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“Disappointing to say the least”

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Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge Cap Cana
Ranked #102 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Boston
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Disappointing to say the least”
Reviewed January 6, 2010

We stayed at the Golden Bear over New Years for 4 nights. While the exterior of the resort looks good, it is clearly not ready for occupancy. They were unable to provide the basic services expected of even the lowest level of hotel (i.e., hot water) or an even remotely acceptable level of customer service. This resort was not cheap and is promoted as a luxury resort. A quick rundown of the issues we experienced:

(1) the room initially assigned to us was not ready for occupancy. It had no
phones, a broken full length mirror with large shards ready to fall off, and stains on the furniture.

(2) After complaining to management and enduring an hour and half wait for resolution of the
situation, we were assigned a new room, a one bedroom suite, that was on the outer rim of
of the property. We asked to be moved to a
building closer to the main lobby/pool area and were told that it was not possible because the resort was
completely booked. Mind you that during our entire stay we saw no more than 4
other parties at the hotel, so this statement seemed suspect.
(3) on our first night, we were looking forward to showering after a long day of travel and discovered there was NO HOT WATER in the unit. We called
the front desk from the one phone in the unit that worked (there were two
additional phones that did not work; part of the Golden Bear’s constant refrain of form over substance) and were told that someone would be
down to fix the water "in five minutes." No one came and we called
repeatedly over the next hour and half to no avail. The person at the front desk was very unprofessional and clearly hadn’t been trained to handle any customer issues, as we were either told that someone was on their way to fix the problem (which they weren’t) or our calls were put on hold, then disconnected. Requests to speak to the manager were denied. We eventually
decided to go to the front desk to deal with the situation in person.
We were then told that the lack of hot water was systemic to the
property and they were working on it. We told him that a little bit of initial honesty from the front desk would have saved us an hour and a half of calling and waiting. The front desk manager then told us to go
have dinner and that we would be "taken care of." This was of no use to
us, since included in our room rate was two meals a day, including
dinner. This was typical of the empty gestures at customer service we
received throughout our stay.
(2) When we left dinner we were told the hot water had been fixed. When
we returned to our room there was STILL NO HOT WATER.
(3)That same night, the air conditioner vent in the bedroom made such an
extremely loud humming and rattling noise that it was impossible to sleep in the
bedroom. We called the front desk numerous times and were even hung up
on. No maintenance or other customer service individual came to the
room to rectify the situation. We were simply told that there was nothing they could do (not even that they would ask someone to fix it in the morning). As a result, one of us slept on a couch in the living room
and the other slept on the floor of the
living room.
(4) At around 6AM that morning, the power went out and WE HAD NO ELECTRICITY IN THE UNIT.
Along with no electricity, there was also no running water. At 8AM that
morning, we reported to the front desk that there was NO ELECTRICITY, NO HOT WATER, NO WATER AT ALL, AND THE EXTREMELY LOUD HUMMING AND RATTLING NOISE EMANATING FROM THE BEDROOM VENT.
(5) Upon returning to our room late in the afternoon we were told that
the bedroom vent issue had been fixed (apparently the air duct or vent hadn’t been secured properly, thus the source of the loud noise), the electricity had returned, and
there was hot water. Upon returning to our room we discovered that
there was STILL NO HOT WATER, though to our relief the other issues had been resolved (we were pretty much at wits end at this point).
A "manager" came to our room about 30 minutes later and discovered the
hot water was not working, sent someone to do something and five minutes
later we had some hot water (see, it’s not that difficult).
(6) At about this time during our stay, all 3 phones in our unit
stopped working (why have 3 phones if none of them work?). We told the front desk about the issue and it was not
resolved for the 3 days remaining of our stay.
(7) The resort supposedly offers room service but there were no room
service menus or any other information whatsoever concerning the resort, spa etc...
in our room.
(8) We asked for a map of the cap cana development and were told by the front
desk they did not have one.
(9) Towels, toiletries etc... were not replenished by the cleaning
staff, only when we asked did we get new towels.
(10) The "mini bar," which consisted of a few bottles of beer and juice,
was never replenished.

As a general matter, the customer service at the resort, absent one or
two minor exceptions (the bellboy and lead waiter in the restaurant) was
abysmal. Throughout our stay we had the sense that no one was in
charge (at least no adult). Simple requests (e.g. a map of Cap Cana development) could not
be fulfilled. Moreover, the absolute basics of a hotel - hot water,
electricity, the ability to sleep in a room without excessive noise, could not be provided by
the hotel. In addition, we had two meals a day in the restaurant included in our rate. While the food was generally fine, the main restaurant tries too hard to be fancy, focusing on form over substance. The resort should do a favor for both the guests and the staff and make the restaurant more casual - it is a golf resort after all. Meals became long ordeals (even though we were usually the only patrons in the restaurant) of overly formal service that the staff had trouble with. Also, if you are going to offer a meal plan and have only restaurant for breakfast and dinner, there should be more variety on the menu and more choices (i.e., every night there were the same 5 entree options). In addition, a tip to the resort - please don't play the same Michael Buble cd over and over again at the restaurant at all hours. Get another CD! In sum, the Golden Bear has a lot of work to do; most importantly providing basic services (i.e., hot water) to its customers and some serious customer training to its employees (enough so that they can at least act like they care or will try to fix basic problems in a reasonable amount of time).

Jack Nicklaus’s picture is plastered all over the hotel, but he should be ashamed of this ripoff. We wonder if he knows he awful an experience his Golden Bear Lodge & Spa has provided its customers?

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank woz3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Santo Domingo
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2010

Our family had planned to pass the New Year here, but we checked out after one night vowing to never return!

Views entering Cap Cana are breathtaking, white sand, blue sea .... unfortunately not much else I can say positive about the place.

We checked in early afternoon after driving from Santo Domingo, I was charged the room fee for the complete stay on arrival (at US$900 per night for a 2 bed apartment), rather than them taking a guarantee on my credit card as most hotels do, plus an additional US$400 charge to cover being able to sign for food and beverage etc. against the room number. Check in staff were only able to give us two plastic room keys (for a party of 6) as they didn't have any others available (not sure what they did for the next guest who checked-in.) We asked for a resort map (Cap Cana is spread out over a really large area,) and after 5 minutes were given a tiny unreadable photocopy.

As we were here for the new year we asked about the activities planned for the 31st and decided on one of the restaurants in the Marina and for the Cap Cana New Years Party, which the guest services rep said they would set up and reserve for us .... (more on this later.)

We wanted to have a bite to eat, it was 3.00pm, a little late for lunch but for the "World's New Greatest Destination", there should be numerous options available and set off for the Marina .... the place was deserted we saw maybe 5 people in the whole area, and trekked to all 3 restaurants / terrace cafes and all were closed, we were told they would be opening at 6.00pm, so we phoned up the reception and apparently the only place available at that time was the pool bar at the Golden Bear Lodge, we we told we couldn't go to the Sanctuary Hotel as it was reservation only! So 30 minutes later we were sat ordering at the pool bar, a salad, 3 sandwiches, 3 personal pizzas and six fruit juices - which came to US$209!!! The food was good but US$209??

We then returned to the room to relax & freshen up, only to find that one of the bathrooms had no hot water, and the bath tub/jacuzzi was incredibly dirty and literally smelled of sewage, which we promptly reported and were assured would be rectified immediately. Fortunately the other bathroom was clean, had hot water and we were able to all take a shower. The plan for the evening was for my wife and I to receive a business colleague at Punta Cana airport who was staying at another hotel in the area, the rest of the family would use room service for dinner, and my wife and I would have a quiet meal in the restaurant after we returned. We confirmed with reception that the Magnolia restaurant closed at 11.30pm. We looked everywhere for a resort guide & room service menu in the rooms, but none were to be found, so also asked for one to be sent to the room. On returning from picking up our colleague at 10.20pm, we found that there was still no hot water, fortunately the tub had been cleaned, but still no room service menu (after phoning again they said they were still printing it out) so we all ventured to the Magnolia restaurant before they closed, only to find that they had actually closed at 10.00pm and were now informed that all the restaurants in Cap Cana also closed at this time! After protesting we were able to order some ice cream and chocolate mouses to be sent to the room, at US$14 plus 26% tax a pop, which arrived in a few minutes but the ice cream was almost completely melted..... better than nothing i suppose!

We hoped a new day would bring us some better luck ......

We awoke around 6.00am feeling rather hot, I thought that the aircon had been turned off, but on checking, there was not only no aircon, but no electricity or water at all!!! By 7.30am I decided to go off to the reception area (couldn't call as the phones were also out,) to see what was going on. There were other guests around with similar complaints, the staff were completely lost as they had no phones only offering the excuse that the whole complex was without electricity and the maintenance technician hadn't arrived yet! We finally got lights & water back at about 8.30am, but still no hot water in one of the bathrooms ....We had already decided that we weren't prepared to spend another US$900 per night here, so after showering we checked out preferring to return home to Santo Domingo. Check out took another 45 minutes, finally reversing the charges to my credit card .... The reception staff were always very polite and seemed genuinely sorry for all the problems we had, however this was one of the worst and most expensive experiences we have ever had in a hotel, for US$900/night we would expect to be treated like royalty, not to mention have hot water to bathe in.

The place is a long way off being ready for commercial operation, If i were Jack Nicklaus i would be very worried about tarnishing his name being associated with this hotel, he and the suffering guests both deserve much better.

I would not recommend staying here nor will we ever be coming back!

As a post script, after arriving back to Santo Domingo I received an e-mail from one of the guest services rep at 9.00pm advising me that he was very sorry for the inconvenience but he had not been able to contact the restaurant in the Marina to make our reservations for dinner that night or for the New Year's Party - Unbelievable! I hate to think what would have happened if we had turned up as planned at 8.00pm. to the restaurant.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank meh156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Punta Cana hotels

woodstock, ny
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed December 23, 2009

from the moment we arrived at the lobby we knew we had arrived someplace special. the design and feng shui of this resort is impeccable, the vistas heavenly, and the staff was always helpful and cheerful. the 'rooms' are fabulous 1 ( or 2) bedroom apts with a full kitchen, gorgeous bath with jacuzzi + another half bath and 2 decks, one with a plunge pool. i am a designer and i loved the spaces, beautiful, simple, comfortable elegance. the grounds are also beautifully maintained & the pool is great. the restaurant, magnolia, is lovely, the food was good, some days and meals were better then others, they were clearly working out some kins and were always eager to give top notch service. it i very easy to take a shuttle all around cap cana, the caleton beach has become my favorite beach in the world ( and ive livedin hawaii!) sugary white sand, sweet protected cove to swim, the most amazing blues and greens, clearest water. unfortunately the spa was barely opened, it is another great space, the treatment rooms were pristine, simple and elegant.... i hope to go back ...........

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank dana718
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
34 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 258 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2009

The previous reviewer makes it sound like all is complete here, and that is not accurate! The hotel is stunning, and will be a 5-star destination, but the golf course is not yet finished, and the hotel still had construction going on when I stopped in in November. The facility is gorgeous, views spectacular, and the Las Iguanas course will be a marvel when completed (I think about 12 holes are done). Call the hotel and ask about the status before you book! Cap Cana's first course is open and spectacular, the beaches at the other two hotels are perfect (the long undeveloped strands on either side of Sanctuary are perfect, if dirty -- if the resort cleans them, they're among the best in the world!)

I wouldn't hesitate to book here once completed, or if you're OK with some rough edges. Food everywhere in Cap Cana is almost unbelievably good, service excellent, and the people so friendly it's almost scary -- there is none of that Caribbean rudeness or carelessness here.

Cap Cana is going to be he best destination in the Caribbean once the economy gets up some serious steam and luxury spending comes back.

Stayed November 2009, traveled on business
Helpful?
3 Thank MikeONYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
France
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed November 19, 2009

They say you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, but you can't fail to be blown away the moment you walk through the door of the Golden Bear Lodge.
I have stayed in hundreds of hotels around the world, but I have never seen such a beautifully framed view of the sea as you enter the stylish reception. The rest of the hotel lives up to that first impression. It exudes cutting edge design and quality at every turn. All the rooms are actually mini apartments with well equipped kitchens. It is like home from home.
The hotel is set in the middle of a golf course. Players will know that Golden Bear is the nickname of Jack Nicklaus and the hotel has memorabillia from his career. Golfers will be on the fairway to heaven here.


The author of this review is a professional journalist and a hotelier. He is a former Travel Editor of a UK national newspaper and also owns Le Castel, a chateau hotel in Normandy, France

  • Stayed October 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank lecastel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge Cap Cana

Property: Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge Cap Cana
Address: Cap Cana, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#66 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#80 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge Cap Cana 4*
Number of rooms: 90
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge is located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It features a concierge service A flat-screen TV, iPod docking station, and CD/DVD player are included in all condos at Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge. The rooms are stylishly decorated in tropical colors and also boast a microwave and a minibar. Golden Bear Lodge features Jack Nicklaus Signature Course Punta Espada. Punta Cana International Airport is 16 km from Xeliter Golden Bear Lodge. The San Juan Shopping Center is 23 km away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Golden Bear Lodge Cap Cana Hotel Punta Cana

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