I can't believe the mixture of reviews for this place. I traveled with friends and family, two of us in our mid 20s, two of us in our late 20s plus a mother and a grandmother. This place is the perfect place for a relaxing or family vacation. If your looking for a very touristy or partying spot this isn't the place for you. Its about a good 40 minutes from San Juan Airport, 20-25 minutes from San Juan, 30 minutes from Isla Verde. Its also 15 minutes from the Bacardi Rum factory which is FREE and give you TWO FREE DRINKS and ferry, which is only 50 cents and runs every 30 minutes, that takes you to Old San Juan. The majority of the driving is on highway.
There are a couple of things that are good to know:
1. If you're renting a car, the address to find this place is 201 Dorado Del Mar, Dorado, PR 00646 or you can enter in "Embassy Suites, Dorado Del Mar." Dorado Del Mar is the name of the section of this gated area.
2. When you arrive to the gates, enter through "Embassy Suites" visitor section on your right, once you confirm your name with the security guard, follow the road on the right and keep driving straight to the end. Its about a 2-3 minute drive. If you go left there are private houses, its a decent area and the houses are nice. There's security that drives around day and night which makes you feel a little safer.
3. Embassy Suites, Golden Sands Villas and Aquarius Vacation Club are 3 buildings that stand "side by side" they all look connected. There is one owner for all three "properties" but different management for each one.
4. The pool, restaurants and stores are owned by Embassy Suites but the hotel guests staying at the other two hotels are allowed to use it all. The restaurants and shops are within Embassy Suites hotel.
5. Google Maps doesn't show nearby supermarkets, stores, restaurants, etc. however, right when you exit the gate and approach the traffic light at the main road, across the street is a Walgreens and a 24 hour CVS. If you make a left on the main road, you'll see stores on your left hand side like Radio Shack, a dollar store, Rainbow, a supermarket, and a number of other stores. If you make a right at the main traffic light, there is a delicious restaurant called La Terraza which also offers FREE Salsa lessons after you've had your dinner (decent prices), there is a gas station near the restaurant as well.
6. There is a drive thru Krispy Kreme about 10minutes from the hotel, definitely worth stopping at.
7. There is a tourist stand inside Embassy Suites, they have all information on going on tours in PR, the prices are a little high but we took the info and did our own thing with it to save us some money. One good thing was they weren't pushy, they were nice and very helpful and informative. I didn't feel like they were trying to make a sale.
8. There is a Spa in Embassy Suites, I didn't try it but an hour massage is about $90 including taxes.
9. When driving on Route 22 (the main highway to get to and from the hotel) there is a toll to pay once each way, its $1.10 for cars and SUVs, they have the "EZ pass" type lanes, I think it was called "Auto Express" and exact toll lanes along with "Cash" lanes which have a blue "C" on them, theres usually only one cash lane open.
The hotel staff is VERY friendly and VERY helpful including the security guards. Everyone is down to earth and speak english clearly.
The rooms are standard, nothing special (I'm talking about the room we stayed in, I hear the renovated rooms are beautiful) but decent enough, comfortable and spacious - we brought a queen sized blow up bed and it fit perfectly between the sofa bed and "dining room" section (we had asked the staff prior to the trip if we could bring the blow up bed and they were completely ok wit it). We stood in a 1 Bedroom, there was a full kitchen, including a full size refrigerator, sink, small countertop section, a blender, toaster, coffee machine, electric stove top (the newer ones), with utensils, 1 full bathroom, 1 king bedroom, a jacuzzi with a mirror and sink also, flat screen tv in the living room and bedroom, a dining room table with chairs for 5, a pull out sofa bed, a ceiling fan, and a balcony, the balcony had a table and 4 chairs and was pretty roomy, the thermostat worked fine - just make sure your balcony door is closed for it to stay on or else it turns off, the only tricky thing was the shower, the hot and cold water, if you want more cold water, turn the knob towards the hot water, if you turn it towards cold more hot water comes out, not sure what that was all about but worked fine. There wasn't a lot of cold water, I think everywhere in PR the cold water is limited.
There is a casino on site, it was built 3 years ago, its small but has live music every Friday and Saturday night which was entertaining and fun, there are slots and tables to play. The place also serves drinks and sandwiches to players. The casino is not open 24/7, If I remember correctly, Monday through Saturday its open until 4AM and Sunday until 2AM, tables don't open until noon, not too sure when the casino itself opens but definitely in the morning.
The beach is nice, private and clean. The pool is always clean and doesn't have a strong chlorine smell. The Hot tub was OK, the water appeared a little dull and slightly yellow which turned me off, the bar and grille is right next to the pool with decent prices for food and drinks, I didn't taste the food but the drinks were delicious! There is a stand near the pool which is owned by Embassy Suites which rents out life savers and other pool accessories/entertainment, again prices are decent. The pool is open 24/7, there is NO lifeguard on duty during the day or obviously at night.
There are two iguanas that hang around the pool area but they don't bother you. There is a restroom outside near the pool area.
One more thing, these pictures posted on this site and Expedia, etc do NOT give it justice. The pool area has such a tropical/paradise feel that I truly felt like I was in the Caribbean.
Seeing these reviews and pictures prior to my trip had me very skeptical and a little worried but once I got there I was so glad I didn't let them stop me from giving it a chance.
This is my first review ever on tripadvisor and made it a point to complete this because of not enough credit being given and because some tips and info needed to be shared to assist others. I really hope my review helps others.
I will definitely visit this place again. Well worth the money.
- Also Known As:
- Golden Sands Villas Hotel Dorado