Casa Colonial Beach & Spa
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Travel Blogs from Puerto Plata
So I'm a little behind on my posts...but as most of you know, I'm coming home in 2 days!! So in honor of this, I'm going to do two posts today: Things I will miss/Things I will not miss.
THINGS I WILL MISS!
- Having the housekeeper bring me juice when I am home in the afternoon
- My host family and especially watching Tangled and Pocahontas in Spanish with my 3 year old mini me
- Being able to take a two hour bus ride and ...
... had chicken liver for lunch and as it turns out that is not my favorite. Did you know liver crumbles? It's really gross. I tried it the first time and the second time I said, very politely, "there's no way I'm eating that". Generally I like whatever is prepared although it does get quite repetitive. For dinner, I usually get back late from class and the housekeeper has something waiting for ...
... straightened hair it is usually assumed that she is Dominican.
On the other hand, at bars and such, white people are typically served first and there are definitely some clubs that are racist. Some of the lightest skinned Dominicans I have seen are at the University (obviously coming from wealthier families), so I guess that is saying something. but there are also a ton of Haitian exchange students and I ...
... water for the community.
We arrived on Friday and got assigned to a temporary host family that we would stay with for the weekend. After getting settled, we made the 10 minute hike to our work-site that was situated, essentially, in the middle of the woods. Or jungle. Someone help me here...when does the woods become the jungle? I think it was just the woods. The peace corps volunteers showed us a natural watershed from the mountain that was depositing a ...
... were tied differently. Another thing that was interesting was that when the babies came out, they hold them upside down, and then lay them down back of the head first.
The last C Section was done by Dr. Porter and it was the oy one where music was played during the entire surgery. This surgery was also different because it no only used suction, there was a Bovie as well. We were commenting that this lady potentially had more ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Casa Colonial Beach & Spa Puerto Plata
Beautiful, relaxing but out of place
This hotel is hands down the best thing around Playa Dorada. The lobby, pool and rooms were fantastically beautiful. The service was more than friendly, maybe at times, a little overbearing. I had a nice relaxing time there and it was worth the money because of all the details that go into the place. Given that, I had a few problems and they were mostly with Playa Dorada - a mostly all inclusive resort area, meaning you had to pretty much leave the area in order to eat elsewhere (the other options were Pizza Hut and an equivalent to TGIF Friday's). The problem was, no one was really willing to give you any information about other restaurants outside of the complex since they want you to spend all your money there. This included the concierge. I found out later that the one place in town they do recommend, they get some kickback for diverting people there. That was very disconcerting. Also things were incredibly expensive there (suntan lotion for $85 US dollars!). Some of these expenses were expected but it was also uneasy to find that they pay some of the workers $10 for the day while guests are spending hundreds of dollars a day there at the very least - I suppose that's a problem with most places in DR and on similar islands. The main drawback I had was the lack of good food - most people looking for a small luxury hotel are usually foodies. The hotel restaurant, though quite beautiful with great service was lacking in food quality. For a salad I got iceberg lettuce with what tasted like Russian dressing. My lobster tail was overdone. The bill came to $250 for 2 people for food that was totally subpar. We also ordered in breakfast a few days; when we requested cold cereal we got a bowl that was a combination of fruit loops and cocoa puffs! No joke! Well, I hope this helps. If you're in DR go here but I would avoid Puerto Plata entirely as a vacation destination.
We spent 3 days at this hotel and loved it, it is by far and away the best hotel in the area. We were actually booked at the Flamenco acros the road, stayed one night and left, it was absolutely horrible, the room was terrible and the food was disgusting.
The pool at Casa Colonial was divine, the rooms were amazing and the staff were great. And we vacation in 5 star hotels all the time. I agree that the pool side restaurant could have had more variety however apart from that we have no complaints at all.
After reading all of the previous reviews, we were a little worried about what we would arrive to in Puerto Plata. However, there was no need to worry. The hotel is absolutely beautiful, the staff is warm & more than willing to attend to your every need, and everything is sparklingly clean.
I think the earliest reviews just had the bad luck to come to a brand new hotel that still had not worked out the kinks.
This is one place that was much better in person than the pics on the website looked!
I will admit that the food leaves a little to be desired, but after eating in other restaurants in town, we have figured that typically Dominican food is not all the exciting (like many Carribean countries).
In my opinion, the staff more than makes up for the less-than-perfect food.
I would highly recommend Casa Colonial. It is a lot of bang for the buck.
In response to "too expensive for what you get"...
I would like to say that my husband and I just came back from Casa Colonial and thought that the service was outstanding. If you are not happy with their service, I would be curious to know what caliber of hotel you are comaring them to - because I respectfully disagree.
In my opinion, Casa Colonial would stand up well against any of the more luxury hotels in NYC or Miami including the likes of The Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons and the DELANO. I agree that the menu is a bit limited (more regional cuisine would offer a larger selection) but I thought that the food, as well as the quality of service and luxury of accommodations, was exceptional. Hotels of that caliber are hard to come by in the DR - but there are plenty of mediocre, "all-inclusive" places that suit a more common palate. I choose Casa Colonial!
We spent Presidents weekend at the hotel with a few close friends. We immediately fell in love with the architecture. The hotel is simply beautiful. The lobby is inviting yet very private. The staff is very friendly and offers you a complimentary drink upon check-in. The standard rooms were extremely spacious. It is probably close to 800-900 sf. Bathrooms the same. All the finest linens are used to pamper the guests.
The pool area is by far one of the coolest I have seen in my vast travels. The chairs are comfortable and there are 4 infinity-type jacuzzis that face the ocean. Great design. Food at the pool is average, but for the Dominican republic it is pretty solid. Drinks are a little pricey, but they are generous with their portions so if the exchange rate is good for you, its not a bad deal.
The restaurant for dinner is very good. Ask to sit in the room with the wine cellar if you are with a group of people. Very memorable meal. Overall, the hotel is 5-star quality in a 3-4 star location. If you want the nicest hotel in Puerto Plata this is hands down the place to stay. New hotel so it still has to iron out the kinks, but in the end, the owner knows what he is doing and will make it the place to be in DR.
One more word of advice. The currency situation is somewhat erratic in DR. Therefore, when booking your room see if its possible to have your travel agent lock in an American $ rate so you dont get hurt when you get your monthly credit card statement and see that ithe DR charges are 10-15% higher than you expected. The DR Peso is very strong right now making it more expensive for US travelers, but I believe the DR government will find a way to decrease the value of its currency to maintain its important tourism revenue. Monitor the situation though.
Pros and Cons
The rooms were great, could not have asked for better.
The service was pretty good but did not equal the price of the hotel. For that price I would have liked a more proactive staff. Things could have been done with out asking.
The food was very good maybe a little too expensive for what it was, and the drinks were way overpriced.
OVERALL i would prob go back but ONLY because there is that many choices that are comparible in puerto plata.
Casa Colonial new boutique hotel in Puerta Plata
Spent 7 days in this very new way above average hotel in January 2005
Lovely beach, great spa, great food, lovely people. Far and above the other hotels in the area. May just be too good for the area. Biggest problem was the Paradise Casino down the street that ripped us off playing Caribbean Keno. After returning home we read about the Keno Scam going on all over the Dominican Republic. It's a shame because I am a travel agent and I will certainly let people know. We have also written to the US Government. They target Americans.
We have recently come back from our trip to the D.R. We are happy to finally find a hotel of this caliber on the north coast of Dominican Rep. I've been to the country for the last 5 years or so. The service may be slow but very courteous and professional. The decor, architectural design it is just beyond imagination.
The food at Lucia's is excellent along with the service, The pool bar was busy and it is one area where the menu should have a larger selection of items.
Too expensive for what you get
The hotel is very pretty with beautiful new rooms. Unfortunately, the food is terrible and the service is worse. There are not any restaurants in the area to chose from since it is in a three star area of hotels and restaurants. If you go into Puerto Plata there is only one decent, but not great restaurant and the taxi drivers overcharge all the time. You must negotiate your taxi fare which can be annoying while on vacation.
I wouldn't recommend it. It is overpriced for what you get.
Save your money
My boyfriend and I stayed at this property during the last week of Christmas (2004). We were very impressed when we pulled up to the entrance and proceeded to the Concierge's desk. One quick look around and you will conclude that the hotel and grounds are quite beautiful and sumptuous. However, this is where the luxury ends. Despite the great aesthetics, this hotel is not a luxury hotel deserving of membership in the small luxury hotels of the world. The hotel simply lacks service and quality.
This is very obvious in the dining experience that this hotel has to offer. There are 3 restaurants on this property, the Lucia, the Veranda and the Poolside.
The Lucia Restaurant is outstanding. The food and service are consistent with fine dining at a luxury hotel. The only problem is that the Lucia only serves dinner. For breakfast and lunch, your only options are the Veranda or poolside restaurants. There, the menus are small and the food at both restaurants is simply put, ''bad" food. If you do not venture off of the hotel property to eat, expect to be hungry. Don't count on room service. The room service menu is identical to the Veranda and Poolside menus. And, don't count on the contents of the room's minibar to tide you over. Our minibar was not stocked once during our weeklong stay. After 3 days, my boyfriend and I broke down and walked to a local Pizza Hut. We even brought back to the hotel our leftover pizza and kept it in the fridge.
Not only is the food bad, the service is laughable. As an example, one afternoon, we were at the Poolside restaurant. We noticed that the table we were sitting at had not been wiped clean. There was a watermelon seed on the table. We asked the waiter to clean the table before putting down our placemats. Instead of wiping the table clean, he simply flicked the seed off the table with his finger and then proceeded to set the table!
The wait staff at both the Veranda and poolside restaurants, while very polite and friendly, barely speak english. Not only will you have to physically point to the menu items you want to order, but expect to have the wrong food order, nevertheless, brought to you everytime. Yes. Everytime. Also, learn the spanish words for "napkin" and "butter" because you will repeatedly request these very basic table items when dining at these two restaurants everytime. Yes. Everytime. In fact, you may have to use your placemat as a napkin and eat your toast or rolls dry.
These are just some of our unpleasant "memories" of this hotel. I could go on and on with example after example of why this hotel does not measure up as a luxury hotel. If you want a luxury hotel experience, this is not the hotel for you. Save your money for the Four Seasons or the Ritz.