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“A week in PARADISE”

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Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 18, 2014

Casa Bonita is the place to be if one wants to spend some secluded holidays in the nature.
The hotel has the outmost privacy and one can decide to relax and lay down on the pool in the sun or be active and take part in many activities as Casa Bonita also counts with many onsite activities like horse riding, zip-line, tennis court, mountain bike tours (bikes are lent foc), great Spa, etc.


We spent a wonderful week in Casa Bonita where we notice the special attention from the whole team.

The Manager, Roberto Nolazco ensured that we were at all times happy and felt "at Home". He even hired a driver who took us around and explained many things from the area, better than a tour guide could have done.

We also went on a guided tour to Bahía de las Águilas and right before we left, Fidel was waiting for us to give us a basket with loved-made sandwiches and beverages... just like at home!


The whole week was only about being spoiled...we ate so much and so good, we drunk the best cocktails and enjoyed every bit we were served and given because it was served with a smile and professionalism and the best of taste.

Our room had a fantastic view... that breathtaking view to the mountains and the see we really miss...

Definitely, if we are to go back to Barahona, it has to be to Bahoruco, it has to be to Casa Bonita.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Yamila2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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130 - 136 of 302 reviews

Reviewed February 27, 2014

My husband and I visited this hotel on our honeymoon. It's about a 3-hour drive from the airport in Santo Domingo. We used the car service provided by the hotel to pick us up at the airport and drive us to Casa Bonita (about $220 USD one-way plus tip). We enjoyed the drive as it allowed us to see different landscapes and gave us an opportunity to see the country side.

The hotel is located in a very nice location--the views are breathtaking. The rooms are okay, but I wouldn't say they are luxury caliber. The bathrooms were not as clean as they could have been, and we didn't have hot water for our showers.

The pool area was very nice, but unfortunately, the hot tub was not working while we were there (6 days total).

There isn't a whole lot to do at the hotel. The Canopy Tour was fun, and we also enjoyed a massage and steam room (recommend all of those). The beach that's walking distance from the hotel is not suitable for swimming, but the hotel does have surf boards and paddle boards available to use. Unfortunately, though, the beach is very dirty and there is litter thrown everywhere. The litter is from the small homes that line the beach, but it would be in the hotel's best interest to try and encourage the community to keep a clean beach. Even though it's not safe for swimming, it's nice to walk on the beach. There are two beaches nearby that we highly recommend, but they are not in walking distance...San Rafael and another beach near La Cienaga (can't remember the name). They are about a 15-20 minute drive. You can ask for Carlos at the hotel, and he will drive you there for a fee. The beach near La Cienaga was our favorite, and the food available at the beach was incredible. We had fried fish, lobster, plantains and rice and beans with rum and coke to drink. (The food was much better than what was available at the hotel.)

The food at the hotel was okay, but we were expecting more based on the descriptions on the hotel's website. Since we were there for 6 days we tried pretty much everything on the menu, which was limited and kind of boring. It would be nice if they changed the menu every few days.

We recommend you have a basic knowledge of Spanish since most of the locals don't speak English.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank RGJR2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2014

I spent 2 nights at Casa Bonita, from Thursday, January 23 to Saturday, January 25. The location is fantastic, unequalled by many hotels in the Dominican Republic. It's a perfect place for a romantic, relaxing weekend. The scenery is breathtaking. My husband and I live in Santo Domingo and travel to Europe about 5 times a year; thus, we are accustomed to fine dining in most of the European capitals. We had Heard a lot about this small boutique hotel and their cuisine was supposed to be outstanding. In fact, Casa Bonita was or is famous for its cuisine as much as for its idyllic setting. Our experience was mediocre; in fact, we would give it 5 out of 10 for food. The first day, our lunch was the best we had there. We had fish fillets done in a coconut sauce and mine was in a White wine sauce, very tasty. But our subsequent meals were disappointing. The linguini with shrimp was very dry, the chivo or goat was tasteless, the asopao or soup dish with seafood - I had to sent it back as it was just a liquid soup with hardly any varied seafood in it (it only had squid and about 1 shrimp) - everyone knows that asopao has to be thicker than a broth. The waiter exchanged it for the beef strips with empanada which was only just OK. And the pulpo or octobus on the grill was chopped up too finely and not tasty at all. We finished last night with the cream of pumpkin soup which got a 7/10 from us. Also, this type of hotel should serve cocktails in the proper glasses. An example was the Margaritas which were served in a regular water glass. Our breakfasts were not good at all. The omelettes had clearly been cooked and left in the kitchen for quite some time before they got to our table. They looked and tasted tired. I can't imagine that the wonderful Chef who is mentioned on their website is still working there. It seems to me like the kitchen has been handed over to some local Dominican cooks.
As for our room, 104, there was no hot wáter in the shower for the whole time we were there. The jacuzzi beside the pool had no hot wáter. It was damaged, we were told. And there is no Wireless Internet connection. They give you the password and then tell you it doesn't work there! Oh, and this morning, at around 8 am, there was a weird sound coming out of the Wall socket beside the bed.

So, really, if this hotel wants to continue as one of the best small hotels of the world, the owners need to do something about the cuisine and these details I've just pointed out as otherwise, they are going to lose their clientele to other hotels.

The staff were very good, very helpful and good at their Jobs.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Patricia L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2014

For our Honeymoon we stayed a long weekend at this hotel. It is a 3 hour drive from the capital, but worth it. The drive itself is nice, as you pass along very different sceneries along the way. Very great to take pictures: Plantain fields, Deserts, mountain ranges in the background and jungle, with little villages.
The hotel itself is a 12 room property on a hill slope facing the ocean. The rooms are very nicely decorated and comfy. All comforts of a 4 star hotel. The surroundings are very nice (I loaded up some images). The infinity pool was awesome. The restaurant very cozy and romantic. The food amazing. The staff very friendly and helpful, and made us feel right at home.
The Spa is a great experience as well. Behind the hotel downhill, you enter a small jungle where they built the spa consisting of a couple of lodges and areas for treatment. All open air and exotic. We had a couples massage next to a river, where the sounds provide that little extra relaxation. The staff here was excellent as well.

For entertainment they provide, mountain bikes, canopy tour, hiking, horseback riding and tennis. You can also borrow a surfboard or bodyboard to test the waves at the beach in front.

We took a day trip to Bahia de las Aguilas. It is a 2 hour drive, and a short boat ride. But what we got wa a virgin, pristine white beach, with crystal water. You arrange your pick up with the captain of the boat.

I got a little flu while staying there, and the staff made me a local herbal tea, which took care of that right away.

We loved our stay, the hotel was 80% full, meaning about 5 other couples (varying nationalities) which guarantee exclusivity and privacy.

If you are looking for romance with a touch of authenticity/adventure, this is a good place to consider.

Room Tip: Choose a room at the left side of the stairs, as here you get both mountain and ocean view.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Tirso T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2013

I am Australian, married to a Dominican, this is my 6th visit to the DR. I have been all around the island and have travelled the world extensively for work and pleasure.

This place is beautiful, perched on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean Sea, sunrises are mind boggling. The view from the pool is second to none, the staff are as good as it gets very well trained most speaking English, I was able to practice my Espanol. But as with most things in the Dominican when you spend some time and you see the down side. Its not well built, its now eight years old and you can tell. The standard rooms are very small. But then again its not an expensive place, its well-priced, we paid about $200 USD per night. If you stay over a Saturday night you get the experience of the local village party night which can run into the wee hours, the sound travel down the valley. Loud music and voices most of the night, not overly peaceful!!! The place itself is gorgeous and one of the best boutiques the DR has to offer but overall there are better experiences. The food was good but inconsistent. I had a wonderful dinner of beef tenderloin my wife shrimp, mine great hers not so, breakfast ordinary one morning great the next.

Its hard to get to on not so comfortable roads with dangerous traffic at least three hours from Santo Domingo (they tell you 2, add at least an hour to all travel in the DR). We hit road works and it took closer to four hours. Good surf breaks on a beautiful beach right in front of the DR. I don't know why more people don't surf in the DR, maybe it’s because if you leave anything on the beach its gone within seconds (if you make it to the beach). The locals struggle in life and many will fleece whatever they can.

In summary, if you are looking for a stunning location off the beaten track I recommend two nights for a couple, we took the family and some got a little board, young kids would be ok. If you want to use this place as a launch pad to travel to Bahia De Los Augilas then stay 3 nights (I'll review this beach later). Overall the experience is it, great location, very attentive staff, something different but won't be rushing back. Although I might be if my wife says so….

Room Tip: Book the one and only suite with its own pool
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Mickibbo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013 via mobile

A 3 hour drive from Santo Domingo that totally worth it! Service is impeccable, food and and drinks are well prepared and tasty. Rooms are not so big but have everything required and the view is just amazing!
Lots to do in and out the hotel. Management is present and staff ready to serve! A great experience!

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Dimitri F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2013

This place is AMAZING. I looked on the internet for days for a destination that fit my long bill of requirements. Casa Bonita met and exceeded all of my expectations. I went with a friend for 5 days/ 4 nights (although 2 of those days were completely filled with traveling). We arrived on a Sunday. I had wanted to rent a car and drive to the resort myself, but my friend did not want to, so we arranged for the resort to pick us up. Carlos, our driver, was waiting for us after we picked our bags up and our adventure began! The trip was roughly 4 hours through the country and every minute of it was interesting and beautiful. I am able to speak spanish very well so I was able to really learn a lot from Carlos about the culture. Most people would advise against renting your own car, but if you are a competent, adventure seeking person, I would say go for it! The next 3 days of our trip that followed were bliss.

Our room was really really cool. There are twelve huts that are basically carved right into the mountainside. Ours had two extremely comfortable double beds, a simple bathroom with a wooden floored shower, air conditioning, a big ceiling fan, and the best part... a balcony to overlook Barahona with these doors that can slide completely open, making the room essentially outdoors. It was fantastic. I had no issues with bugs other than an occasional fly or two and I slept well with or without the air conditioning on. There was a tv, but no cable (which makes sense when you see where you are) but we brought some dvds with us. The front desk has some too, but it was slim pickings.

We got a meal plan for three days, which was definitely worth it. The food was not the best I've had but you can tell that they are using local ingredients and local flavors, which I guess just do not include much flavor. Each meal came accompanied with some sort of local fare, ie. fruit, bread, cheese, yuca chips. The breakfast, I thought was great. Lunch had a lot to choose from. And dinner had a lot of variety. A lot of seafood. The food was not a highlight, but it definitely did not bother me. I always found something to eat and they were very eager to please, even my very picky friend. You could eat whenever and wherever you wanted, which was also a plus.

The fresh drinks that they made were really really great.

The pool on the property was really beautiful and I spent a lot of time just lounging around, dipping in and out. My favorite spot, though, was the hammock under the trees. I could have laid there forever.

I did a couple of activities as well. A 2 mile hike through the woods, led by one of the managers, Fidel. (Who was such a great person to have around on the trip). It was not too hard, but just challenging enough to feel like you really accomplished something. I went horseback riding through the same trail the next day which was super cool and then that same day I did the canopy tour, which was easy but beautiful. The guides were a lot of fun. The first day Carlos drove us to the beach nearby, Quemaito. The ground was made up of larger smooth rocks, as opposed to fine sand, but it did not detract from the beach at all. The water was warm and really fun to swim in. A couple of locals were there too and we ended up talking to some of them.

Aside from the actual resort being beautiful, clean, peaceful and well planned, I think what really made my vacation special was the people. Everyone on the staff was kind and helpful and wanted to do anything to make us happy. When we woke up and walked to have breakfast, everyone would greet us with smiled. I believe, by the end, I had made solid friends with at least 6 of the employees. I was able to learn a lot about the culture of the country and that added a fun factor to my trip. If you want to have a touristy vacation in a place like punta cana where everything is americanized and you are in a super modern hotel on a white sand beach, this place is definitely not for you. Casa Bonita is the place to truly have a different experience. You can relax like it is a luxury resort, but still be out in pure nature, all while really getting a glimpse of a different culture. After going there, I feel incredibly satisfied; like my soul got everything that it needed. It had absolutely everything that I wanted. I only wish I could have stayed longer.

Go now. Pack a small bag, bring a book and go. Do it.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge

Address: Km. 17 Carretara de La Costa, Barahona, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Barahona Province > Barahona
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Barahona
Price Range: $272 - $436 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Once the weekend retreat of the Schiffino family, Casa Bonita has been budged by nature to open its doors to outside guest and become an eco-lodge. Located in Barahona, in the still unspoiled and secluded southwest region of the Dominican Republic and adjacent to the only biosphere reserve in the country, Casa Bonita offers a unique ecological experience.A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge consists of 12 Deluxe Rooms & 1 Ocean View Suite, a Spa and Restaurant featuring naturally grown products from the area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Bonita Hotel Barahona

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