to ensure a spot under the huts, you'll need some shade during your first few days.

The evening shows put on by the Star Friends was entertaining albeit dated. Which probably explains why we were in bed by 9! The night time skies are breathtaking as you will see in the photos my husband took He suggests avoid using flash try using the natural lighting with a long exposure setting to get the best pix. Make sure you support the camera to keep it steady as not to blur the photo.

Our room was in bldg 7 overlooking the pool, it was a perfect position, nice and quiet yet close to everything. There was a hair dryer and I brought my straightening iron which uses the same voltage as the States. I would advise bringing a travel iron too. I did borough one from the hotel however there was a 2 hr time period in which to use and return. The shower was good and hot and plenty of pressure. There was a small fridge which was stocked with water, beer and sodas all free.

We did go to Puerto Plata for a half day, we stopped at some shops and a Rum Factory, Amber Museum and Fort. Just do not take a pic of the man with the Donkey unless you are prepared to pay! We did not go to the Jeep Safari or Ocean World, but we heard they were fun.

We went as a couple but many brought children who seemed to have a great time. I would recommend this resort to all; young and old alike.

We will definitely come back to the D.R. but perhaps visit Punta Cana next time. The country is beautiful with huge mountains and torquoise seas. The Dominicans are very charming and go out of their way to help you, just be sure to smile and make sure to take your digital camera!
Amy and Chris

Helpful?
26 Thank zackzack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed July 16, 2005

We stayed at the Iberostar for one week and arrived home July 15th. We have two children ages eight and ten. We took an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Miami. Our connecting flight was cancelled so we had to rebook our tickets when we arrived in Miami. Our travel agent was on the phone with us rearranging our transportation from the airport to the hotel and giving us advice on our options. We could either stay at a hotel in Miami that night and fly into Peurta Plata the next day or fly into Santo Domingo that evening. We choose to fly that evening and we were given vouchers to eat dinner at the airport. The airline did upgrade our seats to first class which was nice. We arrived at Santo Domingo around midnight.We had four bags of luggage that were checked in at the Philly airport but only two of them arrived in Santo Domingo. This was probably because the airline kept changing our boarding gate prior to departure.

The American Airlines agent escorted us to our taxi.The taxi ride was nearly four hours long. We arrived at the hotel around 4:00 in the morning. The hotel was beautiful. Even though we were tired and kind of frustrated with the travel delays and lost baggage the beauty of the hotel was well worth the travel time. Once we checked in they loaded our luggage into a golf cart and we were driven to our room. We had originally booked a garden view but our travel agent notified the hotel in advance of our travel troubles and we were given an ocean view room that was steps away from the pool. That was a great surprise!

My advice is that you carry on as many of your belongings as possible. Especially bathing suits and shorts. We had to purchase flip flops for the kids because they wore sneakers to the airport and the rest of their shoes were in the lost bags.We paid more than $20.00 for two pairs of flip flops that would've cost us $2.00 at home. The airline is reimbursing us for these expenses. The hotel lobby gift shop was really expensive for clothing items. Also carry a battery operated alarm clock because the electricity in the room seems to be activated by motion. We had to reset the clock everytime we went in and out of the room because we didn't use batteries. Our lost luggage arrived at the hotel three days after we checked in.The good thing is that nothing was missing even though we had not locked our bags.

My kids loved Mama Maria and the other coordinator of the kids club. They had wonderful activities and won prizes for games. They got to participate in the nightly shows and dance on stage with the other kids. At 7:00 each evening Mama Maria takes the kids to dinner at the buffet.The kids can also have dinner with you then join the kids club at the mini disco or onstage.My daughter had a birthday while we we there and they serenaded her with happy birthday in perfect English at the restaurant by the beach.She absolutely loved this!

The buffet was great and so were the specialty restaurants. Reservations were easy to make.We went on the outback safari tour. I recommend water shoes for this one. My husband went on the atv or what they call funny bikes bikes and had a great time. Sneakers work well for that one. He purchased a dvd of his ride for a small price. The pool was amazing at this hotel and we spent a lot of our days there. The beach was also nice. All inclusive is absolutely the way to go if you have kids. We did leave small tips and it seemed like they pampered us even more. We met other people from Philadelphia,Australia,Ireland, New York and the UK. Everyone was nice. We can't wait to visit other Iberostar resorts throughout the world.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • Value
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Helpful?
25 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Iberostar Costa Dorada

Property: Iberostar Costa Dorada
Address: Carretera Luperon km 2.5 | Marapica, Costa Dorada, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Puerto Plata
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#1 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#2 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#3 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Business Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Iberostar Costa Dorada 4*
Number of rooms: 516
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada hotel is located in front of the large golden sand beach of Costa Dorada, 10 minutes from the city of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic's north coast. This wonderful 5-star All Inclusive resort is a wonderful haven for aquatic sports lovers. Renovated in 2011, the IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada hotel has 498 Double Rooms and 18 spacious Junior Suites. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Costa Dorado
Iberostar Puerto Plata
Iberostar Costa Dorada Dominican Republic
Iberostar Costa Dorada Puerto Plata
Iberostar Hotel Costa Dorada
Iberostar Costa Dorada Hotel
Costa Dorado
Puerto Plata Iberostar
Iberostar Hotel Puerto Plata

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