Occidental Gran Hotel Playa Dorada
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Historical Traveler Reviews Occidental Gran Hotel Playa Dorada Puerto Plata
Fantastic Value, Great Staff
My wife and I stayed at the Occidental Playa Dorada for two glorious weeks starting on February 26 to March 12, 2003. First of all, flying in to Puerto Plata we could tell that the Dominican Republic was going to be very beautiful. Not only are there beautiful beaches, but the country has mountains, lakes, waterfalls, pine tree forests, and of course palm trees.The resort is a great bargain for the price we paid. This was our first time to the DR and this resort. We were given a room in building 6, one of the newer buildings, and overlooking the "quiet" pool. There are two huge pools, the quiet pool named for obvious reasons and the more active pool by the ocean. This resort is right on the ocean and the water and beach are very clean. We walked down the beach a long ways and other resorts have a much smaller beach and some areas are very weedy. The Playa Dorada has a huge beach. In the older buildings on site you must use your key to activate the lights and air conditioning; not so in the new buildings.The staff are very attentive, very helpful, and very friendly. We highly commend this hotel for their staff and the job they do. Our room was very clean, and the grounds, pools, etc. are given constant attention.The food is good but not great; standard buffet type meals. You receive a coupon for each one of the three specialty restaurants. Go see Francois before the end of your second day to reserve for the restaurants. There is Mexican, Italian, and the Grill. Twice at the grill they didn't have the T-Bone steak, but the tenderloin was good. In all restuarants, remember that you are in the DR, so a lot of things are prepared differently and even their condiments have a different taste that we weren't used to. One complaint, is that there is no food service after 10:30, so if you get hungry your only choice is expensive junk food ($6 CDN for a bag of Lays chips), or go down the road 5 minutes to Pizza Hut at the shopping center.The drinks are excellente!! The local rum is very smooth, they pour very stiff drinks so look out! The Mai Tai's will hit you after just one. The local beer is Presidente' and is on tap. It is good though. The drinks are served is small plastic cups. Some people were smart and brought along their own insulated mugs, which the bar staff will gladly fill. Say Hi to Roberto our favourite bartender at the main beach bar with the catchy laugh. "Ha Ha Ha".If you go take along enough suncreen to last your trip. It is very hot in the DR, and sunscreen is very expensive. The cheapest price we found for a standard size bottle was $280 DR which is $20 CDN based on the best exchange rate. We found it best to take Canadian money because it is widely accepted as is US dollars. The best rate we found for exchanging our Canadian to DR pesos was at the bank in the shopping center only a 5 minute walk from the hotel.At the beach and off the resort you will find everyone approaching you to sell you something "cheapy cheapy" or "Happy Hour". They are persistant but a smile and "No Gracias" and they will leave you alone. We took the local bus a few times to Puerto Plata and to Sosua. What an experience. The bus is a 15 passenger van, and one trip we had 25 people crammed into every available space you could imagine. That combined with crazy drivers makes for a very interesting excursion!All in all, we loved the DR, the people and the resort. We can't wait to go back. If you want to see our pictures go to **** or e-mail me.Cheers!
You've got better options
The site of the resort is beautiful, and the island is filled with lovely people. Most of the problems we had was with the food in our all-inclusive package. The buffet breakfast was fine, the lunch buffet was bad but salvageable. With dinner, they advertise three different "restaurants" and that you have reservation cards for each one. When we arrived we were calmly informed that there were no reservations available until after we were to leave and that we should have called earlier in the week. We did call earlier in the week, and we were told there would be no problem. So we demanded a reservation and we were given exactly what we asked for, only to discover that the dining rooms each night were only half full! Finally the food was pretty horrible. We ordered "lime soup" and "chicken corn chowder" and both received the same bland tomato soup out of a can, except for some shredded chicken in one bowl. The desserts were actually pretty good. The wine was horrible. The local beer wasn't bad. The pina coladas were okay.There was nightly entertainment, but it was boring and really loud! Loud music and MC talking, you can hear it everywhere. We walked down the beach to other resorts for some tranquility. If you choose to stay here, don't expect your "ocean view" room to have a view of the ocean - we were in a first floor room facing the ocean with thick stands of trees between us and the water. Don't be deterred by the 60% polite but unhelpful staff, look for the one or two people interested in making your vacation work.I can't tell you about the food at other resorts, but there were other resorts in the Playa Dorado complex (about a dozen in all) that were nicer, better maintained, had more comfortable beaches, and were quieter at night. You get what you pay for.
Awesome Vacation Spot
What a great place to vacation! The hotel my sister and I stayed at (Hotel Playa Dorada) was immaculate and very very clean. The staff don't stop working. The buffet and 3 specialty dining rooms provided a wonderful assortment of items that were all elegant and extremely tasty! Our Air Transat rep (Freddy) was awesome and extremely helpful - very knowledgable about the Dominican and very popular with the ladies! Yabba Dabba Doo! We booked our vacation package through Maureen at Premiere Travel ...- I highly recommend using her as she gave us extremely helpful information and provided us with excellent communication and service. We experienced 2 days of rain (warm) and 1 day of overcast, but all in all it was great. The beach vendors tend to get on your nerves after the first couple of days, but you get used to them. Everything is "lookie lookie and cheap cheap for you". ALLWAYS barter with them for a lower price because you will get it. There is a plaza about 3 minutes north of the hotel (mini mall) which has many delightful shops and even there you can barter with the shop owners! The fun club staff at the hotel are very experience and knowledgable - they all speak 4 languages (english, french, spanish and german). The fun club puts on a fabulous show every night and you don't want to miss them - go early though because seats fill up quite quickly. We had only 1 visitor on the day we left (Mr. Cockroach) who was doing the backstroke in our tub - no one told us to leave the bathroom lights on at night to prevent this so take this as a tip. The Puerto Plata City Tour ($33.00 US pp) is well worth it! We got to see lots around the town and visit a bunch of great places. I hope some of this information will be helpful to upcoming vacationers. You may email me with any other questions you have.
My boyfriend and I went to the D.R. for vacation last week and it was a great time. The hotel was clean and nice and the management was friendly and very accomodating. The weather was fabulous and everything about the trip was perfect. It was an excellent trip overall. Can't wait to return as soon as possible!
We stayed at the Playa Dorado for the first two weeks of Feb. 2003. We were disappointed as no one in any review had mentioned that the beach was so dirty. In the the two weeks we were there it was never raked and cleaned up the way they do in Mexico every morning. Otherwise the resort was spotless but the beach was very disappointing to us! The rooms were not a 4 star quality but again were very clean. The food was pretty good but very repititious. The biggest letdown there was that you could not get real orange juice - only Tang even in the drinks.We also found the lobby very dark and even the area for sitting before dinner very dark and smoky.The grounds were well kept...again very clean.The bikes were a joke....not oiled, tires flat, poor quality for a 4 star hotel...only used them once!Entertainment also very amateurish!Would not go back to this resort.ek,vancouver,bc
Ripped off at Casino
I went to the casino at the Occidental Allegro Playa Dorada hotel on the 28th of January. I was playing a game called "progressive roulette". A game I was told you couldn't loose. The point of the game in case you don't know is to accumulate 100 points or "spins". I started and stopped this game several times in the night. The dealer, Ronnie, held my game open with a slip of paper in the cash draw and my current results. I first spent the $200 in my wallet, and then I had taken cash out from the casino in the amounts of $600 (fee $48), $1000 (fee $80), and then 2700 (fee $216). When I stopped for the night I had 95 "spins" with only 5 "spins" to go to win. My Jackpot was ONE HUNDRED TWO THOUSAND AND FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS.
I came back to the casino New Year's Eve, the Manager said the "dealer went on vacation", "no one else could help", "there's nothing we can do". This was through several translators, as your Casino Manger couldn't speak any English.
I asked them why I had put out FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDER DOLLARS with a promise to finish my game prior to my departure. They couldn't answer.
I have repeatedly tried to contact "the owner of the casino"...the hotel nor Allegro in Spain won't even tell me who owns it!!!
I did find out by digging that several of the casinos in DR are managed by the Hotel and Casino El Embajador in Santo Domingo.
So...STAY AWAY FROM PROGRESSIVE ROULETTE AT THESE CASINOS!!!
The best holiday
We ended up at this hotel by accident because the one we had booked was not renovated in time for our trip. As it turned out this property had everything and more than we had expected.
Our main concern when booking was that our two sons (16&18) would have enough to keep them occupied. They did! They met many teenagers and young adults from all over Canada, the US and many from different countries in Europe. Being there for two weeks, they welcomed new kids who appeared to be their age and became the unofficial social conveners. They found three discos within walking distance to this resort and they had a great time.
At a shopping centre five minutes walk away the boys could communicate with their friends at home.
One of the pools was located next to the beach and was perfect to lounge at. The beach is the best in the area of about 14 resorts. You can walk for miles in either direction from the resort.
The food was unbeleivable! Great selection at the buffet. Christmas eve featured a whole roast pig & lamb, beef Wellington, chicken dishes, lobster $ prawns to name a few. Basically the same was repeated for New Years Eve dinner. Other nights buffets were based on a theme meal: German, English, Spanish, Mexican & Ittalian. Although there are 3 al la carte restaurants we enjoyed the buffet and always found something we wanted to eat.
We took two tours. One to the town of Purto Plata inclding the Brugal rum factory, a cegar shop and the amber museum with an afternoon trip to Sosua Beach. The other to the back country ending with a Catameran sailing trip in the afternoon. Both were great! We also took a cab the the quaint town of Cabarette, the wind surfing capital of the world. The boys really enjoyed watching the windsurfing and the kitesurfing. Unfortunately it was to rough for beginners to take a lesson
It is obvious the Dominican people live to serve the tourists who keep their country going. They are very friendly, accomidating people.
The only negative we can say about this resort is that the rooms are starting to show wear and they could use some updating.
Air Transat holidays was a great way to travel. The flight, meals (2/flight) and movies made the 7+ flight from Vancouver tolerable.
We have travelled to Mexico twice, Hawaii twice and to California a few times. We enjoyed this holiday the most of any and we will definately return to this area.
Here is a copy of the letter we forwarded to the hotel itself:
I am writing a quick note to applaude Occidental Playa Dorada for having an amazing hotel. My husband and I stayed at Playa Dorada at the beginning of August and had an incredible time. We liked everything about our holiday. The resort was beautiful, the staff were friendly, the food was enjoyable, the entertainment was great and there was lots to do.
We were very impressed by the cleanliness of the resort and just how hard the staff worked. We always saw people cleaning up and taking care of the "vacationers". The entertainment staff were great too. They were always keeping people occupied with fun games and amazing shows in
the evening. Who needs a disco when you have entertainment like that?! Having the club dance at the end of the night was a great way to involve people and make them feel special and important. It's nice to feel like the staff really care about the happiness of the guests. Freddy was wonderful also. It was great to have such a happy, energetic person there to meet you with a smile. He was personable, approachable, friendly and helpful throughout our entire holiday. It was great to know he was there to help us out if we needed anything. What a great man.
We have already bragged about the resort to others and told people that we would highly recommend it to anyone looking to travel to the Dominican. We would be happy to provide you with additional feedback if you so require.
Please be reassured that we have nothing but great things to say about Occidental Playa Dorada and please let your staff and Freddy know that
they are doing a fantastic job!!!
JoAnne and Philip
Thanks again for a wonderful holiday.
My sister and I stayed here in April 2000 and it was a wonderful resort. The staff was friendly and helpful, the food was good, the shows were hilarious. The resort is good for the younger crowd -- there's lots to do during the day with water sports and activities and tours. Kids had their own club to hang out in and play. If you wanted some quiet, you could relax at the "Piscine Tranquil", chill and read a book. It was our first visit to the Dominican Republic and we had an amazing time.
Excellent all Inclusive
Playa Dorada Hotel and Casino was beyond a doubt an excellent vacation spot. We vacationed there this February 2002. The resort was kept really clean. The workers, including security, the fun club, the maids etc., were really friendly and made our stay that much more enjoyable. There was something available for eveyone to eat. If you didn't enjoy the buffet there were 3 restaurants to try and a pizza place (you got to make your own pizza). I would certainly recommend this resort to anyone. I plan on returning there next year
TripAdvisor Reviews Occidental Gran Hotel Playa Dorada Puerto Plata
Travel Blogs from Puerto Plata
John met us today, thanked us for all of our work, and said "today is all about you relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the Dominican."
It was exactly what I needed to hear after a terrible start to the morning. Most days, I'm getting only 6 hours of sleep, and am totally fine with that; staying up late sharing life stories with Jamie, waking up early to fit in some yoga on my beach facing balcony.
But this mornings yoga started with a glimpse of a blob ...
I'm so tired today that I cAn barely write. After a week filled with back to back work and extra excursions, it all culminated today. Beginning last night we were all admitting to feeling like we missed home, it's comforts, and were weary, uncomfortable, tired, or maybe a bit sick from/ of some aspect of our trip. For me it was a few things. The difficulty in communicating with my family was tough. The inconvenience of the internet and desire to fully experience the trip ...
... country is full of friendly gestures.
After dinner at the hotel, the kids enacted the quincianos ceremony. Which is basically a fake wedding ceremony to celebrate her coming of age. Kayleys fathers, Natalie and Annalore, toasted her and helped her choose her court. They danced ( her pretend husband Caleb promises he'll work on perfecting her waltz soon) and celebrated and then we spent hours preparing items for our group for the last day ...
... So I hit my knees again and came within one key stoke of cancelling.
Fortunately the conviction won out. I scrambled and found an organization that was willing to work within my limited budget, would arrange some serving opportunities and a place to stay for one week. Project Esperanza is an organization that works with some of the Haitian kids and even some of the poorest of the Dominican children. They run two schools, a group home and a store for ...
... and set on my bed. The hospitality here in the Dominican Republic is awesome!
Having a host family that is really caring helps me from getting sad about missing my family because seeing them have Sunday dinner makes me wish I was back in the States having Sunday dinner at my grandma's house. This Sunday when the entire family comes over, I will be sure to take many pictures and upload them!