I haven’t written a hotel review in a while so please bear with me (especially if something’s missing or I’m long-winded). Our two week stay (January 6th to 20th, 2012) at the Coral Costa Caribe was amazing and wouldn’t have changed much. I’m still shaking my head at the negative reviews I had read ahead of going on vacation, thinking later on that I may have stayed at a different place. For ease I’ll break things down into categories…
Check-In: The Check-In process was fairly quick and painless. We arrived around 7pm on a Friday evening and were greeted by friendly individuals at the front. We filled out a couple of forms, received our purple all-inclusive bracelets and beach towel cards, paid for the room safe (US $25 per week… seems a little high, but what ya gonna do - like to keep the passport, money and valuables safe) and we were on our way.
Room: We stayed in room 1248 in the main building (2nd floor). We were close to everything and if you’re travelling with another couple like us it was great as we had a connecting room to them (which was 1249). The room was nothing fancy and was somewhat dated… no balcony to this room (was one in our friends’ room) but did have sliding windows, two queen beds, basic box TV, air conditioner, hangers area for clothes, 3 or 4 dresser drawers, area for the room safe, bathroom with toilet, decent sized sink area and vanity and tub with shower. The water pressure was great (on a couple of days there wasn’t hot water but not the end of the world). Lots of bottle water was provided in the room (don’t use the tap water for drinking or brushing your teeth)… and if you needed something you could just call guest services. Upon arrival we had asked for a small refrigerator for the room and received it (if you want one you have to ask for it). Never had to worry about the contents in our room when away from it (may have helped that we tipped a couple of dollars each day to the maid). Towels are picked up around 9:30am each morning and clean ones are replaced sometime in the afternoon.
Restaurants: I must not be a picky eater because I found the food at all restaurants to be great. The buffet restaurant (Ambar) had lots of selection to choose from… made-to-order omellettes or eggs in the morning, usually a couple of soups to choose from for lunch or supper - along with a great selection of breads, a nice salad bar, lots of fruits, grilled meats or fish with chef, a meat/veggie/potatoes type section of the buffet, a variety of juices and water station… and friendly wait staff to serve you. For English speaking patrons like myself, there’s varying levels of English with the wait staff, but patience and a smile will go a really long way. The Dominican coffee is great in there (café con leche - coffee with milk - was my poison on most days). There are 3 ala carte restaurants - El Fogon (Dominican flair), Santa Fe (Mexican) and Rigoletto Pasta Club (Italian). All were great in their own little way… the Dominican stew at El Fogon is a must have along with the fish. You’ll enjoy the taco station at Santa Fe and the “help yourself” station at Rigoletto offers a variety of olives, cheeses, Italian breads and meat slices. Usually one of the ala carte restaurants is closed each night (my guess is for clean up, etc.) and we didn’t have to make reservations ahead of time, nor were we limited to how many times we could go to each in a week. There’s also Mangos (snack bar) which offers food at almost any time of the day (they’re only closed few a couple of hours - but others are open)… they have great flat bread pizza, chicken, fries and beverages.
Bars: I never went thirsty while at the resort. The one thing I really enjoyed was that you could get Brugal Extra Viejo rum - which is considered a premium brand - in your drinks. The Sports Bar is open 24 hours a day and is a great place to get away from the heat as the air conditioning is fantastic in there (say ‘hi’ to Cesar - the main bartender in there). The Pool Bar is where a lot of people goto during the daylight hours as it’s close to the beach and main pool (ask Genesis for her ‘Genesis Special)… the swim-up bar here is okay at best, and if you want service you have to make a little bit of noise (and a tip doesn’t hurt either). There’s a bar near the internet area nearer the front lobby (say ‘hi’ to Fernando - probably the hardest working guy around). There’s bars beside both the Santa Fe and Rigoletto a la carte restaurants when they’re open. There’s also two bars inside of the Ambar restaurant - but these are generally for buffet service while you’re in there. And I think there was a bar but the nightly entertainment and one inside the Casino (you had to pay for drinks in the Casino).
Activities: There wasn’t a ton of things going on here, but you could definitely keep busy. The dive-shop along the beach features scuba (free in-pool tryout for those that would like - say ‘hi’ to Mike, Ellen and Raphael), wave runners (great guy by the name of Ezzy looks after these), kayaks, deep sea fishing (not the greatest as you don’t go out too far and catch smaller fish but we enjoyed it) and more. The “Chocolate Friends” are around the resort getting you involved in bingo, dance activities, etc. And on Wednesdays they even have a bonfire.
Beach: The beach here is great… the sand might not be powder soft like in Punta Cana, but it’s not as windy either and doesn’t blow up in your face. There’s a reef break a little ways out so the water is calm and not rocky to swim in. The beach is a decent size yet not far if you needed to get a drink, get food or go to the bathroom.
Pools: There are a total of 3 pools at the hotel. The main pool with swim-up bar, a smaller/quiet pool nearer the dive-shop, and a pool across the street by the Santa Fe restaurant (great place to get away all by yourself). The all could use a bit of renovation but were okay to jump in if you wanted to get away from the heat.
Nightly Entertainment: Didn’t seem all that great (roughly 2 out of the 8 or 10 dancers could dance). They all tried but didn’t carry it like most of the other all-inclusive places I’ve been too.
Gym/Spa Services: There is a gym on-site… nothing great, but does have some equipment if you want to work out. The spa (InSense) seemed to have a variety of stuff… you could even get massages on the beach if you wanted. You’ll notice the people from the spa on the beach - they’ll be wearing all white.
Pedlars on the Beach: One of the drawbacks to this place is that there are a lot of people selling their wares on the beach (you’ll notice all the pink shirts) but a simple ‘no gracias’ will usually send them on their way if you’re not interested. I’m pretty laid back so this didn’t both me, and my wife had a great time chatting with them (and of course buying the occasional thing). There’s everything from wood sculptures, to bathing wraps, cigars/cigarettes, beaded jewellery - even massages and manicures/pedicures if you wanted.
Time Share: At this resort it’s called ‘International Vacation Club’ (IVC). You may have to be persistent and say ‘no gracias’ if you’re not interested… if you are interested, you’ll get the free IVC t-shirt or other small item. I didn’t want to spend my precious time away from the sun listening to the pitch, so we opted out.
Casino: The resort does have a casino (‘American Casino’ as they call it). They use US currency and have various table games and slot machines throughout. We went one night for about an hour and managed to come away slightly up - so I’ll call that a victory. Not the greatest casino, but not the worst either.
Excursions: There was lots you could book off the resort… from half and full day trips to Santo Domingo (we did the half day and found it was enough)
Overall Experience: I really enjoyed my stay here. The food and beverages were great, the staff were wonderful (a special thanks to Felix, the rooms manager, for taking care of things that came up). The hotel is getting dated and would probably rank as a 3-star now (maybe less depending on your standards). If you paid 3-star prices you should be happy like we were. People that expect 5-star quality at a 3-star resort are going to be disappointed (and that’s where it helps to do your research). We knew this ahead of time and would go back here in a heartbeat. The area (Juan Dolio) has lots to do (there’s a few mini malls, bars and restaurants in the area) and is close to the capital city of Santo Domingo. The ride from the La Romana airport is only roughly an hour too. I would definitely recommend this resort to those that are budget-minded and if you’ve got an open mind you’ll have a great time. If you run into a problem at the resort, talk to the fine folks at guest services and they’ll most likely solve your problem for you. The one thing we did notice that may be an issue for alot of guest is the obvious prostitution that goes on in the front lobby - hopefully management will deal with this issue before people start avoiding the hotel because of it. Hopefully I answered a few things for you… if not, drop me a note and I’ll see if I can help out. We managed to get a two week holiday in a sunny getaway for what one might normally pay for one week at a lot of all-inclusives so we were definitely happy campers! Special thanks to my new TripAdvisor friend Sandy for all your helpful advice for our stay at the Coral Costa Caribe!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Overlooking the warm ocean waters of the Caribbean, enjoy a limitless family-oriented vacation experience. There are fun-filled activities under the sun for all. Our activities program includes water sports and one of the best white sand and boundless turquoise water beaches. Savor an outburst of flavors with a signature Caribbean flavor. These are just some of the ways in which you will keep busy during your stay at Coral Costa Caribe. The warmth of our staff is best expressed by the careful attention given to every small detail. Cradle yourself in the midst of its lush vegetation covered by impeccable tropical gardens surrounded by tropical flowers and trees. Seek refuge in one of our comfortable guest rooms; the heart and soul of the destination is embodied in its decor. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Coral Costa Caribe Resort, Spa And Casino
- Coral Costa Caribe Hotel Juan Dolio
- Hilton International Juan Dolio
- Costa Caribe Coral Hilton