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“Our very low expectations were met--but that's about it.”

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Coral Costa Caribe Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Juan Dolio
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We just returned from an eight day trip to the Coral Costa Caribe on Juan Dolio beach. Our stay was from Friday, March 22nd to Friday, March 29th.

After reading many, many reviews from other travelers, our expectations for this hotel were very low. We expected:
- a nice beach with various vendors occasionally trying to sell us stuff
- a room that needed updating/refreshing and possibly some repairs
- occasional loss of running water
- our bathroom towels taken but not replaced
- mediocre food, with some buffet dishes not replenished in a timely manner (if at all)
- weak drinks
- friendly staff members
- other issues related to being in a third world country and not staying in a hotel operated
by an international company such as Hilton or Marriott

What we got:
- all of the above.

Let me expand on specific points.

THE BEACH - The beach is nice, with standard reclining chairs and a fair amount of shade from palm trees on the back half of the beach. The sand is mostly free of trash, but it could be cleaner. The vendors will walk up and down the beach and will try to sell you things, especially if you are not reading or actively engaged in a conversation. Most of them will leave you alone pretty quickly if you tell them, "No thank you" in a firm but friendly voice. Some may ask more than once, but that didn't seem to be the rule. They play music from about 10:30 to 2:00 and it can be (and usually is) pretty loud. Most of the music is Merengue, Bachata or dance/pop music. We chose a spot on the beach as far to the edge of the trees as possible to escape the high volume music. Many of the chairs were broken and/or in need of repair, but we were always able to find functional chairs. Many sagged, however. Overall, the beach was an enjoyable experience compared to winter in Minnesota, but not nearly as nice as at other resorts I've stayed at in Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, or Barbados.

ROOM EXPERIENCE - Our room was mostly functional. The sliding glass doors were broken but could still be operated with some muscle power. A rep called us the first morning after we skipped the vacation club info session (you should too) and asked how our check-in had gone and if our room was OK. I told her that our TV did not work and neither did our wireless internet. Neither issue was addressed while we were there. From other reviews we read before we left the States that is what we expected. Many reviewers had problems with not having towels. We brought our travel/backpacking towels expecting this. We also decided to leave a $1.00 US tip on the bed every day in hopes that we would get favorable treatment from the maids. Only once during our stay did they take our towels and not return any, but by the time we had returned from dinner there were fresh towels. Our towels were changed only once during our trip. The air conditioner in our room was very loud. If you have trouble sleeping in loud conditions and choose to stay here, you may want to consider ear plugs. Also, if you go to sleep early (before 11:00) expect there to be loud music coming from the courtyard and the stage. Our bed linens were changed four times during our stay. I don't know if this is normal or because we were tipping the maid. She swept once during the week.
We paid the additional $100 to upgrade to an ocean view room. We could in fact see the ocean from our room on the sixth floor, but it wasn't spectacular. I think it was probably worth it given our room location and hearing what some of the other travelers said but this one is iffy.

LOSS OF WATER - Our water worked in the morning every day. Our water would stop running in the early evening every day but Monday and Tuesday. I kept track of the timing (you should hear how my girlfriend made fun of my for this) but I wanted to share actual numbers on my review. Here is the lowdown: if we showered after 6:00 PM, we would have water for 3-4 minutes, then lose water for 3-4 minutes. I was caught with shampoo in my hair the first time and was not happy. We quickly adapted after that and took showers in short, quick bursts. If we showered between 5:00 and 5:45 (like we did on Monday and Tuesday), instead of losing the water altogether the pressure dropped to a trickle but it was still enough to rinse off (barely). From talking to people at other resorts and out in the rest of the DR in general, it sounds like the water stops working all of the time. In fact, outside of the hotel you will see black water storage tanks on top of buildings because of this issue.

DRINKING WATER - We brought our UV water purifier that we use for backpacking expecting trouble. We did not need it. We filled our Nalgene bottles at the bar downstairs (there's an ice water dispenser there) and received two or more (due to our tipping?) water bottles per day from the maid. We were never without, and we drink a lot of water.

ELECTRICITY - We lost electricity almost every day, but it was usually only for 5-10 seconds. On the first day we lost it for about 15 minutes. On the last night (Thursday night) we lost it after dinner for about an hour, got it back for a while, then lost it for another couple of minutes. The elevator in the lobby did not work during the outage, just FYI. People used their iPhones for lights during the long outage to keep the bartenders working. It actually turned into quite the party atmosphere.

BARTENDERS AND DRINKS - The bartenders were great if you got to know them and tipped them once in a while, but the drinks generally sucked. The alcohol was low quality and seemed watered down. We tried the white wine with dinner one night and were disgusted. The red wine is even worse. If you stay here you should try it (it's free so no harm there) just to experience how bad wine can be. I watched a bartender pour red wine from a large plastic jug into a wine bottle that was so used the label was worn off. Many of the locals (more on that in a bit) brought their own bottles of alcohol. We also witnessed guests paying bartenders cash to get whole unopened bottles. I'm not sure how much they paid.

FOOD - OK, here is where I will get less positive. We expected mediocre food. It is an all-inclusive, after all, and not an expensive one. Breakfast was generally OK. Not good, but OK. Lunch was hit and miss. There is a grill on the edge of El Ambar (where you eat breakfast and lunch) that generally had OK food. If you miss lunch at El Ambar, there is a place called Mango's that serves snacks like hot dogs and hamburgers. If you just barely missed lunch WAIT! Wait for others to eat the cold food at Mango's then eat the hot/fresh food they prepare to replenish their stocks after the first wave. It will only cost you 10 minutes and you'll be happy you waited.

Let's talk dinner.
El Ambar is just mediocre. This is the buffet only place. The food was boring, It was bland. It provided some calories. They sometimes had ice cream (near the grill along the back wall) that wasn't bad, but it ran out fairly quickly.
El Fogon (the local food place) is the nicest place here. The fish here is actually worth eating after you've been eating at the other places. Some of the side dishes suffer from the same blandness as everywhere else.
Sante Fe is the Tex-Mex place. The taco bar along the edge is actually OK. Some of the dishes are OK as well, but the cheese sauce they pour over stuff is awful. It tastes like (and probably is) that nacho cheese sauce you get on nachos at a movie theater or baseball game watered down with that fake butter oil used on movie theater popcorn and some water. If you order the quesadilla, ask for it without the cheese sauce because it ruins what is actually a totally edible food item.
Rigoletto is the "Italian" place. This place is so bad that we joked that Italy, as a matter of national pride, should send an Italian special forces unit in to take this place over and replace the cooks (I can't call them chefs) with people who have actually tasted Italian food before and restore their tarnished honor. Holy cow this place was bad. Just skip it.

In general, a lot of the food was actually presented well (for a cheap all-inclusive resort) but the look of the food just got your hopes up before you actually tasted it. We both got sick during the week, but we don't know from what exactly. We got sick on different days from different places. We dealt with it, took some Imodium, and took it easy on the beach.

WHEN CHECKING IN - If they sit you down and tell you all about the vacation club and how it "isn't a timeshare--it's better," listen politely and take their card. They will ask you to come down the next morning at 8:00 AM or so. Then, just skip it. Your time is worth more than this. Even if they offer you an incentive (they offered us 2000 pesos in credit), don't waste your first morning on this. If you want to be mean, tell them that you'd like to experience the place for a few days first before hearing anything and that if the water works every day and the food is good, you'll consider coming to the presentation.

THE LOCALS - A lot of Dominicans come to this resort on the weekends. They seem to like the place quite a bit and many are probably part of the vacation club. Friday and Saturday nights will be loud. The weeknights will be lower key.

THE SHOWS - There is a stage near the beach that has bad variety shows every night at 9:45. Before the shows kids get on the stage and dance to children's pop/dance music. We tried watching the shows but decided out time was much better spent elsewhere. Most of the variety shows are dancing. One of the staff members can do a very good Michael Jackson, however. He was actually fun to watch. Otherwise, see it only if you have nothing better to do.

NIGHTLIFE - Besides the variety shows, there is only the Boom Disco that opens at 11:00. This resort is badly in need of a better nightlife scene. The Boom Disco (my girlfriend calls it the "Boom Boom Room") is mostly merengue and bachata and the locals love it. Compared to more international dance clubs, I found this one lacking pretty badly.

OTHER RESORTS / HOTELS - On our tour of Santo Domingo, we talked to people from other hotels. They all told horror stories. We were actually glad we were staying at our place after hearing what they had to say.

OVERALL - Read the reviews. If you want to stay at Juan Dolio for some reason, this may be the best choice among some really bad choices. The beach was sufficiently nice as to not disappoint and we enjoyed our time relaxing and getting some sun.

I would recommend that you re-think this area altogether and spend the money to stay at a nice resort on the north side of the island. If you choose the Dominican Republic, don't miss Los Haitises National Park. It was absolutely the best part of our trip. I recommend Explora! Ecotour. Read their reviews and look at the pictures on their site and you'll know why.

Come to Coral Costa Caribe with low expectations and your eyes open and you can still have a fun vacation.

Room Tip: South side rooms are louder but will have a view of the ocean.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Russ144
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LilibethG_12, GM Asistant at Coral Costa Caribe Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2013

Dear Client:

Please receive our warmest regards from Coral Costa Caribe Resort, Spa & Casino.

Although we are deeply sorry to know that we were not able to exceed your expectations of our Resort, we consider important to inform you that our All Inclusive offer promise consistency and quality through our food and beverages service and fare, safe and comfortable accommodations, caring staff, and plenty of accessible activities. We have set different standards in comfort and providing new, continuous entertainment for all ages at reasonable prices adapted to offer a high quality holiday experience suitable even for the low-income vacationer.

We consider important to inform you that the Internet Connection on our Rooms has a supplement cost, therefore the connection on your room was not available. Please be advised that our company instills in our team members that all of our guests are to be treated equally and receive quality service. We regret the perception you received from certain staff members about preference to guest that were typing.

We would like to inform you that in our Hotel the International Vacation Club offices located near the beach are open to every customer interested in the opportunity on joining this exclusive Club. However, please consider that the intention of their representatives in this office is to offer our dear guests with the information relative to the affiliation, not to cause you any discomfort.

We offer you our apologies if in any particular manner you felt uncomfortable due to the souvenir offer that some salesmen do when passing on the beach. We can assure you that it is not their intention to cause our dear guests any discomfort with this, but to provide them, always they are interested, with the very valued service of offering a souvenir of our country to take home.

On a daily basis our housekeeping staff revises every room and proceeds to change the linen and towels according to the procedure established in our environmental friendly policy, whilst providing clean towels and bed linen is integral to supply a quality service, many guests are happy to have their towels and sheets changed less frequently. There's a sign in each room explaining that washing towels after each use in wasteful of resources and bad for the environment, hence our valued guests are invited and agree to a less frequent change, however anytime that a client request a change of towel, this service must be given for our staff.

We thank you for sharing your recent experience in our Resort and we hope to welcome you again in our property in the near future.

Regards,


Coral Costa Caribe Resort, Spa & Casino

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 29, 2013

Good customer service throughout the site, but the bed (where we do need to sleep comfortably) are NOT at all up to par. Why not furnish those resort rooms with better beds for comfort and quality rest; specially if you are sick during the vacation time

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Gilles2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2013

Spent a week at the resort and had a great time. You must realize that you are not paying for a 5 star room. The rooms are clean and comfortable. Pay for the upgrade, I had the main floor in Building S, ocean view. The buffet is O.K. for breakfast and lunch, do the a la carte for supper. The French is excellent. You must try the spa. The evening entertainment is average, they have excellent dancers, and 3 nights out of 7, they will rely on hotel guests to come on stage and act out which is always fun. You must try out the dive centre. The casino isn't worth the trip to see, very limited. Bring US funds, as everything is based on the US dollar. Internet is limited to the cafe lounge off and on. The drinks are not water down. Staff go out of their way to help you. Do not believe all the bad reviews. I only heard one person complain while I was there.

Room Tip: Bring US cash. Internet is very limited - off and on. Rooms in the South side are nice, pay for the...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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7  Thank rheska
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2013

You must be wondering why we go to this hotel for our 6th time. I have travelled to may hotels in Dominican Republic but I really enjoy coming to this one mainly for the price, food, beach and the excellent service the staff at this hotel gives us. If you are looking for a 4 star hotel don't book here. This is a 3 1/2 star hotel at a very reasonable price. I have been to 5 star hotel that I won't probably go again. You may not have as many choices at other hotel but let me tell you you won't go hungry, there is also 3 restaurant a la carte and for us men you can wear your short no long pants required and also no reservation is required, just line up and go in. There is a 24 hours sport bar and snack area. The room is comfortable and we had plenty of hot water. Special thanks to the animation staff which could keep you busy all day. Also the same animation staff are the one that does your show every night and let me tell you they are excdellent for amateurs. I have seen negative response from this site but let me tell you, why would we come back here year after year if we weren't satisfied. Again let me tell you that my wife and I have travel the world but really enjoys the Domincan Republic we have been in Domincan Republic 25 times up to now and will still be coming back. Special thank to Lilly, assistant manager for her assistance and to all the staff there special thank you once again.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank jpdupuis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2013

My husband and our 15 year old son stayed here from March 8 - 13. I must say that we had a fun and relaxing trip. Just what we all needed to recharge our batteries. I must say I was a little leery after so many bad reviews and wasn't expecting much. I did find the property to be well maintained, the grounds were nice and clean. The staff al though not overly friendly were helpful. Check in was quick and efficient, as well the check out. We ate at all four restaurants and found the food to be good. The drinks were decent. Our room was very clean. We stayed in the main building three flights up from the disco, also known as the Boom Boom Room. It really lived up to it name. The first night I awoke to the boom boom noise. The party gets started around 10:30pm and goes until a little past 3am., believe me I know, because I couldn't sleep the noise was so loud. We were afraid to ask for another room after reading prior reviews about the rooms. Our room was clean, we had plenty of hot water and the toliets worked. We didn't want to risk losing a good room. They have nightly entertainment, but the show doesn't start until 9:45pm. We were able to make one show and it was fantastic, very entertaining there were several dance numbers with equal amount of costume changes. I was really impressed with the show the Chocolate Friends are true professionals. The daily activities were fun and there was a enough variety, we never got bored. The beach was absolutely beautiful. I think this is the best time of the year to travel here, wasn't crowded at all. If you play tennis you will enjoy playing on the clay courts which are very well maintained. My husband is a tennis instructor and raved about the courts. The pro there, Juan is very good. There is so much to do at the resort that you could just stay there the entire time and not be bored.

We used Olympus Tours to book our excursions to Saona Island and the Santa Domingo City Tour. The excursion to Saona Island is an absolute must, the island is a truly paradise. The tour included one way via speed boat and catamaran. On the way we stopped a sand bar to do some swimming. They served a nice lunch on the island that was in included in the cost of the trip. Also all drinks including alcohol was free while enroute and on the island. Once you get to the island you can order a fresh lobster for an additional fee. I got one and it was some of the best lobster I've ever had. Little tip, they do have a few vendors there and the prices for the same trinkets sold at the resort and in town were much cheaper. FYI all the vendors pretty much have the same exact thing, doesn't matter where you are. If you go on the Santa Domingo City Tour and I suggest that you do, it's like being in a precolonial European City, I would only take the half day tour which starts at 8am and ends at 1pm. You get to see all the nice architecture and tour the cathedral.

Make sure you brush up on your spanish. Overall we had a great time and are looking forward to returning.

Room Tip: Try to avoid getting a room in the main building if you like to go to bed early and sleep through th...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Winona67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2013

This is a cheaper resort it doesnt claim to be a five star so book with that in mind.
Not everyone speaks english but most are helpful and friendly.
You have to pay for room safe (3.50 a day us funds) or you can just store or valuables in your locked luggage.
One of the a la carte resturants is down the french one everything else is open.
Rooms are old but clean.
It is a 2 hour ride from the airport 1 and a bit from the capital and taxis cost alot so keep that in mind if youd like to head out.
Superior room is worth the upgrade if u want to see the ocean book building s section f.

  • Stayed: March 2013
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7  Thank a1wonder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2013

Hi! My husband and I literally got back from Coral Caribe this afternoon and I wanted to make sure that I wrote a review to give people a true and honest review. When we originally booked this place, we like so many others saw the horrendous reviews and tried our best to cancel our trip. Long story short, at the end of the day we went with it. I’m glad that we did because WE HAD A GREAT TIME and didn’t break the bank! Now I want to be absolutely clear, the hotel has its challenges that certainly need to be addressed, i.e., water issues and upgrading to the property grounds BUT we were on the beach all day so who really pays attention to ascetics? There is a sign the clearly says “check in at 3:00 pm” so go and hang out on the beach. Yes (as others have said), the vendors are persistent but act as if you’re reading a book or be stern and say NO, they will move on. Also, be aware of the International Vacation Club (timeshare) but just a little secret, if you act as if you’re interested the hotel will give you a pretty decent room on the 6th floor. We were fortunate and were given a (room 1631) loft. We saw inside one of the basic rooms – WHEW not good. Anyway, we had minimal issues with water and we always had towels. The staff was wonderful, food and drinks served its purpose and the beach was so relaxing. Now would we go back, no but for us it was about spending much needed quality/quantity time together. As long as you keep that in mind, you’ll be fine.

Room Tip: Remember room 1631 or any rooms located on the 6th floor of the main building worked for us.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank J D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Coral Costa Caribe Resort & Spa

Address: Calle Principal km 55, Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > San Pedro de Macoris Province > Juan Dolio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Juan Dolio
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Juan Dolio
#2 Spa Hotel in Juan Dolio
Price Range: $104 - $376 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Coral Costa Caribe Resort & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 416
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 Hotel Juan Dolio
Coral Costa Caribe Resort, Spa And Casino
Hilton International Juan Dolio
Costa Caribe Coral Hilton

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