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“Nice place, recommended, some improvements required”

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Catalonia Gran Dominicus
Ranked #5 of 16 Hotels in Bayahibe
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed June 29, 2014

Catalonia Gran Dominicus

PROs :
- Nice Beach (with "privilege" beach beds,and fruit shakes)
- Buffet food
- nice "privilege" bathroom & room, clean comfortable quiet & modern.
- Free open wifi in all areas (even on the beach 2 meters away from the water)

Cons :
- half of staff not very smiley and doesn t seem happy to be there
- Night' shows (@10pm) : not professionnal and not really for adult audience.
- people smoking in any area, they should have dedicated smoking areas.

Wifi : i got signal everywhere (beach, restaurant, room, tennis court, reception...). But speed was very variable (Download speed from 0,2 M to 3M, upload from 0,4M to 6M, ping time between 120 ms to 550 ms). In non technical terms, i would say : sufficient for browsing, emails, whatsapp,etc... But Youtube / Skype and other videos related application : you would need more luck for it to work correctly.

"Privilege":
Just for the bathroom it's worth it ! (i loved the modern shower).
When checking in we got 1 paper detailing what additionnal items we get in the room from being a "privilege", but half of the items were missing upon arrival. We had to talk to several people from the staff to finally get everything (chair, light, slippers, etc..).
We did not get any information of what benefits (services) we get outside of the room, therefore i'm sure we missed some of it.
What we ve found out ...by ourselves :
-there is a special dedicated beach area for "privilege", with nice beach beds. But since nobody monitor, i did see a few non privilege customers getting there too.
- dedicated restaurant by the beach (we have been once but not impressed by the food)
- dedicated area at the buffet restaurant... you don't get much out of it, except maybe a waiter bringing you some drinks. Food is the same as non privileged anyway.
- unlimited beach towels : we only asked for 2 towels per person, and some days they didn't seem very excited to give it to us. What s the point of being "privileged" then ?

Staff :
Half of the staff seemed annoyed to work there. They would cut off your path (even with full plate in your hand), not care about refilling an empty drinking machine at the buffet, would redirect you to 5 other people just to get a correctly inflated basket ball (we finally managed to get a basket ball on the 3rd day), we ve seen no staff at all at the sport and fitness area during the whole stay.

Suggestion for the hotel :
- At check in, give customer a complete list of all the benefits of being privileged (not only room benefits).
- have a brochure with all activities at the hotel (detailed activities, with opening hours)
- Have a better display of "today's program" and broadcast it daily to customers through a webpage (since there is already wifi everyhwere, better make good use of it)

I might seem very critical, but i would go there again. My desires when going to the DR is : nice beach, clean quiet comfortable room and lots of food choices.
These requirements were fullfiled.

Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
3  Thank iaf_22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
grandominicus, Resident Manager at Catalonia Gran Dominicus, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2014

Dear guest,

Thank you for your time and your nice and extremely detailed review, really it is an important and “constructive criticism” for us. We are sure that your review will encourage the readers of this site to spend their holidays in our hotel. Once again, thank you very much indeed. Of course, you will be very welcome if you decide to visit us again in the near future. Best regards the Caribbean.

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Reviewed June 25, 2014

The beaches were amazing, lots of room, very clean, quiet (despite occasional, momentary staff dance parties). Go early if you want a grass hut/shaded area. People left their belongings there overnight to keep for the next morning which was a turn off. The grounds and landscaping was immaculate. The staff was extremely helpful and kind. We somehow got upgraded to the "Privileged" package, maybe because it was our one year anniversary? Either way, I highly suggest upgrading to that. Many upgrades with it! We originally had a room with two beds, unnecessary, and we asked to move, the front desk was more than happy to move us, and to an even better room. I'm personally a neat-freak, so the cleanliness was subpar. Food wasn't bad, for as much as you can have, as often as you like, I can't complain. Two downfalls, if they apply to you, was nightlife, there really wasn't any unless you buddied with a staff member. We went to the "Disco" one night, which was great, but once was enough for us. Second, humidity and the musty smell. Really though, you're in the tropics so it's to be expected and it was tolerable. Some people mentioned it was "too big", or "a lot of walking". It was good for us to walk because we laid on the beach for 9 hours a day. I liked that it was big and spaced out, it felt like you were in your own little town. In addition, the drive from the hotel to the airport is quite a haul. It was comfortable but not very quick, about an hour and a half. Overall, I would absolutely, in a heartbeat, go back. If you're looking to relax, take in the ocean, have a drink and get a tan, this is perfect paradise.

Room Tip: Request a room away from the kitchen of the buffet, it's the most loud there. Also, upgrading to...
  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Amanda M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
grandominicus, Resident Manager at Catalonia Gran Dominicus, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2014

Dear Amanda,

Thank you very much for your nice and extremely detailed review about all our services (food, rooms, entertainment activities, beach…) . We are very happy to know that you enjoyed our resort so much. We are specially happy to read those wonderful compliments regarding all the "privileged" rooms. Thank you very much again for your time and kindness. We hope to see you soon in the near future for your holidays in Catalonia Gran Dominicus. Best regards from Paradise!

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Reviewed June 24, 2014

I just returned from this resort. I stayed for 10 days, June 12th thru the 22nd. I had a different picture in my head when we booked this place. First off its huge. Hopefully you like to walk because everything is far from the rooms. There are no rooms with views. The rooms are all up front.We had to walk a long distance to the beach. The beach itself is ok, there is a drop to the sand that i fell down one day. not easy for the elderly or young kids. Lots of seating and plenty of shade. The room was nice, all tile and large. We upgraded to privileged and i'm not sure if it was worth it. The food at the buffet was delicious everyday, i must say. Shrimp, steak, fish. We went to Saona island and that was fun. I've been all over the Caribbean and honestly i wont be returning here. There is a huge language barrier and if you don't speak Spanish good luck. Go see Matteo at the shop outside he has anything you want. One more problem we had were Bees, Everywhere dozens of them. They hang around the bars and fly right into your drink. I could not believe this resort did nothing about this hazard and it is a hazard. I'm talking dozens of them . Choose wisely

Room Tip: There are no good rooms with views .Upgrade to privileged
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank kathy c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2014

The resort was clean, the staff was very friendly and the beach was beautiful. The speciality restaurants were not special and we ate at the buffet. The rooms needed an upgrade although the wi-fi was great. There was not an iron in the rooms.We asked for one and never received one.The stocked minifridge was three bottles of water.We were told there was a section that had been upgraded which would have increased the price by about $600 a couple.

Room Tip: The superior rooms might be better.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank jf7883
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
grandominicus, Resident Manager at Catalonia Gran Dominicus, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2014

Dear guest,

We are very sorry the hotel did not fulfilled your expectations. It is quite obvious we have not met your expectations 100% and for this reason we apologize. Regarding the iron, and even if we have a laundry service we offer it, just in the case someone wanted to have their clothes ironed without using the laundry service. What it happened when you asked for the iron is rather strange: all of them were in use. Please accept our apologies for it, as it was something we couldn't expect. After reading your review, we decided to buy some extra irons, to make sure that this is not going to happen again in the near future. Best regards from Dominican Republic.

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Reviewed June 24, 2014

The beach is one of the best in the DR, better than Punta Cana, the grounds were awesome, well maintained and the trees labeled. The rooms need updating and it looks like they are starting to do that so maybe that would be better if you got an updated room. The food was plentiful but below average, that said the price was right and the location superb so I would choose it again

Room Tip: get an up dated room
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank lisa w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
grandominicus, Resident Manager at Catalonia Gran Dominicus, responded to this reviewResponded August 5, 2014

Dear Lisa,
Thank you very much for your nice review about hotel Catalonia Gran Dominicus. We are very happy to know that you enjoyed our resort that much. We are specially happy to read those compliments regarding our wonderful beach. Thank you very much again for your time and kindness. Best regards from Paradise!

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Reviewed June 23, 2014

My hubby and I traveled to Catalonia Gran Dominicus for our "babymoon". I was a little nervous anticipating the trip, but the resort was beautiful, well-mantained, had decent food, and we had a great time.

Gardens and Beach: Gorgeous, and so well-kept. Loved all the tropical flowers and the clear water. Never swam in the pool (I preferred the ocean), but it too looked very clear and pretty.

Rooms: Very simple, but clean. Our housekeeper did a great job, giving us extra water bottles and pretty folded towels, plus keeping everything sparkling. (Definitely be sure to tip!) Standard amenities - TV, personal safe, mini-fridge. We had good a/c and only saw a couple gnats in the room, no mosquitoes or other bugs. The only downside is you can hear EVERYTHING outside - like the loud, drunken guys across the way, and other conspicuous noises...

Staff: For the most part, very friendly and kind. We did have a couple people try to sell us on a timeshare or something like that, but a firm no, and they politely stopped. Helps if you speak at least some Spanish, but we never had any language problems.

Food: Not gourmet, but good. With the buffet, there was so much variety that I could always find at least a few things that appealed to me. I avoided the beef after my husband said it didn't taste good. I'd also read reviews saying the fish wasn't always well-cooked, so I avoided that as well. Lots of variety. We loved the Italian restaurant, thought the Mexican was okay, and skipped the steakhouse completely. The breads and desserts were always delicious!

Recreation and Entertainment: I can't really speak for the entertainment, because we didn't participate much in it. We just wanted to enjoy the beach. We did go snorkeling (you do have to put down a $20 deposit, but you get it back once you return the snorkel and mask), and we went kayaking (which was free). I've never been to a resort, so maybe this is typical, but I didn't understand who all the different clubs and groups were walking around.

It seemed like we were in the minority as Americans, which we enjoyed - so many different countries were represented there! It was especially fun to see everyone watching the World Cup and rooting for their teams.

I also drank bottled water and bought bottled juices while I was there, just to really be on the safe side, but I'm pretty sure their water is filtered.

Room Tip: We didn't stay in a "privileged" room, but I don't feel like we were missing out o...
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Jenn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2014

Catalonia Gran Dominicus is perfect for families. It's comfortable. Uncomplicated. Clean and safe. Absolutely beautiful. Fun. Relaxing. And it's a great value.

First and foremost, the beach is spectacular. Having been to the Virgin Islands, we weren't expecting that we would be so impressed and delighted with the beach in the DR. Snorkeling off of the beach wasn't on par with snorkeling in the Virgin Islands, but it was still enjoyable.

You're offered a lot to do at the resort, and then again, the environment is such that you can do nothing and completely unwind. The staff wanted to help in any way, without being intrusive. The food is really good, and there's plenty of it. Our picky eater was content. Our big eater was satisfied. The rest of us were perfectly happy.

We had never been to an all-inclusive resort before this trip. It suited us and our pre-teen and teen boys just right, and it was the type of vacation we needed. We needed a don't-have-to-think-too-hard-about-anything type. The type where each of us could do exactly what we wanted and then regroup.

We all wanted a massage -- the boys had never had one -- so together we went to the spa for a head, neck and shoulders massage. And it was great. Not too expensive.

As Americans, we were in the minority there. We really liked the fact that our boys were exposed to a variety of foreign languages and people of different cultures. The best word to describe the resort is harmonious. Everyone was different, everyone was happy to be there and doing what they wanted to do, and it's very much live and let live.

Tips:

Fly into La Romana, not Santo Domingo, if you can -- it's a long drive, almost 2 hours, from Santo Domingo. When you've had a long day of travel, and you're super tired, that final drive to the resort is nearly unbearable.

If you use VIP Travel for your ride from the airport to the resort, and they give you a day and time to meet with them at the resort, take that meeting. The flyer had a different company name on it, and we thought it could be a timeshare pitch. It wasn't. We missed our chance to make arrangements for the return ride to the airport. The VIP Travel agent had to track us down at the resort to work out the logistics.

Get down to the beach really early to claim your spot under one of the bamboo umbrellas. There are lots of them, but they go fast -- especially the ones with the best views of the ocean.

Ask the crepe chef at the beach bar for his recommendation -- he made me something fabulous that didn't seem to be on the menu.

Don't be intimidated by the market on the beach down from the resort. All of the merchants are very nice. We found some great bracelets. Negotiate.

The bees that can't resist your juice drinks don't have any interest in stinging you. Just wave them away.

Stay as long as you can -- we were there 5 nights, which wasn't nearly long enough. You will lose a day there and back traveling.

Connect with a concierge the first day. All of them seemed nice and helpful. Ours was Jose -- he was there for us whenever we had a question or needed help with something. It was a great feeling to know we had someone to turn to. I tried to tip him, and he refused to accept it.

One last tip: if you have a sense of entitlement, please leave it at home. Just feel lucky to be there and appreciate all of the hard work that goes into making the Catalonia Gran Dominicus such a wonderful resort. There's nothing not to love about it.

Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
2  Thank restlessinrichmond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
grandominicus, Resident Manager at Catalonia Gran Dominicus, responded to this reviewResponded July 27, 2014

Dear guest,

Thank you very much indeed for your detailed and long review. We are very happy to know that you enjoyed the hotel that much. We will do our best to keep providing the same good service in the future. Thank you again for your kindness. We hope to see you soon in Catalonia Gran Dominicus. Best regards.

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Additional Information about Catalonia Gran Dominicus

Address: Bayahibe Playa, Bayahibe 10501, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Bayahibe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Bayahibe
#2 Romantic Hotel in Bayahibe
#3 Family Hotel in Bayahibe
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Bayahibe
Price Range: $130 - $475 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Catalonia Gran Dominicus 3.5*
Number of rooms: 404
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

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