We are still talking about our 6 day trip to DR and Balcones weeks after our return to Colorado. My wife and I found out about Balcones Del Atlantico through its previous relationship with Rock Resorts and while no longer owned by Rock, we were very happy with our stay. We stayed in Phase 2 in a beautifully appointed 1 bedroom suite with a terrace/hot tub. Some major standouts include the meticulously kept grounds, the snorkeling in front of Porto, the extremely friendly and helpful staff (Nicest staff we have ever experienced), the large number of security guards ensuring optimal safety of their guests, and the bar at Porto. We also enjoyed a couple’s massage in the "spa area" which was worth every penny. If you are looking for world class service, consider a personal concierge. They will pretty much do anything including grocery shopping, transportation, excursion planning, etc.
General Tips: Rent an SUV - avoid large SUVs though. Go exploring. Take a trip to Las Galeras and snorkel at Playa Rincon. Eat lunch at the Peninsula House's "Beach." (Must have an SUV to get to Playa Coson where restaurant is located) El Limon waterfalls were amazing. Get out to Playa Bonita just down the road from Las Terrenas - best beaches. Porto is a nice place to eat when at BDA but make sure you get out and eat in the Fisherman’s Village or close to town. Tons of great options in a variety of price ranges with choices like Sushi, Italian, Pizza, Spanish Tapas, Local fare, French, etc. Also, make sure you have all the water, food, sunscreen you will need for your entire stay before you get to Las Terrenas. Driving in the Samana Peninsula is not for the faint of heart and could easily dissuade even the most skilled drivers from venturing into town to buy things. Also, brush up on your Spanish. Las Terrenas is not a resort town for Americans so it pays to be able to speak and read a little Spanish. Lastly, most places already tag on a 10% service charge to a restaurant bill so don't over tip. This is true at Porto as well.
Hotel: The only reason I could not give BDA 5 stars is that they are still figuring out how to be a hotel/resort. This is not a full service resort - which is fine for a young adventurous couple but not for people looking for the Ritz Carlton. In fact the entire property is actually privately owned condos with no apparent financial backing from a large company or investor...just an HOA. They have really big plans to expand into several other phases and a golf course but they still need to focus on the 2-3 phases that are currently open and tons of units still unsold. On a related note, I would not recommend anything on the Samana Peninsula for the family or couple who is expecting to stay "in resort" their entire trip. Las Terrenas and the Samana Peninsula are meant to be explored so if you just want to sit around for a week, you should consider Punta Cana. DR is still a 3rd world country and Las Terrenas is still rough around the edges...again fine for us but might be tough for people used to more comfortable settings.
We agree with some other reviewers about the final bill in that it is really confusing. Thanks to Tina for going through it line by line and removing several items that should not have been on the bill. The welcome packet does not mention anything about the wifi access (which did not always work) nor did it include an area map. Note: The staff is very helpful in advising you on where to go and how to get there. For sensible reasons, our hot tub did not have water in it initially but we had to call 2 days in a row to get it filled. Our unit, as described by other reviewers did not have a safe in it. Regardless of how nice a property is, you must have a safe...especially when you are forced to have so much cash on you. (most of the Samana Peninsula operates with cash only and when they do allow credit cards, there is a 15-20% surcharge just to run a credit card) It took several days to get a safe in our room and we were forced to use the safe in the front desk area for cash, credit cards, ipad, and passports. We also agree that BDA needs a little shop for things like sunscreen and water - getting this stuff in town is a wild ride because of parking, traffic, etc. Ultimately, our gripes were VERY minor but we think it's important to be clear that BDA is not quite there and not a hotel in the "american-sense"...like an A minus when it could be an A+.
Special thanks to Eunice, Maxaida, David, and the entire front desk and concierge staff. We look forward to coming back and are excited to see what the future holds for Balcones Del Atlantico.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Xeliter Balcones del Atlántico, the newest luxury resort in the Dominican Republic. Balcones features lavish one- two and three bedroom villa suites, Porto, a beachfront restaurant and bar, and a wide variety of Caribbean vacation activities including watersports, eco-tourism and more. Get the full luxury experience by staying at the Penthouse Villa where you will enjoy a rooftop deck offering incredible views, an impressive private plunge pool, and close to 4000 sq ft. of luxury space for 6 to 7 friends or family. Located on the Dominican Republic's Samaná Peninsula, Balcones del Atlántico is nestled in a lush tropical oasis on nearly a kilometer of Playa Las Terrenas. Discover some of the world's most pristine beaches, untouched landscapes and underwater splendors while enjoying world-class accommodations and amenities. Check out our current Caribbean vacation packages. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Balcones Del Atlantico, a Rock Hotel Las Terrenas
- Xeliter Balcones Del Atlantico Las Terrenas, Samana, Dominican Republic