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“What a disappointment!”

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Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden
Ranked #2 of 18 Hotels in Boca Chica
New Glasgow, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“What a disappointment!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 17, 2013

The front desk staff at the Hamaca are in desperate need of manners. We must have easily spent at least 7 hours of our vacation in the sloooow lines , then only to be waited on by rude, fist slamming staff. When we arrived we had an email from the resort promising us, a ground floor room with a view of the pool.... NOPE..back in line. Given another room, with a lovely view of a wall, another on the 3rd floor ! It took 3 days and at least 8 trips to the front desk, each time waiting in lines. We had no fridge, and no water the entire first 3 days.Finally on our third day there after much grumbling , we received our groundfloor room with a view of the pool and a working fridge with water ! The room was a renovated room??? It was STARK, a bed, very little furniture, no bedside lamps for reading, an air conditioner that didn't work . This is NOT a 4 star hotel, and should be ashamed as trying to pass itself off as such. I will never recommend this hotel or ever grace their doorstep again.This was the first vacation that I was actually looking forward to going home!DO NOT GO !!

Room Tip: To get a good room...go to another resort!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank PMbennett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
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Moncton, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2013

We booked this resort based on price so did not have too high of an expectation especially after reading some of the reviews written here. Let's just say we were not disappointed in our expectations when we first arrived. After travelling all night and arriving at the resort in the early hours of the morning we were given what we were told was one of their "renovated" rooms. I use that term very loosely as the paint job and decor left much to be desired and by the way money did change hands for this "upgrade." Our son however did not fair so well. He got a "jail cell" with 2 cots and was upgraded to the "renovated" rooms as well after protestations. Sometime during the night our air conditioning failed.We reported it the very next morning at 8 am and it took til 1:30 am the next morning and more greasing palms to get to get us transferred to an ocean view room. That's when our vacation really started. The room was very nice and had an incredible view of the ocean as well as being right next to the infinity pool. The food was good at the buffet and Medina the waiter was exceptional:very attentive and friendly. I recommend the beef tenderloin at the Gourmet ala carte but the Italian and Mexican were just a bit above mediocre. The bar staff and others were great.Overall we were pleasantly surprised but if you come here be prepared to pay for an upgrade. It is like a whole different resort on the beach front side.

Room Tip: Always get a beach front room.Garden view rooms leave much to be desired!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Marie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon,SK Canada
Level Contributor
432 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,112 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2013

Let me preface this review by pointing out that this isn’t my first rodeo. I`m a senior contributor with over a hundred reviews and 300 helpful votes and I travel extensively every year; so take what I have to say for what its worth.

You must first understand that there are 3 DIFFERENT properties run by the Be LIVE chain at this complex. 1 Hamaca Garden, 2 Hamaca Beach & 3 Presidential Suites. The Garden is across the road approximately 200 yards from the beach. The presidential and Hamaca Beach are right on the Beach.

This review is for the Hamaca Garden, the cheapest and least desirable of the bunch. Here`s the stats for those wanting the concise version:

Curb Appeal: 7/10
Room Décor: 1/10
Beds & Linen: 8/10
Housekeeping: 6/10
Food Quality at Buffets: 7/10
Food Selection at Buffets: 5/10
A’La Carte Food Quality: 9/10
A’La Carte Service: 8/10
Entertainment Shows: 6/10
On Resort Activities: 8/10
Bar Selection & Quality: 2/10
Safe Atmosphere: 2/10
Staff Friendliness: 3/10
Beach: 9/10
Pool: 8/10

Now for the Good the bad and the Ugly: A buddy from work and I paid $909 + tax to stay here over reading week break in Feb 2013. I knew we were rolling the dice on this place, but I am not a tenderfoot and can have a good time anywhere so we booked. If you fly into Santo Domingo the resort is .5 hrs by ground. If you fly into La Romana its 1.25 hours by ground and if you fly into Punta Cana its 2.25 hours by ground. Be advised they speak Spanish in Dominican Rep and you will encounter multiple daily instances with staff who don’t speak a lick of English (aprox 60% don’t). You might have better luck in French actually.

We arrived in the evening and were placed in Building 19 Rm 43. I had read that Bldgs 15,16,19 & 20 were newly remodelled. Heres what remodelling consisted of: Painting over everything..including electrical sockets, trim EVERYTHING! Oh ya and a new 21” flat TV, mattress and linen. There were no real furnishings in the room except for a night stand and a chair. There is a safe which you have to pay $21 US for the week to get the key for. There were cracks in the tiles. The bathroom window wouldn’t seal so they had stuffed toilet paper into the cracks to keep the mosquitos out as there was no screen. The sliding patio door wouldn’t lock, so the safe is a must. The fridge didn’t work. The AC didn’t work.

The 19 Bldg room was so Spartan that we opted to change rooms. We had been warned that Bldg 12 was a bad one so we requested anything but. We got Building 7 room “705”. This must have been some sort of sick joke. In the civilized world this room would have been condemned. You couldn’t have paid me to stay in this room at any price. The furnishings were old, with saggy stained mattresses. There were large patches of black mould the size of a dinner plate coming out of the paint on the walls between the beds. The fridge was possessed, rattling, hot and humid inside. There were broken tiles, cigarette burns on all the counters and furnishings. There was mould all over in the bath room. This was a ZERO star room. We ultimately paid $220 Canadian per person to upgrade to the Hamaca Beach across the road. The rooms are night and day different and that was the only thing that saved this vacation. See my review of the Hamaca Beach for photos.

Enuf about the rooms. The Garden rooms are the newer of the properties buildings. The only money that has been spent on them is on the exterior and grounds which look lovely. Inside is a disaster.

The only sit down dining buffet on the property is in the Hamaca garden side, so no matter which resort you stay at, if you eat at the buffet, its this one. My friend wanted to state he was sorely disappointed with the variety and selection of the food at the buffet. Heres my take and Im a fussy eater:

Breakfast: worst meal of the day. Only have bacon one day out of the week. Mostly poor quality sausages and grizzly chorizo’s. One day they had fried bologna as their meat. They make fresh omelettes and eggs to order. There is also a Panini maker. They have the usual pancakes and French toast and lots of breads/ cereal.

We never ate lunch at the buffet as it was too far from the beach so we always ate at the beach snack bar. The snack bar always had: Hot dogs, Hamburgers and the most delicious Caribbean rotisserie chicken. I ate this chicken everyday and never got sick of it. The chicken was only available from 1130 am until it ran out which was by 130-2pm every day. There were lineups for it and they only made about 50 chickens a day. Also on the snack bar was a daily assortment of rice, veggies and beans. Not much of a selection and the burgers were of low quality. People were making salads out of the fresh veggies.

Buffet at supper: I was impressed with the buffet at supper. One night they had all you can eat lobster tails. The following night they had fresh grilled to order T- bones (thin cut). They had made to order pasta usually only a few choices of pastas, sauce and ingredients; but they were nicely prepared. Their pizza was a little plain but ok. I saw chicken masala one night. The quality, temperature and taste of the supper buffet was very good, but selection was limited. Their deserts and breads were done by a skilled pastry chef and were outstanding (hand whipped cream!!)

Now the crown jewel of this place. I love to eat and the A La Carte’ Restaurants saved the vacation. There are 4 on the resort and you aren’t limited in your number of attendances. The 1st few days they would only let you book an A La Carte for the day you went in to reserve it. Consequently you couldn’t get a booking easily on the week end. After the week end they let us book the A La carte’s for the remainder of the week. The food quality, taste, presentation and service at the ALC’s was 4.5-Star quality. We ate at the Brazilian Rodizio (my favorite), Italian/Mediterranean (twice) & French Gourmet. We didn’t eat at the Mexican one. There is also a beautiful floating dock restaurant on the property that isn’t actually owned by the hotel. If you want sea food and a great view you can pay to dine here. After the restaurant rush is done, staff would let hotel patrons come and sit at the loungers and enjoy the ambiance which made you feel you were in a 5-Star. The Beach Snack bar was the only place you could get food after 10 pm. There is no room service at this place and almost no staff after 11pm.

Bars: Not a blender to be seen anywhere so no blended drinks. They had a slurpee type pina colada maker at each bar but with the demand they were always watery. At least the ice cubes were made from purified water. They only know how to make one type of drink here…STRONG! 80% booze and 20% mix. Just enough to color it. There knowledge of cocktails was very limited. Not a mint sprig in sight for a mojito anywhere. Everything was grenadine and pop..oh ya and booze! No top shelf stuff with the exception of the Lobby bar where they charged extra for it.

Now for some other observations:

Its impossible for a lone adult male to go across the main road from the Beach to Garden side in the evening without being accosted by pimps / drug dealers on motorcycles peddling their wares. Our first night there was the only time we actually saw a hooker working at the beach bar. Never saw any after that night. It became immediately apparent that Hotel security is compromised. The guards down by the beach were offering to get us hookers. On one occasion they stole bottled beer from the floating dock restaurant and were offering to sell it to patrons. I only saw 2 video cameras on the resort except for the casino and that was by the shops at the beach. The common hallways were very dark and poorly lit at night. They never seemed to replace burnt out bulbs, which speaks to a lot about their attitude towards deficiencies on this property. Actually the Beach tower elevator didn’t work and you had to use the small service elevator.

The casino is a one way casino. They suck money out of you faster than an ex wife can. I watched slots for about ½ hr and even when people were “hitting jackpots”, they were so small that it was actually a debit.

There was a kids club in the garden with a shallow pool, a few small games and toddler sized play house. Given my above observations about the lack of safety, I would NEVER bring my children here.

The pool at the Garden is very good and like the pools by the beach, was heated slightly and quite useable. They also had the only Jacuzzi styled jet tub that held about 25 people. It wasn’t hot but nicely warm. On the week end local 20 somethings invaded the resort and set up camp in the Jacuzzi all day while they smoked a hookah pipe and shishima. One thing I found amazing is that they actually allowed glass bottles or glass tumblers & plates in and around the pool areas. This could be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective. I never saw any accidents or food in the pools.

The beach: The beach in front of the resort is private so locals cant use it. (Good thing too…they use their own beach “Boca Chica” like a garbage dump) Has the nicest sand I have ever seen. Icing sugar! There aren’t enough loungers or cabanas for everyone, most notable on the week end.

There is a protective reef about 400 m off shore that acts like a breakwater and you get a marvelous warm & calm ocean pool of water to swim in. The water is the nicest aqua blue and perfectly clear. Its all sand bottom so there’s nothing to see snorkelling. For water sports they have small Hobi sail boats you can use.

The resort was constantly out of beach towels. They would only exchange them at 4pm. We wound up snagging some and just keeping them all week. This resort is very popular with seniors and I watched in amazement the energy and enthusiasm that activities staff catered to the seniors. Lots of smiles and hugs for their long time residents. The only groomed beach part is directly in front of the Presidential Suites.

The town of Boca Chica is in the middle of no where and is true Dominican Republic. Its pretty seedy even during the day. There are groups of unemployed men on motorcycles wanting to be your best friend and guide for every imaginable want and they are very persistent in wanting to ``help`` you. They’ll follow you for blocks on end. I wouldn’t personally go off resort at night. One time I would recommend going off resort is to Santo Domingo`s Historic district. Skip the organized tour, hire a cab $70 for 3 hours and he`ll spin you around to whatever you want to see and wait for you while you sight see or shop. The oldest Church and Spanish fort in the Americas awaits you.

Lastly I want to address the other reviews about ``Island Wives``. Yes there are always a couple of men & women for that matter, who ``adopt`` a notably younger island wife or husband for their week or two in the Dominican. If this offends you go elsewhere. I saw it, but there wasn’t one instance of anyone being overtly inappropriate. They kept to themselves and were quiet and respectful to everyone including staff. Young children wouldn’t even likely notice it and if teens noticed it, by that age it won`t scar them for life. It was almost always European men and women with the island spouses. I think theyre a bit more liberal over there. By the way the resort was about 70% European and 20% Canadian and 10% US tourists. About 75% of Canada`s representation was from Quebec. Yup lots of Speedos on the beach!

I have now been to Boca Chica and the Hamaca Resort. I would likely not return here. Having said that, we met excellent people and I had fun. If I got a last minute seat sale that flew to Santo Domingo and paid no more than $399 + tax for the renovated garden room, I might return. That’s all its worth. I would not stay in one of the un renovated rooms for any price.

If you find this review helpful please click helpful below. Godspeed in all your travels!

Room Tip: Pay for an upgrade and stay in the Hamaca BEACH or better yet avoid this place.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Saskheat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Boca Chica hotels

Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2013

**** Pls take time to review ratings as most (the bad ones) are very true!!!*****

We are both seasoned travellers, been to Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica etc etc
This place is NOT a 4*,,,,maybe a 2.5 at the most!!!

NO service, even from managment, so staff do the same,,,they make promises to upgrade you and then when u go back they say no upgrade unless you pay, no change of room etc.

We just wanted them to give us a mini-fridge in the room as it was suppose to be and we never got it,,,,no cold drinks in the room, not even water
- no cups
- no hangers
- no blankets
- no coffee maker (would of been nice as we were pretty far from restaurant)
-no lamps, no door to bathroom etc etc etc.
- oh, and no telephone!!

The worst was that the A/C crapped out and we asked 3-4 times to fix it and they didn't!!
so we ended up getting up at 2 and 5 am to go ask them to fix it, so the 2nd night we demanded
they give us a room with A/c so we could at least sleep, ended up with another room with no AC but had everything else we would of wanted in the first place that we faught to get all week long and they never did!!!!

The food was just about 2*, very average,,only a few a la carte were ok,

The Nolitour Rep wasn't very helpful either (Victor) but we did found out that the hotel will upgrade you with Ocean front room at NO charge according you sign a waiver not to say anything to Nolitours!!!!!

Now that just says it all!!!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TravelBugsMJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, South Carolina
Level Contributor
50 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2013

The Positive:
Large Room, Beautiful outdoors, Gourmet Restaurant was excellent (not the buffet), very nice pool, good price.

The Negative:
Poor cable-did not have much channels to choose from sometimes did not work.
Extremely old furniture in the room.
Bathroom was unkempt-toilet cover was broken, light fixture very old, bathtub rusty.
Buffet food quality was poor.
Deposit for towels was unacceptable.
Waited over 45 minutes to get our suitcases from the Bell boy.
Workers seemed lackadaisical and not interested to help.
Aircondition did not work.

On the good side, a portion of this hotel seems to be renovating therefore one can hope that management will close down the section we stayed in and immediately begin renovation

Room Tip: Choose rooms with waterview. Eat at the gourmet restaurant.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Dr CAMUY H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 9, 2013 via mobile

Ok people, with all the mixed reviews going on for this hotel I'd like to provide my take on the place. From the looks of the reviews and some pictures the hotel has some nice renovated rooms, mine was pretty bad and believe me I expect 3 stars. Mine was a 1 star. Just about everything was disappointing- the very small blurry old school tv, the smell of the room, the comforter was gross, bathroom gross. It's obvious the place need a remodel just as some of the rooms in the pic section. Since we paid so little we decided to just deal, we were only staying 3 days and ( we had just come from Santo Domingo then Punta Cana) After resting from our long journey we went to eat, the buffet was one of the worst I've seen. The flies were so obvious and no one did a thing. I ignored that as best I can and just ate hot foods that were covered. No fruit no bread etc. After food we went to the beach. Finallly!!! Something great about this place. The beach was amazing we are tanning, drinking ...and then a fight breaks out. We were close so were able to see that the guy attacking had been drinking too much and being really aggressive to the second guy which was there with his family (yes and kids!!!) the aggressive guy made a huge show, security came and escorted him out. I didn't see him with his large group of guys Anymore the rest of the trip. Guess he got kicked out. That's how bad it was! Since the hotel is not in a gated community (like Playa Dorada In puerto plata) and since there were ALOT of locals here, including Puerto Ricans (quick ferry ride from PR) my BF and I felt a bit uncomfortable the remainder of the trip. We did t look or talk to anyone as we were avoiding any potential issue. That night we went to the nightclub in the hotel which was fun but again we were a bit on edge, the vibe wasn't a cool vibe, a everyone is here to just have fun vibe. My bf was especially on edge as he just felt a fight can break out easily at anytime, and he is a cop so he is familiar with the signs and vibes. We stayed for a bit since I love to dance but having him worry so much was taking the fun away and annoying. The rest of the trip had the same vibe, flies in food, rude people cutting lines etc. In summary I would not return to Boca Chica but I am glad I made the trip. For those that do go and stay at this hotel I urge you to check out your room and if its a crappy one ask for a different room. Hotel management, please update your hotel!! Remodel, spend some money investing in your business! If you are not set on Boca Chica do yourself a favor and go to Puerto plata playa Dorada area. The price is reasonable and you get decent accommodations, foods etc.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LatinaBeauty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
25 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2013 via mobile

Don't understand all this bad reviews? People if you are expecting a 5 star resort like in punta Cana, well don't bother then. This is one of the best resort in boca Chica. The price is reasonable, my room was located by the pool and and garden. Nice room! Flat tv, they have a lot of channels to view, big room. The bathroom need improvement but it did its job. I always carry my own shampoo and soap so in that department I have no complain since I didn't use theirs. Good drinks! Try the "Mamajuana" and they have plenty of Preaidente. Good food! They have 4-5 restaurants. I like the Mexican the most. You have to make a reservation 24 Hours in advance. They have a ok casino for those that like to gamble. Breakfast is great!!! The resort is a safe place, the staff are really friendly and you see a lot of families there too.

The only thing I didn't like was the vendors in white polo, I know they trying to make a living but when you say "no" it means no.

Other than that, great place to stay. At first I was reading all this bad review but decided to do my own review and as you can see it was a great trip. Stayed there for 5 days and I will come back again...

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rudy1717
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden

Property: Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden
Address: Calle Duarte, Esq. Caracol, 1, Boca Chica 15700, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Santo Domingo Province > Boca Chica
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Boca Chica
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Boca Chica
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden 3*
Number of rooms: 355
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden is an all-inclusive hotel in Boca Chica. Everything has been designed for you to spend an incredible holiday with your family and friends, enjoying a true Caribbean life-style. The full enchantment of the Dominican Republic awaits you at the Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden. Entertainment, relax, water sports and special menus. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden Dominican Republic/Boca Chica

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