This is a brand new hotel (opened 2008) in the town of La Romana. It's a real Dominican hotel, not a resort oriented solely to foreign tourists. If you're a business traveller needing to stay in La Romana, or a visitor wanting a few days of the authentic DR away from the all-inclusive vacation resorts - this place could be worth checking out.
The room rate when I stayed was DR1700 (about GBP34 / USD50) for a single room. The room was nicely decorated with a very comfortable bed and high quality bedding. Air conditioning, a safe for valuables, fridge and flatscreen TV are all provided. The bathroom had a large walk in shower rather than a bath.
The hotel has an indoor restaurant (bit of an echo chamber) or you can eat outside at the bar by the swimming pool. The food is simple but good and prices are reasonable. The pool itself is very small but it didn't seem to get busy and it was a good place to relax and cool off. There is a small gym above the swimming pool - not very well equipped but enough there to do a basic workout if you want to.
The hotel is in the Caleta area of La Romana on a quiet sideroad. The immediate area is not very built up and it's mostly large villas in leafy gardens. The centre of La Romana is a short ride away by taxi or (if you're adventurous) motoconcho - a ride on the back of someone's motorbike for about USD1. La Caleta is on the ocean side of the town and you can stroll down to La Caleta beach. This is a very small beach of coarse white sand - but spare a thought for the locals, as this is the only beach left in the area which they can access, the others having been privatised for various vacation resorts. It's a good place to mingle with Dominicans enjoying their town beach and drink a cold Presidente beer in one of the simple cafes or shops.
The view of the offshore island of Isla Catalina, after which the hotel is named, is only really available from the top floor or the roof area. Apparently the hotel can arrange boat trips to the island and its beaches but I didn't try that out.
For another excursion, you could go to Altos de Chavon with its museum and recreated sixteenth century village. A taxi there from the hotel will cost about USD12.
Another trip you could do is to the Cueva de Las Maravilhas, spectacular caves with stalactites and Indian rock paintings. If you walk from the hotel to the main ring road Avenida Libertad (just over the railway line) you should be able to pick up some transport headed for San Pedro de Macoris and ask them to put you down at the caves, which are after the village of Cumayasa.
La Romana itself is a simple Caribbean town, still dominated by its sugar company headquarters. The central square Parque Principal is a pleasant place to sit and watch people. The Italian restaurant on the street just south of the square is set in a pleasant interior courtyard and has good food. There are episcopal (anglican) and roman catholic churches on the main square and a number of protestant and evangelical churches in the streets further north.
All in all, this is a good option for staying in La Romana town. You wouldn't want to spend a whole vacation here, but it's great for a few days to see more DR life than you'd see in an all-inclusive resort.
- Also Known As:
- Vista Catalina Golden Hotel La Romana