The grounds of this hotel are beautiful! As other reviewers have noted, it is an older hotel - especially if you do not upgrade to privilege. I did not upgrade, but that is because I don't mind the quirks of age. For me, the room was just a place to rest my head at night and for that, I found the beds to be very comfortable and an adequate sized room. I never had trouble getting hot water for a shower, but it was a little difficult to regulate. Once I figured out the quirks, it was fine. We stayed in a villa in the eastern center of all the villas on the ground floor. As others have said, although the privelege rooms are closer to the restaurants, they are noisier and I was happy to have a room away from it all that felt very private. It was nice to hear the birds sing and just sit on the terrace. Overall, the resort is small so it is easy to get from one place to the next.
The beach was fantastic! It is by far the best in the area. As a warning, there has been some erosion, so there is a drop (maybe 1ft +/-) from the palm treed area to the open water and another small step down in the water from where the waves hit. I mention this because I was travelling with my elderly mother and it was a little difficult, but not prohibitive. The best part about this beach is that it is not sandwiched between resorts like the neighboring Iberostar. One end has not been developed, so there are not thousands of bobbing heads in the water. Rather, you can look out to a beautiful open expanse. There are few rocks for most of the beachfront (also much unlike the neighboring Iberostar). We were late risers and never had trouble finding a nice spot by the ocean or pool (pool is great for kids). The resort has so many nooks and crannies that you never felt crowded.
The only thing that keeps me from giving this place 5 stars is the age and the food. I always found something that I liked to eat, but the quality of what you choose is highly variable. These are my top pics: fresh fruit juices at breakfast buffet, pizza/pasta lunches at Sorrento, Crepes for late afternoon beach snack (awesome), whatever is being made fresh at dinner buffet (usually a fish and a specialty), poblano soup and texas steak at Rodeo, and chicken tacos and fajitas at Mariachi (sorry, I forgot what I tried at Toscana that was good, but I was not disappointed). There is always awesome fresh fruit. I am not a big drinker, so I thought the beverages were fine (including house wines with dinner).
Finally, there is a lot to do if you choose to do it. I played bingo at the bar and took some dancing lessons, but mostly I wanted to swim in the ocean (found some of the best shells of my life). The evening "showtime" is fun, but not broadway. I enjoyed it. The performers work day and night - in this regard, they are amazing.
I booked this trip for 7 days for less than $800 per person including airfare out of NY. At that price, I think it would be difficult for any other resort to come close in terms of comfort, entertainment, or choices.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Catalonia Gran Dominicus is an all-inclusive resort located on the south-east coast of the Dominican Republic and overlooks the white sandy beach of Bayahibe; 25 km. from the famous Caribbean art centre Altos de Chavon and 4.5 km. from the tiny fishing of Bayahibe, close to the Natural Park of the East, home of the biggest remains from the Island's first inhabitants, the Taino Indians; only 30 minutes by boat from Saona and Catalina both wonderful virgin islands. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Gran Dominicus Hotel Bayahibe
- Catalonia Gran Dominicus La Romana
- Gran Dominicus
- Catalonia Gran Dominicus Dominican Republic/Bayahibe