I am very carefully choosing hotels to spend my three weeks holidays at. After
long consideration I chose Catalonia Gran Dominicus for our wonderful, well
deserved holiday in December. I am so glad I did. Thanks to First choice we
were safely delivered to paradise. Flight was good and transfer very
entertaining by Dominican boys.
We have stayed in Dominican Republic before and we knew what to expect. We
stayed in 5 star resort in Punta Cana previously and my husband loved it so
much, that I was afraid not to disappoint him with my new choice for this
time. We didn’t want to compare both hotels, but you kind of do it
automatically. Catalonia Gran Dominicus supposed to be 3 star rating from our
tour operator and our previous hotel-was 5 star, but believe me-
Catalonia easily has beaten the 5 star hotel!!!! Everything we experienced
before was nothing compare to this time. It exceeded my highest expectations.
Best was food. We met Sous Chef and he was a person who so much cared about recipes, preparation, quality. He was always present, checking buffet with his chef’s
thermometer. On many occasions I told him how fantastic the taste of
everything was and he seemed to be very happy. I felt that he was proud of
himself that his efforts are appreciated. Food was the absolute best part of our holiday. We love good food and drink. We have received it. You could find healthy food, lots of
fish and seafood, fruit, veggies. I expected fresh and high quality, tasteful and well seasoned food. I never have been disappointed. My husband on the other hand,, is
very, very difficult to please with taste. He likes best of the absolute best
and he was very happy with food, he thought It was all sooo delicious.
Buffet was an open air restaurant. We always requested from hostesses to be
seated on the terrace. We usually ordered beer, because wine was not good, felt
like diluted vermouth. I did take tip from someone about ordering wine from bar
and taking it over. It was much better as they served from bottle. Very good
Spanish wine. Buffet had themed nights. It was fantastic idea. My favorite was Dominican night. Loved the stew with long cooked oxtails. Dominican desserts were
favorite to my husband. Generally I picked grilled or steamed fish and massive choice of salads on dinner. Breakfast was very good too. I eat fruit on breakfast so had lots of tropical choices, like mango, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, coconut, guavas. Fruit were always fresh, cold as suppose to be. Very ripe bananas-organic delicious. Organic grapefruits –paradise.There was a one downside on breakfast. The Juice blending lady. She was absolutely the worst kitchen staff ever. First of all-rude, second of all-her juices were watery, too sweet. I had to suffer to drink them. could explain to
her to make me without sugar. The only time when she was off duty, the other
kitchen person was making proper juices, medium sweet, not watered down. I
complained on many occasions, but she was coming back every breakfast. One time
I think she refused to make juice at all. She said in Spanish that she has no
ice to prepare it. She never looked you in eyes when she talked to you. She was
correcting jugs after you pour juice to your glass and seemed to have very bad
attitude towards it, like she felt annoyed you are actually taking the juice.
It was all behavior only, she didn’t speak word of English. I think I will
write serious letter about her behavior to management. A la carte restaurants were great. Best one was without any doubt Italian-open air fantastic, romantic restaurant. Served best fish in the world-Grouper. Every time we went there we ate this grouper. It was so well prepared that tasted almost like giant scallops. Steamed right, full of flavor. I lived in USA and ate grouper very often, but never that good. We had favorite waited Pablo or Paolo, sorry I didn’t remember very well. He was fast and courteous.
We always tipped him good and we received very best service.
My husbands and mine second favorite was steak restaurant Rancho. Steaks were
very good. Apple pie dessert best of all apple pies I ate in USA. They had nice
sirloin, rib eye. Caesar salad was maybe little different in taste that we used
to but why not to discover some new tastes? Mexican restaurant wasn’t great. We have fajitas and meat was not very good. We didn’t go again, because Mexican buffet night was much better. My favorite was seafood ceviche and fish salad. Again-better than the one I ate in USA in Mexican restaurant. Generally food was mainly seafood in the hotel. Giant mussels with great sauce,octopus prepared in many ways, shrimp, crab, lobster-extra charge, grilled calamari and squid salads. Fish, fish and fish, but so good that I never got bored. Delicious species like, grouper, Dorado (mahi-mahi?), tuna, Merlin,
wreck fish(never ate before, one of best), tilapia, salmon(could be organic
cause very tasty), red snapper (only ate once in three weeks but so lucky to
get it), mero (I don’t know English name), sardines (unfortunately chef didn’t
grill them long enough and they were undercooked on many occasions, I tried to
ask him to keep them longer on grill but no result as ‘no comprende’)
For meat, they served generally pork. Pork was prepared well,
especially I was impressed with little piglet rotisserie on the beach. That
must have been very tasty. They did serve good beef with bones-like t-bone
steak. On Dominican station I could sometimes find very special stew prepared
from intestines, stomachs, which in Europe, where I come from is our
famous. I tried it little and it was lovely. There was always sandwich station on breakfast and lunch. Good choices even smoked salmon. Always fruit station, no matter is it breakfast or dinner. There was great snack bar right on the beach, also with fruit station.
We loved the creperie. We have some great tasty crepes and cappuccino in
afternoon. Their famous pizza on lunch was seriously best. Stone baked, great mozzarella, many choices. My hubby said he won’t eat pizza on holidays, but he changed his mind after tasting first bite. Very nice bar with central location, well maintained, many staff, but you need to find Tito if you want a good drink. I know cocktail tastes and only Tito could make it happen. Other bartenders did not have a clue how to make it or made it distasteful. We tipped Tito well so we got good drinks. When Tito was off, we did not drink at all it was that bad. You can ask Tito for any cocktail, but
obviously there are not many American travelers there, so you just need to let
him know how to make it and you got it. He is a good one. They have great popcorn machine in the bar. Loved it. Music in the bar needs improvement. It can’t be always salsa and meringue. I was little tired of music there. Only good one was coming when they had aerobic near pool. We both were very angry when French entertainer was on and we usually had to live the bar area. He was really annoying on the microphone. I understand he was fun for French but not for us. Also a joke was children entertainment at night in the middle of the bar. You had to bear watching couple kids at 8-9pm dancing around and had to listen to kids music while you were sipping on your
margarita. Oh what a shame!!!! Great thing about bar that they had self service liquor station, with fantastic coconut rum liquor, mamajuana, mango liquor. They all were highest quality. Better than many international exported brands.
They also served canapés in the bar.
The only thing for me was missing was live bad in the bar. Didn’t need to be
every day, but at least on weekends or something.
Little disappointed with that part. Because resort was mainly for French and
Italians we didn’t get much attention. I felt after while they were avoiding
us. I came to this hotel to dance but I did not do any dancing. I tried once
with my husband on the beach and lesson was too annoying. Clapping constantly
we didn’t learn anything. We did not give it another shot. We had better things
to do around there. I felt that animation team was very full of themselves. I
don’t like that attitude. You are there for us-guests not for your fun only. My
hubby was very disappointed with soccer which happened twice. He loves to play
and he prepared himself for that. Nobody seemed to care to organize that. Only
beach volley all the time and some European strange ball game on the sand.
My husband was promised bottle of rum after winning a match game-but never
received. We did mention to Sebastian on several occasions, but he always
forgot to get it for him. I don’t really care about rum, cause it was cheap
anyway and we bought lots. It is only the way how they cared about us –English
speaking- guests. Big area of improvement for this hotel.
I watched jealous how hotel next door-Canoa- had great beach entertainment,
some great competitions for guys. I wish my husband could participate in one of
those. We have not seen many night shows in amphitheater, but all of them were quite
good. Beach had very nice coconut grove, not many left in this area. Sand beige, almost
white. Perfect, absolute perfect color. Definitely better than yellowish in
Punta Cana. Way too many beach long chairs on the beach and huts, but at least
you didn’t have to fight at the morning for them. Lots of shadow from coconut. Like
I said, good snack places, so you are never hungry on the beach. Good soda
machines, clean ice. Photographers on the beach trying to take your photo. We
were polite to them and they were not pushy or something. Problem is there
weren’t that good. I am myself quite professional and found their skills to be
quite low. Problem was that to buy one photo you need to pay 18 Euros. Way too
much. We never bought any. There was a guy who was bringing some parrots and
iguana to the beach to have them photographed on peoples head etc.
Another problem on the beach were SELLERS. Oh my God, what a nightmare. If I
counted every minute spending on explaining that WE DO NOT WANT to BUY their
PAINTINGS, I think it would be half of a day altogether. I think hotel should
not allow them on the beach. It is not hotel’s fault they are so hungry for
customers. We were extremely annoyed with sellers. We were there for three
weeks and they didn’t learn we didn’t want any shopping. They attack you from
every side when you leave hotels beach and try to have relaxing walk along the
coast. You have to walk about 1.5 kilometers to get rid of them.
RECEPTION-excellent, good English knowledge, very efficient, problems resolved
fast. We have problem with bed and they send replacement bed immediately. We
were happy. We needed assistance with booking some trips outside hotel, they
gave me professional assistance. I was most impressed. Concierge wasn’t that
good, better use reception. Especially nice Dominican girl, forgot her name,
she was brilliant. Good porter service, very polite. Staff of the hotel
generally very polite, no one will pass near you not saying Hola! I was again
very impressed and felt welcome every time. Lady who exchanges money in CAMBIO
didn’t want to give my husband change for tips. Reception also didn’t have any
change. Bring lots of $1 or at least have good change of pesos at least 50’s
handy to tip everybody. They all deserve it as they work had for your
enjoyment. ROOMS-We didn’t have any problem with rooms. Clean, spacious, maybe a bit too dark,but you don’t spend time there anyway. Flat screen TV, nice new fridge full of water and drinks. Air conditioning was working all the time-waste of energy.
Room was always nice and cold, no problem. Nice balcony with chairs and view
for gorgeous gardens. I saw many birds at the morning, even Lizard Bill Cookoo
and hummingbird. We were quite lucky, we didn’t have noisy neighbors. Walls
are thin, like in many hotels and you can get some disturbance from neighbors.
Over weekend lots of noisy locals come to resort and it may be little problem
for people who enjoy quiet sleep in the room at night. But that is just for
one night, I could live with it. Housekeeping was working good. They did bring
flowers to room, decorated bed with swan towels, etc. Everything in room was
working in order. You are getting free safe. We liked our room. Good TV
channels with great movies. About room problems that I read from other
reviewers. I can see why people complain. This hotel has its style, old
colonial style-I loved. Many people doesn’t. They want modern buildings, modern
furniture. You are in Caribbean, musty smell is part of your holiday!!Loved the
villas, we walked every evening around all of them. I would want to pay for an
upgrade. I liked our ‘ordinary’ room which for me was ‘extraordinary’. Have a
positive attitude to your room and you will be fine. Relax-you are on holiday! POOL-
Gorgeous, not too busy, one part was really deep, 2.5 meters-my favorite. I
have good swim in that pool almost every day. Water was nice and cold, very
refreshing. I think families with kids enjoyed the pool a lot, but kids had
their separate section. There was not very polite person working on the pool area, giving pool towels. He had always problem with us giving him towel at the morning. I understand where he is coming from, towels need to be washed and dried overnight and we were bringing it another day, but we were staying late on the beach and his
services were closed before we finished. He made us feel bad all the time and
soon we were afraid to ask for towels. I feel that guest should just enjoy
holidays, not worry about pool towels to be returned on time. Anyway nothing,
even small negatives couldn’t spoil our holidays. I hope it gives some good, positive view on this unique hotel. I would love to
return fast and I am just hoping that everything will stay same, or maybe even
better. I will post some pictures soon.
Happy travels everyone. I recommend this hotel to everyone who loves nature and
likes healthy style holidays.
Happy to answer any questions you may have.
- 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