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Golden Sands Villas
Reviewed March 26, 2012

We were a little concerned based on the reviews, but had a great experience. Yes, the building definitely has a moisture problem, but it was clean and there does seem to be an effort to address this issue. The rooms and common areas could use a little sprucing up to be sure. But honestly for $100 a night (on hotels.com) in a resort area, people need to be a little more realistic! The pool is great, but can be overrun with kids especially on weekends - also beware that the adjacent Embassy Suites has a ballroom, and outdoor wedding can get VERY Loud. The adjoining beach is nice to have on site, but ther is a magnificent beach nearby at Sadinero about a 1/2 mile away.

Room Tip: Definitely get a room on the pool side. Upper level rooms have nice pool and ocean views.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mark V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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37 - 43 of 92 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2012

ARRIVAL/LOCATION: We arrived later than expected (11pm) and had to take a taxi instead of a rental car. Thank goodness we took the taxi. We would have never found it! The taxi driver drove an extra 40 minutes as we finally realized that it was labeled Aquarius instead of Golden Sands. There were no signs at the outside security gates. Only after the first set of security gates and a mile drive there was a sign by the second set of security gates. Anyway, the security officer checked us in as there seemed to be no other staff around. All we received was a room service menu, some wrist bands to use the pool and a card that allowed us to use other facilites (wasn't explained what). The best advice to tell the taxi driver is that it's near the Embassy Suites (which is at the same property).

Overall we kind of wished that we had stayed at a hotel in San Juan. We do like to have a kitchen so we can cook ourselves if the food is overly expensive But the food was not as unreasonably priced as we had anticipated. We had chosen Golden Sands because of the kitchen amenities and the beach access, and the beach wasn't so great and we never really used the kitchen. So if you're thinking the same thing, then you might want to reconsider your choice. You also need to consider that a taxi from the airport will be at least $60 each way. If the concierge from the hotel tries to hook you up with a taxi driver named William you should verify the price first. We asked her how much it would be and she said no more than $65 and then William charged us $70. The driver that spent an extra 40 minutes searching for our hotel from the airport only charged us $60 and we gave him an extra $13 for all the trouble and time it took to find the hotel.

ROOM: We had a 1 bedroom unit on the 4th floor. It was clean. There weren't any bugs and no mold in our room. The shower however didn't look so great so I just used the jacuzzi tub which looked new and had great pressure and HOT water which I love (but be careful if you're putting kids in it). There seemed to be plenty of mirrors so if you have several people getting ready there were several locations in the unit to use. There were 2 sinks for washing hands/brusing teeth, one in the toilet/shower area and then one in the bedroom where the jacuzzi was located. The kitchen had a good amount of utensils and etc. There was a full size fridge, 2 microwaves, a toaster, coffemaker and stovetop. The items were definitly well used, but adequate. There was sugar for the coffemaker but no coffee, so bring some with you. There also was 1 small box of laundry detergent, 1 dishwasher detergent and dishsoap. There were 2 shampoos and lotions as well as 2 or 3 handsoaps.

The linens and bed were nice and clean and comfy. We like a soft bed and it was really soft. We couldn't quite figure out how to get the air to go off so it was a little chilly in the room, but not so bad we couldn't stand it. There was a tv in the living room and the bedroom. There was a goood variety of Spanish and English channels. The remote for the bedroom tv was dead and when we mentioned it to the front desk the next day they sent someone right up to change them.

The sofa has seen better days. I wouldn't want to sit on it for more than a few minutes. It was sagging in the middle and was pretty small for a fold out bed. If 2 people had to sleep on it they better want to snuggle because there's not much room.

VIEW/BEACH ACCESS: We were on the parking lot side and still had a view of the ocean from our balcony and bedroom window. Once you were down the elevetor it was literally 2 steps to the door and you were at the pool area and a short walk to the beach. The beach itself was not the greatest. There were lots of little rocks and misc. things in the sand that made it kind of ugly. There were lounge chairs all over and plenty for everyone that wanted one. We did go in the water. The sand is only out for about 5 -15 feet from the shoreline and then you get into the seagrass. There was a sign that said to beware of sea urchins. There was no lifeguard on duty, but the water was only more than 2-3 feet deep in a few places. There were no waves (which was disappointing). I had seen that it was mentioned that the water was calm, but I thought that there would be another beach area nearby with waves that we could play in, but we didn't see one near the hotel. We did snorkel. Seeing the reflection of the sun glitter on the sea grass was beautiful and I could see a few fish and sponges but nothing like a coral reef.

POOL; The pool area was very nice. There were several areas that were somewhat distinct and leaned toward an age group. The highest area seemed more for adults which lead to a hot tub area. Then there was a walkway leading to the bar/eating area between the pools. The lower area seemed to be for everyone and then when you went to the far end of the lower pool there was a cool kids play area. We never had trouble finding lounge chairs. You had to show your hotel card to get towels which if the employee was there was very conveniently located. If the employee wasn't there, then you had to go to the front desk, which was somewhat of a hassel.

EATING: There were food specials advertised in the lobby, but it took us a long time to figure out where to go. We kept looking for the breakfast and could only find the free breakfast at the Embassy Suites (not available to Golden Sands clients). The girl at Embassy finally told us to go across the street to the golf course and it was the golf club restaurant. The service there was really good and not very expensive. The food was ok. The juices however, are expensive. The girl at the restaurant recommended that we not drink the water there so we paid extra to have the bottled water, but later at some other restaurants we had the tap water and it tasted fine (and neither of us got sick).

We decided to order the room service for one breakfast before we walked into town. Scrambled eggs and toast were $3. The orange juice was $2. They said they would send it up within a half hour. After an hour I called and they said that the guy must be in the elevator on his way. He did show up, but didn't have any change, so we had to wait for him to go down to the lobby and bring our change. The food was very basic and it was a good thing that I had brought some salt and pepper with me because the eggs were bland and the toast didn't have butter or jam or anything with it.

The Japanese restaurant across from the Embassy was our highlight meal. They had drink specials $3 and Tempana specials of 2 can dine for $35 or $55. We got the 2 for $55 which included steak, shrimp, chicken and lobster with soup or salad and fried rice. We also tried the Spicy Shrimp sushi roll and everything was delicious. The $35 special was everything listed before minus the lobster. The staff was incredibly pleasant. The only complaint would be that the owners or managers kids were running aound for some of the time during the meal. Didn't bother me, but I know for some that it might.

We walked into town to eat lunch one day because we wanted some authentic Puerto Rican foods. The walk wasn't too bad. There is a sidewalk all the way, although crossing the street isn't easy at times. There aren't any pedestrian lights so you just need to be careful. There are lots of businesses just at the end of the street from the resort. There is a CVS, Walgreens, Taco Bell, Burger King, Mc Donald's, 24 hour grocery store, Game Stop, surf shop, and too many others to list. We kept walking down the main street toward "el centro". It was pretty far. I'm 45 and have asthma, but I made it to the center of town. It wasn't what I was expecting. I'm used to the centros in Mexico where all of the artisans and vendors hang out to sell their wares to tourists. There was a school on one side that was somewhat interesting to watch and the mayor's office is on another. There was a small (very dirty) store where you could purchase ice cream and cool drinks after the long walk. We sat in the park and looked at the statue honoring the 3 cultures of Puerto Rico (Spanish, Native Indian and African). There really wasn't much going on in the park at all, but there was sure plenty of traffic.

On the way back we stopped at a very nice restaurant. It looked kind of scary from the outside, but a nice man talked us into eating at "the best place to eat in Dorado" according to the man (who happened to be the father of the restaurant owner). We were pleasantly surprised at the interior! It had recently been remodeled and had very nice finishes and electronics (tvs and great sound system) and a full bar with top liquors. The owner made my husband a special meal of traditional Puerto Rican foods. I don't even think that some of the items were on the menu. He had fried pork, red beans, rice and smashed fried plantains. He especially like the beans. I had the skirt steak. The meal was delicious and when we got the bill we were pleasantly surprised $16 Wow! We left a good tip. I wish I had written down the name, but I can describe the location. It was one of the first restaurants on the main street heading back from the central on the south side of the street. It was across from another restaurant that looked really fancy with a dark moorish exterior.

The drinks and food at the pool are refreshing. We had the coco loco, mango tango and the Cuban pork sandwich with fries. The coco loco served in a coconut was $12 and the mango tango was $7 or $8 served in a cup. You could get the coco loco in a cup for around $7-8 too.U

CASINO: We went in the casino for about an hour one evening. It was really hopping! There was live music and people were danicng. We actually won about $40 too before we left!

GOLF COURSE: I had read some reviews that the course had seen better days. We were flying standby, so we didn't want to worry about bringing our clubs, but we've played several nice courses. Even though we didn't play, we saw a good part of the course when we ate at the restaurant and again when we walked to town. It looked in good shape to me. There were challenging hazards and we saw people watering, cutting and removing dead palm tree branches in the few days we were there. You probably should make a tee time as there were lots of people teeing off as we at our lunch there on Sunday. Probably during the week you wouldn't have a hard time getting on the course.

Room Tip: If you really want a kitchen and some space to spread out, this is an economical way to go! The poo...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank reente
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2012

This is not the Ritz but it's more than just an acceptable quality hotel. It was clean and the hotel staff was extremely helpful and pleasant. It's an older facility and has the weather marks of being right on the ocean. We arrived after midnight and had to check out at 4am. Neither of these times presented a problem. The security of the location is very good and no one comes or goes without going through both an electronic gate at the hotel and an in-person/monitored security gate to the site. The only casino in Dorado is a short (and I mean short) walk from the front doors of the hotel. The pool is beautiful and no need to worry with beach chairs or towels since they are provided by the hotel. The view from the man-made protected cove immediately in front of the hotel is magnificent and you can see the sea in its magnificient glory. I would stay here again. The price is right and the staff was pleasant. Christie B.

Room Tip: we had a poolside view and it was nice.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank ChristieB3142012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2012

We stayed one night at the Golden Sand Villas and it was close to ok. Not a roach motel, but it was sufficient enough to catch a few hours of sleep. There was mold in the bath room and it seemed very humid. The pool and beach are shared with embassy suites and they are both nice. I think the rooms could definitely use help... I do want to add the Golden Sand Villas and Aquarius Resorts are in the same building.... Which doesn't make since to me, but hey if that's how you can sale it. The room we stayed in at the aquaris was a little better, but had it's issues too.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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Thank Lynseylou12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2012

Summary: Though the facilities are quite nice, Golden Sands is very poorly managed. To avoid the stresses the mismanagement caused, I wish I would have sprung the extra few hundred dollars for the Embassy Suites next door. It would have been worthwhile. Still, it was fun and it had a number of physical facilities that we appreciated, especially the nearly-full kitchen and in-room laundry.

Full review below, including my personal videos and photos.
http://quickstufftoknow.blogspot.com/2012/03/golden-sands-villas-resort-dorado.html

Room Tip: Get an even number that faces the pool/ocean NOT the parking lot. 3rd floor+ is best. Second floor i...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank NB011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2012

Hotel experience was fine....it is a 3 star hotel so expect a 3 star hotel. Always service with a smile. We did not like the beach.....dirty and small. Seahorse Grill was our favorite restaurant on site...loved the thick cut fries! Located too far out of town for us....car is a must. We rented through Vias...very good experience.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Corpy1210
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2012

This is a rough one to review. It is the PERFECT place for us and we just extended our stay and plan to come back again.
That said, you have to get the scoop. This,is a sister project to the Embassy Suites. They both shate almost everything. You can pay literally double and stay at the well advertised Embassy suites and have a more updated unit, or pay half in this unknown place.
The room is older. Door sticks and you have to put an elbow into it to close it. The microwave is rusted in the inside (they added a cheap microwave, on the counter to make up for it). But for us... Who cares! It is a full suite with door to bedroom, large jacuzzi, full kitchen. The amount saved, on not eating out is worth it alone.
Also they are rarely even half full and dont charge more for ocean view. Ask for a few options to getty a great room.

The smaller rooms have sink and mini.fridge, and microwave. You need a suite if you want a cooktop and big fridge.

Maybe get a unit near the lobby to get the free wifi.
Our room had no internet option. I went to a local carrier and got a 1 month wifi for $60 including set up.

For a car we used priceline. $12 day bc after taxes! But parking is $10 a day which is not ideal.

Also Dorado rocks! Amazingly close to airport, like 30 min, but no san juan dirty city feel. And soooooo much nicety, than the Rio Grande area we stayed before.

Great for toddlers. Ours loves the,oool and play ground.

Hope to see you there.

Frank

  • Stayed: February 2012
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4  Thank franklyVirginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Golden Sands Villas

Address: 201 Dorado Del Mar Boulevard, Dorado 00646, Puerto Rico
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Dorado
Amenities:
Beach Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Dorado
Number of rooms: 77
Also Known As:
Golden Sands Villas Hotel Dorado

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